Sunday, July 10, 2011


I've got about one month left. Whew.

In the six weeks I've been here, I've experienced a whirlwind of shenanigans that have led me on a path of self discovery, independence, and a whole mess of awkward in between.

 June 22: The Madness Begins
The summer festival I've been working on has been an incredible experience, although it couldn't have started out worse. Mother Nature must have felt like a real bitch that day, because she had nearly every element working against us that day. Not only had we realized the day before that our posters had a typo on them which placed our biggest act on the wrong day. So my boss woke me up early the next day and asked that I change 500 handbills by that afternoon. When Molly and I arrived at the festival, we were greeted by fierce wind and a light drizzle. We tried to stay positive and upbeat, but we had a lot of things working against us. We had 2 different types of acts performing that day-An award winning 30 girl gospel choir and a Mediterranean style band. Our sound technician was on edge because of each act had a sound check very different from each other, and we had a limited amount of time to accomplish both before the outdoor lunchtime performance was supposed to begin. Because of the wind and drizzle, we consulted Rob (another one of our bosses), and he suggested that we move the equipment and canopy tent to another quieter area of the business park. So we lost 30 minutes to move everything and had to start over, behind schedule. Just when we think that everything is looking up, the wind starts to blow harder and harder and the raindrops get bigger and bigger. We are close to being ready for the choir to do their sound check, when I see Molly coming out of the theater where the choir was staying out of the rain. She had been putting up with their director all morning, and as she came toward me she gave me the worst news: The fire alarm had gone off and the children had to stand in the rain. They now wanted to leave without performing, and our boss was nowhere to be found. The rain was picking up even more, and the wind blowing harder in our faces. People asked if I had been crying because I was soaking wet. By the time we found our boss, we had already made the call to cancel the festival outdoors. We let the children and band perform inside the theatre, but sadly they didn't have an audience. It was a learning day, and we figured out a lot from that awful day about how the rest of the festival was supposed to go.

At the end of the day, every experience is valuable, and this job isn't meant to be easy-but it has been worth it. I've also learned (the incredibly frustrating way) that you may not always get recognized for the work you do, and quite often people will take credit for your work whenever they can. Sadly, that realization reminded me of my insane Management Professor's words, "A great manager takes all the blame and gives all the credit."

The festival has indeed picked up and gotten considerably better from this very terrible starting point, and each day gets easier and easier. I can only accept that working with nature is a struggle, and the only actions I can control are my own. On the positive side, this festival has also given me the opportunity to practice deep breathing, something aerobic exercise has not done well to train me.

June 24-28: Ausfarht to Germany
On the third day of the festival, I left the program up to Molly and hopped a plane to visit my sorority sister Mindy in Siegen, Germany. This was a personal triumph, as I was supposed to visit Germany about a year ago to see my boyfriend abroad. Sadly, that didn't quite work out, but fate brought me there anyhow. When I finally got there, it was surreal. Germany is a beautiful country, and luckily I got to see the countryside on our hour long drive home. Mindy and I started our party right away, eating chocolate and drinking wine. That night, we went to a club named "Plan B", which incidentally turned out to be a great initial plan. I danced with a French guy and was able to tell him that my name was Kelly and I studied art in London, all en francais! We stayed out until 5am, and I had a deep conversation with Mindy's Colombian friend Ricardo. What we talked about, I'm not too sure, but I do know I told him that all I wanted in life is security. It was very deep...?

The next night was even more ridiculous that the last. Apparently they're trying to popularize American football in Siegen, and Mindy is now on the pom squad for their team. So after a long awkward start to the party where only half the guests spoke English, the football team rolled in and the party heated up quickly. Several drinks later, I found myself being very social and giggling at the huge men practicing their English with me. At one point, someone poured me a large glass of straight vodka, added a splash of orange juice and called it a screwdriver, and I made myself some "gine," a winning gin+wine combo. That should give you a good idea of how well the evening went. At the end of the night after Mindy had gone to bed, I was seeing our guests out the door when someone told me that 5 of Mindy's friends expected to spend the night there. We had one extra mattress, and I had no idea what to do. I don't speak German, and I was very concerned about where to put them. By the time I had turned around, one girl had put on her pajamas and climbed into the extra bed and two of the guys had laid out sleeping bags and plugged in their phones. I was in no state to handle much else, and so I left them to sleep, and when I got up they were gone. All in all, it was a ridiculous night.

