February 9, 2014

Snow Stricken Streets…

20140207_145037It’s been a bit of an odd week on campus. You can always count on crazy weather to bring out the oddities in people and on a campus. While some students were super negative about it all, and others stayed pretty positive, I tended to vary between the two. Almost falling a few times walking between classes usually put me in semi-foul mood, but the extra sleep from cancelled classes and invitations to go sledding sure cheered me up! Also, all those readings seem a lot less intimidating when curled up in bed with a hot mug of soup, knowing you don’t have to face the chill of the outdoors again that day.

Our campus is fairly decent at dealing with cold-weather phenomena. Our policy for cancelling classes is that each decision is left up to the professor, which I actually appreciate. Sometimes cancelling class causes more trouble than the brief ‘yay I have more time!’ is worth, and if the college were to cancel all the classes, there wouldn’t be any individual say in how it falls. Some of the professors live really close, and therefore don’t need to cancel class unless something really serious occurs. Again, there were varied reactions to both instances among my peers, but I like the adaptability of the system. I will admit, I was starting to get a bit stressed work-wise around mid-week, so I was quite happy when two of my Wednesday classes were cancelled.

Beyond the weather, the week has been… interesting. My plans and schedule kept changing because of the weather, which in a way has brought back memories of being abroad. It has reminded me of those lessons I had learned and wanted to maintain, but hadn’t fully executed, such as being a bit less schedule-rigid and driven. After being on campus for over a week, I find it very easy to get caught up in school work and activities, and I find myself planning on overdrive – constantly planning every last detail to try to do everything and get the best out of everything. That may sound great, but it’s not the most satisfying, and when anything goes wrong within those plans, it incurs even more stress. Even though the weather-induced mild chaos inevitably brought a bout of anxiety, it also brought a much needed time of re-evaluation and recognition of the patterns to which I was succumbing.

While I’m on the topic of remembering being abroad, I’ve also noticed on a few occasions this week how quiet it can be. I think the blanket of snow surrounding everything may in some way exaggerate this effect, but I’d find myself in my room at an hour during the day when most everyone else had class and just stop and notice the silence. If I paid attention, I could still recognize the sounds of the cars whizzing by on the bridge, or occasional voices of people in the stairwells, but in general it was just… quiet. I had gotten so accustomed to constant noise in my host family’s house that this lessened sound still sometimes shocks me – pleasantly so. It’s a nice change in perspective that is continuing to have an effect.

This week also marked my first week fully back in dance! By Wednesday I was definitely feeling it. After having not been in my usual slew of dance classes last semester, and jumping back in full force (I took all three classes in a row on Monday), I was just a tad bit sore later… I also taught my first class of the semester on Thursday! This semester is my third teaching, and I always teach tap. Since it was the first week of classes, I taught a handful of warm-ups that we will continue over the course of the semester and a brief snippet of the dance so that people could decide if it was something they liked and wanted to continue learning. I think it went pretty well! As you’ve probably already gathered, I really love dance, and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to create something fully your own and have yourself and others perform it for an audience.

Other things I did this week – it was sex week on campus, meaning various talks and events take place to basically open discussion and debunk common myths regarding sex. The Lafayette DiscipleMakers Christian Fellowship hosted a talk entitled “God, Romance and Sex”. I found it to be refreshingly informative; it really provided an honest Christian perspective of sex, based on truths found in the Bible. It demystified many of the false beliefs that are oft too heard.

20140207_182803Before that talk, I also attended the first half of a Lunar New Year celebration! They decorated a room on campus for it, brought in Chinese food, and had performances, a watermelon-eating contest, and different people share about the Lunar New Year. We even had two students from Madagascar share about the Malagasy Lunar New Year. It’s a bit of a different tradition than the Asian Lunar New Year, but they are both based on the same concept. Where else other than a college campus can you easily access such sharing of knowledge and customs? So neat!

Lastly, I woke up Saturday morning to a very pleasant surprise! This beautiful invitation had been taped to my door while I was asleep:

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Each year, the LDCF guys hold a Valentine’s dinner for the girls. They give us these surprise flowers with an invitation, telling us the where and when, but everything else is left as a surprise. I had such a great time last year, and am so happy that they are continuing the tradition. I’ll be sure to include more details once it occurs!

Well, I suppose I better finish up some of those readings so I’m prepared for the week… the weather isn’t looking the most promising – keep your fingers crossed! Until next time!

posted in Rebecca Murray

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