Friday, October 15, 2010

Starting from the End

I know it might seem strange to talk about coming home before anything else, but it makes sense. Just bear with me, please.

Two of the key components to reducing re-entry shock are Time and Organization, and they go hand-in-hand. You need time to get organized, and being organized will save you time.

When I returned to the US, I had about a week to find an apartment, move into that apartment, find a job, and get ready for the semester to begin. I got it done, but 8 weeks later, I still haven't finished unpacking. Nor did I have time to reflect on what I'd been through.

So my first bit of advice would be to give yourself plenty of time to adjust before you really have start back to work/school/whatever. Take stock of what you'll be returning to: Where will you be staying? Will you have/need a car? Where will you be working? I had to make several snap judgments and quick decisions. Although I really don't regret anything, I do wish I'd had more time to consider all my options.

I also wish I'd given myself more time to get packed before I left the US. I worked up until the week before I left, and again, I should have given myself at least another week. Wound up just throwing things in boxes. Stuff got labeled, but I should have divided things up differently.

The second bit of advice is to give yourself time to get packed, to be the one doing the packing, and to be the one doing the storing. This will help you when you return--you'll know where everything is, so you can get to those things that you need most immediately. I was lucky enough to have people put away and store my stuff for me, but there are a few things I still haven't found.

A couple quick tips:
---Pack clothes away by season and function. If you return in the middle of summer, you're going to need shorts and t-shirts, not sweaters and coats.
---Label everything. "Kitchen" is too broad - you should be able to know what's in a box without opening it. This is also useful for people back home if you need something sent to you.
---Collect boxes whenever you can and store them flattened if possible. If you have the money, go ahead and buy nice sotrage boxes. Keep an eye out for sales. This is more costly, but they will stack better and will be easier to label.
---Consider investing in large, re-usable plastic tubs. If you're like me and move every year, it might be worth it to have an "office" tub, a "dish" tub, a "hardware" tub.
---Take you clothes to the cleaners and ask them to be folded instead of put on hangers. This means one less thing for you to worry about, makes storage easier since they're already folded, and if stored well, they'll be ready to wear right out of storage.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Alright, it's 3 am and I cant sleep, so I may as well blog...

Ive been back in Texas for3 weeks now. At first, I was too busy and too jetlagged to think about anything. But now Im pretty well settled in and have time to think. And feel. And Im feeling homesick. Not for Dallas, but for Sihanoukville.

You know that saying "you cant go home again"? Well, its true. In a couple weeks, almost all my friends will be back in their home countries. And Im missing friends whove been gone for months. Even if I did go back, it wouldnt be the same. Why do I always want what I cant have?

Welcome to reverse culture shock, Jon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

fluff and stuff

Well, it's been determined that the problems with Tumblr are external to my laptop (good), but they won't be fixed anytime soon (bad). Something about lightning striking a box and shorting out a power supply, and something about too-slow internet speeds.

I've decided that Paradise Found will be my "serious" (and semi-private) blog, and Wayward Son will be my fluffy travel blog.* So look for some cross-posting and Facebook posting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Choices, choices...

So much to do when setting up a new blog.

Since Blogger is a Google product, it's tied in with Google AdSense. I have have to choose whether to participate or not. Sure, some extra money would be nice. Maybe I'll try it out and see what happens. If I start getting ads I don't like, or the ads are too intrusive, or enough people complain, I'll stop participating.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Who is 'Milton'?

The short answer: 'Milton' is the persona I adopt when I have to be outgoing. I'm a very introverted person, so when I'm in a situation that calls for extraversion, I switch from being 'Jon' to being 'Milton'.

The long answer: Back in high school, I got involved in musical theatre, pastly in an attempt to break out of my shell. One of the casts I was in had a Jon (me) and a John. To keep us separate, the rest of the cast and crew started calling us by our characters' names - mine was 'Milton'.

By the time college had rolled around, I had decided to re-invent myself. I wanted to be more out-going and more social. And at freshman orientation, I met 11 other 'Johns', so I started introducing myself as 'Milton'.

Over time, as friendships have gotten tighter and stronger, and as I've grown more comfortable with myself, I've come to rely on Milton less and less. He's still there, and I still use him - being around large groups of people or being "on stage" takes a lot of energy out of me. But more often, he's supporting me and working with me instead of acting in my stead. For now, it looks like he'll be part of me forever.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's that mean?

Thought I’d go ahead and answer the “What does ‘justpale’ mean?” question.

Really nothing mysterious or exciting. It comes from my time in IPSA/CIBM/CSBY.

Yeah, I’m Indian. I’m just pale.

Yeah, I’m Cambodian, I’m just pale.