Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

whirlwind begins

we have only been in india for 3 days, but it feels like weeks. i definitely did not schedule us on the quality of life tour. that said, we are having a pretty fun time with lots of adventure. we are in jodhpur and tomorrow are heading off to see teh floating palaces of udaipur.

today we took the last of our animal rides--that would be a camel ride through the desert. sounds romantic and exotic? reminded us a little bit of el centro. i decided that it might be my life calling to open up a camel ride outfit in el centro.

anyway, elephants a few days ago were pretty cool going up to the amber fort which was totally amazing and had lots of incredible inlay work and tunnels and cool passages. sadly a lot of teh cool architecture we have been observing has to do with a long history of keeping women secluded and away from all society. like awesome little windows so they can peek down at the society they cant partake in. so they have these big gorgeous buildings in which they were held virtual prisoner. yeah, this country isnt really magical or anything--there are a lot of free roaming cows, pigs, and trash. but i do not wish to take away from them their hot turbans, fabulous music, and awesome fashion. corinne and i have been taking full advantage of the opportunity to wear as many accessories as possible. anyway, off to see more rajasthan. many many pictures will be albumized and posted.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

in a mirror darkly

I am sitting on a gold couch in the Blackstone hotel in Chicago. Design-wise this hotel is the Singapore airlines of hotels. I am in love with it. Not the pimp gold couch necessarily, but definitely my incredible room and bathroom. if it was just a little larger and had a terry cloth robe it would be nearly taj like.

argh, so i get this email from the International Justice Mission today: Beginning this week, 300 new IJM Freedom Partners will have their first year’s giving matched dollar-for-dollar – enabling IJM to rescue more victims of slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence and illegal land seizure.

as if i needed to have more shit(aka wonderful, lifegiving organizations) to tithe to. you know what i have realized? i am not cheap. i thought i was cheap, because see, there is something about the matching aspect of this opportunity that really speaks to me. the two-for-oneness of it. but actually, and if you have met me for any length you will recognize this: i am not that concerned about saving money. but i am very concerned with cheating the system. and if there is a chance to do twice the amount of good with my money and cheat this poor matching donor sap out of his/her money, well, i find that VERY compelling. at first i was like, wow, why is it THIS that is pushing me over the edge to reorganize my budget for IJM? and i was thinking, i bet it's because i like a good deal. but not really. it's because i want to steal something that isnt mine.

that reminds me of a story from when i lived in taiwan. melissa needed help with something and since i was virtually taskless, i told her i would help. but i wasnt supposed to. and i told melissa that by pretending this was a highly illicit and secret activity i would be much more excited about it. she indulged me by passing it to me quickly and referring to it in euphemisms. and it was one of the highlights of my work life. well, the intrigue. clearly i cant remember what it was i actually did for her.

corinne and i leave for india on friday. we are so excited. the only non-exciting thing is that we will be away from owen for so long. and trying to explain such things is just futile. for example, he came with corinne to drop me off at the airport. he wanted to come on the plane with me, and i said i wished he could and that i wish i could put him in my suitcase. and when he kept insisting, i told him (because i don't speak 4 year old, okay) "going on plane trips is very special and expensive and would cost a lot of money and i can't take you this time, but i would like to someday, let's plan on it" the concepts of "i wish i could" and someday and plan are totally lost on him. and he kept crying and so corinne gave him a penny at which point he said that now we had money to pay for him. and i said no, honey i can't. at which point he was bawling uncontrollably and i said "i'm sorry owen, i can't...it's not my fault" and he said "yes yes, it IS your fault, it is ALL your fault". which is hilarious but sort of true. i mean, if i REALLY wanted to take him on my trip, i suppose i could have paid for a ticket for him and babysitters while i am training. well, now that i think about it..i probably would have needed ID for him, right? anyway, i love the freedom and honesty of the four year old. yes, it is your fault. it is YOUR fault that i am sad and YOUR fault i cant go on the airplane. it reminded me uncomfortably of some accusations i may or may not have thrown at one God of the universe perhaps in the not so distant past. i'm not sure if i hope God sympathetically laughs at/with me like i laughed at owen. oh, how adorable she is with her limited perspective and understanding, awwwwwwwwww. there is also the question if god tries (like a particular auntie) to forcibly kiss the julie while crying and if, in my way, i am like "noooo kisses, noooo kisses! it is all YOUR FAULT."(like a particular four year old). perhaaaaaaapppppssss?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

i would like to present you with a gift: a picture of myself.

One of my favorite memories to date involves a trip to St. Petersburg. As we were walking through the Hermitage looking at...Van Eyke? Charity recounted a story about Czarina katherine the great in which she managed to convince some idiotic English dignitary to part with 13 Van Eykes (or something) in exchange for one portrait of...HERSELF! it's a story that always make sme chuckle, even if i have the details wrong. it just sounds right. and is so russian. well, queen elizabeth totally pulled a catherine the great when meeting with barack obama. he and michelle gave the queen a personalized ipod with video footage of some nostalgic trip she took through virginia to see the land her predecessors lost, and they also gave her a rare songbook. She in turn gave barack and michelle a signed portrait of HERSELF! and prince philip, the afterthought. hysterical. i've often wished i had the chutzpah to offer such a trade myself. maybe at starbucks: I don't have any funds, but i will trade you an americano for the chance to take a digital photo with me. how bout it?

so speaking of outrageousness. wait. before i say anything else. to my great shame, i forgot to mention the glorious meeting I had with shannon and kim in new hampshire. and it really is remiss after they drove an hour each way and in fact ferried me around godforsaken nashua to find feminine products. in fact, since we lamely forgot to take a picture of the 3 of us, this will have to do until our next meetup:

i love you girls, i love you more than hugo chavez. and shans, i was thinking of you today when the hotel gym was suddenly filled with lanky, crazy junior high or early high school boys from one of the million booker t washington schools in the country. and of course it was the one day since last november where i wore my hillary clinton for president shirt. rats, so much for solidarity.

in other news, today sam and i went out to get dinner. we had seen a brazilian steakhouse we were going to try but it was SO INSANELY COLD outside that we thought we would die if we had to walk another block and that's when we spotted a mortons a block away and decided to go there instead. yeah, we just happened in on the mortons. um, so mortons is really expensive in case you didn't know. we nearly walked out. but then we realized that if we eat really really cheaply the rest of the week, we can probably swing it. God in heaven. yes, it was the best steak i have ever had. or at least as good as the other best steak i have ever had, which i think might be the peppercorn butter steak at chaya. whatever. it was insane and so very awesome. so while i am guessing i don't have an iron deficiency, this did absolutely nothing to help my stupid high cholesterol. in fact i believe i had a case of angina just sitting there.

p.s. my travel agent in india added me on her gmail chat list so she can talk travel without me using my screechy skype. and she always has these uber cheesy inspirational sayings as her status. yesterday was "Believe in yourself" and today's is "consider things from every angle." thank you, my daily fortune cookie. but, if you are going to be a fortune cookie, have the decency to be one that actually predicts stuff. like, "luck will find you next tuesday." or "you will find yourself on an elephant ride on april 18th"