It is Thursday night as I begin writing this. I hadn’t planned on returning to this blog. I mean, I’m glad that I have, but it happened naturally, not as part of a New Year’s resolution or personal goal or anything of the sort. It’s probably better that way. I’m back because I want to be, not because I’m forcing myself to be.
I was going to start weekly blogging two nights ago, on Tuesday, but as I started writing I realized there were countless battles I waged with myself over the last six months in my mind, that I had to at least attempt to explain those occurrences on the surface. Here’s that attempt at a sort of update. The following night (Wednesday) I figured I may as well start fresh with the start of the New Year and make a weekly blog post of my first week of the year.
Yep… so now it’s Thursday… Let’s see what I can remember…
Monday, Jan. 6th- Probably Made a 10 Week Triathlon Training Plan
I technically stayed up Sunday night until early Monday morning (3am-ish) to make a training schedule, so that counts, right? Well, I already had a plan, but upon a bit more research I found it probably would not have been ideal. It was much more intense than a beginning training schedule should be. I haven’t exercised in about a month (minus the day before and the day of that indoor triathlon I’d done on Sunday). Starting from 0 to 12 hours of exercise a week probably would not have been a good way to start the season.
So, much to my dismay, this week’s plan is about 4 hours. I mean, from 0 to 4 hours that’s still a big jump, but I am antsy. I like to progress fast and am prone to getting impatient if I don’t see results in whatever it is I do. I like positive change and more than that, I like the validation or proof of it happening. But, fine… Slow and steady, that’s what they say wins the race, right? *sigh… Lessons in patience, I guess. Today was my first day I didn’t have other engagements since getting back from my trip to West Texas with my college buddies, so apart from making a family meal plan for the week and going on an hour indoor bike ride, I just relaxed and watched T.V. with my mom.
Below will be this week’s training plan, but basically it consists of 2 one hour stationary bike rides, 2 thirty minute treadmill runs/walks, and 2 thirty to forty minute indoor pool swims.
Tuesday, Jan. 7th- Probably Finally Paid for Dietetic State Licensure and Translated for Brother’s Doctors Appointments
Yes, I finally took a moment to read through some important emails about my new dietetic license and the accompanying fees and continuing education requirements I need to complete. I should be getting an official card with my state license to practice dietetics in Texas in the next two or three weeks. Yay!
Other than that, I got up at 6:13am. Know how I remember that? Because my dad and brother usually leave the house by 6:10am and I was so tired I’d fallen asleep after waking up for the first time at 5:45-ish am. I kid you not, we were in the car and on our way by 6:15am. I don’t even know how I got out of bed and dressed that fast…
But, it was important to me to go. Yes, it’s my brother’s appointment, but my dad does a lot to help my brother with his health and this was his 1 year check up appointment with several different doctors and disciplines after his kidney transplant. So… yes, important. And important for me to go to ease the language barrier. I know hospitals have translators, but if I’m available, why not help out?
Case in point: while doing a sonogram we found out my brother had his gallbladder removed. Neither my dad nor my brother knew (my brother was too young to remember at the time we suspect it was removed). I’m sure my dad signed the papers necessary to allow the surgery, but there was a lot going on at the time and I highly suspect when situations get critical there’s less time to get a translator and talk through every little (or not so little) procedure. I’m glad to be back so things like this aren’t as likely to happen.
Wednesday, Jan. 8th- Translating for Mom’s Doctor’s Appointment and Why I Care About Language so Much
A lot has happened since summer when I wrote my last “weekly” blog, haha…… so before posting that this weekend, this is the shortest version I could bring myself to write about the highlights (and lowlights) of the last six months since I’ve moved back in with my parents.
Lots of Sadness with One Glimmer of Happiness for someone else, not me (of course!)
It’s extremely depressing to realize you currently have nothing to live for. My mood is a fucking roller coaster. It is exhausting and always refreshingly strong in its mania and depression.
Be Careful What You Wish For…
So, I realized why I’m so miserable since I came home from my year-long internship in Puerto Rico. (Believe me, I was miserable there too, but in a different way.) I have nothing to live for. I don’t have anything going for me in my life. I thought this is what I wanted. I thought I could use several months to reset and improve my life. To focus on myself and in a sense set myself up for success when I ultimately begin my career. Nope. That did not work.
I’ve been back at my parent’s home since July. It’s been three months. Feels like so much longer. I hate the emptiness. I thought I wanted to be free of school and work stress. I dread getting a job, because people stress me out. I can’t live without anything at stake though. I’ve gone from one extreme to the next and every day I feel like I’m worse off. I had the opportunity to move to West Texas with a friend and I decided against that because my father in a heartfelt moment told me “you’ve suffered so much already”. He pretty much told me to take a long deserved break. That got to me.
Another Flashback to my Less than Perfect Childhood. Boo Hoo. Feel Free to Skip; You’ve Read This All Before.
Thinking back, my life has been as easy as an unfortunate life can be. By age ten I was used to the idea that I had to look after myself. Moreover, I felt responsibility for my family (my mother, brother, and father). By 14 and for the entirety of my high school years, I felt little to nothing. I was practically a kid. My mind was older, sage and self sacrificing and my body was grossly overweight like a middle aged woman, but my age was young. Too young for how I went about life and how it treated me.
I felt almost nothing those years. I remember admitting aloud that I did not feel love from my parents nor did I have feelings of love for them, but from my behavior you would not have been able to tell. They were my obligation. Fact, not feeling. I helped in anyway I could. Ways that shouldn’t have been asked of me and, to be fair, ways that were not asked of me.
Why I’m Obsessed with Achievements and Why I am a Masochist
But that is who I was. Who I still am, if these last three months mean anything. I tried to keep them happy. As happy as they could be, given the circumstances. I felt like their protector. I felt strong and learned to enjoy that spark of a high. If nothing else made me feel anything, being responsible for my family made me feel accomplished. Well, not that I could really feel that then. That may be why it did something for me. I didn’t have to feel it. It was evident. On paper and not in my heart, it was clear my playing the part of comedian, translator, perfect daughter, etc. was an accomplishment.
That’s how I learned the intoxicating power of selflessness. Of putting myself last. Of suffering for the health of others. And liking it. So, yes, to all of my friends who have come to know me personally and have asked me why I put so much on my plate or why I’m such a masochist. I finally have an answer for you. Selflessness meant something to me when nothing else did. So, in a sense, it wasn’t true selflessness, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time.
It gave me a purpose. School also gave me a purpose. My parents were preoccupied with other much more important things than me. I understood that and accepted it. I still do as much as it still hurts. I wasn’t about to stress them out more by being a mediocre student. So, I had a goal of high grades and going off to university to escape my home. As paradoxical as it sounds (and get used to that, because it’s the essence of my being), I strived for new academic heights as a way to please my parents, (well, not even that, just to not stress them) and I also did this for my own personal gain- escape.
But It Was Not Enough To Make Me Happy
I, understandably, was miserable. I grew up being told I was melodramatic. I believed it. I thought I should have been happy. My parents weren’t divorced, I had an older brother, had good grades, and a couple of friends plus those everyday things sometimes taken for granted like clothes, clean water, electricity, etc. and I was capable in many areas as my never ending new hobbies proved. I felt I should have been happy, but I knew I wasn’t. So I left.
Without more than enough money awarded to me by my high school to pay for the dorm fee and without the support of my father (to move several hours away) I left for university where my purpose was free from my need to please them. I learned my own values and began therapy. I learned to feel. I was finally happy. I was free. I was me. Then I, confused and without anyone knowledgeable to ask, I picked my major. Then changed it the next semester. (As always here is the link to that story.)
And I Set Myself Up For a Life of Self-Loathing
I feel as if I tried to fail out of that major throughout most of my time completing it. I almost did, in fact. An internship is mandatory in my career. I almost did not get matched….but I did. If you’ve read my blog during the last year, you’ll know how that went. (Hint: I say this in the truest sense of the word- I am traumatized.) Now I have to take an exam. That’s it. I’ve tried so hard to sabotage myself and this could be it.
I went through the education to become a pharmacy technician and simply did not take that exam. That sent my life in a completely different direction. I ended up doing hospitality/customer service work (more trauma there) instead of a much higher paying job in the field I originally sought to pursue. (Link to that story here.) This lead to my first choice of major (hospitality) and ultimately my degree (nutrition and dietetics).
I Believe I Could Be Happy if I Chose to Be… But Will I?
I think I could be happy in this career, but I spent so long fighting it, I don’t know with certainty anymore. I should feel blessed. I am grateful. I understand a bachelor’s degree is an accomplishment. But it doesn’t feel like anything to me. I feel like a failure. I am very disappointed in myself and my life choices. Half the time, I fully hate myself. After five years of working for this wretched career, I’m at a critical point of make or break. I have no doubt in my ability to pass the exam. I have the capacity to learn. I just have to convince myself it’s something I want to do.
That’s terrifying. I still don’t have an exam date. I haven’t registered. (I don’t have the money for it, plus I’m just putting it off.) I also don’t doubt the possibility that I simply will not take it. That I will have suffered though that despicable internship for nothing. I’m in limbo. If that’s the only thing I have to work towards, if that’s the only guiding light in my life right now, it’s no wonder I feel dead inside. I don’t have anything to life for. Worse yet, the only thing looming in front of me is a career that so far has brought me more pain than joy (and not the good type of pain!).
