Less than 72 Hours

From my best friend’s computer in a valley similar to where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, we rented a Ford Mustang Convertable via Budget Rental service and stocked up on lovely beverages. I am also glad to hear that President Putin is running for President again of the last country I need to visit (Russia), and who’s gravesite I need to lay flowers at, Fyodor Dostoevsky, who’s book changed my life: The Brothers Karamazov. A phone call has been placed from Bad Ass Coffee in SLC, Utah to Ange and luckily enough I am alive to walk her down the aisle.

Last night was quite sad, I watched 60 Minutes and a report that a 10-year old son of an up and coming Nazi leader in California killed him. I wasn’t sure whether or not to feel sad or not. It gave me pause to reflect on my parents who have raised me right, as well as other parents in my life. My father who always used to say “more math, more money” was right, and “go take a walk around the block” has served me well at this point in my life. All that is left is my thesis, which some edits need to be made to and thanks to a patient thesis advisor who has given me more time to finish it, I will be able to, after I fulfill an over five year promise to an old friend in Vegas who will be traveling to Italy shortly after her wedding.

I had a third doctor’s visit today, and my dad says I need about another month before I am healed. I hope so, if not sooner. But the Asian-American doctor was happy with the progress I seemed to have been making, but ultimately, my father will be the judge of that. I should have taken his advice in the doctor’s office of CEU and exited early, but for some reason I stayed, unsure why, but I did and learned a lot from it. Never stop reading. Currently I am halfway through Don Quixote and it has been forever since I have been able to read or even turn the page of a good book. Once this is finished it will be my fourth book in less than a couple months. As a graduate student of Public Policy, a policy of walking when times get scary or threatining, the best thing to do is just walk away. A plaque with my photo on it used to say “By small and simple things, great things come to pass.” And by small, I mean cell phones and Netbooks that can be taken anywhere and the smallest, an internet connection, which allows for continued communication to take place.

The loss of communication is what is most damaging to the human spirit. Social networking sites aren’t what is needed, F^*&*% Facebook, take the time to send an email or download Skype on a Netbook and begin talking face-to-face for free. LinkedIn isn’t a bad way to do it either, especially for professionals from prior places of employment. It is nice to hear that someone has taken the time to remember you and put their fingers to a keyboard and say *Barev*, *Privet*, *Buenos Dias*, *Bonjour* *Salam* or *Hello*, even from half way around the world in Mongolia, India, Argentina, Hungary, or even in the United States of America.

Next month is the recipient of the Purple Heart for Valor’s 90th birthday, Alvin “Charlie” Roper, and I can’t wait to celebrate it with him. It has been too long that I have been away from my family being a “wanderlust” as Charlie’s oldest called me before I left for the Peace Corps. But in the words of one famous author, “All those who wander are not lost.”. Viva Las Vegas, thanks to all those classmates in the Department of Public Policy at CEU who looked out for me when I was overwhelmed with stress and came to my rescue, may we one day meet up again and it be a joyous reunion. Especially you Queen Rania and Sir Martin Sik, your strength will never be forgotten. I hope the revolution in Cairo is going well and Martin is enjoying all the ladies in Prague like we did in Budapest, especially during our second semester. Both are welcome at the house anytime and to attend my sister’s wedding next May who is getting married to a prince Aaron. I miss laying in bed and watching *Tears of the Son* and being taken care of by you two. Martin, if you’re reading this never forget the birthday present I got you (Even though Rania may not have approved). I hope you have many more just like it. 🙂 You are the man and will attend my wedding someday and be in my line along with a few other men you now know. Having you and I in the same city is a crazy good time.


