San José, Round 1

30 December 2017

I stepped off the plane and it was humid.

I turned a corner and snapped a picture of the mountains surrounding the airport.
“Is this real life?”

Is this real life

I lingered by that window, wide-eyed and in awe of how far I’d come in the past year, shocked at how different my life is from the day I booked this trip, trying to imagine how the cynical, cold, unhappy October 2016 version of myself would have felt staring out the doubled-paned airport glass in the country of her dreams.

Eventually I made my way down to immigration and waited. At first I was patient and reveling in the Spanish signs and the touristy ads, but after over an hour I was quite sure I was either going to piss myself or faint.

Neither happened and I made it to a booth, got my first ever passport stamp (that wasn’t related to military orders), a tired welcome from the guy with the ink pad, and was ushered towards baggage claim and customs with a huge smile on my face.

I wandered around baggage claim for more than ten minutes with no luck until I had rehearsed the Spanish phrase for “I can’t find my bag” in my head enough times to feel comfortable asking for help. With a mere glance at my boarding pass, the agent simply pointed at my bag- less than 2 feet behind me. I laughed at myself, determined not to panic.

A few deep breaths later I walked out of the airport. Before I could even see the sky there were hoards of people holding signs for groups or individuals and just as many people asking if I needed a taxi. I found out later that these extremely zealous taxi drivers are kind of infamous, but my experience wasn’t bad. While they were quite abrupt when asking, they were very polite when I muttered, “No, thanks” and sometimes “No, gracias” when I was aware enough. One driver even asked if I was looking for a particular shuttle or group and pointed me in the right direction.

all i want for christmas

I got a little panicky when I realized I was disconnected from the airport WiFi and was still unable to find any sign, shuttle, or person with a logo for my tour group. But I reminded myself that worse case scenario I walked back into the airport, got back on the WiFi, and called my guide to find a way to the hotel. Though I knew this wasn’t the actual worst case scenario, I refused to allow myself to think about anything remotely inspired by Taken. But then my phone’s low battery warning came on and a small lump formed in my throat, realizing my dad could never pull off a Liam Neeson style rescue.

But a magic deli appeared tucked in the side of the airport and it had WiFi. It didn’t take long after that to track down my guide and the other group members that had already found him. Moments later our bus appeared and we were on our way to our first hotel.

Rhyan, our guide, spoke the entire drive. He went over our itinerary, told some jokes, was so welcoming and funny. The drive was beautiful and insane. I couldn’t stop smiling, nothing felt real yet! We filled out room assignments, but I hadn’t really met anyone yet so I just wrote my name down next to the first empty slot and hoped for the best.

I got really lucky. The girl I roomed with had arrived a day early and was already at the hotel. I got up to our room (#16), knocked and met Nicole who goes by Nicki. This was her 7th tour with EF and she’s a 27-year old pharmacy tech in northern California. She was so fricken nice!

The day caught up with me and I fell asleep for like half an hour before abruptly waking up and needing food. Nicki told me there was a restaurant in the lobby and offered to come with me if I wanted her to, but she wasn’t hungry so I decided I was brave and independent and went alone. I met two more group members at the bar, Eric and Jacob. They were also from California and on their first EF tour, like me. More tour people joined us, but I couldn’t hear their names.

We chatted a bit, but the conversation died because I was the only one eating and a row of a people at a bar wasn’t exactly the easiest format for mingling. I didn’t mind. I was sleepy and hungry and feeling gross after a day of airports. I had an incredible vegetarian spaghetti with a coke, paid in U.S. dollars, got colones back, and wished everyone a goodnight.

first meal

The hotel was smallish, but beautiful. The restaurant opened to the pool area and the lobby into the courtyard. Things were still decorated for Christmas and were adorable. Our room keys were actual keys! The rooms had three single beds with bright orange quilts, very few outlets, and a tiny bathroom. Surprisingly, the water pressure in the shower was amazing, but it didn’t drain very well.

Rhyan had mentioned that the plumbing in Costa Rica wouldn’t be what we were used to and that we shouldn’t flush our toilet paper, but throw it away. So I was terrified to shit.

The view from my room overlooked the pool and you could just see the mountains on the other side of the wall. At night the mountain side was covered in lights, it was beautiful. Everything was beautiful, even while it sprinkled rain.

