Entry: i hadn't forgotten.... Sunday, February 12, 2006

I would like to spend a few moments to spout about how wonderful yoga is.  Today is a case in point.

I was feeling quite lethargic; I had already completed my studying for tomorrow, and was pointlessly surfing the internet.  I thought about going for a walk, but it was cold out and I didn't have the energy.  I then considered taking a nap, but I was feeling to lazy to even do that.  Everything seemed pointless and boring.

Finally, I forced myself to do yoga.  I'd been intending to do it since I got back from Turkey and Greece a few weeks ago (especially after the many hours spent riding a tour bus!).  But, like most things I intend to do, this had fallen by the wayside.

The moment I began, however, I remembered why it is I continually return to yoga.  I think it is the one activity that truely succeeds in relaxing me.  Especially when it seems that even sleeping won't be enough to refresh my energy, yoga is incredibly invigorating.  It not only heightens my awareness of my own body, but also increases my sensitivity to my surroundings.

Reading back over that, I realized that my writing style is become more and more dry and academic.  I suppose this is the result of writing little more than research papers and newspaper articles for the last few months.  Perhaps a bit of fiction writing would do me good.  Lately, however, I have been lacking motivation to do much of anything.

Actually, after returning from Greece/Turkey, I was highly motived to start planning another "escape" abroad as soon as possible.  I settled on a China Yunnan Province through the School for International Training, which is renowned for academic excellence and complete cultural immersion.

A brief aside here:  though I thoroughly enjoyed the study tour through Greece and Turkey, its emphasis was solely on the historical/archaeological aspect.  The trip hardly quenched my thirst for interaction with a non-Western people and culture.  In fact, it merely whetted my appetite for further study/living abroad experiences.

Continuing on . . . this particular program was an intesive language and cultural studies project, complete with a 4-week independent study project which would allow me to pursue virtually any topic I wanted, in any part of the province that I wanted.   Basically, my mouth waters just thinking about it. 

I began the application process and recieved a few e-mails from program alumni who vouched that this was the best experience of their life. 

But basically, my parents, who are funding a portion of my tuition, vetoed that option.  I'm not sure why; they really had no good reason, other than the fact that they and I do not see eye-to-eye on some pretty basic life-outlook issues. 

Perhaps this is part of the reverse culture-shock thing - an intense desire to get out of this country, and if that fails, little desire to do much else.  I remember feeling this way after I returned from the Caribbean my sophomore year of high school.  Everything in America seems pointless, drab, and meaningless; all the people seem materialistic and shallow.  Of course, I realize this is largely a product of my emotions and that I must reign them in . . .and yet, I can't help but feel that the focus of my life has shifted somewhat.  I cannot help but react with absolute repulsion at the idea of living the "American dream" - finding some pointless, yet high-paying job, to fund a nice house in the suburbs, car, huge TV, etc.  After being in Turkey, I am more attracted toward a minimalistic lifestyle.  Perhaps my favorite moment was standing atop a barren, windswept foothill, the valley spread out below us and primitive village nestled therein.  We had climbed up to see a marble arch preserved from the time of Septimus Severus (2nd century CE) and the remarkably preserved Roman road.  A Turkish man was shepherding his goats along the road, their clanking bells lost amidst the torrent of wind swept down from the mountains.  The hills all around us were speckled with stark white boulders of curious shapes and sizes.  We climbed amongst them, and found the ground and the stones to harbor a great many sea-shells.  At that point, I let my imagination wander and tried to put myself in the place of that shepher, shamelessly romanticizing how wonderful it would be to simply wander through the hills, alone with the desolate wilderness, the ghostly footprints of Rome, and the herd of goats.

I took many carefully-prepared shots of that scene; when I got back, good ol' Walgreens destroyed three of my rolls of film, including that one.  I could not have been more disappointed.

Hopefully I will be able to get back into the routine of college life and be content for the time being.  It sounds strange, but I wish I was under more stress . . .having a lot of studying, a huge paper to write, an article to research - at least these give me something to focus on, other than dreaming of being abroad.

I did start another website, where I posted my previous newspaper columns, and will eventually post more poetry and other writings:
It's not terribly polished yet, but still readable.

I may also try scan some photos from the trip and post them either here or there.  The one at top is a mysterious 2nd-century AD Roman temple called "Frozen Stones".  We had to scramble through the back streets of Tarsus, Turkey to find it; since it's largely unexcavated, it's not in any of the guidebooks or on the tourist gauge of interest.  Then, the gate was locked, but somebody (probably teenagers looking for a spot to go drinking) had snuck a ladder on the backside that went partly up the crumbling stone wall...it was a bit of a climb.  At one end was a small tunnel carved into the stone that ended in a steep, black hole.  I tell you, there's nothing like tresppasing in a Roman temple.


February 13, 2006   03:16 PM PST
its a great feeling isnt it? getting out of the states and actually living in such a real place. I am envious of you. Enjoy it and smile as much as you can.

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