NOLA Road Trip Log – There [March 16-19]

 March 16 – 10PM
Too lazy to check my cell phone, its somewhere around 10PM right now. Don’t want to get up and close the door thats letting all the noise in.
I’m going to start from right now and reflect into the past 2 days. Right now, I am very annoyed. So there’s this kid Tom (Name changed) on my trip. He is one of the 4 kids (including me) placed in my particular 2nd grade classroom. He is working with Jason, David, and myself. He’s really really nice but the more time I’ve spent with him in the classroom, the more I find his…honestly…the more his stupidity bothers me. He should not have chosen tutoring because he does not know what he’s doing. We’re not here to lift these kids in the air and indulge their hair-touching and sunglasses-wearing fantasies. We can’t get nostalgic about 2nd grade to the point where we begin to act like 2nd graders with them, you know what I mean? We’re here to teach!! Of course we’ll get nostalgic, but my point is…Tom hasn’t done shit since we began working in the classroom. He just sits there, cracks jokes, and teaches the kids whatever the fuck he wants with his little group. Even our teacher calls Sam’s table his crew/groupies. The rest of the class is learning a new math lesson. The 3 of us are walking around our tables making sure everybody’s following along. What does Tom do? Gives them a spelling test. When asked why, he responds with…Because they asked me to. OH PLEASE YOU’RE PISSING ME OFF. LEARN 2 TEACH.

One of the girls here is hopelessly and madly in love with him – thats cute! The fact that he’s taking this all as fun and games instead of understanding the severity of the situation – that is pissing me off so much. This school, if it loses its funds, will shut down for good. If all of these struggling students don’t do well on their LEAP/iLEAP exams (think ELA for you New Yorkers), then they are screwed. The test is in 2 weeks. Think of your own state equivalent. Now imagine failing it because you, as a 2nd grader, didn’t know your alphabet yet. So they need us here teaching them phonetics and sounds and beginner words and also testing their reading comprehension skills. Instead, Tom is just having fun. ARGH.
And you know this wouldn’t bother me too much if he hadn’t won the first "You Rock" award. Stupid AB NOLA Reflection thing but he won the you rock prize from Samara. Remember the 2 distinct cliques we remembered. Yeah Samara (one of our site leaders) is obviously in the other clique.  Because David/Me/Jason are in the clique that Samara and her groupies are not in. So it made sense that we wouldn’t get anything I guess. Goddddd I hate the blatant favoritism. I mean to be honest, of the 4 of us tutoring in that classroom, he deserved it least.
And by that, I mean that in my opinion, he didn’t deserve it at all. All he’s done is had a girl crush on him. Girl is like…8. He should have stayed in construction if he planned to get away with ‘tutoring’ and not actually teaching anything at all. Its just a waste, you know? Somebody else who was better at it/actually wanted it would have taken his place & done a better job. 
THEN he gave his prize in today’s reflection to David. Which is totally fine, he is the one person in my 4-ppl group that I can stand to lose to because he’s amazingly dedicated as well. The kids also love him but he got that prize for the wrong reason. Um hello, PRYANKA was the one who administered & then checked their spelling tests today. And it was PRYANKA not David who helped lead the class today when  Ms. Coffil stepped out for a meeting she had. And if you’re too busy doing what you aren’t supposed to be, don’t give freaking inaccurate reasons and false bullshit that he didn’t even do as your reasons for claiming he deserves an award. He deserved it, I agree absolutely. but not for the reasons.
I have to say SO much more though. Spats and annoyance aside, we have experienced so much since coming here. Already I can say that I have been forever changed. thats all I have to say for now because if I try to write much more or go into detail, I will ramble and not make much sense. I’m exhausted, good night ❤

March 19 – 2:00AM
We’re leaving New Orleans at 7AM and I really won’t want to leave. I’m going to miss this city SO much 😦 I didn’t spend enough time with the kids or manage to see enough fo the city either. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say I’ve had my fill of New Orleans though, this place is just so rich in culture, history, and entertainment. I have terrible allergies right now and I’m watching a documentary about the crisis in japan with Jason in the lounge upstairs right now. Sorta weird…I’ve felt so disconnected from the world this week without my laptop/phone. I need to update myself with world news when we get back! I miss the school, I don’t want to leave. Its really hard and I just want to forget that I study at NYU and just stay here and help out. And I should really sleep now that I think about it but I’m too distracted right now. Too wide awake and sad to fall asleep. I had so many intense experiences here. I saw alligators, ate at Cafe Du Monde, saw (and got lost on) Bourbon Street, walked up and down Canal Street with friends to find a dessert place. In vain. I bought tons of touristy souvenirs, I walked around with my camera looking like a hypocritical tourist (Because I make fun of the tourists visiting NYC) and had amazing New Orleans food. I  may or may not have tried eating an alligator tail. For real..
I’m too sleepy to write well but I do have a lot of experiences that I want to talk about. My next…omg this news is so upsetting. Our world is in a state of so much fucked up.

