Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adventures Abound - Expedition into the Unknown

I think it may be a bit obvious from my previous posts that I am a hopeless xenophile. Perhaps it is my way of crawling out of my head - a reoccurring urge that I have had for a very long time; which is why when my Bengali friend offered the chance to attend and help out at the annual Bangamela conference (remember what I studied in Gov School?) I excitedly agreed. After seeing some of my performance pictures from Governor's School, she decided to dub me an honorary Bengali staff member.

Image my absolute delight when I tell my Bengali teacher the news and it turns out his mom organizes the whole thing! Not only that, he will be driving from Memphis to see me there!

As an honorary Bengali staff member, I had to arrive at the convention bright and early at 9 am in my plain, white-people clothing. Everyone was so gorgeous in all their saris and their brightly colored shalwar kameez that I just felt ethnically plain. Thankfully my friend arrived and changed me into proper ethnic attire :
The Bengali have a rich artistic and cultural background - the area has not only produced many artists and intellectuals, but political and spiritual leaders as well. In that vein, the whole day, 10 am - 1am was filled with performances - plays, singing, dancing, story-telling - every cultural and artistic endeavor imaginable was represented on that stage!

After completing some mandatory management tasks as well as sneaking off to the Starbucks in the Marriott for some much needed caffeine jolts,  I finally got around to doing what I seem to do best - distracting people from their jobs by means of conversation. This is how my teacher and I managed to not really work at the registration desk and how, after he left me to man the desk alone to go drinking with his buddies, my friends came by and I continued to not work at the registration desk.

The reason for our distraction? We wanted to have a photo shoot:
Janani, myself and Raktima as the Bollywood version of Charlie's Angels

I think this qualifies as an outfit post, although I was afraid to breathe in this shalwar kameez lest I damage it in some way.

Execution of our brilliant idea to take a jumping picture...a string of beautifully entertaining failures. Notice the very-weirded out lady in the corner.
When my teacher made his way downstairs, I tried to act busy but it was far too late and we were far too giggly. As a reward for our 'good' behavior, he brought us back cookies:
And now for some Bengali phrases to complete this cultural post. Mind you this is the transliteration, not their actual script.
Dhonno-bad = Thank you
Nomushkar  = Hello (can also be used as good-bye, just like Aloha)
Amaar naam [insert name] = My name is...
Tomaar naam ki? = What is your name? (informal)
Toomi kamon acho? = How are you? (informal)
Aami thik ache. (Ah-mee teek ach-eh) = I am okay/well/alright.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dainty Obsession

This past week has been a blur of activity, trying to squeeze in as much social time as possible before I'm off to the 8 month-long purgatory they call Junior Year *cue ominous music*. Yesterday, I insisted on seeing my friend Minhal before he flew the nest to college - we had months of stuff to catch up on.

I have a curious preoccupation with coffee shops. They are the perfect place to talk and drown your sorrows in sugar. We met up at Starbucks first but then strolled off to Hillsboro Village to check out some of the vintage shops. It was there that I had the idea to stop by Provence for desert and hot chocolate. I had almost forgotten Provence and it seems most other people have, too. I remember it was an amazingly popular cafe when I was little and we still lived in the area. I remember on the weekends my mother would take me there to get their freshly baked sourdough and a few pastries - my favorite was the Raisin Strudel(I like raisins. I'm weird.)

Now it's a bit sad how empty it has gotten. The place is still amazing - the cute European chic decor, the adorable and delicious sugary confections and their hot chocolate is to die for! For old times' sake I decided to visit :
Our food was a masterpiece - I was almost afraid to eat it! Hot chocolate and le gateau chocolat.

I also got a new purse - it's neutral gray and I can wear it two ways! The top is one I bought a while back and haven't worn a lot. Once again - it's sheer, my other obsession.
Floral top - American Rag
Gray sweatshirt - American Eagle
Shorts - Wallflower
Sandals - Madison
Necklace - Gift (from overseas)
Beige tank - Aeropostale
Bag - Olivia + Joy
Speaking of obsession, I am in love with Katy Perry's outfit in her TGIF music video. And I also adore her video - Katy Perry makes everything look cool. Even braces.

Considering giving into irresponsible temptation and getting myself this number from American Apparel :

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Non Affiliated Witches

This is really late, but I absolutely must divulge how Thursday before last went.

