Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving in Tallahassee













This evening is my last night in Tallahassee, where I spent my Thanksgiving break this year with my cousins. I had a kind of rough trip down, but my time here has been great. It began with the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning, which my Uncle had been trying to get me to run in again ever since my whole family spent Thanksgiving here several years ago. That was the first race I had ever run, and I was looking forward to hopefully getting a better time this year. It was a huge race, with over 5000 people showing up for the entire event, and running in that big a crowd was a different experience for me. As it turned out, I did get a better time, 23:17 as opposed to 24:12 back in 2006. I was a bit disappointed by this, as this Spring I got a 22:something in the Bob Bridgman, which is a significantly harder course. Still, for not having trained much this semester, I felt ok about it. I also beat my Uncle, which is something I could not say before. After the race was over, we all, in accordance with tradition, went to Krispy Kreme, thus, the picture above.

 Aside from running, I played a lot of other sports with my cousins, and their other cousins, which was fun. Left is a picture of us playing "Rolly Bat" a sport that I have never heard of anywhere else, but is a favorite of my cousins here.













 After all this, I was pretty tired and sore, but still decided to go out with everyone at 4:00AM on Black Friday. I had never been black Friday shopping before, and it was an experience. We went to Walmart, Target, Starbucks (the first place that I actually bought something), Sears, Macys, several stores in the mall, Atlanta Bread CO. and several stores in another outlet before finally bringing the day to an end. It was fun to do once, but I'm not sure if I will do it again.


Left are Abby and Jordan at Target, where we weren't able to buy anything because of the line that literally stretched all the way around the store.















Speaking of new experiences, I went to my first college football game today. My Uncle's brother-in-law somehow new someone who was able to get Jordan and I tickets even though the game was only two days away (not to mention it was the Gators-Seminoles game which was their biggest rivalry game of the year). It was pretty crazy, but a lot of fun... especially since FSU won by an unexpectedly high margin.  














Tomorrow morning I'm heading back to Tennessee to buckle down for two and a half more weeks of classes. I suppose I can't expect it to go better than the rest of this semester has, but it's a short enough time now that I think I can buckle down and get through it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Death of a Turkey

I have only one class left before Thanksgiving break begins. I won't be going home, as I would end up spending almost as much time driving as I would with my family. Instead I'm heading for Tallahassee Florida to spend the holiday with my cousins. It should be fun, as I'll get to run in the Tallahassee Turkey Trot with them like I did four or five years ago.

Last night I had the first of what will probably be several turkey dinners at a house on the hill with some friends. Left is Tomas carving the turkey.. He employed a very interesting technique that none of us had ever seen before....

Aside from watching Bryan win the first game of the NIAI national championship, I haven't really done much else that was particularly interesting. I'm really tired of most of my classes, but then, I was tired of most of them by the end of the first week, so that's really nothing new. Hopefully I will have an interesting Thanksgiving post... regarding the Turkey Trot. Also, Black Friday is a possibility, as I know my cousins are usually in to that. Not that I really have money to spend on anything like that, but it might be interesting to experience once.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where I Live

Looking back on my last few posts, I realize that rather than saying anything interesting about anything to anyone, they are more soliloquies intended for my own future reflection.  So if you have been reading and happen to be someone other than me, I apologize for the rambling chronicles of my weeks that I've been dumping on here without any real thought to an audience.


Anyhow, I took this photo today because a new weather front was moving in and the light looked really cool. This, in case you ever wondered, is where I live. It's slightly newer and has a different layout than the dorm I stayed in last semester, and having actually had the knowledge to make an informed decision this semester, I decided to move here.

When I took this picture, I had actually just got back from a run. I had been out jogging around Bryan Drive and I saw a great rainbow. I ran back to my room and grabbed my camera. By the time I got back out though, it had already faded away completely, so I had to be content with taking some pictures of the fall foliage around campus in the changing-weather-front light, which was still really cool looking.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Feeling Like Lawrence

It was an awfully long week since my last post. I had my second meeting with my BFC Latvia group on Wednesday, and we agreed on our first fundraiser, which is good. That afternoon I had my interview with OM, which I felt went really well, although I'm honestly a bit intimidated by the next step in the process, which is sending them my resume, along with links to some examples of my video work. Thinking in that direction, I spent the next evening down in the communication department's Mac lab working on Final Cut Pro. It's really great... and I need to get a copy of it for my own machine as soon as possible (although, I could also use a new computer to run it on too... but one step at a time) When I got back to my room, I realized that I had made probably my stupidest mistake all semester... aside from taking Spanish with Pascucci instead of French with Paige that is, and completely missed my first ACTS Project class. I was relatively upset. I've realized recently (though not for the first time) that I'm not very good at dealing with stress, or letting things go when they were my fault. So I'm trying to work on that.

It's getting to the point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for a couple of my classes. Not with Spanish though, the bane of my existence this semester. We're getting into these stem changing verbs, which I think really ought to be banned as a crime against humanity. We have so many tests for that class as well. I got A's on the first two, and a B on the last, but only after studying for hours. They just keep coming. We have another next Friday, and then I think at least one more before the final. If I don't have a breakthrough in understanding, which I doubt will happen, I'm afraid I'll be getting C's on them from here on out. The tests aren't even the most frustrating part though. Pascucci has us do a huge amount of in class exercises based on the material she just gave us in class. I'm terrible at these, because I rarely learn anything in class (I always have to learn it from the book), so I'm generally lost, and everyone in the class knows it. It's been really depressing this semester to have to get up everyday and go to something that I know I can't succeed at. So anyhow, that's my self-pitying rant about Spanish. 

