Tuesday, December 28, 2010

remedial

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future."

Why do I forget this so, so often?

I want to know the truth of that verse - it's been my favorite verse for my whole life, almost, and it's been proven again and again; things have worked out for the best on three different continents so far. But I'm still forgetful. Still doubting. Still afraid.

I submitted applications for two AP openings tonight. One in Olympia for 15 weeks, the other in Boise. I don't have any legislative experience, so it's probably a long shot anyway, but at the same time, I've built up a pretty damn good resume over the past three years. They could hire me.

And then what? Find someone to take my tiny closet of a room in Seattle and hope that I don't have to pay any extra rent; find a place to live in Olympia or Boise; find a car; figure out how to cover a legislative session for a wire and impress the people who could determine the course of my career.

Pack up and leave yet again.

I know that at the end of this summer, I said I was going to change my mindset. I even put it on my Facebook, so sure was I that I had figured something out: "I'm never leaving anywhere - I'm just always going places." That means there's no hub, no home; just a path, always moving forward. And it's all very well to be Zen and cool with everything in theory, but in practice, I'm just scared, sad and lonely at the prospect.

"So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Courage, dear heart.

Love always,
molly

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I know she loves the sunrise

Hey, update time!

1.) I'm DONE WITH SCHOOL FOREVER! Yikes. It's terrifying and exhilarating and unbelievable, but it finally happened. There's a remote chance I could go back to grad school in 10 years or more, if I ever get tired of the traveling life that I'm still envisioning for myself, but I don't think it's very likely. So, yes. No more pencils, no more books. FREEDOMMMM!

2.) There are two or three positions that I need to apply for like, yesterday. Yikes again. The Yakima Herald is looking for a bilingual, enterprising reporter, and the AP has a 3-month opening covering the legislative session in Boise. The AP is my dream company at this point. I had a great interview with them back in October, but then they called a couple weeks ago to inform me that they're discontinuing their internship program. Damn! But maybe there will be a spot opening up in Washington. I hope so.

2b.) These are all hypothetical. I'm currently set to continue as development editor for the Daily at UW (you can work as a student employee for one quarter after you graduate), trainin' up the newbs, and I think I'm managing our U-District blog site, as well. And designing. I just want to stick around - the Daily's been home for three years now. It's been good for me.

3.) I'm dating this really cool guy named Sang. Like, really cool. Like crazy awesome ridiculously cool. He's a pro photographer and photojournalist - check out this and this if you don't believe me - and a studly climber to boot. He came and visited Richland for approx. 31 hours, which is nowhere near long enough, but it was fun nonetheless. Climbing at the Court Club, homemade chocolate peanut butter bon bons (aka HEAVEN), Planet Earth and Big Bang Theory and my whole family wholeheartedly approves. Pretty solid for a day and a half.

4.) 2010's almost over. It's been a much better year than 2009. Future's looking big and bright - scary as hell, but it'd be boring otherwise, right?

Love always,
molly

Saturday, November 27, 2010

for Mark

To my brother, the Marine.

You know what's funny, is that when we were younger, I never wanted to hang out with you -- you wanted to hang around my friends when they came over so I herded them away; I wanted you out of the house on my birthdays, etc. etc. Sibling stuff, nothing unusual. You were a younger brother to the max. (Well, not as bad as Matt on Lizzie McGuire, but still pretty obnoxious.) I got mad at the double-standards that go with being an older sibling -- you got to stay up as late as I did, even though you were younger, and you never did the dishes, and all the rules were easier on you because I'd already gone through the system.

But now -- as always happens, I suppose -- I want to hang out with you...and I can't. San Diego's only a couple states away, but it feels awfully far.

I hope you know how proud I am of you. I mean, you're still my obnoxious little brother who doesn't do the dishes and couldn't pick up his dirty clothes to save his life, but at the same time, you've changed. I hate saying this because it sounds so freakin' cheesy, but every now and then, I see what the military sees -- you're a man. It breaks Mom's heart, the way you don't need her to hold your hand or take care of you anymore, and it freaks me out. When did you get so capable?

You should also know that I brag about you all the time. "My little brother -- who's a Marine now, by the way -- could kill a man with his thumb." "My little brother, the Marine, came back saying that boot camp was too easy." My ultimate goal in life (besides being able to do a pull-up) is to be even 1/10th as badass as you are.

Today, I had to be the chill one at the airport. Mom was doing that embarrassing tearing-up thing she does, and I had to be all cool and like, "Come on, look how well he ties his shoes, you know he's gonna be fine. Don't worry!" But I'm thinking the same thing she is.

Yes, you could get time to come home for Christmas -- and you better try as HARD as you POSSIBLY CAN to get that time off! You could also be stationed in Hawaii by that time. Pretty sweet deal, dude...though you'd need to get that six-pack back before hitting the beaches.

However, you could also not come home for Christmas, and you could get stationed somewhere else. Maybe that desert one, 29 palms or whatever; maybe somewhere in the Pacific...maybe Afghanistan.

I have complete confidence in you. I know you know what you're doing; I know you could take down anyone who comes at you. But what about the other guys? What about the people in your platoon who are garbage and don't know what they're doing? What if there's secretly a Private Pyle in your bunch? What if they screw up and you have to go save them and risk your own life?

Oh Mark. I can't dwell on things like this; I just freak myself out and it doesn't do any good, anyway. I guess you should just know how much I love you, and miss you, and want to spend time with you. Whenever I can. I want more jiujitsu lessons, more time reciting the same movie lines together, more time making jokes that fly straight over Mom and Dad's heads. More time smacking you upside the head for caring more about your Droid than about eating dinner as a family!

Someday, I hope to be working in the same place that you're stationed. Meeting for sweet tea in Kabul would make a great story, don't you think?

I love you mucho, widdle brudda. Come home soon and often and always.

Love always,
molly

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

oh, how he loves us

This morning, I talked with Kaetochi about what redemption means. (She answered seriously, too, even though I originally posed my question as "You redeem a coupon for pizza; am I the coupon or the pizza?") Last week or the week before, she posted this video on my wall. Tonight then, my good friend Liz (currently serving as an intern here at UPC) spoke at church about the depth and breadth of God's redeeming love...and then we sang How He Loves Us.

This may be going out on a limb here, but I think someone's trying to get my attention.

Liz talked tonight about her imaginary box of "Things God can't or won't redeem." I think a box is too limiting; I may have an ocean tanker filled with those things.

Liz told me another thing almost two years ago--she's quite wise, that girl--that has stuck with me ever since and keeps coming to mind: When I'm feeling on top of things and righteous and Christian, God doesn't love me any more or any less than when I know that I'm the most despicable thing on Earth.

So I know what I'm supposed to know. All that remains is to accept it and live into it and let go of all the things that keep breaking me down.

We are his portion and He is our prize,
drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes.
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.


Love always,
molly

Sunday, November 21, 2010

it's a Switchfoot day.

I wish my parents didn't go to bed so early so I could call my mommy late at night when I'm lonely and unhappy. I also wish I were still a teenager so I'd be justified in all this pointless emo angst. Like, wow.

---

Are you discontented?
Have you been pushin' hard?
Have you been throwin' down this broken house of cards?
It'll be a day like this one
when the world caves in
when the world caves in
when the world caves in
...
Is this the new year, or just another desperation?

---

And I wish I were a better person.

Love always,
molly

Saturday, November 20, 2010

guess some people never grow up

I only have 13 days left of school EVER. This is freaking me out, man. As is the constantly asked question, "So what are you going to do after you graduate?" Maybe I'll just come up with creative answers to avoid it. "I'm joining the circus." "I'm going to lead scuba trips off the coast of Australia." "I'm getting married to my goldfish." "I'm returning to the home planet." Maybe people would leave me alone then...

but probably not.