WOO HOO! Summary Time Finally!
That was to be my first point in this rambling: the biggest thing I have to work towards at the moment is something I’m almost convinced I dislike. Obviously, I’m resistant. Obviously, this makes me unhappy. My second point is that, being back in this household, I’ve lost the sense of myself I’d gained during the last five years on my own. I’m not the perfect daughter or sister, but I still have strong urges to help my family before myself.
With how depressed I’ve been, that has proven difficult, but when it comes down to it they are a higher priority to me than myself. That isn’t healthy. My third point, and one for a separate post because that’s a much longer complaint, is that triathlon training is slow. My faulty coping mechanism of emotional eating was never resolved during my years away from home, but it was improved, for sure. Nope. Now I hear my parent’s voices sometimes and instinctively reach for chocolate.
So yeah, TLDR: I’m miserable. I’m all kinds of messed up and I recently realized I currently have no pleasurable purpose in life.
SO… life sucks. Try to have a decent day, but if you can’t, I don’t blame you.
Heyyyy guysssss…. Yeah, I took a trip to West Texas the week before this then just didn’t write about it. If I decide to write about it it’ll be a Friday Thoughts and Past post. Basically I spent time with my old college friends that I hadn’t seen in over a year (since I graduated university). I stayed with Sherri, but on Monday she had to go to work, so I went to the park with Mariah and her fiance, Richard. There were too many children to have fun on the playground, so we ended up just walking around. I got some nice pictures by laying on the grass. Haha, Mariah then picked everything out of my hair and clothes as we walked.
When Sherri got home from work, she and I played Sims before making a quick spaghetti dinner and watching a few episodes of The Office. I’d never seen the show, so I was a bit lost, but it was cool. It was nice to have some down time with Sherri as she’s usually the kind to invite me to parties and other outings, haha.
Tuesday, July 23rd- All the Alphabet Games!
Time to head back home. :< The weekend wasn’t enough to catch up with my old friends. I had the opportunity to move in with Sherri, but I told her no. 😦 I’m not as brave as I once was. I don’t want any more adventures for a while. I just want to pass my licensure exam and then worry about getting a good job and money. I also have a sense of responsibility for my family and feel I’ve been running away from them long enough. Either way, I told her no, even though I am still considering moving down there so I won’t lead her on if I decide not to. Maybe I’m just leading myself on.
Mariah drove on the way back, so I was in charge of the navigation and music! 😀 We played so many music games that the hours just flew by! Our last game was an ABC game according to artist names. To make it harder, the song titles also followed the ABC format! XD It was interesting. We pulled up to my house while listening to Puff Daddy. XD
Wednesday, July 24th- Not Feeling It
I missed swim practice on Monday since I wasn’t in town and I didn’t run or bike all weekend either, but on Tuesday I was oddly energized. Today? Nah. I was so tired and over it. But I went to swim lessons anyway. That’s a big reason why I decided to take lessons even though I already know how to swim. I am terrible at self motivation.
Thursday, July 25th- Last Day of July Swim Lessons
I still wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t run or bike either. But I went to my final swim class and took a final dive with one of my classmates. All of the ladies in the class are about 20 years or older than me, but they were nice and charismatic. I’ll miss them.
Friday, July 26th- Borrrriiinnnggg
I think I just watched The Office today. X) Yeah, I started watching it from the beginning. It’s super cringe and I almost stopped watching it because of that, but then it became tolerable, and now I’m caught up to the episodes I watched with Sherri, haha.
Saturday, July 27th- Target Run
Yep, nothing else that exciting. I’ve essentially given up on studying at this point. I figure I’ll start when I’m in Mexico and have nothing else to do. I’ve also given up on running, biking, and swimming until I get back from Mexico. I’ll exercise at home in Mexico instead.
In the evening my mom noticed we needed more dog food, so we went to get that. Our dog Misty will be watched over by one of our neighbors (my best friend Lyza’s family) and our turtle, Frankie is currently on vacation herself with Mariah. She did me the favor of taking care of her until we return to Texas. 🙂 She sends me photos periodically which make me super happy.
Sunday, July 28th- To Mexico!!!
Finally this trip! It’s the reason I’ve accepted being a lazy freeloader for the past three weeks. Didn’t want to get a job and have to explain that I needed two weeks off right off the bat for vacation! Also…yeah I am naturally lazy… Anyway! Finally! Because of the whole moving to Puerto Rico thing for a year last summer, it’s been two years since I’ve been to Mexico. I’m excited and not.
I’m excited to see my favorite aunt and her kids, but a lot has changed. Her eldest daughter is married and pregnant, no longer living at home, her son is also out of the house, and her youngest daughter is still at home, but has a child of her own. Things are very different from two years ago when the eldest had just moved out.
What I’m really wary about is going to my father’s house in Mexico. It’s usually a safe haven for me that I love coming to to forget the stress of everyday life. It’s in a tiny town far away from everything and usually it’s just me and my dad, so while my dad spends time with his brother all day I get much appreciated alone time. Not this year. This year my mom and brother are coming with us. They don’t like the little town as much as my dad and I do, so they don’t visit every year. I sound like a jerk, but I like being alone… *sigh, not this year.
*Week 1 in Mexico
*Potential cabin fever being in a little house in an even smaller town with all of my immediate family.
*Spending time with my favorite aunt and her grown up children.
*I go to a Mexican dermatologist? I guess
*The Fair is in town! How do I always make it on time for that? I don’t plan it!
P.S. The internet (first year it’s available in our little house in rural Mexico) is super spotty. It took more than an hour to just get this post published after I finished writing it. Can’t wait to go to Mexico City. X)
Hey guys, my apologies for the spotty publishing schedule. Better late than never, right? I just got through a week of hanging out with my dad. Every. Single. Day. It was both good and not so good, haa. I tried to take him to all of my favorite places in Puerto Rico. So, if you ever come around the island, here’s where I recommend. 🙂 Get ready, ’cause this is a long post!
I usually take a ton of random photos every time I see something pretty, but for some reason I didn’t while my dad was here, so instead of a photo from every day most will be photos from Thursday in Old San Juan, haha. Also, I put links for the places and foods in Puerto Rico that we visited/ate to maps or websites that could give you more information, in case any of you busy bees want to skim through and find those quickly. 🙂 Enjoy!
Monday, April 15th- Dad’s First Day in Town and Enjoying my Old Neighborhood (more like avoiding my new neighborhood…)
Remember that my dad missed his connecting flight the previous day? Yep, that’s why he arrived bright and early at 3am today. I had promised Axyl I’d accompany him to the dentist to see if he would be able to have some dental surgery done. At 6:30am he wanted me to meet him at the dentist’s office. -___- I texted him around 6am when I awoke and mentioned how exhausted I was after only sleeping two or three hours, so he told me to sleep and that he’d let me know if he needed me. Yay sleep!
Now, the first place I wanted to take my dad to during his short vacation in Puerto Rico was around my neighborhood where I live. However… there’s a catch. I live with Axyl. My parents both expressed disagreement when I proposed moving out of my prior apartment and finding a place with him. Why? Because “eghhh a man and a woman shouldn’t live together eghhhh”. I expected that from my dad but my mom echoed his thoughts… surprisingly (as it is practically unheard of for my parents to agree on things). So, I dropped it and decided not to look for a place with Axyl. That was in December last year. Then in January all the accusations and things happened and Axyl was leaving. No arguments there. I struggled with what to do as I didn’t want to keep living with Karen and Robert after what happened and going with Axyl was uncertain and completely against my parent’s wishes. Ultimately, you guys know what happened. I took the leap of faith and went to live with him, without telling my parents. They think I found an apartment for myself and only myself….
For this reason, I couldn’t very well take my dad to my apartment and risk him finding Axyl casually lounging around in sweats! Which is why today I took him to my old neighborhood instead. Hato Rey is a nice area close to the banking district. The streets are wide and clean and close to my old apartment is Plaza las Americas, the largest mall in the Caribbean, let alone Puerto Rico. Before going to the mall, I took him to this little café called La Taza de Iche. It’s a small little shop across the street from the hospital where I did my food service rotation for five weeks. Good memories there. 🙂 At the mall I took him into a cutesy accessory shop that often has sales going on called Pozzazz, an ice cream shop popular in Puerto Rico called Soft and Creamy, and some other lamer places like Walgreeen’s and K-mart.
From here we went back by the cafe we’d gone to in the morning in order to go to this Puerto Rican restaurant called La Kosina that my dad had tried going to when he and I had come to Puerto Rico the last time and stayed in that area. It was closed that time, and closed this time. They close pretty early, around 3pm and it was probably around 4pm by the time we arrived. Since it was closed, we opted for my favorite chinese restaurant called First House China that’s close by there. Delicious as always! From there we went back to the Airbnb we’d rented until Wednesday and chatted about youth and technology before I gave up on getting any homework done and going to sleep.
Tuesday, April 16th- Taking my Dad to “my” Apartment and Showing him around my Neighborhood (my favorite ice cream shop and a local farmer’s market)
Now was the moment of truth! In order to show him the best places and foods I’d found while living here, I recommended staying in two different places: one in the metro area (anywhere as long as it was close to a train stop so I could show him places from my daily life) and the other close to a beach (any beach, so that I could show him the few scarce vacation-y/ fun places I’d been to in my almost non-existent free time). We would be moving to the second Airbnb on Wednesday where we’d stay until he left on Saturday. I had another day and a half to show my dad as many special places that I’d discovered in the last 9 or so months I’d lived here. It was quite a busy day today!