It was the day I spent at lunch with Nelly (who has made an appearance on the blog, check her out - To Be or Not To Be) and then met up with some friends from Governor's School to see the finale of a golden era, the Magical World of Harry Potter (or whatever Universal Studios advertises nowadays).To paraphrase an earlier post I made on the subject, it truly was a personal experience for everyone who saw it. Before that night I had no idea a movie could do that.

And as nearly every exciting and fun thing mandates, outfits were created. We, of course were not alone in our costume mania and I am delighted to report that just about everyone who came dressed up. We took a low-key schoolgirl route but there were some fierce Bellatrixes, a few Tonks, a very clever Professor Quirrell (with another person as Voldemort attached on the back) and even Hogwarts herself in all her gray painted glory.

May I mention that my friend Molly is a wonderful photographer and I absolutely had to use her room (and her photographic skills) as a backdrop to my day-time outfit.

Pink shirt - New York & Co
Eyelet skirt - American Eagle
Bow - Micheal's
Jewelry (matching) - Macy's
(You can't see the shoes but they are my gray Madison sandals)

And for the nighttime transformation I chose to don a carefully crafted Boarding School outfit, complete with a non-affiliated silk lavender tie that I did NOT steal from my dad.

Should there be a new house in Hogwarts complete with lavender/black house colors?

Katie, Molly and I resplendent in all our restrained Harry Potter glory.
Striped cardigan - Guess
Button-down - Express
Leggings - Macy's
Lavender tie - Calvin Klein
Flats - Enzo Angiolini
Earrings - Guess
And as a memorial to the only character at who's death I sobbed uncontrollably and messed up my make-up :
 (Taken from Google Images <3)
(Taken from  The Afterword )

I love you Professor Snape.

Friday, July 15, 2011

La vie est tres belle quand il est le mois de juin

I'm back home after a month-long rendez-vous at the University of Memphis. There are some experiences where you just have to be there to understand. No words of mine could ever describe the feeling. I and about 100 other people were truly in our own microcosm of happiness and no sleep and pure bliss.

So I kind of studied for a week. Because we did have real classes. But then I realized I was missing out on life and so I stopped studying and reading and had amazing times playing hide and go seek in the library, being threatened with police for being loud, dancing, grinding, building huge structures out of plastic and CRAWLING through them, eating frozen yogurt and so much more stuff.

I also had my first summer fling. It was bittersweet as these things usually are. Like a true romantic, I have to note that my experience was straight out of the book - everything happened at the most appropriate, raciest time. I don't regret anything.

Reintegrating into the real world will be hard. The real world is such a disappointment right now. But, enjoy some pictures while I go off on a tangent!

I better start with our Bengali class. The whole 87 people were divided into 4 language groups : Latin America (Portuguese), Africa (Hausa), East Asia (Mandarin Chinese) and the best CLAS EVER South Asia (Bengali). We met ever weekday and studied the language, but we also got to put on a dinner for everyone else - complete with ethnic food and entertainment. We also did a bunch of activities together over the weekends - like this Scavenger Hunt.

Not only did you get to do mind-numbing research in the library,  but you also got to walk around and explore the campus, stage a fashion shoot, cook ethnic food and come up with a skit.We thought the boys would look amazing in ethnic dresses - we even put makeup on some! BTW, the guy in the middle is a total model and is also wearing my German dress...his fake boobs kept sliding sideways though...

And these are team Africa's boys.

Did I mention the Scavenger Hunt was a competition? And  that our team totally blew everyone away with our fashion shoot, our pretty boy models and our slightly politically incorrect skits?

Then of course we had our team dinner. I was so excited to do a Bollywood movie - I had grown up watching them in Russia and Kazakhstan. The story is (obviously) a love story loosely based on how my teacher's parents met which is really adorable! I got to play the main girl, Jaya and a short Indian guy played Bishu, my husband. (If there was ever a time to feel like a big white girl, this was it). I was sooo excited when we got our costumes - a friend of mine stole the pretty gray green outfit, but I was told I looked like Jasmine in this purple one.

Enough talking! Here are the pics!

My roommie and I are in the middle - the girls on the outside are roommies in our hall! Hall <3

Team Baanglaa (it's how the Bengali say Bengali) with Mr. Jay Dasgupta and my Indian "husband" next to me.

As for the actual performance :
My costar and I, with  a friend creeping in the back. :)

And the pre-performance picture we all took. These are, by far, my favorite although iPhone photo quality sucks.
And accompanied by videos of our performance! <3

This post took me almost a week to make and I am emotionally tired. I will be spamming soon enough. <3