last night I came to a conclusion that honestly changed me. after a long conversation with my mom about my relationships in my life, I realized that I was afraid to let people be close to me. This is because of the past relationships I’ve had and how they’ve failed. Part of it is based off of fear that people will see me for the person I am and dislike me. But I have realized that someone’s opinion of me does not change the person I am. My actions, believes and heart create the person I am. Another thing I talked about with my mom was my “social awkwardness”. I just don’t know all the rules and social expectations in interactions with people that are my age, which is crucial in making friends. And honestly, after all I’ve been through I don’t know if I really want to make friends. My mom told me that the first thing I need to do is just be nice. This will involve me thinking about the way I talk to others. The job that I have as a teacher plays a crucial role in developing this skill. Since I’m working in a four year old classroom, I understand the way I interact with the children directly affects how they interact with other children, so I’ve been watching my words and my behaviors. I will just have to do the same with those that are my age. It’s going to be a journey, but I believe that being open will allow me to let more love into my life and overall be happier. I know it’s all going to be okay.
IT’S WEAVE TIME! When I went to Ecuador, I wore a lace closure and two bundles of miink Brazilian body wave (12 inch bundles, 18 inch closure (everything was cut)). So you all know I have to review it. So before I go into details I’m going to rate my experience 1-10 (1 lowest, 10 highest) for the following- quality of hair (10), styling experience (7), taking care of my real hair (7- it was tough y’all), taking care of the weave (9).
- pre-gaming (pre-weave)
So as you all know I’m very into hair care- I want the best for my hair and my body, so I do the research, spend the money and invest in myself. So this experience was no different. Miink Brazilian is known for being one of the best hair brands in Detroit, it’s black owned and local. Kendra P, who I met in real life and I will say she’s so sweet, is known for having great quality hair. The former hairstylist makes some bomb ass weave (that’s literally the only way to describe it). The hair comes with a promise of not shedding or tangling and last very well. This is all the hair that was lost after I washed my weave two days before I got it done. That’s literally nothing. I was impressed with the quality of the hair when I received it. As for my hair, I got my hair trimmed a couple weeks before my appointment so my hair would be prepped.
So I got my weave installed a week before I went to Ecuador. The lady normally does one of my best friends hair, so I was confident. I had deep conditioned and used my ezcema shampoo the night before, but I still had her wash it. She washed, blowed dry and braided my hair. In my opinion she left a little too much hair out for the edges. I think it’s because my edges situation is a little complicated- all my edges are blond so you can’t really see them. So she left out the brown hair. Next time I will just make sure she only leaves out edges. I did not like how she styled it at all. She didn’t really do a good job- only one press with no type of heat protectant. But I went home and my sister ended up straightening it for me. I didn’t like how she cut it; it was very very uneven. So I ended up going to my regular hair stylist who cut and styled my weave for $30 (I only had paid an extra 5 for my cut at the other salon).
- The adjustment
It was hard to adjust to the weave. The hair was very nice but it was so much darker than my real hair it was a stark difference. It took a lot of getting used to, but eventually I loved the weave. It was easy to maintain and very cute. I made sure I rolled it or wrapped it every night. I also had a complicated situation in Ecuador- since I couldn’t drink the water I didn’t want to wash my hair. So I used Root Relief by Cantu and Tea Tree Oil to cleanse my scalp. I did do the LOC method on my real hair twice- using leave-in conditioner by cantu, doo-gro anti-itch oil and curlaide by camille rose. To keep my weave clean I used the dry co-wash by cantu. It was a little difficult to keep it clean but overall it was a good experience. My scalp, due the ezcema, itched a lot and I even scratched a couple sores in my head which hasn’t happened since like the tenth grade. I just had to keep using the tea tree oil and the doo-gro oil.
- Post weave
The day I got home from Ecuador my other best friend came over to take out my weave. It was a long process but my real hair felt very very soft. I soaked the weave in my normal shampoo for a very long time, then after all the dandruff was gone and I was able to wash it regular. The hair looked amazing and was so soft. I’m telling you guys this hair is totally worth the investment. It’s so beautiful and soft. As for my hair, I oiled it, sprayed it down with water, added conditioner and combed out my hair. I did have shedding but it was a fairly normal amount considering it had been so long without combing it. I left that on for a couple hours, then washed my hair, conditioned it (I didn’t deep condition until a few days later, then a week later I got my hair done and my ends trimmed). I wore protective styles for the two weeks leading up to my hair appointment- mostly twists. My scalp hurt a lot right after so I tried to do minimal styling. It’s pretty much back to normal now.
