Why I’m Back Home

Why I’m Back Home

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Hello and happy Saturday. I interrupt whatever you were doing to bring you massive news: yes, I’m back in Colombia. As I’m typing this, it’s been a week since I came back home, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’m not going to justify myself here, and I’m not going to try and get your approval or your pity, but I feel that throughout these months I’ve opened up so much about my personal life beyond the makeup, the books, and the teaching, that I sort of *have* to tell you what happened.

Let me backtrack a little bit and give you some context because if you’re new to this blog, you probably are super lost right now. My name is Camila and I’m a school teacher. If all goes right, I’ll soon start my third year. I was born in the States but have lived my entire life in Colombia because that’s where my family is from. In December 2017 I got the news that I’d been selected into a program to get certified as a teacher in Baltimore City. You see, it had been a plan of mine to move to the US in the year 2018. And here I was, making it true.

I quit an awesome job in March of 2018 because although the program wouldn’t start until late June, I had to attend an event in March and then another one in late May. Besides that, I wanted to spend time with my family and best friends, and start getting ready for my big move. I was excited, and I had great expectations for what was to come. I always pictured myself as a happier person living this amazing life, abroad.

Spoiler alert: I wasn’t happy and my life wasn’t amazing.

Now, to some it might be crazy that it only took me ten days to realize that whatever was going on wasn’t really my thing. To some, I might’ve seen like a spoiled brat, or a coward. I truly don’t give a sh*t what people thought (or still think) of my decision. Here’s why: I made a decision in favor of my mental health, and that’s something I will never regret.

On June 26th I got to my Airbnb, a room with a private bathroom in a house located in a pretty odd neighborhood. I say it’s pretty odd because you had this super modern school in front of a nice park, and the cutest houses, and then you walked a block and found that the houses were in horrible conditions, that there was trash in the streets, and that the people stared at you as you walked.

My room was always cold and I could never get to fix the temperature, so instead I slept with two blankets and a sweater. I sort of got used to that; I mean, I was going to stay at that same room for six weeks until I found my own place, so I guess my body adjusted to the low temperature. And yes, that meant the headaches subsided after the second or third day.

The day after I got to Baltimore, I went to a Price Rite (?) and bought what would be the food for at least the first couple of weeks. The food situation was also dreadful. I mean, at school I had free lunches and then at home I either ate whatever my mom bought or made, and at least once a week I’d go out with my best friend. Now here I was, eating peanut butter toast for breakfast, a bagel with cream cheese for lunch, and half a glass of almond milk for dinner. For days I considered just eating at a restaurant, or buying stuff to go, but I had nothing close by. No McDonald’s, no Five Guys, no nothing.

I only had proper meals three days out of the ten I was in Baltimore: one was the lunch I had at the Cheesecake Factory by the Inner Harbor, another was the dinner and lunch my mother’s best friend (who lives in DC) provided me, and the last one was brunch, the one that led me to my decision of going home.

Many little things led me to quit and come back. One was my mom telling me that on her birthday, which she spent alone because my sister was in Europe with my dad and his family, she was walking our dogs and fell down and scratched her face. I immediately thought that nothing would’ve happened had I been there, with her. Another one was the fact that one day a friend’s husband drove me home, and as I was getting out of the car he told me “don’t go out at night.” I wasn’t planning to, but having someone from Baltimore warn me about my home for the summer was plain scary. Then there was that Saturday.

That Saturday I washed my hair because even though I hadn’t been very strict about my beauty routine, I was still only washing my hair on the weekends. I noticed a lot of hair by the drain. Like, a lot of MY hair. I’d just gotten a haircut a few weeks back and knew that my hair was healthy, but I thought “well, maybe it’s because I’m washing it after so many days.” I got out of the shower and brushed it with my Tangle Teezer, and found the brush, again filled with my hair. My. Hair. Was. Falling. Off.

I really tried to ignore that horrible fact, while also trying to justify it. I was under stress due to the program I was in. I was eating badly and not getting the amount of protein I needed. Those were pretty solid reasons, and they were also pretty scary ones. They all led to this even scarier conclusion: I was pretty close to getting ill.

