Wednesday, October 26, 2011


*Just* when I was feeling super lonely and forgotten down here in SD....500 miles away from everyone I miss and love:

I got a box of pure happiness! Full of chocolate! FULL of chocolate.

I literally laughed out-loud when I opened it up. My day/week/month has been made. Call me easily delighted. Whatever.

All better.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Ta da! This, amigos, is how I think. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. Meet the multi-tasking queen; no amount of papers can daunt me. Bring on the midterms! All freaking four of them. On the same day.

Thiiiiiis, is more how I feel.

There's so much to do it's gonna eat me up like Jonah and the whale. Gulp. Crunch. Swallow. Maybe if I just stare at the question and mumble smart sounding words my paper will write itself. Doesn't ice-cream help brain function? fact, I'm sure baking increases your chances of brilliance. And baking peanut-butter chocolate cookies is certainly fool-proof.

So here I am, with a plate of warm chocolate peanut-butter cookies....and a stack of books so high I'm gonna need an oxygen tank. Meep.

I'm just ferocious. Rawr.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


...will be beautiful. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Met up with a new friend for coffee today. Our conversation went deep fast and it was refreshing to be real with someone, finally. And yet, I continually frustrate myself. I can't talk about myself without falling apart. I can't talk about my frustrations or feelings without melting into a teary mess - what the hell. There are certain dangerous buzzwords that as soon as I say them, all self-control dissolves. It's like a cap over a volcano; all is well until you puncture the seal and then hot, molten anger and bitterness gushes out.

Why is this still so hard? Why am I still not over it?

It's so much easier to ignore it, not talk about it, just smile and move on. Out of sight, out of mind. Can we just not talk about me? Let's talk about you; I'll comfort you, encourage you, bolster you, advise you, hug you, cry with you, laugh with you...but lets please not talk about me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week 4

I've finally returned home from a long day of classes. My hair is frazzled and my nose is so cold I'm sure it's blue.

My friend made me a big bowl of steaming thai noodles and I've got a hot mug of blackberry-sage tea to warm my hands. Josh Groban is making love to me with his italian opera and I'm pounding out another paper.

Last night's conference on global health and preventative medicine got me excited all over again about why I'm here in the first place. My professor and I sat in giddy happiness debating development theory and comparing NGO work overseas. We're both pretty disgusted with "band-aid" work and she wants me to travel to Honduras with her over spring break to build water infrastructure there.

Got my first paper back...a B. Not too bad considering it was a complete shot in the dark and no-one had any idea what the TA actually wanted to see. Not bad, but not good enough.

College. My life is in bullets. Moments. Class to class. Assignment to assignment. Day by day.
I'm trying to be a sponge.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today when I would feel overwhelmed, I'd look up and watch the clouds roll in off the ocean.


Click play. Right there in the middle. It's so hilariously true.

Please click play.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moral Dilemmas

If a train was barreling towards five people who were certain to die, would you pull the switch and re-route the train towards the one person (and thereby dooming him to die, but saving the five?) One life instead of five?

Now what if a train was barreling towards five of your family members? Would you leave the switch and let them die or would you pull the switch, saving them, and sending your love to their death? Let one die to save five?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


"Discourse" can be described differently. As a tool in social science theory, "discourse" allows us to classify or characterize things into categories of thought. Discourse a a broad, shared, collective way of thinking about things, it establishes a "regime of truth", it defines truth, and produces knowledge and power. An example of discourse could be western medicine; your doctor is enmeshed in a particular discourse; he views medicine through a particular set of "rose-colored glasses". There is a specific explanation for why people get sick, how to prevent sickness, how to heal sickness, etc. If you were to come to your western doctor and say "I have a headache because the witch doctor put a spell on me..." this would be outside the western discourse of medicine. It would be dismissed as impossible or frivolous because it is outside the western "regime of truth."

Through discourse, truth is created. However, if you ascribe to this system of analysis, it naturally follows that there is no inherent, absolute, truth. Truth becomes relative; a matter of perspective and stereotype. Discourse establishes that "truth" depends on the holders of power.

I'm intrigued by this concept and as my professor lectures on, I let my mind explore the implications of this.
1) Potential for change. When you see massive and horrific problems in the world (corrupt judicial systems, murder, slavery, genocide, gender discrimination), the key is to hit at the psychological "discourse" behind these ideas/practices. Since these actions are the result of a set "regime of truth" believed and followed by perpetrators, by attacking and/or changing this discourse, you could hypothetically change their truth and therefore their actions. If we follow the concept of "discourse" to the end and apply it to these circumstances, the battle becomes ideological and a matter of creating the "right" sort of truth.
2) Discourse can be a powerful and frightening tool. If discourse truly creates truth and establishes norms, what is the relationship between propaganda and discourse? Can leaders use propaganda to establish discourse and/or regimes of truth? Is brainwashing a form of discourse? Look at the culture of death Hitler created by establish a way of thinking about and categorizing the Jews and "inferior" peoples. By creating a new "truth", establishing a widely-accepted discourse among Germans and Europeans, millions were murdered by those who genuinely believed they were beautifying and benefiting society.

This concept of "discourse" is both empowering and devastating if carried out to its full potential. More thoughts on this later.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I'm embarking on Week 2 of school here, but my mind and stamina feel like I've been here for months already. UCSD is no joke and classes here are fascinating, but incredibly intense. It feels like finals week at the JC, and it's only the beginning of Week 2. Yikes!

I can't really complain though. For the first time in my life, I'm a full-time student. I'm not working (quite yet), I live on campus, I sleep with my books and laptop, and sticky-notes are plastered all over my mirror and room. I study. That's what I do! I study and read and think and go to class....and then study and read and think some more. It's invigorating, grueling, fascinating, challenging, fun and exhausting at the same time. I really love it.

This past weekend I had lunch with the Program Officer for National Geographic's Young Explorer Grants program and we talked for over an hour about refugee medicine, cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula, the value of photojournalism, and how exciting it is to travel. When I've prepared my project proposal, he offered to read/critique it before I send it in to incredibly amazing is THAT!?

Last week my roommates and hallmates stole down to the beach around midnight to watch the florescent blue waves crash on the shore. Bioluminescent algae caused the blue explosions of light and as we sat on the sand, exclaiming at the incredible beauty in front of us, I laughed with happiness. Since when can you sit on the beach at midnight and watch blue fireworks explode in the waves?

My class is starting soon and I'm afraid I'm behind on the reading. I stayed up till 1:30 last night reading and studying, and I'm still behind. But, my professor likes me and we've already gone out to lunch together (I guess that's incredibly rare at UCSD....some students go all four years and never get to know their professors. Kinda sad.). I'm sure it'll be okay.

Saturday, October 1, 2011