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To the beginning of a journey..

Times change.

Life will never stay stagnant and it is up to us to slow down and see the moments. When getting reflective I love reading this poem and thinking on times that have moved by. As we head into the new year and another christmas past, its always good to try and pause on the moment as it comes. My suggestion is to find a cozy corner, make some hot tea, watch the rain fall, and think about all the moments that made this year great. Sometimes, reflection is the best way to process and move forward.

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The Whitsun Weddings

That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
    Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.
All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept
    For miles inland,
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and
Canals with floatings of industrial froth;
A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dipped
And rose: and now and then a smell of grass
Displaced the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth
Until the next town, new and nondescript,
Approached with acres of dismantled cars.
At first, I didn’t notice what a noise
    The weddings made
Each station that we stopped at: sun destroys
The interest of what’s happening in the shade,
And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirls
I took for porters larking with the mails,
And went on reading. Once we started, though,
We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls
In parodies of fashion, heels and veils,
All posed irresolutely, watching us go,
As if out on the end of an event
    Waving goodbye
To something that survived it. Struck, I leant
More promptly out next time, more curiously,
And saw it all again in different terms:
The fathers with broad belts under their suits
And seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;
An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,
The nylon gloves and jewellery-substitutes,
The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres that
Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.
    Yes, from cafés
And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressed
Coach-party annexes, the wedding-days
Were coming to an end. All down the line
Fresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;
The last confetti and advice were thrown,
And, as we moved, each face seemed to define
Just what it saw departing: children frowned
At something dull; fathers had never known
Success so huge and wholly farcical;
    The women shared
The secret like a happy funeral;
While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared
At a religious wounding. Free at last,
And loaded with the sum of all they saw,
We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.
Now fields were building-plots, and poplars cast
Long shadows over major roads, and for
Some fifty minutes, that in time would seem
Just long enough to settle hats and say
    I nearly died,
A dozen marriages got under way.
They watched the landscape, sitting side by side
—An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,
And someone running up to bowl—and none
Thought of the others they would never meet
Or how their lives would all contain this hour.
I thought of London spread out in the sun,
Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:
There we were aimed. And as we raced across
    Bright knots of rail
Past standing Pullmans, walls of blackened moss
Came close, and it was nearly done, this frail
Travelling coincidence; and what it held
Stood ready to be loosed with all the power
That being changed can give. We slowed again,
And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower
Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.
By: Phillip Larkin
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How I made the ‘Biggest Decision of my life’..

Everyone makes this big deal out of deciding your college major. Saying things like this decision will dictate the rest of your life. Acting like its a choice which will choose your future path. Really though, it itsn’t that big of a deal. While giving you information, in the long run all you are getting is some skills that could be put towards a specific field.

I choose biochemistry as my major for a couple of reasons. For one, I loved biology and general chemistry. But those are the most popular science majors and if you want to set yourself apart you have to choose something different. This led me to looking at the molecular biosciences track. The benefit of this path, is that it covers everything below it. What that means is the more specialized you are the more options you have. I took advantage of this with my decision in biochemistry. To study this dicipline, you have to take classes in biology, chemisty, organic chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Which benifits me because I can find a job in any of those highly specialized fields.

But that isn’t all. Just because you choose to do something like hard sciences does not mean you can’t find a job in a different field. What people don’t tell you is that a bachelors degree is almost a standard degree. All it tells employers, is that you have the base set of skills required to perform a job. What you do with that information is up to you. Every student is required to take standard general education requirements. A way to build off of that information, is to find an internship or a job where you focus on those skills.  There is also the option of getting a certificate in a field of your choosing. This opens the door to using your degree and the certificate to study what you would like before going into a new field of your choosing.

The downside to all of this is that while getting your degree you at the mercy of the schedule of classes. For me, I couldn’t study abroad until senior year, and I had to take another year of classes. I also had to pay for the broad range of employment options with a difficult class load. This isn’t that big of a deal, but it was annoying to have my life dictated for the last 4 years. In parting, it wasn’t that big of a decision, the choice is whether you will chase that path of your degree or reach for something else. Life is never decided by one choice.

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I decided to work in a lab to fullfil my degree options, but I also volunteer with the elderly and low income. I got a job where I had the opportunity to build a grant aid program and help students of color and low income stay in college. This has led to my goal of helping others and eventually will get me a job serving people in my community. While no where near my field of study, it is an area I am passionate about and am working towards thriving in. It shows you build your future and nothing is ever set in stone.

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I got eyelash extensions, and my opinion is..

Fake lashes are booming in popularity. Everywhere on social media and TV you can see the extensions, and its hard to tell when someone is wearing them. Wanting that awesome eye look, I spent the money in hopes it would shorten my morning routine and increase my confidence. I wanted to document my feelings on the whole process now that I removed the extensions.

