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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

In years past, I’ve made an effort to make one last post each December that recounts some of the achievements, discoveries, and challenges of the year before.  This usually comes out as a long post that is filled with bullets that I doubt anyone cares to read, so this year, I’ll be writing a shorter one that really gets to the point.

So, what happened in 2012?

  • I started RPing on tumblr in the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom, which meant that I made some absolutely amazing friends and improved my writing of fiction immensely.  I’ll admit that starting to RP seemed like a giant waste of time.  Sure, I was having fun, but I kept wondering what else I could be doing.  I grew worried that I had gotten into something unhealthy, but it ended up working out.  I took breaks when I needed them, went on hiatuses but kept up social contact with the friends that I had made.  I sent baked goods and Christmas cards to the friends that I had made, added them on Facebook, spent hours on Skype laughing and crying with them.  I can’t regret any moment of time, as it was never time wasted.
  • I had my first boy-friend, and I broke up with my first boy-friend.  It wasn’t working out.  We’re still friends.
  • I came out as being somewhere on the asexual spectrum.  There are days when I don’t know if it’s asexuality or greysexuality or demisexuality, when I look at something and just think it’s whatthefuckIdon’tevenknow-sexuality.  It’s strange, and even after a year of thinking about it, I don’t know exactly where I am.
  • Life moved on after Grandma’s death, as it does after any death.  We miss her, of course.  But I promised her that I’d keep living and thriving and loving.
  • I got really sick in March until June with mono.  The mono brought out full symptoms of POTS, which is a secondary illness branching off from having EDS.  I never fully recovered, and I don’t expect to.  Instead, I’ve been learning how to adapt to the life that I now lead.  This has led to many things: diet changes, decisions about delaying grad school for a year, taking life slower, working less over the summer, and knowing my limits so that I don’t push them.
  • I’ve been finishing off the last courses of my psychology major and printmaking minor.  I’m going to miss them terribly–especially art and all of the friends that I’ve made through the art department.
  • I got to see Chris Thile in concert with the Punch Brothers, and I gave him a hug after the concert.  This was a legitimate bullet point on my bucket list that I could cross off.  Do remember that I’ve been obsessed with this guy’s music since he was in Nickel Creek and I first heard their music TWELVE YEARS AGO.
  • I went to Florida over the summer and visited with my dad, brother, both sisters, and their families.  It was a pretty good time, and I wish that I could see them more often.
  • Last, and most importantly, I met Alexander this year.  Words cannot fully describe what this means, and I won’t try too terribly to explain them, either.  Just know that I’ve never loved someone so much in my life and that this is a seriously big deal.  I expect him to be in my life for a very long time, and I’m his as long as he’s mine.

So there you have it: a year in review.  This is about as short as I can make it, but I think that it covers some highlights.  Enjoy; though this list is really more for me than anyone else.  All of my writing is, really.

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There are few days when I don’t look back on my trip to Germany in 2008 with Sister Cities and think, “Where did that time go?”  It was, in all honesty, one of the greatest adventures of my life.  Three weeks in a completely foreign country with a language I barely knew how to speak and so many wonderful people.  New things to try.  New foods to eat.  Everything new and yet so shockingly old.  A seven hundred year-old home that was still being lived in or a thousand year old church.  I’m still completely enchanted by it all, and I probably never won’t be.

I’ll be going on another adventure roughly four and a half months from now when I head to Chicago and then Denver by taking the train and staying in a hostel before making it out to my sister’s wedding.  I’m excited, I really am.  But there’s this little part of me that keeps saying: you are trying to relive Germany, and you will fail.

It’s something that I don’t want to accept, but the more that I think about it, it may be true.  I spend so much time thinking about those good times and how I’d love to live through them again, and sometimes I think I plan my life around that.  Trying to explore and adventure to new places again and again.  But it is not sustainable.  After a while, you have to move into other aspects of your life and leave adventures behind.  I suppose that many people call this growing up or maturing, but I just find it disheartening.  Why give up your dreams of adventures?  Why not try to relive them or make new memories?

But, because I search so desperately for them, I think that they become doomed from the get go to not live up to my expectations.  It’s similar to how I hated Girls State because I had gone to Missouri Scholars Academy the year before and was just comparing it to something so much greater.  Chicago/Denver cannot be another Germany, but I need to accept that it can be its own separate adventure.  It can be something new.  It can be something wonderful.  And I just need to keep an open mind and throw away that idea that you must ‘mature’ to no longer having fun.

If that’s what maturing is, then I will have no part in it.

