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!
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Well that was a very eventful day.

While everyone else was gone for CI (to clean up Hogares, a youth mental health facility), Cristy, Ana, Marco, and I were at the University of New Mexico for admissions stuff. We first did a presentation for a speech class, then we set up a booth at their Fair outside. That involved moving booths from here to there and then back...ow. But we got set up, and we had about 20+ people interested - including this super-productive woman who was so involved in Native American activities and was way too perfect for her own good. (Me and Ana: "WHOA")

Nina had an interesting point regarding her though, since she was the winner of Miss Indian/World - "If anyone's a Miss Something, you need to be skeptical of them since they always know how to give the right answer." Ha. We were all waiting for flaws...perhaps Nina's got a point there.

We got back from the admissions trip around the same time the CI people came back. (We hung out in the car for a while to listen to Coldplay and we were still early!) We took breaks to recuperate; while they did their wrap-up, I worked on the Admissions database. We then gathered in the hall for what we thought was check-in time, and received a very shocking announcement:

Parker's been dismissed from the group.

No one, save for Parker I suppose, really knew the specifics of why he was going. All we know is that he broke the guidelines a few times, and that the dismissal was partly his decision. It was very, very tense: those close to Parker (Laura especially) were crying their eyes out; his former housemates were confused since to them he had made tremendous progress; the rest of us didn't even know what to feel. It was all very emotional.

I wasn't too close to Parker so I wasn't too upset about him specifically going away. I did feel a little responsible though; I know people were uncomfortable around him - I was uncomfortable around him for a while too - but I didn't think it warranted a dismissal. Perhaps just a knock to the head and a reminder. But perhaps there was a reason he had to go.

I also felt guilty because I too have been told that I and my energy make people uncomfortable around me. The whole point of this thing was to be comfortable around each other, and obviously that's not happening if someone tells me that I make them uncomfortable. (I've been told that directly, so it's not speculation on my part.) I apologized to the group...it was the only thing I could do at that moment.

There was meant to be a discussion about where to go from here but everyone was too distraught to think clearly. We all went our separate ways. I meant to go back to the admissions work, just lose myself in the work and not think about anything else.

What ended up happening was me chatting to Staci (one of the event coordinators) about how we felt, especially about me feeling responsible for my part of the problem. She then told me that I shouldn't worry; apparently I have a reputation amongst the staff for being so energetic and enthusiastic and on top of things. This really surprised me; I didn't know I had such a rep. Then Jessica came around looking for me, and thanked me for cheering her up and motivating her with my energy. That really surprised me too.

Nina looked like she was in pieces - she's normally very strong, so seeing her cry and be upset was extremely heartbreaking. (Later I found out that it may be because Parker didn't even acknowledge her existence when making the goodbye rounds.) I went up to her and we hugged a few times...I apologized to her in case I did anything she didn't like, since I had a suspiscion that she didn't like me much; to my utter surprise (again) she held me close and told me I didn't need to apologize for anything; she appreciated my energy and perspective and I was fine being the way I am. We hugged a LOT.

There was a lot of hugging that day. (Bob especially needed a hug; he announced the dismissal and you could tell it was very hard for him.) When we got back, we four hung around the kitchen and talked more about what happened, what we felt about each other, clarified some things. It was a very enlightening and growing conversation; something much needed but rarely practiced. Baljit even told me that if anyone talks bad about me, she'd go after them...ha, that was funny.

I suppose for me I needed that day to happen. I was on top of the world with this trip but there's been times when I wonder if I'm doing the best I can, or if I'm just repeating the same patterns I went through in school. So to actually hear all these people come up to me, tell me I was needed and appreciated...that really affected me. That really helped me a lot. I know there's still a lot more to do, but it's great to hear that there are people who appreciate that I'm here, and that the people I thought hated me actually thought highly of me. Which is surprising, but great.

We can only grow from here. And sometimes, part of growing means letting others know that they are indeed growing along.
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
It took us over 8 hours to get from Denver to Albuquerque, rest stops included. Poor Derek and Val (Val especially) saw it hard to see us go...but we eventually have to move on. Denver was great, but hey, we still had adventures to go on.

Joyce is here! She's loads of fun. Whee!

The bus ride was like a major picnic. Everyone was sharing snacks with each other - mainly junk food and cookies. The van crew gave us chips and I gave them Oreos. Some people were acting up on the bus, which was rather weird and distracting, but it got settled soon enough. (And yay, wind!)

I was one of the Bus Team people, so a lot of my job involved talking to Anke on the phone trying to corodinate rest stops and such. Apparently my reputation spread, heh. At least it was a good one...

We stopped at the First United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, which will be our facility for the whole week. Quite a contrast from the Adams 12 facility of before; wonder how it'd be like in a church setting.

From being alone, I now have 3 housemates - Baljit, Nanu, and Cristy. Cristy and I are sharing a room (I took this room because it had a computer!) while Baljit and Nanu are sharing a queen bed in the room next door. And oh! What a room, what a house!

It's completely southwestern Mexican/cowboy style, lovely interior design and furnishings (Mum you'd LOVE it), so big and airy...wow. They even have a gym and a studio, and TVs in every room. (And of course, this computer.)

Our host families are really lovely too. Carol and Gary (I think his name is). Carol's a retired teacher and Gary is a musician (hence the studio). Really nice and friendly. And yet again, dogs - 2 Lhasa Apsos, Simon and Dickens (who has taken a shine to me).

We had chicken, corn, veges, and mashed potatos for dinner. It's funny because each of us has a dietary restriction, save for Cristy - Baljit's vegetarian, Nanu doesn't eat beef, I don't eat pork. Cristy eats everything so I've deemed her Leftover Woman. And hey, free range for the fridge!

The best thing happened soon after though. Turns out that Brandi, Joyce, and Tici were living two houses away - and their house had a swimming pool.

SWIMMING POOL.

So after dinner us 4 (and the host mum) went over to their house, and we all hung out in the pool. Nanu's a bit afraid of water but we managed to coax her in. We spent the night chatting and gossiping and God knows what...it was fun. I've not been in a pool for about a year, since I moved to Cyberia; it's been a while since I swum at night. Lovely.

I wonder if this could be a nightly thing. Like a ritual.

Everyone's getting ready to sleep (I think no one will!) and tomorrow the threesome have decided to get up at 6 to do workouts at the gym. Crazy people. (I may get the shower to myself then, mwahahahah!)

HELLO CRISTY LOOKING OVER MY SHOULDER!

Whee. This is fun. I wonder what else will happen next.

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