I wrote this lengthy post and saved it to my drafts, but turns out – it didn’t save. So, I’m not thankful for WordPress’ saving abilities. But I’ll just sum up things that have made me feel awesome this year.
- My dad is alive and my sister is pregnant. I can’t begin to say how thankful I am for both of these important things – or the fact that as much as they drive me crazy, I have a pretty awesome family.
- Regarding having shithead friends who walk all over me, one of my sisters recently told me “The problem is you’re too nice. You’ve always been too nice and you let assholes take advantage of you. I’m so glad to see that you’ve really started to stand up for yourself and you’re walking away from people who don’t treat you with respect.” I’m thankful that I’m putting myself first, and that people around me are noticing that.
- I’m really thankful to have had Pooter and Pixie in my life, even if they were both for a short time. I think about them daily and their memories bring so much light to my days. They taught me a lot about unconditional love, respecting animals and being patient. I know they’re someplace happy with each other and their buddy, Atreyu.
- While I miss them all the time, I’m thankful for my faraway best friends. It’s not easy having your best friends so far away, but I guess it’s more motivation to write, call, text, email and most importantly, visit. They say that as you get older, your circle of friends becomes smaller, better and more important and my besties are a testament to that.
- To say I’m thankful for a pretty great job with a pretty great organization would be an understatement.
- I can’t begin to list each thing I’m thankful for about Ben – so I’ll just say Ben. I’m most thankful for Ben.
Well, I did it. A week and a half ago, I packed a suitcase and a backpack and headed for the international terminal at San Francisco Airport. My first destination was Dubai for 18 hours, and then West Bengal, India for the next 6 days. It was a short trip, but I feel so lucky and honored to have gone on it. It was amazing to see Water For People’s programs in action, meet wonderful people, experience a whole new world, and I can’t lie – it was awesome to do it all for free. I guess that’s just one of the amazing perks of working in International Development.
I wish there was an easy way to embed my Flickr set of pictures into this page, but I can’t seem to figure out the easiest way to do that. So please click here if you’re like to see some of the 500+ pictures I took in a week.
I also wish there was an easy way for me to sum up everything I saw and experienced, but I don’t think that possible. Hopefully the pictures tell the story, but here are some things that stood out:
- Everyone shares the road. Bicyclists. Cars. Buses. Vans. Animals. Pedestrians. And I’m using the word “shares” in the loosest way possible. Everyone is forced to share the roads. Anything with a motor is given the right of way and everyone else tries not to get run over. Crossing the street in Kolkata was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done in my life.
- The outstanding number of stray dogs and cats was incredibly sad to see. Not just the fact that they were stray, but the condition they were in – starving, cut up, sad. As an animal lover – this was one of the most difficult things to witness and made my stomach turn on a daily basis.
- Poverty. Extreme poverty everywhere you look.
- In the most remote villages, the furthest away from society, from electricity and so many other daily conveniences we take for granted - adults and children seem genuinely happy with their lives.
- While it may seem impossible and slightly terrifying for 1,000 to fit on a completely rusted boat and make it to an island 45 minutes away, somehow it all works out and you make it there….and back!
- Don’t let one bland meal taint you against Bengali food. The food is amazing – you just need to go to the right place to find it. And you must…must try the rasgoolas (Bengali sweets).
- Shopping is the best. You can buy almost anything for next to nothing. I bought 6 gorgeous saris – SIX – for $170. I was born to shop in India. Did I mention that I left with 2 pieces of luggage and came back with 4??
- Water For People’s India staff is amazing. The most wonderful, accommodating and amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. Their level of dedication and commitment to ending water poverty greatly surpasses that of any staff in the states, including myself. Just being honest. I feel so lucky to include them among my colleagues and friends.
My coworker and I were chatting about my upcoming trip to India (I LEAVE ON THURSDAY!!). This conversation was the best and also reminded me how much I love my team members.
Over the years there’s been a lot of confusion over mine and Ben’s anniversary date. He says it’s November 28th, the day I officially became his girlfriend. I say it’s November 7th, the day we met for the first time in person and had our first date. At some point we compromised that November 28th would be the official date. But call me dorky, I still like to celebrate TODAY. So for that, Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, Benjamin. Here is the first picture we ever took together…from our 3rd date. There was no looking back after that!
