October 23, 2007

Random rides, the Virgin Mary, and Hyenas

I went to Purdue this weekend to visit Natalie. It worked amazingly. I was planning on going on Saturday. On Friday night, had dinner with Lauren Haynes, who was driving through town from Saint Louis. Towards the end of the dinner, she mentioned that the reason she was driving through town was that she was going to Purdue. Eh? Thirty minutes or so later I was on the way with her. :P

It was a great weekend, really good to see Natalie... A bunch more random weekend events followed. Including, finding a woman's wallet (license, credit cards, -everything-). I called her at a number on a business card that was in the wallet, then left the wallet with someone who actually -lived- there, and he called her with his number...hopefully she got it back okay and didn't panic too much before she got the message.

Also went to an orchestra Halloween concert. All the kids were dressed up in costumes, and paraded across the stage, and one of them...about four years old...was...I'm not joking...the Virgin Mary. She was wearing a light blue cloak and carrying a baby doll. Weirdest Halloween costume ever.

The way home we saw a bunch of dead hyenas on the side of the road...not really. Ask Lauren. :P

I taught my first lesson in my high school class last week. It went really well except for one small slip up. We were teaching about propoganda techniques, and we had them find magazine ads that fit particular techniques. Before we did, though, we showed them examples. I found this ad for Curve perfume that was a perfect example of transfer, which is connecting one idea with another when they're not actually related. It was for Curve perfume, but the entire ad was about being on vacation. I did forget, though, to thoroughly read it before reading it aloud. I was reading the paragraph at the bottom of the page, got through stuff along the lines of "sunsets so beautiful they make you cry like a little girl," and then got to a sentence that said, "Getting frisky on the beach until there's sand in unholy places." I got as far as "Getting frisky on the beach until...um...nevermind...so what's this an example of?" Whoops. Luckily the class was mature about it and my teacher was good-natured, although she did say that she wasn't sure if it was better or worse that I stopped myself at "until" instead of finishing the sentence.

October 12, 2007

Right Brain v Left Brain

Link courtesy of Lauren:


This is weeiiirrd... I could only see it turning clockwise for the longest time, until I concentrated really hard, and I figured out how to see her turning the other way, but I have a really hard time switching between the two. My mom, on the other hand, started freaking out that she "kept switching" every two seconds or so. I'm not sure how much truth there is to it, but it can definitely keep you amused for a little while...

October 11, 2007

Countdown continues

This whole two year separation from my fiance has been getting harder lately. I know that probably sounds a little weird, since it's already been more than two years since he left the country, but, I don't know, maybe it's something in the closeness to his return that's starting to make me feel the distance more lately. I'm nearing the end of my ability to deal with this and stay sane, I think. Good thing it's almost over.

It's funny because a lot of people seem to think that it doesn't bother me anymore. Or never bothered me. It makes me laugh a little inside when I talk to people and they say, "Oh I could never do that. It'd be too hard for me." Do they think that it's easy for me? Does the fact that I continue to have a life, and smile, and even am happy once in awhile mean that it's not hard?

Of course it's hard. All two years of it have been hard. It's a constant, never-ending hard. But the way people say "I could never do that" make it sound like I had a choice in the matter. I didn't. Not really. Yes, I could have asked Wes not to go. Yes, I could have chosen not to continue my relationship. But neither of those things were really ever options at all. Wes needed to go, and I can't imagine myself happier with anyone else. And that's that. And it's all been worth it. All...700 and something days of it. Worth it.

I guess what I was thinking about in this post, was that my constant countdown? It's more than just a random fun thing to do; it's more than even excitement over Wes's return. It's a lifeline, sort of. Of course I can live on my own; of course I can function and of course I can do this whole life-thing without him. But I'm tired. It's exhausting. I'm lonely. And it'd be nice, to be able to do normal, girlfriend-boyfriendy things. Like...go on dates. Or cuddle. Or even talk to each other on a daily basis on phones, without having to worry about things like phone cards, bad connections, or meeting on skype on the internet and crossing our fingers that the connection will be good and there won't be a five second lag between everything we say, and it won't kick us off every ten minutes. Or not worrying that when I am able to call, that I'll end up with a lady on the other end saying "Caribu tena badai. [Roughly, 'welcome again later'] The subscriber you have dialed is unavailable at present. Please try again later" over and over again. (At least, enough times so that I've memorized the speech, and can even repeat it with the same accent and inflection).

