wandering another year later

coffeeMel

So the husband pointed out that it’s been over a year since my last post and perhaps I was due to start blogging again. Oddly, the past few years since coming back to the US from Bangkok – specifically to Maryland/DC I just haven’t really been inspired to blog…as I’m sure you can tell from the copious lack of posts freakishly apparent on this blog.

It’s difficult for me to write without a reason. I typically don’t update my teaching blog for months on end because I only update it when I feel I have something useful to relay. I typically don’t update this blog unless I have something, again, useful to mull over.

Fact of the matter is, while I may not be wandering geographically much anymore I am still very much wandering inside. Struggling with the pros and cons of my current life, debating what will really make me happy, both loving and hating what I do, turning 35 in a couple weeks and coming to grips with the decision of whether to have kids during the last portion of my 3rd decade of life because I’d rather not have them in my 40’s if I have them at all, being told I’m over thinking everything – yet that’s my nature…

I’m finally seeming to get my legs under me in this new field I jumped into during my postdoc…took awhile. Realizing the majority of what I do and how I live is to make those around me happy and accommodated; but not necessarily myself – and yet making other’s happy does make me happy, but then it doesn’t, but it does…it really is a vicious circle.

I haven’t blogged because I’ve been in limbo – eating, sleeping, working, rinse, repeat… And what is there to say when you are in limbo? “Wow, it’s been 2 years and I’m still in limbo.” – inspiring right? Not really.

I have a bookshelf and Kindle full of books I am uninspired to read, I have a book of recipes yet I am not inspired to cook, a book for programming yet I am not inspired to program, I have a basket full of partially finished cross-stitch that remains in the basket, I have a gym membership languishing, Manuscripts and blogs – yet I am uninspired to write… sounds depressing? It really is not – I’m just in limbo, internally wandering, going through the motions, until I find a renewal of passion for something again.

Mid-30’s life crisis, maybe.

I could blame my phone, those infernal addictive app games, social networking sites, LOL Cats, youtube etc…for becoming the unproductive ‘filler’ in my life – how many hours can you spend just on youtube videos or looking through buzzfeed posts, but while I’ve lost time to those at some point or another, most of my time loss stems from just ‘existing’ and being unable to put what’s going on my head into coherent form. The husband really is a saint for putting up with this by the way.

I’m not really looking for answers here. I’m not happy nor unhappy, just reflecting…yet another year later.

PS. Happy one-day-early birthday Mom, I love you.

A year later…providence or pfftttzz…

So in a random turn of events I just decided to check this blog…today is July 15, 2013. My last entry was July 16, 2012. Coincidence?

I find it humorous that this blog has taken the form of most of my journals (diaries) where I have fits where I write everyday and periods of no activity until one day I randomly decide to write again. I don’t particularly advertise this blog aside from the facebook linking for family and friends that might be interested and I think you can find it via google searching. But this white screen that I type into is more for reflection than anything else, if others derive benefit from that, great.

Perhaps it’s providence that I’ve decided to check my blog. My last entry was about ‘dreams’ and where I was at. Since then life has been eventful but I still struggle with what will make me happy in my work…similar musings as to my last entry. Since then, I’ve gotten married, been quite productive if not incredibly frustrated at work, been back to Thailand to teach a workshop, been to Europe to attend a workshop, started a teaching blog for things I learn at workshops, started online newsletters for my field so others can tap into what I find on the internet, finished up a teaching fellowship, explored DC during free time… Life is clipping along as it should…

Somethings I’ve figured out in the past year:

Continue reading “A year later…providence or pfftttzz…”

what’s your dream?

Devotional Blog:

“Regroup”, 7/15/2012, Proverbs 9:9

So last weekend I was talking to my mom and last night I was talking to my sister and with both conversations I found myself pondering my choice of ‘life path’. If you’ve read previous entries in this section of my blog you will know that I’ve said that I’ve always just walked through the paths I feel like God has opened to me assuming that’s direction he wants me to go. It is after all the only path that’s opened up, so I just walk through it. Did I think ‘this’ is where my path was leading? Actually no.
Continue reading “what’s your dream?”

