Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bolivia Day 2

Our little delegation had decided that we would meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30 so that we'd have plenty of time to eat and socialize before our car came to get us at 7:30. In an out-of-character fit of punctuality, I headed down at 6:16 only to realize that no one else was down there. That's fine. No big deal. I decide to just head up to the room to spend some time with my roommates. No sooner had I entered the room that the phone rang. Being the only one who wasn't doing hair or make-up, I answered it.

It was our head delegate, Sheila. "Ally, I need you, Cindy, and Brittney to come downstairs right away. I have some disturbing news."

"Right. I will tell them." Because this is what I love to wake up to in the morning. Cindy and Brittney seem to feel the urgency of the situation so we grab our coats, binders and head down to the breakfast room. Of course, everyone is already there, seemingly having appeared out of thin air. They're all wearing the same solemn expression. I drag a chair over to Sheila and, being a bit too nauseous to eat (Thanks altitude sickness), I ask her what's going on. She tells me the sordid tale of how her class ring ($$$) and her roommate's iPhone ($$$) have disappeared. That, paired with the fact that the rooms had no heater/ac and it was WINTER TIME (the room temperature was 60 degrees), the fact that the other girls' room had no electricity whatsoever, the fact that the boys' room didn't have working plumbing and that another room had mold growing in it, led us to make the most obvious choice: we were going to have to leave the hotel.

We finish breakfast in the most awkward way possible and head upstairs to pack our things. We're all a little on edge and of course, feel so uncomfortable. We have our bags packed and are just doing the last sweep when we hear a crashing from the bathroom. We freeze of course because, due to the window in the bathroom, we think someone is breaking in. We cling together as the crashing and shattering glass continue. Finally, it stops long enough for us to poke on over to see what had happened. The bathroom light had fallen out, straight off of the ceiling, and exploded all over the floor.

We call the front desk to let them know what happened and run all the way to the lobby, still shaken from the experience. By then, again, everyone is there, wearing the expression that could only mean: "Is this really happening on our first Bolivian morning? Seriously? Whatever. Just , , , whatever."

Our professor is trying to explain what had happened to the manager, who cryptically alerts us that we should re-check our rooms for our missing items. So fine. The girls who had things taken went upstairs. Their things were still missing. The manager then suggests that we should check ALL of our rooms, just in case. The ring is recovered in the boys' room (strangely enough since none of us had gone into each other's rooms) and the cell phone in another room's safe. The hotel then accuses us of being liars. Our professor's jewelry never shows up. So we leave. We just roll ourselves out of the hotel at 9:00 am, the exact time that our convention is supposed to begin. But we won't be there. Because we're trying to find another place to stay. The hotel charges us for the light and calls the Bolivian police on us, who then proceed to follow us around for the REST OF THE DAY. This post is getting a bit long so I'll split it into two!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bolivia Day 1

I know that chronologically, graduation should come first since I graduated a full TWO DAYS before I left for Bolivia but I've been missing these people and this place lately so I've decided to write this post first. Like I said, 2 days after my graduation, I had my bags packed and was sitting in the Dallas airport, getting ready for our 12 hour trip to Bolivia. Now, the flight itself is really only about 7 hours but we would have to fly from Dallas > Miami > La Paz > Cochabamba. I like to think of myself as a champion traveler so this seemed like no big deal.

There are a total of 10 kids going and maybe 10 minutes after getting to the gate, I find out who I'm sitting next to. His name is Ewan and he continues to pledge to constantly annoy me the entire time. He goes so far as to say that perhaps he should set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes in case he falls asleep so that he can wake me up and alert me to the status of the plane: It's flying. This is clearly going to be the best trip ever as is further evidenced by the following exchange:

Rafa (adorably awkward Puerto Rican friend): Cindy, wait, you dropped money! *chases her with $2*
Cindy: Oh, thanks Rafa.
Rafa: That's for last night -wink-

This marks inappropriate exchange #1 out of what will ultimately become 7402342, estimated. So I spend the flight doing sudoku with Ewan and we finally get to Miami where we have just enough time to dine before we get to La Paz. Now, just in case anyone doesn't know, Miami is basically at sea level. La Paz is at 13,000 feet elevation. This is a very rough transition on the human body. When we land, sleep-deprived and starving, 9 out of 10 of us are hit with this overwhelming feeling that we're going to pass out. 'Soroche' is what they call it in Spanish- altitude sickness. The ground keeps shifting beneath my feet and I can't shake the ever-present feeling of nausea. We end up seeking refuge in an oxygenated lounge until we check in to our flights. We then proceed to pass out on the plane the rest of the way to Cochabamba.

By now, we are sleep-deprived, sick and starving and the day has only just begun. I don't remember much about that day except sleeping, going out to eat. At some point we went out to go get water because at 9,000 feet elevation, one dehydrates pretty quickly. We're RSVPed to attend a cocktail party that'll kick the whole convention off so we make our way down to the venue. It turns out that the cocktail would not be held at the Regina Hotel but rather the Regina Hotel and Resort. Naturally, this resort in 45 minutes away. Taking into account the fact that we were already an hour and a half late, we decided to eat at some chain restaurant called Dumbo's. Then we slept some more. Truthfully, this was the last uneventful day we would have in Bolivia. The rest of the week, while exciting!, is legitimately insane.

Friday, May 25, 2012


A lot has happened since I last updated this blog. Among them are:

I became a college graduate.
I traveled to Bolivia and back.
I booked a plane ticket to London.
I started moving my life out of my apartment to head back home.

So many changes have been happening in the course of the last 2 weeks that I'm still having a hard time coming to terms with it all! For today, I have to watch an entire season of Doctor Who, eat a fridge full of food and move out EVERYTHING. (I feel like my things have multiplied...) I'll be back home tomorrow and I'll crank out the blog posts!

Hope everyone's having a happy May :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Last morning of undergrad

You know, there are days that you wait your entire life still, but that you cannot possibly anticipate how they will occur. Today is my last morning as an undergraduate and I am beyond excited. I think. I can't really tell because of the obscene amounts of caffeine in my system. Apparently, a paper I'd done last night needs to actually be a research paper. Surprise! And there's still 2 finals to study for and a take-home portion to contend with but I know it will be okay. It'll be okay because this is it. Regardless of how anything turns out (with the exception of complete failure which will prevent be from graduating), this is my last morning of insanity until August when law school starts. So I will enjoy this . . . after 4 pm.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some days

Some days are just veritably crazy and the past 2 weeks have been full of those. I still haven't found my camera so I've been taking all my pictures on disposable cameras. My sister makes fun of them every time I pull one out in public but I'm excited to get them developed anyway.

ANYWAY, Last weekend was Easter weekend and I got to go home for my dad's birthday, mom's birthday and the Easter celebration itself. Talk about a jam-packed weekend! I also decided where I'd be going to law school and sent out my graduation invites! I feel like that last part is jinxing it or something but I guess sending them out after graduation would be kind of silly...

After Easter, a few days full of research and writing passed and then J and I packed up in the car again and headed to Austin for a baptism :) It was full of family and food and absolutely wonderful. I kept telling myself it was worth it as I worked on thesis things for 36 hours after that... Bah. Luckily, in a week, this will all be behind me. But for today, more editing and presenting! Gotta love it.

As a parting gift, I leave you with this picture I took of J on date night. Sometimes I have no idea how he puts up with me at all.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And speaking of growing up....

I know it's a constant process but sometimes I feel like it happens in waves. There are times when you don't feel yourself getting older until you look back and realize how far you've come. But then there are times, like graduation, where you feel like everything's happening overwhelmingly fast. Or maybe that's just me.

The tricky thing
Is yesterday we were just children
Playing soldiers
Just pretending
Dreaming dreams with happy endings
In backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords
But now we've stepped into a cruel world
Where everybody stands and keeps score

Please excuse my nostalgia/worry/stress. It's just that time of the year. It makes me feel like I should make some kind of list for the next year, to give myself some sort of structure. To make sure that I can do everything I want to do. Because I want to go to law school but there's also a million other things I'd love to do.

I'd like to adopt another cat from the shelter and give it a loving home. I'd like to write a book. Then, maybe not in a year but soon after, publish it. I'd like to start acting again. It was the thing I loved as a child but had to quit when I moved. I'd like to grow as a person and row a kayak and fly a kite. Did I mention I was on the Price is Right? As an audience member, not contestant but it's still pretty cool. I know I have time to do all of those things but sometimes, it's nice to write them all out. Things feel more accomplish-able this way for me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Catching Up

I know I've been gone for so long but these past few weeks have been jam-packed. There's been all the almost-end-of-the-semester work, plus a road trip to California for Spring Break (!), a trip back home for my brother's birthday, a trip to Austin, seeing the Hunger Games, a trip to Dallas AND a trip to San Antonio! I've been busy, busy. But the thing that's been weighing most heavily on my mind is this coming semester.

