I Stand In Solidarity With People.

15 03 2011

We are all people. We have needs, wants, and disasters. We are good, but also sometimes easily corrupted. We are fragile, bold and mortal.

Right now, I just want to take a moment to remind everybody that no matter how crazy this world gets, we are all the same. We are people. We should feel obligated to help each other out in times of crisis. I don’t mean that in a brute force military overthrow kind of way, either. I mean encouraging words, acceptance and support, whether it be moral or financial. If you have more than you need, as most of us do, do good. Volunteer, donate your time or materials, whatever. Just do something. And don’t tell people “no” because they believe differently than you. That’s not fair to them, and when the tables are turned, you’re going to regret it.

One piece of advice before I head off to class, taken from the brilliant film, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,”

Be excellent to each other.


Party on, dudes!

    Welcome to South Korea!

    3 03 2011

    Hello beautiful people around the globe!

    I have arrived and gotten situated safe and sound in Gugal-dong, my new home for the next year. At the airport, Mychaela and I went our separate ways within seconds of getting out the security area. Our respective Mr. Kims (because nearly 1/3 of all people here are some sort of “Kim”,) took us to cars heading in different directions and we loaded up and took off. Another girl, Sofia from Texas, rode with me. She lives about 45 minutes from me. She seems pretty cool. Adventurous. We could be friends. I got out of the car and packed all 5 of my bags up 3 flights of stairs to my apartment.

    It looked like somebody still lived in it and never cleaned up their mess from dinner the week before. Upon moving things into the room, I broke the rule of “no shoes” and kept my boots on. It was freezing, but my floor was radiating this wonderful warmth, like heated seats in cars. BUT IT WAS THE ENTIRE APARTMENT FLOOR. It was too icky to appreciate it to its fullest (and by that I mean snuggle up and lay on it,) but that would come soon enough.

    Mrs. Lee, my primary co-teacher, met with me about 20 minutes after I arrived. I was gross from being on an airplane and lugging around what could have easily been corpses in my bags. (They were that heavy, but I didn’t get charged!) I tried to get myself looking cleaned up and orderly, so I tried to push buttons to figure out the water. (Yes, buttons.) No luck. Wet hair is better than the fuzzy ball I was wearing on my head, so I just went with it. As soon as my head is drenched, she knocks on the door pushes the doorbell that rings with her voice through the wall. Everything is so techno-savvy. I really gotta catch up with this country.

    She comes in and says, “Oh, the cleaning lady from our school came here.” And by that I think she meant, “Look, washed dishes on the floor.” I then learned that it is considered bad luck to clean a place before the new person moves in. Not emptying ashtrays is not something I would consider being good luck. I consider that something that gave me a nosebleed. It was that smoky. That and the fire-damaged walls and the smoke filled wall paper from a fire across the hall that took place over New Year’s. Apparently my neighbors are idiots who smoke and take off nail polish in front of one of the heater fans on a couch. Brilliant. Let’s hope they learned a lesson… or three.

    I walked around the neighborhood with Mrs. Lee to see what’s around, and I was kind of surprised at what my tiny block had to offer. Full sized gym with a POOL ON THE ROOF on one side, a grocery store that sells $4 tubs of ramen noodles in the middle of it all, a Dunkin Donuts, a 7-11 (snicker… Thailand… haha) and a Pappa Roti on the corner. Roti Boy is far superior, and I found one on a map. It’s on my weekend adventure list of things to do.

    On Tuesday, I met up with friends Audra and Clayton who live in the next town over, so they hooked me up with tons of information and goodies from the end of their Korean adventure. I got at least 4 pages of notes in my journal just from getting to their apartment and going out for dinner. I might have a new favorite Korean dish (since you know, this is about the 4th time eating Korean food. First time with Donald, second time making my own hoddeok at home, third time on the plane… actually, it was the 4th time. haha!) Cooked in giant pan, there is a giant stack of mushrooms, sprouts, onions, tomatoes and tofu. It simmers in a spicy red sauce like soup. Delicious! Apparently translated to “Boseot Jeongol.” Whatever it’s called, it’s delicious. I may have to go back.

    I still have to buy sheets and blankets, but I have yet to get my relocation payment… so there are all of these sneaky fees and doctors appointments that I have to pay out the ears for. I’m not even going to mention the 2o hours of fasting due to time constraints and lunch breaks for doctors. (I am far more thirsty now than I ever was in Indonesia while fasting.)

    Anyway, the few kids that want to talk are cool, the rest are shy. The English teachers are all women and are all super cool and friendly. I have my own desk right off the bat, along with a dinosaur of a work computer, but it lets me listen to 94.7 fm (WIN!) I feel like I’m adjusting well, and I am ready to dive in head first to teaching on Monday.

    Off to get me a phone that works. Talk to you soon, lovely people! Pictures up when I have internet at my apartment 🙂

    F— Intolerance, this is ‘merica.

    7 11 2010

    Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, I get it. But what really gets me going is how intolerant people are still allowed the right to the press.

