Monthly Archives: January 2014

No time to sleep…

… as Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson frequently says. Of course, it’s break, so there’s plenty of time to sleep, but not for the Seahawks, who are playing in the SUPER BOWL on Sunday! :DDDDD I haven’t written on here since the NFL playoffs began… clearly, it went well for them. They beat their biggest rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, in the NFC Championship game almost 2 weeks ago and will play for the title. It’s so exciting for all of us Washingtonians – everywhere you look, there’s a number 12 hung up or painted somewhere. In Washington, that is. Not here in Decorah. :/ Hopefully within the next couple days, I can change that…

But enough about sports. J-term ended yesterday, if you can believe it. The month was solid all the way around. I got a lot of work done on my senior paper, which has taken longer than I’d hoped it would, but I had good reasons for that. I intend to wrap it up in the first couple weeks of spring semester and pour all my focus into the play I’m going to write about Sir Winston Churchill. I’m doing some research on him over break as well because I can’t wait any longer to get started! I’m so excited! I chose Churchill because I believe he resembles Henry V more closely than any other British figure in the 20th century in terms of personality and reputation among the people. They still love Hal over there, and of course Sir Winston too. He was Queen Elizabeth II’s first prime minister – not a bad situation, to learn from someone who carried your nation through the Second World War! I watched the movie The Queen today (Helen Mirren plays Her Majesty) as inspiration for how I might go about writing this. The movie depicts the royal family’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death in 1997 and provides some insight into their relationship with her and how that forced them to “modernize” and relate to their people better. From the popularity of Will and Kate and Harry today, I would say they did well at that. So, we’ll see what Sir Winston teaches me beyond what Henry V already has.

You may have heard about this “polar vortex” that has been gripping most of the country for the last month or so. It has incited temperatures in the -20s (Farenheit), with windchills around -50, fresh snowfalls a couple times per week, and winds that blow the snow around so you can’t walk outside without getting blinded. I am NOT acclimatized to this. My friends in Seattle have escaped this nonsense, fortunately. I get mad when I check the weather and see that it’s 50 degrees there, but then I remember how bad people there are at dealing with those sorts of things. So I’m grateful they don’t have to. Plus, now I’m acclimatized enough that 20 degrees feels warm to me, which is the coldest it ever gets in the Northwest.

While trying to avoid this cold over J-term, I spent my time taking a class in Africana Women Writers, in which I read books and short stories by African-American, Caribbean, and African women. It was quite the experience in the best way. I chose to take it because I knew it would help me become a more well-rounded feminist, something I have to work on every day. This class introduced me to some voices that I think everyone needs to hear to become a better human being. We don’t realize the privileges that we each have and how those privileges often hurt others. I’m very glad I took it, and I encourage all of you to seek out opportunities to learn about people you don’t think you can relate to. You’d probably be proven wrong.

I also spent an hour and a half a day rehearsing with Symphony Orchestra, learning Brahms’ 1st Symphony in C minor, Mussorgsky’s “The Fair at Sorochinski,” Khatchaturian’s “Masquerade Suite,” and Stravinsky’s “Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra.” It was great fun – we’re headed in the right direction for tour. I’m way excited for tour over spring break – we are going to Chicago, which I’ve never been to minus the airport! I am hoping to meet up with some friends there on our free day, as well as seeing a concert from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We have a whole month and a half before we go, but it’s what keeps us working hard.

Another significant thing I did this month was work on the Chipspecial J-term magazine. I edited the Current Events section and wrote a story about a speaker coming to campus in a week! The speaker is Nicholas Carr, who analyzes the effect of heavy Internet usage on the human brain. It’s a little terrifying… learning about him made me look at myself differently. We’ll see what others think of him on campus when he comes.

Lastly, I worked on the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia for Violin and Cello with my old roommate Melissa, led Write On! meetings, hung out with my friends, and learned the 1st movement of the Dvorak Cello Concerto. It was a full month for sure, but it was my last J-term, and I wasn’t about to let it fall flat. It was no London or Vienna trip, but it was the best kind of month I could have asked for. Life is treating me way too well, so I cannot let this trend end. I live life to the fullest, man.

Wish I could be at home (or in New York) to support my Hawks, but they need fans in the Midwest too. Let’s get LOUD!!!!

