I've been meaning to write about my new job at the YMCA for a few days now. Last week I trained and filled out all of my paperwork. Yesterday was my first official day, and I absolutely loved it. The kids were awesome, bright and fun, my coworkers are really cool, and I was actually given a bunch of extra responsibilities so that I could be making even more money. I finally was starting to feel like things were going to stabilize... no more laying at home during the day, feeling inadequate and ashamed and ignoring phone calls from friends. I left my first day of work yesterday feeling on top of the world.
SO, when I went into work today and was sat down and told that my position was eliminated at a budget meeting earlier in the morning, I left 5 minutes later feeling a little more than devastated.
It's back to the drawing board. Back to Craigslist and Idealist and all of those other websites that I gleefully deleted off of my bookmarks bar just last week.
I feel like a little kid who was given a brand new toy and then immediately had it taken away.
The people in Boston are great. Everyone is friendly (for the most part), lots of dog lovers and liberal-types. However, some sort of transformation happens to these people. And it happens when they unlock their cars and take a seat behind the wheel. It's as if the minute they click their seatbelt, they morph into some other type of being. From behind their Dunkin Donuts coffee cups, they turn into ruthless, honking, impatient 2 year olds, quick to throw a trantrum when they don't get their right-of-way. Therefore, I present to you:
Things I have learned since moving to Boston, in regards to driving.
1. Avoid it at all costs. 2. When you're at a red light, the car across the intersection going the opposite way will ALWAYS bang a left when the light changes to green, so when it does change, pause before you hit the gas. 3. This will undoubtedly cause the driver behind you to begin honking at you for not immediately flooring it. 4. Everyone honks at EVERYTHING. Don't get too offended. 5. People tend to just slow down when they're in the right lane. You see their brake lights, slow down behind them and wonder, "Are they breaking down?" "Are they lost?" "Are they about to pull into that parking spot?" No... usually, they are making a right hand turn without signaling. 6. Everybody in Boston must have a broken turn signal. 7. These rules also apply to bus drivers, minus number 5. 8. On average, you will get cut off about once every 60 seconds. Get used to it, and expect it. 9. It takes double the amount of time to get anywhere. Triple if it's 8am or 5-6pm. 10. You will be horribly judged for having out of state plates. Even if your driving skills are superb. 11. Don't park ANYWHERE the sign says you're not allowed to. Even for 10 minutes. The parking police are either on crack or aliens... how are they so fast?! 12. A two-lane road will never actually look like it's two lanes, as there are NEVER any lines to divide them. So, assume that all roads are two lanes, since everyone else does. 13. Traffic circles are alive and well... don't wait too long to enter them, just shove your way in, before the driver behind you gets antsy. See #3 and #4. 14. Always check the Red Sox schedule before driving anywhere near Fenway Park or its surrounding neighborhoods. 15. Keep xanax on hand, have good car insurance, and say a prayer before you pull out of the driveway!!
Every single day, I literally ache to have my camera back. It hurts just to think about all of the amazing photo opportunities that I've had in the last 6 months or so, and my camera lays broken, malfunctioning, in it's camera case in the corner of our bedroom. $243.00 away from being fixed. My heart sunk deep down into my stomach when the man at the camera repair store estimated the cost of fixing it.
Recently, something happened that I've spent a lot of time thinking about. And it's made me question some things about myself and the way I think about myself.
In short, some pretty awful things were said about me and I accidentally came across those words. Most of them were ridiculous, almost funny judgements because they were untrue. If I could explain the circumstances, it might be easier to understand. However, there was one sentence that was said and that, combined with something that happened at PACAA, has left me feeling pretty down about myself.
"Aside from not being very pretty...."
Those words stung to read. I know that I'm not beautiful, or even pretty. I know there are things about the way I look that are not ideal and although it may sound vain, if I were given the power, of course I would change them. But I can't.
At PACAA I was waiting in one of the lines in the dining hall. Two guys who were with another camp at K-town were standing behind me in line and made a horrible, nasty comment about me. I don't think they meant for me to hear it, but that also stung so hard for some reason. I lost my appetite, left the line and returned to the dorm.
I find it frustrating to be someone who truly finds some sort of beauty in almost every person, living thing, and non-living thing... and have people be judgemental about the way I look. Shouldn't karma be kicking in at some point? I don't care if people think I'm not pretty, but I don't want to hear it with my own ears.
So, how do I ignore that and still stand looking into a mirror? Because right now I can't look in the mirror without feeling disgusted. I don't want anyone looking at me at all. Which I know is silly, and I've taken enough psych and human development classes to give me knowledge to be able to combat these ridiculous feelings. But still, the self-image part of my brain is winning over the knowledge part of my brain.
And it still hurts to remember those words. And I don't know how to get past it.
Okay, okay. I've procrastinated enough. I now present my uber over-due life update:
My plan for post-graduation in January changed drastically by June... as in, did a total 180. This was a result of a lot of different things, of course... plans change! And I'm learning more and more to just go with the flow and do what feels most right and most logical. As spontaneous as all of this may sound, it's all actually been EXTREMELY well thought out and (probably) over-analyzed at great length. The decisions I have made in the past few months and am making now are the best for me, physically, emotionally and mentally.
