Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Proposal 7.12.14

I'm in Korea! Decided to take some vacation between RA training and move in. Oh and it was also my cousin's wedding yesterday.

It's been 2 months since James and I got engaged and I've been meaning to to write a blog about our proposal since our engagement, but I've been disgustingly busy. At the end of most days, I'm too tired or lazy to write. But now I'm on vacation and I've got lots of time so here's the story.

The week we got engaged, James suggested we go on a date since we hadn't been on one in a while. He suggested the Beachside Bar and Grill and I said sure since I'd never been there. On Saturday we slept in and James left for a few hours to go buy "beard trimming supplies" with one of our co-workers, Dave. I later found out that they were at the restaurant setting everything up. And in retrospect, I should've suspected something. Beard trimming supplies? Really? 

The reservation was for 7pm (I think) and James said he'd pick me up at 6:45. It was 6:50 and I was still waiting. I called James and he said he had just gotten out of the shower and was on his way. W got to the restaurant and we were seated indoors with a view of the ocean and the pier. After a few minutes James left to go to the restroom. I waited for the server to come to our table...and she didn't come for what felt like 10 minutes. In my head I was just thinking about the tip I wouldn't be giving her. When she finally came, she said, "I was told to give this to you," handed me a journal, and ran off. In the journal was a poem from James. At this point, I still didn't suspect anything because he had written me poems before so I just thought it was a sweet gesture. At the end of the poem, he wrote, "I think you know what happens next...I have a question for you," and there were directions on how to get to him. So I went outside and there was a trail of calla lilies which are my favorite flowers. I followed the trail and there was a little girl was picking up my flowers. She was lucky I was already near the end of the trail or else I would've said something.

I got to the end of the trail and there was James standing in the middle of tea lights and lanterns under the pier. We didn't say much before he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes, but not without getting emotional and teary-eyed. Then all of a sudden I hear camera clicking noises and there was Dave taking a bajillion photos. I actually saw him on my way to James, but he had his back toward me and I had more important things on my mind so I didn't think much of it. We also saw Ben and Katie who just happened to be hanging out there.

After our photoshoot, we finally went back in the restaurant and ordered our dinner. We called all of our friends and family to tell them the good news. 

And that's pretty much it. Now it's been 2 months and we haven't done a whole lot in regards to wedding planning. James is fine with that, but I'm getting antsy. There is so much you have to do for a Catholic wedding. Hopefully we'll be able to get more done in the next few months. Stay tuned :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

guess who's back...back again

Hello blog world! I know it’s been a while since my last entry, but now that I’m done with grad school, I finally have time to write. I’d also like to dedicate this entry to Lintern for constantly telling me to write a new entry J

As previously stated, I’m officially done with grad school! WHOO-HOO! I had my hooding ceremony on May 4, the all campus commencement ceremony on May 5 (Oh and Obama spoke at the ceremony. No big deal), and then James and I drove across the country from Ohio to California. We went to Indianapolis, IN and visited James’ friend; St. Louis, MO and saw the Gateway Arch; Memphis, TN and ate delicious food on Beale Street; New Orleans, LA and experienced the night life in the French Quarter; Dallas, TX and had In n’ Out, Jamba Juice, and Sprinkles; Carlsbad, NM to see the Carlsbad Caverns; Phoenix, AZ and saw the new Star Trek movie in 3D; and then made it safely back to California minus a few near death experiences (Sorry James). The whole trip took us 7 days. I would also just like to say that I bought a Starbucks mug from each city/state that we visited…except for Indianapolis because I already had one.

In somewhat related news, I got a job offer the Friday before my hooding ceremony. For those of you who haven’t heard, I will be working as a Resident Director at UC Santa Barbara starting in August. I am super excited!! However, I am currently unemployed. Whomp whomp. There is so much to do and so many people to see, but I just don’t have the money to do it. Therefore, I’ve been saving my money in order to spend money on important things…basically dates with James. I have done little to no shopping, tried very hard not to get boba (tried is the key word…sometimes I’ve been unsuccessful), and have only eaten out during special occasions. It helps that I’m living with my grandparents because I don’t have to buy my own food or pay bills. On the flip side, it sucks because I’ve got no moolah.

