Friday, March 28, 2008

Signs that you know too much about weird sports....

1) watch an American production of "The History Boys" while mentally critiquing their scene change rugby "matches" (no doubt thrown in only at the beginning so we all remembered that it was supposed to be set in England, unless it was supposed to be foreshadowing for "Pass it on boys, pass it on" at the end of the play). SHOCKING attempt at a line-out and we won't even mention that the ball came the wrong way out of that ruck. Otherwise, generally decent job with the accents (although the "dumb boy" who was supposed to have the REALLY thick Northern one was really bad and unfortunately it's an accent that I'm fairly familiar with...despite the fact that my Boy is quite a clever Northerner) and pretty bad set, more evocative of a posh, modern, wood-paneled office than a Northern grammar school in the 1980s. Sometimes they got the timing of the punchlines wrong, which I think was a difference in the way Americans and Brits phrase things, and there were a fair number of jokes that went over people's heads. I don't think the audience understood that it was a comedy until the second act. And, of course, no one thought that the Holocaust or fondling themes were meant to be amusing. But that all sounds more critical than I mean to be: ultimately, I think it's a play that works wonderfully in an intimate space and tonight was a treat. Did I mention that it was free because I was an usher. You can bet that I'm doing that again!

2)'re watching "Becoming Jane" because you're a sap for period dramas and as Jane Austin and James McAvoy face off on the cricket pitch you think to yourself "ooooh, she's really going to catch it now; look how far back he's gone for the run up! Fast bowl coming up!" I think the Boy can take SOLE credit for that particular bit of dorkiness, since he made me go to the cricket in South Africa. Go Proteas!

3) (thought of one more, also related to "The History Boys") are really, really amused that the actor being Damon (the cool one who everyone seems to be in love with) decided that his "cool" hairstyle meant evoking the spirit of Shalk Burger. And we already know my opinion on Afrikaaner/Springbok coiffure choices, don't we class?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

OMG, two posts in one night?!

I would like to add to Lindsay's collection of Balkan graffiti with my own:

Me in Prishtina

That's me on Ruga Bill Clinton and a bit of graffiti which rhymes in English (and though I'm only two lessons into my Albanian tapes, I don't think it does in it's original language): No Negotiation/Self-Determination.

I've been sad to read about everything happening in Mitrovica, but that's where things were mostly likely to turn sour. I wish we'd had a chance to visit last summer, but it probably came at the expense of the side trip to Macedonia, which I also adored. It's so frustrating!

One other quick Kosovo note, which amused me to no end...did/does anyone else pick up on the subtext in this statement by Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, responding to a question about the embassy attacks:
"Well, obviously, some of the actions of Serbia have been deeply disturbing. The riots in Belgrade, the attacks on a number of Embassies were outrageous and unacceptable. This is a terrible thing. There have been various provocations in North. This sort of thing was to be expected. I think the Kosovar leadership has responded to these provocations with, frankly, a maturity which vindicates the decision of the United States and two thirds of the European Union members to recognize it. And I think with time, and as Kosovo develops, these problems will work out slowly, but I think they will."

Obama on Race

I just watched today's Obama speech on race and I have to say it was pretty impressive. It was more interesting than American Idol, which I turned off when I realized that this was one that I had to watch straight through and not during the (long and frequent) commercials.

I kind of feel like I've just watched a really good episode of West Wing, like those times when I can hear good writing happening in my head and my fingers try to keep up.

But I think Obama's message was fantastic. I agree wholeheartedly that this election should stop being about race, because what my experience in South Africa taught me is that Americans have so much in common, even when they don't realize it. I don't want to denigrate South Africans by saying that they're not like Americans (because ultimately we're all human) or pretend that I completely understand the African-American experience, but the truth is that we watch the same tv, DO have many of the same problems and hopes (as Obama pointed out so eloquently), are governed under the same set of laws and by the same people, share a language, and learned many of the same things in school. And I wish more people realized that and would focus on our similarities, rather than our differences, as Sen. Obama did this morning.

His remarks reminded me of one of the things we learned about in South Africa, but so often struggled to integrate into our lives: Ubuntu. As many of you know, it's the concept that "I am, because we are." And realizing that we MUST recognize our overwhelming commonalities, rather than our differences when tackling the problems that almost every American worries about, the economy, education, health care, and foreign policy, seems to me like our own American Ubuntu.

It was great.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I have a better sense now of what might be happening in my life, come the fall. I got in to Northwestern, which I never expected and which I have been over the moon about since Thursday. It's a wonderful, wonderful school with an atmosphere (supposedly) that would be as close to Earlham as I'm going to get in a law school and a human rights program that is very much oriented towards matters of transitional justice, one of my personal passions and interests. Plus, I love Chicago and would like to be back in the midwest.

None of this is final. I'm still waiting to hear from another school, but I am also starting to stress about moving (far more than I should for an event that's five months away)!

I would also like to congratulate myself on doing some ironing today and found myself thinking that if I wanted to iron, I should have stayed in South Africa!