I have to say that I had a great Christmas this year. It wasn’t perfect; for starters, I encountered a family issue the night of December 25th, but other than that, I had a great Christmas. Now, I’m just thinking about how quickly break is going by and how I feel about that. In a way, I am happy, because I miss all of my college friends, but at the same time, it is disappointing, because there are so many things that I would like to accomplish before returning to having very little time to myself, and it feels like I haven’t accomplished half of them. Luckily, however, the problem regarding the townhouses that I discussed earlier in my blog entries has been solved.

If you recall, the problem was that I was torn between whether or not I was going to live in the townhouses or live with my friend David, who is going to be a transfer student here. Well, here is what ended up happening. Unfortunately, not all of it is in my favor, but that’s all that you can expect out of life. You’re either going to get A or B, but it’s rare that you get both. Anyway, David successfully got into Oswego, so beginning this upcoming semester, he will be a student here. Therefore, when the time comes to request a roommate, he and I should be able to request each other for the Fall 2010 semester. At the same time, the Townhouses group has been dismembered. One of them has decided to live with a different group, and one of them has, more or less (to make a long story short), decided to stay in Waterbury.

Obviously, I gain something and lose something simultaneously. I will have David as a roommate, which is always a good thing, but the family that I have established will basically be dismembered, with everyone going their own separate ways. Things will not be the way that they are now, and that will be, at least at first, difficult to accept (I do not adapt to change well, especially when it is a change that involves me losing something). In time, I am sure that I will find a comfort zone, but it will indeed take time. In the meantime, I am trying to enjoy life as fully as is possible without allowing the future to meddle with me.

Right now, however, it’s not the future that’s meddling with me as much as it is the present. I am almost positive that I have mentioned it in an earlier blog entry, but if I haven’t, my father does not support my relationship. As a Christian, he does not support homosexuality in any way. He sees it as a serious sin and is therefore completely against gay marriage. It is something that is not easy for me to accept, because it is something that I not only feel very strongly about but also something that directly affects me. The issue therefore becomes a vicious circle; he can’t accept my relationship, I can’t accept his lack of acceptance, and he can’t accept my lack of acceptance of his lack of acceptance (sorry if that got confusing), and so forth.

Living in the same house with someone who believes that your lifestyle is the result of a devil having taken possession of you is not easy, to say the least. I have done the best that I can to talk to him in the past, telling him that homosexuality is something that you’re born with, not something that you choose, but his inability to see things liberally stands in his way and clouds his vision. He previously declared that Ray (my boyfriend, in case you didn’t know) can no longer come over, because, and I quote, “he is a bad influence on Cody and Eileene [my younger siblings].” I felt like saying to him that I guess I cannot be in the house, either, then, because, likewise, I am a bad influence on them, but I didn’t. I refrained from arguing with him, despite my natural instinct to do so, something that I fought relentlessly.

Right now, I feel trapped. I am going to be twenty years old in May, and I’ve gotten nowhere in life. The only feat that I have accomplished is that I am in college, and although that is a major feat, I admit, I don’t even have a car (I don’t even have my permit). The reason for that is because my parents either can’t or won’t help me financially. When I’m home, I don’t have a job, and when I’m in school, I can only earn a particular amount of money, since it is a work-study position. There’s no way that I could afford to pay for the course, pay for a car, pay for insurance and then pay for gas to fill the car; it is totally and completely unrealistic to even think about that; I’d need to be making thousands of dollars a year, which I don’t, not even close. So, whenever someone points out the illogicality of me being nineteen years old and not having a car, I help them realize that if it weren’t for their parents helping them out, they, likewise, would most likely be in the same boat.

I want to get an apartment with Ray and live on my own. I am tired of being dependent and am tired of having to work around my father’s strict rules to see him. This coming Wednesday (the 13th) will be nine months that we have been together, and it’s important to me that we spend it together. Normally, we can’t, because I’m in school, but now, I’m home, so it’s very important to me. I’m not sure how I’m going to go about arranging it. I have some ideas, but it feels like everything that I attempt blows up in my face and like I am therefore running low on options. I hate feeling caged, hate feeling trapped. It’s something that I want to escape, but there ultimately is no way to do so.

