Warning: Immense Entry Ahead; Or, I’m Back

Friday Five: Love
1) When does liking someone a lot become loving that person? With time. I don’t believe in love at first sight. When you connect with someone when you’re at your worst, your best, and every moment in between, that’s love.
2) Is there a job you would do for free, and is it your current job? Editing. I do it all the time when people ask. My current “job” is teaching, which I wouldn’t do for free full-time. It’s too stressful.
3) What is one person/thing that inspired you to take action of some sort? Greg inspired me to go back to church. I don’t think I’ve ever told him that. It’s true irony, but that was the beginning of my return to being God’s.
4) Though you might not believe in it, would you like fate to exist? I don’t believe in fate, but I believe God plays many, if not all, of the roles commonly assigned to fate, chance, or coincidence. On First Timer’s retreat, Tim said in his witness that he saw the University Baptist Church’s marquee one day reading, “Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.”
5) What’s the kindest thing that anyone has ever done for you? I’m blessed with having (and having had) so many awesome people in my life that I can’t possibly pinpoint one thing above all the others. Most recently, Maura bought me mittens to replace my gloves when I finally lost them for good. My hands are very grateful.

I really need to blog more often. It used to be several times a week, when I felt like I had something to say. Note how that applies regardless of whether anyone wants to read it, or reads it at all. Then I entered the Year from Hell (a.k.a. my senior year of high school), when I dropped to once a week. With the Friday Five as an opener, I blogged only on Fridays. I made a resolution at the beginning of the year (not a New Year’s resolution; I don’t make those anymore) to blog more often. That has actually become a backwards prophecy, as I’ve been so busy I can’t even manage Fridays anymore, as evidenced in the past few weeks. So, as much as I know you all love reading about what I do every single day… I don’t think I can manage that anymore. Besides, I usually use my assignment book to help me remember what I did each day. Even this paragraph you’re reading right now was originally written on February 28. I didn’t even get to finish writing it, let alone post it.

My AA lit class has taken a… well, not a whole 180. Maybe like 130 degrees. You get the point: big change. I spent many of my free moments (and some mind-wandering studying moments) being upset with my teacher and myself. I wasn’t keeping up with the reading, and the first exam was approaching. In desperation, I prayed to St. Thomas Aquinas to help me out and posted a similar petition in my away message. I gave up studying on my bed, though it’s quite comfortable there, and went back to the study lounge, which is only two doors down anyway. It is almost a miracle how much more efficient my study time became. Thanks, St. Thomas. Thus, I managed to almost catch up with my reading. I was still a few excerpts short, so I wasn’t in the best mood going to the test.

I’m not the only one who took issue with that professor’s syllabus and lecturing style, so the mood in the classroom wasn’t far from mine when I got there. She arrived not long after I did, handed out the syllabus, and said she had an announcement to make. “After careful consideration,” she’d decided to revise her entire syllabus so we could start reading works from the time period we’re supposed to be doing. That put me in such a good mood. I thanked God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, St. Thomas — basically anyone who could hear my joyous thoughts. I’d been praying about her, too, and wondering if I should just confront her about it. I’m not assertive at all, though, so that made me nervous. Now, it’s basically a non-issue. We had another class on historical context, but at least we’re in the right time period now. Honestly, the first contextual lecture was the best we’ve ever had in that class.

So my next AA lit hurdle was my presentation. She assigned us partners. My first impression of my partner, Malcom was that he was like most of the guys I went to high school with. I’m a hard worker; they were not. He came through, though. We had a class cancelled at some point, so our presentation date was moved. We met at the library the night before our Tuesday presentation. We had James Weldon Johnson, which was so lucky (or providential) because I read The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man in AP Lit senior year of high school. I knew I wanted to focus on the literature (it is a lit class), so I sent him off to do research for the fact sheet. I sat in a group study room with two other girls, making notes on Johnson’s poetry. I was in the library for far too long considering how little work I got done. I left early enough to finish reading the novella before I went to bed.

The night before the presentation, Malcom emailed me the fact sheet. I had to reformat it to fit onto two pages, then go down to the library to make copies before class. The actual presentation wasn’t horrible. Malcom hadn’t done the biographical research I’d assumed he would, so his part was noticeably shorter. I pointed out the parts of the novella to the class I’d wanted to, and Dr. Shannon’s comments seemed positive. Then again, on the essay section of my exam, she’d circled all my “and” symbols with her horrible red pen. I will never use red pens for grading. But seriously, who does that? It’s not as though she didn’t know what they meant. No other teacher has ever had a problem with it. It’s an in-class essay, speed and precision are key. Formal orthography is not.

I really hate that class, but I can deal. I get what I can out of it, and I do like most of the literature we’ve been reading. Going to my high school gave me really easy access to a lot of the writers we’re studying now, but it’s still vaguely interesting. If only my professor weren’t so disagreeable.

I also met with Tanya for ARHU back in February (again, I’m really going to work on this whole blogging frequency issue). She was late, but I had my Adolescent Dev. book with me, and Andrew came to chat in the HH lounge, so it was cool. I was surprised to see a huge print of the Virgin of Guadalupe on her wall, but Tanya has always been into Christian art, despite (or perhaps due to) being a lapsed Lutheran. The meeting went okay. She encouraged me to consider submitting my writing to Stylus, the campus literary magazine. I don’t think I’m ready to let my babies into the world like that, though. Now, if I can just get all that editing done, and write another story, and show improvement enough to get an A… ugh. I like my project, I like most of the stories I churned out last semester, and I loved Buffy class. And the other HH students are great. But the program itself is getting old.

