Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I don't suppose it surprises anyone that I'm once again writing up a blog post for a trip to the UK. It seems that I am bound explicably to this place and the life I built here. I remember the fear in which just two years ago I had that my time abroad would be forgotten and lost to me. I was afraid that memories would fade and I would be forced to move on with my life unchanged. To some degree that fear still remains, but I've realized how mistaken I was that the change wouldn't be readily apparent to other people, particularly when this experience informs my conversations, values and desires. Still it has always been the people I met which draw me back to Oxford and I feel grateful that I have put in the effort to maintain and keep those relationships.

Let's do a quick catch up as it has been quite a while since I posted. So, I accepted my admission into the Indiana University School of Medicine at the Fort Wayne campus in Indiana. I fully admit now that I could not have anticipated the difficulty of medical school and there is really no way to anticipate it until you are deep in it. Much of the last 5 months of my life were spent reviewing flashcards and reading notes seeing only the 29 other medical students in my class and the professors and staff. The stress was constant and perhaps would of been unbearable if it weren't for the fact that the people in my new small community were amazing in both rich personalities and absolute compassion and support and the fact that most days I could end my days venting my frustrations and sharing my struggles with my wonderful boyfriend. So the first semester went by fast, but I learned quite a lot and managed to succeed in passing all of my courses. 

However, my winter break has been no less busy. The first few days of break I spent in Cleveland getting some clinical observational experience with neurologists at the Cleveland Clinic. I stayed in a hostel in the middle of the city and enjoyed the memories of all of the travelling I did with Sara in hostels two years prior. I shared the room with a occupational therapist from Australia who was similarly visiting work contacts. It was clearly off season and I saw very few other people at the hostel. Still my roommate was kind and we shared breakfast together the first day and I managed to convince her to check out a board game cafe that I had found a few blocks down. The shadowing experience was also very rewarding and I relished every opportunity I had to watch and learn. It really solidified my interest in specializing in neurology. I left after a few days and returned to Fort Wayne to rest up before heading to Indianapolis the next day. 

On my way to Indianapolis, my car blew a tire which was the first time I'd ever had a blown tire. I struggled for about an hour to sort out the tire which I logically understood but had not instructions for. Finally, someone took pity on my stopped and sorted out the spare tire. It was more than a little stressful. I quickly returned to my parent's home and sorted out my car only to find out that an axle had broken. The next day was a whirlwind of chores and driving as it was the only full day that I would be in Indianapolis this entire break (until the very end). The next day, my family began our drive to Florida for a week long vacation. The trip was enjoyable and relaxing and I enjoyed the warm weather and the beach. I've taken on some role as planner in my family. Enough vacations that have felt direction-less have lead to me taking some initiative to pick out activities to do and plan out a schedule. Overall it was a nice trip and I always enjoy an opportunity to relax with my family. I'll admit though much of the week was distracted by my anticipation for the trip of mine that began at the end of the week when I would leave from Orlando for a two week trip back to Oxford which is where I'm writing from now. 

So maybe that was a bit longer than a quick catch up but hopefully helps to add perspective to my recent life. The first day  back I was largely on my own and I was pleased at my ability to navigate my own way to the place I was staying. I spent much of the first week relishing feelings of being home. Within a few days, I took an opportunity to put a plan in action that I had planned in the month before. One morning while Leigh was showering, I set out a trail of letters which had a bit of ribbon and buttons that had runes from his favorite game, Suikoden, on them. Then I went into the kitchen and made a breakfast of banana pancakes and tea and waited for him to enter the kitchen, a ring pop in hand. As soon as he came through the door, wearing a suite top and pajama bottoms (that's what I get for suggesting he dress up and not being specific), I asked him to marry me and he said yes. So perhaps the most exciting thing that happened that week was that I got engaged. 

In many ways, it was an anticipated event, but as such not a surprise, but felt good because it was a necessary step that marked positive progress. Leigh and I had spoken previously about the US visa process and I had made some preparations before hand to make the process easier. I'm hopeful for the future and excited to begin the process. For my second week in Oxford, it's been a bit more busy. On Monday, I met with the head researcher for the Migraine clinic in Oxford and we discussed and designed a summer research opportunity. I was pleased to find that he had a research project which I could easily jump in and do as well as give me opportunities to witness the medical practice of neurologists in the UK. I need to sort out paperwork and housing and apply for a number of scholarships but I'm excited to get started. It will be a wonderful opportunity for my career and it means I can come back.

On Tuesday, Leigh took me to Camden Town in London. Camden is a pretty impressive shopping center with thousands of little shops like a massive flea market and two separate areas with food stands like a state fair or a food truck. We spent the entire time wandering and just getting lost in the maze of stands. There were plenty of cheap factory made stuff and lots of clothing with many different styles from goth to ironic hipster. I really enjoyed the adventure from getting slightly lost and asking a corner shop for direction and grabbing sweets to just taking in the color and business of Camden. Both Leigh and I napped on the bus. 

In the coming days, I will need to pack and have plans to meet some of my friends. I think when I leave this time around, I'll be a bit less sad, because I have a lot to look forward to. I'm glad I get to end this blog post on such a cheery note and yes I have a lot to be very thankful for. I will still refrain from using this blog for things other than my trips to Oxford, but I hope that this serves as a nice update and also allows me to tell the stories of my most recent life for everyone who is interest to read. Perhaps this is a good reminder...

Adventures Await!


Sunday, June 21, 2015


I feel so unsettled and stressed. The last week has been largely a blur as I watched the last days and hours of my holiday tick by. I tried to make the most of every moment with the people I loved and cared for, but it was difficult to enjoy those moments when I was anticipating the worst. I'm mostly recovered and less prone to spontaneous tears, but with Medical school staring me down, I am overwhelmed.

The last wednesday before I flew home was a bit of a party. A large number of people came over to the house for a cookout. We played games of werewolf where my character died within the first round, and more giant mothertrucking space crabs. It was nice to spend time with people and the burgers and sausages on the grill were delicious. I didn't mind playing partial hostess though nothing compared to Graeme and Jenny. There was a weird sense of displacement though throughout the day. I couldn't help but feel both present and absent. The awareness of my own impending departure dis-incentivized me from being overly social. The burden of it all made me retreat into easy distractions like the games on my phone or the passive watching of people play Rock Band. The acceptance of my leaving Oxford made it difficult for me to live in the moment because the moment was so painful.

On my last day in Oxford, the boiler was being repaired. Without water, there wasn't much that could be done and so I felt anxious. Packing was difficult and I took every opportunity to shorten the distance between the people who had been so gracious to let me stay in their home for a month and who made me feel so at home. I didn't sleep much that night as I had to catch a very early bus the next morning at 6:30am. I blubbered at the bus stop with my boyfriend until the bus whisked me away from my home in order to begin a 22 hour stressful trip to Indianapolis.

Nothing extremely bad happened during my journey but a number of things almost happened. I was very tired when I arrived at Gatwick and I nearly left my passport on the bus. The bus drivers didn't help me feel better about it when I explained frantically why I had stopped the bus just as it had closed its doors. I got through security rather quickly and had to kill a couple hours before my flight to Dublin. Once in Dublin, I actually went through customs and was surprised how many times I had to go through security. The flight over the atlantic wasn't bad and the food was actually edible. They served a chicken tikka masala dish that was actually enjoyable. I spent most of the flight watching movies as I found it difficult to sleep too much. With very little sleep, I reached chicago and had a very stressful set back. My flight from Chicago to Indy was booked separately from my flight from London to Chicago. As a result, I had to collect my checked bag and recheck it before I could get on. I had around two hours before my next flight which I figured would be plenty of time. However, some person had too large a bag and the conveyor belt was clogged for easily an hour. Fortunately, other than being stressed and anxious about it, I made it to my last flight with plenty of time to spare. I reached Indy around 10:45pm and slept most of the Chicago to Indy flight. Having had very little sleep, I expected to crash immediately upon hitting my bed, but that wasn't the case.