However, I don’t mean to be a downer and consistently write about negative aspects of my life. On a good note, I saw the new film Avatar tonight, and I am incredibly impressed. It reminds me of how movies can be magical and is so epically high on the scale of good movie-making that it is honestly the best movie that I have seen in a long time. It was very much a futuristic (the film takes place in the year 2154, I believe), sci-fi retelling of Pocahontas but epic, all the same. If you haven’t seen the film, then I highly recommend that you do. Trust me, it will blow your mind. Anyway, I guess that that is about it for now. I will do my best to check in again soon to let you all know how things turn out for me.

Relaxation and anticipation

I’m being pulled in two directions.  I’m glad it’s Winter break and I can relax and enjoy some time away from homework, but I also can’t wait for next semester to start.  It’s going to be a very busy, yet exciting, semester.  I start my internship in the Office of Judicial Affairs, and let me tell you, I can’t wait!

Admissions has been very busy with applications, phone calls, and visits.  (Anyone who has applied for the Fall semester: the first batch of decision letters go out on January 15th).  I love working there and enjoy hearing how excited everyone is.  Next semester will be very busy with planning for Open Houses and Admitted Student Days.  Check out SUNY Oswego’s visit page for dates and registration.

I’m taking some random, but necessary classes: Accounting 2, Marketing, English Lit in the Global Context, and Conflict Management.  My internship at Judicial Affairs is also credit bearing, which is great!  I know this is boring, but you all want to know my life don’t you?

Other things going on…I’m trying to plan a trip to Boston in March.  I am a member of ACPA, which is an organization for student affairs professionals.  As a student interested in the field I get to be part of the organization and attend a conference held in Boston this year.  I applied for the scholarship and am going to try to find other sources of funding. Cross your fingers for me!  Another is the search for a new apartment.  Unfortunately I have to move out of my amazing apartment at the end of this May.  I have been looking for a new place, but nothing compares to where I am.  I’m taking my time and looking at different places, but time is running out.  Hopefully by the time I post again I will have found a new place.

Again, good luck to all applicants.  Hello all alumni, current students, staff, and faculty. (Cheesy, I know :-p )

Wrapping up the year

I am so happy it is all over… This is my favorite time of the year! The semester is over, there is a long break so that you get enough time to relax, travel, and catch up with friends and family. There is also the anticipation of a brand new start! There is so much that I have left behind, I spent the past semester trying to find a balance; a balance between friends and family, school and work, and even between play and planning.  I think the anticipation of graduation, Grad- School, and the possibility of relocation really keeps me unbalance. I battle with so many feelings, feelings of hope, fear, joy, happiness, fulfillment, accomplishment, and so much more. Even though I am not at the finish line, the anticipation is really killing me. I can’t stop reflecting on how fast 4 years  went by; the best 4 years of my life.  I won’t reflect  on or think about what I will leave behind because the depth of my true engagements shall follow me wherever I shall go; I know that for sure the support, love, and encouragement will not stop from the lovely people I have met here… Next semester I will embrace it all like I have never embraced it before; the closer it gets the more I get anxious. I am awaiting many new starts for next year. There is so much to work on, so much to plan for, so much to enjoy, many more to meet, and many new engagements! I have no New Year’s resolution, except that I wish you the best and I hope that you get all that your heart desire, along with that I wish you peace and happiness… I am waiting and hoping; hoping for the best but preparing for the worst!

What makes a good blog? What makes a hard semester?

So you all have may or may not heard that the Oswego blogs got an accolades award. That is super cool! However, I am trying to find out…what makes it great? I am unsure…I find it puzzling in the least.

I have not written for a while and I apologize to Tim.

