Oh Captain, My Captain

I really don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with the passing of Robin Williams. I mean, he was such a significant figure in my upbringing. From his role as the Genie to Mrs. Doubtfire, I was absolutely hooked as a kid. I loved his quirkiness and upbeat personality. But it was going back and watching all his roles over again that made me fully appreciate what this man was capable of. I remember revisiting Mrs. Doubtfire several years ago, at a time when my parents’ relationship was really rocky, and almost on the verge of divorce. And as I watched Williams’s character fight to keep his children in his life, all the stress and pain that I had been holding back from my parents finally came out. Suddenly the whole story became so relevant to me, and thus the movie took on a whole new meaning. I felt personally connected with the film, especially with Williams’s last few lines. When he was responding to the letter about the fighting parents, I felt like he was talking to me, and that really broke me down. I cried harder than I had in years, and his performance moved me so much that I immediately got in my car and drove to the store to buy the DVD. I was convinced that if I bought the movie for my parents, they would understand, right? Although they never even bothered to take off the wrapping, we’re still a family, and whether or not I have Robin Williams to thank for that, I know that if he was that capable of breaking me down and inspiring me all at once, then he’s sure to have done the same for countless others. Thank you for putting so much passion into your craft; I hope that my children will appreciate your films as much as I have, because I’ll be sure to expose them to as many as I can. I know that you’ll continue touching people’s hearts through your legacy. May you finally find peace.

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I feel like I’m always apologizing to you guys about this, but sorry for such a long hiatus! I’m currently traveling abroad, and have been doing so since late May. Although I haven’t really been keeping this blog updated, I’m posting photos on instagram on a nearly daily basis. I’ve been taking a plethora of pictures, and I’m spacing out all the uploading of them just so that I don’t flood people’s news feeds. If you’re interested in seeing where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, you can do so on my instagram account. And if we have similar taste in posts, I’ll follow you as well! :) Thanks for being so patient and understanding, guys.

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Everyone is testing my boundaries, making me embarrassed through association. Quiet down. Have patience. Talk about something other than the same four topics every day. I came into this program hoping to make friends, but I’m so disgusted with everyone’s personalities and bad habits that I find myself less and less inclined to even listen to them talk; in particular there is this one person. My disdain has simmered and been added to until I honestly don’t care if this somehow reaches this person, because I’m just that annoyed. I’m tired of hearing you talk like you’re above everything and as if you’re so morally right. It’s one thing to try and be good, but if you’re being good just so you can brag about it and use it over and over again as a topic of discussion, it’s kind of beating a dead horse. It’s great that you’re being proactive and taking action in putting things together, but don’t walk off by yourself expecting everyone to follow without any sort of queue whatsoever. Don’t act like just because you invited everyone that it also means you can choose wherever we all go without any sort of consensus. This is the second time you’ve deprived me of a possible learning experience. Being in a location isn’t the same as engaging and participating. I want to learn through experiences but instead I’m having to spectate through windows and open doors. I’ve become that which we are trying to study, and it’s because you’re too afraid to step out of your comfort zone. We missed an amazing opportunity to partake and get to know people. Instead, we’re sitting in a rather empty building, complaining about our expectations for the program, which are honestly quite easy to accomplish.

There’s only one person whom I truly admire in this group now, and I just hope that he’ll accept me tagging along with him from now on, because I’m fed up with others in this group talking me up as if we’re going to do a specific thing, and then have the opposite happen, without any remorse or apologies. The primary reason we’re here is to learn firsthand, through participate observation, so why are we all standing on the sidelines? Know what your job is and just do it.

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I’ve hit this roadblock while I’ve been here in Thailand, where I’m having just a really hard time actually getting to know anyone that’s from here. Am I actually just supposed to approach random people on the street and strike up a conversation? I’ve never been one to do that at home, much less in a country where there’s a language barrier. I feel like other people in the program have been much more successful in meeting people, and here I am, with only two legitimate interactions with Thai people; one being a friend of a friend, and the other seeming to be less and less interested in talking to me as the days go on. On one hand, I know that I have to get to know someone for the sake of one of the papers that will be due later on in the class, and on the other hand, I just want to hang out with someone and spend some time getting to know them. I like my classmates that are in the program with me, but I can only take so much of them at a time. Thais are usually more quiet and relaxed, and I just want someone to help me better understand my assignments and the culture as a whole. Knowing all this, plus the fact that I’m on a rather short time frame, I know that I’m coming across as desperate to the one person I’m trying to get closer to, but I don’t really see any other alternatives. I’m about to exhaust every resource I have, and it’s really making me worry.

