tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
On Personal Day I watched my host family's copy of the ROADS video, Up With People's show circa 1998-1999. The show was about this youth center that got vandalized and needed lots of money for restoration; the students of International University organizes a benefit concert but of course there is a bit of drama, because the organiwer's boyfriend's father is the head of the business group that's buying out the building.

Halfway through watching it (it's very 80s but quite entertaining), I realized that Nina, our very own Nina Maass, was in it. SHe lust have been around 23ish...she had super long, blond, wavy hair, which threw me off (she's on the cover of the A Common Beat CD, which was the following year's shoz, qnd she has cropped hair) and her voice was a bit higher, but she has a very distinctive smile and that's what clued me in. (Also the fact that the MC was all "Nina" this and "Nina" that.) She looked ADORABLE, a bit like an 80s Madonna in her tiger stripe dress - she looked even more adorable when she was in karate garb doing a martial arts-inspired dance. Awh.

In the "benefit concert" part of the musical, they did a bunch of cultural dances, including an Indian Punjabi dance. That was already random on its own, since there weren't any Indians in the crew, but even more random: NINA'S IN IT. Imagine Nina in a red traditional Indian dress - with headscarf to boot - doing Punjabi dance with scarves and all. Random, but she looks SO CUTE.

(And then she shows up in a frilly Pilgrim dress for an American dance, which is even funnier)

During the last two songs, a parade of world flags appear. The first flags? The US flag - and the MALAYSIAN flag. Yet no Malaysians on this crew. (And then soon after the Singapore flag shozs up.) Yet again completely random.

I tell you, this is a sign that I was meant to be here.

My host mum's brother is a published writer - he writes historical fiction for kids. He was a fun guy, though he never seems to get writer's block (mwargh Nano). Really enjoyed talking to him - an actual published writer, woo! (Apparently my love for writing is unique among the Up With People world.) Also, another relative of theirs lives in London and did special effects for Harry Potter and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, amongst others.

This family is way cool.

Tomorrow - Köln! Once I find Nina there I will ask her about the Roads tape. That was completely random and yet so serendipitous.

Oh, hello Joan and Iris :)
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Just a few things first.

Celebration went awesome, though for some weird reason I still felt woozy during the Statistics. This after using Nina and Rob's tips. I don't get it, man.

I took over Natsuko's role as homeless person for the street scene. Apparently I rocked.

Nina and Christie H are leaving Monday morning for Uthrecht. I miss Nina already. It seems that we had just broken a barrier between us and now she'll disappear for a week. Sigh.

OK. I have something for all you readers.

Ask me all the questions you want.

They can be about WorldSmart, about Up With People, about my trip, about me, about whatever. But please, give me questions. Give me 5, give me 20, give me 205. Give me as many questions as you can concievably think of.

Every so often I'll go through the questions and answer them in here, so do check back.

But please, ask me anything! I promise I'll try my best to answer you.


Oct. 19th, 2005 10:32 pm
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
I just felt tremors from an earthquake.

A Richter Scale 5 earthquake hit Ibaraki prefecture about half an hour ago - in Tokyo it was RS 4. Things did shake but nothing was destroyed - everything seems fine at the moment. Things at our house were shaking too, and I thought a real earthquake was coming so I was a bit frightened, but everything's OK thankfully.

It's funny because this is our 5th week in Japan and this is our first earthquake. At least we know our topic of discussion for tomorrow...

Tom has declared me as his sister. This actually happened in Murou but I'm only writing about it here now because...well, I kind of forgot. But yes, now I have a brother. And, in a sense, a sister-in-law, Melissa. Woo!

I had a weird dream about Tom last night. The odd thing was, the dream actually made coherent sense - as in, it wasn't one of those "I turned into a bear and then fought a war against aliens and wrote poetry about feet" type dreams I usually have. The whole idea of the dream, though, was nonsensical.

