Stranded in the Snow

So, it’s official. Michael and I are stranded in Pullman for Christmas.

In the last few weeks, Pullman has been absolutely covered in snow. I’m not sure how many inches we’ve had, but I know it’s enough to keep us and our cars grounded for fear of spinning out and ending up in a ditch.

To be honest, I’m a little bummed. For me, Christmas has never been anything but time with family. As you know Dan, we don’t exactly have a lot of family Christmas traditions, but even just hanging out at the parents’, eating pumpkin pie and playing board, games is enough of a tradition to make me feel nostalgic and homesick.

As I’ve been coming to terms with the fact we WON’T be getting out of Pullman for Christmas, I’ve realized that it might be time to start creating memories and traditions of my own. Right now we’re all still close enough to get together for the holidays, but that might not always be the case. If I move across the country I’ll be away from the family for most of the holidays and I can’t be moping around for the rest of my life. And what happens if one day Michael and I decide to have children? We’ll need some traditions to pass on to them.

So this week I’ve been thinking a lot about what Michael and I can do to make this Christmas seem festive and homey. I’ve come up with some ideas that I’m very excited about and I want to share them with you.

I’ve been calling my first idea the $30 Christmas Challenge. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is sitting around, drinking coffee, and watching everyone open their gifts. Well, as you probably know no one can afford the number of gifts mom and dad can. They would spoil us rotten and, as a woman with credit card debt and student loans, I can’t do that for myself or Michael. So I came up with a fun compromise for Michael and I. For this challenge, Michael and I will go to Walmart or the mall and we’ll each have $30 to spend on the other person. The idea is to get as many legitimate presents for the other person as you can. When I say legitimate, I mean no buying 30 bottles of travel deodorant or something like that. Think stocking stuffers, something the person would actually want. Whoever wins the game gets to pick the Christmas movie we watch on Christmas day.

My second idea is pretty straight forward: a Christmas Eve date day. During the holidays, Michael and I are always so busy and incredibly broke trying to get presents for everyone else. We rarely spend money on ourselves so we want to make Christmas Eve, the very last day of the holiday shopping season, a day to spoil each other. This year we’re going out for breakfast at our favorite cafe and then going to see Moana. Yes, Daniel. I will be seeing Moana tomorrow and I’m so excited!

My third idea is baking cookies for each other. Another memory I love from our childhood is making cookies with mom. I especially loved the shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate and walnuts. So good! Well, I want to continue that tradition and so Michael and I will be baking each other cookies on Christmas Day. I think I’ll be making snickerdoodles, which he loves.

My fourth idea is to find a video game we can play together. In my last post I talked about our N64 and that is still one of my favorite Christmas memories. I loved playing Mario and Legend of Zelda with you, Daniel, and I want to keep playing video games.

So what are you and Pretzel going to do for Christmas?

-EMS

 

I Hate Airports

I’m going to be honest, I wrote this post this morning. I had planned to write it last night, but after twelve hours of airplanes and airports I didn’t have the energy. I got home, unpacked, and then went to bed.

Thankfully, I knew exactly what I was going to write about. We talked about it the few times you caught me on one of my layovers, Daniel. I want to talk about why I hate airports.

#1 – They’re way too big

No this doesn’t apply to every airport. The airport I flew out of on Monday had only two gates so it was very easy to navigate. I guess what I really hate is that, when you have a layover, it’s ALWAYS in some big, sprawling, metro airport and your next gate is THREE MILES AWAY.

This is even more annoying when you consider how much junk I usually have to carry on the airplane with me. Checking bags is expensive and, more often than not, not that necessary. I literally spent three days away from home this week. I could easily fit everything I needed in one of my duffel bags, saving me money, but dooming me to lug ten pounds of junk with me as I walked all the way to my next gate.

Come on, people. Why can’t airlines just keep all their gates within a reasonable distance? I literally flew Alaska there and back and still had to take the tram in the Seattle airport to get to my next gate.

This is also annoying when you have a really short layover. I learned the hard way, specifically after having to run through the Minneapolis airport to catch my connection to Wisconsin, that you always want a minimum of an hour to navigate to the next gate. Yeah, a shorter layover means a quicker arrival, but you will take years off your life with all the stress of having to navigate the airport. Especially if it’s crowded, which leads to my next complaint…

#2 – The people are rude

I’m not sure why this happens, but people become so RUDE when they step into an airport. It’s like they completely forget there are other people around them and they’re sole focus is being first. It’s literally like the Hunger Games and I’m not going to pretend I’m not immune. I also become rude when I step into an airport, but that’s because everyone else is rude. Rudeness begets rudeness, I suppose.

One thing that absolutely drives me up the wall is when people stop in the middle of a walk way to look at the flight announcement boards. I get why they do it, but they need to let me know when they’re about to do it and move to the side of the walkway. I don’t know how many times I’ve nearly been knocked off balance because someone abruptly stops to check their flight gate. Dude, use a blinker or something.

