Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reflection, Obsession, and all that falls between.

Ignorance, indeed, is bliss.

Also I appear to be developing a nasty of habit of beginning my posts with cliches. I will have to work on that.

At any rate, I know I have been fairly MIA since I returned to the country, but the main reason for that is... this semester? Is going to kick my ass. Hard.

Hence the nostalgic thoughts of ignorance... specifically my ignorance at the beginning of last semester when I found myself thinking "you know, Grad School is shaping up to be much less work than I thought it would be... I am totally going to breeze through this semester..." Ha! Little did I know the various and sundry shitstorms waiting for me just around the corner, and thus I entered into this endeavor in a blissful state of ignorance.

This semester, however, I am painfully aware of just how much work I have to do, and how limited the time in which I have to do it. And I am perhaps just a little bit anxious on that count.

First of all, there is the reading. LOTS of reading. Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone else who has trod this path, but this semester's reading load is perhaps triple that of last semester. This, in and of itself, worries me.

In addition to the the reading load, at least one of my classes requires a generous amount of time spent working--in groups!! of 8 people!!! scheduling NIGHTMARE!!!!--outside of class. I am taking yet another weekend-absorbing class leaving me with virtually no free time until the beginning of March. I also am required to see four shows this semester, two each for two different classes, and unless I can find a show that encompasses both physical theatre and queer theatre, I'm not seeing much chance of an overlap.

And finally there is my inability to give up the search for the perfect pair of boots that clearly do not exist. At least, not within my price range.

What's that you say? What does my compulsive need to buy shoes have to do with being screwed by my workload this semseter?

Oh, plenty.

For one, shoe shopping is time-consuming. Particuarly when you feel compelled to set foot in every single Payless shoe store in Manhattan, convinced that one of them has to have the blue suede ankle boots that you foolishly did not buy in Pennsylvania back in December in your size.

Thus were 2 1/2 hours that could have been spent reading "Theatre of the Oppressed," spent on a fruitless search for grey suede ankle boots (and top-fold, spiral-bound, college ruled notebooks... but that's a whole other kettle of fish), not to mention at least another hour online once I returned home.

Clearly, this behavior has got to stop.

Therefore, I feel perfectly justified in purchasing these...



And these...



And, um, okay... these and these



I can only hope that now both my boot and suede fixations have been satiated, and I am able to buckle down and get some work done.

Provided, of course, that everything fits.

Batten down the hatches kiddos, it's gonna be a looooong semester!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Alas, poor Yorik...

The Common Fool, or Ridikulus maximus as she is known in scientific circles, is most readily identified by a proclivity for rushing in.

So widely noted is this behaviour that years after Alexander Pope alerted us to its presence in "An Essay on Criticism," it was further immortalized by a tolerably cute but pervasively banal romantic comedy starring Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek.

With all this rushing in and out (because obviously one can't rush in without first being out, and once one is in, one would have to rush out in order to rush in again, thereby qualify the behavior as habitual and worthy of being attached to works of cinematic excellence as delineated above) one can easily conclude that fools, in general, are a rather dizzy lot.

The resultant disorientation goes a long way toward explaining the other, lesser-known behaviors of the Fool.

Such as staying out drinking past 3am--at a party she swore she'd leave by 1am--the night before an 8 hour class that begins at 10am.

Indeed.

I am well aware, of course, that I am 27 28 years old, and really ought to know better... but the fact remains that I was perhaps still a bit drunk when I arrived--remarkably punctually--for class this morning, clutching the 2 bottles of Vitamin water that it nearly took an act of god to procure because apparently nothing is open at 9am on a Sunday, even in New York Freakin' City.

In my defense, the festivities in question were a joint birthday party for myself, A, and our friend K--and therefore I had every excuse to behave in a manner far worse than that in which I actually did. And as I made it through the whole of today's class only slightly the worse for wear (and doing my best impression of Kathleen Turner thanks to the exorbitant number of cigarettes I inhaled amidst the preceding debauchery), really I think I can be excused for this particular transgression.

But the photos of me being spanked by an equally intoxicated and even more snappily dressed A?

