Lemon Water


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the This matters category.

I Can Dream Of Better Representation in Fantasy

I can envision a future MMOG where character selection starts out with a degendered/desexualized body wherein players can pick and size features such as breasts, hips, and muscle sizes, as well as the gender identity of their character (male, female, transgendered), and where characters can pick the types of clothing they wear so that the same outfit on a male is not automatically pants and on a female not automatically a skirt.

Oh please do. I’d make one female character with the muscles I can only dream of.

Is it too much to ask? When I played WoW, I would wince constantly from the female version of some clothes. Not to mention my then-friend’s Succubus, especially considering how he always made his warlock summon her so I would be irritated.

I can still hear her horrible lines and fawning “seductive” tone. And the objectification of her body…

And there wasn’t even an Incubus for female Warlocks. D <

I’m not a huge gamer, but I really love MPORGS,  when I find the time for them. I love fantasy stories, epic journeys, quests (that aren’t too repetitive and annoying), and I love the interaction you can sometimes find in these games. But honestly? Not a very safe or welcoming place for women or girl gamers.

So at least this is a step in the right direction.

Note: I’m too depressed to write about anything else. Sorry about disappearing, but massive personal upheaval in the family area, and honestly, I just don’t want to talk about it.

I just can’t wait to get away to college.

And a month ago, I couldn’t imagine wanting to leave my family, despite still doing Finacial Aid forms.


AtLA’s Friky Diky Cast: The Best Links Roundup (Under Work)

Since I seem to be getting pretty good at roundups, I decided to start making a few more selective ones. This one is dedicated to collecting the (IMHO) best ones protesting the situation, instead of the “EVERYTHING I CAN FIND” in my first roundup.  I’ll try to have it organized and in categories.

Glockgal (She is being so amazing regarding this issue that she deserves her own category)

Why it matters

Why Anime Characters “Don’t Look Asian”

Evidence that AtLA is based on Asian and Inuit Cultures

Other

Movements or Projects

Outside of the Fandom, but still valid and with insight


AtLA’s Friky Diky Cast Media Coverage Roundup! (Under Work)

Since I seem to be getting pretty good at roundups, I decided to start making a few more selective ones. This one is dedicated to collecting all the links that show Media coverage of our issue, and I will try to put it in chronological order. If you find one link missing, please tell me so I can update this!


Re: ATLA’s Friky Diky Cast; Rathbone Doesn’t Get It

Which honestly, doesn’t surprise me.

I leave the internet for about 18 days and miss out on the lovely (dripping sarcasm PLEASE be noted here, I don’t ever want to be quoted on saying this guy is lovely) Jackson Rathbone’s comment regarding the whole casting fracas which involves him. Is it too much to hope that one of the actors are genuinely concerned, although obviously conflicted because they really want the part too and get paid? Maybe that would be better?

Due in theaters in summer 2010, “Airbender” has already begun to face a bit of controversy over the casting of white actors like Rathbone, Ringer and McCartney to play Asian characters — a concern the actor was quick to dismiss. “I think it’s one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan,” he said of the transformation he’ll go through to look more like Sokka. “It’s one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit.”

No. Rathbone, it is NOT the same if you are acting in it and make yourself look darker and change your hairstyle. See, the thing is, ALL the actors are WHITE. The WHOLE Avatar Universe is ASIAN, INUIT, or MESOAMERICAN (Check: the Sun Warriors! Predominantly Asian, though). This is happening in concordance with a pattern in movies, where CULTURAL APPROPIATION is pretty much the default. It is a disgusting continuation of viewing the default heroes as white, up to the point that the heroes in a fictional universe where NO ONE IS WHITE are going to be recast as white.

