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24 May 2007 @ 05:38 am
My current music is the most random of coincidences.

Coming home. Now.
state of mind: excitedexcited
music: "Transatlanticism" by Death Cab For Cutie
10 May 2007 @ 03:06 pm
I've only got two weeks left in Scotland. 2 Exams to take. A lot of clothes and stuff to pack up.

Hopefully I'll start studying in the next couple of days. I basically just have to avoid failing the exams in order to get the credit I need back at JMU. Shouldn't be terrible.

I've been having a lot of fun lately with some of the kids in the dorm. I went golfing yesterday with Dave and Dom and it was fantastic. I hope I can get back out there again sometime soon.

Maybe I'll get back to updating on a more regular basis when I get back to the states.
state of mind: fine
music: "PTI: 5/9" by ESPN
24 April 2007 @ 12:41 am
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
state of mind: amusedamused
music: "Shallow" by Ryan Adams
18 April 2007 @ 07:58 pm
state of mind: amusedamused
music: "Shallow" by Ryan Adams
16 March 2007 @ 07:38 pm
This entry may or may not be heavily influenced by the fact that I just spent 3+ hours in the library and only managed to get through one chapter of one book.

I've never been so heartsick or homesick in my life as I am now. Though it's amazing to be surrounded by a different culture and live in a completely new environment, see a really cool old town and meet some interesting people, I miss everything that I am used to so much. I miss Meredith more than I miss anything and in retrospect, have decided that spending an entire semester away from her was a foolish and hasty decision on my part. Thankfully, she's going to be here in about 9 days. Unfortunately, I already miss her for AFTER she leaves. I'm unbelievably happy about her coming here. It's LONG overdue. I need my Meredith. But I also recognize that she's going to be here for 11 days and then I go another 6 weeks until I see her again. It's pretty awful when put into perspective.

I also find myself missing my family. Missing JMU. My friends. I've been pretty good about keeping up with my closest pals but it's certainly not the same as getting lunch at D-Hall or going to Ambassador meetings. The downside of going somewhere and experiencing something completely new to you is that the sense of normalcy doesn't come. And maybe it never will. I used to think that I was adventurous and a socially active personality, but I've come to realize that I'm most comfortable with people who know me the best. It feels like freshman year all over again, except worse, because I'm not rooming with some guy who knows me already. I don't mean to overdramatize the situation, because I have met some good people here, it's just that I know that my life-long friends are back in the states.

Finally, and perhaps more important than missing friends (but certainly not more than missing Mere) is that I've decided that professional history is not really something I think I want to go into. I've loved history for the longest time - it makes me think and use my imagination but it also instills a sense of pride and accomplishment. That's why I'm tied so close to American history - it makes a difference to me, to us, to our lives, to our country. I believe in the importance of studying it. However, I don't really think I want to be involved in the compilation and resuscitation of history. To be consumed in primary sources and read all the different historians' theories and be familiar with the most detailed minutiae -- it overwhelms me, and not in a good way. I have had some serious issues fitting into the academic environment here - one of extreme independence and very little instruction - and I feel as though this is what would be expected of me in the upper levels of studying history. It's just not for me.

And the more I think about it, the more I remember why I fell in love with the career of teaching high school. It's more than the history. While I do believe that teaching history is important and I want to do that, I believe even more in the importance of teachers in general. It doesn't necessarily matter what I teach or what they learn on a curricular level. What's important is the presence of a strong personality that says and does great things for students, providing an example and an ally. The best teachers I've had, I go back to them and tell them about me, not just the things they taught me. Teachers in the secondary level have such a unique impact on the development of personality and confidence and intelligence. That's where I want to be - not stuffed away in some archives or in an office full of books.

And that having been said, the life of a schoolteacher is certainly more accessable for me. I know for a fact that with the pace I'm at now in the program I'm in, I can be teaching in the next 2 years. It would take me much longer to get a PhD in history. I don't want to move all over the country for the "right program" in a PhD. I want to stay in Virginia. I'd like to live somewhere in the southeast after that. I want to have a family with Meredith and come home every day, grade some papers, maybe coach a sports team.

The reason I know that I want to be a schoolteacher and not a college professor is because I love teaching history more than I love history. It's that simple.

Now - back to Scotland. All the things about being heartsick and homesick having been said, I'm making the very best of it. I'm not going to sit around and pout about how I miss the love of my life and the familiar things to me. Part of this for me is learning to be mature enough to get through a tough situation like this. I can't let myself be down - I need to seek out things that can make me happy here (currently, history papers do not make me happy, but I can't let those things go just because I don't like them). Also I need to be able to look my parents in the eyes and tell them the thousands of dollars it costs to be here are worth it. So though I wish several times a day to be in Meredith's apartment with her and Molly, I need to make the best of the situation.

This place is gorgeous. I will say that I've never been anywhere like here before. Part of me also feels like though things seem tough now, once I leave I'll have a better perspective on what this whole abroad term means to me -- a better appreciation for why this was a good thing.

I've been here for about 7 weeks. Meredith gets here in 9 days. When she leaves there will be about 6 weeks left. Essentially, things are about halfway over. If the second half goes as quickly as the first half did, there will be no need for heartsick livejournal entries.
state of mind: melancholymelancholy
23 February 2007 @ 06:01 pm
I despise cheesy journal chain mail stuff/survey postings. But I did this a while back and thought it was awesome.

I've put my entire iTunes libary (modified laptop library of music I decided I needed) on shuffle. I'll post the first line of as many songs with which I can entertain myself. You comment and guess. If you're right, I'll line out the song. Word up.

