31 May 2007


And... the last paper of law school is finished, quasi-edited, and sent.


the end of the end

I am so excited to be almost done with my paper (31 pages, just needs some corrections and footnotes), that I cannot actually write it. I think that might be a problem. Fundamental flaw.

I almost crashed the tiny car today, out of sheer stupidity. I tried to throw a popsicle stick out of the passenger window, found myself on the shoulder, overcompensated getting back onto the road, hit the brakes too hard, and skidded around for a while. As I was skidding, I pictured my car tumbling over and over into the ditch and was furiously annoyed with myself for the whole thing. But I managed to think to myself, "Overcorrecting! Overbraking! Stop!" and coast to a stop on the side of the road. Fortunately there were no other cars around for me to hit, or to hit me. Then I was all tense and shaking for a while driving here to finish the paper. And all glad to be alive.

The best thing about this town is a very particular cocoa drink at a local coffee shop. It's a spicy hot chocolate, but it has the following amazing characteristics:
  1. Perfect amount of cayenne pepper.
  2. No cinnamon. (Because in hot chocolate mixing pepper + cinnamon = bad. Although I'm sure this place could do it well. But they don't, which probably means it shouldn't be done.)
  3. Great chocolate as the base.
  4. Homemade whipped cream.
  5. Inexplicable extra goodness.
Okay, that's maybe the best culinary thing about this town, not the best THING. I kind of want another one.

29 May 2007

I really need to censor myself while writing papers

29 May 2007
2327 hrs

Paper summary:

  • Due date (really, actually, finally due): Friday. Plus I’m going to Minnesota then, so it has to has to has to be done. Because I intend to read mush, beach mush, while in Minnesota.
  • Format: a 15 page memo (essentially finished; just needs editing and footnote perfecting) plus 15 pages of description of why the memo says what it says.
  • I thought I had 24 or almost 25 pages, but the margins turned out to be wrong on part of the paper, leaving me with only 23. But now I’ve kicked it back up to 24. It’s slow going.
  • I’m writing merrily away, adding words, but the part that actually has to be there (the description of why I said what I said in the memo) is not really happening. Instead I’m just adding lovely little pieces to elaborate what the memo says. Also fine, I guess, but it leaves huge holes in the rationale. Hopefully that’s the easy part?
  • I really wish I’d actually read my sources. I hear that’s good to do. Instead, I’m mostly just writing my (albeit very important) opinions. The world needs more of my opinions, anyway.
  • There is a spider in my parent’s entryway (the only place we can, erm, get wireless internet, since we don’t, you know, PAY for wireless internet). It might be a VIOLIN SPIDER and bite me and kill me. I tried to kill it first but by the time I had gotten a shoe it had disappeared. It is lurking, I’m sure. My whole body is tingling, thinking it might be crawling up my leg right now. Or right now.
  • I have now wasted 13 minutes on the paper summary rather than writing the paper. Also on making a list of the million things I have to do. Including calling my Aunt Lisa (Hi, Aunt Lisa! I’m going to call you soon, I promise!). I. HATE. THIS. PAPER. Although it might turn out okay in the end, when it’s done and turned in.

2349 hrs – VICTORY OVER THE SPIDER! (Or its identical twin. Hopefully the original, otherwise one is still running around in here.) Still no functional internet. Why will the internet not cooperate in my procrastination? Why, oh why?

30 May 2007
0015 hrs – One more page completed. Every once in a while, I say something in a paper that I think is simply brilliant. I mean, I just took four important works and drew a conclusion about them – that they are all trying to talk about political and social voice and power, that this is what they mean when they talk about justice and agency and the various other things they call it. I feel mad smart. Of course, I might just be totally off base. That would suck.

0021 hrs – Ergh. Ran out of elaboration. Now I have to actually get to talking about why I said what I said in the memo. Which mostly I said just because I thought it would be nice if it happened, not because I read it anywhere. I could work on finding it somewhere or explaining why I said it. Or I could write a conclusion. Now, which would be CLEARLY more fun? (Don’t answer that. There is no fun. There is no fun to be had.) Or! I could add more headings, the headings for the suggestions that I still have to explain. Much better. They take much more space.

