Au Revoir 2011

Reflection Question: Write a love letter to your future self a year from now.

Dearest She,

You are strong. You are beautiful, and you are unique. Anybody would be blessed to know you as a friend because you are supportive, loyal and write some damn good birthday cards. Although you don’t have many people that you call friends, there’s nothing wrong with you because you are picky. But there is something wrong with holding on to people you know should no longer be in your life. Friends do come with expiration dates.

This year you’ve learned not to take what friends do or don’t do, personally. You’ve let go of holding grudges against people because they don’t call you, or they don’t respond to your calls, or they don’t check up on you. You’re understanding that there are different types of friendships, and not everyone is like you. People show love in different ways, and they may simply not speak the same love language you do.

Career-wise, the seemingly unfortunate series of events earlier this year have actually given you the kick in the behind to get back to school. Truth be told, it’s hard to take the initiative when things are comfortable. Right now you may be unsure about a lot of things. You think you’re not smart enough to Ace these speech-related courses. You think you’re too old to compete with the 20 and 21 year old brains. You think you won’t get accepted into graduate school, and you secretely hope you don’t get accepted so that things could be easier. So that you have a reason excuse not try harder. It’s easier not to try. It’s easier to give up when you have faced rejection.

But you’ve faced rejection OVER and OVER again this year. You were rejected by your ex-boyfriend. You were rejected by your former boss who let you go. You were rejected by the camp supervisor who didn’t give you a job this summer. And yet, you survived. You finished your first semester of accelerated pre-req’s with a 3.4 GPA. Not too bad. It was a shock; the country town, the coursework, the lack of a real life social network, the style of teaching…but you still came out on top. So you have no idea what school you’ll be accepted to, where you’re going to live, if this field is really your calling, but will you be paralyzed by FEAR? Or will you learn how to work to your full potential and carry on? Will you finally trust in God’s unchanging hand? Not only to say you trust, but to act, and talk like you trust?!

Things you need to work on in 2012:

  • motivating yourself- self-talk works!
  • stop interrupting people when they are talking. Interrupting people shows them you don’t honor their opinion, and that what you have to say is much more important.
  • not relying on having other people around to have a good time
  • being generally more positive, and not cynical
  • restoring faith in the institution of marriage
  • devotional time with God (Bible-reading and mediation)
  • eating healthier
Key Moments you shouldn’t forget of 2011:
  • Making beet salad (in Costa Rica, we call it ensalada Rusa) for houses you visited for Thanksgiving, just to have people look at you like you were offering them cocaine.
  • Your god-daughter’s fascination with cameras.
  • You are smarter than you give yourself credit for.
  • What you focus on, increases. (The Noticer by Andy Andrews)
  • You kissed your first white boy.
  • You had your first real extended hangover.
  • You let yourself be loved.
  • You were introduced to Citizen Cope and have a crush on Drake.
  • You met some inspiring bloggers, click on names for sites (@blaqdaisy, @up4dsn, @moetwithmedusa, @minusthebars, @BrittShelton1, @cgryp, @mindofadiva@IAmNikks, @inspired_enigma  just to name a few)
Remember that there is life after heartbreak, people who seem to be living more comfortable on the outside may be living in hell internally, and that walking down the street with a smile on my face can brighten someone else’s day.
Here’s to a memorable 2012! I wish all of you a safe and amazing New Year celebration.
Until next year,
Au Revoir 2011

ReCognizing Strengths

Reflection Question: What new strengths did you discover about yourself this year?

  • Courage: While trying to navigate Costa Rica and figuring out how to get the best out of time there I learned how to discriminate everyone’s well intended-advice. I knew I wanted to work there, I knew I also wanted to volunteer but I needed help with the logistics of finding work in a relatively safe neighborhood, and figuring out the modes of transportation. I wanted to be as independent as possible, but it still took a lot of courage to ask for help and to ask distant family members to let me stay with them and to show me bus routes, etc.
  • Coping: When I came back to the States I had another task ahead of me– a move from the city to a small town. I never expected to have such a hard time transitioning to life outside of a big city. I looked at it as a kind of opportunity to experience what suits my personality better, so that when the time comes to start my family I’ll know where I’ll be comfortable living. I am still adapting and have learned some of the perks of living alone this past year, and the importance of building of a real-life social community.
  • Committed Creativity: I am very proud of my journey with GlobeTracer, which began on June 11, 2011 (shout-out to to Mr. L in CR for helping me with the brainstorming process). This marks my 37th post, and I will strive to hit 40 before the January 1st! I have committed to posting as consistently as life allows, and so basically when I’m not living I’m writing, or thinking about it. I have met some awesome bloggers along the way, people who I’m striving to get to know more than just on the surface. I appreciate those bloggers who inspire me to write with a purpose, and who provoke some self-reflection when sharing their experiences or internal dialogues. Writing is not easy! Writing for an online audience is even harder, but the feedback and sincere comments I receive along the way make every second I put into this blog worth it. 

What new strength came to light for you this year?



ReCognizing Strengths

It Gets Real in Mont Real

Enter, if you dare...

The picture above is just one of the very charming places we visited during our too-short weekend in Montreal, Canada or Mont Real as I now affectionately call it.

This post is a little overdue, not because Montreal is not worth writing about, but because I’ve been so overwhelmed with my mid-semester responsibilities. But, here we are, another place to add to the list and that I will definitely return to!

