The Bloomington summer lifestyle: Bible camp and battle wounds

Hi there, just checking back in to update you on my glamorous summer in the 812. Where even to begin? So many adventures, so much excitement. I suppose a fun place to start would be a (semi) full report about my Housing Assistant job with RPS. Don’t worry, I’ll only include the events worth mentioning. Since I last posted, the summer camps have been rolling in. My favorite thus far was Impact, which catered to campers interested in learning more about Jesus. I believe part of the camp’s goal was to teach the youngsters how to give an effective conversion sermon. Serious apologies if that’s not the politically correct term for when a person tries to convince you to adopt his religion.

Anyhow, I was led to believe this was the camp’s goal as I sat at the center desk and received one of these talks from a 16 year-old boy. It started off with some innocent small talk. For a second I thought he might be trying to hit on me. Then, next thing I know, I’m being asked “Do you believe in God?”, which was followed up by a 10 minute lecture (where I sat silently nodding, unable to get a word in edgewise). Side note: I think the hitting on me thing was definitely an ulterior motive as at one point during his sermon he said “I’ll admit I first came over here because..well..I thought you were beautiful.” 1. You’re 16. 2. You just told me you used to be illiterate before you began journaling (?? I’m as confused as you are here). 3. Telling me about God’s virtues is probably not the most effective approach for picking up a girl. (Further tangent: Earlier this summer, a man hit on me by calling me stocky and thinking it was a compliment. In his defense, I think he was unsure what the word stocky actually meant. He profusely began to apologize and take it back after he saw my face drop and a witness explained the definition of the word, but the damage had been done. So clearly I’m striking gold in the guy department this summer. Although, shout out to the Impact camper for actually using a flattering adjective.)

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Yes, immediately following the incident, I googled the definition of stocky in order to screenshot and tweet about it. No shame.

Moving on..my favorite line from the Impact camper’s enlightening talk was when he said, “You’ll forget me until one day you’ll be driving in your car and you’ll hear a song that’ll remind you how difficult the abyss of life can sometimes be, and then you’ll remember what I told you about how our savior has a plan for us even if we may be suffering.” Technically I’m not sure I should be using quotation marks because unfortunately I couldn’t pull out my recording device in time for the ambush sermon, so the story’s been reduced to paraphrasing. But trust that he was actually very suave and well-spoken. I was kind of jealous of the dude’s ease with talking to be honest. Long story longer, my boss finally came out from her office in the back (where she had been listening to the entire *one-sided* conversation). She made up a task for me to do and shooed the boy away. When I asked her why she didn’t come to my rescue sooner, she told me she was having difficulty stopping her laughter for long enough to gain a serious composure. Well thanks boss, I’m just grateful that you eventually found the strength to stop laughing at my expense.

So, aside from making money for listening to conversion sermons, I’ve found other means to earn an extra penny or two through the blessing of my college student status connections. Okay, so technically I’m not actually a college student anymore. But I promise I’m still in that weird limbo between “graduating” and having a big girl job with ~benefits~. For those of you fortunate enough to bypass this limbo, let me fill you in. This fun stage of life means all of my groceries/cleaning products/contact solution/you name it are still Kroger brand (or that “P$$t” brand..my fellow low budget *college students* know exactly what brand I’m talking about), and I think I accidentally became a vegetarian because meat costs more than spinach or yogurt. This limbo also means I’m still clinging onto my .edu account until they pry it out of my cold dead Umail hands. Oh, and I definitely logged into Oncourse (yes Oncourse, not Canvas, I’m old) while at a bar this past weekend because I saw a past professor (who was a bit inebriated hehe), and I needed to jog my memory to remember her name. Wow, it seems I’m apparently innately wired to get defensive about post-grad life.

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Here’s a low quality photo of me water skiing during 4th of July weekend as a reprieve from all the weird things I’ve been sharing.

ANYWAY, so why is being a “~*college student*~” in Bloomington this summer a blessing? I promise that tangent had relevance. The answer is that I get to browse through IU Classifieds to find experiments to participate in to make some side cash (which occasionally goes toward my brand name contact solution budget..I splurged this month and got Clear Care!!!) See? Full circle. Well, my favorite of these said experiments thus far was the one wherein they put me in a big hat/helmet doohickey that connected wires to my head to record my brain’s electrical activity (EEG if you will, shout out to my psych nerds who didn’t need that clarification). So, basically, a man from the psych department spent an hour rubbing gel on specified places around my head so he could then attach the thought receptors (this is totally *probably* not the scientific name for whatever those wires were, but I will gladly take credit for coining that term because let’s be honest, it sounds pretty cool). Following the long process of placing the doohickey on my head, I listened to some sounds and pressed some buttons and made $40. I only came away with two scabs. I was assured the procedure would be harmless and would cause no damage, but we should all know by now that as a general rule, I tend to be the exception to the rule. For fear that my readers do not believe this EEG experiment actually happened, see pictures below. But seriously, obviously you believe me because who in the hell would make a story like that up? This is truly just the epitome of a Rachel thing. The pictures are more so just for you to laugh at my expense. You’re welcome.

