tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
For the past 5 to 10 minutes I've been practising the dance for Unspoken Words. It's really complicated; precise moves executed at the split second, loads of complex turns that I keep stumbling on, one move I swear I've forgotten. My feet (the right one especially) is aching and I'm frustrated that I can't seem to get this right.

As it is, I've also got the Expo Dance, and all the other random dances, to learn and perfect. I don't have the music for the rest of them, so it's a bit difficult, and I keep crashing into lamps whenever I practice those. But I'm trying.

Maybe I'm just moody because it's That Time Of The Month and my hormones have once again gone haywire. Or maybe I'm tired. But I just can't seem to get these dances right, and it's stressing me. It's the first time since I got here that I'm feeling stressed, and I'm a bit worried really.

There has to be a reason why I'm in the dance team to begin with. From what I gather, they look mainly at your interest and comfort level, followed by talent and experience. I enjoy dancing, I'm comfortable with dancing on stage or in public or wherever. Not shy. But this isn't just random dancing; this is serious, coordinated, steps-and-all dance. The last time I did that sort of dance was two years ago and that was for about four months. I'm not a pro. Everyone else is getting it but I'm stuck.

But yet - I've been slotted into the dance workshop. Sure, no guarantees that I'll actually be performing any of these, but it's a step closer. And there has to be a reason why I'm here and not in, say, something as blatantly obvious as public speaking. Do JC, Hiroko, Nina, and the rest want me to challenge myself? Do they really think I can actually do this? Do they think I have potential? Why am I here?

There has to be a reason for me doing this, besides "oh we couldn't figure out where to put you so let's slot you in randomly". Has to be. I can't give up, not now. I have to still keep on working. Even if I haven't the slightest clue why I'm doing this, or whether I really will be doing this on the Celebrations anyway.

Today we went around downtown Boulder - there was an Asian fair going on. Malaysia and Bangladesh weren't represented; oddly, Madagascar was. I found two metaphysical shops there - one mainly based on books and print material, another on herbs and tools and such. I bought a Bat's Head Root, which apparently make your wishes come true; I just got it because of the whole bat connection. And some faerie dust (glitter) as well. They gave me an engraved blessing candle for free, which was cool. I know the prices probably weren't worth it, but hey, it's something interesting at least. Especially in a shop with a parrot-relative named Romeo who thinks he's a lion.

I just hope the Bat Head's Root will grant my wishes of actually getting these dances right. Please let all this effort be worth it.

I went back to the WorldSmart YahooGroup and saw the photos people put up...it's interesting to revisit them after seeing the actual people in comparison. Especially the photo of the staff; before, it was just a set of random faces. Now it's actual people, with voices and ideas and dreams.

Speaking of the staff: they seem to be really physical at times. Pats on the back and shoulder, high fives, winks, "hello baby" (apparently something Tom tells everyone). I don't know if they're just being really friendly or if they're flirting with me. (It's amusing, at least)

I'll probably be off making some air bandung now; we found some rose syrup at the World Market (yet another place without representation from Malaysia or Bangladesh). It has lime in it, so it'll be a very interesting taste and experience.

At least something to sweeten my mind for now.

(Oh yeah and another thing: does anyone know where else I can promote this? I'd like to have some more people reading this, just to meet new folk and have someone to chat with about the whole thing. Thanks.)
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
My series of flights begins tomorrow, Wednesday morning, at around 11 am, from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur. From there, I will fly to Los Angeles at around 3 pm.

I'm not sure if I will be updating this log between now and my arrival in LA, so don't expect any entries for about two days at least.

The last two assignments have come in. One about leadership, and the other about any general questions we had. The leadership assignment stumped me a little; they asked about your leadership role models, and if anything you read recently had any connection to your thoughts on leadership. My role models tend to be lone rangers; they neither lead nor follow, they just do what they want to do. If anyone wants to join them, great...but they don't need anyone with them to survive. They're self-sustainable.

I will need a great deal of self-sustainability to survive - not just WorldSmart, but everything after that. I don't want to rely on anything or anyone. Almost everytime I do so, it has ended in folly. Best to keep control to myself, so I can keep track of it.

It's the fast track to insanity, but I'm already pretty much crazy so that doesn't make much of a difference.

I brought up the issue of religion and religious freedom in WorldSmart, spurred on by the "cult" concerns mentioned in the previous entry. Let's see what their response is to that. I don't think it'll be too drastic or horrible...but a little reassurance is nice sometimes.

