Saturday, June 11, 2011


Last night, I spoke with a friend who had received some dreadful news. She had not been accepted into her top choice grad program and was utterly devastated. I tried my best in consoling her by trying to cheer her up and offered her some positive talk which mostly consisted of "to look on the bright side." During our exchanges, I felt terrible since I knew that this particular grad school and program was her dream, and now her dream would have to be deferred or even changed. Admittedly, I also felt a bit awkward since I really didn't know what I could have said or done to make the situation a bit better on her end. We ended our convo on a light note and I prayed for her that night that something would work out for her ...

Despite the events of the previous night, I woke up this morning feeling great and spent all morning and a good chunk of the afternoon working my butt off to finish a work project in time for the company sponsored happy hour (a nice perk of my job). After all the madness had died down and I was working on some mind numbing task, my mind drifted back to last night's conversation and how I still felt terrible for my friend. But after a few moments, I started thinking about the rejections or no's I had encountered in my own life. I will briefly share with you my top three:

A. In the Name of Sisterhood...
After my Freshman year of college, I decided that I wanted to be in a sorority my sophomore year. I spent the summer devouring tons of fiction and non-fiction books that pertained to sorority and even fraternity life to get a good idea of what I was getting myself into. I spoke with several sorority girls in order to hear their personal testimony and lastly, I had selected and even purchased several outfits for rush week. I started off the rush week with high hopes and fell head over heels for a sorority my first day of the week long event. After being invited back for several other events I was convinced I was a shoe-in for one of the few, coveted pledge spots. However, on the preference night (the last step and most important part of the rush process), the feelings were not mutual and I did not receive a pref night invitation to that sorority. I had decided earlier that week that it was that sorority or nothing; thus I walked away without a house or "sisters" to call my own.

B. Teaching in France
Back in 2009, I had applied to the teaching assistant program in France. I worked hard on my application and once it was finished, I sat back already planning my "long sejour" in southern France. By the time April rolled around, I was constantly checking my email in sweet anticipation of being accepted. But the sweet turned sour and on a rainy day in April, I learned that I was flat out rejected from the program. I sat staring for ages at the computer monitor in utter disbelief and as the tears started to roll down my face, I ran out the public library in shock, disbelief, and embarrassment. I kept telling myself that something just had to have went wrong and maybe, just maybe, my application had been mixed up with someone else's. But deep down, I knew that there was no mix-up and I had been rejected. I managed to pull myself out of my own self pity and searched for another way to get to France. I eventually found out I could au pair for a year and even though it was difficult and even frustrating at times; I had a great experience and one far more different, and in my honest opinion a bit better than my original plan.

C. Working in London
During my senior year of college, I learned about a program that would allow me to live and work in London for a year. Since I had fell in love with London during my semester abroad, this program sounded perfect and I knew that I would be accepted due to my grades, living abroad experience, and outstanding resume. After spending a good amount of time perfecting my application ( I had 5 people look over my essay alone), I just knew that I would be reunited again with my "City Love" that upcoming August. While I worked on my application, I also applied to several jobs and I had even completed a great phone interview with a recruiter for an English teaching position in South Korea. Despite all of my other possibilities, I still held on to being accepted into the London program. Unfortunately, I learned just before graduation that I was not accepted into the London program. At first I was upset, but I had an ace up my sleeve and knew about another working aboard program in London. The duration was a bit shorter; however, I was free to choose whatever job I wanted and could even chose where I wanted to live (with the other year long program, I would have lived 3 to a room in program assigned housing and would have worked in a job selected at random with no possibility to extend my stay). Overall, my London experience was fab and even though the Home Office (UK Immigration) denied my visa extension, I still had an enriching experience that I love to think about to this day...

I write these cringe worthy stories (they were secrets to many of my closest friends until now) for two reasons. Firstly, I learned that nothing in life is guaranteed and just because someone is qualified and/ or deserving of a job or position does not mean that they will get what they want/apply for (I'm sure we all have a tale or two about someone not getting into a great school or landing a great job despite a near perfect g.p.a or outstanding resume). I guess that would be the case in a fair and just world, but alas, the world really isn't fair ladies and gents.

