Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: November Check-In

Just one month left here in Ghana. I’ve been trying to take it easy, especially since next week is the last week of classes, and then I have revision week and final exams. I have reading to go through, and prep for a last minute exam in one of my classes — the professor was gone and then things were pushed back, and so on, so we’re taking the 2nd midterm during our last class, and then we have a final in that class on the Sunday of revision week. It seems silly to me, but what can you do?

There’s been a bit of a stir here, since my last post: there was a big fight in my dorm after a white student used a racial slur against a Black student and spat on another Black student. It was all international students, and we ended up having a big forum with the International Programs office to talk about the incident and what would happen next. It was pretty stressful for a while, but life has mostly moved on. Now, however, a lot of folks are feeling very upset and lost after the US election results. (I wrote a piece on Medium about my own feelings towards the election, which you can read here.) There’s a lot of disappointment and frustration, and some fear. The US still impacts so much of our lives here, and soon we’ll be headed back. Honestly, I have pretty mixed feelings about it. (More on that here.) I wish I could stay longer.

Since my exams are all frontloaded, I’m planning to spend the last two weeks I’m here travelling, funds allowing. I’d like to visit Kumasi, Mole, and the Volta Region, and I’m not sure how realistic that is, but I’m going to try to do at least one. If you can help me cover the last $341 of my tuition and fees, pay for food and toiletries, and support me in visiting other parts of Ghana before I have to leave, please donate on Crowdrise. I’ve received so much support, and I’m so grateful for everyone helping me. This has been an amazing experience — thank you.

Review post, as always, is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: October Check-In

I can hardly believe the term is half over! Midterms this week and next, and a bit of melancholy about the time slipping away. Also struggling with motivation, and remembering why I don’t take many 300 level courses nowadays. It may seem contradictory, but the less challenging a course is the less motivation I can muster to study for it. I’m trying to make it easier to study, but I have trouble focusing in my room, and it’s hard to find a secure, comfortable spot to study: the chairs are really hard to sit in for long, and I can’t get up and go to the bathroom, etc., and leave my stuff out unless I’m studying in my room. This is an issue I’ve struggled with for a long time, though, and probably will keep struggling with for years to come. That’s life. I planned a couple pretty successful study groups with folks for the midterm I had this morning, and I think they really helped me and the other students out, so yay for that!

I’m feeling some anxiety about the university charges. The deadline to opt out of insurance for the term was Sunday, but it wouldn’t let me, and I’m thinking it’s because I’m not in the country right now, but it still makes me nervous about them charging me $900 I can’t afford right now. Additionally, my student account reflects that I paid my installment when it was due on Thursday, but it hasn’t come out of my bank account yet, and I hate when they do that. I get paranoid something else I forgot about will go through and then it will bounce or overdraw me and then the school will freak out. Poverty is basically the worst, and so stressful. On that note: I’m still raising funds (you can donate on Crowdrise) to cover the gap between my financial aid and my program costs (including food, toiletries, and $1,023 in tuition and fees). Please give and share, if you can.

The university here is very different than I’m used to. I’m struggling a bit to adjust, honestly, but there’s good and bad in it. Dance class is my favorite, and I really like my Twi instructor and my history professors, but some of my classes are causing a lot of difficulties for me. More on that in the review post, below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: September Check-In

Several days late, but only because the internet in the student housing I’m staying at completely stopped working last week. I bit the bullet and bought a personal wifi router, which includes free Facebook and Youtube until mid-October, and free internet between midnight and 5am, for about $30 USD.

I’m still raising funds (you can donate on Crowdrise or Patreon), to cover the gap between my financial aid and my program costs (including food, toiletries, and $1,023 in tuition and fees). I would much appreciate your support.

I’ve gotten a flurry of acceptances for poetry I’ve written, as a result of submitting a bunch of work in July. I’ve got poems in the latest issues of Words Dance and Wordgathering, and I’ve had a piece accepted for an upcoming anthology by Zoetic Press, and another by Hermeneutic Chaos. So, that’s all felt pretty nice.

