Friday, December 2, 2011

Some Dirty Laundry

My mind has been full of crumpled papers for the past few weeks or even months. They need ironing but I didn't seem to know how. It's like the littlest thing that bothers me the most. I tried a lifestyle of gratitude, faking it just to see if it would do any good, but it didn't work. Being idle certainly let my mind run all sorts of course. I don’t like where they typically end up.

H always warns me that I won’t be always received with open arms. For my skin colour, for my background. At times I wish I have blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes. Another time, I wished I were 5 inches taller, so at least people wouldn't have to stare down at me (quite literally). I can’t exactly fend off all stereotypes, but I try to do the little things I can, held my head up, chin high and walk straight. Correct any misgivings they have about my race (or where I come from) in general. H comforts me by saying that the label “a developed country” is meaningless. The way they think is not always developed. Even one who comes from a developing country can often forget his/her humble beginnings.

I won’t say I miss working, but I certainly miss doing something productive for myself. Working towards a goal, like having a KPO (Key Performance Objectives). I didn't realize goals and objectives are very precious until I was made aware that unless I set myself some purpose, my life is like a paper floating in the air, blown around by the wind. That's why I hold my french classes to heart, refusing to even skip one course. It is my goal, my only goal at the moment. And I actually look forward to the day I work in France. It will be my bittersweet victory. I will remember all the heartaches while I try to master this language.. the times I feel like I'm the third leg or fifth wheel, the times I struggle with so many exceptions in french grammar, the times I strain to understand native speakers and feel dejected when I don't. [I was so happy when I met C (a Korean who is married to a French man) and could hold a 1-hour conversation with her in French. I realize foreigners tend to pronounce each word individually, we want to make sure we pronounce it right, hence it's easier to understand, as opposed to native speakers who use a lot of liaisons. I guess this is the reason why I can hold a lengthy conversation with my mother in law but not my own husband. Until I have built up a good library of vocabularies and familiarity, any liaisons of 2-3 basic words come across as another foreign, new word]

Finally.. after so very long, I found a group of people that I'm familiar with. Maybe because I grew up in English speaking community that I have no problem understanding the jokes (I didn't need somebody to decipher the joke for me or explain what is 'lebay' or 'ciamik' or any other words). There will always be the Asian gatherings (Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese) and there will always be the French gathering but I'm very very happy that I found an English speaking community (American & British). I think yesterday is probably the highlight of my time in Angola. I feel as if I have come full circle. 

And lastly, I am very happy that I found a good yoga teacher here. LS, if you're reading this.. this is for you. Here I understand whether you're lifting your left leg or right leg. At least, I didn't embarrass myself and got it wrong like I did in Venice :) And I finally understand what the strap is for.

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