Daily Archives: April 13, 2008

A Sunny Saturday

(The photo above is of my girlfriends and I in Corey’s garden plot by PSU, taken last weekend when we went downtown for the first farmer’s market of the season)

What an interesting day. It’s been a particularly long one, mainly because I haven’t slept yet. What did I do instead? Well, I ate a vegan pizza with Corey after midnight. I wrote a review of Amy Hempel’s Collected Stories for this blog, which I’m now refusing to post out of principle because I’m so disgusted with my exceedingly poor time management skills–imagine the shock I felt when I looked at the clock, saw that it was 4:30 AM, and realized that I’d just spent four hours on something that is DEFINITELY not my top priority right now. So to compensate I worked on revising a story I wrote about Tijuana in my non-fiction class last semester. I got overexcited by the whole idea of “yeah, after I graduate I’ll totally have time to work on that novel” and got carried away with ridiculous plot and chapter outlines. Finally sometime around 8AM I started working on my thesis. Around noonish or one I took a break and helped Corey in the garden. We dug up a whole plot together yesterday, and today we did some planting. We planted sweet corn, beans (pulled randomly out of the commie cabinent, including lentils and chickpeas–I wonder if they’ll grow? I don’t really know what a lentil-plant looks like!) and lettuce. Corey then mowed the lawn with the man-powered lawnmower (don’t ask me how he did it). We also dragged the garbage bin that’s been sitting behind the house all year filled with dirt (don’t ask me why or where it came from) and dumped it over the compost heap. I have never seen so many worms in my LIFE as there were in that compost heap-it was like a writhing, massive alien civilization. It’s good to know our egg shells and orange peels will slowly but surely be eaten and pooped out by the worms and eventually turned into good soil (at least I think that’s how it works).

Then Corey left to go on a hike with Ernie, who’s his mushroom guru of sorts, a hilarious white-haired sweet old hippie man. While they hunted the oyster mushrooms and the elusive white mirelles, I sat on the couch for literally four straight hours, alternatively reading, typing up notes, staring blankly into space and surfing the Internet. I only moved when my battery was about to die. I called my mom and had a really good conversation with her about the future. I don’t know if I would want to go so far as describing myself as “wanting” or “needing” my parents’ “approval” when I discuss my convuluted future plans for my life with them… but yeah, I mean I definitely want them to feel proud of me (who wouldn’t want that with their parents?).

What I ate today: 3-5 slices of vegan pizza, 2-3 Caribou Coffee granola bars, three sticks of celery, an orange I think, five extremely greasy and tremendously delicious eggrolls (a gift from Ernie’s wife!), and many, many cups of espresso, complete with lots of lactose-free milk and rich brown sugar. There was probably more but I can’t remember. I hate it when the kitchen is as dirty as it is now, as it makes me not want to cook and prepare porper meals for myself. I find it just too damn disgusting to deal with, so instead I just end up wandering in and out and scrounging for myself at random times throughout the day. Very unhealthy. If I were an anthropology major, I would want to write my thesis on the social impact of dishwashing in our private spheres… just think of all the couples that have broken up, or housemates that have moved out, because of a less than ideal dishwashing situation.

I feel like I’ve made some good progress this past week. I start teaching English classes for Mount Hood Community College spring term this Monday. It’s only once a week for an hour and a half, so I really don’t think it’ll be too much of a strain (I hope!). There are nine students in my class, seven from Mexico, two from Vietnam, all refugees and immigrants. I’m ridiculously excited about getting to design lesson plans, and also mildly annoyed with myself for not remembering earlier in the schoolyear that teaching English is something that I’ve really enjoyed doing in the past. It’s worth doing now despite all the pressure and nightmares caused by thesis, because I want preparation for taking a TEFL certificate course later in the year. I finally found a program that really appeals to me, in terms of location, affordability, quality and name recognition (SIT is actually one of the places I’m seriously considering as a potential grad school program, but that’s still getting waaay ahead of myself. Like, to the point where I’m assuming that I actually KNOW what I want to do with my life!). Now, if only they’ll reply to my e-mail requesting the application materials.

