You Get There By Realizing You Are Already There

Where am I getting, now? What’s with the weird inspirational quote for a title? All I’m really here for is to read your goals, weird blogging lady.

2017. MMXVII. Twothousandseventeen. 2k17. There were indeed plenty of ways to refer to the year of the rooster. It’s been a long 365 days, and it’s been a long year of goals. The year honestly seemed to fly by. Moving back to America, visiting the Netherlands twice, finishing my first semester of college, advancing my CAP career, developing my hobby of photography, living on my own, and figuring out who I am are all things of 2017 that made this year unique.

In January, I set ten goals for myself to accomplish in the 365 days of 2017. I suppose it’s time to reflect and elaborate on 2017.

My Goals for 2017 Were…

  1. Love myself and be happy. Do things because they’ll make me happy. I think I came a long way on this goal. I’m still not the most in shape, or the skinniest girl, or whatnot. But you know what? I don’t really care. I’m going to work harder in order to do things for myself, to prepare for encampment and possibly even my Spaatz exam one day. But as a whole, I don’t feel guilty for eating anymore. I don’t feel like I have to exercise until I’m dead or else I’m a terrible person. I bought clothes that make me feel pretty and are comfortable. I accepted clothes that didn’t fit anymore. I’m doing good. I’m happy.
  2. Go to college and study where and what I want. Kent State University has been an amazing fit for me so far. The Digital Sciences major is fantastic, allowing me to study towards a Bachelor of Science and do what I love. I’ve learned so much and met some really cool people. 
  3. Achieve at least C/Lt Col in the Civil Air Patrol. Well, this one is impossible this year. I did not have time or money to attend Cadet Officer School or a Region Cadet Leadership School. However, I am not in the least discouraged. I may not be on a “perfect” promotion schedule anymore, but I’m exactly where I need to be. Having been the Cadet Commander of the Maryland Cyber Defense Training Academy in its inaugural year, being a crucial part of planning the Great Lakes Region Conference, overcoming difficulties at the squadron level, and now accepting the position of Deputy Commander for Operations at the 2018 Ohio Wing Encampment have given me the experience, training, and valuable lessons that I am so incredibly grateful for. I will be a Cadet Major until I attend an RCLS, which I will likely be doing in July. Spaatz is attainable in 2018. Spaatz will happen in 2018.
  4. Learn to stay calm and manage emotions, as well as being able to express these to others. (This one may not make sense to you as the reader, but it does to me. I’ve already started working on it!) I still lose my cool sometimes. I still argue unnecessarily sometimes. But, I’m doing okay. I’m doing well, actually. I greatly underestimated how much stress college would put on me, however, I kicked ass. I got through it. I did it.
  5. Learn something new. Whether this is learning a new language, something about computers, anything. I learned a lot this year. I learned about myself, mostly. However, I also learned how to become comfortable with JavaScript. I learned how to use various Adobe softwares. In May, I learned a bit of Russian and a significant amount about cryptography. I learned more about my leadership style. I learned how to read regulations, and I learned to be able to use them efficiently. I became comfortable writing memorandums and official correspondence. I learned some job-specific things, such as using Team Dynamix. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a great year.
  6. Make money. Save money. (Already working on the saving money! #AdventureFund) I got a job, so there’s that. I love my job, and I love making my own money. I transfer $20 a month to my savings account, and it’s a smart thing to do, I think. So while it is not a whole lot, it’s my money and it feels great. I took some money out of the Adventure Fund to pay for some miscellaneous small stuff, but that’s okay.
  7. Stay hydrated. All year. I think there’s a water bottle around here somewhere… But really. I’ve done terrible and great with this one- depending on the month. 
  8. Read my whole James Patterson series. I got stuck halfway through book 13 in August, and I never picked them back up. I brought book 13 with me to the Netherlands… maybe I can make some more progress before the new year. It won’t be the whole series, but it’ll be okay. I read more than usual. During the last two months of school I also really got into Ernest Hemingway, voluntarily reading “Farewell to Arms” and “Hemingway on War”. For class I read “The Sun Also Rises”, and reread “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was a decent reading year. 
  9. Travel. Throughout the year, I went to the Netherlands twice. I went to Germany. I went to CDTA in Maryland, and visited Dayton a significant amount of times. I went to Erie, PA twice to visit the Lake Shore Railway Museum. I flew through Reykjavik, Iceland flying to the Netherlands (even though we spent all of 15 minutes in the airport because the flight was boarding as we landed). Traveling has been fantastic, and I can’t wait to plan something big next year… I still can’t wait to go see New York City again. 
  10. Write more. (Whether this is blogging, letters, cards, journaling, it’s going to happen!) I mean. Sure. I did blog more; I blogged at least twice every month. I wrote more physically, and I took a lot of notes in my classes. I need to write a few postcards still, but I’ll get caught up soon. 

It’s been such a great year. Family and friends were a big part of it – as was college. Joining Kent’s Chi Alpha (the Campus Ministry/Christian Fellowship), breaking out of my shell and hanging out with people (I went to a party too??), making new friends, attending a Green Day concert, volunteering with FIRST robotics, progressing as a photographer, and Civil Air Patrol activities have been huge highlights.

IMG_0137Getting to drive my car again when I came back to the USA, getting to take trips to Conneaut to see the beach and enjoy the water, watching the United States Air Force Thunderbirds fly, meeting the crew and pilots of the Thunderbirds, planning a conference for over five months (and learning some interesting leadership lessons along the way), organizing Great Lakes Region’s first ever Region Color Guard at the Region Conference, and serving as Cadet Commander at the first ever Maryland Campus of the Cyber Defense Training Academy.

Being voted as Chairman of the Ohio Wing Cadet Advisory Council, taking part in the Wing Commander’s promotion and Change of Command ceremonies, becoming my squadron’s first ever cadet rated to be a Mission Scanner and aircrew member, wearing a skirt, running a 5k, painting a rock, going black Friday shopping for the first time, getting the cutest little bunny rabbit, and even getting groceries on my own.