Cheers,

Brita

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What does the potato say?

I knew it. I knew my last blog entry would be the last of 2013. I mean, it’s not that I didn’t have time over break, but I didn’t have the motivation either. Looking back on it, I was burned out at the end of the semester, and so was the rest of my family. My grandparents stayed at my house for five nights, and it seems that all I did during that time was watch football, open presents, tweet, and try to eat. But I guess that’s what break is for, even though I always go into them with plans to accomplish things I can’t when I have class and rehearsals.

To begin, I did not get home until December 20, a week later than I did junior year, and I had done no Christmas shopping, so I did it immediately. Apparently a 2-hour time change is enough to cause jet lag, because I hardly ever slept later than 7:30 am. You’d think that would mean I’d be productive, but of course it did not. I also felt sick to my stomach for the majority of break, for some reason, so I didn’t enjoy the food we had as much as normally. I certainly didn’t eat enough pickled herring. I was hardly ever hungry and had trouble sleeping, and it affected my moods too. So weird. I am better now, though, and no longer jet lagged. (Right before I’m about to go back, of course.)

I did have plenty of good moments over Christmas. I went on walks with my mom and grandma, hung out with my old friends and gave them Christmas presents (and received them), met a Seattle-area Luther alum (see my Facebook status from Dec. 21), watched the UW Huskies win a bowl game with my cousin and his wife, read the Seattle Times, went to church twice, and watched the 2012 Christmas at Luther DVD probably too many times. I caused the Seahawks to lose in Week 16 (see my tweets from 12/22), but I watched Week 17 too and they won so maybe there’s no need for superstition. I basked in the mid-30 degree temperatures, which I am about to ditch for -20… Yuck. My family and I visited my other grandma at her room in the Norse Home and my great-aunt and uncle in the Hearthstone, and my dad’s family came to our house on Christmas Day for crab dip and deviled eggs. So it’s not like I didn’t do anything with the first week of break. Maybe it’s ok that I didn’t. I won’t waste time hating on myself for it – I’ve gotten a lot of the little things taken care of by now, which suggests to me that the burnout is over!

But enough about the sad stuff. I haven’t covered the second part of break. This week, I traveled to Boise to stay with my cousin and her best friend/roommate, who are from the Portland and Seattle areas, respectively. They just moved there in October and are starting up new lives there. My grandparents who visited us live there, too, so they have a lot of support. I’m very happy for them. 🙂 I wasn’t the only one who came to visit – our friend from Portland and one of my cousin’s friends from her old church came too. I think this is what cured my burnout. For one, I stopped feeling sick, didn’t have to stay in my house all the time, and got to watch a potato drop to ring in 2014, as my feet froze. The downside was, I got “What Does the Fox Say?” stuck in my head. But the upside outweighed that by a long shot. We watched Disney movies, went shopping, talked about life, laughed almost constantly, and drank cider. My cousin and I went to see the Botanical Garden lights just outside downtown Boise with our grandma, which filled up my Instagram. Boise is a really cute place, even though it’s not the biggest city in the world. You can check out my Instagram photos if you want to see more. I still don’t entirely understand the place geographically, but it was very cool to see how my cousin is doing and what her life is like. She and I have always been close. And, since we stayed up so late every night and did so many things, my jet lag is fixed. (Plus Boise is an hour ahead of Seattle, so that mediated the 2-hour lag.) At some point, though, I stopped feeling burnt out and unmotivated. When I returned last night, I knew I was ready to go back to school. And I am. 

J-term won’t be easy, of course. My class, Africana Women’s Writing, is of course filled with reading and writing. I have to finish up my senior paper and get ready to write the play, learn the first movement of the Dvorak Cello Concerto, have Symphony rehearsal every night, edit the Chips magazine, and learn a violin-cello duet with my old roommate, to name a few things. But I wouldn’t have it any other way – I live life to the fullest, and this is what that means for me. One day at a time is the way to do it. I have the right people around me at Luther to hang out with. I know I’ll be stressed, but seeing how I got through last semester relatively unharmed in the end, I’m confident in the final J-term and spring semester. Just got to keep writing and Instagramming.

I’m fading here. Gotta get mentally prepared to freeze on Sunday night… 

Cheers,

Brita