Friday, November 30, 2012

thankvember: the last day!

Tonight is one of those nights where I spend an hour getting lost on Wikipedia's dog breed pages.  I always end up with the Vizsla's though, reading about their sweet temperament and their "velcro" like tendencies and thinking of my own sweet Sadie.

Guys. I miss her. Reading about how vizsla's get so attached to their owners that they will have a tendency to lean on them, just to make sure they're always touching does this weird thing to me and I start smiling. Sadie does that and I love it.

Anyway, this is the last day of Thankvember and I've already been thankful for my little puppy on this list. so. Today I am thankful for my mother. After what was supposed to be a quick phone call to her to find out how to make sweet potatoes with marshmallows for only one person, I was reminded that in my haste to finish my list last night I completely forgot to include her. So here you are Mom, I am thankful for you.

But in all seriousness, she's pretty great. She has a gift for calling me when I can't talk and I have a tendency to call her only when I have a quick question and yet she still hangs in there. She's kind of a trooper and kind of the best.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

thankvember: days 13-29, catching up.

So I promised a friend that I'd continue this whole thankvember thing, and I figured that since there's one day left of November, I should probably do that tonight.

lets start from where I left off, shall we?
(this is where I had to pause and open a new tab to see exactly where I left off because it has been so long I don't even remember.)

day 13: I'm thankful for opportunity. I've had my fair share of opportunity so far in my life, and although I haven't seized all of it, I'm extremely grateful for the times that I have.

day 14: I'm grateful that it hasn't snowed and stayed yet. As much as I enjoy the world covered in white, I do not appreciate having to wear wet appropriate shoes and jackets. Also, I broke my umbrella in Austria, so the longer I can go without my laziness in not buying a new one bitting me in the butt, the better.

day 15: I'm thankful for chapstick, mostly because I need some really bad right now. I'm also thankful for lotion and conditioner and all those other amenities that are the icing on the cake. Not necessary but definitely worth having.

day 16: I am grateful for technology. I got a new phone on this day aaand it basically made me realize just how out of date my current "smart" phone was. Yay for being a new iPhone owner!

day 17: I am grateful for my health, which isn't really saying much coming from the girl who should take three pills every day. I got to visit Ben's Nephew (totally just forgot how to spell nephew... that was intense) at Primary Children's Hospital, where he has spend every day since birth and it just has me thinking how lucky I am, even in my not perfect state of health.

day 18: I am grateful for Ben, for the 18th is his Birthday! So, thank you Ben, for not only being a great example to me, or for being a great friend or boyfriend, but for making me want to be a better person in pretty much every aspect of my life. (aw, tender... i know)

day 19: I am thankful for quality people. We had a dry run for Black Friday at work and nearly everyone I work with is a quality person. And that's really refreshing to be able to say.

day 20: I am thankful for my family. Me, Katrina, and Black Aubs drove home to St.George this day and it was just really good being home and surrounded by people who aren't afraid to invade my personal bubble and laugh until we get yelled at because "it's 1 AM and people are trying to sleep!"

day 21: I am thankful for my dog, Sadie. When I got home I made sure to go outside and give her a quality hello and she was so excited she legit could not hold still. Having someone love you that intensely, that unconditionally is something I think everyone needs in their life.

day 22: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for tradition. I love holidays and the family traditions they bring with them. and food. I'm grateful for the food that tradition brings as well.

day 23: I am thankful for sleep. I worked 11 hours straight, from midnight to 11 AM on Black Friday and let me tell you, I am grateful for normal working hours and a mediocre bed to sleep on at night. (oops, I think I was already grateful for my mediocre bed...)

day 24:  I am thankful for the Houskeeper sisters. I feel like I have and will talk anyone's ear off if they get me started on the topic of just how awesome the girls I live with are. K-train is probably one of the most solid people I know, she's beyond dependable, selfless, and extremely motivated. I frequently wish I had half her drive because I know that would guarantee me success in life. Aubrey is probably the worlds best kept secret. I frequently vocalize just how lucky I am to be one of the twenty people she's willing to talk to because that girl says some of the funniest most honest things I've ever heard. These two have saved me countless times and I seriously owe them so much.

day 25: I am thankful for Rakel. I got to Skype with her for a few hours and it was exactly like these 4 1/2 months hadn't passed, like I was still there in Austria. I'm so grateful for lasting friendships and people who genuinely care about me. I consider myself lucky for having met someone I so thoroughly connect with, so effortlessly on so many levels. (she's the only who inspired/told me to continue this list, so everyone can thank [or blame] Rakel)

day 26: I'm thankful for cherry chocolate kisses. They're seasonal and a little hard to find and oh, so good. I bought a bag aaaand it barely lasted two days.

day 27: I am thankful the semester is almost over. Today was my second to last 7:30 AM class of the semester and hopefully ever. As much as I have enjoyed this semester and I really do feel like I've grown, I can't wait to never have to get up that early for a class again. (even though being constantly sleep deprived every Tuesday has lead to some very interesting and entertaining Tuesday nights.)

day 28: I'm thankful for unexpected school friends. I swear everyone in all my classes are way more friendly than I ever thought art majors would be (which I guess doesn't really say much for me as a person)

day 29: I'm thankful for Facetime! I finally got to try it out when me and Jesse Facetimed so he could show me that he was learning one of my favorite songs ever on the guitar. So. Good.