However, if you look at my last post. I have a picture of my aunt with her favorite chicken. A few days after I posted that, she passed away. It has been very hard to blog after posting that. This has definitely been a rough semester. It has been my absolute best and absolute worst time at Oswego. The real reason that I came back from New Zealand is that an acquaintance attacked me while I was over there. It got real sticky and I was told to leave because the sister University couldn’t do anything. I don’t blame anyone though. Both Universities did what they could. It was really rough because I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to pretend that those few months didn’t exist. I do want to talk about it now though. It is really important for everyone to know about how domestic violence can effect everyone.

It was devastating. I had to leave my study abroad, get back into Oswego 3 weeks late and still make it seem like I was fine. You should also note that there was no alcohol or drugs involved. Just some people can’t handle life and they take it out on others. Always remember that it isn’t your fault. No one deserves to be treated in any other way than fair and just. Its the American way…side note: cool video on American Values You know in toilet talk about how you always have that one issue about domestic violence. Its real, don’t ignore it guys. I am so happy to be home and back to Oswego. I know we all complain about student accounts being slow or the registrar being grumpy but they did everything in their power to get me back in and safe. I give major props to them. I also got really close with some great people, so many reached out and became the best support network. You just really have to be thankful for what you have. Especially around this time of the year. I love all my friends, we are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and Chinese New Year and might all meet in the city for news years.

However, while most of my blogs are friendly and spunky, this one is serious. Everyone needs someone and it is OK to reach out. Never let anyone take anything from you and always give back to the people you love.

Its a real message and its one that I hope can help someone. I am doing the best I can though and I think I am doing OK. I got the top eight internship in the country with Northwestern Mutual. I started a company and am in the process of planning it. I only took four classes this semester but I handled them well and I came back to the people I love. I win, I know it and I know you can too.

Be Ozzy

A Hidden Parisien Treasure

So I only have a few weeks left of Paris…but I have been wandering around the city trying to see all that I can before I leave.  Well the other day I stumbled across this really cute canal.  I hadn’t ever really heard of it.  But it was really cute and I found out after talking to one of my French friends that it is in fact a very popular place for Parisiens.  It is beautiful now, but from what I hear in the spring and summer it is beautiful and serene. 

It is an old-fashioned canal that was dug around the time of the Restoration to link another Canal in Paris to the Seine River.  There are nine locks in the canal and it is in the République neighborhood.

It is not a very famous location, but it is a place where you can go that is not very touristy.  It is truely a Parisien hidden treasure.   I even got to see a boat go through the locks, it has been a long time since I have seen a lock in action!
st martin canal

st mt canal

In other news, I am so busy with school right now that I don’t even  have time to think!  I have 3 papers and 2 tests and an oral presentaion all coming up!  And the semester doesn’t even end here until Mid-January!

I only have about a week until I leave to go to Germany for Christmas.  I am really excited about that.  As for Paris, trees and lights are popping up all over the city.  It is really becoming Christmas time.  I really love it.  I love Christmas time.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.

  The family I am babysitting for is Jewish and so this year I get to celebrate my first Hanukkah and we are going to have a little Christmas get together before I leave for Germany.  Meeting them and getting a job babysitting their daughter has really been one on the best things that has happened to me since I have been in Paris.  I have a lifelong connection to the city.  They are wonderful people and I was so lucky to meet them!  They have made my experience here complete.

Anyway I should get going on some homework and go to bed so I can get up and start another long day tomorrow.  I will be posting again before I leave for Germany, hopefully!  And of course when I get back!  With pictures of course. 

Good Luck to everyone at Oswego with final exams and MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HANUKKAH!

Winter Wonderland

Something that I find really funny is how different this year has been from last year, how different my perspective is. The main reason I bring this is up is because, obviously, winter weather is here, something that I dreaded for quite some time. I typically hate snow and everything else about winter. I like for there to be snow around Christmastime, but then I am done with it and am ready for it to be gone, which obviously doesn’t happen. It sticks around for another three months or so, and as time goes on, it becomes dirtier and dirtier and heavier and heavier until it becomes incredibly overbearing. By late February, there is barely any white left. Instead, the snow is dirty, and as I said, it’s piled just about everywhere.

