Sunday, September 30, 2007

week(book)ends

It was a lovely time from Friday after class, skipping down sidewalks, singing praises to the heavens, and packing my suitcse.

It was a lovely time on Saturday hanging out and fellowshiping with other Nav students.

It was a lovely time today, to come back to my dorm and not feel trapped anymore, to breath and relax, and hang out with Kate, go to church, and see Jamie.

I'm tired and busy and I have a test tomorrow. Real postage will come later, perhaps much later, so I leave you a picture.



This is a fragment of my Bible study. I am so glad to have them.

This weekend was a gift. I am learning and growing. I think being a freshman puts you an accelerated adjustment settings, for which I couldn't be more grateful. I know that this year will be marked by the Hand of God.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Talk

There is a man who stands in front of the side steps of Willard Building Tuesdays and Thursdays and lectures about Christianity. There are students who sit quietly and listen to him talk and talk. There are students who brush past and won't listen. There are the atheists who stand with posters. All in all there are about 30 students who listen to him talk and talk. Only a few question and debate. He brushes off their questions.

There is a man who stands in front of the HUB or used to anyway. He would yell so you knew he was there as you walked through the hundreds of people toward the front door. He yelled and ranted and called out to "Brother and Sister" and told us we were going to hell.

And I wonder what I'm doing to tell the truth. At least they're saying it if not very eloquently or perhaps even with the right heart. I just smile at my profs and try to keep up with work. How frequently do actions speak louder than words?


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Today I sat under a tree and wrote in my journal. I love my theatre and short story classes. Somehow what one is teaching so is the other only to a different craft. I feel like I'm being challenged in academics and I'm getting better. I'm so glad of that.

And this weekend I leave campus with Navigators (navs). I wait in eager expectation of not seeing my dorm room or east commons or hear people yelling in the night or bother about swiping a card to eat. I can't wait to be where I can't hear cars and rest in the quiet. I can't wait to hang out with people, the friends I've made so far and the ones still to be met.

And I miss home more and more everyday. I think I might go crazy if I don't go home soon. I should have gone last weekend... I don't know why I didn't. How I'm going to last till the 12th is beyond me.

And here are some pics from Hannah's visit (or really, actually the picture scavenger hunt that she happened to be on):








Friday, September 21, 2007

Thinking

I am reading Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. It is her story, her version of the walk to Christianity, like Don Miller's Blue Like Jazz. I am reading her chapter on Lent and its role in the Christian faith and how being a Jew, being a part of Judaism, changes how she approaches Lent and approaches the celebration of the death and ressurrection of Christ. She talks about how Passover changes when you come to Christianity. She talk about the people she would have Passover with every year in college, how they became her family, she their daughter. She talks about them never contacting her after her conversion. She talks about how she didn't know that was part of what she was leaving when she went to Jesus.

And it makes me sad, thinking about the culture she left behind, the people and the love, the things that largely defined her life. I find myself almost wishing for her sake that she could have stayed a Jew.

But she didn't. She became a Christian.

She sacrificed to be a Christian. "Whoever leaves mother, father, brother, son, daughter, for my sake..." I became a Christian when I was too little to have lost anything. All I have from Christianity is all I have... my family, my friends, my identity. And my sadness for her loss of Judaism makes me wonder if I would have given what she had to be with Jesus. What if I had to give up Christianity for the sake of Jesus? Would I do that? I've never given or left anything to follow Christ. Nothing.

What is my faith, anyway?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Little Things

It is lovely when someone remembers my name. It is okay when they don't because I have most certainly forgotten theirs, but I like it. I suppose that is why I went to RUF two weeks in a row... everyone remembered my name.

Sarah came and visited which was wonderful. We had lunch at Irvings and then went to Websters. I spent far more than I really should have on wonderful, cheap, used books, one of which ended up being a first edition of Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three. It is a wonderful place in there. The guy at the counter talked to me about the authors of the books I was getting and how he had met some of them working in a children's book store in NYC for years. I've decided that Webster's is my dream job.

New Additions to my library:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Shadow Spinner by I can't remember who
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

and a gift from Sarah, On the Beach by Nevil Shute. She said I had to read it so she gave it to me. Everyone dies but that should not deter me from reading it, she says. I'm looking forward to it when I finish my bout of Dorothy Sayers and Lauren Winner.


Those of you who know how I dance will laugh when you hear that I am gaining a reputation as an excellent follower. It is absurd but somehow I'm doing better at it than previously, part of that coming from dancing with guys who won't let me get a way with leading but have complete, mad ideas of their own about what we should be doing next. The dancing nights of this week were exciting as well as challenging. I'm frightfully bad at it but I like it immensely. Names are starting to stay with the appropriate people in my head so I can enjoy the conversations a bit more.

Hannah is coming tomorrow! I cannot wait to see her. We'll do everything Penn State-ish that I like best and watch movies and hang out like we haven't done since I moved here.

It struck me yesterday as I emailed Maryn, my Bible study leader, to let her know that I would be going on the Nav retreat, that I won't be at Summit Lake this year. And I wish I were. Everything in the fall semester led up to that weekend. I think it was more important to me even than Christmas break from CHESS. So much always happened there.

Just think... it isn't more than one and a half months.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quiet Hour Between Class

I keep trying to write a post bt when I open the page, my mind goes blank.

Dancing has taken a large role in my free time. I love it that way. There was a Navs barn dance on Saturday, which was ridiculous and silly but mad fun at the same time. Then swing on Monday. I'm learning far more there than I ever knew there was to learn. I love doing it even if I'm still working on meeting people. Most just come for one lesson and never come back so if I keep being consistent...

