Culture shock

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We always talked about “culture shock” in an anthropology course I took last year. But the thing about culture shock is that it can occur basically any time you leave your familiar environments. 

 

culture shock
noun
: a feeling of confusion, doubt, or nervousness caused by being in a place (such as a foreign country) that is very different from what you are used to

 

This whole weekend has been full of different cultures for me that I have had to face on my own – The African American culture, and multiple West Indian cultures. (And I say “on my own” because my bf worked the whole weekend, and is working tonight as well… I know his mom and family but I am still becoming comfortable and familiar with them and their ways of acting)

That may make it sound like I am extremely sheltered back home, and to a point I am. But when I am at home, I am never living, eating and conversing 24/7 in a household that has a different culture than me. It only makes sense that I feel a little out of place here.

Yesterday my boyfriend’s mom held a pool party for children that attend their church – I helped out, visited with the different grandparents who brought their grandkids, visited with the kids, etc. I was the only white person out of 25+ people. It didn’t bother me, and for the most part I was generally well accepted, some of the kids were VERY curious as to who I was and why I was there. 

I talked to multiple women, but one woman in particular stood out to me. She never held anything back… her whole family seemed to be in crisis and she was very outspoken. I enjoyed listening to her and her stories, experiences, and thoughts… but I had a hard time responding to her. Well, it wasnt even that I had a hard time responding, it’s that she had a hard time receiving what I was saying back to her. The conversation was great if I kept my mouth shut and only asked questions from time to time. I felt awkward because anything I said she would brush off, or act off about it.

I helped set up, manage and clean up the party – I never received a thank you from my bf’s mom?? At all?? I’m not saying that to sound prissy, but It’s just VERY VERY different than back home.

AND I know things arent always going to be like they are “Back home”, but this is just me working through my emotions. 

After the pool party, we went to different Caribbean grocery stores, which I usually LOVE since theres all sorts of food and new items I have never seen… but I just felt so foreign in those stores. It had different food, different veggies & fruits… and I just wanted to see familiar things to me. After having all those new foods last week here, I seriously just want peanut butter on toast, and oatmeal. 

When I got back at night to grandmas house, there was another lady and her daughter there from the islands. The lady was downright rude to me, so rude!!! Later on I found out she was racist and does not like white people. 

This is so foreign to me… back home, we do not have large race differences between the whites and blacks at all. Not like America. I am not used to being judged because of my skin colour. It felt…. sad. Awkward. 

I guess I have to experience things like that though. Because thats life. Thats what happens. People have different beliefs and ideas. 

I just wanted something familiar all weekend. I keep taking baths because it reminds me of home – I love baths. 

(In)compatible

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Compatible or incompatible????

Damn it.

So I’ve been in Orlando for a week now. To say that things have been rocky may be an understatement.

I don’t know what is wrong or who is doing what.
However I did realize
- I yell
- he needs a thousand things happening at once
- I like to give individual things attention
- I care about family
- he doesn’t care to appease anyone
- I am interdependent
- he is independent
- I am emotionally charged
- he is mellow
- I am caring towards myself
- he is negative and worrisome about himself
- for jokes, I like puns
- for jokes, he likes to confuse people
- I like outside
- he likes inside
- I smile
- he “smiles”
- I am understanding
- he is understanding
- I can be malicious
- he can see the situation
- I like being called nicknames
- he feels awkward with nicknames
Etc

I mean, we do have similarities…… But this past week has been questionable.

I think long distance is sometimes easier when you’re apart than when you’re together. Getting used to each other is HARD. It’s hard to admit that we basically have a “pseudo” relationship

This guy is pissing me off…… Yet he is bringing happiness and joy to me as well.
What are relationships supposed to be like anyways???

I’ve gone through yelling, crying, pouting, laughing, smiling, cheering, jumping up and down, being disappointed, feeling alone, feeling loved, feeling taken care of, etc….. They are very polar emotions

In some ways I feel like I am a battle field full of land mines……. And he is walking around and getting blown up from these land mines periodically…… And I don’t know how many more he can take until he decides this is a battle not meant for him.

Other times I feel like he is a hot mess and I’m just having to swim around with him in his mess wondering when I’ll drown.

I guess that humans are messy…… And when two humans come together, you have to deal with each other and their messes.

I feel like maybe we disagree on so much.

We will see…. We will see.

