Sunday, December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
My heart is beating rather strongly tonight. I’m not sure why. I think I’m anxious. I want it to snow. Badly. I want work to be delayed tomorrow – but not canceled. It wouldn’t be awful to have it canceled, but we’re supposed to have a Christmas lunch and I’d like to get free lunch. I’m such a mooch, I know.
I can feel my heart in my throat. It’s a strange feeling. It’s like butterflies, but not quite as strong and I’m not about to do anything that would cause me to be so nervous – at least that I’m aware of. Maybe it’s subconscious and my body knows what is going to happen before it happens.
I’ve actually been feeling this nervousness off and on for the last few weeks. I had the feeling on the 6th when I went out for my birthday (the first time) and that ended up being a fun night. I then got the feeling again last week – I don’t remember which day, but I’m pretty sure that was the night that I found out someone wanted my number. Unfortunately it was not a boy I’m interested in, but it’s always nice to know that someone is interested. So what about tonight? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the snow. Although, I suspect that it is more than that.
Perhaps it’s the lingering excitement of having dinner with friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I enjoyed my time catching up and didn’t really want it to end – although our dinner lasted almost two and a half hours. Overall, I just had a good day and I’m thankful that I have people in my life that I can share time with.
I thought that perhaps by writing something the source of my anxiety would be revealed but I still feel the fluttering. It’s actually kind of intense. It’s a fun feeling but almost depressing at the same time. Maybe I would feel better about it if I knew the source of this feeling. Perhaps my subconscious will reveal itself in my dream tonight.
I guess that means it’s time for bed.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Inside the gym we had lights up and covered the floor with black paper. Parker put together a slide show that played up agains the wall.
Karis put Mom's wedding dress and Dad's tuxedo on sewing forms (you can see them faintly in the background).
Mom and Dad were greeted by a large crowd of people as they arrived! Surprise!
Mom and Karis.
The gym full of all our family and friends!
We made Dad wear and Afro-Wig and Mom wear a veil to represent their wedding picture that we used for the invite.
We had a Birthday Cake and an Anniversary Cake.
Parker (the lumberjack) got some love from our Aunt Cheri at the end of the night.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I’ve always had a good relationship with my grandma. When I was younger I used to spend the night at her house once a week and she would let me watch Nick at Night and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and she taught me how to knit (although I forgot and had to re-learn years later). When I was in Middle School she moved in with our family into a Mother-in-Law apartment and I used to visit with her just about every night. I’d watch ER with her and tell her about my day and we’d just talk. It was fun and I loved it.
Two years ago she moved in with my aunt because she couldn’t drive anymore and getting to and from doctor’s appointments had become a huge burden. After a year of living with my aunt, everyone decided it would be best for my grandma to move into an assisted living facility. She had her own kitchen area and bedroom and whatnot, but there was a cafeteria and someone checked on her routinely to make sure she had her meds and helped with showering and getting in and out of bed. Eventually it got to be too much work for the facility and so now she is in a group home where she still has some freedom, but not much due to her limited mobility. The hard thing is that my grandma isn’t that old. My grandma on my mother’s side is older than my dad’s mom but she is much more mobile and independent. She still drives, lives alone, and travels very frequently.
As long as I can remember my grandma (my dad’s mom) has been the one person in the family who has taken vitamins regularly and shopped at the health food store and exercised on a daily basis. She is the only person in my entire family who has done that, but ironically she’s the only person who has had cancer and has had to have hip replacement surgeries and knee surgeries and all kinds of other random stuff. Now, I don’t know exactly what my grandma was like in her younger days, but I do know that she used to be a nurse and from the stories I’ve heard, she doesn’t sound like the kind of person who put her body through a whole lot. She did smoke in the 60’s (like everyone did) but quit once they realized how bad it was for you. I’m sure she wasn’t always so careful about her health, but I seriously doubt she was ever careless.
Watching my grandma go through this period of her life has been hard. It’s difficult to see her so upset by her physical inabilities and restrictions. It’s painful to help her get around and do the normal things that I take for granted every day. I know it’s a part of aging and the life process, but it seems unfair that someone who has worked so hard to be healthy has ended up this way. It makes me wonder what the point of trying to be healthy is.
Last February I made a conscious decision to try and eat healthier and make better choices. I started exercising and looking at food labels – something I’ve never done consistently before. I didn’t make a big deal out of it and I only told a few people. I just wanted to see if it would really make a difference in how I felt and if my energy level would increase (like everyone says it does) or if I would even notice a difference. Since I already had knee and back problems I figured with my grandma’s history, it couldn’t hurt to try and improve my lifestyle. It didn’t take long before I noticed that my clothes began to fit me differently and people I hadn’t seen in awhile began to ask if I’d lost weight.