Do you know what the fans want? They want Avatar Universe faithfully followed. Do you know why this show is so big? Great storytelling, plots, characters, development, among some things. But ALSO, for providing a hero that isn’t white. No wait, for providing many heroes that aren’t white. It is an issue, when in this world, in the media, there are very few roles for those who aren’t white, for PoCs to identify. I mean… just… look, this says it better than I can:

During our early Christmas dinner this weekend, the oldest of the nephews, who is 13, brought up the subject of the incredibly white child actors that had been picked for the film version. The three of them were confused and disappointed but unable to articulate exactly why. Then the youngest, all of 7 years old, asked me whether this meant that he couldn’t be Aang when he played Avatar with his friends from now on.

Tell me, Rathbone, if you read that? How do you feel? Are you happy you are participating in the exclusion of many kids, who actually had a hero like them, somebody not the fucking white default? In making them feel that somehow, that they aren’t good enough?

Rathbone, do yourself a favour, and actually read what is going on. Actually read the worries, the dissapointments, the dreams, the problems, of the fans who had something amazing… taken away from them.

You’ve pretty damn already lost me and a lot of us. I highly doubt you will get anybody back. I have already made note of avoiding movies with somebody as insensitive and as clueless as you. Before I heard your opinion, I was pretty happy to avoid making any comments directly about you (except where related to Twilight, because admittedly, I find Twilight ridiculous) and concentrate on those who had chosen you to replace a uniquely diverse world and peoples with the white hero. It is not the same. But since you have on this comment… well… you’re taking part in the systematic exclusion of anybody different.

The positive side, is that he was asked the question. And it appeared on MTV. And that MTV noted that the cast was chosen to play “Asian characters”.

So people, keep making your voices heard! I’ll go back to keeping the roundup updated on what you guys say!


Open Skies, Restful Mind, and a Joyful Spirit: Bolivia

It’s really hard for me to explain how much visiting my family means to me, and how much it affects me. It’s hard to put to words how the landscape itself means peace to me, how deeply ingrained it is that the beautiful red, purple tints in the earth, the rock formations, mean my roots and my spiritual haven. Anytime I come, I actually think or feel spiritual. To me, La Paz is… La Paz is… it’s home.

Partly it is because of my family. Correction: it is the most essential part of the whole experience, actually. But it is strange to think of how tied in the landscape is, the way I literally stare at my city like I’m trying to drink it with my eyes. I am parched. My soul becomes parched, my mind, my heart, everything is suddenly filled with what I don’t always realize I need. It’s liberating. It’s vital to me. Can you imagine how I felt after two years?

It was going home.

Watching the immigrations official look at our passports, feeling the chilly air spinning around me at around two in the morning, the light headed feeling I get from the oxygen deprival in that altitude… felt so unreal. I could hardly believe I was home. It only really started hitting me when we walked outside the airport, and I was almost hit by the fresh, clean, cold air. The tang of Eucalyptus, the way the air felt so much more… alive. Clear. It even tasted of home! It was such a strange difference to the musty, oppresive air in Lima I had become so used to…

Silently watching the taxi driver my aunt had hired to pick us up, Poli, load our suitcases up, drives us down, down from El Alto to La Paz, wondering at how open the sky was, how clear… how free…

The sky in La Paz could almost literally pull my soul up.

I don’t know how to tell you what it feels like when for the first time in two years you drive down the steep winding road to see your home unfolding itself. To see the walls, the mountain, the spires, lit under the street lamps and feel something squeeze you inside and reassure you that this was real, that it… that this place belongs to you. La Paz is a gorgeous place; the spires, the mountains, the colours, the… the… I’m tearing up just remembering the ride.

Of course, I was somewhat grounded when Poli started discussing with my mom about the way that the crime rate had started increasing. La Paz has also been a pretty calm place, as far as I remember. I always boast (yes, boast) of how much safer it is than the other countries I’ve lived in (although, honestly, a lot of places are a lot safer than Honduras, and Peru isn’t exactly clean, either). I guess I really am more of the Air element, but that I lose my head in the clouds isn’t news; my father always says I’m in “la luna de Paita” (The moon of Paita: an expression).

