Thursday, November 12, 2015

Because this matters & I won't stay quiet.

I’ve kept my mouth shut for a decently long time regarding the racial issues on campus as of late.  Word vomit and fury tend to be my go-to reactions to such conversations, which are reactions that will only hurt the cause I stand by.  But the need to say something has become too powerful for me to keep quiet as these issues intensify. 

For every one of my friends and family who I have spoken with about these things, I love you, but I also want to wipe the fog from you glasses.  Can you look in the mirror ? Do you see a face looking back at you that has experienced little adversity as a result of white skin and for most of you, living in a middle socioeconomic class?  Also - no, this is NOT REVERSE RACISM, because reverse racism does NOT exist. But because of the fact that you are indeed privileged and white, you have no idea what people of color are actually going through with these issues, if they actually feel safe on our campus and on campuses nationwide, and therefore, do not have the right to speak for them and act like their cause isn’t real or worthwhile, or as if its inappropriate publicity for the college.  Racism is indeed, a thriving force in the US.  We cannot continue to speak in a naïve, passive voice that continues to refute this fact.  And if you are not a person of color or belong to an oppressed minority, you will never encounter what REAL racism is.

I don’t come from some omniscient, lofty standpoint – I’m sure I say racist things everyday without even realizing it.  I grew up as a white woman in a racist society, and I have work to do to properly view my place in society from an unprivileged perspective.  And while by no means am I condoning expressions of racism, we need to accept that our culture is indeed racist, and that we have work to do in recognizing this and fixing it. 

If you come from an opposing standpoint, you can at least listen to what the protestors and POC are saying, and try and educate yourself on the issues before speaking out in opposition. Yea, being politically correct and understanding a different perspective takes some work.  It takes self-censorship, research, education, and an open mind.  And if you’re not willing to do the work to counter such racism and other social issues, then that truly speaks to your privilege. 

To the issues specific to Ithaca, I’d like to bring light to a few things:
  1.  While I did not attend one of the first "No Confidence" protests (the one that took place in the A&E center), the main thing I heard about it from my peers was that the students speaking walked out before Rochon spoke.  This created bad publicity for the event, yet this is what many white people (I’m not going to lie about this demographic) on our campus remember from it.  I agree that walking out did not create a two-sided argument, but don’t hold on to this one bad happening from an event that had so much more meaning behind it than a group of people walking out on the President.  If you’ve realized that the side of the argument that favors Rochon has not been as outspoken, that’s because that’s the status quo.  That’s how things currently are, and whether or not you feel safe on our campus doesn’t apply to how the people of color feel.  Last November, do you remember how the media almost primarily featured news regarding the Ferguson protests and violence that erupted as a result of the decision? This is what people tended to comment on the most, along with their disgust at the burning of the American Flag.  The actual decision regarding the trial should have been the topic of discussion; not the burning of a piece of cloth our society has brought us up to praise mercilessly.  The same thing applies to that first protest at IC.  The walkout on the president aside, the speakers were talking about something important; how they felt as a result of the racially charged comments made during the past events, and their frustration with the lack of action. That’s what should have been taken out of this. The real purpose behind this event.  
  2. These issues didn't just happen overnight.  The Blue Sky Kickoff and the racist party description created by the fraternity brought more attention to issues that have been happening for years. This is NOT the first time Rochon has been approached with the issue of microaggressions and racism on campus.  He does in fact have control over the training of public safety, which could ban their use of the racially aggressive language brought to our attention by RAs and students.  The fraternity that posted the racist party description affiliates itself with the college, even though the college doesn’t affiliate itself with the fraternity, but the President has the power to ensure that the frat cuts all of their ties to IC. And if you haven't seen why the Blue Sky Kickoff was so alarming and uncomfortable, you should take one minute to check it out: 



The culmination of these events over the semester, coupled with the ongoing racism that’s been present on campus for years, have finally lead to the forefront of this discussion.  And NECESSARY protests created to get things done, not a gathering of students taking the issues out of control. Action that Rochon could have taken was not, which is why many students, professors, and faculty do not have confidence in his leadership.  Myself included.


If I offended any of my friends or family with this, I’m not sorry.  I say these things because I not only care about the issues, but because I care about you and want to see you take part in building a progressive society.  You may think these protests are getting out of control, but they’re getting attention, which is exactly what such issues need.  And if you choose not to put the work into educating yourself on these issues, then so be it.  But speaking out in opposition of something you don’t have the knowledge to talk about is embarrassing.  You have the right to speak out in opposition without fact-checking first, but be ready for the criticism that will surely follow.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The "Struggle" of Being Neutral

I’ve been wallowing in my sorrow of my departure from NZ for almost a month now.  Okay, I know this is ridiculous cause this is reality and I have to deal but I’m allowing myself some occasional self-pity.

Post landing in JFK, I may have shed a few tears as I rode the escalator down to baggage claim, followed by a 16-hour marathon of sleep intertwined with chicken ranch pizza.  My second night home, I sobbed like the runner up bachelorette until 4AM and watched The Office for comfort. 

Since then, I have moved back into my house in Ithaca and acquired a new job working as a canvasser for NYPIRG (New York’s Public Interest Research Group).  Yea, I’m knocking on doors asking strangers who owe me nothing for money now…

(sometimes I make friends along the way)
This morning I came across a scholarship essay I’d written last year in which I defended myself from being considered “entitled.”

It was hilarious.

As I sit here in my bed with its 2-inch foam mattress topper (yes, 2 inches) at 10AM on a Saturday morning, sipping my creamy cup of coffee and frequently checking my iPhone, I loathe myself for having the idea to write about such a bogus idea in the first place. 

I’ve always taken such pride in considering myself a hard worker and a driven woman.  I don’t refute this, but nonetheless, it’s entertaining to reflect on a time in my life where I did not consider myself entitled. 

Here I’m about to take a mean, stinky dump on myself and members of my generation everywhere:

When does the stupidity of being young end?

Just last year, I can recall on multiple instances where I was being blatantly ignorant, racist, homophobic… okay you get it. 

My desire to shed wisdom on my few but beloved readers (God bless you all) is kind of also hilarious, given that I’m this like 20-year old white girl who like can’t even pay her own rent without the financial support of her parents and also may or may not have just used the fork she ate a can of tuna with to stir milk into her coffee.

For my own peace of mind, I’m introducing a theory for a new classification of human; it’s called “being neutral.”

Neutral /’(n(y)ootrel/
Adjective
1.  not helping or supporting either side in a conflict, disagreement, etc.; impartial.
2.  having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features.

(That definition is actually from the Dictionary! Not my chamber of made-up words.)

When the world of science clashes with social theory in a modern context irrelevant to Charles Darwin, I will be classified as a seven on the pH scale, or as a I like to call it: a basic bitch who drops acid; utterly, undeniably, indefinitely neutral. 

(In case your knowledge of Chemistry is limited, I don't actually drop anything but expensive dishes and the occasional vase)

I took to this new classification of human being for a number of reasons.  For one, the mean between being disadvantaged in the world and being absurdly privileged doesn’t have a specific title.  Some would call this “middle class”, but truthfully, this only applies to one’s socioeconomic status.  There are so many other things that factor into a human’s advantage in the world:
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Physical attractiveness 
  • EQ
  • IQ 
  • Style
  • Competence 
  • Do you have a strong father figure in your life?
  • Hair color
  • Ability to read people
  • Ability to read the manual (aka patience)
  • Ability to read
  • If you have a cute dog
  • Nail bed health
The list goes on.

So if the scale of privilege ranges from the Mormon founder’s 23rd wife to Donald Trump, I’m somewhere in the middle. 

In politics, being neutral is often given the imagery of sitting on a fence; being that awkward space holder who can’t choose a side. Also consider how there is no way to comfortably sit on a fence.  Elphaba made defying gravity appear a hell of a lot easier than my figurative struggle of doing so. Then again, everything hard about life appears effortless in musicals.  My dream rendition of Annie would feature a 28-year long story detailing her struggle with poverty, puberty, and eventually, a hard-knock life of college where she kicks ass, supports herself as an underground drug dealer (if Walter White can do it so can Annie), then becomes our first woman president.  But the original scriptwriters felt she needed to be handed a life of leisure as a one-way ticket to Easy Street gracefully fell into her little innocent pale hands. 