Now, almost 10 months later, I can see a physical difference in myself, but I don’t know if there has been an emotional or mental change. I still hate exercising as much as I did before, but I do it because I know it’s good for me and I still crave certain foods that I shouldn’t eat, but I don’t forbid myself from anything. My idea of a perfect day is still spending the whole day in bed sleeping in and watching movies and eating my favorite foods. I haven’t changed that much – or at least I didn’t think that I had until last night and this morning.
Some friends took me out for dessert last night to the Melting Pot for my birthday. We had a great adventure and laughed a lot. They had never been to the restaurant before so we opted to get two small chocolate pots in order to try two different kinds of dessert. The waiter brought our chocolate and our two large dishes of stuff (fruit, brownies, cheesecake, marshmallows, graham crackers, pound cake, etc.) to dip in the chocolate. He also brought us an extra piece of cheesecake since it was my birthday. Basically we had A LOT of sugary goodness to consume and I definitely enjoyed every gluttonous bite that I ate – until I had had one bite too many.
I woke up this morning on such a sugar high it wasn’t even funny. I still loved every minute of last night and wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe I wouldn’t have wanted to wait an hour to be seated – but that’s a whole other unrelated issue). What I’ve realized that maybe I have changed more than I’d thought since last February. My body has adjusted to my new lifestyle and I didn’t even notice. I don’t think that going out and eating like I used to is the worst thing in the world to do, but only if I only do it every once in a while. It’s funny that it took a moment like last night for me to be able to recognize this change. It’s strange how such a gradual change isn’t really noticed and it doesn’t seem like it was that hard to do now that I look back. I guess I’m learning that I can form good habits and it’ll help keep me in line or I can form bad habits and my body will allow me to perpetuate my vicious cycle.
Ultimately it comes down to me and I have to decide how I want my body to function. I can’t control what will happen to me in the future. It’s possible that I will end up just like my grandma whether I try to prevent it or not, but I think I’d rather try to create as many good habits as I can now and give myself a fighting chance instead of waiting until it’s too late. I won’t stress about being super healthy but I also won’t ignore it. I think I’ve found the balance that is right for me and I’m thankful and amazed to see how far I’ve come in less than a year.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
On Monday night I was enjoying one of my new shows, Privileged on the CW. It’s a cheesy but cute little show that I don’t give much credence to, in fact it’s really quite dumb and not worth anyone’s time, but you know me – I like these kinds of shows. It’s basically my Gilmore Girls replacement. The show’s premise is that this girl, Megan, has been hired as a tutor for two very rich and “privileged” girls living in Palm Beach (I think it’s Palm Beach?). She lives in their mansion and make sure they study and yadda, yadda, yadda. If she is successful in getting the girls into Duke then she will have all of her student loans paid off, in addition to the salary she receives for being their tutor – a pretty sweet deal, I must say. The only issue is that (of course) there are all kinds of traps and roadblocks along the way – hence the reason people watch the show.
So this last Monday night, I’m watching my guilty pleasure of a show, when I find myself becoming ridiculously upset with the main character, Megan. She is in a relationship with the hot, rich neighbor and they’re talking through some stuff that has happened and she basically turns the whole thing around to be about her. Then she starts to put words into her boyfriend’s mouth and basically breaks up with him because of what she thinks his motives are. When it comes time for him to give an explanation he doesn’t (of course) until later when he comes back with this whole speech and makes everything right and they end up back together (sorry if I just spoiled the episode for you).
What frustrates me isn’t that they couple broke up and then got back together. I’m annoyed that they broke up in the first place. Basically the episode shows how ridiculous this relationship is – and how dumb so many are.
Relationships should be founded on open communication. Granted there needs to be some judgment about how much to disclose right off the bat, but keeping things hidden and assuming how someone else feels or is reacting to something is just a set-up for a disaster. There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation for something or there might not be, but you have the give the person the opportunity to respond to the situation and clarify what is going on. It’s your decision at that point to decide if you believe the person, but that is a whole other issue – at least give them a chance to state their case!
I think this is true for all relationships, romantic relationships and friendships. It even has its place in the workplace and frankly in pretty much any human interaction in everyday life. I’m not saying we need to over-analyze everything or start becoming so touchy-feely that the relationship drowns in questions and communication, but there is a balance and in order to strike it, you have to let each person speak his or her piece.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Homemade cookie dough is one of those things I just cannot resist. I am going to be the worst pregnant woman ever because the thing that I am going to want is cookie dough – for those of you who do not know, raw egg is bad to eat when you are pregnant, even worse than normal – and don’t try to tell me I can just make it with fake egg or without egg or buy the pre-packaged kind. No. Those alternatives are never as good and never hit the spot the way a fresh batch of REAL cookie dough does.
