Frying up Some Early Summer Pondering’s

I feel at the start of a huge leap that I will only land from a year from now.

May 31st I moved in to Washington D.C. for a summer internship. July 29th I return home. August 1st I fly to Kathmandu, Nepal for a study abroad program that lasts through December 9th. I then travel on my own through Nepal until December 26th, when my mom joins me and we hop over to India through January 16th. I am then home until the 24th, when I fly to New Zealand for a semester abroad there that lasts through June 20th.

Quite a long and far leap.

On top of that, I am in my first real relationship with someone I don’t want to be away from. I’m so grateful for these opportunities, current and ahead, and my chance to get away from all that is comfortable, but I also long for that hand to hold whenever my mind has a moment to wander.

I’m coming to think that maybe my whole life will feel like this leap. Does that happen when you feel you are becoming an adult? You suddenly feel propelled into the air, unsure you will ever land?

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Bringing it back to today, I’m interning for a Senator this summer, which exposes me, real close, to the complex scene that is our government, leaving me totally conflicted many times each day. There is a video in the Capital Building that we start constituent tours with that is narrated by Maya Angelou, celebrating the phrase in our seal: e pluribus unum: out of many, one. Angelou reviews United States history, continually returning to that phrase: through the Revolutionary War, we came together, through the Civil War, we reunited, through the 60s we accepted more into the ‘one’. The symphonic end sweeps american skies and I feel an ironic twinge as the lights raise the audience to their feet.

I smile and help direct our group through the middle and high schoolers with red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps.

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What follows are my thoughts as of today. I will say that my perspectives on these things change daily, but I still like to share them because they help me figure out what I’m thinking and get other’s perspectives to generate new thoughts (so leave a comment!).

I want to address my perspective, but I won’t say I’m left-leaning because I think that regenerates a dichotomous and polarizing language. And with a dichotomous and polarized language, I think, comes a polarized reality. Instead, I will say that I wish Maya Angelou’s film left me with only the hopeful, excited and proud fuzzy feeling I glimpse before the lights turn back on in the Capital’s auditorium. I wish ‘e pluribus unum’ was the language and reality we lived.

A few tentative observations: (1) At my small, liberal, liberal arts college, it seems as though not everyone wants to be part of the ‘one’ in our seal’s phrase. Especially after the election, the talk of moving to Canada, sarcastic ‘gotta love America’s and total dismissal of anything the President said filled any political discussion. If not all want to be a part of the ‘one’, who are we and what do these people and those who remain do?

(2) Not only miscommunication, but lack of communication abounds, at least through the circles I encounter. From lack of communication comes lack of understanding. Not only a lack of understanding others, but myself as well. Writing and talking are the main ways I figure out what I think about things. I am fairly quiet, but when I’m thinking, I’m not solidifying thoughts, but questioning and reexamining all possible sides in new ways. Writing and speaking are the rare moments I realize what I actually think about whatever has been turning and morphing in my brain. Through friends and family, however, these moments are few and far between and even when they do come along, the conversation seems cut short by the other person not wanting to get into it or with both of us agreeing before fleshing out what we actually mean. Or, I feel as though what I said is actually contrary to what I think the moment after the conversation ends, but the other person has already checked out and the time has passed to return and reconfigure my thoughts.

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From both of these observations, I’ve noticed a third where the anti-‘new political-landscape’ (most of who I interact with) have come to use this ‘new political landscape’ to create almost an exclusive club where if you say anything not super progressive, you are not a member and being a member has many privileges: you get to feel morally in the right. You get to feel a true member of the ‘millennial’ generation. If also in or graduated from college, you get to feel superior and able to understand what ‘those others’ can’t. If privileged in any number of other ways, you get to feel as though you are making up for your privilege by being seen as a member of this group that supports all (genders, sexes, sexualities, socioeconomic classes, employment, etc.) even if you only interact with some sexualities, classes and types of employees, etc.

So, what am I to do? I hope that I can continue putting myself in new situations with new people to broaden my perspectives and better inform my opinions. I hope that I can become better and more comfortable sharing these honest opinions as they continually develop, mold, crack and reform. I hope to continue putting out respectful and genuine energy. I’ve found that people seem to regenerate what they see more easily than creating what they wish to see themselves. So, if I’m able to help generate a more respectful and genuine world by being respectful and genuine, I would be forever grateful.

And, with that, here is a ravioli-in-wonton-wrapper recipe! Limited time and kitchenware here in my temporary home yields interesting dinner creations, but this was one of my better and more interesting thus far.

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Wonton Ravioli

yield: 20 raviolis

Ingredients:

  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • 1 4-inch block of cheese (I like sharp cheddar), sliced fairly thin
  • 1/2 a large, white onion or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • oil for frying

Instructions:

  • saut√© diced onion with thyme and oregano
  • wet finger and wet perimeter of wonton wrapper
  • place slice of cheese, folded in half, in the center of the wonton wrapper, toward one corner
  • fold wrapper along the diagonal, pressing one seam to close wonton on one side
  • lift wrapper like a cone with the other side not yet closed
  • spoon onions into wonton-cone until full and press other seam together to fully close ravioli
  • repeat to create three more raviolis after turning on stove with some oil in your pan
  • place four raviolis in hot oil to fry, flipping after about 30 seconds if your pan started out really hot
  • as the raviolis fry on each side, continue making more raviolis and frying until all are done
  • serve immediately (they will be super hot if right off the stove) or save in a tupperware in the fridge for another night!

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