In Which Little Guy Comes Home

Posted by justme on 1:56 PM
Hi all,

So I'm back home for the summer. No more pencils, no more books, no more TA's dirty looks! Also: no more exams and no more packing/unpacking, at least for a little while. I'm going through a major adjustment period being back home (I'm so used to being completely independent while I'm at school, so it's a little weird having to factor other people into my plans), but it's nice to be back.

One of the best parts of being back is our new Doxie, who I'll call Little Guy. He's a puppy-mill rescue from the States, and he's been home for 3 days now. The poor thing is going through an adjustment period of his own! The puppy mill left him with some pretty serious anxiety issues, so he's staying pretty firmly inside his shell for now - he doesn't even like it when we look at him. It's going to take a lot of time and work before he's able to trust us. Luckily, our other wiener dog is helping him relax a bit; he's taken to sleeping with his head on her butt! And he's helping her too. She's been pretty lonely since we lost Regal, so having a buddy around has helped her perk up.

In other news, I'm still jobless. I've been firing my résumé around the city, but have gotten exactly 0 callbacks. I'm getting the impression that people don't like that I come with an expiry date (I go back to school in September). So if anyone knows of a summer job in my area (or translation work I can do online), let me know!



In Which I Remember Regal-Beagle

Posted by justme on 7:56 PM
Regal the Beagle passed away yesterday after 9 years with our family. She had an extremely aggressive form of liver cancer that left her unable to eat properly. As much as we will miss her, I'm glad she's in a better place now. She knew how much she was loved right until the very end.

Regal came to our family as a sort of surprise. My mother signed up for a small dog rescue group, figuring it would take a few months for them to find a dog. But we got a call the next day, saying that they had a 6-month-old Beagle puppy who was driving her previous owner's other dog nuts and had to leave ASAP. So next thing we knew, we had a new addition to our family!

The first few months took a lot of adjustment. Regal had a lot of energy, a stubborn streak a mile wide and a howl that could be heard from a block away. It became clear that much like a cat, Regal did what she wanted no matter what we had to say about it! She'd even get mad at us for leaving her alone for too long. Bossy dog.

She did eventually mellow out some, but even 9 years later she  would get "banished" from the kitchen nightly for sticking her nose into the dishwasher or garbage, only to lie in the living room with her head inside the kitchen, slowly inching her way back in. She loved to hide in my bed while I was in the shower, so much so that she learned the words "You know you're not allowed up there" because I kicked her off almost every day! And then, of course, I'd get the pathetic "What did I ever do to you?!" look...

That said, though, our Bagel did have a lot of endearing qualities. She made the best noises - her snores were so soothing! They helped me fall asleep more than once (did I mention she took over the couch in my room every night?). And when she woke up in the morning, she'd roll around on the carpet, scratching her back and groaning in bliss. It was hilarious to watch, especially since she had a lot of loose skin and wrinkles that kind of puddled around her.

So anyways. That's my Regal post. I'll just leave you with this thought: owning a pet (especially a dog) is a blessing and a curse. They give you so, so much love, but their lives are too short and it hurts really badly when they cross the Rainbow Bridge.



In Which I'm Ready to Like Myself

Posted by justme on 9:09 AM
(This is very much a stream-of-consciousness post; forgive me if I go all over the place)

I came across this video this morning. It changed the way I see myself. Honestly.

See, here's the thing. I was always really awkward around people, especially as a kid. I was overweight and way too smart for my own good and didn't take care of myself (what kid does, really?) and never really figured out the whole "social interaction" thing. As a result, I spent most of my formative years isolating myself and - more importantly - being isolated by other kids. By the time I became aware of this, I had already internalized the message that I "wasn't good enough" and wasn't worth helping. It meant that I ended up not liking myself much; I felt like I was a failure of a human being and ended up filtering and twisting everything I experienced to support that conclusion. I carried this weight with me right through to adulthood in the form of wicked, persistent self-esteem issues that fueled my depression. It also led me to hide my issues, because I figured nobody would really care about the hell that was going on inside my head. Even after I broke my silence and started trying to help myself, I still struggled with staying motivated enough to do it because I didn't feel like I was worth the effort it took to actually heal myself.

I think that's changed.

Something in that video clicked for me and made me see that it WASN'T MY FAULT that I ended up like that. I always blamed myself for my depression and self-image issues, but looking back I can see how they actually came about. I picked up the "you're worthless" message from the isolation I experienced and fully assimilated that into my internal monologue.

