Keeping Up My Spanish After Graduation

It’s officially one week till graduation. Aside from all the other things this means, it hit me this week that graduating means losing a set time and place to practice my Spanish every week. While I would love to get a job where I can use Spanish, I don’t know that that will be an option. So here’s how I’m planning on keeping up my skills. 

  1. Listening: there are a lot of Spanish telenovelas on Netflix. But I’ve found I don’t like that type of show. I’m more into crime thrillers than the over-the-top family and relationship dramas frequently used in telenovelas. So while I’ll keep trying Spanish TV shows and movies, I downloaded the BBC Mundo app so I can watch a video or two a day. (And I can read the news and culture stories as well.) I have also been exploring the Latin channels on Spotify, so by slowly developing a taste for Latin music I can practice my Spanish that way as well. 
  2. Reading: I love reading anyway, so consciously trying to add Spanish books into my reading list shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m looking forward to working my way through some Spanish classics as well as reading translated works I’ve already read in English. 
  3. Writing: This will be harder to practice without an outside party to check over my grammar. But I may try to write some fiction or even just journal in Spanish. And I’ve done enough papers in Spanish that I know which mistakes I’m prone to make. Maybe there’s a Spanish-language fan fic site I can find. That’s something I’ll have to look more into. 
  4. Translating: I don’t know that I’ll find myself doing this very often, but it may help me keep from forgetting specific vocabulary. Plus, I have a very new, very nice Spanish-English dictionary, so I might as well use it. I could translate a news article, or a blog post, or even a book chapter if I’m feeling ambitious. This would be something good to do when I’m bored and want something to focus on. 
  5. Speaking: This is the one skill I’m not sure how I will be able to practice. This is the skill I have the lowest confidence in, and I’m not really an outgoing person. Those two things combined might make it a little difficult to find a practice partner. I feel like there may be a conversation group somewhere in the city I’m moving to, but the homebody in me doesn’t know about that. So this will be something to work on. Maybe I can find a little old Spanish-language lady that needs a companion a few days a week? Who knows. We shall see!

Among the many challenges that come with graduating from college, this is one I feel most confident I can keep up. Spanish and languages are a passion of mine, so I’ll definitely be more likely to practice. And if I can make it a habit, I’ll have that many less problems if I ever do find myself in a job where I get to use Spanish frequently. Here’s to hoping!

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Writing in a Foreign Language

 

I’ve always loved writing.  At my parents’ house, there are still boxes under my bed, full of notebooks I filled with half-written stories and ideas.  I have tons of files on my old computers and on my flash drive with more stories and essays.  I’ve changed my mind several times on what I like to write most, but I’ve never fallen out of love with writing.  I’ve done it my whole life, and I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon.

Since I’ve had so much practice with writing, especially for school, I like to think I’m fairly good at it.  Since I learned to write a five-paragraph essay, structured, written thought has come fairly easily for me.  When I first began writing serious papers, it took me awhile to get to the point I wanted to make.  I would have to go through several rounds of edits to shorten and clarify my thoughts.  But as I did it more and more often, it got easier.  Now, if an assignment requires an essay, I can crank out a pretty good paper within a few hours to a day.  While I might make a few changes afterward, I typically say all I need to say with relative ease.  (Of course, every piece of writing could use some editing.  But when I also have to block out time for other things, a few hours to a day for a fairly high-quality essay is pretty good.)

But that’s all for essays I write in English.  With Spanish, I’m finding it’s a different story.  Throughout my Spanish classes, I’ve had to write a ton of papers.  They started out short and simple, as ways to practice vocabulary, sentence structure, and specific grammar rules.  As I got farther along, they began to get more complex.  They became less about practicing the language and more about engaging with the culture.  I learned more vocabulary, and essays in Spanish started to get almost as easy as essays in English.

