If you can’t “Beat It,” ….. join it?

I can’t believe I”m posting on this – with that title, nonetheless. But Simon Cowell is at my door… and tonight’s episode of American Idol was a thriller. bahahahahaha I LOSE.

Top of the pack:

Danny – the guy with all the heart, an amazing story and a great voice – ’nuff said

Adam – I liked this guy when I first saw him in Hollywood week, but it wans’t until tonight that he absolutely convinced me of his ridiculous range and talent. He’s a winner – maybe literally. I wouldn’t mind a shop down between him and the original top of my list…..

Lil Rounds – soulful, totally r&b and full of friendliness and tons of personality… I love this woman. She’s incredible.

Kris – he  is John Mayer meets Jason Mraz. Adorable, sexy… and did I mention adorable and sexy? He also plays guitar and has a great voice. What’s not to love?

Allison – the badass but totally sweet rocker grrl – Not my personal favorite, but there’sno doubt she can sing. I like the gritty, gravely tone to her voice.

Matt – the bluesy piano guy.  Could he be similar to a Michael Buble? I like him… and I could see him coming more and more into his own as the weeks go on.
The Will They Won’t They? Group

They could be amazing… have been amazing in other weeks… but what happened? Will they make it happen or … not so much?

Jorge – the lovable, adorable Puero Rican guy that will probably not win but go on to make albums with a sort of Elton John sound. I fell in love with this guy during the top 36 when they sang in groups of 12. I don’t know where he fits in now – he wasn’t great tonight, but I really hope he doesn’t go home

Megan – the one with the too indie sound – she might go home, but if she can WRITE songs… she might have a real career as a much more indie artist with a huge following. I don’t think she’s completely mainstream and pop.

Alexis – the naughty, sexy, someone described her as Pussycat Dolls material and it’s totally true girl. She’s somewhere here in the middle for me – I don’t think she’s going home this week.

Michael – the oil rig guy without a distinctive, individual sound yet. I like his voice, but he hasn’t set himself apart yet for me that I really know and love him, but he’s good, really good. If he can claim his own space and identity in this competition, he may stick around for a long time.

Scotty – the visually impaired, inspirational singer and pianist – he’s incredible, no doubts, but he wans’t that incredible or memorable tonight. I’ll be interested to see how this goes for him – I’d like to see him continue.

Going Home?

Anoop is going home 😦 I like him – his personality and even his voice… I was so one of his biggest fans, but even I will admit that he’s all personality… I don’t think he actually has the voice to make it happen.

As for the other person… I’m not sure – maybe Megan or Jorge.

For the Win?

Judging off tonight – this is Adam’s season. Judging from everything – it’s a showdown between Lil Rounds, Adam, Matt and Kris.

Great night of Idol – …… I just realized, again, that I’m actually blogging about American Idol. This should be the part where I own it and embrace it… no… no it’s still embarrassing and kind of shameful. haha It’s much easier to blog about trivial things than what’s actually happening in my life – that requires emotional and mental energy 🙂

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 7:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Living la vida intern loca

It finally hit the other day – I’m living the intern life. I’m really living the post-graduate, entering the professional world as a lowly, very poor, bottom-of-the-totem-pole intern at an organization and for a profession that I absolutely am okay with living the poor, lowly, at the bottom-of-the-totem-pole life for! (I just ended that sentence in a preposition – as intern Noelle and I would say – copy edit that shit!). I am a fact-checker and a copy editor. I am one who does book write-ups and reads books and writes BookMarks. I am one who occasionally faxes permissions to college professors to reprint old articles for use in their classes. I am one who reads feminist news blogs and daily wires for Ms. worthy newswire updates. I am one who then writes newwires (much to my chagrin). (You can see these newswires here –> Ms. Magazine newswire). I am not just an unpaid intern – I’m doing the grunt work necessary to build a career in an insanely competitive field. That’s pretty cool.

It has taken me a while to get to this place where I finally get it. Throughout college I had internships, I had jobs, but I always tended to land things that were paid – maybe because it’s all I looked for and settled for; I didn’t have the luxury of choosing something else. For the past month I’ve been here, I’ve seen this internship more as an obstacle than a privilege and a right of passage – I’ve seen it as my demise, my financial ruin, my decidedly failed attempt at working my way into this business. And now I realize that I’ve had the wrong paradigm all along, so I’ve changed it. Now my perspective matches my reality – I am poor, I am putting myself into (more) financial ruin, but it’s not worthless, and it’s not (completely) irresponsible – it’s an investment in my future, one that I honestly believe and know will pay off in years to come.

