"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

31 December 2011

So it's the new year. Almost. What has this past year taught us? About ourselves, about the people we care about, about the world? I feel this is a question we always must ask ourselves. Constant reflection is key.

Even if we think we've stopped growing, or at a standstill, there is still growth going on. This is something I've learned.

27 December 2011

thinking of hard topics is pleasing

the title. sometimes it's all in the title, right? see above. haha. no, but really, sometimes thinking of something hard is pleasing. it's looking a challenge or something that's hard for you right in the face and saying, "i'm not afraid of you anymore. i'm going to deal with you, and i'm going to conquer the bad feelings you give me until it's not scary anymore." i rarely mention ecuador. sometimes i think i pretend it didn't exist. i guess because it was built up in my mind for so long as this great opportunity, and then i just kind of lost it while it was there. i still can't explain it to this day, you know? how it happened. why it happened. or maybe there's no explanation for it. maybe it just did.

for so long i believed i would change the world. all of my energy would be enough to solve so many different issues, just within latin america alone. okay, i make it sound like it was some big cloud fantasy land, and it's not like i thought that *I* alone could solve un monton of problems and had these delusions of grandeur. no, but i did think it would be this area i would keep passion for. turns out, no. it was something i wanted to keep passion for, wanted to feel that way about, but kinda lost interest in as time went on. when i took german, the passion for germany grew. then, this summer, i even got interested in the middle east. (i say "even" because traditionally that was the area i was least interested in while studying international relations, and most people were the opposite). i started to realize that my passion wasn't for latin america specifically. it switched around, to different parts of the world, depending on the time period. i have passion for the world in general. for global issues. for travel. for comparison. for wonderings, musings, facts, beliefs, superstitions, ideas, generations, destructions and creations.

i think if i was more honest with myself earlier on, i would have realized that my mind had changed since i had first planned ecuador. i would have realized that my true passion at the time was for going to germany, and continuing to study german. but i thought that was kinda flighty and it was better to stick with one path. now i see it would have been better off if i had allowed myself to rejuvenate by honoring that new passion.

23 December 2011

I have been doing a lot of thinking. Again, yes. I'm on benadryl now so am finally feeling that warm, fuzzy, sleepy feeling that sort of crawls over you. It's wonderful. There's almost nothing better than this feeling. (warning: future benadryl addict?) anyway.

Teach for america is a huge commitment. Just seeing how intensive the institute is going to be, i am a bit overwhelmed to be honest. They will keep you there day after day until you learn the methods, pass the tests. But there is something deep within me that is rising to the surface again. I know that this is my destiny. Even if i am stuck in math, my least favorite subject ever and one that i will probably have issues with, it still is. It still is my destiny. There's something about working with kids that forever rejuvenates me. The spirit that they have, the hardship that they can endure...it's just incredible. It inspires me in a way I can't explain.

I'm going to share something with you. When I was in my interview, I didn't follow the script I set out for myself. I think whenever I've done well in an interview or in a certain type of situation, it's because I did abandon the script and just did whatever came to heart or mind. I told her about Baltimore. I told her about the kids that captured my heart and did not let go of it. (Of course, I didn't tell her all the details, but I want to record them now). There was a little boy there. He came up to me, and he had been just smiling at me for awhile. Like he knew something. I know that sounds like I'm projecting thoughts on to someone else, a little boy no less, but it's like he knew. He came to me after knowing me for awhile, grabbed at the side of my shirt, and whispered in my ear, "Isn't he cute?" Talking about another little boy in the class. It's like he knew I was gay. And that he could tell me this, somehow. He made a couple more comments, and keep in mind this little boy was only about 7. It touched me in a way I couldn't explain. I still can't explain it fully....like he trusted, he knew, and he had this secret inside of him. The other little boy (the one he was talking about) seemed to know something was going on, so he shouted "what did he say?! what did he say?!" and I wouldn't tell him.

These kids touched my heart. I mean really. My heart is not always touched as much as you might think. For someone who eats up romantic comedies and junk like she's paid to do it, I don't always expect to be, or am actually that touched. But this touched me. Those kids made my life have meaning. Just the enthusiasm...I mean the blind enthusiasm.

"we are more than this world has to offer. we are more than the wars of our fathers."

17 December 2011

I've been doing a lot of thinking. A lot. And even though I'm signed up for some sweet classes this upcoming semester, I think I have to say so long to all of them and drop the classes. The reason for it is this. I started doing this the beginning of this past summer semester. Just adding classes and continuing along this frenzied path. And the whole time, it has been making me unhappy. It's like busy work and more busy work and it's lost its true meaning. It's not that I don't appreciate the intellectual stimulation and activity--that's why I keep chasing classes in the first place--but it's like overkill and I'm over being younger and wanting to do well in school where there are these grades, these tests. I've gotta get out. I've gotta drop the courses.
And live my life. Lol.

