the mileage of an out of shape runner

Holding on to hope is hard. And forgetting it is far too easy.

Life is full of ups & downs, relieving endings & frightening beginnings. Each day plays into a bigger part of a story we usually barely stop to notice we are responsible for writing. We're so caught up in downloading the latest version of whatever we think the world expects us to be that we forget to pick up a pen & write it for ourselves. And as a result, we live behind a mask--a version of ourselves that we've compromised for.

It is then, with a face painted on, that hope seems the farthest away.

It is then, when that face can't handle the pressure anymore that it runs. Far.

It is then, when her lungs give out from running so long that she realizes it's time. Time to remove the mask.

Because she's known it's been a problem for a long time. And she's also not a very fast runner. The masquerade always catches up.

For too long I've tried to escape reality by running from it. I ran by closing myself off from people. That hurt. A lot. It still does.

I ran away to Italy. The best race I've had yet. But it was temporary. I had to come back--and face myself again.

So I ran by becoming so involved in other people's lives that I could forget about my own. And that worked. For a while I thought I was cured--I had crossed the finish line! Oh, just kidding, there was a hill just up ahead that'd be the hardest yet.

I nearly gave up. The hill was too hard. I had been pushed beyond my limits, tripped too many times. But somehow, & not by my own strength, I made it to the top.

Currently I'm resting somewhere on the top of that hill. I guess this is the phase of life I'm calling limbo. I'm surviving, but not thriving. But you know, that's ok. For now. I'm learning to be content with just sitting on a grassy hill instead of sprinting full force toward something I know can't be achieved. There is no finish line in this race. Because running from myself isn't a success.

The past few months, my life has been pretty boring. Pathetic, if you will. I've struggled with getting out of bed each morning, painting on my mask & lacing up my running shoes. I didn't want to do it anymore. But it seemed like I had no choice.

I know now that I do have a choice. I'm the one holding the pen to my story, the one responsible for tying the laces on my shoes. All those dreams I aspire toward are disappearing into a far too distant future because I'm much too busy watching my footsteps on a path into a forest of fear. A path I'm creating for myself.

I'm done. I so badly want to stop. But a race can't be quit that easily. So I'm starting to slow down my pace a bit--a jog may not be a bad idea. At that speed I'll at least be able to go off the path & explore things I couldn't [and wouldn't] during the sprint.

I wish I could have things figured out, could be comfortable with a peaceful skip through the fields but I've never been one to take the easy path, obviously. More adventures to be had, I guess. But for now I'll be found sitting on the couch writing blog posts about sitting on the couch writing blog posts, reading & singing. Boring? Maybe. Frightening? Oh yes. But it's a chance I'm willing to take. And it just might be one of the last times I'll be putting on my running shoes. On your mark, get set, go.


what i found at the end of the tunnel

after reading too many inspirational quotes, procrastinating so much that it should be recognized on my transcripts, & wailing "i can't do this anymore, i have senioritis!" for the past 3 1/2 years [yes, even freshmen get senioritis...or is that laziness? heh...] i. am. nearly. done. this girl is soon to be a college graduate, baby! i've done my time, signed my signature, and can finally say "Peace out!" to the textbooks. so much relief. and terrifying excitement.

now that i'm finally allowed to move on, i get to be that college grad girl i dreamed about. i can't wait to stock up my fridge with healthy food. to finally put my mad pinterest skills to use & DIY my entire house. to walk the city streets confidently in a blazer & heels...wait, what am i saying?! i don't own a fridge, much less a house & definitely not the budget to afford buying gluten, dairy, corn, GMO & high fructose corn syrup free locally grown food every week. i also can't walk in heels in case you wanted to know.

the other day i found myself wondering what kind of shampoo i should start buying now that i'll be a working professional & an individual fighting for her "individualness" in the real world. SHAMPOO, people. i don't know where these ideas came from-- i'm no professional & God knows i'd rather die than work an 8-5 job in a cubicle every day. i guess now that i've flown out of the nest i feel the expectation to be somebody important, to get started on climbing that career ladder, & one day have my name in the headlines. we all deserve our 15 minutes of fame, right?

