Sergeant Tony's Blog

Who ARE You? — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 7/30/2014

Wednesday, Jul. 30th 2014 3:09 PM

When I was 7 years old I met a Japanese lady, the mom of one of my classmates. At the time, Fort Smith, Arkansas probably had a “foreign born residency population” of 1, my friend’s mom. And I was immediately drawn to her and her home country. My friend’s dad was in the Army and had been stationed in Japan where the two met and married. After leaving the Army my classmate’s parents moved to Fort Smith.

Their home looked like all of the homes in our post WWII subdivision, where the streets were named after WWII leaders, generals, and battles. But my friend’s mom had turned the interior of their house into something I’d never seen before. It looked like the inside of a Japanese home. I was so intrigued. At 7 years old I added “Live in Japan” to my list of life ambitions.

So why, after years and years of excited anticipation, planning, preparing, hoping, finally moving to Japan and living in Tokyo, did I find myself miserable?

It was the late 80s and I was a civilian who’d moved to Japan to live there indefinitely. Yet sadly, I’d only been there for less than a year and hated everything Japanese.

Wasn’t I supposed to be happy?

Wasn’t I supposed to be feeling a sense of achievement and fulfillment after waiting for over 25 years to fulfill that goal, that dream?

But there I was in the foreign country of my choice — the country I’d spent most of my life wanting to live in — feeling angry and depressed.

“There’s a difference between culture shock and culture stress,” the Professor of Cultural Anthropology told us. I was sitting in her classroom in Richmond, VA. taking her course, a part of the curriculum of a 4 month intensive training program I had enrolled in before moving to Japan. The program was patterned after the same one used by the State Department for embassy staff and diplomatic corps personnel prior to their overseas posting. It was 8 to 10 hours a day 5 days a week of classroom lectures, outside directed reading, small group discussions, research papers, and 12 off campus cross cultural field trips. The training was intense, demanding, invaluable, and spot on. Even still, it did not prevent me from finding myself going through what is called “the stages of cultural adaptation.”

In the same way that people work through the 5 stages of grief, identified by Dr. Elizabeth Kublar-Ross in her groundbreaking 1969 book, “On Death and Dying,” people in a new culture also go through stages. In the Kublar-Ross model, a person going through grief progress through 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, and finally 5) acceptance. Cultural adaptation has: 1) the honeymoon stage, 2) the frustration stage, 3) the anger stage, 4) the adjustment stage and finally the 5) acceptance stage.

Not everyone goes through those stages of grief at the same pace and not everyone actually makes it to the acceptance stage. Some people going through grief get stuck and never make it to acceptance. We all know someone who is defined by the grief of losing a loved one or some other tragedy and they seem forever stuck in one of the other stages. And when it comes to adapting to another country, the more different the new country is from your own, the more difficult will be the challenges and the slower one will go from one stage to the next. People also get stuck in the process of cultural adaptation, just like in dealing with grief. People don’t always progress cleanly from one stage to the next or without recidivism.

And even though I WANTED to be in Japan, after only a year of living there, I was clearly depressed and ready to get back on the plane and come home.

The Honeymoon Stage is exciting! Everything and everyone is new and exotic and different and so cool!

In the Frustration Stage, the excitement has worn off and the difficulties of a new culture and a new language start to bear down. You’re not a tourist or a visitor with a return flight booked.

In the Anger Stage your frustration has turned into hostility. Nothing is exciting or fun. The stress of relying on your caveman language skills — skills that more often than not leave you frustrated — are also making you angry. You left your home country an educated, capable, and intelligent person, but after a year in the new country your language level — acquired at great expense of time and money paid to teachers and tutors — is hardly better than a 2rd grader. And adults with whom you’re trying to speak, look at you with a mixture of mild amusement, pity, and confusion. They know you’re trying to explain “something,” but they can’t understand a single thing you’re saying. You lack the vocabulary and language ability to make yourself understood. And the harder the language is to acquire, the longer the anger stage lasts. And according to linguists, Japanese is the hardest language for an English speaker to learn. And I agree!