Those I blame entirely on the Newcastle.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Routine

Gah! That's it! I simply cannot be insightful today. I have, in fact, done something I never do: I've saved a post to the Drafts folder because, right now? I don't have the mental capacity to translate those thoughts into coherent sentences. And they are thoughts that deserve to be coherent. So they shall wait.

This is a problem I've been having quite a lot since I returned. I was blaming the jet-lag, but really? I think that a large part of my brain is still subconsciously processing the past few weeks. Sort of like when your computer is running diagnostics in the background and all your programs run just the tiiiiiniest bit slower... that is what's happening in my head.

And I need to snap out of it. I'm back at work, the new semester has started, and I've got a million-and-one things on my plate all begging for my immediate attention. My brain has taken an unmarked detour and now I need to locate the on-ramp to reenter my routine.

So I'm blogging about nonsense. That's pretty routine.

Last night I had the first class of the new semester. It came highly recommended from everyone who has taken it, and I can already tell that these were not exaggerations. It is definitely going to be a good class and I am excited to see what the semester brings.

There is also at least one very attractive man--who is in my program but I had not previously encountered--taking the class as well. There are, in fact, several attractive men in this class, but one in particular stood out to me yesterday. Perhaps a new crush in the making...

Oh, don't look at me like that! Eye candy makes even the dullest of classes more enjoyable--in a good class it's just an added bonus!

Speaking of crushes, I invited B to the joint birthday celebration I am having with some friends this weekend--and told him that The Girlfriend was welcome as well. How's *that* for progress?

Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.

Last night I dreamt I was riding a motorcycle backwards, and my companion couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time steering. Let it be known that anti-malarial medication causes some crazy nocturnal musings.

I have been eating salads non-stop since I returned to the States. You never realize how much you'll miss lettuce until you can't have it for several weeks.

I am supposed to have 3 books read before my weekend class begins tomorrow. I have read approximately 20 pages of the shortest one. Really, sending us this information less than 2 weeks before the class starts (while I am in AFRICA, no less!) is completely unacceptable.

But I will still be reading like a fiend when I get home from work tonight.

And baking cupcakes.

Mmmm... cupcakes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Soul-Lag

In his book "Pattern Recognition," William Gibson (my favourite author, FYI) puts forth an interesting theory about jet-lag. The idea is that the soul cannot travel as fast as the body, and so that feeling of disconnect is the body waiting for the soul to make it to the destination--thus, the further the distance, the worse the lag.

This morning I thought my soul had finally caught up. I woke a bit earlier than usual, but I was feeling much more coherent than yesterday, which was a total wash.

But around 6:30pm I ran face first into a wall of exhaustion that was nearly insurmountable. I've held on for a few hours, but my bed--with clean sheets and brand new fluffy feather pillows--is very loudly calling my name. Is 9:30 too early to go to bed?

Tomorrow I return to both work and school. I have a huge project at work (The Mailing From Hell) that I need to start churning out immediately, as well as a 200 page book to finish reading before Saturday, two others to peruse, a paper to write for the Uganda course, financial aid paperwork to file, and a joint birthday party to plan.

I hope my soul catches up soon. Methinks I'm going to need it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Homecoming

It is so strange to be back.

Perhaps it's just the jet-lag and yesterday's 26 1/2 hour door-to-door travel time talking, but being back here in my apartment in Brooklyn is just so... surreal.

On one hand I am, of course, happy to be home. I missed my kitty, and comfy pillows, and a roach-free bathroom (though it does appear that the mice in my kitchen have become much, much bolder in my absence--one of them startled the crap out of me this morning!), and yet...

And yet.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I left a piece of my heart in Africa. Only time can tell just how large that piece turns out to be.

I haven't really cried yet. I came close when we left, when the Ugandan Cowboys (as they shall henceforth be known) who made the drive from Kampala to Entebbe at 140km/hr to see us off before we left poured out of a tiny Rav-4 and onto the sidewalk to bestow one last round of bearhugs before we entered the terminal... but was stopped short when I nearly ran over a security guard with my luggage cart.