As lots of you probably already know, both J and I applied to law school and were accepted at some of the same and some different places. The way it's looking right now, J and I are going to end up in different places next year, about 2 1/2 hours away. I know it's not that much of a distance and people have done a lot more, but it's for three years. I also have the opportunity to go to law school in the same city as him but was offered significantly less money there. So we are looking at a million different plans and trying to figure out what it is we're going to do. Until that's settled, I probably won't be around much. AND I lost my camera! Can you believe?

Here's hoping all of you are doing well :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Brevity of What is Lived

I'm not sure I've said it on here but I'm an English and Spanish minor! That means that, since my major (International Studies) is finished, I spend most of this semester reading novels, poetry and trying to extract meaning from them. It's hard enough in English most of the time but change it into Spanish and the work takes me ten times longer but it is rewarding when I finally get something :) In one of my readings for my tomorrow, I came across this gem:

Ayer se fue; ma ñ ana no ha llegado;
hoy se está yendo sin parar un punto:
soy un fue, y un será, y un es cansado.

Because of the way the Spanish language is constructed, translations, especially of poetry, lose that bit of "something" but I will attempt to translate it anyway. If you see anything horrendously wrong, feel free to correct me! After all, I'm still a student :)

Yesterday is gone; tomorrow has not come;
Today is leaving without a single stop:
I am a 'was', a 'will be' and a tired 'is'.

I'm not sure why it struck me except for the fact that it is beautifully crafted. Maybe it's because it reminds me of the brevity of the time we live and the importance of enjoying that time. On that note, J and I will not be home for the next three weekends! That's right, almost the entire month of March!

This coming weekend, I'm judging a high school debate tournament in San Antonio. Next weekend, we're going out to a friend's lakehouse and the weekend after that, we will be in CALIFORNIA! It's going to be a busy month, but I'm excited :) After all, there's a kind of excitement in running all over the place! Does anyone else have these crazy months that come and go?

And a snippet from last weekend: (I apologize for my appearance but I HAD just finished pillaging!)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crazy Times

I know I've been gone a long tie but my absence was prompted by the fact that I lost my camera :( I had all these blog posts lined up and now, I'm just waiting for my camera to re-appear to get them all to you!

Anyway, the past two weekends, I've been performing in this show my school puts on. About 15 groups put together a 7-minute song and dance act and the top 8 are chosen to perform at homecoming! We didn't win but I had a blast dressing up like a pillager and managed to make some new friends. I got to watch the show on Saturday and there were some pretty talented people :) Winning or losing never really mattered to me, though so I wasn't devastated. Plus, J had brought home gorgeous flowers and who can be upset when a guy that sweet is around?

I also caved this week and bought Ballet Slipper pink from Essie. It was the one thing I PROMISED myself I would buy when I went to Target but of course, I ended up buying a million other things I didn't need. It reminded me of this nifty comic:

Now I'm just wrapping up this great weekend with some not-so-nice defensive driving. I guess it's my recompense for driving 60 in a 55. Or I could amuse myself with watching J attempting to kill a football-size mosquito. You know, either one :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Mornings

I have always loved Sunday mornings. There is just something about them that makes you sleep a little later, makes the sun shine a little brighter and makes the bacon a little crispier :) This morning, I slept in (and when I tell you about the week, you'll understand why haha) and then got to making breakfast with J :) Sure it's going to be a day full of catch-up work and laundry but isn't that what Sunday afternoons are for?

Hope everyone's having a relaxing day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Obsessions (As of Late)

I find myself constantly becoming obsessed with the most RANDOM things. And I don't mean slightly infatuated or occasionally thinking about sort of obsessed but I mean, the world's biggest fan kind. This week, it's:

This show. I know it's staged (It broke my heart when I found out) but for some reason, I just plop down and watch episode after episode when I really don't have the time. I especially like the international ones :) I guess it's a vicarious way of fulfilling my dream of living abroad.

Then there's this lipstick. I bought it on my trip to Austin last weekend (which is a future blog post! promise!) and have fallen completely in love with it. Now, I'm not the kind of girl who wears lip gloss on a regular basis, much less fire-engine red lipstick but I just can't get enough of it. Really. If it wasn't strange to wear it ALL THE TIME, I literally would.

