Sunday, August 17, 2014


I have been so much better in the past about keeping a regular blog schedule. At least two posts a week, like clockwork. 
But here I am, on the brink of a new semester, and it has been almost a month since I last wrote for A Very Lucky Girl. 
I haven't stopped writing. I still journal regularly. I have written and rewritten essays for the Fulbright application. I write emails daily. I still find myself when I arrange words into coherent sentences, art in strings of black and white.
I started to blog about my Florida trip and began constructing a back to school post in my head. 
But neither one seemed to grow me as a writer. I don't see the point of A Very Lucky Girl if I'm not challenging myself. 
Someone asked me yesterday if I ever wrote stories. Fiction. I had to say no. I've never even touched the genre with my own words. I devour it when I read, it's my favorite type of book, aside from the travel memoir, which is rapidly escalating in my word-hungry eyes. 
I've been pondering why I've never written any fiction ever since. I think I stick as close to reality as I can in my posts and journaling because my imagination is such a personal place. I'm terrified to reveal it to anyone else. 
I have a new respect for fiction writers. And I think it's a genre worth exploring for A Very Lucky Girl. It's a challenge, if nothing else. 
God knows I don't shy away from a challenge. Tomorrow I dive into my final semester and will remain submerged beneath a pile of books, 18 hours of class, Skype tutoring to English students in Brazil, and a peer teaching assistant position until I surface for air and graduation in December. If I save money adequately and stick to a strict diet of Ramen, I will reward myself with a few weeks in Europe before starting real life in 2015. 
I'm not going to promise a set number of blog posts. I can't promise I will blog at all this semester. But I swear to remain A Very Lucky Girl. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Highfive for Words That Come Easily

I met you. I remember standing in a circle, memorizing names. Then came a party that evening. You stood out to me a bit. Maybe I think that now, looking back on what transpired later, but I do think I noticed you immediately. Weeks went by. 
We would pass each other, chat, and see each other at parties. Nothing special. Nothing out of the ordinary. 
I remember walking home in the pouring rain. I met you in the elevator on your way down. I looked like a drowned rat. You took one look and laughed your infectious laugh. 
I remember the pink shirt you wore at a party. We leaned against the open window and you tried my girly drink, while lamenting my lack of Beatles music knowledge. I started crushing on your piercing blue eyes. 
I specifically remember the night I knew I was in trouble when it came to you. 
I went to a movie night. I ended up sitting next to you. Not too close. But close enough. 
Close enough that every time we touched on accident I caught my breath and had to remind myself to calm down. 
I remember messaging later. It was the beginning of something. I just didn't know the ending yet. 
I remember talking about party costume ideas. You wanted to be a teenage mutant ninja turtle. You wanted me to be the weird rat sensei, tempting me by saying I would get to order you around. I wondered if you would kiss me if I told you to. I wondered if you would kiss me if I told you not to.  
We danced that night. I didn't want to stop. 
I knew I was playing with fire, that I might get burned, but I couldn't resist you. It wasn't just physical, although that was a significant part of it. 
I was attracted to your humor, your athleticism, your confidence, and your total persona. 
You nearly had me before you left for a while. I remember hugging you tightly to make up for the fact that I wasn't going to kiss you. 
You tried to convince me otherwise, telling me it's what we wanted and that time away wouldn't change it. 
You were right.
We talked almost daily while we were away. 
We both drunkenly and soberly acknowledged the tension in our relationship. 
I told you things I don't tell many people. 
We returned and I continued to reject your physical advances. 
I didn't want regrets. Especially about someone who had become so special to me. 
But you mentioned I might regret pushing away this experience. 
And once again, you were right. 
I don't remember the exact date, but, eventually, one late night, near four in the morning, we kissed in the stairwell. 
And maybe it's the way you speak or maybe its the way I had thought about it for so long or maybe its because it was just you, but no matter what it was, I deem it one of the best kisses of my life. 
All of the rest after with you were just as good. 
I was blissfully happy. 
I will always think of our last week together fondly. 
That's what made it so hard. Because there was a last week, but there wasn't any closure. We didn't break up, because there wasn't anything to officially break, nor were there any fights. 
We were separated. Life goes on. 
I remember our beginning and I hope we haven't hit our ending yet. I know I will see you again someday. And when someday comes maybe we'll kiss, maybe we won't, but I will always treasure our days together. 
You tell me things I definitely don't want to hear, but that I need to hear. The mark of a true friend. You've seen me cry at 3 AM. I hope I have helped you as much as you have helped me. 
You are a one of a kind man. Strikingly sensitive, your depth might surprise people. Fun-loving and fatally attractive, you have brought so much light to my life. I'm so glad you were born. And I'm A Very Lucky Girl to have met you. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Words Under Pressure

