Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fighting Back the Craziness of Life! (A November Update)

Hello! I was trying to get better about NOT posting with one month gaps in between, but I think my life has been a little too chaotic for that to happen, so here it is. Sigh...one day I'll get my life together, but for now, it is what it is.

Homecoming came and went with a bang, and it was such a great, vibrant week on campus! Alas, I didn't get a picture with the orange fountain, but life goes on. In typical Oklahoma fashion, the weather was unexpectedly hot after a week of semi-cool weather, which made for fun times in the t-shirt sales booth where Rebecca and I were expected to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt as a marketing tactic! Thankfully, the tent was shady and it wasn't too hot for us...it was ninety degrees that day! I had the pleasant surprise of sharing part of the day with Liz, who happened to come up to visit for the day with some of her coaching friends. All in all, it was a great day, even if we lost miserably. Football season hasn't been too kind to us this year; here's hoping basketball season goes much better!

Some of us at Walkaround!
L-R: Stefano, Andrea, Roz (Rebecca's awesome roommate!), me, William
L-R: Catherine, Andrea, Roz, me, William, Maria, Stefano
Me and my Math Ed friend, Janey! (It was great to see her outside of our natural habitat :) )
Me and Liz!!!
I thought that I wasn't going to participate in any intramural sports this year because I was too busy, but I changed my mind when Rebecca decided to get a women's volleyball team together! The fact that I have never played this intramural sport was the main selling point...also, I pretty well knew how volleyball was played so, for once, I didn't have the excuse of not knowing how to play! I was just not very good at it, but it's okay, because we play for fun, not to win :) Also, I'd love to mention that I was pretty good at serving, and I wasn't completely terrible at the game, either! So, to all the girls in sixth grade who told me that I couldn't play volleyball, I guess you were wrong! Somehow, we made it to the playoffs, but we didn't make it past the first game. All in all, it was a great season!

During homecoming week, my friend Mari had the great idea to have an Oktoberfest party at church! What started as a small gathering turned into a huge church-wide party! :) We made it a potluck, and no one disappointed! Mari made her family's traditional recipes for wiener schnitzel, Fr. Stuart made spaetzel, Rebecca made applesauce with Austrian crumb topping, and I made kolaches and bierox! Of course, there were LOTS of other yummy treats! It was a great night with great people!
My Bible Study girls all made it to Oktoberfest!!!!
L-R: Me, Emily, Sierra, Maria, Haley, and Lauren!
We also celebrated baby Jakub's first birthday! He had a great day and a fun puppy-themed party! He was a bit tentative about breaking into his little cake at first, but once Gina took it off of the platter, he didn't waste any time getting into it! He is growing up so, so quickly, and before I know it, he'll be two! He really wasn't that impressed with opening birthday presents, but that's really something that comes with age, I suppose. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

The traditional 1st Birthday puppy cake!


Mr. Jakub was pretty content after eating his mini cake :)

Sometime after then, my world has progressively became more and more stressful/confusing/exhausting. What started my whole senior year mini-crisis was the fact that our beloved Dr. J., the math teaching methods professor, announced that she will be retiring this January. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement deluxe, as she was supposed to be our faculty supervisor during student teaching next semester and has gone through the journey of the last year with all of us and knows us personally. I'm sure going to miss her; however, I cannot blame her for wanting to retire...she has a whole family waiting for her up in Oregon, and she deserves the break! She also informed me during a conversation just afterward that it would be in my best interest to consider getting my Master's from somewhere other than OSU. She also told me that it might be a good option to consider teaching high school math for at least one year before moving on to other career paths. Hearing these things after learning of her retirement put me into a state of near-hysteria. Adding insult to injury, as I was walking back to my vehicle after that conversation, I overheard the band playing the song "Time to Say Goodbye"...the irony wasn't lost on me. Life goes on, and I've also taken into to consideration some of what Dr. J told me...more on that in a sec!

On that note, classes have been, of course, crazy. I perpetually have stuff to do, and I've accepted that. The next three weeks are going to be absurd, but they're slowly getting less stressful, so long as I keep plugging away at everything. I'm basically done with things for Geometry and Wine Tasting and I'm on the verge of being done with things for my SPED class. We'll get it figured out sooner or later. Number Theory is ridiculous, if only because our professor gives us 25-problem homework sets that are mostly proof-based. That doesn't sound that bad in theory, but it's way too much. Ugh. One day, I'll look back at this time and laugh about how bad I thought things were! :)

On a related happy note, I passed Portfolio Submission II with flying colors! I'm on the fast track to receiving placements, which is another part of this endless update...I'll get there in a few!

Fun fact: Rebecca and I went up to Wichita last weekend to visit convents. Neither of us is really considering becoming a nun, but it was a fun little overnight road trip! Also, we visited Tonisha while we were in the neighborhood, so to speak! It was great to visit her on her home turf, since she's usually the one to come visit Oklahoma! After we got back, I added to the list of dances I've learned this year by attending the OSU Salsa Ball! :) I went with my great friend Viktoria from my math classes, and we had a blast! Let's see what types of dancing I've learned this year: Two-stepping (I learned fancier techniques than just standard two-stepping), Polka, East Coast Swing, the Charleston, Contra, Salsa, Cha-cha, Petengue, and Merengue. The Latin varietals are still a little bit rough, but I've learned a little bit! What a year! :) Now to learn ballroom dances like the waltz, the foxtrot, and a few others! (Once again, shout out to the girls in grade school who said I couldn't dance :) ) It was a crazy weekend, but it was topped off by another great occurrence...my dear friend Katie visited! It was lovely to see her again, as she moved to Ohio back in July. Life is treating her well, and she is preparing to move to Chicago! I'm so happy that I was able to chat with her for a short while and soak in the joy she exudes!!

