Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Chance

I had the weirdest series of events happen the last few days. It started with my Brother revealing some interesting information, continued with me breaking up with a guy I'd kind of been dating and because of these two events I ended a several year long quest. You see, since my exchange year (and during) I've been interested in doing mission work in Russia. But it never seemed to work out. I wanted something longer, like a year or two, but everyone I talked to didn't travel to Russia or the program wasn't long enough or they worked independently and so on and so forth. And then the other night I was just kind of hanging out and I was like "Well, maybe I'll see if there's anything new on the missions front. " And wouldn't you know it, after a search of not very long (Especially considering how hard I've been looking the last few years) I stumbled upon World Wide Witness.

Just for fun I called about it, but the director of the program wasn't in. So I left a message with someone in a completely different department and to my extreme astonishment I got a call back this morning. It was a very interesting conversation. Involving talk of Ukraine and St. Petersburg. And also the potential for me to go on a mission trip before grad school. I don't have the details worked out. It's still kind of a hazy idea. Something I need to pray about. But just the idea of being able to use what I learned in Russia the first time in a missionary setting excites me.

I've been thinking a lot about exchange today as a result of this phone call. July 14th marks the beginning of my third year back. I read through all my exchange blog posts this evening. They made me laugh and they made me cry and they made me remember. And I realized that there were so many good things to exchange. It's like I've spent the last couple of years burying it so I wouldn't have to think about it so it wouldn't hurt and re-reading my posts reminded me of what it felt like to be an exchange student. How it felt to be part of a place and a thing like that. I've decided that I'm going to start re-reading my paper journals because they go into a lot more detail than the blog. I'm so glad that I kept them. Oh, and I think I'm going to write a letter that's several years overdue...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Falling In Love

It's not quite been a year since my last post. I don't know why I haven't written in so long. I think part of it was that I felt like I didn't really have anything to write about and part of it was that I was working on writing some other things. I've had this pressing, nagging desire to make a new blog entry for probably a week or so and just haven't done it. So what better time to do it than when I should be working on two Russian presentations and a ten page paper. All of which are due the latter half of next week. Fun fun.

Anyway, something very important happened to me last fall and something else very important happened several weeks ago. I think that's why I suddenly feel the need to write again. Namely, I fell in love. You see, ever since I got back from exchange and started on my career at SPU, I've been looking for direction in my life. Before I left for Russia, I figured that direction was in Translation. Ha. No. It didn't take me long to figure out how much I hate translating things. It's horrible. Moving on, what else did I want to do? Well obviously something with Russian since I worked so hard to learn it. So we'll make that my major. But what can you really do with a Russian major? Let's be honest, not much. So what did I do? Well I like politics and want to work for the government so International Relations is where it's at right? Um no. I discovered that I strongly dislike politics and theory, although political movements fascinate me. I think it's the social people thing.

So I dropped the IR major and continued to take my Russian. I decided that last fall I was going to take classes that sounded interesting and go from there. I made one of the best decisions of my life. I took a class about Conflict Management. SPU has a CM major due in part to it's little historical incident. (Which by the way, we well be celebrating...oops..."commemorating" in a few days) I had a friend tell me the Conflict Management class was good. I took it and oh my word I fell in love! I looked forward to that class every day we had it. I didn't mind doing the readings for it or the homework because it was fascinating and didn't seem like work. It was just fun. I would go out to eat with my parents and tell them all about the stuff I was learning and they would comment about how they could tell that this stuff was lighting up my brain. Reflective Listening, Mediation all of it lit up my brain. But the thing that lit up my brain the most was Nonviolence. It fascinated me, the way that people throughout history have used nonviolent techniques to effect social change, and how well it actually works. Yes, I'm talking Gandhi, Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr. And others who you've probably never even heard of.

Right then and there I decided that I wanted to devote my life to the CM department and eventually go out into the world to combat violence. Or something like that. I still didn't have a clear picture. So I declared CM as my second major. Who cared if it would keep me at Kent another three years.

Then another funny thing happened several weeks ago. A friend came from Colorado to spend her spring break at SPU. She had attended here a semester because of the CM program. She's the one who had told me about it. Because of her, I knew that it exsisted. We were talking about graduating and going out into the world. And I was telling her how I was getting tired of being here, but my majors were going to keep me here several more years. I was like "Yeah, If I were just doing Russian I could graduate next May. But what can you do with a Russian major?" Besides, my passion was Conflict Management. My random observation got me to thinking though. What if I did graduate next May?

I tried to put the thoughts aside but they kept coming back. I started thinking about grad school. Grad school was always something I thought I might do, maybe, down the road some time in the future. But then it hit me. If I got my major in Russian, I could graduate from SPU next May and go to grad school. Within three years I could come out with a Master's in Peace studies whereas if I stayed at SPU I would only have two BAs in the same amount of time. This seemed like the way to go. So I started researching like crazy, and talked to the head of the CM dept among others. Suddenly I found myself with a lot to do in a rather short period of time.

I'm really excited though. I feel like Grad school is the way to go. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have a direction of sorts in my life. A direction I'm really excited to be going. I don't know where it's going to take me career-wise but I know that I want to do something with Nonviolence and CM on an international level.

I think part of the reason for this post is not just a general update, but also to let you know that once again this Blog is evolving. From High School through Rotary to College, and now it's on to Grad School. I feel like more of my posts are going to be focusing on this in the future. Wish me luck! :)