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I was reading an article this morning about what it’s like to be poor in Ivy League colleges. I felt what the students are struggling: my mother is a Kindergarten teacher while my dad, well, I don’t really know what he does. He’s more like a custodian, but not in the janitor-uniform kind-of-sense. But I mean, a custodian. He has the keys (he’s a keyholder), he takes care of the garden (he’s a gardener), and he pretty much has a right to be anywhere in the school. Honestly, had I applied and been accepted to Harvard or any Ivy League college four years ago, I wouldn’t be paying tuition.

I consider it luck that I’m in college right now. And I do feel sense of entitlement (in regards to the research that was mentioned in the middle of the article), since I went to a pretty elitist public school (yes, elitist! yes, public school! and yes, Dunning-Krugger effect!) On the other hand, kids are not lucky. They worked hard for their entrance to a big, elite private college. So I guess it’s just right that I’m paying more because I don’t feel like I’ve earned to be in college.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Powerful Suggestion.”

I never listen to anyone, really. And if I do, I would forget what they have said. It would be sweet if someone had said something that really moved me or changed my life, but now, that I think of it. I am just not that kind of person. I believe in myself. I believe that one must live life and learn from his/her experiences, success and failures. But if I were not that person, I wish my French teacher in high school convinced me to take AP French. I don’t know why, but I just do. I guess I could have been better at French when I started college; i could have majored in French. Perhaps I could have loved and learned about the culture and language even earlier, because having a passion of something like that does not happen very often. And I’m not talking about obsession. I am talking about passion! Oui! Je souhaite que ma professeur de français m’ait convaincu de continuer d’apprendre le français.

I’ve only had one person whom I’ve called a mentor officially, but to say that kind of ‘mentor‘ is  a bit of an overstatement. If a ‘great lesson’ is to be had through that person to be my mentor, then no, I’ve never really had a mentor. My mother has always said that I like working independently, that I didn’t go out much as a child, and that I’m just so quiet. I honestly admit that I am a slow person–sometimes I just don’t get things, but I do pick them up and I think about things a lot. I just read a book a few weeks ago, which I’ve already read a couple of times and even written about in my first old high school journal, and I didn’t realize how much  that book had impacted me until I read that journal a couple of weeks ago. I was identifying with the character in the story, and I still am. I was like “This author gets me.” But anyway, back to the topic, if there were no pre-qualifiers and anything goes, a mentor? I guess it would be my small group leader since I began college. I don’t have a great lesson from him, but he’s just become  probably my first role model.

I consider myself as an old soul, but rather than giving my own argument I’m going to go over this ThoughtCatalog article list:

1. You tend to think a lot about everything. You’re always finding deeper meaning in your relationships, simple interactions with strangers, and in the world around you.

I think I show it when I ask a lot of things about a person, making random interconnections, etc. But yes, I do think a lot about everything, including interactions with strangers.

2. You enjoy solitude and use it as a time to reflect on your life and everything going on in it. You continually seek out higher understanding and are incredibly introspective about life.

My dream plan at the moment is to live in the French countryside. (I feel like that says a lot about me.)

3. You’ve always had maturity far beyond your years. When you were a child people commented on how mature you were and you probably enjoyed sitting at the adult’s table as opposed to the children’s table. It’s not that you couldn’t have fun being a kid, it’s just that sometimes you thought the adult conversations were far more interesting.

I was quiet and well-behaved as a child, mostly, and I think there is something to it when I say that I’ve watched whole seasons of Blackadder, Frasier, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

4. You take pleasure in simple things like drinking coffee and reading the news, having breakfast with friends, cooking a great meal, or reading a good book.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

5. You have a philosophical outlook on life and see the world on a larger scale than most people. When you’re faced with problems you try to see it as a learning experience and consider your struggles as just a part of your overall journey.

I’ve never gotten that far where I have my own, definite philosophy. But the rest, check.

6. You don’t put a lot of value on owning expensive, material items. You find you get so much more out of your personal relationships and experiences than from anything you could ever own.

Since I discovered minimalism, I’ve tried to be as minimalist as I can. And I think I’m almost there. I’ve diminished the number of clothes, books, and other things that I have. The truly material things I like having, though, but not value them very much (although they are expensive) are tech gadgets.

7. You focus on self-actualization and find enjoyment out of self-expression through writing, art, music, or other outlets.

Like blogging?

8. You’re sensitive and spiritual in nature. You tend to rely on your gut instinct about things because it’s rarely wrong. You just get “a feeling” about things and can read people well.

