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Well, it took a tablespoon of Maalox ($1 at the student pharmacy), two capsules of kava-kava, and an hour-long nap, but I did accomplish my 4-mile-round-trip hike to get my course packet, and while I was down there I found the health food store and bought two ears of corn and soy cheese and a couple of fruit leathers.

With this last class today (intro to sustainable development) the last piece of the puzzle fell into place and I realized that I have the dream team of classes. They're all interlocking, approaching the questions I asked on my course application (where did we come from? what are our choices for where to go from here?) from incrementally different angles.

Conflict time. It turns out my parents have been reading this thing. I'm going to check IP addresses & see if they quit, as I asked them to, because I'm writing them nice letters almost daily and besides, this is MY JOURNAL. It is going to be hard enough to seperate myself from my parents here, given that we have what I'd call a very positive relationship and I miss their company. I need to seperate, and part of that is starting to choose which parts of my life my parents are privy to. It is necessary, and I don't appreciate them intruding on the parts I decide to keep seperate. I really don't.

All right, I've decided. If you read this blog, email me at alextree314@writeme.com and ask me for the address of the new blog. If you're my mother, butt out. Thanks.

alex

  posted by Alex @ 2:50 PM


Tuesday, August 26, 2003  

 
I am so happy here.

Intellectually happy. My brain is wiggling its metaphorical toes in glee. My non-metaphorical toes are tired and sore, and my stomach is grumbling, but my brain is happy. It happened today, in a class I was almost too tired to pay attention in, the 5:00 to 6:30 - I heard an idea I'd never thought of before, and there's this wonderfull head-expanding feeling as everything tilts on its axis and realigns. Anyone ever told you that learning is addictive?

I did manage to go to dinner with people, too (Tamz, you happy?) some people that I already knew, but it's right after class, so I may have permanent dinner company. My thought & the environment class is so cool. I was worried at first because the teacher's a real good ole boy in that moderately dirty-old-man sort of way, but once you start talking he listens.

Oh, god, it's so good to go to dinner and talk with people about things you didn't think anyone else ever thought of! I'm glad I did this.

Tomorrow is sustainable development (a program that apparently has a farm attached) and then the two-mile hike to get my History of Literacy course packet in town. Oh, I love you guys, I do. I'm okay. I'm going to be okay.

love,
alex

  posted by Alex @ 6:50 PM


Monday, August 25, 2003  

 
First class today. I have another one in an hour and a half. The class was one of the ones in my program, and so the teachers requested to be called Bud and Kay and Bud went on a five-minute tangent about Finding Nemo. It is a huge two-hour class first thing in the mornings, but it is also a good class, and so I shall survive. I left feeling like crying, but not for any reason besides being tired & hungry & overwhelmed. I went to the cafeteria, and as per Tam's suggestion sat down with some people I didn't know - a bunch of dreadlocked senior girls, as it happened, who didn't talk much but were nice. One of them said some really great things about my program, which was nice because I've heard a lot of bad things too. (By the way, what is it with everyone born in 1984? Everywhere I go, the year before me has done something awful and my year pays for it. 1984, you're not on my good side.)

Oh, and it turns out the cafeteria food is edible, even if the staff say vay-gan and try to feed me cheese. I got a bean burger and a huge plate of fruit & lettuce for $5.70. So it's just the food court that's horrific.

My watch is broken, already. That's what I get for buying it from Wal-mart. It's really messing with my head, because I thought it was 1:39 and it turns out it's 12:48 and I'm totally lost and really feeling like I've travelled backwards an hour.

Tomorrow I have to either walk or take the shuttle downtown to a print shop to get the reading that's due Wednesday. Also, I need to call the health center to get my menengitis vaccination. So now I have to go look up the print shop. More later, probably. love to all
alex

  posted by Alex @ 11:54 AM



 
Well, I was sad, and then I went to Club Expo and saw all the cool things that I can do here, and then I made two friends on the way to house meeting, both of them a comforting two to three years older than me. So I am happy. I have so much I need to do before tomorrow, but I'm happy.

love (I mean it!)
alex

  posted by Alex @ 9:14 PM


Sunday, August 24, 2003  

 
Oh my God. It's a goddamn Haight-Asbury out there.

It's a cool town, but to be honest it's freaking me out a little. Everything is freaking me out a little. I finally got sad, and it's not so much homesick as really really lonely. I think I've done too much in too short a time & am needing to calm & readjust.

God, I hate this tank top. It's super-insulating summer wear. Obnoxious.

