Tag Archives: Indiana

M.P. vs. Rice

On Sunday night, I went to a dinner at Lighthouse, and it was one of those off-nights where rice just didn’t taste good.  I wanted mashed potatoes.

I love it when my friends cook for me.  I love confusing mushrooms with eggplant and having them describe all the new flavors and textures to me.  But Sunday night, I was tired and I just wanted to know what I was eating.

Spain and a year to look back on the explosions of sophomore year have given me some kind of perspective.  I’ve never been so consciously aware of my ability to just get up and leave.  While living in Spain, I hopped a plane to Africa, scrubbed a last minute trip to Ireland, and wandered around Paris at 1:00am.

Now, I’m not talking about running away, not even in the slightest.  Rather, I am describing the get-up, get-gone, go-and-run-to-it part of life.  I do that, a lot.  I think that’s how I ended up at Wesleyan, and if it is not, it is certainly why I am still here.

But lately, I’ve found myself thinking a lot more about mashed potatoes.

This summer, I’ll be back in Indiana, where potatoes outnumber cups of rice 3:1, minor league baseball is a summer highlight, and lawn signs are more common than pacifist bumper stickers.  I’ll be home.

Home’s a vibrant place, a place I return to intentionally, and with great desire, but its not the same– which is all I’m hoping for.  I want to prove the real value of my liberal arts education, by using it in context.  I want to learn, experience, and network.  See home as a city, not just the place I went to high school.  Finally learn the downtown restaurants.  Use the libraries.  Thesis research.  Hang out with my mom.  Meet people.  Make friends.  Read books.

I need this summer to be good.

…But you know, as soon as I get there, I’ll totally be making pad thai.

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Metaphoric showdown: chin-up > pull up

With the ability to do what I want when I want to, the Paris white board pressure’s (nearly) dissipated, which has been not in the least assisted by that fact that I’m back in Indiana.

I have enough proof to indeed verify that there are folks here who could properly deliver their props to Dolores Umbridge herself.  However, this is the real exception in this community.

Honest to goodness, I’ve known hundreds of truly kindred folk from all kinds of places, but generally speaking, people are more friendly in the midwest than anyplace I’ve ever been in the world.

The security guards at the federal courthouse here in town acted just like what you’d think your grandpa would be like if he was hanging out with his old college buddies, the lady sitting next to me in the lobby at the pizza shop told me all about what her Fridays are like at work, and some stranger (noting that I was sitting alone, not drinking my coffee, had no work in front of me, made eye-contact with everyone walking into Starbucks, and was dressed in a non-dressy, but clearly showing that I really care Saturday morning outfit) took to openly teasing me about my job interview.

People do that kind of thing here, and I love that.

I haven’t the slightest idea where I’ll live after I graduate, but it is nice to be comfortable here now.  And somehow comfortable has led to clarity, and six informational interviews, a couple phone calls, a fistful of emails, and all the thank you cards my mom had in the house.  I still don’t know where it’s all going, but it’s nice to know it’s going somewhere.

Something else amazing emerged out this whole process, a flexible plan, one that builds on my month-by-month LSAT study schedule from last summer by adjusting some dates, re-prioritizing, and finally integrating a concrete long-term goal.  I didn’t throw anything out the window.  I just learned, added, adjusted.

So for now, looking at work and career plans seems to be a lot less like a dark mass and a lot more like freedom, and much needed peace.

And a huge part of that is the recognition that I could never pull myself up to where I want to go.  It’s all just been seeing who’s around and willing to lend a hand.  Can’t do that with your chin down or trying to pick yourself up off the ground.

See cause for someone to lend a hand, you gotta look up let go to grab it.


By Starbucks and Christmas lights

It’s how I finally learned these darn streets (and found my way home last night). I figure it’s finally about time I got a grip on the landscape here.

I’m officially almost 12 hours away from my 36 hour journey home.  It will commence in the morning with a trip to the airport, waiting at the airport, an 8 hour flight to New York, a 22 hour layover in New York (which will include a truly restful night’s sleep on a hard chair somewhere inside JFK airport), a flight to Chicago, another layover, and at last a short flight to Fort Wayne.

I’m ready.

Spain has been uneasily laced with an abundance of challenging frustrations, but at the end of the day, of course it was a great experience.  I think I’m a little too close to the situation to have any kind of an objective perspective though.

Right now, my heart is heavy with home and the ineptitudes of the educational system.  I’m remembering all the lonely nights and times that just weren’t quite everything I had hoped they would be.  But I think I only feel that way because I’m tired and thoroughly burnt out.

But even exhaustion can’t ever take away the magic week where I suddenly understood everything going on around me, what it was like to learn Paris all by myself in the middle of the night, or even what it was like in that taxi ride from the airport in Morocco.

My frame of mind is quickly transitioning to what I’m going to do next summer, where I’m going to live next year, my thesis, how I’m going to pay off school, and who’s going to hire me.  I think there’s something about going forward that will make looking back and recognizing everything I have because of this trip much more obvious.  Actually, I’m sure there is.

And I am truly thankful that I will have this blog as a record to go back and remember exactly what it was like, because, good and bad, it was all a learning experience.

In the coming months, there will be no spontaneous last minute cancelled trips to Ireland or tales of Moroccan orange juice.  So for the time being, the travel commentary has pretty much dried up (along with my bank account), but that doesn’t mean this blog is going anywhere.

I like to think that by writing things down, I’m not merely recanting inane facts from my day, but actually expressing what I’m thinking and learning along the way.  As such, I almost feel that converting the regular everyday to thoughtful text has more value.  A racing mind on a CSS Thursday night is truly magical, and coping with all the crazy stuff that goes down at Wes often takes all the energy I have.  Committing those experiences to text gives a whole new kind of long-term prospective.

All this traveling has convinced me that it in the end, it really is all the same.   As such, living someplace long enough to call it a real home  has got to really mean something.

So stay tuned, because I’m not going anywhere.  I’m just coming home.

ps

wordpress officially stinks because it is not letting me upload the lovely photo I took of my host family last night.