The Scamp’s 30 Thoughts Before She Turns 31

In about an hour I will turn 31 (Let’s be honest, by the time I finish this post because I stop and start a lot when I am writing).  I have no idea where my 30th year went, but turns out it is almost done.

I’ve been in a very reflective mood lately as I start to prepare for the analysis chapter of my thesis (ladies and gentledudes, I have 40 THOUSAND words written so far!!!!!! I’m about 20k or so away from the minimum word count, so I am a happy happy girl) and I realised that I am finally looking at the light at the end of my educational tunnel. I’m a little freaked out by that since I have been a student since I was 18.

So, while my mind wandered, these were the 30 things that I have reflected on while I am waiting for the stroke of midnight.

30. I can survive a snowstorm. The key to surviving a snowstorm in Scotland is making sure I buy a lot of milk and loaves of bread. I survived 5 days of snow by drinking a lot of tea and writing over 8,000 words for my results chapter (and I was wearing my comfy Rudolph the red nosed Reindeer slippers and fleece pjs). That being said…it is almost springtime, so the Siberian weather better chill the fuck down.

29. Birthday cards are better when they sing to you. My mom sent me a birthday card that is a little beach in a bottle and it sings when you pop the cork. It makes me laugh.

28. I am a cranky Yenta in public. I cannot stand rude people, and as I get older, I have a harder time not yelling at people.

27. I need to get serious about my diet. I’m not fat, not even overweight, but I am so used to seeing myself super skinny, that right now I feel a little pudgier and a little less yoga goddess. I want to go back to the yoga goddess.

26. $7.99 press on sticker manicures give me life. Impress are my favourite (https://www.superdrug.com/Kiss/Kiss-Impress-Gel-Fake-Nails—Swept-Away/p/740254)

25. I run like Pheobe

 

24. 4 jobs are too many.

23. UKVI hates me. Visa nightmares, a million rules, and so many forms to fill out.

22. I can survive Albania.

21. It is okay to let go of friendships that I thought were supposed to last forever. I spent a lot of time being really upset about losing a friend I had since high school. She, on the other hand, never gave it a second thought. Meanwhile, I neglected friendships with people that actually love and care about me (sorry, you know who you are).

20. Slow cookers are not the enemy (okay, this one took me two years to learn….and the heterolifemate was the one that did the cooking)

19. My Spanish is not as good as I thought (and my language students do not let me forget it).

18. Missing the birth of my nephew was a lot harder on me than I thought it would be. I wish I had just accepted the trip home and been there for his birth. It’s been seven months and I still have not gotten to meet him. I worry that he is going to grow up not knowing who I am.

17. Struggling with mental health does not make me a bad person, it just makes me a person.

16. Following that, I think it is time to step back from social media and stop focusing on other peoples’ idea of happiness.

15. Not wanting to have kids does not make me a bad person. It also doesn’t mean I don’t like kids. I love them. I just love that I can give them back at the end of the day.

14. I have to let go of Cal State Fullerton. It happened. It sucked. But it was three years ago. I made a couple of really good friends there, but my life is so much better here in this space.

13. My parents moving out of the house I grew up in doesn’t mean I don’t have a place in their life. My mom is talking about cleaning out my room and selling my furniture, the furniture I bought when I went to uni, and I had a hard time with it. For a while, I looked at that room as my only connection to them, and the only space I had left in their life. But part of my choice to make my life 6,000 miles away from them means that I am a visitor when I am there and not a roommate.

12. It is perfectly acceptable to have my mother mail me American peanut butter.

11. Not wearing shoes that I love because I’m afraid they will get dirty is ridiculous. That being said, I have a pair of Vans with tacos on them that have never been worn. Ditto for a white pair that has flamingos and black slip ons with flamingos.

10. My loans will eventually get paid off….and until then I will make do being skint.

9. Statistics are not scary. I am not in a rush to more research with them, but they are not the terrible beast I thought they were.

8. I would rather follow French bulldogs on IG than real people. I am way more emotionally invested in puppies the lives of puppies I have never met (and never will for that matter) than I am in most people I know (well, their social media profiles anyway).

7.  I like to set unrealistic goals(and then get really mad when I don’t achieve them).

6. My wanderlust list keeps growing.

5. I’m terrified I won’t find a job in the next few months.

4. I don’t think I can actually give up chocolate (I was doing really really well for a bit, but fell off the wagon recently)

3. Drag queens are the cure for what ails me.

2. The mother of all drag queens taught me:

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  1. I am a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.

 

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The Scamp’s Last Day of Her 28th Year

Tomorrow (Well, today in Scotland and Australia) I turn 29. The last year of my 20s. The year before I become a real adult. The year I finally get my shit together.

