The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 7 and 8

Week 7: Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

I got the year 2015. Hmmmm. Two years ago at this time I was in Boston with one of my favorite Scotland girls. We were there during one of the worst snow storms of that year, and we had an amazing trip. She was very supportive with all that was going on at CSUF, and she left our hostel room so that I could interview with my now supervisors. She kept telling me I had nothing to be nervous about, that I would be great during the interview, and then she took me out to celebrate on our last day in Beantown.

2015 was the year my life changed. It sucked. Parts of it were really hard, and really made me question everything that I was doing with my life. My depression was really bad, and there were a few days that were a struggle. I was able to see a really good therapist at the local community centre, and I know that she had a major hand in helping me get healthy.  My 28th birthday changed all of that. I jumped out of an airplane and got a job in Scotland.

2015 was the year the wombmate got pregnant, and tomorrow we will celebrate my muffin’s 1st birthday. I was lucky enough to get to be there for the birth and his first few days in the big bad world. In three days we will be reunited for mischief and mayhem.

Week 8: When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

I like to joke that I am not really an adult yet, but I am sure I am. I’m not really sure about the first time, but the day I bought my Ford Escape was definitely a day that qualifies as an adult day for me. When my cute little Civic was totaled, I had a rental car until I got the insurance money. When I took the rental car back to the dealership, my brother-in-law and I decided to wander around a bit. A man came out to help us, and when he started talking to my bro-in-law, and when I saw Estelle, I knew I wanted her. Through the process he talked to my bro-in-law like he was in charge, but I asked to see the engine, talked about the oil changes and maintenance, and any previous accidents. Eventually he figures out that I am in charge, and although he talks to me the way a dad would talk to his daughter, he was nice. I usually let my dad handle these things, but after a quick call to him to see how low I could go on the price, I went in and negotiated everything on my own. Again, they talked to my bro-in-law first, and since that made me a little mad, I just held fast to the price I was willing to pay and then I drove home in a car that served me well for a year, and is now in the care of a good family friend.

While it seems like a silly thing to make me feel like an adult, when my dad said I did alright when he saw the car for the first time, I knew I was golden. Next year when I pay off the first of my student loans will really make me feel like an adult.

I am now getting ready for the long trip to California and the last few days of my 20s.


The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 29 and 30

I am back to Scotland in three days.


I have my visa, some money to put into my bank account, and on Friday, I will ship some more of my boxes to my new address. The last two weeks have been a flurry of worry and trying to get everything squared away, packed, and ready for my return. I haven’t written anything, have barely looked at the work I need to do, and have skipped an awful lot of yoga.

That is why it is important to get back to the gratitude challenge and keep myself in positive thoughts. That way, when I make it home, I will get back to doing yoga, not eating cheese, and making headway with both my job and my dissertation.

Week 29 is all about my favorite memory. I have a lot of memories that qualify as favorites, but I think one that I really enjoy is one of my first trips to the hospital….at least that I remember. I was 7 or 8 and my mom, brother, sister, and I were in Palm Springs visiting my grandparents. When my parents got divorced, mom took us and my dad took the money, so my grandparents used to have us come down and they would treat us to a weekend of swimming and eating out and movies. On this trip, after a day of swimming, my ear hurt really bad. After a few hours I couldn’t take the pain anymore, so we went to the ER to try and figure out how to make the pain stop. While we were waiting to be seen by a doctor, I was worried about what was going to happen to me when they called me back. My  grandma assured me that everything would be fine. She said she would draw me a picture, and I was sure to love it. When she was done, she proudly held up the picture. It showed a very scared looking me bent over with my little butt in the air, and a doctor with a giant needle about to give me a shot. I cried when I saw it, and the first thing I asked the doctor when we went back was whether or not I was going to get a shot. The doctor did a lot of poking around in my ear, and after a little bit of digging, the doctor was able to get wax, and a lot of water out of my ear.

While this doesn’t seem like it should be a memory that I would love, it is one of the few that I can remember of my grandma. She was killed in a car crash a year later. It has been almost 20 years since that happened. I’ve spent more time without her than I did with her, so I hold dear any memory that involves her. When I tell that story to people who knew her, they always laugh and say “That sounds like Frannie alright. Always trying to make people laugh.”Although I wasn’t laughing then, I always laugh about it now. I know that if she was still alive, she would have drawn some possibly offensive pictures while I was getting expelled. It makes me smile to think about what she would have said during that time.

