Thursday, August 26, 2010

HUGS all around!

"A hug is a smile with arms, a laugh with a stronger grip." - Terri Guillemets

guess what this entry is allllll about? the wonders and delights of... the HUG!!! lakfjlaksjdf!!! I LOVE HUGS!!! giving them, receiving them... the best part about the hug is that there IS no difference. you give a hug, you get a hug! i mean, what better way to spread joy to the world, RIGHT?! (speaking of joy to the world... did you hear that miss mariah's coming out with a new christiemas album?! no worries, just a slight side note. there will be a future blog entry devoted to THAT in its entirety, rest assured.)

okay, so in my twenty-seven years on this glorious planet we call Mother Earth (i know, introspective, yo), i feel like ive seen enough to make some fair conclusions. one conclusion being that there is simply just not enough happiness in this world, gosh darn it. i know, i know, talk about stating about the most obvi of the obvious. BUT i also really think that most, if not all, the world's problems could really be solved if people would just start off and end any potentially tense encounters/meetings with a hug. think about it- who DOESN'T feel good after receiving a hug (well, let's just pretend creepy people don't exist in the world for a few moments)? RIGHT? i KNOW. if people started off every encounter with a genuine, hearty hug, you are pretty much guaranteed to formulate an innate bond with that other person, thus mitigating any tense feelings or potential sources of conflict that could arise in the remainder of your encounter/meeting. and THEN, even if said encounters go horribly awry, if you conclude your encounter/meeting with a grand hug, that innate bond is automatically re-formulated and all is merry again.

man, i really should win the nobel peace prize for this. but seriously, while i do realize i sound like im totally off my rocker with this idea, i REALLY think we're onto something here. i mean, honestly. just imagine if barack obama, mahmoud ahmadinejad and kim jong-il were in one room. i know, right? SCARY- barack, get OUTTA that ROOM! yes, that would be my first thought as well under normal (ie: present day) circumstances. however, imagine if obama, ahmadinejad and jong-il were in christieland, where hugs were mandatory, hugs were genuine, hugs were EVERYwhere! i mean, dont YOU think that these three would more quickly figure out that world peace is simply a mere hug away (and simultaneously figure out that nuclear weapons do NOTHING to help move forward the progress of society and should just be dumped in the ocean and left to rot? no? just me? sigh.)... now, i mean, im not delusional. it's not like i think ONE meeting with a hug will solve all the world's problems. but i DO think that it would increase the rate at which all of the world's problems are solved by, hmm, maybe tenfold. it's all very scientific, naturally.

this may be slightly confusing for some who know me well, as i am certainly NOT a touchy feely kind of person. i mean, im sorry, but personal SPACE, people! but i feel like hugs are in a realm of their own. they're just so powerful in nature. come on, think of the best hug you've ever gotten... omg arent they the BEST?!?! arms WIDE open upon introduction, the warm envelope of the embrace mid-hug, the side to side sway as the hug just continues on and on... lkajsdflkjasdklfjsdlka!!! ahhhhh come ON, if even just the THOUGHT doesnt make you want to squeal and dance in a merry little circle, i just dont know what DOES!!!!

i actually just spent a few minutes reflecting on what could possibly have been the best hug ive ever received. but i cant limit it to just one! there are simply too many different TYPES of hugs that ive gotten that it's simply not fair to limit it. there's those reunion hugs where you do the whole swaying back and forth or get picked up off the ground (okay, OBVIOUSLY it depends on with whom you are reuniting... i mean, never forget the art of common sense here, people), there's those heartwrenching goodbye hugs where one or both of you are crying and you can feel the wrenching sobs (while awful and sad, i still love the hug part itself), and there's those hugs you get from people who are so not huggers on a regular basis and totally catch you off-guard (delicious.). sigh. my heart is so full right now, merely thinking of specific instances of each of these types of hugs ive ever received.

so let's do it. let's start/spread this Hugapalooza. let's make it contagious (and limited to non-creepy individuals). let's make it grand. let's make the world merry again. go on! get out there! give someone (or several someones) a hug today. im serious!!

get ready, world! (and by world, i mean, readers o' the maliyacular, i guess...)

