12:34 AM

Third Time's the Charm

I have undertaken the great 21st century fad once more in attempt to ease not only my own need to write, but also because I have failed twice to make a blog into the vessel I wish it to be. So here we go, one more attempt at the Holy Grail, the fabled Excalibur, and even the leg lamp that is the perfect blog. Exciting? Absolutely! Daunting? Yes! Procrastination? Naturally.

Why the name? Easy: because I feel like my brain likes to go on sabbatical for hours, sometimes days at a time. It kicks back in, occasionally, but let's face it, if you know me, you know I'm really blonde underneath. So if my post suddenly becomes incomprehensible, blame my brain falling asleep. It does that a lot.

Today we're going to talk about roller coasters.

I recently went to Six Flags: Magic Mountain, just outside of Los Angeles, California. It was a great time, a full day affair, and a lesson on why you should never carry a purse into that amusement park (mandatory locker rentals at every ride?, seriously?). Despite losing a good few dollars on unneeded storage, I also reaffirmed that every time I strap myself into a roller coaster, I'm really scared to death that the seat is going to come undone, the latch will pop open, or that I'm going to kill someone when a penny that I had forgotten was in my pocket falls and hits someone on the head below the ride, killing them instantly.

Despite these fears, however, I usually come off the ride exhilarated, adrenaline pumping, and ready to brave the next one. Each time I've gone back to Magic Mountain, I've tried a new roller coaster. Only one alludes my track record: the Riddler's Revenge. Standing up on a coaster, even quasi-standing, disturbs me. The Riddler's Revenge always bums me out in the sense I have never been able to gather the courage to go on it. But each time I walk away from the park, I'm still satisfied.

It's a lot like life.

Yes, an obvious analogy.

I can't guarantee that it gets better from here.

Bail now, or get chocolate.

If you're reading this because you don't want to read Colonial Latin American homework, continue.

Anyway, life is a lot like Magic Mountain. Minor trials, like not finding your size in that new shirt, or buying the wrong kind of cereal, is a lot like the tamer rides for kids. Mildly scary, but common. They are easy to overcome the older you get, until you are able to switch carousel horses with ease.

I'm not sure how old you are, but even my 6 year old self gets bored after riding the tiger a million and a half times. So we all move on to the more intense rides. Which also means, the bigger issues in life become more drastic. Up and down, loop around, corkscrews, half screws, things get hard and fast (that's what she said, anyone?), and suddenly, the rides aren't so fun anymore when you're upside down and waiting. Yet this is where those who like roller coasters are weeded out, and those who can learn to move on are distinguished from those who dwell. It's sometimes a matter of mind over, well, mind. But we learn to deal.

And suddenly, we find ourselves questioning our existence, our purpose, or whether we really are happy or not. And that leads us to Tatsu, to X2, to Goliath. Things are more intense, and we're pushing the limits.

I miss LAFSC.

The program was a lot like my other semester abroad in the sense that it started out with nothing that I couldn't handle. But then, things got deeper, and by the end of the program, I was facing issues that needed more time and thought than I had and still don't have the energy to face. I thought I could handle leaving as easily as just getting off the carousel. It would be easy to just leave the people I was living with - it was only four months!

But I forgot how attached I become.

We human beings are made to be around others. Even Paul wasn't a hermit, and Adam needed a companion. For all his angels, God created humans in order to have a relationship, and since we are made in his image, we are thus expected to crave relationships, sexual and non-sexual.

I met a lot of people at LAFSC, and just like as in New Zealand, I didn't even realize how a huge group of faces suddenly turned from an indistinguishable wave to a flock of birds, each avian distinct and beautiful in its own right. I knew every face by name by the end of the program.

Yet now, I'm here in my home, and I realize the community I had to leave. I'm not the most outgoing of people, but I feel as if I made a few good friends, and a lot of friends that can turn into good friends with effort on my part. I apologize right now to those I never got to know well - I honestly did want to know you. It's not you, it's me. Let's make up over lunch?

As exciting as home is (ok, who am I kidding, it's not the most happening of place), I really miss LAFSC. And I miss being around people who challenge me to become more of the person I want to be. I need to be around people my age, daily, to grow. Yet I think I let the small trials, the small rides, freak me out when I am with others. I get discouraged easily, angry easily, even melancholy easily. And I never question the big issues because I never get to them - I'm too caught up on small things like petty arguments.

Or if I get over the petty things, I face issues that shouldn't be issues: will I be forgotten? Did people even like me? Did anyone notice I wore colored socks? Ok, perhaps not the later, but still, you know what I mean. To think, last week, or even two weeks ago, I was so excited that things were going my way. The small things couldn't be sweated, and I was doing so well in my own personal goals. I was queen of the world. It was the top of the biggest hill.

I guess I wrote all of this to say that I miss LAFSC, and have regrets, and fears, and have gone from an emotional high to the beginning of an emotional low. And I hate it.

Why can't life be like the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland? Calm and flat, with no highs or lows.

I already know the answer: because we wouldn't know the difference between a high and a low, and we wouldn't have the lows to grow from. We'd never know what to celebrate, and what wasn't status quo.

Maybe this is my Riddler's Revenge for this year: learning to let go of what I couldn't get done, and facing the large questions in life. What will I do after LAFSC? Am I ready for real life? What do I still need to change? And am I happy with my career choices?

As much as this emotional ride sucks right now, I know that I'll learn, and something will bring me back up. The cat sleeping next to me is helping as we speak. But I have to go down to realize that there is something unresolved from my year abroad - if not more than one something.

I'm still continuing with this ride we call life, and I don't plan on stopping. I'll still face the small things, and the big things too. I just wish that I didn't change from high to low so fast. And I wish that there weren't so many things that could make this coaster go up and down and sideways. Why can't we always be having a good time, feeling that weightless feeling and pulling Gs that makes us love roller coasters in the first place?

I guess, because, we'd lose the love for thrills in the first place.

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