Week of July 23rd 2018- Hot in the Kitchen

Monday, July 23rd- Roommates Locked Me In

So, my key to the gate for our apartment doesn’t work. And my roommates know it doesn’t work. Axyl and Karen left without saying a word this morning. I didn’t think much of it. Just went to take a shower and when I had finished (around 9:45 am) the apartment was empty. (Robin is still on his mini birthday vacation with his girlfriend Kathy who’d come by to surprise him.) All three locks were locked. This wasn’t an “oops, it slipped my mind that your key doesn’t work”. This was premeditated. I don’t know if Axyl knew about my key, but I know Karen did. We had a little tense moment on Friday where she told me I had to get the key made and that we were going to get it made the next day. I didn’t like her telling me what I had to do, and I snapped at her. I feel bad about that, but locking me in for it? That’s excessive.

I was so mad that I didn’t even want to contact either of them. I wasn’t about to beg them to let me out! I told Gia about it and she told me to call Axyl. I waited a bit to calm down, then called. No answer. Alright. I waited some more. I. Was. NOT! going to call Karen. I would not. I texted Axyl. No answer. Twenty minutes or so later (11:30 ish) they came back. Never saw Karen. Axyl just said he didn’t know my key didn’t work. *sigh. Freakin’ drama. I hate drama. I’m much more receptive to talking things out than petty aggressions. I like to think most people are. But maybe not.

Now almost noon, I finally met up with Gia. We got copies made at a local shop where I noticed they also make copies of keys. Great. Now I just needed someone with a house key that works. Not going to ask Karen. Anyway, after the print shop, Gia and I went to get the Ley 300 at the police office that I need for my internship. From there we went to the grocery store and finished buying what I hadn’t been able to carry home yesterday (mostly dairy and fish). I made some yummy fettuchini alfredo with salmon and spinach in my one big sauce pan. That was a trip! I had to make the pasta first then rinse and make the sauce in that then overheated pan. But it turned out so tasty! Wow. I forgot I know how to follow a recipe! I won’t say I know how to cook, because I need more practice for that, but I do know how to follow recipes.

Karen left before I’d finished cooking, but Axyl was hanging around our shared room, so I offered him some pasta. Which he declined. That’s when Robin returned! I was so happy to see him. Felt like he’d been gone for longer than three days. A few minutes later, Gia showed up. So, the four of us (Axyl, Robin, Gia, and I) headed to Starbucks to use their internet. Before that though, Robin and I went to that little copy shop to get my key made. After Starbucks, Gia, Robin, and I went to Best Buy to see about external CD/DVD drives, since none of our laptops have an internal one. Back at our apartment complex, Robin and I waved goodnight to Gia as she walked to her apartment and us to ours. Locked gate. At least this time it was just the gate. Door itself was open, so we could see when Karen passed by in the hallway and flashed us a smile. *sigh. Drama. I just put up my dishes and went to sleep.

Tuesday, July 24th- Gia Fell Off of the Hammock and Our First Roommates Meeting

Since I fell asleep at about 10 pm, I woke up early-ish. 8:30 am. Finally up before my roommate, Axyl. I got myself a bowl of cereal and a pear, glad for the morning calm. Too soon, it was 10 am. I left the apartment with Robin to meet up with Gia so we could go to the clinic we’d gone to last week to get our health certificate that is required for internship. (Follow me on Instagram to see a picture of the clinic. Link below) After the clinic Gia and Robin got into talking about McDonald’s french fries and they sucked me into going with them. I finished my whole food shopping for the week yesterday! *sigh Oh well. It wasn’t about the fries for me. Just an unhealthy love of soda.

From there we went home to take a break. We need to get copies of some stuff to apply for medical insurance here, but ehh, laziness is too strong. Instead, we each found a spot to relax in. Gia on the couch, Robin on his hammock, and me at the little table and desk chair we are using as a dinning room. I begin to write this for my blog while Robin retreated to his room. Seeing that the hammock on our breezy balcony is available, Gia goes to lay on it. I’m sitting at the table right beside the sliding glass doors to the balcony and I swear it looked like she had barely sat on it before she was on the ground with a scream. I hadn’t even gotten to the other side of the table before Robin (from the other side of the apartment) had rushed to Gia’s aid. I stood back as he ordered me to grab a bag and fill it with ice for her. That guy would make a good EMT.

It took some time, but eventually Gia was able to get on her feet and over to my bed. Hurt hip, but semi-mobile. That left me to go to the gym with Robin. He’d just gotten a membership at Planet Fitness yesterday and had invited either me or Gia to go with him (as he can only take one guest at a time). I almost gave in to my laziness, but out of nowhere, I got a spurt of motivation and decided to go with him. I had a decent run. 1.5 miles after a year of not running. That’s okay. I’ll do better next time. When we returned to the apartment Gia was still there. Apparently she’d asked to be let out (door was locked though Robin and I hadn’t locked it when we’d left for the gym). Axyl had simply told her to wait until we got home. Whatever. We were all hungry, so the three of us brushed it off and heated up some left over chicken to make tacos. In addition, I introduced them to the delight that are quesadillas with marinara sauce. Yum!

Gia left soon after our makeshift dinner and, just when I thought the day had ended on a good note, out came Karen from her room with Axyl trailing behind her. She started in that patronizing teacher tone “I was hoping we could all talk. I feel there’s been a lot of tension recently.” You should have heard it. All tentative with every single syllable drawn out. So, we all sat down. Robin and I on the couch and Karen and Axyl on the floor in front of us. We talked about a cleaning schedule, keeping the door locked at all times (which I find excessive and paranoid, especially since we live in a gated community), and other petty things like me using too much space in the fridge or some other crap. That was supposed to clear the tension? I couldn’t wait for the conversation to be over. And when it was, I couldn’t sleep. Just kept tossing and turning with my stomach gurgling angrily. (Not because of the delicious quesadillas, mind you.)

Wednesday, July 25th- We (Finally) Have a Microwave and More Grocery Shopping (I have a problem…)

Wow I slept in today! Emotionally exhausted, I guess. It was around noon when I finally met up with Gia and Robin to start the day’s errands. Moving is real business! There’s so much to be done. It feels like we won’t be finished until it’s time to move out. We had planned to go get the internet set up first thing today, but, in my still-stewing anger, we ended up instinctively walking to the train station. We were more than halfway there by the time we noticed, so we took the train and then a bus to Walmart first. There we bought some appliances for the home like a microwave, toaster, and printer. All unnecessary, but useful for the next year. I also bought an orange camping chair (a trade off instead of a bean bag chair) since it can serve the double purpose of a chair for home or the beach.

After Walmart, we took a little break. Ate some popcorn. Sat in my camping chair. Once we were refueled, the three of us (Robin, Gia, and I) headed to the mall to set up the internet and then to Marshall’s so I could buy some blouses. We have a ton of workshops coming up in August that require professional attire and before going to Marshall’s I only had one or two passing blouses. Plus three, great. Expensive, but great. Then, we went to the neighborhood grocery store. *sigh. I’ve gone to the grocery store three days straight and left with a heavy backpack full of stuff for three days straight. This has to stop. Today it was mostly baking essentials like flour and sugar plus a ton of cheap spices. Gia came back to our apartment with us, so we made more quesadillas. I say, I could live off of quesadillas! So simple, but versatile.

Thursday, July 26th- Medicaid Location Lost in Translation and Dozens of Ant (?) Bites

I tossed and turned. Then tossed and turned again. *sigh By 3am, I crept into my closet, as quietly as I could, with Axyl sleeping not even two feet away in our tiny shared room. I got some shorts and a tank top hoping I just needed to cool off and then I’d be able to fall asleep. I laid on the hammock a while when I realized I was very itchy. I scratched and scratched feeling dozens of raised bumps along my ankles and legs. I breathed deep and decided to take a picture to be able to see them in the 4am darkness. Raised, little, blazing red dots all over my legs. They don’t look like mosquito bites to me. More like ant bites. I guess I’ll find out if there are any complications…

I tossed and turned a bit on the couch after my discovery before sneaking past Axyl back into my bed. When I got up, I’d only just eaten some oatmeal (heated in our shiny new microwave!) before Gia showed up at our door. She had an appointment with Medicaid today. I have one about a week or two from now, so when she offered to let me tag along with her, I accepted. Problem was, she didn’t have the address to where the office was. It’s in a town about 20 minutes away from ours. That’s all we knew. I called to ask and just got the same answer I’d gotten last time. By the sports museum. Yeah. WHICH sports museum?! Not helpful. I asked if they had the physical address. Or the specific name of the museum at least. Answer: no. HOW?! How do you not have the address to where you are giving people appointments?!?!?!?!! …sorry that was just really frustrating.

Gia had to practically beg them saying she’s not from here, that we live far away, and that we don’t have a car, so we really need the address for the Uber. She even played the “I fell off the hammock and hurt my back; I really need to make it to my Medicaid appointment!”. Gross how you have to beg here to get a straight answer! I know it’s not like that everywhere here in Puerto Rico, but from my experiences it’s starting to feel like that is the case in at least half of the places we’ve dealt with. Once we returned from the Medicaid office, we each went to our own apartments. I ate some of Monday’s left over pasta and preped some fruit and veggie snacks for the following days (washed grapes and juliened carrots).

