Keeping Fingers Away from Chainsaws

This was a weekend of highs and lows. I will, as is my way, start with the lows:

First off, the actual temperature. It was snowing on Saturday, but–this being Atlanta–none of the snow stuck. So basically what happened is that small pieces of freezing rain made it hard to see and unpleasant to be outside. Y’all, I live in Atlanta. The social contract that we have with Our Lord Weather Jesus is that in exchange for living in a place that is pretty much going to give you asthma is that in does not snow in March. So, basically, ugh.

Low point number two is that I woke up on Sunday morning fresh-and-ready to do some Major Thesis Writing, which I had put off on Saturday in favor of grocery shopping with my dad, because a) I am a good child and b) there were almond horns to be had. This would have been fine except that–much like last Sunday, when I also tried to do some Major Thesis Writing–I woke up with a debilitating migraine. (It’s like my body knows what I’m about to do.) Trying to soldier on, I ate some cheese and drank some orange juice, at which my body pulled a walking octopus and “nope nope nope”d my string cheese right back out of me.

Is there anything better to start your morning with than freshly-regurgitated breakfast cheese, while blinded attempting to do something you don’t really want to do anyway?

(Yes. Pretty much literally anything.)

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The End of Time

This past week has been a great example of something that I find utterly… itch-inducing about college: the simultaneous dragging-on and obliteration of time. I spend most of my time worrying about things that are far enough in the future that I cannot do anything about them (family health issues, my post-grad employment prospects, registering for classes in six weeks when the course atlas isn’t even out) while also freaked out about the things that are approaching faster than I want them to (the timeframe to write my 100-page thesis, the end of the weird cocoon of the last few months, registering for classes in six weeks because the course atlas isn’t even out). Time–at least for me–never, ever passes normally in college. As a result of my particular cocktail of neuroses, this means that I’m pretty constantly anxious about projects that exist in the collegiate timeframe.

I realize that this is a weakness, but I really love short-term projects where I control a large part of the process. I like having a clear beginning and end date and am happy forging a path to connect the two. But when we get to something like my honors thesis–a 100-page document of original research which I have to have written and defended by mid-April–I’m at a loss. It’s a huge project! I want to be working on it so it can be done by February!

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My Pre-Travel Process Has Taught Me Some Uncomfortable Truths

See, he has TWO passports.


I have high hopes for my study abroad experience. If it’s anything like I’ve been told it will be, I’m in for several months of horizon-broadening, soul-searching, and digestive issues that will make for hilarious stories when I’m slightly removed from the whole experience. I am looking forward to it.

But what I had not anticipated was just how much I was going to learn from the pre-travel experience. I had naively assumed that—since I left for my holiday travels with everything sort of in check—I was more or less set to go already. This was incorrect.

For example, I’ve learned that getting anti-malarial medication that does not make you prone to hallucinations (possibly cool, but not recommended for the morose) or yeast infections (the seriousness of which the male doctor completely discounted and female nurse practitioner was completely conscious of) is crazy-making should you want to a) avoid spending $350 b) want to go abroad for more than 90 days. I have spent so much time on the phone shuttling my poor malarone prescription around digital pharmacies that the nurse at my travel clinic is now on a first name basis with me. If I get malaria, I plan to blame the people behind my prescription drug plan.*

I’ve also learned that the footwear that any individual possesses will be considered completely inadequate by everyone else she meets, even if she is traveling to an urban area and unlikely to be doing nature hikes. In my case, this resulted in a peer pressured (and somewhat panicked) eBay purchase of the sort of mary janes that have arch support and can best be described as “not offensively ugly.” They are the sort of shoes that one might wear with an a-line khaki skirt with some cargo pockets and a muted long-sleeve t-shirt from REI. The fact that I own neither of those articles of clothing did not stop me from buying the shoes.

But perhaps most importantly, the pre-travel process gives you some insight into yourself. Like, for example, knowledge of whether you’re the sort of person who will talk herself into a panic attack because TravelVisa sent her passport a week ago via USPS** and it hasn’t arrived at the house and what is going to happen if I don’t have my passport and my visa, I won’t be able to leave the country. For example.

I mean, it’s probably just delayed in the mail. Right? Nothing to worry about.***

* I have also learned that if you are uninsured, travel to a malaria-prone region is financially almost impossible. My drugs were going to be $350 as a copay.

** No, really. Yes, I know.

*** Totally something to worry about. It could have been lost or eaten by mail goblins, and you know how long it takes to get a new passport oh my god I am so screwed.