NOLA Road Trip Log – There [March 14]

 March 14 – 4:45PM [Day 3 Vacation, Day 1 with Relief Spark]
So we just finished our first day of volunteering with Relief Spark. Today was really chill actually but we still ended up spending 9AM-4:15PM at the school site itself. Now I ‘m just chilling in the bed, I’m going to shower after I write a little bit. We’re cooking pasta for dinner together and I signed up to help. There’ll be 3 of us. Aimee and Whitney (My bed/roommates) just got back from grocery shopping with Samara and Ashley so it means I seriously need to go shower. Soon. Just a quick overview though – I’m in a group thats tutoring but our whole Alternative Breaks group is collectively going to build a playground from scratch, plant a little garden as well as the tutoring group that I’m in. Even though I’m in that group, we’ll be helping with the construction work after school lets out at 3PM until we leave the site for the evning, and also working during our lunch breaks (12:00-1:30 for my classroom. The kids have lunch, recess, and then art/gym/etc…so we don’t need to be there for that) Its pretty crazy, this school will lose its charter if we can’t get these kids’ grades higher. I’m really worried but excited, we get to spend more time with the kids themselves starting tomorrow. And now awesome music be blasting and I need to shower. Will update this later with more reflection, less summary.

I’m actually on the rooftop deck now. Our rooftop is amazing!! We have a hot tub, a gym/lounge, the deck itself with lounge chairs and a grill, and wind chimes We’re up hear with "Cola" and gummy bears, David and Jessica are getting in the hot tub now but I’m just going to chill by them on a lounge chair for now. I use the word chill too much but anyway, I don’t need to be down for cooking till 6PM.
Today’s drive around New Orleans was fascinating and exhilarating. The amount of variation between blocks/streets is astonishing. The drive up or down St. Charles Street here will grant you views of 20+ million dollar homes. Drive a block left or right of that and you’ll see tiny, worn-down lots with houses that seem to me, maybe at best, 1/10th the size of their next-block neighbors. There are so  many abandoned/neglected houses on the other streets too. Makes me so upset that these rich people on that one block are living so easily when their neighbors’ properties lie in ruin. You know what I do love about New Orleans though? The COLOR! Rich or poor,some of these houses have the most vibrant color combinations you can imagine. I’m talking sea green with cotton candy pink or bright robin’s egg blue with bright yellow. Serious. We even saw a fuscia car. The color in this city is so refreshingly different from the NYC that just feels so drab/dreary in comparison. There are low-lying structures all over but they’re interwoven with very city-essque skyscrapers. You can literally see where one parish ends and another begins! I completely feel like I’m the only one actually writing this  week, but thats okayyyy. I’ll just have a lot of stuff for Nabila later. When I update my actual livejournal (LOL I am) that is. I hate my legs. I want to get in the hot tub. Seriously. Mark is singing now. TTYL singing along with group in hot tub.
Monday – Reflection Type Thing – [WEB OF IMPACT]
The reflection/web of impact meeting/group session was amazing. So proud of Mark, he led it really well. 
Just past midnight but I’m not starting a new day yet. Waiting for Jonny to get his ass over here because he said he would.
50 minutes later. He is come and gone! And I being off to my bed soon, have decided that it is time to wrap this up. We have 2 distinct cliques now in this group and I’m not a huge fan of this happening. The other group is crazy spazzy as fudge. I’ve really bonded with Aimee and Whitney from this trip though. I can see us becoming and remaning good friends. Sooo fun, this trip.