Getting “home”, or really, my aunt’s home, was extremely calming too. While it was pretty damn early, my aunt and one of my cousins received us and helped us climb the flight of stairs with our bags. (Note to altitude newbs: If you are at around 3000 meters above sea level, don’t carry anything heavy for the first few days, or you will suffer from Sorojchi, altitude sickness. Trust me, you don’t want it. It comes from your body not getting enough oxygen from the thinner air. After a few days, your body has produced more red blood cells so you absorb more oxygen from the less condensed amount there. Oddly enough, it has been noted that returning to sea level by airplane after being in altitude results in swollen feet.)

My cousins are lovely people.

The youngest, who was there, is a very talented, interesting young man (I feel weird calling him that… but he is. Or is it man by now? o-o;). He actually does graphic design, although I have seen him in my mind as a healer for a long time now. (Don’t ask… well, Steph can, I guess : D Oh Gtalk.) He is a pretty damn talented photographer, uses photoshop very creatively, and actually gets paid for it (although that has it’s share of troubles…). I only wish he would put his art online, because I’m pretty sure he could sell prints that way, and I like keeping track of things of that. You only have to see the number of artists I watch on deviantArt!).  I sometimes find it very hard to communicate with him, but I think sometimes just listening to him is enough. My cousins are very refreshing people. *nods*

The oldest, who came three (or two?) days later, a very spiritual woman. I love my cousin Diani, and I’m very happy to say that we (and a few others!) travelled together away from parents to Koroico. (More on that later.) She’s had a long journey to finding what she wants to do (education) but I’m happy my cousin is such a mature woman… I liked sharing with her a lot, and I’m glad my brother got very close to her too. It’s surprising how easily we all reconnect despite the long separations. I also deeply admire her, and hope to someday be as happy as she is… to be honest, mosto f my family seems really happy. Diani is a really sweet cousin too ❤ so it was easier to hug her and feel at peace. (I also discovered that I’m not very good at expressing love through words this vacation, but I think my hugs took care of the whole thing.)

The middle child, who I unfortunately saw for a really short time, as he arrived days before we left, is studying cinematography in Buenos Aires. He is doing very well from what I hear, and while I didn’t really get to talk to him a lot (I ended up writing a note saying that even though we hadn’t talked much, I had missed him a lot and was glad he was there, so that he could find it on returning one late night), he is also somebody I’m proud to be related to. Honestly, it’s hard to say how much I love my cousins, and I really think my mom’s side of the family has something I see little in other families… it is a lot more united than my dad’s side, although I would say that side is uniquely temperamental.

My aunt is a very special woman who has supported these three children very well, from my impression, and is actually my godmother. Seeing as how she is the one that always welcomes us, it makes sense that I would love her. Oh dammit, I love my whole family, all of them, and my mind is going mushy from thinking about them, which might be why my descriptions of them are slowly deterioating. I also don’t want to give too much information away. Let me say that I love her very much, that special little witch (don’t worry, it’s her nickname), and her warmth and support, the way she always considers what we want when we get home after a long time (such as a very big box of Salteñas so we can delight in the taste) is special. Honestly, my aunt gives a lot of her to all of us.

After arriving, we spent most of the time acclimatizing, watching movies (By the way, Wall-e is adorable), and my doing the sundry task of homework. (I read and took notes of 17 chapters in my big book on computers for my ITGS class, so I’d say I did pretty well). Unfortunately, my mom got sick, and said it was probably becasue she “was waiting for a safe place to collapse and be sick in” as she “had been on the edge of being sick for a long time now”. We also went to the Tennis Club we belong to (well, my brother and I went) and met a good (old) friend. While we actually didn’t really do anything after seeing each other in the club, it was nice to see him. I actually wanted to go out with my closer friend, his older sister, who is currently studying in Germany, but she wasn’t there. The same, too, with his older brother, who is hilarious and can get along with anybody, but he was also away, studying in France. It’s funny, because my mom commented that she would have liked me to date a guy like that. (Honestly, mom, when did you become a matchmaker? Although I do approve of the choice, I did think of him as a friend first than a love interest.) But that is a different subject.

