Archive | March, 2014

Today Was My Worst Day As A Teacher

28 Mar

Well, actually, yesterday was—but I am just getting around to posting this now.

I must say that I haven’t had a week this hard since back in October. It began on Monday morning when one of the 2-year-olds… (yes, I teach 2 year olds & yes, I know, ‘how can they speak English if they can’t even speak Czech?’, um, they can’t so we just play for an hour, only recently this ‘playing’ has evolved into them climbing all over me and tackling me and flipping over chairs/throwing everything in sight,etc.) So one of these 2-year-olds, after he tackled me, kicked me in the mouth.

I have two very rational, very real fears in my life: 1) Breaking my nose. It seems very painful/I feel like even the best doctors wouldn’t be able to perfectly recreate my slightly asymmetrical ski jump nose

2) Breaking/losing/cracking/damaging my teeth. ANYTHING BUT THE TEETH. I am so paranoid about my teeth I have nightmares about getting them knocked out. Mostly because after 2 years of Invisalign perfecting my chompers & brushing them 3+ times a day, the last thing I want to do is rock the pirate look.

Luckily after the sharp throbbing subsided, I saw that by some miracle, the 2-year-old had missed both my teeth and my nose, and had just given me a fat lip. My lips are extremely thin so whatever, I could use the plumping.

So after class, my fat lip and I went to teach another two classes, which went great. Even after my boss, who is ALWAYS looking out for children/teachers’ best interests & totally isn’t money hungry or anything scheduled a new class. One that she prefaced with (20mins before it started): “It’s 3 boys, one is super well-behaved, and the other two…oh you remember them, those 2 who  boys who did a demo lesson together & fought, cried, then smashed a glass plate in the kitchen after, yeah, they’re really naughty…anyways that’s who’s in the class.”

Sometimes I feel like my job is synonymous with a super hero’s: impossible and can only be completed with magical powers. Luckily I had chocolate and Skittles which I began throwing at the kids whenever they repeated English correctly. Psychological theory of positive reinforcement REALLY works with children.

So after the hell class wasn’t so hellish, my boss did what she does best: completely ruin my day. She read/translated an e-mail from a group of parents from my Thursday “ALL the parents in the class” (3 out of 6 parents but, okay, math can be hard), who said they were upset because:

1)    my classes are boring/children don’t want to come…the same children who climb all over me, constantly hug me, high 5 me and laugh at everything I do…

2)    I don’t ‘speak’ to them…uh oh, she caught on to my mute teaching practice, right when I was getting so good at miming out everything to the kids too…

3)    All we do is color, and children don’t like to do that…um, SINCE WHEN? And we are not ‘coloring’ we are demonstrating shape recognition, math practice and improving motor skills, but yeah, you’re right that’s no good.

4)    I don’t bring in foods/toys/plates/random expensive objects when I am talking about them…you know, the ones I can all TOTALLY afford from making 11,000kc a month…

Needless to say, this e-mail really upset me. Not because of what the parents had said, but because they said it. The same parents who bought me expensive Christmas chocolates, ask me about my home life and my vacations. These were not clients, these were friends. I felt pretty betrayed to be honest, also completely blindsided because I never had ANY indication they were unhappy at all.

Instantly I wanted to point fingers back. Because I realized I was set up to fail. This class was once a calm class of 4, aka: one quiet girl, a brother and sister who were silly but managable and my favorite student, Ivan. This formula worked. We had fun, we were focused and we got things done.

But then my boss decided to stuff in 3 more kids: a brother and sister who were adorable but extremely quiet and one boy who was super hyper and REFUSED to speak English. Suddenly it was a circus.

I often felt like a shepard herding sheep. Once all 7 were sitting, someone would get up, someone would knock something over, someone was already finished, and someone had no clue what was going on. It was exhausting. They were all on different levels and there was nothing I could do about it.

My boss said she would ‘help me’ plan the class because the entire structure needed to be changed. No coloring, no reading, lots of moving. Alrighty then. She liked my idea of creating a tiny city (we are learning about the city buildings such as hospitals, schools, restaurants, etc.), so I prepared to create a tiny bus we would walk around the room in, each child would have a different ‘ticket’ that would tell them to get off at a different place and it would be fun and awesome.

A huge rule of teaching: be absolutely prepared for everything to go wrong.

Thursday came and I was sick to my stomach. I knew the parents would sit in there and watch me teach, I knew they would just be waiting for me to fail. So I worked harder than I ever had before. After 3 hours of creating the tickets, setting up the room, and arranging everything, it was time for class.

