"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Dreaming is such a special thing....it allows us to go on special journeys we can't actually do in real life on this earth. It allows us to talk to people we can't normally talk to, for various reasons. It allows us to do whatever we what to do, see whomever our subconscious wants us to see.

Last night, I was blessed enough in my dream to have been able to say goodbye, one last time to my grandmother.

Let me explain. It was truly an eerie dream and I wouldn't even be blogging about it if it weren't for it continuously popping back into my head. This coming weekend will be her memorial service, and lots and lots of relatives I know and that she knew will be attending. It will be a time not for mourning, per say but for a celebration of her wonderful life and time with us. It will be a time to spend time with other family and truly express how much we love one another through thick and thin.

Thats sort of what this dream was. It was the memorial weekend for her, just as it is coming, and everyone I expect to be there, was there. My families funny antics all happened, we laughed, we cried, we played jokes and pranks on one another. We were family. Most of all--my grandmother was there. In the dream, it was my understanding that although I knew we were there for her memorial services, that she had come back and had been revived and was in full health, full walking condition and everything, and was able to spend the weekend, and the weekend alone with us. We played board games. I saw her laugh one more time and smile once more in my sleep. She laughed at the childrens jokes once more, her giggly full-hearted laugh with her rosy cheeks.

Most importantly, we each got to say goodbye in the dream. I did. I got to see her once more.

Do you believe that ghosts can do this ? Do you believe they can "tap in" to our dream world and show themselves, for times like this ? Do you believe in any of that or do you think this was merely just a glimmer  of my subconscious envisioning her? Either way, I think, it doesn't matter. My mind conjured up a new experience with her, made from combining my subconscious already knows about her prior, and used all that to let me have one more memory, even if it is in a dream. One more memory.

I woke up happy.


Do you believe?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Your Average Happy Read

So in case you don't like to read, Let me tell you a little bit about reading anyway. And if you do like to read, then hopefully you will agree with me and it will make you smile. Well, the inside type of smile, you probably won't actually smile.

  1. Finding a book.
This is really hard. Sometimes you might have a list ....like, a "must read" list. You always have so much schoolwork, work, family stuff to do that you dream about finally getting to read this list. You dream about just lounging around, when the day comes that you can just read all day and how you are totally going to conquer all 56 books on your reading list. But then the time comes when you actually have a free day....to start a new book....and you find yourself staring at your bookshelf of 300 unread books and you suddenly feel overwhelmed. Your list has shipped out the window, they all look equally as good to you. Suddenly your books on your list seem too daunting, you might want more of an easy read, a quick read, a happy mindless read.

So after staring at the bookshelf for 45 minutes and maybe even dusting off the shelf because you stared at it long enough for you to be bothered by the dust, you finally pick a book you found at the back of your bookshelf that you bought five years ago at a book fair that you promised yourself you would read right away but you never actually did, obviously. But you are SO reading it now.

2. You start your book.

This is also hard. Unless its like Harry Potter or something marvelous and earth-shattering like that, then chances are you aren't going tto be swept in instantly. It will take some patience, work, energy, learning....you have to meet all these new characters, get to know them. The Why's, the Hows, the Whos, the Whats....its all so new. New settings, trying to figure out the plot line. Some people never make it past this stage. They get distracted after their first read by the kids or by work or by sleep or by an angry turtle or something and then the book gets tucked away under their carseat somewhere and they are haunted of the task of returning to it again one day. Or maybe you do have intentions of returning, but life distracts you so that by the time you finally return, like 5 weeks later, you go to your bookmark and you are obviously lost in whats happening. But you hate the thought of starting over, and you cant continue reading from where you are because you are lost, so you give it up entirely and tuck it back into its corner of the bookshelf.

Or maybe that didn't happen! Maybe after all the hard work, energy and effort it takes from a true reader to fight through the beginning stages of a book, you made it to the best part. Continue on.

3. The best part of the book.

This is when you are officially addicted to your read. You delight in the fact that you still have over THREE QUARTERS OF YOUR BOOK LEFT, YAY!!! You love your characters. You love reading about them. You think you practically KNOW them. They are like, your best friends.

You go about your day and do the tasks you have to do, but you spend this time thinking about your book. You think about the next time you can snuggle up under your covers and just read for no time limit, or bask in the sun tanning while reading all day. Your newfound character best friends float through your head all day and you envision what they would say or do if faced with the situation you are currently trying to actually solve in real life right now.

If you are really unique and rather um....special....like me, you go even farther in the addiction-taking-it-too-far-phase. Example: The book I am reading now, takes place in Australia and they obviously use Australian type slang and whatnot.

Well, guess who is greeting their patients with an Australian accent and going up to her friends saying, "Whats up, mate?" Yeah, me.

4. Your book ends abruptly.

This is extremely disappointing because you were so addicted during the addiction-phase that you forgot to read slowly and make it last. You tried! You did! But it was just SO GOOD that you read really fast and then all of the sudden it ENDS! How dare the book END? You check to see if there is some sort of sequel. Nothing. You might be depressed at this stage because you know you have parted with these characters forever. You will no longer read their quick banty humor all day and you will no longer long to read at your next opportunity. You find yourself longing for something that isn't there, like as if you've lost a friend and you can't call them anymore when something is wrong. Its rather terrible....mate.

5. Start over. Find a new book. *sigh*


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nursing Rule 101

If you want a surefire way to awaken a sleeping giant, in case you ever felt the desire to do this-

--just stick a thermometer in their ear.

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try to jostle someone awake- shout their name, touch their arm,  hand, whatever- they don't wake up. But I have to get their temperature, you know? So then I shrug and I'm all like, whatever. So then I even WARN THEM even though they are totally unconscious and not listening, that I am going to put a thermometer in their ear. And then when they still don't respond despite my valiant efforts- I go ahead and do it and then without fail, every time, I nearly get attacked, swatted at, yelled at, etc.

Hey, I warned you. I need that temperature at any cost.

But really, keep that in mind if you ever have a patient that totally isn't responding to anything you do. If they don't respond to that, they might be dead.

Disclaimer: they probably aren't dead. Continue with normal dead-checking measures.

It's coming for youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu in your sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

~WNB humor

Saturday, June 25, 2011

To Have Said Goodbye

I'm not sure how to say this....life post-Europe has been great. I have been seeing so many friends, old friends, friends, new friends.......I have been with family around the clock, both nuclear and out-of-state family...and this has all been a pretty happy time. But thats the thing. It makes me undeniably nervous. Nauseous.

With the recent *unexpected* passing of my maternal grandmother, it woke me up. That was my first close relative that has passed away....although I am with and around death so much at work and in other parts of my life, I was never a survivor until now.

It woke me up. It made me realize that we truly do take so much for granted, even if we are good people and don't intend to...Sometimes I think we think we are immortal. We forget death happens to all of us. We forget that our loved ones could die any minute, we could face death ourselves tomorrow and not know it. Any of us.