  1. Let me sing a song for you that's never been sung before
  2. The thunder and lightening gave voice to the night
  3. Losering
  4. I wanna be your kingpin
  5. The bar lights and the liquor and the way all the bottles they shine
  6. Southern trees bear strange fruit
  7. I want to live life and never be cruel
  8. Everybody wants you to be special and everybody wants you to be high
  9. I was wasted in the afternoon waiting on a train
  10. I fell in love again, all things go, all things go
  11. The cash machine is blue and green
  12. Don't expect so much at all if the test does beckon me
  13. Oh baby don't you do it, don't do it babe
  14. Well I thought about the army
  15. I took the cannonball down to the ocean
  16. Mary Anne you're better than the world
  17. Take the way home leads back by Sullivan Street
  18. We can not work out what has to be said
  19. Been thinking about you, your record's a hit
  20. I ain't lookin' to compete with you
  21. How kind of you to think of me when I was out of sorts
  22. Go and get the gun, 'cause it's only getting worse
  23. I'm out here a thousand miles from my home
  24. Theres a big red sky over you and I and its coming and were pumping over the ground
  25. They say everything can be replaced, yet every distance is not near
  26. Who will love a little Sparrow?
  27. Three hours from sundown Jeremy flies hoping to keep up
  28. Laura lays on the foot of the bed, mimics a noose with a telephone cord
  29. When I look in the mirror, can't believe what I see
  30. Hey, don't take your life away, I think you'd rather stay
  31. I remember it well - the first time that I saw your head round the door
  32. With both eyes closed I blew out his window
  33. She says wake up, it's no use pretending
  34. Took a walk with you in the shadow of my shoes
  35. I know that you're in there, I can see you.
  36. Dirty old river, must you keep rolling, Flowing into the night
  37. Well I can't regret, can't you just forget it?
  38. His goal in life was to be an echo
  39. When you were young you were the king of carrot flowers
  40. I've been waiting for so long for someone to mend all the blame
  41. The seasons they are turning and my sad heart is yearnin'

Sadly, not a lot of variety in my laptop library right now since I'm abroad and have about half the full collection. Also a lot of songs with the titles in the first line. Lame.

Whatev. Go at it.

I decided against this. I'm bored. And tired. Yet have 2 essays due next week 12 pages each. I'm not stressed out, just easily distracted.

For the record, yes Carlee, you got your two right.

state of mind: tiredtired
music: "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" by Bob Dylan
09 February 2007 @ 02:07 pm
so i'm here. in scotland. i think i'm coming down with a cold currently, which is awful. hopefully i'll snap out of it.

i've been keeping a blog of my experience:


so there's that if you want to check it out. i need to get on top of my stuff here shortly and get to the library. i cannot get behind in classes, that is a must.
state of mind: out of it
music: "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" by Bob Dylan
25 January 2007 @ 02:56 am
My brothers, Ben and John. My companion, Meredith. My journey, tiresome... depreciating with every minute I sit and don't stand. Sit down, stand up.
state of mind: tiredtired
music: "Brothers On A Hotel Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie
18 January 2007 @ 01:34 pm
Lost in night. Thinking.

If Lincoln knew his countrymen, his colleagues well enough to save Democracy, can I know myself? My fascination with Lincoln has quickly exploded into a fascination with the idea of knowing the right answer in times of chaos and/or confusion. Lincoln presents himself as a vessal for this train of thoughts because of the book I'm currently in the middle of.

Perhaps the winners who have written history have erroneously accounted our leaders as the eye of the hurricane, calm spots in the middle of turbulent times. Lincoln knew what to say, precisely when and how. His speeches are modern poetry. His ability to soothe the personalities around him in order to find the proper solution is suggested to be his political genius. Triumphant leaders in other times and places have similarly been romanticized for their ability to get the answers right.

My thoughts turn to this: If history is guided by those leaders who knew the right answers at the right times -- Washington knowing how to fight, Lincoln knowing how to speak, Gandhi knowing how to lead, King knowing how to organize -- if these people changed the course of the world for the better because they knew the right answers, then who now knows the right answers. Who now will make the decision to do the right thing, and not just do it, but do it the right way?

I search within myself to try to find what the right answers might be in my heart. I'm reaching for nothing. My heart does not fill with the right answers for the world, but the choices for my mind and my soul. I feel the power of a mountain trail and stride the distance between oceans in a single breath, because these are the things that make me feel alive. Airports still excite me the same way they did as a young child who looked out the window of an ascending plane and compared the world to Micromachines toys. I put my arms around Meredith and long to watch the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay at least one more time with her before I make my next decision.

My point is this: I am alive, but I am not a full life. My life is incomplete. I am nothing if not unfulfilled. But I am nothing if not ambitious.

I realize this: Washington and Lincoln and Gandhi and King were not twenty years old when they changed the world. Thought they may have had it in their hearts, they did not have it in their heads to do the things that history would remember for all time.

I have time to get my act together. I have time. I hope.
08 January 2007 @ 06:20 pm
the Berlin Wall lives behind my eyes today.

scotland. id cards. money? no money. prescriptions. clothes.

the royal bank of scotland can open a safety deposit box in honor of my lingering ego.

two bicycles ridden too tired to know.

graduate school search. teaching? doctorate? ph. effing d.?

i'm willing to give up my own assumptions in honor of something bigger than myself.

i am small. yet somehow feel too big.

three weeks. too soon?

ps -- the lj community is dead. by proclamation of the democratic forces behind my face fighting a cold war with the socialist communist motherland known as "reality."
music: Breaking Away-Owen-(the ep)