How I Chose My Majors

jordan-travel-diary

Well howdy doody! While most people have already started school already, being that my university is on the lovely quarter system, I don’t begin school until the 28th of September.

The beginning of the 2016-2017 school year marks the start of my junior year of college…well..actually I’ve been a junior technically since last Winter quarter, but now is my real third year of college.

When I started college back in 2014, my intention was to be a psychology major. After seeing the 400+ person lecture halls that comprise my university’s intro psychology classes, I decided that was not the life for me. In the Winter of my freshman year, I thought that since I didn’t want to do psych anymore, International Studies would be a great replacement major since I love traveling and learning about new cultures.

Basically for that entire quarter and the following, I was sure that I was going to major in International Studies, so I started taking the boo-boo awful required courses to apply for the major like Intro to Microeconomics. That class was so awful that it shook my desire to even continue in the major. I’m not a particularly math-y person and beyond the fundamentals of economics, it doesn’t really follow how my mind works. Plus, it was a bit off putting that my professor was insistent that people only do things for their own self-interest and no actions are ever truly altruistic. Even after my uncertainty if International Studies was something that I wanted to do, I continued down that path.

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Jordan Travel Diary: Making Maamoul

JORDAN TRAVEL DIARY

Happy Eid al-Fitr everyone! For the past few weeks that I’ve been in Dubai and Amman it’s been the tail end of Ramadan (to explain it simply and too general, Ramadan is the holy month of fasting that is a tenet of the Islam). Living in the Middle East, specifically theocratic states has made being in Amman and Dubai interesting. I’ve stayed in Morocco during the beginning and middle of the month of Ramadan, but this is my first time being around for the end of Ramadan. Basically, one of the most interesting things for a non-fasting/Muslim person is that within the Middle East/North Africa, eating, drinking, and smoking in public is forbidden for Muslims. For foreigners/non-Muslims/tourists it’s not forbidden in the same way, but it’s very very strongly frowned upon and to respect the cultural and religious space that I’ve been invited into, so I don’t eat or drink in public spaces. In my homestay, my host family has been very accommodating of non-fasting since they practice fasting more flexibly.

Living in Jordan during Ramadan has been interesting. I’ve spent a lot of times the past couple of weeks searching for places that I can have lunch at after my colloquial Arabic class and before my anthropology class. Most of the places I’ve been frequenting have been pretty smoky café/restaurants that offer food for non-fasters. If you’ve been to Amman and happen to be here also during Ramadan, Rainbow Street has a couple of places that are open like Turtle Green, Books@Café, and Shams al-Balad. If you’ve seen my posts on Instagram (@travelingcurl), I’ve been posting a lot of the yummy things I’ve been eating the past couple of weeks.

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I Review, So You Don’t Have To…The Diva Cup

I REVIEW, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO... (2)

Probably one of the worst things about traveling with a uterus is the inevitability of having my period at the worst given opportunity, whether it’s when I’m on a plane, on a bus, don’t have access to a bathroom, etc. My period is an absolute troll, so I get it usually right before I go on a trip.

As I write this blog post en route to Dubai, guess what? My period started a few days ago.

In the past when I’ve traveled, my contingency plan to make sure I don’t end up bleeding all over the place is to shove a ridiculous, embarrassing amount of pads shoved into any place I can fit them in my suitcase. Pads and tampons pretty much suck for traveling. In many places around the world, there isn’t ideal locations to dispose of menstrual supplies or to get your preferred brand on appropriate hygiene products. Especially for me someone who prefers pretty strongly a certain brand/type of pad, not having access to my brand is a huge bummer.

Many people with periods who travel a lot, have busy lifestyles, or want to decrease their amount of period related waste have started using menstrual cups as a solution to address the issues they’ve experienced with traditional menstrual supplies.

In this post I’m going to describe my experiences using one of these menstrual cups, the pros and cons of these kinds of products, and if I recommend them.

What is the Diva Cup?

The Diva Cup is the menstrual cup that I have chosen to utilize during this summer as I travel to the U.A.E., Jordan, Greece, and Italy, The Diva Cup is a medical grade colorless silicone cup that is inserted in the vagina (similarly to a tampon) that sits at right at the base of the vaginal canal to collect menstrual blood/ejected materials (sorry that sounds really gross). The Diva Cup can be left inside the body for up to 12 hours.

Why did I buy the Diva Cup?

I bought the Diva Cup because I hate having to deal with my period when I travel. I hate the struggle it is to find pads that don’t feel like diapers, I hate the difficulties in finding places to dispose of pads in a way that is both sanitary, culturally sensitive, and environmentally friendly.

