Tag Archives: life

Ready for Fall, and College vs. Employment: A Pro and Con List

Has anyone else started to freak out that it’s already the middle of September and the season of all pumpkin everything and leggings and boots is upon us? I mean, the stores are already filled with fall and Halloween decor. And you know what that means.

The second that Halloween is over, they’ll start playing Christmas music. So it’s practically the holidays already. I mean, it sure seemed like it at Kohl’s yesterday.

STOP THE MADNESS!!!

STOP THE MADNESS!!!

I LOVE this time of the year. I love it when the weather gets cooler and I can bundle up a little more. It means I get to wear jeans and sweaters, which means I don’t have to shave as often (ladies, don’t deny it! That’s a HUGE perk of this season!). I can drink hot tea or coffee in the middle of the day and not sweat. I’m already really excited to start adding fall/winter colors to my wardrobe. I’m thinking I’m going to build a palette of dark grey, camel, aubergine/eggplant, and burgundy/wine. Maybe some forest green and cream if I can find the right pieces.

The (maybe) two men reading this post just totally checked out. Moving on.

As excited I am for the change in seasons, however, this fall is also a really big life moment. It’s the first fall in 18 or 19 years that I haven’t gone to school. This has brought up a lot of conversations between me and my friends about what we miss and don’t miss about college- even for the friends who are in grad school.

This week, I made a pros and cons list for College vs. Employment. School vs. “Real Life.” Pre-Adulthood vs. Trying to be an Adult-hood.

Let’s get started, shall we?

COLLEGE/KAWLEDGE

Pro: being able to spell “college” like that and people might maybe think it’s funny or witty. This does not happen after college.

Con: Being surrounded by people who spell words like that all the time in an effort to be funny. We need more creative wordplay.

Pro: dining halls and meal plans. Access to nearly unlimited amounts of food, two or three times a day. Then, on top of that, you have a magical ID card which allows you to purchase more food outside of meal times- and, more importantly, gives you access to significant quantities of Starbucks.

Con: eventually, the food gets boring. Also, the ID card is not actually magic and all of that Starbucks makes the magic run out more quickly than you thought.

Pro: Dorms! All of your friends, all people your age, all of the time. In many cases, you never want for company.

Con: Sometimes, it’s nice for it to be quiet and solitary. Also, totally done with the whole sharing a bathroom thing. I’ve taken more than my fair share of other people’s hair out of the shower drain.

Pro: Sleeping in late, or, as late as possible, because you don’t really need to dress up for your 8 AM class.

Con: You’re sleeping in so late because you didn’t go to sleep until 2 AM, for no reason other than homework.

Pro: Free workout areas and cheap fitness classes.

Pro: It’s still acceptable for your parents to take care of your finances.

Con: Even if you’re working, you’re probably not earning very much money. And much of that goes to cover your regular spending- partying, shopping, and so on.

Con: HOMEWORK. Because it was just a blast coming home from evening activities after 10 o’ clock, having to start reading 40 pages of political theory, due at 11 AM the next morning.

Con: Ruuuuuuules. Parietals? Alcohol? But we’re all 18 or older. Which makes us legally adults. Which means we totally don’t need those rules to keep us from making poor decisions…right?

Pro: Football weekends! Two solid days of school spirit and zero expectation of getting any work done.

Con: It’d be nice to be able to go into the bookstore after 12 PM on a Friday without having to weave through packs of alumni. I just need some folders…not a $50 sweatshirt.

Pro: you get to do a million things and have a bunch of different identities. You can be an actress and a researcher and an educator. You don’t have to choose!

Who else misses this? *sob*

Who else misses this? *sob*

EMPLOYMENT

Pro: FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE. Nothing feels better than buying something for yourself and knowing that you yourself earned it.

Con: Life is expensive. I mean, have you actually looked at what a box of cereal costs?? What happened to my free Cracklin’ Oat Bran?! Oh, and you actually do have to pay that credit card bill. That’s NOT a magical ID card. (See above, though. Paying it off feels GOOD.)

Pro: NO RULES! You can drink whatever you want every single night and have friends (or more than friends) (or even strangers) of the opposite sex over past 2 AM- heck, as late as you want!

