Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Settling In

I am no longer miserable. I no longer despise living in my own country. I can't believe I'm saying this after how vehemently opposed I was to returning from Korea, but I am happy to be home.

The moment I realized this was yesterday when my roommate in Korea sent me a message saying she found a job that could give me a visa, and it wasn't English teaching. That's exactly what I wanted, what I had been waiting and hoping for. But when I saw the message, my heart dropped.
Shouldn't I have been giddy with anticipation, prancing around the room like an idiot? A month ago I'd have given anything for that opportunity. But I don't want it. I don't want to go back to cold winters and humid, mosquito-ridden summers. I don't want to be the outsider anymore. I don't want to always have to worry that I could lose my visa and be stuck with nothing again. I loved living in Korea so much, but now it feels like this was my time to come home. So I told her thanks but no thanks; come visit me sometime.

It was my grandfather's 80th birthday last weekend so my brother and I flew out to Missouri to meet the family at his house for a party. It was rambunctious, infectious, and full of familial love. I felt closer to my family than I have in years because I wasn't extremely jetlagged when I talked to them. Now seeing each other is a matter of a weekend and a few hundred dollars, not two weeks and at least $1500 for plane tickets alone.

I've become a member of the salsa community here in San Jose and I recognize faces and have a few phone numbers. I've even made a couple of pretty close friends. And, through a strange series of events, I am also dating a guy I met through a salsa friend. By strange series of events, I mean that my salsa friend went to a Super Bowl party and texted a picture to someone else and me. The someone else texted me back while trying to text her. I asked who it was and made a joke that it was "nice to text-meet you" and he kept texting me so I kept responding. Turns out he's quite attractive and we get along great, not to mention I get along with his roommate and his dog.

Now, I can't talk about getting used to California without talking about weed. As my regular readers will know, I like to keep a level of candor in this blog and I have no intention of sacrificing that now. There are now 5 people in my life who get high on a weekly or daily basis. There are about 12 people in my life right now. I have never smoked anything but hookah, and that only once, and I used to be very self-righteous about that. I was also very judgmental of people who smoked pot. In Korea, I was offended when people assumed I smoked because I'm American. I was so naive that I confused the smell of marijuana with the smell of a skunk when I first got here, to the raucous laughter of my companions. Now I'm excited to try making special brownies after I get a job. It must be after I get a job because potential employers could drug test, and pot stays in the body for almost a month. Crack stays for 4 days. So not fair.

So why the big change in opinion? I could do a research post on the subject, but I think you'd be better served by Googling "why marijuana should be legal". Basically, it comes down to a direct comparison with alcohol, which by the way I am drinking again after going off my bipolar medications (no health insurance, no choice; I ran out). For all I know, I'm entering a hypomanic state and that's why I feel like my life is getting leaps and bounds better and I'm accepting of just about everything. But I digress. Alcohol can easily be consumed to the point of fatality. Pot cannot. Alcohol is processed by the body at a rate of approximately one standard drink per hour. Pot generally lasts about an hour no matter how much you smoke. Alcohol is technically poisoning your body and therefore leaves you dehydrated and feeling sick. Pot mimics neurotransmitters in the brain associated with happiness and has few or no physical ramifications for most people, aside from coughing. Alcohol is physically addictive. Pot is not. Alcohol has adverse long-term effects including brain cell death and liver damage. Pot does not have any long-term effects. Alcohol causes behavioral changes including aggression, risky sexual behavior, and compromised decision-making. Pot does not. The list goes on. Basically, if I willingly drink alcohol but admonish marijuana because someone from 1937 told me to, I am a sheep. Baaa. From a health standpoint and an economic standpoint, it makes sense to legalize weed. In the meantime, the punishment for possessing/smoking weed in California is a slap on the wrist equivalent to a parking ticket, so why not try it?

Anyway, I have a promising job interview tomorrow so I should get some sleep.

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