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Operation World Domination
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19th-Aug-2007 10:05 pm(no subject)
well here i am. I've been living in an apartment in burlington for the last two months and will be moving out this coming saturday immediately following a brown bird concert. I've been seeing Jonathan for the same amount of time and i'll miss him when I go., though not as much as I think he'll miss me. He's one of the kindest people I've ever met, but being with someone who is kind is too easy. too nice. i need the pain. i need an asshole.
 I'll be at UMASS this fall in the North Apartments. what else? not so much. i've enjoyed my time here very much and have lost touch with everyone from my former life except my friend Caitlin and my family. a new beginning with a new mind. it's what i need. i need to begin my entire world from scratch and build it with love and understanding instead of judgement and self loathing.
my roommate just got home from a party. lovely girl, a 31 year old who graduated from Bryn Mywr and has a lovely cat named Minna who is a wonderfully cuddler but a terrible shedder. allison.
goodnight all. tally ho.
4th-Apr-2007 08:53 pm(no subject)
hello friends!

it looks like no one has updated in awhile; we seem to have become wrapped up in our own lives. perhaps this is a good thing.

this will be a short post, just to let those who are not on my friends list know what i am up to.

1) i just got back from venice this weekend. im leaving for spain and then denmark tomorrow. it will be a 9 day affair and i dont really know where im staying but i have food, my books, my eurorail ticket and my flight information. i am set.
2) it is currently isp period (for those of you who are non-sit, this is the independent study period.) though ive had my complaints about sit, isp is amazing. we basically have the whole month off to do research. its let me enjoy geneva a whole lot more, and has given me the opportunity to not only travel but also immerse myself in something i love. im writing about immigration and integration in the context of the EU, doing a comparative analysis on policies in denmark and the uk (which are especially interesting examples because a) these are two areas where the immigrant controversy has been highly publicized and b) they have a strange relationship with the EU.) i am super excited.
3) i will be in new york this summer. i have recieved internship offers from the new york immigration coalition and the sadie nash project (actually, i still have to do an interview with them but i am maintaining positivity.) and mhc is funding it. im living with my friend kimmie this summer in maspeth, on the greenpoint border of brooklyn and queens. we're housesitting so the apartment is free. if youre in new york, you have a place to stay. im also going to be volunteering at night at bluestockings, an amazing radical feminist bookstore. we've also begun to plan roadtrips/camping adventures, so look out. i might be headed your way.
4) this is the happiest ive been in an extremely long time. ive learned more about myself this semester than i couldve ever expected. i am looking forward to coming home but im also so glad for this opportunity. ive realized im a much stronger person than i thought i was. ive also realized my limitations and have come to accept them.
5) life is very, very good.

i love and miss you all. i hope you are doing well. hope that i will be alright in spain.
16th-Mar-2007 10:15 am(no subject)
 
hello all. well, you know. I'll skip over all that stuff.

anyway, what am a I going to do this sumemr when i supposedly feel well enough to get out of here?! I've given this some thought, but I'm really unsure about where I can go and what I can do and still be stable. Any ideas? i mean seriously, does anyone know of anything they think I might enjoy doing? pass it on.

* * *
7th-Mar-2007 01:07 pm - one month down, three to go (?!)
friends! many of you have already seen this cuz i sent it out as a mass email, but i thought i'd post it here too in case you're not on my list (and if you want to receive these up-to-the-minute updates, let me know and give me your email address. the fact that you are not already on my list is nothing personal, i promise). I miss you all terribly, and i hope you are finding life fulfilling and awe-inspiring. what a crazy thing it is to be alive.
love and laughter,
Lauren

-----

Amigos y familia,

Happy March! It’s hard to believe a month has passed so quickly—my days here have been
so full of new people and adventures! I met up with my group from SIT almost two weeks
ago and have finally started classes after several days of orientation. But let me
back up a few weeks…

As I said in my previous email, I spent the first two weeks living with Carmen, my
Chilean grandmother of sorts, which was a perfect introduction to a very particular
view of Chile. While I was spending most of my free time with other English-speakers,
I was able to ease myself back into speaking Spanish, which has, if nothing else,
highlighted how much there is still to learn. Working at the orphanage was a great
experience, as well. I had never worked with infants before, but I suddenly found
myself in charge of babies ranging from 15 days old to around a year. There were about
20 babies in my section, and I helped feed and change them, as well as general riot
control. These babies were either abandoned at the hospital or taken from their
families as wards of state because they were abused or malnourished. Several of them
have parents or other relatives who come to visit, and I think those babies are
waiting for the court to decide whether or not they can return to their families. The
rest are up for adoption. It was hard to leave them after two short weeks after seeing
their profound need for more hands and loving caretakers. Who knows? Maybe I´ll find
some way to work them in to my independent research project in May...

