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Guinea Stuff

Blogging gets more difficult at the time in your life when you really need to. I have so many new experiences but I want to experience them rather than take down notes, then I can’t do anything when i’m tired (one of my huge flaws). Anyway, I want to write down things that I’ve noticed and things I’ve heard that are interesting to me here in Guinea I guess.
1) there are a lot of things that are incredibly similar to the states and a lot of things incredibly different. This is probably an obvious statement but it seems to be something that needs to be said. Here the kids and the people have huge holes in tears in everything from their underwear to their pants, to their shirts ( the underwear that my 9 year old host sister wears is pretty much just an elastic band with a small piece of fabric that definitely doesn’t cover anything).
2) Washing and germs are deemed important but the concept of germ theory isn’t there. This is 90% Islamic nation with mosques on every corner and the call to prayer always ringing. During their prayer, which they do 5 times a day, they wash parts of their body (i.e. face, hands, nape of neck, etc). They also always brush their teeth before each meal and wash their face and hands.
With that being said, they don’t use soap to wash their hands or toothpaste to brush their teeth, but they do use it when bathing, washing dishes, washing clothes, etc. .I believe I heard it is because they say that the soap makes the food taste weird, which leads me to my next point
3) EATING WITH YOUR HANDS FROM ONE LARGE BOWL THAT EVERYONE SHARES IS AMAZING! You really feel one with the food and with everyone else. Essentially instead of sitting at a table ad everyone having their own plate, there is one large bowl in the middle and everyone just picks up the food (usually some type of rice with sauce) with their hands and go for it. The food that is directly in front of you is yours, don’t stretch your hand all the way out and try to grab that piece of food that is on the other side of the bowl, that’s a cardinal offense.
4) Tv’s make people act exactly how you think they would (sitting around rarely saying anything). The electricity here is hydroelectric, which is great because it is the rainy season now and rains very hard for various lengths in time like 1-2 times a day. So the power comes on for maybe 3 or 4 hours at any random given point in the day (could be 3-7 in the morning or 3-7 at night there is no rhyme or reason or guarantee that the power will come on). So usually you just keep the lights in the on position and when we see the lights on we know that the electricity is on and everyone shouts in joy!
5) Susu is the biggest ethnic group here, they are stereotypical loud and full of energy all of the time (Naruto fan’s should think of the Uzumaki clan here). The Polars are stereotypically quiet and reserved (think Sasuke and the Uchiha). Now the anime watchers will also get the connection that 1) there are many other ethnic groups, but are not as prominent and 2) there is a split in power and the roles that you usually see them in. Poles are usually the Guineans you know outside of Guinea (any Diallo or Kadiatou), they also are characteristically seen as owning shops. The Susu are characteristically the market people and the ones with stands. I’m sure i’ll have a lot more to write about on this as more comes to me and I have a lot more time, but this is just a note on the two

every journey beings with a step

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with the First Step

What a great start to my service in Guinea! I missed my flight to Philadelphia for staging, the last flight of the night, now I’m sitting on the airplane on a flight that was supposed to take off at 7:25 am (it’s 7:40am now). They cannot find the pilot and have not given us any information otherwise that we will be leaving soon, they even turned the engines off.
With all of these snafus you’d believe that I am discouraged to go. Not at all. I don’t believe that this simply boils down to the simple fact that I don’t believe in omens, I still get a little wary about irrational things all of the time. I think that it is because I am a lot more prepared for things to go south, while still knowing that everything will be alright and that getting upset rarely helps anything (WOW! Is this maturity??!!! I don’t think that I’m ready for that). Anyways, it is what it is and I might as well just accept it.
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
At least when I get to my other trainees, I will not be traveling alone anymore. It’d be nice to travel and talk to someone isn’t a single-serving friend (Flight Club references f*ck Yeah!). I’ve started traveling more since I first studied abroad and left for France. Actually… it might’ve started with going to the Grand Canyon for the thanksgiving break of ’12. Travel and hardships makes people bond and form friendships even if it is only for a short while that they spent the time together. I’ve imagined that travel with my significant other will continue to add glue to keep us together with such hardships.. That or break us up. You know… whichever.

Things That I Wish People Had Told Me Growing Up

1) there’s no such thing as a “real man” or a “real woman” should act/feel/do we are all human and trying to do the best that we can
2) make believe and imagination is just as important as facts and knowledge, if not more so because of endless possibilities. Imagination makes life more interesting and opens the world to how things could be and what is actually possible.
3) there are many types of love and it is fine to not be extremely overt in showing this love, however it is extremely necessary that you tell those people that you love them explicitly and remind yourself to do things to make sure they know sometimes.
4) there’s always something you can be doing at this moment to accomplish a goal,
5) relaxing can be a step towards this also
7) Everyone falls on the Kinsey scale somewhere, attraction and sexuality is fluid and that is normal
8) never be ashamed to have an opinion and to voice it. Your opinion is just as important as anyone else’s.
9) understand that there is a time and place for everything, and waiting isn’t always a bad thing
10) doing the right thing doesn’t mean that you get what you want in the end. Doing the right thing just makes the world better for every living thing I’m this universe
11) strive for perfection, understand that nothing is perfect
12) every language and culture is valuable
13) your own is pretty great too
14) trying to build someone/thing up, DOES NOT mean bringing someone/thing else down
15) travel as much and as far as you can
16) quality over quantity is essential to every thing that you do in life
17)

