Posted by: katelyninfrance | January 26, 2012

Wait really she’s blogging?!

So considering there is no time like the present, the present being 4:10 AM on a Thursday morning, I’ve decided to re-continue blogging, hopefully for real this time but hey my track record is pretty terrible so far so we’ll see. I did start another blog post while in Taiwan, so first off I’ll put that right here, despite the fact that it’s not finished and clearly outdated.

 

September 27th, 2011:

Hey guys, so as yet another of my faux-ghetto post titles (current Katelyn note- it was “post numba 2 taipei style wut”) should lead you to believe, I am still in Taipei, and this is post number two of any posts I may have been making in Taipei. Wooo. So right now I’m sitting outside of a restaurant on campus glancing nervously up at the sky every few seconds as it almost looks as if it’s about to rain. Which would be unfortunate for all electronics involved, such as this computer.

Otherwise though, tonight I’m planning on hitting up yet another school club (I LOVE CLUBS GUYS YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW) in which I will be taught how to play the GuZheng, which is a stringed Chinese instrument that I would post a picture of here if I wasn’t so lazy but since I am instead will tell you to go look it up on google for yourselves geez srsly why does everyone want everything handed to them on a silver platter omg. And that’s enough run-on sentences for a little bit. Unfortunately I’m not entirely certain where this club is meeting, so it will be an interesting adventure to try and find it. Unfortunately with everything being written in Chinese, I’m rather at a loss as to where things are, or what things are, and etc. There are posters up around the campus with interesting-looking pictures and it’s all like- ooh! I want do that! Sadly I don’t know where it is nor am I entirely certain of what it actually is! How unfortunate! Like there’s a kendo club and srsly how cool would it be to hit people with wooden Japanese swords?! But since I’m in Taiwan, it would be nice to explore some of the culture of the country I am actually in, rather than one not too far to the northeast. Did I mention I still like, don’t realize I’m in Asia? Like just writing that. GUYS. I’M IN ASIA. WHAT THE HELL. The other day I was in the library writing a paper/actually watching stupid youtube videos and in my own little world when I looked up all dazed like- where am I there are an awful lot of Asians here- OH RIGHT TAIWAN. It’s weird stuff.

So I’m liking it quite a bit here. By “here” I mean in Taiwan and at the university (lord I have missed campuses and clubs and student-ness) and to a certain extent the program I’m in but idk. Not gonna go into all dat nonsenz hurr as it’s really not the place nor do I want to open that there can o’ worms, but if you’re interested hit me up via facebook or e-mail or what have you and we can chat. ;D

So fun things here! I have become obsessed with clubs. It’s kind of a thing. Like whenever someone has a question about a club or whatever it’s like- go ask Katelyn! and often times I’ll have some sort of answer. I just like being able to throw myself into activities with Taiwanese students. I want to make friends here, you know? It can be hard though, because often times we’re on field trips or doing CRC group activities which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but takes away from the me being a traditional university student vibe that I get here and that I *think* I’m liking? Idk. Wait I thought I wasn’t gonna get into all this nonsense lolol.

So clubs. As I said earlier I’m hopefully hitting up the GuZheng club. They also have Taiwanese opera and hip hop and folk dance and tap and errythang and unfortunately they all meet at 7 pm so I can’t go to all of them. Like I went to the first ballroom meeting and it was super fun but it turns out I have another club that day so sad. ūüė¶ Otherwise I’ve met a few people around town here and *hopefully* have some plans later this week to hang out with them so that makes me feel good! Too bad every time I try to do school work I go all zoop!*

This is becoming a really awkward and disjointed post, perhaps because I am hungry, want fried rice, and am smelling the deliciousness coming from inside this restaurant yuuum tasty smells. Lolol some kids all wearing the same outfit just ran by laughing awkwardly and clutching drinks attention span wooooo.

So I guess I should talk about some like, actual stuff we’ve done? On Tuesday we went to Longshan temple, which is like, this beautifully architectural building smack-dab in the middle of the city.

Author’s note: Zoop is a word with many different connotations and can be used as perhaps every single part of speech. In this case, it is used as a state of being similar to emo.

