Sunday, March 22, 2015

Long distance

Since moving away from home for college I have enjoyed packing up and moving to new places, or exploring familiar places more. I loved making a life for myself in St. Louis, then Syracuse, and most recently, Kansas City. I love getting involved in a city, meeting people at work, and engrossing myself in the soul of a city as much as possible. What is even more important than the sites, architectural marvels, unique coffee shops, community gardens/parks, or "claim-to-fame" historical events are the people.

I enjoyed taking the bus to work in Syracuse and seeing faces that became familiar. I would even worry if a regular bus-rider wasn't on in the morning and felt such relief when I saw them a day or two later. I loved the clients I worked with in Syracuse and Kansas City who shared their lives with me and allowed me to witness them in such vulnerable moments of their existence. I thrive when working with people, when building relationships, sharing life moments, and empathizing with one another. When I move to a new place my mom has said I "bloom" or I "make the best of it". So obviously, I make friends. :)

Friends are pretty much the most important facet of my life, okay not just pretty much, they are. (Family included people, no need for alarm.) I have lots of "best friends" because to me "best friend" is a category rather than a single individual. I have best friends from grade school, high school, college, Syracuse, Kansas City, etc. Lots of people in my life are my "best friends" and the category keeps increasing its occupancy as I get older.

As my friends know, my travel bug has been itching lately and my departure for Australia is now approaching at rapid speed. Before I go abroad for about a year I am spending time at home and trying to see friends and family to soak up some extra love that I can pack with me across the ocean. My small stints of US travel have blessed me with the opportunity and insight to truly appreciate the friends that I have. Although I don't know what it is like to have a long-distance romantic relationship I propose that long-distance friendships are just as challenging/wonderful. I am used to having to maintain friendships over long distances. I love writing letters, emails, sending song and quotes through Facebook, texting, phone calls, and video chats. I always seem to be communicating with more people not in my immediate proximity but rather a couple hundred miles away.

All of this being said, it is exceptionally hard for "everyone to get together" when best friends are dispersed throughout the world. The six of us contributing to this bloggy blog here haven't been together in over 2 years, probably closer to 3 now that I think about it. The chances of three of us getting together is generally pretty high but four, five, or all six of us together is something we undoubtedly have to plan for months/years in advanced. For instance, Meghan came to visit Ohio while for a few days this past week and it was great! Four of us could be together (no pictures to recount this since we are all very over looking nice in each other's presence and simply enjoy the presence of one another rather than our exterior appearances) and we thought there was a chance that even five of us could be together...but as fate would have it, another one of us went to visit family in Florida at the same time that Meghan came to Ohio from Florida. Ironic right?!

I love my best friends, I love having friends all over the US and the world and I do my best to keep up with everyone which can be tricky with the time zones. But sometimes I want to be selfish and have everyone, right here, right now, with me, no planning necessary. Is this too much to ask!? Dear universe, I believe that having best friends is a blessing but getting everyone together unfortunately seems to be cursed.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A One a.m. Post

It's one in the morning and we're halfway through Christmas break so of course my teacher/nanny sleep schedule is totally out of whack. I mean, I'm usually struggling to stay awake till 10, which makes this a solid 3 hours later than my normal bed time. After going through the motions of Facebook stalking, reorganizing my Pinterest boards, and re-reading all of our old (yea, I said it: OLD) posts on here, I decided to do something useful: write a horribly rambling post about how being awake at 1 a.m. sucks. There is absolutely nothing good on TV at this point, no one with any semblance of a life is awake, and it's exceedingly difficult to clean the house silently (I'm THAT bored). 
So what does one do when they cannot sleep? Is this when I'm supposed to drink a glass of warm milk? Because frankly I'm not sure that works and it sounds disgusting. 
Clearly just laying here with my own thoughts isn't particularly helpful either. 
However as I typed that last sentence, miracle of miracles, I yawned! Woot!! ...actually that might be terribly depressing that my own blog post is putting me to sleep. *sigh* oh well! We need a new post anyway. 😆

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Waiting for More

Being a child of the golden age of Disney, I can easily use one animated song or another to accurately describe each moment in my life. Lately, I had been feeling very Rapunzel to the tune of “When Will My Life Begin”. As a nanny I constantly think “I’ll do this with my own children” or “How will I handle that with my kids?” I realized about a month ago that it will be a solid decade before I get anywhere near the same situations with children of my own. The world will be so different then. How can I even compare life now to how life will be then? Then I get all existential and contemplative, realizing that I’m making all these plans for “some day”...

My Pinterest is filled with boards guided by the future. From DIY house tips for the home I’ll eventually buy to crafts I’ll make when I finally have access to a sewing machine to my dream wedding (HA!). I have plans to travel, to write a book, to grow old with my best friends. So much of daily life is dedicated to and dictated by the future that I seem to have forgotten to appreciate and acknowledge daily life.

Yes, my future adventures will be extraordinary and I hope to have someone special with me to experience all that. But for now I need to be happy with my life as it is, in all its mundane repetitiveness. I'm not saying that I should just settle or not look forward to anything. I just need to appreciate all I've been blessed with.

