It is a truth universally acknowledged

…that I only write in this blog when I feel my life is going absurdly shitty in one way or another. September has been an odd month. I have, at times, felt any or all of the following: depressed, bored, excited, sad, bitchy, annoyed, angry, content, and meh. It didn’t help that my period came three weeks late; when you’re off the pill and you’re not having sex, not knowing where your period is should not mean a thing, but I was just plain angry with my reproductive system for holding itself up. I mean, hello, I’d like to get it over with. (Is that TMI?)

What has happened since I last wrote? Well, as I imagined, once the fun craziness that was summer had died down, my quarter-life crisis came back in full swing. I won’t go into the sordid details (yet) but several things happened this month that turned my life on its head and caused me to be a recluse. For one thing, my younger brother left to study abroad in Japan, which is yes very exciting for him but also made me feel rather blue because it reminded me of my study abroad days. Not to mention, I didn’t realize how boring home life could be without my brother! I hope he doesn’t read this and doesn’t ever find out I’ve expressed that sentiment, but I looked at him as sort of a sidekick. And now I’m bored. My youngest brother is still around, but he’s such a teenager I never know what kind of mood swing I’m going to get.

Another thing that happened was I got Netflix. Yes, that’s right. Not for the first time technically, but this is the first time I’ve actually been using it and watching things. I’d been resisting for so many years, but my obsession with Doctor Who has greatly intensified that I wanted to watch older episodes (meaning the seasons with Chris E and David Tennant, as well as some of the earlier Matt Smith episodes). And I knew the show was on there, so when my brother offered to set up another free trial that he got in his email (he uses Netflix on and off, when random online parties send him free trials) I decided to roll with it. Luckily I haven’t found myself in a cesspool of binge watching like so many others; just Doctor Who and Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t know if I have the stomach to lose myself into another show.

By the way, speaking of the Doctor, did I mention I met Mr. Smith himself last month?!

That may have been the greatest birthday present I’ve ever gifted myself. And I’m never ever washing that blue dress.

I have commitment issues? Settling issues?

After several lengthy conversations with close friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like staying in one place for too long. At this rate it will have been 1.5 months since I last traveled somewhere outside of the Chicago area. That is a long time to me. When you’ve been used to shuffling back and forth between school and suburbs, school and other cities, country to country, you get used to the excitement. The feeling that you’re not going to be in the same place for very long.

I think that may be what’s wrong with me. Before I started working, I did a fair share of traveling during the three months I was living at home unemployed. My family and I went to the Philippines for half a month, and Cincinnati for a weekend. I drove down to Champaign to visit friends. Even before this year, I routinely visited other places like St. Louis. And when I was abroad—well, I was basically in a different place every weekend. I do believe it was this time one year ago I was getting ready to head off to Panama for a school field trip. I can remember those four or five days so clearly. So many memories. And yet if you asked me anything about the past couple weeks, I don’t think I could tell you. Other than that I worked and bummed around.

Used to be I wanted to live the rest of my life out in Chicago. I just don’t see it anymore. I don’t see myself staying here in the suburbs any longer than a couple more years. I’ve said this a thousand times, maybe more, but I want to see the world. I need to see the world. When my mom was my age, she was living and working in Saudi Arabia, thousands of miles away from her home. I need to go back to Costa Rica and remind myself that those four months there weren’t just a dream. I need to go to London, the city I’ve been dreaming about for years. I miss my friends from all over the world, the international students I met at school now living away at their homes in France, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Colombia, Austria.

An old friend (“old” meaning I’ve known him for quite a long time, obviously) last week told me he was surprised to see me finally living at home again. That I wasn’t already making plans to jet off somewhere.

It’s like Shakira said:

Mi destino es andar
Mis recuerdos
Son una estela en el mar

Yeah…I’m too lazy to translate.