_EKB0790

2017 has been a year of surprises, of love, and of losses. A lot was accomplished. I made a bunch of friends. People passed away too soon. Megan Grimsic, you were one of the funniest people I knew. You were so absolutely talented, and one of the smartest people around. I met you at TCTC – we had Chemistry together. That class quickly became my favorite that year. I know we may not have been very close after you graduated, but thank you. Thank you for always making me smile and always being there for me, and everyone, no matter what. You were one of the coolest lab partners, ever. We’d try to match our lab goggles, and make jokes about the pennies we’d “boil”. You always pushed me to follow my dreams, and your photography always inspired me. I can’t believe you left the world this soon, you are loved by so many. Your funeral was beautiful, and I’m so glad I attended. Finally meeting your father was wonderful – you were right. He is pretty cool. I met your boyfriend, too. When I told him about you, he hugged me and quietly cried. You’ll always be loved by everyone, I promise you. We won’t forget you.

Sixty-seven blog posts to date, a custom domain name, and eleven categories –  this blog has come a long way since April 2016. I’ve done a countdown to my birthday, I’ve done these goals, and so often I will blog about random things. So what will my theme for 2018 be? After much consideration and debating, I have decided I will do a writing prompt every month.

The Writing Prompts will be as follows:

  • January: Think back to a moment where you’ve come to the end of the road with something important in your life—a relationship with a lover; moving out of your childhood home; graduation from school; etc. Write a scene wrapped around that moment, describing how you felt (good and bad) and how you closed the door on that chapter in your life.
  • February: You’ve been going to the same bar every night for the past five years. In fact, you’re such a regular that when you enter the, the other patrons yell your name and the bartender already has your drink waiting for you. But then one Friday you arrive and no one seems to recognize you, not even the bartender. What’s going on?
  • March: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly?
  • April: Write a short story that takes place in a world where there are no insects left. Aside from no longer needing to clean bugs off of car windshields, what are the repercussions given the integral role that insects play in the ecosystem? Does your story include a movement to bring insects back?
  • May: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.
  • June: If you had to escort a visitor from outer space for a 30-minute tour of your community, where would you begin and end?
  • July: What makes you proud to be an American?
  • August: Imagine yourself as a teacher.  What type of student would you like to teach and why?
  • September: Imagine that you are an animal in the zoo.  What type of animal are you?  How do you feel about being caged?  How do you feel about people that visit and watch you?
  • October: You find a genie that gives you infinite wishes with only one catch: before it grant any wish, firstly you’ll need to fulfill one of its wishes.
  • November: You lost the ability to hear at a young age. One day, you’re with your friend and you suddenly hear a noise.
  • December: Write a short story inspired by one of your favorite sentences from the year, perhaps read or heard in an essay, speech, social media post, poem, song, or work of fiction. You might decide to use it as the first or last line of the story, or allow your plotline or characterization to be more conceptually informed by your inferences of the sentence’s implications or mood.

I’m super excited about these writing prompts, and what they’ll add to my blog. I can’t wait to work on my fictional writing again, and I know they’ll help me be more creative. I have created a category called “Writing Prompts, 2018” for all these prompts, and in case anyone wants one place to view all of them. I have also created a category for my 2017 Goals, called “The Year of the Goals”.

I hope everyone has a fantastic rest of 2017 and a great start to 2018!!! I can’t wait to blog again for all of my readers super soon.

Thanks for a fantastic year of She Became a Lion!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

~E. ♥

The Bells Were Ringing Out…

For Christmas Day! It’s the last month of the year, so naturally my blogging wouldn’t happen as scheduled. So far, December has been fantastic. 

T’was the nizzle before Christmizzle and all through the hizzle… Oh wait. I should probably elaborate on the month itself. Last monthly goal reflections is a go! Let’s see… what were my goals?

  1. Keep an eye on my finances and be smart about it. I mean. Sure. Yes. It went… better.
  2. Finish my online course early (because the weekends are great when there’s nothing to do) I mean, the semester ended so there’s that
  3. Further my Civil Air Patrol education. Recently, I attended a Mission Scanner course and will be getting my aircrew wings upon completing two sorties. I’ve also completed more of the FEMA training, and I just. I want to learn everything I can. SUPER COOL NEWS COMING IN THIS POST OMG
  4. Be more organized. This continues off of finding a routine. Jetlag is a… bad thing. Organized? Yeah. I did that. But routines? Meh.
  5. Apply for scholarships. Tuition is a little important. Tuition is indeed important.
  6. Keep a close eye on what I eat and when I eat. I can eat without getting sick again! And screw feeling bad about eating. I have been healthier, though. So it’s lit. 

Since November, plenty of things have happened. My first semester of college came to a close, I stepped out of my comfort zone with CAP (and it paid off), and life is great. 

I finished my first semester strong and confident. I got all As with the exception of a B+ in English, setting my first semester GPA at a 3.823, something I’m incredibly proud of. My classes were pretty challenging. My Story on the Web, the class where I had to create a website and tell a story online, taught me an incredible amount about various Adobe softwares. I had a super fun time creating my Audio Story and Video Story, all about the Civil Air Patrol. The lab was an open lab style instruction, meaning it was completely optional to come to class (except for the mandatory once per unit). Myself and a guy named Max attended almost every class, often being the only ones. I didn’t know his name until about week 13, but him and I would always hate people together so that was pretty cool. I also took a class called “Destination Kent State”, a class targeted at first year students. It was a requirement and very… interesting. English was pretty neat, but wayyy too much writing. My final project was a research paper on Ernest Hemingway and his literature as anti-war. The people in that class were pretty cool; Julia and I talk sometimes. I also took Computer Science, which was… stressful. I scored fantastically on the second midterm though, and after much panic ended the year with an A anyway. The last in-person class I took this semester was Society, Culture, and the Digital Sciences. At first, it started out a little rough. I couldn’t grasp how the professor would teach, and missed a lot of points on the first few assignments. 

