Ghosts, ghosts, ghosts

It’s finally starting to hit.  One week left of class.  After eight semesters of syllabi and English courses, I’m down to the final novel.

Walking around Morris has become strange.  It’s a strange blend of normality and finality.  I was working in the library and I realized that the ground floor, my safeguard and happy place for so many hours of essay writing, will be nothing more than a memory.  This place where, for the past four years, I have grown and blossomed will soon be just another part of my past.  For so many months, all I’ve wanted to do is leave.  Now, on the verge of being uprooted, I’m finding that part of me wants to bask in warm in the soil of the familiar.

But, at the same time, I feel the pressing urge to move on.  To push forward, not knowing what’s ahead.  Because, if I stay… what would become of me?

I’m reminded of the lyrics to a song by The Head and the Heart:

One day we’ll all be ghosts
Trippin’ around in someone else’s home
One day we’ll all be ghosts, ghosts, ghosts

This place is no longer mine.  These halls are not my own.  They will soon belong to someone else.  I have to move on, lest I become a ghost, trapped in the in-between with nowhere to go.

Being transplanted is painful.  Especially when you don’t know what the future holds.  Where will I next take root?  I have no idea.  I have a strong calling and an outline of a plan.  Hopefully, that will be enough.

(In case you’re wondering, the final novel I’m reading is Wintering by Kate Moses)

In which writing my senior seminar strips away my ability to blog.

Maybe it’s because really nice out, which is odd for Minnesota this time of year.  Or maybe I’ve spent too many afternoons pent-up in the library writing essay drafts.  Whatever the reason, every time I open WordPress to make a new post, my thoughts fly out the window.  My mind goes blank.  I sit back.  I think, “You know… maybe I’ll find the words tomorrow.”

I don’t want to abandon you, dear blog, especially when there is so much pre-graduation nostalgia floating in the air.  There’s not better way to make a good post than channeling as much sentimentality as possible!

Really, though, my focus is elsewhere at this point.

I’m a busy girl.

My senior seminar draft is in full swing–I hit sixteen pages this afternoon!  It’s nowhere near complete, but it’s a start.  I’ve spent three afternoons on it and fully intend on using a fourth tomorrow.  I wrote a different nine page essay earlier this week.  I’ve been thinking deep thoughts about Romeo & Juliet, which is WAY better than I remember last time we met back in ninth grade.  I have an interview for my dream internship next week.  I’m reading this AWFUL book for my Courtly Love class called The Rules: Time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr. Right.  (It’s one of the most sexist, offensive texts I’ve encountered yet.  My face contorts with disgust every time I look at the cover.)  I’ve been planning and attending Bible studies and meetings, preparing for my future career in ministry.  I’ve been trying to spend time with people I care about, which is a challenge ’cause it’s the busy time of the semester.  I’ve been going to the gym, taking walks to the wind turbines, and soaking in as much sunlight as possible in hopes that it will keep me going.

At this point, I’d rather do all these things and more than try to blog properly.  Maybe when my senior seminar draft is finished and polished, my inclination to write will come back.  Who knows?

Until then, you can find me in the library.  Or watching Netflix.  Or thinking about Shakespeare.  (I wasn’t kidding about being in love with Romeo & Juliet.  It’s a wonderful play and those poor kids need to learn to keep their hormones in check.)

Update

Woah.  You know you’re busy when you completely forget to blog for two weeks.  OOPS.

Life continues to push forward at a steady pace.  During the week, I find myself up to my neck in Shakespeare, Tennyson, and biographical novels.  Hours and hours pass while reading in the library.  I walked out the other day with my arms filled with books–research for my senior seminar is now in swing.  Throughout the day, I flit in and out of classes, giving presentations and crossing things off my to-do list.

This past weekend, I judged my final speech meet for the local high school team.  It’s been a wonderful job to have these past few years.  I’m going to miss critique sheets, judge’s lounge food, and managing speakers that are double-entered, but am ready to be done.  Spring Break aside, it’s been two months since I’ve had a Saturday fully to myself.  I’m tired of waking up before the crack of dawn.

When the day is over, unless I have a student org meeting, I’ve taken to binge watching Downton Abbey (fourth time through!) and playing The Sims 2.  “Treat yo self” has become my new motto.  For the first time in college, I indulge in mochas from the coffee shop and ice cream from the late night on-campus convenience store.

