Thursday, September 30, 2004
First off, I'd like to address the fact that I find myself with lots of crushes. Aw, how precious is that? And I don't mean people I'd like to marry. Just guys I enjoy looking at and being a fifth grader on the inside about. For this I say, thank you, English department. You never fail to bring shaggy-haired, deep, intelligent, poetic, and absurdly cute boys (or men, at least in one instance) into my presence. But that's it. You bring them into my presence. And they do acknowledge me, sometimes. To ask me if I was in class the previous week when they totally didn't notice me. To ask me if I will sit and watch the ESO money box while they go pee. But that's okay. Because I am not really interested in them. Dear English department, these boys you bring me are kindling for the tiny flame that the little fifth grader in my heart wildly dances around, giggling all the while.
What else? Hm, I have a Spanish test tomorrow. And no, I haven't studied. But I can do that at work, right? Hopefully. And at 12:30 (BarbCobb is cancelled), Matt, Tessa, Jennie, and I are meeting for a little study session and some lunch before the test. That should be enough studying. Uh huh.
So my birthday looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. My Shakespeare paper is no longer due on that date, but everything else in the world seems to be happening on October 14. Not only will I be having my earth science lecture test, I will also be having the earth science lab midterm. Couldn't the tests at least have been in a class that I enjoy? No, indeed. But there is an ESO meeting that afternoon, which means I get to see at least one of those adorable shaggy-haired English boys. (No, no. Not the Beatles.) Wait. No. We decided not to have that ESO meeting that day because it's the last day of class before fall break. Grrr. As much as I don't drink, it has become very tempting to consider getting sloshed on the day I turn twenty-one. Somebody needs to talk me out of it.
Do not be afraid. I'm not getting ready to bombard you with Bush-Cheney this or Kerry-Edwards that. Nope. It's a little different than that. I know, I know, I know that I should be more politically aware. After all, this stuff does involve me. But honestly, I do not know enough about either of the candidates to make a stance--even if one of them has been our president for the past four years. People keep saying that I have to vote. And it's true. I should. But why should I vote out of ignorance? At this point in the campaigning, I won't be able to find objective information on either of them anywhere. If such information even exists.
This is what bothers me. And please, do not take this as Bush propaganda. I hate that because I'm a college student, I'm expected to vote for Kerry. I hate that because Bush has nothing going on his head during a speech until he looks back down at his notes, I should vote for Kerry. I hate that because there is a war in Iraq, I need to vote for Kerry. I hate that because Kerry isn't Bush, I am supposed to vote for Kerry. What mind besides that of a robot automatically assumes that because Bush is "bad" Kerry is "good"? It is failed logic. Maybe it's true that Kerry would be a better president. I honestly don't know. And neither does anyone else. Both candidates will shove whatever lies down our throats as long as we let them and agree to vote for them. It doesn't matter what is said on the campaign trail. Nothing guarantees that any of it will come to fruition.
My logic would be just as faulty, though, if I said all this was a reason to vote for Bush. So I don't have a solution. I can't bring myself to vote for either one. I hate that I can't even vote. It's almost like this election is a multiple choice question without the correct answer being given. Though, isn't it always? But people want to exercise their rights. The voting process may be an elimination of a greater evil. It may be the product of hasty, ill-advised people. This is the failure of democracy. What is the answer? I'm not sure. I'm just an ignorant college kid, biting off more than she can chew.
I did take some sort of political orientation quiz on the internet once. It said that I'm a communist. So when the Red Scare comes around again, Google will drudge up this post and I will be blacklisted or exiled or something. All in the name of politics. The irony of my life.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
I guess it's been an average day. Well, not average as in normal, but average as in not great or horrible. Work was interesting. At any given moment during my shift, only three computers would work. They're reworking the printer configuration, which is good for a couple reasons. The horribly slow and noisy black and white HP printer is gone. And so is the money guzzling Lexmark color printer. They've been replaced by a monstrosity of a black and white printer. No more slow printing PDFs. And no more folks being irate about a 25 cent printed page. The bad news is that I'm going to have to start taking money by hand. This means that people will try to run away without having paid, a nonexistent problem with the ol' Jamex money machine. And I'm going to have to make change. I need to start memorizing what seventeen pages times five cents minus five dollars is. Oh, me.
