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.

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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.🎄

Curtain Sticks and Goblets

Do you ever just have those times you laugh… and laugh… and laugh? And you can’t stop?

I love those times.

Anyway… I haven’t given a room update in a while. The last time you guys heard about my room, the WiFi didn’t reach my room and there were boxes everywhere.

We’ll start with the messy corner of my room. This would be my desk. There’s some stuff curtainsticks2that simply just does not have a spot [yet] and it ended up there. A pile of hats and a couple of awards. A box from my new headset with extra cables in it. Yanno, miscellaneous things. There’s also still 3 boxes of books to the right of my desk, my suitcase, my carry-on backpack, a stepladder, a mirror that didn’t fit, and the vacuum cleaner. All of that is just kind of there because there’s no other place. But… it works. There’s also still a box with photo albums under my desk, because there’s no other place for them. Again, it works.curtainsticks4

Next, there’s my dresser. That got delivered (and put together) by Ikea exactly two weeks ago, along with my mattress- which is queen sized and really comfortable. But yeah, the dresser. Dang, I have a lot of breakable statuettes for someone that moves a lot. And my Volkswagen bus picture is on it. That (and everything else that is still laying around) will get hung up… soon. I just need a box of nails. Tomorrow is a new day… Maybe tomorrow I’ll hang some stuff on my walls. Anyway- all my clothes fit in the dresser perfectly. With the exception of a couple things that needed hung up… which are casually chilling in my curtainsticks1mom’s room.

Then there’s my bed. Like I said, it’s queen sized perfection. There’s a bunch of pillows and blankets and honestly I don’t ever want to leave it. Also featured in this picture is the guitar I got from the previous house owner, my ukulele, my purse, and the sheet music to Knoxville-1800 by James Curnow. What you don’t see is my cleverly disguised bench beside my bed by the wall.curtainsticks5 It may or may not be three more boxes of books with a sleeping bag over them.

Oh, and on that nightstand you see my computer on? There’s a fully functioning NetGear router and a phone. I get some fantastic internet speeds and I can do my Civil Air Patrol conference calls from the most comfortable place in the house. I’m still so happy with how I have everything set up. I can roll over and still use my phone while it’s plugged in to charge, no matter what way I’m facing. It’s pure bliss.

curtainsticks3Last, but not least, there’s this corner. Think away the baby scale, that’s just chilling there because there’s no other place for it. My CDs and DVDs, my Air Force gnome, my shoe bench (and all my shoes, of course), my hamper from a different angle. In the bottom left you can see part of the papasan chair. And my ducks are proudly displayed… in front of my Volkswagen bus Lego set that I got from my best friend at my graduation party. Hopefully I can hang up the poster my friends in CAP made me soon, too.

This is it. This is my room. It’s mine. I can play songs from Hamilton (the musical) as loud and as much as I want. I can listen to any music when I want. Because yanno, the attic is pretty far from the rest of the house.

Now, however, I’ll be going to bed. It’s two minutes to midnight. Good night, guys.

Smile more.

-E.

“If nobody hates you, you’re doing something wrong.”

Home is where your story begins, or so they say. Now, the title doesn’t have any relation to this post, but I googled “House quotes”, and I should’ve known better.

newhouse5

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, typing my first blog post from the new house. I am really newhouse3doing something productive- I’m hurrying up and waiting. Yesterday I set up the wifi (and cried a little at the wiring done in the meter closet) and now I’m waiting for the TV to decide to finally want to work.

The first picture here to the left, is what the closet lnewhouse2ooked like before I put the modem in (yes, it’s a modem. With WiFi capabilities. *twitches*).

The picture to the right is after installing the modem. It’s still barely better, but it… works. I just kind of want to cry and install little tiny shelves. It honestly is slightly  frustrating, especially coming from the US where you had the freedom to put your router and phone (almost) anywhere. The “meterkast”, or “meter closet” in English- is kind of just a pain in the neck.

