My blog is one year old!

A year ago today I posted an 190 word blog post, titled “Why am I a lion?”. My inspiration came from taking a baby Simba lion stuffed animal that my boyfriend at the time got me to Chicago, Illinois. That’s when I realized how freaking amazing lions are. They’re fierce and strong. Exactly like how I wish to live my life. “She Became a Lion”. A quote from that very first blog post- “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.

I ended that post like I’ve ended almost every post on my blog; with a quote or small, uplifting statement. That statement was “smile, you’re amazing“. fiftyLittle did I know that statement would lead to so many more.
Over the course of a year, I posted 50 times. I got this cool little notification from WordPress right after posting my April Goals update. Fifty posts, anywhere from poetry and posts about myself, to Simba traveling and whatever else random I come up with, all these posts make up my blog.

From my fourteen followers, my friends that regularly read my blog whenever I post on Snapchat that I’m “back at it again”, to my fantastic editor and countless drafts that have lived on my account or ages, that’s what SHEBECAMEALIONTWOmy blog is. It’s nothing big, nothing popular. Sure, it’s the link in my bio on all of my social media accounts, but that doesn’t mean anything. I’m super thankful to those of you that read my posts, those of you that express your excitement about reading my posts to me. All of you are so fantastic.

So, that’s where my blog has come in a year. But… what about me? Surely I changed a little. And change, I did.

If you would’ve asked me on April 9th, 2016 where I saw myself in a year, I could never have imagined where I am right now ever being an answer to that. My answer would’ve been somewhere along the lines of “finishing my second semester as a Music Education major in college and with my amazing boyfriend”. Never in my life did I think I’d be in the Netherlands, taking a gap year from school, and single. Not on April 9th, 2016 anyway.

Now, just because I said I never thought I’d be here, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. I may not have my boyfriend anymore, and yeah- it took me incredibly long to figure out how to be okay again- but I did, and I’m better than before. I am so thankful for the memories I was able to share with him, for the part of my life that he was… But it was without him that I learned to truly love myself. I have the best friends anyone could ask for. They go out of their comfort zones to make sure I’m okay… rescuing me from the side of the road when I slid on ice, telling me I’m amazing and encouraging me, and just being the helpful amazing people you are. I couldn’t thank Lauren, Kat, and Alex enough for always being my best friends. I may not be in college, or even in America for that matter, but that doesn’t stop me from realizing that being in the Netherlands can be an amazing experience. I’ve done so much that other people my age would never have been able to, I’ve seen family I haven’t seen since I was a little older than a toddler, I’ve done a bunch of really fun things, and I’ve definitely brushed up on my ability to speak the language.

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Oh, and of course Simba is here as well. He’s the little lion that started all of this, why wouldn’t he be?

In summary, I suppose I do kind of miss the idea of where I thought my life was going. But everything happens for a reason, and sometimes life’s just about riding it out and finding exactly what that reason is. There’s no shame in changing majors, re-thinking your friend group, cutting toxic people out of your life, or even completely changing who you are. Be you, be confident, break out of your shell.

A year ago today, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable going out in public and showing enthusiasm for something no one around me had enthusiasm for. Yesterday, at the Day of Music, I realized I no longer cared. I was happy to be doing improv and singing and being excited about music again, and I didn’t care that everyone around me thought the leaders of the workshop were completely insane for being so energetic. It was an amazing experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I couldn’t be more thankful for the people around me who have helped me realize this, who have pushed me to be the best me I can be. Lastly, I’m thankful for this blog- for being my creative outlet- for being somewhere I can go to write. I’m thankful that it’s helped people and that it makes people happy to read my thoughts. Here’s a little something from that very first blog post again:

These are my journeys, my thoughts, Simba’s travels, my poetry- well, I really just hope for this to be an inspiration to others. For others to find their lion. Or owl, gazelle, octopus, eagle, stork, anything. For others to keep fighting, to find life’s beauty, to be strong.

Here’s to many more years of happiness, figuring out who I am, and maybe blogging about it along the way!
And don’t forget to smile, because you’re amazing.

~E. ♥

Cyber and San Antonio- The Ramblings

The 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy was a success. It may not have felt like it to me every day, but it absolutely was.

I can honestly say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into signing up for both the Cyberspace Advanced Course and staff. I thought it’d be simple, the cadets the year before made it look easy… right? Well, easy comes far from describing my week. Stressful, perhaps, but also not really. Let me begin with explaining all these pictures- and the stories along with them.

13569814_1133945366646688_1438685109_oThis picture to the left shows Simba sitting on what was my bed for the duration of the activity. To the right slightly below is a view the other way. Centered below is the female bay area, with my bed being the one with the giant red suitcase in the front. It was quite the comfortable place to sleep my approximate 4 hours a night once we got air conditioning.

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Below this text is a photo of the male barracks. There were more males than females, and this is only half of the beds the males used. There were about 50 beds in the male bay alone, and I know this because I did their bunk assignments. Thanks guys!
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And finally, this last picture is the lovely “tattoo” I got from a fellow staff member. I guess the friendships were near the top of the “best things of the week” list.

