April 29, 2010

My Life in Pictures and Bullet Points

  • I love my friends and I will miss them immensely while I am away in Germany over the next year. I was so grateful for the time I was able to spend with them last weekend at Hanna’s bridal shower. It was so much just being together and laughing… oh my God, we didn’t stop laughing for a second. That’s why I love them. It was a Saturday of ‘that’s what she said’ jokes, outdoor exploration, bonfires and flaming marshmallows, mini road trips, and Phase 10 Masters Edition. I won’t trade these moments for anything else and they will keep me warm on those lonely nights in Munich when I’m missing home. I’ll hold onto these memories until time brings us back together again. Cheesy, I know, but I love them.

  • Regarding the bridal shower itself, it was beautiful. Hanna and Jordan are going to live a happy, beautiful life together and I can’t wait to see what Hanna does in her NEW HOUSE!!! with all of the gifts that she got. Someday I will go visit her…
  • Over the weekend I rode a horse for the first time in 15 years. And it will be another 15 years before I get back on again. I am just not a horse riding kind of girl. Too big, too scary, too confusing. I’ve never felt more confused by left and right directions. Poor horse to be stuck with me; I was about to have an anxiety attack. I only appear happy and composed in this picture. I was trying not to cry. 

  • Wazowski now has a BFF. Nala is our house guest for two weeks while her loving mother is in Portugal on vacation. We worried that Zow wouldn’t appreciate Nala being all up in his business but he’s taken to her and I don’t think he’s ever had so much fun. These animals are making us crazy with their adolescent energy. Needless to say, Hanna and I are constantly amused. I recently discovered that Nala loves lasers and will jump five feet to try to catch them. She is with us for another week or so and although the cat hair is slowly disintegrating my nasal passages, I do like having her around. One more cat for me to talk to!

  • I don’t have a picture for this but it’s exciting nonetheless. I found out that my friend Helen, who currently works as an au pair for The Frau and takes care of Die Kinder, is going to be my room mate in the Munich Mansion (maybe it is, maybe it isn’t but…. new label!!) until the end of August. This is exciting to me for a number of reasons. Mainly because I love her and haven’t seen her since September ‘08 and also because I won’t be alone for my transition into European culture. She won’t be working beside me with Die Kinder but there will be chances for her to show me around, she can introduce me to her friends, help me figure out what I am supposed to do for this whole au pair thing. I am very grateful to have her there when I arrive. I can’t wait to start our little foreign life together. Ha.

  • At the current moment in time, I am jobless. Kind of. I lost my job with the baby, anyway. I think I wrote about that already. Last time. So this week I’ve been babysitting (three different families, four different nights), and am spreading my work experience between the children’s museum and the candle store (where I still remain on the payroll after one year of not working there). So I am very much a workaholic this week but the payoff will be great as I am going to visit my mom for six days next week. I won’t get to spend much time with her before I leave for Germany and since I’m not working, I figured why not take a vacation? My cousin is driving up from So Cal to spend half of Mother’s Day weekend with us and we’re going to play at the beach with her kids, spend time with my aunt Michelle too. It will be a nice relaxing way to get over this crazy work week…

  • And the fact that I am sick yet again. You’d think that after last month’s bronchitis slash sinus infection, I would be safe for at least a few months. I picked something up from one of the children that I am in contact with on a daily basis and now my lungs are working overtime and breathing is hard work. I’m not going to the doctor though because all they do is screw me over. I hate our campus health center, they’re self righteous a-holes and last time I went to Doctors on Duty under CSUMB’s student protection, they charged me $200. No thanks. I’d rather be sick and hacking up a lung than paying you money to laugh at my diagnoses and give me drugs that don’t work.

  • Guess what? 24 days until graduation!

April 26, 2010

Crashing Immunity, Money Trouble, and a Blue Sky Saturday

I am sick. Again. This is frustrating to me because I spent most of March hacking up my lungs and drinking hot tea with honey. In the span of one week I went from having a minor cough and cold to having bronchitis to a hairy sinus infection. My ears were plugged for about two and a half weeks straight and I was forced to take antibiotics that left me with a full body rash and many, many sleepless nights. Note to self: do not take Sulfa drugs, YOU ARE ALLERGIC.

