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Archive for April, 2013

Strange Loving

Some prose, some poetry—possibly being continued, possibly being thrown away.  There’s just something I love about writing about diners.


I saw her silhouette from across
a dilapidated barn
with decrepit wooden panels
in the corner of the city,
which,
over time,
became a diner
with cracked-leather bar stools
and a lingering coffee aroma.
When she turned,
she carried between her fore
and middle finger
an unlit cigarette,
yet never lit it
within the hours
I watched her.
She was young,
with signs of aging that
delineated her
face,
and a weariness in her
hazelnut eyes.
Hazelnut was the only
way to describe
them;
they struck like lightning
under the dim fluorescent light,
and hid like shadows
under nightfall.

I saw her the first time with coffee
in a cup
stained with a rouge;
the second time,
with turtle-rimmed glasses
and a book
imprinted with fine print;
the third,
with a pen cap between her lips
and black pen marks
in a leather-bound
notebook.
She never saw me,
but often looked past me
in deep thought,
and a furrow within
her brow.
And in these moments of
unspoken silence,
she danced her way into
my strange,
loving heart.

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I can’t possibly think of all the times I’ve lamented about not traveling within the country, but here I am, finally in California!  The Mukherjee traveling curse was kind to me on this trip; the only trouble I had was with misprinted boarding passes, so I would say traveling has been pretty successful!  It’s amazing how traveling to California is comparable to a Europe trip—we spent the entire day in airports and on planes, finally arriving at LAX late at night with the lyrics of Party in the USA stuck in our heads.  We had two celebrity sightings right off the bat, though neither were familiar to me—some girl from Big Bang Theory who is currently dating Raj (for those of you who watch BBT), and another Camilla-something from Real Housewives of Something.  I’m clearly not up-to-date with my pop culture.

I visited LA for a day during a stop-over about 6 years ago, but spending time in California has always been a goal of mine.  Nonetheless, I’m a little disappointed with the superficiality of everything, though I probably shouldn’t be surprised.  I’ve realized that I enjoy unique places with a warmth that places like LA don’t really have.  I suppose this is why I want to stay in New England for college—branching out has never been my thing.  We spent all of yesterday at Universal Studios, which is my type of amusement park since I’m not compatible with roller coasters and all.  The most fascinating part of the day was touring the actual studios, where films such as Les Miserables, Psycho, and King Kong have been made.  We got a glimpse of the makeshift towns set in places like New York City, San Francisco, and Boston; the special effects used in movies like Earthquake and Jaws; and the studios where actors/actresses were filming at that very moment.  It all felt unreal to be there, though I suddenly felt cheated by every movie I have ever seen.  A part of me wishes that I could one day be in the midst of it all, but we all know how realistic those dreams are.

The first portion of the actual DECA competition was this morning, and consisted of a 100-question test on my individual event, Marketing Management.  Although the test was fine, what was overwhelming was the amount of people in the testing room, as well as their intensity.  I often assume that every place is as lax as Vermont, but the truth is that most of the kids in this international competition have worked hard to reach their goals and make it here, while us Vermonters put in minimal effort and still placed in the state competition.  I suppose that’s one perk of living in Vermont, but, on the other hand, seeing the intensity that exists here is a bit unnerving.  It’s so easy to get lost in the crowd.  Last night, everyone mingled in the large convention center, trying to trade pins with other states to receive all 50 state pins.  For fun, Vermont decided to become overly-involved—I think we’ve collected about 40 state pins so far.  But even besides getting the pins, it was amazing to be able to approach someone and ask where they’re from and what their state is like.  Like I said a while back after the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition, we seldom realize how diverse the different states are.  I had a long discussion with a kid from Tennessee this morning, who lives on a farm with 450 cows, dreams of visiting Canada one day, and just joined the army.  The flight to California had been his first time on an airplane, and he described every emotion of every moment of his trip.  It’s so refreshing to talk to people who have different experiences, and who are from various backgrounds.  The different states might be in the same country, but each one has a distinct culture, and it’s always fascinating to learn about each one.

With my free time, I’ve already been able to study for chemistry for a few hours!  Tonight, we’re going out exploring (mostly shopping), and tomorrow, we have the second portion of our competition: role plays.  I’m personally hoping to spot some celebrities at one point, especially Joseph Gordon Levitt, who I haven’t been able to stop talking about since landing at LAX.  I’d also love to take a trip to the Hollywood sign, but it’s about 45 minutes from Anaheim, which isn’t ideal for our schedule.  But I’m making the best of it!  I’m here in California in the warm weather, near Disney, under the palm trees—it’s a good life.

Hope you’re all having a fantastic break so far!

-B

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Springing

Every time the world takes a few steps forward, some sort of tragedy pulls it backwards.  Most of you are well-aware of the act of terror at the Boston Marathon on Monday, an act that continues to haunt the entire nation and brings back nightmares of 9/11.  Boston is like my second home, and to think of it attacked in that way, to think of its homely environment ruined by bombs, is devastating.  That city is as close to my heart as Burlington.  Even more, I can’t think of the number of people I know there, people who were nearby when the bombs went off, people who had almost been at the spots.  It’s all so unfair.  But here is what most people are emphasizing, which I concur with entirely: the attackers have not won, because the good in this world overpowers the evil.  Just as the bombs went off, people began to run towards them to help those in need.  The world is not perfect, but the universal language of human nature is still kindness.  After seeing that, we can only hope for progress from here.  For now, I offer my thoughts and prayers to those affected, and, most importantly, those who are currently in the process of hospital treatment.  Rest in peace to those who have passed away.  Here is to hoping that things will only improve.

