Month: September 2011

Playing Hooky

Some days (weeks?), reality is unreal and dreams seem more like real life than the world I see when I roll out of bed.

I took the day off from life on Wednesday, skipped four classes and chapel to hike five and a half miles with some long-lost family. I played in a cold mountain stream with the little brothers I just met and stepped into a reality far removed from my own expectations. To anyone else, we were a normal family out for a hike. That evening, we were a normal family going out for dinner at a restaurant.

I had dinner with both of my mothers–the mother who bore me and the mother who raised me–my two little brothers, my stepfather and my boyfriend, Ben. There was an atmosphere of celebration, much like a Thanksgiving dinner with lots of people around the table. My birth mother brought flowers to the mother who adopted me at birth. The waitress, seeing the flowers, asked whose birthday it was.

“Not a birthday,” Ben said softly. “A family reunion.”

Adoption is such a beautiful thing. Just as I was adopted into a family when I was born–an amazing family who raised me and sacrificed so much for me–I was also adopted into a heavenly family by a heavenly Father who sent His Son to die for my sins. And one day we’ll have the ultimate of family reunions.

Rain is a good thing

What is it with people and rain?

It’s like the first sight of precipitation turns on the I’m-having-a-bad-day switch.

Professors apologize for the weather. Girls carry brilliantly colorful umbrellas as if to convince themselves it isn’t really all that bad. Somehow the bright smiley faces lose something, though, when the person carrying the umbrella hunches over her book bag, drags her feet through the puddles, and scowls as though it’s two minutes until a major exam and her roommate just stole her last Scantron.

Gotta admit… I find a kind of smug delight in everyone else’s rainy-day squirmy discomfort. It’s like I have a grand secret.

There’s nothing wrong with a rainy day.


There’s no ceremonious way to get out of a bunk bed. Actually, it seems as though dorm rooms are designed to preclude ceremony. Or maybe (cough) I have issues with grace and poise. Either way, when I fell out of bed this morning and picked up my Spanish textbook, the content of the assigned short story woke me up faster than a hard floor–or a triple-shot latte.

Why, why, is Spanish literature so disgustingly nasty? Perhaps I’m inaccurate in the generalization. If I am, then why on earth do teachers choose to teach such gratuitously bloody, nasty, purposeless stories?

Do they really think students WANT to roll out of their bunks very early in the morning to, say, read a short story about an old man getting a tooth pulled with pliers and pocketknives (thanks, Gabriel Garcia Márquez) or a locísimo newlywed who kills all the animals in his dining room to teach his bride a point?

So, even if students hate the class, they’ll read the stories for sheer sensationalism?

Okay, so maybe I’m just scarred from an early-morning Spanish lit experience I didn’t need. Also an awkward bunk bed. I’m not bitter. Really.

/end rant

Dramatic Effect

I was a little disappointed when the most life-changing, perspective-altering information I ever received came in the form of an email.

It’s too shallow a medium. Mysteries solved and stories of death and life are supposed to come in person or, better yet, in a handwritten letter. Ideally, it’d be a scrawling letter with tear smudges for dramatic effect. Like a wartime missive from a long-lost lover who was supposed to be dead. Or something.

So the hopeless Gone With the Wind side of me was a little injured when I got an EMAIL. An email telling me about the birth mother who gave me up for adoption twenty years ago– an email informing me I have two little brothers—an email telling me about a family I never knew I had.

On a snowy November day in 1990, an unmarried woman brought a 9-lb baby girl into the world, nursed her, and gave her to a couple who’d been trying to have a child for years. Enter my adopted parents, the only parents I’ve ever known.

The same week, I got an equally unromantic PHONE CALL telling me that my adopted dad had gotten remarried. Enter a stepmother, two stepsisters, and another set of family.

I got the news several weeks ago, but I’m still not at all sure how to write about it. Or how to feel about it. I have no schema for dealing with this, except. . . joy that God is sovereign, and that He’s given me life.

As I talk to my birth mother (and my two little brothers!!!) more, I feel like I’m getting pieces of my life I’ve been missing without even knowing it.

Maybe email isn’t as impersonal as I thought.


For the last few days, I’ve felt like an outsider observing my life, accompanied by an overly talkative tour guide with a German accent.

Welcome to your senior(ish) year! Welcome to your room! The guide gestures sweepingly; I run my eyes over the sparse bookshelves and ageing furniture of my dorm room. Here is the bed where you’ll sleep. Meet Leonidus, your fish. This is the coffeemaker. China made. Very gut.

Here are your roommates… two human forms appear, vignettes frozen in time and space: one sits sleepily before a theology textbook; the other is motionless in front of the mirror applying smudgy black mascara.

Down the hall are the bathrooms, lots of showers and sinks… reminds me of an airport. Actually, the whole experience makes me think of traveling. I feel like I’m living in a sterilized transportation hub or something. Sleeping in small rooms with other people, using public restrooms, floating from one big building to another, everyone going somewhere bigger than themselves.

Whatever happened to the calm, crisp, snowy Mount Rainier I was hiking a couple of weeks ago? It’s been replaced by mass-produced carpet floors and a 2,000-seat dining hall.

These are your classes. Writing und languages, just like you like, no? Yes, just the types of classes I love. Now I feel like I’m observing each class as an individual object. Here’s one with lots of crevices to explore; here, a very foreign-looking entity that’ll take hours of study time; here, a lower-level class that seems more like a trinket than anything else.

Aaand here are the extracurriculars… Yep, I see. Meetings, university newspaper, community service, meetings, people… ministry. More meetings. Work. Lots of work.

And this is your alarm clock. I silence its raucous call and roll out of bed, bidding the tour guide of my life farewell for now. This is morning.