 

Now to continue on with my rambling about the Cyber Defense Training Academy…

Every day, including the staff training days, started off with PT. We would run a mile, or do the CPFT (Cadet Physical Fitness Test), or do some other horrific exercise like duck walks to the point where half of the cadets could barely walk the rest of the week. I may or may not have been included in the half that couldn’t walk… Oh well, what matters (to me, anyway) is that I was able to breathe while running the mile down in Texas (whoa) and I took two minutes off my time. I very much can confirm this map is very accurate in its representation of climates. death

We then would go to breakfast- I’d eat almost the same thing every day. Two hard boiled eggs with a pound of salt each (to feed my sodium deficiency!) and french toast. But, my dietary habits are for another time… or not. It isn’t too interesting. Other than the fact that I ate a corn dog and fries for dinner every day this year and last and I really want a corn dog and fries right now. I need to get my mind off of food… So. After that we’d go to the classroom and learn. The Familiarization Course would go to some secure facility I probably couldn’t name even if I remembered it, and we went to the IPSecure Building on base. The chairs were really comfortable, and we learned about Cisco Networking and encryption all week. The first day we actually got to “play” with the switches, which was really fun. It was stressful though, and my quiz scores weren’t up to my standards. The second day when I got my score back, I actually cried because I did so… not okay… according to myself. With lots of comfort from my friends and fellow staff, I made it. I got a 94% on my final, which was still one of the highest final grades.

I learned. Not just about Cisco, or computers, but about myself. On Day 0, the commandant gave a speech. He said something along the lines of “everybody fails, and you learn from your failures”. Not going to lie, I kind of blew that off. Until about day 4, that is. My scores started improving. I connected with my team. I got more sleep. I realized… without completely crashing and failing those first few days, and trying to push myself past exhaustion… I wouldn’t have found where I should’ve been. Because I failed, I learned and grew. For a long time, I’d been afraid of failure. I was always afraid that I’d be letting someone down, that I’d be letting myself down. Yes, striving for excellence is key, but sometimes it’s okay to fall flat on your face. Because that’s when you learn to get back up and brush it off, to keep smiling, and completely dominate in whatever you’re doing.

So, yeah. The 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy was a success. It may not have felt like it to me every day, but it absolutely was.

-E. 

Cyber and San Antonio (The Way There)

So, the next ten days I will be without my cell phone or any real way to contact anyone at JBSA Lackland in San Antonio, Texas- attending the Cyberspace Advanced Course and acting as staff for the 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy. This academy is a Civil Air Patrol National Activity, which I attended last year as well.

This year though, Simba came with me. Here are some pictures from the trip there.

It was 100 degrees when we landed here… Way too hot. I miss Ohio already. On top of missing the weather, though, I miss my family and my boyfriend like crazy. I’m sure these ten days will fly by. Right? I don’t know why I’m so stressed. It’s gonna be fantastic.

Well, babe, I know you’ll read this soon, I love you. Same to my family.

I’m going to continue waiting to be picked up in the USO Lounge now.

Be Brave.

-E.

Civil Air Patrol Wing Conference

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This weekend was our Wing (state) Conference for the Civil Air Patrol; the United States Air Force Auxiliary. It was a pretty amazing experience.

I got to share a room with my best friend in CAP whom I only see about twice a year- and it was great. We worked out in the pathetic little gym the place had; a treadmill, elliptical, and about three and a half sets of weights, we stayed up until approximately two a.m. playing the game “Heads Up” on my Kindle, and we ironed our uniforms.

The next morning, we woke up late- we were under the impression that registration started an hour later than it actually did; but we got ready in 27 minutes exactly, and if I do say so myself, we looked pretty great. It was a fun-filled day, from teaching a class on Team Leadership with a friend from my squadron, to meeting Major Blaine Jones (former Thunderbird Opposing Solo pilot) and his wife Lieutenant Colonel Carey Jones, to making music puns with the Wing and Region commanders, to being awarded Wing Cadet Officer of the Year at the banquet- which my family and boyfriend attended with me.

And of course, Simba was along for the ride. It was an awesome experience, and an awesome weekend.

-E.

Lions and Tigers and Proms, Oh My!

Hello all 🙂

This past weekend, a high school phenomenon happened- more commonly known as Prom.

What is this “prom”?

prom [präm]

NOUN

  1. informal – NORTH AMERICAN
    a formal dance, especially one held by a class in high school or college at the end of a year.

Now that that’s covered, let’s get to the point of this blog post, shall we?


I’ve dreamed from a little girl to have a HUGE poofy dress. Well, for my senior prom, that dream finally came true.

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Babe and I before his prom.                                       Simba proudly wears “the poof”.


So, the irony in all of this? My prom’s theme was “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”. You know, the song by Elton John. From the one and only “The Lion King”. In case you need a reminder:

 

This was the bottom picture on our photo booth picture strip- along with a little lion.

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So yeah, prom was pretty awesome. Time with my favorite, lions everywhere, it was nice.

 

 

 

 

Simba’s First Adventure (The Windy City)

So, we left the school at 6:00 in the morning on Saturday. We slept on the bus until…

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Simba looks out the window at our first rest stop, in the middle of nowhere, Indiana.

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Simba posed for a quick picture wih our warm up for the clinic with the professor from North Western University.

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We stopped at KFC on the way there!

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Simba is enjoying a tour from our Gangster tour guide, “Johnny Three Knives”. (Thanks to Untouchable Tours)

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We ate dinner at the Navy Pier!

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Simba stayed in my purse while I went up in the Willis Tower, since I didn’t really want to explain a stuffed lion to the security people.

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Simba laughed at me because I got hair dye on the hotel pillow… I ended up leaving a large tip and an apology note.. heh.

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Simba’s favorite part of the trip was Millennium Park, and the giant Bean.

 

All in all, I’d say Simba had a pretty great trip. I did, too.