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06

Nov

VACATION.
IHP gives you one week for vacation to relax and recharge during the semester. And boy did we. Some of my best friends on this trip and myself planned and executed a vacation right out of a travel magazine. We stayed on a boat ^ in Halong Bay, a natural Wonder of the World. We kayaked, swam, ate sea food, played dominos, traveled through caves and made memories ill keep with me forever. After that trip we blindly set up transportation to an island called Cat ba. We had no idea how first to get there, but that made the trip all the more exciting and memorable. After a 2 hour wait we hopped on a rusty old ferry where we played charades for over an hour. When we arrived on the island we bargained our way onto a bus to the town where we stayed in Sunrise Resort Hotel. It came with the best of life. Best food, best service, best drinks, best view out into the bay with the best beach.
Im currently sitting in a hotel back in Hanoi, counting down the hours until I have to return to my homestay family and say farewell to vacation. 
I truly cannot put into words how blessed I feel or how amazing this trip was. Never could I have imagined a life like this.

Vietam goes all out for Halloween..
Well, the foreigners go all out for Halloween anyway. This is easily my favortie holiday, so realizing the fun and the treats wouldnt be coming around this year I was a little sad. But low and behold I wasnt upset for long! My roommate and I threw on our hats and I spent that night at a renowned hostel called Backpackers for the Halloween party of a lifetime. We walked the streets of Vietnam’s Old District with a hundred other foreigners, mostly from Europe or Australia, and took over the night. Instead of spending Halloween wondering what I was missing out on back home, I was contemplating how I was ever going to have this much fun again!

13

Sep

Lost in Delhi

I’m sure a lot of you have questions about how I came to be lost in Delhi. Well, not lost so much as ‘left behind.’ A group of us had decided to go to Khan Market, a higher-end market (and by this all we really mean is it has some western stores which are obviously more expensive than traditional Delhi stores), to buy some Delhi clothing. We had been encouraged to be creative in our style and to dress culturally appropriate, and, whew, Indian clothes are fun!
In a group of 32, it can be overwhelming to not have any alone time. Being the introvert that I am, I decided to hang behind the group and experience the market more personally, rather than having as a group. We had been told countless times that a woman should not go, and is not culturally accepted to be, alone anywhere. We have also gotten our fair share of stares from the local population who view westerners with strong curiosity. I had been told it is because most of us have fair skin, something highly coveted and rarely seen in India, though I’m thinking it’s more about us being foreign and American, which is exotic to them. We were also highly advised not to go anywhere at night.
Well, I’ll be darned if I didn’t end up breaking both those rules. Accidentally of course.
Since I was trailing behind the group, when I briefly stopped to window gaze into a store it was only a matter of seconds before I lost the group, and they lost me. It just so happened that they turned a corner at the moment my mind decided to fixate on a porcelain elephant through a window pane. Just my luck. I quickly walked to where I thought they had turned, but it was a market after all, and once you loose sight of something, it’s difficult to find it again. After 45 minutes of wandering around, doing more window shopping, I concluded I was lost. Thankfully, my sense of direction acts like a private super power, enabling me to find my way back to the metro and eventually back to my homestay.
All in all, it wasn’t bad. I had two minor ‘going-to-pee-myself’ moments, the first when I first realized I couldn’t find the group and the second when I realized I was going to have to travel back by myself in the dark. However, I attribute these moments to the paranoia instilled in me by the program and less with the actual risk I was exposed to.
It was nobody’s fault I was left behind, and I ended up getting to finally have some time to myself, so overall I think the experience was a beneficial one. Let’s just hope it never happens again.

"We were a society dying of too much choice."