However, that really isn’t even the point, because last year, I was tired of the snow even prior to Christmas. Usually, I am, because I simply don’t like the snow and don’t understand why so many people seem to like it so much. It’s cold and wet, and here, it blows in your face and just about freezes the skin from it. It’s not anything that I would call fun. As I said, though, this year, my perspective has been different. The other night, I was walking from Waterbury to Lakeside with a group of friends for dinner, and it was snowing. I think that it may have been the first real snowfall of the season, and it just felt so oddly peaceful.

It’s one of those rare moments in life that you can’t explain. It arouses a feeling that cannot possibly be put into words, mainly because even though you know you liked the feeling, you can’t identify it. I was just happy to be here, so unbelievably happy to be with my friends. We were having a great time joking and laughing about something, and for some reason that, as I said, I can’t really explain, the light snow really seemed to enhance the experience. It was a really nice experience, one that I have in one way or another captured, since, as I said, they don’t happen all that often.

I am, however, going to make one small complaint. Although I cannot recall which day it was (I think that it may have been Tuesday), there was one day this week that I went to Culkin for something, and outside of the building was completely packed with ice. Something that I completely hate about the winter is the ice. I am scared to death of it, because I am afraid that I am going to fall. That’s probably rational, yet I see so many people walk across it seemingly not afraid, and they don’t fall either. I remember when I was in elementary school, and the bus would be waiting for me outside of my house in the morning, and I would walk so slow down my driveway, which was embarrassing, but it was because I was so scared that I was going to fall.

I really do think that things like that should be noticed and that when they are, something should be done about them. I don’t think that that area had been salted at all, and at least that probably would have helped. I really don’t mean to complain about things that seem petty, but that really could be potentially dangerous. You couldn’t really see the ice. The only reason I knew that it was there is because I was being especially cautious and was therefore looking for it, but most people don’t, and actually, now that I think of it, there was one man who was just walking out of Culkin, and when he noticed that I was walking so slow on the ice, he said that he had witnessed four people falling on it that day.

Anyway, on another subject, I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of classes. This semester has really flown by, and trust me, that is something for which I am grateful. For the most part, I would say that I have had a really good semester, but there have been bumps in the road, as there are in just about everything, and I am ready for this break, as I am sure a lot of us are. I can’t wait for finals to be over and for this semester to be officially over. I am going to be writing blogs over break, as well, so for those of you who read, be sure to check every now and then.

The fun and games were too good to last…tests, presentations and papers…

So….Only this week and next week left of classes!  Well at least for me.  The classes start  back up next month until the 16th of January.  By then I will be back in Oswego playing hockey everyday!  That will be exciting.

The only bad thing about leaving is I have so many papers to write.  10-15 pages, 5-10 pages and 5-6 pages!  Plus 2 tests next week and an oral presentation!  AHHH…So much to do! 

Good news is there is only 13 days until I go to Germany for Christmas.  I am so excited!!!!!  I believe there is only 28 days until I come home now too!  Wow who would have believed that.  I can’t believe this is almost over.  It has been a great experience, but I miss my family so much.  I am getting very excited to go home and see everyone again!

There isn’t much else new here.  I got sick at the end of last week and I didn’t do anything but lay in bed all weekend.  I am starting to get over it now, but it was an aweful chest cold.  There is even aweful illnesses in Paris.  It’s definately not all fun and games!

Well since I haven’t been doing much besides being sick, there isn’t much else to say.  I will be doing some christmas activities this weekend so hopefully I will have more to say next time 🙂

NYS Equality and Beliefs – My article from The Oswegonian

This week has been written into history.