HOLD UP IT’S TWO MINUTES UNTIL CHRISTMAS OKAY WOW (we’re watching The Santa Clause 2 and bun is asleep) (surprise I’m in the Netherlands for Christmas) 

OKAY WOW IT’S CHRISTMAS HI 🎄❄️❄️❄️❄️ MERRY CHRISTMAS ❄️❄️❄️❄️🎄

Alrighty so, SCDSCI, as we abbreviated it. I ended with a 102% A. The professor was pretty awesome. I also took an online class, called “Media, Power, and Culture”. It was interesting. Somehow I pulled off an A in that too. Overall, I think it went great. I had a fantastic first semester, and my scholarships and grants covered everything. I took 17 credit hours last semester, and I already registered for Spring 2018. 18 credit hours, here I come! It’ll be good. 

Last year’s Christmas Post talked all about my visit to the States, as I was living in the Netherlands. This year, I’m spending Christmas in the Netherlands with Andrew and my family, and it’s pretty cool. 

ALSO OKAY GUESS WHAT okay. I mentioned cool Civil Air Patrol news. I applied for 2018 Ohio Wing Encampment Cadet Deputy Commander for Operations… AND I GOT THE POSITION. Applying was incredibly out of my comfort zone and writing the letter of intent was pretty stressful, but in the end, it really did pay off. Andrew applied for Cadet Deputy Commander for Support, and he got that position. Encampment is going to be pretty awesome. I’m super stoked. The Cadet Commander seems pretty cool too, and I truly think this encampment is going to be fantastic.

How is it almost one a.m. help

Okay, I’m being sent to bed so “Santa” can go put gifts under the tree ( @ mom). I’ll be posting at least once more this year to reflect on my goals for 2017 and announce my theme for 2018. I can’t believe it’s already the last month of the year. It’s been a great 12 months of goals with y’all. So on that note…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 

~E.🎄

In the cold November rain…

So, never mind the darkness… We still can find a way…
‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever… Even cold November rain…

November

Sitting in class this morning, it’s the regular four of us that actually show up. Listening to Latvian music and running my name through Google in multiple different forms in preparation for an assignment in my next class. I should probably study for my second Computer Science midterm next week. We’ll get there.

October was pretty great, finishing off happily riding the Haunted Loop and reflecting on Halloweens past in my last post. I turned 19 and celebrated with my roommate and her family and some of our friends. Andrew came up as well, making it super great. I also want to give Alex a huge shout-out for being the coolest and best best friend ever.

The month was great, but how were my goals? Ehhh…

  1. Be healthier. Eat less carbs and less dairy. Work out more. I… ran like… a few times? I eat much less dairy, but pizza and chocolate are so good… I wish I could cut out dairy completely but I just don’t have that ability right now… I really should…
  2. Save money. I budgeted for November on Monday and I am confident I can save more money than I have in the past. I have a good grasp of what I spend money on now, how much I make, and how much is the difference. We’re getting there.
  3. Sleep more. I am sort of sleeping more. The past few days I’ve been getting to bed by 12:30, and I really like that. I’ve been sleeping decently and waking up at 7:45ish naturally.
  4. Find a routine. I am working on this one, and it may be what I struggle with the most. It’s interesting living with someone else to find what works for you. 

Alright, it’s time to walk to my second class of the day. I’ll be back!

Aaaaaand I’m back, coming at you from Kent State Univeristy’s White Hall. Still wearing my hat and scarf because KENT WHY IS IT SNOWING OUTSIDE? Happy November, y’all. Let’s set some goals, shall we?

  1. Keep an eye on my finances and be smart about it.
  2. Finish my online course early (because the weekends are great when there’s nothing to do)
  3. Further my Civil Air Patrol education. Recently, I attended a Mission Scanner course and will be getting my aircrew wings upon completing two sorties. I’ve also completed more of the FEMA training, and I just. I want to learn everything I can.
  4. Be more organized. This continues off of finding a routine.
  5. Apply for scholarships. Tuition is a little important.
  6. Keep a close eye on what I eat and when I eat.

Real quick interruption of our regularly scheduled programming: I just got to wear a Microsoft HoloLens and I never ever thought I’d enjoy that that much. Virtual Reality is so neat! Everybody is really enjoying it, it’s definitely a cool experience for the class. Have I mentioned how cool this professor is? He’s so focused on pushing us to explore our interests and it’s the greatest thing. So many students don’t like him, and to be honest, I don’t really understand why. Anyway, back to our scheduled blogging.

But yeah, those are my November goals. I may already be working on goal #3 because I just scheduled a flight for Tuesday. I’m super excited.

I’m going to eat my lunch now and head to my last class of the day, then I have work and CyberPatriot. It’ll be a good day. I’m not too tired, eating three meals a day has done me very well, and it’s helping me keep track of how I feel when. Health is a strange thing.

Alright, off to class I go. Have a great November, everyone!

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

~E.

🎃Don’t Let Your Gourd Down | Happy Halloween🎃

H – A – Double L – O – W – Double E – N… Spells Halloween!Image result for halloween

Anyone that attended elementary school with me would be instantly transported back to the music classroom upon just reading that first sentence. Small red chairs, a distinct musty smell hidden by candles and the overwhelming amount of copier ink from sheet music the 3rd graders conveniently “lost”. Autumn colors on the walls and windows and small puddles on the ground from all the kids who couldn’t quite grasp how to play recorder. You’d leave that classroom and have a “party” in your homeroom, usually consisting of an overwhelming amount of chocolate treats and lukewarm apple cider- because no one in their right mind gives 9-year-olds hot apple cider. The “cool” girls would be dressed up as something with a long black wig. There were at least four supermans. I was probably a cat or a witch. There was always the one kid who didn’t have a costume but got candy anyway, probably out of pity. We never really questioned it. Our teachers would herd us outside to be paraded through the front drive of the school and observed by all the parents who decided to come out that day. The parent volunteers would help you line up- but you never wanted to stay where they put you so you’d move anyway. Throughout the years, traditions are created and destroyed for Image result for fall leavesHalloween. Once you get to High School, you don’t really dress up anymore. Except for the kid with the inflatable t-rex costume. He still dresses up, but gets called down to the office. If you’re in the pep band, you get to go play the fight song endlessly while the elementary kids are paraded through the sidewalk and hallway of a building you never had class in.

Things change. 