The other point of my tales was to show the evolution of my actions once my dreams/ plans didn't happen, and how I learned that even though my original plans didn't work out, I was able to find another way to get to where I wanted.Thus, I learned to always, always, ALWAYS have a Plan B (or better yet a Plan C, D, and even X, Y, and Z).

So remember readers, continue to dream big; but make sure to have many dreams in case the original never appears in real life...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

And that's all there is...there isn't anymore...

On May 25th, Oprah aired the final episode of her amazing, award winning talk show. I was in disbelief the first time I heard over a year ago that Oprah would be ending her talk show (especially since I never made it on as a featured guest). Oprah has always had a strong presence in my life, her talk show and face were two of the first pieces of media I recognized when I was 6 years old. During my elementary school years, I could always count on her show being played in the living room the moment I entered the house. Since the material was a bit too boring mature for my young palette I always tuned it out unless there was someone talented or famous on. I didn't really get into her show until my teen years once I could actually understand and even relate a bit with the topics, and over the last couple of years, I have pretty much watched it religiously (unless I was living the expat life).  Thus that fateful Wednesday, I prolonged my lunch break until 4 p.m. EST in order to take part in a pivotal piece of soon to be American History. I watched the final episode in a mixture of awe, sadness, disbelief, and inspiration.

Even though there were no big celebrities, giveaways, or surprises (those all happened a couple days before) for her final episode, I was still touched and riveted about what Lady O had to say. Oprah left me many pearls of wisdom and four very important points that I have been exploring and expanding upon over the last few years of my life which I will expand upon below...

1.Find Your Calling
This is the one I am having the most trouble with/ have yet to be complete from her list. As much as I hear/acknowledge the calls of my future city (London), and also passions (Travel, Inspiring Others, Expat Life); I have to yet to determine what I want to do in terms of a future career. For a few years, I saw myself as being an attorney and I even planned on enrolling in law school this fall or next fall, but after my last stint abroad and my current job, I def know that being an attorney is not for me (I 'm glad I realized that now instead of 5 years later, a 6 figure sum worth of school debt and a miserable 80 hours a week existence).  I have toyed around with the idea of getting into corporate recruitment, international human resources, study abroad work at colleges/universities, and even teaching. But, alas, I still have yet to feel my "A-Ha" moment.

2. Know Yourself and the Power of Love
The 'know yourself" transformation started during my year in France. For most of my teenage and even young 20's, I always lacked self confidence and never really knew my power. Once I got to France, I not only had to learn to adapt to a new culture and language, I was had to build my confidence little by little in order to survive and thrive in a non-Anglophone country. This transformation took many months to complete but its effects still resonate within me today. I realize today more than ever that I am intelligent, beautiful and confident and destined for great things.
I am now realizing the power of love since I am currently reading "The Power" by Susan Bryne (she also wrote the cult hit: "The Secret"). The author discusses how recognizing and using the power of love and positivity will attract nothing but good in your life (which I do agree with). Thus, I know and am confident in my myself and I'm using the power of love to take my life to the next great step.

3. Know Your Worth
This one pretty much goes in tandem with what I wrote above. I know that I am worthy of great things and a great life and no more wallowing in self pity.

4. Belief in God
I was never really spiritual person until last year. I grew up in the Christian faith thanks to my mother and her militant schedule of having to go to church every single Sunday (sometimes even twice). I always hated going and I always tried to sneak in a book or word search puzzle to occupy my mind. I was excited when I hit my teenage years and church attendance was no longer mandatory. I even went through a period of atheism always saying "there is no God."
But last year something happened. I was traveling in Sweden, and going over a lot of things in my mind about my past, present, and future. As I was walking, I noticed a very large church on a hill and something was pulling me to it. Even though I had been walking for many kilometers by that point, I pushed myself to get up that hill and to the church. I was uncertain if it was open, but once I spotted another set of tourists enter inside I ran in right behind them. They quickly looked around and left, but something invited me to stay. I took a seat in one of the pews and looked up into the church ceiling at all of it's magnificence. At that moment, there was a voice inside me, a deep and powerful voice that was directing me to find my faith in God and to realize that once I had this faith, to belief. I closed my eyes and listened to this voice for quite some time and I left the church renewed, rejuvenated, and inspired by the greatness of God. I have since counted on the Lord for many things in the past few months and just like the voice had promised, He has delivered on all of them. Thus, that is how I renewed my belief in God.