I am moving to Boston on August 1st- two weeks from today. I'll be living with H and a friend of her's from high school. We signed a lease on an amazing, adorable apartment in the Brighton area of Boston, which is where Boston College is located. We'll be living on the top floor of a two-story duplex. Our apartment has free laundry (a big deal in Boston, we quickly learned), a BACKYARD for Sydney (!!), a fenced garden to grow whatever we want, a huge back deck with a big grill for our use, and is right down the street from a huge park. We're not far from two different forms of transportation (there's a T stop down the street, and in the other direction, Brighton Square where there's numerous bus stops).
No, I do not have a job yet. I plan on taking a year off before grad school, therefore, I need a job. I've applied for a ridiculous amount of jobs and only got one interview. I found out the other day that I didn't get the job - that's okay - I just need to keep searching and applying. However, it's pretty disheartening to apply over and over again and get no response. Are my experiences working and volunteering really not enough to get me a job in a non-profit organization? Am I that bad of a cover letter writer? Is my college GPA not as high as it could be? Is my resume laid out incorrectly? Am I really under-qualified for every single position on the planet? A million questions run through my head everyday, and my mind races at night as I try to figure out what I am doing wrong and why I haven't found a job and it's been two months since I began applying.
So, that part is still being figured out. If I have to, I can turn to nannying full time, but that really isn't what I want to do at all. Although, the pay is great because no taxes are taken out. If anyone knows anyone with connections to a non-profit in Boston, please let me know!
Moving on... next piece of big news: I'm going to be an aunt! My niece will be born sometime in the beginning of December. I am beyond ecstatic! I cannot wait to have a tiny little ball of chub to hold, kiss, and sing to and I can't wait to finally meet her!
Overall, I am happy, well-fed, and safe. I am a little bit nervous/anxious about moving to a brand new big city, but luckily I have great friends - my friend Dan is driving up there with me and staying for a few days to help get me move in and settled. Another friend is going to be living about 10 minutes away from me, and I'm excited to see her more often. I have a great little inconspicuous map of the city/subway system so hopefully I won't get lost too much. I'm excited to move and make a new home. I'm sad to leave Greensboro...it's been my home for 5 years now. I'm sad to leave my best friend and roommate- Kim... I don't know what I'll do without her. We know each other so well and have gotten used to each other's quirks - she's a great roommate. But, hopefully we'll be able to make our way back down here to visit our friends over the next year.
I think that's about it. I'm going to PACAA this Friday, and I can't wait - I feel like PACAA always grounds me. It's like I spend all year being stressed and losing my focus every now and then.. and then during the summer I always have trouble directing myself in any way. PACAA always seems to ground me, and I usually leave it and 1. Sleep for 10 hours straight, and 2. Feel better about whatever my future plans are. Working with teens just does that to me!
I hope you're all having a safe, fun, and peaceful summer!
I've picked up/been introduced to some really sweet music in the last few weeks. Here's a small portion of them, in case any of you are searching for some new tunes!
Noah and the Whale - Blue Skies Santigold - Lights Out Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa Jay Brannan - Bowlegged and Starving OneRepublic - Good Life Ingrid Michaelson - You and I Amos Lee - Sweet Pea Jens Lekman - Your Arms Around Me Mike Posner - Cooler Than Me The Weepies - Gotta Have You K-OS - I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman Dan Black feat. Kid Cudi - Symphonies (remix)
Big update coming up soon... lots of exciting news. :-)
I know, I know. I'm way behind on updating about actual events in my life. Let's start out with the biggest one...
Yes! I graduated from college! It was a great week - I had a lot of family come down for the ceremonies and celebrations. We had an amazing time, and even though H. had her graduation the same weekend, she was able to make it to my departmental graduation and spend the rest of the day with my family. It was so nice to be able to spend time with her and my family at the same time - they really love her.
Walking across the stage was pretty anti-climactic, actually... the part that meant the most to me was checking my final grades for the semester, seeing my final transcript, and actually being very, very proud of myself - despite being SO close to graduating with honors. (If only I'd studied harder that one semester... etc.)
After graduation, I promptly spent exactly one week sleeping, doing laundry, and resting my brain. I actually read a book for fun for the first time in months. I caught up on lots of blogs and caringbridges. It felt good to be a real human again!!
After that, I went on an adventure to Los Angeles with Dan as a graduation gift!! That story, however, will have to wait for next time, because it's 2:15am and I am leaving tomorrow for Charlotte. Monday we fly out to Boston, and that story will have to wait as well.
Ever since Liam was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, I have been keeping up with other children who are battling Neuroblastoma/other cancers and and their families. At first, it was a good way to learn more about NB, understand treatments, read about new therapies, and express my support through messages and guestbook entries. Soon after I began keeping up with children other than Liam, I learned how attached I became to many of these children, even though I'd never met them or their families. Although I am not as involved in the NB world as I used to be, I continue to learn of new children who are diagnosed and continue to keep up with their treatment progress, triumphs and sadness.
