Lately a friend* of mine and I have been talking about boy best friends. Not our best friends that are boys, rather boys that are best friends with each other. We call them bros. These are two boys that have been friends for years and know each other better than most husbands and wives know each other. The main quality that you need to look for when searching out a pair of bros is that they HAVE EACH OTHERS BACKS. What we have noticed is that these guys in these bro relationships are by no means gay: they just love one another and are going to protect one another and you better f-ing believe that they will take you down if you say one bad thing about their bro. We see bros all around us being there for one another and treating them like true brothers. We’ve also seen it pop culture as my aforementioned friend** pointed out to me: Cory and Shawn from Boy Meets World, Jean Ralphio and Tom from Parks and Recreation, Zack and A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell. We see it all the time.
So, why can’t girls be like this? I have never seen girl best friends take care of one another like bros do. Girls are mean and catty and if it means that they’ll get some attention from a cute frat boy, you better believe they’ll throw their “Best Friend” under the bus along with that friendship bracelet they spent hours making with each other. Girls are totally unable to protect other girls. They just can’t do it. Plus there is no cool nick name for girl best friends like “bros” for boy best friends. Sis’s? Stupid. Girls are dumb.
I don’t post about politics and I get annoyed with people who do. HOWEVER, I have to get this off my chest. To my friends that continue to call President Obama an “idiot,” you make me want to bash my head against a wall over and over again. You might not agree with his beliefs or the actions he has taken in the past four years. However, this does not make him an idiot. He graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He was a civil rights attorney in Chicago, he taught at the University of Chicago Law School, and he served as a state senator for three terms. Y’ALL. You can’t do all of that by being an idiot! It seriously is so fine if you don’t like what he stands for or if you want him out of office. But your argument of him being an idiot is so flawed and SO ANNOYING that it makes me not want to talk to you about anything ever again.
Can we talk about Pinterest for a sec? If you don’t know what it is, you’ve obviously never even seen the Internet much less a computer, but I’ll explain it in case anyone who reads this doesn’t know what a laptop is. Pinterest is basically a collection of virtual bulletin boards. You create categories (boards) and pin items to those boards, such as crafts, workouts, recipes, cute animals, interior design, jewelry, weddings, clothing, etc. Sounds pretty cool right? Right! It’s so fun and addicting and very inspiring.
But it has an evil downside. This website, Pinterest, basically sets you up for failure. It leads you to have, what a friend and I call, “pinterest expectations.” It’s where our worldview has become so screwed up that we’re uninterested with anything that’s not pinterest-worthy. If our rooms don’t look like images that we’ve found on pinterest, then we’re absolute failures at decorating and at life in general. I mean if you don’t have a meal planner for the next four years or a magnetic board with all your make up stuck to it can you even call yourself a woman? It puts these unrealistic expectations on girls to become these super-moms. These moms that spend their days and weeks and years crafting new things for their home, using printables to create a Mom-agenda, and slaving in the kitchen until they have succeeded in discovering new ways to use nutella in their desserts. (That last thing actually doesn’t so bad. I’ll do a whole separate post on my love of all things nutella.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love pinterest. It’s part of my social media cycle: instagram, facebook, twitter, facebook, pinterest. Yes, it has provided me with some great ideas for making my life simpler and has given me new recipes to try, most of which have turned out really good! I just think we need to be wary of the curse that it can bring. Let’s not feel like absolute failures for not thinking of putting orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla in a saucepan on the stove to make our house smell like Fall. It’s okay that sometimes we have cereal for dinner instead of honey garlic pork chops and balsamic sweet potatoes. And for the love of all that is good and holy, it’s totally fine to not follow “the fashion formula,” which consists of 1 basic + 1 interest piece + 1 completer piece + accessories. Not that there’s anything wrong with looking put together instead of a hot mess. I’m just saying, let’s not be so hard on ourselves, mkay? Because what ends up happening is we put all this pressure on ourselves and on the people around us to match what we see on Pinterest. And if you have these pinterest expectations, you’re going to be let down. Life is messy and hard and stupid sometimes. And yeah, you might have pinned something like that onto your *~QuoTaTiOnS*~ board, but if you don’t actually believe that, you’ll end up disenchanted with this life. And that’s no good.