END OF UNFINISHED POST WRITTEN IN SEPTEMBER

For those of you who are curious about my club extravaganza, I ended up attending the GuZheng club, Taiwanese opera club, electronic music club, hip hop, ballroom dance, and chorus, although many of these I only went to once or twice because we ended up taking unfortunately timed field trips/it was an hour commute each way/I ended up going to dance clubs instead and exploring Taiwanese night life during my free time. We managed to hit up quite a few club clubs as well, including Luxy, Babe 18, Lava, Wax, Room 18, Reolver, that one club that was mostly older people and had free champagne on ladies night but when we went they had run out of champagne so instead we had some sort of licoricey drink that might have included yeager, and perhaps a few others I’ve missed such as two karaoke/lounge places. Interesting times were had, creepin’ times were had, dancey times were had, chicken hearts on a stick times were had. I ended up having quite a bit of nostalgia for Taiwan after leaving. I had made a decent number of friends, saw some shows (music, dance, art, etc), did a bit of miscellaneous exploring (one day I was so determined to go to the zoo that I ended up riding the metro for a good 50 minutes alone, arrived at the zoo right as it started torrential downpouring [gross exaggeration], and bought an umbrella outside of the gates so I wouldn’t get soaked), and had grown accustomed to the metro and the bright, young, exciting feeling of the city, and ended up missing it while going through the requisite emo readjustment period in Thailand. I really like Taipei, and I’d like to go back someday. How sad and melancholy that does sound. Sigh.

So Thailand. Actually I think I’ll leave a run-down of Thailand for the next post. There is a lot to that, and it is pushing 4:30 AM, so I think it is bed time (or hours of insomnia wooo) for Katelyn. For those who are curious, I’ve decided to go back to Oberlin for second semester. I’ve been cycling through feelings of absolute terror, gargantuan excitement, and everything in-between on that front, paired with a lovely continuing depression. Well all that fun stuff aside, it is time for me to retire. Thanks for reading and pleasepleaseplease comment and perchance I will actually update a decent amount even though I am no longer in exciting places! Night guys!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | September 13, 2011

Ni hao Taiwan!

Why helloooooo there guys. Long time no see mirite lololol. So anyways, my journeys as of yet have landed me in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. I am with the comparative culture and religions program of Global College, the school that I spent a semester in Costa Rica with. But I will not be going through that nonsense here to save me and you a good bit of sanity. Ya.

So right, here I am in Taipei, on a college program where we will be studying the religions and culture of Taiwan, as well as some on the theory of studying cultures and comparison, and a bit of area history and how it’s all evolving thanks to our good friend, globalization. This is an experiential learning program, so in conjunction with regular classes at National Chengchi University, we’ll be going on site visits and field trips to various temples and retreat centers and all that jazz to get to really see and experience what it is we’re learning and reading about. We’ll also be doing some field work or service project type stuff of our own. I’ll be spending half the semester here, and then the other half in Thailand, centered around Chiang Mai. As for next semester, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. What a fun time that will be.

So I guess I’ll start off this new chapter in my travel blogging life with a recount of getting on over hurr. My flight out of Philly was at 7:45 in the morning. Ended up at San Francisco at 10:45 their time, and didn’t get out of SF until 6:20. Fun times ya? Well, I got to meet up with other GCers, including some of my friends from last semester which was cool. We got to Taipei at 10 pm the next day, and headed off to where we’ll be staying for the duration of our stay here, the Taipei Teacher’s Hostel. I’ve heard the reason we’re not staying at the university dorms is because they cost the same and were a lot less nice than our rooms here, including not having individual bathrooms. I feel kinda lame about that whole thing because I think it would be super fly to live on campus, but then again who knows how many students live on campus or what that’s all like. I think I’ll ask about more specific reasons one of these days, we’ll see.

Next few days were orientation (we just had our last day of orientation on sunday and have had some free time/actually homework I should be doing instead of writing this since then). It was going over a lot of safety info, some cultural things to keep in mind, goals and mission statement nonsense, academic nonsense and scavenger hunt nonsense. The city here is pretty cool. So far I’ve been to Taipei 101, which used to be the tallest building in the world before the bitch-ass middle east decided to show Taiwan up and be all OH HEY LOOK AT OUR SIGNIFICANTLY TALLER BUILDING LOLOLOL. We also hit up the Chiang Kai-shek memorial park thing which is within walking distance of our hostel. IT IS GORGEOUS. And has the national concert hall, where there are like a million concerts I want to hit up. Did I mention I’m trying to re-connect with music this semester? We’ll see how that goes (hopefully well). I’ve also taken unfortunately long bus rides when we get on the bus that will get us to our destination eventually but as we boarded them in the wrong direction, loop around the mountains and temples surrounding Taipei before re-descending into the city and finally to the subway station. It’s pretty though, and lots of hiking trails that I’ll probs be checking out eventually.

