My Future, Decided

I’ve made my decision. Next year, I’ll be going to Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. If you’re interested, the school website is here and there are some cool panoramas of Bremen here. And here is a video of free hugs made in Bremen:

I quite enjoy it. And I like the song. 

I’m mailing the forms and wiring the deposit tomorrow. And then I have a lot to do! I have to go to Radio Shack and see what voltage adapters and converters and such I need. I have to buy plane tickets. I have to talk to my bank and see if they can accomodate me living in Europe or if I need to change banks. I have to decide what I’m taking, what’s cheaper to buy there, and what I don’t need. I have to start frantically studying German. There are many preparations to be made. 

I have some reservations. Bremen isn’t a very big city, and I’m a fan of big cities. The course selection isn’t as varied as I’d like it to be. But the people seem awesome, and living in Europe will be an amazing opportunity. Even the most mundane things, like buying toothpaste, will, at first, be an adventure because they’ll be so different. I’ve never even visited a country where I don’t speak the language at least well enough to get by except Morocco but that doesn’t count because I was with a guided tour. 

I’m nervous, and, like I said, there are some things I’m not sure about, but I’ll never know unless I try, and when else will I get this chance? So I’m taking a chance, and I’m going with the option that isn’t certain, isn’t safe, isn’t something I know I love. I’m going with “adventurous” and “exciting.” Or maybe “reckless” and “stupid.” Or maybe all four. And I’m excited.

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escape

As I face important choices, as I am overwhelmed by responsibility, as I realize that I am sorely lacking in good decision-making skills, there are many, many times that I want to just escape, in many ways. Of course, there’s the feeling that physically escaping the situations will make it better, the desire to just leave, but that’s unproductive. And then, the need to escape back in time a few years.

I’m rereading all my Animorphs books (and getting a lot out of them, surprisingly; they are remarkably complex for endless-series-ghostwritten books written for ten year olds). I’m immersing myself in that world, in a fight against slug-like brain-controlling aliens that sounds ridiculous when voiced aloud by a near-adult (and only slightly less ridiculous when voiced aloud by a ten-year-old, I’ll grant you that). I’m ignoring all my more recent interests and responsibilities (blogging, for one, as you may have noticed, and I’m also not answering my email for the most part, so don’t be offended if your communication with me has ceased). 

See, I’ve never been very good at coping with stress. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have a driver’s license because then I would take that first escape route, and while reading the Animorphs is relatively harmless, leaving the state or country to escape your problems can create new (major) ones. 

I’m enjoying this journey to the past, though. Over the course of fifty-four books (plus four Megamorphs, four Chronicles, and the two Alternamorphs (which I like to pretend don’t exist)), you get to know these characters. This story goes from being a relatively light one to a kind of serious and intense war story. There are ambiguous moral choices. There is violence and death. There’s a lot to take in here, a lot more than is suggested by the format (the never-ending series that we all read at least one of when we were ten or so–my favorites were the Animorphs, Sweet Valley High, and the Babysitters’ Club, at different times). 

So it’s pretty intense and absorbing if you’re reading anywhere from three to eight of these per day (I’ll run out soon, though). It’s enough to distract me pretty thoroughly from all the things I don’t want to deal with. Not only does it take me back to the Animorphs’ world, it takes me back to my own childhood as well. However, when the books run out, I’ll have to deal. 

As stress-coping strategies go, however, I’d say this one is pretty awesome. 

Plus, if you never read these books–do so immediately!

freedom

What it all comes down to is freedom. 

In pursuit of freedom, I’ve worked hard enough for the past three and a half years to be offered the scholarships I’m choosing between now (and more), because I’ve always known I don’t want to be trapped in North Carolina. If you have to stay in a place you hate (though I’m growing to love it more as leaving becomes more of the concrete, immediate future, rather than just the someday future), that’s not freedom. 

This summer, I felt trapped by the end of my six weeks at Governor’s School, and I was miserable. 

It’s hard for me to admit that, because there were things I loved, and most people loved the whole experience. I loved some of the classes, and I loved writing for the newspaper. The rest of it felt like “freedom” to most people, but to me, it was a cage with invisible bars.

