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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.
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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:

It’s Thursday! Three exams down, one to go. Study study panic panic. I know I’m not the first person to notice this, but somehow the longer I have to choose between Studying and Doing Less Productive Things, the second option seems more and more appealing. That is probably why I am writing a blog post. And why I whipped up some chili for lunch yesterday and have been practicing banjo rolls (less action-packed than it sounds, but still fun). Don’t worry, my grades are not suffering; willpower generally wins.

Today when I was walking on campus I overheard this conversation snippet: “This is a pretty well-planned riot, don’t you think? They brought grappling hooks.”

New furniture! It’s lovely and still smells like furniture factory. My favorite thing (other than my giant bed) is our green pleather chair. I can tell that we are gonna be friends.

Here’s a video of a fat cat trying to climb into a pot. Somehow it’s completely hilarious.

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 feel alarmingly wonderful! Basically I have been steadily improving since I left the hospital last week, which I expected to plateau at some point. But I keep feeling better and better! I have been trying to think of why this might be, and there are so many variables floating around that I can’t pin it down exactly. Let’s discuss. It could be:

a) The three blood transfusions I got last week. I don’t know what exactly was in that blood, but it must have included Magical Energy Potion.

b) I basically took a week-long break from classes and spent it with family instead. If that’s not good for mental health, I don’t know what is. Aunt Holly and Uncle Glen were in town, and I got to spend extra time with them.

c) Catching up on schoolwork has been less tricky than I anticipated. One minor hitch was that my Symbolic Logic professor assigned me extra homework to get me caught up (so mean! and not even logical!) BUT it ended up helping me understand the chapter. Surprise, surprise.

d) My tummy does not hurt anymore. (applause)

e) The weather has stopped being soul-witheringly hot. Instead it is delightful! I try to be outside as much as possible.

f) I’ve been reading a lot of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton. It’s good for my brain and good for my heart.

g) Friends who are concerned about my iron deficiency keep offering to take me out for steak.

h) All of the above?

  • Campfire marshmallows–they’re as big as your face!
  • “Striped” as a two-syllable word
  • Harmonica/melodica musical fun sessions with friends on campus (or in class)–once we almost got a trombonist to join us
  • The way my professor (who claims to be Russian) says “rrisky”
  • Knowing Labor Day weekend is just around the corner
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Having a sister in town who lives (literally) a hop, skip, and a jump away

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.

  • A hammock – I ordered a knock-off version of this hammock (from here) and it came in the mail the other day! I was on my way to the pool at the time, and ended up ditching that plan in favor of quality hammock time. It is AWESOME. I want to live in it. I have been taking it everywhere I go (it’s quite light). Happy sigh.
  • A piano – One of my friends is going out of town for a few weeks and I offered to babysit his piano. Yesterday he and his piano appeared on my doorstep, which is hilarious because I live on the second floor. It was an unexpected sight. How perfectly pleasant to possess a piano!
  • The answer to the question, “When were skittles invented?” The book I’m reading, which was written in the 1890s, keeps declaring that life is “skittles and beer.” This seemed anachronistic to me, so I asked Wikipedia and discovered that the candy was invented in 1974, but it is also a sport, which dates back to 3300 BC in Ancient Egypt. Whoa. (It’s basically bowling.)
  • A lot of international students. Their visas allow them to enter the country thirty days prior to the start of the semester, so they have begun trickling in. My experience in Israel involved getting yelled at by everyone (including the lady at the check-in office at the university) so I am doing my best to be super nice to these people.
  • A bird that looked like a tiny chicken came up to me as I was walking to work today. It had some red feathers on its head that looked like a comb. (And it was not a cardinal.) It wanted to be friends. Speaking of chickens, … never mind.
  • Jury duty summons. Ugh.
  • New contacts – thanks, Mom!

I started my new job working at the OU International Student Services office! I am enjoying it so far, but it’s quite a change from the lawbrary, where I was being paid to be a body sitting at a desk. It looks like this job won’t leave me much time for activities like creating library-wide scavenger hunts for law students in my downtime. Or leisurely perusing the statutes section. Or examining all the plants to see if they’re real/carnivorous. (Just kidding, I never did any of that.) At the ISS office, I do actual work. I do various officely duties and help internationals fill out various forms. I guess it’s a little bit similar to a thing called “the real world,” of which I have heard tell but never experienced.

Last week I took three good friends to the airport. On Saturday Christine (our former neighbor) headed home to Taiwan, where she will teach English to high schoolers. Our friend Geraldine, from Mauritius, left on Tuesday for Germany, where she will finish her masters degree in English literature and marry her German boyfriend. My good friend Deah also left on Tuesday for Wales, where she will care for young pregnant women and new mothers. Sigh. It was rough, and it’s hard for me to look past my selfish thoughts of how much I will miss them and HOW CAN THEY LEEEAAVE MEEE and instead be excited for the cool things they are doing with their lives.

I rode a bike tonight for the first time in almost a year, since this hellacious experience. And it didn’t kill me and I enjoyed it. Many many thanks to DAD for helping me fixing up my bike with no help from me and on very short notice!

One of the Google searches that has brought someone to my blog was the phrase “how to spell potluck in japanese.” I hope they were able to find something helpful.

Anne is coming down to Norman tomorrow to enroll at OU! Boomer sooner! Anne – once you enroll, there is no turning back. I hope you’re sure about this.