The lump rose in my throat once more as we sat on the tarmac at Heathrow for 2 hours awaiting the repair of some "minor technical difficulty" as my professor (sitting behind me) relayed the volley of text messages she was receiving from our Ugandan friends--who had indeed begun texting and calling before we'd even boarded our plane in Entebbe--but again the tears did not come.

And as I sit here now, trying to wrap my mind around all I have seen and done and felt in the past two weeks, my eyes are damp and my chest constricted. But still I do not cry.

I do not know when they will come. I only hope that it is somewhere, sometime, when I can truly take a moment and let them fall in the manner in which they deserve.

Sorry, I didn't mean for the first post after my return to be so depressing.

I do want to thank all of my fabulous guest bloggers for keeping the rest of you entertained in my absence! Thank you for the facts, the thoughts, the kind words, the beautiful photos (Lisa, I fixed your post), and of course the award! You are all wonderful, and you can all expect a volley of comments from me over the next few weeks as I catch up on all of your adventures. I shudder to think what Google Reader has in store for me.

And so, odd as it currently seems, I have returned. I am sure that soon enough my life will fall back into its usual rhythm, I will return to my fairly-cheerful self. But today, this morning, as I sit here in my familiar dining room, musing over the contrast between my tan and the cold, gloomy skies outside, I will hold onto this feeling of melancholy, and remember the beautiful country I have so recently left behind.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Available

Froggy is coming home, dear readers, which means I am her final guest blogger.  

To tell you the truth, as I began writing this post a couple of day's ago, I had absolutely no idea about what I would write about.  I did not want to do a half-assed job either seeing as this is the first time I have been asked to be a guest blogger  So, I went back and read all my favourite Froggy posts.  Then, I made a list of everything I love about this blog and by extension Froggy. Very quickly, I knew exactly what I would write about.  

You see, Froggy and I? We are very similar insofar that we both have a penchant for unavailable men. Yes, we do, Froggy.  Yes, we do.

 She tends to find men that are in relationships. (In her defense, this is not intentional.  Hello?  I honestly believed without a shadow of a doubt that Maybe Crush was single.)

 I tend to find men that are about to leave the country.  (In my defense, this is not intentional either. Actually, in this case, it was. Uh hum, moving on.)

 Unavailable. Untouchable.  Unattainable.  And you know what?  It is not like we seek them out.  They just happen to be the only ones we really like.  I have thought long and hard about why this is the case.  I mean, Froggy and I are both pretty good catches.  We're bright, we're cute (did you see her tattoos and those adorable band aids?) and yet we persistently fall for the wrong guys.

Both of us have in the last year, become smitten by men that are very near replicas of that previous man that broke us down bit by bit. See, Froggy and I? We fell for two men.  They broke us (as only men can do). And did we learn from that experience?  No, because the next Big Crush?  Same. Exact. Scenario. Except, Froggy has been a real lady over the whole-Maybe Crush-is-NOT-single debacle and has with real class (and with a lot of will power) withdrawn herself from pursuing him.  I earnestly hope that she has broken the cycle of the curse of the unavailable men by this gutsy move.

 I, on the other hand, saw the flashing lights, heard all the warning signs and still jumped with my eyes wide open into the deep end.  Will power (and I guess, class) are most definitely not my strong suits.  

 I have been--for the last two months--actively pursuing an Australian man who is leaving Greece in two weeks.  Looking back, I realize that I actually only started acting when I found out that he was leaving.   As each day passed by (as only time can assuredly do), I did things that I would never have done otherwise.  I began frequenting The Bar where he works more often.  I flirted unabashedly. I gave him my number.  He did not call.  So, I very nearly forced him to ask me out.  And we did.  And it was great.  And we went out a second time.  And uncharacteristically I slept with him.  And then he did not call.  And then he did.  And then we went out a couple more times. And I see him at The Bar all the time.  And even though, all along,  he has told me that he can make no promises (i.e. I am just using you) and that he is leaving (i.e. I am just using you).  I put myself out there repeatedly everyday; put myself directly in the line of fire.

