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Showing posts from November, 2011

Day 91: Trying to get a rise out of you, I was the one who fell.

I read Sonnet 91 in the car this morning en route to my favorite Starbucks. Once there, I wrote a message to Iman about college, a message to Daniel about life, and a message to Laura about Daniel.

I really value this quiet morning time, and it was lovely to spend this morning's in the "company" of three of my favorite people. On the metro, I read a Time article by Fareed Zakaria entitled "When Will We Learn?" The piece identifies hard work and good teachers as the two factors most invaluable to an effective education system, and is written in Zakaria's enjoyable, easy-to-read style. I really recommend this six-minute read.

Work today was quite a hustle! Vera is in the process of collecting the components needed to renew Sasha Bruce Youthwork's licensure as a Child Placement Agency. This process is harder than it seems, as the paperwork and documentation is all over the place, and sometimes difficult to locate even once one knows where to find it.

So mo…


This is a shout-out to Jannah Trisha Babasa, my 60th official blog subscriber!

Many thanks, soulmate!!

Day 90: I am not in context.

I started today with Sonnet 90 and a LauraLetter. Since Nani's flight back to India was scheduled for tonight, I then headed downstairs to help her finish up her packing. But because of the strike at London Heathrow, Nani will now be departing on Sunday -- hoorah!!

After a delicious brunch, I took a leisurely shower full of Beatles tunes.

Afterwards, I contacted Renee Forrester, Sasha Bruce Youthwork's Volunteer Coordinator, about planning an event for a group of World Bank staff members. In mid-December, Papa hopes to host a group of his colleagues in a day of service at a local DC organization -- and what better choice than my amazing workplace?

I then checked out two Economist articles on mind-reading: "The terrible truth" and "Mind-goggling" -- the possibilities proposed by these papers are positively perilous! (And I feel particularly penitent for my present propensity for . . . well, consonance.)

After helping Mama organize some papers in her study a…

Day 89: As above, so below.

I started today with yoga, Sonnet 89, and a letter to Laura.

I then delved further into Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Brown's novels are always really exciting once you get into them, and what's really cool is that Priya is reading his Da Vinci Code now as well. The Gill sisters are Brown fans!

Between the book's fast-paced adventure scenes, I started studying for my driving test and chalking out my week. I hope to start rehearsal with Mr. Cosby soon, so we can get in the recording studio ASAP! Click here to watch the first run-through of a song I recorded with Melvin Taylor over the weekend.

In the afternoon, Nani volunteered to help me color my hair with henna. I hadn't done this in a while, so we sat in our front lawn as the sun lowered and she helped me apply the auburn goop!

While I wait to wash this mud-like substance off my head, I'm off for a quick jog on the treadmill, and perhaps another chapter of my novel. :)

Day 88: "The lower you go, the higher you fly."

This last day of my "Thanksgiving break" was exhilarating, enriching, and exhausting.

I read Sonnet 88 (which I really like) on the way to Omar's house this summery morning.

Papa and I then picked up Omar and headed into DC, where we met Jess for coffee at my favorite Starbucks (18th and H).

Talking to Jess never, ever, EVER fails to amaze me, and it was fun to share this amazement with Omar today. He and I emerged from our coffee conversation overwhelmed with optimism and the feeling that no challenge in this world is insurmountable.

On the way back to Reston, my brother Jacob called as he awaited his flight at the airport -- all the best, brother!

When we dropped Omar back home, I got to see the light of my life -- HAMZA AKRAM! We took a family photo and made plans to bring Hamza over to our house next weekend.

I arrived home to requests for a "sisterdate" from my own treasure, the one-of-a-kind Miss Priya Gill. We spent the next few hours at the mall window-s…

Day 87: I do what I write; I write what I do.


I got the day off to a great start by having breakfast with my close friend Ryan "Babes" Barbalace. What this means is that we basically talked non-stop for an hour and a half without breathing at all, except to laugh. It was fantastic and I'm so glad he and I are doing such a good job of staying in touch! I look forward to seeing him again over winter break, and hopefully spending a week this summer at his college, Wake Forest.