Menstrual cups greatly appealed to me for this summer because I’m going to be gone abroad for about 3 months, I didn’t want to have to somehow shove that many months of of pads into my luggage.

Also, since the Diva Cup is reusable for like up to 10 years, it’ll pay for itself pretty fast. For example, on average I spend around $144 a year on pads. If you count the amount of laundry I have to do to get blood out of my sheets, clothes, and underwear I’m sure the cost would get much closer to $200. The Diva Cup costs $45 at Whole Foods, so it ends up basically costing $3.75 a month, compared to the average $14 a month I spend on pads.

Benefits of the Diva Cup

The main benefits I’ve identified in my times using the Diva Cup are that it’s a really effective method of having a period, but not having your period affect your life too much. Once the Diva Cup does its sealing/suctioning action, your risk for a leak is pretty low. This gives me a lot of peace of mind/freedom to go out without worrying about what pads I’m going to bring, where I’ll store them, etc.

Additionally, it’s pretty easy to deal with the Diva Cup compared to pads…however there are some cons with this that I’ll discuss in the next section.

If you’re someone who cares about the environment and is interested in minimizing their impact on the Earth, the Diva Cup/any menstrual cup is a winner. Honestly, even if you try the Diva Cup for one day and then do one day of wearing pads/tampons, you can see very clearly the dearth of waste you’re creating.

Finally, the Diva Cup is pretty darn great for travel. It’s just a wittle cup that can fit discreetly into a purse/luggage.

Cons of the Diva Cup

Most of the cons of the Diva Cup are applicable to any and all menstrual cups.

If you’re squeamish, not used to touching blood, or experience some discomfort being that uh…”involved” in a bodily process the Diva Cup may not be for you.

It also requires a learning curve in figuring out the most comfortable way to to it in the body and the most comfortable way to remove it. I’m still working on finding a way take the Diva Cup out that doesn’t feel like my insides are ripping apart.

The biggest thing that is a con along with insertion is dealing with the blood that will be collected in the Diva Cup. I recommend not using the Diva Cup in a public place because you need to: 1)wash your hands 2) dump out the cup in the toilet 3) leave the stall to wash your hands and maybe rinse out the Diva Cup/wipe it with a paper towel in the bathroom and 4) reinsert the cup. I personally would not do any of this in public because it’s a bit complicated. It’s pretty easy to plan though around using the Diva Cup, like emptying it before you leave the house, so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re out.

My last critic of the Diva Cup has very little to do with the product itself. If you look at the Diva Cup’s website, it’s incredibly gendered. There are a ton of people who have uteruses and experience periods who do not identify as women. I think that the heavily gendered language on the website, the name of it as “Diva”, and the heavy usage of traditionally feminine coloring/graphics could be a bit isolating for those who do not identify as women, but would still like to use the Diva Cup.
TL;DR

Overall, I would recommend the Diva Cup. It’s pretty convenient, works quite well, is cost effective, and minimizes the environmental impact of a period.

If you want more information about the Diva Cup, check out their website (http://divacup.com/) and Youtube has some pretty stellar reviews, I recommend this, this, and this. Also, if you’re interested in reading other people’s experiences with the the Diva Cup and other menstrual cups, the Menstrual Cup Live Journal has all the ins and outs of basically every brand.

What have your experiences been with menstrual cups? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @travelingcurl!

 

I Review So You Don’t Have To… Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant

I REVIEW, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO...

The only thing I want from my deodorant is to make me smell nice and not sweat. That’s all. I don’t expect it to transform me into Black Cinderella a la the (best) version of the story with Brandy for the 90s or to make me the coolest, least sweatiest person in the world.

All I’m looking for is the basics.

Well except that I’m also allergic to most deodorants. For some reason the mixture of aluminium and zinc oxides in most deodorants break my skin out to high heaven. Not to get into the knitty gritty, but I’m talking red, itchy bumps in my dang armpits.

Because of my tres sensitive skin, I’ve tried all sorts of your typical hippy dippy all naturale deodorant fare, whether it be those crystal ones (don’t work), TOMS deodorant (doesn’t work), and a whole other hodge podge of products that tbh shouldn’t be sold as a deodorant because they neither make me smell nice or not sweat. Thankfully, I have found a deodorant that works for me and rarely breaks me out, so I haven’t tried out any all natural subsitutes in awhile.

(Enter me 19-year old buying more unnecessary skin care from Sephora)

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