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. ♥

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.

Oh my, the month went by!

Hello, lovely readers!

Some of you have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while… a month exactly. I’m not necessarily about excuses, but, there is a legitimate reason.

I used to reside in the delightful state of construction work and bipolar weather, however, I have since moved to the other side of the world! (And let me tell you, I’m pretty sure this is the country of construction work and well, rain).

water-in-the-dark

The picture is of the city near my hometown here in the Netherlands. If you look to your right, those boats are actually peoples’ houses. It’s pretty neat. The lights and the sky and the water all look incredible, and honestly, I only noticed that in the picture… not even in person.

The Netherlands is like a whole different world to me. Yes, I lived here until I was 7- but that means very little. I knew as much of the language as any seven-year-old does of their language. I’d picked up enough to get by in years after that, but now I’ve started to realize that the language barrier may be greater than I thought. I shy away from speaking Dutch because I know it likely won’t be grammatically correct. Maybe I’m not using the correct tense of the word. Maybe I’m just creating a word altogether. It’s a little stressful. Everyone back home says “give it a month” or “go make friends”. That’s so much easier said than done. Yes, I may have been incredibly social in America, but that’s different here.

Here, I feel insecure about what I wear. I don’t know the norms here. I never see anyone wearing a simple graphic t-shirt here. I felt awkward going into a store yesterday wearing my Paramore tee, black cargo pants, and Timberland boots. I felt like I stood out. My pants weren’t tight. My shoes weren’t “cute”. Who wears a shirt with writing on it? It’s probably all in my head… but that’s bad enough. Here, I feel awkward even talking. My voice sounds weird to me when I speak a different language.  When I’m with my mom, I let her do the talking and I awkwardly stare. Yes, usually I can follow conversations. I just don’t feel like I have enough words to choose from to be relaxed enough to participate. I’ve wished more people here would speak English to me, but then there’s the accent that bothers the living hell out of me and the reversed language barrier. I guess maybe I’ll learn soon enough. Maybe I should try harder.

My body isn’t used to the time zone yet. I’ve never had an issue with jet lag. Back in America, I had a hard time sleeping. Throw me in a country whose time zone is Eastern Time +6… I’m screwed. I have yet to fall asleep before five o’clock in the morning, and I’ve been here 8 days now. And yes, I have indeed tried putting down all electronics. I have slept through the days, though. Side note: that’s a really good way to avoid humans.

There’s not a whole lot else to blog about- since my days have recently been spent sleeping and avoiding people. I signed up to referee soccer for U11 and U9 leagues. I was the only girl in the room. It was a tad awkward.. especially because the club then posted on their website that they appreciated the “boys and fathers” that came out to the meeting. Well, I’ll show them. I guess female referees are seldom in any sport. I’ll smash the patriarchy in their face before they can even think “why is there a female ref?”.

So, yeah. I’m alive. I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to look at this like an adventure. Most people in the US would kill to spend time in Europe. Even though my situation wasn’t exactly planned… or my choice… I’m trying to be positive. It’s going alright.

-E. ♥

Noah’s Lost Ark & Lions

This past month, my family visited an exotic animal sanctuary, called Noah’s Lost Ark.  I thought it was really incredible- especially because of the amount of animals they had. They had everything from miniature horses and donkeys to kinkajous and lions.

Noah’s Lost Ark, however, is not your regular petting zoo. Every animal that is there has been rescued from being abused, or simply being unwanted.

The lions were absolutely adorable. You can meet them here. Multiple have been named Simba, and I thought that was the cutest thing.

So, that was my trip visiting lions. They’re really pretty cool.

Stay strong.

-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.

Graduation and the Future

A cat in a cage becomes a lion” ~Indian Proverb

I guess you could say I was a cat in a cage. Constantly being told what to do, what to wear, how to act, and forced to do things like ask to go to the bathroom. The days of school lunches, waking up early, and annoying human beings pretending High School is everything are behind me. I was in that cage for far too long, but this past year I realized who I am. I realized my passion for music, and teaching music. I realized that no matter what people say, I will follow my dreams. I am going to college to major in Music Education, and minor in Special Education. Now, it may not make the most money according to some people- but I will be happy. And I will be the source of happiness for others.

Without music… without band in my life, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am. All the time spent in the band room, talking to my director while being an emotional wreck.. all the times spent cramming in hours of practice that don’t exist in a day for Solo and Ensemble competitions… The friendships I’ve made… The memories I’ve made… I realized- this year, I became a lion. I wasn’t the cat in the cage anymore. I wasn’t going through the motions anymore. I was happy. I stood in front of sixth graders and conducted a song for them in class- something I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do even a year ago. I was a member of multiple performing groups, including the local Honors Band and a quintet. I’ve performed Taps at least 5 times… Probably more. I was the echo for another phenomenal trumpet player, who is also going into music education. I learned to play every other brass instrument, and am starting to learn flute, clarinet, and ukulele this summer now that I will have more time. I played along with multiple other grade levels of bands in our school system- on various instruments.I got a card at the Senior Band Picnic from a freshman trumpet player I befriended. I swore I wouldn’t cry about being a senior… I wouldn’t be THAT person. But her card made me cry. She thanked me for helping her get to the level she’s at. It was the first thank you I’d gotten… and it hit me hard. My favorite 13324269_1112002138841011_1442581514_oband memory that I used at the picnic when asked by the Band President was being able to share the love of music, and help people. I realized right then and there I made the right choice. My boyfriend is into music education as well, and I can’t wait. Both of us constantly working on some variation of music? I can’t wait.

So, graduating was nice. I’m  ready to move on in life. No longer a timid cat, but a lion- ready for anything.

-E.

 

Why am I a Lion?

So, hi. I’m E.

I got the inspiration for this blog from a trip I recently took with my High School Band, to the city of Chicago, Illinois. My amazing boyfriend got me a stuffed baby Simba from Disney World back in December, and I decided to take Simba to Chicago. There, I took pictures of him traveling alongside me. Those will be in my next post.

But, while doing this, I realized something. Lions are typically considered to be one of the strongest animals. Or perhaps, most fierce. So, 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.

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.
Because smile, you’re amazing.

-E.