I was in Houston, Texas for a couple of days and I fell deeply in love with this highly organized cosmopolitan city. Why did I go in earlier than planned? Well, on campus housing was booked to the tee and it was best to get the housing aspect of admission taken care of.  I spoke to a lady in Houston  who was looking for a roommate and the plan was that I will spend the weekend in Houston, meet her and sign the contract necessary to be apartment mates.  But, unfortunately, that plan fell through the cracks and my plans were turned upside down.  Despite, the little upheaval to my plans, I did get to explore Houston a little bit, I got to go to my school on Sunday and gained a deeper appreciation for google maps.  My school is absolutely beautiful by the way.

The good news is that I did achieve my aim of getting a place to stay that met my criteria.  It is amazing how it all worked out.    There were many times that I felt frustrated and I thought I will return back to my temporary abode without achieving anything but when you keep calm and appraise your situation rationally, things generally fall in place.

What are my thoughts on Houston?  I love it and I am definitely looking forward to spending some years in this city even though, I have this weird feeling that my roots might eventually be in a different Texan town but this is okay for now.  Houston is actually very funny.  In New York, the disparity between the rich and the poor were pretty obvious in terms of the cities and towns that they choose to live in but in Houston that really isn’t the case.  The rich and the poor seem to live side by side amicably. But, I found a little undercurrent of racial tension in Houston.  Now, before typing my experiences, do realize that these are first impressions, so they might not be how things really are.  Secondly, I might be looking at everything from New York eyes, so my view might be a little flawed.

I stayed in a little place where international travelers et al, generally stay and I came in very exhausted and had to find somewhere to eat.  I have to admit that I did not look at my room number when I was taken up, my mind was only on food and eventual rest.  After eating my little heart out and returning back to the place that I had to stay, I realized that I did not know my room number, it wasn’t written on any document, so I walked up to the lady in charge at the receptionist desk to ask her what my room number is.  She looked at me, opened up her fingers  and said room five.  I was taken aback.  You know how people use their hands to communicate with those who they feel can’t understand English, that’s what she did and I wanted to slap her silly with those fingers of hers but I just shook my head and told myself that maybe I misunderstood what she was doing.  She was Caucasian.

The second place of racial undercurrent was when I went in to eat. I chose to eat at a Chinese restaurant because I could not find a Mexican restaurant that could promise me the kind of spicy food I needed.  Once, I stepped into the restaurant, the server scowled at me but still led me to my chair.  She gave me the menu and I made my order.  When she came to give me the food i ordered, she kind of slammed the food on my table. I was like, huh, but thought maybe I could be over reacting.  But, then , I listened to her talking to a caucasian man who she was asking how his food was and she was very pleasant and showed a different side from what she showed me.  I was very turned off by her behavior.  I tipped her, but only because I wanted her to see that black people do not go into restaurants with trouble making written on their foreheads.  The waiter was Asian.

The third place was when I was looking for a place to live for the new semester.  The guy who was managing/supervising the place was Hispanic.  The first comment that rang some bells was when I came in , he seemed taken aback by my appearance and then the next statement he said was,”I have no problems with race, I believe we are all one” He said all these without any conversation about race. Once, I heard that, I knew I had to be on my guard.  Then, he mentioned, that he only had two black tenants living in the apartment  complex and he sent the other black tenants out.  He went ahead to mention that he had refused to rent his apartment to some black people because he had a bad feeling about them even though they were qualified and had the money necessary to rent the apartment.  Then he went ahead to insinuate about my legal status in this country.  You know at that point,  I was mentally counting up to ten.  Then he goes ahead to say that the reason that a certain country in Africa was better and more organized is because white people are still in power, of course, I had to correct his history because he obviously had his facts wrong about that country.   Then, he refused to give me documents to fill my tax information and then gave me a form to fill out all my information which he wanted to fully investigate.  I shook my head.  This man obviously had issues with race, okay, black people to call a horse, a bloody horse.  But, I was polite to him because, seriously, my mind was focused on one objective which was to get a place to live next semester.

But beyond, these three instances showing the undercurrent of racial tensions in Houston, everything was okay.  I noticed that the homeless cut across racial lines.   That was meh!

What did I learn from this trip?

a) Do not take any road trips that is more than 6 hours long.   All you get from it is a cramped back, lack of sleep, and a jacked up system.

b) Houston has some delectable eating places.

c) Houston is a very organized city.

d) Houston is cosmopolitan.

e) Houston has some very friendly people and some very hot men!!  *ahem*

f) Google maps is the business.

g) Keep an open mind, open log, relax and enjoy the flow!

🙂

Me.

