Things I Write When I’m Stuck on a Plane

Hello, world!

I am writing this on a plane. In Microsoft Word because I am not paying $14.95 for all-day WiFi access when I am only on the plane for two and a half hours, nor am I paying $3 for half an hour of access. (Yet. We’ll see how bored I get.) (Parents, this is how I spend my money.) (Just checked on the price. It was $3 on my phone but $4.50 on my computer. But it’s $9 for an hour and a half. Hmm…)

(I’m also writing this in a ridiculous font called Chalkboard because I never get the opportunity to write in a fun font. And you won’t see it anyway.)

Enough with the parentheses already.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have any pretty pictures of baked goods since I last posted. I’ve been busy. Also, the oven in my dorm is broken and we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new oven we were promised for winning two rounds of the campus energy competition. You know you need a new oven when suddenly the oven disappears from the prize list and everyone demands that as our prize. We could have had a frozen yogurt party. Or gotten a signed football from the 2012 BCS team. But nope. My dorm thinks long-term. Thank goodness. I also think we are all hoping that if we get a new oven the kitchen will magically transform itself, becoming like a real kitchen with new, clean countertops and maybe like two mixing bowls and measuring cups. And people will start washing their own dishes. Clearly I have a few ideas for how to improve the dorm when I’m an RA next year. A new kitchen is obviously high on my list.

That was the really long way of telling you that I don’t have new baked goods. Which was actually the first sentence of that entire paragraph. I’m hoping I can get one or two things baked when I come back from vacation at the end of the week (hint hint, Mom! Please buy butter and sugar!). This means that I am going to ramble about the notes I’ve scribbled down in my blog notebook since my last post.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I check out the Daily Post prompts on WordPress. One of them recently asked writers to talk about something they would un-invent. What would I un-invent?

The first things that popped into my head were text messaging and Facebook. I think they’re both doing horrible things to our communication and relationship skills. I go to a pretty good school, so most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are fairly excellent talkers. Text messaging is so convenient when you just need to figure out when you’re going to dinner, or to tell someone that you’re running late, or to send a quick “Good morning! Have a good day!” But I can come up with a number of situations which would have probably ended more positively/less dramatically/certainly less awkwardly if the person and I had been forced to have the conversation face to face, or at least voice to voice, in real time. And there’s a whole bunch of problems I have with Facebook. You can learn so much about a person without ever having a conversation with them. And then, if you ever do get around to having a real life encounter with him, you worry that you’re going to let slip that you know so much about this guy that he hasn’t told you. Unless you’re ballsy enough to say, “So, I was looking at your profile, and I saw that you like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” (Actually, I would do that. I freaking love that book.)

Facebook, and everyone’s new love-hate relationship app Instagram, also make it so, so tempting to look for attention. I’m guilty of taking pictures of stuff and posting them just in the hope that someone will like it or leave a comment. Really, you don’t need to see a picture of how crazy my hair was on Saturday night. You don’t need to see a picture of my Clif bar and coffee. What are we doing?! Just because I love seeing into other people’s lives (I adore Instagram and blogging in general for this) doesn’t mean that you want to see into mine too! (Although if you’re on Instagram, you probably do.)

Now, the problem is that these programs are so good for keeping in touch with people. One of my best friends and I text each other multiple times per day. Thanks to Facebook, we messaged every single day while I was abroad. And it was awesome. I get to post pictures and anyone who wants to can see what I’ve been up to and say hi. I love that! Facebook might be inhibiting or changing our ability to establish real relationships. But I’ve found that it also helps me maintain the relationships I’ve already got.

Also: I would never, ever in a million years un-invent Skype. Whoever it was that made video chatting free to the entire world deserves an award. That’s the program we need to utilize more. My lack of use of Skype shows how lazy I can be. Skype is exactly the tool to use if you want to have real, face-to-face conversations with people who can’t be with you. Goal for the rest of 2013: Skype more!

