Saturday, October 06, 2012


"Those readers who insist on such topographical digressions at every point fail to understand that they are acting like the type of gourmand at a dinner party who samples everything on the table, and so neither truly enjoys any dish at the moment that he tastes it, nor digests it well enough to derive any benefit from it afterwards. Those who treat their study of history in this fashion likewise receive no true pleasure at the moment of reading, nor instruction for the future."
- Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire 
Just another one of my more amusing bits of reading.

The other day I told P that I had a severe attack of "the lols" and it took a while for her to understand what I meant to say. I never even noticed that I'd picked up that expression from B or J, probably, in IB. Ah, so much nostalgia that needs to be fended off periodically.

I am in better spirits today - probably because classes have ended and I feel gainfully employed (literally, at the dining hall, and more figuratively, as part of Manna Christian Fellowship, and going to attend my first Rotaract meeting soon!). Also looking forward to Z and I having our online movie date tomorrow morning (his Saturday night), which will be fun :)

Am getting more used to doing copious readings and reading much more slowly in order to make notes and sift out salient points, something which I'd neglected to do during IB, really, because I could kind of coast along in class without it. I'm learning so much about being academically disciplined and patient here. Also learning a lot about thinking on my feet (a long way to go, though) and applying theories to new situations. I'm liking it, though it's hard :)

(Unfortunately I believe that my current method of doing reading now is sadly parallel to what Polybius denounces. Well, he wasn't at Princeton...)

Roman history, while not my forte and certainly not the path I'm considering studying even if I were a history major, is highly interesting in its historiographical aspect - how ancient writers dealt with much fewer sources and a much less established idea of what the discipline of history entails. It's curious and sometimes really enjoyable to observe writers like Livy, Polybius, Plutarch etc meditating upon the role and methods of history in the middle of their writing. It's like I can hear them talking, passionately, about their work, and that's almost as good as listening to them give a speech or something.

(Coincidentally - I heard Chung Un-chan, a former Korean prime minister, give an address on Syngman Rhee and Korea's future path just two days ago. It was pretty interesting and amazingly accessible to someone completely ignorant of Korean politics or contemporary history (ie me). I also watched the first American presidential debates that night via a live stream on my computer, so I consider that day one of the days when I felt like I truly took advantage of the fact that I'm here in this place and in this country to learn beyond my classes and readings. Yay.)

Also - it's amazing how God brings people into your life and works through them and through their prayers to help you overcome something you thought you should/could try and overcome yourself. I'm so grateful!

I've quizzes and tests and exams just hurtling towards me and it's not going to let up, so I'd better get back to my reading before something horrible happens in the next week and you guys witness my angst-saturated self again. Ta ta :)

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