Since I’ve Been Gone: Part I

Shockingly enough, a lot has happened since I was last here, so I want to take the opportunity to highlight some of the stuff I loved/did while I was gone. I’m going to start with a mixture of random stuff here to be followed by some more cohesive groupings.

As far as everyday life is concerned the last six years saw me complete my bachelors, go back to school for a certificate in public health while I contemplated what I want to be when I grow up, and then start my masters this past January because I finally have a general idea. I’m extremely fortunate to still be working both of my jobs as they are both deemed essential, though I’m not doing any traveling this year which I’m bumming about – presently I’m supposed to be in Sweden, but alas COVID. Instead I’ll keep adding to the list of future travel plans, and reading, and occasionally doing some homework in a semi-timely fashion while getting the odd extra hour of sleep. Now into the good stuff…

First up, my favorite book of 2019 and probably even the decade.

A Gentleman in Moscow

Book: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This is going first because I still think about this book all the time even though I read it about eight months ago now. This book was an accident, because I didn’t expect to finish the book I had been reading on my way to Phoenix, so I had to grab a new one at the airport when I was coming home and the synopsis sounded interesting enough. I proceeded to read about half of the book on the way. It was so good and I could not stop reading it. From the setting, to the characters, to just the feel of the book and the writing. Every single thing about it took my breath away. I absolutely adored it and I want everyone to read it.  

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Book/TV Show: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones, let’s talk (very briefly) about it, because everyone has an opinion. I read the first book in the span of a week back in 2014. I started book 2 soon after, got distracted and didn’t go back to it until last year because the show was ending and I could finally just binge the whole show, so if ever there was a time to get to it and read the damn books, last year was it. And I was insistent upon reading the books before watching. The quick version of my feelings are, the books are better, 955%. However, there were some parts that I really enjoyed watching the scenes more than reading them, but that was not the case most of the time. The other thing is the ending of the show. I won’t spoil anything, but I’m not mad at what happened and I understand why it was done the way it was. That said, I am mad that they rushed it. That last season should have been longer than it was, so I feel like they did not do justice to the story because of it. I’ll still read the last two books when they come out though, and I’m sure they will be 955% better than the show too.  

TV Show: The Repair Shop. This is a much more recent find, but a few months ago we happened across this show on Netflix and it is one of the most wonderful and fulfilling shows I’ve ever watched. It’s literally a group of people who repair everything from furniture, clocks, toys, leatherwork, paintings, ceramics, and on and on. If I have a half hour to sit down and chillax, this is probably what I’m watching. My only gripe (NETFLIX!) is that I can only get two of the seasons. I went so far as to see if I could buy the other seasons on DVD from BBC and have them shipped over…. NOPE. Sigh.  

Dunkirk Poster

Movie: Dunkirk. If you’ve seen this movie, you probably know. It really is one of a kind and it was so well done. There are not many movies that I can say I’ve watched that have unsettled me quite like Dunkirk and despite only seeing it once while it was still in IMAX (even though I totally bought it when it came out), I still remember it like it was yesterday. The sheer lack of dialogue, the use of sound, and the way everything was put together just stuck with me. Absolutely one of the best and most memorable films I’ve ever seen.

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Place I’ve Been: Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland. I’ve been traveling as often as possible the last few years, so it’s difficult to pick a single favorite place that I’ve been. However, if there is a single place I’ve been so far that is more memorable than anywhere else, it is certainly Auschwitz. I went in 2018 and I remember the feeling of getting off that train and walking across town to the camp of my own volition. Being there is like feeling the energy and history of the place, of the horrifying things that happened. It’s such a strange dichotomy because in a lot of ways it’s almost peaceful there now. I don’t know if I’ll ever really have the right words to describe it, but it’s one of those experiences that will stick with me forever.

Until next time!

Birthday Ruminations

So… Happy Birthday to me!

On this day, twenty-one years ago my mom brought me into this world. Had she known what she was in for, maybe she would’ve changed her mind (I’m mostly kidding), though I’m glad she didn’t.