It really is almost over. I'm sorry a lot of this entry probably sounds like complaining. I'm just trying to articulate...that I feel it a lot more than I talk about, or show. That countdown is so much more than just a number to me.


October 9, 2007

High school and trust games

Today was my first day of observation! I'm observing in a tiny high school in central Illinois. The classes are way small - I think the biggest class I am observing for was a class of 12 students. The small class size is kind of cool, though - we had time for every student to stand up in every class and tell us a little bit about themselves. It seems like it's going to be a fun semester. I'm really excited that I'm finally placed in a high school - the last two placements I've been in have been middle school. I was starting to worry that I would finally get my observing placement and realize that I didn't want to do high school after all, entirely too late. Luckily, though, I don't think that's going to be the case.

I am starting to worry about one thing, entirely unrelated to my observation placement... I am not afraid to speak up if I think I need to talk to someone; I am not afraid to be "mean" if I have to be...but I like to trust people; I like to trust that they will do the right thing; I like to respect people and assume respect back. In other words, I worry that my trust in people will get me into trouble. I've already had moments of trusting people too much in the past. On the other hand, I do think that, 90% of the time, if you trust people and respect them, they will respect you back - and I want my students, in the future, to feel trusted and respected. I want them to follow my classroom rules because they respect me, not because I check to make sure they're following them every five minutes or make them really strict. But I also know, that if I take that too far, then I will not end up respected; I will end up being the teacher who everyone thinks they can slip one by on. So how do I find that line? How can I show my students respect, and trust, without trusting them so much that they think they can get away with stuff? I don't want to become the jaded teacher. I don't want to be the teacher that thinks every student is trying to get away with something, that every glance is cheating, that every homework excuse is a lie. But I also don't want to be the teacher, or person, who gets walked on.

I'd like to think that, if I just treat people with respect, they will respect me, and my classroom, back. When I respect people, I tend to work very hard for them. But I know not everyone' s like me, and I know that's not always the case...or, even if it is, people don't always think through what they're doing as disrespectful or a breach of trust, so even if I earn people's respect they may still try things. So where's the line between trusting people, and trusting them too much?

October 5, 2007

English classes are ruining movies for me.

The title of this post says it all. I used to be able to enjoy movies. Especially Disney movies. But now, after my women's literature class explores issues of women's voicelessness and lack of agency in the 18th and 19th century, I find myself seeing it in movies that I really wish I didn't see it in. Like The Little Mermaid. She has to lose her voice in order to meet the guy and get him to fall in love with her - so, essentially, he falls for the demure, quiet woman who doesn't speak up (or, if you want to look at it from a more superficial standpoint, he just falls in love with her because she's pretty). Or even Phantom of the Opera. Come on, I love that musical! But when watching the scene where Christine and Raoul run to the roof of the opera house, and Christine voices her worries about the phantom, instead of being thrilled by the scene and the following song (All I Ask of You, which is a great song, by the way), I found myself getting annoyed at the fact that Raoul wouldn't let her talk or listen to her worries, assuming that she was making it all up. What the heck? I love these movies! I want to watch and enjoy, not watch and think about how the characters are being sexist.

I suppose, though, that's what my classes are trying to teach me, in a way... to not take what I see in the world at face value, and delve deeper. But I guess what I'm wondering is, how important is it to see these issues in everything? Is it only necessary to see these issues when they crop up in novels or news articles? Or is it harmful to take seemingly non-gendered or stereotypical movies at face value?

I would suppose, that if I can realize that these issues are there, but discard them for the enjoyment of the movie, I might be able to find a happy medium. Does realizing that movies like The Little Mermaid have sexist elements in them mean that I can't enjoy those movies? Does it mean I should reject them? I think maybe it means that I can still enjoy them but I shouldn't accept the implications it gives without question - but how much am I accepting those values implicitly? I don't feel as if my values have been skewed because I watched and accepted those movies in the past; I didn't grow up thinking that women had to be quiet or that their fears weren't pertinent...

How often is a critical view of the world necessary, and how often does it interfere with your enjoyment of the world without really getting you anywhere? Or is there such a thing?

Sorry, this entry is mostly questions, but I'm sorting these issues out in my mind.