Sunday, June 17, 2007

Leaving a place with no idea of return is both exhilarating and daunting. One’s mindset can have a huge influence on how you then handle these two feelings. A few days ago when I was preparing to leave home, again, I had a mini break down of sorts. “Aaaahhhh, this isn’t fun anymore, I quit” was yelled upon entering just about every room of my parents house as I searched for things and packed up odds and ends. As my parents and youngest sister accompanied me to the airport my Dad shared a story of sorts. He told us of a friend of his that when traveling on vacation would not plan her route. She would merely pick her destination and drive in that direction. At first I was stunned. I could never do that. I am a planner. But the 7 hour flight I then boarded gave me additional time to ponder the idea and deeper meaning of the endeavor. Ive decided to implement this strategy. I know where I want to end up, not in specific geographical destination so much as end result. I know what kind of work I want to do, how I want to live my life and what I want and do put value in. So that’s the direction Im heading. I have no job. I have my minimal belongs split between what is currently packed in the two suitcases surrounding me, my aunt and uncles place in Nyon, Switzerland and my parents house. I know I want to work in the human rights and or development field. I have research to delve into and a dissertation to concoct. And this is the direction Im heading.

So as I sit in Stansted Airport with no idea of when or if I shall return to London, I sit content to watch the crowds go bye. People watching is a great skill one should know how to employ. I was taught by my mother, a great people watcher. Tour groups, couples, families, business persons and the single traveler wonder past as I sit on the floor, laptop in hand surrounded by my over the weight limit luggage wondering about my future and learning to be content in the moment.

Friday, June 15, 2007

“Marriage, Marriage is what brings us together today…”

It was only a rehearsal for the big day, not even my big day, and I was so nervous. One of my best friends was getting married and I was Maid of Honor! The Bride showed the appropriate amounts of stress and excitement. After a short telling off to some of the Groomsmen for not giving the appropriate priority to their duties and responsibilities we all headed over to Connie’s Pizza for the rehearsal dinner. I don’t remember the last time I drank so much diet coke! Sitting across from my parents and next two three great college friends I finally began to relax. After hours of laughing, eating and mingling with the family who had yet to meet the “Maid of Honor from London” I headed home with two of my previous roomies. Exhausted upon arriving at my parent’s house we three changed into cozy clothes and clamored down to the basement, where under layers of blankets we fell asleep to one of my favorite movies, Almost Famous.

After only about 4 to 5 hours of sleep I staggered from bed at traumatic hour of 5am to shower, shave and shampoo for the big day. After a quick Starbucks run for my Chai Tea Latte, we headed to downtown Naperville where the Bride and her Bridesmaids got their hair done for the wedding. It was a somewhat calm time, where we chatted and took a furry of pictures, the first of many that day. Upon leaving I was sure that my shellacked hair would not move what so ever throughout the day and that I had inhaled roughly a gallon of hair spray. From there we went directly to the church where we dressed and did our make-up. Pictures were taken, every combination imaginable. It then came the waiting, waiting for the guests to be come, be seated, and the ceremony to begin. It was an excruciating wait. The Bride seemed to get calmer the closer to the start of the ceremony, where I became more and more anxious. I walked in right before she did and felt I had an incredibly fake smile on my face as I entered the room with all eyes watching and waiting for the main attraction that was to walk down the aisle after me.

The ceremony was as perfect as one could hope it to be. I did my best to keep my chin from trembling with emotion and managed not to cry, although I came close more than once. It was not until the wedding party was being announced right before we walked into the reception that we realized the only hitch of the day. The Bride’s sister, also a Bridesmaid, and I both wore the same size top. Hers, however had been ever so slightly altered. Something I had failed to notice when I put it on at the start of the day. When I first tried on the top days before, it had fit perfectly but found that for some reason it did not fit quite right that day. After lots of loud laughter we slipped into the restroom to rectify the situation.

All in all, it was an amazing day. I was honored to stand up for one of my best friends and thrilled to see her so happy. The day ended with a bunch of us laying around in my parents basement, once again in front of a movie. This time with delish drinks and a contentment knowing two of our friends had just promised to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives- I just cant wait for the stories that are to come out of these two living together.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Back in the States...

Driving my car is something that I have greatly missed over the past nine months. I was able to take what is probably a final drive in 'my car' on Sunday. The control, freedom and convenience of driving one's car wherever you need to go whenever you want is extremely liberating and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Today however I have spent what feels like endless hours driving in the car. After a leisurely bike ride with my mother I hopped in the car to retrieve my computer that was being fixed. The hour and a half round trip seemed to take me through every red light and down every construction filled road possible. After being reunited with my computer I headed to the mall I group up shopping in to run an errand for an aunt. From the mall I did a Starbucks run for my mother then headed to Naperville to meet friends for sushi. My car time did not end there. After a delish and surprisingly filling sushi lunch, I then drove to my grandparents for ice-cream rejuvenation and then a quick stop at the outlet mall for a birthday gift for a friend. As I finally drove back to my parent's house I knew I would not under any circumstances re-enter a car for the remainder of the day.

As a de-stresser and a treat to myself I grabbed a Mike's Hard Lemonade, wild berry flavor (the best) and the vacuum. Cleaning, baking and running are my de-stressers. So after a random and quick cleaning spree I began my baking routine. In no time flour was everywhere, sugar was on the freshly cleaned floor and batter had been splashed in my face. I currently have banana cake and almond cake baking in the oven.

Tomorrow, on what is supposed to be the hottest day thus far this summer, I and the wedding party are headed into Chicago. I greatly look forward to getting to know the other selected few honored to be in the wedding, hanging with the soon to be married couple and once again wondering the city streets of Chicago.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

You know you travel too much when...
You know where your passport is at all times and can get it at a moments notice,
You regularly receive emails from family members in which they ask what country you are currently in,
You do about as much reading on the way to the airport and in the airport as you do in the library,
Your suitcases always seem to be in varying states of being packed, repacked or unpacked,
You regularly have three different currencies in your wallet,
The flight attendants on Easy Jet start looking familiar,
You know the best place to get tea at three different airports in two different countries,
Your plane tickets are usually your largest monthly expense,

You know you travel to much when you start making lists to that very effect.