Words are weird. I can sit down and type out strings of words that mean something to me in record time. I trip over my fingers because those words have been inside me for so long and I'm anxious to spill my feelings in a tangible, manageable, form.
But when I notice I haven't blogged in a while and it's time for a new post I am often stumped. Not because my blog posts are meaningless (although I did write about you be the judge), but because I'm nervous to share all of me with all of you (John Legend reference YES). Maybe you won't like what I have to say. Maybe you will criticize it. Maybe you'll think differently of me.
Writing is risky. Writing is permanent. I need only to scroll back on my own blog to find posts with words I wouldn't write now. My words are permanent outward expressions of a constantly changing person.
The words I'm currently most worried about are my two essays for the Fulbright ETA funding. I need to write a personal statement and a statement of grant purpose. This is the one time I wish I had a longer page quota to fill. Each can only be one page SINGLE SPACED. I have to give the decision committee enough information in those two single sheets of paper for them to decide I'm a good candidate for the program.
Those words are my first and only impression.
A Very Lucky Girl has to find some grant worthy words STAT. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

723 Does a Puzzle

I love my share of the little grey house on Brooks Street. Kirsten hasn't moved in yet, but I am eagerly awaiting her arrival, desperate for the sounds of an actual full house. The empty room by the front door is a constant reminder that we are not yet complete. But Kylie and I have had a blast as roommates for the past two months!
Many many laughs have been had, so much so that I've begun thinking I need to start a monthly installment of a post titled "conversations in the little grey house on Brooks Street."
We've discussed pizza and breadsticks at great length. We've lamented the shoddiness of our oven and the over-alert-ness of our smoke detector. Whichever it is, whenever the oven is opened to take out food, it must be aggressively fanned to prevent the screeching of the alarm. We have learned and often warn each other when removing meals.
We've spent time arranging the word magnets on our fridge into inappropriate phrases, fitting for a 22 year old and an almost 21 year old. We still don't have a couch in our living room, but there is a painted bookcase and a few boxes. So very homey.
I've met our neighbors across the street and they are some of the sweetest people ever. The husband helped me move in a chest of drawers one afternoon, which is when I learned his wife (Jana?Janet?He spoke so fast!) was also an English major. I met her a few weeks later when she was out gardening and she assured me she is gainfully employed and always has been. It gives me hope! I also met their swoon-worthy son..
A few nights ago I sat on the front porch, wrapped in my sleeping bag since we still don't have furniture out there yet, and watched the torrential downpour. I can't determine whether I love our back deck or our front porch more...both are perfection in their own ways, in different kinds of weather. I lay on the back deck and soak up the rays often. But on this particular evening, I saw our neighbors across the street from the porch and we exchanged pleasantries. He mentioned his wife had just made dinner and asked if I would like some roasted quinoa and vegetables. Up until this point in my life, I had never tasted quinoa. But when the neighbor with the attractive son offers you free food YOU DON'T SAY NO. So I apprehensively said yes. He brought a dish over to me and commented on my book choice, remembering the title and author to tell his word loving wife.
And my verdict on quinoa? Not bad!
I've decorated my room with a few of my favorite things: namely people, places, and Thunder colors. I painted my dresser Scotland blue and attached orange knobs, a tribute to my main man, KD. I found a perfect set of drawers at Hobby Lobby, marked down from an astronomical price, and made an impulse buy. Each drawer is painted a different country flag from all over the world. I love that I've been to 6 out of the 10 places. My room is an escape. I can look at one of the many postcards and pictures plastered all over the walls and be transported to a different time in my life. A time when I was spending money, not saving it. A time when I was talking with my friends in a flat in Dundee, not snatching a few moments to Facetime or Skype. A time when I was constantly planning my next adventure. And the giant Scotland flag above my bed is definitely  a conversation starter, if nothing else!
I love evenings within the little grey house the best. Gibby is home from work, I am just walking in from a shift at Sam's, usually dramatically dropping my vest on the nearest surface, and we sit at the kitchen table (because, remember, there's nowhere else to sit). Sometimes we talk, sometimes we blare music, sometimes we drink, sometimes we snapchat, and sometimes we do all of the above, PLUS put together a puzzle. 
I roped Gibby into completing an "impossipuzzle" with me, so named because it's just an image of cupcakes in rows and it's incredibly hard to put together. We struggled to piece it together, throwing puzzle pieces to the side in fits of "dammit I've tried that one there 8 times, take it away from me!" 
And I marveled at how often it looked like a puzzle piece might almost fit. It had all of the characteristics of the one next to it. But the shape was slightly skewed, just good enough to look right from a distance, but not good enough to be perfect. 
My life is like that puzzle. I try to fit the pieces together and sometimes they look right at first. They might even look right for a long time. But then I look again and see the edges don't quite line up. That piece belongs in my life, but it might not belong where I originally thought it did. As the pieces rearrange and come together, I see more clearly what my life is beginning to look like. And A Very Lucky Girl is happy with the picture. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Crazy Would Be Changing My Mind

