The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 17

The writing challenge this week is a really fun one. I’m tasked with answering this prompt:

Wall to wall What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?

I love this. I love art. I collect vintage travel posters (although they all live in California right now) and love funky and colourful art. I’m a little bit weird, and I feel like the art that I have on display says a lot about me. None of it really matches, some of it is weird, some of it offensive, but all of it together somehow works. I want people to feel at ease when they come visit me, and also have something to look at other than my off white walls. I don’t do well with empty and blank spaces, so I’ve always had a lot of posters and photos on my walls. My desk at work is also decorated and covered with family photos, a mini drum kit, and pictures of my friends. While I could show you everything in my place, I think I’ll stick to sharing my favourite wall with you.

I spend a lot of time in my living room watching TV or working on my couch. The wall that the couch faces is the most decorated in the place. I happen to think it is the best view in the flat.

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The painting of California was the first thing I ever hung on my wall here. I know that I spend a lot of time writing about how I don’t want to live there and how California and I had to break up, but the rest of my heart is there, and it is where I started life, so I like to have the little reminder with me. The photo underneath it was my maid of honour present from the wombmate when she got married. She had it made for me, and I think it really speaks to my personality. The rest of the art displayed is from local artists.

Strike that…the two photos of France I bought in Paris, and the nesting doll I bought in Budapest, but the rest of the artwork comes from Scottish artists. The photos all seem to be a bit crooked, and to be honest, I really like them that way. It seems more honest that way. I can’t really pick a favourite piece, they are just all so good.

The Scamp’s Last Day of Her 20s

Tomorrow I will enter the next decade of my life. I’m currently horribly ill complete with fever, cough, sore throat and snot.

But I’m happy. While I was unable to cross all 30 things off the list, I did manage to do 21 of the 30 adventures, and I am just going to keep going until I can cross them all off (I really want to make a good budget so I can pay off my student loans). Today, on the eve of my 30th, I am able to cross two more off the list.

The first one that is coming off the list is number 29: Stop holding grudges. This one was a really difficult one because I love holding grudges. For the last few years I have been holding some serious grudges. I decided to let them go. I was able to mend some friendships, and I was able to walk away from one and I no longer miss the friendship or hate her for being so selfish and stupid. Letting go of those grudges has allowed me to make room for some new and amazing friendships (I’m looking at you Flamingos) and allowed me to really focus on the friendships and the people around me that keep me out of the dark and twisty. I also feel a lot better about the way I handle most situations because I am not as angry as usual and not as consumed with my grudges and perceived personal slights.

The second thing I get to cross off the list is number 28: Fall in Love. Now, before you get too excited, no, I did not fall in love with a boy. When I added this to the list a year ago, I was hoping that I would fall in love with the boy and move into a different phase of my disastrous relationships. But alas, that was a dud. The person that I fell in love with is way more important though. I fell in love with me. I’ve spent the last year working hard in therapy to sort through all the weird things that go on in my head. I’m learning how to take care of myself, how to find the balance between work and fun, and how to manage my expectations (That is number 30 on the list, but I am nowhere near ready to cross that one off the list, so it is staying unchecked for the moment). There was a moment earlier in the week that I was a little sad about not completing the list before my birthday, but then I realized everything that I was able to do, and how far I came in the last year. Really starting to love myself is a big thing though, and I think it is one of the things that is going to help make my 30s be just as great as I have been picturing them in my mind. Because, as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?”

Can I get an amen?

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries (Paris, Malta, Hungary)
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 50

Week 50. 50/52. Where has the time gone? Why don’t I feel like it is almost the end of the year? It is almost Christmas, almost the end of 2016, and almost the end of my 20s.

But I don’t feel any different than I did a few months ago. I’ve been having a bit of a down cycle lately, and between a bad breakup, a less than stellar doc appointment, and some petty work drama, I have been a bit of an ostrich with my head in the sand. I haven’t been leaving my place, or really even my bed for the last week. Basically I am being a mopey sad sack of shit instead of being an adult and dealing with my problems. I’ve also been watching a lot of Tattoo Fixers and wondering why the men and women of the UK like to go on holiday and then get a tattoo on their bum that then needs to be covered up….seriously people, think before you ink!

Hopefully the Christmas adventure I have planned at the end of next week will cure me of some of these things.

The writing challenge for this week is to write about my favourite way to spend a Friday. My Fridays are usually pretty tough because that is when I see my therapist. I’m emotional, I’m tired, and by the time I walk home from the session, I am usually ready to call it a day. A lot of times I do.