I’m pretty well settled in here, and dealing with the ups and downs of life. I’ve also been grappling with my own loner tendencies and my course load. More details are in the review post, which is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: August Check-In

A day late, but full of good news and excitement! Despite my fears and stress, everything’s falling into place for my trip, and I’m feeling so excited and thankful and blessed. I’m still raising funds (you can support me on Crowdrise or Patreon, if you have cash to spare), but I’m now officially days out. Lovely friends have been housing me and helping me out, and I wouldn’t be 2 days from departure without y’all — thanks so much for all the love and support, really.

This month once again has no tracker photos, because those have basically fallen by the wayside with most of my stuff in storage and living out of backpacks. This month’s review is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: July Check-In

Still fundraising for my trip (you can support me here), and prepping for that — just about a month left before I go. I am now homeless, staying with friends and living out of a duffel and backpack, which is making everything a bit harder and more complicated. This post is, as usual, late, but on purpose this time, because I wanted to finish up some work before I posted. (More on that below!)

I’ve also been struggling a lot with the recent highly publicized shootings of unarmed/unresisting Black people. I am well aware these happen all the time — US police are on pace to kill one unarmed Black person a day in 2016 — but if I let myself marinate in Black death all the time, I wouldn’t be able to function. Sad to say, but wilfully ignoring the violence is better for my health on the average day. I set aside time to do what work I can in the struggle for justice, including on the Fists Up OR/WA Facebook page, and try not to feel too guilty the rest of the time.

No GHDR Tracker Photos this time — moving has done a number on me and my organization. Should be back next month, though. Review below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: June Check-In

Better late than never, eh? I have been so busy and stressed that this is the first time I’ve really had time and energy to work on this post. It was meant to go up on the 6th, of course, but that was finals week, and I had to crank out three papers, give a presentation in Spanish, and take a final exam — everything else was put on the backburner. Since then I’ve been frantically trying to get things together for my trip to Ghana. There’s so much for this trip I didn’t even think about. I’m giving myself serious adulting points for all of this — it’s a lot of work! Below are May’s points, and the Review post is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: May Check-In

I’ve been very frazzled this past month: there has been a lot of violence and unsafety in my community, which has gotten to the point that my doctor and I are talking about me going on anxiety meds. I’m having trouble getting restful sleep, which impacts my concentration, anxiety, chemical sensitivity, and pain levels. I’m tired all the time, and I’ve been really scattered and clumsy. For example, I managed to drop and break my phone rushing to catch the bus to school on Monday of this week, and that really feels like it encapsulates so much of my experiences this past month.

I can live without a phone, but I use it to track and manage my health, so I’d prefer not to, if possible. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to get it fixed right now, but it’s been shedding glass shards in my purse and cutting up my palms, so leaving it broken isn’t going to work out. I’m trying to do some creative thinking about how to solve that problem.

I’m still using the GHDR Tracker form, and it’s really helping to motivate me. Dave made some updates to the Tracker form; I used the new version for two weeks, but found that the reduced number of bubbles irked me (I missed out on some points because I maxed out levels a few times) and that I really relied on the central task list to help me stay focused, so I switched back to the previous version. Below are April’s points, and the Review post is below the cut.

2016-04-04 01.09.02 HDR 2016-04-11 00.23.44 HDR 2016-04-26 14.44.20 HDR 2016-04-26 14.43.58 HDR 2016-05-02 02.46.20 HDR

 

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Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: December Check-In & Year-In-Review

Wow! Here we are, at year’s end (well, nearly). I think I may try this again next year, because it’s been a good reminder to focus in on fewer things, and to think regularly about how I can work on what I want to get done. I sprung for the 2016 Passion Planner as well, for looking at larger, over-arching goals, on a 1-5 year timeline. Between those two things, I think I can really ramp it up by next summer. I’m feeling hopeful about my future right now. (Touch wood.)

