Sunday, August 16, 2009

the next chapter: my sub-blog created specifically for my adventure in Sandy-eggo!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I am in San Diego talking with my teammates, laughing until I cry, eating some Pasta-Roni, studying Invisible Children stats, driving 15 passenger vans with 15 passengers, being trained 8-9 hours everyday, fearing getting a question wrong, hanging out in a Starbucks in a grocery store, and you know, just rocking in general.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The 24 Hour Mark

To Do List for Today (in no particular order):

- Write thank you cards
- Get a pay-as-you-go phone
- Read some more Invisible Children things and commit them to memory
- Mend my skirt and shirt
- See Buttons and Don!
- Write a support letter update
- Call Bink and maybe Gail
- Take a picture of Mom and Dad
- Charge my iPod

Friday, July 24, 2009

Destination Confirmed

Yesterday I found out my region and team for the Fall Invisible Children Tour and it is: Middle America! So on the map that is from Oklahoma and Arkansas up to Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada. A lot of territory to cover! I am super excited and was ridiculously grinning all day yesterday after I found out. My team seems to be really rad - we've only been conversing a bit over facebook, but I have good feelings all around. (Don't you love the sudden diversion from the feelings of past entries?)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It's an odd feeling which has clouded over me the last few weeks, becoming more dense with each passing day. Friend by friend, I have been left here in Greensboro feeling very alone and somewhat empty. It's still so strange to be the one left behind, when my whole life I have been the one leaving. Perhaps this drabness, this lack of community is just pushing me onto my next adventure. Right, so, my next adventure. It's less than two weeks away and the nerves are setting in. What with my new found introverted-ness and my fear of failure, especially at relationships, I'm feeling anxious about beginning this job. I'm feeling ready about the prospects of being indirectly part of a social movement which can possibly bring peace and prosperity to a region of the world which hasn't know peace for 20 plus years.

Buuuut. Here's the math. Present=drab. Future=Excitement. Drab-->Excitement=Limbo.

And in the midst of it all I am leaving Greensboro: my beautiful little apartment, my coffee shops and thrift stores, and the best cheeseburger I've ever had. Granted, Greensboro isn't what it once was for me, it's lost its familiarity and comfort in some senses, but it still has been the base for much of my growth and struggles in the last 4 years. I'm not the same girl whose parents unloaded her things into her dorm room 4 years ago, although I still look a lot like her*. It's hard to move on, to not know if I'll ever return here, to close one chapter, but not know what will be included in the next.

Feelings, shmeelings. The advice I so desperately want to give other people when I hear them whine sometimes, I need to give myself. Suck it up and get over it. This is a thing we call life.

*Side story: On my way home from VA Monday, I stopped to get gas and as I was paying, the attendant asked if I was ready for school to start. I said, "Well, actually I've graduated!" He said, "Oh, I though you were in the 11th grade or something like that." I flashed a big grin and said, "Oh, haha. No, I've actually just graduated from college." He seemed kind of shocked and said something about how he had thought I was 18. I told him I was 22 and as I was walking out he said something about how it's a good thing to look so young. I think I'll agree when I'm 40.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Picture, Words

Today a girl I knew in high school had this as her facebook status: "You should only feel ugly when you can no longer see Christ in the mirror." There are so many issues I have with this trite little Christian-ism. One, can I not be beautiful without Christ? Aren't we all made in the image of God, thereby making us all beautiful no matter the status of our 'salvation'? I am still something beautiful without Christ and so are those in corners of Siberia, Iraq, and New York City. Two, this provides unreachable expectations from Christianity. Believing in Jesus does not remove doubt, self-hatred, or even 'sin' from life. To say that it will is unreasonable and provides this idea of "perfection" that comes with Christianity. Third, this status comes from a person who believes that I have to be a member of her denomination in order to participate in heaven. So it isn't even Christ that is being talked about. It's a certain Christ, with a certain church, and a certain doctrine.