The kids came in and were instantly confused. Normally we sing our hello song and then go to sit in the corner to review weather, colors, and sing some songs. No, I had to change all that. The children had no idea what to do with the change in routine and immediately formed a mutiny. I spent the next 20mins trying to get them to all sit. The worst part is 3 of them (the quiet ones) would listen and then the 4 unruly ones just wouldn’t. Ivan was the worst of all and I have never been so disappointed in him.

I took them around the little city and they had no idea what was going on. They ate the chocolate coins they were supposed to use for money, the ripped their tickets, they didn’t wait their turn. I wanted to cry. I literally just wanted to give up. Because everything was so out of my control. All I could think was how much calmer they would be right now if they were all sitting and doing a math worksheet or a shape worksheet—sure it’s ‘boring’ sure it’s ‘repetative’ but THEY WERE LEARNING. I was all on my own.

The two hours dragged. After repeatedly saying ‘no’ to me, I grabbed little Ivan’s hand and dragged him to time out. He sat there for a minute trying to be silly and then suddenly burst into tears. I felt bad but whatever. During snack time I watched the one mom who always sits in on the class go and report back to the others. I watched her go tattle on me right in front of me in a language I can’t even understand.

It took everything in me to not walk right out.

I came across a saying the other day that said ‘what you allow is what will continue’, and this is how my life has been these days. The kids are taking advantage of me because I am not strict enough. My boss STILL hasn’t given me my full paycheck when it was due MARCH 12TH, and there is just too much negative energy around me.

I was always in this all alone. I have no resources, no materials, no experience, no guidance from my boss, don’t speak Czech and parents think that somehow if their child hangs out with a native English speaker for two hours once a week they will magically become fluent. 

More than anything I want to stand up for myself, but I don’t really know how to. I want to demand respect but go about it in the right way. I know I am young and inexperienced but I am so sick of being treated this way by everyone.

So I am asking you dear readers, whether you have teaching experience or not–please, someone give me some advice 😦

-JG

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I Don’t Care What You Think About Me For Posting This…

12 Mar

WARNING: EXTREMELY POLITICALLY LACED POST AHEAD. I KNOW THIS DOES NOT HAVE MUCH TO DO WITH MY LIFE IN PRAGUE, BUT I BELIEVE I CAN STILL HAVE A SAY ON CURRENT EVENTS HAPPENING OVERSEAS.  AND I DECIDED THIS IS A PERFECT MEDIUM TO CONVEY MY THOUGHTS TO YOU. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

A little while ago, I came across a story on Buzzfeed titled: ‘Duke Porn Star Reveals Identity’. I thought nothing of it at first, however, then I decided to investigate.

Image(Above: 18-year-old Miriam Weeks aka: ‘Belle Knox’ is a freshman at Duke University in Durham, NC)

The story was regarding 18-year-old Duke University college freshman, Miriam Weeks who had recently revealed she had been working in the porn industry. She went under the name ‘Belle Knox’ and had only turned to the job in order to pay her $60,000 tuition after being denied student government loans.

Weeks’ father was an army doctor serving in Afghanistan and her family had a religious background. However, Weeks soon discovered that she could easily make $1200 a scene starring in adult films. She began work in November 2013 and would film during school breaks.

Her identity was eventually discovered by a fraternity brother who recognized her from one of her films, and word soon spread across school.

And then the masses of idiots do what masses of idiots do best: they bully. They make death threats, and rape threats and do all kinds of things that I think are MUCH worse than acting in an adult video. Why? Because it’s just instinct. Society has learned that it is so much easier to quickly pin someone down with an ugly hateful slur than ever question why they, themselves, automatically resort to using such slurs at all.  

Weeks’ personal information was even posted online so students could directly contact her with their harassment. There were also petitions to contact her father and reveal her true identity.

A quick internet search on this story retrieves such results as ‘Devout Catholic dad returns home from Afghanistan to find daughter is a porn star’. Wait, I can’t even digest how much SHAME is laced within that headline. ‘…Devout Catholic’ uh oh, she’s Catholic! And we all know how all Catholics believe and practice abstinence before marriage. Nope, deff not going to heaven now. ‘…Dad’, awkward, fathers never want to birth porn actresses for fear that she will maybe someday appear in the porn he is watching. ‘…Home from Afghanistan’ oh no, he’s affiliated with the military? He’s already been through so much over there in that war against…wait, who are we fighting again? I forget these days…

My point exactly.

