tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
For the past 5 to 10 minutes I've been practising the dance for Unspoken Words. It's really complicated; precise moves executed at the split second, loads of complex turns that I keep stumbling on, one move I swear I've forgotten. My feet (the right one especially) is aching and I'm frustrated that I can't seem to get this right.

As it is, I've also got the Expo Dance, and all the other random dances, to learn and perfect. I don't have the music for the rest of them, so it's a bit difficult, and I keep crashing into lamps whenever I practice those. But I'm trying.

Maybe I'm just moody because it's That Time Of The Month and my hormones have once again gone haywire. Or maybe I'm tired. But I just can't seem to get these dances right, and it's stressing me. It's the first time since I got here that I'm feeling stressed, and I'm a bit worried really.

There has to be a reason why I'm in the dance team to begin with. From what I gather, they look mainly at your interest and comfort level, followed by talent and experience. I enjoy dancing, I'm comfortable with dancing on stage or in public or wherever. Not shy. But this isn't just random dancing; this is serious, coordinated, steps-and-all dance. The last time I did that sort of dance was two years ago and that was for about four months. I'm not a pro. Everyone else is getting it but I'm stuck.

But yet - I've been slotted into the dance workshop. Sure, no guarantees that I'll actually be performing any of these, but it's a step closer. And there has to be a reason why I'm here and not in, say, something as blatantly obvious as public speaking. Do JC, Hiroko, Nina, and the rest want me to challenge myself? Do they really think I can actually do this? Do they think I have potential? Why am I here?

There has to be a reason for me doing this, besides "oh we couldn't figure out where to put you so let's slot you in randomly". Has to be. I can't give up, not now. I have to still keep on working. Even if I haven't the slightest clue why I'm doing this, or whether I really will be doing this on the Celebrations anyway.

Today we went around downtown Boulder - there was an Asian fair going on. Malaysia and Bangladesh weren't represented; oddly, Madagascar was. I found two metaphysical shops there - one mainly based on books and print material, another on herbs and tools and such. I bought a Bat's Head Root, which apparently make your wishes come true; I just got it because of the whole bat connection. And some faerie dust (glitter) as well. They gave me an engraved blessing candle for free, which was cool. I know the prices probably weren't worth it, but hey, it's something interesting at least. Especially in a shop with a parrot-relative named Romeo who thinks he's a lion.

I just hope the Bat Head's Root will grant my wishes of actually getting these dances right. Please let all this effort be worth it.

I went back to the WorldSmart YahooGroup and saw the photos people put up...it's interesting to revisit them after seeing the actual people in comparison. Especially the photo of the staff; before, it was just a set of random faces. Now it's actual people, with voices and ideas and dreams.

Speaking of the staff: they seem to be really physical at times. Pats on the back and shoulder, high fives, winks, "hello baby" (apparently something Tom tells everyone). I don't know if they're just being really friendly or if they're flirting with me. (It's amusing, at least)

I'll probably be off making some air bandung now; we found some rose syrup at the World Market (yet another place without representation from Malaysia or Bangladesh). It has lime in it, so it'll be a very interesting taste and experience.

At least something to sweeten my mind for now.

(Oh yeah and another thing: does anyone know where else I can promote this? I'd like to have some more people reading this, just to meet new folk and have someone to chat with about the whole thing. Thanks.)
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
My photos are on Imagestation, but I haven't quite figured out how to make them public without other people needing to register. Anyone have ideas? I figure there's some sort of a toggle but I haven't figured that out yet.

I'm now an intern with External Relations! These are the PR and admissions side of WorldSmart. I may be getting a special project related to the WorldSmart website; I'll only know tomorrow.

A few days ago we had mini auditions to see our talent and comfort level with singing, public speaking, and dance, as well as a short discussion on photography. The dance we did was extremely complicated and I messed up a lot; I did OK on singing, and I did pretty well on singing. These auditions were to put us in groups for the Whisk performances - dance, vocals, MCing, sign language and pantomime, and something else which I don't remember now.