We forget that. Because its morbid, and depressing....But then the unexpected happens and we are left with not even being able to say goodbye.

This all has made me so jumpy, so anxious, so nervous....that I am going to lose more. If I lost my grandmother, I could lose my other grandmother too. I could lose my father who has a suspicious family history of heart disease. I could lose a close friend. It really has made me realize how fragile everyone is. How fragile I am.

I went to spend a week with my paternal grandmother this past week. Its been a long-due visit....and it shouldnt have been. I should be seeing her all the time. And with my maternal grandmother passing, it has motivated me to just drive out to see her and just....spend time with her. She tells me all the time when I am with her that she feels "guilty" that she is not "entertaining" me, but she doesn't even know that all I want is to just be around her.

With this newfound anxiety and feeling like I could lose it all in a second, I have been acting weird. I am trying so much harder to mentally-record special moments with loved ones I am afraid of losing....and when I can't rely on mental, I have been taking pictures with her too. Just savoring moments, taking it all in in case I have to remember it all tomorrow. Its eerie. I don't like being like this....but is it necessary, sometimes?

Everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe and know that. As unfortunate as it was, my grandmothers death happened for a reason....but what reason?

I guess we aren't always meant to know for what reason, but a reason there is. We just have to have faith.

I said earlier in my blog after it had just happened, that it didn't feel real. That I still expected to see her when I travelled next to North Carolina. To talk to her on the phone, still. To see a comment on one of my pictures on facebook from her. That her death was just a hiccup in her health and it was a quick hospital visit, but she's ok now. I'll see her. But thats not true, and Its starting to settle in now. For my mom and my aunt, they have both expressed it "settling in" when they call their house and their father will never more say, "Let me go get mom".

For me, it has hit in unexpected ways. The other day I browsed through my phone contacts and realized I had my grandmothers cell phone number saved. Did I ever even call it? Just to talk? Also, I was just viewing my blog followers and realized she registered as a blog follower, quite some time ago, so she could receive emails when I post. Its those little reminders that punch you in the stomach.

I feel extremely sad that she was so excited for me to be able to go to Europe...and she only got to see a few blogs. It kills me that she couldn't even have seen a single picture. If I had known, I would have made more of an effort to get pictures up for her to see.....but who ever knows? You can't live your life with the "If I had known...." racing through your negative thoughts. You didn't know. I didn't know. But I know now, and maybe the "reason" for it all is to make me stronger and to realize for the future how fragile life truly is, and to savor every breath, every moment. Say goodbye to people as if you won't see them again, tell them how much you love them. Every time you see them...

As a conclusion to this eerie post, I leave you with an eerie finding. A week or so I stumbled across one of my county college's literature book that I have been published several times in, back in the day. The following poem is a poem I wrote back in 2006, to express the heartbreak of loss. Losing someone close to you. How that feels. It just seemed fitting that I just happened to stumble across it again, now. Like I wrote it for the future almost.....

"To Say Goodbye"

It's Learning
                    To say goodbye.
                                  To look through this fine print,
And see, eye for eye, the impact that has hit.
                    To say goodbye,
Is learning
                    That this is the hardest part of dying.
It's not the pain that comes with it....
                     Not the physical pain.
                                      It's the tearing.
                                                 The Ripping Away,
                                                          At an innocent heart.

It's an Anger,
                        masking an inevitable sadness.
                                                           A fear.
                                                           A Hope.
A dream.

                                                           A truth.

It's pretending to be angry, so you don't have to;
                                Let go.
An anger,
                For leaving us here.
                             For giving up.
                                         For seeing the light.
                                                     Without us.

For knowing that in the end, they chose death,
                     rather than pain.
                                             They chose heaven.
                                             They turned down life.
                                                           A change.
                                                           A chance?

An anger. A frustration.
                You should have stopped them.
                You should have been there.
You didn't say goodbye....So much anger.
You think about it,
                 over and over and over again.
        What could have gone differently?

Would it have been wrong to have asked you to stay?
                                Because of a need?
                                An inability to let go?
                                                    to say goodbye?
A fear?
             Of being alone?

One more chance......

                                     .....to say goodbye.

I love you Grandma. Miss you. Miss your smile.

~A Writer in a Nurse's Body


Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Eiffel Tower Project

So, in my pre-Europe planning, I put a lot of thought into how I was going to photograph Europe. I wanted so desperately to be the "cool-artistic-chic-that-everyone-loves-and-has-a-really-super-nice-artistic-camera-and-all-her-pictures-come-out-phenomenal-and-she-looks-so-cool-just-standing-there-posing-using-her-hands-to-focus-on-the-cutest-moments-on-the-street-that-no-one-else-see's" girl, but I knew that was a far stretch. You know, besides that lovely description, she also wears scarves, is super skinny, is super artistic, has a new outfit everyday but isn't materialistic- has this awesome way of posing her body to take a picture, while her shoulder length straight hair just wraps around her camera, in the middle of Rome. You know, that kind.

So....I had a lot to work on. I was  am not that girl...and I didn't have that camera. Would getting that type of camera make me that girl? Probably not. Would getting a scarf make me that girl? No. I am just not that.....très chic. No matter how hard I will ever try. So I didn't bother buying the $1,000 camera just to be that girl. Instead I bought the $350 one, but still.

So with a new camera, but still no scarves and still not skinny (and I definitely never mastered that unique way of standing with one gorgeous leg acutely popped out in front of the other, flirtaciously...I can't do it. ) , I was ready to photograph Europe.

But what I dreamt of, and what I told myself over and over, and what I told friends and family, is that I swore I would not come home with "typical" pictures...like, Oh yes, that IS the Eiffel Tower....In fact, that looks like the SAME Eiffel tower that is on Google 13,200,211 times. No. I wanted to be different. Unrecognizable.

So I set out to make a challenge for myself. I would keep this main principle in mind for all tourist attractions...I hate the "typical-center-shot-that-you-just-took-a-picture-of-because-the-tour-guide-said-it-was-important".....but I felt that the Eiffel Tower was the one tourist trap on my trip that I was most familiar with......it  was the most famous, the most heard of, the most seen in pictures, movies, google, other friend's pictures, etc. I wanted to be different. Which is hard, considering it is a 978 feet tall steel (?) structure, and there is not terribly much to work with to compete with millions of other photographers.

So I pretended. I pretended I was in this really intense photography class/workshop and our assignment was to photograph the Eiffel Tower....(this would be an awesome class and if this exists I want to join!) but the goal of the assignment was to not have a shot that ANYONE else in the class also had. We had the whole evening to shoot (as we actually did in real life), and whoever came up with the best shots (and most unique)....won the assignment. Yeah. Also, my rule was that at least SOME part of the tower had to be in the picture. (minus my carousel shot).

