Friday, September 28, 2007
The British have a nice tradition of having tea around 4pm every day and this is something that I've decided to adopt since being here. It sort of perks up the afternoon - especially afternoons when it's grey and chucking it down with rain like this one. However, I usually go about making tea without thinking too much whether there is milk in the house. So, when it turns out that there isn't what is one supposed to do? The tea is ready and hot and if I go out in the rain to get milk it will be cold when I return. Am I supposed to just drink the tea without milk? It's slightly bitter and not so nice then. These are the sorts of dilemmas that only one source I know can deal with...the internet. I turn to Google for the answers. Google, not letting me down, tells me that milk in the tea can block the health gains of drinking tea in the first place. Google finds that George Orwell thought that tea should be bitter. And lastly, Google finds that my bloodflow is improved by foregoing the milk. Ahh, I shouldn't have worried and brought my conundrum to Google in the first place.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
“It’s over,” I announced glumly to a friend arriving home late last night.
“Kels,” she said sympathetically. “He’s a communist. Don’t let him break your heart.”
“He’s a communist. I’m a Republican,” I added, sullen.
She shook her head. “It was never meant to be.”
And it wasn’t. My love affair with Ken Livingstone is over. But, I have to admit it was beautiful while it lasted.
Sure, some would have said that it was doomed from the beginning. He’s the 62-year-old Mayor of London. I am a thirty-something, middle-class American. He made a name for himself by defying Margaret Thatcher at every turn. I happen to think that Ronald Reagan was a fairly decent guy. But, you see…Ken Livingstone made the buses run on time and that’s enough to make any girl weak in the knees.
For those of you who don’t know
But Ken, not being dissuaded, introduced a plan that gives free public transport to the elderly, handicapped and children. He reduced transport charges for those on low incomes. He introduced a charge for people who drive into
Some friends thought my love would wane when striking Tube workers shut the underground down for three days. Nothing doing. I stood at a bus stop in central London trying to complete a journey that normally took 40 minutes but that day took 2 ½ hours. “What do you think of Ken now?” a friend asked. I shook my fist and said, “Let ‘em strike! We don’t need them! Ken’ll take care of everything and in the meantime we’ll take the bus!” And by “we” I meant me and the rest of
I stood by him until tonight when, the situation became intolerable – coming home from work the trains were all delayed. I was annoyed but chose to overlook this. Love requires some give and take, after all. But then, I had to wait 40 minutes for a bus. 40 minutes! My commute took me nearly two hours and there was no strike to blame it on. Someone needed to bear responsibility and that person was Ken.
In the grander scheme of things, people have broken off relationships for reasons less trivial than a 40 minute wait for the bus so I feel somewhat justified. Ken, obviously sensing the cooling of my ardor, sent me the paper, ‘The Londoner’ today which announced that the
“You hear that Ken? I want Bus #1 running on time!!”
Monday, September 17, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It begins with detailing the main purposes of my job wherein I was surprised to find that I am, apparently: an experienced and highly skilled writer, and then goes on to list my key duties and responsibilities (media, documentation, institutional learning, etc.) with a percentage of time that each will take up listed beside it. However, despite having redone the math a number of times, I couldn't manage to make the percentages add up to 100%. While that was unnerving I began to be excited about all the ways I could fill the rest of my time. Realizing that it was late, I put the thing aside until this morning when I had a crack at it again. Suddenly, I saw where I had gone wrong - having missed an entire section that was 40% of my JD.
Malesh for me. I guess my 'laying around on the beaches' and 'reading trash fiction' is going back down to 0%. And this is why the general public should be glad that I work with words and not with numbers.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I'll be going to Meulaboh, Indonesia which is located along the western coast of the Aceh province that was the worst affected by the 2004 tsunami. Map. I'll be the Communication's Officer which means I'll be helping to write up internal documents as well as dealing with the media/local government as the programme closes. It's a six month gig and a welcome change from Darfur. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world and Aceh is under Shari'a law but the government there is...how-shall-we-say...less pervasive than in Sudan. Also a welcome change.
The tsunami response programme I will be working on will be closing after over two years of helping the Indonesian people rebuild their communities and lives. It is also the same programme that I went out to help with immediately after the tsunami in 2005 so I will get to work with some of the same people I got to know then.
Do let me know if you intend to be in Southeast Asia at any point over the next few months as I'd love to have visitors!