My brother was also a lot nice, and sweeter, throughout the whole stay. I’m pretty happy about that, and hopefully it will last a while now we’re back in Lima.

I also want to stop a moment and say two magical words: Salteña. Chairo. Those two dishes I missed dearly! Hmmm, the taste of good old Bolivian food… Lima might be the culinary capital of Latin America, but I seriously missed my heritage in the form of food. (I am aware that Salteñas can be found in Lima, and we buy them every so often from a Bolivian lady who lives here, but honestly, the ones in La Paz are better. Hmmmmm *lost in daydreams*)

I mentioned that I travelled with my cousin, didn’t I?

Well, we went to Coroico, and had a great time. We went with another cousin, (more of my cousin’s cousin, but…), her cousin’s maid’s daughter (who is like a sister to her), and a friend of theirs, (who was great, too!). We stayed at somebody’s friend’s house, which was somewhat away from the town so we would end up hiking carefully so we don’t slip in the mud for about 30 minutes to get back to where we were staying. I am pretty happy to report that I am reasonable at cooking in a team (though it was pretty easy cooking), and that we all got along lovely. I’m pretty glad I made new friends, and Laura (my cousin’s cousin’s sister in all but blood) and I shared a lot of tastes; namely, Harry Potter and reading. On the bus ride to Coroico, we spent hours discussing it and the characters, what happened, and how good the books where (and what the bad parts were). I loved talking to her, partly because she was the closes to my age at 16, while the others are… what? Nearly 30? (I suck at ages). Mati, (cousin’s cousin) was also a very fun person to have and talk to, although she did contribute the least to the kitchen. Mari (friend) also guided me through some questions I had (wooo, holistic practices! *shot*). Diani, (cousin) was just plain charming and a love to have all around.

While we were there, we went to some beautiful cascades, and swam there. While the only negative thing in the whole trip happened there, (Laura’s glasses and my sunglasses were stolen), I must say, they were beautiful, and wading to stand underneath the first cascade that felt like hail on our skin was incredibly invigorating. There really is something beautiful in nature, and we all thanked the cascade. The second one we went to was almost like a public pool, although it was pretty fun to swim there. The odd and funny thing was that when we arrived, a group of guys asked to have a photo taken of them with us. (They probably ended up showing them off and saying “see the gringa I hanged out with?” Or perhaps they said we were gauchas, but the truth is very few people realize we are Paceñas.) On the way back we bought some deliciously juicy mangos. We also went to some pools, one in a really nice hotel, Hotel Gloria, so I would recommend it for the view and the architecture, as the place used to be the prefecture or something like that.

We also went dancing for three nights at the discos. We ended up prefering one over the others (Tropical? Paraiso? Dammit, I forgot it’s name!) because it had a far more diverse selection of music, and a lot of more space to dance at. I can honestly say that Laura and I outdanced everybody. We felt like Queens of the dancefloor, and the three older girls kept commenting that we made “bolsa” (literally, “bags”) out of them. The owner was so pleased we livened up his place so much he actually ended up giving us a free round of delicious drinks (something “Yungeño” I believe, I think it was maracuya with Singani? Disclaimer: I did not get drunk. Although I did drink. ) While most of the time we spent the time with beer, we kept burning the alcohol with the dancing. I love this part of latin american culture: the habit of going out dancing. I’m not too fond of the guys who keep approaching you even when you say “no” many times, (Gods, one of those guys was particularly insistent all night with ALL of us!), but we deal. I also got another of those guys who asked to have a photo of him with me – hilarious! I actually told him I was Paceña, so he was very surprised (to my hilarity). We had a lot of fun, and met a friend of Mati’s, and her mother, with whom I’m very impressed due to her ability to dance, dance, dance, and have fun. (Laura and I are still Queens though, jajajaja!)