Oh- another pain in the neck?? The WiFi doesn’t reach my room. Time to go buy a WiFi Range Extender. I wanted to use the NetGear router dangling from the cable in the “before the modem” picture and set up my own WiFi in my room. But, my mom isn’t necessarily a newhouse4fan of running Ethernet Cables through the house. Darn… :p

This is my view right now, the leaning tower of boxes and the TV loading screen. It’s rather annoying- and has probably
been sitting like that for about half an hour.

But on a side note, our living room looks really cute and the newhouse1couch is comfortable as heck. Also yes, I *did* line up the bird picture with the TV. From this angle, it doesn’t look like it- but I promise it is. I spent *wayyyy* too much time doing so.

It’s coming along. It’ll start to feel like home soon, right? When we actually start sleeping here… Right? Hopefully. Ikea is coming tomorrow to set up my dresser, my brother’s bed, and bring mattresses. I’m excited for that, because it means I can go back to doing productive things in my room. And make my bed. And decorate. And hang stuff up. Okay, I’m a tad excited about my room. Who wouldn’t be, though?

Oh! I finally remembered what I’ve been meaning to post about. Remember my friend that crashed into the lake? (See this post) Well, he’s okay! And so is his instrument. He lost some music and solos, but other than that, he’s absolutely fine. Even his phone works again. I was so relieved. Shout-out to all my friends that helped me find out he was okay/helped me calm down. My mom, too. She helped me a bunch.

Well, the TV is still loading, bu I think I’m going to go take a nap in the recliner now that my mom left the house to go pick my brother up from school. Yay, productivity!

Have a great day, everyone 🙂

-E.

I took a nap in boxes

I scheduled my post for tomorrow, but almost forgot to post today’s! What kind of blog am I running, anyway? I’m good at this. remember-remember-2

Today all our stuff from the shipping container arrived in our new house. Oh man, that was incredibly stressful. So much stuff to go through… Honestly, so many of these boxes are just boxes full of paper. Oh well, everything was wrapped well. And nothing broke! (Well, with the exception of a couple of tote boxes that don’t really matter anyway).

My room started off all clean and empty, as you may have seen in yesterday’s post. That lasted until about 0830 today. Boxes flooded my room and resulted in the above picture. remember-remember-3Yes it’s pixelated on purpose. That’s personal information on there! #WhatAmIDoingwithMyLife

I spent about 4 hours in my room- unpacking and repacking because I don’t have a closet yet (S/O to Ikea for having a delivery service).

Oh, I also played in the packing paper and eventually took a half hour nap. I found the cushion to my papasan chair, moved my shoe bench in front of it, sat down, and was asleep in a matter of minutes. So yeah, I love my new room. It’s quiet, away from people, big, and it’s my own. I can’t wait to have all my furniture and then hang up all my pictures.

Pinterest has become quite the room decorating addiction. I told my mom I was going to put plants all over my room, but then realized that a.) if they’re real they’d die soon anyway because I won’t be there in December and b.) fake plants cost an arm and a leg and probably a kidney.remember-remember-1

All in all, I’d say today was pretty productive. This corner of my room looks incredibly cozy… if you think the boxes behind the papasan chair away. I jokingly told my mom I’m not even going to buy a book shelf, that I’d just leave all my books packed. There may end up being some truth to that.

Also- lesson learned today: packing paper is not a comfortable mattress.

-E.

I asked my editor for a clever title. That was a mistake.

Eight consecutive hours. Okay- maybe I was more or less forced to sit down and eat half of a 6″ sub, but still. Lots of painting today! I’ll start with the introduction you guys didn’t get yet.

title-7On October 31st, we got the keys to our house here in the Netherlands. Since yesterday- November 1st, we’ve been spending the whole day in the new house cleaning and doing other things. Shampooing the carpets, dusting, etc. Today was my turn to do a huge project- I painted my brother’s room. I had fun with it… as you can maybe tell by the pictures. The top left picture has the letters “SBAL” very subtly painted on to the wall which stands for, you guessed it, She Became a Lion. Then I painted an “E” with my hand print, and got a little bit of paint on my legs… Yes, I actually did paint the walls. title-5I actually accidentally painted a horse on the wall… purely accidental of course.

title-6
There was also a hella cool double rainbow. We dropped everything we were doing and took like 6000 pictures.

