Official Concluding Thoughts

I sort of assumed that after 6+ months of no new posts, people would have forgotten about this blog in the wave of OTHER STUFF ON THE INTERNET, but my mom believes in proper conclusions, so here we go:

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Well.

I am finally here.

I am going to study abroad.

For my last three semesters of undergrad.

I’ve been preparing for so long, anticipating it, daydreaming about it, planning it, re-planning it, re-planning the re-plan, and now it’s almost over, I’m almost there, and it feels surreal.  Departure is tantalizingly close and yet, somehow, I can’t allow myself to believe it’s almost here.  I guess I’m afraid of being so close and then thwarted.  I know I have a little more admin work (aaaakkkkhhhhh)  and one summer break before I really get into my final leg of undergrad academics.

(for the record, I am actually writing from Korea, but I want to express these thoughts in the perspective of before I got here)

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Reflections on my last semester at Long Beach:

I don’t need to tell you that it was a crazy semester.  I’m sure you’ve figured out by the lack of even a sporadic blog post that I was pretty busy.  I was the president of International Student Fellowship, conversation partner for American Language Institute, enrolled in 16 units, participating in a global missionary training, doing administrative reconnaissance for study abroad, and working out four days per week. By far the most demanding, frustrating, exhausting, and challenging semester I’ve ever had, it was also the most intellectually and personally rewarding. I finally got to take Introduction to International Business, a subject whose knowledge I’ve coveted from before the time I entered university.  The rest of my classes were okay, By far the hardest thing was being president of ISF, and secondly was tutoring ESL. Even now that I have the benefit of looking at everything from hindsight’s perspective, my mind feels numb just to think of all that. In other words, I can’t even…

P.S. for this thought, I had a not-entirely-terrible-but-not-particularly-great dream about doing paperwork once.  The fact that I was dreaming about paperwork did bother me, but I’m alive, so I guess that’s good enough. 😉

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Reflections on this season of life in general:

Picking up the thread from my last concluding thoughts post, I think there isn’t a single particular book that describes my time at Long Beach best.  Since I read this book lately though, I think it would be good to compare.  In Arabian Nights, by Tahir Shah, is a story about storytelling. One of the main themes of the book is finding the story hidden within one’s heart, which should tell you your raison d’etre and how you should fulfill it. Finding your story involves interpreting dreams, going out of your way to go to significant places, and absorbing the influence of other people and their stories and fiction books. I identify with the author in that he is passionate about stories, personal growth, and figuring out what he should do with the rest of his life. But as a Christian, I think the purpose of existence is already established (chief end of man and the great commission) and the story in your heart is how you go about doing it. I’m quite pleased to say that I think my time at Long Beach helped to illuminate a couple parts of this story, and I expect that this next season abroad will further clarify it.

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Specific reflections on language and Long Beach:

I also recently read In Other Words by Jhumpa Laheri.  She’s my new writing and linguist hero.  (I don’t have an old one.) It’s a memoir of her journey to learn Italian–written in Italian–and translated by a professional.  I felt like this book was almost exactly the story of my life.  Almost.  Because while Laheri wants to understand and express ideas that pertain to human nature and are of a literary nature, I am not entirely sure what ideas I want to understand and express.  Laheri is able to read and revel in great Italian masterpiece novels. Not only do I not have the capability to read such works in Chinese or Korean, I don’t have the desire to do so. While in Long Beach, I was finally able to hang out with people who were also foreign language majors, who also understood the process and reward of acquisition, and I was really happy at first to be around like-minded people, but then I noticed a trend–that these people were interested in learning languages for the sake of learning languages, or sometimes in the case of the Japanese majors, playing videogames.  And that’s fine, but I’ve realized that I want to do more than network and “make friends” and watch TV shows in foreign languages.  I need to move on and study some other things. Being at Long Beach allowed me to discover this.

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“In literature and in life, we ultimately pursue, not conclusions, but beginnings”–Sam Tanenhaus, Literature Unbound

Ready?

https://somewhatseptilingual.wordpress.com

 

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