on repeat

love this song. thanks ray-ray.

(Geoff Byrd)
From the album: “Anthology” (Byrd/Page)

How did I get here
What words were spoken
Can I just walk away
From being broken
Am I so blinded that I’ve become
The very thing I’ve always hated
Now I have fallen

Where have I landed
Frozen in history
Screaming in silence
Laughing in misery
Flowers in winter
Fast asleep in faded colors underneath the snow
But how far below

How can this be
What have I done
Maybe this time
As I am breathing the darkness will fall away
And strip away the memories of yesterday

Shadowy figures
Dancing in moonlight
Captured in photograph
Just after midnight
Is this illusion
Or is this the way that it’s supposed to be
Oh tell me

How can this be
What have I done
Maybe this time
As I am breathing the darkness will fall away
And strip away the memories of yesterday

Yesterday is all that I am
Will I be tomorrow
Or am I just a little too late
For sorrow

Merry-go-round me
Spinning in circles
Sounds like a carnival
Smells like a circus
I’m getting colder
I am freezing all the images
In other words I am frozen

Chorus

February 1, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

week 2

Well last week was very fun, but now I already feel like I have been everywhere. Which couldn’t be true. I am not homesick and OU is not where I want to be, but I am just a little down. I want Mexican friends.

I still respond to Spanish I understand with English. I can’t wait until it is the other way around.

Puesssssss at least I am regular! Thank you beans!

January 20, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Dear OU Study Abroad,

I know you had position changes in your department, but you were very unhelpful at helping me figure out what classes I need to take. I am stuck in baby Spanish which would be great if I needed baby Spanish but I need upper-division credits in Literture classes. And um they actaully only offer one right now go figure that I can’t even take. I am sure you are aware of how expensive tuition is in the United States so thanks for nothing.

- Emily

p.s. I do like Guadalajara and baby Spanish but I need big kid Spanish. I was very sad today on my bus ride home, but then a creepy man said, “Hola, como estás?”and I somehow felt better.

January 13, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

what I have learned so far

The Mexicans always look like they are going out

I don’t get it

Is the US the least stylish country?

There was a mouse in the kitchen today

I didn’t freak out. I just said look mouse

Tonight I realized that my house mom”s kids and grandchildren all live here too.

How did I miss that?

I have gone to mass twice

I thought it would be good for listening and may be someone would come talk to me randomly

The church is like halfway outside super cool

The Mexicans can fill up 7:30 pm daily mass

I trip in Mexico but so do Mexicans

A couple guys from my group went to exercise

My other friends and I didn’t understand

We thought the walking and the diarrhea were enough of a workout

Korean girls laugh at everything and don’t acknowledge personal bubbles

I am in baby Spanish

I won’t get good credits but I kind of like baby Spanish

My grammar teacher is so hot that I want to cry

January 11, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Tengo una buena mamá- day 2

My host mommy took me to school today after feeding me a ton of food. She rode the bus with me. After my bout with

UAG building

lonliness last night, I was desperate to make friends. As soon as I met the other exchange students I made them give me their whole names. They will have to be my friends whether they like it or not. It seems like half the exchange students

are from Korea. I thought there would be a larger group of students from North America.

My ID. This is what trying not to smile looks like.

My placement exam probably didn’t go as it should have but I think it will be more fun this way. After orientation, a group of students went to a bar. It is amazing what one rum and coke can do in Mexico. Wooo

I guess I missed a few memos about packing. I had to use a t-shirt today to dry myself after my shower.

January 8, 2010. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

take off- guadalajara day 1

Well I am here on my little adventure after sowin my wild oats during break haha. This what I have wanted for so long. I hope it turns out well. I am still so nervous. Today, was a long day of one thing after another to stress about. The first flight from Omaha to Dallas wasn’t too bad. I just hate flying so much. How is not everyone ready to start relieving themselves in their seats? We are

My nephew in my suitcase.

35,000 feet above the ground in a shaking tube. I accept death before I fly. A guy in front of me was passing out Xanax. In my head, I was like “Oooo give me!”but I went drug-free.  After the flight, this guy said that he had to have secondary check where they tested his hands to see if there was bomb-making materials on them. That’s comforting.

Omaha airport

The flight from Dallas to Guadalajara to was so choppy. The flight attendant man was bouncing all over the place as he handed me my diet coke. I survived though. Then, I got to the airport, and a man from the university picked me up and took me to my host family’s house. That all went smoothly. My host mom is really nice. She is like a grandma. The house is bigger than I thought it would be and more open. I don’t have a roommate. I kind of wish I did. I need someone who can’t speak Spanish either to feel my pain with. Right now, it probably seems like I just know the word “Sí.” The phrase I understand most clearly in Spanish is “Emily no entiende nada.” Clearly this is not true. haha

Vomit ride

My host mom, Magdalina, already asked me I was sad “Estás triste?” Well only after you asked me! All I have done is here is eat, take a nap, then eat again. Tomorrow is orientation. I am so worried that I won’t test into the right classes for my level. I

Mi cuarto

have done a great job of not speaking Spanish in my Spanish classes, and still getting mostly A’s. I hope to meet some people tomorrow. Otherwise Emily is going to be lonely for six months!