I took him to my neighborhood called Rio Piedras. It’s a quaint place close to the University of Puerto Rico. Maybe walking down a little further it’s not such a nice area, but if you know what direction to go it’s a friendly small neighborhood. Before getting here though, I took my dad to a fancy sandwich shop called Sobao. I don’t go there much on account of it being in an area of town I don’t often go to, but it brings back memories of quick lunches between meetings with the other interns and Saturday morning study sessions with Amanda at the beginning of the internship. From there, I introduced him to the closest thing to a dollar store I’ve ever seen on this island called Always 99and a popular supermarket chain called SuperMaxwhere we bought seafood to make sushi.
Gia loves sushi, so when I mentioned my dad knows how to make sushi I tried to get something going. I messaged Gia to see if we could go by her place (which is close to the only Asian store I know Oriental Food and Market). However, Gia had a study date with Karen, so no dice. With this change of plans we bought seafood that could be adapted into other things.
Finally in my neighborhood, but with Axyl still in our apartment, I distracted my dad with ice cream. There’s this local ice cream shop I love. It’s a calm place to go after a difficult day called Georgetti Heladeria where they make all natural ice cream and juices with real, fresh fruit. While Axyl was busy hiding all signs of his existence by shoving anything obviously not mine into out tiny closet, my dad and I enjoyed an ice cream cone (I tried their pineapple flavor for the first time and it was amazing!) and some freshly made fruit juice. We tried tamarind (nice and sour!) and acerola (a cousin of the cherry that grows in the Caribbean). Both were good, but not better than a recent favorite tropical fruit of mine, passion fruit (or parcha in Puerto Rican spanish).
Once Axyl sent me the all clear, I took my dad to visit “my” apartment. We found a reusable bag on my second desk (not suspicious at all) which was filled with tea. I don’t like tea, but as I pulled it out in order to use the bag (which had to be mine in my dad’s unknowing eyes) I made something up about them being freebies from some place or another. Otherwise, what would I be doing with tea?… With bag in hand, I led my dad to Plaza del Mercadowhich is a farmer’s market inside a large building. There’s a ton of produce stands, some butchers, dry goods sellers, and a small cafeteria area. I don’t remember what we bought there, but on the way to the market there are a lot of clothing shops. There my dad bought a t-shirt with Puerto Rico stated proudly on the front at a guy’s clothing store called La Nueva Era and I bought a black shirt with pineapples dotted on it at a woman’s clothing store called Rainbow. 🙂
Back at “my” apartment we made shrimp cocktail and crab salad with the things we’d bought at the grocery store in the morning. However, since my dad considers these things as more of a side dish or appetizer he insisted on going somewhere to eat before heading back to our Airbnb. Burger King was close by, so that’s where we went. I guess that was appropriate as it’s probably the most popular fast food restaurant in Puerto Rico. (Yes, more than McDonald’s.)
Wednesday, April 17th- Moving into the New Airbnb, Stopping by the Department of Health, and Enjoying the First Beach I Ever Went to in Puerto Rico
Moving day!! We had to be out by 11am and couldn’t check into our other Airbnb until 3pm. That was just as well though since I had some business to take care of at the Department of Health that day. Remember the witch of a dietitian I was with during the previous week? Yeah, well I took a book she had let me borrow for the rotation. I technically was still working on stuff for the rotation (corrections that were due on or before Monday of next week). However, I didn’t think it pertinent to mention that I was taking the book home with me. I will give her props. The email she sent asking if I had the book was well written and didn’t have an accusatory tone. Ha! It’s funny it took her until Tuesday to notice it was missing! I responded that I had thought of returning it when I dropped off my completed binder, but that if she needed it sooner I could probably bring it by on Tuesday or Wednesday. She said, “yeah better it be this week”. Woman didn’t even know it was gone! What does she need it for? Whatever. I agreed to drop by to return it.
So, at 11am, we took all our stuff out of the Airbnb and onto our backs. My dad suggested dropping off our things at “my” apartment then going to the health department or where ever else we wanted to go before heading to the new Airbnb. I quickly refused that suggestion on account that I didn’t want to force Axyl to scramble to hide or risk my dad finding out I do not in fact live alone. So, I made some excuse about it being more roundabout to go all the way to my apartment, then back to the health department, then to the restaurant I wanted to take him to, then back for the stuff. He couldn’t force me to agree, so off we went to the Health Department where we ran into my internship director as she was leaving for the day. Ha! I was all awkward like “heyy, yeahh, I’m showing my dad around haaaaaa”. X) What’s wrong with me? Another one of the office ladies greeted my dad before I left him in the little office space for the interns and went to face my dietitian from last week.
I returned the book, but my witchy dietitian (my preceptor) wasn’t there. Her co-worker was, so I asked her if the Health Department would be open on Friday so that I could turn in my work. I also asked if she knew anything about the corrections I was supposed to be sent since I hadn’t received a single correction to work on. She informed me that the Health Department would be closed both Thursday and Friday and that she would let my preceptor know I’d come by, but that she’d be back soon either way. I had planned to just drop off the book and go, but upon hearing this I told her I was going to be around the office down the hall in case my preceptor wanted to tell me anything. She assured me she’d be back soon, but an hour and a half of waiting later there was still no sign of her. So I took my dad and left.
Before moving into our new Airbnb, I took my dad to that Puerto Rican restaurant again. This is the third time we go and it’s closed. Technically this time it was closing, not closed, so my dad walked in. Seeing all the chairs put up and the room dimly lit (as the lights were off), he still went in and asked why they closed so early. He was told since it was easter week they hadn’t made much food and it’d run out after the lunch rush, so they were closing early. -___- We ate at the chinese place again instead. Well, I took him to another Puerto Rican restaurant, but that place was close to closing too. It was 1:15pm!! Also, the food from that other place isn’t good, in my opinion. It’s the second time I come in, look at the food on the line, excuse myself, and walk out. XD
After the chinese restaurant, we took a train then an Uber to our new Airbnb. It was five minutes away from the first beach I ever went to in Puerto Rico and in my adult life: Ocean Park! We went for a while, but it was getting dark and Ocean Park is infamous for its crazy big waves, so we didn’t stay too long.
Thursday, April 18th- Beautiful, Historic Old San Juan, the Prettiest Beach in the Area (in my humble opinion), and Letting an Uber Driver Pick our Dinner
Finally, the place my dad had been waiting to go to: Old San Juan! It’s a beautiful place with cobblestone roads and well constructed little buildings smushed together in all colors. To one end there’s a castle and to the other there’s a beach. It’s a super tourist-y area, but I came here for the first time with Chance on our first date, so it has a special place in my heart. ❤ We walked around. Didn’t really go in any shops, but did goof around a little outdoor exercise area, took pictures of the sea, and bought some local delights like traditional Puerto Rican lollipops (pilones) and snow cones (piraguas). We also went to my favorite spot here… Parque de las Palomas!!! (the Pigeon Park)
I love going to this little area. At the entrance of this dedicated park space is a lady that sells corn and other things to feed the pigeons. With a dollar’s worth of corn, my dad and I had a blast feeding the pigeons. At one point, I had about five on me! (Follow me on Instagram to see those pictures! @MyDragonflyLife.blog) One on my hand munching away at the corn, then one on my shoulder and a couple more on my arm. I was so happy! C: Haha, at one point when I had only one on my arm my dad randomly scoops it up and the little chubby pigeon is confused until he sets her back down on my arm. You and me both, little pigeon. X)
Then I made the mistake of standing under a tree filled with pigeons. Yep. At least the poop landed on my hair and not my face! Time to go to the beach and wash off. While Ocean Park was my first beach and I will forever hold it dear in my heart, the beach by Old San Juan (El Escambron) is special for other reasons. To me, it’s the most beautiful beach relatively close to where I live. It’s not tourist-y, but is very popular with the locals, so it’s a good environment. There are restrooms and showers which is a great plus. My only complaint is that there are practically no waves. I like waves. It makes the ocean fun and a smidge dangerous! :3 I guess it does make it easier to swim though, so that’s nice. I’ve made some amazing memories there with Chance and also with Gia. Aughh, I wish I were there right now!
On the way back from El Escambron we took an Uber. The driver was a very social lady who recommended a ton of different places for me to take my dad. I don’t have a car here. If I did I would have taken him to El Yunque (a national forest) and to one or both of Puerto Rico’s islands (Vieques and Culebra, specifically Flamenco Beach in Culebra). Instead of taking us back to our Airbnb like originally planned, we allowed the nice Uber driver to take us to a seafood restaurant in Piñones she highly recommended called Mi Casita Seafood. The area outside the restaurant was full (but I mean the streets were lined!) with stands of fried foods called frituras. Augh! We ate so well at the restaurant that we were too full to roam around and try those fried goodies though.
At the restaurant I did get my dad to try one fried thing called alcapurrias (it was filled with crab). I want to like it, but there are just so many better fried foods (I prefer empanadas). There he also tried mofongo (a savory plantain dish) and amarillos (a sweet plantain dish). The best thing though? Chillo (Red Snapper). My dad ordered a whole fish! And it was delicious!! I’d never tried it. (I live in the capitol city of San Juan where there’s not as much seafood available.) I highly, highly recommend the chillo at Mi Casita Seafood if you’re ever in Puerto Rico! One other thing I wish I’d gotten my dad to try and that I love in Puerto Rico is Flan de Queso (Cheese Flan). Yum!
