In early April, my second postbacc quarter at the University of Washington began.  Unlike last quarter, I got extremely lucky with all three of my classes and professors.  Middle English, Chaucer, and Medieval Outlaws may be some of the most interesting courses I’ve had the pleasure of taking.  Though, to clarify, I thought most of my classes as Gustavus were amazing…

I’m on my way to Minneapolis/St Paul for Will Freiert’s retirement party this weekend.  Yay for wifi on the plane!  It’s been a hectic day on top of a hectic week.  We just had midterms, so I’m sure you can imagine the insanity of my schedule, especially factoring in the 1 to 1 1/2 hours of commuting each way to and from campus.  I got through it, which is the important part, though!  I had a midterm in Middle English, a paper in Chaucer, and a source analysis paper for my history seminar (Medieval Outlaws) this week, and I think I did well.  I was really looking forward to just enjoying this weekend and to being relatively stress-free.  However, I don’t think that my airport shuttle company and the folks at Delta had similar ideas.  My shuttle was about 30 minutes late in picking me up this morning, which then caused me to be late at the airport.  I arrived at my gate after going through a rat maze-like system of trams and escalators (similar to Heathrow’s international terminal wonkiness) to find no one around.  I could see my plane right there, but when an employee finally came around, I was informed they weren’t boarding anymore.  It was about 12:05.  The plane left at 12:15.  Ugh.

Okay, venting complete.  I cried my frustration out and booked another flight and am currently on my way.

I think that coming into contact with negative people and situations helps me to reset my head.  When something unfortunate happens, I need to feel that anger, sadness, injury, and frustration for a while and talk to my mom and/or just cry while snuggling up to my cat.  After a mini eruption, I’m able to see the good in the situation (there always is a silver lining, however small and hard to see) and get life back on track.  I’ve been through so much stuff in life that I can’t afford to see friendships dissolve, my morals to be pushed aside, or yes, my missed flight to ruin the impending fun.  I do my best to rectify negative behavior in myself when I notice it and to follow the examples of others when they handle situations well.

I’ve made a resolution to write down (or, as is usually the case, type out) something I’m grateful for each day to help me stay grounded in the positive.  In my first grateful moment, I wrote that I was thankful for books and languages.  Besides those, which enable me to have this academic and career path, I’m thankful for my family and friends who are always there for me and are amazing people.  Those are the big ones.  I’m also thankful for the Egyptians, who domesticated cats, supplied ancient Rome with grain, and created a civilization that is one of the most fascinating in history.  I’m thankful for rain and the soft sound it makes on my window in Washington.  I’m thankful for those who have made recorded music a part of life; I’d be lost during all types of commuting and while studying without it.  I’m thankful for the little happy accidents in life, like chocolate chip cookies, editing errors in films (hello, Mr Modern Bluejean Crew Guy in Gladiator!  You’re looking very silly in Roman Gaul wearing that outfit!), and even (sometimes) taking a different bus home.

I hope that everyone can find the little things in life that bring smiles and laughter and warm, fuzzy feelings.

We’re descending.  Good night!