It continues to shock me when I learn that a new child has earned their wings. This morning, Kayla passed peacefully into the next world after her battle with cancer. It continues to break my heart and fuels the fire deep inside of me to help contribute to the FIGHT against pediatric cancer.
Too many sweet children have been lost to this disease. Emma Grace, Stanton, Christi, Erin, Katie, Penelope, Sam, James, Austin, Sydney, Max, Lucas, Eden, Kendall... to name a few - and that's just off the top of my head. Children who I followed closely, prayed for, cried for, wished for...
I've been thinking about Liam a lot lately. On the 29th of this month, he would have been 10 years old. It's absolutely mind blowing to imagine him at age ten. I almost can't do it... to me, he will always have a high-pitched little voice, tiny hands and toes, and still have some of his baby chub (except for when he became so very thin due to his treatments). It makes my heart ache just thinking that he's not here to experience grade school, sports, being a big brother, etc. Just the other night, tears streamed down my cheeks as I realized that my concrete memories of Liam are beginning to fade. I have a collection of memories, and I won't ever forget them... but the details are becoming hazy. It's been 4 years, 8 months, and 2 days since the last time I saw Liam, since he hugged me goodbye. Luckily, I have been blogging since before Liam was diagnosed, so in a special place out in the interwebs, I have a lot of posts about different experiences I shared with Liam. I am very thankful that I have those.
Please keep my dear friend Olivia's little friend Ylaria in your thoughts. Her family received devastating news a few months ago, but made the brave decision to try a new therapy- the one in Vermont. Ylaria's neuroblastoma is progressing, so please, send some prayers her way.
I've always been one to enjoy good food... but I had no idea what I was in for!! My girlfriend is an amazing cook - she can just look in the fridge at whatever random items are there and come up with a yummy meal, improvising for what she doesn't have. It's pretty impressive actually, because I usually take one look in the half entry pantry or fridge and assume that I don't have the ingredients to make anything. She knows how to make everything taste better, and even how to make meals much healthier. On my birthday this year, she wasn't supposed to be able to come to Greensboro because of prior work commitments... somehow, she worked it out to not only completely surprise me and be there for the day, but she also cooked an amazing dinner! I am sooo lucky!
This week I drove back down to NC after a totally fun and relaxing last minute vacation with my friend Dan. (I'll update more on that later..) The night that I got here, H. outdid herself and made one of the best meals I've EVER eaten!
Seared tuna steak over avocado with a lime/cilantro/jalapeno/garlic sauce, steamed asparagus with pasta, and an arugula salad with goat cheese, walnuts, beets, and a balsamic/olive oil dressing. Plus, awesome red wine. YUM!
And just when I thought it couldn't get much better than that in the same WEEK, last night H. chose a recipe off of the Old Bay website... (I can't say that I can think of any recipe involving Old Bay that I wouldn't enjoy immensely!)
Shrimp (that had been marinated in beer and Old Bay!) wrapped in bacon, steamed bell peppers and asparagus, plus a great salad that we used my special homemade dressing for. And awesome peach beer!
Somehow, by some stroke of luck, the stars aligned perfectly and everything came together at the end. I received my grades for the semester: An A+ in my internship class and a B+ in my independent study (transcribing). I have no idea how it happened, but I'm not asking questions and I'm moving on with my life!
My family is all en route to Greensboro. At the moment, my dad and his parents are going through Durham and my mom, Carlos, Kelsey, Jeff, Poppop and Sydney are somewhere in Virginia. By tonight, everyone will be here.
And tomorrow, I will graduate! Well, tomorrow is the departmental graduation and Friday is the huge commencement with the entire university. I'm more excited for the one tomorrow though, because I'll get to walk across the stage and shake all of my professors' hands.
I can't believe it's here. I can't believe I'm graduating. With the insanity that has been the last month or so, I haven't really had much time to process anything... and just this morning it hit me when I woke up. I am graduating from college. AH!
I saw an article last week online written about the documentary Dear Zachary. I'd never heard of it, and watched the trailer a few days ago. Last night I had an opportunity to watch it. If you have a netflix account, you can steam it instantly on your computer (or you can just add it to your list and have it sent to you).
I have never seen anything in the world like this documentary. Aside from the content, which is mind blowing, the film itself is made in such an amazing manner... it seriously blew me right away. I cried so hard during the movie and afterward that I woke up this morning and my eyes were still puffy and swollen. H and I joked that I needed cucumbers to bring the swelling down. It was that powerful and moving.
Please, do yourself a favor and find a way to see this amazing and heart breaking documentary. Do yourself another favor, and don't read about it too much before you see it. I'm happy that I didn't research it too much... or else I would have found out about the ending. Not knowing gave me the full (yet maddening and heart wrenching) experience throughout the whole documentary.
I would like to say though, that the Bagby Family is absolutely amazing. The pure love that they have for their son and grandson is inspiring and so admirable. There are people in this world who I strive to be like, and the Bagbys have just been added to my list. They are purely astounding.
