Tuesday, September 21, 2010

goodbye party and rock climbing

On Sunday, I was the soon-departing and thus honored guest at a "So Long, Switzerland" party at Diana's house. I've had more than my fair share of parties thrown for me while living here, and I'm honestly surprised and flattered that people keep showing up for them! I would have boycotted a long time ago if I were anyone else. On the up side for everyone, these events invariably include really good cakes.

Diana asked me a few weeks ago if there was anything from this area that I still wanted to buy before leaving, or that I wished I had been able to get. I already have some stuff--a fondue pot painted with pictues from the story Schellen-Ursli, books and cds in Swiss German, prints from an artist in the Alsace. But I have always really liked the black on white Scherenschnitte (here's an example), which are maticulously cut out by hand, and I said I regretted that I wouldn't be able to take one of those home. She shared that little bit of information with about 25 of my friends, and they gave me TWO on Sunday as a collective going away gift! two! I am really delighted with them.

Monday night I went indoor rock climbing for the first time ever with Raphael, Valda, Elaine, and other friends. I am still trying to find something I'm better at than Raph, but I was smart enough to concede ahead of time that it wasn't going to be rock climbing and he could just consider this a freebie. I wouldn't try to beat him. Well, he was disgustingingly good at it, naturally, though I am pleased to report he fell off a wall and I didn't. He fell off the same wall last night when we went again, and, once again, I sucessfully made it to the top of all my climbs. We just won't talk about the fact that his routes are a full grade more difficult, include some overhangs, and I tend to cheat by using holds that aren't actually on my color route. Yup. But now that I am feeling comfortable with the whole idea of scaling 30 foot walls, next time I'll try to be a bit more serious about sticking to a route and grade that's right for me without using the other holds that happen to be there.

I am off to deliver an apple pie. Later dudes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

All Ye

Song for you. I like his attitude, his hat, his message, his song writing that draws on both old and new African-American oral tradition, and the fact he says "holler at yo boy." Who says that!? =)

All ye heavy laden
All ye heavy hearted
All ye heavy-burdened
oh, come.
The Lord will give you rest.
Yes he will.
Oh, come.
He will give you rest.

Oh come, and be healed.
Come, and be filled
Oh Come, and be healed
By the Spirit of the Lord.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I feel like I ought to post an update, even though I don't have much to say. I've been hanging out here at Valda's, applying to jobs, getting rejected for jobs (story of this year!!), drawing pictures and thinking. Monday night Rebekkah, Diana, Lucy, Gina, Janet and Joseph came over for dinner. We went for a walk up near the zoo and came back to play a game. The way the game works is everyone takes a card with a statement or a question on it, and thinks about who in the group best fits the question or statement. They vote for that person, place the vote behind the question card, and pass it along to the next person for their vote. Along with Rebekkah, I was voted most likely to be targeted by a con artist (though Valda clarified that didn't mean she thought he would be successful), most likely to be chosen as a vice presidential running mate if any of the the group ever ran for president, and unanimously identified as the group member who has "perfected the art of flirting." Great. That's a heck of a reputation.

I've been enjoying the woods this week. I went for a nice run yesterday in the Allschwil Forest, and Saturday afternoon Raph and Lukas (and later, Dom) and I took bows, arrows, a target, and a bunch of marshmellows up to the woods near their house. We took turns shooting until it was too dark to find our last arrow, and then focused on the important work of making s'mores. Or Raph and I did anyway. Dom and Lukas don't fully appreciate smokey, burnt sugar with chocolate. While I worked on catching marshmellows on fire, the three of them told military stories. The running trails and grill times and military stories in the woods with friends are some of the things I'll miss the most when I leave.

Sunday I had lunch with Hans and Barbara and Dom, reconnected with their neighbor's cat, finally finished that rose picture I was working on for them, and watched Agatha Christi Movies with Barbara until I eventually got around to going home late in the evening. Hans agrees their house will be much quieter starting in a week and a half.

Brian bought me a guitar "and a pretty sweet gig bag" yesterday, so I am going to get serious about learning some new songs when I get home. It's been on the to-do list too long, and I'm tired of the two songs I can currently play. =)

Friday, September 10, 2010


I think I turned a corner in my soul yesterday or the day before, cuz I am getting SO excited about going home! Bothering my grandparents, hanging out with the boys, country music, meals and projects and jokes with mom and dad, thrift store shopping and hiking and lots of tea with Anne, new friends, a new church maybe, a new job (maybe), a new couch (mom saved me a couch!!), long conversations with Tinkerbelle...and drive through coffee huts, to name just a few marvellous things about going home. Life is good in the Northwest. Oh, know what else? I might just go watch Emily bowl in the national finals in Reno in October and get some lessons from the semi-pros. Uh huh. Watch out Swiss guys...next time we go bowling, I am so going to beat you all. And watch out other finalists, cuz Emily is comin' to town!

In other news...I hear rumor of a new malaria-drug related project at Novartis in Basel, and the new director has my CV, by which he is hopefully exceedingly impressed.

And now...back to editing. I'm cleaning up the English version of the African Studies guidelines for the Centre for African Studies in Basel, and I think from now on when people ask what a person can do with my degree, I'll just hand them a copy of this with the most salient points highlighted for them. The program really is cool and teaches so much relevant stuff! I almost want to do it again.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

homeward bound...

I didn't get the job, so it looks as though an intercontinental move will happen this month after all. I'm looking forward to seeing family and Oregon friends, but man! saying goodbye to Swiss friends is (already) tough.

But life moves on. So, I've applied to five more jobs in the last two days, and I still have three others on my list, including an estuary conservation project manager position in Astoria...I think that sounds really great, but the problem with a degree in African studies is that nobody has any imagination for how it relates to the job they are trying to fill. I don't mind connecting dots for people, but this one is going to be tough to justify, even for me. I'm planning to talk up my thesis on water, the political ecology connections that are relevant in any river estuary context, and my river conservation volunteer experience.

Also, I read that the US needs to create 8 million new jobs before 2011 to be back on track for employment. Well, the smart thing to do, obviously, is create my own job instead of waiting around for someone else to do it. The universities are busy places with unemployment so high. I'll try to drum up an adjunct position teaching African history or a literature course (African literature in English) at one of the universities. There is a surprising dearth of Africanists in the Portland area...time to be a big fish in a little pond!

Meanwhile, I am accepting any and all employment ideas you may have. I'll send you my CV if you ask for it. Any idea will be considered. Gregg has suggested I could be a greeter at the new Walmart...a very depressing thought, until one considers that I could start there, then become store manager, then director of the Walmart foundation in time for the foundation's funded scientists to discover the HIV vaccine. Then, after that, I could become Secretary of State. Walmart greeter isn't so depressing when you look at it that way.

Gregg says I should be sure to mention that in the interview.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The search for gainful employment...

...carries on. Interview Part 1 went well, other than managing to show up late (gosh! that was frustrating!). I was invited to submit writing samples and do a writing exercise as 'round two.' I finished that today and I'm waiting to hear from them whether I've made it to round three or not. They already have a short list of around 4 or 5 people, so there's plenty of competition! However, they need a professional writer most of all, it seems, and that's one of my best selling points. So, we'll see. The office is in a nice accessible part of Basel, near to friends, stores, and restaurants, and I liked the people I met. I continue to have no idea what I really 'want' as far as which continent I'd like to live on, but if I was offered this job, I think I'd be very content working there.

Janet and the little dude stopped by to see me after the interview, and Janet brought ice cream as a 'congratulations! you had an interview' treat. :) Ice cream with Janet is ALWAYS a treat.