Friday, December 21, 2012

Traveling

As I sit here in my boarding area waiting to get on my plane to Las Vegas, I am given ample time to think about traveling and how it makes me feel. Before I go on, I should state that no, I am not going to Las Vegas for some sort of end-of-the-world-celebration, nor am I going to Vegas for any reason other than to get on a plane to Houston, so I can board a cruise tomorrow. Now that the clarifications are out of the way, let's begin...

For me, traveling is one of the most exciting things. It doesn't matter if I am getting on a 45 minute flight to go home or to a city I've seen before, I love to travel. It makes me feel alive, empowered, and especially when being done alone, independent and strong. It brings out of me my favorite qualities -- friendliness, ability to build rapport with others, and a sense of accomplishment. I love to talk to all the security people and smile at everyone, and I love to feel like I am going on an adventure.

Travel = freedom, plain and simple. When you are traveling, there is a sense of uncertainty that you have to cope with. You don't know if the flight will be delayed, go correctly, and if you are going somewhere new, you have no idea [really] what to expect when you arrive (especially if in a country where the language spoken is not your own). It's all so exciting to me, and I get an adrenalin rush just thinking about it.

There's something very cool about being transported through time and space to another place. For myself, I usually sleep through flights. I am prone to motion sickness, so dramamine is my closet friend, and it allows me to drift off after we take off, and then come to just as it's time to land. Because of this, I usually sleep through my travels, so it really is as if I'm experiencing some sort of time/body travel on another level. I go to sleep in one place, and wake up in another. Waking up in a new place is like waking up a new person. You get to choose right off the bat how you want the trip to go and how you want to be. If you get off and are excited, thrilled, and looking forward to new experiences and adventures, that's what you will get, and if you decide you are dreading the trip, you will get a trip to meet all dread. How empowering!

Traveling is also a very curious time. I am very drawn to people and curious about them. When I see someone on the streets, I automatically wonder what brought them to that place in their life. The same goes for being on a plane or waiting for a flight. I wonder what everyone's story is, listen for different accents, and am always so curious as to what their reason for taking the flight is. For just a moment, we all come together from our different walks of life, enter the lives of one another, and spend some common time together. It's beautiful and horrible all at once (horrible when there are screaming children and things of the like).

And there's also an element of mystery in traveling that draws me to it so much. It is, in a word, my passion, and I am so pleased that I will begin a life of it next month. *Blessed!*

Today's Thoughts: Traveling is my joy and my passion. There are so many components and elements to it, and it may be stressful, but it also is so lovely. Travel as much as you can, if you can, because nothing rewards quite like it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reflecting on the First Time

For almost two and a half years now I have been plotting how I would return to Spain. I was in Bilbao, Spain, from September 2009 through May 2010, living, studying, traveling, and learning. It was the best nine months that I could have hoped for, and since my tearful return to the U.S., I have thought almost daily about how I could go back and resume my European life and cultural expansion.

I still remember being on the plane coming home. The moment that we were above U.S. soil and I saw it and realized that I was really back, I started to bawl. I was heartbroken that the life I had created in Spain was now just a memory and a thing of the past, no longer my reality. It was a hard adjustment. Coming back to the life I had known to be mine, but trying to live it while feeling like a different person. Most everything around me had stayed the same while I was gone, but I had changed more than I could have imagined. I grew up, matured, expanded my horizons, and welcomed a global perspective and new way of thinking and living. I had visited seven countries, made friends from two or three times that many, and lived a life full of experiences rich in culture and knowledge that few are blessed with.

Thinking back on it all, it still seems like such a surreal time. I look at pictures and am reminded of all the great times I had, and great people that I met. They take me back to that time and place and I can see and feel everything from that moment. But then, weeks pass, and I forget about the experiences that I've had and the blessings that have been laid upon me. It's that feeling that has compelled me not to give up hope of returning to Spain and to a life full of travel, culture, interaction, and learning.

I seek a life full of adventure. A life with purpose. A life that benefits others and changes lives for the better. And that is what I will accomplish and find when I begin this next adventure to Spain. I want to get to know people, study how they live, learn what they do, and why, and assimilate myself to their culture. I want to get to know them, find out their greatest needs, and figure out innovative ways to help them. I know it's a curious path I desire to travel, but that is why I know it is the right one for me.

In 20 days I will on a plane, moving back to Spain. This time, I travel to Sevilla, a city where I know very few people. I will be embarking on this journey by myself, with only God to guide me. It is a terrifying thought, but also an exhilarating one, and one I welcome. My life might have been on a bit of a hold these past few months, but I know it's just because things are about to take off and all my manifestations are going to begin to take form. World, I hope you are ready for some change, because here it comes!

Today's Thought: As the time for me to board draws nearer, I am overwhelmed with a mix of emotions, but know without a doubt everything will be great. It is because I think this way, that it will be so. Remember to make your own destiny, make your own reality, and always manifest the best!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012, A Year To Remember

This morning when I went on Facebook, it gave me the option to see my 2012 in review. Naturally, I clicked it to see what it would say, and the following items were what I was shown:

  • The photo album I posted after last year's SnowGlobe Music Festival (NYE in South Lake Tahoe)
  • The day that Steven and I became Facebook friends after we met at said NYE festival
  • My birthday on February 26 when many beloved friends of mine wished me well
  • When I started working at the Disney/ABC Television Group in March
  • A glorious trip to Vegas that I took with some of my closest to see Bassnectar and celebrate my birthday, my birthday twin's birthday, and our Papa Bear's birthday
  • The end of the job I started at DATG in March, and the start of a new position there
  • Photos and video from Coachella with the Famaree
  • Photos from the utterly life-changing Lightning in a Bottle experience that I shared with some of my favorites, new and old
  • Photos from my fifth and last EDC in Las Vegas
  • A funny "Brotip" that I shared that states, "Ladies, guys are sick of hearing you ask where all of the "nice guys" are. They're in the friend zone, where you left them." (So true, by the way.)
  • The end of my other job at DATG
  • Posts about this year's SnowGlobe Music Festival
  • The making of Steven and my relationship "Facebook Official," and it's end
  • And the assortment of friends I've added, and pages I've liked
Overall, looking at the year 2012, I see so many good times, with so many dear friends. I am so blessed by the experiences that I've had and the people that I know and have met. I need to remember to say thank you to my Lord far more often than I do. 

Now, because I tend to view things from multiple points of view, I see the amazing life that I have lived and been given and am thankful for it, but at the same time, I see an array of experiences I've had before. 

I love music festivals and music, but do I want all my years to consist of just that? No. While they bring to me a new love for life and remind me that there are peaceful people out there like myself, I know that I want more than just that. With the exception of my jobs and having a boyfriend, Facebook could only find music festivals or raves to show me as highlights of my year. I want more! 

So it is with great joy, overflowing joy, that I tell you that I have finally acquired the final pieces of the puzzle that I needed in order to go to Spain and return to my European life! (Which is even better news, because as I was searching for alternative job options in case I couldn't go to Spain, I realized that none will work for my wild spirit and I just yet.) I am overjoyed and cannot wait to return to the life I have felt pulled to for years. I couldn't be happier, and I haven't felt so right about something in quite a while. Praise be to God! 

Today's Thoughts: I can't wait to see what my "year in review" for 2013 will look like! I have a feeling it's going to be a year I am incredibly proud of. God's plans for us are so much greater than our own. We will never understand His timing, but we must trust it, and not worry, because in the end, everything works out, and if it doesn't, it's not the end. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's The Final Countdown

As all of you who have been reading my blog the last couple of months know, I am trying to move back to Spain, but have been having a little bit of a hard time getting my visa squared away. Well folks, I am here to finally present some wonderful news... I now have all of the paperwork in that I need in order for them to issue me a visa!! YAY! Rejoice!