Since being back, I have sorted out most of my paperwork and made plans for the next week to get the remainder done. I have begun looking for apartments and generally being an adult. My wifi is too spotty to skype and I feel disconnected from my life. I've gained some emotionally stability, but my life feels on hold for the moment. I've tried to focus on when I can visit again and being productive. I found a new exercise routine to try and I'm excited to try and take control of my life in some ways. Before I know it, I will be training to be a doctor, a dream that I've had for nearly a decade. I'm just trying to figure out how to make things work, just like anyone I suppose.

Now this is the point where I would reflect on my trip as a whole, but I find such a venture difficult. The trip as a whole had so many flavor, so many changes and I can't help but leave feeling as though it was a half measure. It was a trial period for a life I ultimately don't get to chose. It was a quest and a challenge for my agency and I can't help but worry there was more I could have done. That in some way, I have failed. As I mentioned before, I will likely refrain from posting any more on this blog as it is my blog for Oxford. I hope that one day and one day soon I will have a reason to use this blog again as it means my life in Oxford is not gone and not over. Hopefully, Next time. Adventures Await.


Sunday, June 14, 2015


It often surprises me how quickly time passes. I feel myself caught unawares as I stand at a precipice of life decisions that simultaneously excite and terrify me. I can't help but think that the decisions that I make in the next coming weeks are going to change the direction of my life and regardless of what I do, I will lose something. I'm hoping that I have the skill and the wisdom to make the best decisions given the information that I have. But enough of the heavy and perhaps more of the mundane.

My week started off with exercise and got slowly more and more indulgent and a bit lazy (by my own choice). Tuesday was the last in game session for the society game and given the events of my last turn, I got the opportunity to try playing an arguably evil character. It was also fun to poke plot that I hadn't really been involved in before. Afterwards was the monthly goth/EDM night at a local club in Oxford. Many of us got dressed up and danced the night away. I was surprised by my own endurance, happy to have danced longer than I did. If anything, the heat was the biggest issue. I had a wonderful time and took particular joy in the smile on my boyfriend's face through the night.

The next couple days were lazy ones with not much more activity than watching shows on netflix and playing video games. No complaining here though. I have been relishing the opportunity to relax on this holiday. The end of my time at university was extremely stressful and catching up on much needed sleep. I'm being well taken care of here and I do my best to help out when I can.

Yesterday was the ball for Regent's Park college and along with Sara and some archery friends we went. I spent the day getting ready with two of my best friends and was grateful for the distraction as the looming date of my return to the US was weighing heavily on my mind. Unfortunately, I had some bad luck. My dress zipper died not once, not twice but three times and after bruising my thumb trying to fix it, I ultimately had to abandon it to wear one of my darling Sarah's spares. Fortunately, we had planned with enough time in advance that this upset did not make us late or even scrambling last minute. The ball itself was good fun. It was a bit cold and unfortunately it did rain, but the ball was designed with opportunities to avoid it. There was a hooka tent, burger stand, bouncy castle, live brass bands that did 70s, 80s and modern covers, casino games and a photobooth. The group of us took advantage of everything and I had a great time dancing and will cherish all the photos. It was a surprising evening and those of you who have read all of my posts or remember, I had a terrible time at St. Cats ball. This ball was much better and I am reminded, as always, people make my experiences worth while.

Now to the part of this report that called for the heavy discussion at the beginning and some of you were probably waiting for if you stalk my facebook page. On Thursday, I got a frantic message from my father to skype him. Now, I was suspicious enough as it was because that morning I got an email from AMCAS (the application service for medical school) asking me to fill out a criminal background check as is procedure for accepted applicants. It is in talking to my father that I find out that I have been offered a place at Indiana University School of Medicine (The Fort Wayne campus for now). This news is fantastic. It is the first guarantee about my potential future that I have gotten. The rush of agency it gave me was in many ways a relief and a joy. But as I've gotten older and as I've closer to being responsible for more aspects of my life, I've come to understand how decisions and news rarely are purely good or bad. The news hit me with as much joy as it did fear and sadness. Now I know that line just cost me a sigh and a frown from my mother and a knowing but sad frown from my dad, but there is a reason that I'm here in the UK and not in the US this summer. There is a reason that I applied for work here. There is a life that I would be happy to live if I could sustain it here. Making the decision to go to medical school, a career dream that I have and want to pursue, is putting that life on hold if not denying it entirely. I can't help but feel torn in two and while I know I have choices, the pragmatic part of me sees the number of realistic choices as one. I have only one potential opportunity for a job at the moment in Oxford and I'm not optimistic, but it presents the only potential for a pragmatic option that is different.  I don't have it in me to say no to a guarantee and I'm trying to live with and fully understand the ramifications of that choice.

