i have one week and two days of a hiatus between teachforamerica stuff and moving out of penn. i’ve been spending this one week and two days in my parents’ house in columbus, ohio.
it feels weird.
i have nothing planned other than vague, deadline-less tasks: like packing for institute training in phoenix, arizona. like getting my hair cut. like finishing off this final project that has no deadline (because my professor is the nicest woman ever and basically gave me an A- without a final. she told me if i decided to turn it in, it could only go up from there. which is basically the NICEST thing ever, but also ridiculously tempting—why would i finish this final? an A- is fiiiiiiiiiine, right? ……..but i probably also owe it to her to turn in this final because she’s amazing and being so kind and ugh why do i have no motivation or work ethic ever ugh ugh ugh). like getting back into a good spot with God, since i’ve been off and neglecting Him for a while. like catching up with friends on the phone, who i’ve also neglected in lieu of my “YOLO” attitude in my last few weeks at penn that resulted in an entirely overbooked social life and an exhausted grace. like getting back in shape (ish?). like spending time with family.
this timeline-less, this lack of urgency, this mundane vague boring existence makes the days kind of melt together. i forget what day of the week it is. hours pass by really quickly but really slowly somehow at the same time.
and all i can do is think—think about school and graduation and leaving friends behind, think about what it means to have friendships and how to maintain them (and if they’re worth maintaining). i met up with some old, old childhood friends from church for coffee and came away feeling vaguely unsettled and unhappy. things change. people change. life goes on and moves forward.
i think a lot about responsibility and how much will be on my shoulders next year. i didn’t sign up for an office job on purpose: i want to do something applicable and beneficial to society. i’m not designed for the mundane. i want challenge and i want growth and i want purpose.
but at the same time, with that decision comes a lot of hard work and long hours. teaching is not a joke (although it’s paid like one). teaching in the inner city will probably be one of the hardest experiences of my life. i’m worried i’m not ready. i’m petrified that i won’t be enough.
i think about my career and how much that matters to me—and how much it should. i wonder if i’m overly concerned about it, if i should just chill out and stop worrying and stop letting it define me. i’ve got this burning need to prove myself as competent, intelligent, and capable, and for some reason i connect that with my eventual salary/career choice.
i think about God and what place he should have in my life—and how that’s changing and has changed and will probably keep on changing.
i think about church and my home church and what that looks like. i think about my experiences of Christianity off at Penn. i can’t help comparing the two and wondering if something’s wrong with one or both or neither of them. am i overly judgmental? are my expectations too high? what right do i have to have opinions about God’s body? but at the same time, something turns in my stomach in discomfort when i think about my churches—vineyard in philly and the local churches in the midwest. i don’t know where i stand on things. it’s very strange being at a point in life where i can critically, analytically rationalize decisions according to the Bible. and i’m not sure how i feel about church anymore.
i think about the inevitable (or i guess what i hope is inevitable): meeting a boy and falling in love and getting married. having a family. i think about how the idea of it is both appealing because i LOVE my family (L-O-V-E LOVE my family), but repulsive because it sounds so…boring. so normal. so expected.
i think about my friends who have found That Boy and how different they are and how different our friendships have become because of That Boy. i wonder if it’ll always be the same: the girl friends left behind for this higher kind of Love. i’m scared i’ll make some of my best friends my plan B. and i don’t want to do that to them.
and then i get tired of thinking and avoid everything by either running until my knee hurts (oh. my knee still hurts. whomp.), or going to sleep.
being in limbo is weird. i’m sure once TFA actually starts up i won’t even have time to think, i’ll be so busy and stressed and exhausted. but for right now, i have time.
1. i graduated from the university of pennsylvania with a major in english and minors in spanish and creative writing on the 13th of may, 2013. 2. joe biden spoke at my commencement. 3. denzel washington and laura bush were among the attendees. 4. i just finished off a burrito from honest tom’s and a lot of ice cream. 5. i’m traveling to phoenix, arizona starting on june 2nd and going until july 3rd to do institute training for Teach For America. 6. i’ll be teaching next year in an (yet unknown) elementary school in cleveland, ohio. 7. i’ll be living with rosie ziamba. 8. i’m terrified out of my mind for the future and what it holds and what it will look like and who i will be and how i will be contributing to society. 9. but i’m so, so excited at the same time. 10. i miss my family. 11. but when i go back to ohio, i know i’m going to miss my family at penn. 12. my emotions are a wreck. i vacillate between feigning ignorance and deciding not to face the facts that i’m leaving, then to extremely sad, then to extremely grateful that i’ve had such a good time here, then back to extremely sad. then i take a quick break into the land of being scared shitless at the responsibilities facing me next year, before foraying into excitement that i’ll be working a job that 1) pays, 2) is in the city i want to be in, 3) impacts society, 4) that i’m passionate about. 13. i’ve been sleeping a lot.
because the best way to avoid emotions is to sleep.
so once upon a time i told myself that i would write every single day from april (ish) until the end of my college career in may (ish). and then i broke that promise to myself multiple times.
at first i was disappointed and a bit upset. i tried to catch up and make up for the days that i didn’t write. i scolded myself for never being able to commit to things (true. i have a hard time with staying disciplined and following through on methodical little details.). i put pressure on my own shoulders.
