Drop Some Knowledge

Week 5 at Berkeley… things I have learned thus far

-In Kenya, when you tell someone to come over for dinner at 8, you really expect them to arrive around 10

-always pay the parking meter

– The president of Turkmenistan created a 246ft tall  monument with a gold structure of himself placed on the top of himself, his figure constantly rotated to face the direction of the sun (its called the Neutrality Arch)

….homie is dead and arch  is being dismantled… good run though eh?
-Malcolm X was not a violent-white-hating black man like I learned in primary school. He was actual a very genuine intellectual who wanted oneness in humanity and defended the plight of the black man.
– Roger reads aloud in his bedroom
we all have to go through our own process of transforming
-Sarah Palin slept with an NBA player in college….ooooooh he was black and shes a Tea Party enthusiast…the drama continues!!!
-The dictator of Russia is a total joke…and really thinks images like this will boost his popularity, I guess you’ll try anything to make up for the fact that you were not actually elected by the people.
– people everywhere are afraid of leadership, and will follow unless forced otherwise.
-North Korea’s famine was one of the saddest violations of human rights
-boys catch feelings just as much as girls, and are often more “butt-hurt” when those feelings aren’t reciprocated
-yelling at your kids “shut the fuck up, you a stupid ass nigga, boosty mothafucker” will have a profund effect on them. . . what we say is a reflection of what is in our hearts. its a heartbreaking situation sometimes.
-God answers prayers

As-salamu alaykum

I was born to live in the city.

Well, technically I was born in the North Bay of San Franscisco; Marin County, an area known for its natural beauty and liberal politics. One of my favorite authors, Isabele Allende resides there now, as well as every death row seeking inmate in California (at San Quentin) How ironic that traces of where we came from often show up in where we go. I love everything about cities. I love the hustle and struggle, the constant movement and sirens, the diversity, dirty streets, and unspoken sense of community. I love that when I left my apartment today there were two homeless women going through the trash bags full of clothes in from of my gate, and my neighbor ( a clinically diagnosed insane black woman whom I love, Robbie) was overseeing the shopping experience and shuttling the women back and forth across the street to reload. I pass this event on my way to the bus stop, and get a friendly goodmorning from Robbie. . .  “oh theres Amy, hey Amy how ya doing girl”

On the bus I theres a adorable little boy who smiles at me. As his single-mother mom pulls his arm, dragging him to school everyday, ushers him off the bus, he walks with his head turned around, staring, smiling and waving at me. I smile and wave back. He melts my heart.

Walking home from work, I see three of the girls who live below me crossing the street. In unison I am bombarded with a “HEYYYY AMY” …. “Oh hey gilrs!!”  And I holler back. And I aint no holler back girl.

These interactions may seem insignificant, but they happen every day. And everyday they make me grateful for living here, they make me feel like a part of something bigger than myself, like a part of a humanity that breeches race and economic lines. And for that I thank God. Because it could be different.

You know how when you grow up and go through life changes, you often reflect back on them and realize “yeah that really changed me”? Well its happening to me now, and I can feel it now. I can feel that part of myself changing and transforming. I can feel it sitting in a huge auditorium in a wooden desk at school watching Malcolm X speeches, I feel it rising. Like I know this is changing me.

Ive also been thinking a lot about my friends. Several months ago my dad and I were talking about all my friends and he said “you know, of all your friends, if theres ever one that you really need “something” done, Shane is that guy. I know he has your best interest and would do anything for you” Shane has been one of my best friends since I was 15. He has seen me at the lowest of my lows, and encouraged me on the way to my highest highs. I love Shane because he never judges me when I make poor decisions (and I’ve made A LOT) and I never feel he is disappointed in me. I think when people condemn you or make you feel bad about something or that you have somehow let them down, its usually because they have ulterior  motives and therefore are more effected by your decisions. Shane has never done that. He has never made me feel like anything less then what God created me to be, wonderful.

“I’ll stand behind you no matter what. .. . I take that back, Ill be beside you”

 And that to me is priceless. Yesterday I needed someone to do some “dirty work” for me regarding my car. A text away and Shane is over at my parents, getting the job done. There’s an understood friendhsip, even though we dont see each other nearly as much as I’s like, and we are both busy in our own lives, Shane is the kinda guy who you dont have “keep up the friendship with”… I know he loves me and would do anything for me. I guess dad was right. He is always right.

Christopher….a letter to a mother


I just put cottage cheese on my toast…your were right, it really is good on everything!! Yesterday afternoon when I was walking up to my apartment, when I heard a very distinct, very abrupt “EYY AAAAAMY” I thought, this is peculiar seeing as though I dont really know anyone in Berkeley yet. “AAAMMMY” I thought to myself, “God? is that you”
It was my downstairs neighbors yelling to me through their window. There are many things about ghetto black culture that I will never understand, such as the disregard for walls and doors as barriers to proper communication. Anyway, they were telling me that the mail man came by looking for Roger. I said thanks, and a little later knocked on their door and told them that I was going to be sewing, and if they ever needed anything sewn or altered, to let me know.
Mama bear, Raquel AKA “Rocky”‘s face lit up and said
oh wow, Ive always wanted to learn how to sew, I’d like to make some pillows
I smiled back and said I would teach her. DeShanea, AKA “Day Day” the teenager, said she did have this pair of pants that was too big in the waist… they were polyester so I took them in with no problem, and with a beautiful binding stitch that would make you proud of me. I must say, that most important things about life I have learned from you. Not just cottage cheese and sewing, but you have shown me how to treat people, how to make them feel loved and valued, to not be judgemental and give everyone a chance. You have taught me to be kind to others, and even kinder to myself. You dont know how much it means to me to sit with you over the kitchen table and have you genuinely interested in my life, in my new classes…asking me all about them and being excited with me. These are things I will never get from my own mother and I just wanted you to know how cherished you make me feel. I love you so much Christopher, you are are saint.
Later that night I noticed a HUGE black spider in my room….I immediately ran downstairs and knocked on their door, Keith AKA”Koko” and two of the little girls came up and killed it for me. Well Koko killed it, me and the girls screamed and squirmed and laughed. It feels good to not be scared of people. To let them in. Kindness goes a long way. At 10:15 theres a knock on my door…. I thought, yup this is it, this is how I’m gonna go, death by murder in the hood. But no, it was the little girls,
our mom wants to know if you want some nachos when shes done making them”
life is so full of beauty if you only allow yourself to see it.