I haven’t been home at my parents’ house since November, until now.  I just got in today and am fired up to finish my research paper and get some R&R that only home can provide.

There are many things I don’t like about home: it’s messy, it’s boiling hot, my dog’s hair is over everything…  However, it’s still home, and as I play house as a grown adult elsewhere and figure out how I want to run my house, I have come to appreciate the comforts of home.

While one of my favorite things about being home used to be sleeping in a big bed with my cat after a brutal semester, that’s now missing.  Well, at least the cat part.  Sammy’s currently living with me in Washington, so I suppose I get to cuddle her and play with her as much as I want.  The big bed is still here, and it’s as rejuvenating as ever.

Zzzzz...

There is no large desk for me to spread my stuff onto, but somehow that’s okay when I get frequent “How’s it going?” and warm coffee from my parents.  The little things they do to show they care really add up.

I can’t explain the joy of being home other than “warm and fuzzy,” and I’m not talking about the dog hair and Oklahoma temperature again.  It’s an internal, uh, fuzziness, and I think it only comes from being where I truly belong.  I get the same feeling when I’m with my best friends from Gustavus.  However, there I inevitably am overly careful to be a good guest.  It’s nice to literally be able to put my feet up and relax.

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This week has been very strange for a number of reasons.

I’ve felt as though I’ve been falling through space due to illness that is messing with the equilibrium in my head and to the fast-approaching end of the term.  I cannot believe it’s May.  But not just May; it’s the end of May.  And not just the end of May, but the end of May which marks the one year anniversary of my graduation from college.  Whew.  The days roll by and at times I just blindly follow the waves.  I’m floating, as if I’m in a swimming pool disrupted by the elementary school divers.  One roll after the next.  I can’t really tell if I’m enjoying the ride or a bit perturbed that I don’t have control of the entire pool.

I think feelings of being out of control stem from the fact that I’ve said goodbye to many friends for a year (!) or possibly several and am rapidly approaching my cross-continental move.  The weekend spent at Gustavus, my beloved alma mater, was amazing and yet terrifying.  I’m no longer in the loop for many things: Eta Sigma Phi and the classics department, my college friends’ lives, and college politics.  I just went with the flow earlier this month and nodded absent-mindedly when new things were brought into the conversation.  However, at the same time, I soaked up information like a sponge.  Who did what now to whom?  They got married?  Who got a new job where?

I’m pretty sure that these feelings are normal, especially for a (relatively speaking) homebody like me.  I’ve always been so close to my parents and my college friends are the first people I’m not related to who have been reliable and like siblings (the kind one likes, of course!).  It will be hard to start over yet again.  I was reminded of how many times I’ve had to start over when I was filling out applications for grad school.  One application asked me for all of my high schools.  Let’s see… at one time or another I followed six different curriculums of study in three states.  And that’s not even for all of high school.  Because of a head injury, I didn’t actually graduate high school and jumped straight to college.  Then I was a freshman twice because of a knee injury in 2004.  Anyway, my point is that I’ve had to start and restart so many times that even though being by myself became routine, I quickly became accustomed to being with actual, close, family-like friends.  Even though I believe with most of my heart (the part that isn’t afraid of letting go of whatever place I have here in the States) that Durham is the right path for me to go next, I’m terrified of leaving and going through all that reestablishment again.

With that being said, I’m determined to fly.  I just need that little push out of the nest in order to begin to soar like I did at Gustavus.  After all, practice makes perfect, and I have the practice thing down.

My Goal

My Goal

Grateful: books, libraries, and ILL.  I have thirteen books out on various topics for my Robin Hood paper.  They range in topics from Edward II to late middle ages society to heraldry and include titles such as Landscape and Memory, Ideology of Adventure, and Outlaws in Medieval and Early Modern England.

Also, things like this: James Purefoy, Pride and Prejudice, and Middle English nerds.

I’ve been very absent from the blogging world for a while, and a lot has happened since I last wrote.

I was very emotional about the whole family thing last time, as anyone could probably see, mostly because as children we tend to remember the hurtful stuff and not the wonderful bits.  I truly miss my extended family, and really want to meet my cousins’ new(ish!) spouses and children.  The last time I saw most of my extended family, excluding those who were living in Texas around the same time we were, was when I was very young.  I think I was 10 or 11, while my closest cousin was 17 or so.  Add to those uncomfortable memories the fact that I think some of them think I’m having a romantic relationship with or am sleeping with my roommate (which I should point out, I’m not, as he’s a brother to me and anything more than that would be, uh, awkward to say the least).  It wound up being impossible to do, anyway, as my Latin final was in the very last final exam time, ending at 6:30 pm the night before the party.  I somehow doubt that I would have been good company after all that cramming, a long flight, and probably very little sleep…

