sábado, 8 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.096

 Today felt like a strange day. Having last week off disturbed my sense of time and, honestly, my sense of time wasn't that great to begin with. My neighbor's sister, who was visiting their 86-year old mother, left today. Yesterday, for some odd reason, I had mentioned to them that The Fresh Market makes these amazing crab cakes that don't have bread crumbs, so I am able to eat them. Granted that they may have a slight cross-contamination, but luckily, I am not that sensitive. We also discussed cakes and, in Memphis, my favorite cake is also from The Fresh Market: it's a strawberry chantilly layer cake with slivered almonds all around it. 

Sometime during the day, I had the idea of grabbing some cake and crab cakes and taking it to them; maybe they could have it for dinner. The drive to the store seemed normal, traffic was flowing well, even though there were still lots of cars. It was around 5 PM, so that's rush hour in the U.S., but Memphis rush hour is never too bad, although I have never really driven in it day in and day out, so I have very few points of reference.

At the grocery store, there weren't that many people shopping, but every one was wearing a mask and we tried to social distance, although, I must admit that I have realized that I'm not very good at it. I misunderstood the direction of the flow to the fish counter, at the yogurt section, there was an employee organizing product and I just went and grabbed what I wanted, even though I broke the 6 ft rule. I have come to terms that I need to be better.

On the drive, I listened to All Things Considered and all of the stories were about the pandemic.One of the segments was about Texas, so I got to hear Wade Goodwin and that took me back to when I lived in Houston.

My neighbors were thrilled with the food and it was nice that they had a proper meal before the sister left. I know that this is a very difficult time for them, since their mother's health is not the best and one must be always on the look out for what could be a problem, like, not drinking enough water and getting dehydrated or developing a urinary tract infection. When you become very old, your body functions in a different way and most of us are not trained to see the signs. Plus, there is also the specter that any day might be the last.

 



 

sexta-feira, 7 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.095

Other than work, not much happened today. For the most part, I am still self-isolating. I maintain personal contact with very few people and I go out to buy essentials only when absolutely necessary. I have also had a few medical appointments. I have not been to a museum since February, when I attended the opening of Hank Willis Thomas' exhibit at Crystal Bridges, in Bentonville, AR. In that visit, I stayed at the 21C Museum Hotel, which I really love. Their contemporary art pieces are really spectacular. 

Today, I got a message from the Park Lane Hotel, in NYC's Central Park announcing a 40% off promotion. I felt like hoping on a plane and going to New York, but instead, I'll just be dreaming about it for a while. The good thing is that it's already been five months since we started to isolate. How could time have flown so quickly? But we still have months to go before we are out of the woods.

I did not vote in today's election for the Shelby County school district. I don't feel like I have a stake on the ground or know enough about the issues, although I should probably be more engaged, since my taxes help finance the schools. I still need to change my address in my voter registration, since if we end up voting by mail for the Presidential election, I will not be able to. But I am not excited about the upcoming election. I have no idea how we ended up with Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden and I am not happy about it.  Two white old men: why do I need to vote for a white old man?


   

quinta-feira, 6 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.094

Over the last couple of days, I have seen mentioned a fundraiser by António Rolo Duarte, a boy who has decided to go study Portuguese history in England at the expense of the Portuguese taxpayers, but claims that his scholarship has been delayed. indefinitely There are a few things that come to my mind.

First, if you're going to study Portuguese history, why do you need to go abroad? Would you not be better served by staying in Portugal and asking a foreign professor to be in your committee? That is what makes the most sense to me. For example, I have never seen an American student going abroad to study an American issue, but I have seen American students going abroad to study issues that pertain to the country where they go. At most, it would make sense to go to England to study a portion of Portuguese history that has to do with England.

Second, how does this serve the public interest of the Portuguese taxpayers? Is this a topic that the student would be unable to research in Portugal, thus the taxpayers need to finance access to a foreign location/experts? 

