Ain’t Nobody Gat Time Fa Dat

I used to think that you have time for what you make time for.  And I thought that if something was a priority you’d be able to fit it into your life.  And, in many ways I still believe that. But I didn’t realize you could ever have so much homework/school related things to do that you couldn’t get your homework done.  Even when all you do is homework.

To put it very simply- I’ve been busy.  So busy in fact that all I ever talk about is how busy I am and what I have to do next.  The last 3 weeks have been a well-scheduled series of events as I tackled 2 classes (now 3 b/c I started a new one before the old ones finished), my placement, and all it’s related homework.  And this week was the last full week of Summer A term and I had to ask for an extension on a 5 page paper because I (literally) didn’t have time to do it.  Unless I omitted something like eating or sleeping or bathing- but that seemed a little extreme.  So I asked for an extension and now it’s not due till Tuesday.  Which means I can start it tomorrow even though it was due today.

On a side note- it turns out grad school is actually a lot of work- even though it has a tendency to cycle- with periods of high intensity and low intensity insanity.

So.  The pay off for being busy? Is learning.  And this summer I have learned a lot. So much in fact I’ll make a list:

1. I took a “doctoral seminar” on Neuropathology of Speech Disorders in Children.  For this class I read a lot of research articles and learned about a. research (which I never want to do) b. dysarthria (which is muscle weakness- like you see in people with Parkinson’s Disease) and c. apraxia (which is a disorder of motor planning.  meaning that you know what you want to say but your muscles can’t organize the sequence of articulation to make a sound.  For example- to make a /b/ sound you need to close your lips and open them at a certain time and turn your voice on at a certain time.  If you mess up any of those steps you can make an entirely different sound. cool- I know.)  My favorite assignment for this class was an ‘experience’ assignment where I chose to watch 2 hours of youtube videos about apraxia and then tell the class about what I learned.  That was pretty fun.

2. I also took a class called Reading Comprehension and Study Strategies.  I needed an elective that wasn’t from my department and thought an education class about teaching kids how to read would be a good skill to learn for my job.  However, today was my last day of that class and I didn’t learn any specific tools about teaching reading.  But, I did learn some other interesting things.  I also liked the class because it was interesting to hear how people in the field of education think about the world.  It is very different than speech therapy.  For example.  On the first day the professor apologetically used the word “orthography” (which is just the actual writing/spelling system of a language).  I would have thought that teachers of English would know that word is all.  And he also apologized and over-explained when he presented research and brain information.  Which is a little disconcerting- that he doesn’t expect educators to know how to read research- because it makes me feel like maybe teaching isn’t as evidence based as we all would like to think.

3. Last week I started a 4 week class on Cleft Palate.  Which has been very interesting.  Partially because the class is taught by two hilarious people who have some great stories to tell, partially because my professors speak Spanish and use a lot of Spanish examples in class, and partially because it’s not something I knew very much about and I’m enjoying learning it.

4. My client.  This week was also my last week working with my client in the clinic on campus.  I have been working with her since February so it’s kind of sad to be done.  But the fact that I don’t have to prepare any session plans for it for a while is kind of nice.

5. My placement.  Is at a preschool.  I give 8 sessions of therapy twice a week to a total of 15 kids.  Of these 8 sessions 6ish of them are in Spanish.  Which was pretty scary the first day because I had to figure out what the kids were saying – and some of them have some pretty good speech problems.  But, I’m getting better at it and am enjoying a. the growing experience b. the kiddos.  But I do spend a lot of time making games and flashcards to use in my sessions.  So glad I got that laminator and paper cutter for Christmas. 🙂

6. Life. You know. There is the surface of it where you live and work and fly around like crazy and then there is the deeperness of it.  The part where, when you have time, you think. And over this summer semester it has become very clear to me that I am nothing special. (Hear me out here.) But a visitor on campus asked me the other day if I had any advise on how to ‘get in’ to Teachers College. And I realized that I don’t really know.  I mean you work hard and do your best.  Be involved.  Maybe do some research with a professor.  Volunteer?  Write a really good personal statement?  I don’t know.  These all seem like exteriors.  And I realized that I’m not THAT smart.  Sometimes I like to think that I am.  I mean, if nothing else, at least I’m educated.  But I realized that I only know what I’ve been taught.  And I’m only at Columbia because I did my homework.  Because I’m not one of those people who push the limits of intellectualism, questioning research and common opinions.  Instead I just sit there thinking, “ok. Interesting.”  And maybe this isn’t something you can connect to.  Maybe your identity isn’t wrapped up in education.  Or maybe you are really smart.  But me. I’m just me.  Whatever that means.  But then I heard 2 things recently.

1. “All this was on purpose. Everything you are. Your whole goulash of experiences and gifts…. it’s on purpose. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are exactly what I want you to be.” (Propaganda- paraphrasing God)

2. “You are the sum of God’s love for you.” All the things I do right.  All the things I do wrong.  All they add up to is zero.  But who I am is a direct result of God loving me. (Mike Donehey from Tenth Avenue North)

So yeah.  Sometimes it’s good to get some perspective.