Excuse me while I just add another brick to my wall.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009


I am counting down the days until I get to experience this glory. (17 more) I realized today that this place has been a constant in my life, amidst all the moves and new cities and towns. Except for last summer, I have made it to this cabin in the woods every summer. I know it well - the smell of the couch, the cracks in the walls, the path to the river, the creeks in the floor. If I ever do marry (sorry, my roommate is in the final month of wedding planning, so it's on my mind), I'd like to be married here - a place I know and love.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Reading

I just finished reading "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver.  It's about the life of the Congo from pre-independence through independence and on through the corrupt government of Mobutu, as seen through the eyes of four daughters and wife of an American evangelical missionary.  I highly recommend it, not only for its plot, but it's intense recollection of history. Here are a few passages that really stood out to me:

"'Be kind to yourself,' he says softly in my ear, and I ask him, How is that possible?  I rock back and forth on my chair like a baby, craving so many impossible things: justice, forgiveness, redemption.  I crave to stop bearing all the wounds of this place on my own narrow body.  But I also want to be a person who stays, who goes on feeling anguish where anguish is due.  I want to belong somewhere, damn it.  To scrub the hundred years' war off this white skin till there's nothing left and I can walk out among my neighbors wearing raw sinew and bone, like they do."
--Leah, daughter

"I can think of no honorable answer.  Why must some of us deliberate between brands of toothpaste, while others deliberate between damp dirt and bone dust to quiet the fire of an empty stomach lining?  There is nothing about the United States I can really explain to this child of another world."
--Adah, daughter

"To live is to be marked.  To live is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know.  In perfect stillness, frankly, I've only found sorrow."
--Orleanna, mother

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Everyone probably thinks their dad is the cutest dad in the world, but I am willing to put money on the fact that mine definitely is. 
He's got brains too. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I got the job :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Today, as I was driving down Lee St., I saw a seemingly homeless man looking through a garbage bin. He took out a 40 oz beer bottle, which still had some beer in it. He unscrewed the cap and started to pour the remaining beer out in a little grassy area. So, I thought maybe he was collecting plastic and glass bottles to cash in for money. But I was wrong. He then placed the empty glass bottle (sans cap) in the recycling bin seated next to the garbage bin.

Very cool.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bangin Nachos: It's What's For Dinner

My sister gave me a cookbook for graduation entitled, "Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen."  This is exactly how I feel about the entire subject, so it was perfect.  I've technically only made one thing from it, but I have eaten it multiple times and it never gets old, so I wanted to share.  If I can do it, you can too!

What you need:
18-20 tortilla chips
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 8-ounce can refried beans
scallion (also called a green onion)
1 small ripe avocado or 1/2 large ripe avocado (optional)
1-2 tablespoons sliced black olives (optional)
Sour cream

What you do:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. For easy clean-up cover baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place tortilla chips on baking sheet and cover them with spoonfuls of refried beans (you don't need to use the entire 8 oz can). 
Wash the scallion.  Cut off root tip and top 2 inches of green end and discard them.  Cut the remaining white and green parts into 1/4-inch pieces and scatter them onto the tortilla chips.
Peel and cut the avocado into 1/4-inch squares and sprinkle them onto the chips.
Sprinkle black olive slices onto chips.
Cover the entire concoction with cheese and bake for 5 minutes.
Don't forget to pile spoonfuls of salsa and sour cream on top before consuming/serving.

Seriously, do this. In fact I think I am going to right now! I also put some cooked chicken on there if I have any and substitute fresh tomatoes for the salsa.  I've gotten it down to an art in which I prepare the nachos while my oven is preheating - it's olympic.

Let me know if you all eat this, what your reactions are, and if you have any ideas for improvements!

Monday, June 8, 2009


It's 9.26pm by my watch and I have wasted yet another day filled with unproductivity and exercise.  To balance my couch-bound day (and to make myself look/feel a little less lazy) I did go for a run and participated in African dance at the Center-City Park.  It had live drums, which is always necessary for this type of dance because the drum beats are the conductor.  It was pretty great - but I'm sure I looked nuts.  I tried some of the moves in front of my mirror when I got home and, sure enough, I looked way out of my element.  It was fun nonetheless.  Next week is yoga - ya'll should come!

