Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"It's the Spirit of the Season, you can hear it in the air!"

I really love being a student in the winter. And that's not because the U doesn't shovel their sidewalks very well. Rather, it is because I get to wear all of my snow and outdoor gear, that most people only get to wear on occasional ski trips, on a daily basis. That's right, I get to dress like the abominable snowman every day. I wear my snow boots, the beanie, gloves, and giant puffy coat each day as I make the pilgrimage across Salt Lake to class. Did you ever see that Christmas movie about the kid who wanted the bebe gun for Christmas? You know, the one with the reoccurring "You'll shoot your eye out" line? He had a kid brother who had so many winter clothes on when he went to school that he couldn't put his arms by his sides. I get to feel a bit like that every day. And thanks to the fact that the Communist-bloc looking social science building was poorly designed as doesn't heat well I get to wear my coat and gear inside all day as well. I feel blessed because I really get my money's worth on every bit of winter clothing I have purchased.

Incidentally, I love the season for all the normal reasons as well. But one other thing I love about winter is running in it. There are no words for a run all by yourself in the quiet when all you can hear is the snow falling. I love the crazy looks and comments people give when they see me out on a frigid or icy morning. And I love that since it is so cold I don't sweat at all and sometimes I skip taking a shower afterwards. Shhh...that's my little secret.

Seasons Greetings!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Go ye now in peace and know that the love of God will guide you"

The week after Thanksgiving is one that means a lot to me. For several years it was the week spent rehearsing in the Marriott Center for the folk dance Christmas Around the World concert. I still find myself counting the days of the week by what is going on at rehearsals that day. Monday is decorating and setting it up, Tuesday is more set up and a run-through in the RB, Wednesday is the ever-disastrous tech rehearsal, and Thursday is dress rehearsal. That just leaves the elementary school show Friday morning and the three shows over the weekend.
I'm going to the concert this year. I haven't been in awhile. I'm surprised by how many memories come back. I am caught off guard by how much folk dance was and still impacts my life. For so many years my dreams revolved around the hope of touring the world with the team. It never happened, but I've been blessed in other ways. Lately, however, I've been really missing the chance that I never had. They are going to China this year. I looked at some team pictures online. I used to dance with the girls in the pictures. I dated the boys. Why am I missing when my teammates are there? My AP English teacher was right, life isn't fair. You don't get everything you deserve.

I remember reading a poem in high school that still strikes me. It is A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

What happened to that dream? And why won't it go away? I'm not unhappy with my life or the road that I'm on. But I can't forget the years and sweat that I put into that dream. I just never know if the dream was never realized because of macro-political decisions by the faculty or if I simply wasn't a good enough dancer. Funny that I still wonder. I think that it is on my mind now because of the upcoming concert, the quiet daily life that I lead that has no music or dance in it, and because I'd like to change that.
I don't know what happens to deferred dreams, but mine don't leave. I am making plans to do arts again. But it is so strange that I would still love to step into any girl on the team's little red boots and perform Hopak at Christmas Around the World just once.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Case of Academically Induced Schizophrenia

Part I

So a week ago on a Monday morning I woke up to my alarm after about 8.5 hours of sleep. Should be more than enough. I got out of bed, put on my running clothes, and then promptly crawled back into bed. I woke up again nearly two hours later. Then I looked at the clock and realized that I had exactly one hour and fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be teaching a class at Westminster College. I knew I wouldn't be able to fit my entire morning routine into that amount of time. So I went for an hour run, made my lunch, and made it to class. Great morning. You see, one of the benefits of winter running is that you just don't sweat much. It's probably the first time I've taught all semester without wet hair. Sometimes skipping a shower is like a little secret that you carry around with yourself and laugh at all day long. Except that now I've told everyone.

Part II

As I was sitting in class today listening to the economics professor talk I realized a nasty trick of academia. Allow me to demonstrate:
When I say "literature" what comes to mind? Shakespeare and Dickens? Even Tolkien and Harry Potter? That is not what professors mean. "Literature" refers to that massive body of knowledge/research about a given subject (such as whether or not race and crime are related). The trick is that academic "literature" is not interesting at all. It is a series of articles and books filled with numbers, statistical analysis, and citations of the previous "literature". I have a big exam in March to test my comprehensive knowledge of this so-called literature regarding population and health. But for some reason when I look at the 21 page reading list I can't seem to find Homer or Dante anywhere!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The products of a wasted hour online...

I've never blogged before. In fact, I've made fun of it. Same this with text messaging. Except that lately I've found myself reading what my friends and family write. I see an insight into a moment of their day that I wouldn't have caught given the space and time differences between us. And sometimes they are witty or profound. I don't claim to be either, but since I've wasted enough precious homework time reading other people's blogs I have concluded "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Do I have anything to say? In the past hour since class got out I have written e-mails from all three of my e-mail accounts (one for me, one for the U, and one for Westminster). I could spend my life checking those three accounts. I've priced plane tickets to several major US cities, just in case I decide I can't stay in Utah for Thanksgiving after all. I've looked at recipes. Wrote a few notes on an environmental justice paper. And last, but not least, signed up for my very own blog. At least I got something done. The internet is amazing! Next time you're bored google the phrase "What should I do with my life?" It is like one of those magic 8 balls, the answer is unique and useless every single time. I love it. And now ladies and gentleman, my books are calling to me so you'll have to excuse me.