Week 30 is all about my favorite thing about my age. This is an easy one. I think 28 is a pretty great age. I’m old enough to be a proper adult, but young enough to still do crazy things like getting tattooed in Estonia and packing up and moving to Scotland to start my life as an official expat. I am really stoked about being 28 because it means I am that much closer to being 30. I’ve decided that by the time that I am 30 I am going to have my shit together. My best friend and I have a saying that I repeated over and over and over again in the last year: We just have to make it to 30.” My 30s are going to be the best years of my life, and I have still have two years to get everything in order and running smoothly. 28 is playing a big part in making that happen. I found out I got the job in Scotland on my 28th birthday, I jumped out of an airplane, had all kinds of adventures, and still have a lot of time left as a 28 year old. 28 will end with me being an aunt, so short of winning the lottery and being able to pay off all of my loans, I cannot see how it can get any better.

I know that it is technically almost the end of week 31, the week is not over so there is still time for me to stay up-to-date on the challenge. I’m also excited that I will finally be living up to the title of this blog and be writing abroad.

The Scamp’s Last Day of Her 26th Year

I did a post last year to mark the end of my 25th year. It was a lot of fun to write, and I was in a good place when I wrote it.

This year is a little bit different. I am feeling extremely stressed under the weight of three jobs, I have been staring at a paper for three hours and have barely managed to write two pages, and the only thing that I want to do tomorrow is sleep all day so I no longer feel bone dead tired.

Last year I felt good about where I was. I was in Scotland navigating the city, enjoying the adventure that came with living overseas, and built a very solid amazing group of friends. I was planning a day full of Mexican food with one of my favorite people, Skype chats with my friends and family at home, and a night full of karaoke at my favorite pub. A relationship I thought would last the next 70 years failed, but I was in therapy and focused on making myself a better person.

I was excited for 26, and excited for what that meant for me as one year older, and one year much much wiser.

This year I am looking forward to the end of my 26th year for a very different reason.

I’m not sure if 26 was a good year for me. There were a lot of good moments, I traveled around Scotland, wrote the best piece of writing in of my academic career, and graduated, started a doctoral degree and managed to get a teaching job, but for all of the good things that I accomplished, I made some missteps and had some hiccups. I left Scotland feeling really good about myself. I learned how to reach out for help when I needed it, reconnected with old friends and strengthened my bond with new friends, and I had a plan. I had a plan for how I was going to readjust to life in the US. I was going to take my great new attitude and be Kim 2.0, a newer, stronger, better version of the girl who packed all her stuff into four suitcases and spent almost a year living in my own created version of paradise.

I came home and threw all of that out the window. I buried myself in my dissertation and did not reach out to the people here who extended a branch of friendship, I had a hard time finding a job, and I quickly dwindled my savings. I let myself fall back into old Kim habits of negativity and insecurity, and I spent way way too much time in the negative. I have let my dedication to school slide, have not tried to find the good in each of my three jobs, and often let old insecurities cloud my new relationship. I still don’t have insurance, and while I have access to therapists through the school, so far, none of them seem like a good fit.

Basically, I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain I made with myself before I left the land of kilts and haggis.

27 is my chance to start over. Tomorrow I get a clean slate. Tomorrow, I get to start over one year older, and maybe not obviously wiser, but having learned a lot about what it means to make mistakes, admit you don’t know everything, and start working on going back to being the Kim 2.0 that I started to become in Scotland.

The best part of tomorrow is that I get to spend it with my family, and it is not over Skype. I still have a mountain of work to do and two jobs to go to, but at the end of all of that, I get to have dinner with my family, and have a few drinks with some of my friends. Even my students, who more often than not drive me crazy, made me a card, brought me balloons and chocolate, and did their best to respect me today.

My mom just brought me a bowl of ice cream and cookies in my favorite bunny bowl.

This may not have been how I pictured I would spend my last day as 26, but let me tell you, that ice cream went a long way to making it better. I have hours and hours before I sleep, and have 50 years of educational legislation to sort through, but I have a belly full of cookie dough ice cream, so suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.

As promised, tomorrow will be a fun post full of pictures of the last 26 years of birthdays….I’ve seen the pictures, trust me, they  will make you laugh.

A lot.