The Scamp Meets a Milestone

If anything ever summed up the way I feel right now, it is this photo.

Today I have officially graduated from Edinburgh Napier with a PhD in Educational Assessment. I’m a doctor now. Dr Kimberly Davis.

I’ve thought about this day for a long time. This is my second attempt at a PhD (well, the first one was an attempt at an EdD, so not quite the same). I always thought that I would feel different once I was done. I thought I’d feel more grown up or more serious, but I’m currently wearing leopard print yoga pants and eating a cupcake, so I guess things have not changed.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so incredibly happy and relieved to be done. I am so glad that I don’t have to deal with Napier anymore and that I don’t have this extra stress hanging over my head. This means I can focus on my actual job, I can write for fun, and I can actually focus on getting healthy again. I am splurging on a meal plan and PT for the next couple of months so I can have my butt kicked and eat actual well balanced meals. While all this is good, and moving in the right direction, I really wanted to feel different.

I know that this is not an uncommon feeling. I know that it is even harder to really feel something when the hand-in was a PDF emailed to the research office and graduation was an email and cupcake. I didn’t really celebrate after the viva because I was ill and the experience was so awful, and the pandemic is keeping me from really being able to celebrate now, which I think will go a long way in being able to close this chapter of my life.

I have had the question of ‘What’s next?’ a couple of times, and to be honest, there is no next. I’ve been a student since I was 6 years old (with a year off between the MA and the MSc) and I am ready to not be a student. I’m ready to not have to juggle fourteen plates whilst hula hooping over a fire pit. I want to feel normal. I want to sleep in on weekends, and I want to start a hobby.

I’m also really looking forward to being a good friend again. I want to go out when the rules lift and meet people and do fun things. I want to help and support all of the people that spent the last five years supporting me. We got the tentative date of pubs being open on the 15th of July, and that might also be a tentative date when we can travel within the UK again, and you best believe I’m getting my doctor butt on train and going on an adventure.

If anyone wants to read the thesis, it is 221 pages of pure assessment and feedback fun.

Okay, if anyone is having trouble sleeping during the pandemic, my thesis is 221 pages of proven sleeping tonic. It’s even more fun when you have Microsoft Word read it out loud to you in one of the three preset slightly robotic voices.

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 (—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:

Image result for rupaul if you can't love yourself

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





The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 52

I felt that it was fitting to write the last post of the challenge on the last day of the year. It’s cold and rainy here, and I am going to hide in my pjs until it is time to brave the city and meet some girls for a night on the town. A few weeks ago I was dreading New Years. With most of my friends out of town or busy with other plans, I was banking on spending the night locked away in my place with bad TV and perpetual loneliness. I’m not that great at making or maintaining friendships, but joined a meet-up group full of amazing girls and when one of them mentioned wanting to make plans for New Years, I thought I would do the opposite of my natural instinct and join in the plans. So, now, I have a date with 6 cool chicks and a pub that is well situated to see the fireworks and enjoy a night in town without actually being in the craziness of town.

While I would usually be less than thrilled about going out, I am actually looking forward to this and meeting these girls. I’m very happy to leave 2016 behind and start fresh in 2017.

So, the writing challenge for the week….this one is a hard one. It is dedicated to the ways in which I am making the world a better place. I have been thinking about this all week, and to be honest, I am not sure I am making the world a better place, but…..and it is a big but (because I like big buts and I cannot lie)

I don’t think I am making the world a better place yet, but I am surrounded by amazing people that are definitely making the world a better place and like attracts like, right? So that means that I can’t be all that far off from doing some real good in the world. I am working on finishing my thesis, working on making new friends and becoming a better me before I can really add some serious value to the world.

I’m optimistic though. I’d like to think that the research I am doing, and the paper that I am currently working on will help universities that are interested in changing the way they give feedback, and I think that as I become a healthier and better person then I will really start to make a positive impact in the world.

Plus, I still have my literacy foundation to get up and running, so there is great great potential for me to do good things. So, I wish you all a wonderful 2017, and thank you for the support, love and friendship that you all provided in the last year as I swung in and out of the dark and twisty, as I struggled with the boy, with my job, and people around me. I want to thank you for all the love and support and kind words when things went well for me and I had cause for celebration. Tomorrow I am going to hunt up a new writing challenge for the year because I’ve found that I quite like doing them, and spend 2017 trying to do lots of things that will make me and the world a better place.