(I have a whole hour and fifteen minutes left on this flight. Argh. I don’t like flying. And I have to fly by myself, overnight, eight hours to Santiago again very soon. Oh man.)

I’ve been having Christmas time nostalgia lately. That usually happens around this time of year when it’s still snowy and wet and gray and cold and there is nothing to brighten up the season. I will occasionally indulge in a Christmas song here and there to lighten the mood, make the snow seem a little prettier and get the super late post-holiday blues out of my system.

(Drinking liquids on the plane while your laptop is open is incredibly hazardous. Especially if you’re a spiller like me.)

I’ve been having major Chile throwbacks too. Like, I smelled burning wood the other day, and it definitely took me all the way back to Linares and our wood-burning stove. (OH MY GOSH WHO IS EATING RAW ONIONS ON THE PLANE?! REALLY?!) We don’t have a lot of smokers at my school, but when I do pass by someone smoking…I take a fairly decent inhale, just to smell it. That backfires about half the time because it will be a nasty cigarette that I don’t like, but once in a while it’s not horrible and it’s really comforting and calming. I know, I know. Don’t judge. You’d be surprised how quickly you get used to it, okay? Then a couple weeks ago I ordered an egg white bagel sandwich with cheese and palta (avocado), and PAID for the palta, and I took a bite and guess what? No palta. It was actually upsetting. But then my lovely friend/”sister” K. (she lived with my host family the fall before I did) came over and brought pan y palta with her, and then we ate it after we Skyped our host family. And all was right with the world. I’ve also been watching an absurd amount of Friends and the Big Bang Theory lately. Which happened to be basically all we watched in Chile.

(Why is it so easy and quick for me to bang out over 1000 words about social media and my life, and yet when I need to write 750 words on Latin American political economy, it can be like pulling teeth?) (It probably helps that I am trapped in a flying steel bullet with nothing better to do.) (I need to stretch my legs out. How did I ever do this for eight hours?)

Here are a couple of growing up thoughts:

Part of growing up- and it’s a really difficult thing for helper types like myself- is learning your limits. You cannot help every single person with every single one of their needs. You are not always the best person to help them. You cannot be everybody to everybody. If you try, you will wear yourself out. And if you wear yourself out, you’re no good to anybody. It’s so much easier said than done, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anybody.

Another part of growing up is not being able to be there for everything. This is happening to me at least twice this year due to my return to Chile. My dad told me today that this happens all the time at my age. You just miss stuff. A lot of times, it’s for money and for longer-term opportunities (which, let’s be honest, are for the eventual prospect of money) that will have a greater impact on your life than a wedding or a birthday party. Is it a bummer? Yes. But again, some things are more important than others. Making those choices and learning to deal with it is a grown-up thing.

(Turbulence stinks. Less than an hour left on this flight. Oof.)

So, in lighter topics, Chile is now just about two months away! Aaaaand I need to buy a plane ticket. Here’s hoping my funding comes through really fast before flight prices jump again. This also means that the weather needs to clear up and become sunny and warm like right this instant before I go back to wet, gray, and cold for two and a half more months. I’m not sure what will happen if I have to live in that kind of late-winter climate for five months solid.

But that means that blogging will pick up again! Yay! Also, I’ll have quite the commute between my house and work, so any and all reading suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

Here’s what life looks like lately:

The end of the day, #1.

The end of the day, #1.

I needed this quote that week.

I needed this quote that week.

The end of the day, #2.

The end of the day, #2.

This was a glorious moment.

This was a glorious moment.

One of my cast mates made these before a show. I won't tell you how many I ate.

One of my cast mates made these before a show. I won’t tell you how many I ate.

Winter's last gasps. We hope.

Winter’s last gasps. We hope.

And then I came home to this.

And then I came home to this.

And this.

And this.

Getting away.

Getting away.

Off to the beach!

Much love,

Gaby

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