As I believe I mentioned before, I was accepted into the MA programs in Medieval Studies / Medieval and Renaissance Studies / Medieaval Studies at St Andrews, York, and Durham.  I finally accepted DURHAM!  I’m so excited and really can’t wait to get enrolled and find out where I’m living and if I got financial aide, etc, etc, etc.  It’s just such a beautiful place and I really feel like I’ll fit in well, especially since I’ve been corresponding with the girlfriend of my dad’s colleague’s son (got all that?) who is currently at Durham.  I know what I need to work on and how I need to prepare, which is why I’m determined to work my butt off this coming term at Washington.  I know that those grades and that transcript aren’t really for anything but to satisfy my own incurable desire for knowledge, but I think they’ll help me to jump into a master’s schedule.

Speaking of UWash, spring quarter starts tomorrow today!  If I can get all the signatures I need from my professors and departments, I’ll be taking two English classes (Middle English and Chaucer) and a history colloquium (Medieval Outlaws).  I’m so amazingly excited.  Really.  I mean, medieval outlaws?!  A class to just focus on the late medieval writer Chaucer?!  A class where I can learn to read Middle-freaking-English and the original Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Piers Plowman, and Chaucer?!  My brain is totally going to explode, in a good way!

Let’s see, on the film front, I’ve been using my Netflix membership wisely and have seen some great movies in the past month or so, and more in theaters.  Here’s my list of films and if they’re starred, they’re worth seeing (in my opinion):

  • Alice in Wonderland (3D)
  • How to Train Your Dragon*
  • The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
  • Up in the Air*
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox*
  • A Serious Man*
  • Rebecca (Hitchcock, 1940, one of my new favorite films AND books!)*
  • Northanger Abbey (2000s, PBS/BBC)*
  • The Usual Suspects*
  • Sherlock Holmes*
  • Avatar*
  • Precious*
  • The Hurt Locker*
  • The Informant!*
  • Cinema Paradiso (complete with the cutie from Like Water for Chocolate!)*
  • Mulholland Dr. (* if you’re ready for a VERY distorted film that will make you wonder, “What the heck was that about?!”)
  • Hunger*
  • Unbearable Lightness of Being*

I’m eagerly awaiting The Princess and the Frog and An Education.  I should mention that Northanger Abbey up there has the fantastic Carey Mulligan in a supporting role.  As far as the theater films go, I am so excited for Clash of the Titans, Robin Hood, and Sharpe’s 16 (I have the episodes 1-15 at home, and admit that British history under Wellington is much more interesting when including Sean Bean).  I also should mention that I probably will have some kind of intellectual orgasm from the new Robin Hood, which is unusual for me.  I loved Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love and Queen Margot, but that’s not my focus.  I hated (with a firey passion) Troy and Alexander, though Ridley Scott is mostly amazing, with Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven to show for it.  And I have two copies of each of those on DVD (theatrical and extended editions.  Shhh–no judging!  I like my DVD extras and commentary.  Plus, more Russell Crowe and buff Orlando Bloom is NEVER a bad thing!)

I’m going to leave it at that for the evening.  I actually have to be up in the morning.  Where did spring break go?!

Here are a few pictures to hopefully entertain you.  I was able to see my cousin, Scott, last week when he was in the Seattle area for his work with Microsoft.  We ate at the Crab Pot restaurant on the waterfront, which was amazing.  I haven’t seen him and the rest of his family since we first moved to Oklahoma City, and he and his wife, Laura, are incredible people.  I remember holding their two youngest boys in my arms after they were born and knowing then (at 13? 14?) I wanted to be a mom.  I even crosstitched an ark for their eldest, Matthew, when he was born.  I really can’t wait to see them almost grown up and to meet the youngest, Ryan, for the first time.

The second picture is from Veronica’s visit to Seattle.  We met at Pike’s Place Market on a Sunday, and then I met her on the UW campus for a Coke after class the next day, when this pic was taken.  Don’t worry…  Our expressions are completely normal.  We have a tradition of taking pictures with utensils in our mouths each time we get together!

Here’s to a happy spring to each of you!

Scott and me, March 2010

Traditional Picture of Veronica and Me, March 2010

This past week, I’ve gotten every single bit of my grad applications in and done!  WOO-HOO!  All the online applications and attachments, my GRE score, my snail mail packets – all finished!  I’m praying for Durham and York to accept me, as well as at least one US school for back up.

Speaking of Durham, I got on the bus yesterday and sat in front of a guy I recognized from my history class.  We talked a bit about our paper assignment, for which I used The Life of St Leoba and he used Bede.  I told him that I have a special place in my heart for Bede, as Durham Cathedral is where he is buried.  Amazingly enough, this guy actually is looking into Durham for grad school, too!  We talked a lot about that and our medieval interests.  He seems really nice.  (And no, I am not thinking “nice” in a romantic way; somehow some of the physical features of my two college exes would up in this guy’s face.  Very strange!  Although, he doesn’t have the social awkwardness and pretentiousness that the both of them can have.)

