Thursday, November 29, 2018

European American


This is a post about a political topic, and I don't think the changes I'm suggesting will happen. Also, my opinion likely wont be changed by your angry comment.

I’m just publishing this cause I think it’s an interesting idea.


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Thank you.

Here we go!

Here's something that bugs me about the United States. Every American has 'titles' that go along with their identity.

African American.

Asian American.

Latin American.

Native American.

And so on. 

I want to start by saying that I don’t think these labels are bad. I think an amazing part of America is the different cultures that make up the States. I think labels allows us to embrace our heritage and helps us remember where we came from.
  
Here’s where I do have a problem, though, and would like to see a change that will never happen:
  
White people.

I’ve never been called ‘white American’ or ‘Caucasian American.’
  
I have, however, been called ‘American.’
  
And it’s true. I’m absolutely an American, and my identity certainly lays heavily on being American. I was born here, as were my parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
  
And before that? They came from Europe. 
  
But I’m not a Caucasian, white or European American. I’m just American.
  
And that bugs me.
  
Why?
  
One reason is because it makes us forget where we came from!
  
I think it's dope that I’m descendants of (mostly) Belgian and British immigrants (I’m still very much a European mutt)! I’ve had the opportunity to go to those countries, and I loved it! I love being able to say that my ancestors came from those countries! They survived the plague!
  
And they were all super poor peasant folk, so I’m pretty sure they didn’t participate in the colonization of Africa! . . . right? Right?
  

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 Not only that, but it makes me wonder how much my ancestors went through to get me to this awesome spot that I am in life. They truly are responsible for helping me be where I am today!
  
It also gives us more of a sense of identity. I cannot tell you how at-home I felt when I went to Utah's Scottish Festival (despite my little-to-no Scottish blood). I was around others who came from the same place, struggled with the same pale-skin issues, and shared so much of the same culture!

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 The other reason why this makes me sad is because I believe it subtly feeds into white privilege without us knowing it, realizing it, or meaning to.


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That’s just how our culture is. We’re American’s. They’re African American, Asian American, [ethnicity] American. But we’re Americans.

Why is that?

I don’t know. I don’t know how this started, or why it is the way that it is. I just think it’d be cool if it was different.


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What I’d love to see happen is for white Americans to start referring themselves as/being referred to as European American. (Or Caucasian American. Did you know Caucasian literally means ‘of European descent’? I had no idea until today!)

I believe doing this would help us be more accepting of others, welcoming of different cultures, and – in an ideal world – maybe even cut back racism.

Now because I have overly-sensitive white friends who probably have their panties up in a wad over this post, I want to make this clear:

There is nothing wrong with being white.

There is nothing wrong with embracing your Irish/British/Scottish/German/French/Belgian/Russian Heritage.

There is something wrong when you forget you’re a descendant of immigrants.

There is something wrong when you judge someone else for being an immigrant/descendant of an immigrant, when you yourself are one.

We can't get rid of these labels. And to be honest, I think it would be sad if we got rid of these labels. I think these labels are a good way to embrace, honor and remember our ancestors. They help us uphold traditions and remember where we came from.

I guess, the point I’m trying to get across here . . . or my thesis statement . . . is this: White Americans are European Mutts and should be referred to as European Americans. (Or Caucasian Americans. I don’t know, for some reason, I just like the word European more than the word Caucasian.) 

Also!

I do think there's one ethnic label we should get rid of, and that's Native American.

They are the only ones deserving of the title of just "American." Because they're Americans! Like, they’re the Americans. And they’re wayyy more American than us European mutts are ever gonna be!

And as for those saying, “Hey but what about the fact that I’m 3% African/Cherokee! That makes me ethnic!”

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Oh, shut up. I'm 7 percent Irish and don't even claim to be Irish.

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You’re white, and you probably only have that percentage cause one of your ancestors slept with a slave who didn't even want to be slept with.


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And that's what I'd love to see happen in the world, and am sure it wont.

