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Showing posts from October, 2011

Jour 61: Say "fromage!"

Miss Laura and I had quite a Halloween!

Unable to construct the ant costumes we had been planning (we were running desperately short of antenna), we had to come up with something new. Referring to her hair as poodle-like, Laura decided to be a fluffy dog -- naturally, I had to dress up as her owner. In honor of her upcoming trip to France (and inspired by our matching Eiffel Tower necklaces), I took my best shot at "Parisian woman."

This was the result:

Amidst the glamor of our photoshoot, we stopped at times to acknowledge the ridiculosity of our idea. (Mama says neither of us has ever looked better.)

Only occasionally did we break our character of pouty Parisian plus prize-winning pooch to reveal our typical fromage-y personalities.

Happy Halloween to all, and to all a bonne nuit!

Day 60: Walk on the sunny side of the street.

After Sonnet 60 this morning, I dove into some fundamental rearrangement of my CLOSET!

In about 4 hours, I had boxed up all my summer attire, marked half of my wardrobe to donate to charity, and inaugurated a new closet just for Latin t-shirts:

I then moved on to different parts of my room . . . organization is so refreshing!

In the afternoon, Mama took Nani, Priya, and me to the mall. I browsed while Priya bought herself an early "Ratna's birthday" present. :) After a Panda Express dinner, we started to categorize and bag some of my old clothes to be donated.

I now plan to look over an adorable girlfriend's college application (to a pretty good school) before hitting the sack!

Day 59: Let's take this one today at a time.

Thank you so much for all your blessings -- I am feeling much better today!

After I read Sonnet 59 this morning, Nani and I finished up Roman Holiday. What a classy film with such a beautiful bittersweet ending!

Much sleeping followed.

In the afternoon, I really enjoyed a conversation Mama and I had with Mrs. Landy, the mother of Priya's friend Genna. Mrs. Landy and her husband are from England, and we discussed the differences in pace of life between the United States and other countries. We also chatted about the college admissions process -- the bane of any high school student's existence!

After a bit of jamming and a "bon voyage!" to Papa (who is going to Switzerland for a conference on The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development), Priya and I prepare to settle in for a slumber party! Good night!

Day 57: Help the Homeless!

I am coming down with the stomach flu, so I won't be writing a full post today. 
However, I would like to encourage you all to participate in an upcoming walk to help the homeless!
To take part, please follow the steps below:
1.  Click here. 2.  Choose Sasha Bruce Youthwork as your beneficiary organization. 3.  Pat yourself on the back for supporting SBY and the work we do!

I would also like to thank the incredibly generous Doug Stevens and his family for their enormously generous donation to support the mission of Gyaan Ghar Learning Center. I don't have words to describe how grateful I am.
Have a blessed day and please pray for me!

Day 56: I can ride my bike with no Handel bars.

Happy Diwali, everyone! The students at Gyaan Ghar celebrated today by dressing up and acting out the story of Diwali in class. Photos and stories should be incoming! 

After laundry and Sonnet 56, Nani and I ventured to Tysons Corner Mall. I played the role of spoiled grandchild perfectly, buying everything in sight. (Well, not quite, but I purchased a lot by my standards.)

Between a sweet snack at Cinnabon and a lovely lunch at Coastal Flats, I searched for the perfect pair of boots for my upcoming trip to Switzerland (Saturday through Tuesday) -- I was successful!

Nani and I had a great time, laughing and joking around until it was time to head home and receive Priya from the bus.

Before her coach arrived, I started on the list of tasks I had on this day of working from home. I sent a number of organizational emails and made a few "administrative" calls.

My biggest job was to go through a stack of applications for a position at Sasha Bruce, and call all the applicants to …

Day 55: Pray a mile in my shoes.

My Starbucks-hopping missions were very successful this morning! Walking from 18th to Farragut West, I realized that I have started subconsciously praying very often while striding in the city. Perhaps the rhythm of my prayer goes well with the brisk pace of my feet?

At the Farragust West Starbucks, I was deliberating between reading an Economist article on global education and another Scientific American one on urbanization. Since I really enjoyed my urban article yesterday, I went for the Scientific American. The article I flipped to was called Brains over Buildings: to rejuvenate urban centers, look to teachers and entrepreneurs -- I just can't escape the teaching profession, can I? :) Inspired by this article, I started to plan the lessons on which I will be focusing with my students at Gyaan Ghar this winter. Our first 2 units in late November are going to be "The Importance of Education" and "Environmental Conservation." Typical Sproutna.

