Saturday, August 29, 2009

Senior's Bane

My mom took me to visit Harvard on Friday. And it was cruel, because now I'm in love with a school that has a 7% acceptance rate out of the most impressive pool of applicants in the nation.

But they also have universal, unlimited meal plans, with a cafeteria in every "house" and a half-vegan menu. Ample ground for unrequited love.

My college selection process has been mostly arbitrary and based on three major criterion: 1) location, 2) cost, and 3) meal plan. Hence, you see why Harvard is so attractive to frugal Bostonite foodie me, besides the whole ah-it's-freaking-Harvard factor. However, this has thrown a wrench in my whole college list drafting process.

My mom and I were talking about Grove City and Hillsdale today. "They're surrounded by corn fields," I moaned, "And they're a horrific drive away." My mom found the bright side, of course, "Mr. Cobb says Grove City has a beautiful campus, and you have friends at both schools." I stuttered something about them being conservative schools, to which my mom pointed out I was mostly a conservative anyway. Oh, right. Drat.

I examined some other possibilities, "There's always UMass Dartmouth." And my mom laughed at me, "A party school where the tuition is twice the price for out-of-staters? Why?" I mention Boston College and the College of William & Mary, but, well, these are expensive. "Further," my mom points out, "You're not even Catholic. You just wanna go to BC cos Karen Kovaka and Emily Shorey went there, eh?" I tell you, I am verbally slapped with so many sheeple generalizations in my home . . . !

It seems I won't be getting into college at all, not just because of my scattered academic record, but also because I just can't decide where to apply! At this rate, it looks like I'll end up at URI. And I'm okay with that, truly. It's just not very inspiring. But, yeah, life isn't glamorous, and if a Rhode Island state school is where I end up, hey, I'm okay with that.

But my mom keeps talking about an end goal, that it doesn't matter what school I go to as long as it gets me to my end goal. That sounds good, yeah, I can be content just about anywhere. [Anywhere that features an area in which I can thrive, and decent food.] My problem, however, is that I don't know what my end goal is. I don't have one, and even worse, I'm okay with not having one. How is that supposed to comfort me in the college selection process?!

In just three months the applications will be sent and the decision will be out of my hands . . . I'll end up at the least expensive school that'll take me. How's that for decisive?

Blah. I wanna go to Harvard.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Practice Makes Permanent

Estuve pensamiento sobre español, y estaba triste.

Estoy, como se dice, out of practice. Gramática, sintaxis, vocabulario . . . está demasiado difícil para mi memoria inepta. Me gusta aprender lengua, español está uno de mi asignaturas favoritas, pero pierdo qué no practico. Y no me pidas decir cosas. Mirábamos I Love Lucy cada noche, y mi papá preguntó si comprendí qué Ricky estaba diciendo. No sabía. Como escribo ahora estoy recordando, pero este es farragoso. As in, overly proper and translator simulated. I can't add connotative subtleties in Spanish like I can in English, and it makes me sad. ¿Cómo las personas se comunican en un idioma que no es el suyo? Quiero aprender.

Nadie habla en el tiempo presente todo el tiempo. Nadie habla sobre baloncesto todo el tiempo. Nadie habla como un bebé todo el tiempo. Norte americanos dan no courtesía a extranjeros, ¡pero aprendiendo una lengua está difícil! Español está fácil, ingles está muy complicado. Pero aprendieno español me hace ver lo hermosa que es inglés. Deseo poder saber lo que puedo sobre esta herramienta preciosa. Pues práctica hace permanente.

No puedo escribir cosas con marcas de acentos. FAIL.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Negative Perception

I'm a jerk. Storytime!

The Fray is playing at URI in September. And of course me and my friend Hannah are so there. My mom loves the Fray, so she's coming too, and she shared this news with a friend she ran into at the mall. Said friend told us that tickets are twenty dollars cheaper if boughten through a URI student. Score!

As luck would have it, Hannah and I know no URI students. Stalking our Facebook friends and asking around did little to turn anyone up. Until my dad's running buddy came over. Mom remember that my friend from when I was younger goes to URI, my friend the brother of my dad's running buddy.