then i came to realize that the reasons why i hadn’t been writing were perfectly okay. i meant to write because i was trying to cling as hard as i could to memories. i wanted to have them in tangible form, so that i could go back and reread and relive and remember. i selfishly wanted to hoard them all—to hold them in black type against white page in some weird preserved museum in my mind. i wanted a record that things had happened. i didn’t want to forget.
but then i realized that i haven’t written because i’ve been too busy living, and i’d rather have it that way than any other way at all.
plus when i look around me, i don’t think i’ll be able to forget anyway.
let us go then, you and i, when the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table; let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells… the love song of j alfred prufrock - t.s. eliot
of all the poetry i love in the world, the love song of j. alfred prufrock ranks high in that list.
i think i have five days worth of catch up to play. oops. i’m the worst.
okay, so we’ll start with today, then i have two separate pieces to upload about 1) food and 2) prayer. we’ll get to those later.
two really cool things have happened today. 1) i had a conversation with one of my really good friends here, emily. her nickname is naj on the ultimate team and i’ll refer to her as such from now on. naj is jewish, agnostic, closer to atheist than anything else. and we had a conversation about God this morning and how she can’t help but wonder if maybe He does exist. we talked briefly about science and how meticulously, miraculously aligned and designed the human body must be in order for it to function. we talked about circumstances and how they sometimes somehow perfectly align in ways that cannot be just coincidence.
like our captain and one of our best players bernadette being able to come to regionals. she had her thesis due that weekend and was otherwise unable to come. i spent a lot of time praying about it, over and over and over. it seemed hopeless. even if she could come, it would’ve been just for one day, it would’ve been on little to no sleep, it would’ve been by flying there instead of driving which was SUPER EXPENSIVE.
somehow, miraculously, her thesis got an extension. it’s now due in august. not only will she be driving down with us, but she’ll be rested, relaxed, ready to give everything and all she has to our last tournament together.
or like naj’s job. it’s about 0.7 miles away from her home. it was after a long semester of interviews. it gives her money. she can stay with her mom who is home alone. the guy just happened to be a systems engineer graduate from upenn, which is naj’s major and our school.
all this….chance. i think if i were more skeptical, i would call it chance. i would say that everything is just coincidence and things happened to fall the way they did. but as i’ll talk about later and as i’ll continue to believe, there is a God and He answers me and i have experienced Him too many times in too many ways to attribute anything to chance.
2) i had my last Spanish class today.
i love Spanish. i’ve always loved Spanish. i love the way it feels on my tongue, i love the way it sounds when it’s spoken, i love the culture and the history and the romance. and sitting in my class today with my absolutely fabulous professor, i jotted down in my notebook a nice little blurb in remembrance of the language.
i don’t think i’ll ever be as good at Spanish again as i am now. i dont’ know if i’ll ever have the chance to study abroad and to be immersed totally in it. i think this is as close as i will get to fluent.
and so ending that class was a little bittersweet, because i’ve fallen in love with the language and the feel and the smoothness, the flair.
here’s my short little passage. it’s probably grammatically incorrect, but i was writing it in lieu of paying attention and taking notes (CLASSSICCC), so cut me a break.
“eso es mi clase final de espanol despues de ocho anos de aprender la lenguaje. no puedo explicar mis emociones—son casi tristes, casi de esperanza. quiero usar este lenguage todo mi vida. me gusta el sonido, el sentido en mi boca—como agua, algo suave, bonito. para mi, espanol es una sensacion. de vida, vibrante, elegante. espanol funciona en modos que ingles no puede, que el chino no alcanza en mi alma. espanol es la pasion, es aventura, es la sensacion del calor, del amor, de sensualidad. es un lenguaje romantico con razones. quiero usarlo. quiero recordarlo. quiero mantenerlo como una parte de mi alma.”
things have been hectic and wild and overwhelming for me recently, so here’s what i’ve decided to do to take control of my life again: 1. go to a coffeeshop directly after class. 2. read my Bible, which i sadly haven’t done in ages. 3. edit my piece for creative writing. 4. e-mail my professor. 5. finish my other piece, which is nowhere near done/barely even started. 6. write two tumblr entries, to make up for yesterday and whatever else i half-assed in the past insane week of mine. they’ll be about:
-my mom and food and why i feel the need to feed everyone i love around me all the time. -why i believe in prayer 7. go for a run, because regionals is in two weeks and i want to be reallyfuckingready.
things we did this weekend (we being christina, renee, me, and eventually jane): 1. woke up, ate at buis at kelly writers house 2. went to see independence hall and the liberty bell. 3. walked around society hill. 4. ate peach ice cream and mt. vesuvius sundaes at franklin fountain. 5. walked to philadelphia magic garden and explored south street. 6. ate philly cheesesteaks at jims. 7. walked to chinatown. had bubble tea. 8. took a break and explored reading terminal market. 9. went back to chinatown and had handdrawn noodles in beef noodle soup OMGSOTASTYADGLKAHF:LKDAF. 10. came back to campus, watched she’s the man and drank while eating sweet potato fries. 11. ate breakfast/brunch at sabrina’s. 12. showed off penn campus.