Friday, April 19th- Hanging out with Gia at our Final Beach of the Week and Going out with my Dad to a Bar to Meet up with Amanda and Axyl
Only one place left I wanted to make sure to take my dad. His flight was set for Saturday at 4pm, so I planned an easy itinerary for his last full day with me. Isla Verde Beach! This is the most tourist-y of the beaches I’ve mentioned. It’s by a bunch of hotels, so that’s to be expected. What I like about this beach is that it has waves, but not super crazy ones like Ocean Park and…. the beach food! They sell empanadas and pinchos (meat skewers) right on the beach! So good! It was a bit lonely after spending four days in the exclusive company of my dad and Gia had expressed interest in coming to the beach with me one of the days this week, so she met us here. I hadn’t seen her in over a week, so it was great to catch up.
We chatted and ate chicken pinchos before moving out conversation into the ocean and drifting with the waves as we talked. It was nice to have company from someone other than my dad for the first time this week. X) That’s why after the beach I suggested we go to a restaurant me and some of the other interns had gone to early on before the internship began (when Gia, Karen, Robin, Axyl, and I actually got along). It’s a medium priced “Mexican” restaurant close to Ocean Park called La B de Burro. I think last time we’d just stopped for drinks (which are good, but not amazing) but the food isn’t bad either (but also not amazing). I guess the memory with my fellow interns was better than actuality.
From here I walked Gia to a nearby bus stop and told my dad I’d meet him back at the Airbnb which was walking distance. But there didn’t seem to be a bus stop where there was supposed to be one, so I took Gia back to the Airbnb where she showered and then waited for my dad and me to shower and change before we’d walk her to another bus stop. My dad and I were going to walk to the bar Axyl works in (he’d invited us to visit him at work) where we’d meet up with Amanda. But… remember that Axyl and Gia have bad blood? Yeahhh… she wasn’t invited. It got late and we ended up taking an Uber. It was dark by now, so Gia got herself an Uber home. My sweet dad asked if she was going with us when she saw she wasn’t following us into our Uber. Aw, my poor unknowing dad!
It’s a swanky, pricey, fancy restaurant and bar! o.o I’d never been in a place like that. I mean, it wasn’t a country club or anything like that where they don’t let commoners like me in, but it was a bit intimidating. Luckily, the bar was in plain sight and I spotted Axyl quickly. He got us started with some drinks while we waited on Amanda who still had not arrived. Axyl asked my dad if he remembered him from the orientation back in May, and it was clear that he did not. They made some small talk where it came up that Axyl and I used to live together (we shared a room when we lived in the apartment with Karen and Robin). My dad asked if he lived alone now. Axyl, not being a dummy, said he did, in fact, live alone and that it was better. That he was done living with roommates. XD Way to sell it Axyl! HA!
Eventually Amanda arrived as did a second drink, compliments of Axyl. He’s a good mixologist, I have to give him that! The drinks were tasty and strong! My dad definitely remembered Amanda (when I mentioned her name he exclaimed, “oh yeah, the lady that talks a lot!” haha!). With all of us together, Amanda, Axyl, and I complained about the internship and talked about upcoming assignments as my dad just sat by with his beer and listened. I think I was a bit tipsy by then because I began gushing about how great Amanda and Axyl are. XD How they are complete opposites (Amanda is all positive and hopeful while Axyl is a cynic and is just waiting until the day he can leave Puerto Rico). How they are entertaining to hang out with because they bicker playfully all the time. XD That was fun.
Saturday, April 20th- SURPRISE! Travel Turmoil and Sneaking Around (into “my” Apartment and to Spend Time with Chance)
Final day with my dad. …Or that was the plan! I woke up to the news that there had been a big storm in Florida that’d destroyed a lot of property and killed about 5 people. Understandably, my dad’s trip back to Texas, with a connecting flight in Florida, got canceled. Shoot! I was instantly grumpy. This was the last day at this Airbnb. We had to be out by 11am. There was no place for my dad to stay. He’d probably insist on staying at “my” apartment which really isn’t just my apartment! I needed to get him off my island! I tried to switch his flight. Tried on his phone and on my laptop, but just got error messages. I called the airline and, after being on hold for an hour, got the customer service representative to tell me what I’d seen online: that the next available flight wasn’t until Monday morning at 3am. Shit!!! What could I do but agree?
I was so upset. I feel bad for being upset since it just made my dad sad. It must of been awful seeing his daughter take the news that her dad would be spending two extra days with her so terribly. Ahhh, I’m sorry, dad. I do think it’s for his own good that he doesn’t know I live with Axyl. Or maybe for my own good…. Too late to start telling the truth now! I couldn’t have him stay at my apartment. Not unless I paid an Airbnb for Axyl and he agreed to be kicked out of our apartment for two days. I couldn’t ask that of him, so I quickly convinced my dad to rent another Airbnb.
He tried to argue for us to go buy an air mattress, so he could just stay at my apartment, but I rented the Airbnb then told him there was no refund (that part was true!). I rented it for two nights. He’d be leaving on Monday morning so technically didn’t need a place to stay Sunday night. He mentioned this and asked me to cancel the second night. Told me he could just wait in my apartment until 1am. The excuse I told him to rent an Airbnb was so he’d have a bed, after all. But I told him it was a minimum rental of two days, plus no refunds. D: Aughhh, I’m going to hell. X)
When he called my mom before we went out to breakfast I overheard him tell her he’s not sure why, but that I didn’t want him to stay at my apartment and that it was like I was avoiding the place. Ughhhh. We had breakfast at a place called Pinky’s. They mostly had egg sandwiches for breakfast and I don’t really like eggs, but, well, “when in Rome” right? I’m glad I gave them a chance. It was a fantastic breakfast sandwich! Best one I’ve probably ever had (on account of my not liking eggs, haha). Highly recommend the Mallorca sandwich at Pinky’s. Mallorca is a sweet bread usually topped with powdered sugar that I absolutely love!
Then it was time to move out of our beautiful beachside Airbnb. 11am. But we couldn’t check into the new one until 3pm! And to make things worse I was homesick! I wanted to be back in my apartment. The apartment I share with Axyl. The apartment I’m supposed to steer my dad away from. Maybe it’s that I missed our home. Maybe it’s also that I wanted a challenge. Or maybe it’s just that I’m stupid. Either way, the Airbnb I rented for my dad those last two days were right across the street from my apartment. -___-
We arrived a few minutes before noon. Axyl was still in the apartment. I begged him to leave at noon and he’d begrudgingly agreed since he had work at 4pm. But it wasn’t noon yet. My excuse this time? Ughhh, let’s come sit on these benches outside my apartment while I look for my keys that I threw somewhere in my backpack! Yeahh, that makes sense! Hey while we are at it, let me confirm the flight for you or get distracted on looking something up on my phone to give Axyl enough time to get out! My goodness! That was awful. Like a bad scene from a soap opera! I remember hearing Axyl open the door and me quickly showing my dad something on his phone to divert his attention so he wouldn’t turn and see him exiting the apartment. Gosh, this whole thing was a mess!
Once inside “my” apartment, we set our backpacks down and grabbed a shopping bag. We went to Plaza del Mercado to buy some meat, beans, and produce. I guess my dad was tired of eating out, finally. After stopping at a nearby pharmacy/mini market for tortillas, we headed back to “my” apartment where my dad made beef in red salsa and refried beans. It was so good! And with the chili peppers I keep stocked in my freezer it was nice and spicy too! 😀
Last event of the day? A study session with Chance. I’d already confirmed these plans and did still have those corrections to do due on Monday. I’d also told my dad that I had plans and that it was unfortunate that I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with him as before during the week because I had to get back to my usual life. He told me to do what I had to do and that he understood. Soooooo, I didn’t cancel my plans with Chance. My dad and I had crossed the street and were back at the Airbnb now. I grabbed my backpack and told my dad I was going to study with a friend. (He’d freak if he knew there was anything going on between us romantically.)
We did study. Until the pizza came and we got distracted. I fake protested. I was stressed about my homework and wanted to get more done, but….by the areas Chance was fondling I could tell he had something else in mind. I got back to our shared Airbnb at almost 1am. -_____- My dad reacted much better than I expected though. He just mumbled, “What’d you do? Walk back?”. Ha! I simply replied “No” and went to sleep.
Sunday, April 21st- Final Moments with my Dad in Puerto Rico (Doing Laundry, Dashing Off for some Alone Time, and Going to the Movies)
Axyl told me he was going to leave for work at 2pm. My plan was to sleep until late, maybe until 10am or so, then go do laundry with my dad and grab lunch or something to try to make it to 2pm without him trying to go into my apartment. Nope. My dad couldn’t find the shampoo when he wanted to take a shower at 7 am and before 8 am he was asking me for the keys to my apartment to get himself some coffee. -____- Wait… I don’t even have a coffee maker! What was he going to go get?! X) Maybe he’d left some instant coffee at my apartment…. I guess. Welp, I was tired and paranoid and just told him it was too early for coffee (whatever that means, ha!), refused to give him the keys (thank goodness I hadn’t left them out somewhere), and kept sleeping.
