Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hope for Humanity

Fact: A lot of goodness remains in the world. You just have to be open to seeing it in different places.

On Saturday I stood outside the main entrance to the store I work at with a cooler full of mini ice cream cups, a couple hundred scratch tickets, and the hope that some people would donate a dollar to a good cause, if only to be rewarded for their contribution. And to be honest, I was surprised. A good portion of the donations (and by that, I mean at least a third) were made without taking the ice cream. A handful left their tickets behind, too. Many people donated more than a dollar. One woman got a single dollar back in cash with her debit purchase to donate. All for kids with cancer.

Now, of course there were a handful of grumpy bastards who grunted at me or waved me off, and a few suburban housewives who were too good to speak to a peon like myself, but what really got to me were the number of kids pleading with their parents to donate more than a dollar, and then not even take the ice cream (or take it, but get Johnny's favorite kind instead). They just wanted to help other kids.

We could really learn a lot from children, you know? They see things so differently than we do as adults, and they haven't been tainted by the negative parts of society. Their world is much simpler, where people are good and we should all help and love one another. And that's really what we should all be doing... we should all be doing what we can to help each other live happy, healthy lives. How could anyone not donate to the Jimmy Fund? These kids, without your donations to pay for their treatments, will never get to experience any of the things you and I have experienced in our lifetimes. They're just innocent little babies, and if you and I are able to help them, then it's our responsibility as considerate and caring human beings to do so, one dollar at a time.

Saturday was a huge success for our Jimmy Fund program. More importantly, though, talking to people and taking their donations for such a wonderful cause was a wonderful reminder that there really is still a lot of goodness left in this world. I have hope for humanity. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting Back In Shape. UGGGHHH

I'm trying this new being healthy thing. HA.

But seriously, apart from last night's Taco Bell binge (let's not talk about it), I've been trying really hard to eat right and go to the gym. Now, if you know me even a little bit, you could probably guess that I actually HATE going to the gym because it's so boring. Plus I completely lack motivation. This time around, though, I've set a couple of goals. The most immediate goals: general overall improvement of health, and a rockin' beach bod. By August I'd like to successfully complete a 5k obstacle course, and then we'll see where I am.

Tonight I had a brilliant idea: kettlebell. So I went to a kettlebell class with my mom and her friend... now, first of all, they're hilarious. I think I spent more time laughing at them than I did paying attention to the instructor. Secondly, I never expected to do that many squats in 45 minutes. EVER. Now take about 78765757708766 squats and do them while lifting a weight, even if it's only 10 pounds, into various positions. Eeeuugghhh. It actually wasn't all that bad, except for the fact that my knees are garbage and my dumb ass decided to run a mile and a half in straight "Level 3 Cardio" mode on the elliptical and power walk/jog another half mile or so on a treadmill before taking the class. Even still, I don't think the class itself is enough of a workout, so a little time on a treadmill or elliptical is probably a good idea in order to maximize the effect.

It was an overall good gym experience tonight, but there's still a long road ahead. Eyes on the prize, right?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If You Asked Me Six Months Ago...

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS HONEST BUT OCCASIONALLY VULGAR LANGUAGE. If you asked me six months ago where I thought I'd be in life right now, I'd have told you this:
"For starters, I will be weeks away from graduating from college with a degree in communications. I will be on the hunt for a job that doesn't involve a purple button-down or a yellow polo, and certainly doesn't require me to wear an apron. I will still be with the love of my life, and we'll be looking for a place together. My health will finally be under control and my life will no longer be controlled by my headaches. I will be well on my way to being a successful adult, and with everything finally in order, I will be happy."

But life's a bitch and that's not how things worked out.

See, over the last six months, the following have happened:
I got hit by a car; my migraines changed and got worse; I left the study abroad program and returned to the good ol' US of A early; the "love of my life" and I had a shitty breakup and haven't spoken since; I found out about some things I wish I didn't and it ruined my opinion of and relationship with some people; Richmond wouldn't allow me to finish my classes at URI (therefore losing 10 of last semester's credits); I was forced to take a medical leave from school for this semester; I've been struggling with my health; I changed stores and positions to eliminate stress and ended up gaining it in other areas; I entered a new relationship and realized rather quickly that it was not for me; I lost one of my closest friends.

