Saturday, June 18, 2011

TheraFlu Philosophy....

Confined to my room due to illness (you remember that scene from "The Matrix" where Agent Smith just pummels the shit out of Neo in that subway tunnel toward the end of the movie? That is how my chest feels right now) and completely doped up on TheraFlu, I have just read the entirety of "My Sister's Keeper," by Jodi Picoult which, has to be said, is a FANTASTIC book. I could not put it down. I guess if I am going to be trapped in a small room for hours on end with nothing to entertain me but a pile of movies I have seen 100 times and stack of random books, I could not have asked for a better novel.

Anyway, I came across this great passage from the book that I thought I would share.

"Life sometimes gets so bogged down in the details, you forget you are living it. There is always another appointment to be met, another bill to pay, another symptom presenting, another uneventful day to be notched onto the wood wall. We have synchronized our watches, studied our calendars, existed in minutes, and completely forgotten to step back and see what we've accomplished" (341).

Funny, as I was walking home last night, up Nauwieserstraße, there was such an overwhelming scent emanating from the trees that lined the street. Because it was around midnight, there were not too many cars driving on the road, and I had to stop and just take in that powerfully aromatic smell; oddly enough, it reminded me of home--not a physical place, but that metaphysical place that resides in all of us, that sometimes gets lost along the way.

I stood on the sidewalk for five minutes, eyes closed (probably not the smartest thing in Saarbrücken late at night, but oh well) and just appreciated the moment I was in. I cannot remember the last time a smell caused me to stop and just breathe, to take in the air and the light, to experience life at that exact moment. Granted, I think my little stop last night in the rain caused my slight cold to explode into what it is now, I remembered what it was to truly appreciate these tiny instances that are connected, to everyone and everything, and that these instances only seem random until they are woven into the larger canvas that is our existence, our lives.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Momentous Day...

I did homework tonight. For, like, an hour and a half. I figured that was blog-worthy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Luxembourg Half Marathon

I thought I should write this blog now before my love of running slowly dissipates and this becomes a blog of me bitching about how much pain I am in, losing toenails, having offensive body odor, etc.

This past weekend, I ran my eighth half marathon (I had to go back through and do a little headcount) in Luxembourg. Why Luxembourg? Well, why not? It was close, the course was supposed to be lovely, and I need an excuse to run. When I do not have races to complete, my desire to run is matched only by my desire to have teeth extracted. Having a race means I have to train, or I pay the price during 13.1 miles of pure and horrific agony.

I was *sort of* prepared for this race. I had been doing about an hour of hill running 3 times a week, but had not actually run a long run since Prague. The problem with long runs is that I have to wake up early and go running along the river, and while this is okay once in a while, I hate waking up early and I hate running when there are tons of people out exercising with me. Mainly because the Germans stare. They stare so much. I get all paranoid that my butt is sweating or my love handles are peaking out from above my spandex shorts--with maddening thoughts like this, it is hard to concentrate on running. All I can think about is the Pillsbury doughboy.

So needless to say, I was a tad bit nervous to run. I knew I would be good for an hour, but much beyond that, I believed that divine intervention would be the only way I would make it to the end of this race. This was also the first race I would be running alone, and I wondered how I would fare (fair?) as a solo distance runner. It was either going to be epically awesome or epically tragic.

THANK GOD it was epically awesome. STUPENDOUSLY awesome. This being my eighth half marathon, it should be said that I have never run a half marathon in under 2:20. The best time I have had was running in Salt Lake last year, at 2:21. And I was pretty stoked about that time. And I ran Prague in 2:26, which is not horrible, but it definitely was not my best showing.

Luxembourg: 2:07. 2:07!!! I could not believe it. I remember coming around the corner and seeing the 18km sign and looking down at my watch stunned. There was NO WAY the time on my watch was correct. With just 3 kms left, I was at 1:50. Holy shit balls! The excitement of realizing that I totally had just kicked that half marathon in the ass propelled me to sprint the last 3 kms. Runners high? HA! It was like I had taken a fistful of Ecstasy and chased it with Absinthe! Of course, this high feeling was squashed when I crossed the finish line, only to be bottlenecked into a tight corridor with 200 other runners who had just finished, of varying degrees of smelliness, with my legs about to give out under me and no room to move. I managed to maneuver my way through the crowd before I had a complete meltdown and beat the hell out of someone with a safety pin.

Two days later, I am still feeling pretty good about this. My goal is to run the Portland Marathon in October in 4:20 (haha) and I now think this may be an attainable goal. Who knows...I could even run it faster! And apparently, if I run the Redwood half (a week later) in under 1:50, I automatically qualify for the New York City half, which I want to run in March over my birthday.

I feel like I might be becoming a real, honest-to-God runner...and this feeling freaking rules! I remember being younger and getting pissy when I had to run longer than 2 miles. I never, NEVER in my life thought I would be running marathons, half or otherwise. But now that I have started, I am kind of addicted. I know this is something that is going to at least keep me semi in shape for the rest of my life, which is good, given my tendency to shove all the food and beer I can find into my mouth.

And I want to share this feeling of awesomeness I have. I love getting new friends involved in running halves with me. So if anyone is interested, please get in touch with me. Friends in Boise, friends in Germany: it is a great opportunity to get in shape and feel a sense of accomplishment. Hells yes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flying High...on...Life?

Last night, at the ripe old age of 27, I made my theatrical debut, if you will, and managed to both not suck and not throw up on myself or my fellow actors on stage. Given the fact that I love attention and constantly have to be the center of it, it is surprising to me that it took me this long to discover theater--where everyone MUST be focused on me. I mean, they PAY to be focused on me. What a nice little ego trip! All that aside, though, I think I have never done theater simply because I could not eat, I could not sleep and I kept having nightmares where I could only remember my lines in German, which is completely improbable because I do not speak German, but the fear was there, nonetheless. I am not cut out for that kind of pressure!