who am i kidding. it was a success for me just to make it through college in one piece. there's no way i'm going to be that organic eating, yoga practicing, tree hugging Portlander or the sophisticated "let's go out for drinks after work in our business casual/designer pantsuits!" feminist. but you know what? that's totally fine by me. it's been a long time coming, but i'm slowly discovering that those people who are calm, cool & collected--and i'll admit i sometimes envy--are NOT me. no matter how many masks i try on, i'm still gonna be that nearly psycho girl who laughs at everything that's not meant to be funny, who shops in her grandma's closet, who packs away the food like the Y2K is making a comeback. 

i'm not aiming to be somebody great, to make my name famous [unless of course it happens accidentally because of some weird thing i did or because i look like i copy my style after a couch from the 60's]. but i plan to do something great. to help even one individual in my life would be an accomplishment. i plan to be a nobody & travel to places most people dream about. to learn, to love, to try new things despite my fears. i plan to have a family & love my kids more than life itself. and also dress them in the cutest outfits. watch out, gapkids. but mostly, i plan to live outside myself. to slap myself in the face when needed as a reminder that this life is not about me. it's not my world. it's about love. about people. about you. and that, my friends, is where i found the light at the end of the tunnel. 


storm on the horizon

i haven't written for a while. in all honesty, i haven't known what to write. i stare at the blank page wishing words to appear on the screen, & when they do, i just hit delete. nothing feels right.

i think a lot. too much. about myself. way too much. and so to write, i feel like i'd just write about myself. which we all know is a boring subject. so what's this about, then? i don't really know.

if you only knew how many times i've written and rewritten this post. i guess i'm just not ready yet to write. taking a hiatus from the ol' pen and paper. but that's ok. i'm still alive, still processing life in my cynical, crazy way. still surviving. but starting to thrive again.

eventually i'll find something worthwhile to scribble about. i can't wait. but for now, my mind's wildly brainstorming. the thunder & lightning will come soon enough.


scaredy cat

"on the other side of fear lies freedom."

i'll admit it: i'm afraid. of lots of things. afraid to try new things, afraid to meet people, afraid to be myself. it's pathetic really, how comfortable i've become in my shell--a personal prison cell. i'm not happy here, not content with the way i've created walls around my heart. but it's too hard to try and break them down. is the freedom on the other side worth the pain, the humiliation?

it's been a strange day. the weather is gray, rainy at times, melancholy. just the way i like it. yet that hasn't stopped the majority of campus from donning bright red attire, painting their faces, & playing games in anticipation of the first home football game. ugh. thousands of people all together in a huge stadium screaming & cheering, taking pictures with their new besties, & flirting with the nearest opposite gender. maybe i'm just not cut out for college, maybe i'm just not meant to be a people person, maybe maybe maybe. so many excuses run through my mind as i try to justify why i'm not in attendance with the rest of my fellow students.  like i said, i hate huge crowds. reason number one. i also hate meeting new people. reason number two. so, it's safe to say i've justified this situation & gotten away with it just fine.

but underneath it all, excuses aside, i know the real reason is because i'm afraid. i have such a fear of people, believe it or not. i don't know why. it frustrates me more than anything else. i have a fear of being in a situation that annoys me, stretches me, makes me uncomfortable. but above all else, i have a fear that i'll look back someday with regret & wonder why the hell i was so afraid when the only person stopping me was myself.

a little girl i met this summer wrote me a note: "i'll never forget you. i love you & will miss you. you are brave." a four year old telling me i'm brave?! if only she knew how much those last three words meant to me. rarely do i feel that way, but she must've seen something in me that i didn't know existed.

i just hope i stumble upon it before it's too late.

airport confessions

I used to hate people.

Correction: I used to think I hated people when really, I hated myself. But that's because I didn't really know who I was & as a result, I didn't really know people. I'm glad to say things have changed.

