An Interview With Myself

Wow!  It has been a minute since I blogged here.   I had to stop writing to focus on school.  Well, the good news is that I graduated in Dec. 2015.  So, I met my goal of not allowing anything make me drop out of school.    I was tempted several times to quit but, as they say, a weakness (a.k.a stubbornness) can be a strength.

So, was it worth it?

I will like to believe that it was.  I had an interest which I had been pursuing on my own for years and now, I have the degree to back it up.  I took the risk, and even though I will be paying for that risk for some years to come, I do not regret it. That risk brought me to Texas.

 

Was your school a good school?

Yes.  It is a good school.  I am very grateful for the scholarship that I received which enabled me accomplish my goal.

Beyond the Educational bits, what else did I learn from grad. school?

So many things, namely:

a) Grad. schools are different.  This was my second sojourn into the world of graduate schools and my first experience was actually nice even though I worked full-time and received some financial support from my organization but there was a greater symbiotic relationship between profs. and students.   My second experience was not as ‘symbiotic’.

b)  Grad schools are influenced by their environments: In New York, where I completed my first graduate program,  there was a level of freedom that I had to ask questions.   In Texas, before you ask your question, you need to wrap it up in pretty paper, place a bow on it, lower your voice, pretend to be meek and then ask.  I did not feel as free in school.  Of course, I had some profs. that were exceptional who wanted us to ask questions and be engaged in class.  These profs. focused on their subject matter.  A couple come to mind.

c) To survive the educational system in Texas (my experience at one school), you need to be psychologically prepared and resilient. There will be times, that you will feel that [the system/some profs.] might be going  out of their way to break you (psychologically, physically and emotionally).  Just be prepared.

d)Favoritism might be the order of the day.  I will just leave this here.

e) There will always be a silver lining.  I had some great profs. who came to class and focused on the subject matter.  No attacks; no, I want to see if I can overwhelm you; just pure subject matter interspersed with stories of their lives.  I will always be grateful  to them because  they helped me maintain my sanity.

 

How did I survive?

a) Stubbornness and persistence.  There were several reasons that made me choose to leave the East Coast.  One was to have a fresh start and the second was to acquire an education in an area of interest.  I was sticking to that goal.  I refused to be a statistic.

b) Avoidance:  I ignored a lot of things and when I knew that I couldn’t ignore any more, I avoided.  There were some classes that I spent more time studying on my own than in the classroom because I felt that the classroom situation was just too distracting.

c) Learn on your own.  There are many tools/tutors online that can get you through a class, particularly a distracting class.

 

What Next?

Well, I am still looking for a masters level opportunity that will provide an opportunity to utilize my educational backgrounds.  But, if I can’t find that for whatever reason, then on to the next.  I will not be returning to the East Coast.

 

Do I regret moving to Texas?

No, I do not.  Texas taught me or is still teaching me that I am tougher than I think.  Surprisingly, I like this very weird state.

Anymore  schooling in my future?

I come from a family (extended and nuclear) of highly educated professionals.  So, if I am not learning anything new via my workplace, then do not be surprised to find me back at school (either online, evenings or over the weekend).

 

PhD, maybe?

If I find an interesting subject matter that brings it all together, I just might.  My mother has one, so why not?  But,  it will not be this year.

 

Any advice?

Keep learning.   You are strong.  Go outside your comfort zone.  Always, have a way to relax.  Pray!

 

 

 

So Far

 houston 030I’ve been catching up on the social scene in my neck of the woods.   I am slowly stepping out.  When, I lived in New York, I had retreated from things I used to do for fun.  I used to go to the museum with my friends, go out to eat or stay at their house and eat their food, go out to events/concerts.  I still kept up with the concerts because I love Music, particularly African music but a lot of other things had fallen through the cracks because life got in the way. 

 In the past two weeks, I’ve been learning more about this city that I live in  and trying to see if there is anything here beyond school that will make me put down my second nail. (think analogy of building a house).  This search led me to the Menil and also to a Japanese festival.

The Japanese festival was a lot of fun.  Many lovers of Japanese culture displayed aspects of Japanese music, food, dance etc.  Of course, with Anime being rather huge in the United States,there were many native Texans dressed as Anime characters which was quite interesting to see, when one considers that many view Texans as being ultra conservative. Houstonians love to have a good time and they will create that good time in this urban jungle.  Yes, I used the phrase urban jungle.  If you are a lover of nature, be ready to be depressed for a couple of weeks before you snap out of it.  