For lunch, I met my four favorite boys in the world at Fairfax Corner.

James, Zach, Daniel, and, of course, Woojin, are four of the most kind-hearted (and hilarious) guys I know. Naturally, they tease me to no end and treat me like their empty-headed little sister, but I trust and love each of them like the big brothers I now have.

After we had given our patronage to California…

Day 86: Teen rang nahi labne husan, jawani, te mape.

After rolling out of bed at noon today and reading Sonnet 86, I went out for a late lunch with my Enviro girls Claire and Anna. When working as interns at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year, Claire and I used to have lunch together everyday. In the spirit of old times, we have been planning to have lunch together with Anna for ages now -- and it was awesome to finally see them both!

Post prandium, we ventured into the Black Friday madness at Reston Town Center for a bit, going crazy (actually, making sensible purchases) at Francesca's Boutique and J.Crew.

I was home just long enough to prepare for my evening's super sneaky secret mission -- a surprise farewell party for Laurita Gilbourian! Laura leaves on Sunday for five months in France and other European destinations, where she will be teaching English to children, as well as just being the all-around awesome and adventurous girl we know and love. To give her a proper sendoff, Laura's lovely …

Day 85: "You speak in poetry."

This morning, Miss Priya decided to follow in her sister's footsteps and start cleaning her closet! For moral support, I put some finishing touches on my own wardrobe, while we both rocked out to the radio. We then went downstairs for a crazy "workout" consisting of barefoot treadmilling (Ratna), random dancing (Ratna), and skilled gymnastics (Priya).

Pooped after expending all this rather aimless energy, we returned upstairs for a sweet snack Nani had made us. After I read Sonnet 85, we went outside to play badminton -- my favorite sport, and the only one at which I'm almost decent. I was actually winning 16 to 7 before it became too windy for us to continue playing.

Then began Thanksgiving preparations. How Priya and I helped out was by staying out of the way as Mama and Nani prepared a lovely meal. During this time, we looked over a "Brief Outline of Roman History" and I pretended to know enough to be able to teach Priya anything at all about this topic…

Day 84: "The rest of the world is sweethearts."

After reading Shakespeare's wonderfully devoted Sonnet 84 this morning, I "hit the mall" with my girl Katie Pope! Intending to get lots of shopping done, we ended up spending most of our time in the food court at Tysons Galleria (which is lovely, by the way, and I never even knew it existed) catching up on one another's lives. Katie and I can discuss anything under the sun, and these few hours of her company were brilliant.

As we sat snacking at Panda Express, we were joined by the day-brightening Jenny Yao and Jacob Seo! Hanging out with my favorite siblings for the rest of the day was a blast.

Here are some highlights:

-- We all experiment with the "Eskimo" look.

-- Ratna can't wait until after the photo to dig into Priya's ice cream.

-- Jacob purchases a beautiful, "fat" scarf that he can't figure out how to wear.

-- We pose outside the only "boy-friendly" stop of the afternoon -- the guys' restroom.

-- We try on ridic…

Day 83: It's time to face the music -- I'm no longer your muse.

Today, I helped out at an annual Thanksgiving Drive hosted by the Laron Landry Leadership for Life (LFL) Foundation. The event was a collaboration between LFL, Sasha Bruce, and Whole Foods.

Landry donated 500 turkeys this year! Before the event began, volunteers gathered, assembly line-style, to bag the turkeys and accompanying sides.

Once the families arrived, we volunteers kept the traffic moving and helped any persons needing assistance carrying their newly acquired bags.

Amidst the bustle, I found time to get a photo with LaRon (along with autographs for my boys DC and Huge Wooj).

The event warmed my afternoon, and I'd love to volunteer here again in the future, as an excellent way to start Thanksgiving break!


Song of the day:

Diēs LXXXI et LXXXII: Convention is my Christmas.