2012 has been a year of discovery for me. Discovering myself, different parts of the world, types of people, & food [the fat kid in me was introduced to the world this year]. Most normal people go through a discovery phase in high school, after trying on all the stereotypes. Most normal people have a lot of friends who helped [or hindered] who they became as an adult. Most normal people know who they are or at least understand themselves [ok maybe that's a bit of a stretch]. Screw normal. I tend to do things out of order, a bit late, or never at all. That being said, 2012 is like my [very delayed] high school career, minus prom & excessive drama. I'm ok with that.

There is no better way to start off a year than with a trip to Europe. I ran away to Italy, hoping to leave the person I despised but was forced to live with behind. Somehow she followed me, but our journey together wasn't bad, but rather truly wonderful. Walls came down, wounds healed for good. My utterly crazy self that was locked up inside finally felt comfortable enough to come out of the dark & in return, let people in. It was the best feeling in the world. To be vulnerable & honest with someone & not be ashamed. To be completely crazy & get weird looks, but also invite those onlookers to act equally as strange. And enjoy it. To have late night talks, listening to the cries of the neglected hearts, the doubts of searching souls. Moments like these are so fragile, so fleeting. They shouldn't be. And so, with new knowledge, a new perspective, & a nearly new me, I trekked home & promised myself I would never return to that dark prison cell again.

It was hard. I was scared to come home, scared to move on & start over somewhere new. But if there's anything I've learned this year, it's that change is good. It keeps us guessing, helps us discover new parts of ourselves, introduces us to people we later wonder how we had once lived without. And so, with change in one hand & a W-2 form in the other, I hugged the fam goodbye & headed out on a new adventure to Cannon Beach, Oregon. At first I really didn't like it; why are people so judgmental? why can't I fit in here? what's stopping me from being myself like I promised I would be? It took some time, but slowly I realized that the only person stopping me from being me was me. So throwing all cares to the sea [or ocean since I lived there... I know, I know, cheesy] I went crazy. For some odd reason, people liked it & before long, I started liking people back. I worked nearly 24/7 [and that's not much of an exaggeration] but had a blast. I got lots of bruises, burns & cuts, but prefer to call them gnarly battle scars. It was the best summer ever [said in valley girl voice]!!! Having to say goodbye & not wanting to is something new for me so the fact that it happened twice this year both broke my heart & made me smile [not in that sick happy way but rather the i-have-so-many-good-memories-and-i'll-love-you-forever way. just had to clarify].

Now what? Currently I'm sitting in the Phoenix airport getting ready to head back to LU to finish MY LAST SEMESTER. It's the last place I want to be, but it's MY LAST SEMESTER. Plus my sister will be with me. And who knows, maybe there's something else I have yet to discover in the 'Burg. 2012's not over yet. Ready or not, here I come.


musings of a lonely soul

Loneliness is a strange feeling, an unfamiliar concept but a confusing one to say the least. Some ride it off as being introverted, antisocial. Others refuse to acknowledge it, keeping themselves as busy as possible and surrounded by people at all times. But both parties struggle with it, discover the feeling creeping in with no help or hindrance. 

Some feel more themselves when alone or around few. Others are most alive when with large groups. It definitely has to do with being introverted and extroverted... Right? Do we even use those terms correctly? Right or left, black or white, introverted or extroverted. Do we have to be one or the other? 

Introverts-- as I'll refer to them-- like to be alone because people annoy them. They feel most comfortable by themselves, when they can let their true colors show. Being able to be alone without relying on other's opinions to make it through life is admirable to be sure. It's something I wish I could accomplish, could feel confident in. But the problem with that is introverts are too afraid to reveal their inner selves to others. They'd much rather stay inside their warm, comfortable shell than to expose themselves in broad daylight. The world misses out on an extraordinary individual because of this insecurity or lack of ability to remove the mask. 

