It has been some time since my last check-in, so here it is. I am back at school, and delighted to be there after a summer of work and a year abroad. In Spanish class, I am reading Doña Barbara, an embarrassingly sexist book. (Imagine a glorified colonization story, except Europe is a spoiled city boy and “the barbarian” is a vilified rape-victim who taught herself how to hustle.) I am taking English with the famous writer, Ha Jin, and learning about the literature of the migrant. I am reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin in my American fiction class, and find myself constantly criticizing the implicit and explicit racism of the author, though even I was shocked by how well she wrote the river scene. We haven’t yet reached the meat, in terms of social psychology — our readings seem designed to convince us that participation in class is, in fact, a good idea — but the teacher won me over within the first half hour, and the students in my discussion class are brilliant, so I think I’ll have a good time. I’ve met up with old friends, after a year away. My roommates are straightforward and cheerful. I got to see Sir Christopher Ricks the other day, and see how he was doing. Tomorrow is my first day as a writing tutor, and hell, even my sheets are clean.

All in all, not a bad start — though perhaps I should learn to cook myself something other than pasta and burritos.

I need to start writing my five hundred words a day, again, and to finish some pieces. I lapsed in Spain, and over the summer, and have been generally terrible about starting again. I need to start exercising, and come up with a system that works to keep at it. (I should also eat vegetables and be nicer to people, but I try to be realistic about my expectations.)

I have meditated enough on future plans in blog posts, and I have all the places I am thinking of working abroad — Spain, Chile, various countries of East Asia — as well as the scholarships I am planning on applying to, mapped out. Graduate school is for later, a fork in the road that I will postpone for as long as I can. Tonight is for being in the moment, and proud of what I do have. I have written and published poetry that I am proud of; I am back in Boston, finally, and so happy to be here; I am lucky enough to have people happy to see me, after all this time. I even have a ricecooker — and today, when my Fulbright commission looked over my application, they told me that they loved my writing, and that my voice and humor were a refreshing break from the monotony of other applications. 

In short: my life is full of many little and good things, and I am lucky. I must work on the usual things, and I intend to.