The Turkish-Uruguayan Uber Driver

For anyone who owns a smart phone AND lives in a big city– like NYC or DC– the term Uber is a familiar one.  Uber is a cab or car service that utilizes the GPS in one’s smartphone to get to them at any location, and from there, take them just about anywhere.  I’ve had positive experiences with Uber drivers so far, and this morning I got into the car to be greeted by a man with a rough, angry-sounding voice.

I told him where I needed to go, and he immediately seemed frustrated and pulled over, talking to himself and hitting buttons on his GPS.  This of course, made me feel slightly uncomfortable, as I hate to feel like I’m causing the driver to be irritated by my simple request.  It also caused me to have an immediate judgement– that perhaps this man wasn’t very nice, or good at his job for that matter.

Once we were en route and my driver was clear about where we were going, I settled into my usual passenger experience: being quiet and looking through different apps on my IPhone.  Occasionally drivers will ask me questions, but most of the time they remain silent, and in turn, so do I.  This man, once his irritation about the directions had melted away, spoke, asking me questions about my major and why I study Spanish.

“I’ve been taking it for years.  I just really enjoy it,” I had replied when he asked me if I had a Spanish background.

“Ah, well I grew up in Uruguay,” The driver had smiled (I could see his grin in the mirror) as he conversed.

He went on to tell me about how he was originally from Turkey, but had spent his childhood and young adulthood in Uruguay.  He informed me that in Uruguay the Spanish is very different from other South American countries, a fact I hadn’t known.  He said that Uruguay has an Italian influence, so they speak more harshly and animatedly.  They often use their hands and “sing their words.”

Given that I want to do my term abroad in South America, I found this really interesting.  I love meeting other people from different countries and different points of view.  I could hear the Turkish sound in his accent when he spoke English, but I also could see how the harshness of Italian-influenced Spanish in Uruguay could make him sound angrier than he was.  So what I had initially interpreted as anger and irritation was probably just his inflection (although I do believe he was frustrated about which route to take to get to my intended destination).  I had thought for a moment that I should feel uneasy in his presence, when in reality, it was simply the way his loud voice and tone had come off, due to his varied background.  Amazing what some cross-cultural information can do to change one’s experience and viewing of another person.

I’m glad I got to chat with an interesting person today– and learn something new about Uruguay– as well as judgement.


Back in the Nation’s Capital

I’ve been back in Washington, D.C., after my several month hiatus from school, for a little over a week.  As I’ve talked about a few times now, adjustment and transition aren’t exactly my favorite things.  But I can say that this is the first change that I’ve been most prepared for.  There have definitely been rocky moments, and I’d say that the last ten days have felt like an eternity, BUT I’ve also really enjoyed being back!  The world looks different to me now, the foggy lenses that I once wore no longer quite as dirty.  And when things do cloud up, I take them off and do my best to clean them.

This semester I can’t wait to explore more of D.C., taking advantage of the many different things there are to see and do.  Over the next few months, I plan to make a post about a variety of activities to do, and hopefully compile a mini visitor’s guide for anyone coming down to the city.  D.C.’s an interesting place after all; the four quadrants are diverse and each have their own cultures and histories to them.  Most people think of North-West D.C. when they think of the Nation’s Capital– after all, it’s what I think of too, and where my university is located.  We think of the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.  But what about U-street?  What about Columbia Heights?  And Chinatown?  Or Anacostia?  There are so many places to go, it makes my head spin, but I’ll try my best to get around to a few.

Until then, enjoy these fancy blades of grass that, despite their ordinary-ness, I took on the National Mall!

Haikus (series 1)

Hello!!  Back in October, during what seemed like never-ending free-time, I created some haikus (poems where the lines are written in syllables of five, seven, five).  Haikus are of Japanese origin, and are typically about nature.  I decided to write them about my present experiences in recovery, what it was like in my disorders, as well as just general thoughts and memories that passed in and out of my mind at the time.  I’d love feedback if possible 🙂 Otherwise, I hope that they can be enjoyed and inspire others to write more haikus, because I personally think they’re fun little poems to create. NOTE: not meant to be read in any particular order– random poems I selected from my collection.

DSCN1320  (Took this photo in Utah last week during a trip)

I shall not give up

I’ve already come this far

Why would I turn back?

Even as a kid

I used the pencil to build

People, places, plots

Recently let go

Of my crazy running watch

Freedom from numbers

Oceans, rivers, lakes

Sun glints on blue surfaces

It’s cold in my hands

It’s trickling down

Soot-covered thoughts and feelings

Ashes blown away

Jealousy wails

Its ache explodes from inside

Cleaning up the mess

In fifth grade I said

I had ‘Laughamonia’

My chronic giggles

Many voices speak

It is a matter of choice

Which ones to channel

Books have kidnapped me

Causing me to invest more

Than I imagined

I like that white room

Where I go when reading books

Molding the scenes there

Magical thinking

And giving my thoughts power

That’s my OCD

Dialogue with food:

“Should I eat you?” “No, you can’t”

“Why?” “Might become fat”

Graphing asymptotes

Calculating the domain

Ew, Finite Math Class

Memories of youth

Dance in and out of present

Sepia filtered

I liked to make maps

Synthesizing elements

Of real places

Always viewed myself

As the opposite of brave

I think this has changed

Knit conversation

Words threaded together here

Wrapped around my neck

Disordered thinking

Expands most in secrecy

Dark enough to grow

You aren’t your degree

Your experiences build

Your passion matters

Inspiring people

Are rampant all around me

Travelers, healers