Now that we’re on the subject of battle wounds and scars, I feel the need to report my other scars are healing (slowly but surely) as well. It’d be unfair to say something like that without giving context, so I guess it’s time to delve into explanations for the injuries I’ve suffered this past year that seemingly only I would incur:

  1. The Twinkle Light Incident of ’16: This one was a doozy. In the midst of a long, hard week of classes and minimal sleep, the sleep deprivation finally hit — hard. In the interest of flattering lighting and chill vibes, I have Christmas lights/twinkle lights/whatever you want to call them hanging on my wall. Usually I unplug them when I go to sleep, but my tired mind would not allow this on that fateful night in February. The next morning I awoke to weird white bumps/blisters all along my left leg. And they hurt. Did I have an allergic reaction to my sheets? An allergic reaction to my dream? After pondering the possibilities for this sudden apparent disease I had developed overnight, the answer finally came to me the next day. (Yes, embarrassing that it took so long to realize). My lights had fallen onto my bed in the middle of the night and I had rolled onto them causing a faint but persistent heat pressed against my leg throughout the night..causing second degree burns the next morning. Many may ask how I did not realize this as it was happening (yes, also embarrassing that I did not). My weak defense is that I felt it but it was faint enough (and I was tired enough) that I thought it was part of my dream. Needless to say, I now (yes, it’s been five months and they’re still there) have a few small circle-shaped scars scattered on the outside of my left leg and I am an avid user of Bio Oil. Though I think I may have to make a switch to the hard stuff soon and splurge on Mederma. Thank goodness for that EEG funding.
  2. The B-town Summer Popcorn Massacre: My wonderful summer roommate, Katie, believes in good old fashioned popcorn. You know, the kind where you buy the kernels and pop them yourself. She even has her own popcorn popping bowl. It’s great, the theme of our summer has been popcorn, wine, and Gossip Girl. So, after Michelle moved out this past week (extreme sad face, best of luck in California boo), she took the microwave with her (also sad face). However, we remembered we could still pop our beloved popcorn kernels the REAL old fashioned way (on the stove, in a pot). Problem solved, right? Well, the following night Taeler (shout out to my awesome new Arizonan friend) and I painted the town red and upon our arrival back to my place determined we wanted a little popcorn snack. This was my first popcorn night sans Katie, and Katie had always been the professional popper.

    Turns out, I’m not so good at old fashioned popcorn..I forgot to put a lid on. The next morning I woke up to a kitchen covered in popcorn, another second degree burn on my pinky from touching the hot pot in an effort to stop the violent shower of the salty snack, and a popcorn kernel burn on my chest from a particularly feisty rogue kernel. Are you starting to get the gist of what I mean when I say “just Rachel things”?

I think this brings my list of wounds to a close. I’ll probably have another one to add to the list soon after I publish this post due to the trials and tribulations of being a “~*college student*~” in Bloomington. (But more accurately, just the trials and tribulations of being me.) I would love to go into more detail about my wonderful Fourth of July weekend in “up north” Michigan with Katie (wave runners, water skiis, sand dunes, fireworks), but I’m too happy to end the post talking about weird scars, so I’ll leave it at those four things that basically sum up the weekend anyway. I know, the Bloom gets rowdy in the summertime. Until next time, my friends.

Your stocky klutz,

Rachel

 

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Graduation: the epitome of ambivalence

Wow, this is so embarrassing. Remember when I announced the debut of this blog last summer and then I only made one post? Yikes, I’m the worst. Anyway, here we are now, almost a year later, and I’m finally getting around to my second post! Let’s not dwell on my laziness and instead rejoice in the fact that I’m finally blogging again..it’s the little things in life. The reason I haven’t gotten around to another post until now (bear with me, I know the excuse I’m about to give is pretty lame) is because I was busy living the highs and lows of my senior year at IU. I couldn’t be distracted by such things as typing down my thoughts..although I will admit I did find the time to squeeze in an embarrassing amount of Netflix. The inspiration and motivation to finally hit the ground running (or hit the keyboard running if you will..you missed my puns didn’t you?) came from the momentous occasion of my graduation. Granted, it’s been over a month now, but hey I needed some time to develop my thoughts about post-grad life before diving right in.

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Doing big things because of these supportive people

So, isn’t “ambivalence” such a great word? And wow, just so fitting in this instance. Graduation is weird. It stirs up a lot of competing emotions. I’m nostalgic and hopeful and melancholy and excited and relieved and anxious. Okay, sorry, I’m done flaunting my wide range of knowledge regarding emotions. The point is, a lot of things have been happening and will be happening in the near future that give me a “whoa” feeling. (I’m attempting to balance out my earlier vocabulary word vomit with a simple “whoa”..you’re welcome).