Finals were a hot mess: I stayed up two nights in a row working on my final for Science Fiction and Fantasy Costumes in Film. It was my first time sewing an entire garment from scratch, and I learned a lot and got rather thoroughly frustrated and worked myself into a frenzy, and came out the other end with a decently passable Hogwarts student robe, which I wore to school. I also made a delicious mac and cheese for the potluck and presentations session of my bell hooks class. (No pictures; my mac and cheese doesn’t usually stick around long enough, if I don’t get a shot of it right out of the oven.)

The last 2015 Groundhog Day Resolution Review is below the cut:

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Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: November Check-In

This post is so very late! This term has gone so fast, and as we head into finals (one more week) I’m trying not to get too frazzled. Thankfully my classes remain brilliant and engaging, my teachers continue to be a bunch of cool cats, and my study binder is still saving my butt in a pretty big way. (Bless the study binder, and whoever gave me the idea, because this thing is seriously the major reason I’m not failing right now. It’s magical.)

I’m finally moving forward on some things that I’d stalled on, and I’m really excited for everything happening between now and the next review. I can hardly wait to share it all with you!

(This month’s resolution review below the cut:)

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Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: October Check-In

I’m taking 16 credits this term, and the classes are all brilliant, but the workload’s a bit much already. Then, I spent several days helping a friend in crisis, and struggling to both make time to study and support my friend. On top of that, I got a cold last weekend! But I’m keeping on as best I can. I’m trying to stay up on my schoolwork, since I’m in Seattle for the Social Justice Fund dinner; I’m representing Black Lives Matter Portland, as we’re a recent grantee of the organization. Trying to take care of myself and manage my stress, which is the thing I seem to struggle the most with…

(This month’s Groundhog Day Resolution Review is below the cut.)

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Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: September Check-In

This month’s post is way late, because I’m struggling a lot with getting back into the swing of daily life post-conference.

I just spent five and a half days in Oakland, CA, for the NOLOSE conference, and to see friends in the area. NOLOSE is a radical fat queer conference, and they had their first ever BIPOC Day (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). Conferences can be hectic, and you can experience a lot of highs and lows in a short period of time, which I certainly did. I almost didn’t make it, bc of flight and housing costs, and then community pulled together to get me there, and it was so amazing.

But things are always a little hard after conferences — they’re a pretty magical place, but they are also often packed with stuff. I went down early to get settled in my homestay, and I stayed a couple days after so I could see folks I know in the area. I ended up meeting up with a friend at a birthday party, and being in a picture with Miss Major and a bunch of other awesome, radical queer and trans folks! And I had lunch with the ever amazing Lisa Hsia, who drew the picture we chose for the cover of After Ferguson, In Solidarity, and I got to see my friend Drew, and it was all lovely and wonderful.

I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things, and prepping for the start of a new term in a week. Wish me luck!

(This month’s Groundhog Day Resolution Review is below the cut.)

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Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: June Check-In

Another month past, and another (slightly late) post. In my defense, it’s finals week at school, and I have a bunch of papers due. On the plus side, I’m hopefully sending one of the papers out for potential publication, and the pub I’m looking at pays pretty well, which would be great, because I need a bit more of a cushion to cover household costs over the summer. Fingers crossed!

This month’s Groundhog Day Resolutions recap is below the break:

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Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: May Check-In

Another month gone… Things have been hard, busy, and intense this past month. I’m really looking forward to the summer, in terms of not having to worry about classes. On the downside, I will be unemployed, and that’s an added worry, in terms of my stress level. Not sure how I’m gonna eat, let alone pay my rent over the summer, but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

(Shameless plug: if you want to help reduce the chances I’ll be homeless/starve this summer, I’d love any form of support you can offer. Seriously.)

Anyway, onto the Groundhog Day Goals May check-in! Continue reading “Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: May Check-In”