My first year out of college vs. my second year

IMG_0645First year

  1. What exactly is steel wool made of and why have I never used it before? It cleans dishes so well. Have people been keeping this a secret from me my whole life?
  2. My landlord is, well, not the best. How do I behave around her? What an awkward relationship.
  3. Dang, getting up every day at 6am for work is exhausting. I need to go to bed at 8pm.
  4. Where are all the young people who automatically want to be my friend? Pretty sure my personality didn’t change that much since senior year.
  5. Geez, going to the gynecologist in Germany sure is a blast…
  6. Oh, right, you’re my colleague, not my friend. Gotta remember that.
  7. Taxes. Which boxes to mark, that is the question.
  8. Are you free to hang out this week? This month? This year? Well, it was nice knowing ya.

Second year

  1. I have paid my rent on time for three months in a row.
  2. I have cleaning products I actually prefer. I literally have preferences.
  3. I cooked a well balanced meal tonight. Pasta was not involved in the making.
  4. I think this person is my friend. It only took a year of coaxing but, heck, we do stuff together sometimes.
  5. I own a blazer and slacks.
  6. My resume says I have skills. People ask me to be their friend on LinkedIn.
  7. I have a boyfriend. He has a job. Miracles.
  8. I think I can do this.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

a-charlie-brown-thanksgiving.jpgAnother year, anther missed Thanksgiving. Oops! I always miss home terribly this time of year, and I can’t wait to celebrate full force in future years. I will be a forced to be recognized with as I try to make up for all my missed celebrating! Below are a few things I am thankful for:

  1. A family that loves and supports me
  2. A sweet boyfriend with a great reading voice and rockin’ mustache
  3. The opportunity to use my mind in the classroom and further my education
  4. The chance to experience German culture
  5. Coffee. Always.
  6. My health
  7. My bed that is always there for me with open arms
  8. Old and new friends
  9. Chocolate chip cookies
  10. The chance to experience life. Cheesy, but true. Very true.

Winter

1. Knitting projects

2. Tea

3. Turtlenecks

4. Christmas Cookies

5. Snow flurries

6. Early sunsets

7. Fuzzy socks

My Favorite Reads

46430830_895924280797219_6282832384274464768_n.jpgThese days I am often busy reading long, esoteric texts for school, but when I have the chance to read for fun I always relish it! Below are a few of my favorite reads, both recently and throughout the last few years. Have you read any of them? Please let me know in the comments below, and make your own suggestions!

Originals by Adam Grant
The subtitle of this book is “How non-conformists move the world.” It is all about how to foster and apply creativity, originality, and progress both in your personal life and in a larger setting (i.e. societal movements, corporations, etc.). It may sound dry but I promise it is far from it! Grant draws on lots of studies and research but his tone is super conversational and engaging. My boyfriend (this is not a drill folks! I have a real life boyfriend) read it aloud to me via Skype the past few weeks and I ate it up.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
I finished this about three months ago and am still thinking about it. The story revolves around a young Pakistani man who studies at Princeton and is recruited to work at a large firm on wall street. He is succeeding and doing well for himself in America, until 9/11 happens and everything changes (but not necessarily in the ways you might think!). I finished this book in three days.

Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin
A collection of short stories about girlhood, coming of age, and womanhood. They are sharp, witty, and quick to read. I loved the character development and related to many of the women in the stories.

Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
One of my favorite short story collections I’ve ever read! I love the second person POV she employs in some of the stories and drew a lot inspiration from her for a few of my own stories.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Main character Greer Kadetsky is a quiet college freshman when she meets Faith Frank, the striking woman who has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades. She idolizes Faith and is drawn to work for her. She must also learn how to balance her love life, and try not to loose herself in the process. I devoured this book up! It is very modern and relatable.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Hamid’s fifth novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize for fiction, deals with the
experience of modern-day refugees. But unlike many refugee novels, which focus on the journey itself, Exit West revolves around the struggles and realities of life before and after said journey. Main characters Nadia and Seid decide they must leave their war-torn home for a safer, albeit uncertain, future. They find a smuggler who shows them a ‘magical door’ that leads to an unknown Western country. They walk through and instantaneously emerge into an alien land, where they fight to cling to their love, their past and their sense of self. This was President Obama’s favorite book last year.

A Girl I Knew by JD Salinger
This is one of Salinger’s lesser known short story published in 1948. It is about a young man’s trip to Austria to learn German to be of use in his father’s company. There, he meets and befriends a beautiful, jewish girl who teaches him German. They are separated during the war, and I won’t spoil the ending but it is, well, a little heartbreaking. You can see why I love this one– I relate to the struggle to learn German!46387093_755016484845773_7015624886680813568_n.jpg

 

A Happy List

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  1. The sun is shining. People, that is a big deal here.
  2. Rumor has it that Wednesday will be the first snow of the season
  3. The Christmas Markets start on the 26th!
  4. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 4 is on Netflix. Gold.
  5. This article.

Enough.

On Wednesday night, a gunman shot and killed 12 people at a line dancing bar in Thousand Oaks. I have been to this bar. One of the victims was a student from Pepperdine, my alma mater. It’s finally up close and personal. It was only a matter of time.

People have been saying, “I can’t believe it could happen here. I never though it would happen in a community like this.” But that’s the thing. It does. It will. It’s always someone else until it’s you. Your family. Your friends. Your life. No community is immune in this country, and we have to stop feeling like we are.

We need to stop sympathizing for ‘the others’ and start doing something NOW, because we could be next. And I don’t just say that to scare people, although it is scary. I say that because it’s the absolute truth. The cold, hard truth about our daily lives as Americans.

I’m tired of the cycle: outpouring of sympathy on social media, the president’s condolences, then sitting back and waiting for the next shooting in a week or two.

It’s not right. I don’t want more posts or more prayers. I want gun control. I don’t want to live in a country where I could be shot and killed at any second for no reason at all. Currently, I don’t live in a country where that happens. I remember someone saying to me before I left for Germany, “Are you sure it’s safe over there?” HA! It’s not safe in America, and it’s foolish to think otherwise.

Regardless of how you vote– we should all be pro human life. And we are losing human lives left and right. We lost 12 on Wednesday in Thousand Oaks, 90 per day, 35,000 per year to gun violence. This phenomenon won’t just go away. We can’t just wait it out. What’s it going to take to change? 100 lives lost in one setting? 200? 1,000? At what point does out government stand up and fight for its citizens? At what point do they say ENOUGH.

I am tired. I am disillusioned. I’ve heard every side of every pro-gun argument and I will never be convinced. I am in mourning for my university community. But most of all I am angry. And ready to do something.

My Favorite Quote

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“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.”

-Cheryl Strayed