Friday, May 29, 2009

Restless Much

It's getting dull in the house, not for lack of doing things. Today I did three lessons in Rosetta Stone. In between that I did my laundry, wrote and recorded a song, watched a Star Trek movie with the fam. that was hilarious because of how old it was, well, it seemed like I did more than that. Today was a French toast morning with my grandparents, and I love those. Great food, great company. 
In seventeen days I leave for the DR, ready or not. We've gotten more of the details of where we'll be-- today I watched some videos online of the school and the town, it made it feel very real, and very overwhelming. All those questions came up, those doubting questions that play on fear, and I realized for the first time how hard it's going to be, how uncomfortable at first. I think I thought I would just fall right in without any difficulty (and maybe I will and it will get hard after two weeks like Biculturalism class says culture shock will do to a person). The other scary part was realizing that I have expectations- I want to like it, love it. I saw that I do want to get some things out of this trip- some direction. There's temptation to become anxious about all of the different areas like the teaching, the Spanish, the spiritual side, but I'm keeping it at bay for the most part. One day, then the next. I'm glad I'm not going alone! 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Recipe for an Uprising

It seems to me like bad economic times unveil what was there all along, the flaws show up brighter, a bad situation becomes worse.   

Global Crisis 'hits human rights'

World Bank Warns of Social Unrest

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sunny California

San Diego is lovely. It's wonderful to see my friend Danielle who I haven't seen since before Christmas. We've been on the beach and to Fashion Valley (!), met up with one of my good friends yesterday who gave me a promised cd of Dominican music and more. I finished reading In the Time of the Butterflies (Julia Alvarez) today, and I've got my pre-field manual sitting right next to it, so you could say I'm getting all educated for my trip. Hah. There is so much that I don't know. I was telling Danielle the other night, there's no way I can prepare myself for everything. A part of me cannot believe that I'll be getting on the plane and going to the place in just a few weeks. This music is beautiful though, I recommend Juan Luis Guerra. Thanks Nate. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Some Thoughts for the Day

Some things I'm thinking about. 

Rosetta Stone. 
I really like Rosetta Stone. It makes me happy. 
I'm working on it to bolster my Spanish. It's interactive software that teaches you the words for things without using English at all-- it's like immersion learning. You speak and listen and type and it does grammar somehow, I'm amazed. All the pictures are really beautiful and I want to go to the places in them. I'm amazed at the artistry of some of the photos-- one of the "la puerta" pictures is a blue door with a brown wall and it's gorgeous. All the color photos are cool textures that they took with a camera with a lot of megapixels, pictures of feathers or elephant skin. They didn't have to be so creative with everything, but they are. I wonder if that helps you to remember somehow-- if it stops you from associating with the thing itself. If I saw a grey square, maybe I would translate it into English. But if I saw some elephant hide, maybe I wouldn't? I wonder about the people whose jobs are to take the pictures for Rosetta Stone. Where do they live? Do they get to travel to all the places, or are there photo contributors everywhere who send the pictures in? How long does it take to get all the photos? How many photographers are there? It's fascinating to me. How do they choose which pictures to use? And then, this is the coolest, they have milestone exercises at the end of the lessons where you actually have conversations with people (not real other people). And these pictures are the most dynamic-- you feel like you're in a movie. My adrenaline gets going when I can't automatically think of what to say back. I get into it! I want these people to be my friends. They are all so happy. Everything is nice in Rosetta Stone world. lol. This is the way to learn a language. 

I could start this one the same way: I really like books. Books make me happy. 
I went to Barnes & Noble today, and I think I could live there. I like finding good things. that you didn't know existed. Without thinking of any books beforehand, I could go into B&N and find ten things that I wanted to read, probably most from the fiction section. Today I bought Peace like a River (Leif Engar) and No Man is an Island (Thomas Merton), both were recommended by a friend who also likes reading and spiritual things. Here's a clip from No Man is an Island's "Author's Note" that I liked: 
I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern. The spiritual life is oriented toward God, rather than toward the immediate satisfaction of the material needs of life, but it is not, for all that, a life of unreality or a life of dreams. On the contrary, without a life of the spirit, our whole existence becomes unsubstantial and illusory. The life of the spirit, by integrating us in the real order established by God, puts us in the fullest possible contact with reality-- not as we imagine it, but as it really is. It does so by making us aware of our own real selves, and placing them in the presence of God. 
Merton was a Catholic monk/theologian(?) who wrote a lot on contemplation. The books calls him a "world-renowned religious philosopher." He wrote poetry, too. I think we would get along great. 

That's all for now 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dominican Republic

I'm going to the Dominican Republic this summer to do a six week internship with Kids Alive. I'll be at the care center in Caraballo, on the north coast. Here's a link: I'm excited! More to come later in the summer. I don't leave for a month. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

An exercise with H words

Honey gleams in the corner
hum of your mouth-- 
honest hole I stare into 
hour on hour. 
I would make my home, 
close to holy words,
near hands that play. 
Together our harmony
builds a humble church,
headed by a two fingered steeple. 

How long we waited, 
every peal of hollow bell
sharper than a hammer's edge. 

From this house 
all homilies proclaim 
hallowed be He, 
the one who hears. 

In the place of healing, He comes, 
inhabits the fellowship of our steeple. 

Sargent's "Street in Venice" Ekphrasis Exercise

This is a set that I did for an Ekphrasis class at Wheaton fall semester 08 with Prof. David Wright. I came across them a week or so ago, and I kind of like them. Ekphrasis means that music or art is involved in the generative process. It's a very fun way to write-- it helps your imagination. I really like this painting because it seems so full of possibility. Sargent is great at painting women, and there's a lot of movement in his work-- to me, his paintings seem full of stories. In Ekphrasis, you decide what the stories are. It's art about art, playing together. 

It all Depends on the Sky
—after John Sargent’s “Street in Venice”

Without the sky
we cannot tell
if it is afternoon
dusk or morning,
if the men loitering
in the alleyway
prepare the morning meal
or make bets at cards.

We do not know
whether or not
to show concern
for the young woman
in the rustling white skirt
lost on the Calle Larga
dei Proverbi. It all depends
on the sky—will the two
huddled in the doorway
follow her or forget her
as soon as she turns the corner.

Angels in the Alley
—after John Sargent’s “Street in Venice”

Once I heard the story of a woman
and two angels in an alleyway,
and the space around this Venetian girl’s
cloaked frame is just wide enough
for her to be flanked on either side.
I think that is why she clasps her hands
together in front and sets her face straight—
she knows. The man in the doorway can see them.
His wormlike eyebrows are lifted
so they brush the bottom of his hat,
and his mouth is the shape of an apricot.

A Wrong Turn
—after John Sargent’s “Street in Venice”

It’s so easy to get lost
in this city of bridges.
A cloak is not enough
to create safety in the pulse
of the Venetian girl who is
as light on the stone street.

Where is her father,
her uncle, or cousin
that she wanders
in the skyless scene.

The streets are wet in patches
and someone is always hungry here,
a wrong turn.

Sargent’s “Street in Venice”
—after Anne Sexton’s “Her Kind”

I, too, have pulled a dark cloak
around my shoulders,
and on other nights roamed
barefoot behind the chapel,
hair rain-smeared to my face.

I, too, am familiar with the eyes of men
trailing the current of my steps
and have kept my gaze low.