None of us really talk anymore. So many of the people I paraded over that asphalt drive have gone their own ways. Some are incredibly successful, some are not so much. That cheerleader is now a mother of three. Superman is one of the most well-read students at his respective college studying some sort of complicated mathematics. We all go different directions, and that’s okay. I’m just thankful for all those Halloweens shared with the witches and supermans and cheerleaders and even the toilet paper mummy that we put together half an hour before the parade (shhh, no one tell the janitor). I still use that song to spell Halloween, and I think that may be a consensus many of my high school graduating class will come to.

I’m often asked what my favorite holiday is, and I never give a concrete answer. Sometimes I’ll complain about Christmas, other times I’ll say Halloween briefly and leave it at that. I think I can truly say Halloween is my favorite holiday for a purpose, now. The memories of recorder spit and the mean girls in black wigs make me who I am. All those days spent with those children, teaching me about American culture when I’d just moved to America. It was my first true American holiday.

Today, as a college student, I didn’t give that much thought until I sat down to write this blog post. I spent today following my childish ambitions to ride the “Haunted Loop”, the decorated Halloween campus loop bus.

After getting off the bus that I knew was in front of Haunted Loop and getting on to the Haunted Loop, my childish ambitions were satisfied. I was particularly amused by the bat that hung over my head; it was incredibly cute. Haunted Loop got me to work on time, where I proceeded to eat wayyy too much candy (leaving candy in my desk drawer from the work Halloween party was a great idea!).

So no matter where we are today, if you rode the Haunted Loop, took your child trick-or-treating, or spent the day studying for some kind of complex math assignment that I could never even comprehend: thank you. Thank you for being a part of my childhood. Thank you for being the reason I look back on Halloween so fondly.

Ask not what your Pumpkin can do for you, ask what you can do for your pumpkin. 

~E.🎃

19 on the 19th

Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear E, happy birthday to me!

Image result for october 19th birthday

Oh hey look, that rhymed. This blog post, I’ll be answering some “writing prompts” about myself. The first day I’m 19. These prompts were really targeted at kids, but hey. That’s all good.

  1. What is something you are good at doing? Anything to do with technology or computers. My job is pretty great. 
  2. What is your favorite color and why? I always say I don’t have a favorite color. Or black. I guess I like black because it goes with anything. I also really like the combination of yellow and purple because it makes my mom happy. They really are happy colors. Red is also pretty cool, because it looks good on me. Recently I’ve been getting more into pink, too. I have this really cute lipstick called “divine wine” and it’s a super cute color pink.
  3. What is the story behind your name? Emanuel, and Queen Esther from the Bible!
  4. Which country do you want to visit and why? All of them. I also really want to go to Paris, France. It just seems beautiful. It’s so romanticized in today’s society, so why not?
  5. What is your favorite cartoon? I don’t really watch TV. Tom and Jerry is pretty cool. The one episode of Rick and Morty I watched was also 10/10.
  6. What do you want to be when you grow up and why? I want to work in a technology field. Tech support, networking, cyber security.
  7. What is your favorite thing about school? My Society, Culture, and the Digital Sciences professor is a great guy. I think the best thing about college so far though is the flexibility and mutual respect that everyone has for everyone, especially my classes with a majority of older students. The other freshmen are kind of annoying and immature, but that’s okay. They will learn. 
  8. What one thing do you want to change about your school? I. HATE. ONLINE. CLASSES. So yeah, no more online classes. And maybe ditch Blackboard for something that actually, I don’t know, functions. 
  9. What is your favorite season and why? FALL. Because it’s just great. Why not? It’s the perfect temperature, the leaves are beautiful, there’s bonfires and coziness and friends and corn mazes and my birthday and fall is just perfect.
  10. What would you like to invent and why? Something better than Blackboard lol (jk, maybe teleportation). 
  11. Where do you want to travel to as a kid? As a teenager? As an adult? As a kid, I always wanted to go to Paris. As a teenager, I still had that Paris dream. I guess I still would like to go to Paris, but I also really want to do a super basic road trip through all the states. Yanno, drive to Hawaii and stuff. 
  12. Where do you want to live as an adult? In a house with no debt.
  13. What is your favorite food? Describe it in detail. My favorite food? In detail? Quite possibly Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich. The classic one. It’s delicious. They have the meat. 
  14. What are you scared of and why? Spiders, because they’re gross. Finding spiders in my shoes, because that’s more gross. NOT finding spiders in my shoe (and them being there), because that’s terrible (these all stem from something someone told me in second grade thanks Mrs.Reyes). Lastly, burning alive. That one’s obvious.
  15. Write about your very best friend. He’s a great guy and the editor of this blog. He’ll probably point out at least three typos in this post alone. He’s pretty smart and has taught me so much about technology and networking and yeah. Hi Alex.
  16. What is the color of your room? Describe the things in it. Beige. There’s an American flag on the wall in between my side and Megan’s. On my side, there’s my bed. My bed has a purple blanket and a giant teddy bear that Andrew bought me (it’s super cute and usually gets kicked off my bed while I’m asleep). 
  17. Write about your pet animal. My pet animal? Megan has a cat named Abby and she’s an asshole sometimes, but a very cute one. She likes to lay on my face when I’m talking to people. There’s also George, my bunny, back in the Netherlands. I miss my floof. 
  18. Write about which pet you want but do not have. I want more buns. And a German Shepard Dog. 
  19. What is your favorite holiday and why? Halloween because Fall.
  20. Describe the night you _______________ and what happened. Wait what? Huh? This must be some kind of secret kid code that I’m too old for. Skip!
  21. Design a tree house for yourself and describe what you will do in it. Networking paradise. It’d be fully enclosed and super cold all the time. I’d run multiple servers and just yeah. A fiber connection to a tree house isn’t too much of a stretch, right? Maybe I’ll just put up a hammock… libra.png
  22. What is your favorite dress/outfit and why? I bought today’s outfit last night at Hot Topic and I’m in love. It’s a dress that has a galaxy/space print (and supposedly glows in the dark). I’m wearing black tights with it and my black boots. My necklace is the Libra star symbol. 
  23. What is your biggest dream for your future? To be successful and have enough money to be able to spend what I want when I want and to have lots of time to do what makes me happy. Oh, and to have a good job that I enjoy, of course.
  24. Ten interesting things about you are… 
    1. Today is my birthday
    2. I was born at 11:12 on a Monday
    3. I’m from the Netherlands
    4. My first car was named Steve. He was a green 1998 Ford Escort. 
    5. There’s a server in my apartment
    6. There’s a (mounted) deer head in the passenger seat of my car, a bunch of networking cables on the floor, and a Christmas tree in the backseat. There’s currently no room for anyone to sit in my car. 
    7. My brother and I share a birthday, and my grandmother and her brother share a birthday.
    8. I broke my ankle and growth plate in 5th grade from playing hide-and-seek. I was in a wheelchair for a while. I then re-injured it at basic encampment for Civil Air Patrol in 2014. They carried me from class to class until I got crutches. I borrowed a staff member’s. They then found a wheelchair for me to use at the Air Force Museum. I got the nickname of “Princess Wheels”. Kat pushed me around the museum and it was great.
    9. I actually *really* like singing. I used to think I was good at it. I was in choir for all of middle school and I wasn’t in high school because of scheduling. I used to practice with the church worship team in high school. I don’t know if I’m actually good, but I like singing. 
    10. The earliest birthday I remember was my bear birthday party, when I think I turned three. I had a bunch of people over and they all got these little bears with long arms and Velcro on the hands so they could hold themselves up. I still have mine. 
  25.  What makes you happy? My birthday! I’ve been in a super great mood all day.
  26. What makes you sad? When other people are upset or sad.

I’m also real quick going to touch on my music taste! I’ll be using YouTube this time though, unlike my post titled “Where Words Fail, Music Speaks” from January.

What song is playing right now? The USC Trojan Marching Band playing “The Kids Aren’t Alright” by the Offspring on the Navy Pier in Chicago.

My YouTube history is all sorts of random at the moment. The USC Trojan Marching Band playing “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid”, The YouTuber Denis’s intro music, “Poke and Destroy” by the Presidents, “The Nights” by Avicii, and “Hopes and Dreams” from the Undertale soundtrack. Obviously there’s more than that, but that about sums it up.

There’s not much else fun to blog about. My last night as an 18-year-old was fun. I raced someone (oops) (I won’t be doing that again) (I lost), went to Chick-Fil-A, and spent too much at Hot Topic.

Today I had Computer Science in the morning, and now I’m at work. Work’s been fun. I updated some computers (yay feature updates that take like 2 hours) and fixed some tech support stuff for a coworker. Tonight, Andrew is coming up and we’ll probably go to Chi Alpha. It’s been a good day. ALSO, THIS DRESS HAS POCKETS AND I LOVE IT.

I’m gonna go do a bit of homework now before work ends. Oh, that reminds me. @ whoever spilled coffee in the conference room on the second floor, I will find you. Mice aren’t supposed to be sticky. 

Alright. Really though. I’m going to go do some homework. I’ll blog again later!

I like to think of myself like a lion. Strong. Fierce. An over-comer. Yet, gentle. Because, everyone sees some shit in life. But, it gets better. As stereotypical as that may sound. Really… Everyone can find their lion. My inspiration just happened to… actually be a lion.

~E. ♥

Countdown to 19… 8!

It’s 11 October and as you all probably know: I turn 19 on the 19th. With that being said, I’m going to do a fun little thing every day I get the chance to blog. Today I’ll start by answering some questions about myself.

Let’s see how that goes! 

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

If we start when I was super young, I’ve had a few nicknames. “Weasel”, “Maddie”, “Blonde One”, and “Nikki”. All of them have some sort of backstory, but we’ll save that for another time. I prefer being called my actual name.  

2. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

THAT DAMN JAMES PATTERSON SERIES

3. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?

Lol, I just had to do a sketch for class and it looked like something a cat coughed up

4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I lay and self-loathe, let’s be honest here

5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?

All the days. I’d write a lot. 

6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?

I have notes from middle school still if that  answers the question…

7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?

Pack rat? Like, has a lot of stuff? Probably myself. Y’all should see the trunk of my car. You could easily camp for two weeks with everything in my car. 

8. When making an entrance in to a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?

I don’t go to parties. I don’t enter. 

9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?

My strongest sense? Probably hearing. My sense of smell already sucks, so you can take that one. 

10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Yes.

11. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

HAHAHAHA That animals would think my fingers were carrots and eat them. I was afraid of petting zoos for this reason until like… last year. 

12. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

Sleeping? I dunno. I don’t feel guilty about anything. It’s my life. 

13. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

Probably Alex. 

14. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections?

Like, once for my Media, Power, and Culture class.

15. Which animals scare you most? Why?

SPIDERS ALL THE WAY BECAUSE THEY’RE GROSS AND BASICALLY COME STRAIGHT FROM HELL

16. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

I’m not going to avoid a conflict to spare someone’s feelings, if that’s the question. There’s so many ways to resolve a conflict I don’t see why “engage head-on” is the other option. 

17. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savoured?

Someone said I looked 24 so I’ll take that

18. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?

How often I break out like a 13 year old boy lmao

19. Are you a creature of habit? Explain.

YES YES YES. I updated to iOS 11 and I’m still lost.

20. Are you high maintenance? Explain.

Lol, no. Literally, the smallest things will make my day. I don’t need… “high maintenance”. Also, to me, that makes me feel superficial. I dunno. I don’t like that phrase. Maintenance to me means that you need fixing to be okay. Frick that. 

21. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?

I did a 5k on Friday and wow that was lit

22. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why?

Both! I have a whole lot of acquaintances and a few close friends. 

23. Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others?

Why can’t I unleash the power of others in my empire?

24. What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone?

Um…. Nothing comes to mind. 

25. What do you think about more than anything else?

Sleeping and eating lol 

26. What’s something that amazes you?

Myself! I’m still going and kicking ass and I’m damn proud of myself. 

27. Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words? Why?

I had to Google what “shooting straight” was, but definitely that one. Talk to me! Tell me how you feel about me! Give me your honest opinion. 

