Tuesday, August 31, 2010

UPDATE - August 29, 2010

August 29, 2010

My friend's mom used to think LOL meant Lots of love which is not that funny. So she used the phrase in a bunch of condolence e-mails such as “I’m really sorry about your devastating loss. LOL."

While attending a conference in another city, I decided to visit an island as I was planning to use it as the location in a surprise gift for a friend. I wore khaki pants, brown belt and brown shoes, a dark orange shirt (what I called muted orange), a brighter orange tie (with blue diagonal stripes) and a beige/tan sweater vest. While strolling through the island, a man approached me apparently misreading my “freaky deakiness.” After briefly engaging me in polite conversation, he asked “Are you gay?” No. “Bi?” No. “On the down-low?” No. “Me neither,” he said emphatically and indignantly. “I’m not gay. I just sometimes like to sleep with men to let off steam. You know it’s a hard life, you know? Yeah, man. I’m not gay.” Silence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(blink). . . (blink). . . . . . . . . . . . . “So, really, are you gay?” No, I repeated. “Bisexual?” No. “But, but. . . I thought. . . . . you dress so well.” I made a mental note while waiting for the light to change to dress more poorly. I had to make the mental note many, many times before the light finally changed. ‘Sorry, I am going now,’ I told him. “Ok, well, your conference is still going on. . . .I’ll see you around?”

A guy at my church was unsure how to tell me, but he just came out and said that certain people like black people look younger than they are. He then said I look about 33. . . . .that is not funny . . . . . . on multiple counts.

A friend of mine in my fellowship program also suffers from piles (look it up). One day he was caught by his father with anal bleeding in the toilet paper in the toilet. His father told him “SON! WELcome to the family! This is GREAT news! We thought you were different and special, but you’re NOT special: you’re just like the rest of us! YOU bleed, TOO.” He didn’t know how to respond. Apparently it runs in the family. . . no pun intended.
He also just had his first child and hopes, against his father’s highest wishes, that it’s not hereditary.


Well, let’s see. Not much since last time. I took a bit of a break because I was out of the country. I was in El Salvador for 1-2 weeks and missed a few weekends when you would have received an update. But I’m back.

I prepare to start the 2nd year of my fellowship in mid-September. At the moment we have orientation for two weeks from the 1st through the 14th. I finished most of my duties involving security work. I’m only doing a few university program reviews to help decide to whom my department should give grants for educational purposes. So I’m ready to start the 2nd year and see what kind of development engineering work I’ll do for a year at USAID.

Out of the 3 people on this e-mail list or who follow this blog, 2 wrote back thinking that I did a lot of activities. I want to clarify. Last update I was just telling you most of what I do (I didn’t talk about everything; check out Practor’s Promise below). What I didn’t explain was that they are not all at the same time. They are spaced out so it seems that I do more than I really do. My life is pretty relaxed, chill, and sometimes boring.

In general, you have to take my words with the understanding of who is saying them. For instance, some people jumped on my recommendation of Rosetta Stone, but I’m usually ok with discipline needed for language learning. If you’re a person that will have difficulty doing the lessons regularly then it’s not good for you. Moreover, what I was really commending was the right-brained dominated immersive approach over the traditional, left-brain dominated, translational approach. It doesn’t have to be Rosetta Stone. In fact, the drawback is that you are not speaking it with other speakers. Rosetta Stone does get better as you get more advanced (you learn like a baby learns and therefore you don’t put sentences together early like you would do in a translational class), but you don’t speak with other live people. So I always recommend doing it with a partner or taking part in a language lunch table to complement the Rosetta Stone Cds. Moreover, I would choose an immersion-based class with other speakers over an immersion-based CD. I would then choose an immersion-based CD (for myself) over a translation-based class (but I would complement the CD with some type of activity with actual speakers). I hope that makes sense. The same goes with recommendations on books or movies. You can always ask me what I mean or what I liked about it to help you with figuring out if it’s good for you.

We just had one of our famous parties. This time we did an island/Caribbean/tropical theme. We had underwater creatures on the walls, New Orleans beads hung up, and bamboo bush things hanging from the ceiling. There were tiki torches (unlit) in the corners of the room, and a piƱata filled with candy. Everyone who entered received a lei (can you picture the mix of motifs, now?). There was a limbo contest as well during the night. People loved it and had a good time. They especially liked the blended smoothies and licuados as we had many tropical fruit there. It reminds me a lot of El Salvador.

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