7. (I hope these numbers aren’t getting too confusing). My church. Had a camp out in the Poconos Mountains 2 weeks ago.  And I went. And sat in my cabin on Saturday reading a text book.  But I also had several good talks with many good people.  And I liked it.  And I decided I like my church.  I don’t have that many people here my age or sharing the same life experiences as me right now.  But I do have people who are willing to accept me as I am and challenge me to be more as we listen and talk and laugh and pray.  And really, that’s what church is for.

8. Just a little photo montage to keep your attention.

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9. So.  All in all that is what I’ve been up to.

10. And this is how I’m ending my post.  Because sometimes this is very true too.

"Better Talk"

"Every Minute"

Short Stories of True and Real Events

This is just a straight up update of my life. Just about me and what I’m up to right now. Just to warn you.

1. I think this picture is funny.

2. As I have discovered that about 5 people regularly read my blog, I decided to write today to those 5 people instead of the whole world of creative, intellectual blog readers who think that written words need to convey some sort of inspirational message.  Because even though I do prefer when words inspire, sometimes words just paint a picture of reality that is more informative than inspiriting.  But that’s life.  And this is life.  And we’ll just get over it and start with short stories of true and real events in the life of me.

3. Last weekend I went home. For 52 hours. 22 of them were spent commuting. Let me start at the beginning.

Once upon a time my cousin Carissa in Indiana met a wonderful boy (Alex) in Idaho at bible school and they feel in love and decided to get married on June 1st of this year.  And I, as a cousin and friend of Carissa, decided to attend this wedding because 1. I was asked to help in it. 2. My cousin Justin was going to be there and I hadn’t see him since he moved to Grenada last year 3. I hate missing things where my family is all together and having fun. So I booked my flight and was all ready to go.  When I anticipate going home I always look forward to 2 things 1. the people 2. the space. More specifically, the space in my (seemingly) ginormous pillow-top bed.  But on the Monday before my flight I discovered (upon checking my flight-times) that I would be flying out at 6:15 PM.  Not AM.  NOOOOO!! The rippling effects of this blunder were as follows 1. I had someone to pick me up at the airport now and instead of taking the train from Chicago to South Bend since my parents would be done catering by then. 2. But I would not have a ride to the airport since all my go to people were either going to be out of town or busy 3. and (obviously) my trip at home was just shortened by 12 hours and my sleep time in my nice big bed would also be substantially limited.

Needless to say, I was pretty bummed.  But I decided I didn’t want to be grouchy all day on Friday about this and then try to be happy on Saturday at the wedding so I decided to just get over it.

So on Friday I took the J train to the E train to the Q33 to the airport.  It only took me an hour and 20 minutes in 90* weather.  No problem. (I can tell I’m poor because I arrived sweaty to the airport. Rich people arrive in cabs. I can also tell my standard of living is pretty low right now because I also think that only rich people have hallways in their houses.)

So I didn’t know which terminal to go to for my flight but ended up visiting all four of them – partially because I got off too early on the bus, partially because I wanted to save time and walk instead of take the shuttle (thereby causing a misunderstanding in what ‘main terminal’ meant), and partially because no one knew where to send me.  BUT. I made it to my terminal, walked through security, rolled my eyes at the guy in front of me who wanted to skip security to catch his plane (even though he was next in line and somehow still had time later to browse the magazine racks), and switched to a flight that was boarding at that very minute (exactly an hour before my flight’s departure). This ‘whirlwind’ of unexpected events landed me an hour early in Chicago, giving me a half an hour to wait on my parents since they hadn’t left to pick me up when I boarded the plane but allowed them to miss the thunderstorm that rolled over Chicago.

I was greeted by my parents, my sister-in-law, and Briana (who always has her camera ready to take a picture of me standing on the curb waiting for her) and whisked home only to stay up late chatting.

Saturday was all it was expected to be with running errands, the wedding, and family time.  I was happy to be able to have breakfast at the cafe and was greeted by some of our regulars, which is a nice way to feel like someone cares that I’m home.

Sunday was a bit rougher as we headed to the airport on 3 hours of sleep to catch my flight.  Which was fine but I was dreading it because of my 2 hour lay-over in Cincinnati.  My lay-over was fine too until they announced that our flight was delayed… perhaps for 3 hours.  The worst thing about getting stuck in an airport by yourself for any amount of time is that it’s boring.  The kind of bored you get in the summer when you are a kid and you have the flu, just laying in bed as the world goes swimming.  That’s how I felt at the airport.  But (praise the Lord) our flight was given ‘a window of opportunity’ to fly so we all scurried to our seats and tried to be as complaint as possible since none of us wanted to miss that window.  And, I should say, the thing about traveling for any amount of time when you have had only 3 hours of sleep is that 1. you are tired and 2. you are easily annoyed.  But I decided to be not as annoyed as possible and attempted to drown out my neighbors with music.  It’s a mostly flawless theology, unless you’ve listened to all the songs on your ipod 3,000,000 times.  Then it’s just the lesser of 2 evils.