I know iced coffee doesn't seem like a strange thing to be obsessed with but it does raise a few eyebrows when I order it in 30 degree weather. I just keep downing the stuff though (so unhealthy, I know). I should probably learn how to make it so as to save money but I have a $75 Starbucks gift card just begging to be used!

Finally, there's taupe nail polish. I don't actually own taupe polish and am currently sporting ONE painted nail from when I went to Target to try on nail polishes. I regret the day I went and decided not to buy it. It might have been a smart financial decision at the time but the emotional cost was not worth it. You can probably guess what I'm going to buy when I go shopping next week :)

So I think this wraps up my weekly obsessions (and yes, they change that often). What's everyone else loving this week?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Confession Time

Truth be told- I never learned how to braid my hair. I have no idea how I've lived my life without knowing such an important skill but I had gotten along just fine-- or so I thought. This Thursday, I'm performing in a song/dance revue and my character hair was pigtail braids. Fine, I figured. How hard could it be to learn?

I watched upwards of 10 YouTube videos:

And spent about 2 1/2 hours trying to get those two dang braids right. Eventually, I got them to look ALL RIGHT, with the sort of lose braids and wind-blown hair type of look but of course, the powers that be wanted them starting at the top of my head and ten times tighter than what I could accomplish. I ended up having to ask a friend to do my hair. But now I have a decent idea of how to braid! Has anyone else gone through life without knowing a necessary girl-skill or am I the only one?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Happening!

Why is it that I always have to Google 'how to take a screenshot on Macs' regardless of how many times I've done it? I guess there are some things I'll never learn. Anyway, the story here is that I did something very scary this past week. Or, in the past 2 weeks. I'm so horrible with keeping this thing up to date but I promise I'm going to get better! But yes, this scary thing:

I applied to law school! Now it's a waiting game. I just hate the fact that I obsessively check my email/status checkers now. I heard that there's an app you can download that lets you do it from your phone, but really, when I'm out and about, I kind of like that I can't check my status. It lets me worry less, if only for a second. Is there anyone else anxiously awaiting their decision? Good luck!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Too Much

Warning- This is a thesis-inspired post and for those of you who don't know, my thesis is pretty heavy stuff. So read at your own caution but you've been, well, cautioned. I promised a more uplifting, entertaining post is on its way!

I think I might have mentioned it before but for those who missed it: my thesis is some pretty heavy stuff. It's interesting and it's a subject I'm really passionate about but it's something best researched and written about in small doses. I, being a procrastinator, don't often get that luxury. To remind inquiring minds, my thesis is about the human rights abuses that occurred under the military dictatorships in Guatemala and Argentina where 200,000 people and 30,000 (approx.) were killed, respectively.

And I'll tell you, it is hard. Just a few minutes ago, I stumbled onto Illustrative Case 31. Don't Google it. If you want to sleep tonight, just refrain and take my word for it when I say, it recounts things that should never happen to anyone. I know that for some people in the US, life is no small potatoes. But for most of us, we live our day-to-day life so incredibly blessed. The thing is, I don't think we really always understand that. Lately, my Facebook news feed has been blown up by barbs against Obama, Romney, Paul, and everyone else running for President. People are scared of the government, people hate the government, people want it to be better. And that is a really great thing. It's great that we all know what we deserve and won't stop trying until we feel we get that. But despite who is President now or who wins the presidency this year, we can all rest assured that our government won't up and decide to kill 200,000. They won't approach us in languages we don't speak, holding a gun to our heads. They won't kill our children by the hundreds or burn our towns down. They won't desecrate absolutely everything important to us and I highly doubt they're out to unravel the fabric of our society.

I want to make it abundantly clear that this is in no way a political critique on the US or some sort of political statement for this country. I'm just saying that, at the end of the day, those things probably won't happen to us. And it's so alarming to me that things exactly like that happened so, so close to us. And most of us didn't even know. And it didn't end until well into our lifetimes.

I don't know how many people out there have read the Hunger Games but for those who have, I'm pretty sure I can say we were repulsed by that government. Appalled that a government could ever treat its children that way. Well, this is ten times worse. Partially because I think these people would have PREFERRED to send a child into an arena to fight to the death than what actually happened to them and partially because it's real. It's real life things happening to real life people and sometimes, it's too much.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quick Questions

The amount of words exchanged never mattered in changing the way we treated each other. At least that's what it seemed like. Some days, we talked like we were the best friends I knew we could be and other days, we went without speaking. I don't know if he was waiting for me to speak or if I was waiting for him, but regardless, it resulted in silence. Racked with insecurities regarding the opposite gender (it starts young), I refused to be the first person to put myself out there. It hadn't escaped my notice that A was incredibly popular with the ladies. I rarely saw him when he wasn't surrounded by a group of adoring girls, all as tan and blonde as the next.

I would be lying if I said he didn't try to treat me well. I noticed he went out of his way to talk to me between classes and I knew he stayed close to my group of friends before and after school, always finding ways to hug me, tease me and ruffle my hair. To this day, I can find no explanation as to why I wasn't sure what his feelings were for me because really, it was that obvious but I was constantly afraid that my affections weren't being returned and so I kept retreating.

Then one day, my friend M wandered up to me and told me that four girls had already asked A to homecoming. My first reaction was a big 'Excuse me?' I knew that technically, he couldn't help who asked him and he had gone ahead and said no to every single one but just the fact that this was happening made me uncomfortable. Growing up in the South, high school football was a big thing and homecoming just as much so. It was THE dance of the fall semester- the one where boys went above and beyond asking girls to be their dates. At least at my school. Somewhere deep down, I had been hoping that someone would do something nice for me before I graduated but upon hearing M's news, I felt spurred to action.

I spent that entire day building up my confidence to ask him to homecoming. How unorthodox, I know but there was a piece of me that just wanted to be sure he would be mine, at least for that dance. I couldn't risk ten thousand more girls asking him. All day long, I thought about what I was going to say and planned out plans of action, accounting for all different kinds of reactions. Regardless, by the time afternoon band practice rolled around, I felt less than ready but I really felt like I had to do this. So, mustering up all my courage, I tagged along with him as we walked out to the practice lot and just as we were outside the chain-link fence, I stopped walking.

"What's going on?" He wanted to know.

I remember how hard it was to breathe in that moment and I was frustrated that my tongue was tripping over the words I had been practicing all day. "Look, there's something I have to ask you."

"You know I don't have any patience for suspense! Spit it out!" He smiled good-naturedly.

The sun glare from his trumpet blinded my eyes and literally, all I could see was how sparkling blue his were. I spoke without thinking. "Will you go to homecoming with me?"

I don't think I can accurately describe all of the emotions that ran through his face in that second it took him to answer and I can't really describe all the things I was feeling in such a short time but finally, he said yes and, linked amr in arm, we made our way to practice.

I know it seems so odd that I'm spending so much time talking about A when this is really the story of how J and I came to be but you're going to have to take my word on this: one story wouldn't exist without the other. Literally, meeting J was 2 years in the making and I really want to get that across. Unfortunately, that means we all know that this part of the story is going to end badly for someone involved (hint: it was me) but rest assured, the end is ultimately happy :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weird Diseases - I've injured myself yawning

I get weird diseases. Literally, whatever the 'disease of the moment' is, I'm probably going to contract it. It all started my sophomore year of college. Every year, I normally caught the flu. It was even worse the years I got the flu shot. This nasty tradition came to an end the year swine flu was all the rage. Guess who has two thumbs and was the only person in their dorm to contract H1N1? THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE.

Meelz has a picture of me with a surgical mask on because, when I went to the doctor and was diagnosed, they gave me a doctor's note valid for the rest of the week that said simply, in big letters, QUARANTINE. They prescribed medicine to all my friends and told me that if I found I HAD to leave my room, I had to wear this surgical mask. It was a horrible experience since every time I wore it, people ran from me like I was a zombie.

The next summer, I went on a double date with my bff since forever, Trisha, and had a grand old time.

That's her on said double date, acting all non-suspecting.

Being bffs since forever, we thought nothing of sharing a glass of water at the custard place. 3 weeks later, she was diagnosed with mono. About a month after that, I THOUGHT I had mono but, when I expressed my concerns to my mother, she told me there was only one disease that made people sleepy all the time- laziness. (She has an incredible medical mind, she's just one of those people who believes that acting/being treated like your sick rather than trying to carry on your normal life might only make you sicker). SO, I kept going on my every day life until I went to the doctor, she took my blood for good measure and found out that of course, I had mono.

