Did I Ever Announce This, Why I’m Killing Myself with French This Semester?

I got accepted into a study abroad program for spring term.

To Senegal.

A total of 18 of us are going. It’ll be five pretty intense weeks.

In case you’re concerned, Senegal is not near Egypt.

I’ll probably buy my plane ticket this week or next.

Here’s hoping my financial aid works out. Today, I contacted the financial aid office about a scholarship I applied for, in addition to the loans.

Chance of a lifetime, right?

Any masochist would eat this up.

Seriously, though. Don’t ask me about French, you guys. It makes me sad and frustrated to talk about it.

Good Things That Happened This Week

– met some deadlines

– finished the required reading for a class, almost last-minute

– I got to explain to people who Jimmer is

– saw an interesting French movie

– enjoyed In-N-Out burgers with a friend for her birthday

– did well on a couple of quizzes that weren’t from French class

– wrote a couple fun responses

– no big snafus at work

– treats at work on Friday

– strides in my personal life

– crazy snow on Tuesday

– exercise

– sleep

We’re not focusing on the negative. That’s not this list.

Let’s see what this week brings.

A Short Email Exchanged Related to the Last Post

This morning I sent:

Thanks for the photos. I’m sorry if it’s hard for you to comprehend how cute I am.

The recent reply:

Hey May,

For the record, your full-sized (okay, not saying much) snowshoeing photos are our new wallpaper here at [apartment number].

Thoughts on a comeback?

A Few More Photos from January 3

This is a great memory. I love how bright the snow is in the sun. I love the bluish underglow of the footprints in the snow. I love the sky in the framed shots with the arched trees over the trail. The fellow is my good friend, Ned, whom I love in a good-friend way. He took the photos. He’s really one of my best chums. We met back in 2003, and I’ve had so much fun bantering with him for almost eight years. Snowshoeing and Ned are a good combination. You should give it a try.

About Three Years

Last night, I went to mapmyrun.com – which I haven’t used in three years – and logged in and mapped a two-mile route. Then I ran that route this morning. I still feel pretty incredible, and it’s been almost twelve hours. I went really slow, about a 10-minute pace, as I hadn’t run outside in cold weather in a very long time. I remember training for the Austin half-marathon a while back, and that was during the winter, but I had a rule of not running when it’s below 30 degrees. Well, this morning, it was about 20 degrees, but it wasn’t too bad, given the dryness of Utah. Plus, after five minutes, I was nice and toasty, but I still had a little trouble breathing. Not because of elevation, but because I’m out of shape. I didn’t stop, though; that sort of surprised me.

This is one of my routes in New York City. I’m not going to post today’s route because I don’t feel like giving any weirdos out there my location.

Ever After

Um, I don’t know why I didn’t see this sooner. It’s terrific. I’m glad to be taking a Myth, Legends, and Folktales class. To be fair, we’re watching this in class because our instructor is home with bronchitis. I’m not glad the professor is unwell, for the record. I really hope she gets better soon. I like her a lot.

This is the original cast, and since this is my first viewing, and the performance is stellar to me, this version is my normalform. Love it. I want to watch it over and over again.

I’m Turning This In – It So Does Not Even Matter

This is  a response to the reading for today, which, obviously, I did not do:

It makes sense that if animals talk, we have to listen.

I know this short-haired miniature dachshund named Henry. He has the most soulful, expressive eyes of any animal – or even human – that I’ve ever seen. He looks at me, and my heart melts, and I want to help lessen whatever burdens of the world he’s carrying on his wiener-dog back that isn’t higher than eight inches from the ground. Those dogs seriously need a pair of legs to support the middle of their torsos.

Every time I look at Henry, he seems to want to tell me a story. He knows that I will listen, but he also knows how easily distracted I am. And I can sense the stories he wants to tell are in the form of fables, and they may even have a little bit of biographical intent. Henry knows the ways of the human species, their linear ways of thinking, their superior attitudes, and their utter denseness of judgment in everyday life.