Almost is the key word here, though.  I got fooled into thinking I knew Spanish well enough to use the same one-day process I use for English papers.  So last weekend, that’s how I wrote two papers for my capstone — one Saturday, one Sunday, and done.  Then a few days later, I got them back from my faculty adviser, and while overall the papers were okay, my grammar was all over the place.  I figured out very quickly that I need to take a few steps back in my writing process for Spanish papers.  Ideally, here’s how it should go:

  1. I need to make a list of grammar mistakes I make often, using already-graded papers as a reference.
  2. Start the paper at least a week before the due date.  (This means I need to be diligent about finishing the books I’m supposed to be writing about on time, too.)
  3. Take one or two days to write it, and then let it sit for a day or two.
  4. Read back through the paper, fixing any glaring mistakes, and polishing it if need be.  Make sure I’ve put everything in the paper that is required.
  5. Go over it again, this time with my list of common mistakes, and fix those.
  6. Finally, either run through a grammar checker or have someone else look over it.  Or maybe even both.

It’s a much longer process than my one-and-done style.  But it will help me write better quality papers.  And I think that the more Spanish I read, the better my writing skills will get.  That’s a big part of how I learned to write well in English, after all.  It makes sense that it would work that way in Spanish.

What I’m Reading: Spanish Capstone Project

I have about 12 weeks until I graduate.  Which means I have about 12 weeks to finish 3 big projects and pass 2 other classes before I can walk across the stage in my cap and gown.  It seems like a ton of time and also like not much at all, especially when I think about the fact that for my Spanish capstone, I’m planning on reading 7 books (at least) and have so far finished 1.  But honestly, I’m not too stressed.  I’m making progress, and I’m on the right track, and I’m excited to begin really diving into this project.

The overall theme for my capstone is the immigration of Spanish-speakers into the US.  I don’t have a definite thesis yet, because I’ve only read one of my sources.  Also, this what-I’m-reading post will be a little different from the others because I haven’t read most of these books yet.  But I figured it would be a fun idea to briefly introduce my books here, and then once I’ve finished my project, I’ll do a reprise post on what I thought about them and how useful they were to me for my project.


Books I’m Definitely Reading

Cuando era puertorriqueñaThis book is the one I’ve finished, and it’s a memoir about growing up in Puerto Rico and then having to move to New York.  Santiago is the child of parents who fight more often than not, and who must provide for eight children.  Family stress and the stress of growing up are magnified by having to move to New York just when she feels she’s beginning to get a hold on life in Puerto Rico.  But interspersed in these struggles are the stories of a mother who would do anything for her children, and a girl who got herself out of Brooklyn all on her own.

Resultado de imagen para casi una mujerThis is the sequel to Cuando era puertorriquena, and it details Santiago’s life from her teenage years to adulthood.  During her struggle to figure out who she is — Puerto Rican? American? both? — Santiago helps translate her mother through the welfare offices and takes on prestigious roles at her performing arts high school.

Resultado de imagen para la otra cara de americaRamos, an executive at Univision, has written essays and collected interviews from immigrants to the US.  Told in an editorial, persuasive style, Ramos sheds light on the reality of those “living in the shadows” and reveals just how vital they are to US society.

Resultado de imagen para vivir en dos idiomas

 

Alma Flor Ada is a renowned Cuban-American author and professor who writes children’s books, poetry, and novels.  Vivir en dos idiomas is her memoir, detailing her life, which has been spent mostly not in Cuba.

 

AResultado de imagen para la casa en mango streetlmost everyone has heard of The House on Mango Street.  It is one of the most famous coming-of-age novels there is.  I’ve skimmed the book a few times, and honestly, have not loved it.  But I feel I might appreciate it more within the context of this project.  It’s not quite a memoir, like the others, but Cisneros did draw heavily on her growing-up years to craft this novel, so it’s still a good candidate for my project.

Resultado de imagen para a cup of water under my bed

 

Another memoir about growing up Latina in America, this book adds a new dimension in that Hernandez is also bisexual.  It details her growing up years and her struggle not only to find the balance between two cultures, but also to maintain family ties while not hiding all of who she is.

 

WResultado de imagen para the distance between us reyna grandehen she was little, and living in Mexico, Grande’s father left for the US without her, her siblings, or her mother.  Her memoir tells the story of virtually losing one parent, and then regaining him, and a new home, when her father finally sends for her.

 

 

Once I have read these books and have a better idea of what they are about, I’ll link back to this post and review them again.  I’ll be honest; judging by the one I have read and the others I’ve flipped through, I have high expectations for all of them.


