Monday, September 30, 2013

more places i've slept (this time with a happy ending)

(Scroll to the end for the most important part. Otherwise, read on.)

When we last left off, mid-August, I'd been sleeping on Marli's couch. On the night of the 25th, I slept on her love seat, my mom slept on her couch, and then I hopped a plane to Los Angeles. From there:

August 26-August 27: Eddie and Jessica's couch
August 28-September 3: futon at my soon-to-be family's house
September 4-September 7: Nicole's amazing extendable king-sized couch
September 8-September 12: With Peter Pan the cat on a pull out of the wall bed!
September 13-September 15: Eddie and Jessica's couch
September 16-September 17: Eddie and Jessica's bed (with permission!)
September 18-present: the newly bedbug-free twin bed in Alicia and John's other room

Not so bad. And even though it's piled high to the ceiling with all our things, it's got a door. I have my own bedroom that I can sleep in at night and a living room with a couch I can sit on in the day. It's glorious. But it gets better. Projected:

present-October 4: still Alicia and John's
October 5: Tessa's new camper/trailer thing
October 6-October 8: not Alicia and John's couch (tempting though it may be to return to my natural habitat)
October 9-October 12: a cabin in Wisconsin! to debrief
October 13-October 18: one last week in the twin bed as a single lady
October 19-October 24: in a hotel on Carolina Beach on not one but two queen beds which will be made much use of
October 25: somewhere in Raleigh, maybe at Grannie's, post-State Fair
October 26-INDEFINITELY: our bed in our apartment in Los Angeles

Y'all. My boy's been working hard, preparing a place for us. On October 26th, probably around five in the afternoon, I will move into our new place and unpack and sleep in our brand new bed. This is in less than a month. It's strange to think that someone chooses you and you choose them and then you have a place to be together. More on this later. For now, very soon, I will live somewhere. So so so excited.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Kind of a different perspective than what I'm normally quoting around here but still so beautiful.

"How could our hearts be large enough for heaven if they are not large enough for earth? The only country I am certain of is the one here below. The only paradise I know is the one lit by our everyday sun, this land of difficult love, shot through with shadow."
--Scott Russell Sanders

Thursday, August 22, 2013

things i've slept on the last ten weeks:

June 8: combination bench/leather couch, last day in my apartment in Pitesti
June 9-June 15: Hannah's top bunk, familia York
June 15-June 20: twin bed in Germany
June 21: plane, bench in a bus station in Istanbul, bus seat
June 22-June 24: twin bed in the guest room of some friends
June 25-29: dorm in Izmir, room 602
June 30-July 14: dorm in Izmir, room 604
July 15: futon in an office
July 16-July 18: my old bed at Alicia's, complete with a soon-to-be-married-lady bedfella
July 19: hotel in Garner with a rollaway bed and a bunch of ants
July 20-July 21: amazingly squishy couch at Arielle's
July 22-July 27: couch older than me at Alicia's
July 28: Elizabeth and Tristan's daybed
July 29-July 30: bed at Momma's
July 31-August 1: couch at Alicia's
August 2-August 8: love seat at Kaila's
August 9-August 10: couch at Alicia's
August 11-August 17: love seat at Kaila's
August 18-present: amazingly comfortable couch at Marli's

That's sixteen places, nineteen if you count the different locations on the travel day, and eighteen different movements. To be continued after the next ten weeks...

Friday, August 16, 2013

getting used to being back

I've said before that stepping back in to life in the States has been mostly uneventful, and while I am still waiting for the difficulty of culture shock-ing in your own culture, for now, a couple observations:

1. It's freezing everywhere. It appears to be a cooler summer than normal (average about 90 so far, I think), but inside every single store and at least half the apartments and homes I've been in, it is arctic. The place I'm staying now keeps it at about 73 or 74 which isn't cold but I've spent all but one of my last seven summers un-air-conditioned. Y'all, I'm still not used to this. It is frigid. The upside is I'm really comfortable at night. Holler.

2. Since when did everyone and their mother either become gluten intolerant or choose to eat gluten-free? It's everywhere. So many restaurants have a gluten-free option. Very interesting.

