Wednesday, May 26, 2010


my friend sarah introduced me to a new hobby: crossword puzzles.
every morning i open the paper (the holland sentinel) and fill out the crossword. it is thrilling to watch my pen slowly fill in the boxes.

note to self: buy a crossword book for the plane ride to england.

speaking of england, i leave in ten days. i haven't begun packing yet, nor have i really thought about packing. i am going home on saturday to spend some time with my family before i leave, but part of me wishes i could stay in holland for one more week and take in the sunshine and the smells of all the wonderful summer plants that grow here. home is where my family is, and i love them. but home is also crowded and busy and not as pretty as holland. there is so much humanity packed into the borders of southeast michigan, and that overwhelms me.

last night chris and i drove to grand rapids, had dinner with his parents, and went out on their boat on reeds lake. i had a lot of fun relaxing on the boat and talking with chris and his parents. the sky was beautiful as the sun burst through the spattering of clouds just before it began to set. being out on the lake made me feel even more like i don't want to go back to my hometown. does anyone know of any beautiful spots i can go to in southeast michigan? how have i not discovered them after living there for 21 years?

after the boat ride, chris and i watched the season finale of LOST on chris' parents' big screen tv. COOL. i am still confused about what actually happened to all of the characters and the island. chris tried to explain to me, but i'm still not sure i understand. and speaking of not understanding, i'm having trouble figuring out and finishing today's crossword.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

post from the library

summer library staff, 2010, van wylen library.

i thought i would get bored working at the library all day, every day, but i haven't. there have been enough actual jobs for me to do that have kept me from sitting for too long. i fill the rest of my time with books and episodes of lost. i have caught up watching lost, and the series finale is on sunday night, so i have turned to my old friend, harry potter, to keep me company at this quiet desk. currently, i am halfway through book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. my goal is to finish the series by the time i leave to head back home next friday. do-able? i think so.

my favorite perk of working in the library is the fact that many people that i know come to the library. people studying/doing homework, people passing through to go to class, and people just stopping by to say hello. having many visitors throughout the day breaks up my time here nicely. my friend sarah works downstairs, so i get to see her throughout the day, too. i am also getting to know the other students who work here better, and that has been fun.

life has provided many fun opportunities so far this week: dinner at luke's, seeing many friends (including chris, my boyfriend), SUNSHINE!, finally ate at goog's, frisbee golf, bike riding, and warmth.

my trip to england is fast approaching. two weeks, two days until i jump on a plane and leave. i feel so blessed to have this opportunity! i have been thinking about my trip a lot this week, and i am excited and nervous. excited because, hey, i'm going to england! i'm nervous because we will be working in the schools in liverpool, and i have heard the children are hard to understand; i don't feel prepared to work in the schools; and i am not really close with anyone else going on the trip (i kind of know a couple of girls). i will also miss my good friends here in michigan, especially chris.

we are taking a couple of weekend trips while in the UK: london; edinburgh, scotland; chesterton (?). i have always loved harry potter (i grew up with him), but since i have been on a renewed harry potter kick lately, i have been doing some outside reading on harry potter. i just checked out a book called What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? i have only read a few pages so far, but there are already some interesting arguments for and against the series. i will post more when i have read more. i also discovered the cafe, the elephant house, in edinburgh, scotland where j.k. rowling sat and wrote much of the first few Harry Potter books. i want to visit this cafe while i am there!


back to work, now. that is, back to hanging out with harry potter.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


summer 2010.
may: holland, michigan
june: liverpool, england!
july/august: holland, michigan

a new home every month. a new adventure every day.

the poem that inspired it all

the state gem is a parking garage sign indicating vacancy

I remember Ann Arbor fondly as the place I go

to be in Ann Arbor. The dangly earrings that pull at your ear lobes

and jingle as you walk. I lived in Ann Arbor

for five hundred afternoons. The state bird

is a man dancing to Michael Jackson tunes

being played from the boom box near his feet. The state flower

is a graffitied alley which is as beautiful and bold as truth.

A liberal can use the word “beautiful,”

can boldly use the word “bold.”

In truth, Ann Arbor is not an arbor.

When I go back to Ann Arbor, I drive down hilly Ford Road,

around the curve on US-23, and past rows of old houses.

There is off of State street a theater, so life

goes parking garage, parking garage, parking garage, theater.

I wave at the neon lights that are drawing me in at the end

of this dull row of cars. Then Ann Arbor goes

parking garage, parking garage, parking garage, U of M.

You never forget how to be from Ann Arbor when you’re from Ann Arbor.

It’s like reading your favorite book while drinking expensive coffee from your favorite mug.

University Street is a spare city

in case Liberty Street shuts down. I live now

in Holland, which has no backup plan

but is named the same way as a country my grandma once visited.

I am reliving my grandma’s past for her, which is creepy

but so is what the skin on the back of my thighs is doing,

suddenly there are craters like on the moon.

The state joy is the University of Michigan.

“Hail to the Victors! Give us football and students with 4.0s!”

is how we might sound if you found us near the Big House,

just as summer is ending. Summer

never really even started here.

We are a people who wear shorts and skirts from March to November,

taking every chance we can get at

temperatures above freezing. “Fifty degrees is really warm!”

is the state motto. There’s a day in February

when the sun comes out and everyone trades in their snow boots for flats

and walks the streets with their eyes to the sky.

In this I have given you a primer.

Let us all be from somewhere.

Let us tell each other everything we can.

in the beginning

"let us all be from somewhere; let us tell each other everything we can"

i am going to blog about my summer.
summer 2010 has a lot in store. i think amazing things are going to happen.

while looking for a title for my new blog, i went to a poem i wrote last fall--an imitation poem based on the poem "a primer" by bob hicok, published in the new yorker in 2008. the poem is about growing up in michigan, and i translated this to fit my experience growing up in a specific town in michigan: ann arbor. i used to spend summer afternoons walking the streets of ann arbor, hence the title of this blog, "five hundred afternoons." with this blog, i will document the "500 afternoons" of my summer and the following months (of my senior year in college). i am extending an invitation to you to join me on this adventure via this blog. to those of you that i am blessed to know in real life, i am excited to share in this adventure with you.