Thursday, October 28, 2010

*cough* *cough* I think I have the black lung...

Man, whew, holy tamole. So a quick update, I basically stopped being a human and instead was a human-sized petri dish the last 5 days. I started feeling ill on Friday and really got sick later Saturday night and then got really bad Sunday -Tuesday. I went into to MIT medical on Monday morning, but I missed my doctor's appointment because when I was getting ready such a bad bloody nose started that I wasn't able to get it under control in time to get to my appointment. Once I finally got there, walking across campus with an ice pack and washcloth (pretty bloody) all bundled up because I knew I was sick, they cleaned me up and then wheelchaired me down to Urgent Care. The nurse who cleaned me up at my doctor's office was worried that I'd faint because I had lost a lot of blood and it had been bleeding for about 40 minutes without stopping at that point.

Once in Urgent Care, I was propped up in a nice bed with a warm blanket and left to see if my nose would stop on its own, but it didn't. So after another 20 or so minutes (a total of an hour without stopping) they had to cauterize my nose. Then I was left to rest a little to see if that had stopped all the bleeding. Luckily, it did.

Then they looked at me and saw that my sinuses were considerably swollen and that my right eye was pink and gunky and leaky. They then said that I had a sinus infection and pink eye. To top it off, they looked at my throat and saw white pustules. I was then told I had either strep or mono. Joy. At least now I had a reason why I felt like crap and wasn't able to sleep. I was given a prescription for azithromycin and something for my eye. I came back and rested for the rest of the day. Later in the evening I went to a chemistry review because there was an exam on Wednesday (I latter got an extention, so I'm taking said exam NEXT wednesday, since I was so sick that I couldn't study and my mind was out of it).

Tuesday afternoon I developed a cough and nervous that it'd develop into a respiratory infection (being on Humira for AS I'm more prone to respiratory infections and take much longer to heal in general). I contacted my doctor and he prescribed a cough syrup (with codeine, so now I sleep even MORE and am EVEN MORE out of it! :P) also, he was concerned that my pink eye wasn't actually pink eye but rather uveitis. I then had to go back to medical and get checked out by an eye specialist. He confirmed that I did just have pink eye, thank the Lord.

And so now it's Thursday afternoon. I'm working on some math. I'm moving VERY slowly, and I'm EXHAUSTED but at least my head doesn't throb and today is the first day that my throat isn't sore! I'm on the mend, I just need to be sure to get enough sleep.

As a result of being sick, I contacted Student Support Services, and talked with a dean. Luckily, I had already scheduled an appointment with a dean from there, so the woman I spoke with knew my situation. She was very concerned for my health and strongly recommended that I drop a class. She said that I put in the effort to get back on top, but clearly, me getting sick was my body's response to the high levels of stress and it came at a very unfortunate time. I may have been able tot get back on top with the three classes I was flagged in, but not now with being as ill as I am. That said, I have dropped my physics class which takes up the most time and I felt most overwhelmed about. The biggest thing now is not feeling like a slacker. I'm doing pretty well with that, but every now and then I think "gee, other kids can do it, why can't I?" In the end, I chose my health over my pride and I don't regret that. Everyone I've run into says I made the right decision, but you know, it's me who's got to FULLY believe that.

So yeah, I'm busy resting and eating soup and staying warm. For the first time today I enjoyed my math class a lot. I was working on a math problem by myself and am proud of how well it's going...not perfect, but better than before. I'm also really glad I transferred from 18.02 to 18.02A (basically I get a new start with my math class, but I have to finish it over winter break. no biggy, i was planning on being here anyway.)

I hope this finds everyone back home (and those who read this that are here at MIT/surrounding area) in good health. Be grateful of that, hah, most definitely. Take care.

Peace and love.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

the power of a smilie

In an effort to keep people up-to-date on what's going, I'll jot down the newest development in my life.

I got a fifth week flag.

To start: a fifth week flag is given out when  a student (that's me)  is in danger of failing a class (18.02, my multivariable calculus class).

I anticipated getting three, but thus far I've only gotten one: 18.02. It was very formal and it was from my TA, Steve. I'm the first name he knew in the class and I know that we have a special bond. He asked me to reply with some time that we could get together, and I asked for tomorrow morning. I also went on to elaborate how I was feeling and I how I know that I am behind. He responded with "I"m sorry Chacha for the formality, as it WAS  formal email. Tomorrow at 9:30 sounds fine. Also, you'll be fine :) so don't worry."

