Friday, August 5, 2011

Introspection vs Distraction

Insanity, as we all know, is defined as trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I may be insane. Starting with taking a semester abroad my sophomore year of college, I've been doing the same thing over and over again. Escaping. The monotony of working in a field I have no passion for, the relational drama, the distractions of living a "normal" life always makes me feel uncomfortable. So I feel that I must go out - experience - live. Yet, each time I try something like this, I end up miserable for a period of time. And each time, I've selected a more challenging circumstance or location. Each time, I tell myself, never again. Each time, I look back on how much I learned from the experience. Well, I better learn something grand from this trip, as I think I've outdone myself. Being alone in a foreign country where next to no one speaks your language and there's no set schedule or task list (I do much better with structure...) has been really really hard. I've taken to walking for hours each morning just to get myself out. Today, after my breakfast of champions (burnt "fried" eggs - must get used to this stove), I successfully stomped from one edge of town to the other and back (roughly 5 miles). And without my usual walking companion (zee iPod), there's nothing to distract me. I've also limited my internet streaming most of my time here (except last night when I gave in to 5 episodes of How I Met Your Mother) to rid myself of the normal time wasting distractions. This has led to much introspection. I've never been a person to shy away from alone time, but when it is the only option, it is easy to get overwhelmed with yourself.

When you're alone:
- Time is much more prevalent. For the most part, it does not fly.
- Is there a need to use your vocal chords?
- Thoughts seem to be very self-centered. This is the part that concerns me. While introspection is a good thing, and I have already learned some things about myself (ie as hard as this has been, I am doing it, and I'm doing ok), I tend to think that being too self-involved is awful. However, it is good that we deal with our problems/situations as distracting ourselves (with friends, work, entertainment, etc) will only delay the inevitable. So I'm trying to strike up a good mix of introspection to deal and catalogue my experiences and production and distraction.
- You can let yourself go (a bit, let's not get too carried away with this one)
- What you really want/need is made a bit more clear
- What you have becomes much more dear

For these reasons and others, I've realized (yet again) how important people are to me. And also, how easy we have it in the US.

I know this has been wordy, congratulate yourself with these other things:
- Graffiti I stumbled upon today. Shirley Temple saying "I said no" and the pink figures say "I am a lesbian" and "lesbian power"
- I heard Mambo #5 today coming out of a car - yes, the English version
- I had an empanada from a cafe called Capitan Medialuna - medialuna is the word here for croissant, so this means Captain Croissant. Cute, no?
- I got a new space heater/best friend. Amazing. I put it right by my bed and only had to sleep in one layer. Miracle.
- For those of you who have never traveled outside the US, this image of my bathroom may shock you:
I'm getting quite good at 2 minute showers, as any longer than that, the water turns to ice. Adding that to my life resume....


  1. I loved this post. I identify with the whole isolation stuff. I've been living in quite extreme (for me) isolation this past week, and it has been trying. I have no schedule but a huge to do list, and it's driving me bonkers. If I had money, I'd channel it into exploring more. Anyway, I'm getting to understand me in a different way. It's hard to put my finger on it, but I'm starting to figure out the whole needs/wants in a lot of different shades.

    Houston is practically a different country, but it's still extremely American. Isn't it stressful? But here, it's SO DAMN HOT!

  2. Will you please call me Captain Croissant from now on? And another idea for being alone is making graphs about the time difference between you and your loved ones :P