A Gravy I.V., Please

November 25th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and, for the first time in my life, I will not be spending it with my family. It was a tough decision, but I decided to spend Thanksgiving in the Twin Cities. It was just easier for me to spend the time in Minnesota than to decide whether I would go to California to visit my parents or Arkansas to visit my grandparents. It does sadden me a bit though knowing that I won’t get to taste my grandma’s gravy or my mom’s pumpkin crunch cake. But, that’s okay; there’s always next year.

This year I will be spending Thanksgiving with my good friend and colleague, Brigitte Mussack, and her husband, Mark Waller. I am thankful for Brigitte and Mark’s graciousness and kindness. It will be odd not spending time with my family, but, in a sense, I am spending time with my new academic family and friends. So, my turkey gravy induced coma will be with Brigitte and Mark’s family and not my own; however, this is fine with me as long as I have a place to drool and nap.

I am continually reminded of the warm and camaraderie I have felt since coming to UMN, and I am fortunate to be in such a fantastic place.

Bring on the gravy I.V. and sluggishness! The holidays are here….

Sushi, anyone?

October 7th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

As I continue to adjust to the Cities, a doctoral student in the program has become a good friend of mine–Dawn. She is a lovely lady and I always have wonderful conversations with her about our research as well as life in general. It appeared we had started a routine of meeting every other week for sushi. We have been going to this delightful sushi bar near Lake Calhoun; however, Dawn has been ill lately so we didn’t go this past Sunday.

I didn’t realize how much I appreciated her company until we had to forgo our sushi time. Our research interests are quite similar, our pasts are not. So, our initial similarities in research was the catalyst for our burgeoning friendship. I think it’s wonderful that I was able to make a friend with someone who has vastly different experiences from my own.

She’s an awesome woman and I appreciate her comments on my abstract thinking and ideas. I’m happy to have made friends, even though they may be few, in less strange place.

Of Tulips and Bourbon

August 30th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

As many of my friends and colleagues know, my move to Minnesota was quite difficult. I had to deal with issues, many of which I did not want to, before I was able to leave Arkansas. In addition, some of those issues resurfaced when I arrived in MN and have continued to confound me. Nevertheless, I have made tremendous friends here already. I could never replace my AR friends and would never try. The friends I have made here in MN are unique, colorful, and, above all else, make me smile and laugh.

Recently, I had two gentlemen, who are fast becoming my best friends in Minneapolis, over for dinner. I made a nice meal and we ate, relaxed in my living room, and talked for most of the evening. To be honest, I’ve never considered myself good at making friends, though, one of my close friends from AR disagrees with me. He suggests that I am a natural networking and that people are drawn to me. I don’t know how much of that suggestion is true, but I trust him implicitly so I usually just nod and say, “Okay.”

Anyway, back to my two new friends. These gentlemen, named Timothy and Jason, were very gracious and welcomed me in a way I’ve never experienced. They made me feel as if I already belonged and had always been their friend. Moreover, they brought me the most delightful apartment-warming gift.

They gave me a small vase with tulips in it. Actually, I find this quite remarkable. It is not remarkable because they brought me a gift, it is remarkable because they brought me tulips which are my favorite flowers. They did not know tulips were my favorite flowers so I took this as a small sign that we were meant to be friends.

The other gift they brought me completely confirmed that Timothy, Jason, and I are meant to be friends. They brought me a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon. Now, anyone who knows me understands that I enjoy bourbon. It is my drink of choice and one of my many relaxation tools. They did not know I enjoyed bourbon and they did not know Maker’s Mark was my favorite distiller.

So, thanks to many friends, both old and new, my transition to Minneapolis and my new life have not been as difficult as I once thought. They have helped prop me up when needed and supported me in every way imaginable. I am thankful for this and am thankful for my new friends, Timothy and Jason.

There is another wonderful new friend, named Dawn, who I will post about later. For now, let me just say she is a sweet lady.

Sad, but loved

August 21st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.–Leo Buscaglia

Well, I apologize for taking so long to post again; however, I have been busy with my move to Minnesota. I needed some time to think before I wrote this post because the topic upsets me a bit.

Even though I never felt like the state was my home, it was with great sadness that I left Arkansas. I had lived there for almost ten years and it was not so much the state I was leaving, but it was my close friends. In addition to a few family members, they were all I had and I loved them perhaps closer than brothers or sisters. They held me up when I started to fall, showed me the light when it had all but faded from my path, and one even saved my life.

So, when I left Arkansas and UALR, the two places that came the closest to being my “home,” it was painful. I understand that leaving Arkansas and moving to Minnesota so I can attend UMN for my doctorate was necessary for my future. The next four years will help me become the type of scholar I wish to be and while it was more difficult to leave those who befriended me in Arkansas, I cannot always expect my friends to be a short distance from me. This is something that has required a great adjustment in my thinking.

I felt loved when I left the South and I feel loved now by those close to me, by those I had to leave behind. I suppose it is important to remember that I am always in constant contact given the highly mediated nature of our society; however, it is not the same. But, that is fine. Sameness is not always rightness.

As Heraclitus once remarked, “It is in changing that we find purpose.” I try and remember this as I soldier on through this existence, this world that is both foreign and native to me. I have tremendous support, more than I had previously thought, and believe that this is where I belong. I am sad to leave my close friends, but I am cheerful to meet new friends and peers.

My friends know how much they mean to me and that I would do anything for them. I serve my friends because I have little else in this world besides them and my studies. Both are eternal and shape my world into one with meaning.

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