Sunday, 30 December 2007

benazir bhutto

we were out taking a walk in the snow with andy's dad and sammy the dog when we got a call from his mum, telling us that benazir bhutto had just been killed. my initial reaction was dread for what implications it would have to the already unstable situation in pakistan. my memories of the time when benazir bhutto was in power are not particularly good - it is no secret that she was extremely corrupt, and during her time the human rights record was worse than usual. it was admirable that she was a woman, in a country where womens' rights are not exactly top of the agenda. but this showed she was also ruthless -even her mother apparently believes she had 'arranged' for the death of her brother, when he wanted to lead the PPP. she also proved to be brave, continuing her campaign even after the attempted assassination soon after her arrival in karachi.
others have written much better, and more informed, about all this than i am able to, so i'll not waste your time. but it's important to remember, when most mainstream news is heralding her as some sort of answer to democracy that is now irreplaceably lost, that she was as much a part of the problem as part of the solution.
here are a couple of articles worth reading:
from the guardian:,,2233402,00.html,,2233334,00.html
and there are a couple of articles on

kansas city

Saturday, 29 December 2007

st louis & the city museum

we took the megabus (yes! they operate here as well as in the uk!) to st. louis, where we were going to a family gathering of andy's dad's side of the family. on the way it got a bit icy and slippery, and a car infront of us slid out of control so that we almost hit it! a lot of women in the front of the bus stuck their hands in the air loudly crying 'hallelujah, thank you Jesus!' i was happy we were all fine, and the rest of the journey was like most other megabus journeys. one of the passengers was a guy who had taught himself how to play irish tin whistle from youtube videos, so he played every time we stopped. (i mean both times we stopped).
once we arrived we were picked up by some good friends of andy's dad, pete, and they took us to grandma's house where we borrowed her car -complete with 'god bless america' and 'support our troops' stickers! then we drove on to the family get-together, arriving fashionably (2 hours) late. it was a bit overwhelming, as family reunions often are, but they were all very nice.
the next day, after a breakfast of potatoes, we went to the most amazing place ever; the city museum! if you ever have a chance, GO! we ran around like 10yearolds, it was so great.
early early the next morning we got the bus back to kansas city again.

driving to kansas city

we rented a red car to drive up to kansas city, missouri, where andy's family is from, for christmas.
the driving was horrible, since neither of us drive very much, we spent most of the time feeling stressed out. the smaller roads were fine, but the interstates were horrible. but it was great to see everything along the way. we saw all sorts of places, for example oil city, (a little desolate town full of rusting oil equipment), through beautiful hills, lots of beautiful birds, all the various fast-food places that are the same everywhere, and too many other things to write about.
also: a good old friend! we stopped to visit one of my best friends from when i was in elementary school, and met her husband and cats, which was so great. we had a lot of good laughs; it's funny how, even with so many changes and so much time passed, we're still the same.

but next time we'll take the bus.


here are some pictures from the first week in austin.
america is what i thought it would be, but also different. i guess that's often the way, that some prejudices are confirmed, others proven wrong, and new ones formed. people are very friendly and open, that's one big difference. and everything is BIGGER! austin is great, we can cycle around, and we keep spotting really nice bikes everywhere, but it's very strange to be in a society where everything is built up around cars, where you drive everywhere... there's even drive-in ATM's (cash-points)! more on that later... in austin there's lots of the same plants as in pakistan, and alot of things remind me of sweden as well.
we went up to kansas city for christmas, and got back last night, so now we have 2 more weeks here in austin, which i'm really looking forward to, there's a million things on our list of things to do!

Sunday, 16 December 2007


i'm off to see andy tomorrow!
it's crazy, brilliant, amazing, and almost too good to be true!
(the only damper on the excitement is the huge amount of flying it involves.
glasgow --> dublin--> chicago--> and finally austin
i'll have to do a whole lot of virteous unharmful things to make up for this years
flying here and there.)
the valiant jubilating man you see riding the black sheep usually accompanies me when i go pedicabbing; he's called sigfrid or wee-man, depending on who you ask. and now he's going to be making the epic journey to america. he'll have good stories to tell the others when he comes back. the centaur has been to ireland, and also a.t.p. it has to be said. and some of them come from russia, another from cameroon. the crow and the sheep from yorkshire, the turtles from germany and edinburgh, made by a chinese and an australian. so i suppose they all have their stories.
as you can see, we made a start on christmas.
i felt free as a bird almost, after handing in the essay (finally!), and the term finished, and soon going and all, so it was all good.
in the pictures you can see our collection of flat-mascots, all sitting in proud arrangement under the christmas tree that morag bought. hector was eating it for a while, but he must've realised that its fake and tasteless. so far most of the little animals and birds and glitter and everything are still hanging up.
i even made lussekatter, (swedish saffron-sweet-bread for lucia), there was a good recipe:
they turned out nice. if anyone wants the recipe in english give me a shout.

Monday, 10 December 2007

london for a day-and-a-bit

anna and i took the overnight bus down to london, arriving with sore bums and heavy eyelids, as
one often does after that journey. after some coffee and knitting at the station, we went walking, armed with a little a-z of london.

we managed a fair bit in one day. i didn't get photos of much of it, but here are some. it was so brilliant to see my good friend reetta again, we've known each other since we were 8! we also got to meet her lovely man and his sister, and two other of
her good friends which was great.
anna bought me a luxury-soya-chai, and we went to the british museum. (we didn't see the actual chinese warriors cuase of lack of money and time, but anna held hands with one of them for free, as you can see.) we went to some of the more like-able parts of london that i hadn't been to before, which was good.
i also saw some people from the organization i worked with in afghanistan, which was lovely, strange, surreal, and more. they were hosting a preview of the film 'the kite runner' at a posh hotel, and then we had dinner afterwards. it reminded me of some of the things i found difficult when i was there... but i miss afghanistan. i wonder if i'll ever go back?
i slept over at a friend's, who is in turn staying with a friend. by that time my brain was so tired and full of different things that i could hardly think, however, and it took me a while to realize who he was. we're showing one of his films, 'the voice of the moon', at the afghan festival in february; it's well worth seeing!
then on the train i slept and slept, and the sun was shining in glasgow when i arrived, tired and not wanting to get to work on the essay. but i have to. there aren't many days left now till the hand-in!
which means, not many days till i see andy!
in fact, only 5!

Friday, 7 December 2007

sister, sales, stress

the end of the year often brings too much to do combined with too many distractions.
the date of the essay hand-in is looming closer! the studio assessments are soon upon us!
there are things to be done for the film festival!
there are christmas sales left right and centre! (or more specifically, one in the art school -friday 3pm to monday 6pm, in the small vic gallery, and one in the ceramics school, all day monday and tuesday.)
luckily, anna my sister has come to visit, and she's keeping me sane by making coffee and finding spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in my essay.
and guess how many days left now?

Saturday, 1 December 2007

a new friend & christmas sales

here he is: i htink i'm going to call him Kulal (that means potter in Dari). kulal crow. i got him at the collins gallery, where my classmates and i also have a stall this weekend. when i saw him first thing this morning i thought a real hooded crow was sitting in my room!
(maybe he is real...)
as you can see, there are also ONLY FIFTEEN DAYS left till i see andy!

here are some of the things i'm trying to sell in the gallery. there are nine of us sharing a stall, so it's quite packed as you can imagine, but a good experience i think.
this weekend the ceramics department are having another christmas sale, at the art school, so hopefully between the two i'll manage to get rid of some things...