To celebrate my finishing grad school and since Crystal will be moving to New Mexico in a month, Jessica, Joy, Crystal, and I took a trip to Cabo. We laid out in the sun for so long that we definitely got sunburned. Some more than others. If I could post a picture of Crystal here, I would. That girl was so red, it hurt just to look at her. Regardless, it was nice to catch up and get away from everything.

Despite how relaxing this summer is, I can’t wait for August to come. At least for now. When I’m busy, I want free time, and then when I do get that free time, I want to be busy. It’s a vicious cycle. But I’m slowly getting bored and running out of things to do. I’m currently taking suggestions of what to do with my time. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Listening to: P!nk ft. Nate Ruess – Just  Give Me A Reason

Reading: Dan Brown – Inferno

Update: Going to SD on Thursday with James! Can't wait to see my college friends and my Fishie family.

Monday, January 7, 2013

buck-i-serv aka alternative breaks

During the first week of winter break, I advised a Buck-I-Serv trip to South Carolina. We went to a group home that treated girls who had been physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abused. For confidentiality purposes, I'm choosing not to reveal the name of the center. This was my first time on an alternative breaks trip so I was super excited! Since my trip had 9 students (there were originally 10, but 1 got sick :/ ), I had to drive the 12 passenger van, which was semi-terrifying, but I made sure to test drive it the day before and it wasn't that bad. We made it to South Carolina in 9 hours and we stayed at Furman University. Can I just say...the apartments there are amazing! Anyway, we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and I sat across from one of my students (the only male student on the trip) and we randomly started talking about Hanukkah. I told him about the time my 4th grade teacher gave us all dreidels and bags of candy and taught us how to play with dreidels. this experience stood out to me because she was the only teacher who did a Hanukkah activity with us as oppose to a Christmas one. I honestly don't remember any of the other activities I did in elementary school for Christmas. My student gave me a "refresher" about the dreidel and I realized no one had ever taught me about the dreidel since my 4th grade teacher, so that was nice :)

On our first day at the center, we interacted with the girls and helped them with their homework assignments. Before we went in, one of the staff members told us that most of these girls had been sexually abused since they were three years old. Most of them had been pimped out to feed their parents'/relatives' drug addictions. She also told us that most of these girls end up in foster care or adopted after they leave the center. To be honest, I had some preconceived notions before walking into the center. I thought these girls would either be really broken and sad or angry and rude. These girls seemed "normal" for lack of a better word. I don't know if it was an act or if they were being genuine, but if I met them anywhere else, I wouldn't have known they had been sexually abused. These girls were smart and funny, and they had goals to go to college and make something of themselves. The girl I was paired up with had been there for 6 months and she was leaving to live with her aunt on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the girls didn't have a lot of positive things to say about the place. The whole place was gated and locked and the girl I was paired up with hadn't been outside the gates since she got there. These girls had to raise their hands for everything, even to ask the teacher if they could approach her. They weren't allowed to have pens, pencils, or use forks, in the case they'd use it to harm themselves. It was extremely structured that it surprised me. I guess I understand why it's so strict and structured, but the girls practically had no freedom.

Later that night, during our reflection time, we talked about what happens after these girls leave the group home. Who keeps tabs on them and makes sure they're doing well? How do they get their meds? Do they continue to see a psychologist and/or psychiatrist? Who helps these girls transition into society? I feel like if all this time and effort is put into helping these girls heal and recover, someone should make sure they continue to recover and help them achieve the goals they set for themselves. In addition to all this, the shooting in sandy hook elementary school shooting also took place on Friday and my students were pretty worked up about that. I think the fact that most of the victims were children was incredibly heartbreaking for them.