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It’s been a while now, huh?  More than a month, actually, and this is the first post of the new year.  Not much has changed.  I’m back at uni, working on my psych degree and studio art minor.  Classes are going well, professors are mostly stellar, the norm.  I’m taking developmental psych, cognitive psych, ANOVA/experimental statistics, design 1, and logic.  All in all, mostly major/minor specific.

It’s snowy here.  And cold.  But that shouldn’t come as any surprise to you (come on, it’s Kirksville; we wear shorts when it gets above freezing).  My friends and family in Saint Charles recently got a foot of snow, which pretty much makes it the first time that Kirksville had less–even if we’re only talking by a few inches.

But enough about classes and weather and cold!  There are marvellous things in which to be excited for!  New albums coming out this year, the marriages of both of my sisters, the tentative backpacking trip to Chicago, visiting family in Florida, and working at what is quite possible the best place in the world for three months.  It suddenly hit me today just how much is coming up within the next six or seven months.

Both of my older sisters are getting married: Joslyn in April and Jessica in August.  Joslyn’s will just include going home for the weekend, but I will have to get myself to Colorado Springs, CO for Jessica’s.  At first, my dad informed me that I would just fly there, but for the same price, I could give myself a multiple day vacation in Chicago and just take the train.  Sure, that’s an extra two days of travelling, hostel costs, food, et cetera.  But you know what?  I’m totally up for it.  My room mate and I started scouring the internet last night for train prices and hostels in the Chicago area and how to backpack your way across the country.  Now, I just need to present the idea to my mother.  That will be interesting.

Meanwhile, lots of new albums come out this year that I’m pretty darn excited about.  Florence + the Machine (whom I was gushing over a year ago), Kerli Koiv, Coldplay (about damn time), et cetera.  Loreena McKennitt and Robyn both just released new albums that I would love to get my hands on and might save as a special present to me for my birthday (or for getting through the semester, either one).

It’s strange to think that this semester will be done and over with in only three and a half months.  Come 6 May, and I’ll be back home in Saint Charles.  And on the 15th, my lease will start on the house that Jess, Noah, and I have up here in Kirksville.  I won’t be staying there for the summer, which leaves a bit of a waste in the rent that I will still be paying, but it will be fun to come up over weekends and start fixing the place up.  We’re pretty excited to get furniture and paint and mix-matched dishes into there.

Anyway, I hope that this was a sufficient update.  I’ve been working on another blog post for some time, but it really hasn’t been coming along well.  So this is my much more friendly alternate.

Keep it classy.

Missi

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Well, I finally have my new camera, which meant a picture taking frenzy began while shopping around Main Street with friends.  Enjoy some photos!  It was an awesome day, and I’m excited to work down there in my 1820s clothing over the next couple of days.

I met the Irish Santa!

I caught up with Nicole, Jen, Lindsay, and later Noah for a little while.  And while people watching on Main Street, I bumped into Katie and my ‘third’ grandparents’ son, his wife, and their two adorable kids.

I also kind of bumped into a giant Christmas parade, full of characters dressed from the 1800s, the Fife and Drum Corps, faeries and angels, international Santas, horses, carriages, and all kinds of fun things.

“They don’t want a picture of your, darling.  I’m a star.”

Also, if my Lord of the Rings themed wedding falls through, can this be choice number two?  Come on.  Celtic/Irish wedding!  I need to meet a guy willing to wear a kilt…  Maybe I’ll just stalk Thistle and Clover more often.

Meanwhile, I bought an awesome sarong from The Enchanted Attic and a beautiful hat from The English Shoppe.  Pictures will be sure to come eventually.

It was a pretty awesome time down in Main Street, though, and I got to get dressed up and attend a kick ass bluegrass concert last evening in the upper floor of the First State Capitol.  I was probably only one of two people under fifty, but it was a hell of a time.  Of course, I’m biased being a major blue grass fan, but how can you go wrong with mandolin-led Christmas tunes?  You can’t.

Well, there you have it.  A lovely day full of parades, friends, historical dressing up, and shopping.  Have a great time before Christmas scaddadles, and if you’re thinking about visiting Main Street in Saint Charles, Missouri, DO IT!

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I’m on hold right now with OfficeMax, Simon & Garfunkel lilting by.  Today has been the day of Simon & Garfunkel, whether while driving to Iowa on a spur of the moment road trip after visiting the hardware store or while waiting to find out if I can get a new camera.  Or, you know, a camera at all.  Imagine it, there you are, opening the box to a brand new camera.  You remove the cords.  The battery charger, the manual, the…  Ripped piece of plastic?