I wanted to share this revelation and some of the cool stuff I’ve done so far – as in… cool people I’ve had the opportunity to meet.

First, we had a Washington, DC Senator come and do a speech, but I was out of the office that afternoon (very very unfortunately), so I can’t tell you much of anything about her. I heard the last bit of Q&A that they did, and I know she’s working on some very important women’s rights legislation and is backed by prominent women, but… that’s about it. Still very cool.

Then… I got to meet, on the same day no less – Amy Brenneman and Ellie Smeal!!!


Amy is an actress most known for her work on Judging Amy – she was Judge Amy. I know and love her from Private Practice -she plays Dr. Violet Turner. Her character is one of my favorites in all of tv (and as someone who has aspired to write for tv, I watch… way… too much of it…hahaha). She’s is a strong, independent, opinionated, powerful woman. That’s hard to find depicted on television. Apparently, in real life, she’s even more incredible. She does a lot of work with the Feminist Majority Foundation (who owns Ms. – incredible organization and astoundingly brilliant women I look up to in every way); she’s very involved in feminism and is just… wonderful. She spent an afternoon in our office one day this past week, and I was overwhelmed with excitement and awe at her talent and interest and action on issues that really matter.


And then… the great… the wonderful… the awe-inspiring, and respected Eleanor Smeal. She’s the one standing next to Hillary on the right – in the purplish/dark blue suit with white hair. Ellie Smeal is the current President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the former President of the National Organization for Women (NOW), and all-around feminist rockstar. Intern Noelle, Intern Lindsey, and I were discussing her role in feminism compared to Gloria Steinem. Our best way to describe the difference in who they are now and their impacts in our individual lives is to say that Steinem is pure legend while Smeal is Queen (or King or Queing if we can find a non-gendered way to say “the one with the most power”). Ellie spent all this past week in our offices here in Beverly Hills, and it was unbelieavble to be near her, to see her work. For me, the only thing cooler would be meeting Gloria Steinem herself. I have daydreamed about such things happening…


Then, as if all this isn’t cool enough – Interns Noelle, Lindsey and I went to a Guerrilla Girls party! They won an award (Congrats!!) and had an after-party for it… to which they sent an invite to Ms. that ended up in our hands. The Guerrilla Girls have been around since 1985. They wear Guerrilla masks at everything they do – secrecy is a huge part of their work – nobody knows who the guerrilla girls actually are. They use the spelling “guerrilla” to imply a type of warfare – against gender stereotypes, gender norms, patriarchal agendas. They use artwork – mainly through like billboards, posters and a few books – to raise awareness of issues, ask important questions, etc. Meeting the Guerrilla Girls, for me, has been the pinnacle of living what I learned in college. In nearly any and every Women’s Studies course around this country – they talk about the Guerrilla Girls and their relative influence on feminism. Do they do good things for feminism? What do they do? Do the masks help or hurt their cause? There are discussions of identity, the narrative of artistic, if not audible, voice, etc. It was very, very, very cool. We do have pictures from it, but I haven’t gotten them on the computer yet.

That’s life so far here. I’m moving past being oh so depressed about being so poor and embracing it – this part of life only happens once, right? I hope so. I’m looking at applying for jobs – starting to ask those questions of what next, where next, when next. At first, I was overhwelmed and terrified, unsure of how people ever figure out their careers and get anywhere. Slowly (slowlyslowly) I’m understanding that it’s about baby steps. One step at a time. Eventually I’ll be where I want to be – wherever that is. For now, I’m enjoying the crazy intern life – livin’ la vida loca!

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Meet Me In Stellenbosch is back in action!

I might change the name of the blog… since I’m not in Africa anymore… but I am going to start blogging again.

So – let’s get this shiz-nit rolling.