Oh, I know, good story. The plot thickens.

I was all, sweet! But, you know, I haven't talked to this guy in forever, and I'm all about keeping my options open. Last time I saw him, at a mutual friends' wedding we hadn't spoken. I wasn't planning on contacting him about it. But my mom assumed I had Facebooked him. She told his brother as such. And he was like, "What the heck, my brother hasn't heard from your daughter."

And I was like, "Nice, now this guy is expecting a Facebook message from me about concert tickets, which is awkward enough. But also, I wasn't planning on asking him." Some searching had revealed a girl who goes to our church also goes to URI, it was easier, safer, less awkward to just ask her. Or find someone else.

And my mom was like, "Why do you keep shutting this poor kid out?" There are so many reasons - he's taller and smarter and older than I am, so I'm intimidated by him. We mutually avoid each other when we see each other, because, you know, we were friends when we were eight. Those aren't the kind of friendship that are easy to pick up again.

I mostly don't want to exacerbate our awkward acquaintance by using him for such a utilitarian ends as concert tickets. [Especially because, as a Megadeath fan, I think he probably doesn't hold The Fray in high regard.] I want to avoid contact with him in general because it's sure to be uncomfortable, and I flee from that sort of thing. But, maybe this awkward relationship is my fault.

I tell myself I avoid him because he avoids me. My mom says he avoids me because I'm icy to him every time I see him. Which might be true. I did ignore him at the wedding. [But he ignored me, too!] Because he makes me nervous. Because I am an insecure person! Isn't that just silly, though? It's usually easy for me to pick up friendships where they've left off - can't I just get over myself and treat this kid like I'd like to be treated?

This lesson has been slow in the learning. To get over myself. To treat all people with love regardless of whatever warped perception of our relationship I have in my head. I think I have a Facebook message to go write. Maybe. Act on what I've learned.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm not ignoring you, I'm just thinking.

I do this thing where I completely zone out, I'm inside my head and dead to anything outside of my head.

I was reading a blog just now, and Maggie said something, but the only word I heard was "today" because I didn't even realize until just now that she was talking. And honestly, I was a little irked that she expected to have my attention just by saying something out, couldn't she see I was inside myself? Does she think my ears are free real estate? Does she think she can just talk and I'll drop all thoughts to listen? Does she expect that I'll hear her just because she's making noise? Huh? [This is partly Maggie's fault. It's hard to tell when she's talking to you, or when she's talking to herself; she just talks about nothing to no one. A lot.]

She sees a girl sitting on her bed staring at a computer screen, probably frowning and squinting a little. [You've probably seen my computer face. It does overtime as the "I'm trying to understand what I think I just heard" face and the "forgive me, I'm deaf, blind, and slow" face.] I see cogs and wheels and typewriters and stacks of paper scraps all formulating and analyzing that which is occupying my attention at the moment. I am scrambling to match this new information with a point of reference, and if I haven't one? Oh my soul, then the cogs speed as I start a new file as a future point of reference. To me, when my mind is whirling, it's not subtle. It's obvious that I am in deep thought. It's obvious to Maggie that I am quite rude.

But anyway.

I think I want to get outside of my head for a change. To try being observant and impulsive and actually hear people when they say things instead of being so wrapped up in my mind that I'm impermeable to the outside word.

I'm not sure why this is important to me. But it would defeat the purpose if I were to retreat into my head to figure it out. ;D

Monday, August 17, 2009

There's only one week left.

I really like the air conditioning.

I really like sitting in bed after my family's been asleep for a while, sitting surrounded by sheets and squishy pillows with the air conditioner blowing on me, and it's dark outside and in the room and in the hall and in the entire house. It's nice. I like it.

Me: My favorite season's coming up.
Sarah: Of what? Project Runway?
Me: No--
Sarah: How can you even know your favorite season's coming up if you haven't seen it yet? That doesn't make sense!
Me: I meant fall.
Sarah: . . . we watch too much TV.

