Saturday, November 7, 2009

A mind of its own

It amazes me how the brain decides it's done working.  I've experienced this countless times, being the sleep-defying person that I am. Let me set up a few situations, because I'm sure you can relate. These are all things that actually happened, the evidence of which I have kept for laughs.

1. Reading late at night 
We're all familiar with this one. You read a book or article for class the next morning, and you're super tired, fighting to keep your eyes open. Your book eventually falls off your lap, and when you pick it up, you have no idea where you were when it fell; flipping through the pages, you don't recognize anything until you return to the very first page, which you realize you've read about eight times. I've seen some curious highlighting jobs, too.

2. Making notes to study
I distinctly remember a time during sophomore year when I was making notecards for a French test the next morning. I was really tired, so I ended up going to bed. I woke up early the next morning to finish studying and, to my shock and dismay, found notecards with random tangents about football quarterbacks and carrots amid conjugations and sentence structure. Another set of notes for an advertising class included random, tired, barely legible sentences like, "I'm not gonna try it though... I won't get THAT tired." Yet another set of advertising notes included this random interjected nonsense, which I now put in brackets: "It's amazing how [sometimes you just don't pay attention to how tall someone is] you start, and then all of a sudden midterms are upon you..."

3. Taking notes in class
This semester, while studying for an exam, I discovered a particular gem in the midst of class notes about Brahmans, Ashrama, and Buddhism. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seeds for sowing, will doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." It was barely legible, but I was able to recognize it. I'm glad my brain knows Psalm 126:5-6, even if it should have been writing about Veda rejection and paradox. At least I got back to taking notes on the next line, though some of those are completely illegible even now. I'm sure that will be particularly helpful when the test rolls around...

4. Text messaging
I was up really late last night reading an article about African influence in early Asia, and I was drifting off, so I decided to set my alarm for 6 to get up and write the summary.
A text message to Stephen this morning around 6:30 said: "So i went to bed at c and ive been up since 6 writing a 2-page article summary, and i am indescribably tirf :-("  I don't even remember sending that message; I found out about it when he later texted me back something along the lines of, "I can tell."

5. Writing papers
I wrote a two-page paper this morning between the hours of 6:00 and 7:00. It included various delicacies such as "easter border," "their are," and "the dynasty's Kind[King?] Ashoka" that I discovered as I reread it this evening. However, I do not really remember the action of writing the paper, so I felt like I was reading it for the first time. This is not the first time this has happened. One time, I repeated two full paragraphs (my half-asleep brain must get copy/paste-happy). I've written "laugher" for "laughter," "one" instead of "once," and "she girl" instead of "the girl." I've repeated the phrase "on Wednesday" twice in the same sentence. A rough draft of a paper had a particularly gripping closing sentence: "This semester is home, and I wasn't Sister to some back. Sometims was long butt I've learned a nplot." Thankfully, my grammar is good enough to where I can get away with a few "typos"...

Do you remember anything funny like this happening to you? I'd love to hear about it. Usually I'm able to keep my mind on track, but sometimes I'm just so tired that my poor brain starts shutting down without permission. It's such a curious happening, and I'm always fascinated to see the results of these instances. Maybe one day an essay will write itself, and I'll wake up the next morning with the week's homework completed. Until then, I'll just have to be satisfied with random, illegible musings of football and tall people.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sewing makes life so much cheaper

Halloween is this weekend, and I'm looking forward to dressing up! The past two years I went as a black cat and an Indian (Stephen brought me back a beautiful outfit from India, along with tons of bangles that everyone thought I got at Urban Outfitters). This year, I'm going with a group of six people, and our costumes all go together! I sewed my costume out of two shirts from Goodwill, for a total of $4. The fake eyelashes I bought to go with it cost $2 more than that. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me back in kindergarten how to sew and be creative. :-)  

I'm currently trying to figure out how I can acquire a car within the next six months or so at the latest. It's kind of daunting. I just now thought of a genius idea that could have earned me some money to put toward it, but of course, it's too late. :-) I love making costumes, and if anyone remembers the Human Torch costume I made Halloween of 2007 for John, it won two costume contests. Of course, part of it was his amazing makeup job, but the whole thing was just so much fun! Anyway, this is all just a massive lament of a moneymaking opportunity that slipped delicately through my oblivious fingers.

(I took this last one from someone's Facebook...)

Classes and Cubans

The weather is beautiful and I want to play outside, but I have homework to do. I thought I'd compromise and write on my blog instead.