Assignments: Week 10 [March 28 – April 1]

British Literature
[X] Commercialization, Industry and Art – Past and Present, A Musical Instrument, In an Artist’s Studio, Goblin Market, My Last Duchess, The Bishop Orders His Tomb, Andrea del Sarto? – Due Monday
[ ] Religion and Science
– On The Origin of the Species, Dover Beach, Ulysses, "The Eagle, A Fragment," The Charge of the Light Brigade, God’s Grandeur, The Windhover, Pied Beauty, AS Kingfishers Catch Fire, Carrion Comfort, "On ‘inescape’ and ‘instress’" – Due Wednesday
• Essay #2: Monday, April 11 @ 12:30PM (Hard Times or Dracula, prompts not available yet)

Comparative Politics
[ ] Read Lecture 16 + 17
• Recitation Presentation: Tuesday, April 5

Law & Society
[ ] Tuesday – Sidney Tarrow: The New Transnational Activism
[ ] Thursday
– Ralph Arbruster: Labor Solidarity in the Americas: the Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice, Sally Merry: Translating International Law into Local Justice




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Quantitative Methods
[ ] HW #6 – Due Thursday 3/31

Assignments: Week 9 [March 21 – March 25]

Sorry about the wait for the rest of the NOLA trip log Nabila, but I’m going to update my assignments and then continue to type out the rest of this onto livejournal. I ended up with 12 or so pages in my journal by the end of the trip. Not for lack of experiences, but because of lack of patience, time, and the inability to put such an amazing life-changing experience into words. Having said that, on with homework for the week!

British Literature
[X] The Realist Novel – Read Hard Times by Charles Dickens
• Essay #2: Monday, April 11 @ 12:30PM

Comparative Politics
[X] Read Lecture 14 – Social Cleavages
[X] Read Lecture 15
• Recitation Presentation: Tuesday, April 5

Law & Society
[X] Tuesday Why We Lost the ERA by Jane Mansbridge – Pages 118-148, 178-200
[X] Thursday The History of Human Rights – From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era by Micheline Ishay – Introduction, Pages 173-243)

Quantitative Methods
[X] HW #5 – Due Thursday 3/24
[X] STATA Lab HW due Friday 3/25

NOLA Road Trip Log – Getting There

Hi, welcome to my NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) Road Trip Log. This is leg 1 of the journey – getting to New Orleans itself. It’ll be a 2 day drive, this update is arriving to the interwebz at the completion of Day 1 of Leg 1 – aka Saturday night in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I’m just going to type out what I wrote on my way here, its a pretty small log for now. I’ll continue adding onto it and updating whenever an internet connection and a computer is available, as I did not bring my laptop with me for this trip.

So from here on out, this is my log. For leg 1.

March 12 – 7:00AM
It’s 7AM and we’re already in Pennsylvania – that’s pretty good progress right? The views are starting to get really pretty now. I’m not going to write for too long though, I actually haven’t brought my laptop with me so I’ll be using this journal (shoutout to Nabila again woo) all week. Lets see how many pages I can fill up 🙂 Its just really pretty right now, the area is a bit mountainous and there’s an awesome little valley to my right. Complete with a cottage and farmland and everything. Great start to Spring Break!

March 12 – 7:15PM
Okay, we’ve been on the road for nearly 14 hours now (We left at 5:30AM from the city). I’m wide awake and can’t awit to get to New Orleans tomorrow afternoon. We’re spending the night in Chattanooga (Choo-choo!?) first though and and won’t drive into New Orleans untils ometime tomorrow afternoon. Part of me can’t believe that its already Spring Break – sophomore year is almost over and that just feels crazy! Jonny’s already in New Orleans (He took a flight) and we’ve been texting about how the city is mad crowded and mad awesome and the food is amazing. Yo. Haha but really, he’s getting me even more hyped up. When we last stopped to refuel, it was warm, people had Southern accents, and there were cows in the background grazing behind the gas station. So awesome!! I need to write the next 100 Tales…tale…while I’m on this trip. Make myself feel productive.

March 13 – 2:00PM (Central Timezone)
Different timezone! Today, we’ve driven through the remainder of Tennessee into Georgia, then Alabama, and now Mississippi. We stopped for lunch there an hour or so ago (More Subway ftw) and now the next time we stop will be in New Orleans 🙂 Today was the shorter leg of the trip and we’re now just 90 or so miles away. So yesterday night, we had dinner at Cracker Barrel…I felt so…Southern. It was amazing! Dinner was chicken n dumplins with corn muffins a biscuit, fried apples, corn, snap peas, and hash brown casserole

…LOL. Interjecting this with another note. Flat tire alert! The van ahead of us ran over a…muffler. Who knows. either way, we’re at a shoulder off the highway waiting for roadside assistance now. No roadtrip is complete without its unforeseen adventures I guess. /randomnote

Back to dinner though. All that PLUS unlimited sweet tea plus a silice of coca cola cake for $10.14. UhMAZING. I am so overusing the word, I know. But hey, I now have time to kill and I really want to kill time somehow so in between texting Dan (IM’ing) and waiting for AAA to show up, I’ll probably get out and walk around in a few.