Today I started working on my homework as soon as I got out of bed in order to set aside a solid five hours to watch Lawrence of Arabia. It's a movie I have long wanted to see, both because it's a classic, and also because I was intrigued by the historical and geographical setting of the film. I was not at all disappointed, and would heartily recommend it if you have five hours to spare. As the plot developed, I found myself identifying more and more with Lawrence, which is unusual for me (to identify with movie characters, that is). Not in the sense of him being an Alpha type personality and not letting anything stand in his way (not me at all) but rather how in the second half of the film, he becomes more and more conflicted in what he wants. He seems driven to do crazy things without knowing why he wants them and then only gets satisfaction from things that he doesn't want to do. And while I may not be blowing up trains in Saudi Arabia or leading a revolt of Bedouin Tribesmen, I somehow feel like I'm often faced with the same dilemma.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Missional-Cynic?













This evening I meandered down to Rudd Auditorium and ended up listening to Shaun Groves. I've been familiar with Groves' music for a long time, and while I didn't dislike it, it seemed to be the kind of thing that my local Christian radio station played... a genre I had tried to escape from ever since I started buying my own music. Still, when I found out in Chapel that he was on campus, I couldn't resist the urge to go down this evening and check it out. I must say he was very good. Not quite my style (rather far from it actually) but very enjoyable to listen to none-the-less. He also had an awesome stage presence, which never hurts.

During the concert he was encouraging people to sponsor children through compassion international. That's something I always thought would be a rather difficult sell on a college campus, but it seemed like there was a fair amount of interest. It made me think back years to the very first concert I ever went to... Rebecca St. James... and how my family started sponsoring a girl in Ethiopia as a result.

It seems like I've been encountered by lot's of missions-oriented things lately, both at school and from pastors and ministries that I've listened to for a long time. It could be because right now I'm on the verge of doing some things that could be classified as "missions", and so I'm sensitive to it. Or perhaps there is just a bigger movement toward it in the Church in general right now... which wouldn't be a bad thing in my opinion.   

Speaking of ministry and the Church... I was thinking the other day about both of them. I want to help people, yet at the same time, my experience with the Church has honestly left me far less than inspired to try and spread it. I know that's a problem, but it's just where I am. I started to think that maybe because I've become so cynical I really have no business doing anything related to ministry or aid or anything like that. But then I had to ask myself the question: Is that really a good reason not to do it? Does not feeling like my heart is in the right place mean I need to wait for it to be? I think I've spent most of my life since I was a little kid feeling like this and thinking that I had to wait until I felt differently before I did anything. I think I could easily wait my entire life telling myself that someday I will "feel right". Should I risk spending my whole life waiting for that? Even as the cynic that I may be, I'm starting to think that I shouldn't.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

And It Keeps Coming

My time between posting keeps getting longer and longer these days. Classes have been as busy as usual, and the last couple days I've had the added stress of registering for classes. That shouldn't really be stressful if you've done everything the way you're supposed to, but I never have. All the uncertainty resulting from transferring, studying abroad, changing major once, and not knowing when I should or can graduate has made it chaotic. I thought I had everything figured out, but then, yesterday, I found out I had some course requirements that I didn't know about, and now it looks like I will definitely be graduating in Spring of 2012.

When I transferred to Bryan I assumed that that was when I would graduate, but this summer, looking at what I thought where my required courses, I had started thinking that I might be able to do it by next fall. I know staying that extra semester isn't the end of the world, and it will really look like I'm just graduating on time anyway, because it will be Springtime. But it's kind of depressing, because almost all of my friends from Italy will be gone by then. Also I'll be 22... which isn't terribly old, but when I think how my three cousins who are close to my age will all have had their Master's by that age, it's a little depressing as well.

Yesterday Bryan kicked off it's Symposium on Human Trafficking (alternately known as the SSTOP conference). Yesterday I listened to lectures by Dr. Paul Marshall, an authority on religious persecution. It was excellent, and I got to talk to him a little bit afterwords. Listening to someone like him makes me really see a reason to be doing the things that I'm doing... rather than just torturing myself for no reason at all... which tends to be more my general state of mind. This morning we heard from a State Department official from their bureau on trafficking (I forget the technical name). That was a bit ironic, as yesterday was the deadline from their summer internship, which I did not apply for, and therefore will not be doing. I did however, get accepted to Acts Project, so I will probably be doing something with them. That could possibly involve doing something with IJM, which is an organization we will also be hearing from this week.

Halloween passed since my last post. Last year I ended up in a crazy and unexpected situation on Halloween... and this year was kind of a repeat. I had been kind-of, sort-of, invited to a party/haunted house/rave last Saturday night, but decided not to go because I was feeling extremely tired from the week. On top of that, I had to watch The Oedipus Story that night. While at the play, I ended up running in to Kaity and her boyfriend Bryce. When asked if I was doing anything that night, I told them about the party, and they asked if I would consider going if they came along. A couple hours later, we arrived. By that time the haunted house was over, and there were only a few people dancing. Then another group of people arrived... and the atmosphere changed a bit. Let's just say it got a little out of hand... and every time I've run into them this past week we've had a good laugh about it.

I had my first meeting for BFC meeting last Wednesday. At this point our leaders were mostly just talking about raising support. I sent out most of my letters over fall break, and I've been really thankful for the response I've already received. I'm really excited about our group and what we will be doing over there. It's another one of those few things that just occasionally makes it seem like it's all worth it. I wish I could feel like that all the time, but unfortunately I can't.