senior year bucket list

At the beginning of the fall semester, I sat with my roommate Maddie under the twinkly lights of a bar patio downtown.  Phone in hand, we made lists of our goals for this final year of college.

I have already checked off more than half of mine from that original list.

Update: As of June 2014, I have checked off all the original items from my list!  The only one left is a bonus–attend a Chick-fil-A opening.  I’ll do it eventually!

1.  Make straight A’s for a semester (I got straight A’s the whole year!)
2. Meet an artist whose music I love
3. Start a blog (and write regularly)
4. Go to a driving range (update: went on 4/29/14)
5. Get a major haircut (update: chopped on 5/17/14)
6. Write encouraging letters to companies
7. Learn to surf (update: went on 3/27/14)
8. Get rid of a lot of “things”
9. Send lots of snail mail
10. Secure a post-grad “big girl” job (update: signed offer letter on 6/9/14)

In January, I added two bonus items to the original list:

11. Improve and build credit score
12. Attend a Chick-fil-A opening

I am going to do everything in my power to check off these remaining items (particularly #10,  don’t worry Mom) in the last few months of college.  I’ll definitely share as I experience some of them…  I feel pretty confident some funny stories will result from surfing and the driving range!

small children and “Haro Kiti”


I mentioned before that I went to Disney with my younger brother a few weeks ago.

We went to Hollywood Studios and had a great time, just the two of us. One thing that my family and friends have learned to accept about me is that I love interacting with small children everywhere we go. It sounds creepy, I know, but I can kinda-sorta-usually get away with it because I’m a bubbly, 20-something female who drives a Honda, not a 50-something man in a white van with leopard upholstery.

So, throughout the day at Hollywood Studios, Reid and I talked to a few different cute kids in various lines and rides.

There was one particular ride that I had been advised to go on by a Disney expert friend: the Toy Story ride. You play various arcade shooting-style games in this attraction and it sounded pretty fun, so Reid and I braved the bleak, misty, hour-long queue to go on it.

An Asian family got in line behind us for the attraction. It was a young mother and father with two children; the girl appeared to be about four years old and the boy couldn’t have even been two.

I started to speak to the mother and little girl and realized that beyond “hello,” their English was quite limited. (The mom also knew how to say “We don’t speak English,” which helped.) They told me that they were Japanese.

Most people would give a warm smile and give up here, but I still had almost an hour of line-time with these people. I was not giving up that easily. So, I pulled out my phone and began searching for easy Japanese sayings I could say to the little girl and the mom.

Note: I keep referring to them as “the mom” and “the little girl” because when they said their names, multiple times, I never could understand what they were saying. I was sad.

Apparently, my pronunciation was so poor that they still couldn’t understand what I was trying to get across, so I resorted to showing the mother my phone and pointing to what I wanted to say. Thank you Google Translate.

But the little girl couldn’t read, and she was who I really wanted to connect with.  I felt it my duty to help keep her entertained during such a long line!  Desperate for something, anything we had in common, I spotted her, on the hood of the little girl’s shirt: Hello Kitty.

Excitedly, I searched for what the Japanese name equivalent was for the beloved character.  I found the Wikipedia entry which I thought showed the pronunciation just perfectly.


Excitedly, I attempted to say “Kiti howaito” to the little girl while pointing at her jacket.  Her face registered no understanding.   I switched and used what I thought must be the Japanese pronunciation, “Haro Kiti.”  Hah-row kee-tee.  I said it a few times.  Reid began laughing.  Finally, what I was doing registered in my head.  It sounded like I was simply mocking a Japanese accent.  But I wasn’t!  I was trying to communicate with this little girl!  

Now I was not only a weirdo but was potentially being seen as racist.  Wonderful.

Finally, I showed the page to the mom who looked at it and declared, “Oh!  Hello Kitty!”  There it was.  The other English that they knew.  Right.

And so for the next twenty minutes, I stopped trying to speak and simply squatted down, doing Google image searches of weird or quirky Hello Kitty’s and showing them to the little girl, trying to get her to laugh.  Laughter is universal, right?

And every time a funny one came up, and she giggled, I felt my heart do a small victory dance.  It’s crazy what kind of odd photos and illustrations you find when you get to the 30th page of Google image results.

Eventually, my phone battery was exhausted and I had to put it away, but the whole ordeal definitely made the line go by faster for all involved parties (and a few amused bystanders).


happiness is a choice

“If you want to be happy, be.”  -Leo Tolstoy

I have this quote painted in my bedroom.  I believe that happiness is a choice, and it’s one that I try to make daily.

This week has been pretty up and down for me.  I’ve dealt with some stuff that left me bummed out.  But before I allowed myself to wallow too deep into self pity, I had a moment of total clarity.  Life is too short to choose anything other than happiness.

I have fresh flowers on my dining room table.  I’m wearing a dress that I love.  I took the time to do my hair and makeup this morning.  I did an anonymous act of kindness last night.  I got a compliment from a stranger earlier.  I paid three more forward.  I woke up early and enjoyed an hour on my front steps, reading my book, enjoying the cool morning air and this song.  I ran into friendly faces all over campus today.  My nails are painted.  I’m burning my favorite candle.

I have every reason to be happy.  When I am so myopic that I can only see the few negative things affecting me, I miss out on recognizing the 100 other wonderful things that happen to me on a daily basis.  So today, and moving forward, I’m choosing happiness.  I hope you’ll choose it with me.

PS- This song feels like my day.  To be clear, I’m not a large black man singing about the United Streets of America.  I am, however, having a good day!

a month has gone by

I can’t believe that a month has already come and gone in 2014.  I still find myself writing “13” for the year in the dates on papers and cards.  And yet here we are, February 11.  Less than 3 months until my college  graduation.  Exactly 10 months until my 23rd birthday. 

A lot has happened in the last month.  I met someone new who I’ve been spending a lot of time with.  I surprised my younger brother in Jacksonville a few weeks ago.  I took this same little brother to Hollywood Studios in Orlando this past weekend.  I quit my job.  We got 67 new members in the student organization I’m involved with and I’ve been getting to know all of them.  I started playing on two intramural teams (sand volleyball and soccer).  I watched more Suits than should be legal.  (Clearly I’ve maintained my punny nature in 2014.)

I’ve found that I’ve been so busy actually living my life that I haven’t stopped to blog about it!  What kind of millenial am I?! 

I’m going to get back into the groove of blogging now, I can promise you that.  It’s not that I haven’t had my share of awkward stories and encounters (I’ve got a great one from Hollywood Studios that I’ll share soon); those will never stop.  And as long as you’ll keep reading, I’ll keep (over)sharing.