Hattie Goes to Greece

Are you sick of me yet!?!??!?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU.

The time has come to prepare to fly once more. Join me as I fitfully post about what I’ve been doing in preparation.

Here is a PDF (Pretentious Discus Friend? Protective Dish French?) of what I’ve been working on, to sate your “turrible curiosity” and perhaps garner emotional, spiritual, and financial support:

Read this and weep tears of joy, my friends.

The Moody Symphonic Band is going on tour to Greece in March! It’s crazy, I know. But don’t worry too much, because I plan on watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” every day in preparation. Here, give me any word and I’ll show you how it comes from Greek. (Ok, that actually sounds like all the upperclassmen here at Moody.)

I’m excited about going overseas to be performing and doing ministry, but I’m rather nervous about the unknowns: money, vittles, how bad my tendinitis will be, and my disappointment if I don’t get to see a satyr dancing about the countryside.

Greece is where the creatures of old sleep! The Titans lay quietly below, the dryads bring life to the trees, and the stars tell the stories of heroes and monsters. T’will be an adventure.

I've had one friend for all of my Moody time: Kowoon

I’ve had one friend for all of my Moody time: Kowoon

Week 1 Happened

Today is as good as any to begin a blog post I should have begun 3 weeks ago.

My adventuring includes concerts, observing sitar and tabla lessons, singing in Hindi, transcribing Sanskrit chants, and of course incense. Sticks and sticks of incense. Or, agarbhatti, if you will. I am learning ever so slowly.

The most fascinating parts are getting to sing, play, and transcribe songs and learning about the symbols that make up the wonderful, colorful, and beautiful Hindu culture. I find it difficult to write about what I do, for I do such a wide variety of tasks. I also feel very insufficient to write about these things, for I know so little still.

I have good news to report on the commuting front. I have passed no less than four cyclists at this point. I hope someone is breaking out the champagne (or at least the bottled water) as this is read, for, as someone who bikes astonishingly slowly, we have now discovered people that move slower than me OR we will have to concede that I am making actual, physical improvement. For the sake of my tender and haughty pride, let’s say it is the second. Oh, and I do not plan on telling you how frequently I am passed by hipster cyclists, legs pumping, backs hunched, eyes bored, and of course I know at once that they are better than me. In everything. From growing beer in their bathtub to scoring a vintage find at a thrift store.

I have made one other commuting discovery. This is that you do not get to meet attractive, hipster Prince Charmings on wheels as you casually cycle by him. All my dreams of a healthy, wealthy husband must be postponed. When I bike my concentration is 100% on the potholes in the road, 100% on the lookout for suddenly-opened car doors, and 100% on the traffic around me. I never can seem to have a balanced concentration. I cannot multi-think and pedal at the same time, apparently.

My internship is going. It is going so fast. Like a roller coaster. There are bits where you catch your breath and look around and in that moment your brain begins to think, “Gee, I feel like I should be doing something! Look at all this extra time I-..” And then I find myself hurtling around a corner as I try to take in the emotional theory of sitar pedagogy. (To explain roughly: there are pieces and scales designated for specific times of day and certain moods, within Indian classical music.)

One of the tasks I have been doing is going to the library and reading. Or going to the beach and reading when the weather’s nice. I assure you this is necessary and highly informative. It is in this way that I have learned that a raag, राग (a piece of music, or a scale) is a deliberate and careful exploration of a mood or specific ambience. Contrast this to Western classical music, which in the Romantic era aimed to impress or create a mood or emotion within the audience. Research is quite satisfying and I find it rather interesting.

I don’t know what people want to hear about. Usually I write to amuse myself, but I understand some of your may have questions. I can answer questions. And yes, I have some awkward tan lines, in answer to that burning question.

Basically, summers in the city: top-notch.

Internship Now

Please note that I had planned on writing a post that would give more information and amusement several days ago, to allow readers to digest my fantastic authorship and love me obsessively and of course pray for my indomitable pride.

However, since my laziness and inaccurate planning measures have thoroughly bulldozed the happy, organized ideals for my life, I shall just hurriedly jot down relevant bits.

I just got back from a rushed escapade through the plains of Nebraska and under the expansive blue skies full of shapely and wondrous clouds! Let me tell you, the Clouds of the Plains are a gallant and majestic species, floating quietly above the inconsequential heads of the fragile and tiny humans, unamused by our own dramatic fits of passion and nonsense.

But enough about the undulating Nebraskan Clouds.

It was lovely to spend time with family. To see how people grow from small children into competent young adults is the most fascinating of all, and I don’t think I shall ever tire of seeing that transformation happen.

In regards to preparations and instead of attempting to plan ahead, I’ve decided to live in the moment. I think this means that when the moment arrives where I’ve discovered that I haven’t packed enough socks, I will just sit and live there for a bit. Then I will call my mother.