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Please Love Bae

After almost a year and a half of being transplanted into a new environment practically against my will and having to adapt to the polar opposite lifestyle, I’ve finally found a group of friends. My group of friends. I may still be a new addition to the group, and maybe I’m not totally comfortable around all, or even accepted by some, but it’s really a big step for me. In California, I basically became close with a small group of my dormmates right from the get-go, and I was completely content throughout that year with having these few close friends. We had our complaints and conflicts, but we made it work. In some respects, they were more than friends — they were Aldor family.

Honestly, I was hesitant to leave this behind when I made the decision to transfer. My fears were realized when I finally settled into Baylor. The dynamic fashion and people were replaced by cookie-cutter Greek-life students. I felt so out of place walking around campus, and I felt like I stuck out in a particularly bad way. Between the class requirements, greek life, and the tuition, I was regretting choosing Baylor more and more. That whole first year, I really only connected with my three roommates, one of which doesn’t even attend Baylor any longer. Even then, I didn’t really get to know them all that well.

But now, I’m so glad to be a part of this club. Just as I had my Aldor family, I now have my PLB family. We have our ups and downs, and drama’s always on the horizon, but I wouldn’t want the composition of the club to be any different. It’s what makes us a family, and I really am so thankful that I’ve been accepted into it. Walking to classes feels different now, for whatever reason. Even though I know that the chances of seeing anyone from the club are slim, I still keep a hopeful eye out, and in turn, my whole outlook of being on campus has completely changed for the better. I no longer regret choosing to come to Baylor. Baylor is home to PLB — my home.

I know it wasn’t easy to try and incorporate me into activities, even after I started coming out of my shell. One day, I’ll explicitly sit down and be real with all of the people who helped bring me in and tried to include me. I’ll tell all of them how thankful I am, and how this group of people made my time here at Baylor worthwhile. I know it’s a stupid excuse, but I don’t want to reveal this vulnerable side to me just yet. Maybe it’s because I know that this is a big part of who I am, and don’t want to catch anyone off-guard with all these bottled feelings of affection and thankfulness I have for each and every person in the club. I know I’ll probably start crying, if not tearing up at the thought of expressing these feelings, and I just don’t think it’s appropriate to show that side of me at this time. Maybe it’s because I want to bask in the belief that I’m sassy, that I’m “a thug,” when in reality, the sassiness is just a cover for my overly-sensitive and sentimental self. Instead of saying anything just yet, I’ll promise to maintain the close ties that I’ve made, and improve those that are sure to come within my next and last year here at Baylor. I just want everyone to know that, years from now, whenever I think of Baylor, my PLB family will be the first thing that come to mind, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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And that’s the story of how we fell out of love.

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We live in a world where honesty has become a noteworthy trait rather than an expected one. Where we had to invent the concept of promises because people can’t be trusted otherwise.

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Between shots of vodka I thought of swear words and food and you.

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There’s a strong gust of wind that shakes my very foundation at night.

And there’s a soft rustle underneath blankets that shakes my very foundation at night.

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Listening: A Response to “We’re Just ‘Talking’”

(linked here)

There is no doubt that the dating scene is an ever-changing one. As times and cultures change, so too do the means in which one becomes emotionally active. However, there will always be those who can come to terms with these new changes, and those who resist said changes. Take the “talking” stage, for instance. There are a few people that I associate with (i.e. Facebook friends sharing the article ad nauseam) who believe that this stage in a relationship is unnecessary, comparing it to “the adolescence for relationships.” Now, I don’t intend to get into any of the religious subjects that the article presents. However, this last quote perplexed me. The adolescent stage in a person’s life is rather important; in fact, it’s so important that its mere existence is the sole aspect of development that sets us as humans apart from other primates. To say that this stage of a relationship is unnecessary after comparing it to adolescence is mind-numbing.

In spite of this, stereotyping the “talking” stage into one of ill motives and outcomes is degrading, and undermines the usefulness of this relatively new step in the relationship process. In society, placing labels on anything is a risky and ultimately dangerous act to commit, and relationships are no exception. Because of this, if a person were to label his or her relationship with another as “dating,” many expectations as well as gossip would arise concerning the two people in question. Moreover, these labels become less and less avoidable with social networking on the rise. With all of these pressures, it’s no wonder that this generation has created another step within the relationship process to help come to terms with all the outside responses. With “talking,” a person can show romantic interest in another, without feeling pressured into making the relationship “facebook official,” or being subject to unavoidable gossip. With the creation of the “talking” stage, the line that separates “not dating” and “dating” becomes more logical, in that more people can take their time to get to know the other person before awkwardly rushing in.

