Hello my lovely adventurers!
As a student it can be incredibly difficult to figure out who you want to be and where you want to go... Some of this is because you're trying not to put yourself into (even more) debt, but there is so much to do and see and learn outside the classroom that it feels like we should be taking notes out there too. All of that being said, I'm staying in Alaska this summer to work on campus and take an online class, so there are some personal projects I've decided to take on. Here goes nothing!
Call this Part I of the "Build Self- Esteem Summer," because I can't stand seeing myself on video. I never have. I feel like I sound like I'm operating with a perpetual stuffy nose, and my mannerisms make me cringe. I'm hoping to desensitize myself to video- me, and create some cool/ engaging content along the way. (Also, hopefully help me with a thicker skin)
A Health & Fitness Journey
Part II of the "BESS," since I have the time and the inclination. As Elle Woods of "Legally Blonde" said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t." I don't actually have a husband, but the point remains made. I have made a health plan for the summer, including meals and a work out schedule, so Hi Ho!
Kansas is getting married in Peru this summer. Although I have technically bought the ticket, I'm now in a lot of debt to myself/ the bank. I get paid once every two weeks, and obviously groceries cost about $100 every week. I have to manage to pay off this ticket, eat healthy food, afford gas, have enough to actually survive in Peru while I'm there, and I really want a Polaroid camera and a better video camera (especially for this whole YT thing). Basically I want to survive and maybe have some nice things without ruining my credit score or starving.
Those are my main personal projects for this summer. Lots of love and luck to everyone still working towards finals!!!!!
Happy Black History Month, guys!
This is an extremely interesting time to be in part of the "other" in the United States. It is as though the baseline idea of White is beginning to change. When a person is introduced, there is no immediate assumption that the individual in question will look a certain way. This is refreshing. Also scary, but sometimes optimism is all we have.
I recently took part in a panel discussion on my campus (I was a speaker). The discussion was centered around some sheets of white printer paper that were posted around campus last semester with the words "It's okay to be white" on them. Obviously, these posters prompted a lot of feelings, most of them angry. At first, I thought that I was angry as well, but upon closer reflection, I can recognize the deep sadness I truly felt. As panelists, we worked hard to approach the whole discussion as a civil conversation, and the moderator did a fantastic job of keeping us in the right headspace. Overall, everyone had a lot to add, and I so appreciated all the participation, and the space that let everyone feel truly heard, if not completely understood. However, there were some questions involving self- segregation. I personally would argue that I have felt this division more in Alaska than anywhere else I've been in the US thus far. When I get to see more of my own country, I'll be able to offer better comparison. Additionally, things have to heat up for us to change anything, unfortunately. It would be so easy to sit back and pretend that we can do nothing. We have to stand up like the people marching with MLK, like the women marching for rights, like the people taking to the streets for Women's marches...
There are a couple things that I took away from that amazing night of conversation.
1) This is not a fight of Black people versus White people. This is a fight of the oppressors becoming the minority. In this case, not even becoming a minority, but feeling confused about their place in society. News Flash: it's about dang time you felt the way the rest of have been this whole time!
2) It is not our job as the out- group to educate the in- group, but if it falls to us, listen. I can't give you homework assignments like "get pulled over for driving while brown," or "go through TSA with hair that is immediately a problem and gets you extra pat downs." It falls to you as the group that doesn't have to deal with these things to come to us with your questions and concerns. I, for one, am happy to talk.
3) This is not a problem that only exists within the US. A German man in the audience said something along the lines of "why are you making such a big deal out of these words? I'm from Germany, so I have no experience with this kind of prejudice." The fact that this gentleman had the audacity to say something like that just proves how far we have to go. Remember Germany? She's mixed, like me. There are things about her life and identity that make me want to cry. Prejudice is a worldwide virus, and we must come together to stop it once and for all.
Overall, we can all be better. I should work harder to encourage meaningful conversations with people who are coming from different worlds. I need to listen just as much as everyone else. This is what is necessary in order to create safe places.
It is okay to be yourself. It is fine to stand up and be whoever you want to be, to say what needs to be said. What is not okay, will never be okay, is purposefully attacking others who are different from you.
Hey guys! Here is a little something I've been wanting to share...
A little while ago-- it must have been last Tuesday, I was driving to class. It was 9:30 in the morning, and I had been awake and functioning since 6:30, so nothing I'm about to tell you could have been a sleep- hallucination.
As I pulled up to the red stoplight, my eye was caught by a mama moose and her baby. The two waited in the left hand turn lane patiently, at the front of the queue. The light changed, and the two moose made their way through the intersection, staying neatly in their lane. As soon as they got onto the correct next street, the two stepped leisurely off the road and into the woods.
I was so stunned by the whole thing, I nearly missed my own light changing color, but the people behind me must have been surprised too, since no one honked at me.
Intersectionality is the idea that people's life experiences are shaped by all of their various identities together, and that they cannot be separated. The term was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, who also started the #SayHerName movement. (If you want to find out more, her TED talk was incredible and moving-- I cried).
I guess that growing up mixed, I always understood that intersectionality existed. I might not have had the words to describe it, but it was always there, lurking. Intersectionality waved when my first generation- Polish- American grandmother winced at my African American mother and never knew quite what to say to her. It smirked as people silently questioned how my half Chinese female cousin and my white male cousin knew me when we went somewhere all together. Most importantly, intersectionality was there, shadowing me when my roommate’s boyfriend got pulled over in my car while driving on base for speeding and driving without a ticket. In a car full of white teens, two of whom are the daughters of Alaska State Troopers, I was 20, terrified, brown, and they laughed at me. None of them stopped to think about the prevalence of violence against brown people in our country, but I could hear my mother’s warnings in my head. I could barely breathe.