I spent the rest of the night chilling with Nicki, messing around on my phone, reveling in things as simple as SnapChat filters and texting my family and Boyfriend about how happy I was and how great things were going. Nothing felt real yet.

best fucking life


Arriving in Costa Rica

30 December 2017

I woke up this morning in Benton, Louisiana next to a groggy boyfriend and an equally sleepy dog. I’d had trouble falling asleep because I was nervous and excited and, admittedly very uncomfortable trying to share a bed with those two.

I snoozed my alarm, snuggled back into bed and made a noise of contentment before waking Boyfriend up to share in my uneasy pre-travel feelings and inevitable rushing around.

Everything was fine, a little rainy so I was kinda nervous, but Boyfriend sweetly reassured me that flying is safe and I’d be fine and blah blah blah amazingly kind stuff. I said my goodbyes, had my bottle of sunscreen confiscated and was off.

Atlanta was surprisingly cold so I fished a second coat out of my bag, grabbed some Auntie Anne’s, and settled into the nearest gate to eat, play Pokemon, and wait. My nerves flared up every once in awhile, but were mostly drowned out by the excitement and anticipation I’d all but lived in the past few days.

Boarding was slightly stressful because I wasn’t allowed to gate check my bag, but really the stress came from it being unexpected, not actually difficult. So I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that this trip was about facing and overcoming my fears- and not just the big ones like heights and flying over the ocean, but the small, irrational ones like things not going exactly as planned.

I gripped my boarding pass with white knuckles as I walked on to my plane and found my seat. An aisle seat near the front of the plane, the most tolerable way to fly in my opinion. I immediately put headphones in, ignoring the safety demonstration, but reviewing the safety card. You know, in case anything had changed over the four hours since my previous flight and previous review of an identical card.

For the first time in over ten years I slept through take off. I was in and out of sleep, completely disoriented. I would come-to half aware of what was going on, nearly leaning on the person next to me, mouth wide open, unsure if I’d been snoring or if it had just happened. Eventually I realized we were in the air and I sprawled out on my tray table.

Two hours later I woke up with a customs declaration tucked under my head and a meal about to be served. I woofed down some pretzels and was again in and out of it for nearly the rest of the flight.

It was a terribly bumpy landing. The turbulence in the last 20-30 minutes made me wish I’d never flown, but that feeling fled when we finally broke through the clouds and a green, mountainous, brick and stucco speckled land appeared before me. I smiled bigger than my cheeks could handle and tears filled my eyes.

“Welcome to Costa Rica.”


Living My Best Life


When I’m experiencing something new or fulfilling I always jokingly say, “I’m living my best life.” Like when I went to the State Fair and pet the cutest little pig. He walked over to the bars, I stuck my hands through and started scratching his head, he laid down and went to sleep under my arm. I was nearly in tears I was so happy. I said, “We’re just living our best lives.”

Or like when I went to dinner with a hot boy at a restaurant I’d never been to; I had wine I’d never tasted, I tried a new flavor of ice cream. He drove me home in his decked-out Mustang. The windows were down, my hair was up, I was wearing my coolest denim jacket and boots. He let me pick the music. I had one hand out the window, the other in my hair and I couldn’t stop smiling, “I just feel like I’m living my best life- in this car, in this jacket.”

I’ve been reflecting on why I wanted to start this blog. I wanted to motivate myself to live a life exciting enough to write about because I tell myself and others that I’m adventure loving and don’t see settling down as an option. Not moving, not learning, not experiencing is a failure in my book. I believe so much that my future is going to be this mass of incredible that I ended a two year relationship because of it- I wanted adventure, she wanted stability.

It was terrifying to give up on plans two years in the making, but that relationship didn’t fill me with excitement; it didn’t make me feel like it was my best life- or her’s for that matter. And yeah, it’s been hard. We’re friends, we’re not dating, we don’t know other people in the area. But I believe wholeheartedly that it was the right decision, that a year from now we’ll both look back and realize we never would have been happy.

And that’s the only real way to live your best life, right? Happiness.


Practicing Patience & Understanding

I’ve been thinking about patience a lot today.

It was my first real day at my department store job and I had a GA shift. I’ve also pre-purchased all my film festival tickets so I had a movie scheduled tonight, even though by the time 5:30 rolled around I just wanted to put my feet up and eat something green.