To celebrate my last remaining days as a college student, I pulled an almost-all-nighter on Thursday. Got home from work stuff at about 11:30, took a shower, did homework until 2:15 then got out of my cozy bed and went to see the 2:50 a.m. showing of Harry Potter. WORTH IT. I haven't seen an HP movie in theaters since the second one came out. This one was beautiful, with sweeping landscapes and lots of wide-angle shots. Although I went with three boys and didn't know that every nerd-boy in the world has a major thing for Emma Watson. Hunh. Weird. (I personally had a thing for the werewolf snatcher. Probably the swamp thing could put on a leather jacket and a British accent and I'd be attracted to him. It's bad.)

Came home at 5:30, finished my homework, slept for two hours and went off to class like a good kid.

I'm not ready for college to be done. I mean yes, I am ready for classes to be over forever. I hate my classes this quarter. Also there's a deadline after which you're not allowed to drop classes, and it was 5 days before I tried to drop my awful awful econ course. Fmylife. But I like this college thing--the ready-made friends, the adaptable sleep schedule, the excuse to eat unhealthily and have adventures late at night...sigh. I hope I've taken full advantage of it.

I'm supposed to hear back from the AP about that internship by the end of this month - so in the next week and a half. We'll see how all this life stuff works out...I'm trying to remember that God's plans are way better than mine.

Love always,
molly

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

you could've just propped me up on the table like a mannequin

I have a really good memory. Not eidetic, but still good. I never forget a face, so I have to do that awkward pretend-not-to-know-people-I-see-because-I-know-they-won't-recognize-me thing. I remember conversations I have; I remember what people were wearing; I remember random things people tell me--funny stories, secrets, dreams, hopes, whatever. The more important the person is to me, the more I remember what they say and do. And then I have that annoying ability to recite movies as I watch them, because I remember lines word for word.

Wouldn't it be awesome if everyone had a good memory?

Love always,
molly

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

darlin' do not fear

Wasn't that unicorn picture awesome? I mean, like, wow. Epic beauty on all fronts.

But aside from that, this is the first real blog post in over a month. Oops. Life happens, I guess.

Life for the past month has been the Daily, then some more of the Daily, then a sprinkling of schoolwork and a dash of spending time with friends (shout-out to KL and our amazing adventure-fraught weekend in the rain) and then a shitload more of the Daily. (Probably shouldn't say shitload on here, but look! I did it again. Oh well.)

It's fun, though, really it is; it's just a lot of time and I still don't feel like I'm on top of things. And I worry about my coworkers. They should get class credit for what they're doing--working as the news editor or editor-in-chief is so much more demanding than all of our journalism classes combined, and it counts for nothing.

On top of work/school/play has been this internship stress. I've now gotten seven e-mails, I think, informing me of brilliant and talented individuals from my Rtrs intern class who have been hired on to longer-term or permanent positions within the company. Awesome for them, and Lord knows they deserve it, but it does rub it in my face a lil bit.

I've spent some long weeks here recently thinking about all the ways in which I'm inadequate compared to the people who are getting the jobs. It's frustrating because no one understands or believes me when I say that No, really, I am not this great amazing journalist. My resume is impressive, but so much of that has been cheating - the UW bought me into the Rtrs program, and then once I got there, I did not crank out award-winning stories week after week like my peers who have now been hired. I'm kicking myself a lot lately over all the missed opportunities to prove my mettle.

Still, though, if I'm going to succeed and get a job, I have to remember that I am talented, and that I do have some good experience, and that I am equipped for this career. Plus, I mean, God's been opening doors for me all through college that should never have been opened, so I have no reason to think he'll stop now.

So yes...culminating point of the stress was my interview with the AP today for their summer internship next year. I had been planning to turn in the application by next Monday, the national due date, but when I called the local bureau they wanted to meet this week. Whew - talk about panic mode! I built my website (well, it's a wordpress, but still: mollyrosbach.com) in one night last week, wrote my cover letter, chose my clips, e-mailed them all in to the bureau chief and then went in there this morning to interview and take the writing test.

I was freaking out this weekend, trying to read all the news I could and familiarize myself with the whole voter's guide so I would be prepared when she asked me about topical issues - state income tax an I-1098, Murray's role in bringing funding to Hanford cleanup, privatizing liquor sales, all that stuff - and I had some great story ideas that I was going to talk about, but she didn't ask me anything like that. I'm a little worried that I should have pushed more to talk about it, but I wanted to seem confident, not brazenly forward. All in all, I felt she gave me plenty of opportunity to tell her about myself and my qualifications, and I think I responded calmly and confidently.

The writing test, then - hoo boy, I was terrified. Brad in Santiago had told me about the Reuters writing test, and just thinking about that made me want to run away. But this was easy! Just some sentence rewriting for grammar and corrections, then some story rewriting for clarity, news value and brevity. I finished in an hour and a half, which she was surprised/impressed by, but that freaked me out too...did I finish quickly because I'm just that awesome, or because I didn't give it the time and thought it deserved? Oh for the love of second-guessing myself!

Anyway. On the whole -- miraculously good interview. I'm still working on making my first response in those situations "Thank you God!" I'm much more likely to think, "Oh, I needn't have worried after all," than to realize that my whole life is an answered prayer.

In other, non-stressful news: I went up to Port Townsend this weekend (not the best timing, but we planned it before the interview date was set and I didn't want to push it back) and it was as magical as ever. Oh, those hippies. I do love them. Got to show my friend from the Daily all the small-town wonders, visit my friends, walk over some beautiful country, eat the most delicious pizza in the world, have some great late-late-night conversations, and relax. My soul breathes better up there.

And hey, who knows, they might have an opening for a reporter right around the time I graduate. I'd love to live up there for a couple years.

Yikes, though...I wonder what would happen if I got accepted for the AP internship and then got offered a position at the Leader. Internship with the dream company or job with small-town weekly? Hmm. Vamos a ver.

More other news: I've been listening to this song almost constantly; I recommend it for hard times. (Thank you Sarah for giving it to me last summer.)

One more: Singlehood. Le sigh. I don't really mind, and I don't think about it constantly like I have at some points in my (admittedly short) life, and I like being selfish and only having to worry about myself right now, but still. I'm such a "want what you can't have" kind of person. Oh, singlehood.

"But it won't last; your worries will pass. All your troubles, they don't stand a chance."

Love always,
molly

Saturday, October 9, 2010

happiness.

Cornify unicorn and rainbow happiness
More unicorns at Cornify

Friday, September 24, 2010

nooks and crannies

What on earth is a cranny?

I wish I could blog regularly, but I always end up writing so much that I get exhausted by the act of updating, and I'm sure the two people who read this get exhausted too.

Not much to report on the home front. We watched Mark graduate from boot camp last week, all spiffy in his "dress blue deltas," whatever that means. He's probably the only person I know who left boot camp thinking it was too easy; he said they didn't work them hard enough and he's gotten fat. He may be psychotic. But it's been good being home with him, watching The Unit and eating peanut butter M&Ms and being lazy together.

I'm not at all packed for school; today was actually the first day that I UN-packed from Chile. (With all the boxes and stacks in here, and remembering my time frame at the end of school, I guess I never really unpacked from my apartment, either. Yikes.) But oh well. I'll get it together tomorrow afternoon.

Man, I'm boring. I wish I were in Chile again. Being in Chile was innately interesting; more interesting than me sitting at home, anyway. (Although it didn't have peanut butter M&Ms, which detracts from its interest quite a lot.) I hope they miss me over there. My host cousin/favorite Chilean said I was the first gringo to really be a part of their group; I really hope I get to reunite with them someday soon. There's that friend dilemma again - making them and leaving them.

But I'm trying to look at it from a different perspective--a less painful perspective. When I came home, I started telling myself that I wasn't leaving anywhere--I was just going somewhere new. It requires some shifting in my brain; home may not be able to be home base forever; it just gets to be a new destination. Going to Chile was an adventure, going to Richland was the next adventure, going to Seattle on Saturday will be the next. It's all semantics. If I say it right, I never have to leave anything.

It's just an odd thought to bounce around in my jangly-jumbly head.