    Recent facebook status:

    “The mosque near ground zero, I say let them build it. But across the street, we should put a topless bar called, “You Mecca Me Hot”. Next to that, a gay bar called, “The Turban Cowboy”. And next to that, a pork-rib restaurant called,” Iraq o’ Ribs”. And a check cashing center called, “Iran out of Money…” Lets see who… is really tolerant! Post if you agree!!! F— TOLERANCE”

    I edited the last 3/4 of that F bomb out for humanity’s sake, but let me get down to what gets me the most frustrated. “Let THEM build it…” “WE should blah blah blah…” Why does it always have to be a matter of “us vs. them?” Sure, there are also a few sharp cuts of snarky religious banter, but that’s just mindless indifference. By the way, I’ve also never heard anyone outside the western world say “Iran” like it was an Apple product.

    I may have also been a bit harsh in naming my friend’s husband a certain feminine product… but I’ve been seeing TOO MUCH HATRED and too many indifferent people in my community. Recently, Pacific University faced some hateful messages written in chalk at night all over the campus, targeting sexual minorities, Muslims and others. This is my home. How dare you be an ass at my house. My friends Chris and Kayla from the Center for Gender Equity put together an effort to counter the hatred with encouraging messages and it put off this amazing vibe all day on campus.

    See the video after the jump for a real way to “F— intolerance.” (Video via koin.com found here.)

    Please, be nice to each other.

    Rapid fire

    15 10 2010

    There are a few things I wanted to share with the world that I’ve found online lately. Here goes.

    – NY Times blog: “The Crisis of the Humanities Officially Arrives”
    I hope that this doesn’t mean my degree is obsolete.

    – The amazingness that is the Neapolitan Wonder: Don’t Trust Me

    Numbers and Charts from research at OkCupid. Hateful things need to stop in politics.

    –  Cycling for Water: 
    My friend Garrett (one of the awesome people on the Ecuador trip) and his friend Brittany are riding bicycles across the country to raise money for Water Aid. Amazing pictures and a great cause- donate to their project! 

    – F— Hate. This is not safe for those who dislike the F bomb, but awesome nonetheless.

    – It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, big or little, girl, boy, man or woman, being bullied is never okay. Get help from somebody you trust.

    Help me to help others

    28 09 2010

    Hi everybody!

    I know I haven’t been the most superb blogger lately, but that can be attributed to a lot of things… a short attention span for one. Anyway, I had a phone call that really got to me the other day. I’ve been getting  a lot of rejection calls and emails from various organizations, schools and businesses after I apply for a job lately. Apparently the job market is über competitive right now; I’m facing that head on. My “seasonal” position was cut short by the return of the owner’s kid. Family first, right? It was much earlier than I thought, but for the last month I have been searching for a job that is relevant and meaningful. I didn’t pay almost six figures to wait tables, I did it so I can make a difference.

    Well that’s been hard without a job. In the past, when I was stable enough to do so, I made a donation to my favorite Oregon NGO, MercyCorps. (Working there would actually be my dream job, but I’m in no way qualified to do that right now. One day I will!) It may be just a small donation, but I was able to give something and know that I wouldn’t be in the red. That isn’t the case right now. I have loans to pay and limited savings.

    When I got a phone call from a man with a deep, boxing announcer-esque voice, he told me in pretty good detail what the majority of funds and efforts are going to. Haiti, which is recovering at a rate significantly slower than anyone expected for the outpouring of relief efforts, and Pakistan, which has received almost ZERO coverage in the media for the massive flooding that has started in July and continues today. UN estimates say that there are between 6-8 million people that are without basic necessities: food, water, shelter and medical care.  I just don’t find that reasonable. Yes, there’s a massive flood. Yes, there are millions of people displaced. However, aid needs to get on the ground and to the people who need it most NOW.

    I knew that the phone call wasn’t to tell me that I got my dream job, it was to ask for a donation. It truly broke my heart that at that moment, I couldn’t actually say yes to a donation. I know that not all of us can make a direct donation of straight up money, but there are ways to support organizations like MercyCorps while making a purchase. Partner programs with Amazon.com and Powell’s Books give a percentage of the sale price to the organization without any cost to you as a consumer.

    I’m going to somewhat install myself as a middle man. I’ve created my own partner program with Powell’s Books, and if you shop on their website while going through any of the links on the right, either buying or selling online, my website will generate a small percentage of the sale.

    I am going to donate the proceeds from any sale on the Powell’s website to MercyCorps, and the money will be used where it is needed most. So order away, guilt free. You’re doing a good deed in getting the entire Harry Potter series before the final two films come out. Stock up for the gift-giving holiday of your choice, and rest assured that a portion is going to an organization that truly makes a difference.

    Good night, and good luck

    21 08 2010

    Sometimes, I don’t understand the people in my country.

    So I’m in Singapore.

    1 06 2010

    And I already miss Indonesia.

    This is a general message so everybody knows what’s going on.

    Tomorrow, I go to Thailand, leaving this financial black hole in the dust. I’ll get back to Singapore on the 21st to get my bags, then back to OREGON!!!! on the 22nd. 11:45 AM. Be there or have something better to do, it’s okay, really.

    I’ll be sure and tell all the good stories and review all the good places when I get home. Non-stop adventure has it’s issues for writing. 🙂

    See you soon, beautiful people!

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