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My friends, and notorious party crew, playfully hit me upside my head last week and said:

“Really? You’re gonna go home and read books for a month?”

Six days. Two books. Not my greatest record, but I haven’t done this in a while. My “party crew” had to drag me out of a Barnes & Noble before I left because I spent 2 hours in there, picking out my favorite drug: books. And when I say dragged me out, I mean they called me to see where I was and I practically cried for them to save me from spending the money I didn’t have. They came, but I still walked away with four brand new novels.

One of these turned out to be an absolute goldmine. “Farm City” by Novella Carpenter. – The education of an urban farmer – It’s a national bestseller, so apparently I’m not the only one who thinks it’s grand. Anyway, this little 270 page book is Novella’s account of keeping a farm in the middle of the city of Oakland, California. Yep, in the ghetto; on a dead end street. It’s  a beautiful memoir about the struggles and rewards of growing your own food. The bad vegetable harvests, the turkeys and geese slain by stray dogs and opossums, the honey collecting, the amount of garbage it takes to feed two pigs. Yeah! Pigs… in the city!

It really makes you think how corrupt our society has become. How far we have fallen from our natural ways. Novella is right. How many of us would really eat meat, if we had to kill it ourselves? Now, I know I would. My father  killed enough animals in front of me and my sister when we were little for me to appreciate that a sacred life left the earth to feed me. I know I would have no qualms killing a cute little rabbit if I needed to eat. It’s the way the world works (my favorite phrase). I don’t have to understand how or why it works the way it does, I just accept that it does. Circle of life, blah, blah, blah. Yet people have forgotten this fact: ‘We’re not savages to raise “pets” in our backyard and then slit their throats and bleed them just so we can feed our kids.’ ‘There’s grocery stores for that… and paying jobs at the slaughter houses.’

Well, sorry to break it to ya, but savages we are. Animal instinct is hard to beat and we are animals at heart. Maybe individually we don’t hunt our own food anymore or raise beef on a farm, but we show our cruelty through the mass slaughter of chickens in warehouses (while the public slyly looks the other way). We watch neighborhood kids throw stones at homeless cats and dogs. We throw bombs on defenseless cities filled with civillians! Come’on!

To get back on topic, Novella also reminded me of the joy that growing your own food brings. It connects you with mother nature – God. It’s a peaceful and natural process, based on hard work and patience, that in the end sustains our life and makes us appreciate that small act of eating that our existence relies upon.  I think we sometimes forget, especially those of us that live in cities, that there is nothing more beautiful that the lush green fields and forests that used to cover the planet.

I’m a huge fan of traveling. I love other cultures and always want to explore the beautiful cities of the world. When I was younger and told my dad of my plans to live in a different city every 6 months, he looked at me and said:

“All cities are alike. All of them look the same with their gray buildings and smog-filled streets. Their trash filled garbage cans and the dirty homeless people that sit on street corners. No matter what city you go to, in the end each one is going to look exactly the same as the last one.” He would know, he’s traveled to plenty of them. But it’s the next part that stuck with me even though I still don’t fully agree with his ‘all cities are the same’ theory….

“Now go out into nature… walk into a forest or stand on a river bank or climb a mountain. You will never find a place that looks like another. No waterfall will cascade down exactly like its neighbor. No field will have the same assortment of flowers. No cave with hide the same kinds of animals.”

It’s the beauty of those places that keeps us mesmerized by the world we live in. As I grow older and see more places, yes, I’m absolutely astonished by the architecture, the amount of manpower and ingenuity and passion that went into some of our most gorgeous cities. I know – I walk the Red Square every chance I get and on my tour of London, I saw the massive and gorgeous castles of English royalty. Yet still, the sight that took my breath away was the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands. The small wooden cabin in Northern Russia that stands between a pine forest and a small stream. When the air is crisp and you can’t hear the sirens blare by, that’s when you understand the world and how it works.

When your fingers dig into the soil and you see the first stem of your tomato plant sprout from the ground. When a tiny little chicken grows into a hen and you grab that first egg from its coop. That’s the real world. I think Novella really captured it and I’m so glad that I happened to pick up her book and say “Hey, this looks cool. I want to read this.”


And it’s relative because… well, we humans created it. We took a perfectly well structured universe that has continued on for billions of years using its own special order for certain events and decided that we’d rather deal with the tedious minute to minute things instead of the big picture of life. Then we became obsessed with our version of time.