The 21st and 22nd of November, 2011 were even more glee-full than I had imagined, and that's saying a lot. I won't be able to encapsulate all of the people seen, places gone, or happiness found -- so I'll hit some of the high points. (What am I saying? Latin Convention is just one big high point.)

To back up, the Virginia Junior Classical League Convention is a two-day event which hundreds of students from around the state attend to compete in academic and artistic competitions. But it's always more than that (see my essay "Latin is a lifestyle."). In middle school and all of high school, I was one of those crazy kids running around from event to event, cramming for tests in between taking tests and checking tests I'd already taken.

As a graduate, Convention is pretty different. But not that much. Senior Classical League members (SCLers) are always running, just for different (super-secret) reasons. The group is wonderfully warm and welcoming (to be expe…

Mea culpa!

Carissimi Lectores,
I fully intended to write a post about Latin Convention today, but as I sat down to start typing, I realized I can't miss out on a moment here (the best time of my year) by posting. I will surely update you all after I return home.
Basia mille, Ratna Musella Gill

Day 80: I am not symmetrical.

I read Sonnet 80 this morning en route to Castra Latina at Flint Hill. This is where students prepare for their tests, perfect their art projects, and polish their creative art performances -- all in preparation for Virginia's state Latin Convention. 

The highlight of my morning was when my BFFL Woojin Kim walked in!! Other high points included a discussion with Mr. Chang on teaching Latin and a session spent introducing a new grammatical concept to the brilliant Christophe Simpson. Nizar and I made our traditional Starbucks run to see Miss Laura, and I had a nice chat with Bassima (his amazing mom) in the parking lot after Castra.

Back at home, I started my (very limited) preparations for a dinner we are hosting tonight, including identifying an outfit and getting some rest. I started this post waiting while Mama had her hair done.
The dinner this evening was a lovely get-together with our friends and family to celebrate how blessed we are to have such wonderful well-wishers. (I…

Day 79: Come and open up your folding chair next to me.

Yesterday must have left me more drained than I'd thought, because I woke up at 12:21pm today, perhaps later than ever before in my life.

After eating my lunch (!), I watched the second half of Pocahontas on Disney channel. This film is really intense for a children's movie! Then again, as Laura Kambo once put it, Disney movies are actually movies for adults with animation for children.

I read Sonnet 79 during an ad break, before calling up Dee Dee to discuss our Nutcracker plans for tonight. I learned that unfortunately, she will be working overtime today and won't be able to make it to the show on time! Dee Dee was really disappointed as she had been greatly looking forward to hearing Priya on the piccolo, and especially because she has never seen the ballet before.

To try to cheer her up and rejuvenate her for the long afternoon ahead of her, I packed Dee Dee a snack and set out for the bus stop. While walking, I received a phone call from my brother / best friend Kenne…


i think too much.

i think too much on metros when i'm afraid to change the song and hurt the artist's feelings.

i think too much.

i think too much on benches when i sip my stale water and connect every lyric to you.

i think too much.

i think too much on weekends when i wonder if cutting my hair enough times will make me stop being seen.

it doesn't hurt.
they all connect.
you still see me.

i think too much.

Day 78: "You think too much."

After reading Sonnet 78 in the car this morning, I received an email notifying me that Jannah Babasa, my Certamen soulmate, will be one of my roommates at Latin Convention this weekend. So my day had been made before 8:00am.

Once in DC, I met the effervescent Monica Soni for breakfast at Farragut West! Monica attends Georgetown University, so catching up in town was perfect for us both. I was so excited to see her for the first time since our high school graduation!! Monica always makes me laugh, and we spent the next two hours animatedly catching up on all things collegiate, giggling away all the while. We plan to meet again soon after Thanksgiving for a special meeting with some International Health specialists at the World Bank -- I sure can't wait!

In great spirits after this uplifting breakfast, I headed to Sasha Bruce House, SBY's group home for girls and boys, to attend Staff Consultation with Clinical Director Ginny Hughes. Here, a number of youth counselors shared th…