The other night as I sat thinking about my home and about all of the things and people I missed, another woman here said to me “gratitude can be an anecdote for sadness.” When you are sad, think of the things and people you are grateful for in order to bring you happy thoughts. At first the things I was grateful for were immediate. I am grateful for tea in light of not being able to have coffee. I am grateful for books as a way to keep my mind entertained and occupied. I am grateful for strawberries, one of the only sweet treats we have as my body detoxes off of all the added sugar I am used to eating. Then my mind wandered to bigger things. Despite my rough start to get acclimated, I am grateful I am here, that I have this opportunity, that I have met these women, and this chance I have to experience something many would never dream of doing. We have been told it takes a strong personality to overcome the obstacles of this new life. I am seeing that strength emerge slowly in me and ring loudly in the women here that continue boldly each day while also thinking about the home, things, and people they miss.
Interview 3: Moso
“The last little while has been shifting my mind set from a capitalist based system to something I haven’t figured out yet. It makes me happy knowing that I have realized this about myself and that there isn’t one way to be happy.”
-What is your definition of happiness?
“I don’t know, I think it’s being content and satisfied with what’s going on in your life or just in general.”
-What makes you happy?
“There are a lot of things that make me happy. Doing things, like keeping myself busy, being outside, I think learning makes me happy. People make me happy, most of the time. Making art makes me happy.”
-What physical objects or technologies affect your happiness and why?
“Well, I guess maybe, I would say that my phone affects my happiness as in making me less happy, because it’s something I can look at the news so easily, and since the election I’ve been inundated with that stuff. It’s not good to have this thing in my hand that I can be easily brought down by. And my email is hooked up to my phone, so I constantly get updates on things I have to do. I like to keep my email clean too so it really annoys me.”
-Has limited access to water affected your overall state of happiness and if so, how?
“Not at all. It’s been surprisingly fine. Oh I don’t know, maybe it’s made me happier. Just kinda knowing I can live on a maximum of 4 gallons a day. And it’s kinda cool to figure out different ways of doing things. Like washing my feet, it’s so weird. But I did it and I didn’t even use half a gallon.”
-What is one thing you wish you could do right now that you feel would bring you happiness, but you are currently unable to do it because of your environment or access to water?
“See my husband.”
-How has your happiness changed since you have been here?
“I feel like it’s kinda been up and down. My first couple days, I wasn’t very happy, but I hadn’t figured out this new place and situation, but being on day 7, I’m feeling more comfortable and happier. I am sitting around kinda in awe of the fact that I’m here right now.”
-As of 2023, the extreme water regulations are newer to the United States population, yet in other cultures and communities around the world, the energy required for securing and maintaining water is consistently this difficult, if not more. How has this experience allowed you to empathize and think about other areas and cultures of people that have such limited access to water or has it?
“I definitely think I will never use water the same way again. Just the fact that I have found out that I can sustain myself on 4 gallons a day. I still can’t even imagine having to walk 5 miles every day to get water. The water is right here on out premises. I don’t have to go very far to get it. So it’s hard to put myself in their shoes. I don’t think I could know for sure without putting myself in those shoes, but at least I can appreciate water more now.”
-What or who has provided you comfort and happiness while being here?
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Skip and Nayara. That’s been awesome.”
-Can you tell me anything else about your current state of happiness?
“I think that I’m generally happy, but also at the same time generally not happy. I learned a lot about myself in grad school in that I’m not happy with the way society is set up and the path that society sets us on. “Go to school, get a job, pay off student loans, buy a bunch of stuff” to be happy. The last little while has been shifting my mind set from a capitalist based system to something I haven’t figured out yet. It makes me happy knowing that I have realized this about myself and that there isn’t one way to be happy.”