tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
IT'S SNOWING!!!!!

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!

TOM
Up With People
2005


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.
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
The last Celebration in Japan went really well. I wasn't terribly woozy, the Circles actually made sense, and we had two people for Shima Uta (which was fun). People were gossiping about my homeless-person-ness (I wish I knew what they were saying exactly, it was kinda funny) and even Peder was laughing, calling me "my little homeless person".

Danni got stood up this time; Kara missed her cue. Usually it's the other way around. And while flinging my gloves away after the Work Dance, I hit an audience member (everyone was on the floor). Oops.

Tom had been watching my Statistics speech the past few weeks and was giving me feedback. This week he exclaimed "Yes!" (he asked me if I heard him from the stage - I didn't) because I apparently improved a lot and actually got it perfect. Too bad it's probably the last time I'll be doing Statistics, since the format is going to change when we arrive in Europe.

Speaking of Tom. He's become even more affectionate towards me - I didn't even think that was possible. He's now calling me "my love" and he has even told me "I love you". I told him Melissa would kill me - or us - and he told me not to worry because apparently Melissa is open about this kind of thing. Or something. Reminds me of this random conversation we had on a train in Tokyo:

Tom, Melissa, Brandy, Me: *something random about petting people - probably Brandy saying she doesn't like to be petted even though her host dad does it a lot*
Tom: *jokingly pets Brandy and tickles me*
Me: MEEP!
Brandy: That's probably illegal over here...*something about public displays of affection*
Melissa: Yeah, cheating on me while I'm there!
Tom: That's what turns me on, baby.

Melissa is awesome - or, using her word, "super". We get along very well too. And she is adorable. Huzzah polyamoury, or something. No one can really tell when Tom's kidding or when he's serious anyway, so no point worrying about it. Just play along.

Tom spent his school days being the only boy in a mainly girls' school. Now apparently he's the female in the relationship and Melissa's the male. Har.

There is another guy out there that likes me. He is reading this, most likely, so hello. This is all way too new an experience for me. Right now the only option I know of is to blush as red as a tomato. Heh.

My sister says I'm "growing up". Heh.

I FINALLY found a place in this whole prefecture that does binding. Now my stories are a book. Looks more professional, and hopefully loads more permanent.

Monday - EUROPE! My goodness the time has flown. Then it'll be over and I'll be extremely depressed and WAH. What shall I do with my life. But for now...new continent, new adventure. And Nina and Christie again! On Halloween too. Our first night is with everyone in a youth hostel - this should prove interesting.
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
The WorldSmart Celebrations in Albuquerque were...well, chaotic at best.

The place really looked like what I expected a theater to be - with props and sets and backstages and loads of others. It's rather messy because they're renovating it for a new play, but it was livable. Heck, there was even a giant set on the stage itself and we had to work around that. Try doing fast dances when there is a staircase blocking your way...

Helped set up the booths outside. There was a coffee bar that we hijacked for Stone Soup things. They have new displays now so it's kinda cool.

We had a discussion that morning, stemming from the Parker's Gone incident, about the frustrations we had about the program. Basically it boiled down to people having such vastly different expectations and conceptions of the program and experienced cognitive dissonance when they came here. People came here for different reasons, and it is hard (and almost futile) to cater to everyone's expectations.

Some of the ideas given were really good - extra project time, longer days to hang out with each other - hopefully they'd come to fruition.

We were promised a lot more people to show up here than in Denver. However, the audience was half-empty. So many people from the presentations and universities and wherever else that promised to come never showed up. You could tell that this affected everyone else; Chris barely had any energy, we messed up cues, the videos were strange. It was very, very odd.

Speaking of Chris - he got the appreciation folder this time round. The look on his face...awww...

I've started a little tradition: the Weekly Hug Crew (or Heart Committee as Laurence has named it). Basically, from now on, after every Whisk I'm going after the staff to give them a hug. I did that last week and I did it this week to great success. I just need more people to join me.

There's a bit of a love triangle going round here. Well sort of. Noelle and K were playing this game of associating people with colours - red, pink, yellow, and white. Whoever you chose for each colour represented what you felt about the person. Red means love; pink, a crush; yellow, friendship; white, admiration. They kept telling us to pick people in the crew of the other gender but that took longer than just choosing people, guy or girl...

OK, back to the love triangle.

We got Hiroko to play the game and she chose Atsushi for pink. We then got Nina and she too chose Atsushi for pink. Which means, supposedly, that both Hiroko and Nina had a crush on Atsushi. (Poor Hiroko was laughing and blushing like mad.) Right at that very moment, Atsushi shows up, and in the midst of his extreme confusion, we played the game with him.

Atsushi chose Nina for red. Love.

Soon after, Nina showed up, and the following ensued:

Me: Nina, you won the crush contest.
Nina: (confused) Why, weirdest combination?
Me: No, because Atsushi chose you for love.
Nina: (looks lovestruck) Aaawww... (blows Atsushi a kiss)
Atsushi: : (looks very confused and embarassed)
Rest Of Us: : (laughing our heads off)

I am so tempted to write fanfiction of this group now.

(Actually, I was thinking of using this experience as a base for this year's NaNoWriMo. I just need some semblance of plot, and some way to not get killed by the rest of the group.)

Monday, we move for Phoenix. And I need to update that Things I've Eaten list.

By the way, for those of you in Malaysia - can someone check The Star on Sunday (Aug 28th) and see if my article has showed up in the BRATs/Merdeka section? Thank you!

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