Friday, January 29, 2010

penny for your thoughts

"All over the world, human psychology, local custom and the pressures of poverty are AIDS’s best friends. None of this should be foreign to Americans. We know we should quit smoking. We know we should go have that lump checked out. We know we should give up the French fries. But we don’t. In America, as around the world, a good amount of sickness and death is at least in part self-inflicted."

- taken from When a Pill is Not Enough, NYT magazine

In society today, instant gratification seems to be at the forefront of the decisions we make- manifested in not only the huge decisions, but also the small ones, such as what we want for lunch, buying another round of drinks, or choosing to drive instead of walk to school. The consequences following the choices we make aren't the first things that pop into our minds. Here's a penny for your thoughts- maybe it'll strengthen those New Years' resolutions you've got for yourself this year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I'm back!

Well, i've been back for a while. 

So here the question- now that life is back to normal, should I still keep this blog going?

comments appreciated! 

Friday, January 22, 2010

what? reverse culture shock?

Please beware that this is the obligatory "i'm back and I hate it" post.

early fall- biking in Versailles

Not really.

It's been a month since I've returned, and mostly I just feel like I never left. I mean, what does 4 months abroad have on my 16 years in California?

In my study abroad handbook, there is a warning for returnees:

Can You Survive Reverse Culture Shock?

1. Nobody cares about your travels

2. Normality will hit hard

3. People just won't understand you

4. And some might be jealous

5. Worst of all, you might feel stuck.

Stages of Reverse Culture Shock: disengagement, initial euphoria, irritability and hostility, readjustment and adaptation.

My symptoms: almost nonexistent.

Maybe people were jealous, but for the most part, everything went back to normal.

However, here are some things I did notice:

1. I'm able to live on less- after living out of a suitcase for 4 months, I realize that I really do not need my entire closet to survive. I'm also more careful with my money and how I spend it (even though spending on the dollar is better than spending on the euro)
2. I still have to remind myself that I can go out on Sundays, and no, not everything will be closed.
3. American bread sucks.
4. Cold does not (really) affect me. Tornado warning? When you've walked around Venice in December, cold fingers and wet shoes are nothing.
5. I dress nicer. In Paris, sneakers are not socially accepted unless you are a) running in the park or b) a tourist. I've realized that I'm much more aware of what i'm wearing, and its actually a bit more effortless because i've become so used to dressing like that. My tastes when shopping have also changed a bit- more 'euro' apparently, but I'm not sure. I just go by what I like.
6. No more decorative boots, gloves, and scarves. I find it funny when I see them on people in San Diego. After having to wear them for months for mere survival, I am happy to pull out my flats, tanks, and flip-flops. Because I CAN!
7. California sunsets. Oranges, yellows, pinks, and purples. Much different from the winter sunset in Europe. I like it though...its just so California.
8. A long-distance relationship is easier. We're on the same time zone!
9. I don't like looking at pictures of Paris. Its a little bit painful. But other than that, I'm good.
10. I miss speaking french. I learned so much while I was there, and I know i'm already losing it. If you want to practice, let me know!!
11. I still know my Paris Metro routes. What useless knowledge. If only I could replace it with knowledge of international economic agreements,. That would help so much this quarter.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. For the most part, I'm glad to be back. There's no place like home.