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I CRAVE Novelty

I lose interest in people fairly quickly. I don’t try to, it just happens… I meet them and I’m attracted and I genuinely like them as a person. I learn about them and what makes them interesting to me. But then, all of a sudden I feel like I’ve figured them out and they “fall for my tricks” I’ve never believed that I was intentionally manipulating people, but part of my self-discovery has been that I very much do.
It isn’t just people, it comes the same way with subjects and media. I get fascinated. I get obsessed. It’s like this is what I have been searching for my whole life, and I love talking and hearing about it. Then, one day I’m just done and move on to the next thing/subject/person.
I don’t watch replays and I don’t re-read. I already have the information, I already
know it. Why get the same information/experience twice and when there is so much out there in the world that I don’t know!
The fact that these are genuine feelings that I don’t intentionally try to feel or try to think is what gives me problem with relationships to other people. Obviously when people get attached to me they don’t like that I am attached until that day when I am not as interested anymore as I once was. I still love it/them, just not in the same capacity.
I don’t feel wrong for feeling how I do because these are my feelings. This is how I’m experiencing life. I tell people my feelings and how I am at the beginning so there no surprises. I don’t think that it makes it any easier though. Still at the end of the day when I look at people who are hurt over me…

i'd hate me

Love is Cursed by Monogamy

LOVE IS CURSED BY MONOGAMY

More and more I believe that relationships aren’t supposed to last forever and are definitely not supposed to be with just one person. Maybe for a certain period of time but it is ridiculous to come to the idea that one person can fulfill your every need, and if they can’t then you are just supposed to be satisfied with that. Is a realistic attitude the same as being pessimistic? Is it just an easy way out to say that you want to be with more than one person?

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Everyone is different and obviously this wouldn’t be able to applied to everyone. How does one really suppress their jealously when someone they really care about cares about someone else also? Is that not just a person trying to own another person? Calling them their property and that they keep something as ephemeral as sexual encounters strictly for only that one person?I don’t know but to me this sounds too fantastical like a movie or a song. Real life is a lot more messy and doesn’t work that way for everyone.

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Isn’t being with someone just about being 100% honest with them, bearing your soul, telling them everything you believe to be true. It is completely vulnerable and does not hold back. That is just how I see it at the moment. I haven’t truly been able to do this with anybody since my last break up. Does this mean that I wouldn’t ever want to be with just person? How does adding something like a child to the equation? I can’t answer any of that because I have no idea really. Maybe it is just that I am still hurt and not ready to with one person in that capacity. Who Knows? The more people I am with and the deeper relationships I develop, the more I realize what I am searching for. I just don’t want to deny who I am or my own feelings. I guess I am also scared I will continue to make the same mistakes I’ve made in the past and be left back at where I was.

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My blogging experience

I enjoy reading blogs, especially about PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers). This is what my future holds and these are the people who I will become.

I think maybe I am looking for the insight into another person’s struggle through life. On any other social network, everything is dolled-up for the pictures of Instagram or Facebook and Twitter’s character limit to me can only get across jokes and punch lines. Tumblr gives me more of a view into someone else’s life, but it is too saturated by gifs and arguments (although i will spend HOURS on there with all the porn, comical stuff, and crazy stuff that i love!)

Here on WordPress the only tags I’ve searched for are Peace Corps, Guinea, and break ups.Even if writing about things help, I still need to know that there are other people like me. I still need to read from their experiences first hand, this is the reason why I write exactly how I feel. It is not only for myself to express how i feel right now, but it is for another person who might come across it also.

There are a lot of things that go on up in my head that I’m not sure are completely normal. If there are other people having the same experiences then at least them and I would both know that we aren’t as different from everyone else as we think that we might be.

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I am going to the Peace Corps and i would like to know if they have struggled with these things before leaving also. Can I really help other people if I can’t even help myself from continuously falling into a mini-depression?

Making changes

My invitation for the Peace Corps finally came in and I already had most of the information that came with it so it was exciting, but it was an email from the placement specialist that came with it that really caught my attention. She wanted to touch on two things that stood out from my interview and she wanted to comment and give me more information on.

They were from the questions at the end of the interview that I had asked. When asked about modifying my appearance this was more or less my answer “ I have two tattoos that are easily hidden. I also have piercings (gauges) in my ears. It’s a part of me therefore, I don’t like to change it. I feel as though we are to share our culture with the people of our site as well. I would be hesitant to change those, but if it’s that important I would have to do it. If I go in for an interview or someplace where it’s not casual, than I have to change my appearance. I have no problem with it. If there is something that I need to change, than I would do it.”

Who I am comes out in my appearance and I am very hesitant to ever change it because I feel like it is changing who i am and saying that who i am is not good enough.

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Maybe my unwillingness to change myself does have a lot to do with me being torn down and rebuilding myself. That somehow if I change for another person then I am saying that who Donald is not good enough. Reflecting on this manner of thinking now makes me see it as childish or immature, and it probably is. Being more flexible with your identity means that you are comfortable with it. Being on the extremes of either side (constantly changing your identity to whoever you’re around or being hard-headed and unwilling to change) might be signs of the need to completely accept yourself.

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