Life Update, Ruminations, etc.

This Week is going to be crazy; however I have Friday Night through Monday Night blocked off to complete my work for the semester. My cell phone will be off, I’ll only be checking email.

I present my literary review to the Linguistic Anthropology class this coming Tuesday. This should be a cakewalk. If Jürgen thinks I’m combative in the back of a classroom he should see what happens when I’m given a captive audience.

However, as we head into the final stretch of this semester, I’m anxious, I’m excited, but overall I’m cautions. I’m expecting As…but those will come from hard work and certainly aren’t guaranteed, they’re tenuous at best.. I have no room for mistakes at this point in the game…there’s barely room enough for sleep.

“You give me too much credit, Matan!”
– Prof. Roustum

I met with Prof. Roustum today regarding the email I sent him pleading to take the independent study. The main problem, is that teachers don’t get paid for 499 level courses (which is why so few grant students access). The other problem is that he’s a teacher at the school for refuges in Buffalo so his time is precious as it is.

He leveled with me today and explained his reasons for being hesitant to grant the independent study (mostly a money and time issue, which I do understand) however he told me that if I needed the two or three credits to graduate, it wouldn’t be a question, he’d let me do one instantly. I regretfully had to inform him that I wouldn’t lie to him: I have 130 credits under my belt and certainly don’t need more credit to graduate. He then told me again that if I were to need those credits that he would allow me an independent study, and I again emphasized that I will not lie to him. He then said that he would look at the situation when the semester ended and perhaps something can be worked out…so it certainly isn’t a yes…but it certainly isn’t a no so we’ll see (keep your fingers crossed).

In other news, he’ll be having tea with my parents and myself when they come up later this month if he has the time. He really enjoys my Mother (they email each other).

Dad and I are taking the Assault Rifle Course together…this can lead only to one of two things: either a visit to the E.R. for one of us or an amazing blog entry in the near future…

Originally we were going to take the assault rifle course on Long Island, but the day long course was being offered on the day of the Lavender Ceremony, so we’re going to probably take the one in Elmira, NY together (providing we don’t have schedule conflicts).

It’s odd, but we’ve found some weird kind of father-son bonding experience over firearms…nothing says family love like the smell of gun powder and a perfect score on a paper-human target; I’m sure there’s a hallmark card for it somewhere.

What I’m Doing With My Life/The Soon to be Immediate Future

I’m perilously close to graduating…as such, this means that whenever I enter the vicinity of a family function, I’m left to explain just what it is I’m doing with my life and from what I’ve gathered, many people are confused as to what the next few years hold in store for me as well as what my job will be when I’m done.

I’m not going down the path of academia (to the chagrin of some who hoped I would); this doesn’t mean that I won’t be completing higher level degrees (quite the contrary, I want my Ph.D.) it just means that I won’t be attempting to get into a tenure-track professorship.

Whenever I see people on television setting up makeshift hospitals and repelling out of helicopters to land in war zones in times of need, I go “that could be me.” And people think I’m kidding or having delusions of grandeur when I tell them that I want to work in war zones. I want to work in Darfur, I want to work throughout Africa, and the Middle East. I want to work with Doctors Without Borders (if not at some point, set up my own group, Translators Without Borders? Who knows…maybe someday) as an EMI-T (Emergency Medical Interpreter-Translator). The field (much like Translatology) is still relatively new and still being defined, which is incredibly exciting to me (and very, very appealing)…because I hope that the work that I’ll eventually be doing will help to define the field and pave new paths of academic exploration for others.

I’ve been told by a few family members that I need to dream smaller, or to settle down or to get a nice secure job where I’ll be safe (and had I been born a woman, I guarantee that my grandmother would have told me to get my MRS degree by now) .but there’s a simple rule to life that I live by: there are winners and there are losers and you get to choose which one you’ll be. And the only reason the winners are getting the cool jobs (the jobs that they want) is because they learned the skills necessary to do their work, and they went out and did it despite how many people told them they couldn’t.

I’m not a loser.

So many times people are told to settle down, to tow the line, to behave, to take the easy way out that will earn them the most amount of money for the least amount of work…those people, they don’t make history.

I don’t accept failure (for myself or for others) and outside of sexual relations, I don’t accept no as an answer — ever. The basic requirements to be an EMI-T are physical fitness, ability to work in multiple languages in high-stress environments, being able to interpret on the spot for the patients and the doctors and being able to translate charts on the spot for doctors and then provide the necessary information for follow up care to the patient upon discharge. Certifications are encouraged. Specialized training in Medical Translation a must.

I know I can do all of that. I’m also aware of the risks, but what is life if you don’t take risks? I feel this is what I have a calling to do and much like I’m moving to Israel because I feel a call there, I’ll be training so I can do this too. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out and I won’t be disappointed in myself…because I tried. But I plan on living my life without regrets, and you’ll never know until you try…so I’m trying.

Of course, I’ve mentioned the job, so I should probably mention how I plan on getting the training (which will take quite a few years).

I graduate this December. I submit my paperwork to the Aliyah Organization on February 2nd; from there I’ll be in the United States for however long it takes for the paperwork to go through for both them and Nefesh B’Nefesh so I can receive whatever assistance I’m eligible for.

Upon arrival in Israel I’ll assess my options (academically/university wise) after I complete Ulpan and an Intensive Arabic Program (which I’ve been saving for, and will have more than enough money to cover by the time I make Aliyah).

After I complete both those language programs (neither of which are degree granting) I want to get my Masters in Arabic. While I love the field of Linguistics (I really do) I am much more interested in the Arabic Language than I am in the science behind the language and I’d like to find a program that reflects the focus that interests me…I want to read Arabic novels and Arabic poetry and to learn all I can about the language.

I’ve had a wonderful two year love affair with the Arabic Language and I want to continue that love affair into a relationship that lasts a lifetime; I want to one day be able to express myself better in Arabic than I can in English.

So that’s the deal kids: graduate in December, move soon after that, study really hard, learn the language, live life (always take time for a margarita and a dance with a good looking guy, it’s what keeps you young), take the ATA exams, go for a masters degree, then change the world before noon. Maybe I’ll even find time to work in a nap or two.

“I don’t want somebody to love me, just give me sex whenever I want it, ’cause all I ask for is instant pleasure, instant pleasure, instant pleasure…you in the traffic for all eternity, how could that speed be where you want to be…”
– Rufus Wainwright

So I came in third place for the essay contest…and considering that I wrote spoken word/poetry instead of an essay I’m happy. Plus it means I get $50.00 (or $25.00 since there was a tie for third place?). Either way, it’s more money than I had to begin with and $50.00 buys at least a weeks worth of food in Israel (a few peppers and rice for lunch, a salad for dinner, maybe some falafel if I’m gunna be really lavish…I’m a cheap date).

I’m excited, I sold my desk the other day to Joe so now I have even less furniture in the apartment (and another $50.00 actually…). Now I just have to sell the antique dresser set, the chest of drawers, a bakers rack, three more shelving units and my bed (well I’ll sell my bed in December) my coffee table and sell my chachkis and I’ll have reached the very admirable goal of having all of my belongings fit in my messenger bag :-D.

Minimalism rocks my socks…it also makes cleaning up so much easier.

Loosing Weight!

I’ve found a new eating structure that’s really working well. I’m already down 15lbs and I’m finding it fairly easy to follow. Combining that with getting back into running I’m on the path that I want to be on (now if only the weather would cooperate already so I can run outside without feeling all clammy).


So the UBULS (UB Undergraduate Linguistics Society) I co-founded with friends fundraised with our hoodie sale a total of $1,100.00 and we started to redecorate the Linguistics Lounge last weekend.

Apparently Dr. Michelson was originally hesitant as to what she would find when she came in, though she (and everyone else) seem to love what we’ve done with the place. I’m not sure what she was hesitant about though, since she was sending in a Gay Man and two Designing Women (not only that withfangs is a dual-degree Linguistics/Art major) so I’m not sure what she was expecting to find other than a color coordinated, fully redecorated to-the-nines room, but whatever it was, she was relieved we did a good job.

The lounge now looks like a classy living room, it’s wonderful, and warm, and inviting.

Next weekend (I hope) we’re going to get the big, fluffy matching couch and then in May I’m building the computer-bar (though quite a few professors have made mention that they wouldn’t mind if it were a wet bar instead) which will have power strips running down the bottom of it and four stools to sit on so people can setup their laptops and work in the lounge, with WiFi access and a printer.

The Graduate Linguistics Association should be donating a new red microwave (our color scheme is red and beige) and the electric tea-kettle. Lisa (withfangs) is donating her coffee maker…which we’re incredibly grateful for since it only holds four cups of coffee which means that we might finally be able to avoid continually growing swamp thing on a daily basis.

Tomorrow we’re continuing the Linguistics Film Series we setup and having a viewing of “The Gods Must Be Crazy” which I haven’t seen yet, so I’m excited.

I have more to write, but that’ll come later.

G’night New York.