11 Things I’ve Learned in the Last 11 Months

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You can stop holding your breath now. I’m back.

It’s been a long 11 months. Working full time and trying to finish up my Master’s degree has taught me a lot–about the world, about myself, about life. In honor of my return to the blogging world (well, as myself), here is a list of 11 things I’ve learned while I’ve been away:

  1. Time is precious. I will never have enough of it, and I should value my time and the time of others. 
  2. People suck. Okay, most people suck, but when you find people who don’t…keep them close.
  3. Fruit’s not the worst thing ever. If you know me, you know I don’t eat fruit. Even as a child, I found it to be absolutely revolting. Over the last few months, though, I’ve given it a chance. As it turns out, it’s not all bad.
  4. Congress is absolutely incompetent. Enough said.
  5. Kim Kardashian’s life is a mess.
  6. Mo money really is mo problems!
  7. Living alone can be absolutely boring, but entirely peaceful.
  8. There is such a thing as too many baked goods.
  9. Endorphins can be addicting, but not as addicting as coffee.
  10. I’m now at an age where you congratulate your friends when they get pregnant, and it’s weird.
  11. Always take care of numero uno.

Oh…and all the words to this song:

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The Journey

the-hobbit_2422493bI’m going to begin by thanking all the people who helped me get to the airport this morning. To my mom, for giving me life and teaching me how to live it ever since. To my dad, for making my morning totally stress-free despite our natural inclinations for stressfests. To my grandma, for making me a whole pot of coffee even though I could only manage to drink one and a half cups (albeit large ones). To my grandpa, for driving me through LA rush hour and making me a PB&J so I have a little bit of home on the road. There are a million things I could thank them for, but there’s a few.

This morning was a blur. I slept fairly well considering my—well, considering my personality. By “sleeping well”, I mean two solid hours of sleep. Then I woke up and BLURRR and suddenly…here I am at the airport, an idle 4 hour wait before my plane begins to board.

As of this moment this has been the most hassled travel experience I’ve ever encountered. Although I typically maneuver two suitcases like a pro, today I feel the handicap of a lack of sleep and my cumbersome backpack, purse and pillow. I’m falling all over the place. The line for security was a nightmare (second only to the flight out of Dublin, which was hell on Earth). I’d decided, against my better judgement and prior travel knowledge, to wear my boots to the airport. Usually I go no-hassle and wear flip flops, but today I was that girl.

I’d already been suffering from an uncomfortable sweat for the last 24 hours which only seems to be getting worse and worse. So I get up to the scanner and I’m struggling to get my sweaty, semi-swollen feet out of my boots. My mother’s voice echoes in my head from earlier that morning, “Don’t you want to put socks on?” I could slap myself. In case there was any question about this over the last 22-23 years of my life, my mother is ALWAYS right about this kind of stuff (even if we ALWAYS tell her she’s wrong). As I’m writhing on the floor in an all out battle against my Calvin Kleins, I can hear a collective sigh out of the seasoned travelers.

I wanted to ease their minds and assure them, “I know what it looks like, but I know better—I swear. I’m one of you, truly. All I wanted to do was save a little weight in my luggage.” Was it worth it?? No, nope, not a bit. I motioned for the man behind me to move ahead of me, but he politely declined, “We aren’t going anywhere fast, anyhow.” Secretly, I think he was just enjoying watching me struggle with the suede beasts unrelenting in their attachment to my feet.

There was a moment where I thought I’d be stuck in Los Angeles, unable to pass through security and falling victim to my own vanity. It would have served me right. But, it worked out, as things tend to do. After hobbling down the line, pushing my four trays, I cursed myself, sat down on the floor and with a firm yank I finally pried my foot free of its fashionable prison.

Finally able to look at the security line ahead of me, I discover that instead of the usual metal detector, LAX has finally begun using the dreaded and highly contoversial body scanner. The women in front of me opted for a pat down, and were awaiting a female attendent. “It’ll be a few minutes,” the security agent alerts them.

