Sunday, January 31, 2010

Calling All Bloggers

This Spring Break (March 9-13, 2010) my friends (Kylie, Brianne, and Courtney) and I are going to Nashville, TN.  I know, I know.  It's not exactly what you picture when you think of Spring Break, but then we aren't exactly cliche girls.  We're going for another AFI concert, (Kylie's their biggest fan ever, remember?) and we know we're making a trip to the zoo...  but what else should we see while we're there?

Suggestions please?  What's fun?  What's adventurous?  Where is the best shopping?  Great photo spots?  Any amazing bungee jumping experiences to be found?  (Hehe.)

We also know we want to have one really nice night out.  (An excuse to dress up, basically.)  So if you have restaurant suggestions for that day, please give em up!

And in return for your help, here are some pictures from our (Kylie, Brianne and I) last Tennessee (Gatlinburg) trip last year.







Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Updates: Frank Warren Breaks the Monotony of Richmond, KY

So...it's been a while since my last "real post."

I really don't know what to say for myself.  Every day here is the same.  I have fallen back into my old routine with ease.  I wake up at the same time each morning, work and attend classes at the same hours every afternoon, and return home at approximately the same time every evening.  I study.  I watch seasons of Desperate Housewives and Glee.  I spend copious amounts of time staring at my phone.  Somehow I didn't think that would make for an interesting post.

However, last Thursday was a bit of excitement, so I'm back to fill you all in.  Frank Warren of Post Secret came to our campus to give a lecture.  (If any of you haven't yet experienced Post Secret, please click the link.)  It was full of inspiration and encouragement.  He said that there are "thousands of wonderful ideas out there just waiting for someone to believe" in them.  He discussed the benefits and virtues of the blog during his lecture, which of course had me pleased as punch.  (That expression has never made sense to me, but my mom used to say it, and I guess it sort of works here.)  He discussed the blog as a living breathing thing (as opposed to the book form of Post Secret): when you read it, you know there is someone out there right now that is feeling those emotions.  When you connect with something on a blog you find someone in your shoes at that very moment, and that enables us to reach out to one another.  He emphasized the power of human connection that is possible through online resources.


As the owner of one of the few blogs ever to reach the maximum number of followers (a whopping 10,000) he's a great hero of mine.  Brianne and I were fortunate enough to get to meet him, and I was pleasantly surprised by the level of humility he's been able to retain.  Despite his fame, Frank stays true to his original goals with the project:  giving people a voice and showcasing the extraordinary in every-day lives.

It was an impressive presentation.  We were able to see post cards that had been banned from the book, and given an open mic to share our own secrets and stories.  It was incredible to hear what our classmates had to say.  It was an unexpected treat to find that we've been walking among people who aren't so ordinary after all.  They shared things that were touching, odd, beautiful, and heart-breaking.  And when the night was over, I like to think they went home feeling a little bit better to have shared.

Other than that, the days have been gliding past without interruption.  My countdowns still look less intimidating with each second that ticks away.  My heart still breaks and mends on a daily basis.  My classes are still manageable.  My friends are still my saviors.  My family is still the best I could ever ask for.  My phone still hasn't rang today.  The old cliche is true:  Time marches on.

(For those of you who read my MaDM post last week, I am pleased to tell you that my great grandmother is back at home again, stumping medical officials for what seems to be the thousandth time. She's a tough cookie, that one. I like to think I'm a little bit like her.)

Entertainment:

My new roomie, Brianne, and I found these highly amusing.
Tell me what you think:



(Okay, so this one's a little weird...
But the facial expressions at the end had me near to tears I was laughing so much.)



(This girl? She has some serious talent.)



(Epic.)



(Too. Much. Caffeine.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another Round of Awards

I am more than a little behind in accepting the awards that have been tumbling in!  Please know that even if I somehow missed yours, I really do appreciate them.  These blogging awards mean more to me than anything, including being named a Blog of Note.  These are the honors that count the most because they come directly from my wonderful readers.  So thanks, everyone.  Really.  It means the world to me.  : )

First up, Pixie Dust over at Pixie Dusties presented me with the Happy 101 Award.  Is it not just the cutest little award button you have ever seen?!?!  I love it.  (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) The rules for this one are pretty fun as well.  In order to accept you must list ten things that make you incredibly happy, and then pass it on to 10 bloggers that make your day a better one.

Pixie Dust is a housewife, mom to a couple unusual pets, fellow Twilight enthusiast, and aspiring novelist.  Her blog is absolutely adorable, and most certainly deserving a loosky from you guys, so head on over and show her some love! 

My second award today comes from ~:C:~ over at The Nerdy Nomad.  ~:C:~ has just returned from a short hiatus to give us her 100th post and first blogging award.  She passed on the Lemonade Stand Award, which is pretty cute as well.  This one dictaes that the awardee:

•Put the Lemonade Stand logo on your blog or within your post.
•Nominate at least 10 blogs you really enjoy.
•Link the nominees within your post.
•Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
•Link to the person from whom you received this award.
 
