Sunday, April 18, 2010

Accepting the Ashes

Hmm... I have thought about writing a post for a while now, and I realize that it has been about 50 days since my last one. .

Well, the "Summer" semester of 2010 has officially begun, as of last week. As much as I might complain about it, I am actually glad to be back in school. The boredom was starting to make me crazy, almost reminding me of my permanent vacation from last year. So far my schedule is alright but a little chaotic in that I do not know if I will be allowed to remain in a course (Hauptseminar) which I need in order to graduate on time. I suppose one of the disadvantages of socialized education is that they do not pay a vast army of administrative officials to worry about things like: setting class size caps or paying a teacher to offer more than one sitting of a certain class per week.

When I first encountered these organizational difficulties a few days ago, I reacted poorly. While it is indeed obnoxious, I suppose I should re-frame the situation. I am beyond fortunate to have the opportunity to live and study in Europe, and I should not expect things to always be easy or taken care of for me.

My trip last month to Denmark was fantastic! It was barely above freezing during the day, but it was at least sunny and clear most of the time. I really needed the travel experience, and it was a lot of fun to share said experience with my girlfriend. We have already planned a trip later in the year to München for Oktoberfest, which should be amazing because I've never been to that event. And to give the trip even more twist: We are going to Cairo, Egpyt afterwards. I've always wanted to go there, and I suspect that it will be rather eye opening as it will be my first trip to that region of the world. This trip is about five months away, so I'll be sure to write more about it later as the excitement and anticipation grows.

One thing that struck me about Copenhagen was the number of 7-11 convenience stores. We counted like 4 or 5 within one or two blocks of each other... Often within visible range of each other. Weird. Sightings of other American chain institutions (like a BlockBuster Video - my former place of employment from 2002 - 2005) were quite surreal for me. Perhaps it is surprising because I never cease to be impressed by the export of American culture and business to Europe. This is especially apparent in media. For example, one night after they came on in America, the Academy Awards came on in Copenhagen, subtitled into Danish.

As of this writing, the Icelandic volcano "Eyjafjallajökull" has been erupting and thus disrupting European air travel for four days. It shows no signs of letting up. The reports that I have read say that the wind needs to change direction, so it may linger into next week. Normally, I wouldn't care beyond the point of curiously reading news articles about such an event. However, I have a ticket to fly to FL in just 12 days, and I'd really like to be able to use it! One could argue that 12 days is too far away to start worrying. This is a good example of my ongoing struggle and attempt to not worry about (read: accept) things that I cannot control (like volcanic eruptions or snags in class schedules). At any rate, I'm glad that I'm not stranded away from home like many thousands of others around the world.

I think that I will end on a subject that ties in to what I was just writing about. Acceptance. Sometimes all it takes to accept a situation is a simple adjustment in perspective. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, especially in the past week or two. While I could bitch and moan about my "problems" of graduation requirements, insomnia, or it having been a little cold on
my vacation to Denmark... I think that the rest of the world (but more pointedly, myself) would be better served if I would just look at the situation differently. I am about to turn twenty-eight, and I've got no major health problems to cause concern that I won't make it to twenty-nine. I have had the remarkable chance to live in Berlin and should hopefully leave here with a Master's degree. I have an awesome girlfriend and our relationship is a continual force of positivity in my life. The sun is shining outside and I am able to ride my bike again. I do not have to worry about many things in life that most people do have to worry about (money, work, children).

The future, despite the inevitable disturbances that will come with it, is very bright indeed... when one looks at it from this perspective.


Amy Y. said...

I find the thing about the Blockbusters funny, because there are no more of those where I am in the U.S! hehe

Juliana Montane said...

this made me really happy <3

Anonymous said...

Sooo... it says here in your chart that you're fucked up. You talk like a fag and your shit's all retarded.

sammyblade said...

@Jake, thanks for that Idiocracy quote/clip.

William Farmer said...

Sorry to leave a turd in the punch bowl, but 7-11 is a Japanese company. All your base are belong to us, round-eye.