This concept of humanity has been on my mind since Friday night when I watched a film with my friend about the topic of human trafficking.  It was a theatrical film in that it consisted of scripts, actors, and sets, but the plot was realistic and harshly (yet perhaps accurately) depicted the stories of human traffickers and those who are trafficked.  One of the women in the film, who had been sold into a brothel by a man she was dating, said something that has stuck with me.  She talked about how her and the other girls had seen their humanity ripped away from them.  They had experienced pure humiliation, oppression, and suppression and had violent acts committed against them.  These things demoralized them and deteriorated their feeling of being human.  Without humanity, what were they? Just objects.

So often this is what happens in the midst of oppression.  The demoralizing manipulation of the powerful on those without control.  And it's just so disgusting that someone would take away the one thing that makes her human, the one quality which separates her from the rest of the world, just to make money, to have power, to feel in control.  The human trafficking industry is so big - it's very alarming.  There are so many people involved, transnationally, which make it continue day in and day out.  How do they not see their sisters, mothers, or daughters in the faces of those that they violate?  Because, after all, these women and girls are not machines, but are humans with the ability to hope, aspire, and dream.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


So, there are two "new" things happening in my life - sporty and sappy.

First, I am now on day 10 of running/jogging.  I have gotten up (almost) every morning at 8:00 AM, run a 1.5 mile loop, where I get to see the business elite of Greensboro make their way to work and hungover college students take an early morning smoke on their porches.  I'm starting to really like it.

Second, I used to be the girl who never cried.  Never ever.  Ask my family and friends.  Brief, related anecdote: In my apartment last year, a rock which looked like a heart ended up laying around our living room for the better part of the year.  One of my roommates, cleverly, had brought it home - the irony was just too thick not to.  I was fiddling with it one night and my friend noted that it was much like my own heart - made of stone.  I laughed, he laughed, we laughed together.  It wasn't far from the truth.

But recently, I've become a sap!  I have trouble not crying at the slightest emotional or sentimental action/story/ritual/etc.  Have I really gotten in touch with that part of myself?? I constantly am having this great, overwhelming sense of the shortness of time, of the eminence of transition, of the quick shift of the now.  So when I watch movies or read books or go to a wedding or hear about someone's pain, I get the importance of it all and I have a physical reaction.  It's weird - very different.

Now, I haven't yet cried while I jogged.  I'll let you know as soon as that happens.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Saw One Today

One day, a few years ago, I was riding in the car with my grandmother and mom.  It was sunny and warm and the car was carrying three generations of women to the grocery store - about 160 years of experiences moving together.  Sitting in the navigators chair (the power chair) Mimi looked up in the sky and noticed a jet trail.  She said, "Whenever I see those white lines in the sky I think of Bob (my Granddaddy).  It's his way of telling me to keep my head up, to keep going.  And that's what I do."

Every time I see one of those I not only think of Granddaddy, but I think of my Mimi who after 91 years of life and 7 years without Granddaddy, has her head upright looking forward.  Life hasn't gotten easier for her frail body, but she presses on with persistence and grace, eager to live and love.  She has hope and sass.  What more does she need?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sometimes I wonder if I still know God, but I just don't realize it.

Also, if you're interested in means to social justice, especially cross-culturally, I think this article would be of great interest to you:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reread at the end of July

I wanted to catalog this day because today I had this overwhelming sense of excitement for the future.  I was eating dinner with EJ and talking about the frustrations of finding a job, relationships, the summer, and the like.  I don't know what's next.  I have no plans, just hopes.  Nothing is concrete or laid out.  But, goodness, it's thrilling to think of a life of application.  A life consistent with my desires, dreams, ambitions.  All of them being lived out.

This day will fade away soon when I get bogged down again with the unknowing reality, but I just wanted to remind myself that it'll be okay.  It'll work itself out and opportunities will knock. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Artist: Adam Moser
This is hanging in my living room.  The stencil is of a Ugandan girl.

In other artistic news, I bought a camera from the thrift store.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Do you ever just feel completely distracted, distant, or burdened? Then, boy, do I have a solution for you!!! ...

Just kidding. I thought that might be witty and annoying enough for everyone to endure. Can't you imagine the Oxy Clean guy yelling that to the TV?  And then he pulls out a bucket of chicken grease or something and tries to sell it off.  I'd probably buy some.  That guy is very persuasive.

But seriously.  

I am very preoccupied right now.  I'm ready for my schooling to be finished, not only for this semester but for the summer too.  I'm feeling very trapped within this academic process because of the commitments I have made to do well in school and graduate with a certain GPA.  I can't slack off now, but there seem to be more important, more serious issues at hand in this world than whether I go to class or turn in projects on time.  It's basically two character traits at war with each other.  We've got "desire to impact the world and create social change" over here in this corner and "wants to excel at school and fulfill her professors' expectations" in the other corner.  Are you ready to rumble?  I know who's going to win and it breaks my heart.  My mind isn't here, it's in Chicago with the others who are still camped out, protesting the war in Uganda and abduction of child soldiers.  I have to be here though.  Education is a key facet in social change and I need to learn in order to do.  I know this, but dammit, I don't like it.  Not one bit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Neko Case, Middle Cyclone, Middle Cyclone

Baby, why'm I worried now, 
did someone make a fool of me 
'fore I could show 'em how it's done? 
Can't give up actin' tough, 
it's all that I'm made of. 
Can't scrape together quite enough 
to ride the bus to the outskirts 
of the fact that I need love. 

There were times that I tried, 
one for every glass of water 
that I spilled next to the bed, 
wretching pennies in a boiling well 
in a dream that it once becomes 
a foundry of mute and heavy bells. 
They shake me deaf and dumb 
say, "Someone made a fool of me 
'fore I could show 'em how it's done." 

It was so clear to me 
that it was almost invisible. 
I lie across the path waiting, 
just for a chance to be a spiderweb 
trapped in your lashes. 
For that, I would trade you my empire for ashes. 
But I choke it back, how much I need love...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tick Tock

I retreat into very sad states sometimes.  Today, it progressively became worse as I started to watch "Everything is Illuminated." It's a beautifully cinematic film about a Jewish boy who travels to Ukraine to find the story of his grandfather.  It only references the horrors that the Jews endured during those years, but nevertheless it just broke my heart.  I still am unable to fathom the pure distaste one can have for a single group of people, based on their identity.  The pain, the destruction, the complete disregard for others.  

This idea of an "other."  It's always among us.  It literally causes me pain.  I think about the babies who are born into the minority group in some forgotten land, who have no choice about their ethnicity, their blood, their gender, their race, but yet are forced into horrific circumstances and are at the brunt of so much hostility and mutilation.  It's unfair.  It's completely disgusting the power we have over each other.

And it all comes down to identity.  Sure, similarities in genetics can group people together, but it is the weight we place on the symbolic nature of an identity which is the root of division.  It is what we create as a society which provides the differences.  We create the hate, but do we stop it?

I need to turn this anger into something good...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You Might Be a Feminist If...

I have had so many ideas and concepts on my mind lately. They are really starting to mess with my mind.

Gender. Is. Frustrating. I'm learning a lot about gender and the inequality that surrounds it, whether it's in found in the home or in the workforce. Roles, norms, and the like construct my life and everyone else's. Gender is connected to the biological sex one has, but shouldn't be synonymous. I think gender ambiguity is a beautiful thing. To understand yourself that much, to not conform to the gender socialization that our society constructs is inspirational. I'm not having a gender identity crisis or anything of the sorts, but I am trying to reconcile my womanhood with the expectations society places on me because I am a woman.

Brief example: This weekend I went home to visit my dear Canadian cousins who had traveled down South for the weekend. It was myself, my aunt, my 3 male cousins, my brother, my dad and my uncle who were at Aunt Janice's for dinner Saturday night. Aunt Janice had gladly hosted everyone for the UNC game and dinner, which was delish. Aunt Janice had cooked, it was our responsibility to clean up (that's the universal rule, right?). No one got up. Part of me didn't want to do it either simply because I didn't want to conform to the expectation of "the woman's place is in the kitchen". But I knew Aunt Janice would start to clean up and that wasn't fair or right. So I went and cleaned up. But I only cleaned up and then asked my cousins to wash the pots and pans, as a form of resistance. Why weren't they inclined to clean up after dinner? Why weren't they inclined to offer assistance? Why was I? Is it associated with my femaleness? Have their mothers and sisters been the ones doing that their whole lives?