I have some previous experience with this.  You see, my ex-boyfriend (also Australian), left me nearly four years ago because he also wanted to go back home.  So, meeting this man now, a man who excites me, who moves me like no other man has in a long, long time, is such a cruel twist of fate, that most of the time?  When I am looking at him and giggling?  I am laughing at how funny The Universe thinks it is.  But then I remember that fate only took me so far.  It was I, and I alone, that forced myself to jump.

So, even though, this has got to be one of the most ill-fated flings of my life, I am making a promise to myself. Here. Today. On Out Of The Frying Pan.

Next time I meet a man--any man--I will first ask whether or not he intends to leave the country.  And I promise that if he replies in the affirmative, I will have Froggy's class, her guts and her will power to turn and walk the other way. 

And I wholeheartedly hope that by walking away both Froggy and I can find a man that is uncommonly (for us) available.

 

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Series of Questions a la "Inside the Actor's Studio."

So, as I'm fabulous and have the privilege of knowing Miss Froggy and having been asked to guest blog for her, I somehow thought it would behoove me to actually do this.  Rather than go to bed. Because I'm brilliant like that. Oh - me = distracted spunk. But then Bondi Betty put this up, and while it's been quite some time since I've watched "Inside the Actor's Studio," I thought it was perfectly appropriate as Miss Froggy is going back for her degree which involves theater - my guess is she's probably watched this at least once or twice. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, at the end of the show, James Lipton asks the performer in question a series of questions at the end of each segment - always the same questions, but the answers are truly fascinating. A spin! (And I suggest we all request videos of Froggy shaking her own booty a la the booty shaking video shown yesterday.) 

Here we go:

What is your favorite word? 
Onomatopoeia. I don't know why, but it recalls sound, and even though I can't technically hear sound, I still love it, because some of the easiest words to understand burst off the tongue and explode from the lips. It's just sound in its purest form that I can understand. 

What is your least favorite word? 
Relax. Whenever someone says it, it automatically makes me more tense. 

What turns you on?
Debating. 

What turns you off?
Fighting. 

What is your favorite sound or noise?
Laughter. Especially from my loved ones. There are only a few people who, when they laugh, my heart leaps in happiness. 

What sound or noise do you hate?
My mother and sister screaming at one another, and the subsequent crying or sobbing that always comes from my sister's room. 

What's your favourite curse word?
Fucker.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
College professor. But it's not set in stone, because I still haven't decided on what my current career is now.

What profession other than your own would you not like to participate in? 
Accounting.

If heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
You know, you seriously kicked some major ass at handling all the curveballs thrown at you. I'm proud of you. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scenes from the Third World

Hi, I'm Lisa of The Lisa Show. I was both surprised and extremely flattered when Froggy asked me to guest post. In my delight, I said yes rather eagerly. It occurred to me that I suck with the guest posting, yes, but I forgot just how much till I ended up staring at a blank screen for three hours. I loved her last post so much that I was planning on writing something about it, but it's just not possible - there are no words. What I can do though is produce pictures when necessary. So I dug through my archives and came across these pictures from three to four years ago, taken with my trusty point-and-shoot.









Monday, January 14, 2008

Resiliency

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. It was the day when it truly hit home for me where I am and what I am doing, so much so that during dinner an overwhelming rush of emotion welled up in my throat and I started to cry.

I do not cry in public. Ever. But this outpouring could not be contained.

I am amazed by the resiliency of the human spirit, and touched by the outpouring of love and joy from children who have experienced horrors and hardships that I cannot even imagine. Their ability to heal, to continue with life and experience joy, both amazes and humbles me.

video

(I hope that video works)

Somewhere in Middle America

I've been asked to guest post for Froggy. I've never guest posted before. I have a hard enough time writing interesting, intriguing things on my own blog (umm don't know how to link, but I'm OC from Am I Secretly on Reality TV over on the links on the sidebar there… yup, right there). So I tried to think of what Froggy's readers would enjoy. What Froggy's readers would enjoy that I could write about. Granted Froggy and I have decided that we may share a brain, so her readers (crossing fingers) should like me. Or at least smile and pretend.