This event took place at the Herman Memorial Park which I fell in love with instantly.  Oh my goodness! I think being in that park with the water falls and the bodies of water (man-made) but clean not murky or brown was like nirvana. A weight was lifted off my shoulders.  

But, I really enjoyed the Japanese festival.  It was a lot of fun seeing people embrace a culture that really isn’t theirs; it was great seeing people of Japanese origins being willing to share that part of who they are.  🙂

My second fun outing experience was to the Menil Museum.  I had heard so much about the Menil Museum from many Houstonians that I just had to go check it out. My first lesson when I got there was to realize that people actually do dress up to go to the museum. As an aside,’i wonder if people dress up to go to the zoo.  They had cocktails and served food- (goat meat, another meat, and more meat with some korean dumpling).  The food tasted really good but I had to  separate the dumplings from the goat meat and just had the dumplings and the vegetables.  So delicious.

Since I am not an Arts aficionado, I lost that mojo many years ago, I was now looking at Art just as a lay person and enjoying it without the extra knowledge.   I really enjoyed viewing the selection of pieces from Greece, different parts of Africa, India etc.  It was like stepping back in time to my world history class in high school. Many of the objects looked familiar.  That part was fun.  

The main attraction was the ‘mystery of the ordinary’ which was made up of art works from private collections. My favorite pieces were the ‘acrobat’s ideas’, le double secret (the double secret), la clairvoyance,  la magic noire.

The acrobats ideas just spoke to me of the multiple juggling of realities that many women have to go through often on a daily basis.

 Ie double secret – spoke to me of the dual personalities that many women often have.  We show different faces dependent on who we are speaking with and what the environment is like. You can be an extrovert in one setting and be a complete introvert in another.

La clairvoyance spoke to me of seeing further.  Some might  see just an egg which could be cracked open and fried but someone who is visionary, sees the potential within that egg.  This person sees the future; this person sees a big bird that can fly to the sky.  Some can view the painter in this picture as a holy being, i.e God  but others who aren’t spiritual might view the painter as a guide,a parent,  a  person who wants the best for that little egg.  

La magic noire was simply a woman standing by the sea but the question really is this, is she human or isn’t she?  

I believe good art makes one think and question.  Those spoke to me but there were many pieces that I really did not understand.  I hope to go back before June 1st.  Did I forget to add this?  You do not have to pay a fee to visit the museum.  It is completely free.  You know how I love my free stuff!  🙂  It is open till June 1st. 

That’s it for now…. I hope to take my books and head out to a park in my neck of the woods,  this weekend.  Maybe, I will find another place that might make me put down my third nail.  

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk microbeads

We all have our little secrets. You know those things that you really enjoy doing when no one is looking or those things that if the world knew that you did or enjoyed, you might get a raised eyebrow. I admit that I am a natural body care/simple lifestyle advocate but yes, I do enjoy the zen feeling from an exfoliating facial scrub several times a week. There is just something about the smell, the scrub scrub feel and the circular motions of my hands on my face. Actually, those pleasures were quite guilt free since I believed that by using a product that was citrus and soy based, I was being very environmentally friendly. So, imagine my shock when a student gave a presentation in one of my classes in which she discussed the dangers of microbeads and how California (not surprisingly) and New York (surprisingly) are on the forefront of forcing cosmetic industries via policies and legislation to come up with an alternative scrubber for their body and facial products.

