Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


Summer Ended

Well, the peach season wound up, coinciding nicely with the resumption of school. I'm going to miss my summer job, though Mr Joe (the orchard's owner) asked if I would come help him with various odd jobs in the orchard every now and then on Saturdays, my school schedule permitting.

I am back at school now, having moved my handful of things into my new room, which has a nice view:

This is my final year at William Carey University (a university now, having advanced in prestige I suppose over the summer); I will, Lord willing and if the creek don't rise (it's been known to do that in this part of the world) graduate with a B. A. in History come May. From there- I've no definite plans, more of a general sense of direction. I would like to learn Arabic, and anyway want to visit the Middle East and spend some time there. My primary center of interest in history lies in the medieval interaction of East and West, particularly as manifest by the interaction/collision of Eastern Christendom and the Islamic World: anything from Nestorians among the Uighurs in China to the Crusades to the Ottomans- pretty broad range.

I will eventually attend graduate school, but I'd rather take a couple of years off to travel. I particularly want to start learning Arabic, which isn't exactly an easy language. To do so I'd prefer to be in an immersive environment- I've found that such environments are much more conductive to learning a language than studying it away from the people who speak it.

In order to finance such a venture I'm thinking about doing some English-as-a-second-language teaching. If I can- and I'm quite serious- I would love to figure out a way to do farm work in a Middle Eastern or East Asian country.

My mother thinks I'm rather crazy- I probably am!- and wonders why I can't just stay in the States- preferably here in Mississippi- and get my Masters in American History or something. My father is rather more understanding- he has the adventure disease as well. He joined the National Guard years ago, and, since transfering to the Air National Guard, has traveled around the world on annual training. He's being deployed to a combat zone for the first time in May, to a base north of Baghdad, shortly before his fifty-first birthday. My mother is thrilled, of course, but I guess has managed to be reconciled, if not exactly understand, the mentality that leads people to do things like that. Before she married my dad, she had left Mississippi but a few times. My maternal grandparents have lived in the same little community all their lives, and have never had any desire to go elsewhere (it's a chore getting them to come the two hours south to our house!).

Yet my uncle, my mom's brother, has the adventure disease: joined the Army, went into Military Intelligence, ran around Somalia and other fun places getting shot at, jumped out of airplanes, all that. This duality between the desire to stay at home, avoid adventure and such, and those of us who are happiest on an airplane off to another country or dodging bullets, seems to run right through my family on both sides. I don't know which side is 'better'; I feel longings in both ways. Part of me wants to stay in Mississippi, inherit my grandpa's farm, and raise corn and cattle and watch the sun set over the bottomlands. The other half of me dreams of sunrises over the Andes and the Atlas Mountains, wants to ride the steppes of Central Asia, and so on.

Well, anyway, enough personal introspection. We'll see what works out. I've found that life rarely goes according to plan; so I've tried to stop making so many...


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