Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't Text and Walk

I cannot believe I forgot to put this in my other post.
Here's a good (ish) story...
I finally have a stateside phone number and, consequently, have been texting my friends in Virginia quite a bit. (Hello to those friends, if you are reading.) After my Theatre class, I was headed back to my dorm and got a message from one of said friends. As I was in the process of reading and replying, my feet found and then lost a set of stairs.
Which is really just my way of saying that I fell.
Which isn't a surprise to anyone, I know.
But the good part about this story is that these two boys were walking behind me. Okay, so maybe it's a little embarrassing to fall in front of people. BUT! But, they were super nice about it. They asked me if I was okay, we joked about walking and texting then moved on to talking about the Theatre class. Apparently we're in the same one but, like I implied in my other post, it's in a huge lecture hall so it was my first time seeing them. We chatted and walked all the way to South campus together. Another girl from our class heard us talking then joined our little posse. She was way nice.
I know, I sound ridiculous. "Ooooh, I talked to boys."
Admittedly, I'm pleased that they were boys.
But I would've been happy if it had been two girls. The part of the story that really makes me happy is the social interaction. I've been missing face-to-face social interaction.

Another First as well as Another Day of Classes

Note to college students: loose-leaf books means that the pages are not bound. If you see "loose-leaf" on one of your books, go buy a binder for it.
That's what I had to do today...all by myself. There's a Fred Meyer (a "one stop shop" for those of you who have never lived on the west coast) down in town (not in "downtown") that I went to when my family was here for the "Out of State Student Dinner" last Saturday. Wow, that feels like it was years ago. Yikes. Anyway, I'd bought a few storage boxes there that I didn't end up needing and I needed a binder. I don't even know how much time I spent yesterday looking at bus routes from campus to near Fred Meyer. Luckily, I found one relatively easily.
Then I just had to convince myself to actually get on the bus and go.
Somehow, I managed it. I rode the bus down there (ALL BY MYSELF, like a big girl), returned my unneeded storage boxes then purchased a binder, some black tights, Q-Tips, and bananas. Then I rode it all the way back to campus. I could've stayed on until the bus went to my dorm but it was really crowded and walked just sounded nice.
So that was my "first" of the day.
By the way, in case I haven't informed you guys, I'm hoping to counteract the "Freshman Fifteen" by walking to North campus (and back to South, where my dorm is) whenever I can convince myself to do so. Granted, on days were it's pouring rain...probably not going to happen. And I'm also going to buy an X-Pass (aka membership to the gym on campus) so I can go to Zumba classes. They don't start until next week, which is Demo Week. I might avoid Demo Week just because all the flyers say it'll be crazy and crowded.
After I dropped everything off at my dorm and got my book hooked into its binder, I headed back to the library on North campus to print the syllabi (syllabuses? what is the plural of "syllabus"?) for all my classes. My school is totally a "go green!" school so printing in mass quantities (say, enough for a lecture hall) is discouraged. But I like the have the hard copy so I can reference my assignments easier.
Studying for Psych came after that. Then my Art History class, which should be really interesting...I just need to remember to eat lunch before that class, not after. And that is the mistake I made today. But after Art History and lunch, I went to the class that I predict will be my favorite: Theatre 201, Introduction to Cinema. My professor is hilarious and I found that I know people in the class. Apparently, I'm also going to be working with them on a project all quarter. Hopefully that'll work out. I need to start thinking of themes...
Side note: here's something I don't like about college. The professors give one huge assignment that count for a huge portion of your grade instead of little assignments that make up your whole grade.
Anyways, after that was work and a package for me. My laptop has been returned from the company again. Fingers crossed that it actually works this time.
A few stray thoughts to close this whole thing up...
I need to talk to DAK (one of my coworkers) in person about maybe switching shifts with me. She's my last shot at being able to go to Swing Kids since DAA and DAE don't want to/can't switch with me.
I have a funny feeling that I'm going to be able to study a lot better outside of  my room. Being in it provides me with way too many distractions: my mail, my blog, Facebook, my bed...
My Psych book is really interesting so far, which makes me really excited since it's a lot of reading to do.
My Anthropology book needs to get here so I can start that reading.
I am SO SO happy that the dining hall in my dorm community does late night dinner hours. Otherwise, I'd be going without dinner tonight. And every other Thursday night...
I am looking forward to when I can take classes that aren't in huge lecture halls.
Things are starting to look a little brighter. I don't know if it's because I'm getting use to things, or because I know a couple people in my classes, or because I feel more solid at work, or because I had a reassuring conversation with my grandma yesterday... Whatever the reason, I'm hoping that things continue on the up swing. I don't feel like being sad anymore.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Two Firsts Done

I just finished up in my first ever college class. Lucky for me, RA6 is in that class so I have one friend. If I may share a hope with you guys, I think I'm going to be surprised about how close he and I become. Maybe. Hopefully.
Anyway, this class was just about the syllabus and how the class with work. My professor is not back at the university yet so his TA is going to be lecturing on Friday then he'll be back to school on Monday. I need to go over his syllabus again, along with doing the homework. I probably will actually start on said homework here in a few minutes. Since I have another class at one, it doesn't make a lot of sense for me to walk all the way back down my dorm (which is at least a ten minute walk from the rest of campus). I'm really worried about tomorrow when I have to make it from one class to the desk (the place I work) in that ten minutes. Emailing the person on shift before me to tell them I might be a few minutes late would be a good idea, huh?
Speaking of which, I still haven't found anyone to cover my shift tonight so that I can do Swing Kids. I can't even begin to tell you how sad that makes me. My mom said it perfectly, "Swing Kids was one of the deciding factors of choosing my school." And it totally was. Now I won't get to be a part of it for, at least, a quarter. RA6 told me that all of the RAs can only work two hour shifts, which might be a reason why no one has said anything. I'm also really considering buying a membership pass to the Rec Center and going to Zumba classes, since I can't make the class that's free.
My other first was my first shift at the desk, which was actually last night. I only worked for an hour, but it was a nice introductory kind of time. A little mishap occurred, though, when DAK (one of my coworkers) showed up to help out and we accidentally locked the mail room key in the mail room. That was a hassle. And I felt really bad for being on my first shift when it happened. Great first impression on the job, huh?

So that's two of my firsts done. I'm working again tonight (sadly, instead of going to Swing Kids; I still have my fingers crossed that someone will pop up and say "Sure, Robyn, I'd love to switch with you!") and I hope that it goes well. No more locking the mail room keys in the mail room is definitely a goal of mine.
Let me tell you a secret, though...I was seriously shaking when I woke up this morning. And I've been on the verge of tears since, like, 7 pm last night. I'm hoping and praying that college (more specifically, this college) was the right choice for me. I am totally used to knowing everything about everything, and I just don't know anything here. Or anyone for that matter. Yes, there's RA6 and SMH but neither of those bonds feels like a real friendship yet. Oh, and there's MB but that relationship feels pretty fresh too.
I want friends. Like, people who invite me to do things with them. Like, people who want me to come chill in their room. Like, people who will drive away my almost-tears by just being around. People I can hug and talk to and text and walk around with and everything that friends do together. I had those people back in Sig (at my old place of abode). And I do have people that I can text and talk to, but I feel that it's less likely that I'll make friends here if I'm attached to my phone.

That's life right now. Hard and a little sad, but still going. My hopes are that I'll be able to contain my tears until I'm not around anyone; that I'll make friends; and that I'll survive this whole experience. I'm still pretty overwhelmed at the moment.

PS...does anyone have thoughts about getting a recorder to record lectures? Is that actually helpful? Are they expensive?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Maybe It'll All Be Okay

College, so far, has thrown me into an emotional ocean. And I'm not very good at surfing so I'm not appreciative. I feel like I already went through the "honeymoon phase" (if you will) and reality is starting to hit. Honestly, I thought it would take weeks for me to be missing home; I'm surprised at how much I'm already trying to grapple with "Oh, I can't just go home now." It is an unpleasant shock.
But today I've been getting the feeling that maybe it'll start to feel like home. Maybe once classes start and I have stuff to do, I'll feel better. Also, I know I'll be happier once Swing Kids starts. (Fingers crossed that I can get my work schedule changed so I can actually go to SK.) I feel it's likely that those will be two places that I'm really likely to make friends. Right now, I just feel like I know a lot of people enough to wave to them. I seriously can't wait until I have real friends.
Maybe it'll all be okay.
Maybe I can make it all okay.
I want it to be all okay.