I don't want summer to end. Which is strange because fall is the bearer of so many of my favorite things -- the smell of wood smoke and Thanksgiving and school starting and round robins and Rock the Sound and leaves turning and shorter days and corn mazes and the Scituate Art Festival and the climate returning to a bearable temperature -- I like it all a lot, and I can't wait to enjoy it all when it comes. But aside from feeling like it's lasted for two years, this has been a nice summer.

Which is even stranger considering I usually hate summer. But this one, well, it rained a lot. Thanks God, I enjoyed it. I got to see the girls from GCT that I haven't spent nearly enough time with, beaching it up and seeing the beauty that can only be found in New Hampshire and Dunkin Donuts. I got to see Tim before he leaves forever for college, also whereupon I learned how to throw a frisbee, I learned how to catch a frisbee, I learned how to not die from humiliation when failing to do either while playing ultimate frisbee. [Which was my RYLA resolution. Check.] And while my NCFCA fix was limited only to Nationals in South Carolina and FEE seminar in New York, I'm very thankful I haven't seen the sun set on my involvement in NCFCA just yet. I got to reconnect with Igniters, chillaxing during VBS or Youth Works or the Paw Sox game, even just running across the street for ice cream. I got spend time with my family, visiting the loveliest places in Rhode Island that I didn't know existed, and shipping up to Boston for Quincy Market's culinary wonders. I got to go walking with my mom, and did a 5k road race. I worked a little and played a lot, and I kind of, just a little, okay, I like summer now.

For the things I've done and the things I've learned and the mistakes I've made and the stories I've heard and the people I've met and the people I've gotten to know better, thank you, God. Thanks for a lovely summer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

To seek gravity.

How much longer will I chase humility [sometimes sincerely, sometimes begrudgingly] only to hate it when I'm humbled? When will the failures stop stinging? When will I learn how to handle the messes I make?

I want to stop making mistakes, I want to stop being foolish, I want to kill my pride and be done with it. Clean and quick, as though the process were wart removal and not open heart surgery.

Like a detox from a drug, you can't speed the process, you can't quell the pain, that undermines the struggle. Maybe it's better this way, to know how ugly I really am in order to embrace the beauty of my Deliverer.

I just want to know there's an end in sight. [Oh, but there is. It just seems far away right now. I'll never get there if I don't keep running.]

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why I'd be a hippy if I could, Part I

Hayley: I hate Edy's ice cream.
Mom: Why?
Hayley: Because it's gross.
Mom: Then why are you eating it?
Hayley: Because I'm sad!

I am sad, but it's kind of silly. Sad that I'm eating Edy's ice cream, sad that I fail as a driver, sad about that trip to the mall . . . okay, quick unfortunate story. I went to the mall. I walked around. I tried on clothes at GAP, and almost bought Ocean's 12 and The Prestige at Target. . . And I was incredibly depressed by American consumerism and my part in it.

I recently went four and a half weeks without doing my laundry because I could - I don't think I need any new clothes. And as rad as that embroidered tank top was, it wasn't worth $20. I can get those movies out of the library any time I want, I shouldn't buy them just because they're my favorites. And I eat enough junk food that I couldn't justify buying any of that either. [Target does not carry Nutella anyway.]

But the awful part is, I wanted to buy stuff. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to buy, I just had money in my pocket, and I was sad about being a fail driver, and I was exasperated no-gchat-until-math's-done-pledge-fail, and I was overwhelmed by college stuff, and I wanted to spend money for its own sake. On things I didn't need, for no good reason.

In his book Revolution in World Missions, K.P. Yohannan talks about his reaction when he first came to the United States after evangelizing all through poverty-stricken villages in India. He gently explains how clear it is to him that America has been blinded by its wealth, how the Western church has been blessed with prosperity but fails to utilize this abundance to the greatest benefit of the Gospel.