So, This is what I got. Some of the ones I am putting on here....I know aren't that unique, but they are still pretty. But i think a lot of them are unique. But let me know what you all think....I hope these aren't all on google! Well, now they are because they are on this site, but you know what I mean.


I think I liked this one the best....

Been done before...i know, I know.

I tried to capture the intricate detail of the architecture.

This has been done before too, but I liked the overall sun and the colors of all the people..

Up at the top.

Looking down....

On our way down...

I think the glare is unique?

Hope you like :-)

~A Writer Photographer! in a Nurse's Body

P.S. If you have proof that one of these shots has been done before, try to refrain from actively showing me. Let me be in my own happy unique bubble, yes? Its better that way. Instead, you can smirk to yourself and laugh and gleam in all your happiness that you are right and I am wrong. Go ahead, do it now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Ultimate Relationship

I sort of had an epiphany the other day at work... Like I said, I've had a couple blogs ready to go but then last night's blog sort of just took on a mind of its own. It was 2 am, I was sad, and well, you know...that obviously leads to disastrous blogging time!

But anyway, the other day at work I was working with one of my best work-friends. We have been there almost the same amount of time, her a little longer, and work extremely well together, which I have always known. But it wasn't until the other day that I realized why we not only work well together, but why we are really good friends outside of work, too.

Its the key to ANY successful relationship. By emphasizing any, I mean any. Here are some examples I thought of:

- coworkers
- boyfriend and girlfriend >>> husband and wife
- parent and kid
- team players on a sports team
- roommates
- friends
- anyone else.

And the key to making any relationship a successful one is....reading minds!

Okay, well not literally. But almost literally!

Let me explain further on my  epiphany and will show you how it works in other relationships.

Me and my awesome work friend can conquer any problem on the nursing floor, together. We are both very good workers. We know what each other is thinking just by looking at each others faces. We can communicate without speaking. We have this eerie thing of coming to each other's aide when the other is in need somewhere on the floor. We have this way of knowing what the other person wants before we even have to say it or ask for it. And thats it! I have this mind-reading phenomenon with this friend and one other person on the floor, and because of it will probably be friends with them forever....well, I hope so at least. Connecting with someone on that level is....unique. Rare. Special. You can't let that go. And Its not easy to come by, either. It is natural. You can't make this phenomenon happen, it just picks people. There are plenty of coworkers that I can do my job with, but can't work on this level with. You just don't connect.

So thats how it works at work. Of course you can increase your job satisfaction and performance if you have a coworker that can practically read your mind and you theirs...

So what about boyfriend and girlfriend? Husband and wife? Well...think about it. Neither male or female like to have to ask for what they want from their counterpart. We fall in love with people that just seem to know what we are thinking without having to say it. We fall in love with people that get us what we need before you even knew you needed it. We fall in love with people that give you a kiss or send you a text message right at the exact moment you needed one.  This has to be a part of any successful relationship. You have to be able to read each others mind, just by looking into each others eyes. That should be enough to relay a whole paragraph of information to you in a moment's notice. 

With an unsuccessful relationship, which I am all too familiar with (realizing this in hindsight after this epiphany) will be a standstill. You don't have that deep phenomenal connection. You may get along on one level but not on that deep level. You get along for your first couple months, years, but never reach that true....life-long connection because you subconsciously refuse to go there. You get frustrated with each other after the loveys have worn away, because your counterpart no longer knows you, no longer knows exactly what you want. You realize you don't really know who they are, anymore, and what they even want from you. You don't talk anymore, upon hours of sitting with each other, nothing is said....at dinners, in car rides...There is nothing to be said. You are two separate minds that are no longer connected and cannot read each other and this will never work. You can prolong it as long as you like but it will never truly work.

I remember being 17, and in my first long-term relationship, in high school. At this point we had been dating for about 3 years, and things were not good. We fought every day. We did have that connection, at one point, but lost it, I guess. When you are that young, you both change, so even if you had it in the beginning of your relationship it is only natural if you lost it three years later, after surviving high school together. I have this specific memory of standing in my high school hallway, waiting amongst the sea of people rushing to their lockers, staring at my boyfriend, rummaging through his own locker for the morning. He didn't know I was there yet. I remember staring at him, thinking......"Am I really dating this person? Who is he? What do I really know about him?" It was almost as if I was looking at him for the first time.

And the relationship ended that year.

As for other relationships....think about it...a parent child relationship works better if you have that inner-connection. Its all about reading minds and anticipating needs before they arise.  Team players on a sports team have to naturally read each others mind in a split-seconds notice, without speaking, in order to effectively make a play.

And its at the heart of nursing, too. I think all nurses must have this inner-ability in them, to use on whomever they choose. Patients, mostly. Its our job to read our patients minds. To get them what they need before they even call their call bell. To see that they are upset before they even realize it. To always be one step ahead of your patient. To be there, waiting to catch them when they fall. That is nursing. That is me.

Does anyone agree?

~A Writer in a Nurse's Body

This was taken by me in Paris. Can't you just SEE it? You can see it from a mile away. These two people can read each others minds. It is so obvious. One moves and the other reacts. Its a constant state of equilibrium.

I'm so sorry I realized this now. But now I can better pick relationships for the future. :-) We learn something every day.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Have you ever seen this movie? It's one of the best out there...

(Taken from this magical movie place )

Do you ever wish you could erase something from your mind? Would it make heart-healing easier for you? For anyone? Would you elect to get rid of all your heartbreak, if it meant also erasing memories of the two of you having fun together, the good times?

Sometimes I wish I could erase youthings from memory. Maybe then I could sleep; could make it through one day without missing you.

I guess it will just take time to forget, gradually...but Erasing you would be so much easier. I would, if technology from the movie existed.

I need a big change in my life. New surroundings. I need you not to cross my mind every day still. I need a new part of my life that you never had anything to do with. I need something I can call my own, and not "ours". Everything in my room has a backstory connected to you somehow. Places I go, you came with. They are all tattered with your memories. My memories. Ours. I can't even go to my grandmothers house without replaying memories in my head (good memories) of us having fun here, and that goes for everywhere.

I just need to work on replaying the equally bad ones too. Remember why I left. The bad used to override the good and now, in memory, the good overrides the bad...tell me, how does that work?? I guess by human nature, we naturally choose to only remember the happy memories. We forget the rages, the tragedies, the tears, the fights, the heartbreaks, the eternal mistakes.... We don't like to remember those things.

So if my mind can let go of all of the bad memories, why can't I let go of the good? The good ones are depressing, because I said goodbye not only to you but to your life. Your town. Our lake, our restaurant, your dogs, your family. It was like all of that died from my lfe at once. That's a lot to say goodbye to, to say to yourself, "I'm never going to go to that place again or see that person or that dog again." that's a lot.

