Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Learning to Fly

I feel that this post is aptly named as it applies to not only my new mascot the eagle, but also the symbolic idea that I am spreading my wings without help for the first time.

This week I did something that is still quite unbelievable to me: I moved in to my dorm at Ashland University.  I had a few doubts and fears, but it mostly stirred excitement.  And thus far, I have not been disappointed. 

My parents and Brenna helped me pack up and move in on Sunday.  They were of great assistance and entertainment and I was glad that they were part of my monumental step into adult life.

Half of my stuff in the back of the car

Brenna and I before the Farewell Dinner

I am living on the fourth floor in Clayton Hall where the Honors Program students live.  I share a room with my roommate Alison and also share a middle room with her and my suite-mates Mary and Hannah.  Fun fact: I have Larissa's old room!  I did not realize this until my RA Melany pointed it out.  I'm using the same closet that she did and have my jewelry hanging as she did.  It's weird to think that she's thousands of miles away yet I'm sitting where she sat so many times last year.

Room Pictures!

Alison's pickles and our cacti Pickles, Prickles, and Carl :)

Hannah, Mary, Alison, and me :)

My roommate and suite-mates arrived on campus bright and early on move-in day.  I was the last one to show up, which actually was pretty convenient because it was less crazy and crowded to unpack and put things away.  My dad assembled our futon, shelves and also drilled a dry erase board to the wall.  (Don't tell anyone; that's a code violation.)  Anyway, the room is pretty much set and organized now.  We just need to buy more trash cans and such.

Funny story...

My dad had adhered my giant collage of pictures to a wall above my shelf near my desk.  We figured it would hold fine...or so we thought.  At around 4:00 in the morning, the frame came crashing down off of the wall and missed hitting Alison in the head by about 5 inches.  This was not the kind of first impression that I was hoping to make.  She clearly had been frightened by the noise, as had I.  We talked about it the next morning when we were more coherent and I profusely apologized.  She told me that it was fine and now we laugh about it as we explain the funny scenario to others.

Ashland has been shoving activities down our throats to keep us occupied and therefore reduce homesickness.  It's a great plan that works, but it's simultaneously exhausting.  I've met some great people who I hope to see in classes and also can't wait to meet new people in these classes.

I can't wait to watch this year unfold and am looking forward to the Honors Retreat this weekend! :)

"Good parents give their children roots and wings; roots to know where home is and wings to fly off and practice what has been taught to them." -Jonas Salk

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sinto falta da minha irmã.

It turns out that I do my best thinking late at night.  With this in mind, I am completely prepared for college life. ;)

Time is ticking.  Life is beginning to change, slowly but surely.  I'd compare the change to the changing of leaves and be very poetic, but here in Ohio I find that one day I look out the window to see green leaves and then the next they are gold and when I blink, it's snowing.

Regardless, my sister Larissa is now an entire continent away from me.  She took a plane to Brazil on August 2 and will return mid December.

My parents and I dropping her off at the airport

I'm happy to report that I kept the crying to a minimum; contrary to popular predictions.  My mother was also able to keep it together and I was very proud of her for that.

This is the first time that anyone of us has left the country...and for the longest period of time.  We do have Skype and other such technologies to keep in touch, but it is so different being unable to send her a text or call her for trivial things.  Her absence is and will be more prominent at family get-togethers and parties, but I miss her most for the little things.  I can't whisper funny comments into her ear that only she would understand.  I can't ask her if my outfit combination looks funny.  I can't listen to country music and sing along with her in funny voices.  I can't complain about how dirty our room is and then badger her until she cleans it...weeks later.

But I don't pity myself.  I am so excited for her.  She is in a new country, learning a new language and even practicing her teaching in English schools!  This is such a great opportunity and I'm proud of her.

The fact that I am diligently organizing a collection of framed pictures to take to Ashland and that my sister has left is evoking old thoughts and feelings.  I remember having tea parties with her and sipping the air out of our plastic teacups because water was becoming "too much of a mess".  She would take me by the hand and lead me this way and that; to beauty salons, school, restaurants, and other places of pretend that were all owned and operated by her.  She taught me how to read, braid my hair, and do multiplication.  She was practicing for her career before she even knew what a career was.  Larissa was born to lead, to teach.  She knew that she was meant to touch the lives of other children.   She always told me how she worried about leaving a good impression on her students because they may not remember all of the lessons, but they will remember her.  I admired her for that.  To Larissa, it's not about formulas and equations.  It's about the people.

To have such a great sister and role model is uplifting and yet can be simultaneously discomforting.  She sets a great example of what can be achieved with confidence and hard work, yet I wonder if I can compare.  She is so sure of what she wants and of what her capabilities are.  I, on the other hand, am not.

I realize that we are not the same person and that I will find my niche (eventually).  But will my siblings ever look up to me and think, "Wow.  I want to be like her." as I so often did to Larissa?  Maybe.  They don't have to want to be me.  I couldn't imagine all of my siblings sitting around reading and basking in the wonders of writing.  That would be frightening.  I suppose that the best I can do is show them that doing your best is worthwhile and that not fitting one person's description of greatness does not mean that you weren't destined to be great.

What I'm trying to say is...I miss my sister.