This morning I woke up at 7:30, half an hour before my alarm clock, and went for a walk in the woods before heading to church. Turns out church is only 20 minutes away. I got there early & ended up helping a lady set up coffee & pastries (mm pastries. I'm hungry). Turns out they have adult RE here, which is a little odd but much more like what I'm used to then sit-down church is. The service wasn't bad - there was a guest speaker on campus ministries, so it was more like an enthusiastic teach-in with singing. It is a high-energy group, and I'm glad to be there, and I already volunteered to help with forming the campus group. I was really happy with the people I met there, so I don't know why I'm so sad now - maybe because the instant ease of a crowd of UUs contrasts unpleasantly with the nervewracking unfamiliarity of the kids in my dorm. Maybe just because I'm tired and PMS-y.

After service and the campus ministry planning meeting, I decided not to bother to try to attend the rest of orientation, so I wandered downtown & poked in shops, bought glow-in-the-dark stars for my room and a book of color-in mandalas for my old church. I came back to the dorm, watched Monsoon Wedding with my suitemates, started organizing (because the rest of the week I'm going to be running way too hard to get anything done) and got really sad. So I went for a walk - the sun still sucks you outside in the afternoon, saying I'm leaving soon, come talk to me - and realized while walking that I've seriously fked up something in my hip and it hurts to walk. Great. Hurting to walk, stuck 96 steps and half a mile away from many of my classes. We like that.

I have a lot to talk and think about, but I don't really want to deal with any of it right now. I think I will go eat a granola bar and lay in my bed until I feel better.

luv,
alex

  posted by Alex @ 4:55 PM



 
Had a revelation, walking alone and inadvisably through the thin small-town dusk. I do not have to explain my whereabouts, outside of class (analogous to work) to anyone. I do not have to check in, sign out, let anyone know where I've gone. Safety puts its limits on this, of course, but I am essentially at my liberty. I've never tried independance before. It's kinda fun.

I was walking to try to figure out how much time I should alot to get to church tomorrow. I'm thinking a little over an hour walk, so I'll alot an hour and a half, pack nice clothing, and sneak into the bathroom there to change.

Walking through the hallways - girl with christmas-tree ceiling perched on the edge of her bunk bed playing steel guitar to an attentive audience. Constant stream of opposite-gender peoples headed in and out of a door three down from mine. I swear they're waiting in the halls, and I try not to laugh watching them sneak out in the morning. The girl who doesn't like me was cooking pasta in the kitchen while I was making my solitary repast of Nature Burger and canned oranges.

I just learned from the orientation guru across from me in the lab that the kids in my program do indeed have a reputation for destroying things, and that we're essentially in a fishbowl this next year as far as self-policing goes. Good to know.

love,
alex

  posted by Alex @ 9:39 PM


Saturday, August 23, 2003  

 
incredible day.

First of all, this ain't a college, it's a big building full of people Alex used to know. If there aren't any second chances, I don't know what you'd call this. It was freaking me out, but I just ran into someone from my old Outward Bound group (one of the few good things in a terrible phase of my life) and now I'm excited. I know these people, or did. That's cool.

I woke up at 5:45 and never went back to sleep. At seven thirty, I got up to go walking on the trails (previous entry) and then came back to eat an excessive amount of granola and figure out the logistics of a shared bathroom. I got my mailbox, went to my program's convocation (we did an egg drop! Lee, our director, held one particularly artistic specimen of egg insulator off the ladder and said, "Beauty is truth, and truth beauty. That is all we know in life, and all we need to know" and let the egg go. The prismatic triangle of straws and masking tape bounced once, twice - the egg popped out and rolled away, landing intact on the newspaper. Ours, of course, crunched first try. But it was good fun. being in a room with my program's people felt like being in a really spiffy high school, one where everyone's acting like teenagers but in a funny, cool way. That doesn't sound like a ringing recommendation but consider how much familiarity is worth to me right now.

Oh! Somewhere in here (I really don't remember) I went to the Big Sale, which is the selloff of discarded dorm junk. It really is junk. Cracked ziplock bowls, trash cans with scorch marks on the side, you know. But I needed a trash can and a recycling bin, and a bookshelf, and cereal bowls and water glasses and a cutting board. This sale was at the campus nightclub, which is as far away as possible (i.e. at least eight substantial flights of stairs) from my dormitory. Yes, I did. Luckily, I bought gimpy cheap furniture. I hauled two trashcans and a bookcase across campus on my back. All told, I have probably walked ten miles today. That makes me proud.

Then we had orientation - why do I always end up with the gimp group? We did play "Never have I ever". But I'm supposed to be eating with them right now, and I seemed to have misplaced them.

Whoops.

Yeah, me and this girl - (you know quiet clean-faced horseback riding types? maybe it's the posture that makes the simularity) broke off to go get our textbooks. Turns out they're only giving me one before class starts, though I saw an Oxford Annotated Bible lurking under a sign with my course number. After that we went to the student union and split off, and I bought a lemonade (Minute Maid! bad!) and sat to get the weight off my feet. It was at this point around 3 pm, of course. I went to the food court and was charged $5.30 for a small bowl of grapes and another small bowl of refried beans, salsa that tasted really bad, and chips. The main cafeteria better be better then this. So far it's only open at really awkward times, and not for dinner.

