Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Break Reflections

I'm writing this from my new MacBook Pro... and feeling outrageously fabulous and hip. I am officially a willing victim of successful branding. Thank you Apple- I am now a Mac.

Being home again always seems to give me some clarity of how I am feeling and where I am heading. I think it's because it's such a safe place... friends I love, family who support me, places I've known all my life. My surroundings give me permission to be reflective and feel my feelings (thank you, therapist, for such a wonderfully cheesy yet apt phrase).

To quote Coldplay, I'm realizing that everything's not lost. I am being to see where things are going more clearly and to begin to make a life for myself. During Blizzard '09, I actually missed my apartment and realized that it feels like home. Work is beginning to look up a bit- my big boss in charge validated my feelings about my work environment and has started to put me in a position to take on responsibility and actually get to think and learn. I've decided to view it as a 4 year internship and I think that's improving my overall attitude: I don't see it as an endless death march and more like an amazing opportunity to get experience that I can transfer to something with more meaning. And I'm starting to connect with my Bible study and church- I really am starting to enjoy the traditions and being around people who genuinely want to be there. I've been amazed at the insight that some of my new friends have shed onto different passages... they're smart and devoted people who are pursuing God and that's encouraging to me that I'm not alone.

But at the same time, I'm also realizing that I am living in defeat right now. I think that I'm mid-way through the hike and I'm not able to see the top of the mountain yet. I'm panting and tired and unable to believe that I'm going to make it. There's been a lot of emotional and psychological difficulties going on in my life for the last year or so, as some people know, and I'm feeling like a permanent pit-dweller, as BMo would say. I realized that I don't believe that I can be healed, I don't believe that I can be more than what I currently am. Sweet Bess said it best during our time together this weekend: I'm in the valley right now and can't see the way out. But realizing that that's how I'm feeling and being able to recognize that it's a lie is the first step to reconnect with the healing process and being able to move on.

I'm not going to say that after these revelations that I'm going to go back and be perfect and be completely changed. I'm too human and too weak for that. But I do believe that I will go back and slowly but surely begin to correct my path and my outlook. I know I can change with help and support- I believe I can be salvaged.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blizzard '09

So, as promised, I am recounting my snowy escapades in a pho-to montage... *Note that all of these pictures are after 4 days of melting*

I rode out the storm at my auntie and uncle's while they were in the Caribbean (thanks guys!!). It was such a blessing to be the only car that I had to worry about digging out (i.e. not having to try to dig around all of my neighbors cars) and to have their neighbors to make me dinner! Gotta love the potroast... Anyways, I got to experience the joys of digging yourself out of 2 feet of snow. It's a workout, I'll tell you what- but it was kind of fun, too, and empowering to know I could do it.


I finally attempted to return to my apartment and was instantly made even more grateful to my aunt. The parking lot resembled what I've always imagined the apocalypse would... there were cars parked everywhere on snow mountains, under snow, skidded off the road where they'd tried to get out. People bundled up to the point of being unrecognizable were hunched up and hobbling along with various implements of destruction. Except for some oil barrel fires, it absolutely resembled the end of the world. But I once again dug myself out and made it into the apartment. Here's what it looked like in the cold light of day...


I survived Blizzard '09 and it's thigh-high snow! I should get a t-shirt...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Get Ready...

I've been wanting write about how I survived Blizzard '09... but I've not had pictures to accompany the narrative. That will change when I dig out my apartment and get my camera out. More snow details to come...

Get ready!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite (Christmas) Things

I was walking to get my lunch today here in Reston Town Center... it's one of those shopping districts that purists hate because it has been completely artifically developed. For Knoxvillians, think Turkey Creek but in a city format. J.Crews and restaurants are neatly contained in a 12-block development that is box store heaven. But artifical or not, RTC isn't messing around about Christmas. The garlands and wreaths went up right around Halloween. The lights came out a couple weeks later, along with a gigantic tree festooned with brightly colored balls and ribbons. And then the piece de resistance: an ice rink went down in the central square.
When I go to one of the local businesses, the Community Canteen (shout out to the Chicken and Brie Panini), I pass by that mammoth tree and the ice skaters. I'm not sure why these things make us so happy... or at least why they make me so happy. Is it nostalgia (for a kind of Christmas that I myself never had) or is there something intrinsically magical about all these ingredients combined? I'm sure psychological studies have been conducted on the subject and could give me complex answers of a compulsion to fantasize about a idyllic family/childhood or wish fulfillment, but I don't really want those kinds of answers. I want to believe that there is something inherently wonderful about this time of year. The crisp and jarring winter air reminds me I'm alive... the way that hot and humid summer air makes me fell like I'm dead. Everyone is bundled up and walking briskly, laidened with overpriced parcels for an unknown third party. The incessant and annoying bleeps of electronically remixed pop songs that ubiquitious to clothing retailers are replaced with the soft croonings of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra singing the classic Christmas tunes. It's just great.
I know everyone loves Christmas (unless something traumatic has happened to them around the holiday), I'll say it again: I love Christmas.
I can't wait to enjoy this season with people that I love!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back from Europe...