I love my jobs. The Kid is hysterical and his parents are so wonderful to me. I will never be able to fully express my appreciation to them for giving me the opportunity to be part of their family. And teaching…oh Lord. It is a continuous struggle but after the first few months I was so relieved to find that I really did love it. There is an overwhelmingly terrifying feeling when you first break into what you hope will be your career. That wave of “I’ve just spent thousands of dollars I didn’t have to learn how to do this….What if it sucks? What if I suck???” I’m sure you can imagine my immense relief when I realized that I not only loved being in the classroom, but I was good at it. Great doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t need some grand vacation or whirlwind romance to have an adventurous life. I don’t need to wait for anything. On a daily basis I am responsible for any combination of 3 houses, 3 dogs, 3 cats, and a 10 year old boy. Add teaching high school to the mix and, well, I’m not sure I could handle much more of an adventure.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Warning: This is a longish post with a lot of feelings.

In the past few years, my experience of "home" has changed profoundly. Through high school, as it is for most people, my "home" was my childhood home, where my siblings, my parents, and my dog and I lived together. That was an everyday kind of home; I slept in the same bed every night, I ate at the same table every day, and I knew which switches turned on which lights. When I got to college, UD became home and my family's home became "back home." For four years it didn't matter whether I lived in a dorm or in a house, campus was where I felt the most comfortable. I built a new life there within a community of wonderful people with whom I feel lucky to have been able to grow up. Then when I graduated and Katie and I moved to Columbus together, we built our own haven of a home which means more to me still than I could ever express. Apartment 4G was our safe place and we both dealt with so much in the year that we lived there; even when so many other things were difficult and changing, we still had our home and each other.

Now things are a little different. Being at the point in my life in which so many things are in flux, I'm learning to adapt to the reality of being a constant traveler, not just here in Spain, but everywhere. I don't have a physical location that feels like MY home right now which is a little sad. Since I moved "back home," even though know I know all the light switches, I've felt a bit like a guest overstaying my welcome. I'm so grateful to be able to be there and I know my parents love me, but I feel like I've been a bit slow on figuring some things out and I need to do my own thing in my own space again. I feel welcome at UD for a night but when it's time to go to bed there's nowhere to go and it's evident that I'm an alumni. Here in Spain there's no chance of "settling in," I'm a guest in someone else's home or a tourist everywhere I go. I'm definitely aware of the fact that this is what I signed up for and that learning to be more okay with being uncomfortable is a huge part of this experience, but it still can be a bit exhausting never knowing all the rules and feeling like I'm always imposing.

I'm truly really enjoying myself here and everyday I learn something new even through the hard things, but the lack of a physical home has made me rethink my experience of the word "home." I've always been very invested in my relationships with my friends and my family, (sometimes too much so), and there's nothing like being 3,800 - 12,000 miles away from the people I care about to make me appreciate them. But even more than that, when I don't have a place that's home, I have people who are. When people are your home, it doesn't matter where you are in the world with them or where you're talking to them from, you are completely comfortable in their presence and they make you feel like yourself again. This also means it's much harder to say goodbye to them when the time comes. This feeling is a little hard to explain, but I hope you've all experienced it at least once and know what I'm talking about.

This weekend I was lucky enough to be with two of these people and I think they might have been my 2 favorite days in Spain so far. Katie and I met up in Madrid on Saturday to visit our host brother, Jaime who is studying there. If you know me at all, you've probably heard of Jaime. When we studied abroad in Spain in Summer 2011, (which Katie, Kaitlyn, and I never shut up about), we all stayed with Jaime's family and became just like real blood siblings and also best friends. We all bawled when we had to leave and counted down months and days until the next time we could see each other. It's kind of a magical thing. Out of all the dorms at UD, Katie, Kaitlyn, and I all ended up on the same floor freshman year. Out of all the study abroad trips, we decided on the same one. Out of all the families in Spain, we got to meet Jaime's family, which became like our own immediately. Your "forever" people are special, and you don't meet them very often; that's why it's so amazing to me that one of my forever people was born and raised on the other side of the globe and somehow we were brought together. Katie is another one of my forever people who I've been missing a lot; we live an hour apart here in Spain but have only seen each other twice in a month! (This is ridiculous for us, as we had been used to spending every waking moment possible together when we lived in Columbus.)

There are some trips that you take to see the sights, and some trips you take to see the people and this was definitely a trip in the second category. We walked and talked, shopped and talked, ate and talked, and drank and talked, and that's all we needed. We saw El Rastro, the famous street market in Madrid, and walked for about 10 minutes in El Retiro, the famous park in Madrid and that's about it on the sightseeing list. The most important experience was being with our little brother together and seeing a small glimpse of his life. We laughed until we cried and that's something I don't get to do that often. We speak two languages and we've experienced 2 countries together, which makes for at least twice as many jokes. I didn't want the weekend to end and the train ride back to Ciudad Real was a little emotional. I am so lucky to have days like that, and people like that in my life, even if it's only for a few days out of the year.

