Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reverse Culture Shock

Well, it's over.  It's been a week since I left, and reverse-culture shock is hitting me hard.

Honestly, I am happy to be home.  It's great to see my family and friends again.  I've been in heaven after finally joining the modern world and getting an iPhone.  I'm still shocked at the selection of produce at grocery stores.  And I can't help but smile each time I have an Oberon or bloody mary.

But I feel like a stranger in my own country.  I have changed so much over the past 8 months, yet everything here seems to have stayed the same.  I know it's normal to feel this way, and I know these feelings will fade.  But it doesn't make it easier to deal with right now.

I miss certain things about Martinique itself (namely the weather), but more than anything, I miss my life there.  I miss living in Anse Figuier with JY.  I miss speaking French and improving my speaking skills.  I miss feeling like every day brought new experiences that constantly changed me.  And most of all, I miss who I was in Martinique.

"You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place... like you'll not only miss the people you love, but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you'll never be this way ever again."
                                                                             -Azar Nafisi

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One Week Away

A week from now I'll be in the air on my way to Miami.

I'm not sure how to feel.  A month ago, I was more than ready to go home.  Now, I'm not so sure.  There are plenty of things that I miss about Traverse City (and the states in general) but there are a lot of things in Martinique that I'm not ready to let go of.

But to me, life isn't about where we are, but who we are with.  It's about the experiences we have with those people.  And that's what I will miss the most about Martinique... the people I have met and the great times I have had with them.  One of the hardest parts about traveling is always saying goodbye, not knowing when (or if) you will ever see each other again.

Yet for every goodbye I have to say in Martinique, there will be a hello waiting for me in Michigan.  And it's those hellos that make me excited to go home.

The faces that I miss the most

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Just Don't Give a Shit

Now that my time in Martinique is starting to come to an end, I've been analyzing how this experience has changed me.  Of course I've changed.  But one thing that I have noticed is that Martinique has changed the way I view myself.

I have taken more time getting ready in the past two days than I did probably all of last month.  Yes, that's probably because now I have all the free time in the world.  And it feels nice to actually blow dry my hair and wear jewelry for the first time in weeks (or months?)... but at the same time it's just so weird.

At home, I used to always make an effort to look nice.  I would try on several outfits, always blow dry my hair, wear makeup, jewelry and scarves to accessorize.  I showered daily, and even if I was going to work, I tried my best to look halfway decent.  When I first got to Martinique, I even showered and put on makeup to go to the beach.  Really??

Now?  I just really don't care.  I can't be bothered to blow dry my hair, I only wear makeup if I'm going out, and I wear outfits that I wouldn't even be caught dead in at home (no, not even to go to Walmart).

To be honest, it's kind of liberating.  I feel comfortable with myself, even if I look like shit.  I rarely feel self-conscious.  And when I do make the effort to look nice, well, then I feel really beautiful... even while I'm sweating my butt off and the heat is wiping off all my makeup.

It will be interesting how I will be when I return stateside.  The culture is different there, and there's more emphasis on appearances.  I just hope that I can retain what Martinique has changed within me, even if I do go back to wearing makeup every day.