"I never thought that you would be the one , to hold my heart.
But you came around, and knocked me off the ground, from the start.
You, put your arms around me, and I believe,
That it's easier for you to let me go.
You put your arms around me and I'm home.

How many times, will you let me change my mind, and turn around?
I can't decide if I'll let you save my life, or if I'll drown.
I hope that you see right through, my walls.
I hope that you catch me, because I'm already falling.

The world is coming down, on me, and I can't find a reason to be loved.
It's easier for you to let me go."
-Christina Perri, "Arms"


"I loved you on this day"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yay Pictures!

Hello everyone!!

So I have spent the past two weeks implanting pictures from my trip into all these blogs I wrote for Europe! This was a bigger task than I thought, but done it is now, and ready for you to see! If you are drastically bored and tired of staring at a wall and would like to spend time clicking on each of these links to go back to other posts, please, do so and see some illustrations to the posts you've already read (maybe).  If you don't fancy link-clicking, you can just go to my archives and click from there....although thats a link. Or you could just go to the bottom and keep clicking "Older posts..". I'm gonna leave that totally up to you.

So, here are all the past blogs that now are illustrated!!! In chronological order.

Yes, that is a NICE wing.


Amsterdam so far!

Get the Popcorn Out


Finally, I can speak! (Italy)

From Cloud Nine to Breakdown (Italy)

Back to the Clouds...no literally this time! (Switzerland)

Best Birthday EVER (Paris)

A Rainy Day in London

Complete European Reflection

Thank you all!  ~WNB

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Oh my GOODNESS)@#*)(@*#!

Okay. So. Being the movie freak that I am, It usually pains me to go two weeks without seeing a movie. Any movie. I just love movies. Preferably in movie theaters.

Recently on my Fandango list I've noticed this new theater coming up- called "Artsquest" over in Bethlehem, PA. I saw that they played limited releases, which is HUGE, because prior to this the closest one that did that was in NYC! So, I clicked on what was playing and they were showing "Midnight in Paris". So we decided to give it a try.

First of all, the theater alone was amazing. Brand spanking new, and it is an "ale house" which means you can bring wine, beer, and food into the movie with you....So I definitely took advantage of the nice glass of wine! :) Anyway, the whole place has art galleries, live bands that come and play (maroon 5 is coming in August!!!) and all sorts of events and festivals that go on!

Second of all, "Midnight in Paris" has shot way past my prior favorite movie, "Sweet Home Alabama". Although that will always have a special place in my heart, Midnight in Paris has surpassed all others to make its way to the top of my favorite list. With a starring cast including Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates (just to name a few stars!), it encases a perfect and enchanting plot that keeps you intrigued the entire movie, waiting for more magic. I guess Woody Allen (director) can just do that. It was just astounding, and I want to see it, again and again.

Obviously it took place in Paris, and despite being there for a day and a half, I feel like I knew exactly how Woody Allen "saw" Paris. He totally captured the back door of Paris...not the touristy paris. The same Paris I got to see thanks to my lovely lives-in-Paris tour guide. AND, THE BOOKSTORE I LOVEEEEEED WAS IN THE MOVIE! There were also a couple of scenes that I was willing to put money on that I knew exactly where they were. It was very exciting.

It really made me miss Paris so much more though, which I find so funny, being that I actually wasn't even looking forward to Paris that much. But this movie has only confirmed the notion I made on my birthday that Paris was magical. I loved the people, it was easy to navigate, I always felt safe, it was beyond stunningly gorgeous....It was truly just magical. I miss it. A lot. Maybe even more than London......Who knew?

Anyway, take two hours out of your day and find somewhere near you thats playing it, or get it on Netflix. Even if you typically don't like slow-paced Woody Allen-type movies, I assure you this will keep you watching intensely til the very last second. Also, for my smart readers, its also a good history AND art lesson! So cool. GO SEE IT!

Photo credit to whichever Magical people take movie still shots and then put them on imdb.com....This was one of my favorite movie pictures because it pretty much sums up the whole point of the movie, but you don't know what I'm talking about til you see it. All I can say is that Paris in the rain truly is gorgeous, and I agree with Gill Pender (Owen's character) through and through, 100%. I'd rather walk with you in the rain anyday.

Go see it.

~A Writer in a Nurse's Body

P.S. - Go see it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Step into my Life

Hello all!

I actually have about 4 blogs floating around in my head, but I will surely space them out. This blog was not on the waiting list, but just popped into my head...

As I grow up a little, my room changes slowly. During high school and just a bit after, about 5 years ago, my room was full of imagination, creativity....at my community college writing course, I was in full fledge writing mode. I was unstoppable. Writing thoughts raced through my head constantly. I HAD to carry a notepad in a car with me because in the matter of a fifteen minute drive, a million thoughts would race through my head, plots, characters, key pieces of information that I needed for my novels.....so I wrote them all down, and then typed them up and made about 5 sheets of just thoughts that came into my head, and when I typed them I also added a few quotes that I came across that I loved. So, I hung all these papers up by my bed (at the time) so I could re-read them as time went by. As time did go by, that space became further occupied with my photography, my artwork, my actual writing (poems, short stories, etc), things I cut out of newspapers, pictures from other people....quotes....and it was all placed on my wall in this giant collage.

Well, throughout the past five years I have added things, here and there. But nothing significant to the wall. Most of it was done in the span of about two years. Well now I have so many big things to hang (paintings, frames of photography, etc.) and need WALL SPACE. Also, when I move out soon, this room is no longer mine and the wall has to go. So, I think its time for the wall to slowly come down, little by little. So I took a little bit of it down today, and will share it with you. I want to share it with you because if I tuck the pieces away in a drawer, they die. If they can be read by all of you, then they aren't dead, they're in your minds....now, tomorrow, next year, in ten years....gotta love the internet.

So from here on is all artifacts from the wall, I'll mix it up with the "Sheet work" to the pictures....If I don't say who its by, then its written by me.

"She said goodbye to him, they both knew for the last time. She was heartbroken. It was a long hallway, she thought, as she turned away from him and began her journey down it, refusing to look back at him. By the time she had gotten to the end, she was fully transformed, someone who had completely molded herself so she didnt have to be that person anymore. She had the ability to fully walk into someone else's life and pretend for awhile, mold herself enough so that she could escape, even if just for a little while."
-I'm pretty sure this was from one of Jodi Piccoult's books, but I typed it into google and can't find it coming up anywhere, so many not. I remember reading this and thinking, wow, thats me. I've been there. I've been on that same hallway.....So maybe i did write it. It sounds like my writing style. So, can't say if I wrote this or not. It might be Jodi..

