Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coincidence? The tale of the mastercard.

Picture this: The 2nd floor of Queen Mother Library on Tuesday night at 9:15PM. I was curled up in a little corner with my partially completed Freud powerpoint, nine books about Mr. Sigmund, my laptop, and my credit card. I was finishing a presentation for class and had to complete a handout (one to be given to my classmates in the morning). But get this! You have to pay for printing here. This said, I needed to put money on my account. I took out my blue credit card and added seven pounds (no, not weight my USA friends! Money!) to my account and proceeded down to the computer lounge to print my paper. I finished my document, hit print, and then the dreaded box popped up: Would you like to save this document? Because it was finished and I already hit print, I clicked ... "do not save." (You can see where this is going. Also, reminder to self: never hit "do not save.") I went over to the printer and what did it do? It printed one copy. How many do I need? Fifteen. Can I print more? No, I didn't save it. So I head over to the library desk to ask to use the copier with my print money. Nope, you need to buy a copy card. No problem, right? Just whip out my credit card and get 'er done. Wrong. My stinking credit card is nowhere to be found. Somewhere in between the second floor and the ground floor, my blue piece of plastic disappeared! Just my luck: Presentation early the next morning. 1/15 of the handouts I need. No copy machine available. No credit card.

Needless to say, I checked everywhere. With only 15 minutes before the library closed, I was tracing my steps like nobody's biznah. Sigh... nothing. The next morning, I woke up bright and early and asked at the reference desk on the ground and 2nd floor. The replies were similar, given with awkward "that's a bummer" face. I searched my coat pockets, jeans pockets, backpack pockets, notebooks. I even checked inside my pants in case I missed my pocket. Oh, so desperate. That dang little thang was nowhere to be found, but I had to keep looking. I told my parents not to cancel it yet because I felt like it was around. How stupid. I felt that it was around--enough to risk that some stranger might be draining my poor excuse of a bank account (pardon the pun). So I went to sleep on Wednesday night after another day of searching, only to find myself in an interesting dream.

In my dream? My credit card was in a book. And get this: I turned in those nine books on Freud Tuesday night. Holding on to my last bit of hope from the dream world, I headed to the library. I asked at the front desk--still nothing. I then went up to the second floor psychology section and began looking for the nine books. Oh, how silly I felt. Sadly, I could only remember three of the titles. Just when I was about to give up I saw, "Freud: A Man of His Century." It was the brown, scraggly one. I remembered it because I hadn't found a blasted piece of information in it for my presentation. Useless? Think again. I grab it, quickly flip through the pages, and what falls to the floor? You guessed it. My credit card.

Sometimes I wonder the point of these little experiences. But now that I'm sitting in my room with my card de master, I realize how semi-awesome the whole ordeal was. Not only that, but fairly ironic that my presentation Wednesday morning was on "Freud and the Importance of Dreams." You may think, "Eh, that's a coincidence, Kelsey." And to that, I give my reply: I think you are wrong.

Oh, and I forgot to mention: my three-week Spring Break began one hour ago. As my dad would say, "BONUS." I think I like it here. Yes, I really really do.

Monday, March 22, 2010

1.5 year plan

Kelsey: Tell me your schedule.
Mary: For the Fall?
Kelsey: No, for when you are 34. (dripping with sarcasm)
Mary: Well, that one isn't on KnowHope Plus yet.
Here's the thing: scheduling time is drawing near! In my time at Hope and Aberdeen, I've made more four-year plans than all the advisers in the universe and Mars put together. Okay, so maybe that's an overstatement. Still, I was looking through my blue advising folder and found degree evaluations for a biology major, a communications major, a religion major, an elem. ed. major, a psychology major, and right back to an elementary ed. major. So now, with only a year and half left (staying an extra semester for student teaching), I only need to make a "1.5 year plan." And guess what? It worked. Lots of rejoicing! With a few summer classes here and there, I'm able to take every class for my major, my minor, gen. eds., as well as a few classes I've wanted to take for some time (Christian Love, an art class, night sky, and volleyball). Not only that, but six credits of Fall 2010 will be with my sister (couldn't be happier).

Through my overabundance of four-year plans, I've always held out faith that God has bigger and better plans for my life than I can put on paper. And every random elective, every degree evaluation, every new adviser, and every schedule change has only cemented my faith. And believe me, I've had my fair share of on-a-whim or "it just doesn't feel right" massive schedule changes. Even in Scotland, I was running around from office to office trying to find what classes to take. And yet, no matter how confusing the process may be, it's always worked. And it did once again. My 1.5 year plan is signed, sealed, delivered. (False: It just sounded nice. I schedule online in a couple weeks.)

