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Showing posts from September, 2011

How's about some more love?

IBrazilian sidewalks.  (And Priya Gill.)

Dia 29: Voilà!

After Sonnet 29, a bit of yoga, and a breakfast of scrumptious fruits, I ran off to get ready for a bus tour of town. After Papa and Cyprian Uncle set off for a series of meetings, I met my guide, Auberto, in the lobby of the Melia, and we were Brasilia-bound! The first thing I noticed was how effortlessly he intertwined Portuguese and English, constantly alternating between providing background information to me and my three Brazilian tour-mates. It was fun to see how much I could understand of his Portuguese explanations!

Our first stop was Santuario Dom Bosco (Dom Bosco’s Shrine), which looks like a concrete box from the outside and a mystical planetarium from the inside. One feature of the church which I found really interesting is the confessional -- it is entirely transparent, meaning one would look his/her priest in the eye during confession, and also be visible to the entire congregation! (Auberto ascribed this design choice to the fact that no one in Brasilia sins.)

Second o…

How's about some love?

Brazilian airplanes.

Dia 28: What could be prettier than clouds?

My flight last night was fairly uneventful, but for my first Portuguese lesson from an awesome co-passenger! Mr. Chang was happy to hear that I have "finally" found a "productive use for socializing."
I read this morning's sonnet at the airport inSão Paulo -- what a treat. Sonnet 28 is a continuation of 27, and together, they make up what is probably my favorite so far. Shakespeare records the phenomenon of losing sleep over a lover, but in a way that is precious and unique as he always is. The two are certainly worth a quick read: 
Sonnet 27:
Sonnet 28:

After a very scenic flight, we were in Brasília! The town was planned by the same architect who designed Chandigarh, where my Nani and Nanaji (maternal grandparents) live! Driving around town, I must constantly remind myself that I'm not in Chandigarh. It's eerie. And great.
When we came to our hotel, I (you …

Day 27: "You've never blended in."

Today, I went to Flint Hill to run a very exciting errand! The school generously donated 10 laptops for Gyaan Ghar last year, which Mr. Lieberman then most graciously agreed to "fix up" for me over the summer, and I have been meaning to pick up since then.

I was greeted first thing by Mr. Callard and Mr. Thomas, both of whom have been very supportive of my decision to take a gap year. It was great to let them know that I made the right choice!!

Entering the school, I met Ms. Kotey, forever my advisor and now the senior class dean, and checked in with her on how things are going at school, while filling her in on my upcoming travel plans.

Next, I was ushered into Mrs. Morehouse's advisory, where two young scholars requested some guidance on how to study for their first Latin test of the year. After we had read through some of the assigned lines, I deposited them at their classroom and caught up with Dr. Marchetti. On the way, however, I caught sight of Ms. Rachel Kerno…

Day 26: "Coincidences are God acting anonymously."

I got my official sleep attack out of the way early today, conking out in the car en route to work for over an hour, even before I had read my morning sonnet. Today was my day in the office with Vera, and the first time in history when I ended up working later than Papa!!

In the morning, I organized files and prepared cover sheets for a number of employment-related papers, before starting to compile an intern roster and edit another article for the Annual Report. I had forgotten how much I love working at a desk! Of course, field work is unmatchably exciting, but I also appreciate the simple charm of filing, typing, and organizing. In addition, I talked to Melva Williams from SBY's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) about helping her to develop curriculum which would integrate life skills awareness into social studies lessons at D.C. public schools. This should surely be an interesting assignment!

For lunch, I went out with ma sista Jess to Banana Cafe & Piano Bar, a Latin American re…

Day 25: This world hath made me vicarious.

This morning, Miss Priya invited me to come to her volleyball clinic with her. I got to watch her scrimmaging and practicing skills for what I imagine was a very tiring two hours! I am very impressed. During the players' warm-ups, I flipped through Sasha Bruce's Annual Report from 2009 for a model of what I should be thinking about as I work on this year's report over the next few weeks.

