Hello world! School has been crazy, so I sincerely apologize for the lack of updates. Between managing readings, homework, midterms, work and the couple of other extracurriculars I've been involved in, I've become somewhat of an automaton, moving on from one task to the next without really thinking about free time. The result is that I've been living day by day, which isn't a good place to be in, so I'm working on that.
The irony is, though, that the few things I did plan to do during fall break just ended up un-accomplishable because of the formidable Hurricane Sandy. My first hurricane was somewhat frightening and somewhat exciting, both for obvious reasons.
We reached campus on Sunday at 4pm after driving from Manna's fall retreat in Pennsylvania (retreat was great and enjoyable, btw) and I rushed to shower, have dinner and hole myself up in my room before dark. I slept early because I'd hardly gotten any sleep during retreat, and when I woke up the sky was overcast, wind was blowing heavily and there was some rain. I went out for breakfast at 10am and made the long trek up to Rocky/Mathey dining hall - which, apart from great architecture, I don't much like, but hey, food is food. Along the way my umbrella got blown inverted and I was sheepishly trying to force it back into its correct position - luckily I made it there unscathed and had lunch. I'd brought in tupperware - a first for me - and smuggled out a drumstick, salad and a sandwich for dinner; in addition dining services set up a bag dinner option which was great!!! (I can't thank all the staff who've kept campus running enough.) I knew I didn't want to make the trek up in the evening when the hurricane was supposed to hit. Spent the afternoon and night in my room doing homework like the boring (and stuck) person I am, and the power went out in the evening but was restored very quickly - thank God for Princeton's own generator!!! That's how you know your university is way rich. I heard the wind howling outside and my window started leaking which is always unfortunate and I decided not to trouble the building services people when they probably had more important things to worry about. But I put a rag on the sill to soak up the water and it worked pretty well :) Went to sleep early again, but not before scolding myself severely for having a fear of the tree outside my window falling and crashing through my window and onto my legs as I slept (ha ha ha, my imaginative mind...). When I awoke, the worst of the storm had passed - leaving behind on campus fallen trees, crushed fences and railings and many bare trees whose leaves had been shaken off. When I went for lunch, I finally saw the squirrels out and about, and so I figured everything was alright, on campus anyway.
We escaped much luckier than a lot of others in NJ/NY and some people have told me that it has made the hurricane boring, but I just thank God for keeping us safe. We have power, Internet, an open dining hall and the fallen trees have all been cleared by now because of our very efficient workers, so we haven't really been inconvenienced in a major way at all! The gym is open and so is the library - when I went for a much-needed run just now, I saw quite a few people from outside the university sitting in the gym lobby and even in the women's locker rooms charging their devices and using the Internet. It's a reminder that other people probably aren't that fortunate, so I really can't complain even though I'm somewhat bored :)
On other things, my first midterm week was kind of like a deep valley that emerged onto a hill - I felt way too nervous going into it, even though I only had two papers. I didn't really know how to study smart. So more nerves. Amazingly, though, God helped calm me down on Wednesday (the day before my history midterm) through the strangest things ever - first a lab session where we looked at mutant Drosophila (fruit fly) embryos under a microscope, and second a dish shift at night which I'd wondered whether I should go for since it was the night before my paper and I wasn't obligated to volunteer for the shift anyway. I asked Z what to do and ended up going for it because I knew I'd prepared enough and because they were pretty short-handed; it took my mind off things for a while which was good. The next day my paper was - not spectacular, and not horrible, but I felt much more at peace because I knew God would handle everything. I felt like He came much more into focus for me on Wednesday and I need to keep my eye fixed on Him more. It's too easy to be prideful and think that I must take everything onto myself to do or accomplish.
(This reminds me of Fall Retreat's theme of "Redeeming Innovation" and how innovation that glorifies self instead of God so often goes awry. I want to always remember that my purpose is to glorify Him - through relationships, through actions, through words.)
I feel like I am settling in more here - slowly building friendships, relaxing into the pace of school life and finding where I belong in this giant institution. That doesn't stop me from missing home and Z though. Every time I say goodbye to him after a Facetime conversation, I am reminded of saying goodbye at the airport, after the last lunch (Korean food!) we had together, after our last night out together at the Esplanade. And there's my family - my brother who's going through IB well but feels that he isn't good enough, and my parents who are working hard to take care of him and to pay for my ridiculous tuition fees here. And my friends, like J J and A, with whom I still feel like I can be myself and not awkwardly careful. I miss ACSians' music tastes!!! (LOL) ...and I just can't wait till I see everyone again.
But I'm blessed to be here. And have so many things to be thankful for, every day. Must remember that :)