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This last weekend I went as a “chaperone” (hahaha, I know, right?) on a camping trip for leaders of international organizations at OU. It was SO MUCH FUN I CANNOT EVEN EXPRESS IT. It was a relaxing and lovely weekend, and I met twelve billion (or maybe like thirty) new people. Here are some of the highlights:

  • As we were pulling out of the parking lot, my passengers asked me if I’m a good driver. I said, “Probably. This is my first time.” They didn’t realize I was joking and were seriously alarmed at first.
  • When we arrived at the camp, everyone noted that it looked like the setting for a horror movie (though to be fair, many places do at night). I pointed out that it was a church camp, so we were probably fine. Hai (Vietnam) advised us, “If someone comes into your room at night to kill you, you must say, ‘Oh my gosh‘ instead of ‘Oh my god.‘”
  • Hai also told us fascinating stories from his childhood–fleeing angry goats and setting his neighbor’s chickens on fire.
  • A moonlit game of Ultimate Frisbee–90% of the players had never touched a frisbee before, but applied strategies (and rules and jargon) from soccer and cricket, with varying levels of success.
  • While reading in my hammock, I heard the sound of bagpipes. Playing “Highland Cathedral”! Hark! The sound of my people, I thought, and–like any good MacLeod would do–took off in search of the noise. It was surprisingly (?) easy to locate. Had a nice chat with the bagpiper.
  • I got one marriage proposal, but it was purely accidental. I suggested to a group of internats that we go on a walk, and Kaji (Bangladesh) said, “Let’s elope!” He thought it meant to run away, and didn’t realize it was specific to marriage. Bet he won’t make that mistake again.

I think a big reason why it was so much fun is that I don’t get to spend time with international students in a friendly environment anymore–often when they come to my office, they are shaking in fear or already mad at me. So it was fun to play frisbee with them and not talk about visas.

Apparently a few people still check this blog everyday! I feel bad about this, since my posting has been subpar lately. Thanks for not giving up on me, guys. (Although to be honest, maybe you should consider it.)

I graduated a few weeks ago, which is exciting! I’m done being a student, after sixteen years of knowing no other life.

What is next? Ugghghhg everyone is asking me that. And my answer is this:

  • This summer I am continuing to work at the international student office at OU. I love this job and it’s in the field I’m interested in, so it’s a sweet setup.
  • I’m applying for grown-up jobs. What kind of job can you even get with a linguistics degree?? Glad you asked! I think I could teach ESL, work for the CIA (oooh!), or something along those lines. But my passion is international students, and I’m hoping to get a job at some university, maybe as an international student advisor.
  • That’s all I know.

Now that we all know exactly the same amount of information about my future, I will tell you the other things that are happening.

I have moved out of Kraettli! This is sad because:

  • I lived in the same apartment for 3 years and it felt like a home.
  • I had the same roommate for 3 year and she felt like a sister. (On a very happy note, she is studying abroad in Austria all next year! Glückwunsch an Rachel, ja?!)
  • The people in Kraettli are marvelous. Before we left, the Armenian family next door had us over for a tasty dinner. I’ll miss all the Kraettlians.
After finals ended, I went to Florida with friends from the campus ministry I go to, RUF. It was glorious! Lots of quality time with the beach and people.

A few of us drove back to Norman by way of Tuscaloosa to help our friends there clean up from the tornado. It was hard work but quite fun, and everyone was so very hospitable.

Now I’m living in a house near campus, working working working. A house?! Is it nice? Yes! It has a giant kitchen and a big front porch and lots of windows. It has other important attributes, but those are the pertinent ones. It’s also got friends living inside it. Last night during the tornado scare, we hunkered down in our creepy basement with a guitar, a gerbil, and a bottle of port. Ahh memories.

You are now pretty much caught up. I hope your summer is off to a splendid start! Mine is.

Things I’ve been doing lately:

  • Going to class. I’m taking Hebrew Grammar, Hebrew Bible as Literature, Freedom in Rome, and Evil in Modern Europe. They are all wonderful, which is a nice way to end my college career.
  • Playing the accordion. Funnest instrument ever (THANKS GRANDMA)! I played it at a friend’s concert and sometimes play it in worship at church. No one has complained yet, although my suggestions that we “polka it up” go completely unheeded.
  • Putting six snow days to good use (aka gleefully squander them). I spent most of my time with friends–we built a blanket fort, went on loooong walks, read, had jam sessions with strangers, made bagels, painted pictures (of an owl, a woolly mammoth, and six meerkats).
  • Met with an adviser to get a degree check. I will indeed be graduating this semester, as we suspected.
  • Dealing with various scary grown-up institutions, like the pharmacy and Department of Human Services.
  • Swing dancing. And Israeli folk dancing. And the Charleston.
  • Attending book sales. I need more bookshelves!

