Barnard: The Early Days

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ta da! I am still alive after a trip to New York (a shockingly smooth and timely flight o_o) and now I'm rockin' away at my dorm in Barnard [Sulzberger Hall].
Strangely, it was a pretty easy transition. Ruby's house was cozy (and cold because we were in the basement) even though the outside was humid and - at times - oppressive. However, other than the gigantic headache that I got from dehydration after the flight, everything has been pretty swell. New York is still beautifully grungy, and there is still an air of grandeur around Barnard that I just can't shake (even though now I've been around a bit and the awe has slowly faded, it's become sort of a comfy second home). Da has been palling around with Ghosh the entire time, so it seems that they are having fun (a big reconnection after all these years).
After getting to NY, everything became just a little BIGGER. In comparison, we don't have extremely huge shopping lists for the drugstore [obviously, not at home], nor huge Indian breakfasts, nor gigantic seafood dinners [go Sammy's!]. After being here, it seems that the way we live in Seattle is very frugal and very small (and here I thought we were living large, ha!).
For now, however, the scene is much different. My roommate has a big personality [although she's from New Mexico - the ghetto nonetheless], there is 200+ people here, the room is bigger than I expected... and the adjustment was surprisingly small.
Our classes started today, and its been the first time that I've really been away from Da since we got here [and during a semi-school year, for that matter] (although he did show up to drop off my charger this afternoon... I love parenthesis!). I have to write a 7-10 page paper for psychology [which is perfect for my Extended Essay] and then there is a free-form style writing class with a culminating zine which actually seems pretty cool, but we just have to work on it.
Other than that, I've slowly been meeting people (after kicking out calc kids from our room this morning, there was a little bit of a bond going around) and starting to go out on the town. We have a pretty piece of freedom here (sign in/out but whatever) and we also have some fun organized things called "excursions" [lame name] and so our time is either full or pleasantly plump so that we can meander and do things. I'll probably start working out either tomorrow or the next day, and I started (barely) Gulliver's Travels along with the million other books I have to read. Well, now it's off to a little planning and some other fun stuff.
I feel like a college student sometimes. Trippy...

Read more posts about my awesome Barnard pre-college experience.
Also, you may be interested to read about what happened when I began going to college at Barnard.

What A Difference A Day [Or Two] Makes

Friday, June 27, 2008

Well, today we are leaving for New York and Barnard pre-college is on the ample horizon. After having a fresh bout of apathy, I'm hoping this trip jogs me into finishing all the million-and-one things I have to do.

Goals For The Next Two Months:
- Research and finish big scholarship entries
- Davidson Fellows
- Young Epidemiologist Scholars
- Research and draft Extended Essay
- Have a thrilling pre-college time in NY
- Knit through most (if not all) six Cascade 220 yarn balls
- Design a sweater
- Workout/keep up with health goals
- Explode
- Reanimate after said explosion
- TAKE OVER THE WORLD

So, if I get through the entire list, then we will have a new [and trim] world leader, a bunch of written material and research papers, many elegantly knitted squares, a new cult fashion, and a few scraps of loose yarn.
I think I'll enjoy it.

 Read more about my awesome Barnard pre-college experience.
You may also be interested to read what happened when I started going to college at Barnard.

Oh, The Monotony

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

*smacks forehead against desk* I am officially out of ideas for the week.
Yesterday I watched two movies and sat around doing nothing, which you would think is a boon considering that the entirety of the year has been running around with my head exploding but no! It feels like I'm wallowing around without a sense of direction. Considering that we leave Friday, that doesn't seem atypical.
Exercise, pack, write, knit, prepare, make sure oil prices don't keep from traveling long distances... that's the only planning I've got for the next two days.
I may go insane.

Want to break the boredom? Check out my DIY Interlude tutorials and creative pieces.