To catch everyone up, I’m in a bit of a limbo. I’m living in Bloomington for the summer (shout out to that chill Bloomington summer vibe) and working two jobs for the time being. The first job..drum roll please..is a Housing Assistant position with RPS. Yes, you heard that right, RPS. No, I simply cannot escape employment with good old Residential Programs & Services. But hey, at least I changed positions, right? For this job I get to sit at the center desk of Briscoe dormitory and answer any and all questions lil summer camp attendees may have. I also get to answer the phone and ease the minds of incoming freshmen’s worried parents. Lastly, I get to give tours of Briscoe for which there’s a script we’re expected to follow. One of the items on this script is introducing yourself, which includes telling the audience your year at IU. That part’s especially fun. All in all, the gig’s not too shabby.

So, what’s my second job you ask? I’m an “Advertising Coordinator”, which is really just a fancy way of saying I’m a saleswoman. I give pitches to local businesses to take out ad space with the company I work for. Envisioning me in a sales role may give some of you a giggle, but I implore you to take that giggle back because I’m actually not half bad. I just try to suppress my awkward tendencies to the best of my ability and let my natural charm do the talking. This one’s fun because I get to meet a plethora of different people, which basically just brings people-watching to a whole new level. Also, more importantly, it’s actually taught me a lot about Bloomington. For example, were my fellow IU students even aware that Bloomington has not one but TWO roundabouts sprinkled throughout the town?! It also just dawned on me that I  said “fellow” students..I guess I can’t say that kind of thing anymore because I’m old and irrelevant. Anyhow, I get to talk to people and see an entirely different side to Bloomington, so being an “Advertising Coordinator” isn’t half bad.

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Look!!! Both roundabouts in one screenshot — simply amazing!

Finally, we’re approaching the most important and anticipated section of the post. I call it “Thailand”. The reason I’m currently in limbo is because I’m biding my time until October, which is when I embark on my journey to Thailand. I’m well aware of how cheesy that “embarking on my journey” thing sounded, but I don’t care because it’s THAILAND. I’ll be going through Greenheart Travel’s Teach English Abroad program for a semester and returning in March. So, I’ll take my bow now for finding such an epic way to postpone the joys of full-on adulthood such as a 9-5 office job, 401(k) plans, and insurance premiums. Frankly, I’m proud of myself for even knowing what the real world entails..that’s the first step to adulthood, right? Anyway, here I find myself feeling ambivalent again — nervous for my arrival to Thailand yet excited for the adventure, terrified for my future responsibilities in America come March, yet eager to embrace the challenge and satisfaction of being truly independent. And more great news — living abroad means a revival of my travel blog, YEEEEE. So, here’s to graduation and all the goodbyes I’ve had to say to make way for all these exciting new opportunities.

Bloomington: the land of RPS, Target, and Ballantine

As I lay in my bed last night with a mean case of whistling nose syndrome — which effectively kept me from the much needed sleep I desired — I was given the opportunity to stare at my ceiling and reflect. This reflection centered on the trials and tribulations of these past few weeks back in Bloomington. So, in honor of making it through the first week of classes (relatively) unscathed, this post will be a rundown of the thoughts, observations, annoyances, and general jubilation with which good old B-town has provided me.

I will attempt to organize my brain to the best of my ability, but we both know that lil guy marches to his own beat. I believe the best way to tackle this chore will be by recounting in chronological order.

WEEK 1: I arrived to the humid air and hilly streets of the Bloom on Sunday, August 9th for my annual job training with RPS. Yes, I’m still working for RPS..moving on. It was great to be back in Bloomington a little early, so as to gradually ease myself into the imminent hoards of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshmen (and their parents) who deem Target to be the end all be all of life itself. Seriously, I’ve concluded that somewhere within those linoleum-lined floors of Target exists the magic elixir of youth that both students and parents alike desperately seek. “I never want to face the real world, I’m staying in college forever!” “I miss the glory days and I miss little Billy when he’s away, take me back to college!” I don’t really understand where my mind just went, but I blame it on sleep deprivation and the nose whistling.

A very sub-par depiction of my room

Anyways..just know that the freshmen will make a cameo again in Week 2 (and I know I’ve now given you a reason to keep reading..all part of my plan..). But first I must continue with Week 1. The following Saturday, August 15th I moved into my home for the year and let me tell you I still become giddy every time I walk into my beautiful abode in the most wonderful location that consists of my own room and my own bathroom and my own full size bed!!! (The three exclamation points were highly warranted..you understand if you’ve seen it all.) That Sunday consisted of the day of the 5-hour errand run, in which I acquired a couple pieces of unassembled furniture. This leads us into Week 2; otherwise known as the week Rachel became a handywoman. This is irrelevant, but I feel the need to inform my audience that Google Chrome is underlining “handywoman” in the dreaded red perforated line. Excuse me Chrome, if handyman is a word, handywoman certainly is as well.