All these people I've met and left - I'm keeping a mental list of the countries I could visit and stay with friends. (If any of you are reading...surprise! I'm counting you as good enough people to let me crash on your couch.) There's Scotland with Megan, whom I met in our hostel in Barcelona and with whom I've stayed in contact via Facebook for the past 2 years; Germany with Helge and France with Francois, both of whom I met in Cadiz and have kept up with on Facebook as well; Alexandra in Switzerland and Alexandra in Portugal, both from Reuters; Migue in Spain or the Canary Islands, wherever he happens to be at the time; Gaby in Peru, also Reuters; and the mission team in the Dominican. How many is that? Eight? Wow. Oh, and the family in Chile, obviously, so nine. Yep. Someday I'll save up enough money to go visit all these fantastic people.

Every now and then I just have to shake my head and wonder at my life. I have been so blessed in such a short amount of time--my life is like Never Land -no gaps between adventures, but nicely crammed. I'm 21 and I've lived on three continents! How did that happen?

Exciting times, my friends.

Love always,
molly

Thursday, September 2, 2010

man up already

I'm a bit disappointed with myself today.

Last week, as part of the constant barrage of in-company e-mails that we get on a daily basis, I received a job advert message, advising everyone of positions available within Rtrs.

Most of the time, the job descriptions in these e-mails make me start to hyperventilate. They're so intimidating! I didn't know such widely capable people existed. Take today's for example, calling for a company news correspondent in Beijing:

"The successful candidate will have extensive experience in China, and a record at breaking news in this fast developing market. In addition to reporting on China’s domestic companies and the steady stream of top foreign executives that pass through Beijing, the reporter will also break source-based stories and write ahead-of-the curve analyses and interviews. Broad familiarity with the strategic and financial challenges facing Asian businesses is essential, and the candidate will be able to speak Mandarin and read Chinese. The reporter will be required to travel on assignment from time to time and to work the occasional weekend shift."

That's not even half as bad as the alert about positions in Russia that opened up this week. I had the urge to run away from my computer after reading those ones.

But anyway - usually, reading these just depresses me and makes me think that I'll never, ever be able to work in this company.

But last week, I read one that made me excited instead of discouraged. It was for an "enthusiastic, enterprising reporter" in Ireland, a 3-person bureau that's covering Ireland's economic woes as well as the political unrest between Northern Ireland and the UK.

I read the whole advert, sat back and started dreaming. Ireland. I could do that. I'm not quite there yet, but give me this fall quarter, one more macroeconomics class and weeks spent reading everything Reuters or Bloomberg writes about it, and I could be there.

I spent a week going back and forth on my own confidence--could I do it, really? Wouldn't they just laugh in my face? And really, I don't meet the requirements; I haven't even graduated yet. But then I'd tell myself, Hey, it takes at least 2 months to get a work visa finalized; by that time I'd almost be done with school. And talk about enthusiastic! Who's more enthusiastic than a starry-eyed 21-year-old, fresh out of college? No one, that's who!

But I waited, and waited. Finally on Tuesday, I hesitantly brought it up to my boss, posing it more as a "Could we do a mock-job application for this, just to see what I would need?" My boss, who is awesome, said, "Well, don't you just want to have a go?" Huyyy! Maybe...? No. Maybe??

He gave me the hiring manager's number, told me to call her; I did, she didn't answer. He said, no matter, call tomorrow. Yesterday I put it off, trying to think of something intelligent to say into the phone - "Hi, I meet none of the requirements, but I was wondering if it'd be worth it for me to apply?" By the time my boss asked me if I'd called her, it was past work hours in Ireland. Whew. He said, "Well, call tomorrow."

I didn't call today.

He figured it out; at about 3 p.m. here, he said, "You never called, did you?" I told him I chickened out, and he told me that being pushy is a necessary trait in a journalist. "There are plenty of other people out there who want to make you fail. You don't want to be doing it to yourself."

Ireland. I could've done Ireland, I really could've. How old am I going to be before I get over this stupid, self-deprecating fear of failure?

Love always,
molly

Saturday, August 28, 2010

love languages

I spent about 45 minutes late last night discussing all the ways to say "I love you" in different languages - English vs. Spanish and Portuguese. The people I've met down here find it very odd that we only have one phrase - they say we use "love" for everything. I love my new boots. I love sushi. I love my family. I love my (nonexistent) husband, etc. In Spanish, "te amo" is fuerte - they don't just throw it around. I didn't understand this until coming here - I thought "te quiero" (which literally translates to "I want you") was interchangeable with "te amo," but it's not - they use it to maintain the purity of the much-deeper "te amo." Same in Portuguese, Alex says.

And you never use "love" with objects here. If I love my new boots I say "me encantan." (Literally, they enchant me.) Or "me gustan mucho" (they please me a lot). I don't amo anything down here.

We touched on the weird transition between friend and significant other, too - when you're just friends with someone, and they do something awesome - bring you ice cream as a surprise, or give you an amazing backrub - you can say, "Oh my gosh, I love you!" and it doesn't mean anything serious. But if you start dating that person, you have to pull up short and stop saying it so casually. "Oh my gosh, I lo- I mean, thanks!" Gotta love (see?) the awkward moments.

We talked about the word "enamorarse" as well. One of the guys saw the difference between love and being enamored as the exclusivity - he may be enamored of his new car, but the car has no such feelings for him. (What a tease.) I remember our professor in Spain saying that the structure of the phrase in Spanish must reflect a different mindset - it's "enamorado de alguien," so enamored of someone, versus being enamored with someone, as we say in English. "In Spanish, it doesn't matter what the other person feels, we're just in love with them anyway." he joked.

Even being "in love" isn't just used for relationships. I'm in love with this city. I'm in love with this life. Or we use it to qualify our feelings on a subject. "What do you think of this lede?" "I'm not in love with it..." and so on.

But this I-love-you business - have we evaporated the strength of the word through overuse? I don't think so...I may say I love you to lots of different things and people, but that doesn't mean I don't feel it. There are distinct levels of love; it all depends on context. But I mean every one of them.

Maybe it's people's definitions of love that make the difference. In its best form, I think, and the way it should be said to people you truly love - your family, your significant other, your best friends - it means that you care about the other person and their happiness more than your own; that you love them more than you love yourself.

I grew up - and am still growing - in a family that says I love you all the time. I didn't know there was any other way for a family to be, until learning late in high school that several of my friends just didn't say it to or hear it from their parents. Not for lack of love, I'm sure, but they just don't say it. It made me so sad. What if something happened and they lost the chance to say it one last time? What would they feel then?

Really, though, coming back to the language of it - English is rather poor in ways to express love. Yes, you can say "I adore you," but that sounds sappy, and very one-sided. "I want you" is most often purely sexual. "I need you" doesn't necessarily have anything to do with love at all.

One of my favorite sermons at church in Seattle a couple years ago talked about the passage at the end of John, where Jesus "reinstates" Peter. He asks Peter 3 times, "Do you love me?" and three times, Peter responds, "Lord, you know I love you." But this is a scene that loses its potency in translation. The type of love Jesus uses is "agape" in Greek - God-love, unconditional love. "Peter, do you agape me?" Peter, however, responds, "Lord, you know I phileo you." Philia is the word for brother-love, platonic affection - nowhere near as strong as agape. Peter can't do the agape love. So the third time Jesus asks, he comes down to Peter's level. "Peter, do you phileo me?" I love that. (there it is again.)

Even the way I end my posts on here could be seen as throwing that word around. I've tried to consistently say "love always, molly." In my mind it's both a sign-off and a command, which double-meaning is fortunately unique to English.

I'm feeling ponder-ful today. Further posts may follow before I figure out what I'm doing tonight.

Love always.
molly

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I get by with a little help

My almost month-long hiatus from blogging could indicate that the past month has been either boring and therefore non-blogworthy, or just too much fun to leave time to write about it. It's probably a little of both, in the end.

I still have some days where I feel like I don't do anything worthwhile in the office; after the peso and stock snippets are done in the morning, I spend a lot of time reading the news and trying to find story ideas I can pitch to Simon or Alonso. It's frustrating, but at least I don't have the guilt of being paid for nothing hanging over me. Hurray for unpaid internships! (Aren't they illegal, by the way? Hunh.)

