Mi Familia and An Episode...

My parents sent me a whole bunch of pictures from over the holidays. Surprise, I'm late in posting them! My aunt and uncle and their 3 munchkins were in town. I got to see them all on Skype and I cried like a fool. But I wanted to share some of the pictures...so you can see where I come from! These are the people I love the most and who (arguably) love me the most, too! Ok, my Mom will probably wonder why there's not a picture of her and that is only because I don't want to piss off the woman who'll be preparing my meals in about 2 weeks. The picture that I really like is one she may not agree with so better safe than sorry. But, suffice it to say, my Mom is gorgeous and I look just like her! *tooting my own horn* Ok, so here's my fam....and I'd appreciate any and all comments referring to my brother be kept to YOURSELF *ah hem...Mimi, Timah, and Meeka*

I'm trying to cut back on the amount of time I spend on this contraption. As much as I love my Macbook, it is a vortex of unproductivity (is that a word?). Anywho, so I'm limiting myself to only checking my email twice a day (as opposed to, say, 87309257029570932500124359573050 times a day...) During another recent episode, which Michelle unfortunately had to witness, I said I was turning off my computer for an entire week and proceeded to give her my Korean cell phone in case she needed to reach me. Lol. Well that lasted 48 hours before I was feening like a junkie to check my email. The problem is that this computer is all I've got connecting me to my family and friends. It is my lifeline...and I continue to treat it as such. However, I should treat it as a line and not as my life. Therein lies the problem. I feel like it is hindering my ability to really experience my surroundings. I find myself racing home after work or a long day out in the city to see if I have any new emails or voice messages. When I don't, it's almost like the wind is knocked out of me. "Damn, no love today..."

This is really the first time I've felt okay talking about the broad range of emotions that literally take over my psyche out here. When you decide to up and move 15,000 miles away from all that's familiar, of course it's going to have an effect on you. But I really feel almost bipolar sometimes. Somedays I am manic, very giddy and excited to experience Korea and life in general. I feel like you could slap a big ole W on my chest and call me "Wonder Woman". But then the next day, after having received no new messages, I can feel borderline depressed. I get anxious and jittery and reduce myself to moping around my apartment. I don't even feel like going to school. I'm trying to find that balance of emotions and it's been a battle.

I am alone.

I've never lived alone before so that's been the biggest adjustment. I'm used to coming home and trying to squeeze in some silent moments before my roommates knock on my door. I miss those moments now. I kinda wish Ash or Jar would come barging into my room, yelling about how I left the fridge open again or how we need more toilet paper. I know my friends and family are just a phone call away, but not at 4am they're not. Recently, I've found myself waking up at 5am for no apparent reason and just turning on my computer to check my emails. That's not normal at all.

Reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love" has been a tremendous help though. I'm at the chapter where she's just gotten to India. She's studying yoga and meditation at a famous Ashram. I can relate to her because she's having the most trouble trying to quiet her mind. During meditation, she can't seem to focus on anything. She says, "I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the 'monkey mind' - the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit, and howl. From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined." That's me! An undeniable monkey mind! If you think about it, it's really difficult to live in the present, in that exact moment. Our modern minds are hard-wired to always be thinking about the next step. I'm already fretting about what I'm gonna do when I leave Korea in 8 months. Gotta take the GRE. Gotta apply to grad schools. Gotta find a good internship. Gotta find a job. Then a career. THEN maybe I can squeeze in some love and a husband. Then perhaps some kids. I want my parents to see their grandchildren, after all!! I know my life will fall into a rigid schedule once I return so that's why I've taken this extended vacation in a foreign land. I came here so that I could live in the present....and yet I'm continuing to worry about the future. What kinda crazy am I?? All I know is it's gonna start with me hitting the OFF button on my beloved Macbook. At least for a little bit. Only 2 times a day now. And for no more than an hour at a time. I'm like a junkie going through withdrawal....but that makes you stronger right? :) Dear God, let us hope...

1 comment:

Vakker Kvinne said...

Hey Joia,

Been meaning to post more on your blog but work keeps getting in the way! I really appreciate your honesty about your FEELINGS. Three simple words (and my acceptance of what they have meant) have made all of the difference in my life over the past three years. Simply admitting to the phrase “I am sad” and being okay with that has allowed me to be HUMAN again. I was never allowed to be that back home, which is one reason why I continue to live here and do what I do. No matter what, all I ever have to be is who I want to be-no people, issues or surroundings to influence me any differently, unless I make the choice to allow them to do so.

One word to describe your ups and downs…well two really. S.A.D (winter blues/lack of sun disorder) and culture shock. Fun experiences aren’t they! Juss playin’. . . but really, psychologists have published loads of info about these two topics. Read up as much as you can and do the little things that will make differences like buying one of those (expensive) winter lights, reading English magazines from back home or cooking soul food. What ever you need to feel better, I say do it.

Please do not fret about how much time you spend online enjoying yourself and seeing parts of life that you do not currently have access to. I’ve wasted so much of my time fretting over the same thing thinking, oh I should just get a life and get off the computer. Bullsnap! If you enjoy your time online or on your mobile-enjoy it 100%. Who the hoot cares how you like to spend your time? It’s yours to do with as you like. We Americans get all caught up in the art of making the most of our time, but what is that sentiment really doing for us? NOTHING. We are actually dying because of it. Look at the French and Norwegians-they see your free time as your right and protect it like we protect oil fields in Iraq! Enjoy the abundance, in all of its forms.

When I first moved to Germany almost three years ago, I LIVED and DIED for my internet connection. It was my only lifeline to the person I was in the States (family etc) and the person I wished to be. It was also my escape from a difficult situation-which made all the difference for me. Never apologize for liking what you like and needing what you need. It’s yours-stand up for it and take it. Who cares what’s normal-you do it like you need it to be done, then change it when you are ready! When more interesting or simply other things come up in your surroundings, you’ll take advantage and enjoy them.

I say, enjoy your time now for all it is worth because when you start back at school, etc.-you will have no time to do the simple silly little things you love like go thrift store shopping, blog and stay up late getting drunk with your boyfriend (speaking from personal experience here). Soak up all of life’s abundance and never apologize for it.

About the pasta sauce, I use the Jamie Oliver recipe from one of his cookbooks and the meatballs came from The New York Times cookbook. I think you can get both online.