Manners

Today, I’m going to be telling you all a story about manners. I forgot to tell you this, but this incident took place sometime during the summer of 2015 when I was in France. So, up until the day that I was placed in this situation, I didn’t realize how important it was to introduce people when you are the common link between them. No, I’m not talking about setting somehow up with someone else you know. I’m referring to the common courtesy of introducing a guest that goes something like, “Oh, by the way, so and so, this is so and so… so and so, so and so,” and then it’s complete. You have fulfilled your duty of being a decent human being that doesn’t let their guests hang in the balance of “who’s that? I don’t know them yet.”

My host brother forgot this courtesy for some unknown reason. I was over in France, could barely speak a word of French, and we ran into his friends on the streets. Not just one, but like two. But neither of his friends were polite enough to be like “J’mapelle  Pierre,” or something of the sort. Nope, they just started talking to my host-brother in the fastest and most French manner ever. They were throwing around slang and everything. Needless to say, I was lost. So, here I was, an American girl in a foreign country, and you would think my host-brother would be like “Oh, wait, this is my exchange student from America.” Nah, he could give two shits. Those 15 minutes were the most silent 15 minutes of my life, and I was simply dumbfounded at how oblivious he was to the fact that he was isolating me by not introducing me. Believe me, if I had known more French, I would’ve said something, but I was in no place to start up my own introductions, so I stood there in silence because he wasn’t initiating it.

After my silent hell, we proceeded to where we were headed, which was the grocery store. He decided to be like, “So there, now you’ve met some of my friends,” and my mind flashed with snarky remarks to say to him. I ended up saying, “actually, I didn’t meet them,” and I guess something finally clicked at that moment. He was like, “oh, did you want me to introduce you?” and I replied, “well YEA.” and I was done for the day. Honestly, considering how fast he knew what I meant, I’m pretty damn sure it occurred to him during “our” (his) interaction with his friends to introduce me, but he just didn’t want the inconvenience of slowing down the pace of the conversation.

Basically, the point of this story is to reinforce the conviction of anyone who comes across this post to remember the importance of those seemingly-pointless formalities. Because your guest may in fact want to be introduced to your friends.

 

why cars scare me and make me mad

As humans, we have come a long way during our time on this earth. We have created processed foods with ingredient names that we cannot even usually pronounce anymore. We have started crafting objects and rides to trigger the adrenaline responses hardwired in us that make us feel this extra sense of being “alive”. We have created machines to fly through an atmosphere too high to reach by normal means, and so on. We have created a lot of things that weren’t here when we started– including the automobile. Everyone has one, whether it be a Prius or a Hummer, it’s a machine that can be controlled by a human, but can also harm one greatly if ever in contact with one, or with another car.

So I would like to talk about speeding…. In Driver’s Ed, I was so kindly informed that in the case that I, a permitted driver, were to surpass the speed limit by 15mph, I could be arrested. That’s fine with me as I had/ have no intentions of going any faster than I really need to. Some person wrote on the internet, ” Want to frighten your 16 or 17-year-old this Halloween?  Tell her that if she is charged with speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit, she’ll be arrested and she’ll lose her license.”  That’s a quote from a source that I looked up to confirm that a permitted driver could get arrested. The other day I was in the car– not driving, I must add, and an adult was driving. This adult got pissed off and proceeded to drive 15mhp over the speed-limit because he was angry… So luckily for him he didn’t crash with me and the other passengers, and he didn’t get his license revoked for the 30 day period that adults get for speeding that much over. Hypocrisy at it’s best, someone who’s told me to stay at the speed limit speeds and then gets offended when I tell him not to. I’m just telling his senior ass that he is not above the law, no matter how old he is.

To those of you out there who speed, why do you do it? and really what’s the point of risking the one life that you and other’s have on this planet just to get somewhere faster, or express your anger by flying off the handle?

Reality

So I flash back to reality. Everyone is around me and still I can’t tell if this is reality. I’m in this new place mentally, emotionally, and physically, and I’m wondering what is good for me. There’s no right or wrong, yet there’s better and worse. That is my problem.
There are too many questions left un-answered and this is where my anxiety lies. I don’t know what my life or the world holds for me. This realization is exciting yet scary at that same time. I’m reading things that I’ve never contemplated the contents of before. However, that is quite justified, seeing that I have never read them before. I don’t know what to tell you all, my mind is blanking on what I’m feeling. I just know that I’m going to be in for something. This is just the beginning of my journey and I have yet to see a great deal.