I danced around my home yesterday morning, torn between laughing hysterically and crying of pure joy. 
The direction of my life was so fantastically validated. 
When I first started researching the Internet for information regarding teaching English as a second language, I signed up for emails from a job listings site. Just for kicks. I felt sure I would regret the enormous influx of spam, but instead I found something wonderful. 
One morning, when I was taking that damn Ancient Art of War in June, I scrolled through the options of the day in my email and found a listing for online volunteers needed for a program in Rio de Janeiro. 
Considering I have high hopes and crossed fingers to get into the Fulbright program, destination Brazil, I jumped at the chance to become more involved in this pursuit. 
I sent the woman my resume and a short blurb about me and why I was interested. 
She responded quickly and set up a Skype chat with me for Thursday, July 10. Because it is a volunteer opportunity and not an actual job, I was hopeful, but not particularly positive about my chances, considering I have zero experience teaching anyone how to speak English. Unless you count my grammar Nazi tendencies. 
Thursday morning found me sitting in front of my laptop almost 20 minutes before our scheduled meeting, showered, made up, and clothed in a dress, cardigan, and even heels. Our 11 AM time came and went and, even though I anxiously refreshed Skype, a request never came in. I emailed my contact to inquire and she was very apologetic about her Internet connection issues and suggested we try again Friday morning. This time at 8:30 AM. I readily agreed, but went to bed with lowered expectations of receiving the opportunity to volunteer. 
Friday morning found me sitting in front of my laptop about 5 minutes before our scheduled meeting, unshowered, barefoot, still wearing Thursday night's mascara, and clothed in pajama bottoms, tank top and sports bra, with a cardigan thrown over the entire ensemble. I hope all of my interviews are of the Skype variety from now on. 
We had a lovely half an hour conversation and she filled me in on the program. I still have limited knowledge, but the organization is called EnglishWorks and is made up of eight "learning squares" in Rio. Each class is made up of about 30 people, of varying ages from 14-80 and the students have a live teacher, an online teacher, and then us, the volunteer tutors who hail from all over the world with varying levels of expertise. Some of them are professionals and here I am, a lowly university student...
But, miracle of miracles, she assigned me a class. Which led to the dancing/laughing/crying fest on Friday morning following the Skype call. I immediately told Sam's Club (my new place of employment) that I would have limited availability on Fridays due to my new commitment from 6-6:30 PM Rio time (aka 4-4:30 PM). 
I received an email with information regarding my class, including the teachers' Skype contacts and and an invitation to the EnglishWorks Volunteers Facebook group. This is happening. And I couldn't be A Very Luckier Girl. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Talk Tinder To Me

