History, New Orleans, and World War II

The semester is almost done!  I couldn’t be happier.  Tomorrow I’m turning in my final paper for my World History Research Seminar, and after that I have two final papers and that’s it (also two ten-minute and fifteen-minute presentations on them).

This evening was the last meeting of the semester for our PAT chapter.  At the closing of the meeting we discussed the 2018 Biennial which will be hosted in New Orleans.  The 2016 Biennial was at Disneyland but it came at the beginning of my graduating semester, so months before my senior thesis would be completed.  I’m in better shape now to speak at a conference, and the pres said that they may be working on a World War II panel at the Biennial and my heart leaped when he said that.  They especially want Asia/Pacific content, which is what my recent research has been on.  I haven’t presented at any conferences yet so I know that’s something I need to start doing.  I’m hoping I don’t lose the courage to apply when the application deadline actually rolls around (October).

I’ve also started interning at a historic site near my neighborhood.  I’m part of the education team and I just do research for program content and will be given to choice to work with school groups that come to the park or to go to school visits (I’m going on one next Thursday to a private school near my university).  Right now my current homework is to do primary source research, looking at the Japanese perspective on Pearl Harbor and plantation immigration.  Things are going great. 🙂

29 Days

I leave for India in twenty-nine days.  Less than that, actually.  I’m finalizing my Visa paperwork and I got most of my vaccinations today.  I just have to pack and make the twenty-hour trek there.

I think this is coming at a good time in my life.  I think a five-month breather from my life as it is will be really, really good for me.  As heartbreaking as it is, I think I’m outgrowing my nearly five-year relationship in the same way I regretfully outgrew most of my friendships.  While my friends from high school wanted to drink, go to parties, and have bon fires on the North Shore on Wednesday nights (I always have to be up by 5:30am Monday – Friday either for work or school), I wanted to stay in and study or do something else that was usually school-related.  But now I’m the only one of them to have earned a college degree, and continuing on to an advanced degree.  Do I think I’m better than them?  Never — they’re much nicer people and have bigger and more genuine hearts.  I just prioritized other things over what they wanted to do here and there.  They’re genuinely nicer people.  I’m tempermental and obsessed with school.  My significant has a rather cookie-cutter idea of our future.  He wants kids and has expressed this since we began dating.  He is eleven years my senior — there was a time I said we should have stopped seeing each other because I wouldn’t want to start a family until I was at least 30.  He said repeatedly that he would wait because I was worth putting off a few years of his life.  30 is only seven and half years away for me, and I don’t see myself tying myself down with children at 30.  At 30 I want to have or be working on a PhD and travel for research.  I want to stay in my office until 8:00pm because I don’t have other obligations outside of my academic work.  I see what my single professors have and I want it.  I don’t want to have to bring my children to class some days when the sitter or preschool fall through and have to both lecture and open snacks for my child.  I want to write and read undisturbed.

But I’ve fallen deeply in love with school and I can’t wait for the next semester to start.  I’ll be taking three graduate courses and one undergraduate, two of which will be with my Study Abroad Program’s Resident Director, who is also my graduate advisor.  We have a really good rapport; I took a class with him a few semesters ago and we’ve gone out to dinner a couple times.  He teaches me useful Hindi phrases I didn’t happen to pick up in the classroom and he gave me three really useful textbooks that I read in addition to my assigned readings last semester since I couldn’t take his class as it clashed with my work schedule.  The question I get the most about him is if he is Indian.  He totally is not, and he is 6’2″ with dirty blonde hair, blue eyes, and hails from the Windy City.  But he’s frequented West India and East Africa for the last twenty years for research.

I’m really excited.  I need this change.

Bharat Yatra

I often forget that I have this Word Press.  I believe I made it as another outlet for myself to express myself where no one I personally knew could really find me.  I believe that was about two years ago or so.

