Monthly Archives: March 2013

Waiting

Wow. Just like that, it’s been nearly 3 weeks since I wrote. That’s fine. You’ll get sick of this once I’m back in Chile in seven weeks (um WHAT?!) and I’ll have enough time on my hands to write once a week again.

So what’s been going on? I went on spring break. I made the good decision to stay an extra day, didn’t get on my scheduled flight, and bought a one-way ticket back home. The weather didn’t cooperate entirely, given that it was rainy one day and quite breezy and cool another, but it was still better than at home.

Just a little dish on the nightstand in Florida.

Just a little dish on the nightstand in Florida.

Glorious.

Glorious.

What lies ahead?

What lies ahead?

IMG_0753

IMG_0773

I have never seen a sunset so perfectly reflected on the water. It was breathtaking.

I had never seen a sunset so perfectly reflected on the water. It was breathtaking.

And then break was over. And it snowed again.

After the middle of March. If only it weren't so pretty...

After the middle of March. If only it weren’t so pretty…

Striking moment.

A striking moment.

And then it was Holy Week. I am Catholic, and I do take this week pretty seriously. I’ve felt pretty good about what I was working on this Lent, but it all kind of comes to a head during this last week before Easter. I am lucky enough to get a long weekend out of it (yay Catholic school!), during which I hope to get lots of work done, lots of church time, and maybe even another blog post after this one. You know, to hold you off until the end of April, which is the next time I’m likely to write anything the way this is going.

So. Holy Week. There’s Palm Sunday, during which we celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and listen to the Passion of the Christ. Not much happens Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. On Tuesday we held a campus-wide Stations of the Cross, which was freezing but beautiful. Then we turn it up all the way for the Triduum- three days of special observance and services. None of these days are actually holy days of obligation (days in the Catholic Church where Catholics have basically no excuse to miss Mass), but all are strongly recommended, and highly attended here at my university. I got to Holy Thursday Mass 40 minutes early, and just barely managed to get a solo seat way in the back. I got to Good Friday Mass today an hour early, and the same thing happened. My friends and I have decided to go to the Easter Vigil Mass tomorrow night. The doors open at 7:30. Mass begins at 9 PM. People begin lining up outside for seats at 5. This is not a joke! But it’s amazing! I’m well aware that our community is an exception. This is not an accurate picture of American Catholic youth. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging. It’s encouraging that we have tons of twenty-somethings here who are willing to wait in line for two and a half hours, and then sit for another hour and a half, for a three hour Mass in which we welcome new members to the Church. It’s invigorating! It reminds me why, in spite of all of the things that I might not like about the Church, I am still a Catholic.

In these three days, we wait. We remember how Jesus’ followers waited, and doubted, and hid, and despaired. On Thursday we celebrate the Last Supper and remember Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples, showing how the master became the servant and how we are to serve others. On Friday we hear the Passion once again, and approach the Cross, the symbol of our salvation, that great sign of our faith. And now we’re waiting. Jesus is in the tomb. We wait until tomorrow night, or Sunday morning for most. We sit and we think.

I’ve been thinking a lot about impatience lately. I’m not the most patient person. It depends. But I can tell you that I haven’t been the most patient with my life in general lately. I want the big things to happen. I want things that are happening to my friends to happen to me. Why am I sitting here waiting when they’ve already gotten there? What am I not doing? What have I done wrong? Those are questions I’ve asked myself- and God- a lot in the past year. And I don’t know the answer, or I feel like I’m not getting an answer. Or I’m being told to wait longer still. Eventually, you learn to pray it out. You take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you and see how things end up. But you still have to wait. Waiting is not fun. It’s not fun when it seems like everyone else has their perfect job figured out or is in a great relationship or goes out all the time or manages to eat whatever the heck they want and not gain an ounce, and can see their future five years from now, while you can’t really explain what you want to do in “international development” or you’re still single or stay in most weekends or are stuck in a one-piece yet again, and you’ll be lucky to know what’s up in six months. Okay, so some of these things do have answers: you can reprioritize and make going out more important than schoolwork (HA. Like that’s gonna happen.), or just stop eating sweets and work out an hour a day. But others don’t. Others just require you to be you, do your own thing just the way you want to do it, and it works out. You’ll find someone who likes who you are, just as you are. You’ll find a job that has pretty much everything you want. It all falls together somehow, if you learn to be YOU and do YOU, not anyone else.

