Lessons Learned in October

October is one of my favorite months of the year. This was a good month. Alternating intensities of weather, studying, friends, action... and definitely some new lessons.

**** Graduate school has turned me into the early teenage version of myself again... driven for academic perfectionism and sights set on almost impossibly high standards. Back then I had the best grades in school and was still devastated at the end of the school year when I got my first non A ever (a B+). "Corinne, you're that type who might get a 92 and still be unsatisfied and have something to say about it to the teacher!" I heard the other day. No! I protested indignantly "I'm laid back and kind of a slacker and..." then realized, actually, I do feel that academic nerdy part of myself coming back. It wasn't there for my bachelor degree but it's back now. And the people in my classes are very smart and analytical and the professors expect very advanced work, and it is not necessarily the case now that there's a direct relation to how hard I try and how high my grade is. There just isn't. I got away with a very non-committal relationship with my library back in the day... here, the libraries and I are very intimate. Despite what Facebook photos might show to the contrary ;)

**** I know more Swedish than I think. However, I don't know as much Swedish as I think I should. I have picked up quite a bit more in the last couple weeks, but it's been more lately by osmosis than independent study and I know I could do better. The other day I corrected my Swedish friend when he said something like "have" instead of "has" (he asked me to correct him, otherwise I don't care, Swedes speak English amazingly). He thanked me and said, "I don't want to speak English like a child!" I said back to him "Ja, och jag vill inte prata svenska med ett barn!" I meant to say, "Yeah and I don't want to speak Swedish like a child!" But as I said it, something felt wrong, and my friend praised my Swedish first then kinda laughed as he told me that I'd really said "I don't want to speak Swedish with a child!" I laugh now whenever I think about myself indignantly refusing to speak Swedish to children. As if they'd understand me in the first place!

**** I'm quite American, but quite Californian as well. I don't know that I've really realized this as much besides the fact that of course I've always loved California and been happy to live there. There's a sort of breezy casualness, a distaste for formalities and the standard way of doing things, an easily accepting mind that isn't so trained to critique (which leaves me lacking in certain graduate research skills), very vain, and very arrogant state-centric vibe that I'm picking up in myself. An automatic thought process that I have to halt sometimes where I think, "Why aren't you smiling?" or "What is so hard about just being laid-back about this?" or "Why are you picking on this or that? Can't it just be?" or "What are you wearing? That's not stylish. Do your hair," or "Why is everyone wearing the same exact thing! Be unique!" or "Why so stiff?" or a variety of other things. As much as I recognize in myself some very Swedish qualities, I am of course most essentially a product of where I grew up, and not just nationally but regionally as well, as most are, and this becomes clearer all the time.


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