"It is what it is." When my mom was diagnosed, I had a lot of conversations with a lot of different people, but it was my cousin Meghan's words that stayed with me throughout the Fall of 2008. There was nothing I could do to control the situation, I could only control how I handled it.
When I find myself in a situation that I have little or no control over, I have to remind myself that "it is what it is". Even though I may have had more control over it at some point, even though I COULD have done something differently or SHOULD have done something differently, I didn't. I made my decisions over this semester, and I am now suffering the consequences. It is what it is. I can't go back in time and change anything. And would I even want to?
I think there were a lot of things that factored into the decisions I made early in the semester. I underwent a pretty huge (in my opinion) life change right as the semester started, one that I was not expecting in the least. It took me awhile to reteach myself how to keep my priorities straight and how to manage my time in the best, most logical way possible, while still making my heart happy. It's hard to balance your gut instincts and your brain logic. Aside from that, I am amazed at how I truly did not use any of my time management skills in the first half of this semester. What did I do everyday? I know that rugby did take up a lot of my time, but it was actually mostly because of our late practice times, which then led to me sleeping a lot later than I should have been. And because I did not have set hours for anything this semester, it made it easier for me to say, "Oh well, I'll just go in later and leave later."
I like to think that a good trait of mine is that I don't make excuses for myself. When I make mistakes, I take responsibility for them. Even if I feel ashamed or embarrassed. It's quite possibly the worst feeling ever to have to be accountable for the mistakes you've made.
But the issue still stands. I will complete my hours at my internship just fine. But I have not completed my hours for my independent study. Despite the fact that I have logged in multiple 8 hour transcribing sessions, pulled numerous all-nighters sitting at that computer typing, and gone in to work on things even when I am absolutely exhausted and relying on Red Bull and coffee to get me through... I still will not have my hours completed by the time my grade is due.
So, there are a few things that could happen.
A. I could fail the independent study and be 3 hours short of graduating. (Although I would still walk at graduation). B. I could receive a grade of "Incomplete" and be allowed to make up the hours after graduation. (Although I would then be considered an "August 2010 graduate") C. My teacher could give me a grade and trust that I will come in to complete the hours after graduation. or D. I could just receive a poor grade for not completing the hours.
I guess we will know soon enough. I have until Monday to complete an impossible amount of hours. So, I will complete as much as I possibly can and then deal with whatever the outcome is. It is what it is, and I can't change it now. I can only remember this feeling and shame and guilt in the future, and remember that my actions/lack thereof will always have consequences.
Keep your fingers crossed for me. Though, I hardly deserve it.
Today I successfully submitted the one and only assignment that I had the entire semester. My Internship Portfolio was due at 11:59, and I pressed the "submit" button on blackboard at exactly 11:59 on the dot. I don't know if I have ever felt more proud of myself for a school assignment. This portfolio was a reflection/exploration/load of BS at times/evidence of the work I have done all semester at my internship. There were different sections (overview of the organization I was interning at, my specific responsibilities, how I completed the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the semester, a self evaluation on how I've grown and changed over the course of my internship, plus "artifacts" or proof of all of these, which included photos, certificates of trainings, weekly reflections I wrote, scholarly articles relating to the population of interest that my organization serves, etc.) The entire written portion of the portfolio came out to 29 pages double spaced. I've never written anything so long in my entire life.
I have been stressed out beyond belief these last couple of weeks. I think I've shed tears almost every single day, and not always because I was frustrated/stressed/sad... sometimes it was a tiny thing that just set me off. But I've just been so exhausted... my sleep schedule has been ridiculous, I keep getting sick because my body is angry at me for pulling all nighters and completely thriving off of red bull and coffee all day and night. I model for an 8am class, and after an all-nighter on Tuesday night, I slept through my alarm and the class on Wednesday morning. I feel like lately I've been in a perpetual bad mood, which is unfortunate for those around me. I feel like I haven't seen and really hung out with my friends in weeks. The only real time that I've been getting to spend time with my girlfriend is at the end of the day when one of us is awake enough to drive the 50 minutes across I-40 to the other one (it's usually her), and we sleep (or stay up all night doing our own work), then wake up and return to our normally scheduled insane lives.
However, now that my portfolio is finally finished and turned in, all I have left to do for the next two weeks is complete my hours at my internship (I'm so close!) and finish up transcribing for the research team that I've been working with. I'm past the point of caring about my productivity there, because for the last week it has taken a major backseat to my internship and everything I have needed to get done in order to pass it and graduate.
Graduation is in less than two weeks. For awhile, I felt like this semester was moving too fast and that I wasn't ready to give up being a college student. But now, I am counting down the days until graduation, until I can sleep in, until I can clean my room and do my laundry that has been sitting in the basket for two weeks, until I can clean my car out, until I can welcome Sydney home because I have been so incredibly busy that I had to ask my mom to take care of her for the last month of school because I leave the house sometime between 7:30 and 9am and sometimes don't return until midnight or one or two... or three.