No one woke you up in the morning for class, no one told you what to eat, no one told you when to sleep (though you did have to be in your room at a certain time), and that was freedom to them. They were blissfully happy and felt independent. They couldn’t see the bars of the cage.

We had to stay within the boundaries of Old Salem. This is a historical tourist area. We were trapped there. We had limited internet access because it wasn’t in the dorms, and the library was hardly open, so not only were we trapped in a boring geographic area, we were also isolated, to a large degree, from the outside world. We saw the same four hundred faces every day, and there was no chance for variety. We were trapped in a stifling routine, and that felt like a cage I couldn’t get out of. 

Now, with my college choices, I’m trying at all costs to avoid that feeling. I want to feel free. I want to have choices. I want to be able to escape monotony. I don’t want to feel trapped or tied down. 

So now the question is, what offers more freedom? A situation where I can take off to another country for a weekend, or one where every day presents opportunities to explore the same vast city? 

Well, apparrently the open-all-the-time concept (like Waffle House or Wal-Mart) is uniquely American, and I feel like that gives me, as a night owl, more freedom to go and do something no matter what time it is. Also apparently things in Germany are closed on Sundays. However, travel is more freeing than anything I’ve ever experienced, and I’d have more travel opportunities in Europe. They are different types of freedom. Which is more freedom? That’s the question I’m trying to answer. Should it be?

I have two dreams. I’ve always had two dreams. I love the energy of a big city, and New York’s energy is unique, and I love it. I’ve always dreamed of living there. On the other hand, I’ve always loved foreign cultures, and I’ve always wanted to live in a foreign country, and travel has been a huge dream of mine. Which dream do I take now, and which dream will come around again? 

I don’t know the answers here. I’m just trying to figure things out.

achievement

I know this girl, not well, but she’s an acquaintance, and she’s an actress. I’ve seen her in a couple of plays, and she’s really great. She’s also an awesome person–not just incredibly talented, but genuinely a really kind and wonderful person. Anyway, she got a part in One Tree Hill. A major TV show. I don’t mean an extra, I mean she actually got a part and spoke and everything. It was kind of surreal to see someone I know on TV (the news doesn’t count), and no one deserves that success more than she does. 

It makes you think about things, though. She’s seventeen, and an actress, and she’s really accomplishing things in her chosen field. What have I done? Not a lot, really, particularly because I’m not entirely sure what my goals are, what I want to be doing. Writing is one, and I’ve done okay there, but it’s not like I’m a published novelist or anything–in fact, if we’re using that as a marker of success and achievement, I haven’t even written a whole novel. I’ve been published once. I blog. But shouldn’t I be writing more, going after more opportunities, achieving more? I don’t know. I don’t know what the standard is. Sure, the girl mentioned in the first part of this post is probably not a good standard of comparison; most seventeen-year-olds haven’t done anything like that. But why shouldn’t she be the standard? Why shouldn’t we all be striving to meet that level of achievement? Answer: we probably should. It may or may not be possible, but we should try harder. I should try harder, I mean.

indecision prevails

I am still indecisive. Also, if you want more details, feel free to email me, but I’m not going to bore my half-dozen readers by rambling on about the details of each choice.

I have realized that I suck at making decisions, and, what’s more, I’ve never made a life-changing decision of this magnitude before. I have, for the most part, taken the path of least resistance, and while I suppose that is a choice, it’s a passive choice. This is the biggest active choice I have ever made, affecting the next 3-4 years of my life directly, and indirectly everything after that. 

Every time I think I’ve chosen a school, I change my mind. I am indecisive, still. I know it’s a choice I’m lucky to have, but I don’t feel that way when it’s got me so stressed out I make myself physically ill, and I’ve cried more in the past two weeks than the past two years. They’re both good choices; that’s what makes it so hard. If there was a clear wrong choice, it would be easy, and it’s far from that. Even though there’s not a bad choice, there’s still a better choice, and that’s what I’m trying to figure out. 

I wanted choices. That’s why I applied to so many colleges. Now I’m kicking myself for it; I am clearly awful at dealing with choices.

Decisions To Make?!?!

I thought I had it all figured out. The college thing, I mean. I was expecting to move to New York City next year and go to Fordham University. I was excited.