#3 – Getting on and off the airplane is chaos

As you may remember, airplanes aren’t that big so getting on and off them is a pain in the butt. What specifically makes it awful is how, again, people completely forget their manners and just LINGER IN THE AISLE. Put your stuff in the overhead compartment and SIT DOWN.

Same for getting off the plane. Be ready to grab you stuff and move when it’s your turn. On my way down to California this year, a woman stood in the aisle and waited for everyone ahead of her to get off the airplane and THEN STARTED PULLING HER BAGS NOW. I nearly screeched in frustration. I already had my bag in hand and was ready to motor. She could’ve done the same thing.

Those are my three biggest complaints about airports. I have plenty more, like the cost of airport food or the bathrooms at airports, but I’ve covered the three most irksome in my opinion.

Sorry for posting this late, Daniel. I’m definitely in need of a nap after yesterday.

-EMS

My Real Trip to Australia

I was really inspired by your last post. There are so many in-between moments in life that I love, like the gurgling noise my coffee maker makes in the morning or the golden glow of my desk lamp. I really want to make my own list of in-between moments, but first I want to talk about my trip to Australia.

And no, I’m not a group of spiders cleverly disguised as Emily, as awesome as that would be.

Anyway, I could write a novel about my trip to Australia. There were so many little things that I loved about that trip, like how the air always smelled like fresh rain or how sweet the coffee was. It was an amazing trip. It, in all honesty, changed my life for the better and that’s what I want to write about this week.

10300232_10207499472623028_5190581736642152200_nI feel like using the term “life-changing” is a bit of a cliché nowadays. It’s almost like the word “awesome” in my opinion. We use the word as just a catch-all term for when something is really good, despite the fact we came back from the trip and continued to lead the same life. My trip to Australia was a wonderful experience and it actually did change my life for the better.

Since I’ve returned from Australia I feel stronger, braver, more passionate, and more in control of my life and my destiny. I’m having difficulty finding the words describe how different I feel since my trip. Have you ever been somewhere that you used to know, but things have changed so much you don’t recognize it anymore? Remember when we drove through Tomah on our last trip to Wisconsin? Everything in the town seemed fuzzy and surreal, like we should remember the place, but we couldn’t. Now remember how it felt to turn the corner onto our childhood street? It’s like everything suddenly came into focus and I remember feeling at home.

That’s how it felt coming back from Australia. Like everything in my life suddenly came into focus and I had never realized it was fuzzy.

Going to Australia had been a lifelong dream of mine. When I was little, think elementary school age, I used to watch the Crocodile Hunter almost exclusively. I know, that’s such a silly reason to want to go to another country, but it’s the truth. I’d honestly been planning this trip since I was eleven and I finally got to go fourteen years later. I think that’s one of the reasons I feel braver and more in control. For the first time in my life I had achieved one of my dreams, a dream that no one else had for me. And I achieved it all on my own.

Don’t get me wrong, getting my college degree and finding a place of my own in this world have always been dreams, but those are everyone’s dreams. Do you know what I mean? When I was born, mom and dad never looked at me and said “I hope she gets to go to Australia one day.” No, but they probably said that about getting a college degree and creating my own life.

This trip was also incredibly relaxing. You probably already know this about me, but I tend to be a workaholic. Even when I take vacations from work, I tend to take my work with me in one form or another. I’ll answer emails or worry about upcoming projects, things like that. This trip was the first time I’ve ever let myself completely let go. I didn’t check my email, I didn’t worry about going back to work, I never thought about what I had to do next. I only thought about what I wanted to do next.

For the first time I actually had the opportunity to be honest with myself. I would wake up in the morning and think “What do I want to do now?” Instead of thinking about what I had to do at work or my other responsibilities, I could actually think about my real passions. I could get up, drink coffee, and read my book or I could go for a run. That feeling was amazing and now, despite being back in the states and at work, I’ve actually learned how to be honest with myself. I’m better at prioritizing my day and knowing when I need to take care of my own needs. I also feel more passionate about my hobbies and spend more time crocheting, reading, and writing.

1918243_10207515415581592_98216960889223726_nAs I mentioned, this trip was also wonderful because for the first time I was actually thinking about what I wanted instead of what everyone else wanted. I never had to wait for someone else to suggest something. I would just bring it up myself. The best example from my trip I can give was when I went snorkeling in the shark tank at Underwater World. No one else wanted to do it with me.

Before this trip I would have just not done it because the group didn’t want to do it. I would have worried that people had to wait on me or that, without some one with me, I wouldn’t know what to do. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling. Anyway, on this trip I actually did things for me and trusted that my friends would tell me if they had a problem. I never worried about what other people wanted. I just thought about myself, which yes sounds selfish, but it was something I had never done before. Now I know I can do that and I feel stronger. I feel like I can do anything and that my friends will support me because they love me, not because I bend over backward to accommodate them.

So yes, I would honestly say that this trip to Australia was life changing. I feel like I can do anything now and that all of my dreams are attainable. I feel more worldly and loved. I love myself more to be honest. This entire post probably feels a little sappy and self-help-esque, but it’s the truth.

Sorry to chew your ear off, Daniel. Next post will probably be a list of in-between moments.

-EMS