Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Thing About LA

I have to say, I think moving to LA in your early 20s is probably one of the most invigorating, terrifying, daunting, anxiety-provoking, and absolutely incredible things you can do for yourself. Maybe it’s the same in every new city. I’m just happy I came here.

There’s something to the pulse of this city that fills you with a creative energy that shocks you and drives you. Maybe I’m just blessed to be around such beautiful, creative and self-assured people, but I think the city brings it out in all of us. There’s a reason that music and film and yoga thrive here. Los Angeles allows you a freedom to just exist that I never had in Seattle. Seattle is a city of goals and purpose, and that’s awesome, but it’s not what I need right now.

In my journey into exploring mindfulness, I don’t think I could have chosen a better place to relocate. Okay, a large part of it is the amazing people I have around me, but I still partially attribute that to the city. Here you’re allowed to throw yourself fully and completely into a hiking routine that may or may include yoga, and no one looks at you weird if you apologize for being late because you are at a meditation class. And when I expressed to a couple of my friends that I thought I might want to train in energy healing, their only question was can you be my personal healer when I’m a stressed out actor? I feel at liberty to try and fail at as many things as I need too, because it almost feels like that’s what everyone is doing. Everyone I see is an artist and knows you have to fail more times that you succeed.

Here’s to moving to my favorite part of the city in a couple of months and the growth and peace that that brings. Let it allow me to settle in mindfulness practice and a yoga routine, and help jumpstart me on the next little journey into what the city has in store for me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Hardest Part

       The best advice I've ever gotten from my friends and family is just to do what makes me happy. I know that is so ridiculously cliche, but honestly, it's the best thing you can do for yourself. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I happen to be one of those people who feels like a living, breathing conundrum. I know what makes me happy, but I also get unreasonably stressed about what I think I SHOULD be doing; what the "correct" steps are to get to my ultimate goal (like I even really know what that is yet...). Side note: is that the right use of a semi-colon? Rosi, help me out here. I love semi-colons, and I try to use them correctly, but it is somewhat difficult for my little brain. ANYWAY, conundrums. I get in this weird headspace whenever I'm going through a transition in my life, where a giant battle happens inside me between what really makes me happy and what I think I should be doing, OR what other people think I should be doing. 

If you want to get sociological about it, as I did in my Soc 101 class at Oxy, the reason I get so worked up and anxious about doing what makes me happy is because I tend to pick the path that it feels like no one else is walking. Humans are hard-wired to be "happiest" (or at least feel most comfortable) when they are in line with whatever their culture, community, what have you, is doing. If you really want to get into it, there is a documentary that I have a very intense love for, called Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality which discuses the ideas of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker. Its main premise is that the driving force behind pretty much all human thought and action is a subconscious fear of death. I won't get too into it, but if you want to know more I sincerely recommend the movie. I know the filmmakers, and it's superbly well done. My point is, your belief system is validated by your culture, religion, location, friend group, whatever. When your belief system and actions are validated, you feel safe, invincible, because even when you're gone, those beliefs and values will persevere via your collective.
You can argue that is absolutely great, and many do. I definitely, definitely see the good aspects of this. Our communities give us collective conscience and produce amazing energy, thoughts and actions (i.e. the nerdfighter community, YouTube, Tumblr, etc), BUT there are things to be said for allowing yourself to feel comfortable outside of the collective. It is absolutely terrifying but if you can manage it, it can be extremely rewarding. 

