I’d like to think that I’m a fairly principled person. But the past few months has made me realize (again) that it’s a lot easier to stick by my convictions when I’m comfortable.

A few ways in which I’ll be letting my principles lapse for the next 6 months.

+ Chemicals: In the U.S., I was in favor of using natural remedies for problems. Even when confronting a mice problem in Baltimore, I stuck cotton balls soaked in peppermint all over my room. Not no more. When I first moved into my house here, my bed was covered in bugs for the first few nights (until I changed rooms and got a mosquito net). I immediately reached for the aerosol can of insect killer and slept in a chemical fog those few nights. Even in my new room, I’m spraying chemicals every few days.

+ Music: I’m not a fan of terrible pop with base lyrics. But my students seem to like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and the like, so I’ve learned a few of their songs on the guitar. I’m trying to introduce my students to better music, because every time I hear Ke$ha on the radio, I feel like I lose some of my dignity*.

+ Reading material: Although there are tons of great e-books, I can’t carry my Nook everywhere (and I need some time away from a screen). Luckily, my mentor gave me some books to read. Unluckily, a lot of them are romance novels. My roommate’s mentor also gave us some magazines. And they’re all the Malaysian version of Cosmo. My favorite quote from one of the magazines (illustrating how terrible these magazines really are)– “…my mum cooks really well, so I was brought up to believe that all women should be excellent cooks…Equality is what I believe in…

+ Food: No fair trade chocolate this year (I did bring fair trade coffee with me, and ohmygoodness, it was the best packing decision I made). But to make up for that, most of the food I eat is locally sourced. There’s more to say about food, but I’ll save that for another post.

*Maybe that’s a little dramatic, and I certainly am grateful that they play American music here because it’s comforting to hear English. Also, I’ve heard Muse on the radio a few times, which makes me really happy.


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