Year 1: Spring Term Week 11

Hi friends!

Just like that, another week has gone by. Classes, assignments, meetings, activities, life. The weather is getting warm again. I've been swimming, practicing Chinese a bit in my free time, studying and reading, sorting out plans for summer and fall semester, etc. We're working on an ethnography report from the Sri Lanka trip and getting ready to start implementing the procedure for our crystal project in chemistry. I'm starting to understand physics a little bit more than usual, although we'll see how long that lasts. We've had several lectures on inductance and Maxwell's equations. Just over a month left of Foundations of Science! (it is deceptively difficult for something with the word "foundations" in it, haha). We can do this.

I saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie, which means I'll be singing the soundtrack for the next week at least. Emma Watson is great; she will always and forever be Hermione to me.

One of the highlights of this week was the annual Mock Pakistani Wedding, an event where two students acted as a bride and groom and participated in Pakistani wedding traditions, and the rest of us got to watch dancing/singing performances, eat biryani (mixed rice and meat with spices), and eventually join in the dancing at the end. It was so much fun, and I wore a dress that I bought when I went to India.

The thing on my wrist is a flower chain

Here are a few photos of the event taken by my extraordinarily talented classmate Emma, reposted with her permission :) Hopefully it gives just a short sample of what the event was like.

 After the "bride" and "groom" entered with the bridesmaids and groomsmen, there were Bollywood-style dance performances. Then the audience got to help with the wedding tradition of feeding sweets to the couple.

I had so much fun spending time with these wonderful people! 

NYUAD had a TEDx event this evening, and although I didn't go, I watched a few of the talks on the live stream while trying to multitask on homework.

Random tangent alert: I found the above picture on the internet a while ago and laughed so hard because it describes my life so well... while obviously there are plenty of people who are very familiar with American geography/culture, it's always fun explaining my hometown to people whose concept of the U.S. is roughly what's pictured above.  I always have this problem where I never know how specific I should be about where I'm from when I introduce myself. If I say "the U.S." it immediately gets followed by "Well, where in the U.S.?" If I say California, which is my usual answer, then I leave out the entire first 13 years of my life spent in Arizona, and I also run the risk of inviting all the super fun Californian stereotypes... no I don't live near the beach. And then depending on who I'm talking to, I might get a "Well where in California?" at which point I have to decide to say "Northern California" or "kind of by San Francisco" or "Sacramento area" or "a suburb of Sacramento" depending on how familiar with California geography the person probably is. And then I name-drop Folsom only if the person knows Sacramento, which is usually a bit of a long shot. This is such a minor thing to think about, but it happens all the time. And compared to the people who have grown up in multiple countries, my origins are relatively simple to explain, so I guess I shouldn't be complaining :)

While I'm on random tangents, I'll end with a few thoughts. One of my favorite quotes from my church's recent General Conference was from a talk called "Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear", and I felt like the theme of faith and trust was especially relevant.

"If we ever find ourselves living in fear or anxiety, or if we ever find that our own words, attitudes, or actions are causing fear in others, I pray with all the strength of my soul that we may become liberated from this fear by the divinely appointed antidote to fear: the pure love of Christ, for “perfect love casteth out fear."  - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

When reading the news these days, it's so hard sometimes to maintain hope for humanity with all of the violence, conflict, and oppression that seems to increase day by day. While the NYUAD campus can be a pretty sheltered community at times, living in the Middle East makes conflict feel that much more near, that much more real and personal. To me, the pure love of Christ means to see people as He did: as brothers and sisters, people to help and to heal and to serve. Trying to take inspiration from that this week as Easter is coming up. Maybe you're reading this and you have a different way of conceptualizing the same idea without involving spirituality, but for me it's an enormous source of hope and peace.

Anyway, looking forward to this week and everything that it will bring.

Goodnight from Saadiyat Island,