Friday, December 31, 2010

Lessons from Week One

Week One: December 27-December 31

Wasting no time at all, I was given several assignments to work on during my first week as an intern at The Daily Item, a newspaper in Lynn. As a result, after only two shifts I’ve already learned several valuable lessons about journalism and what it takes to be a successful reporter.

One thing that really stood out to me this week was that being a journalist is a lot like being a detective. I’ve begun to realize that it’s rare for stories (good stories, at least) to find reporters; Part of reporting the news is finding the news, making the job that much more challenging. With all of the privacy policies and constraints put on law enforcement and other organizations, it can be difficult to get the name of someone involved in a potential story, never mind all the other information needed. In a way, I think it’s kind of a good thing for those of us in the field. It’s a prime example of why society will always need journalists, whether there are newspapers still in existence or not.

With that, the best reporters are definitely the ones who have a go-getter attitude. They are the ones who are clever, who utilize all possible tools offered, and who know how to develop trusting relationships with insiders from the community. To an extent, reporters have to be aggressive, while still being respectful.

For example, on Wednesday my editor heard that a local man was on one of the chairlifts that fell during the Sugarloaf accident. He didn’t have a name for the man, but he wanted me to look into it for a possible story. By snooping around on the Internet I was able to find the man’s name, which was a huge first step. From there, I used the WhitePages to get the man’s phone number. After calling his house and leaving a message, I figured I had done all that I possibly could, so I reported my findings to my editor.

“Did you find his address?” he asked.

Hesitantly, I told him that I had.

“Well, try going to his house. If he isn’t home, knock on the neighbors’ doors and see if you can get a cell phone number,” he responded, while handing me a camera.

Feeling a little bit forceful, I did as I was instructed, but the family was clearly still away on vacation, and the only other person in the neighborhood I could find was a woman cleaning the house next door. Without any other leads, I headed back to the newsroom empty handed.

Once back at my desk I made one final attempt, turning to my most valued tool of all: Facebook. I plugged the man’s name into the “Friend Finder” and his public page popped right up, which gave me access to background information and status updates his wife had made regarding the accident. With a simple Facebook message, I gained direct access to the man, who I will be speaking to later today.

Perfect example of how the boldest and more resourceful reporter gets the story.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Can Feel It

I’m maturing. I can feel it.

I’m starting to accept that life will happen to me.

I don’t dwell on the small stuff like I used to.

I can appreciate that things typically work themselves out.

I trust my mother when she says, “This too shall pass.”

More importantly, I trust myself.

On especially good days, I even slightly accept that I won’t always get my own way.

(Except if it involves my Dad. With him, I’ll always get my way).

Those days are rare, but they still count.

It’s so cliché, but I can feel it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Guess This Is Growing Up

So, I’m having somewhat of a quarter life crisis. Not a major one, but it’s definitely got me thinking.

Since the time I realized that I liked to write, and that I was good at it too, I’ve wanted to be a journalist. I fell in love with the idea of using my writing to confront injustice, to motivate change, and to show compassion for those who deserve it. The summer before my senior year at Assumption I worked as an intern at The Sun Chronicle, a daily newspaper in Attleboro. That was my first real taste of life as a journalist, and it only further ensured me that I had found my calling. From then on, it was decided that I would be the voice for the voiceless, the inspirer of advancement, the truth.

A tad bit (okay, fine, a lot bit) romanticized, I know. But I also know that I can make a difference in this world, and I can’t think of a better use for words than to do just that.

The older I get though, making a difference in my life seems all the more important than making a difference in the world. I used to get mad at my mom when she would voice her concerns over the salary and stability of my chosen field. When you’re a kid, none of those things matter yet. But now, as scary as it may be, I’m beginning to see her side of things, and they matter.

I’ve always been a firm believer that I’d rather struggle a little bit financially and love what I do than live comfortably and hate my job. I still believe that. But what if I could have the best of both worlds?

This summer my brother John and sister-in-law Heather started a lending company in Portland, Maine. A prime opportunity for the both of us, I’ve been doing some PR work for them writing website content, keeping up with their blog, and managing their Facebook and Twitter. And I gotta admit, I like it. The more I think about it (thinking is always my downfall) being a public relations writer seems like a more realistic career choice for me.

There’s no denying that right now, journalism ain’t doin’ too well. It’s nearly impossible (actually, it may be straight-up impossible) to find a full-time job as a journalist on salary with benefits. Not that I want to rush my life by any means, but a highly demanding job with low pay and crazy deadlines makes having any type of family life, or any life at all, quite the task.