Life in LA. I finally live here. I do… I LIVE here. But it’s still hard to say that. I have no idea where I’ll be in six months, so it still doesn’t feel any sort of permanent. But for now… it’s exactly where I want to be. I’m interning at Ms. Magazine – I think most everyone knows that one by now… http://www.msmagazine.com if you want to check it out online. You can get copies of the magazine at Barnes or Borders – places like that. So far.. things have been good. The apartment worked out wonderfully – better than I could have ever imagined. My address is:

10849 Bloomfield St. Apt. #9
North Hollywood, CA 91602

The roommates are wonderful. They’re from Pennsylvania… they’re both Christians and pretty conservative… which is… interesting. We disagree on a lot, but we’re all SO excited about dialoguing and opening conversations about new ideas – Andrew, especially. He’s always ready for a good conversation about a new topic. I thoroughly enjoy them both. I feel like I’ve invaded their lives – we go do stuff together all the time, I go out with them… but they’r both like – no we love it! So it’s pretty great. Their old roommate (who is gorgeous, subsequently), moved out to move in with his girlfriend. He left a queen sized, nice bed and a dresser – which has been awesome for me. I was really fortunate with the entire situation. Actually, honestly, EVERYTHING has been great so far. The only downside of the last few weeks that I’ve been here has been not having a job. I’ve put out over 50 resumes/applications. It’s really sad. I went to an open interview at a restaurant the other day for a serving job, and I was the 80th person to sign in when I got there. By the time people stopped coming in, there were well over 100. To think that that many people are out day in, day out searching for SOMETHING to get by on… it breaks my heart. And I’m one of them haha BUT I did finally find something – I got offered a position at islands (www.islandsrestaurants.com) to serve. It’s really casual dining – and yes, there is definitely a part of me that thinks I have way to much experience for this place. I could be working somewhere where I’d be making much more money, but right now I have NO complaints. Finding a job at all has been difficult enough. I start there next Wednesday.

The magazine is going well – it’s been pretty slow because the person that gives out tasks and works with the interns has been out of the country. She’s finally back now, so I’m excited to start working on the new issue of the magazine. At the end of the day, no matter how busy or slow I am, I believe so completely in what this magazine stands for, what it advocates, what it fights for… the change it demands in the world, and that makes every moment I’m here worthwhile and amazing.

I love life, what can I say? 🙂

There has been a boy… I met him the first night I got here – he’s friends with my roommate Renee… they work together at a camp. He’s wonderful, hilarious, has the best attitude and spirit about life, and we match each other so completely in energy, happiness and excitement about everything. Of course, he moves to Oregon this Friday… So… that’s okay. Truthfully, that willingness to go and explore and figure out who he is and what he wants… and make it all happen, is so much of why I’m attracted to him that it would be contradictory in every way to be really upset about it. I’m just grateful I got a chance to meet him and spend time with him for a few weeks. I feel like meeting someone amazing, learning someone’s story and getting to know someone is a gift in itself.

The other interns at the magazine are wonderful. I work most closely with Noelle – she graduated in April from the University of Michigan. She’s fantastic and very fun. We have a “poor intern kid’s” Valentine’s planned for Saturday – complete with frozen pizza, cookies from cheap cookie dough, $2 wine (oh, it exists!), and action movies – we’re protesting the mushy love ones. 🙂 We’re going hiking that afternoon. It should be a great VDay. 

That’s all I got. Once I start making money, I’ll do more interesting things and post photos.

Misses and love to all.

Published in: on February 12, 2009 at 1:35 am  Leave a Comment  

My Daily Nebraskan Farewell

After five semesters of writing, I consider the Daily Nebraksan, part of my collegiate home. I wouldn’t be headed where I am had I not started writing for them. I had no idea I would ever go into journalism, ever become an opinion writer, ever fall in love with opinion writing, ever become opinion editor, win awards, any of it. I had no idea. As sordid a history as I have with the paper, most of it has been good, and wonderful things have come of it.

Anyway, here’s my farewell column: Final Column

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

I take thee, Pamela Widell, to be my wordpress wedded bridesmaid. to dine and to drink with, til death do us part.


….most ridiculous day OF my life hahahah here are the pictures that prove witness to the pam’s and my union:

(here’s to never effing getting married but lookin’ damn good in the uniform!)




