Life in Lawrence

Last night people in the kitchen invited me to play a game of “Class Struggle,” modeled after Monopoly, but the pieces were “Workers,” “Capitalists,” “Students” and “Professionals.” The spaces you landed on gave you opportunities to build alliances and shape the social system etc. The chance cards gave disturbing social insights into the society we live in. The game was made in 1975, TJ got it from a friend’s house. It was really interesting. I quit halfway through because I was really tired, but it sounds like the best kind of game to play while slowly get drunk and philosophical. :)

Uhmmmm. Cathy drove me to get my paperwork sorted for work yesterday, it was really nice of her. While we were driving she told me about her life, and how she spent two years in Germany in the airforce, traveling Europe. She told me what it was like to be a woman in the service thirty years ago, and how it wasn’t that pretty all the time.

Going to get a coffee with Noah in a bit and then posting up in a cafe with Jono for two hours to do our now weekly saturday afternoon writing sessions. :) Tonight there is a party at the ECM and I might go, keep meeting interesting people from there. No one that goes there is religious, it is just a place for social activism in town. But I think it is interesting that all of these alternative anarchistic (I had breakfast with a LEGITIMATE acting anarchist this morning! I live with a few more :)) people show up at this non secular meeting place. But whatever. Brian tricked me into going there this morning to pick up some supplies to fix brunch. It was just like a church. And it’s on our KU campus. And all of the hippies are drawn there in a way eerily resembling evangelical frameworks.

But that’s just my thoughts.

They couldn’t use the ECM this morning because the Presbyterian ladies were meeting there, so we fixed it at the Sunflower house. I think I am going to push for that more.

Food not bombs gives a substantial amount of their donations to the ECM just for letting them use their kitchen. But we have a perfect kitchen at Sunflower, and Sunflower is not in anyway religiously aligned. What are those anarchists THINKING?

Everyone gets a kick out of how much I hate the ECM, because it is such a big part of the Co-op world. But I just can’t shake a bad feeling I get about it. It feels the same as when I would spend the night at my evangelical Christian friend’s houses, and the next morning they would fake surprise at, “Oh, I guess it’s Sunday, I guess you will come to church with us today! I hadn’t even THOUGHT about that!”

You know those days when you feel a bit out of it but also more in tune in an intense way? I’m walking down Jayhawk Blvd. and it feels like a dream. And maybe it is. And my thoughts are all over the place and no where at all. And people looking at me as I walk by, holding eye contact and smiling for a disconcerting amount of time and I feel like everything is one big joke in a eerie way.

My life is infinitely cool right now.

Sitting outside in the sun after Sociology and reading the Newspaper and this guy from my dissertation class comes over and we start talking about what we’re planning on writing about this semester. I told him I was thinking about focusing on Easter Europe, and he told me that he lived the first seven years of his life in Romania! Had to run to class but I would love to talk to him more about it. Hello in Romanian is Bună ziua, which sounds just like Spanish buenos dios!

Just helped Bart set up the seminar room for the speaker coming at 12, a professor of international studies from Berlin. His lecture will be about Germany’s role in Europe and if it is the new hegemonic power. :)

I opened a can of black beans, a can of green beans, and then mixed them together with salsa in a bowl and ate it cold.

AMAZING.

Also, there was a free keg in the kitchen, which is making the Latin grammar night substantially better. ;

OWNERSHIP of our own determinism is the key.

Just in the kitchen, and Jack offered me a cup of FRENCH PRESS HAZELNUT COFFEE HAPPINESS.

I am spoiled.

But I still have chores to do.

I have a lot to do today.

And I need to do it.

But there is so much to do in my room as well that I just haven’t made it further than the kitchen today yet.

I need to send off my important INTERNATIONAL MAIL.

Vacuum (yoga is in no way acceptable on my floor any longer…)

OH! A guy who used to live at the house came over yesterday to give an informal yoga session on our dining room floor. SO GOOD!

I need to go to the library today and start researching food standards.

And I want to read a bunch of books. And look at stars tonight.

And there is a whole list of things that I want to integrate into my list that are hanging on my wall right in front of me as soon as I get caught up on all of this shit.

I think I’ll make some of my own coffee.

And some more of that Baba Ganoush…

Tonight I am going to have to skip the house meeting.

I have realized that I need to take all extra curricular things off my plate while I’m still trying to learn how to balance the basics. No yoga tonight either. No Soma tomorrow. No extra language classes on Wednesday (because godknows I’ve got enough to keep me busy with that one dead language that’s going to be on my diploma at the end of the year ;)).

