Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Back in the USA

È Vero.

So now, whenever I sing "Party in the USA" it rings true.
Oh, to be back in the red white and blue.

I should continue in poem form, but that takes a lot more time and effort than I have.

So you might have noticed my four month absence from the blog. Oh? forgot where I was (remember this?) Then check out EUROPE at my shutterfly, VivaRiva. It substituted as my blog for the last four months.
I'm not going to lie, it does feel great to be back in the English-speaking world, and back to all of the things I know and love. Like cheap, fabulous Mexican food.

Basically, My aim today, is to catch you up to speed on my life. Because a lot happened in four months. Aka, THE BOY happened in four months.
That's riiiight. I went to Europe and came home with a boyfriend!
Now, before visions of hot, Swiss men dance in your heads (ha, holiday humor!), He's American.
It's true, we met in Europe, but he was one of my fellow students, so skipping the whole "language barrier" thing probably helped significantly advance the whole "getting to know you" part. He's actually awesome, but I'm sure I'll address him plenty in future posts, so for now- I'll leave the details vague.

Europe in five points:

1. I didn't die skiing. I didn't die snowboarding either. Which is actually what I decided to learn. Oh yea, and that hot instructor? Check.
THE BOY taught me, and is an able bodied tutor, and apparently (despite my attempt at quitting half-way through the first day) I'm a natural. Check it out: (yea, that's the Alps all right.)

2. Hit Italy, Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, France, England, and (of course) Switzerland. That's significantly more countries that my previous two, and now I've been to a whole other continent. Not only that but spoke three languages... French, Italian, and (of course) English. I'm not counting the three (total) words of Swiss-German that I learned.

3. Met some pretty awesome people. Studio was intense, but we found time to have some fun, get to know each other and become a strange, little family.

4. Went shopping in all the right places (and bought shoes there!): Milan, Paris, Zürich... the
list goes on.

5. Most of all, I had the best time of my life thus far. Strong words, and maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, because my life is pretty great, but I learned so much (cliché, but true). I found out so much about myself, and I wouldn't take it back, for anything.

Yea, that's a beret I'm wearing...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We're Related

I spent the last week completely and utterly myself.

What a strange sentiment. But honestly, how often do you really spend "in your skin"? 
That feeling that just makes you feel like you couldn't possibly be more like you. That this is who you are. I don't know how else to explain it other than restating the same thing I essentially restated four times.

I like to think that I know myself well enough by now to take the advice of numerous celebrities, happy, and/or successful people and "just be myself". That I'm mostly the same person around everyone I meet. But that would probably be grossly incorrect. 
Upon my observations, everyone changes (even minutely) when they're introduced to a new group of people. Survival instinct: When introduced to new surroundings, we asses and acclimate. This includes feeling out the people, the atmosphere... are you going to go with high energy? Laid back? Are you going to talk about how ridiculously hard that vector geometry class was or are you going to talk about the insane party you threw at which everyone you knew threw up in your bathroom? 
This happens to Various degrees of dectectability:
Some people are incredibly adept at fitting in with people, not necessarily changing completely (though they do exist) but maybe showing only one side of who they are. A humanoid social chameleon.
There are of course others. You know, the ones who stick out like Freddy Krueger at a Debutante ball.  They just don't jive, nor do they probably even want to try. 
Then there are those people that don't have to change, they are the change. Those people who don't have to try because they already are. Everyone shifts around them, whether unintentional, subconscious, or through a concerted effort they write the undertone.

