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)
Oh man. So much has happened since my birthday that I don't know where to begin. Looks like I need another numerical list.

1. Nanu has gone back to Nepal - her father is very ill. We don't know if we can see her again. Understandably I am quite upset. I'm coping, but it's hard sometimes.

2. Maruko is an official Up With People town. And they're REALLY into Up With People. The first thing you see in the Town Hall are Up With People photos. They even had a GRAND welcoming ceremony for us, with speeches and a stage and all sorts of things. We were like celebrities.

3. We will be even more celebrity-like in Maruko - the news camera crew is following us all week. I've already been interviewed once, something about a community service project involving pulling up a certain weed that's taking over Japan.

4. Thanks to that damn weed, I now hate gardening.

5. Japan has some of the most random games in the world.

6. Act silly and the kids will lighten up.

7. Irina has this wicked (both evil and good) trick involving a "scorpion". Peder's face on receiving the trick must be seen to be believed.

8. Can someone please scan in the article from the October issue of Malaysia's Seventeen and email it to me? I really need it. Thank you!

9. My NaNoWriMo novel is going to be a monster of an Up With People one. Already I have plenty of juicy information.

10. I can't wait till November.

11. Carolynn Lee, another UWP legend, came to speak with us for a while. She's ok, though it was funny how she got Bob and Anke to do some (fantastic) acting. Mwaha!

12. My host family is obsessed with Disney. They even named one of their border collies (they have 2) Goofy.

13. I'm not sure I care for border collies.

14. Aaah heated toilet seats!

15. Natto is awful.

16. We're going to an onsen (hot spring public bath) after this. Should be interesting.

17. Just today the staff dressed up as waiters and started serving us lunch. It was hilarious and very surreal. I am convinced it's supposed to be a hint about something.

18. DAMNIT. I had this long entry planned and now I can't think of what to say. So please, ask me questions! The more the merrier!

Owls?

Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:18 pm
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
At 6:30 PM today, a very BRIGHT evening, there was an owl in our backyard.

A large horned owl that just sat on the bird pool and stared at everything around us.

Nothing disturbed him. Not the flash of light meant to deter birds, not the flashes from the camera, not people, not loud overhead planes. He just sat there, watching.

He knew we were watching him and he watched us back. He did move around to the post box and a palm tree, but he was not disturbed by anything. Even when we were taking photos of him, he didn't budge. It's like he was waiting to be watched, to be photographed.

He seemed to respond to Lilith, and the name "Mystery". He definitely was a mystery. My host family have been here 14 years and they've never seen an owl this close. I've never seen an owl this close. And on this time of day too! And so undisturbed!

I wonder what he was doing there. He certainly is a mystery.

Odd.

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