This morning I registered for my last four college classes ever. Weird.... 
  1. Advanced Feature Writing (Required. Said to be very difficult, but I know the professor, and he's wonderful.)
  2. Writing for Online Publication (A "topics in journalism" class was required. This one came highly recommended.)
  3. Anthropology of the Himalayas (I needed an upper-division elective, so I just picked one that looked fun!)
  4. Village Life in India (I needed another elective, and it could be lower-division. Who knew lower-division classes could be so awesome?)
For the first time ever, I don't have labs. When scheduled out, it almost looks laughable. I know it won't necessarily be easy, but it will certainly be interesting, and my week won't be eaten up with labs I don't get credit for. I guess (well, I hope) it will give me plenty of time to prepare for graduation, getting a job, and oh yeah, getting married!

We had another international dinner party at my apartment last Friday, this time with friends from Colombia, Korea, China, Cuba, and Iraq. We got to try an interesting Korean rice drink, and a friend from Cuba spent three hours making the absolutely delicious meat-stuffed potato balls she brought! (Oh yeah, and she used to play for the Cuba national basketball team. She is basically superwoman.) I can't believe that before college, I didn't know the utter awesomeness of getting to know international students!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reflection and patience

I miss East Asia so much. I had a delightful conversation with my new PALS about all the words I could remember (the vast majority was descriptions and names of food...), I've been thinking about my wonderful "summer family," and I've talked with a few other people about it lately, so it's been on my mind. It wasn't all perfect, and I certainly battled with discouragement many times throughout the summer. There were mosquitos out the wazoo, and I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. But it was amazing. I keep looking forward and trying to apply everything to the now, and it's cool to see what God is doing, but my heart just longs to go back in time to the summer.

Here are some major themes of the summer:
  • "...And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:47
  • "'My food,' said Jesus, 'Is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Do you not say, "Four months more and then the harvest"? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest... Thus the saying "one sows and another reaps" is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.'" John 4:34-35, 37-38
  • "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2
  • "You Said" by Shane & Shane
  • "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong
Any of those things automatically bring me back to a time when God did crazy, radical, life-changing things and we had to rely on Him. Maybe now I'm relying on myself more, and thus wondering why I don't see God working as much. But who am I kidding? God always stays the same. His character never changes.
But for now, I just want a big hug and some hotpot. :-(

*Took a break, walked away, washed the dishes, read the Bible, laughed, and came back to report*

"Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." James 5:7-8

Right there, in today's chapter. Be patient. Establish your heart. I'm not sure I can add anything to that.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Addendum: a limerick

I love it when outside it's chilly
I just want to play and be silly
Can't sit in a chair
Twirl my hands in the air
I can't focus on homework, not really

And another:

I'm sprawled in her papasan chair
I wonder if Suzie's aware
It's my favorite of all
When I come to call
No other chair can compare!

Thank you.

Atmospheric transformation: an ode to cold weather and fuzzy socks

UT has this program called PALS, where they hook you up with an international student and you get to know each other, experience other cultures, and they get to practice their English. I've done it for several semesters, and it's still every bit as awesome. I finally got my two PALS last week, and I'm so excited to meet the two girls from China. I look forward to spending quality time with them and learning even more about Chinese culture (while hopefully exchanging a recipe or two in the process!). 

In other news: Austin is weird. Last week it was relatively chilly and rainy until Thursday, when it was in the 80s, hot and humid. Friday it was raining again and in the 50s, and I drank some hot apple cider in celebration. Today it is no longer raining, but it's still in the glorious 50s. It makes me so happy, because it makes me think it might actually be fall!  But of course, it will be in the 80s later on this week. It reminds me of this one day last December: The day started out in the 80s, dropped to the 40s and started hailing that evening, then dropped even more and snowed later that night. Only in Austin...

It's amazing how a chilly, clear day can automatically fill me with joy the entire day. I have a paper due tomorrow? Ok. I have to wait on the bus an extra 20 minutes? No big deal. The electrical outlet in my apartment is going crazy? Sure, but it feels great outside! My friends know that if the weather is beautiful, they will hear me saying it over and over again! My roommate and I get so excited when we can turn off the AC for good and just leave our windows open. Sure, our noses are cold and we walk around the apartment in sweatshirts and extra socks, but it's so wonderful to be able to feel how real the weather is, both inside the apartment and outside.

There's just something about weather that fascinates me though, and gives me a deeper glimpse into God's greatness. Think of how big of a concept weather is. In order for the weather to change, a million things have to happen on a really big scale, and it's all interconnected through the atmosphere around the world. Crazy thought, huh? But God is so much bigger than all that.