And that's what I mean about always trying to do what makes YOU happy. Going with what your culture expects can compromise entrepreneurship, creativity, and your own feeling of self-worth or self-esteem. 
In that same vein, I have been dealing with this quite a bit on my own journey through my early twenties, my schooling, and trying to find work that makes me feel good and like I'm contributing something. 
Since I left the college I started at straight out of high school, if I wasn't busy doing something I felt this immense weight and a constant distress underlying everything. The weird part was no one was really putting direct expectations on me. My parents are extremely supportive in everything I do and have always been the people to tell me that I need to do what makes me happy, and exploring and messing up is okay. I'm so grateful for that, which is why it felt weird that I was still so anxious about leaving school. When I was traveling I felt good because I value travel very highly, and I think the benefits of experiencing new cultures and places are irreplaceable, but anytime I was sitting still the anxiety washed over me. 
Then I decided I wanted to be in LA, and I decided I wanted to pursue some sort of animal science of vet-tech degree. This was great -- for a while. Moving down to LA was an amazing decision, and I don't regret it for an instant, but when I couldn't get into ANY vet-tech classes at a community college down here, I felt so lost. I was in a new city, living close to the school I was supposed to go to, which is on the opposite side of the city from all my friends and my boyfriend, and I didn't have a job or any classes. Goodbye, self-esteem. After freaking out for a good month, I did a lot of self-exploration as well as researching schooling and work options that I thought I would enjoy. I finally realized that what was stressing me out the most was that I had picked this direction (animal stuff) way too quickly, and although I love working with animals, and would do it gladly, I felt like I was restricting myself so much. I had decided I just wanted to do animal things, and my bachelor degree wasn't worth it anymore, and all this stuff. It was at that point, I realized my best option was to just do all my general education credits at community college and eventually transfer to a University and just get a degree is something I like. The weight that this took off of my shoulders was pretty shocking. I realized that I had felt the need to decide my career path and major and life plan and all of that, not because that was making me happy but because I felt like I NEEDED to. 
I had always assumed myself to be the type of person who needed a specific structure and a path outlined for me, but when I decided to let go of that and just let life happen and let school happen and figure it out as I'm going along, I was (and am) so much happier. It's scary not to be following the path that everyone expects, but it is making me a much more self-assured and creative person, and I couldn't be happier about it.

I don't know if I really have a clear conclusion here, and I'm sorry it's so long, but I think it's an exceptionally important subject to think about.

Have any of you ever had breakthroughs like this? Have there been times when you've felt really isolated because you decided to go a different direction that the people in your culture or community? Let me know, I'm curious about your stories :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Starting Over (A Project)

