November is more than halfway over, and it’s been so fantastic I’m suspicious that I unknowingly made a deal with the devil.
Let’s recap, shall we?
First, even before November, Halloween in the city was a blast. There was hair dye and tree climbing and costumes and free nachos and inspirational train rides. [Spiro was a) Jack Frost, b) Smokin’ Jay Cutler — I was a) sexy firefighter and b) TopGun girl]
November 1st, Spiro and I made the trek to Soldier Field for our first ever NFL game to watch the Bears play the Vikings. That completed the trifecta of going to see Chicago sports teams play. Hawks, Bears, and Cubs. We’ve yet to see a Bulls game, but they weren’t a big priority. All in due time. The game was great – we had good seats and the weather was nice and even though we lost in the last 4 seconds, we still had fun.
The weekend of Nov. 13, Spiro and I flew home to Texas for the first time since moving here in August. It was an early birthday present for me, from him. Being back in Texas was strange enough, but being back in Conroe was even stranger. The city life is vastly different from the suburban life where I grew up. I’d forgotten about some stuff, even during the relatively short time I’d been away. The fact that there are trees everywhere! And going to bed without hearing sirens. And driving a car to get places. My siblings also all came home to complete the weekend. I missed them all, and it was so … comforting. We’re pretty different individually, but together we fit so perfectly. They’re some of my best friends. Flying back to Chicago on Monday was a tad bittersweet, but it was a decidedly perfect weekend.
I had little time to catch up/get ahead on school work before this past weekend came racing upon us. Two friends from Texas – Connor, from UT, and Reagan, who we knew from Conroe, but goes to Notre Dame – came up for the weekend. It was easily one of the best weekends/birthdays I’ve ever had. There was pie and cider and SNOW and German alcohol in porcelain boots and waffles and broken elevator fiascos and missed flights and birthday madness. When they left on Sunday, there was a deep, bone-weary quiet that settled over us, and in the space they had taken up there was now a void. The high from their visit battled fiercely with the ache of their absence.
Don’t worry – I’m still a grad student, so there’s naturally *work* to be done, too. All this good excludes a certain graduate class that has me stressing every week. I was discussing it with some classmates, and we realized that the entirety of our anxiety is coming from this one class – and it’s not even a creative writing one. Being prepped for teaching is a nightmare. I think this is the closest I’ve come to understanding how it feels to be bait-and-switched. Columbia lured me into their program with the promise of a fantastic program (which it IS) and a teaching position that pays (which I’ll GET), but what they failed to mention is that the teaching course to prepare me is soul-crushing and full of questions without answers and h.a.r.d. I know I just listed all the fun things I’ve gotten to do this month, but it’s the type of fun that is reserved for the weekends and even then there’s a little voice in my head telling me how far I’m falling behind in this class by having fun instead of working. I have a 10-15 page paper draft due next week, and I don’t even have a topic, let alone any interest whatsoever in it. Every time my cohort gathers for a party, or rides the train home together after class, we inevitably bring this class up and we’ve yet to talk about it positively. With the exception of these few weekends, my social life has all but gone into hibernation.
The other two classes I’m taking are great. I’m making a lot of progress with my creative work and feeling really inspired from my lit class. I’m registered for next semester, and I’m excited to see a lot of my friends are in the same classes as I am.
I’m still 7 books behind in my Goodreads challenge for the year. December might find me locked away in my room catching up on the pile I’ve been wanting to get to for months now. The closer the end of the year gets, the less faith I have that I’ll finish the goal. But I’m trying!
I’m not going home for Thanksgiving this year, the first time in my entire 23 years of life. It’s like this event I know is coming up in the future, but I keep pushing it out of mind because there will be enough sadness when it comes. It makes me feel old, really. Adult-life creeped up and boom, now I’m not spending Thanksgiving with my family because distance and money and responsibilities. Thank God FaceTime exists. Next thing they need to do is invent a way to teleport my grandmother’s broccoli casserole and creamed corn and chocolate pie. My mouth is watering just typing that…
So yeah, that’s life lately. People have started to ask me about updates recently so I figured I’d better go ahead and update the blog. There’s been a lot going on, as you can see. But there’s a lot more good than bad. I’m in the black – a reference to Black Friday, if you will. But the way it was intended, where the stores make a profit and don’t ruin the holiday season and people don’t get trampled.
Bring it, December.
P.S. I’m loving the snow. Yes I know I may “get sick of it.” But not yet. I love it. Don’t kill the happiness, people.