Sunday, August 23, 2009

Conscious: Having an awareness of one's environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts, aware.

I've been playing the Italian Superenalotto lottery over the past few weeks and yesterday the biggest win ever in Europe, around 143 million Euros, went to somebody in a small Tuscan village. They had a BIG party.

Yesterday while reading The New York Times I saw this:

'In the last 50 years, more girls have died for being girls than all the men who died in wars fought in the 20th Century.'

Maybe I did win the lottery. I mean, I was born 50 years ago to a middle class family, had enough to eat, clothes to wear, an education. I had the choice to have children, to work, to dream. And now I am going back to school.

The Chinese have a saying, 'Women hold up half the sky.' Many policy makers believe that by educating and empowering women we will secure a peaceful and prosperous future, focusing on women and girls to fight global poverty and extremism.

My friend Einat sent me the film, 'Paris Was A Woman', a documentary about the contributions made by a handful of women expatriates living on The Left Bank between the first two world wars, and as I was watching it I was reminded what a recent phenomenon it is that women should have the choice to go on to higher education. Once again, I feel incredibly lucky to be going back to school.

I have a photo of me standing in front of my dorm the morning my parents drove me three hours to Lawrence, Kansas for my first semester at K.U., which is amazing, because when I moved to Italy I threw away tons of pictures as there was no room to take them and no way to store them. I am barefoot, wearing Levis, my head tilted to the side, hands on hips. My mom and Dad unloaded my stuff and drove away.

I sat on the unmade bed of my dorm room looking at the light blue walls and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror over my built-in drawers. I was lost.

At 18 I did not yet have the insight to understand what going to school (especially out of state) really meant. I was way too young...

When my old boyfriend went to school many years later he would comment on the much younger student body at U.C.S.D. (he was 33 at the time) commenting that they seemed oblivious to their good fortune- he, on the other hand knew how lucky he was. He was conscious of his good fortune. He felt like he had won a lottery.

And me, too.

Have a great Sunday, everybody.

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