Be prepared for a freakin’ essay. I’m sorry.
For a long, long time I’ve been fascinated with the idea that our mental states, and the moods and attitudes that we project on the world around us influence the material world and the moods and attitudes of those around us. This may have been largely triggered by my honors English class’s study of Transcendentalism in 11th grade. There is a lot of Transcendentalism that goes beyond the ideas that I’m trying to work with right now, but one of its founding notions is that God is present and immanent in everything and everyone. In combating the wave of rationalism and Calvinism’s manifest destiny that was popular at the time, transcendentalists believed that religion and philosophy should be derived from people’s inner spirituality and consciousness. I’m not religious and never really have been, but I do believe that all humans and nature are spiritually connected. Whether or not you want to refer to that as God is up to you, but I would definitely consider it some sort of higher power. Within this belief that we are all connected to the world around us is the assumption then, that as our consciousness shifts, the world around us (even minutely) does the same. For instance, if you are consistently putting out bad energy to your friends, family co-workers, you’re going to be receiving that much more bad energy.
This philosophy that I adopted was solidified when someone explained the premise of the movie What the #$%^& Do We Know to me. This movie looks at Quantum Physics and how in science they are discovering that our consciousness actually affects MATTER. Physical, actual, real matter. You know how no matter is created or destroyed? Someone once told me to imagine it like a big infinity symbol. If your consciousness is negative, it’s effecting matter in a negative way. Boom, that enters the infinity symbol, cycling forever through the world until there’s enough positive energy to counter-balance it. For some reason whenever I felt like I was being a bad person, this metaphor drove me to start thinking more positively. It’s kind of magical.
My point here (I have a point, what??) is that thinking and acting positively as much as you possibly can, in every aspect of your life, can change the world.
Now onto what I was actually getting to:
Becoming friends with Kristina at the beginning of the last year of Five Awesome Girls was very interesting for our friendship and just as something for me to observe. I guess I could say this about coming into the Harry Potter fandom, and the world of YouTube, and Tumblr, and cons as well, but for now I’m going to focus on 5AG. In my young adulthood I have really tried to be someone who can be present in the moment constantly, and who does not focus on overthinking the future or past. It can be really, really, really hard sometimes. Maybe I met Kristina just at the right or time or maybe I was already getting there myself, but the message of Five Awesome Girls really hit home. The idea of just being able to put your emotions, worries, whatever aside, and to just be able to publically tell a bunch of people why you had an awesome day is brilliant. So simple, so easy, and so brilliant. I don’t know why, but until I found 5AG, the thought of keeping a journal or blog where my only obligation was to just write down one awesome thing from that day, had never occurred to me. It kind of blew my mind. But anyway, as 5AG drew to a close, I got surprisingly emotional. Not only because IT was ending, but because I felt like everyone had a little less motivation to think about something awesome in their day, every day. So long after they stopped making videos for the channel, the thought of somehow continuing that idea elsewhere has been hounding me.
If any of follow the stunning and lovely Rosianna on the YouTubez or the Twitterz, you probably know that she’s participating in this amazing project from Channel 4 called New Years Revolution. There are three different types and she’s doing the Try Something New challenge, but the whole thing is awesome. I don’t often keep up with daily vlogs, but I haven’t been able to stay away from Rosi’s videos because they make me so happy. Part of this is her incredible eloquence and insight that I could only ever dream of achieving, but these challenges definitely keep bringing me back. Every day the participant has to try something new or do something out of their comfort zone, and (well, in Rosi’s case because she’s making videos about it) reflect on the challenge. I’m just bringing this up because this is just another thing we can do to surround ourselves with positivity. Challenging yourself to try new things sounds scary, but if you look for what was interesting and fun, or what you learned, it will always be a positive experience. Rosi’s videos have reminded me that even though it’s seems comforting to stick to your routine; it creates more positivity to put yourself out there and try new things. This blog, for instance, is me putting myself out there and trying something new. I feel like I can express myself in writing better than most other media forms, but it’s still kind of terrifying putting yourself out there.
Last, but certainly not least, Kayley’s video about being kind was the icing on the cake for me finally spewing out this novel of a blog post. If you’re a Nerdfigher, take a moment to think about how lucky we are to be a part of a community where being kind to one another is so highly valued. A lot of communities don’t get that luxury. Being polite, saying please, thank you and sorry, opening doors for people or refraining from being rude if someone does something to annoy you can honestly turn your day around. Kayley was mostly focusing on kindness to strangers, and going out of your way to do nice things for people on a daily basis, which is of course extremely important, but it reminded me that there’s another place where people need to be really conscious of this. Nerdfighters are amazing, generous people, but I have seen people in this community be horrible to each other on the internet just the same. It’s hard because you’re not face-to-face with the people you’re arguing with, or whatever, but considering how big a part of our lives the internet has become, being kind here is just as important as being kind outside your house. So as she said, let’s all take a little extra time to go out of our way to be better people. Even if that just means trying to smile at people every day.
Basically my point is, we could all use a little more positivity in our day, and it feels good to be the one putting it out there. So I want to get back into this for real (I say that every time). I doubt I'll post every day, but I really will try to post as much as I can. Little nuggets of happy things.
If you read this whole thing, I commend you.

I would especially like to thank Kristina, Rosi and Kayley for giving me the ideas and motivation behind what I want this blog to be.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is my brain.