28. Where’s your favourite place to take an out-of-town guest?

Um. Something touristy I guess. 

29. What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? Why?

WHY IS EVERYONE PACKING UP IT’S 10:20 THIS LAB ENDS AT 10:30

30. Do you have a catchphrase?

“I dig that” right now probably. I also say “lit” so much I got my boss saying it hahaha

31. What’s your reaction towards people who are outspoken about their beliefs? What conditions cause you to dislike or, conversely, enjoy talking with them?

I don’t know

32. How and where do you prefer to study?

At home in absolute quiet. Sometimes music playing.

33. What position do you sleep in?

I’m a stomach sleeper. 

34. What’s your all-time favourite town or city? Why?

Boulder, Colorado. Man, it’s gorgeous. 

35. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new?

If they’re funny, if they smile a lot, and if they’re kind. 

36. How has your birth order/characteristics of siblings affected you?

Not? My brother is really chill.

37. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?

I’d want to be able to work out and get stronger and stuff (and look good) and not hurt. 

38. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be?

With my (ex?) best friend Erin. She was my best friend from second grade until senior year of high school. Wow. 

39. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

Maddie/Madeline.

40. Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not?

No. Educate yourself. 

41. What do you consider unforgivable?

Rape. 

42. Have you forgiven yourself for past personal failures? Why or why not?

Yeah, you learn from those things. 

43. How difficult is it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize?

Meh. Most times, apologies don’t mean anything anyway. It’s their actions.

44. Do you hold any convictions that you would be willing to die for?

Deep question up in here. Um, I guess my faith? 

45. To what extent do you trust people? Explain.

It depends on the person. People as a whole are untrustworthy. Even some of my friends. But there’s like, three people I’d trust with my life. One is my mom. 

46. In what area of your life are you immature?

None, I think. I mean, naive? Sure. Immature? Nah. 

47. What was the best news you ever received?

Probably my scholarships???

48. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular?

Not difficult at all.

49. When did you immediately click with someone you just met? Why? What was the long term result? Conversely, are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first?

Probably with Erin in second grade. Little us got along super well. We were best friends until… senior year. And I don’t think so. 

50. When do you find yourself singing?

Almost always (I’m annoying sorry)

So there you have it! 50 questions answered about myself right now at age 18. Stay tuned within the next few days to see what other fun things are in store for my blog! 

~E.♥

It’s my favorite month!

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Halloween, Fall, black cats, chilly weather, there’s so many things to love about October. And hey! It’s my birthday this month! Last year I was posting countdowns and baby pictures and senior pictures as a countdown to my 18th birthday.

Now, my 19th birthday isn’t such a big deal. Or, it may not seem like it to many people anyway. But it’s kinda special to me. I’m turning 19 on the 19th and 19 is my favorite number. How much better could it get? It’s going to be a great day.

Lately, life has been pretty good. Last night… wow. Andrew and I laid under the stars for a while and it was fantastic. I’d dreamed of a date like that since I was like, 10. I genuinely felt that life was great… something freshman year of high school me wouldn’t even comprehend. I’d say I’ve got myself together decently well.

Speaking of getting myself together, how’s those goals coming along? My goal for September was to get amazing grades, get a good job, and establish myself.  I’d say I met that. School is going great. I got a job! (WOOOO) I’m a student IT assistant. It’s great. And establish myself? I think I did. I’m active in the campus ministries organization- Chi Alpha- and I’ve made a few friends (lookin’ at you, Isabel. You better not skip class for Netflix again).

Do I have goals for October? You bet. I have a few!

  1. Be healthier. Eat less carbs and less dairy. Work out more.
  2. Save money. 
  3. Sleep more.
  4. Find a routine. 

Okay. Well. It’s October and it’s going to be great.

Oooooh, I haven’t measured my yearly goals in a while. Let’s do that real quick.

My Goals for 2017 Were:

  1. Love myself and be happy. Do things because they’ll make me happy.
  2. Go to college and study where and what I want.
  3. Achieve at least C/Lt Col in the Civil Air Patrol
  4. Learn to stay calm and manage emotions, as well as being able to express these to others. (This one may not make sense to you as the reader, but it does to me. I’ve already started working on it!)
  5. Learn something new. Whether this is learning a new language, something about computers, anything.
  6. Make money. Save money. (Already working on the saving money! #AdventureFund)
  7. Stay hydrated. All year.
  8. Read my whole James Patterson series.
  9. Travel.
  10. Write more. (Whether this is blogging, letters, cards, journaling, it’s going to happen!)

How are they going?

  1. I mean, damn. Yeah. I’m happy.
  2. I’m in college, baby.
  3. This one’s physically impossible with dates and time in grade now. But that’s okay- we’re looking at January 2018 now. I achieved Cadet Major and I’m pretty damn proud of that.
  4. I’m…. a work in progress.
  5. I’m learning a lot about leadership these days. I’m learning even more about myself. But am I also learning learning? Yeah. I know binary now. Like, I grasp it so well. So yeah. I’m learning new things.
  6. #AdventureFund is coming along decently. There’s like $100 in there. And I got paid for the first time on Friday- $91.01. It’s lit.
  7. Ensure you are hydrating and drinking water.
  8. Ugh, I’m still on the same book I was on in like, May lmao.
  9. Yeah, that’s a thing. Planning a trip in December as I’m typing this!
  10. I guess so too. (College note-taking is writing, right? ha).

So there we have it. Goals. They’re.. uh… coming along. Yeah.

Well, I’m going to go plan and eat a croissant. It’s a damn good croissant.

Keep your head up and strive for greatness.

~E.

To those that doubted me… The Ninth Month.

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Dear __________________,

You didn’t think I could do it, did you? You didn’t believe in my ability to kick ass in school and have a good future. You never believed in me and it shows very clearly now. You were always worried about your own selfish things. You never helped me when I asked for help.

Guess what though? I made it. I just began a new chapter in my life; college.

You may be thinking “okay, that’s not a big deal”– but I’d like to take a moment and tell you that yes: college is a big deal. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 41.89% of people aged 25 and over in the United States have a Bachelor’s Degree, while 88.31% have high school diplomas or a GED.