I dropped that comp lit course, finally.  I didn’t want to, as it’s the course I was the most excited about and is the only lit course (on paper, at least – it’s really an art history/religion class) I was taking this term.  The professor just didn’t seem to have all his ducks in a row, all his marbles, etc.  Pick whatever cliched analogy you want.  He wasn’t responsive and seemed out of it sometimes.  It was like World Religions all over again, on an epic scale.  Plus, I wasn’t learning anything.  That was the sad part.

I’m hopeful I can get into a senior sem on medieval outlaws, Chaucer, and Middle English for next quarter.  All three of those classes sound amazing and would give great background for my postgraduate studies.

It’s Ryan P’s birthday today, so we’re probably going out to dinner.  I don’t know where yet, as he is perhaps the least apt decision-maker I know!  Not that he can’t come to a decision, but it takes a long time.  And that’s saying something, as I’m really bad at it, too, as are Em and Hannah.  We’re all the “Uhh, you choose!” kind of people.  Which I love, I might add.  It makes whatever we do that much more spontaneous and adventurous!

Not much else to tell, really.  My friend Alicia won a grant for research in Greece, and is there now.  She waved at the ruins today and saw her first defixio (curse tablet) today!  I’m so very proud of her and of her husband, Ryan I.  They’ve really gone after their dreams, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them.

Spring break is coming up in March, I think, and my grandma’s 85th birthday party is that month in Florida.  I would love to be there for my parents and grandmother, but I feel like I don’t belong in the family.  My parents are the most generous, kindhearted parents I could ask for, both towards me and my friends.  They’re sending me to grad school and want the best for me.  I think that they raised me well; I didn’t drink until I was 21, I’ve never done drugs or smoked, I take my faith seriously (though I’m not an avid church-goer except abroad, it seems like) and believe in abstinence before marriage.  I try to be as polite as possible and believe that anyone who’s had an important impact on my life, I should stay on good terms with.  This means my exes, friends from elementary school, teachers, professors, friends, and peers.  Who am I leaving off of this list?  My extended family.  I never had much contact with them growing up, and they all seem so much different from me.  I’ve been insulted and hurt by several of them, whether they meant to or not.  This whole party is being arranged by my other, older cousins, who discussed this over Facebook and didn’t include me at all, which, granted, may have been because I’ve been on the other side of the country.  However, I would have liked to help, especially knowing that I may not be able to go because of school.  I feel like I’m lightyears away from them.  I don’t want to put my dad in a place where he spends however much money for me to go to the state I hate the most (I drew that state by lot for a project in 5th grade and begged someone to trade me and since then have excluded colleges and grad schools in southern California and, yep, Florida) and then feels responsible for me being unhappy the entire time.  I should mention that I dislike Florida for the climate and the allergies, and not because of my family, and have always disliked it.  I’m a mountains person, not a beachy person.  It really stinks that Florida seems to be where my family ends up.

However, I’d skip my spring break and go to Florida for my dad and mom.

So, my interesting day on the 4th.  I started classes and I got to campus early to get signatures for my forms, and whatnot.  Apparently, Oklahoma and Minnesota have not prepared me adequately for the rain here.  My umbrella broke the second I got off the bus and I wasn’t wearing a rain-resistant coat.  Keeping that and the fact that my coat is black with a dyed lining, what do you think happened to my favorite, wear-with-anything scarf?  Yep.  It got a bit dyed, itself.  To top off all that nonsense, I was unable to obtain the signatures I wanted (though, I did get them at the end of the week and have completed all the registration hoops… I think) and was shuttled among about four buildings.  After that, I found my classroom for the one class I had that day.  There were four others who showed up to class and I learned that one of the guys in my class, Ryan, works at a movie theater and recently saw Young Victoria.  He highly recommends it to me, as I told him about my love of period pieces and antiquity.  Two of the girls in my class are going to Rome next quarter (*jealous*) and are grad art history students.  The other guy in my class got an iPhone from Santa, on the yearly condition that Santa still exists (so cute!  My parents still write “From Santa,” but gave up long ago on trying to make me believe.  However, they were pretty darn good at the deception thing.  One year they put some tarnished sleigh bells in our yard, as if they’d fallen from Santa’s sleigh, and gave me a beautiful golden bell.  Of course, they pretended that they couldn’t hear the tinkling, as adults can’t believe anymore, a la The Polar Express.  DIGRESSION…  Back to what I was talking about…).  What we didn’t learn about was Ravenna during the 500s.  Our professor got the start date wrong.