The day before yesterday we all went karaoke-ing as some sort of group bonding activity. We went to this amazing place where there was this enormous buffet and I got what looked like a delicious drink but then spilled in a spectacular fashion when the door I clumsily kicked open with my foot rebounded off the wall and smack back into my tray. Sad times, man. Otherwise, they rented out a room for us to karaoke in, and we spent the evening singing such wonderful classics as Bad Touch by the Bloodhound Gang and Hit Me Baby One More Time. Our Taiwan mentor dude and teacher of our cultures class, Dale, (who, long story short, came to Taiwan on a fullbright to study Chinese then stayed for his masters at the university we’re at and also married a Taiwanese chick earlier this summer) sang a Chinese song in a rather hilarious fashion. His wife and daughter also sang some Chinese and Taiwanese songs; it was pretty cool.

Then last night we celebrated the moon festival the Taiwanese way- by having a barbecue! Apparently barbecuing just sort of became the tradition because people made money off of it and so advertised how awesome barbecuing for the moon festival is and then errybody just kinda went for it. We went on the campus of the university and walked through it to where there is a river and a nice view of some of the city lights, then set up two mini Taiwanese grills that ran on coals. It was pretty difficult to get them started, but with the help of our two new Taiwanese friends (who will be in our religions class at the university that starts tomorrow), we managed to grill some tasty pork, chicken, hot dogs, bread, fish cakes, veggie kabobs, weird spindly yet delicious mushrooms, interesting green chute-like things, stinky tofu, pigs blood infused rice and fish balls. It was a fun time. Afterwards some of us went to a night market in a neighborhood whose name is escaping me and looked at a bunch of difference clothes. Night markets are SWEET. I am super into open-air markets for whatever reason; every time I see little stands with stuff I’m all- WOA GUYS LET’S GO TO THAT HOLY CRAP. And Taipei is full of them! I didn’t buy anything that night, sadly.

However, I did today! We went to the writer Lin Yutang’s house earlier today and had a bit of a tour. I bought a book that he wrote that I will hopefully read one of these days. Also got a moon cake since we didn’t get any last night and they are kinda necessary for the moon festival. (Apparently you just sort of eat moon cakes, barbecue, and watch the moon during the moon festival. Good times aw yea.) On the way back to the subway station we stopped by a bunch of stores (guys the clothing here is AWESOME. That being said it’s making me wish I was a cute little Asian chick even more [did I mention my awkward inner sort-of desire to be Asian before lololol] and I keep looking at the clothes and being like- aw man if I was Asian that would look SO FLY but instead it’s probably too short in reality awww. But either way the fashion is amazing, and it’s super cheap. Buying clothes all day erryday yeaaaaaah boi) and I bought two shirts that were layered over each other to look like one shirt. We also saw a bunch of food stands, which tend to make me super excited because omg trying new foods street foods are cool what in the world is that thing I don’t even. I bought a stick of what I think was pieces of chicken’s feet, and we got this interesting shaved ice cream stuff with bananas. Then we went back to the hostel and I did some reading before grabbing a mini-dinner of spicy Korean pan stick things and coming back to do more reading/procrastinating with facebook and John Mayer. PS John Mayer is now constantly and consistently stuck in my head foleva.

Well, I’m gonna be a good student and go do these readings because they are for tomorrow and it is 10:20 and I am tempted to go to 7-11 and get a rice ball. Did I mention that 7-11 is like, totally the shit here? Seriously, they have EVERYTHING and they are EVERYWHERE and apparently it’s culturally appropriate to buy alcohol and drink it outside of them before hitting up a club. So fly.

Funny cultural things aside, (and there are plenty, I’ll be bringing them up quite a bit!) it is time for me to end this post and get some reading done! Hope things are going well wherever you are reading this from. Until next tiiiiime!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | December 12, 2010

Week of no texting. Day seven- The end!

And thus we find ourselves at the last entry! It’s crazy to think of how quickly this week has gone by, and how little time is left in this semester. Strange.

Well, I think I’ll be making this post a bit of a general summary/reflection of this week of no texting and what it has meant to me. First off, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, or how others expected it to be. Perhaps it’s just due to my late introduction with texting, but after the initial few days of reaching for the phone and slapping my own hand to remind myself not to, not texting became a normal part of my life. I think it goes to show just how adaptable humans really are- how quickly something such as texting seems to become a necessity, and yet how quickly we can wean ourselves off of it. We’re a species that is constantly changing stuck in a time period that is as well, so readjustment is a pretty important skill to have.