There's been an app floating around for probably a year or two now called Tinder. If you aren't familiar, I'll try to explain the basis for how it works. All users sign up through their Facebook account and the app reveals several profile pictures, the first name and age of the user, and their interests. Everything you've liked since you first signed up for Facebook in 2008 will appear on Tinder, including "Eating" and "Mama Mia." I do thoroughly enjoy both things, but I usually don't let strangers know right off the bat. On Tinder, I didn't have a choice.
The language of my phone is currently in Portuguese, so I was even more at a disadvantage with how to navigate this new app. I eventually figured out how to set my preferences, and opted for people within 10 miles of me of the ages 21 to 25. If they couldn't buy me a drink they were automatically out of the running. 
I added two more pictures to my profile, each user is allowed six, and wrote a few sentences in my "about Taylor" section.
"Self proclaimed Tinder cynic. This seemed like a good idea after two drinks. Now I'm not so sure." 
After my preferences and profile were set, I could start swiping right or left. Profiles appear on the main page of Tinder with the option to either swipe right or left to indicate my interest. If I swiped right, I was interested enough to possibly match, but if I swiped left I would never see their profile again. If the other person swiped right on me as well, then we could talk in the messages section of Tinder. Sometimes they would have already swiped right on me and when I did the same, Tinder would exclaim "it's a match!" Essentially, before a guy could approach me, I had to have swiped right on him also. 
It's a fairly shallow system, based completely on first appearances. It's impossible to fit your personality in the "about me" section of the profile and the guys who even attempted it looked to be trying far too hard.
I was incredibly picky in my swiping rights, sending guys who featured selfies, obnoxiously large group photos, and gaggles of girls over to the left.
But first, I'm sure several of you are clamoring to know why I was even on the app in the first place. I've been severely critical of it in the past, but after a few four dollar frozens on Thursday night and some encouragement from Samm, I decided to chance it. I went in with zero expectations. In fact, I expected all of the dudes to be sleazy and strange. The entertainment factor was the biggest draw, and as the matches began and the weirdness started, I resolved to stay for a week, screenshot all of the craziness, and then write about it. I also reached out to friends who I knew were on Tinder at one time or another to get their opinions and screenshots. 
And to protect the guys, because they had no idea of the screenshots I was taking and I do kinda have a conscience, all names and pictures have been removed.
I'm old-fashioned when it comes to approaching strange guys on the Internet, so I only initiated one conversation. This particular gentleman's profile mentioned he was from the UK so my Dundee-lovin' self immediately messaged him, apologizing for my forwardness and inquiring as to where he was from exactly. I was increasingly disappointed as he revealed his English roots and completely butchered the spelling of "Edinburgh."
Throughout my short lived (thankfully) journey on Tinder, I found there are at least five different type of guy that girls discover through indiscriminate swiping. **Note** I cannot speak for a guy's experience on Tinder though I would love to hear feedback!
1. The Guy Who Doesn't Online Date But Yet is Still on Tinder 
He never made good on the coffee thing. 
2. The Guy who Overuses Emojis or Pet Names and Sometimes Both

3. The Guy with an Animal as His Only Photo
*swipes left*
4. The Guy Who Uses Humor in his Favor

"If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything. Like swipe right on Tinder"-Marilyn Monroe
5. And Finally, the Guy Who Thinks He has Lines, But Really You're Just Thinking WTF

I did run into some fairly decent guys during my experiment, probably using the app as pure entertainment, just like me. There was even one guy who boldly called me out on my presence:
Kudos to him for making me confess the truth. 
It hasn't even been a week yet and I'm already 1000% done with the whole thing. I don't like judging people purely on their appearance and I don't like being approached lewdly. Sure, it's not an all-bad app, but in my experience the good didn't outweigh the bad. Plus, I just got the reading lists for my six English classes in the fall and, unless it's a male character in a book, I will have zero time for boys. 
Thanks for the laughs Tinder, but three days was plenty for A Very Lucky Girl.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Liebster Award: Feelin' 22 Edition