So yes, lots of great things happened, but some not-so-great things also happened. Shortly after Dr. J made her announcement, I went to open up my computer one morning and it flat-out wouldn't turn on. I tried a few obvious things, but nothing solved the problem. This was the point I took it to Best Buy for some diagnostics that were beyond my capabilities. The prognosis was that my motherboard was bad. I never realized how much I used my laptop until I couldn't use it. I also never realized how much we use technology/computers for school until I didn't have one at my disposal. We really take stuff like that for granted...we also rely on them WAYYY too much! I really feel bad for anyone who doesn't have the means to have a laptop of their own during college. Living without a laptop/tablet in school is not impossible, but it poses a specific challenge that few really understand. In all reality, my laptop dying wasn't too implausible, as it was 3.5 years old, and I have used and abused it. I was really hoping that it'd get me through college and I could buy a new one upon graduating, but such is life. I found a good deal at Best Buy, of all places, and I'm now writing this post on my new laptop! :)

I started this past week with the excitement of receiving my new laptop, but that excitement dissipated throughout the week. The day after getting my laptop, I was walking to work from my parking lot, and I have to cross a major intersection through a crosswalk. I was running a little bit late for various reasons, so I was moving at a decent clip to catch the light and avoid waiting an additional three minutes for the next one. (I was five-ish minutes late as it was.) I happened to dig out my cold-weather boots that day which leave me a little more clumsy-footed than usual, and somehow, I caught my toe in a crack in the sidewalk. Recall that I was moving with purpose, and how physics works, and you can guess what happened next. SPLAT! I was flat on my face in the middle of the crosswalk, knees and palms stinging from the burn of the freezing asphalt, and my ego largely deflated. I picked myself up quickly so as to avoid any further embarrassment and getting ran over and fought back the urge to cry, since I potentially had to work with students. (No one came in that day, thank goodness!) After my shift, I went to class and had a small spat with a friend, which was mostly residual from my edginess from my fall that morning. (Not my finest hour.)

The day was on the upswing until I ran out to my car to get something and noticed a large puddle beneath it. I mentally retraced my steps from when I parked that morning and couldn't recall a pre-existing puddle in the parking spot. Oh no. Well, after a while of waiting to check that it really was my car, I called on William, the farm boy who is good with mechanical things, to examine the situation. I am really grateful for him being there in that moment, because he diagnosed that I had a leak somewhere in my radiator and the puddle was antifreeze. Lovely. I called my dad to see what we needed to do, and I ended up driving it as far as I could before it almost overheated, which was where Dad picked me up. I've been driving Mom's car ever since, which has been a huge blessing! I was determined that Wednesday would be good, which it was until I went home that evening and found out that the heat tape on my water line came unplugged and my pipes were frozen. Lovelier. I figured out how to thaw it and went on with the evening.

The next day, I noticed extremely low water pressure and then noticed leaks from beneath my trailer. Also, the heater wasn't working too well and it was twenty-ish degrees outside. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I was about at my wit's end when I called my mom crying hysterically, and we got a game plan with my dad who was coming with the car trailer to retrieve my truck that day anyway. We threw around lots of tentative plans of things we could do, worst-case-scenario-wise. I went to class and figured that things would be sorted out by the end of the day. We were right, and in the best way possible! My heater wasn't working due to an non-functioning converter, which is part of the electrical interface of my trailer, so my dad replaced it and now everything is working beautifully! As far as the water leak goes, apparently, there is some sort of overflow feature in my water tanks, and the "leak" was due to the tank being full. I don't completely understand the mechanics of it, but crisis averted! My life has been made much simpler!

Oh yeah, in the midst of everything else, I had student teaching placements/next year figured out until I found out that there was a communication error and the school was looking for a science teacher, not a math teacher. The moral of this story is that I have no clue what to expect from life these days and very little of what life throws at me surprises me anymore. Contrary to what one might imagine, I haven't turned into a cynical grump as a by-product, but I've become even more reliant on God to provide for me, which he always does, and so beautifully at that! Between my parents and all of my friends who provided help and general moral support, I have been abundantly blessed! I mean, I had moments when I felt like I had been forgotten/forsaken/ready to go hibernate all winter, but faith pulls you through even the roughest of weeks, and here's hoping that I'll have a series of small wins throughout this week...I'm not expecting everything to be perfect, but surely most anything will be better than last week!!!

As far as the long-term goes, I'm not even that concerned about what will happen in that arena...with that being said, I'm being open to ALL possibilities that will be on the table as I prepare to enter the workforce next year, even if it means throwing my original plans out the window. It has taken lots of time in prayer and just thinking about everything for me to find this peace, but it is really freeing to not know what I'm going to do and just wait and see what opens up for me!
Good things have to be in store for me on all ends, right?

On a related note, yesterday was Rebecca's 21st birthday, and we had a great little celebration at everyone's favorite local pub! It was a great day :)
Rebecca and me!
I also found a heads-up nickel while walking over to work today...I think everything will be just fine after all :) Have a great week!