PictureKatniss, Effie, District 12, District 1
     It’s that time of year again, when kids dress up as their favorite cartoon character or something scary like a zombie or clown – shivers! Now it can get awkward when you have this great costume idea that you can’t wait for people to see, but then when they do, they ask, “What are you supposed to be?”

            This year my suite mates and a couple of other friends decided to dress as the representatives from each district in the Hunger Games, along with Effie Trinket, the escort of the tributes of District 12. We had great ideas for each and were super excited about them. Well, lo and behold, several of our friends either couldn’t do it or decided not to go, so we were left with District 1, District 12, Effie, and Katniss. When we were all together you could see what we were trying to do, but if we didn’t stay together, the one dressed as Effie was the only one who looked discernible as her character. Several times at our school’s Monster Mash Halloween party I was asked if I was a princess, a goddess, or an angel. I had to explain many times that I was representing District 1, the luxury district of Panem

            Key note for your next Halloween costume idea: make sure that, if you have a group costume idea, all commit to being at the party! Otherwise, you may feel totesawk and...disappointed.

            Have you had any embarrassing or disappointing experiences with Halloween, either from costume confusion or just awkward situations in general?

     In my early teens, I was absolutely in love with Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer from Green Day. I cut his picture out and put it in a picture binder, and I collected his posters and other memorabilia, not allowing anyone to touch them. Even my 3 bunny rabbits took on parts of his name. I was OBSESSED. The question is, why? Why was I so infatuated with someone I hardly knew? TotesAwk!

    Girls, especially younger ones, often have a crush on someone famous. We like to imagine having a perfect life with someone famous we don’t know because the guys we do know generally don’t measure up to our imaginations “perfect guy” like a hot celebrity does. We can imagine our "prince" with perfect personalities, treating us as though we are perfect princesses. We fall for this imaginary creation and can even begin to believe he is real.

    In reality we run a guy through a mental checklist:

1.     Whether they can make us laugh,

2.     Whether they are an extrovert or an introvert,

3.     Whether they are a devoted Christian or not,

4.     What type of music they listen to,

5.     And the way they dress.

    We can be very judgmental when it comes to potential dates, yet not care what a person is like when it comes to someone we probably won’t ever meet. If you ask me, that’s pretty totesawk!

    Can you think of a celebrity, or anyone you don’t know personally, that you were “in love” with??

               For other reasons why girls fall in love with celebrities and other related topics check out the following sites!

1.     All Women Stalk
2.     Celebrity Obsession: Could It Possibly Be Love Or Is It Just Pure Infatuation?
3.     What makes girls think they can love a celebrity without meeting them?

    Is it just me, or does this seem to happen all the time??! Totesawk!!
    Morés are “norms that people define as essential to the well-being of their group. People who violate morés are usually punished severely” (Sociology a Global Perspective, Joan Ferrante). In contrast to Folkways, morés are morally significant. They are based on definitions of right and wrong. According to sociology.about.com, “Morés typically take the form of laws with strong sanctions such as imprisonment, ostracism, or death.” Here are a few examples of morés:  it is not considered acceptable to abuse drugs, such as heroine or cocaine; it is not acceptable to steal under any circumstance; it is not acceptable to murder; and it is not acceptable to wear a bikini to church.

    Consider the morés that govern how we eat our food in American and Asian cultures. In America, when we eat soup or other liquid food, it is not acceptable to slurp it up noisily. That is viewed as very rude and disgusting, and one who does that loudly in a restaurant will be reprimanded and perhaps asked to leave. In contrast, in many Asian cultural groups, vigorous and loud slurping shows enjoyment and signals genuine approval of the food, giving great satisfaction to the ones who prepared the meal.

    Each culture has morés that may differ from our culture’s expectations. Why the morés are significant or important to other cultures is often beyond the scope of our understanding, but they are real nevertheless. When associating with folks from other cultures, it can be a challenge not to judge their morés as wrong. However, an attempt to understand, and perhaps on occasion even to embrace, them may prove enlightening and even disgustingly fun.

    Can you think of some morés that would be acceptable in other cultures but totesawk if enacted in American and vice versa?

     I didn’t think our campus situation was as bad as it was until I walked to class today. I had decided to greet everyone I passed, even folks I didn’t know. Well, lo and behold, it soon struck me that we have been taken over by a destructive, invasive magnetic force!

     I didn’t realize how intrusive and spellbinding cell phones have become until today. Those I passed, with one exception, were all on their cellphones. They didn’t even bother to look up when we were face to face. They were so involved in their phones that I literally had to step out of the way to keep from being run over!