Just for starters.

Naturally, then, you can see why I'd be a little frustrated and discouraged about my current state of being. I should be graduating right now, not slaving away at a job that hardly pays the bills. I should be in a healthy relationship with someone who loves me, not choosing to be single because I'm bitter for having been fucked over and then later fucking up something else because I'm too fucked in the head. I shouldn't be concerned about my health and swallowing a handful of pills before bed every night, with the hope that maybe someday I won't feel so shitty. Every morning when I wake up I make a conscious effort to smile and I choose to have a positive attitude, but you know, it's really fucking hard sometimes. When it comes down to it, life really isn't that bad - and it's certainly better than the lives of many around the world - but it's frustrating and discouraging to think of where I should be in relation to where I am, especially when I see other people graduating and getting married and having babies and doing all those sorts of things. That's not to say I want to be married and having children right now, 'cause I think I'd rather have my eyes pecked out by seagulls, but the point is that I'd really like to just go for a while without any major hurdles.

So here's the new plan: let's just go with the flow. So what if I have to graduate on time? As it turns out, I am human. And I've decided that I'm definitely going to go to some sort of culinary school for baking and pastry. We'll see what happens with work. Maybe I'll become less bitter about men and allow myself to fall in love again. Who knows? Life has a funny way of working itself out; from past experiences, I've learned that though life may throw us curveballs and we often find ourselves discouraged or disappointed because we're not where we thought we'd be, but after all is said and done, everything turns out better than we planned.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" - Helen Keller

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Rant About The World

Sometimes the world really makes me sad, and the last few days I've had a really heavy heart and soul. Maybe part of it is the dreary weather and the stress at work, but I know that at least part of it has to do with the things I've seen. I've witnessed far too many people being flat-out horrible recently, and it bothers me.

We know the name of the vagrant who hangs out in the plaza begging for money and spending it on lottery tickets, but there really is not a need to make a Facebook profile for him. He's a human being, too, no matter how seldom he bathes or what sort of nonsense he yells in your general direction as you cross the parking lot, and he should be treated like one. The same goes for the elderly man in the mart cart who may come off as kind of a jerk, beeping at you to move out of his way and beckoning for assistance for the most asinine things. He might be a little rough around the edges, but he's still human, just like you and I. It's vitally important to see everyone as an equal, whether they're a vagrant or a grumpy old man or even a mentally challenged person in need of assistance. Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and it truly bothers me when I see someone whose fundamental rights as a person are being violated.

In a similar way, the current state of being for the majority of the world is horrifying to me. You should never have to worry going to bed at night that when you wake up in the morning, your world could be turned completely upside-down. The people of Japan are still identifying the bodies of lost loved ones in bowling allies and moving buried bodies from mass graves to crematories for a proper ceremony. The fact that these people even have to go through this because of a natural disaster is awful, but can you imagine how you would feel if one of your loved ones was killed and buried seven or eight deep in a grave made to hold a couple thousand bodies? I can't. As if that's not enough, what about Libya? Egypt? The Middle East? Many of the things that you and I take for granted are so frequently luxuries to people in other parts of the world, and to me, that's difficult to swallow.

I really just find the current state of the world appalling, particularly in the way in which people have seemingly lost the value of human life. It's unreal to me that most people can't understand that everyone deserves to be treated equally and with the utmost respect. Vagrants, grumpy old men, criminals, people with special needs, and people from all other walks of life are just like you and I, and that's the most important thing to remember.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It all really comes back to the simple pleasures in life, doesn't it?

It's currently snowing. Now, generally, I hate snow; it's only pretty until the plows come by, it causes accidents, and it has to be shoveled. But today... today I'm excited for the snow, not because I get a day off from school or work, and not because I plan to build a snowman (because neither is true), but because Nor'Easters are part of a New England winter.