I Guess You Could Call This a Poem

Am I scared of myself?
Could that really be true?
Is it possible to be terrified of me?
The me that I could be?
Am I really the only thing in my way?
Is there more it than that?

All of my friends say I'm wonderful,
Beautiful,
Amazing,
They all believe I'll succeed,
But I don't feel so sure...

I thought maybe everything would be different,
That I had already changed,
It's funny how wrong a person can be.
I think I'm scared of me,
And of the path to becoming the me I could be

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Friends

Okay, so I'm at college. Today was official move-in day. My roommate is here (you all will know her as RMJ). There was a big get together for my dorm this evening, and I got to watch "Jurassic Park" with RA6.
I guess that everything is fine. I don't really know yet. This is all still pretty overwhelming. I'm starting to recognize a few faces, and I'm on pretty good terms with all the other people that I'm working with. I guess I just hoped that I would find a "fast friend". Maybe SMH (one of my suite-mates) is that. But maybe we're just suite-mates. We do have plans to do a bus tour tomorrow...sometime.
Maybe I shouldn't write right now. I know I'm not doing a good job of putting together coherent thoughts. I just keep wondering about friends. Where will I meet them? Will I have to put forth all the effort? Will things just develop? Am I too worried about making friends?

Scared of Sleeping

I've figured out why I'm scared of sleeping: it gives me time to think. Thinking always results in thoughts of my family/my friends, and how much I miss them already. Somewhere, I know that this will all work out and that I'll manage to make friends here somehow...but I just miss the ones that I had. Right now, I'm really missing not having my parents asleep across the hall. But I can't talk about it too much or else I'm going to cry a whole lot. The point is that I'm scared of laying down because it finally gives my mind a chance to try and go through everything. It stresses me out and makes me want to cry. *sigh*
But, anyways, today was pretty good. After working check-in for a day, I'm less stressed about my job. I do know that tomorrow is going to be absolutely crazy, though, since it's the real move in day. I'll finally get to meet my roommate! And the other thousands of students checking-in... I am excited for both.
Since my job is working out so far, I'm trying to tell myself that the rest of it will be okay because I know that I can take care of it, I just don't feel used to living by myself yet. My mom, brother, and sister came to the "Out of State Student Dinner" tonight, which ended early and was followed awkward mingling. (I'm not good at mingling. Also, I'm noticing that lots of programs here run ahead of schedule, which is a good thing.) Then, when I decided it was time to run away from the awkward mingling, we went off campus and down to the town. We stopped at Fred Meyer's to get some of the things that I knew I needed, which was a great relief. (Silly me, though, I forgot about a few things so now I'm trying to not be stressed about those.) After shopping and a little more driving, they helped me bring everything up to my dorm and get all set up with the new things they'd brought me/everything I'd just bought. And that was good.
But then they had to leave. I cried.
Then I forced myself to go to the lounge and see what was going on. My suite-mate was there so I got to hang out with her. Then I wondered if my friend RA6 (as I shall call him) was in his room. I went over but, alas, he was not. Sad face. He and I hung out last night, and made a big list of movies that we need to watch so I was kind of hoping to watch one of those tonight. But I ended up in my rooms, totally planning on making some decorations to go up on my cork board and inside my closet; then I just didn't. I'm making lots of lame excuses as to why: "My room isn't set up just right yet" and "I don't have tape for my closet decorations." So maybe after tomorrow I'll be able to put things up.
The "summer camp" feeling is already wearing off; I'm trying to keep my head above the water, but it's definitely easier when I have people to hang out with. Maybe getting a job was actually a really good idea besides the obvious reasons of job experience and money: it'll help keep me busy. Plus, it's helping me make friends. Yes, I'm being on the "weird" people and making friends with the RAs. They're all super cool, though! Maybe they all just think I'm worth talking to because the RD was bragging about me being from Italy...Well, for whatever reason, they're talking to me and that's really nice right now. Company is really nice right now.
You know how I said that I'm not good at mingling? Well, I'm not. Not the awkward kind where you all get thrown into a room and are instructed to just talk. But, apparently, I'm pretty good at talking. Like, when we were working today, I was just talking and talking to everyone that I was working with. It was pretty wonderful.
I don't really know what else to say. I mean, I miss a lot of people. But I'm excited to meet new people. I wish I was at home. But I wish that my roommate would be here already. I'm worried about classes. But I also know (somewhere in my thick skill) that it will all be okay.
For now, I guess I'll just have to deal with my fear of sleeping.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Guess This is "Day 1"

Today, I made four friends in the space of twenty minutes just because I know how to do the "Gangnam Style" dance.
But that's not chronological so let's start at the beginning.
1) Yes, my alarm worked this morning. I got up, showered and put on an outfit that is comprised completely of new clothing.
2) I went down to breakfast with my suite-mate, and ran into my other friends for breakfast. Note to self: locate milk.
3) I am dispensing with the numbering thing.
So, after breakfast, I headed to training and actually had a pretty good time. It was really nice because my RD was the one in charge of training so he was, I don't know, quietly encouraging when I wanted to say something. He's really nice. And he totally said "Y U NO RETURN PING PONG PADDLE?" today; I died laughing, oh my gosh. The other part of training that was really amazing was a slideshow activity called "First Impressions." My RD would leave a picture up on the screen for a minute and everyone in the room was supposed to write down their first impressions of the person on screen. Let me tell you, Ted Bundy looks like a really friendly dude. (For those of you who don't understand the problem with that statement, I'll explain: Ted Bundy was a serial killer in Seattle in the 70's; actually, he was wanted in like four states but you get the point: HE WAS A BAD DUDE.) The whole activity just basically said how we can't assume things about people just based on the way that they look, which is really common sense but it's a good concept to reiterate. Oh! Something else fantastic is that I get paid to attend all of this training.
Besides training, though, I finally made it across campus to see my friends' dorms. I have a funny feeling that I will see them like twice this quarter as soon as school starts. I share a class with one of them but the other two...I mean, I want to be their friend and I'll totally do Facebook chat, but I'm really excited to be a member of my dorm community. This complex seems super inclusive and, now that I'm an employee, I'm supposed to help add to that. That's kind of a terrifying notion so I hope I can figure everything out. I'll feel really bad the first time I have to say, "I'm a freshman and I don't know the answer to that." Okay, so maybe I'll actually say something more like, "That's a fantastic question. I'm not totally sure but I know someone we can call." But still. I like knowing the answers to things. I like knowing how to do things. I'm also a little worried that the club I'm a part of doesn't meet the one evening a week I have to work. If that happens, I'm going to be so so so sad. (But I should probably not think about it because I have this problem with stressing myself out too much, and I'm trying to avoid doing that.)
So now I'm just in my room, doing nothing in particular. I'm thinking that I should go down to the lounge and see if I can make any friends. But that idea makes me way way nervous. Should I?
Basically, today was information overload. Trying to remember all of it is crazy. I keep trying to take a breath and calm down but every time, I almost start crying. I don't really know what that's about but it happens. Luckily, my family is coming tomorrow. And they're close. Okay, I'm going to cry if I think about this too much.
I think I'll go be brave and hang out in the lounge for, like, an hour. At least. I'm hoping I'll see someone I know and be able to actually hang out.

Move-In Day

Here's what I learned about life on "move-in day": do not leave shopping for the morning of. Just don't. Stay up late the night before, if you have to, but get it taken care of before that morning.
Basically the story goes that we got a late start out of my brother's place, and had to buy things like hangers, a comforter, shampoo, a journal, and shoes. So, while we had planned to get to campus at like 11 and have two hours to buy my books and do my HR paperwork before dorm check-in at 1, we ended up not getting to campus until 2:30 and having to dash just to get all of my stuff up to my room before I had to leave to do my HR stuff. Needless to say, I was completely stressing out all day long. But then I got to training (yes, a few minutes late), and it all worked out. There was this kid with a Game Boy cell phone case; it made me extra happy. I met my suite mate, found my friends for dinner and made some new ones while making posters for real move-in day. "Legen...wait for it...dary!" Yes, that quote made me insta-friends with someone.
After poster time, my hands were covered in paint, which isn't really that exciting; but I am happy to report that none of it got on my clothes. Then I finally got to go unpack. Yay! It took a few hours to unload two boxes, two suitcases, and several bags but now it's all in place. I almost feel like I don't need my mom and dad to send me more stuff.
...
Almost.


