5 Facts About Me You May or May Not Want to Know

A few days ago, Sydney over at Antipodal Pull was kind enough to nominate me for the Mystery Blogger award.  Like her, I tend to have disdain for blogger awards.  But, also like her, I have been trying to get back into the blogging community.

To be completely honest, I’m a bit unhappy with my blog and blogging habits at the moment.  I’m not taking it too seriously, because life is a bit crazy at the moment and I know it will calm down soon, and then I’ll be able to find a new normal.  But it’s been a bit of a downer, not being able to blog or brainstorm at often or as regularly as I want.

That’s one of the reasons I was pretty thrilled that Sydney thought of me for this award — I feel like it’s a good brainstorming and writing exercise, and it’s a way to ease back into regular blogging.  The other reason is that I really enjoy her blog (which you should check out), and the fact that she thought of me made me smile.  So, Sydney — thank you!

Here are the questions she posed to her nominees:

 

What’s your most productive work environment?

I work best in a neat room with a lot of natural light.  If the light is ugly, or the room is too messy, I won’t be able to focus very well.  Ideally, there should be some low background noise — instrumental music is best because I can get distracted by lyrics.  And then, if I have a cup of coffee and a blanket to throw on my lap, I’m a happy camper.  I can sit for hours and be productive like that.

Who was your first celebrity crush?

Tom Hiddleston.  I saw him first in Thor and thought he was the greatest looking person I had ever seen.  I had an obsessive Pinterest board for awhile, and decided I was going to watch every film he’d ever been in.  That goal didn’t last very long, and the board got deleted when I starting dating my fiancee.  I still think he’s a very talented actor though.

Where is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled?

Hands down, the American southwest.  Specifically, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.  I went on a road trip with my mom, aunt, and brother last spring, and the desert out there is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  And the culture is absolutely fascinating — it’s like a huge mix of US, Mexican, and indigenous history.  And did I mention how beautiful it is?  I only had my beat up iPhone on the trip, but that doesn’t disguise the absolute gorgeousness.  I mean, look at this trail going down into the Grand Canyon.  Does it get better than that??  No.  No, it does not.

IMG_6870

What’s (one of) your biggest goal(s) in life?

I still want to travel much more than I have.  I want to go back to Central America, and I want to visit South America, and I would love to go to Spain, and I want to see India, and Australia would be incredible, and there’s still so much of the US I haven’t seen.  I don’t think I’ll ever live anywhere other than the US, but that doesn’t mean I can’t at least give myself a taste of the rest of the world.

Also, not to lose my ability to play the flute or speak Spanish.  Those are both things I love doing, and I have done neither of those things in a long time.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Honestly, right now, I do not know, and I have too many wedding things to do to spend the time I would need to spend to properly reflect on this.  However, this is a good question, so maybe it will turn into its own blog post later.

Advertisements

Here’s Why Rescinding DACA Sucks (including links to help you speak out)

Last Tuesday, Trump decided to end DACA.

It’s no secret that I am very much not on the Trump train, and this just adds to the reasons why.

Trump claims that the reason behind moving to rescind DACA is basically that it’s not good enough, and that the US isn’t ready for a “comprehensive immigration plan.” But if that were the real reason, and he honestly wanted a better immigration process, he wouldn’t be rescinding DACA. Rescinding means taking a step back, not moving forward.

Trump claims that the 800,000 DACA recipients — DREAMers — are taking jobs away from millions of Americans. Those are his words. I have two problems with that.

First of all, like most of the things Trump says, it’s highly illogical. It’s literally impossible for 800,000 people to “take” jobs from millions. It’s true that 800,000 people (if they all have jobs, that is) are preventing another 800,000 people from having those exact same jobs, but by that logic, I’m taking a job away from someone else too. So is my fiancé. So is almost everyone I know. Yes, the job market may be brutal, but you don’t “take away” someone else’s job by having a job yourself. That doesn’t make sense.