0041 hrs – Things are bad indeed when doing sit-ups becomes a method of taking a break. And the internet hates me. It was ON when I came back from sit-ups. Then it disappeared as soon as I sat down.

0105 hrs – Why does no one put me out of my misery? I now have 27 pages. I need 30. Well, 30 without footnotes. It will be more, though. I’ve barely finished one little subsection of why I recommended what I did. And you have to figure at least a page for a conclusion. Argh. Soldiering on. Maybe I can get to 30 tonight. Or not. But look at how fast I write without internet. I wrote two pages in an hour. Normally three pages takes me an entire night, something like two hours per page. I blame the internet, completely. I hate it for disappearing, but it might be the only reason I complete this paper.

0149 hrs – Just to say: That previous spider was an identical twin. Or maybe one of many. I just had to kill another one, which appeared from UNDER THE DESK. THEY ARE OUT TO GET ME.

0200 hrs – I just read something on the (randomly functional) internet, which inspired me to say the following: Let no one fool you about law school. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Yes, the professors call on you at random and ask questions to which no one knows the answers except the people who printed out someone’s word-for-word notes from last year. Yes, you will stay up late agonizing over papers and the final exam on which your entire grade rests. Yes, you will be so tired at the end that you want to sleep for a year and a half. But, people. Let’s not exaggerate. It’s not THAT bad. It’s not worth all the parodying that gets done of it. You can come from a quiet Midwestern school and drop into a ridiculously high-ranked law school in New York and have no idea what you are getting into and you will be fine. FINE.

There’s this thing about lawyers. They want everyone to think they had to suffer to get where they are – that law school was like some horrible hazing exercise that they barely survived. How else would the profession be kept all elitist? How else would they keep out the riff-raff and {gasp} POOR PEOPLE? Really? It’s like a lot of school. It’s a step up from college, for sure. But clearly you want a step up, or you wouldn’t be there. So stop acting like you survived something no one else could. I think everyone should go to law school, or at least a year of it. You learn so much about how things work.

I’m still going to read the book, of course. And if I’d thought of it, I would totally have written it myself. Only differently.

0221 hrs – This procrastination blogging is now so long that I should break it into sections for readability. Or just go to bed. I vote for number 2. G’night.

28 May 2007


Word I never thought I'd use in a paper: bolstered. But yes, I just used it. As you can see, I have gotten over the "I just CAN'T write this paper" stage and started putting words down. I don't know if they make sense - I did just use the word bolstered - but words are appearing there.


I am not a water drinker. I don't carry a bottle around. I don't drink during the day and then, conveniently, I don't have to head to the bathroom. It's better for everyone.

However. (In college, when I was writing my big paper for my capstone course, my professor told me that however should only be used in the middle of a sentence, not at the beginning. I have abided by this rule ever since, largely because it does actually sound better when you read the sentence out loud in your head. However, this is a blog and I will do what I please, ignoring all grammatical rules. If you don't like it... well, I have no threat to give.)

Sometimes, though, I get thirsty in the evenings, for cold water with lots of ice. And lately I've been going jogging in the evenings. (I jog! I'm a jogger!) This makes me super extra thirsty. So I sit at this computer "writing my paper" and/or refreshing bloglines incessantly hoping that someone, anyone, even ME, has updated their blog, and I drink glass after glass of ice water.

Let's just say I'm not sleeping through the night anymore.

27 May 2007

holding... holding...

Well, still no paper. Still no job. Still in Michigan. Nothing seems to change. But it will soon. If I don't get a job by the end of the month, I'm pawning everything I own to go back to Liberia, where I will work at the same place I worked last year for a few months. And then start the job search all over again. Or find money to stay.

Yesterday my mom and I went for a bike ride and happened upon FREE WINDOWS on the side of the road. We came home and called my brother, who does things like buy and refurbish houses, and said, "We found windows! Do you want them!" He was slightly less enthusiastic than we were, but he finally agreed to look at them. My dad had taken the van to work, so my mom and I drove over to the FREE WINDOWS and stuffed three of them in the small car - one and only one in the trunk, two in the back seat. We put them in the garage.