After my train r…

Day 54: I count in Mondays.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at my favorite Starbucks this morning reading Sonnet 54, daily news, and a Scientific American article. (The last even prompted me to whip up a quick blog post on the metro.) Done with my daily reading, I received a text from my girl Jessie Conradi mentioning that she would be going to court this morn. I asked her if I could tag along, and succeeded in switching lines (egad!) from orange to red to meet her at Judiciary Square. While in the waiting room, I wrote a ~200-word blurb about Gyaan Ghar for a piece about Flint Hill alumni on which Marian Cavanagh is working.

In today's court case, justice was served! The 13-year-old being tried ("R") had been caught with a flammable concoction of household cleaning agents at school, and the state was pushing that he be put on probation. As both Jessie and the boy's mother explained, cases like this usually end up going against the client, and tainting his permanent record. Today's case…

From Rio to Mumbai

Reading an article called "Global Bazaar" in September's Scientific American just now, I came across the following beautifully rhythmic passage about squatter communities in two cities very important to me:

"Rio de Janeiro's 600 favelas dip down to Guanabara Bay and gallop up the steep hillsides from the famous beaches of Copacobana and Ipanema . . . Mumbai's countless jhopadpattis line the banks of the foul-smelling Mahim Creek, sit on the sidewalks of Reay Road and push against the tracks of the city's commuter rail lines."

Reading this article was super exciting, seeing as I was in Rio 2 Mondays ago, and will be in Mumbai 9 Mondays from today. (The favela pictured above is Santa Marta, which I visited with Patricia on my first day in Rio.) The piece itself was very positive and optimistic, discussing the innovation and value of small informal markets in developing nations. As microfinance is a field of interest to me (thanks to Resham Didi), I l…

Day 53: If only life had subtitles.

After our midnight snack of Belgian waffles and milk, Jenny and I finally went to bed. This morning, we enjoyed a breakfast of French toast (my fave) before playing around with Photo Booth while listening to some great tunes.

When Jenny left, I read sonnets 52 and 53. In 52, Shakespeare describes the extreme happiness he feels in waiting patiently to be reunited with his sweetheart. Through 53, he insists that any artist's rendering of beauty of any sort is actually a sub-par depiction of Shakespeare's own lover.

I then read the news. God bless the families of the 138 dead in Turkey's earthquake -- let us pray for them.

Later in the day, I did some research to help Jessie with a new program she is starting for elementary age students. I explored the benefits of art therapy and play therapy for children between the ages of 5 and 8. I also requested from my friend Sonya Chartoff some information on music therapy, which she mastered during her Senior Project this past sprin…

Day 52: Autumn is louder than lovely.

Joke all you want about how chipper my blog posts are, but today's was a new kind of happiness. :) Homecoming. The word itself has a ring that invokes nostalgia, and, inevitably, warmth. Well, that was today.

The intelligent Arman Azad and his kind family picked Priya and me up so we could attend the event at Flint Hill. With Priya at the volleyball game, I headed to the Classics Club booth to help out (i.e. "socialize" and be a distraction).

When P-Sang and I had taken a look at his draft of the club's newsletter, Niz and I made a quick Starbucks run to visit our favorite barista (who paid for my drink before I could -- what a jerk). Laura's multitasking abilities are astounding, as she prepared delicious drinks (she really put her "heart" into them) while having countless photographs clicked of her. What a celeb.

Back on "The Hill," Varlet #0 and I had a very touching conversation about friendship (de amicitiā) and life in general. Thanks, …


I Laura Kambourian.

Day 51: FIRE!

I rolled out of bed at 11 this morning to a freezing house and a toasty breakfast. Nani sipped her green tea as I enjoyed my Tazo Chai and listened to stories of her childhood. After our morning chat, I attempted to put the heating on (let's hope it works) and unloaded the dishwasher while Nani organized Mama's spice cabinet. Before Nani bathed, I scrubbed her bathtub -- there's a first time for everything! I doubt I did a very good job, but it was like washing a big ol' dish, and I've been a fan of washing dishes ever since I was a wee one (I even wrote about it once:

After a phone call to Dadi to plan a Diwali celebration for Gyaan Ghar students, I hopped in the shower. Then, we were graced by a visit from my amazing Sathya Auntie! She already knew all about my days, as she has been keeping up with my blog (thank you!) but I got to tell her more about my travels, both near (DC) and far (Brasil) -- and hear a…

Day 50: It's easy to know me.

The 50th of 50 of the best days of my life was appropriately glorious.

I wasn't able to capture it in a photo, but the sky during our drive into DC looked like an impressionist painting.