Lastly is my new bedroom. Obviously it is far from finished, but it’s progress. I built the bed and moved the desk (which hurt like heck, I had to get under it to lift it back on the legs), as well as some little things like moving the nightstands up and running power cords places. Yay power strips and extension cords!

I love the flower design on my wall by my bed, and I’m really excited to spend some time learning guitar. The previous owner left my brother some toys and games and she left me a guitar. It was pretty awesome to walk up to my future room and see a guitar sitting there.

Well, I’ll post more tomorrow. I’m going to try and get some sleep. Or… maybe listen to the final game of the World Series. Cubs are already up one. *grumble*

Go Tribe!

-E.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a scientific theory that states that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. This isn’t about something changing the universe, but this is about something changing me.

butterfly-6This past weekend from Thursday night to Sunday morning, I had a friend stay here with me. It was honestly the most amazing thing that could’ve happened when it happened. We’ll call the guest “F” for internet and privacy purposes. Before F arrived, I hadn’t had any human interaction with anyone my age in over a month. I met F through Civil Air Patrol; he was in my squadron during my basic encampment. We stayed in contact, and I knew he was studying in Berlin. I asked if he wanted to come visit, and he agreed.

F arrived Thursday night around 1800 by train. The minute I got to speak English to a friend, I knew this would be good for me. We drove around town a bit, showing him around. It was dark of course, but in my opinion still nice. After driving around, we went to a restaurant in town to eat. He tried fries with mayonnaise for the first time. Those darn uncultured Americans :p

After eating dinner, we went to my grandparents’ house and settled in for the weekend.butterfly-7

The next day, we woke up and went to get breakfast at a local bakery. He had a puddingbroodje (a.k.a.”roombroodje”) and I had a Deense krakeling. We went to the park to eat them, and afterwards rode bikes for about 12 miles. I showed him around in the daylight and we saw where they build the big cargo ships,  the street I lived on when I was younger, the house we are going to be living in, my brother’s school, the business district, and a few other things. We also went to a store by a local windmill.

After our bike trip, we ate a typical Dutch lunch. We had soup to start, and multiple types of bread were set up on the table with young and old cheese, Nutella, hageltjes (a Dutch bread topping, it’s very sweet and looks like sprinkles), butter, sausages, and some other toppings. Once we finished lunch, we went to go see the Fraeylemaborg.butterfly-4

The Fraeylemaborg is a small castle, if you will, that used to house the lords of the land in the 18th century. It’s a very cute building with lots of history- and some ridiculously steep stairs… For a house, of course. The main thing we got out of it was the fact that the tower isn’t centered *twitches *and my brother discovered a really awkward pole placement on the back of one of the statues. And of course it was very nicebutterfly-5 to see. There was SILVERWARE. Pardon the blurry picture and the fact that you don’t get the joke. But it was authentic silverware.

butterfly-3After the Fraeylemaborg, we went to a different windmill- one you could actually go inside. F got to move the blades and help the miller with doing windmill stuff, and we went all the way up to the top and saw the big gears and how the mill works, piece by piece. We also saw a bunch of little bugs that still haunt me. After that, we drove around and drove to Zuidlaren to show F where the Zuidlaardermarkt is. the Zuidlaardermarkt is a famous horse market that has existed since 1701 and happens on the third Tuesday every October. After that, we went to an Oliebollenkraam and ate oliebollen, a Dutch New Year’s snack that is essentially fried dough. When we came home, my butterfly-8grandma had made Nasi for dinner; an Indonesian rice dish. After eating, we played a few rounds of sjoelen, a Dutch game with wooden bricks and point values much like a miniature shuffleboard.

Saturday, the last full day F was here, my brother had a soccer game at 0900. They lost, but it was F’s first live soccer game, which was cool! I was honestly surprised that they played on the turf field, since this country is in the middle of a huge turf protest. It’s been though that the rubber pellets used on turf might cause lymphoma or leukemia, since they are essentially ground up tires. But, it hasn’t been scientifically proven.

