The Best Daddy in the Whole, Wide World!

Last week was one of the most difficult weeks of my entire life. A giant monster with sharp claws and a strong bite, formally known as the GRE, came down expectantly to attack me when I was least expecting it. The giant beast attacked from the right and the left throwing all sorts of touch math and vocabulary questions which I needed to overcome in order to save me life! Fortunately, I survived, although it was a rough 5 hour long battle which wore me out completely!

Taking the GRE was a CHALLENGING experience… I wrote an entire blog about it! (In case you wanted more details! 😛 )

This is the part of the story where my wonderful Daddy comes in. Knowing that I would have a hard time saying no to fun in Scotland to study, he told me that if I were to have absolutely no fun for a week before the GRE, and just study, he would take me and a few friends out to dinner. He tasked my roommate, Tiffany, with the task of ensuring that I was actually having no fun and reminding me to study for every possible second that I was awake. And Tiffany rose to the challenge! Every time I would start to talk on the phone, or text, or get comfortable in bed she would tell me that I looked like I was having too much fun and that I needed to get back to work, now!

The night before I took the GRE my daddy called me on Skype to wish me good luck and give me a few last tips before the test. After we chatted for a bit, he asked me if I had my suitcase nearby. And I think to myself, what on earth? What does my suitcase have to do with the price of tea in China??? I told him that it was on top of my wardrobe and pointed my camera at it. He asked me to get it down. I was really confused, and speculated that he had seen the mess all over my room while Skyping with me and wanted to remind me that I only have one suitcase to lug all of my stuff home…. But I got the suitcase!

But the inordinate amount of stuff lying all over my dorm room floor was not what my dad was trying to point out, at least not in that instance. He had me unzip the main compartment, unzip the inner lining, and look under the plastic on the side. And there, taped to the inside of my suitcase, was a one hundred-dollar bill! My dad had put it in there a week before I left for Scotland, as a surprise to remind me that he had been planning a surprise for me long in advance! He told me it was a present from him to reward me for all of my studying and to allow me to take a few friends out to dinner as a treat from him!

Naturally, I was quite excited! Can you imagine a daddy doing anything nicer for his daughter?? I quite happily scheduled a dinner date for Tiffany, Elisabeth, Naomi, and I because I love them, and I also REALLY APPRECIATED all of the hours they spent helping me to prepare for the big day!

Tiffany and Naomi were excited for dinner, too! :)

Tiffany and Naomi were excited for dinner, too! 🙂

And what a fantastic dinner we had! We all went to the grill house in town and ordered a delicious meals. Elisabeth and I ordered Mexican fajitas, which came out on hot plates still sizzling! (We knew they were coming before we could even see the waiter approaching…. Naomi announced, ~I hear your dinner coming!” and cracked us all up!) Naomi and Tiffany had delicious burgers and chips. And we all had a FANTASTIC TIME! This goes to show, I really do have the best daddy in the whole, wide world! ❤

We had such a FANTASTIC time!

We had such a FANTASTIC time!

 

I Skipped a Pub Quiz to STUDY!! (Aka: Taking the GRE)

If you have been keeping up with the Erskine blog, then you might have noticed that I suddenly disappeared last week. Hm, you might have thought to yourself, where has she gone? She normally puts up a blog post about every other day. And now it has been almost two weeks!

Rest assured, I did not suddenly fall off the face of the planet or get swarmed by a herd of angry kittens! Instead, was attacked by something even more deadly: the Graduate Record Exam. In case you are still blissfully unaware, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a four and a half long test required as part of the application process for a large percentage of graduate schools in the United States. In other words, it is a super big, important test that I have to do well on if I want to keep going to school.

Here in the UK, no one had ever heard of the GRE. I told my friends in class, at church, and in my hall that I was going to take the GRE and that I had to study. Their response: stare at me blankly and ask what the GRE is. So I tried explaining to them that it is like the SAT for grad school. Still nothing. And I have been standing around all week wondering to myself wondering what kind of strange world do I live in now where no one has ever even HEARD of the SAT or that GRE?? Do these people live under a ROCK?? And then I thought to myself… No standardized testing? Maybe I should live here for good!

Studying for the GRE was at best dull and uninteresting. Normally I like a good study session where I can really feel like I am working hard, but then, normally I am not studying abroad in Scotland! My dad made a deal with me that if I were to study hard for five days in a row and have absolutely no fun he would pay for me to go out to a nice dinner after the test. The problem was is that there are way too many fun things to do in Scotland! I realized I had hit a whole new level of dedication when I skipped a pup quiz to study!

Actually, I lied to you just a lit bit there. Sorry! (My GRE study guide would say that was a peccadillo- just a small sin! 😛 ) There was one part of studying for the GRE that was fun: the GRE vocabulary flashcards. In order to improve my vocabulary for the test, I ordered a box of flashcards containing the top 500 vocabulary words appearing on the GRE. For about a week before the test I carried those notecards with me everywhere. I flipped through them in my bed, I studied them on the way to class, I agonized over their definitions on the elliptical. My challenge was to memorize as many of the words as I could before I took the test.

The fun part of this story is how helpful my Scottish friends were with this goal. Tiffany, my roommate, started quizzing me on the words in our dorm before we went to bed. Then my friend Elisabeth stepped in and dedicated two evenings in a row to painstakingly go over every word and definition with me, carefully stopping to make sure I really understood the words and could use them in context. The last night before the test my friend Naomi came over to help me with the last few words I needed to practice. I will never forget how these sweet girls gave up their time to help me prepare for my test!