All of the above though may change depending on the group of people, the gathering, and/or the occasion. Where's the focus?
Personally, I throw the entirety of my musings out the window when applying it to my family. I know my father's side of the family extremely well, and I see them often as well. So for the content of this post, they will be referred to as my "family" "the fam" or any term relating to well, my relations, hereafter. 
I have every sort of person in my family. The pro
 golfer, the recluse, the musician, the taciturn student, the shy one, the ridiculous one, the outgoing one, the hilarious one, the theatrical one, the earthy one, the medical one, the bitterly single one, the crazy one, the one who
 laughs, the obnoxious soap-boxy one, the rebel, the blissful one, the grumpy one, the younger one. 
(you get the point)
But these roles, these personalities don't even matter: to outsiders, you would see roles and hierarchy (yes I did use the term "outsiders"). But inside, everyone is accepted.
I think that it might be different for every family, but in my particular case, no one is going to stop loving you because you were a complete bitch last christmas and told everyone loudly that the roast was way overcooked. No one is going to kick you out because you scolded your niece for wearing jeans to easter dinner when you've never seen her wear anything but jeans...ever.
My point is, everyone has their faults, and their not-so-shining moments. In my family, we get over it and move on. We are who we are, and at this point, it'd take a second ice age to change that. 
We love each other, and we love being around each other. (cue soft orchestral sound track)
And we sure as hell love to party. 

I spent the last week in Chicago for my Aunt and Uncle's 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration. (aka The whole Fam, Food, alcohol, and waaay too much love)
Been married a quarter of a century? All right, we'll bring the booze, you bring the dinner, and Grandma's got dessert covered. 
Anytime we get together, but especially this time, everyone just lets go. Air it out, we're all family here...
Now that everyone is an adult (with the exception of my youngest cousin at 16), it's anybody's game. I hear outrageous stories about parents, aunts, uncles, Grandma... you name it. I gain approximately 12 pounds per day. We take pictures, we laugh, we drink. It goes on like this. 
Lately it just feels like we've all gained this mutual understanding.
"Things Happen in life, and I understand you."

Probably the most amazing part though, is that I never feel any pressure to be something specific. Maybe that's a side affect of being in the middle-to-tail-end of an extremely large family, but it feels good. This is the place that I don't have to worry about impressing anyone. I don't have to think about what I'm saying. I'm not worried that the creepy guy in the corner is inevitably going to fallow me around all night and ask for my number, because that creepy guy is my cousin, and he probably already has my number. 

All jokes aside, it's an amazing feeling when you don't have to be someone. I think that everyone should be able to experience an interaction like that. If you don't have family where you're comfortable enough to be yourself-- go somewhere that it doesn't matter if anyone sees you: like a theme park or a crowded public place. Somewhere that you're not worried about running into someone you know looking like you've run a marathon, gone swimming, and then been hit by a car. Just be there and let yourself go. Smile a lot. Laugh at anything. 
Eat whatever you want. 
Try it, seriously. It will be such a good day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Capitalization in Emphasis

I think every "about me" section I've ever done has at one point included the fact that I am extremely fond of using Capitalization seemingly at will (and often to the chagrin of every grammar teacher I've ever had).My favorite completely fabricated rule about the Upper Case, is using Capitals to show emphasis. To enter subtle meaning into a sentence's structure. Most of the time it's completely subconscious. I want to make sure This is the important thing, and that all the Other words fall into a supporting role. The only problem is this: I'm not sure anyone else has ever noticed my attempts at subtlety... If anyone has noticed, they most likely see this tendency to stick the big ones everywhere as a failure to master the simple rules of third grade grammar. 
Fascinating how you can have intentions in one direction and find that they have been interpreted in another.  People see things differently. This is a fact. I'm sure it's what makes us so diverse, our Backgrounds so different, and contributes to our aptitudes for any given thing. 

Or simply: A Difference In Opinions.

Our personalities dictate the winner in some of these inevitable debates.  I know plenty of people that would concede an argument just to avoid the confrontation, or even because the effort needed to win said argument isn't justified by the subject. Of course, I know equal amounts of people that tend towards the opposite. Then, there are those that waffle (myself occasionally included). These middle dwellers test the waters of debate with a toe-dip gauge of "Is it worth it to let them know they're misguided?"

Then there are those that find every occasion to tell you their opinion, share their feelings, and/or correct what must certainly be your lack of knowledge on a subject, because you are absolutely Wrong. 
Believe me, it happens more than you would think. 

In fact, this personality-based phenomenon will be, from this point forward, known as

I encounter Rudeness on a daily basis. It may just be my job. 