Con: If you took that pro to the extreme, you may make some poor decisions and they will have consequences. Just saying. You do you…but maybe think about it first?

Pro: NO HOMEWORK!!! Well, this isn’t true for everybody. Some people do have to bring work home with them. Including commuting, I work until 8:30 or 9 PM most nights Monday through Thursday, but when I get home, I don’t check my email, I don’t open up Excel, and I veg out. It’s the greatest thing to know that you’re done for the day.

This was a long day, but it was worth it to get it all done!

This was a long day, but it was worth it to get it all done!

Con: What happened to all of my friends? Where are all the people my age? I can’t order and eat an entire pizza by myself…and I don’t have any place to just leave it out where I know it will get eaten.

Con: No more monthlong vacations.

Pro: PAID vacation.

Con: You might not be walking everywhere all the time (to class, running errands, etc.) so you’re getting less exercise. Also, gym memberships are expensive.

Con: If you got a job (that you like) straight out of college, a) congratulations! This is an awesome club to be in, right?, and b) you’re probably still really young in most people’s eyes. I’m finding that the years between 21 and 27 are a total vacuum. It’s before the time that people start talking to you about your biological clock and getting married, which is a plus. But it’s also before the time that people will trust that your age equals some level of experience. I get a lot of comments that I look 18. Glad to know that I’m not aging prematurely…but it requires a lot of work to gain professional credibility.

Con: Dressing the right way as a young professional woman. Too frumpy, dowdy, and matronly, and people think you don’t care about your appearance. Appearances do matter, friends. However, if you dress too young, skimpily, or fashionably, you may not be taken seriously. There’s a very fine line. For me, it means a lot of plain blouses and finding the correct length pencil skirt.

Pro: Proving that you can do something with your education that earns actual money and does not require more school (for the time being, anyway). All of those classes and papers and discussions and exams really and truly resulted in skills that I use every day, and I’m getting a salary and benefits for it!

Pro: You’re not alone in this. Everybody is just figuring it out as they go along. That goes for grads who are working, grads who went back to school, grads who are looking for work, and grads who are doing service. Unless your whole group of friends has magically stayed together in the same area, doing the same things, everyone has to learn how to make new friends as an adult and how to maintain the relationships we worked so hard to cultivate in college.

This sky looks like hope. And freedom.

This sky looks like hope. And freedom.

Now, all of the choices are yours. Not your parents’, not your professors’ or advisors’, not your college’s. They’re yours.

And that’s probably the biggest pro of them all.

With love,

Gaby

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Cattle and Wind and Sky, Oh My

During my job search, I was focusing on just a few specific regions. I was primarily looking at Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC. Any other Eastern city- like Boston or Philadelphia- were also options. I was open to staying in Milwaukee for the right opportunity, and I knew that I could be happy in other Midwestern cities, like Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cleveland, and St. Louis. Miami ended up on the list, not because I love the idea of Miami (I don’t), but because it’s a major gateway city to Latin America, and therefore it had to be considered. 

I did not want to go to the West Coast. I did not look at jobs in California or Seattle. I also avoided the South. In the back of my mind, I knew I should be taking Texas a little more seriously, but my family had had various chances to relocate to Texas while I was growing up. We never did. I figured that was for a reason.

And now here I am, in Amarillo, the heart of the Texas Panhandle.

Amarillo sunsets are legendary. This isn't the best shot, but it's a start.

Amarillo sunsets are legendary. This isn’t the best shot, but it’s a start.

Texas happens to be in my office’s territory. Texas also has a lot of Spanish speakers- which is why I am here on this project and not somewhere else in the Central US. The way things are going…I could end up spending quite a bit of time in the Lone Star State.

Things I’ve observed so far:

People are friendly. SO friendly! In Wisconsin, I’m accustomed to greeting other runners/walkers/bikers/passersby with at least a smile and a nod, if not a full, “Hi! How are you?” We rival Minnesota in niceness. I had heard good things about Texans, but when I go to a new place, I typically don’t greet strangers. That’s something that would get me branded as crazy in Chicago or Boston or, God forbid, New York. 

Not here! I was sitting in a park yesterday reading, and everyone who passed by at least smiled. A couple people even said hello. One guy saw me twice and greeted me both times. The folks at the grocery store are exceptionally cheerful and chatty. It’s nice to be around nice people. I’m sure I’ll encounter a sour face now and again, but overall, it’s been much closer to my Wisconsin experience than I expected.