I don't even know what I'm talking about. Sarah is coming today. I have a job at the Noll Lab which is very similar to the med center job.

Everything is going well...

They workshopped my story yesterday. It was really stressful though my prof has been incredibly encouraging. He chatted with me before and after, giving good suggestions. However, other things need tending to before I sit down and do a major work on the story.

I don't know when I'm coming home next. And I overslept this morning and had to rush without a proper breakfast. I can't wait for lunch.

See, I told you there wasn't much to say.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Voices

I was standing in the library, looking at the dvd collection when I saw the film The Shining. I know very little about this film aside from what one person had told me. "It is the scariest movie ever. You have to watch it in the day time, with lots of people, and your favorite pillow to hold. It is incredibly scary, you will freak out."

Seth told me that. Seeing the movie made me think of him and exactly what he looked like as he said that.

I went to T.G.I Fridays with some people after RUF Thursday evening. I met a girl named Katrina there who I knew reminded me of someone very distinctly. The next day I realized that person was Mrs. Ratti. I thought about Georgia and things Mrs. Ratti had said and stories of them over at our house.

And something reminded me of Grammy. I havent' actually pictured her or imagined her voice for years; heard the squeaky, tired voice and imagined the way her lip always twitched as she spoke, or how frail she felt when you hugged her, or the way she shuffled around her house or the paniced look in her face when we found her on the kitchen floor with a broken hip.


These are strange memories. I don't know why I thought of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Red umbrella

Note to self: never wear flip flops in the rain again. Boots are the order of the day.


And it is strange how life moves on. Six years... I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't counted up the memories myself.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jennifer Ray: 10 Years Today!

Many Happy Returns of the Day, Piglet!

The I'm Always Missing You, Pooh

Sunday, September 09, 2007

"Too Many People in This Little World"

But its alright, right with me...


Coming back to the dorm was hard.
But not as hard as I had thought.

Last night after the friends had left and my siblings gone to bed, I lay on the couch thinking of how much I love Hershey and the community there. And I thought of the dorm room as compared to sharing a room with Hannah and the comfort of going to bed early and getting up late and having sour dough bread and home made dinners.

So I sat a little, and cried a little, and did not want to come back.


But I did. And the girls said how much they missed me this weekend and asked how the birthday party went. And I saw Jamie and talked to her after church and went to dinner with Katie and Michelle and some others. And I did laundry and took a nap and wrote my story.

And it isn't bad at all.


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On the shuttle back to campus from church, I sat by this fellow named Ben, part of the Honors college for nuclear engineering or something similarly incomprehensible and prestigious sounding. My shoulder bag was on my lap (the black one with the flap showing a white fern). He looked at it and pointed to the fern and asked if it was a rugby bag. I looked at him rather bewildered. Not that I knew of. "But," he said, "that fern is the symbol of a rugby team. But then it is probably just a fern." I laughed. After a moments pause I added that my dad had brought it back from New Zealand on a business trip. He grinned and declared that it had to be a rugby bag since that fern was the symbol of a famous New Zealand all black ruby team.

He pointed out the irony that such a cleanly designed messanger bag is trade registered merchandice of a rugby team in New Zealand.

I carry my bag with pride. And ignorance.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Chairless

I have been sadly underpostified in the past days. I am sitting in the HUB, unable to find a chair, happily employed with writing to you. The macBook arrived and I am very, very happy with it. The keyboard is just right and makes me want to keep typing even after I run out of things to say.

Last night I went to a discussion, activist group titled Aequitas. It is a group of Christians on campus who want to focus on living as Christians in every aspect of their lives from the art they consume to what kind of coffee they buy and whether or not they drink out of styrophome cups. I thought of Mim and how much she would have enjoyed it and I have to say that I enjoyed it too. After being out west and seeing how "green" people are out there, I suppose I think it is rather a good idea even if the world isn't ending due to global warming. Jamie, my friend through Jenny, met me in East and walked over with me for which I am quite grateful. The leaders drove me back. It is rather odd have to make sure that I have someone with me everywhere I go after nightfall. I never had cause to be concerned with it before. Kate, my RA, is always making sure we have someone to come get back to the dorms with and made me leave her a note when I got back so she would know I was okay. There aren't many RAs who would do that for one of their residents. Kate is so much fun and I couldn't be more grateful for ending up on her floor. When I lay my hands on the camera cord I'll post pictures of my room, the hall, and some of the characters that populate it.

Yesterday, I walked downtown after my 2pm class to find the public library. I didn't know that college libraries are only for academic works so the library here was a disappointment. However, the public library more than made up for it. It has a huge and wonderful children's section, a whole collection of Dorothy Sayers, and an enormous dvd collection. Now, I can get pretty much any film I've ever wanted to see for free. I proudly hung my new library card on my lanyard. Kate is going to come with me on Friday when I return the videos so she can get a card as well.

On the walk back to the bus stop, I saw a small store named Websters: Coffee/Tea House and Bookstore. As this is my dream combination I could not resist crossing the street and going in. Not only was it a bookstore but it was a USED bookstore with all kinds of books for very little and a lovely display of teas to choose from. Hannah, you would be proud. I resisted buying any books but that may have had something to do with the stack I already had in my hands from the library. I, however, felt I could not leave without giving it some support so I bought an iced chai latte, made with real chai tea and not powder. Mim would have loved it though I should have asked for vanilla in it.

I am also in love with the boy next door.


(just kidding, but as speculation seems to be running wild, I thought I would just add my two cents in there)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Address

1006 Tener Hall
University Park, PA 16802