For now, I will enjoy this moment. I will be in Chicago next week. My family has decided to make a trip of it and I have no idea what we will be doing, but I'm sure it will be fun. I'll try to post again, but I foresee myself taking another break. This blog has become too much a chronicle of my life in Oxford and its difficult to use it for anything else. May there be a Next Time, but regardless, Adventures Await.


Sunday, June 7, 2015


It is amazing how much the body adapts to new situations and settles in. It took me a couple of weeks to truly settle into Oxford again, to relocate those roots, but once I had, I was reminded why it was so hard to leave the first time. I've had a wonderful time this last week. It was a fairly social week with lots of role playing society and outside socializing activity. I finally punted and I got to relive some archery moments at Garden Party. In some ways, a lot has happened, and in others not much.

First, something that has been tumbling around in my brain is the word settle and the word normal. Whenever I tell people that I find being back in Oxford very normal, I am always quick to include that when I mean normal, I don't mean boring or mundane, but natural. Similarly, I think it is easy to hear the word settle and think of a lowering of one's self. We settle for okay, because we can't have fantastic. But when I use the word, the only thing that comes to mind is comfort, foundation and support. Settling also evokes the idea of permanence or immobility, which I suppose is not always negative, but is similarly a double edged concept. It seems to me that normalcy and settling are very much understood in context and carry socially juxtaposed values. There is a sense in which all of this is very much obvious, but I can't help but pay it particular note in these past few weeks. Enough of my linguistic ramblings and back to what you are actually here for.

I've been really enjoying role playing again. Role Playing Society game this week was a thrill as I did a pretty good job conning a number of people and got to play around with some acting breath. I'll refrain from going into too much detail as I know there are parts of the society which are among my readers. Let's just say that I got to dress up a little more than usual and got to convince people of a not entirely true reason for that. Playing with people's perceptions of vulnerability and see what weeks of trust have bought me is an enjoyable acting experience. The downside of my success though is that I did have one of the only hand full of permanent in game deaths, but I look forward to playing out the consequences. Something that I think is difficult in role playing and something that many players including myself struggle with is the idea that failure or destruction of your character is sometimes more fun than success. New challenges and creative thinking are required when you play yourself into corners and that is often where the best games come from. I'm looking forward to playing the last session this Tuesday.

Not much later in the week, I went punting with my boyfriend and some of my archery friends, including the ever re-occuring Sara. I was pleased to find that I did have some innate knack for punting after only a quick demonstration. It was a lovely day as well. This week has brought with it some of the nicest and warmest weather which I have been relishing most days. We also enjoyed some ice cream and lounged in Baliol's quad for the afternoon.

The next day, I went to Regent's formal for the first time in a year with Sara. It just so happened to be the recognition dinner and so the dinner was particularly fancy. I had a great time catching up with everyone from regents and getting hyped for the ball this coming weekend.

The following day, I went on a picnic with The Coven and some people from RPGsoc. It was so nice that we spent easily 6 hours snacking and lounging in the park. We bought a paper and did the crossword and somehow ended up in wrestling matches. People came and went at their leisure and I quite enjoyed it. When we did retire for the evening, we played a quick and easy free form RPG called Big Mutherfukin' Crab Truckers which in this particular group got quickly out of hand. Set in space, we sideswiped a space whale and fired on the crab media before taking over the crab media mother ship in order to transport the core of the dessert planet 'whatever youcallit' made of McGuffinite to the octopi of octopaedia that needed to survive. Our ship was the Good O' Rick Roll. So, from that, I hope that gives you a taste of the ridiculous nature of the game.