Third, if a foreign university invites you to do a Ph.D., why would they not facilitate access to in-house funding via scholarships or assistantships? If you're that good that they invite you to stay, then they obviously feel like they have something to gain from your work, so they should be willing to pay you for your Ph.D. Just pick a topic for which they can provide you with funding or get a teaching assistantship. 

Fourth, the motivation for this fundraiser seems to be based on a lie and misrepresentation of the conduct of a Portuguese public entity. I assume that his scholarship will be cancelled and he will be facing two lawsuits: one for fraud, the other one for defamation, according to article 187 of the Portuguese Penal Code.

Fifth, he should be expelled from his Ph.D. A student that exhibits this kind of behavior and lack of morals should not get a Ph.D. 

Sixth, I feel sorry for his family who has to put up with his public tantrums and I am pissed that his behavior makes Portuguese people look bad abroad. We, the people who work outside of Portugal and do our best to portray ourselves and the country in the best light possible, do not need assholes making us look bad.

quarta-feira, 5 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.093

I have been very lazy about reporting on my analysis of Covid-19 deaths in Portugal, but it grows old being dismissed by people as if I were crazy. Maybe I will write a more in-depth post over the weekend. By my accounts there are at least five thousand deaths in excess, since March 9, which is when I deemed the data started to deviate from average. 

However, this analysis is very fraught with uncertainty because the death certificate data can be revised for up to two years. For example, when I published my first analysis back in April, on that exact day, 2020 deaths were revised up by about 600 all in one swoop. It made sense for it to be so, since the variance of the data had gotten rather strange at some points, so I had my doubts about it making sense. 

There is another lemon to juice, though: a lot more people have been dying since 2016. More people also died during the Troika years, but the math and explanations made sense. For example, in 2013, there was a heat wave that supposedly was responsible for killing 1.700 people in a few days in July and, during the winter of 2015, about 5.500 deaths above expected were attributed to a severe flu season. If you take out those deaths, the totals seem reasonable historically.

My point that things don't make sense anymore is illustrated by the following: in 2015, with that severe flu season that killed 5.500 people above expected, less than 109 thousand people in total died; but, in 2018, with a mild flu season that killed about 3.700 people above expected, the total annual deaths were 113.598. 

Let's subtract the effect of the flu for each year to get a back of the envelope expectation of death annually. Does this mean that our expected annual deaths went from 103,5 thousand to almost 110 thousand in the span of three years? It does not make sense to me. Even if you were to do the analysis during the September-August timeframe, rather than the regular calendar year, you still come up with that enormous disparity.

Ever since the Socialist Party took office, the number of death certificates issued annually has been at least 110 thousand every year, which had never happened before. My guess -- and it's a just a guess, because I am clearly not versed in the twisted logic that is common in Portugal -- is that when you cut funding from healthcare in a country that is already under stress, people die.



terça-feira, 4 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.092

This morning, I went to the office to pack up my desk, as we are moving to a new building downtown. It did not take me that long, as I do not keep that much at my desk. I feel that with every job--and this is my sixth--I tend to keep less and less at the office. I supposed the only things I cared for at this one were four Instamax photos of Julian. All else was pretty much replaceable or unimportant.

Mid-morning, I swung by the periodontist, as I was concerned with the amount of swelling of my lower jaw, which still lingers. I am supposed to do more warm saltwater rinses and also use the wet hot pad more often.

Once that was out of the way, I was able to concentrate more on work, but it still feels a bit overwhelming all the stuff that I need to do. A pleasant surprise, was that we had a conference call with James Bullard of the St. Louis Fed organized for the Memphis Economic Club. His basic thesis was that the first responsibility was to do our best to control mortality because of the virus. 

Also, as this is a fairly new threat, we still still learning what the best measures are to mitigate risk. He compared it to fire regulations, as fire is also pretty contagious, but we learned from past incidents and developed guidelines for materials and building codes that control that risk. This virus will not be any different, it just takes a bit to climb the learning curve and adjust. It was a good message, I thought.