I do not have any cookie dough in my vicinity right now – but that is because I ate all of it that I made two weeks ago. I had a bad day and all I wanted was my glorious cookie dough, so I let myself have it. I made most of it into cookies (not quite as tempting as the dough) and just saved a little bit of the raw material to enjoy later. I made the batch on Friday and everything was gone by Monday. An entire batch of cookies – gone. Granted, I did have some help, it wasn’t all me, but I’ll be honest; it was mostly me. I just can’t help myself when I get that craving or see that dough, I fall back into old habits. This last week, I discovered that this problem of mine is not just related to food, it also pertains to boys.
As I have said before, I am a crush slut. I crush on more people faster than anyone else I know. It’s quite ridiculous. There are some people in my life that I have been able to move on from. I’ve crushed on them and it’s out of my system and I no longer like them. Then there are the boys who are my cookie dough. I see them and as much as I know that I should not like them, my heart just goes to mush the second I see them. They walk by and my heart practically jumps out of my chest in anticipation that they might talk to me – and when they do, the best thing I can usually come up with to say is some sort of garbled rambling mess that not even I understand. Someone should really send me back to junior high.
All it takes is one look from him, one small touch, or one whiff of his cologne and I am ruined for the next two weeks. It’s so dumb and so silly and for some reason, so fun.
As much as I hate it, I will admit, that I love it too. It’s the excitement and the rush that makes it this way even though I logically know that nothing will happen. He is not in to me, and honestly it’s ok, because I don’t know if I’d really be into him down the line if something serious ever happened, but the superficial high is good enough for now.
To all of my friends who will hear me gush about him (whoever “he” is at the moment), I am just going to issue this apology in advance – although for many of you it is probably more appropriate to say this is a belated apology. Thank you for indulging me, thank you for humoring me, and most of all, thanks for just being there when I am craving all the things I shouldn’t have.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Two of the most notable and biggest celebrations happen in December.
First, there is Christmas. This year we have a glorious 26 days to prepare for this holiday (unless you started before Thanksgiving – in which case, “shame on you!”). Holiday lights are put up, cookies and other holiday treats are always around. Santa appears in the stores and there are candles and bells and snowflakes everywhere! How could you not be filled with the Christmas spirit?
Then once Christmas is over there is New Years Eve to look forward to. New Year’s Day is great, but December 31 is when all the real fun happens since everyone leaves the parties once the countdown is over. This holiday is wonderful as well because there are treats and goodies and champagne! Plus friends are all around and you get to make a lot of noise at midnight – something I’m rarely allowed to do.
December is also a time when people are just generally happy. Yes, there are some scrooges out there, but they can’t ruin it for you unless you let them. December is a time to share the wealth – even if it’s just a smile - and you can’t help but smile when the Christmas lights sparkle and you’re listening to your favorite Christmas carols. The ultimate December treasure is the first snow of the year. You can hear it coming by the silence that fills the air and the color of the horizon. It’s a beautiful time that only happens once a year – and in the Northwest, it’s almost always a December moment.
Of course there are some selfish reasons that I love this month. Obviously there is my birthday (December 13) but there are also several friends who have birthdays and a few family members with anniversaries.
Basically – I think that the entire month of December should be a national holiday. Who does work between Thanksgiving and the New Year anyway? It’s all one big party month. If you’re not out at a Christmas party, you’re celebrating a birthday, or out Christmas shopping. No real work is ever done – nor should it be. December is a time to be still and prepare for your last moments of the year. It’s a time to get everything done that you haven’t done yet and a time to do all the “bad” things that you've promised yourself you will stop doing in the New Year.
So, join with me wont you? Welcome in December with a shout, a laugh, or maybe even a dance? Eat a cookie or two, drink some cider or hot chocolate, and cozy up by the fire – or by the window to watch the snow fall – or in front of the TV and watch your favorite feel good Christmas movie. Do it now before 2009 is upon us and you feel the pressure of a new start. Enjoy this time because you’ll never see 2008 again!
Friday, November 28, 2008
Like so many other twenty-somethings, there are a million different things that I want to do with my life but I have no idea where to begin. I feel as if my opportunities are dwindling and that I’ll regret not taking advantage of everything in front of me. I don’t want to end up stuck somewhere doing something out of obligation when it’s not what I’m meant to do. The problem is that there are so many things I would like to try and I can’t close one door if I haven’t seen what’s behind all the other doors. The reality is that no one can do that. It’s too overwhelming and just plain impossible to know every possibility out there. I know that, but it still feels like I’m failing life.
My head knows I am not failing. Logically I know that I could be way worse off in life than where I am now, but my heart doesn’t believe my head. My heart aches because it wants more. It wants more than the comfortable life I have come to know. It wants adventure, it wants excitement, it wants accomplishments, and it thinks a man with an Irish accent wouldn’t hurt. ;)
It seems like there are so many great things out there just beyond my grasp. I’ve always been told that I can achieve anything I set my heart and mind to accomplish; I just have to work hard for it. But that begs the question; since I do not have the things that I want, does that mean I don’t want them badly enough or I have I not worked hard enough for them? Maybe. I don’t know.