That started getting cheesy at the end there, which is definitely a sign I need to stop before I end up going full blown cheese and saying I love you guys or something.

Thank you, Rakel for forcing me to finish this. This is exactly what I needed tonight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

music and pictures: thankvember day 12

i'm kind of having one of those stressed out to the max days where all i want to do is listen to one song on repeat at full volume while looking at photos of places i've never been and will probably never go.

so in spirit of that, i am thankful for music that allows me to instantly feel so much so intensely, so instantly. and i'm thankful for photographs which allow me to see things and people i would never otherwise get to experience.

here's one of those places:

here's one of those songs:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank you notes: Thankvember day 11

alright, thankfulness...

it's funny, i can always think of very day-specific things to be thankful for all day, until i sit down to start writing about them. and then i lose all my thoughts completely. luckily i have a physical reminder of what i'm thankful for today.

backstory: yesterday i came home from work to the cutest thank you card i think i have ever received in the mail, from a good friend from high school. even though i don't get to see her often anymore the fact that she took the time to write such a cute, heartfelt note made me smile for like half an hour straight. i was half tempted to run around showing it to anyone who had the misfortune of crossing my path.

you know, it's amazing to me just how much brighter a simple "thank you" can make your day. just knowing that someone thought about how much they like you and decided you deserved a physical reminder of that is the best. it made me feel all sorts of warm inside, to quote my mother.

so in short, i'm thankful for good, long-lasting, high-school, friendships and the benefits i am still receiving from them today. oh, and i'm thankful for thank you notes.

post thankvember:
in not so thankful news, today was a strange day. i had to go to work twice today, not leaving much room for church. this has left me feeling weird. this has left today feeling like the third saturday in a row, which means i'm no where near ready for school tomorrow. aaaand basically i can already tell this week is going to be difficult for me. i'm in the wrong mindset.

it's weird, what one simple 3 hour activity can do to reset your thinking.

well, i finally finished registering for classes, so i think it's time for bed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

thankvember day 9 &10

so friday kind of got away from me, and as a result i completely spaced doing this whole grateful thing.

so it's time to play catch up:
on friday i was thankful for my apartment. i've lived in the same complex for the whole time i've been in logan and the reason for that is i really enjoy it. i like my room, the apartment's location, the bus stop right out front, and the type of people who live here. it's not the cheapest option as far as housing goes up here because it's a single room. but i think we can all agree it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment for whomever would be forced to share a room with me, it's best i have my own. and with that in mind that's why this place is the perfect fit for me.

saturday was such a good, full day. i had orientation at work and i came home and did... some productive things which i have now seem to have forgotten. oh! and it snowed. this left me very grateful for heaters, coats, and snow scrapers.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sunshine and laundry: Thankvember day eight.

Today I’m thankful for good weather. It was reportedly 65 degrees today, which is nearly double of what it's going to be tomorrow. Winter is coming, and I’m terrified. 

I’m also thankful for free laundry. I already hate doing laundry; I can't imagine how much more I’d hate it if I actually had to pay to do it. 

I’m also also grateful for good roommates and friends. Two of my roommates and ben left to greener pastures for the day/weekend and so in their stead I’ve watched like 20 episodes on Hulu. It’s made me realize just how dull my life would be without them.
Also, I have mentioned I have a job? Because I’m still unbelievably grateful for that. 

Today was good. And I’m also grateful for that. 

Well, it's nearly 12:30 and I’m exhausted. Time for bed, children. Goodnight.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

JOB! thankvember day seven

guys! it's happened. i finally, finally got a job. it's only seasonal at best buy but it's still a PAYING JOB. plus if i keep being the shining star i am, i have the possibility for being hired on part time.

ah. relief.

in case you missed it that's what i'm thankful for today.

actually today has been a day full of thankful worthy things. i'm thankful that my dad has the opportunity to come up to logan occasionally to visit me (cough, and take me out to dinner.. whaaaaat...).

i'm thankful my roommate has my back when i wait until midnight to gather up supplies for my photography class tomorrow where we'll be making a camera.

i'm thankful for medicine because i'm battling some intense heartburn right now.

i'm just... yeah, it's been a really great day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

leftovers: thankvember day six.

we're still in the single digits of this month, why am i so bad at doing this you guys?!

frustration at my ability to stick to something aside, today i am grateful for leftovers. it's unfortunately more seldom than not that i decide to make actual dinner for myself, so when it does happen you better believe i want to be able to profit from my efforts for days to come.

the other day i made this 8 can taco soup schtuff i'd found on pinterest. it was pretty good and fortunately i had a lot of it. i stuck it in a few sandwich bags and put those in the freezer. now, whenever i'm hungry i can just grab one of those bags and within two minutes microwave heating time i can be eating legit soup. just two minutes. amazing.

now if only i did this more often...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Painting: Thankvember day five.

I spent the good majority of today with a paintbrush in hand either standing in front of an easel at school, or hunched over one sitting on my front room floor, working on a painting that i'm actually excited for. This concentrated mess of painting has left me feeling extremely grateful for the opportunity I have learn a skill I've wanted to try my hand at for years now. I may not be very good, or even good at all, but I'm learning and that's all that matters.