We deem people inadequate if they show up to a job interview at 2:01 instead of 1:55. Judge those who wake up at noon and go to bed at 3:00am. Impose weekly and monthly deadlines on artists and writers whose muses sit in shock while their pupils throw away their dreams for short-lived pop-culture sensations. Students rush to finish their Bachelor’s degrees in 3, sometimes even 2 years, cramming for exams and choosing a 4.0 GPA over sleep.

What is 2 years in the sense of the world? Our small planet revolves twice around a lone star in one of the infinite amount of galaxies across the universe. Yet we focus all our attention on the 24 hours we’ve allocated to each day. When did 21 become synonymous with “old” and “midlife crisis” became mandatory to get through your 40’s? When did our desire to meet deadlines trump our desire to relax and enjoy life?

With the knowledge and technology we have today living to 100 isn’t just a possibility, it’s pretty much a guarantee. Of course there are things we choose to do to shorten our life – smoke, drink, tan – but for every one of them we have cures – diets, rehab programs, doctors… Still, I find many people dreaming about how they’ll die in their 50’s after the kids are off to college and they’ve collected their early retirement money. Where are we all rushing too?

This is the way I’ve always seen it, yet still sometimes forget as the whirlwind of our society engulfs me: We are given this one life to live in our physical body. (Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, no life is the same either way) We are all born to look different, given different parents, homes, cultures… different minds. No human being is the same as another. No one thinks the same or acts the same. We’re all on this path to grow our souls and understand a little bit more about God and the wonderful world he has created. It’s long and somewhat difficult, but we have enough time to make our mistakes, to learn from them, and to move beyond the mundane material things; beyond the time restraints that we have created for ourselves.

So this is where Day 4 of my self-induced rehab has brought me. At 21, being able to out-drink most girls and even some guy-friends twice my size every night of the week doesn’t make me an alcoholic. Trying most mainstream drugs at least twice, or eight times – weed, coke, boomers, X, acid, even K – doesn’t make me a drug addict. Surviving a whole semester of school on adderral with a B average and no sleep hasn’t made me crazy. (At least not more crazy than I already was.)

Yet since I’ve had my mini-nervous breakdown, dropped out of classes for the rest of summer (with every intention to come back for the fall semester), and decided to sober up cold-turkey, the world has once again become an open book. It’s slowed down drastically. My dreams are more vivid than they’ve ever been and you know dreams tell a lot about life. They show you what you truly want, help you make important decisions, alleviate your fears and sometimes create new ones. And the philosophical, spiritual, big picture outlook on life has come back while disgusting cigarette smoking habits fell away. The future looks bright with the light of wisdom and joy, and really that’s what all of us are looking for when we get lost in the labyrinth of illusions which our cultural poisons leads us into.

There’s this wonderful person that I recently got to know on a very intimate and spiritual level. He told me that I was the most intriguing person he’s ever met. He thinks I’m insightful and open minded and weird. He told me I speak of things that others are afraid to even think about. That I see the world the way he does and that I realize how much more there is to life while the masses run from job to job, bar to bar, watching God’s wonders pass them by.

I’m always told I that I can’t take a compliment, and true to my nature I’m incapable of accepting this one. I know what I am and I know what I’m not and I know that there are dozens of people like me out there: those who think about the same things I do. Some know more, some know less. The longer I am on this path, the more of them I meet, my friend not being my first or last.

So here comes the part I’ve been dreading all day. They say that to write a blog, you should choose what you’re most passionate about; the topic you understand the best. Some say that the best way to start a blog is to pick a project and record its progress daily while strangers read about your struggles and successes. I can’t really pin point what my material passion is and definitely can’t think of anything I’m exceptionally good at. I love reading, writing, discovering. I love philosophy and spirituality. Sometimes I love watching the news and sometimes I hate it. I don’t know much about car engines or tech gadgets or celebrity gossip or cooking recipes. I major in business, but that doesn’t make me an expert.

I love talking about what I’ve learned though, and love giving people advice. I love showing my friends or even just random strangers life from a different, sometimes bizarre, perspective. I love hearing other people’s views. See where they’ve been in life and where they are now. I like to help people. Sometimes I lead people to fix their life. Sometimes I fail and they walk away barely remembering my name. This new friend of mine has finally pushed me to stop and think – why can’t my obscure opinions and outlooks be used by others. Maybe I can inspire someone I’ve never met. Maybe someone out here in the world wide web will find my crazy disorganized train of thought useful. He has.

– Ms. CleverClocks

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Hi, I’m Anastasiya


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August 2010
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