I am licensing this log under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This means that you are free to distribute this log, or any of its entries, anywhere (and heck, remix and parody it if you want) as long as you:

* Attribute it to Tiara Shafiq
* Provide a link to http://www.livejournal.com/users/upwithtiara
* Provide the same license in your distribution
* Not use this for commercial purposes without my permission - i.e. don't publish this log into a book and sell it without my permission, don't use it to advertise something, and so on

There is an exception to the NonCommercial thing. Newspapers and magazines are free to syndicate this log in their publications, as long as I am credited, there is a link to this log, and I am notified about it.

I'm not sure if there are any newspapers or magazines that want to syndicate this, but if you want to, go ahead - just credit me, link this, and tell me about it.

I'll catch you in Los Angeles. Till then, take care everyone.

Here goes.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
So we have completed the first assignment, and have just received the second.

The first assignment went all right - I did end up initially with too many people, but the grouping situation sorted itself out and soon I was teamed up with Diana from Columbia and Kim from Korea. Initially I thought they would be rather quiet, but instead I found them rather happy-go-lucky and even cheeky (what with Kim's contant opening line of "Call me K, because K stands for Korea, Kim, and I want to Kiss you! Kidding!").

Of course, their personality online and in person may differ greatly. And there would be a major difference between first impressions and jetlagged-week-16-trip impressions. Much needs to be seen.

The first assignment, as mentioned previously, was all about similarities and differences; what do we have in common? What don't we have in common? What were the common themes between all of us - not just the group members but also in WorldSmart as a whole? Kim even came up with a brilliant Excel spreadsheet to collate all our information; at least we were organized.

We came from different backgrounds - we were in different parts of the globe, I was the only one who has yet to graduate from college, we have different faiths, Kim was the only guy. But we also did have things in common - besides a rather jolly attitude, we were also committed to non-profits and NGOs (Diana's with a local group, El Cinco, while Kim is an intern with UNESCO) and we all liked meeting different cultures.

There's so much more that perhaps we do not know of each other yet. Perhaps we have a shared similarity of coping methods for jetlag. Perhaps we all have wildly different tastes in music. Perhaps two of us are fans of the same thing. I'll only know once I get there and actually meet them in person.

Kim wasn't the only flirt on the group...Yoga apparently listed "I am cute (and you're not - kidding)" in his group' "differences" profile. This soon led to "being cute" listed as a similarity instead. Well, there are some fine-looking people in our crew, I'll tell you that much.

The second assignment was all about our goals - in life, with WorldSmart, personally and professionally. The timing of this was rather significant, as I had been reconsidering my goals and aims in life for some time.

So much is changing around me. Interests, relationships, situations. I'm starting to wonder if I still want to go ahead with my dreams, or if my dreams have changed somewhat. My closest relationships are changing. The world is changing. And I'm not sure I can cope with it all.

The past few days I've been in tears; I couldn't handle all these curveballs. I was freaking out. What was I doing? What have I signed on too? What am I leaving behind? What will I be returning to? Will all my loved ones still be here for me when I return? Or will they move on with their own lives, leaving me behind this time? What do I have to do when I return - will there be anything to do?

My goals in life are not clear-cut, not specific. My life has never been specific; it doesn't work that way anyway, something always pops up and knocks your plan upside the head. I do have some sort of an idea of what I want to do, to try, to experiment; I just haven't quite figured out how. In the subjects and fields I'm interested in, it's not easy to plan and book a certain pathway; it's all up to other people, to circumstances. Things can change so easily.

I've caught myself in mid-change and I'm not sure I can handle it.

It took a while for me to complete the second assignment (amidst ongroup chaos of "I need partners!" and "d we need to team up for Assignment 2?" and general grazing of lost sheep), but I did eventually complete it. A mix of sincerity and randomness, trying to make myself sound more coherant than I usually am. Because "I'm not sure what exactly my goals are and I don't think I ever will" isn't exactly the best answer.

I finally recieved The Handbook - or what my dad likes to call The Fingerbook. It is rather thin; I was expecting a larger tome full of rules and regulations. (I will get my hands on larger tomes eventually, as there seems to be some textbooks I need to buy. Darn.)

It was usual information, nothing too unusual - except perhaps for their packing list (similar to the one the Japan office gave me) which emphasised on passports and thank-you cards but mentioned nothing about underwear. Hmm. There were also some information on drugs, alcohol, harrassment...general safety information along the lines of "DON'T DO THAT OR WE'LL BUMP YOU OFF".

This was followed up by a list of General Expectations, sent via email, and I was amused to see information about curfews (don't stay out too late alone) and sex (don't have sex with other WorldSmart crew as it may get too complicated). It's sensible information, nothing along the lines of Bob Jones University or any public university in Malaysia, but I wonder how exactly do they expect to enforce the rules on a group of 18 to 29 year olds, many of whom are out of college and already working. I'm sure there's bound to be one infraction somewhere. It's just the Law of the International Study Trip.