Second, DACA recipients, by definition, have grown up in the US. They are children of people who have come here illegally, so while they are technically also undocumented, they have spent almost their entire lives in the US, living as and among Americans. Culturally, socially, and mentally, they are Americans. They pay for American goods, work jobs that serve Americans, and go to American schools. As residents, they’re contributing members of American society, and most of them don’t know anything different. They are Americans. The only thing they lack is the paperwork, and DACA was Obama’s attempt to give them the time they need to make their status legal. What will the US gain by taking that chance away?

I can’t answer that, but I can tell you what we will lose.  By rescinding DACA, we will lose hundreds of thousands of people that could be bettering and investing in our society.  We will lose more respect than we’ve already lost by electing Trump in the first place.  And we will lose the trust of everyone, not just DREAMers, who were told that the US government would welcome them, help them, and value them.  The only thing rescinding DACA will accomplish is announcing to the world that if you weren’t born American, Trump doesn’t care about you.  But I’m pretty sure we all knew that already.

Trump’s America is the opposite of what America is supposed to be.  Emma Lazarus wrote the famous poem “The New Colossus” in 1883, as an effort to fundraise for part of the Statue of Liberty.  We all know the famous lines:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Starting DACA was one way Obama tried to put those lines into practice.  Trump may as well take the torch from Lady Liberty.

Unless, of course, Congress passes the Dream Act of 2017.  

This act was initially introduced in 2001, but it didn’t pass.  Now, with DACA being rescinded, it has been introduced again.  You can read the actual text here, but in a nutshell, the Dream Act would protect DREAMers from deportation and give them a legalization process, which DACA did not do.  It is not a perfect process, I’m sure, but it would be much, much better than deporting 800,000 people.

From what I’ve read, phone calls are the best way to get noticed by your congressmen.  However, any way to make your voice heard helps, so here’s how to find your representative and your senator.  Let’s get the Dream Act passed and stop the ridiculousness.

 

What September Means

By the time this post is published, it will be September.  For the last 17 years, September has meant going back to school.  But not this year.

I thought it would feel weirder than it feels right now.  I thought that in August, when my younger social media friends are posting about school life, that I would feel like I should be in school, not working still.  But it doesn’t.  It’s September, I’m still working, and it feels normal.

Maybe it’s because I’m used to being busy during the day.  Maybe it’s because the weather hasn’t turned cooler yet.  Maybe it’s simply because I’m distracted by all the other things I’m doing right now.  Whatever the reason, I haven’t felt sentimental yet.

Okay, that’s not completely true.  I do miss being on campus surrounded by beautiful buildings and other people my age.  I miss all the free time I had, even if a lot of it was spent doing homework.  I miss having most of my close friends close by.

But there are a lot of things I don’t miss.  For one, I don’t miss actually being in class.  By the time May came around, I was more than ready to say goodbye to that.  I like learning, but when you’ve been sitting in classes for 17 years, it gets old.

I also don’t miss living off one lump sum.  I was lucky enough not to have to get loans, so when I worked during breaks, it was pretty much solely for my living expenses, and I always made just enough for exactly that.  But I really had to watch my spending.  While I haven’t quit doing that now, of course (budgeting is a good idea for every stage of life), it’s been nice to have a regular paycheck that doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.

And perhaps most importantly, I do not miss living with roommates.  I had good roommates, as they go, but I am so, so not a people person.  I hated living with the possibility of anyone coming in at any hour.  Now, aside from living with my fiance (which is wonderful, by the way), I’m in complete control of my household.  No one comes to our house unless we are expecting and inviting them, and that’s exactly the way I like it.

I know a few people who get really sentimental and nostalgic about anything once it ends, even if it was awful while it was happening.  In a way, I guess that’s good.  It makes you happy with your life.  If you look back and see only the good stuff, how can you not be satisfied with the way your life is going?  But I don’t remember stuff like that.  In fact, I probably lean more the opposite way.

Even with my mostly-pessimistic views, however, it seems to me that the older I get, the more my life improves.  High school was pretty good.  College was even better.  And now, during my first September ever not being in school, I’m getting married and trying to start a career.  Apparently, September will always hold some kind of significance for me, and if things go the way they’ve been going, the future looks pretty darn great.