The New York State Senate met Wednesday morning to debate over two very important topics. First, the plan to close the gap in the budget deficit of $3.2 to $4 billion, which would reduce the gap by about $2.8 million. Second, the Domestic Relations Law, which would have allowed all couples, including same-sex couples, to marry and be legally recognized as a married couple in the state of New York. But only if the bill passed.

The Senate convened at 10 a.m. Wednesday and by 3:30 p.m. it had adjourned for the day. When they had finished, it was announced that they had failed the second bill by a 24 to 38 vote.

The N.Y.S. Senate has a 32 to 30 democratic majority. This may sound like a good thing, but unfortunately, as can be seen, not all of the 32 democrats were in favor of the bill. A vote of 24 in the affirmative is not something to be happy about. The bill passed in the state assembly, but wasn’t strong enough to withstand the disapproval by the senate.

Thomas Duane, senate sponsor of the bill, is the Legislature’s first openly gay member and he vowed not to give up.

“I’m like a dog with a bone,” Duane said in his closing remarks on the floor. “I wouldn’t let go of anyone … because I don’t give up. I don’t know how to!”

Duane gave a very riveting speech about his life and the obstacles he’s had to overcome through his years. He is very passionate about the topic, along with many other people.

I am an openly gay man. I have been for only about three years now, but I have grown and matured very quickly, and have seen many things that don’t make me happy. I support same-sex marriage. I believe that everyone should have the right to commit themselves to the one they love; not only in an emotional way, but also in a legal way.

There are over 1,800 rights given to married couples that unmarried couples are not entitled to. Most think of things such as inheritance or health benefits, but there are smaller, less thought of things, like the right to visitation when a loved one is in the hospital, making plans for funerals and more high-spirited rights such as adopting children, gaining custody of partner’s children and many other personal rights that people automatically think they are entitled to if they are in a committed relationship with someone.

Without the ability to marry, same-sex couples lose these rights, some of which mean more to them than heterosexual couples. I use the word heterosexual because that is how the majority of society sees it. There are, in fact, bisexual couples that marry, but that is fine because it is still a man and a woman who are marrying.

The attitude toward homosexual, or gay, people is very negative, more so to gay men than gay women. I have heard the derogatory words faggot, queer, homo, flamer and many others thrown around carelessly without any recognition of what is actually being said.

Honestly, what is the point of this? Why do people feel the need to say things like this, especially when they are only joking? The answer will never be explained without constant argument. Words such as those mentioned above come from lack of understanding, along with the fact that so many people are uncomfortable with homosexuality.

Now back to the point at hand: the bill that failed. Some controversy may arise because of the statements made during the debate and voting sessions on Wednesday. Senator Eric Adams asked his fellow senate members to put aside their religious beliefs and to remember that at one point in history, slavery was legal.

“When I walk through these doors, my Bible stays out,” Adams said. One of his fellow senators, Ruben Diaz, rebutted with “that’s the wrong statement; you should carry your Bible all the time.”

If you’re not aware, the U.S. government has a separation of church and state. What Diaz and other senators feel is against the beliefs of our founding fathers and today’s government.

Just remember, most of us take the simple things for granted. However, there are some people out there who are not given the simple rights and advantages that the majority have because there is so much controversy regarding this topic that’s been around for a very long time. Think about how you feel, come up with an opinion and stick to it. But while you’re contemplating and conjuring up that opinion, please consider what individual rights others may lose if you decide to be against same-sex marriage.

The End

It’s so difficult for me to believe that the semester is so close to the end. I am not, by any means, complaining, because, trust me, I really need this upcoming break, as I’m sure that a lot of us do. If you recall, I was complaining a lot not too long ago about having so much homework and, primarily, about not doing very well in my Biology class. I still don’t think that I am going to pass Biology with flying colors, not by any means (I’d be excessively lucky if I get a C), but I am at least hopeful now that I will pass. Obviously, I really need to pass it, and I don’t want to have to take any more science than I already have to.

