I'm taking a month long siesta

from this site. don't be alarmed, though! I'm just moving all my Nica updates to a new blog. You can get to it by clicking right aqui.

les quiero!!

it will quiet you

// Zephaniah 3:17//

do you remember back when you were seven, that time you slipped
little bubbles crept out from your mouth (the one I carved) and the end of your nose (the one I put there, carefully)

your shoulders, bare, were pressed down and the ends of your hair spiraled
all about your head.
and I loved you. right then.

and do you remember looking up and the sun was just
paint smudges?
all outside the surface of the pond was sky and blue and yellow, and all of it for you.
underneath you remained, quiet and looking up.
and I loved you.

do you remember the feeling of heaviness? all around was smooth water, warm,
and there was no denying - my adoration is like this always.

do you remember?
are you heavy with the thought of how much love rests on you,
engulfs you?
and you can't out-swim it, you can't find the bottom of it.
there is no floor and
no dark place where bad things live and hide behind rocks.
are you too worried about life?
don't be.
...I will give you gills to be inside love always
and the sky will be a beautiful painting above you.
you don't even need air.

go slip under again and with your shoulders, bare,
let it quiet you.

FINALS SURVIVAL part five: actual survival

maybe I've mentioned this before...I hate birds. OK, correction. I have a terrible, all-encompassing, never-want-to-be-anywhere-near-them fear of birds. I'll be honest. Don't care if it's irrational, don't care if you want to mock me - I just don't like them. And the worst part is - I think they've gotten wise.

A few days ago I was trying to get into my car and a bird decided to land on the bush next to the sidewalk JUST as I was passing it. Coincidence? I think not. This thing was like 10 inches away from me. I could have TOUCHED it! It was terrifying.

And then I was walking down the corner the very next day and this big gross black crow starts flying RIGHT AT MY FACE. No lie. I screamed and definitely made a scene because of that stupid flying beast. I'm sure he was plotting to pluck my eyeballs out and feed them to his gross babies or something, because that is the type of monstrous thing birds like to do. Ew ew ew. I hate them.

But the good news is, I have had two bird encounters and I've lived through them. I also just lived through a religion exam (PTL that class is DUNZO) and an ASL final. One more (history of lit. at 9am tomorrow morn) and I'm free as a....oh wait....

I love you, mom

Having a great mom is not a given. Not every kid knows what it's like to be tucked under the covers when they're little, or what it's like to have a bedroom to run to if monsters come. Not every kid knows what it's like to have someone make them french toast on Saturday mornings just because. Not every kid knows what it's like to have someone to cry to when they fall off their bike. Not every kid knows what it's like to rush home after school to show someone an A+, knowing it will end up on the refrigerator. Not every kid knows what it's like to receive hugs always meant especially for them. Not every kid knows what it's like to have someone to wave to on the sidelines of every sports game they play in.
Not every kid knows what it's like to have a great mom, but I do...and knowing that makes me know that every kid should know what that's like.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I am forever forever forever gratefully in awe of who you are and what you do for me. You are the most beautiful person I know.

FINALS SURVIVAL part four: slow down

I've had this watch on my left wrist since spring break. It is now May 8th, and I'm positive that it will remain on throughout my whole month in nica. I tried taking it off a few weeks ago, and I literally couldn't. It felt too weird, my wrist felt vulnerable somehow. I think that is indicative of how much I hate change - even something little, like a stopwatch, being removed from my life makes me feel uncomfortable and I just don't like it. I just like when things stay the same.

Maybe that's why I'm such a sappy, sentimental person. I make a big deal of goodbyes. I am the type who thinks of things like "oh my gosh. this is the last time I'll eat a bagel at Bodo's on a Saturday morning of my second year" and then gets sad. It's the sort of thought like when things are good, they can't possibly get better, or that friendships can't possibly be maintained with distance and time factored in, or that the future can never be great because it isn't the same as the past. All those things are lies, but sometimes I think them and believe them - which is why exam season/the start of summer becomes a bitter-sweet time for me.