Been Quiet

Yes, I realize that I have been so quiet over here.  I have been really busy trying to sort out all the other nuts and bolts that go into relocating and ensuring that you have everything necessary to begin classes.  Getting into the school of your choice is  one thing but there is often a long list of other things that also needs to be done before the first week of class. Like, finding the paper work for all your vaccinations or getting titters done  – very expensive by the way, finding accommodation which is a job on its own, and so many other things.  I am happy to report that I am almost done with everything that needs to be sent in.

Now, I have been told that I should choose my research area so that I can be connected to a professor that has the same research interest.  But, there are so many things that I am interested in.  Public Health is so broad.  I have to ensure that whatever I choose to focus on beyond being something that I am passionate about, it also has to be an issue that will need to be worked on globally for many years.  I don’t want to work where answers have been found already.

But,  yes, I am super excited about this opportunity and this journey.  I am not scared.  New York can make you walk in strength and not in fear.  If you’ve lived in New York, you can literally live anywhere….

🙂

My big fat revenge is a reality show in the United States where people who were overweight, lose some weight and then come back to taunt those who were mean to them or called them fat when they were overweight.  Obviously, this is a show built on pettiness and a show that will appeal to only those who have a psychological need to fight for the underdog. After watching several episodes in which women came back fighting back because a partner, friend, family member, lover had called them fat when they were obviously fat, I had to start asking myself some questions.

Obesity and being overweight is a global issue.  In the past, these were terms associated with the rich or high income countries.  It was associated with having surplus food that was affordable to the rich.   But,  being overweight or obese has gone beyond being a symbol of the rich and upwardly mobile to being a disease that affects all regardless of their socioeconomic state.   In fact, some have argued that  in present day society the reverse has occurred which is that as people move up the social ladder economically, they have mounting pressure to lose weight and remain slim.  To do this, they pay particular attention to their food and eat healthier.  This is not the case in many low or middle income communities and countries  where people are more concerned about getting something to eat rather than paying attention to issues of nutrition and portion control.  Interestingly, being overweight or being obese is a form of malnutrition.  How do we classify obesity or being overweight?   This is classified as having your body mass index (BMI) greater than 25.  Being overweight and obese has been directly correlated with the likelihood of getting diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and the list goes on.

Now, the United States has two methods that are clearly used in working with those that are overweight or obese.  One is of total acceptance in which people go beyond the size and accept people for who they are on the inside. Communities are formed in which self-esteem is built and the accepted concept of beauty is challenged.  The second method that we see is fat shaming.  This is a method in which loved ones and members of society go out of their way to make those that are overweight or obese, seem less than in an effort to challenge them to create change.  Fat shaming was obviously the method that was used, that made these ladies call out for revenge.  These two methods are problematic because in the former, yes, the person has high self-esteem, sees themselves as beautiful but they are slowly walking towards their death because they are living an unhealthy life.  The second method creates a person who might lose weight but might be psychologically scarred for life.  A study needs to be published on if those who go through fat shaming, go ahead to have eating disorders.  I will not be surprised if there is a high correlation between fat shaming and eating disorders.  Now, how does this tie to my big fat revenge?

Beyond the fact that I feel that this show is petty.  There isn’t  any follow-up associated with the show. Yes, you lose the weight and you make the ‘enemy’ feel like a cad.  Then what next?  Secondly, the show doesn’t stress the importance of living a healthy life and how losing that weight might have saved their lives.  It is all about getting back at that person who dared to call them fat even though they were obviously fat.  Another issue I have with the show is that it does not stress the importance of lifestyle change and the importance of food. They do not go out of their way to tell us the story of what led to this person eating so much that they became obese or overweight.  There are reasons.  We do not see these people, go to meet any  counselor for help.  This show could be a good show to raise public health awareness about being overweight/obese, the detriment of living a sedentary life  and the psychological implication of this revenge.   But it is media, and often times, media chooses to stick to what sells  and entertains rather than what can inform.

Slightly Overweight. Attacking The Sedentary Lifestyle.  Quite Aware That I Am An Emotional Eater.

Me

 

OPUSC

What Are You Scared Of?

When I was younger and I had to move, one of the things that I was really scared of was that I will not make any friends.  At that time, the thought of spending Saturdays at home, watching TV or a movie and not being out with others at either a function (concerts) or hanging out with a very good friend of mine was what nightmares were made of.

But, as I grew older and I moved from one place to the other, I found out that my fears took other forms.  Making or not making friends was no longer on my fear list rather my fears took more solid forms.