I don’t even remember when my last post was, but I’m sure a lot of things have changed!  I graduate in about three weeks, and I’ll be getting my BAs in Religion and East Asian History.  Tonight I’ve completed about half of my senior thesis (my last real obstacle this semester, required to obtain my History degree).  Today I also booked my flight to India.  Next semester will be my first semester of grad school (at my same university) and I’ll be spending it abroad at a partner university in Delhi!  I’m very excited.  While my UG History degree was in East Asian history, my MA program will be on Indian history.  As of right now, I’m playing with the idea of mid-19th century to mid-20th century India, so namely from the time of the Uprising to Partition.  My UG advisor (whose speciality is WWII Japanese war crimes and the Tokyo Trial) advised me that an MA in Japanese History (which I initially planned to apply for) would be difficult for me since I don’t know Japanese.  As a result, I’ve decided to jump into Indian History.  I’ve studied Hindi for two years; I started studying Hindi in preparation for my Religion degree.  I thought I would pursue an MA in Indian Religion, but my GPA was a lot stronger in history so I didn’t even think I’d get into the Religion MA program (I got into both, and went with History).

I’ve been wanting to apply for the Delhi study abroad program since Spring 2014 but I never committed to actually turning in the materials.  Not to mention, two years ago, I was in a much worse place mentally and emotionally.  I’m a lot better now, and I have absolutely no reservations about going.  I’m so excited.  I’ll be living with a host family for the duration of my scheduled program (July 29th – December 3rd).  My return flight is the evening of December 17th, so I left two weeks at the end of my trip to venture on my own.  I hope to make it to Uttarakhand and Jaipur, and maybe Gujarat if I have enough time, during school breaks, and I’m saving Kerala (and maybe neighboring states?) for the last two weeks of my time there.  Another girl is going as well and we’ll most likely be sharing a room in our host home, and my professor is also serving as the Resident Director at the university there.  He’s probably the biggest source of encouragement I had throughout this entire process.  From last semester, once he learned that I knew Hindi (and after my Hindi professor told him I speak it well) he asked me a couple times about going, and eventually I agreed earlier this semester.  Since then he’s spent a lot of time talking to me about things I can do around Delhi, things I’ll need, etc.  He also helped my revise a bunch of statements for my MA programs, the study abroad program, and an attractive $5,000 scholarship I applied for specifically for the study of India.  Fingers crossed — the scholarship announcement will be made on Monday.  If I get it, I’m going to India for five months only for the cost of my plane ticket and spending money.

I’ve always been so timid and soft-spoken.  I never do things on my own.  I always try to get the approval from people and whenever possible, I always try to get people to do things with me so I’m not alone.  I’m going to India for almost five months;  I’ve never spent more than two weeks away from my mom and brother; I’ve never gone abroad in such a small group.  Most importantly, I’ve never really traveled alone — I’ve taken flights on my own (I love flying on my own, actually) but I’ve never taken a trip on my own.  And here I am, at 22 (will turn 23 in India), and I’m finally doing something on my own…which may include trekking across such a large country on my own.  Two years ago, badly affected by anxiety and depression, I never thought I’d make it to India, and now I leave in about three months.  And I’ve never been more excited.

Ephemeral

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here!  Admittedly, I often forget I have this account.

In the last year — judging from that photo I posted of Logan — a lot has changed!  I’ve gotten a better grip on my anxiety and depression.  We adopted another dog named Myron.  He’s a pitbull mix (possibly with shar pei).  He’s had a tough life: he’s about five or six and was a stray.  He was put into a negligent foster home where he became infested with ticks and fleas.  He was extremely timid when we brought him home; he warmed up in about two weeks.  A week and a half ago my boyfriend’s best friend brought over Marco, the newest addition to our menagerie: an orange tabby domestic shorthair kitten.  He’s about six weeks old.  Our other friend took one of the other girls and he’s keeping the other two, whom he has named Gribbles (he loses hit footing a lot) and Boots (she’s black with white paws).  We’re training for the 2015 Honolulu Marathon which is barely a month away.

