sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave

I think it has been literally two years since I logged onto this thing! Holy moly! I can't believe a) it still exists b) I remembered my password. It took three minutes for me to figure out where I input the music I'm listening to. Anyway, I will take any distraction from the 200 chemistry exams I have to grade this weekend!
  • Current Music
    the national

paint paradise

sometimes I wonder what is up with people in this city. This includes myself.

I'm sitting outside of Safeway with Teddy, cause Tom was inside buying a few things. A lady is walking towards the entrance and a guy is walking away from it. They bump into each other I guess, I don't know who hit who or whatever, but the lady grabs her arm and mumbles, "jerk" at the guy.

She keeps walking towards the entrance and the guy turns around and begins freaking out, asking her what she said, what the fuck was her problem, she hit HIM, etc. He's obviously upset or crazy so she ignores him and keeps trying to go in.

Then he really gets into it. He starts calling her a "fucking fatty" and that she's worthless and a "fucking piece of shit".

So then she turns around, now that she's being subjected to insane, uncalled for abuse from a perfect stranger. She tells him to stop it, and the guy (who is like, 25 or something) gets all up in this woman's face. Like she has issued a challenge and now they are going to throw down.

I have a total incapacity to stay out of other people's business, especially when I believe something unjust is going on, especially when I believe someone must get hurt. So I jump out of my seat, Teddy in hand, and go up to the guy and tell him he looks like a total psycho and that everyone who has watched this situation thinks so (there are like 10 of us gawking). He tells me to shut the fuck up and go away. I say no, and that he is being abusive and totally out of line. The woman says something similar and he continues to inform her that she is a "fucking fatty" and worthless and generally sub-human because they bumped into each other and she was annoyed.

I started to get pissed, and began getting more aggressive (because I'm mostly terrible at dealing with these things) and began to ask what her being "fat" had to do with anything. I asked if the fact that he was really short had anything to do with the situation? He told me to shut the fuck up and that I was a terrible person, who shouldn't get involved. Haaaaah.

Anyway, eventually a manager came out and then another lady and the guy was outnumbered so he stomped off.

It was just an insane act of rage and it made ME really angry and I wished I had handled it better. I also think starting my training at the battered women's shelter has made me more sensitive to some stuff, even though that was a ridiculous outburst on his part. Vancouver is a beautiful city (we spent the morning before at a nice farmer's market) but there is a lot of rage, a lot of mental illness and a lot of stuff going on here that I need to learn to handle better.


I know just enough about mental illness to occasionally able to recognize it, but not enough to know how to help anyone. I would have been a shitty psychologist because my emotions get the best of me. Not the kind of emotions where the person says "oh my fault is that I care TOO much" and it's really some awesome thing and they are secretly Dr.House or whatever. It's that I get flustered and can't look at anything objectively and would probably make ridiculous decisions. Everyone who was great at Psychology, I found, were people who cared about solving the problem at hand. Like it was a really big math problem. Math doesn't usually make you cry or feel sorry for people. Feeling sorry for anyone is about the least helpful thing you can do for them.

Maybe one day, I'll get that down.

it's these little things, they can pull you under

to think that things like this can not happen anymore, that gender based violence is still not a problem, does a massive disservice to these people. this is not ancient history, these are not mentalities that have been eradicated. they exist everywhere. these women deserved so much more than this and so do we.


that's me in the corner

People have been sending me facebook messages and emails and twitters going like "what is going on with you? what are you doing? where are you?" so here is a post about that stuff.

So we have been in KL for about three weeks now. We spend a good part of our days swimming, reading, eating a variety of foods (Iranian was tonight!) and weird fruits (longins!)and yearning for more episodes of True Blood (how on earth is that show so good?). I also spend a couple hours a day trying to teach myself physics. I think it's working? I am also sort of enjoying it? There is something super satisfying about knowing what angle a bullet will enter a lake from, after being shot off a 20 meter cliff...really.

Then, Monday through Thursday, we spend our afternoons at a home for handicapped and abandoned children in Taman Megah (a suburb of KL). We work mostly with the abandoned children by helping them with reading and math/science stuff when they return from school. The age range we are with goes up to about 11, though a few of them are almost completely illiterate. It sounds like a bit of a daunting task at first, getting children with special needs to try and read in something that isn't their first language, but it is mostly really fun and an enjoyable challenge. Kids are so smart! They learn stuff faster than any adult (as someone with a no longer pliable brain teaching myself something I should have learned when I was 14, I can attest to this) and these children in particular are SO eager. When you tell them they've done a good job, they will give you the most truly genuine smile you can imagine. They have all had a rough go of it, so it's really nice to be given the chance to be kind and helpful to someone who genuinely needs it.

A more disheartening part of this experience is that these kids come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are still, unfortunately, disadvantaged. The home seems to have very few school supplies (there are limited erasers and pencils and just one ruler that travels from kid to kid) as well as reading material. This afternoon, we could only locate ONE story book for the kids to practice reading with. Tom and a group of boys were already busy with it, so the girls and I had to wait for them to finish it. I am pretty sure my Mom supplied me with literally hundreds of books growing up, so it was pretty depressing to see that only one book had to be split between a whole group of children. English books are not especially cheap here, which means the home cannot afford to buy a lot of them and people can't afford to donate them. It has me thinking about setting up a book drive when I get back to Canada (which will be in November, if anyone's wondering). Or at least hitting a bunch of Value Villages and second-hand bookstores to collect some to send over. Maybe you guys would have some stuff to send my way? These kids would be so thrilled. Anyway, something to think about!

I have more to talk about! Like my Grandma (who is sick, but doing okay apparently! She is in good spirits and getting better!) and school/moving (I am going to SFU to start a Biology program in January!) and plans upon returning to Canada (I am coming to visit a bunch of you in December!) but that is for another post I think.