This morning, I attended a clinical training at Progressive Life Center on "Ethics in Human Services." We went over the Code of Ethics as defined by the National Association of Social Workers, focusing on a number of areas such as client confidentiality, self-determination, and boundaries. We watched videos in which several real-life case examples were presented, and discussed them in smaller groups. What stood out to me most was how being "ethical" as a social worker does not always mean encouraging one's client to act in a manner concordant with one's own ethics, but sometimes requires recognizing the validity of everyone's belief systems. Many of the cases presented were very convoluted and ethically challenging, but I think our group got a feel for identifying …

Day 49: I'll pay you a visit and my respects.

As part of Flint Hill's Spirit Week leading up to Homecoming, Miss Priya had Decade Day today. I helped her put together her 80s outfit (comprised entirely of my clothing) -- it is interesting to note the similarities between her "costume" and my daily attire.

Today turned into my day of multilingual car conversations.

In Mrs. Bergman's automobile this morning, I requested that she help me practice my Spanish. What resulted was a wonderful "lesson" in Argentine Spanish (arguably the most beautiful, and certainly the most quickly spoken, type). Once at in DC, I read my sonnet and the Times before doing some research about which author I will read daily after Shakespeare's 154 poems run out. I learned that Petrarch (the "father" of sonnets) wrote 366 sonnets -- reading his poetry would have been so convenient for my year, seeing as this blog's url ought to be However, the writing of anyone as obsess…

Day 48: Time is a farce.

This morning was one of over-sleeping and Starbucks-hopping. My alarm rang at 6, at which point I dismissed it and went back to sleep. Imagine my chagrin when I received a call from Mrs. Bergman (who is driving me to DC these next 2 weeks) at 6:41, informing me that she had just left her house! I was out the door at 6:45 -- 4 minutes is definitely my my record for getting dressed in the morning.

Breakfast and make-up were left for my favorite Starbucks, on the intersection of 18th and H. It was here that I read Sonnet 48. I then hopped on the train and got a bit of shut-eye, thankfully not losing track of time during this ride. Once on the street where Sasha Bruce "lives," I sat in the Starbucks on 8th SE and caught up on headlines in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune, as well as It was then time to head to the office.

Waiting for Jill and Vera to arrive, I read more information about the Geneva Declaration, as well as the 2-page declaration itself…

Day 47: My eyes aren't judgmental.

Today was dedicated to Fall Cleaning!

After packing Priya's lunch and seeing her off to school at 7 (as well as eating Nani's scrumptious French toast), I promptly fell back asleep until around 11. When I woke up the second time, I did some Classics Club organizational work before helping Nani prepare lunch. After a delicious meal, I commenced some major organization of my pigsty--er--bedroom. As anyone who has seen my room can imagine, this took quite some time. It was soon the hour of the arrival of Priya's bus, and Nani and I walked to the stop to pick her up. The weather was absolutely marvelous.

When the bus came, I ran on and gave the driver, who is a close friend of mine, print-outs of the blog posts I wrote in Brasil (Dee Dee doesn't have a computer). I was very happy to see her after so long, and we made plans to catch up soon.

It would have been a crime not to go running in this weather, and I'm no criminal! With my sneakers still stanky from my night in…

Day 46: "You have a beautiful mind."

After packing the parents off to Peru and perusing a poem by a preeminent poet, Nani and I watched the dedication of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on television. I was very proud to have visited it, and very touched by President Obama's dedication speech. I particularly like how he appealed to many of Dr. King's ideals, such as a belief in the goodness (and oneness) of all people. I also appreciate his reference to MLK's conception of "isness" (the world as it currently exists) vs. "oughtness" (the world as it should be).

After Obama's speech, CNN aired Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech in its entirety. Watching this after just having seen our current president's oration was a great testament to how far we have come, and of course, a reminder of how much more we can do. I actually got chills when I heard some of the more famous lines spoken by Dr. King himself -- this was a really inspiring way the spend…

Diēs XLV: My heart is happy.

This morning was a BIG OL' LATIN FAMILY REUNION!!

The first Certamen** of the year is always a blast, and this year's proved no less, even for me, coming back as a graduate. (I, as is common, often say that an event or experience "makes my day" -- I had my day "made" on several occasions today. I will focus on 3 such encounters in this post.)

When I had read my sonnet and we had found the right Saint Stephen's Saint Agnes' campus, I "socialized with" (i.e. greeted) some fellow graduates before heading to the library to help Magister Chang do some final organizing for the day. Always my partner in crime, Woojin helped me read through Level I questions, making any last-minute changes as necessary, and discussing them with our fellow moderators. I never knew that such a painstaking process occurred just before the competition, in addition to the weeks and weeks that go in planning it ahead of time! As we read through the Level I rounds, Wooj…