Just as I was about to start cooking dinner, Robin returned from his own health insurance hunting adventures with a smile and a footlong sandwhich from Firehouse Subs. He offered me half and, not being one to say no to food, I accepted. Then my mom called and we talked about how to make rice as she played Mario Kart with my brother. Side note: my brother has concert tickets to see Twenty One Pilots and Panic! at the Disco!!!! I’m so jealous! Love those bands! Anyway, after the call I got dressed and went to the gym with Robin. Another treadmill run. Not as good this time. I barely ran the mile and a half I’d done a couple days ago with that half a footlong bouncing around my stomach.

Friday, July 27th-Is It Sexist to Require Men to Wear a Tie Or Women to Wear a Skirt?

I slept so well after that run! Maybe that’s the solution to my recent sleeping problems. Get completely physically exhausted. I decided to be somewhat productive today and washed clothes. It’s so nice to have electricity and a washing machine! Before the cycle ended though, I got a text from Gia. She told me that Robin and I could go by her apartment to pick up one of her roommate’s desk that she will no longer be using. I go to knock on Robin’s door, but Axyl tells me he isn’t home. I end up going to Gia’s apartment anyway and help her make rice. I’d talked to my mom yesterday night and asked her how she makes it, so I was prepared. The internet set up guy came in the middle of this, so I left to let him in and then came back to eat salmon and rice with Gia and a now returned Robin. Then, he and I took the desk up to our apartment and into his room. That thing was huge and heavy! Real wood with a big slab of glass! But we’re strong and had few problems with it. (just knocked over one planter going up the stairs)

From here, a few things happened. Gia came by and we tried to show her how to download music. A few minutes later, she left for her apartment and Robin to the gym, so I epilated my legs (which was extremely difficult with all the bug bites) then washed up before making cheddar biscuits and broccoli cheddar soup. That plus a salad was dinner when Gia and Robin returned. I offered Axyl some food, but he declined. Later though, he ate some cheddar biscuits, so I can’t feel too bad. After dinner, Gia left for her apartment while Axyl and Karen wandered into the living room. It was nice. All of us getting along. Casually hanging out in the living room. …that is until Karen and Robin got into a little quarrel about our internship uniforms and how they either are or aren’t sexist.

What do you guys think? Is it sexist that the guys have to wear a tie and vest and that the gals have to wear a skirt, tights, and heels? From my understanding these uniform requirements are only when we go to clinical rotations which are about 5 weeks of our 11 month internship. I think it’s odd and that if I’d gotten any other internship in the U.S., this would not be a requirement. Also, I’d prefer to wear pants. But. In the end, that’s the uniform and I’ll deal with my personal preferences. Really though, let me know what you think in the comments below. I’m curious about what y’all think.

After their bickering, the four of us housemates went our own ways. I began working on my blog and made some good leeway on future Thoughts and Past posts. 🙂

Saturday, July 28th- Catching Up on My Medical Drama

Gia and Robin had plans to go to the mall. I bailed. And what did I do with a whole free day? Stayed home and was lazy all day! Essentially, I just switched spots and watched my show all day. Oh! And made sweet potato chili. Yep. That was really it…..

Sunday, July 29th- Isla Verde Beach and Mexican Restaurant

Beach day!! Robin had been talking about going to the beach before we start our internship. We convinced Gia and Karen to go with us too. Axyl didn’t want to go. Maybe he just doesn’t like the beach. Anyway, we left around 3pm. At first we took a train. Bought some snacks at the CVS when we got off. Then we walked over to the bus stop where a woman selling cake pops approached us. $3 and she said she’d been selling them for four years now to support her family. They were large cake pops and very tasty. I bought a Kinder chocolate one. Have y’all had Kinder chocolate? It is amazing! So smooth. And so cheap here in Puerto Rico! (Unlike Mexico where I was first introduced to the wonder.) German chocolate. It has to be good! Moving on, the bus we hoped to catch only runs on weekdays. Darn. So, we took an Uber to Isla Verde (one of the more touristy beaches and Robin’s recommendation as that is where he and his girlfriend had stayed when she came to visit last weekend).

It was packed! Soooo many people. Guess we did get there kind of late. That’s okay though. We ate chicken pinchos (those shish kabob things I wrote about last week) and I played electronic music on my speaker. And remember that orange camping chair I bought on Wednesday? Yep, beach chair! It was perfect too, because after taking a quick dip in the ocean by myself I was lost. Without my glasses, I was starting to panic when I couldn’t see where we’d set up base, until I spotted the bright orange flag that was my camping chair. So relieved! After a bit, all four of us got in. But too soon, Robin and Karen returned to their beach towels while Gia and I, unbeknownst to us, drifted further and further away from them. What can I say? It was a good conversation.

Eventually, Karen walked over to where we were. Apparently about two or three minutes away…. oops. But, we got her in on the conversation as part of my diabolical plan to stay in the ocean longer. The area we had drifted into had huge, strong waves. It was so much fun!!! …until one came and smacked my back like an angry dolphin! That hurt a bit. But not so much I wasn’t still smiling ear to ear and laughing about it. Gia turned to me and mentioned, as she always does whenever we are in the ocean, how happy I look and how much I must love the ocean. …yes. and YES! I guess I don’t realize how happy I must look, but I do love the ocean. I don’t know what it is about it that makes it so peaceful and joyful to me.

After our beach adventures, we went home to change before going out to this Mexican restaurant near our apartments named Guadalajara. I had the vegetarian tacos as I tend to do when out at a taco place. I really do believe that that is the best way to judge a taco place. Meat is easy. The flavor is already there. Vegetables? Not so much. Ehh. Not the best taco place I’ve been to. After dinner we went home and each of us our separate ways. I went to watch my medical drama. Personal goal: finish watching it before Wednesday when our internship officially starts!

Notes:
1) Sorry about posting on Tuesday instead of my usual Monday! I got sidetracked and forgot…. No excuse. I just forgot…
2)What do you guys think of the longer format? Is three to four paragraphs a day too much? Do you like the extra detail? Can you even get through to Wednesday? Let me know and I’d be happy to accommodate!
3) My internship starts on Wednesday!! Exciting and scary! The first three weeks are workshops and review type things, so that’s nice. Rotations where we go to locations and shadow dietitians won’t happen until the last week of August. Ooh! I’m nervous. But! That will be next week’s adventure!

The Purpose of This Blog

Originally Published February 18, 2018 

Read Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. If anyone knows how to combine narrative and fiction it’s her. I just don’t have the experience. It’s amazing how she uses her characters to build on ideas and say what she really means to about society. I am much more literal. It’s not that I don’t trust my one or two readers to understand my underlying meaning if I wrote fiction. The issue proves to be more that I don’t know how to be subtle about what I have to say. So, yes, it seems this will be an opinion blog. I have nothing to inform you or educate you on. I am no expert on anything, but instead an amateur in everything. I dream and sin. I experience as everyone else does yet completely differently.

Some Oftentimes, I consider either abandoning this attempt at a blog or deleting it altogether. If my purpose with this is not to inform or argue a point, it must be to entertain. Maybe not. My personal purpose is to put my thoughts and experiences into words. What you do with them is your choice. I hope my words will at times make you feel understood. I know I’m not the only one who has dark thoughts or has made mistakes. I also hope you will find joy and hope in my positive posts (however few and far between they may be).

I could write for hours so, I’ll try to dedicate some of those hours to writing fictional stories. Don’t expect too many of those though. It seems I am better versed in venting sessions. Either way in the end, I wish to inspire people. Learn from my mistakes, please.

***

I wrote that on my old, obscure blog which I have since wiped clean. It was my last year of university when I wrote that, and I didn’t have very much time to dedicate to my writing. Now that I have graduated and am in Puerto Rico for a dietetic internship, I have made it a habit to write daily for a sort of open journal about my experiences here. My goal with this new form of writing is to document my adventures abroad for my own entertainment and so I’ll have written memories to look back on. I share them because I like to think that friends and family that I left behind from university, work, and maybe even childhood are interested in my current adventures. If my experiences serve to entertain people I haven’t personally met, then all the better.

I will be very busy with the internship this year, so probably no time to write any fiction like I’d mentioned above, but I will keep up with my weekly blogs and sporadic Thoughts and Past posts when I’ve finished posting all of my stuff from my old blog. Keep coming back. I’m glad to have you along for the ride! 🙂

Week of July 16th 2018- Getting Frustrated with Puerto Rico then Loving the Ocean

Hello again, wonderful readers. I must admit I’ve gotten into some bad habits. It is Sunday night as I write this. I am getting better at my laziness though. I wrote an outline of each day’s events so I wouldn’t leave out a day like that one time last week…

Monday, July 16th-Getting Lost at a Puerto Rican Hospital

It’s almost better writing at the end of the week versus the same day. It lets me know what details are important and which aren’t. For example, I can tell you guys that we went to Office Max to make copies and that it took a long time because my birth certificate is bigger than a regular sheet of paper, so one of the employees there made a copy of it himself (versus the self service printers). But that’s not important to the rest of the day or week. Looking at it now on Sunday, this day wasn’t super productive.