3. This morning was one of the first times I've spoken Romanian extensively since I left Turkey. I've written plenty emailing back and forth, but it was the weirdest feeling. It's all still there, albeit rusty, but I could feel myself having to sit back and just trust my mouth, that what would come out was right. Almost like I had to step aside and let my brain do what it knows all while having some feeling of uncertainty--I haven't thought in Romanian in exactly a month and there was definitely a gap between what I was thinking and what was coming out of my mouth. I'm not explaining this well at all, but it's almost like, even though I was thinking in English but not translating either, some other part of my brain was making it come out of my mouth in Romanian. As if the process were happening in my mouth instead of my head, trusting some sort of muscle memory or something. Does anybody know what the heck I'm talking about or have you experienced this?

The good news is that after half an hour of talking it won't feel so compartmentalized anymore, but jumping back in was the weirdest sensation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Y'all, 2013 has been the suck year. Straight up crazy. It's also been pretty dang wonderful. Let me list to you the reasons...

Suck Year:
--Started having funky heart palpitations. It happened about a hundred times a day for two weeks, then stopped, then started again less frequently and has gone on sporadically since then. Thought I was gonna die for a little bit in there.
--Got squashed when the Mighty Mazda got squashed, got my stomach beat up pretty bad. Seven months later I'm still slightly deformed and don't have complete sensation.
--Getting scanned from head to toe after the wreck the doctors found a cyst on my brain. On my BRAIN. Scary.
--Left all the wonderful people I love in Romania.
--On the way to Turkey my intestines to decided they wanted to be paralyzed or obstructed in some other way so I had terrible pains and couldn't eat for five days.
--Bed bugs.
--Getting bit by what we think was a black widow, I kid you not. I didn't have a severe reaction but it hurt like heck and as we speak it's still spreading and swelling. Heading back to the doctor once more tomorrow.

--There's nothing physically wrong with my heart.
--No symptoms with the cyst which means hopefully and likely that's fine too.
--A perfect, perfect ending to a time in Romania I'm so grateful for.
--My belly started working again with no intervention. Well, lots and lots of prayer helped a lot actually.
--Getting engaged to a pretty amazing guy.
--Marrying him soon!
--Getting to be back a while longer in my beautiful Wilmington.
--Getting to see my girl Nicole in Los Angeles and meet family I've never met and family that's new.
--Lots of other things... this ought to be continued.

The point is that 2013 is not even over yet. Thank you, but you have met your quota in all ways. We can just sit back and be boring from here on out. Much appreciated.

Regards (in the British sense),


Thursday, August 8, 2013


I've been living out of a suitcase since June 9th. And pretty much will be until the end of October. Which pretty much sums up life right about now. Technically, since I'm staying with a friend right now and will probably be for about three weeks altogether, and since I've taken my clothes out of the hiking backpack and put them in a little plastic tub with a lid, I am unpacked. Funny what stability looks like right now.

It's a weird place to be in. It's not just that I'm couch-hopping, and three weeks is the longest I'll be anywhere consecutively in these four months. It's being back in a country that slips back on easily enough, but not quite being anywhere in it, being in a sense I can't put my finger on just yet. 

I'm here in Wilmington, but I'm leaving. I'll be visiting Los Angeles, will be meeting to-be family in the Bay Area, but I haven't moved there yet. I'm not really single anymore, but I'm not married. Have left Romania but will be going back to Turkey. I'm as in between as it gets right about now, just sort of floating without much of an end in sight. We'll get married, but even then we'll stay somewhere temporarily till we can get on our feet.

Anyway, not saying any of this to complain. Just that life is very different now than I think it will be again any time soon. And it's a reminder that the rootlessness I'd romanticized for so long wears after a while in real life. And unpacking, even if it's just in a little plastic bin, feels like luxury. Maybe I'm just old.

In the meantime I've successfully survived extrovert-mode for nearly a month in Turkey, made it back to the States, watched my best friend get married, missed the bouquet with my hands but caught it with my hair, introduced my almost husband to my favorite city in the world and also Bojangles, brought him to meet my family/other important people, swum in the Atlantic, have not yet frozen to death in the tundra of American air conditioning and have survived a grand total of about twenty one hours in the car. Pretty great stuff.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

gone on a walk

Differences between walking places in the States and Romania:

1. If you did it in flip flops in Romania, they'd think you were crazy. Flip flops = house shoes.

2. At least in Wilmington (and not downtown), it's not pedestrian friendly at all but it sure does smell nicer. 

3. Way more cat calls and strange looks here. But if you've lived in Romania you've developed a stare-down face. Effective against hoot-hollerin' rednecks.