 These are all artifacts from the wall.... Top left is from the newspaper, after 9/11. Next to it is a saved piece of card from my grandma at christmas. Next to that is a favorite still image from the movie, "Sex and the City". I have always been obsessed with Carrie and Big's relationship, because I had it. And I was always so happy when Carrie & Big ended up happy together...Bottom left is a quote from the newspaper article, "IF you have a good relationship with yourself and with God, you won't be lonely."  On the bottom of that is one of my photographs I have taken and fell in love with. It was taken in a park on Long island, on a Cold Easter Sunday. Next to that is a poem I wrote for my sister, back in my writng course. At the bottom is a quote line from one of my favorite songs, from Savage Garden.

          "Nice new piece of artwork....really? Did you have to?" said the man, sitting on the bottom edge of her bed, turned away from his girlfriend as he took off his work boots.
         She Shrugged, "I don't know. I was really inspired by what we discussed in class today. Our professor made a really interesting point."
         "Yeah, his point was that its not healthy to see yourself as part of a whole, that you can't stand alone without your lover by yourside, in your life.....but, "He paused, "...did you have to make it so obvious? So....blatant? Did you have to rush home and make a piece of artwork out of it?"
          "Why are you bothered by it? It's a symbol of strength. We can both stand alone, if we had to."
          "But do we have to? Why do we even have to think about it?" He said, as he laid back on the bed next to her. "Yes, I agree, " he continued, "I agreed with him today. We are not two parts of a whole. We are both 1 whole and together we make two. But does that mean I love you any less?"
           "Nope...And I don't love you any less, thats my point. You don't complete me, but I still love you."
           "Well maybe one day I want to be the person that completes someone. Is that so wrong? Is it so wrong if I wanted it to be you?"
^ I just wrote this to accompany the memory that went along with this piece of artwork I made.

"In the blink of an eye you might reinvent yourself. The person you were yesterday might not be the person you are tomorrow."-  Definitely Jodi Piccoult.

Just because a teacher says it, doesn't mean its true.
 ( I was peeved at a professor that day).

A gathering of writers...what happens then? The world may change if they're not careful. If they're not careful with how much power they have.
- ..don't you agree, though?

The woman dressed in a high class business suit, the standard black skirt and classy black top, sat in the hallway frantically looking through her purse, almost in tears. Business women weren't supposed to lose it, were they?
-writing down a character

Damn, she thought. Why the hell did she put the splenda's at the BOTTOM of her purse? And why did she think it wise to put the used ones back in her purse? This was useless, she thought, as she flung old splenda packets over her shoulder, sitting in the middle of her kitchen floor.
- writing another similar (or the same) character

The young woman rocked back and forth in her chair, not even noticing it, as she sat, waiting nervously.

The funny way I eat musketeers....use that one day for a character.

"He was already there. She knew by the way the air had taken a charge around her body, an electric field."
-Jodi Piccoult. I know that feeling....

freshman year, homeroom....every day, him coming to see me even when he wasn't supposed to. Mrs. DeSmith laughing, marveling at how great he was. The two of us, holding hands, whispering secrets that we were too young to even know to each other.
-a memory.

"Dreams- The kind where you wake up and your heart is as flat as a dime." - Jodi Piccoult.... I've had those. What hurts the most, was being so close, and having so much to say, and watching you walk away.....-Rascal Flatts.

Don't ever, ever, ever let yourself watch a girl prep herself for the day. If you do, you'll find that we are not all that we let show. A lot of us are fake,when we are  behind our colorful shadows. If you see a girl put on her make up, the secret is lost. You will be disappointed.

This is cut out from the Sunday Express TImes, opinion section. I thought it was funny. :-)

Another Sunday Express TImes comic, this was when gas prices were so high a couple years ago....

Have a car crash scene in a novel with a character because she can't see. Its such a nice day, and the sun is blinding, the music is blasting...what a good song.

A Writer's car crash-- make it an epic short story about a man so desperate to capture his thoughts that he crashes while writing and driving.........but it was worth it.

Its like losing a friend, or a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, or a grandmother, or anyone remotely close to you. Whether or not its due to death, truth, or uncertainty, it hurts. Its learning how to make a protective bubble around you so it doesn't happen again. Its learning how to completely shut yourself our from everyone, building an invisible wall around your fears, thoughts, tears and happiness.

Cars merge, in a team. Cooperation, reading minds, communicating without words. Until a small glitch in the system and it all goes wrong.

Me, As a character? what would be my traits? Hiding....but in a way completely out in the open. Lost in music, lost in translation, lost in herself. Lost with words when I finally get the chance.

Thank you everyone, for taking a small step into my life...behind the scenes. :-) Now its completely open and known to the public that I am out of my mind! Alright, well, you already knew that, but still.


What the wall looks like right now, I just took this picture.....still pretty hoppin!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weirdest most awesome day EVAH


This week has been jam packed with fun things and fun people!!

Let me fill you in. We'll start with the past and then move on with the future...


930am: Breakfast in Bethlehem, PA with amazing best preschool lifelong friend! We meet every couple of months and always have plenty to talk about. Always good times!

12pm- Lunch at PF CHANGS (Best restaurant EVER) in Princeton, NJ (an hour and half away from Bethlehem but right next to my ex-school). Lunch was AMAZING since I got to see my housemate I just spent the past year with at college! She is my best college friend and we clicked instantly and forever after. And, the food was amazing as well! It always is. She also gave me my graduation and birthday present and gave me the BEST picture ever of the two of us and also a nursing book that I want to start reading immediately....

Funny story:
Back in the day, right about when I was graduating high school, I was in a show. It was 42nd street. Probably my all time best friend from high school, was also in the show, and she had the lead. Well, on our last performance, I went over to give her a hug and someone ( I think my dad) got this great shot of us just about to hug. And...my mom is standing in the background, looking at us, sort of staring into space.I look back on the picture a lot as it sits on my desk and I always laugh at my goofy mom in the background.  Well this friend decided to give me a collage of all these inspiring words, and left it up to me on what picture I wanted in the middle of all it. It was for my birthday, right around graduation, as well. 

Well, now history repeats itself, of course. Now my all time best college friend, gave me a picture of the two of us standing together at graduation, and who is in the background staring into space? My mom. Who else?? And, the picture was with my best college friend, and was given to me for my birthday!! Weird how history just repeats itself like that.

At lunch, me and my friend also made more formal plans for future. She is going to look for a nursing job up in North Jersey by me and we will be trying to live together (for real!), hopefully by October or November!! Woot!!!! THis is HUGE!

Okay, so after PF CHANGS, I decided that since I was so close to school, I should go over to the office and pick up some paperwork that I had forgotten to pick up when I was still a student. But, before I went to the school, I wanted to go sit in my favorite school-barnes and noble, being that I became friends with one of the employees over the years and I wanted to go say hi, since I was already so close. I had said a final goodbye in May when I thought I'd never be back to that area, so it was a nice surprise.

Well, I sat in B & N for two and a half hours!! I grabbed a book, a tea, and made myself comfy reading, and so much time went by. It was 300 pm and I knew I had to get going if I was going to make my sisters High school graduation that night! So i set off.