The weeks until graduation continue to pass.  Only 43 days until I finally have my degree!

Hopefully I’ll get better at remembering to post…

Hometown Hiking

Over the past week, I’ve rediscovered my outdoorsy self.  Growing up, my parents were always taking us on outdoor adventures.  Hiking, biking, fishing–you name it, we did it.  Summers weren’t complete without camping in the woods of Northern Minnesota and swimming in one of the 10,000+ lakes.

During the school year, I get so bogged down by academia that I forget how beautiful the world is.  I forget about fresh air, sunshine, and the smell of thawing earth as it awakens to Spring.

Filled with vigor from my ski-cation earlier this week, I decided yesterday to go hiking instead of lying around the house all afternoon.  It was a short three-mile loop, but oh, it was worth it.

You see, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the state (after the North Shore, of course).  Five minutes from the border with Wisconsin, the St. Croix River Valley is at my fingertips.

I parked in Taylors Falls, hiked to the top of the bluffs, back down along the cliff face, and back to town via a trail by the river.  Along the way, I stopped to soak in the sunshine and do some reading.

I long for a life of adventure.  I want to do things, meet people, and see the world.  Sometimes, though, it’s good to step back and remember that adventure can be a mere five minutes away.  All you have to do is stop and look for it.

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View of the St. Croix River from atop the bluffs.
The St. Croix River from the river trail.
The St. Croix River from the river trail.
Taking a break with Tennyson's Idyls of the King
Taking a break with Tennyson’s Idyls of the King

What adventures lie just beyond your doorstep?

 

 

 

Go Bold

There are friends.  And then there are friends like Jenny.

We met during my freshman year of college.  Although we became acquaintances in the first month, I didn’t get to know her until spring semester.  I was close (and still am) with her roommate, Julie.  Because the shallow friendships with my floormates began to run their course, I took up the habit of visiting Julie’s dorm in Gay Hall.  It’s then that I got to know Jenny.  After a couple of weeks, it became evident that I was no longer crashing Gay to see Julie.  I was all about hanging out with Jenny.  We’ve been close ever since.

How do I even begin to describe Jenny?

She’s the kind of person you want by your side.  She’s a wonderful listener and is always ready and able to give you encouragement.  She’s smart, insightful, and notices details that often get glossed over.  She’s incredibly funny and can drop puns like nobody’s business.  She’s gifted in hospitality and an expert in how to make an excellent cup of coffee.

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I’d post a nice photo of the two of us, but they kind of don’t exist. They’re all similar to this one. (Yes, I am in the midst of eating cheese. Cheese is glorious.)

 

Most of all, though, she has an incredible heart for God.  It’s been amazing watching Him turn her life around.  When we met, she had her heart set on majoring in biology, running a nursing home, marrying a lumberjack and settling down with kids.  Now, she’s a Morris grad (with an English degree) on the brink of moving to Japan to spend the next two years as a missionary.

Throughout college, I got to see Jenny’s faith grow and evolve.  She had her own plans and dreams, but one day, God spoke to her.  He said: “If I asked you to go, would you?”  She said yes.  The process of being called to a lifetime of missions wasn’t an easy one.  Jenny had to let go of a lot.  She had to face her struggles, her insecurities, her fears.  She says it this way:

While I can hardly believe I felt this way initially anymore, at first I felt utterly dejected. Like I said, I had other plans for myself, filled with good things that I wanted to do in this world. I knew I was going to have to let those go. So I asked God, that if this was really what He wanted for me, to change my heart, to make every other possible career choice and plan for my life be completely unsatisfying and empty. Over the course of that year He did exactly that.  Now there is hardly a thing that excites me more than active ministry and loving people. (Taken from one of her blog posts)

Although she graduated a year early, Jenny has been one of my solid rocks this school year.  She’s been living at home, floating from job to job, and has always been available to talk.  When I’m frustrated, I call Jenny.  When I’m ecstatic, I call Jenny.  When I just need someone to talk to, I call Jenny.  With her, conversation flows from one subject to the next and, before I know it, hours have passed.

Yesterday, I saw Jenny in person for the last time.  We went out for tea and, in true fashion, talked for hours.  I intended on being home for dinner, but it wasn’t long before I realized that wasn’t going to happen.  Why go home when I can be with Jenny one last time?  In a couple of weeks, she’s off for at least two years teaching English in Japan.

