tiaramerchgirl: (Default)

We were at Buchenwald concentration camp and saw snow everywhere. Chris and Peder and Tom and some other folks kept throwing snowballs at everyone else (including another visiting group). We watched a movie about the history of Buchenwald - it's just bizzare how something like this could have been going on for so long and be considered OK back then by someone...goodness.

Had to miss out on the tour, though, since my foot was acting up again. Sigh.

We had intense discussions about the dark side of eladership and about how things like the Holocaust and similar stuff could have possibly happened...Nina gave some perspective from her grandparents who went through it in some form, about how you had no choice but to go along because the alternative was a lot worse...some thoughts about how in the end most people go only for their self interests and not many would give them up for someone else...

It made me really think about things that may be going on around me that aren't necessarily good. Am I unwittingly supporting or observing another social tragedy? What will the people of 50 years from now say about us, that we did terribly wrong? What's going on around us that we do not know about because information is controlled?

We had a major surprise that night (it was a long evening). After dinner, we were told to go to the hall quietly in a group. I thought "oh no, not another emergency meeting, who's in trouble now". We all went back to the hall...and it was candlelight. They had arranged tea lights in heart shapesn, put heart pillows and heart decorations everywhere, playing romantic music...

Once everyone was seated, the fun began. The music changed to the Love Medley from Moulin Rouge, and Nina came out dancing with a pillow heart. Then two by two the other staff came out coupled, lipsynching and dancing to the different songs. (It was funny how Meliisa and Tom and Bob and Anke got split up and paired with someone else instead!) After that, Bob talked to usabout how it was a long day and a long trip in general, and that they wanted us to know that they really appreciated us. On the wall were hearts with messages for each of us from a staff member. Mine was from Tom:

Hey Tiara,

You care about so many things & people, and I care about you. You are a fabulous girl! Your enthusiasm and optimism are huge! Thanks for starting the care packet for Nanu. You made a big difference in somebody's life. You will know how to put zour talents into fruitful gifts. You definitely are the fastest typer I've ever seen :)

"It's often in the moments that people feel cared about, they start carrying themselves!"

May this truth inspire you to keep up the good heart and the great person you are!

Up With People

That made me cry so much.

I went up to just about everyone that night and hugged them, told them I loved them too...I hugged Tom the longest because of the note. It really meant a lot to me and it was absolutely perfect timing. I really, really needed that.

Bob and Rob proclaimed me the Original Hugger, because of my ritual of hugging the staff after each Celebration. Bob even threw me (well, my general direction) a heart pillow, and Anke let me keep it. Awh.

We got to see Love Actually that night too...such a fun movie. And it was 5 weeks before christmas, so nice timing. Marina and Celle kept going on about the Brazillian guy that was in the movie (Karl?), hah. But such a great night.

Today we had a gazillion CI projects amongst ourselves - ours was to do a radio show on different countries. Two high school kids and I went to the streets and asked about Malaysia...got a ton of "Never heard of it/Never been ther", but the responses we did get were surprising. Apparently Malaysia is a dictatorship with educated terrorists in the South (where I'm from), loads of jungles, boat people, tigers, and men with hats that have something sticking out of the head. Huh.

Hopefully my presence here will correct some misconceptions...oh for goodness sake, terorist boat people?!

Now off to cuddle my heart pillow and be in love all over again.


Nov. 21st, 2005 09:45 pm
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Super quick update.

Am in Erfurt. Was nauseous in the morning, so was rather moody, but got better.

Got to see the Wartburg castle - so pretty! Majorly long walk though, argh. I`m surprised I sisn`t sprain my foot again.

mmm tomato soup and hot chocolate.

Am staying with Dee Ann - woo hoo! this should be fun.

Going to another concentration camp tomorrow. Yipes.

And...I´m out.
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
My foot is recovering. I can walk on it now without crutches (for the most part). And no more thrombosis injections, huzzah.

CI was...interesting. People (ok, Yosh) kept wanting to shuffle me from one CI to another because they thought thez needed more/less people. ("But my FOOT, Yosh!") Either way I was kind of useless...the Ford people and the other locals pretty much got everything taken care of.

I did get to learn some nifty circus juggling skills - I got the spinning-plates-on-sticks thing really easily! Irina was frustrated thatshe couldn't get it as quickly. It's all about moderation, and holding the stick. But it's fun. I walked up to the workroom with the spining plate asking if anyone wanted spun soup. At least I know a new parlour trick.

On the second CI day, besides taking a gazillion photos, I was having fun making a list of distinctive things people say and do. Some were a lot more obvious than others - I now have about half the group covered. I wonder what other people will come up with.


I actually managed to dance (and act homeless) on Celebration Day. I'm not entirely sure Nina realized that my foot was sprained,but no matter; I did vow to myself (after Los Angeles) never to miss a Celebration. It's too much fun. Especially Huddles! I swear, I'll be doing the Huddle in my sleep.

We did this exercise where groups were given snippets of music and come up with some sort of performance based on a theme. Ours had a song from Ragtime (something about being in America in Yiddish) and our theme was Immigration and Cultural Encounters...after what seemed like ages of talking, the group finally settled on a short pantomime involving chairs and not letting K sit on any of them. We were rather intimidated by the other two groups (we went frist but the other 2 were AWESOME) but Nina and Rob thought the chairs were a strong visual, so hmm.

A bunch of new people have been hired for the next Up with People Program - two Davids (one for communications, one for something else I don't really remember) and a bunch of the Road Staff - Dee Ann for curriculum development; Yoshimi, Anke, and Tom for admissions; Nina for show development; and Bob for a permanent position as manager for program managers (OK, that's not the actual title, but that's kind of the idea of what he's doing). It's great that they all have these new jobs, though that may mean (definitely in the case of Bob) that they won't travel anymore. Sigh.

Good news is that new jobs should be made available by April, so remind me to check the website then.

Host Family Day is more like a Personal Day, really. Woke up late for breakfast so have been snacking on chocolate instead.

Tomorrow - ERFURT! Hopefully with a host family that clicks better. Man, I want to go to a hair salon just for a shampoo.


Nov. 14th, 2005 08:43 pm
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
OK very quick update.

Before reaching Köln, we all stopped at Bonn, former captial of Germany. Some of us - me included - went to the Deutsche Welle media station and saw how they did their radio shows. I got to do a voice sample, woo! Too bad I don´t speak German otherwise I could apply for an internship or a place at their Akademie...

Our host code? Singing a given song. My song? Aqua´s Barbie Girl. Danni deliberately chose that for me, I know it.

I´m staying with Eston, and 15 Fathers and Brothers in a missionary house. (They work as missionaries in Africa and this is the admin area) The only other woman here besides me and the Virgin Mary is a secretary that comes in during the day. And the Internet apparently costs €1 for God knows how long.

God help me.


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