Americans, they so mean

I got a job. Sort of. Last week my dad woke me up in the morning to tell me he wants me to come to his office, fill out a job application, and start manning the phones. Like on that day, good grief. And so here I am, at my dad’s place of business which is barely over a year old and which I helped start up last year, sitting at the computer and waiting to take down phone calls. While I am fully more than happy to help out my father and help his business grow, I feel a little odd working for him. It’s like I’m not really making my own money if I’m being paid by my own dad. But I’ve got nothing else to do, and I haven’t been able to do work for Demand Studios in a while since there’s slim pickings for actual do-able articles, so any form of income is better than none, right?

On another note, I’ve been dreaming a lot lately about either going back to Costa Rica (as in planning a trip) or actually being in there again. Various members of my host family keep appearing, and my intense penchant for popular Latin music (hellooooooooo, Prince Royce) has yet to waver. This can only mean one thing…I must go back, haha. Where I’m going to find the funds to do that, I still don’t know, considering all my graduation money went down the drain into paying bills, old apartment rent, etc. I think I’ve mentioned all this before.

One thing I miss about Costa Rica is the amazingly generous hospitality and friendliness. And I don’t just mean my host family and school — I mean everyone. For example, last entry I mentioned that I went out to the bars in Wrigleyville a couple weekends ago. What I didn’t mention was that we ended up getting kicked out after my friend drank too much, blacked out and subsequently began throwing up on the floor of the bar (we were sitting at the tables in the back). Every employee that passed by was giving us death stares, and it wasn’t until a bartender cried out “Oh, heeeeeell naww!” that I knew we were done for and had to go. No friendly “Is she okay?” queries, no looks of concern. Just straight up “Get her the fuck out of here” looks from people.

Now, let me recount the few times I threw up in Costa Rica last fall semester. Oh, there were a few, haha. I remember sitting at a table with my friends, drinking beer merrily and playing cards as usual. I ended up buying a bottle of rum that night (oh, how I miss the awesomely cheap bottle service in Costa Rica) and later throwing up on the floor (and also on one of my friends, but that’s another story). Our waiter that night promptly rushed over to me and told my friends I should probably go to the bathroom. He didn’t make any fuss, just cleaned everything up and kept checking to see if I was okay. In fact, the next time we were at that bar and he was working, he laughed at me and asked how I was doing. And in fact, he ended up befriending us and now we’re Facebook buddies and everything. On another occasion, we were at another bar that was hosting Ladies Night (my GOD, I miss those nights in Costa Rica even more), which translated into me and my friends getting very drunk very fast. Once again, I threw up on the floor and my friends debated about whether to take me home or not. But alas! We weren’t going to let our night end there. One friend told me I must be strong and rally through the night, so she sat me at the bar and asked the bartenders to give me something to help my…condition. They gave me some grenadine (how that’s supposed to help, I don’t know) and let me sit at the bar for a while. Eventually I stopped feeling like I was going to hurl, and somehow later ended up on top of the bar, dancing with a bartender nonetheless.

Goodness I miss Costa Rica. Americans can sometimes be just so unfriendly!

The art of letting go

Hurrah, hurrah! I’ve finished my monstrous 15-page research paper for EPS 310! Time to start doing other work, yay! /end sarcasm

It’s come to my attention that I am now almost a full month away from college graduation. I know what you’re thinking. How do I feel? Am I ready for the real world? Am I ready to let go? These are just examples of the flurry of questions I’ve been getting lately.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the past year, it’s that whether or not you’re ready to let go, you’re gonna have to let go. Last school year I had to learn to let go of a few people, a few comforts. That was normal, since it was the end of my third year of college. Then summer came, and I had to learn to let go of my “home” life. Instead of returning to the suburbs, working at the movie theater, and hanging out with “home” friends, I did something different and stayed in Champaign. I worked a ‘real’ job, hung out with people I never normally would have hung out with during the school year (aside from my roommate), and created an actual real life for myself pretty much.

Then in August I had to let that go. It was probably one of the hardest things I’d ever done. Even though I knew I had this wonderful adventure abroad waiting for me, the interruption to my blissful summer was — literally — heartbreaking. And it had to happen, because prior to summer I had made the decision to study abroad during the first semester of my senior year. As for that decision? Definitely do not regret it at all and I am so so thankful I was able to go. Costa Rica was truly one of the best times of my life. Honestly, in the four months I spent there, I felt more at home than I’d ever felt in the three previous years at Champaign. I had friends and family there. I had a host mother who mothered me in ways I never experienced before. She was the emotional and loving support I was lacking from my own real mother.