When the mind breaks…

Devotioanl Blog:

“Looking for love in all the wrong places”, “You Can”, “There is a Plan”; 6/23/2012, 6/22/2012, 3/12/2012; 1 Peter 4:8, Luke 13:12, Jeremiah 29:11

You ever hear the joke that you should listen to country songs backwards? Why? Because then they become exceedingly happier…you get your house back, your dog back, your woman back, your tires un-slashed and your guitar un-smashed.

I’ve noticed a trend in many entries of this book. In many examples of people’s lives that she uses…when it rains it doesn’t just pour–it’s a fricken hurricane and it’s not ‘waves of life’ that hit people, it’s a damn tsunami! Continue reading “When the mind breaks…”

The ominous projector screen of ‘life’

Devotional Blog:

“Lights Flashing”, 6/21/2012, 1 Corinthians 4:5

Ok, back to the book after quite the hiatus.

When the Lord comes, he will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives… ~1 Corinthians 4:5

Well now isn’t that a scary thought? How many secrets does one carry throughout life? How many thoughts do we think would we be ashamed of if someone were to actually crawl into our head and listen to. Thankfully people can’t crawl into each others heads and truly hear the thoughts that roll through them.

Funny thing is, growing up this verse made us wary of the ‘big’ secrets…infidelity, sex before marriage, stealing, physically hurting someone etc. Our pastors would often times use the image of a huge projector screen showing all our sins and evil thoughts to the world for all our family and friends to see. Oh the embarrassment! Oh the judgement! Oh the pain we would cause ourselves and other people with our hidden sins that haven’t been brought to light and forgiven. I used to live in fear as a kid, paranoia even that when I died God would put me on a stage and broadcast my entire ‘evil’ life of every little thing I’d ever done that wasn’t 100% ‘saintly’, down to beating the crap out of a stuffed animal because I was angry. Yes, as a child I occasionally beat the crap out of dolls and stuffed animals out of frustration. I ripped pages out of my journals and threw tantrums in my room out of sight and earshot of anyone. Much of my anger and frustration growing up I kept inside, in fact all of it I kept inside. And while these ‘tantrums’ and stuffed animal beatings seem harmless enough at first sight, my thoughts got darker as I grew up.

What about the little ‘secrets’ the thoughts no one hears about, the thoughts that will never be voiced but are nonetheless there… the dark thoughts. Continue reading “The ominous projector screen of ‘life’”

where i hide on occasion…

Now to be fair, this was a particularly hectic week and the ‘busiest’ my desk has been but upon reflection it pretty much sums up my existence as a postdoc…”semi-organized chaos”.

Click on the picture to enlarge.

What you don’t see is the 3 pairs of shoes under the desk along with 2 bags and flat rate mailing boxes. On the cubicle wall out of view are several postcards from friends in Boston, Jackson, WY–now Australia and Great Falls, MT, 3D dengue sequence structures and a post it note to pay bills–the line between normality and nerd is definitely a blurry one.

Weight of the world

Devotional Blog:

Burdens, 03/02/2012, Galatians 6:1-5, Romans 15:1-7

Are you a worry wort? I can be. I can worry about the most inane irrelevant things sometimes. Things I cannot control I worry about…I’m absolutely ridiculous sometimes, keeping myself awake at night worrying about things that are utterly pointless to worry about. And I worry about them at the MOST inopportune times as well…such as when I am taking off in a plane and I’m like–huh what if we crash? It’s really dumb as the statistics support me getting  pwnd by so many other causes before dying in a plane crash (1 in 7,032-lifetime odds, Source).

I find it funny that in the same source I have a 1 in 120,864 chance of dying by being pwnd by someones dog. In their wording–“bitten or struck by dog”. Ya that’s right, don’t you just hate it when Mitzy comes up to you and ‘bitch slaps’ you, haha, really bad joke–but really one day, her strike could kill you!

I digress…I think I’ve made my point about pointless worrying.

Continue reading “Weight of the world”

The Plan…or lackthereof

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~Charles Darwin

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything…

Amazing how quickly life can go from a single path to a different path in mere days. It would be nice if the paths in our lives to success was straight and we merely had to find the right puzzle pieces in the path…

Of course we all know reality is a little different…is it not?

So a plan that originally starts out straightforward can easily change directions and present us with decisions we didn’t think we’d have to make all at once.

