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Friday, January 16, 2009

Donkeys & Elephants

Liberal & Conservative--Left-Wing & Right-Wing--Blue & Red--Democrats & Republicans blah blah blah. I've written enough about Politics during my four year stint at NYU and the one promise I made myself when I started this blog was that it was "to NEVER feel like homework." Therefore, this blog is not about politics but more about how Obama's Inauguration has given me a new found sense of pride and appreciation for all I have going on in my life.

I'm learning that if you can wake up without setting an alarm five days a week, be motivated to keep your body in tip-top shape, and occasionally hear 5,000 fans passionately scream your name, you are doing something right. Throw in the fact that you get a paid to do it, a free apartment, car, and meals and you'd say you'd have to be crazy to stop right? I mean I miss my family and friends sometimes, but we get free meals…FREE MEALS. If you've ever seen my dinner bill you'd learn that I don't miss my family or friends all that much. As good as all of that sounds, you have to remember I'm 5,000 miles from home and living in a completely different culture. I know a lot of people that wouldn't survive out here for those reasons alone. Not to mention the basketball aspect, the way the game is played, the way the game is called, the ten month season etc.

For a while, I thought I was one of those people who couldn't tolerate a season abroad, but every so often I get a "sign" that this is where I belong right now. During CNN's coverage of "Election 2008" I found myself attempting to emulate a lot of character traits demonstrated by Barack Obama. Yeah sure, his people skills, oratory talents, and charismatic personality are all well and good, but I'm playing basketball, not politic'n. The traits that carry over from Politics to Basketball were things like dedication, persistence, and hard work. Cliché, I know, but after reading both of his books I grew much more fond of the Man Barack Obama than I did of the Politician Barack Obama.

Since Obama was sworn in, I have tried to look at things a little differently. The most recent change I'd noted has been seeing some of the people at "Rainer Junge." That's the name of the facility where our team works out and is split up between a rehab (rehabilitating injuries) center and a pre-hab (preventing injuries) center. Being one who hates staying in hospitals, despises visiting nursing homes, and loathes even going into the doctor's office, I've never really been one to spend a lot of time in that rehab area. I try to avoid it altogether because I dislike seeing what sickness, accidents or old age can do to a human body. The only time I ever cried was when I saw The Lion King, Forrest Gump and Remember the Titans but real life is sometimes a lot more emotional. Admit it though, you cried in the Lion King and Remember the Titans, and if you didn't then there's something wrong with you.

But that's just my point, people never know what they got until it's gone. Boyfriends and girlfriends don't learn their lesson until they break up, you don't appreciate high school dances until you are standing there taking pictures of your little brother at Prom. College keggers and tailgates don't mean as much until you watch Old School and actually think about starting your own fraternity. And you don't always appreciate all life has to offer until someone close to you passes away. But I've been given this opportunity, in the land of no English movies or TV stations, to do a lot of THINKING, and what I've figured out, is that until the day you die, you have a chance to do what you didn't do the day before, and that's something you shouldn't take for granted.

What's Playing in Jason's iPod: Ludacris ft. Common & Spike Lee- Do The Right Thing

Besides being a good movie back in the day, this song promotes making smart decisions…and I'm one for making smart decisions. These are probably two of my favorite rappers in terms of creativity and style and the way this song plays out makes it my favorite on his latest album Theater of the Mind.

YouTube Video of the Week: President Barack Obama 2009 Inauguration and Address http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjnygQ02aW4&feature=related

Like I said, I don't like to get too political especially in these blogs, but I do think what we all just witnessed is something we'll be telling our children and children's children about one day. And because of that, it doesn't hurt to go back and listen to the botched swearing in, and the motivating speech.

German Phrase of the Week: (1)Danke (2)Bitte

The first one is simple, pronounced "Don-ka" like the yellow toy Tonka trucks with a D instead of T. It means Thank You, and is probably the first word every American on my team learned. The second one is a little more confusing. It's pronounced "Bit-ta" like the slang way to describe the taste of a lemon and it means a few things. They use it to say "your welcome" they use it to say "please" and they use it when a server wants to take your order. It's also used if you didn't exactly hear what someone said and you want them to repeat themselves…making it the most used word in the German vocabulary of any American living here.

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