Ich bin eine Frau!

That’s about all I can say in German so far:) it is going well, though. I’m using duolingo and reading bits online, trying to find a good online course. I do have 6 months, but I’d like to get down at least conversational German. 

It is a feat to know two languages! I wish I was taught 2 from birth, or from an early age, like so many people are. However, I don’t think that will hinder me too much. 

People often say it’s far more difficult to learn a language after childhood, and this often discouraged me in the past. However, I’m going into this German thing with an open mind: sure, it may be hard, but not impossible. Completing challenges is good for the soul.

Open mindedness is, I believe, the key to happiness. Taking chances, making changes…it all comes back to being open to new things. So, here we go. Open, and ready. Ich bin eine Frau! Hear me roar (in German)!

A love letter to Stinkbug, my first car

I’m always impressed when people can identify the make and model from a single glance, but to me they’re just, transportation machines. However, I did have a love for one car, my fist: Stinkbug, the white 1996 Chevrolet Blazer that stole my heart.

It was my grandmother’s old car, and it had sat outside, unloved and undriven, for two straight years. I came home one day to see it in the driveway, the car my grandmother drove me around in before she traded up for a Cadillac…most kids would have preferred the Cadillac, but this beat up baby wasn’t just some random car—she was mine.

“We got the beehive out of the front seat,” my dad said, which would have been troubling enough if he didn’t follow up with “But there’s still a ton of stinkbugs.”

I thought he was joking. Stinkbugs? No way. No way…

There were three on the driver’s seat, groggy and creepy as ever. Okay, well, no big deal…four on the dashboard, two in each cupholder, six or seven crammed in the cracks between seats. A few dead bees still on the floor of the passenger’s seat.

With Indiana Jones-like care I slowly opened the sun visor—two flopped onto the floor, one clung to the mirror. They fell out of the sunglasses-holder in the ceiling, inside the steering wheel cover, the heating vents…it was a hive. There were more bugs than there was car.

We got a big Ziploc and heavy-duty gloves. I held the bag open and my dad dumped them in by the handful. The whole driveway stunk of grass and green apples—the smell of stinkbug death. Just when we thought we were almost finished I bumped into the car door and three fell out, so we had to unscrew the door and fish out about fifty more from each door.

Then we gave her a thorough washing, inside and out. We found about fifteen more stinkbugs in the process. Some were so far under a seat or so that we couldn’t reach it, but they also seemed pretty dead, so we left them. They’re probably still in there to this day.

I didn’t mind, really. It was my car! And after hosing her down, making her grayness white again, I cleaned the inside with Lysol, trying to  get it to smell more like lemons and less like death. It was then that I fell in love with her. Her extremely loud engine that whined when you pressed the gas, the dead moth stuck in the indoor light, the wonky gas meter, the radio that only played out of the back right speaker, the leather seats that either stuck to your skin or were cold as ice, the fact that she vibrated violently over 60 miles per hour, the fact that she always veered to the left, the mirrors that wouldn’t budge, the brakes that sometimes chose not to work…I loved that car.

And I named her Stinkbug.

Stinky became part of the family! My friends and family still refer to her by name, and when my freshman year roommate visited it was deemed that a ride in Stinkbug was part of the quintessential experience. When it came time to buy my sister and me a new car, I almost didn’t want to. I love the bounciness of Stinky, I love her color, the way you sometimes have to give her pep talks to make it up big hills…I even grew to love the smell of stinkbug death that never truly went away, even after three years. I didn’t want some shiny new car, I wanted the car that felt like she was alive. Cranky, sure, and more than a bit stubborn, but alive.

Only I knew how to drive her. Her personality was of a horse that only liked me. My friends were afraid to drive her, but were okay riding in the back. She responded to me and only me, and bucked and kicked when others tried to tame her. My wild stallion of a Chevy Blazer.

It was probably the fact that she WAS a pretty terrible car that I felt this connection. Driving 2 exits down the highway to go to the movie theatre? It was a challenge, and adventure. We had to work together: I had to give her just enough gas to keep from vibrating, and she had to hold it together so she didn’t explode. Cold morning? I had to clear her of snow, and she had to work hard to start for me so I could get to school. It was a partnership.

