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I officially booked my trip to Chicago/Denver. After wanting to cancel and take an aeroplane instead, I realised the difficulty of that and decided to just stick with my original plan and head out to Chicago before getting to Denver. Booking my hostel was the last step, and now it’s all finished up. To those that I’ll be seeing in Denver, I’ll get to see you just as much with either plan, and I’ll be there from Thursday, the tenth, until the following Sunday or Monday. I’ve already forgotten which.

In other news, summer is going… all right, I suppose. I’ve been working a bit more than thirty hours per week at my summer job down on Main Street. It’s hot and sweaty work, but there’s a lot of it that I really enjoy. I wasn’t expecting to feel so stressed about it this summer as I am, but I’m attributing that to the increase in hours and the bizarre weather that we’ve been having. It’s far too hot for June. This weekend has been the first time in three weeks that it’s been even remotely nice outside. Sorry, but I’m so sick of constant 37 degree days over and over again. I need to be in the Northwest stat. I’m pretty sure that I’m far too Irish to put up with these extreme weathers from the Midwest. It’s just not suiting me any more.

It’s all that I can think about any more: how much I don’t belong here. I used to only get upset about the Midwest because of the lack of culture and things to see and do, but now I’m finding that it’s far more than that. Even aside from the fact that I am meant for cool and rainy weather (oh, hey Northwest), the personality of where I live just doesn’t fit me. It’s been difficult to explain this to my mother who doesn’t understand why I’d ever want to leave. This is, after all, the place where I have grown up. But I just can’t stay here any longer; it’s like trying to fit a puzzle piece where it doesn’t quite go. Sure, you can keep it there, and from a distant it won’t matter, but in the end, you know that piece doesn’t go there. That’s the best way that I can describe it.

I’ve started looking into grad schools, and I’m so sure that I want to go to the Northwest. Everyone asks me why. They tell me that it rains constantly there and that people are depressed. I tell them that there are book stores and coffee shops and interesting people there. I tell them that I avoid the sun like the plague to begin with, so this would finally allow me to live freely. I’ll keep searching in other locations, too, but I can’t deny that I’d like to spend some time there. At least for the five years of grad school. After that’s all finished up with, I can decide for sure what’s right for me. That, or I can take my doctoral degree and get the hell out to some place else; sometimes these things take experimentation.

I’m just a little torn between the fact that I want to go to the Northwest, yet a large university near my home town also offers the degree I want (family and marriage counselling at SLU). Everyone wants me to go to SLU.

Well, everyone except me, I suppose.

True Words

I’m fairly certain that truer words were never spoken when dealing with online stalkers/trolls.

There’s music playing in the background that I used to yell out back in middle school with my neighbour, music from an old video game that we used to play.  It feels like such a long time ago, standing in my backyard by the pool in our long skirts and singing together.  Looking back, I wonder if I should miss it.  She’s no longer a part of my life, and I don’t really mind.  She moved away, we were never much alike, and in that younger kid sense, we easily drifted apart.  But I’m still listening to this song, wondering how it could possible have been six years ago.  Part of me feels like that it was so terribly recent and that six years isn’t an incredibly long time, but the other half of me feels like that was an entirely different life ago.  Like a past life.  Sometimes, things are very hidden away in memories, and when you find yourself catching them, it throws you back into the wall.

I still haven’t figured out whether I can put up with that feeling and feel intact afterwards.  Strange how you encounter your old thoughts and behaviours by losing your breath.

My sister is getting married later today, and while getting ready, I’ve been watching the History Channel, something I haven’t done in quite a while.  I know, no Food Channel or Travel Channel?  It’s not like I’m straying that far.  But I’m hit with the realisation that SCIENCE IS AWESOME!  Sure, I hit this every time I read an xkcd comic or read news articles about medical break-throughs, but sometimes it hits me just how much we now know  because of simple scientific advancements and achievements.

For instance, we now know without much doubt that the dinosaurs were indeed killed off by a giant meteor 65 million years ago.  How?  Because we stumbled upon a layer in rock beds from 65 million years ago that’s chalk full of iridium, and then we found the actual crater in the Gulf of Mexico using satellite imaging.  COOL!

(On a similar, dinosaur note, we now know that dinosaurs had feathers and that multiple species were actually just the same species at different ages.  Too bad, Jurassic Park.)

Or there’s the whole thing where, through fMRI and other brain imaging techniques, we’ve found biological differences in brain structure for those who are gay or transgender.  The fact that we can find these biological differences means it’s more difficult for people to claim that it’s “just a choice”.  When a three year-old male is showing the brain structures of a three year-old female in a brain scan and claims that he is in fact a she, we can no longer deny a biological reason behind their behaviour.  Once again, science is awesome!

Science teaches us why anti-bacterial soaps harm our immune-system and why driving west on Highway 70 gives you worse gas-mileage than going east.  It warns us about our carbon emissions and why we need enough plants to balance out our planet’s oxygen levels.  We have learned so much in the past one hundred fifty years, and it simply amazes me!  I hope it amazes you, too, since we all use science every day.  Whether you use the internet or take medicine for you high blood-pressure or turn on the television or eat a piece of fruit that wasn’t grown in your area, you’re totally using technology and science.