So, I’ve decided to switch it up and talk about my favourite way to spend a Saturday. Yesterday is a good example of how I like to spend my free time.

Team America celebrated Christmas early and spent the day cooking dinner, making cocktails and watching Christmas themed episodes of TV shows. It was perfect. There was laughter and jokes, good food, and no pressure to do anything other than just be ourselves. The musically inclined played songs while I sang out of tune and pretended not to feel slightly irrelevant to the jam session. I got the bright idea to track how drunk we got through and series of photos, and those are still making me laugh a day later. We called my mom and Skyped with the Muffin. This is all I really need to feel like I’ve had a successful day…a little family, a little food, quality time with my friends, and not sitting on my couch alone left to mope about people and things that don’t matter.

Here are the photos of Team America drinking responsibly.

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The blurry picture of me is pretty much the most accurate of me when I’ve had a little drink and lot of fun with my friends.

The Scamp in Malta

I’ve been trying to get to the island of Malta for five years. I first got it in my head that I wanted to be there when I was in San Diego and having a hard time getting into PhD programmes. There was a Fullbright opportunity to live there for a year and teach English at the university. I had the application filled out, but the two references that I needed stopped me from finishing the application. From then on, I wanted the chance to visit, and had it in my mind that I would love to be there. Every time I thought about travelling, it was Malta that I wanted to go to.

The last few months here have been a challenge. I haven’t been happy, and I’m self aware enough to know that I should be doing some more to help get myself happy. I’ve been moaning on for the last two months that I need some time away, and at the beginning of the month I had finally had enough and booked a five day trip to the island. For those who are geographically challenged like myself, Malta is made up of three islands in the south of Europe. It is situated between Sicily and Northern Africa. It has about 450,000 people, and has three things I love: water, sunshine, and sunshine that can be enjoyed in the water.

Being that Malta is so close to Italy, I made the assumption that the people there spoke English and Maltese, and that Maltese was similar to Italian. I learned while I was there that the Maltese language is based on Arabic, and actually has a lot of similarity to Hebrew. Once I learned that I tried to pay closer attention to people when they were speaking, but because there were so many tourists, it was sometimes hard to pick out the different languages.

My plan for the holiday was to lay on a beach and get as much colour back into my skin as I could. I had originally planned to go by myself, and part of me really wanted to go with the boy, but one of the best mates really needed a holiday, and since we get on like gangbusters, it was the perfect chance for the two of us to get away. Most of the people we work with thought it was odd that the two of us were going on holiday without our partners, but to be honest, I wasn’t too fussed about it. We stayed in a hotel that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea and we soaked up the island.

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We spent the first day on the beach….and both got sunburned. It was glorious. I was happy. The hotel we stayed in was a bit sketch. It wasn’t clean to Kim standards, but it served its purpose. On the second day I wandered around Sliema while the bud worked on his book and happily sweat off a few pounds. In the afternoon we took the ferry to the capital city of Valletta and wandered around aimlessly for a bit.

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Valletta is full of history, and full of amazing architecture. My only problem with the city was that everything closed at 7pm.

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We found some gardens, found a kitten that I wanted to keep, and managed not to get sunburned again. We had a picnic dinner of meats and cheeses and rum, and really enjoyed the day.

We spent most of the next day on the balcony of the hotel room. We moved the couch outside and I napped in the sun while he worked. Because I went without a plan of what to do every day, I was feeling a bit lost on what we should do to see the city. We decided to walk to the University of Malta and see the campus. While we wandered to a different part of the island, we passed a store with memory blocks. There was one that caught my eye.

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The guy at the store said that people buy them to remember certain events of their lives. This is a special edition, 7 Seas print. The artist signed it, and the quote that comes with it is about the journey you take through life. It was like it was made for me. I love  an octopus, and a good journey through life. My bank account wasn’t too happy with the purchase, but I am.

Our last day was a guided tour of Gozo, one of the other islands. I love a good guided tour. We started with a mini train ride through the slat flats, and seriously, I would have stayed on that beach all day. It was stunning.

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It was the bud’s first time on a large boat, and I’m not sure he enjoyed it as much as I did. After the slat flats we went to Ġgantija (Maltese pronunciation: [dʒɡanˈtiːja], “Giants’ Tower”). It is a megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. The Ġgantija temples are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta. The Ġgantija temples are older than the pyramids of Egypt. Their makers erected the two Ġgantija temples during the Neolithic (c. 3600–2500 BCE), which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and the world’s second oldest manmade religious structures after Göbekli Tepe.

