How to Survive a Drive with a Lion

Buckle up and hold on for the ride, because I didn’t even know driving 7 hours and only stopping once was something this girl is capable of. The drive from NE Ohio to Houston, Texas was WILD. To be completely honest, I was pretty sure that my 2004 Volkswagen Jetta would die on the way. Spoiler alert: we made it!

But like.. how?tx1

Well, none of it would have been possible without the help of a phenomenal family friend. He drove the rest of the time, which… 20 hours minus 7 is a whopping 13 hours. He started in Ohio, and drove all the way to Jackson, Tennessee. Tennessee was probably the most boring part of the drive in my opinion. It felt like we were in Tennessee for EVER. Leo and I shared the Chips Ahoy cookies in the backseat next to him in Tennessee, and probably ate a few too many, but that’s okay.

I drove from Jackson to Marshall, Texas. I drove through Memphis, and all the way through Arkansas. The sunset was gorgeous. Driving through Little Rock was an interesting experience. Lots of bends, lots of cars, and lots of lights all at once. Gas prices started going down the farther south we got though, which is something I’m super thankful for. Also, why does Arkansas smash city names with the word “Arkansas”? Like… Is Arkadelphia really necessary? Even auto-correct wants to change that to Philadelphia. Also, why not “Philansas”?

Driving into Texas was crazy. By this time, it was dark. I had my first experience driving on a road with a speed limit of 75 miles per hour. Legally going that fast is pretty cool. I’ve been told there’s a road somewhere in this state (which is unnecessarily large, by the way) where the speed limit is 85. I may have to go find that road.

We made it to Marshall, Texas where we stopped at a Whataburger. I will admit, that was a phenomenal hamburger. Especially at 1 o’clock in the morning (two o’clock to my body, yay central time!). After eating, my friend drove the rest of the way.

tx3

We got to the place I’ll be staying right around 5 o’clock in the morning and met my host. Leo was extremely excited to stretch his paws after such a long drive. The bed was super comfortable. I finally fell asleep around 6 o’clock in the morning.

Somehow, I woke up at noon. I took a shower, organized a bit, and met the family. They’re wonderful people, and I’m so excited. The house is gorgeous. My room is so nice. The daughter is a year older than I am, and she’s super cool. We’ll call her “M”. M and I got Chick Fil A today, after she showed me around the area. There’s a Chick Fil A right across from NASA, and I think self control may be the biggest thing I learn during this internship. I also saw a real palm tree for the first time today!

tx4

Orientation for the internship is on Monday, and I’m so excited. I’m also nervous, though. It’s going to be crazy. I don’t think it’s truly sank in that I’m in Texas, and I’m about to work for NASA.

tx2I’ve jokingly told a few people now that if the Space Force Academy becomes a thing, I’ll be one of the first females to graduate (super relevant, I know). But you know what, you never know where life takes you. Leave your options open.

I just hope next time I leave my options open and go where life leads me, the bugs are a tad smaller. When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they mean it.

So, how do you survive a long drive with a lion?

  1. Lots of Chips Ahoy Chewy cookies
  2. 1 cold Gatorade for every 2 hours of driving
  3. A cool family friend (knowing lots about cars and playing cool music is a bonus)
  4. The ability to admit when you’re tired
  5. The ability to sleep in the passenger seat of your own car (yes, it’s super weird)
  6. Lots and lots of adrenaline. Arkansas was boring, but once we got into Texas…
  7. Clean your windshield every chance you get at gas stations. Dead things leave streaks if you use the wipers.
  8. There’s no shame in going the speed limit, even if cars in Kentucky decide they want to attempt to take off next to you.
  9. Don’t merge too close in front of drivers from Arkansas. They need at least two semi truck-lengths to feel secure.
  10. Have fun!

So, there you go. Enjoy your next road trip. Or don’t, that’s all up to you.

I’ll be back to ramble to you from NASA’s Johnson Space Center next time, right here on my blog! Hopefully maybe my nerves will settle down. That would be cool.