In the meantime I’ve been home alone, scrounging about for coffee. I have drunk copious amounts of lattes and espressos and other black, bitter fluids this week, and despite the headaches they cause my rattling skull, I have discovered that I’m vaguely in love. A rosy mist has fogged up my eyes, and my saddest disappointment is that I’ve never learned how to make coffee. This deficiency has turned me into a scavenger, pouncing upon new batches made by more competent family members, finishing ounces left in last night’s mugs,  and rushing downstairs after my family has gone to work to peer frantically into the coffeemaker to find if the Coffee gods have smiled benevolently upon my pounding head. I think it will be a short-lived fad, though.

My arms are not as excited about things as I am, and have taken to grumbling and throbbing whenever they feel like it. And there’s the obligatory health update.

I will now tell you the story of my life’s progress by way of pictures. This is my pack. He’s hiding behind the bass. I haven’t even gotten him out.

That's my pack. Still hiding. I haven't even gotten him out.

This may or may not be a pile of clothes I still don’t want to sort through:


I put a filter on this one to impress you all. And it’s called “lived in”, not “messy”:

I put a filter on this to impress you all. And it's called "lived in", not "messy".

This is due tomorrow. However, since it’s distracting me from doing actual productive things it might not get returned…


So as you can see, I’m moving at a sluggish pace. I expect I will leap into action Friday night as I realize the next day I will need to be prepared for this internship.

I still need to acquire a helmet, as I will be biking around Chicago, but I have no doubts that the nice, sportsy guys at The Quintessential Sports Store will direct me towards a fashion-forward purchase. I’m also terrified of being doored. But if I am I solemnly swear to write something amusing about it.

The Party Cont. in Little India

This summer I have been granted the opportunity to work once again with people from the Indian culture. This time, however, it’s a little closer to home!

I will be closer to my Beebee!



With help through the South Asian Friendship Center located in Chicago, I will be working with Indian Christians in the neighborhood of Little India to help fulfill the requirements for my ethnomusicology internship. In addition to my excitement about working with Indian culture once more, I have two words: chicken biryani, baby. (“Baby” obviously doesn’t count as a real word in this situation.)

I will primarily be working on contextualizing worship and liturgy so that Indian Christians will be able to minister better in their Hindu community. From sitar learning to interviewing tabla players, transcribing Hindu chants to researching the role of the epic within the Hindu culture, I will be kept very busy and very happy! (Much like a large, fat, fuzzy bumblebee.)

Like this guy. © Claire Mowforth

However, to make any of this worthwhile I will need the support and blessing of God! I have put this up to inform you, but also because I wish that you would pray for me daily and possibly help support me.

I wish that you would also pray for those in Little India, people who follow God and people who are living in darkness.

I wish you would pray that I would learn about culture and God.

I wish that you would pray that I would be provided for this summer, including a bike I can ride here in Chicago. (Because who has the money to high-roll it on the CTA?)

I wish that you would pray that I would raise $1200. Like in one month.

I wish that you would praise God for this opportunity for me, and for how he has already begun to answer my prayers! (In an answer to prayer I have found a place to live near Little India for part of the summer, thanks to the hospitality of a family from my church!)

This also means that I will be living in Chicago for part of the time!! So if you want to party… I can’t because I’ll be too busy having fun!

Look at me frolic © Claire Mowforth

Just kidding. I would really like to see you all, meet with you all, and pray with you all! Let me know if you are in town and free to do things.

Check back here for occasional updates, get ready for spring cleaning, and soak up some vitamin D!!


Buell Mfg.

Hello Responsible Citizens of This World!

I am pleased to report that today I joined my fellow brethren in supporting the foundations of my country by going to work! I’m sure I changed the world for the better. You may all feel free to feel safer now that I’m around.

I woke up at 5:47am, which was a preposterous notion, and then I went to the gym with my father, however, I seemed to be the only 12-year old boy there. Explanation:


I seem to have the Beiber hair (and no ears)

When I got to the desk, I asked for a trial pass for the gym.

“Woah-oh-oh. Hold on a sec. Who are you?” said the old bearded man at the table that was haphazardly arranged at the exact point of entrance. I believe I was shocked into brief silence by the directness of the question.

But I should probably take some time to describe this “fitness center”.

Once upon a time an older man and a younger, muscly man decided to open up a gym together! It was a really nice idea and so they ordered like 4 million machines and bought a big, square building. All the machines got delivered to the building, but the older man and the buff man weren’t there, so to while the hours away, the drivers decided to arrange the machines in rows, for fun! By the time the owners got there and saw the rows, everything was so nicely arranged that the owners just said, “Eh, that’ll do. We’ll just pull… well, we’ll get  a table, yeah? And put that here? Yup, sounds good! Let’s get a pizza. We can open this place tomorrow.”

