Forgive me father for I have sinned. It has been five months since my last blog post.
It's not like I didn't have material, either. So much has happened during my hiatus. It started with my descent into a bleak period of reverse-homesickness. It might sound hokey, but I swear it is a real condition. I don't know the history of psychiatry, but I am quite certain that even Mr. "Doubting Thomas" Cruise would have backed me on it if he had seen me. I was a hot mess. Picture this: Me in my room, hunched over my keyboard chatting with my volunteer friends on Skype with tears running down my face, alternating between laughing and crying over stories of the good ol' days that were my six weeks in Cape Town. Throw in an iTunes playlist named Africa and set on repeat, with selections from The Winds of Change for good measure. In retrospect, it made for a pretty pathetic existence for a few weeks. Not to mention that venturing outside my house became a liability. I almost vomited when I walked into Wal-Mart for the first time after being exposed to abject poverty. So much excess. Pleasure came only from knowing that I did not have any money and getting something cheap or free was a two-for-one because it came wrapped in cellophane with a little dose of euphoria. This mentality was exhibited in my last post, after which I realized I needed to get a grip before blogging one more sentence.
Somehow, between neuroses, I managed to find time to start completely hating my roommates. Logan went off to school and was replaced by a guy from Duluth that Jenny found on Craigslist. What a tool. I don't think he stopped talking about himself from the moment he moved in. Jenny totally ate this guy up, and the two of them made a deadly combination. My house turned into a round-the-clock hippie-wannabe convention for two. On the menu? Clif Bars and anything you can drink out of a Nalgene. Household fashion trends? Rolled pant legs were en vogue, as was anything with Northface stitched across it. Reading? There was actually a book about surviving in the forest. Oh yeah, you're an individual because you can identify animal tracks. Guess what? This isn't Into the Wild. You live in Rochester and spend your weekdays at school and work. You spend your weekends in a bar. Reality check: None of those places is in the woods. You bought a new mountain bike and skis, neither of which you use on an actual mountain. So instead of explaining to me the dire consequences of eating rabbit when lost in the wilderness, Lewis and Clark, how about I explain something to you? You'd actually have to spend some time in the forest to get lost in it. I decided I couldn't take it anymore and told them I was moving out. A perfectly legitimate decision considering that we had a month-to-month lease and they were douchebags. It got pretty ugly and ended badly, but it was the sanest thing I'd done since coming home.
The timing of the move was perfect. I got out of the nuthouse just as Grandma prepared to move to Florida for the winter. I could not resist her offer to stay at her place while she soaked up the sun for the next six months. I appreciate the pad immensely, enjoy living alone for the first time ever and am not even stressing yet about finding myself homeless in two months.
Living at Grandma's has saved me mucho dinero. I also got a second job over the holidays at a department store at the mall to supplement my income. That killed my short-lived non-spending lifestyle. I went in knowing that it could only be a matter of time before the old me rebounded. Rebound I did. I must say that I came back with a vengeance. I graciously returned the wages they paid me and more, approximately four times more, by making several purchases that I convinced myself are classic, timeless pieces that I will wear and use for years to come. It turns out that the only person I can sell things to with any success is myself. I am too honest to be a sales person. I realized it early on when a customer, who are now called guests, thanked me for telling her honestly that the cheaper necklace looked better. It was a combination of one of my adorable little high-school co-workers telling me that when a guest asks a question and she doesn't know the answer she makes one up because it saves time, and my personal realization that most guests do not want to hear the truth, that turned me into a shameless sales-driven fibber. This climaxed in a sale in front of my mother, who was doing some shopping of her own, when I repeatedly reassured a middle-aged woman that I, too, thought that the hideous $400 hot-pink patent leather Coach purse she had her eye on was as adorable and "fun" as she did. I told myself that she would have gotten it anyway, whether it was from me or someone else, but then I chastised myself for that thought. Should I sell crack to kids to make a buck just because they'll buy it anyway? I realized that if I ever do get a real job, it cannot be in sales. Supermodels shouldn't sell coke, and I shouldn't sell retail.
Around the same time that I was working two jobs, I took part in a research study as a test subject at the hospital where I work. I got paid $2000 to ride a stationary bike five days a week for eight weeks, stay overnight at the hospital twice and have four muscle biopsies done. It was so worth it. I am using part of it to go to Ireland for St. Patty's Day with my best friend Jenny Boe. I really miss my Irish host-family from my high school study abroad days. They even have a new addition to the family that I haven't met yet. I cannot wait.
After almost a year of trying to decide what to do about school next year, I applied and was accepted to the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts. I have decided to major in Global Studies, and am very excited. My area of concentration will be Africa. Yes, I know that we are in a recession, but I tried my luck at nursing, which is supposed to be a practical career that guarantees jobs, and look how well that turned out for me. It's as good of time as any for a recession as far as I am concerned because I have nothing to lose.
Since my last post I have also become a huge fan of India Garden, spent inordinate amounts of time watching reality TV on the Internet and inordinate amounts of money on phone calls to Africa, gave a damn about politics for the first time, remembered how to snowboard, got my lip pierced, promised Leslie she would make it into my blog and thought about Cape Town a whole lot. After so many failed attempts, I am ready to start blogging again. After all, I might have it a little more together than I did last year, but I still have a long way to go...