THE NEXT YEAR, (I know, right?), as in, about 3 weeks ago, I noticed a zit on the back of my leg. No big deal, these things happen. I was content to let it carry on its cycle (Getting bigger before popping and going away) until, after a week, it hadn't popped but instead, had turned into a throbbing, hot to the touch, MASSIVE monster that wouldn't even let me sit like a normal person. Concerned, J told me I should go to the doctor so I did.

The doctor said it was an abscess and that they could drain it right then and there. "It'll feel SO much better once it's drained," he had promised. I went along with this promise of a painfree life but NOBODY TOLD ME how painful the process of draining an abscess actually was. They inject this shot that feels like the whole area is on fire and that all that could possibly be remaining is scorched flesh. I was beginning him to stop when all of a sudden, it went numb. He cut it, drained it, and BAM, less pain. He had to pack it (so disgusting) and told me to come back in 2 days to have it unpacked. For reasons I didn't know at the time, he gave me 2 antibiotics and told me to take them as prescribed until I came back.

That weekend, I started feeling sick. Feverish, exhausted, nauseated. It was the weekend my parents ran the Houston Marathon (GO MOM AND DAD!) and I limped along, trying my best to support them, but ultimately giving in and curling up into a ball to sleep the rest of the day away.

I went back to the doctor on Monday, they unpacked the wound (OUCH) and told me I had MRSA. MRSA. :| This explained the 8 antibiotics a day regime that was leaving me feeling beat down and nasty for the past few days. They didn't know how I had contracted it but told me to quarantine the area and informed me that they would have to report me to the CDC, because it was dangerously contagious. Wonderful.

THANKFULLY, the antibiotics worked, the wound has healed and I feel infinitely better. But this has been what's been eating up most of my time and waking thoughts for the past few weeks. Hopefully, things will go back to normal now :) Until I catch my next weird disease that is.

Monday, January 30, 2012

30 Things to do before our 3rd Anniversary

I'm going to take a break from the Story of Us to keep you updated on some other happenings! If you'd like to read all of the Story of Us at one time, just click the tag over on the right-hand sidebar :)

I like to think that J and I are a relatively hip, fun-loving pair of people. He accommodates my sense of adventure well which results in us having, well, a lot of adventures! BUT, to make the next 7 months special, we have decided to make a 30 Things to do before our 3rd Anniversary list! I get to write 15 things and he gets to write 15 things (which I guess explains why picnic ended up on there twice) and then we get to do them in whatever order we see fit! With our 2 1/2 year anniversary and Valentine's Day coming up back to back, our thoughts have been elsewhere but once this ball gets rolling, I'll be posting to keep you guys updated :)

1. Go to an amusement park
2. Picnic in a park
3. Eat in a restaurant with a great view
4. Designate a drawer for J!
5. Visit a zoo
6. Fly a kite together
7. Take a professional picture
8. Finish watching Dr. Who
9. Canoe together
10. Dress up and have a night on the town
11. Go rock climbing
12. Have a picnic with a group
13. Buy (and wear) matching shirts
14. Cook a 4 course meal

Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Fall

After that night, we kept our conversation going through every form of social media we could find. We had a message thread going on Facebook, we had exchanged numbers and would text on an hourly basis and we would have the occasional banter on MySpace (just to let you know how long ago this whole thing happened). Needless to say, with all of these conversations going, it didn't take long before I got to know him. I learned about his outrageous family life, which included a former alcoholic father who had abandoned his family to join the Mormon church and start a new one. There was his crazy mom and her equally as insane boyfriend who were more obsessed with creating a beer garden than raising successful children. There was his sister, who I had already known since we were both flute players, and finally, there was him.

He was, and still is, a truly fascinating individual. Even back then, he had big dreams and plans on how to get there. He was smart, clever and witty and had a natural gift for conversation. He was able to ask me corny questions like what my biggest dreams and fears were while sounding unbelievably sincere and, in an uncharacteristic move, I actually told him. I'd be lying if I said I didn't start to like him almost right away. He made it almost impossible not to. I had expressed my interest to my closest friends but never actually intended to pursue anything.

At this point in time, I had just gotten over a year-long crush on a boy who, in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't date. I was trying to shake off a creepy stalker who kept trying to get me to come to his house under the pretense of teaching my calculus and I was witnessing enough relationship problems through my friends that I wasn't entirely sure I wanted any romantic entanglements. He had other ideas, though.

One night, about a month after we met, we were chatting on Facebook when a strange message came up from his sister. Now, his sister and I RARELY spoke, and never when we weren't in band. I was caught off guard but she was just warning me against dating that creepy stalker I mentioned before.

