Monday, July 26

In the buckle of the Bible belt

I was at a conference this weekend in Austin. I was amazed at how many openly Christian people there were. It's been a long time since I've lived in Texas. But it was nice. Well, actually, the conference wasn't so good unfortunately, but I got to see some friends from college and also had dinner with my non-Aunt (she's my uncle's sister (but he's my uncle by marriage)). I just met her last weekend in Boston at the wedding, but she seemed great. So I agreed to let her take me out to the Oasis (great view, over-priced TERRIBLE food, do not go there).

So I get picked up by my non-aunt and her husband. Before I'm even buckled up in the car he's handing me this book titled "Are there Christian Cops in Austin Texas" (no question mark in the title, it pains me not to include one). And then he asks me, "So are you religious?" "No." "Not at all?" "Nope, not at all." "So then you study world religions?" "Well, superficially in college."

And by now I'm sure you're thinking what I was thinking, "what have I gotten myself into?" And he goes on to tell me that he's written this book and it's all about this cop who is and I quote "like you'd imagine Jesus to be." And he was fired from the Austin PD because he's Christian and refused to tasar people and thus didn't fit in with the APD philosophy. Holy shit, have I been abducted by evangelical conspiracy theorists? And so I'm skimming through the book now because if I'm just listening, I might throw myself from the car. And it's just a proof version, but the formatting is terrible and every chapter begins with a bible verse and the prose is almost unreadable. Unfortunately, the story sort of peters off there. He finished explaining to me what the book was about and didn't discuss it again at any point. Nor was I taken away to a tent with snakes and holy rollers to be saved. But I'm keeping the book to show everyone that comes to my house.

Monday, July 19


Pictures coming soon. Brief wrap-up though.

Wedding - traditional in a very old, very HOT church.
Reception - mostly traditional, but with liberties. SUPER FUN.

Got to see a few cousins (too few!), got to eat yummy, yummy dim sum in China town.

It was a good time, but I'm glad I don't have to share a room anymore!

Thursday, July 15

But you're pretty...

My sister and I are walking down a side street in Brunswick, Maine. We're discussing the difference in personality of East Coast Northerners versus Southerners, at least that's what I'm discussing. It's noticeable. For a Southerner, the people here almost seem rude - waitstaff doesn't stand around to chat, you're not often greeted when walking into a place - but I've come to realize that's just how it is here. Just like I won't find really spicy food (the chocolate chipotle gellato I had tonight is the one exception - my mouth was on fire) or sweet tea.

Anyway, my sister and I were having this discussion because my mom and I had made appointments to had our eyebrows and legs waxed, respectively. My sister wanted to have her eyebrows tweased because wax makes her break out (it's true, I've seen it). And the receptionist wasn't friendly enough in her opinion. (I thought she was fine, but I've been here 3 days longer.) Besides that I'd offered to twease her eyebrows myself.

Sister: "I'm sorry but I just don't trust you."

Me: "What?! I'm totally trustworthy."

Simultaneously two boys (young, 18, 20 tops) pass us in the street.

Me to the boys: "I look trust worthy, don't I?"

One of them: "No, but you're pretty."

Well, at least I've got that going for me.

Tuesday, July 13

Well, the Netherlands lost

And honestly, Spain played better. So it goes.

Nothing new to report. Still in Maine. It's foggy.

I'm (supposed to be) writing a paper about equity in education. I think my mom was surprised to find out I don't believe American education is equitable. I battle often with the feeling that I've sold out by teaching overseas. I know I am a much better teacher now than when I started. And it'd be nice to be applying these skills where I might make a difference. As it is, the students I teach now, they're most likely to succeed with or without me. The difference I offer, for the most part, is that I can help show the girls that it's ok to love and be good at math and to show all of them an alternative (generally more liberal) way of thinking about things. But in US public schools, well, for most of the students I also might not make a difference, but to those I did impact, the influence is likely to be far greater.

I'm a firm believer that the path to change is to create schools that are diverse socio-economically. However, I read a NYT article today about the attempt to do that in San Francisco and how it's almost impossible because all the middle/upper class students have been pulled out of public schools. Ack! What do we do then??

Sunday, July 11

I'd often wondered if I'd be able to do it.

As an omnivore and one who enjoys eating meat, I'd often question if I'd actually be able to kill a living creature in order to eat it. While tonight, I discovered that yes, I can. But it wasn't pleasant. At least not until I was eating it.

I dropped 4 live lobsters into a steamer basket. This is almost worse than dropping them into boiling water I think because they aren't initially aware of how bad it is going to be. Then once I stuffed them in (and I had to, to get the lid on), I could hear them rattling against the lid for the first 7 or so minutes. I ignored their cries and kept reading (Pride and Prejudice - it's so good! who knew?!). And after 20 minutes, opened the lid to reveal 4 bright red lobsters which my family and I devoured.