When him and I are out, or with friends, we are a good couple. Admirable even. We work together and it’s very enjoyable.
But for some reason when we are alone it’s different? Not completely bad or good.

It would be waaaaay different if I lived here, or at least had my own space and usual things from home. And if I had a car and a goal to work towards.

I’m so tired. I need some sleep.

Birthday x2

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It’s my mom’s birthday today (26th)… Funny thing is that it’s my boyfriend’s mom’s b-day as well. How crazy!! We got a cake yesterday for my mom and already ate some with her – she couldn’t wait, hehe.. Strawberry shortcake from Costco, she had been wanting to try it for awhile now, and she absolutely loves it… It is pretty good! Moist, light and fruity!

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For the rest of my mom’s b-day we will be eating breakfast/lunch at dennys, you get free breakfast on your b-day… and getting her NEW VEHICLE!!!! I am so excited for her. She got a brand new 2014 Honda CRV. She loves it! My grandma has one and my mom fell in love with it, and her old car is turning 14 years old, so it was time for a new vehicle. What an awesome birthday present.

Speaking of the heat, I go to Orlando in under a week now.. I don’t feel as anxious about it as I did before. I am looking at it as an adventure and a learning experience. It will be a great time, I hope it makes our relationship even more solid than it is already.

Oh! And… All I have left to do in my summer class is take my final exam on friday and then I am good to go.

I made oatmeal M&M cookies yesterday as well, they are very good. M&Ms are always better than chocolate chips in cookies in my opinion. The recipe also called for cinnamon, and for some reason my taste buds are having to get used to cinnamon in an oatmeal cookie… or in a cookie in general! I’ve never actually put cinnamon in cookies before.

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I find that I bake quite a bit when I am nearing final exams, or when I am a little bit stressed. It’s a good stress reducer. At least I am not stress eating!!

Yesterday was weird with my eating though, and I was quite active, but I had no appetite from noon all the way until I went to bed. I didn’t eat all that much either.
It just shows me that our bodies know what they are doing for the most part… the past previous days I ate quite a bit and had an appetitive, and yesterday I didn’t. Our bodies are efficient.

ready for some honesty? – long

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First off – I just spent a good amount of time looking through my posts from earlier in the year and from last time this year… And it’s crazy to see where I was and where I am now. It kind of makes me sad that I haven’t posted more in this year, but hey, things happen for a reason.
I love having things documented so that I can look back and feel what I felt and remember what I did on what days.

So in my honesty now, I am nervous.
I go away to Orlando in basically 2 weeks now. I leave, and I am gone for over a month (I believe I am gone for 5 weeks)
And guys, I am scared. I have never been away from home that long and I am worried that I will get bored and have to spent large amounts of time alone because my boyfriend is working. I am worried I will outstay my welcome and that things will get tense.
I am worried that I would prefer to be home. I am also nervous that my boyfriend and I will not really be compatible. Thats the thing with a long distance relationship, you never really get to spend large amounts of time with your significant other. The longest time we have spent together is 2.5 weeks.
I am afraid I will be homesick and miss my family. I am afraid for what this trip can mean about our future. If I can’t handle a month away from my family, I do not want to move and spent a lifetime some where far away.

Also, lately I have felt as if my bf is being “prickly”, I feel as if I am starved for attention and I just need some kind words or something. But the thing is that he does say nice things, but I don’t know…. I guess I need something more or something else?

I’m realizing that I am bad at perspective taking when it comes to him. I have a hard time putting myself in his shoes. For example, he works a lot… works all week in his business and works all weekend at a part time job… And after working until 11pm on the weekend, sometimes he will still make time to skype with me… And he is usually tired, and he is usually tired during the week. I get so tired of him being tired…. but if I were him I would be tired too. So I need to gain a better sense of perspective taking

Ive been thinking a lot about the idea that everyone shows love in different ways, everyone speaks love in different ways…. I love love love this following quote. I have to remind myself of this often…

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I guess that things feel so scary for me when I think about going to orlando for 5 weeks because I dont have my own car, I am at the mercy of my bf and his family… I dont have any of my OWN friends there. I only know those that my bf knows. There is one girl though, that I want to get together with, just her and I, because it would be a lot of fun and I could see us becoming good friends.

