The Scamp at 300

Congratulations! You are reading my 300th post. I think that it is very fitting that number 300 comes on my last night as a resident of the United States. This is the day I thought would never come. This is the day I have been trying to get to for two long years. This is the day that makes the emotionally abusive relationship worth it, the bullying, abuse, and eventual expulsion form CSUF worth it, and all of the therapy very very worth it. In the year and some change that it took me to get from 200 to 300, I learned so much about not only myself, but the world around me.

I learned that I no longer fit in in California. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. I spent almost a year trying really really hard to like it here and be happy, when it just isn’t who I am anymore. I have had some times here, and will carry some great memories with me, but this is no longer home. It took me almost another year to come to terms with it, and realize that it is okay that I no longer fit here. I always say that I am a Flamingo in a flock of pigeons. I use to say it to make people laugh, but I always saw it as a bad thing. I thought I should want to be a pigeon. I should want to be just like everyone else.

That is the dumbest thing I have ever admitted to the public (there have been a lot of things I have done, said, or thought that are really dumb, but a girl has to have some secrets). It has taken me a long time, but I am learning to embrace my inner flamingo. When I am in Scotland I can be a flamingo, and since I don’t know of another bird that can do yoga, I am going to rock the shit out of being a flamingo. That includes wearing colorful yoga pants, finishing my sleeve of colorful tattoos, and rocking flowers in my hair.

I learned that sometimes life sucks. I know that I will never see justice for what happened to me at CSUF, but that is how the real world works. Sometimes bad things happen to (mostly) good people. I will have to pay back the $30,000 in loans, and I will have nothing to show for it. My mom told me that everyone has bought a lemon, or invested in something that has failed, and that CSUF is my lemon. Pretty much everyone knows what happened to me now, and it still makes me mad, but I have to trust that there is a lesson in that experience that I will be able to use one day. I’m not 100% certain what that lesson is yet, but I have faith that it will become clear someday. I learned a lot about how to play the political game, how to stand up for myself and what I believe in, and that if you do not stick to your values then they are just hobbies.

I learned the power of therapy. I’m pretty sure therapy saved my life. Had I not had that available to me for the last year, I do not know if I would have survived the CSUF experience. Thursday mornings were my coping. I spent a lot of time trying to work through what was happening to me, and work out ways to cope with how I was feeling. My depression would have gotten a lot worse, had I not made the decision to get some real help. That program broke me. I spent much of this last year crying and hiding under my covers hoping that the storm would crash. My therapist helped me get out of bed, helped me not become an actual racist, and helped me realize that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my character. I used to think that therapy was something that I needed to hide, like it was a dirty little secret, but I have to say, I feel like a much stronger person than I was two years ago, and I think a part of that is because therapy kept me out of the dark and twisty.

I learned that I am willing to fight for the friendships and connections that matter. I’ve kept in touch with most of the people I was in Scotland with, and I am now seeing the long list of people here that are worth the effort to keep in contact with. I also feel like I am about to meet a whole bunch of new people, and those are the people that I will keep around for a long long time. I’m always worried about making friends because I am not really good at being social, but I am no longer worried about that. I know that I will become that obnoxious person who introduces myself to people, and before I know it, I will have sweet-talked my way into a lord’s heart and will get the castle wedding and the title that everyone here wants me to have (ok, I will get a puppy, talk to him, and pretend that is being social).

Most importantly, I learned that sometimes you need a fresh start to really become who you are supposed to be. Scotland is my fresh start. I never would have made it there if I had not gone through all the shit of the last two years. Scotland is my chance to really grow and become the person that I want to be (and the scenery, history, and people don’t hurt either). In three short years I will be Dr. Scamp, and in five short years I will be a permanent resident of the UK.

Most people say that it is bad luck to say “goodbye”, and that you should say “see you later.” They say that “goodbye” is permanent. Well, today, I would like to say goodbye to my life here, and to the person that I was. Tomorrow I start fresh being the badass flamingo that I am.

“I was trying to feel some kind of good-bye. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t you feel even worse.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Adventure here I come.

The Scamp and a Puzzle

My brother-in-law bought me a 3D crystal castle puzzle from Disneyland. The thing has 106 pieces, that are all clear plastic, and no instructions. The box says it is for children 12+.

Really, what they meant was the puzzle is for anyone who has 12+ years experience with architectural engineering, and can put together IKEA furniture blindfolded. It took me an hour just to figure out what the base pieces looked like and how they fit together.

The idea is was that I take the puzzle with me to Scotland so I have something to remind me home……so far, the only thing it has given me is a headache. I have three college degrees, but this thing might get the best of me.

