30 October 2005

hop, skip and jump

I moved the last of my stuffs out of the far-off place. It only took nine boxes (two tiny), a bookshelf, a set of tall statutes from Rwanda and a tennis racket. And two men in a bright yellow van. Who were supposed to be one driver and a one mover but were kind enough to carry the stuff up to the sixth floor for me in Manhattan while I watched the van which was parked in front of a fire hydrant illegally.

As I left my old place, I felt like the end of a movie - you know, when the scene suddenly freezes while the person is walking or leaping or skipping? At the end of my far-away place movie, I was leaping off the stoop and clicking my heels together in the air.


Then, in my head, I saw the camera continue as I lost my balance in mid-air and went crashing to the ground, bruising and scraping every part of me and hitting my head on the pavement with a large thud.

The scary thing is, that's what would happen if I lept off the stoop and tried to click my heels together in the air. Gracefullness continues to elude me.

25 October 2005

evil cars

This weekend, when my mom was here, she kept asking about the cars, which are obstinately making turns across your path before and behind when you are crossing with the white "walk" light. I made light of them and said that they were mostly taxis and have to watch out for you because it would be such a problem for them if they hit you.

Yesterday, I dropped her off at the airport (the M60 bus is a horrible thing) and moved some stuff from my old place to my new and went to school for a while to read my assignments for today. On the way home it was raining (as I mentioned last night), so I stopped at the drugstore and bought a wasted umbrella, because I had one at home, but my newspapers held over my head weren't going to make it all the way home. They were beginning to disintegrate.

As I crossed the scary corner, the one where you think cars are coming straight at you, with the light on my side, I noticed a car making a left-turn right at me. I skipped forward a few steps to get out of its way, but it turned more sharply and continued straight at me. I had to hop forward a few more steps and barely made it out of the car's way - the side of it brushed against me. Like any good African, I thumped twice on the hood of the car and flung up my hands in frustration at the scared white little face of the girl driving the car.

Then I reached the sidewalk and started shaking.

24 October 2005


It is pouring rain - again - and I'm wearing a down jacket and I have no umbrella. How am I going to get home? This coat smells icky when it gets wet. I'm stuck and it's time to go home to bed.

21 October 2005


Some mornings I get to school and then realize that I really don't like the clothes I put on. Maybe I shouldn't even own these clothes since I don't like them. Oops.

20 October 2005

things are crazy i tell you, crazy

ConEdison had to come on an emergency basis today because we apparently had a gas leak which the landlord swore didn't exist and therefore did nothing about it. To be fair, the ConEdison guy said that it was deep in the stove and undetectable unless you tore the stove apart and had the right detecting equipment. Except for the gas smell permeating the apartment which required that we leave the window open at all times. Then again off-setting my understanding nature about the difficulty of finding the leak, the super did give me a lecture earlier in the week when I told him that we smelled gas. It went something like this: "You have to turn knobs all way off. See? All way off." AS IF I HAD NEVER USED A GAS STOVE BEFORE. AS IF I DIDN'T CHECK EVERY KNOB. AS IF I DON'T CHECK EVERY KNOB EVERY NIGHT BEFORE BED. Honestly.

To get the super to do something about the fact that following the fixing of the leak the stove would no longer ignite, the ConEd guy shut off the valve to the stove and tagged it with a red tag saying, essentially, "THIS STOVE IS BROKEN." So, okay, we can't use it until it gets fixed, but at least it's proof that something is wrong and maybe the slacker property company will have to fix it.

We are a bit suspicious of them considering that we didn't have hot water for FIVE DAYS after we moved in. Nor did anyone in the building. Money-saving measure, perhaps? These are the perils of renting your own place. I love it.

19 October 2005

Okay, who is it?

I want to know who it is who has been SCRAPING MY THROAT WITH AN ICE PICK.

18 October 2005


I'm tired and tired and tired. I don't even know how to say this enough times or in a way that really conveys how tired I am. There is this theory that has been passed on from my ancestors to me through my mom about how every hour of sleep before midnight counts twice. I wonder: what if you don't get to sleep until 3 am three nights in a row? I think years start detracting from your life.