I think it took me two years to come to a place of adjustment/acceptance.

It’s impossible to explain how frustrating the process of language acquisition is for an adult who must provide for a family and make daily decisions. Think of the myriad of daily situations where you must explain, negotiate, and find solutions with others: you go to the bank, or the city office, or the doctor, or the auto repair shop, or you must contact a plumber or electrician or roofer and everything is being done in a second language that is harder to master than anything you’ve ever been exposed to. I knew a number of very educated brilliant Americans living in Japan but who never learned to speak Japanese because they just couldn’t allow themselves to look stupid and make mistakes. It can be very humiliating. (It is impossible to learn another language without making mistakes … TONS of them!) They either found a friend to translate, paid for a translator, or had their company make arrangements. I knew one man, a PhD, who never left his house except to go to work. He returned to the US defeated and depressed after only 1 year.

In the same way that grief and cultural adaptation have predictable steps and stages, my Cultural Anthropology professors explained how studying the new culture would prepare the foreign immigrant (me) to be able to predict things about the people who lived there. The history of that country, their level of education and literacy, their religion, economics, values, politics, and geography are primary influencers in a community’s predictability.

Political pollsters and campaign managers do the same thing in this country trying to make predictions about a candidate and how best to present that candidate from one state or region to the next. For example, a man seeking the presidency may wear blue jeans and a flannel shirt in the South and speak in a folksy down-home accent and style. That same candidate speaking at a rally on the campus of an Ivy League school in the Northeast will trade in the jeans, flannel, and folksy for a Brooks Brother’s suit, regimental tie, and lawyer’s lexicon bereft of accent.

One Monday morning when I was about two months into those studies in Richmond, one of the professors asked a poignant question. At the beginning of the class the professor asked: “Who and what informs YOUR opinions, YOUR beliefs, and YOUR values? Why do YOU believe what you believe? Why do YOU think what you think?”

The professor didn’t allow for any discussion on the subject in class. Instead we were told to use the rest of the class time to think about the questions and to make personal notes. On Friday we were to submit a 10 to 15 page paper answering those questions.

The point of the exercise was to teach cross cultural expatriates how to analyze and adapt to the different values, beliefs, and behaviors found in a new country. The clash of those things with our own value systems would create a dynamic that would, we were told, challenge our own beliefs and values and would modify them, alter them, and in some cases change them.

When the professor gave that assignment on that Monday morning I was prepared to launch into a full blown diatribe explaining why I thought the way that I thought and believed the way that I believed with great passion and zeal. But the week of writing and contemplation lead me to a much deeper and a slightly different answer than I would have given in class on that Monday morning. Peeling the layers from the onion that was my belief system was more difficult and more eye opening than I had anticipated. Being honest with myself reduced my “complicated” and “intellectual” intellectualism, religious dogma and creeds, political convictions, and personal opinions down to the basic influencers that formed them. It was a bit embarrassing. Theologically, politically, philosophically, and professionally people tend to be motivated by self-interest and tribe mentality, often handicapped by ignorance.

It turns out that reverse engineering our opinions, thoughts, values, political agendas, and sacred beliefs isn’t that complicated after all. Sadly, it’s quite simple. Give a demographer, sociologist, or cultural anthropologist — or practically anyone who’s lived here for more than a few years — an address or zip code in Memphis where you live or grew up, and predicting the religious, political, educational, and intellectual leanings of that zip code isn’t rocket science. Tell me where you go to church and I can do a fairly decent job telling you about you and your fellow church members that goes beyond the theological and doctrinal positions of that church; things like income, education, and political affiliations aren’t hard to predict. Church growth experts can do this with amazing accuracy. Tell me what news sources you rely upon to inform you and I can tell you about your politics and views toward social issues, military spending, gun control, taxation, unions, and political party affiliation reasonably well. And you can too. And of course, in Memphis, just tell me where you went to high school …