4. Possibility of death by SUV increases by about 3000%.

Feels like stepping into an old life already. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

figured it was time the blog knew as well

My blog has officially died and gone to blog heaven decided not to go anywhere so we can all look at it and wonder what to do next. In the meantime, we had a culture night last night wherein the students reenacted a Turkish engagement. And the mock engaged couple just happened to be real-life engaged too. Maybe it's because I can't imagine ever having gotten something like this otherwise, even it was just pretend: what an amazing gift.

(Picture chosen purely because it makes me smile so much. I'll put a nicer one up once they all appear on facebook.)

Saturday, June 8, 2013


The packing continues and I've bagged up a bunch of books to give to a family and an English-speaking school in Bucuresti and in the process was going through some of the ones I really liked to copy down the things I underlined. This from the end of Father Fiction (a very very helpful book for me a few years back):

"Sometimes human life can seem no more meaningful than a fish flopping on a shore. Writhing. Out of its element. And I would love to tell you that the real problem in life is we believe we are writhing when we aren't, but that's not true. My spirituality, that is Christian spirituality, doesn't tell me to close my eyes and pretend life is beautiful and there are no problems to confront. I'm told, instead, I am out of water, and if I want to find water again, I must go in search of a different kind of water. All of us have been washed on the shore. We all have issues, we are all broken."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

hail storm adventure!

Well it's my last week living in Pitesti and it's sending me out with a bang. It's been mostly rainy and sometimes stormy the last few weeks here, one or two big thunderstorms in the afternoon. But they've been short-lived and nice to watch and anyway I'm from North Carolina so it doesn't bother me to get caught in one, so when I left for the grocery store (a fifteen minute walk, ten if I'm hurrying) and it was getting dark and windy, I just grabbed a raincoat without thinking much of it.

Made it to the store and halfway back before anything happened. The wind had gotten cold and it some random fat cold drops were falling when just like that, the whole sky fell. Pouring really cold rain, and then the hail started. Small at first, then quarter-sized. I don't know why I didn't stop. Some construction workers even yelled for me to come join their little huddle, but I elected to press on, taking off my glasses so they didn't get cracked or anything. And mind you, I can't see anything anyway because I've got to keep my head bent down and face covered, meanwhile giant hail is bouncing off my head and the front of my legs and those suckers sting.

Not to mention just how cold the rain was. By the time I could see my apartment my jeans were falling off me from being so soaked and my legs felt frozen, kind of how your skin feels when you've been playing in the snow and you're wet and it's twenty degrees outside. So I didn't realize until a few minutes after I'd changed out of them that the stinging wasn't just my skin thawing but little welts on my legs. They're going away pretty quickly though.

And then! I'm trying to get everything soaked off me and out of my purse and hung up in the balcony and realize my glasses are gone. Think I must have taken them out of the bag and set them down somewhere because I'd shoved them in without the case. Well I search the whole apartment and they're nowhere to be found. Half an hour later I'm searching the stairwell thinking either they didn't go into the bag when I tried to stick them in and that's why the construction workers were yelling or maybe they fell out when I took my keys out. A neighbor sees me searching, asks me if I wear glasses, I almost fall onto him I'm so relieved. He's found them and given them to my neighbor. Amazing.

One more fun thing about this story: my hair looks super nice after it's been rained on--gets curly in a way it won't do any other time. So I'm fleasca in this picture but soon I'll have cute hair... :)

Monday, June 3, 2013


The other day I was having lunch with a friend, and don't ask me how we got onto to this topic, but he asked me how I wanted to die. I turned it on him, and without pausing he says:

"Vreau sa fiu rapit."

Understand rapit as kidnapped. Blink. Remember who I'm talking to. Realize he's saying raptured. 

What makes it crazier is if you don't know Romanian you probably thought he was saying raped since as far as I know it comes from really similar (or the same?) Latin. The funny thing is that if he had meant kidnapped, he'd surely have a story ready for you about sharing the Gospel with them as the last thing he ever did.