Anyway, work is going fairly well. I came to the realization that who I worked with really determined how much I enjoyed the session, for the most part. Not totally, but with such competition that some people create, versus an enjoyable, collegial environment. I really like working in sales when it's not all competitive and people aren't just like cut-throat. Not to mention rude. But when it's good, it's good, like I've said. I could see myself staying with this type of thing, hoping to rise in the ranks, get a small promotion, eventually maybe working more with human resources. I like helping an organization run smoother and doing a good job.

I want to spend my time--during the next few weeks--knitting, watching "Elf," playing with animals, watching other Christmas movies and episodes, reading (a lot!), catching up on politics, getting organized and getting my room orderly, donating clothes and leftover things, working on my Portuguese again, spending time with friends, drinking semi-gross holiday themed wines, getting organized--this is listed twice on purpose, and planning for the future.


03 December 2011

(update: i just ate protein, and this must have been what i was missing. this zing of energy is better than any coffee i had this week! shit son.) I had the most exhausting day at work today. Literally I'm lying here and all I can do is like attempt to prop my own body as best as possible. Lol. It was like another black friday today, somehow, I guess with the combination of the sale going on and the nearer proximity to Christmas, everyone decided to go to the mall today in droves. It was totally insane, with shoes practically being thrown and all of us racing around. There was a good hour straight where I was sweating, just like when I go for a run. I'd have to wipe the sweat off my brow before talking to a customer. Haha. But, I'm glad it's over, and I actually managed to make commission today, which is good since I haven't even been making my minimum lately and it's starting to make me look bad with my supervisors. Anyway. I just hope I can keep the job. And by keep the job I mean, I hope they will consider hiring me on as permanent part-time in the company as opposed to temporary part time. I could use the job even after January, even if just for weekends for some extra cash. And, if I don't get another job, I could use it as my regular job. Although I think I'd rather work two jobs, and have that variety, then be running for shoes day after day.

This is the most physical job I've ever had before. I've had standing up on feet jobs before, and even jobs on sales floors, but not like this. Sometimes you literally have to be jogging through the back room because you know that customer is waiting and somehow you just can't find that boot that they want. Anyway. Normally, I like it. (And don't have so much to say about it). I get to work with people, and especially, the one-on-one work is nice. When it's slower, you have the chance to really treat someone with kindness and improve their day. I LOVE that and appreciate that about my job so much. But days like this, when it's just madness and chaotic and people are freaking out about deals.....God, I just want to crawl away. Lol.

Even though I'm so ready for the classes this semester to be over (Geology has slowly gone from yay! this is cool! rock identification! to what the heck is he talking about how does this relate to volcanoes) I'm somehow more ready to consider grad school. Maybe because I do realize (in more practical ways) what doors it can open for me. But also because I haven't had the chance to do the things I really love--media and communication studies, foreign language, political and cultural studies--and I realize how much I still want that to be part of my life, and ESPECIALLY part of my future.

"Moving" but not in the grand sense.

Whew. Noticed it's been awhile since I last posted. Okay, to update, I've been working for the past month. I got a job in sales--shoes and boots, specifically, haha--and have been pretty much hangin with that for awhile. It's, for most of the time, very enjoyable and I really like working with the coworkers and the customers and really just being a positive entity out there on the sales floor. Occasionally it gets overwhelming but overall it's not bad. I got into Teach for America, so there's that on the table, but it doesn't start for quite awhile. I'll just be living, chilling, working, and more for the time being. And it feels great! Life moves on and it moves ahead and I'm right there moving with it.

04 October 2011

valuing the past, relearning the present

I just read my past three posts and thought "gosh, what the heck was I going through?" Haha.
I am blessed to say that I have overcome some of what was going on and now am on the right path. I'm not to the end yet, but my feet are facing and moving in the right direction. That feels really good to say. It's so weird to me how the past like two months are a blur. It feels like they weren't even real, I think I lost myself somewhere along the way. But I'm relearning me, and life, and enjoying life. So there are literally no regrets.

My relationship to everything around me has shifted and reformed but I am grateful for what I have, and I do have a lot. I have a wonderful family who loves and supports me, and I have awesome friends who I am still grateful to have here in Michigan. I'd like to be working, but at the same time it's nice to have a bit of a breather, and I can also focus on really getting a job for the time to come. I'm back at college here and to know that after I just finish these last classes, I'm home free....that's a good feeling too. I'm just waiting it out and there are actually only two and a half months left. Crazy. I have more free time than I would like but I think it's also a matter of just becoming okay with everything that is going on.

