Friday, January 22, 2010

Sometimes I look around and see nothing but beauty...even in the dark things. I have this thing inside that starts like an itch in my belly and then, before long, it spreads a warmth to my whole body and I just wanna DANCE! Sheer happiness that only comes from knowing our amazing God.
Wanna hear what I was tapping my toe to when this inexplicable urge took over in the Student Center? Click here.
Jeremiah 31:13
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


For a campus that is so large, I am amazed by the silence that one experiences here. Sometimes I turn my chair in the Listening Room toward the window to catch sun and watch the miniature people below walking from class to class...silently. Sure, there are occasional groups of friends, turning to one another in animated conversation. But mostly, everyone seems to be going to their own destination, at their own pace, with their own thoughts. It's an interesting contrast to Bethel, which felt almost like a small town. It was always difficult to get to class on time - not because of sheer distance (as it is here at Kent), but because we couldn't resist stopping to talk to at least 10 people on our way. Unless my brother and I meet up, I go through my days here saying less than 100 words. This is absolutely mind-boggling, given my personality, and given the fact that the average female says at least 7,000 words a day. I'd say when I'm with friends or family, I speak twice that -- or at least it probably feels that way to my listeners. When I'm here at school, you can't imagine how many times I have to clamp my mouth shut to keep myself from bursting out with a cheery, "Hi, I'm Kate! What's your name?" every time someone gives me a slight smile or even just makes eye-contact. Maybe I'll start doing that...but not yet. I have to get a little more comfortable with Kent culture and state school etiquette, first.
Mostly, I find the independence and quiet to be good for me. Good for studying, good for resting my eyes when I have a free moment, good for thinking, and good for listening. Listening for that still-small voice that I can only hear when I start blocking out the noise of life. It makes me think five times more before I speak -- a good change from my usual word vomit that I can't seem to control. Basically, the silence is a lesson in self-control: listening to the whispers and waiting for the nudges. Soon, I'll start making friends and things won't be quite so quiet. But for now, I'm looking at the stillness as a blessing and an opportunity.

Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a beautiful mosaic

Day one as a clueless transfer.
Where I've been - Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN (small, Christian, private school with about 3,000 students)
Where I am - Kent State University in Kent, OH (large state school with, comparatively, a great deal of students)

My Geology Lab is taught by a tall, lean, French teacher's assistant with a wide smile and tall boots. The guys were drooling over her. She seemed oblivious -- an act, perhaps? You can never tell with French myterious and bourgeoisie. The assistant to the teacher's assistant is a grad student with origins in India. She appeared friendly, but her compliant manner and quiet countenance caused her to be lost in the shadow of her French superior. While discussing the effects of glaciers on the topography of Ohio, the assistant to the assistant chimed in with a random fact (which now escapes me). In a thick accent, the TA snapped, "Who asked you?" I guess pride is a language that defies even strong language barriers?

I spent my afternoon in the Listening Room, studying and intently reading Peony in Love. Three girls came in wearing hijab scarves. The scarves are a part of traditional Muslim dress, but of course, I don't know for sure that they were Muslim. And it doesn't matter, as I don't have a racist or discriminatory bone in my body. That's not the point. They looked modest and tasteful. And beautiful. The scarves accented their glowing skin and dark, arched eyebrows. Honestly, I welcome any kind of garb that's not the usual jeans and sweatshirts that most students wear (including myself). I'm a Christian, and my particular 'sect' -- if you can even call it that -- does not require me to wear any specific garments. And I'm rather glad for that. However, modesty seems to be on decline, even among my Christian girlfriends. The old adage 'less is more' doesn't apply to much these days...except clothing. Today, it was just refreshing to see young women holding true to something they believe with confidence and grace.

My last class on Tuesdays is a business lecture with Rosalind Thompson. She is Kent's Goodyear Executive Professor. This distinction comes in the form a year-long professorship, given to an outstanding business person with "real-world" experience. She works as a consultant for her own firm in Cleveland. Rosalind is the first woman to receive the honor, and the first minority. She's boisterous, with a perfect mix of warmth and a 'let's-get-down-to-business' resolve that promises to make the class interesting. Anyhow, I arrived early and took a seat in the back row. I felt horrid. But even with a migraine, I reminded myself that I'm just not a 'back row' kind of student. I'm not an eager-beaver front row dweller, either. So I chose a seat in the middle of the fourth row. Close enough to be perceived by my Prof. as engaging, but not so close as to make my fellow classmates hate me for being "that girl." And you know exactly what I'm talking about. Within five minutes I was surrounded by an assembly of about fifteen Asian students. They talked excitedly in their native language, which often makes me nervous. It inevitably reminds me of the fact that I know exactly one-and-a-third languages. At best. Most of my foreign classmates are fluent in, at the very least, two languages. Furthermore, I always cringe at the notion that they could be discussing me in their secret tongues and I wouldn't have the slightest idea. Luckily, I'm a stranger. And I need not flatter myself with the idea that I'm anything to talk about. Haha. I'm one of a thousand nameless faces, as far as Kent State is concerned. For now, that is... :)

All in all, it was a good day; I'm a people-watcher by nature. Everyone has something interesting to bring to the table. I can't wait to start meeting people and finding out what that might be. Until then, I'll just watch. Appreciating similarities, embracing differences, and trying to let who I was made to be shine from my deepest depths.

We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.
-Jimmy Carter

Romans 12:5