First days

As of last night I had not slept for at least 12 hours.

It was a blur of unpreparedness, Coke, coffee, minor distractions and an intense desire to get my sedentary summer self off of its ass and into the mindset to prepare for school.

I stayed up packing last minute until about 5:30 in the morning on Saturday night into Sunday, pausing to sleep from 5:30ish to 7:30am, where I emptied the contents of my room into my driveway for my mother [who is a wizard at fitting big things strategically in small spaces] who insisted on packing the car the right way.

A food stop and a filled tank of gas later, we were off. All of my roommates had moved in on Friday so I was seriously eager to get there and be with them, even if I was getting there 2 days late.

I tried to sleep the car ride away, to only some avail. 2 hours time passed and we were there, at the apartments. They’re still kind of tied to the university, so we have RAs and stuff but it’s honestly very apartment-y [except we were provided with some of our furniture!].

Between getting settled and putting stuff away to handing big person paperwork and jumping into vestry duties with on-campus ministry, Sunday practically spent itself.

I don’t think I’ve been happier to hit the mattress in my life [they’re slightly more springy this year, too.]

This morning I woke up early, something I’m still getting used to with the new installment of 8am classes. (-:  How I landed inspiring teachers for the wee morning hours for almost 3 semesters straight I’ll never know. Either way, I like it and I want that to continue. Nothing like getting out of a morning slump with words from Kafka, placed at the top of the syllabus to remind us of our human condition:

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”  
I will be doing a LOT of reading this semester, more than normal, it appears, but I’m glad that these were, essentially, the first notes that hit my make-shift note pad [I may or may not still not have any school supplies yet– a situation that should be remedied by an evening Walmart excursion later].
And then, I had my first major class [both a big thing and a class for my actual major]. The professors are hard asses but I kind of like it because maybe it’ll force me to pick up some actual responsibility this year (-: My first and second class are 15 mins apart so I must acquire some serious hustle this year. I was handed a bag of muffins on my commute, sponsored by another on-campus ministry:
Muffins with a Message. I like it. 
Caught a break with a granola bar and sat down to write, then headed off to my Oceanography 101 class [seriously trying to get out of science this year? ha]. Thankfully I knew someone there so we shall struggle together! [Class perks: an extra credit assignment is a trip to a lake to get water samples (-:] 
Next was an advanced conversation class for my German minor. After I so obviously revealed the fact that I did not practice German over the summer [outside a two week Duolingo practice streak], the class smoothed out. It was only 5 people and we got around in a circle to essentially plan the topics for conversation in the course. Somehow that led to us starting a band for that class and performing during Foreign Language week. Hooooooooooray.

Homework shall commence after a trip to The Walmart, because our pantry is bare and all I’ve had today is coffee and a granola bar.

All in all though, a pretty solid first day.

Tell me about yours!


Last days

Publishing in retrospect, as I was writing in a Word doc from my laptop in a crammed car where I don’t like siblings reading over my shoulder [an ancient pet peeve of mine…?]. I wrote in German because 1) I needed the practice and 2) 4/5 of my other siblings don’t understand German.  Nevertheless, putting the words here in English is odd because I am starting to realize that there really is no true translation, just best guesses on how to convert emotions and concepts. 


Enough rambling:

Spending my last day home at my second home in Maryland with my grandmother, the first time I’ve seen her since she’s been home from the rehab center after breaking her hip.
I awoke to a breeze off the water and the nagging voice of my conscious urging me to get up and finish at least part of my responsibilities before heading back to school tomorrow.
This time last week I was packed up two weeks in advance for school, ready to grab my bags and go. This time around I’ve let procrastination eat me alive; nothing is packed, my room is a wreck [the German word “durcheinander” comes to mind] and the realization that my summer, essentially, has been nothing but organized chaos with regards to routines, tasks, and learning [from books and also about myself– ha!]. N
[Editor’s note: insert really awkward sounding German translation here!]
Here, I am a summer later, with no order, no plan, and, as we approach the deadline for my university tuition payment, no money. 
But all that was thrown at me this summer, I have to believe there was a reason for it, and remember that. What I see, how I see it, makes all the difference. And if there’s anything I learned this summer it is that there is always another way to look at something. It’s like a daily, informal test [or as some teachers prefer to say, “assessment”], that I have to take. Sometimes, it’s hard, like yesterday was hard. Emotionally, physically, mentally. Hard realizations, even harder conversations– all seemingly strategically placed throughout my summer to rouse me from a state of autopilot and blind tolerance. All seeming to point at things previously gone unnoticed, to things that I am so thankful for but often don’t pay enough attention to. 
Right now the sun happens to be shining, on its way down after a hard day, and the dew on the grass is carefree. Those dew drops don’t have to stress about anything. They probably see all the stressors, though. 
My heart isn’t angry or desperate; rather it’s full, and more inclined to look forward at what is in front of me and look there for happiness. What I don’t have I have full power to build, with enough time and effort. 

Nur wenn man im Moment lebt ist man eigentlich satz. 


It’s hard to believe how a glowing ball of fire can make the nation go crazy.

Eclipse-mania seemed to have taken over– people’s conversations, their agendas, their social medias. I’d seen pictures before so I knew what to expect but I didn’t expect what would happen today.

I was riding my bike to the post office to apply for my first ever passport [eek!] right during when the shadow coverage was supposed to be increasing. There I was met with a very thorough passport lady with 70’s hair, a guy who didn’t have cash to pay his passport fee, and a family with kids of split custody who came all the way there just to find they needed something notarized.

The guy who didn’t have cash on him switched appointments with me [because it would be like a madhouse–or the DMV–otherwise if they didn’t have appointments] and let me have an earlier time. I panicked a bit because I didn’t think I had enough cash, but it turns out I had EXACTLY the right amount. I stalled for the cashless stranger and his money order-hunting adventures, all while keeping my eye out for the eclipse to reach it’s max eclipsing, around 84% totality based on where we live. A woman came up to sit on the bench behind me and my pacing back and forth to the window.

“Are you a citizen?” she asked in heavily accented English, eyeing my proof of citizenship paper and other documents.

“Yes,” I told her, thinking about the arm and leg I practically gave to get that document replaced.

“Congratulations,” she said. “You are so lucky.”

I finished with the lady at the passport window.

“Be safe out there young lady, ” she said. “my cousin’s best friend’s husband went blind from looking up there for just a minute without those special glasses.” Apparently, an eclipsed sun is very dangerous to look at [but isn’t the regular sun…?] I headed outside and immediately noticed the effects of the muted sun on the street, the trees, and the temperature [hooray for not sweating as much!]. It was as if a storm were coming and the cloud-cover were dimming the sun’s rays.

I stopped for a celebratory cherry Slurpee and the guy in the check-out line behind me was talking to the cashier about the eclipse. I put in my 2 cents worth of knowledge and left, the residual heat outside still strong enough to melt my drink.

I was passing a neighborhood when suddenly I heard a voice calling out to me:

“Hey! Hey! Do you wanna see the eclipse?” A guy was running barefoot across his front yard, towards me, waving NASA-approved lenses in his hand.

“Um, yes please!”

As I put them on, he started speaking rapidly in his excitement, explaining how the totality in VA would only be full, but it that it was still awesome.

I told him that my roommate had gone with her best friend to Tennessee to see the whole thing, and I saw a hint of jealous excitement creep across his face. I could tell he was a bit anxious to get the glasses back so I surrendered the lenses, but not after holding them up to my phone’s camera as a man-made filter, in order to attempt to get a picture of the incredible shadow cover I’d seen through my eyes. It was super bad quality and very fuzzy.

I said bye to the guy, and resumed my ride home. However, looked down as I whizzed over the pavement to find crescent slivers of light coming through the gaps between the leaves on the trees, piling on top of one another like Pringles. I found out later on the Internet that this phenomenon was due to the pinhole effect, something I hadn’t ever experienced until now. It’s a really cool concept and I’m disappointed I didn’t get a picture, but I don’t think I’ll be able to erase those images–both of the eclipse cover and the carpet of moons sprawled out before me on the asphalt–too easily from my mind.