(Note: I’m not saying that people from the East Coast or other regions are not kind. You’re just not as open and warm with people you encounter on the street. That’s okay.)

I found green space! This park had plenty of grass and trees. It also looks into the Botanical Gardens.

I found green space! This park had plenty of grass and trees. It also looks into the Botanical Gardens.

Everyone and their mother has a pickup truck. That is a true stereotype. Sad news: they had to take my pickup truck away because someone else needed it. I now have another car. One advantage (well, besides fuel efficiency, which is no small thing) is that it is now much easier to find: a small maroon car stands out better than a white pickup truck. Except when it’s dwarfed in the sea of pickups and SUVs. 

The SKY. It is huge! Texas is indeed big sky country. None of my pictures really do it justice. One of these days I’ll take a good drive out towards one of the canyons and take some shots at a lookout point. It must be because of the flatness- there is almost nothing on the horizon. It is all sky.

An attempt to take pictures from the road.

An attempt to take pictures from the road.

The Texas Panhandle is one of the most important cattle and beef regions in the entire country. This means that it’s not unusual for the smell of cattle (aka, manure) to waft all over town. Amarillo doesn’t have any cattle ranches within the city limits, of course, but there are stockyards, where they auction and sell cattle. If the wind is right, well, you can smell the stockyards from just about anywhere.

I’ve also driven through Hereford a couple of times. Hereford is the self-proclaimed Beef Capital of the World. Who knows? It could be true. There was nothing but ranches and meatpacking plants for miles.

For real. They even have a sign.

For real. They even have a sign.

All of this beef of course means that I had my share of red meat during my first week or so. This is not a vegetarian or vegan-friendly town. If that’s you, go to Austin. Skip Amarillo.

This was my first real meal here. A green chile cheeseburger, with chili fries. So good. So impossible to eat all the time.

This was my first real meal here. A green chile cheeseburger, with chili fries. So good. So impossible to eat all the time.

When in Texas...

When in Texas…

The Panhandle is hot, but there’s usually a good breeze moving through. It’s so windy here that outside of town, wind turbines are going up all over the place. There’s oil in the Panhandle too, but it’s good to see an investment in renewable energy. Side note: a cotton dress with a full skirt is probably not what you want to wear while you’re pumping gas on a breezy day, you know?

This is beautiful country. It’s not quite as flat as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong- it’s FLAT, and there are no substantial bodies of water to speak of, but if you head east a little ways, all of a sudden it’s canyons and caprocks. The scenery isn’t half bad.

An attempt to capture Caprocks Canyon from the road. I'll try to get a better shot some other time.

An attempt to capture Caprocks Canyon from the road. I’ll try to get a better shot some other time.

So, what have we learned about the Panhandle so far?

People are friendly. Pickup trucks are for real. The scenery is actually gorgeous. Eat your steak. You’ll get used to the smell of cattle. 

Also, yes, people here actually do wear cowboy hats, as a real, functional, hat- not as part of a costume.

Have a beautiful week! Get out and see what’s special in your part of the world!

With love,

Gaby

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There Are BuzzFeed Lists About This

Somewhere between Dallas and Amarillo.

Somewhere between Dallas and Amarillo.

Right? Hasn’t BuzzFeed already put together a bunch of lists of 27 Things You Learn While Living Alone, or 31 Things That Happen When You Move to a New Place, or something like that? I’m not going to repost any of them here- I’m sure they’ll pop up in my Facebook feed eventually- but I’m pretty sure they might approximate my life right now.

I’m relocated to Amarillo until November. I have never been to Texas before, let alone the Panhandle. This is the first time I’ve paid my own bills, pumped my own gas (I never drove often enough, okay?), and had a job that was not somehow connected with my education. If I want to take a weekend trip someplace, that’s my decision. I’m the one paying for it. If I want to spend the entire day on the couch watching TLC, I can do it. No one is telling me to go do my laundry or wash the dishes or eat (or not eat) or run errands. It is up to me.

Nothing is keeping me from spending hours in Target, browsing the amazingness there. Like this display of journals!

Nothing is keeping me from spending hours in Target, browsing the amazingness there. Like this display of journals!

You don’t transition into the freedom and the responsibility. I don’t know if there’s a way to ease into it. How would that work? Your parents come and live with you for a little while, until you’re in a routine at work? You pay part of your bills, and they pay the other part, until gradually you have enough to cover it all on your own? At some point, though, you have to strike out by yourself. At some point, it needs to be you.

I’m liking the independence so far. I am proud of being able to pay off my credit card balance in full, and I’m going to keep that up for as long as possible (ideally, forever and ever). I’m happy that I got a workout in before I went into the office, four out of five days last week. There are other things I need to do, though. For instance, my benefits kick in next month- meaning there will be less money coming in from my paycheck. I need to budget for that, as well as for my upcoming student loan payments, and for savings. You know, the money that you put aside for big expenses later on, or (God forbid) for emergencies.

Living on your own is not just about finances, of course. What do you do in a new place, with no friends or family around? Technically, you can just stay in your hotel room or your apartment all the time. I mean, there’s enough on TV and Netflix and the Internet in general to keep you occupied for your entire life.

That sounds like a really easy way to drive me absolutely crazy. And also burn my eyes out- I already spend all day on the computer at work, so why rely on that at home?

So, I’ve gone shopping. I live five minutes from the mall, Target, and Barnes and Noble. That worked at the beginning of my stay, when I really needed a bunch of things, but now it’s just to wander around and get to know the area. I went to the farmers’ market on Saturday, which is a great way to chat with locals. I arrived a little late- I think I’ll really have to get there closer to its 7 AM opening- but the few people I talked with were very friendly. They also informed me that the occasional strong smell of cattle comes from the stockyards, where they auction and sell cattle. Sometimes, the wind picks it up and blows it all over town. Good to know.

I’ve also taken up more reading. I especially hope to take advantage of this once I have longer work days, and I need time to unwind. For now, it’s an excellent way to occupy myself. I love the Barnes and Noble- there’s a Starbucks cafe in there, and it’s a lovely place to get a sandwich and a coffee and read on Sunday afternoons.

Here's what I picked up my first week: TIME, Hyperbole and a Half, Half Broke Horses, No One Belongs Here More than You (short stories), and my uncle's lifestyle book, Strength + Simplicity. Plus the Notre Dame prayer book.

Here’s what I picked up my first week: TIME, Hyperbole and a Half, Half Broke Horses, No One Belongs Here More than You (short stories), and my uncle’s lifestyle book, Strength + Simplicity. Plus the Notre Dame prayer book.

That reading list up there helped me get through my first “rough” night. A big thunderstorm moved through town last week. It wasn’t technically severe, but there was strong winds, pouring rain, and constant thunder and lightning. One lightning strike somehow hit the hotel and threw off the alarm system. Suddenly my smoke alarm was chirping, the fire horn was going off intermittently, and the alarm lights in the hallway were flashing. And of course that was the night that I was settled into bed early, ready to get a good night’s sleep before an early morning workout. I don’t like thunderstorms, and I hate the sound of alarms. I got both in the same night, at the same time.

That’s another living-on-your-own life skill: self-soothing. Which is actually something we learn when we are babies, but it something we call upon and hone the whole rest of our lives. You can’t sit and whine and cry every time you encounter a stressful or uncomfortable situation. You also can’t totally internalize your stress and anxiety and bottle it up. Not healthy. So what do you do to manage it? That night, I read and I watched the Tonight Show. The next morning, I ate Nutella on toast. Self = soothed. It was a thunderstorm. It was an alarm. Life goes on. I’m a grown up.

Yup. That’s been my first two weeks here. If any of you hear that I’ve made friends with the Target or Barnes and Noble staff, that’s a sign that I need to find something else to do.

What do you love to do, all by yourself? How do you cure boredom? How do you like to get to know a new place?

With love,

Gaby

 

 

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I’m Not Crying, It’s Just Raining on My Face

(I will preface all of this by saying that yes, I’m writing this right now when I have to a) pack up my room, b) vacuum, c) clean, d) run all over campus and get errands done before about 1 PM, so that I actually have time for a nap and a shower before my first commencement reception. I got 4 hours of sleep last night. Clearly, the answer is a blog post.)

