I’ve spent an unusually large amount of time talking with friends about the perfect mate lately. One guy said that he wants a girl whose eyes suit her face, while the closest physical attribute I confessed to is a love of glasses.  Let’s face it: spring is in the air, and talk of love abounds.

So what DO I want in a mate? All those usual characteristics: smart, sense of humor, supportive, comforting and caring, trustworthy, understanding, loving. But that’s what everyone wants, right? What do I want?

I think “types” are really silly. The guys with whom I’ve been serious haven’t been attractive in the physical sense to most people, I don’t think. They’ve attracted me with their shyness and intellect. Or, at least, at first that’s what did it. College ex #1 became overwhelmed with being erudite and “facetious,” which college ex #2 became overwhelmed in the workforce and we lost our common ground. I suppose that means two things: I need someone whose interests overlap enough with mine that we can communicate about a variety of things without needing to prove superiority. Also, I need someone who is as passionate about books and films as I am. They are my soul food, and if I can’t have a conversation about the Oscars or the latest Big Thing in literature (or the old Great Thing, like Shakespeare or Beowulf–at least on a basic level) I’d feel lost.

Works Cited: http://www.lpsb.org

I’ve come to the conclusion that while I have major qualities besides just common interests I’d like to mix and match in order to create the perfect guy, I can’t say for sure what he’s going to look like, what vocation he’ll follow, or what nationality/race he’ll be.  If I could think of a perfect guy, I suppose he would be an academic (or at least academically-inclined), Christian (I do want a church wedding, after all), and reasonably neat in appearance and living.  However, whichever guy I end up with, he’ll be perfect because of other things besides these.  Didn’t Keira Knightly say that her favorite onscreen kiss was neither with Johnny Depp nor Orlando Bloom, but with the less famous James McAvoy?  It all boils down to chemistry.  My other serious relationships fell into my lap, so to speak, and if I have faith, hopefully the one will do the same.  I can’t contemplate the perfect guy or think of qualities I’d like with which to build him simply because I can’t.  I can’t be a Dr. Frankenstein and assemble various attributes.  For now, faith and my love of my work must see me through.

And think not you can
Direct the course of love,
For love,
If it finds you worthy,
Directs your course.

-Khalil Gibran

But, really…  Glasses are a plus.

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It’s a bit late to come out with my resolutions for the new year, but I’ve found that being back in Durham has encouraged me to make some.  I feel most myself when I’m with peers, and I’ve been able to see myself clearly in the past week or so.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2011.  Some are silly, some are serious, and some are things I need to put into writing to cement them in my life.

  • More color!  Whether it’s nail polish, lipstick, or a bit of teal eyeliner, I want to incorporate more color into my daily life.  No fuss, but more fun.  Like Chanel Mademoiselle lipstick.  I had been coveting it for months before finally purchasing it in Dallas right before I came back to the UK.  You may recognize it from the amazing adverts with Vanessa Paradis.  It’s a gorgeous pinky beige, and it’s definitely an improvement over my usual lip balm.  Nail polish is another type of color I would like to use more.  I recently got Nails Inc. polish in Denim as a gift, and so I will use it along with my typical and sporadic use of Chanel Particuliere, a perfect taupey grey.  (Yes, I know.  I seem to have a Chanel fetish going by this post, but these two cosmetics I languished over for months before budgeting and purchasing.  I’m a sucker for a really good quality neautralish and everyday wearable product!)
  • Get out of the house at least five times per week to study somewhere else.  I get way too distracted in my room, and so studying in the library or at a friend’s house is much better for me and for my work.  There is also usually the added perk of being near a printer, which is super handy for getting articles which otherwise may float to the back of my mind and never surface in my research again.
  • Get enough sleep every night.  I have the talent?  Ability?  Work ethic?  Misfortune? of getting into “the zone” when I’m working on an assignment and not noticing the time.  One evening I worked steadily after dinner (about 7:00ish) until 3:30 AM.  AM!!!  I didn’t stop to look at the clock, and completely lost track of the time.  I am hoping the resolve to work out of my room will lead to more productivity during the day, and therefore, less pressure at night.
  • Finish my essays on time without stress AND with enough time to revise with a peer or, if possible, a professor.  Unfortunately, I only have a handful of essays, and some of them are the one shot I have at my grade.  It’s added pressure I think the MA programs in the States usually avoids because of the longer duration of program and greater variety of classes for one’s degree.  The one year time crunch means I need to be vigilant.
  • Be more easygoing about going out.  I’m in England, for gosh sakes!  I should enjoy what the country and the city have to offer.  Pubs, conferences, nightclubs…  I need to take advantage of it all.  Even though I am not looking forward to going to Klute next week, which has been dubbed “the worst nightclub in Europe” and is known for “quaddy-voddies” (quadruple vodka shots, which, from what I hear, is as bad as it sounds), I should go.  When else will I get the opportunity?
  • Be more stringent with my gym schedule, and on days when I can’t fit anything else in, do yoga in my room.  At least a sun salutation.  The college food is heavy on all the things I dislike: potatoes, carrots, gravy, red meat, salt.  Therefore, I have to take care of my diet as best I can outside college dining and in my activity.  (Though my legs are getting super toned due to the freaking hills around town!  After being back in Durham for a week, my butt feels it!)
  • Correspond more.  Skype, letters, emails, Facebook.  I need to do more of it all.  AIM, I think, tends to take up too much time, so I need to relax by writing more thoughtful correspondences to those I truly miss and care about: my friends and pseudo-family in Minnesota and Seattle.
  • And as always, I need to remind myself how grateful I am for my family, friends, education, and life.  I need to learn all I can both in the classroom and from my friends.  I need to stop worrying about time, which goes all too quickly, and carpe diem.

