Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Going Home

Western culture tells us when we have a problem that we should keep moving forward and that moving forward equals moving away. As my professor said, perhaps western society's need to keep moving comes from the exile from Eden. We are told to wander and can never go home. Or perhaps it comes from the Puritans who came to this country to escape England's religious intolerance. (note: they did not come to a new land to be tolerant of other people's religion- they just wanted a place to practice their own without interference)

No matter what the cause, we equate moving away with moving forward. I would not live in Hastings again because in my mind, to move back home to where I grew up would mean I have not moved forward. I would still simply be at home. But perhaps this isn't true. Perhaps movement from one place to another simply hides our failures. We pack up and leave them behind.

The explorer in me whole heartedly disagrees with this conclusion. To move around the world is to broaden one's experience. I will meet more people, be introduced to more cultures, and have those experiences to compare to my home and the values I grew up with. I will be challenged by ideas and ways of life that are not my own.

Where is this coming from? In Native American Literature which is the focus of the class I am currently taking, home is the place you want to be. It allows you to look into not only your present, but also your past. My question is this: Is identity where you came from or is it what you become? In Native American literature, it is both. The people who you live with and grow with are vital and home is a place where one can explore their history and therefore understand the future.

I don't relate to this but there is something comforting about it. I would like to be so invested in my family history that it tells me who I am. My English roots. My Hungarian. My Irish. All of these things combining to create me and my identity. Instead, I am detached. I am none of those things, or simply happen to be them by chance. I must be cast out into the world to find who I am among strangers, and foreign places. I must explore the unknown to contrast my views with others. That is how I know myself- by comparing what I believe to the ways of other cultures. Home will teach me no more than it did when I grew up, or perhaps it would if I only let it. But for me, moving forward is moving away physically. My western mind knows no other way.

Monday, March 27, 2006


From June 9th to June 19th, Plosk and I will be on our Honeymoon in Kauai, Hawaii! Yep, 10 nights, 11 days in beautiful, sunny, waterfall infested, white sand, lush, and luxurious Kauai. 11 days of 2 people relaxing after a very bizarre and wonderful 6 months.

Notable events of the last six months:

1. Got engaged
2. Planned a wedding
3. Plosk performed in various shows and readings
4. Dealt with the stress and issues that inevitably come with planning a wedding (note, zero of the conflicts were between me and Plosk while planning the event)
5. Applied for the Masters program at SLC
6. Got Married at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge MA
7. Was accepted into the SLC grad program
8. Submitted a selection of my poetry to various lit mags
9. Dealt with the aftermath of conflict that took place during the month of December before the wedding
10. Plosk took 6 credits per semester while working full time
11. I took 5 credits(starting my grad degree) while working 2 jobs - columbia and coaching
12. Painted and made the two bedrooms our own with our own designs

Well, I could go on but I shall stop and say that our trip to Kauai that was booked this morning is a much needed break and a bit of alone time for some very obvious newly weds- as we were called on Sat night. Some could describe us as nauseatingly affectionate. They wouldn't be that wrong.

Although the term husband is still strange for me to say, and I don't like being called a wife so much, being married is truly wonderful. Working together and sharing your whole person.

And he even comes with perks! As my mom said, "All I got from marrying your dad was a green card." I get a free gym, free masters degree, insurance if I want to change jobs. Yep, he's the whole package. And if he wants to work anywhere in the UK or EU, he's just has to go through me. Perks are nice. Kauai is also nice.

Friday, March 10, 2006


If "A" happens, then I'll be happy. "A" takes place and we move onto "B." All happiness then depends on the occurance of B, then C, then D, and so on. Once this is over I can relax. Once I get into grad school...Once I'm published...Once I get a job I like...Once I own a house...Once I have some extra money...

I live in these constant hopes for the future, for a moment better than the one I'm experiencing. Constant waiting for the life you imagine to take place only rarely allowing yourself to focus on the moments when they arrive. We're forward thinkers, people who live in a constant push to the future, but keep pushing too far and you end up dead without ever having had a moment to indulge. A moment I did actively take part in was my wedding weekend. I fully lived in that weekend. And right now, I'm happy I got into Grad school. I have started a huge new why am I feeling low energy? Because one success is never enough. Now, I have new things ahead. Sending my poetry out, working on my conference paper, and novel this summer. One thing I am happy is that my next few years now have an outline. I will be in school and school is a solid base. There is structure and whatever job I do will not be my life, it will just be my means for money while I work on what I actually care about. I would love a job that meant something to me, but for now, I'll cling to the moment that has occured, and focus on school. I'll indulge in this success. Something I have in the past, not been good at.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Congratulations- that is all I needed to hear from Mary as I walked into the gym. She held out her hand and said "Congratulations Ali." The final decisions were made today. I will be getting the letter in 2 weeks. What on earth am I talking about? I got into the SLC fiction Grad program! I'm going back to school and I'm getting my masters degree. This is what I've wanted. This is what I've needed, and hot damn, I'm going to get it for FREE. And because I'm already taking a class right now, I'm going to go into the program with 5 credits.

So, I'll go to my job tomorrow with a brighter outlook because there are things in the distance- aspirations that are tangible. I'm not just hoping, I'm back in school.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Friendly Cancer Patients

On Saturday evening, my co-worker Rita and her fiance held a birthday bash for his 30th. I had heard about many of the people attending but had never met any other than the two hosts. We ended up having a lovely time chatting to some very interesting people.

I spent the evening speaking mostly to Rita's housemate. She too has a line across her neck from where she had surgery only a few months ago. I have not spoken to many other thyroid patients or cancer patients in general. However something odd happens when two people with this in common come together. They instantly have a tremendous amount to talk about. The surgery, comparing the scars, the pills and what medication you're on, what pain killers you used, how you found out, what hospital and what surgeon was used, and radiation. It's actually really exciting and fun to talk to people who not only had cancer, but had the same type of cancer. Instant bonding. Both bodies malfunctioned in the exact same way. We have something in common if only by the fact that we are humans and subject to disease. Now, one might argue that all people can get diseases and therefore have that in common- but the truth of it is that until they become ill in some significant way, they don't understand what it's like to be "sick" and they also don't understand that it is very easy to get sick. She and I joked that we were cancer free "as far as we know" since we didn't know we had cancer the first time.

She had the odd experience of only finding out about hers after it had been removed. She had other thyroid problems and then later on was told that it had two nodes which contained the dreaded disease. We bitched about biopsies and the odd and painful feeling of needles being stuck in your neck. We talked about being intubated and basic mischief our bodies had gotten into.

Oddly, I'm perfectly healthy. I get a cold once a year. I'm at the gym all the time and besides for some cookie binges I eat quite well- no meat, poultry, or fish, mostly organic and maybe one glass of wine a month if I'm sipping a glass of wine at a party or at our neighbors who loves to hand me a glass of white. The point is, I don't abuse my body, I work out, I don't smoke, I'm probably underweight for my height, but I'm a healthy weight for me and I still got cancer. Once those words are said to a person who has never been sick, they immediately get the pity look- understandably since it's not a great thing to get. But talking to someone who has had it is nothing short of refreshing. It's good to relate instead of lecture.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Miss Ellen

I experienced a huge high and a huge low when I got home from work yesterday. Plosk and I made brownies, bonded with some Lord of the Rings, and basically hung out for a good many hours. The nice evening continued when I signed onto my friend Ellen's blog and found she had written about me and her and how our lives oddly parallel. She was complimentary and kind and it's not often one gets to see themselves from another person's perspective. It was a lovely find.

About 10 minutes later I found someone from my past online- and here I won't go into detail for a variety of reasons. But it was someone I used to be very close with. Lets just say that the information I found made me doubt the person I knew and the person I am. It made me wonder how I could not have seen this grotesque person for what they were when I knew them. Possibly this online thing was a joke, but it certainly does not reflect the person I had been so close to. It made me wonder whether I was a good judge of character or if perhaps I just make people fit into the categories I want them to in order to make my life easier. Plosk stayed up with me talking until sometime past 1 when we went to sleep. I was shaken. I was terrified. And my brain was thrown in 20 different directions. Plosk reminded me of the blog I had read earlier that day in which a wonderful person said she looks up to me. It quieted my mind but did not shut it off. Many years ago and still to this day I have a tendency to make people what I want them to be in my mind- so now my question is: what have I conjured and what is real? I don't like every aspect of any single person I know. And that goes for myself too. But I would like to accept people for their damaged humanity instead of changing them to fit my needs.

It was an interesting evening. And really, in some ways, I broke. But I'm going to end with my friend Ellen's words. This is a link to her blog and what she wrote about me and her and how our lives have strange connections.

the guacamole is holy

do you ever have those people in your life that are so very different from you, but somehow your lives parallel constantly? my friend ali jane, who went through the same k-12 and college as me- only a year ahead- is that person to me. we both spent high school riding horses and being awkward, only a year apart and with similar friends, but hardy knowing one another at all. then we both ended up in college at sarah lawrence– only after we had transferred from first-year schools that didn't quite fit us (me from mount holyoke, her, i forget but something similar), and after both taking a year off after high school, too. then, our parallel lives diverged once more when we both ended up taking the same class at slc, the anthropology of animal rights. in it, we both shamefully dealt with the huge contradiction of being vegan fashion models (her more gracefully than me). yes, she was a model too. but she was the opposite kind: super skinny and blond. yes, she ate. nary a calorie-restricting diet. she actually even had to gain weight for her agency. i remember witnessing her pain as she downed hershey bar after hershey bar in order to go to japan. ha. now here i am working on losing weight for my agency, and still with a year to go at slc. you see how it's the same, but different? black and white. i love ali, she's one of the strongest, smartest, most down to earth people i've ever known. and i've always looked up to her; it seems every choice she makes is a conscious and well-defined one, like that nothing she does doesn't have a reason. anyway, point of the story is that thanks to the miracle of the www and lady luck's new myspace, i'm back in touch with her and low and behold, she's gone and gotten hitched! zoinks! congrats to the young bride and groom!!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pray to the almighty Asiaq

I am desperate for a snow day tomorrow. One last blast in the beginning of March so I can finish the 16 submissions to literary magazines that I have been working on. 3 poems and all nationally recognized magazines. Any of them would be a strong start and help me get published in the future. This is my first time submitting anything and it's quite a process to do it in bulk- but since most of these places accept 5% of 5000 submissions, it's best to send out a large number. Rejection is sadly something that writers experience over and over again. Especially new writers. We shall see.

Something that has been helping my writing is the class I'm taking- love the free class I'm able to take with a spouse who works at SLC. I'm taking Representing Indians which is basically Native American Literature. Besides for lacking a good open classroom discussion, it has been incredibly informative. The question is, do I do conference work or not...

I just started the softball season and so far it's going well. I haven't played since high school so it's nothing like coaching volleyball which I've played for over 8 years now. The girls are really into it and excited so no matter what it will be a positive season. Sadly, if I get into the masters program I won't be coaching next year.

Still waiting to hear about Germany. We need to know soon so we can get plane tickets. Otherwise we're going to have to travel somewhere else. Our belated honeymoon is needed. Our back muscles are so tight that we have been taking turns massaging each other every night. It's possible there is just a bit of stress in our lives. I can't imagine where it might be coming from. A beach is in order.