I’m not naïve enough to think that this feeling is unique to me. It’s a common “twenty-something” experience. I get that, but it doesn’t make it any less real for me. I want independence. I want individuality. I want to make my mark. I want to be recognized for the things I am good at. But most of all, I want to be able to express everything that is inside of me in a coherent way. There is something inside me that is worth letting out. If only I could make sense of it all. I can’t put words or pictures to it. It’s inexpressible, but it’s real, and I want so badly to share it.
I just don’t know how.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The truth is that I have enjoyed my day alone. Yes, it might have been fun to have someone around to share my cooking adventures with, but I haven’t really been up for large crowds lately and a bit of solitary time was greatly needed.
I slept in this morning – not terribly late, only about 8:30 or so, and spent the first part of the morning in bed watching the Today show and Good Morning America. I watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade until about 11 and then got up to begin working on my various food dishes. My parents even called this morning from their cruise to say hello and it was fun to talk to them.
I attempted four new low-calorie recipes this weekend. Last night I made a pumpkin cheesecake (it had to chill overnight). I made the topping this morning and it’s still chilling in the fridge – I’m planning dig into it later this evening. I made a spinach-artichoke dip that turned out quite well. It’s a little “spinachy” for my taste, so I think next time I’ll use less spinach and more artichoke, but overall it was great. I also tried two versions of Mashed Potatoes. The first used cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes. You still use one large potato, but it’s mostly cauliflower. It didn’t turn out too bad, you can definitely tell it’s not all potato, and I think I added a little too much milk so it was a little runny, but overall good. The second potato recipe was better (and has 30 more calories than the first) and consisted of all potatoes – no cauliflower substitutions.
In case you didn’t notice, there was no actual turkey on my menu for today. I had intended to make a small turkey breast for myself, but then decided at the last minute that it wasn’t worth the effort. I don’t care enough about turkey, the chicken I made earlier this week is sufficient. :)
All that to say, my Thanksgiving has turned out well enough so far – despite being alone most of the day – and I hope yours has too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
It’s looking like my Plan D (since I’ve changed my plans so many times already) is that I will stay at SPU through the end of August and travel all of September, October, November, and most of December. I’ve picked a few countries that are most important to me and will be hitting those places. I’ll just have to go back at some other point in my life to see the rest of the places I had to cut out of the trip.
It’s extremely disappointing that my trip will not be beginning for such an extended period of time and that it has been shortened significantly. I don’t doubt that I will still have an amazing experience, but it’s just hard to let go of something I’ve wanted and been planning on for such a long time now. In reality, it’s probably a much better scenario anyway. I will be able to save more money since I will be putting off quitting my job. Plus, I’ll be able to stay I was at SPU for three full years, which makes me a bit more marketable, especially in this volatile economy. There’s still no guarantee that I’ll be able to find a job once I return in December and start looking, but it’s more likely that if I did find a job before I left that they would hold it for me for 4 months rather than 10. (It’s probably still an unlikely circumstance either way, but I can hope can’t I? J) Plus, when I return after traveling I will not have completely drained my savings account. There will be a significant chunk missing from it, but there will still be something there to help me get started on my next phase of life.
I’m reconciling this idea and am beginning to take hold of it. If some other opportunity came knocking I’d accept it in a heartbeat. For now that does not seem to be in the picture and I think I can accept that, let’s just hope I can survive another summer conference season.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I was a the pool last night and I had to wait in line for 10 minutes for the cashier to finish whatever it was that she was doing before she could help the growing line of customers waiting to get into the locker rooms. I found myself anxious and annoyed that I wouldn’t be able to start my swim promptly at 7:30. I even considered leaving since I obviously wouldn’t be able to get in my full 1 hour workout. I had to stop myself and think about how ridiculous I was being.
A friend of mine is trying to lose weight so she is doing a cleansing diet. She knows someone else who has done this and lost 15 pounds (or something like that) in a week and has continued to lose weight since then. Of course she is losing weight, she isn’t eating anything. What’s going to happen once she starts eating again? It’ll all balloon back on. The only tried and true method of getting the body you want (unless you’re born with an amazing metabolism and perfect genes) is to work hard getting in shape and eating right. You can do all the other fad things but in the long run it’s only a healthy lifestyle change that is going to make a difference. The weight may not be off tomorrow or even next week, but 10 years down the line take a look in the mirror.
There are a series of people in my life (or people I am acquainted with) who have recently been married or gotten engaged after only dating their significant others less than a full year before popping the question – one couple was as short as two weeks. Granted each situation is different and each couple is different. Some have known each other much longer than a year, but still, marriage is a huge thing, not something to rush into. Being friends or knowing someone is totally different than dating him/her. People change so much and I think you have to go through a few changes with that person in order to know if you’ll be able to adjust to the changes you’ll encounter together for the rest of your lives.