Another twist of plot is Weeks’ college major: Woman’s Studies and Sociology. The ignorance in us wants to immediately sneer Pshh, some feminist acting in PORN. But when you think about it—isn’t that the most sure sign of female empowerment: doing what you want? Just like—a man. Pornography, as unconventional as it may seem, is still a job. And Weeks is over the age of consent and CHOSE to do all this on her own free will. So what’s the problem?

That she’s a girl.

A cute, innocent looking girl who goes to a nice school and just so happens to live a double life. I wonder how much of a story this would be if Weeks’ socio-economic class was drastically different, or if her father wasn’t serving overseas, or if her side job didn’t require you to pay a little fee before viewing. Would this even be a story is she was a boy?

Probably not.

I can remember a while back when a similar instance occurred in Florida with Robert Marruci, an 18-year-old high school senior who was suspended for doing gay porn in order to help his single mother pay bills. Wait, stop. After reading that sentence, what stood out the most to you? To most, it’s the words ‘gay porn’, not ‘to help his single mother pay bills’. And that, dear readers, is what’s wrong.

By pointing fingers at others’ wrongs in order to uphold some sort of ‘personal morality’ we completely overlook and dismiss all sense of reason. We pinpoint what we assume is bad and stop right there—because that shred of evidence is enough to dehumanize that person forever.

Oh, and Marruci was not suspended because he did anything illegal, no, he was suspended because of others’ vicious homophobia that pestered the high school so much it got media attention…and then the school took action.

And that, essentially, is what’s happening with Weeks. Reports stated that school officials ‘were not taking her death threats seriously’. Because I mean, why should they? She deserves this after choosing to do such things! She should be slut-shamed on every website, news station and social media outlet forever!

And this is why 14-year-olds are committing suicide and kids bring guns to school. Because they scream and scream, but no one listens. And most of society allows it all to happen. Heck, they promote it.

The main issue here is not that the average American college tuition is around $22,000 a year, or that a family with a parent serving in the United States military is denied financial aid to attend such schools, or that the porn industry rakes in $10 billion (yes, billion) a year—it’s that a 18-year-old girl who is simply trying to support the American dream of graduating college is being crushed down by the harsh American reality.

(You can read Weeks’ brave and extremely well-thought out anonymous post when she still Belle Knox here: http://www.xojane.com/sex/duke-university-freshman-porn-star )

My Love/Hate Relationship with Prague

10 Mar

Within the past 48 hours, I have experienced such a dichotomy of intense, yet opposing, emotion that I just had to–what else–write about it. Two very different adventures that have made me feel both the highest of highs & the lowest of lows. How? You ask? Am I bipolar? No. Am I overworked & underslept? Well, yeah maybe, but that’s not the point. Nope I am just a 23-year-old girl living alone in a foreign country! 

But there’s more to it than that! Much, much more…oooh suspense! So now, dear readers, perk up your ears & read on, because the next few paragraphs are meant to transform you into my nosy neighbor gossiping among our adjacent hedge shrubbery. Because do I have A STORY for you!

Part I: Praha, I love you.

One way to get me instantly in a good mood is to simply add animals to the equation. Big animals, small animals, wild animals, or domesticated pets–I do not discriminate. I am an animal lover through & through. What did you want to be when you grew up? A cowboy, an astronaut, or the president? I wanted to be a lion. Just like Simba & Nala. Ever since I saw The Lion King on VHS circa ’93 & bawled my eyes out in the couch cushion when Mufasa died. After this I immediately got a stuffed Nala that I slept with every night & growled at everyone in sight. Such good background material for my E! True Hollywood Story someday, I know!

But seriously, I just LOVE animals. I would draw them constantly & refused to touch a single doll because animals were cool, people were boring. My favs? There’s a ranking system. 

#1- Cats. They are so pretty & sassy. They are number one because I am able to have the closest contact with them. I got my first one, Charlie, for my 5th birthday & now Lexie Pearl has been like my child for the past twelve years. 

#2-Horses. Horses are so majestic & free, even the most domesticated. I began horseback riding at age 3, & took lessons/competed in shows for the next 11 years. Sutton, my hometown, is a great place for horse-lovers. There’s plenty of trails & backroads to ride on & both my neighborhoods on both sides of my house currently own horses. I am still obsessed with the smell of horses. Their fur just has a certain scent to it that is so nostalgic.

