Friday, August 27, 2010

First Impressions

Well, I made it through my first week of grad. school. I am soo tired! It has been difficult for me to get back in the swing of things. What's this homework stuff? :) I'm sure I'll get used to it soon, though. My classes are very interesting and all my professors seem nice. A few random impressions:
  • Bigger does not mean nicer. One of my classes is in a building called the Armory. It is this huge warehouse-type building that's been converted into a gym/classrooms. It has at least 10 different staircases, and they each only go to certain rooms. The desks have got to be 50 years old, and there are still old-school overhead projectors in the rooms. Plus, the building doesn't seem to be air conditioned, or at least not well. I only thought Chambers at ACU was bad. :) Granted, Illinois does have some extremely nice facilities (like the rec center), but when buildings are bad, they're really bad.
  • I have walked more in my first week than I probably walked in a year at my job. I'm enjoying the exercise now, but I'm not sure it'll be quite so fun when it's -20 degrees.
  • I had no reason to worry about my first-day outfit. Several girls have shown up to class in workout clothes. ACU this is not. Nary a high heel in sight (see above point about walking). I fit in just fine. :)
  • When you are bad at remembering names, remembering Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names is virtually impossible. I've got to get better at this!
Overall, I'd say the first week was a success. I'm really glad it's Friday, though!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School!

I start classes on Monday, and I could not be more excited! I got to go school supply shopping, which I love. I'm all set with my Pilot Precise V5 pens, a 3-subject notebook (hot pink, what else?), and a very cute messenger bag from Target. I did a practice bus ride with Darby on Monday morning. Riding the bus makes me very nervous. If it's late at all, I worry that I missed it; I start getting so nervous when it's time to pull the cord for my stop—what if I pull it too early or too late?; and I cannot read the bus schedule to save my life. Good thing I have Darby. :) Despite my efforts to push it out of my mind, I've even been worrying about what to wear. I guess no matter how old I get or how many times I start a new school or job, there will always be a little of that 14-year-old girl in me, wondering whether her clothes are "cool" enough and nervous that she won't have anyone to talk to. (Thankfully, there's just a little of her in there; I'm much more self-confident than I was at 14—much.) Anyway, I'm just so grateful that I have this opportunity to go back to school (remind me of that in 3 months when I'm stressing about tests and papers)!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Darby's parents came to visit last Tuesday. Darby and I had to work on Wednesday and Thursday, but we were able to enjoy dinner and relaxing time in the evenings. And to keep herself occupied during the day, Debby stocked my freezer with her famous crescent rolls. Yum! On Thursday evening, we drove up to Lombard, a suburb of Chicago. We had dinner at a Weber Grill restaurant. Their pretzel rolls are delicious!

On Friday, we rode the train into the city. If you're counting, this was mine and Darby's fourth trip to Chicago in five months! We're practically locals. ;) Debby planned some really neat excursions for us this time. We did an architecture boat tour in the morning and a Segway tour in the afternoon. I had always been curious about Segways, and it was really a lot of fun! It took me a little bit to get the hang of it, but once I did, it was easy. Of course, we had to cross some incredibly busy streets and we got some strange looks and comments, but I figure I'll never see those people again! It was a beautiful day—sunny with highs in the low-80s—a nice break from the multiple 110-heat-index days we had in Champaign last week.

On Saturday morning, John and Debby headed up to Wisconsin and Darby and I came back home. It was wonderful visit; I'm so glad they were able to come.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

On house-hunting and marriage

I just had to share this excerpt I read today on A Practical Wedding, a blog that I follow. The writer, Sharon, perfectly describes my feelings toward the concept of soulmates and the role of choice in love. You should really read her entire post, but here's the part that made me tear up a little:

I think dating/deciding to marry is something like deciding to buy a house and make it your home. . . . [Y]ou will see many houses, and most of them will have some aspect of what you want. One will have the gorgeous bay windows and gleaming hardwood floors. Another will have the giant kitchen with the granite countertops. A third will have a turret and built-in shelves. . . . You can see yourself living in all of them. But the day comes when you decide that one house is the one you're going to buy. You move in. You clean. You do a bit of painting. You learn to live with the slight incline in the floors and to jump the creaky step in the staircase. You have dinner parties that last until 2am in this house. You host holidays in this house. You bring your babies back to this house. You could've had any of the houses you looked at, all those years ago. But you chose this one and it's now the only home you can imagine having.

I think this metaphor is so lovely; I wish I had thought of it. You choose to marry someone because you love them. But the very act of choosing, and everything that follows from that choice, helps you to love that person forever, creaky steps and all.