Sorry for the late update. Day six sound be coming to you shortly.

Monday, November 5, 2012

beds: thankvember day four

so for some reason i put off writing today until the last minute, which has found me struggling to keep my eyes open. so today i will be brief.

i am thankful for my bed. while in austria i had a cheap, run of the mill ikea bed which comprised of a series of wooden slats bowed in a box... if that makes sense. the slat with the job of supporting my back continuously fell onto my wooden floor. i found this, not only annoying because of the missing support, but extremely terrifying as wood falling onto wood tends to be a little loud and also tends to happen late at night while i'm in said bed. not only was my bed subpar, but i had rough cotton sheets that weren't fitted so they constantly bunched. oh, and i shared my room with another human being, but that's the story for another day.

basically, it's that experience that leaves me today being excited to sleep on my squeaky twin sized bed, springs and all.

here are the only pictures i can find on my laptop of my bed in austria... all of these courtesy of rakel.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankvember: day three.

today was a very low key, i'm-not-even-going-to-put-real-pants-on, sort of day. this has lead me to be grateful for the fact that i have things worth being busy over on normal days. i'm so glad that i'm in school and that i have extracurricular activities that i enjoy attending and participating in. i'm also looking forward to the day that i'm finally able to land a job (for real cache valley. it's getting ridiculous.). there are certain basic things that humans need to do in order to feel fulfilled and i'm just glad that when it comes down to it, i have those things in my life. i could probably work on adding a few more things to my rather relaxed pace life, however for today i'll be happy for what i have.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Birthday Girl (Thankvember day 2)

As I laid in bed last night I fully remembered that I'd made a promise to myself and... you I guess, to write each day this month. However, I was unable to. So that's what i'm doing now, making up for it because I still have something very important to be thankful for on November 2nd.

You see, November 2nd, 2001 is the day my little sister, Brook-aleen Chicka Wilson was born. So in honor of miss Chicka's birthday, here are a few tidbits about her:

-When my mom was pregnant I distinctly remember us deciding that we were going to name the baby Elizabeth Brooke Wilson. So when I called her after getting home from school that day and she told me the baby was named Brooke Elizabeth Wilson I was pretttty peeved. For some reason my 12 year old brain thought I had the right to tell two adults what they were allowed to name their offspring. Yeah, doesn't really make sense to me either.

-Brooke can't be sitting on the couch with someone without basically sitting on them. She is a very lovey, touchy, all over you kind of girl. And it's cute... for the most part.

-Brooke is the prefect model, which is why I have a billion pictures of her. Not only is she pretty but she takes direction very well. Not to mention she loves all the attention.

-I'm so lucky to get to call her my little sister.

Oh my little Brooklyn, I love you so. Happy birthday, little one. 

(keep an eye out for day 3 later tonight. promise)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankvember: Day 1.

For some reason I've felt compelled over these past few days leading up to November to start some sort of self improvement thing. I've had quite a bit of free time on my hands this semester and that's lead to a lot of personal introspection.

While I was searching for the perfect 30 day challenge I came across the idea of Thankvember. Despite the awful name, I've decided this might be exactly what I need. Lately I've been feeling like my boots are a little heavy with stress and worry and nothing combats that quite as fast as counting your blessings. Even though it's nearly 4AM on what is technically November 2nd I think I'm still going to do this. So, without further adieu:

Today/Tonight, I'm really grateful that I even have the desire to perfect myself. I am glad that I recognize my faults, or at least some of them, and search for ways to fix them. There may be a lot of things I'm not sure about in this life, but one thing I do know is I have the power to make my life better by improving my habits and abilities. And so that is what I plan on doing.

Alright, so even though I hate the name, I hope I'll be able to stick with this whole Thankvember thing. And if things go well tomorrow I'll have a major thing to be thankful for tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me!

In light of this New Year's-esque project I have a song I've been really fond of lately. I'd heard this song last year but then kinda forgot about it until last week when I went to a house show to see Greg Holden play (swoon!) and Ian Axel's band was the closing act. So. Good.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

overwhelmingly introspective.

so it's been a while. i want to say i'm not sure why that is, but i'm thinking life has something to do with it. honestly, so much has been going on, so many good memory worthy things that i regretfully keep forgetting to document them all.

in line with that, pretty sure the last time i wrote in here i was in austria. this is no longer the case. i'm happy to report that i made it home safe and sound and as jet lagged as ever. the transition from away to was unexpectedly smooth. i am continuously baffled at my ability to so immediately adapt to wherever i am.  baffled and grateful.

i'm feeling overwhelmingly introspective today. i can't tell if this feeling is rooted in regret or joy. or maybe it's a combination of the two.
see, i can't find a job. and austria didn't exactly leave me with an abundance of funds, surprisingly enough. so spending money even on food is extremely stressful.
on the other hand, life is so good, you guys. yesterday i was able to enjoy a visit from one of my good friends i made in austria. it's still so surreal to me that i spent 5 months of my life over there, expanding not only my view of the world but myself as an individual. i found myself getting sucked into looking at an album on facebook of a friend's pictures from abroad. i ache to go back. there's a fullness that accompanies an experience as big as that. that was one of the consequences of traveling that i was not expecting.