All too quickly it ended, and the sun returned to its full brightness in the sky. I couldn’t help but miss it; I think my favorite part about the whole thing was the strange amount of light that was cast on the earth, like it was stuck in the middle of sunset and midday, bringing out different shades of my surroundings.

They say the next one will be in 2024. I don’t know where I’ll be when that happens, but you can bet you’ll catch me looking up… possibly with some borrowed solar lenses and a 7-year old passport. 😉


looking through the glass

If you’re anything like me, you ride a bit of a small emotional wave after watching an emotionally charged movie… one that makes you laugh, cry, one that prods you to mildly consider some deep reflection and pondering.

The movie was “The Glass Castle”. My best friend and I were waiting for the sun to set at a carnival nearby so we went to see a movie. She mentioned having to read the book in high school and said the story was good. I hadn’t read the book, but now I feel compelled to.

I couldn’t help but relate to the (mostly) protagonist, Jeanette, growing up in an environment that is not… “typical” of what maybe other people were around. She grows up wanting more, wanting out, wanting to find meaning elsewhere but can’t help realizing that ignoring, disguising, or re-writing who she is is futile. She also learns hard lessons of forgiveness and taking every bit of the good with every bit of the bad.

It takes me back to approximately this same time last summer: stressed out, fed up, under what seemed like brickloads of pressure, starving for more [but really needing less], and so set on changing– anything was preferable to where I was standing, sleeping, breathing.

Too often it is we fall into chasing something that we will never be able to reach, but it captures, clutches, and fascinates us nonetheless. I don’t want to spoil any part of the movie but I will say this, even though it is hella cliché, but we have to learn to love and live every second, we have to look deeper, past the scorn of others and into the uniqueness of each other’s vivid souls, to find the balance between who we are (nature) and who we want to become (nurture) before they’re gone.

As I count down the days at home before I leave for another year at university I can’t help but look back and notice the changes that have taken place. Where I am is definitely not where I started, and I couldn’t be more thankful. This time a year ago I was unsure, angry, and almost an unreal level of desperate. This time a year ago I was a poor communicator, I didn’t trust my abilities, and my willpower was pretty much completely sunken.

It takes time and reflection, it takes words and healing, it takes love and reminders that we’re valid and fragile in order to move forward, see who we are and make guesses at who we’re going to be.


Oh, August….!

*sits down to write the casual monthly post when it’s basically half-way through the month*

August was once a distant dot in the future and now it’s almost over. What a ride. I think, if there was a contest for most dramatic month of this summer, August takes home the trophy. *rolls eyes and wipes sweat off brow* But hey, I am doing things and I just need to WRITE because I’ve been so swamped with getting back from vacation and continuing my normal life, wrapping up loose ends, and mentally preparing myself to go back to school.

[Reading] The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Fiction about a girl in an Ivy league finding love for the first time… I’m sorry I need to read more to tell you more. LOL. I’m super slow getting through it because my time I have available to sit down and read is depressingly limited. Trying to make it a just-before-bed habit, though. A couple nights of that should do it!

pic creds to Amazon (-:

[Writing] Welcome notes to the incoming freshmen at my school for campus ministry!

[Learning] That you need to feel to heal. A close influence on Facebook recently opened my eyes to the importance of dealing with things head-on, that feeling all of the feelings attached to the things that bother us is essential for the healing to start, because you can’t outrun them forever. So often we take time just avoiding and evading, covering up and not communicating, relentlessly sweeping things under the rug. But when you lay out your situation before you, take the good with the bad, and figure out whether you want to be the victor or the victim, and just push on no matter how intense or insane or hard the conversation is… it has a transforming effect.  Life’s too short to be dishonest with others and especially ourselves.

[Doing/Working on] moar things!