After going to Office Max, Gia, Robin, and I went to the police station to get some more documents we need for the internship. They got something called Ley 300, while I got the step before that called “Antecedentes Penales”. I don’t know exactly what they are for, but I assume they are something like a background check. From there we went to speak to our dietetic director who told us the mandatory drug test would be on Tuesday. Then we got lost in a Puerto Rican hospital. Seriously, how can a hospital function and be so disorganized?! All the people we asked for directions sent us to different floors! One clinic can’t be on floor 1, 2, and 3 at the same time! Oh well.

For our misery we tried out a little Puerto Rican restaurant close to our apartment complex called Mandy’s BBQ. It was good. The chicken soup was delicious! We went home afterwards to lounge a bit before heading to Starbucks to charge our devices and use their internet. We must have had a lot of things to do online, because we stayed till 8:30 or so almost till close.

Tuesday, July 17th-Frustrated with Puerto Rico and Going out to a Bar

Drug test today! My roommates (plus Gia) and I all had to be there, but I left the apartment before any of them to go find out about a package that was supposed to be delivered the previous day. The post office didn’t open till a few minutes after 8 am and there was already a line of like 7 people, so I left and ran into Gia and Robin who were walking to the train station. After meeting up with the other interns in the dietetic director’s office, we got instructions on where to go and what cup to pee in. Once that was over, we returned home via the train.

Well, Gia and Robin did. I went back to the post office where it was emptied out for noon lunch. The guy at the front reminded me of a sloth. His manner was slow and lazy. Not in an intentional way. More like that was just his nature. It was infuriating. Turns out my package had been returned the previous day and the address was written wrong. Couldn’t have been that wrong if it ended up in my neighborhood post office! That was the last straw. Everything is different here. The work ethic is completely distinct from the United States. One week tomorrow since we’d made an electricity account and still nothing! Plus the whole mess at the hospital the previous day. I was over Puerto Rico! Wanted to go home to my family and forget everything about this island.

But no. I was here and would remain here for the next year. In too deep. So, I went to Starbucks with Gia and Robin. Robin was tentative around me as my irritation radiated off of me. I just got an expensive drink and a cake pop and tried to convince myself to adapt to the changes. This isn’t Texas and I shouldn’t expect it to be. I’m in Puerto Rico. There’s good and bad. I just have to learn, accept, and adapt. From here, we went to Econo (a big grocery store chain here in Puerto Rico). We went to the big one seven or so stops down on the train where we met Lilly, a college friend of Gia’s and an intern from the previous year. As she bought groceries for her last few days in Puerto Rico, I bought the ingredients for my mom’s lime pie.

After the grocery store, Lilly invited us (Gia, Robin, and me) to go to an eclectic place called 24 Hour Market. It’s a little grocery mart by day and a bar by night. I felt very under dressed with them since I was dressed in all black (pants and t-shirt) while they were in casual club blouses. You know, where you show a little something, but are still somewhat classy about it. We found a little table and sat there listening to live music for an hour or so. It felt like more to me as I forced myself to drink beer and tried to listen to the conversation over the bar and music noise. Some time later, we moved to a table outside. While Lilly and Gia went to buy some fried mashed potato and meat things, I was left with Robin to proclaim how nothing mattered. …Yes, I became a philosophical drunk. That’s all I’ll say about that night.

Wednesday, July 18th- Going to a Clinic

I woke up in Robin’s hammock. That’s not a euphemism. I actually woke up in the hammock Robin had set up in the balcony of our apartment. I remember saying goodnight to him as we returned to our apartment and heading to the hammock to lay down for a bit before entering my room and possibly waking my roommate, but… I guess I never made it to that second step. I couldn’t let that stop me though. It was going to be a busy day. I dozed a bit on the couch, too embarrassed to go to my shared room at like 6 am, before meeting up with Gia and Robin to go to Rio Piedras. There Gia got her water utilities set up while Robin and I went to a laundromat a few streets away.

Once Gia finished at the utility office, she met up with us so we could head to a clinic. We still needed to get a certificate of health for our internship but we weren’t about to go back to that maze of a hospital we’d gone to on Monday. We waited thirty minutes for a bus that never arrived before taking a train and walking twenty minutes (still lugging around our now clean clothes) to the clinic. After the clinic we stopped by our apartment to drop off the clothes before going to the bank. We asked about making an account, but were unable to get approved for a student account which would waive the monthly maintenance fee. Since we were already at the mall, we grabbed a bite to eat at the food court. Chinese food for me, yum!

Then came our, now routine, Starbucks visit before heading home and falling asleep. It was early, but it was dark without electricity so what else was there to do?

Thursday, July 19th- Shopping Day and Gym Embarrassment

Today was unplanned. Gia was busy and it seems like Karen and Axyl usually have their own thing going on, so Robin and I decided to go visit some shops. We started with Ikea where we found a bunk bed I hope to get for my room. Then we found a CVS y más. Y más?! What’s the “and more” part?? We went in and it was like the little shopping aisle of CVS was magnified across the whole store! It was great! There was even a little book section where I bought a coffee cook book. When in Rome, right? (Coffee is a huge thing here.)

Then Robin and I went to the dollar store of which there only seems to be one store in Puerto Rico called Always 99. It wasn’t as large and extensive as back home in Texas, but it did the job. I got shampoo and rubber bands. A ton of essentials for cheap. From here, we walked to what looked like a fancy restaurant which turned out to be a decently priced sandwich shop called Sobao. Once we were fed, we walked back to the train. Crossing the street, I almost got run over by a car. The light was red when we began crossing but all of a sudden he was there a few feet away from me without a sound to be heard. It’s okay though, because I lived to hear a guitarist play and sing on the train then pass around his hat. That was a first here. In Mexico, sure, but Puerto Rico? That was cool.

Somehow, I got suckered into not going straight home. Robin wanted to check out a gym close to the train station. I was lugging around a bag full of stuff from the dollar store plus my back pack, as one of the managers at the gym gave us a tour of the facilities. He asked for our experience and goals as he began his spiel on the prices per month and whatnot. I really wasn’t interested. Especially not after saying I’ve never gone to the gym regularly and I would like to lose weight if possible. Ugh. It’s always worse to say things out loud. I know I’m overweight. I know I don’t exercise regularly. But to say it… *sigh. That’s a different thing. I got Robin to agree to think about it before signing a year long contract and on the way home I reminded him of a Planet Fitness not even five minutes walk from one of the train stations. Sure, there’s some travel time included there, but we commute so much since we don’t have a car here that we have 90 day unlimited passes. Might as well use them. Plus, $20 per month versus $50. Yeah, I’d rather commute. You know… if I did the whole gym thing.

Back at home Robin and I picked up a desk and table from Gia that past interns had left behind. Thank goodness for hand me downs!

Friday, July 20th- Breaking Into Gia’s Apartment and Celebrating Gia’s Birthday

No motivation today. I lounged around all morning just rolling from one side of the bed to the other. I don’t think I actually left my bed till an hour after I woke up. In that time, Robin invited me to Starbucks, which I declined. Gia met up with him at Starbucks and they both tried to convince me to hang out with them, but I just didn’t want to leave my apartment. So I stayed as Gia headed to her own apartment and Robin went to the airport to pick up his girlfriend who came into town for his birthday on Saturday. Today was Gia’s birthday and I’d promised to make her a lime pie since I don’t have cake pans or electricity to bake her a cake. So, with all the laziness in the world, I got up and headed out to her apartment. That’s when she texted me that she’d gone out to the mall, but that I could just come in. That she’d left the door open for me.

That’s great, but someone had left the door closed at my apartment. Robin. The copy of the key that I’d gotten at Home Depot doesn’t work. The gate to my apartment was locked and can only be unlocked with a key from the inside or outside. *sigh. I had to call Robin who had to walk back to unlock the door for me then dash off again on his trip to the airport. Then, when I got to Gia’s apartment, the door was locked. *sigh. I thought about calling her, but I looked around and found another way in. I texted her that I’d gotten in like a robber, but that I was in. There I made a simple lime pie that I put in her refrigerator (hence why I had to make the pie at Gia’s [still no electricity at my apartment]).

I stayed a bit expecting Gia to come back, but every car that passed I was afraid would be her roommates (whom I haven’t met). I didn’t want to look like an intruder in their apartment, so I returned to my own apartment. Locked again. I definitely hadn’t locked it. Karen was home though, so I knocked until she let me in. Some time later Karen and I met up with Gia and Lilly and Ubered to the restaurant where we would celebrate her birthday. There we met with Robin and his girlfriend, Kathy. No sign of Axyl. It was a little Puerto Rican restaurant called Casa Blanca. It was okay. They gave us a round of shots called Chichaito (made of rum, but that tasted like cough syrup) for free. That was awesome!

After the restaurant we said goodbye to Robin and Kathy and got in an Uber. Barely. The driver was already driving away when I had just gotten one foot in the car! My instincts kicked in and I kind of hopped along with the car as Lilly, Gia, and Karen yelled at the driver to stop. One day my quiet nature will kill me. I don’t think I said a single word. Thank goodness for friends. The driver apologized profusely and I told her it was okay. I wasn’t hurt and I know she didn’t mean to. That’s enough reason to not be upset for me. We got off at a bar called Triple B and got some refreshing Lime Coladas (like Piña Coladas, but with lime instead of pineapple). We didn’t stay too long though. Once home we packed a beach bag and then began an hour long ride in a car that Lilly had rented to where the ferry would take us to one of the most beautiful islands of Puerto Rico- Culebra.

