Friday, January 29, 2010

2010- Haiti, the world, and a glass of water

Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s been some time. 2009 was a rollercoaster of a year filled with deaths, lack of jobs, temporary deportation out of the UK, feeling the blues, exercising, and of course, just trying to figure my way through life just like everyone else.

By the end of 2009 I thought ‘this has got to be the end of this bad streak! Both parents are now dead. More friends have died. I’m finally back in the UK after being kept away from my son and husband for a time to straighten out immigration status’. That had to be it. 2010 has to be better. This year, I said to myself, was going to be about positivity and hope.

And then the earthquake hit Port-au-Prince. Despite learning that those family members who still live there survived, I couldn’t stop crying for my friends whose family were so lucky. I couldn’t stop crying for Haiti itself.

But that’s the way it works sometimes, isn’t it? It takes strength and courage to find hope in bleakness. There must be a boundless will to find positivity in the darkness. But does it always have to be about the superhuman strength and will?
For many people, it seems, I am the only Haitian descendant they know. Therefore, all of a sudden, a horrendous tragedy in some Third World nation was brought all the more closer to them. And for this and other reasons of course, they needed to reach out to me. I was flooded with Facebook wall postings, emails, texts, phone calls from truly beautiful people. They wanted to reach out, to know if my family was ok, if what little they could give would be helpful and/or comforting somehow.

It was. It still is.

I am amazed at how fast the world has pulled together to lend assistance and support to a tiny island country that has no relevance on most of this world’s lives. I have always felt that Haiti was like that little kid who everyone tried to hit first and repeatedly during a dodgeball game. After getting pummelled, the little kid would get up, brush herself off and limp to her next class. All the while, she’s either ignored when something pretty walks into view or viciously teased and tormented when she’s tries to interact with others. But there is she again, the next day in P.E. class, ready to survive another day.

And yet this time, when something large, hard, and random fell out of the sky hitting this little girl in her head, knocking her down with a severe concussion, bleeding profusely, a bunch of kids ran over to help her.

Personally, I’m not interested in all the competition over who gave how much more. I’m just happy to know that people are helping. I’m happy for the millions of people that I will never know and who may never know me felt such humanity to help my ancestral homeland.

How can I not believe in positivity and hope?
So, world, I thank you for helping Haiti and making me believe in the future of humanity. I promise to return the favor!

As someone who by nature tends to see the glass half-empty—I’m cocking my head to the side and thinking ‘hm, there’s a lot more room for more water, isn’t there?’

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Adventure in Negroshire will return in 2010

Hiya to those who've still checked my blog from time to time. I was surprised to hear that there were folks who were interested in hearing more. I will return in 2010 with more anecdotes about living overseas! In the meantime, Happy Holidays!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I Gots Me A Job!!!

Well, hello, faithful readers. I know, I know! It's been a long time. The longest I've ever been away from my blog. Please forgive me. It's just been a very trying last few months for typical reasons.

But I did want to tell you that another reason why I've been too busy to write more is because I got a job with the University of Edinburgh! I am now an official member of the Department of History staff! I am a tutor for their American History 2 course. It's basically the same job that we term "teaching assistant" or "TA" back in the States. It's only once a week but for that day, I feel like my old self again.

I can't tell you how much it's affected me. For months, I've felt my brain slipping- wasting away without other intellectuals to converse with on a weekly basis.

I absolutely love commuting by train, walking out of Waverly Station and walking up the hill into Old Town passed the Royal Mile onto George IV Bridge and onto campus. I have my iPod and some fashion magazine to pass the time on the train. Then I have the formidable views of the smog-coated medieval and renaissance styled churchs and municipal buildings to keep my eyes darting from one side of the street to the other.

