Saturday, March 25, 2006

Senior Banquet

Well tonight was the "Senior Banquet." It was a free banquet for all graduating seniors, basically just a night to get all dressed up, give out "most likely to" awards, have a talent show and announce the senior gift to Wheaton.

It was a fun enough night. I got to sit next to some pretty cool people so we were having fun. They kept mentioning that there were only 43 days left to graduation. I sort of guess that this night serves to remind us all that "oh yeah, we are leaving soon, so let's enjoy it." Afterwords we took the "class picture in Edman Chapel. This picture above is of almost all remaining floormates of mine who spent both freshman and sophmore years on 2 east. It's good to keep the memories alive.

Afterwords, lots of people were having get togethers and parties. I stopped by one to see a friend who was visiting for the weekend who had graduated last year, and then moved to the HNGR house to watch the motorcycle diaries with some friends. It's a beautiful movie (one that I've seen before) but makes me excited about learning spanish next year and possibly travelling to south america at some point in the future, something I never would have considered before a couple of years ago.

Also, in other news. My roommate and I are currently hosting 2 students visiting from Franciscan university in Ohio. Franciscan (as the name suggests) is a Catholic university comparable with wheaton, where there is a large proportion of students who take their faith very seriously. It has been fun (in whatever brief moments we've had) to interact with some Catholics who know a lot about their faith and who have a palpable love for Christ and his church. It's so refreshing especially to me as I've grown up around many Catholics who don't know much about their faith and for who it doesn't play a large role in their lives, I hope to have more chances over this weekend to learn from these Catholic brothers of mine.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Med School Update

Hey everyone,

Well I got some more news on med school today. I was officially rejected from Newcastle (the place I went to have an interview over spring break). This means that with just one more decision to come (from the hardest school to get into that I applied to) I'm sort of doubting that England is going to end up being an option. So it looks as though I'll be headed to California for the next few years (but that is also still up in the air).

The plan now is to move to California where I will finish some classes I have left to take that particualrly are asked for by California schools. I'll try to work at the same time, and hopefully get some money for applications (each costs a couple hundred to apply to). I'm not completely sure if I'll be in Ventura or not for the year (I'd like to be there) but also some of my HNGR bros and sistas are contemplating living together in San Diego next year, which could be appealing especially cause one of my goals for next year is to learn spanish hard core, as that will be really important if I want to get into American schools, and I would love having the community of like minded people to be with. I'm also considering the idea of living with a spanish speaking family for the year to try and immerse myself somewhat in spanish, we'll see if that works out.

Anyway, keep praying for me as my plans get firmed up and I make decisions. I'll hear officially from Southampton in April, but again not expecting much there.

Thanks for all your prayers during this crazy and exciting time of my life, to God be the glory for whatever he has planned for me.

All the best,


Sunday, March 19, 2006

In light of Saint Paddy's Day...a question

So I thought this post was timely. Given my position in life, being a citizen of the "north atlantic quadrant" (as my Welsh-Canadian professor puts it), and also an Anthropologist, I've often been asked by people on both sides of the water what are the differences between Irish and American culture.

It used to be easy, back in the day to describe long lists of superficial differences when you could have said things like "Americans like Starbucks", or talk about Irish music being a uniquely Irish thing. Times have changed and globalization has hit us strong. Just looking at the surface you might be lead to think what I hear tourists say, they're just the same but we talk different. But if you are someone who has lived a year or so in both Ireland and America, you will definitely notice that there are huge differences in culture, the problem however is putting your finger on them.

Now of course, culture isn't some firmly bound set of values, beliefs and practices that are shared by all people, it is rather something that we all interact in and contribute to, and is better thought of as very general trends which can be helpful for tyring to understand cross-cultural communication.

So anyway, how do I answer that question, I usually say it's complicated and tell people to trust me that they're different. Of course I can talk about "world view" in terms of understanding of the world as a super power is different than understanding the world as a minor yet vocal player; or how Ireland's catholic roots and current relationship with the church has some interesting consequences as does America's multi-culturalism and supposed separation of Church and state.

The reason for this post though isn't to put out my musings, I want to hear if any of you have any thoughts that you'd like to share on the matter.

Leave a comment...

RENT: How do I put this in words...

I just got done watching the film version of the musical RENT. Once you get past the fact that the musical has the some ridiculous lyrics, I mean who speaks like that especially in such highly emotional situations,(I probably shouldn't even mention the 80's electric guitar riff backing track). The characters were all kinda caricatures of people who try to live the bohemian lifestyle in New York (I had to laugh whenever I saw the lead character cause he just looked so out of place (he looks a lot like my friend Jeff Hochstettler) and then the "hard core rocker" turns out to sing pop not even as hard as Avril Lavigne. Besides the bizarrely unpoetic lyrics, and cool "Saved by the Bell like" instrumentation, it is a powerful film, which I'm sure would probably be better on stage and either way is worth a watch.