 

I've had a little time to think about what to write about. Advice on guys? Heck no. Relationships? I'm still laughing. Shoes? Not the right girl here, sorry. And then, sitting in a cafĂ© somewhere in middle America, I knew what I could write about. Travel (and I thought of this before Deutlich's post yesterday!). Froggy is in Uganda (Not Uruguay as I originally thought – different continents…). And I am always on the go, always hopping a plane somewhere.

 

Currently (as I wrote this) I am in Omaha, Nebraska. I woke up that morning in Chicago, IL. The next morning, I woke up in the Quad Cities (bonus points if you know where that is and can name all four…). And that next night? I fell asleep in my own bed back home in Connecticut. I know travel.

 

There is something exhilarating about being on the road. Whether you're alone or with friends or colleagues, you are in a place where no one knows your name. I find that you can do things that otherwise you wouldn't do… when I travel alone, I've gone to the movies myself, I've sat at tables in restaurants alone, I've gone to the bar alone. I would never do any of those things at home. When I'm with others, we laugh and joe and don't care if people are staring because we don't know them. There is a slim to none chance that we'd ever see them again. Why no let go and just have fun? Just be.

 

My job has taken me across the United States. I've been from Miami, FL to Fargo, ND to San Francisco, CA to Houston, TX and a thousand places in between. I've seen different cultures, I've felt out of place, and I've felt welcomed. Travel introduces you to so many new experiences, new people, new surroundings. For anyone that has the opportunity, I would recommend booking a flight and going. Anywhere.

 

Otherwise, you'll never be able to say that you've had a "Sloppy Bill" in the City of Fountains, that you lied to strange men in Vegas about your name, your age, and where you're from. You won't be able to say that you got to ride in the front seat of a cop car in Cleveland, that you got to flex your muscles under the "Muscle Beach" sign in Santa Monica, that you played golf for the first time on a random Wednesday with co-workers and then bought cheeseheads and wore them around Milwaukee, that you spent Valentine's Day snowbound in the Baltimore airport so you had some margaritas with strangers in the same predicament. So many incredible experiences come from travel. Some good, some bad, but all little moments that create memories to last a lifetime.

 

Froggy, I hope you're having a fantastic trip! Travel safe and we can't wait to see pictures when you return!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In The Spirit

Happy Saturday, everyone!

It is Deutlich, once again, stepping in as a guest blogger.

Now, in the spirit of traveling, I figured I'd ask all of you lovelies out in the Blogosphere the following question:

What was your absolute best & worst travel experience?

1, 2, 3...GO!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cheers, etc.


Hello darlings, greetings from the Western Hemisphere where it is currently 8:14 in the morning and I am probably going to be late for breakfast because I am up here in my room, blogging.

That's okay really, I'm just operating on "Ugandan Time" where 8:30 can mean anywhere from 8:30 to 10:30. Though the bus to class leaves at 10:00, so perhaps "semi-Ugandan Time" would be a wiser choice.

Thanks so much to my two guest bloggers thus far! Deutlich, that was more than I knew about Uganda before I came here! (Though I was, in fact, aware that it was in Africa ;) ). Princess, you are so sweet! I tried to claim my award from your blog, but I've got my browser set to not load pictures because the net is so creepy-crawly here. I'll have to retrieve it when I'm state-side.


So far my experience here has been amazing. The people of this country--at least those we've been interacting with--are incredible. Not to mention beautiful! Seriously, I thought our professor was kidding when she told us, but I've honestly never seen so many good looking people in the same place!

There is so much sensory input every day, I have a feeling I'll be processing this whole experience for months to come.

Your homework for today is to look up Maribou Storks. See them? See how freaking HUGE they are? They are *everywhere*. I have yet to capture a decent picture, but these enormous, pterodactyl-like birds are as common as pigeons--but would cause quite the stir if they were to touch down in Central Park.

And I think one peed on us during lunch the other day. That's a sign of good luck, right? Right?

Right. I really must get ready for breakfast now. After class today we're heading over to the apartment of one of our Ugandan counterparts, who not only is acting as our photographer, but also makes jewelry and masks. In other words, it's shopping time!

I shall leave you with a photo (if it actually uploads) of the building where we've been having class every morning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Tribute to Froggy

So my darling Froggy asked me to do a guest spot.