This May is the month of tears.

It’s not a sad month. It’s just a wildly emotional month. One of the most emotional months of my life, probably. Right up there with September 2010 (first semester of college), July 2012 (when I left for Chile), December 2012 (when I left Chile for the US), and July 2013 (when I left Chile for the US the second time).

Most of the emotions are happy ones. Pride, joy, love, all of those. There’s a few others in there: fear, anxiety, sadness, things like that. So why all of the emotions?

I graduate from college this weekend. Senior week ended last night with a visit to the Grotto (where I remarkably teared up but did not actually cry. Too many people around? Not that that’s ever stopped me before.), and today begins the official University Commencement celebrations. I have two formal receptions, then Baccalaureate Mass, then the university-wide commencement ceremony, and then my college ceremony, where I will finally receive my diploma. This happens over the course of three days.

On Monday, I move out of my dorm and hustle right back to Milwaukee where we will start celebrating my brother’s high school graduation. His senior awards ceremony is that night, so the tears of sadness of departing my beloved residence hall and university will quickly change over to tears of pride for the young man he has become. He also has a Mass and a graduation ceremony the next weekend. More tears. My youngest brother graduates from middle school the following week, but at that point it will be June and the tears should abate.

This BuzzFeed article was incredibly well-timed. And accurate. Did I tear up when I read it? Take a guess.

All of the emotions surrounding commencement- pride for my accomplishments, excitement that I’m finished, uncertainty about the future, love for my friends and family, and so on- haven’t hit me in a big wave yet. It comes in bits and pieces. For instance, I cried a little when we sang the Alma Mater at the end of our last dorm Mass a couple weeks ago, but not at the Grotto prayer service last night. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what my friendships will be like once we’re not together anymore, but I didn’t really cry about it until my boss made us a CD and put this song on it:

Listen to the song. Listen to those lyrics. I knew the song already. When she started playing it in the office one day, my eyes welled up after the first two notes.  I begged her to change it. Instead, she turned it up and handed me a box of tissues. That was a good moment…then I was just playing the CD while I was packing yesterday, and the song came on again. I got through the first couple notes and thought I’d be fine. Nope. Definitely cried again. Like Pavlov’s dog.

Emotions are healthy. I have no problem with crying in situations like these. I do have a problem with how my eyes swell up and are basically impossible to de-puff for hours and hours afterwards. Considering this will be one of the most photographed weekends of my life…it’s going to be challenging.

I know I cry a little more than most people. Some friends have said that they wish they could cry more. Not everybody processes emotions through tears. To me, the tears mean that this experience- everything and everyone who got me here today- has meant so much to me that there’s nothing else I can do but express how I feel. And my brain decides it wants to express those feelings with tears.

So if you see me running around this weekend in my cap and gown, with my face all splotchy and my eyes all puffy, don’t worry. I haven’t gotten broken up with (not like that was an option to begin with), I haven’t gotten into a fight. I’m just really, really happy/sad/proud/anxious/overwhelmed with feelings.

With love,

Gaby

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You Know You’re Ready to Go Back to Chile When…

You start to get nostalgic about fall and winter, conveniently forgetting the fact that you complained every single day about the cold and damp (and the fact that you just went through your worst Midwestern winter ever).

This is what I was wearing last year in July. I am crazy enough to miss this?

You drink tea (black and chamomile) just for the smell, because it reminds you of pre-program.

You almost tear up when your friend serves you avocado toast before your big interview, because it’s like the spirit of your host family descending upon you for support.

First avocado toast (pan con palta) in months. MONTHS.

First avocado toast (pan con palta) in months. MONTHS.

You inhale papas con chorizo in the dining hall, not because it’s Chilean (it’s not), but because it tastes vaguely like something you ate there. You also eat it with corn. Starch on starch on starch.

You listen to your Santiago radio station constantly, and you keep up on the big sales and events.

You follow the weather and grimace when you see that it’s rainy and below 60. That’s FREEZING.

It really hits you just how flat the Midwest is. La cordillera would be such a great change of scenery right now.

I mean look at that.

I mean, look at that.

You find excuses to wear your poncho. And your lapiz lazuli. And your mapuche earrings.

You follow the crap out of Santiago-based Instagrams.