In the grand scheme of things, I usually don’t make a huge deal about my birthday, nor do I generally draw attention to it. I’m quite content to just have a simple get together with my family and friends and have that be that. However, 21 is considered by many to be such a milestone. Aside from being able to legally drink and buy alcohol and go to the casino, it’s when a lot of people really realize they’re really adults know and when other adults finally recognize us as adults.

I haven’t done a whole lot of thinking on being 21, or what it means I can do now, simply because I’m not one of those people who’s going to go crazy about it and party all the time and let it go to my head. I got all of that out of my system before college (hence the earlier changing her mind comment). What I am looking at this specific birthday as is basically the start to the rest of my life, or turning to a new page so to speak. I’ve done and seen a lot in my lifetime regardless of the fairly short span it’s run thus far and this year alone I’ve had to deal with a lot of shit (‘scuse my language). Over the past few years I’ve developed a much better understanding of who I am and what I want to do in life, and now is my chance to do what I have to to get that. So here’s to eye-opening birthdays!

Another Post Where I Promise to Be A Better Blogger

The past couple of weeks have been pretty crazy. Another year of school has ended, plus I have been making some future plans, which includes a pretty drastic change regarding school. I have decided to stop torturing myself by trying to take six classes a semester, working full time, doing volunteer work, plus all of the other stuff that comes along with life, and instead I’ll be doing an extra semester of undergrad – expensive, but I think my sanity is worth it.

The next two days are my first full days off in roughly a month, so I’m pretty excited to get rested up a bit. Plus, my mom and I are heading to Niantic on Friday to go to my favorite used book store, which as always has me jumping for joy.

Reading wise, I’m finally getting back on track to reading some of the books that I’ve been looking forward to over the past few months. I actually wrote up a list that I’d like to get through by the end of summer, another thing to be excited about.

In the next week or so, I’m planning to start (or restart) the following books:
Fiction-
Dream When You’re Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg
Suspect by Michael Robotham
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (I loved the movie so I figure it’s about time to go back and read the book)
Non-fiction-
Unprotected Texts by Jennifer Wright Knust

I’ve also decided to start reading The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James next week, though I’m probably going to go through that a bit differently than I normally would. I’m also thinking about doing a post before I start discussing the book about my own opinions regarding religion just so you can have a better idea of where I’m coming from and why I’ve chosen to pick up books about religion.

I’ve also got some book reviews coming up (for real this time, truly!) over the next week. And from here on out, I promise to try to be a better blogger. Really, I do.

Have any reads that you’re anticipating?

A Beautiful Day

Today the weather is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been waiting for a day like to today that I could actually enjoy.

A friend of mine kept talking about going to the park, and eventually talked me into changing my work schedule. So I took the afternoon off from work and we went to the park (above). We plopped down in the middle of the grass, in the sun, and we read. It was amazing to just lay in the grass with a book. She also showed me the bookmark she is using. The picture isn’t so great, but the fortune is pretty funny. It says, “Fortune said a palm can say a lot. Especially when it smacks.”

How did you enjoy your day?

Summer is So Close!

I’m at the point where summer is so close I can feel it! Wanna know how?

Today was the first day of finals here at UNH.

I can officially say, one final down… four to go.

Wanna know what else I can say?

One final paper down… three to go.

The paper I just turned in though, that’s the killer. My biggest project this semester was designing a full on psychological experiment, having it critiqued and tweaked, and researching and writing papers, and getting IRB certified, then DOING the experiment. Blood, sweat, and tears went into this project. Days of being awake for 40 hours at a time because I was up all night working on this damn project. And finally, gloriously, I just turned in my last paper that I ever have to write on the experiment. Damn, does it feel good!

Now, my mom is taking me out for Indian food, then I am going home to sleep after yet another night with only an hour of sleep.

Here’s to summer! =]

When Things Go Beyond Insane

So, I haven’t ranted here about the upcoming royal wedding, but honestly, its time.

Now, I know that ‘royal weddings’ don’t happen everyday, but a day has not gone by that I have not seen something online or on the news, or whatever about the royal wedding. No lie, there was a segment on the news the other day about the horses that will be ridden in the wedding. The horses. I have nothing against horses, or even weddings, but this is insane. What makes it even more insane? This.