The temples are structured like a person, with a head, two legs and two arms. You entered through the legs, and left through the legs. It was said that these short, but very strong men made the temples to honour the goddess of fertility.

So we walked through a vagina temple made by gorilla people.

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From the temple we went to the worst lunch ever. We had a nice chat with an English couple on the tour though, so that was nice. After lunch we went to the Azure Window. The water here is so clear that it is almost like you aren’t really in it, and apparently it has been used in Game of Thrones. I would have loved to spend more than 15 minutes there, but it was a good 15 minutes.

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We ended the trip with a trip to Victoria, the capital of Gozo. We were able to see a woman hand weaving lace, and I bought a necklace. The bud and I ventured into the Citadella, a city within the city. It was pretty, but I got scolded in the church because my shoulders weren’t covered. Opps.

Overall, the trip was a massive success. I’d built up Malta to be this mythical place that I was going to be in love with, and while I wasn’t quite as in love with it as I hoped, I enjoyed the time I spent there. I have recharged a bit, got some tan lines, and spent 5 days not feeling depressed. It is also a chance to work on crossing one more thing off my list. I am not looking forward to going back to work, and back to the mountain of things that I have to get done for the next 30 days.

On the upside, in less than 30 days I will be making a quick trip to California to be a bridesmaid and to teach my nephew to say Aunty Kimmy. Those are going to be his first words, you best believe it.

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 30

I’ve hit a wall this week. The never ending edits to a 10 page paper are killing me, the statistical data I collected this academic year show an overwhelmingly neutral attitude towards assessment and feedback practices, and the only thing that I want to do is read a trashy romance novel while curled up in my bed.

This is not a new feeling for me. I have not felt all that productive for months. The less productive I feel, the more overwhelmed I feel, and the less work that I actually get done. The frustrating thing about all of this is that I know that I am stuck in this loop, know what I have to do to get out of it, and yet, I’m not actively working to try and stay out of it. One of the hardest things about my depression, and my crazy good self awareness, is that I can often see the mistakes I am making, and even understand why I am making them, but I can’t always stop them. Right now, because I am feeling a little bit stuck with my research, it is keeping me in a nice little depressive loop.

The challenge for this week is to write about what I love about this season of my life. I thought that this would be a hard one to write, but really, it is pretty darn easy. I’m currently sitting in the waiting room of my 30s (thanks Kelsey for that one), and I have to say, despite my ongoing battle with depression, this season of my life is pretty darn great. Once I started thinking about all of the things that I love about my life right now, the list got pretty dang long.

  • I’m sitting on my couch, in a flat that is perfect for me, in Edinburgh. Two years ago I was sitting in the office at my mom’s house studying for the qualifying exam for the EdD programme. I was stressed, but knew that I would pass that hurtle and be that much closer to finishing my degree. This time last year I was filling out customs forms and trying to ship off three boxes of my stuff to meet me here. Yesterday, the sun made a rare appearance and I sat in my window box and soaked up the heat. I wore my bathing suit in hopes that the really white parts of me would get some much needed colour. I’m one year down on my PhD, and although lately the process has led to more tears than smiles, I am really proud that I have made it this far

 

  • I’ve finally figured out how to maintain friendships. I always joke that I am a shitty friend but an excellent pen pal. I spent a lot of time in California by myself, but wasn’t exactly a social butterfly. Most of the time I couldn’t be bothered to go out or do the things that many of the people I had been friends with for a long time wanted to do. Here, I am surrounded by people who also think tacos, beer and movie nights are a good thing. People who will go to the symphony with me, laugh at my puppy videos, and keep me away from chocolate. The few friends I still have in the US have sent me care packages, Skype with me regularly, and text me all the time. I love that technology is so easy to use now that I can text and send pictures as often as I want, and see their faces just about whenever I want. They never make me feel bad about the time difference, and they are always willing to fit me into the schedule.

 

  • I’ve stopped apologising for my personality. I used to get really defensive about wanting to live in Scotland, my love for traveling and cat videos, the fact that I love flamingos and ultra bright yoga pants. I like to crack jokes when making presentations, I think sarcasm and passive aggressive comments fix everything, and I have shoes for every occasion. I love bad reality TV. I’m a little bit weird. People seem to like that. Even the boy humours me on occasion with the puppies, the yoga pants, laughing at my own jokes. It took awhile, but I am finally comfortable with who I am.