Saturday and Sunday were our days off, so on Saturday we went to downtown Greenville. It was a cute little area with lots of mom and pop shops and boutiques. Someone recommended sticky fingers to us so we had to go there to get some authentic South Carolina ribs. Early Sunday morning (like midnight), one of the participants got sick so he had to fly back home. Later that day, we went to color clay cafe and painted mugs, plates, and tiles for our group activity. Maybe it's the 10 year old in me, but it was so much fun! For dinner, we  made our own Italian dinner (jersey shore style).

On Monday we decorated the classroom for the girls' Christmas program and it looked amazing! Central Michigan came that day so they spent the first few hours getting to know the girls while we worked. Different organizations had donated Christmas gifts to the girls and family members had sent presents, and we had to go through all of the stuff to make sure there weren't any items that the girls could use to hurt themselves (e.g. tampons, glass bottles, hair ties with metal ends, cards, etc.). I understand why we had to do this, but it felt wrong in a way, like I was violating their privacy. One of the girls had already left before we got there and we had the opportunity to see another girl leave the center. She looked so happy to leave with her aunt and it definitely made me tear up.

On Tuesday we had to redecorate the classroom because some of the stuff had fallen down. The staff member wanted us to do it because she said we did a better job than Michigan :P We had a lot of downtime that day because there just wasn't enough to do for 21 people (9 from Ohio and 12 from Michigan). We did some baking, and by we, I mean 3 people from Michigan while everyone else sat around. We were going to leave, but then we started hanging out with the girls who didn't want to bake. We talked about random stuff and they did our hair. 7 of us got half a head of corn rows :D One of the girls said that this was the most fun she had had since she got there and she had been there for almost 7 months. She even referred to us as her "friends." That comment made me both happy and sad. Happy because we were able to make that day fun for her, but sad because it gave me the impression that they don't (or don't get the chance to) do many fun activities. Tuesday was also one of my student's birthday so we went out to Carolina Ale House and got dinner. We were having a normal dinner until 4 guys thought it'd be a good idea to come over and start talking to us. After about 15 minutes of a very uneventful conversation, they left. Later, two of the girls went to buy a shirt from the restaurant for a souvenir and they ran into the guys. They overheard them say something about going back in 3 minutes because there were 9 of us. Did they think they had better odds since there were more of us? Silly boys. We then came back to the apartment and surprised the birthday girl with a cake and balloons. We reflected on our day at the center and talked about what we learned. Of course it wouldn't be a good end to the night unless we played a game so we played telephone pictionary, which got pretty ridiculous.

Wednesday was our last day at the center and the girls performed for the Christmas show. One of the staff members told us that the reason these middle school and high school girls do something "elementary" like a Christmas show is because they missed out on their childhood. For Christmas, they get gifts like Barbie dolls and baby dolls because they didn't get any of those gifts as a child. Most of these girls were doing "adult" things (she didn't elaborate on what these things were) for whatever reason (e.g. to feed their parents' drug habits) that they didn't get to be a normal child. One of my students brought up that, as children, we had our families who came to our Christmas performances. We looked for their faces in the audience and waved to them when we didn't know better. These girls didn't have that. Throughout the week, one of the staff members asked multiple people if they were coming to the show (e.g. case workers, teachers, psychologists, etc). They performed for us and although we had spent four days with them, we were practically strangers to them. My first day at the group home, one of the girls there talked about how much she didn't like the group home. Despite the downsides of being at this group home, I could tell that these girls were really close. They held hands throughout the Christmas show and encouraged each other with nods and smiles. It was a beautiful thing to see. It also broke my heart because i don't think these girls see each other again once they leave.

