Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just kicked in

The excitement! Oh, the excitement!

In less than 24 hours, we will be outta here. I love the Big City and all, but it's time to bust out and have some winter fun. We're going down to the Eastern Shore for a T Family Christmas in a rental house on the bay (I think?) in Maryland. It'll be T's family - parents, aunts, uncles and cousins - no kids yet. So lots of drinking, eating and general hanging out, spanning time.

After a few days with the T Fam, we move on to my parents' house for one night of FAST catching up with my parents, brother and sister, 3 nieces (in town on the one holiday that I'm not there!) and cousin, aunt, etc. It'll be a lot of socializing in a little time, though, because on Monday morning, we Colombia!

Two weeks in Colombia. As usual, I tentatively think I might have some kind of clue what to expect, while simultaneously feeling sure that I have no idea whatsoever what to expect. I do know that despite every logical part of my brain being convinced otherwise, we will be in HOT weather. So I am forcing myself to pack shorts, tank tops, flip flops even. And a swim suit, if I can find it.

In Colombia, we'll see lots of relatives I've long wanted to introduce to T. And I'll get to show him my family's home in Purificacion where my dad and grandmother were born, and where my great aunts and uncle still live. And for the first time ever, we'll get to do some exploring outside the realms of family. I just can't wait.

We'll fly back on January 9th, the Sunday before my last semester of law school (si Dios quiere) and then resume normal life again, which by then, I suspect, we'll be more than happy to do.

Hooray! Merry Christmas! Happy new year, ya'll!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The future, in terms both long and short.

It's been so long since I've updated, especially with anything beyond "Oh, it's finals. Life sucks." So long, in fact, that I don't really feel like updating now.

But update I will. For posterity, as always.

Finals ended on Friday, and it's Monday today. So really, it's only been a few days since my semester ended, but it already feels like an eternity ago. Immediately after my last final (4:30 pm on a Friday... fun!) I grabbed a couple law school buddies and we met up with T who was having his holiday party after-party at a bar downtown. That led to more drinks, two pizzas, some fries and a homemade sausage sandwich, all consumed at various stops between the first bar and my apartment. I wound up at home several hours later, quite full, slightly tipsy and very ready for sleep.

Saturday consisted of watching old Christmas cartoon classics (the lesser-known, racist ones, because that's all they had on Netflix Instant Watch) while I purged my study nook of all my old notebooks, outlines, books and assorted papers. I also managed to purge my closet, which started out at the beginning of the semester looking so neat and tidy, but ended up the apparent victim of a deadly tornado. After throwing every single shirt, suit jacket and dirty sock onto the bed, I sorted clothes into "trash", "giveaway" and "keep" and then stopped, leaving the tornado debris all over the room. Hah. Finishing projects is not one of my strengths.

We went on a date Saturday night, though, which was awesome. T had brought a bottle of wine home a few days ago, which I stared at longingly for the last 3 days of studying, having realized that I absolutely cannot be productive if I've had a glass of merlot. T, the wine and I made up the street to a BYO thai restaurant, where the waiter immediately whisked the bottle away to be opened, only to return moments later with the cap unscrewed. "Didn't realize this was screw-top," he said, as we all looked down and laughed awkwardly.

And speaking of awkward, the post-finals reconnection is always a little awkward, because I've basically spent the last three weeks ignoring T while he goes about his business and I sink into a pit of despair and self-pity out of which I refuse to be helped. All of a sudden, with finals over, I'm ready to return to our amazing marriage, our passionate love and fond affection for one another, and I'm inevitably frustrated that life is not immediately back to normal, my husband isn't attentive to my every need and our conversation doesn't flow the way I remember it. It takes time to cultivate the closeness that I've shrugged off for the entire last month of school. And that is why our Saturday night date, despite my initial misgivings, was so lovely.

After dinner, wine and dessert, we made our way uptown to a local art theater to see Tiny Furniture. I could write a whole other blog post about why I thought Tiny Furniture was awesome. But suffice it to say that there aren't enough movies told from the point of view of a 22-year old normal-sized girl who isn't sure why she's living with her parents or working at a restaurant after having just earned a college degree, but is pretty sure that's okay for now and the answer isn't about finding the right guy or getting a makeover. I highly recommend it, and I'll leave it at that.

So anyway, after Saturday, the rest of the weekend (aka Sunday) was just a bunch of me and T poking around the house, planning for our upcoming trips, alternating between getting things done (me: put the clothes away, t: pack orders) and laying around (me: listen to savage love podcasts, t: nap). We went over to our friends' house to eat dinner and watch more old Christmas movies, came home and went to bed.

Where does that leave me?

Well, pretty much trying to fight off a sinus infection and avoid the freezing, freezing death cold of the Big City, while continuing to be semi-productive in planning for my future, in terms both short and long. (Short: trip to T's family's rental house for Xmas, then 2 weeks in Colombia. Long: another college graduation that may or may not lead to a paying job.) I'm putting together a homemade Christmas present for everyone in my life, and telling myself that is a form of productivity. And I'm carefully spacing out my consumption of Tylenol Head Congestion pills and Theraflu Warming Elixer (or whatever it's call). And forcing myself to update my blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thanks, God

I prayed for calm last night. Lately my body feels like it's falling apart: persistent leg pain, chest tightness, crampiness, sporadic sinus problems, increasing waistline, exhaustion. While there's no doubt that I need to see a doctor for a physical soon, as it's been a while, I know myself well enough to believe that many of these symptoms are stress related.