Most importantly, my time as an undergraduate is just about at its end.  I graduate in the Spring and I’ve already prepared my schedule for next semester:

History 496E – Senior Tutorial, World/Comparative

History 445 – Revolution and Napoleon

History 421 – China in World History

Religion 352 – Sufism

Hindi 202 – Intermediate Hindi

Japanese 101 – Elementary Japanese

This semester is already difficult and I’m sure next semester will be worse, considering that I’ll be learning two languages (Japanese scares me even though I’m Japanese) and writing my senior thesis on Japanese foreign diplomacy during the twentieth century.  My GPA in history grew a lot stronger than my GPA in religion so I’ve decided to pursue history.  Earlier in the semester I was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society.  Our chapter is Alpha Beta Epsilon.  This weekend is my GRE and I’ve been hectically trying to prepare for it; I lost track of time trying to study for my other classes, do well on exams and midterms, write decent papers, etc. and before I knew it, my three months of studying for the GRE reduced to one week.  ONE WEEK!  I’m not so worried about the reading and writing portions; rather, I’m terrified of the mathematics portion considering that I haven’t taken a math course since my Algebra II class in the twelfth grade.

With my coming graduation in less than six months, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do.  I know I have security at my current employer but I don’t want to stay if I’m not guaranteed the opportunity to advance.  But even then, I’m not sure I’d be happy working there for my entire life.  If I am admitted to and complete the World History program, I would either like to try my hand at teaching or working in a museum, though the museum jobs in Hawaii are painfully scarce.  At the same time, I want to take off.  I’ve studied Indian religions and I love Indian food and Indian culture, so I’d love to spend some time in Mumbai or Kerala (completely different places, I know).  My professor does a lot of work in Delhi so I’m considering asking him for some life coaching.  My other professor has been urging me to apply for JET (a program to teach English in Japan for a year) for four semesters and I’ve been considering that as well.  Doing that would give me some teaching experience while also getting paid; it also gives me the opportunity to spend a year in the country I want to study and observe their current political behavior to see how the current state links to the previous century.  There are so many things I want to do, but none exactly wholeheartedly.  Is this what your twenties is?  Being unsure, adventurous yet scared, complacent yet trapped?

Spring Semester 2014

I got through my first week at — finally — a university.  I was at the community college down the road for five LONG semesters because I only took up the minimum 12 credits to maintain my full-time status.  My coworker always reprimanded me for doing so and said I’d now take a bit longer to finish school.  True, but my study habits were awful and I think I’ve honed them in those five semesters.

I can’t read maps.  I’ll tell you, I can barley navigate a mall directory.  When my boyfriend asks me to read directions off the navigator on his phone, I can hear the annoyance in his voice when I repeat “…uuuummmmmm we’re……..getting close?  Turn down the next…street…?  I don’t know, don’t ask me to do this!!!”  Needless to say, I got lost.  I wasn’t horribly, hopelessly lost, but I ended up walking in a large circle a few times on Tuesday.  Thursday was better.

As I’ve stated before, I’m a Religion major studying Indian Religions.  This semester, I’m only enrolled in one Religion course — Religion 348 – Religion, Politics, and Society.  It’s a seminar course and 40% of my grade comes from my in-class participation.  I can give speeches and presentations perfectly fine, but put me on the spot and demand my opinion or evaluation, and I flounder.  My professor shut me (and every other person) down on Tuesday but it was fine.  His personality is wonderful and his sarcasm makes me feel more comfortable in his class.  I’m also enrolled in the following:

7:30 – 8:45: History 310 – East Asian Civilizations

9:00 – 10:15: Food Science & Human Nutrition 185 – The Science of Human Nutrition

10:30 – 11:45: Philosophy 350 – Indian Philosophy

12:00 – 1:15: History 468 – Viva Las Vegas! (The development and significance of Vegas in American culture)

and my seminar is 2:00 – 4:30.  From this week alone, I’m predicting that my Philosophy class will challenge me the most this semester.  I’m familiar with the Indian religious system, not so much the philosophical aspect.  I know facts about its history, deities, festivals, practices, etc. but something about this Philosophy class is challenging me a bit.  My professor spent two days explaining how “Indian” and “Philosophy” are two completely different things (“Indian” is faith-based and “Philosophy” is a Western system of logic and reasoning) rendering the class — Indian Philosophy — a contradiction.  My professor herself is Indian, by the way.  The pre-reqs for this class were either one Phil 100+ course OR background in Sanskrit.  My religion professor from my CC taught us a fair amount of Sanskrit in her Indian Religions class so I’m doing fine there, but my Philosophy credit is something different.  I took Phil 110 in lieu of my math credit for my Associate’s degree; Phil 110 is pure logic (fallacies, deduction, proofs, etc) while this course is a deeper type of philosophical thinking.  It’s also a little unnerving that I’m one of the few (VERY few) non-Philosophy majors in the class.  I’m also the youngest.  

Next semester I’m supposed to start my language credits.  In my senior year of high school, I took the French placement test at the university and placed into French 202 (9 free credits!) so I would have only had one semester left for ALL of my language credits for my degree, but the CC campus I went to didn’t offer French until two semesters ago so my placement expired.  I’m debating between Hindi and Sanskrit.  My CC Religion professor told me Hindi is far easier to learn and far more practical today.  She also added that learning Hindi would make it easier for me to go back and translate Sanskrit texts.  She took Sanskrit in college and said she found it very difficult.  I’m thinking about my Master’s thesis and I feel that Sanskrit would come in handy sooner than Hindi would, considering I’ll probably have to read scripture from the Vedas or Upanishads, or other old texts.  Plus, the Sanskrit time slots are a lot better.  Hindi 181 & 182 are only offered 4:00 – 6:00pm.  I really don’t want to be in school that long…

But anyway, I’m a junior in college now.  That went by so quickly!  Feels like yesterday that I was going to my junior prom, haha.

New

Today is my first day on WordPress, and this, my first post.  I started my Tumblr five years ago in the middle of my English class with the urging (more like force) of a friend.  In those five years, that collection of pictures (memories, I mean), silly memes, and text posts ranging from pathetic to exuberant grew and I’d like to start something new here.  I’ve obviously grown a lot in five years and I’d like a new place to express my thoughts and opinions, one not littered with doge memes.  

Tomorrow I have work from 8:30am – 4:15pm.  At 10:30am, I will promptly request my break and beeline for the computer in our lunchroom so I can register for my Spring 2014 courses.  I’m very excited to transfer.  I’m actually one semester late, and this is the consequence of taking only 12 credits a semester.  When I entered school I was going into business — accounting more specifically — at the urging of my mother.  Two days into the semester, I realized how boring I thought Accounting was and how dreadful that one semester would be so I dropped three of my classes needed for a business degree — math, accounting, and economics — and enrolled in Philosophy 110 (Deductive Logic), History 151 (up to 1500), and Religion 150 (Intro to World Religions).  That semester sparked my interest in religion.  A year later in Fall 2012 I would decide to major in Religion and as of the beginning of this semester, my school documents had me down as a declared Religion major.  I think religion is a wonderful thing.  Now, let me say this: I am not “religious.” I do not subscribe to any organized religion, and I do not believe in God.  I believe in evolution and the “Goldilocks zone” Earth was lucky enough to fall into.  I, however, respect all religions and find a few in particular interesting.  At first I was going to specialize in Islam because it is terribly misunderstood and I, personally, find it to be a beautiful religion.  In Fall 2012, I was enrolled in Religion 202 – Understanding Indian Religions and I ended up falling in love with Indian Religions (Hinduism and Sikhism in particular); I’m now specializing in Indian Religions, much like my professor whom I’ve had for three semesters for three different religion courses (I actually took her Indian Religions course just to have her again).  I’m also planning to minor in History.  My interests in Religion and History don’t go hand-in-hand, though; my interest in History lies in geo-politics, especially topics like World War I and World War II.  My school offers a 400-level course on the Holocaust and I plan to take it next Spring.  My grandfather was in the army during World War II and he was stationed in France, Germany, and Italy.  He would always talk to me about historical events but I would never pay attention.  He passed away in 2008.  In March 2010, I was lucky enough to go to France with my French class and one day, we drove up to Normandy to see Omaha Beach (the D-Day beach) and later that day, we went to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.  I didn’t really hold any interest in history until the day I stood on that beach where thousands of people lost their lives; further, I thought about my grandfather and how thrilled he’d be that I was able to stand on that beach, touch the sand, dip my hands in the water.  I’m sure he’d be overjoyed to learn that I’m at least minoring in a subject he loved.

This was a small glimpse at some of my interests.  I also enjoy baking, running, and hiking.  In fact, next Sunday my boyfriend and I are running in the Honolulu Marathon.  Wish us luck!