Thoughts

To my love

Oh, I’m sorry – did that ridiculous title throw you off? You mistakenly thought this post was a sappy letter to a significant other. Marketing tactics. Gotcha, you nosy web surfer. Rest assured though, I was not blatantly lying to you when I referred to coffee as my love.

The past two months, I have been busy working at a summer camp (hence the wholly lack of blog posts). The camp is so loveable, and one of my favorite places in the whole world. I am five days done with working there and still processing through the summer. And as amazing as this camp is, clearly they do not share the same respect for this savory beverage of the gods (coffee, if you are not paying attention). There is no worse transition than going from freshly ground french press every morning to low quality, mass-produced coffee, which is then frozen, shipped, unfrozen, and served.

To do camp coffee justice, it did provide me with adequate caffeine sustenance. I’m enough of an addict to respect it in that way. However, it wasn’t until I was unable to brew my own coffee that I realized how  important the process of making the coffee is, to the actual consumption of it.

Every morning at school, I stumble out of bed and, still half asleep, grind beans and fill my french press with steaming hot water. I slowly go from sleeping to awake as the warm aroma fills the room. When the time comes to filter through the steeping beans, I am conscious enough to smile as I slowly press down and watch the pot separate itself. It is only after this five minute long process that I consume the drink.

To me, the process is equal to the product. Now, this may be an overly caffeinated me speaking (I blame the latte I am currently drinking) – but this brewing of coffee process is becoming an elaborate metaphor for my daily life. I can do well in all my classes, but the process of learning is just as important. I can succeed in a career, but it is the journey I take to get from point A to point B that molds me as a person.

I don’t want to live a life solely informed by the pressure to arrive somewhere. Because, chances are, I will not ever get there. I fully expect to be blindsided, surprised, and unprepared. But that’s where I learn.  I want to live abundantly as a person, not as a product of my decisions, the culture, and circumstances.

DISCLAIMER: I am an addict and I fully acknowledge that. But before you call me out for it, understand that I could possibly have an addictive personality – therefore coffee is the best of my options.

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Lists

This May or May not be the best month of year

See what I did there in the title? Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

I’ve always been one to pick favorites. Food? Croissants. TV Show? Arrested Development. Season? Spring. And out of the 12 months, May has always been my favorite. When I think of May, I think of happiness, nice weather, bonfires, rocking shorts with my pasty legs that haven’t seen the sun all winter. You get the idea. I love May.

More specifically, I love May because:

 1. Justin Timberlake
And don’t even try to tell me you aren’t glad you found yet another reason to stare at JT’s beautiful face and listen to his angelic voice. Even if he was an awkward 90’s kid. We all were so none of us have an inch of wiggle room here.

2. May is the first month of summer vacation.
This reason was invalid for highschooler-me, but college-me soaks up every moment of sleeping in until 12 and not having papers to write, or exams to study for. On top of that, this also means going on coffee dates with my favorite people. As if I need excuses to drink more coffee. I’ve had the pleasure of taking pictures for this babe’s style blog.

Shameless plug for one of my best friends – she’s hilarious, she’s cute, and dang that woman’s got some style.

I’ve also had the pleasure of snuggling with this goober everyday.

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I didn’t snuggle with this beast though. This is my parent’s pig. Thanks in advance for the bacon I’ll eat over Christmas break, Miss Piggy! (Sorry to all the vegetarians reading this. Glass houses, glass houses.)

3. May is one giant celebration.
5/5: Cinco de Mayo. As if we Americans need a better excuse to gorge ourselves with Mexican food. I went to Chili’s, because there’s not a lot of authenticity around here. In lieu of yesterday’s festivities, I recommend this video. Jimmy Kimmel, you’ve outdone yourself.
5/12: Mother’s Day. My mom rocks. Your mom rocks. Moms in general just rock. Need I say more?
5/15: National Sea Monkey Day. Tell me you’ve never been fascinated/mesmerized by these intriguing little creatures. That’s right, you can’t. Because they are truly fascinating/mesmerizing. I will be spending the next week and a half purchasing/raising/nurturing these little guys, only to celebrate them on the 15th.