Anyway. Two and a half years later and this stuff still happens every week.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

the lacuna

Some quotes I've liked (or were pretty) from the above book in the last couple of days:

"For any homeless wanderer he is a miracle of instruction: now that he is exiled from every place on earth except a desert wilderness, he declares a passion for cactus."

"'I think an artist has to tell the truth,' she said finally. 'You have to use the craft very well and have a lot of discipline for it, but mostly to be a good artist you have to know something that's true. These kids who come to Diego wanting to learn, I'll tell you. They can paint a perfect tree, a perfect face, whatever you ask. But they don't know enough about life to fill a thimble. And that's what has to go in the painting. Otherwise, why look at it?'"

"The survivors stood in the ruined courtyard blinking at the light, with eyes unprepared to see the life that is spared into their custody."

(It's by Barbara Kingsolver, by the way.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

crazy dreams

Yesterday morning I dreamed the car I was driving--borrowing, from the Colombiana--got hit by a meteor. Mornings usually go like this for me. I'll wake up before it's time to get up, fall right back asleep for another hour or so and dream the wildest things and nearly always remember them. 

I've driven once since the accident. Not because I'm afraid to, just that I didn't have a car in the States and here of course have absolutely no need for one. But the one time I did drive was a trip. I was dding for a friend on Superbowl Sunday and all of a sudden, there in the dark lit up by the headlights, just a split second, an orange cat. Real fast and abrupt. And I ran him over and shrieked because it surprised and scared me so badly and luckily my friend was drunk or who knows what she might have done. The poor cat, and I was still jumpy around any and all sudden movements on the road (despite the fact that I wasn't driving and didn't see it coming--the wreck, I mean, haha that's not very clear).

And anyway it's looking like I'll be borrowing my friend's car while she's honeymooning at the end of July. And I'm so anxious that no matter how well I'll drive somehow her car will end up totaled completely out of my control. You know, like a meteor hitting a cell phone tower and the broken off chunks of rock squashing the side of my car.

We should be hearing back about the claim in the next month. So that might be good news. The thing on my stomach is still there but looks much much better than it did four months ago. Good news for sure. The one I'm watching with the most interest lately is a bruise that was pretty deep and nasty on the back of my calf--since then it's moved around to the front on my shin and mostly gone away, but there's still a hard discolored spot. It itches sometimes so it must be trying to heal.

I'm gonna miss good public transport though. It's easier and so much cheaper here at least. One of the several possibilities for what comes next, moving to California has me hoping the public transit's at least better than it is in North Carolina although a car might still be something that has to happen. Where it will come from and how that will happen I have absolutely no idea. But it's a reminder of the ease with which I get around now, all the walking and minibuses and especially the metro in Bucuresti. And I love the city, which is where it's all at.

Not sure where to end this one. If I do get by a meteor, you heard it here first!

**I do realize that it's a meteorite once it's hit the earth or your car. But until then, do you say meteor if you're talking about something you're getting hit by? It's still a meteor up until the moment of impact, right? You didn't get hit by something that already landed. Anyway I'm just gonna go with meteor and be consistent, even if it's wrong :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013


"This theme is especially important for combating social or familial or economic fatalism. Christian hip-hop communicates with urban youth and beyond them to the rest of the culture, "You are not merely the sum of your background experiences." The music combats predestination with more predestination: the predestination of drugs, gangs, and family background with the predestination of a God who chooses what the world dismisses to bring about his purposes... Maybe Christian hip-hop is not about using hip-hop as a "bridge" between evangelical faith and urban youth. Instead, maybe it's about building a bridge in the other direction: a bridge of empathy for a largely white, middle-class church to a fatherless, economically forgotten, and sometimes angry youth culture. If so, maybe it can help pull American Christianity out of its white middle-class ghetto and into the vastness of the kingdom of God—a kingdom that has room for both Jonathan Edwards and Jay-Z."

From here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"social terrorism" (!!!!!)

I have a dream, y'all. One day again I'll have a bedroom that's a real bedroom and a bed that's a real bed.

Not sure whether I've mentioned this on here before--probably, as problematic as it's been, and hopefully not too much because I don't want to just complain. But this morning I'm not writing this out of frustration but because I read a blog that finally made all the trouble I'm having make sense.