"He's a jerk and he's no good for anyone. I thought you should know because A told me you were interesting in him."

I replied (and I paraphrase):

"As usual, A got his story mixed up haha I had said that creepy stalker was interested in me and that I kept trying to shake him off. He doesn't seem like that nice of a guy and he comes on a bit too strong for my taste."

His sister: "As long as you're not interested in him. He and I had a thing back and I think he's gay, not to mention a jerk."

Me: "Huh."

Sister: "Not to mention there's a million other, better guys out there to like. So do you like anyone?"

I froze. What a truly uncomfortable question. At this point, I was still talking to A and... (well, I'll just leave the exact conversation here for you to decipher. It's something I've looked back on who knows how many times and has been analyzed by an obscene number of people, all of whom are unable to discern what any of it really meant. Hopefully, you have better luck than all of us!)

"and you have to admit, the quote is true. can you think of anyone not taken or gay? yeah, that's what i thought. even the kid i like i sometimes wonder about... tsk tsk..."

"lol u make me smile
cept for the part of u calling me either an asshole...or gay...
i hate you for that
and for not getting a good nights sleep also
put that on the list"

"you make me smile too =]
and you're getting just as much sleep as i am so ha
i know you're not taken or gay but at the same time, you also don't seem the type of guy who would like a girl like me
so does that mean that only gay/taken men will ever like me?"

"so your saying im not gay but i dont like girls?
idk what i am now
i have to go re-examine my life"

"so are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"that I'm gay? no"

"wait, i am so confused
when in the world did i say you dont like girls?
i never said you were gay
my exact words were
"only gay or taken men will ever like me"
and then you went off on some sort of tangent and stopped making sense lol
so tell me what "so your saying im not gay but i dont like girls?" means"

"meaning why am i prohibited from liking you?
you said only gay and taken guys like you"

"are you saying you like me?"

"well even if i didnt have a small liking towards you id still question the gray area of your restrictions:P
im saying your an enjoyable person to be around
and that i like the time we spend together:)
but yes i do like you
i just dont know how much yet:)"

I know there are CLEAR flaws in this and, if it were to have happened now, the conversation would have gone in an ENTIRELY different direction but keep in mind that we were still in high school and brand-spanking-new to the dating game. He had only had one serious girlfriend before and I had only had strings of relationships that lasted 2 months a piece. Neither of us knew what to say and, if we did, we were too embarrassed to say it. The conversation I was having with his sister ended at the same time my conversation with him did. She left me with the advice- "Well, if you like someone, you should tell them. You should definitely tell them, even if they're too shy to tell you."

Maybe, if I had taken this advice, things would have been simpler. But, being a typical teenager, I didn't. And things just kept getting more and more complicated.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Band Camp

J and I met at the very end of my freshman year in college and started dating at the beginning of our sophomore year. I'm going to go ahead and start the story a year and a half before that though. It'll all make sense in the end, promise.

All throughout high school, I was a band nerd. My friends were band nerds. I was always in the band hall. You know how these things go. I was also embarrassingly excited about the lock-in, the event that would not only solidify my status as senior but would allow me to finally do all of the silly senior things I had waited so long though.

Trisha and I learned the dance from Hairspray, dressed up in 50s sundresses and performed in the talent show. Then I jumped on the bandwagon and did the senior brush-up which, looking back on it, is ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING but at the time, seemed like a completely valid concept. The idea was that each person walked up to the cup, brushed their teeth with the toothbrush provided and rinsed and spit into the cup of water that sat on the table. Then the next person went up and would do the same thing with the same toothbrush and cup. That in itself is nasty (even though sick people weren't allowed to participate) but people insisted on making it grosser than it had to be. Instead of just rinsing like a regular person, people would stuff their mouths with warm cheese, baby food or egg yolk (food poisoning hazard, anyone?) and drop it into the cup so that the NEXT person had to rinse their mouth with all of that nasty. Like I said, seemed completely valid at the time. Hindsight is so cruel.