Just like the previous weekend, I went Downtown. I had to send my university transcripts over to an evaluation agency. After that, I went to this cafe called David & Dad’s for brunch. It was around noon and I was eating for the first time that day. It’s not that I hadn’t been hungry, but eating at home was sort of stressing me out. It was not something I enjoyed doing, if I’m being honest, especially not when there was bread for toast, bagels, peanut butter or cream cheese. I’d even ran out of almond milk and was basically stealing from my host, half a glass at a time.

I sat in that cafe and got a huge waffle that tasted like eggs, with salty butter and a jar of Aunt Jemima’s (seriously? That’s what I paid $4?), accompanied by a gross glass mug of hot chocolate. I felt dumb for asking for a hot chocolate and knew I’d regret it as soon as I stepped out onto the street. I also felt overwhelmingly alone. I made a list of my certainties at the moment and realized I only had one: that thing my father had told me about the possibility of coming back.

He’d said it because he sort of had to, but I don’t think he actually thought I’d do it. Hell, I always thought I would go to the States and have this wonderful life and only come back to Colombia for the holidays. But the truth was I missed that home in Colombia more than ever. I missed seeing my parents and grandparents, I missed hanging out with my friends and snuggling with my dogs. I missed speaking my language and I missed the job I’d left behind (which I’m not getting back). I had nothing but a lot of prospects, a lot of hypotheses and what if’s: I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t have a permanent home, and I didn’t have any real friends with whom to hang out during the weekends.

So I texted my mom, half of my disgusting hot chocolate still in that gross glass mug. I texted her “I think I’m going back home in a few weeks.” Then it dawned of me. No, my hair was falling off, and I was very close to being ill, to being depressed. I wasn’t coming home in a few weeks. So I gulped the disgusting thing and added. “Maybe I’m coming home sooner.”

Just remembering that moment makes me want to cry, but if you ask me for the reason, I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m still sad about everything I went through, about everything that went through my mind. Maybe I’m relieved about the way things unfolded afterwards. I just know that for ten days I was in emotional hell and I don’t wish that upon anyone.

I’m a crier, but I’m a private crier. I cry watching TV or movies, and sometimes I cry while my best friends or my family are around. But I don’t cry in the middle of the street, and I don’t cry on a bus, at least I didn’t before that Saturday. I paid for my breakfast and then walked to the bus stop, and I was crying. I was wearing sunglasses but I knew some tears slipped. I knew some people noticed but pretended not to. Welcome to America. Welcome to Charm City. Yeah, right.

“I’m going home tomorrow,” I texted my mom. She told me she was out running errands and could she call me later. I told her sure because what else was left to do or say? I got to the house, my room colder than ever, and I just full on cried. I went into the Delta app and found seats for the following day, and I thought “tomorrow this time I’ll be on my way home.”

I talked to my mom, and cried throughout our entire talk. I talked to my dad, and my sister. I talked to my best friend. I made an announcement on Facebook because I wasn’t going to tell the same story to 200 people every time someone asked me what was going on. This is the message I posted:

Ugh, this is awkward and I really don’t *have* to do it but I just don’t want to answer a ton of separate questions and give a whole lot of explanations. Here goes nothing. 
I’d been talking about leaving to the States for years, and I had planned this trip for months. I even quit an awesome job and spent a whole lot of money on it. This was my dream. 
Now ten days after living “the dream,” I decided to go back home. By that I mean I already bought the ticket and will be in Bogota by tomorrow. Why? Because for ten days I’ve cried every time I’m by myself and I’m very close to being depressed and I’m scared. For ten days I’ve had more anxiety than I’d had in my lifetime and I’m just not about sticking around to see if I’ll pull through. 
I’d rather be a happy quitter than a messed up winner, and I’d rather go back to the comfort of my home with the people I love the most than try to be an adventurer all by myself. 
I always thought living in the States was for me, but after that taste I got, I know at least for now, that’s not true.

I made arrangements, packed my bags, and fell asleep. The following day, I woke up at 6 a.m, watched a whole lot of Younger (yes, there’s a post coming), and then got an Uber and left for the airport. I regret nothing.

In the comments below, tell me about a decision you made that you think changed your life for the better.

Happy Saturday!