DO you know what that veil represents? …… oh right. not getting into it. subverting the message by…… trying it on? hhahaa



oh man. this dress is made for me. i look pretty fantastic in structures gowns. if it hadn’t been $1500 i might have gotten it for, like, you know, fall newspaper banquet. hahahah
BOO for the union…. the commitment… oh god, the relationship! but LOVE for the dress.

“Make up fake engagement story and try on wedding dresses before graduation:” CHECK!

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  

All you tweeters out there – throw your hands up at me!

That’s right – eff the facebook privacy controls. The twitter world DESERVES to see this picture.

Hey… hey hot girls, hey!! THE WORLDS HOTTEST PICTURE OF THE PAM AND THE CYNDI. if you can find a hotter picture in the world of the @pwidell and the @theycallmeal – i’ll like, buy you a drink.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

the job search: it’s starting…

I’m getting my resume, cover letter and clips together to start the job search, and I’m going to post it all on here. I need some feedback as to which clips I should keep and which I should throw out. Any critique on my resume or cover letter will be great too. I don’t have my cover letter quite done yet, so for now I’ll post the clips and my resume. I’ll add my cover letter hopefully later tonight.

Clips: I should submit about 7-8 clips. I’m thinking at least 1 from LA Family Magazine (although neither are my best work, but I might use both), 1 from L Magazine, and then the rest can be from the Daily Nebraskan. I need one review, one preview, one feature (But the L Magazine piece covers that), and then 2-3 columns. The columns are the ones I need the most help narrowing down. I need my best 2 or 3.

Got Pain? Try Swimming! — LA Family Magazine

Grilling Solutions – LA Family Magazine

\”Private Lives\” play preview (arts)

Catholic Shrine piece (features)

Possible Side Effects book review (arts)

Buddhist Documentary movie review (arts)

and… the columns:

Crisis Pregnancy Centers = bad

Gender Neutral Facilities

birth control prices rising

domestic abuse –> column i won with for the national society of newspaper collegiate columnists competition, so i’ll probably definitely use this one

gay rights integral to obama platform (recent – this semester)

palin nomination step backwards for women (recent – this semester)

I also have a couple articles in L Magazine – I’ll use one of them – it’s a features piece.

Okay so my harddrive crashed on my computer, and my roommate is being nice enough to let me use hers… but hers is a PC and the only copies of my resume that i have in my email are not compatible with her Word. So I’m going to have to copy and paste the HTML version of my resume into here. It sucks because you can’t see the formatting of it, and it looks crazy (I swear it doesn’t look anything like this in the real version)… but I’ll appreciate any feedback on the content.


Cyndi Waite


1845 F Street Apt. 6
Lincoln, NE 68508

(402) 613-0131


465 Freestone Dr.

Newnan, GA 30265


EDUCATION: University of Nebraska-Lincoln      Stellenbosch University, South Africa

      • Bachelor of Arts, English/Film Studies Semester Abroad, Spring 2008
      • Cumulative GPA: 3.7 Major GPA: 3.9
      • Expected Graduation Date: December 2008
      • EXPERIENCE: Opinion Editor (Fall 2008)/Columnist, August 2005 – 2007/current
      • Daily Nebraskan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
      • Manage opinion staff – including weekly budget meetings, hiring and maintaining
      • Teach the art and skills of opinion writing to staff, as well as create opinion manual
      • Research information for weekly columns/stay up-to-date on current events
      • Meet every daily deadline successfully, with 100% completion of all assignments
    • Freelance Writer, August 2007-current

    • L Magazine, Lincoln, Nebraska

      • Submit article ideas and accept assignments
      • Complete all articles by established deadline
      • Editorial Intern, Summer 2007
      • LA Family Magazine, Los Angeles, California
      • Learned about and contributed to all areas of magazine production, including: editorial, editing, graphic design, human resources, publication, etc.
      • Researched and produced articles for the magazine.
    • Assistant Acting Director/Counselor-in-Training Director, Summers 2006/2007
    • Pali Overnight Adventures, Running Springs, California
      • Acted as a liaison between Pali Adventures and casting studios/agents and producers
      • Designed and implemented a program for young counselors-in-training that emphasizes leadership skills, integrity and initiative.
      • AWARDS:  National Society of Newspaper Columnists Collegiate Columnist Competition
      • First Place, Summer 2007
    • Daily Nebraskan – Publication Board Awards
          • First Place – Opinion Column, Spring 2006/2007
    • George Beadle Scholarship
      • Academic Scholarship Recipient, Fall 2004 – current
      • ACTIVITIES: •   Alpha Delta Pi sorority, 2007-current
        • Ronald McDonald House volunteer, Spring 2007-current
        • Watergarden Volunteer – Kayamundi township – Stellenbosch, South Africa, Spring 2008
        • Resident Assistant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005-2006
        • The Big Event, Community Service Program Leader, Spring 2006
Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 11:17 pm  Comments (2)  

