Saturday, August 20, 2016

back to school - summer pleasures

I've been spending my summer working on not working so much. I thought it a good time to get back into the "let's have the weekends for other things than work". Subsequently I've been occupied reading books and having my computer turned off during the weekends (since I've identified the annoying habit of checking work related emails if I'm on said computer). This means that I've been spending a good amount of money on my kindle account. I have also realized exactly how vain I am since I would've never bought all of these books in a real store since a lot of the covers are.... well, let's say they have penchant for less clothed male chests. Apparently this is a thing in the "romance" genre. I wouldn't have known since I didn't see that in my kindle, just when I opened the kindle app on my ipad (for those evening reads when I didn't want the light on - I have a paper-white kindle).

I digress, as usual. If this was a "back to school, what did you do this summer edition" I would write it out as follows:

I went on a short but sweet vacation to the beach. Found out that I could ignore my environmental concern and rent a jet ski and LOVE the speed, the wind, the water, the sun and the notion that I could only worry about being in the now and there. The water was rough and the thrill spiked my adrenaline. It was a great reminder that I need to get back to down hill skiing in the winter. (Maybe Sundance by winter next year?)

I've read over 50 books since Memorial weekend (~3 months). Of course, I need to explain that there are ~35 "romance" books in there that range between 150 and 400 pages. Not the most complex books, nor taking too much time but a good relaxing idea of time sink (I traded tv series and computer/iPhone time with "sitting outside with a book"). My nickname as a teen was 'bokslukare' (literal translation> book devourer) so like a true bookworm I read while brushing my teeth, eating breakfast and stay up too late to "finish the chapter" - or riding the spinning bike/the elliptical at the gym if the book is really captivating. Yes, so that happened a few times... I had a couple/10 books in native language (it's still faster and a different read to me). And managed to add in a couple of historic American writers like Eudora Welty. If you haven't read her - she's amazing! Overall, I'm not adding all of those to the Goodreads challenge for the year (vain and can't stand admitting all the 35 books to people) but I'm on my way to finish the goal.

I've been jogging long runs every weekend even if it's been 90+ F degrees outside. It hasn't been fast, it's certainly not been pretty but it has happened. Last weekend it paid off since the weather was cooler and I made my fastest 5km in 3 years. Now I just need to keep the speed training and this year's half marathon might break the PR again. (here's to hope)

It's been a couple of friend outings, and even some family time to enjoy. A couple of skype sessions with old friends and rekindling those friendships. Work has still been very extrovert so my time away from work is tempting to go more into "all introvert mode and spending time in nature".

One major thing this summer has been me and my brain. It's way too loud at times. I know why I read a lot, since that shuts down my worry wort tendencies and my anxiety. I flee into the book world and all is fine. It's been especially obvious this summer since it marked my decade anniversary of moving to the States. With that came a lot of "what ifs" and "what will the next decade bring", not to mention "what have I accomplished all this time". I initially thought this post was going to be about "dreams - the lack or rewriting of them", but I think it's too private, not to mention too uninteresting.

However, I will say this one thing. I've been trying to come to terms with, and even embrace, that even if my life didn't turn out the way I had planned, hoped or dreamt of - it can still be pretty darn good and I can be happy. And that maybe my outlook on things can make my future dreams and hopes, if not come true, but turn them into happy and enjoyable things where I avoid bitterness and too many "what ifs" worrying. After all, there's only one life and I should make the best of it.

Fall is starting, and with that the falling of leaves, the shriveling of plants and soon it will be covered by snow in anticipation of the new life that comes along in spring. New shiny times. New experiences. New hope and dreams.

Friday, August 05, 2016

thoughts on "illegal immigrants" and wording

First, this is a post since I couldn't make it 140ch on twitter yesterday when I ended up in a conversation with @dr24hours @doctor_PMS and @SciTriGrrl in regards to the use of words "illegal immigrant" and especially in context of that some democrats now are using it against Mrs Trump.

There's a few disclaimers I want to mention, mainly because it is an inflammatory discussion and a sensitive subject. I'm an immigrant to the US (been on a VISA, on a green card now). I'm a white female, educated and ESL (english as a second language).

Why this means something to me in this discussion? That I've felt fear, being scared standing by the immigration when entering the country. The ice cold feeling when you get a letter explaining something is wrong with your application and you have short few days to correct it or else you get deported. The underlying nervousness filling in "all the countries you've visited last 10 years" and knowing that if something isn't accurate that's cause for ... .you got it, deportation.

In short: TLDR "there are no mistakes in visa applications, only viewed as deceptions an d lies"

Regarding "illegal immigrants", or even "illegal aliens"- my base stance is that no one is illegal just by being human.

However, sometimes you need to point out hypocrisy with using the same words the hypocrites like to use. In this specific example, most of the use of "illegal immigrants" is used for non-whites, less educated people. It's very similar to that many people drop the "immigrant" word while making sweeping generalizations (not good ones) and then I raise my head and state I'm an immigrant and then they backtrack since "You're not really an immigrant, I speak English etc...." but base line is the same. You use sweeping generalizations, you should realize the broad brush touches everyone. And in this case even a presidential candidate's wife. Especially a presidential candidate wife. Maybe then will people see that it's horrid to use these words on people? Or at least that it is debasing and doesn't lead anywhere constructive since it is basically name calling and fear mongering.

And if nothing else, maybe bring about a discussion on visa rules. How many things one has to fulfill while on a visa? How many things that are different being on a visa, a green card and a citizen. And maybe how many people today are employed in the US on a visa - since that is where people seem to go. And what kind of jobs they have. Not to mention, where are the undocumented people working. What kind of jobs are they "stealing" (let's be honest, those jobs aren't what many people want to do. It's like a similar situation in California that is going on in Spain where the government knows that the undocumented people are the backbone of the farming industry and that at least for now gives an export industry.)

That said, I would hope that you/we keep your/our heads above water and not sink to the low level of hate. But it's also important to make the point how much words hurt and that we should be better at not painting broad brush strokes with hateful words and focus on the stakes at hand. Once we dehumanize humans, the road unequivocally descends into the place where unspeakable things happen and we all come out less than human  doing despicable things and losing all semblance of moral beings.