Again, however, the semester is so unbelievably close to the end, and I can’t believe it. This is the last full week of classes, then next week is finals, and then, we go home for winter break. This semester has gone by so quickly, and I know that it always feels that way, but this semester seems as if it went by extraordinarily quickly. I’m not sure why, but I can say that for the most part, apart from my dreadful Biology class, this semester has gone very well, and so, maybe that’s why it has gone by so quickly. Last semester (as in spring ’09) did not go very well, and that seems as if it went by a lot slower than this one.

This semester, I have taken English 304, English 271, Psychology 100, History 102 and Biology 203. Some of you may be wondering why it is that I would have chosen to take a 200 level Biology class when I am clearly not a good science student, but the reason is because when I looked at the course description, it looked as if it would have been an incredibly easy course. Not only that, but the 100 level course involves a lab, which is obviously something that didn’t interest me in the slightest. Anyway, apart from Biology, I would say that my classes have gone fairly well, and again, apart from Biology, I am certain that I am going to do very well this semester.

I am looking forward to an A or a B in my English 304 class. I am definitely going to get an A in my English 271 class, because my lowest grade thus far has been a 95, and there’s only one exam remaining. History is relatively easy. I have not seen any of my grades yet save the paper that I wrote (which I got an 89 on) to be honest, but again, I remain confident. Psychology is course that I might not get a B in. It would be nice, but I think that I am looking at a grade that is closer to a C or a C+. I fully understand the material, so don’t get me wrong, but the tests are very difficult. I think that I have been working very hard, however, and like I said, besides Biology (which I am hopeful that I will pass), this has been a fairly decent semester.

Agh! Ghana is so near :)

I am freaking out! In exactly two weeks I will be flying to NYC to get ready for leaving on my flight to Accra, Ghana, AFRICA! I’m literally having a hard time studying and paying attention in my classes because I’m so excited to go!

On Tuesday, the 8th, I will be getting the last of my medicine – typhoid fever shot and malaria pill prescription. Then, all I need to do is prepare for cultural immersion and brush up on some Ghanese culture. I still haven’t figured out what my name would be. I think Akua because I was born on a Wednesday. Maybe I’ll mix my name and be Akua Katherine!

I leave Dec. 18th at 4:10 p.m. from JFK, and I get into Accra at 7:35 a.m. Dec. 19th. It’s a 10 hr, 55 min. flight. I’m in row G on the flight (I think it’s by the window, if not I might go crazy sitting in the middle seat for that long).

I was told that on long flights like that you need to get up and walk around to prevent any blood clots. I think I will be doing laps around that plane to get my blood pumping, also to let loose some of this pent up excitement that I have. Holy cow, I’m going to be in GHANA!

The guy in my French class, Kwam, mentioned that Hohoe is an area susceptible to malaria, so I’m trying to be extra cautious about preparing. I’m having my boyfriend (who’s coming to visit from San Diego before I leave) bring me some light cotton clothing so that I can be prepared for the hot days and mosquito-infested areas.

I got an e-mail from a couple of the other volunteers who are going to Ghana the same time that I am, and they all seem really excited too! I cannot wait to meet everyone and to meet all of the people in Ghana. A lot of my family and friends are reminding me to buy them gifts once I get in Ghana. A necklace for my sister, coffee for my friend, and some musical instrument for my boyfriend. I hope I have enough money!

What I’m most excited for is to give my time to help others. I think that I might be working in one of the orphanages in Hohoe, and I can’t wait to make Christmas cards with the little children and to show them pictures of the U.S. and my life here.

AND, I will promise to take as many pictures as I can to remember my trip. You should ask permission before taking people’s photos, especially in foreign countries because some people see it as invasion to have their picture taken. Some people, on the other hand, aren’t camera shy at all. So, I’m sure that I will have plenty of pictures!

Here’s a picture from the Africa Travel Magazine showing some Ghanese royalty. 14 days!! The countdown begins!
ghana royalty