Thursday, September 29, 2011

Something Real


By: K'Naan
MOGADISHU, Somalia
ONE has to be careful about stories. Especially true ones. When a story is told the first time, it can find a place in the listener’s heart. If the same story is told over and over, it becomes less like a presence in that chest and more like an X-ray of it.
The beating heart of my story is this: I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. I had a brief but beautiful childhood filled with poetry from renowned relatives. Then came a bloody end to it, a lesson in life as a Somali: death approaching from the distance, walking into our lives in an experienced stroll.
At 12 years old, I lost three of the boys I grew up with in one burst of machine-gun fire — one pull from the misinformed finger of a boy probably not much older than we were.
But I was also unusually lucky. The bullets hit everyone but me.
Luck follows me through this story; so does my luckless homeland. A few harrowing months later, I found myself on the last commercial flight to leave Somalia before war closed in on the airport. And over the years, fortune turned me into Somalia’s loudest musical voice in the Western Hemisphere.
Meanwhile, my country festered, declining more and more. When I went on a tour of 86 countries last year, I could not perform in the one that mattered most to me. And when my song “Wavin’ Flag” became the theme song for the World Cup that year, the kids back home were not allowed to listen to it on the airwaves. Whatever melodious beauty I found, living in the spotlight, my country produced an opposing harmony in shadows, and the world hardly noticed. But I could still hear it.
And now this terrible year: The worst famine in decades pillages the flesh of the already wounded in Somalia. And the world’s collective humanitarian response has been a defeated shrug. If ever there was a best and worst time to return home, it was now.
So, 20 summers after I left as a child, I found myself on my way back to Somalia with some concerned friends and colleagues. I hoped that my presence would let me shine a light into this darkness. Maybe spare even one life, a life equal to mine, from indifferently wasting away. But I am no statesman, nor a soldier. Just a man made fortunate by the power of the spotlight. And to save someone’s life I am willing to spend some of that capricious currency called celebrity.
We had been told that Mogadishu was still among the most dangerous cities on the planet. So it was quiet on the 15-seat plane from Nairobi. We told nervous jokes at first, then looked to defuse the tension. The one book I had brought was Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.” I reached a chapter titled “Hunger Was Good Discipline” and stopped. That idea needed some contemplation. The very thing driving so many from their homes in Somalia was drawing me back there. I read on. Hemingway felt that paintings were more beautiful when he was “belly-empty, hollow-hungry.” But he was not speaking of the brutal and criminally organized hunger of East Africa. His hunger was beautiful. It made something of you. The one I was heading into only made ashes of you.
By now, the ride was bumpy. We were flying low, so I could see Baraawe and Merca, beauties of coastal towns that I had always dreamed of visiting. The pilot joked that he would try to fly low enough for my sightseeing, but high enough to avoid the rocket-propelled grenades.
FOR miles along that coast, all you see are paint-like blue water, beautiful sand dunes eroding, and an abandoned effort to cap them with concrete. Everything about Somalia feels like abandonment. The buildings, the peace initiatives, the hopes and dreams of greatness for a nation.
With the ocean to our backs, our wheels touch down in Mogadishu, at the airport I left 20 years before to the surround-sound of heavy artillery pounding the devil’s rhythm. Now there is an eerie calm. We clear immigration, passing citizens with AK-47’s slung over their shoulders.
It’s not a small task to be safe in Mogadishu. So we keep our arrival a secret until after we ride from the airport to the city, a ride on which they say life expectancy is about 17 minutes if you don’t have the kind of security that has been arranged for me.
Over breakfast at a “safe house,” I update my sense of taste with kidney and anjera (a bread), and a perfectly cooled grapefruit drink. Then we journey onto the city streets. It’s the most aesthetically contradictory place on earth — a paradise of paradox. The old Italian and locally inspired architecture is colored by American and Russian artillery paint. Everything stands proudly lopsided.
And then come the makeshift camps set up for the many hungering displaced Somalis. They are the reason I am here. If my voice was an instrument, then I needed it to be an amplifier this time. If my light was true, then I needed it to show its face here, where it counts. Nothing I have ever sung will matter much if I can’t be the mouth of the silenced. But will the world have ears for them, too?
I find the homeless Somalis’ arms open, waiting for the outside world and hoping for a second chance into its fenced heart. I meet a young woman watching over her dying mother, who has been struck by the bullet of famine. The daughter tells me about the journey to Mogadishu — a 200-mile trek across arid, parched land, with adults huddling around children to protect them first. This mother refused to eat her own food in order to feed abandoned children they had picked up along the way. And now she was dying because of that.
The final and most devastating stop for me was Banadir Hospital, where I was born. The doctors are like hostages of hopelessness, surrounded and outnumbered. Mothers hum lullabies holding the skeletal heads of their children. It seems eyes are the only ornament left of their beautiful faces; eyes like lanterns holding out a glimmer of faint hope. Volunteers are doing jobs they aren’t qualified for. The wards are over-crowded, mixing gun wound, malnutrition and cholera patients.
Death is in every corner of this place. It’s lying on the mattresses holding the tiny wrists of half-sleeping children. It’s near the exposed breasts of girls turned mothers too soon. It folds in the cots, all-knowing and silent; its mournful wind swells the black sheets. Here, each life ends sadly, too suddenly and casually to be memorialized.
In this somber and embittered forgotten place, at least they were happy to see I had come.
The original article is found here