Hard to believe it's all over. I'll miss my rugby team more than anyone will ever know. They're my family.
An excerpt from the speech I gave today:
" 'WOMEN'S RUGBY!', she said. The rest is history. 1 neon green flyer, 3 coaches, 1 broken nose, over 40 matches, 1 pair of cleats, 1 zulu done in a packed bar, approximately 21 mouthguards, 4 co-captains, 3 amazing littles, 2 ambulance rides, countless socials and parties, over 50 teammates in the course of 10 semesters, and 5 years later... here I am, saying goodbye to the one thing that has defined my college career. To me, graduating from college does not mean leaving UNCG or leaving behind the life of a student. It means leaving my rugby family. As it turned out, I didn't need the NCAA to feel like a college athlete. And I ended up with, in my opinion, the best experience on a sports team that I ever could have hoped for..."
The banquet was absolutely perfect. The seniors were given beautiful flowers, a handmade wood burned UNCG Women's Rugby sign, and the coolest senior gift ever... a "mail bag". The underclassmen had the whole team write letters to each senior, and they gave us each our own mail bag with all of our letters. I read through them during the banquet and cried into my french fries. Haha. I can't believe some of the things people wrote... I am so honored and feel so loved and appreciated.
Life is still insane. Don't expect to hear from me in the next few weeks... graduation is in 2 and a half weeks, and until then I'll be completely swamped! But, I do appreciate the calls/texts/fb messages, even if I haven't been able to respond in a timely matter. :-)
If only I'd known that the last time I saw my grandmother alive, that I would never be able to hug her or talk to her again. The last time I saw her, we went to Longwood Gardens... it was (I think) January 4th. My mom got tickets for her to see the ice skating show there. Mommom seriously loved herself some ice skating. Whenever it was on tv, she'd have it on in the evenings. That evening, we stuck her in a wheelchair, since walking too much was hard on her heart, and we got the best seats in the arena. We went through all of Longwood Gardens and saw the Christmas flower displays, taking turns pushing her and looking at the lights and the flowers in the hot greenhouses. She was excited when we reached the more tropical flowers, and she told us about the flowers in Florida. I wish I had taken a better photo that day. I just snapped this shot as we were walking... I brought my big camera, and took about a hundred photos of the sights at Longwood. But, I didn't take a photo that of the most beautiful sight that day that I didn't know existed. I'd do anything to see her again.
I can still hear her voice in my head. I'm scared that I'll forget it. Her voice has stuck with me, and not only can I hear it, I know what her voice would be saying in response to anything. She was predictable and comfortable.
I love how life works out sometimes. I don't know if I believe in fate, but I do believe that most things happen for a reason. This semester has been one of the most stressful, overwhelming that I can remember in a long while, but it's also been extremely insightful, life-changing (I feel like I'm always saying that, but I do often tend to experience and savor life-changing opportunities) and I feel SO LUCKY.
My internship has been a truly phenomenal experience. I never in a million years expected to be working with such an amazing group of individuals - employees and other interns as well. I never expected to be a part of an agency that truly provides outstanding support services to families and children... so much so that TQ is not considered an organization, but a "family". Once you are a part of the family, as an employee, intern, volunteer, client, etc. then you are in it for life! I've never seen such a community based non-profit organization that is so dedicated to helping families and children who are dealing with so many different challenges. It's refreshing to be a part of something that is not based around money, but something much more valuable.
I feel a strong sense of belonging there. And I've become very attached. And I don't want to leave!
The groups of children who I meet with who have incarcerated parents have stolen my heart. I go to four different groups (we go to many elementary schools in Guilford County), and there is one group that is just really special to me. I've really connected with those kids, they trust me, they listen to me. They look up to me. They want to give me cornrows and are always playing with my hair. They give me endless hugs that make me wonder how often they get hugs at home. This past week, one girl asked if I could come play with her at her house this weekend. I have absolutely loved being a part of their lives this semester, and they are so bright, smart, and I have so much hope for their futures... unlike some other people in their lives, I'm sure.
Aside from the fact that I have really meaningful and educational interactions with children every single day, I am incredibly lucky to be working with four other interns, all from my program at my university. We've all had classes with each other for the last few years, so it was easy for us to become close. We spend 20+ hours a week together, and never get tired of it! Sometimes we even leave TQ and all get together for a movie/dinner/going out. I'm really going to miss those girls when we graduate.
"You give little girls a good coach, decent facilities, a budget and theyll come running to play sports. Theyre the SAME as the BOYS. They have the SAME interests, and they have the SAME ABILITY. All they need is the OPPORTUNITY!" ~Dr. Christine Grant
I have truly put off thinking about what will happen after May 14, 2010. In 88 days I will be a college graduate, I'll be a real adult. How terrifying... up until now, my entire life has been one big plan. Daycare, elementary school, middle school, high school, college... I've been on this path that majority of other white middle class girls have been on their whole lives as well. And now what? I get this piece of paper that proves that I have an education, that I learned something specific.