Think back to when you were a kid - in elementary school, say - and remember how excited you got when you heard the weather man predict snow in Friday's forecast. Remember how you felt like it was a gift from above because you had a big test that day, or how happy you were to be able to stay home and play in the fluffy white stuff with your siblings. A snow day meant sleeping in a little bit, bundling up in layers, and dragging your pink plastic sled up a nearby hill. The layers kept you warm as you hurled snowballs at your sister and as you slid down the slippery slope into a pile of freshly fallen snow. You'd come in from a couple hours of frolicking in the snow with slightly frostbitten fingers only to find a cup of hot chocolate waiting for you. Man, those were the days.

As time passed and you grew up a bit, snow in the forecast translated to extra homework to make up for the inevitable day off from school and a shovel with your name on it. It meant a longer shift at work the day before the storm, and an extra bag of rock salt in the front hall. And you know, that's a part of growing up and accepting adult responsibilities, but there's no reason you can't still enjoy a snowy day. After all, this IS New England and we all know the roads won't be passable until at least 2pm. So sleep in a bit. Stay in your comfy clothes and watch a movie. Start a snowball fight. Spike your hot cocoa. Just don't let the impending storm keep you from enjoying a beautiful part of a New England winter.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's been two weeks since I walked off the plane in London. I can't believe two weeks have gone by so quickly. It seems ridiculous that in the last two weeks, I've done so many things and yet I still missed a ton more (due to migraines, as usual.). I've experienced an Italian hospital. I've gone for drinks at bars in two different countries. I drank cheap Italian wine. I've seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I've walked the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. I ordered food correctly in Italian, a language I had never even attempted to speak until just a couple weeks ago. I shopped in an Italian supermarket and didn't end up with anything weird. Tomorrow I have my speaking and listening final for my Italian class. It blows my mind that I've done a semester's worth of work in two weeks. Saturday I have my written exam and then I hop on a bus to Florence, where I will take up residency for the next three and a half months.

I'm not sure what is the most exciting part of all of this. I think it could be that I'm going to be a legitimate resident of another country as of Saturday when I meet my new Italian landlord and he hands me the keys to my new Italian apartment. I'm living with two people I just met and somehow I feel like it's going to be a ridiculous learning experience. I'm excited. I'm excited to attempt to cook traditional Italian meals and I'm excited to explore a new city. I hope that once I settle into Florence my headaches will settle down and I'll finally be able to relax. I see so many positive things in the future. I'm in love with life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To my dearest United States:

Suck my dick.
Just kidding.

The last week has been the most incredible experience of my entire life. Though I've been horribly ill (and in the emergency room for the last two days), I can honestly say that choosing to go abroad for the semester was the best decision I could have made for myself. I was considering coming home because of how sick I was, but I'm really glad I chose to spend a couple days in the hospital and get better before jumping the gun and taking a plane back to America. Yes, I miss some things about the States, but I honestly do love it here. Everything is so beautiful, and though the natives seem to hate Americans, I have found quite a few who were willing to help me with my broken Italian with their broken English.

In the last week since I hopped on that plane back in Boston, I have learned so much. I have been forced to come out of what little shell I had and make some brand new friends with people who are practically strangers. Sure, we don't all get along with each other, but that's just a part of life. The more important thing is that we're all in this together and we're helping each other learn a new language and a new culture. I'm currently in Tuscany (went to London for a few days, too), and I will be here till next Saturday, when I finally arrive in my apartment in Florence. This whole thing is just so surreal. I don't even know how to describe to you the way it feels to be living out of a hotel in a small Italian vacation town. It's like I'm living in a postcard, and I don't think I could ask for a better way to spend my semester... sure beats URI and Stoppy!

I've posted a shitload of pictures of this place on facebook. There may or may not be pictures of the bathrooms in there, too. And lots of weirdo drink pics. But honestly, Italy is so amazing and I'm so glad I came. I cannot wait to move into my apartment in Florence so I can start cooking Italian style for myself. Yay! Anyway, if you need to get ahold of me, facebook and skype are your best options. Try not to text (it's expensive!). <3