Then we went to the mall to buy my mom some new shoes, but the mall was closed early for Memorial Day, except that it was Saturday (?). We were worried that our windows might be gone when we got back, but we got lucky and stuffed two more into the car. We also took the FREE WINDOWS sign, just in case our efforts were rejected by my brother, so we could put them out in front of our house.

All last night and today, my mom and I, who have an eerily similar sense of humor, have been amusing ourselves by saying things like, "Look! We have windows! Just in case. Everyone should have windows in their garage. What if they need them?" Somehow this is funny.

25 May 2007

racecar driver

I'm actually enjoying this Michigan thing, contrary to all expectations. I have a car, the very same car I had six years ago when I graduated from college and, erm, moved home with my parents (this is sounding oddly familiar...). In the time since, it has belonged to my dad and my brother and is now being passed on to my sister, who is in a national park in ColoRADO this summer, having abandoned me, and so doesn't need it. So I'm using it again. It is approximately the size of a Mini, but it works. It gets me places. And it's a manual transmission, which I love love love. I think it's hardly worth driving a car that has an automatic transmission. Where is the fun in that? Shifting is the best part of driving.

I can go places, like a bookstore or a coffee shop, to "work on my paper." I know, you thought that was over. After all, I'm two weeks out from being "done" with law school. So how am I still working on this paper? Well, very simple. Every day I get it out and look at it, and then I do nothing. I read books. I read blogs. I read magazines. But I have a car! And it gets me to places where I COULD work on the paper, should I have a brain left with which to work.


I actually love driving, other than my fear of the other cars on the road (I saw too many horrific, bodies-scattered-on-the-road accidents in Rwanda). But I love driving a manual transmission, music up, arm out the window. I've missed that, these years in New York. I know that I should be all conservation-esque and not want to drive around, but the truth is that I love it. I will minimize it, I will carpool, but sometimes, I just want to drive. I miss my Prado from Rwanda. I loved that truck.

In other news, I still have no job. I'm okay with this, mostly. I'm not in a crisis of self-worth over not yet having a job. It'll come. But I did apply for a job earlier this week that is a DREAM JOB. I can't tell you about it, because I'm unlikely to get it. Well, maybe I'll get it. The situation is this: I have pretty kick-a55 qualifications (heh, just realized this is a family blog and amended accordingly, but you know what I mean despite the sneaky 5's), but there are often people with even more perfect qualifications than I have. I know, it's sort of unbelievable. But say that I apply for a job in the DRCongo. I've lived in Rwanda and spent some time in Tanzania and I speak some Swahili and some Kinyarwanda and more French. But what if someone else has lived in Congo and is fluent in Swahili and/or French? I still think I'm a better candidate, but on paper I don't necessarily look so. It's very annoying to know that I can do a job and do it well, but I may not be able to get that job.

But I still have hope. If all else fails, I'll do an internship-type thing for a few months. For now, I'm enjoying this break.

22 May 2007

in which i run

I do this every year. Every year at this time. I don't know what it is. It can't just be the weather because I did it in Rwanda, too, where May had no meaning but just that: May.

Every May, I decide that I should be one of those people who runs. You know, a runner. I should be a runner, and I will start today, and then I will run every day and when people ask what I do for fun, I will say, "Oh, stuff. And I run." This seems like a good idea, every May.

I put on running clothes. I sat around for a while. Then I started running. Running is a relative term. I started progressing very slowly down the road with my legs moving in a running motion. I planned to run for twelve minutes, because a friend of mine in Rwanda said that her brother, who is, I don't know, a coach or a personal trainer or something, designed a running program in which a person runs twelve minutes a day for a week and then adds three minutes a day for a while and then... I forget. Regardless, I'm pretty sure it started with twelve minutes of running a day. Fairly sure.

After seven minutes, I met my cousins on their bikes. They live a couple of miles away but were out enjoying the evening. We talked for eight minutes. I started my slow motion running again and ran for 5 minutes, and then felt good, so I kept going until it had been 13 minutes. (In case you are counting, that's 20 minutes in all.)

I felt good. I felt strong. I am a runner.

I was hot and sweaty, so I rode it off on my bike for ten minutes. All of that together constitutes actual exercise. I am not just a runner, I am a triathlete! I run and I bike and I... whatever that other thing is. Swim? Well, I didn't do that part, but I did the other two.