Secret of Success

Finally after hosting and being hosted on Couchsuring [the best social networking site compared to Facebook, never follow anything created by college dropouts] by so many special people that have helped me overcome this “Elliot Syndrome” as I like to call it, it becomes apparent for the secret to my success and how I was able to find work, and make it back to my parents home. I believe in Angels. They work in mysterious ways and they do wander the earth and can come in the form of human beings, from all walks of life. First, every morning should begin with a nice cup of iced mochas preferably from 7/11 which just lowered their prices to a $1 for medium sizes, or cofffee, which ever you prefer to jolt the brain and keep us thinking. Like all good things, they usually began in Africa something I passed on to Sir Mogeni at CEU where we loved to talk about the greatness of women. Or as in the book Coffee: A Dark History theorizes Ethiopia was where it originated from. Everyone should read this book. By lunch time, people should be washing down their sandwiches with Ginger Ale or Henry Weinhard’s root beer, the stuff Charlie’s wife always had stored away in the garage. The evening should consist of the writing about what took place that day, which is why I struggle with my liking for journalists and the need for them. They exist because people fail to write down what they do, thus creating a market for lawyers who need to defend them and the actions they undertake, for good or sometimes for evil. “Evil prevails when good men fail to act.” And the fact that there is still an insurance company insuring left over Nazis from WW2 displeases me and action should be taken to uninsure that, or remove it by all means necessary. My father said that insurance company has a name, Alliance Insurance and its offices should be overtaken and that hate filled money rooted out and used to build kitchens to feed the homeless. An opportunity I had to do both in Budapest and in Washington DC, with beautiful women.

Ginger Ale should be a staple in everyone’s basement, water should be conserved. Charlie’s house has yet to be sold on the market, which makes me happy, as well as my sister Emily who lives there now and is engaged to a handsome young man named Aaron and who one day an Egyptian Queen named Rania, who looked after me while I was “sick” will meet one day with her husband Mohammed who is getting his PhD in Southern California in economics, my hardest subject at CEU but have found out I passed, and have not failed. All that is left is the thesis and I, like my father will be a Master, and maybe one day his idea of a business will be realized, which was the digitizing and touching up of family photos and will no longer need to work another day of his life and can realize his dream and just stay at home with his wife Colleeen and enjoy the grandkids that Emily will one day bring, but that Elliot will need more time to accomplish. I think my role, as Paige an A 16 PCV said, best suits me as “Uncle Elliot”. Funny, there is a Paige at Charlie’s Legacy Retirement Home. The peace has never left me.

My day will come when I will be Daddy Elliot, when that is, is anyone’s guess. It is good to have backup plans in case the first option fails. Don’t discredit the buddy system. I have forgotten this and it landed me into some trouble. If anyone is struggling in their lives with anything and has any real world experience at all to offer, my advice is to join the United States Peace Corps and volunteer in the greatest force for good the world has ever known. This is the best way to travel … with a purpose to serve those we are most unfamiliar with, learn a second language and give back. When much is given much is expected. I have been given too much in my life and I had taken it for granted. I have been able to travel around the globe and hope to make it to Kenya one day, Africa is the next place on my destination, after Lisbon (my current mission on Couchsurfing) to help Sir Mogeni run for any office in which he chooses, he is a warrior poet and now has two Master’s degrees and would make an excellent candidate one day for the UN Secretary General. I wish he could fly out and join me in Las Vegas and see the good looking brother my best friend is marrying.

So, how about some more rambling. I just woke up from an excellent barbeque prepared by my best male South Asian friend’s dad who is in town from Alabama, he is the man and so is his son. But my real quardian angel has yet to arrive in the valley. Salma; who prays for me five times a day somewhere else in the world. And it is her son, the real man who is escorting me to Las Vegas, to get this adventurer to finally conclude a promise made at the end of my undergraduate days at the University of Utah, a day that when despite differences in color, my best friend has chosen her King via of all things, the internet. October 1st 2011 should be marked on the calendar as the day that racism ends. Some people had promised to join me there, but have chosen other paths such as Argentina of all places. So a Man born in Moline, Illinois and a Man born in Montreal, Canada will be there in full splendor so that I can escort, rather than be escorted, the real Queen in my life, my best friend Angelique Davison, and hopefully win a million bucks so that I can retire and teach history for the rest of my life somewhere in the beautiful countryside of Eastern Europe and work to protect rights of the Roma and people of other color in that part of the world because multiculturism is not dead in the United State of America, but alive and well.

Salt Lake City, UT

Now seems as better time then ever, the ten year anniversary of the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor to disclose my location in a valley similar to the one in which I served as a Peace Corp Volunteer from 2008-2010. Maybe one day a movie or book will be written about my journey’s all over this planet (lots of photos of it exist). I was asked by a Croatian princess once in a bar about the only time I saw my father cry as we discussed babies and the desire for wanting them, and that is when he dropped me off at a Training Center for a few weeks of preparation before leaving to volunteer in South and Southeast Asia for roughly the same amount of time that I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Anyway, this is where I was, working behind a bar serving coffee and other beverages to golfers and watching on a big screen the planes crash into the twin towers in NYC. I remember vividly working alongside two or one Pakistani girls getting ready to drive golf carts out to golfers there. What does this have to do with anything? Like most things I write here, nothing. Just that I have made a loop in my life and returned home to my parents and family which I haven’t seen in too long of a time. The irony in all of this is my thesis is on circular migration in which my life is the perfect example of.