One of my biggest fears in going to Germany was that the language barrier would be too substantial and I'd be lost in a place where I couldn't figure out how to get home. Luckily for me, my sweet southern accent was attractive to the grunting linebackers & foxy foreigners.  Like Blanche says in 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." If she thought she had it rough, she should've tried talking to German football players.

The next night, Mindy and I visited one of her friends who only spoke minimal German and Spanish. After a bottle of wine, we ended up laughing at each other for a solid 15 minutes and imitating funny noises and gestures. I tried very hard to do a dipsnap, but my failure kept him entertained for an hour. I guess my default of embarrassing behavior worked out once again. We couldn't communicate any other way, but at least this way everyone was at ease. What can I say, humor is a common language.

On a final note, I would just like to say that old German men shouldn't be allowed to wear bike shorts. SMH. 

June 28-July 10: WHAT IS GOING ON???
This has been a weird few weeks. Molly and I have been so busy with the festival and running around London, but we've definitely had our share of odd times. On July 1, Molly and I declared 'Hipster Saturdays', where we put on ridiculous outfits that don't match and make us look stupid. We were asked for directions that day, and a hot guy hit on me and complimented my outfit. I actually told him I was dressed that way as a joke, and I was shocked when he told me how the sloppy look 'worked for me.' It was awful, but it just reaffirmed our theory that you can literally wear anything and people will think you look okay.

We saw a version of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' that was set in 1950's America, only instead of fairies, Oberon and Titania were aliens. It's fine, this kind of thing happens all the time here. Hearing brits imitate American accents was awesomely hilarious, and though it was supposed to be a 'B' movie type production, it had some very eccentric script changes. For instance, Puck snorted cocaine on stage. Why not? The real fault of the production was that it had about 3 logical endings and went on about 40 minutes longer than it should've. But theatre is an amazing experience, and I loved going to this fun show.

Though children and dogs are often seen out and about in London, I believe there are limits to where and when they should be around. For instance, Molly and I passed a homeless man who had a rottweiler sitting in his lap with a pacifier in the dogs mouth. There were also children walking in the streets and people pushing baby buggies and walking children around at 11 at night. PUT YOUR CHILDREN TO BED, LONDONERS! And though I never thought I'd say this, but HOMELESS MAN, THAT DOG IS NOT A BABY.

As we were going into a bar last night, the bouncer asked for our ID's. He took a long look at my driver's license, and asked "Is that really you? Looks like you lost weight." Thanks, d-bag.

In Shoreditch, we went to this club called "Plastic People". I've never seen so many people dancing awkwardly and listening to such awful music in my life. At one point, a guy just rubbed his ass all over mine, and I couldn't tell if that was intentional. There was a legitimate question as to whether or not we were at a gay club or not. There wasn't a rhythmic dance move in the whole club, and there weren't any lights in this basement of a club. Definitely supes awks.

But what am I missing out on at home? 
I do get homesick every once in a while, and it's the little things I miss the most. If I could see a man in a stetson or taste the rightful 23 flavors of a Dr. Pepper, I would probably do a backflip. I also never expected I would miss hearing country music on the radio, but I found myself shuffling through my T-Swift and Garth Brooks. The 4th of July was a rough day, since my family always has such a great time together. I missed them a lot, and it felt weird not to be celebrating with my friends and hearing my mom sing against the symphony my dad was directing.

London has gotten easier to navigate, but I miss driving my car and not being dependent of public transportation. To cope with the buses and tubes, I have constructed these rules for using public transport-