I always get annoyed when I see people complain about the masks, as a sign of overreach by the state. Almost everything we do or buy is controlled for safety. Would anyone feel safer if they were going to restaurants where food safety regulations were not being followed/enforced? What about buying cars that have wheels fall off while we drive them, don't have seat belts, etc.? I don't know if this pseudo-liberalism is a sign of ignorance or just lack of reasoning skills. Maybe both, I suppose.

Two of the masks that I purchased the other day arrived. I was looking to get something that had a flower pattern that resembled Magritte's The Great War. I already made a few out of a fabric with green apples, but I got too lazy about making more, plus I did not find a fabric that resembled The Great War.  







 

segunda-feira, 3 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.091

While perusing David Netto's Instagram, I realized that Veranda magazine had some small article about Portugal and a few photos. Since I cannot travel physically, I decided that I needed to buy the July/August issue. I made a quick run to Barnes and Noble and, feeling altruistic, made some other purchases of books and magazines, including Live Beautiful, which I had been meaning to purchase for a while. All and all, I spent over $70, only to come home and realize that I had not purchased Veranda magazine, as I had intended. 

I returned to the store, but this time, I had to take Julian along, who sat in the car, while I went inside. I spent an additional $99 on books and magazines because my altruism runs even deeper than I thought. I also figured out that my mistake had been to grab a magazine from what I thought was the stack of Verandas--I selected the one in the back, thinking the one in the front had been touched by more hands. It turned out that there was only one issue left--the one in the front--so the one is the back was something else.

After reading the article, I was a bit sad. It is true what it said and it was meant as a compliment, but still, to me, it just feels like an insult about the Portuguese taking forever and not caring for perfection, but doing things to be proud, e.g., there are no fast meals because everything takes an hour and a half. But that's good, the interviewed designer says, because it's "a beautiful slowdown." Hence the expression "bons para ir buscar a morte," like my mother used to say, except they've gotten quite good at that one, lately.

On my dog walks, I have started to listen to the American English version of O Livro do Desassossego, which was published in 2018 and I found on iBooks. There was also a Portuguese version, but read by someone from Brazil, which I did not care for. The man that does the American version is spectacular and I quite like how he sounds and reads, as if he's discoursing about his own thoughts, rather than reading someone else's. Also, the translation is very good.

Tomorrow, I get back to work. I am feeling better, although I still have trouble speaking, but I had started to enjoy all the time that I spent daydreaming and reading. Plus, the hummingbird and I are on the same eating schedule for breakfast and lunch and he also stops by mid-afternoon. I must have passed some kind of test because he has been quite content just eating and hanging out in the Japanese maple. He even stopped standing in front of me, flapping its wings at warp speed in desperation because the food was old--that much I got. I will change it more often from now on. 




domingo, 2 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.090

The first day of August did not feel of Summer. It was rainy and cool this morning and it got slightly better throughout the day, but nothing spectacular. I would have stayed at home all day, were it not for the fact that Julian ran out of food, which I only noticed at 8 PM. I thought about making do until tomorrow, but since PetSmart was open until 9 PM, I thought it best to go tonight. 

At the pet store, almost everyone was wearing mask, except children and one adult. I don't understand the deal with adults. You either wear it or you don't, but this women had it halfway through her chin, then covered her mouth, but not her nose. At the grocery store, it was the same deal: most everyone had it properly, then there were the mask mavericks who, clearly, don't understand the concept.

In the afternoon, I had a conference call with my girlfriends from Houston, TX. Things do not look pretty in Houston, and the authorities have been distributing pamphlets in the areas more affected with educational comic strips that teach people to socially distance and wear masks. My girlfriends have been mostly locked up, although sometimes some go to their respective offices just for a few hours.

