Monday, November 20, 2006

Reflections on a First Semester

The Good

My Program
– I have finally found something I am truly interested in. And I am so excited for the opportunities that this program is going to open up for me. Admittedly I am a little anxious about narrowing down those options. Shortly I will have to choose my courses for next semester which means picking areas of focus. Decisions like this tend to be the most unsettling as it means shutting the door on some of those many exciting opportunities.

My Relationship – These past months have arguably been the first time in three years that Chris and I have lived a real life together. Not living in the Rocky ‘middle of nowhere’ Mountains in a room the size of a shoebox. Not traveling throughout Central America. But actually doing all those mundane things that regular life offers. Living a real life with someone means dealing with the entire package. For the past months that has meant dealing with family related issues. Chris has quite a large family consisting of four siblings and eleven nieces and nephews. So the dramas tend be plentiful and as Colleen is the matriarch of the family all the dramas tend to collude in our kitchen over many cups of tea. From illness to unexpected pregnancies to general disagreements. Some days they all seemed to take place ten feet from my study room.
But even more, real life has a way of illuminating all of those nasty flaws in both individuals. Chris saw me at my teary eyed, stressed out worst during the end of semester craziness and yet he didn’t run screaming in the opposite direction. He instead learned how best to deal with my episodes. It is scary allowing someone to see you at your worst. But it is comforting to know that they will love despite it and that you love them even more for their understanding.

The Bad

Dealing with Realities – I have known for sometime that my traveling days are behind me for awhile. But still everyday the reality of it seemed to sink in a little deeper and the frustration of it would hit me over again. I have been planning trips for as long as I can remember. From the change jar that I collaged back in Junior High with a pictures ripped from travel brouchures right up until the most recent six months in Central America. The next big trip was always what I had to look forward to. Sure, there is the upcoming Spanish studying trip to Guatemala in January. But in my mind that is more about study than pleasure. Plus it is previously chartered territory requiring very little planning The truth must be faced. For all intents and purposes the travel evangelist is on hiatus.

My Social Life – Or lack of really. I met many people in my classes but sadly the click just wasn’t there with any of them. It was fine to chat about school related stuff and to rehash the mundane things we did on the weekend but it never went any futher than that. It is difficult to get to know people on a deeper level when you only see them two or three hours a week. I suppose I could have made a bit more of an effort but there really wasn’t anyone who interested me enough to share a coffee with. But I am still hopeful for next semester...

The Ugly

My Hair – About two months ago I dained to clip a coupon and ventured forth to the local hair salon. Thinking I would make a bit of a change I requested a just above the shoulder cut. Twenty minutes later I left with a chin length mullet. I got a better haircut in Guatemala where the ladies are known for their shelf like layers and I didn’t even speak the same language as the stylist. It is only now….two months later….that enough inches have regrown that I have the courage to leave the house without twenty-something bobby pins holding all the hacked off layers in place. Word to the wise, hair salons accepting coupons are likely not the ideal choice for your next haircut.

My Eyes – So it turns out I am allergic to something. Some random chemical in some random clothing detergent that is. We don’t even know what brand it was because by the time three weeks had passed and I discovered that Colleen had switched detergents the box was long gone. Yes, three weeks it took to diagnose my problem including a trip to the doctor who was utterly unhelpful. Whatever the chemical, it caused me to develop unattractive itchy flaky patches of skin around my knees, elbows and hips. But even worse was the itchy watery bloodshot eyes of proportions normally seen on drug addicts and drunk guys sitting on street corners. For three weeks until we identified the cause and two more weeks of healing I endured the embarrassment of flaming red eyes. Needless to say wearing contacts was not even attempted. Things are good now….I just have to hope not to randomly run into this mysterious chemical again.

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