The Tube Commandments
10- Thou shalt open doors when necessary and with appropriate knowledge. I'm so sick of people not knowing how to open the damn train doors. The first time I pushed somebody out of the way to open the doors to the overground, I knew I could handle this city.
9- Thou shalt not make out on the tube. Seriously, I am so sick of watching people make out. Go be happy somewhere else so that I don't have to look at you.
8-Thou shalt not attempt to ride a train whose doors are closing. The tube comes every 3 minutes. If you can't wait that long to get on a train that isn't already packed with sweaty people, then you deserve to look stupid getting smashed in the doors.
7-Thou shalt not take up more space than necessary. Do you really need to spread your bags out all over the train around you to keep an eye on them? No. Just get out of my way.
6-Thou shalt keep thy children, ipods, and voices quiet. Public transport is a seriously viable form of birth control. Toddlers with British accents are adorable, but screaming is something that makes me want to get hit by the bus I'm riding. As for ipods and noisy passengers, if you can't hear yourself think over your own music or voice, SHUT UP AND TURN DOWN THAT MUSIC. (it's official, I'm 70 years old.)
5- Thou shalt make eye contact sparingly before 10pm. If you look at me on the tube, I will assume you are creepy and are on your way to a psychiatric appointment. I mean, I'm hot and really awesome, so I can't blame people when they stare, but seriously, stop it. Wait til I've been drinking and I don't mind so much.
4-Thou shalt sit only in seats. I saw this one girl sitting next to the door of the tube. What a tourist loser. If there aren't any seats, you stand. You're fine. Get over it. Stand up.
2- Thou shalt stand on the right side of the escalator and let other pass on thy left. This is an actual rule for the tube so that people can get wherever they're going at their own pace. When people screw this up and stand where I want to walk, it really gets under my skin. ( This also goes back to commandment 7)
1-Thou shalt get the hell out of my way. GTFO, MOFO'S! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Oh, You Must Be From Hackney"

As soon as I open my mouth to speak, it's obvious I'm not from around here.

However, that might be the only clue some people have that I'm an American. I've learned to use the buses and tubes pretty seamlessly, know my way around parts of Hackney pretty well, and no longer get completely frustrated when I can't find my way around. I held back a laugh at the noob who kept  pushing the 'door close' button on the train and wondering why it didn't open.  I was almost able to give someone directions over the phone this week, and as I write this I am eating a typical full English breakfast consisting of baked beans, eggs, tomato, bacon, sausage, and toast.

When I was at McDonald's the other day (don't judge, we all have our comfort foods), I waited patiently behind a business man as a less than satisfied local complained that they had put something on his sandwich to which he was allergic. He yelled across the restaurant, threatening to sue the entire corporation for murder and creating quite the scene for the other five people there. The business man in front of me softly spoke, "You must be from Hackney, since you know how to deal with people like him."

I was a little shocked, since I wasn't actually doing anything but looking away and keeping a straight face in the wake of this overreaction. But I politely told him that yes, I did live in Hackney, and this was nothing.  Right then, I realized I could handle things on my own. While the situation did make me a little uncomfortable, I also felt like I could deal with it calmly enough to put other people at ease. Maybe I'm not such a fish out of water anymore, and maybe I can actually live here without feeling flustered all the time!

It was a huge confidence booster, but I don't often pretend to be from Hackney. If anyone asks, I do say I live in Hackney, but when they realize I'm an American, I let myself be from all over the country. Today, I was from Texas when a guy from a store guessed that was my home. Twice I've been Kelly from California, here visiting my boyfriend for the next week (that one was for the creepers). I'm pretty sure that only the people I work with actually know I'm from Oklahoma.

I'm getting much better at dealing with rando's who do things like lick their lips at me while they drive down the street or ask me how I stay so 'fit.' Ignoring them works pretty well, or lying and saying I kickbox competitively works too.

Work is amazing. For any Arts and Sciences majors out there who feel like they may never get an opportunity to do what they love because they picked a major that doesn't actually do anything for the world-don't fret! There is hope out there! I spend my days at the New Diorama Theatre, booking tickets for people over the phone and learning how a theatre space operates on a day-to-day basis, and getting to see the shows that come through. In three weeks, I've seen three shows at the theatre, plus two other shows around London. I also get to spend a fair amount of time in the cafe adjacent to the theatre, and the owners draw little hearts and swans in my cappuccino every day :)

I'm also responsible for executing an arts festival that will take place on the plaza of the business park for 5 weeks starting June 22nd. I've made up contracts, done technical inventory, learned to book talent, and I'm even getting to work on a Flashdance piece for the festival, so I'll get to perform! As with every internship I've ever had, I've cooked up a few databases. But the plus is our theatre is in the middle of a major business park in London, home to the second largest real estate company in the UK. I am always happy to see the many attractive men pass by the cafe in suits. It motivates me to dress up for work, to be honest.