In the parking lot, I went back and forth...should I go pick up the paperwork at the school? Should I not? Should I? I didn't really feel like it, driving over to the school....but, I was already so close and I certainly wouldn't feel like driving down aGAIN later on, so I decided I should just suck it up and go get it.

Well, I got to the nursing office and started leafing through my nursing folder to get what I needed. My professor (just happened) to find me by complete chance, a professor that I had spoken with at graduation about being interested in attending the honor society nursing convention this fall.  Well, here in this office, she asked me if I would be interested in becoming a nursing delegate for this NJ Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the nursing honor society. I asked her of my responsibilities, and after I agreed that I would do it, she says, great! The annual board meeting starts at 4! Well, it was 3:40 by then, what are the chances? Turns out she was IN the office, for the meeting! So I stuck around to go to this big important board meeting. I was a nervous nelly  because I was in jeans and a tee, being that the rest of my day was jeans-and-tee attire, and I certainly wasn't planning on attending any board meetings!

So the meeting was fun...we talked about all this important stuff, like budgets, ideas on nursing in the school, events, fundraisers, NCLEX, etc. It was crazy ! I tried not to open my mouth because I was still in utter awe and really didn't want to say anything stupid as I am so prone to doing. I was the youngest one by 30 years and certainly wasn't about to jump right in with ideas of my own....just yet. Instead I listened to everyone speak, nodded and smiled, offered encouragement, and so forth.

Well, it gets BETTER. Being that I spoke with this same professor at graduation about being interested in going to this honor societys big convention, they picked me (the delegate) to go to the convention! Turns out they have to send one delegate to go, and there I was. So I will be going on a 3,000 (paid for!) convention all about nursing, in TEXAS, for FIVE DAYS in october with my PROFESSOR!!! IS THIS REAL LIFE? It was SO surreal!!! I can't WAIT!!  I had to practically swear on my life that I would be available on those days, no matter WHAT.  No matter what was going on in my job.  I told her that I am already on good terms with my boss, being that I have been on my job for 5 years, and that she would have no problem with letting me off for 5 days to attend an honorable position at a nursing convention. So I will have to go to this convention and do really important things! Like vote! And make decisions! And change nursing! And look professional! AH! So cool.

I've always wanted to change nursing. I have been on a floor for five years now and there is so much I wish i could change, not only on my floor but in the entire realm of nursing everywhere. But every nurse wants to change things, but can't from the floor. With this small foot in the door, I will be meeting the president of the ENTIRE society (my professor is friends with the entire board), and this is how I can change nursing. I will be on the floor still, and can still have political power, one day, in a couple years! This is crazy! Dream big!!!!!!!

So after I got done chatting with all my professors as if they were my new best friends, I raced out of there, thinking the meeting was only an hour long. Well, it was an hour and 45 minutes, time now being 5:38. My sister walks onto the graduation field at 6:10! And thats an hour away! Oh no!!!!! So, I obviously raced there....I might have broken a couple speed laws, but I did make it there in just under an hour! I missed her walk, and get her diploma though :( So, bummer. But, she doesn't hate me! Yay!

So overall, from morning until being in my bed at night, it was a crazy crazy day and so UNEXPECTED!!!!  I love when life happens like that! One minute you're here and the next you're on a roller coaster you didn't even know existed! Its SO WEIRD how fate works!

1) First of all, my friend and I weren't even supposed to go to that restaurant, or that area. We were going to meet closer to me, but they were closed. If we had met closer to me, I never would have gone to the school.

2) If I had not chosen to go see my BN friend, and if I had gone right to the school, I would have been there way too early and would have never seen my professor.

3) If I hadn't been so engrossed in a book at BN and spent two and a half hours there, I would have been too early. Also, If I had chose to go right to graduation and skip the paperwork like I so wanted, it never would have happened!

It just was so weird how it all worked out! It was meant to happen, I was meant to be right there at that time. And now it will probably help shape the rest of my entire life...... Thats kind of like how I decided to go into nursing....so unexpected. Another blog, another day..

I will definitely update you on that! Yay nursing!!!!! I promise to change it all for the good!

~A Writer in a Nurse's Body

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rain Birds

I'm pretty sure my subconscious thinks I live inside a movie and is constantly trying to live up to making it the perfect movie.

Yes, I think that defines my entire being.

 Photography, music, writing....it all fits.

< 3

Dream Catchers

"If you asked me,

                             How I'm doing,

I would lie--and say

                                 I'm doing just fine.

I would lie

                        and say that you're not on my mind."

Interesting Piece of History

Today was an amazing day at work.

It's going to be really hard to explain....truly.

Last night, I was lying in my bed, just waiting to fall asleep, staring at the moon, still sickly. And all of the sudden I felt this wave of.....joy? Relaxation? Serenity? Acceptance? Peace?

I swear I was not on any drugs!.....Well, other than Nyquil.

I think it was my Grandmother's spirit coming to say hello. Thats what I think.

All of the sudden, I just had all this confidence, all this warmth, that I was going to have an amazing day at work the next day. I could feel energy pouring calmly through me that would be used the next day (today). I could envision this energy being used to make my patients smile, to do those extra little things for every body. 

With my grandmother recently passing away in a hospital, and a couple of my relatives being with her there to experience it and tell me about it, it only made me remember again why I am in this profession. My aunt (my grandmothers oldest daughter) explained to me how much of a difference the care and love the nurses gave, how much the little things counted.

Some times at work I forget that. I do my job really well still- but I forget that who I am taking care of is someone's beloved grandma, grandpa, daughter, son, mom, dad, sister, brother, friend.... Just as my grandmother was to me, I would want absolutely nothing more than to have the best nurses take care of her and my family. In fact, if I had found out about what was going on while I was in Europe, in retrospect, my only wish would have been to pray that she did have good nurses.

So sometimes I forget, yes. I see my patients as individuals and forget that they are connected to so many others. But today I did not forget. I made it a point to treat every single patient as if they were my only, and as if they were my family. Of course this is hard to do when you have 23 patients, and I wanted desperately to stay on my shift longer, because I literally ran out of time to the very last second.

I worked day shift this weekend, which I do only on a rare blue moon. I have never been a huge fan of day shift, mainly because I usually find it rather painful and frightening to wake up before the sun, and function. However being on day shift this weekend helped me spend more time with my patients and do those 'little things'. Day shift is primarily responsible for getting everyone washed, ready for the day, teeth brushed, fed, washed again...so you get to spend a lot of 1:1 time with your patients. They get to know you, trust you.

Just like yesterday I shared the story of my 101 year old delightful patient that deserves all the respect in the world, today I encountered another type of patient that deserves all the respect. Veterans. 