I have to really fend for myself in a way when I am there – make sure I am cleaning up after myself, being mindful of other people’s space and habits, learning other’s requirements, learning the rules of another persons house. Making sure I buy some groceries, making sure I am polite and well mannered.. making sure I bring enough money with me

I am sure everything will go fine – and if it doesnt, well then at least I find out now that the relationship is not meant to go further. Its better to find that out now than when I am walking down the isle. I can always come home if need be

I did confide in my boyfriend a couple times that I am nervous to be going there for so long – he told me we would be okay and would deal with it when we get there… Part of me doesn’t like that answer, because I want to deal with it now. But how am I supposed to deal with it now when it hasn’t even happened?

It was his birthday yesterday… He said he had a great day… His present from me came right on time, right on his birthday! I got him a 50lb kettle bell… he wanted one but I couldn’t see him getting himself one any time soon because there’s other priorities. Its funny because I bought him a 35lb kettle bell for christmas, haha. You’d think the shipping would cost so much for a 50lb item, but actually I could have gotten free shipping on it. But I paid $2 more to have it there on time for his birthday… but really… $2 is nothing. Oh and me coming there in July is also a birthday present, lol. But he really liked his present :)

So enough about that…
My summer course is over half way done now. I have done two exams so far, and have gotten 100% on BOTH OF THEM. Wooohoooo. The course is adolescent development – a psychology course – but it is way different than I expected it to be. I thought it would be about all the different theories of development like a previous course I took on Child Development was like. This one isnt like that at all and it is far more interesting and my prof is just a young prof who JUST got her PhD…. She is very very nice.
An 8 page research paper was due last week and my topic was on the esteem development of an adolescent boys, the deterants and variabilities that exist. It sounded pretty good to me. I will find out how I did on Friday or monday.
My final is next Friday… then the course is done. Short and sweet. But man, there’s been lots of reading. And I made a friend too, so it’s nice being able to chat with someone before class and during break – She even found me on fb, I dont know how though, lol.

This past weekend for fathers day we had chinese food and hung out with my dad, it was nice and simple, I think he enjoyed his day. I gave him the greatest card ever and I think that as my dad ages, he is becoming softer and I appreicate that

My mom’s birthday is next Thursday, but I have NO IDEA what to get her. She is so hard to buy for because she doesnt want anything. I have to come up with something creative to get her…..

In regards to my eating, things have been going pretty well I guess? Some days are still harder than others. These past two weekends haven’t been that “great” but I am alive and well… I’m really working towards loving and accepting myself in any way or shape that I am. I really enjoy the size I am at now.. but I have to be able to enjoy any size I am.

I am still loving not tracking calories in myfitnesspal, however I still find myself tallying up the calories in my head for what I have eaten in a day – I am going to stop that… I dont like doing that.

I’m also still in love with my ipad… I am so thankful that I got it.

I should get to sleep… Why do I always post long things after 1 am? haha

Whose in your consultant team?

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We all have our very own consultant team… Who we turn to for advice, who we ask for opinions on what to wear, what to buy, where to stay, what to say, where to go next, etc.

I am very blessed with my consult team. I am armed with a team that supports me, gives me helpful critique, gives me HONEST advice and loves me no matter how moody I get or how unsure I may be.

Monday I started summer classes… I was ready to take on the world… I was going to take two classes. These classes are supposed to be 3 month courses, but instead are condensed into 3.5 weeks. They are very intensive, with midterms and assignments every week, and a chapter to read per night. Both the classes I planned on taking were psychology classes (hint: LOTS OF READING).

I was going to take psychology of women – for which I was sooooo excited about. And I was also going to take adolescent development – for which I was NOT excited about, however it helps me graduate with a specialization.

After the first day, I totally hated psychology of women, and something inside of me told me I was not supposed to be in that class.

On the other hand, I absolutely LOVED adolescent development. I was totally shocked at my hatred toward psychology of women, when I was so previously excited about taking it.

After much deliberation and consulting my “consult team”, I dropped psychology of women… and I do not regret it. My team really helped me do what I needed to do, and I love them for it.

Taking 2 summer courses in a three week span at once was far too much for me right now… Heck, tonight I spent nearly 4 hours reading for adolescent development alone… I would not be too happy right now if I was still up reading for another course…

It’s a lesson to listen to your heart and God (or gut, or whatever you want to call it – intuition) … If something does not bring you peace, don’t continue doing it.

I feel peace now. I did not feel peace while I was still enrolled in psych of women.