#3-Dolphins. One of the smartest & happiest animals in the world. I can remember renting the movies Filpper Zeus & Roxanne more times than I could count from the public library just to see the dolphins. I drew them incessantly & still, to this day, draw them perfectly for my students. I always dreamed of seeing a real life dolphin but sadly never lived near a tropical island. However, Mama G made my dreams come true in 1998 when we went on the Disney Cruise Ship & on our stopover in Nassau, Bahamas, I got to SWIM with dolphins! Best experience ever. My first kiss ever was with a dolphin & I will cherish that forever

Image(Above: Young love with Flash the dolphin in the Bahamas)

Since the early ’00s, my animal obsession has somewhat taken a backseat to other obsessions like Forever 21, Tom Brady or Buzzfeed. However, whenever someone suggests being surrounded by beautiful majestic creatures I jump at the offer! So I was PUMPED when Filip (my now Czech boyfriend 🙂 ) ‘s dad got us free passes to Praha Zoo! 

We crammed into the bus with a bunch of tourists & screaming babies to head out & I could not have been more excited. We spent the next FOUR hours walking around the giant attraction. & I must admit, Prague, I was impressed! Not only was there exotic species from every corner of the globe, but there was all great Czech things like cheap beer & lax safety regulations regarding animals enclosures (legit, just a fence/stonewall/ditch separated you from most of them!) & even some wild Peacocks that roamed freely around the park!

My ankle boots were killing me & the layout of the zoo is on a legit MOUNTAIN HILL, but I didn’t even care because I was in animal lover heaven. Even more so, I really began to appreciate the purpose of zoos. I know some people think they’re cruel & sad or whatever, but let me tell you–these animals were living the good life! Flamingos got massive watering hole replicas, Bushbabies got nocturnal heat lamps & the mountain goats even got an enclosure that simulated an actual cliff face! 

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(Above: The Praha Zoo was created in 1891, & with over 4,000 animals, it’s one of the biggest in Europe!)

There was a particular moment though, when the sun was just getting ready to set, the crowds were heading home, & we were at the top of the hill overlooking the entire city of Prague; screeches & howls could be faintly heard in all directions & I just thought: This is awesome. Moral of story: visit the Praha Zoo, it is a truly unforgettable experience.

Part II: Praha, I hate you

One important part of living anywhere, beyond learning the best restaurants, the hottest nightspots & the prettiest parks is dealing with residential things. Sure I have deciphered the bank, experienced numerous headaches via the post office but one thing still remained: the doctor. 

Up until 9:40am this morning, my track record with foreign medicine was not the greatest. Although I never really went to the doctors while studying 5 months in Paris, I did get roped into the visa scam of an OFII Appointment. Basically I was told my student visa was ‘the new version’ meaning that after it cost $200 & took MONTHS to finally get, I had to go to a little doctor’s physical while in Paris. A physical that cost 80euro. Pshh Europe, man. 

Luckily a lot of my friends had to go to this appointment as well. All I remember is this stuffy room lined with chairs (it looked like the DMV, so right away I had bad vibes). They called names one by one. First I got weighed, measured & had my eyes/ears checked. En francais, bien sur. But the fun wasn’t over–I had to get a chest X-ray. You walk into a changing room, are told to take everything off from the waist up, with no Johnny robe in sight, & then get X-rayed topless in front of like 5 people. Personal privacy is so American. I left feeling violated & scared. It wasn’t as bad as my friend Sam though who, after her X-ray, was denied a stamp because “They found something” in her lung X-ray. Turns out it was pneumonia! Haha poor, Sam.

Image(Above: Myself & my OFII stampless friend Sam in Mont St. Michel, France, on like the LAST DAY of her Pneumonia meds!)

So based on these stories, my impression of European medical techniques was not the most stellar. However, since I have now been here over SEVEN (!) months, I figured it was time to put the $300 Czech health insurance I was forced to buy to good use!

Step one: make appointment. Like most things in my life over here, I anticipated that this would be a super simple task that would suddenly become insanely complicated. I was right! Upon purchasing my health insurance, the representative presented me with a list of ‘English-speaking’ (I’ll get there…) clinics/hospitals/doctors in the city. She also gave me a hotline that would “Call and make appointments for me!” Whoa, sounded great. So I dialed up the number & informed the woman that I wanted to make an appointment. 

“Sure, please just give me your insurance policy number.”

I gave it.

“Um, can you repeat that, please.”

I repeated.

“Uh oh.”