I've realized that just because one thing doesn't work out doesn't mean other things can't work out. I think for a long time I had this idea that you had to find exactly the right formula to get to success, and now it's just like....well whatever works out is meant to be. I'm a strange bird and will not always feel like somewhere is exactly right...but will learn to live with it anyway. With this post I'm trying to straighten out a few things. It's such a relief to know that progress is being made and after two months of feeling totally out of it, I'm finally on the right track. I can't tell you how grateful I am, can't express it in words.

16 September 2011


Well, I can't sleep, so might as well stop trying. I have a gigantic swirl of emotions going in me right now and they show no sign of slowing down. Sometimes I do wonder if my host family thinks I'm crazy cause I'm in here typing away or I randomly go out or I sometimes talk walks by myself. Walks by myself are nice. They remind me of being in Sao Paulo by myself and how strange and eerie and crazy that felt. How alone I felt, in this gigantic place, with no one to tell me what to do or even worry if I came back home at night. They place me in this new realm of ideas and thoughts and ...and everything else. I have so many thoughts right now in my head its incredible. I know I need to do a lot more physical activity to get rid of it. I wish professors hadn't been so mean in their emails. They have no idea how I feel right now and no idea how that made me feel worse. I'm trying to scrap together a semblance of something that makes sense. Trying to build, something. At times like this you want to say you miss the simple days, but then you actually give that a bit of thought and you realize those never existed. I botched my grades my last year of school and I'm still not proud of it. I can't live with it like that so I'll have to do something.

If my mind wasn't going a million miles a minute I'd take advantage of this peace and quiet and get some really good sleep. But sometimes it just does that, you know? Sometimes you can't stop it. A lot of "something" and "sometime" in my speech tonight, help me cut that out maybe. Or it could be that I want to be vague and it's the best way to be at this given moment.

It's funny how love works. In high school I was convinced that it was what gave me meaning, happiness, and purpose. But I look back and I do understand that, but I also understand and rectify a lot more. Like the relationships I had with my friends and how strong those were, or the relationship I had with the land and the area. I loved that land, more than I loved most lands where I've lived. Loved to be out in it, exploring, and it felt wild. It's silly, and solitary, but its things like that that really make me miss Tennessee. The thing is, if you're really patient, love does come again. But that's not the purpose of this. There's something underneath, I just have to dig deeper to get at it. Michigan, the land itself, has always felt a little hollow to me, because it doesn't feel like something I can fully embrace. I can't love it for all that it is. Trust me, I love the people tons. I have met some of the best people of my life, there, and would never trade choosing it for a new home. But when it comes to the actual place, it lacks, for me. I long for the wild hills of Tennessee and how they would roll past my vision when I would drive or run. I long for how I felt out there in the middle of nowhere, sneaking onto farm land, or in tall grass, or dipping my feet in boat yards or rivers. I long for the sense I got when I was driving there. I feel none of that in Michigan. It all just seems flat and lackluster, and I can't fully embrace the forest or the land. It's really, really weird, and I've never fully understood it.

I'm vulnerable to things right now like professors being mean and thats why it stings so much and I can't get past it. In other circumstances I could blow it off, and just focus on the nice ones, but now, its stinging me. This transition period of my life is uncalled for. Don't think I'm not grateful for it, because I am. I'm always grateful for change that causes true growth. But it's still vulnerable. It's still soft-bellied, this time.

Sometimes I think Thoreau had the right idea. To true understand and give to society, we really need to separate from it. I'm not in a place right now where I can be at my best and give to a whole bunch of people. I can really only give to a few, and I really only have boundless energy for family or something close to it, because they give to me in the most generous of ways and don't necessarily expect anything in return. I need to be alone right now, in a whole sense of the word. Need to collapse, and sleep, to prepare for the next journey ahead. I'm just tired of giving and living in certain ways and need to rejuvenate. You can get so bogged down from your thoughts and your worries. You can think what you do is so important, but the truth is, if I drop out, if I leave? I'm just gone and the sand comes in to close up the gap. I'm just a tiny grain of sand in the sea of things, and there are so many things so much larger than me that I can't control. The only thing that is left in this world after we have burnt each other to pieces and burned our own societies down to the ground is faith. It's so ironic. We can build towers of ivory of gold or cement, we can create technologies that connect us in lifelike ways, we can create or engineer or more all of these things that make us believe we are fantastical. But we can't conquer anything. It's reminding me of CS Lewis, right now, this train of thought. And how the little girl...she's the only one who can see the lion. Everyone else is caught up in their own junk. But she sees him. And she cries because she believes him but no one else does.

