27 April 2009


I have not been in many relationships, but I have been in enough to be familiar with Ex-Boyfriend Syndrome.  EBS is that most devious of syndromes which exerts itself mainly through the thinking of thoughts such as, "Well, it wasn't that bad, I mean there were some good times!", "He really was kind to me...that one time" and "Maybe we rushed into breaking up".  EBS (or, EGS for men) shows up approximately 7 days after the breakup and may result in late night trips to Target for fatty foods of all varieties, marathon chick-flick watching, and--in serious cases--a rekindling of a relationship.

I have EBS with North Park University.  

After months of looking forward to the proverbial breakup between me and North Park, the time where we would collect the others' belongings and return them to their original owner--me returning my apartment keys, it returning my long lost sanity--I have started to look back.  And sigh.  That is no good.   In an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of EBS for NPU, I have compiled the following lists:

Reasons It Will Be Sad to Leave North Park
1. I will no longer be able to stand on my back porch watching Eric Martin and Dan Johnson sing "Hero" to Eric Landin's window
2. Greenspace
3. No more getting free donuts from Scot McKnight when the men's soccer team is selling them as a fundraiser in Carlson

Reasons I Am Looking Forward to Leaving North Park
 1. I will not be cat called daily on the street in Alaska
2. I will not be in a long distance relationship once I leave North Park
3. Homemade food.  In a kitchen that works.
4. I can have a pet
5. No more classes, no more books, no more professors' dirty looks
6. I can read what I want to read when I want to read it
7. No more Rabbit People

...I will update the list accordingly as Finals Week progresses.  

25 April 2009

More Moving Misadventures

Seeing as the grand total of moves is now up to 12, I decided to lend Matt a hand yesterday and lend my packing expertise in preparation for his move to his new apartment.  Christina and I packed up his kitchen and were quite probably way too amused by writing witty phrases on packing tape (see below).

I still think it's pretty clever.

In related news, Box finally made it to the land of travel, thanks to the incredibly cheap Media Mail option of the US Postal Service.  Sure, it'll get there maybe a day before I do, but really, who else is going to use it in that time?  Besides, $10.98 is about one and a half Vera Bradley Purple Punch duffels (ahem, graduation) less than what UPS would have charged.  Convenient.

24 April 2009

Final College Moment #1

The sound of fingers tapping away on a keyboard came to an abrupt stop.  I looked up at Katie.  
"What's that word when you have a whole bunch of kings, and they go from one to the next.....?"
She tapped her copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls with her thumb, looking up at the ceiling as if it contained the answer.  "Succession?"
"Succession!  That's it!"
Drew glanced up from his computer, "Is it bad that when you said that all I could think of was 'apostolic...' and I couldn't remember the last word?"  Katie and I laughed.  
"That's okay" I responded, "whenever I try to type the name 'Chris' I always accidentally type 'Christ'"
"Oh man, do you always accidentally capitalize 'He' and 'Him' too?" 
"Uh, all the time"
The three of us erupted into forbidden laughter, eliciting shushes from invisible students beyond the mountain of books we'd heaped onto the table to help with the Jewish Backgrounds term paper that we'd known about since January but which we were all scrambling to finish before the midnight deadline.  A flurry of page flipping followed, and the typing resumed.

Graduation Count:  15 days.