Rob, the person who sent the email from long ago, also made his rounds of phonecalls; I received one from him yesterday morning. We spent about 50 minutes talking about whatever came to mind for WorldSmart - good idea to bring a laptop but forget the printer (and people do ask this); this is not a tourist trip so don't expect to laze around (oh dear); it's not going to be very cold so don't worry about Michelin Man-style winter coats (but I just borrowed one!). I even suggested we do a Blogathon; if we want to join in, we evidently have to arrange it ourselves.

I think he thinks I'm a maniac. I'm sure everyone thinks that.

So it's about...exactly a week before I fly off. And start on this unfathomable journey. I'm still freaking out. But hopefully everything will be sorted out soon.

(Just a note - hello everyone reading this! Whether from Livejournal, Petaling Street, or wherever, Firstly, feel free to pass the word about this journal, as long as you credit it to me, Tiara. Secondly, please comment! I'd love to read your feedback.

There is someone in particular whom I hope is reading this. If you own a giant pillow in the shape of your favourite vegetable - because I gave you one - and you're readng this, please let me know.

Thanks everyone.)
tiaramerchgirl: (Default)
Earlier today I received email from someone named Rob at WorldSmart. He introduced himself as part of the Road Staff crew for the August 2005 semester, and told us that they will be calling us within the next couple of weeks (since there are really only a couple of weeks left) to check if we still have any questions and to see how we're doing.

Oh, we definitely have questions. How much can we bring? Do I have to bring something cultural? Is food OK? What will I do if I freak out and have another panic attack? Who are my host families? Is there something we must bring at any cost? Do we have to read up on anything? Will there be a test? Do I need to learn another language within the next few days?

Of course, some of these could have been answered through The Handbook. However, The Handbook has yet to show up here, and I'm not entirely sure if it's still hiding somewhere in Cyberia, or if the Malaysian postal workers have decided to take a hold on it for "on-the-job reading". The nearest thing to The Handbook was a scan of the Things To Pack list, thanks to the Japan office.

Wow, even WorldSmart is involved in file-sharing.

While we all await those phonecalls and the arrival of The Handbook, we are invited to join the YahooGroup set up as part of the "pre-course". For the next two weeks or so, we'll be talking to each other, figuring out who exactly will be sitting next to us on the plane (well maybe not that specific), and grouping up to do homework.

Yes, we haven't even started on our trip yet and we already have homework.

Our first assignment is about similarities and differences - we have to find 2 other people, form a group, and discuss the similarities and differences amongst ourselves. From there, we analyse the common themes presented and talk about how this will affect WorldSmart, our trip, and the world in general.

To find members, you'll need to take the initiative to email those you're interested in and ask them to join your group. Already I'm having a bit of trouble with this. See, 99% of the time, when it comes to a group assignment (or any other group task):

(a) I end up doing it alone because everyone else is lazy
(b) I end up doing it alone because I can't find anyone else to join me
(c) I end up doing it alone because I've already anticipated (a) and (b) and don't want to subject myself to too much trouble

I am seriously hoping that my activities in WorldSmart don't end up being Yet Another One Tiara Show. I've emailed some people, and one of the people I've emailed tells me that she's already got a group. And no one's emailed me personally yet. Dang.

I've now offered myself to three other people; let's see if any of them respond favourably. Now if some strange twist of fate happens and all three of them say "yes", then I'll be in a sticky situation. Oh dear.

While I wait, let me tell you a little about the rest of the people in my group. To my utter surprise, there is a participant from Singapore and another from Indonesia. Wow, so I'm not the only South East Asian going. I wonder if they received any mention in their media for being practically the first from their countries to participate...then again, if record-setting-mad Malaysia ignored me, I'm not sure how the other two would fare.

Hello, Reuben and Yogo. Can't wait to meet up with you and discuss the merits of sambal and durian while nattering to each other in various manglings of Bahasa.

We have people representing Taiwan, Mexico, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Korea, Puerto Rico, Kenya, and of course USA and Japan. And there's more coming soon. People are just starting to speak up; hopefully the list will be a lot more active in the coming days. (Especially since we have homework.)

Will we get along? Will there be sudden cliques, deliberately or not? Will there be in-jokes? Will we fall madly in love at first sight (or email), get married, have 19 children, and credit the wedding to WorldSmart? What will happen?

Who knows for sure; this is really just the beginning.


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