Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pants Are For Losers

If I think about it too much, words are hard to find. How is the university student supposed to stay alert and imaginative when they don't even have time to read a book? Sure, I have time, but my mind is already so mushy from hours of work, that internet TV is the only thing I can handle...and sleeping. Not to mention I'm not eating that much, and because of that I've gained enough weight to not be able to fit into my size 2 pants? That's a lot of freakin' pants I can no longer wear! Oh, and the financial troubles. I have a feeling those kinds of troubles are here to stay.

My German workbook is still glaring at me, even though I completed the work over the course of this week. I'm out of studying ideas! It's not like you can read a bunch of German sentences over and over again and get the "gist" of it. I did, however, go to a German language meetup down at Cafe Gardens, a quaint little restaurant/bar situated in an ivy-covered courtyard with stones inlaid in the dirt. My German teacher Sarah told the class about it earlier today, and Nathaniel convinced me over the phone it'd be a good idea to go. I'm glad I went. I realized I need to get out more and show my face in this town that will be my home for the next two years.

Ich bin eine Studentin. Ich studiere Journalismus. Ich wohne in Gainesville aber ich komme aus Tallahassee.

I wonder if I'll stick with German that long, I hope so. I really need to know a second language. Every other person in the world (albeit for America) does.

Well, I'm going to sign off and immerse myself in this depression over my pants. My ten pairs of practically new pants.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Work Work Work

There is no way any sort of language class can be easy. Except if you are taking German I and already know German? Like three of the students in my class? In my opinion I think that is unfair, and it ruins the curve (if there is a curve). During class when we are reciting a conversation, the kids that already know German speak too fast, and than the rest of the class is left behind.

School has been getting really difficult. Teacher's are starting to assign projects, papers, and homework. There are already tests on the horizon, and a German vocabulary quiz tomorrow. Memorize over 100 words, get tested on 15 of them. The workbook is just daunting, and sits on my desk looking rather boring with its cheap paper. Why did that cost me $60?

I can't think of much to write because my mind just wants to shut down.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I don't like angry confrontation. I don't like being called an idiot by a person on a bicycle that also did not obey the traffic rules. I'm so used to bicycling to UF that when I was driving, I completely ignored a stop sign.

I stopped short as a student went rising past. From my perspective, I wasn't even that close to him. He looked at me with wide eyes and yelled, "Woooooah", in a 'I'm-better-than-you-because-I'm-on-a-bike' way, "you have a stop sign!"

"No I don't!" I yelled out the window (because I seriously thought I didn't).

"Look right, idiot!" he shouted with his I'm-a-vegan-I-compost-and-I-am-an-art-history-major glare.

Guuuh. Sorry, I'm just upset. Even though it was mostly my fault, I kind of think he should have owned up to it a little. I'm pretty sure cyclist's have to follow the traffic laws too. I always look both ways when I roll past a stop sign on a bike. Not the safest method, but it saves a lot of dismounting and mounting again. And I wouldn't call someone an idiot for making a mistake. How is that supposed to help someone learn?

It feels good to write this out. I don't think I am an idiot, and I hate it when people call me that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

College 101

A room in a state of disarray is one of my pet peeves. Come to think of it, I have many pet peeves, and not in the slightest clue where the phrase 'pet peeves' stems from. There are German note cards littering my floor, my couch is cushioned with outfits I tried on from mornings past. My desk is holding those crumpled receipts that I keep just in case I decide to get my money situation together. I keep saying to myself, "I'll do that when I'm older". But when will I be "older"? I didn't make my bed this morning (which is unheard of), and I didn't change the toilet paper roll. My shoes are not in the closet, and there is a television sitting in the middle of my floor with a James Dean poster lying on top of it. The makeup on my bureau isn't organized and I still haven't taken my shoes off.

It just dawned on me that I've finally become a real college student.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Very Depressing Post

My Canon Rebel has still not come in the mail, and it was shipped on Thursday! This is disappointing. I'm wondering if there is some sort of Gainesville ritual when it comes to acquiring packages. I say this because I stupidly walked around the house in search of a mailbox, when it dawned on me that the little letterbox attached to the front porch is where the mailman/woman delivers the goods. Maybe they took my camera? Unlikely.

