Oh, how I have missed blogging. It is great to be back, my friends!
As many of you know, I have recently started out on my greatest adventure to date. I have started Vet School. Let me tell you, getting here was quite the fiasco, but it worked out and now I am here and have started classes and things are pretty great. I decided that this would be a good time to write a post about adjusting to a new place. I came from Ohio and was dropped on a tiny island in the Caribbean. It is quite the culture shock. The climate is different, the customs are different, the people are different, the way of life is completely different, and do not even get me started on island time. In Ohio, I am pretty knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna. I pride myself on the knowledge that I have of the plants in my area and it has taken me quite some time to become aware of all of that. Now, I am in a strange new place. A lot of the plants here are either poisonous or extremely thorny. I don’t know their names or their uses. The spirits here are strange and not all friendly. The first time I tried meditating on a swatch of grass near campus, I was swarmed by a local species of ant which causes itching and burning and small areas of infection when they bite. It was not a good time and the bites are just now healing. After being here for nearly 2 weeks and having some experience, I have made several ways to help myself adjust to this novel place. I have decided to share these, both magical and mundane with my readers.
Meditation – Find a quiet place out of the rush to meditate and have a little peace. Spending some time for introspection or just for peace can be very centering. Find different places. Even if you just start in your room, it will still be beneficial. It will also help with the next section of this list.
Grounding – This is possibly the single most useful tool that I possessed to settle myself in. Grounding helps to align you with the energies of an area. It is a great first step to getting to know the land around you. You will make connections faster and intuitively learn more about the things around you. I was here for about three days before I was well aligned with the tides and the waves of the Caribbean sea which is not even an eighth of a mile from my door. Now, if I focus a little bit, I can feel the ebb and flow of the waves. That is one amazing part of living so close to the ocean.
Offering – This one is not necessarily for everyone and I recommend it with some measure of caution. At home, I gave regular offering to various spirits. I did not see why things should be any different here. I began by presenting myself formally to the spirits in the area and then asking them to accept my offering. I started with a little bit of whiskey, but I do not recommend using alcohol. Some people will tell you that alcohol is always a good offering, and I disagree. I think that different spirits in different areas like different offerings; and some do not like alcohol. Not to mention, alcohol can be damaging to any plants or small animals that come into contact with your offering. I am not saying that you should not use it, I just think that you should get to know an area before you do. Research the history a bit and do some meditations to learn the nature of those who would receive your offering. I find that bread is often a good offering, no matter where you are. A hunk of some nice locally made bread is a great way to open communications. Milk and honey are also great ways to start a relationship with local spirits, but my fall back is always some kind of bread. I had a nice loaf of handmade bread from the local grocers and I offered some of that as well as the whiskey and it was well received. Once you have channels open, you will start to learn what kind of offerings are preferred, but it is good to reach out with something simple to start.
Culture -Get to know some of the local lore and culture. Eat local food. Get to know local customs. I really enjoyed the orientation week here because we got to experience some local cuisine and spend a whole week just exploring the island. We met Kittitians and learned about their way of life. I devoted a few hours to looking up local lore and legend (something that was very interesting and will probably be a later blog post, once I have learned more). I think that learning about the local culture helps you to align yourself and live among it. Too many people here are just fighting it and complaining about it, when it is just easier to go with the flow and allow it to be part of the learning process. What is the point of studying abroad, if not to learn another way of life?
Fun – Have fun. Do not spend all of your time just working or studying or whatever. Go to a local area for fun. We went to several local bars and restaurants and had a blast. We also visited some of the popular beaches here. We also got to go snorkeling off of a catamaran. Getting out and enjoying yourself is a great way to loosen up and may make some of the other steps such as meditation and grounding much easier. Endorphins are very important, my friends. So go out. Have a good time. Get a little drunk on local beer or rum (beer and rum are cheaper per ounce than water here) (do not drive under the influence).
So this is how I have adjusted to living in a completely new place. I feel that I have done well. I have burnt myself out a bit with studying, but that is just Vet School. I hope that this is helpful to anyone who is wanting to travel to new places or moving somewhere new. I decided that I was going to be living here for over two years, so I might as well get settled in as best as I can and this truly helped.
Best of luck.