I can easily admit that I live a privileged life. My parents are both employed (tenured, even). I am able to attend University, I traveled to volunteer for my gap year, I like Camembert and chocolate truffles. However, I also remember the look on my mother's face the first time she got pulled over with me in the car. My father was there too, as we were on a family trip, driving to visit my aunt and uncle. My parents froze, so I did too. The officer was blunt, got cooler in tone when he saw everyone in the car, though he didn't seem please in the first place. I don't remember why we got pulled over, if it was for Driving While Brown, or speeding (it was probably speeding). All I remember is the pain in my rib cage as I tried to stay unnaturally, impossibly still, and my parents' words. "Do whatever he asks. Don't move until he says so. No sudden movements." My mom made a joke when it was all over, trying to loosen everyone up. I remember laughing, but feeling scared all the same.
This summer, with my roommates cracking jokes at the military policeman's expense, and reminiscing about talking their way out of tickets in the past, it hit me how different out worldviews were. I will be forever afraid of any missteps with officers of the law, and yet, these girls (who are far more likely than I am to do something borderline illegal--or blatantly so), will never understand. I was shaking as they laughed at me. Not with me, no comfort whatsoever. Just laughter and jokes.
At the end of the day, all i can hope for is that we continue to look out for each other as human beings should. We should see color, embrace our sameness as we revel in our differences. Most of all, we should all consider Taking a Knee.
Hello my lovely readers!
There are so many reasons that you could be feeling lonely in September. Maybe your friends are going to different schools than you are, maybe you are the one starting over and the thought frightens you, or maybe you just can't seem to make yourself leave your room. Whatever the reason, here are some of the things that help me most when I'm feeling far away from those I love.
1) Exercise. In my experience, it is hard to focus on anything other than the lactic acid flowing through your muscles and your labored breathing when exercising. Whether your poison is Pilates, yoga, free weights, or dance, go for it! I'm a big fan of the Pop Pilates videos on YouTube with Cassey Ho.
2) Play some music that makes you happy. In Fangirl, Cath goes for an Emergency Kanye Party, but if I'm being completely honest, Camp Rock and High School Musical are perfect for turning my day around.
3) Engage in something you love. Hairspray, Cinderella, and the Mighty Wind are some of my favorite movies for when I need a pick me up (or basically any time at all), and I also love to read. I just finished Their Eyes Were Watching God, and my life has been forever changed. I also just started Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging out Without me [And Other Concerns], which is already making me laugh and commiserate.
4) Go out and actually do something. Yesterday I attended the English Conversation Group at my school, and found myself laughing, talking, and making friends. Friends that I never would have even met otherwise! It is so easy to reach out to people you already know, but just as rewarding to seek out new people and situations.
5) Online window shopping. You don't have to actually buy anything to do this. Just browse online, imagining everything you could or would buy if you had unlimited funds and world hunger was already eradicated.
6) Eat a dictionary. Just kidding! But never underestimate the healing power of snacks. (and naps).
7) Do something I'm not allowed to do in the dorms. I am not talking about anything illegal or exceptionally dumb here, like lighting myself on fire or injecting glitter into my bloodstream (not that I have ever tried either of those things). At home I like to light candles and take a long bath, but I can't do either of those things right now. Another thing that helps is animal loving, but I have no pets right now either. Pillow fighting is probably allowed, but pillow fighting with yourself is lame and a little odd.
8) Send a message to the people you miss most. Chances are, they miss you too. Maybe they won't respond right away, but when they see your message, you might have helped them feel a little less lonely too.
There are lots of other things that help me out when I'm feeling a little blue. The main thing is remembering that you aren't really alone. At least, I'm here and I love you! You're more than welcome to make me your new friend/ send me love to make me more big-headed in the comments below. Heck, make it a party!
I am officially in the middle of my second week of classes, so everything is finally set up in my dorm room. On of the podcasts I've been loving lately is called "At Home With," which inspired me to write up this post. The podcast is mainly about interior design, and the narrators move around the person's space as they talk about it. Way cooler than it sounds, honestly.
Anyway, best of luck to those of you starting school!
Hey guys, this is part of my trip that I really wanted to get the chance to share with you. Since my parents are both college professors, part of our vacation involved lots of campus meetings and visits. One of my favorites was NUST, and not just because I'm on a first name basis with the Vice Chancellor of the college, who started the school in one building.
I got a full tour from a pair of wonderful female students who made me feel right at home. I also was interviewed as part of a feminism show on NUST FM, the school's online radio program. It was all amazing and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity!
Hi Guys! I figure better late than never, so get ready for a bunch of stuff from my Southern Africa Adventure! This is a series of photos from the amazing Etosha game park in Namibia. I loved everything about it and if presented with the opportunity, I highly recommend checking it out!
Hey again, guys!
After such a full first day in South Africa, we packed in different things for the second day.
This was a harder day for our family friend, since we went to the District 6 museum. District 6 was a mixed neighborhood that was split apart when apartheid began. All the buildings but the churches were bulldozed in an effort to pretend that different racial groups had never inhabited the same spaces in harmony. Because of the history, the District 6 museum is a hard- hitter. Looking around at the pictures of what the place used be and comparing it to the rubble outside the building is more than enough to cement in a hatred of racism.
Then, we went off to a famous cake place: Charly's Bakery! The cakes were incredibly decorated. We sampled the lemon meringue, the chocolate truffle cake, and the plain cheesecake with a hint of lemon. Everything was good.
The day ended with a family outing to a little market. There were lots of different kinds of foods to sample, and I had the best chorizo of my life. The atmosphere was friendly, though the space was cold, and the space was buzzing and packed with people. Eventually we found a space to squeeze into and enjoyed everything we ate.
That's all for now!
Everyday Acts of Activism