I started classes again today! Tonight's class was contemporary Foreign Policy with Dr. Bosworth, who is a really great teacher and all-around interesting guy. I went to Coffee Casa, a Japanese coffee shop about a block from my house to start my reading. Reading "Rise to Globalism" by Stephen Ambrose & Douglas G. Brinkley. It's highly readable and a good recap of the last 70 years of US military actions. It seems the more I read, I feel like the less I know. How does one accumulate so much knowledge that they feel like they can speak authoritatively on a subject? I was thinking that today when Dr. Bos was teaching - granted he's got about 15 years on me, and an PhD. But will I ever get there? I read one author and think - yeah, that argument totally makes sense, and then I read another author who disagrees with author number one, and think - no wait, he's right, clearly. Being "smart" used to mean acing tests. Smart it a whole other thing now. Sometimes the smartest people are dead wrong (also reading Halberstam's the Best and the Brightest re vietnam). How can I begin to have an opinion that would be worthy of writing something scholarly (which I will have to soon) when I am still so unsure of my own opinions? I'm in this class that is pretty much 90% active duty military officers. Wouldn't they clearly know more about foreign policy than I? I guess I'm just taking it all too seriously tonight. That and because we dealt with the Spanish-American War tonight - an event that mysteriously escaped my 18+ undergrad history classes. Sigh.
So anyway, I was in Coffee Case, a lovely wooden cafe, drinking some tea, listening to an American Jazz compilation on the speakers, and reading an interesting book. I got this swell of happiness that I have not gotten since 1. I returned to UCSD to graduate; and 2. I was studying at Dartmouth. It is a warm contentment that is better to me than even Christmas Bonus Day (basically, I can't buy it). I love being a student. I love using my brain every minute that I'm a student. I love hearing theories and trying to disprove them. I love the freedom of a student - instead of having to have my derrière in a seat 8 hours daily even if my mind is turned off. I'm so lucky right now that I can be a student while still having this incredible overseas adventure.
Cortney's BF is in town, so john and I are going to go over to her place tonight for som e zesty beverages. She's trying to break my new years resolutions, but I will not be broken.