I spent about 30 minutes just getting this one patient washed up, both yesterday and today. I really got to know him, and in just one day got to see him greatly progress in his health and effort. Through talking today he shared with me that he is used to being a patient in military hospitals, as he served for many years in his day.  He quotes, "Back in my day....back in the army hospitals, if you could walk, you were out there helping the nurses. There was no lying in bed all day like we have to do here. I'm getting sicker lying here. If I could I'd be out there helping you."

It was definitely an interesting piece of history that this man shared with me. History is great out of a textbook, but means so much more when coming from tales of personal experience. How interesting, to think that healing soldiers got back up and helped the nurses? To see that friendship, respect and camaraderie that must have been there....I would pay a million bucks.

Overall, it was an excellent day. I got to do little special things for a couple patients, and that makes all the difference to making or breaking your day.

I think I am probably going to fall into the early nurse burnout category...because I never want to stop. I know how many things I have to do, how many people need help, how many people need me at that moment and it never stops, and I have trouble leaving, even if its to pee or to go eat. If I weren't going to pass out from not eating for 12 hours, I would just work straight through and help every last patient with every last need. I eat my food quickly because I know I need to get back on the floor. I know this is not good. Thats how burnout happens....putting everyone else before yourself all the time... But, really, isn't that what I'm getting paid to do sort of? Shouldn't I?  Doesn't it sort of come in the job description?

I need to find the fine line and camp out on it. I need to find a balance of hard work, extra time with patients, making it to see all my patients, but also being fair to myself. Eat, pee, laugh, breathe.... I need to work on that.


PS- It has also been finalized that I have some definite odd case of OCD. After working 12 hours and not eating dinner (I ran out of money, lol) I was definitely looking forward to coming home to a homecooked dinner leftover for me. On the drive home I was starving. I envisioned how awesome it would be to finally sit down and eat some dinner at home, while watching tv.

Well, I got home, changed out of my gross scrubs, went downstairs and threw some food in the microwave. As I stood there waiting, I realized the sink had dishes in it. Too many dishes. You can't wash your hands. That bothered me. So I decided to do the dishes. But then the wash machine was full with clean dishes, so I emptied that first. But then my food beeped ready. But I couldnt ignore the dishes now that I had started, I just couldn't. So I put the dirty dishes in and started the cycle. But then I realized the countertop was wet and dirty around the previous dish infested area and had to clean that too, despite food still being ready. After that I figured I might as well clean the dining area, which I did, because how can I stop at the countertop?

Eventually though, I did get to eat. :-) The funny thing is if you saw my room you would never peg me as a neat OCD freak, but thats because i know where everything is in my room despite it being messy. But if there is dishes in the sink, I just can't look at them. Can't do it. Have to wash them. Go figure!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Age is Never a Predictor

When working on the nursing floor, we know ahead of time when we are getting an admission. In order to do my job to adequately prep for an admission, I usually ask the same questions, "How old? Are they from home? Whats the diagnosis?" These three things help me figure out how to set the room up, what supplies they might need and so on. However these are only general guidelines, as sometimes age is definitely not a predictor.

I can't tell you how many times I have had a patient in their 60's and is completely dependent on caregivers. Can't walk, can't talk, can't feed themselves, dress themselves, nada. And then I've had patients in their 90's that walk, talk, bathe, dance, exercise...It's interesting to see. So although I still always ask how old they are, this is always just a guideline and never a full assumption.

Today I had a patient that was 101 years old! It was neat to see her, because I remember having her as a patient a couple years ago. I have been at my job for 5 years now, and I remember having her about 2-3 years ago and remember thinking.....she might make it to 100! And now she's a 101, the next time I meet her!

If you make it past 100, you deserve a giant cookie. You deserve anything in the world that you want. Screw diet restrictions, eat anything you want! I know some cultures differ on how they treat the elderly in their communities. I know (well at least I've heard) that some places in Europe are extremely respectful to their elders. They treat them with honor, respect and cherish them to the utmost and seek their guidance on how to live their own life. 
Americans .....not so much. Our elderly are sort of just shuffled around in the Medicare roundabout. They work their whole life and then their life funds go into nursing homes or Medicare/Medicaid, and they end up miserable in a bed eating mush food. Collectively as a country, I don't think we see our Elders as people we should respect, and seek guidance from.

However I beg to differ, personally...I wish I could just ask my 101 year old patient so many questions....do you realize how much she has lived through? How much her little body has been through? How much her eyes have seen and ears have heard? She must have so many stories... And yet here she is, somehow made it to being stuck in my little hospital, alone in a hospital room with infrequent visitors. She is fully-alert, can move, can walk a couple steps yet, can write, etc. She is known on the floor for being "annoying" because she has to use the bedpan so frequently, but every time I go in their I put all annoyances aside because I am in the presence of someone so stunning. This is truly such a treat to see, to experience- to have a conversation with someone that has lived through so much. 

Despite being the only aide on my very-busy floor today, I desperately tried making time to really show her that there were still people on this earth that respected her and took time to make her comfortable and special.

Anyone that makes it past 100 has my utmost respect, any day, any time. They are who we should be taking life advice from, don't you think?


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eur-A-Pee'n Reflection

So, now that I've been going through all my photos from the trip and started to get acquainted with America, it is finally time to reflect on everything that I have learned about the world, about America, and most importantly, about myself. I wouldn't exactly say the trip was "life changing" and I am certainly not part of the stereotype "go to Europe and come back a totally different person with all these worldly views" on world peace and monkeys and everything. But I still learned a lot.

It actually did not occur to me, pre-Europe, that I would learn anything about myself while travelling. It wasn't until chatting with my Auntie Lin mid-trip when she asked me, "So, what have you learned about yourself so far?"

I thought it was the strangest question.....learned about myself? Like How? What would I have learned? I sat back and thought about it and the first answer I could come up with was that based on the craziness and lack of sleep that had already gone down on the trip, I knew I was not well suited for a future life of adventure, craziness and lack of sleep (i.e. the military). But I desperately wanted to give her an answer that represented something positive and good about myself, rather than the pessimistic answer I just gave. So I told her I needed to reflect and think about it some, and so- here it is. So much reflecting its almost nauseating!

So I'm not sure what order to put these in...most important to least important? Vice versa? Do you not care? Ok good. I'll just put them in any order as I think of them. Keep in mind that some things are really rather small and rather common sensical but prior to this trip I was severely lacking in common sense, so these are still big achievements for me. Don't judge.

1) If you give me a map, of the city and of the subway system, I can now safely and effectively navigate any city! Woot! This is nice because before I felt nauseous when trying to understand NYC's metro and street names and yadayada and now I feel like I could probably do it just fine after surviving Paris and London and Amsterdam...