At least, that’s what I’ve been told. And that’s what a priest told me in confession the other night. I talked a lot about being impatient, and he basically said to keep praying and trust. So much of this, the becoming an adult and choosing a career and finding people you love (be they dear friends or the person you spend the rest of your life with), involves small steps and decisions that you can’t always see out far into the future. You have to trust that someone is taking care of you, someone’s got a plan, and it turns out exactly the way it should. And the way it should turn out is always the best way. I just don’t see it yet. I see bits and pieces maybe falling into place. This internship in Santiago, for instance. Getting my thesis approved. All of the new people I’ve gotten to know over the course of the past year. Hay que ver como resultan las cosas- I just have to see how things turn out.

I was originally going to whine about the weather. But I think this is a better conversation. Not to mention we have had SUNSHINE, beautiful, brilliant sunshine, and above 40 temperatures for three days!

Here is what the world looks like this week:

Puffy clouds and sunshine!

Puffy clouds and sunshine!

No filter going on here.

No filter going on here.

Okay, this was Instagram's doing. But look at how blue and warm it is!

Okay, this was Instagram’s doing. But look at how blue and warm it is!

Duckies! Which of course means sweet young families coming by to feed them.

Duckies! Which of course means sweet young families coming by to feed them.

Winter sunsets are lovely, but so are the warm colors of spring.

Winter sunsets are lovely, but so are the warm colors of spring.

And one last thought in picture form. May you have a joyful Easter, however you choose to celebrate it- if you’re hanging out in church and pigging out on brunch like me, or if you’re just eating a bunch of egg shaped chocolate candy and spending time with dear ones.

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Besos y abrazos,

Gaby

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Things I Write When I’m Stuck on a Plane

Hello, world!

I am writing this on a plane. In Microsoft Word because I am not paying $14.95 for all-day WiFi access when I am only on the plane for two and a half hours, nor am I paying $3 for half an hour of access. (Yet. We’ll see how bored I get.) (Parents, this is how I spend my money.) (Just checked on the price. It was $3 on my phone but $4.50 on my computer. But it’s $9 for an hour and a half. Hmm…)

(I’m also writing this in a ridiculous font called Chalkboard because I never get the opportunity to write in a fun font. And you won’t see it anyway.)

Enough with the parentheses already.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have any pretty pictures of baked goods since I last posted. I’ve been busy. Also, the oven in my dorm is broken and we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new oven we were promised for winning two rounds of the campus energy competition. You know you need a new oven when suddenly the oven disappears from the prize list and everyone demands that as our prize. We could have had a frozen yogurt party. Or gotten a signed football from the 2012 BCS team. But nope. My dorm thinks long-term. Thank goodness. I also think we are all hoping that if we get a new oven the kitchen will magically transform itself, becoming like a real kitchen with new, clean countertops and maybe like two mixing bowls and measuring cups. And people will start washing their own dishes. Clearly I have a few ideas for how to improve the dorm when I’m an RA next year. A new kitchen is obviously high on my list.

That was the really long way of telling you that I don’t have new baked goods. Which was actually the first sentence of that entire paragraph. I’m hoping I can get one or two things baked when I come back from vacation at the end of the week (hint hint, Mom! Please buy butter and sugar!). This means that I am going to ramble about the notes I’ve scribbled down in my blog notebook since my last post.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I check out the Daily Post prompts on WordPress. One of them recently asked writers to talk about something they would un-invent. What would I un-invent?

The first things that popped into my head were text messaging and Facebook. I think they’re both doing horrible things to our communication and relationship skills. I go to a pretty good school, so most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are fairly excellent talkers. Text messaging is so convenient when you just need to figure out when you’re going to dinner, or to tell someone that you’re running late, or to send a quick “Good morning! Have a good day!” But I can come up with a number of situations which would have probably ended more positively/less dramatically/certainly less awkwardly if the person and I had been forced to have the conversation face to face, or at least voice to voice, in real time. And there’s a whole bunch of problems I have with Facebook. You can learn so much about a person without ever having a conversation with them. And then, if you ever do get around to having a real life encounter with him, you worry that you’re going to let slip that you know so much about this guy that he hasn’t told you. Unless you’re ballsy enough to say, “So, I was looking at your profile, and I saw that you like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” (Actually, I would do that. I freaking love that book.)

Facebook, and everyone’s new love-hate relationship app Instagram, also make it so, so tempting to look for attention. I’m guilty of taking pictures of stuff and posting them just in the hope that someone will like it or leave a comment. Really, you don’t need to see a picture of how crazy my hair was on Saturday night. You don’t need to see a picture of my Clif bar and coffee. What are we doing?! Just because I love seeing into other people’s lives (I adore Instagram and blogging in general for this) doesn’t mean that you want to see into mine too! (Although if you’re on Instagram, you probably do.)

