The Joy of Waiting

So often I hear the experience of waiting described as hell, as agony, as the most distressing aspect of getting to something.  In the book I am reading right now, for example, the protagonist describes the moments before a cross country race as the worst part of his running experience, worse even than the pain of sprinting through six miles, of choking and gasping for breath at the end of it all.  Many others describe how waiting seems to drag on forever–children watching the clock for the bell to ring, college grads waiting for the results of a test or interview.  In my case, there is a lot of waiting to be had these days, but I find that, rather than dreading the wait, I have been basking in this in-between time of sorts, for it has allowed me to, of all things, take a moment of pause and to return to some of the simple things that give me joy.  

As I wait for, variously, graduation, a job, and my marriage, I find that I am more than content to indulge three of my favored (and often neglected) habits–reading, cooking, and running.  It is truly interesting to me, in fact, to discover how quickly the joy of some of these pursuits returns, for it was seldom to never the case that I would pick up a book for fun during my studies.  And yet, less than twenty four hours after my FINAL final I found myself devouring fiction like I had been starving these last few years.  I am beginning even to resent the reality that i will soon be far removed from my beloved Harvard library system, wherein my heart’s desire could be mine within hours, as long as it wasn’t already in use.

The gym has been a similar experience.  Sure, I have been diligent in going to the gym throughout my time at school, but my free schedule has allowed me to explore new things, to push myself in ways that my former time limitations couldn’t and wouldn’t allow.  I have tried two-a-days, for example, and find that I rather enjoy the burn.  It also doesn’t hurt to have access to a nicely subsidized Harvard Wellness Center that offers lovely massage services!

Finally, I have had time to indulge some of my sillier habits with regards to cooking, which I must say has been wonderful.  I am back to making granola again, which is hands down the best breakfast I can imagine.  Furthermore, I have the luxury of listening to my gut rather than planning around classes and travel–in other words, I eat when I am hungry, which is infinitely more satisfying.

As an aside, all this time to read and think has been good for my Spirit– I have found myself more open to exploring some ideas that I didn’t previously have time for, not only reading pursuits but also theological and pedagogical interests.  I have been thinking about sermons more, for instance, and it feels good to be creative.

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Productive time in Philadelphia

It has been a remarkably productive/positive week for me out here on the Right Coast.  This is surprising in some respects, particularly given that it is spring break in Harvardland, and I would have assumed the week would therefore have been more or less forgettable in the wonderfully relaxed sense that a break often is.  And indeed it has been.  At the same time, I have managed to make headway on some big stuff, have gotten some good news and have achieved some pretty neat things.

To begin:  Harvard loves to do things like, lets say, make your final draft of a senior thesis be due the day after break is over.  So naturally, the expectation of many of us last-years is that our break will in fact be a mad dash to fill some paper with meaningful thoughts.  Now, I like to think of myself as someone who plans ahead, and I did for a great deal of the paper. However, after my first draft I generally let the thing sit around and collect dust while I pursued more “pressing” issues.  I had received lots of feedback but hadn’t followed through on any of it.  I was worried therefore that I might find myself living by the light of my Mac out here at midnight in PA, frantically typing and thinking and freaking out about the meaningful/meaninglessness of what I have to say.  Instead, the revisions were relatively straight-forward, and in many cases I have found myself to be generally pleased with the way I am writing.  I finished most of my first round thoughts on the revision on the train ride down to Philadelphia, in fact.  I will go back again before I turn it in on Monday, but it is safe to say that the thesis is under control.

Other good news: right before I left for Philadelphia, in fact while I was at work hours before stepping on the train, I received word that I have passed all of my ordination exams. Yippee!  I was excited to know that those are a few less hoops to worry about, and I feel confirmed in my confidence coming out of polity in January.  One step closer to a real job!

