Moving into Sunflower House Co-op

Living with 40 people in a house with 2 bathrooms.

Meeting new people everyday. TERRIFIED the first day. Getting used to things the second day but AWKWARD. Hopefully today, everything starts to flow. ;)

Had house brunch yesterday morning at 11. They ring a bell when it’s time to eat and we all come stumbling into the dining room. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we have house dinners. Mondays after dinner we have house meetings. I will tell you how it goes. I have heard so much hype about these meetings- people keep telling  me that shit gets REAL during them. Last night I was sitting outside on the wrap around porch with a bunch of guys from the house- and a couple of them out of NOWHERE got into a bit of a nasty spat about the code of ethics pertaining to drinking orange juice straight from the bottle. Deb and I just looked at each other and exchanged nervous grins… shit’s getting real.

A guy from the house invited me to this community kickball night game by the East Lawrence community. We walked to the outside arena (which has a PEACE AND LOOOOOOVE mural all over it) and settled into a PACKED stadium full of Lawrence hipsters smoking pot, drinking beer, eating donuts and cheering the game on. Haha.  It was a bit beautiful. And a bit boring. But I’m glad I went. :)

Earlier when we were walking to the stadium a car drove past and yelled “ANNIIEEEE!” and then all the sudden there was this huge man jumping out of a car and running toward me. Yes, I know I am hot shit. I have men jumping out of cars all the time for me. :P Anyway- it turned out to be my friend Miles— whom I have not seen in a year and a half! It was crazy to see him in Lawrence as he’s going to Kstate- but it was really nice to see him. He came to the game for a bit and brought along his friends.

ALSO Jisu, Eva, Loic and Em– every girl in the house besides Debolina has hair just like mine. So much for wanting to stand out. That’s what I get. :P But I absolutely ADORE my new hairstyle. I don’t think I’m ever going back. I wake up in the morning and have an endearing mohawk, I take a shower and look like an angry cat, and at the end of the day I just look DAMN good. :)

ALSO Jisu and Eva, the people at the house sweat MORE than me! I know. I can’t believe it either. We have no air conditioning in the house so we are all always drenched in sweat. They are perfect for me, no? Honestly- when I went for a jog yesterday I didn’t take a shower until five hours later- and no one cared at all. I actually think they were more friendly to me because of it. :P

OH! And get this. Since I’ve been sleeping with my window open- I’ve been waking up with the sun. Also- since all the houses are so close together downtown- when people get up for work and start moving around they make a lot of beautiful noise that instantly pulls me out of sleep. Working like a fooking charm. :)

Woke up at 7 this morning. Went for a jog and got back around 8:30. Sat out on the back porch tree house and cooled off. Came back inside and made coffee and now I’m about to head off to campus to buy some bloody LATIN books for the semester. I’m also going to read all of the free newspapers on campus while I’m up there.

Watching squirrels, skunks and people scurrying around outside my tree house window.

Really good dinner. Really starting to feel more comfortable with everything and everyone. Having genuine interactions instead of just asking for names.

Homemade pizza with nice thick WHOLE WHEAT crust. I had a few pieces of the vegetarian Mexican pizza with refried beans, avocado, olives and cheese, then a slice of the regular vegetarian with a HEAVENLY homemade sauce– so freaking good. Then we had fresh fruit dessert pizza.

Chris bought 20 pounds of bananas for 99 cents a pound with some of the food money- and they are sitting in the kitchen for the taking as well. :)

Watching a movie with some of the guys for a bit tonight, then having my official introduction to the house with the German Simon. I will finally be taught the whole complicated and brilliant system of the house.

Feeling better everyday.

We each have to do 8 hours of work a week- but looking at the whole pictures- that is NOTHING to be SERVED four days a week!

Everyone does there chores, fights and gets along like a family. It’s beautiful. And the power is completely decentralized- we actually don’t have a leader or any hierarchy in the house. Everyone is equal and we each take turns leading the meeting. So cool!

Vote on everything- do everything ourselves. Our own landlords and own tenants.

Went stargazing on the docks of Clinton Lake last night with a bunch of people and blankets and pillows.

Ate donuts out of the dumpster last night and watermelons from local farmers with a certain ADORABLE boy.

Made best friends with the new boy drinking tea.