So, continue to use Pinterest and continue to be inspired. But don’t use it as something against which to judge your daily life, because I freaking promise: real life loses every time.
“Ughhh I can’t believe I’m having to stay up this late to study. My life literally sucksssss,” she thought to herself as she sat in a huge university library where her tuition is completely paid for, scrolled through Instagram on her iPhone, listened to Pandora radio through headphones on her MacBook Pro, and occasionally glanced at slides pulled up on the iMac in front of her.
It has been a while since I have posted a BFF of the week post; actually, it’s been a while since I blogged and I’m really sorry about that (HA! psych, I’m not). Anyway, it is this week’s BFF’s birthday today! Yippee, I love birthdays and this lady’s definitely is worth celebrating. Happy BFF of the week and birthday to…drumroll please…
This lady wrote the greatest books of all time: The Harry Potter series. The reason she is so special to me is that she gave me the freedom to be the super nerd I truly am. I’m thankful I get to unleash my inner nerd about something that actually is pretty cool instead of being a lame nerd who’s a gamer and plays Call of Duty all day.
My journey with Harry Potter began around the time that the third book had been published. My parents were on their religious kicks where we ate vegetables and couldn’t get on the computer. This time they were forbidding us to read books about MAGIC.
Me (9 years old): “Hey Dad, can I start reading Harry Potter? A lot of people are reading them now. They’re some fun books.”
My dad: “Harry Potter you say? Isn’t that the boy who is possessed by a DEMON! And does the devil’s tricks?!”
Me: “What? No. What’s a demon?”
My dad: “Absolutely not! That evil shall never come into our house!”
I think it was just a few months later when my mom came home with the second book checked out from the public library: “Don’t tell your dad…” she said as she reached behind her back to pull out the heavy hardback book. She didn’t realize that it wasn’t the first book. Sweet mom.
So, I started from the beginning and was absolutely hooked—like it was a drug. Reading Harry Potter means getting lost. [My other HP friends can attest to that and back me up.] For me, Rowling created this whole other world that I so desperately wanted to be a part of. These characters were real. And Hogwarts was real. And if I could just say “Accio!” correctly, I really could produce a summoning charm.
Reading each of those books was an experience in and of itself. One night, I was in my bed reading the fourth book and became so terrified that Voldemort was about to apparate into my room, I had trouble sleeping that night.
In the summer of 2003, my family was about to take a trip to the beach, so my mom said I needed to bring a book to read. Duh, The Order of the Phoenix was released that summer, so I knew what I would be reading. But mom said, “You can’t read that until the beach trip starts, otherwise you won’t have anything to read while we’re down there!” I hushed her and said, “Yeah, yeah,” while not taking my eyes off the page. An hour later she came over, grabbed the book, and said she was hiding it until the trip started (a few days later). The rest of the evening was spent looking for the book. I finally saw it on top of the fridge, but drat! How was I supposed to get it without my mom seeing? She was in the kitchen all the time! I managed to sneak it back and of course finished it before the trip started.
When the sixth book was released, I wasn’t too excited, because I knew the end was coming and I was dreading that day. When the seventh book was released, I went to the midnight party at Books-A-Million to get it as soon as it came out. I didn’t dress up and I wasn’t in the mood to party…I didn’t feel like celebrating the release. I felt like mourning the end of an era. My parents were out of town on a mission trip, so my cousin drove me to the local Books-A-Million to buy it. I came home, sat down, and did not move until 6:30 am when I finished the last page. Birds were chirping and the sun was coming up: I was shocked. How can life keep going when part of my life is OVER?! I cried for like 2 hours, skimming over the last book and finally fell asleep from exhaustion.