As a public relations writer I could still use my writing to make a positive change in the world too, which is a critical aspect of job satisfaction for me. If I worked for an organization that I have faith in, such as Bread for the World or the Jimmy Fund, I would still be writing to promote a meaningful cause, rather than just a private agenda. Then I could be doing good deeds and helping others as a 9 to 5 job, not just when the story breaks.

On top of that, I’ve been told more than once that I have a public relations spin to my writing. I’m just a big fan of adjectives. I like to talk things up. So why not put it to use?

Lots to consider, I tell ya. Good thing I have some time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thank God For Cape Cod

Today I started the second week of babysitting in Falmouth. Just me and the kids living in their Cape house Monday to Friday. I’m really looking forward to it. I actually like being responsible for someone other than myself (three someones in this case, ages 7, 8, and 12 on Wednesday). It feels good to do dishes and make lunches, and I’m especially good at being a sunblock Nazi. I’m starting to think that maybe I could do this mother thing someday. I doubted myself for a while, but I think I got it in me. Absolutely no rush though.

So far it’s been good for me. Not only have I gained some valuable experience playing Mommy, but I feel great too. Early to bed & early to rise, morning runs & lots of swimming, SPF15, a beach chair, & a few good books. Cape Cod is just good for the body & soul. I enjoy the company too. They make me laugh and feel like a kid again.

So here’s to another week in the sun!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sweet Summer Time...

Hi there! What’s shakin’? I’m just relaxing on the couch, watching daytime television & downloading Eminem’s new album before I head out for a run on this beautiful day (tough life, I know). Figured I’d get a little writing done on here in the mean time since I haven’t been doing half as much as I told myself I would. It’s funny how too much free time and no free time at all can both result in too little writing. At least I’ve figured out that it would be pretty difficult for me to write a book, or pretty much anything, in entirety without pressure or motivation from someone or something other than my self. What it comes down to is that it’s nearly impossible for me to do any real, substantial writing simply for the sake of doing it.

…I think that was a bit of a confession! Am I still allowed to consider myself a writer? Aren’t writers supposed to write, like, a lot? And by writing, I mean real writing, like thoughts and prose that are raw, yet still brilliant. Basically, the kind of writing I don’t do. The writer Thomas Mann said, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” So I’m going to trust him on that and say yes, I’m a writer. I just happen to be the kind of writer who conserves talent for special occasions. Or at least that’s what I’ll tell myself.

On a better note, I’ve started working on my online portfolio. Check it out: There’s still a lot to be added/deleted/created/destroyed, but it’s definitely a start, and I have a little something besides a tan to show for my many hours off a week. The plan is to step it up a notch or two in July, and to do lots of writing, reading, and lesson planning to make for a less stressful fall semester. I’m babysitting three little hooligans down the Cape for the second and third week in July, which I think will be good for me all around. One, it will give me lots of time to read on the beach and to get some work done at night without any temptations. Two, I’ll get some practice playing Mommy and being a responsible adult who is in charge of not only her self, but of three other human beings (scary thought, huh?). And three, I’ll make some money. No complaints there!

It’s pretty nuts that it’s almost July, though. It feels like it been months since I was in Europe, but at the same time I don’t know where the month of June went. It’s kind of discouraging and stirring at the same time; I know time is flying and I should get out and do all the things I planned to while I have the time to do them, yet I know I’ll spend many more summer mornings watching Maury as I did today. I swear I need a life coach. It’s not even the lack of writing, reading, and productivity that bothers me the most, it’s the lack of quality time with people I love and miss. I could make a list of at least 25 people who are really important to me, yet I haven’t seen in months. I always say to myself, “Jess, instead of facebook creeping on this person, why don’t you call them and make plans for once,” but I just keep on creeping. I know that we all have our own hectic lives, and not everyone still has the pleasure of an agenda-free, three-month summer vacation, but collectively, we need to make more of an effort! You know who you are.

Alright, time to get out there & enjoy the weather. I love running with new music!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Europe in a nutshell...

I promised myself that I’d do lots of writing about my trip to Europe, so here I am! The only hard part is that I don’t even know where to start. I think a little synopsis of each city is the best way to get things flowin’.