You know when they have feriados.

You are pleased on the days when you look particularly chilena.

You panic when you start forgetting your Chilean vocabulary. You also laugh when you figure out that everyone else pronounces guapa with a hard g and not like wapa.

You find your old receipts from Espacio Salcobrand and Jumbo and get super nostalgic. Because you remember that shopping trip when you bought gummy bears and conditioner and apparently it was really important.

At one point I actually took a picture of the mess of receipts that I had. And I kept the picture.

At one point I actually took a picture of the mess of receipts that I had. And I kept the picture.

You spent a solid five minutes deciding whether or not you were going to keep those receipts (RECEIPTS) and put them in a scrapbook or something. (Rational Gaby won out and threw them in the trash, just so you know.)

Cumbia was the only thing that kept you awake working on your lighting design project at 2 in the morning. I talk about cumbia pretty frequently without giving you any examples, so here you go:

You go to Chicago, ride the Metra, and realize just how much you miss the metro, conveniently forgetting (again) what it’s like to ride for 20 minutes pressed up against the chest of a complete stranger.

From the one day that I got off at the wrong stop.

From the one day that I got off at the wrong stop.

For my fellow Chile alums, what do you miss about Chilito? What are the triggers for your nostalgia and Chile-sickness? Add a comment if you please! These are only a few of the things I could think of off the top of my head.

I’m not ready to start thinking about everything I’m going to miss about college yet- that’s a whole other post that I already have titled- so let’s just keep remembering one of the most amazing experiences college gave me: my semester and internship abroad.

Besos,

Gaby

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That One Time I Wrote (Most of) a Thesis

Hello world!

I hope you have all enjoyed your spring breaks, or are enjoying them right now. I’m lucky enough to have a long weekend here on campus, which I am spending by catching up/getting ahead, sleeping, going to all of the church (The Triduum. Catholics know what’s up.), and watching Game of Thrones.

View from a quiet prayer walk this evening.

View from a quiet prayer walk this evening.

The week after the half-marathon, I submitted a complete (ish) draft of my thesis! It’s complete-ish because it was just a draft and there’s a good deal of new stuff I’ll be incorporating in revisions. My subject is the role and impact of theater education in Chilean schools. I found a way to combine everything I study into one! Ha ha! It’s much better this way. Trust me. Theses are work, and the people who didn’t actually like their topics sounded miserable at the end of it. I, on the other hand, still really enjoy what I’m working on.

So. For those of you who may be venturing into thesis projects in the future, here is how I did it:

1) Again, write on something in which you are genuinely interested. A thesis should be hard, but the good kind of hard. The kind of project you’d describe as a challenge and not as a pain in the butt. A boring or unenjoyable thesis topic will make it that much harder to get it done. The topic that you love will still have its obstacles, but you’ll be much more motivated to get through them because you actually care about the work you’re doing.

See the tip below. Another thing I did was create a visual marker, which for me was a drawing of a "block of marble" which I "chipped away at" as I went along.

See the tip below. Another thing I did was create a visual marker, which for me was a drawing of a “block of marble” which I “chipped away at” as I went along.

2) Chip away at it. I frequently used a timer while I was writing. I would set it for half an hour, and for that half hour I could not check email, Facebook, Instagram, or do anything else except change the song that was playing. You’d be surprised how much you can get written or edited in that amount of time! You maybe only need a half hour to an hour every day to work if you start early and are prepared enough. Working in those short bursts of time, I’ve found, is much better mentally and creatively than attempting to turn out large quantities of writing over a period of hours and hours.

3) Start early. If you’re like me, sometimes you need a little deadline pressure to keep you focused and motivated. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea for me to start at the last minute. I was very lucky to have a supportive advisor who requested meetings almost every week, and who made me submit chapter drafts every other week. This kept me on track, and made the looming complete draft deadline much less scary.

4) Get a buddy. Do you have a friend or classmate who is working on a similar topic? Or even just a thesis? Make library dates and go with them. You may find that you’re more focused if someone is sitting right there next to you writing and writing, and you’ll be less likely to spend half an hour on BuzzFeed quizzes. You’ll be able to talk out your problems together, or at the very least joke about chapter titles, share yummy snacks, and take those quizzes together.