My week ended with garden party. I got to see old friends and make a few new ones. I got to drink pims in nice warm weather, get only a little sun burnt, and watch people play croquet. It was another relaxing day filled with socializing which is exactly what this extrovert loves. Now if I could only ignore the twinge of anticipation that breaks me down when I see the Oxford Airline bus pass by and refrain from checking my application statuses.

And if that wasn't clear, there is still no news. But it will be ok, I have a busy week ahead of me. Intrusion, a goth club night in Oxford, on tuesday along with the final session and the ball for Regent's this weekend. I'll try to settle in this moment for now, because it brings me the most happiness and makes me feel the most alive. I'm not settling for anything but what makes me happy.

Until next time! Adventures await.


Saturday, May 30, 2015


There is a sur-realness to my time here in Oxford. I walk the same old roads and quite a few new ones and I am struck by the old problem of contextualizing it all. Too long to be a holiday, too short to live in this moment, and I'm caught between a desire to plan and a desire to let things go. I find myself wishing that I had a job, a place I need to be, or a thing I need to do. I don't think my situation is in any way unique to recent college grads or anyone in a transition period of their life. So I guess that's all I really have to say, I'm stuck dreaming trying to decide if I'm going to have a nightmare or a daydream and that anxiety is my only issue.

This last week has been a mix of heavy exercise and indulgence. I started the week by going to fitness on Monday night. It was wonderful to relive the Monday night fitness experience and I felt pretty good about it though I combined it with a bike ride from Headington and back. It was nice seeing the friendly faces adding to the surreal feeling.

I can tell that I've settled in a bit more at The Coven as it is so lovingly named. I made quiche earlier in the week and made plans to make all of the other things that I promised. This includes biscuits and white gravy, a breakfast food that seems to baffle my UK friends.

Sara has made her way to Oxford as well and it was a miraculous feeling having the Archery Novice squad (sans a few members) back together again. I also got to spend the day listening to the wonderful concert choir of William Jewell perform. Watching them always gives me chills and I was so proud of Sara and her solos. Still watching the choir has always filled me with a twinge of regret. One of my few goals freshman year at William Jewell was to make the concert choir. I took voice lessons and did as much as I could given my already hefty course load I was taking (but maybe even that is an excuse, I believed that I was good enough), but my year in Oxford without any musical practice, no choirs or lessons, and my emotional state during the start of last year my audition, particularly the sight reading part, was worse than any year prior. While I'm grateful that I didn't have to tour for the last few weeks and could spend that time here in Oxford, I miss the feeling of being a part of a chorus, of adding my voice to a part and that crunchy feeling of singing harmony with another. It was a reminder that I failed in some regard to reach all of my goals and with so much uncertainty over the next few months, I couldn't help but feel that failing more acutely. I'm glad I went and got to see a few of my Jewell friends one last time, I also met up with some people who I will be seeing in a few weeks, and finally made plans with Sara and others which I will be going to tonight. As always, the people make everything worth while.

I spent most of the week lazing about with a few adventures. It's been awhile since I've been able to indulge in video games, movies, and have eaten quite so much bacon. To match though, I've been trying to keep up with my exercise. Jenny, one of the members of the Coven, occasionally joins me on my jogs and had been an off and on work out buddy. Today we went on a longer adventure than I had anticipated but it reminded me about one of the things I love about Oxford. Within ten minutes of jogging, I left city scape to country side. Thirty minutes later I was atop a hill with a beautiful view of the countryside. After an hour, I'm in a neighbouring town all together. If I go fifteen minutes in the other direction, I'm in the middle of city centre. Accessibility to such a variety of environments encourages me to travel. I enjoy exercising here and I'm a little surprised I had the 6.3 mile journey in me, but I always find my endurance increases when I'm on a new journey taking a new path.

Two of the remaining applications I put out for jobs here in the UK closed this week and I hope to hear about interviews soon. Wish me luck. If anything else, my boyfriend starts his three week holiday today as well. As always, I hope that I find more and answers and new questions before next time. Until then, Adventures Await.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Living with Uncertainty and Finding Happiness

May 18th marked my departure from the US for a second time to return to the UK, in particular the Oxford/Headington area. I left not but two days after graduation, four days after my birthday and a week after my final comprehensive exam that dictated 21 credit hours of my undergraduate education. To express the level of change and unrest that accompanied so much journeying is difficult. It is safe to say that I am in a transition period of sorts in my life and the uncertainty of my future is fairly significant. I haven't posted in awhile, but I can summarize quickly before talking about the meat of why I am posting again.

