Refraction of Summer

It has been brought to my attention by Sim, that I haven’t written at all in some time now. I know I have been delinquent. I have sat down and tried to write posts but they just haven’t felt right and well, why right if you aren’t sure what to say or feel.

So I will start where I left off. The end of the school year and the start of summer.

The end was agonizing and stressful and by the end, I was such an emotional mess I was relieved to leave. I was thrilled to be home with my dogs, to sleep, and  to be alone and away from people, something that you don’t really realize until you live with strangers and in a dorm. Summer for once seemed like it was going to be a rejuvenating experience.

In some ways it was. I recharged for the school year. I was able to relax and indulge in my love of reading which resulted in my impressive feat of completing 25 books. I spent time with my dogs. I cut my hair short again.

In other ways, it wasn’t. My arthritis flared mildly, and I was in an almost constant state of exhaustion or achiness. I felt incredibly isolated and lonely at times, unable to connect. Without schoolwork to occupy me, my mind sometimes crumbles into an emotional inconsistency and habit of hyper-analysis.

I figured out I’m okay at writing poetry. I took an online poetry class for my major and in the process of producing some material, I realized that I have a lot of things that I need to emotionally process, that I had convinced myself I didn’t need to. As upsetting as it was, it was also soothing to pour everything raw onto the page.

My jobs at home were the same as always, and the tedium didn’t drive me insane. Rather it was the creepy men who forced undesired attention and comments on me while I had to avert my eyes from their profane leers, trying not to scream or become physically ill. People are shitty, people are shitty.

However, my job working at a writing camp this summer helped me solidify confidence in what I want to do (writing and teaching), and it was one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. I feel ever more confident about this choice, but at times I still do worry and have uncontrollable moments of stress over whether I am making the right decision and if I am truly following my heart and what feels right.

School has resumed. Already I am drowning in readings. In fact, I should probably be doing some right now. I feel conflicted about how I feel about my classes. As an anal organizer, I need to know the assignments when they are due and the specific parameters. This semester I have several professors that only give out short term schedules a month or so at a time.

In fact, my stress is already going so high through the roof I’ve been in a low to moderate flare since class started. The other day I couldn’t open my bottle of Motrin and I cried. I hated my body. I felt awful that I was never grateful for my good health. My medicine upsets my stomach and I now have to be conscientious of not only what I eat (which is a problem for me because I love food so much) but how much I sleep even the physical activity I do. It makes me feel older than I am. It makes me angry. I try to bear it with grace and dignity but how can you when you never know when you are going to cry over your Motrin bottle?

But on a more positive note, I have discovered the magic of compression gloves. They make it so that I can function and wearing them the other day I was almost ready to weep with joy for I couldn’t remember the last time my hands felt that good. We must delight in the miracles anyway that we can.

 

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Will this food make me flare up tomorrow? Probably. Will I eat it anyways? Probably.

 

The End of Another Sumer

Another month, another summer, another school year, another last minute panic scramble attempt at packing. While I am glad to be going and about classes starting again there is still a hint of worry an anxiety that comes with new things. And I have become a terrible homebody as we all know. Well maybe just me, but now you know too. As I sit here I realize how out of shape with typing I have gotten. Like this is mildly painful and exacerbating. Did you know that exacerbating is an annoying word to type?

So where did I leave off last? Well My cousin got married to her superfab fiance. My aunt from DC took me shopping for a dress the day before, because thats how we as a family role. I still don’t know how I feel about weddings. They can be fun, and mushy, and happy, and sad. Also, dancing at them is the bomb. Anyone who argues otherwise clearly doesn’t know how to have fun.

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The Happy Couple

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Me and da Bro. Shout out to the person using flash and taking a picture too and making me look like a ghost

After that it was a lot of working and trying to make time to see people and do things. I ended up playing in a friend’s Symphony Orchestra that he conducted. It was a pretty good concert, ambitious definitely, but it came together marvelously and I enjoyed the experience. Except, playing that much horn ended up exacerbating my hands a bit.

I am finally, praise the entities of the universe, done working for the summer. While I can go back to all three jobs, I only anticipate going back to one for breaks and such. Its the only one I enjoyed and felt fully comfortable in. And while it was nice to amount a few thousand in the bank, paying for tuition, textbooks, and all the small things I needed this fall at one point put me broker than when I got back from Costa Rica. YIKES.

Despite the amount of work I had going on I still managed to go on some family excursions in August. The first was to a privately owned zoo that this guy in a village nearby runs. While like any zoo we got to see the animals, this one was cool because we got to feed them too if we opted. Which we clearly opted to feed the giraffe, because why wouldn’t you? IMG_0223

Zoos are a complicated issue. Are they good? Are they bad? Talking to one of the woman who works there(my parents knew her when she was little because they were friends with her parents), I could definitely see the good, the mission/goal of this small one. The animals are clearly well taken care of, and it allows kids and people who have never seen animals to get a first hand encounter: Up close, personal, and something they will remember. As hundreds more animals become endangered and go extinct, maybe these bonds, interactions, and childhood memories can make a difference in encouraging conservation. But then again you can never predict these things. And who am I to make these bold assertions?