 

  • I’m a more honest person. I’ve been working on this blog for 6 years. In that time I’ve discussed my struggles with money, the horrible relationships I’ve been in, my lupus, and more recently, my ongoing battle with depression. 6 years ago I wouldn’t have admitted to the world that I was struggling. I wouldn’t have been open about what I was going through. I would have bucked up and pretended everything was okay. I would have worked hard to maintain friendships and relationships with toxic people, and I would never do anything that would show any form of weakness. Now I cry a lot, ask for help, and let people in a little bit so they can help. I’m really trying to make progress with therapy and I’ve set ridiculous goals for myself to try and stay out of the dark and twisty.

All in all, I feel pretty darn lucky to be in this stage of my life. It’s not perfect, and right now it isn’t as much sunshine and roses as I would like, but it is pretty darn good. Speaking of crossing things off my list of things to do before I turn 30, I was able to cross another one off the list. I just about completed a book that is more than 500 pages. I’m at page 900 of a 1200 page Stephen King book about the assassination of President Kennedy. I’ll eventually finish it, even if I find it really strange, but for now, I am going to say it meets the requirement.

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 20

On this day three years ago I was greeted at the airport with a sign that said “Welcome Home Shithead”

I’d finished my coursework for my MSc, had three months to write my dissertation before starting the EdD programme, and had a lot of sunshine to catch up on. My dissertation became my full time job, with breaks for the pool and the gym. I was experiencing reverse culture shock in a major way, and coming off the terrible break-up with David, I was very unsure about my future.

Flash forward to today: I’m sitting on the window ledge in the flat of one of my best friends in Scotland. We have been doing buddy work from home Friday for the last few weeks. I’ve finished a second draft of a paper for my thesis, I have a therapy appointment in a couple of hours, and a study date with the boy this evening.  In 30 days I will celebrate my 1 year anniversary living in Scotland, and will be getting ready for my official transfer of title making me the very first PhD in education at Edinburgh Napier University.

The writing challenge for this week is to think about the ways I have changed in the last year. To be honest, I am not sure I have enough time or space to write about how I have changed in the last year. This time last year I was getting ready to say goodbye to the US. I was packing for Spain and Portugal, I was shipping boxes to Scotland to be here when I arrived, and I was not feeling depressed at all. I thought that all of my problems were solved because I was moving back to the one place in this world that I ever felt like home. I thought I had worked through my issues with the EdD. program, thought I was done with therapy, and thought that I was ready to tackle the world on my own. I was cocky, and living in a bit of a fantasy land.

Today I know that moving doesn’t always solve all your problems, but that they are much easier to deal with when you are happy where you live. I’m not as cocky, and while I still think I can tackle the world, I’ve learned that it is a lot more fun to do with the help and support of others. I’m more open about my depression, and the work that I am doing to manage my symptoms. I’m more open about needing help. I’m learning that it is important not to stop therapy when you feel like you are feeling better, but rather keep going, and keep working on myself so that those good feelings last a lot longer than the bad ones. I learned how to play the political game, which is serving me well this time around.

I’ve changed physically as well. I’ve added 5 tattoos to my body, I’m whiter than I have ever been, and I weigh more now than I ever have. While those last two bother me a bit, I am hoping that with summer just around the corner I can add some color to my skin. The weight bothers me, but as the boy has pointed out, he clearly likes the way I look, and that means I am probably the healthiest I have ever been. While I am very much still a work in progress, I am definitely headed in the right direction. I’d say that have learned so much about myself and the world in the last year that I have undoubtedly become a better person.

I really like the idea that I become a better person with the passing of each new year. I can get behind an idea like that.

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.

 

 

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 3

Week 3 and I have managed to get everything written on during the week it was meant to be written….there is hope for me yet. Week 3 is dedicated to the little things that make me happy.

Honestly, this list is endless. I really enjoy the little things.

I had a minor PhD setback last week, and it really threw me. I have been working really hard to try and get myself out of my dark and twisty, and thought I was making it work…kinda. I feel like the last two months have been consumed by my depression. I’ve been spiraling down into the dark and twisty, and because it is always a thing, I feel like it has dominated my life. It permeates everything  from my work, to my friendships and relationships, and even my sleep patterns. My work, while it has been getting done (Well, minus the two week break I took at Christmas) it has not been getting done very well.

Last week it all caught up to me. I applied for a research position on campus that would allow me to quit the tutoring center and pay off my loan faster. Because people in the office were so excited about it, I had gotten very excited by the idea of having the job. My supervisor pulled me into his office though and ripped the skin off my hide for not telling him that I had applied for the job, and for the fact that working part time would take away from my PhD and I would not become an expert in my field if I was not devoting 100% to my work. He questioned me about my financial situation, and I was forced to admit that I need the job to pay my loan payment. I do not like admitting that I am in debt.