I'll be honest though, I had another moment of doubt when I showed up to the Spanish Consulate yesterday and the gate was closed over the door. I was left, once again, questioning if it was the right choice to make, or if I was supposed to just give up the dream. But I realized, once again, that if you want something badly enough, you will make it happen no matter what. And that is exactly what I'm doing. So I went back to the Consulate today, after calling to make sure they were open, and got it all in to them no fuss. Now, I just have to keep my fingers crossed that I get my passport back by the time my family and I are supposed to be going to Central America on a cruise. I'm pushing the envelope of time again on this one, since the visas usually take 10 days to be issued and received in the mail and we're leaving on the 21st for the cruise. Yikes. But I have hope, faith, and believe that it, as all things in my life seem to, will work out just fine, and just in time. Besides, what's life without a little excitement? :)

It feels like I can really breath again. This process is finally done, now I just have to figure out the funding to survive over there till I get my first check, but that, in comparison to all the hoops I've jumped through till now, seems very slight and I am not going to stress about it. So cheers to accomplishing things and pursuing dreams! Make them large, be in charge, and make it happen!

Today's Thought: Even if I don't end up going to Spain for a variety of things that could come up, I will always be able to know that I tried and did what I could to make it happen, then, if it doesn't work out, I know without a doubt it wasn't meant to be. There are huge things coming in this life of mine, and I am very excited to find out what they are! I hope you'll stick around for the ride. <3



Friday, November 30, 2012

Old [Un]Reliable

People are so unreliable.
I am so unreliable.
WE are so unreliable. 

I have become increasingly aware of a very sad truth -- there are very few people in my life that are really reliable people. Now, I realize that because I will have blasted this post out to all of my friends on Facebook, Google +, and Twitter, many of you might take offense, but before you do, know that I include myself, and hold myself accountable for these actions as well. 

I have come to realize that I don't know many people anymore who aren't flakey, always pining for the best option in any situation (human nature I dare say), and are punctual and dependable. I love most everyone I meet, so this makes it very hard to accept this reality, but at some point, I must. And what's even worse is to know that I must accept this about myself as well. This sad truth has become not just a character flaw, but a societal flaw overall, which is strange and hypocritical considering that most of us request of others that they be reliable and punctual. 

Somewhere along the way, we must have realized that it is people's tendency (again, my generalization applies to the people in the regions of California that I have dealt with, not the whole world and every culture) to keep us waiting and/or bail on plans. The realization of this habit in other people must have led us to begin to run late ourselves, so not to always be the early one left waiting. But now, instead of one person waiting on the other, we're all left not trying as hard as we used to to make it to things on time and be dependable people. 

No one likes to be the first one to a party. It's weird, awkward, and you have all the conversation you planned on having the entire night in the first 15 minutes. You're there with the host left wondering when the heck anyone else is going to show up, and why on earth you thought you needed to be there on time. Not fun. So then came about this "fashionably late" thing, where people realized that you didn't want to be the first one to the party, so instead, we show up 15 minutes late. By this time, people are there, drink in hand, and the awkward ice has been broken. Great plan right? Wrong! It was great when just one person, couple or small group would show up late, but now, as it is everyone's habit (especially considering we flock like herds), we've just created a mess of awkward gatherings where everything is put on hold because people don't know how to check a clock and get there on time, if they even plan to arrive at all. 

Quite a messy society we've developed when you really think about it, but one that can certainly be salvaged. I don't really know at which point we all decided that trying hard was a bad, embarrassing, uncool thing to do, but I think we all need to work on realizing that trying really hard is a great thing! It pays off, it gets you where you want to be, and I know for myself, when I feel like I have been a dependable person, I feel better about who I am and what I'm doing. Let's all take an oath to try a little harder. A little harder to keep in touch, be there for one another, and be someone that people can count on. Yes? :)

Today's Thoughts: I know I am a very flawed person, but realizing these flaws and taking them one at a time, working on them little-by-little, will pay off and I will become the lady that I want to be! And so can you! (Become the lady or gentleman you want to be.)



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

As We Grow, We Learn

I screwed up BIG TIME when I went to school and majored in Marketing. But before I get into that, I will give a little glimpse into something else....

There is a fairly good chance I will not be able to go to Spain in January because I do not have any savings. That's right, my idiocy and love for material items could potentially kill the one dream I've had for what seems like my entire life. Pretty typical of us as humans, right? The lust for things tends to kill our true loves far too often, at least here in the U.S.. I remember being a really smart spender when I was younger, always questioning several times if I really needed the item before I bought it. This led me to not make the purchase most of the time, but somewhere along the line, I lost that trait. Now, instead of "do I really need this," I am asking myself, "how much do I love this," and "how high are my feelings of 'can't live without?'" Instead of basing my purchases on if I really need the item or not, I gauge it on how much I am in love with it, and how much it costs/what's its opportunity cost. Because I never absorbed and applied the lessons my parents tried to teach me about saving money and putting some away each month, I am now in a position where I may have to take an alternative path than the one I really want to travel (no pun intended).

So as I begin to look at alternate options for my future, just in case I am unable to go to Spain, I am realizing more and more that, while I may be naturally good at marketing and business, it's not really what I want to do for work, in the conventional way that is. The jobs I find myself more drawn to are more on the end of photography, writing, design, fashion, recreation, human/body studies, fitness, nutrition, travel, exploration, inspiration, and life as a whole. None of these studies were covered in Marketing. At least not in enough depth to really give me a chance of getting an interview for a lot of the jobs I find interesting.

There's a big problem with the way we do things here in the United States. I know I have not traveled the whole world, but I am confident when I say that I have a global understanding, and I know enough about other cultures to know that we are doing it wrong (at least for the kind of person that I am). Here, we are so focused on being born, learning how to talk and walk, going to preschool, kindergarten, grades 1-8, high school, and then, it's expected of us to graduate and go to college. (Well, used to be, now there are shows like "16 & Pregnant" that pretty much condone teen pregnancy, and "Real Housewives" that inspire females to grow up to be dramatic, plastic women instead of actual, real people, and do NOT even get me started on the Kardashians.) I have learned, through firsthand experience, that this is where the problem lies. Too many of us now a days are born into a culture where we have an overload of exposure right off the bat. This leads us to knowing bits and pieces about a lot of different things. For some, it's wonderful, because they learn early-on what it is they want to spend their time and lives doing, but for others, it just means we are left with this interest in a laundry list of things, and not sure what direction to take.

There are so few of us that are actually prepared for college when we are 18-years old. I was in no way ready to go off and begin to start a degree that I'm supposed to use to get a job that I have for the rest of my life. I'm still not ready for that. Sure, I have a better idea now what I would like to spend my life doing, but it's taken me five and a half years to get where I am now! And I realize that we can't just take however many years to figure it out, while we work some job, and then go to college when we have it figured out, but I also think there is something to this: working hard from the time you are allowed to work, saving up your money, and NOT going to college right out of high school, (unless you know what you want to do) but instead, traveling. This would allow us to have more exposure to other people, ways of life, and places, so we can start to learn who we are, what we like, and what we are interested in spending our lives doing. Not to mention, it would instill in people a sense of ownership and a habit of working hard, something I fear too many of us lack these days. It's a flawed system, like so many of them are, and we have outgrown them.

The point is this: I'm looking at jobs I have little chance of ever getting because my degree doesn't match up to what they want, but I know without a doubt I could do the work and do it well. That sucks. And it isn't any better to know that I was swayed from my real interests because we just assume that people will grow out of most of them, and should pick a more generic path that will bring them "success." That is the peril of being influenced and controllable.

Today's thoughts: If I had just followed my desire to work in fashion when I graduated high school, then who knows where I would be today? (This is just one example of paths I thought of pursuing, but did not because I didn't make my own decisions, and because I let my lust for money trump my love.) I am now going backwards because I was too afraid that I wouldn't make a decent living doing what I really love, and that is a shame.

My name is Allison Fedor, and I am done being a sheep!




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Curious Path


Welcome back into my life. It's a tumultuous ride on a windy road, full of hills, drops, bridges, and moats filled with gators. But it's also a beautiful ride, on an easy road, full of color, wonder, adventure, and light.

From September 28th until now, I have been on a path that intertwines both the easy road, and the windy one. That was the day that my job at the Disney/ABC Television Group ended, and I started my journey to my return abroad. I did not know what was to come, but I couldn't have been prepared for what I've faced. And I realize that all of this makes it seem like I'm leading up to a death or tragic accident of some sort, but that is not the case. The case is, as those of you who have been following my posts have seen, that this time has been more difficult than when I graduated college almost a year ago, having not attempted to find a job (therefore graduating jobless).

