Whoa. Time can slow down any day now – I’d appreciate it.
Because I have 100 things I feel like blogging about every day & don’t end up writing any of them, I’ll use the wide focus lens & highlight my trip to Austin.
I went to Austin, TX last weekend for a close friend’s wedding. I’ve been looking for an excuse to spend money to go back since landing in the United States so I was more than excited to finally go.
Austin is DEFINITELY the place I feel the most comfortable and myself. I thought I knew this before but only confirmed it after visiting. I really grew up there, during and after college. I went through a lot of phases but feel like that’s my home & where I’m the most myself and confident. This is a huge relief considering I’ve been struggling to feel comfortable for a couple of years now.
Anyways, I think I said this in one of my first posts blogging – As crazy or “weird” as I am, it’s not even close to the level of crazy that Austin offers. Which, in my opinion, is what makes Austin so wonderful. You can truly be who ever you want to be, dress however you want to dress, and act however you want to act.. And people are going to be down. And understand.
^^This is the most beautiful thing about America. Holy shit you can go around as a homeless man wearing a bright, neon, thong & a leopard cowboy hat and be praised as one of Austin’s must see people! Or you can be a cut throat, sexist, business man and still get away with making high-profile deals. Whoever you are, you’re accepted. Maybe not as accepted as you want to be, and sure there’s room to grow in that department, but coming from the middle east where there’s little room for movement in the life style department, this is f****** awesome.
The only problem I ran into while in Austin – (ding ding ding) Culture Shock: Round 2.
Seeing people I haven’t seen since I came back from Dubai threw me back into weirdness (is this even possible)? Having those first conversations with people I knew so well was difficult. And made me lost, confused, and frustrated. Then, with certain people made me so happy, comfortable, and excited. Depending who I was talking to & the conversation topic.
I found one of the most frustrating conversations to have was talking to people from the middle east who were studying in Austin. Hearing them describe their home was like nails on a chalkboard. It was the same, exaggerated version I heard before I left for Dubai. I found myself getting RED and upset that it wasn’t accurate. It was the vision they want people to believe, but it wasn’t real. It was image driven. I would get defensive and angry that they fabricate the reality and then found myself arguing with them. (Whoops). Looking back I wish I just shut up and let them go on describing a dream land, but I feel like if someone doesn’t say the reality of the area then no one will know.
Example time: Someone brought up a story about a “prince”. With the intention to highlight the vision of glorified prince’s and princesses in the middle east.. Ok. Sure. They have a king. And a princess. But that doesn’t affect the lifestyle very much. There’s not like a king being carried around on a bed, being fed grapes, parading down main street. He’s up in his palace with his children and wife(s) doing the same business any other country leader would be doing.
Instead of using a fabricated story like this “Prince” lifestyle to glorify the middle east I wish they would tell a story about the super passionate & kind religious believers. That’s the most incredible thing I’ve seen. And it’s true. No need to exaggerate or make things up. Maybe the story doesn’t include gold, servants, or castles.. But it’s reality. And it’s the most inspiring thing.
Also, again I got asked about women in the middle east and how I was treated there. Please please pleaseread this post if you’re one of those people. And in case you don’t read it, short version: I was treated better in Dubai as a woman than I am in AMERICA. Period.
SO leaving Austin was a bit odd. I got sick the first day and it lasted the whole weekend which was incredibly disappointing and miserable! Time went so fast I didn’t even slow down enough to take a picture 🙁
I was upset I had to go through a second round of culture shock. The first time was awkward enough.
BUT after talking about how I’ve been + culture shock realness + people’s positive reactions to seeing me again was actually pretty therapeutic. They probably don’t realize how much it helped to be crabby at them, or emotional, or overly excited to see familiar faces. Whatever emotion I was putting out in the end really helped me. Whether anyone there knows it or not. It helped me work through my scattered thoughts. (I wish I was there a little longer so I could get through it all and say thank you, but I’ll be back soon and hopefully be able to do that).
Now, I’m back in Los Angeles, waking up with a new plan every single morning… Which I’m not trying to do by the way, I’m trying to make a permanent plan people! Create something SOLID.