I only have two days left in the US, and this is not really something that I should be focusing on. I still have some boxes that need to be added to, one that needs to be ready to ship, and a few follow-up emails to send. I’m not ready. I wanted to lose ten pounds before I went, wanted to have every little detail solved, and wanted to feel as excited and nervous, and scared as I felt last time I went. This time I do not feel anything either way. I’m eager to start my vacation, eager to make it to Scotland and meet my supervisors face to face, and I am excited to see how crazy it will be to get all of my boxes to my house and get myself moved in. I think that I will feel different once I get on the plane, but honestly, this vacation has been on the books so long, that I am not sure that I actually believe that it is finally here.

Pirate Rubber Chicken and I are ready for vacation though. We are definitely ready for vacation.

The Scamp All Packed

but ready to go?

Today I moved the last of my things that will not be going with me to Scotland. All of my pots, pans, Tupperware, cooking utensils, forks, knives, and a desk that I barely used, but did serve as a secure place for all my bills, pay stubs, and kept all of my notes, textbooks, and school related things while I was working on my MA.

I haven’t actually looked at most of this stuff for the last three years, but when I was moving the box of Tupperware, it broke open and I was flooded with memories of the last ten years with some of those things. It seems so final now that they are gone, most of my clothes and shoes are packed, and the things that I cannot take now are already postmarked to be shipped for a later date. It all seems so permanent now. I am not coming back to live in the United States. By this time next week, I will be in London, about to get on a plane for Madrid for a little bit of time to relax before I make my way to Scotland to start my dream job, in my dream city, and finally reach my goal of completing my PhD. I’ve always wanted adventure, I’ve always been prone to wander, I’ve never been afraid to take a chance, to do things on my  own, or to march to the beat of my own drum.

I’ve had the dream of going back to Scotland for two very long years, and the goal to earn my PhD and work in higher education for the last seven years.

I am three weeks away from reaching all of my major goals….and I am fucking terrified.

See, the thing that nobody tells about reaching all of your goals is that it is the scariest thing in the world (and I’ve jumped out of a plane, I have multiple tattoos, travel by myself, and get in a car with my father). I am so terrified that I am going to wake up tomorrow and it will all be a dream. I will still be miserable at Cal State Fullerton, still not have enough money for real insurance, my own apartment, or my massive student loans, and still be profoundly depressed

To be honest, there is no way I could survive a cruel joke like that. Not to mention that I have already sold my car, and most of my possessions.

I know that this fear is normal, and the finality of the situation is starting to sink in, so I am having a momentary freak-out, but it is still a little bit scary.

I’m doing it though. I’m jumping in with both feet, and going to settle into Scotland, and I am going to be a kick-ass expat.

The Scamp Hates Packing

I hate packing. Hate hate hate it. Most of clothes are currently in my shower. Yep. The shower. What isn’t there is littering my floor, stacked outside my room, and generally reminding me that I have only nine days left to get everything organized before I leave for Spain and then return to Scotland. I have three boxes packed so far and about six more to go.

I’m overwhelmed and stressed. I still have so many things that need to make it into a box. Things like shoes, bags, pens and bathroom supplies, chapstick, my wallets, rubber ducks, and family photos.

I have no idea where all of this stuff came from, and I have no idea how I am going to get it all to Scotland….or when. I want the packing and moving fairy to come and take care of everything for me so I do not have to. I’m going to have to buy the apartment I am hoping to rent so that I never have to move again. Not having a car makes things a little more challenging, and I know that everything will come out alright, but in the meantime, I am tired, and very, very overwhelmed.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 21

This is all about summer.

There are a lot of things about summer that I am grateful for. Summer is usually when I have the most time off. The time when I can lay by the pool everyday, wear shorts and sandals, and enjoy the fact that my mom has three months off without school.

Summer=time to recharge

2013-07-18 13.11.49

This year summer means Scotland. Summer means traveling, adventure, and then going home after two very stressful years. I’m still worried about what will happen when I get to Scotland. I’m worried that my apartment will fall through and I will have to look again for a place to live. I’m worried about sending my stuff on to Scotland, and having clothes and shoes that are professional enough for work, but fun enough for vacation. I’m worried about finding a job when I get there, and being able to afford all of the upfront costs of the visa, my rent, food, and phone and internet.

I am looking forward to summer though. Summer in Scotland is something that I have yet to really experience. I’m excited for the festival, excited to sit in the park and read a book, excited to watch the military tattoo. I’m excited to hike up Arthur’s Seat and not get caught in the rain (or a snow flurry). I’m looking forward to sunny days to explore new neighborhoods, reaclamating to Scotland.

I have 11 days left in the US. Tomorrow I will start packing and get ready for the move, and for the trip to Spain. I’mm not looking forward to this part of the process. There will be tears…lots of tears, for all of the shoes that I am going to have to leave behind.

The Scamp Has a Home

Today I found my home. One of my best friends from Scotland put me in touch with one of her co-workers who owns a one bedroom flat in an old bonded warehouse in Leith. While Leith is not near the campus where I will be working and going to school, it is near the water, it is safe and affordable, and it does not have to be a forever place. So far I have only traded emails with the owner, but she seems very nice, answered all of my questions, and seems to have a good sense of humor about the whole process. She tells me that she has had horrible renters in past, people that skipped out on two months worth of rent, people that have sold off all of the furniture that comes with the flat, and I guess the person living there is not really the best character.

I think the universe is rewarding me for all of the stress that I have been under lately. I still do not have my student number to apply for my visa, and I am still trying to figure out what to pack and how to get all of the things I need (and not necessarily all the things that I want) to my new home in time for me to get them.

I am very excited about my new home. I really haven’t seen it yet, but it already feels like it is my place. It already feels like this time I am going home after an extended leave. It will be the first time in two years that I live on my own, and while I am leaving behind my furniture, I am going to take some of my artwork and some pictures from my life here. I am excited to add my own personal touches, explore the area around the building, and find a library, a grocery store, and a good spot on the shore to sit and read books. This is the first time in a long time that I am excited to move, and I am not really worried about the packing, the shipping, and how to get the boxes once I send them to my new place. Knowing me, I will stress out about that as they come, but for right now, I am so excited that I can cross that off the list and that I will not be homeless on the 21st of June. Last time I did this I signed on to live in the dorms. At the time, I made the best choice I could, but this time I am 3 years older, and a whole lot wiser. No more dorms, no more snotty freshers, and no more awful food. The only awful food that will make it to my belly is the food that I cook.  I’m sure that my cooking will improve greatly when I get there because I will want to show off for my friends by cooking fancy, authentic Mexican food with kosher tortillas that I plan to smuggle in.

After two very long years, I am finally headed back to my home. Maybe this time there will be a puppy waiting for me when I get there.

The Scamp Reverts

Before I came home from Scotland I had made up my mind that I was not going to get stressed about my paper, was not going to worry about money, and was not going to stress over finding a job. I was going to tackle one thing at a time and trust in the process that everything was going to work out. I made a crazy schedule of work, yoga, and socializing with the few people that I still know here. I had a good solid plan, and I was determined to stick to it. The only stressful thing about living in Scotland was David, and once I was free of him, not only did I get things done, but I didn’t have a care in the world. I was happy, I had a lot of fun, and I was able to get a lot of research done.

I came home with that attitude, but I apparently left it with customs. I started to stress about work, turned into Oscar the Grouch, and didn’t look at the schedule I made until three days ago. I have managed to do the yoga….that’s about it. Writing is getting done, but it remains to be seen if it is any good. I’m still having communication issues with my supervisor, so I have not gotten any feedback. I should be almost done with the first draft, and I have only about 1/3 of the work done. Today I wrote 0 words related to critical literacy and the evaluation of children’s books.

The only thing I managed to do today was put together an IKEA dresser (Well, me and the help of my sister and brother-in-law) and finally unpack my bedroom. I no longer feel like I am living in boxes….or in this case, under boxes. Almost all of my clothes and shoes are inside, and if I ever manage to find a job, I have a wardrobe all ready to go.

We made some friends at IKEA. My new pal is Brock the broccoli, and Kelly is holding Carrot Top

We made some friends at IKEA. My new pal is Brock the broccoli, and Kelly is holding Carrot Top

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

Who knew this little beauty would make me feel better about my room. It's been several hours and it is still in one piece

Who knew this little beauty would make me feel better about my room. It’s been several hours and it is still in one piece.

I heard back from the college today. They were unable to hire me because I cannot work in the evenings….even though they knew that when they interviewed me and told me that was not a problem. I actually cried after I got off the phone with the dean. The unemployed, really broke, huge loan and massive tuition bill to pay is starting to stress me out a lot. I applied for a couple of other positions today, but I am starting to feel a little depressed about the job thing. I’m really thinking that the next logical step is to fund my EdD.

I will now settle in with a quiet house, the 7 minute workout from hell and an evening of bad reality TV.

I can change my attitude tomorrow.