Revisiting Christianity

Before

In the very early days of this blog, I was still in high school.  I started it the summer before my senior year, when I still identified myself as a Christian and still tried to read my Bible every day.  I had “professed” (if you can call it that) faith in Christ at 8 years old, but had only really begun exploring Christianity in 8th grade, when I met my friend Paula.  Paula, whose dad was a pastor, moved here from Florida and was (and still is) a strong Christian.  She encouraged me to be intentional about the faith I had chosen as an 8-year-old, and I began doing the typical Christian things — I read my Bible every day and tried to pray.  But while I enjoyed the intellectual aspect of studying religion (and the friendships that came with Bible study groups), I never truly enjoyed being a Christian.  I mostly felt guilty instead.  So when this blog began, I was still trying.  A lot of my very early posts reference God or the Bible studies I was doing at the time.  But by then, my senior year of high school, trying to be a good person and a good Christian was wearing on me.  I started getting tired of it.  By the time I finished my freshman year of college, I decided that being my own, independent person did not include calling myself a Christian.

College

I know I’m only a few months removed, but my college years were some of the best of my life.  I felt more free to be completely me (and that girl really isn’t too different than “Christian” Sarah — just less guilty).  I learned to speak Spanish.  I began blogging really regularly and found that it’s not just a hobby, it’s something I want to do for a long time.  And I met my two best friends, one of whom will become my husband (in only 32 days, in case you’re curious).  It was a really fun time, and I grew up a lot.  I also fell into a more relaxed stance with Christianity, not claiming the Christian title but not completely ruling it out in the future, either.

Now

Right now, getting married is my main focus.  All the details are falling into place.  (And god, will I be glad when planning is over.)  Christopher and I, after booking food, clothes, and flowers, finally found someone to do our wedding and premarital counseling.  Part of the reason it took us so long to find someone was because 1) we are living together and didn’t think either of our home pastors would be okay with that, and 2) neither of us knew what kind of ceremony we wanted, anyway, since both of us grew up Christian but can’t really call ourselves that sincerely.

My mom (bless her) finally convinced me to talk to an old friend about doing our counseling — Paula’s dad, the pastor from Florida.  I agreed because as much as I dislike admitting it, my mom is right a lot of the time, and I was also really feeling the stress about having an entire wedding put together but no one to actually do the thing.  So a couple weeks ago, during a whirlwind of bridal showers, we sat down and talked to Paul.  As I suspected, he started out asking us both about our faith, which was a little uncomfortable.  But once he figured out where we both stand, he explained that he would be happy to do our counseling, as long as we were both open to really and truly considering Christianity again.

That seemed fair to both of us.  So now we are meeting with Paul once a week via Facebook video, where we’re doing 30 minutes of traditional premarital counseling and 30 minutes of faith discussion.  He’s given us a book to read, and also asked that we read certain books of the Bible.  He knows we are both fact-based people, and like it when we can see evidence of something, so he’s tailoring our discussions that way rather than talk about how much Christianity makes people feel.  So far, it’s been enjoyable, and it’s sparked discussions between Christopher and I.

Right now, I’m taking a school-like approach to it, because that’s what I know how to do.  I’m taking notes on what I think, and trying to look at the Bible objectively, instead of giving the “church answer.”  In our sessions, we’ve already established the fact that choosing to be a Christian shouldn’t be taken lightly — an 8-year-old cannot possibly fully understand what it is to be a Christian and truly make that commitment.  It takes more thought and consideration than what we typically tell kids in the church today (and that’s a whole other issue we may or may not discuss here later).  So, instead of completely rejecting Christianity, I am beginning to take a hard look at what real Christianity truly requires, and then I’ll decide if that’s what I want for myself.