These questions are relentless in my head. I didn't feel obligated because of my womanhood, I wanted to help because it was right and fair. However, I resented it. I was complying to the roles that have been cut out for me in society. I am more than a washing machine, I am more than fulfillment of expectations. By default, I was reifying tradition and patriarchy to my male relatives, that the matters of the household would be taken care of by the women.

It's a personal struggle, you see. I place a large emphasis of my identity on being woman. However it is more than traditional - I am a woman and therefore am strong, persistent, independent, successful. My definition of myself as a woman does not necessarily match up with what society considers. And that makes my heart pound. The unfairness of it all.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I am reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is an excerpt from the book that made me cry, simply and unforced.

"Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written insructions: 'Do NOT think that you are among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite.'

But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed...infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the sources of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while?" (Page 208)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yesterday I went to a viewing of a short documentary about the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. The Zapatistas are a group of people indigenous to Mexico through the Mayan ancestry and whose land has been taken away by the Mexican government, leaving them poor and without a means for sustainable living. The professor who presented it said something very powerful. He said that this is our struggle too. There isn't their poverty and their poverty and their poverty, but it is a universal poverty, it is our problem. He went on to say that it isn't "doing for" others that is a means to overcome poverty - that's all well and good and can be beneficial. It's not even a "doing with" others - working together to overcome. It's a "being with." It's a deep connection and relationship with the people who are dealing with the problems and a commitment to be poor with them until their fight is won.

The idea of social activism has always made my bones tingle. I tend to give high value to macro-level policy reformation and creation. But there is need from both the top and the bottom to invoke social change. I just want to be a part of it - that's all I ask. A part of the global movement towards equality in all measures of the word.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Fell Asleep Laughing

I'm pretty sure Valerie and I were secretly in a movie last night. Let me tell you what happened.

We were sitting at Natty Greene's just drinking our beers chatting and watching the craziness around us. These two guys approach us and thus the awkwardness ensues. They ask us if they can sit down and we didn't really respond with an affirmative, but they took their places on the bar stools. Names: Andrew and Peter. Handshakes: fishlike and gimp. Attire: Button ups, pleated khakis, and blazers. I think the sequence of our conversation started with them disclosing that they were from Guilford, and then they asked where we went to school. I asked what they were studying, where they were from, etc. (This was the type of conversation for the most part - me asking them questions while Valerie just sat there, fiddling with her engagement ring!) Oh, man, so Peter asks us if we have gone to any concerts lately. Ohhh, man - this is where it gets good. I tell them I mainly go and see local bands, nothing mainstream. And then they proceed to tell us how much in love with 80s music they are. They riddle off all the shows they've gone to - REO Speedwagon, Alice Cooper, Tears for Fears. I somehow list some 80s songs that I listened to in high school and Andrew tells me which album it was off of and when it was released. Valerie and I both drink our beers as fast as possible and tell them we are off going to another bar. Easy escape.

But it's not over. We part ways with an awkward handshake. We can't believe what just happened. We go to McCoul's to debrief and after about an hour I go to the bathroom. When I return, lo and behold, Andrew and Peter have arrived. I sit down and Valerie is stiffling her laughter so much that she is crying. We don't understand! We don't talk with them much and as we finish our beers and get ready to leave an 80s song starts to play. We look over and they are singing along with it, nodding their heads to the beat. Perfect ending.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I had one of those moments today where something happened, I was alone, and I really wanted to remember so I could write about it on here. It happened while I was cooking dinner, but I can't remember. I do remember this though. In class, my professor showed us some videos to exercise our ability to predict and it was all 'fail-esque' videos. I was the only one laughing and I was laughing before he even hit play. It's rough being me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Let me write this down. Maybe it will sink in and become a little more real.

-Obtain fluency in another language
-Get to live in another country for two years
-It's a governmental job, which increases my job security for the future
-Will look damn good on job/grad school applications
-Will be challenging. I love a challenge
-Gives me a plan for after graduation
-Isn't 9-5
-Will receive a stipend for future schooling

-I'm scared. If I stay, Stateside Leah will get to be around for engagements and marriages and nieces or nephews. I'll have security in relationships, put down roots, maybe have a dating relationship? Do I want to give that up? I can't not do this for a possible life. Nothing is guaranteed. But the increase in my heart rate is intimidating.