It’s February!!

Normally I would have some kind of running summary and all kinds of things to blog about but… no such luck. This last week I was sick, and the week before it was bitterly cold, so I haven’t even worked out in two weeks. Oops. Other than that, my life has pretty much been exclusively school, school, school (and going through whole boxes of Kleenex because… sick). 

Classes and thesis stuff are keeping me pretty busy. And I got a job working at the library archives this week (!!) and I’ve only worked one day, but I can tell I’ll like it. I’m just organizing and making finding aids for boxes of correspondence of William Shirer whose probably one of — if not THE — most notable Coe College alum. He wrote a lot about the rise and fall of the Nazis/Hitler, and is sort of a big deal in the history-writing world. So reading through his 1960 letters about publishing his huge Hitler book was a good time.

But in the meantime I’ve gotten rejected from both CLS and the Fulbright, so now I’m half-heartedly job searching. Blergh. I don’t wanna graduaaaaaate!

Getting back into the swing of things

Though having class every day has been a shock to my system (we only had class twice a week, and only through October, at the Newberry), I’m happy to say that I’m still on top of things, and that’s more than I can say for previous semesters!

I’m caught up on all my homework. I even checked out books for doing more thesis work! And I haven’t let my Arabic studies fall to the wayside like I did early in the term in Chicago.

I’ve also been working out every day this week. It’s so nice to have a gym again! I’ve been cross-training and running on alternate days. I ran 5 miles this morning, and other than being frozen when I got back, it went really well. I can already tell that my Jillian Michaels DVD and bi-weekly biking sessions will help my knees tremendously this semester.

Other things that I’ve been keeping up on: my dishes, my shoes (they aren’t all the way down the hallway yet!), cleaning my room and keeping my things organized/tidy/put away. Though these are things that most people don’t have to be proud of, I’m usually a chaotically organized mess, and I’m trying hard not to let my space be an eyesore for my neat-and-tidy roommates.

Pictures of the new bedroom in the apartment coming up soon! I have a ton of posters and the layout is pretty cool, if I do say so myself. PICTURES SOON I PROMISE.

Cedar Rapids running

In the last 4 years, I have ran in a multitude of places. I’ve ran daily in Cedar Rapids, where I live. I’ve ran in St. Louis in the middle of summer. I’ve ran in places I’ve vacationed, namely Utah (in winter and summer, and trust me, summer is much better) and Florida (Disney Half Marathon ’09, baby!). I’ve ran on farm roads in Illinois and the Lake Front trail in Chicago. But I always love coming home and running on my familiar running trail, and do you want to know why?

Because everyone is always unfailingly and genuinely friendly.

I ran 5 (very chilly) miles this afternoon, and I passed probably half a dozen other runners. Every single one made eye contact with me and offered or reciprocated a smile or wave. Dog walkers wave and smile. Speed walkers even nod or grin a hello, whether they’re alone or in a pack.

That was something I missed when I was running in Chicago. Despite there being dozens of other runners on the trail at any given time, none would make eye contact, let alone share a sympathetic smile or encouraging wave. Everyone was in their own bubble, concentrating on their run and theirs alone. Though I hadn’t left the Midwest, I had gone far from what I linked with Midwestern sensibilities: a friendly attitude that has no off switch.

And for this reason (and this reason alone because it’s winter and thus icy and crazy windy and really cold) I’m glad to be back to my familiar Cedar Rapids trails where all my fellow smiling and waving Iowan runners hang out. It’s those smiles and waves and nods of mutual acknowledgement that keep me going on days like today, when it’s freezing and I’m tired, and I just want to give up and walk home. Someone passes by and gives a little wave, and I get a boost of energy that I didn’t know I had, and I keep on running.

The perks of a frozen Cedar Lake? No geese! (Almost. I spotted a lonely 4.)

2013 Resolutions

I thought about these long and hard (for about 5 minutes) and these are my resolutions for 2013. I let 2012 really just slip through my fingers, and I want to take as full advantage of this year as I can.