He needs me to hear about the time he talked with the German shepherd neighbor and got his leash caught on her collar. And he’d end his anecdote with, “Now don’t get yourself in trouble with those bigger than you.” Or, there was the time I was dogsitting him, and it was cold outside, but it I had to take him out for a walk. We spent less than two minutes outside; he walked only a tiny stretch of his usual route before turning back toward the apartment. My winter coat kept me comfortable, but when we got back inside, Henry looked at me with doleful eyes, which would have said, if I were worthy to understand his speech, “Don’t ever go out into the cold without your knitted wool sweater.” He’s full of pithy maxims, that one.

I know why he’s so pensive. He and his owner watch a lot of melancholy, British cinema. Furthermore, he’s little. Even though that makes for scrappiness, he has a completely different perspective on the world than the average-sized. I can relate, as I’m not very tall, and my literal and figurative viewpoints of life are not the same as those who are taller.

Animals, so much closer to nature than civilized humans, can get to the heart of problems more quickly; they haven’t lost their instinct. Their solutions are simple, and they make sense. While life does get complicated sometimes, I tend to overlook the most direct approach to resolving conflict or navigating life in general. I’m so fortunate to have a friend like Henry to remind me to broaden my perspective and take deep breaths and learn to let go of what’s less important.

I wonder if Aesop had a short-haired, miniature dachshund.

From A Notebook Almost Two Months Ago

Right now I’m working on a couple projects not related to my current courseload. Of course I am.

I was flipping through a little memo pad and found some thoughts that once weighed on my mind. The scale still tips, but not as much.

I’ll respond to myself. The now-me answering the then-me.

What differences are there between what I say and what I mean? I try to be straightforward with my feelings, and I am working on being more open with what’s going on in my life.

If I say I don’t need anything, does that mean tangible things? What about time? Patience? An ability to listen? Do I assume those things are understood? How do I react when I feel no one has enough time for me? I like for people to listen. I like people to ask about my life, though I don’t always ask about others, yet I expect them to share. Is that too much?

How do I accept that it’s not all about me? It sort of still is. Working on getting over it.

How do I accept that I’m not the only/best friend anyone has? I don’t know why this was a problem for me. I don’t have to be anybody’s best friend. But I think the times people have called me their best friend went to my head, and then it seemed all of a sudden I wasn’t their best friend anymore. I didn’t understand why. No one explained anything to me. I felt completely sidelined, but now it doesn’t matter as much.

How do I stop treating people like they’re the only ones I talk to? That’s the thing: I talk to maybe a handful of people on any given day. I’m working on getting a life already.

How do I help my friends? How can I be there for them? They could probably answer this best.

J’irai La Voir Un Jour

The first time I heard this song was in April 2007. At a Patty Griffin concert. My very first one. It was at the Beacon Theatre, and I had never been to that venue before. It’s one of those moderate-sized halls that happens to feel intimate at the same time.

This song combines Patty Griffin and French, two of my most favorite things in the world (though French is starting to slip in the rankings these days).

Patty introduced this song as one her grandmother sang to her when she was a child. Simple tune, simple lyrics, but beautiful and touching. It was just her and the piano for this number. Her voice, her memories. Her music causing my tears.

It makes me think about love and family and eternity. It makes me think of my own grandmothers, whom I didn’t really know. But I interacted more with my mom’s mother, and I never knew my grandmother on my dad’s side.

My mom’s father was a very gentle man from what I can remember, and my dad’s father was stern.

I wish I knew them all better. But I will.

I will see them one day.

J’irai la voir un jour
Au ciel dans la patrie
Oui j’irai voir Marie
Ma joie et mon amour

Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel
J’irai la voir un jour

J’irai la voir un jour
J’irai mourir aux anges
Pour chanter ses louanges
Et pour former sa cour

J’irai la voir un jour
Cette vierge si belle
Bientôt j’irai près d’elle
Lui dire mon amour

Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel
J’irai la voir un jour

J’irai la voir un jour
J’irai près de sa tombe
Recevoir la colombe
Dans l’éternel séjour

J’irai la voir un jour
J’irai loin de la terre
Sur le coeur de ma mère
Me poser sans retour

Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel
J’irai la voir un jour

J’irai la voir un jour.