    What is going on? Come on, you guys! With several thousand people on campus, surely we can spare a smile or two, coupled with a kind greeting! Can’t we save our phones for times when we’re alone? Who knows, putting our phones away might give us the opportunity to make new friends or to give encouragement to some old friends!

    So what do you say, ladies and gents? Shall we put our phones away, step outside of our comfort zones, AND watch where we’re going?
    Hope this can bring a smile to your face this week. Enjoy! (:
     Having enjoyed my fall break in Florida with my “suities” the past couple days, I thought it would be fun to do a social experiment in the category of folkways! I avoided looking people in the eyes whenever I talked to or was around people.

     It was funny to see how they would try to catch my attention by attempting to get directly in front of me, staring directly into my eyes, saying my name, and touching my arm. I don’t think they could figure out why I wouldn’t look at them while talking.  

    After several minutes, I revealed what I was doing and asked their opinions on my behavior. I received several responses: “I thought you were socially awkward”, “I figured you were an introvert”, and “I thought something was wrong with me!”

    How awkward the situation becomes when we don't follow the everyday folkways people in our culture expect! My friends expected me to look at them while they were speaking to me. When I didn't, I felt ill at ease, and so did they.

    Can you think of any totesawk social experiments you can do that would break the norm of our naturally learned "instincts"? Try one out just for fun! 

     Folkways are “norms that apply to the mundane aspects or details of daily life” (Sociology a Global Perspective, Joan Ferrante). Ferrante’s book gives such examples as when and what to eat, how to greet someone, how long the workday should be, how many times caregivers should change babies’ diapers each day. According to sociologist William Graham Sumner, “Folkways give us discipline and support of routine and habit.” If we HAD to constantly make decisions about these small details, we would go insane. We tend to go through life without questioning the way we do things until something prompts us to see that there are other ways to do them.

    Consider the folkways that govern how we signal “yes” or “no” in American and Albanian cultures (this is in response to Suzan’s comment on my previous post). In America, when a store clerk asks us if we would like assistance, we nod our heads (up and down) if we do want help and shake our heads (side to side) if we don’t. In contrast, in Albania people nod their heads to indicate “no” and shake their heads to indicate “yes.” Suzan gave a great example of the awkwardness she experienced because she did not understand this difference.

    Each culture has folkways that govern people’s behavior in simple situations, but we don’t stop to consider that others may do things differently in other cultures until we encounter a response or behavior that seems unconventional.

    Can you think of other folkways that would be acceptable in other cultures but totesawk if enacted in American and vice versa?
I've done this a couple times, and not on purpose! Watching this makes me realize how ridiculous I've looked in that past.
CrossCreds to Becca Labo!
    An opportunity arises for you to share God's love with someone despised by your circle of friends. This could get totesawk fast! What do you do?!

     Jesus went in head first into totesawk situations with people at whom we might not have looked twice at because He knows how much we all need him; yes, even those around whom we feel awkward.

    For example, in the first part of Luke 19 when Jesus saw Zacchaeus up in a sycamore-fig tree, He immediately called out to him and said that He wanted to eat with him in his house. This was totesawk for the crowds following Jesus because they looked down on Zacchaeus because he was a chief tax collector who had become wealthy at their expense. The people couldn't believe that Jesus would even want to associate with him. However, Jesus didn't care what title the people gave the man, or even what sins he had done. He saw only a lost man who needed forgiveness and salvation. In verse 10 Jesus says, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

    How difficult it is for us to see through Jesus' eyes and not through the eyes of man. We are commanded in Matthew 28:19 to go make disciples of all nations. HELP! This includes diving head first into totesawk situations.

    What are some examples of totesawk situations you've encountered when it comes to sharing about Jesus? 

    When you walk into the library, does anyone have to tell you to be quiet and courteous of others? No, you automatically behave in this way. Why? You have been "programed" to obey a "norm."

   Norms are “written or unwritten rules that specify behaviors appropriate and inappropriate to a particular social situation” (Sociology a Global Perspective, Joan Ferrante).

   Examples of written rules include restaurant signs (No Smoking Section), college handbook guidelines (appropriate dress for students), and government laws (on how to run a business).

   While unwritten rules exist throughout life – washing your hands before eating or cooking, not holding hands with the same sex in public, and leaving a good tip of at least 20 percent for waiters – norms are basically all those small rules that we learn through life and automatically conform to.
What norms would be acceptable in another country but totesawk if enacted in America and vice versa?