I was really trying to give it up to God and I just needed a little something to cheer me up. Steve's response, with the smilie, really helped calm my nerves. Don't get me wrong, I"ve had stress back pain for the past week or so, and I am NOT sure what to do/think about this Midterm I have in math this thursday, but his response helped. Kind of silly, but true.

In any case, I need to go read...A LOT. so this is all for the moment. but yeah, I'm meeting with him tomorrow at 9:30. I know I can do this! Man, it's just hard to truly believe those words at times...but I will, I will.

Peace and love to all......  :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

I didn't have time

Well, to make a quick post is to make a quick seven layered wedding just doesn't happen. But I'll try my best to get some things down on paper (?) and perhaps elaborate more later.

So I had my first meltdown last Sunday. It was pretty epic. I mean, and not. I don't know how to define 'epic' any case, I was feeling lonely and unaware of where to turn. I went to church because I just felt this craving to be in the silence of the chapel simply being with God. A little way through mass I started tearing up and did my best to hold it together to present the gifts and go to communion. Afterward, they just came. Tears are funny, the more you try to fight them, the more they are determined to come. I sat there in the fourth row of chairs and within like 7 minutes the chapel went silent. Head bowed, my nose ridiculously runny, I had no choice but to surrender myself to the silence, the presence of God. I felt lonely. I felt angry. I felt unloved. I felt overwhelmed. But I felt. So long I had gone through life trying not to feel. I had learned to live a numb life, I mean, it's safe right? You can't feel love, but at least you can't feel can't feel abandoned.

Well, over the course of the past two or so years I've learned to feel and embrace such emotions. Only now, I fear I feel to much! Heh. Nevertheless, I was sitting there and not sure what to do. I wanted to but held. I knew God was there, but to honest, I couldn't feel Him. In the past I've been able to imagine Him holding me, but that day I felt so lonely, so gut, all-consuming lonely, that no imagination could help me. However, there was a different sensation I felt that day. It was weird, like, in the center of me, the innermost being, could sense being with God. It wasn't anything overwhelming or awe-some. It was quiet and steady. I, I don't know how to phrase it, but He was there.

I did need that touch though, and so, I texted my friend Nell to respond to something she had asked me. I asked her to keep me in her prayers and told her I wasn't doing too well and was sitting in the chapel. She responded with "Aw honey, i'll be right there." She and I met over facebook about three months back and we both live at McCormick. She also is Catholic and has been a great source of wisdom and support, and especially after last Sunday, I am eternally grateful for her presence in my life. She came over with a huge stack of tissues and Reese's Puffs (our favorite cereal) and just held me. She said some words that I'm still mulling over. One thing that comes to mind is something she said to me when I was saying that I just felt so much and didn't know how I was supposed to go do my homework, she responded with "you take the time to feel it all, let it out, and then acknowledge that there is work to be done and get to it!"

The trick is to take the time. That was the biggest gift I had to give to God. I was overwhelmed with all I had to do and I didn't even think I had the time to go to mass. I knew then that I really needed to go to mass, words from Mom quoting a poem ran through my head:

I Didn't Have Time

"I got up early one morning

And rushed right into the day!

I had so much to accomplish

That I didn't have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,

And heavier came each task.

"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.

He answered, "You didn't ask!"

I tried to come into God's presence;

I used all my keys at the lock.

God gently and lovingly chided,

"Why, child, you didn't knock!"

I wanted to see joy and beauty,

But the day toiled on, gray and bleak.

I wondered why God didn't show me.

He said, "But you didn't seek."

I woke up early this morning,

And paused before entering the day.

I had so much to accomplish

That I had to take time to pray!"

I felt so relieved just giving that time to Him though, not allowing myself to think of anything else. I thought I'd be more overwhelmed, but I really made an effort to focus only on Him and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

Afterward, she made me eat some cereal, and said "if I don't hear from you within the next three days, i'm coming over!" We parted and I felt still stressed about school, but I no longer felt that frightening sense of loneliness.

It's quite humbling to let someone see me in such a state and more so to know that they just want to love and help me. If nothing else, I think that's one of the greatest lessons I've learned from that--to open up to someone is to fully trust them. Trusting someone is no easy task. It's dangerous. It's uncertain. But it's so worth it.