Who should you vote for?

So it seems that we all get caught up in our partisan ways. We figure out pretty early on if we’re staunch republicans or democrats, and we start to define our identity on that. I think sometimes we lose track of our actual beliefs and what we want in our country and our world because we’re so focused on the party that we identify with. Sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics and figure out what we really want.

I came across this cool quiz on neatorama.com this morning, and it was really interesting. It gives you quotes on different topics – one from McCain and one from Obama on each topic – but it doesn’t tell you who said what. I found myself immediately trying to figure out who said what so that I could answer based on teh person, not the issue. Then I realized I was doing it and tried to make myself stop. I ended up getting Obama, not surprisingly, but I actually had four check marks on the McCain side, which was really interesting and unexpected. So I learned some new stuff about myself too 🙂

Here it is – give it a go and see who you agree with more on the issues! Click here to take the quiz.

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 7:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Obama Acceptance Speech

This is my attempt at live blogging.

I’m in the Daily Nebraskan news room, adn we’re all crowded around one of the tvs, watching Obama’s acceptance speech.

“I accept the nomination to your president of the united states!” (close enough)

we all started cheering – this was like 5 seconds ago… “and to the next vice president of the united states, I thank you!”

what a cool moment to be alive, to be watching tv. And for Ellie – my roommate – TO BE THERE! she and her family got tickets to this speech, and i have goosebumps watchin git on tv, so ic an’t even imagine what it’s like to be there, watching history.

“and ot the next First Lady, I thank you.”

“OH my gosh this is SO cute” = a guy int he news room. it really is. Michelle, his kids… they’re playing up the cheesy family card hardcore and they’re rocking it. “Theyr’e getting votes right now,” katie just said – our associate editor here at the paper.

“four years ago i stood before you and told my story – the brief union between a kenyan man and an american woman – their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to. it is that promise that has always set this country apart. through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our dremas but still come together as an american family….. thats why i stand here tonight. because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy… (people) found the courage to keep it alive. we meet at one of those defining moments…the american promise has been threatened once more. …. and the failed promises of George W. bush.” heck yes. i missed that part in the middle, but it was truth.

“we are a better country than this. this country is more decent…” AH!! he just made an anti-globalization statement – HECK yes, Obama.

this is just, i have to say it agian, such a cool moment in time. to watch him accept this nomination, to become the first black american to take this step, to start leading this country. this presidency, this elecetion, is going to change history.

“this moment is our chance to keep in the 21st century, the american promise alive. we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last 8. on nov 4 we must stand up and say, ‘8 is enough!'” (changing in the background – 8 is enough! 8 is enough!… as we were talking about needing t-shirts right now with that slogan).

obama has refused to put out attack ads on mccain. he’s actulaly getting shit for it – his critics are saying it’s hurting his campaign… that he’s not tough enough, not a political shark enough, but i have more respecet for him because of it. it says somethign about the character and integrity of a person when they outright refuse to join in that kind of campaigning.

“the truth is, on issue after issue that would mkae a difference in your lives – on health care, education and the economy – senator mccain has been anything but independent.” thats about as close as he gets. it’s not attacking his character, his family or anything personal – it’s taking issue with his politics. and that’s the point of a campaign – to challenge each others politics.

i’m so excited to be living this.

And I’m so jealous that ellie is there! she texted me saying Oprah is sitting right behind her.

I asked her if she could check and see if Oprah would cosign a loan for me.

“8 is enough!” Amen, mister presidential nominee.

“it’s time for us to change america, and that’s why i’m running for president of the united states!”

heck yes. 8 is enough. i’m ready for 8 of positive change.