I was supposed to be on a plane to Spain three weeks ago, but obviously that has not happened. Now, as we approach December, I realize I still have more than a month until my next flight is booked. The last two months have provided me an ample amount of time to think, which is a bit more time than I would like. I know that the upcoming month will do the same, as I wait and see if I go to Spain or not, and I'd be lying if I said I was excited about all the time I have to kill. It's excessive, I'm stagnant, and I feel like I'm on hold.

But, there is some good news to be delivered, as is usually the case -- a good friend of mine introduced me to a little department called the State of California Department of Justice, through which, I can obtain a DOJ (Department of Justice)/CBC (criminal background check). This is the final form that I need in order to be granted a visa, and after submitting fingerprints to them via a Live Scan, results are usually received in 72 hours! Hallelujah! Now, of course had I known there was such a department as the Department of Justice that could issue me a fingerprint verified background check within 72 hours of the request being made, I would have done so many weeks ago. But when I read the instructions that said "Department of State clearance, fingerprint verified criminal background check," and then learned that there is in fact a Department of State, I didn't realize there was another possible Department that I could go through for the CBC/DOJ. Unfortunate, but as always, my circumstances could be far worse.

Yesterday, I called the Spanish Consulate in San Francisco and asked if Department of Justice clearance was enough, and learned that it is since I have not lived in any State other than California. (For those of you looking to get a visa, you need a CBC from all the States in which you've lived, for me, within the last 5 or 10 years, but triple check everything to be sure.) So I went and got my fingerprints done again, and the request was sent off. Now, I am waiting to get my results back, so I can get them notarized and apostilled, then take them back to San Fran to the Consulate so my visa can be granted!

A much, much longer process than I imagined, but a learning lesson I will surely never forget.

This road has been very long, somewhat boring, and at times, very stressful. But this road has also been full of love, laughter, and making memories with people I care most for in this life, so I will consider it to be the blessing it really is. :)

Today's Thought: Have I missed the mark somewhere? Or is it still to come? All of this has taken this long for a reason, and my impatient nature makes it hard to just wait and find out why. But because I know it took this long for a reason, it makes me a little nervous, excited, and completely curious about what December is to bring. Clearly I'm supposed to be here, so is there a clue somewhere hidden that I'm supposed to find, one that will lead me on the path I am to take for the next chapter of my life? So many questions and curiosities in this life. I am anxious for the answers, and so I will continue to search.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hostess Hits The Road

This is copied and pasted from an email that my father forwarded to me regarding the end of Hostess as we all know it. I'll admit it, those dang Twinkies and Ding Dongs sure were good, but considering they don't really digest, I'd say we're all a bit better off. Well, except for 18,000 people who have lost their jobs. Read on to learn the details.... (This comes from The Daily Reckoning.)

Joel Bowman, checking in today from Buenos Aires...
Joel Bowman
Joel Bowman
When a company peddling sugar-infused cream rolls to the most obese population on the planet goes broke, you know market conditions have broken down.

Yesterday, Hostess Brands Inc., the company responsible for such delightful dietary abominations as Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Devil Dogs, Ring Dings, Suzy Q’s and, of course, Drake’s Coffee Cakes, filed a motion for bankruptcy.


Too bad. It seems Colorado and Washington states just couldn’t legalize marijuana fast enough to bolster demand lines for the financially-addled junk food outfit.

The Hostess announcement might have caused a wave of relief for clogged arteries and strained, double-wide diner stools around the country, but it also means 18,000 now-former workers added to the nation’s growing un- and under-employed lists. The move will also involve the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.

Ouchie!

In a cruel, though not-unusual, twist of fate, many of those 18,000 workers were involved in the very strikes that ultimately crippled the company.

Double ouchie!

The Ho Ho’s purveyors closed up shop after a weeklong standoff with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM). Yes, such a thing actually exists. A statement released by the company read:
The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the Company's largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the Company's ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities.
“We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike,” warned Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer, on Wednesday. “Therefore, if sufficient employees do not return to work by 5 p.m., EST, on Thursday to restore normal operations, we will be forced to immediately move to liquidate the entire company, which will result in the loss of nearly 18,000 jobs.”

Not good enough, retorted the unionists.

“Hostess Brands is making a mockery of the labor relations system that has been in place for nearly 100 years,” union president, Frank Hurt, said in a statement earlier this week. “Our members are not just striking for themselves, but for all unionized workers across North America who are covered by collective bargaining agreements.”

When workers didn’t return to man the mixers, Hostess shuttered shop...causing a flurry of #HostessShrugged hashtags to light up the Twittersphere.

BCTGM, which represents more than 80,000 industry workers, argued that the company’s policies would send its members back to workplace standards of the 1950s...back when people earned a 1950s wage and benefits package for performing a 1950s job...like quality control management on the Zingers and Sno Balls production line.

So just how hard done by were the browbeaten proletariats manning the Twinkie timers?

The mean hourly wage for the designation of “bakeries and tortilla manufacturers” was $12.57 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers manning the Hostess picket lines this week were earning roughly 35% more than the national average.

“The union’s demands had plagued Hostess for years, forcing — through the legalized monopolization of labor supply — wages that the market wouldn’t bear,” writes Bob Confer in a column for The New American. “The striking line workers were paid healthy salaries, $16 to $18 per hour. In a low-profit, low-selling-price business such as baked goods, those wages aren’t sustainable, especially considering that baking and distribution involve a lot of manpower.”

“Hostess was looking for wage concessions of only eight percent,” continued Confer. “Even after the cuts, Hostess still would have been paying their workers handsomely, 24 percent more than the industry norm. Mind you, this one-year cut would have been followed by guaranteed wage increases of three percent in each of the three years that followed, capped off by one percent in the fourth year. So, the pain would have been only temporary and cancelled out in just three years.”

Apparently, BCTGM had confused the relationship between employer and employee. It is a privilege to work for a company, not a right. Pension plans, medical coverage and other bells and whistles are not something automatically owing to each and every person capable of holding up a sign demanding such things. To the extent that these modern day luxuries are offered at all, they are offered at the behest of the company’s owners and/or management.

There will, no doubt, be complaints about the “greedy capitalists” who took advantage of the poor, helpless worker class. And, to be sure, insiders did award themselves some rather hefty raises when it became obvious the company had no viable economic future. (The CEO was gifted a somewhat tasteless 300% raise after the company filed its first bankruptcy suit earlier this year.)

But if the capitalists are so greedy, so profiteering, why stay and toil for them? If workers are unhappy, if they feel themselves poorly treated, they are free to leave and seek other employment at any time. They are also free to “down spatulas” and to collectively bargain...just as they are free to strike themselves out of a job. 

The truth is that, without “greedy capitalists,” unions of the world wouldn’t ever have a Hostess to kill. So, our congratulations go to the aptly-named, Mr. Hurt. Now you and your comrades-in-arms can feast on 100% of the Cup Cakes that Hostess will never make.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get On My Spain Game / Day Dreamin'

The latest news in regards to my trip to Spain is this: I still don't know if I'll be going. LOL, I know, a bit redundant  but that is really where I'm at, where I've been, and where I presume I'll continue to be until I get my CBC (criminal background check) back from the FBI...in West Virginia...where I sent it the day before Sandy. (Makes a little more sense now why the news hasn't really changed, huh?)

But in other, new news, my friend Megan told me that the program adviser for our study abroad program in Bilbao was looking for an au-pair to come in January and help his kids further their English-speaking skills, which would match up perfectly if I can't go to Sevilla. Sure my flight might be to Sevilla, but getting from one end of Spain to another is much easier (cheaper) than it is to get from just Sacramento to Los Angeles. But before I could tell Megan to tell Ibon that I want the job, I needed to see if I could still go to Sevilla or not. So I followed up with the program in Sevilla to make sure that it's okay for me to go in January. I'm not sure it will take me until January to have my visa, but to be honest, I'm thinking giving myself two months for all of this to work out was a good idea considering that we're already in mid-November. They said it's okay for me to go that late, it is just unfortunate, but hey, what can we do? I screwed up royally in the beginning, and now I shall reap the consequences and uncertainties. 