I'm so SUPER DEE DUPER blessed to have Mike out here. I never thought that any of the Solimans would be able to make it out here, but about four weeks back in a video chat they popped the news! I was to have a Mike Soliman come see me!!! So yeah, I'm about to leave and go to a movie with bro and Mike. They're already fooling around in Boston Common.

I didn't realize how much I missed seeing my family until I saw Mike. It still hasn't struck me that he is visiting me at my home. I still feel a little bit like this is a temporary thing, like, wow, MIT?! But it's slowly sinking in and his visit is helping with that. (I can't wait to see you, Myla, and the kids! Oooo, I want a Gaby kiss and an Isa drool-kiss so badly!!) It's super funny/fun to introduce Mike as my brother, which I've been doing. People look at us (Mike's Filipino) and are like " are you guys related??" I respond with "brothers from another mother..." hahaha.... I met up with Mike for lunch today and yesterday he went with me to 18.02 (math) and we're going to party it up this weekend! Haha, and by "party it up" I mean, we're going to fool around and be the dorks that we are. Man, I miss that SO much. I forgot how much fun Mike and I have together, it's not "like", it IS having another brother around. And in case you don't know, I have the best brother, Gabe, as a brother already, so it's AWESOME to have another one. :) :D Yeah, Mike is just the high I need. He knows that I have a math exam next thursday and a physics pset I have to get done, so we won't be spending every moment together but when we do spend time together it's EPIC. :)

I love how I can have a witty conversation with Mike and then the next moment have a nice heart to heart with him about that which weighs on my heart. Man, I am truly blessed to have you all in my life...I really am. <3

Well, Stephan is getting ready and then we're off to meet up with Mike and bro! Oh boy! Time for Stephan to meet "the Mike." To be honest, Mike will be way less worse than Myla, oh dear...I'm actually kind of nervous about that! Haha, Myla is one tough cookie, profoundly loyal and dear to my heart. (btw, thank you thank you thank you! for the earrings, the card, and the BACKPACK ((I got a sweet Mario Kart, preschool sized's FREAKIN EPIC))!! they're AMAZING!) Haha, just wait till he has to meet Nancy, Keith, Cristina and the Blancos, Sophia or Al....basically everyone!

My love to all! I hope this finds you in good health and much love!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

To be.

So it's been wayyy too long since I made my last post, and I'm very sorry about that! I know that some of you have been faithful followers waiting for that last post and I have been anxious myself to get some of my experiences down on paper/the web/the crazy mess of tubes that I don't understand.

To start things off: I'm surviving, physically. Heh. That's about all I can claim at the moment, but hey, it's better than it could be. Mentally...that's a whole other story. I feel like everyday my mind is stretched beyond it's capabilities. My thoughts are not only challenged but, often a more difficult experience, forced to be formed. How many times did I encounter the very same phenomenon and never think about it? How many times do we go through our daily lives never really acknowledging the wonders that are around us? The simple, small, quiet things. Those are the things I have found I most enjoy. Recently, I found my favorite spot on campus. But first, let's back up.

4:03pm, Friday, Sept. 24

"Oh guys ready for the quiz today?" 8.01 (my physics class) is, well, to be kind, not my best friend at the moment (nor is math, but we'll get to that in a minute, erm, a couple minutes). I went to that class knowing that I was going to fail the quiz and that was a HORRIBLE feeling. After struggling through the "table problems" (problems my physics group, Table 7, does as a whole) I knew that this quiz was not going to end well. But I had acknowledged it. After walking out of class at 5pm, I had a horrible feeling in my gut...I knew something had to change.

On my walk back to East Campus (I've been spending most of my time there, I'll explain why later) I just felt that I needed some time with God. I just...I ached for His silence. It was a slightly windy day and I was wearing a dress with leggings and a scarf (super comfortable). I had made this walk many times but this time I noticed there are three lovely, extra wide, "benches." But these benches are basically just giant slabs of pebbly concrete , probably 12x3 feet in dimensions. I decided to lay down on one and just watch the clouds float by in the sky. Oh yeah, that's my favorite thing to do, by the way. It's my most "luxurious" treat to myself. Simply spending time doing absolutely nothing but laying in the grass, or in this case, a super wonderful bench, and watch clouds move. I love to look for shapes and figures (every since I read Double Luck by Lu Chi Fa, I always look for dragons!). In any case, I was just laying here, watching the clouds and the leaves because its located right under a tree with legit leaves, the kind that fall off in fall (aka, non-Californian trees). It was super relaxing. I felt like I was indulging in something I didn't deserve! Hah. Needless to say, I just decided to simply "be" with God.I am so sick of asking Him for things, making promises and breaking them, chatting off His ear (mind you, I should be doing all of these things more, as in, I should have more of a continuous conversation with Him, but get my point)...I just wanted to be silent. I just be.

