Wednesday, May 26, 2010

random observations

I was working this past Monday, and talking to co-workers about random topics- most of them humorous, as many of the conversations in a kitchen tend to be. We somehow got on the topic of 'crack' and 'crack heads.' My co-worker said that his eight year old daughter was asking him what crack was, how it was made, and why people did it. I snickered at the absurdity of that type of question coming out of an eight year old's mouth. I probably found it funny because I thought to myself "how does a child that young even hear the term 'crack head,' unless they actively read the paper or watch the news?" I almost instantly regretted my reaction when I learned that this little girl was trying to understand why her mother was addicted to crack cocaine. I felt like an ass.

One of my neighbors receives much of his money from family owned hog farms here in Eastern North Carolina. He said that no one working in the hog farming industry believes that the animals are treated humanely, but it is the only real money maker for most farmers, especially after "they took the tobacco away." He said that the stench one smells when on a 'hog factory' (or down wind of it) is "the smell of money."

I know these are depressing- or rather disturbing pieces of information, but I think that they are important observations, however random they may be. This is Eastern North Carolina Culture.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Looks like I was awarded 750 dollars (THANKYOU MR. AND MRS. RIVERS!) towards my upcoming Thai adventure. I'm assuming the program is still 'on.' I'm still looking forward to spending time in Bangkok. The political situation there is interesting. The 'red shirts' claim to be- and likely are- Thailand's poor and disadvantaged. The well-publicized sex trade in Thailand points toward the victimization of many Thai people of low socio-economic standing. The funny thing about the 'red shirts' is that the leader they previously supported is quite corrupt and has several nasty skeletons in his own closet.

I understand that politics are taken seriously in Thailand. It important to understand that the country is a constitutional monarchy and there is zero tolerance regarding disrespect of their majesties, the King and Queen of Thailand. I am sure, however, that no one is really reading this (AT ALL), so I hope I don't say anything that could be misinterpreted, ever possibly read by authorities, and thus get me in trouble.

OK, social engagements and a waning wireless Internet connection have me running short on time. I had some great human interactions this weekend and the following Monday. Kindness still emanates from everything around me...for the most part- Sunday afternoon was the exception. Something was wrong. I don't have the same anxious feeling anymore, so I hope nothing is amiss.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Land of Smiles

Peace talks are not likely to occur anytime soon in Thailand. Not only are protesters demonstrating in BKK, but also Chiang Mai and several other cities. Protesting is not taken lightly by the Thai Government, which is why I will not take sides here... The government is refusing to negotiate with 'red shirts.' According to them, military force is the only course of action now.
The last time I wanted to go to Thailand, winter of 2008, I decided not to- in part because of similar issues within the country. The political situation there now does not scare me and I hate to sound opportunistic, but the turmoil makes tudying in Thailand even more attractive. One does not get many opportunities to experience things like what is going on there now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The weekend is over. Luckily, it was productive in more ways than one. Not only did I make needed money, but I brushed up on my Spanish (somewhat) and I was also able to see friends, and network a bit.
I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity of those around me. My (biological) family has always done so much for me, but I also feel so much love and kindness from my close friends, or my OTHER family. I am always well taken care of. Sometimes a trade of goods or services is involved, but the exchanges I engage in with friends are close and pesronal; not like what I would describe as a plastic commercialism-type feel. I am truly part of a community. Trades are not so much self-oriented, but intended to benefit everyone equally, on many levels. Maybe some great examples to qualify said statements will come up in the future... All I know is that I have several places to crash, I have food to eat, and several bicycles to ride when I am in "God's Country"/Morehead City/Beaufort, E. NC. I do not own a car, but transportation is often not an issue...
EXCEPT when I want (need) to see much of my biological family. Thinking about seeing them sometimes brings about feelings of nostalgia and sadness, because I am unable to give as much attention as I want to those that have done the most for me. The best I can do is make the people I love proud of me. Hopefully I will make my ritual trek across NC relatively soon. This will start in Wilmington or New Bern, ending somewhere in the foothills, before I make my way back east.
What is going on in Louisiana? I guess the same scenario will occur in NC if we allow drilling. That has been my final thought several nights this week, and as such, a fitting conclusion for today's post.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 1

I have never really done this before, and I used to the the whole 'blog' thing was pretty silly. I am going abroad soon and could run into alot interesting political situations (in Thailand, if anyone follows world news.
One of my professors actually suggested that I start one of these, or a diary- this is a little more interesting than a diary, I think. The only danger with 'blogging' vs. a diary is that people have a much higher likelihood of reading blogs, so I may make some people angry, upset, elated...whatever. This is your warning.
I am working in coastal North Carolina for the next three months and then off to Southeast Asia! The Rivers Scholarship Award is an excellent opportunity for any ECU student going abroad...I'm really looking forward to see large my reward is! I DO realize how income/money oriented that sounds, but it is so true...I just need to buy my ticket so I can begin the process of obtaining a Thai visa.
I've been picking up some Thai here and there and I have been reading through Lonely Planet...everything there look so exciting, to the point that it will likely be overwhelming. People there are supposedly very friendly. Thailand is 'the land of smiles,' after all! I have always prided myself in my ability to 'mesh' well with others. Asia will be the true test.
I am excited to be near the beach for the summer, and will be there full time in less than three weeks, visiting on the weekends to pick up extra cash. The restaurant economy is horrendous in Greenville, and I need to pay my rent debt before I move out, haha. Hopefully (during this summer) I will not become so caught up in thoughts of traveling that it clouds my thoughts and pulls me away from having some real fun before I leave. I would hate to live a five minute bike ride from the beach, only to make it out a couple dozen times! No, I will not let that happen, though I have already visited three or four weekends this year and only set foot on sand once.
OK, I am tired of writing about myself now, but I think this is necessary, because I will be able to go back and reflect on these things months later. If anyone DOES read this, feel free to comment. Also, I plan to have much more interesting posts ahead. They may not be every day, but I am going to try to log in somewhat-frequently(also, I have no way to qualify that expression haha).
om made padme hum