Attended an impromtu concert in the basement by a bunch of people in the house. JAMMIN

A indie folk band called Cloud Dog is visiting Lawrence and playing at the Bottleneck Friday, then Saturday they are playing a private concert at our house and crashing on our couches! Should be fun.

Went to a house environment meeting- talked about making our own soap out of the grease we have from the kitchen, using grey water to water the plants, dedicating a room in the basement to the worm room for composting, and a bunch of other things I had never even heard of before! So cool.

Last night at the meeting we had to vote on a few people who are actually LIVING in the house right now on a trial run. Eating and doing chores with the house. They left the room and we passed their applications around the circle while people discussed the reasons why they should or shouldn’t live here. It’s so cut throat! After those paper slips are in, they are either in or they are out. Crazy! I can’t believe that my name went through that process.

We have a list system since there are so many people. There is one guy, Deacon, designated as the name writer or whatever. So when we are in meeting, he watches for people who catch his eye and make the hand motion, and he writes them down. Then everyone gets to talk in the order they are written down, and there are no interruptions. Really diplomatic and really works! You can have really engaging debates this way.

Watched the second half of the Titanic downstairs with cake and booze.

Serenaded by a bearded banjo player in my kitchen.

Stumbled upon two guys talking about life and eventually turned into a ten person intense debate about the non existence of free will and the nature of determinism. YUM. I might have been a bit too authoritative on the subject. I might have a few people to apologise to today…

Brian and I had girl talk. He is officially my PAL.

Playing chess outside with Kelsey on the front porch in the middle of the night.

Adrienne, one of my bosses- lived all these cool places in Eastern Europe. “If you ever want to talk to someone about living in a place where you do not speak the language, I am your person.” :D

CAMPING UNDER THE STARS for the METEOR SHOWER Saturday night! xxxxx

The room I picked in the house is historically the recluse room, my flatmates were telling me last night (over wineglasses of whiskey). ;)

Looking back, I remember my thought process when picking out the room: it’s a little nook in the back corner, kitchen just down the hall way so minimal social contact on way to the food, and easy escape through the back door.

I am happy to take proud ownership of the recluse room this year.

The Co-op is starting a Women’s Caucus that I joined at dinner tonight.

We had veggie Reuben sandwiches for dinner with French onion soup and chef salad. Something is really right about this set up. :)

Spent the night laying in bed with Debbie and having girl talk. Then spent the rest of the night filling in my planner to the BRINK with all of the things I am planning to do this year. See how it goes. Also joined the Commission on the Status of Women through KU. Getting my feminist on.

Walk into the kitchen for a glass of water and am confronted by a bunch of hilarious people standing around with glasses of god-knows-what having a casual midnight drink. Really cute. Really funny. Really natural. And then you can just walk away and do your own thing again. Yes, please. <3

So at work today- got my own OFFICE and am going to start learning web design for the department! And am also going to be helping our director for a few hours a week with her book- checking her bibliography and all. Also, talking to Adrienne, (she’s so funny, and isn’t afraid to tell ANYONE off, including me on multiple occasions already. love her) and she was telling me about the ins and outs of international studies graduate schools. Which ones to go to to really get in the field, and which ones offer the best internships.

Might be the IT person for the department next semester! Would work well with journalism direction.

‘So forget the politics of living alone, and just dance til the morning light’

Last night ended up on the porch outside talking about globalization and the expansion of capitalism with Emar and then about Wigiboards and energy and the universe as one entity with Andy and Kelsey. And now I’m going to class. And there is a bunch of social hippie get togethers this weekend starting at five tonight, but I think I’ll be spending the night in the library clearing my head.

My dissertation class is intense and will be a major part of my life this semester. Our final 25 page exam is due November 1. Also Latin is intense this semester, a bunch of really smart classical linguistics to work with who are studying Greek as well.

Oh. And there is a friggin German boy, so funny and so cute. Came out and chatted me up while smoking a cigarette. Like 8 feet tall. Oh those Germans.

GIST seminar- really intelligent people. Going to have to up my standards for myself this year for sure. And feel like I’ll actually follow through and do it for once. :)

Sat next to a guy I met three years ago while living in McCollum dorm. He was a super political activism junkie, and everyone made fun of him. Just goes to show- he’s fluent in Arabic now and has spent the past three years in the Middle East doing school and research.

Also there was a guy I’ve seen around the Russian studies department in my class. He’s had three years of Russian and is going there this spring to finish school.

