Now that classes and homework have become part of my daily routine again, I thought it was about time to do an update on my post-study abroad life.
For me, this past week has been a roller coaster of emotions, partly due to my busy schedule, the need to be on top of everything, and the struggle of planning my summer and senior year. Since it has been one month since I arrived back in the United States, I want to shed light on the process of re-adjusting back to Macalester and the concept of reverse culture shock. Through this blog post, I hope to dissect the mixed emotions that I feel as a study away returnee and to help others understand the transition back to "normal life."
This semester marks the first time that I am off of the Macalester meal plans since becoming a college student. No more unused meal swipes (yay)! No more over-seasoned potatoes (yay)! No more undercooked rice (yay)! No more people cooking my meals 🙁 !
My Personal Dietary Goals
From this semester onward, I am hoping to not become the stereotypical college student with a ramen diet. I want to incorporate more vegetables, various forms of protein, and fewer carbohydrates in my meals (I tend to overeat carbs). When I grocery shop now, I try to be more health conscious, aiming for less processed and packaged foods and adding more gluten-free (read easy-to-digest) and organic options.
So, here are some photos to document the beginning of my cooking journey. Please excuse the terrible green dishware; they belong to the Summit House (my dorm building).
Rachel’s cooking journey:
As someone who has only experienced Asian culture through Chinese take-away and the friendships I shared with the few Filipino and Chinese friends I had growing up, it wasn’t until I attend Macalester that I could only begin to understand the Asian diaspora community. My friendship with Rachel has afforded us multiple opportunities to share our heritage with each other, no longer giving us the excuse that we were unaware of the challenges and stereotypes the other minority faced. Macalester brands itself as an international institution, bringing students from all over the world, so this sort of exchange was probably expected- but it wasn’t for my family in the beginning. Recently, my parents commented on my increased interest in Asian culture ever since I left for college and are dumbfounded as to why. I am not. It’s pretty simple really, it isn’t until you left your home when you can truly begin to realize where you’re from and who you are, or at least that how it was for me. And I believe this connection brought me closer to understanding my parent’s and Rachel’s plight when they emigrated from their respective countries to the US.
Visiting Hong Kong and South Korea made me realize how lonely, overwhelming, and fascinating it can be to be immersed in a completely new environment, surrounded by new faces, food, language, music and so much more. Yes, Koreans do really take care of their skin and hang out with others a lot and in HK there are a lot of people everywhere. While I was blown away from the efficient transportation systems and the variety of cuisines, others were blown away by my use of chopsticks and actually knowing a bit more about the culture than what they viewed me to (credits to Rachel).
Here are some questions that Rachel wanted me to answer for this blog post:
college student. junior. international studies major. over-the-top foodie. travel and lifestyle student blogger?
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