Friday, May 31, 2013

Almost Adventure Time...

Starting tomorrow, the ball gets rolling. Mom and Darrell will arrive and I will have a few more days here in Missouri before I will be headed back the 16 hours to Virginia for a few weeks. I am super excited to show some more of my family our new town. I know the big adventures will come later, but I can't help but feel like this is where it all starts! Our so far cozy 10 months in Missouri will be interrupted by my spending 2 1/2 months traveling. It is funny how attached you can get to a place in as little as 10 months! Missouri certainly does feel like a home to me.

But I am just about ready to get this adventure ball rolling, if for no other reason than the waiting is starting to kill me! There is always a part of me that is leery to go, wanting to savor whatever time I have left wherever I am at that moment, but at a certain point the waiting gets to be enough for me and I'm just ready to get all the bummer parts over with (like saying bye to my boo!) and get the exciting parts going. I'm kind of tired of thinking of what I should be taking and am ready to just be taking it, regardless of what is forgotten or not. I vow to NOT over-pack. My mother is probably going to be appalled at how little I am going to take. I am probably going to be appalled too. But we always carry way too much stuff with us anyway. And that's the thing- it's just STUFF. I figure, worst case scenario, I forget some important stuff, or I lose all my luggage even; well Bangladesh has clothes and soap and suitcases too, right? It will be fine. I need a new Bangladeshi wardrobe anyway!

I will very soon be leaping out of my comfort zone and into some flurried times. Seeing as many family members and friends as possible while also trying to prep for Bangladesh is not going to be the easiest of time management tasks. I can pretty much guarantee there will be people disappointed that I did not get to see them very much or as much as they would like during my time at home. I apologize ahead of time but trying to fit 10 months of family/friend time into 2 weeks when I have a BIG trip ahead of me is going to be pretty unrealistic...If you feel slighted in any way it is completely unintentional and, well, you'll just have to come visit me in Missouri then :)

So anyway, it is almost adventure time!

Unfortunately I don't have a companion to do the Adventure Time fist bump with (it is probably kind of sad how disappointed I am about that). But mentally I'm fist bumping all of my readers!

Does that sound weird?

Anyway, here are some Summer in Missouri photos:

It seems like there are more rabbits around here than squirrels.

This photo was actually taken in color.

We've been having some pretty amazing skies after late afternoon summer storms; natural sepia tone.

Just a random object photo: the books Dominic and I have had our noses in for the past few days. I've been back into Dhalgren now that the semester is over. Dominic has started The Magus, its on one of those top 100 lists.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Return of the Blogger and Travel Prep

People have been popping in sometime in the last several weeks and have found a seemingly abandoned blog. I have been popping in too, every once in a while, to stare at a blinking cursor and wonder what to write about this time.

So where have I been? I've been consistently busy, somewhat overwhelmed, sometimes frustrated, sometimes tired, oftentimes procrastinating, always over-thinking, occasionally lazy and blah blah blah. Is "busy" and "overwhelmed" anything terribly new? Not just for me, but for everyone? Aren't we all a little overwhelmed? A little blah, blah? And anyway, it was tax time, it was the end of the semester, it was time to figure out what is actually happening this summer...

But mostly once you miss one is it easy to miss another and another. I kept putting it off for other things and ultimately decided to take a break from writing simply because I couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write about.

Now, however, it is time to get my butt in gear and to start prepping for this summer's travel plans and wrap up some final projects, etc. in the meantime. I thought a small blog makeover would help with this. Actually completing some of my pre-departure tasks would probably help with this a bit more...but I will get there eventually. I will try to keep everyone updated on my summer travel and adventures, my thoughts and feelings during my experiences, and just generally how things are going as I embark on a trip that is, for me, a pretty big deal.