I started my day impatient in the traffic that made me late. I got impatient when I arrived and all the doors were locked- no one had told me anything about a key code when I trained the other week. I was even more impatient when, despite the team I’m a part of having a huge task, no one seemed to know what was going on or how to start. By the time my shift end was minutes away, my patience had nearly vanished when they asked if I could stay longer. I did, for the most selfish reason… $$

I ran home and grabbed my school books (in case I had time for homework), ate, and let my dog out. I was impatient on the drive home, I was rushed when I was home, and I felt impatient in the traffic on the way to my GA shift. You’re seeing how my day was shaping up?

I got to work and had a few clerical things to do before getting back to the research I’ve been working on. I got frustrated and impatient with myself when I couldn’t understand the instructions I was being given and I became even more impatient when I locked a file cabinet I still needed and had to ask for the keys back again.

The computer I have to work on has probably been on that desk for 10+ years and has had a pending update every time I’ve used it the past two weeks. I grow impatient every time I have to do something remotely quickly on that dinosaur, but today was something else!

Finally, I drove to the theater, feeling rushed to get through rush hour traffic and find parking downtown with enough time to pick up my ticket and find a seat. The film was great, quite the respite from my impatient, bustle-y day.

It was during my drive home that I had a little impatient outburst. I was relaxed, driving leisurely- not much traffic at 8 PM, even on Airline. Then, I didn’t turn left at a green light.

I’m notorious for waiting for a green arrow for a left turn instead of zooming during a regular green light. It feels safer to me and I’m always afraid I’ve misjudged the distance. Tonight was no different, it turned green, there were cars coming. Were they pretty far away? I wasn’t sure. But apparently the guy behind me was, because he honked a bunch. It made me jump and press the brake harder. Then the light went yellow, red, and then there was a green arrow.

I was fed up from a long day and annoyed that this jerk had honked at me for wasting less than a minute of his time. So I was petty and made the turn fairly slowly and then quickly reached the speed limit once my turn was complete. He zoomed next to me, glared, and zoomed ahead. I scoffed and continued driving safely without honking or glaring at anyone.

Then the car that had honked and glared turned into Dairy Queen. I scoffed again and muttered to myself, “In that big a rush to get to Dairy Queen? Jack ass.”

I started imagining to myself what I should have done, like waited through the green arrow so he couldn’t turn at all. Or gotten in the other lane and driven steadily next to a car so he couldn’t get ahead of either of us. Then I reminded myself that those behaviors are dangerous and trying to be safe was the whole reason I’d waited for the arrow!

Still I felt a little bitter. Then I thought about all the times I’ve been in a rush to go no where of any particular importance and gotten angry at other drivers. Though I normally reserve honking and glaring for people on their phones or who don’t use their turn signals.

I thought, well maybe he was getting dinner for his family. Or, maybe he’d been on a road trip and was exhausted- just wanted some fried food and ice cream before crashing. Or maybe he had a shit day at work too and just wanted to get his food and go home.

Then I felt bad for turning slowly and realized I wasn’t being very patient or understanding. I don’t think I actively strive to be patient, but I don’t feel apathy toward the virtue. I’m certainly not as patient with my loved ones as I should be, considering their importance in my life, but I always try to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. At least… when I’m in an okay mood.

But then I wonder, are there things you shouldn’t have patience for? Like hate? Bigotry? If you’re impatient and dismissive of those things can you ever learn enough about them to combat them?

I don’t know. I’m just rambling because I still have homework to do and have to be at work at 6 AM and I’m just not big enough to be grateful for that.



First Days & Frustrations

Hello friends!

As I shared in my earlier post The One With All The Good NewsI recently got hired at two new jobs and possibly a third!

There’s no update on the tutoring job yet, we’re trying to schedule a Skype interview, but given how long it’s taking, it’s not looking good. Not too worried though.

Yesterday was my first day at my university and earlier today was training for my department store job! Everything went very well at both, although there wasn’t much for me to do at either in the way of doing actual work. At school I just had a little tour and then did some homework, given that it’s the beginning of a new semester there isn’t much for me to yet. Haha. At the store I filled out a lot of paperwork, went through some training, and was introduced to management. I’m excited to start for real at both!

