Last week I celebrated my 23rd birthday. What a strange age to be - glorious to still be in the prime of youth and potential, scary to be old enough to begin facing so many of life's changes and transitions. To think of what I have done since my last birthday is quite a thrill...and makes me want to take a nap, too! Planning a wedding, graduating from college, getting married, moving (several times!), starting school and beginning teaching...and not least of all being away from Michael. I've learned to take one day at a time except when making to-do lists for the next week - our society is so overambitious as a whole that it is sickening to think of the disappointment and depression that could be avoided if more people would just be reasonable! No human being can accomplish a task that takes 10 hours in 5, no matter how well organized or OCD they may be, and multitasking takes away from EACH task you are trying to multitask on! So: a lesson I'm thankful to have learned and that I am forced to relearn several times a week!
2010 has been a good year so far. I am just about over the mid-semester hump of my second semester here at UIC, and it is crazy to think that I am almost halfway finished with my Master's. Well, let me rephrase that: halfway done with the coursework for my Master's! The work for the M.A. exams hasn't even begun yet and will do so towards the end of this semester when we choose our subjects for the exams we will need to pass to receive our degrees in April of 2011. I am anxious but more excited than anything, because that means I'll get to dig into a subject of my own choosing (or three, haha) and read all kinds of great books (and some not-so-fascinating articles for research...). The end of the schoolyear will hearken in a period packed with reading French literature and making annotations and writing bibliographies - and one that I want to savor, stressful as it will be to balance all of this work with traveling in the summer and Michael once he is back. God is so good and I am so thankful to have this opportunity; I don't want to risk wasting it and so I try to find one thing each day - whether in my teaching or in my classes - that makes me "tick" and get excited about French. It isn't that hard most days, but some, like last Tuesday when I literally cried in front of my students before my class started (mostly from an overloaded and overwhelmed head and spirit!), are not so easy. And that is just the road I - and we, being Michael and I - are on and I try to embrace it, even with its thorns and imperfect moments.
Below, as usual, I will post some pictures from the past few weeks in hopes of providing a somewhat-sufficient visual update from recent events :-)
1 foot of snow the week prior to Valentine's Day!
The flowers that Michael was so sweet to surprise me with the Friday before Valentine's Day :-)
Kyla, Sarah K, me, Sarah B, and Ellen at my birthday dinner at Bucca di Beppo last Saturday - 17 wonderful people gathered around that table and I was blessed by each person's presence and friendship.
My wonderful, darling neighbors - Amelia, Katie, and Michele. They have helped me through so much in moments when I needed a friend to just sit next to on the couch and watch something mindless on TV while enjoying a glass of wine and restoring conversation.
I hope that this post finds you all thankful for blessings, for challenges, and for another day to use the skills God has given you.