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Aug. 22nd, 2008 | 11:53 pm

Vicky Cristina Barcelona was not good. I remain unimpressed by Woody Allen. I wanted to rip the clothes off Javier Bardem in every scene, but that does not a movie make.

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(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2008 | 01:24 pm

I just made a connection, something that took me about three years. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, has been one of my favorite books, mostly because I love opera and it's very exciting and beautifully written. I knew that the soprano in the book, Roxane Coss, was inspired by Renee Fleming, who is from Rochester and whose mother was always a peripheral figure in my time taking voice lessons at Eastman, teaching in the next room over from Cecile. I was always enchanted by that connection, but then about five minutes ago another big light bulb went off in my head, that Chema, who was our mentor in EPIIC and the former Guatemalan ambassador to Peru, was one of the hostages in the real-life crisis that the book is based on. What a strange revelation.

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(no subject)

May. 9th, 2008 | 10:28 pm

I don't know how to do this, it's so weird. I'm packing and saying goodbye to people that I will probably be seeing again in another week, just in a different context with everyone in new houses and new jobs and taking summer classes and traveling. I'm visiting DC and I'll see Shana and Andrea and the rest of my life that happens to be there, and I'll be working working working working at Nardone Electric and with the two economics courses I'm enrolled in. So I don't know how I'm supposed to feel right now. I know I'm sad, I could barely retain my composure as I walked up the library steps past Goddard Chapel this afternoon after spending two hours lounging in Jessica Xia's room, trying to think about the little moments that I might not even remember to miss. It's weird to think that some of the people I said goodbye to I won't see again for another year and a half. I will surely miss everyone while I'm abroad. I just hate this limbo transition period, but I am glad that so many people are staying in Boston. My friends are first rate, top notch. And now I'm going back to Wren to drink with the 440s one more time, even though it probably won't be the last because I'll go back tomorrow morning, but I don't know how much of this a person can take. I want everything to stay in place.

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(no subject)

Mar. 12th, 2008 | 12:04 pm

I can't believe my governor. I just saw on msnbc.com that he resigned, and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I can't believe that he paid $5,500 an hour for a hooker and traficked her across state lines, and his resignation somehow makes it feel like the Democratic party has died a little. I don't usually get upset about political scandals, not even Republicans. Larry Craig in a bathroom, no big deal, Bill Clinton, none of my business. But this is different. I really respected Spitzer. He was infallible. When it became apparent that he and Deval were going to sweep into office together I thought that it was going to be sort of democratic Golden Age of the northeast, and I thought illegal immigrants would be able to get drivers' licenses and he would expand their educational opportunities and gay marriage would become closer to legalization and the Healthy Teens act would pass and New York politics would make sense again. How could he be so stupid? I feel sick. I am very ashamed of him.

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(no subject)

Feb. 28th, 2008 | 09:36 pm

I'm settling into my new job. I work as a receptionist/office assistant in an office of about 30 people, and the dynamic is quite unlike anything I've experienced before. It kind of reminds me of "The Office." I don't think anyone ever actually does work, they just wander around and get into dumb arguments about butterscotch versus tapioca pudding and play catch from their desks. It's so blue collar New England. It's kind of cute. I was very nearly killed by the label-making machine today.

Dido and Aeneas was quite good. I like to think I am not easily impressed by amateuer theater, but the quality of the voices definitely made an impression on me. Larry Bacow was also quite convincing as a drunken courtier. It reminded me yet again how much I love opera. I'm actually starting to think nostalgically of my opera class from freshman year, having finally gotten over the painful memory of that 8-page review of Madama Butterfly. Very excited for next weekend as well.

This is my peak stress week for the semester, and considering I still had time to see an opera, that's pretty awesome. So much easier than last semester. Thank god. Lucia and James, have fun in EPIIC next fall!!!

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(no subject)

Feb. 13th, 2008 | 10:58 pm

tonight was the lecture with Esther Duflo from MIT's Poverty Action Lab, followed by a discussion with Dani Rodrik. Put Esther Duflo in a room, throw in Sherman Teichman and Maggie McMillan, add five awkward EPIIC students, and you have one of the most thrilling and simultaneously mortifying dinners I have ever had in my life.

Photobucket

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(no subject)

Jan. 25th, 2008 | 10:35 am

when I was rushing to my connecting flight in Miami, I had almost made it running through security when a guard stopped me. "You're from Tufts?" he said, looking at my sweatshirt. "Yes," I said, trying to keep walking. "Well...you don't look so tough!" he finished. I wanted to punch him in the face. Those were five seconds of my life I would never get back.

I fell down the hill going to Hodgdon and ripped my favorite jeans.