After my brother’s soccer game, we went to the Markt (open air market) in our town. Here we got Vietnamese food; loempias and bapao, and ate them for lunch. F also got a piece of Dutch cheese for his family.

butterfly-2The days started to really feel productive; we were so active before noon! In the afternoon, we took the rest of the day to tour Groningen. We started by walking around the Markt there, known as the Grote Markt- which translates literally to “big market”. After the Markt, we made our way to the Martini Toren. The tower has a really cool history. Here’s a little snippet from Wikipedia:

The lighting of celebratory fires on the third gallery, after the departure of Spanish and Walloon troops in 1577, caused the tower to partially collapse. However, the remaining portion kept a height of 69 meters. In the 17th century the tower was repaired up to the current 97 metre height. Later the tower was damaged several times by natural violence and several wars. There is a bullet hole in one of the bells, a result of heavy fighting when the Canadian Forces liberated Groningen at the end of World War II.

butterfly

The tower was fun to climb and the views were amazing. F and I got to ring the bell, and the rope will literally pull you off the ground at least five feet. I was hesitant to do it at first, but I’m really glad I did. For me, the worst part about the tower was going back down; there was so much traffic. I guess it’s a good way to meet new people, as my mom put it. I’ve had enough steep stairs for this lifetime. Y’all can keep your spiral staircases, too.

After the tower, we walked around the busy streets of downtown Groningen. There were shops, bars, pubs, food places, hair salons, you name it. After a bit of walking, it was time for the boat tour! We rode a boat all around the canals of Groningen, and got to see many nice sights you wouldn’t really get to see anywhere else. The recording of the tour guide speaking in Dutch, German, and English quickly became very repetitive and annoying, and I was happy when it was quiet for a bit. It was really hard not to fall asleep on the boat, though. It was so calming and you were so close to the water. F and I started dozing off a bit.

After that, we went to Kattencafe Poeslief, which is a cat cafe. They serve coffee and let you play with cats. We arrived pretty close to their closing time, 1700, but they still let us in to play with the cats. It was so awesome. We still had to eat dinner somewhere, so to conclude our unbeleafably* fun day in Groningen, we ate at ‘t Pannekoekschip; the pancake ship. butterfly-9

Upon returning home, we played two games of Mens Erger Je Niet, and F won his first game. My brother won the second.

Some time later, we went out to a bar and afterwards went for a long walk through town. We walked around six miles, probably. One of the places we walked through was the park, where we came across a cat who really needed some attention. It meowed and followed us, so I picked it up and carried it through the park. It was adorable.

This weekend was incredible. I could not have asked for anything better, or anyone better to spend time with. It gave me so much appreciation for what is around me and in town here. It gave me such a will to travel and see the world. There really are no limits.

Go, live, and be happy.

-E. ♥

*Spelling is done on purpose to commemorate a leaf.

Oh right! I almost forgot to mention. The bar we went to was called “De Vlinder”, which translates to “The Butterfly”…

Good, good, great!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I considered posting happy thoughts. (Side note: I just got distracted trying to find a specific Fetty Wap song that was stuck in my head from sophomore year. I don’t even like rap. I guess I really don’t want to type happy thoughts).

Think happy thoughts.

  1. Soccer. Soccer was cool today. I taught a ten year old, and she was really cool. It was the first human social interaction I’ve had with someone around my age in two weeks. And she was 10.
  2. Food- as much as it hurts my stomach and gives me heartburn, it does taste good and I’d missed a bunch of it.
  3. Healthy. Healthy? Healthy! Bike riding here will help me lose weight or something.
  4. Uh, well, drinking is legal here at my age… I can make fun of 16-year-olds getting smashed. And that’s about the extent of that one.
  5. I’m really excited about the house we’re getting. And my room. I get to do it however I want and that’s really awesome.

Oh man- interruption! Just Skyped with my CyberPatriot team and had a Cadet Advisory Council conference call. Now I’m procrastinating on this post…. Don’t believe me, just watch. Crap… now the numbered list starts over. Oh whale. 15 more.

