This is a blog to chronicle adventures and misadventures during my stint studying abroad in South Africa, Vietnam and Brazil this Spring 2010. I'm quite anxious about this trip and anticipate several leaps, stumbles, and tiptoes of faith-- a continuum of gracefully executed, hopelessly awkward, and just in-between moments. Bon appetit.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Shoutout to the Year 2009 and a Warm Welcome to 2010

2009 was filled with experiences that totally shifted my sensibilities and improved the spice of my life-- I look forward to the new flavors, sights, and smells that 2010 will bring.

I absolutely love love love New Year's Day, because of the opportunity for self-reflection and renewal it offers through resolutions. Deciding to adopt a major lifestyle change or tweak your daily regimen from January 1 onwards is as arbitrary as setting my alarm to 7:30 or 7:45. There is minimal difference between those times and 7:28 or 7:44 , but the 15 minute multiples just have an air of authority that 7:26 only wishes it could have. In the same way, January 1st is just another 24 hour cycle of day and light in the middle of winter, but we've attached so much cultural significance to the day that it's been elevated to a whole new realm of day-dom. It's the ultimate day, because it's the day we make personal pledges to wash our hands of last year's grime, remount our life carriages and reclaim the reigns of control over our lives with clean hands and optimism.

Before these resolutions come to us, we spend hours, and maybe even days, meditating about just how these reigns managed to slip out of our hands (again) and how we can stay in the drivers seat for good. Sometimes negative influences (people, values, bad habits...take your pick) quietly sidle alongside us and schooch us off the seat, little by little, without us knowing until suddenly not enough seat support balance our derrieres. That's when we topple off. And that's when it sucks. But New Year's is the time to bump our behinds back where they're supposed to be and that's why I find it so fab.

Here are my five resolutions for 2010.

1. To be more tenacious in terms of my principles, faith, work-ethic, and ambitions.
Real model: Homeless brotherman who sells "SpareChange News" on Harvard Square in front of Au Bon Pain Cafe. I see him nearly every day and have never seen anyone stop to buy that newspaper even though it's very much only $1. He must spike his lotion with teflon because the poise and rebound with which he handles rejections is the stuff of legends. "Why helloooo, young-Lady-young-laaaaydee"[met with an icy stare and silence, so he pivots to the next passerby] "Young man? would you like t--" [ignored again, pivot to the right]"Oh hello dear miss, please support th--"[a flustered woman pulls her purse into her torso as she whisks past and tries not to make eye contact]. In fact, I would put him in the same class as Beyonce. Not only because they speak at the same octave, but because of that terrifying concert tumble she bounced up from as is gravity was merely word that rhymed with cavity--and nothing more.

2. To ask bolder and better questions-- I don't take advantage of opportunities to pick people's brains, especially when I think it will make them uncomfortable.
Role models: NPR's Terry Gross and Anderson Cooper

3. Speaking of NPR, I should donate to or volunteer to answer phones for at least one pledge drive this fiscal year I was raised on NPR, so I owe it big time. Besides, who wouldn't want a travel mug or a trusty, limited-edition AM radio with a built-in LED flashlight, and airborne nuclear radiation detector.
Real model: "The poor widow that gave" in that parable.

4. To be more "present" I need to remember that the present is a gift and to bring my head down from the clouds more often, and focus on minor improvements such as making each day better than the next. Enough with devising bulky complex plans for a time that never seems to get that upgrade from "TBD" status.
Real models: My roommate Aisha is quite good about this as is another good friend, Martha

5. To find, relish in, and embrace all that is exquisite in the things around me Graced by the presence of wonderful people, and the privilege of a solid education, "hella sweet" hometown in a beautiful country, and pretty awesome cultural heritage, I am ready to take complaining out of my life.

Hopefully, putting my stuff on blast to the entire web will add the extra accountability I need to stay on track. In the meantime, I truly wish everyone a fabulously auspicious and blessed New Year.


  1. Hi, my name is Junior Mozie. I'm not sure if you remember me but if you can recall, we met at a graduation party at San Jose in July 2007. Anyway, our parents are well-acquainted with each other and it was your dad who brought your blog to my attention. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts! Your experiences and perceptions of the world around you, coupled with your superb writing ability makes your blog very engaging.

    I really enjoyed this particular entry. I found the resilience of the man selling newspapers to be very inspiring. What you said about New Year's Day struck a chord with me as well. In some ways, I think it's odd that people wait for January 1 to enact some sort of change in their lives. Delaying whatever self-improvements we have just shows a lack of initiative and desire.

    I think it's awesome that you had the opportunity to study abroad at South Africa, Vietnam and Brazil! It must be great to get an education while immersing yourself in the local flavor. Soak up the experience!

    ~ Junior (Chudi/ Vince) Mozie