I am feeling blah and disjointed.
There is a question that people grapple with when they are young that, I am almost certain in most cases, people answer by the time they are my age. Not that I am old by any means, or really in a place to think I should have everything figured out; but that’s a whole other story.
This question is “who am I?” That quintessential search for your identity that carries you through your adolescence. Right now I can’t help but wonder if anybody ever really answers that question, and even why it is so important in our society. Part of me thinks a vast majority of the people around us just go around, clinging to their every day routine either thinking that IS who they are, or hoping that will distract them from trying to figure it out. And for the most part we can distract ourselves. I think with a few rare exceptions, most people have no freaking clue who they are. We know what we like, we know who we like, we know what makes us mad, but is that really all it takes to answer that question?
Unfortunately my brain does not like to let me get distracted. My brain’s number one goal seems to be to force this question upon me at least once a day. It isn’t always word for word “who are you?” or anything like that, but it always seems to find its way in. It can be in that hollow feeling after you go shopping, like what was the point? It hangs in the air every time someone asks me what I did this year, or what are my plans for next year? It sings me to sleep when I’m laying there thinking about what I did that day.
And honestly, there is probably no real way to even answer this looming question. So I guess my real dilemma comes from the fact that the things that make me feel like me are spread out all over the world. It’s like a fucking treasure map. I feel like me when I’m snuggled up on my couch in my house on Orcas Island. I feel like me whenever I’m there actually. But I also feel like me when I’m with my family in Tucson, and when I’m having Christmas dinner with my parents and my brother. I know myself when I’m traveling and meeting new people and wandering the streets of a city where I don’t speak the language, and can’t even pronounce their currency. I feel like me when I’m lying in the arms of a boy who loves me. I feel like me when I’m walking a dog, feeding a donkey, stroking a cheetah, or just rescuing a bird from inside the house. I feel at home stretched out in the sun, no matter where. I feel like myself anywhere with friends. I know who I am with my arms around my friends, screaming along to our favorite wizard rock songs, and running on stage to dance. I know who I am when we’re all up at 4 am in some hotel in some city, running between rooms with our drinks in our hands, and it’s all laughing and crying because we don’t get to be together all the time. Those are the times when I feel like I actually know who I am, and I know what really matters.
The rest of the time is just me trying to find my way to one of those things so I can feel like myself again. And I know life is what you make it, and everyone always says it’s about living in the moment. And I do my best to do that, I honestly do. But what DO you do in those in between moments? And what do you do when those in between moments aren’t a matter of minutes or hours, but they last days or weeks? You can try so many things, but sometimes you just won’t feel like yourself no matter what you do.
This is probably why big changes and transitions scare me so much. There’s always that feeling that you might lose a piece of what makes you feel like you. And that’s the worst feeling. This is something I’ve been working on with myself for a long time, and I’ve definitely gotten better, but it’s always scary to make big changes right? This year has been one constant, giant upheaval of changes for me. There’s been good and there’s been bad and all of it has been scary for me, but I guess I have to remember that some of those things that make me feel like me now didn’t start that way. They were scary to me at first too.
I don’t really have some big conclusion or epiphany, but just writing this down made me feel better. Not to mention, this is way too long already. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this. <3

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fear Is Crippling

“Tell me now, what was my fault in loving you with my whole heart?” – White Blank Page by Mumford & Sons

