plane tickets

23 04 2009

Tickets are bought, plans are made. It’s actually happening: I’m going to Europe. My parents and I are flying into London, staying six days, and then going to Bremen where they’ll leave me at college and go to Paris and then back to North Carolina. It’s hard to believe. 

I’m excited, though. I have a weird love of airports, and I’m excited to see new ones. I’ve been to London before, but for less than two days en route between Tamworth, England and Calahonda, Spain. I’ve seen some of the big sights, but, come on, it’s London. There’s so much more to see and experience! Except not Madame Tussauds. I was traumatized by a wax museum in Madrid. Never again. 

And then–Germany! I’ve been reading as much as possible about Jacobs and Bremen and Germany in general, as well as a book called First Time Europe, which, while not exactly applicable to me, does have some helpful things to say. I’ve been worrying about packing lists and passports and banks and practical things, but not enoughto lose sight of the awesomeness, of the impossible dream coming true. 

I’ve also been having dreams about spider solitaire, but that’s another story. I leave you with a quote from First Time Europe: “Saber una otra lengua es tener una otra alma.”



2 04 2009

I bought a flickr pro account today so I can upload more pictures because soon enough, I will have many interesting things of which to upload photos. But for now, go add me and comment on my pictures and validate my twenty-five dollars if you like.

suitcases and memories

2 04 2009

In August, I’m going to be packing up my life in a few suitcases. Possibly a box or two to ship as well (it depends on the luggage allowances on whatever airline I fly over on). My bedroom is full of stuff. Books. Clothes. DVDs. All kinds of random things. But I’m only going to be able to bring a tiny fraction of it with me. 

So what goes with me, and what stays shoved in my closet and under my bed at home, and what goes to Goodwill? What am I going to wish I’d taken with me? What am I going to wish I left behind? I can’t anticipate all of that, but it sure is a daunting task. I know I can’t bring more than a few books, and I’ll have to get rid of a lot of my clothes, too.  I’ll be able to put my DVDs in a smaller case so that won’t be a problem. And this is just the practical side of it all. I mean, if I have to leave the red jacket hanging in the corner here, I won’t really mind too much. 

It’s a lot to think about, though, because these are pieces of my life–the shawl I got in Spain, the outdated globe (with the Soviet Union on it) that I used to spin and just imagine, the tiny sequin-and-styrofoam dance shoes my best friend made for me when we were ten, the Chinese good-luck charm from New York Chinatown. Things that would take up way too much space in my luggage because I don’t need these mementos, but I will miss having them around. I will miss having these dreams and memories there for me to look up, to see, and to remember, but I’ll be making new memories, and I’ll always have what’s in my mind–it just won’t be so readily available without these reminders, and I’ll miss that.

slumdog millionaire

22 03 2009

I saw this movie tonight with a friend, and I know I’m a little late to the party, but WOW. This was an amazingly well-done movie. The cinematography, the soundtrack, the story–all of it. Amazing. Totally deserved all the Oscars. 

But, this is not a movie review, and what I want to say is this…

I wrote an essay for my application to Jacobs that included the story of a day that changed my life. That day changed my life because it gave me a sense of purpose (go here for the full story; the version in the essay was abbreviated). I wrote that I wanted to help make a difference in the world, and was going to college to learn enough to make my help matter. Ignorant help can be worse than no help at all, and it’s true. I need to understand the situations in the world in order to understand what I need to do to make it better. I have always believed that, and two years ago, I felt it. Deep inside of me, I felt it. I had seen firsthand that a lot needs to be done, more clearly than ever before, and I felt the need to make a difference, or at least to try the best I could. 

As the months, and then years, passed by, I started to lose that sense of purpose. The horrors of the world weren’t staring me in the face anymore. My memories were fading. I tried to remember, but the words when I spoke of it became empty. I started to talk about other things. I started to think my feelings before were stupid and idealistic, that I could really make a difference. I started to think, why not just drift. It’s as good a plan as any. 

But then. But then, I saw this movie, and it sounds ridiculous to say a movie made a difference in my life–but it did. The pictures of life in India’s endless slums, so truthfully and heart-renderingly captured, made me see clearly again what had not been clear to me for months. I saw it again, and I felt it again. I am going to school next year in order to understand what’s going on in the world, and then I am going to try my best, give it all I can, to change it. 

I’m not enough of a good person for this to be my entire life. I intend to have some fun, too. But when it’s all said and done? This is what I’m doing, and this is why I’m here. I’m trying to figure out the best way to help alleviate at least one of the countless problems faced by our world. And, thanks to Slumdog Millionaire, those words, those promises, and that sense of purpose, are no longer becoming emptier and emptier.


19 03 2009

I always thought this would be impossible–going to Europe for college. Sure, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages, but I never, until now, really believed it was possible. But, it is. It’s possible, and I’m doing it, and it’s going to be amazing.

Doing something “impossible” has made me think about other possibilities–things I have always kind of wanted to do, but never really believed were truly possible. I saw a gorgeous picture of Sydney, Australia today. Before, I would have thought, “I’d love to see that in person.” Today, the thought was the same, except added on to the end was, “And I will.” I have always wanted to see the world, and now I think that’s a dream that might really come true at some point. Before, I’d thought, “It would be really cool to teach English overseas,” and now I think, it would be amazing, and it’s something I might actually do. This is evident not just in things like travel–I thought, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and on Sunday, I thought, “I will.” And since then, I’ve written eight thousand words and have a plan for the rest of it. Not that it’s some kind of masterpiece, but this time, instead of giving up after a few chapters, I believe that I really will write this whole story. I believe it, and that’s what’s different. I believe it’s possible. Nothing is really different, but I believe it is, and that makes all the difference in the world.

the german language

19 03 2009

I’ve been studying German, both because I am going to Germany next year, and because it’s my senior project (it’s the “practical experience” component, the research paper is about foreign language education reform). I have a book called “Learn German The Fast And Fun Way” that I’ve been using, and it’s completely ridiculous. The order in which things are taught doesn’t make much sense, and the only things I’m retaining are beyond useless. For example, I can say “The city is overrun with tourists” but the book has not yet addressed counting…so I have no idea how many tourists there are 😉 It feels kind of pointless and ridiculous, but I don’t have many better options for studying German, so I’m stuck with this book. And perhaps some podcasts. That might be a good idea. Because even though I will probably be able to survive next year without much German (as it’s an English-speaking school and a lot of Germans seem to speak at least a little English), I’m sure that the experience will be a lot better if I do speak German. And while I’ll take classes when I’m there, I’d still like to start out with at least a little basic knowledge. So, wish me luck with my German-learning endeavors!


17 03 2009

A teacher said today, when we were discussing my plans, that this is what I’ve been working towards. That what I’m doing, is following my dream. And I just suddenly realized, oh, yeah, she’s right. For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me before that a love of travel, a desire to see the world, a fascination with other cultures, and an affinity for languages all kind of add up to this, to Jacobs. That this is the logical next step for me. I thought it was crazy, and, sure, maybe it is, if you’re someone else. But if you’re me? This just makes sense. Wow. It makes sense. It’s the right choice. And I’m excited.