in gratitude of-

Sunday, August 15, 2010

summertime burnout...

i went to this junior league meeting a couple of weeks ago where the icebreaker involved telling the group "what you did this summer". when it came to my turn, i really was at quite a loss for words. typically, i have SOME sort of trip (no matter how small) to go on and on about. but this summer... well, nothing. nada. zilch. what in the world HAPPENED to summer?? i mean, where have the last two months GONE? granted, i did have a big trip to south africa/tanzania in the works for june but decided to bail at the last minute, because i'm an awesome friend like that (sorry again, arch!). and granted, i came into this summer knowing i wanted to stay in chicago as much as humanly possible (nixing even the possibilities of going home on a weekend or two) because of the ever-famous utopia that can only be "summertime chi". but i didnt realize that nixing the travel to take advantage of summer in chicago would leave me feeling even more burned out than if i were taking one of those intense vacations from which you need a vacation to recuperate (you know what im talking about, right?)...

after all the hype surrounding how fabulous and wonderful and glorious and perfect is the city in the summer, i really was pretty set to be disappointed. i mean, you read the "things most people like that i don't like (but im not picky!)" blog entry... you know it's hard to please me (sigh. fine. i admit it.) and i must admit, after the month of june, when i really thought seasonal affective disorder was going to consume my heart and soul (i mean, the gloomy clouds? the torrential downpours? please. it wasn't springtime anymore... hello.), i was all set to write off summertime chi as just another overhyped "thing" that was just going get right on added to that List...

but then... well, i dont know when exactly. late june but definitely by early july... something changed. the sun actually decided to establish its presence in a more than consistent fashion. and the sun can make the world seem just right again. i mean, havent you noticed how much HAPPIER people are when the sun is out? remarkable, really. and man, does chicago come a-live. the street festivals, the movies in the park, the theater on the lake, the outdoor concerts, the outdoor restaurant seating... you name it, they do it. and do people take ADVANTAGE! i mean, where WERE all these people five months ago? i really didnt believe in human hibernation until i witnessed this population surge once the summer months hit...

okay, so don't get me wrong. i am so so grateful for all of the wonderful utopian qualities that chicago in the summertime has to offer. but i must admit, it's quite overwhelming! maybe it's because im new to this whole experience and i tend to oversatiate myself if something makes me happy. so maybe it's just me who overdid it this summer. but i cant help but feel something that can only be described as summertime burnout... i mean, maybe it's got something to do with heat exhaustion (not only is it hot, but the humidity? heavens. not only is it un-comfortably sticky but the things humidity does to a girl's hair?! *shake of head*) but considering i loiter in any and every air-conditioned spot anytime im out and about, i highly doubt i can blame heat exhaustion. im just burned OUT- im exhausted all the time and i feel like i exist in a perpetual state of stickiness/filth (from the humidity... not from lack of showering or anything... just to CLARIFY!). the worst part? i get excited for gloomy/rainy days (all too few these days) as my excuse to not feel guilty for staying indoors and watching whatever's on my new dvr and/or reading (oh, let's be honest. i haven't picked up a book all summer).

sigh. im sadly counting down the days until the beginning of fall. i mean, i love summer for what it's worth, but i think im done. im just exhausted! and falltime... sigh. think about it. the apple picking, the pumpkin patches, the leaves changing colors... okay, granted none of that can really be accomplished/witnessed in a big city but whatever. just go with it. you get the idea.

ha. just wait. come mid-october, you KNOW you'll be seeing a blog entry complaining about how im tired of pumpkin flavored everything and how we should just bypass the season of fall since christiemas is right around the corner... haha. man, i really AM picky/hard-to-please. eh, oh well, oh well, oh well! you know you love it... well, i HOPE you do!

in gratitude of,
summertime in chicago (to an extent)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hi! Kaise ho app??

Laksdfjlskd!!! Doesn’t that title make you SO excited to want to read more?? Like a secret language... that only about 28-30 million people know about... but whatever.