2)  I learned how to effectively calm myself in high-anxiety situations. I got lost (very lost) a couple times and on the inside, wanted to completely freak out. But that wouldn't solve anything. At home I am used to relying on people. If I have a problem, I call my dad or mom. If that doesnt work, I call a friend to come help me. If no one can help me, I can turn to my iphone which has internet everywhere and the internet can get you out of almost any sticky.  I can't exactly say I'm used to solving problems on my own. But being lost in Europe- my dad or any friend at home can't do squat for me, and in Europe I had no International Internet. So I learned how to calm myself down, and try breathing, and looking for clues to get me out of being lost. I learned that if you calm down and rationalize, things start to make a lot more sense. Even tiny clues help, and paying attention the first time can help you later when you are really lost. You have to just sort of turn on all the switches in your brain and use all thinking capabilities...its pretty cool. And well....I got home each time, didn't I? By myself?  No matter how bad a situation, it will always be over eventually. There is always a way, a solution, you just have to keep looking. This was really important for me to have learned. I feel a lot more confident and less helpless now as a person, and feel a lot more confident travelling around the world and in my own country.

3) I can definitely not under any circumstances ever think that it is ok for me to eat pizza. It will never be a good idea, even if it is from Italy.


4) I learned that I can live out of a suitcase and backpack and purse! You may find this funny but I find it interesting....At home I have a whole room full of stuff and I always think that everything in that room is critical to my survival....until you realize you are just fine doing with the bare essentials for two weeks. I think with the ability to have washed my clothes in that suitcase, I could live with what I just lived with for a whole month....or maybe even year, who knows. I can see how backpackers do it now. Human survival doesn't need as much as I thought it did.

5) I have this weird obsession with taking pictures of cool signs, and cool messages people wrote with graffiti or something....I like signs. I also really seem to like windows. Particularly windows with flowers. I don't know why. I mean, windows are nice, but they aren't fantastic...regardless, I have a lot of window pictures.........

6) I learned I have an extremely weak immune system. Why did I become a nurse? Good question.

7) I learned that I will never have a good relationship with most food. I really dread meal times and although I love to EAT, and am always hungry, I dislike or can't eat so many foods now that it has become a daily (three times a day) struggle on feeding myself and this is extra hard while travelling....abroad.

8) Europe is so environmentally friendly! I mean, go Europe! Good job! You save the world! America could really use some pointers in this field.

9) I have really learned how to be extra aware of my personal belongings. I am used to being able to just waltz around my town without having to worry about pickpockets. But thanks to my tour guides constant reminders of pickpockets and SIGNS on the STREET (this was weird!) to beware of pickpockets, suddenly I knew I couldnt just waltz down the street. I had to be really aware of my bag at all times. It also created this OCD thing in me, see number 10. But I learned to hold my zipper on my purse. If I'm holding my zipper, you can't get in, eh? Eh? Good, I know. I also put my coat over my purse a lot too. Not stylish at all, but...it worked.

10) I learned I have this strange OCD thing about zippering things. Like when I am on bus rides or planes or trains, or just walking down the street, I think of these weird things that I hope I remembered, and I find it absolutely necessary to unzip all of my zippable  compartments on my backpack and purse until I find that item, and if I can't find that item, I have extreme anxiety. I'm almost positive I drove my bus mate, Drew, crazy because I couldn't sit still and I did a lot of zipping and unzipping, and lifting my bag up and back down and then more zipping, fussing, checking, re-checking....poor Drew. I also noticed I have extreme anxiety with thinking something happened to my personal belongings in my purse, despite my valiant efforts to protect them while holding the zipper.  Example:  I walk down a street. I suddenly remember I have not physically felt or seen my iphone in over 20 minutes. I HAVE to stop and check to make sure I have it. Okay, I have it. And my camera. Move on......holding the zipper, walk down the street again, still holding that zipper, no one can get in. Suddenly I feel the urge to check again.

What if the purse got a hole in it during that small walk?

I seriously need Xanax.

11) I learned how not to act and look like a tourist...as much. I still probably looked American but I tried really hard to not be annoying. I did a lot of independant exploring and I think that was the best part about the trip, and the number one way of how not to be an annoying tourist!

12) I still want to learn more languages, but its a LOT harder than I previously thought.  German, for instance is going to be exceedingly harder than it should be.

13) I NEED ICE IN MY FRIGGEN DRINKS, OKAY? Call me spoiled, fine. Needy? Whatever. American? YES. BUT I LIKE MY DRINKS COLD! WHY IS THAT WEIRD! WHY ARE ALL EUROPE DRINKS WARM! GET ICE. I love your culture, I do, I really do- But refrigerators are friendly, I swear.


14) Paris is really dehydrating.

15) A lot of people my age suffer from the same embarrassing health problems as I do, but no one likes to talk about it. I never knew this before, until I spent a lot of time with the same people, like this trip. For example, when you first meet a group of people, that is definitely not something anyone wants to talk about. But after spending 24/7 (literally) with everyone after a week or so, you start noticing these things about each other and opening up about it. A lot of times I would mention I was nauseous and that gave permission for 6 other people around me to reveal THEY are nauseous too. I also found a friend that had almost the same exact health issues as me, and I never would have guessed it by looking at her. I guess were all good at hiding it. I just wish we could all be open about it so no one had to hide!

16) My tour director deserves all the credit in the world, being responsible for 42 stupid college kids. Do all 27 year old tour directors look like they might cry after two weeks?

Most important and last but not least....

17) America is pretty darn awesome. I have wanted to high tail it out of America for the longest time now. I was so dead set on moving out of this country because I was so sure America was doing everything wrong and that Europe had all the answers. Well, after travelling to Europe, although it was fascinating and gorgeous, it was not a magical place with unicorns and happy leprechauns and rainbows either. Europe has plenty of their own crap going on, and is a lot like America...except across the ocean. Although Americans to carry a negative reputation at times in Europe, I still felt a strong sense of patriotism when walking down the European street having so much fun with my American friends.  We would see how another culture does one thing, and we would show them how we do it, and be proud. We do a LOT of things wrong, but we do it together and we have fun. Were a pretty good country after all and I don't have any intentions on moving away anytime soon. Plus, I like ice way too much.

To wrap it all up, I am going to have a little award show. Get Ready. These are very well thought out and went through a very intense grading system!

Favorite Meal: Innsbruck, Austria
Favorite City: Paris
Favorite People:  Paris
Favorite Architecture: London
Favorite Culture: Amsterdam
Favorite overall food choices: London


Overall, it was amazing. I want to go back, of course. But next time I would like to go back with perhaps a specialized photography tour of older people, like its a requirement to be a graduate of college. I made some amazing new friends and had a lot of crazy fun, but I realize now that the typical drinking-college scene just isnt for me and I would have had a lot more fun In Europe with older 20 somethings or 30 somethings. One day, I can go back, perhaps with just 2-3 people. I definitely want to go back to Paris and London!

Thanks for reading. This was a lot longer than intended. I wasnt expecting 17.

~A Writer in a Nurse's Body