It’s a little uncomfortable, because I’m afraid of what might happen if one of us, after really considering Christianity, decides to take it on and the other doesn’t.  But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Three Cities; Three Local Coffee Shops to Check Out

I’ve been reluctant to publish on this blog exactly where I live, but it’s getting to the point where I’m really owning the cities I’ve lived in. I’m old enough now to not feel stuck in one place (thank goodness for my ugly old Honda), and so I can appreciate a city’s culture much more than I did when in high school. And when I go exploring, and discover great places, I want to share them! Place is such an important part of life (also of the marketing mix, in case you were curious), and I’m ready to begin sharing some of my places with you.

So where am I from? Tennessee, y’all. It’s one of the most beautiful, vibrant places in this entire country. We have the Smoky Mountains to the east, the rolling farmland of middle TN, and the beginning of plains country right before you hit Arkansas.

I’ve lived in 3 cities in TN; two east and one middle. And I’ve found a good local coffee shop in each of them, one that I’ve claimed (or plan to claim) as my own. So if you ever visit any of these 3 cities, here are the coffee shops you need to check out.

Knoxville: K Brew

K Brew
Source: K Brew’s Site

Knoxville is where I grew up, and thanks to my mom’s outgoing nature, I know or know of a ton of people there. One of the founders of K Brew happens to be the son of my high school band director.

That connection was what made me come in initially, but I stayed for the coffee. K Brew can be a tad pretentious about their coffee, but they have every right to be. They do not skimp on quality. They also have a really cool culture — in addition to two very nice locations, including one downtown, the baristas are encouraged to create new drinks. Some of the drinks are then sold seasonally, with a portion of the proceeds from that drink going to the creator of it. One drink that came from that tradition is their Honey Lavender Latte — a definite splurge at $6, but one that is well worth it. And, if the coffee culture at K Brew really intrigues you, they hold free cuppings every Sunday night so you can learn exactly what it is that makes their coffee so good.

Cookeville: Poet’s Coffee

Poet's Coffee
Source: Poet’s Site

Poet’s is the Cookeville hangout. On any given day, it’s full of college students, young moms, and business professionals all enjoying quaint downtown Cookeville — and of course, good coffee. I spent my fair share of time there in college, doing some studying, but mostly catching up with friends. My favorite drink there is the Iced Vietnamese, a luscious blend of coffee and condensed milk.

They also have seasonal drinks as well as a basic menu, and they serve delicious — and affordable — breakfast and lunch food. I’ve found that while most coffee shops offer some type of snack, Poet’s leads in offering filling, protein packed food as opposed to sugary pastries. Although they have those, too — the house made chocolate chip espresso muffin is to die for. And, if all that’s not enough to make you want to stop by, they also sell handmade, local jewelry, and they have live music every Friday night. What’s not to love?

Chattanooga (Hixson): Sour Dough Cuppa Joe

No hay texto alternativo automático disponible.
Source: Sour Dough’s FB Page

Funnily enough, the owners of this shop are a couple that my parents knew when they were dating. The shop itself is fairly new, however — it’s only been around a couple years or so. So far, I’ve only been a few times, but I can already tell it’s a good one. The Irish Cream Latte I got the other day was a treat.

But what Sour Dough is really known for is their baked goods. They offer scones, cinnamon buns, quiche, and other stuff that you can make at home, but it just won’t be as good. And the owners and employees are just as personable as they can be. Plus, the shop is inside an old drive in restaurant building — it’s very different, and very cute. My other favorite thing about this shop so far is that it’s not in downtown Chatt. The fiance and I both enjoy downtown, and it’s true that there are tons of local coffee shops there. But downtown is not super close to where we ended up living. Hixson is a smaller, more inexpensive, less crowded community, and it still has good coffee. Win!

This post is not sponsored by any of these coffee shops; all opinions are completely my own. I just really like coffee shops! (Also, what it it with coffee shops and round logos?? Is it that it evokes the idea of a coffee cup? I must know!)

Getting Stretchier

Back in April, I discovered a new yoga app. It was a side effect of getting a new phone — I had to re-download all my apps. On my old phone, I had been using Sworkit, an aerobic/stretching/yoga app, but found it repetitive and unchallenging. I decided to replace it with a dedicated yoga app, and I found DownDog. 