-Be less negative, brush things off, don’t dwell in the past
-Travel abroad, go somewhere out of my comfort zone
-Read more books, like the ones I’ve bought and “never gotten around to”
-Be less addicted to internet, it’s not healthy
-Now that I have hardly any money, be money-conscious for real this year
-Continue learning Arabic, become a bamf at it
-Get onto a fitness schedule and stick to it, cross train, cross train, cross train!
(Goal: 1000 miles, between Mar and Dec 2013, I did almost 900, so this should be easy with running and biking.)
-With this fitness schedule, lose those 10-20 pounds and the belly fat, for real this time
-Make the most of my last semester of undergrad
-Be more organized/tidy, cut down on how much stuff I own/lug around when I move
-Don’t sweat about the future, everything will be alright
-But think seriously about what I want from the future and make some real plans

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that in 2013 you can make your goals, hopes, and dreams a reality!

It’s the end of the year!

It’s the end of the year and I have sucked at updating my blog. But I set a deadline for my Chicago wrap-up post and that day is today. So let’s look at a lot of pictures… and go!

(I’ll be posting another post later today or tomorrow reflecting on the year and posting goals, hopes, and dreams for 2013.)

I learned to tie scarves into my hair. Valuable life skill!

I learned to tie scarves into my hair. Valuable life skill!

I drank Arabic coffee. A lot. (Not pictured: also outrageous amounts of falafel and hummus.)

I drank Arabic coffee. A lot. (Not pictured: also outrageous amounts of falafel and hummus.)

Saw this gorgeous New Testament in the stacks.

Saw this gorgeous New Testament in the stacks.

Visited a little Native American village. Just kidding. This is at the Field Museum. It's a diorama.

Visited a little Native American village. Just kidding. This is at the Field Museum. It’s a diorama.

Saw a room full of the biggest totem poles I've ever laid my eyes on. Was flabbergasted.

Saw a room full of the biggest totem poles I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Was flabbergasted.

Made friends with this super cool Indian dude...

Made friends with this super cool Indian dude…

... and two super hot mummies.

… and two super hot mummies.

Snuck a picture in the Field Museum's Maharaja exhibit. I couldn't resist this dress!

Snuck a picture in the Field Museum’s Maharaja exhibit. I couldn’t resist this dress!

Also befriended this dinosaur. But it looks like she's trying to run away from me...

Also befriended this dinosaur. But it looks like she’s trying to run away from me…

Two cool Roman dudes at the Art Institute.

Two cool Roman dudes at the Art Institute.

Tile mosaic camel. Need I say more?

Tile mosaic camel. Need I say more?

Beautiful Christian art from Africa. Such vibrant colors!

Beautiful Christian art from Africa. Such vibrant colors!

Another cool dude from the Africa wing of the Art Institute.

Another cool dude from the Africa wing of the Art Institute.

Chinese vase. Just one of probably 20 I took pictures of.

Chinese vase. Just one of probably 20 I took pictures of.

Duck! It's pretty.

Duck! It’s pretty.

Buddhas are sort of the best statues. This was one of four huge ones in one room all chilling together.

Buddhas are sort of the best statues. This was one of four huge ones in one room all chilling together.

Museum of Science and Industry Christmas tree. So big, so beautiful.

Museum of Science and Industry Christmas tree. So big, so beautiful.

Density stuff. It's cool AND pretty.

Density stuff. It’s cool AND pretty.

Charlie Brown exhibit at MoSaI. Not gonna lie, this one made me tear up a bit.

Charlie Brown exhibit at MoSaI. Not gonna lie, this one made me tear up a bit.

New friend the Fish at Shedd's Aquarium.

New friend the Fish at Shedd’s Aquarium.

More fish! So many colors!

More fish! So many colors!

Newberry Library's beautiful Christmas tree.

Newberry Library’s beautiful Christmas tree.

Emily's birthday surprise at Blue Agave!

Emily’s birthday surprise at Blue Agave!

Lights at the North/Clybourn station at night.

Lights at the North/Clybourn station at night.

Finally got the necessary Chinatown shot!

Finally got the necessary Chinatown shot!

Lovely farewell card from the General Reading Room staff at the Newberry.

Lovely farewell card from the General Reading Room staff at the Newberry.

Chicago from 96 floors up in the Hancock Building.

Chicago from 96 floors up in the Hancock Building.

Last day, last run.

Last day, last run.

Can't pass up a picture like this, even if it's mid-run.

Can’t pass up a picture like this, even if it’s mid-run.

And then I came home... and BLIZZARD! Resulting in snow and many fallen tree branches.

And then I came home… and BLIZZARD! Resulting in snow and many fallen tree branches.

Christmas presents!

Christmas presents!

And unwrapped!

And unwrapped!

New running shoes :)

New running shoes :)

…. hi?