So first, my room is the living room. Meaning any time there's anyone here, my room is a thoroughfare. If there's company, my room is often, but not always, the place where people hang out (regardless of whether I'm home). And you never really know when someone's going to pass through (why would you knock to come into your living room on the way to the kitchen?). It's not an issue of hiding anything. It's just space. Thankfully I can say the room and pull-out couch/bench thing are no longer shared with a sixteen year old girl. 

With my first roommate in Bucuresti, I had my own room and was able to close the door and kind of get away, but sometimes I'd come home and see her mom had been in and had cleaned things or something like that. Not a big deal--kind, if I remember to look at it like a Romanian. But it makes me realize that this is in part a cultural thing. It's just not as big deal, things and space seem much more shared here. In several different ways it's probably good practice for the future.

And then I read this:

The well-intentioned social terrorist does not alert you before they invade your safety bubble. It's always a surprise. You'll come home, exhausted and eager to finally feel safe from unwanted interaction. But then... You're cornered like an animal. There's nowhere to go. You'd always assumed that your own home was a safe place--a place where you were not in danger of sudden, undesired social interaction. But your pathetic delusions of safety implode into the realization taht nowhere is safe anymore. You could try to lie and say that you're just coming home to drop some stuff off before you have to go somewhere. But if you do that, you'll have to spend the rest of the night in total darkness, because if your friend walks by and notices that your lights are on, they're going to know you were lying.
But if you allow this person into your house, you are no longer in control of when the interaction ends. This is not as simple as finding the right opportunity to walk away. No. This is some next-level shit. You can't just walk out of your own house and leave the person there. Where would you go? If you want to be left alone, you're going to have to wait it out until you can convince the person to leave. But even then, it isn't over.
Now that you are aware that your home is not the impenetrable fortress of protection you once thought it was, you are forced to live in a constant state of slight uneasiness. Someone could surprise you at any time. What if your friend decides to surprise you with a visit every day? Now you have to worry about keeping your place picked up, "just in case." You're scared to play music or watch movies because then you can't pretend not to be home if someone knocks on your door. You are no longer in control of your life.

It's funny--the pictures that come with it are hysterical so you should click on it ("I'd love to hang out but I have to go sit in my house by myself"--yes yes yes). But holy crap I read that and thought yes! I'm not being crappy and horrible. All those times I hid in under the covers on my couch when my friend Scott would knock on the door, and I'd not move so he wouldn't see me when he looked through the window--sorry Scott--and the lack of urge to do anything social at all outside of work here. It's because I'm under constant siege!!!! It's so dramatic, but for real y'all. And I'm not the only one. 

What this means for the rest of life and sharing a room with a husband and having kids to whom these rules are definitely not gonna apply and maybe evening living in community, I have no idea. Honestly it sounds kind of horrifying, mixed in with all the good stuff. But there's a small glimmer of hope! It might sound ridiculous, but I'm totally praying that when I'm back in Wilmington, however long or short it ends up being, I'll be able to have my own room. With a door. That closes. And people who leave me alone. And then like half an hour later I'll actually want to hang out with them and do things! Crazy! We'll see, since I'll likely be bumming for a little while for various reasons.  But in the words of that cute little kid JP from Angels in the Outfield, it could happen.

(To be fair, it's probably a good idea to mention that I did make the deliberate decision to stay in this apartment. I had a chance to move out, but it's cheaper here than anywhere else. Plus I really like my roommate. So here I am.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

pentru vorbitori

Asta pentru ca mie imi place la nebunie cum vorbesc moldovenii :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

quote-of-the-day (and thoughts on justice)

Saw this quote in something someone linked on fb (actually it was one of the the things they quoted in the comments, so credit doesn't go to me for finding it, particularly since I didn't even finish the article).

"If love is something you cherish, it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one's enemies."
--Russell Brand

Part of the reason I'm posting it is because I remember the morning I found out Osama bin Laden had been killed. It was night for everyone else back home, but morning for me, walking down the sidewalk to the metro and hearing Obama's voice coming from who knows where. I found the television, watched a little, and then went on to my language lesson. Once I got back I saw all the videos of people celebrating, of rejoicing that he was dead.

