Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Decisions, decisions!

On the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, I graduated from Alma College.  After decades of following the socially acceptable and expected course for middle class Americans (ie school), I now have a college degree, and all the doors are supposedly open!

I have to admit that this makes life more complicated. 

When I studied abroad in Ecuador, there was a small cafe down the street from the academia that we frequented.  As was the case in most restaurants of that variety, there were no menus. Instead, the hostess would come to your table and give you an option--chicken or beef.  Then she would return with the almuerzo of the day, complete with whatever vegetable happened to be cooking, the ever-present rice, fresh juice (sometimes there was an option of two different types, if you were in a high class restaurant), and some sort of delicious and unnamed torta.  Usually delicious, occasionally sketchy, and always unclassifiable, these meals managed to leave one with a sense of peace and certainty: there was no scrambling to decide between a myriad of tasty dishes, no weighing of options, no choices to get stressed out about! 

Now that I have a college degree, I feel like I've returned from the Ecuadorian variety of choice (Alma or Calvin?) and am living culture-shocked in an American restaurant, with our extensive novella-like menus. There is no obvious next step upon graduating from college, and--if you're like me and neglected to get a degree that led to a specific career--there isn't even an obvious genre of job to start searching for! 

Given the sheer volume of roads-less-taken branching off in this decidedly spring-like wood, it should come as no surprise to those who have met my travel bug that I am moving to Portland, OR.  My travel bug has always had a hankering to live in that part of the world, if only for a time, and now seems to be the time to indulge my little insect and see what there is to see, hear what there is to hear, and do what there is to do.  There is a time for everything, after all!

The current plan is to move to the west coast mid-june and spend approximately a year living with my Aunt and Uncle in Portland.  During this time, I hope to apply to graduate school for a degree in Anthropology (focusing on Latin America), strengthen some family ties, find a job I may never have the guts to try later in life,  go to concerts, hike, write, sing, paint, bike, pray, read, play, and soak up as much experience as I can.  If all goes as expected, I will then return to the heavenly world of school with some perspective on what it is God has planned for the next stage of my life.  However, since I am not the determiner of seasons, the plans could change! 

Throughout the next year or so, I will be writing in this blog in order to reflect on what I am learning, share stories, and hopefully encourage fellow college graduates who, like me, are invigorated and terrified by the huge menu that life is offering for lunch.

I look forward to having you all along for the ride!