Last year, my boyfriend bought the first book in Spanish for me, so I could practice my Spanish, which means I was able to experience Harry Potter in a totally new and different way. And while reading the books were experiences, seeing the movies were something different entirely. Watching things you’ve imagined in your head for years play out on the big screen is fascinating. I won’t rehash all the midnight showings I attended, but I will give you this gem:
That’s Holly (former BFF of the week post about her here) and Becca, some of my closest friends from High School. I believe this was for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in 2009. Yes that’s right, we were out of high school, about to begin college. Way too old to be dressing up for a midnight premiere. (NOT TRUE! You are never too old for Harry Potter!) Holly is Hermione, Becca is Bellatrix, and I think we decided I was Luna? I don’t know, I can’t remember. Let’s just say I was a Hogwarts student in Gryffindor. Holly and I wore our school uniforms with Gryffindor scarves while Rebecca decided to go full on Bellatrix (complete with a “dark mark” on her wrist drawn by Holly).
To me, the series created by J.K. Rowling really was magical. And still is to this day. For Christmas last year I got the box set of the books: all hardback copies, all brand new, and all mine. (My family’s copies have been destroyed over the years by reading and re-reading and re-re-reading). What’s so wonderful about Harry Potter is that I can open that trunk and dive into any of those books [for the hundredth time (really though, I’ve read each one at least ten times)], and surround myself with characters who are so vivid I’ve had dreams about them and spend time on the wonderful grounds of Hogwarts. With this post, I just wanted to say thanks to J.K. Rowling for creating such a special part of my childhood (and my teenage-hood, and my adulthood, let’s just be honest. In my sophomore year of college, I wrote my first speech in public speaking about how I was like Hermione from the Harry Potter series). So, thank you J.K. Rowling for still making me believe in magic after all these years. Happy 47th Birthday! And Happy Birthday to you, Harry Potter. I guess you’d be 32 today, right? Pretty cool that they share the same birthday. I wonder if she did that on purpose… :)
Since arriving to the USA, I have had 6 cups of coffee, 4 zebra cakes, 2 jogs around the neighborhood, Cracker Barrel, countless kisses from my dog, and 3 good nights’ sleeps. Ahhhhhh.
When my plane landed, I stood in line for 45 minutes at border control. When I finally arrived at the agent’s desk to give him my passport and declaration paper, I had suddenly lost the ability to speak English, or really just to speak at all. The guy was asking me really hard questions like “Where are you coming from?” and “Why were you there?” For some reason, I wasn’t able to answer without stammering for 10 seconds first. I just get super nervous in situations like this even though I have absolutely nothing to hide. Our conversation went something like this.
Scary agent man: “Where are you coming from?”
Me, the moron: ”Where am I coming from? I am from America. Oh, but I mean, yeah, I just got here, I’m from Chile. Or I mean I am coming to the US from Chile, because I live here now. Like, I live here now and always have.”
S.A.M.: “Okay…and why were you there?”
M.T.M.: “I was a student there. I mean I am a student here too in the States, but I was also a student there, and I was studying. Not like for a semester, but I was there for a few weeks. I was studying while in Chile. I mean like I studied at a university. Sorry, let me start over. I am a student here at a university, but I felt like I really wanted to experience a new place, you know? And—”
S.A.M.: “Okay, I got it. Studying abroad. What’d you bring back to us?”
M.T.M.: “Ummmmm…I don’t understand the question.”
S.A.M. (totally annoyed at this point) ”Did you bring anything from Chile?”
M.T.M.: “Ummmmm…like I bought my brother a keychain? It has a little penguin with a surfboard. It says Chile.”
S.A.M. (actually thinking about shooting me in the head at this point) : “OKAY no. Food, meats, fruits, vegetables, alcohol?”
M.T.M.: “Yes!! Yes, I have wine!! From a family-owned vineyard for my parents. It’s really good wine, like it usually goes for—”
S.A.M. (actually thinking about shooting me in the head and then killing himself just to end it all) : “How.. many.. bottles?”
M.T.M. (realizing a murder-suicide is about to take place) : Two.
