Why I Post Controversial Things

Sometimes I post something lighthearted and “frivolous” simply for the sake of breaking the stream of heavy topics on my newsfeed.  However, Facebook is an amazing way to get breaking news, keep up to date with trends, and discuss the hard issues with a broad audience.  I love good discussion, and thankfully I do have an intelligent friends list.  I’ve learned, gained new perspective, and found solidarity through various people in that online community.  I hope that as I post I’m able to do the same for others.

The thing I cannot do is stop.  I read thoughtless memes that only further the deep rooted racism, fundamentalism, and fallacious ideologies that are running rampant, not only in the USA, but internationally.  Days like today make me want to bury my head in the sand and never pull it out.  Days like today also make me want to fight for truth and justice harder than I ever have before.

I’m not claiming I have all the answers, and certainly not all the right answers, but I’m trying to be informed and to encourage others to do the same.  Most of all, I desire the rigid mindsets to soften, to recognize the humanity in each one of us.  To daily practice empathy and compassion requires a diligent and concerted effort at which I fail.  But, if you can put yourself in the shoes of someone under fire by the media, government, or a people group and imagine the ensuing challenges, see if you can maintain the same perspective afterwards.

If we agree, fantastic–we’ll still have areas where we’ll rub edges.  If we disagree, let’s speak to each other with minds that are open to genuinely hearing the other person’s ideas and thoughts.  But, above all, we can practice loving and respecting each other as human beings, if not friends/family/etc.

I’m not a hippie (I stress too quickly to be a hippie…something I’m working on), but I do care about people.

The highlight of my day today was talking with a prospective student and finding out he’s from Afghanistan.  I cannot WAIT to hear his story.  Unfortunately, he probably comes under racist and stereotyping fire frequently in the USA.  For that reason, I continue to post.

“The One In Which Kirsten Moves Out”


Yesterday and today marked a new section in my life.  If it were an episode of Friends, it would be called “The One In Which Kirsten Gets Her Own Place.”

Yes, I moved into my own place yesterday.  It’s been a long time coming, and it’s such a strange new feeling.  This is my space.  I can do with it what I please.  Currently, it’s a little overwhelming trying to figure out where to put things, but I keep reminding myself I can organize and rearrange however many times I want.  I’ve picked out the prettiest shower curtain for my bathroom!

Thank you to every person who has supported me, encouraged me, cheered for me, let me stay with them, suggested jobs, gave references, and shared advice with me over the past three years.  I’m a firm believer of “it takes a village.”  I’m not done yet—far from it.  But, I’m so thankful for the many people by whom I am privileged to be loved.

I have a spare bedroom, so I hope you’ll consider coming to visit.  I promise to have a fire in the fireplace (during the cool months), tea in plenty, and I’ll even have coffee for the coffee lover!

Here’s to a new stage of adulthood!  Cheers!

People Are What Matter

I’m a different person than I was nine, ten, eleven, twelve months ago.

You may think, “Duh! We all are!”  But, when I look at photographs there is a dull ache within me, and I recognize that the person in those images is gone.

I made a decision.  I was moving to England, would attend a program, and start a life in Europe.  And now (from my computer in Virginia), nine months and nineteen days since taking off, I can say for the first time in my life (about a decision), “I wish I hadn’t gone.”

Don’t worry yourself or rush to tell me “But look at all you learned!” or “We shouldn’t have regrets.”  I know the catchphrases, the clichés, and the truth.  I know I had a plan, a reason for going, but never have I ever so wanted a plane to turn around.  In fact, it’s possibly the only time I’ve truly wanted a plane to turn around.

It’s true.  I learned lessons, I realized in a new and more powerful way the ranking that people/relationships hold in my life.  I had an opportunity to help educate two children.  I discovered a long-term relationship is manageable (with so so so much credit going to my incredible and strong boyfriend, Alan).  I experienced love and support from family/friends.  And, I began the hard, growing up process of making decisions for myself and not for other people (something I’m still working on).

Yes, ultimately I came back because of a relationship.  I’m practicing saying that without feeling twinges of guilt or that I’m less of a woman/person for letting a relationship matter that much to me.  It does.  Plain and simple, life in a new and exciting place is lonely and depressing when the person you want to experience it with is not there, and on top of it is five hours behind, so while you’re having a great brunch and want to tell him about it, he’s not even awake.

Do I want a career?  Absolutely (though, not a conventional one).  Do I want to excel in what I pursue?  Without a doubt.  Do I want to do it alone or thousands of miles away from my favorite person?  Definitely not.

I cannot change that I went.  Good and bad came from it.  Though, I am so much happier and full of life now that I’m back.  Is job hunting fun?  No.  Would I recommend living at home?  Not unless you have to (but, I’m thankful to have a roof over my head and family to support me).  I’m thankful for the family and friends who love me, support me, and are excited to make plans with me.

I’ve learned this: people are what matter.

Flowers, Sunshine, and Kites

Easter was glorious this year. The day was sunny and breezy, and, while different from the past four years, it was special. We went to church, had a lovely Easter lunch, Alan graced us with his beautiful playing, and he and I visited my Aunt and cousins, where we laughed a lot, drank mimosas, flew kites, and enjoyed rural Virginia together.

