Sunday, June 19, 2011

Refections and absorption

two loves i made last month

Yesterday I began reading blogs, facebook, google searches, and my Peace Corps material (again) in order to learn more about Macedonia, my future home for twenty-seven months. Let me state for the record, along with everyone else who lays claim to the same statement, the country is gorgeous! I am excited just to see the landscape, but the people are suppose to be so giving as well.

I feel as if I could read endless amounts of information on all things Macedonia, the Balkans, and Peace Corps. Here are some of the sites I have been visiting: Candy's Blog, a current volunteer, Lew, who will be part of my team, the Facebook Page that Lew set up for our group, the Peace Corps Journal Facebook Page, and the Peace Corps Wiki. I am going to do my best to bounce around all these sites and glean as much info as possible. There is a ton though, and I must say it wears me out. I am also referencing the Welcome Book and have begun making a master packing list, making sure to mark if the item still needs to be procured. Feel free to read any of these and send me your notes! This will save me time and sanity ;-) I have also reserved three books off the Peace Corps reading list for Macedonia. I hope these are a better read than the first book I tired and then failed to read.


The thing I love about summer, well my last two summers (I'm including this one), is the freedom to do what I want when I want, like bake bread. I find that even though I have no "schedule" I some how manage to fill my time, especially with the things I enjoy. I have been in the kitchen more which has resulted in bread, hummus, pizza, and quinoa and chickpea dishes. My mom recently reminded me of the fact that I just part of the tradition of sharing meals with the people I lived with and was curious if I was doing anything like that now. The answer was no, but as of Sunday that will change. Though the eight or so girls that I will be eating with once a week do not all live with me, they live near-by and I see them all at least once a week. Each week a different person will cook and play host and I am glad to be incorporating shared meals back in my weekly rotation.

I also broke down and re-joined the YMCA, I needed an exercise option that provided more than just running, mainly I signed up to have access to yoga classes, but I also need a place I can go to whenever there is down time, where I can get in some extra work (out of the heat too). I am so glad to be doing yoga on a regular basis, I've already gone three times this week. It's good for my soul and keeps me energized when tackling my to-do list. Oh and I almost forgot! They have a pool and so I'm back to swimming laps, get this, in a real lap pool! I have missed this so much and prefer a pool to the endless pool machine at Rutgers. So, joining the Y equals a happy Mary.


Other than that my life has been fine, though I feel like all my friends are in the midst of hard situations, some circumstances are just the result of the way of life and some are self-inflicted. I have been struggling with what one does when situations are out of your control (aren't they all?) and all I can do is offer them up to God. Especially the ones that are self-inflicted, no amount of acting as a bystander or yelling will actually get someone to change their negative position. All I can do is continue to be there and occasionally try to offer a voice of reason. I must say, I've been in that same spot so many times myself and in the midst you do not want to listen to any one, even when you know they are right. One day, though, when all energy is gone, that still small, constant voice will breakthrough and shine the light of redemption and maybe, just maybe a part of that voice will have been yours.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wash me clean, inside and out

Girl Talk

A light afternoon shower is falling over Nashville today, thwarting my plans to wash the dust of Bonnaroo from my car. So, instead I am taking the time to update the blog, over pizza and a latte.

I got back in Nashville yesterday afternoon after spending six days in Manchester, TN at Bonnaroo, an outdoor music and arts festival attended by 85,000 people. This event is typically viewed as primarily a hippie event with lots of drugs involved. Though the line-up continues to become more diversified every year (and this year was the 10th anniversary).

This was my fourth Roo ('05, '06, '07 and '11) and just as fabulous as all the former ones I attended. I got to see Kopecky Family Band, Best Coast, The Drums, Sleigh Bells, Matt & Kim, Ray Lamontagne, Florence + The Machine, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, The Low Anthem, The Black Keys, Girl Talk, The Head and The Heart, Amos Lee, Cold War Kids, Robyn, and Beirut.

My highlights were seeing My Morning Jacket and the Black Keys from the first row, dancing till 4am at Girl Talk and finishing out the weekend hearing Beirut for the first time. I was surprised to hear that Eminem put on a good show and was many people's favorite. Of course I was sad to miss Mumford and Sons, but since I work at the festival, which enables me to get paid to be at Bonnaroo, some sacrifices have to be made.

As always, Bonnaroo is as much as going to see good music as it is building community with other festival-goers. A memory I will always carry with me from this year's event is from Sunday morning, when all ten paid staff and volunteers for my Pod were just sitting and laying around in the grass talking and laughing together. No one was running off to see a show and even though only two of us were "on the clock" at the time we all were taking turns helping patrons with any questions that needed answers. I love how Bonnaroo brings strangers together and builds a sense of family between individuals. I think I value that magic more than the music.

I think I've almost washed all the glitter from my hair and body, my car is unpacked, and the majority of my laundry is done. I'm glad to be back to sleeping in a bed and having access to running water, but I will also be looking forward to the next time I can make it to the Roo.

For a few more pictures take a look at my flickr.