A and I had planned to run a 5K out here in PHiladelphia, today in fact.  I had been worried because I pulled a muscle in my hip and have been a bit on the limpy side when it comes to running.  Thankfully, I was feeling sufficiently restored to actually run the 5K…. only it turns out that both of us did so well that we won our age groups, and got medals.  A made it zippy with a 21:56 time on the 5K, and I rocked it out at 22:05.  He was beaten by a lot of 20-year olds, and I found myself losing the women’s overall title by three minutes to a fourteen-year-old.  Man she was fast.

Job-wise, I interviewed for a CPE position out in Philadelphia this week and it went quite well.  I didn’t really take CPE very seriously when people first told me to consider it, but I am thinking that it could be a really important and meaningful opportunity, especially given the denominational job search.  Which isn’t to say that the job search isn’t going bad–there are a few things out there, I just recognize that it is going to take time, and CPE is definitely far from the worst thing I could be doing with my time and energy.

Friend-wise– caught up with two friends I haven’t seen in a while, Ne and Shawn.  Both were fun to see, and of all things Ne asked me to be in her wedding party, so now I will get to see how it is from the other side.  I have never been in a wedding, so my own and hers will be a new frontier for me.  With Shawn, it was fun to catch up, talk, enjoy some tasty fries and beer and talk about living in Philadelphia next year.  He is an awesome dude, along with his really cool wife, and I look forward to being in the same city with them next year.

On the wedding front, A and I stopped over at a few shops on Jewelers Row to check out wedding bands.  It was kind of fun, mostly just checking styles and pricing, but I liked watching A look at rings.  I want something relatively basic, and he does as well, but the guys wedding rings are so diverse in terms of options and it was really neat to check them out and see what A is into.  He actually found some really cool styles, and we will probably be buying our rings come May.

There’s lots going on, really, and I am just happy to look back with fondness on the last week.  It is nice to be able to spend time with a wonderful person like A, and to visit with my friends out here in PA.  I miss them all when I am in Boston ( and I miss my boston friends while in PA), so it was great to catch up.  I go back tomorrow, 35 days and counting until classes end, so there isn’t much time left to make my mark in Boston.  I am starting to feel the horizon, and I can’t wait to see what is beyond it, but I also want to enjoy the time I have left where I am.

Movin’ and Shakin’

Things have been seriously B-U-S-Y this semester, and since I don’t necessarily get graded, or a job, or a husband out of blogging, I have to be honest and admit that bloggin’ hasn’t been a priority for me.  However,  things have indeed improved, for a few reasons:

1) I did the math and I am past the halfway mark for finishing my FINAL semester at HDS, which means I feel like I am on the homestretch these days.  No, I haven’t exactly started counting the days, but the true academic-nerd-girl in me is most definitely counting how many assignments I have left until I turn in my last (at last count, 4 major papers, a book report, and 4 reflection papers.  SWEETNESS!)

2) Wedding planning is going surprising well, which translates into a reality in which I don’t quite feel the need to constantly think about whether it is going to go well or not.  At this point, the food, the sites, the music, the pastor, the cake, the dress are all booked.  There are still some important things to do, like, make the invitations (yes, I am making my own), but that is mostly a matter of knowing how to lay out a page and print without making dumb mistakes.  Generally, it has been fun and I am enjoying the sense that it isn’t cause for imminent stress.

3) there just isn’t much I can do to change the reality that the job search is going to take as long as it takes and there is not much more that I can do than what I am already doing.  Of course, I do have the enormous help of knowing that even if I don’t have a job when I graduate, A and I won’t be destitute, but still, it is frustrating to know what you want to do and not be able to make it magically appear in front of you.  My problem, at this point, is that there just aren’t many open positions in the Philadelphia area, so lately, rather than obsessively checking the job postings, I have been entertaining alternative options for what I might find myself doing in the Fall, or the interim as I like to think of it.  Right now, I am thinking about doing some intensive CPE if I can get into a program in the Philadelphia area, and if I can work it right, I might be able to find a place that would pay me a stipend.  Other options are some grant money I know about, some non-profit connections I made last summer, and some fabled part-time church work that I hear tell is going to be available.  So yea, all of this is keeping me from feeling too immanently worried about my employability.