This time last year I had just found out that I had been awarded the position in Scotland, I was getting ready to jump out of an airplane, and I was finally starting to see some hope for my future. Let’s face it, 27 was a really shitty year. The upside of hitting rock bottom though is that you have nowhere to go but up.

28 was a pretty darn good year. I jumped out of a plane, I moved back home to Scotland, started my PhD, reconnected with some of my best friends, made some pretty incredible new friends, and spent more of the year than not really loving life. I got to visit Spain and Portugal, went to England, and got to return to Ireland. I laughed more than I cried, cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner, and finally moved into my own place after two years of living with my parents. I learned the delicate art of negotiating bus timetables, worked on improving my Spanish, and pushed forward as an academic.

Today I started the day with waffles and puppy love by the beach. I got to snark with truly one of the greatest women I know, and the walk along the beach was just long enough for my face to get sunburned. I then spent the rest of the day with my nephew. He’s perfect. I cannot gush enough about this little guy. He let me feed him without a fuss, he slept solidly for a few hours and let his parents get some sleep, and he went for a walk in the sunshine without much of a complaint. I left them before the next feeding and enjoyed a big piece of chocolate birthday cake (I am an adult after all).

I’m looking forward to all of the things that 29 has to offer. I’ve decided that I would like to do 30 new things before I turn 30. I want to make sure that I stay out of the dark and twisty as much as possible. I want to make great strides with my PhD. I want to be a better friend, and a better girlfriend. I want to see some more of the world. Luckily I have 365 days to make these things happen.

 

 

Mama Scamp’s Birthday

Today is Mama Scamp’s birthday!

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She started out as a curious little tyke with the crazy bowl cut.

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She was a crazy dare devil growing up, having broken most of her bones at one point in time. She played baseball, basketball, and has had the same exact smile since she was a little kid. Everyone who knew my grandma will see a lot of her in my mom.

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My mommy has always been a hottie. I’m not sure how she managed to skip over the awkward stage that most of us have (or in my case, am still having), but she did.

She is definitely my favorite person. No matter what I do, she supports me 100%. She paid for my first degree, has helped me move to and from countless apartments, and has done her best to help me whenever I ask. She has yet to complain that I am moving back to Scotland in 60 days.

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She really is the only one who gets me. We laugh at things no one thinks are funny, we can spend hours watching cat videos, and she supports all of my crazy ideas for back-up careers.

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She lost her mom  20 years ago and I think that made her work extra hard to make sure that all of us kids were taken care of. We know we can always come home, always call her for help, and count on her to do something to make us laugh. She spoils us rotten (but I am totally okay with that).

She is my best friend and favorite person. I pity people who do not have a mom as awesome as mine.

The Scamp Jumps

I turned 28 by jumping out of an airplane. It is one of the most thrilling, and stupid things that I have ever done.

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I signed away my entire life, and talked my dad into doing the same thing. I am really not sure why I wanted to jump out of a plane, other than the fact that it was as close to an adventure as I could get right now. I wanted to know how it would feel to fly. My mom and brother trooped out to the lovely little city (extreme sarcasm) of Perris, and after a two hour wait, it was time to fly.

10153956_10152529105021887_296670051940434955_n       11043095_10152529105011887_7374178135583596849_nAfter getting suited up, taping a pre-jump interview, an awesome flight suit, and some safety instructions, it was time to board the plane. I was lucky enough to get the good looking Brad. He was a great guy. He laughed, joked, and made sure that I was entirely comfortable the whole time. If I did not have my heart set on getting out of the US as fast as possible, I would have flirted with him a lot more….well, more than sitting in his lap and holding on to him while he got our parachute untangled.

I have no words for how incredible it was to jump out of the plane. It wasn’t the stomach dropping excitement of being on a roller coaster, or the scary feeling you get when an airplane dips while flying, but it is an incredible rush. You forget to breathe, forget to be afraid, forget that you are even hurling toward the earth.  I loved the free fall. I’m not sure my dad felt the same way.

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The adorable Brad let me steer the parachute, we played merry-go-round with the cameraman, and practiced some crazy turns that left me feeling really a bit sick. I did not land gracefully. Brad ended up on top of me, and I managed to get myself tangled in the parachute, but it was worth it. A funny thing happened to me when I landed. All of the adrenaline finally left my body, and I got a bit sick. I didn’t know if I should puke or pass out, and I very well almost did both.

Not sexy.

Brad was great about it, and once I was free of the jumpsuit, I found a nice spot on the grass to lay down for a bit. I got a shirt, video, and pictures to mark the day. I plan on taking the picture they printed out for me to Scotland to hang on my wall.