I got my BarbCobb paper back today. I got a B. Don't you just hate that? Well, you probably don't. You probably think it's funny. It just bothers me that her casual instruction greatly contrasts her strict assessment style. I guess that's something I should consider as a teacher. I'd like to be a laid back teacher with high expectations. Is that possible? Yes, let me rephrase that. Is that possible while being fair to students? Hmm.
I'm a little worried about myself. I think I need to go to the doctor. I feel like I'm constantly on the verge of getting sick. Feverish with a dry throat. Like a perpetual onset of strep throat or something. But then I wonder, are these symptoms of high blood pressure and high glucose? That stuff runs in my family, and I sure don't take any preventative measures. So I do what everyone who dies of heart disease does: ignore it and hope it will go away.
Mmkay, well, I'm going to the BSU for the international student conversation classes here in a few minutes. Oh, and I have to go to WalMart. And when I get home, I have so much Shakespeare stuff to do I could cry. Avoidance really will kill me.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
artist: paul simon
song: train in the distance
Maybe it was all that gushy talk after class with Jennie and Tessa about Hot Guy Bill and how deep he is, but something got me in a contemplative mood. After my awkwardly scheduled night class, I was naturally hungry. I'm also naturally out of food here at the ol' apartment, so I went to Burger King for a number six. Sitting there in my car in the drive-thru line trying to remember if my meal costs five dollars and two cents or five dollars and eight cents, I see the moon. Well, I'd seen the moon earlier this evening, noticing how perfectly full it is, and I remembered again our wonderful study of the lunar phases. But this time, instead of thinking, "oh, must be the middle of the lunar month" or anything of that nature, I notice the man. You know, the man in the moon. And that autumnal bittersweet feeling came over me again. And I wondered why I can't just look up at a celestial body and marvel that there is a face in it. No, I have to stop and think about the terrain, the mare and terrae that create the highlights and shadows on the surface. And for a few moments, I pitied the loss of innocence, ignorance. And I wondered if maybe it is better to not know. If ignorance is bliss. Or if that, too, is only an illusion, a delusion.
It is five dollars and eight cents, by the way.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Walking to work this morning, I noticed something I'd never noticed before. There are some almost unnaturally blue morning glories entangled in the fence behind the Lamba Chi house. Talk about juxtaposition. To my knowledge, I've never seen morning glories before, but somehow, I just knew that's what they were. Of course, when I got here, I looked them up to make sure I was right. But I was just going along the sidewalk and I spotted some blue on the leaves of the greenery that I had previously noticed wrapping itself around the fence. And being the prejudiced person that I am, I figured it was the work of some ill-fallen spray paint or something. With a slightly closer look, I realized that they were flowers practically growing out of the ditch. Tomorrow morning, I will take a picture of them, and hopefully, my photo hosting site will be efficiently working again.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Mom and Dad just left. They didn't mean to come to Murray, but we all journeyed from our respective places to Calvert City yesterday. We didn't end up leaving until late, and the folks didn't want to go all the way back home. The came and crashed with me. (Can parents "crash" in that sense?) And they just now left. But that's cool. Means of procrastination. I'm always grateful.
Hopefully, I can get some of my homework knocked out while I'm here at work. Sunday nights at Hart are good for that. And I have so much I have to do. I have a monster lesson plan due on Tuesday night. And there are research papers popping out of the woodwork at me.
It's still a little warm, but if we coerce fall just a little more, I think it'll give in. Leaves are turning, falling, and blowing around. I love it. And things, though they range in the exact initial feeling they provoke, are right. Many new things have started, and many old things have passed. One of my all-time favorite lyrics ponders this: The past is gone, but something might be found to take its place. ["Hey Jealousy" - Gin Blossoms] It's that bittersweet feeling that I thrive on. The pain of change gives way to greater things. Autumn is so symbolic in that respect, and maybe that's why it brings us all to a place where we aren't sure whether we should smile or cry, feel contentment or loss.
I could give you a comprehensive list of all the happenings and memories that summon these feelings within me. I could, but I probably won't. Whatever it is in the air, though, makes the seemingly bad things not so bad. And the good things aren't just good anymore. They're joyful. And in those moments when everything else just disappears and I can see the beauty of life because of and in spite of those "good" and "bad" things, I know everything is all right. Just right.
