Kamis, 30 April 2009

When Pigs Fly

It was once said that a black man will be president when pigs fly--and now, 100 days into his presidency and bam!...swine flu.

Selasa, 28 April 2009

21 Days Until.....

...I walk off the plane, take a deep breath--I'm home.
*Image courtesy of Cup of Jo

5 Things

5 Things I'll never be able to pull off:

1. Pretending to like animals (okay, so I have a puppy. I had a moment of weakness when I saw him curled up in his crate at the pet store. Moment ended when puppy managed to chew up all belongings, shed EVERYWHERE and keep me up all night. Have realised that animals are good from a distance)

2. Eating spaghetti without loosing my sex appeal (actually, eat/drink anything without losing my sex appeal. On my first date with my first boyfriend, I lifted my glass to take a drink, missed my mouth and soaked my conveniently white shirt with iced tea)

3. Wearing flats (I absolutely CANNOT walk in flat shoes. I wear heels almost all the time)

4. Dating someone shorter than I am (see #3. I'm 5'9 and wear 2 inch, if not taller, heels almost everyday. I just can't phathom leaning down to kiss someone. Prince charming, please be 6" or over....)

5. Calling futbol "soccer": (I'm foreign....it's always going to be futbol to me!! p.s. Cristiano Ronaldo, if you are reading this, I don't know how tall you are but I would be willing to make an exception to rule # 4 for you.....just sayin)

Jumat, 24 April 2009

We Have Not Forgotten

Today is the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The first genocide of a century, it literally paved the way for the Holocaust. 94 years ago, my relatives, along with millions of other Armenians, were cruely, systematically and mercilessly killed by the Ottoman Turks. 94 years later, Turkey, the United States, and several other nations have yet to officially recognize that the Genocide happened. Below is a very brief history, as well as quotes pertaining to the issue. Also, please be warned that there are pictures in this post which are starkly disturbing. A picture is worth a thousand words, but looking at the intense suffering, caught in a camera flash, leaves me speechless.

Please educate yourself on this issue. Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power. The ignorant do not change the world, the powerful do.

On August 22, 1939 a week before the German invasion of Poland, when asked by his officers how he thought he was going to get away with the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler made the following speech :



"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians". Indeed.

Long after Hitler, the Armenian Genocide is still refererd to as "the forgotten genocide," the "hidden holocaust," and "the secret genocide".

Between 1915 and 1918, the Ottoman Empire, controlled by Muslim Turks, carried out a systematic, premeditated, centrally planned elimination of its Christian Armenian minority. This genocide was preceded by a series of massacres from 1894-1896, then followed by massacres begininning in 1920. The Armenians went through the deportations, desecration of their churhes, burining of libraries and ruination of towns and villages. Their goods and assets--such as homes, farms, bank accounts, etc.--were transferred to the Turks. More than one million Armenians perished as a result of either execution, starvation, disease, harsh environment, or abuse. Surviving Armenians could not settle in their former homes, they moved to any country that could afford them refuge.





Genocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political or cultural group. The Association of Genocide Scholars and the Community of Holocaust Scholars affirm that the extermination of the Armenians was genocide. In June of 2000, leading Holocaust scholars published a statement in the New York Times entitled "126 Holocaust Scholars Affirm the Incontestable Fact of teh Armenian Genocide and Urge Western Democracies to Officially Recognize It".


Almost a century has passed since these atrocities were committed, and still, there is no apology from Turkey, no reparations were made. Indeed, the nearest successful example in the modern era of denial is the 94 years of official denial by successive Turkish governments of the genocide against the Armenians. The West, especially the United States, has colluded by not referring to the massacres in the United Nations, ignoring memorial ceremonies, and surrendering to Turkish pressure in NATO and other strategic arenas of cooperation. Turkey has managed to bully much of the world, including the United States, into silence by trading political, millitary and financial favors for denial. Sadly, the international community has show great talent in playing along with Turkey's claims of denial.


This cannot go on. How can we, as a nation, as a world, as THE HUMAN RACE, continue to deny the FACT that the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was GENOCIDE. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. A look at today's world shows this to be true. The Armenian genocide paved the way for the Holocaust and for current genocides. Just as there was no U.S. activist response to the Armenian genocide, there is now a stunning lack of action towards the Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese genocides.


Currently, Armenian churches that were once historical monuments (Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity) are being used as Turkish prisons and other state institutions. Imagine the uproar if synagogues in Germany were to be used as state prisons. Why is there no uproar when it comes to the Armenians?

The Armenian Genocide haunts us today. It is an open wound for every Armenian and a gash on the face of humanity. Recognition of the Armenian Genocide will close one of the darkest chapters in humanity and pave the way for the normalization and enforcement of international human rights.

"History is waiting for that honest Turkish leader who will acknowledge his ancestors' biggest crime ever, who will apologize to the Armenian people, and who will do his best to indemnify them, materially and morally, in the eyes of the world".