London. I had been to London once before when I was in high school, but I was surprised at the amount of things I didn’t remember, or maybe didn’t appreciate, from my first trip. I found London to be very similar to the United States in a lot of ways. For one thing, American pop culture is huge. I felt really at home with all of the American music, chain restaurants, and television shows, and we share a lot of the same trends and social norms. Another thing about London that reminded me of the USA was the amount of diversity. I expected the people from each country to have a certain distinctive “look,” or similar, dominant features, but that definitely wasn’t the case in London. I guess we aren’t the only melting pot! Overall, the history was interesting, there was lots to see and do, and the people were friendly & helpful. I definitely recommend going to the theater in London; we saw Wicked and it was awesome! The only complaints I had were that the English use mayo a little too often for my liking, the food is mediocre at best, and the humidity was almost unbearable.

Amsterdam. Hands down, my favorite city of the trip. Like most people, I had heard a lot about the prostitution, pot, and partying in Amsterdam, but that claim to fame definitely sells the city short; it’s absolutely beautiful. We experienced the colorful, cultured city by foot without having to use public transportation once, and it was amazing. With Amsterdam’s system of canals, cobblestone streets, and bicycle lanes, one could live his or her entire life without ever needing a car, honestly. Cars are so few and far between in Amsterdam that when you finally see one they seem so foreign and intrusive. Instead, most people ride bicycles. Blue, green, pink, yellow bicycles everywhere. No helmets, no pad locks, no 10-speeds, just good ol’ fashion bicycles. The Dutch are so good at riding bikes that they can ride and carry on a conversation just as if they’re walking. I even saw a man riding a bicycle while carrying his baby in a chest carrier! Boats are really popular there too. We stayed on a house-boat, and although it was extremely tight quarters and only one of us could stand at a time, it was a great addition to the Amsterdam experience. All-in-all, I definitely plan to visit Amsterdam again. The Thai food in particular was really good, and to my surprise there was no language barrier; everyone speaks English. I wish we had made it to more museums than just the Anne Frank house (which was heart breaking, yet incredible) but the city was just too beautiful for us to be inside all day!

Berlin. Second runner up for my city of choice. We saw A LOT of history during this trip, but I found Berlin’s history to be the most interesting and meaningful to me. Since we knew there was a lot to see and learn, we joined a walking tour for our big day of sight-seeing. If you’re ever in Berlin, I HIGHLY recommend doing this; the city has a very dark history that the Germans aren’t entirely proud of, so a lot of historical points aren’t marked or acknowledged because they don’t want to honor the people or events associated with them. For example, the location where Hitler’s bunker was located is now the parking lot of an apartment complex. There’s no recognition of this landmark because the city doesn’t want it to be a gathering point for Neo-Naxi groups, so without a tour guide, we would have had no idea. Plus, our tour guide had some awesome fun-facts that lightened the mood and made the tour really enjoyable (like how in his famous 1963 speech in Berlin, Kennedy said, "Ich bin ein Berliner,” which he thought meant “I am one with the people of Berlin.” In actuality, Kennedy told Berlin and the rest of the world, “I am a jelly-filled doughnut.”) I also liked Berlin a lot because it was the one city we visited where I didn’t feel like a full-blown tourist, and I thought we got a real taste of the “local flavor” because our hostel was located in a more residential area. Although we couldn’t find a restaurant around us with menus in English, we found some cheap, yet delicious food by staying away from the tourist hotspots, and I actually appreciated the language barrier (I can’t say I appreciated the sound of German, though). Overall, seeing the Berlin Wall, the SS headquarters, and the incredible Holocaust Memorial had a really big impact on me and on how I put my world into perspective. That kind of reflection and insight was definitely one thing I hoped to gain from my trip, so for me, Berlin was a big success.