But then I had a mini-realization. I was driving to Greene two days ago and around this turn on 33 is this gorgeous scene of mountains. I mean, spectacular. It was my favorite time of day (around 6:30, the sun was really low and heavy) and the mountains were green and blue and soft, like you could go and embrace them. I literally wanted to stop my car and just stare at them. And then all of the sudden, those sad, sentimental thoughts crept in. I started thinking: this is probably the last time I'm going out to the school this year. I just finished my first full year as a leader. Next year will probably feel different. Some of the girls I've grown to love will be in college. My role on the team will be different. Everything about it will be different. This is the end of this part of the ride. Whoa.

And then I realized that I was so consumed by thoughts of things ending and fears for the next stage that I wasn't even thinking about those beautiful mountains in front of me. I was alternating in this weird space between past and future and was totally incapable to enjoying the moment. We do that a lot, right? I mean, people say "live in the moment" all the time - but it isn't something that is easy or even natural, I think.

The point of all that is to say that I'm learning the need I have to slow down. Exams are so strange, but also a pretty good picture of how I live a lot of times, being super consumed with recollections of the past and what that could mean for the future. I end up fearing things I don't know yet, fearing change, and that is silly. Someone wise once said that tomorrow will worry about itself.

What I want really is to enjoy things - like deep down, exactly as they are, in the second I experience them, enjoy things. When I first saw those mountains on 33, I just wanted to throw my hands in the air and thank God that they even exist, thank Him that I am walking around on this earth that is beautiful in more ways than I can fathom. That's how I should feel, all the time.

When I'm with people, I want to enjoy them. I want to talk to them for a long time and take our conversation slowly and just know them. I don't want to think about what happens with us tomorrow or over the summer or what we were in the past. I just want to love them, right there, fully.

When I am ending up the last few days of this year, I want to enjoy them. I don't want to be consumed by the thought that I only have 3 nights left in the Magnolia House, and think about all the good times and be sad that they are over. I just want to be right here, in these moments, throwing my hands in the air, happy that they exist and that I can have them fully and that greater things are coming. Because they are. I'm learning to rest in that.

FINALS SURVIVAL part three: be with good people

to expand that list I made awhile back of 100 favorite things, let me add my small group.

when you spend 7 plus hours sitting in the same chair in Para reading Shakespeare, you start to get a little loopy. the cure for that, I have discovered tonight, is consuming massive amounts of toffee nut arch's with cookie dough on top and sharing some laughs with friends.

here are some interesting things our finals-fried minds thought constituted as good conversation tonight:

1) lunchables (how AWESOME were these? I particularly enjoyed the hamburger ones - because who doesn't love fake cold meat forced into an unnatural square shape with plastic-y cheese on top?)

2) screen-names (oh AIM, how I miss you. just kidding. it's all about gchat now. but there was some big revolution tonight (started by a certain e-mail thread I'm too cool to be a part of)where a few people started putting their first s/n's as their gchat status. Ashley Parsley = burn2surf313, Ellen Bosserman = ellenthepelican, my s/n = lipglosluvr4u...which sounds slightly more scandalous than I think I realized in second grade)

3)BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! (Actually, this is always a good topic of conversation. We decided to get excited about books to read over the summer. The two I'm most excited about are Pillars of the Earth and The Irresistible Revolution...oh gosh golly gee I'm SO PUMPED just to read all the live-long day when school is over!!)

4) Cribs (Kendall just made herself a crib here in the chem lib, and I decided to take a picture of it)

...oh hello, crazy blog posts that don't make sense. hello me during exams. you seem familiar....

FINALS SURVIVAL part two: listen to good things

I need music in my ears to get through massive amounts of school work. If you have similar study patterns, let me suggest some tunes that I've been enjoying/aren't distracting/are just freakin' awesome and you should know them.

p.s. I most definitely stole this blog post idea from my friend Caroline :) She has similar music taste (which equals good music taste, if I may be so bold as to say that) and just a really fabulous blog in general, so you should click that link!