Anyway, enough statistics. The first week of college was freaking amazing.

My goal for August was “Whatever you do, do it with passion and to the best of your ability”. Heck yes. Just.. yes. School is awesome. I love the buses and the professors and the classes and just… everything about it.

I’m back in the country now, to stay for a while. It’s time to work on my future, to get that degree. And I’m going to kick some ass.

OH AND HEY I’M A CADET MAJOR IN CIVIL AIR PATROL NOW SO THAT’S REALLY COOL. Okay? Okay.

Here’s to an amazing September, an amazing first month as an independent adult (it’s a little scary food costs a ton send help). Do I have a goal? I guess so. No fast food every day.  No.. but really…

My goal for September is to get amazing grades, get a good job, and establish myself. I can do this, and it’s going to be amazing. Sorry it’s a kind of short post this month, and I know I still owe you a seal post- it’ll happen. I promise (my boyfriend is going to make me make it happen).

Have a great month, guys.

Savor the moments, stop to smell the roses.

~E.

blAUG in a timely manner

Someone slap me; that wasn’t even a good pun.august

Well, I was going to blog in a timely manner this month. I suppose August 2nd isn’t the worst I could’ve done. My laptop keeps overheating and being a general pain in the neck, which is rather ironic for a digital sciences major to be honest. 

This past month has been incredible. I had the once in a lifetime experience of releasing rehabilitated seals. I got to drive a boat. I found out some amazing news- my first semester of college is fully paid for by scholarships! I was super excited to learn that. I can’t wait for college. July was pretty freaking amazing, and I know August will be just as good. 

There will absolutely be a post about seal releasing. It was such an amazing day. I can’t even put it into words right now. Super shout-out to the Zeehondencreche in Pieterbuten for that opportunity. I can’t wait to post all about it. 

But let’s see. This year is going ridiculously fast. It’s the eight month of the year and I don’t know how I feel about that. I’m about to be living in an apartment I signed the lease on. I’ll have a roommate, a friend and Spaatz cadet from CAP. We’ll have a cat. I’m about to be an adult. College is starting so soon. I can’t wait, but I’d be lion if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m going to miss my family like hell, and I’m so thankful that they’ve been nothing but supportive and encouraging me on my journey to be the first to get a degree in my family. The first to even go to college. That feels so incredibly amazing. 

I know I’ll have to work my ass off, but I’m ready. I have the most amazing friends, family, and boyfriend I could ask for. I’m going to make them all proud. I’m going to show everyone that doubted me who I am. I am a lion.  

My July goals were kind of lame, but I kept up with them. I can actually do push-ups now, so hey. There’s a plus. I’m curious to see where I am on my year goals. Let’s review!

  1. Love myself and be happy. Do things because they’ll make me happy.
  2. Go to college and study where and what I want.
  3. Achieve at least C/Lt Col in the Civil Air Patrol
  4. Learn to stay calm and manage emotions, as well as being able to express these to others. (This one may not make sense to you as the reader, but it does to me. I’ve already started working on it!)
  5. Learn something new. Whether this is learning a new language, something about computers, anything.
  6. Make money. Save money. (Already working on the saving money! #AdventureFund)
  7. Stay hydrated. All year.
  8. Read my whole James Patterson series.
  9. Travel.
  10. Write more. (Whether this is blogging, letters, cards, journaling, it’s going to happen!)
  1. Yeah. This one’s going. Most days, I love my body. This one’s going. 
  2. Hell. Yes.
  3. This one might not be realistic due to the requirement of attending Cadet Officer School or a Region Cadet Leadership School, but I’ll be a Cadet Major on the first day of college! I’ll be a major starting my major. Ha. Thanks for that pun, mom.  
  4. This one’s a work-in-progress. 
  5. I know like, three Russian words and more German than I did a month ago? I learned a lot at CDTA? I’m wayyy too familiar with the Public Affairs Regualtions for CAP? 
  6. I mean. Yeah. I saved hella money on college this semester. And there was the $0.81 I made in interest on my savings account! 
  7. I’m working on that. *eyes water bottle*
  8. Still. On. Book. Thirteen. Traveling really killed my vibe. 
  9. Yeah, I’m so sick of that international flight. And Germany is cool. 
  10. Hi, I’m writing (and I mean, I wrote to study for my tests for C/Maj so there’s that).

I guess I’m only going to set one goal for August:

Whatever you do, do it with passion and to the best of your ability. 

This can apply to so much, and I can’t wait to show the world who I am. I won’t give up. I’m not going to be just a nobody. Mark my words. 

Alright y’all. Thank you for reading. You guys are fantastic.

Smile, you’re awesome. Take some time today to think about how far you’ve come and how you’d make your younger self proud. Be someone you would be looked up to as a child.

~E.💕

P.S. I untangled a slinky this past week and that would’ve made younger me so proud. That’s all I wanted to be able to do in life. Little things. It’s the little things. 

“Have you blogged yet this month?”

A question I’ve been asked multiple times. “Why haven’t you blogged?” or “IT’S ALMOST AUGUST”. Well, here we go, July’s post- possibly with minimal effort.

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The last post I made was in June, when I did a May recap… and I promised I’d blog all about Lauren’s trip to the Netherlands. I jokingly said it’d be a week after June 13th, but even that didn’t happen. It’s now a month later… and here are some highlights!

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May 23rd Lauren and I got off the plane (since the last update I gave was us getting on the plane…)

Honestly, I’m going to go into generalizations for now. We slept a lot, and some days we were just lazy. So I’ll talk about the big things.

We went to the market on Saturdays and introduced Lauren to loempias and baopao. I still eat it every Saturday, and I’m about 99% certain she misses the food more than anything. She also tried the Dutch style fries, frikandel, kroket, bitterballen, eirbal, and she really liked the kaassoufle. We took her to the Pancake Ship in Groningen too, and that was an awesome time.

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Lauren modeled for me so I could work on my photography, she went to band practices with me, and also attended my band concert on the island of Schiermonnikoog with my family and I. We walked in the North Sea- until it started raining on us. Even then it was still amazing.

