For the last few years I've made the same two simple New Year's resolutions: run 15-20 miles a week and read at least three books a month. I hope to achieve more than that in both categories, of course, but I see those goals as the baseline. The reading resolution is quite often impeded by the "more" that is strived for, which has included the learning of languages, the reading of long form articles and news, and the absorption of legal precedent.
In New York, the law requires that before admitting a person to the bar, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court must be satisfied that he or she "possesses the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counsellor-at-law." As such, prospective lawyers have to graduate law school, pass the bar exam and the MPRE (ethics exam), and then submit a lengthy and detailed application to the Committee on Character and Fitness.
Religion is passé for many of my generation, and most Christians of my acquaintance do not attend services for Holy Week. Raised Roman Catholic, I do not claim a deep or steadfast faith, but during this time I like to reflect on the Passion narrative and the significance of the events that transpired from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
Baby birthday parties, especially the elaborate ones with expensive cakes and extensive guest lists, used to strike me as unnecessary and self-indulgent, not to mention a little absurd – why fête someone who can’t understand the concept? But as I’ve come to realize over the past year, things change when you become an aunt.
A note on blogging -- When I moved to Berlin in 2007, blogging was something that came naturally. With journals full of observations and boxes full of photographs, I had already begun documenting my Berlin life in the traditional ways. Platforms like Blogger and Wordpress made it easy to share those insights and images with people back home.
I arrived in Mons on a hot and sunny 95-degree day, what locals consider exceptionnel, and to which they exclaim “35°? Mon Dieu!” from their air condition-less apartments. The heat was stifling, and I struggled with four maximum capacity suitcases up narrow cobblestone streets only to arrive at my apartment building to find that the elevator was temporarily out of service.
My good friend Peter* recently gave a talk at The Oval Space in London where he argued that we should look at the art community not as an isolated group but as an active participant in the post-industrial information economy, and as an integral part of the process of human innovation. Artists and bankers, he says, are more alike than most people think.
Founded as Shahjahanabad in 1639, Old Delhi was the capital of the Mughals until the end of the dynasty. Once filled with elegant mosques, gardens, and the mansions of the Royal Court, Old Delhi circa 2009 is an immensely crowded, dilapidated version of that former glory.
It wasn't just the comforts of the French home and the stability of an everyday routine that nurtured my adoration. Like good love stories often do, mine started with idealized notions and grand ideas. New Delhi, the exalted subject, was not just the dusty city I was currently living in, it was itself a notion and an idea nurtured by an author whose words floated off the page.
Darkness. I could hear the kids running up and down the hallway and Solenne’s shoes clinking on the marble floor, but I couldn’t see anything. After one home-cooked meal and a good night’s sleep, I woke up the next morning, my second day in Delhi, with a burning fever and a migraine that made my stomach turn.
Delhi is more arid than Mumbai. From the moment we stepped out of the train station and into the early morning sun we knew it wasn’t going to be the sweltering experience we’d just had. There was, however, a fine haze in the air. You could see it in the rays of sun beating down on the tops of idle black cabs, but you couldn’t feel it because it wasn't water vapor. . .
It would have been easy to hop on a plane. Let me rephrase, it would have been relatively easy to hop on a plane, considering that nothing is really easy in India, but we decided to take the adventurous route instead, opting for a 17 hour train ride.
I would like to pause this narrative for Chapter Three and talk about something I was obsessed with while in New Delhi, the motor rickshaw. I told my travel buddies numerous times that I wanted to import a real motor rickshaw back to England, complete with the customary decorative stickers or statuettes of Krishna, Ganesha, Shiva, and Vishnu, and the glittery, neon grass that was often "planted" on the dashboard.
It was broad daylight when we arrived at the train station. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is located in a bustling but not entirely upscale sector of the city, and its Victorian gothic architecture springs out of the clamor and dust of the busy streets, providing a drastic contrast.
I was excited about visiting India, no doubt about it. Prior to departure, nothing could dampen my enthusiasm, not even the ridiculous drama that ensued at the Indian Embassies in London and Berlin two weeks before. The dreaded vaccine regimen was a blip on the radar, and the warnings about recent outbreaks of dengue in New Delhi seemed overblown.
Last year I moved to a bustling city known affectionately to me as sweet little London town. Among other more intrepid adventures, I spent quite some time in the stuffy hideaways of the LSE library. I was learning IR theory, and better acquainting myself with a new city and an interesting group of friends.
Do people know what they're talking about when they address the concept of freedom? Professor Quentin Skinner says "it is a core value, but what is it that we are valuing when we're valuing freedom?" A story of sorts, on the concept of liberty. Bonus: illustrations
They looked at each other and smiled. I thought my grandpa might be put off by the idea of a long question and answer session about his love life and marriage, but as I asked the questions and coaxed a conversation along, he seemed to float back easily into memories of those times, the early days.
In Politics, Aristotle says, “human beings are by nature political animals” (1253a1-18). This is certainly true, though sometimes it takes triggers to politicize people. These triggers are commonly the effects of defunct ideologies, bad policies, corrupt politicians, or ideological persuasion. . .
In Berlin, there is no black-suited, briefcase-laden, newspaper-toting mass hustle to places like Midtown or Wall Street as there is in Manhattan. There are no full to the gills tube cars heading from calm, residential neighborhoods like Hampstead to the City as in London. . .