After a brief phone chat with my uncle Ruby Chachu (arguably my blog’s most avid follower) and a quick jog around the neighborhood (cheered on by a gaggle of geese and a butterfly couple), I settled in to work on one of my article assignments for this year’s Annual Report. I now have a good working draft, which I hope to discuss with Jim in the office tomorrow before submitting it to Jill for final edits.

In the afternoon, I headed to Reston Town Center to participate in the first annual Northern Virginia Alzeimer's Association Walk to End Alheimer's. The incredible Iman Karram, a …

Day 24: I like air and the sounds things make.

After sonnet-reading, room-cleaning, and laundry-drying this morning, I sat down to write my very tardy Forum article, and forced myself not to get up until it was written. The Forum is the official publication of the Virginia Junior Classical League (VJCL), the organization which raised me just as Rhea Silvia nurtured Romulus and Remus. I was the Editor of the VJCL last year, which means that I was in charge of the publication of the Forum. This year, Nizar Zahed (Varlet #1) has assumed this glorious position, and has thus been, er, reminding me to submit my article quite frequently over the past few weeks. You will have to wait to read the article itself when the Fall issue of the Forum comes out, but you can see the two issues I prepared last year by clicking the links below.


The article is about Certamen, the classics-based trivia game in which a …

Day 23: Taking notes is a hobby of mine.

Today, I had the "day off." As a treat to myself, in the car this morning, instead of reading my sonnet, I did my nails and talked to Papa.

I kept Sonnet 23 for after I had arrived in the Bank. This poem is super endearing, with Shakespeare defending his shy, soft-spoken demeanor by arguing that he offers romance through poetry and not word of mouth. In my humble opinion, his written words more than suffice. :)

After my morning latte, I found a room in which to do some "homework." I had a few emails to which to respond, as well as an article to edit for Sasha Bruce's Annual Report, before it was time for this afternoon's "Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change." This week, the World Bank conducts Annual Meetings with finance ministers from more than 150 countries. Today, these ministers convened at the Bank to discuss COP 17 (the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Green Climate Fund, a new initiative which will b…

Day 22: "My favorite thing is flying."

Today was full of varied, engaging, rich learning.

After reading Sonnet 22, which is basically a distilled definition of the term "soulmate," I reread another piece of literature important to me of late. On the morning I met Jessie (last Wednesday), a sheet of paper hanging in her room caught my eye. I skimmed it and asked if I could make a copy of it. Since I was in a really good mood at the time, it really resonated with me, because it described perfectly the way I was feeling. I have reread it every day since then, and perhaps the effect it claims to have has really been working?! That or I have just been blessed by almost unreal experiences and unbelievable people these past few days. Either way, it's worth a look:

I hopped on the metro toward Eastern Market. On the way, I read an Economist book review of Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, as well as an article on The great school…

Day 21: Caffeine and love make the world go round.

The down-to-earth admissions of Shakespeare's Sonnet 21 started my day. Papa and I then drove to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, where I was to meet Gina Bulett at 9. Gina works with Sasha Bruce's Intensive Third Party Monitoring (ITPM) program, so she often accompanies her clients to their court hearings as a supporter and advocate. As we awaited the child she was accompanying today, Gina explained the juvenile court system to me in depth -- what an utterly fascinating lesson.

This morning was particularly chaotic at the courthouse. One of Gina's long-term clients had been arrested for simple assault the night before -- she had gotten into a fight with a cousin. This would normally not be a terribly serious charge, but the court records had her listed as a major, under which circumstances her case would carry much more dire repercussions. After running around speaking with attorney after attorney, we finally found out that the case would not be recorded, …

Day 20: "Look at her! She's wide asleep!"