Along with starting work, yesterday was the first day of school! I’m in an accelerated program meaning my semesters are only 7 weeks long and ‘full time’ on this format is only two courses. I’m only enrolled in one this semester and next because they’re the only courses I need that are offered! So I spent yesterday and part of today doing homework to get ahead.

School is where my frustrations are coming from today. Most every student knows the first few classes are about getting the lay of the course, introducing yourself to the class, reading the syllabus, and other similar ‘intro’ activities. In an online course this means posting an ‘about me’ forum and sometimes a syllabus quiz.

Easy enough, right?

YOU’D THINK SO, but this professor is one of the most confusing, least consistent educators I’ve ever had the displeasure of trying to learn from.

In the ‘about me’ forum, we were asked questions about ourselves, our work, our volunteering, what we’re looking forward to learning, and some specific ones about the coursework. I’m a decent student, so I answered all the questions completely and succinctly in my own little voice.

I log-in today and the only comment on my post is from my professor. She replied to my intro post with the same questions that were in the instructions, but with my name as a sentence starter like she was addressing a letter to me. I reread it three or four times to make sure- they were the EXACT same questions.

Like… what?

Now, y’all don’t know, but this professor and I have a history. I took this same class back in May. I struggled and ended up failing (“my first non-A in grad school,” my pride shouts from somewhere in the back). While of course any failure is the fault of the student, I refuse to take 100% of the responsibility (I’ll take like 70%). This prof definitely contributed by taking over a week to respond (IT’S A SEVEN WEEK COURSE) to my emails asking for help and by only replying to the first and last few sentences of every email despite paragraphs of detailed questions covering the material (BUT I’M NOT BITTER AT ALL OR ANYTHING).

So, I’m thinking about all the shit I’ve gone through with this woman in the past and I’m getting so stressed. Is this how the whole semester is going to be? Is my every move going to be second guessed and put under a microscope because I’m the loser that failed? I can’t fucking take that, y’all.

Anyway, sorry to rant and complain like someone who isn’t in control of her life. I’m feeling really anxious about this course and knew I had to vent a bit about this early frustration before I could get back to my homework. Phew.

I’ll be back later this week with another draft from back in April (the one I mentioned in the other post, but haven’t actually posted yet, lol).

Y’all have a good one,



The One With All The Good News

Y’all, what a weekend it has been!! I feel overworked, overstimulated, and exhausted, but I only have good news!


I have been looking for a job for awhile, I wanted something low stress and part time so I wouldn’t be too pressed while in school. I’ll admit it wasn’t a priority, but over the summer while I wasn’t in class, I really stepped into gear. I was online most days filling out applications, making calls, searching openings, editing my resume. Or I was out at job fairs or filling out applications. I was repeatedly turned down or just never contacted. It is not a pleasant feeling.

Occasionally, I’d give up hope and just distract myself with loads of housework or Netflix binges. Some days I would look up get-rich-quick schemes and half convince myself that I could cheat the system and actually get rich quick. Hell, one day I even half considered replying to a Craigslist ad for a nude housekeeper. It’s been a hard summer, okay?

Ya Girl’s a GA!

So, one of the many online applications I put in over the past few months was for a graduate assistantship in the Fall of 2017 at my university. I figured my history with the department, specifically the department head, would immediately put me out of the running. When I didn’t hear anything back the following two weeks, I figured they’d ‘gone a different way’ or something equally cliche. However, I was emailing the department head about something else and asked at the end if there were any updates on the GA position. And when she replied to say she wanted to meet with me about it, you could have knocked me over with a feather!

The interview was this past Friday and even though we were both late (I got lost!) and I was sweating like the devil in church, things went great! We filled out the paperwork then and there and she said to wait for an email to finish the process. I start the 28th!! The hours are really limited, but it’s something!!

Holiday Hiring Event.

Before the news of the interview at LSUS, my mom brought home a flier from a local department store about a holiday hiring event they were having on the 19th to bulk up their staff for the coming busy season. While I feel SUPER ICK working for a company that sells clothes that were probably made by children or disadvantage populations in countries without labor laws or safe work environments, I decided I’d try anyway as long as I wasn’t working in sales. (I know, I’m a fucking sell-out, and I’ve already resolved to donate a percentage of my paycheck to ok? I feel like shit, but until I find something more fitting to my morals that pays enough to start saving for an adult life, I’m a little bit stuck.)