Friday, September 24, 2004
My boss did finally show up when I basically threatened to quit my job solely because of this woman, which is somewhat feasible because she is a serial offender. Turns out, mine is not the only life she has been destroying, but after a full month of her havoc-wreaking, drastic measures were finally sought today. Not taken. Just sought. After talking with my boss, him talking with his boss, and them talking to the Psychological Center, we have finally formulated what Derek (I'm tired of calling him my boss. He's too young for that lofty word.) likes to call the three-step "Code of Events," or as I think of it, "Operation: JT." What will happen is this: The next time she causes a problem, I have to ask her to stop. That is nothing new to me. I do that every day. What is new is this, an act of which I have quite been afraid but now have legal clearance to do. If she doesn't cooperate, I will ask her to leave. If she then doesn't cooperate, I get to dial everyone's favorite on-campus phone number. 2222. That's right. Public Safety. So I guess a Racer Patrolman will come in and haul her out, or would it be a real officer? I don't know. The whole thing kind of scares me because there is no telling what she's likely to do during all this. But it will happen sooner or later. And she's just the type that will make me, or some other lab supervisor, execute phase three--involving Public Safety.
I just hope this gets resolved soon. I've never in my life had my patience tested like it has been. Today, I was really afraid I was going to snap on the woman. I try to be nice despite the boiling of my blood because she really has a psychological problem. This means two things to me. One, if I snap on her, she just might snap back much harder. And two, maybe she cannot help herself. No, it's not fair to me or the other students in the lab for her to cause all this trouble, but I can't let this get personal. But it's so hard when I ask her to be quiet and she flies into accusing me of thinking that the fact she's in some sort of legal battle and has to drive with her child to Carbondale, Illinois, three nights a week is funny. And then I get scared when she tells me that her life would be so much better if a bunch of people she knew died on September 11. I can't help but become a nervous wreck. I mean, all I'm supposed to do is make sure that the people in the lab can get their work done. That's what I've determined my job description is since I never was really given one. To help people create accounts, make sure computers and printers work, keep the atmosphere one conducive to learning, etc. But all this? And I actually do like my job. Except for what I have to do with her. I was not exaggerating in my earlier post when I said I'm physically overwhelmed when she comes in. I just hate confrontation. I despise it in the very core of my being, but when she appears, I know confrontation is coming. And that core of my being shudders.
But I'd like to thank Jenny for her sympathy. And Janitha, even though she doesn't read this, for the hug and the cheer and the "sprinkling of calm." I am usually too prideful to accept people's condolences, but today, I really needed it. I have been nothing but a frazzled end of a nerve. Thanks, guys.
Man, doesn't this sound like someone with a real job bringing it home with them? I'll try not to anymore. Well, hopefully, I won't have to. The everything else in my life deserves all this attention I'm giving this situation. But it's bad because it began my day, set the pace for my mood. Tomorrow, it will go away. And then I can devote myself to the matters that are important.
Enough of the complaining, though. I've a had a good couple days. Dale came down Wednesday night, and we did a lot of hanging out yesterday. It was a good time. We haven't just hung out in a long time. So we did a whole lot of nothing and played a little guitar and things like that. We're really going to have to try to do that more often. It really sucks sometimes what time, distance, and circumstance doesn't allow. Pesky, pesky things.
Okay, I'm really getting ready to crawl up and take a nap, right here in the lab. Talk at y'all later.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
This concept is nothing new to me. It was called to my attention back during my last two years of high school when, at least once a week, Sonya Westerman would tell me how tired I looked. I just assumed we had a mutual dislike for one another, and she just happened to feel the need to remind me of her abhorrence by basically telling me I looked like crap. Then, I began to notice it some off and on throughout college. It would be understandable if I was tired when these people pointed out my exhausted appearance. But normally, I feel just fine. Just like tonight.