There seems to be a reoccurring lesson for me in everything I am doing right now, which I can only identify as the constant internal debate between “falling in love” with everyone in my life and with everything I do, and distributing my energy in neat little portions. Ever since I began to care about my sense of self, and undertaking the emotional journey that is self-discovery, I have dealt with this. For a long time I was numb to everything and everyone around me. I didn’t cry for like, four years. Then when I truly fell in love for the first time, I discovered again what it meant to really feel. The transition was 180 degrees. I felt everything in excess and I began to withdraw again. Since then I’ve kept an extremely close watch on what I give myself fully to and what I tend to withdraw from. I’ve always held in very fragile balance the will to stay committed to things that could end up hurting me.
What really got me thinking about this again was actually The Daily Coyote, which oh my god, everyone in the world needs to read. It is the memoir of Shreve Stockton, who goes from fast-paced city girl to small town Wyoming, girlfriend of a cattle rancher. I resonated with it in about a hundred ways. The book is a year of her journey after she is granted the care of an orphaned coyote pup. Shreve is incredibly insightful about herself, everyone and everything around her, as well as being extremely dedicated to everything in her life. When she made the choice to take the care of Charlie the coyote into her hands, she made that choice whole-heartedly. She spends the next year learning literally everything about him and growing to understand their relationship fully and completely. In the process she grows to understand herself and her other relationships more fully as well. She knows full well that he is a wild animal and their story could very well end unhappily, but she perseveres.
Today, Laura and I came back from the Tucson Reptile and Amphibian Expo (a story for another day, haha) to find that two of her horses were acting sick and colic-y. Both of them are doing okay now, but I sat and took note to how I was reacting to the situation. My first reaction was to want to stay in the house while the vet dealt with everything. I was scared that it would end badly and I’d have to deal with the heartbreak of my sister losing two of her horses. I was drowning in the worst-case scenario. I did go outside to watch everything, but I felt distant and disconnected. I didn’t want to care about the horses so it didn’t have to hurt me that they were hurting. But I sat and watched and forced myself to let worry in. I watched as they pumped Jazzpur’s stomach, and while he got a bloody nose from the tube that was up his nose, and down his throat. It honestly just left me in awe of people like my sister and Shreve Stockton that can give themselves so fully to loving and caring for a creature that really at any second could drop dead. It made me realize how not ready I am to make that commitment to an animal. Because if you’re not loving and caring for it 100%, you shouldn’t have it.
Shreve Stockton writes that living in the presence of animals holds you accountable for everything you do. Charlie relied on her to be the alpha or else he would turn aggressive. She couldn’t be half there for him. It forces you to understand all your motivations and every consequence, and most importantly, it forces you to be completely present. I learned this working with dogs over the summer, and Laura teaches this with equine assisted therapy. One of the most important lessons we can glean from spending time with animals is purely the ability to be completely present in everything we do. I would say all of human anxiety and depression comes from beating ourselves up about the past, or being overly concerned with outcomes, consequences or reactions that are coming in the future. When I freeze up and start to detach from feeling, it is always because I am remembering how something turned out before, or because I’m fabricating a negative outcome in my mind.
I’m excited and terrified for this year because I’m picking up and doing things that no one I know has done. I’m going to be doing them mostly alone, and all the people I love are going to be far, far away. I’m scared I won’t get what I want out of these trips, that the traveling will be stressful, that I’ll get sick, etc. The list goes on. But I also know that it’s these fears that will keep this year from being everything it can be, so I’m learning to let them go. I’m learning what it feels like to not be afraid of getting hurt. In this recent process of learning how to throw myself into things passionately and wholly, I have met more amazing people than in the rest of my life combined, and made the most amazing new friends, reconnected with old ones and revitalized relationships with current ones. I’ve learned not to judge myself for how I’m feeling, and to reserve judgment on other’s feelings. And mostly importantly, I learned to let myself cry again.
In the end, everything you felt, and anything you learned along the way make it completely worth it. So I resign to ask myself to feel everything and dedicate myself to my friendships, activities, relationships and emotions wholeheartedly, even when it’s scary as all hell. I was numb for long enough, and I know that even when it hurts, life is a way better deal when you let yourself live it. Like the quote at the beginning of this post (from the song that I named this blog after), there is no fault in loving something with your whole heart.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tucson, Part Three (September 21 – 22)

