Monday, February 20, 2012

Hot, cold

February 20

I was supposed to go to the gym today but I got a fever instead. On the plus side, I am getting some exercise putting on my sweatshirt and shivering and then taking it off a few minutes later, and back on and off. If I keep this going for the next 30 minutes, there’s my arm, shoulder, and back workout right here in bed!

Learning to be a social worker is fun, because you can use the strengths-based, motivational interviewing techniques you’re learning on yourself. You also have a much harder time ignoring the comforts, or in social work terminology, the privileges you have. I could take the bus home, which welcomed me with a heating system, my pink sweatshirt, an electric kettle, tea supply and cupcakes already baked and ready to be shoveled into my feverish body. And then, because I have not had the time to watch too many TV shows recently, I have exactly five episodes of Private Practice to catch up on!

Once my body stops feeling like it’s a puzzle put together on a hard floor, all wobbly, disjointed, and slightly apart at the breaks, I will get up and make instant noodles. One of the things from LUMS that I still have – along with some pretty awesome friends, of course.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunlit cafes want me to write

February 12

A piece of sun was caught on her ring and it glittered, rainbows trapped inside. Her bed sheets were a pale blue, and they made her feel she was on a cloud in the sky, especially when the sun was bright and sneaky, making its way into her room through the gaps.

Do I want to wake up? She rolled over, stretching her arm out and looking at her engagement ring with the piece of sun and mini rainbows inside. It was a Sunday and she was lonely. She almost always woke up feeling lonely, because she wanted to wake up with him next to her but she couldn’t, because he was really far away.

Gauging the loneliness meter, she felt she was about 5.5 on it. Which wasn’t so crippling. It was just a constant dripping in her heart that she felt perpetually, not the overwhelming waves that could sweep her away.

She turned over and just like that, the rainbows and sunlight fell out from her ring. The red light blinked silently on her phone so she picked it up – an email.

Hey Sara. I hope you’re sleeping well, and dreaming of something that makes you wake up with a smile on your face. Speaking of dreams, when was the last time you flew in a dream? I dreamt yesterday that I jumped out of a window because I knew I could fly and I did. I plunged down first, though, but it wasn’t scary. Kind of like falling in love with you. Headfirst, too fast, slight threat of broken bones but just an underlying confidence of inevitability.

And then just as I was about to touch the ground I swooped up, and there was a rush of wind and it was pretty amazing. We should go sky diving together. Wouldn’t that be cool? Tied together, fall off a plane into the bluest sky there is, horribly terrifying but not so much because we would be together and that would make the fear taste better, exhilarating, and then we will pull the string together and the parachute will crumple out and expand – hopefully.

Anyways, I’m doing good. I miss you, of course, and work can be a bitch. But I just started a new project to develop safety initiatives in a low-income community on the outskirts of the city. It is a lot of research, cajoling, convincing, indirectly threatening officials and cutting away through red tape but it might just be worth all the trouble.

How are your classes? Are you terribly busy? Will you do something fun this weekend? Buy a book.

I love you,


Sara stretched out in bed. 3.5 on the loneliness scale because his words always felt so good. They were like the magical silver sparkly stuff that comes out of a fairy godmother’s wand and swirls around you, changing your appearance, turning you from a sad little wretched maid into a beautiful, confident princess who could take on the foreign city, and get her work done, maybe even cook dinner from scratch.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Still Not Mopey

February 10

So I feel like one of those Barbies that have had their limbs broken and then fixed awkwardly by 11 year olds. Almost where they should be but having just a strange look to them – and I imagine this is how it would feel. If of course Barbies could feel.

Or like a yo-yo that’s wound up too tight. My muscles need to be stretched out, like an old coat or rug. Man, there I go again, what is up with these similes!

So I joined the gym. It was like that episode of FRIENDS in which Chandler gets Ross to help him quit his gym membership but ends up with Ross joining instead. And I could see the Game Theory 101 chapter I had recently read come to life: the finely chiseled-jaw man pointing out to me why I should join that very day. Incentivizing, seizing upon my “costly signals”, and me handing over my debit card to him.

$43, and a free one session with a trainer who measured everything from the circumference of my arms to my body fat – 27.5% of my weight is just fat.

Positive reframing: only 27.5% of my weight is fat!

Now that I’ve invested money into this becoming fit, stronger, and healthier business, I think I have more incentive to go to the gym. Been there twice. And it was actually fun; I can jog on the treadmill for almost 20 minutes without slowing down. That is an achievement, yes, it is. And then it cracks me up to go over to the weight-lifting part of the gym where I pick up 5 kg dumbbells while all around me are guys who are lifting weights that weigh as much as me. And more. But it makes sense, because they have arms as wide and big as my entire waist. Why they have these waist-sized arms, I’m not sure off.

Then there is always at least that one person in the gym who looks worse off than you – maybe they’re wearing jeans, or walking on treadmill at a pace that is so slow you have to control all impulses to jog over and just push the Up/Higher button a little bit. Or maybe they’re just quite heavy. I know, that is an awful thing to say but I feel like as a social worker in America I am always so conscious about the things I say that sometimes I just need to say mean things to feel normal.

I am so happy it is the weekend! Even though this semester I have more time than I had anticipated – which is why I joined the gym.

And working with middle school kids from so many different origins is just great. I’m finally applying my positive reinforcement, motivational speaking, listening and rephrasing skills! And yes, some of these sixth and seventh graders scare me and make me more nervous than Aasim Sajjad (oh how I miss you, Aasim Sajjad), I feel like I’m learning. Then there is always that one adorable, shy kid with long lashes who says sweet things like “sorry” every time he mispronounces words that begin with the letter P. And every now and then you get a genuine smile, or something like a “that was the most fun I’ve had all day in school” and my heart warms up and I’m all set for the next week.

And of course, TGIF. It’s Bollywood Nite and I am ready for some cheap Indian music!