Saturday, July 21st- Trip to Culebra (Puerto Rican Island)

We made it to the line for the ferry at 1 am. As Lilly and Gia hunted for a parking spot, Karen and I waited in line. At around 4:15 we finally got our tickets and boarded the ferry. I’d never been on a boat and it was a bit nerve wracking when big waves hit, but it mostly reminded me of riding a horse. Steady and rhythmic. Calming. Once we were on the island, (around 6 am) we caught a little van that takes people to different beaches on the island. None of us had ever been to Culebra, so none of us knew which spot would be the best. We asked a police officer nearby and he suggested Flamenco beach, so that’s where we went. The sun was just rising as we stepped onto the breathtaking, fine white sand. I was ready. As the girls headed to a little palm tree to set down their blankets and sleep, I took a quick dip in the ocean. It was quiet and devoid of people so early in the morning. I felt at peace.

I didn’t stay too long though, since I was the only person on the entire beach in the ocean. I tried to read a little bit (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), but soon fell asleep using the book as my pillow. I awoke to a hot back. Don’t fall asleep on the beach! I got under the palm tree and put on some sunscreen before everyone else woke up. Then the four of us (Lilly, Gia, Karen, and I) got into the ocean. Karen got a bit worried about leaving our stuff unattended, so she headed back after a few minutes, but Gia, Lilly and I walked over to one side of the beach where Lilly had found a little pool of water where the waves didn’t hit earlier in the morning. We stayed a while there before going back. I, adventurous as always, began swimming back. Gia walked, but Lilly followed me. She joked that I should give her swimming lessons as I kept having to stop to wait for her. Ahh! It just felt so good to swim! I can’t even describe the feeling of complete peace that washed over me as I swam. It felt natural. Like I belonged there. *sigh It was devine.

When we arrived back with Karen we went to a little area where there were little food stands. I got a shrimp empanada (and a guava and cheese one for dessert) while some of the other girls got chicken shish kabobs (called pinchos here). Delicious, as always. From there we returned to our little palm tree where we all took a two hour or so nap. We’d stayed up all night to get those ferry tickets and were clearly still exhausted. I just stared at the ocean when I woke up. Longing to go back to it. Gia woke up then and joined me. Lilly came by soon after. I daringly swam out further into the ocean then let the waves take me back to our little group. It’s an unbelievable feeling. To just let yourself trust the ocean and flow with it. Ah! I want to go back!

I’ll spare you the details after this. Here’s the facts: we wandered into seaweed territory then got some last minute snacks like a super charged piña colada and some ice cream (coconut and nutella for me). Then we returned to the ferry via that same van service we’d gotten to the beach on. Back in the rental car, we drove to McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. Once back at the apartment complex we (finally!) ate a slice of that lime pie I’d made for Gia’s birthday. It tasted just like my mom used to make when I was little. I said goodnight and headed to my apartment while Karen stayed to charge her phone at Gia’s apartment.

But wait. My key still doesn’t work. And Axyl still wasn’t home. So, Karen came to open the door and told me I had to get a copy that works. She told me we’d go tomorrow to get it done and I snapped at her. I’m not proud of it, but I don’t like it when people tell me what I have to do. It pushed my buttons and I snapped. *sigh. She didn’t say anything. Just left back to Gia’s apartment. When she came back she announced we have electricity. Yay! I just charged my phone and fell asleep.

Sunday, July 22nd- Axyl’s Return and Real Talk with Gia

I woke up to Axyl banging around. Axyl?! He’s alive!! None of us had seen him since Friday morning! Granted we weren’t in town all day Saturday, but still! I didn’t give him a big welcome home inquisition though. I just reverted to my antisocial ways and sat in the living room by myself singing and planning what I would cook for the following week now that we have electricity to use the fridge and stove. Gia came by and chatted with Karen and Axyl as I continued doing my antisocial thing.

They eventually came to the living room, so I picked up my papers and stayed there with them. I gathered from the conversation that Axyl had met a friend from Puerto Rico that took him on a trip to the national forest here (called El Yunque). A few minutes later, Axyl, Gia, and I took off to the nearby grocery store. There I bought all of the dry items on my list for the week. Why just dry? We don’t have a car. And it’s about a mile away (.9 miles or 1.5km). All the household staples like oil, flour and such were so heavy!

But the three of us made it home to chat in the living room again. Soon Axyl went to his room while I continued to chat with Gia. We got past the small talk and began talking about some of our life changing experiences. Stuff about our old friends and experiences with psychologists. I love getting past small talk. I understand small talk has a purpose, but I prefer substance. Realness. Rawness. It was refreshing, since everyone I’ve met recently (at least since I moved to Puerto Rico) have been new acquaintances. I look forward to more conversations like this with Gia and my other fellow interns.

Notes:

1) Sorry about the length. I know this weekly blog is longer than usual. Especially that Saturday one. I was fascinated by the ocean and got carried away…

2) So we finally have electricity, but still no internet. I’m here at Starbucks again as I write this so I can publish it. I’m going to set up the internet for our apartment tomorrow and hope to have it by the first week of August. It’s all coming together guys!

My Reasons for Staying Fat

Originally Published February 2nd 2018

In a way I like being fat. I like having a low self image and only a few friends. It’s easier that way. Let’s talk about the weight issue. It’s a relatable enough issue. Being overweight means less men hit on me. This means less unwanted attention. As much as you may think it makes a person stand out, it has been my experience that it pushes me to the sidelines. After all, you want the skinny, lithe player out in the spotlight and the chubby donut-muncher on the sideline in any game- including the game of life. Yeah, maybe people notice when I walk in a room or when my hips bump into a chair trying to squeeze through the desks to my seat in class, but otherwise people prefer to avoid me. And I like it that way.

Sometimes, I will get a wave of confidence. I don’t know where it comes from and at this moment it seems completely unwarranted, but when it has happened I sometimes get the urge to dress well and cannot help exude that unrighteous confidence. After a while, it wears off though and I’m left feeling more self conscious than anything. Then my brain flips and beings to wonder how it ever occurred to me that I could pull off an outfit like the one I got on my miserable body. In between this brewing storm, I catch the not-so-subtle glances of men and a few women. I tell myself I’m being paranoid. After all, who would check me out? I’m an abomination. It doesn’t matter what kind of bow you put on a trash bag; it’s still a bag of trash.

Being fat is safe. Less people bother me or bother with me. I don’t worry about getting raped. Why rape me when a giant pillow would prove the same? I don’t have boyfriend or crush problems because neither exist for me. I won’t ever have the urge to have a one night stand with anyone because it takes unrelenting coaxing to wear anything more revealing than a tank top. The days I wear tanks I feel like a whore. If I wear shorts or a skirt above the knee out in public without tights I feel like a whore. I’m not used to showing my body. I don’t want to get rejected. One of my theories is that I wasn’t bullied enough as a child. I wasn’t bullied so I am afraid of it happening. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I’m afraid of the unknown.

It’s nice to be fat because that way, when things go wrong it makes sense. “Oh, of course nothing happened when I stayed the night with that guy once. I’m fat. It didn’t ever cross his mind to lay even a foot on my flabby flesh.” These are the things I think about myself. And that’s just as well. Better this than the alternative. “Oh, of course your friends don’t like going out with you. You’re a shame to look at. It’s better you stay inside. Hidden.”

I know this isn’t healthy. But I won’t say I don’t like it. It’s familiar. It’s a pain I know how to deal with. Or at least one I feel like I know how to deal with even though a throbbing repetitive pain is still pain. I could change, but I’m not convinced. I enjoy the anonymity. I enjoy the solitude. Or, I think I do from the Stockholm syndrome. Being attractive would bring about a whole new set of troubles I am not prepared for. Though I yearn to be skinny. It makes little sense, I know, but I tell myself that if I were skinny most of my problems would go away. Suddenly I’d have confidence with myself. I’d thus be more social and outgoing. I’d be happier. I’d like myself. But I don’t. And a change, even if major, to my hardware would not change my software. I’ve been wired for self-loathing since I can remember. Time to get back to it.

Week of July 9th 2018- First Week in Puerto Rican Apartment!

Monday, July 9th- Ummm… Sorry Guys… I Don’t Remember

I thought I’d written this day. I wrote consistently all week, but I forgot Monday. Of all days! I’m not sure what I did today, but don’t worry. I wrote enough detail the rest of the week to make up for it.

Tuesday, July 10th- We Have a Home!

I’d been having amazing days. I downloaded an app that tracks your mood. Three times a day, it asks you questions like “are you hopeful for the future” and other criteria for depression and gives you options for your current mood between very bad, bad, moderate, good, and very good. Since I’ve been in San Juan (Puerto Rico) I’ve felt great everyday! All my feeling words have been green, like active and cheerful instead of the sea of gray that it had been at home. Once, at home, I chose all but one of the gray options. That was a bad day.. Now it’s been the complete opposite. I don’t think I’ve chosen more than one gray word since I’ve been here. I began to think that being busy, having a goal (internship requirements in this case), and being around people was the solution. I thought that’s what I needed to be happy. Until today.