My dad grumbled something about why wouldn’t I give him the keys and then left the apartment. I figured it’d be fine since he couldn’t get into my apartment without the keys… until I heard him speaking English to someone outside. O.O !!! The only person I know that prefers English over Spanish in my neighborhood is Axyl!! Oh shoot!! I was paranoid… My dad forgets sometimes that he’s not in Texas and can talk to strangers in Spanish. -___- He was talking to a cleaning lady at the Airbnb about the washing machine. X) My heart must have stopped before figuring that out.
The lady said she’d be using the washing machine until 3pm though, so at a bright and early 10am we headed to the laundromat. I snuck back into my apartment to grab my buggy, texting Axyl so he wouldn’t freak when I opened the door. X) After doing laundry I’d planned on taking my dad to a bakery nearby but he said he wasn’t in the mood for any more local places. XD That was fast! So, we went to the nearby Burger King. It was around noon when we made it back. I should have been taking my clothes to my apartment to hang up and put away…. but I couldn’t risk my dad following me in with Axyl still there!
I took the buggy to his Airbnb saying we should keep his things in the Airbnb so as to not mix them up with my clothes… Ugh… Then I told him I would go put up my clothes, but that I was going to go study with Gia on an assignment that was due the next day (the assignment part was true! …the studying with her was not). What I really did was go to “my” apartment and complain to Axyl about wanting to take some time off from my dad. It was the 7th day in a row that I was with him practically 24/7! I love him, but that’s just too close! Especially with the whole apartment fiasco and the very real issue of those assignments due the next day!
I ranted to Axyl and was so glad to be back in his company! I live with him and so I’m used to him always being around, but I hadn’t so much as been in the same room as him during the past week (minus the brief time at the bar on Friday!). It was just what I needed to de-stress. I put up my clothes, Axyl left for work at 2pm, and I stayed another hour in blissful solitude before returning to the Airbnb and actually working on homework. X)
I felt bad for ignoring my dad (for his own good!…. but still…). So, when he got hungry I took him to KFC. (My dad likes fried chicken and had ordered it the last two times at the chinese restaurant, so I figured it was a good choice seeing as he was sick of local places.) After that, I took him to see a movie. It was some lame comedy, but it was in Spanish, so I’m glad we went. My family isn’t a going out to the movies type of family. I think a big reason is because my parents don’t understand English that well. It’s not much fun to go watch something and not understand anything that is said… I wanted to give my dad the whole movie experience. (At my favorite movie theatre Caribbean Cinemas-Fine Arts, of course!)
We got back to “my” apartment around 9pm. Axyl would get off of work at 10pm. My dad would leave for the airport at 1am. I kept cool and grabbed my stuff for the next morning. I had to go to my rotation, so I got my uniform and backpack and took it to the Airbnb. Luckily, my dad was okay with us waiting in the Airbnb. For two reasons: One, because it was already paid for, haaaa, and two, because my apartment doesn’t have air conditioning. The Airbnb did, so it just made sense.
I was still working on homework, but was so tired. I fell asleep at midnight and barely drifted into consciousness to hug my dad from the bed as his Uber arrived that would take him to the airport. I fell asleep until 6:30 am when I woke up to get ready for the day and got a message from my dad that he was safely in Florida. As bad as it sounds… Yes!! It was over! No more hiding! No more lies! It was over!! He was gone! I was free again to live my life without my father watching my every move. Again, I love my dad, but goodness! It’s tough to live that close to a parent! Even living at a parent’s house you have your own room!
I enjoyed the week and loved showing my dad my favorite places on this beautiful island. It would have been perfect without the last two days of hiding and evading, but even so I’m glad for the extra time with my dad. 🙂
Coming Up Next Week!
Rotation with the Puerto Rico Food and Nutrition Commission. I’ve heard it’s a lot of work and kind of boring.
Internship meeting on Friday. Axyl and Sue present their clinical case studies. Karen and Amanda present their food service case studies. Hopefully nothing too dramatic happens, but with Axyl and Karen in the same room that’s almost a given.
Cardi Day. It’s a sort of health fair that the director of my internship said is mandatory that I participate in. I have very few volunteer hours and she’s trying to prove a point that I’m not antisocial. It’s just supposed to be me and Gia though, so that’s nice.
That is more than enough! Thanks for making it this far! Please leave your thoughts/reactions in the comments below. It was a bustling week and I’d love to know what you guys make of my crazy life! XD
Monday, April 8th- Waiting for the Pain and Getting Bananas Instead
Woah! I’m being responsible and writing for my daily blog post on a daily basis instead of at the end of the week or worse yet, more than a week later…. Wrong! I mean, it is Monday, March 8th as I write this, but the only reason I’m here is because I don’t want to work on other responsibilities of mine. Woo hoo! Welp, this week I’m in a rotation with a name something along the lines of prevention of chronic diseases. Really, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s just a super work heavy rotation. Ah, and it’s individual. Gia is at the food bank while I’m here. (I was at the food bank when she was here about a month ago. I’d much rather be at the food bank since that was all manual labor and no homework, but eh, I had my time.
People complain that this is the worst rotation. That the preceptors are super rude and crush any and all self esteem you may have. As of yet, it’s not that bad. Hopefully they’re just drama kings. Yes, the guys have been the most complain-y. Maybe us girls are just more used to constant criticism to our character and self worth. …that was a super stereotypical joke. That I do not apologize for because from my experience (I am female) it rings some truth. It doesn’t matter anyway. Suffering is relative. There is no greater or lesser suffering. It’s all just suffering.
Not much for me in this rotation yet. The director of my internship gifted me about 15 bananas. That one isn’t a joke. She just asked if I wanted to make banana bread and gave me a bag full of bananas! Not a bad day…
Tuesday, April 9th- Wow. That was quick.
So, it’s bad. I spent the day in the Department of Health working on assignments again. At this point it wasn’t so much the word she said, which weren’t rude, so much as the tone she chose to say those words in. I’ve never been a very self motivated person. So I arrived on Monday with the minimum amount of work done and the next day I arrived with a bit less than the minimum. I got home and procrastinated then set to work late and didn’t sleep much. Not much sleep=even less energy.
At this point I was sure the preceptor thought I was a lazy slacker, which… eh, partially true. Her tone just reinforced my negative thoughts and this was the fateful beginning of a downhill snowball week. Gosh. I know if I thought better of myself and didn’t let my fragile self confidence snap at the ugly gaze of an uncaring stranger this week it wouldn’t have been bad. Maybe it is just me. Maybe it’s just in my head. Maybe there’s no such thing as depression. Or maybe there is, but that’s not my main problem. Maybe I’m just a “self indulgent little girl” and that’s the cause of my problems. That’s a quote from my favorite movie (Girl, Interrupted).
I don’t know what to think. The facts are these. I spent the day re-working and re-doing two powerpoint presentations I was responsible for presenting to high schoolers and middle schoolers the next day. I also turned in the radio skit I’d been slaving over the previous day. When I’m sad, stressed, self loathing, depressed, whatever you want to call it those feelings will manifest in different ways. I feel like they are inevitable. That I can’t fight them, so I don’t. But maybe I can… I don’t know. Two big ones now are that I’ll be extremely tired. I was falling asleep as I worked. Also, I hadn’t slept much, which didn’t help. Another is that I’ll work/move much slower than normal. I wonder if it is all in my head…
Wednesday, April 10th- Presentations at a High School and a Middle School
My dream is not to be a dietitian. I studied for that career path for my Bachelor’s degree and am currently in an internship to become a dietitian. But this isn’t my dream. My dream is to be a teacher. Specifically a high school teacher. When I tell people that’s my dream job they look at me like I’m crazy. They don’t understand that I want to teach high school because I feel like that’s a deciding time for people. That’s when a supportive teacher who believes in students could change lives. It’s when students are still kids in the sense that they are still growing up, but are close enough to adulthood that they don’t have to be babied. That’s the way I see it.
Under any other circumstances, I would have been stoked to present an educational topic to a library full of high schoolers. But not this day. This day I had to present a topic I didn’t even know anymore after so many revisions. I looked for so many sources and between working on this presentation and the other one and the radio outline plus my heavy feelings of self pity… well I couldn’t even explain the things on the slides well. Much less make them entertaining for an audience of blank faced Puerto Rican high schoolers. It was completely embarrassing and a waste of a morning assembly. But I was comforted by the fact that I’d likely never ever run into any of these island dwelling teens after I completed my internship and moved back to good ol’ Texas.
The dietitian supervising me gave a short presentation to make up the rest of the hour I was supposed to fill when my presentation ended too soon. For my presentation she chidingly told me to make it more engaging and take up the whole hour. This one had only been corrected once and honestly, I didn’t know it in much detail. It was about the different food groups. How was I supposed to talk about why you should eat your fruits and vegetables and stuff to middle schoolers for a whole hour?! I just nodded my head and jumped into it blind. It went a million times better than expected. The kids were interacting and (expect for the usual lulls in teenage attention spans) they paid attention. It was amazing! The first presentation broke my heart and began cracking at my dreams of being a teacher, but this presentation, it renewed my convictions.
Thursday, April 11th- Yesterday, I Spent the Afternoon in the Emergency Room (not the patient) and Today I was on the Radio.