Anyway. After work at 5, I’ll be heading to Watson to take my Geography exam. Hopefully it just takes an hour or so, then I’m heading home for dinner. Then I’mmagonna come back up the hill right after dinner and glue my face to the computer screen and do some Latin vocab and ENDLESS globalization readings. Hopefully get to think a bit about my thesis for my dissertation as well as that is due this Thursday.

But that is completely disregarding the work I have for sociology due tomorrow and the other things I WANT to do tonight. But I think I am slowly letting go of the things I WANT to learn, and just focusing on the things I have to. Because, I’ve been real spoiled for a year and a half. Self education with crazy half assed Britschool (LOVELY Britschool;)) and tons of free nights. It’s time to even things out a bit, I guess.

Went to the SOMA meeting tonight and arrived in style. Feeling really good and involved and thinking, “I can start doing this!” Then the president numbered all 50 of us off into four groups. As everyone got up to move, giggling nervously like it was the first day of middle school, I scanned the perimeter for the nearest exit and made a beeline to safety.

I don’t care HOW confident I get in life, I will never, NEVER understand the necessity of instilling fear and horror in quieter people with those god-awful-american-extrovert-get-to-know-you-games.

I feel I have sat through enough in my day to start making executive decisions concerning them. At least that is the excuse I gave myself as I slunk out of a room for the second time today. :P

Really good day. Really good vibes. Impromptu politics discussion with nurse at Watkins when I gave blood today. “GET YOUR FRIENDS OUT AND VOTEEEEE! WOMEN NEED TO BE HEARD!!” She was freaking crazy and adorable. And then she drew a rabbit on my band aid.

WENT to work. Good day at work. Now working with Robbie, the Romanian guy from my GIST seminar class! He’s doing my IT job for the Latin American Studies people, so we share a desk and will get to talk about hot button issues the entire semester I am SUREE. He was talking to our professor about ideas for his dissertation paper, and she was like, you probably shouldn’t write those kind of things as a student if you want to get a job in the future. :DDDDDDDDDDDD Love me some revolutionary co-workers.

Helped Bart finish this game he is creating for his Russian class. It is really cute, I made LOADS of monopoly style money with Kremlin leaders faces on them for him. So fun.

Today I am starting to integrate the foreign sources into Mariya’s bibliography. And after I finish all of this, she wants me to read through and edit her BOOOOOOOKKKK. :D :D

Adrienne is going to show up with punk rock crazy hair sometime later this week and I am so excited to see it. Cathy is fixing lasagna for lunch right now and it smells so good.

It is a beautiful day out today and life is good. And life is oh so complicated but it is also oh so good. And I am really happy and in my sociology class today we started class off with the EXACT same topic that I went to bed last night having in the house. And the world is just so perfect in so many ways that I feel like I am living in a “Truman Show”-esque world at this point but I really don’t care. As long as I get to eat some lasagna tonight.

xxxxxxxxx

Made amazing homemade Baba Ganoush for brunch today, with falafel, pitas, hummus, olives, tomatoes, spinach, quinoa, that-one-yogurt-sauce-with-cucumbers, and juice. It was so fucking good.

Had the same thing for dinner, using spinach as pitas and stuffing them with goodness. (The way I consume food is prophetic, let’s all just be clear on that. )

Got up this morning at 7, jogged, stretched, showered and then started on brunch at 8. Three hours of brunch prep (I made a bright red fruit salad with homemade fresh seeped lavender honey drizzle and mint leaves) earning me 50 points. Needed 50 more. After brunch I did my chores upstairs, (fridge, hallway and stairs) then I gathered up my stuff and headed out the door with Jono and Noah.

We camped out at Z’s cafe and studied. They left after an hour because they had meetings and work, but I stayed for four hours doing depressing but eye opening globalization readings.

Came home and made eggs with cajun spices and had leftover French toast from brunch.

Realized after I had relaxed and popped open a beer that I still had 30 more points I had to get before one in the morning tonight! I really left everything til the last minute this week.

I ended up spending a few hours cleaning the windows of the house, and then cleaning the kitchen.

Around 9:30 I saw Jono and he came in my room to talk. Then we went over to Noah’s room and introduced him to Australian Jono’s Vegemite world.Talked about religions all over the world and literature. Really great.