I really am not sure if this is going to end up happening for me at all at this point. Now, I know I'm one of the biggest promoters of positive thinking, manifestation, and getting what you want, but I really am not sure if this is right...still...big surprise. I haven't been manifesting anything lately, or even trying to. I've just been a sitting duck here in Stockton, not really sure what I want to do, should do, or am called to do. It's a really weird place to be considering that I graduated and got a job at a great company already, and it's almost like I'm moving backwards now.  

Today I went on a very long walk on the levee by my house that is a perfect place to think and be with nature, and over-sized homes in the gated community near my neighborhood. I didn't have my phone, didn't have any music, just me, an apple, a Klean Kanteen, God, and my thoughts. I spent a lot of time thinking, reviewing, deciding, and trying to figure out what it is that I'm going to do. One thing is for sure: I will never figure it out sitting here. If I continue to stay here stagnant, I will never figure it out or find out. I have to get out, but to where, I do not know, and that is the frustrating part.


Today's Thought: There are so many different possibilities of things I could do, be, and see, and I want to experience it all. That doesn't make it easy to find a profession and stick with it, so I really do have to create my own. (Anyone want to pay me to be their happy companion and just keep them company and smiling?) Another thing I realized, even further, is that I don't care what it is, just being outside is where I am supposed to be. The sky is so big, there's plenty of room for all my thoughts to go, wander, bounce, and fill. 

Enjoy your life. As long as it makes you happy and isn't hurting anyone else, just do it. :) 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where Is The Love?

Every single one of us is born with certain desires and questions. The desire to love and be loved is one, and the never-ending question and exploration about what our purpose is in life is another. Both of these are things I have struggled with for my entire life in one way or another.

I remember being in the first and second grades. There was a group of us girls that were "BFF's" and always "stuck together." We always fought over one of the girls, Michelle, and for some reason had decided that she was the ultimate BFF, the one we all wanted to share our friendship necklaces and secrets with. Now, I'm not sure how this cruel game came to be, but I distinctly remember that we would alternate excluding one of the girls. A few of us would completely exclude her and make her feel like she wasn't part of the group anymore. We would walk past whoever was out of the group for the week and say things like, "I can't wait to spend the night at your house tonight! It's going to be so much fun!" We would say it loud enough, and deliberately enough that whoever we were shunning that week would hear, feel sad and jealous, and know that she was missing out on something, even though no sleep overs were ever actually planned. And one thing I remember more than any of it, was how it felt to be the girl sitting against the cement building, watching as my so-called "best friends" walked by, bragging about the plans they were making, and excluding me from. Even though I was part of doing that to others, I felt like I was on the outside more than the inside. It brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart to recall these times.

I don't know how or why girls are so viscous, and why when we are young we feel the need to prove "how cool we are" by completely bringing down other people. And the fact that we never were really planning a sleep over, just means that we premeditated the pain we were inflicting. How sad and gross. When we are that young, we do not realize the psychological damage that we are inflicting on our fellow lady friends, and it's no wonder so many grow up to be depressed adults, constantly seeking the attention, approval, and acceptance of others, and generally finding it in the company of men. And if this is the kind of thing that was going on back in 1996, I can't even imagine what goes on today now that kids are exposed to so much more violence and hardship.

Our society is full of problems, but one of the greatest, by far, is our inability to simply give into, accept, and go with one of our only desires -- to love and be loved. If all we want from the time we are born is to feel loved, then why do we waste so much energy and time doing exactly the opposite to those around us? Why not just give in to the fact that we want to be loved, and realize that in order to be loved, we must also love?

There's a real problem these days, and as I've demonstrated, it's been going on for years, more likely decades and centuries, with people and the way we treat one another. If we weren't put on this earth to take care of each other, then why are there so many of us? So many people have children and pets because they want that bundle of joy that validates them. A baby or pet loves you, needs you, adores you, and is there for you. What else feels as good as a baby looking up at you, smiling, with its arms outstretched for you to hold it? Or a dog that gets excited and races up to you for love when it sees you? And what feels worse than being dissed by a baby or dog? Very little. This innate need to love and be loved is something we all have, so why don't we express it more?

I believe that we can see changes in the world. But I also know for a fact that the only way to see these changes are to love and be loved. We can't keep closing ourselves off to the possibility of great love, refusing to give it, and hope that things will get better. It's impossible, and I don't need to be a poli sci major or politician to know it.

Let's work on loving each other, unconditionally. :)

Today's Thought: If every person gave as much love as they had, and every person received all the love that was offered to them (not meaning sex), then the world would be the most beautiful place. But maybe that's not the point. Maybe earth isn't supposed to be that happy, because then what desire would any of us have to move onto Heaven (whatever your idea of heaven/after life might be)?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Newest Desire

So anyone that knows me well, or not-so-well, or anyone that reads this blog regularly, has probably grasped by now that I am, like many women, completely unsure of what I want in life. I do not know what I want to other than a) help people, b) spread the word of God, c) travel, d) write, and e) photograph, and I have been graduated from college for almost a year now. (Can we talk about where that time went!?! Unbelievable!) But I recently have been getting much more into yoga and pilates, and am thinking I might like to become certified in these practices, and open up my own studio somewhere down the line.

I took my first yoga class during my sophomore year of college (2008) at the gym I was going to, and didn't think much of it at the time. It was a great way to relax, but my balance and land skills weren't the best after I quit playing land sports, and I was still playing water polo and drinking heavily at the time, so something as calm as yoga didn't really match up with my mentality. I loved it after an intense spin class or other type of cardio workout, but never thought I would become a practicing yogi. I was way too ADD to do something as slow and centralized as yoga, or so I thought.

Since I have graduated and not been forced to learn, I have this thirst for knowledge and desire to actually learn things. I've mentioned before that I would love to go back to school and study something I am actually interested in like health/fitness/nutrition. My current favorite idea is one where I go back to school and study these things, while practicing yoga, meditation, and pilates, so I can open up my own yoga/pilates studio, and offer nutrition counseling and personal training. It would also force me to work out, which seems to be about the only times it actually happens..when my body starts to shape-shift into something I don't recognize or desire, or someone else is making me.

Of course, this is just another idea of something I think I might enjoy doing right now, but if you know me, I'd hope you think I would make a good fitness instructor (loud, motivating, but in an encouraging way, and energetic). The human body has always fascinated me, and even though anatomy and physiology are difficult courses, I've always loved them when I've had them, or exposure to different aspects of them. This would also fulfill my desire to help people. Helping them be healthy and live in a more conscious and calm state would be very gratifying, and it would also help me to stay in the kind of mentality that I want to be in at all times -- calm, centered, thankful, positive, and joyful. Also, there are lots of conferences, studies, and gatherings for yoga/meditation/pilates, so I could fulfill my need to travel and explore.

There are so many things I want to do in my life, and I think it is time that I really get out there and start making them happen, because I have no idea if Spain is going to happen for me. The latest update on Spain, other than my flight being rescheduled for the 9th of January, is that I might not be able to go in January at all. The school cannot make that decision, and has to check with the local school authorities that run the international program. So, all my plans and ideas about Spain could take a bit of a 90* turn at some point. (Explanation as to why a 90* turn instead of 180* turn coming after I learn more myself.)


Today's Thought: I have no idea if Spain is going to happen for me, so I've gotta start thinking of some back-up plans. I have no idea where my path leads, but I'm looking forward to the journey, and the destination. And I have nothing to worry, stress or fear in all of this, because where ever I end up will be perfect, and where I am supposed to be.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Re-Book Business

Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. That is how I can sum up all of this so far. First, let me start by saying, that at the current moment, I should be in an airplane that took off from Chicago, and would land in Madrid, Spain, sometime in the early AM's. Clearly, since I am writing this, I am not.

Yesterday I went through the glorious process of re-booking my flight. I first was going to try and cancel it, and assumed that since I had purchased the trip insurance when I bought the ticket, that it would all work out. Well, let me give you my next piece of advice when you are planning an overseas trip: Do not book/pay for your flight until you know for sure that you will have your visa, or have it, but if you must book the flight ahead of time, do not use a cheap website (online service that gives you price comparisons), or finalize everything until you have really checked out all the details.

