Wednesday, January 19, 2011


*cue bass-thumping House music here*

Oh god, too early (late?) for that.  I've arrived at Hong Kong airport after what felt like a two-day flight from New York. That was the worst.  We were served our first meal two hours after boarding, I cued up The Social Network, and then proceeded to sleep for two hours.  I woke up, read a little, and thought, OK, glad I killed most of this trip. I looked at the computer screen five inches away from my face to see how much longer till we got to Hong Kong: 12 HOURS AND 48 MINUTES.

I wanted to jump.

But that's over, and now I'm sitting in the gate for Bangkok across from a Canadian couple, using an Indian man's charger to keep my laptop alive, and am hearing accordion music playing "Champs Elysees" and the likes over the airport loudspeakers.  Gotta hand it to you, Globalization. You didn't skip a beat.  Funny, too, because the program required us to read some literature on globalization, the pros and cons of it and how it can be made to work for the betterment of the world.  We'll delve into the topic of globalization much further during orientation, but the refresher was much needed.  For those who need reminded themselves, globalization means that everyone knows how to speak English so that Americans feel more comfortable traveling abroad to spread their worth among all the developing nations!  At least, in some circles this is what it implies.

I don't really believe that, but I will say, it was damn convenient when having to interact with a TSA security guard.  I was pulled aside because my tiny pink makeup bag screamed "I BELONG TO A TERRORIST."  He instructed me to pull everything out, including a book on Buddhism, Half the Sky, and A Crime so Monstrous.  Thank god I decided to leave my Moltovs for Dummies at home.  He dumped out the contents of my makeup pouch to find an eyeshadow compact, tweezers (what, I'm Italian), nail clippers, and mascara. Because Hong Kong has dual official languages of Chinese and English, he had to keep any insulting jabs to himself, rather than shouting them to his co-workers in another language when I stood right in front of him. Hah, take that, TSA man!

I wish I could regale you with greater, more exciting tales of immediate culture shock here on my first trip abroad.  But since I have not been out of an airport since 2am yesterday (Tuesday), I haven't had much in the ways of human interaction, let alone culture shock. I did see a sign in the bathroom that read, "Beware slippery floor" that made me chuckle.  Like the slippery floor is out to getcha! But I'll get my fill and then some starting tomorrow morning when I wake up in Bangkok, on my first day of studying abroad!
*cue optimistic symphony music here*


PS: For those who don't have a facebook, I have to share this photo again. Oliver hopped in my suitcase as I was packing and laid down on top of my stuff.  He gave this face when I got up to grab my camera, eyes saying "Why are you leeeeaving-wah?" Ahhh, I die, I die, I die, I diee..... I miss him already.

Monday, January 10, 2011


AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! !!! ~@"#LIW#$Q#$@)(&&$($!!?>!@!!@!!???>""+_{ .....
 I think I'm composed now. Wait... !*+

This is insane.  Two and a half years of wanting nothing more than to go to Thailand, it's finally on deck.  I have 6 MORE DAYS until I'm on a bus to New York and then ONE HALF DAY until I'm on a plane to Bangkok!! I can't believe this is actually happening.  Now that the hysteria is out of the way, I should give credit where credit is due...
There was an out-pour of love and support when I first raised the concern of not knowing whether or not I'd have enough mulah to cover the trip.  I am beyond grateful to all those who helped with fundraising initiatives and of course, those who generously donated to my cause.  Sincerest thanks to:  The Fabers, the Amos', the Jukics, the Pecks, the Donnellys, the Martinas, the Stephen-Cosneks, B. Cusak, L. Nezwazk, D. Tupe, E. Tsamitis, A. Sharpe, and everyone who attended and helped out at my benefit show back in December.  Your support has helped more than you know.

In Half the Sky, that revolutionary, Pulitzer-Prize-winner, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn write of the merits of studying abroad in developing countries.  To really understand an issue, it takes more than simply reading facts about it in your cozy, nestled cubicle in some Western college's library.  "They believe (and I'm inclined to agree with them), that "If more Americans worked for a summer teaching English at a school [in the Middle East]...or working at a hospital [in Africa], our entire society would have a richer understanding of the world around us" (pg 88, 2009).  While no one expects every U.S. citizen to devote their lives to a specific cause in one area of the world, it speaks volumes of our country's character if neighboring nations see America wanting to help out generally where help is needed.

My passions lie in the eradication of forced prostitution worldwide, but by no means do I plan on delving into the thick of it all the minute I touch down (this notice is directed mainly at you, Donnelly family *smile*).  This semester, under experienced, trained guidance, and with a bustling schedule split between field stays and university classrooms, I will merely be laying the groundwork of a holistic understanding of the country for further investigatory fieldwork, once my undergraduate studies are complete. And for now, that is quite enough.

Our program director recently sent out a list of principle-identifying questions, targeting what we believe culture is, what an educational experience should be, and what our worldviews are.  Seriously heavy stuff.  And they're all matters that my thoughts have brushed upon, but then ignore because, of course, it's much easier to take these concepts for granted.  I mean, what will my opinions do in the long-run anyway, right?? (Disclaimer: I'm kidding.)  I bet more people would vote if they voiced to themselves what they believed.
Having a written language and cognizance are what make us unique as human beings.  Yet it's amazing how seldom humans use both abilities at once... 
So once I sit down to hash out in phrasing less-than-eloquent what I believe to be true, I'll share it on another post because I'd love to see what everyone else thinks about some of these topics as well.

Alright, well that's all I wanted to get out. It had been longer than a month since last I wrote - this was mostly for me to get back in the swing of things. I swear it, this blog will be updated at least twice a month when I get over to Thailand. So rest assured that when your life seems boring and drab, remember you always have this blog to live vicariously though.  Haha, I kid, I kid, I don't take myself that seriously.

But for real though. I do a little.