It's so bizarre that it's finally (almost) over. The future is scary and exciting... but right now, it's more scary than exciting.
I still am kind of in shock that I got to meet THE Olivia this past Friday night!!! She was visiting a friend at Duke, and since I've been spending a good amount of time at Duke recently, it worked out perfectly that I could meet up with her!
Side note: I haven't updated about this until now... but I feel the need to write about this so that my future entries make more sense. I'm dating an amazing girl, H, who plays rugby for Duke. We've known each other for awhile, from playing against each other and socialing together. She makes me very, very happy and I'm incredibly lucky to have her in my life. I'll update more on this later.
So, when I found out that Olivia was coming to Durham, I immediately made plans to get dinner with her! H suggested that we all go to a Kenyan restaurant near Duke, and I was totally pumped to try something new. I've never been to an African restaurant! It was awesome, the food was amazing, but getting to meet Olivia and her friend was even better!! We had some great conversations and I really hope that we get to do it again sometime soon. She is traveling to OH in June for a KCC fundraiser and I may just have to jump on the roadtrip and head out there!
The rest of my weekend was amazing and exhausting. We had two rugby games - we won one and lost one. Here are some photos of me from Saturday:
Passing out of a scrum.
Waiting for the other scrummy's put in.
That's all for now... I hope you all have an amazing week!
Well, I have a lot to update about. There's a lot of big changes happening in my life right now, but I'm only going to talk about one of them right now, because the others deserve my complete attention and happiness, and this one has been on my mind the most for the last few days.
There's no other way to really get into this... One of my best friends is moving far away. Some unexpected circumstances arose in my good friend Suzi's life, and she's moving from NC to NY and then Boston. I found this out on Sunday, and she is moving this Friday.
At first, I was just completely shocked. It didn't really seem real - this girl who I met two weeks into my freshman year of college, who took me under her wing, who taught me everything I know about rugby, who left her position as scrumhalf of the team to me, who left me as captain, who taught me all of the best tricks I know on the field. The same girl who has carried me up the stairs when I got too drunk, went out with me for my 21st birthday, dressed me after I did my zulu, the girl who introduced me to banana fudge milkshakes from Cookout, got into ridiculous shenanigans with, got written up by the campus police with me, went on vacation with me to Baltimore and Chestertown and went crabbing with my family, the girl who asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, who co-captained the Relay for Life with me, the first person I called when Liam died - who dropped everything and drove to campus to pack my bags with Kim so that I could fly home... the girl who I called during the funeral reception and sobbed to out behind my church. The same girl who I've had arguments with and made up and realized our friendship means more to us than disagreeing about something. The same girl who listened every single time I have ever needed to talk, who would drive to wherever I was if I was home alone and needed someone to be there with me, who I have laughed hysterically with a thousand times... the girl who washed out my hair in the bathroom sink at the bar when a teammate threw up on my head, the girl who gave me the confidence to extract myself from unhealthy situations, the girl who went on so many road trips with Kim and I ... cookie avalanches, OH SHIT STAIRS, Bloody Mary's and hottubs...the girl who sent my mom cruise catalogues when she was sick so that she'd have something to look at that was happy, this girl who was thrown into my life just becase my roommate freshman year saw a sign for women's rugby in the bathroom...
I always thought I'd be the one leaving her behind, once I graduated. And I have been slowly preparing myself for that day to come. This has blown me away. It's starting to feel real.
Tonight Suzi dropped off her cap and gown from when she graduated in Spring '06. I remember the day she graduated so incredibly clearly, I remember taking that photo in the fountain (the same fountain that we both soaped and then got written up by the police my freshman year!) It seems truly fitting that I am going to wear the same cap and gown that she wore all those years ago. Sometimes life is so cyclic.
The past 5 years would not have been the same at all without her.
This morning I did something that was very hard for me. It's not something that I do often, and I avoid it because it makes me uncomfortable. But, I like to think that when we do things that are hard for us, we make the most progress with bettering ourselves and improving our relationships with those around us. I have goals for myself that I slowly work toward. Some may take years, and some are easily completed. But each time that I do something that I know will eventually put me closer to completing a goal, I feel so good about myself afterward, even if it's exhausting or upsetting or just plan difficult.
Things are great here. Rugby has been totally screwed up by the weather, so we have yet to play a game. This Wednesday we leave for Las Vegas (!!) and I am excited beyond belief! I can't wait to have a few days where I have nothing specific to do and to hang out with some of the greatest people in the world! We have a really great group of girls going.
I had a conversation this weekend about how cool it is that all of the women's rugby teams in NC all know each other pretty well and are actually friends. I have met some really great ruggers over the last 5 years, and my team has gone through cycles where we are really close with certain teams. I love that I could go pretty much anywhere in this state and not be far from someone I know through rugby. It makes playing games and going to socials that much more fun! On Saturday night there were four of us that went out - me from UNCG, one from Wake Forest, and two from Duke... all rugby players. Plus, while we were out, we saw another rugger who played for Guilford. How cool is that?