Until then, don’t be afraid to try new things!

~E.💫

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. ♥

2017 Goals, the third one.

Beware the Ides of March! Cinco de Mayo! Daylight Savings Time! Pi Day! St. Patrick’s Day!

march-paint

I also totally just learned that March was the first month in Roman times. You know, that totally explains why SEPTember is “7”, OCTOber is “8”, and DECember is “10”. Epiphanies are fun.

So, something something February went fast and let’s review the goals! (From this post)

My Goals for February 2017

  1. Make a physical schedule. Use paper, a whiteboard, anything. Write down when what trash needs taken out. Write down important times, such as when my brother needs picked up from school. Write down my plan for a daily schedule; wake up at a set time, shower, participate in life, do the dishes nightly, etc.
  2. Go for bike rides.
  3. Talk more Dutch. Become comfortable. Perfect Dutch grammar.
  4. Work out most-daily. Do at least 40 sit-ups at some point in the day.
  5. Practice cornet at least three times a week.
  6. Become more organized. Find sticky notes and routinely check my to do list. This one sort of ties into Goal 1.
  7. Do my hair and nails more often.
  8. Clean my worn earrings more often.
  9. Continue eating healthy.
  10. Keep my room clean.

Let’s break it down and see how it went.

  1. I used my whiteboard and made a schedule. I wrote my to-do list on it, and I actually did it. I made a phone call I’d been dreading, and I’d say goal one went well.
  2. My bike is one with the shed. I will disturb it if I remove it now.
  3. I have talked more Dutch. I’ve gone grocery shopping by myself, and ordered food, and talked about band stuff. I’d say I accomplished the talking more. Perfecting the grammar might take a while, though.
  4. The first week I did this, but then I got sick and I just wasn’t having it. I miserably failed at this goal.
  5. I took it out of its case once? But I did listen to the music. That’s a step.
  6. I DID GOAL SIX I FOUND STICKY NOTES AND EVERYTHING
  7. I’d say I accomplished this goal. I’m actually putting my hair in a pony tail and stuff  now and not just letting it hang everywhere. So.
  8. Yep. I clean them almost nightly.
  9. I really just need to eat more and on a schedule. My eating habits are a wreck.
  10. Shhhh. It’s the laundry room. No one has to know it’s actually a bedroom. (No really, other than the two piles of laundry, it’s clean).

I’d say February went alright. I did a lot of stuff I’d been putting off. I did stuff I was nervous about. I even completed another promotion in the Civil Air Patrol. I started off watching a lot of NCIS, but then I started reading more. I’m almost finished with book three of the James Patterson series from my 2017 Goals. Hydration has been going well also, I just can’t slack off now.

So now, the moment I’ve also kind of been procrastinating. March goal setting. I’m really running out of ideas. This seemed a lot easier in January when I had a bunch of big plans and all that for the new year. Let’s try anyway.

My Goals for March 2017

  1. Call the driving school and schedule a drive. Follow through with it.
  2. Exercise more. Whether this is push-ups, sit-ups, biking, walking, running, even the exercise ball. DO IT.
  3. Keep up on my laundry.
  4. Procrastinate less.
  5. Regularly run the vacuum cleaner in the whole house (including my room/the attic).
  6. Keep my desk and night stands clean and organized.
  7. Keep my whiteboard updated and follow through with things written on sticky notes.
  8. Write things down right away, such as dreams or groceries we need. Do not forget them.

This is a relatively short post because I’m exhausted, even though it’s 2:50 p.m.

I promised my brother he could play Scrap Mechanic, so I guess I’m handing over my laptop, as well. Let’s hope for a marvelous March. I’ll post again soon.

Keep smiling.

Yours truly,

-E. ♠

2017 Goals, Part Dos.

February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the shortest month of the year as it is the only month to have a length of less than 30 days.

And here we are, the first day of February is upon us. 

January was an interesting month. It feels like it went by like *snaps fingers* that. Speaking of January… Let’s review the goals I set in this post.