Love, Miss Camila

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Things Are About to Change

Things Are About to Change

Announcement (2).pngHello and happy Saturday. I don’t know why this feels so sad, like I’m about to tell you really bad news. I don’t know if it’s because sitting down and writing this post makes everything all the more real. But I guess I just have to go ahead and talk about it.

I think a common denominator in my latest posts is the fact that I’m telling you about my trip and how I need to start saving, or how I have to decide what I’m taking with me and what is staying in Bogota. I’ve talked about my moving away in abstract because that’s how I felt about it, you know? Like it was something that was going to happen someday but here I was still able to live my life as I have for the past twenty-four years. Well, now I’m weeks away from this trip and it’s all sort of become real.

For three months now, I’ve been able to sit down in front of my computer almost ever day and write two to three posts. I’ve been scheduling these posts, some with months in advance, but this Sunday as I saw my blogging notebook I realized that I’m sort of running out of post ideas, and what is worse, I’m running out of time. Now, of course if I stop scheduling my posts you’ll notice, probably not now but a few weeks from now, so I just wanted to give you a heads up if the nice posting stream seems to slow down.

I’m also here to tell you that the content of the posts is going to change a bit, too. I’m not going to be able to buy as much stuff, so that means there aren’t going to be as many hauls, at least not at first. I will probably be super tired or not in the best blogging mood sometimes, and that is going to translate into shorter posts.

Right now I’m not able to anticipate just how much all the changes are going to affect my blog, but I still want to let you know that I am aware of things maybe not staying the same. For now, I plan to keep the blog and to maintain the established schedule, we’ll see what happens in the future.

Happy Saturday!

Love, Miss Camila

 

On Anxiety

On Anxiety

THROWBACK THURSDAY (2).pngHello and happy Thursday. This isn’t going to be a particular story of my past, but just something I’d like to address and I hope at least one other person out there could benefit from reading. I am all sorts of messed up, but I especially suffer from anxiety. Now, this is not the cute and hip social anxiety many teenagers claim they suffer from. I mean the kind of anxiety that prevents me from falling asleep some nights because the recurring thoughts will simply not go away and leave me alone.

If you know me, I think at least part of my general behavior in life can be explained through I’m sharing in this post. I’m anxious in the way that I don’t like question marks or blank spaces in my life. I like to have answers for everything, and that makes me come off as controlling. I plan everything to the detail because I am seriously afraid of what would happen if something didn’t go right, and more often than not it ends up backfiring because I’m not really used to acting or thinking on the spot, so I basically sabotage myself.

I hate when there’s a change in my routine because I hate not knowing how it’s going to affect my entire day. I think part of the unconscious reasons why I chose to be a teacher is the fact that the workday is all scheduled. I don’t have to sit down and think about what I’ll be doing for the next eight hours: even my lunchtime has already been determined.

Of course, that means I’m a planner, and I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone jokingly tell me “I forgot you plan everything.” When it comes to guys, I’m usually drawn to those who are the opposite of me, guys who want to see where things go. That, in a way, forces me to relax, to be okay with not being in control of everything.

In 2015 I made a plan. I would move to the States in 2018. Well, now that plan is underway, and it was during one of those preparation trips that I decided to write about my anxiety. Part of it is the cute hip type I talked about at the beginning, you know? Part of it is “I really want to go out and buy something to it, but what if the cashier doesn’t understand my English?”

The other part is the one that reminds me of every little thing that can go wrong, and I mean, every little thing: “what if I don’t wake up on time?” “what if I wrote down the wrong address and now I won’t be able to make it?” “what if there are no buses for me to ride?”

Being by myself has made me push through some of those thoughts and just do what I have to do. Some days I’ll look back and tell myself “see? That wasn’t so bad,” and some other days I’ll go “okay, I’m not going through that again.” I still have to live, I still have to wake up in the mornings, make my bed and get ready. I still have to go to work and socialize. I still have to go to a restaurant and hope that the cashier understands my Colombian English.

I want to end this post on a lighter note, so tell me a joke or a funny anecdote in the comments below.

Happy Thursday!

Love, Miss Camila

Dear Companies

Dear Companies

Mila Writes (1).pngHello and happy Friday, and if you don’t know who I am, hello, my name is Camila and I’d like to review your stuff.

