Monday, July 25, 2005

I got Maui-ed

To those of you that care, it may seem like I've fallen off the face of the earth for the past 10 days.

Have no fear, I was in Maui on what turned out to be the BEST vacation of my life!

I went with my mom and our older family friend, Donna. We stayed in Maalaea (pronounced Ma-ah-lie-ah) which is a harbor in the middle of Maui with FANTASTIC, unobstructed ocean-front views. Day and night, our life merged with the rhythm of the surf.

Speaking of surf, I went on a snorkel/boating expedition, surfing (it put LA surfing to shame), biked down Haleakala volcano (3rd tallest in the world!), going to a luau and swimming! Of course, it wouldn't be a vacation without relaxation, and I did plenty of that, playing the card game Uno with Donna and my mom (I'm a veteran Uno player), making smoothies and walking along the aquamarine water 10 feet from our door.

The pictures can only capture what my eyes experienced. I wish you guys could have been there with me. I seriously began to make inquiries about working at The Maui News and where I'd live there...

Though Maui is known as one of the least developed and most beautiful of the islands, it sadly has become more developed over the past several years. On an optimistic note, the Maui government is working to impede development along its shores, restricting building to inland and up the mountains.

I hope theres' room for me in 2 years.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Komal Sighting in Chicago

So I was walking into the Tarry Building on NU's Chicago campus, and who should be walking out of the bathroom but the one and only

KOMAL SAWLANI!!

Everybody, she's even better in real life than she is in the pictures. We talked for, like, half an hour. It was incredible.

Updates on the Komster:
-Internship at a Northwestern laboratory
-Job at radiology clinic
-MCAT classes
-possibly will embark upon mosaic-making

People, the woman has been busy, and I was lucky enough to run into her in Chicago. For more details, call me. $5.00/minute.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Deadly Seven

Do you know your seven deadly sins? Every year, it's Chantal's favorite subject to teach.

"Memorize them, you slothful children!" She used to wear man-killing stiletto boots too, but I think she's softened up a bit. "The deadly seven will put you in HELL!" She means well.

Star Sighting in Los Angeles

Yesterday, I was sitting across from my best friend at La Bottega Marino, an Italian restaurant in Largemont, a hip bohemian boutique district.

Right as we were about to order a scruffy-haired guy with sunglasses and a scarf walked past and sat at the table next to me. Even in his attempt to look incognito, I immediately recognized this man, with distinct, delicate features, as none other than The Lord of the Rings star. Can you guess who?

He sat diagonally from me. I could have stretched out my hand a bit and been able to touch him, that's how close he was. I knew myself too well, and would likely talk to him, so I quickly averted my eyes down to my menu.

"What's wrong with you?" said Alexis, who caught notice of my stiffness.

"Oh.....nothing...."as I darted a quick glance from her face to his, my heart blooming with excitement. I had to be careful that my behavior not become too outlandish for ORLANDO!

That's right- I was sitting across the hotness himself, Orlando Bloom. I'd like to testify to the fact that he is every bit as hot as he is on screen. Definitely not a man to blend in with the crowd.

He soon moved because he felt cramped among the tables outside (they were very cramped) and I'm glad, otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy my meal with his distraction.

Of course, my mom and Alexis got a bird's eye view of Bloom at the window their whole meal. No wonder they pushed so hard to order dessert. He wet their appetites or maybe they wanted more time to stare at him.

My mom must've known I was going to ask for his picture because she started a diatribe against the paparazzi and their invasion of privacy. Just because I wanted his picture does not make me a candidate for Globe or Star. I normally don't care about celebs so much, it's just Bloom was exceedingly cute.

Friday, July 08, 2005

One more for the weekend

im doing very well and really starting to enjoy brasil and salvador a
lot. i love the city, feel very safe, and find the poeople to be very
friendly. i havent yet gotten to go to the beach bc it s been raining
a lot.

i decided not to take the culture class that is an additional 6 hours
per week. i~d rather spend my time exploring the city.

yesterday after class i took a 3 hour nap and then went back to school
for another amazing baina dance lesson. i really enjoyed it. for an
hour and a half we learned typical dances of the carnaval blocos afoxe
group type stuff. not sure exactly but it was all sambaish and reggae
stuff. theres a huge band here called olodum that started the samba
reggae movement trend in music. they place in the historic area called
pelourinho on tuesday nights. the trombone player from the band was
the guy that my friend margaret (the brazilian music instructor -22,
fsu) danced with at the dois do julho celebration on tuesday.

after dance class, we had a light dinner and hung out at acbeu until
it was time for our capoeira class. margaret and i headed over to the
academia mandinga for our first real capoeira lesson here in bahia.
margaret has been practicing capoiera in talahassee for a while but
they made her start in the beginning class. it was really hard and
great fun. i prefer capoeira to tae kwon do becuase there is music
throughoout the class and you get to feel the rhythm and also the
moves are much more applicable. at the end of every class we form a
hora in which four capoeiristas play the berimbau, a long sick-like
instrument with a string and a large gourd attached ot the bottom,
that creates a sort of hollow sound, and one caller chants the songs
while playing his instrument and a large drum. then a pair of
jogadores (players) begin to fight (but they only say play) in the
middle of the hora (circle). one by one people take over for the
players so that you are continuously playing a new person. it~s great
to watch and learn and apply the moves youve just learned and also get
to participate. also, a lot of women play capoeira. i think a
majority, but about half at our school. with the music, rhythm, and
energy of the hora, it~s a much more satisfying ending to a class.
during the demonstration two days ago, i took a lot of video, which my
friend jen put on cd for me so i~m very happy to have it. i~m also
looking forward to making friends with the capoeiristas, who are all
young, and uising it as a way to meet brazilians. they~re all very
nice and relaxed people.

today we found out a little bit about the trip to rio. july 21-24 and
then i~ll stay until the 27 for the conference. it should be great and
very cheap. the hotels will cost US$100 and the flight only US$225. it
should be great to get to tour the city and familiarize myself before
attending the conference.

tonight i~m going to the one synagogue in salvador for services. my
neighbor is jewish and a fascinating woman of 71 years, very freilich.
it sort of became clear why i~m having trouble with my host mom, and i
htink it~s just her personality. i have no trouble talking ot other
people in portuguese. i htink we live very different lifestyles and
its hard for us to find things to talk about. she seems to be a sort
of uptight rich old lady and also sort of bitter and sad about losing
her husband a year ago and doesnt do much or go out or have too many
friends and isnt too intellectual. my neighbor on the other hand, is
the complete opposite. she talked to us for 2 or more hours the other
night and could have gone on forever. i really understood her, too.
for some reason, my host mom uses the most unfamilar vocab of anyone i
know. great. but my host sister is 21 and very sweet. she wants to
take me to the beach, the movies, the clubs. she~s also about as
gorgeous as they come here in brazil. the guys in the program are just
drooling from my description of her. anyway, back to my neighbor. she
was so friendly and talked to me about everything. her religion - her
dad was jewish, mother catholic baiana - and her personal mysticism
and love of theology and how she hates the rabbi (which i can see why
already not even talking to him - he seems very strange - wanting me
to call to tell him all the personal information just to go to
services and also telling her that her sons and grandkids arent jewish
and couldnt have bar mitzvahs) - and she talked about politics, and
business, and globalization and america. fascinating. i really liked
her and want to go tlak to her a lot more. she offered to drive me
over to the synagogue tonight for services even though she doesnt
really like to go any more bc of the rabbi. i told her that i was in
the same situation at school where i began to hate judaism bc of
hillel (we both agreed that our religion and been taken from us
^tirado de nos^). so my host mom said she~d like to go too and jen is
also going to come.

now i have to go home for lunch and then go get a $3 pedicure so i can
go to the beach with ~unhas aceitaveis~ (respectable nails).

tchao and grades beijous,

dena

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bally's Success Story

Would it be lame to appear in a Bally Total Fitness commercial in exchange for money, a month of free training and supplements?

Due date: July 15.

-Debs

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I~m here I~m here but I can~t find the apostrophe button!

By Dena

Heyyo,

Thanks for posting my email, Debbie. Like I said, there~s a limited supply of computers here and time to use them. Our group has 17 students from across the country (I~m studying abroad with the University of Iowa) and the other large group here is from UCLA, they have 40 kids, all from UCLA.

Brazil is amazing. Naturally. I~m starting to really appreciate it after getting over the initial awkwardness of being so easily spotted as a foreigner. 80% of this city (Salvador) is black or of African descent. My beaming white skin and occasional Northwestern t-shirt don~t often help in not standing out. But so I here, this place is relatively tame in terms of stares and cat calls and danger. Perhaps it~s partly because I live in the richest area of town, but I don~t feel at all uncomfortable here anymore walking on the streets. I~ve learned to ignore the stares, and they~re really not too bad. One big difference is that people on buses here stare like it~s their job. You~ll often get a head turn out the window as well.

I~ve been taking pictures but but can~t put them on the computer unfortunately.

This week, I~ve gotten Baiana dance lessons, cooking lessons (not really, but we ate some acaraje, fried bean and veggie patties), and today we have a capoeira lesson/demonstration (Brazilian dance fighting).

I have to run but the big news of the day is that the group trip to Rio de Janiero is on July 20-24 and my conference is July 24-7 so everything works out perfectly. I~ll get to tour Rio and then attend the International AIDS Society Conference and be in Rio for a week!!

Tchao belezas,

Dena

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I'd like to extend a shoutout to our founding fathers and mothers for making July have such a fabulous holiday.

I've gotten to party, go to more BBQs than I'd care to mention, and chillax.

Friday was low-key, I went to the gym and watched a movie.

On Saturday, I got up early and in the spirit of carpe diem, dragged my parents out to Santa Monica beach and had breakfast. I then found great finds at a $15 or less shopping store. Nothing quickens my heart beat like finding a great piece of clothing at a bargain price.
From there, I went back to Glendale, up to the park by my house in scorching heat and wished my best guy friend David bon voyage at his good buy party, as he carves a new life for himself in Rochester, NY. I hope he isn't miserable in what is sure to be a drastic change of scenery for the social butterfly of Glendale. Without David, I'm going to have to make party connections in this region by myself.

But Alexis is helping with that. Her boyfriend Mikey has this group of friends that I've gotten close with. A bunch of Glendale folk drove down for what was supposed to be a block party in Manhattan Beach. Coastal parties are awesome except you've got to gamble distance for quality and those parties never have any parking. Decent people, but NOT a block party. Seems the party started at 2 pm, so by the time we got there (10 pm.) it was considerably smaller.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the kickback, and at one point, my Glendale group of friends and Mikey's group of friends connected over near-death experiences with my infamous driving. So I used to speed a little. It warms my heart when people can connect by mocking me.

I had met one of the guys there at a New Years Eve party and he seemed like the biggest pothead. So you can imagine my surprise when he said he's training to be a police officer. Then he starts blatantly hitting on my in a group setting- awkward- so I change the subject and engage him a test of social barriers. I tell him to give me a question to ask the most guarded, stand-offish person at the party. He points to this pretty brunette in a green sweater, standing next to her boyfriend, arms and eyebrows both crossed. I am sure I can get the question answered...

I go up to her and after several minutes find out she's a Northwestern Communications alum! So I was leading up to the awkward moment, of asking her "Are you a ...?" but then the guy who challenged me, walked up and made this face like "don't worry about it." It would have been awkward, and I liked to talking to what became the girl's group of emo-mod-crowd of black, chunky, side-parted hair and ties, group. You guys know that look, right?

So yesterday, I postponed early morning surfing with Jeremy and decided to sleep in...until 12!!! and tanned, watched a Czech film, Zelary, and went to this party in Pasadena thrown by Mikey's friend. Flip cup, Egyptian Ratscrew, guitars and sing-alongs- made this party your quintissential kickback. Towards the end of the night I met this guy that made the party anything but mediocre. He walked me to my car. We exchanged numbers. A potential summer fling?

