30 January, 2014

Hot Damn I miss living in Europe.

As much as most people say they never want to leave when they're done studying abroad, I am still in complete torment eight months later.  My layovers in Frankfurt were just torture, because I knew I was a short hour or two plane ride away from home, Rome.  Every airport I've been in just doesn't feel the same as Fiumicino, and I just miss hearing Italian around me.  I miss the ease in traveling from one culture to the next within a matter of hours by train, plane, or automobile.  I just want to be able to walk down the street and buy an actually GOOD cappuccino for a Euro.  I want to be able to get real, fresh fruit that is clean enough for my Western body to handle (sorry India, but avoiding fruit you couldn't peel just wasn't cutting it).  Europe is just so alive and full and beautiful and historical and my heart just feels like its missing something by being in this culture where we pride ourselves on being the best.  Don't get me wrong, my time away from the States has taught me a lot on how to appreciate my own culture and ethnicity (white does not equal lack of ethnicity, thank you anthropology for finally teaching me that).  I am becoming proud to be an American with a European heart.  I am proud to say that I do not fit the mould of one country, nor do I think I ever will.  But right now my heart is just dying to hop back over that Atlantic ocean and move forever to a world of interconnectedness and beauty.  That's why I all of a sudden have my heart on moving to Edinburgh, because there I know I have a multitude of possible futures ahead of me, all of which are ones I could see myself happily living.  My other paths are paths of doubt and fear, though they still may be the path I choose.  But Edinburgh is the new back up plan, because I know that that is a plan with the best of both worlds.  Now we'll just have to see what actually ends up happening in my life.

21 November, 2013

I can't sleep/haven't tried, so I'm looking at pictures of my study abroad experience.  I'm just so grateful for the amazing memories I have and the wonderful, beautiful people I have them with.  I could not have asked for more amazing people to travel Europe with, and I will never forget them.  What would I give to be able to hop a plane to a new country with my friends right now, I don't even know.  But last semester was truly a blessing, one I hope to never take for granted.

28 October, 2013

Just a Post of Gratitude

When I think about my body image issues, I think back to the day where I laid in bed, trying to fall asleep, but I couldn't push out my feelings of despair and hopelessness.  I felt unwanted, and my relational issues turned into physical issues.  That night I went to the bathroom sobbing, and tried to puke up my feelings.  That was the first of only two times that happened, and I am happy to say that neither time did it work.
For the past few years, I have had really negative views on my body.  I secretly wished I had the self control to be anorexic or bulimic.  But I just didn't.  I hated myself for it, but what could I do, I loved to eat.  I am basically done with the book Purge: Rehab Diaries by Nicole Johns, a memoir/self-help book about a woman with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).  This book is fantastic because it truly dives deep into the disordered eating brain.  Reading this book is making me so thankful that my depression never turned into an eating disorder, even though I was secretly waiting for it to happen.  I am happy to say that my depression is pretty much gone and that my body image is much better than it used to be.  I am so much happier with myself than I used to be, and this book is really opening up my eyes to what could have been.  It is a heart-wrenching story.

Just a side note, please don't let this post worry anyone out there.  This book is just making me realize how much happier I am now than I once was.

22 October, 2013

I am in Serious Need of Help

I am honestly so confused as what to do next year.  I'm applying to a couple more grad schools purely for the sake of my professor (I know its bad, but I love him so how could I not?  Also, these are great schools that I would be lucky to go to and someday want to go to).  However, if I teach abroad next year, I'm seriously struggling about where to go.  I know I want to go to Asia; my heart just knows its where I belong.  At first I just wanted to go to China or South Korea, but now my heart is leaning toward Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, or Indonesia.  Okay fine, I have absolutely no idea where I want to go next year.  I am in serious need of help, and would love any advice.  Please please please, if you have any ideas of where would be better or worse to go, please leave a comment or e-mail me.  I am so confused and have no idea what my next step should be.
Thanks guys!
Madison

