Monday, December 29, 2008

A Look Back at London

As 2008 has closed and 2009 has begun, I decided I would highlight all of the beautiful memories I have of last year. There are a lot. So, as my life has been divided into quarters for almost four years now, I will be reminiscing according to season, starting with Spring (why Spring and not Winter? Because how much do you really want to hear about the insane 18 credits I took and bad dates I went on?).

To say London was "amazing", "life-changing", "earth-shattering" sounds too cliche, but I can't think of another accurate way of describing my experience. I can still feel the Tube racing through the underground veins of the city, a facade heartbeat the whole city thrived on. I spent days and dollars exploring the markets and still can't believe some of the treasures I was able to find. I danced the lindy-hop with a nice British boy. I saw and heard Big Ben strike midnight!

Some specific memories:

Discovering the secret identity of my homestay dad.

Learning how to say, "I would like asparagus" in German.

Crying on the couch of an almost complete stranger.

And of course, because I can't learn how to sing a different tune, I wanted to thank everyone who made my stay in London and the rest of Europe possible and beyond enjoyable. I know we will cross paths again, and I look forward to that day.

And new year, new blog! Follow me to Merci Me!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grato Per Questo Momento Nel Tempo

Venice recently experienced its highest level of flood waters in over 20 years. What are people to do? With everything under three feet of water and the level rising, people ill-prepared to handle the drastic lifestyle changes, and holiday shopping still left to finish?! How will we ever survive this?!?

We put on some wellies and continue to eat our baguettes....or whatever is Italian for baguette.

In light of the recent economic clusterfuck, things have been bad, especially in the academic arena. There are job freezes across the nation. My institution recently cut 20% of the budget, which is roughly $10 million. The humanities are getting hit hard, as the sciences are more "important", "imperative", other "imp" words. This is an awesome time to graduate from college with a degree in Comparative Literature!

Again, I must pause and say HOWEVER.

This is an opportunity for a shift in priorities. Like a good friend of mine said, "Well, now we don't have to worry about money, because there isn't any." Perhaps we won't spend our hard-earned (or easily-applied-for) money on ridiculous things like this. Maybe "quality over quantity" will creep into our consumer mindset. We might even reach out to each other, because we can't wade these waters alone. Community could be important. Sharing resources, ideas, love. Creating a support network out of the people you already know and trust and allowing yourself to let more people in.

And gratitude. Gratitude is the only positive emotion I can consistently recall. I am very lucky in that I don't know anyone at risk of losing their job, nor am I at risk to lose mine (that's mostly because I don't have one). I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world (views of the sunset over a blushing Mount Rainier are free). I still have my hearing and can enjoy musicmusicmusic. I still have my sight (although my glasses really do nothing for me, I need a new prescription). I can feel my heartbeat and the blood rush to my cheeks after rushing in from the cold Seattle snow. I can smell and taste the most amazing double-chocolate-and-molasses cookies made by my lovely roommate.

In conclusion, times are harder. Times will get harder. But I'm grateful for the now, the moment, this small ticktock of time that is entirely mine to do with what I choose. And my hands may be a little cold and my hair may have split-ends, but I am very happy. Thank you.