Today was a busy day. We started by going to the bank. That was a fiasco! Since the other interns and I who went are from the U.S., our banks were freaking out about us taking out a large sum of money. Why did we need such a large sum of money? The fastest way to convince the realtor we had been talking to to lease us our ideal apartment so we could move in asap was to pay her several months in advance. Plus, I needed to get money to pay my tuition. After the bank, we went to the dietetic director’s office to turn in papers and get questions answered, before going to the grocery store to get a money order for my tuition payment. After this, we met up with the realtor to get the contract signed.

She met us at the grocery store, but we ended up going to the Burger King next door. There we read and signed the contract, annnnddd. Made the drug deal. Just kidding! But it sure seemed like it!! Since we are unemployed students, the realtor wanted us to pay four months in advance. Since we are foreigners, she wanted us to pay in cash. It ended up being several thousand dollars. In cash. At a Burger King. Yeah, sounds like a drug deal to me. But instead of cocaine or marijuana, we got the keys to our apartment and information on how to set up water and electricity. WE HAVE A HOME!!! *Phew! That feels good.

What doesn’t feel good is how I’m starting to feel worn out by all this socialization. People are starting to grate me and I’m starting to feel bad about my personality after being around so many different ones. I have been with four other people for the last 48 hours. We go everywhere together. Four of us slept in the same room last night. All day, all night, people. I began to think I wasn’t an introvert. I began to think I liked- prefered even!- being around people. Why do I let myself believe things I know not to be true? Humans and their stupid hope. But, what’s life without hope? I look forward to moving into our apartment tomorrow. 🙂

Wednesday, July 11th- Getting Utilities Set Up and Getting Tired of People

Another long day. Today the gang of four other interns and I woke up around 6am to get water and electricity set up in our new apartment. It’s great to have a place to live, but there’s so much to do to make it livable. So, Karen, Gia, and I hopped on a train to get the water set up while Axyl and Robin stayed behind in the Airbnb to move the luggage to our new apartment. After getting the water set up, Karen and I parted ways with Gia as she joined up with her roommates to set up her own utility accounts. This gave Karen and I the opportunity to eat at a little local hole in the wall by the train station. I had a refreshing papaya smoothie, plus some Puerto Rican fried favorites like a sorullo (corn and cheese stick) and fried ball….uhh… thing. (mashed potato, ground meat, and potato ball). I don’t remember the name.

After our impromptu breakfast, Karen and I traveled to our (finally our!) apartment where the guys were taking a break from hauling all of the luggage up. We decided to go ahead and get the electricity account done today, so the four of us jumped on the train, then a bus, then a bus again because we ended up going to the wrong place. Eventually we got it right, and after waiting two or so hours, we set up electricity for our apartment. Taking advantage of the location, we stopped by Marshall’s to buy some home goods and a dress for me, since we have to go to this year’s intern’s graduation tomorrow morning and I only brought one suitcase with me, so I didn’t have any fancy dresses in my repertoire. Once finished there, we tried finding a restaurant to eat at in vain. So, we ubered home and went to a local Fresh Mart instead. It’s like the Whole Foods of Puerto Rico.

We bought bread, water, and assorted snacks/ breakfast items there. At the apartment we made sandwiches and had a school-like lunch, complete with chips as a side. Since we don’t have electricity running yet, we sat out in the balcony to cool off in the breeze and chatted with some music in the background. I’m not the only one craving personal space, it seems. The four of us roommates (Karen, Axyl, Robin, and I) have been essentially attached at the hip since we started sharing an Airbnb on Sunday. Us, and for the past couple of days, Gia too (a fellow intern who will be living in the same complex as us [though a different apartment]) have gone everywhere together and come back to the same room to all sleep together. I like people, but I need a break!

Thursday, July 12th- Previous Interns’ Graduation and Getting a Bed!

Four people. One bathroom. And a 10am graduation to attend. There were a few time issues, but when we finally made it to the location it ended up being a sweet ceremony. The dietetic director and her interns showed genuine gratitude and appreciation for their time in Puerto Rico. There were speeches, tears, and live singing. Everything that makes a nice ceremony. In addition to that, us incoming interns were included too. We were presented to the preceptors (dietitians the previous interns shadowed), professionals, and graduating interns families, and we were given a gift bag filled with little things like water bottles, a mug, and a lunch box. After taking a group photo with all the interns for this year, my roommates (Karen, Axyl, Robin) and I headed back home via the train.

We took a little break to get out of our party clothes before heading to Ikea to see if we could find some cheap furniture. We took the train about six stops out before arriving at a big bus transfer center where we waited about thirty minutes for the bus that would take us to Ikea to arrive. A thirty minute bus ride later, we made it to Home Depot where we took advantage of the bus route to get some extra keys made, since we only had two sets. Once finished there, we walked to Ikea where we quickly found out it was simply a show room. Everything at that location had to be ordered online. I couldn’t even buy a candle there!

Moving on, we ventured to Walmart to see if we could find cheap mattress solutions. Since our apartment didn’t come with furniture, we slept on the floor last night. But, in the end, we went to Costco and half of us bought mattresses there while the other two bought thinner (read: cheaper) foam pads. I bought a twin size mattress. Finally! A bed! It’s great how things are coming together. Slowly, but surely. Now, if only the light people could hurry up! It gets dark around 7pm here!

Friday, July 13th- First Nutrition Workshop and Scary Movies

Happy Friday the 13th, guys! My fellow interns and I started the day bright and early at 6am to go to our first workshop of the year. It didn’t start until 8am, but since we don’t have a car… Yeah, the walk to the train station, plus the ride took around 45 minutes. It’s a beautiful walk though. We pass the Coliseo of Puerto Rico to get there. I took a picture of it for my Instagram. It’s the photo on this featured on this week’s blog post above. (Check it out at my social media links below for more pictures and blog updates.) The workshop itself wasn’t anything super exciting. Just calculations and meal planning for clinical nutrition work. It’s super weird, but cool to be in a room with nine other people just doing nutrition work. All throughout university I studied several subjects. At first it was because of basics like English and history classes the state requires. Then it was because I kept adding on minors. (More on that here.) We’ll see how this internship goes. The first part of the internship is more book work and classes. Which are more like reviews of what we learned in university.

Either way, after the workshop one of the guys who works with the realtor who we worked with to get our current apartment came by to drop off a sofa they had. For free! They must have had the sofa from some other apartment they were trying to rent out, but for free? That’s awesome! Slowly, but surely our apartment is coming together into a quaint little home. By this time it was about 4pm, so Gia, Robin, and I took a rest then walked the twenty or so minutes to the mall. There we got something at Starbucks (Chai tea, my favorite!) and sat there as I worked on yesterday’s blog.

Several errands later, like getting passport pictures taken and visiting a grocery store for milk, tuna, and -my recent craving- fruit, we swung by a little asian store/restaurant for some dinner before returning to our apartment. There we caught up with Karen and Axyl. As the group chatted I excused myself to the balcony where I called my mom. My great grandmother recently passed away, so I wanted to make sure my mom was doing okay. I wish I could be there for her, but I’m (literally) on an island. It’s not that easy.. *sigh It’s just one year. This time next year, I’ll be counting down the days to my next adventure. After some genuine parting words of “take care” we hung up the phone. I got to chat on the phone a bit with Mariah (my roommate from my last year of university this past year).

Once I returned to our empty-except-one-solitary-couch living room, Robin and Gia left to go get a drink, while Axyl, Karen, and I started watching “It” in honor of Friday the 13th. Karen does not like scary movies. But, she stayed with us (with a lantern on, since we still don’t have electricity… hence Starbucks earlier). She must like us at least a little bit, hee hee. Lucky for her, the movie froze and the movie we put on after that (Annabelle Creation) froze as well, so no scary movie tonight! Next Friday the 13th, for sure!

Saturday, July 14th- Starbucks Again and Buying Home Essentials

I promised Robin I’d go to Stabucks with him this morning, but before that we stopped at the Best Buy across the street from our local Starbucks. There I wandered around the audio and TV sections and asked two different employees where to find a cd player until Robin took me to where they were. -__- They had two types. I’m just glad they had any to begin with. The employees I asked seemed kind of confused when I asked them. They must have thought they’d misheard me. One of them sent me to where they sold vinyls. Really?! Anyway, with a wonderful personal cd player/radio in hand, we headed to the Starbucks. There I typed up yesterday’s blog and tried a strawberries and creme frappuccino (delicious!).

Robin and I came back to an empty home. Wondering where Axyl and Karen went, Robin and I took a couple hour’s break before attempting a trip to Walmart. The closest one is about 1.3 miles away. We could have walked it. But….no. We’ve done so much walking these past few days already. So, we took a train, waited about 30 minutes for a bus, took a five minute bus ride (all that waiting for that!) and got lost for a minute (my bad!) before making it to Walmart. Robin and I walked around picking up items without a basket or cart to put them in because we mistakenly thought that would impede us from accumulating too many items. Not the case. I got a lot of cheap shirts and tanks plus a little plastic dresser! Woo! Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have all of my stuff out of my suitcase! Then I’ll feel at home.

We took an Uber back once we’d gotten some food at Panda Express. At home it was already dark, so I grabbed Karen’s lantern and washed the new dishes Robin and I had bought. Plastic cups and bowls for everyone and a nice little ceramic plate and bowl for me plus all of the freebies I got at the graduation on Thursday. It feels nice to have dishes. There are so many little things I’d take for granted at home with my parents or even in university after years of buying home essentials. Soon after I finished washing the dishes, Axyl and Karen arrived. They’d done a bit of shopping themselves. Luckily nothing we’d already gotten (like a broom). It was only about 9pm, but I was falling asleep on the couch, so I called it a night and fell asleep to my roommate’s phone playing the sounds of a tennis match.