My time in South Carolina was nothing short of amazing. I felt like I had been there forever, but also felt like I hadn't been there long enough. We left at 5am Thursday morning and got back by 1pm. Yay for driving at 85mph in the rain :P I learned a lot on this trip, and although I won't be able to advise a Buck-I-Serv trip this spring due to ACPA and the job search (no big deal), I hope I'll have the opportunity to advise another trip at whatever institution I end up at after Ohio State.

Listening to: Taylor Swift – I knew you were trouble

Update: My last semester of grad school has officially started!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

a (relatively) quick update

WARNING: This is a relatively long post and it pretty much sums up everything I did in October up until mid-November. Nothing mind blowing.

Lintern came to visit me about three weekends ago. It was the first time I'd seen him since December. The two of us and James went to the Circleville Pumpkin Show which was super fun and would've been more fun if it hadn't been raining. I’m the "stay indoors, roll up into a ball, and watch a movie" type of person when it's raining, but Lintern and James were not as easily deterred by the rain which is why we ended up going despite the crappy weather which ended up being worth it thanks to the pumpkin brownie, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie, and other carnival food. On Saturday we went to the Ohio State vs. Purdue game, but we made a pit stop at Universitees first because he couldn't go to a game without some scarlet and gray gear. Lintern probably bought the most obnoxious shirt at the store because it said THE Ohio State University. The majority of the game was boring because we were making stupid mistakes which is typical. The real excitement happened in the 4th quarter with about 3 minutes left in the game. We were losing and Braxton Miller was injured so Kenny G had to replace him. Kenny G led the Buckeyes to a tying touchdown AND a 2-point conversion and forced the game to go into overtime. And then we won 29-22 :) On Sunday I had a diversity training for Buck-I-Serv and the Taylor Tower leaders social, so I pretty much had to ditch Lintern for a good chunk of the day. I felt really bad, but luckily, James, being the wonderful boyfriend that he is, offered to show Lintern around Columbus. We ended the night with Jeni's (cuz let's be real, you can't come to Columbus and not have Jeni's) and a movie. Lintern's flight was at 9:47am and James had a meeting at 9am so we had the joy of waking up ridiculously early. "There's something very peaceful and special about getting up for a sunrise walk. I fully intend to keep it that way by not doing this very often" (quote james).

The following Friday James and I celebrated our one month together (which has actually felt like decades jk :P) and I finally got my Build-a-Bear. Her name's Lily :)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/--Kt-rbfoPQw/UJq7nQ_gc0I/AAAAAAAAAEc/nmvgOKioN4k/s320/IMG_0699%5B1%5D.JPG

We went to a Mexican restaurant at Easton, but it wouldn't be a "normal" night if I didn't get a call from one of my students. Thus, we had to cut our dinner short and race back to campus. Oh the joys of being in Reslife. We went back to Easton on Saturday so we could make another attempt at having a nice dinner without being interrupted by students and also because I needed a jacket. The rain and cold weather in Ohio is just not doing it for me. #caliproblems We went to north face and I found an awesome purple jacket in the children's section. Woot! It pays to be short and small. Probably saved about $100. We also carved a pumpkin which we bought at the pumpkin festival. It was a big deal because Ihad never carved one before. Granted James did most of the work, but it was a team effort ;) I also faced one of my childhood fears and watched Hocus Pocus. As a kid I had watched bits and pieces of the movie and it was so scary! Witches were eating/drinking/slurping the souls of children, there were zombies...I mean there were lots to be afraid of. Nonetheless, I loved the movie and I'm glad James pushed me to watch it.