So in short, I learned a lot from Oprah's last episode. I know that I will find my calling, I know myself and my self worth, and I know there is a God. I will take her final pearls of wisdom into my heart in order to "live my best life."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book of the Momment: "Man Down"

One of my ideas for this blog besides writing about adventures and worldwide travels is to write a brief sypnopsis about a book of interest of the moment. As an avid reader and life long patron of public libraries, I will chronicle a book of the moment, hopefully a couple of times a months (depending on how busy I get). So without further ado here is my first "Book of the Momment": Man Down by Dan Abrams...

So after seeing a brief blurb about this book in a past issue of Glamour magazine; then after seeing the author on the Dr. Phil show (my blog = judgment free zone), some fate intervened in my life when the book stumbled upon me at my local public library.

To quickly summarize, the author writes a brief, informative book on how women are better than men in a variety of ways besides the universally well known ( i.e.: bathroom manners, living longer, and higher voter turnout), to current society changes (i.e.: Investors, Hedge Fund managers, and Gamblers). However, the book also discusses how women are better than men when it comes to activities and professions that are typically male dominated even in today's world, some of which I found to be a bit surprising (i.e.: women are better spies, video gamers, and bizarely, competitive eaters). To support his argument, the author supplies various results and statics from research and psychology studies in both controlled and non-controlled environments.

My overall opinion of the book is that it was interesting, easy to read, and a bit thought provoking. I completely agreed with the author on some things; such as how women have a better pain tolerance (childbirth and aunt Flo ring a bell) or how women have a better sense of smell. I found it interesting how Abrams uses various studies and statics to break some long held beliefs, such as, that women actually get over a break up quicker than men (his reasoning is that women turn to their social circle, were as men must remain men and keep their emotions inside...sounds pretty accurate). However, I found somethings to be a bit overkill and even a bit far-fetched in my opinion. In one chapter, Abrams discusses how women get dressed faster than men (even though he supports this argument with only one, brief survey that was conducted by the British pharmacy retailer Superdrug).

I guess my one large qualm about this book is that people will cite various passages and chapters from this book and use it as gospel. I feel as if lately in are society, women have this "I am better or stronger than man," or that women must be literally equal to men when it comes to every and everything which I frankly find a bit disturbing. I am by no means saying I should be treated less than a man when it comes to working, careers, or making large purchases (i.e.: getting hired, promotions, buying a car, home, or even laptop); on the other hand, I don't think that we can change thousands of years of evolutionary biology in a few generations as the media or even your fellow female peers may think. I won't bore you with a myriad of examples; however, Jersey Shore's Snooki comes to mind and all her travails of trying to hook up like one of the guys, only to look like a fool the morning after when she thinks she has finally met "the one," only to slowly realize that she was just a "lady of the late night" for one of her "juicehead" hook-ups (let this be the last time I ever reference that show).

In short, I suggest "Man Down" if you have a free afternoon to spare or as a nice book to read on your morning/afternoon commute.It will make you smile, laugh, and even ponder a bit on how women are not just good...but we're great!!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rejections & Divine Interventions....Part 2

***Please Note: This post is the 2nd part of a two part series. Thus please click HERE to read the first half. Otherwise, you will be very, very confused!***

Since I have yet to master how to write a short,sweet, and concise blog post, I had no other choice but to split it up into two different posts. For those of you who did not read the first half, here is the abridged, Cliff Notes version: I basically returned back to the States in November of 2010, went back to "the job," and then decided to look for a career. I happened to arrive back in Pittsburgh for a job fair where I made a connection with a recruiter and went on 3 subsequent interviews for his company. After receiving a "hiring procedures" letter and getting excited that I had a career, things quickly turned sour and I was ultimately rejected (why....I shall never know). Now that we got that part out of the way, I shall begin part 2!