But something has changed - my attitude, my interactions with people outside the office, my positive relationships with coworkers - everything has come together to keep me feeling optimistic and motivated in this job. It's still not exactly what I expected, but it's been a great experience.

To that end, yesterday I changed my plane ticket, so I'm staying for 10 extra days. Flying home on Sept. 11...yeesh. I figure I'm safe, though; if any crap's going down, I won't be in U.S. airspace until Sept. 12, so...fingers crossed! Haha hmmmm.

Anyway, 10 days gives me 6 more days of work, which brings this internship up to a nice round 3 months. A lucky side effect of not being paid - they don't have to kick me out after 10 weeks. So it's all working out for the best.

Speaking of the best, my boss is awesome. He's learned how to properly use "bitchin'" and "peace out" (the verb), and he busts out his impeccable Ali G/Rasta accent at the most opportune moments. All this from a British bureau chief and father of two. Who knew?

Outside of work, I have friends that I never expected to have - Chilean friends, friends who have stood up for me and protected me and welcomed me into their group when I have done nothing to deserve it. Hanging out with them is like spending time with friends at home - instantly comfortable, relaxed, ridiculous and hilarious, all at once. And they don't care that I don't understand all their chilenismos; I understand enough. I feel so blessed...even when I was first getting to know them, I would walk into the room and be greeted by a chorus of "Mollyyyyy!" Now that we've been carriteando juntos for a month and a half, they all feel like my brothers.

And here's that awful, awesome dilemma that I keep having. I make friends, wonderful, lasting friends, and then have to leave them. It's getting easier, I guess, and it had better; this is my future, after all. If I have this much trouble thinking about leaving after 3 months, how hard will it be when I find a new post after living somewhere for 3 years?

I guess I'm comforted by the knowledge that "goodbye" never has to be forever. It may be a while (hopefully not a LONG while) before I come back down here, but claro que it's going to happen. I can't keep away. I'll have to work and not spend money on clothes or Chipotle and save my dollaz to fly back down here, but that's entirely doable. These people down here are family, now - you don't just forget about family.

This post does not, by any means, mean that I'm not going to write a whiny angsty blog when I have to leave (3 weeks from Saturday). It's bound to happen. Just like I'll be mopey and sad for the first few weeks at home. But it's not...permanent. It's not soul-deep. Al fondo, I'm an optimist. Look how beautiful and glorious my life has been thus far - is there any doubt that the months and years to come will be any less kickass?

Not on your life.

Love always,
molly

Friday, July 23, 2010

maybe you could've been somethin' I'd be good at

I've been here for five weeks and two days, and I've got six weeks minus one day left. El tiempo va volando.

This summer has been an accelerated representative of a feeling that sometimes threatens to overwhelm me, this sense that life is running out from under my feet and I haven't done enough with it to merit the time that's already passed. Perhaps it's not that I haven't done enough, but I haven't done enough of the right thing. I've got three months left of college, and then I have to figure out some kind of plan; that came up so fast. Why didn't I backpack through Central America for a summer? Why didn't I pick up everything and move to Brazil for a quarter? Why haven't I spent the past five weeks learning to dance to reggaeton and meeting Chileans and drinking pisco sours until 5 in the morning?

Not that I can't do all these things now, or in the future, but it's different, you know. Now at the back of everything, there has to be some kind of end goal, or stability, or promise of something to come. I need a permanent job, I need to not rely on my parents forever, I need to grow up and be responsible and financially independent and... sedentary? To some degree, that's what it feels like.

I'm not good at not having a plan; not long-term, anyway. I can go out of town for a weekend without booking a place to stay and know that I'll find something - wow, true risk-taker here. But when I think about what I'd like to do most after graduating--grab a backpack and move back to Chile, work as a page designer for a local newspaper for six months then take the next three to explore the country from top to bottom--all I can hear is all the reasons why that wouldn't work. Where would I stay? Would I meet people or would it be three months of loneliness? What if I got sick? What if I were robbed and had no way of getting home? What if, what if, what if...until the dream just dies a quiet death in the back of my mind.

I've talked to so many people who have done just that - picked up and left, moved to a city they loved, no prospects, not even the whisper of a prospect. It sounds so novel-worthy and romantically adventurous, so bold and youthful and impetuous. And talking to the editor from Rtrs--she stressed over and over again that this is the time of my life to do it. What attachments do I have right now? No spouse, no kids, no house, no settled job; I'm young, malleable, adaptable, and ready to be out on my own. This is the time for adventures. But I feel like all the big, beautiful, daring dreams that are tumbling about in my head become absolutely terrifying when I start thinking about making them a reality.

It could be that I'm just a tame person best suited for a tame life.

I'm not really okay with that.

Love always,
molly

Friday, July 9, 2010

the first is love without end











I read my city like a story book today, and wrote pictures in my mind.

Love always,
molly

Thursday, July 8, 2010

learning, discerning

So here's my problem.

I think Rtrs is probably one of the best, if not the best, companies I could work for as a journalist. In an economy where the newspaper industry is losing customers and firing writers and getting skinnier broadsheets, where the unemployment rate among journalists is 25 percent, Reuters is expanding. They care about their employees; they have unparalleled access to important figures in the world; they have bureaus EVERYWHERE, and if I worked for them, the list of "Top 10 Countries I Want to Live in" written at the back of my reporter's notebook could easily become a reality instead of just wishful thinking.

So yes, Rtrs is amazing and I would be so lucky as to work for them someday.

But at the same time...I like people more than numbers. I like writing more than injecting data. I care more about what happens to the inhabitants of a country than I do about what happens to its economy.

And I know that really, you can't separate the economy from the news. The markets, the banks, the corporations are the driving force behind basically all major news except for natural disasters. So caring about people means I should care about the global economy that affects them.

I'm learning to care about it, poco a poco, but the more I read, the more I'm fearing that this isn't for me. Facts are important, numbers must be given out up at the top, but in the Rtrs model, there seems to be no time for good writing. Well, that's not fair. All Rtrs journalists are good writers. There's no time for beautiful writing, I should say. No time for creativity. We're not telling a story; we're explaining the numbers.

As always, I'm generalizing. With stories that are not completely finance-focused, Rtrs does an amazing job of weaving a dozen different concepts into one comprehensive idea. Check out some of their coverage on the BP crisis - so many angles, economy-focused and not, and they somehow manage to pull it all together. They did the same for the earthquake here in Chile, and for every other story that has important pieces that fall outside of that purely financial realm.

But that's not the norm, it seems. BP's oil spill, Chile's earthquake, redshirt riots in Bangkok; disasters of this magnitude don't happen every day. What happens every day in this company is people having heart attacks about putting out the latest "snap" that says, for example, that the consumer price index in Chile changed 0.0 percent. That's what I got to work at 7:30 for this morning (who's got two thumbs and is not a morning person? This girl) - a 0.0 percent change. I can't get excited over that. I get an adrenaline rush because I want us to beat Bloomburg and I don't want to screw anything up, but 0.0 percent? Even a 0.5 percent change doesn't get me going.

Now, a lot of this I can chalk up to my own ignorance. If I knew what a 0.5 percent change does to the market, if I really understood it, I'm sure I could get a little more fired up. But still...I don't care about rich corporations making more money or losing some of their obscene amounts of wealth. Jobless data? That's more interesting, but to Rtrs, it's just a number. What about the jobless people? I'd rather talk to them than count them.

Anyway. Tomorrow I get to do a story that's more fun, although it was given to me out of pity, I feel. It's for Rtrs "Life!" which is all features. Rtrs does these "Travel Postcards" for big cities, explaining what to do in "48 hours" when you're there. So instead of going into the office and sitting for 10 straight hours, as I did today, I get to explore Santiago. Cable car up Cerro San Cristobal, I've got my eye on you.

Love always,
molly

Monday, July 5, 2010

muevete lo que tu madre te dio

I can't believe I've already been here almost three weeks. I feel like I still know so little. I suppose three weeks isn't that much time, and I shouldn't put such high expectations on myself to walk & talk like a native already, but when I consider the fact that about 30 percent of my time here has already passed, it just puts the pressure on.

