Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Give Myself Away

If I am being perfectly honest with myself, and whoever is reading this, I am scared about tomorrow. After Greek tomorrow I have another doctor's appointment. We are going to evaluate the results of last week's blood work and do some more blood work. The doctor is supposed to tell me whether or not I have to go see an endocrinologist. As I have said before this is a perfectly shitty time for this to be happening. I'm in class everyday and the class is kicking my ass so having something big distract my already distractable mind is bad.
On top of that the people I love and that I ordinarily have around me to lean on are five hours away. David called me while I was in church (we went to Broad Street Ministries to hear Andy preach and I absolutely fell in love with the place. I want to go back many times. It's what I was looking for. But a post will come later about that.), and so after the service I called him back. It was very difficult to talk because I was practically running through Philly, felt like I was going to be sick, and was surrounded by people. There was all kinds of things I wanted to talk to him about and things I wanted to hear about. I felt like I was being a crappy girl friend because I haven't gotten to speak to him all weekend. He felt like he was bothering me and intruding, which he wasn't at all, it's just difficult to have a conversation as I am trying to hurry through a city with people that don't know what is going on.
I was thinking of going to talk to the campus chaplain lady. Part of it is because I'm just freaking out in a huge way. I have never had any serious health problems. I've broken bones. I've gotten a concussion. I have sprained and twisted and dislocated things. I had a while where I had to go to physical therapy for my knee. I've never been faced with a disease before. I've never possibly had an on going medical condition. Well, I suppose that is not true. If I do have something it's not like I just developed it today, I've possibly had it for a while and just not known about it.
 Going to two services today (Nassau Presbyterian in the morning and Broad Street Ministries this evening) gave me time to reflect. In a way this is a bit like when Dad died. I know that sounds extreme but hear me out. I was a freshman in college and had decided to switch schools and major in theology. I was fully prepared to serve God and do whatever God deemed me fit to do. And then Dad died. And it made me question my faith and doubt everything I thought I knew. It was a time where I constantly wondered why I should be doing this if God is going to do horrible things in my life. Now I am smarter and hopefully I have more faith and trust in God. I'm starting Seminary. I am going to fully serve God. And a big medical event is happening. But now, I fully trust in God. I know that God is going to do what God is going to do and regardless I am a child of God and God loves me. Tonight, at Broad Street, the Song of Affirmation was "I Give Myself Away" and it really hit home for me. This is what I'm working on and though the things that are currently going on in my life may challenge me, it is all about giving myself away, putting my life in the Lord's hands and being open to being used in whatever way possible.

I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

Verse 1:
Here I am
Here I stand
Lord, my life is in your hands
Lord, I'm longing to see
Your desires revealed in me
I give myself away

Verse 2:
Take my heart
Take my life
As a living sacrifice
All my dreams all my plans
Lord I place them in your hands

My life is not my own
To you I belong
I give myself, I give myself to you

Friday, July 29, 2011

Greek and Blood Work

Greek is kicking my hindquarters! Vocabulary I can handle and I am not that bad at translating, but produces the paradigms is painful. It just does not make any kind of sense. I have to get through it because I have to pass this class but I am feeling so very negative about it. I decided to do summer Greek because I thought that I wouldn't have other things distracting me and I could focus solely on that. How wrong I was.

I have been at PTS for just under three weeks and it has been rough. Getting used to the area isn't all that bad, I have no problems with getting lost, it's like an adventure. I'm meeting amazing people and making friends. The problem, I suppose is within me. I've spent the past three weeks getting sick everyday. Whenever I eat, not too long afterwards, I have to scamper off to the restroom. It's especially annoying because I'm trying to be social and make friends etc and this keeps happening. I stopped going to breakfast, because at least that way I don't have to leave Greek precept for it.

