The Wide World

Hello and welcome to the middle of June, where current temperatures in Gig Harbor are currently peaking around 63°F and in the next few days might exceed 90°. Also, here are some pictures of Bubba, notoriously difficult to photograph satisfactorily. He held still for a second and you can even see his face!

 

This week hasn’t held a great deal of excitement. I’m slowly starting to put things together to move. I’ve also put out feelers for buying a car which is gross because it’s way outside of my wheelhouse. I really wanted my first car to be electric but it’s not going to be feasible in my new circumstances, I don’t think, so I’m settling for a hybrid. Hopefully, that will just tide me over the few years until electric cars are much improved.

There was a second of news that caught my attention this week and since I have nothing else to talk about, I thought I’d consider it with you for a moment.

I don’t really care one iota about sports. It’s just not my thing. I am, however, obsessed with international sporting events–particularly the Olympics. While it was cool, when I went to Pyeongchang, to know that the people I was watching were the best in the world, that wasn’t really the main draw for me. I just really love international things. And since lots of people love sports but not international things, international sporting events are a good way to make people care about international things.

It’s competition, so it’s not exactly friendly in the strictest sense, but it’s not war. And I think generally there’s some camaraderie and learning that goes on. Certainly, international sporting events are not free from scandals and corruption and racism and whatnot. But overall, I think they’re pretty cool.

As an aside, having no conception at all of sporty things, yesterday I allowed myself to halfheartedly root for one team from each of the four pots and they are: Portugal (because I just read the entire Wikipedia article on the Estado Novo and it was interesting), Croatia (obviously), Costa Rica (because why not), and Australia (because have you seen them). I do not really care who wins but it’d be cool if one of them did, though I understand that it would be unlikely, except possibly Portugal.

Anyway. With all that in mind, it was with a deeply happy heart that I read this week that the 2026 FIFA World Cup had been awarded jointly to Canada, the US, and Mexico.

We forget so often but are occasionally reminded: more connects us than sets us apart.

Washington, My Home

Oddly, states have their own state song. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Washington, My Home and I don’t think I’d really like to. But one way or another, Washington is my home. I’m trying to do some more exploring while I’m here in anticipation of leaving again (as vain as that hope may be). So yesterday I went on a lovely hike with a friend and it was very Washington, much home.

We decided on Lena Lake in the eastern Olympics, a relatively short drive and a relatively easy hike. It was the first forecast rainy day in a while, but the drive over was dry, as was the start of the hike. Cloudy, of course, but dry. As we continued, the rain picked up but it remained a tolerable rain not an absolute downpour. We had coats. We lived.

And my goodness was it gorgeous. Similar to New Zealand, actually, with ferns and moss and water and mist. Also fjords and rainforests. But in a distinctly different way. Sword ferns, for one, and cedars and pines for another. And it just felt good to wander through a solid Washington forest and marvel.

Lena Lake Trail

As always, pictures hardly to it justice, but suffice to say it was definitely a worthwhile trip. There was still some snow on the ground, too, which was a little surprising and fun. It was all-around an enjoyable experience for the company and the scenery.

Other than that, my week has been pretty low-key. I’ve had a couple good catch-ups with people and those have been really nice. My list of friends still around the Harbor has grown shorter in the past few years, but it’s always good to see them.

My days consist of a great deal of nothing. Reading, playing Civilization, doing Duolingo. I did plant a couple plants, rosemary and lemon balm (or BAHM if you can’t read the letter l) and that’ll be nice. I’m continuing to apply to places, mostly in the US so far, but nothing has come of it yet. Who knows. It would be much easier to enjoy doing nothing if I had something to look forward to, but once again I’m confronted with an apparently endless abyss of nothingness so that’s not super fun. I’ll live.

BeegashiiLucy2018-5-4

Also, here’s an update on the yin-yang kitties

So that’s my week. Mostly boring but an acceptable level of activity. Some good catching up and some intense Washington ambiance. See you next week.

Not the Triumph

This week has been a really tough one for me, with The Deadline rapidly (terrifyingly, insanely, unbelievably) closing in. Sometimes, usually in the mornings, I feel like this is the day and don’t stop me now and I’m on a roll. Other times, I want to curl into a ball on my bed and hide forever under a blanket (and I don’t even have my favorite blanket anymore, I already sent it home with my parents and isn’t that just the latest in a string of disappointments and aren’t I just a disappointment and how did I get here and why can’t I be productive and in what universe did I honestly think I could do this and what is the meaning of life I don’t even know and probs don’t really even care because nothing matters I mean I don’t even have my blanket nothing will ever be okay again).

Which is to say, a lot of my time is spent in personal pity parties over the lamest things. Even writing this, being super conscious of how silly and awful that is, it’s a real struggle to not give in to that. And by ‘real struggle,’ I mean I’m failing and just don’t really care. But more on my self-centeredness in a bit. For now, before my everything becomes altogether too horrifying, have some cats.

A couple quick notes on the Olympics. First, I don’t care what you say, Russia wore bow-ties in the Opening Ceremony and is therefore delightful. So there’s that. Also, the IOC President’s speech, while speechy, also captured why I love the Olympics and don’t care about sports. When the world tries to divide us, we can still come together. I don’t generally watch much of the competitions themselves, because of who I am as a person, but it’s really the idea of the games that I care about. There is a wonderful quotation attributed to the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, that captures how I feel even though I am certainly no athlete.

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

I rewatched The Princess Diaries (no shame) this week and, though I had seen it before, the ending caught me a bit off guard. Not that she became princess (spoiler alert) but the manner in which she did so. In movies like this, in situations like that, the character gets some inspiring words of advice, often about the nature of courage. This movie definitely has that. Then the character makes a speech–formal or otherwise–telling the audience how they arrived at the decision to be courageous. And this is where Princess Diaries differs a bit from the trope. She gets some words of encouragement and some heavily plagiarized aphorisms about courage. But in her princess acceptance speech–it is literally a speech here, possibly televised–she does not describe her courage. She describes her selfishness.

She explains that the fear that was holding her back (which she implicitly, to the audience, needed courage to overcome) was based in a reflex to think only of herself. But there are seven billion other people on this planet and perhaps she should make a decision of this import with some of them in mind as well. I mean, it’s the typical teenage revelation that the world does not, in fact, revolve around them. A struggle I (and perhaps you) have not totally overcome. Sometimes, you gotta just love yourself. Actually, love yourself all the time but you know what I mean. But also all the time, you need to love other people. St. Anselm said something to the effect of, “It is in giving that we receive.”

So here I am, wading through acres of Keegan problems. But I’m also trying to look outward too. Admittedly, it’d probably be easier if I were royalty, and not trying to write a dissertation, but here we are. So take some cats, take some courage, and give more than you receive.