After reading a few friends' blogs, I was inspired to write a little about something other than my travels, just for a change of pace. I'll post more pictures and a travel related narrative this week as well.
This week has been very interesting and eye opening. I must admit that since coming here to Cambridge, not everything has been rosy. The environment is wonderful of course, and the people are fantastic - I simply had a lot to do with correspondence course and my work here, and I was exhausted and burnt out. Add to that the end of a relationship - and the process of coming to the decision to end a relationship - and I became very stressed, somewhat sick, and most unhappy for a few days.
I deal with stress in terms of nerves, usually. When things get really bad, it feels like pain (and illness was a part of this particular experience) - but normally, I just get a little weird; my social grace leaves me stranded as my own confidence plunges.
Fortunately, there are things that combat this: good friends who are patient and still treat me like a socially competent person even when I don't act like one. I'm lucky to have friends in that category. Exercise does as well - it's hard to feel down when you set goals and achieve them. I'm training for a half marathon now, and I've run more this week than I have since I was training for my brother's and my 275 mile bike ride. It feels great.
Also, it feels wonderful to have the Gospel as part of my life. As much as being with friends helps, it has a negative side as well - when I make a fool of myself, sociality doesn't help my attitude. Fortunately, you cannot make a fool of yourself studying the scriptures and praying to God. I take that back, but at least it's a LOT, LOT harder. :-D My patriarchal blessing is a good check on a poor self-image as well - it reminds me of who I am, how God sees me, and what I have the potential to become. It also reminds me, perhaps more directly and powerfully than any single other thing that springs to mind, how much my Heavenly Father loves me. (For my non-Mormon readers, a patriarchal blessing is a kind of personal chapter of scripture, written for each individual. Mine has my name on it, and was pronounced over my head and recorded by someone called a patriarch, who is called to receive and record this kind of scripture. You might think of it as a personal letter from the Lord to a person, telling them about their life, about some of their personal gifts, giving warnings and instruction, etc.)
So, despite managing to make a tool of myself in front of every unmarried woman in our group in the short space between breaking up with my girlfriend and now (Of course: when you are in a relationship, you don't care about other girls' opinions as much and you are able to be yourself. As soon as you are out of a relationship, even if you aren't looking for another one, you proceed to shove your foot down your throat time and time again), things are going great. I really am enjoying myself here, I'm starting to get into and enjoy my studies, my first paper is coming along, and I'm getting great support, encouragement, and feedback concerning the schools I will begin to set up in September.
In fact, I am assembling a group on Thursday to discuss ways people who want to be involved can help. I'm going to make a practice pitch of the model and get feedback on it at that session.
Exciting times. Oh, and after eight days of being a vegetarian, I'm still going strong. To be honest, I haven't really missed eating meat. I am allowing myself good steak or any sushi in the future- so it's not a complete vegetarianism, but I think this may go from an experiment-prompted-by-unsavory-meat-at-dinner-on-the-same-day-as-a-breakup to a lifestyle decision.
Exciting times indeed.