Thank you.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Awkward Column

I go through a number of small, awkward moments daily. Most of these moments aren't exactly long enough for an entire blog post. So, here is a random hodgepodge (a word that we, as English speakers, don't use nearly enough) of awkward moments that have happened to me recently. 

The self high-five

Disneyland is a hub for members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Probs cause most members have a lot of kids, live on the west coast, and Disneyland is on the west coast and geared towards families.
Brigham Young University is also a hub for members of the Church of Jesus Christ. The reason for this is obvious; it's cause it's owned by the church.

So it's not uncommon to see people wearing BYU attire at Disneyland.

Which is exactly what happened this last time I went to Disneyland.

My friend and I were exiting Space Mountain and making our way over to Indiana Jones, when I saw a guy wearing a BYU shirt.

We passed him, I raised my hand for a high five, made eye contact with him and said, "Go cougars!" (BYU's mascot is a cougar. Like, the animal. Not the old-ladies-on-the-prowl-for-a-young-man type.)

We walked past each other, my hand still raised, and I was ignored.

So I did the most logical thing:

I gave myself a high-five.

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The time I made a waterfall

It was around 5 a.m.

I was on my study abroad in New Zealand. We were moving from the North Island to the South Island.

I was boarding an airplane and was extremely grumpy because, well, it’s 5 a.m. and I’m not a morning person.

I had hastily packed the night before, but had left too much stuff out and shoved it all in my backpack the next morning.

As a result, my backpack was the size of a parachute.

We were on a pretty small plane, so the overhead compartments were pretty small as well. I got to my seat, turned to the overhead compartment, and started shoving my backpack into the small space.

“Come on,” I grumbled, punching the backpack into the compartment. “Can. You. Just. FIT?!”

One last final shove, and it was in.

And that’s when I saw the water trickling down and dripping out of the compartment . . . and right on top of a man’s bald head.

My eyes followed the trail of water and it lead right to . . . my unopened water bottle.

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I frantically tried to close the water bottle, turned the cap the wrong way, opened it more, panicked some more, and ended up just pulling the water bottle out altogether and sticking it my jacket pocket.

Water continued to drip steadily onto the man’s bald head. And he had a reaction that I appreciate to this day:

He sat there, staring straight forward, and just blinked. His mouth was stretched out in this line, and his face just read, “Of course this would happen to me. Oh well.”

I’m still so grateful for that reaction. He could’ve yelled at me. He could’ve caused a scene. He had good reason to, after all. Water was being dumped on his head at five in the freaken morning.

But instead, he just sat there like, “Well this is happening. This is a thing.”

And this was my reaction:

“Oh my gosh. I am so, so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m SO sorry.”

I pulled the sleeve of my jacket over my hand and started dabbing the water off of his head.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”

It was pretty useless, and my friend standing behind me gave me a nudge and said, “Come on, Carmen.”


I began to half walk/half be pushed away from the guy, my arm still outstretched while I continued to spew never-ending apologies. 


The baby rhino

We were at a rhino reserve in Uganda. After watching an impactful (and frankly, depressing) documentary on rhino poaching (which you shouldn't do, by the way. It's stupid and useless and harmful to the animals and the enviornment), I stepped out of the room we were watching the documentary in, and went outside to go back to the bathroom.

That's when I was greeted by a warthog.

This warthog, to be exact:


(He's sleeping. Not dead.)

"WOAH."

I stood there, frozen. The warthog was just standing there too, minding his own business. I couldn't tell if the warthog was looking at me or not.

I also realized in that moment that, everything I knew about warthogs, I learned from The Lion King.

And I'm not totally sure that information is completely accurate.

Regardless, it wasn't helpful information anyway.

I didn't exactly know how to handle this situation. So I did what I do best:

I ran away from my problem.

Well, kind of. I very slowly began to do a sideways shuffle away from the warthog.

"Hello," came a voice from behind.

I jumped.