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Speaking as a completely third party objective with absolutely no personal interest in the matter, the un-conceived sea monkeys featured in this picture did not survive. RIP Buddies.

 4. May paves the way for summer.
My summers consist of working at the most incredible camp ever (another shameless plug). Camp is my second home, and the staff is my second family. I live 10 months out of the year counting down for the 2 I get to spend with them. I get to go back there at the end of the month, and I can’t wait. What a gross understatement.
486568_10151112763868554_1445808809_nBONUS: If you care to know, my favorite day of my favorite month is the 30th.
Why? Because it marks the 20 year anniversary of me. The whole month of May leads up to my birthday, and then BANG, it’s a new year (for me) and officially summer. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect time in history to have been born’d. This time around I’ll be heading into my third decade of life. Hold on, I think I just found a gray hair…

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Some things never change. And what I would do to have those sunglasses back again.

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Confessions

Anchorman, A Bad Case of Nostalgia, and Being Half-Way Old

I’m sitting in my all-packed-up dorm room eating some once frozen fro-yo, and listening to the 20/20 Experience. Usually I’m not this nostalgic by nature, but it’s the last night of the semester, and I would do just about anything to not study for my last exam. Oddly enough, this blog was the first topic of discussion my poor, almost-turned-to-jello brain desired to entertain. I just don’t have control of these things.

I realize that it’s rather ironic, because, from an outsider’s perspective, it appears that I have entirely forgotten about this feeble attempt at blogging. The truth is, I pretty much have. Until now. My last post was 85 days ago. That’s terrible. I can just feel all of your disappointed eyes glaring into my soul right now. Let me just direct your attention to the title of this blog. Me – 1. You – 0.

All disclaimers aside, and on a completely unrelated side-note, tomorrow marks the halfway point of my college career.

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Yeah, that’s right. I’ll be a junior, and to just overload that already loaded statement, in 36 short days I’ll be leaving the teens forever. I’m in a state of denial about these things. If we were being completely transparent, I’d tell you that I’m considering telling people I’m a sophomore still; luckily we’re not being transparent, so you’ll never know I’m entertaining the possibility. We can only hope that I’ll learn to come to grips with my age before my 40’s. And what a midlife crisis that will be.

Last night, a friend and I were showing each other pictures of our high school selves. We all (yourself included) thought we were the stuff in high school. And then we hit this mid-college crisis and realize how actually not-the-stuff we actually were. Four more years from now, and I’m sure I’ll feel the exact same way about this moment.

Stay with me as I get super sappy for a moment. The past two years have been incredible. It’s almost too hard for me to remember a time before coming to college, and it’s even harder for me to image a time that I won’t be a student. When people ask me what I want to do after graduation (please, for the love of all things loveable, don’t ever ask me that), I half-jokingly tell them I’ll just keep getting higher and higher in the education system until I figure out what I want to do or reach the top. But maybe that’s all I want to do.

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What’s even more ironic, is that 2 years from now, I’ll read this blog post, laugh, and show my friends. We’ll talk about how silly almost-junior Eléna was, and how we’re glad that she (wait, why am I talking in third person?) doesn’t write stupid blog posts like that anymore. But in this moment of courage, I will post this anyway. I’ve had a lot of caffeine today so I’ve had a remarkable amount of a courageous moments. What’s one more? Even if you didn’t read the actual content of this, or are as afraid of emotions as I am, I’m sure that you were hooked in by the Anchorman GIFs.

And for that reason, I’ll leave you with one more Anchorman GIF and a shameless plug. Would you like fries with that?