As I briefly mentioned in part 1, I had applied for the Teaching in France Program in late December despite the advice from my old college advisor to take my time and enjoy the holidays. I was quite ambivalent about applying for the program since I was rejected in 2009. I will not bore you with all the details but, I literally went through the DABDA (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) phases as if someone died (which my dream of doing this program did). Not one to give up however, I found another way to get to France via being an au pair. I had some good times and some bad but ultimately, I am glad I did it. I hate to sound cheesy but my au pair experience really matured me. I accomplished a lot of things I may not have otherwise been able to do had I been accepted into the teaching program (i.e.: French language fluency, living and learning the French culture in an intimate setting, and best food, transport pass, and housing). Through out my time in France, I thought about applying for the program and I had even completed half of the application in by early November. But then the doubts crept in and I decided that I would not apply. One night in late December I had a vivid dream, followed by hours of insomnia which left me with a change of heart and mind and I decided to once again apply to the program. I scrabbled around like hell to get the application completed and on December 29th, a mere two days before the due date I got the application done with a large sigh of relief (and glass of wine to follow).

I pushed thoughts about the program and my application out of my head due to the fact I was interviewing back and forth in Pennsylvania and also applying for random Study Abroad office jobs in my downtime. By the time March rolled around I got a bit anxious and the dark thoughts crept in: " Did my transcript come out ok ( I had many problems uploading it) to the hiring committee?" "What if I was accepted into a region I did not desire to go to?" "What if I really was accepted?" But also..."What if I was yet again rejected?" I put these thoughts out of my head again and told myself: "que sera, sera" that whatever is meant to be really will be and I thought nothing of it until the email arrived in my inbox in early April...

I had been waitlisted....

I was in complete disblief..."me waitlisted?" I thought I had the entire package, I was a triple threat combination. Meaning that I :
1.) Had lived abroad in France for almost an entire year ( the program likes applicants who have spent some time abroad, preferably in a Francophone speaking country).
2.) I had attended French language school and had a 'prof' that only spoke French and in my classes we were only allowed to speak French (Thus my oral and comprehension skills were probably stronger than many so called "French major" applicants).
3.)I had experience with children (after all I was an au pair) complete with a bit of English teaching thrown in there (Well, my lil one learned English due to the 'chansons' of Justin Bieber).

Being the one to play Devil's Advocate however, I think my late application submission, combined with my top choice region (Paris, which is always really popular) probably did me in. I decided to leave myself on the waitlist since I probably would never be selected anyway. Then came the irony...

As Stated in my previous post, I received a call on a Monday informing me that the job may not be mine in PA. Then the divine intervention came along...the next day, less than 24 hours later I got an email from the Program stating that I had been "Accepted" and into my first choice region (Paris Region...Versailles to be exact).

I honestly believe that everything happens for a reason. The Lord does work in mysterious ways and this is just an example of that. After talking things over with some friends I wrote the head of the program to ask for more time since I was waiting for the "other job" to give me a response. I was granted the extension and then on April 29th, the day of the royal wedding (Yes, I was up at 5 a.m. EST for all the festivities) I decided to head to the post office and send in all my materials....

But alas my friends, an uncertainty remains since I just began working at another job last week. So the question remains: "To go to France or stay in the U.S.A."

A decision will be made come June 23rd....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rejections & Divine Interventions...

***Warning: This will be a quite lengthy post...albeit an important one***

Upon my return to the States in late November, I decided to go back to "the job" and held off on finding a "real job" as suggested by my old college advisor . He advised that I take the time to get readjusted back into American society, enjoy the holidays (since I arrived a few days before Thanksgiving), and then begin my job search in January. I decided to take his advice, but only to an extent. I did relax a bit at home but, I also worked tons at "the job" in order to make some money and bulk up my poor, battered bank account. I had a grand reunion/bday celebration in NYC where I was able to see my friends both new and old for some laughs, dancing, and good times. I held off on applying for jobs ( I did the Craigslist thing, only to end up with several scams); however, I applied for the Teaching in France Program last minute, getting the application in two days before the due date. By the time the end of January rolled around, I saw my alma matter was having a job fair and I decided I would drive on down and see what opportunities awaited me in a city I had not been to in over 3 years....