All these interesting people in the world. Thank god we have become interesting people. Actually, we always have been interesting people, it’s just that we have finally come into our own.

I spent a whole evening in the library on couches with a bunch of frat boys tonight. A few years ago this would have either really intimidated me, or else depressed the shit out of me. But now I’ve realized there is only a certain amount of energy for you to use in your lifetime- and you should use it on what you want and what feels good to you. And the other things fade into the background.

Coexistence is possible. There is no point arguing or trying to change others who are different from you. Just enjoy them in the framework of life and spend time with those you want. I have met so many amazing people already in the three weeks I have been in Lawrence- but even those people are not taking up all my energy. I have so much energy just for myself right now and that makes interaction with others even better, in the weird paradox of life.

I absolutely hate wasting time speaking to people from the past. Just ran into a few people I would have LOVED to impress a few years ago but now don’t give a shit about. And the more I don’t give a shit the more they do. I know I turned out really fucking cool, but lay off. I really don’t have time for any of you.

I just want to take a moment to explain the beauty of this morning.

Shower, coffee, and free yogurt from the fridge.

Dressed and ready for class reading Zorba the Greek (YUMMMM) listening to Carla Bruni sexy French music and being able to repeat the lyrics in a fairly passable French accent! I know, thanks Eva and Loic! I don’t sound AS Arabic anymore. ;)

Brilliant morning.

Brilliant dinner last night. And bonded with Robbie. We met on Sunday– he was giving me shit because he goes to Haskell and I asked if he was Native American. We were just automatically on the giving-the-other-shit level and it’s cute. Had dinner together and he invited me to go paw-paw hunting with him and a bunch of other people in the house. Apparently they are a fruit that grows in the Lawrence Wetlands that appears to be the offspring of a banana and a mango or something. I’m skeptical. But who knows. :P He’s studying Botany at Haskell and is super into nature and camping and hiking. He’s already invited himself to Manhattan to camp in the Flint Hills next time I go home.

Just talked to Mariya Omelicheva about helping her with her book– so cool!!

It’s about promotion of democracy in Central Asia- most approaches focus on the applications and the actions being done with this- but she is writing about the communication side of it. There are different definitions of democracy just in the ENGLISH language, when this is translated into other languages and mixed with government propaganda the desired communication does not always go through. Also, surrounding topics like human rights and democracy in America there is a huge emotive force to go along with it culturally that just doesn’t translate to other cultures. Mariya says when she goes to Asia and speaks in their own language of whatever country she is in, the concept still doesn’t translate. And there is huge distrust of democracy and no one wants to talk about it. She did surveys in Central Asia interviewing people. So cool. Anyway, she’s getting me a flashdrive tomorrow and I start this huge project of a 30 page bibliography, and also editing the book to make sure everything is cited and flows. WOWOWOWOWOW. So cool.

Got up at seven and made breakfast and sat at the bar and read the paper. Then I packed my lunch and headed to the Union to read the paper. I snagged a great table outside and soaked up some beautiful early morning sun while I read the New York Times and drank coffee like a wonderfully pretentious asshole. :)

Shared a few moments with the barista at the cafe as this old professor starting yelling about injustice pertaining to the lack of half and half in the coffee world.

Uhmmmm work 9:30-11:30. I mainly sorted papers and equipment in the IT office and organized shelves.

Attempted to check out some Dreamweaver books during my 10 minute break as well, but the guy at the front desk was so incredibly chill and slow that I basically had to rip the paper out of his hands. I’m finishing my search after work.

Latin was good and then Geology was actually really good as well. I have started a habit which I think will be my tradition for the year- rubbing the gold statue’s nose in Lindley every Tuesday and Thursday. :P

OH! And got Russian professor Bart’s perspective on the Pussy Riot trial today. Actually, it wasn’t really a perspective but lack thereof. He said people were making it a black and white issue but it really depends on the culture as for the reaction to what happened. And also talked about how there are no set punishments over there but court decisions are usually very political and based on Putin’s whim currently.

Sunday I went to bed around 2 after a night filled with whiskey and stars and woke up at 5:30 because I promised Sultana I would join him in his Occupy Lawrence strike in South Park. I didn’t go- because I never do anything- but I got up. I made coffee, listened to music, yoga, shower, breakfast, fixed my lunch and was out the door by 8:30 and at the Union to read the newspapers for an hour before work.