I listened to that voice that told me not to take it. Learning to listen to that voice is a skill… and it is a skill that is underdeveloped in most people… myself included. If you listen to that voice you will be able to avoid many issues.

I am going to enjoy the month of june, and I am going to enjoy taking adolescent development. I enjoy learning and growing and discovering new ideas…

One day at a time, always have to remember that.

Things with my eating have been well too… My thinking is getting less disordered than previously and I experience less anxiety over it as well. I remind myself that everything is okay…

I also find that I am craving less sweets and icecream, and I am reaching for healthier options than before. I am getting in healthy fats – in almonds, different cheeses, etc. I am enjoying getting creative with salads – adding dried chickpeas, strawberries, feta cheese…. I love peanut butter!

Overall, I am very blessed… and I just have to breathe. Things are okay.

I wish I were back at the pool though, hehe

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Emotions are tricky

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Today was a day I should have gone back to sleep when I woke up.

Do you ever feel like just shutting everyone out and saying “I’m volatile, crazy, and a whole lot needy… but I’m slightly angry so don’t bother getting yourself involved with me”?

I feel like right now I am a waste of other’s time.

That sounds overly dramatic but it’s how I feel.

I cannot properly articulate my emotions, so the sentences I say aren’t even accurate depictions of how I feel.

It’s only until the conversation is over that I can get the right words.
I trap myself in sentences that don’t make sense…..

I am so tired…..

I feel a bit confused too.
Everything is going to be okay

Maybe what I’m looking for doesn’t exist? Maybe it exists but I’m not looking in the right places.

How quickly we become our mothers

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“Did you lose more weight?”, my friend asked

I’m surprised that wasn’t the first thing she said.

I quickly replied a stern “NO.”

No, no, no… Well I did, but for the purposes of the conversation, I said no.

My friend is becoming like her mom in the way she talks about weight

I am becoming like my mom in the way I respond to people talking about weight.

A combination of my mom’s lack of interest in weight and my battles with a disordered way of eating has made me so sick and tired of weight talk. I figure there is so much more we could talk about rather than mine, or your weight.

So tonight instead of saying “Yes I lost weight”, I said “No, I did not lose weight”. By saying no to losing weight, it ended the conversation quickly

I obviously need to work on just telling people that I dont care for weight talk and I would rather not talk about it… It would make more sense than lying. Often though, I dont think people realize what others are going through, so they think that weight loss comments are compliments, and dont get me wrong, there are plenty of people who feel that these comments are compliments!! And to them, they are compliments! It’s an individual and a personal preference.

How much difference does 5 pounds since the last time I saw you even make? I don’t notice it… It’s not even like I intentionally lost weight, I am not actively trying to lose weight… I am aiming to maintain… I only weigh myself once every one to two months. Any more than that is no bueno for me.

However, I am proud to say though, that with the recent decline on the scale, I have now lost a total of 120.5 pounds. Never did I think I would lose that much weight. I am proud of my accomplishment, but I don’t like to discuss it with others in person very much. I am happy to be at the weight I am… Healthy, athletic, in shape.

None of my friends from university know that I once weighed 250+ pounds. Thats not something I share often with people. Not because I am ashamed. I don’t say anything about losing all that weight because I don’t want to be labelled just as someone who lost weight, I am more than that.

I am very choosy with who I share that with.

One of my boyfriend’s friends once asked me “Do fat jokes offend you? Cause you know, you used to be fat”…. At first I was shocked. My boyfriend was shocked too! I didn’t expect that friend to say something like that

Eh, to say the least I like having some mystery to myself.. So not everyone I meet needs to know about my previous weight. Who even cares!

Tonight I went to a thing with my friend… well she ended up bringing another friend that I have never met, and another friend of ours from elementary school. The night was kinda awkward, as this friend I had never met would never make eye contact with anyone!!! The friend from elementary school was sick and barely talked, which is understandable.

I got all dressed up, did my hair all nice… but I kinda wish I didnt put so much effort in tonight. hahahaha that sounds funny but its true.

Monday summer classes start… I’m looking forward to using my ipad in class, especially now that I have the keyboard to type on. I am using it right now too, I think I am pretty used to using it now.

I downloaded the OneNote app for the ipad and I use that program on my computers for note taking while reading my textbooks… that program is the bomb, I am so happy there is an Ipad app for it!!

Its so nice that its warm…. I’ve used the BBQ twice this week and I am LOVING it. I want to try grilling fruit soon….