Sunday, July 15th- Lazy Day Plus Pizza

I woke up to a rooster. My rooster alarm, specifically. I don’t know when or why I set that alarm for 8:30am since I fell asleep around 9pm. I woke my roommate with it. Oops! Axyl just looked over at me disapprovingly and said something along the lines of “that better not be your usual alarm!”. Ha! I ran off as soon as I woke to the living room where I had a nice bowl of cereal. Then I lounged on the couch listening to the radio on my new cd player. Axyl and Karen went off to buy produce and turn in job applications while Robin and I relaxed in the apartment. After a while, Robin left for Starbucks while I remained in my room organizing things in my half closet space and cheap little dresser I bought yesterday.

If Gia and Robin hadn’t come by and invited me to go to the mall, I would have stayed home all day. But, they’re nice people and I was getting hungry, so I stuffed the rest of my mess around my room in a drawer and went with them. At the mall we went to Walgreen’s where I bought a patriotic wallet with Puerto Rico written all over it. They teased me for it of course. Not that I mind. It’s nice to get to a point with someone where both parties are confident enough with each other to joke like that. From there we stopped by Pizza Hut for dinner and then walked home. Not a bad end to the week.

Notes:
1) Update on living situation: I now have an apartment with Karen, Robin, and Axyl. We have bought a few basic things like a broom and bed, and now have running water, but still no internet or electricity. I hope we get both of those soon. Otherwise, I’ll have spent more money at Starbucks this month than in my whole life up to now!

Ill Fitting Personality Puzzle Pieces

Drama. There’s always drama. Where ever you go. Why can’t we all just get along? I’m an adaptive person. I can lead or follow, though my instinct is to wait and watch until people’s personalities shine through. Then, I know what the group is missing. For example, if I’m with a group of people that are all quiet and submissive, I’ll lead and talk. I feel better doing that, knowing that I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes by doing so. If someone else has a clear desire to lead, I’m not going to battle it out with them. As long as they don’t make decisions that will harm me or others significantly, I go with it. Likewise, I’m not going to talk over anyone unless it’s necessary. If you are a loud, opinionated person and you want to know what my opinion is, you are going to have to stop talking long enough to let me speak. I’m not going to fight you for airtime. I don’t know if that makes me a good team player or not. Though, I guess it doesn’t matter unless I’m on a team.

It’s a big debate. Looking out for the needs of one or the needs of all. I generally like to stick together and be inclusive, but people are different. Not everyone likes being on a team. My roommate last year would scoff at my naive ideas. She’d use it against me when I got upset about something or someone. She’d say mockingly, “Why can’t we all just get along?”. *sigh I posit that we are all pieces of the beautiful, but complex, puzzle of humanity. We are different in complimentary ways, but sometimes the careless puzzle master insists on shoving two pieces together that simply do not fit. When that happens, pieces bend, break. Damage happens. And at this moment, my little puzzle piece is rammed uncomfortably tight.

I am living with three distinct people. We got an apartment a couple of days ago, as I write this. We’ve signed a one year contract, paid light and water deposits, and are basically stuck with each other for better or worse. Like a bad marriage. I’d like to give you guys a character analysis, but I fear my fellow dietetic interns will read this and call me out on whatever I write. I don’t know how slander laws work! I’m not trying to get sued or, worse yet, get stink faces from my apartment mates. I hate drama. I wish people could just deal with their problems or talk about them with each other calmly. That’s asking a lot. I know.

I can’t even fulfill that! I try to deal with problems first by myself. I don’t know how to deal with not liking someone’s personality though. I mean, what can you say? “Hey, I don’t like who you are as a person, but we live together sooo don’t talk to me”? That’s not going to help anyone. I don’t know. Maybe things will get better. It’s all about perspective, I remind myself. Hopefully later, when this internship is further along (aka no more stress getting papers together and all those initial move in errands) I’ll be more receptive to different personalities.

I lived with the training wheels version of this trying personality for a year and it didn’t get any better. The only thing that helped in that case was the realization that we would be graduating soon and not in each other’s lives nearly as much. Time heals all, right? Well, I hope so. Wish me patience.

Week of July 2nd 2018- Moving to Puerto Rico

The bad habits have begun. It is Saturday as I write this. I wasn’t depressed this week though, just busy. Here’s why:

Monday, July 2nd- Mall with Alison and Drinks with Shaun

I jam packed my last few days. I just worked at the grocery store and this blog most of my measly six weeks of summer “vacation”, so I wanted to have a little fun. I decided to organize something with work people today, but in the end I only got one person to confirm for Monday. To be fair, I didn’t ask many people. I felt a bit weird about inviting people to do who knows what. Seriously, I didn’t even know what we were doing until Sunday or so when the one person who did go, Alison, suggested we go to the mall.

I got lost. Seriously, I ended up a block away and accidentally went up an elevator in an office building before asking some guys in the parking garage for directions. We window shopped for a couple hours. Me dragging her to teen stores like Earthbound and Bath and Body Works and her dragging me to high end diamond stores. She really knows her stuff! One of the sales associates at Tiffany’s asked if she was a jeweler! After our mall fun, I had another appointment set with another co-worker to go out for drinks. Alison and I met Shaun at a sports bar and had a couple drinks before we called it a night.

Tuesday, July 3rd- Another Wasted Day

Today’s fun packed day consisted of wasting my day. I had planned to pack, but my mom was busy doing my brother’s dialysis so I ended up procrastinating. I watched a few episodes of my medical drama and not much else.

Wednesday, July 4th- Packing

Okay! Go time! I packed all of my belongings for the next year with my mom today. Well, more like she packed and I gathered. My mom has this amazing talent for packing. She can make almost anything fit anywhere. With that done, we got my favorite local Chinese food and ate one last meal together with my parents and brother. We were going to go to my cousin’s place for 4th of July but with all of the last minute packing and coordinating there wasn’t time. I said goodnight to my brother and we all went to bed around midnight. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t, so after an hour I decided to just keep watching my medical drama until 3:30am when we had to start getting ready to go to the airport.

Thursday, July 5th- Moving to Puero Rico!

Here we go! At around 4am I said goodbye to my mom and got in a car with my dad to go to the airport. He stayed with me even as I was going through security. He’s sweet. I’m glad he let me go on this trip by myself. It shows trust. But I won’t lie that going through security alone jostled me a little. It’d never done that before and the security guards are aggressive looking. I had all of my electonics for the next year with me, so the guards took their time looking at my carry ons with the scanner. Uhh… Nerve racking!

After this, it was pretty smooth sailing. I ended up in a window seat and, after the plane, with a very talkative taxi driver. I told him I am a nutrition intern and he began telling me the history of his diets. He claimed to be some sort of nutritionist. …That’s a joke, because nutritionist is a label with no legal backing. Dietitians are required to be licensed and have certain educational requirements while nutritionists can be any old shmoe. Before I get further on my soapbox, let me tell you more aout my trip.

I arrived at my airbnb but the owner was out, so I waited outside until she arrived. She was so concerned. She apologized for making me wait in the heat, but I wasn’t worried at all. In Puerto Rico it’s about 80 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. In Texas, where I just moved from it’s about 112 right now. I had just set down my suitcase when the owner ussered me out. She’d asked if I was hungry and proceeded to drop me off at a restaurant. A fancy restaurant. I was not ready. I dined alone, and it was awkward. It was about a thirty minute wait for my food and I was silent most of the time. I did try an authentic Sangria though. I hate the taste of wine, but that Sangria taste has been with me since childhood. It’s a drink that my Hispanic culture sometimes claims to cure ailments.

Friday, July 6th- Apartment Hunting!

We need a place to live, so me and the other three homeless interns visited a few places. At the last apartment of the day we met up with another intern in our program and spontaneously decided to go to the beach. It was a great surprise trip, but I was not dressed for the beach and could only stare longingly at the ocean.

Saturday, July 7th- Getting in the Ocean for the First Time!

This time we did it right! We slept in, then went to eat. We invited the intern we’d run into the previous day and went to the beach prepared this time. I’d never gotten in the ocean before, so I was smiling like an idiot even as I spat up salt water. I can’t believe I live on an island!

Sunday, July 8th- Errands to Run

The supermarket tour for my internship was at 7am, so the three interns I’m sharing a house with at the moment and I woke up around 6am. The tour was given by the interns from this year and lasted around 3 hours! Ow. My feet hurt from standing there and listening to stuff I already know. Oh well.

After this, we did a safety training and traveled to the hospital for a check up (also a requirement for the internship). However we weren’t able to get the check ups done because we were missing some paperwork, so we went to the mall instead. We bought shoes that we need for our clinical rotations later on and got some dinner. Now we are hanging out at our Airbnb waiting to the confirmation of our move in date from the realtor.

Notes:

1) Sorry for the brevity. I still don’t have an apartment here in Puerto Rico since my flight got in on Thursday. I’ve been staying at Airbnbs since I arrived and trying to figure out internship requirements as well. Currently, I’m at an Airbnb without internet so I did a good chunk of this blog on my phone. Hopefully we get to move into our apartment by Wednesday. Once I have internet and an apartment I’ll be able to work on this much better. I can’t wait!