I spent the rest of my time during those two weeks exploring various bits of Santiago.
Along with other students from the language school, I toured the top-rated vineyard in
Chile, took in a soccer game at a stadium nestled at the foot of the Andes, and bumbled
my way through a late-night salsa lesson. The people I met through the language school
are quite an eclectic bunch—they come from all over the US and the UK, and it was so
interesting to hear their different reasons for coming to Chile. For the second week,
I shared Carmen’s apartment with a recently married, 23-year-old couple from Texas.
The three of us had some wonderful lively discussions of marriage, divorce, gay rights,
transgender issues, and the cultural differences between Texas and New England. It was
a very enlightening time for all of us, I think, because neither they nor I get many
chances to really sit down and connect with people from such radically different
backgrounds. It has made me realize how even at a school as diverse as Mt. Holyoke,
there isn´t as much cross-cultural communication as they´d like you to think because
people (myself included) settle into their comfortable social groups and don´t
necessarily seek out people with whom they have very little in common.

After those two weeks, I took off more or less on my own for five days. My plans to
spend a weekend in the coastal city of Valparaiso happened to coincide with those of
two of my friends from the language school, so we all stayed in a hostel and wandered
the hills together. Hostel life is crazy--you meet amazing people on amazing journeys,
spend a few days together and become best friends, then leave and repeat the whole
process. I found it exhausting and was glad to finally meet up with my group from SIT,
but I did enjoy meeting so many neat people.

The best part of my mini vacation was the two days I spent in the mountains east of
Santiago. The Andes are simply breathtaking. After consulting my Lonely Planet guide,
I booked a few nights at the Refugio Lo Valdes, a guest house practically at the end of
a dirt road that puts Vermont´s potholes to shame. According to the guide, you take a
bus from Santiago to San Jose de Maipo, where you can either catch another bus or take
a taxi. Not entirely true, unless you happen to be passing through at 8.30am or want
to fork over $40 for the taxi... things they don´t mention in my guide. However, a
woman on the bus out to San Jose overheard me talking to the bus driver and offered to
help me get to Lo Valdes. She happened to know the owners of the Refugio, so she
called them and found out that Manuel, an employee, was driving back from San Jose and
the police at the checkpoint where the bus had left us could help me flag him down.
Turns out he was in San Jose because earlier that morning he´d severely cut his hand
with a saw, so he drove me the 40km to the Refugio in a stick-shift Jeep, using his
good hand to shift, steer, and wave at everyone we passed. He was a wonderful guide to
the area, telling me stories of other travelers, the local people, and the Refugio.
The whole trip from Valparaiso to Lo Valdes ended up taking almost seven hours, twice
what I’d expected, but it was a wonderful afternoon that revitalized my faith in the
kindness of strangers. Upon arrival, I spent the evening beating my own path up the
side of a mountain, enjoying the sunset, and literally sliding down a scree slope to
get back to the Refugio before dark. The following day, I went hiking with an English
guy who was also staying at the Refugio to a lagoon in the valley between two peaks
with a beautiful view of a glacier that’s slowly receding from the valley.
(glacier=glass-ee-r if you´re British) Over lunch, we were bombarded by a flock of
very aggressive small yellow birds that perched on my boot and ate an apple out of my
friend´s hand (while sitting in his wrist). Crazy birds. That night, a couple from
Seattle invited me to go to the thermal baths down the road with them… I have never
seen so many brilliantly clear stars!

Now, I am back in Santiago for a month or so living with a family, and the first few
days have been good. I’m eager to delve deeper into Chile’s history and education
system through our classes that start in earnest next week. I’m staying with a family
of musicians and I’m excited to tap their wealth of knowledge about Chilean music. I’m
constantly getting frustrated by my limited ability to express myself and the
difficulty of understanding Chilean Spanish, but I trust that will all get easier with
time.

There is so much more I could say about my first weeks with SIT, but I’ll save that for
the next installment. I hope all is well for all of you, and thank you to everyone who
responded to my last update! It was, as always, wonderful to hear from all the various
corners of the world.

