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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Voting IS Important to Me:

Today at work, after I got back from voting, two of the men I work with began to complain that our voices don't matter. That all politicans are slimy. That we are wasting our time. I listened for a while but eventually I turned my chair around and began to tune them out. Their voices grew louder and soon it wasn't just complaints coming from their mouths but a full-on war against democracy. I quietly typed out emails as I caught bits and pieces of their arguement. The words I've never voted were followed immediately by rants about policy, law, political figures, and the economy.

I do not know every bill up for debate in the senate, or every character running for office, or understand all of the complexities of a struggling economy. But I do know that I am a smart human being who can think critically. I can look up information that I find pertinent. I can research individuals to get a clearer picture of their ideology. I understand that we all have a voice and the only thing stopping us from using it is ourselves.

Frustrations, exasperations, they exist. But the beautiful thing about living in America is that our worries and our concerns transform themselves into black lines on a ballot. Suddenly our abstract stresses are tangible pieces of paper that speak loudly for us.

Voting is important not because it makes you more superior, or smart, or particularly interesting. Voting is important because you make it mean something more. There is something lovely about human beings thinking for themselves. We should remember that we are not robots, not yet anyway.

So, I took my "I VOTED TODAY" sticker off my shirt and stuck it to my computer monitor so my coworkers can see how big my little voice is.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Love You and Be Safe

Last night I said goodbye to my best friend. She is moving to Michigan where her fiancee is starting his residency at a hospital. I held it together very well, a part of me was worried I would burst into little tears around Gayle and her mother and her future in-laws. But I didn't. I said, I love you and be safe. I got into the car and drove away and I still didn't cry. I just felt very numb. It is not the friendship I am sad for. I know that we will continue to be close. I hope that one day when she and Raji have beautiful little cappuccino colored babies they will call me Auntie Jess. No, it's not the friendship that is gone, it is our childhood, our youth. We will never be 16 again, sitting in parking lots eating ice cream and complaining about life. We will never be 21 again and walking into weird bars in Tucson for the first time.

Saying goodbye made me realize very suddenly and abruptly that we are all moving apart from one another, apart and onto new paths, new journeys. This must be how parents feel when their children begin to grow beyond them. Such an odd mixture of happiness and joy and excitement for their new adventures coupled with a tiny nugget of sadness that is dull and lodges itself deep inside all that you thought was true about life.

But I am happy for her, no two people in love deserve this kind of happiness more than Gayle and Raji. They are like two old bookends that wound up next to one another in an attic somewhere, now that they are together, I cannot imagine them apart.

Life goes on, people move around, we are all only human.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

As a wee teenager I took a trip to San Francisco with my parents. I thought it would be funny to post that old journal here and compare it to my most recent stint in the city by the bay. I was so much funnier back then-- I guess because I was reading a lot of Woody Allen.

For a long time I thought I was a silly girl. Maybe a bit of an individual just breezing through. For a long time I even thought I was an original. Then I took a little family vacation. 

San Francisco was lovely. I saw a dirty homeless man sitting on the corner of Haight and Ashbury offering his services. His services were none I liked to partake in. He wanted to massage feet for money, only women's feet. I kept walking.

Everywhere I looked there were scores of interesting people to gawk at. There were people drinking, smoking pot, being silly. I know handfuls of people back home who participate in all of the above. But they do it bad. They dont do it interestingly like these people do. They do it because they can. These San Frans do it because they are unique. Unique pot smokers. 

This is when I realized everything people do here is different. I am only different in the "I want to be different" kind of way. 

My favorite part of California was riding the city busses everyday. Not shopping, not spending, not eating, not relaxing, but riding. 

I liked that I almost fell down everytime the bus started. I liked that the crazy man across from me told everybody that "if this bus could just go a little faster, it could open up the doors and it would probably fly." You are probably right crazy man. Probably right. I liked being the square in a town full of crazies.

Ohhhh to be 16 again. 

Well this time I loved San Francisco just as much. This time I appreciated the very neighborhood-y feel of the city. It is so divided, a little 7 mile track of pocketed cultures. The entire city feels very lived in, like a great pair of jeans that have bounced around from place to place. Even as an outsider walking the concrete I immediately began to feel my feet sink in and I could imagine a giant sigh escaping my lips, an "ahhhh this feels good." I didn't take many pictures at all, in fact I'm surprised I even walked away with this many. I'm not very good at remembering to snap some memories, I typically find myself more lost in the place, forgetting to document anything. 