I'm either getting sick (along with everyone else on campus) or I just worked myself into being sick, because, well, I'm getting sick. Or I'm just so tired that my throat feels like sandpaper and has for three days but I've been ignoring it in favor of finishing the world's most horrible paper on superior responsibility in international criminal law which has been the bane of my existence for weeks.

I wish tomorrow was empty, but it isn't. I have so much to do, still.

For now I'm going home to my lavender eye pillow and my mattress pads on the floor, since I have no bed and apparently never will because I have no time to get one. Or money to get one.

17 October 2005

1:41 am

I just hit 6 lines onto the 31st page of my 30 page paper whose extended deadline ended at midnight (the midnight just past). What can I say? I moved this weekend. It's still not done but the end is in sight.

16 October 2005

11:11 pm

Who needs to sleep?

This paper is worth $1000.

I can lose one night of sleep.

= frustration

Calling ConEdison for the third time (the first time the wait was too long, the second their servers were down), waiting for 20 minutes, getting a customer service representative, getting put on hold without actually saying anything but why you called, and promptly dropping the phone so that it skitters across the counter, loses its battery, and ends up in the sink full of ice that you just pried out of the defrosting freezer. I give up.

15 October 2005

I'm never moving again. This is it. I can't face the five flights of stairs ever again.

two things:

coconut tea.

every part of me hurts.

14 October 2005

moving yet again

This week:

Monday - sent an email to the friend of a law student who had emailed around saying that his friend needed a place to live in Manhattan.

Tuesday - met the friend. Friend and I visited one very icky little apartment that had ceilings exactly 6 feet high. She is 6'1". I am 5'10". Six foot ceilings did not sound appealing.

Wednesday - friend and I looked at two more apartments and she looked at a third alone. The third was perfect and we filled out applications. I bullied the brokers into reducing their commission to $600 less than than the standard.

Thursday - application accepted (thanks to the driving rain, we had no competition).

Friday - we sign a lease. We get keys. We move in.

This all happened startlingly quickly. I only told my previous landlady this morning that I was moving out. I didn't expect to have the keys and be sleeping in the new place already tonight. But I have a new address. And this one, because I'm on the lease, is mine for a year. Plus 17 days (so the lease ends at the end of October 2006).

Welcome home, self.


In some moments, the hardest word I can think of to say is "yes."

As in, "You are moving out?"


But then, 'though I feel bad, there is this:

I'm moving out!

13 October 2005


My new home will be a five minute walk from class, closer than my current walk to the subway.

Now I just have to figure out how to get as much as possible in security deposit back from my current probably illegal sublet even though it is the 13th and the next rent cycle would start on the 15th, leaving her no time to find someone new. The probable illegality of it does give me some leverage in several ways that I as a law student think of immediately, though.

And I have to move and write a 30 page paper at the same time. This paper has been going nowhere. Nowhere. I have too much else to think about. I'm really going to hate myself if the result is an all-nighter on Sunday when I've been "working" on it all week.
Sometimes when I go to Starbucks near campus there is a huge line and so I just get a table and wait to order a drink until the line goes down. But by goes down I mean that there are no more than two people at the counter and after an hour of sitting here I have finally gotten a good table that I can spread things out on and where I can access the non-Starbucks wireless which is free, but with the rain and wind driving people inside, I have not gotten close to being able to just walk up to the counter and order. The line varies only between long and really long.

11 October 2005

Monrovia today:

:: With bad roads, poor communications and no electricity, pulling off an election this complex was an uphill battle for a poor nation like Liberia, even with significant help from international donors. Looking worriedly at the setting sun, Mr. Kollie said he was concerned that voters would not be able to make out the ballots by the dim light shed from the single battery-operated lantern given to each polling place.

"I only have eight batteries," he said. "God willing, they will last until the last ballot is cast."::


Sometimes good things make me want to cry, too.

despairing and hoping

Yesterday on the train, I picked up a newspaper that the man next to me dropped and read an article about the earthquake in Pakistan. I read that over 20,000 people had died and more than 50,000 were injured. Click on this link for today's story: Earthquake in Pakistan. By the time I finished the article, I was fighting not to cry on the train and I pushed the paper away and stood to leave and at that very instant my iPod started playing, "Great is thy faithfulness, oh God my Father..."