I made it to the "City of Champions" on a mild, winter's day in the middle of February. I came armed with a dozen resumes and a nicely chosen professional outfit. I visited several booths and made small talk with a few company representatives. But quite frankly, nothing appealed to me. I felt old (since I graduated from undergrad in '07 and there were many people who were not set to graduate until 2012 or 2013!), underqualified, and very out of place. I ended up only passing my resume off to about 7 companies and only 3 of them I found to be mildly interesting. I ended up chatting with a nice gentleman about a higher level management position with his company (which I will keep anonymous). The company can best be described as a large, multinational, discount consumer chain which prides itself on quality, non-trademarked consumer goods for an everyday low, low price. I was excited since the job would grant me management experience; a boost on my mediocre resume; various challenges; a very, very robust salary and best of all, the opportunity to work overseas for two years (so England here I come!). The gentleman did give me a stern warning that this job was not going to be for everyone. It would involve lots and lots of work; a strong commitment to do whatever would be necessary to succeed; and above all, being available at any hours at all hours of the day. I decided I did have the drive and commitment needed so I left my resume and walked away feeling quite confident that I could do this job...

A received an email a few weeks after my initial meeting inviting me to an orientation dinner and personal interview with the company. I once again made the trek to my ol' city and enjoyed a nice meal and presentation about the company. There were several representatives among the potential candidates. These people ranged from seasoned vets to less than one year rookies. A common theme that was repeated among them was:"think about what you're doing 'cause this job is not for everyone..." I knew I could do it and I went to bed that night dreaming about a new job. The next morning I arrived back on campus and had my interview with the gentleman I met at the job fair. The interview went really well and I left floating on air. A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail inviting me back for a third round of all day interviews at their division headquarters. I once again made the trek (by this time it was mid March), where I was interviewed by the Vice President and another board member. I kept my cool, since I know they wanted to see me sweat and I answered all the questions to the best of my abilities with minimal mistakes. We were treated to lunch at small, lovely restaurant and after another interview, I left with all smiles and true happiness about my performance . I was called the following week for a shadowing event just over the state border and by the end of that time I knew I had the job...thus I was jumping up and done and screaming when I got the letter in the mail informing me of certain things I needed to do to begin the "hiring procedures" for the company. The Jimmy Choo's I had always dreamed of; but alas, could not afford, would finally be within my reach:

In the midst of my screaming and dancing excitement my mother gave me a hard, stern look and asked me if "I really wanted this job?" "Of course!" I nearly screamed back and was mad she even asked me that. I went to bed that night feeling great, but there was a small nagging feeling I couldn't shake and over the next few days, that nagging feeling grew to a loud voice in my head. Suddenly, the doubts began creeping in...I wondered how was I going to move with barely any money and no place to stay in a completely different state? Was I ready to make a commitment to not just a job, but a very consuming career that required 70 hour work weeks and 16-18 hour work days? I guess the largest voice in my head was: "how are you going to get back to London?"Even though this job offered an overseas opportunity, I had to put in two good, solid years (even three) stateside despite the fact that 40% of the people hired would be gone within 6 months. Also there would be no chance to stay since I had to return after my two years abroad...

