I reread some of my posts from my Up.In.The.Stixs blog and was reminded the end of my first year abroad was rough. I was homesick and counting down the days to go back to the place that I had fled — L.A. But it’s funny, nowadays I remember my Japan years more in a positive light. I think about the cool JETs I met, the cool inaka (countryside) folks that welcomed me to their homes, I think about the friendships I still maintain with people bc of Nankoku/Kochi-ken, I think about wanting to visit again. I think I remember Japan in a better light because my old boss, Ai-san, taught me the importance of “do like a stupid” (aka not taking myself so seriously that I don’t see the joy of living each day in a new place and learning new things.) I also think my tough time in Chile overshadows any rough time I have had abroad and the following 2.5 years in Latin America was a low point in life.
I think about this now because I know so much of life is about our mindset. I was reminded about this after my late night FB post last night. For some reason, I was up late last night. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m an abuelita, going to bed early, like 10pm , sometimes even 9pm. But last night, I was up late, and I was like, “Dude, why am I still up? Did my kundalini yoga give me a new source of energy?” (I attended a class last night.)
Then just as I was finishing watching an episode of “Sirens,” I heard a knock on my door. I didn’t know what to do: answer it this late at night or ignore it? But then I was like, What if it is my neighbor, a single, young American woman? So I answered it.
Maintenance workers wanted to change signs. I was like only in the countryside of Ecuador would someone think it was somewhat ok to change signs inside someone’s home at 11pm. But before I could get angry or annoyed, I shrugged and thought, “I can’t be bothered.” Then I looked at the guys. They didn’t want to be there either; they were just doing their job, and you know, “shit happens,” so 11pm sign changing happens.
I talked with the boss, because that is what I do now–talk with folks. And he gave me the encouragement I needed. That extra push to stay on my course toward my goal of opening a tea shop (case de te). My colleagues have informed me that I’m “out there,” meaning I put myself out there by making myself vulnerable in the pursuit of accomplishing my goals. And I think this has made the big difference in my persistent state of happiness– stepping out on faith and believing in myself to accomplish my goal with the help of others and God. Some view this as being vulnerable and semi-crazy, but I know this is how I stay happy, maintain my inner peace and resist being depressed. What I’m the proudest of is my ability to quickly change my mindset about the 11pm event. The old Monique would have been quick to complain; but because I am operating from a space in life/a different mindset, I was able to receive an unexpected entrepreneurial push forward.
I’m only able to think positively because I fill my ears with words of encouragement and affirmation. I often wonder how young women feel about themselves since there are no positive, uplifting female rappers and few non-sexualized female celebrities. (I grew up hearing, “Who you calling a bitch? U.N.I.T.Y” and “I’m a woman of the ’90s.”)
What we consume is so important. So choose to consume positivity, love, happiness, possibility, audacity, hope, community progress, compassion– compassion was the quality that took me the longest to understand and use, but it is the main quality that is helping me build a community in Los Andes. #makelifework #staycalm #lovelife