Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why did you go to college?

This question is pretty straight forward: Why did you go to college?

Was it because you craved the expansion of knowledge, or the "experience," wanted to try it away from home, or simply wanted to come out on the other side with more opportunity than the other Average Joe next to you?

As I was slicing my umpteenth loaf of bread yesterday - I believe it was white, of course, because the majority of block loaves we sell is plain, unhealthy, unnutritious white bread - I had a moment of clarity. I love college. I love non-fiction books and preparing to discuss them with my peers. I love going out to dinner with my friends and regurgitating the information that I had consumed during the day, about baby development, about the Middle East, about psychology experiments. But when I was in college, I did not love college.

It takes a while outside of the box to see why you were in the box to begin with. I was in college because everyone else was doing it. That's right, I'm a college chain smoker. High school said "You have excellent grades, what college are you going to?" so I went through the motions and wound up, thankfully, at somewhere with a good fit. That doesn't account for my first quarter, where I came home crying every weekend and by the time Christmas rolled around, I never wanted to see a UC again. But standing outside the situation now, I love that I stuck it out.

And yesterday, as I was serving my umpteenth customer a cheese and bacon roll (they obviously didn't read my blog post about why they shouldn't eat cheese and bacon rolls), I had another moment of clarity: I went to college so I don't ever have to sell cheese and bacon rolls again. It's true. I have no desire to return home every day and talk about how many customers didn't say please or thank you, how many babies had tantrums in the mall, how much wastage we had at the end of the day or how burnt the wholemeal loaves were. I have every intention of directing my life differently, to discuss politics, history, science and interesting popular culture around the dinner table, with my friends, with my family, and even with total strangers.

It has taken a year away from university, doing completely different things, learning completely different skills and people, challenging myself not intellectually but in mental strength toward the world - it has taken all of this to finally think: Thank you to everyone who helped put me through college. Thank you for my officially notarized Bachelor's degree. My entire life is definitely going to be better because I went to college.

I made motel beds, for goodness' sake. I now wear a work uniform comparable to Hot Dog On A Stick, catching a glimpse of myself in the mall mirror is like seeing a stranger. But not worries, mate! Work ends Monday, and then I can continue looking forward to life, love, intellectual development, travel, and helping everyone I know do the same.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Change Is As Good As A Holiday

Of all the odd and senseless Australian sayings and idioms, one very special one is "Change is as good as a holiday," (And of course, we mean "holiday" in the British sense, like a vacation, and not like having the day off on Martin Luther King's birthday.) Speaking of which, I heard the Stevie Wonder "Happy Birthday" song the other day in a dollar store and couldn't get over how weird it was.

Everything seems to be changing bit by bit. The season has changed from...tropical summer to something a lot like Davis winter. All of a sudden it's socks, sweatshirts, wood fires, scarves and tea - which I do enjoy, especially because I missed out on most of winter this year. But I'll be honest: The thought of only being in the cold for another two/three weeks tickles me. I only hope that cheating the seasons doesn't come back to bite me some other time in my life.

Toby the dog has gone to bigger and better pastures - and by this I mean to a new home with a huge family, and not the other pasture. Gone are the days cooking with his giant face next to the stove, but the upside is that he is with possibly the best family for him ever. So, the change: less trips to the dog park, less nose in the bum.

The house itself is all but gone. That's right, I am no longer over on Bognuda Street, rather, I now find myself completely moved to the Stalker family home (which I absolutely love). It doesn't hurt that it's only a ten minute walk from the gym and a five minute walk from work, or that it has a fireplace, or a completely stocked kitchen for me to play around in, or a new friend to play with (James' sister.) We're still technically moving out, as I will spend my day off tomorrow moving the last of the furniture, wiping out cabinets and cleaning windows.

I told work and the hospice about my plans and got a lot of "We'll miss you!" but no major trouble beside that. Thank goodness. Work has nearly worn out its welcome and I now am positive that retail is not my permanent calling, though a good way to save up cash. Hopefully my last day will be June 3rd, which gives plenty of time to pack up and ready myself for the best change: seeing my family and friends.

I realize this blog is more of an update than insightful, but it's what I needed to do! Insight later: for now, back to the bread world (UGHGHGHGHGHGH), and the moving world, and would you believe that I have been cooking soup like crazy because it is just that cold...

Love to everyone. I am SO excited to see you!