As a mini-review, I absolutely love this app. I haven’t ever splurged on in-app purchases for any app, but I’m considering it for this one. I’ve been using it consistently since April, and I don’t see myself stopping. Its fun, it’s challenging, and I’m seeing benefits from using it — why would I not support that?

The app has 5 difficulty levels: Beginner I, Beginner II, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Advanced. (I’ve made it to Intermediate I.) While each level gets more advanced, every level offers a great workout. And each routine is different, so you’re not doing the same routine over and over again. An actual yoga instructor narrates the whole session, so you know where to focus your energy and how to position yourself so you pose properly. And if you want to pay the upgrade fee, you can customize your background music and which muscle groups your sessions focus on. It’s an incredibly well-made app, and I definitely recommend it. 

I struggle, though, because my legs and hips are very inflexible. I’ve been trying to focus on lengthening my hamstrings and my inner thighs, and I have seen progress. When I fold forward, I can now almost place my palms flat on the ground without bending my knees — almost. I’m getting there. 

But even know though I am seeing progress, I wish it was going faster. Not being that flexible is limiting me a bit. There are a lot of poses I can’t do, or can’t do as well as I’d like, because my legs just will not bend far enough. My strength and balance are improving, and I’m trying to get to where I could do a yoga sequence on my own, without the app. But I’m just not physically able to do as much as I’d like yet. 

I realized this is kind of a metaphor for my life right now. I got a job working as a bank teller, which I am actually really enjoying. I love the people, and the work is a good balance of challenging and simple. But the fact remains — I was doing this exact same job in a different city during college. It may have the chance for promotion, but it may not, and while I am grateful to have a job I don’t hate, a part of me would rather be doing something else, something that pays a little more, something that made use of my two degrees. I had hoped to be a little higher up in the job ladder at this point — I wasn’t expecting anything glamorous, but I did hope for a little something more. 

My whole life right now is one huge lesson in patience and living in the moment. Sometimes I have to remind myself to enjoy what I have right now instead of always wishing for something better. And I’m having to reevaluate my values a bit. I have always dreamed of some sort of a career, but there’s also a lot to be said for having small hobbies that satisfy me and only me. 

Blogging is one of those things. You may not have noticed, but I’ve been in a bit of a blogging rut for awhile. I’ve missed a few weeks, and several recent Thursdays. Part of this is because I’m struggling to find interesting things in my life to write about. Who wants to hear my rants about bank customers, or my complaints about meal planning, or my lengthening list of home improvement projects I now want to do? I think. In college, there was plenty of fodder for interesting discussions and opinion pieces. Now, it’s harder to find something interesting enough to write about. When I sit down to write about my life, though I enjoy it, it bores me. 

I guess it’s an opportunity to stretch my creativity. I want to continue blogging, because I love it, so I’ll just have to look harder for quality content. I need to get stretchier in all areas of my life — a cheesy metaphor, but an apt one. My hobbies and interests and goals need to stretch around my new life situation if they are to continue to grow and develop. And like with yoga, I’m getting there. Slowly, but I am. 

All opinions expressed about the app are my own, and I was not compensated for the mini-review. 

Evolution of Envy

Everyone gets envious.  It’s not a good feeling to have, but it happens.  I’ve definitely had my fair share of envious feelings.  But I haven’t always been envious of the same things.

I don’t really remember feeling truly envious of anyone until middle school, when all of my friends suddenly looked like women and I didn’t.  I’ve mentioned here before, I believe, about how ugly I felt a lot of the time.  To me, it seemed that everyone else was becoming effortlessly beautiful, while I was stuck with frizzy hair and acne.  It was hard to feel not-pretty.  I felt undesirable, and that was something I really wanted.