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Into the Storm

 In a book that I read a while ago this artist asked "when you look at this what do you see? [all you saw was the Babe with his back to the camera] His face." When I see this photo, I see her face. Not as being afraid of the storm but determined to get through it. It's a simple trick of the artist to make you feel without actually having to see what they want you to see. 
I love this photo because I feel like i've just been in this crazy whirlwind this past month but i'm getting through it. I just keep moving forward. 
I guess i'll just let you guys in on the secret. Crazy things happened so Portland State University didn't happen. Now BYU-Idaho is happening. But not until January so moving to Seattle for a bit in the next few weeks might happen. Bascially I graduated high school, went to Chile and had this awesome experience and then my whole life changed. But, it's all for the better :)
-Nancy

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Your Person


My entire life (I'm counting my whole life from the age of three) I've had a best friend. I wouldn't say that we've actually been best friends those entire fifteen years, but I'd say pretty much a large portion of it we were. I've known Nancy five sixths of my whole life. That's a long time. You don't know someone that long and not learn everything there is to know about them.
I know that Nancy feels sick when she drinks milk, but she sometimes does anyway
I know that she will spend hours making a delicious dessert, because it's so worth it
I know that for her, usually getting ready is more fun than the actual event
I know that she likes to touch faces, and has had her dinosaur quillow her whole life
I know that she loves aesthetics. Especially buildings
She has great running form, and she's got a rocking body, cause we're smokin' hot wives ;)
She hates thrifting, but respects those of us who can
She's funny (at least to me), she thinks I'm funny too (I honestly didn't know that was possible), and she can spiritually uplift me any time, with just a wonderful text.

I explained to her a while ago that I know we'll be best friends forever because we try so hard to always help the other back onto the right path if we ever stray. Even if she's struggling, Nancy never ever gives me advice that would lead me to make wrong choices.

And also, we're just obnoxiously close. We have the little telepathy thing going on, where we just happen to know what the other is thinking, anytime. Never play pictionary with us. It's brutal.

Anyway, I miss her. I haven't seen her in a while and it sucks to know that we won't see each other for a few more months. I can talk to boyfriend, and all my friends here, but when you need your number one best friend, your future maid of honor, your piano (code name, don't worry about it), sometimes you just need that sexy little freak and no one else.

I think I'll go write her a letter.

Also, the video of Cristina and Meredith is definitely Nancy and I. She's Cristina, and I'm Meredith. And she is SO my person.

Love, Sarai

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Electronics are Failing Me


Outfit Details:
top: F21
skirt: made it!
shoes: steve madden
dog: father
So I haven't been home this weekend and when I got home, I plugged in my phone, turned on the computer, and thought about uploading pictures. Then my phone was so dead that it turned off the service, my computer was blinking at me because it was about to die, and my camera was dead. Can't things just stay charged? Please? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Officially Official






Details:
Blouse-unknown
Skirt-thrifted
Shoes-Forever Young

I have a boyfriend. That's really all I have to say right now.

He's cute, and he's not an RM so my parents need not worry.

Anyway. I really have no others news, except that I got two new pairs of shoes and they're super-cute, one of which I'm wearing in this picture right now

Nothing else :)

Love, Sarai


Also, I do adore this song ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why Do We Need to Create?

