tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
I got lost this everning.

I was walking home from the train station to my house - initially I thought my host mum would walk me back, since it was my first time walking back (she followed me to the train station this morning) but she wasn't there so I just walked alone.

I followed the map she drew out for me. Turn at signal...walk past two signals...turn at first T-junction. I turned at the first T-Junction - not my road! Nothing was familiar. There were two big fact cats on bicycles; I couldn't figure out why.

I walked to the next T-junction - not familiar either. Now I was getting worried. There was no one I could stop to ask, I had no mobile phone, no real address, it was dark, I was alone. I remembered my best friend telling me to keep my head up and walk confidently - but inside I was thinking about tomorrow's morning announcement being "Tiara got kidnapped". I was scared.

I walked to a house and asked on the intercom if I could borrow their phone - they refused. They probably thought I was trying to sell something.

I retraced my steps and walked to a convenience store. I called my host mum on a payphone (one of the very few in Tokyo!) - thankfully she was there. I asked her to pick me up; she found me a few minutes later.

We drove home, and I found out that it wasn't the first T-junction. There were 2 T-junctions to go before reaching the one nearest to the house. Only difference is, this particular road was at the top half of the T. So much for confusing.

I'm sure my parents are most likely panicking right now. They worry about me travelling alone, relying on public transport. I worry too, especially in an unfamiliar city, and especially at night! Thank goodness I was safe and nothing of consequence happened. Too bad the people aren't exactly the friendliest - or perhaps it's just my language barrier in the way.

I think many of us will be lost tonight. A few of us are taking the trains and walking home and most of them don't know how to get back home exactly. I wonder how many will survive the trip?

The thank-you gifts got a good reaction. I was surprisingly accurate on some of them. I even managed to guess some traits; in Gaby's story I called him a "cyber MacGyver" but I didn't know that MacGyver actually was the inspiration for his name until he told me. Huh. Psychic writing.

I have a new special project! "Free Willy" - a project to lighten the load of our luggage before Europe. It was something done last year and Bob knew I was getting bored with nothing much to do so he gave me this to work on. I'm adding a twist; there will be a Stuff Swap, where people can contribute things to discard and they can either get swapped or donated. Noelle is also doing something baggage-related so let's see how that works.

I didn't have anything much to do for Project Time - the Yearbook team were involved in Advance Team training, and I didn't have any computer to work on (oh how I miss my laptop) so I got bored for a while. I ended up running errands for people - I bought oranges (well, one), string, and scissors for the crew's projects, hunted down a plastic knife, mailed postcards, and made copies of receipts. Now this is interning.

I miss being an intern.

The orange was for a Stone Soup presentation on conflict. Part of the presentation was a skit about different types of conflict - Nina and Yoshimi acted as two sisters fighting over an orange; Nina wanted it for a science project while Yoshimi was hungry. Tom and Anke were their "parents" - oh they were hilarious! Even down to "how come they are suddenly my children when there is a problem?!?" har. What an odd couple.

Nina's such a fussy nut ("I want the peel whole! Don't break it!") and Yoshimi's just plain silly...now I have this image of mini (chibi?) Nina and Yoshimi running around fighting over oranges. OH GOODNESS. (If you can draw this, please do...) I'm just worried about how they were when they were mini themselves...

Tomorrow, Community Impact. We'll be going to an elementary school to hang out with the kids. Should be fun.
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
So we had our first actual dance workshop today. Two dances: the crazy hiphop dance, and a contemporary jazz abstractish dance for Unspoken Words. I'm getting there (I'm not stumbling as much) but there's till some kinks to be sorted out.

On Monday we'll learn who does what for the first Whisk next Saturday...hopefully it'll be good!

I bruised my hand this time - the webbing between my index finger and my thumb. Was drumming the wall too hard. Ow. Remedies, anyone?

Why was I drumming the wall? There was an open-mic thing today, and I was part of the WorldSmart Band that was developing this new song. We didn't have all the lyrics, so it was a lot of "dadadaaa da daaaaaaa" stuff, and I wanted to make myself useful so I became the percussionist. It's a bit interesting to use the walls as a drum...

People have really awesome talents here. I feel a bit like a fraud sometimes; everyone's so amazing, what do I have to offer? Why am I here? What right do I have to be here? But I got inspired too for future open mics - perhaps a Rabinrath Tagore poetry recital (Bengali, English, Malay?), or a reading of a passage of Velveteen Rabbit that is really touching, or some ulek mayang stuff. Let's see.

I wish I had the brains to initiate the dikir barat earlier. Might have had some willing subjects. Problem is, it's hard to explain the concept with nothing to show...

We had our first intern meetings today - ours was just tossing ideas, and sharing silly stories about people's reaction to WorldSmart. Diana's friends were worried that this was some sort of a prostitution ring and told her that if she didn't call in a week they were going to send Interpol after her...har...

I'm trying to get them to set up (or let me set up) a WorldSmart Blog. We already have the newsletter, but that's not immediate and isn't very interactive. The blog would be a lot more interactive for everyone, with instant postings and discussions and places to upload stuff. Some way to connect with us.

I should have conceived this as a Special Project, true. Damn my extremely delayed-reaction brain.

We're supposed to have dinner with a friend on Sunday but she's not well so we're on standby. Hopefully she gets better.

Nanu's coming on Monday yay!

If there's any WorldSmart crew reading this - hello! Do keep reading and do comment if you can. The facility's filters actualy block LiveJournal, so I can't show them this blog then and there, but I placed the address in my Me Page and maybe someone can jot it down and visit.

