Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Funny/cute pic of the week
The day this photo was taken (summer 2004 in Norway) I learned something about little boys: no matter where in the world you are, no matter what time or what circumstances, they- no matter what connection you have to them, if any- are unmistakably attracted to anything that has to do with any type of transportation machine (in this case, the propeller on Kristian's hat.)
Oh, and thanks, Kelsey, for the (Blog) Red badge!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I cringe to even scrape the surface of this deep controversey, yet I feel that I should mention it since the issue is not only dominating the adoption community but also the American media, if not the world's. I, like half the country and all of Ethiopian adoptees, watched Madonna's interview on Oprah yesterday and I, like everyone else, have some pretty strong opinions on the whole topic. But no matter what Madonna's motives and intentions were in adopting from Africa- and I do think they were all good- the bottom line is that this child will have a much, MUCH better life than he would have had in that orphanage. Anyone who's seen firsthand the poor or orphaned children in Africa or anywhere else in the world (or at least know anything about Madonna and he wealth) knows that. As for the interview, I thought that Madonna seemed very sincere- in fact, the only fake aspect of it that I detected was her British accent. I am sorry though that this hot debate has significantly affected, for the worse, the African adoption world- I've heard talk of some African countries shying away from opening up to inter-county adoption because of the "negative responses" from Americans. The bottom line of any kind of adoption is to place children without homes, without families, into homes with families. It's what Madonna did, what Angelina Jolie did, what we're doing and what many others have done/did do. Because of this I'm all for Madonna promoting adoption, but am very upset by how it backfired in this way.
On a very different note, here is something worth listening to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6381100&sc=emaf&sc=emaf. It's a segment on NPR on Americans adopting from Africa. It includes an interview with Melissa Fay Greene and orphan doctor Jane Aronson, and on the whole is very insightful and eye-opening.
Monday, October 23, 2006
How can we save the AIDS orphans?
As the many of you out there who have read Melissa Fay Green's There is No Me Without You know, the horrible statistics surrounding AIDS in Africa and the number of orphans produced by it are unimaginable and frankly ridiculous. The notion that there are enough parentless children in a few countries alone to inhabit Norway four times over is one that is so beyond comprehension that we feel powerless to make the slightest difference, no matter how much we are willing or able give.
But there are some ways to make a difference.
For starters, Gap and other companies are having the (Product)Red campaign, in which clothing items, red-colored iPods, etc. are being sold on behalf of women and children with AIDS in Africa. Just yesterday I bought a red t-shirt from the Gap that reads "Inspi(red)", and while in the store I noticed a sign that said that half of all proceeds go directly to Africa to financially aid those afflicted. For more info and to order online, please visit http://www.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=20856
Another way to help is by donating to AHOPE, an orphanage and school for children with AIDS in Ethiopia. Just by browsing the site and watching a short but heart-wrenching video on it (http://ahopeforchildren.org/video/ahope_movie/_hr.wmv) I've decided to devote my Senior Interest Project to raising materials through my school and/or starting a club for students to write letters individually to the children there. Aside from that though, anyone can donate items/money by clicking the Donate option on the website at http://www.ahopeforchildren.org.
It's so hard for us to feel like we're making a difference when the magnitude of the impact of AIDS is so utterly beyond our control, but hopefully all the little things will accumulate to make a world of a difference to at least some of the people affected by this horrible pandemic.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Funny/cute pic of the week
I included this picture because, aside from it being a funny (horrible) picture of the boys and me, it is relevant to the nature of this blog.
Here we are in Norway, Christmas 2003, visiting with some of my dad's friends. One of the families there had one biological son, left, and a little girl adopted from China. That girl is the only adopted child I've ever actually met, and ever since seeing her bubbly, exuberant little self dart around the house like the Road Runner, I've been fascinated by the idea of adoption. Little did I know that three years later, I'd be dedicating my Sunday morning to writing a blog entry about her in connection to the Road Runner baby we'll be bringing home.
One other thing, and I honestly don't mean to complain (after all, 17 is NOT a bad record!!) but I really appreciate any and all comments!
Friday, October 20, 2006
This week, as usual, has been a tangle of activities, schoolwork, and all else that goes on in the typical American high school girl's crazy life. Added into the mix was all the preparation for the PSAT I'm taking tomorrow morning and the big party of 35 (or more?) people my family will be hosting later in the day. And then there was the drama surrounding my friend's decision to (temporarily) dye her hair red.
Yet, amid the all-in-a-day chaos that, in a word, describes my life, I know I need to update the blogworld on- well, all the chaos!