Maybe half the battle is just the journey. It's just remembering why you are even on that path in the first place and reminding yourself to keep going. We lose hope in other people because human beings are broken creatures. It is our deepest desire to be wanted, needed, and loved, but there are just layers of other gunk that get in the way of us achieving that. If all else fails I want myself and I want my life. And I am just exhausted by the people around me.

04 September 2011

what about you has changed? and what about you has stayed the same?

you do learn about yourself when you travel. but sometimes it's not even about being shocked or about having epiphanies, it's about returning to the same routines you have always known existed. routine is not always bad. it shows you who you are, reminds you of where you're from, gives you your blessings in return. i'm trying to understand life but i think we can only get happiness from what we are able to give to other people. everyone's job, in some way, relates to doing something for others. even if we are unable to have direct contact with them, we care about them in some way.
i guess i didn't really think of the others
when i sent off that thought into the world
and i guess i've gotten selfish and in my own head
and defining everything by how i see it
i guess i lost myself for awhile
and saw specks of disheartenment in things that didn't even contain it
i guess i wanted to see the world the way i saw it
i guess saw it the way i wanted to see it

if you asked me today what i thought i was going to do in the future
would it really even matter?
doesn't it matter more how we treat the people in our lives
who have done nothing but love us
than any other worldly accomplishments we could "achieve"
if we are friends with our own selves, our mortality
we realize that this is fleeting and ultimately
love is what will heal the world

so if you are responding in anger
and if i am outbounding in rage
will it really make a difference?
the world is made up of love

if you were to ask me how i understand the world
i would say it just takes a little gluing to put together the pieces
for the ones i love are scattered and i gotta glue them together to see the whole picture

i dont love them any less

12 August 2011

off into the world

"All we can do is follow our strongest calling, and then trust that whatever the future holds, it will enrich our lives, one way or another." I got this from an article on Tiny Buddha. (http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-make-a-difficult-decision-30-tips-to-help-you-choose/)

This is what I'm doing right now, following whatever is strongest. You never know if something will work, but you have to try. In three days....four, sorta, I leave for Ecuador. It is scary and exciting and overwhelming and comfortable, all at the same time.

I'll have a travel blog: http://kateexploresecuador.tumblr.com

12 July 2011

denver post 2

By now we only have a few days left in Denver and then it's back off to our respective home states. It's been an amazing trip. Truly. If you've ever had an interest in coming out to Colorado, I highly suggest it! It's always been a dream of mine to come out here and maybe even make it a regular vacation spot. I love everything about it! It's fresh, nature-y, environmental, and there are many, many places to explore. For another trip out west, I'd like to go to either Arizona or California. But Colorado is definitely more than enough, even if your tastes are different from mine.

Today, I got a facial here in the city. First facial evahhhh! It was nice. And it makes you feel really relaxed!! I don't have the money to make this a regular thing. But it was definitely cool to try out and especially on vacation. Tonight we head to the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater to see an outdoor movie. Kind of like a drive-in, but in the reddish canyons of a nearby park! Very exciting, yes? Well, we are certainly excited. We haven't quite decided what to do tomorrow, but my vote is for some kind of museum or something.

I feel this vacation has given me exactly what I needed. 1) clarity. vision to see inside what i really want and who i really am. 2) quality time with my best friend. much needed! two weeks is not even enough! it's really been great to be able to have so much quality time. and 3) pampering! everyone needs a little pampering every now and then.

We may also try to fit in one more hike before we go. We'll see!

08 July 2011

boulder post 2

Since arriving in Boulder I've been a crab. I've been completely ungrateful about this lovely trip I'm on and instead have been occupying my mind with the worries of gosh knows what, giving in to nervousness about uncertainty and not appreciating what's right in front of me. Tomorrow this changes. There is no way this is okay with me. I need to engross myself in the stories of others. The lives of others. In fact, I am going to go ahead and banish all other thoughts out of my mind besides getting into the stories of others.

Time to read. Time to learn. Time to give up everything I thought I was and everything that I think everyone needs. Time to just exist.

boulder post 1

Guess I fell asleep a little too soon for a couple nights in a row. Back to the blogging--we white-water rafted! Both for the first time, and it was fantastic. The water, splashing on us so cold but refreshing, felt amazing and we both wanted to stay out there on the rapids (read: creek) to raft all day long! We do have pictures--like legit pictures, taken by a real photographer--which we purchased so we get to load those soon. :) Today we arrived in the Boulder area but we haven't yet seen the city. That comes tonight. We spent a large portion of the day hanging out at the local sushi place, talking and of course eating. Either tomorrow or the next day we tackle the nearby areas of the national park. Shall be exciting, probably, and now we have more experience in preparing for a longer hike. Our hotel here is nice and we are lapping up the luxury--but to be honest, I already miss the hot springs and being able to jump in a warm pool at a moment's notice. Visiting a hot springs in the southwest is definitely something I want to continue to do in my future. It's truly relaxing and makes me grateful to be able to soak up that relaxation.

