Dance your Dreams Out

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/prompt-dance/

Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

 

Dance has always been a major part of my life. Even as I am sitting here writing his post I am dancing to Shake Senora Pitbull Ft. Sean Paul & T-Pain.

All of my toddler home videos are filled with me dancing in my pajamas, dancing around the carpet, and walking up to my dad dragging him into the living room to dance with me. I like to say that I’ve been dancing since before I was able to walk, which I attribute as the reason why I walk funny and don’t pick up my feet when I walk.

Perhaps my earliest memory of dance was doing Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam, when I was 7 years old. Since I was 21 days old, I would be in the back of my sister’s classroom, watching her grace the dance floor with her beautiful moves. I knew at a very early age that all I ever wanted to do was dance. I would beg her guru every chance I got to take me as her student, but I was always too young.

Until the magic day that I wasn’t. I was 7 years old and finally had something in common with my sister. I remember performing on stage to what looked to the little me an audience of 10,000 people. I wasn’t nervous at all. I had been practicing for a year for this and I couldn’t wait to show off my dance moves. I remember being in the front row and loving the spotlight. I felt that I had found my calling, dance was from then on my everything.

I moved quickly through Bharatanatyam, moving ahead into classes of age groups that were older than me. I was always significantly younger than those in my class. I made many best friends as I moved along, and leaving most of them behind. I had moved so quickly and was sure to finish at a young age. Many even said the youngest person to finish that they’d known.

I didn’t grow up in the richest family. I had overheard my parents talk a lot about pulling me out of dance class. At such a young age, I didn’t understand our financial situation or even the concept of earning and spending money. I begged my parents year after year to keep me in classes I now know they couldn’t afford. They obliged and I should have been more grateful.

Then came the day when I turned 13 and we had to move to another state, which meant dance class was now an hour away. I had to leave my guru behind, and with it, Bharatanatyam. That was one of the saddest days of my life.

6 years later, once I was old enough to drive, I wanted to go back to dance. It had then become a competitive program, but my guru believed in me, so she gave me private dance lessons. That meant waking up at 6am and driving over an hour away, but I didn’t care. I was excited to go back to dance again.

I danced my heart out, practicing every single day. I quickly remembered everything I had learned before, learning more advanced dances. My guru put me back into group classes again. I was the shining student always asked to set an example for all of the other students.

But this was short lived. I eventually moved far away to go to college. I wanted to find another guru around me, but it was no use. Al bharatanatyam gurus were different and I would never be happy with another one.

I hope that one day I can find dance again, learn from my guru again, and rekindle my passion for Bharanatyam.

Until that day, I’ll just have to settle for Pitbull and dancing around my living room with my dad.

Cheers to never letting go of your dreams.
xoxo
Avi

This Mathematical Revolution Shall be a Legacy for Us All

Daily Prompt: Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

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Up until recently, I was in total denial of what sort of legacy I wanted to leave on the world. I, much like every other person of Indian descent, wanted to leave the legacy of being the world’s greatest cardiologist/neurosurgeon/plastic surgeon/physician. I wanted to travel around the globe and treat children in third world countries and make a lasting impact on their lives.

It took me a long time to realize this was the legacy my parents wanted me to leave on this world; not me.

I went to school to study Math Education and graduated with a concentration in teacher preparation. Of course if I as a high school-er even suggested to my parents that I wanted to be anything but a science major, it wouldn’t have gone over so well. So instead, I started out as a biochemistry major. I remember the first time I had the epiphany that I did not want to become a doctor.  I was sitting in Organic Chemistry class, working on Acid/Base chemistry when I looked to my partner and thought wow, this absolutely not what I want to do with my life, and that freaked me out more than I can explain. Pursuing a life of medicine was the only thing I knew. What was I going to do with my life?

So I ran to the one and only thing I knew I loved the most; mathematics. When I was in middle school, I remember my dad leaving for work in the mornings during my summer vacation. He would leave a ton of equations on the board and tell me I need to solve all these problems before he came back from work. I’m not going to pretend that my 12 year old self would rather factor and foil than watch Animaniacs, but through his persistence I found a love for mathematics.