21 April 2009


::wwwwWWAAAAAAAaaaaaaaahhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnng::  The wind from a passing CTA bus pushed my hair back from my face and broke me out of my morning haze, back into the reality that I was standing in a puddle in the middle of West Foster Avenue during rush hour.  Literally, in the middle, empty coffee cup in hand, stumbling toward the neighborhood Starbucks for a pick-me-up before Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament at 8:15.  My best friend's words of wisdom bounced around my cerebral cortex, "Stepping out in front of a moving car on Foster is really a leap of faith...you're trusting them to eventually stop, aren't you?"  I stared down the driver of a silver Miata, daring him to speed up and therefore violate the Chicago jaywalkers code of honor.  Oh yes, my friend, my glare seemed to say, next time I'm driving and you're jaywalking, I will stop for you.  He complied, slowing down enough to allow me to pass and metaphysically dropping his sword of transportation at my noble feet.  I was the victor in this battle, and to the victor goes the caffeine spoils.  I ignored the stinging rain on my face as I tripped through the familiar door.  Oh no, I realized as I clumsily pulled the door toward me, I have become That Girl.  The one who doesn't function without coffee in the morning.  The door rushed back to its position, bumping my backside and pushing me into the relatively empty lobby.  Evidently it agrees.

17 April 2009

I'm a Bi-Blogger

For those of you not in the know, I am not a one blog kind of woman--I blog weekly for the North Park University site as well as good 'ol [Chicaskashireland]. Click here to read my latest, "Letter From an Unfaithful Student to her Spurned University" and scroll down to find it.

Moving Misadventures

It all started with a box.  Well, technically, it all started with a summer camp, and then a crush, and then years of festering, and then a visit, and then a relationship, and then a proposal, but after that proposal came the box, and that is where we are right now.  So here's the box:

It's a great box!  It is a box that contains the majority of my winter clothes, some Oxford paraphernalia, my Deluxe Jesus Action Figure, and some knickknacks that I've been keeping for when I have a real apartment.  It is the first stuff to make the great trek to Alaska in anticipation of me moving there after graduation to be with Kip.  This great box was packed a few days ago and started its grand journey to Alaska this afternoon.

The box (not to be confused with The Box) got tired after being carried down the street, across the bridge, and past the high school students who get stoned in the smoker's circle behind Von Steuben in the afternoon and decided to take a break near the Greenspace to feel like a true North Parker one more time.

Becky found us and decided to lend a hand transporting the box to the UPS Store.  She felt like a true North Parker out on the Greenspace, too, with all those shirtless boys running around playing frisbee and weird Swedish games that involve wooden blocks...

We finally arrived at the UPS Store!  The box would be on its way!  The (semi-friendly) attendant measured it and gave us the grand total for its trip to Alaska:  $135.68.


Seeing as the cost of shipping the box would have been about half of my airline ticket up there, we decided that packing all of its contents in a suitcase and paying the $25 extra baggage fee at the airport was a far superior solution and carried the box back to the apartment.  I took an artistic picture of the reflection of the three of us in the old Covenant Bookstore windows. 

Now the box sits happily in my apartment again, waiting to be packed in a suitcase and really start its adventure in three weeks.  

That makes two of us, box!

04 April 2009

A Twelve Hour Repose

After the world's longest day, Heather, Luke and I went out to grab a much-deserved beer in Lincoln Square.  While walking through the rain to the bar, we happened upon the saddest scene that I have ever beheld.

A dozen or so used books, sitting desolately on the sidewalk in the rain.  In the words of Rory Gilmore, "My books look sad.  Can books look sad?"

Being the broke college students we are, we sifted through them to see if the pile included anything we might want.  One lucky book was saved by Luke, who was excited to save it from obscurity. 

We celebrated the end of the day with an Irish stout or two.  The saved book sat drying at the end of the table.  It looked cheery to find a home with such appreciative and fun-loving people.    

After spending the night talking about parents and classes and people and C.S. Lewis and books and Europe, we trudged home, still in the rain.  I collapsed into bed, glad to be away from cold, seeping, stinging precipitation.  In the morning, I woke up to the smell of the flowers left over from the Division of Christian Life and Thought gathering that I'd put next to my bed and when I opened my eyes, I was greeted with a burst of color and a welcome salutation from Spring.

In the fitting words of Tessa from An Aerial Armadillo, "my jewels":

I laid in bed for a few minutes smelling the flowery air and forming wordless praise for the little pleasures God gives us.  Then it was time to get up and work on a Greek translation of Hebrews with Dr. Lee.  Maybe I'll use my degree in Biblical and Theological Studies to be a florist by day and a bartender by night.  And a vigilante book saver.  Mmm, that's the life.  