I e-mailed the counseling center last night to find out the steps I'd need to take to go to graduate school after student teaching and get my Master's or Ph.D. in higher education counseling. I like to close my eyes and picture what my life would be like if that's what I choose, and since writing that e-mail, I feel very excited. The butterfly kind. And at this moment in time, that's more than enough to begin pursuing it.

Once again: Kelsey Hawkins is flying by the seat of her pants. (Oh well, at least I'm flying, right?)

Today is Monday, the first day of the last week before three weeks of Spring Break. Yes, I know. Try reading it again. I'm only one Freud presentation, one tutorial reading, and six classes away from SB'10! I can't wait to travel around Scotland and take in the country in all its beauty. In all honesty, sometimes I forget I'm in SCOTLAND. Because believe it or not, I actually have to go to class. Silly, huh? Anyway, I'm ready to set down the "student" label for a bit and pick up the "adventurer, wanderer, smiley tourist" label instead. Also, did I mention that there are flowers EVERYWHERE? And that Spring is in the air everywhere I look around, in every sight and every sound? Yeah, that's definitely probably a copywritten song. Woopsiedaisical.

Cheers, lads and lassies! I miss you all and send my love.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lights will guide you home, asdlfkjsk

How to begin? That is the question. Maybe a few words on feelings of confusion, maybe an analogy of a bird without wings, or maybe some tender words on dreams and living. It's hard to explain the place that I find myself in. It can best be described by a mumblejumble of letters: lasdkfjslkajfskd. Tonight in a little coffee shop, with only two more weeks until a three-week Spring Break, I'm feeling the tension between my forever love of home and my new infatuation with Scotland. I'm feeling my left arm being pulled by the beautiful North Sea, the budding flowers, and the new and adventurous life I lead. And my right arm? I might as well have left the thing in Michigan.

Now I don't want it to sound as though I'm discounting my time here. (And that's the risk for writing about this.) That is not the case. I adore Scotland and my time here is precious and a blessing unlike any I have ever had. But my love for home? Always in the back of my mind, and on harder days, the very front. I don't think it's the comfy couch in my living room that I miss, or Orion's belt out my window in my bedroom, or Mom's homemade mac and cheese. Nope. I miss my people. And I think that's okay. Well, more than okay. I think that's a very special thing. And in the end, (here comes the cheesy line): lights will guide me home. Literally. Plane lights and men waving funny wands on the runway. But for now, there's a lot of light still to discover in Scotland, England, and Ireland too. And beautiful clouds too. There's just a whole lot of light everywhere and I have about three more months to bask in it all I can. How will I spend these three months, you ask?

For a bit of humour:
-two weeks until break (Freud presentation, philosophy paper)
-three-week Spring Break (Travelling Scotland for a week, then London and Salisbury!)
-four more weeks of classes (pretending to really 'kick it in'/writing essays that count for 50% or so of my grade.. whaa!?)
-one week with no class to prepare for exams (Ireland!?)
-three weeks with no class... and two exams. (Saying holy moly in the sunshine.)

AKA: 6 more weeks of class, 7 weeks of break.
My feelings about that equation: asdlkfjalskdfjlaksdfja. Brilliant.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You and Me, we're alike

People-watching: the art of taking on the characteristics of a wallflower; watching, listening, noticing, seeing; quietly rejoicing in other peoples' beautiful moments; ultimately acting like a creeper (but could ultimately care less).

I've picked my three favorite people-watching moments captured in some lucky photographs and, thanks to (my new favorite procrastination station), I've found other peoples' beautiful words to go with them.

"We listened as he played the guitar & sang old love songs & then there was a moment we looked at each other & discovered we were much younger than other people might suspect & it was good to know we had that much more time together."

"I'm not that good at being a tourist because I'm always looking at the way the light shines in your hair or the way your dress opens to the wind & my favorite places in the world are places filled with you."

"The first time his laughter unfurled its wings in the wind, we knew that the world would never be the same."