So here we are, sitting on figurative fence in some awkward state of limbo.  What else qualifies for neutrality? How about the inability to identify with any sort of social group, stereotype, generalization, etc…

People elaborate on how the variety of careers for "kids these days" goes on and on now.  What about the variety of social stereotypes a “kid” can fall under?

Just to name a few, here we go…
  • Science nerds who don’t do alcohol/drugs/girls/guys/things besides science
  •  Computer programming nerds who are always stoned
  •  Jocks who play sports
  •  Jocks who don’t play anything but have “all about fitness” in their Tinder profile
  • Music geeks
  • Musical theater geeks
  • Art kids who don’t talk a lot
  •  Art kids who are super bubbly and you spend too many minutes wondering if they’ll lose their virginity
  •  Hipsters 
    • The sub-classes of hipster are as infinite as the Universe
  • Trust-fund hippies
  • Basic bitches
  •  Frat guys
  • Wannabe hipster frat guys
  • People who talk about politics 24/7 and order vegan
  •  Stoners who are the target audience for Pizza Hut’s pretzel-crust-cheddar-letmegothrowthisup-thing
  •  People who take photographs a lot and wear flannels
  • Guys into film who wear Hawaiian shirts and bucket hats
  • People who are members of 10+ clubs who scare you cause they’ll probably be your CEO one day 

Ah, remember the good old days when the popular girls were the cheerleaders and the kid with the bushy hair and glasses was your math nerd? Yea, me neither. Thanks for giving me a false view of status quo, Hollywood. 

I could be considered a basic bitch when I get too drunk at the bar and trip/fall ungracefully to the floor in my heels. 

I’ve been accused of being a hipster simply because I’ve said that I’m not a hipster.

I thoroughly enjoy snapping photos and my love for flannels is equivalent.   

I love the thrill of staying up until 4AM to work on coding. 

Sometimes I go through a phase where fitness is fun and I eat spinach. 

It’s automatically assumed I’m a hippie when I go knocking on doors for my job promoting environmental awareness.
Old stoner dude at the door: “So what’s the worse drug you’ve ever come across?”
Me: “Uh, I don’t know… testosterone?”

I don’t have any special traits that could strongly mark me as a specific something.  My level of privilege in a first world country is average, but I’m undeniably a member of the entitled.  I love climbing fences, and although they’re an uncomfortable resting site for my bony bum, I can sit contently on one and watch a melting pot of stereotypes pass by below. 

My point? Yea, yea, here it is...

Remember when I asked earlier when the stupidity of being young will ever end?

I have an addendum to my theory.  The sooner we can remove ourselves from these stereotypes as young adults, look at ourselves as who we are rather than trying to identify with some type of group, and critically assess our privilege in comparison to others, the sooner we can mature and see the world for what it is; people for who they are. 

If you’re saving up for a Louis Vuitton bag to impress your girls, or wearing glasses way too big for your face to an art show you don’t care about, stop.

Being neutral, a classification of human that I thought signified nothing special, is possibly the most special thing out there.  Originality stems from origin (literally), which is comprised of your personal entities that are completely irrelevant to any external prototype of what you think you should be.

Also, I hear seven is a lucky number.  Shoutout to the pH scale for utilizing this spectacular and loved number for neutrality!


(I’m not a science nerd I promise)

Keep Happy,
Em

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tips I Don't Have About Blogging & Other Things

Like every other self-absorbed twenty-something who thinks they’re doing something crazy, changing the world one metaphor at a time, or wishes to share the boredom/obscurities of their day-to-day life, I started a blog. 

Starting a blog to college students is like what getting pregnant is to some teenagers.  There’s the likely prospect of catching the attention of others, the less-likely possibility of making it onto some reality TV show, and if luck crosses your path to stardom, getting interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. 

This blog was my earnest and failed attempt at journaling.  Kind of like the time I tried to become a vegetarian to eat healthier, but (over) compensated for the lack of calories by consuming ridiculous amounts of candy and peanut butter instead.  To an extent, the blog did succeed in my eyes.  But I did not have the patience or time to write as frequently as I previously hoped.

If a picture already says a thousand words, I suppose there is no slack to be made up for with writing.  I mean how can you really describe visual beauty when there’s people like *intellectual poet’s name* who does it so much better with an interesting and sophisticated use of the English language.  Other than “Wow!” or just, well… nothing, I rarely made intelligent remarks during moments of observance while hiking.  The most relevant comment I usually had (that inevitably ended up being totally irrelevant) was, “Look at allll those chickens!”  (Refer to overrated video here) 

Travel writing/blogging is harder than it seems.  See now, I had an image of these trendy, hipster-ish people who can just go off into the world of wanderlust, become Instagram famous, and write about it…. then maybe make like $2 and get a free meal at the restaurant they mentioned in their blog. 

When I did the Milford Track, my friends and I came across a man who we referenced as “The Ideal Tramper.”  His stylish apparel made him appear as if he just walked off the set of an Indiana Jones movie.  His backpack was literally and in the true correct definition of the word, “literally” larger than me.  He had a sexy French girl accompanying him on the trail, with whom he shared hiking delicacies (aka salami) on fallen over tree trunks as we awkwardly walked by their romantic tramping scene.  Our last morning in the hut, we encountered him in a lovely reindeer sweater that hinted just enough holiday spirit to make you become somewhat tolerable of the soon-to-be-encountered cold weather on the trail that day.  And then in the eyes of four immature and remarkably less-stylish trampers, he became known as the Ideal Tramper. 

Its people like him I picture writing in their vintage-looking journals with the parchment-style paper next to the wood burning stove during nights in the huts.  And then these people become the infamous yet very Instagram famous travel bloggers of the modern age. 

Is that really how it works?

In my idealist, naiive mind where Cinderella’s fairy grandmother is reassuring me that Dreams do come true yes that’s how it works.   

I’d like to say that despite my lack of resemblance to the sheik, hip bloggers, I have some intelligent, original thoughts.  Rather than attempting to illustrate my visual experiences with a series of words I had to look up in the Thesaurus, I’ve authored a quick story in replacement.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

When I did some hard shit

Despite popular belief, studying abroad in New Zealand has not been all rainbows and waterfalls.  It actually splashed some freezing as (appreciate my use of Kiwi slang) water in my face.  And I’m not talking about the splashes I’ve willfully made into painfully cold water bodies along the trails. 

A transformation of self was… considered, but not quite expected.  Would my time abroad help me figure out what I want to do with my life? Would I figure out the “next big step”?

Yea well, studying abroad only confirmed my confusion about how one tackles the world. 

I instead endured a tormenting, yet straightforward self-evaluation these last few months.

My flat mates and I stumbled upon the “36 Questions to Bring You Closer to Someone” developed by psychologists, and decided to stay up late one night and ask each other them.  One in particular stuck out to me…

The Question: If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

My answer: Am I a good person?

One first has to start out with an even more difficult challenge, what defines a decent human being?

I can’t answer that. I’ll never be able to answer that. I’m not even sure the damn crystal ball could answer that. 

The best approach one could possibly take to figuring that out is a long, excruciating, and 100% honest self-assessment.

Here’s the blatant facts…

1.  I am selfish.

I grew up an only child.  I take more than I give.  I started to realize that my freshman year of college when I had to share a room for the first time.  And while I’ve made a dramatic improvement to this weakness, I still have work to do. 

2.  I avoid confrontation

The world has every right to walk all over me because I’ve let it.  My flat mate graciously laid it out in blatant terms for me: “You’d rather let yourself bleed before watching someone else bleed.”

Sure, it’s nice to be considered that nice girl who couldn’t hurt a fly, blah blah blah.  But it’s a hell of a lot nicer to confront a situation in a classy, and let’s not forget, sassy, manner. 

There’s that cliché saying– “If you want respect you have to earn it.”  Well, I truly want to give people the benefit of the doubt.  And I’ve picked up this bad habit of making excuses for others’ ill-mannered actions. 

That’s a practice I’ve finally had the courage to toss in the trash. 

I do still wish to hold on to the hopeful view I have of the world and its inhabitants.  So turning the cliché around in a way more suitable for me - if you want my disrespect, you have to earn it.  

Coincidentally enough, I happened to come across someone plagiarizing this very blog.  Given this is an outlet for me that I put a significant amount of time and effort into, as well as take personal pride in, I was livid.  Three months ago, the unself-assessed Emily may not have even confronted the situation.  And if she had, she would have done it in a polite, I-still-want-to-be-friends-no-hard-feelings manner.  Lets just say I didn’t come remotely close to falling back on my previous (and utterly pathetic) means of “confrontation.”

3. Sharing feelings is an ocean of dark, uncharted waters for me.

Propose a pillow talk with gossip and boy talk? I would rather vomit profusely all over the pillow.

Super cheesy social media posts, or worse, crying in public? Not exactly my forte.

Some may not consider this reserved aspect of me a limitation, but it’s become self-detrimental.  Especially whilst attempting to adopt “womanhood”.

I’m not remarkably different from a 12-year old boy.  I enjoy playing in mud.  I wear gym clothes for about 99% of my life.  I fart in front of my disgusted friends and laugh about it.  I take pride in acquiring battle wounds from climbing trees, buildings, etc. and thoroughly enjoy picking the scabs off later.  I like seeing how far I can project a snot rocket.  And above all, I hate mushy-gushy-lovey-dovey anything.  Try to maturely approach me with the subject, and I will throw things and jump on furniture.  

Real life wake up call: I’m a 20 year-old soon-to-be Junior in college. 

And while I hope to never grow out of my child-like ambiance or lose my passion for adventure, it may be time to shed some of the mud-caked skin.  It may be time to toughen up and share..."feelings" and things that drives me crazy, no matter how much it scares me to do so. 

There are some personal barriers I’m ready to knock down.  And I’m proud to say that since coming to this country, I’ve recognized them, and have boarded the bulldozer to begin smashing my way through these self-constructed walls. 

On a better note, I’ve begun to recognize what I like about myself.  I also owe a huge thank you to my flat mates who helped bring these attributes to my attention. 

1. A love for loving life 

I tend to view the world through an idealistic, romantic lens.  I grew up in a privileged family.  I’ve had the gracious opportunity to attend college, travel, and experience the world.  And if I were to die tonight, I’d go satisfied with the beauty I have had the honor of seeing (don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty more I wish to see and discover).

But I’m also fully aware of the adversities and evils harbored within it.  To ignore this would be naïve, and painfully ignorant.  I’ve had the honor (yes, I call this an honor) of growing up and working in an economically deprived town, and seeing the not-so-shiny corners of life.  I’ve had the honor of watching the news at night, and learning of the lowest of lows happening oceans away from me.  Some people are truly crazy.  And some are just plain evil. 

It’s a fucked up place out there. 

But detract humanity from the picture, and the world is a majestically admirable place.

Knowing this, I strive to embrace the romantic, idealistic aspects of it that I’ve fallen in love with.  The geological beauties of Earth significantly surpass the manmade detriments placed upon it.  And unfortunately, there’s an incredible amount of humanity submerged beneath the detriments.  But I am privileged, and have had the fortune to embark experiences that provided me with this romantic lens of the world.  I try to live and share what I’ve seen and done (a huge reason for the start up of this blog) in respect for those who can’t.  

2. Self Awareness

No, it doesn’t feel good to call myself selfish.  Or utterly pathetic due to my inability to openly communicate with people.  It’s embarrassing to recognize just how immature I am.  It’s an uncomfortable feeling to assess everything that I dislike about myself.  And an equally terrifying thought, what the people I love might dislike about me.  

Don’t care what people think about you? Good for you. 

But for me, there are people I truly respect and love, and I genuinely care about what they think of me.  And after conducting a self-assessment, there are things I can improve upon that will help me respect myself and strengthen my relationships with my friends and family even more.    