i've been lucky though. i don't pine for travel. i am content with where i am and who i'm with. but every few weeks or so, an introspective respite catches me off guard and i'm overtaken by gratitude and longing.
and that's where i am today.

maybe that's why i can't pinpoint what this feeling is inside me, because it's not one but two.

once again, i didn't really start writing this with a cohesive thought in mind. i just knew there were thoughts inside me that needed to be outside of me. i feel as though i've only been able to convey 10% of what i'm feeling, but i suppose that will have to do for now.

i put this song on to quell my heart while attempting to write everything i needed to, and after listening through it once i realized just how perfect it is for this moment.

"Setting fire to our insides for fun
To distract our hearts from ever missing them"

Friday, June 22, 2012

procrastination station: rainstorm pictures.

sometimes, instead of writing your paper, you edit the pictures from yesterday 's rainstorm which you also took instead of writing your paper. 

while attempting to capture the fury of the rainstorm outside i took a video. it wasn't until two minutes ago when i watched that video back that i realized there is a dude, just walking through the frantic rain. crazy, austrian. 

well... I’m going to go write a paper on something I haven’t even researched yet. but with this aggressive dubstep at my inspiration I am confident I will write something to move the masses.
"wub wub wub bbbbbuh tchya web web wub wub wuuuubbb SCREAM!"
it is complete. 

but for reals, that's what i'm going to go do now. 
(also, that part of me listening to dubstep was a joke... i would never... yeah.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

to love the warm night air.

do you remember the first time you felt content? like the thorough, aware-of-your-surroundings-in-a-grown-up-sense, content with the current moment of time in which you were living?
i do.

i was probably twelve (it's kinda funny how everything i remember seems to have happened when i was twelve.) and it was nearing easter time. my mother was frantically rushing around the house at ten thirty that night, attempting to undo our messes faster than we could make them. we were expecting my grandparents to arrive any moment.  all the windows were open so the cooling desert breeze could circulate through the house, airing out the freshly sterilized smell. i remember sneaking outside to sit on the porch bench to wait. i was positively bursting with anticipation and happiness. the buzz of our frantic cleaning had stirred up the butterflies in my stomach and i felt so full of so many good things that i couldn't stay inside anymore. this is when i fell in love with warm night air. 

i don't remember what time my grandparents eventually showed up. i don't remember what i got for easter that year. i don't even remember what age i truly was, but every year when the night air finally becomes a pleasant, tolerable version of the day's sweltering heat, i remember that night and i feel so full of childlike contentment that i can't help but get lost in the breeze. and i feel unbelievably full of so many good things once again.

i wanted to do something special for my 100th post and without realizing it, i wrote this instead. 
and it couldn't be more perfect.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

i promise you, this relates.

i'm currently sitting in a dark room. my bedroom light bulb blew earlier today and the repairman won't get my entry in the "fix it, bitte" book until tomorrow. so i'm sitting in the dark, listening to the rain softly hit the tin shutters outside my open window and watching the occasional light show the alps are providing.

i think this is the most calm my heart has been in quite some time.

i'm feeling oddly content. "oddly" because my stomach is mad at me for forgetting to go grocery shopping today and my brain is attempting to illicit stress by trying to remind me of pages unwritten with impending due dates.

and yet i'm content. i've spent the past two hours looking at the film photography of a few artists i really admire and reading interviews about why they do what they do. looking at their work and seeing their obvious undying dedication to a supposedly dying art brings me a strange sense of fulfillment. almost as if i can see clearly why it is that i've picked photographyto be so fond of myself.

i didn't start writing this with a self revelation in mind. i only knew i was experiencing one of those soft moments in time the need to be recorded before the flood gates break in, and you're once again drowning in the mundane, having completely forgotten your rare respite.

yesterday, while in my "poetry and painting: the american frontier" class i sat in a chair against the back wall, because all the tables were full, very visibly fighting sleep. to gain the upper hand in that futile battle i started doodling on a blank page i had already titled "this relates." i haven't doodled in an academic setting since AP classes in high school. before long my pictures turned into paragraphs of confessions, things i hadn't yet taken the time to realize about myself.

it may not seem to make much sense now, but i promise you, this relates.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

some things: tuesday addition.

here are some things (i figured i haven't done this in a while, so i thought it was time to do it again. also i'm procrastinating):
i need a hair cut so badly that it's a very good thing i don't own a pair of scissors and that i'm not willing to buy any for the short while i have left, otherwise i definitely would have cut it myself by now. so instead i either pin my bangs back the second i wake up or spend the entire day pushing them out of my face like some lost emo girl who managed to escape '06 (or is that still a thing these days? i'm so out of the loop)

i have roughly 30-45 pages worth of papers to write in the next four weeks. ahhhhhh!
as a direct result of that crippling number, i have just cleaned my room. it hasn't looked this good since... my german midterm.

my brother comes home in one week. another ahhhh!

i finished a really good book today, and it's making me want to reread all the books i fell in love with a few years ago instead of reading what i'm being assigned. i realize that's not particularly interesting, but that's the sort of thing we specialize here in maria-land. you're welcome.