Next vacation destination, Chi town in November!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Destination: II

May 25, 2007

Today after showering we met Mike at the Piazza della Repubblica and went for breakfast at the Bar Duomo. I had a brioche and cappuccino, it was heaven. The pastry was filled with apples and the coffee was so smooth, no bitterness at all. We shopped for a while and then we went to school to get online and update our email accounts. We then shopped for hours and took pictures. At about 3:30 we went back home to nap until 5:00 when the supermarket opened again. We ran into Juliet and Professor Alfie and he warned us of the crabby store owner--he was crabby. We bought ingredients to make spaghetti carbonara and a caprese salad: spaghetti, eggs, pancetta, olive oil, parmesan, tomatoes, mozzarella, salt and fruit for tomorrow morning. We lit candles and drank wine and talked for hours and then went out again to walk the streets at night and to get more gelato...we tried a new gelateria this time, delicious as always! Of course we walked to the Duomo and ate our gelato on the steps while me and Gabby gawked at all of the hot Italian men walking by...and then as we got up to leave we found even more attractive men on all of the streets. It was like the men were on a silver platter for us, we were drooling. Domani, off to Firenze and wherever else the train takes me!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Destination: I

I have decided to post my journal from my first summer abroad in Italy, titling these entries Destination. Looking at pictures makes me sad but reading my own words and remembering how naive and innocent I was makes me happy. I'm heading to San Francisco in a week and perhaps reliving these travel memories will encourage me to write about the city by the Bay.

May 23, On the train from Roma Termini to Orvieto:

We ran around like crazy people searching for the proper ticket and time and binario...waiting on the platform we struggled and shoved against hundreds of people all vying for a spot or seat on the train. As I hoisted my luggage up the steps onto the train Danielle picked up my slack...inside the train Gabby's bag was too large to fit in the luggage compartments so I struggled to pull it in towards my seat and as I did, my foot got stuck. Flailing for several minutes it finally came un-done. On the train into Orvieto we sat next to a man named Angelo--he spoke NO english and so we attempted to speak with him for over an hour in Italian, lots of broken phrases were thrown back and forth. He sat next to Danielle and rubbed her back and told her she looked like Demi Moore the 'attrice'...ha! He told us he was an avvocato and we told him in English that word is 'lawyer,' he couldn't pronounce it. When we got off the train he waved Ciao to us as we ran past his window screaming his name, blowing us kisses and yelling ciao he waved back at us. I blew him a kiss right back. Alba's husband Claudio picks us up from the train station and drives us to our house or appartamento. As we drive up the plateau into Orvieto I am awe struck...greenery, villas, small shops and even smaller cars swim past us. The city is magic I know it, there is no other way to describe how such a thing could be so beautiful, so bella! Driving in a huge van through streets no wider than a closet, Claudio stops to see if we will fit down the side street, we scrape against some jasmine bushes on the way to our apartment and he says "Well at least they smell good!" And they do! They smell like summer and perfection, sweet and dainty like how you expect a small, hilltop town in Umbria to smell! As we awkwardly haul our massive luggage through ancient, cobblestone streets towards our front door it starts to sink in---I AM IN ITALY FOR 6 WEEKS!!! The apartment is astoundingly beautiful and more than we could ever have hoped for! Two bedrooms, all wood floors, our own walk in closet and master bath, a wine cellar, a brand new kitchen, living room and gorgeous dining room. There are these amazing doorways and ceilings that still have the old stone from when the home was first built, an odd mixture of past meets present. Alba came to get us and we walked to the Piazza della Repubblica which is near the center of town. The Piazza is lined with small clothing shops and bars and restaurants. We then walked to our school which is located directly next to the Duomo. How can I even begin to describe the Duomo, its massive walls are covered in mosaic tiles and the steps completely surround the church walls. Across the street tourists sit and gaze at the building for forever it seems, not really moving, hardly speaking, just sitting in front of the shops staring, mesmerized by how large and impressive the whole church is. There is a Star of David on the ground in front and a statue of the Madonna on the left. It is so large and awe inspiring it almost looks fake. After wandering around the city we get our first taste of gelato--chocolate of course! Then we walk back home and nap and shower and put on our new dresses before dinner, before we meet Mike back at the Piazza della Repubblica. We have pizza and a bottle of white wine at Pizzeria Charlie's and then walk the streets again. We take Mike to see school and the Duomo and then back to eat more gelato at Pasqualetti's. We got to see Mike's apartment and it's safe to say we wound up with the best one! I'm up this morning writing because I can't sleep now, it's very humid in our room. Outside our open windows with the wood shutters I can smell wood burning in a fire place and hear pigeons and birds landing on our balconies. The clock tower chimes...the walls between our apartment and the owner's next door are paper thin, we can hear them laughing and yelling in Italian, we can hear their t.v. at night and I love it! This morning we are going for espresso and a brioche at a local bar and then to shop and take pictures, oh Italy how I love it! I knew before I even got here that I loved it, I just knew it was for me!