#1 REASON WHY YOU SHOULD READ/SUBSCRIBE MY BLOG:
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Story Time

One Reason Why You Shouldn’t Let A 15 Year Old Go To London

I was just barely 15 when I had the incredible opportunity to spend a month in London. I stayed in a small flat with Sarah and Stuart, my parents wonderful, gracious, and hospitable friends. After a few days of intensive “how-to-sucessfully-maneuver-public-transportation” training, I was released into the city on my own. The morning of my first lone day in the city, I woke up excited. I did not know exactly what kind of excitement was in store for me, however.

“I’m in London, baby!” I exclaimed, as I checked my bag once more to make sure I had my trusty tourist map book (at the risk of sounding old, this was before the days that smart phones became commodities). I stepped out into the dreary, but typical-of-London, day, feeling invincible. The whole world was at my feet. I spent the day meandering around, window shopping, double-decker bus riding, and basically just livin’ the life. The day passed quickly; before long, the sun was setting, and it was time to go home. The bus I need to take was the 225 — which I still know five years later, because I had been exceptionally anal about remembering it. I confidently walked to the bus stop, musing to myself at my successful first day alone in London. In my mind I was practically a native. All I had left to do was master the accent.

Without even having to read the destination on the front, I boarded the massive red double-decker, contented and a bit too reflective. Such blithe and happy thoughts so filled my mind that  I rode the bus for an hour and a half before I realized that I wasn’t recognizing any of the names of the stops. There was no recognizable landmarks, which was unfortunate because until this night, I based my navigation tactics around them entirely. The bus pulled up to the curb. I stood up, took a very deep breath, and stepped onto the poorly lit city street. I didn’t know where on God’s green earth I was, so I pulled out my maps, and my worst fears were confirmed: I had been traveling in the exact opposite direction.

This foreign land was nothing like the beautiful London I had been exploring all day. It was dark, and run down. I stood there, alone, thinking this was the worst this already-out-of-hand situation could be. However, it seemed like only a minor hiccup in comparison to the realization that there was no reverse direction bus stop directly across the street. (In hindsight, it could have been worse. I could have peed my pants out of fear, in addition to all of this.) I called Sarah to ask her to tell my parents not to miss me too much, that my sister can have all my clothes … just kidding. I actually called her, and let her know I wouldn’t be home for a little while longer. The thought of death had yet to cross my mind. I flipped the phone shut. I watched the backlight dim after a few seconds, and then turn off completely. What a beautiful and tragic metaphor of my life.

I crossed the street and began playing the treacherous game of hide-and-seek with that spiteful bus stop. The street I turned onto was long and straight, so I could see down it for quite some way; There was no illuminated public transport sign anywhere in sight. Somehow (although it really shouldn’t surprise you by now), in the midst of this search, I became even more hopelessly lost – as I now did not even know where the original bus stop was.

I frantically began to flip through the maps, as if a GPS signal would magically appear in my exact location. My heart began to speed up, and the alley ways seemed to be pressing in closer and closer, wanting to swallow me up forever. On the bright side, I like to think that I would have made a delicious meal. In a haze, I sat down on a bench along the street. The hour hand on Big Ben was steadily ticking towards twelve, and I still had no way of finding my way back home.

Then suddenly, a (dreamy…) British accent broke the silence, asking if I was lost. I forced my eyes to open, and looked up at the owner of this voice. He was probably in his late twenties, with light hair and a scruffy face. He was tall, and wore a vibrantly colored pair of Nikes. On his face, he wore a friendly smile.

He pointed to my map book that I had thrown down out of frustration onto the bench beside me. “Are you lost?” he said again before I was able to muster up a nod. I tried to explain my situation, while fighting the overwhelming urge not to burst into tears right there. He cracked a smile as he asked if I would like for him to show me to the bus station. Despite what my mother had taught me about trusting strangers, I realized that either way, I was lost in London at night. I had already come to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn’t make it out of this night alive, so I nodded, accepting his help.