Yesterday morning, as I checked my e-mail before dashing off to school, I noticed that I got a reply from Seventeen magazine regarding the story I want to share. They said I needed to submit a query along with the promise that I read six back issues of "My Life" articles, to assure them that my story fits that category. I plan to go to the library on Sunday, photocopy six "My Life" articles, and send them right away along with my typed query. I'll let you know how that goes.
Also, there is a "Reflections" contest at my school for the arts. Students, from grades 4 through 12, can submit their entries to the given prompt in the form of photography, painting, drawing, musical composition, and creative writing. The contest is currently on a town level; winners go on to the regional level; state level; and national level. I plan to submit an entry in the creative writing section. This year's prompt is "My Favorite Place." Naturally I'm choosing Africa- but had we not been adopting from there, I'm sure I still would have marked it off as the place I long to be and love to be in. Just like certain objects, people, food, music, even smells can remind one of home or a very familiar place, things like the mosquito net canopy hanging over the bed of the little girl I babysit for makes me long to go back to the wild and natural beauty of Africa. How a Scandinavian-born American teenager can feel this strong tie to a place she has no formal connection to, I don't know; though I do realize that Africa can have that heart-grabbing effect on anyone, regardless of background. That a small child from that country will soon be my younger sibling only adds fuel to the fire. This, too, I plan to work on on Sunday; and likewise, I will post an update.
That's a peek into the life of the Big Sis for this week. Have a nice weekend!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
So it' now Halloween time- and like I said in my "100 Things About Me part 1", it's one of my favorite holidays. I personally love it because I like anything scary (but not actually dangerous) and I love the idea of just going up to strangers' houses and demanding candy. My dad, however, is obsessed- understandably, since he grew up in Norway and they didn't have Halloween there (as we like to say to people who ask, he's "making up for lost time.") In October, he turns our house and yard into an elaborate haunted house, dresses up, and takes us to every imaginable haunted/scary Halloween event. But to give you an idea of how much he loves Halloween, get this: he plays Halloween music in May.
Anyway, this year, at the ripe age of fifteen, I've been told that I'm getting kind of old (the only case in which fifteen can really be called "old") to trick-or-treat. I'm saying this is my official last year, but next year I'll just say I'm "taking the baby out." Halloween is one of the most fun nights of the year- how can you miss out? I'm thinking I'll be Santa Claus, since I like to be different. Also, it will remind parents answering doors to get cracking on holiday shopping.
One thing we have in our New England neighboorhood is something called "booing." There was a little bit of it in Massachusetts, where we lived before, but there's definetely more of it here. This year, we got booed by the four girls who live across from us. If you don't know what "booing" is, it's essentially that someone leaves something- candy, halloween stickers, small things like that- on your doorstep, rings the doorbell, and run away. They also leave a sign that says, "You've Been Booed- Find Out Who We Are on Halloween Night." I think the idea is adorable, but I don't know if booing is a concept just in New England or in other places too.
Has anyone else been "booed" or had something similar to that done to them? (By the way, in the picture, that's a fog machine and a strobe light you see in the background.)
Monday, October 16, 2006
Pictures are back!
YES! My picture option came back! What a relief...I spent a good part of yesterday trying to figure out how to get it back. But today when I logged on, it magically reappeared!
I have another question though- actually, I have two. One- how can you put a blog counter on a blogger blog? I made one, got to the last step, then realized there was nowhere for me to paste the counter link. And also, when I changed templates, my profile dissapeared. Does anyone know how I can get it back without changing templates? Thanks in advance!
Oh, and here's this week's funny/cute pic of the week. Need I explain why I chose this picture?
Saturday, October 14, 2006
All of a sudden I can't post pictures anymore! I don't think it has anything to do with the new template, since photos from previous posts are still there. Any advice????
Check out my new look!
I changed my template- again. I temporarily had one I liked better- it fit in more with the blog's "theme" (the background indicated that the posts were top secret files, and this IS called The Big Sis Diaries.) I decided to change it because the font was almost too small to read. Oh well. I like this one better than the first one I had, and I'm pretty sure the writing on this template is more legible. But I'll probably change it again in a few months or so- I have fun experimenting with different looks.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Questions, Comments, Compliments and Complaints
I just wanted to thank everyone for commenting! For whoever came up with the idea of leaving 1000 comments at Owlhaven, it was a very entertaining one. I admit that I'm a little jealous of the 1800 comments (currently) there, but am pleased to announce that I've set a new comment record on this blog (9!). But please, feel free to leave 1000 comments here any time!
I've heard, though, that some people are having trouble commenting here. Obviously those people can't respond to this, but I wanted to say I'm sorry and I'm trying to fix it. I don't know what's wrong. Has anyone else with blogs through Blogger had people tell them they had trouble commenting? I enabled my blog to let anyone post, not just members.
Oh, and by the way- this is really my 50th post :-).