I’m still trying to get the sense that I’m really relying on my gut instinct instead of logic. I cannot read people well. (This, though, sounds like an INFJ trait–see MBTI.)

9. You feel connected to certain time periods and find yourself more interested in the art, history, or culture from that decade.

From 11/22/63 and Margaret Peterson Haddix books to Blackadder and Downton Abbey. Definitely.

10. Even if you have a large social circle full of friends and acquaintances you’ve always felt kind of different than everyone else. You might not call yourself a loner necessarily but you’re definitely comfortable with being alone and understand the difference between being alone and being lonely.

I do not have a large social circle and I’ve always been oblivious to my uniqueness (or lack thereof). I definitely do not call myself a loner, but I like to be alone.

11. Regardless of where you go you seem to be the kind of person strangers feel inclined to talk to. Something about you makes others want to spill their life story within just minutes of meeting you.

Haven’t really experienced that.

12. You feel a sense of separation from yourself and the “real world” at times. You recognize there’s the way you think about life in terms of money, possessions, relationships, etc, and then there’s the conventional approach to life most people have. You don’t believe either one is better, just different.

Mhm.

13. You have a high level of empathy and acceptance towards others and understand the importance of forgiveness. Because of this your friends always go to for advice or to tell you a secret they wouldn’t tell anyone else. They know you’ll listen to them without judgment.

I do not know about high level of empathy, but otherwise, yes.

14. You savor the quiet moments in life that might seem old fashioned to others. Maybe this means going on a Sunday drive in the country or writing a letter (a real letter, not an email) to a friend that lives across the country.

Hmm…I don’t know if I’ve done any.

Discretion: I don’t know what an ‘old soul’ really is, so I don’t know if these descriptions are at all accurate. Therefore, I don’t know if I’m an old soul.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/koty-neelis/2014/07/14-signs-youre-an-old-soul/

Everyone’s a critic, they say, and that’s certainly true of the food world today. Of course, everyone has always been a critic, in the sense that customers have always made the most basic judgment of all: Do I want to come back to this joint? But there’s a contemporary development with respect to volume, in the dual sense of quantity and loudness. The volume of all this critical chatter is turned way up, and it’s harder than ever to ignore. Food is my favorite thing to talk about and to learn about, but an interest that is reasonable on a personal and an individual scale has grown out of all proportion in the wider culture. Imagine that you’re fascinated by model trains. You’re on fire with interest, you think about them all the time, they’re your consuming passion. But then, over about twenty years, the entire culture becomes obsessed with model trains. The model-train blogosphere grows exponentially. Model-train makers are plastered all over the covers of magazines, and stage train-building smackdowns on TV, and are treated as the new rock stars. Might you, in your private heart, think that maybe the whole model-train thing, still of tremendous interest to you, has somehow got a bit out of hand? That’s where I feel food is today.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/03/shut-eat

I was not planning on posting this weekend, but today’s prompt from The Daily Post gave me an idea for a Halloween Costume!

We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?

My answer? Janus, the god of war and peace, the god of change and time, the god of gates and doors.

From Wikipedia

I’m not saying that I’m two-faced/Janus-faced (deceitful, hypocritical, etc.). It relates more to how a person hides his real self from the world. For the sake of time, I will urge you to read this passage from an introduction to a journal that named itself from the god:

The image of Janus as two-headed reminds us that, as human beings, we are always radically de-centered and unknown to ourselves.  It is no mistake that the doors of Janus’ temple were kept open in times of war.  In war, the other can take on the menacing quality of what is unknown to ourselves.  Janus’ signification of vigilance calls us to continually remain open to what has been marginalized, split off, and left out of dialogue, for it may appear in the face of that which aims to destroy us.  The opening up of a dwelling-space can offer the dialogue which may thwart the mutual destruction which can result when we fail to recognize our disowned face in the face of the other.  And, with such a dialogue, we cannot help but be transformed.  Self and other offer each other, in this space, the opportunity for new beginnings with new dialogues.  Further, the significance of Janus being two-headed reminds us that, as Nietzsche wrote, “Truth is the kind of error without which a species cannot survive.”  The ‘truth’ of any community is always only partial, both revealing and concealing, and thus necessitating a never-ending dialogue by which the meaning and ground of the community can continue to be renewed.

Halloween is perfect for this, since putting on a mask reveals what’s off the mask. I would wear a costume that symbolizes Janus as it would reflect my personality. To end this post (because I have to go and I have no time later, sorry), I am leaving you with this music video: