Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm Getting an Award!

'ey up. Welcome back. 

Maria over at A Hip Story, a great friend and a great writer, recently nominated me for a Liebster award! How kind! She's described it better than I could, so I'm ripping the description directly from her post: 

"The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers, by other bloggers with the intention of connecting the community and bringing new visitors to blogs with fewer followers OR to a blog you love! While I'm not new to the game, new followers are always welcome, so I am so honored Tracey thought of Hip Story! It's sort of a publicity meets chain letter meets tell us about yourself.

Here's how it works: 
The rules are that I will answer the 10 questions that Maria gave us (the blogs she nominated)- then I will nominate a bunch of blogs and ask them questions!  The bloggers that I nominate have to link back here- hence spreading the love!"

Ready? Let's do this.

1. Why did you start blogging?

In April of 2012, I had been thinking for some time about starting a blog. It had been a particularly stressful spring semester, and I guess I was looking for an outlet, an opportunity to do some writing of my own, that didn't involve academic papers or peer-reviewed research. I had all these thoughts bouncing around in my head, and it seemed like a good idea to jot them down and try and make sense of all of them, and that would maybe help me concentrate on all the work that had to get done. When I got word that I had been accepted for a study-abroad program in Ecuador over the summer, I realized I could pretty easily make it a serviceable combination musings/travel blog. I think I wrote the first post, like, the day before a major paper was due. I got a good grade on it, though, so I guess it worked out? Now I just have to do some more travelling.   
2. What's your favorite vacation spot?

Ooooh, that's a tough one. Not to hammer on the Ecuador thing (but I'm gonna,) there's this little beach town called Mompiche on the northwest coast, Esmeraldas Province. Just incredibly green and tranquil, with delicious cheap seafood, the friendliest of people, and secluded, unspoiled beaches you can find just by walking around. I spent a couple of days there before coming back to the states, and it was like heaven. I had shrimp omelettes for breakfast. Shrimp. Omelettes. Sadly, I heard that a major international resort is going to be setting up shop there soon, so the town I fell in love with probably won't exist much longer.

I mean, come on. Right? Why would you build a Sandals or whatever on this? 
Photo credit

3. If you could have dinner with any one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I thought for a long time about this. I'm gonna go with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In a weird way, I'm really excited about the dire climate change report the UN released last month, and want to discuss it with him. I've been having anxiety about global warming and what it means for our future for years now, and I'm hoping that it's an issue that will stay in our consciousness this time. And I would love so, so much to talk with the Secretary about putting the climate panel's warnings for the world into practice, while enjoying some authentic Korean food on the side. I'd also ask him about whether he sees the role of the United Nations changing in the coming decades, as sub-state actors like corporations and ethnic or religious groups take a leading role in world affairs that used to be limited to national governments. 
4. Who or what inspires you?

So many things. Sunlight. I'm so much more productive when it's bright out. Humor. If I can find something funny about a given subject or activity, I can connect with it much more deeply and, oddly, take it more seriously. The outdoors. Living in the city, you're mobbed with stimuli at all times- the shower is the only place and time you can be alone with your thoughts. Getting out for a long ride or a mountain hike always lets me see things more clearly. The shower. I love feeling clean. People with genuine enthusiasm and ideas. I'm an extrovert, so I feed off of enthusiastic people's energy and can easily start a dialogue with them to parse out a cool idea or make something great happen. 

There's a lot more. But my posts already all run long, so I'll move on. 
5. If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

Child: Nolan Gould, AKA Luke from "Modern Family." Adult: Paul Rudd. Or maybe cast Aidan Turner and give me that brooding edge and a sweet Dublin accent.  
6. What is your favorite childhood memory?

"Favorite?" Hard to say. Someone asked me once if I could remember a time when, as a child, I ever felt "so deliriously happy," that it still resonates with me to this day. The answer... was no. I was an anxious kid, so for some reason, even when things were great it was almost like I was...waiting for the other shoe to drop, or trying like hell not to mess it up. But there's one memory that comes back to me a lot:

I was probably between 2 and 3, because I think it was at our first house in Hamden, Maine. I remember it was nighttime, and my dad was getting me out of the bath. I was soaking wet, of course, and insisting that my dad give me my favorite blanket so that I could dry off with it. He was probably more pleasant about it than I deserved, he started laughed and told me that you don't dry off with a blanket, you dry off with a towel, but that I could put the blanket on once I was dry. I like that memory a lot, because it was such a weird, random exchange between a toddler and his dad, but it feels really comforting somehow.     
7.  Have you ever had a moment of divine intervention? (or fate, sheer dumb luck, whatever you want to call it)

Every day, man. I ride my bike most everywhere I go, so I'm basically getting in the Grim Reaper's face and yelling "Do it. You won't," on the daily. Weekend before last, I was riding with a group of friends, and a cop car sped out of a blind intersection ahead of us, forcing the car in the oncoming lane (who was on a downhill) to swerve and brake at the same time. If that one person's reaction time hadn't been as good, I might very well be dead. Hi, Mom! 

I've never been in a serious crash, though, so I guess the universe must think I'm important somehow. Or maybe just not worth the energy it would take to off me. 

On a more positive note, you might say that fate or the universe or whatever was determined to get Amanda and me together. There were so many reasons why we might never have become close- her dropping a grad school class we would have had together, my planned early departure from (you guessed it) Ecuador, or the fact that she almost didn't come on the study-abroad program in the first place, the director basically had to beg her, so that we'd have enough people. But somehow, we did, and we make each other really happy. Gross, huh?  
8. Which person in your life makes you laugh the most?

My brother. As kids, our mom always used to tell me that no one could make my brother laugh OR cry like I could. Older brothers- aren't we great? Anyway, Aaron never made ME cry that I can recall, but when he tells stories, he has this delivery that has me in stitches every time. 

Casey is a close second. His dryness is a great contrast to my exuberance.  
9. What's your favorite book? And because this is hard, you aren't limited to just one. Or just 5. :)

In no particular order: 
- A Song of Ice and Fire, Books I: A Game of Thrones; III: A Storm of Swords, and V: A Dance with Dragons. 
- Veins, by Drew (creator of Toothpaste for Dinner  and The Worst Things for Sale.) Weird, unique, hilarious, and heartbreaking all at once.
- Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
El Mundo Alucinante by Reinaldo Arenas
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
- The Last Wish and the other "The Witcher" novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, mainly for the hilariously awkward translations from the original Polish. And they made a video game out of them, so...neat. 
- Sand by Hugh Howey, which I'm reading now, is also pretty cool. 

10. You can have three wishes granted from a magical genie. What are they?

 One: I wish for a clear, concise idea of just what the hell I want to do with my life. Something that I could pull out for the "elevator pitch" and explain to people in under 15 seconds. And something that could focus and drive I suppose figuring that out BEFORE grad school would've been a good idea, but believe me, it was worth it just to narrow things down as much as I have. 

Two: I wish for the ability to talk to animals, straight Dolittle style. Seriously. How great it would it be to actually be able to explain stuff to your pets, rather than them just thinking you're being a jerky, dumb ape? And can you even IMAGINE how crazy it would be to talk to a bird? WHAT DOES A BIRD EVEN THINK ABOUT

Three: Three more wishes. You always wish for more wishes. That's just science. End hunger, no more war, all the far-right Republicans start to see reason, become a sick guitar player, you can do anything you want.  

So I guess that about wraps it up. Thanks again for the nomination, Maria, I had a great time thinking through all those answers. Thanks also to everyone who read this, hope to see you again soon!

Here we go with my nominations:

- Laura from "Laurasia"- even though she hasn't posted in a little while, her stories about Korea were always excellent, and had a much better photos/text balance than I can ever come up with. Consider this an invitation to get some content up there, yo.

-Casey, who has some compelling insights on politics, news, and other stuff.

- Notes from the Field, AJ's blog on working in development in Africa.

Your questions (I kept a couple of Maria's that I really liked):

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What's one place you've never visited that you would go to tomorrow, if you could?
3. Most favorite historical figure, and why?
4. When travelling, what is/would be the one item you could NOT get by without?
5. If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
6.  Name one album or movie you could listen to or watch infinity times and never get sick of it.
7.  Have you ever had a moment of divine intervention? (or fate, sheer dumb luck, whatever you want to call it)
8. Would you rather: be able to run at 100 miles per hour, OR be able to fly at 10 miles per hour? Explain. 
9. Describe a talent or skill you've always admired, but have never tried to master. 
10. You've just returned to society after a sudden, extended disappearance. Who is the first person you call or go to see? 
Enjoy! Looking forward to hearing your answers.

Thanks for reading.


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