Saturday, October 07, 2006
100 Things About Me part 1
I've noticed on other blogs that at the 100th post, the blogger makes a list of 100 things about his/herself. Since I can't wait until I reach 100, I've decided to break my list up into two sections of 50- the first 50 at my 50th post and the second 50 at my 100th post. Well, since this is my fiftieth post, here are 50 things about me!
1. I've been to 25 different countries
2. This includes two African countries- Kenya and Morocco
3. I took ballet for seven years
4. I'm very petite- 4'11'' if I stand up really straight
5. Because of this I'm very often mistaken for being younger than I am (I admit it's slightly irritating now but I know I'll be happy about this when I am an adult!)
6. I hope to become tri-lingual or quad-lingual (I know that's not a word.) I have a good start though- I speak English and Norwegian fluently and I've taken four years of French at school
7. I like Eminem's music (people who don't know me very well would be surprised by this!)
8. Eight is my lucky number because I was born on the eighth day of the eighth month, and the difference between the digits of the year I was born is eight (8/8/91)
9. My guilty pleasure is watching reality shows (i.e., America's Next Top Model) especially, though I hate to admit this, shows about celebrities/ridiculously rich people (My Super Sweet 16)
10. Sometimes I just want to hit the girls on My Super Sweet 16 for being spoiled, bratty, and inconsiderate, but more than that I want to hit the parents for letting them get away with, if not promoting it. Most of all, though, I just want to be invited to those parties!
11. My dream college is Wellesley- I really want to go there!
12. I love musicals but refuse to try out for them at school because I don't want to sing for the audtion
13. I loooove horror movies (notice what number this list item is- I thought it was kind of cute :-))
14. I don't like pasta
15. I aspire to be a teacher when I grow up, either elementary or high school English
16. I plan to teach, also, in Africa through the Peace Corps after I graduate college
17. I witnessed a bird drop a half-eaten piece of pizza on my dad's head when he was lying on a beach in Mexico
18. I love the Andy Milonakis show. Don't know what that is? Click here for a sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfHaEnDkbBg (I have to warn you though, it's very weird if you're not used to it- but once you are it can be very funny)
19. I don't like most dogs- in fact I'm mildly afraid of them (sorry dog lovers)
20. My favorite holiday other than Christmas is Halloween
21. I hardly ever get sick
22. On my family's trip to Sicily when I was six, I had margherita pizza for lunch and dinner every day (we were there for a week)
23. On the same trip I had to ask a waiter for water in Italian because Kristian, who was a baby, was fussing. My dad told me what to say and I went up to the waiter and asked him. He understood and brought us the water- I was so proud of myself!
24. I know how to say "I've been robbed" in Swahili- Nimaibiwa! (Yes, it's only one word- what does that tell you about pick-pocketing frequency in Kenya?)
25. Speaking of robbery, my mother's purse was stolen in Prague from our hotel room- while we were in it! (Long story)
26. I've moved five times in my fifteen years of life
27. I'm naturally blonde but I highlight my hair with a highlighting a kit (I have to admit, it turns out surprisingly well!)
28. Pink is my favorite color
29. I had two concussions in three years
30. I get migraines often (we don't know whether or not there's a connection)
31. I was Little Miss Muffett in my third grade Bug Play
32. I'm the only person in my family that hasn't gotten stung by a bee
33. I can't snap my fingers
34. I went to Catholic school in Kindergarten and 1st grade
35. I'm only "half Catholic" though, if you base my religion on my parents'; my mom is Catholic and my dad is Lutheran
36. I, along with my brothers, named our cat Coco because she is black, white, and orange and therefore reminds us of hot cocoa; we named our other cat Fifi because- well, we just liked that name!
37. My favorite ice cream flavor is cookie dough-I have it every time I go out for ice cream
38. I once got an earache on a Carribean cruise
39. My favorite clothing stores are Gap and American Eagle
40. I love the smell of gasoline
41. One TV show I'll actually admit to watching is Grey's Anatomy
42. My current favorite word is "copacetic."
43. I once saw a boy from my sixth grade class at the Grand Canyon (this was when we were living in Massachusetts)
44. I went on a school trip to Washington, D.C. in eigth grade and had the time of my life!
45. I think chocolate and peanut butter are the best two flavor combinations ever
46. I almost saw Cameron Diaz in an airport in Miami once (my mom saw her- I was going to but when I got there she was gone. I was only eight though, so I didn't know who she was!)
47. My pet peeve is when people ask "How are you?"out of courtesy and hurry away before bothering to wait for the reply
48. I've never been to sleep-away camp and I don't plan to. I don't like to be away from my family for more than a week at a time (I know it will be hard when I go to college!)