What are microbeads and why the furor, you wonder? Microbeads are generally micro particle polyethylene beads which are about 1mm or less in diameter that are designed to simply wash down our sewer system. The problem really is that the washed dirty products still with our beads eventually leads to our waterways and these beads are eaten by fish and other marine animals which creates a problem with their DNA structure; these marine animals are eaten by humans or birds and this eventually gets into our system. There is a belief that the continuous use of microbeads product beyond being an environmental hazard might lead to endocrine , birth defect and cancer in humans.
Many cosmetic companies are in the works to phase out microbeads in the next couple of years but that does not mean that we do nothing as we wait for them to do what they need to do. There are alternatives that have been used by other societies for ages that do not harm us or the environment and they are:
a) Salt. Sea salt or regular salt mixed with coconut or olive oil will definitely give the scrub that you want.
b) Sugar : mixing brown or even regular sugar with coconut or olive oil will work as a scrub.
c)Coffee: Since I am anti coffee but I love the smell, using coffee as an alternative for skin care is a way of having a dual product at home which can be served to guests and used as a scrub.. I am a fan of products that have multiple uses. You can use coffee grounds or ground coffee.
d)Baking soda: for 99 cents per pop, you have an exfoliate that can last months. Unfortunately, I have read mixed reviews on this product, some cite the high alkalinity of the product as being one that will eventually wear down the skin barrier and lead to dry skin or skin eruptions. But, then there are others even dermatologists that swear by this product. As you know, baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate.
e) Clay: I could go on and on about clay but this has been used for centuries in different societies. There are different types of clay out there, so just read up and use the one that is best for you.
f) St.Ives. – You know them. Well, they stayed away from the plastic pull of the world of microbeads and they have some great products.
g) Oatmeal, crushed walnut shells, crushed rice particles : These are also alternatives to microbeads.

http://ecowatch.com/2013/10/28/study-shows-plastic-microbeads-facial-scrubs-pollute-great-lakes/
http://articles.latimes.com/2014/feb/13/business/la-fi-california-microbead-ban-20140213
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/new-york-ban-beauty-products-microbeads-article-1.1611463
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/nyregion/ban-sought-on-microbeads-in-beauty-items.html?_r=0
http://ecowatch.com/2014/02/17/new-york-california-legislation-ban-microbeads-cosmetics/

OPUSC

The Move

As I mentioned, I recently moved physically to Texas to pursue my Masters. About two years ago, I realized that it was time to pursue a field that I had an interest in but at that time, I had to complete certain things in New York before I could leave. But, once it was time, it was time. After I resigned from a company that I had worked with for several years, I spent time with my family in a different state, enjoyed getting to know my baby nephew better and also learnt that you have to keep active babies like him entertained at all times. I also spent that time, working on a different project while getting certain items together for my eventual move to Texas.

If you are on the same journey, for whatever reason and you find yourself in a new state/new country etc. These are the steps that you should take:

• Project A : work on getting a job – you don’t want to keep on dipping into your money, you want some money going in. Have your negotiable and non negotiable, that will determine, what you are willing to do, who you are willing to work with and where you are willing to work? Also, live like a minimalist. I’ve always lived like one and so it is very easy for me to live that way but for many others – this might prove a little difficult. But, you can do it. Key to minimalist living: Don’t get too attached to things. Keep the end in mind. E.g: Don’t purchase a car because everyone has one and you have to keep up but get one because you a) you live in an area that does not have a convenient way to commute b)you live in an area with extreme weather changes c)Well, you really, really love that car. Make big purchases with reasons in mind.

• Project B: Get involved in the meat of your study by looking for problems that need a team to solve. Volunteer if possible. Getting paid is best. Learn a new skill. Currently, everything I am involved with is tied to what I am studying. My team project is one that deals with an area of public health while working with a team of clinical professionals and that is voluntarily. I am currently in a CHW training course which is giving me a deeper understanding of what takes place on the floor/lowest level of community health practice which is the area of study for my graduate program (at least for now 😉 :P)). I am also working with someone else on a different project that involves tying my psychology background + public health and human resources. Basically, I am busy but they are all in my field. In a couple of months, I hope all these will give me a clearer idea of what direction I want to move in Public Health. I am directly involved in my field of study which was what I didn’t have direct access to when I lived in New York.

• Get involved with your community: You can join your local religious community. I currently attend an Episcopal church and I love it. We are all individuals coming from different walks of life seeking to know God more. No judgment – just love, and all are welcome. Volunteer in your community or in other communities that need that niche skill set that you have. There are people who believe that they are skill less for whatever reason but we all have something that can be of use in other communities or even our community.

• Stick to the purpose of your movement. If you moved to go to school – make sure you remain in school. If you moved to have a change in your life – make sure that you take steps that walk in ways of the change you want. If you moved for a career change – then plan and make those moves that go with your career change.

• Be prepared for the emotions: There are times that you will feel over whelmed. Know that is okay. You are in a new place, and on a new adventure and those feelings are normal. Also, have a go to person to speak with. My go to person is a male friend of mine IN an African country.

But in all steps you choose to make, make sure you remain aware and in control of the decision making process of your life. Don’t just go with the flow. You traveled too far to give the reins of your life to anyone.

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….

🙂

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).