Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What I learned: Fall 2017

Dear Readers,

One of my favorite blog series is the "What We Learned" series over at Emily P Freeman's blog. I decided to join in this semester, to avoid the ten pages it would take to really describe this semester. I'm pretty sure the main demographic for these posts are middle-aged moms who take really artsy instagram photos, but even though I'm not any of that, I still love to join in.

1. Seasons of anticipation are hard.

I spent the day before I moved out of my sweet little apartment baking alfajores and packing. I've known this day was coming all semester, and knew that every step I made towards studying abroad in Buenos Aires next semester was another step closer to leaving everything I love here. When I plant roots in a place, I plant them deep. And it's really, really, really hard for me to leave. There have been so many moments when I've considered backing out of this whole plan for next semester, but each time I've wanted to, there has been someone at my side reminding me why it's important that I go. I wondered at how hard it is to live in the in-between seasons, knowing you're here now but you're about to leave. It's hard, especially if you're like me and you hate change. But I also think I cherished each moment I had this semester so much more fully because I knew it was going to be different in just a few months. I'm thankful for all the moments.

2. A&P really does end eventually. 

I finished my second semester of A&P, and with it, my last lab of college. It's so strange to already be hitting some "lasts." I hate endings (see above comment), but this was one ending I was happy to see come. I'm so thankful for every day I walked out of Hederman Science building coated in the thick scent of formaldehyde. With those long hours spent studying diagrams, models, and the gender of pine cones, I got to know so many really wonderful people who I wouldn't have known if I had just stayed over in the liberal arts courtyard of MC. Plus, I found out that the lobby chairs are the perfect spot for last minute cramming. 

3. Cook the meal before the guests arrive.

I got to live in the same apartment my dear friend lived in my freshman year. She invited freshmen over all the time for delightful nights of supper club--times to get to cook together. I was so looking forward to doing the same this semester. It was fun to host meals, but I soon realized that it really stressed me out to cook while people were waiting on food. In the worst/most hilarious of my trials, I served only four grilled cheese sandwiches for six guests, and couldn't stop my hysterical laughter as I finished the sandwiches up while everyone kept eating. My sweet friends soon transferred the meal to the kitchen and helped me finish the meal. "Sobremesas" (over-the-table conversations shared over food) are some of my most treasured moments. That night will go down as one of my favorite moments of the semester, as well as one of the biggest lessons I learned: I really need to just prepare the meal in advance, haha. 

4. Favorite album of the semester: The Undoing by Steffany Gretzinger.

Ask my roommate--I pretty much listened to these words nonstop for the last two weeks of school. When my heart was heavy and uncertain and wondering, these words brought so much peace. Good reminders to stick with me whether I'm in Clinton, Madison, Buenos Aires, or Wilmington. Steadiness despite so much shifting change. A lot of goodness here. 

5. The world is beautiful from the passenger seat of a car. 

A dear friend and I spent most of the last few weeks of school driving around Clinton, filling hours up with meaningful, questioning, intentional conversations about God and justice and futures and disability and everything in between. I drove some, but more often than not, we were in my friend's car. I wouldn't call myself a controlling person, but I really like to be in the driver's seat, in every sense of the word. I like to know where I'm going and have purpose and be able to change my own plans, if needed--not have them changed for me. I like to be the one getting to give my own gasoline; not taking up someone else's. But we went down backroads I didn't know; we had no direction, we just wandered, and it made me really uncomfortable at first. Until I started to love it. 

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