Maybe, just maybe the man upstairs heard all my worries and concerns because mid April (yes I devoted two months to these people), I received a strange call from the division headquarters. The VP's executive assistant called to inform me that apparently, the VP was still making his decisions about the position and I would receive a response by the end of the following week regarding an acceptance or rejection. I was completely stunned. After all, the letter had clearly stated: "hiring procedures." I brought this up to the executive assistant and she sputtered out a: "well... disregard that since you are technically still interviewing" response. Judging by the apologetic nature of her voice, I knew all too well that this did not sound all. This past weekend (not 2 but 4 weeks later), my suspicions were confirmed when I received a letter from the VP which started with the trite "thank you ...blah,blah, blah" opening and the "even though you were a great candidate...unfortunately we can not extent you an offer of employment" second paragraph. I guess I was none too disappointed since I saw this coming. However, I was met with some other news which I will discuss in part 2 of this blog post...

Thanks for checking this out and too the next time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First days and heartache...

Today, I started my first day at a real job ( I guess career would be the better term to use) after months of boredom, annoyance, anger, and a genuine loathing from my other "job" (which I will continue to work at on the weekends to supplement my income). It was music to my ears and literal tears to my eyes when I got the call last week saying I had got the job. I thought the job was far from my reach since I thought the interview went o.k. but not incredibly well and I left a bit ambivalent about what my future would be. However, everything happens for a reason and the same day I got the call was the same day that an expat friend and I were praying for my future since I needed this job to build my resume, get out of debt, and above all, possibly live out my dreams (which I will discuss in another post).

So today, I arrived very early... heals on, lunch in hand, and a grin that stretched from ear to ear. I was greeted by the friendly receptionist who told me they were waiting for two others for the new employee tour and orientation. In case you are wondering exactly what this job is, I will be working in the legal realm however due to confidentiality and privacy rules, I can not discuss in detail the nature of my job, nor the details of the firm. Finally the others arrived and my new head boss escorted us off for a mini tour and some videos.

After the the videos we were taken on the grand tour of the offices which are actually various rooms of an old mansion from the early 1900's (the bathrooms still have the bathtubs in them!) The rooms have since been made into offices but it's such a beautiful place and there is a gorgeous garden behind the mansion. I learned that the first Thursday of the month during the summer the firm will get together for a company picnic in the gardens complete with free and delicious catered food from a local gourmet eatery (This happens every month, but it will be nice being outside). In addition, everyone was incredibly friendly and warm and I loved that there was a great mix of both male and female employees ( Note: I by no means "hate women," and I have a disdain for girls who openly make comments of that nature; but, I find that after working in several jobs where it tended to be more female than male, it tended to be a bit too gossipy and catty for my taste and I tend to shy away from work drama since I can't be bothered and get annoyed very easily). I was finally introduced to the team that I would be working on and I settled into my project for the first time. Everything was going so well until a bomb dropped on me...

As the head boss checked in on my first day progress, she informed me that she would need my vehicle information in order to assign me a parking spot and also for liability reasons. My stomach dropped and I felt immediately ill, but I managed to sputter out the information of my mother's car without any emotion in my face or cracking in my voice. You see, I continue to live my European lifestyle here stateside and by that I mean I am sans car. Yes, I know it sounds crazy to many readers out there (minus my NYC, DC, and Chi town readers), however, after living between the states and Europe on and off for the past few years and with perfectly good and cheap public transport in my city, a car was more of a hassle than a necessity to me and I decided to "rough it" without one. My mother does have a car, but due to a last minute snow storm combined with snow driving amnesia at the end of March, my mother was hit from the side and her beloved car now sits barely drivable in the parking garage (there were 100 driving accidents that day...apparently people also forgot that this is upstate New York after all).

My great first day quickly turned sour and I went home angry and defeated. I'm angry because I am sick and tired of this "need a car" b.s. that surrounds me in this city and I am sure in many other areas across America. I understand that yes, some people do need a car since their job and/or shopping needs maybe many miles away from where they live. However, I don't see the problem in taking the bus since I get to this job perfectly fine via the bus for the fraction of the price of gas (since it currently hoovers at $4.00 a gallon in my area) and honestly in the same amount of time. I am defeated because I honestly want to stay at this job and I feel like this car thing may impede this dream. It's times like this why I miss Europe...there is no "public transport discrimination" since a large number of the population rides the bus in the major cities and even small towns. Here in America, cars are king and bus riders are viewed with a mix of disdain and even pity. People tend to typecast public transport takers as: poor, uneducated, migrant, unmotivated, and even criminal and I for one am none of the above (not saying there is anything wrong with being a migrant).