I’ve been a little skeptical about the scanner, on one hand believing in the paramount importance of national security, on the other holding a strong libertarian belief in personal liberties. I know what David Morse is going to say about this, and so let me defend what I was about to do.

#1- In order to preserve national security, sometimes a minor “violation” of personal freedoms is necessary. There is a line, of course, a line between the reasonable and unreasonable restriction of freedoms. I believe in the power of the people to act as a check to determine for themselves which liberties they are willing to sacrifice. Blahdittyblahblahblah. It is obviously a very complicated issue which I’ve been weighing in my mind and I’m willing to admit that you (David) may be right, in fact, you probably are–but that brings me to…

#2- After the epic battle royale with my shoes, I was not waiting around in security anymore. The judgement of the 200 people waiting in line behind me (no exaggeration) was burning into the back of my skull. If that means that some lucky TSA agent gets a glance at my lady bits, so be it!

It’s amazing how quickly personal values get thrown out the window for something as simple as public humiliation.

#3- Last year, I had a particularly invasive pat down in Frankfurt, Germany by a very aggressive and masculine young woman. I’m talking under the bra and partial gynecological exam… I’m still trying to decide which is a larger violation.

 Update: As I was writing this David told me to opt out.
A) You are SO predictable
B) I fail.

Judge away public-at-large, I am at your mercy.

And so, as has become the custom, I leave you with a toast. After looking around the airport, I know who has truly earned this drink.

Here’s to you, TSA Agent who looks at the body scans, may the sight of naked travelers not force you to poke your own eyes out.

“If God really had intended men to fly, he’d make it easier o get to the airport.”
~George Winters

Goodbyes

imagesToday was my ByeByeQ. Do you appreciate the play on words? It was way more clever before my parents decided to have it catered by Panda Express. I guess we invited people over for Ciao Mein. Get it? It should be Chow Mein, but I wrote Ciao like goodbye. I clarified in case my brothers should ever accidentally stumble upon this page and attempt to read this. Hey guys, if you still don’t get it–ask mom to explain it. Wow, that was bitchy.

So I leave for DC on Thursday.

I know your next logical question, “Are you excited?”

I keep getting the question but for the last couple months its made me speechless. I find myself saying what I know people expect to hear:

– Yes, so excited. Nervous, but excited. I’m going to miss my family. It’s a huge step, but its what I’ve been working for.

What did I really want to say?

– Um, yeah, I don’t feel a goddamn thing.

To be honest, I don’t think many people were convinced by the charade before so today I decided to own up to my feelings or lack thereof. I explained how I’m sure it would hit me once I started on my way, or when I finally get there.

I’m not a cold hard bitch (well at least not because of this), I’ve heard similar things from my other friends. They will remain nameless- no one should be outed via blog- but there is something very complex that only other people in this situation could understand.

And then suddenly, during the middle of the day I realized I’d been hit by the emotion bus. Every time I wanted to open my mouth I didn’t know if I was going to laugh or cry or scream. It was as if all the feelings I’d been missing hit me all at once. I imagine that is what hardcore drugs are like- overwhelming, encompassing your entire body and then suddenly, you are void once again. Everything within you feeling drained in a come down fog. I stress this is what I IMAGINE hardcore drugs to be like.

Then my family trails out unit by unit, and I’m left in a house all by myself in the equivalent of a maddening post-apocalyptic silence. I realize this is what I’m moving toward. For as uncomfortable all their noise is to me, the silence might be worse. At least the chaos and its dull roar act as insulation between me and my own thoughts.

On Thursday, I’m handing over my one-way ticket and boarding a plane to DC by myself. On Thursday, I can no longer avoid my reality. On Thursday, my life will change forever.

Another toast, “To family.”

I been a long time leaving but I’m going to be a long time gone.
~Willie Nelson