A new voyage.

Happiness depends upon ourselves.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)

This new academic year I’ve managed to not only change the classes I’m taking, but also my living situation, the roles and responsibilities I have with different people/organizations, among others.  All of these things, however, seem to be enjoyable. I can’t complain about my classes yet, and I’ve been able to attend Taekwondo practice regularly so far.

My view on this semester is quite optimistic, and for some reason it feels like I can probably stay optimistic throughout the term. I’m hoping that this is not just the regular optimism that I normally feel at the start of the semester, which is pretty much a fake excitement due to how I expect things to be, and once I realize what the semester is all about… it’s all lost. Sort of like when people meet or start dating someone new. If I approach my classes as first dates (something in which I have not much experience…), here are my impressions from the first few dates:

7.03 ‘Genetics’ – Although my preconceptions of its kind and what I know about it tells me that this might work out, my impression so far is that this is going to be one really hard relationship to sustain for the semester. The plus side, is quite independent and requires little time commitment, it feels like what people would define as an ‘open-relationship’. The bad: that small time we spend together, is plainly painful. Immensely boring and with a horrible sense of humor, this one is definitely not going to make my day any better. Tomorrow I’ll meet for the first time with the ‘teacher assistant’ and hopefully this one can make it all work out by adding a good twist to all this.

10.302 ‘Transport Processes’ – This actually comes in two flavors, both which are quite interesting, funny and unique in some sense. Although it promises to be a very time consuming one (I think this one wants to be exclusive), I feel like it will be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling relationships of the term.

21F.503 ‘Intermediate Japanese I’ – Basically a continuation of my long term relationship with the Japanese program at MIT, this course added a new twist to the monotony of our last year by making things more interesting but more time consuming at the same time. This one used to come in 3 different flavors, and you never knew which one you’d get that day, and now two of the previous flavors are not there anymore, but a new flavor arrived. Each flavor we call by a different name, adding the polite ‘sensei’ ending.

21F.592 ‘Introduction to Japanese Culture’ – I’m in love with this one, but as expected, this one has been very time consuming. Although I was promised that it was just like this at the beginning, while getting to know each other, I really wouldn’t leave this one no matter what. I’ll definitely stick to it, and enjoy, until the end.

Apart from classes, something that I must say is that I really like my apartment. Even if the floor is slanted, the location a bit farther than dorms, and I have to be here to receive UPS packages, I feel that the benefits are great. Trading a 40 Mbps internet connection for a simple DSL connection is something else I’ll accept to feel more ‘at home’. I feel like my room is really MINE, and it’s amazing; what a difference it makes to have furniture that I picked, and decorations that I love.

Something else that I’ve realized is how big of a role Taekwondo plays in my life. I feel like the more I keep practicing this martial art, the more I realize how much I want to keep practicing and improving at it. Every practice is challenging and fulfilling. I can’t imagine how different I would be, and therefore my life would be, had I not stumbled upon this group of people two years ago.

At this point, I’m organizing my life so that this term I can achieve two major goals while keeping a ‘healthy social life’, do well academically (both in classes and with my research project) and improve my taekwondo as much as possible. All other things I’m trying to pursue (photography, film, etc.) will be secondary to this.

-Omar

3 thoughts on “A new voyage.

  1. hatano-sensei? because she's pretty awesome, even if i only had a semester with her.and 🙂 at the comparison to relationships. i know i always over-commit, and end up heartbroken in the end; hopefully this semester will be different. 🙂

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  2. iie, ikeda-sensei desu yo. ikeda-sensei wa, go-nen-mae-hodo MIT de nihongo wo osiemasita kedo, kekkon-site, boston ni demasita nee. sore desu kedo, ima, boston ni kaerimasite, MIT de nihongo wo ossiette-imasu yo! tottemo omosiroi sensei desu yo.

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  3. いいえ、池田先生(いけだせんせい)でいらっしゃいますよ。池田先生は五年ほど前までMITで日本語をお教えになりましたけど、けっこんした、ボストンでました。それから、池田先生はボストンにおかえりになりましたから、MITで日本語を教えていらっしゃいます!とても面白い先生でいらっしゃいますよ!

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