Now, not even a month after having recovered, I am sick yet again. I’m not sure with what this time. My lymph nodes have been swollen and sore for about a week. My throat hurts, yesterday I started losing my voice. I’ve been suffering through an irritating cough. Last night I went to bed around 10 and woke up twice, once around 12:30 and again at 6 am, unable to breath because my nose was completely congested and my throat was burning dry. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to bed after that. Fortunately, I have an early class this morning so getting up early isn’t so completely pointless.

Fortunately, my beautiful, gorgeous, totally amazing mother offered to get me an appointment with her doctor next week for a full physical. I called her last night, near to tears, because I’d had the longest day of my life and was incredibly stressed. Among other current financial burdens, I found out yesterday that I’m due to pay a $400 fine for a speeding ticket. This, of course, has me stressed because I can think of a million other important things that I could do with $400. Buy my return plane ticket from Montana. Send a couple of boxes off to Germany. Buy presents for the multitude of children I am leaving behind in Monterey. Put gas in my car and take a trip to visit my family next week. Pay to have the carpets cleaned in our apartment. Car payments, State Farm, credit card payments, dental bills, blah, blah, blah. I broke down on the phone last night and my mother, bless her soul, did everything she could to calm my crying, to make me feel like my trip to Germany isn’t going to leave me penniless and broke. Although her encouraging words are of the kindest variety and they did help a little bit, have I mentioned that after next weekend I don’t have a steady income and have to live for a month and a half, vacation, and journey to Europe relying solely on $1k savings, sporadic babysitting funds, may-or-may-not-sell-my-stuff-on-craigslist, a 600-something-dollar apartment deposit, and maybe-graduation money. Plus I have a bunch of other crap to worry about. Credit card bills, medical bills, traffic violations, etc, etc. I know it’s my own fault for never saving the money that I make and having horrible spending habits so, really, I am my own worst enemy in this case but I am stressed out.

I’m going to try to relax today as it is my first day being semi-jobless. I lost my nanny job with the baby to a daycare center so I am sans-baby for the rest of my time here in Monterey. For the remainder of the week I’ve picked up random work shifts. One at the children’s museum where I work (until next Sunday), two at the candle store where I worked for 2 years but haven’t worked at since last summer, and two or three nights of babysitting. So this week, I won’t really have time to worry because I will be making money. But after that… who knows! 

Today I plan to go to my 8:30 class, do some research in the library for a project on adolescents, maybe polish off a little extra stuff for my Capstone, possibly go see a movie by myself (it’s that kind of a day), and then return home to clean my room, organize, and possibly do some packing.

However, despite my frustration and anxiety, I did have a really good weekend. I went to my friend’s bridal shower at her parent’s ranch out near Yosemite and had an incredible time just bonding with my girl friends and celebrating one of my best friend’s new marriage. The weather was gorgeous, we had sun and blue skies, and I even attempted to ride a horse. The fact that I was up at 6 am yesterday, drove 3 hours, and worked until 8 pm, was definitely worth it in the long run. I wish that I could have more moments like that with my friends over the next few weeks but I feel as if Germany is just coming on too quickly and isn’t leaving a lot of space for this kind of stuff. So I cherish this past weekend, it means a lot to me to have those moments with my friends.

Until next time. <3

April 22, 2010


After spending about 3 hours doing laundry, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am completely and totally unprepared for the task that lies ahead of me: deciding what I want need to take to Germany.

How the hell am I supposed to pack for a one year stay? What can I live without? Do I need to take three hoodies or just one? What about my jeans? Should I take them all? How about my yoga pants. Oh my God, I couldn’t live without my yoga pants, especially when my job is to take care of children. Those are my lifeblood as a nanny. So, I guess the yoga pants go. And my shirts? I have so many. How do I choose which ones go and which ones stay in a box?

Compared to some this may not be a lot of clothing… but even as I was just putting it all away tonight I kept thinking, “How am I going to do this?”

My shoes, I’ve got it covered. They’re going in a box and flying FedEx. Everything else… one to two suitcases per a recommendation from The Frau. She said just to bring my clothes and my lap top.