Ate Deb’s mom’s amazing dahl for lunch on a perfect sunny spot on a hill in the back of Bailey hall. I laid back and looked up at the beautiful expansive trees and listened to Slow Club. So nice. Perfect solo date. My new spot. Don’t tell anyone about it. ;)

At 12 I went to Latin. I have the same Latin teacher I had two years ago– I had forgotten how much I adore her class. She is so eccentric and wonderful and makes up the lesson plan as she goes out of the forest of her mind. God I LOVE Latin. I don’t even want to write about that class because I know I will not do it justice.

Next I had Geography in Lindley hall. I was feeling really superior all day, being a senior on campus and seeing all of these awkward freshman, but then I realized right before class I had no idea where Lindley hall was! So I had to go ask at the library! Ha. Ummm THAT class was full of freshman. Completely. The social vibes were really self conscious and depressing and flat. The teacher was a character though- started the class off by telling a story about a guy he sat next to on a plane recently who was apparently a “**^%*@ Baptist Conservative” and “those guys are so #&%%#.” Hahaha. But yeah. Left feeling gross and all 18ish after that class.

Went back to work and met the other student assistants, Ben and Lauren. Ben and I walked around campus posting up fliers for CREES, these scary fliers with big strong Russians narrowing their eyebrows and pointing their fingers at you (effective advertising, I am sure!). Ben is an English major and we talked about writing. He seems like a good guy. Then Lauren and I finished canvasing campus talking about our study abroad experiences. She went to Nicaragua this summer and learned the indigenous language of Miskito which is more similar to English than Spanish apparently.

I saw a bunch of old people I haven’t seen in a year and a half on campus and they came up and hugged me and stuff, and I put on a face and acted like I had missed them a bit. ;)

UHMMMM then I saw this girl Laura who studied abroad in India this summer, just got back Sunday. And she walked around with me and we talked about that. She has only been taking Hindi for a year- and she went to India this summer and lived with an Indian family for 6 weeks and completely survived! So cool. Gives me ideas…

Came home and sat in the living room with Jono, and people slowly drifted in and joined us. I got a beer off Carlos from my pretty smile. Who could resist?

Jono is having a ball because he found out about Noah and I the other night. And that means it will only be a matter of days before the entire cosmic galaxy knows about it.

Uhmmm tofu dinner last night with Thai mushroom soup. House meeting which I left after an hour and a half because I had only had three hours sleep the previous night. And then chatted with friends and passed out.

This morning was a bit harder waking up. Turned on music and listened to the Slow Club album in bed twice over before I got up to take a shower. Walked to school with Noah and sat down in my Comparative Societies class at 9:30 this morning. One of my favorite professors from when I worked in the Sociology Department is teaching that class, Prof. Najafizadeh. She’s so sweet.

Currently at work and will be here 11-5. Today’s going pretty good. I’ve started reading the first of a long list of MUST READS from the hippie house. I think it’s funny that I have always been so PEACE AND LOOOOOOOOVEEE and really wanting to find people exactly like this. But then when I do find them I get all cynical and realistic on their asses. Whatcanyado. ;)

Lunch with Noah. He gave me this Genetics book to read. We are having an on going spat about free will. I am arguing for determinism, but he is taking it as an argument for fatalism, thus we are getting nowhere with it and I try to stop him immediately as the subject comes up. I’m also reading this cult classic “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” that’s going around the house.

Creating a “Welcome Triboard” for the CREES Fall Mixer currently.

“Don’t starve” food: Mexican beans and salsa almost always in the communal fridge. Beautiful. Topped them with cheese and rice and talked Politics with Creed: we need more artists in the system to balance out the technophiles.

PCHINGGGG.

Was planning on reading all night– but anytime go out of room usually get involved in some interesting conversation. But I’m back now!

Reading a book Noah lent me tonight.

We both had monkeys named monkey when we were kids and he thinks that means something. I told him he’s full of shit.

Came home from grocery shopping last night and was greeted by a house full of people, homemade blackbean burgers and sauerkraut. Slapped one in a tortilla and slathered it in hummus and realized what a beautiful thing I had just created thanks to the house. YUM!!! Simon’s potluck.  Also went swimming at the pool down the street and listened to people in the house playing music while I read some select books from the library downstairs. Good night. Chill night.