also, i feel the need to once again thank my mom for my kindle. i got one for christmas, something i'd never even considered asking for, but it's become such a life savor. i can't tell you how many times i've had to wait across town for my bus to make it's rounds on it's 15-30 minute route and instead of being forced to pull my hair out of boredom, i've been able to open my kindle and choose from 150 books to read. ooh technology, you have my heart.

speaking of buses... kinda... there was a man standing at my bus stop today who was just chillin with his pants around his ankles. just standing there. like that's a normal thing for a 60 year old man to be doing. and it was not normal. luckily he had the foresight to wear a long shirt today. which is so strange to me, because he didn't even have the whereabouts to pull his pants back up. no worries though, i used one of my few but highly coveted super powers, avoiding eye contact of any sort, to spare myself from viewing anything too awkward.

while you're here want to see some incredibly awkward pictures of me? okay!

why i let rakel take such pictures is beyond me. why i don't delete them... is a whole other question.

other things... oh, i only have a month left here. not that that's a HUGE FREAKING DEAL or anything. i'm aware we already went through this a few days ago but i'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around it. as i have my internal struggle between wishing that time would simultaneously hurry and stop, time is playing coy and pretending not to notice, moving on like nothing is wrong. oh time, you respecter of no man. i admire you for that.

lets end on a good note shall we? so, at least three times a week i go to bed around midnight and wake up before 8 AM. i knew when i moved over here that i would change and grow in ways that i couldn't even imagine, but i had no idea it was going to fix the unfixable. if you would have told me that i was going to have to move to europe to fix my sleep schedule i would have started harboring a severely dysfunctional circadian rhythm loooong ago.

so. it's been... a few hours. i should probably start on that paper, eh?

Friday, May 25, 2012

preemptive walk down memory lane.

i'm kind of at a loss here, guys. part of me has been feeling compelled to write in here for a good few weeks while the another part of me has been absolutely forbidding it. i only have a month left with time picking up speed each day, turning my mind into the very definition of conflict and confusion and therefore not really conducive for writing others would want to read (as you're about to find out).

i have so many things i'm looking forward to at home, like being reunited with my brother after a very long two years and a few exciting trips with people i have been really, really missing. but at the same time thinking about leaving this place makes me feel like frantically running around the city clinging to every surface possible.

i don't want to leave. i don't feel ready to say goodbye yet. there's so much i haven't seen, felt or eaten and to think of leaving before doing all that makes me feel like i'm never going to have an opportunity to.

but even beyond all that, i don't want to leave the people i've met here. guys, i've been so lucky. the branch here is full of such loving and giving members. if my belief in the christ-like nature that our church tries to instill in it's members was ever called to question, these people have more than validated it. i can't even imagine having to say goodbye to the missionary couple here, they've been like my european grandparents, always giving me a handshake and a hug every time they see me. not to mention the other friendships i've forged with the young single adults. every single one of them have been such a blessing in my life. to think that the time is coming where i won't get to see them every sunday, monday and thursday, or truthfully maybe ever again, is something i am having a hard time wrapping my head around. they've become such an anchor in my daily life that there is definitely going to be a gaping hole there once i leave.

i'm really going to miss planning elaborate trips that somehow end up happening. i'm going to miss friday night's dinner and a movie every weekend. i'm going to miss waiting for an extra 12-25 minutes at sillpark for my bus after FHE/JAE just so we can talk a little while longer. i'm going to miss watching ping pong games that seem to go on forever but always end up in consuming and infectious laughter. i'm just all around gong to miss getting to hang out with such amazing diverse people.

when i first signed up to come here i thought only of the experiences i was going to have, but i completely forgot to factor in the people who i was bound to care for way too much for my own good. 


i'm really going to miss these guys. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

remember that time i went to rome...

the Vatican

so in my last post i mentioned that i had a draft saved about my adventures in rome, but i hadn't organized them into readable sentences or anything yet. i figured i should probably make that a priority before it becomes outdated and irrelevant (i wrote that last sentence about a month ago. so i think it's a little too late for that. oops.) like all the other twenty some odd drafts i have saved on here. but because i'm tired and i'm pretty sure i don't have long to do this, i'm going to make one of my famous lists. shall we?

rome was... quite the experience. i'd be lying if i said i absolutely loved it from the start, heck it'd be lying if i said i liked it from the start.
first, we arrived mid-morning after spending the night attempting to sleep sitting up on the train. any day that begins off with train sleep as it's backer is doomed from the start. when we'd told people we were heading to rome we were greeted with handfuls of warnings about pick pockets and thieves. with all these warnings fresh in my mind i stepped off the train tired, sore, and immediately overwhelmed.