The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 46

Today I am thankful for the cold weather. I bruise really easily and for the last few weeks I have been trying to do yoga on a regular basis and for some reason think that I can do any pose out there. I’ve been balancing on my arms, using my knees, and falling. A lot of falling. Because of that, I am covered in bruises. My knees have it the worst. Very purple and ugly….they also happen to look like I spent some time on my knees on a hard surface (don’t worry mom, I’m as pure as the driven snow). Luckily it is so cold here that I have to stay well bundled up. No one sees these knees but me (and probably my neighbors if I wear shorter yoga pants and forget to close my curtains). I am almost done with the medication I am being weaned off of, and minus a few headaches and being tired, I am happy to report that most things in the land of Kim are progressing quite nicely.

But, to the task at hand. I know last week I was not really in a good mood about the election, and I have to say, that has not changed, but I am choosing to keep moving forward and stay off of Facebook as much as possible since it all seems to be a bit daft and people still haven’t figured out that there are some real issues that need to be addressed but that the media is going to make it difficult for anything to happen in a civil way. This week the writing challenge is to write a letter to my future self.

So, here goes:

Dear Kimberly,

I hope by this time in your career people have figured out how you spell your name in the UK. You can be Kim, but Kimberly might eventually have a more academic ring to it. Hopefully you have learned to stop getting annoyed when people spell it wrong when there are so many people in this world whose parents gave them impossible to spell names and yours can easily be shortened. In the grand scheme of things, an extra e isn’t really that big of a deal.

I hope that you learned to stop worrying about money. The loan will get paid and you will not regret any of those trips that you took, or the parts of the world you got to see. You will learn more about yourself and about people then you could ever learn being in one place all the time. I hope you have learned to see all of those adventures as investments in yourself and little bits and bobs that come together to make you a better person. All that hemming and hawing you do now about money is making your head hurt and not doing you any good.

Your stubborn ass better still be in therapy, even if it is just every so often to do general maintenance. Don’t you dare do that thing you did when you were younger and assumed that once it started to work and you felt better that you didn’t need to go anymore. That’s stupid and we both know it. You need to get a handle on some very deep seeded issues, but you also have a brain chemistry that needs a little extra help to stay balanced. Don’t put aside that process when you know you need it.

Keep pushing for the literacy programme, especially if you haven’t gotten it up and running yet. You know the value of it, and know what a difference being able to read can make for people. You want to make the world a better place, and the way to do that is give people the power to educate themselves and be involved in processes that effect them. The goal is not to teach people only English, so you aren’t just trying to make people fit a prepackaged idea of literacy, and whether everyone understands that or not is not your concern. You just need to focus on the people that you want to help and the best ways to do that. Also, you better still be sending books to Muffin.

I hope that you have figured out how to let go of toxic relationships and have faith in the bonds you have. You were surrounded by some really amazing people, and although small in number, they are the ones that matter, not the other ones. Stop trying to change the minds of people who don’t like you because in the great words of RuPaul: “What other people think of you is not your concern”. The ones that matter, the ones that are probably still in your life, those are the ones who know you, those are the ones who care, and the ones you should focus your love and attention on. They haven’t let you down, so don’t let them down.

And for God’s sake, you better have at least one dog. Seriously.

Sass and snark,


The Scamp and Her Philosophical Approach

I did not get out of bed until 2 pm today.

I slept. I moped. I stressed over all of the things that needed to be done, what I’m doing with my time and energy, and trying to figure out why I just don’t want to get out of bed.

When I did get out of bed, I moved my pj bottomed ass to my couch. I put on Drag Race and attempted to sort through emails, and maybe get a little writing done.

It is 20 after 5. I’ve written seven words on the ethical considerations of my research, and spent a long time staring at the empty section of my philosophical approach to research.

Which is odd considering the writing challenge for this week is to sum up my world view in one page. This is something that my supervisors asked me to do almost a year ago. I have what I wrote, but trying to say that in academic terms is really difficult. Here is what I wrote a year ago:


Here is what I can say about my world view in non-academic terms: I believe in justice. I believe that those with a voice, those with any sort of power have an obligation to use that power to help those in need. I believe that reality is not a fixed thing, and will not be the same for everyone. My reality as a middle class Cuban-Jewish woman who grew up in California is going to be different than my best friend’s reality While we share common interests and some views on the world, it is impossible for us to understand the world in the exact same way. I believe that we all interact with the world in which we are a part of, but that interaction is different for all people. The way that we process knowledge, and the way that we understand the spaces that we inhabit, is based on the way we grew up, where we grew up, and how we grew up. Because of that, I do not think it is possible to make blanket statements that truth is universal for everyone. I believe that the best way to figure out what everyone’s “truths” are is to talk to them, interact with them, and not try to make their truths the same as my truths. If epistemology is meant to ask questions like: “What is knowledge?”, “How is knowledge acquired?”, “What do people know?”, “What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge?”, “What is its structure, and what are its limits?”, “What makes justified beliefs justified?”, “How we are to understand the concept of justification?”, “Is justification internal or external to one’s own mind?”, then the best way to describe my approach to the world would be somewhere between camp pragmatist and camp constructionist. I am constantly trying to make sense of the world, but try to do so in terms of how those around me come to their understanding of ‘truth.’ I believe that it is dependent on convention, human perception and social experience. Within that though, I am also interested in the importance of practical consequences, and how the theory, and the ideas that we generate from our research, really affect people. I’m also concerned with what those consequences mean for moving forward with new research. It is my hope that practical and useful knowledge can come from social inquiry.


            This one is a hard view to pin down. I believe that our perceptions are what shape reality. More importantly, since I believe that knowledge is constructed it would be impossible to get to the ‘true’ nature of reality, since that reality is created by each individual. I guess this would make me an interpretist or relativist. The pragmatist in me doesn’t really worry about the ontological issues because I am more concerned with real world applications and have always felt that if I had a clear epistemological position, then my ontological point of view would not be as important.

My main supervisor said it was pithy. It’s still the nicest thing he has ever said to me. Really, I am not sure that that really explains my worldview. I think that bad things happen to good people. I think that sometimes life sucks. I think that family, however you choose to define it, makes everything better. I believe that the world will never be a peaceful place until people learn how to have a real conversation, and how to actually listen to what is being said. I believe that animals make everything better. A puppy makes a world of difference on a bad day.

I believe that the only way I will truly be a good educator is through seeing the world and learning about people. I believe that everyone should be able to get an education if they want one, whether it be university, a trade, or learning through doing. I believe that therapy is a girl’s best friend, and there is nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes I cheat on my diet and eat an entire large chocolate bar by myself. I believe that the world would be a better place if people put down their phones and pick up a book. Reading is after all, fundamental.

I believe that as I get older my worldview will change. I think that is a good thing though. I think my worldview should change as I change. I’d like to think that as I meet and interact with people, as I learn more and experience the world that I will become a better person with a better world view.


The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 38 and 39

I should be writing.

I should be writing emails and notes for my dissertation.

I should be working my butt off to get a paper ready for editing in just four short months.

I should not be sitting on my couch, still in my pjs watching Top Chef and pretending that having the articles open is the same thing as working.

I should get back in the habit of doing yoga everyday.

I just want to crawl back in bed. I picked up a second job (3rd if you think of the PhD as its own job) and having worked all week learning the ins and outs of the center left me dead.

I just keep rereading last week’s post and reminding myself that I am really stinking happy in Scotland, and once things settle down with the new job I will get back in the groove of a routine and that will hopefully up my productivity.

Week 38 in the gratitude challenge is all about my favorite music. This one is an easy one. I love music. I will give anything a try, and have everything from Ska to country to electroswing on my ipod, and my favorite thing to do is to make song based playlists for my commute to work and back. Music  helps me work, helps me move through yoga routines, and helps make me feel better when I am sad. One of my faults is that I tend to be very negative about situations, and think the worst of myself and situations I get into. When I spend too much time in silence, my brain goes crazy, and I get into the dark and twisty. I currently live alone, so I always have music playing when I am at home. When I can feel myself going to the dark and twisty, I put on some of the most upbeat music I have on my ipod and dance around my place while I clean.