There is an interesting article on Vanity Fair about the national approach to the virus that Jared Kushner's improv-specialist team was working on at the beginning of the pandemic, but it just fell apart--imagine that. If he and his like had to start from scratch, they wouldn't have amounted to anything worth writing about. But they are born into families with connections and access to money, thus they can breeze through life as if they were the chosen ones.

I am still upset at the data coming out of Europe regarding GDP. The whole purpose of having more interventive governments is to protect the economy and the citizens, yet their dive is worse than the United States'. And if you look at data for the first quarter, government spending in the Eurozone was reduced. How do countries reduce government spending when they're preparing for a pandemic and as people start to lose their jobs? The whole point of paying more taxes in Europe is to have the government reduce the risk that people are exposed to, so that governments can spend more when there are disasters.

sábado, 1 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.089

I am a bad European: I miss work. I have been slowly getting into more work mindset, even though I am technically still off. I logged on to the work network today to make a couple of maps because of hurricane Isaias, then my boss reminded me that I had not submitted my performance review for the last fiscal year and not only was today the deadline, he also needed to comment on my assessment and then I needed to sign it and submit it. I did have it all filled out, just not submitted and everything is done online, even when in the office..

My boss mentioned, in his remarks, that I often had an opinion and was not afraid to give it. Take that, ladies. Speak up or forever hold your peace. It is probably not good in the short term, but I have never been an ass-kisser. I am a straight shooter at work. If you act that way, the right people will hire you and your career will progress. It will not happen at once, but over time. Ethics matters. 

Speaking of straight shooter, I had been meaning to refresh the hummingbird food for several weeks, but always found other things to do. Well, a hummingbird today just stood in front of me buzzing its wings, as if to tell me that continuing to be a loser was not an option. I thought him a bit rude. I get to buy his food, prepare it, and make it available and he acts as if he's entitled to my services just because he's cute. I changed the food--I guess I agreed.



   

sexta-feira, 31 de julho de 2020

Version 2.088

I woke up in a bit of a panic. I dreamt I was in Australia for a layover and also to meet a friend, who actually lives in Londons, but it's a dream and dreams don't make sense. We met at a building where there was a sculpture by a Spanish artist. She had a car, so I left a suitcase and a bag in it, but took my purse, except my purse did not have my cell phone, nor did it have my passport. I also did not have my tiny address book, where I keep the phone numbers and addresses for most people I care about; it's my analog back up, which hasn't been updated very regularly lately, but I usually carry it for peace of mind and to mail postcards sometimes.

My friend and I had an argument over the sculpture, as there were plans to move it to the bottom of a lake. She was very upset about it, but I kept rationalizing it. She left and after a while I open my purse and realize that nothing of use is there, yet I am supposed to fly out. I think I don't have any phone numbers for people who can help me and I also am probably not going to remember passwords to log into social media off the top of my head, so the best course of action is to go the police to see if they can help me catch my flight out. Then I realize that my work computer is in my luggage and I start to panic. I wake up.

Although everything is jumbled up, it all kind of makes sense, as this week I was explaining to someone that I have friends in Australia, who have asked me numerous times to visit them, but the thought of such a long flight is a huge turn off. I have also been thinking a lot about how Spain has had so many world class artists that were not only influential, but were innovators. Cervante's Don Quixote is considered the first novel ever written; Goya's The Disasters of War were depiction that almost resemble journalism, in which the artist presents war from the point of view of the victims. Then there's Velasquez, Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Gaudí...

Social critique are even present in today's Spanish artists. For example, Jaume Plensa's sculptures, which I have seen in permanent installation in Houston at Buffalo Bayou (the Tolerance sculptures) and Rice University (Mirror) and also in an exhibit in Memphis (Talking Continents), all of them spectacular. He has works in public places all over the world, but not in Portugal. Well, Greece, Poland, and Croatia also don't have any. The sad thing about Portugal is that I dare say that Joe Berardo has done more for the plastic arts than any government since the Republic began. We should all have some late afternoon drinks to his health, despite his unorthodox methods.

