مرحبا عليكم!

I study languages.

Monday, August 31, 2009

And scene.

It's that time again!

Cue class assessments.

Research Lab: This morning I got up at 5:30 AM to vie for publication space with sixteen hungry male pre-meds. I picked up a cool project and will be able to head it up myself, but only time will tell whether I get my name on anything major. The pressure! (As an aside, I completed today's Times crossword with no help, and the first major piece I got read, "Publish or perish." Great.)

Phil 350: History and Philosophy of Medicine turns out to be a straight-up technical philosophy course. I'm one of four girls, which I can definitely handle. We're responsible for 25-page term papers, though, which have to be written in assigned groups (wtf). Hopefully I'll get a few kids who I can easily intimidate into doing things my way. :-) I just hope the professor's a fan of the Socratic approach. I'm jonesing for good questions.

Arabic 101: Man! This class is going to be a whirlwind. It's taught by a grad student, which should be...interesting. Not to brag, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly I seem to pick things up. I remember things well and pick up on patterns. I'm excited for this one!

Tomorrow--TAing!, molecular biology, Arabic, & physics.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Yesterday I started to move out of my apartment, so I went through all my things to determine what I should bring with me. I was making wonderful progress until the unthinkable happened: I stumbled upon a box of books. Uh-oh. Three hours and one novel later, I realized it was 1 AM...and that my new roommates might think I'm creepy for trying to move in in the middle of the night. What kept me busy was this:

Written from the perspective of an autistic child, this simple, creative story will leave you emotionally exhausted in the best possible sense. Author Mark Haddon describes the world through Christopher's eyes with abject force, and the child's lack of situational understanding and context will strike any reader as both hilarious and painful. Christopher's father, Ed, is the character for whom I feel most sympathy--it's a quick read; pick it up and find out why!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blast off!


Resuming interactions on BYU campus is reminding me that, there, I am Someone. :-) The last thing I thought I'd take from Jerusalem was a battered self-image, but I'm realizing that though I had the most amazing time of my life, I've been on a self-low for most of the summer. Now, I am back in action as a force to be reckoned with (haha) and haven't felt this good in a while.

I've been pleasantly informed that the director of the Jerusalem Center has given my name to a few influential people with the tagline "the best writer in the Center" (!!!), so a few new and exciting doors in editing and composition are opening for me (with financial compensation, no less!). I'll let you know if things in this area are further solidified. I've also gone over plans for this coming semester with the professor I'm going to TA for, and I've been pleased and grateful to find that he seems to truly value my opinions and input. I helped design a major term paper assignment today for which I'm going to take full responsibility--editing drafts, grading, etc.--and I can't wait! It's going to be an amazing semester. Plus, I've been in contact with the Center for Service and Learning in conjunction with my position as a new program director, and I'm putting on a poster demonstration tomorrow afternoon at the New Student Orientation Service Fair. I haven't visited with my lab professor yet, but I'm planning on starting in a new position (hopefully immunohistochemistry or electron microscopy!), and I can't wait to jump back into research.

My classes sound exciting, too, especially History and Philosophy of Medicine. It's a small 300-level philosophy class with one of the best-reviewed professors I've seen, and judging from the text, I can't wait to share what I already know about the subject (I've read a lot about the early history of medicine, but haven't studied it from an etiological or philosophical perspective!). And I can't wait to start studying Arabic more seriously; learning a non-Latin language will be an interesting intellectual challenge.

I have (most of) my books, I move into my new apartment tomorrow, and I'm psyched to start the new life I've worked so hard to create for myself.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Soap Bubble

I dipped my wand into the smiling light
And pressed my lips into the tight, glossed shine
The shape I saw was far too quickly gone.

I blew and gasped a little; it was bright
Through pretty lips I don’t believe were mine
I dipped my wand into the smiling light.

You blossomed, grinning, much to my delight
And melted me before we could entwine
The shape I saw was far too quickly gone.

But never was I doubtful or contrite
It’s my fault, then; I couldn’t see the sign
I dipped my wand into the smiling light.

Though rare, sometimes you wandered from my sight,
Your velvet shadow ripped from my design—
The shape I saw was far too quickly gone.

A bubble can’t put up a valiant fight
And time must first erase, then recombine
I dipped my wand into the smiling light
The shape I saw was far too quickly gone.

Friday, August 21, 2009


As usual, xkcd can describe my day better than I can: xkcd.com/294

Four hours at Barnes and Noble took me through "The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly, a delightfully macabre narrative romp through the shadowy realm of the Brothers Grimm. David, a boy recently devastated by his mother's untimely death, embarks on an Alice-esque coming-of-age quest only to encounter a twisted all-star cast of folk tale villains along the way. Written for adults, this creative mythological survey will remind you why you hid your head under the covers during "Hansel and Gretel."

(Can you tell my mom's an endorsement editor? I've helped write pithy quotes for the backs of books for as long as I can remember.)