It always makes me feel better.

I am going to put together a mini playlist of some of my favorite songs, since it is much more to listen to them than have me ramble on about them.

While there are plenty more to chose from, I feel this gives a bit of an idea of my go to songs to make me feel better. I have about 20,000 songs on my ipod, so I am never short of good music.

Week 39 is a harder one for me. This week is all about heritage.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines heritage as:

Valued objects and qualities such as historic buildings and cultural traditions that have been passed down from previous generations:Europe’s varied cultural heritage

This one falls on an interesting week as it is Jewish New Year. It is tradition that is important to my heritage and reminds me to reflect and really think about who am I am and the choices that I make in life. This last year has been really difficult and really horrible, and really fucking fantastic. I am grateful for my heritage and my values and traditions, but I often feel like I do not fit into that mold. I consider myself a gypsy soul, and because of that, I feel like I do not have a real set heritage. I just want to wander the world and learn as much as I can. That does not really lend itself well to tradition.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to meet a real gypsy. He was born in the French Alps, but has lived all over the world. He hates being called French, speaks with a mix of Scottish and French accent, and his idea of the perfect place to live is western Australia. We met by chance, but he is one of the first people I have ever had a conversation with who really understood the need to wander, and reluctance to be defined by where you are born, or where you grew up. We had some great conversation, and I think it could really be the start of a great friendship.

I think that is one of the things that I am most grateful for about my adopted gypsy soul heritage. It is allowing me to meet so many interesting people and live this pretty funky life. I cannot wait to see where I move to next, and the type of people that I will meet when I do. As for the heritage of my youth, I feel like some of the Jewish traditions that I observe and practice allow me to really reflect on myself as a person, and really remember that I have the strength and perseverance to move through  life doing the things I love.

…and that works just fine for me.

The Scamp Sets a Watchman

I just finished reading the new novel by Harper Lee. Well, not exactly new, as it is supposedly the first manuscript that eventually led to To Kill a Mockingbird. It took me all of a week to read it, and to be honest, I am not sure that I liked what I read.

I tried to like it, I really did. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books. I’ve read it numerous times, and always loved Scout, the pugnacious six-year-old who hated dresses, loved to read, and thought fighting was the best way to solve a problem. One of my favorite lines from the book was, and in a way, still is:

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing”.

I remember reading the book in high school and having numerous discussions about racism, moral compasses, and rape. I remember feeling like the discussions sounded much the same way a Sparknotes summary would read; kinda surface level, lacking of a deeper discussion, and very focused on how racism is bad, and how a good strong moral compass will always lead a person to the right answer (whether it is the popular choice or not). I remember reading the book a year or so ago, and feeling differently about the characters. While I still loved Scout, I found her somewhat naive, and in the process, found myself somewhat naive for missing a big piece of the story; Atticus Finch was always a racist. When Go Set a Watchman was first announced, people were outraged by Atticus being painted as a racist who attends Klan meetings, and despises the NAACP. At first, I was in that boat. How dare Atticus been shown as anything other than noble. Then I noticed he takes on the case of Tom Robinson stating that just because you already lost the game before it started, doesn’t mean you should play. He took the case because he was asked to by the judge, not necessarily because he thought Tom Robinson deserved justice. As the article Atticus Was Always a Racist: Why Go Set a Watchman Is No Surprise states:

 Throughout Mockingbird, Atticus is engaged in the foundational moonlight-and-magnolias Southern delusion that so swayed Ashley Wilkes and Ellen O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. He fought with the genteel cruelty of the slaver, in service of the other American dream, which is the idea that a man can  be the ultimate patriarch: the cultivated master of the lower orders, the head of a family that extends through his wife and children down through the slaves. Everyone but the patriarch, it’s assumed, is slowly developing out of moral infancy—and as such, the patriarch is charged with leading everyone in religion, work ethic and cleanliness. Atticus is the son of slave owners, and he’s acting the part of one when he argues that Tom Robinson is from a clean-living family, and the black servant Calpurnia can be trusted raising white kids—this is the race equivalent of chivalry, the imperiled pedestal.

