Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for August 2004

The Other Sister Blogs

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During my visit to Bosnia my middle sister made several comments that foreshadowed her entrance and now Elizabeth has brought her own unique self into the “blogosphere.” I’m curious and excited to see how she finds her sense of style in this new venture. Welcome sis!

Written by furthermusings

August 29, 2004 at 10:21 pm

Posted in Blogroll

Yesterday Was Cool!

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OSCE occupies seven floors in the tower on the left.
Yesterday morning I attended a symposium on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) titled “OSCE, EU, and the US: What Prospects for the Western Balkans.”

I was impressed with the fluency of the various speakers both in their remarks and in personal conversation. I’m glad to have finally learned more about the occupants of UNIS Tower A. Ambassador Beecroft assured me that the OSCE Mission in Bosnia reduced its rent upon moving to the UNIS towers (what were they paying before!?).

In addition to having the wild experience of having 40 people in the same room who knew and cared about the Balkans, it was interesting to listen to diplomats talk. They sound very different than poli sci professors. It seems as though their job involves a working knowledge of IR theory but also a strong dose of people skills. The symposium was good food for thought and took a good swing at my stereotypes of government funded organizations in the Balkans.

Written by furthermusings

August 28, 2004 at 9:14 am

Posted in Political Science

A Moment to Grieve

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Tonight a four-year-old is throwing up for the third night in a row and his parents are exhausted. This night a friend is moaning from a broken tooth. A friend was fired yesterday. Tonight a dear friend is weeping from a broken heart. A friend is dead. Another friend is dead. And my grandmother is dead. Another friend has migraines and forgets. Tonight a dear friend is sleeps in a new city. A half a world away a dear friend is worried. A friend is fixing his marriage.

Tonight I’m tired.

Written by furthermusings

August 25, 2004 at 10:30 pm

Posted in Reflections

A Laugh at Myself

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I’ve recently been compiling a short list of phrases in my head that are not what I originally thought. My original epiphany along these lines came to me several years ago when I finally figured out that there is no such thing as “Chester drawers.” These pieces of furniture commonly found in bedrooms are, in fact, chests of drawers. I am glad I am not named Chester or this revelation could have been a serious blow to my ego.

More recently discovered while reading the dictionary in Bosnia is that there is not a phrase “all be it” as in: “all be it necessary to eat on campus the dinning hall is not desirable.” Instead there is an actual word, albeit, that functions with this same usage.

What got me thinking about all of this is that I recently ran across a phrase written out that I use but apparently without actually knowing what it is. I have often said “for all intensive purposes” as in: “for all intensive purposes the game was over by halftime.” Much to my surprise it turns out that this sentence should read “for all intents and purposes the game was over by halftime.” I guess since we all slur our sentences nobody has ever corrected me but now I know!

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August 20, 2004 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Laughter

Returning to America

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At the moment I am writing from my sister’s office in downtown Sarajevo. Tomorrow I leave Bosnia behind and travel back to my homeland. It has been a different kind of visit to Sarajevo this time since I have made little attempt to “engage the culture.” Instead this visit has been about visiting my coworkers and friends from last summer, moving my sister into a new apartment, and reading for pleasure.

Today I’m thinking about a lot of things and here are a couple of different ones:

1. How amazing it is that anyone can write a novel or a book let alone a good one. How on earth does one string together thoughts, themes, characters and plot and produce a novel?

2. I love the nuance and beauty of the English language and that I don’t know if I could understand that in another language.

3. I love understanding my culture as well as I do. That I understand intuitively (sometimes) how to behave is pretty durn cool.

4. It is strange to think of America as a homeland to be from instead of a nation of immigrants where people go to.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tomorrow’s Schedule – Sarajevo to Vienna to DC to Charlotte while reading The Life of Pi.

Written by furthermusings

August 16, 2004 at 6:28 am

Posted in General

Jayber Crow

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I’ve just finished reading my fourth (fiction!) book since I arrived in Sarajevo, Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, which is a recommendation from Jen. Jayber is a barber in the small town of Port William and talks about his life in the town and by the river from the early part of the 20th century up until 1986.

There isn’t much dialogue in the book nor is there much of a plot to speak of. Berry seems to be mourning the loss of a way of life through the voice of J. Crow. He mourns the loss of the small town and the small farm. He gently grieves over the values of “modern” life while lingering over the beauties of the woods, the farms and the people of Port William.

Jayber Crow is full of reflections on mourning and grieving and dying and aging and remembering and hope. Jayber says “This is a book about Heaven.” I’m not sure that it is. He strikes notes with confidence and finality that I can’t quite bring myself to let ring in my heart: death, lostness, sorrow and not having things figured out.

Jayber Crow ends on a note that brings it back to the first page of the book, on which is found this quote: “Magnanimous Despair alone could show me so divine a thing . . .” That is both a introduction to and a summary of the book.

Written by furthermusings

August 14, 2004 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Reviews

Commenting Again

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For a second time I have held my breath, plunged into the innards of MT and have emerged having made a few of the the changes recommended by others. Hopefully this will let readers comment again while the changes fend off the bad folks out there. Hope to hear from you, and not spammers, soon.

Written by furthermusings

August 13, 2004 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Blogroll