49. I rode on an ostrich and ate one (well, a piece of one) in the same day
50. I lied- this isn't my 50th post, it's only my 49th!
Funny/cute pic of the week
Friday, October 06, 2006
The World According to Me
Happy Friday! Since entering high school, the world "Friday" has taken on a whole new meaning. It's not just a day of the week- it signifies the beginning of two whole days of fun and relaxation. So now that it's Friday, I can focus on the other things I want to do with my life.
I've decided to keep a journal on all of my thoughts/feelings of this adoption, in addition to this blog. I'm going to start keeping it now, right through when I go to college and even beyond. I'm keeping it for myself to look back on, but I'm hoping to try to get it published. I feel that this experience is wonderful and unique, and I should really make the most of it. Furthermore, reading about a child/teen's perspective on anything is pretty rare. I'm also going to contact Girl's Life magazine, which I used to read. I picked up the magazine a few months ago and found an article in it about a person I knew from my own school and her experiences with a problem she has. I thought that if she could get an article on her special story, maybe I can too!
It's amazing how everyone has a story worth hearing. Most often, these stories aren't put out in the open- but I'm going to put mine out there. I'll keep you updated.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Now that we're moving closer towards referral (close meaning in three to five months or so) I thought I would adress the type of child our family is expecting. Although we could have requested a girl (like I would have wanted) our family has decided to be open to either gender. This pretty much means that we will get a boy since so many request girls, though it's not guaranteed. I'm thinking, though I'd love a little sister since I have two brothers already, that a boy would be best for our family. For one thing, the wait is quite a bit shorter- 4-6 mos vs. 6-9. For another, we're in such "boy mode" right now, since there has been at least one boy in the house for over ten years. It's warmed the boys up to the idea of adoption, especially Carsten- and no one can deny how adorable those little guys are! We've also expanded our age frame from 0-12 mos. to 0-16 mos. We figured that 16 mos is still a baby, especially to us since the youngest child in or family is seven. It also means some time could be shaved from our waiting. If all goes well we expect a referral around February- though I'm hoping January! Four, even six months will be bearable for me. Like I've said before, I've got a full plate, and my family can really use these months to pack in the things we can't do post-baby- my mom wants to go by herself to visit family in Michigan, for example, and we have a lot of house work/decoration to get done. I also know that I should be savoring this "free time"(not that I have much) because it will be packed with baby-sitting and extra household tasks. So that's our adoption update. Not much to report, but I hope to have news hopefully some time in the winter.
Oh, and here is the link to a very interesting and informative transracial adoption article I read. It's very heart-warming and eye-opening: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/10/01/MNG9HLGA6Q1.DTL. I saw, also, that Madonna plans to adopt a baby from Africa. Seems like it's becoming a trend!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Today marks the one-year anniversary of us having our cats. It's a weird feeling because I feel like we've had them forever and I really can't picture our lives without them, yet I remember that day we got them so clearly. I know that this experience will only be volumized with the baby after a year has gone by. If I can care so much about two little animals, I can hardly imagine the love I'm going to have for my little brother/sister.
Which brings me to the second reason for this post. Today my family went to Ikea for various household items we needed- my dad is having a work party at our house in a few weeks and we needed more plates, chairs, etc. First of all let me just say that I love Ikea- it's a Swedish company, and since I'm Norwegian and have been there so many times (not to mention have lived there) I've been in many Scandinavian stores and buildings. The atmosphere and furniture have such a strong Norwegian feel- I felt like everyone around me should be speaking Norwegian and I should, too. The bedroom furniture looked like they could easily have been stolen out of my cousins' bedrooms. The signs are in Swedish which is so similar to Norwegian that, much to my delight, I found I could understand them. Everything is so cheap there too- I never spend anything, since I'm overly cautious (if that's possibe) with my money, but I could spend a whole weekend throwing things in my cart at Ikea. And then of course there are the Swedish meatballs and cinnamon rolls.
Anyway, we were eating lunch in the little restaurant they have there, when a little African American boy ran up to us. He didn't look much more than a year old, and he was incredibly adorable. He ran straight for me and looked up at me as if I was a rarely-seen celebrity- on his face was a look of pure, happy wonder. Then he reached over and started stroking my hand. I smiled and said hi to him, and as I did I pretended for a minute that this was my little brother. He looked very Ethiopian though I don't think he was, and looked about the age that we imagine our little boy will be when we bring him home. I had such an urge to grab him and put him on my lap, but this fantasy ended when his mom came a minute later. It was funny- my whole family, brothers included, looked at each other and him, thinking the exact same thing. Then my brothers burst into chatter about how our little one will be exactly like that. I'm not anxious enough about our waiting to say that that was an omen, but it gave me, if only for a minute or two, a glimpse into the future of what life for us will be like in several months. That is, minus the tantrums and diaper-changing.