If biological anthropology helps answer the questions about how we react, mate, and respond as a species, then cultural anthology reveals how our own culture and experience answers the questions about how we think, believe, and behave. And for a person going to another country to live within that culture — as opposed to many expatriates who live in “compounds” with other Americans or Canadians or Australians (in other words, people just like them), isolating themselves from the culture of their host country — being able to analyze the components of that culture to understand the culture and the people who live there is critical. And for a person who wants to be truly open-minded, even in his own country or his own hometown, it’s absolutely essential. I think it applies to people moving from one part of the country to another part — a very different part — of the country. People moving from rural Mississippi, for example, to some place like New York City would require an enormous amount of open-mindedness in order to survive and thrive. And it often explains why such a person seldom returns to the “small” place they came from.

I went to Japan with one set of opinions, biases, and prejudices, and returned changed. I was different. Stripping me of the many influencers in my own experience and culture caused me to be open to things and ways of thinking that I would never have been open to otherwise.

I lived as a minority for 10 years. Japan is one of the most xenophobic countries in the world and I was subjected to all kinds of racism. I was denied access to restaurants, club memberships, taxis, and local government services and representation because I wasn’t Japanese. It was often heartbreaking to have to explain to one of my children why we couldn’t do something in Japan because we weren’t Japanese. I’ve had the menus taken out of my hands and asked to leave a restaurant because I wasn’t Japanese. “Nihonjin dake!” (Japanese only!) they’d say. Japanese children would often point at me and call me the “N” word. And on and on I could go. I know racism in a way that most white people in America couldn’t possibly understand.

After moving back to Memphis from Japan and taking a teaching position here, I had a parent teacher conference with the mom of one of my black students and I casually mentioned to her that I understood many of the repercussions of racism. Apparently that was a mistake. She said, “What could you, a middle-class white man, possibly know about racism???”

Quite a bit, as it turns out. But she assumed otherwise because I was just a white guy from Arkansas … but I’m relatively sure that I was not like any white guy from Arkansas that she’d ever met. She was not very open-minded.

How open-minded are you?

Have you ever thought about what informs you? Who informs you?

Have you ever thought about your biases, prejudices, and values? Do you withhold judgment and wait to get more information, or react immediately?

Oliver Wendell Holmes is quoted as saying: “A mind, once expanded by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

What new ideas are you exposing yourself to everyday? Are you willing to change by the exposure?

— 30 —

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– BOGA FOR ALL TOMORROW! That’s 1/2 boot camp exercise and 1/2 power yoga.

– Physical Fitness Challenge next Thursday for all classes!

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TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Staff Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Break That Fast!

I am sure that you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but truth be told, all of the meals you eat are important. The food you eat helps fuel your body to perform at school, work, and on the quarterdeck! Eating at least a small meal or snack every four hours helps to keep your blood sugar levels up and helps prevent overeating at night. Though all meals are important, the most common meal people skip is breakfast.

There are many reasons why people choose to skip breakfast: “I’m not hungry in the morning” … “I don’t have time” … “I’m on a diet”. Skipping breakfast is one of the biggest nutritional mistakes that you can make. Missing this most important meal can leave you with low energy levels, slow your metabolism, and can lead to overeating later in the day, not a good weight loss or management strategy.

Eating a healthy breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and refills your liver glycogen stores that were depleted while you were sleeping. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are less likely to impulse snack later in the day and are more successful when trying to maintain or lose weight. You are also much more likely to meet your daily nutritional goals by starting your day with a high-energy breakfast. For those who say that they are not hungry in the morning, once you start eating breakfast regularly, your body actually starts to get hungry for it. The best choices for breakfast should consist of a combination of wholesome foods from at least three food groups (try whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and sliced banana. Protein and fiber are keys to keeping you feeling full and satisfied. The fat content of your breakfast is also important. Aim for no more than five total grams of fat and no more than one to two grams of saturated fat. Be sure to stay away from the super sugary breakfast foods that give you calories and not much more.