So because the “gym” is pretty casual and very unassuming, it attracts nice, normal people. The people are shy, but very friendly if they engage in conversation. That’s nice. I like that.

Anyway, after I was abruptly asked to state my identity, I automatically just gave my name: Hattie. Apparently that wasn’t helpful enough, for my dad had to explain: “This is my daughter.”

“How old are you?”

Why does he need to know my age? And I knew as I told him that he was going to give me a funny look. “21.”

He laughed. He actually laughed at me. I had to get my driver’s license for him.

Ok, then I made it and I pretended to lift more than 7 lbs on any given machine and I probably overdid myself because now I can’t pick things up off the ground or go upstairs.

Then I went to work. And, not to nix the climax or anything, but I operated one machine for 8 hours! 8 HOURS, my brethren, eight…. hours….open the machine, place the part inside, secure part, close door, press green button, wait 30 seconds, open machine, remove part, repeat.

…And there really isn’t any possible way to make it creative or interesting. I’m sorry. This is where you realize that not only have you been gypped, you’ve just lost about 2-8 minutes (depending on your reading speed) of your life where you could have been watching cat videos or this short gem: http://www.wimp.com/makelaugh/

I got the job done, though. And although I forgot to punch in, I did remember to punch out, and I think I will be getting paid. So yippee-kai-yay!


It was early this morning, a fresh and muggy 8 o’clock, when I realized that I have no inspiration.

It was about noon, as I leaned upon an impossibly tall counter, staring at a deluge of rainwater, when I realized I had all the inspiration and material I could possibly desire.

I am now a member of a temp agency.

Although I was tempted to withhold that information in order to reveal it with more surprise and fulfillment later on, the sheer whopping-ness of the fact is taking such a long time to sink in, that it’s really all I can think about. Like when you’ve stuffed a cherry tomato into your mouth that securely fills up the entire orifice, and there’s a delicate moment when you’re not quite sure if you will manage to either crush the tomato… or even if you’ll be able to get it back out of your mouth.

I haven’t been able to find a job this summer. But I was going to be okay with that. I was selflessly preparing myself for a season of running through sprinklers, blowing on dandelion fuzzies, and fiddling around with random instruments. Somehow I would survive. But for some reason, Little Sister’s frustratingly cheerful hopes ruined all of this for me.

Excited about “becoming a true member of society”, she dragged me to A Special Place (I’m not telling you where, because I don’t want to). The building itself was about as excited as I was about me applying there. Drab and squat, it sat, filled with vomit-inducing fluorescent lights and rowdy children whose mothers didn’t have the energy to deal with them for the day. Sister turned in her already-completed-with-perfect-handwriting form. I almost cut a lady in line and asked for an application, filling it out in record time with practiced indifference.

I have an interview next week.

Not content to lay about, drink kombucha all day, and avoid the last scraps of unpacking, Little Sister once again rallied herself. I have obviously had little effect on her personal development. Or maybe more than I realize.

“Come on, let’s go to the temp agency!”

I glowered at her from the bowels of my sweaty pajamas.

“It will be good for you!” She tried again.

“No, it won’t.” I was beyond confident.

“Dad says.”

I slowly slid off the chair to the floor, knowing my  fate was already decided.

“Just go,” Mother said in that encouraging-but-yet-not-an-arguable tone of voice. “Then you can come back and finish sweeping the kitchen.” Boy does she know how to inspire wonder and excitement in my little heart.

[a tiff and rant about how suburbians have to drive everywhere]

I ran through the fattest rain drops to a beyond depressing building with a sign out front, enough letters missing to make the messages unintelligible to me. We paused in the doorway, confused as to why the door was open with no one inside.

A head peeked up from behind the counter. Resisting the urge to stare or laugh out loud at the ridiculous idea that the entire agency was run by small and nervous hobbits, we tentatively approached the desk. We walked into the large, empty room, dominated by that desk that came almost to my chin. The desk was falling apart, and later I realized that it was from the teeth of many frustrated dyslexics, confounded by the masses of quizzes and forms to complete.

I have never written my name, the date, or my SSN that many times, for all my life combined. I was amused to note that my signature degraded as I went on out of sheer fatigue, and then it rallied admirably towards the end, probably because I had built up any and all muscles and callouses possible. After answering seventy-three questions about how often I delve into the world of recreational drugs and how often I think that annoying people deserve to be punched, I handed in my stack of governmental papers.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for demolition sites, so you can come at 5:30 and wait with all the guys, if you want.”

There was a long pause.

“Wait. I’m sorry. I’m very tired so the words aren’t making as much sense as they should be. Um… what?”

(yes, I actually did say those words, folks.)