That being said, tomorrow is tuxedo fitting day. It has been forever since I’ve put one of those on and in a little less than 3 weeks this blog will come to an end. As the banner image shows the picture of an ass, it was taken just outside where this wedding will take place. Maybe during that time, this creative mind will come up with something new and crazy to write about. But like all good things, they must come to an end. Or not. Some people actually do read this garbage on here and have insisted that I continue my writing, again this is at the request of another South Asian beauty on the island of Sri Lanka.

World Diaspora Index

By now I consider myself a migration policy expert. I’ve read a lot and doing much research on the subject. My thesis is still a work in progress, like everything else. Nothing is ever finished. What was nice about attending CEU was being surrounded by other intelligent people who were passionate about their research topics. It was during that time that Natasha, my old roommate, and I had many long discussions that led to ideas surfacing from my little head. One of these, which may turn out to be a PhD dissertation one day, was the idea of a WDI (World Diaspora Index) since the world is filled with migrants.

The World Bank has a blog called “People Move” and while that seems quite obvious, the focus remains primarily on remittances and how they are spent for development. Unfortunately, there still lacks the need for other factors to be accounted for besides money. Setting up a proper research model to measure the impact that Diaspora are having on their home countries is necessary to determine if actual development is taking place, besides wire transfers of money. One of the foreseen problems with this is the definition of a Diaspora. Is it those that have migrated and become citizens, or are have lived there for some fixed period of time? This may seem overly ambitious and instead of “World”, I may need to begin with a region of the world, say the Caucasus, and start there and then branch out.

This idea has been catalyzed by working again alongside a couple of women of Armenian blood. It feels good to use a chat function at work to sometimes speak in that unique but beautiful language.

Family Values

“Thanks a lot hollywood, I was scared.” (said in a sarcastic tone while turning, glancing at me … at me). Since that statement was made and a final meeting occured, I have been trying to conduct my own research into what made that professor so scared and that would want to make an RPCV break into his office and torture him like seen in so many hollywood videos watched before. I would be crazy to think this was capable. This should be left to professional people of color, or hungry dogs, to dispose of and with their own imagination. White folk like me just make messes and leave others to clean up after them. As I have had time to ponder the phrase, “everthing happens for a reason”, it is true that the events over the last year have put a lot thought into my mind. 3 years is too long to go without seeing family, 2 is the limit. Family is the most important institution and any other is one standard deviation from it and that loyalty to it is above all others, the most important. It is all about economics.

With all the natural disasters taking place, it is good to know that I am home close to the “family farm” and taking care of my parents and grandparents and have had time to dine with Charile a WW 2 purple heart recipient (for valor) who had 3 homes in West Hollywood, CA close to little Armenia (Glendale). Like the new UTA trax line says, “Everthing falls into place.” And as I make plans for Vegas, like picking up my tuxedo and getting ready to march down the aisle a woman who is about ready to marry a man of a different race, it now becomes time to announce a grand idea that popped into my crazy little head while living in the lucky number 7 district, of the Jewish Quarter of Pest, in Budapest. The formation of a Hate Crime Unit, something along the lines of the Blackwater-type, but for migrants. Indians on every continent have the right to equal treatment, and regardless of why, should be afforded the same rights and liberties as those already residing there and if mistreated have the right to defend themselves by all means necessary; especially their families. We are all migrants, especially circular migrants, the theme of my thesis being advised by a Swiss beauty who is allowing me to take my time so it can at one point possibly be published. And she reminds me a lot of my single cousin Erin (anohter Angel in my life) who was nearby me in Tajikistan when I was a tourist in Central Asia with Jon and dining at the home of an International Red Cross worker from Canada and of Pakistani blood. The irony is that while I was volunteering in South and Southeast Asia from 1998-2000, the home I am in now and the little black netbook I am using now belongs to a gentlemen who worked for that same organization as Asia who we met on Couchsurfing (my only social networking site), the gbeauty was in Tashkent at the time, and was working in prisons in Uzbekistan and is now in Uganda working for human rights there. Aain, I am Westerner milking the Eastern hospitality for all it’s worth even back in the America. I feel ashamed sort of. But that gentlement doesn’t mind, he’s volunteered as well during the same time period I did when I was young. When in doubt, YouTube it out, the best things in life are free and has been a source of inspiration for me.