And then we had the general convocation. Some official people talked to us, and the student body president, and this motivational speaker who told us to save ourselves for our future spouses, also that marajuana is sprayed with arsenic. Why can these people never be reasonable?

After that, we were supposed to go to dinner with our orientation group, but since I really geniunely can't find mine and am full of the jelly beans I bought to supplement the terrible food court food, I am here in the computer lab. Where I just met a person I slept next to under a tarp for the rainiest eight nights of my life. I will go upstairs now, and wash my face, and possibly watch a pointless movie (my roommate has an excellent stock of these) but I think not, and go to sleep. At 8 pm. The swingin' life of the college freshman.

love,
alex


  posted by Alex @ 6:30 PM



 
The luxury of walking thin-morning Appalachian trails! I'd forgotten - the air is very cool, and despite the fog almost dry against the skin. The tadpoles in the pond are un-frogged, the size of a baby's fist with the pubescent bumps of legs beneath their tails. But the weight of the bowed rhododendron is oppressive, early in the morning, and my legs have forgotten the trick of going up and down mountainsides without jarring.

hungry. I think I will email my mother, later today. If I call her, then I will be homesick, and that is not good.

love,
alex

  posted by Alex @ 7:45 AM



 
Well, I'm here. Right now I'm really ecstatic (my parents finally left! woo!) but I can feel homesick lurking right around the edges. Tomorrow we start doing stuff.

First, damn, are the boys here determined to get some as s. Second, freshmen males do not look like grownups. Third, everyone here is from my town, I think.

I think one thing that helps me is I sort of take possession of a space and act like I have the right to live there. It's something I learned traveling, especially in situations where the only plumbing you'll see for the next day is a Wendy's restroom. It makes me less tenative, because in my mind, I already live here.

You know? I am panicked about the demands on me. I miss my dog. But still, when I sit quiet and alone in a room, I feel at peace with deciding to come here.

love,
alex

  posted by Alex @ 8:15 PM


Friday, August 22, 2003  

 
Yesterday: woke early. The family friends came & visited, gave me muesli, hugged me, went. My mom and I went on a sprinting run of all the places I dislike (Costco, Bed Bath& Beyond, Walmart) which lasted for five hours and left me extremely cranky and sad. I went out with Scott & wandered the main drag of our little town. Scott can identify about a fourth of the residents by car, and about half of those by sound. I am not a car person but I think I find this impressive. I left my mother to do the tail end of my packing (I feel bad about this, but the fact is things get done a lot better if I stay out of her way). My friend Erin came by this morning. And then I went out to breakfast with Youth Group Leader Extraordinare. Mom and Dad packed the van. And we're off!!!

  posted by Alex @ 7:06 AM



 
This time yesterday, I was terrified. Now I'm just really excited. I'm ready to go.

love to you all,
alex

  posted by Alex @ 10:40 PM


Thursday, August 21, 2003  

 
I am avoiding the stage of panic where I start obsessively counting _every calorie_. Which means that I'm in the stage of panic where I get chubby instead. I can feel the little layer of fat under my chin, just sitting there being fatty and uncooperative. I'd better loose weight with all the walking on campus. I typically do when I'm walking a lot and busy.

  posted by Alex @ 8:17 PM


Wednesday, August 20, 2003  

 
Can you imagine sitting in the middle of a bus full of children, looking around at them all, and deciding, now I'll blow them up, now, with that other bus passing that I could maybe hit? Can you imagine? I am sick. There is no explanation, and while I will call it hate I will not dismiss the causes as 'evil' because 'evil' doesn't mean anything besides 'wrong', and I don't believe 'wrong' is an explanation. A valid classification, but not an explanation. More complicated words - fanaticism? some complicated combination of racism and siege mentality?

I think this is the worst yet. Yesterday is the worst yet.


Shallowness break. I can only handle so much:

I've decided I'm taking the wrong tack as far as packing. I want to have my things around me - but what happened to simplicity? Shouldn't I be able to stuff my belongings in a backpack and go? So I am going to take only what I think I need, instead of turning my dorm room into a sort of life raft for possessions I don't want to let go. That means the clothes I have unpacked now (plus some socks), fewer books, limited food (enough to make breakfasts, not three meals a day) my cd-player alarm clock, and my computer. And school supplies.

The thing that's getting me is, if I don't need something in my dorm room, I just plain don't need it ever. My room is getting boxed up so that my sister can move in. If I don't need to take something with me, I am essentially qualifying it as unnecessary and removing it from my life. I will never need it again. So, in essence, I'm getting rid of it.

_Why_ have I stopped meditating? I need disattachment! Badly!

  posted by Alex @ 12:46 PM


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