March 13 – 3:30PM
Small little (40 minute) delay till 3:10 and then we were back on the road! And I just took a picture of the 49 mile marker/sign for New Orleans. SOOOOO close! We just drove past a NASA Space Center, that’s pretty cool. Our vans split up for the rest of the drive – they’re going to Avis (at a max speed of 45 mph) to get their flat tire properly fixed. We’re heading straight to the accommodations and handling the check-in. They’ll meet us there after. This has got to be the best road trip ever though. Also, just a random sidenote – page 100 on this journal. YAYY. We just drove past "Pearl River" and "Honey Island Swamp" – cool names. The landscape here is so beautiful I’m still texting Jonny and he’s really exciting me about getting to New Orleans. The trip has definitely helped us all bond together – the 10 of us who are on the trip. Dude the swamp to our right has like…alligators. Pretty cool. Looks mad dangerous! This song on the radio has an awesome Jamaican accent. The women just sang that she needs some actionk, tender satisfaction. Ohh southern songs. I love road trips so much.

[3] Light – Part 1

[2] Love ← Previous Story | Next story → [4] Dark
     The Complete Challenge list can be found here

I hear its Spring but when I’m sitting in the dark basement,
The light doesn’t quite reach me
And the warmth isn’t quite there yet and
I’m still sitting there by myself, wondering
To myself,
Where is the light?

Light brings me opportunity
Light is hope,
It is the belief that at the
End of the tunnel,
I will be saved.

I’m sitting here,
Still enveloped in the darkness and sill waiting for it
Like I used to wait for the weekends.

She hung up the Skype call and stretched her body to relax her muscles.

Call ended, duration 6:26:00

Somewhere along those six and a half hours, she realized she was crazy. And extremely, extremely sleepy. But mostly just crazy. So she blew him a kiss, said her good nights and her sweet dreams, told him she would talk to him tomorrow, and hung up the Skype call. And then she decided that she would go write a poem, just for the hell of it. So she did that and then she began working on writing her tale.

She was on Spring Break and nothing really mattered anymore. It was one of those kinds of days where she didn’t want to think about school and she didn’t want to think about relationships and she didn’t want to think about having to solve this Dan problem eventually. It was late, she should have just gone to sleep, but she had started writing a story about light and she was going to finish the thing before she closed her eyes again.

She sat there in complete dark and pondered the meaning of light for a little bit. She thought about its positive connotations and she even wrote a poem. You’ll see that above the prose section. She wrote that poem and then she leaned her head back and stared up at the low celing of the basement ahead of her.

In her mind, the gaze was on something far more spectacular. Bright, twinkling lights scattered in the night sky twinkling merrily away as they continued to exist thousands of years into the future.

Her own vision of that light was already in the past, and she could not but help to wonder why the light would never – could never – be a part of her future. She wanted it, the sun, the tans, the walks on the beach and the sun-drenched light. She wanted all of that just like any other normal teenage girl did over Spring Break but instead, her perception of light was just limited to the artificial laptop screen in front of her.

The light of a laptop that could show her everything, that could connect her to Dan almost every night, but could never let him see her in person or help her gain the experiences she needed to be a good writer.

“So what use was that temporary knowledge and false light?” And with that thought, she went to bed.

Assignments: Week 7 [March 7 – March 11]

British Literature
[X] Prepare Themes Breakdown Guide
[X] Prepare Authors Breakdown Guide
[X] Study for Midterm
[X] Midterm: March 9, 2011 @ 12:30PM

Comparative Politics
[ ] Study Chapters 1 – 7
[X] Read Powerpoints for Lectures 1 – 13
[ ] Midterm: March 10, 2011 @ 9:30AM

Law & Society
[X] Who the fuck knows. Worry about this after midterms & Spring Break.

Quantitative Methods
[ ] HW #4 – Due Thursday 3/10

Sleep Count for the Week (Starting Sunday night): 8 hours