It’s hard saying goodbye to someone who has had such a big impact on your life.  But, with Jenny, it’s not as if this goodbye is forever.  Even though we’ll be on the other sides of the planet, it’s not like we won’t talk.  That’s the beauty of the internet.  Yes, staying in touch is challenging and definitely takes work.  But, with Jenny, it’ll happen.

If you’re interested in getting to know Jenny, following her adventures in Japan, and seeing what God does in her life, you can follow her blog, Go Bold.  If you ask me, she’s worth paying attention to.

Ski-Cation

This week’s goal: Avoid a broken leg.

I honor of my final Spring Break, my mom is taking me on a three-day skiing vacation in Northern Minnesota.  You see, she’s got connections with the higher-ups in the local skiing industry and was able to score a free lift pass and free gear rental.  (The Career-Service people are right… Networking really is everything.)

I love being up north, but can’t help feel a bit nervous.  You see, I haven’t gone downhill skiing in nearly ten years.

People keep telling me that it comes back to you, just like riding a bike.

I hope they’re right.

TBT: Words from my eighteen-year-old self

This afternoon, I spent some time looking through my very first blog.  (Yes, it still exists.  No, I will not provide a link.)  Most of the time, when I think about that blog, I shake my head in shame at fifteen year old Amelia and ask, “Why did you think that was okay to post on the Internet?”  As I perused all the old posts, however, I found one that stood out.

Four years ago, I was a high school senior.  All I knew about the future was that I was going to Morris in the fall to major in English.  The rest was a mystery.

Here are some words by my eighteen year old self.  Mind you, it’s not a very organized post.  I go off on random tangents.  What can I say?  I was eighteen and hadn’t studied how to write well.  High school writing classes are a joke.

But I think, overall, I hit the nail on the head regarding what it feels like to be on the verge of moving on.  Life moves quickly.  If you don’t take time to capture the little things, you will forget about them.  A lot of what I say continues to resonate.  Because the little things matter and, in no time at all, they will be gone.

Anyways, just read it.  I liked it.  Maybe you will too.

It’s approximately 10:54 P.M. and I just finished watching the movie Morning Glory with my family.

My response:
OH MY GOODNESS.  THE GUY WHO PLAYS RAOUL IN PHANTOM OF THE OPERA IS IN IT.  AND HE HAS SHORT HAIR AND ISN’T UGLY.

Shocker, I know.

Anyways.  I feel like I haven’t offered anything deep and insightful to the world lately.  Every day is just the same old routine.  Get up when the alarm goes off, pedal through another day of classes, and then spend my afternoon and evening twiddling away on the computer and consuming books.  I haven’t written any poetry in ages.  I haven’t hung out with my best friends outside of school since prom.  I can’t even find something better to do than hang out with my family on a Friday night.
I’m not saying that spending time with family isn’t a good thing… it definitely is.  I just feel like I should be savoring my last few weeks of high school, you know?  I should be out raiding WalMart or star tipping.  I should be laughing so hard I’m almost crying.  I should be sitting around a bonfire reminiscing about good times and making vague plans for the future.

But, you know what?  I’m not.

Right now, it’s 10:59 P.M. on Friday, May 13.
I’m sitting on my bed, typing on my mom’s crappy old laptop, thinking about Rachel McAdams and the guy who plays Raoul.  I’m thinking about the purple dress my mom bought me for graduation.  I’m thinking about Le Morte d’Arthur and all the ways Sir Thomas Malory describes knights valiantly slaughtering each other.  I’m thinking about Morris and I’m thinking about what life will be like on my own.  I’m thinking about getting my third perfect score on a College Sociology test in a row.  I’m thinking about the picture of babies in egg cartons I found in a magazine.  I’m thinking about how, yesterday, I was sitting on my phone, and it suddenly goes, “It’s a fez.  I wear a fez now.  Fezzes are cool”, and I was surprised because I forgot that I changed my texting ring tone to this.
I’m thinking all these things and wondering why I don’t just stop my fingers from typing.  I’m wondering why I’m still going on and on and on about things nobody probably cares about.  And if nobody cares… then I’m wondering why I’m still blabbing.

I guess I think of this blog as my life story.  Every month is another chapter.  Every post is another page.  Maybe I keep writing about all the random crap going on because… one day… I’m not going to remember tonight.  I’m not going to remember watching Morning Glory or those three perfect Sociology tests or hearing the Eleventh Doctor’s voice coming from under my butt as I read Le Morte d’Arthur.  Tonight will fade away and blabbing on is the only way I can keep it from getting lost.

