Friday, December 28, 2007

International Student Hall of Fame.

I just read this article in the Washington Post about Benazir Bhutto.

I will ignore the assassination for a moment to talk about the first few paragraphs of the article. The images of Benazir Bhutto as a young coed are priceless. It brings to mind the stories of so many young international students that come here to study with such tremendous feeling of mission to their country.

While most American college students worry about loans, relationships, and parties, many of our international students are balancing fears of elections abroad, safety of their family, and a sense of duty that is barely understandable the average American teenager.

I've been chatting with friends recently about how that sense of mission is either present in students or it is not... it's not the kind of thing that can be developed. I think some people - international or not - get so distracted by the accumulation of wealth, fame or power, that they miss the step of developing their personal mission - and missing that step can keep them from being their truly integrated self.

I'm not certain that I feel so strongly about anything that I would be willing to barrel myself into a maelstrom that might get me killed, but I do admire those that see no alternative and do exactly that courageously and unapologetically. I know many of the people that I know and love are working very hard to make the world a better place. I hope that I can help them. (And more so than just eulogizing them)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The best laid plans of mice and men...

The holidays are a time of increased activity, intense emotion, and the desire to express to our loved ones just how much we care for them.

I am always humbled by the effort that people put forth on my behalf. People actually listen to me and try to get me what I want, and more often give me exactly what I need...

It's so easy to get derailed though and feel over-extended. In an effort to give, we forget to protect ourselves. In all good attempts to tell people we love them, we end up rushing around, spending too much money and getting frustrated when the material world fails to express the nuance of the emotional world.

Yesterday, on Walnut street, I was walking to get a cup of tea during my break and I saw a man holding a sign. I saw the word "free" written in somewhat sloppy marker. I thought it was a demonstration of someone wrongly imprisoned... like "free Joe Smith"... but on the way back I could see the whole sign. It said, "Free Hugs." So I stopped, got my free hug, wished the man a happy holiday and went back to work.

When I got upstairs to the showroom, I asked if anyone else had gotten their free hug. The consensus of everyone there - a freely hugable and liberally hugging bunch of folks - was that it was weird and suspicious that they were hugging strangers.

Maybe I've watched one too many Dave Matthews videos, but I loved it.

So here I am, freshly hugged, disillusioned by the capitalist machine, to try to convey my love to you all. I know there are so many of the people that I know and love that stop here to check and see what's on my mind. First, thank you for doing so, and thank you for all your kind words about this little experiment. But most importantly - please know that I cherish you all. From my most cherished family members to the people I've only met in passing - you all make my life so rich and wonderful.

Happy Holidays to you all. Sending my love, my free hugs, and my best and warmest wishes for your happiness.

**Special note: I am going to make an extra effort to post more regularly on both blogs. I have a million things that I've wanted to write about, and I finally have some breaks to do it in. So you may get multiple posts in one day and then none for awhile.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A single gal and a bowl of borscht

I know that I'm odd. Truly I do.

I know that I am a weird mixture of interests, a strange conglomeration of backgrounds, and perhaps strangest of all - a person of diverse tastes. When I was 18, I was voted "most mature" and now that I'm closer to mature, I spend alot less time worrying and alot more time laughing.

Yesterday, on my birthday-off, I did some of my favorite things: wandered through the city, spent time with friends, and kept little or no schedule.

I lost track of time and realized that it was 1:30 and I'd eaten absolutely nothing all day. So I ducked into a little cafe that I'd tried recently with my aunt, and had a bowl of borscht.

Borscht - n. A traditional soup of Russian, Jewish, and German origins that consists primarily of beets and can be served hot or cold.

Somehow, each time I tell this to someone, they start to laugh. Even the waiter seemed a bit surprised to see me. At one point he went into the kitchen and I heard him say "No, I don't think so, it's a single gal." Odd. What is so unusual about a single gal and a bowl of borscht?

I was telling the story at lunch today, and my friends suggested that be a title for a short story. Watch for that... and I'll follow that up with the major motion picture Hermaphrodites and Hamentashen so you have something to look forward to.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Today's Your Lucky Day!

Walking back from the gym last night, a man came running up to me (scaring me nearly to death) and this is what he said:


While still shaken from a large man running up to me on a dark portion of the street, this had an amazing effect... I felt really good. And mostly, I felt grateful to that man, who for just a moment lifted my burdens off of me.

I don't want to project too much onto this... I just want to enjoy it for that moment of peace it provided.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What I want for Christmas.

I love December.

There is so much to look forward to: Snow, my birthday, Christmas, New Year's, Vacation, and getting to see my family and friends.

There is so much that is stressful: My Birthday, Buying presents that will in no way truly express how much you love your family and friends, the pressure to have as much fun as is humanly possible on New Year's eve, and trying not to end the month in the poor house.

I must say that I wish this all could be simpler. Couldn't people celebrate together without so much pressure? I don't need a bunch of fancy things or fancy food, or copious amounts of alcohol to have a good time. I just want a few memorable moments with the people I love.

So even though it's only a few days into the month, I'm going to try to recenter my intentions so the rest goes more smoothly.

I love December... and hopefully this one will truly be one to remember.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stream on Conciousness

I watched Walk the Line this week. I know I'm over a full year behind the rest of the world, but I enjoyed it. More than the film, I enjoyed the director's commentary. While watching the Film, the director talked quite a bit about Johnny Cash's father-in-law - Ezra Carter.

This got me thinking about Ezra Pound, a poet I like quite a lot.

So I went internet searching and found some of my favorite, sweetly simple Ezra Pound poems online.

I also found an interesting fact: Ezra Pound met William Carlos Williams while at Penn. Just down the street from two of my favorite poets met and influenced each other wildly.

It brings to mind all the wonderful people I've met through Penn. And the fact that I would very much like to complete my graduate studies there. Have I already met my William Carlos Williams, or is he there waiting for me to come and study?

As if this post is not full of enough random thoughts strung together in a less-than-meaningful way. I was surprised to find alot of literature about Ezra Pound's anti-semitism - having concentrated on my own associations of his words, not having read much about him or his politics. (Yes, yes, I do live under a rock)

I am keenly interested in anti-semitism from that World War II era. Anyone have any suggestions for further reading. Let's just call it research for an idea that's percolating.