I was told not to book the flight itself, but to just get an online booking to present at my visa appointment so they can see my trip itinerary and when I am expected to be flying out/arriving. I should have listened. But instead, I thought that giving the Consulate 12 business days to complete the process and return my passport, visa inside, to me would be plenty of time, so I went ahead and purchased the flight. HUGE, monumental, absolutely massive mistake. Actually, let me clarify, it wouldn't have been such a huge, monumental, absolutely massive mistake had the trip insurance I purchased with the ticket been something that covered any and all reasons why you can't make your flight.

I always use Skyscanner.com to book my flights. I think they are the best website out there that gives you flight comparisons, and they give it to you all in one window, instead of many windows that pop up simultaneously. (For someone with ADD, that is never a good thing.) So, naturally, I used Skyscanner again to look at flight prices and find the one I would use to skip town. It redirected me to the GetawayASAP website, which is actually run by a travel agency of some sort, I think. I booked my flight on this site, and purchased the insurance that comes from a different agency, I guess. Not good.

When I originally contacted the company that I used to book the flight, they told me that there is a $400 fee for cancelling or changing the flight, and that if I got the insurance, then I needed to contact the company who I purchased the insurance from, and ask them to give me the refund. I did this, and came to find out that any, and I mean ANY excuse under the sun counts as ones that you can use to get a full refund for being unable to take your flight, EXCEPT if it's because [you're dealing with government agencies,] and haven't gotten your visa yet. Grrrreatt. I was going to go over-the-top and make up some sort of story about why I couldn't go, but came to realize that I was going to need a flight at some point anyways, so I should just re-book.

I spent from 9:00am till 3:30pm yesterday working on all of this. Looking at different costs for different days, locations, times, and etc for changing the flight, finding the most reasonable one, the best date, best option, and had it down to a flight change to January 9 for less than $260. Not too bad at all. The only problem? I cannot change the flight through the Iberia website, because I used a travel agent (I guess) to book the flight. As if you can even qualify me looking at and comparing flights for myself, on my own, as an agent!

In the end, I contacted GetawayASAP's customer support (who I might add are very responsive and helpful, I would suggest this site because of how great their customer support is) at 3:00 to see what I could do, and realized that God was once again, ultimately, on my side. I was told that I had until 3:30 to cancel, change, or take the flight I already had booked before it was lost or wasted. PHEW! Something good! So I "paid" the $400, and am now am scheduled to fly out on January 9. Whether I am on that flight is entirely up to the FBI, Spanish Consulate, and whatever other agencies I must deal with between now and then. Once again, my best wishes are sent to those on the East Coast dealing with the aftermath of the storms, but I am mostly praying for myself here, because I desperately need the FBI to get me my CBC back. Sorry.

As you can see, this is a perfect guide of exactly what NOT to do when you are trying to move abroad. I hope that lessons can be learned from my unfortunate case of procrastination and self-ruin, so that your travels might be much less stressful and costly than mine.

Today's Thought: If all this ends up happening, I am going to make everyone I meet pat me on the back, because I'll be deserving of some serious pats if I make it over there. This has sucked big time, and I have wanted to give up more often than not, but have not. Which leads me to the main thought: your dreams are not supposed to come easily. I highly doubt it if Bill Gates hit Microsoft's programming in one shot, and I know that Thomas Edison failed over a thousand times before he got the light bulb right, so why should any of our dreams come any easier? It's a hard pill to swallow, especially since all of us want instant gratification and have no concept of this so-called thing they call "patience," but that is how it goes. If you want it badly enough, you'll find a way to make it happen, and stop at nothing before you've done it. And that is what makes thing so much sweeter in the end -- knowing we worked our tails off, cried many times, probably bled a little (ladies), and thought we had failed and would never make it happen, but succeeded in the end. My dreams are too big for this world, but that's why I know they will work. Work hard for what you want, because if you persevere, in the end, you'll be proud.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Story Time & Visa/Travel Tips!

As usual, I got back into the swing of things in the writing world, just to get caught up in whatever land I happened to get lost in for a while, and now have some serious ground to cover in this post. In my last post, I went over the final things I had been doing in Los Angeles to wrap up, pack up, and move out. I have since been out of LA for quite a long period of time, living at my parents house, and since I know that they will read this, I will be kind in my assertions. No, I'm just joking, it's actually been quite an enjoyable time here. I have spent countless hours hanging out with the love of my life, my grandmother, and enjoying living a life of little to do. I realize I was only in the working force for seven months after graduating, but that many months spent in a cubicle from 9-6 really wears a gal out!

My main lady and I 

Living at home has meant: helping my grandma out with whatever she needs help with, aka Driving Miss Daisy all around town for her errands, lunches, and other sorts of "hang time," helping my dad out with the toffee/candy business we are building, and trying to unpack all my stuff (yes, that's right, it's been almost a month and I still have not put everything away, namely because there is more stuff than space, but also because it's a sad reminder of the life I gave up). Oh, and there have been lots of little trips. Most of them for the purpose of my visa and this whole moving-to-Spain process, but also some just to visit my dear friends.

But before I make you all jealous with my travels, I will start by reviewing a bit of the visa process, because it is a fairly crucial step for anyone to follow if they have the intention of going abroad for more than three months.

It's important that you find a website for the consulate of the country that you are trying to apply for a visa to because I assume they all have some sort of variations, and they usually include links to different sites you need to use, which could always vary too. Once you find the website, poke around a bit and then find what they require of you to get a visa. I recommend printing the list of things that you need so you can check them off, and do it like Santa..make the list, and check it twice! The list that I printed included nine different items, some of which include: my original passport + a copy, the visa application + a copy, a note from your doctor on medical letterhead that states you are "free of contagious diseases as per the international health regulations of 2005," a background check that has been verified by fingerprints, which must be notarized by a notary, and Apostilled by the Secretary of State (SOS), and originals and photocopies of several other things. Now, if you do all of this ahead of time and do not wait until a few weeks before you are supposed to be leaving, then you have nothing to worry about. So here is my first major travel tip: PLAN AHEAD! If you know you will be trying to leave and get a visa, plan accordingly. I would work on it at least a month in advance from when you need to have everything for your appointment (needed if applying in person, which many consulates require). You will be dealing with government entities and have no idea what kinds of hold-ups you will encounter with them, or any other part of the process. And trust me on this, because I am now in a position where I have a flight booked for the day after tomorrow, and all of the stuff I need for my visa isn't even in my possession.

I booked this flight about three weeks ago, knowing that my visa appointment was in San Francisco on the 24th of October. This would have given the Spanish Consulate 12 business days to process my paperwork and get me my visa (a reasonable amount of time). Unfortunately, I didn't look at the final steps that I needed to complete before I was ready for the appointment until a few days before my appointment, in true Allison Fedor fashion. So, the day before I was planning on leaving for San Francisco (I planned to go the night before so I wouldn't have to worry about driving there and arriving on time in one day), I went over everything to see what I still needed to get. I knew I needed to go to the Police Department (PD) and get a background check done so I could get it Apostilled, and that was the final thing I needed. I had gone to the doctor and gotten my letter saying I'm not a drug addict or walking contagion the day before, and was pretty sure it was semi-smooth sailing from there. So I went to the PD, got my paper, and then jammed. Naturally, I should have gone to the PD before the day I was planning on leaving/same day I needed to get it notarized and Apostilled, but like I said, it's me we're dealing with. After racing out of the PD like they were hot on my trail, I hopped in my car and left Stockton for Sacramento.

I was going to be pushing it on time, as the SOS closes at 5 o'clock, but knew I could make it. I got there no problem, found a parking spot that had over four hours left on the meter, and got up to where I needed to be. When the woman called my number, tragedy struck. I told her that I needed to get the background check notarized and Apolstilled (two things the information desk man said I could do there), at which point she informed me that they did not do the notarizing there. WHAM. What a slap in the face. Now, I've done this before. The last time I got a visa when I went abroad, I ran into the same procrastination-problem, and had to go and get all of these exact things taken care of in the same day, so I knew that I couldn't get it notarized there, but believed that maybe things had changed and it was now ok. It was, afterall, more than two years later. She told me that I could take it to the UPS Store and get it notarized there, but didn't think I'd make it back in time. Well, I was at the point where I was in Sacramento, about an hour and a half from SF, in an office that didn't open the next day until 9am, and my appointment for my visa was scheduled in SF for 10:30. My heart sunk and I saw my dream slip away. And then it happened, a miracle of God, the sign I had been waiting for and needing to assure me that this was the path I was supposed to travel -- there was ONE other person in that room waiting for an Apostille, and she piped up saying, "I can notarize." 8-O OH HAPPY DAYS! I couldn't believe it. I knew then and there that it was meant to be for me. She went to her car, got her notary kit, and then notarized it right there on the spot for me. It was amazing! I had to try my hardest not to jump on her with a hug. So I got it all taken care of, even got to get together with one of my best gal pals for a drink and a catch-up chat, and then hit it to SF.

