Monday, March 26, 2012

Help Me Choose!

So last weekend, my family did a family portrait thing. Since I actually did my hair and put on makeup for it, I figured I might as well have Andrew snap a quick picture so I could put up a real avatar (and not one chopped out of an engagement pic from three years ago!). We were headed out to my in-laws' house for St. Patrick's Day, so we only had a few minutes before the pull of Guinness and whiskey took us away from this photo session, but I managed to get at least two with my eyes open! This is the one I chose, but I can't decide whether to use it normal, or use one with some effects. 


1. Black and white
2. Soft light filter
3. Normal
4. Overexposed 

I kind of like the ones with effects because they distract a little know. Me. And the fact that I have vampire fangs and that my head looks a little disjointed from my body. :) But I've been staring at myself way too long and don't feel like I'm being objective. Help?

PS- Hunger Games! I liked it! Did you like it? My favorite part was walking out past a group of teenage boys discussing the differences between the book and the movie. Love it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Travel Anniversaries and Impossible Dreams

Six years ago today, I packed up a travel backpack and ran away to the other side of the world for about four months, all by myself. Six years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago and like yesterday at the same time. And it (not to get totally overdramatic) (okay, yeah, it's overdramatic, but true!) changed my life.

Loch Ness--after I accidentally got my hair dyed platinum blonde. Meant to get it dyed back to my natural color (medium/dark blonde) but apparently that doesn't translate in Hungarian.

It wasn't even the traveling. I mean, the traveling was great. Amazing. One can never be exactly the same once one has searched for the Loch Ness monster and wandered the streets of Cambodia and learned to do all one's laundry in the sink all in the same couple-month period.

On the street in Cambodia
 It wasn't exactly even the fact that I was traveling alone, though if I hadn't had the trial-by-fire of months of solo travel, I have no doubt I'd be a different person now. (Being alone is fun sometimes! Have you ever gone to a movie alone? You should try it.)
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Tiger Temple, Thailand  
Snorkeling, Thailand

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
No, it was an epiphany I had six years and a few months ago now, before I left on that trip. I'd graduated from college, and had no idea what to do with my life. I wasn't like a lot of my USC classmates, who knew they were going to law school immediately, or already had a job offer at Deloitte, or were moving to Manhattan Beach with ten friends. I graduated with degrees in psychology and Italian (yeah, what the heck was I going to do with that??), I had a long-term boyfriend back home in Albuquerque but wished I could move to a big city instead of going home, or that I could do something else exciting, though I had no idea what. I was pretty much lost.

Church doors,
Transylvania, Romania
One day, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table, feeling very sorry for myself and drinking a glass of wine and staring out the window and probably pretending I was the heroine in some dramatic movie. If I could do absolutely anything, I thought, my dream would be to travel for a few months. I'd already traveled a decent amount, but there was so much more of the world I wanted to see, and who knew when I'd have the chance again?

Dunnotar Castle, Scotland
But I didn't have a lot of money. And I had this boyfriend. And everyone around me was being responsible and adult and getting jobs and houses--some were even married already. And who took off and traveled, besides hippies and Brits on Gap Year? I sighed at the impossibility of this crazy thing I'd probably never get to do, and drank some more wine.

And then, out of somewhere magical and mysterious, it hit me.

It wasn't like I'd never thought about actually doing it before. I'd looked into plane tickets, I'd read travel message boards, I'd even thought of what I'd bring to wear. But it always ended with me a little more depressed than I had been earlier, and a little bit resentful of the life that would never allow me to do what I really wanted. Until that day. That day, I thought...WHY NOT?

Cooking class, Thailand
And it wasn't just a thought. It was this feeling, like someone had punched me in the gut and all of a sudden, I saw the world just a little differently than I ever had before. Why not just go? I could think of a million reasons why not, but deep down...there was no real reason why not. At that moment, I realized that I could it. I could do anything I wanted. Sure, it would mean that I'd have to work two jobs and save up for a few months. It would mean that I'd leave the boyfriend (now the husband) behind, since he'd just started a company and didn't want to leave. It would mean I'd be traveling alone. Most of all, it would mean that a lot of people would think I was crazy.

But I could do it. I could literally do WHATEVER I WANTED. Everything going on in my head was just excuses.

And so I just...went. It was the best decision I ever made, and the realization that I could do it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Whatever that is, there are a million excuses not to, but if I really want to, I can write a book, or decide to move to another city for a month on a whim, or apply for a job I never thought I'd get, or quit a job I hate. There are always going to be reasons not to do whatever it is you really want, but my hope for everyone I care about is that, one day, that little *snick* will happen for them, and they'll realize--not just intellectually, but really understand--that there are way more reasons to do it. You only have one life. Or, as my favorite fortune cookie ever says, "Tomorrow may be too late. Live today."

Koh Phagnon, Thailand

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

Thanks, Chessie, for tagging me for a blog meme thing! I've never done one before, but here we go!

The rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they're written--no cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers (I tag: Seabrooke, Sari, and anyone who reads this post) :)
5. Let them know

I had no idea what would be on page 77, but turns out it's SUPER-ACTIONY, which is fun. Here we go!

The clang of heavy footsteps on the stairs turned the pain in my head into wild panic. I crawled as fast as I could to a couch and clung to it, forcing myself dizzily to my feet as the killer reached the bottom of the stairs. He was no more than ten feet away, and he no longer had the knife in his hand. 
He had a gun. 
The room spun like I was on a carnival ride. He stood between me and the front door, blocking my only escape.