Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Remembered.

Here it is: My recount of the year. The typical theme that most blog about. I can't help but follow the trend.

This has been an incredibly rough year. For starters, not long before the New Year, I was left heartbroken by a guy I truly thought I would be with forever. I had never experienced a hurt like that before, and I cannot imagine having to go through that again in my lifetime. It was the kind of pain that you can do nothing to stop. You cannot just pop an aspirin (or 3 in my case) and hope the pain subsides. Instead, you just have to let it take its course...It's 100% true when people say, "It just takes time." Because really, that's all you can do. I spent the first half of the year on anti-depressants, sleeping as much as possible, and not eating nearly as much as I should have. I struggled through school, and I was lucky to have passed my first semester of a real nursing class. Although I was hurting more than anyone can imagine, I still had fun. In the Spring, I visited my brother in Pittsburgh six weeks in a row. I know it sounds like a lot, but honestly, it was the most fun I had all year. Some of my best memories are from those trips I made to hang out with Kevin and his friends. My brother, along with my entire family, really helped me cope with my heartbreak.  Looking back, I realize that I do deserve better. I could never have spent my life with him, and I know that now. I also know his ignoring me and treating me the way he did helped me to realize that I deserve much better.

Next came Summer Clinical. I have completely struggled through my Nursing classes.  Although Nursing is truly what I want to do with my life, it does not come easily to me. My first two years of college, I had countless tutors and other help with my sciences. I even failed Biology and had to retake it. The point is, I was so happy to have gotten through to Summer Clinical because so many hadn't.  It was really hard and I definitely had to study my ass off. I would say I have to study three times as much as most others just to even somewhat understand the information. The most difficult part was that my clinical instructor was especially hard on me. She claimed she was just trying to teach me a lesson, but honestly, I know she had something against me. From the start, we butted heads. I'm not sure why, because all I ever did was try my hardest. Anywho, she ended up accusing me of lying about a patient, and she failed me. This was so hard for me because I had worked so hard. I had passed the class, which was what I was concerned about passing in the first place, but then I failed anyway. I was so upset about it, especially since all of my good friends had really good experiences with their instructors.

Luckily, after only a little while, I figured out how to make the best of failing clinical. Failing meant having to wait an entire year before I had the opportunity to retake it. Since I go to a small school, they only offer each class every once in awhile. So, here I am, a year behind and having no idea what to do. The idea came to me not long after the end of clinical: Pick up a minor. So, I chose Journalism, since I've always had a knack for writing. Then, about a week before the start of Fall semester, I decided to study abroad in the Spring. I wasn't going to waste an entire year taking dumb classes and wasting my money. Fall semester was SO much fun, since I was so used to ALWAYS being busy and never having free time, energy, etc.. I met tons of new people that I wouldn't have met otherwise, I had a job, and I was able to spend more time with my friends. I also got to relax and not have to worry about HAVING to get that 76% on the exams. Since I chose to study abroad in Spain, I also took a Spanish class. I loved the semester and ended up doing really well in all my classes. And I didn't even have to work half as hard as I did in Nursing. I just think I really needed a semester that was laid back. And that's what I got...

...With the exception of my mom. She was diagnosed just two days after returning from Florida with my dad. Breast cancer runs in our family, but it was still a shock to hear that my mom had it. My mom is so strong and although she has to be scared, she has never really expressed it. She had to have a double mastectomy, and is now undergoing chemotherapy. Basically, she has just been thinking, "I am just doing what I have to do." and not really questioning anything. It's so sad to see her go through this, but she is being so strong. It only makes me adore her even more. It has also brought us closer, for which I am thankful. She's amazing, and I love her to pieces.

On Monday, two days before Christmas, my parents got a call from their realtor.  My mom has been working for months on cleaning up my grandparents house, and it has been on the market for awhile now. Since her brother and sister are out of state, my mom is the one who has done virtually everything in preparation to sell it. The realtor called and said that it had been broken into. Not only was there glass shattered from their break-in, but everything inside is destroyed. Although nothing was stolen, the furniture was completely sliced up, mirrors shattered, spray paint on all the walls, etc. Everything was thrown around and it looked like the scene from a movie. Apparently it was some gang called the North Side Boys, and we only know this because they spray painted their name all over the basement walls. As disgusting as this is, the worst news is that my mom had thought it would be covered by insurance. However, the insurance company failed to tell her that the insurance was not valid since no one was living in the house. I'm not sure how all of this works, but the point is that my parents are going to have to figure out a way to pay for all this destruction. It breaks my heart that a group of people could do something like that. It just makes me sick to think that people were in my grandparents house, destroying it, and not having any idea about the history, the memories, and the work that has been put into it. I grew up in that house, visiting my grandparents, and watching them die...It just...breaks my heart.

So. That's where I'm at right now. In two weeks, I will pack up and head off to Spain for almost four months. It still hasn't quite hit me that I am leaving. I think it will get scarier and more real the closer it gets. The few things I am scared about right now is 1. Leaving my mom, but knowing that she is okay with my going. There is also nothing I could be doing if I stayed. 2. Going completely on my own, not knowing anyone in the program. It seems like everyone going knows at least one other person. Not me! 3. Being homesick. I'm a homebody, what can I say? All of these fears are probably not surprising to anyone, and I know they will subside as soon as I get there and realize it really won't be so bad. I am really looking forward to completely starting over...making new friends, being in a new place, and being me. 

