Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Pearls

"Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
- Helen Keller (via Criminal Minds, series 5: A Rite of Passage)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday Pearls

Men do not differ much about what things they call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.
- G. K. Chesterton

I've been thinking a lot about repentance and forgiveness lately with the final report of the Bloody Sunday Commission, 28 years after the events of that horrible day, and David Cameron's unflinching apology on behalf of his government and country.  Remarkable.

The beginning of atonement is the sense of its necessity.
- Lord Byron

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Actual Summer

Sunglasses on the drive on into work.  A persistent house fly.  Car windows that need to be left cracked open. 

It's almost like being back home in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill/Carrboro) again.  Now all we need are some dogwood petals, violent yellow pollen staining everything, and debilitating heat and humidity :-)  Ahh, good times!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You Shouldn't Have!

Here's another unexpected, sweet but sometimes confusing difference in how things work over here.  "Work" pun intended!  I've never been to so many goodbye lunches or contributed to so many birthday/baby/goodbye gifts.  I'm attributing this to a strong cultural value placed on generosity, one that sometimes seems overboard to me coming as I do from an Americanized background.

Some examples:  a short-term contract worker ("locum") comes to the expected end of her time and everyone assumes there will be a lunch, flowers and gift.  An intern approaches the conclusion of his year-long rotation and lunch out with the whole team is a must, as is another collection around the whole building for a nice gift..  Milestone birthdays as well are marked by contributions, good food and expensive baubles.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Please don't.  I'm not stingy.  Nor do I have a heart the size of a shriveled peach.  I care about people. I really do!  I'm just not used to all this celebration and gift-giving for what I'd see as normal comings and goings.  In my previous life, work was work except for the special things (e.g., new babies on a close team, etc).  Interns come and go.  So do contract workers.  There's nothing really special about that.  Except... I must be wrong because here there is.

Case in point, a coworker and I just concluded running a group for parents as part of our overall service to our clients.  At the final session, we each received a card.  Very nice of you.  Thanks, but you really didn't have to.  I so wasn't expecting it!  Nor was I expecting... this:

Really?  Isn't this a little above and beyond?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rock That Anthem

Ok, yes, OF COURSE I'm stoked about USA tying England in the World Cup soccer/football game tonight! [cue cheesy grin and fist pumping]  But, I'm actually struck by something else very telling in how the teams, and the fans in the stadium, responded tonight.

God Save The Queen vs. The Star Spangled Banner.  The Americans ROCKED it!  Did you see?  The American players with their hands over their heart, most singing along, the American fans shouting out the words with glee.

I'm not sure how much of the difference was culturally based emotional expression (stiff upper lip vs. brash enthusiasm), knowledge-based (I assume most Brits actually know the words to their anthem, right?), emotional investment in the anthem per se as representative of patriotic pride, and/or the anxious energy of the underdog team going against the big gun.  A little bit of all?  But, the difference was palpable.

Of course, I was singing "The rocket's red glare..." as loud as anybody else in the stadium as well.

Friday Pearls

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday Pearls

You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
- Desmond Tutu

Family is a haven in a heartless world.
- Christopher Lasch

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What was I saying?

Wine and tapas-fueled conversational topics at Cafe Gusto tonight, egged on by Sabrina Dent and her friends Grace and Catherine (did I mention the excellent wine?):
  • The validity (or lack of) of ethnic self-identification by non-immigrant (e.g., 2nd or 3rd generation, etc) Caucasians in the U.S. (don't blame me for this one!)
  • Obama's chances of winning re-election in 2012 (Ok, yeah, this one was mine)
  • The beauty of the neti pot (see my previous post here)
  • Differences between the use of the family doctor and specialist gynecologist by women in the U.S. vs. Ireland
  • Childbirth
  • Liking or not liking your progeny
  • Mental health status of old flames
  • Why is it that my friends and family STILL haven't found me a cute guy
  • Why parents of my patients piss me off so often
  • The deficits in Ireland's foster care system
  • Similarities between Ireland and Jamaica (see one of my blog's most read posts here)
  • Different world views between Jamaicans (West Indians in general) and AA's
  • How the attached found/met their spouses and (have I mentioned?) the need for my friends to get on the ball and introduce me to their single male friends!
  • How my standards/requirements for men have changed (e.g., drastically reduced) as I've gotten older
I wasn't bored :-)