Oh yeah, the ripped piece of plastic that was supposed to be holding the camera.

It would seem that, given my luck (or lack thereof), I purchased the display camera’s box, which means that my camera is sitting out for other people to touch and oogle over.  Ew.  So after a conversation with the manager of OfficeMax, who was actually quite understanding and kind about the situation, I have been guaranteed the actual camera and a new box since it was an accident on their part that the empty box was given to me to buy.

All fixed.  Problem solved.  But what have we learned?  Check the contents of the box before you buy, not after.  It’s just like how, when I got Chinese three weeks ago, I should have checked the vegetable fried rice before getting back to the dorm.  Why?  Because, even though the box was labelled with a V does not mean that it won’t be chicken fried rice.  Luckily, that one was taken care of in time for dinner.

But I laughed when I heard the Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background while on hold.  It’s what I had listened to on my mini-road trip to Iowa.  Kirksville is rather tiny, only around 17,000 people, but it’s the beacon light to all other northern Missouri towns–the “Northern Star”.  Once you pass Kville and head up north, you reach a whole lot of nothing aside from horse-drawn carriages and towns that boast their population of 437.

I passed at least eight Mennanites in their carriages, making me smile every time.  Small town.  Small town.  Small town.  Gas station and closed diner and Welcome sign.  Deer running up hills and into valleys and across highways.  A brilliant, pink and orange sunset blinding me over the hills that crept out from nowhere.  It was a place that looked more pleasant in its death than it would have in its full-bloom or spring or summer.  You could see so far in the crisp air, see the snow still sticking to the shaded grass and the ice patches on the ponds.  A simply beautiful drive.

And I listened to Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits, bobbing my head to Mrs. Robinson and humming to myself as I stopped for gas in an ugly little town inside of Iowa (I had missed the Welcome sign to Iowa, leaving me driving an extra twenty miles until I came upon the first town that was larger than an outpost).  It was the type of trip that made me really, really yearn for my camera, and I was kicking myself for not having opened it sooner.  Which is probably why I immediately opened it upon returning home to Kirksville and starting this whole circle of Simon and Garfunkel.

“Hello Darkness my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again.”
Sound of Silence,  Simon & Garfunkel

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Day 1 of my Floridian adventures comprised of a relaxed day at the pool and later walking around the beach with my dad.  We cooked food, and I once again ate fish.  And, again, I’ll keep on eating it, even though it makes me feel sluggish and weighty.  Day 2 was filled with grocery shopping and a day at the beach to not just walk around but to swim and sit under our half tent.  Unfortunately, I’m slightly sunburned, hungry, and headache-y.  I’ll be pink for the next few days, and my freckles are getting darker by the minute, I swear.  But, that’s the price I paid and will continue to pay for being outside without sunscreen while being a redhead.  Luckily, there won’t be any blistering or skin damage at this point.  Just some irritation at myself when I look in the mirror (but hey, that’s not uncommon).  I jest.

Anyway, as I like to talk about food as much as possible, here are some of the great things I’ve been eating:

German style buttered bread with Swiss cheese.  It makes the best breakfast.

Sushi.  Yeah, I tried it and found that I’m a fan of the wasabi.

Fish with steamed vegetables, rice, and salad.  Speaking of salads, I’ve been making the best cucumber, avocado, tomato, onion salads.  Add some bleu cheese dressing, and it’s awesome (and that’s coming from the girl who usually doesn’t like to have dressing).  My dad also makes a great Greek salad from just cucumbers, tomatoes, and black olives mixed with this dressing that he makes from combining Greek dressing and Greek spices.  I could have said Greek more times in that sentence, but I didn’t feel like it.

Anyway, here are some photos from the beach as proof that I’m actually down here.  Meanwhile, it’s time to make some asparagus pesto and watch the rain fall down–even if I’m doing more watching than actual cooking.

Day 2 ended by me realising that I’m incredibly sunburned.  Day 3 began with me throwing up and rolling around in nightmares—probably because of the sunburn.  What a stupid, stupid idea to think that I could go out into the sun for four hours without any protection other than shade.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  My shoulders, arms, chest, knees, and even feet are bright pink, and it hurts to even move.  Luckily, though, I bought some Sarna this afternoon (as recommended by my friend Jenn, who had supplied the stuff to my roommate for a sunburn this past spring) and kept mostly inside.  Then again, even staying outside wouldn’t have been too awful, as it’s been raining all day.