To end this post, I'll share a little list I've been compiling, recording my woes with public transportation-
Today on the train I smelled:
Fish (
Wet dog (even though there weren't any dogs to be seen)
The by-product of flatulence
An odd combination of feet and beans
VERY strong cologne

to be continued...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can I Get A 'SMH'???

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been an odd few days. All I can say is SMH! I knew London wasn't going to be perfect, and I don't want to focus on the negatives, but I'm trying to record things as they happen, and smh's are errwherr.

*For those of you wondering what 'smh' is, it is an abbreviation for 'shake my head', and at the Kappa Kastle we actually pronounce it 'smuh'. So if somebody does something/something happens that you disapprove of or dislike, you might say 'smh'.

Here are some recent 'smh'-s I've come across in London over the past few days:
Excessive body odor? SMH!
Fat guys who wear shirts that say "I came on Eileen"? SMH!
People who talk too loudly on buses? SMH!
Leg cramps from walking for five hours straight everyday? SMH!
Dirty old men who smell like booze and old fish and almost vomit on me? SMH!! Now, I can handle drunk froshies or crying sorority girls, but this was different.
People who can't clap to the correct beat at a concert? SMH! Glue your hands together and sit quietly!
Gap-tooth homeboys who confront me at the bus stop, mumble 'you look amazing', and then believe me when I say that my name is Kelly and I'm from California? Major SMH! (By the way, I enjoy lying to men I don't approve of or show no interest in. It's a hobby.)

But the ultimate SMH of the day happened tonight at dinner. My boss Mark and his wife Lawry took me to dinner at a Turkish restaurant in Hackney. She'koyokh, one of the acts for our music festival this summer was playing a show of Eastern European folk music there, and I was having a lovely time drinking beer and trying new food. Out of nowhere, a man dressed in hasidic clothing asks to sit down at our table. At first I think, what are the odds that a rabbi would come in right as I'm getting drunk? Is God trying to tell me something? I mean, this guy has the long beard, traditional black suit, side curls, etc. He's the real deal, and I have no idea what to do in this situation but smile and finish my beer.

When he ordered a beer, I was sincerely confused. I don't know much about rabbis, and I have never met one that drank turkish beer. But as the band called for a break in their set, our new friend toasted his beer with us and explained that he was some sort of religious medicine man. He told us how his father had survived Auschwitz, and the mood suddenly became awfully heavy. He began telling us a story of how he met a woman who had a stomach tumor but refused chemotherapy and western medicine. Her family begged him to do something, so he took her to the depths of the rainforest in Brazil, changed her diet, fed her a plant mixture, and meditated with her for six months. Finally, he told us that her stomach tumor shrank over time and her cancer disappeared. It had been nine years since their trip to Brazil, and she was still going strong. No big deal, he just cured cancer.

Throughout this story, I'm not sure if I'm just drunk or if this is really happening. He started to speculate that big pharmaceutical companies know what the plants in the rainforest can do but are destroying it for their own profit. He told us how he attended Harvard divinity school for graduate work, but confessed to Mark that he had never heard of Martin Luther, which I found odd. Then, out of nowhere he looks me straight in the eye and tells me that all women should be vegetarians. Apparently, meat is incredibly acidic, and not good for our bodies. But the explanation took an odd turn when he started talking about the acidity of semen and how that should be the only 'acid' we put into our bodies. I know I was drifting in and out of the conversation, but I truly didn't know what to think about this.

Luckily the music started up again, and he sang and danced along to the yiddish and gypsy songs they played. After the show, Mark explained that I was from America and the old man started rambling about the places I had to visit in the states so that I could really 'see America.' It's not like I have lived there for nearly 23 years, but his suggestions were nice. Mark and Lawry found him enchanting and not weird like I did, so they exchanged contact information and he offered his services anytime he was needed. I still don't really know what to think.

So what can we take away from these few days? Sometimes, all you can do is smile and SMH...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whatchu Know About Walkin' ? (or, My First Few Days in London)

I've been in London for about 80 hours, and my dogs are BARKIN'.