Today I've been reading about the elections in Liberia. 22 candidates, including the favorite, an international football (soccer) star, George Weah. In 2000, when we were driving from Buchanan to Monrovia, his car raced by us at obscene speeds honking the horn and flashing the lights in a ridiculous display of impunity which I can only assume is likely to continue if he becomes president. Then again, I might have made a scene, too, if I were passing someone driving that slowly in an overloaded pickup. His main competition is a woman, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who used to work for the World Bank. My new-found Liberian electoral process knowledge tells me that a candidate needs 51% of the vote to be elected, so there will likely be a run-off. More information and pictures of the polling can be found by clicking on this link: Liberia's Election.


I don't know yet.

10 October 2005


I just talked to someone who just moved to New York and wants a roommate and loves this area and we are meeting tomorrow to see if we could stand each other. I may be back in non-horrible commuting distance before the end of the month. I feel bad about leaving Corinne, but I can't afford to eat in town every day. I want to take naps in my own apartment if I have a long afternoon break. I want to drink tea at home. Tea, I tell you. I want to drink tea. I love tea and I love drinking it and I never get to drink it in my own house because I don't get back to my own house until after 10 pm every night and anyway it doesn't feel like my own house because every part of it is decorated and taken over by her stuff. I have one corner of the bathtub. One of four. And there's a wire shelving thing, but I have no space on it. I have no space on the sink. My dishes don't fit in the cupboard. My food is in my closet because it also has no cupboard space. Worst of all, the cats believe that my room is a passageway to the back yard and if either the door to the kitchen or the door to the back yard is open, they come through and stand by the unopened door, waiting for me to come open it. Once at morning breakfast time I just didn't open the door for one of them until Corinne started knocking repeatedly and asked if the cat was there. I like cats, but not that much. Not enough to stop whatever I'm doing and leap up to open doors for them.

But I do love my loft and the neighborhood. I just hate everything in the world at that moment each evening at 9:30 pm when I'm leaving school and know that I have perhaps 40 minutes of subway and walking in front of me before I can go to sleep. Mostly subway. The walking, in the cool night air, is nice, but the minority of the trip.

I hate moving. I hate leaving a place. I'm tired of doing it over and over these last few years. I don't want to do it again. Yet I know that I will be glad to have done it the first night I leave school and go home within 10 minutes and I'm asleep within half an hour. I remember with longing all the extra time I had when I could do things around school, go home for dinner and back to studying, and then suddenly leave studying and go to bed. No commute. I think I've said this a few times, but I hate the commute. I hate it. I HATE IT.

watching Gorillas in the Mist

I love it when I watch a movie and can say, "I drove on that road."

Looking through my pictures of Rwanda, I sometimes wonder if it was real. Did I really live there for almost two years? But there I am, smiling out of the pictures.

I miss my house on Lake Kivu. And everything else.

05 October 2005

Would it be REALLY terrible if I moved already? I keep hearing about better options (closer, for example).


1. Police officer carrying a large weapon slung over his shoulder in front of a black Suburban with tinted windows = not subtle.

2. The store called "Tejada Market" does not actually carry any items other than the normal bodega-in-New York items (ie. no cool Latin American items) except FrescAvena (apparently horchata but made by Quaker?). This is disappointing.

3. If you are driving a car or an SUV with spinning rims and blaring rap music, you will look a lot more gangsta if the music you are playing is not something to which I, a white girl who hasn't turned on a radio in a year, know all the words. (That means BOTH of you.)

03 October 2005

kid cuteness

B, the older of the boys that I babysit for (he's four), occasionally loses one of his toys and gets very upset about it. One day he cried for a while about the loss of the Jimmy Neutron figure that we had looked for in every single crate of toys in the living room to no avail and then he finally sighed and said, "I'll make one out of Play-Doh. Then I'll feel better."

today in new york

From the New York Times Metropolitan Diary:

Overheard by Allen Rabinovich on the subway:
"Sir, I couldn't help but notice you keep your wallet in the back pocket of your jeans," the middle-aged woman said to a young man in his twenties. "You must be a visitor to our city, but that's a big no-no. You are too easy a prey for pickpockets."
The young man responded politely, "Ma'am, I was born and raised in Brooklyn. That's a decoy wallet."