On the other hand is the extrovert, one who thrives on human contact, personal relationships. An extrovert's worst nightmare is to be alone, for it is then that he is forced to examine the self within. Sometimes extroverts really can't be themselves without others, feel trapped unless people coax them out of the shell. I admire that ability to be vulnerable with many people, to live somewhat fearlessly and trusting of humankind. Yet, is the face shown just an act to get people to like him? Is the vulnerability all just a game and the reason he hates to be alone is because he's too scared to examine the true personality within? 

So where do these two meet? I used to think I was an introvert but that was just my excuse for constantly being alone for lack of friends. I was lonely but justified it as being normal since I'm really a homely person. Then I went to Italy and was around people literally all the time. I thrived like never before. I couldn't stand being alone for more than a few hours for fear that my success would be lost and my only companion would once again be loneliness. 

The descriptions above are skewed to be sure, inaccurate descriptions of both the introvert and extrovert. Though incredibly opposite, the clashing personalities, if you will, are feelings I struggle with often, if not experience everyday. One minute I hate people, the next I wish to be surrounded by a crowd. I think a lot of it has more to do with how I view myself as an individual than with the people I'm actually interacting with. I dislike who I am, am terrified of living with myself forever, alone. I need companionship. But I need space. Can one have both? 

It seems like no matter which road I take the end is always the same: Either I'm surrounded by faces, so utterly out of place or am all alone with little contact. Whatever the result, I'll always have one true friend: loneliness. Maybe it's not such a bad thing after all?


my journey, my book

"how was italy?!"

"it was great!" or "incredibly awesome" just don't cut it. so, if you want a more detailed depiction of my life abroad these past 3 months, then read on my friends. but i must warn you: this isn't the typical "good" response you were probably expecting to hear.

preface: once upon a time...
two years ago, my baby sis [Mary Ann] & i decided we wanted to study a semester in italy. for one, it was cheaper than a regular college semester in the states, & two, well, it's italy. so after much pleading with the parents, jumping through hoops & doing jigs in order to get the credits to transfer [not really, but Liberty, you sure do make things difficult] we finally got the ok to turn our dream into a reality. though it was cheaper than college here, we still had to raise a bit of money. this is what last summer consisted of:
playing substitute mom
serving [and dancing with?] old folks at an assisted living home
other honorable mentions: garage sales [never again] & selling cookies with our friend, Erin who was determined to travel to italy, too.

hi, erin!

chapter 1: adjustments
fortunately, our hard work [& much appreciated support] paid off &, in february, we found ourselves amidst vineyards, bright colored houses, & 19 other americans thrown together on a tiny campus in a tiny town north of venice. what had we gotten ourselves into?!
oh, hey, vineyard
new home, school, kitchen, etc etc.
class 6 hours a day--with the same people. for 3 months. what...
chapter 2: the breakdown
in italy, we attended Saints Bible Institute, which is also where we lived, ate, fought & danced. yep, it happened. over the course of 3 months, we took 18 credits of college classes, ranging from Renaissance Art to Apologetics, Intercultural Communication to Missions & Evangelism. designed as intensives, we typically got through one class per week. much of our time was devoted to homework, discussing what had just been crammed into our brains & taking naps during repozzo [in italy, they have designated nap times every afternoon. what college student doesn't love that?]

clearly no one else was up for a ride on the canal.
and empty sidewalks? incredibly uncommon
on weekends, we had free time to travel. and travel we did. our first weekend, we did our best to explore venice in 30 degree weather & frost-biting winds-- we failed. thank goodness for hot pizza & semi-warm restaurants.

inside the Colosseum
the second weekend we traveled to verona. thankfully, the weather was almost 30 degrees warmer. verona was beautiful: home to the third largest colosseum in italy, juliet's house & infamous balcony, & breathtaking churches and castles. 

other weekend trips were to smaller, nearby cities in italy:
saw a castle, the Adriatic Sea & a Holocaust extermination camp
think Beauty & the Beast gone Italian
known for the canals-some people kayak.
we just sunbathed.
chapter 3: bragging rights
aside from the fact that we lived in europe for three months [check that off the bucket list], we were able to visit two of the most talked about cities in the world: florence & rome. of course, it wasn't pure tourist fun; it was part of our art class, so we had to read a book on Brunelleschi's Dome, write papers, & give reports at specific places within the cities. but honestly, we were in florence. and rome. florence AND rome. does it get any better?