I came back to the house and drank three glasses of milk and a glass of orange juice and ate two popsicles. I'm still thirsty, but I can't actually get out of this chair. Ow.

21 May 2007

jobless J.D.

Last week the big excitement was the having of the J.D. This week, it's all about the need to have a job in which to use the J.D. I just moved back into my parents' basement, which is not an exciting concept at the age of 27. Hopefully it won't be for long, because I can already feel it sucking my will to live. This basement is deadly.

Anyway, my sister and her friend came to New York to pick me up. They came in my parents' minivan, circa 1995, and we loaded it down in my little alleyway until it was four inches off the ground in the back, with various things strapped on top, and chugged our way through the Holland Tunnel, across New Jersey and part of Pennsylvania. We slept in an Econolodge in Drums, PA. My sister and her friend looked around and asked, "Are we really staying HERE?" but I didn't answer because I was already falling asleep. (What do they expect, a luxury hotel? I am a jobless J.D. in over $100,000 of debt. Take what you can get. They are lucky I didn't make them drive through the night again, like they did on the way there.)

A and J just finished their freshman year of college at the very same place I went. While we drove, they read a pre-teen book that they both loved eight years ago out loud to each other in funny voices, with -izzle on every word, and in the breathy tones of an explicit novel. In gas stations, they were doubled over laughing in front of the drink case. And things were funny. I laughed until my stomach hurt. I used to laugh that way a lot, back in high school and college. I wonder where it went? When did the world get so serious? I was hoping never to really be an adult, but I seem to have turned into one by accident. In March, when T and I drove from Chicago to Detroit, we stopped at the same sort of gas stations and truck stops, but we didn't laugh uncontrollably like we would have in college. I kind of miss that.

So I'm home, in the grand state of Michigan. There are compensations. Last night my sister invited me to breakfast in our very own kitchen for 10:30 this morning. At 10:30 this morning, she came into my room and said, "Let's do this later, whenever you wake up. Come wake me up when you want to eat." Having worked on a job application until all hours of the night, I was happy to keep sleeping until 11:30, when I crawled into her bed and started whining about being hungry. She had gotten cinnamon rolls as big as my head from the cafe down the road, and we warmed them and made coffee (her) and tea (me) and sat at the island in the kitchen eating them far too quickly. By the last few bites, we looked at each other and said, "I think I might throw up. I might have to wait to eat the rest." But two minutes later, we were both finishing them. Then she lay down on the floor in the dining room and said, "I have to spread myself out so this cinnamon roll will fit."

Unfortunately, she's leaving me tomorrow for ColoRADO. Who does that? Then I'm just the jobless J.D. in my parents' basement without even the distraction of my sometimes-annoying yet always-amazing sister.

I have a list of things to do as big as my arm, but I find it incredibly hard to get things done while living at my parents. I mean, when I lived here there was hardly email. I forget that the world keeps going while I'm in this little corner of it.

16 May 2007

your house down

I went for a lovely walk in Prospect Park today with a friend who worked in Kenya for the organization that I worked for in Rwanda. She worked for them much longer than I did, but we overlapped for about a year and a half, so we attended some lovely team meetings and retreats together. And today we wandered through the park with her daughter in a stroller and baby T in a snuggly. Both of the kids fell asleep, T with his little mouth open and drooling onto the front of my t-shirt. We walked though woods and open fields, talking about Dutchness and politics and charity. We got lost and met another lost man and all three (five) of us wandered back along the paths we had just seen until we found a red sign directing us. As we followed red sign to red sign, hoping for our side of the park, the sky turned dark and the wind kicked up blossoms and leaves and dust until I had to squint through the yellow air. “It looks like tornado weather!” we yelled at one another over the wind. “Do they have tornados in New York?” (Apparently yes, according to the news tonight.) Swirls of sand rose from the baseball diamonds. The kids woke up and were miserable in the gusts. We were almost to the edge of the park, although not where we needed to be, when the rain came. My friend gave me the plastic cover from the stroller and gave her daughter E a blanket to use as shelter instead of the plastic cover and we all ran for a restaurant. I held the plastic cover over T’s head as I ran, trying not to suffocate him, while he calmly tried to eat it from the inside.

