Getting On Track with Kaitlyn Keil, class of 2019

Greetings, Oliners! I am Kaitlyn Keil, and, as you may have guessed, one of the fortunate Gappies this year. And reading over these other posts... wow. I have some pretty fantastic company. So far my year has gone... well, not entirely according to plan, but it is starting to come together!

Thankfully, being away from school doesn't mean I'm not learning. I think I'd go mad if it did. First thing that I learned in these months free from full-time school? Don't ignore little things, because they can cripple you. Literally. Explanation: I had planned to learn how to backpack this summer and do a bunch of hiking, camping, and running. But, well, at the end of June I landed badly from a short jump. Montage of walking around San Francisco, bouncing around at work, and wondering why my foot hurt too much to go for more than a light walk, then, five weeks after my injury, sitting on the operating table, taking derivatives in my head to figure out how awake I was (it was the first thing that came to mind) as they put a tiny piece of bone back in place.

Yeah... for the next month, this lovely chair was my 24 hour throne as I slowly went stir-crazy, and it was another month yet before I was allowed to actually get around to normal life. So, honestly, it is a really great thing I wasn't headed off to Olin this year, as much as I would love to be there; going across country with a broken foot would have been a pain, literally and figuratively.

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Enough of the tale of captivity! Now that I am back on my feet, I've gotten down to what I had planned for this fall: namely, a couple of classes at my community college (C Programming Language and Creative Writing), an online Mandarin course, as much work as they'll schedule me for, plenty of writing, and life in general.

That may not sound like much, but so far, it's been incredible. Though I'm only just getting introduced to programming, I really enjoy it so far... even when I am grumbling as I try to find the place where I mixed up = = with =. I'm far from a master, of course, which just makes it all that much more fun. I'm also the only girl in the class. I like to think I'm representing us well.

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With Creative Writing, it's great (if strange) to be in the same class as my older sister, and it's giving me the kick I need to really sit down and get down the stories in my head. Hence my decision to take on NaNoWriMo as well. And so far? Off to a really good start! Though how I am supposed to finish this tale in 50,000 words is beyond me...

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So at the moment, that's kinda taking over my brain, even when I'm out walking my dog. I've gotten a couple strange looks as I chat into my phone, recording whatever new idea just slammed into my mind.

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The Mandarin has been very interesting. I started this summer with Rosetta Stone, which helped keep me sane as I sat in the confines of an armchair, but, once my subscription there ran out, have since switched to Fluenz. Confession: learning languages isn't my strong point, which is a very large part of why I'm determined to master Mandarin, or at least get to the point I can say 'Wǒ shuō yìdiǎnr Hànyǔ' truthfully (it appears there are many ways to type this, even in Pinyin, so that is just the way I am currently learning to write it). So far, it has been a nice challenge!

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This all squeezes in between shifts at Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab, where I am a scoopervisor/cleaner/whatever needs to be done. I wasn't able to finagle a picture of me actually in uniform, but here is me and the place, with some of my coworkers doing what we do best: making people's day better. I love it to death, even on the closing shifts (the downside of being a morning person).

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Right, my wordiness is now wrapping up. The last note is my plans for the coming year and my well-wishes to all of you. This December, my family is going on a last big trip together, all the way to Italy! Then, skip a couple months, I am working on the details of a visit to China, where I will be taking intensive Mandarin lessons and helping out in a business that teaches Mandarin to foreigners and English to the Chinese. After that, hopefully I will finally get around to the backpacking and adventure stuff, as well as find some sort of course to rehash Calculus and Physics. I miss them.

Thanks for bearing through, best of luck to all, and see you in a few months!

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