The after-effect of all that dancing is that the last two nights were spent in peace because we were simply too tired. Our legs were killing us too.. it literally hurt the soles of my feet to walk the fourth day. But we had our fun.

Overall, it was a very good trip, and I am extremely happy I had it. In college, I definitely need to make a group of “backpacker” friends, although that requires a special type of people… (and not so much rich Limean kids who are used to everything. You should have heard how the girls kept complaining in the Tambopata trip!) Although when we returned, we did all fall sick from spending so much time walking around in wet clothes. (Hey, the cascades and pools, with no towels, meant walking around wet till we dried out in the sun!)

When I returned, my cousin Eto had returned from his trip to Chile! This cousin is on my dad’s side, and my uncle and my dad are actually… not on good terms, but it was really good to see him and my uncle. My father’s side of my family is pretty unique if I may say, as in food loving, temperamental and world jogging people go. (I think that it seems almost like they can’t live in the same city, because seeing each other so much would result in fighting, but oh well. I love my family and we do our best to get past stuff like this.)

This is a very sweet cousin, and although he has gotten shyer than the last time, we has a great time once we got back on track, which didn’t take too long. I got to meet one of his friends too, and slept over at his house twice, (once at his mom’s place, another at his dad’s).  He also had the amazing game that is Okami, and I have decided that is one game I need to buy and pass before I move away (if I move to University…). Eto was also pretty fun to talk to, and I’m really glad we had the sleepovers. My brother and I also went with him to a grill at my uncle’s girlfriend’s house (wait… does “girlfriend” apply at that age?) It was funny, because I kept flip flopping between the younger generation (brother and cousin) and the adults there. There were these two adorable Brazilian kids there, and while at times I found it hard to understand them, we got along just fine. I ate… and ate… and ate… and was happy all around. Definitely characteristic of my dad’s side of the family, to be honest.

I also had my two uncles (mom’s side of the family) there. The youngest is my lovely sweet uncle, with an adorable chatty and imaginative son of 5 (Adorableadorabletalkslikearadiokidwhosaysthemostamazingthingsforakid), with whom it is great to be with and and… I’m already melting in the happiness of remembering. It’s really hard to describe him though, so I think I will move on <-<; sorry people, but I also think this post is getting exceedingly large.

My other uncle, my mom’s oldest brother, is a very spiritual genius who is very, very unique. I love him too, and have to say that has the most interesting topics and works. He once wrote a book based on his friendship with an Andean shaman, and knows a lot about Andean cloths and the meaning of the patterns and weaves.

Gah, I really can’t explain my family. Let me mention that I didn’t see two members (my aunt and my other cousin…) but I was thinking about them. I love you Lauri and Mane!

Let me finish with my family’s last big dinner. My cousin, who has studied well, culinary studies, made a Paella for the whole family, and brought his son. For the first time, I saw my nephew… yes. I am a tia. My cousin has a gorgeous three month old boy who will “talk” at you for a long time, as if really talking to your or trying to talk to you, and the most charming smile, a sweet face and eyes, the cutest hands and… yes, I am smitten, from only seeing him once. I was excited to see him, (and his father), because I had been unable to see them before. I had been waiting for a long time to see my nephew, and well…

When I was holding him, I started to cry in happiness.

I love my family. I love La Paz. I love Bolivia.

It’s been one of the happiest 18 daysof my life.


Writing Gives You Power: AtLA’s Cast, And What You Can Do

In a continuation from my last two posts, I’m going create a more specific directory in the spirit of glockgal’s livejournal post about the same. This time, it’s not about the reactions or the issues at stake, but rather, focusing on what you can do to change the whitewashing of the cast.

First, you have to write. Yes. Write a letter (polite please) to as many people as you think can make a difference. To the Big People over there, to the Media People, to your felow-avatar-fan-that-isn’t-clued-in, or to that friend-who-you-think-would-write-too. Spread the word to the people who would support you in this venture, and prepare your pens, sharpen your quills, or stretch your fingers for some epic typing, because it’s time to work for that diverse cast that AtLA deserves.