Until then, it would be wise for the world to remember that, in the words of Albert Einstein, "the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing". (Peter Balakian)


For more information, please take the time to browse the links below:

Rabu, 22 April 2009

Excuse Me While I Stuff My Face

I'm an embarrassment to myself. There, I said it. I am a real-world Bridget Jones (minus the hot British men). Not a single day goes by where I don't

a) trip over myself (despite YEARS of dance lessons)
b) say something incredibly stupid without thinking (or, even worse, after thinking) and/or
c) [insert all possible forms of humiliation here]

I used to convince myself that this was endearing. Cute. Who, after all, doesn't like Bridget Jones??

Well, it's a little difficult to convince myself I'm being endearing when I manage to shove half a muffin into my mouth just as my boss comes up to the desk to speak with me. Even harder when he asks me a question and I try franticly to chew faster in order to answer, jaws moving back and forth like a camel (or, more appropriately, a cow).

Maybe the endearing part was when my face turned a deep shade of crimson usually reserved for Merlot. Yea, that's it.

Selasa, 21 April 2009

Féminité

"Je ne veux pas être celle qui mène. Je refuse d'être le chef. Je veux vivre dans tout le mystère et la richesse de ma féminité. Je veux un homme qui se couche sur moi, toujours sur moi. Sa volonté, son plaisir, son désir, sa vie, son travail, sa sexualité : voilà la pierre de touche, le levier de commande, mon pivot. Ca m'est égal de travailler, de tenir les rênes sur le plan artistique et intellectuel ; mais comme femme, oh ! mon Dieu, comme femme je veux être dominée. Je me moque que l'on me dise de compter sur moi-même, de ne m'accrocher à personne - tout cela, j'en suis capable - mais je veux être poursuivie, baisée, possédée par la volonté d'un homme, à son heure et selon ses ordres"
-Anaïs Nin
*image courtesy of Le Love
(my translation)
"I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femininity. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality; here is the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically; but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated. I don’t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling, be all that I am capable of doing, but I want to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding."
I'm all for women's rights and consider myself a strong, independent, intellectual human being. But, as Anais Nin said, when it comes to truly being a woman, all layers are stripped away. I just want to indulge in my femininity and let a man's embrace, his being, devour me whole. When I put aside all control, when I let go of all my "rights" and succumb to the most basic instinct--that of being pursued, of being wanted--that is when I truly feel like a woman. There's something feral, carnal, passionate and inherently natural about letting go and enjoying the age old ritual of a man pursuing a woman.

Senin, 20 April 2009

Moving Forward (Full Speed Ahead!!)

I’ve been thinking a lot these past few months about where I want to go in life and how I’m going to get there. At night, I close my eyes and try to see myself in the next few years. The image is always the same….I am in Europe (read: Paris) working with a human rights organization, traveling the world. What has kept me awake at night all these months, often for hours, is HOW to get there. So many paths, so many choices to make.

Thankfully, this past week I’ve received some good news that’s put my mind at ease. I’ve reached a point of clarity and, for now, the road ahead seems simple. I finally know how to get to where I want, NEED, to be.

I’ve been accepted to the University of Illinois-Chicago Masters in Political Science program. I will start classes this Fall and continue into Spring of 2010. Then, in September 2010 I will be permanently moving to Paris. I’ll be finishing the remainder of my MA coursework/thesis work at Sorbonne and, afterwards, looking for a job with an NGO somewhere in Europe.

I feel such a calm KNOWING that I am on my way to fulfilling my dreams. Of course, I’m going to have to make some sacrifices to get there. In August I will most likely move back in with my parents in order to save money. This means that I will be commuting back and forth from the city—combine that with working full time and evening classes and there is no doubt that there will be days where I’ll be banging my head against the table. BUT I have to keep myself focused on the light at the end of the tunnel (PARIS!!) and remind myself that the sacrifices I make now—the commuting, the loss of freedom, etc.—are all for a (very) good cause.

Selasa, 14 April 2009

Stifled

" He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach.

By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others- the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad.

I am not sad. I am not sad.

Because his life has unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping.

And by midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad."

-Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Senin, 13 April 2009

(Some) Friends are Not Forever

I have a problem with burning bridges. It's not that I'm afraid to move on (I CRAVE change, new people and new places), I just hate to leave things unresolved. I remember when I was little, my mom told me that when I am older I will be able to count on one hand my TRUE friends, those that will be with me forever. I'm beginning to see how very right she was. I have accumulated many "friendships" over the years, I've met people who I thought would be in my life for many, many years to come.

Unfortunately, several of my friendships have reached their ending points these past few weeks---some endings were bitter and ugly, and others were passive, calm. I've had to remind myself that everything happens for a reason and, now more than ever, I see who my true friends are, those that really WILL be there for a lifetime.

This morning I got the following email in my inbox--the philosophy below is one that, I think, we all need to keep in mind.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong -doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Rabu, 08 April 2009

Cook Islands

Dear Prince Charming,


Please take me here. I will iron your shirts forever.


