I got eyelash extensions the first week of august. They were 10mm in length and were a hybid set. That means they had a mixture of volume lashes and singular lashes. Volume lashes have a singular base with many individual lases sticking out, while the singular lashes are just that. In order to get the extensions placed, I had to lay on the bed for 2 hours. During that time, my lower lashes were taped down and my upper ones had highly toxic glue being applied to them in order for the extentions to stick. Once they are applied, you have to keep your eyes closed for about 5 minutes in order to let the glue finish drying. Once thats over, voila! Your new eyelashes are good to go!

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One thing I didn’t see much of in my research was talk about the downsides of getting the extensions. For one, the glue is extremely bad for your eyes. If they aren’t completely closed your eyes will burn and ache for about 3 days. While not alarming, it did require buying eye drops and having red eyes for the whole weekend. The next issue was the cost. While not a whole lot, if your eyes lose their eyelashes fast, you end up spending about $60 twice a month. If that price is worth it for the look you want, then the price isn’t that much. But, eventually for me it just became to tedious to spend so much for it to only last 2 weeks. When I got rid of them, my eyelashes were shorter and thinner than before. Lastly, there were the unexpected consequences. I couldn’t dry my eyes, I had to brush them twice a day, and I couldn’t shower for 24h from getting them. Now these weren’t large issues, but they were unexpected!

Overall I loved having them. Everyday I felt better about starting my day, and pretty without having to do anything. There were problems, but in the long term they weren’t that big of a deal. Now that I don’t have them, I feel like my face is naked. It will take some getting used to, and I am sure I will eventually get them back. Being a student means not having alot of money, and that means not being able to afford everything you want. In the end, I loved them but you have to do whats best for you. For me that meant not spending my money carelessly, and saving it until I can afford to get them done again.

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Getting a dog may not be the best idea…

At 18 I decided to get myself a dog. I wanted to find a german shepard lab mix because I wanted the protective, family breeds. I ended up getting the sweetest most loving partner that I could have ever asked for. I got her as a puppy, and she was covered in fleas. After lots of baths, medicine, and good food she turned into the sweetest pup. Now shes turning 6, and we have been through so much together. Looking back, I can see how much easier life would have been had I not chosen to go down this path.

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After I got her, I was immediately kicked out of my house. Thankfully my grandparents let me live in their trailer for a week until I found a place to stay. Then I rented a room from an older couple until she was 6 months old. From there, we periodically moved from living in the car to living in an apartment. The costs of a pet deposit were to high to settle anywhere, and there was the difficulty of finding a place that would accept large dogs. I couldn’t go back to school, because I had to work full time to pay for my apartment.

That wasn’t the end of it. There were vet bills, food increases, daily walks… All of a sudden my blossoming life was no longer my own. The skills and lessons I had to learn came faster, and I had to make the right decisions for both of us. As great as growing as a person is, I had to put off so much that I wanted to do in the meantime. I would have graduated college already, or travelled more. While having her hasn’t stopped me, it has made things harder.

Any advice I would give, is don’t jump into commitment without actually thinking long and hard about the ramifications. As a young girl it would have been a better choice to only have myself to look after. I could have achieved a few of my dreams and then gotten the dog I wanted. I still love and would do anything for my dog. But never again would I do something as darastic and life altering.

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I am not my dads mistake.

I am a child of divorce. At 3 years old my parents seperated due to my dad cheating. I spent the first few years going back and forth for equal time and it was actually great. I got to know my dad, and wasn’t forced to choose between the two of them. Once I turned 5, my mother got remarried and splitting the time stopped. A new plan was set up and it involved only seeing my dad 1 day a week and every other weekend. As bad as that was, it got worse. There were huge differences between my dad and the new family. My step-dad was religious so off to church we went, while my other dad was not religious at all. One wanted private school, the other public and so on.. After a while the differences kept adding up, during this time the seperation between myself and everyone in both families grew larger. Not siding fully with either side, I started to desire their affection all the while not fully being accepted by either. This due to my differences in beliefs or my own inability to share my feelings. Eventually, I became a teenager and started lashing out. My lack of control and absent father figure lead me to try and find someone who would accept me.

Fast forward to adulthood. I still worry about my family and try to gain their acceptance. I try to push myself on each of my families without really being wanted, or I try to find that acceptance in others. Most call this way of thinking and acting ‘daddy issues’. The expectation of girls like me is that they don’t trust easily, seek mistreatment, or date older men.

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Choosing to not think of my pain or methods of dealing with it in a bad light, I have moved forward with my life. We as a society usually expect the woman to try and fix her problem with her dad through other men. If she trusts, has a normal healthy sex life, and dates reasonably aged men for her age, she was able to pull herself out of the pain her father delt her. If she can’t achive those things she is nothing but a slave to the issues that weren’t her fault. Why do we shame women for these things, when they were not her fault to begin with? It was not my actions that made my dad decide to cheat. It also wasn’t my fault that I didn’t have a strong father figure to show me how men should act.

We are all responsible for our own actions and what we decide to do with the hand we have been dealt. I disagree that women should have to try to pull together and fix what has been done to us in order to be ‘normal’. We can accept the pain, but it is on our fathers to do a better job and show us what we should be looking for in a partner. It is for us to decide what to do with the childhood we were given, and it is on them to realize the pain they have caused.