I've been a little off today, and I guess yesterday, and I'm not sure why that is but I feel a little off center. I need to get back on point quick and be grateful for everything that is in front of me. I am grateful, I mean, but I want to get back on center. I think I'm feeling the weight of not knowing what kind of job I'll have when I return back to the states--it's been feeling like it's looming over me and I know this is something a lot of other graduates are facing as well. I guess all we can do is be brave and have a little faith and hope for lady luck to be on our side. In the meantime I'll try my best to enjoy the beauty of Colorado. :)

05 July 2011

rocky mountain post 2

Today we set off on our adventure to a new location and it has been quite interesting. Highlights have included being extremely surprised about our location for this adventure, meeting some rough and tough Colorado locals, and being able to soak in pools for hours. The types of people you can admire are the types who are tough, you know? We met this older woman today who at first didn't seem to take an interest or even maybe a liking to us but after awhile seemed to soften a bit and talk to us more. She is quite a bit older and still running this mom-and-pop style diner restaurant, a tinier place that looks more like your grandparent's kitchen if they've lived in the Colorado Rockies for most of their lives. Turns out, she's originally from Michigan, yet another Colorado transplant we've found along the way. She seems to run the town, in a way, or at least remain deeply connected to the lifeblood of the area. She told us to wake up really earlier to go this high peak at dawn. I want to, really, I do, just for the joy of sharing the story with her later in the afternoon, but I don't know if we'll be able to make it up in time tomorrow morn. We might have to save it for the next day.

Last night we stayed up chatting for hours even after coming back from the bar. We stayed up so late that it was hard to get up in the morning to check out from our place in Denver. But we got to discuss meaty topics, tougher topics that seemed to lose their weight as the hours grew lighter into the morning, and we were able to figure things out much easier than normal.

04 July 2011

denver post 1

Literally STEWING right now!! Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a few customers before us in the coffee shop, according to the baristas, and if I hadn't insisted on first going to the indie craft shop, we would have been here with him!!!! AHHHHHH an amazing, award-winning actor famous for doing whatever roles he pleases (Savages, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Almost Famous, Along Came Polly) and WE MISS HIM BY TEN MINUTES. Oh my goodness.

Okay. I think I can get over it. Ask me by the end of the day.

Sipping coffee now. Both of us are slightly sore and a little sunburnt, but don't get me wrong, this is not a bad thing! Today is hot and sunny and we were planning on going to the Zoo and Botanic Gardens before we realized it is the fourth of july...(at least for most of the country) and these public venues are not open to the...public. So, restructuring of plans. Happy Hour. Since it's Monday. That's about all we got.

Tomorrow we leave for Colorado Springs. We'll be back in Denver, so no need to cram everything in, but Denver is definitely a much larger city with more to do than Colorado Springs. Yet, even though we both appreciate the big city in a major way, there are things in Colorado Springs that are really interesting depending on what you like to do. They have the Air Force Academy there, which is open to the public and you can tour, and is apparently architecturally interesting. There is also the nearby Garden of the Gods, which is what is most referenced when talking about "what to do" in Colorado Springs. So, we will most likely try to visit both of these, along with our hot springs trip.

Colorado is a great place to get away to and for lovers of the environment and outdoors it is perfect. Your enthusiasm builds for hiking, biking, cycling, walking, mountaineering, and more. I love it here and wish I didn't have to leave, in a way. But of course there are absolutely wonderful people waiting for me at home in Michigan and I miss them very much. :) I already know we will be back to Colorado in the future. It's so perfect here, in a lot of ways.

I've had a lot of time to think and a lot of room to breathe, figuratively speaking. I've been reflecting a lot on my friendships and on friendship in general. I think I've learned a lot about myself this year. It may be in a more lasting way. Before, when I would have issues with friends or anything similar it's like, I would learn about that situation or what was going on but not necessarily take away lasting lessons. Before, it was like "Oh this person is like this" or "oh, this happened" and then that was it. That lesson belonged to that moment, that person, or my relation to that person. Now, I'm finally engaged in lessons that will teach me for the longer term. I think that's a good thing.

