I keep meaning to write, but there are too many things to write about, and I end up writing about none of it, rather than communicating something poorly. I’m too much of a perfectionist. To combat that, I’m going to write this whole thing without editing myself once. It’ll be a feat.
For starters, I miss England. It’s not the kind of homesickness that paralyzes you; I’ve felt that before: the lonely jolt when you go somewhere, or do something, and realize you’re not really doing it with your whole self anymore. That kind of homesickness is more dramatic, overt, polarizing. This kind is more subtle, but no less real. I’m very busy here, and happily so, being back at Gordon with wonderful friends, and activities I was looking forward to (more on that later). The homesickness I feel for London hasn’t kept me from engaging fully in these things. It’s the kind that creeps up on me in little moments. Like tonight, for instance. I was changing the background on my laptop just for something to do, and the picture I chose made me think of rainy London nights, and now I’m playing rain noises on Spotify and feeling very displaced all of a sudden. It’s not a nostalgia for a specific place, or even people. Just rain, and London, and nighttime all together. It seems like a simple enough thing, right? Not too bad. Even sweet. But it makes me want to cry. No matter how hard I try, when I open my eyes I won’t be there. I’ll be here.
Other days, it looks different. I’ll be making eggs for breakfast and remember baked beans, which will make me think of the time one of my British friends taught me how to eat with my fork turned upside down. Or perhaps I’ll say “stood up” instead of “standing up” and think of tranquil mornings being refreshed by sermons at HTBarnes. Or I’ll make lentils and think of Hannah, and breakfasts with her and Emma in her room before class, dressed in layers of black cotton and zip up jackets. And I’ll realize how vivid it all is, still. That I really was there. It wasn’t just some story I made up to explain my absence from Gordon. It takes me out of the monotony of answering “So how was England?” with, “Really cool,” “Learned a lot,” or, “I want to live there.” (No matter how much you try to vary your answers to avoid cliches, there’s just no way of encapsulating that kind of grandness in a sentence or two. Believe me, I’ve tried.)
So, I miss it. No surprise there. I’ll probably come back to this over the course of the semester; reflecting on how the various things I’ve realized about myself, God, the world, etc. are affecting my life at Gordon. But for now let’s talk about Gordon.
Things I’m still doing:
-Working at Chester’s as a barista, enjoying the smell of espresso grounds on my fingers, engaging in witty banter with total strangers via the protective barrier of a bar and a milk steamer
-Exploring the woods every chance I get, testing out new pathways and dusting out my old routes to my favorite nooks and overlooks
-Attempting to retain an illusion of organization by making lists for everything I have to do (schoolwork, appointments, when I’ll do my laundry, dinners I need to have with other people, etc.)
-Trying to reconnect with everyone intentionally, and not always succeeding
-Wearing lots of sweaters
Things I’m doing that I’ve never done before:
-Acting in the theater department’s spring show of Amadeus, set around the life of Mozart and centered around his artistic rival. I’m playing Mozart’s wife, a stunningly cool woman who’s definitely smarter than me. It’s daunting and thrilling. Lots of LAMDA influence will be applicable here.
-Mapping out the new trails I explore, compiling a physical record of my travels that I can eventually watercolor and hang up on my wall
-Taking a class where we record ourselves telling stories and edit them so that they affect our audiences. It’s a really neat way to combine the communicative power of theater and the beauty of written word. I also love sound editing and think it’s fascinating (whether I’m any good at it has yet to be determined), so that’s fun to play with.
-Living in an apartment! We have our OWN kitchen (hooray), and our living room is always home to some hilarious, endearing conversation when I walk in the door at the end of the day. These girls are lively and loving. Merisa and I constantly say to each other, “Can you believe we live here?” We feel so lucky.
Last but not least:
-Hosting Gordon’s annual film festival, the Gordon Globes! It is the coolest honor ever to be picked (with my great pal and fellow England returner, Sam), and I can’t believe I get to be in front of my entire student body in almost two weeks, telling jokes, singing, laughing, and celebrating the creativity of some really talented student artists.
I never thought I would get to do all this just a month after coming back to school. I keep saying that I cannonballed back into this semester, because it’s the only way I know how to describe it. God’s served up all these delicious opportunities on silver platters, one after the other, and all I can think to do is say yes every time. The morning I got the cast list for Amadeus, all these incredible responsibilities piled up before me, and I felt so undeserving and unqualified to take them all on. I so clearly felt God’s grace covering me, making it okay to fail, but also okay to try. Possible to succeed, in spite of my limitations. It’s hard not to step back and panic by imagining it’s all in my hands to take care of, but each time He gently reminds me that my battles aren’t mine to win, or even fight. They’re His, and he conquers so much more than me.
Well, I’m off to bed. I hope that wherever you are right now, you let Him fight your battles too.