Rome. Oh, the love/hate relationship I had with Roma. As much as I told myself not to get my hopes up by the romanticized depiction of Rome bestowed on us by Hollywood, I have to admit it definitely got to me, causing some disappointment. More so than any of the other four cities, Rome felt like one big, crowded, dusty and dirty tourist attraction. Shame on us for going right at the start of the city’s big tourist season because I felt like that put a bit of a damper on our visit. Even still, I enjoyed seeing the very famous, and VERY old sights that the city has to offer. One unique thing about Rome that I thought was pretty cool was how there’s literally an ancient city plopped down in the middle of a modern day one; it was pretty crazy to see office building and apartment complexes on the same block as the Colosseum! Again, maybe I let the idealized Roma get the best of me, but another unfortunate letdown for me was the Vatican. I’m not an overly religious person by any means, but being Catholic, I had hoped that the Vatican would have more religious significance to me than it did. Instead, it just felt like another place for tourists to push and shove to get the best pictures. That brings up another issue I had with Rome: the pushing and shoving. I understood that by putting myself in a country with a culture different from my own I was going to have to come to terms with some different norms, but man, was it tough! By American standards, non-native English speakers are rude. The English and Irish were on board with us in terms of common courtesy, but not the Italians or Germans. For example, if I were in the way and an Italian man or woman wanted to get by, they would just push on through without even acknowledging me. Maybe it could have been the language barrier, but I didn’t get one “excuse me,” “sorry,” or even a “move!” in Italian, German, or eye contact either. For me, manners are HUGE, and it was really difficult to not give an elbow and an “oh, excuse you!” back. I’m sure a lot of it is due to the fact that those who are native to the cities get annoyed with all the tourists, but it still got on my nerves big time. Even waving to say thank you when a car stops to let you cross is unheard of there, but we still did it out of habit. The Italians must of thought we were pretty popular with all the people we were waving to! Another let down was the cuisine. Surprisingly, we actually had better and less expensive Italian food in Berlin than in Rome. The wine was very good and cheap, but it was pretty much impossible to find a fresh cup of real American coffee to go, which was a big change from the other cities we went to where there were Starbucks on every street corner. I know this synopsis has basically been a bunch of bitching, but I do think Rome is worth visiting for the sake of it. I suggest going during off-season when tourism isn’t at its highest point, and to make the visit to Rome a quick stop like we did.

Dublin. What a great city to end the trip in. After two full weeks of straight sightseeing and traveling, it was nice to relax, throw some back in the pubs, and enjoy the atmosphere. By traditional standards there isn’t a ton to see in Dublin, and we didn’t have the time to travel out to the pretty country or coast, but I can see myself living in Dublin more so than in any of the other cities. Having mostly Irish heritage and being from Massachusetts, I felt at home with the Irish, who were welcoming, fun, and most noticeably, handsome! Walking by the pubs (there’s over 700 of them in Dublin alone) and hearing everyone singing along with the music and just enjoying life reminded me so much of Boston. I also felt a lot safer in Dublin than I did in any of the other cities (Dublin was the only place where we stayed out in the bars and pubs past midnight), which definitely says something coming from two very cautious girls. Although we didn’t eat any conventional Irish food, we ate and drank very, very well, and I thought the service was better than anywhere else we visited. It was sad to see our trip come to an end, but we had beautiful weather and a lot of fun while in Dublin, and I definitely recommend visiting!

I could really go on and on, and the more I write about the more comes to mind. I definitely have more writing to do, but I don’t know if I could even put into words how great my trip was. Europe is definitely a place that each person needs to see for his or her self because no pictures, movies, or books can truly do the experience justice. It opened my eyes to a lot, and ignited a longing to see more of the world, which I definitely plan to do. Five countries in two weeks was a lot, but it’s definitely doable and easy if it’s with the right person (remember, you are spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week for two whole weeks with them). Luckily Sarah and I each wanted to visit Europe for the same reasons: to see and learn as much as possible. With this agenda, being in bed before two and getting up before nine worked for both of us, and we never had any real conflicts of interest. Between the two of us and the some help here and there, getting around and finding our way wasn’t half as tough or stressful as I thought it would be. I can’t wait to start planning for our next trip!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

some insight...

After an amazing, eye-opening, exhausting, short, yet still long, two weeks in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, and Dublin, I'm home. I have so much to write about, and I've promised myself that I'll get it all down before I forget any good details, and I will! But laundry, dunkin donuts, and a nice, long workout are calling my name, and I know once I start writing I'll be sitting here for for now I will simply say that my trip was incredible & life changing. I saw some really amazing things that allowed me to experience history in a way that I never have before. By being emerged in cultures other than my own, I came to terms with some of the differences, and I appreciated the similarities between my own way of life. But more than anything, I realized how proud I am of what our country stands for. We aren't perfect, and we have a lot of learning and improving to do as a nation, but the fact that we can even consider a United States that's any different than it is now says something. We have the ability to change, and we have the right to have a say in it. We have the right to criticize our government, the right to speak out against injustices without having to fear for our own safety, and the right to control our own futures. I for one have often taken that freedom as a God-given right, as something I'm entitled to as a human being, as a universal privilege, but that isn't exactly the case. Each and every American has the opportunity to make a difference, and now I see that's something that many people around the world will never know, or feel, or understand. I'm glad to call this place home.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hi remember me? Probably not. I know it's been awhile. I'm not here to make excuses for myself, because I don't really have any to make, but at least I'm here.

