Monthly Archives: April 2012

Worst of the Best

Life is good, but it doesn’t always feel that way.

Last week, in CSS junior econ tutorial, transitioning economies, we investigated the relationship between stabilization and economic growth.  I argued that the two are necessarily tied.

google calendar

Stabilization didn’t guarantee any specific results, but growth doesn’t come without stabilization.  It’s a painful process, but one that pays off.

See, pain comes before growth. You know, like…

1. When exhaustion tunnels through lethargic legs and I can barely lift my head— and I still make it through 8 1/2 hours in food service.

2. When the part of my schedule out of my hands self-adjusts— to fit my needs (academically & sleep-wise).

3. When I bust my tail, write with all I got in me, and screw up— and the professor patiently meets with me (every week).

4. When people who usually yell at me— start calling me by name and saying thanks.

5. When post-semester abroad bank account— starts to look like a financial-savvy, broke college account again (emphasis on the starting).

6. When amazon saves the day—again.

7. When people I was waiting on—-email me back.

8. When I needed more hours— and the librarian gives me an extra 20 hours during finals week and agrees to take me on as regular staff (for next year).





Simple Act

I’ve become quite familiar with the unordinary.

Define Wesleyan.

That said, I’m pretty sure there’s a reason I get all excited when I meet a Mennonite PK Physics professor.  That said, I rarely notice how I stick out in WesCF (Wesleyan Christian Fellowship).  In fact, I don’t think I would ever notice if other people didn’t point it out or occasionally miss the things that matter a lot to me.

Perhaps my intoxicated hall mate put it most bluntly when upon bursting in my room on a Saturday night freshman year and found a room full of people.  His comment was not, oh you’re all having Bible study (as we clearly were).  It was, “Tori, they’re all Asian.”  Realizing that he was interrupting, he slammed the door, and left. But that moment hasn’t ever left me.

Other people see the difference, although I don’t often see it.

I really, really don’t care that I’m the only white kid in WesCF.  I care that there are hundreds of white (and black, brown, purple, orange, whatever) kids here who don’t know Christ.  And I also care when people who don’t know my midwestern culture overlook important things without even knowing it.  This was never highlighted so clearly as on Easter Sunday when people just didn’t get how much it hurt me not to be able to really celebrate.

Tomorrow, all the Wesleyan kids who go to Wellspring are hosting several of the leaders and our friends from the church.  This lunch has literally been three years in the making and has taken a lot for us to pull off.

Going to the store was an experience in and of itself, because we had to buy a bunch of stuff I’ve never gotten at the grocery store before.  I had no idea where to find chives or what a mango actually looks like (I’ve only had mango flavored stuff).  Abraham teased me a little, and all in good nature, but it made me keenly aware that it was one of those little moments where there is some kind of disconnect.

This evening, I had to cook in a full, dirty kitchen in Lighthouse, instead of my own house.  I had 48 pieces of chicken that needed defrosted, de-skinned, and double-coated in the frying mix.  My friends were also in the kitchen, talking quietly while chopping up the stuff that I couldn’t find at the store, and flipping back and forth between English and Chinese.

After awhile, one of the guys, a nice guy and a leader, but not one that I’ve worked with much, came up and told me my chicken looked cool and that rolling it around in the flour batter looked fun.  Then he jumped in beside me and marveled at its simplicity.

In that simple act, and I know that he has no idea how much it meant to me, he washed away all the uncomfortability in the room.

(p.s. 16 lbs of chicken took up every inch of the oven racks.  45 minutes in, the sizzling was the loudest noise in the kitchen.  I’d have taken a photo, but I left my camera at home.)

In the most unlikely places

Clark Hall from Foss Hill

Who’d of thought a physics professor could help me with my thesis?

There are three Christian professors on campus, and they all have an incredibly strong impact on the Christian students.  Wesleyan is a great place, but it doesn’t naturally attract a large Christian community.  In some ways, it is quite hostile to the faith.

I do believe it sometimes makes them a little uncomfortable, but we look up to them as role models.  These professors understand better than anyone else what it is like for us to live our faith out on this campus, but they know the culture.  They participate in it.  They help form it.

