Had a really blessed day, albeit different than what I expected. It’s still kind of mind-boggling to me that I’m serving in the high school ministry of my church here…since it’s something I had always envisioned for myself, but never expected to happen (at least, not this early). I can’t picture myself as some sort of role model, as much as I love the sound of it—there’s too much about me that is flawed and imperfect and unlovable, and unloving. But I’m starting to realize that there is some beauty in that.
Had to restore my phone just now, as it stopped working sometime between dinner and arriving home (how did I not notice this, boo). I’m lucky that my settings and everything are automatically and routinely backed up onto my computer, but I’ve lost 15 days of information and updates due to this mishap.
This is nothing big, and the whole situation could have been much worse…but I still feel like a part of me is missing. I’ve lost mostly half a month of photos and conversations, but the latter is uncharacteristically burdening. One thing I really appreciated about having my iPhone is that I can scroll back all the way to the very first texts that I exchanged with friends here, back when I had just met them, and that I can recall any and everything with a few clicks and a search. I like having things documented and accessible, but those fifteen days are pretty much forever gone by my phone memory.
Normally, I’m more grieved by the loss of photos that I never had the chance to review/save, but I’m oddly unfazed by that—I really just want those texts back. To be truthful, there are some nights when I’m lost in a weird sense of hopelessness caused by worry/anxiety/stress…and the only means by which I can lull myself to sleep is through scrolling through the seemingly endless messages I exchange with friends, being reminded of our silly jokes and their ever-comforting words, knowing that I no longer need to rely on myself for human support. Something photos do not, cannot offer me.
Well. Good thing memory-making doesn’t end at that, and that my life isn’t headquartered in my phone. But it’s getting late, and I didn’t accomplish anything I wanted to for tonight, but again…life goes on and will be perfectly fine despite things straying from the path I would like them to take. So, sleep.
“You know, in three weeks, this will never happen again.”
Bittersweet, as the semester is coming to an end. Ran into J on Easter morning, both of us in Sunday’s best, waiting for the elevator outside of our rooms.
Floor seven has been kind to me: polite and friendly, not questioning why I prefer not to stick around, not pressuring me to engage in anything outside of my comfort zone. But what really pulls me through living here, through the constant smell of illegal substances and drunken students slurring their way around the hall, is having someone from my church, someone who I know I can trust, nestled a door away.
We are definitely not “close” friends, but knowing our treasures lie in the same place, knowing we have the same ideals, knowing that there’s a familiar face right there, coming from similar backgrounds and implicitly relating…it’s been a blessing. J is one of the reasons that the floor mates I don’t frequently interact with are nice and smiley to me, since his personality meshes more with theirs and I found out that he had therefore been very unnecessarily defending my introverted absence…I’m grateful.
Living in the dorms is so strange. Especially at Cal, where almost everyone moves out after their freshmen year; this is not a four-year experience, nor a two-year one as it is for many of the East Coast schools back home; it’s a single year. A single year that molds you, preparing you for apartment life, preparing you for a three-year commitment with more ties and more responsibilities than what you would have liked to face this early on in life. It’s more of an usher to adulthood than anything else I could think of.
Never again will I live with and share a bathroom with thirty other students—let me specify: never again will I share a bathroom with a bunch of random guys…how the thought of co-ed hygienic facilities being very instinctual is still beyond me, since it is probably the most foreign thing I’ve ever faced; but, regardless, never again will I run into situations where J jokes about my 3am tooth-brushing habits to our friends, only for him to walk into the bathroom that very evening at 2:59am and see me standing there, half dead after finishing homework, monotonously brushing my teeth (aaand cue incessant laughing on his behalf). Nor any more of those conversations about which shower is the best, and about how loud that one roommate is playing his rave music, etc.
“But I’ll never forget,” J added, after a slight pause.
And me neither. The, using a term GP basketball has coined, pure camaraderie of it all. When we were still babied, little freshmen, figuring out our majors, learning to prioritize what was important, realizing what was important, and making lordship decisions upon understanding this. While college still felt like a never-ending summer camp. Before we truly began to feel the weight of life.
Anticipating that. Cherishing this.
Math midterm, check…the first time I’ve had a real calculus exam since junior year. I thought learning it a second time would be easier (and it actually is), but the connotations I have with this subject matter are too painful for me to want to commit any time to it, want to work on it, want to do anything related to it or even think about it by myself.