Here I am kissing mine good-bye:
I'm sorry to have killed you

My sister, newly arrived to Maine ate hers almost instantly and declared "I eat 9 oz of protein a meal, you know! (Actually, no I didn't) I'll need two next time." Um, ok.
To eager to even wait for a full (lobster) body photo

My dad had fun playing with his.
Dad shows no remorse

As did my mom:
Mom - ready to attack

This was my dad's 3rd lobster in 6 meals. Here he is at lunch with my mom looking on.

Not to worry, she also had lobster, but in the form of a club sandwich. Me, I had a salad. There's only so much of eating out that I can take (never thought you'd hear me say that, huh?).

Saturday, July 10

Maine - first impressions

It's humid in Maine. Seriously, disgustingly (though I have a low tolerance for humidity) humid. However, the view from the back deck of our rental house (actually the view can be seen from every room in the place) is awesome. See:

View from Rental Porch

Also we found a farmer's market today (you know I love those) and bought goat cheese, sweet corn, sugar snap peas, well you get the picture.

Now if only to avoid being driven crazy by the fact that there is no escape from the people I'm with (my parents). It's not them (for the most part), but more the fact that I ~need~ my alone time.

This post brought to you by the commission for parenthesis in every sentence (great for a mind that's often side tracked).

Saturday, July 3

I'm calling it football

Living in Europe (Moscow is sort of European) for the start of the World Cup was pretty great. I was never that into soccer, but I do enjoy going to sports bars. So I started watching with Bree. And then I got into it. When I'm invested, I'm the person jumping up, almost knocking the table over, screaming.

And man, has there been a lot to cheer about these past two days. My future home, the Netherlands BEAT Brazil yesterday. Since NED was ranked high it's not ~that~ much of an upset, but to the world of football (and to the world, it is football, it's a game played mostly with your feet, it makes sense, America, get over it and start calling it football) fans, I'd say it came as a surprise. And me, I've never enjoyed watching Brazil - whiny, actors the lot of them. So I say "Suck It, Brazil! Enjoy the long flight home." Ha. GO NETHERLANDS!

Then Uruguay and Ghana going to shoot out! I was on the edge of my seat at the end of that match.

And today, what should have been a close game, but no, Germany slaughtered Argentina. Yet another surprise and again awesome because the Argentinian coach, Maradona is, in my opinion, a douche. I'll admit, I laughed at his tears. And we all know I have a thing for Germans.

The most hilarious part of this game was when the announcer used "tantalizing and scintillating" in the same sentence. Dude, I'm watching football (or soccer if you must), not porn.

But if it comes down to Netherlands vs. Germany, I'll be wearing orange.

Friday, July 2

Ups and Downs

Hm, haven't posted since my pack out day... which is now over 2 weeks ago. I've been everywhere emotionally and haven't known how and what to write here.

I'm still not sure that I could put it all down. I'm really going to miss my students - I would have loved to have continued teaching my grade 10 students as they head into the IB (feel free to send me questions!). I'm going to miss seeing Bree as often as I did. I almost cried saying good-bye to my vegetable lady - she was the first Russian (outside of Bree's boy) who was truly friendly and patient with me and continued to be for 3 years. But in the end, I only cried on the last day of school for teachers.

I spent one more week in Moscow to test out this relationship that had just started. However, even in the few weeks that it lasted had so much more drama than any relationship I'd ever had. I should have known that was a bad sign. I should have trusted my instincts. But I'm a gambler when it comes to love. I'm willing to accept that it will appear when I least expect it and to take a risk to see how the cards fall.

But this, the day that I felt like I was suddenly in a Jerry Springer episode, I should have stopped seeing him then. I know my students think I watch too much How I Met Your Mother, but Ted was right in saying that nothing good happens after 2 a.m. Or if you go to bed super early like I do, after midnight. And too often in the end did I allow myself to see him and make decisions after midnight. So much energy spent there that could have been spent enjoying Moscow. Not that I wasn't enjoying my time, but was the emotional stress worth it? Well, at this moment, I'm thinking not really. And I'm ready to let go of that - easier said than done, but hopefully writing it out will help.

I'm back in Atlanta; I've been here a week. And I've met two new babies. Here I am with my best friend's girl:
Me and Baby Z

My sister had a pool party for her birthday (hence the suit) and here I am with Beth and her son.
Beth, Caleb and me

I've eaten tacos and bbq. I've made summer pasta salads and a fresh tomato sauce. I've had a minor surgery and was told by the doctor and nurse that I'm the calmest patient they've ever had. Post op, I showed them my tattoo and it all became clear to them that I have a high pain tolerance.

I'll be in Atlanta another week, then off to Maine, Boston, back to Atlanta, Austin, back to Atlanta, then Asheville and then back to Atlanta to fly to Amsterdam. I'm also taking 2 online courses. In so many ways, it appears that I am mildly insane.