Growing up helped, of course.  I wasn’t an awkward teenager forever.  I learned how to at least control my hair, and I learned how to wear a little makeup, which really helped my self-esteem.  And it didn’t hurt that I did well in school and other activities.  And then, once I graduated high school and started college, freshman year did absolute wonders for my confidence and self-esteem.  I met friends who liked me and continued to like me even when we had disagreements, and I met the man who is now my fiance.  Freshman year was a dream come true for high school me, and I was really lucky to have that.

But that didn’t mean envy went away completely.  Instead, the things I was envious for changed.  At first, I was envious of those who could speak Spanish better than I could.  I had had Spanish classes before college, but I felt a little behind during those first couple years.  There was always something I missed in class because I couldn’t understand, or someone who could figure out how to say what I wanted to say faster.  That, though, I overcame as I learned more.  I still wish I spoke and understood Spanish better than I do, but I have achieved my goal of being able to communicate in another language, so that envy has largely been alleviated too.

After that, I became envious of students who knew exactly what they wanted to do.  I was surrounded by a lot of highly driven people, who were good at what they did, who were involved and held high positions in campus organizations, who got great internships, and who had job offers before they even graduated.  I didn’t want to do all the things they did, but I wanted that drive, that passion, that talent.  I got a little lost senior year, trying to find a job, and realizing how little experience and knowledge I had.  I had a plan, but not a very concrete one, and the people I saw did have that.

Now, I’ve been graduated for a month, have just started a new job, and am still fighting envy.  Social media is a cruel invention, because I see people I haven’t seen since high school also graduating, getting their dream jobs, and basically just being beautiful people in a beautiful world.

I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, because most of the time, I really am.  I just graduated with no debt, am living with my best friend in a house that we can afford to rent because we both have fairly well-paying jobs, and I’m getting married in four months.  I am happy with my life, and I’m excited for the future.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have those moments of oh, why can’t my life be like that?  (Even while I know social media doesn’t paint a full picture.)

I have to remind myself often that everyone is different, and just because someone looks like they are doing better than me doesn’t mean that my life sucks.  I’m working on striving for bigger and better things while at the same time being grateful for and happy in the life I have now.

The things we are envious of change as we get older, but it never goes away.  Do you get envious of people’s jobs or homes or lives?  What do you do to alleviate envy??

In Praise of My Favorite

I have always thought that I don’t get stressed out easily, but really it’s just that I don’t stress out about the same things my friends stress about.  Throughout my high school and college years, my friends have been worried about grades and relationships, primarily.  While I did yearn for a boyfriend in high school, I never worried about grades.  I worked hard, but I didn’t stress out about an 88.9 versus a 90.  I always did my best, and then took what grade was assigned.  Grades don’t bother me — I know I can pass classes, and when I’m truly invested in a project I take a lot of pride in my work.

So while a lot of my friends are panicking about final exams and presentations, I’m coasting right through that.  What I’ve been panicking about recently is my job and living situation.

I’ve always been one to plan for the future.  I have a good idea of what I’d like to do.  But if you’ve been reading this blog awhile, you know that I have had a lot of trouble job hunting.  I have realized that part of my problem is that the jobs I’m applying to are ones that want to hire immediately, and until this Saturday (!!!), I’m still in school.  I’m not physically in the city I’m moving to, so it’s difficult for me to schedule interviews, and I’ve lost a few opportunities that way.  This is so frustrating when I’m trying to be proactive.

An added stressor is that my fiancé and I are trying to find a place to live.  He has a job set up, but we are having to apply for apartments using only his expected income, which obviously limits us to a tighter budget than it would if I had a job already also.  We’re to the point where we need to find one, and fast, and while we have viewing appointments set up for this week, it’s just stressful not knowing.

All this stress has gotten to me these past couple weeks.  I haven’t really been myself, because I’m so frustrated with my job search.  I know I will be able to find something eventually, but at the moment I feel like I am the one holding us back.  And then there is the fact that my parents still aren’t thrilled with the idea of us moving together.  It’s just a lot to handle, and I haven’t handled it very well.

My fiancé obviously notices this.  And I always, always forget what an incredible support he is to me.  When I get stressed or frustrated, I tend to distance myself, because even now I dislike feeling dependent, especially financially.  I like to be a self-sufficient person, and when my lack of a job is the thing hurting our apartment search, it’s mildly devastating.  But I need to remember that he and I are a team.