My last semester has been a busy one. Preparing for my comprehensive exam and my final thesis on Fibromyalgia sucked up most of my time. Over spring break, I was lucky enough to be gifted a car from my grandparents and as a result, I was able to shoot regularly at a wonderful archery range not but 20-25 minutes from campus. Emotionally, I was fairly apathetic looking forward almost entirely for my trip to the UK. I didn't feel any excitement for graduation or my birthday, but I didn't feel dread either. I just didn't feel much of anything. My comprehensive exam consisted of my 80 page thesis, an hour presentation on my research and then a 1 and 1/2 hour oral exam over anything given to me by my faculty panel. The culmination of these three things would be used to grade the incomplete credits on all my previous tutorials as well as my synthesis tutorial. I've never been more stressed or studied so hard for an exam in my life. My sleep was terrible and I lacked energy for most things. This is also about the time that my exercise routine fell off as I became ill and also just suffered from workout fatigue from doing the same or similar workouts for too long.

Now the uncertainty that I mentioned earlier. As many of you knew, I had an interview for Indiana University School of Medicine in February and I was slated to hear back on the 15th of some month following. I was part of the last interview group and so it was unlikely that I would hear back until May 15th or at latest June 1. That didn't happen though. Near the end of April, I received an email stating that I was on the alternates list for medical school with 99 others. Should they have an opening, the list would be reviewed and while it varied from year to year about half would receive offers at any point until as late as August 10th. I was devastated more because of the uncertainty of the matter. How could I plan for that. I was also extremely frustrated. I didn't understand how after having a decent MCAT score and so much going for me, why I'd only faced rejection and now feeling stuck about the next year.

Another common theme in my last year was how stagnate my life felt. Towards the end of my time in Oxford, I had come into my own, been able to feel like an agent in my life and my choices. I'd fallen in loves in more way than one and I'd been ripped back to a life that felt meaningless. Getting my degree was a series of checked boxes. There was a routine about it all. While I had initially found the uncertainty that hearing back from medical school provided, I was also struck by the liberating freedom of it. Suddenly I had choices and after a year of trying to create a life my own in Kansas City and to some extent Indiana, I was excited at the prospect of potentially returning to a place that could be my own again. So my life has been about contingencies but also possibilities.

So I feel torn, stuck between possibilities and having to face the reality that nothing is guaranteed and I could crash and burn. I've failed to some degree that expectations that I had for myself and were given to me by my parents and society. Despite my best efforts, I have had to jump ship of the path expected of me and I hope that I will be happier for it, but there is a part of me that still responds to the failure part. So, while I sit in uncertainty, I enter on a holiday with people I love and have, thus far, found happiness in it.

My journey to the UK was a very long one. I left Indianapolis at 3pm and arrived in London Gatwick after two plane changes at noon the next day. My boyfriend and housemate greeted me at the airport dressed as security complete with suits and a sign for my character in the roleplaying society game. I couldn't stop grinning, though that meant I had to play along. Took everything to prevent myself from tackling them. That evening, I played in the society game and I was reminded how much I missed sessions and talking to people. By the end though, I was so shattered and turned in after eating for the first time since my flight that morning.

The following days have been a mix of returning to familiar areas of Oxford and seeing all those people I missed. Jetlag hit me a lot harder this time round and I think that was because I was already a bit sleep deprived and still recovering from such a stressful time. I'm staying in Headington which is a 20-30 minute bike ride from Oxford and I have been cycling a lot more than I've ever done in Oxford and for awhile. I managed to go to an archery session but have been unable to shoot. I also went for a run in the beautiful weather, though I can't seem to plan appropriately for the weather in my clothing choice. I'm hoping to settle into more of a routine soon.