But I powered through and we landed in JFK only 1.5 hours after our estimated arrival time.  Great!  Now I just take the shuttle tram to the the J train and go home!  Except for the part that the J train wasn’t running so I had to take a shuttle bus from Jamaica.  Opps, Jamaica Van Witt, NOT Jamaica Center, (just a quick hop back on the E train to fix that).  Okay, I’m finally on the shuttle bus.  But it doesn’t go all the way to my stop.  Oh well.  I’ll just drag my tired suitcase the extra 5 blocks home.  No problem. Hike up my stairs and greet my roommate with the fewest words possible before I find dinner and go to bed at (a 2013 record) 10:15 pm.

And then get up at 6 on Monday and torture my way through my placement and my first day back in therapy to come home and climb into bed again.

So.  The memory of these events is rather painful but I think the humor in them should be recognized.  And the blessings.  I was so blessed to be able to fly home early on Friday after my lengthy endeavors to find my terminal.  And I was also blessed to fly back on Sunday, especially since there was a real chance of my flight being canceled.  (I have a friend who also flew to NY from Indiana last weekend and she didn’t get home till 4 am because of her flight delay.)  And most of all, I am blessed to have been home to help in my cousin’s wedding and see my family, even if it was for such a short time.

4. This week has been busy.  Rather, this week is part of a semester (and a summer) that has been and will be very busy.  But I’ll be free in August if you want to visit.  Just let me know. But right now I’m busy.  I’m taking 2 classes, I have placement at a preschool twice a week and I’m still working with my client from last semester.  Needless to say, I have enough homework to do this weekend.  Which is bittersweet in a way.  I like this stage of my life right now because I like what I’m learning (it’s both interesting and hard), I like the weather this week, and I like where I’m living and what my life looks like right now.  I just don’t like that this is supposed to be summer.  I hear about my family going to neighborhood get-togethers and friends going swimming and realize that I’m pretty jealous that my summer vacation has to wait till two short weeks in August.  So.  It’s bittersweet.

5. I have reached a new stage in my love of New York.  I think previously you could have said that I had a crush on this city.  I liked to watch the people and ride the train.  I would have surreal moments crossing streets or eating hamburgers when I thought to myself, “I can’t belief I actually LIVE in New York City!”  Well. The combination of exploring the city for 5 days straight when Esther was here (which I loved) and commuting alone to Indiana and back and to school and back every day (usually I have people to ride at least part of the way home with but our schedules don’t match up right now) I have discovered that some of the novelty of living here has worn off and my love for city living has changed a bit.  Okay.  Most of the novelty has worn off.  Like I said, I’ve heard the songs on my ipod way too much lately.  Plus, I saw a man peeing in the train station today and felt like I was in Central America again.  But I still love the city.  Maybe not for the same reasons.  But because it’s part of who I am and I don’t want that to change just yet.

6. Sigh.  So. It may feel like this blog post is just a list of whinings.  But it’s not.  I’m not complaining.  I might not always chose inconvenient things to be in my life but that doesn’t mean I want them to be gone.  I think it’s important to see the beauty and comedy in every day, even the days that you aren’t looking forward to.  Plus, I realized that blogging puts me in an awkward situation where I’m forced to present the highlight reel of my life in order to ‘save face’ and encourage readership.  But I realized that not that many people read my blog and that while I shouldn’t tell everyone everything in my life I can still give a picture of what my life is really like, regardless of who reads it.  So. That’s why I’m posting this.  Not because it’s funny or cool or has lots of pictures or because lots of people will read it and somehow validate me as a writer or as a person.  But because there are at least 5 people who actually care about me and my life and want to know what’s going on with me and I want to tell them.  And because I like writing.  Even if not everyone wants to read it. (Obviously I’m feeling a little insecure about this totally average, TMI post and want to explain why I felt compelled to write it.  Which I realized may be redundant since if you have taken the time to read this much of my ramblings you are probably one of the fiveish people I’m talking about.  So.  I recognize this bullet is mostly ridiculous but I don’t care. So it’s staying.)

7. And I will end with one last short story.

Imagine a row of 15 preschool children winding their way down the massive tile and wood ordained halls at Teachers College as they follow their teacher to the library.  Now imagine that these children are singing “What a Wonderful World” and they reach the lines, ” The colors of a rainbow/so pretty in the sky/are also on the faces/ of people going by/ I see friends shaking hands/ sayin ‘how do you do?’/ They’re really sayin ‘I love you.'” just as they round the corner to pass you.  Doesn’t that make your heart melt just a little?  It did mine.