Okay, let me explain because that sounded kind of odd, didn’t it? I have three main passions in life: books, makeup, and teaching, and I’m blessed because I can afford to treat myself to stuff related to my passions.

For a while, though, I’ve noticed that bloggers and social media influencers get stuff sent to their homes or P.O boxes for free in exchange of reviews. Now, I know that in order to get this you must have a ton of followers and also it’d be cool if you lived in the U.S or, you know, a country other than Colombia. My blog is still a little baby and my follower count is slowly growing, and, well, I currently live in Colombia and will stay here till next year.

I understand why those two are factors that weigh when a company is choosing reps or affiliates or however you might call them, but I’d also like to say that I don’t want or need money in exchange for referrals or reviews; I work as a teacher and earn more than enough doing so. What I would love is to try new makeup and beauty stuff, to help people discover their new favorite read, and to maybe get some stickers to add to my collections.

Okay, this isn’t going as professional as I’d thought, but this is my everything blog after all, and as a teacher I tend to be all over the place. I’m honest, though, and I review from the bottom of my heart.

My email is camilariasb@hotmail.com and I check it multiple times a day, every day. I have an address in Colombia and a P.O box in the States, and am willing to assume shipping costs if that is necessary. If you’re an author, belong to a publishing company, or any other sort of company and want me to review your stuff, write to me, you’ll make my day! You can check out my Book Review Policy by clicking here.

Also, if you’re one of my readers and you know how I can get stuff for reviewing purposes, please let me know and I’ll love you forever.

Happy Friday!

Love, Miss Camila

The Straightedge Teacher Diaries

The Straightedge Teacher Diaries

100th day.pngHello and happy Saturday. My name is Camila and I’m a straightedge teacher. Some of you might be wondering what straightedge means, and I’m going to give you my definition of it, sorry if it’s not super accurate.

The straightedge movement actually started thirty or forty years ago in response to this punk rock culture that sort of coerced people into drinking, smoking and doing drugs. Straightedge people, then, didn’t do any of those things. I don’t know at what point the included vegetarianism or veganism into their lifestyle as well as other…restrictions? Personally, being straightedge for me means no drinking alcohol or caffeine, no drugs (psychoactive or pharmaceutical), vegetarianism, although I was a vegetarian before considering myself a straightedge. Being a straightedge, to me, means to avoid putting stuff into my body that can alter it in a significant way that might be harmful in the long run.

Now, I wanted to post about this because I feel there’s this recurring joke about teachers being “addicted” to wine or beer or coffee and, of course, I cannot relate in the slightest. Just to be clear, I’m not complaining about my lifestyle, I mean, I made the choice not to consume certain stuff and I feel that makes me a healthier person. I’m not trying to judge anyone who drinks alcohol or caffeine and I’m not going to tell you not to do it, either; I believe as long as we’re adults and mentally stable we’re free to choose whatever we want to do with our bodies.

I’ve progressively added “restrictions” to my lifestyle, if that makes any sense, and I have because I have progressively felt that there were some things I just didn’t need in my life. I have never done any sort of drugs or tried cigarettes; they were never appealing to me and so I sort of made my decision not to try these when I turned 18, which is when people are legally considered adults in Colombia. Like I said earlier, I became a vegetarian before I started thinking of myself as a straightedge person; I stopped eating animals at the age of 15 and have since stopped drinking cow milk.

As for pharmaceutical drugs, I just sort of stopped taking painkillers when I got a headache and stuff like that. I only take medicine when it’s been prescribed by a doctor. In a previous post, I talked about the vitamin supplements I take, which are completely natural and vegan, so there are no chemicals in their composition.

I guess the moment when I stopped and said “man, I’m straightedge” was after I decided to stop drinking alcohol for good. This happened after a Christmas celebration I had with my friends in 2014. The way some people look at me is like I’m making this huge sacrifice by not drinking, when really it is a choice that has made me very happy and has proven to me that I don’t need alcohol to have a good time. There was a time when, sadly, if there wasn’t a bottle around, I didn’t enjoy my night.

Now I’d like you to tell me, if there’s anything you’d cut out of your life, what would it be and why?

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila