Thursday, December 27, 2007

christmas v. stomach flu

beware the picture heavy post!

brynn makes a weird face

ed watkins is consumed by a stylish hat!

i'll try to condense this narrative into something succinct, you know, as succinct as a "i have a new job, a new place to live, and a new city to live in" as a post can possibly be.

i woke up at 5:45a.m. this morning with a pounding headache. i reflected it was at least better than how i'd felt the previous day when i was unable to keep down a mouth full of water without my stomach engaging in a full-scale revolt. really, i had a 24 hour stomach flu which led me to lay on the couch and reflect on christmas, buffalo and everything in between. but first, more pictures!

these are from christmas morning and christmas evening respectively.

around november 3rd, i moved to buffalo.

because i had no place to live, stephen and whitney graciously let me stay in their spare "dead-daughter" bedroom until i found a place of my room. christina's room. even though stephen loves to keep his downstairs @ 55 degrees, i had a great time while i was there. it was nice to spend so much time with friends i hadn't gotten to see very much in recent months, due to them being in buffalo and my stay in albany/cleveland. while there, i developed an unhealthy interest in battlestar galactica, started playing rock n' roll guitar again with stephen, biked to work everyday, listened to stephen's always interesting music and became friends with stephen and whitney's neighbors, micaela, kevin, and rachel.

i also started a new job

push has been for the most part a great experience. my bosses, aaron and eric are both incredibly dedicated, bright, and hopeful despite working in the second poorest city in the country. they have different styles of organizing, but they compliment each other nicely and they are truly the right people for the job. our members (even though they're all a little crazy) and construction team are also great. everyone really believes in the work that push is doing, fighting for housing and jobs of the west side as a means of combating the systematic oppression these folks face on a daily basis. to borrow from eric and others, poverty is not an option and people are the policy makers.

truth be told there is a little more sitting in front of a computer than i would like but, as alice walker via whitney's facebook profile says, "The real revolution is always concerned with the least glamorous stuff." i think that idea is so important. no one wants to make hundreds of phone calls, no one wants to stick hundreds of mailing labels but it needs to be done. things like updating our member list, sending out the newsletter, yeah it may not be exciting, but it's necessary, so i've found my peace with it.

one of my more interesting responsibilities is my position as the PUSH co-op liaison. the co-op is a large, nicely constructed boxy white building, designed to be a sort of revolving door to home ownership as the tenants pay a below market rent where $75 is taken out each month and put in a fund in escrow which, at the end of their time in the co-op, if they decide to use the funds towards a down-payment on a home, a partnership with M&T bank and the feds will triple the amount. pretty cool. so, in the meantime, i am more or less a landlord type-figure except that i am also charged with building community as well as addressing the tenants needs and concerns in a timely manner. in addition to creating homeowners, we're also hoping to strengthen community by encouraging the deepening of neighborhood bonds, especially with folks across racial and ethnic lines. in the co-op, there is a burmese family ( the father Zaw, a former political prisoner in Burma), a puertorican family, and augustine, a woman from the Caribbean. it's challenging having everyone sit down at the table and work together, but i think it can happen.

in the meantime, i've also moved into a new apartment with my brother Colin! 820 Elmwood. it's right across the street from the lexington co-op which is lame because they're not really a co-op and way too expensive for my americorps salary, but i do buy milk in glass bottles from them.

i drove home to albany with fiona which was super-nice.

more soon. i promise. including lots more pictures.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

sleepy fiones

i felt like a change of layout was a good idea. i'm sitting in my kitchen right now, and it's only 7:13, but i'm super sleepy! coll came over and we ate dinner, but barely said a word since we're both so drained. it feels like it's been cold, icy raining here in geneseo for quite some time now. alisa brought over peanut butter cookies last night and they're delicious! she's almost done with college! yay! i just walked up from the library and the air was so steamy, you couldn't really see in front of you. i had to buy two blue books, but i had no bookbag to put them in, so i asked the boy working if i could use one of the many plastic bags i saw shoved in a crevice (since it was raining out). he seemed very overprotective of the bags, it was cute. he said "those are for people who take out a lot of books" and i said "oh, ok. well, i have two blue books?" he gave me a bag. =) gaby had a rugby party at the house over the weekend, and the apartment is all decorated and nice! there are ornaments hanging from the wall! i feel like gab&i have been having a ton of fun together in this place lately-- it's been really nice. colleen and i went to mattie's this afternoon (i got lemon&lime tea, so good!) and talked about a bunch of stuff. nothing out of the ordinary, but it's always really nice. just how this semester is almost over, but it seems like it just began in a lot of ways. seems like yesterday we were fasting in september and figuring out how we wanted to do tgvl... so much has happened since then. we also talked about barack obama. i took a class this semester where people tended to wear their political leanings on their sleeves and we all talked a bunch about the primaries. people tend to think obama's got it. i thought a lot about that last night, and talked a lot about it too. about his really strong possibilities... colleen said he was also talked about in her poetry class, but more so negative things-- like the possibility of him being assassinated. it's so strange that we barely even think about that stuff... writing here always makes me really happy, for some reason. i always feel so thankful for everyone in my life when i post-- i guess it's since i'm supposed to think about what's been going on in my life, and for me that is mostly the people that i love. <3 my friend leslie gave me a big box of s'mores&hot cocoa [for christmas]! it was so great! i'm sad that gaby's moving out, i'm going to miss her so much, but i'm very excited to see emily again! and hear all about her adventures in france (i would say that in french if i knew how! i feel like that would be appropriate). i got to see harrison this weekend! in buffalo! he has a cute little apartment. i also got to see stephen, and whitney, and harrison's brother colin. they were all well. harrison&i got to see the golden compass and i have yet to shut up about iorek byrnison! he's the big polar bear! i want one! i have a big final tomorrow, and then two on friday. then i'm done. i probably won't go home till next wednesday though. my mom got a new job (the woman she works for is the mayor, but she didn't win re-election), so that's really nice! bill murray wants to take us all to see spamalot in schenectady. goof. i'm excited to see some people from home too. i don't know if working at price chopper will be fun all break though... we'll see. from my kitchen window i can see into big tree, and one of their eighteen dining rooms. i can see all the people. i wonder what they're eating... cold, wet, eggplant sandwich? gross. well, this was a long, rambling post, but it was nice to write out my feelings. i hope everyone else is well. miss you all <3.

this is france

well, i promised harrison if i didn't have school i would make a true statements update, so here i am. the reason i don't have school today is because this happend yesterday on my campus.
for a little background: this past summer in france a law passed called "Loi relative aux Libertés et Responsibilités des Universités" which essentially gives universities and not the government its own decision making, which would likely result in having tuitions (unlike our lovely state government system, education for the french up until this point was free), will allow for private interests to invest in university programs, and thus the diminishing of funding for liberal arts programs. the french students from all over the country started striking a little less than a month ago, and many campuses, like mine at Univ. Paul Valéry (Montpellier III) are blockaded by the organizers. this is the official blog of the bloquers. the campus (la fac) was shut down for 3 weeks after students blocked all the entrances with a barricade of desks, chairs, and doors and graffitied the hell out of it. then reopened it for week, where the only students capable of attending class were those in my institute (read: foreigners). and now it's once again closed, just in time to complicate finals. not that the french students should care... the president of the university officially declared that the students have lost their semester.

in other news, i will be home the 20th of december and i look forward to seeing as many of you folks as possible as soon as possible.