a gathering place for the words, images and momentos of the world of adventures i've adventured, the stories i've wandered through. curriculum bella vita...a resume, of sorts, of the good life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

radio city

On-air with Hemant's morning radio show. A bit of Telugu, a bunch of English, wisdom of all sorts!

off to chennai for a week of interviews in the bigger, more well-established consulate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

by any other name

a far-off friend charmed me by e-mail a few or two back, wondering aloud what name she could call me. i thought about it, smiled, and offered a rough draft of the etymology of my name over place and time, which has changed as much as I have.

Jeremy Ryan Jewett – So I was named on July 14th, 1980. But it's more than that, I’ve got a complex relationship with my name...

Jeremy – My most common answer to the question "What's your name?" I’ve never really been able to decide, though, whether I prefer the three-syllable or the two-syllable pronunciation and I’m not sure it matters. Je-re-me? Jer-me? It depends on context, as any good answer should.

Zermi – a good family friend, born just a few months after me, couldn’t master the intricacies of Jeremy at an early age. Every since, and to this day, I remain “zermi” to Amy and her family.

Germy - my sister's babytalk version. Usually paired with "Germy did it." Still in occasional use.

J.J. – A dream of days gone by. In second grade, I wanted nothing more than to be called J.J. I wanted this desperately, mostly related to how much B.J. Surhoff was my favorite Brewer. But on the first day of class, when the teacher went around and asked everyone what they wanted to be called, I chickened out. I couldn’t do it, I wimped out. A dream died a slow death. To this day, the only people that call me J.J. are my godmother and godfather.

j – The longest story: I learned a lot, my freshman year of college, at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. And in truth, I had a lot to learn. The first lesson I learned? It’s fun to be friends with girls. (this was a sort of newsflash to me.) The first of the bunch – and best (until my crush on her roommate flopped) – Meredith. A month into our friendship, I asked if I could call her Merd. She agreed, but only if I let her call me “j.” The single letter j. It stuck, as I suppose it should have.

That summer, I marched off to YMCA Camp Nan A Bo Sho, a time and place that molded me as much as my freshman year of college. They asked, on a small sheet of paper tucked inside an application packet, what I wanted my nickname to be. I gave it no more than a little thought before writing down “j.” Fate was cemented.

I wore the nickname through four years of YMCA Camp Nan A Bo Sho, rising from lowly new-comer to program director, the name evolving alongside me to “Jay,” “J-Rod,” and “Rodman” over the years. To a thousand kids, though, I was “j,” just a single letter. (Clearly the best letter, I would add.) My friend brian tells a great story of his first impression upon meeting me at Trueman’s camp in North Carolina. “Hi! I’m j! Like the letter, except lower case!”

And at the same time, the name followed me to Madison, although not immediately. The first to pick it up were Adventure Learning Programs. It was my camp-like outlet in Madison, so it’s fitting that as I was more j-like, the ALPs staffers grew to know me as much as j as Jeremy. The trend doubled as I started to bring NABS friends into ALPs. By the end of my stay in Madison, you could tell how I knew someone, just by the name they used for me. If they knew me from camp or ALPs, j. If they knew me from class, jobs or some other chunk of the real world, Jeremy.

J-Ryan – There’s one girl in the world, a second Megan Leigh, who calls me J-Ryan. And it’s a fair trade. I refused to call her Megan, only Megan Leigh, as she shared the first and middle name of my sister, and that tickled me pink.

J. Jewett – But when I went off to Colorado after graduating, I ran into a problem: a camp that wasn’t comfortable with nicknames. Nope, CCO is on a first-name basis. It didn’t feel right being a Jeremy at camp, so I held fast until Marty agreed I could be J. Jewett. To this day, I’m J. Jewett to the CCO folks, even if that’s never made much sense to me, squeezing my naming-scheme into a hole it doesn’t necessarily fit into. best used in an e-mail in the wondrous phrase "...your laughter and your general JJewettness make me smile..."

J-Squared – Preferred by assorted schmucks.

Herr Jewett, Herr, Jewett – When I took to teaching in Fond du Lac, right after coming home from North Carolina, I had to become a bit more professional, lest I be confused for a pupil in the hallway. Herr Jewett I became, the German for Mr. Jewett. (A name already taken, of course, by my dad who taught just down the hall.) The kids would often shorten that to Herr, which was fine, or Jewett, which I didn’t mind as much as perhaps I should have.

Jah-rah-mee – But in Hungary, the more formal cultural was surprisingly less formal with my name. Teachers and students alike called me Jeremy – even if they couldn’t pronounce it. And never even Mister Jeremy, just always Jeremy. It’s almost like they know that I had a last name. And even in the end of the year program, all the teachers are listed in all their full-name glory, and I was listed only as “Jeremy.” As if I was a one-name celebrity. The best part? There’s a Hungarian song by the title of “Jeremy.”

Jer – Two fellow American teachers in hungary, though, decided that they like “Jer” best of all. Kat and Liz, in a way we were three amigos in a three-letter-name club.

J.R. Jewett – And then in law school, I picked up the legally J.R. Jewett as a preferred moniker of sorts in written form. In addition to the handy e-mail handles, the name captured the happier memories of my pre-law past, while blending it with a slightly stoic signature that carries an air of importance and apathy, all rolled into one.

jrj – A current favorite. A great way to sign an email. A great way to sign an acknowledgement. Curt, crisp, unique. And best of all? Symmetric. I’m a big fan. Never cursived. Always either all lowercase or all uppercase.

Jem – Only one person goes with Jem, an old law classmate Charlie. A tribute to To Kill A Mockingbird

Sunday, June 5, 2011

she'll change your tune

June's here. that means two things: monsoon and mangoes!!