I went to the Doctor on Thursday and told her about what was going on. She ordered some bloodwork to be done and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. However, yesterday their tech person called and told me that nothing showed why I am getting sick everyday but did show problems with my thyroid. I have to go back in on Monday and see what's going on. I decided to do some googling to see what he was talking about. If my thyroid levels are high, which is what he said, a possible cause could be hyperthyroidism. So looking at the symptoms, it sort of makes sense. Let's take a look at some Symptoms:

  • I feel like I have a lot of nervous energy to burn off- I attributed this to ADHD.
  • reference to getting sick (actual wording is TMI)- one reason I went to DR
  • Difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep- attributed it to being in a new place
  • feeling fatigued/exhausted- attributed this to previous symptom.
  • my hair is course/dry/brittle/breaking/falling out
  • lady issues (sorry TMI)
  • moods change easily
  • feeling of worthlessness
  • difficult concentrating- I attributed this to ADHD 
  • more forgetful lately
  • feeling restless/anxious
That's just a few symptoms on the list and it seems to fit. I'm nervous about going back to the Doctor. I've never had real big issues before. I have ADHD and I've broken things and had concussions but not like long term medical problem that required going to the doctor regularly. Also it requires blood work which I am not good with. I have really bad veins apparently so having blood drawn is painful. On Thursday they left a big bruise where blood was drawn, in the past I've had it taken from the back of my hand and from between my knuckles. Not a pleasant experience for anyone. Last night I've noticed I've got a few other random bruises that I don't remember getting, but now I am turning into a hypochondriac. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Write to Me?

I am not going to beg, okay I just might....PLEASE WRITE TO ME! I love mail! Put something in my mailbox, please!!!!!!!!

Devin Berry
Princeton THeological Seminary
SBN 031
PO BOX 5204
Princeton, NJ 08543

Just a note saying hello, a check for $1000, any mail would be awesome!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finding a Church

So last week I went online and looked at the two PCUSA churches within walking distance of the Seminary. One of them is Nassau Presbyterian Church and the other is Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. I looked at their websites and what I could find about them online. Nassau street has an intense staff with multiple pastors. They have somewhere upwards of 1200 members and ...primarily Caucasian. Witherspoon Street was started as the first all black PCUSA church a couple hundred years ago. 

I don't know why I have an issue with the churches with huge staffs. It could be that they are wealthier, but I don't see why that would be an issue. I think it's because they remind me of mega churches and therefore do not seem like the personal connection that I have always found in my refuge at church. Also the churches with large staffs also tend to be all white, lacking in diversity, except for sometimes age. 

I went to witherspoon and it was very much steeped in the African American heritage which I enjoyed but it seemed to be an African American church that just happened to be PCUSA. So I don't think that is the church for me. I am a fan of the PCUSA traditions. I'm hesitant to try Nassau because that's where all of the other PCUSA students went on Sunday and they described it just as I pictured it. Lots of members, all white, pretty dry. 
I'm on the PCUSA website looking for other churches in the area. I am trying to discern just what it is I have against larger churches. I grew up in a church of a little over 100 members. The members were from all different backgrounds and spanned all ages and socioeconomic classes. It had a massive heart for outreach and social justice. The Church I attended while in College, and that I am under care with is about 70 members. Maybe 40% of our members are from Cameroon. The church I grew up in had one pastor, an associate for a while, but a lot of seminarians. The church I am a member of has one pastor who is amazing and makes stuff happen. 

Next Sunday I will try a new church. Maybe I will go to Nassau so that I can see what it is like for myself or maybe I will check out a different church. According to the PCUSA church locator site there are 45 PCUSA churches within 15 miles of the seminary. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Greek Verb Paradigm

“Greek Verb Paradigm”
(Words by N. Clayton Croy. Tune = “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio)

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of Greek,
I take a look at my life and see it’s rather bleak.
’Cause I’ve been learnin’ and crammin’ so long;
So when I do my parsin’ I won’t do it wrong.
The Greek verb system, it’s got so many forms.
They’re buzzing in my brain, like bees in swarms.
But I’ve been studyin’ every day and every night.
I gotta get the endings down and get them down right.
My social life is sufferin’, as any fool can see.
My nose is in a book. It’s just reality.
I gotta pass the midterm, and there ain’t no other way
Than studyin’ from the break of dawn until the end of day.

I’ve been spending all my time
Trying to learn the Greek verb paradigm. (Repeat 4×)

My homies come around saying, “Hey, where you been?”
“We come by your place, but you’re never in.”
I have to say to them, “I been in my study carrel.”
“If I don’t learn this paradigm, my life’s in peril.”
So late in the evening, I’m in the library
Beneath a pile of books under which I’ve been buried.
My friendships are dying. Don’t have no time to play.
I spend every waking moment with the Koine.
The way things are goin’ my life is ill-starred.
My best companions are my vocab cards.
But I got one friend with whom I can tarry.
The Greek tutor and I, we’re gonna marry.

Tell me why of late — is it my fate
To do nothing more — than conjugate?