Zoey, one of our family dogs, has had a rough time this summer. The arthiritis in her hips got a bit rough, she couldn’t stand on slippery surfaces in the morning. But with regular exercise and a supplement she seems to be doing a lot better. She also doesn’t stop eating when she is full. Those neurons just don’t seemed to be hooked up. Our dog food storgae container is right at her height and one day after filling it and no one was home she got into it and ate probably around 4 cups of food. Needless to say she was sick that night, throwing up on her walk, in my bed, in her crate. But this carried on into the next day. After a day of fasting though she got better, but had to be jailed off into an easy to clean area where she couldn’t get into any food.

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Zoey in Jail: Does she regret everything? Probably not.

The medicine for my RA seems to be helping. Sure it can make me painfully gassy at times, but that has mostly passed. I do have achy moments and achy days, but nothing terribly excruciating, and if I get up and do things and move about I usually tend to feel better or not notice the pain. But I do notice that I I can have problems opening cans and jars. That standing 12 hours a day does not do wonders for my feet the next day. And unfortunately chocolate and foods that are proceed/contain high fructose corn syrup, tend to exacerbate the discomfort I feel the next day. I am pretty satisfied with my choice of medicine and how I have been able to manage the pain quite well. While sometimes I still feel angry and bitter about it, Its a passing feeling. I have to learn how to deal with the cards I have been dealt. I have been dealt some that have made me swallow my pride, encouraged emotional and charecter growth, resilience, and now life outlook and endurance. Also the fostering of life long healthy habits. I have been running again, and while my feet may not always like it it feels good. And with the yoga I notice a huge improvement in my hands and ankles. Nothing is impossible if you try, right?

I move into college tomorrow and start a JumpStart program. As I like to explain it with my sense of humor, is that it involves sitting in a circle singing kumbayah while making friends. But I actually get to see and do some pretty col things. I am doing the “green Tour” which means I’ll be experiencing nature, farming, and green practices and lifestyles that make up Ithaca. Something I am excited and curious about because of my time in Costa Rica. Then classes will start, I’ll blink, and it will be thanksgiving and time to register for spring classes. Which, includes grammar. So I’ve included one of the more amusing grammatical illustrations that I have found. Because we could all use a giggle or a smirk of a smile. #OxfordCommaForLyfe

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The Not so Morning Report

A lot has happened, and not a lot has happened. Its the universal paradox of break/summer. Time flies by rapidly but at the same time seems to drag on ad nauseam.

So I went to orientation. It was okay. I ended up in a triple room all by myself. When we went downtown we took refuge in a bookstore for a few minutes because it was raining. I bought 4 books (“Ulysses”, “The Color Purple”, “Orlando”, and “To the Lighthouse”). I didn’t click with my peers too well, more so with the orientation leaders, but they are trained to get along with everyone, so I don’t know. BUT, most excitingly I signed up for classes. I’ll be taking the full course load but I could not be more stoked about the timing and the classes that I will be taking.

Screenshot (120)Literally, I am so excited. It was also nice that I was the only writing transfer student that day. It allowed the summer adviser to really help me. He was super nice, and helpful. Quite a few of my classes were full and he helped to get the override so that I could get into them.

Work has been work. I like the set hours at the gas station. Also its nice that I basically get to have like 2-3 hours every shift during which I can sit and read. Sometimes more depending on the day. It has already allowed  me to get through 2.5 books so far. And I am managing to get enough hours to get enough money to pay for college. I am just not sure how I am going to work at school (On campus? Off campus? One job? 20,000?), but I still have some time to figure that out. Also, I selected housing with other transfer students. Have no idea who my roommate will be, but I guess I will learn and find out.

As for arthritis, I am doing well. Some days I am tender, swollen, and achy but it is mostly in my hands and is becoming increasingly less common. Keeping busy helps to distract me and keeps me moving. I have been on the medicine about 2 weeks now and I am doing well. My hair isn’t falling out and I don’t have dreams any more vivid than usual (hair loss and vivid dreams are possible side effects, hair loss is linked to certain dosage levels in certain people, and malaria meds are infamous for their vivid dreams). I am still often perpetually tired, but I am sure the long working hours are partially to blame. I got up at 4:30 yesterday as I worked 5a-2p. Talk about gross. As much as I would like to call myself a morning person, I really am an aspiring one right now. But one day.  But I am making it, and it is all going well.