Brunelleschi's dome
over 400 hundred steps to the top, but the views were far worth it.
saw our old pal, David
[& other Michelangelo works that don't get an honorary mention]
in Vatican city. that's St. Peter's.
andddd we saw the pope [!!!!!]

these were just some of the highlights. we also got to see the Vatican museum [the Sistine Chapel was inside as well], Roman ruins, the Trevi fountain, the Gates of Paradise, & of course, H&M.

we also visited venice again. this time, we were warm & happy. deserving of a dance, obviously.

chapter 4: spring break
roughin' it in the airport.
somehow i jammed everything i needed for a
week into my backpack
as great as studying abroad can be, spring break was a well deserved break from homework & classes. our group split into smaller pods, depending on the parts of europe we wanted to hit up. my first destination was paris. we went to the Louvre [fake Mona Lisa was in attendance], saw the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame-- you know, the good stuff.
one of few art pieces i actually recognized in the Louvre
Mar's "we just went to mass in THE Notre Dame!" face
[building on the left]
our next stop was barcelona. our first day was rainy & cold, but by the end of the trip the sun graced us with its presence & we happily walked along Las Ramblas [famous street], had a picnic at the ocean, ate great food [why doesn't every country have tapas?!], got lost on a huge mountain & saw some pretty spectacular architecture.

cool, huh?
tons of little dishes that we ate in about 10 minutes
gotta keep up when eatin' with a bunch of guys

chapter 5: favorites
one weekend, a group of us decided to visit salzburg, austria where the Sound of Music was filmed [yet another dream come true]. we took a night train [sorry, harry, we'll visit hogwarts another time], arrived at 4 am & sat in the freezing rain alongside the river until the sun rose--and cafes opened. sadly, the weather was cold & dreary but we made the best of it & explored the sweet little town.

umbrellas galore
paid 15 euro to hang out with maria
besides taking classes at SBI, we spent time helping the local missionaries. we handed out tracts, sat in on ESL classes, did mimes in the piazzas, & talked about 'merica at local high schools. they just started a new church plant so it was really cool to be a part of that as well.

some of the SBI students & staff singing at the new church!
of course, i can't talk about italy without mentioning the food. my, the food. so. many. carbs. & i loved it. too much. words can't do it justice, so feast your eyes upon this:

pastries, cookies, meringues, tiramisu... heaven?
chicken pasta with peas, onions, peppers, & pure goodness

and i can't forget the gelato. one simply hasn't lived until they've tasted this stuff.

i ate gelato probably every day. sometimes more than once...

chapter 6: BFFs
these three months went far too fast for my liking. not only did i get to see europe [i still can't get over it], but i met some of the most amazing people in my life. living in close quarters & being with each other nearly 24/7 definitely had its pros & cons, but i wouldn't have traded it for anything. it's hard to even describe how much each one of those people impacted my life & helped me see life in a completely new way. to my friends, my family:

abby: your genuine & cheerful personality & "oooh wooow!"s made my days so much brighter. thanks for sharing your closet with me!
christine: thanks for being real with me; your perseverance is inspiring. also, you make a great asian.
stacy t: your hugs & sweet smile always came at the right moments. i also appreciated your generosity when it came to buying me gelato.
stacy b: i love how serious you are about learning; it motivated me to strive to do better. also, your laugh is just great. don't stop.
kaylie: "ohhh honey" keep that accent forever, please. it makes your sarcastic remarks so much better. and for the record, you did not win the lady challenge!
erin c: we did it--all those cookies finally paid off. your logical, level-headedness is such a blessing. so are your passions for food & dance parties.
erin r: "one, two, three!" always a picture perfect moment with you. your optimism & "OH BOY!" have forever changed me. and your hiccups probably kept me awake in class. thanks for that.
laura: there are few people i have come across who have such a love for the Lord. keep on shining the way you do. p.s. seriously consider becoming a hairstylist.
susie: yeah, nutella & gelato kicked our butts. so did jillian. i loved getting to know your crazy side, as well as what you do & don't prefer...
kirsten: you never gave up. you're one strong girl & i know we all looked up to you. thanks for laughing at all the stupid things i said, too.
jessica: you are one sly, hilarious individual. tally marks, paparazzi photos, & youtube vidoes. i will never look at turtles the same.
sis: where to begin. you're the best friend & travel companion i could ever ask for. so blessed to have shared this journey with you. i'm glad we still love each other, even after paris.
caitlin: i don't know how you worked so hard & still managed to be so sweet. don't forget me, i hope to come visit you & your italian husband one day.
jen: i appreciate your thoughtfulness & desire to love on us. you rock that cute hat from h&m, and i'm glad you found it funny when i screamed "MOM!" in the rome train station.
bjorn: you have mad dj skills! your dubstep is cool, & we definitely would've gotten lost without your mastery of the barcelona train system.
jacob: jacobs, thanks for laughing, because it always made me laugh. you're a good listener & definitely made my semester so much more fun!
eric: what a gentleman & scholar. you really brought out the sarcasm in me [i apologize, but not really] but you made me think a lot too. i needed that.
jared: i can't believe you remembered all the theme songs from our childhoods. you're crazy & i had tons of fun reenacting lorna doone a thousand times. watch out for the butterfly in the sssKKYYY.
stuart: sometimes i pretended you were my big brother 'cause you're cool & a lot bigger than me. i hope you talk in an accent more often because it's hilarious. duggie for life!
tim: such unexpected things came from you but they definitely made the trip more surprising & fun. you're a great storyteller & i appreciate you eating my leftovers every morning at breakfast.
brett: thanks for staying positive even when we all made fun of you. you go with the flow & don't let things bother you--i'm jealous. p.s. i definitely screamed "'mericuh! eff yeah!" when we hit american soil.
sam: i enjoyed being one of your wives. you really know what you believe & aren't afraid to stand for it--something i admire. i hope my pokemon character serves you well.

believe me, this is considered normal

epilogue: damage done
well, now what? after two years of dreaming, hoping & planning, my adventure has come to a close. i've been home for 2 weeks, but already i feel like italy never even happened; it was all just a frozen moment in time, a dream i didn't want to wake up from. yet i regretfully returned to reality & am forced to go on as i once did.

but i can't. italy changed me. i'm not who i used to be-- i've learned so much about the world, about people, about myself. three months away from america only confirmed my desire to live abroad [scotland is next on the list]. my mind was stretched beyond what i thought capable. i may have left italy with more questions than what i had arrived with, but i don't see this as a failure.

i admit it's hard being home, away from my friends, from the beautiful country of italy. i miss being with people all the time, the awkward language barrier when trying to make conversation, the excitement of experiencing a different culture & seeing things older than america itself. sometimes i get frustrated: why did i put myself through that knowing i'd fall in love with it all only to come home heartbroken? it seems i only lost.

but i didn't. i now have special memories that will forever remind me of sweet friends & unforgettable moments. it was a journey i can relive-- looking at pictures, staying in contact with people, eating gelato [i'm addicted for life]. all good things must come to an end at some point... but maybe, just maybe, this journey won't have to.

my camera, my memories:
to be relived with the squinting of one eye & the shape of a rectangle.
forever & always.

faith, trust, & pixie dust

this afternoon was simple. simple but perfect. pretending to be little girls again, a few friends & i gathered as many blankets & pillows as we could find & made a fort. saving the white blanket with small crochet holes for the top, of course, because it would let in light in a magical way. scrounging food from the communal kitchen, we ran upstairs & ate it all whilst watching one of my childhood favorites, Peter Pan. no Robin Williams or Disney cartoon in sight, for this particular version stars my middle school dream boy, Jeremy Sumpter. i remember renting this film almost every weekend in junior high. my friend & i would pause it every 30 seconds it seemed to either make fun of Wendy [she was SO ugly & didn't deserve him, we argued] or drool over the ever so handsome [or cute, was it?] Peter Pan. it had been years since i'd sat down & watched it again, reminiscing all my childhood hopes & dreams, what i anticipated life to be all about. the music, certain lines [do YOU believe in fairies?] i forgot i memorized by heart. all of it a memory frozen in time, nostalgia to bring it back to [almost] life again.

life is like that: some memories fade, others last quite a while longer, but no matter the length of time, they change a person's life forever. it may have taken me another viewing of Jeremy Sumpter to remember, but life is magical in that growing up isn't always a bad thing. having to be an adult now, i sometimes wish i could go back in time & be 13 again, watching Peter Pan with my friend & dreaming of what our lives would be like one day [we were convinced we'd travel the world, marry rich & possibly become photographers/spies. you know, living the dream]. but even back then all i wanted was to grow up, to actually make dreams a reality. i realize i can't have it both ways, the freedoms of an adult but the simplicity & naiveté of a child. both are extremely beautiful, and together make a journey... it's called life. you'd think i'd have it figured out by now.

ok, ok, i'll grow up & be a big girl now... but every once a while you may just find me sitting in a pile of blankets watching Peter Pan.


spotted: thing 1 & thing 2

[march 17th]

Today I saw two little kids who just captivated me. The first was a little African baby in a sling on her mama's back. Randomly shopping in an Italian grocery. The biggest eyes I have ever seen... Searching hungrily in every direction, unfazed & unashamed. When do we lose that fascination & curiosity for the world? It should go without saying that this baby was an angel on earth... Perfect soft dark skin, just a touch of black hair, & a love for her mother that caught my heart. Her parents were just as beautiful. The man, tall & handsome, taking the lead as a gentleman should. Even shopping for food I could see his desire to provide & protect his family. The woman, shorter but healthy & strong, appeared to be brave but gentle. She seemed to know life's hardships firsthand but refused to let it stop her from living onward. She carried her child with no complaint, just saw it as her motherly duty to do so. Family is such a beautiful thing that many of us take for granted. But not them. Everything in this life could fade away but as long as they have each other, it will always be ok. Perfect even. 

The second child I saw was in the Venice Treviso airport with her mom & little sister. From the back she looked like a little boy with her dark clothing, short curly hair, & black riding boots. But then she'd turn her head to the left displaying the small white bow pinning back her soft curls. Her eyes were light blue but the kind that seem to look right into your soul. Probably 5 years old, she carried herself with assurance even I wish I had. She listened to her mother diligently, was responsible for her belongings & even her sister. At the same time though, she was still a young girl, reliant on her mother to guide her while she looked around, taking in the strangers around her. We even attempted to play the hide & seek staring game until she found someone else with funnier face expressions. 

When do we lose the ability to be vulnerable... To trust with everything we have & not regret it? We've become too comfortable in our places behind the masks rather than showing our faces without the paint. I wonder what it would take & how hard it would be to just throw it away & let my heart bleed in front of everyone. Would it be possible? What would they think? 

To be a child... They really are the most mysterious, wise little beings of all. 


to be continued?

why play this game
when i don't know the rules
it's just a sorry mess
to make us all look like fools

the closer we get
the farther i run
i can't stay still long enough
to find out who won

why do we insist on wearing masks
& try so hard to fit in
when all we do is hurt each other
but claim it's in fun & simply a whim


italian favorites: bikes & signs

i'm obsessed with bikes & they seem to have them everywhere here which only encourages me to love them even more

always with a basket

in spilimbergo

they ride bikes to church

neighbor's bike


they like roundabouts

"stop is in english!" --me
"...points for sarah..." --everyone 

san lorenzo neighborhood


polyvore stole my heart

so i've seen these collages & things before on blogs & in magazines, but i had no idea i could actually do it too! [i'm obviously not tech savvy]. happened to stumble upon this life changing site called Polyvore, where they provide templates & all kinds of options for you to make one of a kind collages. this is my first one; not exactly high end fashion or cool enough to spot in a mag, but it sure is fun & gives me ideas for future outfits.