When I woke up to go to my visa appointment, I was soaring so high in the sky. I knew things would work out, it would go smoothly, and I would be on a plane in two and a half weeks, ready to conquer the world and assume the role I was born to fill. Well, I've often said that things don't go the way we planned, and this was another one of those things. My heart broke as the good-looking Spaniard behind the visa desk belittled me, was rude, and told me what I'd done wrong. He informed me the letter I had from my doctor was wrong (missing five words it needed to be acceptable), and the background check that I had gotten, notarized, and Apositlled was also wrong (lacking fingerprint verification, and also not allowed to be from the City). Bottom line: every dollar and minute I had spent the day before running around, thinking I had gotten God's blessing, and everything, was essentially for nothing (other than a learning of how-not-to experience).

This is what I mean by do it like Santa and check it twice. Heck, check it three, four, five times, just make sure you read carefully and do not skip a beat, because they will nail you for it, and then you'll be forced to either cancel your flight for a 400$ fee, or reschedule it for a later date for another couple hundred dollars even though you paid for the trip insurance (my figures only, yours will vary -- don't use a cheap site if you're uncertain of your travel plans)!! So I'd learned of my errors, and got my doctor to write me the right letter, and figured out what I really needed as far as the screening was concerned. This required that I print a form and pay a fee to the FBI, and mail them the request form, with fingerprints. Now, this shouldn't be too bad, except for the fact that I sent out the form, money, and fingerprints to the FBI..... in West Virginia.... the day before Hurricane Sandy hit. Yeah, I'll give that a minute to sink in. . . . . .

RIGHT!?! How screwed am I!? As if sending something to the FBI wouldn't have taken a long time anyways, now I have a natural disaster to account for also! (Prayers, thoughts, and well-wishes to those affected over there!) So now, I play the waiting game, instead of the packing game. Instead of prepping to board at 9:30am on Friday, I am prepping to look into other alternatives and jobs. Instead of seeking out on the adventure of a lifetime, one that I have been manifesting for years, I am sitting in a green arm chair in my parents living room listening to KLOVE. (Not a bad option in retrospect, but still, you must admit that the former is a bit more exciting.) And again I repeat: PLAN AHEAD.

I have no idea when, or if, I will be going to Spain at this point. I have not heard back from the school where my job is to know if it's okay for me to arrive this late, and am unsure at this point if it's even what I'm supposed to do (big surprise). I have persevered through it all, because I refuse to believe that it's not what I'm supposed to do, and because, if at the end of it all, I've done everything I could and tried all the different things I could think of, and it still doesn't happen, I will know without a reasonable doubt I was not intended to go down this path. At this point, all I can do is wait, examine other options, and help my family as we try to grow a business, as well as pray and see what happens. It's a truly intense path of faith that I'm being sent down, which could be the real purpose in it all anyways. We'll see, my friends, we'll see.

Today's Thought: Do not live your life with expectations and thinking you can have it all figured out, because right when you think you've got all your ducks lined up, a curve ball comes and throws you off the track. It is better to just let life come as it may, and take it as it comes. Be patient, and slow to frustration and worry. Everything will work out how it's supposed to, even if it's not what you want. Let it be!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My City & My Struggles

I have been very bad about keeping up with posts, but once I give you the run-down, you will forgive me, and likely end up feelings quite sorry for me. *Please leave your sympathies in the comment box below ;-)*

Friday morning I woke up around 4am to use the restroom, and when I went and laid back down on my semi-deflated air mattress, I noticed the notification light was blinking on my phone, so, naturally, I had to check what was going on. It was at this time that I saw I had the long-awaited email from the program I plan to go to Spain through -- the email with my city of placement. And when I opened, deciphered (they email all in Spanish), and saw, my heart stopped...Sevilla.

Sevilla is the fourth largest city in Spain, it's in the south, and it is absolutely amazing. I was blessed enough to go there over my Easter break while I was studying there, and got to see it in it's most-popular time of year, Easter.

When I saw that Sevilla was where I was placed, I will be honest, I was disappointed. I've been there before, and was so hoping I would end up going somewhere new, living in a beach town so I could finally fulfill my destiny as a surf and beach bum. This is something that probably didn't happen because I would surely end up with the dreads I've been wanting, and likely never return to a state of reality, which I wouldn't consider bad, but society thinks otherwise (To which I say, screw society! Make your own rules, and make your own reality!). So after lying there trying to go back to sleep, my head reeling with thoughts about Sevilla and what this meant for me, I finally fell asleep, and woke up with a better perspective.

This all happened on Friday morning. Since then, I spent Friday night in San Clemente, and then returned to L.A.. Saturday involved locking in the storage unit and getting all the necessary items: a lock, a packing package that came with boxes, tape, and packing wrap, the insurance, and everything else and it goes without saying that after this, everything went downhill and really started to suck.

My boyfriend was with me, and without him, I would have never been able to accomplish what I did. Sunday consisted of church, and then going home to begin packing up my entire apartment. I was supposed to be completely out of it on Tuesday, so I was going to move out on Tuesday, spend the night at my grandparent's house in Bakersfield that night, and then go on to Stockton on Wednesday, for all my appointments on Thursday. Well, our plans are not always what ends up happening, and this was no different. I got a call on Tuesday morning to confirm my dental appointment...for Wednesday morning. WELL, there went the plan. Suddenly, I had to go from packing up my apartment and putting remaining items into storage, to packing up my wardrobe and putting it in my car, getting my boyfriend back to Mission Viejo (45 min w/o traffic, 2 hours with, each way), and going all the way to Stockton in one day/night. Awesome.

To sum it up, nothing ended up happening how I thought it would. I got my stuff into storage on Monday, had to go back on Tuesday to leave stuff, and then had to pack up the rest of my things that I planned to bring to Stockton. Ended up filling my car as much as I could with his stuff and mine, going to Costa Mesa, leaving things at his mom's, then we went out for our typical dinner...sushi. :) From there, I went back to my apartment, got there around 10pm, and still had to load the rest of my stuff. Around 10:45 I realized that there wasn't room in my car to fit any of the items in my two closets, and had to make a quick call to my uncle. I stayed in LA on Tuesday night at his house and left a few large items there to pick up next week. I then got less than four hours of sleep, woke up at 5am on Wednesday, went to my apartment to load up the rest of my stuff and do a final wipe-down, and was on the road to Stockton at 6:25am. I made it to Stockton in time to stop at my parents' house, grab a car that wasn't packed to the top with my stuff, and get to the appointment at 11:10, right on time! I then came home, and unpacked my car gradually. My bed, still covered...


It has been a whirlwind, and I still am questioning if going to Spain is the right thing for me to do, but right now, I need some breakfast, so I will continue with this later and dive deeper into this internal turmoil that I am dealing with.

Me leaving LA with eyes puffy from crying for about 10 hours on-and-off, packing up, and hitting the road, before 6:30am. Death.

Today's Thought: I always have believed in my dreams and know that they often are telling me something about life or what's to come in the future. Last night, I kept dreaming I lived in SF, does this mean that is my next destination, not Spain?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Back to School

I arrived yesterday. It was a hot day, a very, very warm and beautiful day. The sun was out, the parking lot was empty, and the students were smiling. Yes, that's right, students.

As of yesterday, I came back to school. I have entered the wonderful world of Westmont College in Montecito, California... at least for the next 24 hours.

My sister is a sophomore here (technically a junior because she is such a brainiac and completed enough AP classes in high school to be a year ahead), and I have come to visit her before my departure for Spain. She LOVES it here, and it doesn't take long to understand why.