03 July 2011

rocky mountain post 1

So I'm in Colorado, and it is, I believe, our third day here. So far it's been really and it's been especially because Colorado is exactly what I expected it to be. A lot of people keep stressing that Boulder is fun (especially if you're still close to college age) so I'm excited to see what that's like, but Denver is already suiting me just fine. Today Deirdre and I went on a hike that lasted about three to three and half hours, covering about 5 miles of Rocky Mountain territory. It was one of my goals for the trip to start out at a 4-6 mile half day hike, and perhaps work up to a longer 9-10 mile hike. So, we reached a goal! Yay. :)

I'm waiting for her to freshen up, then it's my turn, then we head out for the night. We kind of were thinking "Oh, we wish we had gone to the beach" before we got here, but now that we're here, it just seems right, you know? We have our own car for the time being, a bad-ass truck actually ;) and it is taking us everywhere we need to go. I'm a bit over budget, and by a bit, I mean quite a bit...but that's part of the adventure. In two days we go to a hot springs area. I didn't even know these existed until Deirdre mentioned she wanted to visit and perhaps stay at one. Now, we are booked! And it looks pretty awesome. But honestly, there is nothing better than going out into the mountains and challenging yourself and getting to see cool sites at the same time. We got matching Camelbaks and if we hadn't, I'm not sure we would have been hydrated out on those mountains today. It was the perfect amount of water and so nice not to have to carry a bottle or something similar. Anyway!

Last night we ate in this adorable cafe that is here in the city. I think it's one of my favorite restaurants ever. It's so alternative, some would say "hipster" but in fact it's too real and too authentic to be hipster. There are like stuffed tigers pouncing out of neon rings, african woman headlamps (i don't know how else to explain it, sorry if that is offensive?), and fake palm trees covering the area. All of the waiters and waitresses are tattooed and down to earth and they serve organic healthy fresh food and local IPAs. Love it. Absolutely love it.

I'll write more later!

17 May 2011

a time of transition

day two, but what seems like day twenty, of classes.
so---when i was planning out what a fun summer would look like, what the bleep was i thinking when i decided a full load of classes would be a good way to achieve it? it's good....because it gives me routine, and something to do, but i kinda just wanna like chill and watch movies and stuff my face. anywho. #firstworldproblems.

german started today and i can tell it's going to be a good class for me--i usually enjoy it--but it's still another class. looked up more education master's programs today, sorta for the heck of it. a large part of today i spent wondering what the heck i'm doing. i'm willingly choosing to add on not another major, but another degree. 30 more credits of another subject (subjects, but let's not get too wild in our descriptive indulgence). plus some. that's crazy. especially since it's taken going to class every summer session since beginning, and will take an extra 1.5 semesters in addition. why do i do this? i feel like i cannot even explain my second degree to the people who know me best, let alone to future employers. it's like, i solved the whole "what do i choose?" dilemma by choosing LITERALLY everything i possibly could. can't choose between english, spanish, art, political science, or latin american studies?? why not do them all!!! and sometimes, it makes me feel crazy. it's okay, i mean...it's okay to be on your own path and besides, everyone else is on their own path. only one good friend of mine is going to grad school in the fall, the rest are doing varied things of their own. and i've always enjoyed going to class more than most people. so it makes sense that i would choose to continue to do that. it just makes it hard to see the bigger picture sometimes. like, i know learning german, and spanish, will be useful for travel and work in the future. but sometimes it's hard to connect those dots with the ones right now that include sheets of homework, online language models, and busy work from the textbook. getting away this weekend will be good for me---i need a breath of fresh air, it's about that time.

it also took a LOT of getting used to this town without all the people around. it suddenly became like a ghost town. now going to the local watering hole, etc, equals a lot less people being there. walking around campus, there are much fewer people also walking. (talking about it like this is creeping me out, actually...let's stop). but that leads me to the title of this post: a time of transition. that's what this is. with friends off doing their own things, and investing in new projects, schools, dreams, i'm doing my own thing...which happens to be the same thing i've BEEN doing the past four years...which is weird. still going to classes, turning in papers, at times--most times, hah--subject to professor's whims. but it's like...i want it to mean something. i don't just want to teach...i mean i do, with all my heart, but i also want to affect things internationally. i want all this investment in language to mean something. all this investment in understanding different cultures, and concepts, and politics around the world...i want to invest all of that into something so much bigger than what i've done. i want to make a change. i don't want to read about people in poverty. and i don't want to just wander blindly into foreign countries, either, and pretend that me just being there as a caring person is going to change all that much. i want to work on systems that actually make a different for people, that make changes where they're needed. i don't think we need to act from politics of guilt (we are white/wealthy/a number of other categories) so we should feel bad for what we have, hence, helping elsewhere. i think we should act because it's just...what we should do. and i want to be part of it, a big part of it! i dunno....

27 April 2011

Down with the TN Law, and F*CK H8

I have to say something about what has been going on lately. So, the Tennessee State Senate passed a bill that bans the words "homosexual" and "gay" to be said in all public schools. This means you cannot literally say either of the two words from preschool, elementary school, middle school onwards. Including in sex education classes in high school, when you will be discussing everything but this (Though I bet you they'll have to revise their little sections on the "predominance" of the AIDS virus). You literally. cannot. say. the words. out loud.