Re: AtLA’s Friky Diky Cast

To the guy who commented as “Michael” in my last post

Your attack on me is laughable. First of all, you assumed that I hate white people, and partly because I am not white; I am white. I am so white that when I wear skirts my friends comment on my whiteness. My family is white, a great number of my friends and my social circle is white, and I do not hate them or myself for being white. I do not need to not be white to see racism, nor to fight it. Besides, the colour of one’s skin should not matter or affect the logic of their argument: I simply am more privileged and so less likely to see racism in my everyday life, because I benefit from it and am not affected by it. (You might want to study the dynamics of privilege, since you seem to be soaking in it). Second of all, attacking me instead of the issues and the logic I raise is a logical fallacy known as ad hominem.

(Additionally, I was only using Harry Potter as an example of possible ways of choosing a cast based on talent, in a BIG movie. It really has little relevance compared to the whole weight of the post, but that this is the only thing that sticks in your mind shows how little you understood what I wrote).

Third, yes, I am critiquing a movie and their choice for a cast, because it shows racist undertones and considerations. I have not seen the movie, or most of the actors. Please note that I specifically mentioned that I would refrain from commenting on the acting ability of those cast for Katara and Aang (and even for Sokka) because I don’t know enough from them, apart from their ethnicity (and not even that for Aang).

When you say I am “completely in the dark”, that I “don’t know what the movie is about, have no idea about the storylines, or scripts, or what has been added or subtracted”, I want to laugh. I have seen all the Avatar episodes, do know the storyline, and so have a pretty damn reasonable idea of what the movie will contain (finding Aang, freeing him, Zuko finds him, the chases, Aang has to master waterbending, the comet!!!, are the basic elements), and I am not in the dark. True, I don’t know what specific changes have been made to the script, but I do know the casting, and it is the casting I am critiquing – not the script.

And here I would argue that I do have a reason to hate the cast. And it is here when you completely miss the point of the post. Let me quote rawles, as s(he) probably phrases this better:


“Taking a show where the cultures and the world that the characters all hail from are clear, blatant, confirmed analogues and amalgams of a diverse variety of various Asian cultures, where the characters have Asian names, where their magical martial arts styles that are the expressions of their very souls are Asian martial arts, where every single written word is actually IN CHINESE and then casting white people to play the main characters is offensive.”

Let me point the clueless to this wonderful post by vagabond_sal, because again s(he) says the same thing, and a bit more, better than I can.

I have the right to express my disappointment and provide constructive critique in the hopes of making Paramount Pictures and Avatar the live action movie a more inclusive movie that doesn’t discriminate against race – because racism is wrong, and should be stopped in all of its forms – but rather, welcomes diversity and makes positive of it. I have the right to expect that people of colour are fairly represented in the media, although it is currently not. And since it isn’t, I sure as hell am going to demand for it.

BTW: Batman and Heath Ledger is not an appropriate comparison, because it was a white character being played by a white actor. Please, avoid false comparisons – another logical fallacy. Instead of actually analyzing the logic and the arguments, you are trolling my blog and my person. Who was it that was talking about invulnerable internet tower and hurling insults?

“In the end, one loses an open mind, when they open their mouth.”

PS: Why did people get upset over Heath Ledger as the Joker again? I don’t remember that angst. And please, let it somebody other than Michael that informs me about this.


This Matters: Avatar the Last Airbender’s Friky Diky Cast (Link Roundup Constantly Being Updated)

You might be aware, if you follow this blog, that I am an EPIC fan of the Nickelodeon Show Avatar the Last Airbender.

So you might understand why I feel rabid at the cast choice for the live action movie.