Damn. No comforts of home? Throw me into a foreign city, a foreign country,  and a foreign culture and see if I stay afloat. It’s kind of scary, to say the least.

Any suggestions? I don’t know anyone who has gone away for so long. Help!

April 20, 2010

With Honors

So, lucky for me, I had the pleasure of being invited to CSUMB’s Honor Convocation this year. Actually, it’s not luck. I earned it. :) I pulled off a 3.5 GPA for my five years at CSUMB and was awarded with cum laude honors. This past Saturday, April 17th, I went to the ceremony to accept my cord. It felt so great to be honored, even if I was one of at least 100 other students. My family wasn’t able to attend and my friends had other obligations but it’s okay. I was only a little bit sad but in the end, I realized that I am the one who worked for my GPA, I should be the first one to support myself in receiving the honors, right? Ha. That was my justification, anyway. I have had so much support over the years as I’ve pursued my college education and that support definitely kept me going but, in the end, the only person who could make it happen was me! I filled out those FAFSAs, I attended all of those classes, I did all the work. I reap the benefits!

It was a surprise to me that I’d pulled it off so receiving the invitation back in March made for a really good day. I’ve been on the Dean’s List for having a 3.5 GPA for 8 semesters out of 10 so I figured I’d done something right. But I thought that to have the cum laude honors, I needed to have that 10 out of 10 record. 8 is good enough, it seems!

I always considered myself to be a pretty mediocre student, even when I was in high school. I don’t consider myself to be that intelligent. I am fairly well educated in my concentration of study, I guess, but I couldn’t bust out an answer to a pre-algebra problem and I definitely can’t list the presidents of the United States or tell you when the Civil War started. I forgot all of that as soon as I left the last class where I’d learned it. Ha.

Despite my lack of confidence in my academic know-how, at CSUMB, I’ve done really well for myself. It feels good to have it all accumulating right before graduation. I feel like I’ve actually made a difference in my own life and I’ve got all the confidence that I need to pursue grad school and, eventually, a really good career. In fact, the research that I’ve done for my capstone has actually inspired me to look into a very different but very rewarding career path. I’ll get into that later. But seriously…

I’m almost done! I did it! Pretty much all by myself too. Actually, I did do it by myself. Nobody else did my homework for me. I didn’t have a clone to go to all of my classes. I singlehandedly wrote my 45 page Capstone paper and did all of the research on my own. I paid for it all by myself. Kind of. Financial aid supported me throughout the entire 5 years. Yeah, so I’m graduating $41 thousand dollars in debt but whatever. It’s worth it.

April 15, 2010

Two Months and Counting

Exactly two months from today I will be on a plane to Munich, Germany. I just had to say that. Although I know it makes some very sad (my dearest friends, I love you so much for this) but I am extremely excited to go. I will miss my life in California but I am so ready to get out and explore the world. I deserve it, don’t you think? Which reminds me…

I turned in my Capstone on Monday which, as I’ve mentioned before, is my graduating thesis project. I signed up to give my presentation to the class on Monday and so my prof was quick to read through and get comments on my project. She handed them back in today and I was sure that she would have marked it up and told me that my conclusion was weak, that I was missing pieces and information. Ladies and gentleman, I should not have doubted myself. She said that she loved it, that it was very good, and all that I needed to fix were some tense uses and most of the APA formatting. I was incredibly relieved to know that over the next month and a half, I have all of my work cut out for me. I just need to edit it, make out my presentation for class and for the Capstone Festival (which is May 20th, FYI) and then put together my final binder which will be submitted and then my project will be archived. Woo! The end is so near I can actually feel it under my feet!

IMG000341This is me and my ‘I love it’ Capstone draft. :) :)

I wish I had more news to report but I don’t! Tomorrow is Happy Hour at Santa Lucia with some friends. More German bier!

April 13, 2010

Music Monday [April 12th]

Okay, so when it comes to my music, there is one thing I am absolutely certain of. There is no better therapy in the world than putting on some good tunes after an especially harrowing experience. A break up, a bad day, mean people, a failed exam… whatever.