And I can still do that. But now, I have options. Very tempting options. It suddenly became cheaper to move to Bremen, Germany and attend Jacobs University. Yeah. Germany. Moving to Europe. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages. An amazing opportunity that I can’t imagine passing up. 

I love both options. I love them so much that I don’t want to let go of either one. There are definite benefits to each one. I don’t know what to do. Somehow, my certainty and excitement have become paralyzing, exciting indecision.

the city

This is just a bit of descriptive writing I did on a city a couple hours from where I live, a city I visit often. It’s transcribed from the journal entry of the last trip I took there. You can probably guess it, but I don’t want to tell you what it is, because you might have a different impression of it than I do, and I’m selfish; I want you to be immersed, for a few paragraphs, in the city I know. 

This is the only city I know where people buy and wear orange clothing in such large numbers. This is big orange country, where the entire population lives and breathes college sports. The businesses on the strip plaster their front windows in orange propaganda, and on game day, floods of people dressed in the color fill the streets. I love the energy in the air as people come from across several states to cheer on our team. The air is electric with hope, anticipation, and possibility. When you leave, that same air is filled with either disappointment or celebration, but, for a couple of hours, you’re holding your breath with twenty thousand strangers, uncertain as to which it will be.

The pollution leaked into the air taints every breath we take. We gasp at its beauty as it manifests itself as an orange glow (appropriate) over hazy purple mountains at sunset. Were we not breathless at the sight, the smog in the bitter cold air would be slowly killing us. 

The city sprawls out farther than is reasonable in every possible direction, lighting up the night sky. It is simultaneously crumbling, growing, and unchanging. There are abandoned warehouses, factories brought to life as restaurants on the river, a coffee plant whose huge sign drowns out anything else in that corner of the city, rusting railroad bridges, and new construction on the never-ending, always confusing, always changing reeways. It is expanding, decaying, and experiencing a rennaissance of sorts as it is rebuilt. That construction has been going on since before I was born. I stand high above the river, and the vastness of the city never fails to startle and amaze me. I can’t see the end of it.

idealism

Sometimes, I think that everything worth fighting for, every revolutionary and radical idea worth believing in, will always be seen as naive, idealistic, and unrealistic. 

That is all.

trust

We all need someone we can trust, no matter what. It’s good for us to talk about things freely, without watching our words, and for that, we need to trust people. 

The problem, however, is that once you’ve trusted too many people and had that trust betrayed, it’s difficult to completely trust new people. 

That’s the past at work on the present. No matter how hard we try to escape it, the past is always exerting its influence, good or bad, over the present.

Five Questions

These questions were asked by Jordyn

The rules:

1. If you want to participate, leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (And your e-mail address, please.)
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

And now, the questions, with my answers:

1. What got you started blogging and why have you kept at it? I started because I am very opinionated! Book blogging, at least. I wanted an outlet to discuss all the books I read. As for personal blogging, I’ve tried over and over to keep journals, and failed, so I figured I might be more likely to keep writing about my thoughts and my life if there was some sort of accountability–people who expect me to keep posting. I’m not sure it’s worked; I’m not a particularly consistent blogger over here. 

2. What has been the hardest age for you? (And why, if you want to add that.) I’d say that twelve was probably my hardest age. There are a lot of reasons I don’t want to go into, but I will say that middle school was hard on me; there were a number of mean girls who used to be my friends and then completely ditched me for stupid middle school girl reasons. Middle school girls are vicious. I had no friends at all for about a year. 

3. Are you generally a positive or negative person? I think I’m relatively balanced, at least compared to how I have been in the past, but most other people might tell you I’m a negative person. I think that’s generally because when I’m happy, I don’t feel the need to talk about it, but when I’m unhappy, I need to talk about it and complain and vent. 

4. What is your earliest memory? When I was three, I got attacked by a goose in the park. I was just innocently feeding it bread crusts with my friend as our fathers looked on, and then it was biting me. It was terrifying, because the goose was probably bigger than I was. 

5. How did you choose your blogger or wordpress username? Depends on what exactly you’re talking about. Teen Book Review is just overly obvious and descriptive of what I do over there. Wordygirlj is the address for this blog, and is just an adaptation of a username I used to use a lot, wordychick, which is just because I like words. The title of the blog, ideas (thoughtful and less so) is just another, nicer way of saying random stuff.

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