"Notes from Columbia" is not really a fitting title if I'm not in Columbia anymore, so I have attempted to rename my blog for the summer. I am actually quite terrible when it comes to thinking of blog titles, so if anyone has any ideas, please share!!! Right now I am using a line from a new song that I absolutely love: "From a Window Seat" by Dawes. I think it is better if you listen and don't watch the video (I personally think you get a different impression of the song from watching the video) but the video is good too:

So I will be in Columbia for another week and a half or so. Then I will head to Virginia where I will spend a few weeks with family and friends before heading to Bangladesh. This all feels surreal to me. Part of me is excited to the point of disbelief. I am thrilled that I get a chance to go home. I am overwhelmingly excited to go to Bangladesh and to finally get some serious South Asian experience under my belt. A lot is certainly about to happen in a very short amount of time. Some of my biggest thoughts right now are what am I going to pack for two months? As little as possible. What am I going to wear? I am going to have to start building up a new wardrobe very soon after arriving; I have very few clothes that are suitable for Bangladesh. And how am I going to work out the money, debit and credit cards, etc. I carry with me on the trip? I'm not sure how to manage that one yet. This is an exhilarating process; I love traveling, packing, and new places. This is the farthest I have ever been and I have been wanting to take this journey for several years. So much excitement!

But another part of me is a bit leery and a little anxious. I have actually always been a person who struggles with changes- even small ones- and once I get settled in it is often hard for me to make myself budge. This is not because I don't like going places or doing things, but it often stems from a loathing of leaving people behind who I want nearby. I don't mind where I am or what I'm doing- leaving places isn't usually a terrible problem for me; it's the leaving the people that gives me a rather heavy feeling in my stomach. Leaving Mason was difficult largely because I so enjoyed the people I met there- my friends, my professors- and I despised the idea that I would no longer see them on a regular basis, if at all. I still miss the lunches we had in the JC, the hours spent in collections, the coffee dates and open mic nights, and the goofy late nights with the roomie.

I was thrilled to come to Missouri to start my graduate program and there was no hesitation on my part: I knew, when I got in, that I would go. But saying goodbye to everyone in Virginia was tremendously difficult; I have had very few goodbyes worse than those. Our lives diverge, and the people I had seen on a regular basis, often weekly, sometimes daily, for my entire life would suddenly be many miles away. I would (and do) miss them tremendously: the familiar faces and places that are predictable simply because you've known them for so long, the small road trips to see family and friends, family birthday parties and gatherings, hanging out in backyards, and home-cooked dinners around the kitchen table...

But I was lucky (unbelievably lucky) enough to have companions through the move and transition and one companion who moved himself all the way to Missouri with me. I have since grown to love Columbia (honestly, it did not take very long) and really enjoy living here; it is probably the least stressful place I have ever lived. It is a calm, quiet town with little traffic and short commutes. It's clean and feels safe. The people are pretty, there's almost never a wait in restaurants, and the sky is shockingly big.

Now Dominic and I are about to have an interesting role reversal which, to be completely honest, I am not at all crazy about. When he was in the Navy we were always saying goodbye to each other because, of course, being in the military pulls people away and in all sorts of different and unpredictable directions. But now I'm the one whose going to be driving away and he's the one whose going to be standing on the stoop waving goodbye. It is odd to think about how different this separation from each other will be from all our others. It just sits uneasy with me that I'm choosing to leave my partner for two and a half months and I will miss him terribly.

Of course, as life goes on we will only miss more and more people, and I am sure when I leave Bangladesh at the end of August there will be people there I will miss. As we go along we just keep stacking up faces we may never see again, but it is still a wonderful thing to see and meet all of those faces. Each with a particular personality, history, and story to tell. The best way to learn in life is to learn from what others, with all their varied experiences and points of view, have to teach us.

I don't promise consistent blogging over the next few months, but I am hopeful for it. I am ashamed of my abandonment of such a simple and enjoyable task and so I hope that I am back for good. But as I am not certain what exactly the next few months will hold, I offer no guarantees as to whether you will find anything here or not. I hope you keep popping in to check, just in case, and I hope you enjoy whatever it is you find here.

This photo was taken by Dominic on our way back from our trip to Chicago for Sissy's birthday at the end of April. That was a great weekend!