I feel like a puzzle piece has clicked into place. I couldn't start changing until I figured out why I hated myself so much. Now that that's happened? Well, let's just say I think I'm ready to move on.

(Important note: I'm not writing this to blame anyone. I didn't even realize what was going on until today. And I've always bottled things up really tightly, so I can't expect anyone else to notice.)



Finally... AN UPDATE!

Posted by justme on 5:14 PM
Hey people,

No, I am not dead. Some days I might disagree, but, well, I'm here. So without further ado, here's the next episode of My Life: The Soap Opera.

For those of you who don't care to read the marathon post ahead, here's the breakdown of my life since my last post: I loved. I lost. I evicted. I gained a new roommate. I narrowly avoided a full breakdown. I gained an incredible appreciation for certain people in my life. I started over, but discovered that some things don't change.

(Also, I went to Hawaii and became an "official adult", but those really don't need elaboration so I'll put them here.)

Whew. And now, for the dirty details (because I know you're all fascinated by those)...

My love life: Yes, I had a boyfriend. We met through an online mental health community, became friends, then became "official" sometime in October. It was a long-distance thing, since he lives in England and I don't. Things were going really well for a while, but then Depression got in the way. We both have it, and that led to a lot of emotional baggage. It didn't help that I'm a full-time student and he's not, so it felt like I couldn't be there for him enough. Long story short, I ended up cutting it off just before Christmas because it just wasn't healthy for either of us anymore. I really do care about the guy and I felt TERRIBLE breaking up with him, but it needed to be done.

Roommates: I didn't mention it online before now because I didn't want to stir things up, but the roommates that moved in with me in September turned out to be pretty terrible. I've moved past the petty stage (finally - apologies to those of you who had to put up with my whining), so I'll just say that they were first-years, and were not ready for an adult apartment. They didn't know how to clean up after themselves - we're talking 4-day-old macaroni on the stove, here - and wanted to be loud and party, which caused a LOT of stress and tension. Seriously, it was at the point where I was more stressed to come home that I was to go to my exams. It meant that I spent a lot of time at the gym and the library, which was great for my fitness and my marks, but my stress level was through the roof. So after several, er, interesting confrontations with their parents, we evicted them.
     The silver lining is that after a frantic search, I found a wonderful new roommate. She is everything that the ex-roommates weren't, which makes me so very glad. I'm finally feeling at home in my own home, and it's a wonderful feeling. I really do love this apartment!

My near-breakdown: Thanks to the roommate situation, the insane amount of schoolwork followed by exams, and serious homesickness, I was thisclose to losing it for most of December. I actually ended up in tears one evening, just because I was so stressed. I mentioned this to my mother, and she made arrangements to fly out two weeks later. It was WONDERFUL. She helped ease some of the tension between myself and the roommates, was there for me during the breakup, and just generally helped me forget the mess that was my life. We had a good time shopping (especially at IKEA!) and Taking Back the Living Room. I seriously don't know how I would have gotten through the last few weeks of school without her visiting.

I love you guys: Aside from the whole roommate debacle, which I whined about constantly, I really didn't say much about my stress level. Still, there were a few people who knew and were a big help for me - still are, actually. I don't want to name names, but there were 4 or 5 people who did anything they could to help me, whether it was through advice-giving, getting me out of the apartment or giving me a shoulder to cry on. Your help meant a lot to me. More than I can even express. I still have a lot of trouble asking for help, so the fact that you went above and beyond is a Big Deal to me. Thank you.

Starting over: So coming back to school in January was a fresh start for me. New semester (and, for a week or so, less homework), new roommate, new year. And everything has been going really well for the better part of the past 3 weeks. Unfortunately, the shine is starting to wear off and reality's setting in. A triple-whammy of hormones, 7 major assignments and grey skies means that my mood is pretty freaking low right now. There is an end in sight though, since reading week is coming up soonish, so I'm just pushing through til then.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that I've been sticking with a 3x/week workout routine since before Christmas. I try to make a point of getting in one half-hour workout, one 45-min(ish) swim and one INTENSE hour-long session with a personal trainer each week. Can't say I'm losing much weight because my diet is still in need of a permanent overhaul, but I'm definitely in better shape than I was when I started. It's pretty encouraging :)

So yeah, that's The View From Here for now. Congrats if you actually made it though!



In Which There are Ups and Downs

Posted by justme on 6:16 PM
Hi all,

Holy crap, it's been more than a month since I last posted. Sorry about that! My life is very much that of a typical student right now: I'll have absolutely nothing going on for a week or so, then all of a sudden there will be assignments to work on, readings to do and general chaos everywhere. Rinse and repeat every few weeks.