Coffee can help too, of course.

Coffee can help too, of course.

5) Sleep and exercise as much as you can. Maybe for you, that means you’ll invest in nap time, or you’ll take brief walks. One of our professors said she started her yoga practice while she was writing her dissertation. I trained for a half-marathon. Exercise is so crucial to relieving stress and to clearing your mind. It’s also great for the creative process. You let your mind wander and you never know what kinds of solutions you’ll come up with! Getting enough sleep should be obvious. You have to give your brain and body time to reset, and there is no substitute or equivalent for sleep. No, coffee does not really count. If only.

6) When you’re done with a draft, you’re done. Let it be done until it’s time for revisions. You will have better insights if you give yourself a decent amount of time before you dive right back into it. You know how you can stare at a picture for a very long time and after a certain point you don’t even know what you’re looking at anymore? Writing is the same way. Let it go. (And watch some YouTube videos or something.)

46 pages, plus appendix and bibliography. It's legit.

46 pages, plus appendix and bibliography. It’s legit.

Right now I’m between number 6 and what will be number 7, making revisions. When I figure out that whole process- which will have to happen in a much shorter period of time than I had to write the whole thing- you’ll hear from me.

The day that I submitted my thesis draft, my mom arrived for my dorm’s Mother-Daughter Weekend! It was lovely. There was wine and tapas.

That wine was Chilean and it was awesome.

That wine was Chilean (duh) and it was awesome.

I was obsessed with this salad. Yeah, it had fruit and cheese and stuff but come on. It was delicious.

I was obsessed with this salad. Yeah, it had fruit and cheese and stuff but come on. It was delicious.

Lobster bites in a fantastic garlic cream sauce and then grilled pita bread. Gah.

Lobster bites in a fantastic garlic cream sauce and then grilled pita bread. Gah.

And then there were nachos.

I love that I have a mom who craved nachos all day and felt zero guilt ordering the deluxe nacho platter at the sports bar.

I love that I have a mom who craved nachos all day and felt zero guilt ordering the deluxe nacho platter at the sports bar.

Oh, and there was brunch.

I got the peaches and cream oatmeal. It was good. It could have used more streusel topping. (I mean really, what couldn't use more streusel topping?)

I got the peaches and cream oatmeal. It was good. It could have used more streusel topping. (I mean really, what couldn’t use more streusel topping?)

My mom ordered what I should have gotten, which was the waffle sandwich with eggs and bacon and maple syrup on top. Woof.

My mom ordered what I should have gotten, which was the waffle sandwich with eggs and bacon and maple syrup on top. Woof.

And now here we are and it’s exactly one month until my graduation. I’m gonna let that be, but all I will say is that I had an interview for what would be a pretty great job in Chicago last weekend, and I really really want this to work out (seriously, kids. Ask my friends and family how badly I want this job.), so I would appreciate all of your good vibes, prayers, and love. Please and thank you!

My dear friend and fellow baking devotee E. took me around her neighborhood while I was in Chicago. I loved it. So much.

My dear friend and fellow baking devotee E. took me around her neighborhood while I was in Chicago. I loved it. So much.

Special thanks go to my friends C. and E., who without even blinking fixed their schedules to hang out with me in Chicago before and after the interview. Your support means the world to me! It also kept me from getting lost on public transportation in a city I don’t know. So yeah, I owe you.

Goodness gracious. So more than 1100 words later, I will leave you with this YouTube video (which should lead you to her two other equally fantastic talks), which has stuck in my brain recently.

This says, "Where are you coming from?" On the other corner it says, "Where are you going?" The questions, you know?

I will also leave you with this Instagram. This says, “Where are you coming from?” On the other corner it says, “Where are you going?” You know. The questions.

With love,

Gaby

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting through / Sobreviviendo

No encuentro una palabra que traduce bien el sentido de “getting through,” o “pushing on.” Si alguien tiene sugerencias avísame por fa.

Oh look! It’s another bilingual post! / ¡Oye! ¡Otro post bilingüe!