  • 100 cards 100 days  [Chugging along at Day 87!? Check out the art Instagram if you haven’t already?]
  • Sunday school planning (-: [the LAST ONE is this weekend!]
  • Working at me job
  • Babysitting! [Makin that BANK]
  • Biking
  • attempting to run
  • applying for a PASSPORT. (🍀!!!!)

– the remnants of my kid’s [the ones I babysit LOL not my own. Not for a long while.] snacks, leftovers
– cereal. Lots of cereal.
– Pizza! *thinks of the gorgeous new launch of beautiful Mackenzie’s dazzling new blog site– Paper Pizza [please go look at it because it is a work of art and design GOALS.]*

[Drinking] Water. Sweet, sweet water. I’ve put the Brita pitcher up and about in my room so now I try to use it daily. It’s helping!

[Listening] to all of the feelings. 

[Laughing] at how unprepared I am for this upcoming semester (-:

[Thinking] about what to pack, what I need to put on this week’s to-do list, etc.

[Trying] to be open. To be honest, to put my best effort forward. Also trying to get my goals in line to be able to pay tuition for this semester. [I swear once this journey is over, if I’m not dead yet, I’m gonna write a book–or a super lengthy post–about how I essentially put myself through college and graduated with only 20k of debt. I’m on a good track].

[Hoping] that I can get a passport acceptance appointment this week. I am soooo ready to have this DONE.

[Loving] the fact that I got 8 required books for a Russian Lit class for less than $20…!!!!

[Praying] for a smooth transition to school.

How’s August treating you?


I am my rescue

After almost a week of being sore and sick, I spontaneously decided to go on a run with my best friend today. It was hot, the shoes weren’t mine, and it was only for 2 miles, but it felt good. 

I’ve been biking all over the place recently but somehow I feel like that’s just not as much work as running is. Going from doing it every day to not doing it for practically two months is quite the jump, so I was proud of even a little over a 9 minute mile.

The second mile started to feel euphoric, like my body started to recognize something it had been missing and couldn’t get enough. And then I wanted to die, and throw up [not necessarily in that order]. But once I had cooled down, it felt like I could go back out and do it again no problem.

Sometimes I get all annoyed and frustrated– why can’t my body do this? Why can’t my body do that? Or I complain: I’m so tired. I can’t do this, it hurts. But it takes a second to sit down and say to myself: “it’s a give and take”.

In the traffic to SFO airport we were listening to a documentary’s audio over the car stereo. It’s a good one, would recommend it– PlantPure Nation, a film that basically talks about the numerous benefit of a whole foods/plant diet and why getting simpler and purer with our food is, essentially, better than any diet one could try. Listening to it I realize I don’t nearly listen to my body enough.

9/10 times I don’t get enough sleep, I don’t drink enough water, I don’t eat enough [or when I do eat it’s generally not the best food in the world], I don’t exercise often or at the intensity I would like… I have a tendency to linger behind screens [lols while writing this] and I probably am not optimal at getting a daily dose of human interaction. There’s only one thing getting in the way of all that.

And I look at her in the mirror every day.

Sometimes I’m just hit with the fact that I have the power to do pretty much anything I put my mind to. I could sit down and teach myself Russian. I could get up every morning and see the sunrise. I could run a mile every day [unless I was sick or injured or dead]. I could start my own garden and grow vegetables to live off of. I could vow to de-clutter my life, to donate my excess, to have only what I need.

I was scrolling through Facebook recently, being unproductive, the usual.. when I saw this video about this woman who ended up a single mom and decided, after seeing only $11.42 in her bank account, that she was not going to have the life she was heading towards, that she was going to give her baby boy the life he deserved, all by acknowledging that she alone was her rescue, that she had it within her to pull her up by her bootstraps.

So today’s one of those get up and get ’em days. Paperwork, regular work, draining hours watching children that aren’t mine, planning a trip to Ireland. All worthy things to get out of bed for, all things that can get done if I have the mindset to just do it.

I think Nike was on to something.