I’ve realized that, for me, texting is less of something that I need and more of something I do as a fun, leisurely activity. I don’t have to text someone the plans, even if they are short and could be relayed in a concise manner that way. Calling people is only awkward if you make it that way. And hey, verbal communication is another important skill to have, one that an increasingly digital age perhaps will be churning out more and more awkward speakers. Maybe that’s why public speaking classes are all the rage nowadays.

It’s hard to know whether or not my texting habits will change after having done this. I’m leaning towards a no- in fact I’m pretty sure that as soon as I read through the over 70 messages I’ve received in the past seven days, I’ll be back to sending my own with just as much volume as before. But maybe now I won’t feel obligated to check my phone every five minutes. Maybe instead of hiding behind a screen to cover up my own insecurities and to look “un-awkward,” I’ll remember that yes, I can entertain myself without electronics. I don’t need my phone as a crutch for keeping myself always busy and doing something; I can take the moments where I have nothing to do to really do nothing. And that can be very beneficial.

I’d say that going on this no-text diet was a good idea. It’s always good in life to be able to remind yourself that you really are in charge of what you do and can make decisions on your own. Maybe its a bit of a stretch, but just having the ability to do what you put your mind to can be a self-esteem boost. Like, yeah, check out what I did! All by myself! You all said it would be hard and maybe it was but I did it sh-yeah what now, world?! Sort of.

All in all, this has been an interesting experience and I’m all for new experiences anytime I can get my hands on them. I hope this has been at least marginally entertaining to read about, some of my posts were less fun than others certainly. I think I’ll end this how Abel suggested I do so-¬†“Happy texting! Thank god om nom nom nom nom texts.”

Posted by: katelyninfrance | December 12, 2010

Week of no texting. Day six-

It seems like I’ve been focusing on the negative aspects of texting these past few days, so I’m going to change things around and look a bit on the positives. Before I had texting, people would have to call me when they were making plans to hang out or go somewhere. Rather than being part of the decision-making process via texting, which was quick, easy, and all in one place, we would have to coordinate via phone calls. It was much more difficult, involving calling people back again and again when plans changed or when new information popped up. With texting, it’s simple to invite a friend to lunch or to tag along on a shopping trip. You can plan big group outings by looking at everyone’s availability via text rather than having to call and then call back. Like I said before, texting is very convenient.

And like I had mentioned in (I think) my first post, texting can really give you a sense of community or closeness with your friends. It’s a social thing, and just like talking or video chatting with a friend, through texting you can build or cement relationships. Although it sounds lame, getting a text from a French person helped to feel less alone, and during a time when I felt like I had nobody, it was a great thing. Texts can brighten up your day, they can remind you of people that care about you, and they can give you opportunities to be social. For people who are shy and find it difficult to approach others, texting can be an easier way to still communicate, gaining confidence through small steps to finally feel comfortable with others.

Despite all of the bad rap texting gets as being something that only wastes time, I think it can be a very positive social device if balanced. Just like everything, one just has to use moderation. Texting is not inherently positive or negative in itself, it’s just how you use it. Yeup.

At this point not texting has sort of become a normalcy in my life. It’s annoying, but it’s something I can live with. I think the novelty of texting me knowing I can’t respond has also worn off, since I’m receiving far fewer texts these days than before. Thank god. With just a day or so left, I’m looking forward to being able to use my darling phone again. After spending an impossibly difficult 30 minutes waiting for a meeting with a dean and having nothing to do, it would have been nice if I could have texted in the meantime. I suppose it was a good lesson in being self-reliant and entertaining myself, though.

Tomorrow will be my last entry! Holy crap it’s been a week omg! Finally I can text again yaaay! Well, see you all later!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | December 11, 2010

Week of no texting. Day five- Driving, biking, and class- Oh my!

There is one thing that I have seen at Oberlin but nowhere else- texting while biking. Everyone has heard of texting while driving, we even had to watch a ridiculous Oprah-esque video in driver’s ed involving a girl who texted while driving and boy who killed someone while doing so. But seeing people text while on a bike is just hilarious, really, albeit dangerous. And honestly, I’m impressed. I don’t even have the balance to bike without holding onto the handlebars, let alone have the mental capacity to keep myself afloat while texting someone. It’s a skill, really. The dangers of texting while operating machinery, whether that be a car, a motorbike, or whatever, are pretty obvious. It’s really scary to think that there are people who do so, since they really endanger us all. When I see someone even talking on their cell phone while driving I get really angry. I mean, if it was that important, they easily could just pull over rather than endangering all of our lives. Stupid people.

