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Frances came to visit me last week, which was delightful! I didn’t take any pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me. She got here early Thursday afternoon, and we ate Chick-fil-A with my friend Deah and then went on a grand tour of OU’s campus. Then we drove into Norman to paint the town red, and split a kombucha. (It was terrible. ) After meeting my roommate Rachel for some scrumptious pad thai, we headed back to Kraettli and hung out with the internationals. Most of my friends are either foreign or nerdy (or both), and it was fun to watch Frances interact with them. She must have explained her major at least 900 times, and we all had an intriguing conversation about the merits and drawbacks of Times New Roman, Comic Sans, Callibri, and various other fonts. I think she was a hit. On Friday morning, she accompanied me to Nonwestern Comm, and afterwards we found out there was free ice cream by the library, so we went over and got some. Twice. Next we went to the medieval fair across the street from my apartment and watched the acrobats, camels, and various maniacs. There were some interesting booths; our favorite was the “Instant Portrait of Thyself with a Monkey” booth. Then we ate lunch and she left and I cried into my pillow.

Other than that, life continues as usual. I’m chipping away at various papers, which sucks away most of my free time. And that’s all I have to say about that. The weather has been getting more and more beauteous, and most of the trees seem to have acquired leaves since I left for class this morning. I’m toying with the idea of going for a run this evening. Later, you should ask me if I went, and when I say no, make me feel really bad about myself!

Last week I finished reading Les Misérables, which I had been working on since September I think. Such a magnificent book! I posit that it is the best novel ever written! I read it once before in eighth grade, but it was even better this time. I’ll stop talking about it now, but if anyone out there ever wants to have a conversation about this book, you know where to find me.

We had a birthday party for my friend Lydia on Saturday. I think it was a success, because she is now a year older! We had a blast, but it suddenly hit me that all these foreign friends of mine are leaving when school ends in six weeks. Six weeks! Aaaghhh! That’s too soon. I want them to stay here forever.

I re-repotted a plant today,  which was more fun than I expected. Mmm dirt! There have been many desperate attempts to save this plant in the last few weeks, and yet it keeps looking deader and deader. It’s a schefflera, and I found out today that another name for schefflera is “dwarf umbrella,” which creates a much more interesting mental image.

Speaking of questionable past-tense forms of words, can anyone think of a word to describe the past tense of covering something once again with tar? My first instinct would be to say “re-tarred,” but say that out loud and you will understand why it’s probably incorrect. I used that word at dinner the other day and completely embarrassed myself.

Sigh. So much homework! Today my senior essay professor told us, “You must work. Tote that barge, lift that bale.” I’m not sure if she was trying to inspire us or get “Old Man River” stuck in our heads. But anyway, I must indeed work.

Wow, it’s been a while! Sorry about that. Also I probably forgot how to blog. I hope I can do this.

Last week was Spring Break, which was quite refreshing! I got to go home to Kansas. I crossed paths with Gordon and Anne before and after their trip to Guatemala (which sounds like it was an AMAZING experience for both of them) and glimpsed Frances, whose break started when mine ended. I spent the week hanging out with Gracie and Fritze (who is still traumatized from the hamburger bun incident), saw some good buddies, did some laundry, got a new phone (it’s smarter than I am! aaaggghh!), went out to dinner with The Grandparents Lentell, and enjoyed my family’s Netflix account. OH. AND I worked on my senior capstone paper aaaalll week. I made some progress, I suppose, but I can’t help but still feel very overwhelmed by how much is left to do.

Mom and I watched House of Flying Daggers, which was AWESOME. It doesn’t have a riveting plot, but there were some martial arts scenes (and yes, lots of flying daggers) that completely blew my mind. In a good way. The costumes and scenery are absolutely beautiful, and the whole movie is mesmerizing. I realize this description doesn’t exactly sell it, but trust me. It is wonderful. After we watched it, I found myself flinging things around like they were daggers and expecting a high degree of accuracy. And Mom was playing with Gracie’s rope toy like it was nunchucks.

Last night a war almost broke out in my car! I took a Chinese girl and a Taiwanese boy to Walmart, and within two minutes, the topic of politics came up. (Not my fault!) Instantly we had hurt feelings, yelling, sarcasm, resentment, etc. I spent the rest of the time at the store trying to smooth things over and trying to convince the Taiwanese fellow he should apologize to the girl, not for his political beliefs but for his judgmental tone. Oh, and comparing the calorie counts on all the protein shake mixes because he’s trying to bulk up. It was crazy! I’ve never been in a situation that tense before. I think all is well though. International incident averted. For now.

Yesterday a term paper in one of my classes was cancelled, and today a mini-paper in a different class was cancelled. I wonder what will be cancelled tomorrow.

Frances is coming to visit me on Thursday! I am thrilled. I’ve been gleefully polishing all the silverware in anticipation of her arrival.

Last night I banged my funny bone on my car door and it still hurts. Not funny.

… and whoever is responsible for this picture is probably not anywhere near that line.

HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

HAHAHAHAAAHAHA! HAHA.

Anne put this on facebook last night and I almost fell out of my chair with glee and fright. I have not yet heard who thought this would be a good idea or if they still have all of their limbs.

If this picture is just too much for you, you can look at the original version here! The inspiration, if you will. It’s not quite as horrifying.