—-

Friday, worked 2-9 at the Russian Fall Mixer. The school can’t buy alcohol anymore, so everyone brought their own and piled it on a table in the middle of the room. The wine was FLOWING and the bottle of chocolate vodka was being passed around the tables. And there was food from ALL OVER THE WORLD and almost all vegetarian. And it was beautiful. Tried so many Eastern European dishes I’ve never dreamed of. Then got drunk with y bosses and listened to them tell embarrassing stories. ;)

Felt guilty when I got home trashed at 9 pm, so ate all of the leftover cake I’d taken from the party by myself in my room and fell asleep.

Yesterday was a lot better than Friday. I feel like Friday was a crash and burn day, one of those days when it all comes down on you and you realize you need to rebuild a bit. Started the day off with music and jobbing. Then Noah asked me if I wanted to study downtown with him. It was a really good idea, just what we needed I think. Anyway. We had a cute little dinner date at Chipotle, during which what seemed like half of our house walked past.

After, we met Clint and Jordan from the house, who are dating, at La Prima Taza cafe. It was really REALLY good, studied for a whole two hours or so! Then after, we went to the Burger Joint and got a few pints of beer (GLASSES? I really don’t know how to talk about drinks in this country). REALLY good, fun night.

Left work two hours early yesterday because I was about to freak out with all the pressure.

Ate toast, drank all the beer in my room, furiously typed on my electric typewriter, and then fell asleep.

Woke up two hours later for dinner, in a substantially better mood.

Woke up today in an even BETTER mood.

We all need that beer breakdown sometimes. Take it.

Cut down my workweek by four hours, so I’m only working twenty hours a week now. This is going to make my life SUBSTANTIALLY better and easier to enjoy and manage. I get an hour after class and before work to do homework Monday through Thursday, and thirty minutes on Friday. Thank you, lovely Cathy!

Things are a lot easier to manage lately. I think I am finally settling down in Lawrence. Regardless of my efforts, every time I move somewhere, it always takes about a month or so for me to establish a good routine and balance. And I think I am on my way to finding it now. And the weather has changed too. I’ll take it all.

Friday I played paparazzi at work during the Grad Student Study Abroad presentations. SO goddamninteresting.

The first guy spent the summer in Ukraine observing the language protests going on. The government is attempting to make Russian the second official language of Ukraine. Western Ukriane speaks Russian, Eastern speaks Ukrainian. The media is predominantly Russian even though it is not an official language of the country. And during governmental debates, which are aired on tv regularly, questions will be asked in one language but answered in another in most cases. Lots of really interesting philosophies and ideas swirling around the controversy which I would love to dive into.

The second girl spent the summer in Serbia studying Bosnian/Serbian relations, and how people identified themselves as one or the other. She conducted interviews after getting to know subjects on a personal basis and living with a host family. Really interesting study. In Serbia, you must align with one of the two major political parties, or else you are unemployed and no one will hire you. There is great stratification between groups still. But the Bosnian/Serbian people said that it was much better before the war than it is now. Before it was still iffy with segregation, now it is hugely socially enforced.

I have no idea about this part of the world and I am sure I have already made factual mistakes in my attempt to summarize their projects, but they were super super cool and informative and engaging and exciting.

Human beings should be required to leave the country at least once every other year for an extended period of time. It’s far too easy to forget you live on a shared and vibrant planet, not just your certain city/country/continent.

Saw this guy in the library whom I know from a class THREE years ago, whom I have never spoken to, but we’ve started saying hello to each other this year.

Thinking about him later today and how odd our non-relationship relationship is, and then walk out into the hall, and WHO is in my office? This guy, Gus. I feel like I literally bump into him ALL over. And I think we could be friends. And I think the universe probably thinks the same thing or something. Because, GOD. I don’t ever see ANYONE on campus, but I always see this freaking guy.

Doing the rounds on campus today, posting up terrifying Russian fliers, and ran into Justin Wheatley. Sat down on the top of Wescoe with him and caught up. So fun to see him again. He’s really turned out great. :)

Saw Randy in the library. We have a GRE date sometime in the near future.

Good day. Got a lot of sun.

Walked to campus today with Noah, and we got some reading in before classes.

Tonight I am going to get caught up on all of my classes and stay ahead. Then I will have time for the other things I want to do this semester- GRE study, Dreamweaver study, Russian study, current events.

Going to be working at the CREES fall mixer next friday– get four extra hours and free food!

Henry’s coffeeshop with Jono on this rainy day. Bugs and mice inside. Beautiful, really. Haha. But I sat at the bar alone after Jono left and must have completely ENTRANCED the barista as I wrote. ;) He gave me a free drink and a smile to go.