It's hard to believe that on Saturday it will be a whole year since I graduated from Assumption College. It feels like graduation was just yesterday, yet at the same time so much has changed. It's bittersweet, as most things in life are, but there's a significant emphasis on sweet.

As my first year of grad school comes to an end, it's tough to not get a little sappy about all the great things that have happened to me. I've met some really amazing people who have had a profound impact on me, and I'd like to take the chance to let them know how very thankful I am for it.

Old T.A.'s, especially Sam & Nicole, I hope you realize that I probably wouldn't have made it through my first year without you (seeing that you're graduating, I may not make it through my second). Whether I needed some guidance & inspiration, an ear to listen, a copy machine technician, or just a laugh, you guys were always there (literally, sitting at your desks), regardless of your own crazy agendas. You've left some pretty big shoes to fill (God help me), and life at UMD won't be the same without you. Miss you already!

New T.A.'s, Cassie & Tyler, we made it through our first year! Can you believe it? We've come so far. I have a lot of faith in the ability of you two to hold down the fort next year (me, not so much) and I'm so glad we have another year (or two, or three) together. It's crazy how people that I've known for such a short time could become so important to me, but you have, and I'm grateful for it. Here's to us & another successful year to come after what I hope will be a nice, long summer.

Speaking of summer, I'll be in London this time next week! Crazy how time flies. Probably should get to trip preparation...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's Saturday, the whole day long!

Nicola 10:31am: update ur stupid blog
Nicola 10:33am: right nowwwww

Wow, didn't know this thing was in such high demand! Kind of like the Twilight series: People want to read it, but it doesn't have much substance. Ah, well, gotta please the people!

Today I have an entire Saturday off, and there's nothing I love more than propping up the pillows, sitting in bed, and writing on a Saturday morning. It just feels so pressure free! I like it a lot. Tonight I'm going to Boston for my friend Krissy's 23rd birthday. I can't wait til my 23rd birthday. I love the sound of 23. It sounds grown up, a lot more so than 22.

So, in attempt to better use the otherwise wasted two hours I spend commuting to and from work, I started listening to talk radio. Sometimes NPR, sometimes PRI's The World. It's definitely helped me feel like a more responsible adult, and I've already learned a lot. But it's also begun to make me feel even more and more cynical. Ignorance truly is bliss; it's such a burden to know better. That must sound pretty awful coming from a future journalist, but hey, I can't lie. This world scares me. I hate feeling like I have little control, and that's how I often feel when I look at the bigger picture of things. So many I just won't look.

On a lighter note, my friend Tyler suggest I take an online test based on the Jung - Myers-Briggs personality approach. The results were so accurate! I'm an ENFJ, like Oprah. Here's a bit of the description:

ENFJs are idealist organizers, driven to implement their vision of what is best for humanity. They often act as catalysts for human growth because of their ability to see potential in other people and their charisma in persuading others to their ideas. Talkative and expressive, ENFJs are adept communicators and are motivated to understand and please other people. They enjoy talking about relationships and sharing their insights about people, their emotions, and their motivations. ENFJs like to be liked and are very sensitive to feedback, both positive and negative; they take criticism quite personally. They expect the best not just from themselves, but from others as well, and tend to idealize relationships. ENFJs often play host or hostess, energetically engaging everyone in the group and making sure that a good time is had by all. They are very responsive to the emotional state of others; while their empathy is often an asset, engaging with others can also become overwhelming for the ENFJ. More than other Extroverted types, they need time alone, away from the demands of serving and caring for others.

It also says the number one career choice for ENFJ type is journalist, they deal with stress by exercising, and have little trouble in school. Sounds like me, I think!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I ache to remember all the violent, sweet, perfect words that you said

A small passage from the piece I'm working on. Feedback is much appreciated!