On Thursday night, we had a birthday party for Rachel, because she is 21 now and is the most wonderful roommate ever and deserves a party. I have pictures for you! Yes, you.

Rachel's bonfire cake! And yes, there are 21 candles. Lin (see stroganoff story below) would not let us cut the cake until he had confirmed this fact for himself.

Below we have Christine (our Taiwanese neighbor) posing with the food table. She brought the giant box of donuts and is doing the peace sign because it’s apparently illegal not to. Let me tell you a pointless story about the beef stroganoff at the far right of the table. One minute after the party officially started, our Taiwanese friend Lin burst through the door, plopped down on the couch, breathlessly apologized for being late, and exclaimed that he had made beef stroganoff but it was ugly. We told him beef stronganoff is always ugly, so he said he would go get it. And go get it he did. He reappeared with it twenty minutes later, and as you can probably tell from the picture, it’s very pretty for beef stroganoff. Unfortunately this picture does not include the salmon quiche that Lydia brought later.

PEACE AND DONUTS.

In case you are wondering whatever became of Elmo, wonder no more! He went out in a blaze of violence and glory. We kind of forgot to explain the concept of the piñata before we started whacking him, which alarmed some of the internationals. I heard someone exclaim, “How violent this is!” But they quickly got the hang of it, and poor Elmo never stood a chance.

Rachel (birthday girl) gives batting tips to Claudia (Colombia), while Gyongae (S. Korea) helps Elmo (piñata) come to grips with his mortality.

Here’s another piñata picture. Apparently he was a pretty high-quality piñata, because he did not die easily. I’m not sure that I personally could cling to life for so long if I were beaten with a rolling pin as long as he. Oh Elmo. You are an inspiration to us all. RIP.

Keith (U.S.) inspects the rolling pin, Gyongae (S. Korea) inspects the mop, and Pingyen (China) inspects Elmo for damage and checks his tensile strength. She did this every time someone hit him.

After Elmo’s untimely demise, the party quickly disintegrated into nerdiness, which everyone seemed to be ok with. I took advantage of the diversity of the guests and bugged them to tell me examples of onomatopoeia in different languages. (This is hopefully what my senior essay will be about. More on that at a later date.) My Turkish friends thought it was a really fun game, and people were generally cooperative. Fun fact: the Turkish and Colombian Spanish words for “gargle” are the same.

In other news:

I signed up to be a language exchange partner (or something) with the English as a Second Language program on campus. Today was my first day, and it was quite fun! I met my language buddy for tea and we talked in English for an hour, which is an easy job for me. His name is Michael and he’s a finance major from China. He seems to be enjoying America; I just saw that he made a photo album on Facebook about some turkey he ate. Perhaps they do not have turkey in China, I will investigate this.

I had the afternoon free today (wooohooo!) so a friend and I went out for Indian food and explored an art gallery with a giant creepy cement face outside of it. In the evening, I went to another friend’s senior composition recital, which was a new experience. People performed the various pieces of music that he has written over the course of his college career. It was excellent.

Lest you think my life is all fun and games, please be aware that I am working hard, learning hard, going to all my classes, getting ready for midterms (gasp!), and reading more about language philosophy than anyone ever should. And yes, that sentence is for the benefit of my parents. I love you guys!

This morning at the library I ran into Christine, and she was carrying a pineapple. When I expressed surprise at seeing produce in the library, she pointed out that she had put it in a bag so it “wouldn’t freak people out.” Then she pretended to attack me with it, which did freak some people out.

Spring break is around the corner! Yesss.

Last week’s Kraettli the Greatly gathering included an abnormally high number of South Koreans (there were two), which made it especially fun to watch Kim Yu-Na win gold in the women’s figure skating. She is a big celebrity in Korea, and our Koreans were talking about her like they know her. Koreans are adorable! I shouldn’t stereotype but I can’t help myself.

At work on Saturday, a law student caught me balancing a bowl of soup on my head. It was awkward.

I found an excellent corner of the library for studying (aka writing this blog post). It is in a noisy spot but has an excellent view of the orangutan pit.

Cookies! They can be baked in a waffle iron. It’s messier but takes less time, so if you need a cookie STAT, it’s a great solution.

When I say that "we" cooked lunch, I mostly mean that Lydia cooked lunch.

My friend Lydia went to church with me yesterday, and then we cooked lunch. We had a wonderful talk, and she told me her life story. She lived in Rwanda until the genocidestarted, then lived in refugee camps in various African  countries for the next five years. She has lived in France since she was twelve, and now goes to the same university in Rennes that Milena goes to. All seven members of her family survived, which is amazing. She is very driven and compassionate, and I have  a theory that she’s going to change the world.

"We make a great party-planning team, Elmo!"

In the spirit of Posting More Pictures, here’s my friend Deah giving an Elmo piñata a high five. We met Elmo at Walmart yesterday, and when we told him that tomorrow is my roommate’s birthday, he wanted to come to the party. Little does he know, he will get the spit whacked out of him at said party. Should be fun though, right?

My mom spent the weekend in Chicago with Frances. I am hoping that Frances tells us soon about how much fun it was, and perhaps posts some pictures. You have my permission to bother her about it.

I am meeting another foreign friend for lunch in an hour, so I suppose I should try and get some homework done first. Have a lovely Cake Day!