Really, everything feels like it’s falling into place (not exactly with thesis, though. BOO ON ME!! HISS!! but that will come in time!). I’m so ridiculously excited for Ecuador this summer, I can’t seem to stop thinking about it these days. Our departure date is officially set for June 23rd. Because the sun’s been coming out and it’s been 75-degrees these past two days, I think my body is sensing that summer is in the air and thus my itchy feet syndrome is starting to kick in. Part of me is sort of happy with the idea of having a whole month off between the time when I graduate in May (!!) and Corey graduating in June: I can sleep in, enjoy the sun, ride my bike, read lots of books (especially about Lago Agrio and mycoremediation), teach at Mt. Hood until the term ends June 15th, maybe get another volunteer teaching position, possibly with VOZ again. Another part of me is kind of like “yeah, I should really try to get a job,” though it’ll be hard. It’s times like these when I wish I had experience babysitting. My current plan is to apply for a weekend position at an amusement park. When I told Corey today he laughed for about a whole minute, then stopped and said very seriously, “You’re going to kill all those children.” Probably. I really don’t want the bloody maimed bodies of eight-year-olds flung from the Screaming Eagle Ride on my conscience. “Maybe you can be a ticket-taker!” Corey suggested enthusiastically. Hopefully.

Hard to believe that “the end” is near, but there are so many exciting things around the corner, it’s like my brain can’t really grasp the whole feeling-sad-and-weird-about-graduating thing yet (though I’m sure it’ll come in time). For now my brain just seems to be whizzing with “what ifs” and “should I” and “we can”. Still need to hear back from Kiva. Without the grant money I can’t afford it, but I’m just not going to worry about it. If I get the position it’d be awesome to work for them in the fall, but it’s just plain not realistic that I’m going to last that long without making some money! God, why is it that the interesting positions (or at least the ones I want) are all unpaid? Well, if they reject me, OK, I’ll get a job as a teacher; if they accept me… I’ll figure something out.

I also need to decide what I’m going to do about the current state of my Peace Corps application. I might as well just follow through with it, send in the fingerprints and medical stuff (god knows when I’m going to find the time, not until May, probably), and then wait to see where they send me. As I told Mom on the phone today, my post-graduation goal has always consisted of living and working somewhere internationally for at least a year or more. I always assumed it would just be through the Peace Corps, just because it seemed the most convenient. Basically, at this point I feel like the best thing the Peace Corps has to offer me is 1) money, 2) brand name recognition and 3) potential networking opportunites. I’ve found the whole application process a bit dubious and frustrating, especially the interview. I dunno. I know you’re supposed to be open and flexible and blah blah blah… but I guess I find it a bit frustrating that I really have no idea what kind of project they’re going to give me (assuming I even get an invitation, that is)– teaching? Community development? I honestly have no idea. How do I even know when I’ve even officially been accepted? Should I just assume I’m going to be given an invitation if I made it as far as the interview? Because it would really suck to submit everything, wait 8-10 months and then get a rejection letter. It’s all very mysterious. Also, I knew this was a mistake during the interview, but when I expressed South and Central America as my geographical preference, the interviewer spent a long time telling me that I would be much better off in Eastern Europe or Africa or Asia instead. I know you’re not supposed to request specific countries or placements, but isn’t stating which geographical area you’d prefer is how you answer the question of “geographical preference”? Also, my interviewer was definitely not happy about the whole boyfriend thing. Definitely not happy. At this point I’m just kind of doggedly going through with it: I’ve made it this far, so I might as well see where they assign me, right? Fortunately, there are many paths in life to take–and in the end, isn’t it more about the process rather than the product?

Wow, I just got ridiculously sleepy. More coffee methinks. Promised self would finish this section today… doesn’t seem likely at this point… I really like writing out my thoughts here. It probably makes for a highly self-indulgent, uninteresting read, but there’s just something really great about getting the thoughts out of your head down on pa–um, screen. I SERIOUSLY just spent half an hour trying to figure out how to convert PDFs into JPEGS. El colmo, en serio.

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Filed under Dear Diary, gardening, life plans, peace corps