Tuesday, July 29, 2008

official countdown

In case anyone was wondering, I am moving back to campus permanently in exactly eleven days. ELEVEN.


I probably have about a million posts titled "reflections", and if I don't already, I most certainly will. As the great Joel Willitts so aptly said it, I "think a lot." I spend much of my free time thinking, in fact (when I'm not reading or playing piano). It was a very astute observation for him to make.

This post is about the last two weeks and what they have done to me!! I learned so much about life, and even though they were painful and difficult at times, these weeks have been a positive experience overall. I will begin with the more practical aspect: house-sitting for my supervisor taught me how to take care of a house and its many many plants. I learned that if plants get less that one inch of rain per week, you need to water them a LOT. Also, if they get four inches of rain in two days, you don't need to water them until about a week later. I learned that security systems only serve to decrease a certain level of anxiety, and if one experiences higher levels of anxiety, said security systems are not much help. I also learned how to operate the security system, and how to use the seven or so keys that belonged to that house. Floorboards can be very creaky and very noisy, but one can cover up these noises with a very loud movie. AND, some toilets can be yellow or blue, and shower "curtains" can be oddly curvy plastic sliding doors that squeak loudly when you open them. And old lace curtains give a house a very odd smell. And having an icon of Jesus by the front door is about the coolest thing you could do to your house.

What I learned about myself: I need at least an hour of alone time every two days, which I hadn't noticed because this is really the first time in my life that I experienced a forty-eight hour period when I was constantly with someone else. I love natural light in the kitchen. I like making refreshing, simple dishes for myself, and I don't mind the occasional hot dog roasted over the gas flame on the stove. Walking through neighborhoods where the people are so old that their lights aren't on after nine o'clock creeps me out. Oh, and I'm more easily creeped out than I thought--I had not prepared for my utter inability to sleep in a strange house by myself. I tried many things, and the help I found was in my good friend who came over to sleep there with me so that I could actually sleep. When she wasn't there, I kept a frightened vigil with my hand clutched around my keys and my cell phone, and with unhappy parents being called at all hours of the night to kill time while I waited for intruders that would never come.

I gained so much knowledge of relationships also. I learned that I am very stubborn, and that I greatly appreciate stubborn people, even when their hard-headedness makes me irritated and/or uncomfortable. And that stubbornness reveals tenderness and care. I learned once again that it is possible to spend too much time with a friend, though after years of too many sleepovers in a row, you would think I'd pick up on that! I found that people can surprise you and say really nice things when you least expect it, and that these suprises can wipe away any negative feelings you might have been having toward that person. A mixed crowd of eleven people can get along perfectly well, but there's always going to be that someone who has to bring up a personal problem in group conversation, thus creating an awkward situation for everyone else. But then there will be someone to make a joke of it, and it will all be back to normal. I learned that I really wish that I was friends with a cool, moderately older married couple, and that I would like to find a female mentor. And I learned that we can bother people without meaning to, and that even I have trouble opening those wounds after a night of letting them fester, despite my usual ease of manner in confrontation.

And I learned about God--prayer is so powerful. Especially praying aloud. I am terrified of praying aloud when others are around, but when I'm alone, it's just about the most wonderful thing on the planet. When I am anxious, praying aloud brings peace and confidence, and when I am broken, it brings healing (though sometimes painfully). I like to talk to God when I'm walking around the house, cleaning, cooking, whatever. God takes care of me in better ways than I ever could have imagined. This last bit is really about my whole summer--I went into this summer expecting to work thirty-five to forty hours a week, but I ended up working twenty-five or less, but that allowed me to visit my friends more. I grew closer with people that I wasn't expecting to befriend, and I grew away from some old friends. Also, my group of friends has shifted, and it has brought a myriad of beautiful changes in my life. Then I lost my job, which was a whole adventure in and of itself, and that allowed me to house-sit, which brought about all of the aforementioned learning. So yeah, I would definitely not have orchestrated this summer in the way that the Almighty saw fit, but of course, my plans consistently fail while his exceed all possible expectations. Praise the LORD!

That's enough reflecting for now, but I promise there is more to come. =)


Sunday, July 20, 2008

three weeks

Somehow the whole summer has finally boiled down to three weeks.  Exactly three weeks from today, I will have returned to campus to stay (though likely a bit sooner, but it's a secret!).  Time just passes so quickly when you're trying not to think about it!!  I know I recently counted the actual days until my return, but I didn't keep track after that, and now I must keep track because I have deadlines approaching, as well as events, various work-related tasks, and logistical planning.

This weekend will be very busy.  I have to set up for Vikings In Progress (aka "VIP"--early orientation) on Thursday, attend and play significant roles in VIP on Friday and Saturday (7-3), babysit Saturday night (6-9), go to church and move out of Carol's place on Sunday, and then my roommates and I are having a dinner party Monday night for twelve people.  So, yeah.  The schedule will definitely pick up then.  

Then, I return to my parents house.  Surprisingly, this will likely turn into the most hectic time of all since I have to pack all of my stuff and figure out how I'm getting all of it from home to school, and when, and which vehicles/parents to take with me, exactly what day to move up, etc.  

Sometime during all of this mess I have to finish various smaller projects for Threshold, read ahead for the class for which I'm the PAA (Peer Academic Advisor), buy textbooks, practice studio repertoire, practice my fast-approaching-concert repertoire, and finish the workshop I'm writing.  

That's more like it!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

tricky tuesday

Yeah, I know it's Thursday, but this post is about Tuesday. This Tuesday I started house-sitting for my supervisor/professor, and the morning went well. I watered plants, became familiar with the kitchen, showered, and basically situated myself in my new dwelling place. After all that, I came back to campus and visited with my friends, did some work in the library, the usual.