Things I have not been doing lately:

  • Writing on a blog, obviously.

I enrolled for next semester! I’m taking Hebrew Bible as Literature, Topics in Hebrew Grammar, Freedom in Rome, and Historical Jesus. It looks like it will be a very biblical semester, which was unintentional but can only be a good thing.

I heard last weekend was Halloween? I didn’t dress up, but the day after Halloween, I thought of a good costume for next year: a backpack. I’ll just get someone to give me a piggyback ride.

On Saturday, which was also Crazy Game Day On Which Everyone Is Insane, a drunk guy yelled at me that I was “sneaky like a ninja.” Which was totally unmerited. However, I was flattered. It is the nicest thing anyone has ever drunkenly yelled at me.

Excitement of the day: I lost my keys and the sweet Taiwanese lady who lives downstairs found them in the marching band field. Out of the vast number of Kraettlians (or marching band hooligans, I suppose) who could have found my keys, I am very grateful it was her.

I need to stop doing irresponsible things like that; it’s almost time to be a grownup.

On another note, this brightened my day:

I think I destroyed a squirrel this morning! There was one merrily scampering around my apartment and when I stopped to greet it, I startled into a two-story drop. It rolled around on its back for a minute, flipped over, immediately ran into a brick wall, staggered over to the wooden fence, ran into that, and then squeezed through the slats. It didn’t seem injured other than possible brain damage, but it may have just been really disoriented. I saw it a few hours later and it seemed fine (unless that was a totally different squirrel). Either way, this weighs heavy on my conscience. I hope he feels better soon and can get back to playing acorn croquet with all his little creature friends.

I made a raspberry cobbler with this recipe, and it is magnificent. I made it just because I had raspberries and felt like cooking something, and now I have to hurry up and make other people eat it before I do. A LOT of butter had to die to make such bliss possible.

On Monday, the furniture fairies are bringing us new furniture! I cannot wait. We currently have old, scratchy, uncomfortable furniture and tiny beds that are too soft. Every year, they raise our rent so they can buy other people new furniture, and ever year, we throw a little fit. But apparently our tantrums have paid off! Extreme apartment makeover in two (2!) days. This does mean that we have to clear off and clean out everything–dressers, desks, bookshelf, etc. Somehow this is a much bigger job than I anticipated and has occupied most of my Saturday so far, but I sense it will be worth it.

Even though this year we haven’t been having our weekly gatherings with the international students, I’ve still been getting to spend a lot of time with several of them. Lately I’ve been hanging out with Ying-Hsuan a lot–she is from Taiwan and knows Lin (remember him? Oh, the adventures we had). Her roommate, Marie, went home to Austria for a few weeks, so Ying-Hsuan has been spending time with Rachel and me. She goes to church with me every now and then and joined us after church last week for a duck pond picnic. Bagpipes ensued. (See photographic evidence below.) The geese were not amused / alarmed by our piping shenanigans, which I must admit surprised me a little. We’ve also had mini-potlucks and gone out for schnitzel (which she liked), and a few days ago she brought over her drumsticks and sang me “Happy Birthday” in Chinese while drumming along (she’s taking an Intro to Drumset class). It was adorable. It’s been fun to get to spend so much one-on-one time with her and get to know her, even though she does make fun of me for still liking coloring books.

A girl at work told me her aunt has a pet bobcat that she toilet-trained. Several things about that statement intrigue me. Must investigate.

School is keeping me busy. Actually, I should rephrase that: school will make me be busy this weekend and all of next week. I have projects and exams eevveerryy day next week, and I intend to get started on all this homework and studying in the very near future. Like… now.

 

Damon, Maggie, and Ying-Hsuan revel in the glory of Music.

 

I have now been to all of my classes and am so far feeling wildly ambivalent about them. Other than my communication classes, which I told you about last week, I am also taking Symbolic Logic and Freedom in Greece. I’m not sure why Symbolic Logic is required for my major or how to feel about it yet. It doesn’t seem hard–so far we are working with arguments like “All females are pretty. Jenny Craig is a female. It follows that Jenny Craig is pretty.” Freedom in Greece is basically storytime, which is exciting! The professor paces around the lecture hall and tells us stories from the Iliad that will make us better human beings, and sometimes he pokes at us with a stick. Maybe that last part is why I still have reservations about this class, because the rest of it is pretty great.