WEEK 2: So, I kicked off Welcome Week (otherwise known as the week before classes when everyone has already arrived..but we don’t have classes yet. Or maybe something less wordy and more catchy..) building furniture. It’s ok to be a little impressed..I don’t blame you. I assembled a five-drawer dresser and a desk from scratch (okay so maybe not exactly scratch..I didn’t cut down a tree for wood or meld metal into screws or anything).

Needless to say, my sweat, hair, and tears went into this ordeal. Before you contort your face into disgust, let me explain.. So obviously my sweat went into it; these projects took quite a bit of elbow grease (especially when you don’t have all the required tools or they give you faulty pieces and you have to improvise). As for the hair and tears..girls shed (sorry), so a few strays may have gotten screwed into some of the sections (whatevs, this just gives my furniture a little personality). Lastly, for those of you who don’t know, my contacts have been giving me a lot of problems lately..please don’t even get me started on that (hence the tears). Also, here is where I give a shoutout to my roomie Hannah for offering her help with the dresser..much appreciated boo!

Mid-project (dresser edition)

Along with my construction escapades, I worked at good ol’ Wright Food Court throughout the week. Enter freshmen for their second appearance in this post. Most of us have all been in their shoes, so I promise these are just (relatively) objective observations! The shifts were stressful only because the students do not yet know that other food options exist..so I was turning out burritos and Charley Biggs Chicken boxes in record time. Word to the wise, a simple “thank you” to your friendly RPS worker goes a long way! Anyhow, the stress of these shifts was subdued by the joy of people-watching and subsequently hearing things like a girl of my height and stature brag to two 6-foot buff men about how she “benches 200 pounds”…. I assure you I do not even exaggerate in my blogs..I just happen to hear and see the most miraculous things. Which leads us into the miraculous things Week 3 brought.

WEEK 3: Ah, so begins class. Come Monday, I was prepared to leave my house ready and eager to learn. Three steps out my door, my sandal broke. This may sound like a funny and ridiculous thing that would only happen to me. That’s because it is..but hey luckily it happened sooner rather than later and I was able to remedy the situation before my day of three classes sans breaks.

Here’s a picture of a night of fun (and someone stepping on me)

As I progressed through this week, my thoughts were running in double time. A few thoughts from this nice and HUMID (oh my goodness Bloomington is so humid) week:

  1. Why are these desks in Ballantine 319 so absurdly rolly?! And by rolly (because technically rolly is not a word) I mean why does every part of this desk and chair have wheels and move so insanely every time I make the slightest motion?! My colleagues must have gotten used to these new desks while I was in Spain, so I’m sure they were all looking at me wondering what was wrong with the spastic girl in the back. Making good first impressions everywhere I go is what I do.
  2. Know-it-alls are a special kind of breed. We understand that you want to participate, and we applaud you for that..to a point. If by the end of the first day of class, you have shouted (key word: shouted) an answer at least 20 times (even when one wasn’t requested) and your classmates are glaring at you every time you open your mouth, maybe save some of the participation for the rest of us (believe it or not..we know the answers too.)
  3. The true unsung heroes of Indiana University are those of you I have seen walking across this campus and making eye contact with me since freshman year, but I still have yet to meet. Just know you don’t go unnoticed; I have recognized your face since 2012..I simply have never had the pleasure (I’m going with a positive spin here) of meeting you..there’s still (some) time though!
  4. If you ask me to watch your stuff in the Union while you go disappear to take a bathroom break, or buy food, or who even knows what, you have automatically made my day. Thank you for thinking I am such a trustworthy and friendly looking person that you have entrusted me with safeguarding your $2,000 worth of laptop and textbooks and what not. If it is the last thing I do, I WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN.
  5. If you are taking up the whole sidewalk, you are the worst. Okay, maybe not the worst, but pretty bad. Especially if I am in the zone, running to my heart’s content. Especially after I pretend to cough up a lung or finally say excuse me, and you still don’t move, forcing me into the street to squeeze between the curb and the oncoming traffic. Much appreciate being given the opportunity to stare a speeding pickup truck in the face.

So brings the list of thoughts during my first week to a close. I know you’re wondering how it was even possible for ME to only have 5 thoughts. Well obviously I had more, but I thought it might be nice to (somewhat) spare you the tedium of reading ALL of my mind’s wandering observations.

Here’s to tackling the first week of classes, and here’s to tackling the next 35 odd weeks of classes (all sure to be full of more thoughts, observations, annoyances, and general jubilation). Thanks for bearing with me and the narrative of my return back to Bloomington!

Yours truly,

Rachel