S.A.M. stamps my passport very forcefully and looks at me with piercing eyes that say “GTFO or I will kill you.”
So, I head to baggage claim where I find my grandma luggage with no problem (praise the Lord) and make it through customs where the man doesn’t ask me any questions, just lets me go through (praise the Lord again). As I’m exiting this area, I heard the wonderful words, “Welcome to Atlanta” as I see my family waiting for me holding signs that say Welcome Home, We love you!, etc.
I am such a homebody, and it’s very obvious why: my fam is the frigging best. 1. the signs, how cute is that? 2. they took me to cracker barrel so I could eat eggs and bacon and french toast. 3. there was a big sign in our kitchen that said “Welcome Home, Kelly!” 4. my mom and boyfriend had raided Wal Mart to find the best junk food they could. in my room were nutty bars, cheez-its, kit kats, snickers, zebra cakes, sugar cookies, etc. 5. hanging on my wall in my room was a poster size picture of a little train going over the hill with “I knew you could!!” written on it. my mom called me the little engine that could while I was away.
Seriously, how could I not be excited to get home to all that? I loved living in Chile, but being away from my fam and home was near impossible. But I did it and I am proud of myself and I now appreciate them more than I did before, if that’s even possible.
Switching gears: My time abroad is over, which means this blog is going to go back to how it was before! Me rambling about random things that aren’t important yayyy! It’s good to be back.
During my lunch break today I spent roughly 45 minutes writing a long, final blog post reflecting on my time abroad…and what happened? Of course, it was lost in cyber space and didn’t post. Well there is no way I am writing it again, so here is a very abbreviated version.
My study abroad experience was much different than a lot of the glamorous abroad experiences you might have seen on Facebook. Your friends went abroad and probably posted pictures of them riding elephants, saving dying babies, eating at five star restaurants, and kayaking the Amazon. My trip wasn’t like that. I was here to go to school. And I went to school a lot. I took two classes: Conversation & Culture and Sociopolitical History of Latin America in the 19th and 20th century. Each class was an hour and a half with a 45 min lunch break in between them. And each class required a lot of outside work: lots of essays, papers, and power point presentations. I felt like I wasn’t here to explore and see new things but rather learn the language and a little bit of the culture. But, I would say that the main focus was learning the language.
Here was my normal day:
9:45-10:00 Wake up; Shower 10:15; Dry hair 10:45; Eat breakfast 10:55; Walk to the metro 11:05; Take the metro 11:20; Class 11:45-1:15; Lunch 1:15; Class 2:00-3:30; Take the metro 3:50; Walk home 3:55; Get home around 4:15.
I did this five days a week (M-F), which means the only free time I had was on weekends and after 4:30 on weekdays. Well, down here in South America right now during winter, the sun sets at 5:45, which means I had an hour of daylight after class to be outside and explore Viña or Valpo. Things get pretty dicey at night, so I didn’t like to be out on the town when it was dark outside, because it’s dangerous. I got robbed in broad daylight, which honestly made me scared to be out during the day, so of course I was scared to be out when the sun went down.
But of course I didn’t stay holed up in my room for all five weeks. I hung out a lot with the people in my group, who honestly just MADE the trip for me. There were nine of us total that came to Chile with API (Academic Programs International), a huge organization that sends students all over the world. I am so glad I chose to come with API, because our group was small and we all get really close, forming real relationships with one another. Plus, API sent us on some sweet excursions: walking tour of Santiago, observatory with hot chocolate, trekking in the Andes, wine tasting at a family-owned vineyard, and flying to the desert). But the best part was definitely just hanging out with the API-ers. I spent this trip navigating Viña and Valpo with them and laughing the whole time…seriously I laughed so much the past five weeks. I think whenever you study abroad and you find yourself alone in a new place, making cultural mistakes, and getting flicked off, you just have to laugh in order to get by. But not only that, these people that I was with were genuinely funny and kind-hearted. I am going to miss them very much when I leave!
