Sunday, December 15, 2013

Up to the Date

I left off kind of outlining my many future adventures. I haven't yet heard back from Fulbright but in pure Mateja fashion I am really doubting my credibility. To put it bluntly: I'm not holding my breath. Yes, I have a lot of things going for me like that I am familiar with the culture, language and geography but I'm really competing with the big dogs here. I realized my competitors are most likely PhD candidates, published and just real life scholars. You can't even apply to the Slovenia grant without your Masters...or better. Anyway, just wanted to stress my worries about that situation. Luckily, I have a back-up plan: move to Austin! The city I have promised myself I would live a couple years of my 20's in. I have been looking at some Assistant Professor positions at the University of Austin Texas. So, there's that.

I also informed my readers that I was going to Nepal! Well, I did that. And it was a culture shock, to say the least. I have never traveled to SE Asia before this and I really don't know how to put my experience in words that are euphemistic enough to say what I mean. But it was wild. If anyone wants to be really "believe" in overpopulation, go to SE Asia. If anyone wants to "believe" in global warming due to the waste we produce, go to SE Asia. I thought I was prepared for a third world country traveling through Chile, Central America and some grungy parts of Europe. But wow. This level of poverty was something I could not quite shake. The amount of social responsibility, especially for a Westerner, was sometimes too much to bear. I couldn't bring myself to haggle for a 1.50$ in Rupees. This is quite a negative review. There were so many positives to add to the (initially) overwhelming negatives. The Himalayas are spectacular. Humbling. Fantastic. Freaking Huge. But if I saw one more piece of trash littering the most beautiful mountain range on our planet, I probably would have lost it. It got better as we got higher but, my god. My Mt. Everest. Nepal is amazing though, in it's own special third worldly way. Anyways, going way into this and there are more things to update y'all with. Like that I'm going back to SE Asia.

My boyfriend is traveling Thailand and Cambodia until February. Until I can join him. Yes, after all that I am going back to SE Asia. I need more, I guess. We are meeting in Vietnam and going up through Cambodia, Laos and Northern Thailand, then traveling down the Vietnamese coast back to Ho Chi Minh City.  We'll see how it goes...I had a dream about riding elephants last night so I am taking it as a good sign.

Here is a poem to leave off from my venting. Actually, instead of leaving you with someone else's poem, I will write my own.. It's time. And I am now in a creative writing group and I have gotten some pretty good feedback. I was always petrified of other people reading my writing but I don't think it's as bad as I think...

Double Edged Sword

This is different.
On the one hand it's just that, different.
On the other hand, it's sad.
This state of life is not a state of life.
Crawling out of a pile of trash as an insulated house is not life.
But maybe it is, it's their life.
And you look at their faces, raptured with such humbling happiness.
And you can't be happy with your three car garage and your 45 K salary.
Because it's hard.

They take their happiness from the looming mountains above them,
From their children's gleeful smiles,
From that extra dollar the westerner gives.

While people use their country everyday for the humbling experience of their nature,
this is their every day life.
This is what they live for.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's all happening...

I sincerely apologize for my inaction. Apparently people actually read my blog for I have been getting rousted for my lack of communication. I always thought that blogs are a bit pretentious, especially personal ones. Who really cares what you are doing? But I guess that's the whole point of social media prove to yourself that you are important enough that people want to know what you are doing. So, I will update and muse about what I have been doing as of late.


I am applying for the prestigious title of Fulbright Fellow in Slovenia. I am proposing to work with the post-war tension in the former Yugoslav republics that I have noticed while visiting. I aim to explore how media, literature and pop-culture may be influencing how people see the war and perceive the bordering nations. There is still quite blatant prejudice in Slovenia with their Balkan neighbors and I hope to ease the tension with an online multicultural center. Stay tuned...I find out if I get the grant in January. If I go to Slovenia next year then I think I will stay on at the University of Ljubljana to pursue a PhD in Slavic Studies. 

In the meantime I am TRAVELING!

First trip: 

I am going to the Dominican Republic for a wedding and then to Puerto Rico for a week with the boy with a pit-stop in NYC for my birthday tomorrow! Ready to party in the city and then get some sun...

2nd trip:

I am working part-time for my dad as a rep...the company I am primarily working for is Sherpa Adventure Gear. As much as I complain about the job (I hate driving to accounts and essentially being a slave to the buyer) there are some going on the company dollar to NEPAL. Yes, Sherpa Adventure Gear is flying all their sales reps to Kathmandu to tour the factories and have a sales meeting. AND they are taking us on a trek through the Annapurna Valley. So, I am getting ready for a spiritual journey and some exotic culture. 

3rd trip:

My brother is in Argentina for the year!! My friend Jesi lived in Buenos Aires for 2 years and her good friend is getting married. Jesi wants me to be her date. Score. 

4th trip:

My boyfriend has a one-way ticket to Thailand...Him and his pals are doing a surf trip through Indonesia. After the selling season/trade shows in January I am going to meet him in Cambodia and travel for a few months. No concrete plans yet...suggestions are welcome. I am very interested in Laos...

So, that is what I am up to. I also need to up my blogging because I am boasting about my blog skills in my Fulbright proposal so come back soon! 

For the parting poem this post, I think I will leave you all with a poem about traveling.

This is a poem by the great Scottish writer Robert Luis Stevenson, you may have heard of him...(Treasure Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) but he was also an amazing travel writer...


I should like to rise and go
Where the golden apples grow;--
Where below another sky
Parrot islands anchored lie,
And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
Lonely Crusoes building boats;--
Where in sunshine reaching out
Eastern cities, miles about,
Are with mosque and minaret
Among sandy gardens set,
And the rich goods from near and far
Hang for sale in the bazaar;--
Where the Great Wall round China goes,
And on one side the desert blows,
And with the voice and bell and drum,
Cities on the other hum;--
Where are forests hot as fire,
Wide as England, tall as a spire,
Full of apes and cocoa-nuts
And the negro hunters' huts;--
Where the knotty crocodile
Lies and blinks in the Nile,
And the red flamingo flies
Hunting fish before his eyes;--
Where in jungles near and far,
Man-devouring tigers are,
Lying close and giving ear
Lest the hunt be drawing near,
Or a comer-by be seen
Swinging in the palanquin;--
Where among the desert sands
Some deserted city stands,
All its children, sweep and prince,
Grown to manhood ages since,
Not a foot in street or house,
Not a stir of child or mouse,
And when kindly falls the night,
In all the town no spark of light.
There I'll come when I'm a man
With a camel caravan;
Light a fire in the gloom
Of some dusty dining-room;
See the pictures on the walls,
Heroes fights and festivals;
And in a corner find the toys
Of the old Egyptian boys.