A few snapshots of our day…

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Sharing Moments

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Remember that yummy, whole wheat, homemade pizza I was making for dinner last night?  Always ALWAYS use fresh flour, even if what you’re using is previously unopened.  It was eaten, and not terrible with the toppings…but the plain crust was very…bran-like.  We also watched The Thin Man, made in 1934, which is the first of the film series with Myrna Loy and William Powell (my favorite is The Song of the Thin Man).

I love sharing things that I love with people—especially when they’ve never experienced them before.  Today we attended The Walk of the Cross in my town, held every Good Friday to commemorate Christ’s walk to Golgotha.  Then we sat in on the service and ate lunch with everyone afterwards.  I first began attending the Holy Week Services as a little girl. Of course, I’ve not gone every year, as school and work would sometimes get in the way, but it was nice to share with Alan, and to also see some faces I’ve not yet seen since returning from England.

Oh, and a cute little girl wearing pink wellies, a pink rain coat, and carrying her umbrella showed up.  Yes, Abi and I were matching on this grey, rainy day…must be a cousin thing.For the first time in years, we might dye Easter eggs tomorrow evening!  (I asked for a mango in my Easter basket.)

And now…I bid you all adieu and wish you a happy weekend!

28 Weeks

IMG_7866Ami’s 4th B-Day

28 Weeks.

That’s how long it’s been since I moved to England.  No, I didn’t count.  That’s how long it’s been since my iPhone was backed up (too many pictures of cute cousins).

I was sitting next to Alan earlier today when I realized the date: exactly seven months since I landed in England.  We briefly reflected on how things have changed in that time.  Yesterday morning when I awoke I did not expect to see him in the evening, but in the middle of the day, he decided to drive up.  The last time an impromptu visit occurred, he surprised me on a Wednesday night and six days later, drove me to the airport.  Now, I’m back in the USA, happily dating the best guy ever, and job hunting.

Since returning “Stateside”, I’ve continued to realize how important people are to me.  I moved a lot growing up, and as a result, I didn’t ever see myself “settling” into a place.  I held a kind of disdain for people who felt the need to stick close to their families (because there is so much to see, and how will you see it if you never leave).  While permanent roots in one location is not something I desire, I cannot forget how important it is for me to be able to see the people I care about (or at least talk to them) relatively easily.  BUT, just as we are all in evolution, I leave my feelings on living in one place or many places free to ebb and flow.

I am enjoying being in Virginia.  The weather is improving beautifully, I can walk barefoot, wear Chacos and shorts, and begin thinking about tubing and fires at the river.  This weekend is Easter.  I’m listening to the warming up of beautiful violin music (have I mentioned the talented violinist I’m dating?).  And, tonight for dinner, homemade whole wheat pizza!

Oh, and for a hilarious take on the many MANY articles written to “inform” girls of the 10 things guys do/don’t like, read this.

Outlook

IMG_4381Photo by K.L.R.

It’s deceptively sunny outside and makes me believe I can walk out in shorts and bare feet, without shivering almost instantly.  Alas, Friday’s temperatures swiftly left before the sun rose on Saturday, and now, here we are, Sunday afternoon….and the numbers are slowly creeping upward.

It’s strange, I’ve complained more about the weather this winter (and now Spring) than any other time.  Normally I LOVE seasonal changes, bundling up in boots, gloves, sweaters, and coats for a few months, and then transitioning to short sleeves, sandals, and THEN bathing suits and shorts.  However, of late my daydreams regularly feature island beaches and roasting temperatures, with yummy drinks flowing.  On the bright side, the temperatures are rising this week, and will hopefully reach the 70’s!

Friday afternoon a burst of energy exploded in my room, which led to me ticking a few items off of my “to do” list!  Since then, I’ve been making efforts to do things that are productive, energizing, contributing, and beneficial to my mental, physical, and spiritual health.  I’ve spent some time this afternoon researching blog challenges to get my creative juices flowing.  I also found a photography challenge that looks fun (**must remember to charge camera batteries**).  It feels SO good, with each passing activity that “normal me” does, to feel more and more like myself.

Oh, one of the productive things I did was start my taxes! (Last year I waited till April 14th…so this is improvement!)  And, last night, Mama and I enjoyed homemade pizza and a movie (How to Marry a Millionaire, with Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable—then I read this article this morning about the auction starting today for Lauren Bacall’s belongings, including her Louis Vuitton luggage…not that I’m envious).

Also, there is an article circulating (that my darling boyfriend sent me to read) about the benefit of writing for your well-being.  It’s true, whether writing in my journal, blogging, writing an article—whatever it may be, I feel better, more alive, invigorated after writing.  Here’s a similar article (I couldn’t find the exact one) if you want to read about the positives of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

I am off to finish the first episode of The Doris Day Show (not sure how I missed that she had a show).  Have a relaxing Sunday afternoon, whatever you choose to do (or not to do)!