Mi vista

January 7, 2010. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Emily’s Letter to Santa

originally published at blogcritics.org

Dear Santa,

Where are you? It seems as you have disappeared from life. Each day brings new challenges to your existence. I need you back. There is a Santa-shaped hole in my heart longing for you.
I remember when believing was easy. When I was five my mother gave me pink and orange coat that I deemed too puffy. She didn’t know what I needed. The next day, you arrived with a giant pink dollhouse. It was exactly what I asked from you. With joy I shouted into my naughty twin brother’s face, “I must have been really good!” They told me to be good for Santa so I was. When my mom held my brother so I could return his punch, I absolutely refused.
From an early age, I believed. My faith in Santa was high with strong levels of holiday cheer. The books, the songs, they were all near hypnotizing. “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good.” What a powerful man. My mother even said she had kissed him once. At school, we placed our shoes outside the classroom on St. Nicholas Day. An hour later, we had candy in our shoes. Truly, Santa was a man who gave without expecting anything in return, except our goodness, and if you were bad, he would know it.
In college my world was shaken upside down. For the first-time in my life, I met nonbelievers. I can see not believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, but this was Santa, the head honcho. It is not like I didn’t know they existed. My dad claimed to not believe at the time when he met my mother. For some reason, I had just never thought about it before. Outside my comfortable holiday boundaries, I began to see different ways of life. The daily exposures to these differences made it difficult for me to maintain my belief. I met others who stopped believing because their parents stopped believing, and others who stopped in exchange for naughtiness. Others didn’t feel they left Santa, but he left them or Santa was something belonging only to their childhood.
One late night, I began discussing Frankenstein with one of my roommates. With no mention of Santa at all, I wondered why Dr. Frankenstein would care so much about letting the monster he created kill his loved ones. I had to question, “What was he really missing?” He didn’t care about the gifts he could have gotten if he lived his life differently, so what is the point of feeling so unworthy? I felt empty inside with the thought of no Santa. Santa was my hope. Life was so unforgiving. When my life got difficult, I had to believe there was something better than this. Perhaps the evils of college had led me away. Was I not being nice enough? I had heard that one bout of naughtiness could affect all areas of my life. Could it be true? Did I push Santa away?

Of course Santa was everywhere, parades, the mall, squeezing into those small chimneys. From what I learned from tradition, he even watched me sleep. Like the Christmas spirit was taken from my body, I did not feel Santa’s presence in my life anymore. Was my whole life a lie? The celebrations, the music, the rituals, the movies, were they all just brainwashing tools? I looked for Santa everywhere. I dug deeper into the holiday festivities. Yet I couldn’t find him. I knew belief was more than a feeling, but when I wrote my Christmas letters, I felt like I was sending them to a no one.

When I looked for him, I just found more reasons not believe. Of course science can’t always fit into a nicely wrapped gift box, but nothing was proving Santa’s existence or non-existence. Yes, I had sat on his lap many a time, but that wasn’t Santa Santa. That was a representation of Santa. I wanted to believe so badly. Others would scrutinize me in my need for answers, calling me a Scrooge and telling me that I wanted him to not exist. I would shoot down their reasons. Faith is just a catch-all for the many things they couldn’t explain. Why does Santa have to have so many names? In school, my philosophy and psychology classes were completely debunking Santa. What do you mean my parents bring the presents? I don’t have a conscience? My joys and all my emotions just came from chemicals in my brain?

So, Santa, this year when you come to town, what I really want from you for Christmas is not makeup or clothes or a ride on your sled through Paris, but to believe again. The magic in my life is gone. The gifts don’t mean anything anymore.  Please have Rudolph guide you back into my heart. If you look around the world you can see others lack joy in their lives. There’s depression, rape, murder, suicide, because people have no hope.

It is hard to believe in something you can’t see. If you can go around the world in one night bringing gifts to every child or know when I have been bad or good, why can’t you show your face? You could change the world by showing your face. We don’t need miracles, signs, or a good marketing campaign.  We need you. Showing up would make people care again. We need you for more than just for one holiday but in our daily lives. So many out there feign goodness for the presents, acting in the name of Christmas. The hypocrisy sends the wrong message to the non-believers. There is more to life than the final reward, but the present lives we live. Santa, show the world how to be good again, and take us back to the simple loving belief we had as children.

December 12, 2009. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

For the Rush of It

originally published at blogcritics.org

“My bouncing is way off.”

“Your bouncing? What’s bouncing?”

After practicing my bouncing and clapping, and chanting sorority ditties for two weeks, I had no idea why anyone on earth wouldn’t know what bouncing was.

“It’s kind of like jumping up and down without leaving the ground,” I answered.

Bouncing was for certain the bane of my existence. This was my second year in a sorority, and the year that I was going to be on the other side of rush, or Recruitment as they like to say. In my whole time in the sorority, I had made about two friends, or at least “people I could talk to.”