Yup. Apparently the health insurance that I bought in November aka: FOUR MONTHS AGO, & paid $300 in cash up front for, never registered me. Yes, they took my money, gave me a receipt & some inept human being somewhere in the system overlooked the fact that maybe I might actually take them up on either the free Gynecologist or free Dentist appointment they promised me. I shudder at the thought of some freak accident happening over the past few months resulting in me lying in a hospital bed having to cough over thousands because someone didn’t do their job. Thanks, Praha!!!

Step Two: remake appointment. So after going to the headquarters of the insurance with a Mama G no-nonsense attitude to explain their mistake, I tried to actually make the damn doctor’s appointment. This once again didn’t go smoothly. I realized that the hotline just gave me the number of the clinics/hospitals, they didn’t make appointments, no, I had to do that. Okay fine then. 

I called the clinic & after being put on hold by 3 different people who all freaked out at the sound of English, I finally got some woman who had the speaking ability of one of my 5-year-olds. Maybe worse. She asked for my insurance number (this time it worked!!), & then just told me ‘Monday, 9:40am [some super Czech sounding doctor’s name]’, She was mid-hang up when I stopped her because I actually realized what she was saying. Facepalm. I jotted it down & sighed with relief. 

Step Three: Find Clinic. I have become quite good with directions in Prague, & by ‘good’ I mean knowing enough to head out an hour early so I can wander up mismarked streets before surrenduring & miming directions with people. Luckily my saint of a boyfriend came along 🙂 We found the clinic basically right away. However, I knew this was the calm before the storm.

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(Above: You are now entering the Twilight Zone aka: my Czech doctor’s office…)

Step Four: Find appointment. Upon walking in the awesomely beautiful/extremely creepy castle-like building, I JUST HAD A HUNCH, this wasn’t going to be easy. I was right. Both receptionists spoke zero English & desperately searched for someone who did. They found this angel of a woman who was so sweet & kind. Thank God. She asked for my insurance card, asked basic info & giggled when I mispronounced my street name (embarrassing). I thought this would actually go smoothly, but oh no, of course not.

She and the secretary scanned the computer together for a few minutes with furrowed brows. She asked things like ‘…Monday right?’, ‘..at 9:40am?’,..’are you sure it’s THIS Monday?’ Yup. That person on the phone never actually scheduled my appointment. I was anticipating them telling me to come back another day, but this wonderful woman said triumphantly she was able to book me with a young female doctor who spoke English right away! 

Step Five: Wait forever, alert everyone of your foreigness. The awesome woman lead me into the castle and to a waiting room. She explained to a nurses assistant my situation and told me to take a seat. Then she said bye. If you have ever traveled anywhere where you’ve felt like an outsider, you know one of the most awful things is watching your lifeline get cut. 

So I just waited. And waited. And waited. In a room full of women. But of course I had to make it clear I was not at all Czech. The nurse came out & said something to me, which I sheepishly had to inform her I didn’t understand. She nodded & every other woman in the room turned to stare at me. Story of my life forever. 

Step six: ACTUALLY SEE DOCTOR?! I swear after all the hurdles & obstacles I had to overcome in order to hear my name completely butchered by that Czech voice, I felt like I was Dorothy finally seeing the Wizard of Oz. I walked inside & was instantly pinned with her coldness. Which I was actually pretty bummed out about. Normally I feel like I can confide in doctors & trust them–but I could just tell this woman was not tryna be my BFF. 

First off–her English was NOT GOOD. I understand being bilingual is a tough thing, but you are in a profession where it will most likely be needed! Or at least don’t direct English speakers to insurance agencies who direct them to such doctors! It’s scary & overwhelming. She said medical terminology in Czech & used GOOGLE TRANSLATE. I am not sure how creditable this woman was, but I basically felt sooo uncomfortable. I wanted the nice lady who helped me at the reception desk back!

Needless to say the whole experience just made me want to go home. Where I can ask personal medical questions/concerns to people who actually understand them. Where Johnny robes are used, privacy is respected, & doctors appointments are actually scheduled. 

Sorry Praha, but today, you definitely lost a few points.

So there is my constant cycle of love/hate with this city. It’s crazy. One second I feel so happy & serene, the next I feel like such an outsider. But then I am walking home & the sun is shining, dogs are playing fetch, kids are riding bikes & everything is peaceful again. I can’t really explain it other than–this is how I always wanted to feel about the place I live.

