Sunday, June 13, 2010

This has MOVED!

(sorry, I much rather prefer Tumblr)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."

Today was the final check out day - over 1000 students moved out of the residence halls for the summer. It was an unbelievably exhausting day that started at 8 a.m. and ended... well, it still has not ended and it is almost midnight!

Today also means I survived my first academic year at Evergreen.  Tonight is probably not the best time to reflect too much on that (given I am exhausted and yes, a tad crabby) - but at the end of things, I can say I am grateful for this year. 

Goodnight darlings,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Learning Dutch is Easy as Een, Twee, Drie

I am currently learning Dutch to inch me closer to the possibility of living in the Netherlands in my future (and I figure the latter is more likely to happen if I can actually speak the language).

Maybe the Rosetta Stone was not cracked by the help of an iPhone, but in the last three weeks I have learned how to count to 50, talk about the weather, and say the months and week days using a very helpful app. Every night before bed (okay, that's dishonest - every night I am not physically and mentally exhausted from a long day at work - about three times a week) I complete one lesson.  At this pace I imagine I will be fluent by...2070.

The last few weeks have reminded me how much I enjoy learning new languages. I excelled in Spanish in high school with un poquito effort but unfortunately I spent more time finding new ways to say "My Spanish teacher is a jerkface" in Spanish than learning useful vocabulary that would assist me in life post-high school. But this new venture has made me realize it is easier to learn new languages when you are young. Trying to learn new words at this age is like trying to cram another shoe into a very full closet. I definitely need to step it up in the coming months and get a Dutch grammar and vocabulary lesson book. With the academic year winding down, I see no reason why I can't spend my summer months laying on my lawn learning how to say "Het is warm vandaag!" (It is hot today!) and "Breng me naar de windmolens" (Take me to the windmills!)

My hero for this goal is my friend Jenny, who is currently living in Denmark and taking intensive Danish language courses. A special shout out to her for recently being approved for a Danish work permit!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Get Out of My Dreams - Get Into My Car

Last weekend Nicholai and I welcomed a new member into our family: A Prius.

 Introducing Gandalf the Grey

After many unsuccessful weeks of looking for both a good car and a good car loan, my mother called me one day and said her co-worker was looking to sell her recently deceased uncle's car, a 2005 Prius with a silly little number of miles on it. The price offered to us was obviously generous - too generous, even - and we pounced on the deal.

On Saturday, May 22, Nicholai and I went to pick him up in Tacoma at a produce stand. One test drive was all it took - I was in love. It looks like a spaceship inside!  We christened the car Gandalf and this weekend we are going on our first road trip (destination unknown - thankfully it came with a GPS system).

Nicholai and I look forward to many years of low gas mileage and smugness. 

p.s. To all my friends who let me bum rides off of them for the last decade, please let me know how and when I can repay you and your generosity.

Friday, May 7, 2010

On the Road

Last weekend I ended 10 years of passive resistance and got my learners' permit. My partner Nicholai, perhaps tired of working part-time as my chauffeur for the past five years, decided enough was enough: I was going to the DMV.

I had one day - okay, some would argue 10 years - to cram and read the Washington State driving manual. I naively believed this could be accomplished in an evening until I realized the DMV, like institutions of higher education, likes to test to make sure people have read the book, not understand the material. The following morning while taking the knowledge test I was given silly questions like "What percentage of all car accidents involve alcohol?" and other questions akin to "In what year did the Hundred Years' War begin?" - meaning it's about memorizing facts not knowing the context or significance.

I digress!

I am happy to say I passed. Not with flying colors, mind you, but I passed and apparently a B average is good enough for a learner's permit. Hoorah America!

Since last weekend I have taken three driving lessons. The first day was in the parking lot on campus with Nicholai, who may have said "Is your foot on the brake? Put your foot on the brake" about 100 times too many but was a very good and patient teacher. On Wednesday I drove about 3 miles on residential roads. Despite tensing up anytime a car, person or cat comes anywhere near the car, I think I did a pretty good job.

My goal is to have my license by July 23. Watch out, world!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Second Century Project

This year I turned 25 - a quarter-century.

There is nothing within itself alarming about turning 25. In fact, I think I am going to hit my stride in my mid-20s. And I certainly I have little want to remain in my early 20s, as good and awkward as those years were. While certainly not entirely easy, I have few regrets for how I spent my first 25 years - going to college, falling in love, traveling, and getting my Masters. 

On the eve of my birthday, however, I did take pause to think about what I would like to accomplish in the next 25. I entitled this list The Second Century Project (yes, a misnomer but I like the way it sounds and 25 years will feel like 100 anyways). I generated a list of about 30 meaningful goals, both large and small. A sampling of these goals include:
  • Be a self-sufficient adult (e.g. learn to manage my finances, understand my insurance)
  • Learn to kayak
  • Earn a Ph.D
  • Backpack around Chile
  • Live in The Netherlands for a year
  • Learn Dutch
  • Get my driver's license
  • Learn to become a good friend
  • ... And others! 
    At the core of these goals is a desire to live an adventurous, full and beautiful life. Perhaps it was the long winter, but I of late have felt slightly directionless and well, bored. It is my hope this list and project motivate me and give me something to focus on.

    This blog is meant to simply allow me a place to reflect on and share my progress and, if I may request it, generate support. Recently I have started to read the blogs of some friends and I would like to be able to share part of my life, too, with those I don't get to see in my everyday life. I think it will be nice to have a place to vent as I experience the inevitable quarterlife, post-graduate school life crisis, every young American's rite of passage.