This weekend I finally went out at night, gracias a Dios. I really don't think I could have handled another weekend spent watching Disney movies on YouTube. (You laugh because you think I'm joking. I'm not.) ((That said, I did spend a good chunk of this weekend in front of the TV. But it was the Argentina game, Avatar and 24, so I feel a little better about it.))

So yes, luckily for me, the two young people at work agreed to show me around the town. On Friday night, Brad (American), Alexandra (Portuguese) and I went to barrio Bellavista, a neighborhood across the river where the nightlife ranges from sanitized Patio Bellavista to a sketchy Ave-like street called Pio Nono ("Usually a no-no," Brad explained.) Also has one of Pablo Neruda's houses - La Chascona. Apparently he built it there for a mistress of his because he wanted it to be out of the way. We stood outside it at night; there are 5 stone slabs set in the ground near the street, with one of his poems engraved on them.

He olvidado tu voz, tu voz alegre
He olvidado tus ojos

(I have forgotten your voice, your happy voice
I have forgotten your eyes)

We only stood there for a moment, but it was a beautiful moment indeed. Picture the little house, tucked away at the foot of a hill, dark sky overhead, the poem barely visible in the dim light of the street. I don't know why that moment has stuck with me so heavily, but it felt like a defining instant in my time here in Chile. I felt young in a good way, an alive way, as if the whole world was about to unfold before me. And perhaps it is.

/end aside.

After that, we went to three different spots - first, a very classy restaurant where we sat outside on little cushions, ate bite-size empanadas and talked about the market. Second, a big, modern-looking bar with way too many couples making out and really bad 80s music (where I was made to dance), and third, the upper floor of a patio restaurant where I forced myself to drink wine. (Which is never going to happen again. Blech.)

All in all, a highly satisfactory night. And I probably couldn't have asked for two better companions to show me around.

Then Saturday night, I met up with a girl I met at church (English-speaking foreigner church! Woot.) and went with her roommates and her to the California Cantina, which is a total gringo bar, for its 4th of July party. We talked about the hot Spanish football players and made inappropriate jokes (I have yet to find the Spanish equivalent of "that's what she said!") and felt like old friends after only one pisco sour.

After the gringas, I took a cab back to Bellavista to meet Alex at a Brasilian bar, and that was probably my favorite experience thus far in Santiago. She had been invited there by her trainer, a Chilean guy named Cristian who had a constant smile and couldn't sit still. Cristian wouldn't let my insecurities hold me back, and pulled me onto the dance floor amid my protestations that I was a white girl and therefore had no dancing capacity, and showed me how to move like a chilena. It was the first time I've ever enjoyed dancing, really and truly. Even though he kept pulling my chin up so I couldn't watch my feet.

So yes. I'm finally getting out, meeting people, having fun...all the stuff I'm supposed to do. It's starting to look like maybe I won't leave Chile with no friends. Whew.

Anyway, tomorrow's another day of feeling inadequate and hopelessly ignorant, and that takes a lot of energy. So I best be heading off to dormir.

Love always,
molly

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

cachai? No, no cacho nada!

The fact that I'm sitting in my bedroom on my first Saturday night in Chile makes me a little deprimida. But I can't really complain; I have a bedroom, after all, in a house with a family, and that's far more than I expected to have when I first started planning this whole Chilean expedition. But still...I wish I had the built-in friends of my Spain program here, so I'd have someone with whom I could explore the nightlife and whatnot. Oh well, it'll happen in time.

SO - Chile! Ole! First off, I needn't have worried so much about my Spanish. Cadiz Spanish was so bad that anything else is made better by comparison. It's still difficult because of the slang, but I'm getting better. Even started dropping my s's again.

Today it was beautiful here. It was the first time I'd been outside in the daylight - on Thursday and Friday, I didn't get home from work til after sunset, and didn't get to explore the area. Today I went to buy a pillow (muy necessary) and got to see part of Providencia, which is a pretty broadly defined area in town, as far as I can tell, because my house and my work are both in it but it takes me 40 minutes in the subway to travel between. Oh well.

It was that perfect kind of late-fall day (How weird for it to be late fall in June...) where the light is shining through the brown leaves of the trees, and the sun is warm but the air is crisp, and the sky...well, the sky tries to be blue through the smog.





Work is...work is scary. WHY DID I NOT STUDY ECONOMICS?! My one consolation is that neither my boss nor my mentor studied economics in school, either, and both managed to learn on the fly and land jobs at the best global news organization in the world. Still, though. All I did on Thursday and Friday was read - read Reuters stories, read the local Spanish newspapers - and I still cannot get a handle on the most fundamental aspects of economics. Chile plans to sell a "sovereign bond" and issue "foreign debt" - my completely uneducated question is, Why on earth would anyone want to buy someone else's debt? I have no idea. My dad tried to explain it to me over Skype this afternoon and it still made no sense at all. Because really, I mean...This whole business of international debt - we owe China billions and billions, I know, and someone else owes someone else who owes someone else...It doesn't really mean anything, though. There are no country-sized loan sharks who are going to go in and break the knees of the U.S. if we can't pay it, right? (Maybe there are. I don't want to meet them. I never gamble.) But like...saying we're in debt to one nation or another...it seems so...abstract. Conceptual. Not practical. How do you call in a debt from the country with one of the most powerful militaries in the world? No idea.

So, yeah. That's really stressful. Also stressful: They had someone at the president's speech about his first 100 days in office, holding their cell phone in the air, and then we had the office phone on speaker; I was told to listen in and pick what the most important thing he said was. GAH! No idea!! None whatsoever. I couldn't understand a word he was saying, let alone write it down. Joder.

But everyone's really nice; the secretary calls me "mi nina," and the only other American offered to go to lunch with me and show me around, and we all went out for drinks and dinner last night and they joshed me like one of the gang. So that's helpful, but...I still have no idea about economics.

If I try to write any more now, it's going to be long and boring (that's what she..? no, nvm.) so I'll just stop. Chao chao!

Love always,
molly

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

let's do it again

Well kids, this is it.

I leave tomorrow morning for the latest saga in this adventurous life of mine; that sounds a bit pretentious but I'm thinking about all the things I've documented in this blog, and really, I've been blessed with lots of adventures over the past few years. So much so that these posts are probably getting redundant...enh, something to consider, I suppose.

I fly out of Pasco tomorrow at 9:30, then over to Salt Lake City, then Atlanta, and then one long haul down to Santiago, where I will arrive at 7:35 Eastern time (they're the same time zone as the east coast). I will be greeted, I am told, by a taxi driver holding a sign with my name on it. I'll get to feel so important! teehee.

The last post on here was a bit desperate. Since I wrote that, it's been quite the emotional roller coaster...I had 2 major freakouts this past week, both of which were pointless, because really, there are so many unknowns in this situation and getting all worked up over them doesn't make them any less unknown. The real problem is my poor memory: If I could just remember all the times that God has shown me his faithfulness by following me on these adventures and taking care of me every step of the way, I wouldn't freak out. But I'm like Dori on Finding Nemo on this one - living in the very very short term world.

Let's go back to that faithfulness thing though, real fast - This is what journalism has looked like for me so far:
1) Jan. 08: Apply to the major - which accepts only 20 people per quarter - after only 1 quarter at UW and 1 COM class. Get accepted - by nothing of my own doing!
2) Summer 09: Intern in Port Townsend. Pre-adventure freak out, and then friends turn up by the bushel and the whole summer turns out to be a roaring success. Again - none of my doing!
3) Fall 09: Land a Seattle Times internship. Fall into the groove of the newsroom, make some great friends and mentors, and successfully write 15 stories - even getting on the front page once! Um, HOW?
4) Winter/Spring 10: Get chosen for the Foreign Intrigue internship with REUTERS, the biggest and best news organization in the WORLD. Freakoutfreakoutfreakout, then go to New York and meet lovely people and sit next to the bureau chief at dinner and find out that I look just like his sister-in-law and learn that Reuters journalists make $60,000 starting out and that the Latin American bureaus are understaffed.
5) Summer 10: Santiago.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY, that all just happened. Doors have opened and things have fallen in my lap and I have been hit in the face by the two-by-four of God's faithfulness and power. As far as my own skill level goes...I'm probably on the high end of average in the journalism department. I trust that I'm a good writer, but I don't have quite the killer instinct of some of my peers, and I'm still way to lengthy. I could use some sharpening. And still - with all my shortcomings - I'M GOING TO CHILE FOR REUTERS.