My computer has been acting slow and it’s frustrating. But I have to remind myself that 10 years ago it would have taken our top of the line household computer a whole day to complete the tasks that I am now able to complete in an hour. The computer wasn’t slow then so why should I complain if I have to wait an additional 2 seconds for a website to load?
I know it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples, but it’s also not apples to oranges. There’s a huge shift in our society and people are impatient. We’re hurrying and running around and not taking the time to enjoy life and just be. Our economy is plummeting and everyone wants a fix now. Well I have news for you all. The economy didn’t die overnight and it isn’t going to come back overnight. It’s going to take time. I’ve come to realize that time is the most precious commodity. What I want right now is time. Time to learn, time to explore, time to sleep, and time to just be.
Yes, I’m anxious to live my life and know what is in store for me, but I also know that it’s going to be here and gone before I even realize it. I don’t want to look back and ask where all the time went. I want to look back and be able to say that I enjoyed my time and experienced every moment of it. It’s a lot to ask for, but you can’t expect something to happen if you don’t hope for it. I’ll leave you with this quote.
“Many people don't lose because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit." -Les Brown
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Basically, it’s an embarasement to be me.
Friends will not walk into a store with me. They demand that I let them enter before or after me in order to avoid the awkward stares that I receive. It’s gotten to a point that I don’t even stop anymore. If someone wants to question me go ahead, I have nothing to hide, but I’m tired of feeling bad everytime I set off an alarm. I just say a little prayer and walk through the sensors – hoping that they wont go off. I’m still a little convinced that it’s my phone setting them off. It’s old and needs to be replaced but I’m waiting to get a new one until I’m back from Europe.
I decided today that it’s probably a good thing for me to get used to people staring at me awkwardly. That’s probably going to be my life for the next year as I travel in places where I will stick out from the crowd. Life is funny that way – Lemons to Lemonade I guess.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The person who hosted this living room concert is a former SPU student and now attends a local church that is heavily attended by SPU students and graduates. I mention this because there were about 30 people in attendance last night and five people (including the artist) were males – although technically the artist and his friend (who came with him to help set-up) shouldn’t count. Adding to the SPUness of it, the artist’s friend and one of the other guys in attendance were married and one of the guys appeared to be dating one of the girls there. This leaves only two single men; the artist and a former SPU male – who by the way is a notorious single guy that is “just friends” with everyone, oh wait, isn’t that an attribute for all SPU guys?
So there I sat, in a room full of girls listening to an attractive, single, talented, Christian singer/songwriter play his guitar. Heaven help us all.
As soon as he started playing I could feel the mood in the room change. It went from, “hmm, this is kind of awkward,” to “ahhhh.” Every girl was instantly falling head over heels for this guy. Even the girls who were “taken” displayed a girlish grin as they swayed to his music, and how could they not when his opening song was about a relationship with a girl? As the night progressed everything became more interactive and he had us all in the palm of his hand when he sang his “break-up” song (which really is a great song). I could even feel myself succumbing to his powers.
I started to convince myself that every time we made eye contact it was a sign of his interest. And when he didn’t seem to be making eye contact, it meant that he couldn’t because he would be too distracted by the sight of me and would mess up his set. (Because we all know that I have that kind of power over men - LOL) Then every girl in the room became my enemy. Anytime they laughed at his jokes or expressed enjoyment of his music it was a threat to the connection that he and I shared; our unspoken love that should have been obvious to them all.
I found myself annoyed by one girl in particular who seemed to keep interjecting herself in the group conversation. Offering unnecessary comments and sharing ridiculous stories, she was so obvious about her crush on him, not quietly playing it cool like me. Of course, I had already decided that he was not the kind of guy who went for the obvious girl, but preferred the girls who, in a setting like this, sat back and observed and enjoyed the music, instead of ruining it with her comments.
Don’t get me wrong, I participated in the sing-a-long and laughed when it was appropriate, but is it really necessary to hum and try to harmonize with a song that you don’t know just so you can look like you’re “into” the music and show off your vocal skills – which in reality aren’t actually that great? I hate it when girls do that. At the end of the night I spoke to him for all of 30 seconds none of which really related to me. But, that’s ok right? We shared an awkward silence which meant so much more – obviously he felt exactly the same way about me but just couldn’t find the words to express himself or a good way to start a conversation.
After we left I was talking to a friend who had also been at the party. A few minutes into our conversation I realized that we felt exactly the same way – convinced that he was going to e-mail us the next day expressing his passion and love for us. He had each of our e-mail addresses since we had signed up for his e-newsletter. How could this be that we each left with the same impression? How could it be that he wasn’t in love with me after I had sat there for an hour politely listening to him and not being overly flirty with him (like the one girl)? I instantly shifted to a bitter level. Fine, if he doesn’t want to be with me, it’s his loss. He can go flitter around the country with the crazy girl. What do I care? I’m amazing and if he doesn’t see that then he’s not worth my time.