My Side of the Room
I forgot to take a "before" shot but here's the "after." I refused to take a picture until my room resembled "The Dorm Room From Heaven" so I was up until midnight unpacking. I love how organized and uncluttered it is, which I'm sure is bound to change as the year goes on but, hey, a girl can dream, right? I just have to figure out something to go on the cork board above my bed. I didn't really bring any decorations...

My Closet




Yes, I needed to include a shot of my wardrobe. I'm really excited about all of my shoes. I think I'm starting to use the word "excited" too much.
But it completely describes how I'm feeling. Seriously, it probably took my at least a half an hour to fall asleep last night because my mine would not shut down. It kept going over, "Okay, there's training tomorrow. You work Saturday and Sunday. Sometime during that, you have to get your lofting and/or captaining equipment. I really hope that my alarm goes off. No, Robyn, this isn't summer camp; you're really here. You have to go buy your textbooks before classes start. Check your mail tomorrow; maybe the SIM chip will be there."
Yeah, you get the point. My mind wouldn't shut up. So falling asleep was terribly difficult.
But I'm here. Safe and sound. Well, safe and mostly sound. I'm still going a little crazy.

CRAZY DAY

It's midnight and I have training tomorrow so I'm not going to write the real blog post about today right now. I just wanted to say that I'm here, at school; I've reconnected with my friends and made a few new ones (my suite-mate is super nice). For the most part, I'm all unpacked into my room. A few more things are coming with my mom and brother when they come for the out-of-state student dinner in a few days. Speaking of which, I need to email my mom a list...
It's weird, I almost don't want to sleep. If I sleep, it's going to make this all real. I'll actually be at college. Right now, everything feels like a dream. A wonderful dream.
More to come about my adventures, I promise.
Good night,
Love,
A College Freshman

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mostly Amazing

I'M MOVING INTO MY DORM TOMORROW!!!

I'm growing up. Where the manual is for that?

This is going to be fun. :)

 And now you know...I'm moving into my dorm tomorrow afternoon then I have training for work Thursday evening and all of Friday so I can help everyone else move in on Saturday and Sunday. A few months ago, when I thought about this day, I was shaking in my figurative boots. Now I'm just crazy excited; I'm expecting that trying to get to sleep tonight will be about as easy as it is for a kid the night before Christmas. 
Today was one of those "on a mission" shopping days. Jeans, rain boots, long-sleeved shirts, a pillow, a file folder, a foam mattress pad, an umbrella (I know that it's practically sacrilege to live in Washington and own an umbrella; but, c'mon guys, it's a clear bubble umbrella.) Honestly, I don't remember the last time I had so much success on a shopping day, which is really me saying that I don't remember the last time I spent that much of my mom's money. Thank you, Mom! One thing I'm dreading a little bit is buying my textbooks; I managed to sign up for classes whose books are not only expensive but impossible to find anywhere but the bookstore at my college...so I get to pay a little over $150 for two of my books. I keep reminding myself that I can sell them back at the end of the quarter, which improves my outlook on life quite a bit. 
Anyway, today was not only amazing because of the shopping. I got to see a friend that I haven't seen in, I think, two years. She's as sweet and giggly as ever; she's also still the slowest eater I know. Profe, if you're reading this, I love you; breakfast was great times and you totally have to come up to visit me! I can introduce you to my roommate-for-a-night and the boy who likes to jump of of closets.
Speaking of those two, I'm apparently having dinner with them tomorrow evening. I've missed them a lot while I was in Germany; it's funny how you can miss people that you haven't actually spent that much time with. More to the point, I can't wait to hang out with them in person.
Here's another cool tidbit about the freshman page for my school. A few days ago, a girl posted that she knits and will make scarves for about 5 dollars. Somewhere in the comments, a boy asked if she can makes beanies. She said, "No." I said, "Yes." And, while that boy hasn't said anything yet, a different girl expressed some interest and now I am very possibly making lots of beanies over the next couple of months. The idea of making them for people really appeals to me because I love to crochet, but I don't always have inspiration to know what to do. If someone asks, "Can you make me a hat?" then I will have a goal. Goals are good to have. For a limited but undetermined amount of time, I am saying "You get me the yarn, I'll make you the hat." If I get enough demand, I'll start charging. Considering the nature of fall/winter in northern Washington, I'm predicting a fair amount of demand. Because, seriously, if I read Facebook "likes" as an indicator of who wants one, I already have four people asking me to make them one. 
My bit of sad news that adds the "mostly" to "Mostly Amazing" is about my laptop. At the beginning of the summer, I bought my own computer. Everything was wonderful for a few weeks, but then the screen started malfunctioning. We sent it in sometime in August; they sent it back a few weeks after that, saying it was repaired. It's not. That means that I have to figure out to how return it and buy a new computer soon. Lucky for me, my brother is somewhat of a computer nerd, and has offered me one of his extras (yes, he has extra computers) until I can get it all figured out.
All in all, I'm stoked for tomorrow. I'm stoked for the days after. I'm stoked for to go to college.
Yup, I'm like a kid on Christmas.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Annoying Feeling

Important to note the following: I love everyone in my family. They are all fantastic, well-rounded people who are really involved in the world around them. I love being a part of my family.

I've been spending a lot of time with my family these past few weeks. First I was in Germany with my parents, and I've spent this past weekend with my brother and sister. Now my mom is here to help move me into my dorm in a few days, and we spent a bunch of time at my aunt's house last night. Pretty much since then, I've had this familiar feeling of inferiority hanging over my head.
I don't know what it is about being with my family that makes me feel like that, but I almost always feel like everyone in my family is better than me. I almost never feel like I can hold my own when I'm in a room with three or more of them. They all always have something that they can talk about. They almost always have something more interesting to say than I do. They can keep nearly any conversation going, and going. They can always make people laugh, and have a great time.
For the most part, I am bad at all of those things. I am good at writing. I am pretty good at talking to people one-on-one. But if you add more people and concrete concepts to the equation, I can no longer figure out the answer. I completely flounder; I drown. And I see all of my family on their yachts above me, going on with their amazing lives with their amazing skills.
Somehow, I manage to survive being submerged in confusion and shame. But then I lay on the shore, coughing and spluttering, and knowing that I won't be able to stand back on my own two feet for a while. So I kneel in the background, embarrassed at being the member of the family that doesn't know how to manage a conversation or keep someone engaged. I'm sad to be the one bringing my family down with my incompetence, my inferiority.

Waltzing

If you want to learn some way to dance but you don't think you're very "dancing inclined" go look up how to waltz. It's a simple "one, two, three; one, two, three." Leads: left, right, together. Follows: right, left, together.
I'm on this little waltzing kick because there's this guy at Century named Za who is pretty good at swing dancing but doesn't dance like he is swing dancing. His form is too rigid for swing dancing. So my brother and I were having this discussion about what other dancing he must do to make his form be different. We postulated ballet, or waltz. If not waltz, some other form of rigid ballroom.
Mostly, this little post is me saying that I'm really excited for my wedding because now I know two forms of dance besides, "I'm going to wiggle to the beat." Yes, I'm excited for my wedding the reasons of I'll have found a man that I decide is worth spending the rest of my life with, and he'll be in love with me too. But now I'll be able to actually dance with my brothers (both have some swing dancing knowledge), and anyone else who knows either of those dance. That really excites me because, even though dancing with people to "wiggle to the beat" kinds of songs is super great, it gets kind of hard sometimes. But dancing in an actual form is pretty easy when two people know how to do it.

Is it the Thought that Counts?

