Reflections Abroad: Nov.1-Nov. 7

No picture for this week.  I didn’t get out much.

And that’s okay.  Also, I’m probably going to be getting out less now with my departure back home less than three weeks away.

Sigh… I almost don’t want to think about it.

November 1, 2015: NaNoWriMo?

The sound of November always fills my mind with memories of late nights banging on my keyboard, thinking up ways to boast my daily word count.

That’s right.  NaNoWriMo.

But am I doing it this year with studying abroad and graduate school applications?

Nah.  I don’t think so.

And that’s okay.  I didn’t do it the other year either.  And I’m a two-time winner.  I think I deserve to not force myself to write 50,000 words in a month a little longer, don’t I?

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t be doing any writing.  In fact, I’m working on my novel as we speak.

Be it in fits and starts, but at least it’s something.  I haven’t given up on my novel, nor will I give up on myself.

November 2, 2015: Reading for Pleasure

It’s why I want to keep up a good reading habit long after I graduate from college.  I want to keep reading novels as well as books about writing to hone my craft and to remind myself that I’m not alone in the world.

I think I like reading at night the best.  It helps me relax and tire my eyes so I can get to sleep.  It also let me learn a bit more passively, with a different part of my brain.  When it’s night time, I don’t think I have the concentration to work on an essay (unless I’m terribly desperate, which I hope to never be).

November 3, 2015: Staying On Top of Things

Now more than ever, I have to be on the ball.  Applying to MFA programs on top of trying to find out how to get back home the best way, emailing professors, writing papers, studying for tests…

Studying abroad is like its own class: Living 201, Upper Division, no lectures, no academic credit, lots of social credit.  I definitely see why people would put it on their resumes.

I’m doing the same.

November 4, 2015: Magic and Maidens

In the paper I’m writing for my English class, I’m comparing Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene” with Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock” through lenses of gender and genre.  If you haven’t read either of them, I recommend them.  Spenser’s allegorical epic is one of the main sources of the damsel-in-distress-and-dragon trope.  Alexander Pope sort of does the same, but in a mocking tone, and for different purposes.

I’m glad that we had review classes before the final exam on Monday.  Wish me luck!

November 5, 2015: The Speaking Test

In my Japanese language class, the speaking tests are only worth 5% of the total grade.  But I still want to do well on them, which makes me nervous.

So I study quite a bit.  I made sure I used grammar learned in class.  I made sure I stated my opinions.

But I also realized how much learning Japanese outside of the classroom is important.  These speaking tests aren’t an accurate measure of speaking ability.  All I’m doing in the tests is spouting back canned phrases.  It’s not organic.  It’s forced.  The situation should dictate what grammar I should use.  I should reach into my mental pocket at random, and learn to use the phrase when it comes to me.  Language is creative, not static.

Which is why I think I’ll find a Japanese tutor or penpal to practice with on my own.

November 6, 2015: Transgender Issues in Japan

Yet again, my Japanese sociology class has done it.

We had a guest lecturer that was a transgender male.  Not only did he enlighten me about transgender issues in Japan, but also transgender issues around the world.

I love my Japanese society class so much.  I don’t think I could have learned about all of what i learned there anywhere else.  I’m really going to miss it.

November 7, 2015: Planning My Trip Home

Today has been a day of relaxing, and anxiety.

I’m anxious to fill out all the forms I need to fill out to get home.  I’m also trying to figure out travel plans and contingency plans.

So it looks like I’ll be working on my essay tomorrow instead.  Thankfully, there’s a lenient deadline.

I also need more days like this, where I can gather my thoughts and get a head start on things.  If I try to do everything the day of, I’ll go nuts.

So relaxing it is.

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