As I stood there, my head resting on my hands on the ridiculously high counter while the hobbit lady processed my sister’s papers, I took a moment to really absorb my surroundings. Everything was stripped white. Not a nice “oh-let’s-paint-this-a-classy” white, but a “GAH-TEAR-EVERYTHING-OFF-OF-EVERYTHING-MAKE-IT-ALL-HIDEOUS-AND-DESPAAAAIR” type of white. Awful 70s posters spattered the walls, attempting to motivate exhausted employees. A wire rack was filled with “Motivational Prizes” of pringles and deodorant. The room was so drab and so barely holding together, I felt my soul dying within me.

The rain outside commiserated with my inner designer as it slowly poked its eyeballs out and its mind melted. I had never spent so much time in such a dismal and lonely room. It was at that moment that I realized that I was most definitely turning over a new leaf; that I was moving out into very empty and very uncharted territories. Very.

Hattie now works at a temp agency.

The options seem endless.


a definite possible future for me

How I Best the Beast

I hate losing. This is why I can’t play games. If I ever feel like I’m losing I panic and revert to sheer, annoying screaming in attempt to frighten and batten down the other team(s). On the other hand, if I win, I get a fat, satisfied grin on my face and chuckle deeply, gloating over my pure awesomeness. I have sent younger people to their rooms, crying, and my intensity and devotion forces older people to back out carefully as I flail madly in my gaming.

Luckily, before I reach that stage, there’s a small and crucial moment where I can sometimes reach out to my mind and flip a switch: The Switch of Languor.

It’s very handy if you still want people to like you while you are playing “a fun game”. (No such thing as a fun game. Do or die, people. Do or die. Come back with your shield or on it, as they used to say.) The magical Switch of Languor allows me to emotionally check out of the world itself while still engaging my body and face. That means I can laugh and chat and pretend to play nicely with the other kids while inside I am really shoving my zombie-fied self into a corner of my head, pinching my cheeks with one hand while my eyes glaze over, like puffy krispy kremes rolling through that glaze curtain. (Where did those go, by the way?) My other hand holds a Brain-Stun gun, freely and grimly gunning down anything that moves in my head.

“Eh? Is that Excitement wakin’ up?”

*zap* Excitement goes numb.

“Ah ha! Interest, thought ye could sneak one on meh?!?” *holds trigger down* *t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t thunk* Interest falls to the floor.

I think this particular manifestation of the Languor Switch Guard has chew in his mouth and is wearing overalls. Another one probably is wearing a frilly and visually offensive apron with a stainless steel ladle and a hairy lip presiding over her scowl.

So, this Switch of Languor allows me to fight against my competitiveness (woah, that’s ironic), and to remain a passive little player, even when my darling sister is crushing me in Rook.

But there’s something that Switch of Languor cannot help with, and that is Insecurity. Scaryyy. I’m terrified of Insecurity. He comes in and looks fat and squishy and like a total joke, but he just sits there, wearing down at your eyeballs and your throat and your mind and your heart and your dreams! Until you’re just a little mess of silk and melted makeup slumped on the floor. Insecurity eats some potato chips while he watches. But then he realizes he doesn’t even like potato chips! With a cry of immense self-pity he attempts to throw them into the air, but instead they crumble about him like sad, crunchy doves.

He’s sitting in the corner right now, judging me with eyes red from crying. I can feel it. Right now we’re commiserating because I have no special superpower skills. We’re especially sensitive about the fact that once again I have failed to complete NaNoWriMo. Ooh, yes. Even typing that one out is rubbing–, nay, dumping and tamping organic sea salt into my stinging welt of damaged pride. (Can I just say, I had great accountability people helping me, though! Thanks to you….well, I still failed, but we all know it’s not your fault.)

Sometimes Insecurity and I skip out on the real world and sit in my dorm-room, watching Adventure Time and eating fish jerky. That’s always fun. But then my violin comes and bangs on my door, making me scream quietly and throw things in the air in fear and shame. So off I go, meek and subdued to subject myself to 5 million kablingbling hours in the practice rooms.

It’s been a while since I’ve written on this here blog, and that’s mainly because I felt like I hadn’t written in a while. So then it was awkward. Like when you meet someone and you’re allowed to ask their name for the first two times you see them, but then if you forget after that you just have to pretend, and then after pretending you really can’t ask anymore because now you’ve been in five classes together and she’s your roommate. And that’s really awkward. That is why I haven’t written. Also, Insecurity told me I couldn’t. He said that my life wasn’t interesting, and that people are just being nice, and that I will never be able to make a living by blogging famously, and that there’s a guy here who has way better hair than I do so why even bother? And although these things may all be very well true…



I just defied my shrinking world with this blog post. I like boosted my health and vitality level like 4900%! And this good feeling will last me until at least the next page of my Old Testament paper! Yeah!