My childhood had left me feeling, still, like that awkward overgrown kid with shaggy bangs covering her face.  Yet by this time I had blended in with everyone else, except for the awkward part.  Recruitment preparation had begun in the spring with the passing out of “The Little Black Book,” which described in detail the outfits we were supposed to wear for the four days of Recruitment, with example pictures, the required jewelry and its color, specific shoes, and whether or not we could wear a headband.

On one of the first days of Work Week (actually two weeks of all-day training before rush), I realized the severity of my lack of coordination.  The sorority president separated three other stragglers and me into an empty hallway and made us bounce and clap together. The harmony clearly wasn’t there.  Just at that moment, with the four of us bouncing up and down like a game of Whac-A-Mole, the rest of the sorority decided to move rooms. I was humiliated enough without having every girl in the house walk by and see my secret shame.

During short breaks we would have “dress checks,” standing outside the director of rush’s room to see if our outfits were up to par. I went into these events nervous, like I was about to confess my sins to a priest. It could only have been worse if I had no clothes on at all – maybe.

One girl came out visibly upset, explaining, “She told me I get a little bloated in my stomach when I eat too much salty food.”

Fearfully I entered. After looking me up and down, they asked, “What are you wearing underneath?”

Wondering what could be bulging, I admitted, “I already have Spanx on.”

“Oh, OK. That’s fine.”

That’s fine? I spent time, effort and cash to get that’s fine? Clearly this was a joke or a bad dream.

For those of you who don’t know, Spanx is an undergarment used for body-shaping, a modern girdle. It sucks the fat in from the thighs to right below the bra leaving a slim shape free of panty-lines.

When Recruitment was over I called my dad for comfort and balled about how much I hated being there. As a former sorority girl herself, my mom offered little comfort, except telling me to embrace my time there.

“Honey, you’re just like me. You just don’t care.”

For some reason, I found those words from my dad empowering. Yeah, I don’t care, that’s right. I told my friend back at the house about my tears.

“It’s okay,” she said.  “I’ve cried to my mom every day.”

My mother didn’t understand. She loved her sorority.  “Emily, all my best friends today, I met in my sorority.  You just need to be more outgoing. Just say hi to the girls in the house.”

When I moved into the house, I watched as she went around introducing herself as Karen (insert her sorority’s name).  I went through rush on my own volition the year prior to work week and moving into the house. I couldn’t completely blame my current circumstances on my mother, even if joining was mostly her idea.

On my Bid Day (the day in which you find out what house you pay your money to for four years), the writing was on the wall. EMILY, LEAVE! As some houses went bowling or roller-skating or on some other tame expedition like that, mine had a DJ and a slip’n’slide in the backyard. Having just met all these people, I wasn’t totally ready to run around half-naked, greased up in Crisco. I am sure I blamed myself as I often do. There wasn’t something wrong with this situation; it was me, and my inability to be “outgoing.”

How did sororities evolve to this? I thought it was about scholarship, sisterhood, and class. But apparently it is about date parties, status, saying one thing but doing another, and making up pretend things to care about. I have seen pictures of the founders from the late 1800s. I couldn’t imagine them with Spanx on under those matronly dresses, or going to weekend fraternity parties themed “Golf Pros and Tennis Hos.”

Now as a junior living in the house (and I do blame this one on mom) as the younger girls pass me in the hall and ask who is that girl? Before I even am out of earshot and as I get snapped at for touching food without tongs, I have to stop myself from jumping and down screaming, “When I grow up, I’M LIVING ALONE! I’M LVING ALONE!”

December 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

sweet old ladies

I have been thinking about grandmas, and how we are always trying to protect them from hearing things like they are young children. Perhaps it is out of respect. But they are old! If anything bad has been done, they probably have already done it. They are soo old. What amount of innocence could they have left? They have done it all. I now like to comfort myself if I am feeling guilty with well Grandma has done worse.

December 7, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

emily’s rules of the road

With fear and my hand clutching the GPS, I began driving the seven hours home to Nebraska from school. I am a junior and my last trip home was the first time I didn’t take my GPS, but I survived. A lot of people think seven hours is a lot to drive but it is not too bad. For about four hours, I fall completely in love with myself, my wit, my intelligence, my singing voice. I have to ask myself “Do people realize how great I truly am?” The last three hours kind of drag.

I recently started listening to books on tape while I drive. I feel like the dumber the better. They would be classified as chick books. The top two adverbs are incredulously and surreptitiously. When I go home, I always mention how I am listening to books while I drive to relatives. Of course they always ask what they are about. Shamefully, I admit, “Well this girl just married this gay man so he could stay in the country with his lover and now 10 years later she is engaged and never got a divorce or it starts with this girl sleeping with her best friend’s finace on her 30th birthday.” Even worse while I getting my ticket through the toll. My speakers rejoiced loudly in front of the toll lady with “Then we made love slowly, switching positions.”

When I get really bored, I make up stories with names on the signs. Segdwick the elephant, and his friend Mulvane. Calling people is always nice too. After a long conversation I think, “Was I driving that whole time? Because I don’t remember anything.”

Some quick things, QT’s are the best place to stop. I prefer paper towels to hand dryers, except for the Xclelerater which I imagine if you put your face under it, it is like astronaut training.

November 30, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

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