Naomi came over the last night before the test to help me review my vocab cards! :)

Naomi came over the last night before the test to help me review my vocab cards! 🙂

The morning of the test I thought I was going to die. Literally, I was sure of death’s eminence. This mainly stemmed from the fact that I had to get up at 5:45 am in the morning! As I am not meant to get out of bed before 9am, this was a real challenge. Tiffany and I took the 6:20 am bus to Edinburgh and arrived just past 8:30. She went to the coffee shop to study for her math test and I went to the test centre to take my test! Although I was also sure I was going to die of stress or, alternatively, fall asleep during the exam, I managed to make it through alive.

After I finished the test I decided that I deserved a reward. I LOVE to reward myself, and generally reward myself for basically everything that I do. So I decided to reward myself for completing the GRE by getting a professional hour-long massage. Let me tell you’ll something right now: that was the BEST HOUR of my ENTIRE life! Anybody who is reading this blog and has never had a professional massage should drop their computer right now and go get one! I am fairly confident that I am addicted, this stuff is better than crack!

And before you make some ridiculous comment about how I don’t know if it is truly better than crack, because I have never tried crack, let me tell you something. Recent research has found that oreos are probably more addictive than crack. I may not have much experience with crack, but I certainly know a thing or two about oreos!

Want to read about how OREOS are less addictive than CRACK?? Here is the article!

 

The End of the Year…and Summer Begins

Wow. I can hardly believe that my sophomore year of college is over. This year has been one full of learning, growth, and an abundance of blessings. And now, strangely enough, I’m delighted to be at home. I say “strangely enough” because, although I dearly love my home and family in Columbia, I so enjoyed the experience of living at Erskine (my “second home”) this year that I rarely wanted to leave, even for a weekend. There were always fun events to attend, dear friendships to cultivate, and—of course, unfailingly—there was intellectually stimulating and challenging homework to complete. And I was generally loath to leave all of that behind in order to spend four hours driving…even if the driving allowed me to visit my family for the weekend.

I say all of that as a caveat to avoid giving the impression that I don’t absolutely love Erskine–because I do. Consequently, I could not possibly have anticipated, during the school year, how refreshing and wonderful this summer season would be. What am I loving about summer thus far? Spending with my amazing family and friends here in Columbia, relishing my mother’s incredible cuisine, fitting back into rhythm of family life, and being surrounded by books, to name a few. (Perhaps that last comment about books doesn’t make much sense, considering that I just spent eight months at an academic institution…but you see, as much as I appreciated the material I read for classes this year, there’s nothing like wandering through a house full of books of every sort, ranging from child-friendly fiction to medical dictionaries and rich works of theology. A library, of course, is a close approximation, but there’s nothing like a house full of books hand-picked by those clos
est to you.)

I’m also enjoying—and, in the interest of full disclosure, being quite challenged by—the new job I began this Monday at a nearby law firm, Sweeney, Wingate, & Barrow. I’m both excited about my job as a “runner” (which includes everything from making coffee to filing stacks of case documents) and rather overwhelmed. I’m excited because I love the atmosphere there and am thankful to be a part of such a welcoming, close-knit community (an apropos setting after spending a year at a school like Erskine!). At the same time, I’m coming to realize that diving into the working world after years of doing little aside from either studying or mission work (during the summer) is, well, tough.

I give you full liberty to laugh and call me a wimp for admitting this, but um, even a seven-hour work day leaves me exhausted. Yep. Of course, most new things are difficult at first, and any work becomes easier over time. Even so, working regularly causes me to realize with renewed fervor that, while I’m still a student, I don’t want to take for granted the precious freedom I have to spend my time largely as I choose! My tendency during the school year is to think I’m terribly busy…which is often true, but ultimately, only to the extent to which I allow myself to be busy. In other words, although managing one’s time as a student may be challenging at times, as I taste “real life” a bit, I’m realizing how extraordinary is the freedom one has as a student to spend time reading and exploring intellectually—a freedom which will become increasingly elusive after graduation. Which is why I’m hoping to become a professor and stay in school forever…Kidding. Wel
l, only a little. At any rate, the summer has begun well and will, I trust, be a refreshing time of growth and fellowship before I head off to Spain in the fall. Until then, adios mis amigos!

The importance of randomness

A written on banana diplayed on a painting in the student center. It doesn't get any more random than that!

A written on banana diplayed on a painting in the student center. It doesn't get any more random than that!

Where do you get your ‘kicks” from? I’m not much a jokester, but I thoroughly enjoy seeing the process and product of other’s being humorous. For example, some ways I get a chuckle or two at Erskine are watching YouTube videos and witnessing upside down objects, random display of written on fruit, off-the-wall decorations, etc. What are the consequences of these random actions? Laughter! What in the heck were these people thinking?! There is just something hilarious about a 15 year-old boy singing songs about being a girl, Keenan Cahill, http://youtu.be/GczjMFfbc0Y and playing harmless jokes on friends and seeing random displays of objects. A couple weeks ago in my senior seminar class, we researched and presented on humor. One of my classmates reported on the different types of humor. Them being: put down, bonding, hate-me and laugh at life humor. We took a quiz to see what kind of humor we exhibit. It’s pretty neat, ch
eck it out! http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200607/how-do-you-use-humor

In the midst of studying, hard times, and being a college student, these random acts have given me an enlightening feeling. Life it much too precious and short to waste being serious all the time 😛