a long overdue life update & 26th birthday request

Dearest family and friends,

It’s been quite some time since I last posted an update and so much has happened in my life. I tried really hard to make a cute newsletter to email to everyone, but after a lot of technical issues, I figured posting on my blog would be much easier.

I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for the past year and am now in my second year of a five-to-seven-year-long PhD program in Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

I’ll admit, moving across the country has its challenges. Building new friendships and creating a whole new community out of nothing is hard. Concepts like “imposter syndrome” and “microaggressions” and “structural inequality” have never felt more real than they do when I’m in the academy. I’ve had some very low lows, and the highs didn’t seem very high.

I spent the last year trying to understand how my studies and my research could have a bigger impact. Was a PhD the right path to tackling the myriad of social problems we face today? Did anything I think actually have value? Would people at the university ever take me seriously? Being a young womxn of color in an institution built to serve upper class white men was and is not easy. Unfortunately, I went into a tailspin and retracted into my own head, taking a break from activism and being involved in the community.

But, now that I’m turning 26, I think it’s time for me to regain the fight and courage I had when I was in California.

For my birthday, in lieu of gifts, I’m urging my loved ones to consider donating to Yemen Aid.

Those who know me know that I’m always highly critical of humanitarian and development aid. I’ve asked friends who are knowledgable about the war in Yemen to recommend organizations that are impactful, transparent, and ultimately have the interests of all Yemenis regardless of their religious and ethnic identities.

To me, the traumatic effects that war has had on the people there should be a topic on everyone’s mind.

Over 10% of the population is internally displaced. 85,000 children have died of starvation (a conservative UN estimate) since the beginning of the war in 2015. 14 million people are at risk of famine. These problems don’t even touch the issues of trauma and physical violence inflicted on the Yemeni people.

To be honest, the neglect from the international community is absolutely sickening. I see the news headlines and read posts from my friends who have worked with Yemenis, and things just feel hopeless. Our political leaders have shown zero interest in caring for survivors of war. And our nation funds and supplies many of the weapons that Saudi has used in their attacks on Yemen.

It is pretty clear that the problems faced by Yemen (and exacerbated by the culture of war that we all engage in) won’t be solved by a simple birthday fundraiser. But, I have always believed that consciousness raising can change lives. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be spending 7 years of my life trying to become a professor.

I’m urging you, even if you cannot donate, read about what’s happening in Yemen. As an educator and researcher, it would make me incredibly happy to know this (lengthy) post sparked something in you and helped you learn about an issue you may have not understood before.

This is a link for my fundraiser for Yemen Aid. If you feel compelled to donate to another organization related to Yemen relief, please let me know. And as always, if you have questions or just want to catch up on life, I’d be so happy to!

Thank you for continuing to be a part of my life in little and big ways. I hope that this next year will bring us all a little more peace and clarity.

With love and light,
Christina

Happy Tunesday: Collection 65

I told myself I would focus on getting my life together. But, of course, I’m sitting and listening to new music.

The first tunesday of 2018 is Raveena‘s newest EP. I first heard her stuff when I was living in Southern California. My best friend and I were obsessed with Johnny, it’s the Last Time. Since then, Raveena released Shanti, a soothing and sweet compilation of jazzy, R&B vibes.

I wouldn’t have known she had new music out if it wasn’t for my pal, Sharon, who shared a live recording of If Only with me.

Let me just say, I’ll be jamming out to all of Raveena’s old and new stuff for the next week as I try and get myself prepped for a new semester.

What are some songs you’re listening to as you start the new year? Share them with me below!

xoxo.

Happy TunesDay: Collection 64

The end is nigh and I’ll be home home home in less than a week.

But, before that, I have to pull through the rest of this semester.

I’m taking a finals week break to share this playlist with y’all (okay, to be honest, this is my 50th break in the span of 3.6 hours…I’m human).

I cozied up to this playlist yesterday while writing into the night. Music is a real mood changer, because even though it felt like I was drowning in work and reading and too many word documents, I couldn’t help but feel groovy and great with this playlist.

This morning, I woke to snow…I’ll be real with y’all. Snow is magical. It’s beautiful and refreshing and lovely…for a good ten minutes. Then your face feels numb, you lose all feelings in your fingertips, and you can feel your heart rate slow in order to preserve your dear life.

It’s a good thing my walk to campus from my apartment is only fifteen minutes long.

Anyway, I hope that y’all enjoy the playlist as much as I do.

Wishing you all a safe and warm wintery week.

 

Happy TunesDay: Collection 63

It’s been a while since I put out another TunesDay playlist. In the midst of trying to stay afloat during this semester, I definitely put my blog on the backburner.  But, I’ve been collecting songs to incorporate into new playlists for you all!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to push out a playlist on Soundcloud considering some of the songs I wanted to use weren’t available on the site, but I made this one on my Spotify account.  Hopefully y’all can access it alright!

This particular playlist (entitled: sad boi feels aesthetic because there really isn’t another way to characterize it) has been keeping me company on chilly Pittsburgh nights and during my morning walks to campus.

The 1975 definitely produce my go-to sad boi songs, but I’m really starting to dig LANY. Their tune, 4EVER!, has been on repeat. It’s slightly akin to Carly Rae Jepsen’s synthpop/80’s-vibe album, Emotion. All in all, I can’t complain. Even sad bois need some synthpop lovin’.

What are some of your go-to sad boi feels song choices?

Share them with me and I might add them in!

 

Happy TunesDay: Collection 62

Ya girl’s back.

For real.  At least for another week.

It’s been a legitimate mess trying to get my life organized again, but I finally had a bit of time to whip out a new TunesDay mix.

I have to say, this heat wave in the ‘burgh is making me miss California. At least it’s not humid there. I will be sitting and sweating alone in my room this whole week with only this cool playlist to keep my body temperature regulated.

xoxo.

Happy TunesDay: Collection 61

It’s been a hot second, I know.

So much for posting TunesDay playlists every other week.  Apologies for the radio silence, everyone!

But I have a really good, excuse…I promise.

I MOVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY!

See? That’s a good excuse to put all your life things on hold.

While I attempt to metaphorically duct tape pieces of my life together, I thought I should get back into posting music playlists to trick myself into thinking I have some semblance of a routine again.

So, here it is. TunesDay is back…for now…until I become so overwhelmed with graduate school courses that I seep into a deep and dark, withering despair.

Til then, happy listening!

TunesDay Takeover // Arunav Sarkar

It’s been a while since I’ve solicited friends for a TunesDay Takeover session, but I figured it was about time to bring it around again.

This week’s TunesDay playlist comes from my good high school friend, Arunav.

Whenever I’d see him or meet up with our high school friends, I’d always give him a hard time for only playing house/dubsteppy music, but he has evolved and thrown in some chill DANKK BEATZ.  I’m thoroughly impressed.

Boy has got some guhhhreat taste in music…and if you tell him that he’ll probably love you forever and give you his first-born child.

I hope this TunesDay Takeover recalibrates your mind and lets you feel calm, even if only for 2.785 minutes, or however long this playlist lasts.

Until next time,
Christina (and Arunav too, I guess)