As bad as this year has been (did I mention that my dog of 14 years died too?!), I am just glad that I have found little things to be happy about. It hasn't ALL been completely awful.  Memories and new opportunities have gotten me through the year. I don't mean to be a "Negative Nancy," if you will, because I definitely can see the good that has come from my experiences. I can't wait to see what the new year has to offer. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Something old, something new.

No, this post has nothing to do with a wedding, regardless of the title.  I was actually just watching Top Chef and the challenge was for each of the four groups to do an old, new, borrowed, and blue dish. I am obsessed with cooking shows, and Top Chef is definitely one of my favorites.

This past week I have been eating a lot healthier. I am eating 6 times a day, but small handful-sized meals. I feel so healthy and like I have a ton more energy! Although it might feel like I am eating a ton, I have been tracking my intake on The Daily Plate, and I am actually doing quite well.  I have 4 weeks until I leave for Spain, and I really want to be confident by then. So, I am renovating myself. Haha. 

Speaking of which, SPAIN! It's coming up SO fast. I joined a Facebook group for people going with my program, and it seems that everyone has others they know who are going. Not me. I am going all by myself...the only connection I have to anyone is that one girl was roommates with a friend of mine Freshman year. I've never met her, but it is still nice having some sort of connection.  As much as I feel kind of left out for not knowing anyone going into it, I think it will be a benefit. I won't have any obligations to hanging out with certain people or whatnot. You know? I will be able to start completely over. I am really looking forward to that, even though the first few days will definitely be scary.

The semester is over and I can't believe how fast it went. Honestly, I feel like it FLEW. I ended up having really good grades for me, considering I was not in a single nursing class! I had 2 As and 3 Bs! That's good for me. I think this is the first semester of college that I haven't had a C. How exciting is that? I can honestly say I didn't work my butt off. I mean, had I really tried, I could have gotten more As, but I just...didn't. It was the first semester that I didn't have to try my butt off. So I just didn't.

Things are changing. I am changing. But I think it's all for the better. My mom is doing well. She starts chemo on Monday, so we are cleaning the entire house to prepare. We need to keep everything spick-and-span so that she doesn't get sick! Please continue praying for her. She's the strongest woman I know!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Survey

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. It's more fun to open! But gift bags are fun because you put all kinds of goodies in the bottom. And then you keep getting more and more presents!

2. Real tree or Artificial? I like real trees. Right now, I would take ANY tree. That's right. We're tree-less.

3. When do you put up the tree? Um. Apparently never. Hah but really, usually it's the week after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? After New Year's.

5. Do you like eggnog? Like, a shot of it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Umm...I don't know. Probably my portable cd player. Remember those?

7. Hardest person to buy for? Jayme N. Doyle. Seriously. She's impossible to shop for.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Um. I'd say my brother or mom.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? We have my grandparent's somewhere around here.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?I like getting them in the mail and laughing at the letters that people write.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Umm...I don't know. I can't think of an AWFUL one.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I agree with Michelle- When Harry Met Sally. It's my all-time fave.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I'll regift something if it's real bad or just something I think someone else would appreciate it more.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Around Christmas? PUMPKIN ROLLS. Those are year-long luxuries, though. On Christmas? Strata!!!!

16. Lights on the tree? Yes. When we have one. Haha. 

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night has always been and will always be my FAVORITE. And there is this one song on Clay Aiken's Christmas CD (Yes, laugh. I know.) that makes me cry every time. It's about an old lady with no family and people make her happy by caroling on her doorstep. 

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I like to stay home. This year, we're going to NYC.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? dasher and dancer and donner and blitzen...? comet and cupid and donner and blitzen. wait. PRANCER. and vixen!? vixen is a reindeer. spitzen? vincent. and rudolph. seriously why do i not know. vixen? that is a 'malicious woman with a fierce temper'. i'd stay away from this vixen R-deer.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I like stars. Because they are cuter and more modern. Whatev.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? WHY would you open on Christmas Eve? Then what do you do on Christmas day? Because our Christmas revolves around presents. We celebrate Jesus on Christmas Eve. Hah.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Um. The traffic, thanks to living next door to Easton.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? We have gold, I think.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I just like breakfast. We usually have a big breakfast and that's that. Last year for dinner, I'm pretty sure I ate a Lean Cuisine.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A new camera. It's a must-have for Spain!

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? Well, seeing as nobody reads this...Jen? Kailey?

27. Does Santa wrap your gift or leave them unwrapped? Well. WRAPPED. Unless in our stockings. Or if it's too big to not wrap. Or if you are Kevin, and you are lazy and give them in plastic Target bags.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not happy.

Sorry for all the depressing posts, but here is another one.

Lately I've been really letting myself go. I haven't been taking care of myself, and I think a lot of it has to do with what I've been dealing with: School, Mom being sick, winter...I mean. It doesn't sound like a lot when I just list the things, but in my head, I feel like it's a million things. I am just really trying to grab onto things and take control NOW, before it really gets out of hand.  The main thing I am going to do is pretty much the only thing I can control: How I feel about myself. Often times, I just hate myself. I don't feel good, I don't look good, and I don't like me. So, starting tomorrow, I am going to make a lifestyle change. The "Body for Life" is what I'll be doing. My counselor and friend have both agreed to do it with me, in order to hold my accountable. To be honest, I don't care if I lose weight or if I look good, but I just want to feel good about myself again. I want to like me again.  I am also going to work today and tomorrow on all my papers and studying so that I can just relax as soon as my exams are done on Monday.  I have 5 weeks before I leave for Spain, which is not really a long time.  A lot of why I am so excited for Spain is because I want to start over. From scratch.  But I don't want to start over feeling insecure and self-conscious. This will be good. I swear. :)