And the whole thing worked me up so much, bothered me so much I decided to write a blog about it, but took it down a few hours later because I wasn't sure what I was saying was right necessarily. All those questions about what justice really looks like--and that's what they were, mostly. Questions. In particular about whether justice had to be accompanied by some sort of redemption in order to be true justice. I haven't thought about it enough to give any substantial response but the truth is, at the very least, I want that to be true. Am afraid once I go deeper I might discover that--well, what if it isn't? What then?

But I thought the quote was a very succinct way of saying a lot of the things I was thinking that day. I'm sure someone much more careful than I am being could pick it to pieces, would tell me that it's not really so simple as that. That's probably true. But Jesus did say to love your enemies. Of course there's still plenty of room in that for a just God to do justice.

Anyway, lots of thoughts, lots of questions.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

fun language stuff: the turkish/romanian edition

Was heading back to Pitesti yesterday and as I went down into the metro at Unirii I stopped at the covrigarie (pretzel stand) to get a pastry. A covrigarie usually sells pretzels (covrigi--the big doughy kind, not like chips) but generally you can get donuts or other things like that.

Here's the fun part: this particular covrigarie is called Simit's. Now it just so happens that I recently heard a man with a bunch of pretzels on his head in Turkey yelling simit! simit! simit! And it was on the side of the cart of another man selling them and other similar things.

And! Not only is this Turkish word hanging out on a sign in Romania, but it's had English grammar applied to it, not Romanian. It's Simit's, not simitului or simituri, depending on whether you're assuming the 's was actually meant as possessive or just supposed to have been plural.

And this is only the beginning of the overlap. There won't be too much, it won't be mutually intelligible, but there's a good list of cognates going. With my very very minimal knowledge of Turkish, I would like to  humbly add to that list:

cearsaf--carsaf* (sheet)
musafir--misafir (guest)
dulap--dolap (wardrope)
habar--haber (news in Turkish, but in Romanian used more like idea/knowledge)

And I'm sure a whole ton of others. Yep, all kinds of fun :)

*please note that I'm writing both Romanian and Turkish words without the proper letters--feel free to pretend there's a chka on the bottom of more than one s and c.

Monday, April 1, 2013

good news

Was reading the news a few minutes ago and came across an article about another shooting. This time a guy came into a church on Easter Sunday and shot his dad. Sad, but not the sort of thing that surprises anymore.
But the saddest part to me at least was the last line.

No matter the joyous holiday, his actions will never be forgiven. 

Isn't that the point of Easter though? Isn't that exactly the point? That Jesus died so that this guy could be forgiven, so that murderers and thieves and good, religious people could be forgiven. I know exactly what this guy deserves because I deserve it too. But that's the thing, that's the craziness of the Gospel, that Jesus took what we had coming to us so that we might stand before God, no longer declared guilty.

So there is still justice, fully satisfied, and there is still hope. And it is freely given to us.

A few weeks ago I heard a speaker shout at a few teenagers in the crowd that Christ is not for them. And I haven't been able to shake it from my mind because:

The Father's Son died so that even for the son who killed his father there is hope. That's what Christ is for. That's who he's for.

"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." 1John 2:2

Tell me that isn't good news.

Friday, March 15, 2013

taking out the trash

Did a bunch of cleaning in the apartment which meant a few hours after starting, I was carrying three grocery bags of trash down to the dumpsters, mostly full of two liter bottles. (Yes, I know, I would rather be recycling but I don't have the first idea of where to do it here. I do reuse the bags for more trash when they're not filled with the gross kind--maybe that's worse, but it's helpful.)

Anyway, as I was emptying the bags, holding my breath because the dumpsters smell really bad, I could feel that someone was watching me. Looked to my right and about ten feet away a homeless guy was watching what I was doing. Finished, walked across the street wondering if he would go behind me and thinking about what exactly had been in the bags, and then watched him from beside a car. And he did, he went through it. In the end the only thing he pulled out was a small empty Coke bottle from back in November.

Not a good feeling at all. Really feeling my privilege and wealth right about now (particularly as I'm blogging about it). What to do.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

since i'm on a blogging roll

Figured I'd update on how my body's holding together.