We waited out the rain in a restaurant, T mauling bits of pasta and then dropping them on the floor so the area under our table looked like it had been through a food fight, E drawing on a placemat, until it became clear that the rain wasn’t going to be out-waited. I descended into a subway station with T and the soaked hoards while the other two walked home. When I got home, I looked in the mirror to see tiny flecks of dust all over my face. And my scalp feels like I spent a day dumping sand on it at the beach. I am all-over grimy.

Life is so great when it's not boring.

15 May 2007


I'm at this coffee shop in which the counter guy sort of sneered when I asked if they had flavored syrups. "No," he said, "we like to keep the flavor true." But it wasn't that he's a jerk. I smiled and said, "Well, that's noble." and we proceeded. I said, "But I was sort of hoping for some mint." and he said, "We have fresh mint. I've been putting that in my cappuccino." So I got that. It's quite good, actually, and I'm happy to know that rather than purchase all sorts of syrup to take with me next time I live in Nowhere-ville, Country-No-One-Has-Ever-Heard-Of, this knowledge will come in handy, along with my talent at making the world's best sour cream coffee cake in a huge saucepan on a hotplate. Don't say I have nothing to offer. I am a catch, I tell you. I can make coffee cake and any drink involving mint. (Mojitos are a specialty. And various types of tea.)

This morning I was walking somewhere along 33rd Street after a lovely visit with my hand surgeon, who informed me that the clicking noise in my wrist is scar tissue popping past the tendon (fun! Just what I wanted for graduation!). Also that I might need surgery on my elbow some day if I don't rest, rest, rest and ice, ice, ice this silly arm. But it was sunny and beautiful and I suddenly thought, "Oh, crap. I have a law degree." The problem with a law degree is that it prices me out of the market for all the fallback jobs. I mean, if I end up jobless, what am I going to do? Fill out an application to be a coffee shop counter person (this place is hiring) and in education write, "J.D., Prestigious School."? And no, I don't know how to make espresso drinks. I could be passed over for a coffee shop job. While simultaneously possessing a law degree. I have no practical skills. What have I done? (And yet, how amazing is it? I have a LAW DEGREE!)

14 May 2007

Can't get anything done. Not this paper. Nothing. I can't work without a deadline. My right arm hurts from typing yesterday and babysitting today. There is no comfortable position; I have to get home and put it into a nice brace. I'm taking the day off babysitting tomorrow to get done all that must get done. Mexican food for dinner all spicy goodness is now heartburn. (how old AM I? Aging by the day.)

Going home to emptiness of flatmate having left, taking cat and husband. Ibuprofen and sleep. Off to the hand doctor at 9 a.m.


13 May 2007

me, J.D.

That is, when I finish this paper. This one paper is all that is standing between me and the official packing in of the law school. The same paper as last week, you will note. It refuses to die. My best plan was to take a nap and hope that while I slept the words would appear. Except that I took a break from last Tuesday until today and no words appeared. Quite annoying, really.

I'm drinking a consolation prize bubble tea. I wanted a Cafe Aloha but the cafe was out of coconut milk. Then I ordered a mint mocha as a consolation prize, but it tasted like over-roasted coffee bean chalk and by the time i realized that I was too far from the cafe to return it, so I got a bubble tea as consolation prize no. 2, the bubbles of which are making me feel the tiniest bit ill.

08 May 2007

see, I'm not the only one

This is a quote from an article by a Liberian living in the US who wants to go back. He's talking about explaining life here in the US to his brothers and sisters who want to come:

"It is a dull life, I try to tell them. You do the same thing over and over and again, and even if you are tired of it, you have to do it repeatedly because your survival hinges upon it." (article here)

I know that feeling, these last three years. This is one reason I love living around the world. Things are different every day. I know that is an extremely privileged perspective. After a conversation with two friends about racial classifications on the US Census today, I am feeling acutely aware of the privilege of my skin color and birthplace. I realized that I don't know what it is like even to walk through the halls of this law school with any skin color, any accent but my own.