I thought I would be a shoo-in for MCing, since I talk a lot and keep volunteering to try out. I figured I could have a chance in sign language since I picked it up quite easily. Vocals were so-so. I had no confidence in my dance chances, since I messed up big time and was so supremely uncoordinated. I'd love to perform on stage, even dance; I just thought I won't have the chance.

Today we find out which workshop we're in. What do I get? Dance.

Clearly Nina had too much beer on her birthday. Or something like that (tm Reuben and some other folk).

I love you Nina and I still want to dance please don't kill me eep!

It isn't a guarantee that I will perform, only that we get concentrated training in it. I'd still love to perform; it's such an exhilirating thrill being on stage, such an absolute high. It would be a bit disappointing for me if that doesn't happen...but oh well...

Such is the peril of a self-confessed attention seeker, ha.

Speaking of Reuben - he's in the Singapore news! Lucky guy. He got media attention, and a 50% scholarship. I tried for both and got neither. Bah.

Still have plenty of work to do. I'm in the Bus Team for North America (yet another surprise) so I'll be entertaining everyone on the bus ride, kind of. And there's the other Me Page and Country Pages to do. And a Country Presentation for Malaysia's National Day. And a fashion show. And who knows what else.

I have gone mad indeed.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
1. We still do not know what internships we're getting.

2. I've been offered a special project but nothing's confirmed yet.

3. No one's applied to be technical interns. Poor Gaby.

4. We had a vocal teacher, Anna, come in to teach us the songs. Quite interesting. I had to go and volunteer to sing this super-strange alto-soprano harmony for one of the songs...urgh.

5. Quiche made by my host family is yummy. Quiche made by the Adams 12 facilty is not so yum. This is a shame, as usually their food is VERY yummy.

6. There was a burning smell in the room yesterday. No one could tell what it was.

7. We may have a new song, if Danni and the rest of us can figure out the lyrics.

8. If your name is Emily, Asha, Victor, Marzuki, or Patricia, and you know me well, check your postboxes.

9. Rob's out of the hospital...and then he went back in again. Tonsil trouble. Oh dear.

10. I made my profile page, and it looked crazy. However, it was the most decorated one of the lot so far, and it got a fair bit of attention.

11. The ballet/hip-hop dance is HARD AS HELL.

12. We had a photoshoot yesterday, with some of us in national costumes. It really looked like some sort of a Miss/MR Universe deal.

13. I went through about 3 or 4 costume changes yesterday.

14. Microphones can be really heavy if they're in a suitcase.

15. Neshat, Huning, and I were the Red Roses of the photoshoot because all our outfits had red roses on them.

16. Speaking of red - yesterday night most of us went to the Red Rocks Auditorium, a natural auditorium of sorts since it's made up of these huge red rock formations. We saw Savage Henry (quite good) and The Goonies (fun).

17. There were people at Red Rocks who obviously watched The Goonies and were cheering at certain points of the movie.

18. Tom and Melissa are together. Awww! They're not that obvious about it though, so when Tom told me about it I was quite surprised.

19. People like chanachur.

20. The gay couple, Andy and Rick, are holding their (what seems to be biannual) Pizza Party next Friday. Of course I will be bringing the chanachur.

21. We went up to the Hayman Fire Site today to set the equestarian trail. This involved placing rocks and planks, clearing grass, and collecting rocks. Ow.

22. I have claimed a mound of soil near the trail as Mount Tiara. There's even a giant Rosetta Stone-ish rock in it which is now mine.

23. The river is so PRETTY. I was brought there by the CUSP crew (semi-secretly, since everyone else was working) and it was quite a sight.

24. Udi's makes good lunches.

25. Someone had stuck a tiny US flag to one of the rocks formations near the river. This amused Ginger, my guide, greatly.

26. I was not used to manual labour, especially in high altitudes, and I had a hard time at first - at one point I accidentally dropped a plank Nina and I were holding because I was just too shaky.

