i was glassy-eyed after a meeting with one of my professors today. i’d arranged to speak with him briefly about the possibility of writing an exploration paper, to be incorporated into my thesis, for his class. to this, he agreed. so far so good.

but, he cautioned:
“i advise you to pick a topic, a population, a question, that you don’t care about”.

that was say february?

fack why didn’t i listen?

the very fact that i get teary and overly sentimental about talking about my potential research subjects should have been enough. red flags! the water-works are literally flowing.

well. chalk it up to experience and, sure enough, it is turning out to be a great learning experience.

now. if it were only for not of a deadline.

guess it’s a good lesson to learn now… lest i become an 11 year doctoral student in the future.


neither here nor there

September 7, 2007

was supposed to move yesterday, but now i’m neither here nor there.  half of my belongings are in the trunk of my car and the other half are here in the room that awaits new belongings. 

while i was anxious about moving, i now just want to get it over with.  start already!  plus, having said goodbye to anyone for whom i had the drive to do so, now i’m stuck in this no man’s land thinking about random crap all day and night long. 



September 4, 2007

want is such a loaded word when family is involved.

for instance:

“do you want to go our grandfather’s apartment to wait with his corpse while the police determine the cause of death?”  (meanwhile, i’ll be watching the OC series on dvd… don’t worry about packing your life to move for grad school in another country)

in response:

well, i think only to myself: do you want me to be honest, feel guilty, and aggravated?

“of course, let’s go.”

2pm – June 23rd: On train, somewhere btwn Amsterdam and Hannover
The little cars driving around the roadworks in my mind are speeding uncontrollably today. determined somehow, and yet, w/o much direction & confused, they are banging into one another. There are collisions inVolving multiple thoughts & those which, try as I may, keep going off- track.

Collision example:
Conversations: A) Ppl/Place – B) Topic/Words
1A) Prof/Spain – 1B) Social Entrepreneurship
2B) Pre-MBA/Canada- 2B) UK – project
3A) Monzy/Italy – 3B) complicity theory
4A) Me/somewhere in the future – 4B) Abet

1.concept…part of larger theory
2.example of concept from #1
3.unrelated, yet related, theory… to #1 & #2
4.critical factor

underlying thoughts:
“says who?”
Frick i need to do some work.

trip tick off

June 12, 2007

from the start, i know i never should have stepped upon that lonesome looking scale in the bathroom.
but i never expected it to say i’ve gained 15lbs!
how is that even possible? and yes, the other girls confirmed for me that it is correct.
at this rate, it’s a pound per day?

well, i’m off to belem – the most western point in europe for some must-have pastries.

london to paris

June 4, 2007

it was my first full day in paris today, but before i get into that, i want to just finish writing about the rest of my stay in london.

london, i think, is a bit too fast for me.  while i’m all for public transit, i like having options.  i can’t imagine driving or cycling in that city.  though i like the small cars that are conducive to parking, the price of a spot is outrageously expensive, let alone truly ever grasping the right-sided driving.  plus, while i like that there are many designated cycling lanes, i think i’d slow the flow of others who appear to be speed demons with superb skills.  instead, i walked and now my feet are paying the price (see backpacking tips).

the speed is also related to heavily trafficked areas.  i now understand why they call certain areas “circuses” (e.g. picadilly circus, oxford circus, etc.).  it’s far too rammed of ppl with no direction and thus, i found it frustrating – even on vacation, with no direction in particular of my own. 

we opted for indian food in an area called “brick lane”, which i’d relate to toronto’s “little india” – but much cleaner and more diversely attended.  quirkily enough, one of her co-workers tells pinger that “aside from india, london is the only place to get real indian”.  *we both roll our eyes*  this street is quiet busy and there are plain-clothes ppl hanging out of doors that try to “entice” or “encourage” walkbys to come in by saying, “table for two?”.  It’s as though they’ve made the street outside their door into the entrance of their restaurant.  We end up at The Standard Balti House, for Bangladeshi cuisine, and it was good – but to be honest, the name says it all… it was standard.

yesterday morning, pinger led us in a 50 minute jog around the river.  i really needed it since i was feeling the bloated for the last couple of days.  afterwards we headed on foot to chinatown and an area, near a street populated mostly by middle eastern shops and restaurants.  these cultural alcoves remind me of other ‘multicultural’ cities and i’m only slightly surprised that the chinatown is so small, especially since i noticed the chinese ppl here all seem to be tourists (or students, pinger said).  anyhow, we’re in londo-mideast for pinger to get a brazillion wax in a salon known for the best aesthetician and hair-stylist in london.  the shop and ppl are surprisingly small and unpretentious.

after quickly packing, we were on our way to metro station, which thankfully is close since my feet were screaming from the blisters i’d developed.  pinger and i made short of our goodbyes (just as they were in toronto after mj’s wedding), since it will be only a little while before she and i see each other again.  the ride was really short and soon i was aboard my train to paris.  since i’d been a bit confused and booked late, the only ticket option was first class and cost a fair chunk.  but at least i was comfy (no one beside me and the car was mostly empty), had a great snack with 2 glasses of red wine (included with my fare), and a long nap (much needed).