On that note…we are officially leaving Thailand. I have taken a job offer at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Bethesda, Maryland…back in the ole U.S. of A. The start date for being onsite is May 1st, 2012 so we essentially have a couple months to pack up our lives here, finish up whatever work I have, travel around SE Asia as we haven’t been able to do thus far, move to a new state, start new jobs and plan a wedding all at once…ah damn, I still have to file my taxes too doh! Turns out our wedding couldn’t be at a worse time given it’s now right in the middle of all this change that is occurring. When we’d originally scheduled our wedding we thought it’d be in the middle of nothing else happening. We couldn’t be more wrong.

The timeline for those interested:

  • Februrary: Cope with the idea of leaving in 2 months
  • March: Plan and execute packing, wedding planning, job details, plane tickets, travel all free weekends, wrap up work at AFRIMS
  • April: potential travel for Mel to US to apt. hunt, more packing, more wedding planning, wrap up Tyghe’s class (his final is April 11), wrap up NRC fellowship requirements. Then spend the rest of April traveling before returning to Bangkok the last week and flying to the US the last weekend in April
  • May: Be onsite the 1st to start processing to work at WRAIR and move into apt.
  • June/July: Settle, start work, plan wedding
  • August: Get married, go back to work (we’ll have to take a honeymoon another time most likely).

Is the job a good one? Yes in fact it is right up my alley working with people I enjoy working with and can continue to grow under. Am I wild about living in Maryland for the forseeable future as this job is pretty much a ‘permanent’ job. Well I’ve never lived on the East coast and I know it will definitely be different. There were a lot of factors to consider in taking this job. I was sad that it’d take away my last year in Thailand. I love working in Thailand, I’ve built good relationships and I’ll be sad to leave. I was sad that it’d take away the potential travel time Tyghe and I would’ve had, if we’d had another year here. Now instead we are having to jam it all in at the end before heading back to the states, so we’ll have to pick and choose and cross the rest off our bucket list some other time in the future. The factors go on and on: Tyghe can get a good job in Maryland, the weather is more ‘agreeable’ in Maryland than out here especially for Tyghe, the job offer I got was a good one, its working on things I am interested in, its a smart career move, its a stable job which is becoming quite important in the ever fluctuating job market of the US…

So why am I lamenting…what have I to lament? Absolutely nothing realistically speaking. I think its the ‘child’ in me lamenting. Stupid right? I think it has a lot to do with my upbringing. I yearn for the nomadic. Most of my friends from high school and college have done a lot traveling, they had their backpacking Europe or Asia experiences, they worked for NGOs or in the peace corp…and now with the ‘nomadic’ urges satisfied they’ve moved onto working jobs and having families. Some of them are still traveling, some are having their families abroad. One of the things I’ve had to learn is ‘a break between life stages’ is a luxury that most of us may never have or afford. I came across an interesting blog about PhD graduates that decided to forgo the job offers and travel for their foreseeable future, their blog here: PhD nomads.

What do I mean ‘break’. The ‘child’ in me wanted a break. I wanted a time in my life where I wasn’t working, no responsibilities, no pending due dates…I wanted a time to sit and absorb, travel. Unfortunately such a dream requires money and time, neither of which I grew up with. Like many kids in my situation, we worked in high school, we worked our way through college, after college we worked then went to grad school or just got hooked into a good job right away. Most of us never having that ‘gap’ year as the Brits call it. Never having that time to discover new things, with very few financial pressures or responsibilities. I wasn’t looking for a year off by any means, I would’ve been pleased with 3 months off. I couldn’t between high school and college, too busy working and getting things together to start school that fall. I didn’t between college and grad school, I went directly into a job, from there went to Hawaii and worked more, from there directly into grad school. I’d planned to after grad school…but of course that didn’t happen and I immediately started my fellowship out here in Bangkok….

This is the part where I slapped myself for being an idiot. What did I want in life? Was I happy as a nomad? Minimally, sure I could be happy–as exciting as travel and being a nomad is, I really wanted a home base. Growing up, that stability wasn’t there all the time, we moved around quite a bit, perhaps I didn’t want to leave the nomad life because that’s what I knew, I am good at being a nomad and the prospect of settling and sticking somewhere permanently is scary…visions of a restless suburban nightmare pop into my head…damn you reality TV, haha.

Fact is, I might not have had the blessing or good fortune of having that gap year, but I have still had the wonderful experience of traveling, experiencing new places, meeting incredible people–sure I had to work the entire time but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get to experience some crazy awesome and crazy awful stuff in my life. I have gotten to travel to 10 countries and live/work abroad twice. That’s more than many people get to experience in a lifetime and I’ve done it before the age of 35.

