Friday, February 27, 2009

thoughtstream 1

I have such conflicting interests. My body needs sleep (really, really badly..) but my mind doesn't want to give up on this day yet; I haven't accomplished enough to pass that line at which I can go to sleep satisfied with what I did (though when do I ever reach that point anyway?).

The 320 (algorithms) exam was seriously my worst exam experience ever. I never felt so helpless looking at problems before. To not be able to even start, or formulate like half an idea, felt pathetic. I gave up mentally way before I ran out of time. The few others I've talked to came out with similarly bad feelings on it, but I doubt any of them left as much blank as I did. I should try to get 100s on everything from now on in that class. (But is that even possible?)

I think part of my reluctance to work might be that I sit at my desk for so much time that I'm actually just sick of being in this spot. In one of Ted's tweets he said he was going to work in the rooftop lounge. I'm thinking I should try working there, or in Starbucks, or even in the library (which would be a first for me). I think of "The Publick Cup" - the coffee shop by the Yale campus where Rebecca and I spent the afternoon on the Saturday of the Yale/Brown band roadtrip. The atmosphere put me in the most pleasant mood the whole time. I also think daylight helps.. So maybe I will try working in Starbucks (in Commons, or the 34th/Walnut one might be a good change as well; I love the upstairs part) or the rooftop lounge. Anything to help my work efficiency and focus is a good thing...

This time there were more than twice as many girls as guys, but actually it turned out to be alright. I'm really starting to like that one guy who's usually there; he's really friendly and easy to joke around with when we're both not quite sure we're doing it right. He definitely helped make the lesson fun for me tonight. I wish I knew his name. Also, the instructor was one I hadn't met before - Gene -, he seemed to focus a little less on form and more on teaching us steps than Christy or Wendi. I liked the traveling step we did in waltz, and I'm happy we did some tango, since I'm out of practice with it. That gaucho move was hilarious, but I'm thinking someday instead of laughing at its initially-seeming awkwardness, I'm going to really enjoy it. Also:
1) I danced with Aaron for the last tango sequence and of course, still felt a bit awkward sometimes. ugh.
2) I want ballroom heels. They would be good practice I'm sure, and if I compete (?...!) I'm sure I'd need a pair anyway. Unfortunately,
3) Those shoes would make me even taller. They'd probably make me taller than a few more of the guys. Sometimes I wish I was a cute short height.
4) As usual, Colin was oh-so-nicely dressed. If I remember right, tonight was an argyle sweater vest. Seriously, he has such style. I want to do something like take a picture of him and send it in to a fashion blog.

I walked the five blocks back after dance quite slowly while listening to one of the songs on Kenny G's Rhythm & Romance album - I think it was the [kind of] title track. Somehow, the music was perfect for Locust Walk in the night. It wasn't too cold out, so I kind of made it into a nice stroll. When I got back, I was tired enough that I didn't think I could really do work, and all I wanted was cuddling and a movie. Neither of those were fulfilled, and I didn't do anything, just spent some time sitting and feeling sad. There's a lot of comfort in physical closeness to another human being, I think, and that's probably why I want it so much when I'm tired like this. ... I have to thank David though, who noticed from my Pidgin status that I seemed kind of down and invited me to hang out if I wanted. :)

Running into Dan while I was with Tatini at Commons made me think again that we (Tatini and whoever included, if they want) really need to hang out more. I hardly get to talk to Dan - maybe just at the beginning of 320 since a bunch of us are usually there a little early. I feel a little like I could be losing him, which is quite sad.

I am eating too many scones and muffins and other such things and substituting them for actual meals. I doubt this is good. I also want to eat at all random times these days. Damnit, I don't want to add to my stomach.

Phillip wasn't at either of the team lessons this week, so I texted him saying "where've you been" and now he thinks "someone has been missing me a lot". Uhh, or that's just what he wants to think. I missed him a little though.

While I was trying get my thinking going and produce anything of value on the 320 exam today, I realized I had a compilation of songs from my Pandora station going through my head constantly. I guess I'm listening to it too much. Maybe it's more distracting than I think, as well, but it would feel so empty for me to try to do homework in silence.

How do you become friends with someone? Usually I don't even think about this because it happens by itself. It also seems to purposefully not-happen all by itself just as naturally. I want to break that pattern, but I'd have to be not so shy as I have been, to do that.

Xav is so cute. I was heading out of the lobby and he was just coming in, so he jumps over in front of me to catch my attention and gives me a hug. :) (I think I would like the friendliness that seems to be more of a social norm in Europe. Or at least that's my uneducated perception of it.) I was telling him a bit about how I joined team and what the team lessons are like, and I feel bad that every couple of sentences I have to say "hmm?" because I didn't catch what he said, with his French accent. Anyway he doesn't seem to mind. I definitely need to figure out when we can go to Chris's again, because he even asked me on a Facebook comment and it's just too adorable of a night to pass up.

I want to go shopping - clothes, shoes, earrings. It's girly of me, I know, but I embrace that.

I think I might read (for fun, not school) before I go to's relaxing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All the guys in my mind/life

My mind keeps going back to this. There are too many situations to think about. And as I try to manage the thoughts, I find myself sorting these guys into groups.

There are some with whom I am good friends. I am comfortable with them and our interactions are fun and easygoing. And from my point of view, we are particularly close if we share our guy/girl stories with each other, which is an exchange I find enjoyable and interesting. I value these friendships a lot.

There are some who I only know a little, but who are so so friendly to me, such truly nice human beings, that the usually short interactions I happen to have with them here and there in my life just brighten up my days so much. They make me happy, just being with them for a bit - I want to say, "I just LOVE him!" I feel so glad to have come across them in my life, even if I never end up having more of a friendship with them (though I'm sure I'd like to).

There are some who I know, and who know me, and maybe we talk sometimes but not too often, and I'm at least somewhat comfortable around them. I want to talk with them and get to know them more, but I'm a little too shy, or I'm not sure they have enough reciprocal interest, or I sense that maybe I wouldn't quite fit into their lives. I guess I might also include here a few with whom I've lost a previous connection which I think I would like to rebuild. There are occasional little steps forward, but usually they are just little steps that probably fade anyway in the big picture. (And I mean all of this in a friendship sense, mainly.)

And then there are a few who I have a sense might have some level of interest in me. Maybe I should think a little more about what I'm doing in the various situations I'm in with these guys, because usually I play it by ear and try to be my friendly (I hope) self. I have genuinely had fun times with them though. But to be most fair to them, I should work out what I think I feel, and make sure to act accordingly and honestly. The problem is how ridiculously indecisive I usually am.

On the flip side, there's the crush(es?)...I can only think of one right now whom I've labeled in my mind as a crush. I've been thinking a little about crushes, and realized I don't really know what to do about them. Usually it's a "like from afar" situation; you don't really talk to them much, just kind of glance over at them when you happen to be in the same room for awhile and try to not be awkward when you do happen to interact. If they contact you, or pay you a few moments' attention, you react similarly to "i am filled with ridiculous giddy excitement. hahahha" (quoting myself to a friend). The thing is, it's all kind of meaningless. This attraction has to be mostly superficial, because you don't know the person well enough for it to be more deeply based, anyway. Maybe you can get to know them more, but then it's almost like picking someone randomly, because a crush-level attraction is no guarantee for an attraction on the personality level (which is extremely important, I believe). Once I got this far in my thinking, I felt kind of sad that it's probably pointless to hold onto this crush (or any, basically)...yet, I don't want to give up, because those silly moments of excitement do come along with it all, and I have something to hold onto, no matter how much it might not really matter. If it could turn out to matter, I would probably be ridiculously happy.

Finally, the category which no guy is filling for me right now - one who I really like, with whom I feel comfortable and compatible; we laugh easily and I want to talk with and spend time around him, and I want something more intense than friendship with him. Such is most elusive though, it seems.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Heaven (Ian Pooley)

Last night I was doing some reading for psych (since the week has been crazy, and I felt like I hadn't done reading for that class in forever) and listening to Pandora, to which I've turned these days since Ruckus went out of business. Since I've spent the majority of my Pandora listening time developing my "light trance and such" station, I have learned that Pandora tends to play mostly my "thumbs-up" songs for awhile, but if I keep on listening for a few hours, it'll start to throw in new ones that I haven't heard before. So I'm just sitting there in my big round green chair, reading and taking notes, when the song that comes on catches my attention. I don't think the station has played it before, but I know for sure that I know it, and I also know it's a Hed Kandi song. (I went on a Hed Kandi streak for awhile, second semester of sophomore year, and collected maybe 20 or so songs on YouTube from various mix albums... I haven't listened to much of that music recently, though.) After a minute I get up to see which one it was, and it turns out to be an instrumental version very similar to the one I actually know (video above).

I can't help it - I fall into the feeling of the music. Whoever decided to put this song on a Beach House album had the right kind of thinking going on. Suddenly, sitting in my room at Penn in the winter, all I want is the heat, the sun, the utter laziness, the brightness, the sand...of summer at the beach. I want to stretch out on a towel, "working" on my tan, enjoying the feeling of freedom brought on by near-nakedness. And I want a boy with me. I want to go down to the water together, I want to be all shy the way I am about the cold water, I want him to splash and tease me and then hold me in a gesture indicative of warmth - more symbolic than actually helpful. I want to ride and dive through the waves together, and hey maybe he can teach me to bodysurf, since I've never really been able to get it. And when we're tired and happy, we'll go back and lay down to dry in the sun. We'll move closer, and we'll close our eyes and kiss - because even if other people see us, we've got our own world right now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What I feel like doing right now instead of working

I want to go back to the summer for a bit, when it would be warm and sunny outside and I looked forward to lunch... I'd read the Wall Street Journal in print, since pieces of that day's paper were scattered across random lunch tables in the carpeted, skylight-ed, comfy-chaired Dow Jones cafeteria anyway, and I'd like the feeling that maybe I understood something about what was happening in the world. And then Matt and I would usually go outside, and finally - finally - I wouldn't have to be cold for awhile. We'd walk around the building, often laughing over ridiculous stories (okay...his stories not mine, because I don't have too many, relative to him) and how I sometimes stumbled over my heels and how I had issues trying to make his iPhone scroll. It was an interesting summer in a number of ways, and often made me think beyond the mostly-sureness of college to what might come afterwards.

Even though I'm a bit sick (and of course only because I am actually a little sick do I suddenly once again appreciate breathing through mostly clear nasal passages and being able to swallow without feeling that little weird pang in any part of my mouth or throat), another part of me wants to jump back to the cruise after senior year of high school with the group of students led by my Spanish teacher. I want to be in a world totally different from my world right now, with days spent seeing beautiful buildings, drooling a little over the things sold in little street shops, eating too much gelato, and gazing off the back of the cruise ship at its huge wake in the aqua blue Mediterranean - and nights spent dressing up for dinner and later going to the "dee-sco" where, once I got up the courage, I'd squash onto the crowded tiny dance floor, getting lost in the infectious European house and dance beats, and occasionally, getting awfully close to the hot Italian boys we met. And I definitely intend both meanings of "hot".

Earlier today I was thinking, as I have now and then recently, of the night of the Take the Lead anniversary party last semester. I got to dress up and I was really happy with how my hair turned out. I met up with Xavier, my French-exchange-student friend, and Amr, my Egyptian friend, both of whom I met through the PLBD social dance lessons. (And I think it's crazy awesome knowing guys from France and Egypt.) They were both dressed really nicely, of course. Once we made it to the studio (via the Penn Transit van...interesting experience), we chatted, enjoyed food, took pictures. Then I got to see so many amazing dance performances - I kept turning around to Xavier, telling him (with a borderline-ridiculous level of excitement) how much I wanted to learn that one too, and he seemed just as excited. Later they put on music for social dancing... Xav and I attempted salsa with hilarious half-successful results that often got our arms into some kind of pretzel configuration. I danced cha cha (or something like it, since I had no idea how to do it) with a seemingly sketchy guy - and tried to get away quickly afterwards. Upon hearing a song for which I could not identify the dance, I asked Senthil, and thus received my first bachata lesson. I loved it! This also included the story I now tell people probably too often: he asked "Would you like me to dip you?" I guess I said okay, and it was really crowded so I accidentally kicked someone! It's always a funny memory. My night was completed when I walked back with Xav and Amr and enjoyed an amusing conversation.

In opposition to all of that, I have mathematics programming ahead of me, I'm tired, and whatever else. I don't know. I want some sunny intrigue, some of another world, some sexy Latin dancing, some sweet guy friends...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

text message 1

sent: jan 26, 4:41pm
from: me

"Lol i tend to separate liking someone from acting on it. Not that i really act anyway. I respect relationships but could still like a taken guy."

Monday, February 9, 2009

I just realized, or realized again

Penn is crazy, and the scope of my life is ridiculously limited. At dance lessons last semester I met a guy from Egypt. I actually had no idea he was from there until a conversation something like this:

Friend: "My friend and I are going to [some salsa event], would you like to come?"
Me: " that over fall break?"
Friend: "Yeah it is."
Me: "Aww man, I'd love to but I'm going home for break."
Friend: "Where's home for you?"
Me: "Oh just New Jersey, it's really close. Where are you from?"
Friend: "Egypt."
Me: "Ohh....!"

He's a really nice guy. I met up with him and a friend of his for dinner at Greek Lady one time. If I remember correctly, his friend is Arab, but American-born. Throughout dinner they discussed things like the politics and the world's view of the Middle East. I hardly said anything because I had no knowledge of the subjects. Later, walking back with just my friend, he said, "Wow that must have been the most boring dinner ever for you!" I told him no, definitely not, it was really interesting to listen to their thoughts.

Penn students come from ALL over the place. One of my roommates is from outside Las Vegas and the other is from Hong Kong and has lived in Canada and Australia. Among the three of us we run across differences as well as similarities in our growing up experiences. But honestly, wow. I am impressed by students who come from other countries, especially ones more different from the US than others, to spend their entire undergraduate college education here. Already, though, I'm assuming levels of difference. Honestly I have no idea what it's like to grow up in Egypt or India or Europe or wherever else I'm thinking of as "much different". There are probably more experiences in common with my own than I might guess. This is the "modern world" after all. Still, to think that I come in contact with these people, that they now lead lives very much like mine (we're on the same campus), kind of blows my mind. Yet I rarely stop to contemplate these ocean-spanning links - except for moments like right now, or when I see that one of their Facebook networks is a country on another continent. I should feel privileged to have such a worldly collection of people practically at my doorstep for four years, and try to connect with more of them.

Exchange students are a similar boat of people, but could be even more impressive... I met a French exchange student at dance - totally adorable, enthusiastic about salsa and jazz, friendly as anything. He's definitely got a French accent, and usually I have to speak a little more carefully for him and sometimes explain what something is (try football...). Yet here he is, studying engineering at Penn for goodness' sake. And on the flip side, a friend of mine in DMD just spent a semester studying in New Zealand and sometimes I can hardly get my mind around that, and I'm not even the one who went! I just can't imagine living a piece of life in what seems, to me, like a different world.

It's all just awesome. I think if I were to go to places around the world, what I might find most interesting would be not the history, the food, the monuments or whatever...but the people, and their lives.