A Turning Point

Well hello, World! Good to see you again! I know it's been months but I've been wallowing in my own self-pity and sorrow. I didn't think any of that was worth sharing, nor did I think anyone would be very keen to hear about it.

Good news at last! I applied to a program in Israel a few weeks ago and have just heard back from them! I've been accepted! Yay! The program is called "Saving the Stones" and is in conjunction with the International Conservation Center - Citta di Roma and the Israeli Antiquities Authority in the city of Old Acre/Akko. There I will learn and apply the theoretical and practical employment of conservation and preservation techniques to architectural features, artifacts, and texts! The program also has an added feature of cultural heritage, where participants will spend a lot of time working with the communities in Old Akko on the preservation of their little city. This part in particular was why I wanted to apply for the program. I am extremely interested in learning more about cultural heritage, ever since I took that course on the history and heritage of Jerusalem and did a little extra project to look into the current projects in the city.

Unfortunately, the program comes with an enormous bill and I am desperately trying to find a way to off-set the costs. There appears to be little funding for recent graduate students who are not enrolled in an academic institution, are not Jewish, or are not going to Israel for the first time. I have already sent off one application but the deadline is not until February 20th and the program begins February 18th. I guess I could always get a loan and pay it back with any scholarships I happen to receive after the start of the program. I'd really rather not get a loan, though. Perhaps someone knows of any options for getting money if I write about my experiences or do extra research to write for a newspaper or magazine or SOMETHING?

I have a few little leads to look into, but not much. I also have a part-time job and am trying to pick up extra hours until I leave. That won't give me too much money, though. Probably only enough for my spending money while I'm there.

Well, I guess I also need to schedule an appointment with the Israeli Consulate to get my student visa! Lots and lots to do!


Hair Donation!

I've donated my hair! After some fussing with the stylist, she finally convinced me that the style I wanted would not work for me. Such a shame. So she gave me one she thought would look nice on me. Katy was lovely enough to come with me. I went to Bloom Beauty Lounge, and the atmosphere inside was really nice and the people were lovely! The owner and another stylist bring their cute doggies everyday, too! It wasn't a totally free hair donation cut, but I think the stylists offered good cuts for their customers. Some guy was in before me who donated 12 inches of hair himself! I ended up with 16 inches for donation to Wigs for Kids!

Here's how it all went down!

Nervous/Excited me, prepping for the big cut!

Notice Katy in the mirror, taking my picture.

More angles of my long hair
  Again, notice Katy in the mirror.

Cutting the first half...
 The stylist put my hair into two pigtails.

My silly new cut.
Katy thought my hair looked the best at this stage. Perhaps I should have kept it.

Katy's shoes matched the color of the floor.
 Katy got bored during the haircut. It took quite a while...

Playing with the new look.
It felt weird. It still feels weird.

The finished product!
 You can see the side in the mirror. It's a lot to get used to and now I need to play with it to figure out to to get it to do what I want it to do, but there it is!


Taking the Good with the Bad

It has been far too long since I've updated, and I apologize to all you who follow my blog. The past few weeks have been tumultuous and crucial to my future, and so I will lay them out in simple terms for you all. 

The Good
I've passed my comps! Now all that's left to do is finish out my semester with passing grades! And by passing grades I of course mean, "I must get all A's!!" Not that that matters anymore, which leads me to... 

The Bad
I was not accepted by any of the schools to which I applied. *sigh* Not this again. This time I refuse to sit around, wait, and work. I don't want just to work. I can't handle it. It drives me to insanity. Not that being in an academic setting doesn't drive me to insanity (because it certainly has), but I am restless when I am "just" working. It doesn't satisfy me. This leads me to... 

The Ugly - I mean, erm, Plan B?
I am looking for programs to send me out into the world and do good. This is not a "western superiority complex"; this is a real attempt for me to feel a connection with rest of the world, with the people with whom I share this planet. I am not out to "teach" people how to live "properly" or make myself feel like a good person for helping out the "primitive" peoples. Makes me gag just thinking about it that way. No, I am a citizen of this planet and therefore it is necessary for me to understand all earth's peoples. Hm, Doctor Who may have heavily influenced this kind of thinking for me. Ha! As soon as we find life on other planets, then we'll need to start thinking of ourselves as citizens of the galaxy or universe! So this is just a small step in that direction. We can't make quantum leaps in a single generation. Baby steps. Hopefully we'll be a better and closer global community when the time comes to deal with the rest of the universe.

Preferably, I would like to find a long-term program; ideally it would be one that offers me work and pay, not just volunteer hours, which is why I am considering the Peace Corps. With my background in Near Eastern Archaeology, I feel like work in the Middle East would fit well for me. I have a working fluency in Hebrew and have studied ancient Semitic languages, which would be beneficial to learning Arabic, as all these languages are closely related. Also, my fluency in German would show that I have the capability of mastering languages other than my own.

I think in particular I am looking for something that will lead me back to Israel-Palestine. I would like to find a non-biased group to work with. I am neither pro-Israel nor pro-Palestine; I want to find a peaceful compromise through cultural understanding and historical connections from the ground up. No single group can claim an absolute ownership to that land when there are communities on both sides who are suffering at the hands of the other. I want to work to make the voices of the silent majority who want a peaceful coexistence to find a voice, or even just to help give confidence to those immediately affected by the violence.

Yea, I think that's what I want.

But for now, I must focus on completing my degree. I only have two major papers left to write! One on current excavations in Jerusalem and how funding from particular groups can manipulate what is published - I'm pretty excited about this, particularly because I think it will help fuel my interests I have laid out above. My second paper is focusing on the themes of light and darkness in the Book of Qohelet (also known as Ecclesiastes in the Christian Bible) and look into Greek philosophical discussions on the topic. Maybe I'll compare the Greek with Qohelet because there may or may not be Hellenistic influences in the philosophy of this book. I still need to flesh out this thinking a bit more.

Alright, time to write a Hebrew essay.


Change of Plans

Having seen the extremely powerful video about Kony 2012, I am more certain about what I want to do. I have received 4 out of 5 letters from the PhD programs to which I applied and they have all been rejections. This is a sign. I have always wanted to go out and do something that is not for me but is for the entire world and all her people. This year I am going to do that. I am going to participate in something like this, whether it be the Peace Corps or some kind of equivalent. This is what I want to do. I want to be an active part of changing this world for the better, out there on the front lines. I am ready for this.


New Haircut?

It's been an extremely long time since I've written. I am in no mood to fill in my readers with the events of the past month or so since I've last written. Instead, I am going to make a brief mention of something extreme I am planning to do.

I want to cut my hair. It's just about time for the next hair donation! My hair is not quite as long as it was the first time I donated, but I plan to donate an equal amount. Last time, I donated about 14 inches of hair and had a slightly-shorter than chin-length. In order to do this, I am going for a drastic cut.

Emma Watson's rockin' pixie cut
From celebritysmackblog.com

I did some research and found a couple salons that offer free cuts to anyone donating hair. One place looks particularly attractive, mostly because they have expensive prices and "specialist" stylists with bios on the website. I figure if there are stylists who specialize in specific hair types, I would be getting a quality cut by someone who knows what they're doing and knows how to handle my hair. Since this is a look I have never attempted, I figure this is the safest bet.

I've also decided to donate to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths Program. The Salon I'm looking at let's me choose where I want to donate, and I think Pantene has the best program.

I want to do this after Easter. This way I have enough time to play around with my new look before graduation! This is also going to be a time where the stress of comps is over the stress of finals won't have set in yet. I'm pretty excited about it, not gonna lie. ;)