Last but certainly not least, a new friend of mine, Sophia, left me The Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award on her blog Still Winter After All.  Sophia's blog is written in lyric, and sometimes poetic, snippets that give us glimpses into her life, and she is never in short supply of the beautiful images that accompany her words.  This blog is also definitely worth a look.

The rules for this award seem to be as follows:
  • Post button on your blog.
  • Thank the person who gave it to you with a link.
  • Offer up ten facts about yourself.
  • Pass the award on to other worthy bloggers.
Well now, I seem to have a lot of facts to offer up!  Since the awards seem to coincide, I think my ten happy facts can count for both, wouldn't you say?  So, with no further ado, below are ten facts in the form of ten things that make me happy.

1)  Summer.  Summer weather is my favorite weather.  I love the warmth, and even the sweltering heat that comes with it.  My days never feel complete without some sunshine. 

2)  I love love LOVE to travel.  I am positively giddy every time I am preparing to go somewhere new.  I think a new adventure lies around each and every street corner, and that each one should be explored.

3)  My friends are my saviors on a daily basis.  They can bring me out of a depressed stupor faster than anything.  They know me almost better than I know myself, and know better than to take "I'm fine" for an answer sometimes. 

4) Bookstores are like treasure chests to me.  I love everything about them, especially if it's a second hand bookstore.  I love the musty scent of the old pages.  I love the thrill of a great discovery among heaps of cast off print.  I love opening a book for the first time and becoming enamoured with one phrase or line, and knowing in that instant that thsi volume will be counted as a favorite forever.  I never leave a bookstore without a purchase and a smile. 

5) This blog makes me happy.  I know that might be a little corny, but it is true.  Having made connections with so many wonderful people is a blessing.

6) Citrus fruits are my absolute favorites.  When I was a little girl I would eat oranges until the taste was burned into my tounge.  Now they double as both my favorite food, and a favorite memory.

7) Disney movies never fail to make me happy.  I grew up with them, and many of those titles still rank among my favorites.  ...especially Beauty and the Beast.  That one is rather high up on my list. 

8) I love teapots.  I am not entirely sure where the fascination started, but it's there.  I've just started a collection now that I'm living on my own, and so far the four I have are some of my most prized possessions.   One is filled with all my Chinese fortune cookie papers, and the other holds movie ticket stubs.  Having those on my bookcase makes me insanely happy.

9) Having my homework complete ahead of time makes me happy...but this is not something that happens often.  I have a terrible problem with procrastination, so any time I actually prepare ahead of time I am more than a little proud of myself. 

10) Telling people that I'm moving to Germany makes me happy as well.  I have always wanted to be that girl with the adventure, and now I finally am, and for all the stress and frustration, it's kind of fun.  And it's great to see people's reactions.  Most are either impressed or envious...and some think I am crazy for wanting to go, but it's fun to be unique for a once in my life.

And there you have it!  Ten happy facts about me that you may or may not have already known.  : )  Now that is out of the way, you'll find some blog reccomendations below.  If your blog is listed, please choose one of the lovely buttons above, and then pass it on to some blogs you deem worthy.  Congratulations are in order for the owners of:


Pretty please drop by and give them a congratulatory comment.  : )

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wedding Update #2

This wedding is the most difficult part of my life right now, and it is not for any of the reasons you would suspect.  I haven't had any problems finding my dress, choosing my bridesmaids, picking a location, or deciding what flowers I'd like.  In fact, I haven't had any problems with the details.

I haven't had any problems with the planning because I can't start planning at all. 

There has been a mix up with Kyle's leave, and now I can't even be sure that he is coming home for the wedding this summer.  Since I can't very well have the ceremony without the groom, this complicates things.  I can't begin planning until I know when and if he can come home, and if I do not begin planning, I won't have enough time to put together the huge event we anticipated. 

I have about three options as far as I can tell:

Option A -- If things work out so that Kyle can come home, I can always slap together a ceremony in a crunch.  It might not be the ceremony I have always invisioned, but the important thing is that we are married.  So long as that happens, I'll go home happy at the end of the day.

Option B -- If things do not work out, and Kyle can't come home this summer, I could theoretically fly back to Germany with a few family members in tow and have the ceremony there.  This would allow us to move ahead on our current timeline, and have me moving over towards the middle to end of this summer, but it would also mean that a lot of our friends and family wouldn't be able to be at the wddding. 

Option C -- This one really isn't an option at all.  I could postpone the wedding until sometime late this year, or possibly early next.  That would give me more time to plan, and would ensure that everyone we care about could be in attendence.  However, I think that this is out of the question.  I cannot postpone moving anymore than I already have.  ...I don't want to be without him now, let alone for another whole year.  It also complicates my college plan.  I'm supposed to be transferring to UMUC after the current semester.  Postponing the wedding and my move postpones when I can re-enter college.  That is not something I want to worry about.  Transferring at all is going to make me graduate later, and the longer I am out of school the longer it will take me to finish.