Yep, that was a crazy day.  Everything seems to have smoothed out, though.  I’ve gotten my books, the syllabi, etc. and feel optimistic about Roman Elegy (auditing), Early Middle Ages, and Medieval Studies: Mosaics in Ravenna.

Since my last post, I’ve been trying to work on reading ahead in order to make time for my roommate and for grad apps and GRE prep.  The test is in a week.  AH!  I read an article online saying that the GRE isn’t taken so seriously if you have a good transcript, background, and stellar recommendations (check, check, and check!).  I’m trying to be low-key about it, and just do what I can.  The US schools are for safety, so that mindset helps to keep me chilled out.  I would be very, very happy to study at either of the US unis I’m applying to, but I believe that Durham or York would be better suited to my area of study.

What else…  I want to go back to Cambridge this summer.  My favorite professor from last year is teaching again and one of his classes is new (peasants!).  Plus, I could retake the Arthurian legends course that I was sick for most of last year.  I’m trying to get Dad to come with me.  I think he’s itching to travel again (he said today that he and Mom are thinking about coming to ENGLAND for Christmas!!!) and he’s one of those people and parents who genuinely likes to learn about different things his whole life and especially wants to learn about what my passions are.  Have I mentioned yet how awesome my parents are?  ‘Cause, you know, they are!

I miss my friends, but that’s nothing new.  I want to start writing snail mail letters so that I can look forward to something in the mail and can let my friends know that they’re always, always, always in my thoughts.

I want to go to India.  That desire has been in me for a while, before Slumdog Millionaire madness.  I read many books set there in recent years and love everything I’ve seen, heard, and tasted from that culture.  Most recently, I saw Before the Rains (Merchant Ivory, woo-hoo!) and ate at an amazing Indian restaurant, plus I am around many more Indian Americans here in Bellevue.  I’ve also replaced my usual “S” and cross pendants for a Gandhi quote necklace.  It says, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  It reminds me of some ancient philosophies.  I want to go!

Anyway, Alicia, I’ll get back to you about the guy.  =)  Like I have mentioned, it’s never going to happen, but the light-footed, bubbly butterflies well up inside my chest each time I hear from him.  I think either it’s (A) his intelligence and good manners and/or (B) his accent and/or (C) the long, genuine talks I’ve had with him.  Perhaps they meant nothing to him, but I feel like I was able to talk through a lot of academic career path stuff with him and get some honest feedback about myself and about my options in medieval studies.  He’s definitely not the body type I’m interested in; I like the cuter, ready-to-give-you-a-bear-hug-looking guys, and this guy is not that.  Plus, you know, accents!  Ahhh…

So, with that, I’ll be off to bed.  Here’s a picture from Christmas and one from Gustavus that gives me a smile any time.

A Hulke Christmas in Bellevue 2009

All My Gusties: Graduation 2009

Colosseum at Sunset

I recently posted this quote on Facebook and got lots of “likes” and positive comments.

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

–Marcus Aurelius

I think it’s a wonderful message.  I have read Marcus Aurelius’ work, and he’s probably one of my favorite philosophers and Roman emperors.  Instead of focusing on how to be powerful (ahem, Livia and Tiberius or those belonging to “The Year of Four Emperors” in AD 69), he thinks about how to best live life and how to be a good person.  I hope that by reading him and keeping his advice in my mind, I am becoming a better person, as well.

Off to bed.  My parents are here for Christmas!  It’s so good to see them and take some of the cooking/decorating/cleaning burden off of their shoulders.  Goodnight!

Friends

I am thankful for so many things in my life.  After recently going through my Netflix queue and looking at my bookshelf, I see the lives of people who are not so fortunate in those films and those pages.  To commemorate Thanksgiving, I wanted to briefly state what I’m thankful for.  Not why or any other explanation, but just a mention on this blog to show appreciation.  In no particular order, except for perhaps the first several:

family

friends

life / health

education

Gustavus

rain

animals

films

music

flowers

kindness

travel

other cultures and religions

e-mail and Skype to connect with those far away

random jokes

laughter

coffee

tea

chocolate

fresh berries

Shakespeare

photographs

learning

a bright, shiny future (*crosses fingers*)

grass

trees

the GAC Shakespeare pit

Latin

mountains

snow

scarves

Kiehl’s

vanilla

candles

color

slippers

mittens

umbrellas

outside plays

picnics

architecture from antiquity to the Renaissance

democracy

love

morals

support

forgiveness

hugs

smiles

cheesecake

trains

Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study.  Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.  ~Henry L. Doherty

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.  ~Epictetus

A gentleman need not know Latin, but he should at least have forgotten it.  ~Brander Matthews

A Loeb Series

If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found time to conquer the world.  ~Heinrich Heine