On the Sunday before Halloween, I got an email from martin asking me if I wanted to go reverse trick or treating with him on Halloween and I said of course! He asked me if I was going to dress up and I told him I wasn't on it, but I can if he wanted to. And sure enough, he wanted to dress up. He then emailed me this wonderful link, and when I say wonderful I mean not wonderful, with a list of the lamest costumes 
http://www.halloween.com/halloween-costume-quick-ideas.php
Martin went as a quarterback (click on the link for context) and I went as a chef. I had my chef hat from move-in day, James' apron that said "get the buck out of the kitchen" (I had to constantly tell students that it wasn't my apron), and a pot to pass out candy from. Before I decided to go as a chef (credit: James and Lintern), I had just gotten back from fresh express with two bananas. Martin suggested that I wear pajama pants, put the bananas in the pockets, and go as bananas in pajamas. Yes, this is my supervisor everyone. Anyway, so my little pot was not big enough to carry all of the candy that Martin had bought, so I had to borrow a ginormous pot from the front desk and by the end of the night, my arms were sore. But the residents definitely enjoyed it and that's all that matters.

The first Saturday of November, James, Matt, Danielle (Matt's gf), and I drove up to Cleveland to see Russell Peters. We got there a few hours before the show because we wanted to explore Cleveland a bit. But as luck would have it, the one thing we wanted to see closed early for some centennial celebration. What a fail. Who cares about a centennial celebration anyway? jk That's actually a pretty big deal. So instead, we ended up eating pho (which is always a plus), walking around downtown Cleveland, and going to a chocolate bar. For those of you who were wondering, a chocolate martini with chili spices is actually not bad. The show itself was absolutely hilarious! All the comedians were hysterical. It was at a pretty small venue (which isn't surprising because Russell Peters isn't as big of a deal in Ohio as he is in Cali), so we got to sit at one of the tables close to the stage. In conclusion, Russell Peters is still one of my favorite comedians and i would go see him again in a heartbeat.

The GLACUHO 2012 conference ended early November. Hallelujah!! GLACUHO stands for Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers. Ohio State had the pleasure (and the stress) of hosting it this year. After countless early morning meetings, late nights, and some last minute planning, it's over!! To be honest, the conference was whatever. Nothing super spectacular. On the bright side, I learned a lot from planning a conference for 450+ people, but I don't think I'll be doing that again anytime soon.

Helen came to visit me during Veteran's Day weekend. Since there's less to do (and less ethnic food) in Rootstown than Columbus, I took her to a pho place which received her Vietnamese seal of approval. Then we watched Skyfall which was AMAZING!! And the new Q is so adorable! I'm absolutely in love with him!! (Sorry James :P) A new casino opened up in Columbus so we went to check that out. It's nice for Ohio...but it's no Vegas casino ;)

The following week, James and I went to DC to visit his friend who works at CNN and my friend from elementary school. If you want to read about what we did you can check out James' blog at jtyork.blogspot.com. We had so much fun and we've already decided we need to go back in the spring because we didn't get to see/do everything we wanted to.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

4 more years

In case y'all hadn't heard, Obama was re-elected and will be our president for four more years. I really hope I'm not the first person to break this news to you. Otherwise, I'd advise you to crawl out from underneath your rock of shame.

To be honest, I voted for Obama and I’m happy Obama won. I don't think Romney was a bad person or that he was incapable of running our country. I'd be lying if I said I agreed with everything Obama stood for, but I agreed more with Obama than i did with Romney. Furthermore, I felt that Obama was better equipped to represent me as a person of color, not because he's black, but because his past experiences have exposed him to the struggles of racial discrimination and diversity issues, and the realities of power and privilege. 

In the end, I would have supported whoever won regardless of whether or not I voted for that candidate. I was just fortunate that Obama won. I know not all of you agree that Obama was the better candidate, but let's agree to disagree and leave it at that. We may have voted differently, but we're citizens of the same country. Following the news of the election results, Leslie posted some words on her Facebook status which I think are words everyone should read.

As my feed fills with status updates about the election results (and I mean FILLS) I just hope people can keep in mind that we are ONE nation. Tomorrow, next week, month, year, and four years from now, we will continue to be one nation. IF you voted, I say THANK YOU (regardless of who you chose to support) because while it is clear who I supported in this election, I believe in civic engagement. I believe in the power, beauty, and duty of engaging in the process. I believe in equality, access, and education. I hope that everyone can take a step back from their own personal views, and realize that tonight was not just a success for one candidate, but a success for the people of our country who engaged in exercising a right that not everyone can claim to have. I hope that people who are not elated about the outcome of this election can be respectful of our president, and those who voted for him. 