Students also tend to text in class, which I’d imagine schools and teachers are not too pleased about. Especially in large lecture halls where you’re more of a number than a name, it’s easy to sneakily send a friend a message when bored. I personally don’t text very often in class because I am such an amazing student all the time, of course. It would be interesting to do a study of sorts checking if people who text in class tend to do worse grades-wise than those who do not. The obvious answer would be yes, they do worse, but maybe some people just learn better studying on their own, and are able to get work done outside of class hours to keep them with good grades. I suppose that would have lots to do with different methods of learning and teaching, although I don’t imagine teachers would be happy knowing that students are texting during their class even if said texting students are able to make it out with an A.

Now back to my own experience not texting! Today there were a few moments where I really REALLY wanted to send a text. I had something very important to say, so important that I can’t remember right now what it was, but Abel was in class. I normally would have texted him since he obviously can’t pick up his phone while in organic chemistry. Sadly I could not, and did not. Later on I wanted to text him about this amazing concert we were going to, but I couldn’t and didn’t do that either. And then late at night I wanted to send him a message since calling him could have woken up my roommates which isn’t exactly very nice, but that didn’t happen either. This whole thing is really rather frustrating. And making me feel like there is nothing I do in life except text Abel. Which isn’t the case. I hope.

I think the time-period of this no-text week makes a difference as well. Since it’s the end of the semester, I’ll be going back home to see my friends and family, so they are on my mind more than perhaps they would be when in the middle of classes. I also am finding myself with a bizarrely small amount of work at the moment, which is very strange and rather unsettling. I don’t really know what to do with my time these days, and not being able to text these feelings at others or even just talk to them about the fun things that will come after this awkward in-between transition period is pretty annoying. Hmmm.

Well, I’m good for now I think. See you on day six!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | December 9, 2010

Week of no texting- Day Four. Silliness and bullying.

I now have received so many texts that my memory is full and every time I get a new one I get a happy message telling me to freaking erase some. And they still keep coming. Should be fun on Monday to go through all of that, huh?

I’ve found that there have been more and more things I’ve been wanting to communicate via text. Sometimes they are stupid things- “HEY ABEL YESTERDAY THERE WERE SO MANY BOXES OF PIZZA YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW” and sometimes they serve more of a purpose, such as a reminder to myself to not miss my appointment with the dean, AGAIN. I am a fan of writing slightly cryptic messages hinting at a larger and also hilarious story to follow. However, I have been unable to write said messages, and thus said stories tend to be forgotten. So my hilarious story quota has been suffering quite a bit due to not being able to text. It’s a shame, really.

Texting is also useful when in a situation where for whatever reason, you cannot speak. Maybe you’re at a movie or a show that is really boring. As long as your phone is on silent, of course, texting can help the time go by faster. Or maybe your roommate is sleeping and you don’t want to wake them up. Or you’re in a monastery and if you talked you’d be smacked by the head monk. All of these are reasons why people might want to text.

Another thing that people sometimes do with texting is text someone about someone else who is in the room. I’ve seen quite a bit of bullying done through secret messages right around the unsuspecting person’s location. It isn’t always negative- perhaps the person is upset and you are genuinely concerned why, but don’t exactly want to bring up that topic in front of them. Then again, if you’re fed up with someone but don’t have the guts to say so to their face, sending a snide message to a friend can help you get it out of your system. Not necessarily a good thing, but it’s certainly done.¬†I guess with all new forms of communication come new forms of bullying. Everyone knows about Facebook bullying, but perhaps there’s also text-message bullying? Especially with people giving out their phone numbers on social networking websites and to other people, it would be easy for a group of people to get together and “prank text” a classmate. And it would be rather difficult to help those being text-bullied, I imagine. We’d have to come up with entirely new ideas, perhaps more focused on personal issues such as self-esteem, since it’s hard to punish text from an invisible person. Interesting to think about, huh?

I’m running out of things to say here, so I think I’m gonna wrap it up. This entry seems marginally less awesome than the last three, and for that I apologize. Hopefully things will be better tomorrow? Maybe not? We’ll see. Bye guys!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | December 9, 2010

Week of no texting- Day three. What to do?

Day three of no texting draws to a close. And the amount of texts I’ve received and yet cannot read until Monday has doubled. Abel, you are one hilaaaarious person. Hilarious.