At 16, there was no way I was clever enough to notice this. At 26, I did, but tried to pretend that was not what I was reading. There was no way that I was reading that one of my favorite literary characters was not actually a strong moral compass, but merely a man who had a strong sense of right and wrong, but was still deeply flawed when it came to racial equality. I had set my watchman in Atticus Finch, and there was no way that he was anything less than the strong moral compass I saw him as when I first encountered the book more than ten years ago. This is where Go Set a Watchman comes into play.

This book is also written from Scout’s point-of-view, but this time she is a 26-year-old living in New York. She has returned home to Alabama to visit her father. That is about the extent of what happens. While home, Scout gets in a fight with Atticus and is forced to shake off her naivete and see the world for what it really is, and her father is not the God-like idol that she has built him up to be. The title comes from Isaiah 21:6: “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” It alludes to Jean Louise Finch’s view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass (“watchman”) of Maycomb, and has a theme of disillusionment, as she realizes her bigotry.

The problem with this book is the dialogue is awful, the story is often boring, and Scout is such a snotty 20 something that you cannot wait for her to get her comeuppance. The fight she has with Atticus is actually resolved way too easily, and it in the end, Scout decides that she cannot beat the crowd, and she won’t join them, so she ops to just sit on the sidelines and pretend what they are doing is a-okay. Chance Lee wrote a very insightful piece on the books. While I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said, there was one particular passage that really stood out for me:

The only interesting part of this book is the climax: the actual argument between Jean Louise and Atticus. However, the denouement ruins any impact this climactic battle may have had. In it, Jean Louise is slapped so violently by her uncle that her mouth bleeds. She learns that, as a young woman, she should respect the beliefs of elder white men. To not compromise with those who refuse to compromise, Jean Louise is a bigot. Her racist father, her racist aunt, are not bigots because they are right: whites are superior to Negroes.

This is a frustrating argument that still exists today, when religious fanatics who believe that their personal beliefs trump the human rights of others beg “tolerance.” Your hate is not to be tolerated. If any benefit comes from this book, it is to show us that we, as a society, have not evolved as much as we should have in the last fifty years.

The entire article can be found here: and is well worth the read.

I guess this is why I had trouble liking the story. One of the greatest literary characters of all time turned out to be a phony, and much the way Scout realizes her naivete, I now see that sometimes great men (real or literary) are not really all that great, and it is best to be your own watchman because at the end of the day, the only person who can really steer you down the right path is you.

The Scamp in Limbo

  1. (in some Christian beliefs) the supposed abode of the souls of unbaptized infants, and of the just who died before Christ’s coming.
  2. an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.

I’m Kimbo in limbo.

I have 27 days left in the United States. I no longer have a car, have sold almost all of my old books, and the books from the program from CSUF, and have sold the dishes that I have owned since I was 19. The goal this weekend is to try and sell my desk, some fantastic pots and pans, and a very impressive Tupperware collection. This is just the start of my strange time in limbo. Friends I have had since I was 14 are suddenly strangers, and I have failed to keep up correspondence with my friends overseas. People all around me are making plans, and very few of them remember that I am moving away.

My plans in Scotland have been a bit derailed as well because of a mix-up with dates, so I have to rent a room before I can make it to my place. This means that I will not have my stuff shipped right away, so I have to make due with what I pack for Spain, and that means I have to pack more than I thought I would.

Basically I am throwing myself a pity party. I want people around here to miss me. I want someone to notice that I am leaving and be proud of the fact that I am finally getting back to Scotland and earning a PhD. Then I remember that I have done nothing but complain about living in the United States, and have done nothing but mourn, pine, and feel homesick for Scotland. I have done nothing here to warrant people missing me.

No wonder no one will miss me. It is an odd feeling to have everything that I want right on the horizon, and want to mourn the loss of the life I have here. I hate it here. I’ve been counting down the days until I can leave since I landed in Los Angeles almost two years ago. All the same, it is becoming very real to me that I am leaving and not coming back. So, while I do not quite belong in Scotland, I no longer belong here in California. I’m a stranger in a strange land, I’m living in limbo between two places.