I also hate the feeling of failure that I left that meeting with. I do not like to fail at anything….especially when I know that I have been putting in a lot of effort, and trying my damnedest to produce something that will make people proud. I’ve already been stressed about the work that I am doing, and already feeling down, so when I cried in the break room over a cup of tea last week, no one was surprised (okay, so my colleague who had to deliver the bad news that I wasn’t eligible for the job was surprised, but she was really really lovely about it).

I wanted to curl up in bed and just call it a day.

I wanted to sign up for sugardaddies.com and find some rich old man to pay my bills.

I wanted someone to give me a hug and tell me everything would be alright.

I wanted someone to make it alright.

So this is where the challenge comes in. The little things that make me happy.

Hot chocolate. Hot chocolate makes me happy. A little cup of hot chocolate makes me everything better. I had a small cup today while I had my PhD supervisory meeting, and even though I had to rehash the job situation again, I managed to do it without crying this time.

I like that my friends and family check up on me. I get texts and messages asking after me, or sending me funny pictures. I love that. It makes me feel appreciated, and it makes me laugh.

I like it when my favorite song comes on my ipod. In the same line, I love finding Spotify playlists  that have songs I loved when I was younger, or ones that relax me while I am trying to do yoga.

I love puppy and kitten videos. Seriously, that is the only reason that the internet was invented as far as I am concerned.

I like that I have moments when I forget to be sad. I’ll laugh at a joke, watch a dumb movie, or read a trashy romance novel and not get stuck in the dark and twisty.

I like dinners out with my friends. I may not want to share my tacos with you, but I want to share my bubble.

I like that when I do posts like this, I laugh a little, and remember that all in all, things in my life are pretty freaking fantastic.

That makes everything worth it.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 47-49

Week 49. Wow. I cannot believe it has been 49 weeks since I started the challenge. I can believe, however, that I am once again several posts behind on the challenge. For the last couple of weeks I have been battling some mad hibernation instincts, visiting with my family, and generally neglecting all things related to writing, academic and otherwise. The visit from my mom and brother did a lot to re-energize me, but now I am at the point where I have to make up for lost time.

Although, with the rain, wind, and temperature currently sitting at about 2C (36F) all I really want to do is get in bed with my book and Lambchop my hotwater bottle and call it a day.

But I digress.

Week 47 was dedicated to opportunities that I have been given. I know that I should be thinking more deeply about things like this, but honestly, I have been given a lot of amazing opportunities, and I am having a hard time thinking of just one major one that I am grateful for. Something a little on the shallow and cheesy side that I am grateful for is the role of babysitter to a little French Bulldog called Skyler. Skyler belongs to my neighbors. They are a lovely couple who unfortunately gets stuck signing for my packages when I am at work. While this may seem like a very very silly opportunity to be grateful for, it really isn’t. The one thing I want more than anything (well, not more than to pay off all of my debits and make enough money to not cry a little every time I look at my bank statement) is to own a Frenchie. I created an Instagram simply for the reason of following Frenchies. I want a puppy friend the way most people my age want a baby. I see people with their dogs all over the city, and while some let me pet their little fir babies, strangers usually don’t like it when you hug their dogs. I am not really in the position for a dog at the moment, so acting as a babysitter to this little love bug is like the next best thing. When I told my neighbor that I had my Odie who I miss a lot, she cooed at Skyler that she would have to be a cat for a day and provide some comfort….I am 100% okay with that.

Week 48 is dedicated to my job.

Well, this is an easy one. I am grateful for my job because it literally saved my life. I saw the posting for the position when things went south at CSUF and I had slid into the dark and twisty big time. I wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping, had very few people in my life that I considered friends, and worried that I would never feel good about myself again. This job allowed me to move back to Scotland, the one and only place I have ever felt at home. This job allowed me to meet some incredible people, and be in the same place with some already amazing friends. This job is allowing me to test my patience playing the political game, spend my days doing research, and writing….all kinds of writing. A year ago I was a mess. Today, I am the happiest I have been in years. I know that this job is a big part of the reason why. It also doesn’t hurt that I will actually be Dr. Kimbo when my contract is up.

Week 49 is dedicated to what I like about winter.

When it is over. That is my favorite part of winter.

For real. I am not a fan of winter.

 

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.