Two Decades And We’re In The Same Place

I was asking my mother for some feedback on my Internal Assessment, one of the Written Tasks for my Spanish class. I’m writing an article about how advertising in Peru is sexist by using the male gaze and depicting women as sexual objects to get their products bought, and how this just reinforces stereotypes and the negative traditional views of women.

Turns out my mom had written nearly exactly the same article, about 20 years ago.

On the one hand, since after I read and compared both and found they are pretty damn similar (except that my mom writes much better in Spanish than I do), it’s probably going to be easier to get a good grade on my paper.

On the other, it just depresses me that we still have the SAME issue, 20 years later, affecting women in the same magnitude. That it is an issue that has passed down to the next generation, my generation, and that I am picking up exactly where my mom left off, since she told me that she is “tired” of the same thing over and over again, of reading the same thing.

20 years, and we are still slogging through these infuriating and stupid, commonly toted, repeated, rephrased, remade, recycled, harmful views of women? You’d think that this would be a thing of the past now.

Gods, the way feminism or womanism is needed is so obvious for me, it is hard to stay quiet when people dismiss the movements as unnecessary. Or when a friend tells me we already have the rights, so we are just being bitchy*.

(Note: Bitch in and of itself is pretty mysoginistic language. You might want to check on that)


“Banzai!”

Wow.

I must say, I am completely spent.

It’s funny how things ended up being in the “hostal”, where I guess, you put up with a setting you are not used to. Funny how Steph says that it was “away from technology” and I feel like laughing, but, go on a road trip in the Altiplano, away from cities so you can stay in a tin roof room with noodle soup for dinner and only enough electricity for the lights, and you might see more of what is really away from technology.

Still, they could have done something about the water. Or the clogging toilet. Helen, Grietje and I ended up going in the conference room or in somebody else’s bathroom. And showering isn’t easy when you can’t get your foot-wound wet. They could also have done without so many stairs- going up and down all the time with crutches is no joking matter. I’m spent physically, apart from mentally and emotionally. I did get two piggy back rides, but it was kind of embarrassing. Still, thank you!

As it is, there was no time for anything but PGC. No homework. At all. And I have so much work to do, and it’s becoming difficult because I got far more tired than I expected from my foot surgery. I mean, come on, it’s only a foot! Now I know why my parents were so worried about me not getting enough rest. I’m seriously hobbling past the days.

The PGC Retreat was amazing- great fun, interesting activities and talks, and a very nice opportunity to get to know each other. I loved how close the group grew in the space of three days- it is something I would not have considered really possible before. To be honest, I didn’t think much of the PGC Retreat- I thought of it more as training. There was that, but there was more, too.

PGC was beyond anything I could have expected.

It was amazing to see the transformation of the people around me; to see the depth on what had been superficial, uni-lateral cartoons that I passed by on my life. I saw their personalities, worries, and found I had far more in common with them than I expected. I saw that “common positive quality” in each one that I can like, and treasure- I heard so much. I learned so much. Thank you so much for opening yourselves to me. Sorry I didn’t reveal everything, but I’ve had some issues regarding trust since a friend stabbed me in the back in Honduras. But really, thank you for baring yourselves to everybody, for baring your soul. I don’t know what to say. To talk about this trivializes it. You needed to be there to feel how different everything was.

I think I’m going to keep this in my memory forever. I don’t want to lose such a rare experience.

Thank you guys. Thank you Steph, for being a good friend while we did this. Thank you Helen and Grietje for being such awesome roommates. Thank you everybody who helped me get around while in crutches and didn’t mind if every so often I asked favors because I couldn’t do it myself. Thank you everybody in the circle for opening up. Thank you Chris, for becoming my partner and taking this seriously and with responsibility, in what I hope will become an inspiring and great PGC group.

I’ve never really felt a leader till now. My family, friends, teachers in the past have said I could do that, but I have always felt cowed, not taken enough risks. I’m glad I took this one.

To give closure, I’m going to say what we shared at the end of all our discussions.

No, wait, I’ll let you imagine it. : 3