Switching gears: another thing less glam about my experience compared to others. I lived with a host family: my mom, Carola, and her two sons who were never there. She has a larger house attached to the little house we lived in and they lived over in “la casa grande.” It was difficult going from living on my own, doing whatever I want, eating what I want when I want, to living with a mom again. A new mom, at that. It wasn’t a terrible experience or anything like that, it was just different and took some getting used to. But when it comes to host moms, I hit the jackpot. Carola was awesome and happy to let me come and go as I please and had no problem with me bringing food in the house. Yesterday, I left my peanut butter on the counter and she thought it was so strange. She asked me what it was, if she could taste it, how to eat it, what you eat it with, if it was sweet, if it was salty etc. She said that she had seen gringos eating it on TV all the time, but she didn’t know you could buy it here in Chile. When I asked her how she liked it, she answered with “¡Qué rriiico!” I told her that it is normal to put it with jelly on a sandwich, which totally blew her away. I also told her that I sometimes put chocolate chips in it and eat it as a snack, which she answered with a louder, more enthusiastic, “!Qué rrrriiiiiiiiiiiiicooo!” I told her that she could have it when I left. She was thrilled.
While I feel like my experience wasn’t as extravagant or as elaborate as some others, I wouldn’t change anything. I learned to be by myself and be alone without being lonely. When I first arrived, I was alone AND lonely. By the end of this trip, I have been alone without being lonely. There’s a big difference, and I was happy to learn how to live in solitude for a short time. It taught me to be more independent and make a home for myself no matter where I am…something I wouldn’t have learned without this trip.
Notice that my blog posts only come when I have homework I should be doing. (This one comes to you while I need to be preparing a presentation of my essay for my history class. We have to present our essays. Kill me.)
So, recap of this weekend. Friday night the group (minus 2 who went to Patagonia) went to Mary’s host family’s house. (Mary is a girl in my group). Her Chilean mom is a chef and hosts dinner parties in her home. So, we go there and eat the most incredible Italian meal for our friend Sam’s birthday. (Another girl in the group). We have a nice night full of homemade pasta, laughter, and presents.
On Saturday morning, we meet at 4:45 AM at a bus that takes us to the airport in Santiago. Meaning I woke up at 3:30 AM. Bleh. So, we get to the airport and leave on the plane to go to Atacama, a desert in Chile. We fly into Copiapó and drive to a town named Caldera. We put our stuff at the hotel and then head out to do some light trekking.
It really was one of the best days. The hike wasn’t too intense, the weather was beautiful (it was warm and sunny, so nice compared to Viña del Mar), and we had the most amazing lunch. I got fish and smashed potatoes that blew me away. I would venture to say they were the best mashed potatoes I have ever had. But that could be because I haven’t had them in a while. After lunch we played on the beach where 4 of the 7 members of our group played in the ocean. So thankful I was not one of them. Those people were mizzz.
After beach time we headed back to our hotel, freshened up, and walked to a restaurant nearby. Eh, nothing too impressive. But it was nice to hang out with the group some more. We went back to the hotel and I passed out because I had slept for 3 hours the night before.
On Sunday we woke up early, had breakfast, and checked out. We went on a long drive somewhere in the desert (can’t tell you where) and sang songs the whole time. We all sang the most beautiful rendition of A Whole New World I’ve ever heard ;) Seriously my group is awesome. I am constantly laughing my butt off with them. For example, when we finally made it to wherever we were going, we hiked up this big hill and came out to a really pretty view. At this point, my friend Sean and I played that game where one person starts singing random things and the other person tries to follow. That game ended with me peeing in my pants I was laughing so hard. It was embarrassing, but worth it I guess?
After that little bit of hiking, we went back to the airport and waited for our 10 PM flight, passing the time telling childhood stories, which again meant that I spent the whole time in tears from laughing so hard. We made it back to Santiago around 12:15, got into a van, and drove back to Viña del Mar. I finally made it to my house around 2 AM, crashed, was dead to the world, and woke up this morning not having moved at all during the night. Getting up this morning was a struggle wid a capital SSSS, but I did it, and got to school late. Hey, when in Chile, amiright?