Remember, there is no one right breakfast food, a breakfast smoothie or even leftovers from the night before can be a healthy choice. Eating breakfast isn’t important just for our children, but is needed by everyone to refuel our bodies and rev up our metabolism to keep help keep us on the move and feeling strong.

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MAKE A $&(#&@^#!*% FACE!!!!

INCREASE YOUR WEIGHTS!

YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN!

What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.

YOU DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR WORKOUT IS HALF-ASS OR KICKASS!

It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!

MAKING A FACE (THE GRIMACE) IS THE POOR MAN’S (OR WOMAN’S) FACELIFT!

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EVERY WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY ARE T-SHIRT DAY!

WEAR YOUR RANK INSIGNIA SHIRT, SUB 7 SHIRT, OR OTHER USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP SHIRT EVERY WEDNESDAY!

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SUB SEVEN CLUB!

Members of the Sub-7 Club are Boot Campers who’ve run the mile in under 7 minutes under my observation and timing.

Congratulations to the following members of the Sub Seven Club:

Corporal Lee Chase,
Corporal Chris McLelland,
Staff Sergeant Patrick Moore,
Staff Sergeant Rob Johnston,
Staff Sergeant Andrew Stolnicki,
Gunnery Sergeant Bart Thomas,
Staff Sergeant Dory Sellers,
Gunnery Sergeant Henry Kenworthy,
Master Sergeant John Winford,
First Sergeant Matt Green,
And Sergeant Major Andrew Forsdick.

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ACTIVE DUTY ROSTER OF VETERAN BOOT CAMPERS!

Are you coming up on promotion? Let me know! If you’ve been in the program for 6 months straight, you should be on the roster!

Every Wednesday is our Official BOOT CAMP T-SHIRT DAY! You can wear your rank insignia shirt anytime you‘d like, of course, but always every Wednesday!

The ACTIVE DUTY ROSTER

Under 6 months is a Private

Private First Class is more than 6 months but less than 1 year.
– Mallory Raffensberger 8/2013
– Ashley Bowles 8/2013
– Greg Gaston 8/2013
– Steve Pike 9/2013
– “El” McCain 11/2013
– Angela Moore 12/2013
– Jenn Bonner 12/2013
– Brett Bonner 1/2014
– Riki Jackson 1/2014

Over 1 year is a Lance Corporal
– Pam Torres – meritoriously promoted 12/2012
– Teresa Reed 2/2012*
– Emma Crystal 5/2012
– Megan Collins 6/2012
– Maria Wyatt 6/2012
– Susye Clark 7/2012
– Lora Gubanov 8/2012
– Orli Weisser-Pike 9/2012
– Morgan Johnson 10/2012
– ShaWanda Upshaw 10/2012
– Chuck Miller 11/2012
– Diane Gorney 12/2012
– Lexie Johnston 12/201?
– Ashley Summers 2/2014
– Ben Summers 2/2013
– Sam Lee 2/2013
– Louise Biedenharn 2/2013
– Jay Biedenharn 2/2013
– Ragan Washburn 2/2013
– Mary Holland Doan 4/2013
– Kay Barkoh 4/2013
– Melissa Campbell 4/2013
– Gina Tice 4/2013

Over 2 years is a Corporal
– Jeremy Harris 1/2009*
– Courtney Phillips 2/2011
– JD Dombroski 4/2011
– Carrie Schule 5/2011
– Bevan Lee 5/2011
– Mary Bauer 6/2011
– Lee Chase 7/2011
– Tait Keller 8/2011
– Heath Alderson 9/2011
– Lindsey Stanfill 9/2011
– Tara Ingram 11/2011
– Rachel Phillips 2/2012
– Jean Maskas 2/2012
– Keith Renard 4/2012
– Alan Compton 4/2012
– Steve Havard 5/2012
– Beth Stengel 2/2012
– Chris Kelley 6/2102