It's odd; it feels like I have nothing and everything to tell you guys (read: the 3 of you that actually still keep up with this), so I'll just give you updates of whatever comes to mind right now, stream-of-consciousness style. Apologies if you can't keep up!

Classes are going fairly well - I have 2 electives and 3 straight-up translation classes this semester. No evil profs, except potentially the translation prof who has a TON of random guidelines for us to follow on assignments. I literally have a half-page (and growing!) list of dos and don'ts, most of which are along the lines of "Prof HATES the word 'get'!" and "No gerund constructions". It turns translation into more of a puzzle than it needs to be!

In case anyone *doesn't* know yet, I also finally have a boyfriend! We met online on a mental health forum back in February/March, and started chatting as penpals. It continued that way for a while, until I finally told him that I was starting to see us as more than friends. He agreed, and a week later he told me he loved me!
The only issue is that he lives in England, so it's a long-distance MSN thing for now. Although he's planning to visit me in January!!

On a similar note, I've been making a fair amount of progress with my mental health. The counselor I've been seeing has helped me recognize my thought patterns and areas I really need to work on. She's also helped pull me out of a depressive episode before it got too serious, which has never happened before. It was kind of an eye opener for me!

... And that's about all I have to say for now. Stay tuned for the next episode in the soap opera that is my life!



In Which I'm Settling In

Posted by justme on 1:06 PM
Hi all,

So I'm finally starting to settle in to the new apartment. It's amazing - like living in a hotel. We have a pool, saunas, an exercise room and a movie room! And in the apartment itself, we've got 2 bathrooms and a freaking dishwasher. I have to say, it's one HECK of a lot better than living in res! Of course, we're still trying to figure out what we do and don't have; usually we find out we're missing something when we need it. So there's a lot of improvising going on.

The only thing that's not going so well at the moment is The Roommates. They've been doing a lot of frosh stuff this week, so we really haven't gotten to know each other that well. Despite trying to draw up a Roommate Agreement of sorts, we're still trying to figure out who should be responsible for what and what is/isn't acceptable. It's kind of awkward...

On the bright side, school is going fairly well. I ended up switching a bunch of classes around, so I'm now taking 3 translation courses (all in the same un-air-conditioned room, I might add), a Feminism class and a Medieval Studies class. So far most of my profs seem pretty decent, although I can see that my English prof treating us like we're in Grade 2 will probably get old fast. This woman (who looks like Mrs. Doubtfire, no joke) has already told us that "Spelling in English is hard" and asked us to name the advantages and disadvantages of working together in a group; you can only hear so much of that before someone snaps.

So yeah, that's more or less what's been going on with my life right now. Not sure when I'll post again, since I'm sensing an impending homework avalanche.



In Which I Head Back

Posted by justme on 12:35 PM
Hi guys,

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Blogspot really dislikes my phone, and I've been too tired from work/busy packing to go on my computer much before now. I am in fact still alive, though, and actually doing pretty well.

First, since I know people were wondering, I did in fact figure out my living situation. I have 2 roommates who happen to be friends - they confirmed that they'd be living with me last week. They're actually at the apartment now; I'll be joining them tomorrow. Even better, we have almost all our furniture. A couple was moving out upstairs and sold us most of their stuff, then moved it down for us. And finally, we should have Internet and TV tomorrow evening. It's a pretty sweet setup, really!

(I should mention that my grandparents have played a HUGE part in all this. I can't thank them enough for everything they've done to help make the move possible, not to mention easier)

So yeah. I'm currently "taking a break" from stuffing everything into suitcases. I have a whole suitcase full of clothes, plus 2 others that contain a mix of clothes, valuables, toiletries, bedding, books and stuff that can only be described as "random". My grandparents are bringing at least one more filled with pots and pans, cutlery, laundry nuggets and the like. In other words: HOLY CRAP DO I HAVE A LOT OF CRAP!

Other than that, I don't have a whole ton of stuff to report. My WeightWatchers plan has unfortunately kind of died, since I pretty much stopped using my computer this summer which in turn caused me to stop calculating/tracking my Points. On the upside, I'm REALLY looking forward to be able to control what goes into and out of the apartment and what I eat this year. Hopefully I can resist the urge to buy junk, which in turn makes it harder to eat said junk. It's kind of a "blank slate" thing, y'know?

*sighs* Guess I'd better get back to figuring out what I'm forgetting to stuff into my suitcases. I'll probably post again after this weekend, though, once I'm a little more settled into the apartment.


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