Sunday, January 27, 2013

If I Were Ever to Get a Tattoo…

…It would be a strand of DNA going down my crooked spine. I highly doubt this will ever come into fruition, but you have to admit it is a pretty cool concept. It would be super detailed including proteins and enzymes and all that good stuff. Below is an old image of my spine. It has gotten worse since the time this x-ray was taken, but I gave that newer image to my chiropractor. Feel free to comment if you think it is a crazy good idea or just crazy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Maybe Not So Miserable After All...


I saw the movie Les Miserables for the second time today with family. This time I wasn’t so in shock and awe of the fantastic singing, music, costumes, set, etc. This time I really took in the message. There are some people in the world who are suffering so greatly, yet are responsible for so much (a family) that they don’t have the time to even contemplate committing suicide let alone wonder about their philosophical purpose. I am very lucky to have been able to stop working/learning and spend a great deal of time trying to treat and understand my depression. There are too many in the world that bear great sickness yet are not as lucky as me. There are too many people who suffer from diseases that we, in the first world, easily treat and/or prevent. It is not fair for me to dream of a genetically perfect world if it will not be possible for each and every individual. I am extremely grateful to my parents who made it possible for me to study at Berkeley for a semester and a half-ish, but would it really have been fair to spend any more time there, paying out of state tuition when there are so many who do not have access to a basic education let alone able to afford the cost of college. I am grateful for meeting Dr. Urnov and all that he has done and continues to do for me – I would not have met him if I never attended Berkeley.

For years I have dreamed of becoming filthy rich so that I could give the vast majority of my wealth to those in need. There are a couple of splurges I wanted to make for myself with the money (see, not my money):  an ornate library in my house and a flashy sports car for my dad. I know both are ridiculous and unnecessary, but that is how I want to be greedy. From this day on I want to devote my life to those who suffer and have far less hope and support than me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Love Story

I have been in a serious relationship for nearly a decade. My significant other and I were first introduced by a mutual friend. Of course, during the “honey moon” period things were great. Everything was new and exciting. We were learning about each other; we were learning how we interacted best. We fell in love.
After awhile, I realized the relationship was going to take work. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for such a significant commitment. I began to let other people get in the way. They didn’t understand the deep connection we had. It wasn’t relatable – it was special.
After a few years, the relationship became the last on my priority list. Maybe now was the time for something magical to happen.
A friend recommended we take time to sit and work out our problems. Before, we had relied on our natural attraction to each other to get us by. We were told that if we really wanted to make it, we had to have an even stronger bond. One that we chose to forge; one that made us want to be together every second of every day.
As we began working together, I became overwhelmed with emotion and the outside stresses that had created a strain on our relationship. Finally, tears escaped from my eyes.
I wanted to run away and hide. Somehow, the bond between us didn’t let me. Instead we continued to interact. He stood by me as I let loose. It was so relieving because I was able to free myself emotionally and physically.
I stopped paying attention to my surroundings and focused on us. What we had become and what we could be in the future. When I felt there was no more that could be communicated, I gently loosened my bow and lowered the endpin. I delicately placed my cello back into its case.
My cello had become a part of my life. We would be together forever.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Like Crazy...Good

     Like Crazy is an Indie film made in 2011. No all-star cast, at least no one I recognized (I wrote this before Jennifer Lawrence appeared), not like I’m trying to pretend to be a film critic or anything – I leave that to Hannah M. Anyways, it’s a beautiful love story. What makes it beautiful? you ask. Well, it’s REAL. Nice-looking but not god-like actors, average settings, nothing opulent. It’s like watching a recording of the tale of a friend’s, a peer’s, love story. There are real-life issues:  a long distance relationship, questions of the status of the relationship, should they see other people when they aren’t together? and the time-old question of are we forcing the relationship to work? How much effort are we really supposed to put into the relationship? If it’s meant to be, it will happen, right?

            Then there are the beautiful examples of perfect, meaningful gifts. I include this because people seem to find the whole gift giving process rather difficult. The boy, a furniture designer, gives the girl the first piece of his craftsmanship. It is a beautiful chair on which she sits to do her writing. From the girl to the boy – a beautiful, handmade book documenting their relationship and accompanied by souvenirs/momentos.

            According to Netflix, we (the users of the account who wield a vast spectrum of taste in entertainment) would give it a 3.3 star rating. I, ironically, am giving it a 5 star rating. Take or leave my recommendation, after all I’m just crazy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Revelations from Family Therapy

Me:  "You know how people are always talking about the endorphins they feel after working out and how they always feel better after exercising?"
My Sister: "Yeah..."
Me:  "I've never felt that."
My Sister:  "Wow your brain is f*ed up."

Me:  "So I was thinking about it and I don't think a human really has a purpose until she has a kid."
My Sister: "So do we need to adopt a 10 year old or something?"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lost in Translation

We identify ourselves by where we come from, but when hardly anyone knows where that is, it can be difficult to establish your own identity. In the US, kids are always asked “what are you?” For whites, the expected response is some well-known European country. It is expected that their ancestors, countless generations ago, came from their home country to America to make a better life for their family. It is expected that everyone knows and accepts this response even if they don’t truly appreciate what it means:   the hardship the people experienced, the actual culture, the real lives behind the story.
            The children depicted in the photograph are first generation American-born citizens. They are white. They are from a European country. Yet, it is the late 1960s. This is not an expected response. The family is of Frisian decent. Frisian means from the country of Föhr. The country of Föhr (pronounced “fur”) is a very, very, very small island north of Germany. The children’s parents left Föhr just before World War II to escape the Nazi regime, which was taking root in Germany. They took up residence in New York – swept into the cultural melting pot of America. When you come from a country only 83 km2 in size (to give some perspective:  Rhode Island is over 4,000 km2), you begin to feel like a grain of salt in the vast pot. The parents of the children made a life for themselves along with other families who also came from Föhr and formed their own little community in the Brooklyn area. They knew little to no English but they made a life for themselves.
            After some time all four children were born. Barbara, the only girl was the princess. She was able to get away with a lot and knew it. Norman, the third oldest, was a bit of a troublemaker and liked to have fun. Mark was the baby, what more is there to say? And Eric was the big brother. He took care of everything and everyone. Since his parents were not always familiar with American customs and protocol he was in charge of ensuring that nothing went horribly wrong because of this lack of understanding.
            Eric forged a path for himself to create the life he wanted. He found a way to go to Florida State University to study geochemistry, a strong interest of his, and later went to Yale to complete his Ph.D. in the subject. Many years later he began a family of his own with two daughters. I am lucky enough to be one of those daughters.
            Although I am white (and even have red hair) and my parents have served as a model for my success, I do not come from what is expected. I have grown up not with a grandfather and grandmother but an Opa and Oma (which for a while was Elmo). I eat special gingerbread cookies at Christmas time. I was told to “essen!” at the dinner table. I ate sauerkraut as a child on my own accord. In elementary school I was asked, “where are you from?” I said, “Föhr.”  I got weird looks. I was asked to describe my heritage and other people would determine for me that I was German. It has taken me a great deal of time to realize that it’s not about forcing the entire world to realize that there is a country out there called Föhr but about me realizing that I share a common background with my family, and we have a strong connection that can never be broken. Only my family understands about crazy old Tante Bertha. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Identity does not come from looking out but from looking within.