But before I walked like 15 miles this weekend, I made it safely on my first international flight. I was so proud of myself for doing well on my flights! I am normally horrible with planes, but this time I convinced myself that if I could get to London, the flight would be a miniscule part of my trip. I didn't manage to sleep on the 8 hour flight from Houston to London, but I did watch plenty of horrible movies. At first, I stayed awake so I could eat dinner. Then, I stayed awake to wait for the line for the bathroom to go down. Then I started watching a movie that I actually wanted to see. Then I started watching a movie I didn't care about so much, but couldn't get very comfortable so I didn't sleep. Then I started another movie because we were about to eat breakfast. Then, there were 30 minutes left of the flight and there was no point in sleeping. Needless to say, I slept a lot that afternoon!

On the flight, I jotted down a few notes about my experience flying:
"Screwdriver: GOOD.
Skyy in the sky, nothing better
Watching 'Eclipse', thinking awful thoughts about Taylor Lautner next to an older gentleman-AWKWARD AS FRONK
Knowing he's glancing over to see Bella and Edward make out, and sitting so close to him that I know he can tell when I hold my breath when Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off-HELLA AWKWARD

I may be 22 and entitled to watch awful PG 13 tween movies, but I am still embarrassed to be watching Twilight next to this guy who could be my dad. Luckily, I'm a bit tipsy and don't care that much."

After the flight, I had to walk from surely the farthest terminal to the UK border, where I had to present my visa/passport and letter of sponsorship for my internship. I stood in the queue (that's native for 'line') for almost an hour before a 3 minute accost about why exactly I was there. A bit scary, to say the least.

My boss, Mark, picked me up and we drove through the city to Hackney where I'm staying. We made a stop at the Diorama Art Center offices at The Crypt Center near Regents Park, which was exciting to see! Once I got all my baggage into my room, I promptly went to sleep for 8 hours. After dinner with Mark and his wife Lawry, we walked around Hackney to a nearby churchyard, as well as other shops and a freehouse. Freehouses are abandoned properties that have been 'squatted' by a group of people who might otherwise not have anywhere to go. Anyone can drop things off like clothes or books or whatever, and anyone can take anything they need. It has a few people in charge of looking after it, but it isn't regulated as to who takes/gives what. They also hold free events there, like poetry nights, lectures on life skills like skillful squatting or wiring electricity, movie nights, etc. We walked in and heard about 15 minutes of free verse poetry and stand up comedy. It was very intriguing and entertaining, and just interesting to see how differently these people live. Even when I donate things to Salvation Army, I assume someone else will pay for them. If I go to the thrift store where other people have donated things, I expect to pay. I had never really encountered a place where you can take what you need and leave things for people knowing that they won't have to pay for them, allowing them to save money on clothing, etc.

Sunday was a perfect day in the country, mixing with the posh at Lady Bessborough's country estate. I had coffee next to a Matisse sketch and saw the Picasso in her grandchildren's playroom, not to mention the millions of dollars worth of modern art that covers the gardens outside the estate. After that, it was a short drive to Stonehenge, then off to Salisbury for a 13th century cathedral visit and dinner at a pub.

My first day at work was awesome. My main responsibility is to prep for an execute a 5 week outdoor music and dance festival, but that doesn't start until June 22. Until then I'm working with the New Diorama Theatre, and the people there are so legit. There is a cafe' attached to the theatre that helps support it, and it has amazingly delicious food like duck and coffee imported from Nepal. I can't wait to work with them all summer, and even though most arts management internships I've had have been a drag, this one is very promising.

I feel like I'm finally getting my feet under me, and I'm comfortable walking around my neighborhood. It's not so overwhelming anymore, but the idea that I'll be here for another ten weeks is a little unnerving. There's so much I want to do, but I do feel like I'll have time to do it.

Culture shock is a funny thing. Though there's not exactly a language barrier, my family has a much different lifestyle than I do. For one, they recycle EVERYTHING. They compost old food and don't use plastic sacks. They don't use major grocery stores, and support local markets. Driving here is ridiculous- stop and go all the time, bumper to bumper traffic. The most shocking idea was when Mark told me that "drivers here rely on others to know what they're doing, whereas in the states drivers assume that everyone else on the road is stupid." What a novel idea! It seems to work for them, but it still makes me incredibly nervous.