A question from an advisor

During this integration experience, all of the students at my college have been paired off into groups that are comprised of all of their hall-mates. We were brought to these empty conference or classrooms, and there was this professor that served as an advisor for all of us incoming freshman. This woman was trying to facilitate discussion among the 40 of us, and most people were quiet and mumbly. 

  This strange crowd induced handicap prompted our advisor to ask us a question. She was wondering why our generation was so afraid to speak up among its peers. She was wondering why when we’d speak, we’d be quiet, or no one would speak. Well, the answer was apparent among us all, and it had to do with how our generation treats each other. Most will make a side comment if you say something incorrect, or if you keep talking, they will talk amongst themselves. This generation is full of snapchat, yik yak, and instagram, and all of these platforms with which we can share our new ‘friend’s’ ugly expression, or a video of something they’re doing while they aren’t noticing we’re filming, or any anonymous comment about how stupid they are. We are asked to answer questions around these people who may do these things. Honestly, our generation doesn’t respect the vulnerability that someone allows to share their thoughts about something within a group of 40 strangers. Instead, there are side comments, and that is all that those people commenting say within that room, they don’t put themselves in that same situation the person who they criticized did.

     So some may say “well then that person shouldn’t speak up and put themselves in that situation, of course people are going to be mean and judgmental”. The result of that advice is the cause of this instance in which a professor had to ask why no one seemed to speak up. Because, they feel like they may as well not be stuck in that situation with judgmental peers.

The mentality that may carry over

Hello all,
   I promised that I would write some posts for you while I’m in college, and college classes officially start this next week for me, so I thought now would be a good time to tell you all how my integration this first weekend has been so far, and my observations.

   Many people come to college full of possibility, while others are full of confusion, and some are just there because that’s what you’re supposed to do, or because that’s the ticket to ‘freedom’, this elusive concept we chase. Freedom means different things to different people. To some, freedom is living in my country. To the country’s adolescent habitants… Not so much. To my generation, freedom is to escape this ideal of ourselves that our parents have tried so hard to force us, or at least influence us to be. For some of my future fellow classmates, this is the releasing of a very strong dam, and the water in that dam holds many questionable desires, and experiences they have yet to be given the permission to explore. Depending on the person, this opportunity can be good and bad, it depends on the person experiencing it, and the people who may judge it. Some people may accompany their high school friends to the college that I’m attending this year, and they’ll feel comfortable. They know people, maybe a lot of people. To them, this may feel like an unencumbered version of high school where the childhood dream comes true– to basically live next to all of your closest friends. There is nothing wrong with a safety net, or something comfortable, but I feel like this is a protective bubble around their college experience. To stay in the role that we’ve become accustomed to playing is an easy task. We’ve identified with that role. Some may be the high school cheerleaders, jocks, hipsters, cool people, nerds, or the alternative styled people. Regardless of our role, in college, there are so many people that used to occupy that same role, but in their own little world. Your role is no longer something that places you on this pedestal for adoration, but rather serves as a common ground between you and the others who used to share that path, or still do. In college, there is but one task that seems to be completed by the end. It’s not really a task even, but maybe a process that happens to few, or to many. It’s this grand experiment that takes away all boundaries (legal boundaries not included of course, but even then there are temptations for some). Within this experience is that process I was referring to, and it may be finding yourself. It doesn’t matter to anyone if you we’re popular in high school, there’s no way to be the ‘most popular one’ among thousands. To deviate from our role, but remain true to ourselves is a difficult task. I can only imagine how hard it is to shed this identity that you’ve had for 4 years of high school, only to have a clean slate in college.

   My experience was different in high school. I’ve been homeschooled most of my life, public schooled for some of my beginning years, and then halfway through high school I went to the community college in my area for classes instead, because I was able to. I don’t have high school friends that I’m following, or who are following me, to college. I barely know a soul here, other than those who I’ve had to reach out to. So far, I can spot those in a crowd who have known each other for a long time, and who are not deviating from their ‘squad’ and I can’t help but think they’re missing this interesting part of the college experience. It’s intimidating to go to a place where you have no friends, and you have to show others who you are. Most people don’t make rude side comments to their new acquaintances about somebody else in the room. Those are habits that yes, some people have life long and it doesn’t matter their schooling or circumstance, but it baffles me that I’ve seen how little tact most of these groups of friends have.