I read this in a book I borrowed from my freshman year roommate. It was a fictional novel about a dystopian America, set in the future. I cannot remember the title at this moment, but that’s not important right now.
Traveling as an American comes with a lot of privilege, but is also accompanied by a lot of ignorance. IHP has offered a ton of knowledge on this topic, and thankfully so. Americans make numerous assumptions about cultures we have little knowledge of, and India is no exception. [I will be using the pronoun ‘we’ when referring to Americans for the sake of simplicity, though I am aware not every American has these beliefs or is as ignorant]. Trigger words/phrases exist for us, including, but not limited to, “segregation,” “female dependance,” “dowry,” and “arranged marriage.” I will admit that I probably felt like many other Americans about these terms; I felt disgust. I simply was not able to understand why women would be okay with such lack of freedom, and how in today’s world a society could exist with such miscarriage of equal rights and lack of choice. I now offer two ideas, one being that Indian women have far more choice than we could ever culturally understand (though I am trying to break this wall of ignorance everyday), and that Americans actually have less choice than we know.
I am not an expert on India, nor will I claim to be, but I can offer my opinion, after all you are reading a blog solely written and editing by yours truly. I have been lucky enough to have a host family very open to discussing these issues which garner so much fuss from ‘the western world.’ Arranged marriage is something I understand much better in a cultural context and will share my knowledge with you…
It is basically a blind date, set up by your parents. Sound weird and uncomfortable? I challenge you to step out of what you believe to be ‘normal’ and think of it like this: the parents of the girl and the parents of the boy realize that their respective son or daughter have a lot in common and desire the same things in life. They decide to set up so-called blind date. The son and daughter (we’ll call them Jack and Jill) meet up for dinner. At this point one of two things can happen. A) Jack and Jill both really like each other and decide to keep dating, B) one or both do not feel any chemistry and tell their families they do not wish to continue the relationship. Sound like there’s no choice? If option A was selected then the two continue on, but the difference is the families are more involved than in the US. All baggage is aired very early on, as both families are in communication often. The two know exactly what they are getting into, including what their in-laws will be like (bonus!) all before marriage. Arranged marriage also offers much more security and stability, as both parties have a network of support to turn to when things are bumpy. There is also less of a chance one will leave the other (I believe in this case, mostly protection on the part of the woman) because their connection goes much deeper than between just the two of them. That’s the watered down and simple version from what I learned from Uncle Ji. Still sound super scary? I hope not.
This brings me to my second thought; do we have as much choice as we think we do? My short answer would be no. We have come a long way in equality, but what does equality mean? Has it ever occurred to some that some women desire arranged marriages, or to wear concealing clothes? And while we are a society that covets egalitarianism, we have not yet reached it for many. One such example would be the laws in place that discriminates against same-sex couple getting married. While maybe not all of us agree with same-sex marriage, as is your right as an American, why do you get to decide who is allowed to get married based on a religion not shared by everyone, or interpreted differently by those who do. Another example is the overwhelming statistics on how unequal pay is for women compared to men. The main character in the fictional novel who used this quote did so in reference to America’s dependance on choice. We feel as though we must have the utmost freedom in everything we do. We must have over 500 different kinds of cell phones to choose from, thousands of brands, flavors of ice cream… we must have access to the best and worst of everything. The main character alludes to this being the downfall of our society; that our dependance on choice made us weak. America is not perfect, and even at that, our ideals are not shared by everybody else in the world, nor should they be. Can you imagine a world where everybody was the same, because I can’t. So maybe choice is good, but perhaps there is a thing as too much choice.

SeeMaddGo...ABROAD!