after gaining some semblance of our barrings, me and marissa attempted to find the tourist office to get a map and recommendations on hostels worth staying at. a few laps around the station confirmed the last thing i wanted to hear, there was no tourist office... or none that we could find. our aimless wanderings found us in front of a map of the station trying our hardest to hopefully see the tourist office that we'd somehow missed. after only a minute of staring but not understanding what my eyes were seeing, we were confronted by an elderly-ish man (whom i took it upon myself to immediately distrust very, very strongly. my intense aversion to him was probably a mix of sleep deprivation and residual paranoia from my loved one's warnings. the combination of which is much more powerful than i ever could have anticipated.) this italian grandfather then proceeded to, repeatedly, give us a sales pitch on his abilities to find the cheapest and closest hotels that would best suit our needs because he'd just helped a group of eleven find a hostel clear across town for 10 euro a piece and then they ended up coming back to him to stay in the first hotel he'd recommended that was near the station and only 27 euro a piece and how the people were so grateful to him and how he was not going to charge us any commission, like the people at the booths would and how we should trust him because he just helped a group of eleven find a hostel clear across town for 10 euro a piece and then they ended up coming back to him to stay in the first hotel he'd recommended that was near the station and only 27 euro a piece... seriously. exactly like that. he talked in circles.  he offered to take us to the nearby hotel and just as i was about to open my mouth to say no thank you marissa agreed. so we went.
the hotel he promised us ended up being less like a hotel and more like the sketchiest hotel i'd ever set foot in. there was no sign out front to mark it, and we had to use three separate keys to get inside the building, inside the gate that was inside the building, and then inside our room. upon entering our bedroom i realized this wouldn't be so bad. that is until i noticed there was only a full sized bed in there. yep. one bed. two girls.
the fact that we had a private bathroom totally won me over and then i realized we had a bidet.  and that's when i couldn't stop laughing.
the next hour contained the overly friendly Italian grandpa from the train station coming and getting us from the hotel to take us to the open tour, tour bus company to help us purchase a ticket, which we surely didn't need, and then to a different tour bus company to purchase another ticket which would take us to Pompeii and Naples the next day, which is something we actually wanted.

the rest of the Rome trip definitely got better, well that is after a small incident in the internet cafe, where we were reassuring loved ones that we had made it safe, which was speaking a little too soon. i had just finished using my half of our purchased 30 minutes when i heard something happening behind me. turning around i saw two men in an awkward embrace of sorts, which turned out to be less of an embrace more of an attack. after semi wrestling for a minute or two the second man whipped out some handcuffs, and after slapping the first man around a few times, he cuffed the man and led him out of the store. i could taste the adrenalin in my mouth.
after that everything definitely went up hill. i wish i could give you a play by play of our next few days but, due to the time that's passed and my awesome memory, i couldn't do that even if i tried. so instead here's a list of things i managed to jot down in my phone while we were there:

  • while on the train from Rome to Florence i definitely saw a rather detailed piece of graffiti of the monster dude from the goonies.... sloth, i think? yeah. it was pretty top notch. 
  • i managed to eat at mcdonalds twice while i was there. before you judge, i managed to eat something they don't offer back at home. so that makes it ok... right? right.
  • our bus ride to pompeii was rather long and with my talent of sleeping on public transportation i rested my head on the window and slept the whole time. sounds simple enough. nope. the ride was so bumpy and i was so tired that i didn't even notice my head being repeatedly hit on the window giving me a surprisingly massive raised bruise on the left side of my head about the size of the side of my hand, from the tip of my pinky to the base of my hand. 
  • i forgot my camera charger, which is still my biggest regret over the past three months. i didn't get nearly as many pictures of rome or florence that i wanted. i'm still sad about that. 
to conserve battery in my camera i started taking pictures on my phone. this was one of my favorites of the Colosseum. 

  • my favorite memory in rome was easily sitting at the trevi fountain on our last day, eating bueno flavored gelato, the temperature was 75 degrees and being perfectly content. i could have sat there for hours.
  • my cold uninviting personality finally paid off. tons of soulless italian salesmen felt the chill that is my cold shoulder over the two days we were there. every time one would approach me and marissa i'd quickly emasculate them with a flick of the hand and a "no thank you." only one man recovered quickly enough to retort with a "no gratzi?!" (i'm totally kidding by the way, they don't think twice about being rejected because it literally happens every two seconds to them. on the bottom of the list of jobs that strip you of any and all dignity resides the street salesmen.)
  • in other heart breaking news: i am nearly out of chap stick. i have probably two more uses out of it before i have to stoop to scooping some out of the bottom of it with my finger. those of you who offered to send me some are liars. that is all. (due to my untimliness of posting this, i have since completely run out of chap stick and replaced it with some that will do for now)
  • the day we tried to leave rome was a train strike. yep. when the lady at the ticket booth told us that i didn't know whether to laugh at our horrible luck or to cry at our horrible luck.

needless to say we eventually made it home safe and upon reflection of all the wrong it's done me, i've decided i definitely want to go back to rome. soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lets break my comfort zone, everybody together now!

So while I was brushing my teeth to get ready for bed I realized I didn't smell anything. Normally that's a good thing but it alarmed me because that means my apartment no longer has that distinct Europe smell. My nose has finally acclimated to it. And it's not just that, but my building's doors no longer confuse me. I've finally learned which way each individual one opens. And when going somewhere I no longer have to take five minutes planning my course, but instead I have the buses memorized and know exactly when to leave and what connections to take (alright that one isn't entirely true. I got lost just last week but still, I've made significant improvements).