Give me Fried Chicken and Chocolate Cake

Even though I am not taking as many classes, I’m not working, and don’t have to worry about all of my time commitments that I have at home, I feel like I have significantly less time. I don’t know what it is but I have been slacking not only in blogging but writing in my journal, and taking and posting pictures. Aiiee!

Well this past week was a bit rough. I had an encounter with sun poisoning on my back, but my two awesome roommates nursed me through the brunt of the pain and I don’t know if you knew this, but Plantains feel absolutely amazing on sunburned back. My back is much better now, and I have a swim shirt now to protect me from the strong sun at the beach.

We had our first exam for Spanish and while I didn’t do as good as I would have liked I am doing quite well, and learning a lot. I am glad that I ended moving down to basic one. I feel a lot more comfortable and I am actually learning a lot more that I thought I would taking basic one again.

Our trip to Puerto Viejo (El Carribe) this past weekend was pleasant. I really liked the food there. I really enjoyed the food. I liked the coconut and tiny kick in the rice and beans and don’t even get me started on the shrimp and rice I had. It was AMAZING. The town had a very different feel than Tamarindo and I liked the more laid back feel but I wasn’t a fan of the fact that there was a large cockroach in someones bed. And the ants. If I had to pick a bug that grosses me out that I’m just 100% done, it is ants. Spiders come close too. Really all bugs honestly.

I went to yoga class last night, and man I have missed my intense yoga sessions. I do yoga at home but its usually not as intense, rapid, and sweat inducing as my home practice. I’ve needed that here and I think it is an excellent addition to dance class. I missed my om-ing with other people, and having a teacher to point out tiny things to focus on, like keeping the inside of my palms on the mat and remembering to fully spread my fingers and toes.

I have been feeling a bit homesick, it really comes and goes. I just really miss my family and my dogs and American food. I really was missing American food. But today, was an excellent food day and I feel a lot better, at least about the food situation. I had an awesome pancake with maple syrup for breakfast. Then for lunch, vegetables, rice, and fresh amazing fried chicken. I have never had such amazing fried chicken in my life. And of course Mora Juice, aka blackberry juice aka the best stuff you will ever consume ever. Then at the cafe at school I had cake. Chocolate cake. With Carmel for frosting. I was so happy and it really was what I needed. When everything seems to be going wrong and I just feel done with everything, a slice of chocolate cake makes the world of a difference.

Para Mi Tia Ginny:

Yo no quirero frijioles, pero hay mucha frijoles. Para Desayuno, Almuerzo, y Cena. Yo Bebeo cafe en la manana con leche y cinco azucar. A mi me gusta mucho. Encantanto juego de mora y marmelada de mora. Es muy rica y delicioso. Yo hablo un poco espanol pero yo aprendo un poco cada dia. Yo pienso en espanol con un poco palabras.

Día Uno

So yesterday was orientation and today was the first actual day of class. A lot of vocab has slipped out of my head which made things a bit difficult, but not overwhelming or frustrating. My spanish classmates were very nice and I didn’t feel as overwhelme as my first day of spanish class bak in the US.

But before today a bit about orientation yesterday. We got a basic tour they explained some stuff and gave us information, not only about the university but also activities . One of the professors talked about how different culturally Costa Rica is compared to what we are used to, and gave us tips on overcoming and dealing with culture shock. While I feel like I have already experienced that sorta and a bit of homesickness too, I feel like I am doing well. Everyone talks about how awesome going abroad it, but its also important to talk about how sometimes you miss home. A LOT. I find that I am really missing my bed, mainy because my pillows are simply too soft and my bed has a saggy spot from too many previous visitors sitting on that edge.

So Spanish class. It was good. Its going to be a lot of hard work but I am ready for it. It is hard to fully communicate when you cannot remember all of the words and verbs you need, but I survived thus far, ad I am kind of excited for tomorrow. My history class (Contemporary Latin American History) is also really interesting. I like the teacher and knowing exactly what is going to happen when. We have to do a 40 minute partner presentation about the history of a country which I am nervous for, but also weirdly excited for. Its more practice with public speaking and more practice for teaching. Which in case you didn’t know, I want to be a professor when I grow up.

I am going to the beach this weekend, as I get three trips with the affiliated travel agency for free. Its a beach on the pacific called Tamarindo. It is supposedly a good place to learn to surf, so who knows, I might try and learn!

Por Mi Tia Ginny:
Como pescado por cena hoy. Normalente, no me gusta pescado pero el pescado es muy bien! La clase de espanol es difficil pero me gusta. Me gusta la chicas en mi casa. Son simpaticas y comicas. Compramos a la universidad in la manana. Ellas tienen electivos lunes y miercoles, pero tengo mi elecitivo martes y jueves. Necesito estudiar espanol mucho.