   I recognize that there are bullies in every walk of life, and in every circumstance, but it’s just a shame to me that these new young adults are treating strangers with such disrespect because they are coddled by the comfort of accompanying their peers into this intimidating experience.

College bound

It’s strange to think that tomorrow I’ll be heading to my college to move in. I’m going to drive up to the place I will be living for the next four years bright and early. It was an unimaginable concept just years ago that I’d move into a dorm and would not be living with my parents anymore. I’m scared, but excited, nervous, and at the same time confident. I don’t know what this journey will hold for me in the end. Many people switch their majors, and many people have life changing experiences in college. I’m confident that this is the right choice for me. It just doesn’t feel real.  I’m used to staying close to home. Being in France was a stretch for me, I was relieved to be home. Hopefully I find my college to be a home away from home, I’m sure I will. Right now though, that seems far gone. I absolutely adore the college that I chose, and the location that it is in. I can’t wait to spend all of the seasons on my campus and see it transform. I can’t wait to become friends with my hall-mates, and I can’t wait to experience what it’s like at a four-year university. I’m excited about this next chapter of my life, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I will try to post as much as I can (I know that I always say that, but I mean it) during the semesters, and definitely over breaks. 

What will your pride cost you

What’s your biggest fear? Cars and other people. I realized this today. Some may say their biggest fear is being alone, but honestly that pales in comparison to me if you think about how important your life is to you. Yes, being alone would suck, but wouldn’t dying at the hand of someone else’s stupidity suck more? You have no power over your fate when you give others the right to drive you. You’re literally placing your life in their hands, and this is why other people and cars are my biggest fear. Let me explain by telling you a story from about thirty minutes ago from me writing this.

I’m in France, with a host family. I’m staying with my host brother that I’ve hosted for the last two summers. This summer, it is my turn to stay with his family. So far, this has been difficult, but rewarding. I’m learning more French than I knew when I got here, and I’m seeing amazing things (like the fireworks display I saw on the 14th of July). But along with these amazing things comes a tour guide, my host brother. He isn’t a problem. We get along like brother and sister. But, I’m getting sidetracked from the story. We’re in the car right now, on our way to a place in the north of France. The French who live in Paris don’t drive much, but trips are an exception, so we’re driving. Actually, the dad is driving. During the previous trips that we’ve taken so far this month, I’ve realized he has a problem with trailing the asses of other cars. Now, I know other people who do this, so I tried not to judge much, but let me paint you a picture of the situation we were just in.

We’re riding in the fast lane, going very fast. He trails the ass of this other man’s car (it was a grey car) who has passengers too. But both of them don’t want to budge. My host father doesn’t want to slow down, and this man isn’t changing lanes like most people tend to do. Not that he has to change lanes from intimidation, but it presents a challenge to the male ego when one doesn’t yield, so let’s continue with the story… The car in front starts slowing down a few kilometers per hour, my host father is maintains his speed with a led foot. My host mother is in the passenger seat and she presses her hand on the dash, as a human reaction of being scared of the speed. The car moves to the right. We continue for almost a minute, and then the car merges back in front of us. Both men are challenged by the grey car man initiating this challenge. My host father’s ego seems at stake, and the grey car man wants to challenge another man and have him back down. My host father motions something to him, I’m not sure what it was. Then, grey car man returns a proud middle finger and starts slowing down. As my host father gets closer and closer to the other car’s bumper he taps on the break when the grey car puts it’s breaks on. Now, at the point that it started getting increasingly stressful, he was going 130-140 kilometers per hour, trailing the car’s ass. There’s a tractor trailer in the right lane, and there are only two lanes. What’s at stake: two young college-bound girls (my sister and I) visiting from america, his college-bound son, his wife, and his 3 year old son. All of our reactions? I was pissed off that I was stuck in this situation. His wife, sobbing out of fear and begging him to slow down, he is continuing the speed and the trailing, their son is trying to reason with them to make his dad stop, the toddler is playfully kicking his legs in child-like bliss, my sister… I’m not really sure what she was doing since she’s behind me. I could’ve said stop in French or English. He has minimal English speaking skills, but as a given of our natural intuition as humans to understand tone, facial expressions, and body language I’m sure he would’ve gotten the point if I would’ve screamed “stop!” and gave a disapproving face, but I didn’t… Because I have two more weeks here and I didn’t want it to be awkward. But see, it still is awkward that I was even put in that situation, that his wife, son, and toddler were put in that situation. We didn’t have a choice but to remain in the car during this battle of pride.