(these pictures were taken before my trim)
Overall this weave experience was great. I had some bumps in the road but I think if I would’ve been at home they would’ve been easy to take care of. I also recommend you all check out miinkbrazilian.com!
honestly, it’s been over two weeks since I last blogged. I’ve been home, working from around 9-5 every day at a summer camp three minutes away from my house. I’m in love with it. I get the opportunity to directly impact lives and I’ll talk a little bit more later about how I noticed that. But overall I’ve been good. I’ve been slacking on my meditations, yoga and self-care, mostly cause I think I’ve been so tired I just haven’t done it. But this weekend I have vowed to start taking care of myself more- I’ll do my meditations tonight and tomorrow and I went to yoga today for the first time all week. I’ve got to do better. I have to consciously put myself first and take care of me. So that is what I’m going to do. but first I’ll fill you all in on my life.
- summer camp
So I’m loving the camp that I work at. Originally I interviewed for the job in February but because I was leaving they told me if I was interested I could call in August to see if there was work available. They called my house while I was in Ecuador to see about me working there, so I started the Tuesday after I got back. Two weeks ago I worked as a sub in the six year old room and last week I worked in the four year old room originally as a sub but now I’m the second teacher. I love the students. Working with such small children has made me realize a few things. I need to watch my behavior and be nicer with how I talk to people; if I don’t want them doing it I should be acting differently. Two, all interactions affect children. One of the students in my class I often have to talk to because to be honest she does not like to listen. So we spend a lot of time talking, which is mostly me arguing with her about listening and participating. But on Friday she was coming back from the other class screaming and crying- and she ran to me. And in that moment I knew I am actually making a difference. They know I love them. They know I care. and most importantly, they trust me. I’m impacting lives. and that feeling is priceless.
- self care
I mentioned earlier that my self care has been slacking. My plans to improve that include putting myself first. I just have to do what I did during school- take at least an hour a day for myself. I have a lot of free time after work but I actually have to use it wisely. I’m going to start packing pretty soon and making sure that every day I’m doing something for me- whether that is mediation, doing yoga at home, going to yoga or just reading outside. But I have to do something to love myself. I listened to a podcast when I was flying home from Quito, called Sincerely, X by TED (the first episode is called Dr. Burnout) and basically what I got from the podcast was that to be able to effectively help others, you first have to take care of yourself. So that’s what I have to do.
Today is my last day in Quito; my flight leaves this evening at 11:30. after living alone in another country for a month, i can confidently say i’ve changed. i’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with children who have made me question how i interact with them and the decisions i make. i know now more than ever that how i act around children molds them. and this has changed me. so much has, so ill go over it in chunks to make it easy.
- so on this project, i was the only black person on the trip. this is important to note because it directly affected my interactions with others and the way i was perceived. i’ve done a lot of research on a lot of different subjects (such as black women, education, etc) and while i still know i have so much to learn, i know a lot. this experience was the first time i’ve personally felt excluded because of my race. i worked in a group of six tutors total, two were from michigan like me. they both would do things for the classroom and exclude me: they never took my suggestions into consideration and overall it made me feel unappreciated. i didn’t really think about this until this last week cause i was just like “they never want my help or include me”. as i was talking to my best friend, she was like “well you know that’s just how it is”, in reference to the fact that nonblack people don’t always want help from black people. and a light bulb went off- that’s why they didn’t want my help. so i went to ask them again if they needed help and the answer of course was no, and i made a comment that just because i’m black doesn’t mean i can’t help. and they both were shocked and one of the girls, was really really angry at me. after some careful thinking and the universe revealing the truth to me, I realized why i was excluded. one of the comments that was made to me during the meeting we had to have with our staff leader was that i acted like i was above everyone else. this reminded me of why Miss Buchanan was fired (the podcast by Malcolm Gladwell which i talked about in my Book Review ), because she was well educated, black and intimated others- they said she acted like she was above others; also known as being an uppity negro (which generally speaking nonblack people still don’t like). i realized that it wasn’t me that was the problem- it was how i carry myself that caused discomfort. to be quite honest, the conversation we had that day was full of a lot of lies (key signs of lying- fast talking and quickly changing the subject), but i gained some truth out of it- not everyone is going to like me and that’s okay. i just have to stay true to myself and respect others.
- only hanging out with those that respect me. i cannot make people respect me. for so long i have tried to prove myself to others and that i deserve to be treated with the same respect. and i realized that i am reiterating a stereotype by trying to prove it false. but i’ve gotten to the point where i understand that i will just only hang out with those whom display the respect i deserve. all others i will keep my distance from.