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I finished off the day with a dinner with the wombmate and her friends. While it was not really how I wanted to spend my birthday, it was fun, and she enjoyed herself.

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28 is starting off with a bang. Now I have three months to find a flat and figure out how to ship my stuff to Scotland. Where is the apartment fairy when you need her?

The Scamp’s Last Day of Her 27th Year

I’m going to go on record and say 27 has by far been the worst year of my life. I think I cried 300 of the 365 days since my last birthday, and I am not sad that it has come to an end. I spent the day avoiding work and judging a speech and debate tournament at the community college. It was not the most exciting day, but it was not a bad day.

Normally I would list all of the horrible things that happened to me while I was 27, but instead, I am going to choose this moment to do Week 10 of the Gratitude Challenge. It is a much better use of my time. The challenge for this week is to list 5 things that I like about myself. I’m not completely sure I can think of 5 things that go beyond the superficial, but I am going to give it a shot.

1. I like that I have found a way to make my students enjoy grammar. Last semester it was touch and go, but with a little humor (and some cat videos) I have managed to really get the concepts through to my students. They give me the courtesy laugh when my jokes are corny, and a few of them actually ask questions during the lectures.

2. I like that I can read trashy detective novels and watch bad reality TV without actually losing brain cells. I watch a lot of reality TV when I am stressed, and the last year has been extremely stressful. Despite all of that, I still feel like I have a good amount of intelligence left.

3. On the superficial level, I really like my nose. When I was younger, I thought my nose was huge. I thought that it was long and gave me a horrible profile. Turns out, my refusal to pose normally is what gives me a horrible profile.

4. I like my sense of adventure. For the past two years I have been trying to figure out why I wasn’t content to just stay in one place in the same routine. My gypsy soul has taken me to some crazy places, and allowed me to meet so many amazing people. I love traveling, and have been very fortunate lately to go all over the globe. The sense of adventure, and the constant traveling has taught me how to plan, how to be more curious, and how to be a more patient person. I used to get frustrated when I got lost, or when things did not go as planned. I would cry a lot over it. Now, I am a lot more easy going, and a lot more willing to go with the flow if there is traffic, delays, and even if I get lost.

5. I like my fortitude and perseverance. As much as this sucked (thanks to the break-up, getting kicked out of grad school, being bullied), I did not give up. I took the abuse and harassment from the program for almost a year. I was willing to stick it out to get the dumb degree and go back overseas. I tried to fight the good fight, I did not compromise my values for them. I did a lot of yoga, watched a lot of kitty and puppy videos, and shed a lot of tears in the process, but I never quit. Although they ended up winning that battle, I won the war. I am mostly emotionally intact, and I am happy to say that I am moving on to bigger and most certainly better.

I am happy to announce that starting at the end of June, I will officially be an expat again. I secured a position at a university in Edinburgh that will allow me to earn a PhD, and do some very important research. The position is fully funded, and provides a stipend that will help offset living expenses. This position could not be more perfect for me. I’m so glad that the supervisors of the project felt the same way. To them I am not a racist who plagiarized for academic gain, to them I am a capable woman with excellent research and communication skills. To them, I am the perfect member of their team, and someone that is going to help shape their research.

This position is a fresh start. I get to move back to Scotland. This is the happiest that I have felt in a really long time.

Securing this position is a pretty darn good way to end the worst year of my life.

 

The Scamp and a Birthday

Today is Mama Scamp’s birthday!

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She started out as a curious little tyke with the crazy bowl cut.

 

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She was a crazy dare devil growing up, having broken most of her bones at one point in time. She played baseball, basketball, and has had the same exact smile since she was a little kid. Everyone who knew my grandma will see a lot of her in my mom.

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My mommy has always been a hottie. I’m not sure how she managed to skip over the awkward stage that most of us have (or in my case, am still having).

She is definitely my favorite person. No matter what I do, she supports me 100%. She paid for my first degree, has helped me move to and from countless apartments, and has done her best to help me whenever I ask. She has currently given up her office so that I have a place to study and lets me live at home rent free so that I can pay off my debt from Scotland.

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She really is the only one who gets me. We laugh at things no one thinks are funny, we can spend hours watching cat videos, and she supports all of my crazy ideas for back-up careers.

 

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She lost her mom over 20 years ago and I think that made her work extra hard to make sure that all of us kids were taken care of. We know we can always come home, always call her for help, and count on her to do something to make us laugh. She spoils us rotten (but I am totally okay with that).

She is my best friend and favorite person. I pity people who do not have a mom as awesome as mine.