Greetings long-lost loved ones! It has been awhile since I have opened the Tumblr application (which was probably good for my grades last semester), but I am back to share an exciting journey. This post will literally be the nuts and bolts, detailing everything and hopefully answering any burning questions...
My study abroad program is called International Honors Program:
Globalization, Health, and Community. I will call it IHP for short.
It is a comparative program looking at public health and social determinants of health in 4 countries.
Those countries are Washington, DC USA; Delhi, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Capetown, South Africa.
We began August 25th and will go until December 14th.
The program consists of site visits, rural community stays, guest lectures, NGO visits, classes, homestays, and hostel/hotel stays.
I've obviously been lagging behind in my blogging, but will try to stay on top of it as much as possible. Next time I will try to add photos :
)

03

May

99 Life Hacks to make your life easier! These are the coolest ideas ever

20

Oct

Some Great Things to Ponder

1:
6 of the songs you listen to most?
2:
If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be?
3:
Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, give me line 17.
4:
What do you think about most?
5:
What does your latest text message from someone else say?
6:
Do you sleep with or without clothes on?
7:
What's your strangest talent?
8:
Girls... (finish the sentence); Boys... (finish the sentence)
9:
Ever had a poem or song written about you?
10:
When is the last time you played the air guitar?
11:
Do you have any strange phobias?
12:
Ever stuck a foreign object up your nose?
13:
What's your religion?
14:
If you are outside, what are you most likely doing?
15:
Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it?
16:
Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band?
17:
What was the last lie you told?
18:
Do you believe in karma?
19:
What does your URL mean?
20:
What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?
21:
Who is your celebrity crush?
22:
Have you ever gone skinny dipping?
23:
How do you vent your anger?
24:
Do you have a collection of anything?
25:
Do you prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online?
26:
Are you happy with the person you've become?
27:
What's a sound you hate; sound you love?
28:
What's your biggest "what if"?
29:
Do you believe in ghosts? How about aliens?
30:
Stick your right arm out; what do you touch first? Do the same with your left arm.
31:
Smell the air. What do you smell?
32:
What's the worst place you have ever been to?
33:
Choose: East Coast or West Coast?
34:
Most attractive singer of your opposite gender?
35:
To you, what is the meaning of life?
36:
Define Art.
37:
Do you believe in luck?
38:
What's the weather like right now?
39:
What time is it?
40:
Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed?
41:
What was the last book you read?
42:
Do you like the smell of gasoline?
43:
Do you have any nicknames?
44:
What was the last film you saw?
45:
What's the worst injury you've ever had?
46:
Have you ever caught a butterfly?
47:
Do you have any obsessions right now?
48:
What's your sexual orientation?
49:
Ever had a rumour spread about you?
50:
Do you believe in magic?
51:
Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?
52:
What is your astrological sign?
53:
Do you save money or spend it?
54:
What's the last thing you purchased?
55:
Love or lust?
56:
In a relationship?
57:
How many relationships have you had?
58:
Can you touch your nose with your tongue?
59:
Where were you yesterday?
60:
Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
61:
Are you wearing socks right now?
62:
What's your favourite animal?
63:
What is your secret weapon to get someone to like you?
64:
Where is your best friend?
65:
Give me your top 5 favourite blogs on Tumblr.
66:
What is your heritage?
67:
What were you doing last night at 12AM?
68:
What do you think is Satan's last name?
69:
Be honest. Ever gotten yourself off?
70:
Are you the kind of friend you would want to have as a friend?
71:
You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. What do you do?
72:
You are at the doctor’s office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. a) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? b) What do you do with your remaining days? c) Would you be afraid?
73:
You can only have one of these things; trust or love.
74:
What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?
75:
What are the last four digits in your cell phone number?
76:
In your opinion, what makes a great relationship?
77:
How can I win your heart?
78:
Can insanity bring on more creativity?
79:
What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?
80:
What size shoes do you wear?
81:
What would you want to be written on your tombstone?
82:
What is your favourite word?
83:
Give me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word; heart.
84:
What is a saying you say a lot?
85:
What's the last song you listened to?
86:
Basic question; what's your favourite colour/colours?
87:
What is your current desktop picture?
88:
If you could press a button and make anyone in the world instantaneously explode, who would it be?
89:
What would be a question you'd be afraid to tell the truth on?
90:
One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren't really doing anything, they're just standing around your bed. What do you do?
91:
You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What is that power?
92:
You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?
93:
You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
94:
You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
95:
You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?
96:
Do you have any relatives in jail?
97:
Have you ever thrown up in the car?
98:
Ever been on a plane?
99:
If the whole world were listening to you right now, what would you say?

08

Oct

collegehumor:

World Knocks Down Child 
This is a metaphor.

Sometimes I feel like this is my life…

collegehumor:

World Knocks Down Child

This is a metaphor.

Sometimes I feel like this is my life…

05

Oct

The Good, the Great, and the Stressful

Howdy Folks! 

Fall is coming. Well actually it’s already here, but you would never know with the ridiculous heat and humidity in DC. I’m on the fringes of a cold, or what I believe to be a ‘stress cold.’ Ya know, one of those colds that sneak up on you because stress has literally taken over your body and mind. While I am feeling the hammer, I am seeing the fruits of my labor and know that my stress and hard work now will pay off down the road. I’ve had 3 exams in the last week, one Spanish Oral, 4 applications, another due on Monday (For the CIA, baby!) and many more of these exact things on their way. Come on Midterm Season!

For now I’m taking my life day by day and can’t wait to be able to take a nap without feeling incredibly shameful. Beyond that, life is good and I’m chugging along. Being in the midst of political chaos certainly lifts my mood and I hope all of you are doing your part by registering yourself and planning to vote! 

Stay classy, readers, and keep on chuggin! 

I want to be buried with like a hundred things so that when anthropologists dig me up 100 years from now they’ll think I was a Queen.
Religion, Myth, and Magic Professor

17

Sep

collegehumor:

Dog Is Really Into Yoga
I believe this is called the “upward facing human”.


I think I’ll just show funny pictures to my yoga kiddos instead of actually teaching them yoga poses. I mean, what 3 year old can actually grasp yoga anyway?

collegehumor:

Dog Is Really Into Yoga

I believe this is called the “upward facing human”.

I think I’ll just show funny pictures to my yoga kiddos instead of actually teaching them yoga poses. I mean, what 3 year old can actually grasp yoga anyway?

16

Sep

Life As I See It

As most of you know, I’m back in the big DC. This coming week marks week 4 of classes and time already feels like it’s slipping through my fingers. 

I didn’t write any posts over the summer for many reasons. Mostly because I needed a break from the lifestyle I was living last year and also because I was writing for The National Alliance to End Homelessness. I’ve realized, as a Sophomore, that returning to college brings about floods of the same question asked in different ways: “how was your summer?” Most of the time, I couldn’t give a rats tail about your summer but because we have yet to form new memories for the 2nd year, I have nothing else to talk to you about so I’m going to pretend to pay close attention while you relay how your summer was. Since the previous statement is just my personal opinion, I’ll go ahead and tell you how my summer was, just in case you care. My summer…was probably the laziest two months in Maddison History. I read so many books I can’t remember their titles, I slept in until 10 almost every day. I took trips to Purcell to see the family, I ate out with my mom and two sisters, and the list goes on and on. I did however, buy a motorcycle. It’s pretty BA and currently sitting back in OK for my return.

And speaking of return, that’ll probably not happen. I’m already looking into alternatives for Winter Break and making plans for my summer. If I do stay in DC, I’ll most likely sell the Ninja (creatively named Ninja Turtle by Mr. Alan Thrower for its namesake and how bright green it is) OR just bring it to DC with me. What I love about life is just how endless the opportunities are. 

Now that I have all that out of the way, I’ll bring you to the present. I’m sitting at my desk in my empty room munching on some grapes. My mascara is a little effed up because a good friend just left (you guys remember Pomegranate, right?). She was supposed to be living with myself and Apple, but she didn’t get enough aid to come back. We spent this weekend doing Touristy activities, and I must say I had more fun than I have in a long while. If she reads this, I hope she knows how much I’ll miss her. 

Until next time, M