I promised you an introduction to the tasks and challenges I have this semester. One of the most immediate ones is VEGuary. Just like OcSober (click the category on the right for more posts on that), I got a great idea of abstaining from something for a month, found a great name, and found out that someone else had thought of exactly the same. So VEGuary is a vegetarian February. I have personally chosen the ovo-lacto-vegetarian way (so I get to keep eggs and dairy), others choose pescatarian.
And again, it's not about proving anything to anyone else, it's just to try it out for myself. That a bunch of people have joined in (e.g. on Facebook) only adds motivation. Tonight, a good group of UPEACErs went to a bar/restaurant called Henry's and had a great serving of Buffalo wings and BBQ ribs - with some drinks to wash it all down - to say goodbye to meat for the next month. (Yes, February is the shortest month of the year, but it's still a leap year.)
Let's see how that goes. After doing OcSober I feel quite confident that this should be doable. My wonderful friend Stephy from Bolivia gave a great presentation on the pitfalls and recommendations for a healthy vegetarian (or the next step: Stephytarian) lifestyle.
The other challenges are mostly professional and academic. This week is class-free for me, but I have a relatively short paper due on Sunday, and otherwise I'm working on two rather large projects for school.
To end my MA programme in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies (MPCS), I can do either a thesis or a 4-month internship. Right now I think I want to do an internship in order to get a foot in the door of a relevant organisation or media somewhere. So I'm spreading seeds around the Middle East and Vietnam. Let me know if you have contacts.
Another thing I have to complete for MPCS is a so-called practicum. This is some sort of relevant practical project (not an internship) that is worth 3 UPEACE credits (equivalent to one of our 3-week courses). My idea right now is to combine my work experience with my interest (and a pinch of lazyness) and develop a goal-oriented social media strategy for an institution I'm getting to know better and better: The UN mandated University for Peace. Yup, my own school.
They already have a Facebook page and several groups and a quite active Twitter account, all of which are growing steadily. But with some strategic considerations and a guideline, UPEACE's work with and results from use of social media could get a lot better.
Also, I want to take advantage of a nice little TV studio we have at school. I'm thinking about starting an online TV channel (probably using Vimeo) for UPEACE with little interviews, special lectures, promotional videos, etc.
Both of these things are supervised by my supercool professor, Julia. She's German and young, so she's strict, professional and understanding.
I will update you on my adventures in Vegetarianism. Expect an exhausted and perhaps cranky next post.
It's called entrapment. The longer I went without writing on this blog, the larger and more insurmountable a task it became. Now I break the silence.
Since November, a bunch of things happened. Most of it can be told in pictures and videos, so here goes.
At UPEACE, we have cultural nights/weeks, and back in November, our many African students hosted a huge show and party for the university and whoever was interested. Here are some pictures (click to go to the album) - a picture says more than a thousand words, so here are more than 42,000 words:
Around the same time, my American friend Ragan (no E), Canadian friend Atkilt and I cooperated on a project for our class on Media Ethics. The result was a little slideshow with pictures of two Colombian families that live and work in San José. Some came as refugees, some did not. They feel at home in Costa Rica but miss their homeland:
Shortly thereafter, I joined a very short (too short) trip to the northwest corner of Nicaragua. A group of UPEACE students drove to Isla Venezia, an almost deserted peninsula (I know) where this Canadian guy Kyle lives with his girlfriend Jessica in a house on the Pacific coast, doing open source wind turbines for private and public clients. I was at their amazing house for less than 24 hours but it was gorgeous there:
Another cultural night happened, the so-called M.A.P. Night (Middle East, Asia, Pacific). A tight-packed show with singing, poetry, great food and - especially - dances. After the show we had a short dance party:
On the 13th of December (Lucia Day), the few Nordic students (and one intern) at UPEACE (except for our Swedish student) hosted a nice little Nordic Christmas. The teaser/trailer looked like this:
I spent Christmas in Panama with Suroor, Elizabeth, Jennifer and Ricardo, and I already shared pictures from that trip. But I didn't share this video of José Augusto rolling my ten 50-cent cigars (the price, not the rapper) while chatting about his dad and their lives:
For the rest of my nice long break I mostly relaxed. But I did do one nice little Costarican trip with my Indian friends Bijal and Suroor (Gayatri, her sister Purnima, and her friend Jared joined us for part of it), and my Kurdish friends Sivan (from Israel/USA) and Hemn (Iraq/Australia). Elizabeth and her family guest starred, and we met a new friend, Sophia from Portugal/Switzerland (wow, so many /'s). We started in the mountain town of Monteverde but it was too cold for all the non-Scandinavians (read: everyone else than me), so we went south to Quepos and Manuel Antonio, a touristy but beautiful beach not far from Ciudad Colón (where we live).
Unfortunately, a Dutch woman travelling alone, was robbed of her hand luggage on the bus and lost everything (passport, cash, camera, phone numbers). So Sophia and the UPEACE group helped her out which brough Sophia into our crazy little crew. Somehow she seemed not to be judging us too much, so we all got along pretty well. (The Dutch woman is fine now, NOT thanks to the Dutch embassy.) Here are some pics:
All right, that brings us more or less up to speed. Oh, and I got a new haircut. Kind of a wide mohawk I had made in Panama. I'm removing it soon, though. Sick of it already.
Watch out for a post about my next/last semester and the challenges ahead.
And that's what you missed. On Glee.
My Year in Costa Rica
I'm studying an MA programme (Media, Peace and Conflict Studies) at the UN mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica 2011-12. This blog is about my experiences here, in and out of school.