We walked in silence for about a block before he inquired after what I was doing here. I briefly explained to him my idiocy, and he laughed. “When I saw you sitting alone on that bench,” he admitted, “I knew that you weren’t supposed to be here.” Dang-straight, sir.

We turned the corner and my heart skipped a beat when I saw the bus stop. I closed my eyes, pinched my arm as hard as I could, and opened my eyes again. It was real! I began gushing “thank you’s,” and “are-you-really-a-human-because-I’m-convinced-you’re-an-angel-God-sent-to-save-my-life’s”.

“Like I said,” he responded unfazed by my overabundance of words, “you weren’t supposed to be here.”

That sweet stranger waited with me until the 225 (it was traveling in the right direction this time – I checked) bus pulled up to the curb. We shook hands, and I thanked him one last time. I made it back home that night … and by that, I mean early morning.

And that is, my friends, the #1 reason why you don’t let your 15 year old go to London.

(Disclaimer: this is the only reason. I had a phenomenal, life changing experience. Despite the near death experiences, the pros still outweigh the cons. Everyone should travel abroad on their own.)

One of the highlights of my trip was getting to go to Platform 9 3/4.

Platform 9 3/4! A highlight of my trip.

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Story Time

A Blogging Flirt

A letter to this blog, and to you: throughout the past two years I’ve continually wrestled with the idea of blogging. I tried to start a handful, however maintaining them proved to be an impossible task. I didn’t write much beyond the first time, and if we’re being honest with each other, I didn’t ever tell anyone about them. (I did post this exact same thing on my last blog, a year ago, or something. But starting over gives the impression that I actually have a shot at this.) I didn’t post them on Facebook, I didn’t tweet about them. Heck, I didn’t even email a link to my grandmother even though I know she would read it. If I’m lucky, maybe she’ll  email the link to her friends. But let’s not get too ambitious. My poor heart is completely torn, trying to find a solution to this dilemma. I sit here trying to figure out why I haven’t being able to persevere in the trek that makes a blog. Is it that I am afraid that my thoughts and stories are not good enough for the internet? Am I embarrassed by it? Could it be the fear that nobody will read it? (But seriously. You should read this.) After a very intrusive reflection of my soul, I have successfully concluded why I am trembling in my boots to post you to the world.

Flashback to middle school. Xanga was the bee’s knees at the time. 12 year old Eléna, being the hip middle schooler that she was, was an avid user of the site. It was the place that she documented every meaningless detail of her life as well as tried incredibly hard to sound like a philosopher. It’s bad enough being a twelve year old; it’s worse that the world wide web has records of this. It’s true, I had a Xanga.

Scratch that. I still have a Xanga account. I would have deleted it by now, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember what that password is. Until my subconscious reminds me of what seventh-grade me would have had as a password, it will remain the internet’s. (Really though, do I want to know what that password was? In terms of embarrassing, that might take the cake.) The things I wrote are mortifying. If I ever run for public office and somebody finds those, I am certain I would not be elected.

My heart wants me to blog, but my mind is ever plagued by my preteen online diaries.

Maybe I’ll tweet about this blog post, or email it to my granny; maybe other people will read it. Even after writing (and rewriting), posting (and reposting), I have internally concluded nothing. I am a sophomore in college, and terrified that when I am 60, I will look back at this and be ashamed. Granted, there is no chance that my thoughts will be as absurd as they were in middle school, but the idea is enough to make me think twice about it.

But this is it. I’m not flirting with the idea any more. Today, it is becoming a reality. Hopefully I don’t chicken out in the two minutes it will take for me to tweet about this.

The bottom line is that I still have many, many adventures still to go on. I have thoughts to contribute, and questions to ask. There are ideas waiting to be developed through continual writing and processing. Writing is vulnerable, and it is real. Perhaps as I walk through life, I’ll continue to share my heart and experiences with you, whoever you are. If I don’t, at least I know that I have self-motivated myself to contact Xanga Customer Service, and see what they can do to help me out.

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to blog, or not to blog?

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