It’s been a busyfun weekend. After work on Friday, I went to “Art After Hours” at the OU art museum with some friends, where we learned about Turkery fashion in portraits by John Singleton Copley. Then we cooked some burgers and went to a free Ben Kweller concert. There I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen for a year (she was studying rice farming methods in Indonesia) and we talked for a long while and then I hitched a ride on her bicycle back to Kraettli. (This is my new favorite way to travel.) On Saturday, Anne and I had a delightful homework picnic (we were so productive) and I took some brownies next door to meet my new Armenian neighbors. In the evening, I took a friend out for a birthday dinner. It was slightly chaotic–we had to go quite late because she is fasting for Ramadan, and we were joined by an American, a Korean, five French girls, and a Moroccan. So much fun! They all thought Johnny Carino’s was a very beautiful restaurant. When we got back to Kraettli, we all went to a party some Koreans were having. I love Koreans! They are adorable. They were sitting around a giant bowl of potato chips, which they dipped in ketchup. This morning I went to early early church and then hammocked and watched the squirrels romp about. Then Anne bought me a panino at the Union. Good day, yes?

My favorite Copley painting. Maybe my favorite painting ever?! Hmm.

So, what’s going on with Kraettli the Greatly this year, you ask? Excellent question. The weekly gatherings will not be happening, for various reasons that I can discuss with you if you would like. This is a big bummer. But I’m looking forward to getting to know international students better in one-on-one relationships, and hopefully we’ll still have a lot of movie parties and game nights. Also, a lot of my new neighbors seem to have children; maybe there is babysitting in my future. Basically it’s going to be a lot different this year than it has been in the past, but probably just as greatly, if not–dare I say–greatlier?! I have high hopes.

It’s been a while.

Fall semester started TODAY, which is terribly exciting! Actually the really thrilling news is that Anne is here!! She is one of the new little Sooners, and we moved her into the dorms on Tuesday. I think she likes it here. Sometimes she tries to convince me she has no friends, but as far as I can tell, she has more of a social life than I do–she keeps hanging out with people and declining my invitations. And living in a building with over a thousand other freshmen puts you on the fast track for friend-making, so I would say she’s doing quite well.

My classes for this semester include Communication Theory, Risk and Crisis Communication, Symbolic Logic, and Freedom in Greece. So far I’ve only been to the first two of those, and they seem like they will be moderately interesting. Risk and Crisis Comm should come in handy, I suppose, since risks and crises are lurking around every corner. I shall be prepared! At one point though, the teacher expressed concern about cramming too many kids in the room and violating a fire code. So I guess we’re trying to avoid risk? I think I must not understand what this class is about.

The ISS office has been INSANELY busy these past few weeks with all the incoming internationals. It is simply flabbergasting. I am hoping with every fiber of my being that things calm down. This semester I will be working about twenty hours a week, splitting my time between the law library and the ISS office.

I’ve met a few new exchange students. They have different visas than the internationals, so they check in at a different office, which means I don’t meet them unless we cross paths in Kraettli. So far I have met friends of Lily and Milena (two French students from last year) and a friend of Yu-Chieh (a Taiwanese student from last year). Yu-Chieh sent a present for Rachel and me that consisted of an assortment of keychains and brochures from a Taiwanese museum, and posters he made from pictures around Taiwan. I don’t think I can fully capture the glory of these posters in words, so I hesitate to try. But let me tell you, they are hilarious. The captions on the back are informative, off-the-wall, and sweet (my favorite was “your smiles are sweeter than the sheeps”).

My friend Laura (a French exchange student from two years ago) was in town today with her family! She is writing her masters thesis on Route 66, which obviously necessitates an epic family journey for research purposes. It was reeeeaally good to see her. We went to Wendy’s and I had trouble explaining how a Frosty is different from a milkshake. …Is it?

In other news, I tried to make meatballs the other day. They turned out soupy, which was not unforeseen for a few reasons. I used a meatloaf recipe, didn’t measure anything, and substituted in some very incorrect ingredients. They taste edible though.

The OU marching band practices in my front yard! How obnoxious. They are good at what they do, but they are ever so LOUD and the theme this year seems to be Lady Gaga. (Rachel almost fell out of her chair with delight when she found out about this.)

Time to eat some watermelon.