I once told David that if we ever broke up I would never come back to the US again. Funny enough, he was the reason I came back, accepted a spot at CSUF, entered into a disastrous relationship with someone who emotionally abused me, and have gone to a deep deep deep dark and twisty place. Now I sit in limbo because of the choices I have made, and hope that the Scottish version of sunshine and rainbows is waiting for me when I get there.

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.”
Brooks Atkinson

The Scamp at 200

And here we are. 200. A big number. It has been almost a year since I wrote number 100 (you can find it here: I’d like to say that the last 100 posts were as exciting as those first 100, but I am not sure that they were. Life in the States seems mundane and boring compared to the life I was living in Scotland, and the adventures I have here are few and far between. It has also become painfully apparent to me that a lot of the things that I learned in the first 100 posts did not carry over to the second 100. Instead of a thoughtful piece on the last two hundred, I thought it would a better use of the post to show the world what 100 posts looks like in pictures. I’ve decided to share some of my favorite pictures from each of my adventures.


My first post was in March of 2012. I had known that I had a spot in the program for three weeks at the time of the first post. I did not take a picture of the moment I found out, and now I wish I had. I told everyone who came to the desk at USD that day that I got accepted overseas. That weekend I celebrated my 25th birthday and began to plan a trip to Scotland for a campus tour.

431209_10150550337841887_784463526_nI told my family and friends of my choice to go at a family party.


March saw the first trip to Scotland.



April saw only one post about me being very worried about becoming irrelevant once I left. To counter that, I spent time with my family to try and forget that feeling.



May of 2012 was one post about falling in love with a boy who had no idea I was in love with him. It was also the month where Kelly graduated.


June of 2012 saw a family trip to Ireland.  It was one of the best trips I have ever been on. There was only one post from that month, and it was about my struggle to find housing, my worry about money, and the boy telling me he loved me.



July was the first month I posted more than one entry. This month was about being tired, getting overseas insurance, and moving from San Diego back to my childhood in Orange County. The photo for this month is one of the last nights out in San Diego with two people who I spent the most time with there.


August was a crazy month for me. I was stressed about all the plans I still needed to make, how hard it was going to be to leave the boy, and reality of what the next year was going to look like for me. The picture for this month was taken a few days before I left. I hadn’t finished packing, but I spent the day in the sun napping.


September 2012 marked my first month in Scotland. The posts were about finding my way through the city, going on hikes up Arthur’s Seat. I started to make friends with the people that lived around me, and the people that I was in class with.


This was the view from the hotel I stayed at before I moved into the dorms.


In true Scottish fashion, it started to rain during the hike



The view from the window of my dorm. Not a bad scene to wake up to.


October was all about traveling and seeing Scotland, learning to live with 18 year olds, considering what life would be like in my relationship if I stayed to do my PhD, and how to deal with staying on medication that was helping me control my depression and anxiety. 197235_576042665775_1745096337_n

I celebrated Halloween with these two



Tried to find the Loch Ness Monster



and explored castle ruins.

November saw me complete the first half of my program, worry about upcoming holidays when I had no job, and no money coming in, and what harvest meant to me. I was able to come home at the end of November. I was reunited with the boy, got to sleep in my own bed, and got to eat real food. The best picture from this month is my first taste of Mexican food when I came home from the airport.


December of 2012 was a hard month for me. The posts were about my struggles with being home and wanting to be social vs having work to do, juggling my family with the boy and his family, and getting robbed on Christmas. I spent most of my time in San Diego and managed to write 2 very good papers despite not having any of the books and not having my computer.



January 2013 started off on a great foot. I got to move out of the room in the Freshman hallway, got to experience snow for the first time, and settled into a very interesting class about children’s books. I was happy to be back with my friends and wandering around the city that I love.



Reunited with the gang.


Snow changed the view outside my window. Luckily it did not snow enough to really be a problem. I can still remember the first time I walked home in the snow. I wasn’t properly dressed for it, but I loved every minute of it.