Once I entered high school, I found that this was a love that few people shared with me. It took me a long time to realize why that was: because of the way math was taught. The age old question, “when would I ever use this?” is so poorly answered with “because it’s on your standardized test,” instead of taken as an opportunity to instill a passion for math and show real life applications. Instead of showing architectural applications of Geometry, students learn that they need to find the sin of an angle so they can get a 500 on their SOL. Instead of showing students how to find the velocity of the Atomic Bomb using Calculus, students learn they need to learn how to find a derivative so they can pass their AP exam. Students should learn mathematics through application, not drills, not standardized exams, and not without purpose.

This is not mathematics. This is not how it should be taught. This is not how students learn.

My mission in life is to teach mathematics the correct way. By showing students that math is all around us and intertwining math in subjects they learn already, students can gain a true understanding of what mathematics is all about. By using literature, world history, biology, students can explore the world and use mathematics as a tool. Instead of drilling, I want my students to learn math through application.

But it doesn’t stop there. The way teachers teach math to their students is not entirely up to them. There is so much bureaucracy at the state level that affects curriculum building for teachers. So much of this bureaucracy is led by individuals who have never taught themselves. I want to change that. After being a teacher myself, I want to change the politics that drive education in this state, and eventually, this country.

This is the legacy I hope to leave. Not just for myself, but for the future of this country. Without a solid understanding of mathematics, we are so limited in our knowledge of the world we live in, and thus, our effect on this world. And if it’s not our generation that teaches to life instead of to a test, who will?

You Make me Feel Like I’m Living a Teenage Dream

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/daily-prompt-its-friday-im-in-love/

Daily Prompt: It’s Friday, I’m in Love

by Krista on February 14, 2014

Remember your first crush? Think about that very first object of your affection. Oh, the sweaty palms. The swoony feeling in your stomach. Tell us the story of your first crush. What was it about this person that made your heart pound? Was the love requited? Change the names to protect the guilty or innocent if you must! No judgement here. Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s so funny to think back to that very first person you ever laid eyes on and had all these crazy fantasies. You take one look at them and see your life in fast forward. You picture coming home to them every day after work, cooking in the kitchen as they wrap their arms around you, surprising you with flowers, kissing them goodnight, snuggling on the couch watching t.v., midnight walks along the river. All those wonderful fantasies that clearly only live in your dreams.

Then you snap back to reality and realize you’ve never talked to this guy in your life, he doesn’t know your name or your existence, and will probably never see him again. But that doesn’t stop your 12 year old mind from picturing you with him for the rest of your life.

Creepy!

That happened to me many, many moons ago. But I’m not sure if I would call it a crush. That’s nothing more than an object of your affection, someone to input into pre-existing fantasies that have been swirling in your teenage hormonal mind already.

A true crush is someone who can make those fantasies come true. Every last one of them. Seems totally unrealistic right? Those are things you only think about as you fall asleep or while you’re dreaming, not things that would actually happen in real life. That’s what I thought too. Until I met my first real crush.

Which wasn’t until about 3 months ago. I waited 24 years, but he finally arrived. When I first laid eyes on him, I think it was written all over my face just how incredibly hot I thought he was. I knew absolutely nothing about him but the teenage fantasies already started to flow. Sweaty palms and all, but he was just glad I didn’t smell like curry.

We talked for an hour and half but what felt like only 5 minutes. And then we danced while my stomach was still churning and my heart was beating to the bass of the salsa music. By the end of the night, oh I was definitely infatuated.

And then a week later, I was in serious daytime-drama-teenage-fantasy-crush-mode.

And over the course of the next 3 months, he made every one of those teenage fantasies come true.

And they just keep getting better.20140214-153447.jpg

I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but this is what every day feels like with him.

xoxo
Avi

5 Reasons Why I have Considered Deleting Facebook (but can’t)

The original concept of Facebook was awesome: being able to connect with your college friends and then staying in touch as the years went on.