As I sat in my fury of emotions, I got up to retrieve something and out of nowhere my heart began to race and then it literally started to hurt. I thought for a quick second that I would have to go to the emergency which only made things worse since I have no health insurance ( this job would allow me some after 90 days...yet another reason why I miss Europe and that good ol' socialized medicine). After sitting down for a few minutes, my mini anxiety attack subsided and my heart went back to it's normal pace. All I can do is think about what will I say or do to get thorough this situation. I guess as the saying goes "the truth shall set me free" and I will only have to go to my head boss within the next few days to tell them about my situation. I can only hope they will let me stay cause lord knows I can no longer take being poor or the "muzak." I will keep you posted as the events unfold...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

From the Mind of an Insomniac...

Oh insomnia...I have never been officially diagnosed (In the sense of seeing a doctor or a sleep specialist for their expert opinion) with having this sleep disorder, but I am pretty sure my sleepless nights, coupled with racing thoughts, and finally, my difficulties to fall back asleep after being awakened would make any medical expert cringe from behind his clipboard.

The past few weeks have been no exception as I sometimes lie awake at night thinking and reflecting upon my past; as well as, hoping and "dreaming" about my future. A few nights ago, I had every intention to get to bed early that night since my slacker days of sometimes working will soon be over due to the fact that I start my new job this week which requires me to join the 9-5 masses. After getting comfortable under my covers with trusty eye mask in place, I quickly fall asleep around midnight (yes, this is considered early for me these days) only to be disturbed around 1:30 a.m. by of all things text messages (which I will write about in greater detail in the upcoming weeks)!! Since the beeping of my phone only scared/awakened/annoyed me, I ended up staying up, unable to fall back asleep and once again...I reflected upon my past.

Instead of reflecting upon the positive, or even a mix of both the positive and the negative, my mind wandered toward all the negative things that occurred in my life over the past year and a half. I thought about my struggles in France from arriving with my horrible host family (which I quickly changed after a month of being there), to the issues and problems I had with my second host family (which I was able to resolve upon getting over the language barrier and improving my self confidence). I thought about random things in between from: life in France, to friends and people, to my current "job" and even what's going on in the world. After that time of reflection, I then thought about my future and all the uncertainties it holds. I understand that the future is unknown; hell, it's not even guaranteed. I also understand that sometimes planning for it yields unexpected results, sometimes good and sometimes...unfortunate. I guess I write this because I have arrived at a very difficult crossroads in life which has lead me to weigh out the good; and also the bad. Do I follow my heart and my dreams and go back to Europe: where work, life, and "the future" remain unknown and quite frankly...downright scary?? Or, do I remain here stateside...working in this new job, saving money, paying my debts, and hoping once again to return to Europe within the next few years?? This feeling of uncertainty and the unknown is what kept me up that night and for many nights now I may add. However, I turn my thoughts to the positive, and the thought of a new day full of hope, energy, and a clearer answer just as the sun comes up around 6a.m.

Yeah...I really need to get some Ambien...

Song of the Moment:
"Trouble Sleeping": Corinne Bailey Rae

***One of my fave songs and c.d.s!!!***

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hello and Welcome to my Blog!

So I have finally started a blog after many years of travels and adventures. I honestly don't know why I didn't do it before; however, I kept up a constant roll of emails to all my favorites back home whenever I decided to pack up my good ol' Blue and Red (my travel suitcases companions) for my long term stays in Europe. However, after reading various blogs about travel and living abroad for hours on end, I decided it was time for me to begin sharing my own stories and adventures of the good, bad, hilarious, harrowing, and most importantly, growing up that happens every time I leave the States for a long term stay abroad. I will try my hardest to write about all my experiences, whether good or bad. I will also keep the identity of anyone I write about anonymous (names and identities will be changed). Thus, begins my journey into the blog realm and I am very delighted that you have decided to join me! To the next time....