Sunday, August 31, 2008
Because I am a Speech Pathology/Audiology major I get to take part in a unique classroom experience at Calvin. On the lower level of the DeVos Communications Center is a distance education classroom. I’m not sure exactly what you call the technology that room is equipped with, but it is similar to videophone. Between every two seats is a little black microphone with a button to activate it, and there are two large television screens at the front and back of the room. This room allows Calvin “Speechies” to stay at Calvin all four years of our education and for all the classes in our major. Two classes in Audiology are required for a Calvin degree in Speech Pathology/Audiology, but Calvin does not have an Audiology professor. Before the DeVos Communications Center was built six years ago, Calvin Speechies had to drive to Michigan State University for two classes, one in the spring of their Junior year and one in the fall of their Senior year. That required a two-hour roundtrip drive twice a week. Now, though, we attend Michigan State’s Dr. Elfenbein’s classes from Calvin’s distance education classroom. We see Dr. Elfenbein on one of our television screens and her powerpoints on another one. She sees us on the back wall of her lecture hall. Whenever we have questions we just raise our hands and activate our microphones. We can hear her, she can hear us, and we can see each other too. The system took a little getting used to last spring when I took my first MSU class, but now it seems old hat. The only uncomfortable part now is that MSU’s schedule is different than Calvin’s. So even though Calvin doesn’t start for another week, I’ve been taking my MSU class for a week already. It’s getting me ready for being a full-time student again next Monday.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
a garden update
This morning I finally spent some time in our garden. You might recall from earlier this summer when I wrote about clearing half of my friend Nehemiah’s backyard for our garden. We had big plans but much less time than was initially required, so we got off to a bit of a slow start, but lately things have been growing like crazy. We’ve had a pretty cool summer too, so initial growth was slow. Lately though, everything has been growing…including the weeds. We’ve had very little time for weeding, and it has shown.
So, since Nehemiah and David have faithfully watered every day this summer, and my only participation thus far has been eating the produce, I decided to pull my weight today and do some weeding. I spent the better part of the morning sitting in the sun and playing in the dirt, and three hours later, the garden was weed-free.
I came home with lettuce, spinach, carrots, and a sense of accomplishment.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I give lots of tours this summer, and today I gave one to the nicest mother/daughter pair. The daughter is thinking about applying to Calvin and is even interested in my department: Speech Pathology. We had a great tour together, and at the end of our tour and lunch both mom and daughter gave me a hug. I can’t tell you what that meant to me. I don’t presume to speak for all college students, but I definitely miss the warm embrace of a mother. It was so good to be hugged today. My housemates and I make an effort to hug each other at least once every day so that we each give and receive at least 6 hugs/day, but they’ve been gone a long time now. It will be nice to have their loving arms and fun senses of humor back in just a couple of weeks now!
Friday, August 08, 2008
Of all my readers out there, I’m not sure if any of you watch the television show “The Office.” If you don’t, maybe you should reconsider how you spend your Thursday nights because it is a fabulous show. If you do, then you might understand the reference that this post’s title makes to a specific episode in which the whole staff goes to the beach for a day to compete in trivial games for a promotion. We did not participate in any such activities, but we did take our office staff to the beach. However, it was only the student workers and we went after the Admissions Office closed. We grabbed a volleyball and hopped in the Toyota Corollas driven by two of my coworkers as soon as the workday ended.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I’ve been so busy this summer that I’ve had very little time to just enjoy the earth’s bounty, but in the past week I have taken the time and it has been so worth it.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Last night I joined two Admissions Counselors and another student assistant as we drove the two and a half hours to Schererville, IN, just outside Chicago, to host a cookout for prospective students and their families. The idea was that if someone was perhaps mildly interested in Calvin, they might be more likely to come hear about us at a cookout in their neighborhood than to drive all the way to see Calvin for themselves. Hopefully we convinced some of them that Calvin is worth a look.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Time is a funny thing. Sometimes you cannot believe so much of it has passed, and sometimes it moves at a snail’s pace. Friday night I was talking with a friend who is going to Hungary this fall, and I realized that it has been two years since I was preparing for that same semester abroad. Two years! No way! It seems like it just happened sometimes. Other times though, like today when I was looking back through my scrapbooks from my time in Hungary, it seems like it was all a dream or something that happened in another lifetime. I was a wide-eyed nineteen-year-old when I went, and while I’m not all that much older and wiser now, sometimes I feel like that carefree Emily is hard to find these days. I’m often consumed with thoughts of grad school and what my post-college life will look like, and I just want to take a step back and stop worrying about it all.