Last weekend I got to go up to Kansas for Anne’s graduation! She’s officially the last MacLeod to successfully make it through AHS (unless we can get Fritze or Gracie enrolled, and I would definitely question the wisdom of that move). Nate and Jenn Appleton and Grandma MacLeod came down from Wisconsin for the joyous occasion, and it was SO GOOD to get to spend time with them. It was a busy weekend, full of quality family time, good food, dogs biting each other’s heads, Witchitä sight-seeing, and deck-sitting.

God has been taking really good care of me lately, especially on the summer-job front. Last week I got a job at the International Student Services office on campus, which is AWESOME because I’m hoping to someday have a  career working with international students. So this should be pretty good experience. Since I’m a student assistant, my job will include answering phones, filing, greeting people, and other super-important stuff like that. The timing and hours are pretty much perfect, and the people who work there seem nice. I’m starting in two weeks, so I’ll update you then.

Meanwhile, people keep leaving. Milena is leaving tomorrow morning! Nooo. Another friend, Geraldine (from Mauritius), is heading to Germany soon to get married. Since she’s always wanted to go camping, Rachel is taking her this weekend. Geraldine has expressed a hope that there won’t be any “any bugs, insects, grass, dirt, mud, or water.” Ha! She’s in for a treat.

In two weeks, my dear dear friend Deah is leaving for Wales to be a “House Mum” in a charity that takes care of young pregnant women. I’m going to miss her A LOT – she has been one of my closest friends here since we met freshman year in the dorms. She is a huge encouragement to my faith – she’s like my Yoda. Or my Ruth, if you want a more biblical analogy. The ministry she’s getting involved in sounds like a pretty good one. Here’s the website for that, and here’s Deah’s blog, where you can read her support letter and donate something to help her out if you feel so called.

In other news, those little black dots inside bananas are tarantula eggs.

Finals: check.

Getting three free meals at the cafeteria from kind people with extra meal points: check.

Capstone paper: check.

I turned in my onomatopoeia paper yesterday (38 pages! Yes!) and one of the linguistics professors tried to convince me that onomatopoeia doesn’t exist. Who does that.

Painful goodbyes: started, but mostly still looming ahead.

I went over to the apartment of some foreign friends, Milena (French) and Gyeong-ae (Korean), to say goodbye and see if they needed help with packing or cleaning. They gave me several of their half-used food items, tastefully arranged in a decorative Easter basket. The census taker came by while I was there. Hilarity ensued. We were frantically searching facebook for the full names and birthdates of their former South American roommates, who have about six middle names each, and Milena kept lapsing into French for no good reason, which confused the poor census fellow. Then he asked for her race, and Milena looked over her list of options and declared herself to be Cuban. He didn’t get it. Gyeong-ae was delighted that the American government came to talk to them personally and kept telling me how much fun she was having.

I don’t want these people to leave.

Happy happy Mother’s Day!

Last week of the school year! It should be survivable. By a happy twist of fate, I only have two finals this week, and only one that is seriously alarming. That would be Morphology. My capstone essay is due Thursday, and after that I am freeee!

We finally had our Korean cookout last Thursday. There was some kind of delicious beef/onion/mushroom concoction, Korean roasted chestnuts, dumplings, kimchi (here’s a recipe), and LOTS of rice. It was a little terrifying to watch my Korean friends cook – they were flinging raw meat around my kitchen and using magazine pages to cover the dumplings frying on the stove. Kraettli could have burned down! Happily, we all survived, and the meal was completely delicious.

On Saturday, my Chinese friend Ivory invited me over for dinner with her and her daughter Alice (they both became Christians over the break, I think I’ve mentioned them before). Let me tell you about the food she cooked. There was 1) fried chicken with some kind of strange and wonderful seasoning, 2) pink potatoes and pork, 3) red peppers and shrimp, 4) pork with “tree ear” (it’s a type of fungi, and the Wikipedia page freaks me out and I can’t believe I ate so much of it), 5) LOTS of rice, and 6) seaweed soup. 95% of the meal was waaayy outside my comfort zone, but I ate some of everything and had much fun. They are a sweet family and it was so nice of them to have me over.

All these people who are leaving keep giving us things, and Rachel and I are noticing that our apartment is beginning to look like Asians live here. We have little Chinese charms hanging everywhere, Korean ingredients in the fridge, a jar of chopsticks on the counter, and office supplies with cute pastel animals on them.

I am looking forward to a trip to Kansas next weekend for Anne’s graduation party, and another one the weekend after that for her actual graduation. So excited! On that note, here’s a fun vest. I wish I had had one to carry Oscar around in, back when he was skinny.

I don't understand why the foliage is necessary.