Extra Hairballs

Friday, June 13, 2008

I feel like magic and anxiety and annoyance and laughter. Yes, all at once.
There's a cluster of emotions falling in at the end of the year. The idea that maybe I should branch out and improve my life, the feeling that maybe I want to embrace something old... the classic feeling of frustration as teachers scramble to put in everything at the last minute. I am working towards the end of the year, which is in 4 days [not counting weekends] and I really feel like I need to police everyone again. And again. And again.
I like the idea of closure right now; it feels good to say that there's an end to these clubs (at least until needing to help them again) and that there's an end to the tests and the projects and the winding road of grade hassles [still need to talk about that with some teachers] Yet, at the same time, there's this grating nervousness that 'maybe I didn't do so well this year' or 'maybe I'm not good enough for this college' or 'maybe this' and 'maybe that.'
And, at the end of it all, I just feel like school has taken up way too much of my life. I know that I'm going to "school" in the summer, but learning has never been the problem for me. It's the fact that school itself is an oppressive environment for creativity/personal enjoyment. It's wonderful to have people around you and to be struggling together and whatnot... but how long do we have to struggle for things that are not ours? I really don't care about many of the classes I'm taking [thankfully, next year, most of those classes are gone].
I want to learn to be me in many ways; I want to work out and make my body what I want it to be, I want to learn what I am personally by exploration... but all of these things seem so lofty, right? I feel like magic sometimes when I discover how much has changed even in the last 3 months. I realize that I was completely different by going through my journal entries and remembering... I am notorious for record-keeping.
My "lofty goals" became something like:
- Purge room of unnecessary stuff
- Revisit knitting
- Write!
- Work out
- Play video games
And other things that are possibly too boring. Mundanities really do make the world 'real.'
In the end, this summer I really am going to be able to rediscover myself - if I could do some soul-searching in the brief period since Heathy left [April], then I can definitely secure myself over free time.
My Triple Threat Plan will pan out!

Busy-ness As Usual

Saturday, June 7, 2008

So many things happened Friday it was astounding. o_o
I haven't been this busy in a while, so it was refreshing to have that feeling of harried-ness this week. Well, maybe not 'refreshing' but it seemed more normal than my days of sitting around and having a prescribed schedule of nothing.
This week was the week of Interlake Live (our school's talent show), so we were practicing constantly throughout; I made cookies on both Wednesday and Thursday [for anime club to have a party - which was not really a party considering that all the anime club members were preparing for the talent show...] and then for the group to eat before we performed. Yes, I admit it, I am a baked goods enabler. But I also worked out extra much this week, so I feel as if I deserve it *is probably in denial*
Anyway, on top of this we were starting the after school practices for our drama performance next week [where I get to play a rape victim who is being interrogated by her defense attorney...] and there was a French movie called Un Secret, which was another war movie from SIFF that Madame got us in for free (though they were about different wars, both films that Madame chose were about children and conflict... strange.) I also approved my seat for a French trip next year, so we are going to have a great mid-winter break! But those were all leading up to Friday.

Friday: A Zoo of Crazy Experiences
1. The newspapers came in that morning; however, the publisher didn't put the center sheets inside the outside sheets so we were scrambling to do it ourselves and got through it halfway through first period (fortunately, my teacher was giving a free period since we finished our essays so I only missed Hungry Hungry Hippo)
2. There was a Darfur presentation during both my 3rd and 7th periods. Though I saw it twice, the information was really scary both times. I saw familiar faces of leaders from the Dalai Lama conference [Ingrid Mattson and Desmond Tutu] on the video, and it was explaining how all groups must come together to stop genocide. We got pages on how to help, but sometimes I just feel that we are insignificant in the face of Chinese oil interests and other global factors. Also, I feel that some people don't appreciate these things enough to care about people outside of their own immediate area. *sigh*
3. On a completely contrary note, that day was the awards assembly of the year. Right after getting out of class, we headed to the gym where the jazz band was rockin' out and the seniors were cheering their way out of high school. All of a sudden, my name is called and I receive the Harvard Book Award o_o Totally unexpected! The first principal of Interlake, an aging man in formal attire, presented me the award [I felt so silly afterwards because I had dressed up in my SakuraCon schoolgirl outfit and floppy hat to advertise Interlake Live that day :P] However (though I hate to be grain-of-salt) they spelled my name as 'Alan' and not 'Alam.' Some people will never change.
4. We got our yearbooks in a mad rush after school and I got to push through the crowds and say 'Hey, I'm a big woman and I need to get through!' Haha.
5. Brittany (I hope that's how you spell her name...) came out of the past to visit Molly and she was touting a nearly-one-year-old baby with her. He was so cute! We went looking for Molly, but didn't find her. At least it was nice to see someone still around after all those changes.
6. Interlake Live practice! From 3:20-7pm. We stayed at school the entire time and I gave cookies and had JamJam deliver me macaroni and cheese. ^_^ We were moved from the upper gym to the classic commons area by another group of performers, but it was all good because then we went to rehearsal and threw a mini party/yearbook signing. After a while we had some conflict with whether performers could sit in the audience (we got to after paying, stupid jerks making us run around and ask fifty people -_-)
7. Interlake Live! Kita got to come and watch Math and I do some crazy cool things [he was playing the piano while I danced Hare Hare Yukai - not both at once] My parents were there too, which was awkward during some acts... people sometimes think that they can just do the most illegal dances up on stage and it'll be ok. *shakes head* Most of the dancers were good, but one girl... Oh well, to each their own. I loved basically every singing person, because I didn't know that they could sing that well until this moment o_o All in all, our performance seemed really short once we got up there, and afterwards we all got to go out and scream to relieve tension. It was awesome.
Finally, at the end of the night, they addressed the fact that Ivan [one of our students] was murdered and that the event was to support his family through. I am glad to have given money to them, and to help out with their cause, because it's really sad to hear the crazy immigrant story and have it be cut down. People in that difficult situation do not just 'mess up' on their own.