Excited to say that my heart has only been weird once since I've left the States. Friday night it got to beating all funky again for a few hours, and that has been it. Big improvement, I'm hoping, since before it'd do it for stretches of two weeks. We'll see, but as I opted not to drug myself since they never figured out the cause, it's encouraging to see--or to hope--that something's working right. I've quit drinking soda and don't like coffee so the only caffeine I get is from hot chocolate. So yes, we shall see.

The cyst has been and continues to be asymptomatic, discovered courtesy of the untimely death of the Mighty Mazda. Hoping and expecting that to go on being the case.

And my car wreck baby. Or "the muffin-top without pants" as it was recently described. Still deformed, but shrinking more on the left and the not-hernia feels a lot smaller on that side. The question for now is if the adhesion will go away or not--this means it still looks like I've got a too-high (and now lopsided) c-section scar and even if the thing inside me absorbs completely, the adhesion might remain. Also it's still tender and still waiting on some sensation to return. But if it keeps healing at the rate it's going, I should be able to wear a bridesmaid's dress in July without looking too funky in the pictures. Not to be vain or anything... right? Also just as an aside, had a conversation with a friend recently about this and because it's sort of war-wound-y and there's a kind of morbid satisfaction in showing it off, it's cut a good amount of the would-be self-consciousness off at the knees. Thankful?

Anyway, all that to say that things are lookin' good, stayin' alive. Holler praise.

adventures from a class on old english

So I've been going through some old stuff on my external hard drive tonight and stumbled across what appears to be my very casual take-home final from probably my favorite class in college. I only ever actually took one linguistics class (Spanish phonetics--sadly there very few ling. classes and most were online) but did take Old English. As evidence to what a trip our professor was--he made us blame everything on 'the damn French' and 'the damn Yankees'--I present to you:

1. Schwa – When a vowel in a word goes schwa, over time it disappears because it is unstressed. In Old, Middle, and Modern English, emphasis has tended to be on the first syllable of a word so it’s often the second (or whichever is unstressed) syllable that disappears. Since Old English, we have lost parts of whole words because of this. For example, the old word for witch, wicca, lost the a because the a was unstressed and turned into what we now know as witch (spelling courtesy of the damn French).

2. Great Vowel Shift – the great vowel shift happened between the 15th and 17th centuries when all the sounds for vowels moved up in the mouth. For example, e went from /e/ to /i/. The vowels so high they couldn’t go any higher turned into diphthongs. The great vowel shift happened as English spelling was (slowly) being standardized so some spellings that made sense in Old English with the same pronunciation make Present Day English seem spelled funny (besides, again, the weird spellings the damn French put in).

5. Christianity – Christianity affected English greatly. For one, they were the ones writing down the language. English then was very unstable spelling-wise so writing it down helped to stabilize it some, make it more concrete. Also, it meant that readers of English were reading Christian texts, and much of what is still preserved is Christian. Also, Christian beliefs made their way even into the English language. I remember pudenda (as in impudent) being the Latin for genitals, which literally translated as ‘that which you should be ashamed of,’ which astounded me, and I also found really interesting.


10. (eth)inum: dative, plural, masculine/neuter
      ealdormannum: dative, plural, masculine
11. sealde: past tense, singular, 3rd person, weak I verb (long)
12. spearwa is nominative, singular, masculine, and hus is accusative, singular, neuter. The difference is that spearwa is the subject (and therefore nominative) and hus is the direct object. The (eth)aet in front of hus gives it away, as opposed to an in front of spearwa.
13. / h r [ash] l i
รง w /

That last bit is both way more familiar and way more foreign than it was in 2007. And at this point half of what I've written could be altogether wrong and I wouldn't remember, honestly. The really great thing about this class was that he had as read out loud from a book in Old English (so presumably at one point I understood the words in numbers ten through thirteen). We would translate later, or before, but weren't allowed as we went and it taught us to think in the  language, and it was definitely a foreign one. I remember rereading Surprised By Joy later and coming across the part where C. S. Lewis is made to do the same thing in Greek. I'm convinced by it, through and through. Can't imagine ever being able to learn a language if you're constantly having to translate it to yourself, so it's probably harder this way at first, but way more effective.

Anyway, such a fun find.