Much love,
Lauren
18th-Feb-2007 09:58 pm - Findhorn!
Hello hello!
I am now in Scotland and I have been since the 16th of February. If you don't remember (which is entirely okay if you don't, since I haven't been much of a presence (spelling?) in this lovely community to date), I am doing Spring semester at this ecovillage/spiritual/intentional community on the east coast of Scotland - called Findhorn. So far, it is amazing. Probably, a lot of my enthusiasm is just the excitement of being in a new place and with new people; probably it will wear off after a while but that is how it goes, and I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.
There is SO much to write about with what we are doing and the people I'm meeting and my roller coasting emotions, but I guess to ground myself I'll just write about today. (Gah, I'm already sounding more new-agey than usual!) Actually, so far one of the pleasant surprises is that I am finding myself to be more open to all of the "spirituality" and touchy-feely stuff that we are doing here than I thought that I would.
So, today: I woke up and I went for a run. Some of the guys in the group (there are six of them, and 12 women) have been running as a group in the mornings, and I kind of wanted to join them but feel awkward about it, especially because many of them seem quite athletic and I am an extremely slow runner. This morning I ran solo, and I felt really pretty bad physically (tiredness, stomach-achy from traveling and different food - the food here is really amazing so far - lots of veggies and whole grains, sometimes good sugar-free sweet things - but it is still new to me. I ran a bit on the beach. It is beautiful. This whole place is beautiful, and surprisingly warm - it is springlike, in fact. There are perwinkles blooming outside my door.
Our morning activity was a "Sacred Dance." It was actually lots of mostly eastern european circle dances, very simple (although I messed up quite a few step - the fun mess up way, like contra dancing). It didn't feel terribly sacred to me, but it did put me in a better place mentally and physically.
In the afternoon, we "attuned" to what our work service jobs are going to be. We had a choice of either homecare, maintenance, kitchen work, and gardening at either the Park campus (where we are all living) or Cluny Hill College, which is an old hotel owned by the larger Findhorn Foundation which now serves as an educational/residential/guest building. I didn't know what I wanted to do at all beforehand, but I ended up chosing to work in the cluny kitchen. I feel good about that choice. The attunement process seemed to work pretty well. Basically, after hearing descriptions of all of the possible choices, we sat in silence and meditated on them for a bit. Our "focaliser" which is Findhorn-speak for group leader, Erin, guided us by emphasizing that we should trust ourselves and not worry too much about making the "right choice." Helpful advice, for me. Then, Erin read out all of the positions and asked us to raise our hands when she read out the position that we had attuned to. Our eyes were closed throughout. There was some shifting around afterwards, but it shook out pretty well. All in all, and interesting experience.
Afterwards, we all went around in a circle and shared what we wanted to say - anything from why we were coming to the big huge emotional/family/relationship issues we were dealing with. It was really tiring, but I feel so grateful for it and I hope that it is only a taste of what is to come. Thats it for now. I love you all. Marga.
10th-Feb-2007 03:15 pm(no subject)
since tanya asked, this is what i do:


either we start out at the sit office and have guest lecturers or we go places for briefings. thats why ive been at the UN. we've also been to the ICRC and the GCSP. so many acronyms. and security checks. and wearing of slacks. i HATE dressing up so often. its nice once in awhile but ugh. a real job. slacks. dress shoes. collared shirts. blazers. LAME.

anyway. i, once again, have very limited time. love you all.
8th-Feb-2007 03:37 pm - I'm on youtube... check it out
UM, There's almost two minutes of me dancing like chef jeff to RESPECT on youtube, and you should check it out. There's also one that has Katie Omberg and Liz Dean, which it excellent. For mine search Junior Idol Contestent number 1, for theirs search Junior Class President.
They're advertisements for j-show, SO LOVE THEM!
Also, my killer role as the Hampshire person in J-show includes one whole line, because for the entirety of the one scene I'm in I'm supposed to be stoned off my ass. Excellent. Well, I'll be sure to be in character, as long as they'll cover my expenses.

Also, I'm sitting in my beautful room, listening to Alice's Restaurant, drinking tea, wearing a giant shapeless muumuu type thing and deliriously happy. My semester is so good it hurts, and it's really only because of two of my classes. Those two are good enough to make nothing else matter.
Bye!
7th-Feb-2007 03:05 pm(no subject)
switzerland is ridiculous.

basically i eat a lot of cheese, drink a lot of beer and hang out at the un a lot.

which is where im at now.

miss you all.
4th-Feb-2007 10:01 am - Hampshire
SO-
Want to hear something kind of hilarious? e all just got our roles cast for J-show (all being Liz, Katie, Grace, Erin Coates... and I don't remember who else) and I am... THE HAMPSHIRE PERSON! HA! I'm making all of Bill's friends come to J-show so they can see me making fun of them. I'm convinced the entire reason I was cast thusly was because I was dressed like a total hippie the night of auditions: Long flowy white skirt, red velvety scarf thing wrapped on my head, wacky vest-thing I found in the free-bin once upon a time.

I'm at my Mom's apartment, in New Hampshire, right now. I came last night (saturday) and I'm going back to school tomorrow. I check my e-mail this morning and there was an e-mail from the J-show director written at 9pm last night saying that I'm supposed to be at rehersal at 2pm today. Oops, oh well. I mean, I would love to be there, and I knew we would need to start rehersing soon, but I didn't think 'oh, I better not go home this weekend just in case they spring me with a last-minute rehersal'.
Oh well, my apologies.

I'm applying for a job at Amanouz, in Northampton! It's that Mediterranean and Moraccan cafe-style place, and it also happens to be my favorite place to eat EV-ER! Ivana Staiti applied, but what they started asking her about hours she said she couldn't do it. They said they would call me sometime yesterday, but of course they didn't. I'm perfect for the job! They always hire hippie white college girls to run the register and immigrants to do the cooking. Maybe I'm not cute enough. I mean, I looked a little pimply the day I went in, and the women that work there are always super-cute. And Ivana is beautiful. I wonder.
22nd-Jan-2007 10:01 am(no subject)
grope
P.S. The fourth season of the L Word introduces a character from Mount Holyoke. So funny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZoBEJMfsas&mode=related&search=
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