Monday, January 18, 2016

You Are Enough

10 days. A little over a week. That's how long it's been since I've said goodbye to my beloved America. 10 days. That's the longest I've ever been outside North America. The longest I've been outside of the country.

It's often said that you don't know what you got till it's gone, and being separated from my modern, first world home, I can assure you that it's true.

Grenada while beautiful and located in the Caribbean, has been a major culture shock for me. It's an island country with a population of a little over 100,000. The culture is a mashup of English-French-Caribbean, soft spoken and easy going. 

Vehicles have the wheel on the right side and everyone drives on the left side of the road. When it comes to actual driving, the only rule is to use your horn and avoid hitting each other. There's no speed limits and only two stoplights (or so I've been told, I've only seen one). Occasionally you'll see a new car here but the majority are at least 10 years old.

AC is a luxury saved for businesses, schools, and bedrooms. Most people only own washers and hang dry their clothes. Dish washers are non-existent.

There's only two fast-food places on the entire island: Subway and KFC.

Currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar which is best translated to $2.60 for every American dollar. Pretty much anything you buy here will be more expensive because it has to be imported to the island.

Propriety is of upmost importance here. Beginning a conversation with "Good morning" or "Good afternoon" is absolutely essential. It can make or break a conversation. Fun fact, it's against the law to curse here... No really. You can be legit thrown in jail for it.

Robbery and mugging are frequent issues here, so every private residence is gated or fitted with bars and barbed wire.

Dogs and cats roam free. It's not uncommon to see goats or a cow tied up at the most random places along the road.

When it comes to the Church, the branch is about 70 members. Half are students and SOs, while the other half are locals.

It has been extremely difficult for me to adjust to this new life that I've been thrust into. I'm a privileged white boy from an upper-middle class family who's been missing the comforts of the big city: fast-food, more options at the grocery store, having my own vehicle, Lifetime Fitness, a large ward family, friends, family, and my dogs.

I've been compelled to accept that things are different. This is a different country. This is not the United States. And that's okay. Different doesn't mean one is better than the other. I can't change things and it's not forever. I'll be here for four months and then I'll get to go home for the summer.

It's not just Grenada that I'm learning to accept the things I can't change. For anyone who knows me, I'm notorious for having an intense personality, especially when it comes to my friends. I will go above and beyond, I will move heaven and earth if I care for someone.

I also have had the tendency to take it really personally when someone is a sucky friend to me, or they don't really show an interest in being my friend despite everything I do to be their friend. I tend to focus on a lot of negative thoughts about myself and internalize them. The most common being "What's wrong with me? Why am I not good enough for them? Why don't they want to be my friend?'

I've had a recent situation in my life where it felt like everything had aligned for me to be really good friends with a person I'd known for a while but hadn't necessarily been close with. I'd been giving all I had and making an effort to be accepted when it seemed that the other party really had no interest in my efforts.

Heartbroken and feeling like the scum of the earth, I turned to my dear friend for consolation. I told her of my efforts and of the seeming rejection from the other individual. I asked "Why?" I shared all my internalized hurt and negative feelings about myself. 

My friend turned the tables on me and made me realize something. Things hadn't just seemingly aligned in my life to where I could/wanted to be friends with this individual, but had lined up in the other party's life as well. In her words: "What's wrong with you? You're a funny, smart, handsome guy. What's wrong with THEM?!"

I know this may not seem like some huge revelation to anyone from what my friend said. But it did wonders for me. It made me realize that there was really nothing wrong with me. It wasn't in my control that the other person didn't want to be friends with me. But it was in control for me to realize that their rejection of me is no reflection of my self-worth.

Just as I must embrace the Grenadian culture and not change it, so must I realize that just because another doesn't see my worth, doesn't mean that I'm worth nothing.



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