Dating isn’t about labels, or having a trophy to show off to all your friends and family, or even placing a reservation on a person whom you want to marry. “Talking” leads to listening. “Talking” eventually leads to relationships where both parties have a mutual understanding and emotional bond with one another.

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Yes, I realize that I can be needy at times. But I don’t know how else to act. When I’m confronted by all these illusions of interested people, and curious questions. How else am I supposed to act? When I slowly trudge downstairs and find myself in the dark, flipping the lights on one by one just to make food in the lonely silence. “Transfer.” I feel as if this label has been tattooed on my forehead; like it’s a curse I’ll never be able to escape. As if everyone already put in the effort to make friends their first year of college, so why put in anymore just to get to know me? I just want someone to talk to. I don’t even need someone who will listen to my darkest fears, or questions pertaining to the future. How about some small talk over coffee? I could genuinely appreciate that. It’s funny how in a classroom setting, everyone can seem talkative, and yet no one ever wants to share that same intimacy anywhere else. I just want to bask in the realization that someone appreciates me to the point that they’ll go out of their way just to have a conversation with me. And as we play catch with what’s on our minds, I can rest easy knowing that I’m keeping the person at the other end of the table interested, hopefully as they had expected me to do so.

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Shutdown 101: What’s Going To Happen Tonight At Midnight?


So as this is likely the first government shutdown in the memory of most if not all of the people posting here on tumblr (I was 8 in 1995), it might be helpful to refresh our memories on what exactly is going to happen when the federal government doesn’t have a budget.

  • 800,000 federal employees have to go home. There’s no money to pay them, and coming to work on a volunteer basis gets into some tricky legal areas. While in the past they have successfully lobbied for back pay, there’s no guarantee of it with a divided congress.
  • Air-traffic controllers will remain on duty. ATCs are government employees, but they are members of the 2-million odd employees that are marked as “essential”. They likely will not receive paychecks, however, until the shutdown ends.
  • Airport delays. While the FAA’s security screeners are essential employees, many of the people who work to support them logistically are not.
  • Visa applications and fees will continue to be processed, and foreign embassies and consulates remain open. So if you’re waiting on a visa application, don’t worry, it’s still in the works - though again, it’ll almost certainly be a slower process. Homeland Security and green card operations are included here, though DHS’ e-verify program - the thing that checks on the immigration status of job applicants - will no longer operate.
  • NASA will furlough most of its employees. Essential mission control operations and employees will continue, but the vast majority of NASA employees are going home - and I do mean home, because NASA’s on-site housing for employees is being shut down.
  • The military stops receiving paychecks. While the million and a half members of the US Armed Services stay on duty, they won’t get paid until after the shutdown.
  • The postal service continues as normal.
  • The federal court system stops. According to The Guardian, the federal courts would operate as normal for about 10 days before they have to start sending people home.
  • The NIH screeches to a halt. That includes accepting new patients for clinical research, as well as answering medical questions on their hotline.
  • The CDC will stop its seasonal flu program. According to the Washington Post, it will also have “a significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations.”
  • HUD will no longer be able to provide local housing authorities with vouchers. So if you live in government-subsidized housing, your status is very much up in the air.
  • Parks and museums will close. Yosemite, Alcatraz, Yellowstone, the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the Statue of Liberty, and about 400 other locations will close - though interestingly, the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon will remain open, because the state of Arizona is picking up the bill.
  • The EPA will shut down. The only thing that stays open at the EPA during a government shutdown is its operations around Superfund sites.
  • OSHA will shut down.
  • Social Security will be partially defunded. Social Security, as an entitlement, will remain open enough to keep the checks going out, but will lose enough staff that they won’t be able to schedule new hearings.
  • VA Benefits will be cut. VA hospitals remain open, but that’s about it - and if the shutdown lasts longer than a few weeks, the Department of Veterans Affairs has said that it might not have enough money to pay disability claims and pensions.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it gives everyone a pretty good idea of what we’re going to be looking at over the next few days, weeks, or (god forbid) months.

Feel free to send me an ask with any questions you have, and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

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