After reading Shakespeare's tongue-in-cheek Sonnet 20 this morning, I finally got to meet Papa’s colleague Ramon, about whom I have heard so much, but whom I had never met before today! We grabbed assorted morning refreshments before going to the World Bank travel office to apply for a Brazil visa for me -- I may be accompanying my dad on a business trip next week! While we waited for the impossibly slow computer system to respond, Ramon and I chatted about languages, shoes, and, well . . . the impossibly slow computer system. It was so awesome to finally meet him! 

When I walked up to my dad’s office, I got to see Maribel Auntie again, as well as meet the incredible Rachel Nadelman!! Rachel first introduced me to the amazing Sasha Bruce Youthwork (amidst piles of work and preparations, including an all-nighter, for a presentation required for her Ph.D program). Rachel met Debbie Shore (founder of SBY) when they rallied together for a D.C. vote, and proceeded to spend ten hours in …

Day 19: Any moment now, I will learn to live in the moment.

Today was both exhilarating and exhausting.

Starbucks and Sonnet 19 preceded meeting up with Jessie and heading over to Oyster-Adams Bilingual Elementary School to help coordinate their mini-walk for the homeless, which will take place later this month. After we met with the administrators and finalized a date for the presentation and march around the block, I got a tour of D.C. -- Jessie style! We drove around Rock Creek Park (so peaceful) before returning to the vicinity of Sasha Bruce. There, Jessie showed me a number of projects, including Barry Farm (a notoriously violent housing development), St. Elizabeth's Hospital (a partially abandoned psychiatric facility), and Ferebee Hope (an inner city elementary school where Jessie will be initiating an after-school counseling program next month). As we cruised along, we discussed a number of key concepts -- gang violence, third party monitoring, and gentrification -- but also took time to laugh and exchange outrageous stories abou…

Day 18: Cameras are so literal.

Today's Sonnet 18 was followed by an awesome walk with Mama around our neighborhood. We got some fresh air early in the day, and also a chance to chat: I filled her in on the latest and greatest at my workplace while she told me about hers! We also talked about self-identity -- how one gets it, how one uses it, and how one keeps it. This came up when I mentioned my idea of assembling a "Happy Box" -- a container filled with messages that make me smile, and have nothing to do with "credentials" or "achievements." When I am looking for ways to inspire myself or cheer myself up, transcripts and  résumés mean little compared to that card from an advisor, that post from a role model, or that letter from a lifelong mentor. These are, in short, personal.

When we returned home, instead of working in the yard like I was supposed to, I got to work composing a sonnet which Mama had flippantly suggested that I write about an event at Coldstone Creamery which Laur…

Day 17: I want to live my life in seconds.

Today marked my completion of Shakespeare's Sonnet 17, the last of the so-called "procreation poems," in which he tries to convince an anonymous young friend of his to find a wife and have children, that his legacy may live on. While I am a bit relieved that this theme is passing, I have also gained an appreciation for the numerous ways in which Shakespeare manages to communicate this same message in sonnet after sonnet. In this last one, he urges his young friend to have a child so that people in future generations will see the son's or daughter's beauty, and know that Shakespeare was not lying in his constant flattery of his addressee. The poet also argues that the legacy of one's children outlives even that even of poetry. In honor of this last "reproduction request," I have included a reading of the sonnet, as well as its complete text, below.

Sonnet 17
Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?

Day 16: At last, my love has come along . . .

Today was a day of love.

I started this morning with Etta James' "At Last" (, a ridiculously classy 1961 song, my interest in which stands as a testament to my blooming and somewhat sporadic attraction to blues music. I then read Sonnet 16 (the penultimate of the "procreation sonnets" -- thank goodness!) on my sleepy way to work.

Our second day of didactic training began with an activity called "the adolescent experience." One volunteer, blindfolded, had to navigate around the room, not stopping until she was comfortable. On both sides of the room were lined up people assigned different roles in her life (written on the yellow papers shown below), such as "guy on the corner," "teacher," and "boyfriend," who had to do their best to lure her over to them. On the far end of the room was her "mother" (whom I played), trying to guide her in a straight line, or "do the…