  1. Family. I love being close to my family.
  2. I can make money here on my year off from school.
  3. I get to play with big boy cameras here. That one’s fun. Shout-out to my grandfather.
  4. I haven’t gotten a mosquito bite here [yet]. That’s a positive.
  5. My brother is enjoying it. He already has a few friends.
  6. I have time to write blog posts!
  7. I get to see things I don’t really remember from when I was 6.
  8. My cat is here! ♥♥
  9. It’s fun to go places, and absolutely no one knows you. It’s weird running in to people who recognize you but you don’t recognize them, though.
  10. This has brought me and some of my friends in the US closer together. I found who my true friends are and who cares about me.
  11. You can drink tap water without wondering what’s in it (chlorine wise.. or chemical wise… or anything). It’s neat.
  12. It feels like things are cheaper here. You can go to the grocery store and buy 2 days worth of food and drinks for about 8 Euros. I could be wrong but it feels cheaper. I don’t know. Let me think it.
  13. I can completely avoid all the asshats in the US here!!
  14. I can get some cool clothes here. And I already got pants!
  15. There’s Cat Cafes here. Like literally; Coffee shops with cats.

And, I mean, I have lots of time to plan my return trip in December. And June. Heh…

Well, that was my effort for today’s blog post. It’s 0350 and my chest hurts. Maybe I should sleep.

Good night guys, and keep finding reasons to smile.

-E.

The one about feelings, anger, and frustration

Everyone deals with it. Anger, sadness,  stress, frustration. Sometimes jealousy. I try not to blog about them, but I’m going to be brutally honest- sometimes ignoring your emotions takes a toll on you. There’s been one other rather upset blog post with lots of feelings; the annoying one about me getting dumped. Normally, I feel horrible posting my feelings online, and as you could see in the post after it, I apologized. This time… I won’t apologize. My feelings are my feelings, and honestly if you’re reading my blog, you sort of care about me anyway (or you’re just amused at my misfortunes; but that’s alright too).

I’m having a really shitty time adjusting to this country and the people in it. I’m trying to do my best, trying to hold on for my mom’s sake. She’s so stressed as well, I feel like whenever she sees me be happy, it makes her happy. So I’m really trying. I love my mom, and I hate seeing her upset- especially now coming to realize that she’s actually a cool parent- and has been, but I just didn’t see it (ouch, did I just say that out loud? Online, for that matter?). I just need to find a way to get my frustration out. This blog is helping, but I’m not sure how much longer. I miss my late night drives, in my car, by myself. I miss seeing my friends, being able to just crash on someone’s couch and maybe wake up in the morning, maybe in the afternoon. I miss being able to do “stupid” stuff like drinking a few too many energy drinks or walking over the train tracks or walking through the woods alone or even driving a little too fast sometimes (heh).

Anyhoo, this country. This country, man. No, it’s not all bad. I really enjoy some of the things, but that’s for happy blog posts. This is not a happy blog post.