I realized I've been here for 71 days. That means I only have 79 days to go. My time here is nearly half over. This brought about on an onslaught of overbearing fears that maybe I'm not doing enough. That I'm not fully taking every advantage of the opportunity that I've been given to come here. That I'm going to leave wanting. That I'm going to leave with regret. So, in order to avoid that I've decided to give myself a challenge.

Every few days I would like to do something that puts me outside of my comfort zone, if only just a little bit. It can either take ten seconds or two hours, doesn't matter. Just so long as it's something that new that's going to help me grow just a little bit more. The only problem now is I can't think of enough goals. And that's where you come in, Mom and the three other people who actually read this. I need ideas. Help me think of simple things I can do to take full advantage of my time here. Ready? Go!
Here are some that I've already come up with:

Goals to avoid becoming complacent: 
order food completely in german
initiate conversation with someone i don't know
take a bus i've never taken before and ride it's route
be a tourist for a day where i live
go to the castle
carry my camera all day 
actually study in the library
get a picture of me with each of the people in my life here.
visit a temple
cook an elaborate dinner with friends
go on a run
sit alone by the river for an hour or two
carry a journal around all day and write 
visit an antique store
finally send off my post cards (i am the worst you guys, i'm so sorry)
go on a day long adventure with Rakel -by Rakel, obviously
see a sunrise -Dad
visit Sleeping Beauty's Castle- Mom
take a sketch book around for a day and draw everything -Evelyn
Go to Wattens
visit the zoo
Hike a mountain -Johanna

as i get more i'll add them here, and maybe i'll even include the name of the person who suggested it to me. such an honor! i know.

lets end on a positive note: here are a few of my new favorite things, my collection of post cards and fruit tea :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

maria: the girl (who wishes she was worthy of being) on fire.

there's something about seeing a highly anticipated movie that leaves me with an intense desire to talk to everyone around me about everything that i'm feeling about it and otherwise. but since the only person i have at my disposal to talk to isn't exactly fluent in english slash is asleep and therefore not really at my disposal at all, i'm going to have to write about it in here instead. go!

i'm sure i've already made it abundantly clear, either through my facebook activity which you're all subject to or, heaven forbid, you've had the misfortune of actually talking with me from the time i saw this movie until the time that you're actually reading this, i finally saw the hunger games.
let the dissecting begin:
i think i was afraid to let myself like this movie in the beginning. i'd heard enough cautionary reviews from people i trusted that it was like i was almost prepping myself for the worst. consequently, i found myself extremely frustrated for the first twenty minutes, and this is why. i'd been warned about the amount of camera shake they used and so i thought in my readied state i'd be able to look past it. nope. even being prepped for it i found it extremely distracting. and that's saying something. i understand why it was used, most of the movie is shot as if it was reality tv, but the camera shake combined with the overuse of panning-out-of-focus-shots left me bugged and feeling a little out of focus myself. along those same lines, i felt like all of the scene were cut a few seconds too short. i didn't get to absorb or actually take in a scene fully before it cut away. this left me frustrated and distracted enough that i had even less time to take in the next scene before it too, was prematurely cut away. it almost felt as if the director had no faith in his work and therefore wanted all the scenes to cut away before the viewer noticed his flaws. you'd think with such elaborate costumes from the capitol especially, one would want to let the viewer bask in their hard work. guess not. (i'm also now realizing that maybe someone had the brilliant idea that in order to make the film shorter they'd just shave off a few seconds from every scene. and to that, i suggest that whomever's head that idea pooped out of is forced to consume cups of straight sugar, to cut their concentration level in half of course, and then sit and watch a pbs documentary where all the scenes are annoyingly cut a few seconds too short. not so easy to follow the story line now, is it, idea-man? didn't think so.)
while we're still bashing the filmography, the CG seemed really... low budget. you'd think with a movie this hyped they'd have more high quality equipment to work with.

story wise, i was fine with how they adapted the story line. the relationships between... well basically everyone felt completely glossed over though and so i had a hard time buying into every character's actions.

my favorite part of the movie was easily my favorite part of the book as well. i loved the delicate way the balance between the callous and desensitized way the people in the capitol felt towards the hunger games in contrast with the heart wrenching dread for the games and yet inevitable conceit to the capitol's wishes the districts experienced.when effie is drawing the names for the district 12 tributes and she congratulates katniss and asks everyone to congratulate her as well she is met with silence. there are multiple examples of this sort of misplaced excitement that a capitol member feels towards the games or towards a killing while the audience and the district citizens are clearly distraught and disgusted. i can't help but find this juxtaposition of the two different frames of mind to be so disturbing that it becomes enchanting.

well, it's now 2 AM so i do believe that is enough rambling for tonight.

and, i'm sorry, but now that we've all seen peeta and gale in "real life", can we all agree that peeta is a girl, in looks and in action, and gale is actually a man and just plain more attractive and therefore clearly the winner? yes? thank you.

with all this said, i still kind of want to be the girl on fire. or at least learn how to wield a bow like that. hot dang!