I ran to WalMart to get some milk, bread, juice, et cetera, and the check-out girl says as she scans my Bunny Bread, "You look tired. You okay?" "Um, yeah. I'm good." Because I was. Maybe I'm not good and I don't know it. I feel bad and it shows, but somehow I miss it? I don't know. It's just strange to have people I don't even halfway know ask me if I'm okay. Most people who know me pretty well don't seem to cause this problem for me. I guess that's just it. To the stranger and acquaintance, I'm a tired-looking soul. That's comforting.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
But my head is aswarm with things that don't even closely resemble Spanish verbs conjugated in future tenses or the description of the Franklin in the "General Prologue" to the Canterbury Tales. I'll try not to accost you with a spiel like last time. I apologize for that. But I just feel a little misplaced somehow. Like there is somewhere completely different I need to be. And I mean on a grander scale than "Yeah, I'd rather be at home on the couch right about now." It's not exactly that I feel inferior where I am either, but it's only a little different than that. Like I'm frantically trying to catch up with something that I don't even want or, more importantly, need. I'm not sure what that means, but I think it's a pretty good description. It's not that I am unhappy. That's not it. I'm just feeling a little lost at the moment. The good news is this: No matter how lost I might feel right now, no matter how much I don't recognize these pseudo-familiar surroundings, I know I'm headed in the right direction. It's like going somewhere you've never gone before: You've never seen these surroundings in your life, but you know your turn is coming up any minute and, according to your map, you'll arrive at your destination without a hitch. It's just a little intimidating between here and there.
Okay, enough of that. I gotta get to work on my paper for BarbCobb. And I need to work on this gold foil ball of miniature Reese's Cup wrappers I'm making.
Friday, September 17, 2004
In the past month I have accumulated and attempted to maintain being all these titles: Student. Employee. First Year Leader. Teacher, as a part of the BSU's conversation classes. Member of the English Students Organization. Am I forgetting anything? Oh, yes. Renter. Bill payer, etc. On top of this, I'm also a writer. Yes, blogging is a commitment, hehe. Plus, TDS asked me if I wanted to be a regular writer for the publication, so I've been doing a little tinkering with fiction. Not much.
The above is just a listing of those superficial, temporary roles in which I stand, roles where I can be replaced. Then there are the things that are engrained into the foundation of me: Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Friend. And in the bedrock of who I am: Child of God.
It is amazing to me that a simple person like me can expect herself to do all these things, and I'm sure my list is a short one. Well, no one's list is short. Everything from "student" to "friend" is so understated. With one tiny word of a title comes a world of responsibility and commitment from many different angles.
I guess this is where I'm going with this: Is a person supposed to have this many things required of him or her? When I didn't have so many things going on, I felt like I should. I think that was a desire to be more productive, like I needed more on my plate in order to not be considered a bum. Now that I have all kinds of responsibilities, well, I do feel responsible. But more productive? Not really. I suppose anyone can take on responsibility, though he or she doesn't have to be responsible. Once you successfully juggle everything, it takes much more commitment, effort, and focus to actually do well in your pursuit. But this seems so impossible, to be fully devoted to everything. So it comes down to either being mediocre at many things or exceptional at a few. But that, too, would require a person to abandon a plethora of responsibilities that are necessary, or at least seem necessary.
So what's the solution? Good question. Well, first, I guess it would be good to specifically identify the problem. That would be the seeming impossibility of being a success at anything when it takes being involved in so much to even be considered successful. I suppose the recurring statement of the oh-so wise sages has been ringing in my ears. "I'm not impressed with a 4.0 student if all they were was a student."
I guess a course of resolution would be first to determine where you find virtue. In mastery or experience? But for me, I think it's deeper than that, maybe a little of both. It seems everything boils down to a set of priorities, a hierarchy. I recall an object lesson about such things. If you want to fit rocks, sand, and water into a bucket, you can't start with the water or the sand. It just won't fit. You have to put the big rocks in first, then sift in the sand to fill the gaps, and allow the water to seep into the tiny crevices of the sand.
It is possible. Being Super-Woman isn't. I can't let my focus get fixed on the little things like sand and water. If I do, the things that matter most will never fit and I'm left without a foundation. And that makes everything else pretty much pointless. Therefore, I'd much rather just where one hat and let everything else be the bells and whistles.