Overall, Friday was a crazy day and there were a lot of things going on that even I cannot list all of them [although I have tried to the best of my ability - hence the length of this post]. But, as much as I love being able to do stuff at school and whatnot, I still am thinking towards the future.
Perhaps more valuable than the Harvard Book, Goldstein gave me a Native's Guide to New York with some places marked in it that she thinks I should visit. In my head and in my heart, I really want to get out of here so I can go experience some new people and new things. Maybe, after that, I can come back and be alive again and rejuvenate the school with my industrial-strength luster. But for now, I feel like the seniors as they yell their last goodbyes.
Just a week and a half to go!

Rant About Emotions #1

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I learned something today in yoga (as I often do) and it really turned the corner on my ideas [and also made me a little more worried about myself]. So, I am taking this time to process said emotions. Take 1.
I learned that fear is the core of all negative emotions.
It goes... Hate : Anger : Sorrow : Fear... according to my yoga teacher. In order to find the next meaning, you must peel away one. I feel that I have only barely peeled away the idea of hate from my mind. I am much more in love with the world than I was a long while ago. I am still deep in the process of taking away my anger - and that's what is really getting to me.
Today I had an outburst unlike [or maybe too like] the normal days. Often enough I get really near tears and stuff with these crazy problems etc. (yeah, I'm not manly) and I work it out some other way. But today was like a tirade against my dad when working on math homework [like the old days] It was really upsetting to me because I thought that I had at least calmed down from yoga class... but maybe it just brought these feelings up.
My yoga teacher says that we live so comfortably with fear that it immediately translates into something else and we don't even process it as fear anymore. I just... I can't believe that I did that. I feel disgusting. I should probably apologize, but I don't know how much that would absolve me. I just thought... I don't know. I feel like I just set myself back many steps - but maybe it just takes a long time for this process to go.
I've decided that I will learn to be closer to my own spirit over the summer. Probably by exploring emotions and religion fundamentally [the gritty stuff will probably be to move it, not apologize]
I will live. I just got really shocked today. That's all.

If you enjoyed this lesson from yoga, read about another one I took away much later: living in the moment.

Evening and Morning

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Well, senior prom was yesterday.
Although I'm not a senior, I asked a senior to it and I got to go (yay!) Strangely, it was in the Harbor Club, where my friend had her bat mitzvah a long time ago. Also strange, Madame and Senora Gonzalez were there as chaperones. Even more strange: we abducted Jeffrey to go along. o_o
It was a fairly fun evening, I got to dance my first dance with a guy [Aleksey] and we had some laughs and some lateness and some kind of strange moments. Overall, it was a neatly PG13 night.
This weekend was all about having fun, strangely enough. Though working on homework and club stuff came in pockets and I am still probably slacking off, we had an amazing Friday with Charlotte and Ka-chan at the park and the mall [where I bought yellow jeans! yes, yellow], then the next day a really nice time meandertholin' with Kita before prom, the actual dinner/dance agenda, and a night spent talking with Ka-chan about ness. Then today there was an Anime Club party where we got to run wild for a few hours, and now I'm just putting off my time so that I don't have to do my WL2 essay. It's all good though, hopefully nothing is as difficult as it really seems..
I am wondering, however, how my internal monologue will pan out. All of these fun things are happening, but nothing really life-changing yet. I hope that my trip to New York will shake me out of this box that I seem to be in. I am feeling quite ready for the taste and feel of someone other than myself, but I know that's not a realistic goal considering the haphazardness of that subject. I'm just a statement. I have no bearing on this world other than being right now.