And of course, letting go of all that was hard. Unlike my good-byes to summer, these good-byes were extra difficult because I didn’t (and still don’t) know when I’d see Costa Rica again. I didn’t just say farewell to the wonderful people of Central America, but the American friends I’d made as well. At the beginning of my study abroad experience, I couldn’t imagine staying for more than a semester, and thought the first month was hard enough. But by the end, I did not want to leave Costa Rica at all. I never wanted to leave.

But like before, I just had to let go.

I think that entire year of upheaval and changes has definitely affected the way I’ve approached this semester. I’ve been operating with the mindset that nothing is ever permanent. A year from now, I know I won’t be hanging out with the same people anymore. It’s the story of my life. I’ve never had a friendship last for a significant amount of time. I’ve never been in a relationship and it appears that me and the male species just don’t…well, we mesh very well (if you know what I mean…) but obviously it doesn’t seem I qualify as girlfriend-material. I have nothing tying me down. Even the great city of Chicago, the place I once called my hometown, my anchor…doesn’t quite stir the same feelings within me anymore.

Point is, I have no idea where my life is going to lead me in the coming months. I have some vague plans, but at the moment I have no idea where I’ll be living, who I’ll be surrounding myself with (family- and friends-wise), what I’ll be doing to make a living. And you know what? I am perfectly fine with that. It is much easier to let go than to hang on.

I don’t have anything or anyone to live for but myself right now.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” — Nelson Mandela

Amazing. I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong with me.

Funnily enough, I came across that quote while reading through the “Welcome Back” guide the study abroad office sent me. And I guess you could say it’s about time I accepted that I’ve definitely changed in so many ways since my time abroad in Costa Rica. And it’s also about time I’ve accepted the fact that that chapter of my life is over and it’s time to move on.


Bye bye! 🙁

Before, I was dead set on spending the rest of my life in Chicago. After graduation, I would find a job in the city and live in a swanky apartment with either my cousin or other friends. Now, I’m not so sure anymore where “home” will be in the future. I liked my simpler life in Costa Rica. I could care less about finding that perfect 9-5 job downtown now. Obviously, nothing about Chicago has changed (much) — it’s my own demeanor that has.

People are always telling you to live it up while you can and to enjoy the moment, but why is it people never talk about what happens after the “moment”? I lived my summer to the fullest last year and I only ended up being depressed when it ended and I had to pack up for Costa Rica. Then in Costa Rica I had the time of my life and now it’s over and I’m depressed — again. I know I made promises to make my last and only senior year semester the best ever, but do I really want to do that now? Can I really make it through a third straight adrenaline rush of life and then only end up feeling deflated again when it’s over? I’m ready for college to end so I can start finding some semblance of stability in my life. I need to start that process of letting college go now before it gets any worse.

On a less somber note, I’ve started working on a scrapbook for my semester abroad. Sort of. I uploaded 240 pictures to my Wal-Mart photo account and I’m waiting for a friend to send more to me. But seriously…240 pictures. With shipping and handling, that’s about $32. And then on top of that I’m gonna have to buy a book to put it all in and then supplies and fun stuff to make it with! I’ve already filtered through my uploads 2 times to cut down the amount; looks like I’m going to have to do it a few more times!

Even further proof that I’m trying my darndest to move on is the ambitious plans I’m making for this domain. After over a year of this city skyline, I want to make a new one. Considering I haven’t done any real HTML since I made this layout then (heh), I’m a bit nervous about the time I’m going to have to invest for this. And I want to get the ball rolling on my sports blog. I tried starting one last summer, but then I kind of left it alone for awhile. I’ve been mainly debating about whether to design a theme for it or to just use a premade (which I really dislike doing…I like all my sites to be my own designs), so we’ll see.