Then it hit me.
I am the crazy one.
It’s no wonder that boys think girls are confusing, and it’s no wonder we think they’re confusing. We’re all too busy reading into the things that are happening around us instead of actually taking the time to see situations for what they are. Yes, it’s possible that this musician liked me, picked me out of the crowd, and I was his muse for the night, but it’s HIGHLY unlikely, and that’s ok. I don’t really think it’s a girl thing either. I think it’s human nature. We see what we want to see and interpret it how we want. It’s really us confusing ourselves. If we took the time to see that an apple had fallen out of the tree we wouldn’t be running around convinced that the sky had fallen.
Maybe it’s time for me to start appreciating the reality of the world around me instead of the possible interpretations that each situation could potentially be. It’s exhausting to have to consider all the different scenarios and frankly it is unnecessary. I do have to admit though, it is highly entertaining to watch.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I arrived at the Edmonds Theater just before 9am (when my first "class" started) and went to four sessions. I learned about Ireland in my first session, Eastern or Central Europe (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary) in my second session, Spain and Portugal in my third session, and Switzerland, Austria, and Germany in my last session. There was a 2 hour break in between the 2nd and 3rd class where I ran to Costco to make some returns and do some shopping and then checked out the Rick Steves Travel Center where I purchased some plug converters that will be necessary for my trip. And of course I ate lunch somewhere in there too.
After today I am even more excited for my trip to start. I will admit that I'm a little stressed out about all the things I need to figure out before I go, but I am excited and hopeful and ready for the adventure! There are so many cool things out there that I want to see and experience and I'm sure there will be many more things I'll discover along the way!
I did find out some unfortunate news today as well. A friend is going through a very rough time and my heart goes out to her. At the same time I am angry with the person who is the cause of the situation. I am a very loyal person and when someone hurts my friends my first instinct is to hurt them back - even if I wouldn't be capable of doing it or following through, it's my immediate thought. I wonder if this means I'm a fight and not a flight person? I'm not really sure since I don't know if I'd follow through with my instincts, but it's something to ponder. All that to say, I hope my friend feels better. I know it's a crappy situation that only time can heal. And if she wants me to, I will dress up in a bear costume and maul the person responsible - she just has to say the word. ;)
Friday, November 7, 2008
I need to let go and I think I am ready to do it; it’s just terrifying to wonder what is ahead of me. I have no control over the future anyway – whether I go to Europe or not – but if I don’t go, I know that I will still have my savings account, a job, and somewhere to live. There is security in that even if it’s not doing what I want. I could easily let the fear of the unknown stop me but I refuse to. Maybe I’m just being stubborn at this point, but I’ve come so far to mentally prepare for this journey that I can’t turn back now.
I think the hardest thing is knowing that I’m going to miss big moments in my friends’ lives. I already have three weddings that I will miss and I’m sure there will be others that I just don’t know about yet. Babies are going to be born, my former residents will graduate from college, and it’s possible that my grandma will not make it to 2010. It’s hard to accept that I may not be around for these moments, but I have to remind myself that even if I decide to wait another year or two to take my trip, there will always be things I’ll miss out on. I can never be present at all the moments.
It’s a selfish thing to say, but I need to put myself first and I need to take action. If I don’t do it now, I never will and I will regret it. I don’t want to regret anything in my life and to this day there are only a few things that I wish I had done differently – one of which is studying abroad. By taking this trip I have the opportunity to make up for that regret, and who knows, perhaps I’ll end up making up for some others in the process.
My trip is a reality. It’s almost upon me. I’ve decided my last day of work will be January 23 and I’ll be leaving for Europe the first week of February. Yep, it's definitely final.
There’s no going back now…
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I haven’t swam in about two weeks and I keep having special occasions where I tell myself I can splurge just that once. Except that it’s happening more and more frequently! Ugh …
I can feel my pants getting tighter and I can feel myself becoming more lazy and lethargic. I need my routine back and I am taking it back starting tonight.
I will either swim or do a cardio work out for a full hour tonight. This is my goal and I am sticking to it.
and no more chocolate for today…
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I had coffee with a friend a few weeks ago – and by coffee I mean hot chocolate (or sometimes chai) because as you should know, I hate coffee. We were talking about our future travel plans and she was completely engaged in what I was telling her. As I was talking I asked about her plans and she looked at me and responded, “are you sure you’re done?” Now, this may sound sarcastic via this online posting, but it definitely did not come across that way in person and was not intended that way. I was taken aback by the selflessness of her actions and the selfishness of mine. She sat there and listened to me go on and on and on when she had big news of her own to share. I was just so wrapped up in my story that I didn’t bother to check in with her first. Friendship point for her, zero for me.