The halls were constantly buzzing, coating the deeply rooted pessimism with a liveliness that helped me forget, and hospital staff made their way in and out of our room at all hours. I knew much of it was a mindless routine, the steady indifference broken only by a high systolic number or a stubborn vein, but it made me feel significant knowing all these strangers cared whether or not I lived, even if it was their job. Sometimes they collected blood, other times they recorded the figures that flashed on the monitors, or “just popped in to check up.” Without having to say a word, their uniform told me what they had come for. Looking more like businessmen in their button-down collared shirts and ties, the doctors almost always had glasses on, but not much of an objective. Whenever they came around, I had to suppress the urge to ask them why they even bothered. On the other hand, the phlebotomists, dressed in long white lab coats and blue latex gloves, had only one intention. They move the fastest, judged the least. I secretly wished the blood would seize to flow so that I could see them, syringe in hand, finally faced with failure. The ones who visited the most were dressed in matching sets of cotton-candy pink, Betty Boop print, mellow yellow. They wore sweet aromas, wedding rings, warm smiles that mismatched their black-rimmed eyes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Love these lyrics from Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy

I cannot go to the ocean
I cannot drive the streets at night
I cannot wake up in the morning
Without you on my mind
So you're gone and I'm haunted
And I bet you are just fine

Did I make it that
Easy to walk right in and out
Of my life?

Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?
So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should have known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

I know it doesn't count as writing when it's another's words, but hey, it's something.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Whoever thought I'd love Mondays?

Today, on my only day off this week, I potentially saved a life.

After stopping at CVS, I was attempting to make my way out of the parking lot. When I got to the exit there was already a small truck sitting there, like he was waiting for a chance to go, but there were no cars coming. Being the irrationally inpatient female that I am, I honked a few times, but still nothing. So, the road rage/instincts in me kicked in, and I pulled up next to the truck in the entrance side. The driver, an older man, was slumped over with his head on the steering wheel. After taking a moment to comprehend, I got out, screamed and flailed my arms, opened his door, and tried to lean over him to put his little truck in park. Except he decided to move his foot a smidgen, causing the truck to roll for a moment, causing me to freak out, but I got it in park. He was breathing and seemed to be waking up when the police arrived. I left right away, which is kind of weird to me now. I didn't even stay to find out what was wrong with him or if he was okay. Sometimes I react to things in odd ways.

With that, a much needed oil change, and an even more needed workout, I'd say I had a rather productive day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

groundhog day!

Now that I’m back to the 2 hours of commuting gig, I’ve started writing in my head. I drive, and listen to music super loud, and write. Sometimes I think I may even say my words out loud. At least I’m writing, but it’s frustrating because much of the product is often lost along my travels, and when I go to actually write it, it never seems to come out quite the same way. I’ve even been tempted to get it down in Word on my BlackBerry, but seeing that I’m operating a moving vehicle, that may not be the best idea. With this dilemma, I’ve noticed that writing in my head doesn’t provide the mind-clearing effect that putting in down in ink does, ironically enough. So, to make up for my lack of documented writing and to clear some of this clutter out of my brain, I’m going to create a collection of my thoughts, just to get them down.

There’s nothing like coming home to a newly stocked smorgasbord of a kitchen after a long day otherwise lacking much sustenance!

In a recent heart to heart, a good friend and person I truly admire pointed out to me the naivety of fighting to save something that can’t be saved; of feeling the need to hold so tightly onto something that very well may be long gone. I had never really thought about it that way, but it’s so true. Understanding that life can get tough, but it’s short, and it’s sweet, and it goes on is most certainly a marker of maturity. What ever that something may be, it’s the memory of what it used to be that you miss, not what it has become. So why do we, or more specifically I, do it? I came to two conclusions. For one thing, it allows us to feel something. You hold on, and it’s so dramatic, and a seemingly permanent pit forms in your stomach, right above your aching heart. But with time, the pit slowly fades away, and you remember what it feels like to be normal again. And you appreciate how wonderful it is to be happy. The intensity of emotions is almost refreshing. And then there’s the impression that as doomed as that something may be, it’s better than nothing. How can you let go when you have nothing else to grab on to?

I’m ready to fall in love with Europe! I haven’t been this excited for something in a long, long time, and I certainly needed it. I just can't stop thinking about how amazing it's going to be. I may never come back!

I also needed a confidence booster, which I got from reading my student evaluations from last semester. It’s bizarre how my students and I could have two completely different takes on my performance, but I’m pleasantly surprised to say the least. I was most pleased with the comments that said I was fair, good at explaining things, helpful and well-prepared, and that they learned things that they will actually use. Bravo-here's to another successful far!

To Be Continued…