Submission

Originally Published January 23rd 2018

I’ve beat myself into a dull submission. I don’t feel the motivation to read or write or breathe. Nah, I’m just feeling melancholy and poetic. It’s only the first full week of classes and I feel overwhelmed. It is like most things in my life. As soon as I get close to a tangible end I sever the rope. Maybe I’m afraid of progress and the outcome of opportunity. There are too many thoughts. One says, “talk about how you rely too much on people and always have”. Another whispers, “tell about how you drive people away with anger and cruelty”. A third screams, “none of it matters, so why are you still typing?”. I don’t hear voices. They are simply my inner thoughts. Sometimes I think the voices, external voices that is, would be comforting. Though abusive, I’d finally feel like a true victim. For now though, the thoughts are just that, intangible and taunting, with my own voice.

Where do they come from? From me? My environment? That old question of nature and nurture. I just hope it’s not me. I don’t like the me that snaps on a dime or can’t talk to her roommates for fear of saying something overly cruel. They are beginning to become scared of me. Not in an intimidating way. The three of us know my limitations. Oh, recap, I have two roommates at this time in my life. One tall ex-football player and the another, a feisty woman. Richard and Mariah. What a pair! I could write about them forever. However, I have a larger concern at the moment. I don’t pretend that they are afraid I could overpower either of them. It is not a physical danger they wince at. They begin that treacherous walk on the eggshells of my unpredictability. For at any moment, my mood can go from sunshine to electric storms.

Sometimes it is best to ignore a problem than to confront it. They do it very well. I’m surprised by two things. One, that I held out for so long. So long in fact, that I almost believed my cruelty to be false. Who would be so cruel anyway? I am. Two, I am surprised that they tolerate it. Yet, I am not surprised by that. Like I said, sometimes ignorance and denial seem like the easiest solution. It is not, by the way. Ignorance makes pain fester; and pain, in my case, makes a snappy and paranoid Lizzie. That’s the other thing. I don’t know if I truly believe in truth. How can we be real when this society values reputation and achievement which is often facilitated by charm and the social graces, while simultaneously destroyed by those magical factors. I’m sleepy. Finally. Look at that. Another cesspool of regurgitated thoughts. I’m sorry for the stream of consciousness. Again, that is not my intended method, but sad women will do what they will.

Grocery Store Homage

It is 2am currently. I still count it as Tuesday. Fine, I’m a bit late. One thing you will find out about me is that if it’s professional or academic, I’ll be on time, early even, but if you show me even a hint of friendliness, I’m always late. ~Sorry I think there’s some friendliness between us!~ Okay, here we go.

If I do not mention you, odds are I simply didn’t know you well enough, or I didn’t have many good things to say. Also, I only wrote about people who I worked with this summer (2018). If I do mention you, everyone except Bella has a pseudo name that begins with the same letter as your actual name and I’ve included personal hints to help you identify yourselves.

Co-workers:

Joyce,

Thank you for being my friend. We started this journey around the same time and though we part every few months for school and other life adventures I am always glad to see your familiar, friendly face. I hope to keep in touch or at the very least, come back to see you off once you graduate.

Shaun,

You made some of my worst days into my best. You have this easy going way about you that I connect with. I love the cynicism in you and your own commitment to better your life. Stay focused and best of luck as you transfer to university. You’ll do great!

Jaden,

You make work so much fun. Going to the movies with you was nice too. For the record, it’s not just me who thinks you are a wonderful social butterfly. Others at work say the same thing. You are open and accepting which is halfway there for most people. I wish you great success as you pursue your music career. Have fun and come back with stories to tell.

Alison,

Thank you for the inspiration for my first post about the grocery store. You were the person to come to with work frustrations. I hope you find a job that makes you happy and that you finally move out of Texas. Personally, I love the lone star state, but you have dreams and I hope you achieve them. Thanks for all of the support those nights we closed together and thanks for going to the mall with me as a little send off before I move.

Mark,

I still remember teaching you how to input codes on the register. I remember how shy you were to ask for me help. You didn’t want to bother me. When I got back from school I was actually surprised and proud to see you all by yourself on a register. I know I’m younger than you, but that was a proud mama moment for me. You’ll go far, kid. 🙂

Bella,

I really do hope you work on your own blog or channel. I will be waiting to do that collab we talked about as I cleaned registers! I love your kind personality. You always have something to talk about. If only you could have taught me your ways before I left the store. Oh well. Keep being you, because the person you are is even prettier than your name.

Gavin,

I’ll remember your kind, open demeanor more than your fun facts. Share that with others too. I wish you happiness and good, kind customers. You have so much enthusiasm. Thank you for always trying to make other’s days better. You deserve great things.

Paul,

I shared some of my best morning shifts with you. I haven’t been a morning person in years, but you brought back glimpses of when I was. Thank you. You are such a kind man. I enjoyed our conversations. I’m going to have to watch more horror movies and get back to you with my thoughts on them. Best of luck at the grocery store. You are an excellent worker and an equally amazing co-worker.

Chrisy,

I remember when you had just started. You were kind and treated me with respect and friendliness from the start. As I left and came back from school, you continued to smile every time you saw me. Every time I returned from school I had less and less of an urge to smile at the grocery store, but I could never help myself when I saw your encouraging smile. Thank you.

Felicity,

Thank you for being that friendly face I was always happy to see. You are easy to talk to. Best of luck on your move coming up. I wish you and your family the very best.

Time for the managers:

Anna,

I remember your kindness and caring from day one. Thanks for always looking out for me. You are many people’s favorite manager. I’ve never heard a negative word about you. I’m glad you moved departments. I hope you continue to take opportunities as they come and that you don’t lose that great empathy you have for others.

Eve,

You are kind and gracious. I found a kindred spirit in you from day one. Compassion radiates from you. You checked on me and reassured me even when I didn’t need it. Thank you for treating me and others, I’m sure, as more than subordinates. I remember when I was having a spike in anxiety and I told you I’d meditated a bit upstairs and I was okay then. You related and told me your sister mediates. You could have just sent me back to my register without a word, but you didn’t. Thank you. Please, continue showing as much compassion to others.

Liam,

Thanks for sticking up for me and talking to me like a human being and not just another employee. Two instances stick in my mind. The time you took me aside and coached me on how to sell those promotional products we keep by the registers. I was shocked you took the time to talk with me one on one. Though I don’t think I sold a single item that day, please know, I was an anxious mess with every customer the rest of that day. I did not win against my anxiety that day, but I was fighting to ask every customer about the item.

The second instance was when I was at my wit’s end and I asked you what the process for quitting was. You told me, but you also encouraged me to stay. You told me I was good at my job. I’m not sure I completely believe that even now, but I know you did when you said it. You saw potential in me and were the reason I pushed through. I still have anxiety, but I am not a quitter. Thank you. Please, show others this kindness. Believe in others when they can’t see it.

Chris,

I’m still mad at you. Yet, I can’t be. Same as always. I know you care about people, but sometimes you focus more on the job than the people doing it. You scolded me about a policy once, which I deserved. What you may or may not have known is that I’d had my hand crushed by a watermelon minutes before you corrected me. Not a good time for more negativity. Yet. I’m can’t be mad. You are just doing your job and you do it well. Thank you for always explaining why you sent me where you did or asked me to do what. Either you just think out loud or you understand that one of my motivators is helping out the group.

Whatever the case is, I’ve worked with you for years and you are the manager who I (and from what I’ve heard, many others too) trust is on top of everything at the grocery store. You have an eye for organization. When you are having a good day and that leadership combines with your caring personality, you are one of the best managers I’ve had. Give my old fellow cashiers more good days like that.

Marcus,

I remember when you started as a cashier. You were just another one of us. You told me you’d come from another store, but you were cool and nice. We got along well. Then one day I came back from school leave and you were one of the managers. You still remained laid back and nice though. It was fun working with you. I think you are the only manager that ever sat with me during my lunch break. Show that relatable, funny personality to others. It made it fun to work with you.

Micah,

So open and friendly! I wish I’d gotten that pair of cheesecakes to share like we’d commented once. You are so sweet and it’s obvious you care about the cashiers as people. Your orders and assignments are conscious and you care enough to try to take people’s personalities and preferences into account. Keep up the good work! I wish I’d gotten to know you better.

Crystal,

We didn’t talk much except when you comforted me as I had a panic attack. Thank you for allowing me to take my time and calm down before you let anyone send me off to work. Every time you asked “how are you?” from then on I felt as if I could respond honestly. That’s kind of huge when literally hundreds of people would ask me that per day. Thank you.

Lexi,

You do the people thing too well. I was taken aback by it at first, but then I studied a bit of business. You do it well and you taught me a lot. You run the department well. I hope to visit after my adventures in Puerto Rico and, hopefully, make you proud with my progress. I remember that performance review and how you said you believed I could do better with people and innovation. I am an innovative person, but not an outspoken one. With a little coaxing I would have exceeded all expectations regarding that subject. People however, I continue to work at. Thank you for believing in me.

Customers:

That’s going to have to be another post. I have so many customer stories. Good, bad, funny, sad, and any combination of the above.

