Friday, August 18, 2006

hi everyone, watsons old and new and those of you who are just fans of traveling or looking at blogs or whatever. i'm sitting in a coffee shop in oakland where i'll soon be asking for a job application and reflecting on my current state of mind which is a bit stunned to say the least. last night i had a sort of episode with a lot of crying and feeling lost and unsettled and frightened of the future. do you recent returnees know what i mean? it seems wierd that after this long year of arriving in completely unknown towns and cities and having to establish myself time and time again that i am now so frightened of life here. i guess i underestimated the mental challenges of "reintigration." part of it is just not having anyone to talk to about how trivial things seem to be here compared to the rest of the world (as i say this someone is yelling at the cashier about the consistancy of his late foam) and also the feeling that i shouldn't start every sentence with, "in cambodia . . . " or "this one time in rwanda. . .," even though i feel like my experiences from this year are the only thing i have to talk about at the moment. it really was such a blessing to be able to share experiences at the watson conference. i feel so privileged to be part of such an amazing and open minded group of individuals. i really hope we'll keep in touch and keep sharing how the watson has impacted our lives and goals. below is my address. as i said on the google blog, if you are in the area we have a fold out futon and i'd love to see any of you again.

amelia hight
305 63rd St. #4
oakland, california 94618

got to go fill out that application.


here's a picture of the rio grand in taos, new mexico, my home town. it was a great place to end my travels before coming to oak town. you guys should check it out if you are ever in the southwest.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nicaragua take 1: Lights, Camera Action!!

Nicaragua take 1: lights camera action!
Political humour must represent social reality in order for its critique of institutions of power to be legitimate Case in point:
There is a muppet show featured on local television entitled Los Hulosos written and produced by one of Nicaragua’s cartoonist Manuel Guillén.. In one episode he had the muppet character President Bolaños responding to critics at a muppet press conference declaring that we ought not to worry about the national debt and the state of the country. As soon as he says this, there is a power cut and total darkness in the scene. The president comes back with a candle and continues talking about how things are going so well in the country and commends the increasing affordability of candles. So I think…haha pretty funny.
Two days after I see this episode I go to the local club Chamán with two friends. It’s a Saturday night, the music is pretty good, its loud, everybody’s dancing, drinking and having a good time. Everybody is singing along to the song “Rompe, Rompe, Rompe” and then all of a sudden the lights go out and the music stops…I kid you not, there was a power cut at the club. I am sitting there like a typical foreigner shocked out of mind but then I saw the workers light the candles at every corner of the club and continue serving beer. Not only were they prepared for this but also everybody just continued talking and chilling like nothing happened. Twenty minutes later the lights come back on and the party continues. I guess Manuel Guillén was on point. Say it with me: W-O-W!

If you speak Spanish the link to Los Hulosos is:
The shows’ episodes is on the right side of the page
In the mean time, Nicaragua take one: Lights..ahh lights??…ahh LIGHTS?!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Zealand Beckons

Congrats to all you fellows on a fabulous year. How proud I am to know each of you. The things you've done are simply inspiring and I'm so happy that I was able to follow you on your travels. The things you've experienced have certainly opened my eyes to the world just a bit more. It is amazing what we can learn from one another.

If plans continue to go accordingly I will carry on the Hamilton traveling legacy here in New Zealand for at least two more years (although I'm more settled than traveling right now). Regardless, I expect your next stops to be on my side of the southern hemisphere. My door is always open to each of you (with that door comes a warm bed, tasty food and good conversation between old friends).

I love you Hilary, Jackie, Kris! I can't wait until I see you again!

The After, After-Party

What now. I wonder if some of you have faced that question yet, and how. I hear some of you are fortunate enough to to be sure of what your next continent will be, but for those of us who are unemployed or have no real plan in tow, it's a little scary. Is it maybe scarier than when everyone first touch their feet on the ground of a new world? Or is it just that anything new is scary? I have had a different kind of year --I got to live in one place with a regular gig and the same reliable faces for 12 months, so maybe that's why I'm feeling that, but I don't think I'm entirely alone. So what is it?