I have to write my final history paper which is due on Friday, but I just can’t do it. So instead I am going to make a list of things that I am going to do when I get home to the good ol’ USA.
I LUV MERICA. 10 days!! In 10 days, I will be packing my bags to head back to the States!
I updated you all on what I did this past weekend, but I didn’t give any updates on last week or the weekend before. So, let me go back to Friday, June 1. After school, some friends and I headed to the beach and played in the sand and watched the sunset. After the sun set, me and three other friends went to the youth group church service at a local church that we went to once before. After the service we went to…wait for it…McDonald’s! Yum x 1000. I had missed salty McDonald’s fries so much. After Mickey D’s we went to an ice cream shop across the street, stuffed our faces, and talked until almost midnight.
The next day, we woke up early to go to the vineyard about 2 hours away from Viña del Mar. It was absolutely beautiful outside and so fun to walk around throughout the vineyard. The old man that owns the vineyard took us on a tour and showed us all the different types of grapes. After the tour, we tasted almost all the different types of wine they make there…YUM-O. I bought two bottles: pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. They were expensive, but it’s way more expensive in the states. I’m so cultured! After the vineyard, we headed back to Viña del Mar.
After getting dropped off, three of my friends and I decided to walk to a local restaurant to get some empanadas, because we were starving. It was around 3pm and we headed down Calle Valparaíso, a super busy street in the center of Viña. 3 PM, Saturday afternoon, broad daylight, people everywhere, and what happens? Of course, I get robbed. I was walking with my friend Kristi and our two guy friends were in front of us. A guy stepped out of nowhere, came up close to me, and snatched my necklace off my neck. He disappeared into thin air as soon as he appeared; there was nothing we could do. The worst thing about it was that it was my favorite necklace: one that had been passed down from my grandmother to my mom to me. But, I was safe, so everything’s okay. However, that whole thing really sucked. Like, really bad. I spent the rest of the day crying and stressed out about how to tell my parents. Of course, they were great about it and provided me with lots of support. They would have been willing to fly down to Chile to comfort me if need be.
Sunday, I spent all day in bed, because I got sick. I was doing this really sexy thing where I couldn’t breathe through my nose without sneezing or snotting and I couldn’t breathe through my mouth without choking on phlegm. Like I said, sexxiii. So, Sunday was my recovery day. On Monday, I took a micro (bus) from my university in Valparaíso to the mall in Viña. It’s a big deal because the micros are so confusing, so I was really proud of myself. I went to the mall, asked where to find this certain store, found it, bought a new adapter/converter for my computer, and got some McDonald’s fries for a treat, of course! I had to ask a few people which micro to take to get back to my hill, and one girl was super helpful and told the bus driver where I wanted to go. I made it back to my hill, walked to my house, and charged my computerrrrr to write a history essay, yayyy!
On Tuesday, my friends and I bought bus tickets for Mendoza, booked a hostel, and reserved times for paragliding. We went to this incredible cafe where I got a ROCKING tres leches cake. On Thursday, I had to interview a Chilean friend for my class assignment and I took him back to that same cafe. I, of course, got that same tres leches cake. Whew, y’all, I’m telling you. It’s too good. I want to try to make one when I get back! Friday morning began the Mendoza adventure, which you can read about below.
Okay, well I think that’s everything that has happened. This week is a busy school week for me and this weekend my group and I are headed to the north of Chile on a plane to the desert. Not exactly sure what we’re doing, but I’m sure it will be fun! We will get back late Sunday night, and then I only have 5 more days in Chile…I leave for America on Saturday night the 23rd and get in on Sunday at 5:30 AM. I won’t be chilling in Chile for much longer which is sad…but I’m excited to get back and see my friends/family and eat some pancakes!! (I miss breakfast a lot, which is weird because breakfast is my least fave meal of the day). Chaooooo!