I like my classes, except I literally have not opened any of my books since they began, I think I'm suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder left over from last semester. I think I am really going to love Enrico Spolaore and International Econ, he just must learn to go through the slides a little faster. But what an amiable fellow. I was almost run over by Maggie McMillan this morning in her Subaru. History of Consumerism has thus far been a video clip of the crusades, but it seems like a course that has the potential to be quite interesting. Chinese, thank god I'm not the only non-Chinese person in my class this semester. God bless the other dumb white kids. And my professor is somewhat less of an asian mom than Wan laoshi. My geology professor reminds me of my doctor. We're doing geologic formation sequencing. Yawn. I am wonderful at geologic formation sequencing. But whenever my professor says "and the lava flows to the lowest elevation to take advantage of the topography," I think he is saying, "and you're going to change into this hospital gown so we can have a look..."

I'm just trying not to be an idiot about a few things this semester.

the door to my room keeps expanding, and soon we are not going to be able to close it at all.

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(no subject)

Jan. 17th, 2008 | 03:42 pm

I am thousands of miles from home but somehow still caught the midwinter cold that must be circulating around campus right now. This is the most polluted place I´ve ever been. When I get home I am going to stick my head in a bucket of ice water. On sunday I´m going to have that long plane ride to collect my thoughts, the first legitimate stress-free time I will have had since September, and I think I might need a little more. I don´t want to just go back to my dorm and eat in the dining halls and worry about snow-drenched jeans and get swallowed into classes again. I guess I kind of missed the grace period this past week when everyone trickled back to campus and braced themselves for classes. Everyone and their uncle went to Israel this break. In Cochabamba it´s hot--it feels like a lazy summer afternoon when I´m in the back of the cab and I check back into my hostel after a day of interviews. There are different districts--the doll district, the hardware district, the cookie district, the paint district. I am staying in the funeral district.

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(no subject)

Jan. 12th, 2008 | 11:27 am

I got over my perilous case of traveler`s bug, it was weird because I woke up in the middle of the night feeling fine like it had all been a dream. This city makes me cough and it makes me struggle for breath after I go up a flight of stairs. The streets are clogged with hundreds of micro buses filled with campesinos and men in tarnished suits squashed next to each other and each is equipped with its own fourteen-year-old boy yelling out the route in a monotone drone that I can`t believe anyone can understand. I have interview fatigue, I`m sick of hearing myself talk. Karim was very concerned about Dutch Disease and wondered if she could get vaccinated against it. I spoke with the director of a microfinance organization who said, ¨it´s a classic example of...how do you say, the illness of the Netherlands?¨

I went to El Alto, the fastest growing city in Latin America, slums built onto the top of the cliffs surrounding La Paz. Everything is perched hazardously on dirt. I went to Zona Sur, the Bevery Hills of La Paz. It´s eerily quiet and looks like a Hollywood set, perfectly built houses surrounded by towering rocks with not a resident in sight except the little security man who lives in a box on the street corner. There are wild yellow labs that live on the cliffs. I met with the government´s director of public relations concerning the campaign against cocaine. He told me he loved the US and all its policies while we sipped coca tea. I drank beers with Karim in the back of a cab as we drove past all the embassies. I don`t know where I`m going to put all of this.

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(no subject)

Jan. 5th, 2008 | 05:59 pm

the altitude is catching up to me. I thought I was fine the first day, when I was up and walking around, but 14,000 feet hurts. I think it was the hike yesterday around Lake Titicaca that did it, and I also had a very scary experience last night on a bus coming back. We were coming down the mountains into the valley of La Paz, getting thrown around because of the rough condition of the god-forsaken roads, and it was dark and nobody spoke english but apparently there was a road blockade and they told us all to get off the bus and right before I was about to step off it started rolling over the rocks again and threw me off my feet. I don´t think I´ve ever felt so sick from a mode of transportation. I pretty much barricaded myself in my room until five o´clock today. But not to be melodramatic or anything.

anyway, the lake was awe-inspiring, I still don´t know exactly where I am (much of me believes I am either in Guatemala or New Zealand). It´s a depressing country any way you look at it. It´s cold and gray and arid and the human suffering is palpable. As much as I would hate to be singing praises to Jeff Sachs, it is hard not to blame geography when taking a glance around. The whole country must be off-limits to the handicapped. My toes are freezing right now, and it´s summer and I´m in layers.

I had dinner the other night with my fixers, plus the confident New Yorker expat and sometimes-photojournalist for the Times who gave me all my names in the first place. He´s cocky, but in the I-partied-in-Tarija-for-new-years way, not the Times-y journalist way. I´m sure if Bolivia had anything that resembled a coastline he would be a surfer. It made me wish for a split second that I was doing my project on the secret lives of expats. I don´t know how they are the way they are. It kind of reminds me of the kids at Tufts from international school. "Do you this person in Egypt?" "Oh yeah, I think I met him that time I was in Kuala Lumpur." Do you just have to be chatty? You definitely have to be a photographer.

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