Since every time I walk into section (not even lecture, since I can’t bear to go, haha…and I am supremely lazy. Or just cannot wake up for 8am classes, orrr just lazy) I have flashbacks to 2009-2010, when I couldn’t go to school each day free of anxiety. Pop quizzes, and then pop quizzes after pop quizzes, and chair throwing, and birthday month, and all that unnecessary nonsense that didn’t contribute, didn’t complement, didn’t do anything to my education except push me further away from something I feel I could have potentially really enjoyed.
And I do enjoy it, when I understand it. But it’s just that wave of instilled fear that keeps pulling me back into high school memories, and then I spend the first 30 minutes of discussion section shaking or with a quickened heartbeat.
It’s incredible what conditioning can do. Though, on the other hand, it’s incredible how humans have such an ability to change, given incentive. And there are definitely a list of things backing my motives, but at the end (or beginning) of the day, it has to go back to God.
So. If I’m going to take this class, which I am firmly set on, then no more complaining allowed. If I’m going to put myself through this mild form of torture, it has to be for a purpose. My studying has to glorify God in some way. I know I’ll be thankful someday, in retrospect, for giving math another chance.
First semester was too enjoyable for me, and although I know college is supposed to be filled with exploration and things you are genuinely interested in…there will be challenges to meet and face and conquer. This is one of them.
Don’t get me wrong: I adore the West Coast and all, but looking at friends’ photos from New England colleges makes me seriously want to pound my head on the Californian pavement and cry. I miss foliage. I miss the reds and oranges and yellows. I miss it. There hasn’t been an autumn where I haven’t road tripped around with my parents, Honda Odyssey packed with veggie straws; one of the few instances when people don’t have to coax me to take pictures, and instead, I’m the one nearly falling out the van’s windows in an attempt to capture some of God’s brilliance flashing by.
It really doesn’t help that I spent four years of my life between Delaware and New Hampshire/Vermont, constantly visiting big brother at Dartmouth…and overall, my whole life expecting to go to school in a place where seasons are vivid and blatant—not at all saying I didn’t dream of coming to Cali, but I never considered that I’d have to leave behind autumn in the process of “growing up.”
I miss it, I miss it, I miss it.
My last day in Delaware.
Per usual, I am totally unprepared for departure, and so I’m going to write as a means of easing the realization. I’ve noticed that everything I do is somewhat cause-and-effect, and that blogging/journaling has ultimately, over the years, been one of the most frequent effects I’ve referred to—for anger, joy, sadness, and like now, bittersweet nostalgia.
Do I remember when I moved here? A month shy from hitting five years old, my only concern being the parakeet we lugged cross country in the seat of our beat-up, white Mazda. Perusing Borders during the hours when we weren’t looking for housing, and accidentally stealing Lindt chocolates, thinking they were free. Finding J, A, and M, my first friends here, and spending hours scurrying over to their adjacent apartments and playing at church. Weekly trips to Longwood Gardens, which taught me too many Latin flower names, and then moving to the house we’re in now. Piano recitals and jitters when heading to UD for exams, sledding down the hill in my backyard come winter, making real fires on occasion. Waking up late every day for middle school and spending hours after school at Honor Band rehearsal. Draining my brother’s iPod batteries from listening to Starting Tuesday and Aly & AJ on the coach bus, en route to Hershey Park/New York City/Disney World/Montreal. My entrance exam to Charter, finding out I was accepted, screaming; taking the placement tests, seeing all 5s on my initial phasing letters, screaming; taking my first AP courses and failing Calculus, much to my father’s amusement (and more screaming). Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings spent with my favorite people on earth, learning more about myself, asking for a study Bible on my birthday by my own initiative, learning how to read and study in a manner that fits myself. Summers spent in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nova Scotia, Haiti. Being driven around town for years, and this year driving others around the city.
But always, always returning home to the 302; 19707. My perfect comfort city; a place with four legitimate seasons, tax-free shopping, safety, convenience, and practically every memory I can summon. Constantly deemed the most boring place alive by many, many people I know…but the only place where things feel right and in place for me. The only place that is home.
It’s so strange that God has wired each of us to respond to a ridiculous amount of emotions. Right now, the only thing I can focus on is that I have no idea what the next four years will bring, and that this is the biggest step I’ll have taken until graduating from university. That the only thing I can do is surrender and trust in God; that all my seven-whatever years of detailed planning falls apart when I step on the plane tonight/tomorrow morning. I’m in the same spot as every other person starting college. I have no idea.
But that’s okay. Since He holds my future, and time has shown me that perfectionism and obsessive compulsive tendencies can do nothing to hinder the blessings and sufferings that are coming my way. That I’ll always mess up, and that God’s grace will always act as a shroud around me. That I’ll be okay.
Time to pack.