The lovely Sydney from The Daybook's recent post, "Why are mormons so cool?" seemed to apply perfectly to how Sarai and I view our creativity. I had never quite pieced together how our religion had influenced our love of beautiful things until Sydney did it for me. It definitely made complete sense! And this video is really what its all about :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Elephants and Sunsets

Triple reflection



These past five days i've been camping in the lovely town of Lakeview with all of its 2,000 inhabitants on the border of California and Oregon. My grandparents grew up in good ol' Lakeview and its a tradition to go camping there every Labor Day weekend. I would have to say that this trip was especially great. :) Everyday Leila and I would wake up to plan our agenda which mainly consisted of trespassing while on our random adventures to abandoned houses with dead animals inside, trying to find ways to get in the newspaper, asking people if we could poke around their house cause some ancestor of ours built it, asking boys if they had horses, awesome antique/vintage shopping(I bought a skirt for $1), watching the sunset every night down at the lake, and starring at the stars for hours because they just don't look like that in the city. 
We did so much more and I have tons of pictures but you all might get a little bored with them... but the highlight was definitely riding the elephant! Who would have thought we would ride an elephant in the middle of nowhere Lakeview?! Her name was Patty and we got to feed her snickers :)
Sometimes it's nice to get away from the hussle and bussle. I can't wait for next year!
-Nancy

The Talk





details:
Dress-thrifted target
belt-thrifted
shoes-thrifted Nordstroms

No no, not the S-E-X talk; the DTR talk. As in, Determine the Relationship. Personally I'm a big fan of knowing where my relationships are headed. Whether it's splitsville, or marriage, I have to know! Not that any of my relationships are headed towards marriage that is. I'm only eighteen....geez you freaks.
Anyway
I had this talk with someone, because I personally like our little relationship, but I also don't want it to stay the way it is right now. I want it to turn into a real relationship, instead of a thing. So I asked. And I liked the answer I got. In about a week, you guys will know if we're actually official, or if things fizzled out...hahaha

So I'm kinda anticipatory....and excited :)

OH! Speaking of marriage.... I have two friends getting married in the next few months...and I'm freaking out! In a good, excited kind of way. One of these ladies is a friend I've had for years, and basically I get to help her do anything for the wedding that I want to. Which is good, because I'm obsessed with weddings. The other girl, I just met this semester. Known her for a few days, but already I can tell we're going to be good friends. And she kinda wants me to help her plan her wedding also, no big deal. Also, I get to make cupcakes for her wedding. So excited :)

But you know what I'm most excited about?
Lingerie. I'm going to buy them both a lot of sexy lingerie. It's going to be wonderful.

Love, Sarai


Obsessed with this song right now...
and also obsessed with the meaning behind it. I agree completely

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's Just Talk All Through the Night




details:
Dress-Old Navy
HAIR FLOWER
Shoes-Nancy...no clue





We hiked the Y this Tuesday night....which was extremely uphill by the way. And kind of awful, but in a fun way? I don't know how to explain. I was dying, out of breath, sweaty, disgusting, and meanwhile my two GORGEOUS blonde friends were trekking up that mountain like there was no tomorrow. Ridiculous I tell you. But strangely enough, I'm insanely happy that I went. It was me, Kendall, Kelly, and my new friend Dane, who brought his two friends Tanner and Aaron. The view was amazing, and there was lightning in the distance, which is probably unsafe, but we were certainly enjoying it. Amazing.


This is the Y by the way. At least from our view on the top of it :)


And that little bitty building is the Provo Temple!



Oh and this is our friend, the tarantula. Not gonna lie, he was the least scary part of the trip. We also just so happened to see a brown recluse on the Y, which was embarrassing, because I definitely screaming, and acting like a fool. Luckily Aaron killed it for us. It took four tries to finally kill it.....

Anyway. I have been listening to the song Teenage Dream, Boyce Avenue's cover of Katy Perry's song, nonstop. I can't stop listening to it! He changed the lyrics slightly, and it sounds so heartfelt and beautiful. I love this version! Also maybe I'm so in love with the song because I kind of am in a situation that is causing me to be very giddy, and ridiculous. It's amazing what can happen in the matter of a week :)


Love, Sarai