Amendment - 3:51 pm
After reading back over all of that, I think I might disagree with myself. Here lies the beauty of journaling: Writing allows you to examine your own thoughts and then reflect on them. Though I may now have a different outlook that stated above, I have no intention of removing said journal entry. It took me a long time to write that at work, and I won't let it go to waste. Actually, this is just more of an expansion upon what I wrote earlier. Maybe it can serve as some sort of idea development model. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
Consider the concept of identity. Does having many responsibilities and roles in life mean that one has many identities? I believe that the answers yes and no could both be argued because both are possible. A person's self could be a culmination of the commitments the person has made, including marital status, occupation, community involvement, etc. A person's self may also be mutable, changing according to the role or combinations of roles being exercised.
Then there is a possible self that exists outside of roles and responsibilities. I think this is what I was trying to depict with my one-hat-with-bells-and-whistles metaphor. There is one self that is free from external mutability. When someone goes on a journey to "find himself," this self is the ideal finding.
My concern is this: How do I view my identity? Do I believe I am made up of all I do? Am I constantly changing? Or is my self something static with external changes? The last is what I am striving for. It is the one I believe is universally true of identity, but of course, this has an exception: rebirth. ["Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!" 2 Corinthians 5:14] This self is not exactly external or internal, not a product of the world or a product of our own. Self-definition is found in God, and though the things of earth exist and impress themselves upon us, they are dim in this light.
Maybe all of this is just an expounded and verbose version of many preachers' phrase "in the world, not of the world." But somehow I feel like Emerson with his "Self Reliance" and "The Over-Soul." And I might have quite unintentionally hit on existentialism. My guess is that I have just enough insight to create for myself chaos. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
I went to see Sissy, Victoria, and Kathryn again tonight. I kind of forgot to take some more pictures, but that's okay. Even the day she was born I had this whole "3x5" mentality going on. I didn't want to waste my time taking pictures because I wanted to experience her with my own eyes. I did that tonight, holding her for probably an hour. She is such a wonderful baby. And I know people say that about every child they claim, but she is! Oh, and I thought this was funny. Ingenious, but funny. The hospital puts security sensors on babies' ankles, like house arrest bracelets. That's in case some psycho tries to kidnap one of them or something. It's a great idea, but I think it's hilarious that these newborns look like paroled delinquents.
I've been listening to the radio regularly these days because the CD player in my car is quite dysfunctional. It won't play. It just flashes an error message and regurgitates the disc. So I've been enjoying the wonders of local radio. I primarily flip back and forth between 96.9 and Q 108 on my journey to and from Paducah, and there is a more-than-obvious pattern: Hoobastank's "The Reason," some Hootie and the Blowfish song, probably "Only Wanna Be with You," and then an Alanis Morissette song, usually "One Hand in My Pocket." And then Hoobastank again. And isn't that a strange line-up? But it has happened to me more than once in the past week. At very differing times of day. And I like "The Reason" and all, but sheesh. How long has that song been out? It's being played far too often. But I always hang around long enough to catch my favorite part when he says "that's why I want you to know" for the last time and his voice breaks on "know." Ah, I love that. That passionate desperation gets to me every time. [See: John Mayer's "Covered in Rain" and "Why Did You Mess with Forever."] But I've also picked up on the fact that when he says "hear" in the "that's why I need you to hear" part, the music does a thing that sounds just like the beginning of my ringtone, so I jump every time I hear that song. Which is officially every three seconds. Another radio observation I've made is this: Fools are apparently very lyrical. I've just read Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," and the diction was full of language about fools. So I guess it's been on the brain, but when they weren't giving Hooba some air-time, I heard lots of songs that mention fools. Ah, one of which is from Hootie. The line is "you can count on me your fool" in "Only Wanna Be with You," but I heard many more. Of course, most songs are love songs, so what else could you expect but foolishness? I jest, I jest.
Okay, I should have been studying or reading or working on a paper or something while I was writing this, but whatever, right? Now it's too late, and I have to go to bed. Got ol' work in the morning, and I can maybe get a little accomplished there. Oh, I should be getting my first paycheck soon. That's very exciting. So right now, I'm going to check my bank account, with false hope, to see if any direct depositing has happened. Then it's a night.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Born tonight at 7:17, she weighs 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and she's 17 3/4 inches long, or short, if you will. (She's a chunk. A very, very beautiful chunk with a headful of dark hair.) Sissy was in labor for 12 hours, and I was there at the hospital for most of it. Needless to say, I missed every one of my classes. This is the first time I've found something worth missing an entire day of college courses. Anyway, everyone is doing great. And I'm way past my bedtime. Good, ahem, great night.