I'm off to my internship (which is still going great!) and then practice. I'll leave you guys with a quote that I've been thinking about today.
"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy." - Walter Anderson
My internship is beyond amazing. I feel like I have such a purpose there, and I'm so happy that I chose this place to spend my semester. I don't observe- I do. I work with kids all day long, kids who need extra attention and extra instruction and extra love. Every second that I am there, I feel like I am doing something important and I truly feel like we are changing and improving these kids' lives. This is all I wanted. This is the "bigger picture" that I wrote about all those years ago...
Yesterday, I went into my internship for awhile even though I don't usually go in on Wednesdays. The snow has destroyed my schedule this week and babysitting got canceled for last night. We spent the afternoon making those fleece tie blankets. We make them so that policemen can keep a few in their trunks, so that if they respond to a domestic violence call or something else where they have to pick up an upset child, they have something to wrap around them and make them feel a little better. I love that we do that, just thinking about what those blankets will be used for made making them even more fun.
In 6 days (next Wednesday) the rugby team is traveling to Las Vegas for the International 7s tournament!! I'm so excited, I've never been to Vegas, except for a layover when we went to Idaho a few years ago. We're staying at Hooters (haha. It was the cheapest, closest to the strip, and had a special rate for rugby teams) and we'll be getting in around 9:30 Wednesday night. We don't leave until late Saturday night, we're catching a red-eye back and should land in Raleigh around 9am. There's 6 of us from my team going, and 3 from Duke. UNCG WRFC + Duke WRFC = very fun times. So basically, this is going to be one of the best trips ever.
I'm not even going to write about the "snow storm" we had last weekend. I'm tired of talking about the snow and it just annoyed me... I don't have classes, so the closing didn't affect me, I got really bored in my apartment, I already dealt with an ACTUAL blizzard this year (19 inches, imagine that, NC!) and the snow wrecked my plans for the weekend. I'm not bitter or anything ;-) But, I do have to say, I understand why NC doesn't invest much money into their winter weather equipment, since this only happens once or twice a year. However, they could save themselves a lot of grief if they learned to a.) salt the roads BEFORE the snow comes, b.) not wait until the snow stops to plow the roads, and c.) not use sand to melt the ice sheets on the sidewalks on campus. This is completely ineffective and doesn't melt anything- it just created a slushy sand mess that provides little traction and looks ugly.
I'm happy, I'm content, I'm busy, and my car has a few extra hundred miles on it from the last two weeks. :) I'll probably update again before Vegas... I have a ltlym that I've been working on for a few days....
LTLYM #28: Draw your family tree to the best of your ability.
A few things to note about my family tree:
First of all, I accidentally got my grandmother's maiden name wrong. I realized it as it was scanning - my grandmother's maiden name is Lar.rimore, not Plumber. That was her mother's maiden name.
Also, the "x"s represent someone who divorced one of my family members (hence the double slashes, those relationships ended in divorce). I put "x"s not because it's not that those family members didn't mean anything to me, but because for my own family tree, I felt kind of weird putting them on there.. however those "x"s are obviously still important people for their children (my cousins).
#60. Write about a news story you have a strong opinion about.
Well, my news story can be found: here. It's an article about how Obama has made some comments about possibly repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays in the military.
I can't express how happy it makes me to hear that. I don't know if it will actually happen, but in my opinion, it's absolutely out-of-this-world absurd that this policy even exists.
Let me throw out a little bit of information before I go into my opinion.
The policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
On top of that, a national poll conducted in 2008 showed that 75% of Americans have no issue with openly gay people serving in the military. (Including 80% of democrats and 66% of republicans!)
There is evidence that over 65,000 gays are currently serving in the military, and there are over 1,000,000 gay veterans.
So far, since 1994, almost 13,000 gay members of the military have been discharged due to their sexual orientation.
The only 3 countries that are members of NATO who do not allow open gays to serve in the military are the US, China, and Russia. All other TWENTY SIX allow it.
Okay... so with those statistics out of the way, let's talk logic.
Oh wait, there is none. ;) But, okay, seriously-
First of all, I think it's outrageous that anyone with an IQ (or even without?) could think that someone who is gay would jeopardize the "high standards" of morale that the military apparently has. I can think of at least 5 other things that would/do jeopardize those "high standards". Including sexual assault in the military, military torture/interrogation techniques, etc. (Of course, those things are highly accepted in the military community, so they are hard to compare...) But, do openly gay people really pose a higher threat to morale than superior sexual assault, which has been documented time after time again, and these men get off time after time again...
I'm not even going to respond to the phrase "unacceptable risk to the high standards of [...] good order and discipline"... I'm pretty sure this has everything to do with the notion that gays (especially men) are overly sexual, lewd, are constantly "coming on" to everyone around them, etc. Again, all anyone can think about is the sexual act itself.