Whenever he notices that I’m not myself, he goes out of his way to help me out.  He’s kind and patient with me, and doesn’t let me keep my problems to myself.  He asks me what’s wrong until I admit the real problem.  And then he listens to me, and he understands.  And then he reassures me that yes, this sucks, but we’re going to make it.  This is life, and sometimes it’s frustrating, but I don’t have to deal with it alone.  And then he just acts like a goofball until I end up laughing.

I can’t explain enough how good this is for me.  I can be a negative person, and I also tend to give up when I get overwhelmed.  He reminds me of the good things that are happening in my life, and reminds me to take things one step at a time.  These past few weeks since we got engaged have been stressful and intense, but that is no better reminder that it’s for this and a million other reasons that I’m so, so excited to marry him.

Change Comes With Compromise

News first: the boyfriend is not the boyfriend anymore; he’s the fiance, because we are engaged.

We’ve been together almost 3.5 years, and have been talking about this for a good bit of that time.  It’s so surreal that it’s finally happened, but I’m so ready.  We’re both ready.

His proposal, though, came in the middle of a roller coaster of a week.  For one, last week was the second-to-last week of class before finals, so all our projects are culminating.  Then, on Monday, his dad had a heart attack (he is fine and back home now, thank goodness).  Wednesday morning I butted heads with my parents about my plans for after graduation.  Wednesday afternoon he proposed, because it was the first sunny day after he had picked up the ring, and he didn’t want to wait any longer.  Thursday evening I went home to see my parents, to show them the ring and talk about plans.  Because of all of that, I changed my mind about 5 times in 2 days about what I’m going to do in May, and reached a compromise only after a lot of vacillating.

My original plan had been to not move back home at all.  He got an internship in a city to the southeast of us, and I was looking for jobs there as well.  But first, my parents began asking me whether I would come home for a month or two after graduation.  Then, my job prospects dimmed, as I kept applying and applying but got very few calls back.  When my plans didn’t change, my parents got restless, since to them, the lack of a ring signaled a lack of commitment on his end.  I knew that wasn’t the case, and while that was frustrating to deal with, I can understand that view.  After a couple emotional discussions with my mom, I changed my mind completely and decided to move home until whatever date the fiance and I get married.

But I couldn’t feel good about that either, since he and I planned to move together and I would be leaving him in the lurch for those few months.  So I had the idea to move back home right after graduation.  But in June, I’ll join my fiance.  It is a compromise, and by definition those don’t really make anyone completely happy.  But I will get to spend some time with my family, and an added perk will be that I will have more time to job hunt.  Neither of my parents are completely happy about this decision, but they’ve both accepted that it’s the one I’m making.

The real struggle for me is that when it comes to my family, I am a pleaser.  I want to make my own decisions, but it is hard to be the first one really leaving the nest and thus the cause of some grief on my parents’ end.  It has to happen, and I’m excited to have my own space and my own life, but it is not without its downsides.  There comes a moment in time where the paths of the parents and the child separate, and my time is now, and it’s weird and hard.

Of course, it’s not like I’m going to drop off the face of the earth.  When I move to join my fiance, I’ll only be moving two hours away from my hometown.  It’s about the same distance from there as my school, and the drive is a lot easier (according to my dad).  Even though I’m notoriously bad at keeping up with people, I’m not just going to let my family float away.  They’re too important for that.

I know they know this, and I know they’re going to be able to accept whatever decision I make, even if it takes awhile.  What’s made this more difficult than it had to be is my job situation — I have tons of applications out, and on the off-chance I finally get a job, there’s the possibility I’ll move earlier than expected.  I have a plan, but it’s a little bit contingent upon various prospective employers.

So what I’m trying to say, I guess, is that my life is messy right now.  Up till now, I’ve always had a clear plan.  I still have long-term goals I want to achieve.  But the immediate future is unclear.  When will I get a job?  When will I move out?  I don’t know.  It’s a little stressful.  But it’s life, and it’s gotta happen sometime.