Yes, my friends. That is the royal wedding pizza (made by Papa John’s).

Do we need a royal wedding pizza? Not really, but we also don’t need a commemorative sex toy “to celebrate the union of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales to Catherine Elizabeth Middleton on April 29th,” and there is one of those too.

Middle of the Night Laughs

During yet another break from homework I hit up the Google Reader and found this gem or “7 Super Nerdy Yo Mama Jokes.”

My at times juvenile sense of humor and personal geek factor led to much laughing at loud at this – especially the last of the seven.

Here is a little sample to give you a taste of whats in the post – most everyone should get it.

Okay, so I might have a juvenile sense of humor more often than I implied, but really though, what fun would life be without laughing from time to time?

In Which I Speak About Life Again…

I went to the library the other night to look for a couple of books. Exciting right? But here is what I really want to share about. While I was browsing the non-fiction section for one of these books I came across study guides for the GRE (grad school entrance exam’s for those who are unfamiliar). It seems that where ever I go my future is staring me in the face. While that may be a fact of life, it is only recently that I’ve realized exactly how quick life moves.

See, I turned twenty just over four months ago, and while twenty is quite young in the grand scheme of things, I still had this moment of, “Holy shit. I’ve been alive for two decades” when my birthday came around.

Right now I’m currently worrying about student loans for my last year of undergraduate study. I’m also watching the registration dates for the revised GRE move closer and closer and I think about how in March I’m going to be registering for them. I’m starting my last year at UNH at the end of this coming summer. I’m applying to grad school this coming fall. This time next year I’ll be starting my last semester of college and waiting to hear back from those grad schools. Surely you get the point by now. What I wonder is, where did the time go?

In addition to all of the realizations about my upcoming future, the other thing I’m realizing is, is that in a year and a half I’ll be preparing to move out of the house I’ve lived in my entire life, the state I’ve always called home. My mom, dad, step-mom, baby brothers, and grandparents will all still be here, but I’ll be moving away. And that’s pretty crazy, if I may say so myself.

I’m going to be applying to graduate schools with a psych/law Ph.D. program. The only thing is that there are not many of them. The ones that are in place, well they are located in the most random places across the country. The closest I’ll be to home, and of course this all depends, is Philadelphia. It’s really not that bad, Philly is a little over 200 miles away from my hometown and I’ve been there. I happen to like Philadelphia.

The other places there are psych/law programs (that I’m planning on applying to) are:

Illinois: I really like Illinois when I drove through there recently and friends who have been there assure me that I would like Chicago (where the university is).

Nebraska: I’ve never been to Nebraska, and truthfully, Nebraska stumps me… Anyone been there? Know anything about it?

Alabama: While I’m a bit weary about spending six years in Alabama, I’ve been assured that it’s not that bad by a family friend. Alabama does get points though because I’ve got family in Mississippi and Georgia, so I’m just a few hours away from family I don’t get to see all too often. Oh, did you know that stars fell on Alabama? (Sorry I couldn’t help myself with that one.)

Wyoming: Does it get much more random than Wyoming? However, a good friend of mine used to live there. According to her I would actually like Wyoming. However, a quick search shows that there is not a single 7/11 in the state (where do I get my Slurpees?!) and the closest Barnes & Noble I found is an hour away from the university. Hopefully there’s a decent independent store closer than that if I end up there. And a source of Slurpees…

Texas: While we all love a good ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ joke from time to time, that doesn’t mean I have to like the bigger temperatures in summer time.

Those are the places where I am likely to end up next year… I still think it’s crazy.

I keep reminding myself that grad school is something I am doing for me. I’m picking programs based on the best fit for myself for once (by best fit I mean academically, not location, obviously as I’m applying to schools in the south and I get cranky when the temperature is above 75). I’m not limiting myself so that I can be available to do stuff for other people all the time like I am now. My education is in my hands, it’s helping to better ready me for my future. That’s whats important. As long as I remember that, I’m good. Even if I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that my future, my life is coming at me far faster than I ever realized.

So, that’s whats been on my mind as of late. Have you noticed this speed of life thing?