- I have learned the value of myself. I know that i am a valuable aspect to society and will help others. so i am worth the respect i desire. when i was high school i was really respected for my abilities in black spaces. but in white spaces i haven’t been. instead of demanding this respect from others, i will just keep it moving if it’s not there.
- my happiness is more important than the effects that i can have on anyone. i have to be in an environment that is positive and healthy. so this is why i’ve decided that i could defientely help this project grow but i need to be happy.
- listening to my body is so important and i realized this on this trip. almost this whole trip i have had issues with my asthma. overall i have very mild asthma but this environment has been toxic. there was nothing specific that makes it like this, but it is. in order to be the best i can be, i have to feel good. so from now i will always listen to my body, cause she told me i needed to leave before i got it.
- i’ve also learned the importance of music in my life. i love to sing. and i always am singing and listening to music when i am happy. but when i’m not as comfortable i lose my voice- i stop singing. i didn’t sing almost this whole trip. i did have a song i taught my class but besides singing that i didn’t sing at all. as of right now, i’m back to singing but i’ll defientely have to be more conscious of that.
overall i have learned that teaching is such a flexible profession and that you have to work with multiple professions. I also have understood that traveling is so much more important than i thought; it has given me a different perspective on things i need versus what i want, how i live my life and who is important to me. muchas gracias quito, por todo.
So I originally planned to do this documentary of my adventures inQuito in order but I decide to start by talking about why I’m here. So I am working at a summer camp, in the five to seven year old classroom with five other tutors. Our classroom is at the beginning of the school, and the older students and their tutors are up on the hill. All of the tutors are in college, but the tutors from our partnering university, University of San Francisco Quito are planning to be teachers. I’ve really enjoyed the teaching experience. At the beginning it was a little awkward mostly because it’s hard to understand little kids. But as time has gone on I’ve gotten very comfortable and created good relationships with the other tutors and students. I like the camp because there is a focus on education and teaching the kids but it’s a healthy balance between studying and having fun. Learning should be fun for children and my personal goal is that we all have a good time. The camp started on the tenth and will run until the twenty eighth. My focus in the class is the English lessons, along with helping other activities go smoothly. I have a picture from the lesson we did last week about english introductions! I also lead the morning song so that the kids will have a fun way to start the day. Normally I sit at the table with the youngest group of students, most of the, are five and a couple are six, so they need a lot of attention. It makes me happy to be able to help them. A bonus is that we ar at the point where they are beginning to remember my name! Little kids often don’t pay enough attention to remember names and because my name is a Hebrew name, it’s not a name that they are used to. But all is going well! Enjoy picture of our classroom!
black women have a unique role in society. we are the most educated group of americans (college wise), creative, loving and all around amazing. some may argue that humans didn’t start off as black, but technically speaking you can’t go from white to black, only from black to white. so i would argue that black women were the first women and responsible for all human life. but that’s not what this post is about. this post is about black women and how we positively affect black students. since schools in the US are still segregated, there are black schools and white schools. in my blog about equity i talked about the fact that black teachers weren’t intergrated with the students and how over half of the black women who were teachers were fired. as a future teacher, i am a strong advocate that kids need teachers that look like them. it makes them feel secure. it helps them grow. i went to all black schools and i have reaped the benefits of being embraced during my educational journey. at the camp that i am working at, I have had the opportunity to be in the classroom with the only black girl at the whole camp (mind you all of the kids are brown but still). one of my other students, who is six, pointed out that i was brown just like Sara. and i was like I am! these things are important. students need to feel represented. they need to see someone who looks like them in a role of power to understand that it is achievable. having black women as teachers has made it so i always knew i could do it too. so i encourage any black woman or man who has an interest in children to please think about pursuing education. it’s a hard job but the reward of affecting lives positively is priceless.
throughout my life, there have been things that i worried about. i feel that i spent too much time and energy thinking about them. so as part of my decision to be happy, i made a list. i called it my security list. i listed things that i think about a lot along with reasons why i am secure. insecurities often affect the way you can live your life. but you can be secure in these things. focus on what is good and see if what is good actually makes you happy. then you make your decision from there. since i’ve made this list i have been able to focus more on what makes me happy and accept all parts of myself. things that i wasn’t a fan of before (for example- my eczema) i wrote that it represents my ability to bounce back after any situation and that I will always heal and be whole. i definitely recommend making your own list! see what happens when you do!