Today, Water For People is starting a 2-month campaign focused on GIRLS. Join us to learn how water poverty affects the lives of GIRLS and what you can do to #ChangeThat.
I’ve found myself creating a list in my head recently of all my favorite movies. I would define a favorite movie as one that holds a special place in my heart for whatever reason. One that I’ve seen more than once (realistically more than 10 times). And one that I can turn on at any time of day, at any point in the film and be happy. WARNING: this list is not limited to “good” movies. It may in fact contain many critical flops. So there. Oh, and they’re in no particular order. If I could write them all in a cloud and allow them to float around so no one movie was on top, I would prefer to do that.
- Clue – this was the first real movie I ever got addicted to. I used to watch it almost everyday after Kindergarten with my mom. The VHS was totally ruined, but we’d just forward though the shotty parts. I still know and recite most of the lines frequently. And I’ve passed my addiction on to my nephew and niece.
- Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox – these should all probably have their own lines, but I’ll lump them together as a “Wes Anderson” tribute. I love almost all his films, but these three (in order) take the cake. I could make an entirely separate list of all the awesome things about these movies and Wes’ movies, in general. Instead, I’ll just say that these are fabulous.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – such a great change to see Jim Carrey in a dramatic role and he pulls it off flawlessly. The story line is brilliant and painful – haven’t we all wanted the ability to erase someone from our thoughts and memories? I can’t watch this movie without feeling a million emotions and crying like a baby, but it’s so worth it. It’s so perfect.
- Singles – I guess this movie defined a generation, but I’m not sure it was mine. I really identified with the “grunge” scene from the age of 11 or so, so a movie like this which brought a great storyline to the scene that I loved so much was much needed. And I loved that it showcased some of the musicians that I still love so greatly to this day – even if those musicians didn’t enjoy the movie process as much as I would have liked them to.
- Anchorman – another one of those movies that I’ve been abnormally obsessed with. To connect to my previous post, I loved Anchorman long before it was the hip thing to love. Back in the day when the movie came out and I would quote it, people would give me that blank look of “wow, you like stupid humor,” to which I would reply – No, I LOVE stupid humor.
- Away We Go – this movie is so perfect in so many ways. Like a Wes Anderson flick, it’s accompanied by a kick-ass soundtrack. I find this film to be painfully relatable at times, and downright hilarious at others.
- High Fidelity – taught me that it was OK to be a music snob. And that relationships are fucked up and just don’t work the way we want them to.
- The Hours – most people I know have a really hard time with this film but I think it’s so well made and well acted. And such a great concept to have the three story lines, in three different time periods happening simultaneously so you can clearly see the similarities between what’s going on in each place.
- Into the Wild – one of my friends once left on a journey when he was 26 with only a bike and his thoughts. He’s about 31 now and still on that journey. I hear from him maybe once a year, maybe even less than that. This film always makes me think of him and all the wonderful and scary things he’s probably found out there. I hope he’s ok and he’s found whatever it is that he was looking for. And I hope he meets a fate less grim than Chris.
- Some Kind of Wonderful – this is, was, and always has been my favorite John Hughes 80s flick, but it’s overlooked by most. Cute blue-collar-working wrong-side-of-the-tracks high school boy in love with the most popular and shallowest girl in school. So distracted by his obsession that he doesn’t notice his adorable tomboy best friend who’s in love with him. And in the end, he picks the tomboy! It’s like the story of my life, except the boy(s) never picked me in the end!
- Heat – hands down the best heist movie ever with an insanely awesome cast.
- Wonder Man, The Inspector General, The Court Jester (in that order) – growing up with super conservative, Indian parents, the safest thing to watch was older movies. Somehow we got stuck on these three Danny Kaye films and I still get giggly thinking back to them. And yes, I find myself quoting them with my sisters all the time.
- Notting Hill – it got me through college (alongside Friends and Felicity).
Mondays are always icky. I’m usually more tired on Mondays than any other day of the week. Yesterday was particularly tough because I was non-stop busy, combined with not getting a lot of sleep the night before. So you can just imagine how pleased I was to get an email from my boss as the day ended….
Just wanted to say that despite the logistics around your move, the kitty cats, and recent illness….you continue to amaze me. You are so on top of things and organized and you manage to still get so much done. Just wanted to say that it does NOT go unappreciated. You are such a valued person here at WFP and despite the distance, we appreciate you every day…