Add Code to Salvation

>> Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sometimes feel as if getting added to a class is a lot like going to heaven. Yes, I know it’s probably a weird comparison, but it’s quite an interesting scenario. During the first week of classes I (like many other fellow students) was scrambling to get a few extra units. I'll suck it up with a heavier load to get my money worth and to make my best use of time. Well with just my luck the cap for initial enrollment didn’t help, and I was starting to stress out from all the running around. In the same way, no one knows if they’ll get into heaven with one hundred percent absolute certainty. No one knows what the afterlife is like because no one has ever been there and back. All the variables are unknown and faith is generally the only assurance. Anything can happen and that’s what caused me to worry in this case.

Now the interesting part comes into play. Not everyone has the same beliefs, hence the different classes on different subjects according to major. Nor are those belief systems without separate fractions, thus different sections with different days and times are offered for a specific class. Everyone thinks their class is right for them and that it’s their area study. It’s what they’re interested in and it’s what they plan on investing time towards. Ergo most belief systems consider themselves to be the one correct path and people study whatever they choose.

Then the tricky situation pushes its way into the game. Lucky me, while searching for classes, I was the exact last one to be added into the class everyone needed. (By everyone I mean people studying in my field.) I showed up over twenty minutes early to an already completely packed room. The person that came in one minute behind me gets denied. That gentleman along with at least twenty other hopefuls is asked to hit the road. I am sitting there watching each person sigh from disappointment and thinking what if heaven was the same way? What if I showed up just a minute later or late? Technically I had done everything right, but in the end it just wasn’t good enough. All the planning and searching just wasn’t didn’t meet the cut. Even more interesting, were the people that decided to leave in the middle of signing up or drop the class after the first day. They already had their guaranteed ticket, but decided not to take it. Or maybe they were intimidated by the workload and wanted to put it off till later. Or perhaps they were scared and made the bold move of changing their major.

Things would really be quite upside down and inside out if those were the rules. If anything it’d be heartbreaking. But as for now, I am off to make sure my five digit code really does work. Don’t worry; you’re going to make it through this year.

Enamored Lives

>> Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sunday was my grandmother's birthday celebration. We had, as I somewhat reproachfully called it, an old women's convention in my living room.  My jobs included pouring champagne, creating a non-lumpy and just thin-enough-without-being-papery crepe batter, generally being pleasant, and staying out of the way. Most of this was fine by me. I personally am not one for fretting endlessly over such details as what type of bread to buy. (Other details, sure, I'll fret endlessly about...) But my mother and grandmother were practically beside themselves, constantly changing the menu, trying to locate a "bar cart", which, in the entire history of our entertaining schemes having taken place in this house has never been required. I didn't think the luncheon was such a big deal, but all of a sudden they'd whipped out the fancy silverware, ironed the napkins (ironing napkins! it exists!) and are all acting as if our future depended on the success of the luncheon. I honestly feel as if I'm the only sane one left in this household.

Once all the women arrived, all wrapped in autumn-colored shalls, dangly earrings and, in some cases, heels that should have been left to the under 30 crowed, cooing over each other's respective clothing, hair color, weight loss and denial of the aging process, while I stood there aimlessly, smiling and nodding and agreeing wholeheartedly. I'd never met any of them before, and between the six women, I was told I resembled my grandmother (hispanic), my "Italian side" and my father (german).  I didn't want to deny these women their most favorite pastime of commenting endlessly on grandchildren's appearances, so I remained silent, even though, for the record, I don't think I look like any of my family.

Once they'd all calmed down to the point where they could at least drink champagne and talk at the same time we brought out lunch and they, again, began to interrogate me. Upon hearing that I was 19, all the women (after "Ahhhhh" -ing), thought aloud to themselves, "Dónde estaba yo?", translated: "Where was I?" 

Thus came the most interesting part of the day, hearing all their long lost love stories. To be sure, I am not one for a sappy story. I generally despise movies that are too cutesy or make me cry. But these stories, because they were so much more real (though most likely embellished over the 40 or so years since they occurred) that I was riveted- to use the term loosely.

It was a bit frightening to hear them all recounting their first marriages at 16, 17, 18, etc., whether done in spite of their parents, old boyfriends (these ladies got around, I hear) or because they were enamored (their words). As you may have guessed, these first marriages never lasted, and often second ones didn't either, but all the same, it was comforting to hear them recounting their younger years with (what I assumed was) some level of satisfaction and, if not pride, then at least contentment, good memories. Despite what my mother may insist regarding all my "terrible choices" and "irresponsibility", I'm not half as bad as these women, and their parents probably said the same. Granted, I don't plan on having such a dramatic, tangled, soap-opera-quality life, but isn't it good to know they don't regret it? Then again, who wants to admit such a substantial failure? But I think there is sometimes a place for a yearly or so serving of drama and scandal.

Moral of the story: Old women offer good stories, perspective, despite their otherwise seemingly unhinged tactics at the lunch table (i.e. upstaging each other with toasts, drinking copious amounts of champagne, and neglecting their vegetables).

--This post was written by guest writer Christie Hirtzel. Christie is an incoming sophomore and Anthropology major at Vassar College in NY. You can read more of her work on her personal blog at: misssincerely.blogspot.com

A Season of LT&C

>> Wednesday, September 1, 2010

“Seasons change, they rearrange, all in perfect harmony.” The season is changing now, maybe not so much the perfect harmony part though. Nonetheless it is a very uncertain time for many. The past couple of days have been hectic for students everywhere. Whether it’s leaving home for the first time or realizing your last semester in school, the times are turning.

It would seem as if the new direction this blog is heading would be appropriate for such a time. In the coming weeks we’ll debut new writers and announcing new partnerships. The new setup and design of the site is just about complete with only a few minor adjustments. Stay tuned for more in the coming season!

Updates:
10/2--Reset the entire template. Adjusted header and footer. Organized archive of older posts.
10/4--Set up menu bar and started info pages. Prepped schedule. Placed Technorati claim code UV828G4MY7M5, don't worry, just ignore the code. The followers list was reset and we only manually restored a few so you might have to add it again.
10/5--Insert side menu gadgets. Finished off majority for info pages. More prepping and planning.

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