"The earth shook; the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel." ~Psalm 68:8

The most violent storm is a puff of wind to the God who created the universe. Please read chapters 38-42 in the book of Job in the Bible for God's own words concerning His GREATNESS over His creation. It will blow your mind.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Serving it up, dinner party style

15 dinner guests + 9 different kinds of food + 4 different countries represented + lots of amazing help + tons of fun and laughter = a WONDERFUL afternoon/evening!!

I love to cook and Ashley is an excellent hostess, so we combined these things with our love of the international this evening for a dinner party at my apartment. Ashley started preparing food last night, and I started cleaning, grocery shopping and cooking at 2 p.m. today. After devoting the afternoon to preparation (thanks, Anna and Becky, for the help), we were so excited when 6 p.m rolled around! Well, 6-something-ish... I've learned to never rely too heavily on a concept of time when interacting with those from more relaxed cultures. ;-)  We had a nice mixture of international students (8) and American students (8), most of whom did not previously know each other, as we began to eat. Several people brought food, so we ended up with: stuffed shells, lasagna, salad, cranberry orange cream cheese dip with crackers, coconut pie, monkey bread, strawberries, chocolate ice cream, and Korean crab chips. We had JUST enough food. We scooped up the last bit of lasagna and the last leaves of lettuce for the last two people who walked through the door. Whew! God provides. :-)  

I would just like to take this moment to describe what a poor hostess I am compared to Ashley. She is always looking out for the needs of others, and she does an amazing job of making people feel at home. And it comes naturally!  I, on the other hand, have to constantly remind myself to try and think of what people may be thinking or feeling and figure out what I can do to fill those needs. I'm not always successful with coming up with stuff OR being mindful of it in the first place. Dishes didn't even occur to me tonight, and we ended up having to scramble for a motley collection of plates and cups. I love being with people and doing things for people, but the hostess aspect of it does not come naturally at all. I guess that's what's so important about the concept of each of Christ's followers being part of the body of Christ; we complement each other and fill in the stuff they're missing!

Four countries were represented in my living room/kitchen tonight, and my apartment was full to the brim of lively discussion about everything from driving to dancing to finding similarities in everyone's languages. You know the night is successful when people offer to host it at their place next time. :-)

Thank you to everyone who helped prepare, everyone who helped clean up, and everyone who CAME (and interacted and learned and laughed)!

What did I learn most from this evening? Molla/Buzhidao/Je ne sais pas/No se/Shirimasen/I don't know. But I sure look forward to next time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Magazine

Each student in my Magazine Management class has to design a business plan and basically create our own magazines by the end of the semester. It's really fun so far, and I've always loved doing this type of thing. I have to come up with and plan my magazine from scratch, and I end up with a huge bound copy of design pages, story ideas, competition research, staffing plans, mailing strategy and everything else you can imagine. It will be a lot of work, but I'm excited about it.

That being said, I'm still in the conceptual stage. I came up with a mission statement and a name, but my favorite name was taken by some tiny magazine up in Chicago. My second choice name is still iffy, but we'll see. :-)  I will post my mission statement sometime and see if anyone has ideas to add. I would love second, third, and fifteenth opinions. If you want to know more about it, just ask me!


Several people, upon hearing that I'm a journalism major, immediately ask if I have a blog.
I always reply something like, "Well, um, not right now, but I really should..."
In an effort to reduce my lameness quotient, I will officially start blogging. For real.

Many of you will remember that I planned to keep a blog while in East Asia this past summer. That was the full intention, until I couldn't access
blogspot at any point during the trip. Here is my meager tribute to two months of amazingness:

I don't want to add the cliché "Well, we'll see how this blog thing goes." I mean, I kind of want to.... but I won't. Because it assumes that I'll never have anything interesting to write about. Let me assure you: as a journalism senior at the University of Texas at Austin who loves international students and adventure, I will never be at a lack for material. We'll just have to see what I have time to share. :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm going to East Asia!

I'm going to East Asia for two months this summer! I know four out of the six people I'll be going with, and I am so excited to serve with them this summer. The teammates I know so far are: Stephen (fiancé), Becky (friend from UT), Andy (friend from UTA), and Patty (friend from UTA). And I know the other two will be equally as awesome!

I'll be on a college campus taking language lessons in the mornings, and meeting people and building relationships (etc...) in the afternoons and evenings.

I will be updating this blog or sending email updates throughout the summer, maybe both. Please be thinking of me, my team, and the people we'll meet during this time!