Monday, September 13, 2004
So this weekend. Friday night I did a little Cinema International and hanging out in Springer. Most of Saturday was spent in Calvert City. I guess we were just sitting around waiting for the baby to come. It didn't. It still hasn't. Pesky little thing. :-) And then that night I went back to Springer for a little Scattergorical gaming, which was great fun, but by the end of all that, I became unusually tired and headed back home to bed. I tried to do all kinds of homework yesterday, but it basically amounted to working on my Spanish practice quiz at home and using my entire time at work to do the online workbook. I have that Spanish quiz today, and I'm a little frightened about it. So maybe I should study. I think I will.
Forgive me for the lack of interesting material. Oh, let's see. I almost died yesterday. Is that interesting? I was turning left onto 641 out of Main Street. I had a green arrow, but the man in the large, large truck across the street apparently didn't realize that he still had a red light and started barreling on across 641 anyway. In mid-turn, I had to come to a complete stop and let the unnecessarily road-enraged man illegally pass. I all but cried. And this time, it wasn't even my fault. You should be proud.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
I'm not sure if I'm changing them or if they are changing themselves--and me in the process. I'm coming to the realization that if I'm going to be a teacher, or writer or anything for that matter, I'm going to have to start exerting a little more effort. I have to strive for excellence because mediocrity doesn't cut it. And I do want to be a teacher. Sometimes, the scarier it sounds, the more I know it is where I belong. I'm starting to choose challenge over easy. And of course, I'm starting small. Like with that whole Shakespeare journal thing. I know I'd rather not do it, but I know it is going to help me in the long run. I'm beginning to notice little changes like that that I'm making. I'm starting to be more productive than spin my wheels in procrastination. I'm shooting beyond completeness and into quality. So maybe I haven't gotten very far yet, but my mind is heading in that direction. It's quite intimidating but comforting all at the same time when you realized that, when you weren't looking, a little bit of growing up happened. Intimidating because it takes you further down the line into the unknown. Comforting because it wasn't nearly as painful as you had imagined. Well, at least sometimes.
But being caught up in all this priority-rearranging is dangerous. It would be easy to believe that those things that are truly the most important naturally rise to the top on their own. And maybe they do, but left to their own devices, I imagine some unhealthy things could take weighty priority. Yes, school and other educational/vocational experiences are quite important, and I'd say they are moving up the ladder. Maybe they haven't really been relocated, but I'm just starting to pay more attention to them. I don't, however, want them to be the entire focus of my life. As valuable as they are, some things have a greater significance when all is said and done.
There are so many things that deserve my attention that are receiving none. And there are those that I should ignore, but I don't. So forgive me for any neglect during this time of remodeling. But I want to make sure I get this done right.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Tonight was fun. We spent the afternoon and evening at Sissy's. We ate chili and sat around a fire in the back yard, even though it's not quite fall enough yet. It's like when we're tired of winter and wear T-shirts and flip flops in an attempt to coerce spring into arriving. Anyway, we sat around some chunks of wood burning in an old wheel rim thing for about three hours telling stories. Welcome to my family.
I love it when stories are told that I've never heard before. I relish in the words and swear I'll write them down, but I never do. Phrases like "the blind staggers" and sayings like "when they fall in love, they could just pin their ears back and swallow them whole, and when they've been married for six months, they wish they would've" never make it to the page. But there's nothing like sitting aroound, staring into blazes, soaking up the hilarous and sometimes painful stories of the past, and pondering the future. Learning history in the context that really matters and loving every minute of it. Welcome to my family.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
With all of that and despite the fact that I dealt with a total of about three hours of earth science today, it has been a pretty good day. It started with a great debate with myself over whether or not I should do the Shakespeare journal. It's an optional project that would replace 10% of our paper grades for the course. It requires three written pages a week about what ever play we're reading, and once you decide to do it, you have to do it. And if you decide not to participate, you can't later change your mind in hopes of raising your grade. I think it would be good for my in at least two aspects. One, it'll make me keep up with the reading and enhance my understanding. Two, it should help my grade. The problem, however, was that I had not done my journal for today, and he had told us that he was going to have us make our commitment to it this morning. Out of laziness, I found myself in a predicament. I knew I would end up regretting not doing the journal, but I just inexplicably didn't do mine for today. But luckily, ol' Dr. Brown forgot about the whole journal thing, so I have until Tuesday to redeem myself. If only I can convince myself to take advantage of this opportunity.