I came to visit her back in February, and was taken with how beautiful the school was, how nice all the students and faculty are, and of course, it's Montecito, so if you're not taken by the surrounding area, you're likely not capable of seeing (I'm sorry for your loss, but rejoice in your heightened other senses). Their campus is quite hilly, and is full of nature, paths, and quaint little extras that make you smile and feel like you're in a good place. The college is a religious college, but if you're a heathen, you need'int fear, because there will not be people bum rushing you with Bibles upon your entrance into their gates. It's just a beautiful setting, full of seemingly great people.

That's the one thing about this place that continues to surprise me, how incredibly nice everyone is. They are all so polite, to the point that a girl and I were going to grab forks at the same time in the DC (dining hall), and she said "sorry," even though our hands were on opposite sides of the fork cup and never brushed. And I can't count how many times people said "excuse me" or apologized because we almost came close to colliding while walking. Imagine the opposite of being at a rave and all the e-tards who don't know where they are fly by as if there's no one else around. This place is like a slice of somewhere far from reality. I have noticed minimal looks of judgement, but instead seen smiles and freely flowing conversations everywhere. Students who in high school would never associate with one another, now sit together at lunch and enjoy each other's mismatched company. It's a great place, with a lot to offer, and it makes me realize just how much I wish I could go back to college and do it all again.

Last night, my sister and her awesome roomie had a group of friends hanging in their room, and I sat there contemplating going back to school. I've always wished I had studied something that actually was of a professional interest to me, but have always thought the idea of going back to school was ridiculous. But I do think I will go back at some point when I can afford it on my own. I would love to study something that has to do with health/fitness/nutrition, but for now, I will continue to run away from reality, and go live abroad. How satisfied are you with your college experience? Would you do it again if you've already graduated? And if not, have you maximized your time?

(More photos to come after I adventure around the campus.)

 Good old dorm life! Can't say I miss the cramped-space-for-two lifestyle..
 Even the soap dispensers in the restroom have the schools emblem on them!
The view out Andrea and Katie's window -- see, lots of nature :)

Today's Thought: Study what you love. Don't study business (as an example) just because you don't know what you want to do in life and know that business is broad and a good way to make money. Take time off if that's what it takes! Just make sure you don't waste money on an education you could care-less about using. It's better to know yourself and your desires before you dedicate so many resources to something. Discover yourself, so you can study what you want, and bring the best possible you to the rest of the world. Break the mold, and as always, MAKE YOUR OWN REALITY! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Indecisive

Today I feel like crud. I am not in the mood to do any of the remaining things that I need to do in order to leave, and I'm questioning if I even want to go.

I love my life. I have great friends, an amazing family, a completely wonderful boyfriend, and am finally starting to develop more of a social life and stake my claim in the social world again. It's so hard to think about leaving right now when things are going so well. I am not sure if I'm making the right choice, or if I'm just making the "easy" one.

It's always been my dream to go back, and I know it will only get harder to go as time goes on, but I am worried about losing all that I have now while I run off and try to achieve my big dreams. And to know that I would be breaking two hearts in the process makes it even worse.

There is no easy way out on this one, and I am scared s------- that I will make the wrong choice. But then again, is there really a wrong choice?

No matter what I do, I'll be happy. I will have fun, make friends, have a lot of laughs, and enjoy memorable experiences. So it just comes down to what feels right, which, unfortunately has changed daily since I learned about my acceptance to the program.

One thing I do know for sure: I cannot make this decision based on which option is more appealing in comparison to the other. On the one hand, I have to pack up my entire apartment, rent a Uhaul, move it all into a storage unit, and handle everything else I've outlined, and on the other, I have to accept that I will be turning down an opportunity I have been manifesting in my life for the last two years AND look for a job. Both have really great outcomes, neither involve much that I want to actually do. If only I could have been born an heiress of something, then I could just travel, enjoy a lavish life, and help people, without having to be concerned with any of these sorts of things. Oh, to dream.

Moving on... it's time to look for some jobs I could be happy doing around these parts, and put a storage unit on hold in the event that I do fulfill this going abroad thing.


Today's Thought: What do I do? What am I supposed to do?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Over-Flowing Passion


Now that one of the bigger parts of this journey has been resolved (getting out of my lease), it's on to the next items on my list! Here I outlined the things that I would have to do before my departure, and I am very proud to say that since I wrote out this list, I have been able to check something off each day! Don't worry, I'm surprised by myself in this situation too! ;-D

I now have an orthodontist appointment, dentist appointment, and hair cut scheduled, as well as having figured out how I will get out of my lease, get my flight paid for, and manage seeing the people I need to see, in the midst of handling everything that needs to be handled. Still to be done are many things, among them, finding out which city I'll be living in, getting my visa, and purchasing my ticket ( No big deal right? Some of the only things left for me to figure out and do are the most important and biggest things of all 8-/ ), and, the one I am about to embark on right now... finding the cheapest storage unit that I can! [Suggestions are welcome and accepted in the comment box below.]

Oh, and did I mention that THIS IS MY LAST DAY OF WORK!?! 8-D Well, I mean, obviously I'm going to have another job, but I really don't consider it a job since I'll be living in Spain, on the beach (where I am manifesting myself), and traveling extensively. As much as I love kids and think teaching them could be fun, I've gotta be honest, I'm only doing this so I can become fluent in Spanish and travel around Europe some more. Quite understandable I'd say! But anyways, yes, today is my last day working for Mr. Mickey Mouse! (Didn't you know? He's my direct supervisor!;) If I include the time I spent here as an intern last summer, I have put in 10 months at the Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG), and worked in three different departments in that short amount of time (Media Relations for Daytime & SOAPnet, Communications Administration, and Internal Communications/Events). It has been such a great learning experience for me, and I have many learned many things that will serve me well in my future endeavors. There have been many great people I've met, and I am going to miss their humor quite a lot. I couldn't have been more proud to tell people where I work during my time here, even a little embarrassed at times because it's so awesome!

But now, I will finally be taking my own advice, and setting off to live a life that will bring me more happiness than I can fathom! (Not that I haven't experienced happiness here, it is after all, part of the happiest place on Earth!) Traveling, getting exposed to other cultures, and learning from others unlike myself are my passions, and I will embark on a life full of just that in a few short weeks! It is without a doubt the scariest, riskiest option I could make at this time, but I know that means it's the right one. If it scares you, it's probably meant to be, because nothing good ever came too easy! (Forgive my blending of every quote and cliche into one.)

Today's Thought: I am proud of myself. I made the hard choice, and am actually, finally, really pursuing the life that I have wanted for myself since my return to the U.S. over two years ago. It's scary, it's a mystery, it's going to be nothing that I could begin to expect, but it's going to be worth it, and it's going to be the greatest adventure I've had so far. I encourage you all to do the same! Don't spend time doing things if you don't love them. If you do what you're passionate about, you are bound to be the best you can be, and do it better than anyone else (namely those who don't have a passion for whatever it is). We have grown up in a world that tells us the steps we're supposed to take, what counts and what doesn't, what has worth and what doesn't, and what's acceptable and what's not. Why? Why does it have to be this way? Break the mold, MAKE YOUR OWN REALITY! The path you were on before will always be there when you get back, go live!


That is all. Blessings, love, and light to each one of you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm the A------


Well, I need to issue a huge apology to my management company and landlord. Yesterday I went on a bit of a rant about how frustrated I was that I wasn't hearing back from anyone, and that the clock is ticking. Let me just say this... stressed out and worried is NOT a good look or attitude on me. I get ugly, mean, and hateful, all things that I loathe and never want to be. But, I let my emotions and fears get the best of me, and this morning that all proved to be ridiculous and a bit melodramatic.

I spoke with my landlord this morning, and because of my circumstances, I am getting out exactly as I had hoped. So it goes without saying, that I recommend anyone who can, to use Hoffman Management. They are really great, and generally very responsive (this was a special case, so understandably it took a while longer than I had imagined it would). I feel like a total jerk for getting so worked up and making such a stink about it, but I am here to apologize, and take the slack for my inappropriate behavior and venting to the cyber-world.

With that being said, I would like to brag about the fact I have checked off another item from my to-do list! Yay! And so the forward progress continues!

