Thursday, October 20, 2011

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 situations in which certain actions are ethical, and necessary, at all costs.

After the 3-hour session, I was to meet up with the mediocre Laura Kambo at the National Gallery of Art. My taxi driver from northeast to northwest DC turned out to be not only Indian, but from LUDHIANA, my father's hometown and my hearttown! We had an excellent conversation about spirituality (as well as lighter subjects like our families), and learned that we will be attending weddings on the same dates in India this winter (though in different towns). When he deposited me at the West Building, he refused to let me pay him. Thank you so much, Birinder Uncle!

Once our initial "at-which-entrance-of-the-building-are-you?" confusion had passed, Laura and I sat in front of the gallery and enjoyed the a(vocado)bundant picnic she had packed.

Crazily enough, this was the first time I was seeing Laura since my visit to her heartland, so we had much to catch up on! After our delightful lunch, we caught a museum tour on Italian Renaissance paintings. Finding ourselves too unfocused, we slipped away early and I showed Laura my favorites by Fragonard before we headed to the French Impressionism gallery, where Laura educated me about Renoir and Cézanne.

"Little Dancer of Fourteen Years" -- Degas (A Howard Chang recommendation!)
We then rushed to the metro (not before a popsicle stop), where we conversed, amid the heat and crowd (hendiadys), about a heavy topic -- what the drug trade has done to South America. Hassan Uncle met us at Vienna, whence we sped home. We picked up Nani and visited "the Indian store," where Laura perused the shelves as my grandma and I shopped for groceries. Among our purchases happened to be various ingredients for brigadeiros, which are basically Brazilian truffles -- hm, what a coincidence!

Back at home, Laura and I ate. And ate. And ate. After this, we ate. Nani's food is just too good. I had asked Laura to bring her exercise clothes along with her today so we could go for a jog together, but we ended up eating condensed milk and tiramisu instead -- that counts, right? (I'll make up for it this weekend.) After lots of laughing and joking with Nani and Laura, I got to see Jennifer Kambourian when she came to pick up my sister. She promised to read about our day in DC on my blog. Thanks for following, Jen!

I started this post as Nani finished watching Mughal-e-Azam. May the next 316 days of this year be just as splendid as the first 50. Thank you, God. Thank you, World.


  1. I love the National Gallery and the Impressionists! I hope you enjoyed Cezanne, Ratna!

  2. that"ate and ate" line is really beautiful

  3. What a wonderful day you had, and you got to hang out with one of my favorite people...(-:
    Love, LOVE your blog, Ratna--beautiful writing, and you always make me think...