19 December 2008

New Thoughts and Thoughts on Newness

I feel like this Christmas break deserves some exposition, as it's the most unusual/different Christmas I've had so far (the prize for most depressing goes to Xmas '06, most magical goes to whatever year it was mom and dad put coconut and flour "snow" boot-and-butt-prints on the hearth and it didn't occur to me that snow would melt).

First, let's get a little context. Three-room, twelfth floor apartment. Starbucks on the ground floor. Four-foot fake tree on the mantle of the holographic fireplace. There's no chimney, so I think Santa might have a little trouble. At the very least, he doesn't have to worry about getting his rear burnt.

This is my first city-living experience. I have to use a white noise machine at night to drown out the trains and cars, but I can walk to Starbucks, Pier 1, Target, Hollywood Video, a Greek restaurant (and innumerable other eateries), BARNES AND NOBLE, and the Metro station which will take you to the most fabulous museums in the world. In fact, I can walk UNDERGROUND to the Metro station if I want, and window-shop along the way. There are two massive office buildings that hinder our view of the river. I realized yesterday that they're the EPA. There's a faint taste of irony lingering in my mouth.

This is also the closest I've come to base living. When you live on base, or very near one, things are different from normal life. For example, if you need food, you go to the commissary. If you need socks, you go to the PX (short for post-exchange). And if you're in need of a special pick-me-up, you won't find it at the commissary or the PX; for that, you'll need to go the Class-Six.

So far I've seen one-millionth of the Museum of Natural History, the national Christmas tree, Richard Avendon's Portraits of Power, and the official stables of the official horses of the official caisson for official military funerals, and stuff. The latter was a happy accident. We'd just been to the commissary, and for lunch in the basement of the officer's club (if you want to eat upstairs, you have to dress nice), and we decided to wander over to the caisson stables to see if we could see the horses.

The caisson and the honor guard pull the coffins in funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as other official funerals and memorial services. They do 8 funerals a day. The horses are the most beautiful, majestic, lovely, velvety-nosed creatures I've ever seen. Some were even a massive 2,000 lbs. Their necks and heads were bigger than all of me! We fed carrots to Sgt York, the tiny (in comparison) horse that was saddled with Ronald Reagan's cowboy boots backward in the stirrups for Reagan's funeral.

We were shown around by Private S, who I took to be no older than me, judging by the fact that he was trying unsuccessfully to grow a mustache (I've never tried, but I imagine if I did I'd fail too). Pvt. S told us this was his first assignment after enlistment and basic training. He's been there 6 months. This means Pvt. S is most likely younger than me. This struck me, and I've been thinking about it for a while. All my life, the men and women on the bases where my dad's been have been older than me. They were adults, and I was a child. I don't feel much like an adult now - I subsist mostly on daddy and mommy's money, with the few exceptions of my spending money, grocery money, and a small amount of student loans. But - I'm the same age as (or even older than!) some of the soldiers now.

I dunno. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the juxtaposition of the parent-supported college life and the self-supported life of a soldier the same age. What makes us so different? And why do I still feel like a child?

14 December 2008

The Insanely Long Christmas Break, Part I

I have 6 weeks off for Christmas.

There is a yellow jacket in the lamp next to me. Maybe if I ignore him he will ignore me and burn up on the bulb and die.

Part I is Georgia. I spent all of 30 minutes at my house today. It was cold and all the furniture was covered in sheets. Not exactly what people mean when they sing idealistically about coming home for Christmas. I promised my books and my piano I'd be back in a couple of weeks.

Grandparents are nicer about naps than parents. They just say, "Aw, poor baby needs her sleep" when I conk out on guest bed for an hour (or two). The first few days of a school break will ALWAYS be primarily sleep-oriented. The moon is full, so at night it looks like it's snowed. The wind chimes on the porch haven't been quiet since yesterday morning. Most of the time they sound like fairy music, but sometimes (mainly when I'm falling asleep) they sound eerie - maybe more like aliens-coming-to-abduct-you music?

Yellow jacket has ventured out of lamp and is now crawling on lampshade. Wait, no, he's back inside. There's a smart one.

Tomorrow Part II, DC, will begin. Perhaps I will have more things to write about than naps and bugs.

08 December 2008

Green eggs and ham

Forgive me for not freaking out about exams. I finished my papers for the semester, and exams seem like a molehill. I finished a paper on Friday that was 15 pages. At least it made the 5 page paper I turned in today look like a drop in the bucket. I think the thing most sorely lacking during exam time is (drumroll) perspective. So here's a small dose:

What's one test? In light of your entire life, pretty small. In light of eternity, pretty much nothing.
God loves you, whether or not you make an A (and guess what, whether or not you pass, too!)
Failing or doing poorly on one test is not going to divert the plans of the almighty God.
You probably know most of it anyway. Stop fretting, study what you can, do your best, and have a little perspective.

I would also like to take this moment to thank the chain smokers outside my window for the cancer and the asthma.

I can't believe the semester really is over. It feels odd to be here and not have class. Furthermore (there's the paper talk), I've been so stressed for the past month that I am practically buoyant with this freedom and burdenlessness! Strap me to the chair, I'm going to fly away!

Speaking of flying away...

I can't help but wonder if God is preparing me to never be "home," to never be comfortable. It's understandable in a couple different ways. This isn't home, this broken earth isn't our eternal resting place. That I can accept. The worse part, though, is the fear that I'm never (or hardly ever) going to get to rightly call a place on this earth "home." I am such a homebody! I love to be around the familiar, the traditional, the well-worn and memory-filled. I am going to be with my family this Christmas, but I can't call their apartment home. Home seems like a thing of the past, something of childhood. You may say, oh but Corinne! You'll grow older and settle down and have a new home! Maybe I will (but I sincerely hope settling down is quite a ways off). I've always been petrified of living and dying in the same place - funny for a homebody, right? The things I want to do with my life involve not staying in one place for very long. And furthermore, doesn't God call us out of our comfort zones? And doesn't he use us through our weaknesses?

Just some thoughts I've been mulling over. I think I found my dream job, getting paid to live overseas and write about it. Now I just have to get my dream job. Ha. We'll see.