Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life of Pi

I started reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel (I highly suggest it). I am only a little ways into it, but Martel has this way of ordering his words and telling stories that is really incredible, so, I thought I'd share:

(Note: The main character is named after a swimming pool in France: Piscine Molitor Patel.)

"My name isn't the end of the story about my name. When your name is Bob no one asks you, "How do you spell that?" Not so with Piscine Molitor Patel.
Some thought it was P. Singh and that I was a Sikh, and they wondered why I wasn't wearing a turban.
In my university days I visited Montreal one night with some friends. It fell to me to order pizzas one night. I couldn't bear to have yet another French speaker guffawing at my name, so when the man on the phone asked, "Can I 'ave your name?" I said, I am who I am." Half an hour later two pizzs arrived for Ian Holihan."
It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names. Witness Simon who is called Peter, Matthew also known as Levi, Nathaniel who is also Bartholomew, Judas, not Iscariot, who took the name Thaddeus, Simeon who went by Niger, Saul who became Paul.

-(The first paragraphs of Ch. 5, pg. 25.)

Another quality quote (pg 31 chapter 7): "It was my luck to have a few good teachers in my youth, men and women who came into my dark head and lit a match."

Thank you to all of you who are reading this-- who have been my teachers -- both in school and out. Teaching me about friendship and family and trust and humanity and life and loss. I am thankful for you!

I have been thankful a lot here. (After some pretty scary experiences: 1) earthquake 2) the more than 100 replicas/aftershocks that have ensued since the earthquake 3) A blackout of, not my house, or my barrio, or my city, no, the ENTIRE country of Chile. I was in a metro station about to get on the train with two friends Saturday night right after dark. All the power went out. We held onto eachother, got out of the Metro station and realized it was dark above ground too. We had to walk all the way to my friend's closest house. I thank God I was not alone and that I was NOT on a metro train full of people stuck underground -- can you imagine?? When it happened we were like, really? Is this happening? Really? Turns out this has never happend before in Chile on this scale -- of course, what luck we have! But, alas, I was provided for and I am safe and sound -- sano y salvo. The lights came back on, and all is normal now. Let's just leave it at: I have had lots of moments to examine that life is short and anything can happen at any moment-- like earthquakes and blackouts of countries. )

Like the protagonist of Life of Pi, I also have slight name changes (Maggie is not a real common name in Chile, if you can imagine): I am MaRR-Ga-RIT or Ma-zsh-E or things like that. And I am being changed by the people I meet here, and I know I will continue to be changed by those people I have yet to meet here.

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