Now, the problem is that these programs are so good for keeping in touch with people. One of my best friends and I text each other multiple times per day. Thanks to Facebook, we messaged every single day while I was abroad. And it was awesome. I get to post pictures and anyone who wants to can see what I’ve been up to and say hi. I love that! Facebook might be inhibiting or changing our ability to establish real relationships. But I’ve found that it also helps me maintain the relationships I’ve already got.

Also: I would never, ever in a million years un-invent Skype. Whoever it was that made video chatting free to the entire world deserves an award. That’s the program we need to utilize more. My lack of use of Skype shows how lazy I can be. Skype is exactly the tool to use if you want to have real, face-to-face conversations with people who can’t be with you. Goal for the rest of 2013: Skype more!

(I have a whole hour and fifteen minutes left on this flight. Argh. I don’t like flying. And I have to fly by myself, overnight, eight hours to Santiago again very soon. Oh man.)

I’ve been having Christmas time nostalgia lately. That usually happens around this time of year when it’s still snowy and wet and gray and cold and there is nothing to brighten up the season. I will occasionally indulge in a Christmas song here and there to lighten the mood, make the snow seem a little prettier and get the super late post-holiday blues out of my system.

(Drinking liquids on the plane while your laptop is open is incredibly hazardous. Especially if you’re a spiller like me.)

I’ve been having major Chile throwbacks too. Like, I smelled burning wood the other day, and it definitely took me all the way back to Linares and our wood-burning stove. (OH MY GOSH WHO IS EATING RAW ONIONS ON THE PLANE?! REALLY?!) We don’t have a lot of smokers at my school, but when I do pass by someone smoking…I take a fairly decent inhale, just to smell it. That backfires about half the time because it will be a nasty cigarette that I don’t like, but once in a while it’s not horrible and it’s really comforting and calming. I know, I know. Don’t judge. You’d be surprised how quickly you get used to it, okay? Then a couple weeks ago I ordered an egg white bagel sandwich with cheese and palta (avocado), and PAID for the palta, and I took a bite and guess what? No palta. It was actually upsetting. But then my lovely friend/”sister” K. (she lived with my host family the fall before I did) came over and brought pan y palta with her, and then we ate it after we Skyped our host family. And all was right with the world. I’ve also been watching an absurd amount of Friends and the Big Bang Theory lately. Which happened to be basically all we watched in Chile.

(Why is it so easy and quick for me to bang out over 1000 words about social media and my life, and yet when I need to write 750 words on Latin American political economy, it can be like pulling teeth?) (It probably helps that I am trapped in a flying steel bullet with nothing better to do.) (I need to stretch my legs out. How did I ever do this for eight hours?)

Here are a couple of growing up thoughts:

Part of growing up- and it’s a really difficult thing for helper types like myself- is learning your limits. You cannot help every single person with every single one of their needs. You are not always the best person to help them. You cannot be everybody to everybody. If you try, you will wear yourself out. And if you wear yourself out, you’re no good to anybody. It’s so much easier said than done, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anybody.

Another part of growing up is not being able to be there for everything. This is happening to me at least twice this year due to my return to Chile. My dad told me today that this happens all the time at my age. You just miss stuff. A lot of times, it’s for money and for longer-term opportunities (which, let’s be honest, are for the eventual prospect of money) that will have a greater impact on your life than a wedding or a birthday party. Is it a bummer? Yes. But again, some things are more important than others. Making those choices and learning to deal with it is a grown-up thing.

(Turbulence stinks. Less than an hour left on this flight. Oof.)

So, in lighter topics, Chile is now just about two months away! Aaaaand I need to buy a plane ticket. Here’s hoping my funding comes through really fast before flight prices jump again. This also means that the weather needs to clear up and become sunny and warm like right this instant before I go back to wet, gray, and cold for two and a half more months. I’m not sure what will happen if I have to live in that kind of late-winter climate for five months solid.

But that means that blogging will pick up again! Yay! Also, I’ll have quite the commute between my house and work, so any and all reading suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

Here’s what life looks like lately:

The end of the day, #1.

The end of the day, #1.

I needed this quote that week.

I needed this quote that week.

The end of the day, #2.

The end of the day, #2.

This was a glorious moment.

This was a glorious moment.

One of my cast mates made these before a show. I won't tell you how many I ate.

One of my cast mates made these before a show. I won’t tell you how many I ate.

Winter's last gasps. We hope.

Winter’s last gasps. We hope.

And then I came home to this.

And then I came home to this.

And this.

And this.

Getting away.

Getting away.

Off to the beach!

Much love,

Gaby

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