It was one of the workers of the rhino sanctuary.

I had forgotten that we generally needed to be accompanied by a worker while moving from building to building on a reserve/safari, in case we run into wildlife. That way, the workers can handle the situation and prevent the idiot tourists from potentially dying via hippo.

So, you know, we needed them to prevent the exact situation I was in right now.

(Also, in one of our camps, we fell asleep to the sounds of hippos and I found it oddly calming.)

"Are you going to the toilet?" the worker asked in his thick, East African accent.

"Oh - uh - yeah," I said.

He nodded and said, "I show you where it is."

"Thanks," I said, not taking my eye off the warthog. "Is that uh . . . uh . . ."

I had completely spaced the word "warthog," and said the one animal that came to mind:

"Baby . . . rhino?"

I face palmed myself internally.


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“No, that is a warthog,” he said kindly. “Rhino’s are much, much bigger.”

"Oh, right. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense," I said. "Is he . . . it . . . dangerous?"

"No, he will not harm you unless you try to harm him."

"Got it."

As we walked to the bathroom, I reassured myself that he’s probably used to arrogant white people asking stupid questions.

That’s what I told (and still tell) myself, anyway.

Who knows if that's actually true. 

An awkward date I went on


This took place after a rough breakup. I decided to give dating another try, so I downloaded a dating app.

I still regret this decision.

But, I stand by my life motto (the same motto that got me through the following story): Everything in life is a good experience or makes a good story later.

I agreed to meet up with a guy at a nearby sandwich/panini place (he let me pick where to eat). The way our conversation had shifted before the date, I was getting a vibe that this wasn’t gonna be as great as I initially hoped, so I picked somewhere that I enjoyed and didn’t want to pay for.

Might be mean, but I had to get something good from this date.

We met outside the restaurant, ordered our food and sat down. The casual, get-to-know-you questions began. You know, the “where are you from”, “what are you studying”, “what year in school are you”, etc.

“So, how many siblings do you have?” he asked.

I responded, then said, “What about you?”

“Guess,” he said.

“Uh – okay – I don’t know. Like, two?”

“I was born in China,” he said.

“Oh, then I’m assuming it’s just you?”

“Yeah,” he said. “But I had an older sister. I didn’t know her, though, because the government came when she was a baby and like, kidnapped her and put her in a dumpster or something.”

“Oh, wow. That was probably hard for your parents. I actually have a couple friends who’s family adopted girls from China who were abandoned as babies.”

“Wait, are you serious?” he asked.

“Yeah, like one was abandoned in a hotel, and I think the other actually was in a dumpster or something like that,” I said, taking a bite of my sandwich.

“. . . because I was just kidding,” he said.

Awkward silence.

“. . . Wait, really?” I said.

“Yeah, that didn’t actually happen.”

And so I did what I do when I can’t run away from my problems:

I laughed it off.

But, like, I really didn’t know exactly how to handle the situation so . . . I think I definitely overdid the laugh.




But what I really wanted to do was laugh my way out of the date. 




I didn't, though. I'm not that socially inept. 

I honestly can’t tell you what happened the rest of the date. I think I just went on autopilot and internally begged for it to be over. Conversation continued, but none of it was riveting.

At the end of the date, we exchanged phone numbers, and I went to the car thinking, “Oh man I wonder how late it is. That was pretty long –.”

It had been 45 minutes.

My date was 45 minute long.

And I thought it was like, two hours.


Also, I haven’t heard from him since. 


My period

I started my period three days early, in the middle of the day, while I was at work. 

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No big deal, I've been dealing with this for quite a few years now. I had some back-up pads in my desk drawer for occasions just like this. 

So I went to my desk, pulled open my drawer and opened the package of pads I had stored in my desk. I had bought these pads while in Africa after I discovered I forgot to pack feminine hygiene products. 

Well, my body decided not to have a period that month (don't worry - I'm not pregnant) so I ended up never using them, thus becoming my back-up products at work. 