The strange thing is (well, is it really that strange?) given all the pressure and nerves and the quick weight-loss scheme, last night was one of the best nights I have had in so long. One of the best nights that I can remember. And it was not just actually being in the play, but belonging to something so awesome as ACT (the English-speaking theater group on campus). As we all huddled around the stage before the show getting our lovely pep-talk (which consisted of more than "you had better not fuck up, ha!") I looked around and realized this was one of the first times in my life where I was surrounded by a group of people...and I liked every, single one of them! More than that, I respected every single one of them, and felt so honored to be let in this tight little circle (most of the people involved in ACT have been involved for several years). I felt like possibly, the little evil gremlin that resides inside me was shut up long enough for me to enjoy myself and the company of truly wonderful people. Dare I say, I even got emotional and may have teared up a little bit. I fucking hate having ovaries.

Well fuck this. Now I am super pissed. Go figure, I have two months left in Germany, and I finally, FINALLY start to really enjoy it here. I have been so excited to go home, and now, I really do not want to leave. I am not ready to leave behind the friends I have here (though friends, if you ever want to visit Idaho, you always have a place to stay! Seriously! Just give me a weeks notice). Why in the hell could I have not felt this way six months ago?? I think this is always the case--it takes so long to really warm up to a place and feel comfortable with your surroundings and with different people, and when you finally do, you have to leave. I guess the one positive thing is that I am going to leave Saarbrücken on a high note, and I could not ask for anything more. It really is crazy all the dramatic ups and downs living abroad has thrust upon me, but it has made me grow as a person, and I am excited (and scared shitless) to see how the changed me will influence my friends and family at home. Hopefully they have not all grown accustomed to grumpy mcgrumpants.

Oh, and if you are interested in coming to see our show (and if you are in Saarbrücken, you had better be!) we have performances again on campus July 11, 12, and 13th. I will be littering facebook with advertisements very soon.

In the meantime, photos!

"Enigma Variations"

After-show party!

Thanks, Achim, for the amazing group shot!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Late Night Thoughts

Unable to sleep, I find myself in front of the computer in my hostel in Garmisch contemplating many things. I realized, looking back on several blogs, that my overall impression of life in Germany has not been entirely positive. There are so many things from home that I miss more than I can possibly describe. The sense of familiarity, the overwhelming feeling of belonging someplace (which I have not found living in Saarbrücken)...a life that I had become comfortable living in Boise. Being so excited to go home, back to what I am so used to, I know there are so many things I am missing living in Germany. It is easy to tell myself that going home will fix this sense of loss in my heart, but truth be told, I think I am just making excuses for myself.

I sometimes forget, living in a place like Saarbrücken, which has never really felt like home to me, that Germany is an amazing place. Now do not get me wrong--I love Saarbrücken. I love living someplace different--experiencing a life that I would have otherwise not been able to experience had I stayed in Boise. Living abroad is something I recommend to everyone. My entire perspective on life has been altered. I am so appreciative of the person I have become living abroad for a year--I feel so much more rounded, so much more...cultured? Is that the right word? I am not sure. I know, despite all the absolutely crazy ups and downs, that I am a different person, a different person for the better. Which is exactly what I wanted to take away from this entire experience.

When our train first arrived into Garmisch, I felt this overwhelming sense of happiness. I cannot readily explain it, but it is the same feeling I experienced while living in Boise--when you know that you are in the right place at the right time. That all things in life are falling into place. As I have said before, I firmly believe that everything in life happens for a reason--that you meet people in your life for a end up where you are supposed to be. I do not attribute this to any sort of religious figure, per se, but fate has a way of intervening, and you have to be at least semi-aware of what is going on around you to see that things are supposed to fall into place.

Being in Germany, more specifically, being in Bavaria, gives me such an overwhelming sense of belonging, I cannot help but think that this place is where I am meant to be. The last time I was in Garmisch, back in August, I had one of the best times of my life. Not knowing anyone, traveling alone, unable to speak ANY German, I felt more at home here than I did in Boise. It was a feeling I lost trying to manaeuver my way around Saarbrücken. Coming back here, though, almost 10 months later, I have such a strong pull to be here, to stay here, and I really cannot ignore all the signs telling me that this is where I belong.

What if my life is not what I am making it to be? I mean, can anyone see me really living the life of a CPA, slaving away in an office for the rest of my life, doing taxes, balancing income statements and cash flow statements--only seeing daylight when the chaotic mess that is tax season ends? I have never seen myself as an accountant. I have never seen myself doing anything that does not make me happy. And while living in Boise would be easy for me, and would be happy for me, is it truly what I want? Am I so excited to go home because I miss the comforts of everything that I have become used to that I am ignoring all the signs that point to me staying in Germany, at least for a little while, and making the most of this amazing experience that I have been offered?

I am at a complete crossroad right now. I know that I am at least going to come back to Boise and graduate in Decemeber, but after that, I feel like I am up in the air as to where my path will lead. I love Germany so much--particularly this area that I am in. Being able to get by with a language barrier and a cultural barrier, and still being able to come out on top and feel somewhat positive about things--I cannot ignore this. It is such a difficult thing--do I give up everything I have back in Idaho: a house, a (potential) job, my ability to easily communicate, amazing friends, etc., and just pack up and move here? I feel like, right now, should the opportunity present itself, I would move here in a heartbeat. I would give up everything for the chance to start over here. And it scares me. I am so, so scared at that prospect, but if it is what feels right, can it be wrong? Can I ignore this doubt and just leap?

I hope so.