Posted by: melloduck | June 30, 2011

A personal defense.

I don’t talk politics. Most people who know me are aware of this. I try to avoid people and situations that solicit my opinion on politics. I think it’s because I’m truly very unapologetically moderate.

Anyway, as it turns out, this summer’s theme is Trying New Things (more on that in my next post). I’ve found myself in a classroom full of intelligent and very progressive thinkers. I don’t agree with a lot of their views. Initially, I was hesitant to even mention my career aspirations (national security, terrorism, etc) because many hear such words and assume that I am an imperialist war-mongerer.  At the SEASSI orientation I had mentioned national security to somebody from another language program, and he made a face. I can’t describe it, but you probably can picture it. The guy was polite, sure, but there was a moment’s trepidation.

After a viewing of Burma VJ (which is a great film about the Saffron Revolution, check it out!), I was outside with a few classmates and we discussed opression and war and all that happy stuff.  We didn’t really talk politics so much as foreign policy and international affairs, topics that I’m more comfortable with. But the question of my interest in terrorism came up. Oh, shit. Anyway, I told them what I’m about and that’s that. Fortunately everyone in the Filipino program is really nice.  But I can’t ever shake the feeling that people are weighing my integrity on a balance.

I guess what I came here to say is that those who discourage war and imperialism should have a less negative view of government bodies such as the DoD or DoS. People our age are becoming more involved in these fields and, surprise! We’re not all close-minded conservatives. I think deterring those folks from civil service is only going to be more harmful. When one looks at places like Burma or North Korea, you see a continuing wave of oppression. Why? Well…there are a lot of reasons, but one big reason is that the people don’t have power—the military does. And if you put more people in the military who have a more progressive opinion, there’s a chance for change. So I’m going to continue doing what I do because I truly feel that I am making the right choice. I have loads of respect for activists, those constantly fighting for social justice. For me, though, I prefer to make their job easier by other means. Activism is not for everyone. Each person has a chance to make change happen, but one can’t hope that improving one social institution will instantly make the fight easier for the remaining ones.

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Posted by: melloduck | June 17, 2011

Week 1 Complete!

I’m 1/8 of the way through the program! Yay!

After a day of orientation, we dove right in. Each day of class is a week’s worth of study, but it’s structured in a such a way that you really don’t feel like you’ve been sitting in a classroom for four hours. Plus, our instructor is very cheerful and patient which helps us all out.

My brain though…it’s leaking vocabulary! Hirap na hirap sa Tagalog! Pero gusto kong klase. I’m learning SO MUCH.

in my defense, pictures help me learn...

 

In my downtime I’ve been exploring State Street, or eating on the Terrace. I even explored the bus system (GASP) all on my own. Apparently there’s a Target that’s slightly closer by bus.

My impressions of Madison so far: AWESOME city. I live right near downtown. There’s SO MUCH good food to be had! If I want Lao or Vietnamese for dinner, it’s a block away. So is Brazilian BBQ. There are tons of Middle Eastern and Tibetan/Nepali places. It’s food heaven!

And with all this food talk…nagluluto ako…!

Posted by: melloduck | June 11, 2011

Saturday in the park…

Okay, it wasn’t really a park. But they were playing the song today as we perused the Dane County Farmer’s Market. I have never found a better reason to wake up at 7am on a Saturday morning.

I’ve been looking forward to the farmer’s market since I first heard about it. Supposedly it’s one of the largest in the country, and they weren’t kidding. There was so much asparagus and spinach. And fresh beef, bison, and emu. EMU!!!! We picked up some venison jerky. I’m on a mission to eat every non-endangered animal in the world, and DCFM puts me one step closer to my goal.

And we can’t forget about the cheese. Nick and I got some garlic fried cheese curds, as well as a pack of the bacon flavored for our friends who are watching Sunny while Nick’s out. I’ve never been much of a cheese person but the next 8 weeks might change me.

It’ll be difficult getting used to a lack of chain grocery stores nearby (the nearest Target is a 40 minute bus ride!) but it’s for the best. I’m forced to eat fresh veggies that are local and seasonal. What can be bad about that?

Posted by: melloduck | June 8, 2011

Mabuhay!

To preface, I’m a Philippine-born “halfsie” that was raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. I have a great love for food (though some may call it an obsession), crafts, and world cultures. For a look into my creative endeavors, feel free to check out my craft blog!

I will be using this blog to document my summer in Madison, Wisconsin, as I attend an eight-week intensive course to learn Filipino. I look forward to the experience, not only as a chance to learn my heritage language, but also as an opportunity to explore life in Madison.

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