Anyways, there is one aspect of texting that I’ve been thinking a lot about. It’s something fun and easy to do when bored, when in a waiting room, or when all you have with you is your music history notebook and your phone but you have to wait in the conservatory lounge for your voice teacher to show up and give you a lesson. It’s a form of entertainment. As with all forms of entertainment, it can be abused in that you can easily procrastinate on work by texting instead. But the great thing about texting is that it is always with you. Have a few minutes to kill but no idea what to do? Why not send a text to a friend of yours, checking in. There’s even another aspect to the “texting while waiting” phenomenon. Ever feel really awkward sitting around with nothing to do, feeling like everyone is staring at you, or like you have nowhere to stare except back at said staring people? Whip out your phone and bam! You have a purpose! You are doing something and that means you are not doing nothing which means according to society, you are doing the right thing! Perhaps this has something to do with the American viewpoint on constant working, punctuality, and general un-chillness, but when uncomfortable or anxious due to having nothing to do I tend to flip open my phone nervously. I’ve found that even these last couple of days, when I know that even if I have a text I won’t be reading or responding to it, I’ll still check my phone every couple minutes when waiting around, just because I have nothing else to do. It has become such a normal thing for me, something that I can use as a bit of a coping device perhaps, but that might be going a bit far. I noticed today that when waiting for the people at the sky bar to let us dive into the myriad of pizza boxes, I continuously checked my phone. And I was sitting with friends, I was having a conversation. It’s just something normal and something that is “right” to do. It’s not that it feels right, per say, but is more of an OCD-type complex- I have to check my phone! I just have to! Maybe comparing checking your phone to OCD is a bit much, but I can certainly see some parallels. Or maybe it’s just me. Who knows.

But it leads me to the question- without texting to occupy every little nanosecond of free time, what ever will I do? If I don’t have texting to turn to, will I have to sit there in silence and THINK? About LIFE? Oh no! Not that!

Jokes aside, it is interesting to think about how the whole idea of self-reflection and having times in the day where you really aren’t doing anything is kind of a foreign concept to Americans. We’re always so busy, going places, doing things, and even when we relax we have phones and e-mail to check up on, or a television show to watch, or friends to hang out with. We don’t ever really have time where we just allow ourselves to sit alone and just BE. Maybe we all need to take a class on Zen Buddhism or something, ahaha.

That’s all for today, but I’ll be back tomorrow for another update hooray!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | December 7, 2010

Week of no texting- Day two. Idiosyncrasies of text-speak.

Today’s no texting adventures involved me calling my boyfriend at least twice yelling at him to stop texting me. He laughed and is still doing it. Aren’t we a happy couple.

Jokes aside, today was manageable. There were a few times where I REALLY wanted to send a silly text commenting on how John Cage drank a glass of vegetable juice in front of an audience as one of his pieces or perhaps the confusion surrounding the death of a certain dear north quad snowman, but I had to abstain. I think I’m starting to see that, for me at least, texting is less of a necessity but more of a fun way to express myself and communicate with those who are far away from me. If I think of a joke or remember something about a friend who I haven’t seen for awhile, it’s nice to send a message saying so. And since people generally have their phones with them, I know that they will most likely get my message fairly soon after I send it. So in that sense it can be for convenience’s sake really.

So all of this not-texting business has got me thinking about the “language” of texting, or text-speak as one could say. I personally only use abbreviations such as omg, brb, g2g, and the like when joking, although some people shorten almost everything they write into a pseudo new-English. Teachers even say that text-speak has found its way into papers, which is kind of silly and yet pretty interesting. In France they have their own version of text-speak, taken to a more intense level. As I’m sure you all know, the French language is notorious for having lots of letters that when read, only make one sound. This can be annoying to write out, so some young French people have been using a strange syllabic representation of how the words are pronounced phonetically, rather than spelling them correctly. So for example, if you received this in a text message (this is straight from my host brother’s facebook, love you Emeric!): lotre jour kan tu ma apeler g t coucher, that would actually be written as: l’autre jour quand tu m’as appel√© j’√©tais couch√©. As you can see, there is a dramatic change, and for poor foreigners just learning the language, it can be rather difficult to decipher a wall of confusing phoneme-French.¬†(If you’re interested in learning more specifics, this link right here is pretty interesting:¬†http://french.about.com/library/writing/bl-texting.htm) There are, however, tons of French people who are against this new form of writing, as can be seen by the Facebook groups cropping up against it. It’s pretty cool to see how the insta-technology we have ¬†has sort of created new languages, as well as inspired groups of more conservative linguists to come forth. Then again, this is the French we’re talking about. And lord knows that if there’s anything the French like more than wine, cheese, and bread, its protesting against something. But that is why I love them so!