I am more frustrated than I have been in a long time.  I have so many things to do, so much to organize, but I can't.  I can't book photographers or commision a cake or go shopping with my bridesmaids for their dresses.  I don't even know which of my bridesmaids will be able to make it to the wedding if I have to move it across an ocean.

...What exactly am I supposed to do in this situation?  Any of you ladies had this problem?  What did you do?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Square One

Today was the first day of my fourth semester of college.  When this one is over, I will be at the midpoint of my undergraduate studies.  It's been both so long and so fast...but it has definitely been good. 

When I am in classes, I am totally in my element in a way that cannot be compared to anything else.  It isn't like the niche awaiting me in Germany.  It is different, because this place is for me.  When I walk down these sidewalks, I am confident and sure of my abilities.  I am no one's inferior, and no one's enemy.  There is nothing for me to fear.  Sure, college has its challenges, but I have never had a problem with rising to meet them.  Honestly, the only reason I am so sick of it is because I've started to resent that it is one of the many things keeping me tethered here in the states.  And online school?  We all know it just isn't the same experience.  There is so much you miss when you're out of the classroom environment.

So today was a bittersweet day.  It is the beginning of the end of something I used to love.  ...still do love, in some respects.  I walked into my classrooms and evaluated the students around me.  I studied their faces and wondered which of us would remember each other.  I wondered which of us would still remain in attendence at the end of the semester.  I wondered if anyone else was preparing to leave this part of their life behind.  Am I the only one so close to moving on?  Doubtful.  But it sometimes feels that way.

I savored this last first day.  I relished each moment of confidence and belonging.  Yet as much as I love this, I know I will never regret my decision to leave.  I am not giving up, just exchanging an old dream for a new adventure.  Besides, when I finally make it back across that 4,400 mile gap, it will be a whole new first.  I will be back to square one...

**IMPORTANT SIDENOTES**

I know a lot of you tagged me for awards that I haven't accepted yet.  I had the links copied in a draft I accidentally deleted.  If you are one of these bloggers, please email me a link to the award so I can make up a new acceptance post.  Sorry, guys, and thanks in advance.

Also, I completely forgot to announce my give-away winner!  Sarita, dear, you won the drawing.  :)  Please email me your address so I can get your gift shipped ASAP.  I am SO sorry I didn't inform you sooner.

Hiding Out

I've been putting this post off for a while.  I can't seem to find the perfect way to tell you about what happened in Germany, or to explain how I feel now that I am back home again.  This is the best I can manage:

I feel like everything has changed.  After two days of flying (many many delays) I finally made my way through customs and back into his arms.  It was the best feeling in the world.  In the instant that it took for that first embrace to close I felt every stress melt away.  Suddenly all of my at-home fears were gone, and all that mattered was that we were together.  College, jobs, wedding planning, apartment bills...it was all unimportant.  I didn't want to think about anything even remotely related to things at "home."

In fact, I only made about five phone calls home total in the ten days I was away.  It drove my family insane.  But I couldn't help it.  I was living in the moment, in complete bliss, and I wasn't willing to split my focus for anything. 

We didn't travel much, and we only left post twice, but I was perfectly content just so long as he was near me.  And he was.  From the moment I met him at the airport, for every second that he wasn't working, we were never more than five feet apart.  We were inseperable.  That wasn't something I expected, but it was something for which I was grateful.  I'd expected him to hold me at a distance...but he didn't and it was such a relief.  All I wanted to do was hold on to him for as long as I could.  And longer, actually.  I didn't want to come home.

It was so wonderful to be there -- to step into the life of my future for a while.  Being with him...it makes me feel at ease.  Comfortable.  Like I was finally at home.  Like I was where I belong after years of drifting.  The people I met couldn't have been any more welcoming, and nothing was as terrifying as I thought it might be.  I realized that I have nothing to fear at all, and now I just want to go back.  I have a niche there...a purpose.  Someone to care for.   

Now that I'm home, nothing feels the same.  It feels like this is the foreign place.  I cannot wait until my time here, my time without Kyle, is over.  Being gone did make me realize how much I'll miss everyone else, and it is awful, but missing them is much easier than missing him.  Missing him leaves me feeling empty and scared.  Missing them makes me realize that I am lucky to have so many people who love me.  Maybe that's a little selfish, but that's how it makes me feel, and I can't help that.  And having been there with him, having a better idea of what my life will be like, I am more anxious then ever to step into it.  I want to leave so badly.  I want out of Richmond.  Out of Kentucky.  Out of this continent.  Out.  Out, out, out.  And into something better.

God.  I want to just tell you all about my trip.  I want to tell you about all the tender, sweet moments we shared.  I want to share the reunion, and the things he said to me before I left that made it easier, but I can't right now.  It just hurts.  It hurts every morning I wake up and realize I'm not there anymore.  And I need this set of memories for myself right now...to get me by until next time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I feel like a little kid.

I kind of want to curl up into a ball and hide in the closet so I don't have to leave.  :(

...but since there's no avoiding my return to Kentucky, I'll have lots of posts for you guys about the trip very soon.  I hope you all had a wonderful New Years.