My childhood cat companion (God rest your sweet furry soul, dear Zeus) died when I was 16 and I listened to P. Diddy’s I’ll Be Missing You and cried for three days straight. I picked my music very well back then, didn’t I? Surprisingly, it made me feel better. During my freshmen year when I was having an especially hard time balancing my college life and problems back at home, Death Cab for Cutie’s Your Heart is an Empty Room brought me some sweet, melodic relief. Once upon a time I was mad that I gave my v-card to a really unworthy candidate and Avril Lavigne’s I Can Do Better really helped me get over that disappointment.

I’m sure it’s a pretty universal feeling when I say that music can almost heal any broken or hurting heart. I don’t have a broken heart today, in fact, today I actually feel really good. But those days when I was feeling down really make me appreciate the days like today, when the sun is out and the possibilities are endless.

42-23607524This Monday of Music is dedicated to those days, the days when all I wanted was to stop crying, to stop being angry, to stop feeling inadequate, to stop feeling broken. For everything to just stop and for happiness to just come on in already! These five songs, the first of which was already mentioned, have been the best therapy in times like that. These are the “Silver Lining Songs.”

1. Your Heart is an Empty Room – Death Cab for Cutie
The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
And disappeared with everything that you held dear
And you shed not a single tear for the things that you didn't need
'Cause you knew you were finally free

2. If I Ever Feel Better – Phoenix
I've watched all my castles fall
They were made of dust, after all
Someday all this mess will make me laugh
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait

3. Silver Lining – David Gray
Step into the silence
Take it in your own two hands
And scatter it like diamonds

4. Comes and Goes (In Waves) – Greg Laswell
This is for the ones who stand
For the ones who try again
For the ones who need a hand
For the ones that think they can

5. The Breeze – Dr. Dog
Do you feel like you're stuck in time?
Forever waiting on that line
If nothing ever moves
Put that needle to the groove
And sing

You can listen to my Music Mondays playlist via MySpace Music.

April 11, 2010


I love German beer!


After a 8 hour work day at the crazy kid’s museum, my friend slash co-worker, Chesty, I mean… Chelsea… and I went to Santa Lucia restaurant for some German brew. I’d heard that this place (which is pretty much across the street from my work) had German food and beer but I’d just had yet to try it. So we decided that we deserved it after a long day at work and we had some delicious brew. The lovely bartenders there enjoyed my stories of future German living and were happy to serve us their brews and get my feedback.

We had Spaten and HofbrÀuhaus. The latter of the two was my favorite, which is good because I really want to go here:


And after drinking only one stein (woo!) I felt pleasantly buzzed and showed off my really good country singing skills to Chesty (she likes it… ha) while we waited for her BF to come pick her up.

Awesome! One more thing for me to be excited about! Beer gardens! Oktoberfest! Beir!


April 8, 2010

Sunsets, Speedy Gonzales, and Some Other Stuff

Is it Monday yet? That is when my Capstone is due. I really, really need for it to be due. I’ve hit 20+ pages and I think I’m at the point where I’m just willing to start bullshitting the rest of my paper. However many more pages that it will be. I’m shooting for anywhere between 26 and 30. Fortunately, this is just the submission for the rough draft. I have a month to un-bullshit should I decide to take that route. Ha.

Surprisingly enough, I have been doing other things that do not pertain to academia. I’m house/pet sitting right now for a family that I work for. I’ve been babysitting their kids for the last 2 1/2 years and at least once a month (or so it seems) they ask me to stay at their house and hang out with their Scottie, Miss Stella Louise. Her and I are best buds, I do this all the time. So, I’ve been making myself at home in their Pebble Beach mini-mansion complete with endless amounts of TV channels and free and unfettered access to their food stuffs.

Tuesday night Stella and I ventured just around the corner to 17 Mile Drive where I attempted to take pictures of the sunset with my new camera. It was insanely windy and naturally, very cold, so I was running into all kinds of problems. My lens cap was flying all kinds of crazy and every time Stella ran ahead of me, she pulled the leash and the camera jerked away, resulting in a crooked picture of sand. Eventually, I just left her in the car and I battled Mother Nature without my trusty sidekick.

