Category Archives: College

Five Years?!

July 11, 2011.

I can’t remember what I was doing that day – but according to WordPress, I posted an ‘about me’ on this page. AKA I started “ceaseless serendipity” (first known as ‘Girl Meets World’), five whole years ago!

Wow… what was I doing five years ago? So much has happened. Five years ago, I was in high school. I was having a… rough patch. High school wasn’t easy, and to be honest, I was mostly doing things on my own. I still consider myself to be fairly independent, but now I have the most amazing friends, and I’m graduating from college in a few months. 2016 must have seemed so far away. Who would’ve thought I would be here now, right?

As an education major, I feel like I am obligated to do a then vs. now Venn Diagram. So here it is: What my life was like five years ago (the then) and today (the now).

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#comicsans

Two and a half years ago (a half-way marker), I was enjoying college and life in general: I was just beginning a summer internship at an orphanage in China, enjoying life, and about to begin my sophomore year in college – my personal favorite year, in my opinion. Now, I am thankful to be able to still enjoy the same college with many of the same friends I made freshman year. A lot has changed, but some things remain the same!

In my Venn Diagram, I forgot to include epilepsy (my seizures) – but I’ll leave that for another time. However, I’ll try to get a post in before the end of the month – November is epilepsy awareness month! woot woot! Another honorable mention: I’m teaching, for real! No, I don’t have my own classroom, but I am in schools, teaching kindergarteners. Now THAT is awesome! Also I’m still incredibly awkward.

Not everything that happens in life is awesome and worth having a party or blog post about. I get that – things like that have happened to me. For me, I process things by journaling: seeing them on paper (or a computer screen) makes craziness in life not that crazy, because they’re sitting on paper and not circling in my head. There are many of ways to process things that work much better for others, but that’s what’s good for me. I wonder about the readers of this blog – YOU! I know I don’t have a lot of readers, but I know a lot happens in your life. It’s not just me that is awkward and indecisive …right? In the grand scheme of things, five years isn’t that long. But it’s not all about me here – I’m sure a good amount of things happened in five years for you, too! I would love to hear about them in the comment section 🙂 Anyways: if the going is tough for you right now, know that sometimes you just have to wait it out… for a long time. Like, a REALLY long time – it might be more than five years. Read: good times are a’comin. 🙂

 

Goodbye Ireland!

Originally written on 16 May, 2016, as I was leaving Ireland:

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Just a few of the amazing places I’ve been…

What’s the word for “goodbye”, “I’ll be back”, “I’m already missing here”, “thanks for all the memories”, and “I fell in love with this place”? I’m having trouble finding one!
Ireland has been an amazing place to spend four months, and I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to come, study, and travel from Dublin. The people – even strangers – have been so loving and generous. I’ve made wonderful, amazing friends who I love and will miss terribly. The natural beauty is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Ireland’s history is amazing and I feel so fortunate to have witnessed the 1916 centennial, visited museums, and participated in the census.
At times, time passed very slowly. I didn’t always liked my professors and missed people back home. But looking back, the time has passed so fast. I can’t believe it’s time to go, and wish I could stay longer. There are so many places I would love to see, and things I would love to do still, especially around Ireland.
Getting to Dublin was much more difficult than some other people coming here, or other places abroad. My friend Macy (not her real name) who came with me from Gordon applied with me, and it was a tough process. We had to petition to come to Ireland, since Gordon didn’t already have a programme set up – so we had to make sure credits would transfer, confirm UCD was safe, etc. etc. – all to say that process wasn’t easy. But I don’t regret that process; it was all worth it.
I have so many mixed emotions as I go; I’m not sure exactly what I feel. I’ve felt this way before: leaving China after 6 weeks (I think it was 6!), Gordon, sleep-away camp… but those were usually for shorter periods of time or about the same, and I always knew I would be back. In Ireland, my stay was comparatively much longer, and farther away, and I’m not sure the next time I will be back in this beautiful country.
Despite the uncertainties, I do know for certain: My heart will always have a place here. Thanks for everything.

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The grass is actually greener here.

P.S. If you are ever studying in or travelling to Ireland (especially Dublin) on holiday or travel and need some tips, I would love to be of help! Send me a message or comment below! 🙂

A Vermont ‘Spring’ Break

So, I know I haven’t written in a while. A huge thank-you to goes out to Jack and Andrea! I got your email, and greatly appreciate your loyalty!