“I need freedom now, and I need to know how to live my life as it’s meant to be.” – Mumford & Sons
I’m starting to have anxiety dreams about my plans. I know everything that I want to will happen, and I know it’ll all come together soon, but right now things are so tentative. I probably won’t feel better until I have plane tickets booked and everything. For someone who hates following rules, I suck at not having a solid plan. We booked tickets for tour today at least though! Yay.
I’ve now had two full days of barn work with Laura. Mostly just getting the cleaning, feeding routine down, but she also took the time to work with me and a couple of the horses. One of the exercises she does with her patients is unstructured round pen work with a patient and a horse one on one. The round pen methods are really interesting because the guy that developed them based them off of actual horse herd behavior. Which only makes sense, but it’s still cool to put it in to action. If a baby horse is misbehaving the mother will actually scare him or her away from the herd and stand facing baby to keep them away. Being separated from the herd is extremely anxiety producing for a horse, and generally they will correct their behavior when invited back, as to not be sent away again. When the mother thinks the baby has learned their lesson, she will turn her shoulder towards the baby and not look them in the eye, which invites them back. In this round pen exercise you act the mother horse, facing the horse you’re working with full on. By putting “pressure” on the horse’s hindquarters (by swinging a rope wand or a lead rope), they will trot around in a circle. You keep yourself fully facing the horse, level with their back legs. This is a predator position so the horse will continue to do what you’re asking as long as you keep applying the “pressure.” When you’re ready, you put down the rope, and turn your shoulder to the horse and avert your eyes, as the mother would do. The horse should come and stand at your shoulder, walking with you when you walk. This exercise can open a lot of emotions. For someone dealing with emotional baggage a fraction of the size of most of the patients my sister works with, it still made me think about a lot of things.
First I worked with Bridget, who is 22 and I’ve known her as long as my sister has had her. She’s a huge sweetheart but extremely submissive. She’s the bottom of the totem pole in Laura’s herd. Chocolate Heart loves bossing her around and generally just being as mean to her as possible. In the round pen this really shows. She gets more worked up the longer you keep her running, and will come back to you immediately when you take off the pressure.
After working with her a while, I realized how much I enjoyed the feeling of pushing her even when she was getting worked up. Then when she came back in, and we were walking around the circle, she was crowding me because that’s how she felt comfortable, but it drove me crazy. It made me thinking about how stressed and irritable I can get when I’m not fully in control of a situation or my relationship with someone. I have been working on letting go of that need to control situations, but I can tell that I’ve been burying a lot of that stress. Had the same experience with Rusty, who I definitely have the most connection to of all Laura’s horses. His energy just really clicks with me, but he is stubborn as all hell. Maybe that’s why I like him so much (har har). He is a horse, that if he doesn’t want to move, he will not move no matter what you try. I got him to go around the pen a couple of times, but every time he would come back to the same spot, stop and face me. Not in a challenging way, but just enough to hide his back legs from me. Smart horse. Then when I tried to get him to change directions, he just wouldn’t have it. So I kept him going in the same direction. The compromise felt awkward and wrong. Shouldn’t he be doing what I’m telling him to? I finally had him come back in, but I was frustrated with him. After realizing there is no right or wrong in that exercise, I started to feel like that had been a good compromise. Rusty is old and stubborn and maybe that is just something I have to accept. I’m getting better at compromising and letting situations go when they don’t go my way, but Rusty definitely helped me realize how deep-seated that need for control is in me.
Today I took him in to the round pen again, and he wouldn’t even budge. I got him to move maybe 5 steps at one point. When I told Laura, she just laughed and said that’s pretty good for Rusty. Definitely made me think about the importance of understanding every part of someone and their motivations before assuming anything about your relationship to them. That second time though, I didn’t take it personally, which I think is a step.
This is going to sound super emo, but I’ve been thinking about loneliness a lot. Or at least the feeling of being alone for a long time. I don’t know if I’m lonely right now. I went from college dorm life, to work and a relationship all summer, to being alone. A lot. I know I’m freakishly extroverted, but I think I was using my social life to get away from thinking about my feelings and myself. So it’s kind of depressing being alone all the time in a relatively unfamiliar place. But not because I feel really lonely; it’s because I’m basically being forced into all this self-reflection that I’ve been hiding from since some time in my senior year of high school. I’m certain that it’s good for me though, so I’m trying not to push it away. This disconnection from the internet, college life, constantly calling people to hang out is definitively necessary for me right now. So cheers! Here’s to accepting being alone even when all I want is to be surrounded by my friends right now.
Current song: Re: Stacks – Bon Iver
Last meal: CHIPOTLE
Currently reading: The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tucson, Days Two, Three and Four (September 18 -20)