I'm often struck by how normal living here feels. Not normal as in mundane, but as in natural and comfortable and easy. The only problem I feel is the itch to do something productive. When I try to reassure myself that I'm on holiday, I can't help but think, on holiday from what? After all, nothing is guaranteed past this month. One of the things that I have done in response to my uncertainty is apply for a number of jobs in the UK. The problem is that as a non-native that does not have a work visa at the moment and would need a company to sponsor immigration, I know that my chances are slim, but that's not stopping me from trying. I can feel myself afraid to commit to my life hear due to this uncertainty even though its something I want very much and I think that has left me paralysed, I don't want to go through missing it again. I'm happy but scared. But, what new graduate hasn't felt that way.

I look forward to my coming weeks and hope to have more answers and new questions soon. Until then, I'll sit here watching Eurovision (if you don't know what it is, look it up) and looking forward to the adventures before me.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Peculiar Loneliness

Its been a long time. I know. I have found that this blog which holds the records of an amazing experience and journey served another purpose that I have not had need of for awhile. Sometimes, an idea gets ringing around in my head. It is an idea or concept that I feel has no proper forum. It is often too complex or concerning for a status update and too concrete for poetry or creative writing. They have often been bouncing around in my head for a few days and in particular, they make it difficult to think about other things. It is as though they beg to be put to words. In this way, I can release them and move on with my life.

The last few months have been a roller-coaster and as my final semester of my senior year had come upon me, I was concerned that I had made no progress in my emotional and physical stability since I returned from England. I was cutting free of my own distractions, and they were distractions that I ultimately saw as hindering my progress to moving on to the next phase of my life. I was also struck with the shaken realization that my own confidence about my future was hubris and that to some degree I need to accept uncertainty and plan for more contingencies. I do have an interview for Medical School in February and I am optimistic but cautious. So faced with the same feelings of listlessness that followed me last July, I was worried about my ability to adjust. I could feel myself still rigidly clinging to another life. I haven't necessarily solved that problem.

Fortunately, my classes this semester should bring greater fulfillment. I am excited for all of them and confident that it will be far more engaging. This has certainly leveled out my mood and makes me more excited for the coming days. Additionally, I do have plane tickets for a holiday back to Oxford. I will certainly write about how my return has coloured my former year abroad and anything else I may learn. Until then, the countdown to that trip and my graduation begin.

Now that I've caught everyone up, for the most part, I'll draw on the concept that has been rolling around in my head. I watched a Ted talk the other day about altruism. I honestly think that a certain degree of altruism and selflessness, service to others, helps one to be more happy. So in response to this, I decided to follow one of his suggestions and try compassion meditation. A quick rundown of compassion meditation. You begin by relaxing your body. Then you start with yourself and think about the happiness and wellness that you wish for yourself. Then you meditation on all your friends and close friends and wish them the same. Then your acquaintances. Then your friends of friends. Then those communities which you know of. Finally ending with well wishes for all those in every cardinal direction.

 In doing this, I meditated on everyone I knew that I considered a close friend or acquaintance and I marveled for a moment at the shear number of people that I care about. There are so many people that I wish well and know well. There are so many people that I want to and hope that I support. But this realization hit an point of conflict within myself. If I have so many amazing people in my life, why is it that I feel lonely. Why is it that I feel like I have fewer close friends than I want?

My instinct led me to examine who I had included on the list and I realized that about half, maybe a bit less, were long distance of one form or another. I still felt like I had meaningful relationships with all of them, but our relationships were on hold or limited. Every so often, I felt myself staring at my Facebook messenger hoping that one or more of those people would be available to talk. This has left me with a peculiar sort of loneliness. I don't feel antisocial and I don't lack in friends. But I still feel lonely.

I'm sure many people can commiserate with this feeling. As I try to dissect what is necessary for what feels like a complete relationship, and what it is that makes physical proximity so vital for relationship, I felt the need to describe this peculiar loneliness in some way. I hope in some ways I can make peace and wait for the time when some of that friendship is no longer long distance, but I foresee only more in the future. I have thought much about the way convenience rules our lives, limits our capabilities and dictates the communities that we can be apart of. Inconvenience has its cost and I hope at some point I will find a way to manage it.

Until Next Time,
Adventures Await,