21 October, 2013

Instagram Insight

One of the most depressing things to me about coming back from Italy was my Instagram.  I constantly was telling myself while I was abroad that I was going to delete my Instagram once I came home, because it would be too sad to look at.  I also was especially depressed when I went from posting pictures of international historical monuments to posting pictures of my cats.  It was depressing.  But now I've been back from Rome for five months, and I've been back at school for about two months now, meaning my life is truly back to 'normal'.  I was perusing my Instagram account this morning to discover that my Instagram has gone from photos of monuments and places to photos of people.  While I don't find Minnesota to be an exciting or super fun place, Minnesota is home to the most amazing people in the world.  I am truly blessed to have the people in my life that I do.  Its going to be really hard to leave these people next year.  However, I know that these people will remain in my life somehow, and they will be going their own directions, anyway.

15 October, 2013

I've fallen in love.

I can't quite recall when my map obsession began.  I think it began at the same time as my wanderlust obsession, so probably sometime after I got back from China.  But maps are my absolute favorite.  I made a poster for my room last summer by cutting out letters that say
wan·der·lust (n.)
\wän·dər·luhst\
an irresistible desire to
travel to understand
one's very existence.
glued them to a world map, and got it laminated.  Voila, poster of my dreams.  It was basically the outline for my tattoo, that is the same thing, just without the actual definition of the word.  I catch myself, though, just staring at the map in my room.  It's right at eye level right by my bed, so it's not difficult to get caught up in it.  I think my love of maps is just an extension of my love of traveling.  Looking at a map is like looking at my future; the possibilities are endless.  To think that some of these tiny dots in the world hold people on them, and those people have their own cuisine, language, culture... just blows my mind.  Maps are more than just maps of land, but they are maps of lives.  Maps show history, people, cultures... maps just truly amaze me.

26 September, 2013

Life is beginning.

I had my first real freak out about the future last night.  I was sitting in the library, overseeing IGS study hours, and the two girls I was working with started talking about life.  I said I wanted to teach English over seas, and one girl turned to me and said, "Are you applying for a Fulbright?"  I said, "I'm thinking about it", even though I decided a few days ago that I wanted to actually apply.  She says, "have you started your application?"  Well, uh, no, pledging has kind of taken over my life, and I don't have time to stay on top of my homework, let alone work on an application.  I summarized and said no.
"Well the application is due next week."
I cried a little inside.  I thought that I had all this time to start my applications; I truly thought that nothing was going to be due until about December time.  I thought I could just take a day this next week and sit and apply.  Well, I can't for that one.  I was so angry at myself and sad and hurt that I didn't even think about it until the end of September.  I realized that, even though its only the first month of senior year, I need to get going on my applications.  I need to figure out my life.
So I made a decision on what I want to do.  It became very clear to me what I wanted, and what I needed to do.  I don't want to go to grad school right now, my heart just isn't in it.  I absolutely love psychology research and I want to do that eventually, but right now I need to see the world.  If I get some terminal illness in the next ten years, I'll be more upset that I didn't follow my dreams and face my fears and see the world than I will be if I don't study and get my PhD.  It's just less important in my heart overall.  I also truly believe that God made and shaped my heart on purpose.  "This heart of mine was made to travel" has literal meaning in my life; I know that He gave me these passions to do great things with them.  So all of a sudden my life makes sense.  I'm going to go abroad for a year.  I'm going to teach English or do mission/humanitarian work.  That's what I want to do.  So now I need to get my butt in gear and get going.  I set up an appointment in the CSL to figure out what programs to apply to, and I've been talking to some connections about how they did their teaching English abroad experience.  I'm getting my resume looked at sometime next week, and I'm going to start applying ASAP.
As scared as I am, I'm so excited.  I've been dreaming of this for years.  Literally.  Last year I was so upset that I had another year of school ahead of me before I went into the real world.  Now, life is beginning.  I am finally making plans for the part of the future that I've been the most excited about.  Even though I love Gustavus and I love my friends here, I'm really excited to move forward in my life and grow.  Life is about diving in heart first, so I guess here goes nothing!