The bed in my sister’s guesthouse is SO COMFORTABLE. I sleep so well here.
So my sister has somewhat of a rattlesnake problem on her property. It’s been an ongoing issue, and they seem to still just love it here. I’d never been here when she found one, until this morning! She caught it and put it in an empty cooler and we took it about two and half miles away, where she released it. It was way smaller than I was expecting, must have been pretty young. That was pretty cool. He slithered like 2 feet away and proceeded to wind himself into a bush and just hang out there. Laura (my sister) thinks she’s relocated him before and he found his way back. I guess snakes can find their way home from pretty far away, so let’s keep our fingers crossed he stays where he is.
Other than that, I just read a bunch and went to dinner with my brother, dad and nephew. My nephew is a FRESHMAN in high school, I feel so old.
Saw the movie Town with Laura and her friend Gene. It was pretty slow, very character and dialogue driven. It was pretty good, but The Departed was way better (it’s by the same people).
I also picked up my old car that was being shipped down, and the back of it was facing the front, if that makes any sense. On one of those big 12-car rigs. It is COVERED in bugs. So gross. Need a carwash.
The days are already starting to blur together a little.. yikes. This is what happens when I don’t have a lot of structure in my life. I spent Sunday with my family. Well, in their pool. The pool is a necessity when it’s over 100 degrees, so that was great. I watched the premiere of Boardwalk Empire in the evening, which is enjoyed even though it was super confusing. There are definitely not enough period pieces like that on the air. I hope it’s as accurate as it looks.
Today, I got up at the lovely hour of 6:15 to head in to work with Laura. I forgot how short the summers are here. It’s crazy how just this much of a difference in latitude is so noticeable.
Getting to the barn at Cottonwood, I was immediately reminded of how long it’s been since I’ve worked with horses. I can’t even remember the last time I had to muck a stall. But Laura put me to work right away and it all came back quickly enough. I also remembered how much horses do actually scare me. That being said, I feel a lot more comfortable even after just a couple of hours of work today. I am very excited to see how I feel after two weeks.
My sister’s horse Rusty and I had an immediate connection. He did one of my favorite horse things, which is when you put your hand out, they don’t wait for you to scratch their head they just go ahead and start bouncing their head up and down against your hand. He makes me giggle. Laura gave me the tour and then took me to fill out all of the confidentially forms, etc. that come with working at a rehab and treatment facility. They also made me get a TB test. Ouch. On the bright side, I got an official intern badge that I get to wear around!
Right now I’m sitting in a Starbucks near my sister’s house, on the Wif, researching trip and volunteer stuff I can do in November and February. It’s funny as much as I try to look in to other type of project besides, animal or nature-related ones, I’m just not as interested. I like the idea of teaching English to kindergartners in Indonesia, but I’d rather clean a monkey enclosure… All of the possible trips I’ve found are SO COOL. The one I really want to do is working at a lion rehabilitation and conservation center in Victoria Falls, either on the Zambia or Zibabawe side, I’m a little fuzzy on which. There are other wildlife rehab places in Namibia that look amazing as well, so we’ll see. It would be a dream come true to cuddle a baby cheetah or walk a lion. I mean, seriously, who gets to do this stuff?
The other trip I’m looking at is working on a fair trade coffee farm in Nicaragua. I love fair trade movement and it would be so cool to be involved at, literally, the ground level. Will update on what I decide to do! So excited!