Saturday, April 27, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Excitingly Busy

This week has been fascinating. And hard. Fascinatingly, excitingly hard.
I've been struggling with my emotions all week - one moment I'm fine, the next I'm in tears - so I've decided to fill my time talking to professors instead. I mean, why not? Might as well figure out my future while I'm mucking around in emotional goop. So, in the fleeting moments between classes, I'm camped out in the socio-anthropology department, the global health institute, directors' offices, and International House. I've made my professors laugh with my fluctuation between deep, transparent frustration and overwhelming passion about global health.

Wednesday was spent in Prof. Postero's office. Colorful woven blankets from Bolivia draped over our chairs as we talked about human rights and whether deep-seated criticism of Western imperialism strips white Americans of their agency to work for positive change. Yes, true change must come from within, from the people at hand. And yes, I can never truly relate to the people I yearn to help, I'm not from their culture, I don't speak their language, but does that mean I'm relegated to being a congresswoman? Is my education a waste if I can't actually be part of the development of sustainable change. Is my passion just a humanitarian form of imperialism? I cried when she stared me down and said "Goodness no, love. It's imperial if you take your skills and tools and knowledge and impose it on others. Not if you partner with them. Your heart is golden."

On a different note, a 10-minute "Hey! How's it going?" today turned into a 2-hr conversation with the I-House director who, incidentally, has a Masters in Public Health, has worked for UNICEF, was a consultant for the WHO, and was a specialist in international health and development. Yeah. He was my new best friend before he had even finished his first week at UCSD.  We talked about the IRC club, how to apply for grants, how he wants to coach me on how to start NGOs, the possibility of sponsoring a school in a refugee camp, and things he wished he'd known about public health. I came out of there with a handful of m 'n' ms, but with a headful of names, events, programs and opportunities I didn't know existed a few hours before. I have 16 tabs open now on my computer, trying to sort the awesomeness out.

The Prince of Jordan is coming to speak in San Diego about the Syrian refugees. I was appointed Study Abroad Returnee of the year. I got asked to lead an ESL workshop for students teaching in Vietnam this summer. I just got tickets to go to Spain. I have professors who email me about internships and fellowships. It's a whirlwind. Busy is good. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunshine's kiss

The weather has been in the high-70s all weekend and today's sunshine was particularly delicious. Warm and sweet, it kissed the shoulders of all who stopped to enjoy it. The sun makes a rather delightful lover. 

I spent the morning looking at apartments for next fall with a friend (and soon-to-be roommate). We explored rooms, mused over prices, and compared walking distance to the nearest coffee shops and yoga studios. The place we looked at this morning appears to be a good fit; strategic windows for afternoon sun, all single bedrooms, and a little patio I'm already planning to fill with hanging flowers and tomato plants. The walls are high and white, perfect for photographs and tea-lights. I'm imagining soft color and flowers in indigo vases.

This week has been long, emotional, challenging, and full of endless people. I love people, but this morning I felt drained and socially exhausted. So after apartment hunting and roommate-meeting, I took myself on a date and drove to the highest point in San Diego where you can still see the ocean. Mt. Soledad is high, windswept, and covered in blooming ice-plant. High above the world, you can watch the sea crash mightily upon the shore in absolute silence. I sat in the sunshine's warm embrace and let the wind tease my curls in every direction. It whispered encouragement to my soul, affirmation for my restless heart, and offered invisible hugs for my tired body. I think I'm having a therapeutic affair with sunshine.

Now I'm back among my books, papers, sticky-notes, and list of "to-dos". The chapter for the book we're publishing is due in a few short weeks, and our team is furiously working on our opus section by section. We want to publish our findings in a scholarly journal as well, so we're claiming some independence in our methods - exciting and arduous at the same time. A midterm looms and a paper needs to be written, so I ordered an iced-coffee with extra espresso an a salad to keep me going for days. It's back to the daily grind, but my shoulders still feel the sunshine's kiss.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


This quarter is quickly becoming fascinating. I'm spending every waking moment reading, highlighting articles, and combing the library for literature on an intriguing combination of topics including:

1. The affect of restrictionist border policy on the sexual health of Mexican migrants and ruralization of HIV.
2. How oppressive conditions under the Pinochet regime gave rise to the mobilization and greater political activism of Chilean women in the post-Cold War era.
3. Violence against refugee women: sexual assault and gender based violence in refugee camps.

Super interesting. Super challenging. I'd love to pursue any of these in years down the road. This is why upper-division research is awesome. Go to college kids.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


"To love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face,
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you again."

-Ellen Base, "The Thing Is"

Monday, April 8, 2013

I pass through the day yearning to see you, yet praying I don't. Scanning the passerbys, your face is everyone's. No-ones. I hear your voice, deep and invisible behind me in class, like a cruel mirage of the laughter we once shared. My hand still bears your imprint, my jacket today still had your distinctive smell embedded in the sleeve. Fatal little details.

Do you pass through the day thinking about me? Are you grieving too? Or have you locked yourself away in busyness and responsibility; determined to move on? Are there moments when you also catch yourself unable to breathe, flashbacks of happiness and Indian food swirling before your eyes? Of small city lights, scavenger hunts through your room, piles of green sticky notes in your car, or the feel of my fingers gliding across your arm. Was this all just a fantasy of my own invention, a beautiful thing of my imagination. Are you craving it, missing it, grieving it as well?

Do you miss me? 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

"It's still two human beings trying to get along, so it's going to become complicated. And love is always complicated. But still humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something."  - Eat, Pray, Love