Young travel friends, I’m so excited to write another post and hope we can get to know each other more. I’ve loved the conversations in my post about 10 Tips for Exchange Students and hope I can help you understand the four main phases of culture shock while traveling abroad. I hope this will help you prepare. I would love to hear your experiences with culture shock in the comments! ^
In my religion, we believe all human beings must become like God. We believe that we will become our own gods and goddesses one day and will create our own worlds. Although it’s a given that none of us can be perfect on this life, the goal is to understand joy in this world and to gain as much knowledge as possible. If we need to become like God, I assume we need to, like, know everything.
I spent most of my time in college reading obscure German novels and then making paninis at Zupas in the evenings. When I’m feeling existential, I’m not really sure how my knowledge of German literature and making sandwiches really contributes to, you know, building worlds or whatever. “Your celestial avocado, coming right up!”
After cleaning the house and going through all of the junk mail, I’m turning through the Salt Lake Community College class list. Here are the ones I want to take:
Bollywood dance – For kids, but I’m totally there
Blogging and podcasting for beginners
Bookbinding: The Art of the Hand-Bound Book
Cake decorating basics
Intro to screenwriting
Quilting for the very beginner
Travel almost for free
Beginner’s Guide to getting published
Start your own gift basket making business. Ello chap! Would you like a gift basket?
Voice-Overs… Now is your time!
Hiking the waterfalls
Maybe I’ll just stick with paninis. My brother Maxwell said he owned a pretty high-end coffee shop in the pre-mortal world. Maybe we’ll see if it’s still around once we’re dead so he can start it up again. Maybe he’ll let me make celestial paninis there.
I’m turning 23 this month. I’m glad I lived to reach my 22nd birthday. It was the most fabulous year of my life.
Many unknown factors coming our way this year. Where will we be in the fall? Will we still live in our cinderblock home? Spencer is graduating this spring. He’s applied to graduate school for this fall and we’ll see where that takes us.
I’m letting Spencer take the lead this year. You know how freaked out that makes me. it’s the first time Spencer knows where he is going and I don’t.
I worry I won’t be extraordinary. That if I don’t decide right now what I’m doing, I will be common folk. I think this is a young person issue. We all want to succeed–and fast. We all want to be those single CEOs in their mid-30s, like on TV.
This isn’t fair, though. By saying this, I’m also saying that there is such thing as common folk. And that I, ANNE LOUISE, believe that some people live boring, common lives. Am I just as bad as the media? Am I involuntarily putting these thoughts on the people I meet? Do people talk to me and walk away feeling less extraordinary because my expectations of myself and of them are too high?
The more I’ve tried to understand, the more I see that parenthood is a secret joy club. It’s the dessert. And us single people and married non-children people are not understanding that joy. And that doesn’t mean that we need to rush things, or that we can’t be happy without children in our lives right now, but it means we should be aware of our blind spots. And be careful of how we speak of parenthood with our neighbors and co-workers and friends and family. In short, let’s not be idiots. Haha.
Now back to my birthday (the REAL thing at hand here, right?).
Is there a song about being 23? Taylor Swift got me through 22. Every singer got me through 15 and 16 and 17. Now people, what’s the reason to live for 23?
Here are some of my ideas. What do you think?
My knees are strong.
I am working full time and have the evenings to be with my hubby.
I have time to think about the things I love and then do them.
The doctor says I’m perfectly healthy.
I am most calm and carefree than I’ve ever been in my life. Thank you, 22, for kicking yourself in the patootie about your anxiety.
God and I are pretty close right now, because all of year 22 I worked on faith.
I’m still pretty, so that’s nice.
We have no credit card debt.
Spence and I get to figure out a chunk of the next few years together.
I have close friends who aren’t going anywhere. At least not too far (cough, Ana).
I’ll live to see Spencer and my 4th anniversary.
I’ll live to see Maxwell get his driver’s license (gasp).
I will probably have the opportunity to drink hot chocolate with marshmallows or whipped cream in a bright-colored mug.
I will have thousands of chances to walk into Anthropologie.
I get to be 23 on the 23rd of February!
I still get to go to speak German at work everyday.
I will probably get to swim in the Great Salt Lake with Mom again.
Spencer and I will have many summer weekends for adventures.
I still have a good pair of lips to kiss Spencer with.
I own a fab camera.
Nailpolish will still exist.
I can eat microwaved grape nuts and milk with bananas and honey as much as I want.
I forget about the little things that make me happy. If I could just remember to do some of these little things each day, I can get through winter and stressful work days and awkward moments and anything else that makes me cringe.
Light a candle. If you don’t own a candle, Anne, buy one.
Write or call a friend once a week.
Make your bed. It makes everything better.
Always take your colored pencils to church. Draw in your bible. Who cares if you can’t read the verse below your scribbles? They’re your scriptures.
Look at kayak.com/explore. Just for fun.
Hold Spencer’s hand for 5 minutes.
Scroll through your doggie board on Pinterest.
Wear fuzzy socks.
Take a picture outside.