I thought long and hard about what to write...

Now if any of you read my blog (if not please do! I love surprise guests!) you know that I'm on the girly end of the spectrum, and at the moment I'm dipping my toes into some massive work overtime. However, it didn't seem appropriate to write about that- this is Froggy's blog after all! So I decided to a post about....Froggy!

I am pleased to say that I magically found Froggy right when she started her blog and I have read every post she's ever written. I can't say that about ANYone else. *Special thanks to the Company Bitch, who seems to be on hiatus, for bringing me and Froggy together.

I have to confess I do seek out other princesses. If you look at my link list I have quite a few of them on there.

What do I love about Froggy? The way she writes so simply, yet is so completely engaging. I was absolutely absorbed in her saga with Maybe Crush (currently known as B). I still have some very strong feelings on that whole situation. Yet, she can also write a post like the one about her love for New York ( I would love to link, but not sure I can via this means of posting), which has me completely enamoured with the idea of living there. And the paper that she's wring about Body Image...well I dutifully did my homework and sent in my thoughts. I can't wait to read how that all turned out.

Even from the beginning when she was writing about moving out of her old place with terrible roommates into a new place with some questionable plumbing situations- I was always dying to know what happened next. I don't think I have that with any other blog that I read.

So that is why I did a little dance of joy when a) she added me to her link list and b) sent me the email to do a guest post.

Would I be engaging enough? Would I measure up to the standards that all her readers have come to expect from a Froggy post?

I did my best! Thanks for tuning in!

I heart you my amphibious Princess.
Come back to us soon!

xo

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post a couple of days ago, exciting things have happened! I got an award! And I'm passing it on to Froggy! Yay!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Have a Monkey

Good Morning!

Well, it is for me anyway.

I should be getting ready to head down to breakfast, but I wanted to take advantage of the briefly functioning internet (last night it was a nightmare!) to pop in and say "Hello!"

We have arrived safely, and yesterday is more or less a blur due to the overwhelming jetlag. If it weren't for gravity, I wouldn't have known which way was up.

We stopped at a nature preserve on the way from the airport, and so I give you...

A Very Bored Monkey.



Happy Weekend!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Where In The World Is Uganda?

The other day, I received a slightly frantic request from Froggy regarding guest blogging while she was traveling to Uganda. In true form, procrastination had taken over and the question came a bit last minute, hence the frenzied undertone. In even truer fashion, I responded with an incredibly late, "hell yeah!"

Now it was my turn to be worried because I thought she might've gone to sleep and oh-my-goodness what if I missed her and she's already en route to the airport or at a friend's house or shut down the computer for the trip or changed her mind and aaaah. Apparently, we are two peas in a pod... or something.

I have to admit, not only was I honored to have been asked, I was completely nervous. I still am, actually. I spent the last couple of days seriously trying to think of something fabulous to discuss. Then I thought, "well, what if I say something stupid or outlandish and it upsets her??"

After that I figured, "hey, I could always talk about a current event!"

[insert the crap in Kenya, the constant disorder in Sudan, the shitstorm in Pakistan, the two wars, the Iowa Caucus results, the train wreck that is Britney]

Uhm, right... now we're back to the initial concern. It's one thing if I put my foot in my mouth in my own blog. It's a whole other story while guest blogging.

Sidenote: I do realize that the Britney fiasco should not be lumped in with the other topics, but tell that to the 4 news conglomerates.

So, then I decided I'd simply post a map of Africa so we can see exactly where Froggy is. If I were to be completely honest with you, I didn't really have a flipping clue where Uganda was, except somewhere over the ocean.

I'm horrible. I know this.

For that matter, you don't want to know how long it took me to figure out that Egypt was actually in Africa. Oh, how I love Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego ? She sure did help broaden my geographical know-how. Apparently, just not well enough.

<center><img src="http://www.africaguide.com/images/africa_map.gif "></center>

Notice, Uganda borders two of the countries having some of the worst upheaval in Africa at the moment.

Great. Now I'm slightly concerned. I'm sure she's completely fine but there are traces of my mother in me that I can't shake. She worries obsessively. I thank my father for ensuring I'm not that bad.