Books I Probably Won’t Use for My Capstone but Want to Read Anyway

Resultado de imagen para atravesando fronterasThis is Ramos’ own memoir about moving from Mexico to the US.  I know I like his writing style, and admire him as a person.  But there are several reasons I probably won’t use it.  For one, I already have seven books to read, and for two, this book is quite a bit longer than most of my others.  Finally, I realized that all the rest of my books are by women (besides the other one by Ramos, but in that he interviews men and women), and given the difference in countries of origin I already have, I’d rather keep my mostly-female-author pattern going.

Resultado de imagen para morir en el intentoWhen I initially picked this, I thought it was going to be more like academic nonfiction.  Instead, it’s the story of 19 immigrants who died on their way to the US in 2003.  I’m sure it’s a tragic story, and definitely one that should be spread.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit with the other books I’ve chosen.  But that’s not going to stop me from reading it when I finish my project.

Resultado de imagen para sonar en cubano

 

This is another coming-of-age novel, and honestly, I don’t know much about it.  I didn’t look into it as much as the others, because I changed my focus from novels to memoirs.  But I like coming-of-age stories, so this will be going on the TBR as well.

History: Best Learned in a Classroom?

If you’ve read my about page, you know that I’m currently majoring in Marketing and Spanish.  I didn’t add my Spanish degree until second semester of sophomore year, though (before it had been a minor), so this year, I got stuck doing some required gen eds I normally would’ve taken as a freshman.  I had to take a second literature class last semester, and also European Civilization 1.

The lit class was a breeze.  The professor was finishing up her doctoral thesis, so we had hardly any homework.  (Also, the level of analysis she gave was really more suited to a high school class, in my opinion, but I wasn’t complaining.)  But the history class was another story.  A lot of majors have to take Euro Civ 1 and 2, so it was a big lecture.  And the professor was one of those who likes to scare freshman.  She was personable, but she didn’t put up with people not taking notes or having their phones out.  And she wasn’t one to give students material, either.  She walked in every day and started talking, and we were expected to figure out what was important and what wasn’t.  There was no outline or study guide, or even a PowerPoint.  She showed photos of artifacts she’d seen and trips she had taken, and that was all.  She was your typical freshman professor — like hey kids, it’s time to get serious.

A lot of kids need that.  College really is tougher than high school, and it pays to learn how to study early.  But I’m a senior.  I do feel young and unequipped at times (especially dealing with apartment stuff and other legal matters), but I’m disciplined, and I know how to succeed at school.  Going from intense, focused group projects in Marketing and Spanish — things I’m interested in and may actually use — to a history class was not very fun at all.

I get that history is important.  But I’ve never really enjoyed it.  Which is a little weird — normally students who like English and writing also enjoy history.  It makes sense — history is essentially a collection of stories.  And it’s stuff that actually happened.  They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and I fully believe that.  Some of the stuff we’ve done as humans you just can’t make up.

But I just can’t get into history when it’s taught in a class.  For one, I have an awful memory.  I grasp conceptual stuff fairly easily, and I’m good at learning processes, but please don’t ask me who it was that signed this or that treaty, because I won’t be able to tell you.  I’m not good at remembering dates, and while I have a vague timeline of world events in my head, I usually have to look up the details.

The other thing is that in class, there’s too much to cover to be able to get into the interesting stuff.  Unless it’s a very specialized class, you can’t get into the personal lives of important people, or how the culture affected certain groups — there is just not enough time.  When I was younger, I read a lot of historical fiction, and that’s where any interest I have had in history comes from.  I liked learning about how ordinary people lived in certain time periods and how major world events affected their lives.  I care about history on the small scale.  I want to know how I might have felt if I had lived during colonial America, or during World War II.  I read stuff like Soldier in Blue (which I can’t find on Goodreads), Copper Sun, all the American Girl historical novels, and the Dear America and Royal Diaries series.  Books like those, more than anything, are where I learned the things I remember about history.  It has to be relate-able.

Sometimes I wonder if more of history should be taught like that.  It’s probably not very practical, because I know not everyone loves reading like I do.  Some people are interested in big picture history, and some people learn best when listening to someone else.  But there’s a lot to be said for looking at the details and making it interesting.  History is easier to remember when you can imagine it happening to you.