It goes without saying that the girls on this blog are also my forever people, my people who are more like home to me than any other physical location on the planet. Because I know what it's like to have their light shine on me and warm me up in person, being near them is something I miss constantly. But every post, every message, every text, every call, brings me a little bit of home. I'm looking forward to having a physical place to call my own again one day, but for now, if I just take comfort in these people, I know I'll have a home for as long we live.

Friday, October 31, 2014

It'll take you four minutes... read the post in the attached link from the Huffington Post. (Although I also recommend taking another eight to watch the video at the end of the post as well.)

Most of us contributing to this blog are approximately this age on our life journeys. And not surprisingly we are experiencing some of these very moments, dilemmas, heart breaks, questions, and joys. We take solace in the fact that we have not only have each other to assist us in putting together the puzzle pieces of our individual lives but we also have the thousands of other 23-year-olds in the world as well, not to mention everyone who has ever been older than 23 (thank you for your wisdom and understanding).

Although, in contrast to this article, we definitely aren't 22 anymore [Taylor].

I guess I'll give into peer-pressure and say something finally!

I'm Emily. I strongly believe its in our nature to make life more complicated than it has to be, so I embrace simplicity and enjoy the little things. I believe that happiness is something that we create, and love is the most important thing in this world. 

As for what I am currently up to: 
October is my absolute favorite month, and fall my favorite season, so my life this month can be summed up essentially by two things: work and going outside. I'm a little obsessed with fall foliage, and I may or may not have maxed out the number of pictures I can take on my phone (which I may or may not have learned is close to 1100). I added just two of them.

I live a little outside Cleveland, Ohio with Austin, my boyfriend. I am lucky enough to be with someone who has a heart of gold, and am so thankful for our love (ending sappy writings here). I work at the Cleveland Clinic as a Registered Nurse on a neurology floor. I just came up on my one year anniversary of working as a nurse. While difficult to adjust to in the beginning, I am very content with my work. I feel lucky to have chosen a career that is constantly challenging me and making me grow, as well as giving me the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life every single day.  

I am very lucky to have these 5 ladies in my life. I love everyone so much, and am so proud of the strong and beautiful women they are. I miss all of you! Since my joy in life is so intricately woven with spending time with my loved ones, I am planning on moving back to our hometown by the end of 2015 to be close to my family, and hopefully friends (if there are any left)! :)  I would like to remind them (as if I don't do it enough), that I would be very very happy if everyone would just come back after going out and seeing the world and we could have jolly-good fun together all the time forever! ;) 

Monday, October 20, 2014

2 Weeks

2 weeks down, 11 to go!
It's weird to think that it's already been half the time that I was here before. It's been quite the adventure so far with lots of different kinds of experiences, from trying to fit in to the family dynamic, to figuring out my role in my school, to going out, to giving private English lessons, to having Spanish classes again. 

The most important things I think have been to be flexible, open to anything and everything, and also making sure I have a little time to unwind by myself. I have no idea what's going on half the time, because, hello, everyone is speaking in my non-native language and I miss context clues or I pay attention to the wrong parts of the conversation. It's hard to be 100% tuned-in all of the time; it takes a lot of brain power and then I often still don't understand. I just have to go with the flow, pretend I know what's going on, or *sigh* ask questions, which is embarrassing for me because I don't want to ask a question in terrible Spanish. 

Last weekend for example, I thought we were going out so that my host sister could get a haircut, and we ended up at the cinema to see a 2 hour documentary about the local festivals and traditions. Last night we went to the country at 6ish for what I thought would be a few hours, and we ended up staying for dinner at 10 or 11 and then until about 1:30 in the morning. That's like a full work day where I have to be awake and paying attention and trying to communicate with people who I just met. Although a huge part of this experience is talking to new people, and I have really been enjoying that, my introverted self is more attuned to sitting back and observing what's happening around me and taking notes for later.   

Another aspect that has been a little difficult is not having another (English-speaking) person here to experience it with me. Last time I was here in Spain, I had a shared story with the Katie and Kaitlyn who I lived with and the people I traveled with; it's part of a collective memory and we all remember different parts. This time it's up to me and I don't get to say to a close friend, "Remember when we went to the disco and we danced like crazy people when they played the Spice Girls?" (Unless it happens on the weekend travels with Katie, which I'm looking forward to for the above reasons). There are some things that transcend language and the incredulity or hilarity can be communicated with just a look between my host sisters and I, and those things I really enjoy paying attention to. But I get to be an observer of my host sisters with all their close friends and their inside jokes and shared history, and I know I have that somewhere else in the world, and if they were transplanted here it would be a natural fit. I know I could make close friends here, but it's not quite the same. Now I know that I can do Spain on my own, and it's great, but my next adventure I'd like to share with others. For now I hope the blogging suffices; it's been helpful for me to get down in words what I'm feeling and what I want to remember. 

Wish you all could be here and see this through your own beautiful perspectives.