Now, although I'm an anthropologist, more specifically, a historical archaeologist by training, I have enough academic background to feel secure in teaching American history to second year students. But I will admit, I was taken aback just a bit. The students (at least in my classes) are ridiculously smart. Far more, by numbers, than students I taught in some parts of the US. But then, University of Edinburgh is one of the best institutions around. I believe it is ranked within the top the world!
From what I gather, if one does not make it into Cambridge or Oxford, one goes to Edinburgh.
According to wikipedia: In the Third European Report on Science & Technology Indicators, compiled by the European Commission,[10] the University of Edinburgh ranked as follows:

* 5th in Europe
* 3rd in the UK
* 1.35 score of citation impact (0.2 points below the leader, University of Cambridge)

The 2007 Times Higher Education Supplement [THES] World University Rankings ranked the University of Edinburgh as follows:[11]

* 23rd in the world
* 5th in the UK
* 5th in Europe overall

And because of this, there is quite a large population of English and Welsh students here; larger than I would have expected for a Scottish establishment. But in both my classes, the English and Welsh students outnumber the Scottish. This seems to be a demographic pattern found in many other departments of the university, although I was told that the differences in numbers between Scottish and other British students has shrunk some over the years.

So far, I am thoroughly enjoying my students. I've never dealt with such small numbers for my groups (no more than 10 students per class!). I'm used to 50 students or more at a time. But I've no complaints.

After my classes and office hours are done, I walk through Old Town and have lunch, maybe do a little bit of shopping over in New Town before I catch the train back home to Perth.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesdays. Not bad at all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I Can't Seem To Get More Posts On This Blog These Days!!

I have heard from a few of you that you miss more update or current posts. Well, if you had to run after a child like my Baby Bear, you'd understand. For me, this motherhood thing is a BITCH!!!
The boy was walking (without assistance) since he was 8 months. But now, at 15 months, he's figured out how to climb onto everything. So now, we can never leave that boy alone! He's determined to play with (i.e., destroy) everything above 2 feet now.
Here's a cute version of what I'm talking about...

Now, I gotta run because the boy is climbing on my boxed dissertation files trying to manhandle everything on daddy's table.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Summer hiccup

As the picture says, I send you all apologies for not writing sooner. This summer has been very taxing and well, something had to fall by the wayside. But fear not dear readers, I will be blogging again within the next week.

Until then, I hope you're enjoying your summer where ever you all are!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baby Bear's First Birthday!!

As some of you know and care, Ruben turned 1 earlier in the month. I can't even tell you what that meant to me. It meant that I was able to keep that boy alive and well without doing him or myself any permanent injuries. And for that-- we needed to celebrate.

You know, I never really got the whole party for a baby thing. They are too young to understand what's going on, much less remember such an occasion. But I know now that it's really for the parents. It's a public proclamation of survival and success. "We didn't kill my child!!! Yeah for us!!"

The festivities went on the Cinco de Mayo theme, so Mexican food and drinks! The snacks were there: salsa, sour cream, and tortilla chips. We also made signifiacnt culinary effort: Non-alcoholic white sangria for the kiddies; watermelon margaritas and cold, lager beer for the older kids; 7-layered Mexi dip (apparently, many Brits have yet to enjoy this dish over here) and bbq ribs/chicken were a big hit; so were the spicy shrimp wraps and veggie wraps.

Birthday cake: lemon (sponge) with lemon buttercream frosting. The birthday cake was made by the Mitchells from Kenmore, a lovely little village beyond Aberfeldy. They made our wedding cake last year that people are still raving about!

Ruben got lovely gifts from his friends and family. His older friends helped him open the presents which as much fun for them as it was for Ruben:

The suckiest part was all the cleaning we had to do afterwards. We were all exhausted hours later. But so what? My BabyBear had a great time with his biggest fans.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A New Toy!

Hi all! Yeah, yeah...I know it's been a while. But give me a break! I'm trying to raise a family, do my wifely duties, and finish my dissertation at the same time.

There's another post to come in the next few days. But I wanted to do this one and give you a peek of me and my new toy: the video option on Blogger!

I think I may be using this quite often. Of course, I don't believe in flooding the net with video after video of my son doing the most monotonous things (although to his parents--it's just genius!).

I'll be reporting on surviving the first year of Ruben's life soon. In the meantime, check out my boy: