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action-packed holiday continued

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When we last left our heroine (me), I was in Little Rock AR. Now I am in West LA, listening to the BBC World Service. Much has happened in between....

Unhappy Hour
I really enjoyed my undergrad years (what I could remember at least) but I don't have similarly fond memories of grad school. I loved Washington DC, and most of the people I associated with SAIS but I found grad school very stressful in general. (Funnily enough, at Cal I never had a Filipino-American professor, yet at SAIS I had two, and met the Philippine Minister of Finance to boot.) It was with some trepidation that I attended the San Francisco Bay Area SAIS alum happy hour. I'm not very good with rabid socializing/networking in general, but I made an effort. As expected most of the attendees were male, white, and prosperous looking. Surprisingly the majority of alums I spoke with did not have internationally-oriented jobs. Everyone seemed to be a private sector consultant of some sort, and the one alum I did meet who worked a non-profit gig was a professional fundraiser. I left when I saw that the one person I knew from my time at SAIS was someone who really, really annoyed me. And of course she ended up in San Francisco.

The Lord of the Rings Symphony
The concert with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra was just wonderful. However, there were some minor changes I didn't entirely agree with. I don't have the soundtrack CDs, just the DVDs, and there were some differences. The orchestra performed underneath a huge screen onto which were projected sketches by Alan Lee and John Howe which corresponded to the scenes of the movies. I think it would have been difficult to follow if one didn't know the movies very well. Some of my favorite segments were cut short, such as the lighting of the beacons, was shortened. Plus the two soprano solos which were unaccompanied in the films were accompanied in the concert. The performer who sang Aragorn's blessing had a deeper voice than Viggo Mortensen, and and naturally the soprano couldn't replicate the distinctive voices of Annie Lennox ("Into the West" which won the Oscar) and Emiliana Torrina ("Gollum's Song"). Overall, it was a great concert and afterwards I realized that I had a deeper emotional connection to the LOTR Symphony than to "The Marriage of Figaro."

Little Rock
On the off-chance that anyone I work with is reading this blog: I had two interviews with Heifer International, OK? I had a phone interview the day after I arrived in Washington DC and then was invited to a personal interview in Little Rock. Heifer flew me out, put me up in a nice hotel, and paid for my meals. I spent more time on the plane (via Atlanta) then I did in Little Rock itself. But what I did see was actually quite pleasant. I was reminded of Sacramento of all places. After my interview I walked over to the Clinton Presidential Library. For the record, Bill is MoBob's favorite president. Don't ask me why. The only other presidential library I'd visited was Nixon's and both libraries glossed over the respective scandals. I was hoping to find a commemorative "blue Gap dress" magnet but alas...if we do move to Little Rock, MoBob will be able to start an artisanal sheep farm.

Mary Ellen and Mike's wedded bliss - in 112 degree weather
And why am I in West LA? I attended my dear friend Mary Ellen's wedding today. It was great to see most of the Scary Feminists from Hell in all their finery. Mary Ellen looked fabulous in her mother's wedding gown. Photos forthcoming. Married sex! Yippee!

My mom arrived the same evening (late) as my return from Little Rock. I love my mom very much. We irritate each other and I know I'm impatient and short with her, and she forgives me nonetheless. I sent her a copy of Deborah Tannen's book on mother-daughter conversations, You're wearing THAT?, and she suggested I read it as well. I did, and some parts rang so true that I wept. I love my mom so intensely and yet we still snip at each other.
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On July 23rd, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC), hatter_anon commented:
Good luck on the job front. Sounds like an interesting place to live!

I relate to your comments on your relationship with your mum. My mum is terrified about the fact that I'm about to go off on a trip OS and her way of coping is to try and organise huge chunks of my life. As this involves carting and storing my house I shouldn't complain too hard, but oh dear we can push each others' buttons sometimes!
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On July 25th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Thanks! I imagine Little Rock to be the equivalent of say, Adelaide - a small, quiet state capital.

If it's any consolation, I've been in Africa for 10 years and my mom still asks me if I take my malaria meds! I know that that's the way she shows she cares but it's still annoying!
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On August 2nd, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC), mokey4 commented:
Hm. somehow i missed this one. It is somewhat surprising that the SAIS alums were not in international relations, although I guess it is SF and not DC. I don't enjoy networking with SAIS-ers I don't know, it's a little stressful and competitive.
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On August 3rd, 2006 05:05 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
You're right, it's a reflection of SF, although SF is pretty international - just in a narrower way. I went to an InterAction meeting last year and the NGOs who went were either really specific sectorially or geographically, or really small scale.
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