I’m sorry, but if that list of people, if your wife’s scared pleas, and the fact that you’re driving someone else’s daughters doesn’t prevent you from trying to defend your pride at possibly the expense of all these lives in this car… Then you’ve already lost your pride.

Road rage is idiotic. If your ego can be threatened by a weak person who is just testing you, then you are being an even weaker person for giving into their tricks and teasing. Road rage kills innocent people, not at the hand of the car inflicting the road rage, but at the hand of the driver who is choosing how to respond to it. My respect has been lost for him.

Problems

So today I was rock climbing, and during it, I was preoccupied by something. In rock climbing, there’s bouldering. Within bouldering there are certain routes set to accomplish, and those are called ‘problems’. So, I was climbing a problem today that was difficult. I had tried it the other day when I went with my friends, but I didn’t complete it. What happened, was we were bouldering and then they all got tired of it, but I was climbing that problem right as they were ready to move onto something else within the gym. I was kind of bummed, because this was happening while I was mid-problem, and I really wanted to solve this one. So today I was back to the gym, and I made it, I solved that problem that I wanted to solve last Friday. What got in the way last time was not limited to the time crunch however, I was stuck at a certain part on the problem that required shifting my weight over. I don’t boulder much, so usually any transition in bouldering (especially ones that require me supporting most of my weight with my arms) isn’t the most comfortable thing. That’s why I like it though. Personally, bouldering is a challenge. Rock climbing in general is a challenge, but bouldering adds height– with the caveat that when you let go, you are falling right away. Now don’t be so scared, boulders are only 16 feet maximum height typically, and there is a mat under you. However, I am not one for falling gracefully, or even falling in general. Despite having a mat under you though, you can still fall wrong, because not all falls are planned falls. The mat is there just in case you slip during a move– and believe me, that slipping is not fun (but is any slipping really fun?). I just wanted to share with you all that our mind is our biggest controller. If I hadn’t talked myself into moving for the transition on that problem, I would’ve continued to get stuck on that part. But once I talked myself into it the first time, it wasn’t as scary.

Hyper Links

Hey all, so I learned how to use hyper links. That is why you will now see every once in a while little highlighted words that connect to links! I’m actually excited about this (don’t ask me why… I realize it’s silly to be excited about), because I’ve been trying to figure it out. Last night I realized it was really easy. Anyway, I was on one of my favorite ‘time wasters’ today, IFunny (see in this post what I’m referencing).

I was curious what the feature had in store, and I found this glorious little invention called the tea calendar. This calendar legitimately keeps you on track with your tea consumption by providing you one slip of tea for every day of the year. Check it out guys! But if you’re lazy and want to stay on this page, this is what it looks like.

The actual website has a better description though, and they go into the details of what awards it has already won even though technically it isn’t a product on the open market yet, and will require more testing or something. Whatever happens, I’m going to try to stay up to date on the latest news about it, because it would be a perfect gift for someone like my mom.

One thing about IFunny, however, is that it shows us these amazing things, making us desire them instantly because they are so unique and innovative. A downfall about that though, is that some of these things aren’t available, or in the case of the “jumping bridge” in France, don’t exist.

The bridge was never made, because the proposal was turned down by the city for many reasons. Before I knew this though, I was led astray by IFunny that captioned it “jumping bridge in Paris” and nobody knew it wasn’t a reality. We all just believed that France was cooler than the U.S. and actually built a trampoline bridge :’D Which in reality could potentially be a risk to those crossing it and bumping into each other, and could inhibit water traffic for larger boats crossing underneath.

2015!

I know we are halfway into 2015, and that New Years resolutions are a thing of months past, but how about we make a goal together: have at least one goal for this year. This goal could be whatever you’d like, but I request that you challenge yourself to make one. It could be as simple as blogging more, or learning more about a certain topic. I’m not sure what demographics are viewing my blog quite yet, but I have a feeling that most of us on WordPress have something different that we can bring to the table, and something new that we can add, or enhance in our life. Let’s make 2015 a conscious year that we contribute more to what we want to achieve in our lives.