27. Collecting rocks at the Rock Mountain (not the Rocky Mountains) was a bit better though.

28. We kept finding rocks for Stone Soup.

29. We're all rocked out.

30. Nina's found her calling - she lifts rocks (and people) from the ground. Whee!

31. Reuben is trying too hard to get an American accent. He's been going "absolutely" all day long.

32. ODV's a good band.

33. We saw a rainbow!

34. Tom went missing for a while and everyone in the staff was looking for him. I went in to search for him and found him running down the stairs. He didn't believe me at first when I told him everyone was looking for him.

35. While looking for Tom, a random person asked me if there was a UN Conference going on.

36. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURENCE!

37. Salisbury Steak and mashed cauliflowers - yum.

38. CONGRATS ZELKJA!

39. EDIT: Grr. Flickr will only show the last 200 uploaded photos, which means a lot of the earlier stuff will go missing very soon. The only way I can get them back is if a get a Pro Account - and I am NOT paying $24.99 for something online. Anyone know a good free photo hosting & display service that does not hold my photos hostage?

And yet again, this isn't everything, so feel free to ask questions.
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
1. If you have any good mainstream or ethnic Malaysian or Bangladeshi music (especially dikir barat vids in WMV since they're so hard to find), please email them to me at divabat@gmail.com - either the files themselves or links to the files uploaded on something like YouSendIt. I've got requests for Sheila Majid & Siti Nurhaliza, and I've found people who are fans of Manbai-ish music and Bollywood-style music, so anything along those lines would be great.

2. If you are in the Denver, Colorado, USA area this month, we are having our first WorldSmart Celebration:

Date: Saturday 20th August 2005
Time: 7 pm onwards
Venue: Northglenn Community Center

More details provided as they come.

Come by and enjoy a great show, learn about all our different cultures, and meet people from as far away as Kenya and Ecuador. And of course Bangladesh and Malaysia, though that would be the same person really.

3. I'm doing a scrapbook page about me for the Crew Bio Scrapbook they're making, and I thought it would be funny if you could give me a one-line description of me for decoration. Kinda like an ultra-condensed testimonial of sorts. So do give your best lines - you can give more than one.

4. Jessica Lan(g)don, a sweet perky girl from South Dakota who's in our crew, is a REALLY GOOD SINGER. Seriously; she's even had the Denver MAYOR ask her to sing for church. Now that's something. So if you go to the celebrations, you'll be able to see (and perhaps hear) her.

5. If you want an information card (and perhaps packet) from WorldSmart, email me your name and address to divabat@gmail.com and we'll mail something over. It's completely confidential and optional.

6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NINA!

Thank you for your attention; in appreciation, here are the Up With People tracks for your listening pleasure. (UWP/WS crew, if you don't want them up here, please let me know and I'll graciously take them down. They probably won't last too long though, since they're in WMA format and on MegaUpload.)

Rhythm Of The World
One To One
Room For Everyone
Unspoken Words
Up With People
Can We Sing A Song Of Peace
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Today was a bit of a tense day.

In the morning we had the Stereotypes activity, where mahjong papers with the names of the countries represented are put up, and people walk around writing their perceptions of the country.

Not many people wrote stuff about Malaysia and Bangladesh - both papers had some "talk fast and loud" comments, which I suspect has more to do with me than anything else. And no, Mahatma Ghandi is NOT Bangladeshi. I was surprised that people thought Malaysia had good governance, after hearing the complaints in the country about the government, and someone wrote "Kjak Rtak", whose meaning I haven't the slightest idea of. Huh. Generally, though, people weren't too surprised at the reaction - they've heard it all before.