Anyway, the fight with my friend is probably a guilt complex because I have not checked on her since the beginning of the pandemic. I realize that the failure is mutual, but just a couple of days ago I was telling my counselor about my hyperactive conscience to which she replied "Yes, but look how far that has gotten you." 

When I am at work, I always get upset when I'm in the middle of something and the computer says it has to shut down. I realize that it gets backed up every day and that they have to push security patches, but if I were to lose it, I'd feel really bad about it, like I had been a total failure. And yet, I am sure that I would not be the first one to whom that would happen. Our mind sure works in mysterious ways.

I finished reading a rather worthless book today, but, what the hell, not everything can be Proust, which I likely should have read instead. Then Instagram reminded me that five years ago I was in Porto, Portugal, having scones and tea at Em Carne Viva--I love that place so much, even though scones have been eliminated from my repertoire. I still cannot imagine what I'll be able to eat for breakfast at a pastry shop if I ever visit. I suppose I'll be the weirdo eating suspiros and ovos moles. There is also ice-cream: I hope they still have epá.













quinta-feira, 30 de julho de 2020

Version 2.087

Today was probably the first day since my surgery that my mind has been mostly clear. I realized that I remembered very little of that day and made a mental note to ask my neighbor about it. Since she was throwing a party today, we spent some time going over the funny details of that day with the other guests. 

Per doctor's instructions, I had taken two pills to relax at 6 AM and our expected arrival at the office was 7:30 AM, so we left around 7. I managed to give directions to the office, but after we parked and the receptionist came to the car to get my information I started to not be all there and the last thing I remember before surgery was sitting on the chair--I had gum surgery.

After surgery, I remember that I was told to sit on a wheel chair and I looked at it and thought that I had never sat in a wheel chair. Then I was out again. I got in the car and remember that my neighbor was driving around very concerned and said "I need to find you a milkshake." I remember the chocolate milkshake, which I ate with a black plastic spoon to take a hydrocodone pill. After we arrived home, I just got in bed. My neighbor was about to trash the milk shake and I said "May I please finish milkshake?" and she gave it back, so I hurried eating it. 

One hour later, I am awoken by my panicked neighbor saying "Rita, your garage door is open. You need to take your antibiotics and ice your face." I got up, took the antibiotic, and got an ice pack. My neighbor left, I closed the garage door and went back to sleep. I just went from task to task like a robot, but I know I am a selfish sleeper: if I am sleepy, I don't care about anything other than sleeping. I woke up later that day and I prepared dinner, ate, took the dog out, and even wrote.

When I came to the U.S. people used to ask me in what language my dreams were. I never dream in a language, it is always visual. But my default language has been English since I started to become proficient. It was only after 2008, when I realized that I was losing Portuguese vocabulary that I started to force myself to think in Portuguese and, lately, I catch myself thinking in my mother tongue more often. Still, I find it amusing that during all this drug induced loss of consciousness, I always functioned in English. There was not even a slight hesitation.

The party was fun. I have never lived in a place in which I knew so many of the neighbors. My face still looks really terrible, with lots of yellow marks from bruising and still some swelling, plus I got some blisters on my lips probably from something I ate, which I am imagining was the baked potato soup, but I went without make up nonetheless. It is what it is.     

As I was leaving the party, I checked my phone and there was a message from my next door neighbor who is in New Jersey taking care of Covid-19 patients. She said she met an amazing man that she wants me to meet. It's the second guy that she wants me to date. How does she find time amid a pandemic to act all Cupid on me? And what it is about me that all my girlfriends want to find me a guy to date? I do fine on my own. If anything, I attract too many guys as is. Unless she found me a filthy rich drop-dead gorgeous guy, who speaks perfect English, likes art, travel, fancy restaurants, and is ravishing in bed, then I may be interested in giving him a test drive in a few months...

quarta-feira, 29 de julho de 2020

Version 2.086

I woke up first at 5 AM bright eyed and bushy tailed for absolutely no reason. It was still dark outside, so I popped some painkillers and off I went to dreamland for a second time. My subsequent awakening, around 9 AM, was not as grandiose, as I felt rather tired. It is very rare that I sleep this late. 