I can't say I'm wild about cyclists on the road, and I wish there weren't people who meander aimlessly on the sidewalk when I'm trying to get somewhere. Using public transportation has been awesome so far, even though it was a little overwhelming at first.

Food has been a bit of an issue because I'm a somewhat picky eater, but all in all I've been open to trying new things. The Danish girl that lives in my house with me (Louise) made spinach pancakes last night that were awesome, and I've had plenty of fish and fresh food. There's considerably less salt used here in home cooking, and I think my arteries are in a state of shock. I have been easing myself into the idea of cultural food by alternating my meals with new stuff and familiar cuisine. But even what's familiar is a little off. For instance, I had a burger at a pub that was made with onions in the meat (not an altogether foreign concept, I know, but unexpected to say the least!), and a 'Mexican Quesadilla', which was actually just thin slices of ham and cheese in a tortilla served with ketchup. I am addicted to Dr. Pepper, so while I hoped that would be a comfort, even that is a little different. It tastes a little off, and upon inspection of the bottle I bought today, I learned that it is considered a 'sparkling fruit flavour soft drink,' which explains the subtle fruity hint I picked up. On the side of the bottle, it also has a little tag line that says 'What's the worst that could happen?', which is definitely not what I want my soda to say. I drank it anyway, because it's all a part of the experience.

For my female friends out there wondering what the beau sitch is in London-there are SO many beautiful men here! While I'm pretty sure most of them are gay, I haven't been brazen enough to approach them. We'll see what happens when I hit the pubs with some friends, but until then, I'm satisfied just watching. I work in the financial district of central London and many young men in slick suits filter in an out of the theatre cafe' I frequent, and I am totally okay with that. It motivates me to dress nicely for work. 

I keep a notebook with me so that I can write down different things I'm thinking when I'm out and about. Today I sat down and started a comprehensive list of everything I've done/seen. So as of 24/5 (dates are written backwards here), I have-
 *Gotten an Oyster (under/overground transport card) *ridden a double decker bus/underground/overground trains *seen Stonehenge *seen Salisbury Cathedral *stood next to a Bently and Aston Martin *eaten spinach pancakes *gone to Broadway Market *gotten groceries by myself *cooked with a gas range *eaten pub food/drank pub beer *watched a football game with the locals (ManU vs Blackpool...must do this again!) *Seen several small galleries (renovated firehouse, old victorian house) *seen St. Thomas church *gone to the post office and figured out how to mail things *gotten tired of the smell of fish (its errwherr herr) *seen many beautiful men in business suits

Until next time, thanks for sifting through my life! Pics are up on Facebook :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

6 Days and 1 Long Island Tea

I'm about six days away from jumping on a plane and traveling almost 5,000 miles to London, England for 12 weeks. I hate flying and have cried on about 90% of the flights I've been on (keep in mind, I hadn't flown before I was 18), I don't necessarily like being lonely, lost, or confused, and I've had a personal vendetta with the study abroad process since my sophomore year of college.

Does it make any sense that I would want to go abroad? Not really.

Am I doing it anyway?
Why the hell not?

Let's back up to sophomore year when I had my first real encounter with study abroad. I had just started dating this really great guy when he told me that he had a dream to study abroad in Germany for a whole year his junior year. We had only been dating for a couple months, so even though I cared about him a lot, I encouraged him to go. The last thing I wanted was for him to stay in Tulsa because of me and then our relationship fall apart. We talked about the idea of me going abroad and joining him, but that wasn't something I could see myself reasonably doing. I accepted the fact that he was going to leave, and we decided to stay together throughout the process. We had a strong relationship, and I really wanted him to be happy. There was nobody else for me.

We were together for about a year before he left in August, 2009. I remember the last time he came to visit Tulsa, our last hug and kiss, and most of all, the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that hit when I saw him drive away for the last time. I remember when he called me right before he boarded the plane, and of course the tears that followed. I remember realizing that there would be no more 'goodnight' or 'i love you' text messages, no more holding hands on road trips, and when I went to hang out with his friends, he just wouldn't be there.

The first few months really weren't that bad. We skyped a lot, wrote letters, and occasionally he'd call me on the phone to surprise me. We did everything to make it work, and it did. My sorority sisters comforted me when I cried, and his fraternity brothers helped put me at ease and hung out with me all the time, joking about him and reminding me how wonderful he was.

