Lost

My family very infrequently goes to the K-Mart at home.

I tell you this to make myself look better.

When I was maybe ten, we were in the school supplies aisle at K-Mart when Mama sent me back to the front of the store to get a shopping cart. I got to the front of the store just fine, and I turned around to go back, and I couldn’t find her again and got hopelessly lost.

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When I was five, we had just moved into our new neighborhood and my parents took us on a walk around the block. I got my mother’s attention and pointed.

“Look! There’s a house with a red door JUST LIKE OURS!”

It turned out to be our house.

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During my first week in Rome last year, not only did I get lost, but I stayed lost in the dark streets of a strange city because I confused McDonald’s with the Metro signs.

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The other day, I was supposed to go in the back door of a church to meet someone. There were about seven doors, and of course the one that I chose led to two more doors: the maintenance closet and an ancient, scary elevator, the kind with those wire screens that you pull across that would certainly do nothing to protect you in an emergency.

I understand that the best course of action probably would be to have gone back outside and chosen another door, but I’d already walked down the hallway and mentally committed.

I got in the elevator and shut the outer door, then pulled the scary screen across. I looked at the elderly buttons with their masking tape labels and decided to continue taking risks and press the one for the basement. I think part of that rationale was that I was less likely to plummet to my death if I was going down than if I was on my way up.

The elevator started going down.

Five seconds passed.

The elevator stopped going down.

I shifted my weight and pressed the screen closed in the hopes that would help. 

I peered through the screen. I could still see the bottom part of the door to the hallway.

I thought I heard footsteps and considered screaming for help.

I considered opening the screen and attempting to push the outer door open so that I could climb out, which I could probably have done, but my roommate Jordan is a total freak about stuff like that and is always telling us how if you get stuck between the platform and the subway you can get spliced and die horribly and so I was afraid that would happen, and being crushed in an elevator would be an awful way to die.

I considered calling the Boyfriend and getting him to rescue me.

I considered smashing all of the buttons. 
Christmas will ferrell elf elevator gif

(GIF via gifwave.com)

The footsteps got louder, I thought, unless the elevator was slowly breaking and it merely sounded like footsteps.

I settled for pressing the first floor button, and miraculously the elevator began to go back up, and I thanked God and my lucky stars, and it rose way too slowly to the ground floor and I flung back the screen and opened the door, just as the person I was to meet came down the hallway, checking to make sure that I knew where I was going and hadn’t gotten stuck in the deathavator.

I played it off pretty well, I think.

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I get lost pretty frequently, probably more frequently than I should, but sometimes it leads to new and exciting things.

Also, the GPS on my phone is a big help.  

This Tuesday I Love…

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This blog, and especially this post. For example: “…the phrase “representative of the Lion of Judah” is pretty amazing. It sounds kind of like you’re his personal assistant. I see someone in a power suit walking up to a hostess at a restaurant and saying, “Do you have the table ready for the Lion of Judah? He prefers a booth.” Gold!” The whole blog is gold. And, let’s face it, even committed Christians feel a little funny calling ourselves “servants of the One who Is” or “ambassador of the Most High.” 

C.S. Lewis. As Jon points out, all Christians are required to love C.S. Lewis, but c’mon, daughter of Eve?! Fantastic title.

That, even though I got trapped in a very frightening elevator last week, I was able to escape without anyone knowing my immense panic. It’s always an adventure, people.

Shannon the customer service representative, who was ever so helpful and lovely even though I know how much it sucks to be working in a call center at 7 p.m.

The NYT on middle initials.

ABC family, for hosting Potterhead Weekend. I may or may not have spent 10 hours on Sunday reliving my middle school years.

The amount of positivity I’ve seen on the interwebz recently. Internet (and the media in general, and people, etc etc) gets a bad rap for negativity sometimes, and I think it’s all about what you choose to consume.

Buttons and Birdcages
What are you loving these days?

Five Things I Love About Rome

 1. The history There is absolutely nothing like biking down the Appian Way to make you appreciate history. Rome is chock-full of it, and you can find something fascinating around every corner or down every twisting alley.

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2. The church The arms of Bernini’s colonnade are designed to look like a hug HOW CUTE IS THAT GAHH SACRED TRADITION.

Anyway, I very much enjoy all of the churches/relics/saints/icons/statues/etcetc that can be found in bella Roma.