I had a message from my Portuguese-American friend letting me know that he had left the film "Capitães de Abril" in my mailbox, since I had let him know that my neighbor had given me an old TV in exchange for my push lawnmower, which I had originally offered to her. I replied and promised to watch it today, which I did. The point of view chosen is very much a David vs. Goliath story, which is very used in American films.

The highlight of my day, however, was a serendipitous conversation I had on Facebook regarding Helena Garrido and her coverage of Novo Banco's newest debacle. Maria Teresa Mónica wrote a post professing her admiration for Ms. Garrido and declaring that she is the best business journalist in Portugal. I wholeheartedly agree and commented declaring myself her number one fan to which MTM replied that that spot was hers. We agreed to a tie.

All over Instagram, this week, women have been posting black and white photos of themselves under the hashtag #challengeaccepted after being nominated by other women. I understand the concept, but it does very little for me. However, this spontaneous homage to Helena Garrido really hit the spot, not just because it is true that she is remarkable at her job, but also because she inspires women of different generations. And even a few men chimed in professing their admiration. If anyone who reads this knows Helena Garrido, please giver her our sincere admiration on my behalf and Maria Teresa Mónica's.

I learned a funny expression today, which I had never heard. While speaking to my counselor, she mentioned "stuck in the muck and mire," meaning "pessoas que não passam da cepa torta." I thought it was rather colorful and descriptive of the circumstances. Now I need to find a way to use it often.






terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2020

Version 2.085

I just checked what is happening with the books I ordered from Bertrand and they are still stuck in Lisbon, as they have been for the last 10 days, under the watchful eye of CTT. Around the time that I ordered these books, I also ordered another one from Book Depository, which is coming from Australia. I haven't received that package either. I suppose the lack of international flights must be doing a number on the postal service, although Portuguese mail has never needed a pandemic to deliver subpar service. 

Much of the swelling on my face has dissipated and I would say I am 60% at normal proportions. I realized that I should have switched from ice to heat pads yesterday, but I am terrible with time and dates when I am normal, so I figure I must be even worse when I am under the influence of meds. I feel better also. Although I have been waking up early, I sleep 2-3 hours in the afternoon. 

Today was a busy day. One of my coworkers insisted that he needed to do something for me, so he brought me some food. I had tried to steer him away from soup, but he figured that potato soup would be safe. I wonder if they used wheat flour as a thickener since I got a red spot on my face after I had it. I checked the online menu and sure enough it does. Oh well, it wasn't too much. The best part was the sweet iced tea from McAllister's, which I had not had in over 10 years. It was half sweet and half unsweet, so just the right amount of sugar for a once in a decade experience. 

Another coworker wanted to do something for me, so I suggested she could visit. We stayed in the patio far away from each other and spoke for several hours. While I was entertaining, other friends were checking on me sending me instant messages. I feel like I am part of the United Nations, since my friends are from all over. Luckily, none of my personal friends from real life have had the virus, for which I am very grateful.

My neighbor, who is a docent at a local museum, is going to have a protegée, who she will be introducing to the team via a Zoom conference call. She was feeling uninspired regarding what to say and asked me for advice. I suggested the obvious, which is a few words regarding the person and their motivation for volunteering. Then she could also talk about how art is both a personal and a shared experience, particularly in the setting of a museum. Being a docent is a form of shaping the shared experience. 

Finally, I added that being a mentor is a way of experiencing art from another point of view and it is a very symbiotic relationship in which both parties and the patrons win. She seemed pleased with my suggestions; I was pleased that I remembered Mark Rothko's teachings.   

segunda-feira, 27 de julho de 2020

Version 2.084

I woke up with my face completely swollen. The right cheek was so big that partially obstructed my vision. My post-op instructions were that day three would be the heaviest swelling, but since the second day had been pretty bad, I did not consider it getting worse. I owe my mistake to the optimism with which I see my own abilities. But it is over now. Tomorrow, I start applying moist heat and things will continue progressing at their rhythm.