I spent a lot of my Christmas break studying for the Euro Civ II CLEP test, so I could test out of the second half of the class.  There were no other options than the same professor I had last semester, and I didn’t really want to waste 3 hours a week on a history class when I’ll also be doing senior projects.  History, for me, is one thing that’s best learned on my own.

What has your experience with learning history been like?

 

3 Lessons I Learned From Being a Tutor

Tutors are everywhere in American culture.  Almost everyone I knew growing up, including me, had a tutor at one point or another — music lessons and ACT prep were as common as dirt among my group of peers.  As a society, we are very focused on individual achievement, so it makes sense that we have tutors to hone our skills and make us the best people that we can be.  What we don’t realize is how much our tutors learn from us, too.

I have a (very) little experience being a tutor.  The summer before I started college I taught a beginner flute student, and last semester I was asked to tutor a beginner Spanish student here at Tech.  I knew both would be difficult, but I didn’t realize how inadequate I would feel.  Through teaching, I learned a lot of important lessons about teaching, business, and myself.

1.  Teachers aren’t responsible for output.

I am very results driven.  I love to cross items off lists.  If I spend two hours working on a project and don’t finish it, it bothers me a bit that I can’t mark it out of my planner yet, because if I don’t acknowledge accomplishments somehow, that time feels wasted.  I really had to rethink this last semester when I had my Spanish student.  Foreign languages aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I understand that they are difficult.  But even when I did my best to quiz my student on vocab and explain weird grammar concepts, her grades didn’t improve much.  For the first month or so, this really bothered me.  I felt that I was failing her as a teacher, and thought that maybe I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.

I talked to my mom about it, because she has been a tutor for years.  She helped me realize that I wasn’t responsible for my student’s grades.  My job was to do my best, and the rest was on her.  There was only so much quizzing and explaining I could do in an hour a week, and then it was up to her to study and quiz herself.  Teachers can explain stuff till they’re blue in the face, but students are responsible for their own learning.

2.  Boundaries are extremely important

Last semester, I really wanted to be a good tutor.  I wanted to make myself as available as possible, and that desire led me to hold several extra sessions without asking for payment.  Part of this was because, as I said above, I felt bad that my student’s grades weren’t improving, and I didn’t feel that I deserved to be paid.  But this meant that I lost hours of valuable homework time during one of my busiest semesters ever.  By the time I realized I should have been compensated for my time, I had already set a precedent.

If I ever decide to take on another Spanish student, I won’t be so altruistic.  Tutoring, like any other service, is a business, and I needed to separate my own emotions from the service I was offering.  If there is a next time, I need to be sure to mention up front whether or not I’m willing to fit extra sessions in, and need to explicitly mention that I expect to be paid for every session, which most people, I think, would find reasonable.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that every time someone benefits from my Spanish knowledge, I expect to be paid.  I’m more than happy to help a friend with an assignment or read over a paper.  However, this was an instance where I needed to view tutoring as work.  I wouldn’t have taken an extra shift at a regular job for free, so I shouldn’t have tutored for free either.

3.  No one ever stops learning.

When I first took on my flute student in high school, I had 9 years of my own private flute lessons under my belt.  I wasn’t the best player by any means, but I could definitely hold my own in a band or as a soloist.  But when I started teaching my beginner student, I realized there was a lot I had forgotten.

The very first lesson I taught was a disaster.  I had trouble filling up the half hour because I didn’t know what to do or say.  I showed my student a few things, but I realized I didn’t remember enough about being a beginner to teach.  That week, I went back to my own teacher for pointers, and she reminded me of several things to look out for — good posture, finger positioning, and embouchure techniques that had become second nature to me.

This happened with my Spanish student, as well.  I was used to using a lot of different verb tenses, for example, but had to remember how to explain when and why each was used.  I also had to relearn a lot of vocabulary that I had been taught, but had not used in a long time.  Both of these experiences were very humbling, and it reminded me that just being good at something doesn’t make me an expert.  Albert Einstein once said,

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

I don’t know if I will ever tutor again.  I enjoyed it, but there are so many other things I want to try to do with my life.  However, my small experience as a tutor has definitely given me a whole new appreciation for teachers everywhere.