Too much love, like I have with Paris, is sickening. All you want to do is indulge. You want to spend money & live in a permanent state of vacation. However, the opposite end of the spectrum isn’t healthy either when you are stuck living in a place you absolutely hate. So for now, I will accept you for who you are Prague; it may be a ‘love/hate’ relationship, but know that it always comes back to love.

-JG 🙂 

Just To Be Clear…

3 Mar

Oh my God. I am really sorry, but I really need to have a quick rant right now. Please read & honestly listen to what I have to say before you judge.

Dear Readers & critics of my decision to move to Prague,

Let me tell you something real quick about my time over here. Every time I meet someone, they ask me the same thing:

Are you a student here?

To which I respond, “No, I live here.” 

Live. As in I have a life here. I pay rent & refill metro cards & buy groceries & go to the gym & work all week & have a mundane routine just like everyone else. My only difference? It’s in Prague.

But let me break it down for you real quick. This is not:

-a vacation

-a study abroad experience 

-a non-stop partying tour

and it most certainly is not

-a ‘year off’ from real life

This is the realest life I have ever experienced. Realer than dealing with drama throughout high school, realer than moving away for college & 100x realer than my panic throughout the entire second semester of senior year right before graduation. Real.

Yeah there’s my crazy tales about nights out & pictures from places I go–but there’s always another side to the story. I constantly struggle. I constantly worry about money. I constantly get judged by locals & experience some form of ostracizing. & For a while I was constantly trying to become my own person instead of a clone of what I was supposed to be. 

I just don’t write cute posts about it. So you have no idea how much that part of my life over here even exists.

But it does.

My halfway point here was awful. All I wanted to do was run back home. I wanted to give up. Why? Because it wasn’t fun anymore. The ‘newness’ had worn off & life was starting to get real. 

Like it is for all of you back home.

Say what you want, think what you want, but let me tell you: real life is a lot harder overseas. Where you’re marginalized, mocked & targeted based on nationality. All your superficial American luxuries disappear right before your eyes. Good service? Forget it. Helpful official workers? Are you serious? You are constantly arching your back to make yourself look bigger. You are constantly standing your ground & hiding any sign of weakness.

 Because that’s what you do when you want to survive. 

I fought through it though. I adjusted. I adapted. I threw icy stares back & held my purse tight when someone approached me. I became skeptical & cynical. Superficial habits were long gone. My nails look awful, my back is in knots & my hair is all roots. Because pampering, & all the other extra things we take for granted, isn’t a necessity in real life. 

I know my blog is an escape for some of you. An escape from your boring mundane life. But I just want to come clean: our lives are exactly the same. I used to feel guilty or selfish for complaining about my problems while living here. Because no one at home understands. & They never will. They see my life over here as the built up, embellished fantasy that they picture in their own mind. But if we’re being real–it’s anything but that. 

In about 3 months, it ends. And lately I have been dreading that. I am dreading being sucked back into a world where everyone’s biggest concern is the gossip around them & everyone has an opinion about everything even if they are so uninformed. The widespread views I have been molding the past 7months are about to get painfully tunnel visioned into concerns about ‘Who wore it better’ & which relative has gained weight recently. 

Everyone who did not message me once while I was here will suddenly appear right out of the woodwork. But I don’t think I will be so ready to welcome them back into my life. I can already predict how many people I outgrew during this experience. It’s opened my eyes to who my true friends are & who I just can no longer relate to. 

I will be back in a world where things like this are okay…

Image(Above: As a journalist…& just an American…this is HUMILIATING. Shame on you, MSNBC) 

..& where the people who are relying on such broadcasts will begin sentences with “I heard…” or “They say…”. I can already predict all upcoming family functions where people are going to ask me: 

HOW was it?!

How do I even answer a question like that? I just can’t. Because it won’t be the answer they were expecting or want to hear. So I will just answer it with a simple: It was great” because no one wants to hear about me skipping meals because I can’t afford them, feeling sick when I can’t go to the doctors, having my best friend/mentor move away for an unknown amount of time & dealing with a psychotic boss who plays mind games daily. That just doesn’t make for good conversation.

So my last few months here, I am just soaking it all in. Because as soon as I get home, I know I will be wanting to leave again. & It’s not because it was like studying abroad where I miss traveling every weekend, splurging on exotic food or shopping sprees. It’s because I’m adjusted to a different kind of life now. One that doesn’t include maps made in 2014 with “Czechoslovakia” or people messaging me asking if I’m okay because ‘The Ukraine civil war (aka: a war between two parts within a single country…) could spread to where I live”.

I guess my mindset is just a little different now.

End rant.

-JG