1) Jose Gonzales - Down the Line (I've got this on repeat. So chill and wonderful and I love his voice. If you like it, also check out his songs "Crosses" and "Heartbeats")

2) Ane Brun - The Treehouse Song (I love how unique and strange her voice is, and how unique and strange the lyrics are. I think this song has an avant garde type of sweetness...which is something I appreciate)

3) City & Colour - The Girl (I gave this song to my friend Ashley and I remember being in her car and she was like "Um, Emily...this song is AMAZING" and we had a mini-freak out over how incredible it is and how much we love this guy's voice and how we could listen to this 800x a day and never tire of it, etc. So yeah, listen to it. And check out Sleeping Sickness and What Makes a Man while you're at it)

4) KT Tunstall - Throw Me a Rope (mmm so sad and lonely and lovely)

5) Chamillionaire - Good Morning (I made RJ listen to this today. He flat out said that he was so wrong about liking country and that I had superior music taste...just kidding. but I'm pretty sure that is what he was thinking. Anyway, I'm obsessed this song. As in, had it on repeat as I got dressed this morning and danced all over my room to it and am still listening to it now. Thanks, HP, for recommending it! ALSO I'm sorry...this video might not be totally appropriate, but I just like the song!)

FINALS SURVIVAL part one: some biblical encouragement

It's exam time again, my friends. If you're anything like me, this season of life is not a very joyous one. In fact, to boil right down to it, any period of excessive school work usually results in me not having very much grace for myself.

Do you know what I mean? Sometimes being in college is frustrating. I'm not entirely sure that I'm a very academic person, and dang, let's be honest - people here at UVa are SMART. I love learning new things, and I enjoy what I study, but that doesn't always translate into A+'s the way it seems to for a lot of my friends. As a result, I feel like a failure during exams. I feel like no matter what I do, I'm never going to get the grade I want or the grade that is "good" in the eyes of my classmates. And I allow myself to have thoughts that dwell on my inabilities and shortcomings, and I translate those academic woes into more general thoughts of the ways I fail in regards to every other aspect of my life.

but last night, I had a thought about all of this that put things into perspective: who the heck do I think I am? How in the world do I think that I have the right to extend such little grace to myself?

This idea of grace was talked about at XA last night, and it hit me in light of the week and half coming up. When we think of ourselves as failures, when we dwell on it and refuse to forgive ourselves, we aren't seeing ourselves the way Christ sees us. And there is a problem with that.

The last picture we get of Jesus at the end of John kind of blows my mind. He appears to his disciples, who are out on the lake fishing. What is particularly astounding is his interaction with Peter. Peter certainly screwed up. In fact, some might call him a failure for his three-time denial of Jesus. And yet, the grace that is extended to him through Christ is HUGE. Three things are incredible about this scene:
1) Peter runs for the Lord. He knows he screwed up, but what he knows more than that is how desperately he needs grace. He is desperate for it, starving for it, in the exact same way that we all are.
2) Jesus asks Peter if he loves him three times. Peter denied the Lord three times, and in return, Jesus gave him a chance to redeem himself three times, he gave him three more chances to say what he should have said the first time.
3) Instead of dwelling in the past failure, Jesus starts a fire and cooks their fish. Jesus could have been angry at Peter, but he wasn't. He didn't dwell on Peter's identity as a failure (so why do we let ourselves do that?) Rather, he immediately began reworking Peter into someone destined to glorify God.

I say this to you as much as I say it to myself. Don't you dare condemn yourself. There is no room for that in the gospel.

Whether it be feeling like a failure in exams, or your job, or in relationships, or anything else - don't dwell in it. You're going to fail at something or another because you are human and that is what we do. So when you're kicking yourself, cut it out. You are starving for grace, so recognize that first. Be hungry for it, greedy for it, humble enough to ask for it in abundance.