One thing I am definitely  going to miss about California…


Amazing sunsets. Yeah, the wind was cold and I couldn’t feel my fingers and my hair was all kinds of crazy but it was so worth it to just hang out in the fading daylight for a half an hour. Much better than doing stupid homework.

Aside from my mansion dwelling privileges, I’ve been working too. I’m a nanny to the cutest 9-month-old kid that ever lived. Don’t believe me?

I told you. So yeah, I’ve been spending 20 hours a week with this kid, give or take, and we do all kinds of things like play with blocks, eat squishy foods, go for walks, and crawl around like Speedy Gonzales. I’m only taking care of him until mid May so I’m trying to make the most of everyday. Yeah, sometimes I’m tired and occaisonally he’ll decide that he’d rather scream at me than be my baby friend but we make it through. We’re buddies. I’m going to hate to have to leave him, especially because he won’t remember me. Thank God for e-mail, I’m sure his mom won’t disappoint. I’ll get updates all the time.

Between work and school, I’ve actually been planning for my trip. It’s insane. I can already sense how stressed out I am going to be during those last few weeks of May when I have to present my thesis, graduate, entertain family, move out of my apartment, and head out to Montana all in the course of like five days. Fortunately, my Montana vacation will afford me a bit of a relaxing vacation after all of that. I do, however, wish that I could spend more time my mom and my friends before I leave for Germany. :( Ah, but with the way things are shaping up, I can only give to them the time available to me, which is not a lot. So, I intend to make the most of my last few weeks in Monterey.

On a completely different note, I’ve actually done one thing for myself that will benefit me during my time in Munich. I bought myself some Crocs. And this won’t be like the time that I bought myself $90 Choco’s and then misplaced them, probably in a bag to Goodwill. I’ve always secretly wanted  a pair of Crocs and now I actually have them. They weren’t even that expensive, about $30. I wanted some comfortable shoes for the seemingly endless amounts of walking that everyone tells me I will be doing in Munich and Crocs seemed like a good road to take. On the more expensive side of things, I also bought myself a pair of Uggs. I’m optimistic that it will be a good investment.



So, as the Germans would say, “Auf weidersehn!” Well, they would probably spell it correctly, but you get what I’m saying!

April 5, 2010

Music Monday [April 5th]

Somewhere, someone once told me that it was cool and hip to post music on Mondays. So I begin the tradition on my own blog. What does music have to do with me going to Germany? Everything. I am in love with music and music will keep me sane as I travel into the unknown. So, beginning today, on the 5th of April in the year 2010, every Monday I will post my favorite music, either as one track, a singular sensation, or in the form of a playlist, my groovy tunes. Guaranteed, these songs will be included in the soundtrack of my movie should my adventure ever make it to the big screen. Ha.

“Wildflowers” / Tom Petty

A few months ago, after I’d accepted the job to Germany and the excitement for my trip began to build, I heard this song and instantly, I knew that this was the song, the words that had been written for me, for this time of my life. Like any song of this caliber, I wish that someone else had heard it first and picked it for me but that is not the truth. Like everything else in my life, I did this on my own. This is the song that I pick for myself, the song that sings for me as I embark on this journey of experience, self-discovery and, hopefully, enlightenment.

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free


Picture Trails and (Un)spoken Fears

I am taking a break from my mad-Capstone [aka graduation thesis] writing frenzy to take a shower and go to bed. And blog. But not in that order. Ah, but it’s okay that I’m slaving away because this project is the synthesis of five years of hard work and college smarts and it means that I am less than two months away from being DONE and graduated. It’s actually a really interesting project and although I’ve suffered through about five computer-screen-induced headaches today, it’s actually been a joy [dorky word] to write. I’m focusing on the digital divide and how technology has affected and changed traditions and institutions of education. Sounds boring, I know. It probably is, to you. Anyway… breaking from that means that I will stop talking about it… right now.

