This morning, in honor of Ash Wednesday, whose Indonesian name, unfortunately, sounds more silly than sombre, I went to mass. Unlike a few years ago, when I casually dropped in on a Spanish-language session in Orem before my first class of the day, I did this one in proper Lenten mourning style: dragging myself out of bed at 4.30 A.M., I then walked for a half hour, in the dark and rain, to the city's cathedral, where I was too late to even get a seat and had to stand at the back, simulating a kneeling posture by just slightly bending my knees. I stayed through the sermon, a lovely homily reminding us all of Christ's sacrifice for us and its value in our lives, and even lined up to receive the ashes on my forehead (which, rather disappointingly, was closer to a smudge than a cross), but drew the line at partaking of the Eucharist--call me a wimp, but I think my childhood experience with being offered red grape juice as "blood of Christ" was too traumatizing to ever be repeated. Plus, I'm, um, not Catholic.
Be that as it may, I will be, as usual, honoring this Lenten season with a fast. This year's is intense: I'm giving up desserts, as always, but also English-language media, primarily novels, DVDs, crossword puzzles, and most websites. Basically, I'm giving up my sanity for Lent. Wish me luck.