Friday, September 10, 2010

An Ending and a Beginning

Well, it's been about five months since I walked the streets of Mostar. Currently, I'm sitting on a Mac in the campus lounge at NYU Abu Dhabi, listening to classmates sing Jesse McCartney on Rock Band and trying to process the sheer awesomeness of the past week. As could be inferred from the previous post, I had the best intentions of posting pics of graduation, the start of summer, my family's visit, and our last day in Mostar. However, time got away from me again, and by now I think anyone who's interested has pretty much seen those pics and heard those stories. And so, here it is...closure. As much life as I experienced and as much as I learned in BiH, it was time to move on, and I'll say again that I would never have dared to dream of such an unfathomably wonderful place to move on to. My blog for this part of life's journey is located at http://parallellifeabudhabi.blogspot.com. I can't promise that my infrequent posting habits will improve in the future, but if ever there was a place for optimism, it's NYUAD. Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Welcome to Exam World

My apologies in advance for neglecting to post during the next few days. The impending exams have made my brain turn my lovely, logical world into this.  
 Thank you, sanity, for deserting me when I need you the most.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the Fourth Be With Us

As any IB student in the world will tell you, today is the first day of May 2010 examinations. Ahm...*coincidentally* it also coincides with International Hug An IB Student Day. We know it'll be over soon, and we know it'll ultimately it's not THAT big a deal. Just bear with us as we grapple with the IB monster one more time. Give us a hug, some positive energy, and a cup of coffee, just for goodness sake don't be the hundred and first person to ask us how the exam went.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prozor-Rama Jezero

A couple of weeks ago I went with Hilary and Isabelle to a monastery about 80 kilometers from here. A day out of town...$0. A few hours in a springtime paradise...priceless.




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Whole New Written World

Although it's been temporarily put on hold due to exams, I've officially begun studying Arabic. I don't want to repeat the experience of living in a country without a functional knowledge of its local language, and I know my procrastinating self well enough to force myself not to waste time! In fact, my only purchase during the Candidate Weekend in Abu Dhabi was an instruction book; Doug from Yuma and I spent a few minutes looking at them in the bookshop at Marina Mall and then, very optimistically, bought them in an "I will if you do" kind of agreement. I figured I should make a start now while I'm near some native speakers who can correct me, and it's fun but challenging. I can already glimpse the beauty and subtlety possible in the Arabic language, and its a bit sad to know that I will never be able to grasp the language in all its complexity.

But the boundaries of my knowledge are still light-years away. At this point, the letters still look like smiley faces and my handwriting like a kindergartner's. Several weeks ago, I Stumbled Upon a site giving instructions for writing one's name in Elvish, and in a burst of dorkiness decided to write my sister a whole letter in LOTR language. At least writing the characters is good practice for Arabic, right?

Hilary and I made rice for dinner and somehow started trying to manipulate our chopsticks with our left hands. Call me crazy, but throughout this year I've resorted to taking notes with my left hand in lessons I find boring so that I have to concentrate more...and focus on the long-term goal of becoming ambidextrous. It's said that left-handed people pick up skills such as artistic techniques more easily than their right-handed counterparts due to the fact that the left side of the body is controlled by the right brain, which controls more creative creative functions than the logical left hemisphere. I think there's something to that, because a greater than expected proportion of people in most art classes I've seen as well as in UWC are left-handed. Two tests I've taken have told me that I'm naturally a left-handed person who was just instructed to use the right hand and adapted. That may be true, but I can feel the creativity I had as a child seeping away. The processes of seed germination do not inspire any poetry in me, and lately even my dreams have moved away from mythical towns to very logical, banal sequences of conversations and exams. And by this, I am completely convinced that it's time for IB and even UWC to be over...it can take my sleep, my health, even my sanity, but my subconscious?! That's over the line.

Monday, April 26, 2010

IB Alternatives

Like many IB students, thoughts of impending exams have made me consider what I might do with my life in the eventuality that...well, that my brain goes flying out the window of the exam room and my diploma with it. Cooking school has been one alternative since after two years in student residences I can make a wicked cake with nearly any ingredients and any cooking contraption known to man. I may have to knock "psychiatrist on the first mission to Mars" off the list, but I'm keeping the childhood fantasies of bookseller and zookeeper just in case. And, today, I had some affirmation that there's one eventual career I seem made for...teaching. Barbara agreed to let me take over first year English for the day so I could give them my perspective and review myself for the exams I'll sit next week. According to my firsties, it was a great success, and according to our two professional professors, I'm destined to end up teaching at some point although I should do it periodically throughout my life so as not to lose the initial enthusiasm. To be honest, I've suspected that for a while and am just trying to avoid academia as long as possible.
It's true, I enjoy being in authoritative positions immensely...maybe too much judging by the memories of playing "school" with Becca as a child but always being the teacher and always giving her real lessons and homework! It could be a good career for me...I get to tell people what to do, be recognized as intelligent, possibly travel if I'd stay with the global IB network and possibility of sabbaticals in the equation...all in all good for my ego and my imagination, if not for my wallet. Oh, yeah, and hopefully practice my patience, be innovative, and contribute something to society. In any case, it's back to the real of lowly unqualified student for now...no more power trips until I pass my math exam!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Surreal

Today was like a Salvador Dali painting...breaks in the routine, strange conversations, dead silence where there's usually chaos, the hint of a storm, and a headache. Last night, Ingrid and I were walking back from a concert at Pink and in a fit of spontaneity walked down 2 streets we'd never explored and sampled 2 new bakeries. My first year has a very elaborate plan for a utopian society, and we spent the better part of an hour tossing it around and thinking about possible pitfalls and eventualities. It was fun, and it makes me wonder what people with much greater intelligence than ours toss about amongst themselves. Since that concert I think everyone's been a bit off somehow. But sometimes you just have to have those days.