This last weekend my brother and sister and I threw a surprise party for our parents to celebrate of their 50th birthdays and their 25th (almost 26th) anniversary. A friend of mine texted me on Friday to check in and see how things were going. I hadn’t talked to her about the party in probably over two weeks! It made me remember how she had told me she was going to go skydiving and I didn’t remember to ask her about the adventure until a picture had been posted on facebook. Now, I don’t remember is she told me when the adventure was going to be taking place, but I still should have remembered. No friendship points gained for me here, one for her though.
A friend called me a few weeks ago to say hi. That was it. She just wanted to tell me that she had enjoyed hanging out with me a few days earlier and that she hoped I would have a great rest of my day. How could I not have a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day? Point for her.
There are so many more stories I could share about different friends asking me for advice and sharing stories with me. I love knowing that my friends respect my opinion and care about what I have to say. I am thankful when a friend can confide something in me or share something personal. I feel as though our friendship is validated and real and not forced.
I have always felt like I have surrounded myself with awesome people and recently I have just been noticing more and more how true that is. In the last few months the little things that my friends do to show me they care have become abundantly clear. I’ve even begun to hold a mirror to myself and wonder if I am being as good of a friend back to them.
So to all of my friends out there – thank you for being amazing and wonderful. You mean the world to me and I would surely be lost without you. I hope that I can be as good a friend to you as you have been to me because you deserve to have an equally good friend, we all do.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Basically, I am looking for recommendations in each country. I know the basic stuff that I want to see and do, but since I also want to explore everyday life and not just the tourist stuff. I'm hoping that people who have been to the various locations might be able to offer suggestions. Also, the time periods aren't set in stone by any means. If you think I'm spending too much time somewhere or not enough - let me know!
England - 3 weeks
Ireland - 2 weeks
Spain - 2 weeks
France - 4 weeks
Portugal - 2 weeks
Belgium - 1 week
Amsterdam - 1 week
Germany - 4 weeks
Denmark - 2 weeks
Norway - 2 weeks
Sweden - 2 weeks
Poland - 2 weeks
Czech Republic - 2 weeks
Austria - 3 weeks
Switzerland - 2 weeks
Italy - 4 weeks
Slovakia - 2 weeks
Greece - 4 weeks
Turkey - 2 weeks
Russia/Ukraine - 2 weeks
Morocco - 2 weeks
Egypt - 2 weeks
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I'd say this picture personifies my relationship with my brother Parker. To be fair, he was looking at the camera at first, but then it took forever to take the picture so he turned around. This was on our way to the movie theater to see W at Parker's insistence. Unfortunately the film did not live up to his expectations.
That's it for now ... I'm sure more will come later. :)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I wonder how much time I spend in a day just wasting away.
In high school my mom gave me a keychain that read, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” I have used this keychain ever since and surprisingly it has held up well. (I‘m not very gentle with my keys and many of my fun keychains have not even lasted a week.) I love this quote – and the keychain. I love the personality that it represents. My mom gave it to me I am a huge procrastinator. Well, I used to be – I have gotten a lot better as I’ve “grown up,” but I still put things off as much as I can. I’ve always been responsible and things get done, they just get done at the last minute. This can be stressful for some people, but I thrive in that type of atmosphere. It gives me the push I need to complete a task.
While the keychain may have started out as a joke between me and my mom, it has developed into a sort of subconscious mission statement as I reflect on my upcoming plans. (Yes, I know I talk about my new adventure a lot, but it’s what is on my mind, so there!)
When I tell people about my plans I am greeted with one of two general ideas of thought, even if they don’t say it, I can see it in their eyes. The initial reaction is either a “Wow, that sounds like an incredible and exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to hear more about it” type of response or I’m met with a deer in the headlights look and the equal reply of “Can you afford that? What will you do when you get back to the US? You shouldn’t go alone, that’s unsafe – you’d better take someone with you.” I’d say it’s about 50/50 which response I will get but I usually know going into the conversation what is going to come out of it. (People are so predictable J)
I guess what it all comes down to is that some people may think that taking a year off of “real life” to travel is a waste of time and dangerous. But there are just as many people who would say that experiencing something like this is what real life is all about.
About a year ago, my dad told me that he was excited because he was finally living out his “somedays.” He had worked hard his whole life (and still does work very hard) and was now able to reap the reward by experiencing the things he had always said he would do someday. I think that is fantastic and wonderful and something great to look forward to, but I also want to enjoy my life while it is happening. I don’t want to always be waiting for the next thing to come down the line. I don’t want to have everything put in the “someday” category. It’s good to have goals and something to look forward to, but I think it’s also good to have experiences when you are young to propel you through life.