Anyway, here's some background information courtesy of the CIA ( source):
The colonial boundaries created by Britain to delimit Uganda grouped together a wide range of ethnic groups with different political systems and cultures. These differences prevented the establishment of a working political community after independence was achieved in 1962. The dictatorial regime of Idi AMIN (1971-79) was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents; guerrilla war and human rights abuses under Milton OBOTE (1980-85) claimed at least another 100,000 lives. The rule of Yoweri MUSEVENI since 1986 has brought relative stability and economic growth to Uganda. During the 1990s, the government promulgated non-party presidential and legislative elections.

Last but not least - one more map. This time it's just of Uganda.

<center><img src=" http://i.infoplease.com/images/muganda.gif"></center>

On that note, I think I shall end this entry. I'm pretty sure I've written enough. One might call me long-winded.

...and they would be correct.

_Deutlich from Speak On It

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Last Blog from the US...

...and I'm having a beer.

That may or may not be a good idea, as my stomach has been an absolute terror for the past few days (as it is wont to do when I am overstressed and underslept), but damnit, it's necessary. A shot of whiskey might follow, we'll see.

The bags are (more or less) packed. All that remains are the toiletries, as I fully intend to shower before spending the next 20 or so hours traveling. And, of course, the laptop. I am not typing this from inside a suitcase (though that would be an entertaining sight, to be certain).

The apartment is clean, including the bedroom. I hardly recognize the place.

The kitchen is covered in Post-its (hi A, yes, I am a freak, but at least you'll know where everything is).

The kitty is freaked. I know she sees the suitcases and is saying "What the fuck Mom, didn't you just get back??" I owe her, big time. I'll start with the can of "Tuna for Cats" that I picked up at Trader Joe's today. I'm such a pushover. And I'm not at all above bribing my cat with seafood to regain her affection after a 2+ week absence.

Me? Well, I'll be honest, I am completely freaking stressed out. My parents called earlier to check-in and wish me safe travels, and my dad could hear it in my voice. As I told them... when I am in the plane, above the Atlantic at cruising altitude, then I will relax.

Unless there's turbulence.

And the take-off and ascent? I'll be white-knuckled in my seat, breathing deeply, and doing my best outward impression of an individual who is not totally convinced that the plane is going to crash at any second.

I didn't used to be like this. I blame TV.

I am now trying to wind down. I've just copied a few last CDs to my computer, to be transfered to my lovely new Zune, and then I will shut down the computer, pack it in my carry-on, and curl up on the couch for some quality time with my equally stressed-out kitty.

It just occurred to me that I should move the fire extinguisher from its obscure location and put it somewhere more obvious.

Not that I think you're going to burn the house down A... but this is the girl who left you a three page letter on the coffee table.

I am such a nutcase.

Phew.

Right.

Time to call it a night kids! Think warm, fuzzy, non-plane-crashing thoughts for me tomorrow as your alarm clocks are going off! I'll be posting as often as possible, and I've got a few very lovely guest bloggers set up (and several more who haven't responded to my oh-so-typically-last-minute email), so you won't be completely without entertainment while I'm gone.

I shall miss you! Stay interesting! :)

xoxo
Froggy

I...

...am a fucking idiot.

Oh, you're thinking, well that's a bit harsh really. I think "occassionally challenged" would be more appropriate...

But no. This morning? Fucking idiot is truly the only term that applies.

Why?

Well let's see... my commute to work takes roughly 45 minutes, depending on when I leave the house and whether or not the three different trains I take to get here are running on time.

This morning I was on the third train, one stop away from my destination, when I thought to glance in my bag and realized, to my horror, that I had left my wallet at home.

Shit.

And why was it not in my bag, where it always resides?

Because last night I purchased a measly 400 "Microsoft Points" so that I could download a song I wanted from the Zune marketplace, then left my wallet on the table, strategically placed underneath a folder of travel info, because really? I would totally see it there in the morning.

Are you beginning to get the picture? Just wait. It gets better.

Aside from the fact that I am now walking the streets of New York City without a single form of identification, let's take into consideration the fact that I need to leave my house tomorrow morning at roughly 4am. There is, therfore, quite a lot that I need to accomplish this evening, that I had planned to accomplish over my lunch break, but which cannot be accomplished without my wallet, such as...

Get cash and traveler's cheques (my debit card is a Mastercard, and in Uganda they only take Visa).

Go to Duane Reade and get the last few items that I forgot to get on yesterday's trip (duh Froggy, that's what shopping lists are for).

Buy cat food (you know, so she doesn't starve in my absence).

Not to mention the fact that I have no money to buy food, so breakfast consisted of a Trader Joe's cereal bar that had been flattened to nearly paper-thinness in the bottom of my bag, and lunch will likely consist of cup-a-soup (if there is still any lurking in my desk drawer).

So... now I have to leave work early, go allll the way back to Brooklyn, get my wallet, go alllll the way back into Manhattan (because there is neither a branch of my bank nor a store that sells the fancy cat food that is all my cat will eat even remotely in the vicinity of my apartment), fulfill the above obligations, then go back to Brooklyn, go to the Dollar Store, pack, clean the fridge, clean the litterbox, and then maybe, just maybe get a few hours sleep before I have to leave.

Why oh why can't I ever do things the easy way?

Oh, that's right.

Because I'm a fucking idiot.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Countdown

Holy crap.

48 hours from now, I will be in a plane, headed across the Atlantic Ocean.

And in the intervening 40 or so hours until I climb into a taxi to JFK before the sun has even considered approaching the horizon... I have So. Much. To. Do!

On my lunch break today I've got to run to Duane Reade for sunblock & Emergen-C, go get copies of my housekeys made for the lovely A, who will be keeping an eye on my kitty and enjoying my 200+ channels of cable TV, and run to the bank to deposit a check from my parents and get cash to pay the landlord's little brother for feeding the kitty over Christmas.

Then after work I've got to drop off the keys with W, who is also loaning me a suitcase, then go home and start packing.

Not to mention that sometime in the next 2 days I have to write a Personal Statement as part of the application for another study abroad course I want to take over the summer, as it is due the day after I get back from Uganda and lord knows I won't feel like writing it then!

Oh yeah, and then there's the question of what I'm going to do about the blog.

I will have internet access while I'm in Uganda, but I don't know how often I'll actually have time to use it. And with everything else that's been going on over the past few weeks, the idea of guest bloggers didn't even occur to me until, oh, about 5 minutes ago.

And how does one go about doing that anwyay? The mail-to posting address? And there's always the fact that this blog is actually registered under (*gasp*) my "real" google email address.

Er, any volunteers...?

I'm trying not to stress. Really. This is going to be an amazing experience and I'm so grateful for this opportunity and am really, really excited.

I just wish the travel-planning faerie would sneak into my house and clean my bedroom for me, so that A will actually be able to distinguish between the floor and the furniture--all of which are currently covered in clothing.

*sigh*

Who else needs a drink?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year...

...May your day be cheery, your year be prosperous, and your hangover be gentle.

True to form, my NYE plans were solidified around 5:30pm yesterday. I rang in the new year atop a roof somewhere in Brooklyn, where the proprietor had made his own ball to drop, there was a multitude of cheap fireworks, and I was inexplicably wearing these:



Funny, I just remembered... at some point a guy I didn't know said "Hey, why are her 2008 glasses prescription? Your eyes look huge!" at which point I took the glasses off and he said "Oh, nevermind."

Yeah, they called me "Bug Eyes" and other such witty monikers when I was a kid. They were just jealous.

All in all, it was a good New Years Eve. And remarkably enough I made it safely home via mass transit. Even more remarkably, I came home ALONE.

As opposed to last year where I ventured to the home of some investment banker who dished out a heavy helping of the crazy over breakfast the next morning.

This year the only creature bugging me to wake up in the morning was my cat. Which was a good thing, as I'd managed to fall asleep with my contacts in.

I was, perhaps, just a wee bit hammered.

I fed the cat and went back to bed, and now here I am. A bit groggy, but thus far my hangover has been surprisingly mild. Perhaps that means 2008 will be gentle with me too? We shall see...

We shall see.