In case you can’t tell, I’ve taken it upon myself to learn… Hindi!!! I KNOW RIGHT?! WhoEVER would have THOUGHT?! Not me, that’s for sure. I mean, I’ve always loved languages and cultures and all that jazz, but I’ve never really been all that interested in learning Hindi for some reason. Maybe it’s because my family’s language is Malayalam and, let’s face it, I might as well at least learn my family’s language before learning some other random Indian language. But whatever. Now that I’m working with a bunch of people for whom Hindi is their native tongue... well, when in Rome and all that, right? I might as well cross those cultural bounds… span my cultural wings, if you will (ahh, I should be a poet with such lovely phrases, huh?)

Anyway, I’ve decided to utilize the resources right at my fingertips for some (very) basic Hindi training. Spend $1,000 on a Hindi-speaking class at a local college? Travel halfway around the world and pull my own little Eat, Pray, Love stint? No. Way. Instead, I’ve got my own personal weekly (and sometimes daily!) Hindi lessons with my team over in India for my job. We have this weekly half hour call that usually lasts ten minutes (can I help it if we're efficient?), so what better way to spend the remaining twenty minute block of time? Can’t let valuable meeting time go to waste and all that! Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty of creating a “Hindi dictionary” aka an Excel spreadsheet with the Hindi phrase, the phonetic English pronunciation (hello! I have to PRACTICE!), and the English meaning. It’s all very structured and organized, really.

Today was the trial run and, if I do say so myself, it was pretty darn fantastic. It was like a whole new world! I forgot how much I love learning languages, considering the last time I formally studied a language it was about nine years ago (and it was French… which I clearly use on a daily basis). Anyway, it actually all flowed like clockwork. I sent one of my India teammates a list of “common Christie phrases” that I wanted to be translated into Hindi and he sent it back right before our meeting so that I would have the Hindi spelling. And then we just went through the pronunciation/phonetics for a good 20 minutes or so. Now, I know you all are probably thinking, “Oh dear Lord. Common Christie phrases?” But whatever. I kept it pretty generic (I mean, OMG and alksdjf! are pretty universal, so there is no need for EXACT translation over there, let’s be honest), not to mention professional (okay. So I did request to learn the phrase “Mujhe facebook se pyar hai” but whatever. How can you NOT incorporate “I love Facebook!” into any and every conversation around? Facebook has no physical bounds. Hello. Obvi.)

Not only THAT, but thank GOD for my fellow Indian teammates on this side of the ocean to practice my new language on… nonstop and everything!! It’s all quite exciting, really. Exciting for me… potentially annoying for them? … Potayto, potahto and all that. All I have to say is, man am I GOOD at this!! Hahaha. Just kidding. 100% kidding. But whatever. I’m still learning! Everyone’s gotta start somewhere!

And who knew Hindi was such a beautiful LANGUAGE?!?!?! I love hearing people say the things I’m trying to decipher. I don’t even know how to describe it… very smooth and calming, if you will. Oh! And did you KNOW that Hindi SONGS are like the best things EVER?!?! Okay, so I’ve liked Indian songs for a while because of the beat and all that jazz but to understand the LYRICS?!?! A whole new WORLD of delightfulness. In fact, I was just sent THIS song earlier today and canNOT stop LISTENING TO IT. It makes me simultaneously want to cry/melt/float (because, not only is the instrumental simply lovely, but the “video” is just the Hindi AND English lyrics- hence that whole cryability/meltability/floatability component). Kasdlfjalkdjf!!!! ( Seriously. It’s just so darn deliciously GOOD. I melt just thinking about it. MELTKJlkjafsdl! (I was just about to write what my favorite lyrics to this song were, but I couldn’t decide. There are too MANY! Anyway. Please do have a listen. On repeat. All day. We can have a sing-a-long tomorrow!)

Of course, none of this would be at all possible without only the best teachers EVER. So, in conclusion, I would just like to end this with (and I completely apologize, I haven’t gotten to the grammar portion of the lesson plan, so I don’t know ALL the words to formulate complete sentences):

Bahut bahut dhanyawaad**, Harsh and Vishal… you guys are adhbhut and zabardast***!

Chalo subh ratri*****!

क्रिस्टी (ChristiealksdjflksdjlOIK!UJOIJ!OLIJ!!!!)

*Hi! How are you?
**Thanks a LOT!!
***Wonderful and awesome!
****Good night!