I don’t want to sit at a job making paper cranes day after day after day just waiting for the seconds to melt away until I can go out and live my real life. I want to enjoy and experience life as it happens. I want todays and somedays, but I want a healthy mix of both.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Now, I am an extremely rational person. I think things through and weigh everything out, but when it actually comes down to making a decision I usually go with my gut. I don’t forget about the rationale behind my thoughts, but I go with my intuition and when I move forward, I make arrangements to counteract my concerns as best that I can. I make my decision and I commit to it. I have to do this so that I don’t let my fear of the unknown keep me from pursuing what I want, because it will if I let it. So, when my dad begins to express his concerns about me traveling alone in foreign countries I become rigid.
I don’t want to have the fact that I’m a girl traveling alone be a reason for me not to have this adventure. Why should my plans have to be put on hold until there is someone else who can be a part of them? I don’t want to hear about how I’m going to be an easy target for thieves because I want to travel lightly with one or two bags. Why should I be any more of a target than I was when I was traveling in Europe with my family last time? I seem to recall that my dad was the one who almost got pick pocketed, not me.
Obviously I’m not naïve enough to think that I can go anywhere and do anything without taking precautions to be safe and protected, but I think I deserve more credit than that. I’m a smart person and I am aware of my surroundings. I plan to do my research and if I am confident in my actions, that’s half the battle to avoiding becoming a target. I fully understand that my dad’s warnings are well based. He’s concerned about me. He doesn’t want me to be hurt or be robbed and I appreciate that. I’m not frustrated with him for bringing these things up. I’m annoyed that his anxieties are the same worries I have for myself. I’m discouraged by the fact that there is nothing I can concretely do to ease those uneasy feelings. And that, for those of you who know me well, is probably the hardest thing for me to accept. I can’t fix it all. I can’t be in control of every step of my journey. I’m going to have to rely on myself in every situation I stumble into.
I don’t think my trip is going to be easy. I think it’s going to a huge challenge for me to be on my own in various foreign countries where I will have no clue as to what anyone is saying. But for me, that’s the beauty of it all. Am I excited? Yes! Am I afraid? Of course! But am I going to let fear of the unknown cripple me and keep me from an adventure I’ve been thinking about for over 10 years? Heck no!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Probably the most obvious example of all of this is with boys. As all of my friends know, I develop crushes at the drop of a hat. I often refer to myself as a crush slut, which some people have told me is a derogatory thing to say. Yes, it is kind of negative, but it’s such a realistic description of what happens. These are crushes that are fleeting and of the moment and aren’t really given another thought after a day or two. I forget about the boy once he is out of sight and move on to the next one I see. It’s terribly funny to watch myself go through this, but because I know what is happening I don’t give the crushes too much credibility. Of course there are various levels of crushes and those just mentioned are at the very bottom of the relationship totem pole. As I remain interested in someone for a longer period of time (without having him in constant view) I know that it’s more than just a crush and that I actually like this boy, but even then there are often a few guys who live in this category. I can’t close any doors unless I know that there is real potential with a guy, and I haven’t been there in a long while. But I digress …
The other place in my life where I can’t seem to come to a decision is in my life plans. As you should all know by now I am planning to go to Europe. But when am I leaving and where am I going? Don’t know yet. I’d like to know and be able to make plans, but there are just so many different ways I could go about this whole adventure that I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many ifs, ands, and buts that it gets very confusing and the only way I can really deal with it is to stop for a moment and forget about it completely. But this is something I can only do so often since the window for purchasing a reasonable plane ticket is rapidly closing. I need to make some decisions soon; that much is clear. But once again, what if I close the wrong door?
I think I’m too independent of a person sometimes and then other times I let myself be bullied around by myself and talk myself out of things. I am a responsible person and I take responsibility for my actions. I don’t expect anyone to take the blame for me. If I do stupid things, I own up to them. It’s just my nature – or at least it has become my nature, I’m sure I wasn’t as fault accepting as a kid. The point is that I don’t want to just do (or not do) something because someone tells me. Yes, I take the advice of people I trust and care about and who care about me, but I also think about things myself. I weigh the options and make a choice. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but ultimately I have learned that I need to do things for myself and not for anyone else. It sounds a little selfish as I say it out loud, but it’s the truth. I know it isn’t always about me, but sometimes it is ok to put yourself first and to make a decision that is right for you even if it puts other people in a tight spot. There is consideration for others and then there is letting yourself be walked all over. I am not a doormat.
I guess the point of my rambling is that I would consider myself to be a fairly confident person. I have purpose and direction and am happy with who I am as a person. I may not always know how I am getting somewhere or what it’ll look like once I do, but I have faith that I will get there. Life is one big adventure and there has to be some surprises otherwise it wouldn’t be an adventure. It’d be predictable and boring and life should never be that way. Everyone has a different journey and you have to live your own. You can’t live someone else’s. I’m just trying to enjoy every moment of mine and learn every step of the way.