Hahaha I love it!
I woke up this morning to the wonderful news that the review on my visa application for Turkey was lifted. I’m relieved. During my junior year in Istanbul, I saw a good number of my fellow exchange students get chewed up and spit out by Turkish bureaucracy so when I got word that my visa application was flagged, I felt like someone told me I was terminal. I was done for. No more summer in Turkey. Thanks to my connections in Washington and Istanbul, I am standing in the light and ready to have an experience in Bursa, Turkey that is richer and deeper than my first time in the country. Bursa is traditional, conservative and Islamic. Istanbul is bustling, liberal (mostly) and secular. When I come back in August, I will have learned a year of Turkish in 6 weeks and then it’s off to Harvard for grad school. When Bill Clinton spoke at Howard’s commencement, he said that we graduates were among the 7% of people in the world with a college degree meaning that we have the privilege of choosing what we want to do for a living. I am so privileged that I’m preparing for a career that involves traveling to Turkey and knowing Turkish.
Hahaha I love it!
The Voyage Of Life
One of my favorite sets of paintings.
the forced laughter at a video that a friend shows you because you don’t want them to feel bad
I don’t know about God. If I believe in God, it’s not belief in some guy who is perched in some unseen place in the sky. God, to me, is energy, the Universe, all the things that move humanity. For the last year or so, I’ve developed a type of agnosticism with a bias toward non-belief. Even on the days when I am ready to declare myself an atheist, I still cling to the belief that there is an existence that transcends the mundane, the material, the superficial, the strife and drudgery of human life. Even if there is no god or life beyond this one, I’m inclined to believe that all of the prayers, meditations, pilgrimages, fasts, exercises, beads, bracelets, amulets, cloths, temples, churches, mosques, cathedrals, ashrams — they are all manifestations of the human desire to be liberated from the difficulty and strangeness of human life. Maybe each religion is a different attempt at saving us from ourselves. After all, it’s very easy for us to be blind. We fail to see that sometimes we’re actually destroying ourselves in what we pass off as progress. We fail to see that we’re chaining ourselves by adhering to dogma and tradition. Some cast aside religion and spirituality as myth. Yet, even myth has its purposes. I have no interest in religion as a way of exercising power, moral or otherwise, over others or telling others about a wrong way or a right way to live. The hard part about being human is that we all have to arrive at our own truths and I want everyone to have the chance to do that. Escaping this power struggle — finding your own truth versus someone else dictating your truth for you — is the very purpose of spirituality. I am interested in re-entering that space where I can use various tools to transcend myself and all the things that chain me in my daily existence: my anger, my skepticism and lack of faith in others, my own feelings of inadequacy, my pessimism, my inertia, my lack of sympathy for others. Life is not easy. But, maybe spirituality is the grease that let’s us slide on through.
I don’t really get people who “purge” their Facebook friends or go on “friend deleting sprees.” If you want your virtual friend network to reflect your actual friend network, why have a Facebook account in the first place? I guess I see Facebook as an online Rolodex of contacts that will be useful to me rather than an online manifestation of my life offline. I’ve had people I barely talk to in years reach out to me about housing in a new city, resume building, job searches and I reach out to acquaintances for similar things. I rarely talk about my personal life or share things that I wouldn’t share with a complete stranger. In no way do I expect my online presence (on Facebook at least) to reflect the totality of my life or who I am as a person. I had a friend who recently congratulated her Facebook friends for surviving another “great purge.” It got me thinking.