Tonight, Prof. Voth ate dinner with the WesCF leaders and at CF discussed the intersection of physics, Christianity, and his life.  I initially had a little bit of a hard time trying to relate to him (So what classes are you teaching this semester doesn’t lead to a good follow up question when you don’t understand the graduate physics course’s title).

But soon enough, I found out that he was a Mennonite preacher’s kid who grew up in rural Oklahoma and went to Wheaton College (interestingly enough, at the same time as Rob Bell).  And now he’s at Wesleyan.  Boggles my mind completely.

Furthermore, I briefly described my thesis question to him and he knew exactly what I was getting at.  And why shouldn’t he?  I’m contrasting conservative protestant churches of the 1980s and 1990s with the post-modern emerging church of today.  In going from conservative, Mennonite Oklahoma, to Wheaton, Cornell, Haverford, and eventually Wesleyan– he lived that.  And he’s still a devote Mennonite Christian.


Working love & celebration

I’m hard-pressed to think of anything that I would rather not be doing any more than my CSS essay right now.

An astute, observer might point out that if I didn’t want to be writing a paper on Easter, then I should have done it earlier.

And that that I would reply, that there was simply no way.

The last two weeks have been akin to life as a stowaway on the caboose of a speeding bullet train.  The whirl’s left my hair in a bit of a mess and explains the back pain and exhaustion, but leaves little space for looking forward…like to Monday paper.

Friday papers are in my routine, but I’ve fallen out of the Monday practice.

I want to rest and celebrate Easter, and while my work doesn’t change the fact that it indeed remains Resurrection Sunday, I wish I could just stop and enjoy it.

Twenty or so of us went to the 9am service today, instead of the 11am, which kinda threw off everybody’s game (At service, I was in the last row of students, where a friend and I got a clear count of all the nodding heads).  Again, to the outside observer 9am  service might not seem like a big deal and a sad excuse for having a hard time paying attention– until you realize how late college students work into the night and what goes on all around us at all hours of the night.

I live on Fountain Ave, and it is warm outside.  I will summarize what this means with a single observation– after stepping over the junk and trash in my yard, I found the trunk of my car glittering red with spilt mixed drinks and lemon in the morning sunlight.

I got over the morning hiccups, convinced not to succumb to unfruitful wallowing on the best day of the year and wore my best summer dress to church.  It was still hard though.  The little kids presented a small program that reminded me of all my little girls at Dunfee and their bright new Easter dresses, like the ones my mom made for me when I was a little girl.

It felt so weird, because not a single Wes student said a word about Easter– going to church, there, or coming back.  It was just like any other Sunday.  I know they were celebrating the day, but I think they do it differently in their cultures.  I was really hurt by the lack of celebration.

I thought, in the very least, I would make the most of our Sunday brunch together, but just as we were pulling into campus, I got a phone call.

Somebody needed to get a friend to the Hartford bus station, and the driver who was suppose to do it wasn’t answering her phone.  As much as I wanted to sit and enjoy an Easter meal with my friends and wish a happy Easter to my friends who work in campus food service and couldn’t go to service this morning, I had to say yes.

How could I deny help to a friend, because I wanted to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection?

So I took cold sandwich from the cafe and went.

And here I am…back, with Mr. Hayek’s company and 1,000 words before me.

I am still conscientiously choosing my attitude and am celebrating the day.  I just wish I could do it without MS Word.

Electronic Communications Captain

Verging on the front of blog failure…

The longest time between posts (ever) has just past and I am left with these thoughts.

1) In its own inexplicable way, I am facing “busyness” with a new urgency.  I literally could not let an hour pass today without a massive pileup of meaningful (read: necessitates a thoughtful response) emails.

2) I am in pain.

Yesterday, I hurt my back (again).  I’m always cautious about doing academic work while on pain killers, but that fact that I can’t move doesn’t make the world stop.

It was actually quite comical.  The pain was mild enough that I was mostly fine so long as I didn’t move.  This led to a rather epic conception of how to get around the house.  I slid across the floor, pushing myself with my legs and a pillow under my head, and my friend, who came over because I couldn’t reach my food (shelves/drawers are a bit high from the floor), pulled my arms.

3) This is going to be great.

Sleep flew out the window with spring break, and I’m due for another pack of highlighters (I spend $60/year on highlighters, true story).  But I’m lost in what I love, doing new things, and filling new roles.

…and I’m going through it with all the right people.