If I choose to look for acceptance in the beds of others that is my choice. My deciding to be warry of commitment and scared of getting hurt is my battle to fight. Dating older men would be my choice. All decisions are mine to make and my choosing that path to deal with my pain is my choice. But, I should never have to put up with people generalizing my behavior to use against me or demean who I am for something that I could not control. Daddy issues are just that, my issues between me and my father. How I choose to deal with it is my choice between me, myself, and my partner. All I can hope for is to one day rebuild the relationships with my dads, and prevent any children I might have from going through it as well.

 

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A few years ago I was in an abusive relationship. One of the things he would judge me for and hold against me was my ‘daddy issues’. This is my feelings on the term and is not meant to offend or hurt anyone.
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Date nights, are they needed?

I ended a relationship earlier this year. All of our time was spent laying in bed watching TV, or playing games. Never really talking, our relationship was leading to discontent and anger as he never knew what was bothering me. We went on like that for months before I finally realized what was missing. I told him I needed more love and romance, but he said he couldn’t do it. Hearbroken, we cried for hours because we both knew that what had happened wasn’t what either of us wanted. After we seperated, I spent some time living with a friend who was generous enough to put me up in her apartment. I lived there for about a month before moving into my apartment. I tried going on a few dates but it didn’t last, mostly because I couldn’t move on. Being alone did teach me about myself and what I wanted. And I found myself just wishing things had not ended the way they had.

We spent almost every weekend together after we seperated and after some time actually started to learn more about each other. I learned about his time in the military including his feelings about his childhood. Whereas he spent time actually listening and not just playing on his computer.  We went to lunch, parks, and he drove my dog to the vet. Slowly we started forming a relationship beyond what we had before. It was great, and lead us to reconsider why we seperated in the beginning. We eventually got back together and I moved my things over to his house in preperation for my leaving the country.

As time has passed the worry that things will go back to how they were, has stayed. We now are together all of the time and the temptation to go back is always present. Trying to keep on this new path has really been accomplished only by always going out. Making that time to sit and talk is really what is keeping everything together. You don’t realize how little you talk to someone you live with until you set aside time doing nothing but that. With this new plan, we made a variety of changes in our relationship that have been nothing but great. Now, because of our new open dialog, we communicate better and actually fight more. I know that it will pass, but the fighting is proof that we are being open, honest, and real. Without this concious effort to talk more, I have no doubt things would end again.

Thats all I got. As I struggle through the mistakes and pain of the last time we tried this, I have learned a few things. Keep your relationships happy and always make time for each other. Even if things end for a time, if its meant to be it will work out. Relationships are about choosing each other day after day and no one is ever going to be obligated to love you. So, try to be a person worth getting to know and love. While that sounds like something off a sappy instagram feed, it is all true. After all that sap, I can only say love with all you have and do not let your mistakes define your future.

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Stress please, thank you.

A few days ago I recieved my acceptance letter for my study abroad. Of course, this happened in the middle of my finals and after that my desire to study was non existant. Being the trooper I am, I pushed to finish and hopefully passed. Along with this going on, I now have a list of everything I need to get done before leaving. Did anyone know you have to have insurance that works overseas in order to get a residence visa? Because now I do, regretably. I am trying to keep everything organized by writing it down but there are way to many things on way to much paper!

To even think about moving, I need copies of all of my identifying paperwork. This is everything from my drivers licence and passport to insurance cards and acceptance letters. For some reason, it isn’t just the one copy, but about 4. One to leave home, one for my carry on, one for my luggage, and lastly one for my university. Then I have to figure out all the electronics and how the heck I will power everything. I have to have my laptop, phone, camera, and kindle availible at all times, but my converter only has one port. So I still gotta figure that one out still.. Maybe they have converter extension cords? I still need luggage too. As someone who is fine throwing everything into a large duffle bag, the annoying process of finding and buying expensive (~$200) luggage is annoying. Whats more annoying is carrying a giant bag around though.

I wish I could pack more than I am. One carry on, plus one checked bag is not a lot of room. I get to save some space as I dont need to pack essencials like laundry soap. The lack of room really gets to me when I realize that I will be there from winter until summer and will only have the two bags. So, I think I will pack for spring and hopefully I can layer to make it warmer? Probably a terrible plan as Germany isn’t exactly known for their calm winters. Thankfully you can squeeze a whole lot of leggings into a very small space!

So I also have to convert all of my money to euros.. Not a big deal, except my college is in the middle of nowhere and figuring out bank exchange rates is actually quite annoying. Everyone charges different fees and something like Travelex, while convienent, had charges so high that I was going to lose a large amount of my money. Looking into it, general advice seems to point toward applying for a Chase bank credit card as they do not have foreign transaction fees. Next step, I just have to see if I get approved. Which is, as always, stressful.

Thats my small list of stress for the week! Tune in next time to hear me rant about some other small thing like the lines at christmas time… But oh my god these next few weeks need to slow down!

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