Gee, I'm extremely sleepy today. Slept at midnight, woke up naturally at 5:50. Not even dawn yet. And now the sun is setting. Perhaps I should rest.
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)
In about two to three days, I will be flying off to LA, recuperating from jetlag at a relative's place before going to Denver and starting this.

I always imagined this point in time to be rather chaotic; excited squeals, appeals for last-minute advice, impatience and nervousness peppered with hilarity and good cheer. Good chaos.

Well, it has been chaotic; not in a good way though.

Things are going absolutely haywire. Never mind the events that happened before; now we have bodily injuries (thankfully not mine, but still really unfortunate - send some healing vibes for my best friend please, she broke her toe) and some drama with my college with regards to supplementary work. That's already very suspicious as it is; it looks like the beginnings of a conspiracy. Once I may have been more involved in, had I not been flying off. As it is, they want me (and many others) to rewrite an essay that by all accounts was already fine, and they want it now. Sorry, but I don't have time.

This fiasco with college is making me wonder if I even want to return. The main reason I even entered college to begin with was so I could get people to shut up and stop bugging me about it. I've never believed in grades, in the idea that a piece of paper can determine everything about you. I find the notion of college as a "necessity" to be highly overrated.

Sure, talk about the experience. Tell me that I'll get experiences and knowledge that I won't get anywhere else. Thing is, a lot of the most worthwhile experiences have nothing to do with college. About the only thing I could credit college for at this point was to bring me to some of my closet friends, one of whom is definitely a soul brother (if not a soul mate)...but he's gone away now, to another part of the globe. Anyone else I've been close to are either gone, or graduated. Even my newsletter is defunct. There really isn't a point in me staying.

This fiasco with college has me really disillusioned about the whole thing. Not that I had any illusions about it; but this was really the last straw. Look at this WorldSmart trip! College had nothing to do with this! They wouldn't even support me! I'm doing this on my own! Heck, I didn't need college to land me an interview with the Prime Minister. I didn't need college to get me a webmistressing gig with the coolest person on the planet (as far as I'm concerned). I didn't need college to get me the best times of my life.

I fail to see how all my experience could possibly fade to a random scrap of paper...one with really suspect information, considering what has happened to get those grades in the first place. These grades are not a reflection of anything true.

But enough of college.

I'm honestly rather drained. I haven't the energy to be all excited about it. Everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks have zapped me of any energy. I'm trying hard to stay excited and upbeat about WorldSmart, but it's getting hard to even write anything in my paper journal about it. Let alone anything else.

It doesn't help that I have just received a message from some anonymous person (or annoying moose, as I like to call them) saying Up With People (the people behind WorldSmart and also its predecessor) is a Christian cult. Now I'm aware of its Christian background - for one thing, the US Embassy has told me that. And hey, not everyone gets to sing in front of the Pope. They did have some sort of history with a very conservative group, but no longer.

Thing is though, there has been no major mention of morality or religion or whatever in the 9 months of so that I've been interacting with WorldSmart. The only mentions (besides the US Embassy's note) were an optional section in the form for our religion (I suppose to gauge dietary and habitual restrictions), and the assignment results handed in from people that were open to discuss faith. (I know I'm not the only non-Christian on board.) They did visit a synagogue in a previous semester, but no propaganda or anything. They've been pretty open about it. If they wanted to convert us, they'd have done so by now.

I am still feeling a little bit apprehensive. It doesn't even have anything to do with the religion, but there may just be a clash of opionions, a clash of morals and values. It's inevitable, of course. Everyone is different. But hopefully they won't villify me just out of my very liberal views. Let us be who we are.

A few people on the list have come up with some pet projects for WorldSmart. One of them, Katie, is planning on doing a documentary. I suggested her a Six-Degrees style, following people rather than places...while she's never seen Six Degrees before, she quite likes the idea; it fits in with another idea she has. There's someone else, I think her name is Huning, from China who is also intrigued with the documentary. Perhaps we three can team up and create our own Six Degrees show...though I doubt Lonely Planet would want to buy it. Then again...you never know sometimes...

At least the documentary makes for an excellent independent project. Anyone who wants to gain college credit can claim 3 credits (out of 12) for an independent project. I'm thinking of using the documentary as such a project - I've suggested it to Katie but she hasn't responded yet - but even if that doesn't pan out, I have ideas for my own project: research on traditions.

I am a big fan of traditions, superstitions and folklore. Always have been since I could remember. (Imagine my utter surprise when I found a GIANT book of folklore in our secondary school library. Of all places. It definitely brought my interest back.) With all the places we're visiting, I hope I find a family that still retains tradition, but not in the "conservative fundamentalist" sense; rather, a family that still has its own superstitions of days to sweep the house or charms for good luck or faeries running around the backyard. They don't even need to be completely Pagan (though that would be nice); just a little hint of what their families believed in.

It would be utterly fascinating, finding out such beliefs. And perhaps incorporating them into my own life.

Speaking of families and projects and assignments - the third assignment has come and gone; all about host families. Expectiations, plans, so on. I think whoever is hosting me will be somewhat shocked - hello loud and hyper crazy witchy woman! Then again, I become really, really awkward in people's houses. It doesn't matter how long I've known them for; I still feel awkward. It feels almost intrusive, like stepping into private property (even if they invite you in). Very strange.

It feels like you're walking in on something private and magical and mystical that has been part of their lives for as long as they have lived. Deep bonds that cannot be broached by outsiders and intruders. They could accept me into their family, even if only for a week; but there are some bonds and things that we sometimes can't break into, even if for a while.

Hopefully I'll get rid of this house block soon. I do have to figure out how to do the laundry while I'm there.

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