So I returned from the Continent last night... after being awake for 22.5 hours. I thought I'd be out cold until church on Sunday, but to my surprise and consternation, I found myself wide awake at 5:30 a.m. This is attributable to the fact that it was 11:30 in Rome, but I was still frustrated. Yet I also felt a strange acceleration at the prospect of... running errands. Who can explain the mysteries of the heart?
My time in Europe was interesting. Previously, I'd wandered around the piazzas of Rome or the rues of Paris with a wide-eyed wonder that rivaled that of a child in a toy shop in November. But this time, as with Cambridge, there was a casualness in my interest, a flippancy in my explorations that surprised me. My wonder for all that Europe has to offer has mellowed into a warm appreciation. It makes me smile a little- it's like when you first meet someone who will be more than a transient acquaintance. You are taken with them from the start. You find them funny, brilliant, fascinating. But as you get to know them, you appreciate their flaws more and more. You see clearly how they fall short on so many scores. And yes, you become annoyed or chagrined from time to time. But you admiration is more genuine and warm because you can embrace them for their entire person, and not just the tourist facade they put up to trade their wares.
Rome was a pleasant surprise, because it really wasn't to my taste as a city the first time around. It was just a dirty collection of terrific sites. But it proved infinitely more charming and agreeable than I'd remembered, and I realized that I could even picture myself expat-ing there. The rest of the ports were fun too, but honestly, I can't really muster too many rhapsodizations about its beauty and charm, because I was more taken with the experience of being in the space, rather than capturing the place in a bottle to take out later. It was nice to actually relax in these amazing beauty or historic spots.
The cruise aspect was interesting- its rather like a summer camp for adults. Preset meals, activities, and friendly attendants.
All in all, I enjoyed myself but I'm happy to be back on more familiar turf with more enjoyable company. Pictures to come...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

There's a World Where I Can Go

It's really bizarre to be sitting in my room right now as I type this. The only remaining pieces of furniture are my bed and desk, which I've sold and therefore must stay here, and my nightstand, which will be gone by the end of the day. Exactly one half of my room has been repainted white from it's former shade of cafe olay. Almost all of the books and movies that used to dominant the room have been extricated and all of the pictures that made the room feel comforting and restful are gone. By the end of the day, this room will be officially devoid of almost all evidence that I ever spent two years of my life in it.
Those two years have been pregnant with change and memory. I have cried, laughed, stressed, worked, played, read, vegged, and occasionally slept in this room for two of the most significant years of my life. And as I pack up the last of my personal possessions, I'm also packing up my time here, which makes me sad. I'm saying goodbye to an immensely significant time of my life.
Now I wait to find out where the next room will be and what it will be like. I leave cette chambre to wait. And that's scary and frustrating.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Isabella





It's so bizarre to be writing about my niece. It means that I have officially moved up the familial hierarchy to the level of authority... the level that the Grown-Ups are at. Isabella was born this morning with so little trouble, which is a blessing, in such stark contrast to the way we came to this point, with so many disappointed hopes and frustrations. But as I held that tiny little girl this afternoon, I realized that all those other moments were part of what made her arrival so sweet. That's the beauty of the cycle of life that's been given to us- death, as much as it stings and hurts, always brings forth life again. The beauty of the fall foilage is death, followed by the tomb of winter. But once spring comes back with its lush greens and beautiful flowers, you realize that all the death was necessary to come to that moment of life and that it was worth it.

This afternoon, I am just grateful that the joy of life has come back to our family and blessed to have some time to spend with my sweet new niece.







Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Beginning (of the End...?)

I gave this a try Freshman year... the result was so emo that I might as well have been recruited to contribute the next Dashboard album. But as I embark on the next phase of life and watch my cohorts do the same, it occurred to me that this could be a good way to update people on what I'm doing, thinking, feeling, reading, praying, and experiencing. I'm going to do my best to keep the black nail polish in the drawer and some perspective at hand.
As I send these thoughts out into the void, I hope that you, dear void, will respond in kind and reciprocate with me. Foremost, I want to use this space to reflect and connect. So join me, weary traveller! We're in for a bumpy ride...