"It's the thought that counts."
 A phrase that carries some insanely wonderful sentiment, but I'm coming to the realization that maybe it isn't completely true. Yes, if someone does something with good intent, that's great. But after enough times of just getting, "I promise I'll make it up to you," it's hard to keep a smile on your face. If the thought is what counts, why did people ever get up and start doing things? If the thought is what counts, why did people start making and giving presents? If it's the thought that counts, why do people ever feel the need to say anything more than "I'm thinking good things for you"? The thought is part of what counts.
The thought creates the action or the words that really mean something. If I want my friend to know that I'm missing them, I don't just think "I miss them"; I get online and send them an FYI of "Hey, I miss you." If I want to wish my friend a happy birthday, I spend a bunch of time beforehand putting together a present for them. The thought spurs the action. The thought is the stuff behind the words. The thought is great but it's not what people can see. The thought is only a part of the equation that makes a thing count.
You need the thought and the action.
You need the thought and the words.
The thought is undoubtedly useful, but is not the only thing that counts.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lindy 3 and Other Fun Things

So a lot of you already know that my brother has been teaching me how to swing dance for a while now. According to him, I'm a really good follow, and my vocabulary (the set of dance moves that I know how to do) is growing a lot. Swing dancing is a lot of fun because you get to be really silly while you do it, and there's a lot of spinning involved; spinning makes me happy. It also makes me dizzy but that's another story.
There's this place in Seattle called "The Century Ballroom" and they do a lot of stuff with swing dancing. On Sunday nights, they have this thing called the "Social Dance" and it's where anyone can come to dance. It's a really good time; two instructors do a beginners lesson at the start of every Social so that the people who are coming for the first time can get to know a few basics before everything really kicks off.
But, before the Social, they also have more advanced classes. Right now, they're doing Lindy classes. Lindy is the sort of swing dancing that my brother has taught me. I'm not entirely sure how to explain it. But, luckily, I don't need to know for my story to be told. Yay! All you guys really need to know is that there's four levels of Lindy currently being taught: Lindy 1, Lindy 2, Lindy 3, and (you guessed it!) Lindy 4. Now I think you guys have all the background you need for me to actually tell my story.
My brother, sister and I went out shopping yesterday, hoping to see a friend that lives in a suburb of Seattle. Alas, that didn't happen but we still went shopping. Sometime during our shopping, he asked me if I wanted to be back at Century for Lindy 2 or Lindy 3. Well, I was nervous about Lindy 3 because I haven't ever taken a class at Century, and I don't know my skill level in comparison to the other people who would be in the class. So I said, "Maybe let's go to Lindy 2 as warm up so I can feel more prepared for Lindy 3." And that was our plan, until my brother had great success at shopping. Then we knew we weren't going to get back in time to go to all of Lindy 2, and playing catch-up is hard. So, by default, we ended up just going to Lindy 3.
Surprisingly, I actually did really well. And it was a lot of fun. Although, I do feel bad for leads in dance classes when everyone is learning new things. Follows have it a little easier because leads tell their follow what to do, which means that the lead has to know what to do for two people in order for a move to work. There was a guy named Graham (I'm not promising that I spelled it correctly), and he was a really good dancer and a really good lead. (Yes, there's a difference.) Also, he was cute and liked to make silly faces so we got along pretty well. When the class wrapped up, I was really proud of myself because I felt like I'd held my own in my first class, which was an advanced class no less.
Then, before my brother and I went to the Social, we went to Walgreens for water and gum. During the little walk, my brother and I talked about the leads. (He'd danced as a follow because the ratio of leads to follows was lead heavy.) Stuff like, "He was good but he didn't have the right tension in his hands when he wanted me to go somewhere." Swing dancing is pretty technical when you get down to it. But the lovely awkward moment of the night happened when we were checking out. I was saying something along the lines of, "He seemed nervous; like maybe it was his first time." And I can't remember what I was going to say after that because I was so surprised at how the conversation I was having could completely be misinterpreted. So I said, "And I'm trying to figure out a way I can say this next thing without outside observers getting really confused when they hear a comment out of context." And the cashier was like, "Yeah, I thought you guys were talking about a virgin or something." Completely hilarious and slightly embarrassing but also fantastic.
The Social was pretty good. I mean, tons of people dancing and looking slightly silly has got to be a good time. But it was different from the last time that I was at Century. The last time I was there, the room was completely packed, and almost everyone was on their feet--either dancing or waiting to be asked. However, this time, a lot more people were sitting down. Yes, I understand that maybe a person just danced seven songs and is tired but there just seemed to be so, so, so many people not really participating in the dancing. It made me a little sad. But I did get to dance with one of the instructors, who was super good, so that was really good. The night was even topped off by the guy who held the door for us on our way out. When I thanked him, he said, "Of course."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A "Long" Distance Thing

As a way to help us get to know each other and get some help before we go to college, my college has a Facebook page solely for the freshmen. There's questions about dorm sizes, who is joining which clubs, if anyone knows about the bus schedules, and what in the world is good to bring to school. All of that is wonderful stuff, and I really appreciate when someone else asks the silly question that I need the answer to. It makes me feel like I'm using my resources really well when, in actuality, I'm just checking up on my Facebook. There's some other general interest stuff (as far as I can tell, the freshies at my school are totally into TBBT and HIMYM), which is nice for making connections before we even get to school. The longer I think about it, the more advantageous this page seems for all those involved.
And then I stumble across the question: "Is anyone else doing long distance?" Lo and be-freaking-hold, there's almost 90 comments about all these girls (seriously, I don't think there was a single comment made by a boy) who have boyfriends somewhere else in the US. Now, yes, I'm super happy that you (and your boyfriend) think that what you have is worth it/strong enough to survive any sort of distance. But seriously? There is now a club on Facebook that is for people at my school with significant others at the university a few hours south of us. One of the commenters referred to it as a "support system". Excuse me, a support system?! For your relationship that you chose to make long distance? Yes, I understand that challenges are part of a long distance relationships but a support system?
I associate "support system" with really hard times in someone's life. As in when one's spouse or child is deployed; when someone had a close friend pass away; when a person is trying to recover from a car accident; something along those lines. I'm sorry, but you don't need a support system for a long distance relationship. Relationships are not traumatic and hard to deal with (at least, they shouldn't be). Relationships are supposed to be enjoyable and be something that you desire to be a part of. To me, support systems exist when one does not desire to be in the situation that they are in.
Now, all of that is not to say that I am against long distance relationships. If you think what you have with someone is strong enough to withstand the test of distance and time, go for it. But, seriously, finding a support system for a situation like that? If you get sad about your boyfriend being far away, go find one of your friends and ask for a hug. Friends are there to comfort you all the time. You don't need a "support system" with other people in the same situation. 

Also, my current qualifier for a real long distance relationship is when you seriously have to board a plane to see them. If you can hop in a car one morning and be at your significant other's by evening, it's inconvenient but it's not that far away. So when most of these girls are saying that their boyfriend is somewhere between two and six hours away, I want to face palm. The one girl who said that her boyfriend is in Texas, I feel bad for her. But I'm less sympathetic to the girls who have boyfriends two hours away. That's still close enough for him to drive up with roses to surprise you when you tell him about your terrible day, which doesn't really make the distance very "long."

My Gift

I have this...I guess you could call it a "talent". I would sooner call it an obsession, really. I love giving people amazing presents. And I've gotten pretty good at it, especially over the past two or three years. Like, I have one friend obsessed with wizards and, the time that I got him for Secret Santa, I got him a glow-in-the-dark wizard puzzle. I know this other girl who loves all things fluffy, so I have bought her several stuffed animals. One of my best friend always lives a plane ride away from me, no matter where I am in the world. On her seventeenth birthday, I sent her 17 things that she would need whenever she managed to get her butt on a plane to come see me.  And then there's Rocky...another friend (geez, I'm doing a pretty good job of making it seem like I'm popular. Please, don't get the false impression here, people) and I always liked to argue about which movies the other hadn't seen. I told him that he needed to watch "Princess Bride" and he countered with "Rocky." Then, while I was in Barcelona, I saw a Rocky t-shirt. Talk about a perfect birthday present.
A lot of people know that I'm good at presents; a lot of people often ask for help. But I want to clear up a misconception: I am good at it because I pay attention to my friends. I know what they like and what they're style is. I invest some time in them. That's how I know what to get them, not because I just magically have great ideas. So, if he's your boyfriend that I have met all of once, I have this to say, "He is your boyfriend, not mine. You should know what to get him."