I'm hopeful about the next four years, and instead of complaining and blaming others about the results of the election (because trust me, that won't do you or anyone else any good), I hope you'll be able to share my hope and be optimistic about our future. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

another year older

Yesterday I turned 24. I remember when I was younger, I used to count down the days to my birthday. Now I feel like my birthdays just creep up on me and before I know it, I'm another year older.

Being in Reslife, I knew that I wouldn't be able to do much on my actual birthday, so I pretty much celebrated it over the weekend. Unfortunately I was on duty AND on call on Friday. Woot! So as you can guess, there wasn't much celebrating happening on Friday. The staff of Norton/Scott/Archer/Neilwood Gables (long name, I know) or NSANG for short, went on their staff retreat from Friday to Saturday so they needed two RAs to cover their buildings. Our staff was the only one that offered to help out. However, we only had one RA who was available to cover the building, so being the relationship builder that I am, I offered to be on duty and go on rounds, and be on call in case something came up. I'd like to mention that I was also on call for Taylor.
Anyway, the first building my RA and I went to was Neilwood Gables. First of all, there's no elevator in this building, so that was no bueno. Second, we had to walk up four flights of stairs, make sure the doors on the top floor were locked, and look through the keyhole. Could this be any more of a scene from a horror movie? I was genuinely scared something/someone was going to stare back at me. I had to do this for two more sets of rounds and being the scaredy cat that I am, it did not get less scarier. Oh and earlier that day, I received two packages from my aunt. She had initially sent all my packages to my Smith Hall address not knowing that I had moved, so she's still in the process of having everything resent to me. One of the packages consisted of instant Indian food and the other consisted of several packages of mini chocolate chip cookies. I honestly have no idea why my aunt decided to buy me these items, but I still appreciate that she remembered my birthday and took the time to send me something. To be honest though, I wasn't a huge fan of the cookies, but James liked them, so I'll probably make him eat the rest. The best part of this night was that James made me dinner for the first time :) He made me pineapple fried rice with spam which was actually pretty good. Although we both agreed that it may have tasted better than it actually was because we were both starving.

On Saturday, James and I went to a corn maze for the first time 'cause, let's be real, when are we ever gonna go to a corn maze again? Thanks to his wonderful sense of direction, we made it out in a little under 40 minutes. However, we're not 100% sure if we did it correctly. We entered the maze through the normal entrance, but somehow came out the kiddie maze exit. So we don't really know what happened, but the important part is we made it out alive without any help. There was also a greased pole that James was tempted to climb, but after watching numerous people fail to make it to the top, he thought he'd save himself some embarrassment and not climb it. While at the corn maze, we got a text from sugar plum fairy inviting us to her place to watch the Ohio state vs. Indiana football game. being the relationship builders that we are, we weren't going to pass up a fun time with friends :) We grabbed dinner at cane's (This was my very first time eating at cane's btw...shameful, I know), picked up Matt and Tara and headed to Danielle’s place. Andy joined us later. It was a fun night filled with cheers, groans of disappointments (the Buckeyes made a lot of stupid mistakes), mini apple pies, and kettle corn. I also got a care package from perfect pitch with Korean snacks, two books, and a letter that literally made me cry.

