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Archive for September, 2005

Crash

So, tonight I watched this movie for the second time. I loved it the first time, and watching it again just made me even more aware of the message it communicates. The plot is also full of twists and turns, and watching it again was interesting because I caught a few things I didn’t the first time around.

I think the movie really makes people realize that racism is present in many different forms. This also made me think of some issues I have come across while reading some anthropology texts to get ready for school. There has historically been a lot of racism and assumptions bound up in development work, but that is something that I think is changing (but much improvement still needs to be made). I’m sure this is something I will have plenty of opportunities to mull over in my head this term!

Anyway, if you haven’t seen Crash it should definitely be on your “to do? list!

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In England

So, I have finally arrived in the UK! I have been here for several days now at this point, but I haven’t had much time to post anything. It’s funny – the little things that remind me that I’m living in a different country now (like different license plates, people driving on the opposite side of the road, and of course English accents, which I don’t think I will tire of at all).

The weather here has been much nicer than I expected so far. Most of this week it has been fairly sunny, and there were several days where I was comfortable walking around town in a skirt and short sleeves. Today, unfortunately, is slightly colder (but still sunny!)

Thad and I will be heading to Scotland on Tuesday after he turns in his thesis. The plan is to take a train into Glasgow, where the Merchant City Festival is going on for a few days. Then we’ll eventually make our way to Inverness and Ullapool, where we are going for the music festival.

Yesterday, as I booked our reservation at a bed and breakfast in Scotland, I realized that I am very bad at understanding people with different accents. I had to ask the woman on the other line, who had a very thick Scottish accent, to repeat herself several times. I am sure that I will have lots of practice over the next few weeks, once I move to Brighton and begin meeting people in my flat and in my program.

I am trying to get some pre-sessional reading done before my classes start in October, so hopefully I will feel on top of things. But, for now, I am still enjoying my extended vacation from both work and school.

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The Kite Runner

I read this book in about two nights and loved it! I actually hadn’t had a marathon novel-reading session like that in quite a while. Although the story itself is fiction, a lot of the background information is very historically accurate. The book spans the peaceful years in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion in the late 70s, Soviet occupation, and then the rise and fall of the Taliban. I really enjoy reading books like this because it brings a very personal point of view to events that you have watched or read about on the news. Khaled Hosseini did a great job of describing how much Kabul changed when the Taliban took over through the eyes of the main character.

Reading The Kite Runner actually reminded me of the Poisonwook Bible, another fiction novel that has a very accurate historical context. I found a review online that stated, “More problematic is Kingsolver’s tendency to wear her politics on her sleeve; this is particularly evident in the second half of the novel, in which she uses her characters as mouthpieces to explicate the complicated and tragic history of the Belgian Congo.” I completely disagree! I think that this aspect of the book is one of its strengths, and I love that about Barbara Kingsolver’s writing (but then her political views are pretty much in line with my own).

Anyway, I highly recommend both of these novels if you’re looking for something to read.

Tonight will be my last night in the United States for a while. There are a lot of people I am going to miss, but I’m incredibly excited! I will definitely be posting more entries after traveling “across the pond!”

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For the past several weeks I have been slightly apprehensive about fitting all of my belongings that I want to take overseas into two suitcases. Tonight I realize that fitting it all it isn’t really the problem, but the big issue is the weight limit.

I packed the smaller of the two suitcases tonight, and that one weighs right around 50 lbs. That is a little scary, considering that the larger one is about three times larger and the weight limit is 70 lbs! The last time I had to pack like this was when I was leaving for Botswana, but at least then I didn’t have to pack for cold weather.

Anyway, the goal for tomorrow is to pack the larger one – keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t break the weight limit!

On a different note, today I was completely and utterly sucked into the TV. One second I’m flipping through the channels to see what’s on, and the next thing I know it’s two hours later and I have watched Batman and Robin in its entirety. It’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, and Arnold’s Schwarzenegger’s performance as Mr. Freeze is probably one of his worst ever. Why was I entranced for two hours? I think my brain has possibly been on too much of a vacation.

Random bit of trivia: I have actually met Adam West. He visited the Duke Primate Center while I was working there several years ago. It was a little strange to see the real Batman in person!

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My First Post

Ok, I have to admit it – I am a first time blogger. This could be like all those diaries I kept throughout elementary school (as in, I would journal every day religiously for a week, and then not touch it for months) or maybe it will actually become part of my daily routine, who knows? It could be a great distraction/procrastionation tool once I start school in a few weeks….

Speaking of school, I’m getting very excited about it! It will be a big change after working a normal 9-5 for the past two years, but I’m ready to be a student again. In just a few weeks I will be starting a one-year master’s program at the University of Sussex. I’ll be getting my MA in Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation (for more info about what that is, click here) The only problem with doing a one year program is that I already need to start thinking about what I am going to do when it’s over.

And, just for kicks, I thought I would add a few photos from this past weekend when Sarah and Katie came to Richmond to visit. I am going to miss you both so much!

Me, Katie, and Sarah at Belle’s Island.

 

 

If this doesn’t indicate how ridiculous portion sizes can be in America, I don’t know what does!  Here’s Katie and me with the remainder of the piece of chocolate cake (we only finished half of it between three of us) 

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