Why the Marching Band Deserves Some Love, Too

Last Saturday night, I and a couple friends gathered at my apartment to watch the Battle at Bristol (the UT-VA Tech football game that was held at the Bristol Motor Speedway — UT won, by the way).  I was the one who suggested watching, but I’m not sure why I did, because football on its own isn’t terribly interesting to me.  While I have come to appreciate sports much more than I did in high school, I enjoy the cultural and social aspects much more than the actual event.  I do enjoy watching basketball and hockey, especially if I’m actually at the game, but at football games I sometimes forget that we’re there to actually watch football.  I get distracted watching fans, cheerleaders, and my favorite, the band.

I’m partial to the band because I played flute for a long time (and I WILL pick it up again once I graduate, mark my words).  I was homeschooled, so I never had the opportunity to march, but I wish I’d had the chance.  My mom played trombone in her high school marching band and has always said it was the best part of school.  Of the friends I have who have marched, not one of them has ever regretted doing it, and most of them wish they could go back and do it again.

But of the few football games I’ve been to, no one but band members get excited about the band, and that is seriously a tragedy.  Here’s why football fans should tear their eyes away from their beloved players and take a moment to appreciate the marching band.

  1. Band kids work hard.  To even get into a college band, you have to be relatively good at your instrument and must go through an audition process before you can play with the band.  Then, most bands require their players to arrive at school before the fall semester starts so they can go through a week or two of band camp, which are all-day rehearsals (in the summer, so it’s ridiculously hot) where the band learns both their music for the season and their marching show.  Any band kid will tell you it’s intense, and it’s not uncommon for kids to pass out from the heat.  Just try to tell me that’s not as hard or harder than football players running drills and practicing.
  2. Band = great atmosphere.  Marching bands generate so much hype and team spirit it’s ridiculous.  Can you imagine sitting through a college or high school game without the band playing snippets of pop songs as reactions to plays?  How boring would that be?
  3. Band kids are hilarious.  Have you ever sat near the band and just watched them during a game?  If you haven’t, you should.  Band kids are the best at goofing off while getting stuff done at the same time, and it’s super entertaining.  The drum line at my school likes to play by themselves after the marching show is over, and they have so much fun with it that it makes me wish I was down there with them.
  4. Marching shows are super cool.  Firstly, most schools play pop music for games, which is fun for everyone (especially the band kids, because then they have to turn around and play classic composers in concert band).  Secondly, while they’re playing fun music (by memory, I might add), they walk around in fun shapes and have color guard members throwing flags everywhere and they’re usually wearing funny hats and how is that not so fun to watch?
  5. Band kids are passionate.  After college, marching bands disappear.  Maybe they exist, but I have never heard of a professional marching band.  Kids who march don’t do it because they’re trying to further their careers or gain recognition, they do it because they love it.  Why else would anyone subject themselves to hours of practice in the hot sun, late nights at games, and sore mouths/fingers/arms/backs from doing all those things?

Band is awesome, and more people need to appreciate it, so next time you’re at a college game, just take a minute or two to watch the band.  I promise you won’t regret it.

Senior Year Starts to Get Real

It’s time to talk about the future.

This fall, I will be a senior in college.  These past three years have absolutely flown by, and every year has gotten increasingly more wonderful and more stressful.  Right now, the thought of all I have to do in the next year looms over me.  I just know this next year will be the most stressful yet.

Here’s why:

  • I’ll be taking 18 hours of classes both semesters.  Because I added my Spanish major in sophomore year, about half of my fall classes will be gen eds I did not take freshman year, so the load shouldn’t be awful.  But the upper division classes I’ll have will be brutal, and then in the spring I’ll have all upper division and two theses to complete for graduation.
  • I may or may not be working, because I may or may not have enough money to cover the whole year.  I honestly don’t know yet, and so I can’t make a plan.
  • I’m going to have to start applying for big girl jobs in the fall, which means I’m trying to figure out for sure this summer what it is I really want to do.
  • The boyfriend and I need to decide where we are going to move, because we’ll need to search for jobs in that area.  That’s a big decision.
  • Speaking of the boyfriend, our plan as of now is to get engaged in the spring, which will add wedding planning stress onto regular life stress.  Plus, we’ve decided it would be more economical to go ahead and move in together after graduation, which goes against both of out parents’ beliefs.