I’ve been spending all my time
Trying to learn the Greek verb paradigm. (Repeat 4×)

Present and the aorist, perfect and the future.
My brain’s gonna bust. I’m gonna need a suture.
Four different moods and six different tenses.
I study so hard I’m takin’ leave of my senses!
Active, middle, passive; singular and plural —
It all spins around in a great big swirl.
I gotta learn Greek to understand the Bible;
But if I don’t succeed, a breakdown is liable.

I’ve been spending all my time
Trying to learn the Greek verb paradigm. (Repeat 4×)

Tell me why of late — is it my fate
To do nothing more — than conjugate? (Repeat 2×)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Things I learn in Greek

Today I learned that

  • "Some people say learning languages should be fun, these people are LIARS!"
  • "The Gender of the noun isn't a sociopolitical quality."
  • "Whoever said that there are no silly questions lied."
  • "It [this class] is like confession: if you don't say anything, nothing happened."

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's All Greek To Me

So I made it! It took me almost 6 hours to get to Princeton, thank you Bronx traffic, but I made it. When I got here I checked in and started moving stuff into my room. Alexander 303 is where it's at. I only ended up unloading half of my stuff because it was so blessedly hot and I had a huge headache. Unloaded my bedding and then stuff I needed for class and a bunch of clothes. I need to remember to run down to my car at some point this afternoon to get my sneakers. After unloading half of my stuff I was hot, tired, and thirsty. I decided to walk down the street to the Wawa. I had never experienced anything like it. It's like Subway meets a smoothie bar meets a cumbys. It was fantastic and I love it!

Last night there wasn't much to do so I hung in my room until there was a knock on my door and was invited to go hang out with people on the quad. I wasn't going to, because I was tired, but I'm glad I did. I got to talk to incoming students and current students. I learned different things about the school, the area and the professors. At 10:30 I wandered back to my room and read and texted with a friend back home.

Greek this morning was great. The professor seems like a really great professor. It's Greek so it will suck and Dr. P said that they are well aware that most of us do not want to be there. It's going to be a good 8 weeks even though it will be very hard. I'm meeting loads of great people and I cannot wait to meet more. I'm also enjoying exploring aimlessly.

I'm learning interesting things, which I plan to keep a list of. Here's the beginning:

  • Other seminaries teach the Velveeta of Greek (bits and pieces but not the real thing)
  • Some Greek authors  follow the rules and some don't...kind of like Greek bankers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Doctor and My Bank Account (A Saga)

Like most schools, Princeton had a medical form that I had to fill out and send in. I went to my doctor and had a physical as required. I think that may have been where my problems started. She didn't measure my height, she just asked how tall I am. She made multiple comments on how white I am. My genetic make-up is Irish and Irish. I have red hair, green eyes and freckles. Obviously I am white. I have too skin tones: Neon white and Lobster Red (saved for Sunburns, embarrassment, and anger). Would you prefer I go tan and get skin cancer?

So apparently I've not gotten the meningitis shot so I made another appointment and went in yesterday to get it. Who knew that would be so damn difficult?  I get into my doctor's examine room and she informs me that, "I don't do that". Apparently she doesn't give meningitis vaccines. So when I asked her where I can go she told me to call the board of health. I spent yesterday afternoon on the phone with different hospitals and clinics. One won't give it to me because my doctor isn't at that clinic. This place doesn't do it, that place doesn't do it. One hospital would do it if my doctor writes a prescription for it. I called the doctor's office and she won't write a prescription. Her receptionist/nurse type person told me to call the CDC and check with them. Are you freaking kidding me? At one point a hospital transferred me up to Psychiatry. It must have been a sign that this will drive me crazy! It was easier getting the vaccine for Yellow Fever than it is for meningitis, which is REQUIRED by tons of colleges.

That is just one of the huge issues I am facing this week in light of the move next Sunday. The finances...

Hopefully once I get to Princeton I will find a job and start making money pronto. I have to pay my cell phone bill and my car payment and then I will have to pay my housing deposit once I get to Princeton. Which will leave me $20 in my bank account. That $20 is to get to Jersey and then live once I get there. Not entirely sure how I can even make that happen. It will cost me more than $20 to drive from Clinton to Princeton.  Random things have popped up that I've had to pay for, like getting a new licence, new brakes on my car, gas to different Synod meetings. So all the money I thought I'd have for Princeton is gone. Time to come up with a get rich quick scheme?