Everybody Hurts Sometimes

November 12, 2010

Whenever I talk about finances and education with people, I always bring up the allowance my parents gave me when I was younger. My allowance started at $6, and it was divided into three piggy banks: spending, savings, and giving. Each week I’d get $2 that I could spend on anything I wanted, whenever I wanted (which I could also save up if I wanted to). My savings piggy bank was for something big, like buying a Madame Alexander doll or a Gameboy pocket. And last but certainly not least, my giving piggy bank was for the holidays when we would buy toys or food to be donated to Viola Blythe, a local community service center.

The lesson I immediately grasped was that it was important to save, and I couldn’t buy anything if I didn’t have the money in my piggy banks. The lesson I just realized five minutes ago was that it’s also important to set aside money to donate, and not just around the holidays. I remember I used to volunteer at Viola Blythe at least once a month because, as my dad put it, people need food all year round. The workers there used to complain about the sudden surge of people wanting to help out around Thanksgiving and Christmas. As much as they appreciated the intentions, they would ask them “Why don’t you volunteer at other times during the year?”

So while I’m giving you this message at the beginning of the holiday season, just please keep in mind that this isn’t the only time you should donate food or blankets or toilet paper. Try to make an effort to donate something year-round, whether it be canned food, a warm coat, cold hard cash, or your time. There are always people out there who need help.

First Star I See Tonight

November 10, 2010

This morning I was unusually perky and happy. I wasn’t entirely sure why, but then I realized that I am, in fact, very very very happy here in Atlanta.

I was so scared that I wouldn’t like it. I was afraid that I couldn’t find a job. I thought I wouldn’t make many friends. But lo and behold I have achieved all those fabulous things and more. I am living the dreams of 13-year-old me (well, some of those dreams). Last night I took a fire safety course with Jamie from The Hot Toddies and learned how to use fire fans and fire batons.

Oh, right, I forgot to mention: I’ve joined a baton twirling brigade called Turnin’ TriXXX here in Little 5 Points. I used to twirl baton in high school, and Turnin’ TriXXX happens to be a fierce force of women who want to be fabulous and cute and twirl baton. I had been meaning to post about this, but clearly I’m just so important and busy that I…haven’t. Anyway, we were in the L5P Halloween Parade, which was freaky and awesome. This is a picture of me being fabulous as my alter ego, Anita Valentine:

Turnin' TriXXX at the Little 5 Points Parade! (i'm the one on the left)

Anyway, back to flaming batons and fans. I’ve wanted to twirl fire batons since I learned how to twirl. Now I’m completely in love with it and want to do it all the time. I want to photograph myself nude with those fans (preferably lit). I just want to be as much a part of this culture as I can be. I’m so happy here just doing my own thing. Being in Atlanta is more about the community I live in, rather than the people I work with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working for Arden’s Garden, but what has truly shaped my experience here is Little 5 Points and the wonderful people at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. So in case you weren’t sure if I’m having a good time here, I’m not. I’m having the best time here.

fire fans! sooo much fun

Don’t Tell Me What I Can and Can’t Do

November 1, 2010

There are lots of things I want to tell you about, but right now, I have to tell you this: this is the second election I have not been able to vote in because of the Egyptian government.

The first time in 2008, I was studying abroad in Cairo. I asked my mom to forward me my absentee ballot, rather than change my address. I figured that, if I changed my address to Egypt, I’d have to change it back to California, and so I might as well keep my address in California. Well, because the Egyptian postal service is so retarded, I never received my ballot.

Fast forward to October 2010, as I wait to receive my ballot back in California. I never changed my address, and I received a jury summons last winter. I assumed everything was OK, but I was wrong. I called the registrar to ask why I hadn’t received my ballot. Turns out I was designated an “inactive voter.” Inactive? Inactive?! I’m a pretty active person, if I do say so myself. I asked them why on earth they thought I was “inactive.” For some reason the post office returned something to the registrar to say it was undeliverable.

To make a long rant shorter, I’ve concluded that the Egyptian post office opened my mom’s package to make sure there was no porn, saw my ballot, and sent it back to my county’s voting registrar to say it was undeliverable. Instead of contacting me via all the contact information they have on me (phone number, alternative phone number, email), they choose to save money and just assume I’m an inactive voter. There’s no other explanation. I’ve never changed my permanent address in California. I’ve never contacted the registrar for any reason, and they’ve never contacted me (clearly).

Moral of the story: if you want to vote, be more active than you think you should be. The government and the registrar don’t have the energy or the time to make sure you care to vote. Also, FUCK YOU MUBARAK.