October 2, 2011

Overdue fun-making of Flagstaff, but also of myself.

A Personal Essay from Flagstaff:

Flag is, like, one of the least pretentious cities in the world. Seriously, I'm from SoCal, so I know about pretentious. 

I decided that I would use the water I was saving by not washing my hair to water my raised garden. I'm growing my own alfalfa sprouts. My hair looks really cool now that the back is dreadlocks. I cut really short bangs in the front. They make my eyebrow piercings stand out. A lot of people have their noses pierced, but that looks so lame. I got some glasses from the thrift store. They're from, like, the 1960's or whatever, so they look really vintage.

By the way, I almost lost a Birkenstock while I was riding my bike to Macy's after my hike. This Subaru just came out of nowhere when I stopped in the middle of the intersection to get my dog's leash out of the bike chain. When I got to Macy's, my dog was super tired, so I ordered him an iced coffee. He kept barking at the other dogs and at the customers, but I didn't really care. He's a dog, so he's going to bark or whatever. I took out my MacBook Pro and did some homework for my sustainable communities class, but I had to check Facebook, too, so I didn't get my homework done. Then I was hungry, so I totally ordered the veggie sandwich because it's, like, so rude to eat animals or whatever.

Then I thought that some girl from Nebraska was calling me pretentious, but I couldn't really tell because my dog was barking so loudly. 

Okay, so I've been dying to write about some of the ridiculous stuff in Flagstaff. The official name for this phenomenon is "culture shock". It's in one of my textbooks on page 195. In this stage, I'm feeling intruded upon by the host culture, and I seek solace in people who are similar to me and I take comfort in complaining about the host culture--hence my essay.

When I'm not making fun of the people of Flagstaff (I wear Birks, I ride a bike that gets stuff caught in the chain, I go to Macy's, and I check Facebook), I am loving life here. Grad school is is high gear and I'm learning so much about learning that I can't help but be a better student. Learn how to read textbooks, Jena, or else you will get a 60% on the quiz. Yep, welcome to graduate school. I'm learning about phonetics and phonology, and about communicative language teaching and the critical period hypothesis. The phonetic symbols have finally worked their way into my dreams, as have the assignments I give to my ENG 105 class. Somehow this stuff has permeated into my deeper consciousness. Terrifying.

I'm writing two papers at the moment. One on World English in Cambodia, and the other on Language Anxiety in the Foreign Language Classroom. Speaking of anxiety and pretense...Actually, grad school isn't as bad as I thought. Although, I'm glad it isn't as bad as I thought because I would definitely be in tears if I had anything else on my plate at the moment.

I've made some friends, thank goodness, who look out for me and tell me to go home when I've been chained to my office chair all afternoon. I do fun stuff occasionally, like unpretentiously hike on mountains.

So I hope that is enough of an update to say that I'm still alive, I love what I'm doing, and I'm still able to pick apart a host culture like it's my job.

Keep it real, Flagstaff. And wash your hair.