Published in: on August 29, 2008 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  

8 Months… and Betterment

I held African money in my hands tonight for the first time in months… and I felt the weight of time, of experience, of change in my hands. In those few seconds my heart flashed back over my life in the past eight months:  from saying goodbye to my Lincoln friends, to driving to Georgia, to heading to LA – then DC – scrambling for my Visa and passport, to saying goodbye to my Georgia friends, to packing when i should have been arriving at the airport, to getting my first boarding pass that said “world traveler,” to saying goodbye to my family, to landing in London – seeing Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, to landing in South Africa (so tired and weary I could barely stand), to driving through Cape Town, seeing the many, many black South Africans on the highways – feeling the racial tension for the first time, to seeing the vineyards, the mountains of Stellenbosch for the first time, to going on a safari – seeing my first giraffe and lion and elephant, to seeing Swaziland, backpacking in Cape Town and Mozambique, to making and then saying goodbye to my friends in South Africa, to not sleeping for 50some hours and finally making it to New York for the first time, to seeing Melanie in New York City, to exploring and backpacking and seeing the Bodies Exhibit and my first Broadway show, to seeing Times Square and meeting Melanie’s roommates in Boston, to making it back to Georgia and my family and friends, to roadtripping, making it to Los Angeles, to this summer, to living with Matt in a single apartment, to my random, amazing job working on an independent film, to watching years of gymnastics in weeks and to now – yesterday, today and tomorrow – saying goodbye… and heading back to Lincoln.

Tomorrow at 4:30pm I’ll board a flight from California to Nebraska… and at 9:30pm, central time (the first time my voicemail on my phone will sound correct in so long), I’ll land in Omaha, my life coming full circle after the craziest, most intense and relxing, most unbelievable, life-changing 8 months of my life. Ellie and Vanessa will be there to greet me, and the emotion that shoots through my heart at even thinking about that moment – what it will be like to see them, the people that I have lived with, spoken to, cried to and done college with for the past four years, after eight months of complete and total physical separation, may well be indescribable.

I have no doubts or hesitations when I say that these past eight months have changed my life. They’ve challenged me, taught me lessons, given me mountains of new life experience and endless fodder for my writing. At the end of them, tonight at 2:38am as I’m writing this and looking at my disastrous apartment, my unpacked bags and clothes strewn on the floor, I’m proud to say that at the same time that I’m a changed person, I’m a changed person who is still fully and thoroughly, 100% still me.

What do I regret from these 8 months? I never used to believe in regret. It was Jacob’s and my motto, our solemn oath to each other, and to life I think, that we refused to believe in it or give into it, that we pledged to own our mistakes and our accomplishments, learn from them both, and at the end of the day, be satisifed with the knowledge that, good or bad, life happens for a reason.

I still believe in those statements. I still hold them dear to my heart, but I now see “regret” as a bigger word, full of bigger meaning, less black and white, less negative, and more all-encompassing. Regret, in itself, holds a promise of hope and change – it allows us to give advice, to tell others what they could achieve, can achieve, might want to strive for, that we missed out on. And for me – I have some of those. I wish I had made more African friends – not friends in Africa (I did well with that) but African friends. South African friends. I wish I had made more friends out here in Los Angeles. Oh, and I wish I had gone first on that 18 meter kloof, before the girl got hurt. Sounds silly, but that’s something I’ll remember for, well, maybe ever. I’ll remember the fear that overtook me, and I’ll remember taking a step back and letting someone else go before me, trying to get myself together. And mostly, I’ll remember the feeling of knowing that I could have done it, should have done it but let fear take the place of spontaneity and living for everything life has to offer.

I think that might be it, though. I Feel like I’ve done pretty well in these last 8 months doing exactly what i set out to do. I’ve lived, and I’ve lived hard and I’ve lived most every second to its max.