  1. UGH I MISS MY HOODIE WEATHER AND PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. It skipped straight to winter coat and where the f*** is the pumpkin in this country?!
  2. If people could stop interrupting and/or ignoring my brother whenever he talks, that would be cool. Just because you don’t see the enthusiasm of the little human doesn’t mean no one else does. Weird.
  3. I want food that doesn’t give me a stomach ache. I mean, yay! All natural whatnot. I mean, damn. Does my body have to reject it? I got less sick from a McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken sandwich…
  4. Speaking of stomach… MIDOL. How do females here even survive shark week?! And tampons, dang, I just paid nearly 8 Euros (Which is around $8.40) for a box of like, 15 normal tampons. This is an issue.
  5. “How rude”. People here are legitimately the most rude human beings I have ever seen. You can stand in a store looking at something, and before you know it (without an excuse me) you have a Dutch person all up in your jacket (because it’s -100° or something in stores) looking or grabbing something from in front of you.
  6. Oh my goodness… and the government. They track pretty much everywhere you go. Apparently there’s this whole WhatsApp security crisis that’s got a bunch of people’s panties in a twist. But aside from that, as a seasoned and free American citizen, I find it uber creepy that the government has to know in what house you’re living, and with who, and all the kids, and they have to see you, and it’s just freaking me out. (Oh, and I miss my second amendment).
  7. I can’t carry my knife. It’s apparently frowned upon or illegal or something. I haven’t done too much digging, but from what I’ve seen it’s illegal (please correct me if I’m wrong).
  8. Number 8 has been removed for… reasons.
  9. Hamsters here. Oh my, the poor hamsters here. This will likely turn into a blog post on its own- but for now… the wheels the pet store sells for hamsters are so incredibly bad for them. Please, if you have a rodent of any sort, do NOT get a metal wheel. It will hurt your pet.
  10. Number 10 has also been removed.
  11. Oh man, here comes the stomach ache (just ate dinner oops)
  12. The time zone. Why the time zone?! I miss my friends. I miss talking to people. I miss attending Civil Air Patrol. I’d missed nine meetings in my cadet career (including encampments and NCSAs) and that’s up to 11 now. It pains me a little. And the whole… messaging people. Yeah- I still can- but it’s at weird times. *sigh*.
  13. This entire country is pretty anti-american and pro-american stereotyping. It’s a tad frustrating. I mean, I suppose America is the country with the highest obesity and the most junk food- but so what? That doesn’t really mean you can profit off of making fun of me. Or Americans in general. (I’m still pretty patriotic even for not living in the country. I’d be flying an American flag if it wouldn’t get my house vandalized. You think I’m kidding).
  14. WHY are my clothes losing color?
  15. We still don’t have [working] phones over here. That is a little ridiculous- especially since my brother is in school. What if an emergency happens?
  16. I really want our house. But it isn’t ready until November 1st. Oh man, I’m going nuts.
  17. I WANT MY FACE WASH AND MY CHEAP RITE AID PERFUME. This boat can kindly floor it across the Atlantic.
  18. Number 18 has also been removed.
  19. Hey look, it’s my favorite number. Well, this one is about my birthday. I am turning 18 this year (oh no, I just gave away my age on the interwebs) and I had planned on becoming a legal adult in the US of A. Yanno, buying a lottery ticket legally because I can. Maybe buy some dry-ice, paintballs, pepper spray, and a new knife while I’m at it (hoorah for ridiculous rules). Aside from all of those things, “becoming an adult” seems so much less complicated in a country you’ve witnessed other people do the thing you have to do before you. “Becoming an adult” seems so much simpler when you know the language and grammar (and a couple of curse words) without even having to think. I’d prepared myself to become an adult in America. I was ready for adult life there. How am I even supposed to choose health insurance here? I barely know all the big words for body parts here. How would I even know what doctor to go to? *sigh* I can’t adult.
  20. And the power here. This is more our fault- but I don’t have enough power cables to keep all of my electronics charged. My mom and I share a computer cable, and my laptop dies when it’s not plugged in (thanks, hp battery recalls). This is driving me nuts.

Well, there’s 20 complaints I have. Maybe I’ll post twenty positives soon. It’ll be fun to try and think of in depth arguments for why I like it here. Oh well, I feel better after this long rant. Maybe I’ll go take the Dutch version of ibuprofen and try to sleep.

Stay strong guys, and don’t let others change who you are.

-E.

 

The one about small successes.

Hey everyone.

In my post yesterday, you got to read all about my struggles and doubts. Today… I’m a little more positive. I’m still exhausted- and I still have my streak of not falling asleep before 0500, but that’s beside the point. I had a small, successful human interaction today!

Now you may be thinking, this is a girl that’s graduated from high school. She’s an adult. Why is this such a big deal? Well; it is. I paid for groceries in a store by myself. I mean- I did copy exactly what the person in  front of me did and said, but it worked. It was a small victory for me. Sometimes those help a little.

I still don’t think I’d be comfortable having a conversation with someone given today I also saw someone that looked vaguely familiar and she started talking to me. I tried to politely say “I have no idea who you are”… come to realize this was one of my old teachers here. About 12 years ago. And in a different store I accidentally scratched the cute cashier with my thumbnail trying to grab the reciept.

In summary: I’m still a mess. But I’m a slightly more confident mess.

Keep calm and carry on, y’all.

-E.