So I plan to get down to editing this week. Working on my stories seems like wasting time. That’s one of the main reasons I chose a creative writing project for Keystone. It’s not wasting time if it’s an assignment. The problem is working that assignment in with the rest of my classes. ARHU class was only once a week, so I kept forgetting that I had to do work for it. Even with Buffy class, and I loved Buffy class. But the sole requirement for ARHU 206 is to improve our rough drafts from last semester. If we improve, we pass. If not, we fail. The workshop notes I got from HONR 258T were really helpful in improving “Image,” so I’m going to try that on a smaller scale for my Keystone project. I sent the stories to Seth, Guy, and Sara. I also sent them to Greg, against my better judgment. I haven’t looked at them in-depth yet, but I glanced over them. Everyone’s opinion is useful… but I’m still thinking that maybe that wasn’t the best of ideas.

The home scene is okay. I’ve been chatting with my mom again lately. I get along with her just fine; it’s that “out of sight, out of mind” concept. (That also applies a lot to long-term assignments, like, say, the papers and presentations I’ve had to do lately.) Winter means everyone’s birthday in my family, except for me. I sent my Dad a birthday card and called him. Our short conversation reminds me of how my relationship with him has never been fabulous, but is not bad, per se. It’s just not particularly strong. I want to work on that, but it’s more difficult since I don’t live at home for most of the year. I feel like that’s helped a lot in my identity formation, though. I’m still figuring out who I am and who I want to be (and who God knows I will be), and spending less time with my family makes that easier and harder.

Tonight, for example, I wanted to go to St. Columba for the Stations of the Cross. My Lenten resolutions include doing the Stations every Friday, but my dad picked me up at 2:45, so I couldn’t make it to the CSC. MassTimes and the sites of a few churches around my house showed that St. Columba had Stations at 7:30pm, which was perfect. I mentioned to my mom that I was going and invited her to join me. The awkward part was when I had to explain to her what the Stations are. I realize that I probably won’t keep practicing Catholicism the way I do now for the rest of my life. At some point, I imagine three Masses a week (Sunday included) might not be feasible. And I’m still learning so much about my faith and my religion. I just feel like she should know things like that. I try to keep from getting a “holier than thou” attitude, or “preaching”, but at the same time, I want her to get closer to God, too. I’m not sure why my dad converted. I should ask. Then there’s the rugrats. My mom only takes them to church every other Sunday, the last time I checked. I’m not entirely sure she knows that Sunday Mass attendance is mandatory, for them as well as for herself. Maybe I’m just being picky, but maybe not.

Shakespeare class is going okay. Leinwand is still all about the sex. We read Measure for Measure this past week, though, which is about sex. By now, I’m used to it. I could stand for a little less sex in his lectures, but they’re just so interesting! And I like Shakespeare anyway. We’ve had our first paper now. I went in some odd directions in mine, explaining how Shylock (of The Merchant of Venice) can be played as a diabolical archetype or as bipolar. I got an 85, which is also what I got on the first quiz. Considering that I was up late writing that paper the night before it was due, I’m pleased.

I had to give a presentation in Adolescent Dev. this week. My partner, Cory, presented on divorce and stepparenting; I did adoption, with a focus on transracial adoption, just because I find it really interesting. That required another night in the library, which wasn’t fun. I think her part of the presentation went better than mine. I had some serious info dump going on, but as I’d hoped, some of my classmates had questions and generated a discussion themselves. That doesn’t bode well for my future as a teacher, but I’m not passionate about adoption. I’m passionate about books. I also managed to get my conservative Catholic self through a discussion of adolescent sexuality. Honestly, I don’t know how I’d explain to my child why Heather Has Two Mommies.

Colonial literature is going fine. My professor is still very German. The weather this week has ranged from around 85 degrees all the way down to 55, so he was almost losing his mind. Weather doesn’t usually change like that here, but it pretty much never does that in Germany. I had to give a presentation in that class, too, the day after Af Am lit. That required a night in the library, staying up a bit late to organize my notes and prep the handout, and getting up early to go make copies. I don’t keep much money in Terrapin Express, since I only use it to make copies. I’d used up most of it the previous day, so I went down to the library intending to put more money on my account through the machines. But when I went over to the machines, they were all out of order. Distraught but calm, I went over to the copier and swiped my card, thinking maybe I’d have just enough left for the copies I needed. Imagine my surprise when it showed 100 copies. I could have sworn I only had 75 before I’d made the other copies. I don’t know if I was just losing my mind or if God opened a window, but I got my copies and got to class on time. The presentation went well. I don’t know what I got on it, but my grade was based partly on pity. I was supposed to have a partner, but either he dropped the class without telling anyone and ignored emails from me and Dr. Stievermann, or something horrible happened to him. Regardless, I’m the only one thus far who’s presented solo. But I’m still alive.

That leaves Spanish. I like Spanish. I like writing it, and reading it, and I can understand almost everything my teacher says, but I still don’t really like speaking it. It’s my first class of the day, so I have trouble getting there on time. I always eat breakfast, and it’s rough getting up so early, so I’m usually just barely on time. I have it down to a science: If I’m passing Dorchester when the carillons start, I’m only going to be a minute late. I feel bad because I like my teacher, but morning happens too early in the day! This morning, I had my oral exam/ interview. I stayed up so late working on my colonial literature paper, I was only able to practice for it this morning. I got to spend about fifteen minutes speaking Spanish to myself, which is a new experience. The interview went well. I let her choose the category, so we wound talking about music. She’s heard of Switchfoot, which made me happy.

So, you know I’m still alive. I’ve just been busy. And I didn’t even mention retreat yet. But in some way, my not updating is a good thing. Instead of sitting here writing about my life, I was busy living it.

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