Over 3 years is a Sergeant
– Ashley McClure 7/2010
– Falana Scott 7/2010
– Jenni Harris 8/2010
– Anne Marie Wyatt 8/2010
– Tim Romanow 8/2010
– Paul Bauer 11/2010
– Robin Scott 3/2011
– Chris McLelland 3/2011
– Randal Rhea 4/2011
– Cindy King 4/2011
– Sherri Thompson 4/2011
– Melissa Thompson 5/2011
– Michelle Moss 5/2011
– Becky Lawler 5/2010*

Over 4 years is a Staff Sergeant
– Jonathan Phillips 10/2008*
– Robert Hunt 8/2009
– Cameron Mosley 11/2009
– Karen Massey 11/2009
– Cecelia DeLacy 2/2010
– Malinda Miller 3/2010
– Jay Mednikow 3/2010
– Ashley Holloway 4/2010
– Beth Mills 5/2010
– Emily Melonas 6/2010
– Keith Renard 6/2009*

Over 5 years is a Gunnery Sergeant
– Albo Carruthers 8/2008
– Anne Kenworthy 8/2008
– Patrick Moore 9/2008
– Jessie Flanders 1/2009
– Andrew Stolnicki 1/2009
– Paul Tronsor 3/2009

Over 6 years is a Master Sergeant
– Anne Mead 2/2005*
– Beth Rehrig 7/2007
– Matt Prince 6/2007
– Frank Jemison 10/2007
– Patty Dougherty 3/2008
– Oscar Adams 3/2008
– Alan Schaeffer 5/2008
– Mike Ryan 5/2006*
– Dory Sellers 6/2006*

Over 7 years is a First Sergeant
– Megan Warr 8/2006
– Rob Norcross 8/2006
– Kay Ryan 10/2006
– Michelle Crockett 3/2007
– George Rose 5/2007
– Henry Kenworthy 5/2007
– Leslie Garey 6/2007

Over 8 years is a Sergeant Major
– Louis Glazer 3/2005
– Gary Thompson 10/2005
– Scot Bearup 10/2005
– Kay Shelton 1/2006
– Leesa Jensen 5/2006

Over 9 years is a Warrant Officer 1
– Andrew Forsdick 9/2004
– Melissa Moore 2/2005
– Matt Green 5/2005
– Mike Barta 6/2005*
– Anne Emmerth 6/2005*

Over 10 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 2
– Buddy Flinn 7/2003
– Amy Singer 9/2003
– David Townsend 1/2004
– Hank Brown 3/2004

Over 11 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 3
– Pat McGhee 1/2003
– John Whittemore 1/2003
– Peter Pettit 5/2003

Battalion Executive Officer
Major Richard Bourland, 9/2003

* broken time

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ARE WE FACEBOOK FRIENDS?

We should be!

HAVE YOU “LIKED” THE USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP FACEBOOK PAGE?

You should totally do that!

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BOOT CAMP DISCOUNT

If you set up an automatic payment at your bank (Boot Camp mailing address is 4888 Southern, Memphis 38117) you can subtract $10 off your fee!

(This is not in conjunction with other discounts and is not an automatic bank draft that I set up with a voided check. This an automatic payment that you yourself set up yourself with your bank usually online and easy as pie!)

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USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP CLASSES

0530 Monday through Friday
(First and second Tuesday of the month are M-16 Workouts at CUMC. Third and fourth Tuesdays are Mt. Fuji Workouts at the U of M)
5:45 PM: Monday through Thursday, 5:30 on Friday.

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BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!

First of all, find me on Facebook and make me your friend. (Also, be sure to “like” USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP on Facebook.)

Here’s how the discount works!

It’s simple: make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, (there are fake boot camps out there) you can take $2.50 off your next reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name.

BE SURE TO TAG ME!

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

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Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed becomes OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn the TV on!
4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.

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What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

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