Today was one of those really nice days. For one, the weather was perfect. I mean, I'm color-blind, but I swear that the sky was the most vibrant shade of blue I've ever seen it ;-) There wasn't a cloud in sight, the temperature was warm, and there was a light breeze that just made sitting in a lecture hall seem so wrong. Luckily, my Geography class (which is my smallest class; there's only about 20 of us) got to take a little field trip to the campus' wildlife reserve. That was fun.
Basically, we just hiked down some trails and made notes about the plants we were seeing as the teacher talked. That itself wasn't fun, but I enjoyed hiking with my classmates. One of the things I dislike about college is that classes don't feel like communities. They did in high school, because you actually did stuff as opposed to listen to the teacher blab on for a straight hour. But in college you just don't talk to your classmates unless they happen to live in your dorm (in which case you bug them about the homework assignments and use them as a guide to when you should start your essays. If they start a week before the due date--you do. If they don't--you don't. And if you're both stuck working on papers at 1:00 AM the night before they are due, at least you have someone to share your suffering.)
Anyway, back to the bonding-with-my-classmates thing. I've already met a girl in Geo named Meggan who seems to be my feminine alter-ego, at least to a creative degree. She's an aspiring writer, too. We've talked a lot about our respective works and the difficulties we've faced with plotting, dialogue, and character development (I know, so pretentiously intellectual, right. Hey, this is college). I told her about the novel I wrote back in high school (and I'll tell y'all about it in good time), and I gave it to her last week. She had it finished by today and said she thoroughly enjoyed it. (:-D) Hopefully she wasn't just saying that to spare my feelings. It'll add to my confidence (or arrogance ;-) either way.
Other than that, I just made small talk with people. It was easy, since I started out at the back of the group, and by the end of the hike had kind of moved my way up. I especially enjoyed talking to the girls who were not enjoying the hike in the least. Too much fresh air for them, I guess ;-) I also talked to a middle-aged woman named Tracie. She's actually a faculty member at the school. She's not working towards any kind of degree; she's just taking a class for the fun of it (or at least that's what I inferred--she said they were allowed to take a free class a semester). Anyway, she's a very nice lady and says she really enjoys being around all the other 18-19 year-olds in the class.
A member of my small-group Bible study is also in Geo with me. His name's Rick, and he's a really nice guy and has been really candid with the other guys in the group about his problems. He's trying to quit smoking, and he's gone an entire week without lighting up. For someone quitting cold turkey, I assume that's pretty good. There are other problems too, but I won't print them here. I'll just say that everyone else is being pretty candid and that's great--I just wish I felt as comfortable expressing my, um, issues.
However, I have found one person in my group that I felt comfortable sharing it with, and last night I did. I really hadn't planned on it; it just kind of worked out that way. You see, after we said our closing prayer and went our separate ways for the night, Austin, the group leader, and I hung out in the apartment for a little while longer. One of Austin's friend had one of the most idiotic games in his possession. Seriously, I don't know who invented this thing, but what it is is a metallic device with four handles. What do you do? Why, each guy takes a handle, and then someone activates the "game"--which proceeds to deliver a mild electric shock to the handles. The person who holds onto their handle the longest "wins." :/ Needless to say when I got shocked, I uttered a pretty standard four-letter-word, accentuated with a not-so-holy "holy" in front of it.
No one blamed me, of course, but it did allow Austin and I to have a conversation about our struggles with swearing on our way home (or at least his struggle--I have to admit I have a mouth like a sailor sometimes and I really don't think twice about it *dodges stones*). Anyway, he talked about how he was really trying to stop using the word "gay" (for those who don't know, it's a common adjective today that not only means happy or homosexual, but also "stupid.") I told him that I was really relieved to hear that. I told him that that word infuriates me sometimes, and from there it really wasn't too far of a jump to admit to him that I struggled with same-sex attraction. He didn't seem the least bit surprised, and admitted he had been a little suspicious (making me wonder if I was that much of a flamer? ;-) He took it very well, was genuinely courteous and respectful and seemed to admire my position in regards to the whole thing. He said my "secret" was safe with him, that I'm not the first Christian to admit this to him, and that I could always call on him. Basically, I couldn't have asked for it to go better. So maybe that four-letter word was the perfect catalyst. Hey, God works in mysterious ways.
All in all, it's been a good 24 hours. I don't know who said "hell is other people," but I have to say I differ. Based on the ones I've met since I've gotten here (and the ones I've met throughout my life period), I'd have to say that other people are closer to heaven.