Stinkbug was the closest I got to feeling what “car guys” must feel. When it came time to put her down, I patted her armrest, her steering wheel, her hood. Her headlights seemed sad.

My new car feels—funny that I have to say this—like a machine. Her name is Kitty Green, and she works perfectly. I don’t have to worry about her, outside and cold, alone. I don’t have to give her pep talks about climbing a hill or braking at the bottom. She never surprises me, vibrates, or drift left, and I can hear the music fine on a low volume. She’s like a robot, and I do miss my rough-and-tumble Stinkbug sometimes.

I can only equate me driving Stinkbug to school to captaining a ship in a tumultuous storm. It was actually the Punch Brothers’ song about this exact experience, Another New World, that inspired me to write this post.

The moral of the story? Sometimes the newest and shiniest doesn’t mean the best. The one who works the hardest and loves you back…that’s the one you want.

The Liebster Award

First off, I would like to thank Walking With Anxiety for the nomination. Go check out their blog, they are amazing, insightful, and a joy to read:)

If you have never heard of this award before, then check out this article for all the information.

Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link on your site back to their blog. 

Display the award on your blog. I will be doing this as soon as my daughter releases me from playing Minecraft.

Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you. 

Provide 11 random facts about yourself. 

Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!) 

Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer. Hmm.

List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to: 

Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

1.Why did you start blogging?

I had writer’s block for a long time, and without writing I wasn’t feeling like myself. I decided to give the blogging thing a try, and it quickly became one of my favorite things to do.

2.What’s your biggest blogging achievement thus far?

I recently passed 60 followers! It made my day:)

3. What do you find is your most valuable tool for promotion?

Probably befriending other bloggers by reading and commenting on their work. Since I read and blog about similar things, usually they like my things as well.

4. Aside from blogging, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Writing, playing ukulele, reading, playing board games, and drawing.

5. If you could blog about a different topic other than the one you currently blog about, what would it be?

Travel! Unfortunately I’m stuck in one place right now, but soon I’ll be traveling to Europe, so I just have to wait for that time to come:)

6. Have you got a Blogging fail?

I don’t think so?

7. If so, what is it? Go on, I won’t laugh.

N/A, thankfully!

8. What’s your favourite blog post of mine and why?

I’m a fan of this one: Panic Attacks

9. What 3 things couldn’t you live without?

Writing, music, scarves. I have far too many scarves.

10. What’s your all-time favourite song?

All time favorite??? That’s a tough question. I like so many songs! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Don’t Get Married Without Me by the Punch Brothers.

11. Do you like marmite? I will judge you if you say no

I’ve never had marmite:(

11 random facts about myself…..

  1. As aforementioned, I have a lot of scarves. I’d estimate between 30 and 40. I have more scarves than pants.
  2. I once put ramen in the microwave without any water. It didn’t go well.
  3. I am great at Bishi Bashi Special.
  4. My ukulele (her name is Luna) has two lizards carved in her, and she is the true love of my life.
  5. I spent a week last summer white water rafting down the Grand Canyon.
  6. Three years ago, my boyfriend and I sang through the entirety of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog while walking around Venice.
  7. I made it to the semi-finals of a corn-hole tournament once.
  8. I do archery, and used to teach kids.
  9. While I was never nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge, I have interviewed the creator for my job.
  10. I played a witch in MacBeth in high school. Something wicked this way comes!
  11. I love Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, and have been known to belt Hellfire in my car on occasion.

Please check these five blogs out:)

The Lonely Tribalist

The Richness of a Simple Life

Loner Loaner

The Introvert’s Dictionary

Fictional Kevin

Love much! ❤

Christina

Learning German

I think I’m going to start learning German. I feel like I should know a second language for my Europe trip, and frankly, American Sign Language just isn’t going to be the most helpful thing. I could brush up on my Italian, but I don’t plan on going to Italy, so I don’t know how helpful that would be.

I think German, because I don’t like the silent letters of French and there’s no real reason to learn Dutch, even if I’m spending most of my time in the Netherlands, because apparently everyone there learns English. So, German seems like the most obvious choice. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m lucky enough to be the sort of introvert who isn’t terrified of social interaction, even if I do need time to recharge. It took me a lot of work, but I’m also no longer afraid to talk to strangers. If I didn’t talk to anyone, a second language would be simply unnecessary.

I was asked recently what my favorite things about traveling were, and I said art, history, and food. I could spend hours in museums or just walking around a city. I could eat until I explode out of my pants. I like eating things where they’re famous, like fresh Maine lobsters or Louisiana gumbo, Canadian poutine and Italian pizza—which by the way I didn’t like at all. And I like seeing the local art, the “flavor” of the city, and I like being where history happened.

People came as an afterthought, because I haven’t travelled somewhere where they didn’t speak English in about three years. Connecting with people was something I just did, it wasn’t something I had to work at, and it didn’t seem like a “cultural” experience, or something I could only do on location. I meet new people all the time, it isn’t something unique to traveling…or is it?

After all, why am I trying to learn a language, where English is honestly probably enough? To connect with people on their level. To make friends over the language barrier. To be a traveler, not a tourist.

So, German. I have always loved German history, and the German language is so pretty to me…I may be in the minority with that opinion, thoughJ.

We do get to visit Germany, guaranteed, on a class trip—and even if that doesn’t happen for our semester, I’ll definitely spend a weekend there. I heard Berlin is beautiful.

Six months to learn conversational German. I’ve done more in less time…Let’s do it!

Auf Wiedersehen,

Christina

Cough Syrup

I’ve been really into the song Cough Syrup by Young the Giant recently. I’ve been listening to it nonstop and learning to play it on ukulele.

Whenever I start getting really into a song, it’s usually because of the lyrics matching some aspect of my life. I got really into love songs when I was trying to convince my boyfriend to go out with me, for example. So, why Cough Syrup now?

I don’t feel quite like Life’s too short to even care at all. But I do sometimes feel like there is some fortune that I should have found by now

Sometimes we feel like we work so hard, but go unrewarded. I certainly do a lot. I feel like there should have been a fortune found by now.

I think everyone raised on Disney and storybooks goes through this at a point. After all, it took me a long time before I realized that there is no “ending” to growing up. You don’t someday get a job and then live happily ever after from then on out–you just keep living. There is no “happy ending, everything stays the same now,” ever.

There also is no singular goal to life. Sometimes I think life would be easier if I were born Cinderella or Ariel or whomever–at least then I would have some sort of life goal. But life doesn’t have built in goals, you have to make your own, and solving problems you make up is more difficult than fighting a dragon placed in your path.

Because what if you choose the wrong goal? Or a goal too difficult to tackle?

So I run to the things that could restore me, restore life the way it should be.

I try to get into meditation, yoga, healthy eating, exercising…all the stuff they say makes you feel better, but the only thing that has had an improvement I can see is sleeping more, which is literally like, “if you spend less time awake, life is better.” Great.

So what do we do? What is the magic cough syrup that restores life to the way it should be?

Well, I’m still searching…and I think it’s different for everybody. It’s probably love. In the Disney movies it’s always love:) They have to have some truth to them, right?

It probably is love, now that I think about it. I wish they could bottle love up like a medicine.

A dark world aches for a splash of the sun…

Sonnet for Mary

She went down to the bridge to jump, but then

She thought, perhaps, she wasn’t dressed quite right.

The sweatshirt she had owned since she was ten

Was not what she should wear on her last night.

Her eyeliner would run, she realized too,

And stain her swollen, frozen, violet lips.

She wanted to look beautiful and new,

Not ugly, with her clothes and skin all ripped.

And so she drove home, knowing in her heart—

Her life had nothing to do with her clothes.

She was not sad enough to play the part—

She had the strength to beat her nagging lows.

She’d make, she thought with a determined breath,

Her life as perfect as she’d wished her death.