I’m just past halfway through my half-marathon training. That’s been fast, huh? I really felt good right up until week 6 of my 12-week plan. And then, just as I had anticipated, I got tired. I got busy. I lost the motivation to run. On top of that, and what’s probably my biggest fear/issue right now, my knees have started acting up. They get very fatigued, sore, and sensitive after my long runs (and when I say long, I mean anything over 7 miles). I’m treating them with a hot pack and using the elliptical instead of a treadmill or a trail for mid-length runs. But it’s discouraging. It also takes forever. If you don’t run under a 7-minute mile, distance running is time consuming! My body in general has been asking for a break. More sleep, more rest, less running, less worrying about how a cheeseburger will make me feel on my run the next day. So I’ve been trying to find the balance of not getting lazy, but also not hurting myself and pushing myself too hard.

Acabo de pasar por la mitad de mi entrenamiento para el mediomaratón durante los fines de marzo. Está volando el tiempo, ¿no? Me sentía súper hasta la sexta semana del plan de 12 semanas. Entonces, exactamente como anticipé, me cansé. Estuve más ocupada. Perdí mi motivación para correr. Sobre todo, y lo cual me preocupo más, es que me duelen las rodillas después de cada corrida larga (más que 10km). Las estoy cuidando con una bolsa de hierbas y arroz que se calienta en la microondas (que me la regaló mi mamá chilena), y en vez de correr las distancias medias durante la semana, uso la “crosstrainer.” Pero me desanima igual. Además, si no corras una milla en menos que siete minutos, correr las largas distancias cuesta harto tiempo. En general, mi cuerpo pide un descanso. Más sueño, más descanso, menos correr, menos preocuparme por cómo me voy a sentir el próximo día después de comer una hamburguesa con queso cuando corro. Entonces sigo buscando la balanza de no ser floja, pero a la vez no lastimarme y esforzarme demasiado.

Dusk at the law school. / Anochecer por la escuela de leyes.

Dusk at the law school. / Anochecer por la escuela de leyes.

Podría ser este invierno interminable, pero tengo una nostalgia impresionante para Chile ahora- o sea, a veces estoy tan “Chile-sick” (como homesick) que me da ganas de llorar. Cosas que ayuda: escuchar a la misma radio que escucho ahí (aunque toca música en inglés). Mirar una telenovela popular que no vi ahí (SOLTERA OTRA VEZ. Pero la encuentro muy bueeena!). Cosas que no ayuda: mirar a las fotos de los nuevos gringos de tu universidad que están ahí ahora para el semestre. Mirar a tus propias fotos. Revisar tus antiguos blogs. (Este último es lo peor.)

Maybe it’s this seemingly endless, relentless winter, but Chile is completely stuck in my brain lately. Things that help: listening to the radio station I listen to down there. Watch a very popular Chilean telenovela on YouTube (Soltera Otra Vez. It premiered while I was there the first time. It’s a hit.). Things that don’t help: looking at the pictures of the new gringos from your school who just got there for their semester. Looking at your own photos. Reading over your old blog posts. (That was a poor decision, friends.)

Full moons make me crazy. It's genetic. / Las lunas llenas me vuelven loca. Es una cosa genética parece.

Full moons make me crazy. It’s genetic. / Las lunas llenas me vuelven loca. Es una cosa genética parece.

Bueno, sigo adelante no más. Intento alimentarme mejor. Intento dormir más. Los días cuando hace buen (lee: mejor) tiempo, corro afuera en el sol. Descubrí nueva música. Y ya supe que iba a pasarme por una “ola baja,” entonces básicamente estaba lista. Disfruto de los placeres sencillos o pequeños: almorzar sin prisa con las amigas, comer pedacitos de chocolate, pasar unos momentos tranquilos en la Gruta.

When life gets boring or tiring or hard (and truly, my life isn’t hard), you just keep pushing through. I knew I would hit a bit of a wall, right around now, so I was almost ready for it. I try to eat (marginally) better. (Side note: Fat Tuesday is coming up. So…by better, I mean I eat vegetables with my indulgences?) I try to sleep more. When the weather is nice (read: above 25) I run outside. I found some new music. I think about the little things and enjoy them: long, unhurried meals with friends; my Dove dark chocolate I keep hidden in my desk; quiet, solitary moments at the Grotto.

Spring break starts soon. I’ll send you my love from the beach.

Después vienen las vacaciones de la primavera. Los mandaré saludos desde la playa.

Besos/With love,

Gaby

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