Tidbits

Have you ever considered how many people's lives you're in each and every day? First, you've got your family and your friends (the people that you predictably live with and choose to spend lots of time with.) Second, there's your coworkers or your peers. (the people that you maybe want to be with but mostly you just have to be in the same room for long periods of time). Third, there are cashiers and delivery men (delivery persons, sorry) and RAs and other types of people that you interact with for a certain purpose. Fourth comes the people that you just pass by on the street, or sit next to on a plane, or glare at when they bump into your chair at your favorite restaurant.
The fourth group, in a way, are my favorite kinds of people. And the reason for that is that I don't know anything about any of them. Think about it...all you know about a person when you first see them is whether or not you think they are attractive. All you know is your thoughts about them. Maybe they look like they're having the worst day of their life but you don't know that. It's when people start talking that you get to know some things about their life. It's like you're an unreliable first person narrator into someone else's life. You cannot read their thoughts so you only relay what they are doing and saying; but, since you're a first person narrator, you are going to put your own bias on what you're relaying.
Instead of saying "Then he grabbed her and walked away" you might say something like "Then he scooped her up into his arms, and looked deeply into her eyes as he carried her down the aisle." The latter definitely sounds more apropos for a wedding scene. (No, sadly, I'm not attending a wedding right now. But they're fun to think about.)
The point is that talking becomes quite important when you want to learn things about a person's life. Sure, you could go through their stuff and assume that whatever they have the most of is the thing that they're really into, but that doesn't always work. I'm really into dancing but have nothing, really, to suggest that I'm into it. There's not an abundance of dance music on my computer; there's not hundreds of instruction videos in my YouTube history; I don't have flyers or posters about my favorite place to go dancing. But if you asked me what I like doing, dancing would be high on my list.
The fun thing, though, truly is when you hear people talking out of context. And I don't mean coming in at the wrong part of someone's conversation, misinterpreting it, and making everyone in the part laugh because of how awkward everything sounded to you. I mean when you're walking down the street and you hear a single sentence from someone yelling into their cell phone. Or when you are on your way back to your table at your favorite cafe and you hear a couple having a hushed argument.
So here's a couple of things I've heard recently that have made me curious:
-"No, this wasn't part of the plan."
-"Seriously? This is how this is going to happen?"
-"I cannot believe that just happened." *many, many giggles need to follow this statement*
-"You only really need three days to do Prague."

Anything you guys have heard recently that makes you pause for a second and go, "Wait, what? Now I wanna know"?

Side note, I might put a few more of these intriguing tidbits in posts in the future. I think it's fun to wonder so I'll try to give you guys something to wonder about.

A Conversation I Had

As sometimes happens when I'm in Seattle, I was up late talking with my brother last night. We talked about this and that, but the thing that's sticking in my mind at the moment is the part about my independence. A few facts: I've been alive 18 years and some odd days and, while I've had my moments of being my own person, I've really been pretty dependent on my parents. In part, that's because of where we lived, and the fact that I couldn't get myself around so I ended up being home a lot. But that's also not really any excuse because my sister was in the same situation and, in my opinion, has been her own person since she was 16. Which probably explains a little bit of my theory that she's way cooler than me.
Anyways, I'm coming to the real realization that I am on my own now. Yes, I will get moral and financial support (maybe not in that order) from my parents and the rest of my family, but all the decisions that I make now are purely based on me. I am responsible for myself now. A few months ago, the knowledge that I would be completely responsible for myself scared me half to death. Seriously, ask a few of my friends about the many freak outs I had regarding college. Now, I'm just having this feeling of, "What's really the point of being scared of adulthood? It's going to happen to me anyways and I would rather enjoy my life than be scared of it."
Yes, there's stuff that I have to do now. Yes, I have to be more wary because I'm legally and (theoretically) financially independent. Yes, I am a college student that needs to earn a degree in four years. Yes, I'm a person who has to figure out what the heck I want to do with my life.
But every experience can be a good experience.
And, if it's not, it still gives me something else I can write about.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Big Girl Now

I've officially done a train trip and a plane trip all by myself. So I think I am officially a 'big girl'. Today was the first of (predictably) many plane trips back and forth to Germany. Now I just need to get a hold of whomever is responsible for direct flights and bake them several cakes because flying direct is so much better than having layovers in cities you don't really care about, even if that does make the flight really long.
Anyway, the whole trip was sadly uneventful. Seriously, my favorite part happened before I even got on the plane. I was at an illy cafe, waiting in line to get some breakfast. The group in front of me was three (later, it became four) guys who were obviously American military. Awkward eye contact was made a few times... But the point arrives as we arrived at the counter. Since it was an illy, everything was in Italian. Since these guys were American, they didn't know which sandwiches were what they wanted.
"I think I'll get the cap-caprese?" one of them said. And, being the Italian aficionado that I am, I decided to step in.
"It's caprese,"  I offered, stepping a little closer to them.
The guys all turned around, one of them speaking up. "Oh, um. Do you know if there's chicken in it?"
I shook my head, "It's tomato and cheese."
"Okay, thanks." So they ordered and I felt all proud of myself for helping them out.
Then I decided to order my hot chocolate and croissant in Italian because I know my Italian usage will decline while I'm in the states, and I am going to miss using it so, so much. Okay, maybe it was a little because I felt like showing off but, hey, I can speak the language so why shouldn't I use it? The guys were still waiting for their food when I left so I wished them a good trip. They replied in kind. Now I can't help but wonder if our encounter will disappear from their minds when they wake up tomorrow, or if they'll get a flashback in two months and be all like, "Oh yeah. That girl." I hope the latter.
But, yeah, the flight was much less exciting. I crocheted one complete hat and got about halfway through another. I've decided that Lufthansa is the airline of choice because they give lots of snacks and drinks on the flight. That's quite nice of them to have snacks for me while I felt like the only conscious person in my part of the plane.
And now I'm sitting at my brother's house, chilling and starting to plan out the rest of the weekend. (Oh, and making fun of his housemate for liking Twizzlers. Red Vines are far superior.) Swing dancing is on the list of things to do for sure, which I'm insanely excited about. :)
So, all in all, the trip went really well despite being a little boring. Note to self: pack less next time because fat backpacks do not fit underneath the seat in front of you. Also, note to the rest of the world: you are not the only passenger on the plane so please don't lean your chair back all the way into my face. Thanks. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Op-Docs

So my friend Kris does a much better job than I do of being aware of what's going on in the rest of the world. When I was talking to him last night, he showed me one video where the international business class (I think I'm remembering that correctly) at his school asks President Obama to drop by for a visit. I love the idea that people do that, send video invitations. It reminds me of a story where a service member sent Justin Timberlake an invitation to her Marine Corp Ball, and he went. It's nice when big name people actually reach out, and sort of become a real part of the world around them. It reminds me that they are actually people who are not always after the big paycheck.
Moving on, the other video that Kris showed me is called an "Op-Doc." In case you guys don't know what that is (I didn't), I'll explain. These are on the New York Times website and they are awareness videos about stuff like stop-and-frisk, fracking (a water treatment plan that doesn't work), and texting while walking. They draw attention to certain aspects of life that I, for one, never considered before. Well, I know that texting while walking is dangerous...I tend to run into things when I do it. Actually, come to think of it, I tend to run into things regardless. But, anyways, the stop-and-frisk video was shocking to me. I mean, I know that we stereotype (sometimes on accident) but the guy in the video says that he was stopped-and-frisked 60 to 70 times between 15 and 18 years old. On average, that's at least twice per month. And not because he was doing anything, just because he's of color and he was with other people of color. That's not even just stereotyping, that's targeting. "You're black," isn't a reason to stop someone. It's just a statement of the observable fact: you are African American. (I'm trying to maintain political correctness here.) It's kind of analogous to a girl saying that all football players are jerks and idiots just because she met one footballer that was like that, though that example is less damaging. Reasonable suspicion of a crime is required to stop someone. Someone being of color isn't reasonable suspicious of crime any more than me being white is reasonable suspicious of wealth or status. Yes, I'm using a slightly archaic analogy because I think society needs to get over the assumption that being of color automatically means you're doing something wrong.
Really, what I'm saying is that you guys should check out some of these videos. Here's one of my favorites: "Transition" Op-Doc. It's about a lot African American women reverting to their natural hair instead of using weaves, wigs, or extensions. It makes a statement about "self acceptance" that I really like, "But in post racial America this quiet, internal shift towards self-acceptance is, to my mind, the most potent and political act of all." These women aren't trying to tell the rest of the world to stick it; they're just saying, "This is who I am; if there's a problem, it's yours. Have a nice day." That sounds like a lot of empowerment to me.
People speaking up like this makes me feel better about life. The world is changing, and there are people helping it in the right direction. I guess the trick is to get the people in power to listen...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Sense for Sundays

Sunday...my last Sunday in Germany for a few months. That's weird to think that I won't be here for a long time since I'm so used to living in Europe. Now I get to go "try out" the States, if you will.
But, before I do that, my mom and I went on a little adventure in a town called Ladenburg. This weekend, it hosted a huge flea market in the altstadt (or, "old city). When I say "huge", I mean that we almost got lost a few times as we wandered around. The wares for sale were pretty much split between typical "garage sale" items, and handcrafted jewelry/pottery/scares. Getting lost there was kinda fun.

Here's my big purchase of the day: an airbrush tattoo. I'm planning on getting a real tattoo sometime (hopefully, soon) but it won't look like this. Or be on my forearm. Still, that's the reason to get temporary ones: I don't have to put tons of thought or money into them because they'll fade after a little while.
I guess if I had to have a reason behind this one it would be something like "To remind me that the sun always rises as I head to a pretty raining part of the world."
Yeah, that reasoning is weak. So it's a good thing that you don't have to have reasons any better than "I liked it at the time" for temporary tattoos. 

 Funny story, though. I'm not the only one with the "temporary tattoo" idea. The little guy in the green shirt must've been 8 or 9 and my mom was astounded when she noticed what his design choice was.
Any guesses?
Anyone? Anyone?
"What is the Playboy Bunny, Alex?"
I laughed for a while. Part of me wonders if this kid actually knows the significance of the Bunny, or if he just thinks it's something that men like.


Anyway, my mom's big purchase was a novel in German so that she can practice her language skills. That's one of her goals for living in Germany: to improve on her German. More power to her, I think.

Let me let you in on a little secret: you'll gain major awesome points if you send me mail. Shout out to the boy with the Navy Diver postcard. Like I said earlier, I'm thinking about getting a real tattoo sometime soon, but I've been talking with this boy about tattoos for a long time. Every once in a while, I come up with an idea that I get really attached to and, when I tell this boy about them, he draws a design for it and mails it to me. This is the latest one.
For those of you who don't read Italian, this says "I dream."
Since I told him about the idea, my tattoo idea has gone from simply "Io sogno" to "Io sogno. Io scrivo. Io vivo." Translation: I dream. I write. I live.
Dear Boy with the Navy Diver Postcard, you don't need to send me a new design for that. Sincerely, Girl Who Appreciates Your Artistic Efforts :)
PS...how goes the drawing of the knight?









Here's a little question (maybe two) for you guys: why do people put so much thought into relating their lives to the songs that play on the radio? Unless you write a song, I promise that some part of it will not match your life perfectly.
Nope, it's just that one question for y'all (all of y'all?).

Kid's Menu


This was actually something from my mom's birthday dinner last night. I just thought it was a really funny to name each dish after some familiar icon. I haven't figured out the "Asterix" one unless it seriously means one of these: *. It just made me think of a few Harry Potter obsessed friends so I had to document it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Mommy!

September 8th adds another benchmark year to the life of my wonderful mother. She's lived in three countries, visited many more places, raised four children, and been happily married to one man during those years. This year in particular, she watched me (her youngest) graduate from high school, moved from Italy to Germany, and will help me move to college next week. She never ceases to be helpful and supportive to her family and the friends she'd made along the way.
And what does she decide to do today? Go on an 11K Volksmarch with Dad and me. To each her own, right? It was amazing, actually, to get out and walk through the German countryside/quaint towns/forest trails. It was also the final Volksmarch that Heidelberg will hold; I couldn't figure out if it was the last one ever or if it's the last one in conjucntion with the base here.

The only place I've seen anything like this is in "Stardust"
Here's something cool that I saw on the trail.
There were actually a bunch of them to point people in the right direction, and I can't help but wonder, "Do people here still use these or are they just fun to look at?"

Yes, in case you're wondering, she was the person I had to buy a present for when I went downtown the other day. Now I can tell you that I got her a pair of cheetah print leggings. I refuse to let her buy cheetah print shirts when I'm out with her but I figured that leggings would be a good compromise because they're always covered partially by a dress/skirt. That and a couple white chocolate Crunch bars (which are made by a German company and, therefore, not available in America. At least, as far as I know.) Dad got her a book around German road trips to take, which will be awesome for her because my mom's one of the those sight-seeing types. I seriously think that she should've been a travel agent because she always has everything so perfectly planned out when we go places.
Now we're about to head out to dinner somewhere and I know I'm going to be too tired to post this after we get back so...

Happy Birthday, Mom! Make a wish.

Friday, September 7, 2012

14 dollars or 20 euro?

I ran into this little dilemma a few weeks ago when I realized that the jewelry holder I own hangs on a wall, and I can't stick nails or anything into my dorm walls. That put me in need of a standing jewelry holder and, while I was actually able to find many that would suit my purposes perfectly, I really wasn't in the mood to pay 15 or 20 euro for them (translate to about 20 or 25 dollars), especially since I have the cost of textbooks and everything coming up really soon.
Then I got to thinking about the craft store on base, and wondered if maybe I could make one myself. I spent a few hours one day, drawing out plans of how I might accomplish that, and finally went shopping at said craft store yesterday.
My materials
I had a general idea of what I wanted to be able to store on this holder: rings, necklaces, earrings, and alternate necklace charms. You have to admit that $14 dollars for all of these supplies is so much better than $20 for a bulky standing holder. Speaking of "bulky", I knew that I was going to have to travel with this holder and, therefore, wanted to be able to dismantle it here and put it back together when I get to school.
That, of course, made things complicated when I actually started building. It's so much harder to make something stable when you can't glue all of the pieces together right then and there.
Now, after a few hours of tinkering, adjusting, and full out fighting with the pipe-cleaners, I just have to wait for all of the glue to dry.
Finished version: View A




So I managed it. :)
I now have a dismantle-able, standing jewelry holder. My mom saw it when she came home for lunch and restated her belief that I should be an engineer.
I'm not as sure as she is that engineering is a good career choice for me, but I had a lot of fun trying to figure this out, and then actually building it.
Finished version: View B




Plus, it's got more personality than anything I would've been able to buy. Personality is always a good thing. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Remember When?

"Pick me! Pick me! I have a story that's really irrelevant to tell!"
I crashed my dad's seventh grade class today, between shopping and volleyball practice. Being twelve is not something that I miss at all. The carelessness of that age, maybe, but not being that age. I like being a mature, almost-adult type thing.
But it was really funny to be in that class, and to remember how much harder middle school teachers have to work than high school ones (in general). In high school, there are a few kids that misbehave. In middle school, all of the them want to talk all the time. I know it's something along the lines of they just want to be heard but trying to listen to them all at once hurts my head. Kudos to middle school teachers everywhere!
What do I remember from seventh grade? I remember walking around the track at my school with my two Hispanic friends (a girl with a purple lunchbox, and the boy that she attacked with said purple lunchbox), constantly listening to "Welcome to My Life" by Simple Plan and "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down. It was the time of feeling misunderstood, and wondering why boys were such a huge problem already. We were still coloring our "science journals" and doing some of the most ridonkulous geography projects ever. All of the cool high school kids worked at the Commissary, and I couldn't wait to be 16 so I could work there too. Who knew that by the time I got to 16 I would be too wrapped up in school and sports to even think about a job?
What do you remember from middle school?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Boy Like That

Drew Barrymore in "Ever After"
Not that this really has anything to do with want I want to say but can I just point out how pretty Drew Barrymore looks as an angel? I'm totally used to her being the hard core tomboy in movies and, while she can still hold her own in this movie, she looks a lot more mild. Granted, she is all dolled up for a ball in this shot. And I suppose that angels are supposed to look mild.