All experiences of life seems to prove that the impediments thrown in the way of the human advancement may for the most part be overcome by steady good conduct, honest zeal, activity, perseverance and above all, by a determined resolution to surmount.  –Samuel Smiles

For the most part, I think I’m a rational individual.  However, that doesn’t stop me from believing in luck.  I have several things I believe are lucky, like my Lord of the Rings One Ring bracelet and my green fleece blanket.  I continue to wear my bracelet each exam day since I got it my freshman year of college.  I’ve done well on exams for the most part, and a little bit of me does attribute it to that bracelet.  My fleece blanket has been with me since freshman year, too.  I needed a blanket, and Target happened to have a lime green fleece that fit the bill.  It wasn’t a purchase because of love, but rather because of necessity.  However, that blanket has been with me the entire way, and that cheap, pilled thing somehow has helped me through everything over the past 5 1/2 years.  It’s been my nap blanket and movie blanket, and it’s the current favorite napping spot for my cat, Sammy.

I know luck isn’t supposed to exist because everything is a product of coincidence and God’s grace (and I’m apparently channeling John Wycliffe’s theory of dominion with that sentence…  Random history note).  However, these things have been there throughout college, and they signify the person I’ve become and the memories I’ve collected.  Summer, outdoor movies, and the joy of friends and being done with classes are all equated with these two items.

It’s been a good run, and somehow these two things help me to remember the good stuff and to follow this path that will allow me to do what I love.  My blanket is, in every aspect, warm and fuzzy.

There are times like right now when I feel pretty angry at the world.  At the moment, it’s because I was woken up by my upstairs neighbor pounding something at 1:15 in the morning.  But then I reevaluate the world, and that doesn’t seem so bad.  Yes, I have a final tomorrow, and yes, I was sleeping deeply before the noises above my head began.  However, tomorrow is one exam in one class on one day.  I can do this, even with less sleep than I’d imagined.

I can do this.  I will do this.  And there will always be more exams and more nights.  This is just one of many.

Note:  Images were plundered off the Internet and filed away before this morning.  I’m not that industrious.  If I’m woken up, pretty much all I can do adequately is grumble and find something to use to pound on the ceiling. However, I need to remind myself that grumbling, pounding, and being irritated are all possible because I’m alive.  That’s a good moral, I think.  I don’t think I’m at the point of smiling yet, though…

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

So, I’ve just started my non-matriculated classes at the University of Washington (more on that after I’ve been to all my classes later today), and I’m already ready for the bus with 20 minutes to spare.  I thought I’d be productive (more later on why I feel the need to be productive, too) and just share some wishes for the future that not many people know.

I want a church wedding.

I have been having dreams about kids, and so I think my body is trying to tell me something.

I wonder if either of the guys I’ve seriously dated could have been the “One.”  The more I think about it, the more I believe I would have just gotten angry or the more I would have gotten bored.  But, the questions still linger.

Despite the previous statement, I have a huge crush on a (-n older) guy I met in England.  I doubt it’ll ever happen, but I still get butterflies in my stomach when I get e-mails from him.

I am ready to fall head-over-heels in love.  I want to find the “One.”  Right now, I’m very focused on my academic career, but I think if the right person came along, I would drop everything.  Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that.

And now I need to go to the bus.  I’ll probably edit this post later to add a picture from this past Christmas or just start a new post entirely to rant about my interesting day yesterday.  No, “interesting” not in a good way.

Also, I’ll post our classics trivia question.  The alums have formed a team.  The first questions is: “According to legend, the son of Remus founded which Italian city?”