Example: I stand, helping a member (Club speak for: person who shops in our store). This poor woman was a tad bit confused about the parameters of her membership, and I, as a proud, vest-wearing associate, was explaining to her everything her membership entailed. Educate. The elderly gentleman behind her in line took this moment to loudly ask if I was "going to talk all day". 

I have little patience for bladder control issues and/or irritability caused by advanced age. 
So I turned my mechanical smile to him, nodded, and continued to finish helping the woman in front of him. 

This brings me to my next phenomenon, which might be an evolution of the last... Does this personal tendency to Rudeness increase over time? Do the people who avoid arguments fade even further away from them? Do the people who enjoy debating throw caution under the electric wheelchair wheels and, whippersnappers-be-damned, speak even more outrageously? 
Does your personality get magnified over time (like the inevitable prescription for your glasses), or is this just the end of the journey of discovering who you are? 
I don't know. And maybe I won't know until the vast majority of the people I know are at that stage in their lives. When will that be? Hopefully when I am equally as old and obnoxious. 
Or maybe if I find myself spending most of my time at either a nursing home, Bingo, or in Florida. Or apparently at Sam's Club at 8 A.M.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Confession

I'm admitting my guilt publicly.
I have not been online/attached to the real world/
doing anything constructive at all with my life because I have been addicted to...

Go ahead, mock me mercilessly-- God knows I deserve it. But every time I get online, the only thing I feel like talking about, the only thing I think about, is who Jillian will pick? What story lines will they come up with? Is it real? Why, again, am I wasting my life on reality TV?

I've never really watched reality TV, or been attached to any particular show. (I can't even commit to a GUY, you think I could commit to a SHOW?) I have a fairly short attention span, don't like surprises, and find the pre-conceived drama overrated. Why then, would I actually watch a show that would contend with all of those parts of my personality? A show that uses all of those things as the very basis of its appeal?

I honestly don't know. I just sat here for 20 minutes trying to think of a good answer. Even a simple one.

Sometimes I can't help but think I'm a little too sappy for my own good. And while my logical side wars constantly with that aspect of my personality that drips gooey piles of "aww" on everything, I find that if I let myself get too logical, I border on cynical.
To live your life through rose-colored glasses has got to be better than being constantly unhappy with yourself and your world.

How can we find a balance?

Sure, you can photoshop the shit out of the color levels, but living in high contrast can't be comfortable.
I think balance must come from some sort of superhuman ability to be well adjusted. Though maybe the very thought of being "well adjusted" comes from a more Leave it to Beaver, 50's era idea of the well rounded person.
What does "well adjusted" mean other than truly being happy?
If you live a quirky, offbeat existence defined by online message boards, lots of animals, and little-to-no human contact, who's to say you aren't "well adjusted"? I'd like to contend that no matter how you define yourself, as long as you are happy-- then you are adjusted enough.
I'm sure modern psychology would completely disagree with me by suggesting that such a person is attempting to replace what they don't get in life with online contact and a pet's affection. This may be true, it may be that in every stage of their adolescence to adulthood, they have been dogged by comments and insinuations that they are "weird" "awkward", and "don't fit in". So what that they no longer seek the arms of those who may have publicly shunned them in the mortifying halls of high school?
Maybe they've found a way to be happy. They've found acceptance and love in a completely different way.
And that is completely OK with me. Who am I to point fingers at another's life style when I watch The Bachelor or the The Bachelorette obsessively?

I can finally say now, at the end of this post, that I am no longer ashamed of loving a franchise of TV shows that promotes the idea of reality show love.
I can proudly say "I'm Team Reid" even though he totally got kicked off last episode... He should absolutely be the next Bachelor.
I can honestly say that I accept this cheesy addiction of mine, that in the end, it does not change who I am as a person.

While I may never find love on reality TV, in fact, I may never find that kind of "love" at all, I'm OK with that. Hopefully, when I decide to venture out into the real world (the one that does not include "final rose ceremonies" and "episode spoilers") there will be someone there who will accept my love of Chris Harrison and the phrase, "I'm sorry, you must now say your final goodbyes".

All that said, I finally thought of a reason to watch the Bachelorette: The guys are hot.