I had this conversation with two friends about racial privilege and then another friend (white) and I started talking about how we have the old version of the US passport, which contains an actual picture stuck under the lamination instead of the new computerized image. My lamination has been coming apart since I got it, so it looks like my picture could have been replaced with a new one. I often get asked about it at immigration coming into the US, the cowboy immigration officers saying, "What happened here?". I told her that, when I get the questions, I have to consciously put on Middle America and say in my most Midwestern of accents, "Yeah, it's been doing that since I got it." But the truth is that I can get away with having a disintegrating passport. I look the part. I sound the part. No one questions my nationality, not even the immigration guys at Kennedy airport when I hand them a passport whose photo is on the verge of falling out. No one questions my right to be here. And that is a huge privilege. There are a lot of people in this world who are denied a nationality or the right to return to their own country. Others can't go back even if they would be allowed to cross the border.

I know that I have this privilege, even as regards traveling. I can go to so many places. I have that freedom. I know that if I had to get up and haul water and pound cassava and wash clothes and dig in the field and make dinner and then go to sleep and get up only to do it all over again, I would be just as bored in Liberia as I am getting up and going to class and coming home and cooking and studying and going to sleep and getting up only to do it all over again. All I can say is that in Africa, at least, I see the sun rise sometimes, instead of hiding it behind the tall buildings.

I am now only (sigh) eighteen paper pages from the end of this one boredom, at least.

07 May 2007

i have a point or two to make

  • There are not enough blogs in the world for the procrastination I want to do.
  • I'm really sad about the Kenya Airways crash in Cameroon.
  • I now feel productive after writing only two pages in an entire day. Steep decline in normal productivity.
  • Babysitting is much more interesting than school. I pretty much could make faces and noises at baby T for hours without boredom.
  • I'm surviving on grilled cheese, spinach salad, tea, and dark chocolate. Best combination ever.
  • I just want to go back to Liberia, people. Is that so bad? Can I just take the money and run, back to Liberia? Forget having a job that looks good on a resume.
  • Meanwhile, I also want to go everywhere else in the world.
  • I will be really unhappy if I'm still writing this paper after graduation. I may pull an all-nighter the night before my graduation from law school. Which would make it a lot like my graduation from undergrad, when I spent the night and day after graduation frantically finishing a paper during which my computer overheated and died. Let's not do that again.
  • SlEEEEEeeeeeePPP!
  • JOB! JOB!

06 May 2007


I don't have the first clue, I realize. I think I'm tough and I can go anywhere. I lived in Rwanda. I lived in Liberia. But I know nothing.

I was in college when I first read The Liberian Civil War and The Mask of Anarchy. I was devastated to read about this country I had grown up in, this place where I played house under the swingset with real fires and real rice cooking in tin cans that my Liberian friends could pick up off the fire in their hands but I couldn't because my hands were too soft and unused to the heat. I read these books and I didn't cry, because I didn't cry then, back before the hormonal changes of the mid-twenties (it's not puberty that makes you a weeping mess, it's the mid-twenties. trust me.). I wanted to know everything I could about Liberia. Every detail. I neglected my classes to read these books.

Then I went to Rwanda. I read Rwanda books, after a while. I read all day one day about the genocide, waiting for my truck to be fixed, and then I took a walk in the light of the setting sun and watched the smoke of cooking fires rising above Kigali's hills, above the streets I had just read about. The air and the reality revived me. It was ten years later, not 1994.

Today I'm writing about Liberia for a paper. I'm re-reading those college books. But I was just in Liberia a few months ago. In Monrovia, where I was so rarely as a child. I used to be able to read about a massacre in St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Sinkor and it was just a story. A story about Liberia, yes. But a story.

But now I know these places. I was in that church compound this summer. I know people who attend there.

Spriggs-Payne Airport. When I was little, we took off from there to go up to Lofa County. This summer, I drove friends home down the roads behind that airport. I sat in a car there with my friend's son, waiting. The little guy and I bought ice cream from a push-cart. Perhaps the same ice cream that made me violently ill that night.

This paper is getting hard to write.

escape routes

Well, I've run out of blogs to read in desperate procrastination. I shall have to write my own post so that in half an hour it will appear on my feedburner and I'll have something to read.