Yes, so yesterday after the school presentations I was working on assignments at the Department of Health when the director got a call from Axyl. It was a medical issue and one that he should be in the emergency department for. The director dismissed me from the last hour of my day to go with him. If you guys have read my older weekly blogs, you’d know that most of us interns from abroad do not have family here in Puerto Rico. You would also know that Axyl had a falling out with a couple of other interns too, namely Robin and Karen. So…that left me. I’m the closest thing to family he has here and the director knows that. I met up with him then headed to an ER (emergency room) where we stayed until around midnight when they dismissed him, saying his abdominal pain wasn’t anything serious. Oh well. Good news, I guess.
At the rotation I was supposed to be on the radio in the morning and then do a supermarket tour in the afternoon. Well, I didn’t get to work on the supermarket outline of what I was going to say because other than being sad and unmotivated, I was in an ER the whole afternoon. I bumped into the dietitian I am with this week when I arrived at the Department of Health. She greeted me and asked how I was. I was visibly tired and replied “So-so, something happened.”, then proceeded to explained how I’d come to spend the previous day in the ER keeping my friend company. You know what this grown, insensitive woman’s reaction to that was? She asked me “but did you get to finish the assignments for today?”.
I’m not going to get into it here, but I know that dietitian and Axyl have bad blood. Regardless, that’s just cold. Okay, moving on. This is making me mad all over again. We went to another town to do the radio show with her and her (slightly nicer) dietitian co-worker. The radio bit was fun. It was probably the thing I was least nervous about this week and I’d be delighted to do another radio show someday (with different co-hosts, of course!). In the afternoon the heartless dietitian I’m with told me I was lucky she and her co-worker were free the next morning so that I could do the supermarket tour then. Of course, (“this is important!”, she said) I would get points off for it being late, so I’d have to do a great job tomorrow or the points wouldn’t add up and I would not be able to pass the rotation. It’s not the first time she “hinted” at my not passing the rotation, so eh, it didn’t faze me.
Friday, April 12th- Shopping Tour Disaster
As you may gather from the title of today. The tour didn’t go well. I didn’t dilly-dally. After the radio show it was as if all my self doubt was magically lifted. I didn’t feel the heavy pull of sadness and self loathing on my limbs. I felt light and able! I felt awake and up for the challenge! I read through material convinced that it’d be better if I knew the material than simply taking notes to read aloud. Seems I was wrong. But it doesn’t matter. Anyway I prepared for this, I know it would have been a disaster. I had notes for the first section. I supposedly had knowledge for the second.
I was her face. Both dietitians came, but it was my preceptor’s face that disturbed me. From the first fruit I discussed (a wretched pineapple [one cup of contains about 133% of the vitamin C you need in a day, by the way]) she had this concerned face. If it had been disgust or doubt maybe I could have pushed through, but it was concern. Like she was watching a train wreck and just couldn’t look away. It was awful. From then, I stumbled over my facts and promptly forgot what I’d studied and not written down convinced I’d remember. It felt like I was being dragged around the grocery store being poked and prodded for facts and knowledge nuggets I did not have. *sigh*
“Well, I failed this rotation.” Those were the first words I spoke to the director when I returned to the Department of Health after that pitiful supermarket tour. She told me not to worry about it, probably thinking it couldn’t have gone as bad as it did. I didn’t argue. I had had enough. I’ve been through so much criticism throughout this internship. From preceptors (dietitians that are supposed to take us under their wing and teach us, a new one each week), fellow interns, even the director of the program herself.
Preceptors have told me I have no initiative because I’m quiet. My internship partner has told me I’m a bad human being and a terrible partner. The director assured me three times in the course of 20 minutes that if I wanted to leave the program that she would understand and support my decision as if she were urging me to get out of her internship. Those things hurt, but I thrived. I proved them wrong. I’m still here. My partner has since told me I’m a good partner and thanked me for helping her in anything I can. The director has since had a change of heart after seeing my renewed spirit when I didn’t let her bully me out of her internship.
But this dietitian with her concerned face by the rack of pineapples broke me. I spent the afternoon holding back tears and gulping down the lump in my throat as I worked to finish the last few assignments for this nightmare rotation. I wonder if self confidence would have made as much of a difference as I suspect. Maybe. The mind is a powerful thing… but mine’s a weakling.
Saturday, April 13th- Brooding
Another Saturday that I spent laying in bed amongst my filth of granola bar wrappers, mounds of clean unfolded clothes and random papers piling up in the crevices.
Sunday, April 14th- Delayed Dad
My dad was supposed to arrive this afternoon. He’s coming to visit me for Easter. Why Easter? Well, we got the week off. No rotations! So I have time to show him around the island that has been my home for (almost!) the past year. However, the corrections for my assignments from hell week are due next Monday, so I have to work on that this coming week while he’s here.
Not sure how, but he missed his flight and instead of arriving around 3pm, he’d arrive at 3am on Monday. Surprise 12 hour change of plans. It’s fine because that gave me time to laze around in the morning, pick up the key to the Airbnb we’ll be staying at until Wednesday, and clean. Yes. I finally cleaned! It’d been at least a month of stressful living in the mess of my creation. But I know the mess bothers Axyl, so before leaving for the week I made sure to clean everything. I tidied my bed area, dresser, mini fridge, and desk. The only thing I didn’t do (it was 2am by this point) was wash the remainder of my dishes. I’d swing by the next day to do so.
At 2am I left for the Airbnb and waited for my dad’s taxi from the airport to arrive. When it did at 3am, I began to excitedly plan out the week’s events before falling asleep, satisfied and at peace for the first time this week.
Coming up Next Week!
Easter week off!! Hooray!! My dad is here to keep me company. 🙂 I’m so glad to have him here. I want to show him everything, but he’s getting old and can’t keep up like he used to. Let’s see where all I can take him. 😀
Working on assignment corrections from this week’s hellish rotation. Ugh.
Maybe getting volunteer hours at the food bank with my dad? Maybe? heeheehee…. I’m too lazy for my own good…
I’ve had problems with depression and anxiety …also probably paranoia and anger management at least since 8th grade. Everyone has traumas. Mine happened when I was 10 years old. It was no one’s fault. Who was I to be angry at then? I think humans need to blame someone or something or else all that anger gets internalized. At least that’s what happened to me.
Brief Overview of my Life Growing Up
I’m not ready to write about what happened. I don’t want pity. What I want is to explore its effects. At 10 years old, I learned that loved ones aren’t a given. They can be there one day and not the next. (No one passed away, if you’re wondering.) But I learned no one is a sure thing. Not even my parents. However, through this turbulent time I still had my teachers and classmates. I learned that was my constant.
Middle school years
That’s all that I carried with me: my school friends and academic success. (More so my friends, but at the end of the day I chose academics and switched schools.) 8th grade. New school. I don’t know why since I’d always been the kid who had a friend by the end of the first day of school, but I didn’t make any friends that year. I didn’t feel the need. I wasn’t interested in talking to other people. So I didn’t. Academics. That’s all I had.
I tried, but by now it wasn’t just a lack of desire. It was full-blown anxiety. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. I’d only talk when teachers called on me in class. Even then my heart worked overtime from the stress of being called on. Academics. That’s all I had. Not having friends, I dreaded school breaks. Winter break, spring break. The worst was summer break. My mind would over think. I’d get into existential crises. At 15 years old, I knew I needed a distraction. I needed a purpose. Without school, my life, I feared death. Or maybe I feared not living.
I lived (arguable choice of words) like this for 3 years. By senior year of high school, I began to wonder. What if I didn’t treat academics as my life. What if I did poorly? I felt my parents weren’t proud of me with all A’s. (My dad praised anything and everything, while my mom questioned my A+’s for not being 100’s.) Would they freak if I got C’s? So, I stopped trying. I tanked my GPA in the last year. Began failing tests. (I’d never failed an exam before then.) And. Nothing. Happened. They were disappointed, but they didn’t lecture me. Just told me to try harder.
Or maybe they did care. I don’t even know how I felt. I’d say I didn’t care, but I did because I was worried that they didn’t care. I was nervous watching my grades drop and them not bat an eye. I wanted them to care. I wanted to matter to my parents. Not that I didn’t. I knew, intellectually, that they cared about me, but at the time I needed to proof to believe it. My dad’s praise was so frequent it meant nothing and my mom’s was nonexistent. Positive wasn’t happening, so I sought negative attention.
But I didn’t get it.
Then I went to university
I’d made a friend during those last two years in high school. I’d stopped trying so hard to keep my grades up and still passed. My priorities shifted. I learned the wonders of human connection. School didn’t matter. I had friends! Maybe it was my depression or paranoia or broken trust in family stability (no one got divorced either, in case you guys are wondering). Whatever it was, I could not feel or believe that my parents loved me. I knew that as a fact. Not as a feeling.
But I knew my friends liked me! And that feeling was indescribable! A feeling! That itself was surprising! I was numb all throughout high school. The only time I felt anything was during that short-lived flirty time with the boy I snuck off to the library with (blog post on that here). Often I remember anger. But that was it. Anger or nothing. It was like I wasn’t alive. Emotionally, at least.
But in university, I made friends and felt emotions. The most important of which was happiness. I’d had that spark of nervous flirty happiness with the boy in high school, but not like this. Not from friends, and later happiness all to myself, from myself. I found freedom in university. I wasn’t always at school or at home surrounded by people. Being watched all the time. Or not, but that’s what the paranoia told me. I had my own space. It was scary at first. I still struggle to do things by myself. I don’t think I was ever allowed to be alone growing up (bedroom doors were not allowed to be closed in my household and I didn’t go out with friends, much less on my own). University was life changing.
