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. 

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