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We hid ducks, went for bike rides, introduced her to my great-grandmother who is 92 years old, and eventually got back onto a plane on June 13th.

 

During all this time, my car once again decided it didn’t want to work; the right rear spring completely breaking in half. Lauren took me down to Columbus to get my uniforms and clothing in preparation for the Cyber Defense Training Academy.

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I saw my bamboo, and got a good night’s sleep in Columbus. In the morning, my boyfriend picked me up and we went to CoSi.

WAIT WAIT WAIT What? Did I just say boyfriend? Yessir, I did. That’s a thing that happened in May, too. (Whoa, he wasn’t even mentioned in the last post? Nope…) His name’s Andrew and he’s pretty cool. He’s a sweetheart.

So, yeah. CoSi was pretty awesome. The planetarium was absolutely my favorite part. *cough* Pluto is a planet *cough*. We saw Kat that day too, because she stopped by to bring me my ABU cover. I missed her so much, oh my goodness.

On June 16-18th, the Thunder over the Valley air show happened. It was my second time helping at the YARS Air Show as a Civil Air Patrol cadet, and it was fantastic.

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I acted as cadet commander: coordinating teams, ensuring everyone is safe and well taken care of, as well as taking photos.

The left photo was taken by me of the Calypso Pass done by the USAF Thunderbirds #5 and #6; Solo and Opposing Solo. On Friday, I had the incredible opportunity to meet the Thunderbirds.

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On the right, USAF Thunderbirds Commander Lt Col Jason Heard (Thunderbird #1) signs a fellow cadet’s pilot logbook.

Thunder Over the Valley was an incredible experience this year, from meeting the Thunderbirds, working directly with USAF Security Forces, and running through a downpour to make sure all cadets were inside, to trying to balance it with Relay for Life of Poland the night before. Yes, I attended Relay for Life and got a solid four hours of sleep. I also absolutely ate three Arby’s roast beef sandwiches. The cravings were real.

I did a photoshoot for a friend, I ate Dunkin, I slept, I went to CAP and CyberPatriot, and that was my week before CDTA. Of course, I have to give Preston Volkswagen a quick shout-out for letting me get Papa John’s Pizza delivered to the dealership as I sat there waiting to hear back about my money pit *ahem* car.

Then… The 2017 Cyber Defense Training Academy, Maryland Campus.

On June 23rd, I finally was able to put a face to the names- and the voices I’d spent countless hours talking to via conference calls. On June 23rd, the best week of my life was about to begin.

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. New people. New facility. New location of the CDTA. Everyone was a little unsure- but we all had a common goal: to train an upcoming generation of cyber warriors. We would let nothing get in the way of this goal. We had some mishaps. We had some miscommunication. At the end of the day however, we all came together and laughed. Senior and cadet staff alike.

From June 23rd to July 1st, I had the incredible experience of serving as the Cadet Commander for the Maryland Campus of the Cyber Defense Training Academy, Civil Air Patrol’s #2 most applied to National Cadet Special Activity. At the end of the week, we graduated 51 new Cyberspace Familiarization Course students, and I could not be more proud of them.

I, of course, didn’t do it alone. I had an amazing group of staff; cadet and senior, that supported me every step of the way.

Waking up every morning and seeing the NSA, spending hours among nerds and learning new things, gaining leadership experience, my soap, the Scepter for the Septic, sharks and minnows, ER Flight, spreadsheets, radios, pillows, mopping, beautiful sunsets, Colonel panic, geofilters, cowsay, eating chocolate with the girls on a washing machine, and Cleveland-sized groundhogs were all just a few moments and memories that made the week an amazing one. Here are a few photos!

 

So yeah, CDTA was amazing. Thank you to everyone who made CDTA-MD 2017 an amazing, memorable experience.

After CDTA, I slept. I needed sleep, man. Like. 16 straight hours plus the drive home.

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On July 3rd, I did a photoshoot for a six month birthday. It was a fantastic experience, and I learned so much. Kamry is an absolutely beautiful baby girl, and her family was great to work with.

I designed the basket she’s laying in to the left by myself, and I was so proud of it. The flowers and fabric matched her outfit gorgeously.

I spent the Fourth of July in Conneaut, first with WWII Higgins Boats (I love D-Day Conneaut perhaps a little too much) and then at the beach, swimming and tanning (okay, so I actually took a nap and got a little darker). It was a perfect day. I took a panorama of the beach, and I’ll do the same during D-Day Conneaut this year. I am the Public Affairs Officer in Charge, and I’m so incredibly excited. Kat is Cadet Commander and I can’t wait to see where the activity goes this year. Also, The Fourth of July is my mom’s birthday, so hey hey happy birthday to her!

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July 5th I got on a plane and came back to the Netherlands, where I am now. I’ve done lots of rabbit cuddling, and I even went to Germany with my grandparents on a trip to take photos of FC Groningen’s training camp. I even worked out (and am working out) consistently for the first time in my life. High school track doesn’t count.

It’s been a good month. I’m an SDA and a month away from becoming a Cadet Major in the Civil Air Patrol. I’m a month away from starting college and my major. I’m so excited for all these changes coming up in my life. Leaving my family will suck like heck, but I’m pumped to be the first on my family to go to college, to be the first with a degree.

So hey. Let’s review those goals I set last month. I definitely explored more, and I even had to speak German! I tried new things (like speaking German). Not giving a shit what people think is a work-in-progress, but it’s going better. Photography… yeah, I met that goal. Let’s keep it going! Lastly, be the best person I can be for others. I think I met this goal. I wrote that when I was super tired and in all honesty I’m not sure what I exactly meant with it. How I’m interpreting it now, I met that goal.

New goals? Hmmm.

  1. Blog in a timely manner
  2. Keep working out
  3. Sleep

There we go. Nice and simple. Maybe. Let’s see if I actually blog on August 1st this time. It’d be my first “on-time” post in a month. #Goals.

The rest of July is going to go by so fast, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. But I’m going to have a kick-ass rest of the month, and I hope you do to!

Take every chance, drop every fear.

~E.♥