On Sunday, I had my Hall Council retreat which was wonderful because my E-board members are a hilarious bunch. After a one hour nap, James took me to Easton to buy me a bear from Build-a-Bear. Here's some context for y'all who need it. After I moved out of my apartment in San Diego, I moved back home to LA for two weeks before leaving for Ohio. A lot of my stuff were in trash bags, including my stuffed animals. my dad thought I was throwing my stuffed animals away so he donated them without telling me. Therefore, I’ve been slowly building up my collection again. Also, I had never bought anything from build-a-bear. It was one of those things that I wanted, but I was never going to buy it for myself. So, knowing all of this, James took me to Easton. However, when we got there around 6pm, it was closed. What mall store closes at 6pm on a Sunday? What a fail. Anyway, he said I could get a raincheck for that :) For dinner we went to a Chinese restaurant called Panda Inn on Bethel. From the outside it looked sort of sketchy, but the inside is super nice with lanterns hanging from the ceilings, a Chinese style bridge, and a small pond with fish. It was definitely the best Chinese food I had had during my time in Ohio and I’ll be going back for sure. we came back to my place after dinner and he let me open my present. I had noticed the pink gift bag with flowers earlier, but he said he was waiting for me to notice it and say something. I, however, thought he placed it there for a reason and was waiting for him to say something. We make quite the pair. Anyway, the present consisted of purple earrings and a purple bible. Here's some more context. First of all, my favorite color is purple. While he was in china, I jokingly asked him to get me something pretty. When he asked me what I wanted I said that I liked earrings and that my favorite color was purple. However, he couldn't find any purple earrings in china or at least any that he thought were pretty, which is why he bought me some for my birthday. As for the Bible, I have two bibles and I brought the smaller one with me when I moved out to Ohio. However, this bible has completely fallen apart. The cover and the pages are two separate pieces, and that's why he bought me the bible. According to him, I probably have the only purple bible in existence because it was really difficult to find. We ended our night by watching the artist and drinking wine. classy, I know.

Monday was my actual birthday. One of the first things I saw when I woke up was a text from my brother wishing me a happy birthday. Last year he failed to wish me a happy birthday on my actual birthday. When I called him out on it the next day, he sent me a text that said his happy birthday text was delayed due to technical difficulties. The other thing I saw when I woke up was a picture of the Taylor Tower bulletin board that was dedicated to me. Apparently I moved to Ohio from San Diego because of my fear of seagull poop and I had once held up the torch for the Statue of Liberty because Lady Liberty needed a break (courtesy of one of my super creative OAs). Later, I walked into my office to find it covered in streamers, post-its, and balloons (courtesy of my RA staff). It definitely put a smile on my face to say the least, but it also looked like my office got tipied. While in my office,I got a call from one of my OAs letting me know that I had a special delivery at the front desk. I walked out to find a vase of flowers from none other than Helen. I also got a lovely phone call from my mom at 10:37am PST and she sang me happy birthday. For those of you who don't know my mom, this is not out of the ordinary at all. When I told her that Earne had wished me a happy birthday first, she said she would've called/texted me first, but she had just woken up because she had gotten home at around 1am that morning after hanging out with her friends. I swear, the older that woman gets, the more she plays :P And then I don't remember how we got to the conversation of marriage, but she told me not to get married before 30. This was very different from the message she gave me while I was home for Labor Day weekend which was that I should crank out a cute, little baby soon. I dunno what she wants me to do. I told her that ideally I'd like to get married in my mid to late 20s, but we'll see what God has planned for me. And of course, she couldn't argue with that. My dad was the last of the three to wish me a happy birthday. He asked me how my day was, what I did for my birthday, etc., you know, the typical parent questions. Later that day, I had my staff meeting where my RAs sang me happy birthday and martin baked me homemade pumpkin cheesecake which was absolutely delicious!