There was the senior rollover which involved the freshmen lying on the floor while we rolled over them (no one was hurt) and then Simon Says, where the seniors shouted out the commands and any freshman who failed to do them correctly got spoonfed baby food. We got to dress up our band little brothers and sisters in silly costumes and got them to perform on command. (I should mention that this was all completely voluntary and in good fun. There were no hurt feelings or awkwardness going around)

If that had been all that had happened, it would have been a wonderful night. I would always have the pictures and memories of my last lock-in with some of my best friends. But even after all of these things, the night was still young. At around 4, the party died down and people began to crawl into sleeping bags and burrow into any crevice they could find. My friends and I had decided not to sleep because there are few things less pleasant than waking up on a cold church floor, groggy and cranky. Instead, we made house of cards and talked about the semester ahead of us.

At some point, one of Trisha's friends came up and sat with us. I hadn't been a big fan of this girl, who we'll call That Girl since she refused to invite a friend of mine, M, and I to a birthday party but then told everyone she had and we had chosen not to go because we were so hateful. Oh, high school drama. So anyway, when That Girl came up to our cozy little group, I was less than thrilled. But she had brought a friend along with her. I had never seen this boy before in my life. He was tall, blonde, and so adorable you could tell he didn't know what to do with himself. His eyes were my favorite kind of blue, bright like the most beautiful, cloudless summer day. Right away, his smile disarmed me with the way it was kind of lopsided in the most endearing way. I decided it might not be so bad to have That Girl sit with us after all.

The boy didn't say much for a while and I continued to entertain myself by building houses of cards.

"What are you doing?"

I looked up, surprised. He had made contact.

"I'm just building some houses."

"Well, you're not very good at it."

My eyebrows raised involuntarily. Was this kid for real? I was about to open my mouth with a smart retort when I realized that he was smiling his crooked smile.

"So you think you could do better?" I couldn't help but smile back. His flirtatiousness was contagious.

He shimmied across the circle to my deck of cards and began building a house no better than mine.

"So what's your name?"

Instead of answering like a normal person, he just stared at me blankly, as though I had said something that had deeply offended him.

I continued to look at him expectantly.

"Are you kidding me?" He demanded. "I met you last year."

"You did not. You've got to be a freshman."

His eyebrows furrowed. "No. I'm a sophomore and I met you last year. Your name is Ally. Don't you remember? After practice...?"

I racked my memory but came up with nothing. "Well, I'm sorry. My memory must be going already. You obviously know my name so I think it's only fair you tell me yours."

After a few silent moments, he relented. "Fine. I'm A and I just want you to know that you are the meanest person I know."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Story of Us

One of the hardest things about writing books or stories or poems or anything is deciding where to begin because the truth is, stories begin long before the first page. Histories are built and feelings are cemented and the people you meet on Page 1 have novels worth of history that got them to that point. One of my favorite stories (naturally) is the story of how J and I met :) It's actually a really sweet story with a lot of twists and turns but in order to REALLY understand what happened and why our meeting was so unexpected and wonderful, I'm going to have to begin a year and a half before J and I actually met.

I know it sounds like a lot but it's actually a really good story, I promise :) I'll post the first bit tomorrow! Until then, I know you'll be waiting in suspense ;) haha

Friday, January 6, 2012

Key Lime Pie

Today, I tried to make a Key Lime Pie, misread some directions and ended up with Key Lime Mousse. Still delicious. I feel like this is indicative of the semester to come.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I don't think I'm ready to leave :( Then again, who's ever really ready to leave that place where they grew up? That place that always has just the right foods and just the right people to make any mountain into a molehill. That place that remains just unchanged enough that bits and pieces will always be recognizable. It's a very conflicting point in my life right now.

Part of me (and I'm not quite sure how big that part is) yearns for the life I'm building in my own town, in my own apartment. The life where I have to assume more adult responsibilities but that gives me a great sense of fulfillment. The other part of me is alarmed by how much life will continue to evolve at home, while my own changes away.

When I was a little kid, I used to think that when you left a place, it just went on pause and didn't resume life again until you went back. Sometimes, I wish that little-kid me had been right. I don't want to leave home because I don't want it to change. I selfishly want it to stay just like it is so I'll always know the place I'm coming back to.

They say life has seasons (and don't end sentences with prepositions) but sometimes I feel like I'm going to like some seasons so much better than others, that I would postpone the less-favored ones forever if I could. I would live forever in my favorites, suspending moments and reveling in their glory. I would make my home into Neverland, where no one ever grew old and jaded.

A while back ago, my friends and I became obsessed with Johnny Depp and, subsequently, everything he had ever been in. Among those titles was Finding Neverland which, naturally, because I have an obsessive personality, I became obsessed with Barrie, the man it portrays. He had a quote:

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.