4) My internship at St. Francis House is pretty straight-forward this semester, and is even fun, which means that I don’t have to spend too much time worrying about what to do with my time… I easily occupy my time between spending it with the women there, my bible study, and the meditation classes I have been leading…. getting paid to lead meditation, btw, is SWEET!

5) I am essentially done with my thesis, which means that, aside from a few tweaks, the big and daunting paper I anticipated would rule my life this year is more or less behind me.  This, of course, is a good thing.  Yes, I liked my thesis, but I am also happy to see it with a big fat “passed” grade on it.  No joke.

 

So yea, that’s pretty much my life right now.  I am incredibly blessed to have the awesome family and friends that surround me, who are keeping me from feeling too crazy or confused about all the plates I am spinning in the air, and it is great knowing some of those plates will stop spinning and start getting used (aka, my diploma) pretty soon.  I am looking forward to this summer, but I am also loving this moment of calm that I am in right now.

Crossing over to the mac side…

it’s official.  I have moved over to the mac side of the computer world.  it feels almost strange to leave behind the PC world, but there is also a sense in which I am embarking on a new technological journey.  And yes, I could go all “mac and cheesy” on my blog and write about how amazing and wonderful and gushy I feel with my new macbook, but I prefer to just note here, for posterity, that today I bit the bullet and actually got the computer that I wanted rather than one that was practical (and, somehow, I feel as though I have joined a community of bloggers here… seems like everyone has a mac these days).

 

Anyways, in other news, life has been pretty chill lately.  I am currently in CA, most specifically for my sister’s graduation from USC, which took place with a few minor hiccups last Friday (By minor hiccups, I mean that my grandfather’s heart went out of sync for a few hours, followed closely getting a flat tire on his car when he and my grandmother picked me up at the airport–I fixed the tire by myself, btw–after which my grandmother proceeded to fall headfirst onto a slab of concrete right before my sister’s graduation and spend the day in the emergency room and then an oral surgeon’s office.  Her upper lip is swollen up as a result, which makes me think of Larry the Cucumber’s song, “I love my lips” in which he spends a few weeks in what he calls ‘lip rehab’ after a tragic accident with a gate.).  Any-who, despite all that the graduation went rather well, I think.  My mom and brother and I had a wonderful drive back up the 5 to get back from LA to San Jose (my dad drove my grandparents back) and I have spent the days since our return reading (Lauren Winner’s “Real Sex” and Philip Gourevitch’s “We Wish to Inform you that Tomorrow we will be killed with our families” and part of a horridly disturbing book called “Diary of a Fat Housewife” which I do NOT recommend, even for academic purposes… I was reading it for my potential thesis topic.).  I also have spent some quality time running the old trails at Alum Rock Park.  I ran the South Rim Trail yesterday morning, and my legs are still feeling it!

So I have read, and I have mac-d, and I have run in the hills.  But there is more….. my mother and I experimented and made loquat jam yesterday, which turned out to be an amazing success.  My parents have a loquat tree, you see, and it was loaded with brightish fruit that was aching to be used.  So my mother and I determined that we had the time and interest (sort of) to devote to utilizing the tree’s bounty. The following photos represent the transformation, from tree to bottle.

 Ultimately, the jam was quite tasty, similar in many respects to marmalade.  I plan on bringing some, along with my mother’s apricot jam from the fall, back to Boston/Philadelphia with me… (btw if you want some let me know! There is a bunch to spare!)

Lastly, in the interests of experimentation and a virtually endless loquat supply, I tried my hand at drying some of the little suckers today.  They have so far been in the dryer for about 4 hours, along with blood-orange, lemon, and apple slices.  I look forward to the results.

I guess my conclusion here is that it has been a restful week.  I have caught up on sleep, finally gotten around to exercising again, found myself in my parents home and back in my home congregation for a weekend, and begun to recover from the semester.  Not bad, I say.