As always, I ate fairly well today.  We went to a fruit stand and bought some mango butter and orange-coconut marmalade and later went to Sweet Tomatoes—a fabulous salad and soup buffet.  I’d been once before in Saint Louis a few years back, and the second time was just as good.  I recommend the split pea soup and triple berry green tea while there.  Both are delicious.

The rest of day 3 was spent driving out to a bird sanctuary, only for it pour once we got there.  I still took some pictures and had a bird talk to me (see last post), but we spent an equal amount of time at a local fruit stand, buying the previously mentioned jam products and questioning what fruit was what.  The good of that came with me now knowing what a lychee is.  Yay.

Day 4 was rain.  Lots of rain.  And a very itchy sunburn on my shoulders and chest.  I spent a good deal of the day trying to relieve the pain and itch with Sarna, lotion, et cetera, none of which did the job as well as simply distracting myself—which came in the form of eating super hot peppers.  My dad was cooking up some ceviche when Olga and I heard a mighty WHELP come from the kitchen.  There stood my dad, flinging his hands and trying to get the pepper from his mouth.  Even a tiny sliver had turned his mouth on fire.  He gave me a piece the size of an ant (literally), and I didn’t think much of it.  So I ate a slice the size of two ants, in which my dad gave me an odd look.  Olga came and took a similar bite, which immediately found itself on the kitchen floor along with a slew of Russian in complaint.  So I ate an entire sliver.  Still nothing.  It was a little spicy, but about the same as any salsa.  I wondered what was broken with me since I felt practically nothing from the pepper but decided not to care because I had finally stopped itching.  I would try the same thing the next day by just taking a bite out of the pepper.  The pepper then immediately found itself not on the floor, but in the trash, along with the remnants that were in my mouth.  OH GOD!!  My mouth wasn’t just on fire.  It was the most painfully spicy thing I have ever felt in my life!  I immediately poured orange juice down my throat as it was closest.  Then tried to immediately stuff a banana along with it, then two cups of milk, then an ice cube, then tea, then anything else I could find to stop the burning.  And it still burned—for a half hour, actually.  My dad got home after fifteen minutes of my burning adventure and found me sucking on an ice cube on the couch, not even paying attention to Anthony Bourdain in the background.  He told me I should do it again and let me film him; it would be a hit on YouTube.  I declined the offer.

Much of day 4 was rain, though.  Heavy rain that ended our plans of seeing fireworks for Fourth of July.  We would have gone to the beach, two miles away, to see a wonderful display from the pier.  But, it rained, and we stayed at home, watching the telly and eating leftover asparagus pesto, mushrooms, and berries.

Day 5 was even more rain, but we didn’t know about it until we had reached the riverfront in Fort Lauderdale for fifteen minutes.  Then it poured.  Poured until you could barely see anything, and we were trapped under trees and awnings, shoes saturated, my pants and vest completely saturated, hair sticking to my face in wet tendrils.  Miserable weather, and I was still wet even after a full hour of lunch at a café (where I had marguerite pizza—so good).  As we were still wet, we braved the rain a little further with our umbrellas to see shops selling shirts for 300 dollars and ice cream for an equally ridiculous price.  Though, even with the price, it might have been worth it: think roasted coconut rolled in chocolate and then put into vanilla ice cream.  Absolutely freaking delicious.

Later in the afternoon and evening, my dad and I made some tea and chatted it up on the porch, watched Anthony Bourdain (as I only realised today that there has been a marathon because of the new season starting Monday), and ate ceviche.  I also tried stuffed tea leaves (interesting with a lot of vinegar and a very earthly flavour from all of the tea) and Mediterranean/Russian olives (so salty, that I had to run for some orange juice to wash my mouth out).

Any times in between have been spent lounging about with my computer: playing Sims or internetting or reading Great Expectations (surprisingly good) and my favourite fanfiction which I saved into a Word document (the only fanfiction I’ve ever enjoyed and a secret guilty pleasure).  I’ve been trying to update my wordpress for days, but I’ve only managed one little post from when I went to a bird sanctuary that we quickly left from because of the rain.  I certainly brought the rain with me; suppose I’ll have to go back up to Saint Charles to get rid of it.  And here I leave you.

Leave you with a picture of Anthony Bourdain–love of my life, right after Chris Thile.

“Missi is fucking awesome and has great taste in food.”

Really, Anthony?  Aw, love you, too.

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Quick Update

Me: Hello, bird. Hello!  Hello, pretty bird–
Bird: HELLO.
Me: Ah!  It said Hello to me!!  Say it again!  Hello!
Bird: HELLO.
Me: Ah hahahaha!
Bird: HA. HA. HA.

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