Life

Throwin’ it way back – Fake it til you make it

So I have a confession to make: I’ve tried this blogging thing once or twice before. I’ve always had something to say (my mom and husband can totally vouch for that), but for whatever reason – or, more like a billion small reasons – I never really stuck with it. But as I was looking through some of my old content, searching for something still relevent, I found this gem from almost 8 years ago, my pre-graduate self; I had no idea what I was in for, but I was pretty sure it was going to be one hell of a ride. Enjoy 🙂

As I face the last 70 days of my college career, my brain is a little frazzled. Every time I reflect on the stress of keeping up with six classes, trying extremely hard to resist senioritis and scrambling to map out a plan once December comes along, I feel dizzy and nauseous. About eight months ago a friend of mine (who recently graduated in May) summed it up in one simple statement: “We’ve been in school all our lives; of course the real world is scary as shit.” And that’s exactly what it is: scary as shit.
I have been lucky enough to be surrounded with competent and caring professors that coach their students on how to build a portfolio and how to knock your first interview out of the park, but what about all the other things that along with the transition from college to career? There’s house-hunting (apartment hunting for most of us), adjusting to a new city (or sometimes a different country/state), figuring out the best commute route and learning how to deal with life away from most of the friends you’ve enjoyed the last four to 12 years with. I’ve come to the conclusion that professors don’t mention these things because it sucks and there is really no getting around it. Yes, I’m saying this from someone who has yet to actually experience all above things, but I just don’t see any other outcome.

I pride myself on being a strong-willed and independent individual, but when push comes to shove, sometimes I really just want to curl up next to my mommy and hear her tell me everything will be OK. And then I realize that the fact that I’ve had so many caring people encourage me along the way may be all I need. If I’ve made it this far, why would I not make it all the way?

Maybe that’s what life is all about. Learning the hard way so we can one day teach our children how to make the best decisions possible, only to have them turn around and ignore us and learn the hard way themselves, of course.

For now, it’s kind of comforting to be scared because it means that I still care and have not been jaded by our crazy, chaotic world. It means that I do believe in my dreams and want to succeed more than anything. It means that my family did something right along the way and that, in the end, I’m going to be OK. I hope.

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Life

Get on the bus.

 

I had a History teacher in high school who told the most amazing stories. I can’t remember a time in my life where I was so captivated by the words coming out of someone’s mouth (aside from when I met my husband, of course!) than when Mr. Welch told us stories. Marie Antoinette, the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials; things that your average high schooler wouldn’t really care about, except we did. A lot. Because we had a teacher who brought those tales to life. One of my closest friends in high school can still recall the time I animatedly narrated the story of ill-fated Queen Mary I and her hysterical pregnancy that ended not in a prince being born, but rather in a large, foul wind and utter humiliation.

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Me (left) in high school

Mr. Welch had a story for everything, but the thing that really set him apart from other teachers was that he listened to our stories as well. As high schoolers, not many people took us seriously, but Mr. Welch did. Not many people thought the events in our lives mattered – the every day he said/she said was seen as just unimportant fodder that we wasted our time on. But Mr. Welch cared. He listened to us, asked us about our weekends, our future plans, our families. He shared details of his life, too, and made us feel like he was invested in us. To the overly-emotional teenager whose single mom was busy with work much of the time, whose closest sibling was 8 years younger, and whose dad lived 2,000 miles away, this meant a lot.

So when Mr. Welch told us the story of the bus, I listened.

The story goes something like this: each and every one of us will go through life, day by day, slaving away at whatever dream-of-the-month we’re dedicated to at the time. If we’re lucky, we love what we’re doing, if we’re not, well, we still get by. But at a certain point in everyone’s life, a bus is going to come. The bus will look different for all of us; for some it will be a covetable internship in a field we’d never dreamed of, for others it will be an invitation to a party with people we’d never get the chance to socialize with that will lead to a big career break. To get on the bus would seem like the craziest idea in the world. You may not have the money, it may not be logical, your parents would probably get upset. But some part of you, no matter how small or how quietly, will be screaming, “GET ON THE BUS!” And that’s when you have to make a choice. Will you risk getting on the bus, and maybe make the biggest mistake of your life, or will you stay, doing what you’re doing, and keep on keepin’ on? Mr. Welch’s advice? (and I quote…) “Get on the damn bus.”

So I did. When the chance to go to Saudi Arabia to teach English presented itself, I went. It was crazy. It didn’t make any sense; I was from Roseville, California and had never traveled by myself. I had no business going to a country where women couldn’t drive and where even in the most liberal of towns we were expected to don the abaya. My parents were scared and furious, and tried every play in the book to get me to stay. But I didn’t. And you know what? It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

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Me and my sister, Katlynn, the night before I left for Saudi Arabia

I’m not saying it has always been easy, or that I didn’t want to run home a billion times over the last 6 years. But the hard times built character, and the good times hold amazing memories. I met my husband, forged strong friendships with amazing people, and experienced unforgettable journeys all over the world, from Amsterdam to Hong Kong.

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Adam, hubby, me September 2016

And the adventure isn’t over yet. As I enter into motherhood, I realize that the world is still my doorstep, and as each challenge presents itself, I can’t help wonder what kind of storyteller I will be for my kids. Will I leave the same impression as Mr. Welch? Will my kids feel captivated by me or just humor me because I’m their mom then laugh about it later? Either way, I’m determined to make our life one with lots of stories to tell. I may not end up telling my kids the most exhilarating stories, but I’m determined to be right there next to them making the most amazing memories.