What am I proud of from these last 8 months? I think maybe … most everything. I’m so deeply proud that I went to Africa. I’m so proud that I made the choice to move to LA for the summer without a job or place ot live lined up. I’m proud that I took chances. I’m proud that I traveled ‘alone’ in Mozambique (I’ll never consider it truly alone after the friends I made along the way). I get a lot from a lot of people that they’re so impressed, almost inspired by the fact that I seem to be able to pick up and leave at any point, from any place. I get from a lot of other people that they think that means I’m not really ever that close to anyone, because if I were, I wouldn’t be able to leave so easily, at will. I don’t think either side is really right or, rather, really speaks to what I feel. I cry every time I leave somewhere. I fight my intense longing to be with those I already know and love every time I step on a new place, headed to a new place. I cry every single time I leave Georgia and have to say goodbye to my mom. I cry every time I leave everywhere, because I feel like I’m leaving a piece of me there. But I refuse to stop going. I can’t. It’s not within me. No matter how hard it is when I leave somewhere, the joy of meeting the people I meet when I arrive somewhere and of experiencing a new place, new culture, it drives me forward. Sometimes I do get overwhelmed. Tonight as i said goodbye to newfound friends out here, I couldn’t help but think that maybe it’s getting old – all the asying goodbye that I do. Right now, I have pieces of my heart in what sometimes feels like too many places – Georgia, Nebraska, Africa, camp, Los Angeles – but then I have to remind myself that while sometimes it hurts to miss so many people in so many places in this country, on this earth – it feels so good to reconnect with them again, and it keeps my drive and desire to keep going alive becuaes I never know who will touch me next.

I feel like I have so much to say tonight (obviously… cause this is really freaking long)… and so much that I haven’t talked about all summer. Where did this summer go?

My job just got more amazing as the summer went on. I got promoted from an intern to a project manager, I think was our title. It came with a nice pay raise, which was awesome too. But to know that I was doing good work – that felt great.

I’m not sure that I really made friends out here this summer that I’ll have for years to come, but I do feel like I put some roots down. I feel like there are a few people that I really wish I had had longer to get to know because I feel like we could have been good friends. But I think the biggest lesson I leanred this summer… is that I don’t always have to be around people. Matt helped me really learn that I can be content and entertain myself sitting right here in my apartment.

As with men  – well… my absolute, unwavering, stubborn objection to being in a relationship, to being tied down to someone, something, at 22 years old, isn’t going to change anytime soon. My love and passion and just zeal for live wins every time, and you now – I think even more than that, this summer I’ve realized that my friends… I’m passionate about them, and I think at this point in my life, no matter how old or boring it may make me sound, I would rather be having a cocktail or two with a girlfriend or guy friend and laughing, talking about everything and nothing, than out with someone that I’m frankly not going to care about in a few weeks time. I’ve realized I don’t have time, or rather, don’t want to make time, for that. I want to be around people that make me infinitely happy and joyous, and those people are my friends. I’m not anti-dating or meeting people (i’m very pro-having fun), and I’m sure that I will meet someone at some point that will change my mind about relationships and giving up my complete autonomy, but until then – I’ll take my friends.

In the past 8 motnhs, I’ve also both… ‘calmed down’ and become more ‘wild,’ I think – almost simultaneously. I think more of what it is is that I’ve become much more settled in who I am and what I stand for – I feel less of a need now to blurt it out, scream it and shout it from the rooftops, make sure that people know that I’m ME. I feel now like… like I can just bask in who I am and enjoy it, instead of making sure everyone knows it. With feeling more comfortable in my own sense of self, I’m also, honestly, just ready to take this last semester and just hit it hard and hit it right. Ellie and I are going to make a list of all teh things we want to do before we leave Lincoln, put it up in our apartment and make it our goal to cross them all off before the end of the semester. I’m looking forward to it.

I think I’ve reached the end of my rambling. These past 8 months have been incredible, and I don’t think in a million years I could have really thought or assumed (I definitely could have imagined them) they could actually happen. My life did change, and it feels great to say that I made it change. My life is different becuase of Africa and because of New York, Georgia and Los Angeles.

Tomorrow when I get back into Nebraska, it’s going to feel surreal and maybe even unreal. I’ve been gone for so long I wonder if it’ll really ever feel real again. But really – I have no doubt that when I step foot back in Lincoln, I won’t be able to stop smiling. I’ll hop down O Street, eat at every restaurant I’ve missed for so many months now and, mostly, catch up wtih friends whose beautiful faces I haven’t seen in 8 months.

Coming home feels great, and I’m so privileged to have so many places to come home to.

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 12:04 pm  Comments (1)