I am ordering the NY Times (Monday-Friday). I am excited about this, because I will finally have something to read in the morning when I eat my egg sandwich. Buying a subscription is sort of required for my Introduction to Journalism class, which is my favorite class right now, and it is only costing me $36 for the semester. Apparently this is a deal, but from what I have learned as a university student, deals do not make me any richer.

On a more somber note, if this blog post couldn't get any more somber( lost package, debt), my banjo strategy did not work. It is a big time-killer, however, and unbeknown to Jessie and Stephanie (yet) I'm going to try and set up a little gig here in G-ville. The Cicada Ladies aren't dead yet. Of course I will talk to them first before I seal the deal, but I'm searching.

I'm going to be starting a new blog for my Intro to Jou. class. Four posts a week of me commenting on international/ national/ local news. Whoever reads this blog, please feel free to comment on that one too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

With the Power of the Banjo, I shall Summon Friends!

It is cold here in Gainesville. Or as the Germans would say: Es ist kalt! I just went outside to take the rest of my clothes out of the dryer. I have to go out the front door and all the way around to the back of the house. And you know what? I do not mind! I haven't had a washer and dryer for the past three years, and now I have one at my disposal. I do not have enough hangers though.

My classes are going well, but I've already been slammed with some homework. I studied today... It's Friday! I learned about digital camera's for my Photographic Journalism class. I also learned how to say the days of the week in German, count to twenty, and tell someone my name.

Guten Tag! Ich heiße Melissa. Wie heißt du? Wie geht es Ihnen?

I feel like my eyes are burning out of their sockets from having to read so much. It doesn't help that I've been glued to my laptop since I moved here. Hey, what can I say? I have no friends yet.

I did make orange juice with Daniel the other day. We picked oranges from our orange tree, and they were a little too ripe. But mix it with water and it tastes just fine!

I researched bluegrass jams in the Gainesville area. Not too much is coming up. I might just bring my travel banjo to school and play in the Plaza of the Americas (a very large green space). People might approach me because they are interested in banjo, and then they will realize they want to be my friend, hang out with me, and study with me... and stuff. It's a foolproof plan, but what if someone asks to play it? I hate it when people ask that. Especially sick people, or people with sticky hands, or people who play mandolin (horrible gasp). Just kidding Jessie!

Plus I have to bike to school... Sigh. Maybe.

I just realized I bought three Toblerone's at CVS. I meant to only buy two. Here is a picture of me attempting to balance a Toblerone on my head. It worked great the first time, the second time... not so much.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ow, my ears.

If you have never biked fifteen minutes (heck, even five minutes) in the freezing ass cold with three layers, a thin pair of gloves, and no facial protection, I wish I was you. When everyone here in Gainesville was complaining about the cold weather a few days ago, they must have been sensing the freezing temperatures that blew our way today. My teeth were chattering, my fingers were going numb, my nose was running, and my ears were hurting. Biking in the already cold was just a nightmare.

I did make it to class though, with plenty of time to spare. I woke up two hours early, and biked to UF forty-five minutes early. I like to be early. I guess I just like to be sure. Sure that I'm in the right class, and sure that I'm in the right building. I had Photographic Journalism and German today. Two very challenging classes, but they will be a lot of fun! When I find myself getting excited about putting a news story together, editing myself, and interviewing people, I know I have chosen the right major.

All four roomies are home now and it's just great! Lu taught me some Chinese and Daniel and I laughed over our horrid pronunciation. Won Don (or something to that nature) and I like to talk about my studies. He actually has a wife and some kids in Birmingham and he came down here to do research for Shands on human diseases.

I studied my German out loud to myself and drank a cup of coffee out of a 4-in-1 coffee cup that Nathaniel gave me for Christmas.

It was a good day overall. Not too much to write about, just general things, and sometimes I like general things.

My ears still hurt.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Am Journalist

In order to be a journalist, you can't get offended. Even when an older man asks you if you were raped in Jamaica. It seems funny now that I write it out, but it definitely gave me the chills when the words escaped his chapped lips. It made me tighten the muscles in my thighs, and it took a lot for me to say: "No, thank goodness. But there is always that possibility. In fact there was this female journalist once...". And that was the end of that. Some people just can't censor themselves, or maybe he was genuinely curious.

I'm at that used book cafe again because there are still no he-roommates in sight. There was a man sitting at a table beside me. He had on a dark blue baseball cap, a worn leather jacket and he was writing on a notepad, carefully checking a book called "Many Words". His name is Gary*, but his friends call him Swoop. He was a member of the hippie-era, but he informed me that was not what he called himself.

"The straight people called us hippies, but we referred to ourselves as 'Freaks'."

It sounded good to me. He is a man of many stories. I haven't had that much information about communes since I watched the documentary 'Commune'. He lived in Morningstar outside Santa Fe and told me about girls in long dresses collecting watercress by the river. I can't say too much because he is writing a book and is very adamant about not having his work on the internet.

He is a born-again Christian which was odd to me because he was prying for information on whether or not I had a boyfriend.

"How long have you been here in Gainesville?", he said.

"My boyfriend and I came down here in the beginning of December."

"You still have a boyfriend?"

"Yes. Yes in indeed I do."

Sometimes it seems that no matter what guy (or girl, sometimes) I give any sort of attention to, they somehow assume that I am single and very interested in them. No matter how old they are. Not every guy, but a lot of them. It gets exhausting, but I never get offended.

During our conversation, I realized how much I love hearing peoples stories. I thrive on them. I guess that is why I love reading peoples blogs. Especially when they talk about the good ol' days, days that will never be recorded. Unless I record them!

I remember when I was little, I used to listen to a man in a wheelchair for an hour, sometimes two. He went to the Unitarian Universalist church and he was a very old man. He had patches of white hair, and liver spots all over his face. His frail hands shook slightly whenever he opened his mouth. Sometimes white spit would froth at the corners of his lips. I wanted to gag, being 10-years-old and all, but I listened, all the while keeping eye contact, even if his eyes wandered. He told me amazing stories about the war, I was never sure what war, but it must have been WWII. Sometimes he would repeat the same story over again, but it didn't bother me. I was transported back into a time of fighter jets, uncertainty, and uncleanliness. There were no mother's trying to get me to go to bed, and no brother's bothering me. I was a soldier.

I guess that is why I love hearing stories. I become the person that is telling it. Sometimes I want to cry because I feel so honored that they trust me with their past lives. I was certain at that moment when Daryl was telling me about living in a pup tent in the Rockies, or hitchhiking from Berkley to LA, that I wanted with all my heart to be a journalist. I dropped my European Union course and let out a little sigh of relief. My future job will somehow involve people and my pen, and that is that. No diplomatic, or political bullshit. Just people, and me.

Oh, and some white gloves.

*not real name

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Here I Am

There is no internet at my new place. Well, there is internet but I copied down the wrong pass phrase and one of my three male roommates left two nights ago to take his girlfriend back to Cincinnati.

I'm all alone in a very large house with no internet. It is surprising how much I am accomplishing. I am actually going through my piles of crap and sorting everything out. I am throwing things away. I am saying to myself, "Do I really need this?". It's pretty cool.

Being alone can do things to a person. They make a person get out there and explore. I rode my bike to UF through Gainesville's 'Frenchtown' and found all of the buildings where my classes would be located. I rode in the freezing cold and realized that I needed to buy some nice gloves. Because unfortunately a journalist needs their fingers. I rode through town without listening to music and experienced the Sunday quietness. It was lovely. The students all come back into town tomorrow and the streets will be more crowded and the nights will fill with drunken yells and high pitched screams.

I am sitting in a very nice book cafe, which is how I am able to blog. The staff isn't so friendly. They have this 'I am too cool' demeanor about them, which is typical among the vegan/veggie bike crowd. Would it hurt someone to smile, or ask if I need anything? I guess it would. At least the coffee is good.

Being surrounded by books gives me a sense of peacefulness. It makes me want a library in my house, whenever I buy a house that is. All these books are pretty old. Nathaniel is taking an Intro to C++ class next semester and out of curiosity I pulled a C++ book off the shelf. Attached to the back page was a floppy disk! I kind of want to get it for him anyway. It's only $3.99.

The coffee is getting cold but my fingers have finally warmed up. I'm going to drive to Target sometime after 9 and use my gift card to buy some nice white gloves.