immediately when i arrived at the gare du nord station, i remembered that i really hadn’t considered “the language” thing.  it’s not that i thought everything would also be in English, i guess i just had not even thought about it at all.  no problem though.  i found my way to the bathroom, which was called “McClean” – haha – and cost 1 Euro per use.   the attendants couldn’t break a 50, so they let me in for free.  then, some random person gave me their metro ticket!  i half-guessed which route to take and off i went!  it all went without a hitch and i met matty under the statue at Odeon station.

i completely, utterly, absolutely LOVE david’s place.  it’s in the centre of paris, which is quite busy, but down a back alley and very quiet.  it’s like a safe-haven in the middle of chaos…i’m not sure how else to describe it.  the doorknob downstairs (and upstairs) is in the centre of the door; just inside there is somewhat of a cobblestone foyer, a courtyard surrounded by the units above, and between them there’s a spiral staircase made of wood.  david and matty live on the 3rd floor.  inside, the open area is large enough for a dining room and living room (which is doubling as my bedroom).  the space is used wisely for sleeping and entertaining, while the kitchen and bathroom are very compact.  it’s amazing how much fits in the kitchen though, and david has already served two great meals from it!

when i arrived, david and matty had dinner guests.  one couple live in paris and had been together for 37 years! and the other guy was visiting enroute to a conference.  the conversation was lively, entertaining, and interesting.  i’ve always tended to like talking with older people, and this group seemed to come from lifestyles i could only imagine learning about. 

david served confit du canard with a compote or something apple-y and brown bread to start.  as our entree, we had duck that’s prepared in duck fat (i can’t remember what it’s called now), roasted parisienne potatoes, and green beans.  four different cheeses and baguettes followed, and finally a cake called, “frivolous heart” which had 3 layers of chocolate mousse hidden beneath a thin chocolate glaze.  the bakery at which david purchased this cake serves celine dion, and asked david to “say hi!” next time he was there 🙂

the next day (today), i was feeling extremely full still and ventured out for a walk and coffee on my own.  we hadn’t gone to bed until 3am’ish, and so they were both still asleep.  when i returned they were on their way to brunch and i decided to stay back since now i was tired and needed a nap.  i probably should have gone since one person they were meeting, an ex of david’s, is extremely familiar and well-connected to uChicago (for which making living arrangements for september is now stressing me out).  anyhow, i napped and went for a decent jog around the seine, saw an important gov’t building, the eiffel tower, some street wide rollerblading event, etc.

afterwards, i saw the same things on a walk with matty.  we also went into the louvre (which had free admission today only) and saw all of the obligatory things (mona lisa, stuff i remember vaguely from grade 12 art class, etc.), which i’ll do again (a bit better) with calvin.   when we returned, david had prepared for us another fabulous meal.  this one was a bit lighter (thankfully).  we had springrolls and salad (more or less, but better than how i’ve just described it), cheese and baguettes, and fruit.

i’ve just finished an entire bag of wasabi peas and realize that this post is getting far too long! 

My mobile and land lines or electronic & snail mail boxes are indirect extensions of me.
The point is, poking me physically is likely to result in a reaction – positive or negative – but continually poking me via my indirect extensions is fucking annoying.
I do not expect you to be at my disposal 24/7; please don’t expect that of me.

Please, entertain me…
Imagine a door that separates us.
Sometimes I’m behind the door doing something (anything!) in a room and when you come knocking, my choices are: answer the door, or not.
Sometimes, I’m not even in the room. Here, your choices include: leave a message, or not.

Any number of reasons may result in an unanswered knock or delayed return communication. For instance, I’m in the shower, out of the country, sick, don’t even know you knocked since I was on the subway or my hearing is acting up, and lo and behold… maybe I was busy.

Problem Solving Exercise:
Urgency sometimes causes reactions that may be considered otherwise inappropriate, or just plain irritating. This is an exercise to practice the avoidance of annoying others in the heat of your urgent dilemma.

Ok, so you need to talk to me because you have an issue you consider urgent.
You knock. Hello, anybody there?
No answer.
Here, refer to the above choices.
An hour has elapsed and still no response from me.

Yes, I know your problem is important to you.
Yes, I believe you value my input.
Yes, I want to help.
Yes, I am your friend still.

– Breathe in, and then, out. Repeat.

– Consider others’ importance ranking indirect extensions

Note: Not everyone feels the same way about their indirect extensions. In fact, some may consider, say their cell phone to be a “direct line” – not me though.

– Remember importance is relative.

Note: It may be relatively of less importance, compared to their deadline in 5 minutes.

– Don’t forget we don’t all work on the same timeline.

Note: People keep different schedules – do not expect everybody to be in sync with your urgent moment.

– Seek out another person for assistance.

Note: DO NOT seek out another person to contact me b/c you think I’m avoiding you, you ninny.

– Follow-up with another knock.

Note: A follow-up knock is sometimes necessary, but try to work out an appropriate time elapse. Just ONE more is enough!

FINAL WORD: OK, so i’m guilty of not responding at times. Take it as my loss when I don’t make it to the biggest, baddest jam of the century or when I miss the opportunity to help out my dear friend. I would have wanted to, seriously. But don’t let me ruin your day when I don’t respond… embrace the opportunity to party it up or make decisions solo.

FINAL FINAL WORD (erhm, sentence): Don’t stop knocking though… I do love y’all!