Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Big Girls Don't Cry

When I decided to move to Southeast Asia, I knew that my life would be different. Let's be serious, any time one decides to move ANYWHERE, life is different. When moving, we give up the security of what we know. We give up our routines, our friends, and our comfort zones. These are, of course, replaced by new routines, new friends and building a new life that we will, in time, feel comfortable with. No matter where we are in the world, we ultimately want and need the same things, and usually do what we can to get them.

Leaving our comfort zone pushes us in ways we didn't know we could be pushed and shows us that we are, in fact, capable of things we previously claimed we weren't. Take this morning, for instance. I was sitting in the kitchen, having my breakfast and drinking my tea when I looked over to the fish bowl. I noticed some movement that usually isn't there. Upon further inspection I realized that there was a LIVE MOUSE in the fish bowl swimming for its dear life.

My first reaction was to freak out. Not loudly or dramatically, but in my mind. I started walking up the stairs to ask my roommate to fix the problem. I then thought, no, that i had to do it myself. I walked up and down the stairs about three times before I got the fish net, scooped out the mouse, and flung it off of our balcony. I confess that I was shuddering and saying, "Oh my gosh...ew" the whole time but the point is that I did it.

One thing I have learned from being out here is that I am an adult, and I am going to have to do things I don't like. That I can't expect everyone to do the dirty work for me. That I won't die if I have to change the kitty litter or fish out mice. The old Alice, was a master of deflecting insalubrious duties to others. Every time there was something I didn't want to do, I'd pitifully whine and pout and demand that someone else fixes it. They always did, and while I appreciate that (thanks for making my life more pleasant!) I am not sure it taught me the right lessons.

Life is not just about coasting through and only experiencing the nice and fun things. Sometimes we have to deal with the nitty gritty and the gross, it builds character.

As lame as it sounds, I find that I constantly surprise myself over here by tackling tasks that I'd normally run away screaming from. I do it because I have to but it makes me feel like I'm growing up and realize that I'm not helpless and useless but can, in fact, deal with things that I don't like.

Whether or not this mentality will stick when I return stateside (whenever that is)I don't know. However it's nice to know when it really comes down to it, I can do it.


  1. Since having flung mousy over the balcony to its excruciatingly painful death meant an absent of any altruistic humane reasoning on your part, then logically, one should asks: wouln't it have been a much smoother operation, had you just let the creature drowned first, and then fished it carcass out? But what is life without its dramas? :)
    I read about half a dozen Vietnam related blog posts every day, and yours made me smile today. Thank you.

  2. the mouse actually did not die. the mouse didn't fall far. I actually SAVED the mouse's life. I am, in fact, a hero. (and slightly annoyed at the cat we adopted as the primary reason was for her to handle these situations so we didn't have to!