I learned what happiness is. I learned what friends are. I learned who I am. When no one was watching, I knew who I was and amazingly, I liked myself.
What did books matter when I was learning all of this?! They didn’t. And while I was learning who I was, I had to decide on a career. (Blog post about how I came to that decision here.) And now I’m here. In Puerto Rico. A place I knew nothing about when I decided to move out here for a year. Much less did I know anyone here. All the interns in my program were strangers. Now, I wish some of them still were.
I’ve learned that people can be mean and care only about themselves. I’ve learned people can be indifferent or too interested. I’ve learned people can be angry. They can be distracted. They can be cruel. And they are hypocrites.
I knew these things as fact before. But now I know them as feeling. …It makes me wish I didn’t have emotions again. It’s an empty wish and a common one of mine, to go back to the numb high school days. But in those moments with friends, some with romantic interests, and others through my own personal accomplishments, I’ve learned what positive emotions are and I believe they are what makes life life. Only being able to feel anger, which later morphed to sadness, is not life.
When I was in high school, it was a numb, unfeeling depression. In university, with happiness, I learned sadness. Harsh, deep sadness. The peak of which occurred in my senior year of university. This year I lived with a great friend of mine. And I hurt her. Before her, I always had a facade up. An act. It wasn’t to be cruel. It was to be kind. I didn’t want to expose others to my sadness. But with her…
Life Changing Friendship- Learning to Trust and that it’s Okay to be Myself. Flaws and All!
To Mariah I gave all of my trust. I let go completely. I let her in as far as she wanted to go. And she went far. She saw me at my worst. I’ve never been that depressed since. Even though she’ll deny it, I know I ruined (or at the very least) inconvenienced many of her days. We spent Thanksgiving (2017) angry with each other and that weekend trying to drag me out of bed, literally. I made her suffer. It wasn’t on purpose; it just goes with depression. With depression and anxiety and paranoia and anger issues and what ever other labels exist for all the not positive aspects of my personality.
But she refused to give up on me. We’re still friends. I know that woman would do almost anything for me. And I don’t know what I did to deserve her. I don’t feel like I deserve her. It’s rare, someone like that. So loyal (against their own good even). And I was spoiled.
Post Graduate Nutrition Internship- Learning to Distrust and that it’s NOT Okay to be Myself. Flaws Should be Well Hidden.
Now, I’m here in Puerto Rico working on a dietetic internship (when I doubt I want to work as a dietitian for the rest of my life) almost attached to the hip with my internship partner. I go from rotations where I’m supervised and evaluated. Hello, paranoia and anxiety! Oh, there you are anger! To an apartment where everyone has beef with at least one other person. The environment is toxic. Doesn’t help my depressive tendencies.
Sorry I can’t be positive and supportive 24/7. I still try. It hurts, but I try. Thing is, I can’t give what I don’t have. Every day I feel more paranoid, more anxious, angry, and sad. Or then I’m manically happy! But one misplaced comment and I’m underground again trying to dig myself out. Or not. Sometimes I don’t ever want to surface. (Related blog post here.)
I let myself believe, due to my experience with Mariah, that people can be trusted 100%. I can let go and be my completely flawed self and not worry about the repercussions. But I now know how truly lucky I am to have someone in my life like that, because that’s not the case with anyone else. I already had trust issues. Maybe everyone does. However, I was healing. I was learning to trust again.
But now, I feel as if there is nothing to learn. From my experiences here, no one wants the real me. No one wants my flaws. I am, as I always feared, an inconvenience. I have to pretend to be only the best parts of myself, because that’s the only parts people care to get to know. That’s understandable to me with the preceptors who supervise and evaluate us, but I mistakenly thought it wouldn’t be the case with my fellow interns. I was hopelessly optimistic. And I was wrong.
I have to learn how to fake it. Something I wasn’t 100% successful at during my customer service-y job as a cashier during university breaks (2015 to 2018). I could do it, but only for so many hours a day. Here, I share a room, I go to rotations where I am supervised and evaluated 5 days a week with my internship partner plus travel to the site and work on assignments outside of those 8 hours with her and I come home to an apartment where people aren’t happy to see each other.
Constant People, Constant Need to Fake It (to fake sanity/happiness)
The only saving grace is that I feel that genuine care and friendship from my roommate. But, he’s still another person I am around every day. In university, I had space. I had freedom. Now, it’s back to how it was when I lived at home. Constant people! But higher stakes! The only time I’m alone is when I go out by myself. Remember my friend anxiety? Don’t forget depression! To motivate myself to go anywhere is difficult enough. To not change my mind is another thing. Depression tells me it’s not worth it. Anxiety tells me it’s all going to go wrong anyway, so why try?
I don’t wish to blame my hard times on these mental health issues, but I know they are a big factor. And I feel like I have to keep them to myself now. My struggles and thoughts should remain my own to not affect others. Even then, there’s nothing I can do about my energy or aura. If I’m that depressed and empty inside, it doesn’t matter how big I fake smile. I’ve lost my ability to act believable. Thank you Mariah, for making that ability obsolete in me and damn you.
I’m truly going to have to fake it and hope I make it. Seven more months until the end of this internship. Wish me luck, please.
Featured image is of me last Halloween (2017). I’ve always loved goth fashion, so I enjoyed expressing myself that day through dress, hair, and makeup. I use it as the image for this post because it represents how I feel at the moment. I am in no way saying goth culture equates to sadness or anything like that, but that’s how most people seem to take it. And I feel like this is how I come off to people without make up and even when I do put on non-goth makeup. I feel like no matter what I do outwardly, all people see is my obvious sadness or negative aspects of my personality. And what can I do about that?! (Nothing overnight!) Why am I being punished for that?! Isn’t the depression, anxiety, paranoia, distrust, anger, and self loathing punishment enough??
First news of the day: we have to be in Ponce (an hour and a half car trip away from where we live) at 7am on Wednesday, the first day of our dietetic internship. My apartment mates and I do not have a car. However, we figured something out with the three Puerto Rican girls in our program who do have cars.
After this news we (Robin, Gia and I) went for some retail therapy. I got a calendar from Walgreens, The Fault in Our Stars at the bookstore next door, Robin got some shoes at Journeys, I got shoes at the Croc’s store, a fruit basket, professional backpack, and spoon rest at Marshall’s, and we all splurged on cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.
The best part of this trip was probably getting a nail cutter from Walgreens. I’ve learned to appreciate a lot of things since I moved. I went to the gym with Robin then, at home, called my mom and read The Fault in Our Stars to her.
Tuesday, July 31st- Lazy Day and Grocery Shopping with Karen
I lazed around all morning. Axyl talked about going to Costco when Gia came by. We talked about the meal plan homework. Then she left, so I lazed around more. Really spent the morning doing nothing until Karen asked if I’d go to the local grocery store with her. Uhhhh more money, but I went and found a ton of stuff to buy. I bought the ingredients I need to make orange chicken. Too tired though, I made Quesadillas for dinner. Yum. Then I read to my mom. Still so hungry. Strange. Must get up early tomorrow…. *cry cry*
Wednesday, August 1st- Mandatory Hospital Trainings
Woke up early at 4:59am. Well, Axyl woke me. One minute before my alarm. That’s why I remember. Two of the Puerto Rican girls came to pick us up. Robin, Axyl, and Gia went with Gean. Karen and I went with Sue and found Amanda (another fellow intern) already in the car. She had returned to her hometown and last we’d heard she was finding her way back to Puerto Rico. Interesting.
What was not interesting was the mandatory hospital training we had to attend. It was so cold in that room that it was all I could think about. They started late and ended late, so we were an hour late to the next hospital meeting like this one at our local hospital (an hour and a half away). We just caught the tail end of it. They may count it. I mean, I think it’s common sense not to stick your hands with needles or touch other people’s blood, don’t you?
At home, I was so tired, I didn’t even make it to my bed. I crashed on the couch and fell asleep. When I woke up, I was so hungry, but still so tired, that I made quesadillas. I was still hungry. Why have I been so hungry lately? Then I read to my mom over the phone and ate moldy grapes. It’s the second time I’m eating grapes and suddenly notice a couple of moldy ones in the container. Ugh. Still so tired. Early time tomorrow too.
Thursday, August 2nd- I Held Karen’s Toothpaste Captive
Got up. Robin was in the shower. Then Axyl showered. So I had breakfast because I forgot we would get breakfast at the event. Then I went to take a shower. Twenty minutes later, Karen knocked. I thought she wanted to shower and hadn’t realized it’d already been 20 minutes, so I hurried- she barged in the second I opened the door. To get her stupid toothpaste. Now mad, she rushed out the door and the guys followed her. My hip tried to jiggle out of place. That happens to me periodically. So, I hobbled down the stairs as fast as I could. Which wasn’t that fast. Luckily my femur got back into place by the time I reached the bottom of the stairs.
We got to the infant nutrition and lactation conference super early. We listened to several presentations that advocated lactation. Karen sat apart from us, obviously still upset. At the end of the conference she stormed off and so did everyone else. I was by myself, when Amanda found me and offered to share an Uber with me. I accepted, thinking they’d all left me. They hadn’t. They were downstairs. Everyone expect Karen and the girls with cars. Amanda had already gotten the Uber, so I left with her anyway.