I've been reading through the New Testament, as that's part of my 30 Before 30 list. I know I've mentioned it from time to time here. A while back, I read something where Paul was exhorting one of the many churches he wrote to that they should pray often and ask God for many things, as that was a testament to their faith. (Something like that. I'm paraphrasing.) I'm past that book, whichever one it was, and on to Timothy (Timothy 5 last night - with a lot of instructions on how to deal with widows in the church). But anyway... I read Timothy 5 and then turned off the light, and realized that it was going to be another night of struggling to breath deeply and fall asleep. So I prayed for calm.

I feel better this morning. I usually do after nights like that. I have a takehome exam due at 8 o'clock tonight and then it's cramming the absolute last bit of knowledge I can stuff into my brain about federal courts (hopefully I have room for half a syllabus) before my Wednesday exam. And then, finally, my Human Rights exam on Friday, which I'm just throwing my hands up in the air for and hoping that my past knowledge about human rights and international law will help me somewhat. So it's gonna be a crazy week. But I know that I can do it.

I tend to be my own worst enemy, playing around on the computer to the last minute, feeling sorry for myself for not doing anything while actively choosing not to do anything, etc. But today, I've done more in the first three hours of the day than I did any other morning over the last two weeks. And I'm not too terribly worried about these exams. So, thank you God, for listening to my prayer and helping me through this little hump.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My struggle

Other law students in my classes have a serious advantage on me this semester. It all comes down to my struggle: inability to focus. This is serious. I stare my computer for hours, wasting away time playing WordTwist or obsessively scouring facebook for new or missed updates from people I haven't spoken to in years. I read about feminism and racism and chat with Fox News readers in the comments section of the DREAM Act articles. (My new nickname, which I like to think of as a term of endearment: "Troll.")

What I don't do is work. I should be either (a) outlining for my two remaining seated exams or (b) completing my take-home exam due on Monday night. On any given day, however, I spend anywhere from 2-4 total hours doing actual, honest-to-God work. On days that I don't have something due the next morning, that number hovers around 2. And it's inexcusable given that I have the entire day to get work done.

This isn't some cheery, "oh, you know LAW SCHOOL" post about how annoying this work is and how much of it there is. This is a real struggle that I'm dealing with. I'm so proud of myself when I get twenty minutes of work done that I take the next hour off, which inevitably ends up in me getting into something that distracts me until dinnertime or some other clear break in the day.

The thing is that I'm smart. I know that I am. I'm very capable of learning new and complex concepts and I learn them well under pressure. But it's a razor-thin line between "works well under pressure" and "waited to the last minute and paid for it." I'm pretty good at walking that line, but I can be clumsy. And even when I gracefully tip-toe my way to firmer ground, it's a nerve-wracking and time-consuming experience. And I can't help but wonder how I'd do if I wasn't constantly fighting this internal battle.

Some of this may just be an innate difficulty concentrating. Some of it may have to do with poor time management, and the desne reading material. Some of it may have to do with my resentment of law school, a passive-aggressive refusal to take this all seriously. Some of this is probably burnout. And some of this problem may even harken back to childhood, a regressive re-experiencing of the pressure that was placed upon me as "the Smart One" in my family at a very young age. Some of this all may be excuses. I suspect all of the above are true, to some degree.

All I know is that the longer I sit here distracting myself, the worse I feel. And the madder I get that it's another Friday night, another one of a limited number of weekends in my life that will be dedicated to this struggle. I feel like I'm missing out on life, and that, for me, is the hardest part of law school. Even as a 3L.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Si Dios quiere

Yeah, so I failed at the NaBloPoMo. But hey, at least I tried. Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get to try again next year and do even better. Si Dios quiere. Si Dios quiere. God willing. That's something my relatives in Colombia say all the time. Most people I know from Latin America say that. It makes me realize how often I speak about the future as if it's a given, as if it's entirely up to me whether or not something will happen. And then I remember that it's not, and it's not. So.

Anyway, lots has been going on up in this little firetrap apartment. For one, we bought tickets to go to Colombia. We meaning me and T. For the first time EVER, T is going to Colombia, and I am going with the love of my life! I've never gone to Colombia with anyone else, although the last time I was there (last summer, for a weekend), my brother was there too. The first time I went to Colombia was the summer before my senior year of college, and I remember riding in a bus around the lurching curves of the Pan-American Highway, descending into the piping hot valley just under the devil's nose (literally, "La Nariz del Diablo"). I was thinking about my friends from college, daydreaming of the day that I'd get to bring one of them with me and show off this amazing place. Funnily enough, I hadn't even met the boy I was dreaming of taking yet. That wouldn't be for another couple months.

But back to it. We got our tickets, and we're going for two weeks, just after Christmas and extending into the new year. We had our usual argument that happens every time we buy tickets to go anywhere: "Let's come back Monday!" "No, we should come back Friday." "No! Monday!" "No! Friday!" And so on and so forth. (See Last Year, Trip to Denver.) Argument ensued. Mistakes were made. Apologies offered and accepted. Sheepish looks exchanged. And now we're done.

In other news, finals. I'm slightly better off this semester than last, in that I knew the last week of classes was happening before we were halfway through it. And because I did reading for more of the semester than I didn't. Rough estimate. But the night insomnia and anxiety are kicking into high gear as the first exam approaches (Monday) and my outline is looking smaller and smaller the larger the test day looms before me. I just can't wait to be done.

Thanksgiving was good. Quiet. The best parts were hanging with my parents for several days in a row, and getting together with all my friends from high school for the first time in ages. (My wedding doesn't count, because I didn't get to hang with them. Plus not everyone was there.)

Now I'm just rambling. Can you guess why? Time to stop putting off blowdrying my hair, walking the dog and gathering my books. Time to get to it. In just a couple of weeks, I'll be past this and on to the job search. Si Dios quiere.