In Which I Regret Keeping Spiders in My Room

The apartment I live in is a great college apartment.  It’s cheap and close to campus, and that’s all I need. But it’s a bit old and surrounded by trees, so since I moved in I’ve had a bit of a bug problem.

First, it was slugs. There’s a door in my room that opens to a wooden deck, which, when I moved in in January of last year, was covered in leaves. Naturally, this leaf pile was home to lots of bugs. This was fine, except when it rained. When it rained, slugs would find their way to my not-so-greatly-sealed door, think, Oh! It’s not raining anymore! and proceed to crawl around on my carpet. I’m not about to squish any slugs, because ew, so more than one slug almost thirsted to death trapped under a mug until I could get my boyfriend to throw it outside. 

In the spring, I swept all the leaves off my deck and put a line of salt on the carpet right inside, and that solved the problem. 

But then it was beetles. That summer, it was very hot — one of the worst droughts came through the area than it has seen in years. Somehow, a colony of lightning bug-looking things found their way into our front door jamb, seeking the cool air. We had out landlord come spray, but that didn’t deter them. Usually they’d stay outside, but occasionally a few would have a meet up in the living room. It was the winter that finally got rid of them. 

After that, I didn’t see a whole lot of bugs for awhile. One or two small spiders made their way into the corners of my room, by the back door, but honestly, I don’t mind spiders. If they’re small, they generally stay on their webs and kill smaller bugs. It’s a mutually beneficial situation, so I tend to leave them. 

The real problem appeared about three weeks ago. One day, my boyfriend and I were getting ready to leave my apartment. I opened my closet door to get a jacket, and disturbed something near it. INTO MY CLOSET ran a 2.5 inch centipede (and I’m not exaggerating on size). I was horrified. We looked around for a while, but it had completely disappeared. 

Last night, I hadn’t forgotten about it, or my spiders, either. Over the weeks, a few more had joined ranks in the ceiling corners, and the original ones were getting bigger. As I was about to go to bed, I noticed a really huge spider on the  ceiling dangerously close to my bed. I finally decided it was time for them to go.

I prepared for my battle well. I’m only 5’1″, so I got my kitchen stool. I also grabbed a huge wad of toilet paper so I wouldn’t have to feel the spiders as I squished them. So I went for the big spider first. But even with my stool, I couldn’t reach him. I tried my desk chair next, which was iffy since it’s a swivel chair. I didn’t want him to fall on my head, so I put the chair as far away as I could and reached out and smacked. 

Success. I felt him squish into my nail, which was gag inducing, but he died. And he fell on my floor. So I thought, hey, my tissue paper is still clean. I’ll kill the rest with this. But even with the chair, I was too short for the rest. 

I had to resort to our straw broom. I swiflty stabbed each spider with the straws, then brushed their bodies onto the floor so I could collect them all and throw them away. (Y’all probably think I’m so gross for having all these spiders in my room. I am.) But once I got done killing all the spiders, I looked at my floor and realized the whole thing was kind of dirty. 

No problem, I thought. Neither of my roommates were home yet, so I’d just vacuum my room real quick. My floor would be clean and the spiders would be gone. So I went and got the vacuum, and turned it on. 

I vacuumed by my room door first. Then I went toward my desk. I picked up my backpack to get it off the floor, and as I returned to the vacuum, from under my desk RAN THE CENTIPEDE FROM THREE WEEKS AGO. 

I screamed a high pitched shit! and decided to chase it with the vacuum, because what else could I do? 

I finally got it under the vacuum, and it didn’t come out. I paused, and looked in the dust reservoir, which is clear plastic. I thought it might be crawling around in there, and I wanted to be sure. But I didn’t see it. 

I wanted to look around, so I propped up the vacuum handle. And from underneath the rollers, out popped the centipede — minus all its legs. And that is how I killed the centipede. Safe to say, from now on, I will not be keeping bugs of any kind.