I haven’t written about my life since my China trip. To make a long story short, after leaving China, my family went landed into San Francisco, meeting my mom’s brother and his family. We stayed at a nearby motel. Let me tell you, it is warm there! I felt like wearing shorts – a huge change from the cold that I had just escaped from. Time with family was nice, especially on a side that I don’t see very often. I came home, feeling that my Chinese had greatly improved. (It leaves you fast when you’re surrounded by English-only speakers!)

However, the winter I had left was absolutely nothing like the winter I was about to face. The thing about moving from Virginia (a place where the bulk of winter takes place December to January) to Massachusetts (a place where winter is November to February, March even), is that you get disappointed very fast when you hope for spring to come in March.  Well, it is March 13, and there is still snow on the ground. Albeit, this is (almost) a record-breaking winter. So. Many. Storms. Four days off school in three weeks, almost all on Mondays – and last year, there was only one day off the entire year. Let’s just say, for sake of all of our sanity, it was a LOT of snow, and a LOT of days of school to make up for!

The snow outside the library. It got to be taller than a lot of people!

Some snow outside the library. It got to be taller than a lot of people!

Besides that, the new semester has been okay. Not incredibly exciting, but not out-of-this-world challenging. However, I have grown to appreciate my friends and my roommate a lot more this year. This semester has had its’ fair share of challenges, and my friends have really been there for me. For Valentine’s Day, most of these friends are single for something we nickname “Single’s Awareness Day”. But it was okay – the day fell on a Saturday, so we went out to a diner for brunch, and had a secret Valentine exchange (like Secret Santa). It was really fun, and I love how my friends are so fun and there for each other.

Friends

Friends

Now, I’m writing from somewhere I’ve never been: Vermont! My friend, Kirstin, invited me to her house for our week-long spring break. Except it’s not really spring, because there’s still snow everywhere and your average day is somewhere below freezing. Kirstin technically lives on a farm – although she doesn’t consider it to be, it fits all the farm requirements for me! – horses, goats, chickens, a rooster, barn cats…. the works.

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The meadow

Have you ever been to a farm? The closest I’ve ever been to a farm was a petting zoo, but of course that isn’t really a farm. Although I love being at Kirstin’s – her family is great, and we watch great TV (see the new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!). Of course there are boring moments, but it is definitely an experience to be somewhere you’ve never been before!

Sometimes I think about where I am right now, and then I think of the places where it is warm – even hot! Places like Florida, California, New Zealand – I have friends who currently live in or are visiting those places, and I am incredibly jealous. It will be sunny soon enough, and summer will come. It might be a bit of a wait, though.

 

 

I’ll Be ____ for Christmas

Listening to the song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, in a place where it’s natural for so many people to be home for Christmas, makes it a little awkward that I will not be home for Christmas, to say the least. I’ve spent every Christmas I can remember at my house, so this year will definitely be different. I will be with my family, but I will miss seeing friends and having a Christmas tree decorated with the strange ornaments my family has, and doing all the Christmas festivities there. I was fortunate enough to spend the beginning of the ‘official’ Christmas season (that is, the weekend after Thanksgiving) at a friend’s house, where we decorated a tree at her house. It was beautiful (and pictured below!).

The Buckley Christmas tree

The Buckley Christmas tree!

Thinking about it, it’s been six months – yes, six! – since I have last visited home, and it will be seven by the time I get home. Some of my friends have a difficult time even with two. How am I not super homesick? Well, for starters, I’m a fairly independent person. That eliminated the need to cry every night or to call my family constantly during my freshman year of college. Secondly, my school feels so much like home, especially after a year. Whenever I go off-campus, I will say things like “When I get home, I’m going to…” – and we all know that place is in Massachusetts, not Virginia. I refer to my dorm, my school, my campus as home. It’s become natural, almost instinct, to think of this as my home. So when I’m not going home for a break when it seems like everyone else is? It’s not that big of a deal.

On the other hand, as much as I do, in fact, miss seeing a lot of people that I love, my home isn’t any one place – no, I’ve found that home is where your heart is. It’s where you feel like your family is. I’ll be with my family in China for Christmas. That’s kind of hard to explain to most people because home is home – it’s a location you always go to – but if home is where your heart is, I’ll be home for Christmas.