What was tense was the discussion at the end of the day about the Capitol visit and guest speaker the day before. Katie had talked about the offensive language the guest speaker was using (e.g. referring to prostitutes as "recycled women") and Marcelle replied that basically we give meaning to words, we should try to understand what their intentions were and whether or not they meant to offend. Katie was upset (she thought she was being lectured - she kinda had a point) and Noelle and Brandi were crying too because Marcelle had mentioned how "nigger" was inoffensive in Brazil but "black" was, and that touched a nerve. It led to a discussion on ethnocentrism (basing things on your own culture) vs. ethnorelativism (basing things on the other culture), and how we should be more conscious of potential triggers.

I personally thought that while everyone had a point, there was still a level of ethnocentrism int he comments. "This is bad because it's bad in my culture therefore it should be bad in yours". It's a definite learning curve and I think all of us will have to learn how to relate to each other without needing to push their buttons. I wonder how they'd survive in a culture which would be offended at their notion of being offended - "You think our culture is WRONG? You think you're BETTER than me?!" - that'd be something.

Thankfully the day wasn't all that stressful. We had our first major Whisk Prep - we were taught the chorus of one of the songs, and also the moves to a few dances. One of them was really complicated - you really need to get the rhythm down right. The other was simpler, but it all depended on your partner and group and if they mess up, you mess up too. There was so much thigh-clapping that my thighs are now bruised...red spots everywhere.

I've handed in my Internship application, and tomorrow there's going to be auditions for singing, dancing, and public speaking (and photography though I'm not too interested in pursuing that fulltime). Let's see how that goes.

Also - I made fried rice for my host family today! It was a bit different; garlic paste, Bombay onions, brown basmati rice, baby carrots, no oyster sauce. I thought it was a bit off, but they loved it, so hey.

Does anyone have any remedies for bruises?
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
1. Denver's really pretty. However, it also makes me really sleepy for some reason.

2. The only thing I had for "lunch" on arrival day were baby carrots in dip, small pretzels, and some Cheetos.

3. I'm already pairing up people in the group (in my head). Only one pair so far, and het, but hey - OTPs are fun.

4. Huning from China was supposed to be on my flight but she was nowhere to be seen. Turns out she missed her flight due to the sheer chaos in the checkin area. She couldn't take the second flight out because it was full with people who were pushed over from the downsized first flight. She only got here sometime in the evening.

5. There was a soccer ball in the hall where we were - around evening, a bunch of the girls decided to hold their own soccer match. Indoors. Quite fun, that.

6. There was a Yathzee and Ludo game set on one of the tables. Chris was trying to teach us how to play Yathzee but none of us got it. Yoga taught us Ludo (I was already familiar with it because I grew up playing it) and we ended up playing that instead.

7. I was messing around with the Yathzee dice holder and got all sixes.

8. While playing Ludo, Chris and Yoga dominated the game while me and Brianne were stuck - you needed to throw a six to start and neither of us had managed that for a few rounds. After a hwile both of us were throwing sixes like crazy and we caught up pretty quickly!

9. I was so sleepy (I didn't sleep much in LA) that I actually too a nap on the table when I was there. When I woke up, Katie had arrived. She was the first person there I hugged, since we were chatting a lot online. She's pretty, and quite hyper, heh.

10. Katie brought along a whole digital video camera set - professional quality. She was demonstrating to us how it worked. I got to use it to record the soccer match going on behind us.

11. The van that brought us to the training center was decorated with silly slogans outside and streamers inside.

12. Part of the Welcome Packet included a pen that doubled as a bubble wand.

13. They were showing videos and photos of previous semesters, and one photo was of two students - one dressed as a leprechaun, the other as a fairy. Between this, #12, and #11, I am convinced that the WorldSmart people are secretly glamourbombers.

14. My host family is Scottish-English. Derek & Valerie Flockhart. They came to the US about 10+ years ago. Valerie wasn't home yet because she was in London for her father's operation and her brother's silver wedding anniversary. She'll be back on Monday.

15, They have two children: Andrew, who's 23, and Mhairi (pronounced Varie) who is a few years older. Mhairi's married and lives nearby; Andrew's moving back home.