Mr. Potential Summer Fling called yesterday to go out to a BBQ in Redondo Beach. But I wanted to reunite with my middle school friends at their apartment in Westwood by UCLA. It was a tad awkward for some reason.
Mr. P.S. Fling will have to wait until next weekend for my attentions ;)

They don't call me debbiecoqueta for nothing,
Deberino

p.s. where's Komal? I talked to her on the phone several times. Does she have no internet?
Bom dia meus amores,

so things have finally settled down and we just started classes yesterday.

actually, the irony is i have to run home for lunch and beback in an hour or so i don~t have too much time right now to write. I just wanted to let you know that i~m doing ok and enjoying myself but finding a lot of the aspects of traveling in latin america a lot more difficult than i expected. so there are a lot less computers here than students so i dont know how often i~ll get to update the blog.

This has been such an eye-opening experience already, as tired as thatmay sound. I feel like i~ve been here a month but it~s only been aweek. it~s funny that our first week was just an intro to brazil and chilling out and so i guess we only have 5 weeks of class.

Basically, the progrma does its best to keep us extremely sheltered.they dont take us to any of the bad areas of town, and we live in the richest part of salvador, the 3rd or 4th biggest city in brazil. It's a great place, once you get used the staring and feeling like an awkward foreigner. Actually, as far as my companheiros have told me,this is relatively mild in terms of negative attention for latin america. I really havent gotten many cat calls, but i have been picking up guys like mosquitos!

My host family situation is pretty bad/awkward. Not the worst, but its just me and my 50 yo mom and 2 maids who she makes do everything. I hate it. She even has a bell. its terrible and she treats them likedogs really. The sweetest part is that i live in a penthouse with my own pool so i can escape there sort of and every night i enjoy a breath-taking view of the city.

Although its sort of dangerous to go out at night by yourself that's the only way i can enjoy the city and so i went out last night to this park near my place the very famous praca dois do julho for the bahainaindependence celebration. The park is beautiful and there were a tonof people out - the weather is gorgeous, esp at night - and theere wasa live big band playing a mix of brazilian dances and american pop/jazz -= i will survive in portuguese and english! These high school guys started dancing with me so it was a good time and luckily we had learned the dances that afternoon at school.

I think if I can start to meet the kids here then i~ll be able to see more of the city.i dont have any host siblings so that kind of sucks. But yeah last weekend we went to this beautiful island called morro desao paulo and it was pretty cute. I enjoyed the beach and the clubs at night, banana and chocolate crepes on the street, though i~m not a big fan of the cachassa which is what the national drink, caipirinha, is made of.

Everyone's always impressed when we whip out the respective aikido, capoeira a nd tae kwon too. Yeah def too much to write here but i/ll try to get some of it down onto the blog. mostly i~/m just going to have a huge journal though with all my thoughts and observations.

It's pretty crazy. For the first few days i couldnt get over the discrepancy btw rich and poor. im still trying to figure it out and make some conclusions about it. i dont know quite what to do with myself.

Write back and let me know how things are going. debbie, can you send me the link again to the savvy traveler^? please write me at gmail because I can t really check nu account.

Lots of love and can't wait to hear from you!!!
dena
(day-na)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Party like it's 1776!

I Love 4th of July Weekend! (more to come on parties and chillaxin')

-Debetella

Saturday, July 02, 2005

"Bicycle! Bicycle! I want to ride my..." -Queen

Do people read when I post comments to other people's entries? If not, then I'll just make them new blogs.hmm, this might clutter the main page...

My thoughts on Bi- Drama:
omg. poor diego. he probably speaks english, but la mia bicicleta should have been clear as crystal. What the hell is up with that policeman? he squeezed his neck? What- is the "Force" getting tough on minors now? I cover the police beat for the News-Press and man, do I hear about some harassment from the "force." I'm sure it's a tough job but we're all people.oh yeah, I'm glad you got your bike back. Between you and Marielle, I don't think I can handle the drama behind owning a bike.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I stole my bicycle back.

And felt kind of bad about it. Let me explain.

As my mom and I were pulling into Birch Manor (our apartment complex) I spotted my Huffy Kathy Ireland bike, being ridden by a boy. Several weeks ago this bike was taken from outside my bedroom window, presumably by someone who lives in Birch Manor. I had been devastated, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw it again. I opened the door before my mom stopped the car and confronted the boy.

"Excuse me, that's my bicycle. Those are even my handlebars--I know because when I changed them--"

"No hablo ingles." Smaller and shorter than me, he looked like one of my seventh graders.

"Uh...Es bicycleta mia? Um. Shit. Are you sure you don't speak English?"

And then my mom, angrily stalking out of the car-- "I call the police!"

"Wait ma--"

"No hablo ingles."

"You give me bicycle or I call police!" My mom was outraged. Great. Neither of my mom nor the bikenapper could speak English.

Through my rudimentary Spanish, I learned that the boy--Diego--had bought my bike for 30 dolares from his "primo". When I managed to make him give it back to me, the police had showed up. The officer stepped out of the car--he had jaggedy tattoos on bicepy arms--he called Diego to his car and squeezed the boy's neck with his big knuckley hands.

"You don't speak English?"

No answer.

"Why the hell not? You're in AMERICA. Speak ENGLISH."

Diego just looked to the ground. It was as if he was used to this, and it killed me.

The policeman continued to bark, "Where do you live?" Diego pointed East, and the policeman pushed him that way. "Then GO that way. VAMOS! I'll kick your ass in any language!"

Diego turned and walked down that road. He had probably lied to me about buying my bike for thirty dollars, he had probably stolen it himself, and he had the nerve to ride it in front of my house. But as I stood there gripping my handlebars--the ones I'd gotten changed when the gears stopped working--I couldn't help calling, "I'm sorry!", and it was the least, the very least I could do.

Being vegan ain't so bad.

Although I've slacked (or snacked!) lately. Today I was offered a gingerbread man cookie and took one, and then I was offered some goldfish and took some. Then I felt kind of guilty, but then contemplated if I was actually opposed to animal products in the first place, and if so, why the hell would I care anyway. But whatever. Being vegan has been fun because I get to come up with cool new recipes. For example, the other day I made chocolate cookies with coconut milk instead of eggs and butter. Try it--they're delish. Or use carob instead of chocolate if you want to be hardcore. And I've also made a totally vegan cheesecake with tofu and almond butter, and it turned out really well. I'm not into the Tofutti, garden-burger, monterrey-jack-style-soy-cheese, hydrogenated soy sour cream crap. I just enjoy exploring my natural plant options as a plant-appreciation sort of project, if you will. So don't worry Debbie, we won't be eating raw celery sticks and dried biscuits for dinner our senior year.

hey friends

yay debbie for starting a group blog :)
since i'm tech-illiterate, this is very exciting, also it gives me something to do when i'm putz-ing around at work, eating licorice, and transcribing interviews of middle school students from south side chi-town, it's devastatingly exciting, i'll tell yah. currently my boss is MIA. that's aiight, i'm getting the g's, and that's all that counts so then I can pay for more putzing (or meditating if you will) in India- woot woot. speaking of India, yesterday I went on this long bike ride to Glenview to get immunizations shots for typhoid and craziness, but i ended up on this highway, where there was no bike path. i must have looked like this sweaty mad woman with no-helmet and no destination to all the passerbys. so then i decided to ditch the highway and opt for this bike path along a nature reserve, but that didn't get me any closer to the travel medicine clinic. so....after an hour of this i decided to bike home, and console myself by viewing the whole expedition as a really good workout. but then...alas! about 3/4 of the way back by bike got stuck on a tree branch ( a la nature reserve) and it broke, just like that. haha. now this seems funny but at the time i was wicked pissah. so i walked a bit, and got a cab ride from old orchard. ah well, i think i'm gonna have to go to the evanston hospital for the immunizations and malaria medication. nothing much else is up. tonight i'm leaving brian's apartment- he has been very kind to offer a halfway house for me and the rob-meister (who is currently living at park evanston in an apartment overlooking the lake/sailboats/bahai temple- roberto is so full of surprises :) . this weekend: fireworks, a proud to be an american party hosted by mon amour monsieur hetrick, and some taste of chicago sweet sweet goodness. love y'all, good luck with the internships and jobs and what not, :) marielle-y