P.S. China for Christmas?? Sounds very exciting, doesn’t it! And yes, for those wondering: I AM going to be at NDFH (albeit a very short time, especially when compared to six weeks), and I WILL be taking a million pictures! I’ll keep you updated 🙂

Believing in the Sun

I’m not going to lie: the last few days were not easy. I’m not writing about those things, though. I was journaling a lot last night and today, and I thought I would share an excerpt from what I’ve written. Journaling helps me to get my cluttered thoughts in down. Somehow my problems are less crazy than I realized, my thoughts more organized after I’ve written them out. So here it goes:

So, moving forward? … It’s putting my hopes, dreams – my literal dreams, too, if I can change that too – into something else. How about the sun? As long as I have been alive, it has come up every morning across the horizon. Now, it has come up at different times, but it’s always come around before 12. So for now, I’m starting from scratch and putting my hopes in things that I can see, like the sun.

This isn’t to say that I don’t believe in God anymore, or that I’ve lost faith in Him too, but that I’m going to be re-discovering, re-needing, and re-loving Him for a while.

I said I believe in the Sun. But today is an overcast, gray-skyed rainy day. I can’t see a single trace of the sun. So does it not exist? Well, it only takes a minute for me to imagine what the sky would look like were the sun not to exist, and then I reconsider that gray sky. I don’t believe in the sun because I see it – I believe in the sun because by it, I see everything else. So even on the cloudiest, grayest, rainiest of days, I can still know its existence by the things around me. Then you can’t blame the sun’s lack of existence on the rain or your bad vision. More than that, your belief of the sun exists more than based sight alone. The warmth of the sun on your face is a wonderful feeling, but it only proves the sun’s existence on a sunny day. To truly know the sun exists is not just to feel the warmth of it on a sunny day, but to acknowledge its presence on rainy days too. Even more than that, it is trusting beyond the evidence of the moment – so that even in the dark, black, cold moments of night, you are certain that the sun will rise again.

P.S. The sun idea wasn’t all me. Credit is due to to the Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun”, which I was listening to at the time of writing.

P.P.S. As it turns out, there is a C.S. Lewis quote that is very similar to what I wrote and sums it up well: “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

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Margaret’s Grand Adventure

“Margaret’s Grand Adventure” – maybe that can be the title of my autobiography, the one that I’m not currently writing! What makes it grand, or an adventure? Well, let me give you some stories from recent memory to showcase it, and then give you some ‘bucket list’ ideas to make this fabulous adventure even more grand.

1. Margaret’s grand academic adventure: I have an exam tomorrow for my philosophy class (it’s a required course, or else I wouldn’t consider it!), which I am quite nervous for, but I’m hoping – and studying – for the best. I also had a writing assignment due and an exam to take for my math class within the last week, and an upcoming midterm exam. So academically speaking, I’m definitely keeping busy. I am also

2. Margaret’s grand baby-holding adventure: Ever since I left ND, I missed babies. Being around babies for several hours ever day was something that I loved, but that had to end. I looked for something that I could do to keep this going, because as an early childhood education major, it’s not impossible! I applied for and was offered a MOPS babysitter job: for several hours on specified Thursdays, you watch young kids (infant to preschool age) for their mothers, who meet for a mothers’ support group. You get paid, too! That’s only a cherry on the top to the fact that I am in the youngest age group, and I get to hold those babies – and they are just precious. I still miss the China ones, but these little guys are definitely worth my time.

3. Margaret’s grand social life adventure: Oh, Margaret. To sum it all up in two words: awkward and complicated. Some things I don’t think I’ll ever understand…

4. Margaret’s grand China adventure: Oh, I already went to China this summer, sure. But… did you know that I’m going back in December? Didn’t think so. December 18, after my last final exam, I’m headed for the motherland. The tickets have been booked! Not for kicks and giggles – not even babies – but for family. My brother is doing his senior year of high school abroad in Beijing, and instead of going home for Thanksgiving, my family and I are all going to China for Christmas. That should be interesting to write about! 🙂 I’ll have to keep you posted. But, on a more recent note, I learned so much in China that I had to continue it here in America. For instance, ASL (American Sign Language). I learned a good deal from Chloe, but I didn’t want to lose what I had learned and I definitely wanted to keep learning. So the natural thing to do would be, of course, to join the ASL club at my school! We get together for dinner on Mondays. It’s fun.

