Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Read: October 2018

Review: I think I got the film adaptation of this mixed up with The Royal Tenenbaums… this was a lot different.

TL;DR Recommendation: “Losing a ‘Boyfriend,‘ the Best Way Possible” by Augusten Burroughs

Advertisements
Audio

Podcasts? Podcasts.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently (and by a lot I mean I listen to maybe five hours worth of podcasts a day), so I thought I’d give a breakdown of some of my favorites. I wanted to make this post super cool and embed my favorite episodes, but WordPress doesn’t let you embed audiofiles (I think for copyright reasons) so I’ve just attached them as links! Please note that the descriptions are not explicitly stated to be about me, but they aren’t not about me.

For the person who always overshares when they get a little bit drunk…

Risk!

For the person who can never decide between Bob’s Burgers and Blue Planet

Ologies

For the person who has been told “you’re the most jaded person in their 20s I have ever met” on a first date…

S-Town

For the person who needs to be reminded that good journalism still exists…

Serial

For the person who sometimes enjoys having their mind casually blown… 

Radiolab Presents: Gonads

For the person who needs to be reminded that good journalism still exists again (it’s a tough climate for news, ok?)…

Caliphate

For the person who’s kind of angsty but also wants to be financially stable…

Bad With Money

For the person who says they’re “above” the drama and the rumor mill…

Gossip

For the person who is secretly terrified of getting “gotcha’d” by one of those on-the-street-type show segments and called a stupid millennial…

More Perfect

For the person who thinks the world would be a less shitty place if we took some time to realize how much common ground we have…

Rough Translation

Quote

“Some of the very peasants who had most disputed with him over the hay, those whom he had wronged, and those who had wanted to deceive him, those very peasants had bowed cheerfully to him, quite obviously not bearing, and indeed unable to bear, any grudge against him, or any remorse, or any recollection even of having intended to cheat him. All that had been dissolved in the sea of joyous common toil […] Who was the labor for? What would be its fruits? Those were irrelevant and idle questions.

Levin had often admired this kind of life, had often envied the people who lived this kind of life, but today, especially under the impression of what he had seen of the relations between Ivan Parmenov and his young wife, the idea occurred to him clearly for the first time that it depended on himself alone whether or not to change his wearisome, idle, and artificial personal life for the hard-working, pure, and delightful life.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Quote

“Mama used to tell us a story about a cicada sitting high in a tree. It chirps and drinks in dew, oblivious to the praying mantis behind it. The mantis arches up its front leg to stab the cicada, but it doesn’t know an oriole perches behind it. The bird stretches out its neck to snap up the mantis for a midday meal, but its unaware of the boy who’s come into the garden with a net. Three creatures—the cicada, the mantis and the oriole—all coveted gains without being aware of the greater and inescapable danger that was coming.”

-Lisa See, Shanghai Girls

Highlight Reel: September 2018

Cute and flirty: My friend Sam came to visit me in Ikelenge all the way from Kasempa! For those not up to date on their Zambian geography, Kasempa District is in the heart of the Kaonde region of North-western Province, and it’s a huge pain getting from one region to another (hence why I have never been and probably never will be further into the Kaonde area than Solwezi). We chilled, watched The Princess and the Frog with my host family, and had a picnic at the source of the Zambezi River, which is located in my district but which I have never been to before. What is cuter than that? Nothing.

Something I learned from my community: I went to Chisemwa Cha Lunda at the end of September, which literally translates to “Lunda Culture” and is (you guessed it) a cultural festival for the Lunda tribe held in the Kanong’esha Chiefdom. The festival didn’t go… quite as I’d hoped it would go (aka I missed a lot of the cultural performances, which was the whole reason I went), but still a memorable experience! Lunda and Luvali culture is very rich, vibrant, beautiful, and not appreciated or preserved nearly enough.

Something my community learned from me: I’ve officially launched a new workshop series with a women’s group I work with! It’s very haphazardly modeled after Wangari Maathai’s incredible “Green Belt Movement” in Kenya, although if you know anything about that you’ll know I could never come anywhere close to that. Essentially, I’m going to hold three meetings going over three different cycles (the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the carbon cycle), and through that we’ll go over why trees are vital to those cycles. If a woman has come to two out of the three meetings, she gets x amount of assorted tree seeds from me. Then I check up with those women after three months, and they get 50 ng’wee (think 50 cents) per live seedling in her nursery. We had the first meeting (the water cycle) at the beginning of the month, and I’m hoping to do nitrogen cycle sometime in October! I’m also thinking about offering 1 kwacha (think $1 for reference) per indigenous seedling as an incentive for the women to collect native trees, but I’m not sure yet!

Shower insights: You know how sometimes you just get so used to something that you’re only critical towards it? That was how I was feeling about my service. And then I went and saw the source of the Zambezi, and it just hit me that, you know what? I have lived her for over a year, and there is still so much to discover in this little district. And so much beauty, and it was such a powerful and uplifting realization. Thanks, Zambezi River!

Hero of the month: The women’s group I work with! They have made my service infinitely more rewarding, are always motivated, always show up, and always inspire me.

Villain of the Month: [Redacted]