On top of all this, I’ll have to try to keep up my social life, which for an introvert like me can be difficult even when things aren’t crazy.  It’s an exciting time in life right now, but it’s also very scary.

This summer is a bit of a break, sort of.  I didn’t go home this summer, because I am taking 4 summer classes that I need in order to graduate on time.  These classes come with their own type of stress, because one is a whole semester’s worth of material condensed into a month, and the other 3 are online classes whose professors for some reason decided that group homework and projects were a good idea.  However, very few of my friends are here this summer, so on one hand I have plenty of time for my classes and my part-time job.  On the other hand it gets lonely.

Honestly though, while all this is incredibly stressful, it’s not what is really bothering me.  I know all this won’t be fun, but I know I can handle it.  I can take it for one more year.  What’s really bothering me is that sometimes I feel that I will never get a job I can be proud of.

These feelings started this summer when I decided to stay at school.  I had a great job in my hometown working as a floating bank teller.  It wasn’t the most exciting job, but the pay was good and it was great experience.  However, the bank was local and so I couldn’t just transfer to a branch here for the summer.  I had to quit.

I found a new summer job here in town, in a department store as an apparel associate.  To be completely honest, it’s not my favorite.  The people I work with are okay as people, but as employees no one seems to really care about the business.  On top of this, the pay is not great, I barely get enough hours to pay my bills, and I have a bit of an ethical issue with offering credit, which means I don’t get credit card applications, which means I don’t get as many hours.  I’ve been looking casually at other jobs, but most of the options available won’t be much better than the job I have.  It’s a frustrating situation.

I also research possible big girl jobs for next year, just to get an idea of what’s out there and what qualifications I might need.  I’m certain I’m not the only student that experiences this, but every job I am interested in requires experience that I don’t have and don’t know if I can get in the next few years.  I’ve really been looking into real estate certification, but I know that market is competitive and will challenge me and to be honest, it’s very intimidating.

So, the future of my career is uncertain.  My boyfriend’s, on the other hand, is bright.  As a computer science major, he’s always been confident that he’ll find a job with relative ease, and as we’ve gotten older this seems like it will be the case.  He found a great job this summer where he’ll make more than I’ve ever had at one time.  It’s not a computer science job, but he’s a really likable guy, and already one of the best people on his team, and he is already making connections and seeing potential opportunities only a few weeks into the summer.  I, on the other hand, with my crappy summer job and vague ideas about the future, feel a little bit (okay, a lot bit) inadequate next to him.

With my degrees and interests, I know it might take me longer than it does him to find a stable, enjoyable career.  And I know that whatever job I find probably won’t ever be as well-paying as his.  And we’ve already talked about the fact that he, as my life partner, should be able to and is willing to support me if I don’t find a good job soon after graduation (or ever).  But I’m an independent person.  I want a good job.  I want to contribute a good percentage to our well-being, even if I never make as much as he does.  I want to feel ownership for our success.  I want to be able to, in the future, look at our little house and our life and know that it couldn’t have been possible without me.

Writing all this down, I know that a lot of these worries and insecurities are only worries and insecurities.  I know rationally that somehow, my life will work out and I’ll get through all the stress and I’ll eventually find a fulfilling job.  I also know that the only way to achieve this is to work hard, and keep researching, and put myself out there even when I’d rather hide in my room and binge watch Parks and Recreation.  I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, and mostly, just take it one day at a time.

Here’s to senior year.

Wanderlusting for Sloth City

Before you read the rest of this post, look to the right.  There’s a little blurb, underneath that super awesome picture of me. Read it now.  I’ll wait.

Did you read it?  Good.  See how there’s that little word “figuratively”?  Well, scratch that word out of the sentence now and put “literally” in its place.

Because I am going abroad.