I feel like I've been hearing about money and stuff everywhere. Michael just finished a Real Life series on money, tything, stuff, and mercy giving. Dave Ramsey's been playing on the radio non-stop in our house while my mom reads The Total Money Makeover. The neighborhood just had a yard sale. My mom's jumped on the Flylady wagon, and we've been getting rid of 27 things each day. Even just thinking about Alas, Babylon last night, and why I love it so much. I've been drenched the message that stuff doesn't matter. I know it doesn't matter. I hate stuff.

And this was what was running through my head as I wandered aimlessly around Target, scowling at the crap for sale, grumpy at the fact that so many people buy junk that they don't need, and frustrated that at that moment I almost was (and somehow still wanted to be) one of those people. Why is it that even though I hate stuff, I kind of wanted it? (How well I know the answer to that one.)

And here I am, eating my Edy's ice cream, indulging in an extravagance I don't even really like because I'm sad that I wanted to chase away my sadness with shopping. I wish I was past this. Ah, what fools these mortals be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If you were
truly real
I'd ask you
Probably everything

And you could tell
Me all I'd need
The difference

To experience
To touch and feel it
To inhale it all
More than I would need

Knowledge to cheer a soul
Comprehending darkness
What would I need to know?
Probably everything

I can stop asking "why?" It's enough that it happened. I can stop asking "why not?" It's enough to just obey. I can stop being confused. It's enough to just trust. In Deuteronomy Moses speaks again and again and again, "Cling to the LORD." It's enough. Leviticus is brimming with lists and lists of seemingly meaningless rules, rules that preserved the Israelites and tested their love for their Deliverer. It didn't matter what they knew, just that they obeyed. Solomon had more wisdom, knowledge, and understanding than any man on the face of this speck of dust, and yet he says, "So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind." It is good to embrace humility and know the boundaries of my comprehension. I can only muddle through the best I can. I must not fear what I can't fathom. I don't need to know now. Someday I'll understand.

Friday, August 7, 2009

All will be lost, all will be well. All will be loved when living is hell.

I have an intense method of initiating new music into my iTunes library. Each new group of music gets an initial listen-through for the sake of my play count (I don't like zeros), then later a closer listen-through while I read the lyrics. And then I sit and listen to the CD a couple times in a row, so I can get familiar with each song. This, of course, is ideally. It never happens in real life. As a result, there is a massive chunk of unanalyzed music in my iTunes library, and it drives me insane. However, when my computer crashed, I was given a clean slate. This means I have music to share with you.

A lot of music can be considered entertainment. But I think Sleeping At Last's Keep No Score can be considered art.

I know this is a wonderful CD because it's impossible for me to pick a favorite, or even a handful of favorites. And I'm sure it'll take a while before I can pick a song that I like less than all the others -- they're all that good. Melodically ingenuitive, lyrically poetic and inspiring, and I liked the vocals far better than I thought I would! The songs build, starting off mellow and coming to a musical and lyrical climax, then returning to the feeling posed at the start of the song, and in an instant you see how it all fits together!

The lyrics really sell the songs, though. Spectacular word pictures and heart-breaking metaphors give the album an interesting depth. Each track gives you something to think about. And yet, despite the dark motifs, the songs generally have a positive message. And the mellow musicality of the album means it's also easy listening - perfect background music, especially rainy days.

And I know it doesn't make an excessive difference, but they have the coolest band website I have ever seen. You can download a free three-song sample of their album Keep No Score on Noise Trade.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Around 40 chapters a day

This morning our text in church was in Genesis, and that made me think of the in-depth Bible study a few of us Igniters had last summer, and that made me think of the cohesiveness of the Bible, and that made me think of my intention to read the Bible in a month. Some month.

While I was paying attention to the sermon and having this recognitive memory fest, it also occurred to me that today is August. Oh yeah, the month I was going to read the Bible in. That's right now. So I'm a day behind, but I've been camped out on my bed with my Bible this afternoon, it's been nice.

If you're cool, you should read through the Bible in August with me. I may or may not be posting this here to generate the positive peer pressure to make sure I actually do it. That is all.

Also, Laura, you and your family rock my face off. For the record!