Skunks outside my window rooting around.

AW! Cute guy Brian came over and put the final touches on my door. It is officially working now. :)

Woke up this morning and went to brush my teeth- bathroom full. Saw Jono in the kitchen- he said Debbo was in the other bathroom and that we are unsettling mirror images of each other. :P Anyway- Debbo and I brushed our teeth together, then walked up the hill to work together, she’s working on campus too.

It takes FIVE MINUTES to walk to campus. Literally amazing.

Saw Jono throughout the day as he works at Watson library. I had to lug a 51 piece 1941 Slavic encyclopedia there. Everytime I walked in the quiet library with all my books the dolly creaked and squeaked like a MOTHER and all the peaceful librarians practically burned my skin with their death stares.

Jono is majoring in creative writing! I really like him- he’s really easy to talk to and he was one of the first people I met here. He took us to this awesome pool down the street the first day. I should hit up that pool again…

Anyway.

Read a copy of the Ukrainian Times during lunch today.

Then proceeded to catalog 100 new books into the online data base for the hidden gem of a library that no one in the world knows about. :)

We are now currently sorting the books by topic to arrange on the shelves- about 200 Russian, East European and Eurasian books about anything from Communism to the history of the Balkan Peninsula. Using wikipedia a lot, and learning A LOT.

Also the Russian department supposedly has the best parties on campus. Vodka is not sponsored by the school anymore though, sadly.

Got locked out of my room this morning before work and climbed in through my second story window with a ladder and the aid of my friend Noah. HA.

Good day at work. Got a lot done and felt accomplished.

Just got back from the study abroad orientation where I met my exchange friend Nicola from Swansea. She is awesome and hilarious and so are her two friends. Had a WONDERFUL time talking to them. Gave her my number and said we should hang out.

“You miss us (Brits), don’t you?”

“I really do!”

And when I walked out of there I teared up a bit- and a bit more. Bittersweet as I miss my UK friends, but also thrilling because talking with them was just like being back home there.

Intriguing stories from Adrienne about traveling war zone countries for work. Talked about Hootanany’s in Inverness.

Walked to work this morning with Jono and Debbo.

Learned the CYRILLIC ALPHABET at work as I had to catalog the RUSSIAN Russian books today. :D My boss sat me down and taught me how all the letters sound, and then put me to work with a stack of 20 books. I spelled the books out phonetically with this official language code. Really cool! After, I went and reported back to him. He was like, you think you learned a bit? And I was like, yeah! It’s all in my head now! And he was like, your Dad teach you any Russian? And I said I remembered spasiba. :P And he was like, good, and handed me a paper. And I was like– Oh nooooooo. And it was Russian phrases written in Russia- and he told me to say them. The first one was Да, then Нет, Привет, then Меня зовут Аня. Everytime I sounded out one of them, I slowly recognized it as a word Papa taught me growing up! So cool! Didn’t know I had it in me. :)

He said, it’s good to have someone else in the department now who knows the cryllic alphabet. And I was like, thank you! I got paid to learn. :)

We were also throwing a bunch of Russian newspapers away today- I took an armful for you, Papa. You will have a Russian newspaper to peruse for the rest of your life now! :P

After work I went for a jog, then Deb came over and we had warm beer and dried cranberries while laying on my bed and talking about life. I gave a beer to my neighbor Melony as well. :)

Dinner was good, got to talk to this guy named Patrick who is really quiet but really interesting.

After dinner Jono invited us to go to the library to get a movie, and it turned into a big group of us. Like ten of us! Really nice. Got to know some other people well and get more comfortable with them and group dynamics. After, Deb and I hit up Henry’s coffee shop and got ourselves some iced chais and iced mochas. We couldn’t come up with a good reason for doing so. But it had a purpose, promise. :P

Got home, and invited this guy Carlos to come watch the movie with us. Now that I understand who else is new I am able to interact and invite people more freely. I think a bunch of the new kids were in the same boat as me. And the old people are really warming up to everyone as well– it’s all getting a lot more normal. Really starting to enjoy it.

We went down to the den and packed like 10-12 people on 3 couches to watch Dr. Parnassus’ Imaginarium or whatever it is called. It was so trippy and weird. I feel like it was important to have that bonding time with my housemates though. Felt good. :)

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