But that December, I panicked. 

Near the end of finals, I was in a car wreck that totaled my car and really shook me up. I remember being so scared in a bad part of town with no way to get out and strangers talking to me. I was crying everywhere and the only person I wanted was seven time zones away. All of a sudden, I was angry at him. I felt abandoned, and even though neither of us could have predicted this, my overreaction to the situation had a lasting effect on my feelings for him. When I realized that he wasn't there, that he couldn't be there, that he'd never be able to comfort me the way I needed him to-that's when it got real. I was finally lonely.

I'm not what you'd call a 'consistently reasonable' person. I blamed study abroad for all of this, even though I knew how silly it was.  My boyfriend had been talked into leaving me for a whole year, and it messed up my life. I didn't know how to feel when we talked anymore, but suddenly it seemed like the distance between us was so much more than a few thousand miles.

And then, a new guy came into the picture.

I started talking to a second guy, who had been a friend of mine for a few months, and as we got to be better friends, we discussed my current boyfriend and how I had felt about missing him and how unfair the situation at hand was. After all, I was 21 years old. Should I really wait around for a guy when our future together was so uncertain? I could rationalize it any way I wanted to, but in the end, no matter how much I cared for my beau abroad, there was now somebody at home who cared about me too. So I broke it off with my boyfriend, and eventually started dating my new friend.

I won't say it was easy to get over my ex, but it was nice to have someone again. Maybe that's all I really needed. Even though my boy in Germany had bought a ticket for me to visit him, I turned it down. I couldn't get on that plane out of crippling fear. It was easier just to stay home.

As the next school year started, my new boyfriend and I went through a rough spot, breaking up and getting back together. We had a different dynamic than my ex and I, but we made it work somehow. But the nail in the coffin of our relationship finally came when he told me he was applying for an internship in Scotland.

What. The. Hell? Is this deja vu? Didn't I already send one guy to another country? And now this?

Being the intelligent and charismatic guy he is, of course he got it. There was never a doubt in my mind that the Karmic gods would shit on my life by sending another guy abroad after I'd broken up with one guy for being abroad.

So my Scotland man and I set a date to end our relationship. We finished out the fall semester together, but each day was bittersweet knowing that our happiness was fleeting. The morning I had to watch him drive away that one last time, I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach all over again. I remember feeling how unfair it was to have to go through this twice, and even if I was proud of the boyfriends I had 'sent' abroad and genuinely wanted the best for them, Study Abroad had cheated me again.

When I came back from winter break, I felt different. I didn't want a boyfriend anymore, but rather joked that if there was anyone out there who was unsure about studying abroad, they should date me for a few months and they'd definitely leave. I felt like it was time for a change, time for me to do things for myself and not sit around watching other people do fun things. It was time for me to live my life. I was a senior in college (set to graduate in December), and in a few months, my closest friends would be gone. This time around, it was about me and my friends, but mostly me. Carpe diem, mo' fo's.

I had heard of the Arts Management internship with Diorama Arts Center in London for years now. I discussed it with my friend Jenny (who had gone last year) on our way to class each week, and she gave me her honest opinion. When my adviser emailed everyone in our major about the summer position, I decided to go for it.

Why not? What did I have to lose? Worst case scenario? I wouldn't get it and I'd have to do something else. Best case scenario? I'd have to confront my fear of independence and get the experience of a lifetime.

Obviously, I got the internship. I texted my ex-boyfriend, with whom I had reconnected and become good friends,  and he seemed excited. I know he had mixed emotions about it, and for good reason. But since he worked in the study abroad office, I was glad to have a friend there to help ease my worries and guide me through the process.

So even though I had been twice scorned by the study abroad process, I agreed to put myself out there, confront all of my fears, and just go for it. This is the absolute last thing I ever saw myself doing, but here I am. It's my time, and I'll never get an opportunity like this ever again. It might be the scariest thing I ever do, but in the end I know it will be worth it. I've stopped thinking that anything in my life will ever make sense, but this is just the way it is. I decided to do this, and I'm doing it. I'm not taking the easy way out and staying home anymore. We'll see what happens.

So 6 days, and 1 (very large) Long Island Tea from now, I'll be on that plane. Wish me luck!