That's when I realized how much I was actually "craving" this silence. Who would have thunk? At MIT, the best college in the world (haha, bias you say? LIES!), surrounded by the best professors and students, and here I was, wanting silence. Then I got to thinking, but soon as I got thoughts in my mind I tried to scurry them away, so as to maintain the silence. Nevertheless, some thoughts stuck. I was thinking, what if I took the time everyday to realize how delicate life is? What if I realized that, like the tree whose leaves were falling in preparation for winter, my life too is changing, not necessarily for a seasonal reason, but in general. What if I realized this and seized the moment? Carpe Diem, right? I should clarify, I don't mean to live like there's no tomorrow. I don't think partying it up today in such a way that will damage tomorrow's opportunities is in any way a "good way" to live life. But if I lived with a purpose, how much more fruitful would my life be? If I lived, not by accident, not by habit, but on purpose, how much greater would my appreciation for every moment, every laugh, every cloud, be? Now the challenge is to find that purpose. I know God has a greater plan in mind for me, and I continually pray that one day it'll become more evident what His will for my life is, but in the meantime, I'll just try my best to live "on purpose."

That being said, my poor grade in phsyics, and then, this past Thursday I failed my math exam, are not accurate representations of my fullest potential. I don't expect %100 on my tests or in my classes.  I know I'm not some genius nor am I wanting to sacrifice other joys in life (like the play I'm part of , or the a cappella group, or the bible study or just the fun times of fooling around in China town!). I'm allowing myself to live more and be fine with just passing. But what I won't settle for, what I'm not okay with, is going into test without having learned and given it my all. My best is what should be put down on paper during a test, and more importantly, my best is what I expect of myself. I want to learn the material. Why else should I be here?

I won't lie, I'm totally intimidated. The kids here, they're crazy smart. For instance, my boyfriend, Stephan is SUPER brilliant! (I'll talk more about him in another blog, perhaps all by himself? haha, we'll see... oh yeah, he's one of the reasons I go to East Campus, a dorm, so much. I mean, I know a lot of people who live there, but I'm not going lie, he's the main reason.) He's a course 6, or computer science, major and he's ALWAYS thinking things up. That's what kids to do here! I swear! (Sometimes I don't know what I'm doing...) For instance, just a couple minutes ago, he interrupted my blogging to tell me his new idea: he wants to set up his fancy Canon EOS Rebel XXI camera to take a picture of things moving at high speeds, but he wants to set up a micro controller to function as a motion detector. And the kicker is, he's soldering right now at his desk creating it. He just rummaged through his drawer and found this chord that can plug into his camera, a little piece of magic, a motion detector, and his micro controller that will use the voltage from the motion detector to send a pulse to the chord/magic piece which will then tell the camera to take a picture. IT'S SOOOO COOL! I want to be like that, I want to be able to create random stuff. In any case, my tangent was to brag about Stephan, yes, but more importantly to give y'all a taste of what MIT students are like. Yup. I'm in over my head... Haha. How can I learn to be like them?! I want to be my own, and yet these kinds of things ARE FREAKIN AWESOME to me. I don't know who to ask to teach me such ways, as I feel everyone here who likes that kind of stuff is just naturally born with such talents of invention and soldering. Ah, who am I kidding? I'm sure I can win someone over with some batting of eyelashes or promises of brownies!

But don't get me wrong, there are many kids here that are in my shoes. Many people I've encountered feel overwhelmed with school as well. While I feel alone in the failing, I don't feel alone in the sensation of stress and constant work-to-be-done. So to solve this dilemma, I created a very detailed schedule of how I'm going to work, from here on out. Unfortunately, to that point, I have MUCH to reading/work to catch up on from the past three weeks. In any case, I know I can do it, I just have to be willing to put in the hours it will entail. I know it won't cure my feeling of being overwhelmed, but it will help enable me to do my best in what I want. I could go on, but...

So sorry, I'm seriously falling asleep. Got to go to bed! I'll write more about specifics of classes and life later! Love you all. Thanks for reading...