My self-awareness is an attribute I’ve grown to simultaneously love and hate, and know in the long run will help me grow into the person I want to be.

3.  Go happy, go lucky, go with no idea of what will happen, but just go. 

I’ve had a couple of eye-opening trips here.  Hell, all of them have been eye-opening.  And ya know what? Some of them I never would have the honor of partaking in if I didn’t have a happy-go-lucky mindset. 

I already talked a little about the spontaneous decision I made in doing the Kepler track in "The Twin Paradox of Emily in New Zealand: Part 2".

When I did Milford track, which happens to be the most beautiful place I have been to EVER IN MY LIFE, I started off with a nasty sinus infection.  Nothing big, but I wasn’t keen on enduring 3 days in the midst of Fiorldand National Park (one of the wettest places in the entire world) with a plugged set of ears, sore throat, and nose running more than I had in months.  There was also the fact we were doing the track off-season, meaning the huts weren’t serviced, the weather was colder, and the days were shorter.  I actually tried selling my bus ticket the week before the trip. 

And I thank every universal force that no one showed interest in buying them.

We had three days of blue skies… that’s unheard of in Fiordland.  Looking out over Mackinnon Pass with its bizarre mountains, clouds rolling beneath me through the valleys carved between, surreal ponds exhaling their steamy breaths, and a Kea parrot circling above me, is a memory I’ll hold on to for life.





For the full album, click here

I saw the best views I may ever encounter.  I fully embraced just how lucky I am to be in this country and realized what a special period of my life this is.  And to think I might have spent that Saturday morning curled up in my bed with tea and a box of tissues. 

Back to my point…

I still have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.  I still set fire alarms off while cooking aka making toast. 

But, I know who I am.  Weirdly enough, most people don’t know who they are.  And weirder enough, an honest and brutal self-evaluation is one of the harder things one may ever endure.

It was a challenge I had not expected to endeavor, let alone one to take so seriously and sort of succeed at.  

I came to New Zealand for the landscapes and the lifestyle.   I had not pictured a critical self-assessment in the cards for me. 

But the world of cliché’ wasn’t joking when it said life’s full of surprises. 


Here I caught myself in the midst of one.

Keep Happy,
Em

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It's okay to just chill.

Ironically, my last 3 weeks of hustlin’ bustlin’ excessively ambitious traveling led to one profound intellectual realization. 

It’s okay to just chill.

A quick recap of my Spring/Fall Break (it’s fall weather here but I’m accustomed to associating April with Spring so feel my struggle)... 

Week 1
Spent with my loving parents in and around Queenstown, Doubtful Sound, and Hanmer Springs. 

Mom driving on the left side of the road...




The car we rented

Doubtful Sound




Week 2
Two Felicias one tent…  To avoid widespread confusion, it’s time for me to create a universal definition for my use of the word Felicia via an Internet source.  So here…

Felicia (fuh-leesh-uh)
Noun, adjective, you name it
Derived from the vine “Bye Felicia”, this term may be used to reveal feelings of annoyance, to describe people, or to express…anything your creative mind desires.  Just say it, it’ll sound right.    
Ex/ “This cat just farted on me omg what a Felicia.”

Two Felicias one tent consisted of my flat mate and myself (two Felicias) venturing through the radiant rainforest and coastlines of Abel Tasman National Park (habiting one tent). 








Despite the fact Jena (flat mate) was sick and warded off most/all living creatures with her coughs and snots, we made some friends that led me to that profound intellectual realization I mentioned earlier. Also because Jena warded off most living creatures with her coughs and snots, I had a lot of alone time due to the elimination of the potential of most friend-making.  We’ll get to that. 

Week 3
RARATONGA (Cook Islands) with my study abroad program.  Lots of food, dogs, rain, etc.  









Overall, an amazing time with amazing people.  


Some other observations being…
1. Living the Island Life is harder than it looks... (photocreds to Eunice for these beauty shots)

Husking a coconut sort of. 
Helping plant things sort of.
2.  Floating in the middle of a lagoon is chill.  Also I finally learned how to float.
3. There’s a way to overcome being uncomfortably full by eating more. 
4. If you’ve never gone putt putting after a few beverages that’s a life mistake you need to fix.
5. A visit to the local elementary school confirmed kids don’t like me. But they liked the other kids at least.

6.  Swimming in waterfalls is better than swimming in most things.
7. Not having Internet for a week was more enjoyable than having Internet.
8. Snorkeling is highly underrated for its awesomeness. Check out the video I took below on my GoPro! (sorry for the obnoxious background music of water slapping my camera) 

video

9. When you’re overly over-tired you stumble upon some peculiar thoughts.
Ex/ I mentally rebuilt my elementary school playground during a lecture on the Island’s political history.
After a thorough analysis of my ever-so-philosophical thoughts I came across during those 3 weeks, somehow “It’s okay to just chill” became the one that dominated. 

The two nights I spent in the middle of a remote rainforest in Abel Tasman National Park led to interesting conversation with my flat mate.  She told me some cool things she knew about astronomy during our stargazing sessions.  One is the most confusing thing I will ever try to wrap my brain around ever (formally referred to as the String Theory)…

Our Universe is made up of several dimensions, theoretically ten of them, and we’re hardly even aware of four.  Don’t think about it too hard if you want to sleep tonight. 

Second is that there are theoretically TWO Universes, NOT JUST ONE.  The theory is that post Big Bang, one Universe (the one we take up negligent space in) is constantly expanding and time is moving forward, while there is another parallel Universe (the one we barely know the existence of) that is constantly decreasing in size and time is moving…. backwards.  Yea. 

Links to prove I’m not talking out of my butt:

My offering of this information is not as random as it seems.  It just so happened to be the initial inspiration for my “It’s okay to just chill” notion.  Given the ten dimensions and the two different Universes, the amount of space we take up as individuals is literally negligent.  We define our own success and happiness, OR I MEAN AT LEAST WE SHOULD, so what is the point of being concerned with what the other negligent amount of space is defining as success, happiness, you know, that sort of thing? I mean this in the best way possible when I say that at the end of the day, we’re all just negligent amounts of space.  At first, this sounds rather depressing, but if you think about the minimal impact of your space on the grandeur of space taken by all these dimensions and universes, its really quite liberating.  So do with yours what you will, and let everyone else do with theirs what they will. 

More inspiration hit for my… intellectual “chillin’” notion when I met a lovely French lady at the hostel we stayed at in Nelson.  We discovered we’d both been in New Zealand for about two months, and as I was talking to her about her travels, she mentioned something along the lines of, “So yea, still just the beginning.”  Maybe she noted the bewilderment in my eyes as she explained how she’d been given THE ENTIRE YEAR OFF OF WORK to just… travel.  I proceeded to ask her if this is a commonality where she’s from.  Turns out it’s a commonality in all of Europe and they think us Americans are the weird ones.  I also proceeded to meet a few other Europeans staying in the hostel doing the same exact thing as she.  The trend was that very few of them had a plan of action as to where they were going next, very few of them seemed to care that they had no plan of action, and absolutely none of them were concerned about the responsibilities they were leaving behind during their year-long holiday.  So yea, they basically screamed it’s okay to just chill.

The last contribution to my new philosophy came from my experience in Raratonga, and learning of Island time.  Island time is unlike normal people time in that its daytime when the sun is out and that its nighttime when the sun goes down and people are just doin’ their thing.  Simple as that.  Ironically, I experienced little of Island time as I was with my study abroad program that planned an over abundance of activities.  I was more or less a “distant admirer” of Island time and became rather envious of the Maori Islanders’ culture clock.

I apologize for my random, confusing approach to philosophy, but do me a favor and test the theory.  Consider all of the ideas that just chillin’ could evoke… you could find a way to make lettuce taste like pizza, discover a keen interest in the perplexities of astronomy, turn a name into an obnoxious use of a word (sorry Felicia), whatever satisfies your mind’s creative juices.  You’d never guess how much you miss out on inside your head when you’re so involved with what’s going on outside your head.


I hate (love) to repeat my use of Ferris Bueller’s intellect, but “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t slow down and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Peace.

Keep Happy,
Em