Say "Hi" to Henry
A quick movie overview so that everyone understands the post: this is another take on the classic "Cinderella" story: he's being forced to marry, she's a servant who happens to make it to the ball, he sees her and the rest is history; well, maybe not quite "history" but I don't want to put in any spoilers just yet.
Anyways, the real point is about this particular Prince Charming. His name is Henry. It's nice for the prince to actually have a name; usually these sorts of movies are all about the girl's struggle to get to him, and everyone just calls him "the prince" throughout the movie. Him having a name makes sense for this movie, though, since it's about both of their struggles.
Sorry, I promise that I'm not actually doing a movie review here.
I'm really trying to comment on my favorite part of the movie, which is right after Henry's found out that Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is a servant. First, he gets all grumpy and throws a hissy fit but then he realizes that he loves her anyways, and dashes to find her. By the time he decides to run after her, he actually has to run out of his own wedding. But, don't worry, it was to the girl his parents picked so mostly everyone was okay with him escaping those vows.
As it turns out, however, Danielle has been sold to a creepy French guy who keeps trying to make moves on her. But Danielle isn't a "damsel in distress" type so, by the time Henry shows up to rescue her, she's already walking out of said creepy French guy's house. He's astonished but not quite surprised because he knows how feisty she is. Henry falls to his knees to apologize and ask for her hand. Danielle says "Yes" and I know that you're all thinking, "Wow, this is thrilling reading material right here."
But then Henry does this thing that I'm a sucker for...he pulls Danielle into a hug, lifts her off the ground, and spins her around in circles. I don't exactly know why this makes me so ridiculously happy but, alas, it does. And I always love when guys hug me like that. There's just something about it that is just completely wonderful. It's like you can't have any cares in the world because you're spinning and safely tucked into someone's arms; it's almost like you could fly. And, really, who doesn't dream about flying?
"A Boy Like That"...no, I don't want to marry a French prince. Well, maybe not. It's not what I'm aiming for but it could happen.
In some alternate universe.
Really what I'm saying is that I'm all about boys who aren't afraid to say what they mean and mean what they say. (Actually, I'm all about people who are like that but we're talking about romantic ideals here so I'm just going to focus on guys for the moment.) Yeah, Henry totally screwed up when he forced Danielle away the first time but, after he realizes he was wrong, you know that there's no stopping him until he has his princess.
That statement (the "say what you mean, mean what you say" one) actually reminds me of a discussion I had with a friend of mine about this song called "Fine by Me" by Andy Grammer. I made a comment to said friend that it's kind of insulting because the singer is all nonchalant, like "It's whatever if you want to stay." To me, it made it sound like he didn't really care either way. But my friend, being the less romance obsessed of the two of us, said that she thought it was actually really cute. It's his way of saying "I love you, please stay!" but, since he's not the boy who'll fall to his knees, it comes out more like "It's fine by me/If you never leave." And now I'm just playing the song on repeat because I find it so fantasmic. Maybe that has something to do with the catchy tune, though...
A boy like that is really quite ideal: one who knows himself, is willing to be himself, desires to be with you, and strives to declare his love for you in his own special way. I think that's probably what every girl is looking for, when all is said and done. 
Uh, you're right. It's probably a bad idea to speak for every girl in all the world. So I guess I'll just speak for me. A boy like that sounds pretty freaking great.

Two Weeks and A Day

 
 
Yup, that's pretty much how I'm starting to feel. Here's a few of the things I know have to happen over the next fifteen days.
1) Help my parents move in to their house
2) Unpack my own stuff
3) Repack my own stuff
4) Help at volleyball practice
5) Go shopping (fingers crossed)
6) Fly back to the states
7) Hang out with my family for a few days
8) Move in to my dorm

Granted, yes, shopping could get nixed very quickly but the point is that I'm starting to get a little worried about the magnitude of what I have to accomplish. But, also, excited.
Worried because, well, I have a lot to do, and I can't start doing most of it until my parents actually pick a house. That task is complicated by the fact that this base is closing next summer, and German landlords are pretty interested in long-term renters. But, even after we have a house to move in to, unpacking takes a long time. And, since Mom and Dad are both working, I'm pretty sure that unpacking is gonna end up being "my job", which is actually really fine with me. Unpacking is like having Christmas in September and that's always fun, discovering some trinket and thinking, "I totally forgot that I had this!" Plus, I always have a dance party while I'm unpacking, and (thanks to a couple friends) I have awesome new music to dance to. Yay!
However after unpacking comes repacking, and packing is severely less fun than unpacking. There's tons of "How do I fit everything I want/might need into this suitcase?!" stress every time I pack. And I have lots of packing experience--thank you sports trips. At this point, I'm also getting a little worried that my parents won't be ready to move in anywhere before I have to start my repacking. (I mean, they're ready to move in but the two places we're looking at aren't ready for us.)  The clothes I have access to now are A) the only clothes that I have had for the past two months so I'm kind of sick of them, and B) they're not fall clothes, which I'm going to need for college in Washington. Not much I can do about it, of course, but I would like to not freeze my first few weeks at school while I wait for my parents to unpack my stuff and send over what I need.
But, like I said, I'm also getting really excited because, hey, I'm going to COLLEGE in a few weeks. I'm so excited to see my friends again (a shout-out to my roommate-for-a-night, her roller derby best friend, and the boy who jumps out of closets), as well as to start working. It's a mini miracle that I got this job (partially because it's the first one I've applied for...ever, and that I almost missed getting the email where they actually offered me the job). And I am so excited to start. Does that make me extra weird, being excited to work? If yes, oh well.
Anyways, this'll be my first time out on my own and, as kind of scary as it is, I'm pretty sure that it's going to be amazing. I mean, me on campus with nearly 15,000 other college students. What could wrong?
...
Don't answer that. :P
But, before I even hit campus, I get to spend the weekend and some days in Seattle with my brother and sister, maybe my cousins too. Since it's been four years since I've lived with any of my siblings, hanging out with them always turns into a massively good time. The last time I was in the city with my brother and sister, we danced basically the whole time, and I went on my first ever midnight run to Micky D's. The dancing included going to my first real Zumba class, my first time at a club, and my first time going swing dancing. Lots of firsts that weekend...all very fun times. In case you guys haven't figured this out yet, I love dancing. Hey! I'm going to be in the city on swing-dancing night; time to go chat with the brother about going to that again.
So, in three weeks, my life will have changed completely. That's a weird to thing to know. I'll be surrounded my Americans all the time. I'll actually be able to eavesdrop, if I feel like it. I'll be able to sleep until 9 and still make it to class on time. I'll be living in a room with someone whose name I don't know at the moment. And I'll get to spend a lot of time just hanging out with the fantastic people that I've met/plan to meet.
But, before I get to all that, I have to make it through these next two weeks. And, just like Prince Humperdink says, "I'm swamped."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Words to Live By

I Dream A World
By Langston Hughes
"I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!"

I discovered this poem last spring on my quest to actually have a poem for "Poem in Your Pocket" day. It's kind of nerdy, I know. But I fell in love with this as soon as I read it. Maybe it's a little naive to think that a world like this could actually exist considering the history of the world we live in, and the propensity for hate that a lot of humans show. The idea of it, however, is captivating to me.
A world where everyone has an equal chance of being great or making it big. A world where people's feelings toward you are dictated by how you treat them. A world where people take a minute out of their busy day to help ease someone else's burden. All of that sounds absolutely wonderful to me. 
Alas, that's not how this world works. Luckily, there are songs like this to help make day-to-day life easier.


Let's Take It Downtown


I did it. I actually managed to navigate my way to and then around downtown Heidelberg all by myself. And, surprisingly, it went extremely well. I even got invited to have coffee by a German gentleman...it's too bad that I was on a schedule...and that he was probably sixty five. But he was the sweetest old man; on the tram, he just started talking to me (in German, at first, but then switched to English when he realized that I didn't understand). He said I looked like a nice girl. We talked about what I was doing in Germany ("on holiday, visiting my parents"); where he learned his very impressive English ("in school and in England"); and then he invited me to have coffee. Since I had plans to go shopping and am kind of wary about going unknown places with unknown people, I declined. But it was a very nice way to start my excursion. :)

The Hauptstraße in Heidelberg
 Welcome to Heidelberg's main drag. Yes, as a matter of fact, that is one of two H&M's on the street. This street has tons amazing shops all up and down it: Pimkie, Tally Weijl, New Yorker, Fossil, etc. I think that I'm going to have to go back for a more serious shopping trip before I head back to the states. As far as today goes, I found the birthday present I needed (but I won't say what or for who because they haven't received it yet), and a little bag that's probably supposed to be a makeup bag but shall be used as a way to carry my phone, keys, and ID when I get to college. A couple of the stores I dropped into had the kinds of clothes I want to buy for this fall (big sweaters, cute cardigans, boots, scarves) but, alas, 20 euro doesn't get one very far. Maybe it's time to hit up the parentals....

The stone wall where I sat to write


Another view of the straße
There's something really nice about these big pedestrian streets. The mixture of people is amazing because you've got your tourists, your school groups, and your native Heidelbergers (who are quite diverse in and of themselves). It's fun to watch all of them together in one place. Plus, everything's a little bit calmer on streets like this and, while it's quiet, it doesn't lack energy. It's a "stop and smell the roses" kind of street, I think. And, while I didn't find many flowers to smell, I did decide to stop and write for a while.
It's one of my dreams for life to be travel to European cities, find cute places to just sit, and then write to my heart's content (which is a lot). Guess that dream has officially begun :) Heidelberg, check. Next city to hit: Madrid. Or Dublin.

Oh, this was one of my favorite things that I saw while I was walking around.
It's reserved for Forrest Gump...don't touch.

Waiting for the tram can be boring...
But, alas, every adventure must come to an end. So here is the tram stop in Bismarckplatz. That was not my tram but this is were I caught my tram. You've got love a good system of public transportation. I don't think I would've gone out if there wasn't an easy way for me to get downtown but there was. So I did.