It’s like dreams.  When you first wake up,  they’re clear and fresh in your brain.  As the day goes on, reality takes over and the edges become blurred and fuzzy.  You try to tell someone about your dream and find yourself saying, “I remember it was exciting and crazy and didn’t make any sense… but I just can’t figure out what it was.”  The only way to make sure the dream lives past ten o’clock in the morning is by writing it down the second you wake up.

The same can be said for memories.  One day, even a year from now, what is real today isn’t going to be a reality anymore.  In a year, I won’t be a high school senior with only a few short weeks left.  I won’t be living with my parents.  I won’t be sleeping in the bed I’ve always slept in.  I won’t even have this crappy laptop to write on.  These days, these meaningless days where all I do is wake up when the alarm goes off, pedal through classes, and twiddle away time on the Internet will be nothing more than a memory.  They’ll be a reality that has come and gone.

Don’t you get it?  I need to write about my life.  I need to write about seemingly meaningless days.  I need to write about parties and friends and ordinary experiences.  If I don’t, I’ll move on to the next reality and forget.  I’ll wake up and, by ten o’clock, my senior year will be nothing but a fuzzy blur in the land of days gone by.

It’s now 11:18 P.M.  I’m sitting here, typing away on my mom’s old, crappy laptop, covered in the soft, fuzzy blanket my aunt and uncle gave me for Christmas, and thinking about dresses and movies and King Arthur.

Welcome to my life

I’ve become a hermit and I don’t even care

These days, I don’t seem to get out much.  It’s been a month since I moved back into the dorms and it took until tonight for me to actually meet my floor-mates.  I rarely see my friends anymore.

At times, flying solo is a bit lonesome.  I go hours without talking to anyone but myself.  It’s easy to let myself get all sad and mopey about this, but I do my best to remain positive.  When it comes down to it, I don’t really mind.

After all, life continues to steamroll by and I’m moving with it.  Even if there are moments when I wouldn’t mind company, I’m staying busy and thriving.  I’ve been working hard and am ahead on homework.  In the evenings, I’ve got Bible studies, prayer meetings, and worship nights to attend.  Between work and study, I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the library.   I’m organizing a letter-writing program for college students and elderly in the community for a group project.  On Saturdays, I judge speech meets for the local high school team.

Then, there are quiet nights like this one.  The homework is done, library shifts completed, the meetings have been attended and there is only me, my paint, a jar of Nutella, and a Wes Anderson film.

Life, my friends, is good.

 

I want to know…

“Do what brings you life” has become my mantra of late.  It’s been on my mind a lot over the past week.  Last night, after a hectic all-over-the-place day, I spent some quality time painting and catching up on t.v. shows.  I felt so at peace.

As I was going to bed, I realized that I don’t want to simply dwell on what brings ME life.  So much of this blog is about me.  I want to go beyond myself.  I want to know, readers, what brings YOU life?  What makes you tick?  What brings you joy?  What are the things that you can’t imagine NOT doing?

Answer in the comments!  It will make my day!

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Last night’s painting. It’s nothing special, but I loved the time I spent making it. Lyrics are from Rend Collective.

 

It’s all acting

When it comes to academics, there are honestly some days where I feel like one big phony.

At this point, it’s all a game.  Go to class, speak up, do the readings, write the papers, give the professors what they want.  It’s funny how the deeper I have gotten in my upper-level courses, the more I know this isn’t what I want to do with my life.  Academia isn’t for me.  I don’t want to be a student anymore.   When I speak up in class, when I write papers, when I look like I’m so on top of things, it’s all an act.  It’s me playing the game to get the grade.

I want to do something meaningful with my life.  I’m sick of sitting around.  I’m sick of playing the game.  There are times when I feel like Rapunzel, trapped in her tower, singing about all the mindless things she does to pass the time.  The parallel isn’t perfect, of course.  I lack magic hair, an emotionally abusive mother figure, and am certainly not trapped in a tower.  But I’m tired of waiting.

I’m so close to graduating.  There’s just a couple of months standing between me and finally getting my degree.  My life is going places–big, exciting, unknown places.

Do I have it in me to play the game for just a few more months?  I sure hope so.