On a better note, April has been a compilation of exciting events, but also a reminder of how quickly this year is wrapping up.  Dartmouth Model UN was an incredible experience.  After I toured Dartmouth, I fell in love with the campus—with the quaintness of Hanover, the amiability of the students, the uniqueness of the education.  Though, I realized that this is also probably due to the fact that Dartmouth was the first campus I actually toured.  For the rest of the weekend, I spent hours in my committee, arguing women’s rights as the delegate from Spain.  While it was fun most of the time, sometimes I began to daze off, and for fun, the other delegates and I would pass joking Model UN pick-up lines.  I did realize that I enjoy international politics more than I had thought, as well as debating.  I’m not typically an agressive person, but there is something enthralling about a heated debate that I just cannot explain.  Perhaps law is my calling?  Who ever knows?  The most memorable part of the weekend was probably just hanging out with some of my closest friends, and realizing how quickly everything is changing.  My roommates and I spent both nights staying up until about 2am and having intimate conversations, all while eating piles of junk food.  Amidst a busy life, it was a relaxing weekend.

This past weekend, I competed in the state science fair with my project, The Effects of Aluminum Sulfate on the Aquatic Species Ceriodaphnia dubia (titles are not my forté).  The day ended up being successful, though I was slightly disappointed at not being able to advance to any international competitions.  However, I just heard a few days ago that I will be representing the state at I-SWEEEP in Houston!  Additionally, the state fair coordinators have invited me to return next year to speak about my research and my experiences, and I am tremendously honored.  It’s so interesting to see how my perspective on science has changed in the past year and a half.  I used to passionately hate it, but mostly because science meant hours of memorization or mundane textbook reading.  But it truly is a creative field.  The projects at the state fair varied from testing the effect of colors on sheep to complex bioremediation practices to psychological studies.  When we think about it, science is this whole new realm that lets us discover the wonders around us.  Cliché, I know.

I’m going to Anaheim, California next week for the International DECA Conference (business), and although I’m pumped to spend time at Universal and Disney and get in touch with my inner child (except for the rollercoasters…I prefer to keep away from those), I’m unfortunately committed to Chang, aka AP Chemistry, as my exam is coming up for that.  It’s rather unfortunate.  In fact, I have a few other AP’s to study for as well, all while juggling I-SWEEEP, a senior solo audition, VYO performances, and tennis.  Oddly enough, I enjoy this type of life…..I thrive off of stress.

It’s unfortunate that I haven’t had time to blog in the past few weeks, but I hope to get in a few travel posts during my Anaheim trip (my favorite kinds of posts)!  Happy Spring, and have a great break (if I don’t blog before then)!

-B

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16 Going on 17

I feel as if I am drowning in blog post ideas, overwhelmed by the various events that have been going on in my life.  Most important event: I am officially 17.  And it feels weird.  I have always been so excited about becoming a year old, but 17 feels unreal.  I’m so old.  In a year, I will be a legal adult, which is somewhat exciting, but mostly frightening.  Anyways, my birthday always make me realize how much I love the people in my life.  Last year, I spent an entire night dancing away with all of my friends, feeling a type of happiness that comes around only once in a while.  This year, I was surprised by about 10 of my closest friends at Vermont National in the middle of my birthday dinner.  I am not one to cry tears of happiness, but seeing my friends walk in one by one made me feel like the luckiest person ever.  I know, I know, I’m a walking cliché.  We spent the night laughing and talking and eating the spectacular desserts of Vermont National.  I love them.  I seriously feel like I have the best friends in the world.  After my birthday, I ended up with stacks of Starbucks and Barnes & Nobles gift cards.  My friends know me too well.

Anyways, my birthday was a brief hiatus from what is an unusually busy time of the year.  This weekend, I’m at Dartmouth for Model UN, and I’m actually about to have my first college tour ever in a few minutes (thank you Princeton)!  I’m rooming with a few of my senior friends, which is nice because they’re all leaving for college soon.  It’s as if this is my last true bonding moment with them.  I’ll keep posting about DMUN throughout the weekend with updates about our crazy shenanigans.

I suppose other exciting things that have happened in my life have included getting accepted into an all-expense paid journalism program in DC for the summer, where I will meet some of the best journalists in the industry and interact with other aspiring journalists, and watching some of my friends get into amazing, amazing colleges for next year.  It makes me realize how fast life goes—-in a year, I will most likely know where I am going to college.  Yikes.

But for this weekend, I’ll put away some of my anxiety about next year, and just enjoy myself.  Perhaps this will be my first exposure to international relations, and my opportunity to discover if I love it or not.  I promise I’ll have a more exciting blog post later.

Have a good weekend!

-B

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