Friday, March 23, 2012

venice the novel: heading north to go south and other delightful experiences.

so. i have a lot of stories to tell you guys, but, i'm beyond tired (as the story always goes.). so lets see if i can get this all written before my brain turns to mush. ready? go.

the day of our italy trip i took a three hour nap in preparation for the 6 1/2 hour night train i knew i had ahead of me. this turned out to be bad decision number one. because of that nap i wasn't able to sleep on the train. at. all. lack of sleep combined with how unnaturally hot our cabin was combined with the two dudes who, every time i looked at them while they were awake, were staring at me, made for a very... interesting, and not in the good way, train ride.

we arrived at our destination in vincenza at 5 AM, and had a little bit of time to kill before 6 when my aunt was coming to retrieve us. so we were chillin in the... the room with all the chairs... area. we'd been sitting for maybe five minutes and i had just settled back into my grumpy/tired pants when an interesting african guy came over and asked us for change for 10 euro so he could buy coffee. i put on my best "go away" face and told him no. but instead of seeing how much i did not want to be alive at the moment, let alone talk to him, all he heard was my american accent. he promptly sat down between me and marissa and started talking.  his topics of choice included, but were not limited to: asking where i was from, my name (which he proceeded to laugh at since i was american with a supposedly italian name), if i had a facebook, if i'd add him on facebook, how long i was planning on staying in Vincenza,  if i'd ever been to Amsterdam, if i would like to join him in Amsterdam, if i wanted him to buy me a coffee, if i was willing to meet up with him that night to go to a club. he also felt the need to tell me, multiple times, that i had beautiful eyes, that i wasn't like most italian girls, even though he thought i was italian at first, and that he liked my shoes. he also told me his name was, and i'm not even kidding, Freedom Rasta. i swear it. after about 20 minutes of painfully one sided conversation i finally pretended our ride was here and so we got up and left to go stand outside and wait. he then promptly followed us outside and offered me a smoke and luckily our ride arrived just in time so i didn't have to give him an answer. (keep this encounter in mind for a story of similar unwantedness is to come.) i was praying this strange interaction was not to be an omen of how the whole trip was going to be.
luckily it wasn't... entirely.

it took us ten minutes to get to my aunts house which, turns out is beyond amazing. she lives in a house connected to an old church built in the 1200's. the house is fantastic, gorgeous, and beyond anything i can ever hope to live in myself. i was planning on taking a million pictures of it while we were there but exhaustion and traveling got in the way. i suppose i'll just have to go back. pity.

eventually we got some good food in us and around 10:00 we found ourselves on a train to go spend the day in venice. only, it wasn't a train on it's way to venice. turns out it was a train coming from venice, to milan. yes folks, that is the wrong direction. but it wasn't until we reached the verona train station we realized our mistake which, unfortunately, that's half an hour in the wrong direction. double unfortunately, we didn't realize we should get off and switch trains util we'd already pulled out of verona. it took another hour to reach the next train station, the name of which i still don't remember, where we smartly hopped off the train to find the next train back to venice. when was the next train leaving said unnamed town, you ask? in two hours. so we walked from the train station to the center of town, which also happened to be a shoreline of a massive lake, and we bought some gilato, took pictures, and chased pigeons. i suppose if we had to be stranded in a random town for two hours, the place we ended up wasn't so bad.

you can't read it but it says maria on that lighthouse. just like everything else over here. 

so after the four and a half hours it took us to travel a 30 minute distance, (wow this is getting long, honestly i'm amazed you're still reading. shall we continue? we shall.) we ended up in venice and oh my lanta was it worth it. guys, lets all go to venice, ok? because, get this, they don't have streets, but instead have canals. yes. canals. those gondola dudes in the striped shirts that you have probably seen on tv or some chick flick movie? they're real. and it turns out they're also really expensive, unless you're simply taking pictures of them like a poor college student, like i was.

we wandered around venice for four hours, watching random groups of tourists pay for a bag of what i'm going to assume was full of bread crumbs, in order to bribe disease ridden rats with wings to land on them and eat out of their hands. yes, there were tons of groups of people doing this. and yes, i got pictures.

the pigeon trainer himself. he came to venice without diseases, and  he'll be darned if he leaves without 'em. 

remember when i told you to remember that creepy man story from before? well i was planning on telling you another story that had to do with that, but i'm getting tired, it's getting late and this is getting really long, so i'll give you the condensed version.

so we were traversing the back-ish alley ways towards the train station to end our tragically magical day in venice when these two dudes started walking behind us. they heard us talking in english and so they asked, in their thick accents, if we were headed towards the train station too. i replied accordingly so they said they were just going to follow us. but they didn't just follow us. instead one of them insisted on asking me questions from like 15 feet behind me... which was awkward and difficult to hear. and here is a list of questions he was asking me: where are you guys from? (utah) oh, i'm from there too! (oh yeah? because you totally sound like it) ha, no. i am from california though *wink* (really.) yep. *wink wink* so you guys ever been to turkey? (nope.) ah, too bad. you want to go!? (nope.) do you have plans tonight? (siiiiigh)

it continued like that until we took a purposely wrong turn and lost them. i must say italy, for all your enticing ruins, your men kind of come off as desperate scum bags.

our day ended similar to the way it began. i bought a massive white dessert thing that ended up being nothing more than a glob of meringue bigger than my face, which after one bite, neither me nor marissa wanted it.

until next time venice, you were truly... something else.