Once home, I walked to Starbucks and read there with a coffee for a long time. At home, I read to my mom. Then I chatted with Robin who gave me a slice of his pizza and some chicharrones. After this, I wrote for this blog, listened to music, and chatted with Axyl until my dad called. I’m contemplating moving out. Amanda said she was going to live with Gia as the third roommate, but she bailed and now Gia needs another person. I’m the fourth person in my small three bedroom apartment. It’d work out logistically.
Friday, August 3rd- Ladies Are Required to Wear Makeup. Why?!
Another day on the job. We (when I type we and don’t specify who, it means all of us ten dietetic interns) went to the health department and got a lot of references and books we will need throughout the year. We also got the order that us ladies must wear makeup everyday that we come to work. WHAT?! I don’t wear makeup. Any makeup. So, I asked what the bare minimum would be. Foundation and lipstick. …I don’t own foundation. No idea how that works. I respect that others wear makeup. I am not familiar with it, and would rather not put stuff I don’t know much about on my face. Ugh.
Anyway, we also heard from some of the preceptors (dietitians we will shadow throughout the year). That was interesting. Today it was someone from elderly centers in the next town over who also research Alzheimer’s. That’s fascinating. Then someone who does retail dietetics at a grocery store. That’s a relatively new field. Seeing as I’ve worked (and not loved) my cashier job of the last three years, I’m a bit more excited about the first rotation. After the talks, we went back to the local hospital from Wednesday to do more trainings and to make up the one we’d missed.
After our unpaid work, I attempted to make orange chicken. Succeeded, but Axyl and Karen were a bit scared about the oil I had to use to fry the chicken. Karen quizzed me on what to do in case of an oil fire. I, to mess with her, told her, “put water on it DUH!” She was scared. HA! Never throw water on an oil fire! Smother it. Water will make the fire worse. Depriving it of oxygen, by covering it with a lid will smother it and thus stop the fire. Her reaction was hilarious! I did burn the rice, but not the apartment, so I think that’s a success.
Saturday, August 4th- And More Grocery Shopping… What Do I Even Buy?!
I wanted it to be a lazy day, but Axyl invited me to Marshalls and Gia invited me to the grocery store. I have a problem. Even though I’ve gone to the grocery store about five times in the past week and a half, I still spent lots of money. I found a few items that reminded me of home, like Mexican candy and Tajin (fruit chili), and iced tea that reminds me of my college town in west Texas.
After that, I didn’t want to leave the house anymore, so I spent a while singing in a corner of my room while Robin and Axyl went to the mall to get suits. I’m still struggling with the make up requirement thing. Ugh. So I put some lipstick on to see what it’d be like. I felt like a clown. Ugh. I’ll probably write a post dedicated to why I am so uncomfortable with the issue of makeup.
After my singing session, I went to make more orange sauce for all the left over chicken I had from Friday. Then I read to my mom. I feel like Axyl listens in when I read out loud. He came into our shared room just as I’d started reading and would comment periodically. After reading, I went to bed a bit worried because I hadn’t taken off the lipstick and some foundation Gia donated to me. It started raining, so I got up to close the window and take off the makeup.
Sunday, August 5th- Homesick and Mopey
I’m homesick. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way. Maybe it’s the iced tea and Mazapan talking. They remind me of my past. Which at the moment seems better than the present. Everything here is new and unknown. Memories are old and familiar. No wonder people get homesick.
I spent the day lounging around, as I tend to do when I’m not feeling super peppy. I read ahead from the book that I’m reading to my mom (The Fault in Our Stars). It may seem redundant, but it really helps so I know what tone to read things in and how to pronounce tough words. Plus, I didn’t feel like going out or socializing. I posted something about being homesick and all of the support (especially when my best friend, Lyza, texted me to check up on me) made me cry. I tell you: if you want to make me cry, be nice to me.
I watched a movie (The Big Sick) and then, finally, convinced myself to shower. My mom called so I could read to her, so I did, before reheating my leftover orange chicken and white rice and beginning my laundry. I swept and mopped my side of the room and cleared up my desk where I currently sit typing this. I also organized my make up bag, seeing as I’ll have to use it tomorrow. Ugh.
Back to two or three paragraphs per day. I’m not going to describe my whole day anymore. Just one or two instances within it that were interesting. Or I will describe my whole day, but a very condensed version. Not sure yet.
Views on my blog are down and so am I. I miss home. I wish we had a solid internship schedule already, so I’d have something else to focus on.
I decided not to move in to Gia’s extra room. I will stay here in my tiny shared room with Axyl. I don’t know why. It sounds better to have my own room, be on the first floor, with people that cook less than I do so I can use the kitchen more, etc. But… I don’t know. I have a feeling that I should stay put. I hope I’m right about it. Whatever it is.
I need to stop talking to this friend of mine. He can be really invasive. And I like that. It’s nice when someone wants to get to know you better. It’s even nicer when they want to know about the ugly, damaged parts of you too. It means they want to understand you. They care about you enough to want to know more than just the good things about you. So, I welcome probing questions from friends. I take it as an honor to be asked.
He thought I would be upset with him for asking. But he asked anyway. He asked, “why are you self conscious of your belly?”. “Because I have gigantic scar”, I should have said. But this wasn’t the first time he’d asked. No point shrugging his question off. I gave my typical answer first about societal pressures to be thin and beautiful. He asked for more. So I thought a bit more about it. In my mind, I usually stop at the society reason. I think it’s more than enough reason to be unsatisfied with my body. But it wasn’t enough for him.
After a few moments, I pull a slimy, repressed memory from its hiding place. It wasn’t even terribly hidden. Imagine a ratty stuffed animal poking it’s ears out from behind a dingy pillow in a corner of a room. When I was young, I was skinny and beautiful. I was even popular in school, imagine that! Everybody loved me. Or so, that’s the way my mother tells this story. Though she just uses the word pretty (not skinny) to describe me back then.
However, the fact remains that once I was not skinny, I began to dress myself in slouchy too-big shirts and muck colored clothes to hide my outwardly growing body. This is when my mother would reminisce. She’d say it with a yearning as she tried to motivate me to do something about my appearance. What she refused to understand is that I would not dress any nicer unless I was comfortable in my body. And to be comfortable in my body, I believed I needed to lose weight.
My dad isn’t completely devoid of involvement either. He used to tease my brother for being overweight when I was young and thin. I saw that and partook. I still feel bad about it, though I understand that I was only mirroring the behavior around me. That’s when I learned that fat isn’t favorable. I also learned through the media, through T.V. shows and books, that fat people get bullied. I was only attempted to be bullied on once. Because of my freckles, someone called me a cheetah in second grade or so. I smiled real big and thanked the kid who made this clever observation. I used to love running around and my dad affectionately called me cheetah. And I’m so glad for the coincidence. No one ever tried to bully me again.
…Well, there’s the guy that would spit at me on the bus in middle school, but he was just weird. It wasn’t personal. Thanks Dad, for sparing me the cycle of bullying. In my later years I reflected back on the cheetah moment and some helpful tips on T.V. and books that recommended laughing in the face of bullies. The sources said bullies seek a reaction. You don’t give it to them and they won’t want to mess with you. You won’t be fun for them. Somehow, this worked.
What I mean by this long, rambley post is that I learned at a young age, through various sources that thin=success. It equals happiness. My mom would talk about her weight regretfully. Say my dad prefers thin people. As if the T.V. screens weren’t screaming this preference of thinness loud enough at me. At the same time she and countless others sang me praises when I did lose weight in high school (only to gain it back the summer before college). So, it became something to resent, my belly. It became a sign of my failures. What is keeping me from success. Because it’s much easier to think “all I have to do is lose this weight and then my life will fall into place” than the reality, which is that life is multifaceted.
If I want to be successful, I have to go to the dentist, continue learning everyday, brush my hair, spend time with friends, and a billion other things than just diet and exercise. There are so many parts to life. While it is important to health, why should weight loss be (ironically) such a huge part? It’s usually my first item on goals I want to accomplish. It’s not that I don’t know how to lose weight. I practically have a Bachelor’s degree in that. (My Bachelor’s is in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics.) There’s other personal factors in the way, like the fact that I put thinness on the pedestal of success. If it’s so important, it’s also very intimidating to work on.
I don’t know what is best: working on the underlying issues or the problem itself. I am medically obese. I know, doesn’t help my credibility to admit that. Who believes fat people? They’re just lazy bums. (<– A half joke.) I don’t know if I should work on changing the way I think or pushing forward and adopting a healthier lifestyle. I’m afraid that by focusing on my thoughts I’ll only come to accept what can actually be adverse to my health (mainly being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle).
Obesity is a precursor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes and puts you at higher risk for certain cancers like breast cancer. I don’t want to be comfortable in my excessive weight. But, I also fear changing my life to a healthier one where I am within the normal parameters of weight for me and am physically active. I fear looking successful, but still being broken in my beliefs. I don’t want to change my outside if my inside doesn’t change too.
So, I am at an impasse. The solution, as I see it, is to work on both my faulty beliefs that thinness equals success and on my unhealthy habits like not exercising. If only it were that easy. Thank you. I sincerely thank you Richard for asking that invasive question. By answering you I find the answers to my indecision. I’ve been stuck in this place of wanting to do something about my weight and not wanting to do anything without knowing why for years. I see now that it is a matter of opposing factors (my perception of thinness, what it means to me, and the reality of weight as a factor in correlation to health).
Now I just have to convince myself to start. Maybe I’ll go on a run and then compliment myself for taking the initiative. After all, progress (not thinness) is success.