... So, if 75% of Americans are okay with people being openly gay in the military then why is it still against policy? I have no logical answer for this, except that I'm unsure how reliable these statistics are (it was a poll done by the Boston Globe)... and of course, the beliefs held by the majority of Americans are seldom represented in our laws and policies. However, this touches on a much huger issue than I am ready to get into at midnight on a Sunday ;-)
Basically, the absurdity of the policy still makes me wonder... I know that in the past, certain minority groups have faced ridiculous rules and restrictions. I know that all it took was FAITH that someday things would change and FAITH in the minorities themselves to believe that they had the power to make that change happen.
Sometimes I wish I could give myself fully to every cause that means something to me. But, being the busy college student that I am, it's hard for me to fight for change in everything around me that is meaningful to me. I have two friends, both I've known from separate times in my life, who are gay and in the army. One just returned from serving in Iraq, and the other is currently in Afghanistan. They cannot be obvious on their facebooks, they cannot make comments to other soldiers about their girlfriends (and in one case, partner- they have a child together!), or else they face discharge. These people, thousands of people, put their lives on the line everyday for what they believe in. It might not be what I believe in, but they stand up and are proud to be American soldiers... and just because they are gay, that makes it mean something less? That makes them less brave or less honorable or less hardworking?
I think not.
I applaud every single gay person in the military for having the strength and patience to put up with that discrimination. Their coworkers can receive packages that are obviously from their husbands or wives, while they must hide any cards, incriminating photos, gay-centered newspapers, etc. I can't even begin to tell you how sad and disappointed it makes me.
I truly hope that Obama is able to repeal this ridiculous, discriminatory policy... for the sake of gay members of the military and for the sake of our children and our future.
"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. "
"You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So, stay out late. Go out on a Tuesday with your friends when you have a paper due Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does..."-Tom Petty
Hard to believe that I've begun my last semester of college. This seemed so far away for so long, and it's truly bittersweet that I am at this point right now. I am excited to graduate and become a part of the "real world". At the same time, I can't imagine any other lifestyle than the one I've been living for the past four and a half years.
It's been an amazing experience. I don't want it to end. All I can do is make the best of my last four months as an undergraduate. Somehow, over the last 5 years, I have learned so much more than my textbooks and professors could teach me.
My internship is going very well... I promise I'll write more about it soon. It's been interesting beyond belief, and I've already made connections that I never dreamed I'd make in the first week. I'm working with an 11 year old boy who's sister has Neuroblastoma, and even just talking to him is teaching me things about myself and life.
Speaking of NB, there are a few people I'd like you to keep in your thoughts. Erik is 24 and has relapsed Neuroblastoma. He has an amazing spirit and way with words... his disease has progressed tremendously. Please hope for minimal pain, continued success with radiation, and lots of more time for Erik to spend with his family and friends. Sam is an adorable little boy who lives in CA... he was diagnosed 8 months after Liam was. Last week they recieved the news that there is liver involvement. Melina is in Vermont for treatment... her scans recently showed progression, however her parents are hopeful that her new treatment plan will be successful.
That's all for now... I'm off to run some errands, stop by my internship, and then attend my very last "first practice of the semester" ... I'm feeling so nostalgiac! Maybe I'll make a photo album of rugby sometime.
I started my internship today... I promise I'll write an update about it soon. It was amazing. I also had a meeting with the research team I'll be working with... that went great too. I can explain that in better detail at some point.
Today it's 65 and sunny... Kim and I took the dogs for a long walk in the sunshine. We talked about how happy warmer weather makes us. It always puts me in a good mood... especially because it's the first sign of warmth after the temperature being in the teens and twenties up at home for the last month. After the walk, I felt really good (except that for some reason my knee is spazzing out again... ouch.)
I still have a ton to do today... and I'm already exhausted.
But, I am very very happy for a lot of different reasons. Just thought I'd let you all know that. I hope you're all happy too...
By now, we have all heard and read about the devastation that is currently taking place in Haiti due to a 7.0 earthquake that hit around 5pm yesterday. I've been keeping up with the news feeds, and the death toll is expected to reach anywhere from 100,000-500,000.
If you can afford to donate anything, here is the International Response Fund that was set up by The Red Cross. This is a safe way to donate any amount, and know that all of it is going straight toward the relief fund.
I know of a girl in Greensboro who's family is hosting a huge Haiti-Relief Yard Sale this weekend, where all of the proceeds will go toward a relief fund. What a smart idea! I hope everyone continues to be this innovative and creative in their ideas to help.
Sending many prayers tonight to a country that is already underdeveloped and now full of chaos and despair.
Today Matt, me and another kid who we graduated with - Mo, went to the old Wanamaker's department store in the city of Wilmington to shoot together. The store is abandoned, it shut down probably a decade ago (I have slight memories of when it was open... whenever we rode by it with my grandparents, on our way to a restaurant in the city, I remember my grandmother telling me she bought her coats there...) I got some great shots, but it was FREEZING out! We kept having to take breaks and hop back in the car for a little to warm up our hands enough so that we could press buttons and control our cameras. I don't think I've been that cold in a long, long time! We brought along Matt's sister's dog... who was posing for me perfectly. She has the best ears ever. It was a great day - cold, but really fun and I learned more about my camera from Matt and Mo.