This is so messed up. This is why two years ago, I decided that the Day of Silence is a load of crap and the last thing the movement needs to be doing is dedicating a day to silence. Yes, it is in order to raise awareness but at what cost? Lying down yet again and just..taking what they throw at us? That's why the movement is only going slowly but surely. We need more spark-starters, go-getters, people like the F*CK H8 campaign who say "enough is enough" and "f*ck hate." We are done lying down, we are done "just taking it," and these things are NOT okay. It is not okay that just last year, there were at least four publicly broadcasted suicides that had to do with sexual orientation and identity. There is not enough movement and not enough support for this issue, because people become entangled in political mind-warping and let "what-if's" get in the way of standing and simply refusing to believe that any of this is okay. None of it is.

On top of the Tennessee state law, this same week, a transgender woman was harrassed and then beaten inside of a Baltimore McDonalds, and the workers there did nothing to stop the harrassment nor the beating.

This is the culture we live in. A culture where everyone looks around to everyone else with dumbfounded looks on their faces instead of immediately acting. This is because we still do not know what exactly to do and frankly, if we need to do anything about.

We do. There are children everywhere who are growing up gay, pan (queer, etc), or trans who wonder if they are even worth anything as human beings simply because of the way their biology is made up and because of the way they were born. They question what they can do, if they will be good enough, they ask why they were made that way instead of simply celebrating the other facets of their identity and the whole of their person. And other people around them? They solidify this for these kids. They tell them, by way of no action or by way of negative action, that these kids SHOULD question themselves. They SHOULD ask if they're worth anything. They should feel less, because their parts, their biology, and their ways of being are subordinate and inferior to others. And as kids...they tend to believe what they're told. Even adults struggle with this. Struggle with being who they are because everyone around them is either participating in these negative actions, or saying nothing at all. Worst is when people say nothing because they fear "being labelled as gay themselves." News flash: You are not a true Ally to the movement if you cannot simply speak up for the good of gays without worrying "oh my goodness, what if they think I'M gay??" So what if they do?

So what if they do?

27 February 2011

and this is what i want to say

it isn't about sex. it isn't about sexuality. it isn't about rights. it isn't about winning. it's about the simple act of liking who you like.

it has nothing to do with body parts. it has nothing to do with specifics. it has everything to do with that person you like. you like someone for inexplicable reasons. the way they laugh, or move, or talk to other people. you like the music they like. you like how they're interested in some certain topic. you just like them.

it has nothing to do with anything other than that. it breaks my heart to see people who still can't come to terms with their own sexuality. it breaks my heart to see a world where it is okay to say the "f" or "d" word, and where people, kids, think its funny. it's "so gay." it's "laughable." the thing is, as i was watching about 20 to 30 high school kids perform in their talent show last night, the spotlights on them..it was gorgeous. it was the most beautiful thing. the boy with his piano, the girl with her fingerless gloves and broadway song, girl groups with their guitars, boys tektonik dancing...the jocks or meatheads jeering in front in cliche fashion did not matter---it did not matter. because it was about the kids on stage and their song, their dance, their art. right then i got it.

21 February 2011

ann arbor in one week, baltimore in two!

Been in the same place for too long. gotta go explore. Whee! i'll try to take a camera and actually take pictures.

17 February 2011

preachy message for today

....where i'm speaking to you, instead of about myself.

do what you love. and fuck the rest.
this is the message of little miss sunshine. and sorry if that is a spoiler for you. but if you haven't seen this film already, why didn't you? it's a can't-miss. the message of the film is this simple message. it tells you to get out and do what you'd like to do. don't question. don't spend hours, days, thinking and wondering and pensando because in the end, you kind of already know what you enjoy. especially if you experiment and fail and try again. especially if you try a bunch of things and you slowly find your way into a niche, or groove. do what you love...and fuck the rest. in the end it doesn't matter. not really. it matters to you..it matters to your heart, and your feeling of completion--whether you really went after what you wanted or not. and it matters whether you were good to the people you loved, and who loved you. and that's it, man. there's no big secret. there's no big unveiling where mysteries unfold. that's the irony of it: it's all already right here. here's the secret. give out love. even as it hurts you. even as it pains you to give a little bit more. be fair. but be giving. in the end, this will be most rewarding. love until it hurts, and then love a little more. this will save you. you know what i mean?

"the world you cannot change
calm your violent soul
all you can do is another person good."