Whatever it is from, fear or anxiety of the unknown or uncertain can be taken on similarly --with a bit of risk and constant questioning. It's what I learned shifting through Kristofer's fancy new Watson-line hero card collection. I was a bit envious that he got to meet all ya'll, but it was good to know (more than good) that there are people out in the world asking questions and making connections. Even though I couldn't go to the conference or a fraction of those places in the world, I could read about it and connect to it long enough to ask my own questions. Isn't that what we're all trying to do on this earth?

So, I have returned back to summer. I have some of the same uncertainties of the future in my heart, a similar loneliness I felt when I left last summer --a solitariness that comes from knowing that the next risk I take will be my own. But, I have new questions and universal truths that other traveling beans have shared, inspired, offered up. And that reminds times there's a shared solitariness in the world, shared joys, and ways too keep on going.

Passing the torch. . .

so now that the Watson World Tour 2005-2006 has officially come to an end, i would like to take this time to formally pass the torch to the next generation of wicked world travelers. I'd also like to give everyone on this team a heads up. I've just invited all 46 other 2005-2006 Watson Fellows to this community to join us in sharing stories, music, knowledge, and all that other great stuff that comes with traveling. it's been my vision since we launched this back in july of last year to make this space as big as possible. I only hope that the other fellows take me up on the offer. Even though many of us are getting ready to settle, rather than packing up and traveling again. . .the collective knowledge that we all share can be a huge help to those out in the world right now. So lets see how this all works out.

To those newbie traveling beans out there now-enjoy seeing the world with naked eyes. It's a rare opportunity and it's a once in a life time opportunity. Live like you mean it and live it to the max.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Universal Truths

#18-Metric System*
#19-Degrees Celsius*

*does not apply within the lower 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Universal Truths

Hi all,
I know that I have been off of this for a long time, but have a couple of universal truths to add, care of a pair of lovely wouth africans who agreed to take care of me while traveling in ethiopia in exchange for french toast, banana pancakes and ratatouille cooked on the gas stove on the door hinge of their truck. thanks boys...
#13: no matter where you go, elton john got there before you.
#14: death
#15: ice cream, awesome no matter where you are
#16: damn flies and fucking mosquitoes
To these, i want to add my own, something that had been propounded for me upon a return to central america this month. Life goes on after we leave. One returns and the same people are selling things on the same street corner. seasons change, things appear different, but life is always going on. cliche and obvious, but i don't know, it's struck me over and over again these past days, so bear with me...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I love this game

No country keeps it more live during the World Cup than Brazil. Este blog torce pelo hexa do Brazil.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Be The Reds!

That's one of the common slogans of the many Red Devils T-shirt designs. Today when I asked what it meant, I think the explanation was something like it's an urging for others to take on the red and cheer for Korea. Apparently red is a color of good luck (I think originating from the one of Korea's agricultural staples, the long red pepper. Back in the day, a string of red peppers would hang in front of a house to brag to the whole block that house just had a baby boy born.). The color red is also supposed to dispel bad luck. My co-teachers were confused for a second that along with a color of such good fortune and mojo , why the mascot was a devil. Devils, ghosts, boogeymen aren't appreciated much out here.

Anyway, I speak of the Red Devils because Kristofer mentioned them in his blog. He mentioned that being a World Cup virgin, he could pick any team unless his country was participating. Yeah, I think generally that's how it goes, if your country is participating, that's your team. Unless of course, your team is America in which case it seems to be ok to have divided loyalties. In Korea, no such luck. I think people would understand if I was a glutton for disappointment, that I cheered for the American team. But people wouldn't be too happy if I cheered for Japan or any team other than Korea's team. It's serious out here. It is the topic of many prayers at my school.

Still, it's nice to be part of the home team. In all my time here I have always referred to Korea as "Korea." When I speak to people I just say, "Here in Korea..." or "Korean people..." That's even when I speak in Korean. It's strange because here everyone says, "Our Country," and "Our Country People/The People of Our Country." I'm not a part of the "Our" or "We." Until the World Cup. It's that "Be the Reds" motto that ensures if you know the rehearsed songs, dances, and claps for the time being you can get away with being a part of the "Our."

Dae~~~ Han Min Kook! Clap-clap, clap-clap, clap!