I think what’s so ‘scary’ persay for me is the fact I am now completely leaving a type of lifestyle behind that I’d grown up with, grown accustomed too and now have to explore a completely different part of who I am. It’s always sad to close one chapter of your life to start another, but the following chapters are what I am living for…not the past. I was sad to leave Montana after 7 years and move to Thailand, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made–being out here has been amazing.

I think the speed at which things happened and changed for us is a little daunting as well. It makes you second guess if you made the ‘right’ decision. But I’ve always walked through the doors that have opened to me and I’ve never regretted one of them, so I am walking through this one. The thought of living in Maryland doesn’t exactly get the heart racing but then again I’ve never tried living there or anywhere on the East coast so I don’t really know now do I?

Going to Maryland and taking this job weren’t in the original plan..but that’s ok, our adventure will continue to unfold back in the states. The perk with this job is that I’ll still be collaborating with AFRIMS here in Bangkok which will give me the opportunity to come back and work/visit.

The next several months are going to be a whirlwind of chaotic activity, perhaps now sitting at my computer on my day off–I should enjoy the relative peace I have sitting here, balmy outside, drinking a coke zero, birds singing like crazy, flower infused air, food I can barely eat due to the spice but is so damn good…yes, I will miss Thailand but I look forward to going back to the U.S., going back and creating a new home and starting a new chapter.

What does life owe you?

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Take Responsibility”, 01/25/2012, Romans 13:1-7, Galatians 6:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10

It’s her fault. It’s his fault. It’s their fault. The dog did it…

Kid’s Excuses:

  1. One child to another: Whenever you tell a big fat lie to get away with breaking an ornament, vase etc.  Tell your mum, dad etc. that it threw itself off of the mantle piece, table etc and then add in that you always believed that there was something out there!
  2. Mom:  Where’s your report card?  You:  Um, mommy I’m really sorry and everything.  But I didn’t do it or anything but you know how I walk to school?  Well, the bell rang and I went to my locker to put it in my backpack and some very mean kids took it and started playing monkey in the middle then someone yelled that there was a big fight so the kids dropped it and ran outside.  Then, I was walking & was looking at it and a dog chased me and got it and chewed it up!  Sorry!
  3. I do what the cheerios tell me.
  4. When I was little, I cut up my sheets, my excuse was, “Jesus did it!”
  5. The clowns made me do it…I sware!

Excuses given to police officers:

  1. One night many years ago I was on patrol and observed a vehicle blow through a red light at a major intersection. There had been plenty of time to stop, yet the vehicle had not even slowed down. I stopped the car and asked the young female driver why she had done that. The girl told me she had just had her brakes repaired, it had been very expensive, and she DIDN’T WANT TO WEAR THEM DOWN! Usually I give people a pass if I haven’t heard their excuse before, but in this case she got the ticket. …………………………………. Submitted by… Dave Hoffman, Sergeant, Naperville IL PD

  2. I stopped a car in a rural area of our county for going 80 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. The driver explained that he had a bee flying around his head so he sped up to 80, hoping that the bee couldn’t fly that fast and would not be able to fly out of the back seat area to get at him…..Submitted by…Gary Lenon, Mecosta County Sheriff Department, Michigan.

Amazing what we say to avoid blame not only as children but as adults as well. Continue reading “What does life owe you?”

I am a fussy toddler…

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Cultivating the quiet”, 01/08/12, Psalm 23: 1-6

Hey…I’m into January in this book…well actually I’m backlogged and still have some blogs from December’s month in the book to write but I kind of just dog-ear them and will get to them, eventually.

Interestingly this one came up. In a previous entry in the book the author had encouraged us to spend our time productively and not waste it and I wrote a blog about how taking moments to ‘space out’ and how valuable that can be for ones mental health. Now in this entry she encourages moments of quiet stating that a ‘quiet heart is a receptive heart’. 1 Peter 3:4 states, pulling from the previous verse–beauty…”should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Pslam 23: 2 states: “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams…”

Flipping through the book this morning to find an entry dog-earred to write about I came across this and it hit a nerve for me. In the past few weeks my life has taken a tremendous turn. Continue reading “I am a fussy toddler…”