Winter

November 17, 2008

They’re playing Silent Night on the radio.

And the first soft snowfall is silently drifting down under the lamplights and onto the sidewalks. My head is tilted back in wonder.

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Thoughts from a Cardboard Box

November 14, 2008

I’ll admit it: I was skeptical all week long.

It’s been “Homelessness and Hunger Week” here since Monday, with a variety of activities planned to raise awareness and motivate action. One of the plans was for students to sleep outside the student union in boxes for a week. Thursday night was offered for people who wanted to try it just one night.

I guess I couldn’t help wondering what the point was. I’ve certainly slept outside before- it’s cold, it’s uncomfortable- I know that being homeless is not desirable. And if it’s not raising money, what’s the point?

But, then last night, I was walking back to my dorm, and saw several of my friends setting up their boxes. I stopped by to chat, and before long decided that, hey! I like sleeping outside, so why not?

First, I stopped by my room and put on lots of layers: normal socks, rugby socks, long underwear, jeans, undershirt, t-shirt, turtle-neck, hoodie, coat, gloves, hat, and my shuka. I joined three of my friends, Jessie, Erin, and Melissa at our “house” for the night. We had spread a couple large pieces of cardboard on the ground, with newspapers on top, and taped boxes together for walls, with another flat piece spread over top about two feet off the ground.

We slid underneath the cardboard, and settled down for the night. So, I have slept outside before, in tents, under tarps, on the ground, through rainstorms and all, but this was miserable. It was in the forties, and the cardboard didn’t do much against the cement. I rolled over one way and then the other, but no matter how I shifted, one part of me was always cold. My fingers… my nose… my legs…The worst part was that my muscles all started cramping up from the cold. I didn’t know it was even possible to get cramps in my arms!

Around 3:00 AM, Erin and I called it quits, and crashed in my room for the rest of the night after we made some hot tea. I woke up achy and exhausted, and definitely thinking.

For me a couple hours outside was pretty uncomfortable, but when it got really bad, I had a room to go back to. Lots of people don’t have that option. I am so thankful that I have always been provided with a warm bed, hot meals, and a real roof over my head. Especially after last night.


Fall Retreat

November 12, 2008

Recently, I went off campus with a bunch of believers, and hung out.

We had a costume party, went canoeing, made s’mores, and all that good stuff. Along with a junior, there were FIVE freshman! It was amazing to get to know these girls, and I was super encouraged that they are joining the Christian community here at Denison.


Crosswords

November 8, 2008

I realized the other day that crossword puzzles are starting to consume my life.

Each morning on my way up to breakfast, I grab the New York Times just before my plate of scrambled eggs, read the headlines, skim the international section, and pull out the crossword puzzle. All day long, I work on it… in class- when I’m not taking notes, of course-at the lunch table with my friends, at the library desk, and so on until the day winds down.

It’s become so much a part of my routine, that I’m pretty sure one chunk of my brain is constantly chipping away at those clues. Crossword clues are a little wacky, but it’s amazing how I’ll be thinking all day what the four letter answer is to “gang member,” and out of nowhere my brain will provide “ster.” Plus, I’ve learned a lot. For instance, have you ever heard of the River Po in Lombardy? Me neither ’till last Tuesday’s puzzle.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Crosswords are definitely a social activity. One day I enlisted around ten people to help me wrap it up. Once, my Chinese friend, Ashley, encouraged me when I got stumped by telling me that it was okay because English puzzles are hard. She also told me that Chinese crosswords have a lot of clues based off of poems, which is kind of cool.

Crosswords are ubiquitous (SAT vocab word, woo!). Even tonight I was doing research for my theatre class on Stephen Sondheim, the guy who worked with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story, and he says that writing lyrics is like completing crosswords. Unrelated, I know, but this paragraph is about sounding smart. (:

The last thing I have to say about crossword puzzles, is that they’re the one thing in my life that makes Mondays so much better than Fridays.


History

November 5, 2008

Here it is. History happening.

I’m in my dorm room in this swing-state of Ohio, listening to Barack Obama becoming the 44th president of my country, the United States of America.

History.


Weekend Update

November 3, 2008

Here are the highlights:

  • I saw my first real live raccoon while talking on the phone with my mom.
  • I waited in line for 2 hours to vote on Friday, and the ballot kind of reminded me of standardized tests, only a lot shorter. I read the first box: “To select the president…” and darkened the oval with my 2B pencil, feeling all the weight of my new-found ability to vote in that graphite tip. The “I voted” sticker was pretty cool too.
  • I Joined the world of technology and bought my very own cell phone.
  • I went to my first halloween party
  • I discovered electric staplers!

College is great stuff, eh?