Again, this writing is the result of a South Asian beauty and an Egyptian Queen telling me to write. So we see what happens when |I listen to women, I write. Even if it is not what people want to hear. To bad, a dedicated writer does it anyway. I will continue this blog until those vows are exchanged in Sin City, one of, if not the last places I left before serving in the greatest landlocked country in the world, Armenia (Hungary is a close second). A great place to dispose of those who abuse people of different color. Not prisons – why burden the taxpayer – but basements of local indigenous homes on any continent and forcing them to watch as much Walt Disney cartoons until they are convinced that because the eyes see something different then what is in the mirror, it is not just okay, but wonderful that differences on planet earth exist. We might call this the Public Cartoon Policy of the Hate Crime Unit, to round up racist Nazi facist bastards still being insured by a company in Europe, and whose names are currently being placed in a secure Douchebag Database far from America, to be dealt with in due time based off of a little piece of information that was passed on from father to son when they came to visit me in Budapest and took a tour of Aushweitz, a place I could not stomach to go back. Once is enough. Some other spots can be revisted, like Armenia and Hungary to see if my public policy suggestions are followed through based on the ideas in my crazy little head. Third, and hopefully but probably not my final doctors appointment is in less than two weeks, I wonder if she reads this blog? Can she provide a cure for my illness?

Unemployment’s Sad Farewell

While I wish I could lay around the house and play with the dog and take care of the little farm growing in the backyard, vacations must come to an end. This happened once before. I have returned, or gone back into time, to where I became a Ute and begun to work for a company that symbolizes the nature of volunteerism and accepts migrants from all over and I even will be sitting alongside some women who have Armenian blood in them. Very happy about this.

The nice thing too is that it almost seems like fate that a new metro line runs nearly directly from our home to the hospital where my father has been fortunate to receive employment, good for Dr. Roper 🙂 So the moral of the story, patience. Let time do its thing and everything will fall into place as it should. Those that try to rush, and hurry through will miss out on what is really important to them. Anyway, this is sounding too philosophical for a guy like me. At least I will be able to pump some money back into this economy for a change and make it to Vegas where a U.S. Marine failed to fulfill a promise and that a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer will not. Cheers!

London, UK

Credit must be given where credit is due, I firmly believe that, and it is because of the idea last Halloween at graduate school from a former A-15 RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) that I should go as a table to a party and with a little luck (corruption) from my roommate, I won a ticket to London … and look at what has happened to the place. Riots everywhere. I am beginning to wonder if traveling is such a good idea for me to begin with. But what has happened, has happened.

It was with that ticket that I left Budapest bound for my first visit to our allies across the pond and stayed with a former executive producer from Al Jazeera who was also in graduate school, laced with a mark on my cheek from a Polish beauty that wanted to leave her mark. Somehow, she had to know I was going to celebrate a birthday of a woman I had been speaking with. So clever was that one. Well, as it turns out I left my mark on that Lebanese nationalist who had some pretty strong feelings of her own about America. I hope I was able to transfer some of that freedom from me to her and hope she never forgets how powerful a Roper Right Hand can be … or a left. 🙂 I remember the last day, her running down the street saying something like I have no direction and all I do is party in Budapest, how wrong was she. Our University is much better and more challenging, and she has four good reasons to remember me, the Peace Corps and that University by.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. The irony is that my old roommate shares the same name as the woman who connected us, Natasha. See I met that ex Al Jazeera producer on a little vacation to the Middle East as a then current PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer). We then kept in touch in Armenia and met up in London all thanks to a little help from two women. Why has it taken me so long to post about London? I don’t know, maybe it’s because I am so happy to hear that the Natasha that first introduced us is giving birth to twins and I am happy for her, and that nothing further happened between an American Nationalist and a Lebanese Nationalist. Jeff and Natasha I wish you both all the best with you and your new arrivals this fall. I hope to see them soon.