I got off on a bit of tangent there, but I’d say it’s an interesting topic to think about. Anyways, I’ll be back tomorrow with another fun-filled post yay!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | December 7, 2010

Week of no texting- Day One. The start of it all.

Hey guys, so for my final project in my freshman seminar, I’m going a week without texting. And at the end of every day, I’m writing a reflection on the experience that I’ll be posting here. Today I’ll be posting my response from yesterday as well as my one for today because we just sort of came up with the blog idea today. I hope this is at least somewhat interesting for you all to read maybe!

Day one-

Today I woke up at 8:40 to the sound of my alarm and reached towards my phone like every morning. Two new texts. I frowned and hit “read later”. I would be doing that quite a bit today.

The decision to make my final project a week of no texting was met with some raised eyebrows and a few gasps of disbelief. Texting has become such a normal part of socialization today, that it seems hard to fathom giving it up, for some. Despite having urged my parents to act sooner, the first time I got texting was after arriving in France as an exchange student and getting a French phone. Not having very many friends, if any at all really, the first part of my year was spent only writing a few stunted messages in broken French very slowly on the foreign number pad. But as the year went by, I gained friends as well as speed in crafting words and sentences out of my phone. I found myself having to re-charge my account with money more and more frequently as texting was using up euros rather quickly. But with every text I got from a schoolmate, or another exchange student, I felt wanted, like I was successful as an exchange student, adapting to a new life. After returning home, I was textless yet again. However, I would stand for that no longer and soon received a shiny new phone and unlimited texting plan. And thus we find me, an avid texter, sending dozens if not hundreds of texts per day.

I’d say the hardest part of this experience so far is probably getting over the habit of texting. It’s just something that I’ve gotten used to. When seeing something funny or walking to class or feeling hungry or just when bored, I always seem to rattle a text off to my boyfriend, Abel, who is currently a sophmore at Penn State, four and a half hours away from Oberlin. After receiving two texts from him this morning that I didn’t read, I called him to politely remind him that I wouldn’t be texting for the week. He decided to send me texts anyways. In fact, quite a few friends of mine have been doing the same thing, a repeat of the facebook wall scandal when I couldn’t use facebook for a few days (check my facebook from last week if you’re curious, it’s kind of ridiculous honestly). In music history this morning, my friend Porter sent a text to me while I was sitting right next to him. If there is anything I’ve learned from this so far, it’s that I have some rather hilarious friends. Or at least they think they’re hilarious.

As another friend of mine said, not texting has forced me to call people if I have something to say to them. Ryan has often rolled his eyes at me when after asking me to call someone, I respond with a, “Nah I’ll just text them,” or perhaps, “But I just texted them!” This is perhaps a good lesson for me. Today I (actually!) called my mother instead of texting her a thank you for my latest Hannukah gift, and we got into a conversation about other matters. Feeling on a roll, I even called my sister. Perhaps this is just a temporary thing, but I’m starting to appreciate the novelty of the spoken word. Who knew.

Well, I think that’s all for now. I’ll check in tomorrow with more adventures of not texting! Woooo!

Posted by: katelyninfrance | September 30, 2010

The hardships of life at Oberlin

It is lunchtime. And as happens often during lunchtime, I am hungry. My friends are in agreement and we decide to head to the dining hall, affectionately known as Stevie. We walk down North Professor chatting about our days so far, cross over the street and find ourselves in front of the door. “Wait guys. What are we doing,” I say, panicked. They look at me strangely. “Uh, we’re going to lunch?” I shake my head slowly, wide-eyed, and back away. “But we’re at… THAT door!” The others furrow their brows before continuing on, telling me that they’re hungry and I can go back to French house if I don’t want to eat. With a frown I head inside.

This is a scene that happens to me everyday. Everyday I am forced to make a decision in a pressured and uncomfortable crisis situation. Said crisis is only augmented because we’re at THAT door. The door closest to the pizza.

I keep telling myself that I can stop. I don’t NEED to eat the pizza. I can just walk away. Get something at one of the other numerous counters. But I always, always end up back in front of the steaming pies, watching as other students pull slices with stretching melty cheese, gazing at the gently seasoned tomato sauce, drooling at the thought of crispy crusts and delicious toppings. And there I am, walking towards the plates, my inner voice screaming at me to turn around. I rationalize it. The other places have such long lines, it would be much easier to just get pizza! If I don’t eat pizza tonight, then it’s okay! Don’t worry, I’ll get a salad too. That’s good, right? I feel as if the pizza lady knows me by now. One time when gazing at the steaming platters just out of the oven with a friend, I let out an unconscious sigh of, “WHY IS THIS PIZZA SO GOOD ALL THE TIME?” I was met with a, “Oh honey, I don’t know! It just is!” from the hair-net wearing woman behind the counter. I then proceeded to sheepishly grab a slice and walk out of the dining hall.

