Archive | February, 2010

Read This if Your Name Is ‘Hannah’

16 Feb

Dear LifeLock Identity Theft Protection Company,

Hannah Montana stole my identity. So much, that I think you should use her in your next jingle.

Love, Hannah.

I haven’t lost my financial identity to Hannah Montana. Billionaires don’t want current balances of $44. However, I still can complain that I have lost my name identity to Hannah Montana.

Because of her, I have a new “Hannah-Montana-script” in my life right now. It happens 60 percent of the time when I first meet someone.

Hannah-Montana-script example:

“Hi, how are you? My name is Sam. What’s yours?”

“My name is Hannah.”

“Oh, like Hannah Montana? Hahahaha…haha….”

(Not much response from me. I am only thinking, “Nope…another joke bites the dust…flourishes, shatters, and burns. To the crisp.”)

(Not laughing) “Hah, yeah…but, no.”

Hannah Montana is everywhere in my life and I’m over it.

Wikipedia says that she has been “active” since 2003. However, Miley Cyrus changed my life when her show, Hannah Montana, began in 2006.

BOOM. The year 2006 happens and my life changes in an instant.

2006: The script begins. I am happy at first. We secretly like to have something in common with billionaires.

2007: The script continues. Who is this girl, really? I mean, she is still okay.

2008: The script continues even more and I begin to work on keeping my fake responsive laugh (ending part of the script) civil and respectful.

2009: I go to Chile. HOORAY! The script will end! No English, no Hannah Montana!

(Double) BOOM, again. I realized the script wouldn’t ever end when I was weaving my way through the El Baquedano metro in Chile, only to find the doors slamming shut on me as I was late for class.

The doors were decorated in an unnecessarily large, glamorous picture of…

her. Hannah Montana.

2009 got worse. The script became a crutch. When introducing myself, I found myself saying,

“Soy Hawn-NAH.”

“¿Ohhh…que? ¿Tu nombre es que?”

“AW-NUH…como Ana.”


“Okay….como Haw-nah Mon-tawn-ah. Hannah Montana.”

“¡Ohhhh…como Hannah Montana! Ohhh….”

Oh, the life of having the same name as a billionaire teenager. Being constantly reminded at least 3 times a week is quite the experience. That will be about 132 more times in 2010.

I can’t wait for 2010 and all its Hannah Montana glory…

I am fully ready for the script and have PERFECTED the fake laugh ending to a tee.


I Think Aristotle Was Chilean

6 Feb

Aristotle time is like Chilean time.

I know you don’t want to read Aristotle, but stick with me. Aristotle made it clear that the connection between time and friendship are a virtuous activity:

Even if one lived in a city populated entirely by perfectly virtuous citizens, the number with whom one could carry on a friendship of the perfect type would be at most a handful. For he thinks that this kind of friendship can exist only when one spends a great deal of time with the other person…, participating in joint activities and engaging in mutually beneficial behavior….Happiness is virtue, but that it is virtuous activity….We ourselves share much of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising the virtues. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Here is my point: we should take the responsibility of exercising time to acquire happiness through prosperous friendships.

I am talking about that kind of bona fide friendship.

The United States views “time” differently. We are just expected to be on time. 

It is our appointment at 10 a.m. on the dot, the dinner party at 7 p.m., and that we “have” to leave our friend’s house at 9:30 p.m. in order to wake up at exactly 7 a.m. the next morning.

Time is the numerical hour, rather than the noun—“a virtuous activity”.

In Chile, when the work is done for the day, a person always exercises the time to “pasar tiempo” with those that they love.

The Spanish phrase “pasar tiempo con los amigos” means “to pass time with friends.” With my Chilean friends and family, I wasn’t paying attention to the second, minute, or hour. I was passing every minute with them.

In the beginning of my adventure in Chile, time was the hour that my Chilean brother, Ramiro, and I would leave after dinner with my madre, Fresia.

As I impatiently stared at the clock, Ramiro would tell me that we would leave the dinner table “ahora,” literally meaning “now.”  After waiting 45 minutes, I quickly learned the significance of “ahora.” It isn’t United States time.  It meant that we would leave the dinner table when Ramiro, Fresia, and I felt that we had all spent well-founded time with each other.

Of course, we cannot follow this concept of going with our “feelings” in every instance.

I will not hop through life following my feelings because I will find myself on the streets in a foreign country without a cent to my name.

However, I will never forget the two-hour dinners with my dear, Chilean family. At our round, four-person table, I exercised my time. I laughed and cried. We made jokes about my terrible Spanish. I miserably lost every Chilean card game. I learned about Fresia’s dangerous political past. There were dinners with ten people squished around our four-person table. Ramiro became the older, nosy brother I never had. I almost fell out of my chair once.

I loved them as my own family and cried on their shoulders the day that I left them.

Through these experiences, I learned that when I am spending time with those that I love, I will pay less attention to United States time and more attention to Chilean time.

Chilean time: a virtuous activity in which a person passes time with friends to form a prosperous relationship.

Our dinner table full of food from my last cookout at my house for about 25 people.

Popping Ambien tonight, Adderral tomorrow

4 Feb

In Jay-Z’s new song, “Empire State of Mind,” he says, “The city never sleeps better slip you a Ambien.”

We slip Ambiens to sleep, wake up and take Lexapros to feel normal, and take an Adderral later to concentrate.

How many people do you know that take a pill every day to do something?  To feel normal?  To sleep?  To study?  Or…just to wake up in the morning.

My doctor once told me that every student should be on an anti-depressant or an anti-anxiety pill.

This type of advice is the reason why eighty one percent of Americans take some type of pill.

I believe in chemical imbalances and that they can cause depression, anxiety, poor sleeping, etc.  I also believe in taking a pill when it is absolutely necessary.  However, I do not believe in putting all trust into a mysterious, round, solid  concoction to take care of all my problems.

Problems are problems and that is life.  Certain stages of life cause certain types of anxiety or depression levels.  It is only ourselves (or a trusted companion, counselor, or psychiatrist) who can judge on what extent of treatment we need—not a pill that cannot communicate with us about:

  • Our extent of the problem
  • The root
  • The process of helping the situation

Pills are not always bad.  The bad is what the doctors say to us (thanks to the Pharmaceutical Sales Reps out there) .

Lets face it, Americans deal with a great amount of pressure.  We are pushed to graduate at age 18, graduate again at age 22, and find a job immediately.

Once you find a job, to be a “successful” American means to work from at least 8-6, have your blackberry in hand and check your e-mails every 20 minutes.  Some Americans work 24 hours a day—answering their blackberry at 11 or 12 at night.

As a senior in college, I am working on four tedious applications, taking five classes, going to my internship three times a week and working 15-20 hours a week.

When do I have time to breathe?  I really don’t.  When do some Americans have time to breathe?  They really don’t.

We have an extremely stressful culture.

If I told my doctor my weekly schedule and that I was stressed as hell, I guarantee she would prescribe me Lexapro.  A year ago, my first step would be to go straight to CVS, pop that pill in my mouth, and go on my merry way!

Now, my first step is figuring out what is causing the stress, if I have poor sleeping, if I’m eating right, etc.  Instead of masking it with a pill, I research.

Find the root and evaluate the best first step for improvement:

  • sleep eight hours every night
  • take time alone
  • yoga
  • exercise
  • walk with a dog
  • go to a counselor
  • reward yourself more free time
  • read a ridiculous book (For women, I suggest “Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea”)

Take time with this step.  Figure out what really makes you happy and make yourself do it at least three times a week.

A pill wont make you genuinely happy.

Think about this.