And then think about this:
In all of those moments when you are beating yourself up for some failure or another, someone is cooking you breakfast on the beach.

what joy.

a few things

1) omg. I'm totally rewriting The Giver. shoot. Several people said that my story (the one I talked about below) reminded them of that premise, and I know I've read The Giver, but I couldn't remember what it was about. So i wikipedia-ed it. Its totally similar in like 800 ways. whatevs. I'm still writing my story.

2) NEW BLOG CREATED! I just booked my flight to Nica! and I leave a week from this thursday. (whoa whoa whoa). And I created a new blog to update all my adventures. I already posted a pre-trip update. so check in there when I'm gone to keep up to speed if you so desire: www.emilyinnica.blogspot.com

3) I am probably never sleeping again because of portfolio work.

4) this video is freakin' SO funny. I don't even watch The Hills, but I love little kids and I love spoofs. so it's perfect:


on trying things out, finger cramps, exams, etc.

I have been writing like no body's business lately. I had two big papers due within the past week and now my fiction portfolio is due on Monday. I don't really mind all the writing...it just gets a little exhausting after a bit. My fingers literally started hurting tonight from typing so much. But that was kind of exciting because I got started on a new short story (yup, due monday. hello, procrastination) and I really like it! I decided to go for something totally off the wall and different than anything I've ever tried before. I've kind of played it safe in workshop all year because, honestly, I've let myself be intimidated (which, I've realized, is ridiculous and silly and I'm not going to get anything out of classes like that unless I stretch myself a bit). So, in an attempt to let myself have fun and just go wherever my little mind takes me, I've started writing the strangest story I've ever written/attempted.

What I'm working on is kind of like 1984 meets Twilight meets Boxcar Children meets Ender's Game. Hmm. Potentially lame. Potentially awesome. I don't know. But I know that it's been a blast so far, and that matters for something.

If I get brave enough, maybe I'll post a little of it later on. But basically, it's about a girl who lives in a world (it's earth, just a weird version of it) where the sky changes color every 24 hours. Each morning, people ritualistically go outside and watch to see what color the sky is going to be for that day. The color then determines their behavior until the next morning (in differing ways and degrees of intensity. For example, on lime-green-sky days, everyone is compelled to hate each other in passive-aggressive ways, like writing anonymous nasty notes and leaving them in mailboxes. On dark blue days, the only behavior compulsion is that everyone desires to wear sweaters, no matter the temperature). Maggie, the pre-teen protagonist, is the only one who doesn't experience this instinctive reaction to the color change of the sky. Her behavior isn't modified like everyone else - and she doesn't know why. She lives in an orphanage with other older children/teenagers, and has never known anything about how she first arrived there, who her parents are, etc. The closest mother figure she has is the director of the orphanage, who she meets with daily and who tells Maggie that she must keep it a secret, the fact that she isn't compelled to change her behavior based on the color of the sky. So for her entire life, Maggie has only pretended that she is the same and follows along with the behavior of those around her. The only ones who know her secret are this director (she doesn't have a name yet) and a boy - one of her only friends at the orphanage (who also doesn't have a name yet). Plot twists ensue. Budding teenage infatuation develops between Maggie and boy. Things get strange. I'm not entirely sure what all will happen. Plus, this won't all get written anytime soon. I'm only going to turn in sort of a first section, because I've got way more material in my head than is possible to write by monday or even possible to fit in the suggested ten page limit ;)

Anyway, tonight has been fun just to explode with bizarre-o-ness. (I just made that word up). I always write realistic stories or stories about people who are older than me or my age - so I'm doing something way different. I'm mixing it up. It might be the strangest thing ever, but hey, why not? And also, this one isn't being workshopped, so no one can tell me it's bad! :)

summary of this blog post: 1) I am weird 2) it's alright 3) try something new -it could be a ton of fun. 4) I obvi have an exciting college lifestyle that involves wild and crazy saturday nights of staying in to write sci-fi-young-adult-dystopian-inspired tales.