(All images from Cook Islands Visitor's Guide, unless otherwise noted on photograph)

Help Me Pack!!

I am leaving on May 19th for a little European Adventure! I can't express how unbelievably EXCITED I am!!!!! I am a travel fanatic, a gypsy at soul--I CRAVE travel 24/7. Imagine my disbelief when I first heard of Pueblo Ingles, a program where Spanish professionals from Spain and English speakers from all over the world come together for a week of English immersion. The best part? For us English speakers, its FREE!!! I pay only my airfare to Madrid, and the rest of my costs (food, lodging, etc.) are completely covered by the program. The program has several venues, I'll be located in La Alberca, a small town in the southern part of Salamanca. It was the first of Spain's country villages to be declared a National Historical Monument. In short, it's a gorgeous town and my only job while I am there is to speak English!!

Afterwards, I'll be heading to PARIS!!! I can't wait---it feels like I'm going home (and someday, it will be!). I've thought of Paris EVERY. SINGLE. DAY since I left last June, and I never thought I'd have the opportunity to go back again so soon.

Now, the problem is packing.

Packing light has never been in my vocabulary. It comes with being a Libra, I'm indesisive. However, I do remember what a pain it was last year to drag my (v. heavy) suitcase down Metro steps, accross bridges and cobblestone streets. This time, I am determined to pack lightly. And avoid waiting in baggage claim and those pesky check-in fees!

Is it possible to pack for a 15-20 day trip with only a carry-on suitcase (I'll also have a sort of over the shoulder satchel to take with me as a second carry-on for the plane) ??? I'll have access to laundry facilities during my trip, and I really only need two pairs of shoes (cute flats and black heels).....but its so hard to leave things behind!

Any suggestions???
"En la vida hay tres cosas que no vuelven atrás: la flecha lanzada, la palabra pronunciada y la oportunidad perdida."
-Anónimo


Selasa, 07 April 2009

Vacation, Anyone?





My birthday isn't until September, but I'm already planning a little vacation to celebrate (must!feed!travel!addiction!)I can't decide where to go....originally I thought of doing a girl's weekend in Vegas. I've never been and the thought of free (I give myself SOME credit) drinks and a let loose weekend is very enticing. But then I saw these pictures of Cabo San Lucas and now I'm having a hard time getting the image of myself sipping a margarita on the beach out of my head. So....which should it be: Vegas or Cabo?

Like No Tomorrow



Don't be afraid of death. Be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.
-Tuck Everlasting

My greatest fear has always been death. Add the fact that I'm a hypochondriac and you have a pretty miserable combination. It doesn't help that WebMD diagnoses all my symptoms as possible signs of a brain aneurism. Fear of dying is a very debilitating fear. When I was younger I used to go days without sleeping because I was afraid I would die in my sleep. Losing my Grandfather last March was a reality check. Suddenly, I was confronted with death and had to deal with it, whether I liked it or not. A friend recommended a book called "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying". I read it, and, although it didn't magically cure me of my fear, it taught me that, in a way, we're all dying, so we better learn how to live.

Senin, 06 April 2009

C'est La Vie



Life isn't supposed to be an all or nothing battle between misery and bliss. life isn't supposed to be a battle at all. and when it comes to happiness, well, sometimes life is just okay, sometimes it's comfortable, sometimes wonderful, sometimes boring, sometimes unpleasant. when your day's not perfect, it's not a failure or a terrible loss. it's just another day. -Barbara Sher

Jumat, 03 April 2009

Am I Asking Too Much??

The ONLY time i have EVER gotten a haircut that didn't cause me to wear a hat for several weeks afterwards was the one I got in Montreal. Tired of botch-ups I wandered into the hotel salon, plopped myself down in a velvet chair and, before I could even explain what I was looking for to the hairdresser, she looked me up and down, took the scissors in her hands and said, "Relax darling, I know EXACTLY what you need". Forty minutes later I was looking at myself, proud owner of the Perfect!Haircut! Bangs and all.

After 22 years of screw-ups, it was about time.



I came back to Chicago and, eventually, my bangs grew out. No problem, I thought, I'll just stop by the nearest salon and ask them for a trim. Famous last words. Let's just say I wore my "bangs" clipped back for the next three months until they no longer resembled an experiment gone wrong.

Since then, I have tried (VERY unsuccessfuly)several times to have my bangs cut. Now that they're "in style", I see girls with perfect bangs walking around everywhere and I have to resist the urge to stop, grab one by the shoulders and BEG her to tell me where she got a decent haircut (unfortunately, you are too far away!). Wherever it is, I haven't discovered it yet.

Am seriously considering flying to Montreal just for a haircut. Considering the money I'll save on hair-pins, it might be worth it.

Kamis, 02 April 2009

Ooof

*Phew* Crisis averted. All paperwork is in, just a matter of being patient and hoping for a *big* envelope, not a small one.

I hate waiting. My plans for the next two years hinge on these results and I'm so anxious to start planning, one way or the other.

Universe, let's speed things up a little.