Category Archives: Madison, Wisconsin

Easier to find a needle in a haystack

Over the years I have managed to collect a few…hundred…possibly a thousand books. Almost all of them remain carefully boxed up in my parents’ basement until the glorious day when I will have space for them. Alas, my apartment, though spacious, does not contain room enough for them all. It occurred to me, however, that my bookshelf would benefit from my copy of The Federalist Papers. I ventured into the basement to find it. 

This task, though Herculean, should not have been too complicated. Over the years I’ve packed and re-packed the books based on category. I have a “classics” box (or two.) A “politics” box (or three). A “want to read in the near-ish future” box. A “used to be in the want to read box but now read” box. 

I decided I would have packed The Federalist Papers in a politics box. Unfortunately, my boxes do not sit neatly on a shelf. I pulled out boxes of old school supplies, chair cushions, and Legos in my hunt for my politics boxes. Alas, even after that workout, The Federalist Papers was nowhere to be found. Nor was it in the Want To Read box. 

It took me an hour of hunting before I finally found it in the Classics box next to my copy of Frankenstein and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

On the bright side, in the process of looking for 1 book, I found 11 others that my bookshelf absolutely needs!

 

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New Apartment!

After a school year sleeping on the floor of a living room and a summer sharing a room with 4 roommates, I’m breaking free and moving into my own apartment. I got the keys today. I can’t wait to officially move in! I won’t know what do with all that space!


Three Years

Three years ago today, I graduated from Bryan College with my bachelor’s degree. I then chose to take a gap year (er, two) before attending law school. In an alternative universe, I would have gone straight to law school. Instead of ending of my 1L year, this week would culminate in my graduation from legal education. That was the plan. 

I am so glad it did not happen that way. 

It strikes me as funny when I talk about the past two years. I murmur offhandedly, “Oh, I worked for a few years before coming to law school.” As if two of the most formative years of my life were just NBD…no big deal. 

I suppose in the big picture they might prove just that: a mere blip in time between college and my “real” career as a lawyer. 

But even if that is the case, I wouldn’t trade those years with AFP for anything. My work there developed so much of who I am and how I see myself. I can’t imagine who I would be if I went straight from my undergraduate to the pressure cooker that is law school. That vision holds no appeal for me.

From an academic standpoint, straight-from-undergraduate-me might have embraced law school better. Independence would mean little to her, so a life of student loans and borrowed rides to church would feel natural. I would still be a perfectionist with an angsty desire to go go go so I imagine I would have joined just as many clubs (if not more) and still jumped into an internship as soon as possible. From a practical standpoint, I doubt my legal career so far would look very different. 

Yet that isn’t quite true. I landed both my legal internships to date because of my connection with AFP. I’ve prioritized certain activities and de-emphasized others because I know the sort of people I want to be around. I’ve approached projects and people and ideas with the confidence of someone who has achieved something difficult, and failed multiple times while doing it. 

I am so much more me because I waited two years. Also, I owe a heck of a lot less loans because I paid off those undergraduate ones. 

It gives me hope for the next three years. I never saw myself here three years ago, and yet here I am. Who knows what will come next? The only thing I know for certain is that  whatever it is, I’ve been equipped and mentored and well prepared for it. And if I fail? I’ve got an amazing community that will cheer me on anyway.

(Plus, I can always peace back to the mountains of Idaho and live the rest of my life in chacos, right?) 


Shopping Sleepy

I know not to grocery shop hungry, but what about grocery shopping sleepy? I made a weird discovery today: I buy healthy if I’m too tired to think straight. 

I went grocery shopping this morning before my usual cup of coffee. The result? I walked out of the store with: 

  • Kimchi (duh, it is my main food staple)
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Alfalfa sprouts 
  • Avocados
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lime
  • Beets
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Greek yogurt  
  • Bell peppers
  • Bacon

I almost bought brussel sprouts, but when I went to check out, the cashier couldn’t find the bar-code. I decided it was a sign and chose not to buy them. 

ALL THIS TO SAY, I feel triumphant but also confused by the food in my fridge. The real test will be if I eat everything before it goes bad! Maybe I’m on to something? Go shopping before I can talk myself into unhealthy life decisions? 


What do I eat?

“What do you eat?” asks my roommate, peering at the food on my shelf: tofu, shredded cheese, and half-quart of milk. 

“I eat…what’s in my cupboard!” I suggest. We open my cupboard. “Rice! Except…I’m out of rice. Oatmeal. Kiwis. Almonds. And I think I have a pizza in the fridge.” 

“You should go grocery shopping,” she recommends. I think about my bank account and shake my head. 

“It’s enough!” Because somehow, it is usually enough. 

Supper rolls around. I stare at my cupboards, trying to figure out if I had a plan for dinner. Maybe I do need to go grocery shopping. 

Then my other roommate comes home. “Amy! Do you want mussels?” she asks. “I’m heating some up. And we can have rice, peas, yogurt, rolls…” 

There you have it, folks. I haven’t starved this semester because my roommate feeds me. Yet another reason to be grateful for the girls who share this tiny living space with me!


Credentials

Today I attended a fascinating lecture at the law school titled “Escape from Developmentalism” by Dr. Taekyoon Kim from Seoul University. Unfortunately, only two law students actually showed up, and I was one of them. (Otherwise, the room was full of non-law students.)

Afterwards, the Wisconsin law professor behind me asked if I had a background in the subject that drew me to the lecture. I couldn’t think of anything to say so I told him the truth, 

“I watch a lot of Korean dramas.” 

He replied, “Oh.”

Then walked away. 

I need to work on my international credentials. 


Apartment Tours

The carpet screams ’70s. The couch and dining room table look like they might be from the same era. 

“I provide all the furnishings free!” announces the chipper landlord for the fifth time in five minutes. “That’s mine…” he points to the large, tarnished lamp, “and that…” This time the cheap desk – a surprisingly modern-looking addition to the room. 

I smile and nod, trying to imagine myself in this ugly little space. Would a rug make the room more cheerful? Could I talk him into a fresh coat of paint?

“And this is the oven!” the landlord opens the little, brown box with a flair it hasn’t seen in decades. “Help yourself, help yourself.”

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to help myself to. The current tenant’s pots and pans? 

He moves on, pointing out the concrete ceiling and floor, the furnishings (he provides them all for free!), and the closets. 

“Help yourself! Help yourself!” 

The place is gross; grit and grime cover every surface not filled by the current tenant’s possessions. I wonder if it can all be blamed on the tenant. The room looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years. 

“I’m the owner and manager,” says the landlord, as if reading my mind. “I do all the repairs. I’m here twice a week.” 

Doing what? I think but don’t say. I want to like this place. It falls within my budget and comes with furniture so I don’t have to figure out buying and storing furniture for a semester. He also will let me sublease – a handy option considering I’ve decided to study abroad next year. 

I can put up with anything for 5 months. But do I even want to think about how filthy the couch is? 

5 months feels like a very, very long time. Good thing I have another place to tour tomorrow. I don’t have high hopes, though!