Take a Look at Yourself

Day three being a vegan. I made 10 collard green falafel wraps with a cilantro pâté. A lot of sunflower seeds used. But good enough I was craving one when I got home from work today. I went on a 45 min. power walk with 15 min. stretches afterwards. A photographer was there shooting two young girls in flashy running gear. I thought about the hills and valleys of my health the past 5 years. How Hawaii was the best shape I’ve been in. How I was the most active there. And obviously caught the most amount of vitamin D. However, not the most rational when living island life.

Studying abroad for three months, I was the most sane, happy, me I’ve ever been. I may have just had a very large and questionable amount of red wine at the time too. 

And now, out of college, nearing 25, with an amazing, handsome, man who I love myself with and living in a beautiful, agricultural, liberal, growing city. 

Life is a beauty. 

Going Vegan.. And Mom Already Called to Ask Why

So it’s Day One of veganism. Nuts n grapes so far and it’s nearing noon.

Walking laps around Sexton Mountain Park.

Overcast heat. A small airplane flies by. JG coaches.

I bought a spaghetti squash. We cooked it 40min., perfect time for a sunset drink on the rooftop, met our new neighbors.

I grabbed a fork and told JG to watch, as I did as I saw in the   YouTube video, and added my sautéed mushrooms, garlic, onion and red peppers.

JG had oven roasted chicken atop his plate. And lunch leftovers the next day.
A Rookie Vegan

Sunday, February 19

J and I went thrifting yesterday. There is a huge warehouse not to far from our place. I spotted a mustard yellow vintage sectional piece with embroidered light yellow flowers on it just when we were about to call it quits for the day. It was the perfect size for us. They originally asked $40.00, I bargained $30.00, we got it for $35.00. Not too bad of a deal.

I also picked up a handful of children’s books for a care package I have been meaning to send. It is for my nieces and nephews back in the MidWest. I feel like I have been struggling to put it all together —  thinking too much into the details of what will go in it. They are just kids, they will appreciate anything coming in the mail I am sure.

I also made stew today. A bunch of veggies, chunks of beef, and some beef broth and water; sounds like a meal to me. Light but nutritious.

Until next time.

 

Most Influential Time of My Life

When I signed up to study abroad, I was in a very independent stage of my life. I wanted to get out of dodge and explore. Studying abroad sounded like the best idea I had i

 

n awhile. I can understand how for some people though, moving to a different country could be a pretty frightening idea.

It is flying thousands of miles to a country where only a handful of people know a handful of English, a language Americans nearly take for granted.

And it is far, far away from everyone you know — your friends, family, or your significant other.

But go. Do it. It will be the best time of your life. 

I lived with a host family in Seville, Spain for three months. The family was gorgeous. A real Spaniard family, drinking red wine at lunch and arguing so much ’til someone stomped out of the room. Cristina, the youngest child, and the same age as me, spoke the only English in the house. This helped out tremendously when I landed and my luggage was still in L.A. 🙂 Go me.  However, the program I was in, assigned each student to an American roommate. Mine, was Jenny from Seattle.

We eased slowly into a blossoming friendship. But in the beginning as you can imagine, we had to take the time and courage to learn about each other. We were from different parts of the US,  shared completely different backgrounds, and Jenny was the brighter student of the two of us. She was more advanced in her Spanish speaking skills, leaving her to communicate with our Host Mother at a whole different level. However, my efforts at speaking to the family always came in handy for good laugh.

Everyday Amparro, our host mother, set toast and coffee out for Jenny and me. Then the rest of the day was ours, with school in there somewhere of course. We spent our free time exploring the city and meeting up with our new friends from the program. There were at least ten of us who became really close, really quickly. We did everything together and we were there for each other. The bond was real.

The experiences I have shared so far are just a few of the enlightening events that happened on this excursion, but I wanted to share the reason why I went to Spain and how it benefitted me and my future.

I went to master my Spanish speaking ability. I was placed in Intermediate Spanish that met four hours a day, four days a week. This seemed like a tough challenge. All those hours. All that work. And then, I met my professor.  He was an authentic professional who taught me the everyday lingo of his culture. His lessons began with a story. How would we get from point A to point B out on the streets or in a restaurant or even approaching someone, in Seville? This question would then lead into our daily Spanish life lesson. For these four hours he spoke only Spanish. Exactly what he expected out of all of us.

I feel this professor also enlightened me of how to effectively teach. This enlightenment gave me the courage to start volunteering my time at an all girls vocational school nearby. I prepared lessons and quizzed the girls on their English. They looked up to me not only as a teacher, but as an American friend.

Another challenge I wanted to master was being able to be far away from my family. I felt I had prepared myself to some extent in living in Hawaii for a year, but a different continent..  It may sound silly, but I wanted to feel like a ‘real’ adult having to miss holidays because they just can’t make it. Like, “Sorry Mom, I’m living out my dreams in Spain.” 

Spain was the most beautiful place, the most beautiful time, and the most beautiful people.

The challenges and adventures I faced in Spain broadened my horizons in significant ways. I still hold the theory that students who have studied abroad see the world in a completely different way. We experienced teaching ourselves how to live all over again. My personal experiences helped me to become proficient in Spanish, expand my network of connections, and prepared myself for the life long adventure ahead.

Wondering Where It Started

The quest for parental guidance is still a mystery.

I moved out West last summer with my boyfriend. We packed up his car with the few belongings we kept and hit the road. I found a job within two weeks of being out here. It seemed like the longest, most exhausting, and torturous two weeks of my life but, I got the job, have been with the company for eight months now, and even got myself a promotion.

I am proud of myself. My boyfriend seems to be proud of me. Are my parents proud of me? I am not sure. It was a week or two before I left that they told me how they hated the idea of me moving so far away. They nearly begged for me to move to a closer, MidWest, ‘big’ city and tried their best at a short story expressing their misfortune when they moved together. An ear-load of negativity, essentially, and their youngest child in tears, for her dreams, goals and future would not be taken seriously.

However, I thought me finding a job I like and am thriving at, not being pregnant at 24, nor obese, still in a healthy relationship, and, not to mention enjoying a life I love, would skew my parents’ opinion towards my life and how I am living it.

They still show little support.

The quest I mentioned, is my hope to discover if it is me or them having the psychological issues. Some of the questions I have been asking myself are: why is there such little support, why aren’t my parents in favor of my choices, are my choices good enough? With this, I chose a path of self-help, which led me to the syllabus from one of my last college courses, The Sociology of Self-Improvement, as a guide. I began reading and rereading some of the texts from the course: 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleDrive, and The Road Less Traveled.

These books hold a truth:

In living this life of mine, I am creating my own values, and that is what life is truly about.

 

More to come on this seemingly lifelong quest.