03 April 2009

The Third Post About Fearing Graduation

I still have to go to the bathroom.

It was the only thing I could think as I ran, yet again, between buildings on campus yesterday.  It was the 2nd annual Division of Christian Life and Thought year-end get together and potluck extravaganza extraordinaire, and in fine Biblical and Theological Studies Organization form, we had completely forgotten to do anything to plan for it until three days prior.  

My day started at 7:30 when I woke up for my Jewish Background class.
Then a run to the grocery store with Heather.
Then Eastern Theological Tradition and getting back a test that I thought I hadn't done well on, an assertion that the professor unfortunately agreed with.
Then running over to the Seminary with Josh to try to set things up, only to find that Seminarians were still using the room we'd reserved.
Then a run back to my apartment to email the professors reminding them to ask their students to come and message everyone attending the event on Facebook to remind them to be there.
Then back to the Seminary to actually set up.
Then Orchestra.
Then back to the Seminary for the dinner.

At some point in the middle of all of that, basic bodily functions just took a back seat.  And so, as I ran between Hanson Hall and the Seminary building, my fingers still tinging from playing my cello, I saw  Heather waiting on a bench outside of the Seminary building.  She looked up at me as I ran towards the door.  "Oh good, you're here."
"Is everything going okay?" I asked, imagining a crisis of grand proportions involving Bible and Youth Ministry students, flying hummus, and professors hiding under tables.
"Yeah, everything's fine, there are just too many people in there for me."

Too many people?  When we set up earlier in the day with five tables, I didn't think they'd be filled.  We walked into Olsson Lounge and were greeted by about twice as many people as I thought would attend, all standing in groups chatting about classes and staring longingly at the food-laden buffet table.  I stood for a minute as more students entered the room, completely shocked at the number of people who I didn't think would be there. 

My success was short lived as I realized I still had to put some chili on the stove and uncover all of the food people had brought.  I unloaded the bag I'd left under a side table and headed to the kitchen, answering questions from Josh, Matt, Dr. Willitts, Dr. Veeneman and Dr. Johnson on the way, and giving instructions to Heather on what to do with the chili while on my way to reorganize the food table.  Dr. Willitts followed me, asking questions that have now been lost to time and memory lapse.  After dumping a bag of shredded cheese into a bowl near where the chili would sit, I stopped over to talk to Dr. Veeneman and get caught up on how everyone was doing while waiting for the dinner to begin.  Another quick trip in to check on Heather and tell her the chili could sit and simmer while we did introductions, and then into the main room to get everyone seated, make introductions of the BTSO officers, and play a "get to know you" game on the request of Dr. Johnson.  By the time we had figured out that it was Dr. Willitts who'd received $3,000 for participating in a pharmaceutical drug trial during grad school, I realized that the chili was probably burning and ran back into the kitchen to revive it.  Dinner followed, accompanied by a scandalous uprising because I'd forgotten to pray before I let people eat, and then it was time for the seniors to share their words of wisdom.  

I was the fourth to speak, and as I stood up, I had a flashback to doing this same thing four years ago in Concert Band.  Gosh, wasn't that just yesterday?  I thought as I nervously straightened the bottom of my shirt.   I shifted my weight to the balls of my feet.  Well gosh, what do I say now?  I took a breath.  "Well, first off, I'm really sorry about the not praying thing..."  Everyone laughed.  I babbled and generally tripped over my words.  I used my hands way too much.  I said things like "take advantage of your professors" when I really meant to say how they're a good resource, not to imply that we should hustle them out of money.  I got choked up when I told everyone how I sign all of my emails with "Pax Christi" but I never feel like I have to when I email Dr. Nassif because he already shows the peace of Christ so much.  I cried when I mentioned how the two people who were responsible for me being in the department weren't at the University anymore.  