February 2013 was a rough month for me. This was the month my relationship fell apart. I tried to hide it as best I could, but it eventually came out. I admitted to the world through my blog that I was depressed, admitted that I was no longer going to marry the boy I thought was the love of my life, and that I was going to seek help to deal with all of these issues. I was sad, but hopeful. This month was not all bad though. I got to go to Belfast, and that was quite an adventure. I loved it (well, maybe not the Titanic part, but the rest of it)





March of 2013 saw the start of my 26th year, a new tattoo, the end of my coursework in Scotland and posts that ranged from celebrating the birthdays of my brothers, my grandma, and my sister to all of the love I felt from people all over the world about the break-up. I got care packages from friends at home, home cooked meals from the girls in Scotland, and positive thoughts from the world of blogging.


A birthday present to myself



71967_587719625055_1326713815_nA proper St. Pats celebration

April of 2013 saw a visit from my parents and real healing. I really started to explore and enjoy the city, spent a lot of time outside of my room with my friends, and showed my dad why I loved the city so much.  April also marked my 100th post.




This is my favorite picture taken in the course of this journey.




May 2013 saw the end of my journey in Scotland. I really did not want to leave. I spent as much time as I could with my friends, made a plan of how to tackle life when I returned to the States. I went to Dundee, visited Rosslyn Chapel, and started work on my dissertation.











June of 2013 saw a mini vacation to see some of my friends and a lot of work on my dissertation. I got a job interview for a teaching position, and attempted to adjust to being back in the States. I only unpacked what was necessary, and spent 8 hours a day writing.


Onward ho! Thanks to my awesome navigational skills we found everything we needed

Onward ho! Thanks to my awesome navigational skills we found everything we needed



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July of 2013 saw my struggles with writer’s block, my fear that I would never finish my dissertation, and my struggles to readjust to life at home. I was still talking to my friends from Scotland on a regular basis, and I was gearing up to start school at CSUF.

By August I finally finished my dissertation. I was very excited of the work I produced. I went to a wedding and reconnected with an old love, and realized that my wanderlust was not going to go away. I started the doctoral program, and was hopeful about the academic journey I was about to embark on.

Look mom, I'm wearing heels!

Look mom, I’m wearing heels!


September was stressful for me. I was still waiting to find a job, and saw my bank account quickly emptying. I got the chance to babysit for my cousins, got to see two of my favorite people from college marry, and learned how to get in touch with my inner philosopher.

She feeds herself,  allowing me two hands to hold my textbook open

She feeds herself, allowing me two hands to hold my textbook open

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October of 2013 was the month results for my dissertation was released. I got an A and was on top of the world. I fell in love again, and thought I was in a really solid relationship. I learned how to navigate race and academia, and felt like I was finally getting the hang of being a doctoral student.


November 2013 was my favorite month since being home. I got to return to Scotland and celebrate my graduation. I got to take Kelly with me so she could finally see the beauty of the place. I finally had a job, and was making a little bit of money, and I got the idea to make a literacy group that allowed kids to read with puppies.





December saw the end of 2013, and the end of my first year as a doctoral student. I was struggling with juggling work, school, family and the boy, and a wonderful Christmas with my family





January 2014 saw a new year, and what I hoped would be a new attitude. I started a happiness challenge, tried to make the relationship with the boy better, and made inappropriate posts that made me laugh.





In February I found myself sliding back into old habits. I was growing increasingly depressed, tried to figure out how to deal with my doubts, and dealt with some uncomfortable feelings about the death of a woman that I did not like. I found myself very homesick for Scotland, and wanting to run away again. I got a new tattoo to celebrate my upcoming birthday.





March of 2014 passed in a blur. I turned 26, let the depression get the best of me, and spent all of my free time working . The posts were mostly other people’s words, or pictures of me from my youth. I couldn’t really find my own words well enough, and was doing all that I could to pretend I wasn’t miserable. I did enjoy my family, and the support they gave me.

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And now we are almost through with April. It has been an interesting month to say the least. Another love finished, another good long look in the mirror, and another month of being incredibly busy. The good thing about this month is that I recently found out that I have been given two classes to teach in the fall. My class from this semester was cancelled, but now I can quit the job I took to pay my bills in favor of a career. I am very excited about that.


All in all, this blog has been very good to me. It has allowed me to chronicle one of the best years of my life, and allowed to me learn and grow, and process life after that. I will keep it up for the next 100 posts and see where the road takes me.