Yesterday in my bubble bath I finished "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, the literary jewel of the woman for whom I've harbored a morbid three-year fascination. I'm familiar with most of her poetry, but hadn't picked up her iconic novel until the day after my return from Jerusalem. I'm glad I saved it until I turned nineteen (same age as protagonist Esther Greenwood); there were many instances of age-related resonance I felt privileged to share. Plath's imagery, too, functioned beautifully within its context--accurate without overstepping its boundaries.

Thursday, August 20, 2009



American Lit podcasts from 11th grade.

I sampled a few of them and couldn't help feeling my eyes get a little glossy (talk about unexpected). I listened to Mr. Ostenson explicate motifs in The Great Gatsby and tried to name the familiar young voices I heard making comments. It's been three years since junior English, but, listening to Mr. Ostenson again, I wish I were in a literature class with a professor half so thoughtful.

Here's a sample, verbatim:

"Bottom of 187? Thanks. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy. They smashed up things--which ought to connote a car accident, right? A smashing, a crashing--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness--and by carelessness, that's a loaded word, because what might that mean? (Lee, tentatively: Carefree? Hyung, loudly: Bad driving.) It might mean they're carefree, that they have no responsibilities, no obligations. It also might mean that they don't emotionally care, right? Either one fits nicely with Tom and Daisy, but the key is, what affords them this carelessness? (Class: Money.) It's their affluence and their wealth, right? So here's a very biting class commentary with cars and driving..."

Awww. I don't often miss high school, but now I wish I could have just one last literature class with the old high school AP set.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I haven't spent a summer at home since I was 14--for good reason. I'll only be here for two weeks, but I'm already incredibly frustrated.
Ready for a rant?

My friends all have jobs, so I have no life until after everyone gets off (10 or 11 pm). I stay up and play until 2 or 3, then crash on my couch (I don't even have a bedroom here) until I wake up at 6:30 (thank you, Jerusalem), gulp down some pills, and again render myself unconscious until 11 or so. Then, depending on my mood, I will exercise, take hot baths with books, and/or compulsively complete crossword puzzles until I'm sick of everything. After this, I shower and get ready for the day, taking all the time I possibly can to do my hair and makeup. By this time, it is 2 pm, and I prepare to enter the single worst part of my day: the three-to-seven time block, in which I inevitably make frustrating realizations: I have nowhere to go. I have no one to see. I can't think of anything I want. I can't think of anything at all to keep me busy. Life drags on in front of me. Somehow, I make it until seven or so, when I eat dinner (a highlight) and flip on a movie or something until my phone rings and I finally get out of my house.

Basically, I'm counting the HOURS until I can move out again and throw myself into my schoolwork.
I NEED places to go, appointments to keep, people to interact with, and things to stress about.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Sometimes those I talk to say things I want to remember.

“I think some people should learn to play a musical instrument and stop thinking about things so much. Anyone who appreciates classical music could never deny there is a God.” –Katherine

“I find men boring. Women are interesting; if not for their looks, then for their personality; if not even for that, then for their misery. Women torture themselves.” –Hyung

Sunday, August 16, 2009


To quote the third Lord of the Rings movie, "How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back?"

I've been home for two days.

More than anything, I miss Jerusalem and my life in Israel.
Here in Provo, it's exactly like I've never left--the same people are in the same places doing the same things. I am different, and I find it difficult to reconcile my old life with my new self. I'm not an entirely changed person, but I have been altered just enough to make it hard to readjust. I'm a child's toy, a wooden shape trying to fit through a hole built exactly to fit, only to find that I'm no longer the size I once was. I've morphed into something just different enough that I don't fit into the space where I used to feel comfortable. I have gained balance and perspective, and where my life was once two-dimensional and linear, depth and shadow now fall across a spectrum of color.

Things I have done to reacquaint myself with my old life:
Eaten delicious, authentic Mexican food
Eaten sushi and edamame
Finished off season 5 of Lost
Hung out with my friends
Seen a movie without Semitic subtitles
Had my hair done
Gone shopping for normal clothes

Things I have done that reflect my new self:
Bought (and started) 365 Times crosswords
Started reading The Bell Jar and Atlas Shrugged
Captioned nearly two thousand travel photos

Things I have done that reflect an integration:
Started writing again

It's a process.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I am eighteen.
I can make the above statement for thirty-four more hours.

Eighteen is safe. Eighteen is me. Eighteen is The Youngest, which I usually am (and which I love).
It's bad enough being prematurely serious, but nineteen? For the first time in My Personal History, I feel too old.

My schedule tells me that my birthday will consist of taking two finals (New Testament and NT Field Trips) and then spending the evening at the Western Wall, which makes for good personal essay fodder, if nothing else. I've been there so often it almost seems routine. That isn't to say I don't love the place, though. Nowhere else in the world can you find an open-air synagogue where dramatically dressed Orthodox Jews bang their heads on Herodian stones.

Life here is so much better than beautiful; I can't believe my four months end in nine days. It's all so surreal--I live in Jerusalem. I love the friends I've made. Though it's cliche, I can say I've honestly changed. I am more fully an adult, in the best sense possible. I came to Israel as a hardcore young professional. I leave with more balance, spiritually, physically, intellectually, and socially--and maybe just the tiniest added measure of grace.