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3. The food Gelato. Cannoli. Fresh pasta. Arancini. Seafood. Yes please.

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4. The culture My greatest achievement after five months was making restaurant reservations in Italian, but it was a fabulous, interesting peek into a culture that’s in many ways similar and in many ways different to my own.

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5. Visiting it  There’s nothing like a crazy, insane adventure, is there? Especially not like missing the first week of school for an impromptu trip to Europe. If you’ve been following my social media (if not, find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) you may already know, but I have the opportunity to return to Rome as the only student at this professional conference. Covering Catholicism in the Age of Francis–what could be more up my alley?  I’m absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity, and I can’t wait to head back to Rome.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is where I aim to be during the next conclave!

In order to make this amazing adventure happen, I’m on a spending freeze starting last week, and with careful budgeting I’ll be able to make it work with my intern salary and my part-time jobs at school. I’m also working with St. John’s and my mentors to search for grants that may be applicable. I’ve also started a GoFundMe page, and if anyone feels comfortable donating–even $5, seriously, it helps–I would be eternally grateful, and I’ll send you a postcard from the Eternal City to boot.

I’m so very excited to head back to one of my favorite cities on the planet. Look out for more updates in September!

Diary of an Intern: Sinking Ponds

diary of an internSinking Ponds is a beautiful village-owned wildlife sanctuary here in EA. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI visited via bike on a lazy Friday afternoon and it was lovely, and the shade made it a bit cooler in the woods. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaisies are my favorite.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to “Aurora Revisited,” a very informative little book, Sinking Ponds “got its name from the 26 bridges that fell victim to it between 1849 and 1913.” It was formed by glaciers and was the site of very old Native American settlements. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEventually, after TWENTY-SIX bridges fell into the pond, the villagers got the bright idea to instead use the road that ran around the pond.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook at these awkward little goslings! 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll in all, it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon. 

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I especially enjoyed the sign at the beginning of the trail: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints

My London: Part 1

I visited London on spring break last year. It was a convenient waypoint between Rome, where I was studying, and Cardiff, which I’ve always bizarrely wanted to visit and loved, so I flew in and out of London and took a bus once in the UK.

Here’s an annoying thing about study abroad: ATM fees. Which are nominal compared to money-changing fees, but still annoying. And spring break fell later in the term, so I was being even more frugal than usual.

We each got a university travel voucher, and I spent mine on my London hostel (it was great–details here) and a full day of touring London. I decided that would be the best use of money, as I probably wouldn’t spring for admission anywhere on my own and what a waste of a day in a gorgeous city.

On Friday, I arrived in London via bus at Victoria Station. Then I had to figure out how to take the tube to King’s Cross. The London Underground, despite their famous logo, is quite complicated and expensive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what King’s Cross looks like at night, and it’s even black and white to make it artistic instead of blurry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a Belinda pole (?) near my hostel. I wandered through some very charming alleys before I finally found it. On the first night, I unpacked (bottom bunk, yay!) and got a coffee and worked a bit…after Cardiff I wasn’t feeling up to sightseeing.

That’s one of my favorite parts of travel: the times of just being introverted and anonymous, relaxing on your own and doing what you like. Sometimes in New York I do that as well, enjoying being alone and trying to ignore the schoolwork in Queens.

The next day was quite bracingly cold. I had hostel breakfast (Nutella toast and some crumpets I bought in Wales) and set out to find the tour stop. Fortunately I left hours early, because I was hopelessly lost. The address didn’t seem to exist, and I eventually found it inside Victoria Station.

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Our tour guide was named Trish, I think, and she was lovely and spoke French too. Before the tour even started I made friends with two elderly American couples who were just the nicest people ever. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI took their picture, which I like to offer to do. People seem to enjoy it. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe left bright and early and went all over the city. St. Paul’s was our first real stop. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was really beautiful inside and an interesting contrast to all of the major Catholic churches I’d been visiting in Rome. I love this photo of a couple going up the steps. 

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Big Ben!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen we went to see the changing of the guard.  This is one of the most memorable parts of the tour for me, not because of the actual ceremony (which was cool, though) but because of the people. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere were about twenty girls from China wearing masks and taking photos incredibly vigorously and trying to push to the front, which the family from Illinois next to me was not having any part of. They had gotten there early and they would keep their spot, dammit! Except the two teenagers, who just wanted to go to eat, please Mom, this is so lame. 

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How fun is that guy? Nearly as fun as the hilarious tour guide next to me, who was roaming around looking for her “duckies” and was hoping we’d get to see a nice lovely big brass band, wouldn’t that be lovely, duckies?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe changing of the guard was okay, but the people were quite funny.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, we headed to the tower of London…which–plot twist–is not merely a tower! More on that tomorrow. 

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Read about Cardiff here.

Read about a few churches in Rome here, here and here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Surf’s Up VoxBox: Review

IMG_1750I know, I know: every blogger in the universe got a VoxBox this month.

However, I was absolutely shocked to get picked for the Surf’s Up box. I am, frankly, the least beachy person on the face of the earth. I hate the sun. I tolerate sand for approximately five minutes, then I start complaining and feeling sorry for the bedouins. Summer is not my season. So this was a surprise!

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I don’t have a whole ton to report with this box. First up is the nail polish. My take: great polish, terrible color. I never ever wear orange or anything that matches orange, even. I know there were different colors, so I guess I was just unlucky!

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It went on pretty nicely and didn’t chip substantially for about a week. This is a day or two in. It was pretty happy and sunshiney, so turned out better than I thought. I’d buy the polish, but not this color.

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This is my favorite thing from the box: it’s aloe vera gel mixed with lotion, which helps on a sunburn. As an exceedingly fair person, I think this is genius. I don’t really get the “refreshing ribbons” thing, especially since it comes out of the bottle barely visible, but this lotion gets two thumbs up.

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Jamba Juice Smoothie Kit coupons! Very nice, but smoothies aren’t really part of my diet and it also requires that you buy juice, which I don’t ordinarily (aren’t you proud, mama?). This will be a nice treat sometime this summer.

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Ummm so the First Aid Shot…something about this seems off to me. Our parents all taught us that medicine isn’t candy, and it’s bad to medicate with liquor, but now grown-up medicine is served in shot form? I can’t quite put my finger on what bothers me, but this does.

I haven’t tried it yet.

The last thing in the box was either mascara or shampoo/conditioner samples. Sadly, I got the shampoo/conditioner. I hate buying makeup so I always hope to get it for free! The Not Your Mother’s Beach Waves Shampoo set is nice, but doesn’t do much for me as I already have wavy/curly hair that’s been going crazy in the humidity. I’ll probably pass this one on to my sister, who likes the wavy beach look.

I absolutely love VoxBoxes, but this one was a swing and a miss for me. The products were all fine and fun, but I wouldn’t try any except the lotion on my own.

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All products received for free from Influenster for testing purposes. I did not receive any other compensation; all opinions, however poorly formed, are my own.

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I highly recommend Influenster if you’re into trying new products for free! Sign up here.

 

Weekly Love! :)

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…all this rain we’ve been having! It’s perfect eating-cookies-reading-books-drinking-coffee-snuggle weather.

…that the rain held off enough that I could bike to work and to an interview today.

…that I actually, bizarrely like biking. Riding around town is not miserable; in fact, I’d rather bike to work than drive. I usually abhor physical activity of any kind.

…that the Boyfriend can pick me up so I don’t have to bike home in the rain. Everything comes full circle, huh?

…that even though I have things to attend tonight for work, I was able to put them all on one day so that tomorrow I can go out with the Boyfriend and watch the soccer game (go Argentina, home of Papa Francesco!)

…these links:

Summer Essentials

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What else comes to mind when you think summer essential? You say beaches, I say sunscreen. You say concert, I say sunscreen. You say picnic, I say sunscreen. This is my life, people.

Also, after forgetting to apply on #FieldTripFriday and getting a little toasty, I’m so over the peeling. Blergh.

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I’m trying to bring these back. Who’s with me?!

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I read dozens of books a year, but summer is when I read most of them. I can finish a novel in two or three days (depending on how much I’m working), while at school I’m lucky to read a book every week or two. (This is my latest read and it’s great)

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I recently discovered Aldi—I’m living with access to good shopping for the first time ever—and it’s so fantastic and cheap and produce-filled. In the evenings when it’s too hot to move the boys and I have been turning on soccer or Food Network, creating a wind tunnel with fans and ice blocks and eating cherries and raspberries (and chocolate ice cream) by the handful (not the ice cream, we eat that with spoons).