16. Andrew's a trumpeter - currently he's playing music for musicals (Wizard of Oz this week!) at the theater. He also used to do karate. And he has an awesome book collection. Clearly he rules, or something.

17. They have two dogs, Sam and Simon. Sam is very manja - affectionate. Simon gets jealous very easily. They're very big, and they scared me the first time I saw them (they were jumping all over me) but we're used to each other now.

18. They occasionally have hummingbirds, foxes, squirrels, and coyotes coming to visit.

19. There's a swing outside the house. Whee!

20. Derek is an inventor of sorts - he works in telecommunications. There are patent certificates all over the office wall. And he's very interested in geneaology. There's an extemsive family tree in the living room and he runs a family tree website.

21. We went to Estes Park today - PRETTY! We went up about 9000 feet but my chest couldn't take it so we went back down. The effect it had on my circulation was interesting, to say the least.

22. They've hosted Up With People kids last semester - one from Texas and one from Brazil. Apparently the Brazillian was a real socialite and went out all night.

23. I must be really boring compared to them because I've just been sleeping the past few days.

24. My parents keep calling everyone they can get a hold of just to get to me. Mum and Dad? CHILL.

25. The WorldSmart crew seem to think Malaysia's this really hightech country after seeing my PDA. Not many people are familiar with the device. They were especially overawed when I showed them that it was a camera too. Man, I am a geek, but I can't possibly be THAT geeky...

26. I haven't had time to write in my actual journal (or heck this one) because I'm either sleepy or busy.

27. We had giant turkey sandwiches for dinner last night. People here eat a lot.

28. I have run out of things to report, so if you want to know more, ask!

EDIT: I could have left this till later, but I just found this out and it was so cool that I had to add this in:

29. One of the host families is a gay male couple.

OK, officially, WorldSmart rocks.

In Denver

Jul. 30th, 2005 08:38 pm
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
The adventure has started! I'm rather sleepy at the moment, so this will be kept short. Apologies in advance for any incoherencies.

The flight to Denver from LA was chaotic. EasyCheckIn wasn't that easy (thank goodness I had a credit card, otherwise I would have been in a bigger bind. As it is, I was to juggle between papers and bags, and my luggage had a mind of its own. United Airlines also suddenly decided that they would downsize the plane, which meant that much of the people were shoved off to another flight later in the day. No way was I giving up my seat now just so I could fly first-class later.

The staff at United were very friendly though. And their biscoff was nice.

I was one of the first to arrive that day...I helped hang around the airport looking for people. The staff are cheery and friendly; nice people. And for you Malaysian Idol fans - one of them is a CARBON COPY of Vick the 3rd Place guy. Seriously.

Most of the WorldSmart crew are here already. We've pretty much made our friends - Katie the documentarian with a digital video camera with her at all times (Victor, you have nothing on her), Brianne the energetic friendly redhead, Noelle from NY, and Chris the UBER COOL MEXICAN CHICA WHO IS NOW MY BEST FRIEND. Well, maybe. We've got two uber-tall people (Andrea and Parker), quite a number of shy ones, a few boisterous ones like myself...mixed bag. There's more coming in the next few days, so yeah, more remains to be seen.

They had an interesting way of linking us to the host families. They gave the host familes and us a passcode ("hostcode") and they'll need to intepret the hostcode in some way they know how. My hostcode was "table tennis"; my host dad took a flat ping pong racquet and taped golf balls to one side. Heh.

I am staying for the next 2-3 weeks in Denver with a Scottish/English family who have been here 22 years. They have two kids in their 20s; one's married, the other's a musician. Their house is GORGEOUS. They also have 2 large dogs (Sam the golden retriever, Simon the boxer mix) which scare me somewhat because they're so big and boisterous.

The host mum is in London due to a family emergency; she'll be back on Monday. The host dad is really sweet. I may meet their host son, Andrew, soon.

I'm feeling sleepy, and it's hard to type on an ergonomic keyboard, so I'll write more later, Feel free to ask questions.

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