So I wrote a poem. And I finished it tonight. Going to try to start finishing things every weekend with Jono.

Anytime I feel cool I will almost probably immediately get sucked right back down to the bottom.

Was in charge of taking pictures during the lecture this morning. Felt so cool with this high tech camera around my neck at this international lecture. Tried out the camera before the lecture started and it worked fine. Then when the lecture started and I began taking pictures, standing up in front of people in odd positions to do so, the damn camera stopped working. Totally paparazzi-ed out on the poor German guy and ended up with zero good material.

Anyway, now I’m hiding in my office, googling Nikon camera tips, doing Mariya’s bio and thinking about the dreamweaver book in my bag.

Listening to Olly Murs and thinking about how I feel so much different within only a few months of being back from my adventure. Different in a fairly good way, I’m pretty sure.

Except when I accidentally draw the attention of a whole room to the ineptness of my camera skills and away from the Humbolt University professor who has just flown across the Atlantic to give an enlightening lecture.

Spent the morning working on the bibliography and getting faster by the minute while jamming out to Electric Guest.

Pussy Riot skype date with Russian TV presenter Kirill Michalov. He was, to say the very least; BEAUTIFUL, OH SO Russian, and extremely intelligent, engaging and humble. He had the whole room clinging onto his every word.

At one point he stopped talking, reaching across the room.–

“Sorry– my cat—” :)

Such an interesting perspective to speak to an actual journalist, IN Russia. Took pages of notes without being able to control myself.

Back at work and back at the biblio now.

I think I will write my dissertation on something having to do with Eastern European countries. I certainly have the interest, AND the resources right at my fingertips right now!

Ten minutes later Adrienne comes in “URGENT!” And has me canvas the campus with hot pink FREE PUSSY RIOT posters. Halfway through (30 minutes and much sunshine and sweating in) I walked in the International Studies office, “STOP!” Apparently the wrong location had been written on all the posters. So I had to go back and shyly remove all of the rebellious fliers from across the globe. Haha. Then I put the good ones up. Then I was set to work starting on Mariya’s book. Combined her two bibliographies she had started and alphabetized and formatted them. Tomorrow and this week I get to go through hundreds of articles and books though, and reference them. Went and got the mail, Cathy had me back in the IT office and we frantically searched for passwords leftover from the last IT person. Then I left early because I forgotten to take my lunch on the frantic day.

Ate my beautiful Indian chickpea curry vegetable and lentil leftovers. Freaking good. And ran home to make coffee in the thirty minutes I have before my capstone seminar. Now I’m back out the door and up the hill. And if it wasn’t for this blog and how much I get to brag about my busy life, I might just collapse and be done.

So this morning Brian woke me up at 7:45 and I got up and helped him with the Food not Bombs campaign. We fixed a breakfast of sauteed mushrooms, steamed peppers and zucchini, eggs, bread pudding, pancakes and grapes. Talked to Brian’s girlfriend Sarah while we cooked- she’s just moved here from South Dakota and is going to Haskell. She was telling me about social inequality in South Dakota, racism and poverty surrounding the Natives and how Native Americans in South Dakota are much more poor than the ones in Oklahoma.

We took the food to Southpark to shark with the community. Food not Bombs fixes dinner for the community on Thursday nights as well– and as many as 70 people come! Saturdays are a bit more intimate- and especially this morning as it was a (beautiful) rainy day. There were only 15 of us or so students, professors, homeless people and people just living life– and we sat under the pavilion in South Park in a circle and at food and talked. And I am never bored talking to these kinds of people. :) Talked about genetic genomes, game theory, misogyny, coops, sexuality, farmers markets, what’s actually in products we buy and how corporations are playing on the green wave to create more consumerism. Met a lot of other new people, whom it just seems to EASY to establish connections with.

Walked home in the rain and got back around noon. There was a house community meeting and I joined in. It was really interesting and they were discussing the power struggles within the house, how we might be able to come up with solutions to that and also the idea that it is inevitable. The idea of the Women’s Caucus that is being set up is a space where it is just women speaking, thus eradicating the obstacle of our patriarchal society for a time, and to see what happens and what is said. Interesting idea. Most of the guys in the house are super supportive feminists, but there are a few who have been making fun of it. And there was also an incident last week where someone wrote “Beat her” on the flier in the house for the Willow Domestic Violence Shelter, so there is are a lot of debates happening about boundaries and use of humor and respect and all.

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