I have done one of these blogging interaction awards before, but when my friend Amber, of Clearly Alive, nominated me last week I couldn't say no to a fellow Addison's fighter. And since today, July 1, is my day of birth it is socially acceptable to make it all about me for 24 hours. 
Amber is a pretty cool person from what I've garnered from our conversations on social media. I first "met" her in an Addison's Disease Support Group on Facebook. She is currently working in Malaysia and her lifestyle there is encouraging when it comes to me wanting to pursue my own career abroad. 
Her 11 questions for me:
1. How did you decide on the name for your blog?
This one is easy. I explained it in my inaugural post more than two years ago #timeflieswhenyourblogisfun
2. What is your funniest "brain fog" story? 
That time I couldn't even remember a "brain fog" story. AKA now. 
3. Cats or Dogs? 
DOGS. One in particular, my sister, my boo-thang, the love of my life, Beignet. I'm convinced she is going to live forever because I cannot comprehend a world without her. 


4. Favorite piece of advice ever received?
"Don't be afraid to give up the good and go for the great."-Steve Prefontaine. Shoutout to Pinterest and Nat for sending me that gem. Sometimes "good" is comfortable and familiar, but, to me, the chance for "great" is worth risking "good." 
5. Dumbest piece of advice ever received?
Time heals all things. LOL K.
6. Share one of your favorite pictures from your traveling adventures?
Just one!?! FINE. I took this one on the Isle of Skye during my Highlands trip at the end of March. Scotland will always have a home in my heart and I am proud of this trip in particular. There was a lot of strife in my romantic relationship at the time and I used this weekend to disconnect from Wifi and focus a lot on what I was thinking and feeling. I also went on this trip alone. I didn't know a single person on the bus until I got on and met them all. And now they will always have a place to stay America, and I know I could crash their countries as well. I remember being in awe the entire weekend, both of the Scottish landscapes and the strides I've made in turning strangers into friends. 
7. What keeps you going when times get insanely tough?
Thinking about where I came from and where I plan on going. I don't have power over my past, but I have power over my future. 
8. Favorite ice cream flavour?
Chocolate chip cookie dough. All of the rest are kind of mediocre. 
9. Sunrise or sunset?
This question made me laugh because I had just discussed it with my friend Nim a few days ago! 
Told you. But to answer the question, I definitely prefer sunsets. Especially since I don't have to wake up early to appreciate their glory. 
10. Quick! Describe yourself in only four words!
A Very Lucky Girl. I hope y'all saw that one coming. 
11. And in conclusion, please share one picture of yourself that you believe captures your personality. 
I know my friends have hundreds of screenshots from snapchat that they feel capture my true self. But I'm torn between two photographs: one that Gibby took and one that LDL took. I remember both of these days so vividly, and though neither one of these are particularly attractive, I distinctly remember how happy I was. 
We are standing in the courtyard of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on our backpacking trip. I have my phone in my hand, because I am a self-diagnosed social media addict and I have my sweatshirt tied around my waist because I'm not afraid to look like a geek. My hair is in a messy bun because it is hot as Hades and I'm guzzling the water in my left hand. As for my facial expression? My guess is I was posing for the pope/LDL has just said something sassy.
This was taken in the gardens of Glamis Castle, one of my favorite excursions with the Dundee exchange group, with just a few days left in my Scotland adventure. Gibby has just put that purple flower in my hair and I remember being elated to just exist with those people in that place at that time. I'm not sure they could say the same since they had to put up with this face all day ;)

Thank you for the questions, Amber. I'm excited for what this year of 22 holds for me. 21 taught me a lot and I can't wait to learn from 22. First lesson: how does one dress like a hipster? A Very Lucky Girl might be too mainstream for what the TSwift song requires of me.