Later, Dr. Johnson had the seniors kneel in the middle of the room while the underclassmen did a laying on of hands and the professors prayed for us.  Then he sang us the Aaronic Benediction, his voice rising and falling, making Hebrew sounds more complex than anything in English with words more meaningful than any dictionary could explain.  We stood to receive hugs from melancholy juniors upset at losing their older friends to grad schools and seminaries and Alaska in a month.  Josh, the President-elect of the BTSO and co-founder along with me, gave me a hug.  "You were my first BTS friend,"  he said, backing up and meeting my eyes, "You made me want to be smart."  My eyes filled with tears as my stomach dropped and my mouth opened in stunned silence.  Josh?  The one who did way better on me in that Eastern Theological Traditions test, who could pulverize me in theology or philosophy or Greek any day of the week and twice on Sundays?  I made him want to be smart?  

A tear spilled over my cheek as Dr. Willitts approached the group, "Hey, do you need any help cleaning up?  What do you want us to do with this food?"  I wiped it off and turned to him with a smile.  "Um, well we can probably just shake out the tablecloths and use them next year...."  

It was back to work.  Unfortunately for me, the bathroom was a still-distant dream.

Please get liars, heresy, and whining out of my head

I distinctly remember the exact moment that I found out that "Big Girls Don't Cry" was sung by Fergie. I was sitting in the Highlander in the left turn lane at a red light on the corner of Union and Elm streets in Manchester, New Hampshire around noon two summers ago. I was on my way to a pastoral visit during my internship and had sort of, maybe, possibly found some autobiographical content in the song so I thought maybe it was okay.

If it weren't for the whining.

And the terrible lyrics.

"I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket"????

Come on.

Alas, I appreciated the applicability and gave it a chance.

And then I heard the radio announcement..."That was 'Big Girls Don't Cry' by Fergie...next up in the hour is the new hit from....." It was over. I hate that song.

I sometimes marvel at how I could have memorized the entire Bible, Apocrypha, both volumes of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and Josephus' "Jewish War" if only I hadn't gotten songs like these stuck in my head for eternity.

It Wasn't Me by Shaggy

1. He's a jerk. 2. He's a liar. 3. He's just plain stupid to use the "it wasn't me!" alibi....two year olds get away with that. Adults don't.

I Am a Friend of God by Israel Houghton

Can we be just a little bit more prideful? No, I didn't think it was possible either.

Big Girls Don't Cry by Fergie

If big girls don't cry, why do you sing like you're whining?

01 April 2009

Splash Zones, Both Aquatic and Relational

Breakup songs are like the splash zone at the aquarium...there's a certain sick joy that comes from both of them.  Oh yes, those red seats at the front of the auditorium look like gold in youth, and you run toward them with an enthusiasm you think will never diminish, waiting for the landing and subsequent shower each time the dolphins jump from their watery home.  It's a feeling that, regrettably, I never got to experience.  Every time my family and I went to the aquarium, we didn't sit in the splash zone because the adults, in true adulty fashion, didn't want to get wet.  But that doesn't mean that I never got any joy from the good 'ol splash zone.  It was fun to watch:  dozens of kids, their eyes closed and mouths in wide open grins of anticipation, shrieking in the pure joy of being covered in briny water that dolphins had probably excreted in.  

Oh yes, it's the stuff of dreams.  

The same principle applies to breakup songs.  Watching the breakup splash zone, when in the safety, warmth, and dryness of a betrothal, is infinitely more fun than getting drenched by feces-laden relationship water and walking around the aquarium of life all squishy and moist.   Now, this isn't to say that you can't still enjoy watching the people in the splash zone. 

That being said, this is my new favorite song:

Other guilt-free favorite songs of the breakup variety include:  Taylor Swift's "You're Not Sorry", "Should Have Said No" and "Picture to Burn", Timbaland feat. OneRepublic's "Apologize", and more.  

Gosh, being engaged is great.