AWESOME!

On Adventures

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.

I have a difficult time with computer reformatting–that is a fact.  Over the past few years, I’ve had to reformat several computers and deal with the loss of nearly all of my data.  Over and over and over again.  I used to bitch about it a lot in my diary since it was such a yearly thing back in high school, and I had counted myself as lucky for lasting this long with my laptop.

But, all things come to an end, don’t they?

One very malicious virus from one not so official site.  I keep thinking, “If I hadn’t gone onto that website, if I hadn’t clicked on the allow button for what I thought was my virus-protection, if I had backed up all of my things beforehand…”  But there’s only so much you can do with ‘what if’s.  After a while, they stop mattering, and you have to see if you learned something from the situation.

I was reading about astronomy.  Astronomy! When the website forced a pop up that was suddenly taken down by an ‘Allow Disallow’ kind of prompt.  Seeing the pop up as Vista Total Security, I thought that it was the virus protection automatically installed on my computer and pressed allow.  What a stupid thing to do.  Vista Total Security, my friends, is actually a malware virus.  At first, it tricks you into believing it’s automatic virus protection, but after a few hours of constant warnings and pop ups from it telling you that your computer is infected, you begin to wonder if maybe Vista Total Security is the virus.  Well, it was.  And I immediately started backing up my files on my new external hard-drive.  Good thing I did, too, since my entire computer wasn’t working after five hours.

I called Marshall for some help with it, and he ended up recommending that I reformat the system by installing Windows 7, which I had happened to keep up here in case I wanted to switch over.  So, for several hours last night, I made the switch and then uploaded all of my previous information back onto my laptop.

Except some of it was missing.

Most of it being music.

Three fifths of my music.

Now, I’m the type of girl who collects music and takes it pretty damn seriously.  I organise it into wonderful playlists and care deeply about my connection to certain music.  So, seeing that 3000 of my songs were missing was a bit of a shock this morning.  I just stood there in front of my computer wondering how my iTunes could only have saved what was uploaded by CD rather than both CD and flash-drive.  I felt foolish for not checking beforehand that everything had been saved.  And I felt betrayed.  It should have copied, and even if I had known when I was transferring everything, there wouldn’t have been enough time to save everything before the virus took over.  It all came down to electronic betrayal, and I couldn’t help but feel frazzled.

But not too terribly upset.

Sure, the what-if’s have been soaring, and I certainly wish that I hadn’t lost so much, but I know that I can get much of it back.  I have so many CDs in my truck from my previous computers, so that’s a start.  My friends have offered me up their classical music to replace my Chopin, Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky, and I’m confident that things can be right.

I realised today at lunch that, had this happened back in high school, I probably would have cried.  Actually, I know that I would have cried for at least a day because, when I did originally lose all of my music (even though it was only 400 songs at the time), I cried for days.  But I keep thinking about the situation now and how it really doesn’t matter.  I’ll get it back.  Everything I actually cared about will be back in my music library, and the world will move on, and I’m still alive, and my photos are all intact, and things are actually pretty damn okay.

Being positive in light of miniature disasters mean the difference between being able to handle the stress and completely shutting down, and I’m willing to start taking the stress on as direct challenges.  You delete my music?  I get it back.  Easy as that.

So, here begins the epic repairing of my music library.

Moving On

And here is where I continue telling you about my life and what has been happening lately in some type of witty but meaningful manner, all of which should lead to some life lesson.  Except that I’m not really the type to have it all mean something except for a rant that could be finished within a single sentence.  Maybe a sentence with semi-colon in the middle, but you get the picture.  But the reason that I’m writing all of this is to say that, for today (and maybe only today), I have the confidence to write as though I do not have an audience.

It’s a tricky thing, writing for an audience.  It’s something that I originally didn’t think that I would encounter since the internet is sometimes a massive wasteland of unread rantings, and yet people did start reading this.  And, somehow, that made my writing become a bit more artificial.  For the first time, I had to start worrying about who would read and what they’d think and whether I would upset them.  And it was important to keep in mind, because I did hurt some people, especially around a year ago.  Anger is a strange motivator that can cause you to have better work-outs or more motivation toward an exam or the ability to change the world you live in, but it’s also a force that can come across in waves.  You may think the first wave is brilliant, but the second comes back with the hurt feelings of others.  And, for that, I am held fully accountable and sorry.

But I do want to be more honest with you, and I do want to be able to tell you how I really think and feel without worrying about condemnation or assault.  While this may never be as fully ‘me’ as, say, my diary, I still want this to be a fully honest public forum that expands from my thoughts.  So I leave you for only this moment.  This tiny little moment.  And I want you to know that I will be back and I will be writing more and it will be of a level of honesty that really hasn’t occurred on here since my blog was first activated (minus the two years that it sat in cyber-space).  I hope that I can speak with all of you on a better level, regardless of what anyone may think.