May is giving us a string of lovely clear days that I only see through windows because of the last law school paper that I can't seem to write. Right now I can see the lovely sun on the green roof of the building across from the office I'm working in, but I can't go out into it. Not while I have only two of 30 pages written, oh no.

So instead I'm reading about digital cameras. Productivity reigns.

The problem is no pressure. No pressure. The professor says we can turn in this paper until June 1. Do I want to be writing this paper on May 31? No, I do not. But I'm tired of law school and that beautiful (albeit cool, the wind is pretty strong) sunshine looks ever so appealing. The trees are losing their pink and white flowers in favor of tiny yellow-green leaves. I love those little leaves. I didn't think I missed seasons during the two years in Rwanda, but in the last week I remembered that in 2003, at the end of March, I was visiting my great uncle and aunt in the Netherlands and we went for a bike ride canal-side and I kept thinking, wherever I live in the world, I should come to the Netherlands in the spring for the brand new leaves and greening grass. When I walk with the babysitting baby through Brooklyn's tree-shaded streets, I start to think maybe I could live in New York. I have to remind myself that there are beautiful spring trees in other places that do not come with the rest of the baggage of New York.

So anyway, I'm "writing" a paper. And applying for more job-like things. And reading the blogs of those people lucky enough to be out in the world instead of stuck in a building trying not to write a paper. GET ME OUT OF HERE!

04 May 2007


Okay, I have to say, here at nearly the end of three years of law school, that I'm still not sure how I got here. I mean, I remember applying to law school, but why? I knew nothing about it. I didn't know what it involved. I didn't know the rankings. I think I was the least prepared law student ever. I applied on a whim just under the deadline. It seemed like something to do. I never actually got the acceptance letter, because I was in Rwanda and something happened to it. I just began to assume I'd gotten in from the emails I started getting. When I got here, everyone seemed to know what to expect from classes. I, on the other hand, didn't know what a tort was. I never read a "how to succeed in law school" book. I had a vague idea that professors ask you questions, whether or not you raise your hand.

But I came, and I started going to class. And I liked it, that first year. I went to a lot of speeches about justice and Africa and humanitarian intervention. I took a lot of two hour walks. And then... I'm not quite sure what happened. Life got busy. I didn't have time for the speeches. I didn't have time for walks. My hands started to hurt. I realized how academic and self-absorbed even the human rights legal world is. But I was stuck. I had invested too much to change to something else. And anyway, I do like the topics. I've taken some of the most interesting classes I can imagine and talked to some of the most interesting people.

I'm still not sure how I got here. I vaguely recall some classes and some papers, but that's about it. Now I'm about to graduate and I have to find a job and work. And don't misunderstand me - law turns out to be a fairly good fit for me. I'm just not sure how it happened.

I just realized that I put myself over $100,000 in debt for a degree that "seemed like something to do."

02 May 2007

testing testing (1,2,3)

It's really too bad to be done with exams. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm glad. But I just got good at it! I just got to the point where I could very calmly say, "I have four days to study for this exam." And every day I could get up, and study, and go to bed, and get up, and study again. At the end of the allotted time, I could very calmly go to the exam and take it, knowing that it would be fine, and walk out and be over it. Next thing.

I had just reached that point of being able to be so very calm about exams.

And they are over.

But! 30 page paper awaits. We'll see if I can maintain the calm through that one.

01 May 2007

well, that's done

I'm not done with law school (that pesky 35 page paper still remains, along with some random little tasks), but I took my last exam yesterday. Maybe my last exam ever.
Oh, who am I kidding? In a few years, school will once again start to look like a good idea. I'll forget how I couldn't sleep for the chronic stress, and I'll end up back in school for a year or two. I'll think I want to learn things again.
Right now I've had it with learning. I want to sleep, preferably on a beach. Everyone I see says, "You look so tired!" I can hardly tell them that I'm sleeping nine hours a night and I'm STILL this tired, can I?
Two years of vacation-less work in Rwanda and three years of law school makes five years since I had even a weekend in which there was really nothing I should have been doing. There has always been something buzzing around at the back of my mind that I should be doing.
Does that ever stop?