Joder.

OK. So I leave tomorrow, arrive Wednesday, probably start work on Thursday. I'm not sure what the Internet situation will be like, but I'm sure I'll find time to blog. And then I come home Sept. 2. I'm still me and I'm freaking out because I don't know anything about business or finance or the stock market or Chilean Spanish, but I keep telling myself to remember everything I just wrote down. If this wasn't where I was supposed to be, I wouldn't be here.

And off we go.

Love always,
molly

Monday, May 24, 2010

going under

I leave for Chile three weeks from tomorrow. I wrote out a "Shit To Do" list in my class this afternoon, and I have precisely four days in the next three weeks where I have nothing to do (besides class). All the other days, I'm working, or I have big assignments due, or finals, or I'm in transit.

I don't even know how to express how I'm feeling about all this. I'm relieved to be almost done with this quarter, but terrified to move on to this summer. I've barely kept on top of my schoolwork these past few weeks, waiting until 1 in the morning to start papers that I've known about for weeks; studying the morning of for midterms; not getting my interviews for my one story in Global Health until last week when we've had the assignment for the entire quarter. I know I'm melodramatic, but it honestly feels like a struggle to keep my head above water from day to day.

I'm leaving the country in three weeks--I want to spend time with my family and my friends, but even that doesn't feel possible. I thought I'd be coming home with weekend--I'm moving out of my apartment, so my parents are coming over here to get all my stuff, but they're not taking me home with it. Too much driving, my dad said. And I know it is, but...come on, guys, I'm not going to see you for 10 weeks! I talk to my parents almost every day on the phone. Even if it's just for 30 seconds, I like that connection. In Chile, I'm going to be limited to email and maybe Skype. I'm anticipating a very lonely 2 1/2 months; I don't want to start that three weeks early.

What is wrong with me? Why this melancholy? I'm just quietly upset all the time. I'm sick of myself! I'm sick of having a headache when I wake up in the morning and when I go to sleep at night; I'm sick of feeling guilty for not arranging to spend time with more people; I'm sick of procrastinating and stressing myself out. I know it's all my own fault. I know I do this to myself. But...I dunno, knowing that doesn't help it at all.

On top of school and work, I have to start packing up my apartment and looking for storage over here. Then I have to figure out whose couch I'm crashing on for all of next week, which I'm not looking forward to. It hit me today for the first time...I'm not going to be able to go home, to my bed, to my own space, for more than a week. My apartment is never going to be my space ever again. I know it's only for a week, but I'm not excited about being homeless.

People keep asking me about this summer--"Aren't you excited?" with multiple exclamation points. No! I mean, I am, but that's a very small part of me compared to the part that is absolutely terrified and intimidated and lost. My inadequacies are starting to leak out. What if I fail. What if I get sent on an important assignment and don't get a single usable quote because I can't take notes in Spanish fast enough and I barely understand the dialect. What if Reuters realizes halfway through that they've made a huge mistake and send me home. What am I going to tell everyone who's expecting great things of me?

Sometimes I look at what I've done and think, yeah, you know, I'm pretty awesome--look at all this experience! But I'm kidding myself. I feel like a fraud. I'm not good at this job--I don't have the killer instinct--I don't read the news every day--I don't ask the hard questions when I'm supposed to. Maybe I'm suited for my school newspaper, but Reuters? That's the biggest news organization in the world. What can I possibly do for them!

Mostly I feel like crying a lot of the time now. My head hurts, and whenever I try to talk to someone about all this, they just say, "Oh, stop it! You'll be fine! Just stop it!"

But I can't! Let me talk! I need my parents to validate me, to say, "Wow, Molly, your life is so stressful right now. I don't know how you handle it." That's what I need--recognition from them that the life of a student is no less hectic than the life of a parent with a job. More so, I'd wager. And as a response to that, I want them to say, "We'll look into storage. We'll come drive you home so you don't have to take the nasty Greyhound to your brother's graduation. We'll take care of everything."

I guess this is what growing up looks like?

Love always,
molly


Friday, May 7, 2010

this weather inspires no punctuation

In Just-

spring when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it's

spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles

far and wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it's

spring

and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan whistles

far

and

wee

e.e. cummings

Friday, April 23, 2010

bam-bam-bam

I still haven't learned not to procrastinate.

I suppose I never will, either, until I'm severely punished for it. I mean, yes, the late hours and all the stress are quite punishing, but I always pull it off in the end. I would need to get a resounding "F" on a paper or test for me to consider changing my ways.

That said, I was really very proud of myself when I wrote most of my paper that was due today (Thursday) on Tuesday night. I just had to write the last half of a page on the night before it was due. I'd call that progress.

Then again, I waited until about midnight tonight to start the paper that's due tomorrow. Still - it's a decent paper. But it's not very well-sourced and thus doesn't follow the prompt very well...we'll see how far my eloquence gets me this time.

Anyway. Two papers down, one moot court proceeding to go. Lucky for me, I have another class right before that, so I'll get a whole 10 minutes to sit down and prepare with my partner attorney....yeah, uh-huh...

Sleepytime now ok bai.

Love always,
molly


Monday, April 19, 2010

ho-hum deedly dum ka-boom.

Things to do this week:

--Research Supreme Court justices to predict what questions our fake-justices will ask in Moot Court.
--Read 60-page Morse brief for Moot Court.
--Learn to be a lawyer.
--Prepare petitioner's side for Morse v. Fredrick case for Moot Court (for Friday).
--Read all of Supreme Conflict (by Friday).
--Write a 5-page paper about how the Dominican Republic views itself (due Friday).
--Write a 5-page paper about one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights and why it was included (due Thursday).
--Write story proposal for Global Health Reporting; talk to Harborview and SeaMar sources to figure out what the story is.

This may be the quarter where I finally get screwed by my procrastination and have to grow out of it...I can keep my head straight on 3 classes at a time, but that 4th one just gets dropped from the radar. Global Health, Com&Canada, Mass Media Law and Poli-Sci. Demasiado.

If I ask before the night before they're due, one or both of those papers could get extended. But I think I can do it, once I sit down and figure out my sources.

It's the moot court thing that has me freaked out. I may seem like I enjoy arguing, but not in this setting. KL, I can't even punch anyone! Jeez louise. But really - while we're giving our prepared statements, the "justices" can interrupt at any time and pick apart your argument. I'm thoroughly nerve-wracked.

I know I'm awesome, but couldn't they have picked someone else to be the attorney? Sheesh.

Love always,
molly


Thursday, April 1, 2010

all those people, going somewhere.

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see.

I've been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving, pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you've seen the people all along.

--Brandon Heath

Love always,
molly

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DR part 2: injustice

I just read Sarah's blog, and I have to write again.

In the village we were in last week, all the houses are made of tin, with dirt floors. But at the top of the hill near a house we laid a cement floor in, there's this big, fancy house, where some big, douchey government official lives. We were told he put it there as a big "f you" to the people of Don Bosco. In our nightly reflection time, one of my friends shared that he had come to recognize the smell of poverty - something pervasive and undeniable that he associated with unwashed people, rotting garbage, and neglect. The thing about a smell, he said, is that you can't ignore it. And he, like the rest of us, was unable to understand how that government official could ignore that smell, and go on living in his fancy house.

I spent a week in the DR and accomplished nothing. For every cement floor we laid there are 500 more that need to be built. The kids I cuddled were smiling while we were there, but after we left and the cries of "Americana!" vanished into the distance, they went back to the way they are: ignored by their parents and deprived of the love and physical affection that they so desperately need.