There is a fairly linear constant process involving Katelyn and this absolutely magnificent pizza. Mathematically and/or scientifically speaking, one can make a type of visual representation or graph of this equation. (Okay guys just go with me here I am in no way a math or science major.)

Step One: The initial hunger
As biology has proven time and time again, humans are prone to a physiological state known as hunger. When entering said state, we are often inclined to eat. During this stage perhaps a slight idea of pizza will pass through my head. Perhaps not. Most of the time I just take out my cell phone and text Ryan with a “LUUUUUUUNCH?????”

Step Two: The gathering of fellow hungry-people
Depending on my friends’ schedules, various of us will eat together on any given day. The general routine is a trickling in of fellow famished French housers in the quad. We wait for the stragglers and eventually head out the back door. At this point I’m thinking about what I might want to indulge in for the following meal. Pizza pops in my mind but I push it away with a shake of my head.

Step Three: The journey to the food-getting place
Group in tow, we walk outside and pass by East, crossing the street until we find ourselves right in front of Stevie. This walk takes perhaps three minutes. And yet it is during these three minutes that the panic sets in. I realize that I want pizza. I tell myself that I will not get pizza. I continue wanting the pizza. I continue telling myself not to get the pizza. With every step closer to the ominous double doors the two voices in my head grow in volume and battle to be heard. I often turn to my friends and tell them that no, this time I will not be getting pizza, only to turn around again five seconds later with a “Okay maybe this one time.”

Step Four: The entry
This is the shortest step in that all we accomplish is walking inside and having the worker person swipe our IDs before walking up the stairs. In fact, this doesn’t really deserve a step at all. But I’m leaving it anyways.

Step Five: The mad rush for food/The faux-avoidance of pizza
Generally lunch is pretty crowded. And walking into a room filled with clambering college students laden with plates of food and talking at high volumes can be rather intimidating. I like to take this initial culture shock to glance at the other foods offered. Oh look at that! They have grilled cheese today! Wow, that looks like a really tasty soup! Don’t see that every day! And yet my eyes always tend to graze towards the back corner. The corner that not only never has a line, but also contains the pizza. Oh the pizza. Just right there. But no, I am interested in that vegetarian dish! This is Oberlin, we’re supposed to be open minded to things! Right!

Step Six: The frightened and anxious turn of the tides
It is now when I am standing still amidst a horde of students, plate-less, when I begin to realize what is happening. There is only so long that one can avoid what one is really thinking before it comes bursting out at them with the fury of a thousand sharp pointy knives. And burst it does! I find myself shaking, shivering, breaking out into a cold sweat. My heart races. With every beat I hear “Piz-za. Piz-za.” I find my feet moving by themselves, against my will. It is a straight line; I imagine I look oddly determined and sure of myself on the outside despite my insides being about to implode out of the sheer battle of wills. My heart beats faster. My steps go faster. “Piz-za. Piz-za. Piz-za. Piz-”

Step Seven: Face to face
As soon as I find myself in front of the wooden blocks supporting this heavenly sustaining substance, all hope is lost. The pizza is there, I am there, the plate is in my hand, the pizza is on the plate. There is nothing I can do. An earthquake couldn’t stop me from using the metal spatula to select the most succulent morsels and placing them delicately and lovingly on my plate.

Step Eight: Fleeing, eating, leaving
With the fruits of my shame in my arms, I run towards the drinks, getting a water as I always do. After fleeing the room I sit at the table with my friends, trying to avoid their accusatory stares. The rest is pretty self-explanatory involving mastication and eventually departing the location in which we were dining.

And there you have it. The horror that I unfortunately am forced to live through every day of my existence. Oh Oberlin, I thought you were a place of learning, of growing, of joy! Why have you done this to me? How… how could you? I guess I’ll just have to continue blindly forward in my heroic and diligent quest, standing up against all of the obstacles in my way, evolving into a better person through the difficulties.

Sincerely, Katelyn

P.S. I’m definitely not eating pizza tomorrow. Trust me on this.

P.P.S. No honestly I most likely will be.

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