11 February 2011

gettin restless

So I have resolved to write every day now. Let's see how long this lasts. I don't feel like anything is happening lately. I feel bored. I should feel grateful for everything I have right now--and I do. Seriously. I have great friends, the comfort of having been here for awhile now, great classes, and financial stability. But what is the point of all of this? I find myself asking that on a regular basis. Do you ever wonder this? Is it indicative of nothing going on for me, do you not feel this way? Is life a lot of little tiny miracles? Or mostly without miracles, those happening only once in awhile? I think I just have cabin fever and need to take a trip somewhere to get inspired again.

Okay. I need to shape up and make changes. One thing I've noticed is that out of my goal list created around four to five years ago, I've met quite a few of them in one way or another. Hence: need new goals!! I'll need to work on this list in private and then "publicize" it...

10 February 2011

get a tattoo?

Interrupting my comedy-watching to write, I realize that often why I feel impatient is because I feel this incessant need to create. I'm sitting here in my room completely comfortable, except I don't know and can't decide if what I want is to read a book, watch a movie, watch some funny tv, or just kinda lay here some more and rest. Yet I don't know what to create. I lack direction. What is so important to me that I want to create something about it? Well, love, yes, but that's hurt me quite a bit in the past year. So what else? How I feel for Haiti? For New Orleans? They say we choose whether to feel loved or not. It is a choice. Maybe I have been choosing not to feel loved, appreciated. I'm ready to graduate. Ready to move on. Not because I don't like the college life, especially the friends aspect. But because I'm ready to do something that doesn't involve classes (at least me in the student role) but me out in the real world doing something. Feeling on at least some days like I'm doing something. Something positive. I don't have to make waves, just ripples. Well, that is kind of a lie about the way I truly feel so...hrm. But I don't expect much. Just maybe someday to win the affection of a kid the way my teachers, professors, and mentors have secretly won mine.

07 February 2011

norwegian wood

Norwegian Wood (a novel by Haruki Murakami) is becoming a film. I found this out yesterday and am very excited to see this. It's a beautiful novel, (though I could say much more on it) and the film will come out from a lesser known film group in Japanese language with English subtitles.

I like how the trailer is short, sweet, and The Beatles song is playing while you can hear the protagonists speaking in Japanese.

24 January 2011

ch-ch-ch-changes !

i'm at work right now. which makes it the poifect time to blog. i feel like speaking in accents and tongues today, so work with me. this semester has actually brought a lot of good, new things in my life. i enjoyed my studies last semester, but they required so much constant effort that it laid down constant stress into my life. even though i still have a full schedule--and two part-time jobs--there is less of that in my life now and it's released quite a burden from me. i'm lucky enough to take one last english class this term, rounding out my "english minor." we'll call it that, unofficially, because what i major in makes sense to no one--including, sometimes, my advisers and peers. i say i'm lucky because this class is fantastic. it is called "the emergence of an american literary trend (?)" and examines the greats of American lit you typically associate with the American canon--Thoreau, Hawthorne, etc--but examines them with a broader lens and a more analytically-framed scope. for example, it's not pulling out the themes, characters, as you might in a high school classroom or introductory course, but questioning the broader implications for how the usual canon may represent American culture, society. in addition, the class takes into consideration criticism of these usually named "great" works and weighs the implications of these criticisms. in other words, this class is my wet dream.

sometimes i do feel that senior pull, where you know you're going to be done soon, and you're biding your time and finishing classes. but i also do feel that i am learning here and still growing here. i see east lansing through completely different eyes from when i was a freshman. it's so cliche--but it's so true. i used to be intimidated by the people and the size of campus and going downtown or going out--now it's just regular old east lansing. and i belong here or don't belong here as much as the next person.

i really appreciate the place that i'm at right now. it took so (so, so, so) much effort, but i ended up with two amazing majors that have allowed me to take basically all classes i've dreamed of. i've taken design, drawing, intro to english analysis, latin american studies, comparative cultural theory, spanish structure. people doubt me a lot--my major choices, rather--but i do believe they'll pan out in the end. for me, it's not about what it says on the transcript or the name of the bachelors degree i've completed--it's the classes i've taken, what i've gotten out of them, and how i've synthesized them together. and i seriously feel blessed to have been able to take so many great classes while in college. not everyone gets to do that.

i have also tried to spend a lot more time with my family. my sister graduates after this may also and will be going to college most likely out of state. it's just nice to spend time with family, too. i was away for most of last summer, for last spring semester, and most of this fall also. the winter break was a great, actual break where i refreshed and spent lots of time with family.

the next trip i have coming up--besides potential roadtrips--is my alternative spring break to Baltimore. i am getting a bit more excited about this because it is obviously closer than it was last fall. i'm glad to be able to do ASB one more time and participate in an organization like it again. it is just a week, but im fascinated to learn more about immigration. after my senior seminar paper last term, it's truly an issue where i feel i need to school myself, learn more, and participate more in the politics surrounding it.