I did NOTHING. Nothing changed. No one was saved. If I was changed, it'll fade before too long, like a dream upon waking.

I've never been so close to dropping out of school.

Love always,
molly

DR part 1: happiness

I've taken the first few days this week to collect my thoughts. It's still hard to think about the DR...and even harder to not think about it. After only 9 days in the Dominican, I'm as unhappy to be back in the States as I was after 4 months in Spain.

So here are my first collected thoughts:

It was amazing. Heartbreaking and devastating and painful and exhausting, yes, but amazing. My pastor put it best, speaking about the hardest day of work we had down there: "This is killing me...but this is giving me life."

The last time I went, we worked with the kids - that was our primary focus, and we designed lessons and activities for them. This time, we focused on construction, and played with the kids when we got done or needed a break. We laid cement floors for 3 or 4 houses, painted the walls of the vocational school, baked bread to be taken to Haiti for earthquake refugees, and the boys played baseball.

I can't imagine not having a cement floor. A floor, for Pete's sake, that can't get muddy when it rains or smell rotten when it's hot. The woman who owned the house where we put the first floor in was so proud to usher us back in that afternoon - look at my new floor, look at my house, isn't it wonderful? All we gave her was a floor - I want to give her rugs and furniture and so much more. But she was so happy.

Dominicans are happy. That's the main reason I'm so depressed up here, I think - Americans are not happy. Don't try to reason with me; everything that I am is screaming to get out of the country right now. I can't help it. The Dominicans never went more than 5 minutes without laughing. Indeed, I think the only time I saw it happen was when Wili, one of the helpers, told me that he got in trouble for everything he said to me and was going to not talk for the rest of the bus ride. (I later told Joselito, a translator, that Wili had shut up for 10 minutes, and he said, "And the SKY didn't fall?!"

They are so ready to laugh. Their faces are just alive with it - not just our translators, not just the people who worked for the mission and had a steady job and a normal house - but all of them. The kids - these kids who get one meal a day and don't know their fathers and run around naked most of the time - they are so happy.

I have so much - so much! - and I'm not as happy as they are. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with all of us, Americans? I'm sitting here on my laptop, in my apartment furnished with a bed and table and chairs and dresser and bookcase, with as much food as I want, with an iPod and an iPhone and books and movies and so much shit that I don't need, and I'm not happy.

But that won't do; the Dominicans would never dwell on such things. I'm not happy because I spend all my time thinking about myself. I'm happiest when I forget my own interests in pursuit of serving others.

So this first installment of the DR debriefing goes to my Dominican friends, who made me feel at home from the very first day. This is for Juanchi, Joselito, Alejandro, Rambo, Wili, Jessi, Juan, Manuela, Iris, Renzo and Juan, who made me laugh every moment of every day.

I miss everything.

Love always,
molly

Thursday, March 18, 2010

hi-yah!

Hey-o, I leave for the DR tomorrow night. Dad's driving me back to Seattle, leaving at noon, and then we have to be at the airport at 7 for the 9:30 flight. Wooooo red-eye!

Dudes. I went to jiujitsu (jujutsu? I don't know) tonight for the 3rd time this week, and BOY do I feel badass. Mark's been wanting to take me for a while, and out of a desire for some sibling bonding time before he leaves for boot camp in June (yeah, holy crap) I went along.

He's really good at it. Like, really good. He's like a little monkey, clambering all over these huge guys and choking them out (gross phrase, but that's what they call it). I was very proud of him.

Before I went on Monday, I was planning to mostly just watch from the sidelines. As I watched them start rolling during that lesson, that inclination was reinforced. I'll say the same thing about wrestling, but guys, seriously, almost everything you do in jiujitsu looks like sex. Really. There's a lot of mounting and hip thrusting and straddling and pushing people's heads down between your legs. Yikes.

So that, coupled with the fact that I never ever work out or exercise, made me feel like the safest place for the only girl in the class would be the bench. But then again...I really wanted to fight.

And they let me! Matt, the instructor, pulled me in and showed me some stuff; let me ask my stupid questions, didn't go too rough on me, and I actually learned something! And I remember it...kind of.

They don't talk in hypothetical terms. It's all "When he's sittin' on you, tryin' to choke you out, puttin' all his weight on you..." etc. When, not if, you see. Because clearly, if you don't have someone try to kill you, you haven't really lived.

But despite the scary implications and the awkwardness and the not-knowing-what-I'm-doing, it was awesome. Even getting thrown - Mark flipped me over his back a couple times, and Matt and another guy both threw me onto my side when they were teaching me stuff - was awesome. It's a "See, I can take it!" kind of feeling. And Matt said I was really strong. That was happy.

So now I want to find a jiujitsu school in Seattle. Good exercise, and good life lessons, I'd say. I plan on being in dangerous places in my life - and Seattle's full of muggings already - so I'd like to know how to handle myself. Also, if Mark is ever getting too annoying, I have to be able to beat him up.

Freakin' a, though. Mark's friend Chris threw me in some weird way, and now my left leg is dead from mid-shin down. No bueno. That bruise isn't gonna match my DR tan.

Love always,
molly

Monday, March 15, 2010

There's no place

Quick details: Play went well; finals went well; spur-of-the-moment decision to come back with my family has me in Richland until Friday, when my dad will drive me back to Seattle and then to Sea-Tac, where I'll fly out to the Dominican Republic. We'll get back late Sunday the 28, then I start spring classes at 9:30 Monday morning. Ay, mi madre.

Besides all that, I've been thinking about where I'm going to live for the rest of my life.

Transience seems to be something I might have to get used to. If this Reuters thing works out - really, truly works out, and I confirm that I love it and want to do it for the rest of my life - where is my home going to be? I may be in Santiago for a year, then go to Buenos Aires, maybe Brazil, if I learned Portuguese, and at some point I want to venture over to the Middle East. With all this moving around, never staying put for too long in any one city, where do I call home?

For now, here, in Willowbrook, my eternally tranquil and well-kept neighborhood, I feel at home. But it's slowly changing. Last summer, I complained to my brother about him putting his running shoes up on the kitchen table (I mean, really. Who does that.) and he asked why I cared (in that charming way of his), and I said, Because I live here too! And he said, You don't live here. You just moved home for the summer.

Ouch ka-bibble.

Then, today, I came up to my room to find that my dad has taken over my desk as a safe haven for all things electronic. We've got the baby laptop sitting on top of my old laptop, with the camcorder and plenty of cables to keep them company. It's the only place they can go, and you're hardly ever here, was his explanation.

And while I still proudly proclaim my eastern Washington roots while I'm at school, I catch myself calling Seattle "my" side of the state when I talk to my parents. My apartment still isn't very homelike, but Seattle is. School is there, church is there, most of my friends are there.

But what happens when I leave to work abroad? Right now, my bedroom here still has everything the way I left it - posters on the walls, closet a disaster, stuffed animals in a bin by the window. I can't move everything with me if I'm leaving the country. I won't be able to take much at all this summer, and I suppose it'll be a similar pattern from now on. Do I buy new stuff every time I go to a new place? New pots and pans, new mattress cover, new dish towels and coat rack for the door?

Does my bedroom at home stay my home base? It would be sad to see my parents turn it into some depressing exercise room, but it would also be sad to be in my 30s and have my Princess Bride poster still above my bed. (That's a lie. The Princess Bride will never be sad.)

Home is often where your family is. But in all my imaginings of my life to come, I have not pictured anyone by my side. These are strictly independent adventures. No husband - and certainly no children - will be in tow. Too much hassle, and I could never demand such transience of someone else.

Based on current projections, I will be single and without a permanent residence well into my middle age.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Love always,
molly

Thursday, February 25, 2010

bravada, mi querida

Chile is a combination of all the scary things I've ever done in life, times 10.

Language barrier & distance of Spain + lack of friends of Port Townsend + new job with high expectations of Seattle Times + pressure of wanting this to work out more than any other job in the past = one very frightened Molly.

I know I need to remember that all those previous times worked out - look how successful I was in Spain, and Port Townsend, and the Times! - but this feels different. Spain, I had friends and English speakers in my school program. I had the beach to go to and be surrounded by people. In Port Townsend, everyone is a crazy hippie and proactive in making friends. At the Times, I was only the part-time intern and the expectations weren't that high, plus I had a host of editors, teachers and former interns offering me guidance. I knew what I was going into with that one. I know the routine of a newspaper by now.

But Reuters is different. I don't know what writing for a wire service is going to look like. Do I write one story a week? a day? an hour? I don't know that much about business. All the other writers, I've been told, are native Spanish speakers. What if I go out on a super-important assignment and don't catch any of what the source is saying? What if I can't write fast enough? This is the gateway to my dream job - my foot in the door to getting where I've dreamed of going since I was in high school. What if I get down there and they realize they've made a horrible mistake? What happens when they realize I'm not as fluent as I ought to be and that I have no business-writing experience and that I can't churn out stories on as tight of deadlines as they expect me to?

And who do I go to when I'm stressed out and scared and unsure of myself? I don't know a single person on the entire continent. My parents can't come down and comfort me; it's a $1000 plane ticket for any of my friends who want to come visit. (I can't find any cheaper, Ella, I've looked, I'm sorry!) I know this is going to be a good teaching experience, and that I have to learn to fend for myself sooner or later, but I don't think I'm there yet. I'm not grown-up enough or brave enough or strong enough to be this independent.

I'm lonely just thinking about it.

Love always,
molly

Saturday, February 20, 2010

hola! tienes bigotes?

I think I'll blog about things I want to happen more often. 2 hours after writing that last one, I got an email from my professor. He forwarded me the message from the guy at Reuters, who said:

"...our LatAm editors have decided to accept Molly and send her to our Santiago, Chile bureau..."

Santiago??? I didn't even think it was an OPTION!

I'm going to Chile! For 10 weeks. Starting as close to June 14 as I can swing it.

Chile. Que guay. I don't know ANYONE in Chile. Pero bueno. I didn't know anyone in Port Townsend, either, or really in Spain, and look how that turned out.

I'm looking forward to Skype parties with everyone, especially with Katie, who will be in Paris for a month and has insisted that our Skype calls be "Mustaches Only!!" oui oui, senor!

Love always,
molly

Friday, February 19, 2010

waiting, sweetheart, just waiting

Still no word on where Reuters is going to send me. I'm pretty sure the only two options are Mexico City and Buenos Aires, and after the stress of thinking I wasn't going to get it at all, I'd be happy going to either one.

Overall, though, Buenos Aires would be my first choice. (Aside from the fact that it would be winter. Stupid Southern Hemisphere. I don't want a whole year of winter!) But really - my friend Nate studied there a couple summers ago, and told me that he'd connect me with his host brother and all his futbol-playing Argentinean friends. Chya! (Except they all have mullets. No love for the mullet.)

The thing is, Mexico City in July and August would be miserable. Sweltering and sticky and 20 million people and horrible pollution and people getting their heads chopped off. I'm kind of partial to my head and don't want it chopped off...

...but Mexico City is the cultural and historical capital of Latin America. It'd probably be way more exciting than Buenos Aires.

We shall see. God's plan has been pretty good so far; I think I can trust him to pick my location for me.

Love always,
molly

Saturday, February 13, 2010

hhhhhhhoder.

Yesterday was an emotionally tumultuous day. My goodness.

After not being able to fall asleep/waking up every hour during the night, I got up at about 7:45 yesterday morning, so that I could move around and be alert by the time my 9:00 interview rolled around. Right - interview - on Tuesday or Wednesday, the people from Reuters e-mailed me to set up a phone interview.

Now, this interview was supposed to be just a formality. The head of the COM department, who has been incredibly reassuring through all of this, told me it was going to 90% proving that I speak Spanish and 10% affirming that I have the "journalistic drive." So on Thursday night, I went to a friend's house and spoke Spanish for a couple hours, to make sure I was in the zone. Didn't really reassure me, as my lack of sleep showed, but it was good practice.

Okay. Ever since I got the stamp of approval from the COM department, I feel like everyone around me has been much more certain of my success than I have been. I love my mom, but I felt like she was jinxing me when she approached everyone at church with, "Did you hear what Molly's going to be doing this summer??" MOM! Might be doing this summer, MIGHT! Anyway. The COM dept. guy continued to profess his belief that I was going to wow them in the interview, which made it really hard to not get my hopes up.

Then the interview. This was a conference call with 4 people, working out of 4 different countries in South America: Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile. I hate phone interviews. Isn't it only 15% of communication that comes from what we say? Without a face-to-face, I had no body language cues to go on. Which makes Spanish even harder...

...but then, they didn't seem too concerned with my Spanish. No, they preferred instead to quiz me on my knowledge of South American foreign policy. "If you were Mexico, and you saw that perhaps the U.S. wasn't the best partner, who would you trade with--which countries would you look to?"

Um.....
..............
.................

Maybe if I were a political science major focusing on Mexico, I would have an intelligent answer for that. But I'm not. And my answer did not seem to impress the British woman on the other end. British accents sound so incredibly condescending! My heart sank a little more every time she asked me a question, or responded (after a long pause) with, "Well, all right then....anyone else have any questions?"

I was only called upon to speak Spanish for about 25% of the interview. That, I wasn't worried about. Spanish is comfortable. What's not comfortable is being asked, "If you were in an elevator with the president of Argentina, what would you ask her?"

Um....."Sup"?

No, I didn't say that. I said something about how she's encouraging other women of Latin America to work toward higher positions in the government and combat the ever-present machismo. Not very politically savvy.

We all said "ciao," I hung up the phone, and leaned my head down on the table and started to cry. I felt so inadequate and stupid...as if I hadn't prepared for a final exam. I could hear the conversation taking place about me after I left the call. The nice Brazilian woman would say, "Well, she was very nice; her Spanish was very good." Then the British woman: "She didn't know anything." "Yes, but did you know all that much when you first came here?" "Well, if I really wanted a job like this, I think I would have at least researched a bit. She clearly doesn't want it enough."

Yep.

Katie (roommate) took me out to Chipotle, which was nomtastic but couldn't quite make me feel better. Talked to my dad, my mom, my editor at the Times...all still wanted to be optimistic, which frustrated the hell out of me. They hadn't heard how stupid I was on the interview! I didn't want to hear more parent-like conviction that it was all going to work out. It's nice to have people believe in me, but I felt they were prolonging the inevitable reality.

I went up to talk to the COM dept. guy, before my Spanish rehearsal, and he was very surprised to hear about the interview. He hadn't expected anything like that, he said; maybe they got mixed up in what they were supposed to be testing me for. Reuters has a deal with the UW, and a few other universities, where they take one of our interns every year. This interview, again, was supposed to be a formality. Domke said I should email the main Reuters guy and tell him that I wasn't prepared to answer questions with the level of knowledge they asked me, but that I was more than willing to familiarize myself with those things.

I left his office feeling a bit better; he said, "I know you're really anxious about this, but I'll fight really hard for you...Don't worry, we're gonna get you down there." I drafted the email on my phone, and sent it to him, to check it. As it sent, however, my phone loaded my new emails, and I had one from Domke:

"Molly: Don't send that email! Or if you did, don't worry. I just got an email from Greg; he said you did well!! We'll discuss placement next week."

.....

Placement. As in, JOB PLACEMENT. As in, LATIN AMERICA. As in I GOT IT!!

Joder. A sudden, unforeseeable end to 6 of the most hellishly stressful hours of my life. But it all worked out in the end.

This is a really long, very journal-y blog post. Hopefully my next post will be just 2 words: "Buenos Aires." It'll be cold, but I'd much rather go there than Mexico City. 20 million people and pollution during the hottest part of the year? No, gracias...but of course, I'll be happy no matter where I go.

Hola, dream job. No more running off, okay? Let's hang out for a bit, you and I.

Love always,
molly