The interview process went very well and while I still need to verify with the HR department the hours I’ll be able to work before the position is truly mine, I’m marking it down as a success!! I’ll be working back of house, unloading trucks and setting displays. At least that’s what I’m told. I really don’t think I’d be able to stomach working front of house, selling people clothes made by people who probably couldn’t afford them if they saved for ten years, because their country doesn’t have wage laws. Anyway, it’s sort of good news and it’s only a seasonal/ part time position anyway.


Recently, a travel YouTuber I follow put out a video on how to make money online. Now, I don’t follow Amanda Round the Globe for her financial advice (I prefer her travel tips), but I watched the video because at least I could pretend it was for a job search instead of procrastination. In her video she mentioned a site called UpWork. It was something I had never heard of and it didn’t sound too sketchy so I went to the site, read their about and ‘how it works.’ Decided to sign up!

UpWork is basically a better functioning, less ‘nude housekeeper,’ Craigslist Help Wanted section. Clients post jobs, short or long term, entry level to expert, and freelancers send in proposals and are interviewed. So far I’ve been putting in a ton of proposals, mostly for jobs that take about a week or less to complete. Haven’t heard back except from one or two people, no payments YET. However, I was invited to interview for a position tutoring Chinese students as they learn English. The best thing about it being that the position lasts anywhere from one to three months! It’s hourly and there are up to thirty hours of work available a week. I’m optimistic even though I can’t say I’ve been hired. It just felt good to get the invitation!

I find anything in the education field generally admirable and I think being chosen to help out with this tutoring thing would off set the guilt I feel about the store job, as well as boost my self worth. Because, you know, something cheesy about how it’s not about the money, money, money and I just want to make the world dance or whatever.

(Funny story, once I was stuck at an airport and the restaurant right next to my gate had an electronic ad with speakers outside their door that played about 15 seconds of that song with about 10 seconds of dialogue on a loop. A few of us made eye contact about the fourth time it played and kind of laughed, but half an hour later we were ripping our hair out, and by the time we got on the plane some of us were humming it and then violently shaking our heads and groaning. It brought us together. True story.)

Looking forward.

Now that I’m hired somewhere and possibly two other places, I just need to stay motivated and take my own advice about keeping a schedule and shit. With school starting and now work, I’ve really got to cut down on the b.s. and stay in control. I’m nervous about it, but excited to start saving more significantly- though let’s be honest I’m going to blow it all on visiting friends, Costa Rica, a wedding (not mine!), and travel before I have enough to put aside for rent somewhere. Whatever, as long as I’m traveling, right?

Wish me luck, friends!



Tackling my messy desk

Afternoon friends,

It’s been a lazy morning thus far: slept in, watched some Smallville over breakfast and then watched some more without my breakfast. Haha.

Past few days I’ve been concentrating on helping my parent’s spring clean, job searching, and starting blog drafts of ideas I’ve been having (Coming Soon! haha).

Because I’ve been distracted, I’ve let the surfaces in my bedroom become catch-alls and things have gotten pretty cluttered- especially my desk/ work space. Today the goal is to declutter, organize, and take care of things that are there to ‘deal with later.’ No use putting them off anymore!

Here’s a before picture:2017-08-15 12.28.49.jpg

I’ll come back later to post the ‘after’ photo!

Update (about 3 hrs. later):
Hello again!

I really took care of stuff instead of just putting things away to deal with later so the space looked clean. I redid and went through all my files and ended up with a stack of recycling (I had the warranty information from a Dell laptop I don’t even own anymore!) and more room to store the files I actually need.

Not sure why I tested the pencils…

I also tested all the writing utensils on my desk because I knew some didn’t work, which is why the word ‘works’ is now written 20+ times in my sketch book. To scale down the clutter I also put away the duplicates and extra office supplies I had, there’s no reason I needed five or six highlighters and a box of extra staples out on my desk.

Hell, I even plugged my printer in for the first time since moving back! I’ve been using the one in my parents’ office instead and allowing mine to just collect dust.

So here it is, the after the photo:

2017-08-15 15.05.00.jpg

I mean, it wouldn’t be featured on a fancy website or magazine, but it feels like I can use it again!!

Anyway, I’m going to go shred a bunch of old documents now, enjoy this post!