Did you know that I have a brand new camera that I fully intend to use while I am in Germany? That’s actually half of the argument as to how I convinced my dearest, most loveliest mother to buy it for me as a grad present. I suppose that her pride in my many accomplishments may have sealed the deal too but secretly, I know that she also wants to follow my picture trail as I journey throughout Europe and chase after Die Kinder [this is their official title now, so keep up]. That means ‘The Children’ in German. As far as I’ve been told, anyway…

This is my beauty.This is my beautiful camera, no?

I am in love. She will be with me as I travel and I hope to document many a great wonders. Like vending machines full of German beer in glass bottles. I hear these exist in Germany. I am very excited to see them and share their wonder. Maybe I’ll even use one! Oh!

Right. Okay, so yeah, the things that I will take pictures of while I am there amaze me and I haven’t even seen them yet. I just know they are there. However, these amazing things still don’t squash those itty bitty, previously unspoken fears that still swim around inside me. Most of it is of a monetary matter. I am worried about financial things like how I will pay my debts that I will leave behind in America. Will I be able to leave enough money in my bank accounts for automatic transfers every month? And if I can’t, or if I run out of money, how will I send my euros to California so that I don’t end up in collections when I return? What if I don’t have enough money to buy my return flight home? Will I be stuck wandering around Europe for another year or will someone loan me some money? I sure hope that I can save enough to be able to help myself but you never know with me. I’m much more of a spender and when I’m in Europe, exploring places and cities that I’ve never been to but have only read about in books and seen in movies, I will have no need for thriftiness. I worry about myself. I know that my mom is probably doing enough worrying for the both of us so what’s my deal?

And that’s another thing. I’m a little worried about leaving everything that I know behind me. I’m a homebody, a lover of comfort and habit. I want to leave California as much as the next person but this has been my home now, for a long time. My friends are here, my family is here, my work is here. Okay, work, I can run from. But those other things are hard to let go of, even for a year. Believe it or not, but when I am in a new place, I am very shy. Who knows how long it will take me to make friends and feel comfortable going out by myself or with new people once I am in Munich? Ah! It’s all a little scary. Realistically, I don’t have that much to fear. I’m a pretty cool person, or so I’ve been told, and I don’t have trouble make friends. Why am I trying to hold onto the idea that it will be so much harder to do over there?

This is supposed to be fun, right? And God, I know it will be. Every second of every day won’t be sunshine and roses but for the most part, I’m going to have a kick ass time. I guess a little fear is a natural reaction to such a major life change. I will have a lot to adjust to. A lot of culture shock to overcome. Things will be different. People will be strangers. I’m going to miss my mom but she’s only a Skype phone call away. I will probably get lost a few times and I might even burn Die Kinder’s breakfast once or twice and they may not like me very much for it. But I’ll be okay. I know a lot of really fun games to play at the playground and I love to color. If all else fails, we have coloring books. I might have a few strike outs in meeting people but in the end, I’m going to have some pretty cool contacts and some great drinking buddies, I imagine. Besides, I already have some friends in England who are just a train or short plane ride away. When I need a good cry or a gab fest and some good hugs, I know where to go.


What do I have to fear? I can take it. I’m a big girl. I know how to take care of myself. Fear will not take me down on this one. I refuse!

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April 4, 2010

Late Night Confessions

Deep into the hours of the night, I present myself  in my most natural form. At the end of a long day, just ready for some blogging in bed. I wanted to post this as some sort of time capsule memorial or something. What if I go to Germany and get really loaded on their high carb foods and fine German brew and I gain like 200 pounds? I want to remember myself as I was before this happened. Or maybe I go there and my walking/biking/running-after-die-kinder activities causes me to lose 50 pounds? Then I want to remember the California-before-Germany version of myself too. Either way, it’s kind of like an introduction of sorts. If you didn’t know what I looked like before, now you do! And if you do already know me then in the future refer back to this post when I update with that inevitable “after” picture next April. You can witness first hand my glorious transformation… that is, assuming that such metamorphosis will occur on some level. Maybe nothing will change at all save the smile on the face of a girl who has just experienced one of the greatest adventures of her life. :)


I imagine my next post will feature something along the lines of…. I’m starting to freak out and am slightly fearful of what lies ahead but my excitement and pure curiosity seems to balance my emotions. More on that later.

Oh, and happy Easter.