After earth science lecture, Justin, Alisha, and I headed for the Curris Center for a little lunch. On the way in, I noticed the readership program thing was going on and giving away copies of USA Today. I am quite enthusiastic about this program, so when the lady asked me to fill out a survey, I gladly obliged. She also handed me a ticket on which I would write my name and phone number so that I could be entered into a drawing where the winner would receive a $50 gift certificate to the University Bookstore. I grabbed my paper and went on my merry way. Well, about an hour or so ago, my phone rang, and seeing that it was an on-campus phone number, I figured it might have been one of my FY girls since I had emailed them last night to see how they're doing. But no, it was Jim Baurer at the Curris Center letting me know that my name had been drawn! I never win anything like that. Anyway, I need to remember to go by the office and pick it up.
I totally missed out on Winslowless Wednesday last night, which is quite a sad time, but some time last Spring, I signed up with help with the International Student Ministry at the BSU. Last night was the Welcome Dinner, and I went early to help set up and then stay for the event. I have never in my life had so much fun--at least at the BSU. I made three friends from Taiwan. I barely ate any of my spaghetti because, one, it wasn't all that edible, and two, we were talking non-stop. Between the three of them, they represent a whole range of English proficiency, but that is just a barrier. They are so interested in the way of life here, so full of questions. They were so appreciative of me for spending time with them, but it was quite humbling. I have to realize that just because they do not speak my language perfectly, that does not mean they are not intelligent. They are very brave people who have worked so hard to be able to come here and face the challenge. I found out that one of the guys' birthday is the day before mine, and we are the same age. He struggled to tell me that it was a coincidence, but I was impressed because that is quite a complicated term. Later, I was able to talk to the 30 year-old man who had only studied English three months before coming here, and he decided that, for the price, I should trade him my apartment for his College Courts apartments. I declined, but I did accept his offer to play ping-pong, at which both of us confessed to be horrible, in the future. Before we left, he slightly bowed before me as his customary way of saying thank you, and I felt so honored. It was a great experience, but it will continue every Wednesday night at 5:00 when we have conversation classes. I am so excited. About making new friends and learning so much. I have already been challenged to see my language and culture and other languages and cultures in a new, enlightening way.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Speaking of firsts, I have officially finished my first week of working in the computer labs. It seems like I've been labbing it up for at least a month, but it has been interesting. I come in contact with all sorts of people. The irate who cuss me because they have to create an account and pay five cents per printed page. The paranoid who cover the screen every time I walk by to make sure I'm not reading their personal letters. The helpless who make me do everything for them. And then there are the friendly who don't cause any problems and thank me when they leave. Sometimes there are combinations of such folks. This morning I had a paranoid, helpless, and friendly person all in one. And on Monday I made friends with a guy from Kenya who was very helpless, but very friendly. He asked me if I could help him with computers since he's already taking too many credits to add a computer course (like CSC helps anyone...), so he's going to come by on Fridays and I'll see what I can't do for him.
I faced the stark reality last night that this semester really is going to take some work. I have that realization every semester, and it scares the pants off of me. It felt just wonderful to arrive at my night class to realize I had done both of my homework assignments incorrectly and failed to read the chapter in the book. And just a few minutes ago, I opened up my Spanish online workbook to be reminded that all of it is in Spanish. Directions, questions, and I guess my answers should be, too, huh? Great. After all that talk of studying this summer, I never did it. But I have a feeling that nothing would have quite prepared me for Jaspanglish. Those are just a few of the challenges I'll be facing this semester.
Okay, y'all. I'm really trying to come up with something halfway interesting for you. Any ounce of creativity I might've had in the past has fled. I don't know what to write any more. I don't even have any pictures to show you. (That doesn't include the forty million shots of John Mayer.) I need to start taking some again. I guess I just haven't gotten into the swing of things yet. I love first days and beginnings, but they aren't always easy.