The operative word here being “original.” I am sorry to say that I was part of that generation that ruined Facebook. Once my generation came along, high schoolers realized there was another avenue of social media to let every stranger in the world know where they are, what they’re doing, and give them another opportunity to creep on them. I, having an older sister and knowing what Facebook was intended for, did not have one until I graduated high school and got into college. So I suppose I’ve always had somewhat of a distate for Facebook: and for as long as I’ve had one it’s only evolved into something I don’t want to use even more.

I’m not sure when games, obnoxious advertisements, and sharing to the 5th degree was ever intended to be integrated into social media. It was tolerable before, but with every new evolution of Facebook, it becomes increasingly intolerable. We’ve gone from the “poke” to Farmville to the point where I have seriously considered deleting it altogether.

I know what you’re thinking; why don’t you just delete your Facebook then and quit whining about it? Trust me, as much as I want to, it’s an addiction. It’s like knowing how terrible cigarettes are for you and not being able to quit. Facebook is my drug and social-media-cancer is my imminent death.

In the mean time, I’m going to whine about it. Here are 5 reasons why I have considered deleting my Facebook:

1. Procrastination
It’s our go-to method of avoiding homework, work, or doing anything productive in life. Even though you’ve convinced yourself that you won’t log on during exam week or you’ve deleted the app from your cell phone a thousands times, you somehow find yourself at the corner of “man I want to tell the world how much I love this song” and “but I really need to finish this project.” Who wins in the end? We all know the answer to that one.

2. It puts you in a bad mood

Or maybe it’s just me. Or maybe it’s all women. So many us fall victim to “virtual envy” and Facebook is our first avenue. How many times has this happened to you/your friend/your sister: You’ve been dating a guy for 6 years and have been waiting for him to propose for 5 and everytime another one of your friends gets engaged, you defriend them/block them from your newsfeed/immediately close out the notification. But it keeps popping up in your news feed because your friend’s-mother’s-sister also happens to be friends with her and she liked her status, “happily engaged! Can’t wait for the big day!” and there you are, at the bottom of a carton of Ben and Jerry’s.

Ok maybe I’m exaggerating. But only a little.

3. Judgement Central

When was the last time you stopped yourself from posting a picture because you didn’t want your Facebook “friends” to judge you and your life decisions? It’s because we’re friends with 1,000 people and only really know about 20 of them. I’d say don’t worry about that long lost relative or that old college roommate who didn’t know how to keep her music down, but then I’d be a hypocrite.

4. DRAMA! DRAMA! DRAMA!

Whether it’s “I cannot believe she defriended me” or your mother calling you at endless hours of the night because your dad’s sister’s husband’s sister in India whom you’ve never met in your life somehow came across a picture of your new boyfriend and *gasp!* he’s not Indian! And privacy settings? Who is Facebook trying to kid. If I had a dollar for someone who wasn’t supposed to see my Facebook that did I’d be rich enough to buy Facebook.

5. I don’t need to know about some giraffe somewhere being killed and fed to the lions.

Or accidentally coming across a video of baby chicks being shredded into McDonalds chicken nuggets. Facebook is everyone’s hub to mandatorily make people read what they have to say or watch the videos they post as their friends scroll through their newsfeed.  And who’s brilliant idea was it to automatically play videos? “That way, as people scroll across them when they’re in a doctors office and they accidentally leave their volume on, everyone will stare at them as an obnoxious blonde chick is screaming out of their phone or a monkey is humping it’s girlfriend! It’s brilliant!” And don’t even get me started on Bit Strips.

Oh yeah- and defriending those friends that post stupid stuff like this doesn’t work either. Because as long as someone you know liked a post, you can see things from people you don’t even know (half the time I swear I don’t even know the liker). And honestly, I don’t need to see what your mother’s-sister’s-friend’s-plumber posted, liked, or shared on Facebook because usually something depressing, offensive, or stupid. Once in a while I’ll come across something pretty awesome! But then the next thing will be back to ridiculousness and it’s not even worth it.

Maybe a total deletion of Facebook is pretty harsh. Maybe I’ll just have 10 Facebook friends and a waiting list and the minute one of them does something stupid, they’re out and the next one is in.

Beware my friends.

Much luv,
Avi