I miss you, I miss you

I would wake up to you at 6 a.m.

I would leave you each night at 8 p.m. but we would be together again at 8:45 p.m. (as long as it took me to drive home and get some food).

College, you were a 24/7 job. You pushed me to do greater things. You gave me opportunities that I will never have again. You gave me the tools to lead and to speak my mind. You made me who I am.

I miss you. That’s all there is to it. I miss you.

I miss having to read a book for class and coherently present an analysis of it for a grade. I miss being required and prompted to dig deep into a book and find it’s meaning.

I miss being responsible for a part of the college campus and helping others grow.

I miss learning like I did with you, College. You let me overstep my boundaries, reel myself back in and make countless mistakes. You helped me to learn from my mistakes and to become better the next time around.

I miss you every day.

I hope we can meet again one day. I hope you will challenge and support me just like you always did.

*I know this is super cheesy but I do long for the opportunity to continue my education. I have always loved education and I found so much of myself in college and immediately upon my graduation. 

The Imitation Game: Film that touches on all aspects of life

I am no film critic. I have always struggled with the intricacies of film critique. However, my recent movie theater visit to watch The Imitation Game has inspired me to reflect on the film, if just to say how much I enjoyed the film.

The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley, is described as this on IMDB:

“During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians”

But let me tell you, it is so much more than that. If there was one film I would show to a high school classroom, this would be the one.

The film covers everything from history to technology, politics to human decency, and mathematics to science.

The IMDB description hits on the historical and technological context, as does the trailer. I was drawn in by the concept of enigma and World War II.

I did not expect to witness the true value of human decency in this film. Cumberbatch plays leading man Alan Turing, a brilliant but pretty offputting mathematician. He is also gay and is punished in the end for his “indiscretions” despite having played a vital role in developing a “Turing machine” (today known widely as a computer) to break the enigma code to end the World War II an estimated two years earlier than otherwise would have happened. A feat that saved an estimated 14 million lives.

The technology and history is there, but the lessons this film teaches about how to treat a person and how far the world has come is what moved me most. Sentenced to hormonal castration, Turing’s impact on history went unnoticed until he received a royal pardon posthumously. As he should have.

Films like this are the films that should be shown more often. True accounts of amazing people in history who didn’t receive the attention and credit they deserved in life.

As I said, I am no film critic. But I know that this film was more than a quick escape. It was a lesson in life for me and a reminder that looking back through history allows the world to avoid making the same mistakes.

Writing…Oh, it feels so good

In a wonderful change of pace, I was able to write an article today for the Herald-Palladium.

While on a daily basis, I paginate 8-12 pages a day, today I was able to go back to my roots and write a preview story about an upcoming benefit concert in St. Joseph, Mich.

And let me tell you, it feels so good.

I love sitting at a computer and debating how a story should flow. There is just something about writing that invigorates me. Perhaps it’s the fact that I haven’t written anything that has been published since I graduated last May, but more so I think it is that I truly enjoy writing.

With writing, I depend on myself; my reporting, style choices and editing to make a quality product. With design, my layout often depends on what others provide me with. There is a beauty in being solely responsible for the quality of a product – from the writing to the presentation.

It seems as though opportunities to write will be available to me every once in a while and I am so excited for that.

Finding joy in the unexpected

I went to college because I wanted to write. I jumped into journalism my first semester at Western Michigan University and learned all about reporting and writing. I had an internship at the Gazette writing. I wrote for the Western Herald. I spent four years writing.

Following graduation, I am not writing for a newspaper. I am designing them. This is not something I expected.

But quite honestly, I love it.

There is beauty in words and language, but there is beauty in presentation as well. I still write for myself and I hope to write in the future because it truly is a passion of mine but I love design.

Similar to writing, in design I am constantly learning new tricks, how to make things tighter and how to make it interesting for the reader.

It’s not what I expected I would be doing but it gives me joy to see a product of mine and be proud.

Time to get off your high horse

You know you need to put the pen to paper (or letters to the computer) when you have been thinking about the same thing for days.

Last weekend, something happened that I cannot get off my mind. I have been holding off on writing about it because I don’t exactly know what I will say, but it’s just time to put the pen to the paper and see what happens.

A few days ago Josh and I went to Walmart (I think I needed new leggings to wear with dresses). Once we had our items we stood in the 20 items or under checkout lane. Ahead of us was a woman and of course, the cashier.

As we settled into the line we saw the cashier reach out to hand the woman her change and as he did, he dropped a nickel. He immediately apologized. But the woman insisted that because he  was the one to drop it, he needed to come from behind the counter and pick it up and hand it to her.

Casually, as he was walking around to do so, he said that she was closer. She started screaming a him about his attitude and how he had to service the customer and pick up her nickel. The nickel that was maybe 5 inches away from her feet.

Now, this situation in itself sounds ridiculous. But what broke my heart was to see this woman get some sort of high off of bossing around this cashier who clearly had some handicaps. This behavior is not appropriate to anyone.

Josh, being the sympathetic man he is, piped in and kindly told the cashier that he was fine and that, “some people just wake up mean on the weekends.” He was promptly given many choice words and the middle finger several times.

She then left and we had a wonderful conversation with the cashier and wished him a good day.