So do I have any fears about my move to Texas even though I am no longer in New York but rather in the Southern part of U.S.A?  Yes, most definitely.  Some of my fears are the following:

a) The roaches:  I’ve heard so much about the roaches in Texas and how the roaches are in control . Supposedly, these roaches have no problem leaping from a great distance to get to your eyes.  I hate spiders but after reading up on these leaping and flying roaches, I believe I hate those more.  I’ve not lived in a house with roaches in ages.  I’ve been fortunate that most of the houses i’ve lived in had no issues with pest control, apart from a spider or two from time to time.  I really do not know how I will deal with a state in which roaches have made their communal home.

b)apartment living: I’ve never lived in what one considers an apartment.  I’ve always lived in  a house that was converted.  Living in an apartment and dealing with all those personalities a.k.a nosy neighbours is frightening.

c)Having roommates:  The only time I had a ‘house mate’  after undergrad was a horror experience.  It was with a woman from Guyana who clearly had issues and had ‘friends of questionable repute’.  I promised myself after that experience that I will never have a roommate for as long as I can get away with it and I have kept that promise…..but, it looks as if I might need a roommate who knows the ropes for a couple of months. That’s frightening.

d) Crime:  In my search for apartments, I’ve been reading a lot about cars getting jacked, people being mugged and a lot of safety issues. Since, I will be a single woman in Texas who might have night classes, this is very frightening.

e) Another New York:  I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons that I moved out of New York was in search of  a slower pace of life.  Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S.A. I do not want to find myself in another fast paced New York or I will mentally scream.

That’s it for now……..

I know that despite these fears, I will be in Texas because I have something to do and it is better late than never

**  I just remembered I had another housemate when I lived upstate and she was okay even though, she tended to get depressed from time to time.

So You Want To Move To New York?

As I mentioned on the previous post, I lived in New York for more than 8 years.  I was originally a Jersian girl, i.e, I finished up my high school and completed my undergraduate degree in New Jersey.   I graduated with degrees in Psychology, Information Technology and Informatics, add or subtract some minors.  I’ve always loved learning new things.

Before I graduated, I knew that I might be heading out to New York for several reasons, namely:  a) my uncle (who was my legal guardian) was going through a divorce and as such staying in his home was definitely not an option. b) The chapel that I attended at that time was based in New York.  c) I was younger , (wink, since I am still considered a young adult), and moving to New York was a better career alternative than staying in New Jersey.  d) I had listened to chapel advice and gotten myself connected to a young Igbo man who resided in New York, so it was wiser to be where he was.  A decision, I still regret because I already knew at a very young age where I was supposed to be.   Now, for these  and other reasons, I moved myself from New Jersey to Brooklyn, New York.

Now, how does this tie to the person who wants to move to New York.  Well, your reasons might be similar.  You might be moving because a) you want a fresh start b) you are just getting out of a particularly messy situation c) You want to start life afresh with someone new (might be marriage or it might be living together) d)  You want more of a career alternative e) You want to start something new f) New York is a land of adventure.

New York is definitely a land of adventure.  You can find anything in New York and you meet all sorts of people from all over the world with their perspectives on life.   If you are into the dating scene, you can definitely find the one or many ones’ in New York.  Now, in terms of career choices:  you generally have two alternatives which are to wait for what you really want or to put your hands into anything to make money and take care of yourself.  But, you will definitely get many opportunities to invent and reinvent yourself.

New York gave me the opportunity to get into the media in terms of broadcasting and gave me access to different people from all works of life.  I, thought I will definitely end up in the world of technology but rather I found myself  at the service delivery/development/coordinating/ staffing  part of the health care sector.  You have the opportunity to pursue anything you want educationally.  I completed a masters degree in New York and attended NYU as well in my quest  for more learning.   You have the opportunity to visit museums, theatres, beaches, concerts (free and not so free) and you can do anything you want to.  In terms of the food : any kind of food you want can be found in New York.   Most importantly, you do not need a car to survive here and this is the reason that many New Yorkers do not have a licence but rather they have a state id. In terms of dating:  you have so many opportunities to explore all parts of the world because the world is literally in New York.
When  the connection was broken with the young Igbo man and I resumed dating, New York helped me confirm that my preference does not lie in the country of my birth.

So should you move to New York?  Yes.  I believe each individual definitely has to go through the New York adventure at least once in their lifetime.  New York was a place in which I had my heart broken and mended several times.  It was the place in which I made friends and lost friends.  It was the place in which I rediscovered myself.  It was the place in which I learnt contentment but to keep looking ahead.   It was the place I discovered abilities that I would not have been able to explore fully in New Jersey.  It was the place in which I learnt what independence really means and a lesson that I will never forget. Oh yeah, lest I forget, be mentally prepared for the amount of rent that you might pay out monthly for an itty bitty space.  On that note:  I  encourage anyone who wants to move to New York to do so but don’t stay there too long or your soul might be eaten up and spat out.

😉

Small Town EX New Yorker (Representing Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and Upstate New York).