It's a good thing I like to people-watch.

Lookie what I found while I was waiting for my tram. (How many of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, "It was just a matter of time before a boy showed up here"?) Luckily, there is a more point to him than me liking his shoes (which I do). Look at what he's holding.
It's a doner box. For any Seattle-ites reading, you probably know "doner" as "gyro". So, it's a "doner in a box," which I think is great because I don't think I've ever managed to eat a doner gracefully. But I love them so much.
Anyway, this guy boarded the same tram I did and, while we did not sit next to each other and find out that we have everything in common, he did smile at me before he got off. Maybe he's just friendly, I know that. But I'm going to delude myself a little bit and think that he must've smiled at me because he thought I was cute.
Hey! Look at that. I'm becoming more approachable. One invitation to coffee, and one smile because I look like a nice/cute girl. Combine that with the fact I actually found what I was shopping for, it made for a fantabulous day.

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's All About How You Rock It

So I had a total "light bulb blinks on above head" moment today. Yes, that moment is the inspiration for the title of this post (and, not surprisingly, the post itself): it's all about how you rock it.
Allow me to take a minute and point out that the version of society that everyone always complains about is constantly shoving "beauty" down our throats and those images tend to have an impact on people's lives. Most girls think that they have to be at least a few sizes smaller before a boy will look their way. And boys--in my experience--think that girls will only look at them if they're really fit, and have some crazy smorgasbord of talents.
But I was thinking about boys this morning (and how there's an appalling lack of them near me) when I remembered what it was like to walk around with my girlfriends. We would do this thing if there was a cute boy, this very obnoxious thing: we'd grab each other's hands and squeeze. For at least three years of high school, that was the universal sign for "Look up because there is a majorly attractive male in our vicinity!" Then we'd giggle and wonder if maybe said very attractive male was looking at us; hoping that, if he was, it's because we were cute and not because we were having a giggle fit. Yes, as the years went on, our giggling got slightly more discrete...but only slightly. I'm embarrassed to say that I have an extremely hard time maintaining any sort of composure around boys that I think are hot.
Then I met this wonderful girl who has completely different taste in boys. I still have yet to nail down her type but that's really the point here: she has a type. Maybe she understands what the average girl considers cute but she has her own specific set of attributes that make a guy go from cute to drop dead gorgeous. Surprise, surprise, I have my own set of attributes too. Currently among them are: tall with a bit of an attitude, pretty eyes, and lots of confidence (not arrogance, mind).
Oops. I'm getting off track here, so we are going to switch gears. Imagine this outfit: black tank over a pair of dark skinny jeans. We'll thrown on a chunky red necklace and low, also red heels for a bit of flair. Now, this outfit sounds simple yet attractive (at least to me; I might have to go shopping for it); it's not extravagant but it's slightly more alluring than a hoodie and Chucks (although, I do have a great attachment to that outfit). Next step in this process is to imagine a girl wearing said outfit (or a boy, whatever floats your boat).
Create a little world around this girl, maybe a street full of shops and tourists, or maybe a college campus. Even though her outfit is cute all by itself, that is not a promise that heads will turn. Heads will turn because of how the girl rocks what she's wearing. If her confidence can be felt (a couple indicators might be that she's smiling, and her hips are swinging just the right amount), heads are going to turn. I'm willing to bet that the same thing will happen to the girl wearing the hoodie and Chucks as long as she's confident.
In order to pull all of this together (and to prove that I'm not really rambling), I will say this: everyone has their own type, which means that everyone is sought after. Granted, yes, heads are more likely to turn if you're beautiful. But "beautiful" doesn't mean being a size two and wearing the latest fall fashions from Paris. "Beautiful" just means that you know yourself and are completely comfortable with the self you see in the mirror every morning. I guess it also means that you don't really care if heads are turning because you know who you are and you're okay with that.
Beauty and confidence are two characteristics that go hand-in-hand. When you walk around with your shoulders straight back and head held high, people know that you've got a lot going for you. Even if you don't think that you have a lot going for you, try walking around like that (shoulders back, head high, smiling just a little) because life's not about conforming to the way you think society wants you to be...it's about finding yourself and rocking that lifestyle.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I Guess You Could Call This a Compromise

Let's face it: I'm pretty bad about keeping in touch, and about keeping people informed about my life. But, apparently, lots of people are interested in it.
Then I remembered about this idea called "blogging" and I have been struck with an idea. This idea will accomplish several things at once: I get to write, people can keep up with my life, and I can get used to being the subject of criticism. So, now that I've got it all set up--and written a few posts about my life as it stands at this moment--I decided that I'd write my explanatory post.
As happens relatively often after one graduates high school, I'm headed to college this fall. I have no idea what I want to study, but I am pretty excited to be getting out on my own. It does kind of suck that my parents live halfway around the world and that I won't be able to go home for long weekends, but I guess that just adds to the adventure that will be my college experience.
One thing that I do know is how much I love writing. But I don't always find the time to do it, or the mood isn't quite right (at least, for certain fiction pieces that I'm working on). This way, I can write without having to worry about anything like mood, tone, or character consistency. I can write whatever I want, about whatever I want; and I don't have to have the energy to be consistent with my past chapters.
I should probably explain my title choice: "Not Quite 'Once Upon a Time'". Well, for starters, I'm slightly obsessed with fairy tales. The fairy tales I'm most familiar with (yes, Disney ones) all begin after the person's life does. And, while I am just starting this blog, my life has been going on for eighteen years already. This is the start of another chapter--albeit, predictably one of the best chapters--in my "Book of Life." It's not the beginning. So it's not 'once upon a time' but it's as close as I'm going to get.
As for my subject matter, I'm gonna write about lots of things: what I'm up to at school, my opinions about the things I see, any dreams I have for my life, and whatever else comes to mind. So not only will you get to know me if you decide to read this, you'll get to know my friends as well. I mean, as long as they don't mind making guest appearances here.
I'm going to try to write at least once a day. That's my goal. But I'm gonna guess that college life gets a little crazy so some days might be overlooked. Apologies in advance for that.
My real goal/reason for doing this (in addition to the aforementioned ones) is to help me establish myself, as a writer and as a person. I am a writer and, really, what kind of writer doesn't write all the time about everything? Also, I would like an unique way to express myself and figure things out (I know, blogging isn't exactly unique) but writing allows me to express myself in an amazing fashion. And actually documenting my thoughts helps me delve into them and understand them ever-so-slightly better than if I leave them in my head. Plus, writing a lot gives me a chance to use any ridiculous words that I fall in love with.
So, here is goes. "Not Quite 'Once Upon a Time'" begins now. Hope you enjoy the story. And thanks for reading :)

Dear You,

Dear You,
I would like to introduce you to the concept of "mixed messages" because--whether you know it or not--you're sending me a lot of them. And it's kind of getting on my nerves. Considering the history here, I just thought that we should clear up everything.
But, wait, we did that. We talked about it. I know why you made the choices you did but you have to understand that those choices have some consequences. Yeah, I'm going to still be amiable, but that doesn't mean that you get to know everything about me anymore. It also means that a few conversation topics are off-limits now. And, like I said, we've discussed that. Maybe you forgot, and I know you sometimes have a tendency to do that. So, if that's the case, let me just remind you really quick: you made your choice and I would appreciate if you respected it when I said that I don't want to talk about certain things any more.
Look, I understand that life is hard for you. I know that. I've helped you through that. But, please, don't make it any harder for me. It's more than slightly irritating when I'm trying to step forward with my life and you keep showing up with a leash to wrap around my neck. I am my own person and I would appreciate if you tried to respect that because guess what? You decided that you didn't want to be completely involved in my life; I was standing there, totally ready for you to be as much as part of me as I am. But you made that call, the one where you stepped back instead of forward. Yes, I understand you reasoning, and I also respect it. And I'm doing my best not to harbor a grudge.
But, please, please, stop bringing up the past. It hurts. And it sucks. And, as good as I am at communicating, I don't know what to say when you bring up stuff about the past or about your dreams for the future. I know that I should say "Please, can we not talk about this?" but I have this thing against sounding like a broken record. So can you please listen? And can you please understand that you chose for this to be over? Because, I'm sorry, but that is what it is.
I will always be your friend, not because I feel sorry for you but because I enjoy your company and your conversation; I like how you introduce me to topics and ideas that I've never considered or always considered very outlandish. But I need you to stop acting like this.
Be my friend. Please don't try to be more.
Sincerely,
Me