Mont Real, is a nice {re}treat if you enjoy culture, food, nightlife, sightseeing and French culture. According to WikiTravel, Montreal is unique in that its maintained its Francophone culture; it’s the second-largest city (behind Paris) that has French as it’s official language. That means that most people function in French both at work and at home, and living one hour away from this great city it took me a little while to feel like I was really in another country since I didn’t have to travel long on a plane to be surrounded by all the sexy-sounding words coming out of people’s mouths.

Don’t be dismayed if French is not your forte, most people any way involved in the tourism business (hotels, restaurants, shops) have bilingual staff, and for that we were grateful. Also, according to Wikipedia 56% of the population is able to speak both English and French. It was still nice to practice the little French I was responsible for in HS (which is none, because I cheated and took Spanish as my foreign language). I did carry a trusty little phrase book that taught me a new favorite request, L’addition, s’il vous plaît, (the bill please) and by the time we left I was saying this to anyone and anybody who would listen.

We ventured up North during an unexpected heat wave that hit the first week in October, and what a beautiful way to be greeted! Mont Real is a multi-lingual, hip, bright city full of natives, immigrants, and transplants. It was nice seeing a population that reminded me very much of the blends in New York City. The Metro system was easy to navigate, although not 24 hours like the Big Apple (NYC).

What We ATE

  • French Cuisine at Les Deux Gamins 
  • Dessert: Ice cream on Prince Arthur East

  • Thai Food at Thai Grill Mile-End, Montreal 
Crab cakes, Mmm...
  • Homemade Crepes
I get very touchy around food...

  • Foie Gras (French Delicacy)- If you missed that episode, catch up here. Or just watch the video

What We SAW

  • Olympic Stadium
  • Protest against Olympic Stadium
  • Colonial and Stately looking buildings
  • Leaning Tower

  • Chinatown
Every major City has some Gatekeepers...
  • Old Montreal

  • Convenient & Easy Bike Rentals (known as the BIXI system)
Look Mommy, I can read a map!

  • Directing our French-speaking cabbie back to our B&B
  • Finding and AMAZING Bread and Breakfast (A La Carte B&B). The only downside is that it was about a $20 cab ride away from Downtown. But the place was beautifully renovated and warm! (They have 2 suites and an apartment on the second floor, we got the opportunity to stay at both) Pictures courtesy of the website.
Juilliard Suite
Kitchen of apt
  • Metro System

What YOU should know (as an American tourist):
If you’re coming from the States, exchange rates FLUCTUATE daily. Know your stuff, download an APP on your Iphone or check the internet (or the front desk) before you leave the hotel and be assertive! During our 3-day stay, there was never more than a difference of .03 and .04 cents between the Canadian and American dollar but that didn’t stop vendors from trying to get over!

You don’t necessarily have to exchange ALL your American cash, most restaurants we went to accepted both currencies, but do be careful of their ‘in-house’ exchange rate. Don’t get got!

When you rent bikes with the BIXI, they do charge a $200 (deposit) on your card/per bike. If you bypassed or skimmed the ‘rental agreement’ at the machine, you might be shocked to check your statement hours later. They do refund the money within 7 days of the rental.

Have you ever been to Montreal? If not, is it on your Bucket List?

Until the next adventure,

It Gets Real in Mont Real

Letter to Encourage Myself

Dear ________,

You’ve never been necessarily good at cheering yourself up, but it’s about time you hone those skills. You can’t always depend on your personal cheerleading squad to give you a pep-talk. For one, it’s unrealistic to expect people to be around EVERY time you need them and secondly you may have  to steer clear of well-intentioned bad advice at times.

I know that doubts and fear are at the forefront of your mind. Don’t give those thoughts any leverage– or they will run rampant. Most of the time fear is irrational, there is no real imminent threat.  It’s time to readjust your frame of mind. Yes, you’ve gone from studying the arts to studying the sciences. There are inherent differences you must adapt to. With the arts, creativity thrives and an argument can be proved if you are clever enough to paint the picture. The diplomatic sciences are where things are they way they are because they are. There is no leeway, there is no partial points, there is no other way around it. You memorize it and you know it or you don’t and you fail. Live by your personal motto’s that once you commit to something, failure is not an option and mediocrity is for the birds. Give this your best shot, and if speech pathology is not for you, then let it go and continue on your search…

It’s hard to reconcile the shock of re-building a support system and moving to a new place. But it’s not impossible. It’s good to recognize that a support system is necessary in your life, and your experiences with making new friends, choosing the right people to be around, and who remembers you when you’re away from home is all a part of recognizing who is worthy of being in your inner circle. Living alone is a unique experience, and another way to get to know yourself better. Many people never have the opportunity to do it! Living in a new town will also give you some indication on the type of place you’ll be comfortable settling down in. That may not happen for some time but you are still young, this is only temporary and that means that before you know it… it’ll be time to move somewhere else.

Get yourself back in line with the spiritual! There is nothing like that calming inner peace that comes from being in habitual communication with God. Feed your spirit weekly, if not daily, and remember that you don’t have to bear the burden alone, you can share it with Christ.

There are people rooting for you, even though they may not be at the forefront of your mind.

Have faith in yourself, you can’t get this time back so take advantage of it…. NOW!


Your Encouraged Self

For supplemental visual, watch this video:

Letter to Encourage Myself