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Adventuers of an American Vagabond - Not talking to family is weird for me.
Life is calling, how far will you go?

Kate
Date: 2007-02-12 15:01
Subject: Not talking to family is weird for me.
Security: Public
Location:Zalau, Romania
Mood:hungryhungry
Music:Innuendo by Queen
It’s getting harder and harder to find things to talk about with my family. Every Sunday we chat online, at 9 AM, 11 AM or 6 PM-depending on what time zone you’re in. The first time we met, I talked to my parents for almost three hours. Yesterday we talked for about 45 minutes, and Dad did most of the talking. I mainly listened.

As time goes on it’s just really hard to find topics of conversation that all five of us are interested in. I definitely throw a wrench in the works. Like yesterday, Ellie talked about getting the Sunday paper and the coupons that were in it; Megan talked about babysitting and bowling; Dad talked about cross country skiing; and Mom talked about shopping. And me? I didn’t say much. I mean, the highlight of my week was finding lettuce (which I really was excited about). It’s not that my life is boring, making lettuce the most exciting thing ever, it’s just that my life is so vastly different now. I look forward to different things, I expect different things from each day, and I’m challenged by different things than I was nine months ago.

It’s easier jut to listen and to let their lives wash over me. I just close my eyes and pretend I’m in my bedroom at my parents house, or in my old dorm room at Alma and then the stuff they’re talking about become more relevant, more exciting. Then someone will ask me a question, and I open my eyes and find myself still in Romania.

“Do you want me to send you my old jeans? I just bought a new pair.” asks Ellie. I want to say “No thanks, I already have as many pairs of pants as most families do. Plus the jeans from home mark me as an outsider, and I’m just now starting to blend in making myself less of a target. And if they’re not hemmed, I just walk on the bottoms, wearing them out and making me look like a gypsy, because only they would wear frayed jeans. And looking like a gypsy will just bring me even more harassment than I want to deal with” But I don’t say all of that; I just thank her and say no, I have enough.

And then my sisters talk about money and I just want to laugh at them. Megan spent $30 on a night out with her roommate. In my head I’m thinking “$30…that’s about 78 RON. I could eat for about two weeks with that.” Bekah’s moving down to Florida for a new job, but is only going to get about $24,000 a year, plus benefits. I make just about $3,000 a year and am still doing better than half the population.

Last night I almost lost it. A friend who moved to Wisconsin was visiting Ellie and I talked to her for a bit. I said that a friend of mine here, a PCV, was quitting the Peace Corps and moving back to Wisconsin. She laughed and jokingly asked why, implying that Wisconsin wasn’t a great place to live. I almost blew a fuse.

Why? Because he’s working in a school system where cheating and bribing is so common he’s viewed as the abnormal bad guy when he doesn’t allow copying or takes kickbacks. Because he lives in a society where, as a male teacher in a high school, he’s expected to hit his misbehaving students and sleep with the pretty ones to gain their respect. Because he was upset that he got used to seeing 15 year old girls wearing tight, revealing clothing and too much make-up in hopes of finding a boyfriend who will be their sugar daddy. Because he lives in a culture where girls get married at 18 and then spend the rest of their lives in a kitchen, taking orders from a man who is probably cheating on her-but the priest knows so it’s ok. Because he can’t walk down the street, holding his girlfriend’s hand, without someone grabbing her ass and winking at him at the same time. Because it’s more “decent” to starve a stray cat or dog than it is to euthanize or neuter them because that’s God’s will. Because in this society, so much emphasis is placed on material things that children are being raised by older siblings or grandparents while their parents are off in Italy, Spain, Austria or Greece because they can make more money working at a minimum-wage job there than getting a career here, and you need money to buy a new computer. Or maybe it’s because he was expected to live, work and speak in a language that he really doesn’t understand. Gee, I really don’t know; why would Phil want to go back to Wisconsin? He must be weird.

I obviously didn’t say all that to her; she was just joking. She couldn’t know how things are outside of Michigan, Wisconsin and the Canadian border. Most Americans don’t ever leave their comfort zone; and for my friend, Wisconsin is the border of hers.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2007-02-13 03:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow. That's prety powerful. I'll email you rather than rant with you here.

-Joel
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2007-02-14 22:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's amazing how well you hit the nail on the head here. It must have felt great to get that off of your chest, even if it was just on a computer screen. I wish I could scream what you wrote at the little mongrels I teach and the administration.
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Kate
User: kateinromania
Date: 2007-03-01 11:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thanks, it was great. Who is this?
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john4ro
User: john4ro
Date: 2007-02-22 08:55 (UTC)
Subject: damn
I hope that felt good. It seemed cathartic.

John
http://athousandbooks.blogspot.com
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Kate
User: kateinromania
Date: 2007-03-01 11:54 (UTC)
Subject: Re: damn
It was, very. I do feel better. Thanks.

And why did you tell Silvana to tell me "sorry?" I didn't know you had something to appoligize for.
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