It's one of those films that leaves you wanting something, not something more from the film but something more from your life. It's a feeling that's really hard to describe. I get sort of an uneasiness in the top of my stomach and my head feels like it's getting hot from my mind racing too much. It's about that X factor of life that we're all missing but desperately want, whether we're Christian or not. I think at least part of it boils down to community. We all want people just to accept us the way we are, without having to change who we are to fit them. It's about having friends stick by us in our hardest and darkest moments, like having 6 people out searching for you when you've gone back to your old addiction, or like having someone hold you for hours when you're sick and close to death. It's about that love relationship that you feel can bring you back even from death.

We all yearn for something like that. We do find it here and there, but only for moments. It's those few minutes on the train back from town when people are falling asleep around/or on half on top of you and you look around a realize you're fulfilled. It's those moments in church where a new song manages to escape cheezyness and catches you and those you're around up in worship of our Creator. But those moments always end. Someone says something to bring you back to reality, or the night ends or the worship leader decides this would be a perfect time to transpose key, and the moment's ruined.

Those moments though, usually aren't real, they're just images of something that we long for but don't fully realize. I have to believe though that there are groups out there who will fully accept us for who we are with no pretenses, who will forgive when we are our stupid selves and will keep coming back when we're lonely. Somehow, I think relationships like that are hindered by our middle class. We're too used to being in control, we have too much choice in life and this flows over into relationships.

I remember freshman year when I was having sort of a bad time with one of my good friends who lived on my floor, it didn't end up that we forgave and went back to being friends, instead he coldly told me that he had other friends and that he didn't care about restoring the relationship, he didn't need to be my friend. I was shocked, I didn't know that people so easily took on and took off friendships like that. I didn' realize how much of a whimsical choice friendship could be to people.

I don't know where this post is going. The movie raised a lot of issues that the church (which is where we're supposed to get relationships built on love and commitment) shuts out and doesn't deal with. Issues of AIDS, homosexual love, addiction, self expression, poverty, loneliness and gender to name a few. The sad thing is that this movie probably offered more hope to most people dealing with the issues above than the Church-wide message usually does. The really sad thing is that so many of us in our church deal with these issues and others.

The hope the film offered was shallow for me. It's message "There's no future, There's no past" so let's live today like it's our last. Instead our hope can rest in the knowledge that

"Christ is coming to make all things new."


I just found this quote from the composer and lyricist of the musical, who lived in the area of the Village that he wrote about. He said:

"With this work I celebrate my friends and the many others who continue to fulfill their dreams and to live their lives in the shadow of AIDS. In these dangerous times, where it seems the world is ripping apart at the seams, we can all learn how to survive from those who stare death squarely in the face every day, and we should reach out to each other and bond as a community, rather than hide from the terrors of life at the end of the millennium."

I can't fault his motives, and he's lived there with the people he's writting about so maybe his lyrics are authentic after all.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

If I don't post now, I probably never will...

Hey Everyone,

So I've realized that the longer you go without posting the harder it is to get yourself back and posting again, so as much as I don't want to post right now, I'll give it a try.

First of all, Happy Paddy's Day! I hope you're having fun wherever you are. Chicago decided to celebrate St. Patrick's day last week with a parade and the traditional turning of the river a bright neon green colour, but today Wheaton was definitely celebrating it's own 'wear green day'. This of course means that our dining hall gets off from it's normal culinary goodness with making corn-beef and boiled don't forget all our normal favourite desserts but with green icing or green sprinkles on top (My favourite was the "Irish Texas Sheet Cake").

Second, No I still haven't heard yet if I've got into medicine anywhere. I've applied to four schools through UCAS (The UK central admissions office) and heard rejections from my third and four choices (Glasgow and leeds respectively) and so am waiting to hear back from my top two Southampton and Newcastle (where I had an interview a two weeks ago).

In other news, this is also an important time in America called "March Maddness" where the College League basketball finals are going on. Everyone fills out a brackett with the teams they think will win each match and the one who gets the most games right wins. My roommate is pretty into watching all the games he can, and so has found that for the first time the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is streaming all the games to be seen for free online, in really good quality, so he's busy watching away as I write. The greatest thing about watching this on the internett is a small red button located towards the bottom of the screen simply named "BOSS BUTTON." If you see your boss walk by when you're watching this game at work you simply press this button and instantly the screen turns into a highly complex Financial Spread sheet with no trace of laziness or dossing in sight. One other single clicks on one of the cells in the spread sheet brings you back to the game.

I think it's amazing, and really tells you something about the world that we live in that we have a built in feature in order to fool our bosses. That's the work ethic that I like to see.

Alright, well I've got a few other things I'd like to talk about, but I'll have to post them later. This is basically to let you all know (whoever still check my site and I know there are a few of you ...I have a counter) that I'm back.

All the best and God bless.