And if there's anything I've learned here thus far, it's that in this beating, ticking, breathing, moving body, I have my very own soundtrack, my very own voice. And nobody's is better, nobody's is worse. When I walk through Seaton Park, I hear French, Italian, Spanish, English. I see Moms with little white carriages and old men with walking sticks. We are all different, but more than that, we are all the same. "We're all just people," Mary says. In Scotland. In the U.S. Wherever you are. Wherever I am. And that truly brings me a great deal of comfort so far from home.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One for the books

This week has been one for the books. Sadly for my lecturers, I'm not referring to the real books I'm reading for classes. I'm talking about "the books." I wonder if whoever coined that phrase had an actual book in mind, but since I do not know him or her, I will interpret it as my own. Let me begin again: This week has been one for the books. What's the title? "How to Exercise While Smiling Your Face Off." No title judgments, it's my book and the obnoxiously long title is only fitting. There are only four chapters, but let me elaborate.

Chapter 1: Training for a 10K. Mary and I and a few other girls here are running a 10K in Edinburgh in May. We're at 3 miles now and working our way up! Our favorite place to run is to the North Sea and home, and somehow, the beauty of it all never ceases to amaze me. We normally run after my philosophy class around 5:15PM, which is ideal for the timing of the oranges, reds, pinks, and golds. Just when I look behind me and think the sunset is the most beautiful it could ever get... NOPE! It gets prettier. There is usually about a fifteen minute span of time where the colors are at their most vibrant. I could care less that the biting cold is freezing my arms and legs; the view is breathtaking. (Literally, have to catch my breath. I choose to attribute that to the sunset rather than my body whipping itself into shape.)

Chapter 2
: Joining the sports village. Mary and I recently joined Aberdeen's sports village. Once you sign up for a membership you can take any classes that you'd like. They have everything from step to cycling to weight-lifting to abs... to combat aerobics.

Chapter 3
: Combat Aerobics. First, a little history. I took dance classes for about three years. Why didn't they work out? Well, besides not being able to leap without sticking my butt out and my awkwardly tall and lanky middle-school bod, I cannot walk into a class without getting punchy. Ask anyone who has ever been in a dance class with me (a.k.a. my sister), and she will be the first to tell you that 1) I laugh too hard, and 2) for that reason, I cannot remember any of the choreography. So back to combat aerobics. We walk in and everyone is in the back. Who moves forward? Mary and I. (I knew this was a bad idea.) Our teacher starts teaching us routines with KICK, JAB, HOOK, UNDERCUT, DUCK, JUMP... I'm done for. I managed to bite my cheek and stop laughing for parts. Until she told us at the end of the routine to strike a pose. Who has two thumbs and struck it too early? This guy.

Chapter 4
: Salsa. Friday night, a few of my flatmates invited Mary and I to go Salsa dancing. Oh dang. At first I was a bit skeptical (because I have no idea how to salsa dance), but needless to say, it was a blast. The Ricky Martin and Shakira were perfect to get our grooves on and standing with my ears one inch away from the speakers (no lie) left me with ringing ears for the rest of the night. Scared out of my wits at first? Oh yes. Final thoughts? No regrets. Salsa dancing is the best thing since sliced bread.

False. Best thing since sliced bread? Seeing the faces of people I love (even if it is over the computer!) Shout out to my family... Mom, Dad, Betsy: I love you! You already know.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happily ever now

Dear Scotland,

Yesterday was our one month anniversary. It's getting pretty serious, too. Might as well be facebook official! Let's be honest: you've given me flowers (already blooming!), blue skies and sunshine, and you've opened my heart to a world full of kilts, accents, and food! I mean, it got "complicated" when you didn't sell macaroni and cheese, but I forgave you when I saw your sunset over the North Sea. See, Scotland, it's only been a month, but I think I like you a lot. You continue to surprise me. And well, I like that in a ... la(n)d. Your classes are decent, but your dancing seagulls are much better. And the homework you give me? I can totally deal with it when it forces me to walk a beautiful 15 minutes to campus! That hill you put at the end of the walk sure makes my legs burn, but at least it gives us both a laugh when I slip all over the ice on the way up. Yesterday, I found out another thing I love about you: YOU have little pinecones just like the ones at Hope College! You sure do help me appreciate the simple beauties... you put them all over the place! And I'm so glad you and Mary are friends! It makes it even better that you know my best friend too. Not only that, but you've introduced me to three other beautiful women from Hope. Man, I'm lucky to call them my friends. Man, Scot (can I call you that?), life sure is an adventure with you. I couldn't ask for more than that. I look at all we've been through already (many highs and many lows) and how far we've come. And get this! We have more than three more months together... cool, I know.