It’s been a while. Like… a really long while. Sorry! This paper has taken over my brain, my sleep cycle, and my ability to log back in to my WordPress account and make a blog post!

Since the last time I update, we’ve had a Thanksgiving break during which I went to a bunch of museums with my aunt and uncle and my parents and brothers, and I took tons of pictures. I promise I’ll post them next week when I turn in my paper and life stops being quite so crazy.

But we’re really going all out this last less-than-a-week before our papers are due. I’m in the midst of a crazy about of writing and editing and revising and rewriting and re-editing. My first draft of my paper was 48 pages, and I’ve just written a 53 page draft and I still need to add in some things and write a conclusion. I have until Wednesday, and I’m anticipating a whopping 60 pages for the completed paper. The biggest paper I’ve ever written by about 30 pages, which is crazy!

But I’m still totally in love with my topic, which has slowly morphed into something that I’m actually able to wrap my head around which is great. I feel like I’m at least halfway to expert status on Iraq between October 1918 and August 1921. So, that’s something.

Five more days and then this semester, for all intents and purposes, is over. We move out next Saturday and I’ll return home for some R&R before my last term at Coe begins. I’m totally read to go back to Coe and take all the best classes (African politics, Eastern religions, anthrology of memory, World at war) with all the best people :)

Concerts, field trips, half-marathons, and rain storms…

So many things keep happening! I was going to update this blog on Monday, and now… it’s Friday. So… brief summary before pictures!

Things that have happened in the last 2 weeks/since my last blog post:

  • Saw Kimbra last Wednesday. She was amazing live. I was pretty much just blown away the whole time by her energy and her voice. Though some of the crowd was pretty rude, most of the audience was cool (though extremely close to me!), and it was overall a really good time.
  • We went on a field trip last week (Monday?) to the historic town of Pullman. We walked around outside a lot and looked at buildings and I got some pictures of the greenstone church, which was sort of the highlight of the tour.
  • SEMINAR IS FINISHED! We had our last class meeting on Tuesday and turned in our last assignment (besides our research paper of course) yesterday, so now we’re done! Now I can focus solely on my research, so I’m pumped.
  • Last night the Newberry hosted Q and Ale, which catered Q bbq and had free beer for those of us who were 21+. My team won free Newberry umbrellas during one of the rounds which was awesome since it was raining when we left to go home. Best/most useful prize of the night!
  • Last night also I went to Schubas’ Tavern to see the band Daughter. They were amazing. The opener was good too: Choir of Young Believers. They played about half an hour and then Daughter came on… after half an hour of soundcheck because they’d had a car accident earlier and had to retune ALL their instruments. They were totally worth the wait (and the drenching I got walking from the train to the venue… yay rainstorms!).
  • Weather things: It was hot. It’s been raining a lot. It’s been weird weather. Today’s a very October-like day though, so I’m pleased.
  • I ran the Monster Dash half-marathon on Sunday. It went pretty well. It was a really fun race — lots of costumes! Only thing I didn’t like was that it was on the lake front trail, so other Sunday morning exercise enthusiasts were quite annoyed with us. I finished in 2:09:15, which was quite a bit slower than I wanted (wanted more like 2 hours), but both my knees acted up and I got blisters on both my feet. Ouch! So I’m not unhappy with my time… but my next race, I am beating my 2:06:25 time from September!
  • Last but not least, today I was looking up tickets on House of Blues Chicago’s website and saw that TONIGHT the band The Hush Sound was playing! Tickets were $34 with processing, so I immediately scooped them up! I have wanted to see that band since I missed out in high school, so that was a happy, fateful surprise this morning. I didn’t even know they were touring together again! So that’s after I get off work today, which I’m ridiculously excited about.
  • And PS: I am almost caught up Doctor Who. I’ve been a DW junkie this week. It’s the best of shows.

Now pictures!

Greenstone Church in Pullman. It was so pretty!

Also we went to Chinatown and I made this friend!

Kimbra!

Kimbra and Stepkids singing “Call Me” as an encore.

Not the best time, but a pretty darn awesome medal!

It’s FALL in Chicago and everything is so pretty!I love it!

Daughter! (there’s a drummer there in the back) They were so, so good. I hardly even took any pictures. I was enthralled (and also standing behind people a foot taller than me).

On Thursday I got a green wristband from Q and Ale, a hand stamp from my concert, and a wristband for McFadden’s Happy “Hour”. I was 21+ all over Chicago!