Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Apartment, A Work Party, Osama, and Mother's Day

The apartment is finally furnished!  This is exciting news, is it has taken close to two months to complete this process.  Here are some much anticipated pictures:

Apparently my boss likes to have a welcoming back party once everyone has returned from vacationing in January and February, but it hadn't happened.  So I volunteered my place for the event.

I was apprehensive at first.  Not becuase of my work colleagues or boss, mind you, but because I had never been much of a successful party planner in the past.  As I was going out to buy the food and clean the apartment I had flashbacks of having "parties" at my apartment back in Los Angeles with 12 people RSVPing and only two showing up.  A few people called me to let me know that something had come up, but the majority of people didn't even bother.  I ended up being left with tons of food and alcohol the day before I left for Christmas break and then my semester in Spain.

But this turned out much differently.  Almost everyone showed up who said they would, and it was a BYOB event.  It was simply good people, good food, and good fun.  People seemed surprised at how easy it was to get to my place.  Even though it´s not near a metro stop, you can get a bus from downtown and several other areas that drop you off within a 2 block walk of my apartment.  We all kept each other cozy, and we somehow fit 16 of us into the place.

After Sun Chips, homemade garlic bread, and pizza (it was my first time using the oven), we moved the party to Plaza Ñuñoa.  Zukai Sushi is a really nice place to eat there.  It´s known for having delicious sushi, great drinks, and excellent service.  We were able to get the upstairs room reserved just for us, and we were lucky to be the first group that got to eat up there.  It had its own flat screen TV, a stereo with music separate from downstairs, and seating for about 20 (but there were 12 or so of us).  For many people it was their first time to Plaza Ñuñoa, and it looks like it won´t be their last either.  It was a really nice night, and I feel fortunate to have such great people here.

I hate to ruin such an upbeat post with the news of Osama´s death, but I would feel remiss being an American living abroad and not addressing it.  I woke up that Monday morning and turned on my laptop.  As I waited for it to start up I fixed my breakfast of whole grain cereal and a banana like always.  I checked my emails and Facebook like usual, and I was puzzled when I saw posts from people about being proud to be an American.  As I scrolled further, however, I saw posts that revealed the news.  I then went to CNN and read the news articles there.

Reading the news really affected me.  It brought back memories of seeing the news reports and the towers tumbling down and sitting in a neighbor´s dorm room to watch the news.  I remember calling home to my parents to talk to them, even though we were in South Jersey and well out of the way of where things took place.  While I didn´t have anyone suddenly taken from me on 9/11 like some people did, it brought back memories of my mother's death about 4 years ago and the feelings of loss that naturally go along with it.

It has been a challenge to find peace with her death, as cancer is something that will unfortunately continue to affect people.  I felt a sense of happiness and relief with this news, not becuase of the death of Osama, but as I hope that it can help those families to have some closure and let their loved ones rest in peace.

Then there's the news reports showing people dancing in the streets.  Before making a judgement about the situation, I have to consider a few things.  In one sense, I'm an insider to the situation being an American.  In a few other senses, however, I'm an outsider.  I didn't lose anyone in 9/11, and I am living outside of the States now.

That being said, it hurts me to see people celebrating the death of someone.  Yes, what he did was horrible and resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans.  While I think an inner sense of relief and happiness is natural for anyone who experienced loss during 9/11, I just don't feel that celebrating in that way is dignified.   I can't say for sure, but I have the sense that not everyone who was dancing in the streets experienced a direct loss due to Osama.  While I'm not in a position to judge others since I'm not in their situation, in any case I feel like it's a poor reflection of our country and how we are seen on the world stage.

Since it's Mother's Day, today I'm going to spend the day relaxing and reflecting on my mom's life.  I found this picture of us together from my last orchestra concert in high school.  She was so proud of my musical accomplishments and you can see the emotion in her in this picture.  Happy Mother's Day Mom.

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