It was Tuesday evening and night that were terrible. That evening I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to distract myself from the fact that I was utterly alone. Something that you don't realize when you've never lived alone is how terribly sad it can be. So, I read on the porch (and got to at least see some people) after making dinner, and watched some weird TV shows. Then I decided that I should try to sleep. So, I pulled out the sofa bed and laid down to sleep, and got to sleep for about an hour. The rest of the night was awful--I laid there awake for an hour freaking myself out and eventually woke my dad up because I had to talk to someone. So then, I napped for about fifteen minutes at 2am, forty-five minutes or so at 3:30am, and fell asleep somewhere between 4:15 and 4:45am and woke up to the sun at 5:30. Once the sun was up, I was able to sleep a little more soundly. But yeah, awful.

So last night my awesome friends came over to the house with me for a little while and now I don't feel so isolated. It just helps to know that someone knows where I'm living!! =) Now that I've proved myself to be completely insane, I will sign off and leave you to your confusion about my irrational anxiety. Yay!


Friday, July 11, 2008

whirlwind week

Whew! The last week was a doozy! It began Thursday, July 3rd. I had two appointments that morning and I spent the rest of the day packing for my trips. We left early Friday morning for my maternal grandmother's house and I put together ceiling fans and collected yarn all day, and totally forgot it was the fourth of July and paid no attention to the fireworks. Saturday morning we drove even farther south to drop my sister off with my paternal grandparents so she could go with them to church camp. My parents and I came home, then my mom drove me to the train station and I went to the city. Once there, I met my roomates and Mel's sister at The Soup Box, went to concert, went to school, and visited Matthew at work.

Sunday= All Saints', book club, beach (so AWESOME!), dinner at the Huddle House, park
Monday= Threshold meeting, coffee w/Joel, dinner w/Jaron, sitting around w/Christina and Matthew
Tuesday= Meeting w/writing supervisor, Cafeneo w/girls, was supposed to have coffee w/Boaz, dinner w/Matthew, rounds, ice cream, movie, sleep
Wednesday= house-sitting orientation, visiting Josh, visiting Joel w/Josh, visiting Matthew, home

So, yeah. I was completely booked for one week. It was GREAT. And now I get to go back Monday and stay for two whole weeks! I'm house-sitting for my supervisor while she and her husband disappear to somewhere, and that puts me about six blocks from campus, which is great since up till now I've been forty-five miles from campus. I am looking forward to this so much!

The best part about this is that it wouldn't have been possible if I had not lost my job. This is a great opportunity for me to learn to keep a house by myself and also hang out with all of the people I love on a more regular basis. I would have spent this two and half weeks just waiting for my next visit (July 24th-27th) and working. Granted, the money would have been nice, but this is so much better than that! Praise God!!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

where there are books, there's reading!

I cannot BELIEVE how much reading I've been doing this summer. My goodness! And as I think back on what I have read so far, I realise that C.S. Lewis dominates the list. Our fabulous book club is reading his Space Trilogy, and I've just finished the second of those, and I'm re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia since I now have a much better understanding of Lewis since the last time I read them (oh, about eight years ago). I have two books left in the Chronicles, and I'm expecting to read The Great Divorce along with The Last Battle (a method recommended to me by my friend Josh). Oh, and I read Till We Have Faces. So altogether I've read six beautiful stories by C.S. Lewis out of twelve (thirteen?) books that I've read just since school let out in May. I love summer reading.

I have also read so far: Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (ed. Gundry, including a chapter by our very own Brad Nassif), 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed (our very own S. McKnight), Becoming Orthodox (Gillquist), Lilith (MacDonald), Praying With Icons (Forest), Adam (Dekker), and The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God (St. John Maximovitch). I am currently reading Augustine's Confessions, Jesus of Nazareth (Ratzinger), Theology of the Body (Pope John Paul II), and A Bird's-Eye View of Paul (Michael Bird).

Yummy. I hope this keeps me busy for the rest of the summer...


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

my sweet mother

My mom is so cute. I mean, she's generally adorable and says silly things all the time that make us all laugh, but she's been especially cute lately. Since my store went out of business and I became unemployed, she's been telling the story to everyone she knows. Yesterday it was my aunt, and this morning I heard her telling someone from work. It's an abbreviated version, but they get the gist. I can tell that the people she's talking to feel like I was wronged, which is a nice little extra bit of sympathy. She's just so incredibly cute.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

interview offer...denied

Funny thing happened this morning. I got a mysterious phone call--I answered it, and it was a woman from Jewel. I had just applied at Jewel yesterday, so I was slightly excited. She told me that they're holding interviews tomorrow for a grocery clerk position (the one position of twenty that I decided to apply for), and proceeded to ask, "Are you going to away to school in the fall?"

Oh, cruel fate! Of course, I said, "Yes, I am." She replied, "So you won't be around much longer?" "No, I'm not, unfortunately." "Oh, okay," she said, sounding moderately embarassed, "We're really looking for someone who's going to be around..." I cut her off and said, "I completely understand. I was just giving it a shot. No worries." She then said goodbye and we hung up.

Mom and I decided today that it would be a waste of gas and energy to apply anywhere else (I've applied to three other places) since I am going back to school so soon. I mean, I'm basically available for only four and a half weeks of work at this point, now that I've thought about it, and no one in their right mind would hire me because it would take that long to train me. The only place I could concieveably work is a Quizno's. There's one in Naperville, but it's too far to drive and it's a very sketchy place (plus, my store and theirs have been fueding for years). However, the one in Oswego is owned by the woman who used to own my store, so I've given her a call to see if she'll take me back, even if it's just for a few hours a week. I'm supposed to hear from her today...