My Goals for January 2017

  1. Find a routine. A schedule. A purpose. Normalize my sleep.
  2. Eat healthier.
  3. Walk/bike more. I won’t put running, because I know myself too well for that and I likely won’t run in January. But- if I get in the habit of going for a walk, who knows what February will hold!
  4. Clean up my room and hang up my framed belongings.
  5. Find a job.
  6. Keep my email organized.
  7. Learn to drive in the Netherlands.
  8. Become comfortable interacting with other people in Dutch.
  9. Wear clothes because I like them, not because I want to fit in. (Honestly, I think I can add a scarf to ANYTHING and I’ll fit in…)
  10. Overcome my hatred for odd numbered lists. (Okay, this one won’t really happen. But, it’s a pleasant thought)

So… How did I do? Well…

  1.  I had a routine for about a week. I slept normally for about 4 days of the entire month. I guess it could’ve been worse, but I didn’t exactly meet the goal. img_20170121_142450
  2. I think I could say I achieved this goal. I started eating breakfast on those days I had a routine. I ate bananas and mandarin oranges as a snack. I made my own trail mix.
    Yeah, some days I slacked off- but I can confirm I ate healthier overall.
  3. One word: ICE. Riding your bike over ice is… hell. So no, I didn’t ride my bike. I did walk a bit more though. It’s not necessarily a habit, but walking isn’t so bad.
  4. Clean my room? Check. Hang up stuff? SOMEONE BUY ME A DRILL.
  5. Eh. Sorta. I’m getting paid for things. Like playing solos at a nursing home and restoring computers. So.
  6. Check!
  7. Sort of. I wouldn’t mind it if I had a car that wasn’t a nightmare to shift into first gear.
  8. I wouldn’t say I’m as comfortable as in English, but it’s getting better!
  9. This one’s going alright. I still feel awkward wearing sweatpants because I feel like nobody in this country ever wears sweatpants.
  10. Ha, that’s a joke.

To summarize: January was a “sort of” kind of month. I did watch a LOT of NCIS. Like, dang. It should be a crime how many episodes of NCIS I’ve watched. I’ve also spent WAY too much time with a chicken on a raft.

My 2017 goals are going well, though! I’m decently happy, I did my SDA for my next promotion in CAP (okay I haven’t taken the tests yet but…), I’m usually pretty calm (except for when my patience is tested; oops), I’m hydrated as heck… 11 months to keep that up, I’ve almost finished 1st to Die, and I’ve blogged a decent amount. Holy run-on sentence *breathes*.

So, now it’s time to think of some goals for February.

My Goals for February 2017

  1. Make a physical schedule. Use paper, a whiteboard, anything. Write down when what trash needs taken out. Write down important times, such as when my brother needs picked up from school. Write down my plan for a daily schedule; wake up at a set time, shower, participate in life, do the dishes nightly, etc.
  2. Go for bike rides.
  3. Talk more Dutch. Become comfortable. Perfect Dutch grammar.
  4. Work out most-daily. Do at least 40 sit-ups at some point in the day.
  5. Practice cornet at least three times a week.
  6. Become more organized. Find sticky notes and routinely check my to do list. This one sort of ties into Goal 1.
  7. Do my hair and nails more often.
  8. Clean my worn earrings more often.
  9. Continue eating healthy.
  10. Keep my room clean.

Hopefully February goes well. It started decently… I slept all day. *nervous chuckle* so much for January Goal 1.img_20170113_082319_017 I am actually going to try to sleep, though. As soon as NCIS is over, that is. :p I’m on the episode “Homefront”. I miss Ziva… and I’m not quite used to Bishop yet. NCIS LA has also really grown on me.

Anyway… enjoy a picture of my beautiful view. As usual, thanks for reading. Onto a fantastic February! If this month goes as fast as January did… wow. It’ll be 2018 in no time.

Be somebody nobody thought you could be.

~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.

 

Civil Air Patrol Wing Conference

Simba CAP.jpg

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.