this look is pretty much my go-to outfit. a dark wash skinny jean, loose fitting tee [can be dressed up or down, it's all about versatility], boyfriend fit blazer, oxfords [currently lusting after leopard print!], & a laid back side body bag are what catch my eye. Add simple jewelry [a watch or ring is my fave], messy waves, & specs, and i'm good to go. if only my wallet were just as ready.



spokompton. spokaloo. spocane. however spelled, however said, spokane has been my home for the past 10 years. but this book has finally reached its epilogue... in less than 20 minutes i leave for italy to live for 3 months. after that, cannon beach will be my home for the summer. my parents are moving to a city outside Portland area [but still in WA; i'll always call this corner state home]. so i guess that leaves me homeless. but i've always known i wasn't meant to live here forever, to keep watching the re-runs of my life this past decade. yet this is a place i'll always call home, will definitely visit, & and will remember in my heart no matter where else i plant my roots. 

Big Lots opened right around the time we moved here back in 2001. We went there almost everyday that summer because 1] it was cheap 2] we didn't know anyone 3] why not?
I swear we still get a shout out every time my mom shops there
My 6th grade classroom/cubicle. What a year...
Rocket launches, my teacher's wedding, first year of basketball.  The worst part of that year was probably [or definitely?] that my favorite outfit was a denim skirt with a jean jacket. 

Ah, junior high. The years when being popular really counts [not really], when life is the hardest [oh the DRAMA...], & when you dream of being an all star athlete. Also, if you didn't have at least 15 inside jokes with each person, you were automatically a loser.
I still remember Mrs Hopson's lasagna song from home ec, have all my art projects from Mr Dod's class, & even miss Mr Hayek's seemingly pointless lectures on grammar. Yes, folks, there really is a difference between 'to' & 'too'.

Just down the way from our house is a beautiful country drive. This was also the road I grudgingly took when I worked at Great Harvest. I hated that job except for the fact that I got to sample everything & get paid for it. There's just something so satisfactory about charging a person $6.25 for a loaf of bread but getting to take it home for free at the end of a shift.

Oh, tennis. hahaha where do I even begin? I actually miss those days... racing to get to practice by 3:30 [but always being late by at least 4 minutes], travelling on the busses, & of course, enduring the unbearably long practices by making jokes with friends & singing Family Force 5.

The Wake-Up Call. Emily's & my weekly meetings kept my sanity in tact during senior year of high school. Their overflowing mint bowl wasn't bad either. "Three to four times?!"....

Berean Bible Church. I spent so much time here & met a lot of great people who changed my life. I went to Costa Rica with some of them, helped in AWANA with others, & even had school here once a week. Let's just say I practically lived here for a time... most of my favorite memories are inside this building.

Berean's parking lot aka the hang out. Many a night we stood here in the freezing cold, the blazing hot & everything in between being typical teenagers & prolonging the rides back to our houses. Goodbyes always took at least 20 minutes.

The mall. Can't say I'll miss this place, having worked at Forever 21 for what seemed like an eternity. But there are good things about this place, too that I'll always remember. 

Downtown is the best part of Spokane. Johnny Depp even thought so--he filmed a movie here once. So old and beautiful yet original & hipster all at the same time. [yes, i just said hipster. shame on me...]

The street where it started [and ended]
What a road it's been... Starlight you've been faithful & true since i was 10. Thanks for putting up with all my bike rides, obsessive checkups on snail mail [i was a dedicated pen pal back in the day] & loud music when playing basketball on the driveway.

thanks for it all, spokane... signing out.