All in all I had a wonderful birthday :) I'm grateful for all of the amazing people in my life who took the time to text me, call me, write on my Facebook wall, and/or send me something special. Also, I don't know if anyone else has felt/is feeling this, but after 21, I've stopped "feeling" like I was getting older. I mean, I know I'm getting older physically (I'm sure my students can vouch for me), but in terms of my spirit, energy, or whatever else you want to call it, I'm not really feeling it. I feel like the same child-like (not childish, there is a difference), positive, free-spirited gal I was back in college, and I'm okay with that :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

a tale of two churches

Today I went to Rock City Church for the second time, but this time I went with James. We had agreed that he'd go to my service in the afternoon and then we'd go to his mass at night. Today's message at Rock City was titled "What about the many Christians who look nothing like your Christ?" The pastor shared his own story about when he was in 9th grade and brought a friend with him to church. For the sake of this story, let's call the friend Luke. Luke wasn't very popular and didn't have a lot of other friends so the pastor felt sorry for him which is why he invited him out to church. At the end of service one Sunday, Luke went up to the pastor and told him he had something to tell him, but said if he told him it would change their friendship. The pastor told Luke that he could tell him what he needed to tell him and that it wouldn't change anything. Then, Luke told him he was gay and the pastor said, "That changes everything."

According to the sermon, there are three main moments when it becomes easy for a Christian to become a barrier for those in pursuit of Christ: 1) When we forget who we were before Christ 2) When we reason that it's our job to change the world and 3) When the central focus of our lives is anything but Christ. All of these points stood out to me, but the second point resonated with me the most. When Christians feel that it's our responsibility to change the world, we justify violence/hatred against others. We think it's in our power to change the heart of others when the reality is that only God has the power to do that.

The pastor ended the sermon by emphasizing the importance of loving everyone regardless of their identities, backgrounds, experiences, etc. to be honest, hearing this was incredibly refreshing. I know that Christians don't have the best reputations. I mean, we carry signs that say people are going to hell because of their sexual orientation and other "sinful identities." I believe that the most important message in the bible is for us to love everyone. Unfortunately that message tends to get lost in the Christian community so I sincerely appreciated the pastor's message.

The service was held in one of the movie theaters at the Lennox so James and I grabbed lunch at Johnny Rockets and then watched Looper. I’d like to point out that it started raining and the weather channel app on my phone did not say anything about rain. Stupid Ohio weather! Anyway, my brain still hurts a little bit after watching Looper, but not as much as it did after inception. Looper was AMAZING! I don't want to give anything away, but there's so much more to the movie than the previews. I also might be a bit biased because I love any movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt :D after the movie we went to the Buck-I-Serv Winter kick off. I met the students who will be going on my trip, did the typical name learning icebreakers (did I mention that despite being in grad school for student affairs, I don't like icebreakers), watched a short film about Buck-I-Serv, and created a Buck-I-Serv contract for our group. Although I still don't really know what's going on with this trip, I know it's going to be great and I’m super excited! James and I had an hour to kill before the 9pm mass so we went to Kroger and ended up buying more than just pita bread, which was the only thing we actually needed to get.

The mass was at the Newman Center which just so happens to be right across the street from Taylor which was very convenient. Also, I’d just like to point out that I hadn't been to a Catholic mass since I was in elementary school and even then, I think it was like an informal Friday service. Luckily, James gave me the rundown and guided me through the service. It was different from what I'm used to. It was more "traditional," there were memorized responses/gestures that I didn't know, and the songs that were sung were not as upbeat. They were very minor things, but I was slightly self-conscious that people would notice that I wasn't saying any of the responses or doing any of the gestures. I really enjoyed the message because the priest talked about how God created man and woman in Genesis and they were complimentary. Therefore, they are equal. Just because god created man first doesn't mean that man has power over woman. In all of my years of going to church, no one has ever talked about that story in terms of the equality between men and women and I loved hearing it that way. So Catholic churches have communion every Sunday, which was fine because I had taken communion before multiple times. However, there were responses/gestures that went along with this too. James tried to explain it to me a few minutes before communion started and I started to get a little bit of anxiety so I decided to just stay in my seat, which was definitely the smart thing to do.

I don't think I've ever gone to two services in one day, especially two services at two different churches. Although the structures of the services were different, I loved the messages I received from both churches, and at the end of the day, the sermons that are preached are what matter the most to me.