Basically (DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A DREAM, IT IS NOT REAL, PLEASE DON'T SUE OR KILL ME, THANKS MUCH APPRECIATED) - I was having an affair with Tom. He kissed me and we kinda dated for a while, behind Melissa's back. I wrote something in a paper journal about having my first kiss and how I finally found someone; Baljit read it and was telling me "oh, well done! I'm so happy for you!" but inside I was feeling guilty because, well, he is someone else's boyfriend. He later breaks up with me, telling me he should be more loyal to Melissa. Yes, this after he started the damn affair to begin with. Oh well.

I felt so weird when I woke up. To be honest, I would totally go for Tom if he was single. At first I felt he was rather dodgy, but as I got to know him better I grew to like him. We're now actually pretty close, working together a lot, and whenever we see each other there's always a hug or a high-five or something. Sometimes even flirting. We talk a lot and he listens to whatever concerns I have, which is really good. And I do kind of like him, in a different manner.

But you know what? He and Melissa BELONG together. They're the perfect couple. (Well, besides Bob and Anke, but yeah.) They function independently of each other, they don't need to cling onto each other or be around each other all the time, but they still respect and care for each other. And they are just so cute.

So yes, Tom can remain my brother for as long as we want to. Siblings for life, yo.

(I don't even know why I'm journalling all that, but hey.)

Today during CI I became the default leader, mainly because I actually knew the game we were playing at the school. I was just trying to check on everyone, see if everyone was OK, when Nina told me to chill out because I was apprently being too tense and was spreading bad energy. That surprised me - I wasn't tense actually - but I just moved on; we had an awesome day anyway, loads of energy and enthusiasm and fun. They even went through the trouble of learning Malay for me, aww...

We returned from CI and I was just hanging around when Nina came looking for me. She told me that she didn't mean to sound like she hated me, because she didn't...it's just that there are moments I could potentially be overwhelming and almost bossy. That I should maintain my energy and intentions, but that people have different styles and that early in the morning it much be a bit too much, you know?

This then became a real heart-to-heart conversation about connecting with people and making relationships...I finally managed to let out my thoughts about how I felt really lonely in the group because I know people rather superficially but there has been no one (since Nanu) that I felt really deeply connected to. I know this contradicts what I said about Tom earlier, but for me it feels like everyone's so busy, or too concerned by their own friends and their own problems, that me coming in would just be burdening them. That it'd be much better for everyone concerned if I just kept it to myself. That this was an ongoing struggle that might be mainly my fault but I've never really known how to deal with it so I just do what I know.

Nina asked me to think about whether I was the sort of person that worked best alone or with company...that even if I was forced to be alone a lot of the time I might not actually function well in that situation. She told me that she's seen me lonely quite a few times but never knows whether or not to approach me, if she has to make the first move. That maybe sometimes I just have to try to go up and open myself to others and then they'll come to support me. That she was there for me if I needed her to.

I don't remember a lot of what she said - that always happens with the most meaningful conversations; I forget a lot of the details! I suppose I may not remember the words but rather the spirit and the heart of it. And in this one, the heart was: we're here, don't be afraid.

The hugs we had were extremely healing.

It's interesting, because I've been feeling those doubts for a while - especially the "lonely in a crowd" feeling - and I've been wanting to talk to someone about it for a long while. I just was too apprehensive; I never knew when to really approach someone, or who to approach. Also, I've always wanted to talk to Nina about it because I find her fascinating and she may have interesting insights. But again - too shy, too apprehensive, never sure if it's appropiate. And now she's the first one to actually approach me about it. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Myoungshin even came by to me while I was sitting alone and chatted with me for a while. I asked him how he dealt with being comfortable enough to ask for help and he told me that sometimes, just by actually asking, you make other people comfortable, because they feel that you trust them. That's a new perspective; I should keep that in mind.

People actually coming up to me and sharing their hearts with me. People I like. This is good.

Tom and Nina were roommates once (I think now, actually). Apparently Tom hates silence and so fills up the space with constant chatter, while Nina loves silence and can't stand the chatter. Quite funny.

Let's hope I don't have to feel any more earthquakes.


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