**Disclaimer: I have started and restarted and restarted this blog. It has been hard for me to choose only one group of "my people" with which to identify. I pride myself in not being condensed to one box, lifestyle, or way of thinking. For that reason, I have finally decided to not pick just one. Each paragraph will briefly and critically summarize cultures that make me who I am for those who may have never experienced them for themselves. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, but it would definitely provide a good introduction for someone trying to understand or live my life for awhile.**
I am an IDEALIST. Idealists believe that perfection is possible. They believe that with everyone working together, the world can be improved to become a place where everyone has equal opportunities to live healthy, productive lives. Idealists don't like others pointing out their tendencies to have idealistic (and sometimes unrealistic) perspectives on issues, so this should be avoided if possible. Simply acknowledging that it could happen in a perfect world is the best way to handle an idealist's positive, and somewhat wishful, thinking.
I am a CHRISTIAN. Christians come in many varieties. The group with which I identify are reformed Christians. They believe that the Bible was written for certain people in a certain situation at a certain time, but that it has lessons and overarching themes that are still relevant for living one's life today. Acceptance and service are key themes within their theology. They should be approached with an open mind and heart. Don't worry about being judged by your actions or called upon to instantaneously become religious. For them, faith is a journey with highs and lows, so come as you are.
I am a FEMINIST. Feminists believe that all people, no matter their gender, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or level of education. They believe that until everyone has the opportunity to use their whole persona and talents, then everyone else is missing out. One should use caution in dealing with a feminist, particularly if you are a male dealing with a member of the female sex, as they tend to point out exactly what you are doing to assert your patriarchal dominance over them at any given opportunity. There is absolutely no way to convince them that power hierarchies are acceptable, so trying is fruitless.
I am LIBERAL. Liberals believe that government exists to improve the lives of its people. Therefore the government should help to provide for those who find themselves in situations for which they did not plan or from which they cannot pull themselves out. They also believe that people are inherently good. To keep from upsetting a liberal, one should avoid topics such as economic realities and the benefits of having rich and poor people in a society.
I am a HONORS STUDENT. Honors students are very driven to achieve the highest possible grades and spend as much time as necessary on school. School and classes are the most important parts of honors students' lives. DO NOT interrupt their productivity or you will potentially find your life of a shorter length than previously. Engage them in intellectual debate or conversation and they will adore you, and possibly will never end the conversation. Don't worry about their often type-A personalities and off-beat senses of humor, as you'll soon learn how to handle it. Also, honors students are great people to have around when one needs help studying or with an assignment--they absolutely adore the opportunity to learn and help others find their same, somewhat nerdy, passion for education.
I am SOUTHERN. Southern people are stranger than strange to understand. They live in a world where problems do not exist on the outside and where every problem can be solved with a home-cooked meal. Manners come before cleanliness which is, of course, next to conservative values and Godliness. They are some of the most friendly people you will ever encounter. Don't be afraid when they smile, wave, and begin conversations before having ever met you. Simply return the greetings or risk offending them. While in the presence of Southerners, avoid discussing politics, religion, or money. Sticking to conversations regarding football (which is just as important as religion, sometimes more) or the food one is undoubtedly consuming is your safest bet.
I am part Yucatacan (in culture, not in blood). People of the Yucatan rival Southerners for being the most hospitable people ever to be met. They do not concern themselves with time, everything will happen eventually (and, for the record, they do not like to be pushed to complete a task by the aforementioned type-A honors student). They believe that family and community come before all else. They can take an hour to walk 100 feet up the street because they stop at every single house along the way to have a conversation. When in the Yucatan, one must eat everything they are given (even if you have absolutely no idea what the "interesting" meal before you is). You must also say goodbye to every single person around before you take your leave with a single side-kiss. Just put on a smile and be ready to converse and you will be fine in dealing with people of the Yucatan.
I am soon to be part-Argentine. I have absolutely no idea yet what this truly means, as I have not yet arrived. So far, I can tell you that the eat a lot of red meat, make some of the best red wine in the world, and host some of the most beautiful landscapes one will ever see. Hopefully I won't spend too long here being "the other" (though with my soon-to-be short, very blonde hair this could be a different story!) and will be able to fully embrace and become part of this culture as well.
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