I went to the bathroom to put my pad in, and realized the pad was massive. First of all, it had been quite a few months since I had worn a pad, and it had been even longer since I had used one that thick. Like, I didn't need that much protection, but I was sure getting it. 

While I was on the toilet bleeding my uterus out and experiencing period poop (every woman who has experienced a period knows exactly what I'm talking about right now), I realized that the bow of my dress . . . was sitting in the toilet water. 

I about threw up. First of all? Disgusting. Second of all? My bow had been tied SO CUTE before, and now I was gonna have to untie it and take it off! Third of all? . . . how on earth was I gonna take it off without splashing nasty toilet water everywhere?

It proved not to be as difficult as I originally thought it would be, but it was a definitely process. I untied it with two fingers, trying to prevent myself from touching the now-contaminated bow. Then, carefully, I set it on the ground, where a puddle began to form around it. 

I gagged, finished my business, picked the bow up with my pointer finger and thumb, and made my way to the sink where I washed my hands and pathetically tried to rinse/clean off the bow. 

Here's what I'm most grateful for about this experience: Nobody came into the bathroom while I was in there. Nobody. So nobody had to see me washing an article of clothing. And nobody watched me as I wrapped it in a paper towel. 

You know what I was also extremely grateful for? This dress had pockets. And not only that, but I had put my car keys in my pocket, and not my purse, so I had my car keys on me. 

And my car is exactly where I'd store my now sopping-wet-and-filthy bow. 

And guess what else I'm grateful for. The hallway outside the bathroom was completely empty. It was legitimately a miracle. I was able to jog down the hall, outside and to my car while holding a wet piece of fabric bundled up in a soaking paper towel without running into a soul

This is evidence that there is a God and he was sure watching out for ya girl. 

And that concludes my random hodgepodge of awkward moments. 

Embrace your inner awkward, everybody. And enjoy your day. And life in general. 

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Poncho, Part 2: Poopy Poncho

This is the last chapter

Welcome! This is the second part to my stories about being a dog mom. If you're just joining me, please scroll down, or click here, to read the first part.

So, without further ado:

This is the story of Poopy Poncho.

This story takes place the first night in my new apartment. I was nervous and excited to have my own place for the first time, and I was very grateful to have Poncho there to protect me (but, really guys. He's very protective of me. I love it).

9:00 p.m. 

I took Poncho out for his nightly walk so he could do his nightly bathroom run before bedtime. I came in, and we both settled in for the night.



11:00 p.m. 

I woke up to Poncho staring at my face. At this point in our relationship, Poncho had yet to bug me. So I sat up and said, "What is it, buddy?"

He placed a single, precious, little paw on the mattress and stared at me intently.

I rubbed his little head, wondering if he just wanted attention, but he kept persisting.

"Do you need to go potty?"

Poncho doesn't really respond to that word . . . or pee, poop, outside, bathroom, or anything of the sort. He's potty trained, but I don't think he has a word associated with it for when we ask him.

So that long rant is leading up to me saying: he didn't respond.

But he remained persistently antsy, so I stood up, hooked him up to the leash, and took him outside.

As soon as we got to the grass, Poncho revealed himself with a massive pile of poo. I picked it up, threw it in the dumpster, and went back inside.

1:30 a.m. 

Poncho was running around my bedroom. I groaned, sat up and snapped, "WHAT?"

He kept pacing and running around. I stood up and opened my bedroom door, wondering if he was just getting claustrophobic.

He kept running around. Dead tired, I said to him, "No! You literally just went to the bathroom! You're fine!"

And I flopped back down in a restless sleep.

2:15 a.m. 

I know it was the jingling of Poncho's collar that woke me up, but I don't really know what exactly pushed me to get out of bed and walk zombie-like into my kitchen/living room . . .

Where I was greeted by three, massive heaps of watery diarrhea.

And I just stood there . . . in complete shock. My arms were kind of spread to the side, I stared at the heaps with my mouth gaping open. What . . . the what??

And at that moment, Poncho took a squat by my bed and let out a disgusting, watery SPLAT.

It was disgusting.

"Oh, no. Oh no, oh no, oh no," I said.

Poncho squatted by my bed, his head hanging in pure shame.

"PONCHO! PONCHO, COME OVER HERE! COME OVER HERE! POOP ON THE TILE! NOT ON THE CARPET!"

Poncho quickly jogged over to me as I threw open the front door and we sprinted outside.

Splat. 

Splat. 

Splat.

It. Was disgusting.

"Oh, Ponchoooo," I said. "I'm so sorry."

We walked back inside where the pile of poops sat.

"Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. Okay. We're gonna clean this up," I said to Poncho . . . though mostly myself.

I grabbed some paper towels, turned to the first pile, bent down, grabbed a pile of squishy poo, and then --

SPLAT.

"OH NO. OH NO OH NO OH NO."

Poncho hung his head in pure shame as he squatted and splatted.

"Poncho!" I yelled. "Poncho, over here! Poop over here! Over here!"

Poncho stumbled over to the tile floor and splatter pooped, and I said the only thing I could think to say:

"Good boy!" I praised. "You pooped on the tile! Good boooooy!"

3:15 a.m. 

Because of the consistent pooping, I decided to go to my parents house where I could put him in the back yard and attempt to sleep.

Throughout the early morning, I had texted my mom various things, and they gradually got more and more frantic.

Poncho has diarrhea! I'm going to try to clean it up. Any advice on how to clean it? Text me when you wake up. 

Okay, the diarrhea isn't stopping. I might come home in the morning before work to drop him off in the back yard. 

Never mind - I'm coming home now. Don't freak out and shoot me or something.

My parents don't even own a gun. But my overly tired brain was paranoid that they got one without telling me and they were going to shoot me if I scared them.

And so, I loaded Poncho into the car.

I gripped the steering wheel, and was surprised by how awake I was. Apparently the sight of poopy piles in your apartment gives you an adrenaline rush.

I went to pull out of my apartment complex, where there was construction being done. There were machines doing their thing . . . and three construction workers just standing there, chattin' it up. When I pulled up, the spread out, used their little glow stick things to direct me through the maze of construction cones, then went right back to talking.

So this is what the world's like at 3 a.m.

3:45 a.m. 

I pull up to my parents house and lead Poncho to the backyard through the front gate. I then went to my car . . . and grabbed a pot that had been sitting in my car for month and I'd been too lazy to bring it in the apartment.

I know. I know.

I knew Poncho was probably dehydrated from all the pooping.

At least, that's what google said.

I didn't want to risk waking my parents up by loudly getting a bowl and filling it with water.

After all, what if they bought a gun without my knowledge and shot me?

(Insert awkward laugh here)

I went to the sink in my garage, filled it up with water, and crept inside.

As quietly as I could, I walked through the house and to the backdoor. I slid outside, gave Poncho a few pets, left the pot full of water outside and went to the basement to try to sleep.

Meanwhile . . .

4:00 a.m.

My dad woke up to the sounds of Poncho scratching on the door. It crept into his dream. The more he heard that, the more he woke up.

"What's that noise?" asked my dad, sitting up.

"I don't know," groaned my mom, who had also just woken up.

My dad stood up and looked through a window showing the backyard.

"Is that . . . Poncho?" he said.

Sure enough, there was Poncho, sitting there and smiling away.


He's so cute.

Anyway, my parents stood there very confused as to why their grandog was sitting there, just chillin' in their backyard.

My mom checked the phone, read my texts, and informed my dad of what was going on.

9:30 a.m. 

I was late to work, and dead tired when I was there, too. My amazing saint of a mother watched Poncho (whom we had dubbed Poopy Poncho) as he hung out in the backyard, continuing to have the splattery poop problems.

And so, the next week, I'd be staying at my parents house so I could keep Poopy Poncho's poop outside.

Five days later

5:30 p.m. 


Poncho's splatter poop had persisted, so I took him to the vet.

Although I had contacted the vet ahead of time, they hadn't gotten back to me to set up an appointment. They did, however, accept walk ins. And so, with Poopy Poncho in tow, I brought him to the vet.

He took a looong pee on a bush outside the building, and headed inside . . .

To be greeted by two dogs Poncho had decided he didn't like.

Meet my judgmental dog, everyone.

While I waited to check in, I spent the whole time scolding Poncho has he growled and barred his teeth at the two dogs who tried to play with him. At one point, one of the dogs made a move at me to be pet, to which Poncho reacted by jumping on me, wrapping his legs around my thigh, turning his head towards the ouo, and began to bark.

My dog is a protective boyfriend.

I should note that Poncho has gotten 10x better with dogs. He has a little play group he trots around with about once a week.

ANYway.

The two dogs left, and Poncho remained agitated.

The vet tech had given me some papers to fill out, and told me that - because I was a walk in - it could be around 45 minutes before I would get a room.

I drag Poncho to the side and begin filling out his paperwork while attempting to shush him.

Then, a husky came through the door.

"Oh no," I said. Because if there's one thing I'd learned about Poncho in the short two weeks I had had him, it was that he hated husky's.

And Poncho and the husky lunged at each other.

And not only that, but Poncho peed all over the ground.

And at that point, I just gave up. I stared at my dog with a look I'm sure said something like, "why me?"

One vet tech began mopping up the pee while saying, "Jeez, how much did you pee?!"

I gave an awkward laugh and said, "Yeah . . . he drinks a lot . . . of water. Not alcohol . . . ha . . . ha."

"I know," said the vet tech as she continued to mop up Lake Poncho.

Then another vet tech came up and said, "We have a room ready."

And I dragged Poncho into the room, as he and the husky continued to bark (what I can only assume to be insults) at each other.

And as soon as the door closed behind us, Poncho calmed down, and sat right down next to me.

"Why did you have to embarrass me in front of the vets and all the other dog parents?! They probably think I'm a horrible dog mom now!"

He responded by panting.

"Ugh. Well at least your behavior got us in a room faster. That's a bonus," I said.


This picture was taken in the vet's room after he peed everywhere and attempted to attack a husky.

I sat there, my mind ruminating on the potential judgmental thoughts all the other dog parents and workers were thinking about me.

The vet came in soon after, smiled at Poncho and said, "Well at least we know you don't need to pee, huh?"

I gave an embarrassed, sympathetic smile.

Aside from Poopy Poncho and Poncho the Punk, Poncho has also earned the nickname/title, "Flirty Boi." He loves to flirt with the ladies and the lady dogs, and so he sucked right up to our vet (who was female).

He rubbed his little head against her leg, sat perfectly for her whenever she asked him to (something I hadn't learned about him yet), and behaved almost perfectly.

She left to go get some medication for him. I turned to him and said, "Okay, seriously. Why couldn't you have acted that good out there?!"


Today 

The vet prescribed him pills that helped, but the diarrhea continued after the pills were finished. So, after changing his diet to a "sensitive stomach" brand? It went away.

He has a sensitive stomach, which - I'm not gonna lie - is pretty annoying. Rawhide bones give him gas, pork flavoring (or perhaps pork in general) make him constipated. And he got into something yesterday that made him constipated again. And then yesterday he ate a bunch of crab apples around my apartment and threw them up.

He's also gotten better at sitting. He sits for his food, sits when I put on his leash, and sits when I leave.

He's a good boi. I love him.

So, what have I learned?

When it comes to cleaning up puke/urine/poop, being embarrassed in front of other parents, getting up once an hour to care for a sick child, sharing my bed with a wiggly creature who's not supposed to be in my bed, and having a difficult time knowing what to do when the one you're caring for can't speak?

I'm 100% ready for those aspects of motherhood.