Since I am always a very good sleeper, I had not expected last night to be so difficult, so much so that I got up and even took a hydrocodone pill to see if it helped. I abhor opioids, as I have a phobia of becoming addicted, but desperate times, call for desperate measures. However, I did not feel any buzz or anything worth getting addicted to, thus I must conclude, as if there were any lingering doubts, that my body has a few "defects."

I spent part of my morning reading a very interesting piece in the Atlantic regarding the half-baked response of the United States to the Coronavirus pandemic. Although I am a bit turned off by the style, I tend to agree with the conclusion that the U.S. really did botch this one. Next time we elect a Republican President, we should all build a bunker just to be on the safe side. And make t-shirts with something funny like "third time we'll end the world for sure."

Anyway, it always strikes me as very interesting, when discussing these topics, that people talk about the U.S. and China, with some reference to Russia's old status as a super-power, but nothing is expected of the European Union. The E.U. used to have over one fourth of the world's GDP back in 2008 and in 2018 it was reduced to 18.6%, but considering the level of literacy, supposedly it should have some brain power, and yet it refuses to take up more responsibility for the world order. I don't get it.

The most interesting thing in the article is actually the part about artificial intelligence and how computers have gotten so deft at analyzing text in different languages. I am looking forward to the day when some very smart machine pours over all the Portuguese media and makes a report of the amount of deference to political power and lack of critical thought that gets published. Of course, when that happens, the political parties and the citizens are not going to come across very pretty. At least, history will finally be set straight.

domingo, 26 de julho de 2020

Version 2.083

I first came to the U.S. almost 25 years ago, as an F-1 student. The classes did not seem too difficult, but the way students engaged with the professors and even schoolwork was completely different. Almost all the classes required some sort of research paper, when you'd go to the library, find the information and write about it. It was all a lot more creative. The teachers didn't tell you what to do and they mostly focused on how you should do it--form mattered a lot more than ideology. Anyway, I really enjoyed the process.

Then there was living in the U.S., having to manage money, working a part-time job, having friends from all over the world, many of whom I still keep in touch with. We also had to be involved in the community. I was Judicial Board Co-Chair and Co-President of the Diversity Group in my residential hall. All of us were extraordinarily different, and yet each of us contributed something to make it work as a community.

The older students served as mentors, people checked on each other, we'd borrow each other's computers, which back then were not as ubiquitous as now. When there was a holiday or a break, American students would invite the international students to go home and meet their families. And there was always something interesting going on: concerts at coffee shops, movie night, bar crawls, trips to the lake to watch shooting starts in October, or to go skinny dipping...

I cannot help but feel sadness for all the international students whose lives have been led astray by the pandemic, now that ICE has chosen to not allow international students to stay in the U.S. if their classes are online. Studying here is so much more that just having classes. It is truly finding yourself and becoming an adult. I hope these young people can get back to their lives soon.

sábado, 25 de julho de 2020

Version 2.082

The whole day has been a blur, but I feel fairly well. I was not completely sleep during surgery, but I had taken some pills before to relax me, so I felt rather lethargic as we got to the office. Then I got IV sedation and the rest of the morning felt like a stream of going in and out of consciousness. On the way home, I got a milkshake from Wendy's. I never eat fast feed, so that was interesting.

I slept most of the afternoon. It feels like living in a bubble, with its own schedule and there is some comfort in feeling safe in your little bubble when you are not at your best. My doctor left me a voicemail at 6:30 PM to make sure I was feeling well and to call his cell phone should I need anything, while the office was closed.

The last painkillers I took were this morning, so I am debating whether to take more tonight. I suppose it would be important to take them so that the night goes by smoothly. I think I'll do just that.