Monday, July 07, 2008
an easy contentedness
As I sit here in my dining room tonight, I am content. My housemates and I have just returned from a grocery shopping excursion. We are never reminded that we are fairly poor people more acutely than when we are attempting to have enough money to buy decent groceries. We all feel the need to put healthy food into our bodies, but it is expensive! We try to save money in other ways so that we can afford fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and whole wheat cereals, pastas, and breads. These sorts of things taste better and fill us up faster, even if they do hit the wallet a little hard in the check-out line. So it’s a sacrifice we make. We don’t want to fall into the very tempting trap of buying simply the cheapest things at the risk of compromising our health. Hopefully later this summer our garden will begin to supplement our vegetable requirements, but the garden isn’t flourishing quite as well as we had originally hoped.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I’ve been back in my Grand Rapids “home” for almost two weeks now, and it has been something of an adjustment period. First of all, there was the jet lag which had to be dealt with. That was easy: the day after I got back I went to bed early and slept for twelve hours. Adjustment complete. Secondly, I had to get used to new housemates. The living situation I was in all last year seemed so easy and comfortable. We all knew each other well, having lived together for two years in the dorms prior to moving off-campus. It was not really any work to make everyone feel included and a part of our non-biological family, the houseloves. This summer, however, only two of us housemates are originals, me and Moriah. The other three people in our house are not houseloves. Thankfully we all have a decent amount of free time in which to hang out and build community, so the adjustment hasn’t been too difficult, but at first it felt a bit disorienting to wake up and find someone different using the bathroom or the kitchen and not know quite how to relate to them.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Tapping My Roots
After the class was over and the group left to return home, I had made arrangements to stay behind in Scotland for an extra week. One other girl, Jessica, was staying with me, and we were going to spend the time visiting my family, none of whom I had seen more recently than 2000 - eight years ago. We were received with warm Highland hospitality and such graciousness that we were made to feel as though we were the ones doing them a favor by staying with them! I hope to someday have developed an easy welcoming spirit similar to theirs. I also wouldn’t mind being timeless, as I found them to be. It seemed as though they hadn’t changed at all in the past eight years. My great-aunt Nanda was just as spunky and knowledgeable as I remembered, and having dinner with her the first night that the group was gone was a definite highlight.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Edinburgh - how DO you say that?
My dad’s side of the family is Scottish, so the final stop on our UK tour - Scotland - was something I was particularly looking forward to. It was an overcast and misty day when we took the ferry from Belfast over to Stranraer on the southwest coast of Scotland.
Most of us spent the ferry ride doing our final transcriptions from Ireland. We were in groups of four or five and each group had to turn in one transcription from each region. Everyone was charged with collecting two samples in every location, and then out of the eight or ten that our group had, we would choose one to transcribe as a group. I’m sure the people sitting near us were curious as to why there were five groups of girls listening to recordings of people saying “When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, it acts like a prism and forms a rainbow,” and then discussing whether that was really a schwa or if it was stressed enough to count as a caret. And was that “th” sound voiced or not? Did our speaker make a “w” in between “two” and “ends” or was it a glottal stop? These were the pressing issues of the day.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I apologize for not continuing to update this blog while I finished my interim course. I’ll do my best to recreate my experiences now, complete with pictures (check back to the posts from London and Wales for photos and more details).
We spent the whole day traveling to Derry, Northern Ireland on Wednesday, the 28th of May. Our first leg was a train from Llandudno to Holyhead, where we took the ferry across the Irish Sea to Dublin. We had initially planned to spend that night in Dublin, but finding adequate lodging proved impossible, so instead our group was met at the port by a coach and a driver named Seamus. Our bus was actually decorated with an 8-year-old’s rendition of a Dutch Windmill (I guess it won some contest, so it was displayed on the side of this minibus), but it was comforting for some of the Dutch-er girls in our group, and funny for all of us. Here we were in Ireland, and our bus - which was named Gus, by the way - had a painting of a windmill on it. Dutchness simply permeates our world.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
By the time we left London, I was more than ready to go. It was exciting at first, but then it got overwhelming and just drained my energy. The city is so big, so busy, and so stressful! It was fun to see all the sights, but I was ready for something a little calmer by the end of the week. Our Friday day-trip to Oxford provided a bit of a rest, although it was cold and rainy so not as nice as we had hoped. I really enjoyed seeing the town though, and hearing about all the history of the place. We had a lot of free time to poke around and see what we wanted to.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
London is everything I had expected and more. I was lucky enough to sleep straight through our flight from Detroit to London Gatwick (thank you, Dramamine!), so when we got here I was not even tired. We took a couple of trains to get to our hotel, which is in Paddington, so not near the center of the city at all, but right on a very useful Underground line. Julia and I have also been putting our public transportation experience to use, getting accustomed to London’s bus and tube routes remarkably quickly. We can already look at the street where we are and say, “Oh, we just need to grab the 14 bus from here to take us where we want to go.” So that’s been an easy transition.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I honestly thought when I returned from Hungary a year and a half ago that I would not travel again until I was a well-established professional who could afford such luxuries. I am neither well-established nor able to afford more traveling, and yet, this evening at 5:15 I will be heading back across the Atlantic for a little more acculturation. Since I switched my major sort of at the last minute last spring, it is going to be difficult for me to get all the necessary classes in and still graduate on time (which is a goal I definitely hold). I need a speech pathology elective, and wouldn’t you know it, they don’t offer those during interim if you stay on campus! So this past January I took it easy academically and studied the great sport of gymnastics for a couple hours per week instead of taking an actual interim course. Now Calvin will still let me take three more interim credits, and the only speech pathology interim happens to be going to the UK and Ireland, leaving today. I’m starting my day off with some Lucky Charms cereal, getting me in the right spirit to go along.