Thank you,

to everyone who I had the opportunity to work with at the grocery store. I remember a time when I only saw three benefits to my job there: the money, the people, and this cool uniform pullover I owned. You guys got me through three years working there and I am grateful. Best of luck whether you continue working there or you have moved on. Have fun where ever life takes you and if I don’t see you at the grocery store one day, feel free to see what I’m up to through this blog or any of my social media. Thanks, again.

Week of June 25th 2018- Piecing Together the Week

I did nothing this past week. Well, nothing on this blog at least. I was preoccupied… Yes, let’s say that. Since I didn’t write everyday, I only remember big moments from my week. I remember being in a funk. Which is code for depressed, in my case. My therapist last year said my symptoms are consistent with persistent depression; which just means I’m always in a state of low grade depression, but I also get episodes of strong depression mixed in. Does that make sense? Well, this was another one of those. I was feeling crappy as I tend to do, but it was a worse type of crappy than usual. That’s the simplified explanation. Now that we are, hopefully, on the same page, let’s try to piece together the week, shall we?

Monday, June 25th- Let Family Spoil You

Work 7:30am- 3:30pm

My dad drove me to work. He picks me up 8.5 hours after I clock in for full shifts, but this day I had a weird 7.5 hour shift (half hour for lunch implied). I called home and then waited in the cafe area for him to arrive. Why do I have my dad drive me when I have a car that I could drive myself? My favorite book. It’s called Cut and it’s by Patricia McCormick. There’s this scene towards the end of the book that encourages the main character to let her dad go that extra mile to take care of her. “let him” So, I let my dad trouble himself. It makes him feel useful, I hope, and even if I’m grumpy in the mornings before my shift and tired after them, it’s still another 30 minutes or so a day I spend with him that I probably wouldn’t otherwise.

We ran some errands after this. Went to pick up food from my favorite Chinese restaurant, went to my doctor’s office to pick up my shot records that my internship is asking for, and (finally!) went to exchange my old phone’s sim card for the proper size for my new phone. Not sure what happened after.

Tuesday, June 26th- Who knows.

No work. Was supposed to translate a couple of old posts into Spanish, which I clearly didn’t do, because as I mentioned I did not do a single thing for this blog all week. Let’s keep investigating and come back. Really blank on this day. Don’t think I went or did anything actually. No, I didn’t. I had plans on Wednesday, so I didn’t even do laundry this day. I guess I just sulked all day.

Wednesday, June 27th- Drinking, Bowling,  Movies with Joyce and Inspiring Bloggers

I went out with Joyce today! Joyce started working at the grocery store I work at around the same time I did three years ago, but this is the first time we ever hung out outside of work. Naturally, we decided to go get drinks. Problem was the bar we met at was closed for a private event. So we roamed around the surrounding shopping area, stepped in a fancy bowling ally only to be eyed funnily by a posh guy in a suit. It was a fancy bowling ally. So, we stepped right out and decided to just catch a movie. We watched The Incredibles 2. I was very impressed with the movie. I know it’s tailored as more of a kid’s movie, but the themes hit home. Yes, technology dependence is out of control nowadays and yes, sometimes you need to be a hypocrite to improve the world. Just a couple of examples.

The best part of the outing, for me, was after the movie. I’d had my dad drive me to the bar since I preferred to have a ride back after drinking than driving myself, so Joyce and I ended up chatting in the parking lot of our workplace until my dad arrived. We talked about the usual, boys. Then moved on to our dreams and hopes for the future. Included in this, was the topic of my blog. We talked about social media and other online methods like video blogging to share our stories and I think I may have inspired the creation of another blog. Yay! One of my friends (Mariah) has already started her own blog* after hearing me babble about mine. Hee hee hee, soon I will have my own legion of bloggers to collab with!!

Thursday, June 28th- Shattering a Jar of Bay Leaves and Cathartic Singing

Work 7:30am to 4pm. Meeting at work at 7pm

The most memorable thing about this day was the cathartic episode between work and the meeting. Like I mentioned above, I was in a low grade, but worsening, funk all week. What finally broke me was me breaking a little glass jar of bay leaves. It was easy to deny my sluggishness as part of my usual low grade depression, until I broke that little jar. Sure, I always have the lingering low grade depression, but I’m the person with a small scar on her left index finger because I once, instinctively, tried to catch a carton of foil as it fell. I caught it by the jagged metal teeth. Yet, I didn’t even try to reach for the jar of bay leaves. I didn’t even register them falling until I heard the shattering glass. Slow movement sounds like a dumb, fake symptom of depression. At least, it did to me until this occurrence.

I couldn’t deny it anymore. I was not okay. There’s the usual that I was upset about (low self-esteem and body image are favorites), but what pushed it over the edge was a falling out with a friend the night before. It happened late at night (or early morning, if you prefer) around 1 or 2am. By the end of it, I was furious. I felt played. Betrayed. And I do not wish to speak to this person again. I was angry. I fumed. Told them off. But I did not cry. I didn’t yell. I sent angry texts, but otherwise did not physically react. After the bay leaf incident, I felt the belated tears. I was so angry. So devastated. I locked myself in my room as the tears streamed down my face. I told myself to get the emotions out. I tried to sing, but I probably couldn’t have spoken if I’d wanted to. My throat was so tight.

But, I pushed through that hideous knot in my throat and sang/whispered tentatively. Slowly, my voice got stronger. I picked belting songs so I could scream. One song, I couldn’t even finish. It’s an amazingly emotional song. Kitchen Sink by Twenty One Pilots. I’d never sung that line “Leave me alone. Don’t leave me alone.” with as much truth and pain. (minute 4 in the link) I surprised myself. I couldn’t get through the end vocals. They just turned into racking sobs. Something out of a movie. I couldn’t recreate it if I tried. Over an hour later, I was back to my mediocre wannabe singing voice and began to get ready for the meeting at work.

Friday, June 29th- More Blogging Buddies?

Work 12:30pm to 9pm.

At the meeting on Thursday, I announced that I have a blog, so I began giving out my business cards and trying to get people to commit to hanging out on Monday or Tuesday before I leave for Puerto Rico. Can’t remember anything eventful today except talking to Bella. I was cleaning registers and she was heading home for the day. I found out that she either has a budding blog or is thinking of starting one. What is with everyone embracing this online autonomy? It’s awesome! We both got super excited with the thought of doing a collab in the future. I don’t think anything else memorable happened.

Saturday, June 30th- Breakfast with Lyza

Work 4pm to 10pm.

I didn’t sleep well. I woke up sometime after noon. I know because my childhood friend Lyza wanted to go for breakfast or lunch this day, but I wasn’t awake until after she texted me. We ended up going to IHOP or should I say IHOB. Yes, this is when IHOP did their promotional name change stunt. Smart actually. Gutsy, but smart. They did get a ton of attention for it. Anyway!! I (finally) added her and my brother on SnapChat after eating some biscuits and gravy. Yum! I’m going to miss that and sweet tea. *sigh* Goodbye southern foods! Afterwards I went to work. It was a decent day. It was like I was wearing rose colored glasses. I was so aware I may or may not see some of my co-workers or customers again. So, I played nice.

Sunday, July 1st- Last Day Working at the Grocery Store

Finally! Today I was super aware of many lasts. My last dash upstairs to put my lunchbox in the fridge before clocking in. The last time I got mad at a manager for putting me on a register. The last time I got petty comments from customers. The last time I’d say “Hello, how are you? Did you find everything you needed?” The last time I had to call a manager for a price check. I told one of the guys who work for a grocery delivery company it was my last day. I saw him often enough and it was his last order of the day. He saluted me. X) That was sweet. I also got a few hugs and a danish from my co-workers.

I stopped myself from crying a couple of times. The last time was when I ran into an old cashiering buddy (she switched departments, so I found her next to the vitamins as I went to pick up that danish a co-worker bought me). I broke off the conversation to go get my danish because saying goodbye was getting to me. To make things worse, I ran into my ex. I met him when he worked in the same department as me two years ago. Now, I ran into him in the dairy department, which is adjacent to the bakery. It wasn’t the first time I passed him in the hall as I dashed over for a danish. I told him this would be the last time we met under these circumstances. He said I looked happy to leave. I said I had to, or else I’d cry. My eyes started to water as I turned around to find that darn danish. He knows how much I hate goodbyes, so he didn’t say anything. Just let me go.

I’m glad to be done with the phase in my life where I had to work a job due to necessity. Not skill or interest. But I am heartbroken to leave so many wonderful people behind. I can say whatever I want about the company (actually a great company to work for), but they sure know how to hire good people. Okay. I need to stop. Not about to cry now!

 

Notes:

*I will ask Mariah if she wishes me to include a link to her blog. It would break her anonymity, so I have to make sure she is okay with that.

  1. I’m rather impressed I remembered as much as I did. I really did write all of this in the last three hours Sunday night (or Monday morning, if your prefer!). It’s almost 4am Monday right now.
  2. I hope to have gained some readers with all the shameless business card shoving at work. I was a restaurant management major for a semester. I should know what I’m doing, right? :p If you are an old co-worker, welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
  3. Either way, thank you for sticking by this weird piecing together of last week. I have social plans for the next three days up until I fly out to Puerto Rico and start dealing with apartment hunting and other internship preparations (internship doesn’t officially begin until August). Wish me luck! As of yet, I have a one way plane ticket and not much else. Not even a hotel… eep!