I have been waiting for this moment for years.  I’ve always wanted to travel, and study abroad programs were a big part of my college-decision-making process.  Lucky for me, the college I chose has a great one.  I’m becoming a fairly decent Spanish speaker (my recent oral exam grade proves it! woo!), and I love warm, beachy climates, so after the spring semester ends, it’s off to Costa Rica!

beach

I’ll be in Spanish classes while I’m there, and I still have a lot of planning and studying to do.  But as far as I understand, we are allowed to explore the area as we like when class is not in session, and I cannot wait to discover the beauty of the language and the people — and especially the national parks.  Apparently, Costa Rica is the home of actual, real-live sloths.  Here at school, I’m affectionately (I think) known as “the sloth” by my friends, so I think it’s decidedly appropriate for me to meet some of them.

sloth

My blogging plan for Costa Rica is to post once a week while I’m there.  I’ll be taking copious amounts of photos, and I’m sure I’ll need to vent about all the ups and downs of living in a foreign country for the first time.  Also — and this is what I’m really excited about — I plan to write each week’s post both in English and Spanish.  This is as much for me to practice as it is for any Spanish speakers out there who may stumble upon my blog.  The two versions may not be the exact same, as I’m much more fluent in English, but I’m extremely excited to experiment.

Manual Antonio Beach, Costa Rica
Manual Antonio Beach, Costa Rica

I don’t leave for a month or two, but I’m so excited for this trip I just couldn’t contain my enthusiasm.  Also, I had intended to fulfill today’s Blogging 101 challenge of adding a new element to my blog by embedding pins rather than images in my post. Sadly, Pinterest only offers the code in Javascript rather than html, which is what WordPress uses.  At least I can say I tried.

Forpy: Peakweek

Pits

  • I didn’t get the job that would’ve been my first choice.  Mainly because I balked about handing in the application.  My fault.

Peaks

  • I did, however, get a job finally.  :)
  • This week’s flute lesson went amazing.
  • I got to go to the fitness class I’ve missed four straight weeks of.
  • I am less than a week away from being unofficially done with high school!  Then it’s time to study, study, study for econ.

Prayers

  • While I am not busy this semester, a lot of my friends are, and I’m having trouble keeping up with them.  :(
  • I hope I don’t fail at my new job.  (I know I won’t, but there will be a lot more to remember than there was at last year’s summer job.)

Praises

  • My own flute teacher is the best person ever.
  • Did I mention I found a job?
  • And that I’m almost done with high school?
  • And that’s it’s finally spring and all the trees are blooming?  Check out the blossoms below, and click on any photo to scroll through them all in a larger format.  Leave a comment!

My Own Choices Mock Me

You’d think that by now I’d know to take precautions against my ever-changing mind.  You’d think I would know to apply for other schools’ scholarships even if I think I know where I’m going.  You’d think I would know myself well enough to know what I most enjoy doing.  You’d think.

I wonder, in hindsight, if I didn’t just choose a school to get it over with.  College decisions are so, so stressful, and I wanted mine made before the new year.  Which it was.  But now I’m second-guessing.

For a long time I was planning on majoring in music, but I ditched that idea about a year ago.  You have to really adore music — and be good at it — to do that.  I like music, but not enough to make it my whole life.

After I scrapped music I decided I wanted to major  in economics — a strange switch, I know.  At the time I had just begun an AP econ course, which I was really enjoying.  But that, too, grew old.

Then I remembered the results on the spiritual gifts test I took last year — my top gift was administration.  So I thought, why not put that attribute to good use?  I’ll major in basic business or business management.  I’m good at organizing.

That was my most recent thought.  The school I picked has a very good business program, is close to home but not too close, and is very affordable.  I picked it, and I thought, this is it.  I didn’t want to deal with college choices anymore.  So I deleted or recycled mail I got from my other top schools.  Forget applying for scholarships to those schools.  Forget watching out for deadlines.

But like I said, now I’m second-guessing.  I love to write, and am wondering if I shouldn’t major in English or journalism.  I love clothes and sewing, and am wondering if I shouldn’t go to a liberal arts school where I can explore all my interests at once.  I chose a tech school, and am now wondering if that was entirely the wrong choice.  What if I messed up my chances for switching schools if I need to? What if I waste a year at the wrong school?  What if I end up having to stay at home another year?  I don’t think I could stand it.

Why is this so hard?

Choices

Options swirling

Futures looming, fighting

My fingers pick one

It mocks me.