This story may seem trivial but I have not stopped thinking about it because it exemplifies two things:

1. There are some people who just thrive off of sitting on their high horse and belittling people who they deem less than themselves and

2. There are some people who will defend those who are being belittled.

I am so blessed to be marrying someone in the second category.

Ten books that have left their mark on me

This is a list that has been making its rounds on Facebook, but I have too much to say to make it a simple numbered list.

First, the rules: list ten books that have had an impact on you in some way. The books don’t have to be epic works of literature, just a book that has had a lasting impression in some way.

So here I go:

1. Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)

Call it cliche, as I have seen this series on basically everyone’s list, but these books have stayed with me for many years. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone released in 1997, I was just five years old. Ten years later at age 15, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows was released. Amidst that, eight films were released and they all did one thing for me: instill a love for magic, other worlds and fantasy. This series largely sparked my love for books and films such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Game of Thrones.

2. Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)

I think that I first read this book in middle school and I have read it several times since. Only around 100 pages long, this book is my go to quick read that packs a lot of punch. The relationship between Lennie and George is my favorite part. Every time I read this book, I am captivated by Lennie’s character and his dependence on George.

3. The BFG (Roald Dahl)

Right in line with Roald Dahl’s other work (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, etc), The BFG has always stayed with me. It was quirky and introduced me to the concept that people (or giants) aren’t always who you assume them to be.

4. The Awakening (Kate Chopin)

The summer before my senior year at Western Michigan University, I took a seven-week English literature course and we read The Awakening. Although I just read it a little over a year ago, the book has resonated with me since. Published in 1899, Chopin’s book brought to light things that were unorthodox to think about, let alone act on: what motherhood and feminism should mean. The book is often referenced as an early work of feminist literature that is painfully honest.

5. The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

I first read The Scarlet Letter in high school and while many others were complaining about another 1800s book, I was drawn in by Hester Prynne’s choices and the consequences that came of it. While probably not the main point of the book, what stays with me is the question: Should someone’s life worth be characterized by one (or a few) things they did? It reminds me to not base my perception of a person on one interaction.

6. Pendragon series (D. J. MacHale)

The Pendragon series was my go to series when I was a kid. There was love, friendship, adventure and fantasy. I haven’t read the series in years but even as early as two weeks ago I was buying one of the books in the series to complete my collection. Like Harry PotterPendragon helped in developing my love for fantasy books.

7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)

A perfect blend of science, history and family, this book hits on every one of my loves. While I love fiction and fantasy, the real world has some amazing stories and this is one of them. This book has sparked my love for non-fiction books that tell the sometimes insane stories of real people and events.

8. The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster)

One of my favorite books of all time, The Phantom Tollbooth explored the English language and love for knowledge in a fun quirky way. From the jump to the Island of Conclusions to Princess Rhyme and Princess Reason, this book is packed full with a love for language and helped me greatly to develop my own love for English.

9. The Three and Many Wishes of Jason Reid (Hazel Hutchins)

For the last three years, I have been trying to figure out the name to this book. All I could remember was that it was about three wishes, a boy and baseball. Not much to go on. Finally, with the help of my mom, I figured out the book. I can’t exactly tell you what stayed with me but the fact that at 22 years old, I was still thinking about this book and trying to figure out its name should say something about it.

10. Silverwing (Kenneth Oppel)

I can still remember picking this book off of the shelf in fifth grade. The story follows the young and very small bat Shade as he tries to find his way back to his family. Even though it was perfect reading for an 11-year-old, I have read the book as recent as a year ago and have also bought it’s prequels and sequels.

Honorable mentions:

  • My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult)-This book ignited my love for Jodi Picoult books.
  • Carrie (Stephen King)-Having already seen the movies, I decided to read Carrie and I have since upped my Stephen King collection from zero to around 20 of his books.

Ready to move on, Part 3

The apartment is nearly spotless. Filled with only the indents of a family that used to live here. My room is the worst. It is crammed with boxes that are stacked to the ceiling.

It’s time to move again and relocate my life. Once again my Disney movies are packed into a box, away for safe keeping until we move.

I am moving back to the home that I grew up in. The beautifully tacky green house with weed filled gardens and debris filled gutters. It’s not always great, but the house is my home.

My room is painted green. Prairie green to be exact. I can paint the walls. It is so different from the white walls of the apartments. I can be creative. I can imagine the oranges and reds vibrating off the walls in explosive colors; the cool colors of winter spread throughout; and the spring-like pastels of relaxation. I can imagine the vintage of worn down homes and the variety that a new beginning should have. I can do more than imagine now, I can create.

I can put nails in the wall. Bang, bang, bang! This is amazing. I can put the sharp edges through the dry-wall, piercing the green, to hang up pictures.

I can sweep the floor. No more carpet. I walk on the floor and can still feel the roughness from the refinishing.

I walk around the room that is still covered with boxes stacked to the ceiling. I have more boxes for my room than any other room in the house. I can’t even reach the ones at the top. I think of the unpacking and don’t look forward to it. I had counted them before we moved: 47. 47 boxes.

I suppose I should get started.

Seven hours later I am done. Although exhausted, I am relieved. I sit down on my newly made bed and settle back. I click the red button on my remote and fall into the sounds of “Spongebob Squarepants, Spongebob Squarepants, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNTTTTTSSSS!”

Needless to say my homework didn’t get done that night but I was finally happy looking at those prairie green walls.