Margaret’s Grand Bucket List

On another note, did I ever mention I had a bucket list of sorts? Well, in China I made a ‘dreams list’, consisting of dreams I have for my future. Here’s a few of them:

  • Get and stay married
  • Go skydiving
  • Travel to England
  • Become a teacher in a US public school within one year of graduation (from university)
  • Run a half-marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Get my drivers’ license
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Keep in touch with Summer Staff after we leave (Summer Staff from this summer)
  • Meet up with at least one China friend outside of China
  • Name an incoming child to NDFH

I suppose one of these dreams have already come true – I have been keeping in pretty good touch with Chloe. In fact, we had a Skype call the other day! I’m also running a 5K race on Sunday. At present, 2.5 miles is still my comfort zone. …baby steps!

To end it on a completely different note, here is a beautiful picture of a tree on the campus of my university – in fact, right outside of my dorm! I love how it has all the colors of fall: brilliant red, orange, a bit of yellow, and still green too! A New England autumn is one of the most beautiful things I know.

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China 3: this is an update

Over the past couple days, I haven’t been able to keep up my blogging very well. Crazy busy! That first full week (that week I could blog a lot), I didn’t work much – I hadn’t been assigned anything. Now that I have an assignment, I have much less free time. As much as I would like to have time to write, I have things to do that are worth writing about. Because this is an update with a whole bunch of random stuff and I finished it pretty late, I don’t have time or energy to come up with a quirky title. So hence the title.

My assignment is twofold: in the mornings, I teach in the ‘backyard school’. ND has a preschool, but for older kids who have graduated in age and ability, the backyard school caters to their needs. So, it’s basically the equivalent of a kindergarten. Except it has three students. For someone who is teaching for the first time (AKA me), this is a great learning opportunity! Then the ‘handing off of the baton’ transition period got expedited as the Chinese teacher who was supposed to be in the classroom the whole time turned out to be on vacation. Well, it is what it is… but I’ve found that I can plan lessons/activities much faster than I thought I could! Still, though… even though I have three kids, they suck out all my energy. I take naps, every day.

The second part of my assignment is something called Little Learners. It’s a community preschool – a lot more kids, all from the community. Some of the kids are the children of ND workers, others are just members of the community. Either way, they are enjoyable to be around and all are very cute.

In both backyard school and Little Learners, we have to use English and Chinese, the goal is getting everyone bilingual – but the good part about Little Learners is that I don’t have to plan anything! I just come in, play, help out with the lessons, break up any fights, and help with the clean-up time. Ha.

In other news, there was a lovely mom and son from New Zealand. The mom, Andrea, is – well, a jack of all trades, really – but mostly a doctor for ND’s purposes. The son, Jack, is 13 – both were really great to be around and the summer staff shared some good times with Andrea and Jack! Sadly they were only able to spend one week at ND, and left today. Naturally, we had to send them off in style! Andrea requested a musicale: Abbie and Chloe sang a duet (Wicked’s ‘For Good’), Sam gave us country on guitar and found his piano talents, Thomas worked up his piano genius (but not without a good deal of prompting), and I played a little of my own as well, to add to the festivities. It was a great night, and I can only look forward to more.

On Sunday I went into Beijing, went to BICF and saw my dad, promoted Gordon College, and had AWESOME Peking duck, among other delicacies. Not only that, I got to see my good friend Maggie, who is an international student from Beijing, who goes to Gordon! It was so great to see her. Speaking of Gordon College, you may have heard about the school in the news. It’s received a lot of media attention – I encourage you to look at the original letters sent to President Obama and what the signers of those letters have to say about it, instead of the editorials and the opinion pages – of which there are many. Although I have to respectfully disagree with what was signed, I believe in the importance of unity – not necessarily in thought of policy or politics, but in the body of Christ. As such, I believe we should represent that body as best we can, and there are times when people do not represent that body well. So today, I fasted and prayed today for my school: for unity, the leadership of the school, the students, and the media.

Well, enough with the serious talk. It’s late… I always try to go to sleep before 10:00 and I always go to sleep after then. This would never be the case during the school year, but I need to get more than eight hours of sleep to feel like I can go on these days!