Drive to work in silence and list 5 things you love about your life.
For a year now, I’ve met with an 8-year-old boy every week for English lessons. He was shy during the first 10 minutes we met. Now we’re best friends.
The only thing is, he and his mom, Xiaoyan, moved back to China in the beginning of the summer. So we only see each other through the fuzzy screen on Skype.
I tell him the meaning of words like “soggy” and phrases like “a nagging feeling.”
We think of ways to ship his mom’s dumplings to me.
Sometimes Xiaoyan enjoys the conversation and pops on the screen to talk to me herself. She tells me about the Chinese class called Morality and what they learn in the class. Yongzhen tells me about his favorite food.
We talk a lot about food.
We read stories from a textbook called “Story Town” and study vocabulary words. We talk about Harry Potter. He shows me his legos. Spencer sometimes gets on the computer to show him his legos.
When Yongzhen turned 9, he invited Spencer and me to his birthday party. Xiaoyan never let us leave without a jar of spices or a bag of dumplings.
We changed the schedule to two times a week now. Every Friday and Saturday I get to see my friends.
I’m worried I’m never going to find a movie I like just as much as You’ve Got Mail.
You’ve Got Mail warms my soul. It makes me lovely this life. It makes me love Nora Ephron a whole lot too. I love Meg Ryan and I love Tom Hanks. I love the comedy in that show. The wit.I love that I’ve been to Cafe Lalo in New York, where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan sat.
Dan in Real Life makes me feel that way, but not quite to the extent of You’ve Got Mail. I love Steve Carrell as Dan. I love the family’s cabin near the forest, the lighthouse. It makes me want to live in Rhode Island.
I can’t tell you how many times my prayers have been answered this week. Again and again. It’s also been a hard week on so many levels, and even though I feel so blessed, I’m exhausted.
Spencer has fallen asleep next to me. Sleeping sounds nice, but I have to stay awake until 7, so I can get a full eight hours in before I go to work. I’d like to watch You’ve Got Mail, I guess, but I watched it on Friday. Can I really watch You’ve Got Mail twice in a weekend?
I don’t want to watch a movie that’ll make me cry, nor one that’ll make my heart rate go up. I don’t want to laugh either. Or watch one that’s too romantic. I just want to watch and feel warm inside.
First, take an airplane and it takes six hours to get there. I think. Then you’re there. If you have been in Utah for your whole life, you freeze for a moment. I can smell the ocean. I feel the breeze on my legs. It’s a little cold, but not too much. It feels good to me after being in Salt Lake City in the summer which goes to 100 degrees. It’s nighttime. There are so many stars. I see two shooting stars. Then I go to my grandma’s cute little summer house and fall asleep. When I wake up, my grandma is there to see me. We go to the beach and write. I smell the salty water and feel the sand against my toes. I play hide and go seek with my brother in the sand dunes and then go kayaking in the river. I hear the crows cawing at something. I look up. A bald eagle has a little black baby crow in its mouth. A flock of crows are chasing after the eagle saying, “Give me back my baby you stupid big crow-stealing turd!” I splash in the ocean and collect the shells. A little white crab is walking over to my toe. I step backwards and look at the sunset. It was so pretty and had beautiful colors like, red, orange, a little bit of pink, and a beautiful yellow. The winds are blowing and making a whistling sound. I am bear foot walking down the wet sand with the waves gently splashing against my feet. The seaweed sticks to my arms but I don’t care. This is where I call home.
We said we could have skipped Venice. Too far away from the other cities we visited. Too tiny and claustrophobic. Too rainy, too dark.
But then I think of spending thirty minutes in a store full of masks, trying on gold ones, silver ones, red ones with Megan and pretending in front of the store mirror that we just arrived to a masquerade ball.
I think about looking for our hostel, “Venice Lagoon House,” which we found was a regular house outside of the city owned by a man named Luca. He had a couple of bedrooms, and when it got full, Luca slept on the couch next to the kitchen.
I think about Megan and me buying 4-euro pizzas from the pub two blocks from Luca’s and walking back to eat the boxes while watching Spiderman on Megan’s iPad.
I think about how excited we were to finally have a room we didn’t have to share with other people.
And when it was time to sleep, we were so delirious that we had a laugh attack. I don’t remember what was so funny, but we laughed until our stomachs burned.
I think about trying to weigh a peach at the grocery store and when I couldn’t figure out the Italian weight machine, an old woman came over and showed me how to print out a receipt sticker by pressing the button with the fruit name on it.
And when I said “grazie mille” to her, she took my face in her hands and said “Ohh, ohh” followed by cutsie Italian words.
I think about puddles and umbrellas scratching on brick walls as we tried to walked through tiny, busy streets.
My cousin Ambryn was married last week and I got to do her bridals! Isn’t she gorgeous? We took pictures at the Grand America hotel in Salt Lake City, then drove over to Memory Grove by South Temple. I’m so happy for Ambryn and JJ. They are such a sweet couple. Continue readingAmbryn & JJ: Salt Lake City Bridals