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Monday, December 09, 2013

Take My Advice.

I've decided to type out a journal entry from this week because I feel like since being here in Mexico not only have I learned Spanish, but I've grown up a lot. There's a whole world out there besides Redding and I am so blessed to have been able to learn about the culture here. Though it's made me really appreciate my own country and family, after the short 3 months here, I've finally thoroughly accepted the fact that people are different than I am and that's completely OK.

These are just my thoughts written down on everything I was feeling the past 3 months.

My first week here, my mood was pretty “X” (they say that for whatever...not good nor bad). My dad and Chuck left on my first Monday, Daya and Leslie had to work and go to school, and I was alone at home (with Monica of course, but I was a little scared to talk to her because she speaks fast). I was enjoying myself, but the times I was alone I thought 'what am I even doing here?' 'I’m wasting my time.' 'I could be in school.' 'Spanish is hard.' 'The family probably doesn’t like me.'

Then, the first weekend passed. To be honest I don’t remember what I did, but I remember it being rough. That Sunday, I faked sick after church. It had been a long time since I had faked sick too. My stomach had hurt earlier in the week, but that particular day I was (surprisingly) feeling normal digestion wise. But, I was pretty sad. I wouldn’t go as far to say depressed, but I was a scared cat. I realized, 'I have 4 whole months here! How am I supposed to go that long without my family?' 'Why did I decide to come here?' Things like that.

That day I put things into perspective, but in a more negative way. I was in the kitchen after eating with the whole family in the dining room, and tears started to come to my eyes. Actually, streaming. I couldn’t really contain them either. I had been thinking too much in my head. Then someone asked me if I was crying (which was pretty embarrassing) and I just said I felt really sick. They took very good care of me. They gave me medicine and left me alone in the study for a bit. I talked with my parents, and slowly that night things started to look up. But, little did the family know I was drowning in my own self pity. I wasn't sick, I was just homesick and definitely out of my comfort zone. However, slowly and after that very sad day, I began to realize some things. (After faking sick I actually did become sick later that week.)

I chose to come to Mexico. I wanted to learn Spanish. I knew I would be away from my family for a very short 4 months. I knew I would learn lessons about life and the Mexican culture here and I would have to adjust to those things. Now, the reason why I’m bringing these memories up is because just now, in my last month here, I’ve completely understood what my purpose here in Mexico is as well as completely changed my outlook on things.

The goals were to learn Spanish and about the culture. But it's turned into a totally new adventure. I've gotten to learn about the family, to forget myself, become more patient, and to learn that just because others are different than you doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. (And that those different people have lived their entire lives being different than me, and have survived so I should not critique them for that.)

I would say I'm pretty accepting of others. I mean I have my differences with people, but I realize that we all have agency to choose our own decisions in life and that whether I like it or not, people live their lives differently than I do. I didn't think it would be such a culture shock to live in Mexico, since I had already done it once before.

But, what I mentioned above were some of the hardest things for me to learn here. To realize that the family I’m living with is COMPLETELY different than I am. We are all trying to live the best lives we can so I just need to try to help them grow and progress even more. 

So, I’m just going to lay it all out. Be prepared. And I say these things for others to learn and so I can remember how far I’ve come/grown since arriving in Mexico. Some days I feel so annoyed with my family. They do things, say things, and believe things that I think are totally ridiculous! Before I go on, here are a few examples of things that bug me (you’ll see how (sadly) easily annoyed I was when I first got here… some of these things are so silly! While others are just different culturally):

· They can’t sing on pitch, even for the life of them. I would take a wild guess and say about 9/10 of every Mexican is tone-deaf.

· They believe in countless wives tales, i.e.: walking on the tile with socks on will give you a cold, showering with cold water or going in the rain makes you sick…every time.

· The roads here are not smooth.

· They don’t have a “let’s get up and go” and ”Get’er done” attitude. I feel as if I need to be as productive as possible throughout the day. Here things are much more relaxed and it’s almost as the sense of time in the day doesn’t mean as much as back home. And if there’s something to celebrate, they celebrate all day until 2 to 3 in the morning (even if they start the party at noon that day!). Those parties consist of eating, talking, dancing, and the occasional games/karaoke. Don't get me wrong, it's tons of fun but it was definitely a change!

· Girls are not as equal as boys. I’m not saying they don’t believe in women’s rights and equality for all. But, culturally, the men work, have more control and the women cook and take care of the kids. Men are intimidating and extremely insistent. It’s harder for women to give a firm “no” to men.

Some days in my first months, I wanted to shake them and tell them exactly what I’m feeling about them at the time. But, as I’ve learned, telling them to stop doing something only makes matters worse. And, as I once learned at EFY, you can choose whether to act or to be acted upon. I have to choose to act on the good, positive things on life. And I choose whether or not to be happy or sad, reactive negatively or positively to any situation. It’s no one else’s fault but mine if I’m annoyed.

With those thoughts in mind, each day for the past 3 months I tried to become more positive and uplift others around me instead of focusing on the things that bugged me. At first, I felt like if I was annoyed here, everyone else would have to know it so they could change how they were acting. When in reality, I was being the most annoying person there is on the planet!

My days have not necessarily become easier, but I enjoy the different way the family and Mexicans act now. It's not at all like home and that's what makes the country/people so unique. If we were all the same, the world would be a pretty boring place. I find a lot more joy and happiness with myself and I have a lot more fun with the family as well.

Sometimes the road might feel long.
It might feel difficult and never ending.
Sometimes we are so focused on ourselves or the finish line.
But we always need to

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