Today's Thought: Things are going the way they should. I was kicking myself in the face this morning, having a sour mood, and it led to a series of annoying events. But when I got out of my car at work this morning, I told myself, "These things do not, in any way, determine today. They do not mean today will be bad. Today, will be great. I am in charge of how I feel, and today, I'm choosing to be happy!" And what do you know, the moment I pulled out my phone at my desk, my landlord had texted saying to call anytime today. So I called, and the news was better than expected (well, about what I had expected, because I had manifested the results of the call a few days ago:). They keep my deposit, and I'm pro-rating an amount for next month, but under $300... exactly what I spoke out loud was going to happen, and it has! Manifesting your life is so much easier than we think. You just have to think, believe, say, trust, and let it happen! Make your own reality!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ARGGGHafoiajdfaouifhgaifhaen!


Why is it that landlords and management companies (for the most part) make our lives so flipping difficult!? I realize that I am trying to get out of my lease very soon after signing into it, and that I probably should have found a place that was month-to-month, and that this is a really crappy move on my part to back out and leave them high and dry, and that I am signed into an agreement and somewhat bound by it, and everything else that one should and could realize in this situation, I have! But that doesn't change the fact that my circumstances have changed, and I can no longer pay the rent and live in the apartment.

I have been trying everyday since last Thursday to speak to someone about how we can handle me leaving, quiet as a church mouse, and have had no sort of conversation that would enable me to acquire any new knowledge. If you don't want to let me out of my lease, TELL ME, don't ignore my phone calls and texts and attempts to figure this out!

I made a Craigslist posting about the apartment yesterday to get a feel for how easy/difficult it might be to sublet, and had a very strong response. So, luckily, if I cannot be let out of my lease without some incredibly over-the-top fee and am forced to sublet to avoid said fees, it will not be a difficult task. And yes, for all of you (Hello? Are you out there??) wondering how I intend to deal with a sublet when I'm living out of the country, and thinking to yourselves that subletting probably isn't the wisest choice for me since I will be abroad and have difficulty dealing with such things, don't fret -- I've already thought of that too. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be developing new mountain ranges on my forehead with each day that passes, bringing me closer to the ever-dreaded first of the month (rent pay-day). I also wouldn't have reached out to my friends to see if they know anyone who needs a place down here. So cool those jets micro-managers, I've thought of everything....I think.

And that is the update on this situation. I have nothing else completed on my to-do list, but am going to call some storage places now to do some rate-hunting!

Today's Thought: Why do people have to make things so much more complicated than necessary? (And yes, I realize that I am often the difficult one, especially in this situation, but that's not the point.) I find myself making problems that aren't even there, worrying about things that are too far ahead for me to fathom, and generally over-thinking things so much that I make them ten times more complicated than they should be. WHYYYY!?!? We, my humanistic friends, have problems. Loads of em. But I don't say this to make us feel badly, what we realize, we can fix!

Cheers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Pre-Spain Check List & Travel Tips


As I mentioned yesterday, I will be returning to Spain next month. I still don't know when I will be leaving exactly, but I know that there is A LOT of stuff I need to take care of before I can and do go. I thought that I would shed some light on all of the things that one should do before they decide to move abroad, either as an expatriate, or a traveler. Here is the list:

  • Figure out which city you will be living in, and
  • Get the forms and letter needed to get a visa. (Entirely dependent on the program, ~2 weeks.)
  • Get a visa (~2 week process)
    • Background check
    • Fingerprints 
    • Appointment at the Consulate
    • Other
  • Book a flight
  • Get out of current lease at lowest-possible-cost
  • Cancel electric/gas at apartment
  • Move belongings into a storage unit
    • Shop around for the lowest-cost-unit
  • Dental appointment for teeth cleaning
  • Orthodontist appointment to have bottom retainer put back on
  • Hair appointment for a long over-due hair trim
  • Go to my bank and inform them that I will be leaving the country, so they don't put any holds on my account while I am there or flag anything as irregular activity.
  • Go into AT&T (your service provider) and tell them you will be living in another country; try and see if there is a way to keep phone active, or determine costs/cancel service.
  • Visit family
  • Visit friends
    • Santa Barbara
    • San Francisco 
    • Sacramento
    • Chico
  • Pack up, and ship out!

So far I have done (items in bold above):
-Looked into storage units and written down several numbers to call and find out their prices (today's task).
-Called my housing management company to tell them I lost my job and have to move out (the truth, really). I am waiting to hear back from them, and have been calling everyday since Thursday to try and figure this out with them. I may have to resort to calling my landlord's cell phone if I don't hear back today, since rent is supposed to be paid on the first and I would not like to pay if I will not be living there.
-Arranged a dental cleaning appointment and orthodontist appointment. 
-Figured out how I will go about buying my flight over to Spain.

This list will vary depending on what you have planned (living/moving/traveling), but the visa, passport, and informing your bank and mobile provider are A MUST for everyone! Another suggestion for going overseas related to your bank came to me before I went abroad a few years ago, and that was, find out if your bank has a sister bank overseas. Sometimes there is a bank that you can go to in another country that you will not get the fees that normally come with withdrawing from a non-bank ATM. This can save you a huge amount of money in the long-run! I would also suggest pulling out the maximum amount of money that you can at once, to avoid getting those charges multiple times. Also, if you're going to be living somewhere for an extended period of time as I am, opening an account at a local bank that's spread throughout the country/continent/region is helpful too, for the same reason. I didn't do this when I went abroad, and regretted it. (I will be doing it this time around, and save myself hundreds of dollars in fees [cumulative over the months].) I was also told that having a bank card without the Visa symbol was good, because if your card was stolen, they couldn't use it for anything and everything because it's only good for taking money out at ATMs. My recommendation: DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS! It was a horrible mess trying to do anything without having the Visa symbol on the card. I could only use cash, it wouldn't work online to buy flights, and I couldn't use it in any establishment. Big hassle, avoid it!

That's just the tip of the iceberg on travel tips I will be providing throughout this journey, stay tuned!

Today's Thought/Feeling: Content. I think I am moving in the right direction, and am feeling very close to God right now, so I feel very confident in my choices. It might change tomorrow or later today, but for now...feeling good!

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Next Adventure

I think that this blog will come back to life in the coming month. I have made a decision to go back to Spain, this time as an expatriate. I will be living somewhere in Southern Spain (in the region of Andalucia) as an English teaching assistant.

Back in January I applied to the program, but I didn't find out I was placed until Friday, September 24. I then was given seven days to either accept or deny the offer, and after seven straight days of emotional turmoil, crying, thinking, praying, and debating, I accepted. The program starts on October 1st, but in true Spanish fashion, the process isn't very rushed (for them), so I will miss the orientation and almost the entire first month, but I will be there! Now I am waiting for them to get back to me with the details (city, stipend, etc), letter of acceptance, and all the forms I will need to get my visa. I spoke with a friend who has done the program before, and she said it can take around two weeks for them to get me these items. 8-/ Considering I'm already going to be late, this isn't news I wanted. Especially since after I get all of that, I still cannot leave until I have my visa (probably another couple weeks). I assume I will be on a plane in just under a month. It's scary as hell and very unexpected (I figured I wouldn't be placed since it had been so long and the program starts so soon), but it is an amazing opportunity that I have been manifesting since my tearful return from studying abroad over two years ago.

This was my plan -- when I graduated in December (2011) I told my parents that my plan was to work until the summer was over, then go to Spain. It didn't seem like it would actually happen at the time, because working for several months, then leaving and moving abroad doesn't usually line up too well. In my case though, it worked out perfectly. I worked a couple of temp jobs, and the one I'm in now ends this Friday (28th). God has aligned my stars, and it seems obvious that this is the next step I am supposed to take, but it doesn't make me feel any more certain of my decision to go.

I've been trying to figure out if it feels right (I'm big on trusting my gut and my feelings), and I still can't. One day I wake up excited about it all, the next, I am completely unsure and wondering if I've made the right choice. I don't think the emotional tug-of-war will end until I am there and settled. I am such an ambassador for traveling, doing things that scare you, and taking the big risks in life and doing things you've always dreamed of, but it's very hard to apply such heavy ideas to your own life, I've found. It's hard to leave behind people you love and care about, and it's especially hard to walk out of a relationship that has cultivated such a beautiful love. But as they usually do in my life, I believe the stars will continue to align.

Welcome, to my biggest adventure thus-far. :)

Today's Thought: What am I doing?