Stuck in ATL

Well, not exactly Atlanta, but the outlying areas. I had planned a weekend trip to see some friends right before I left for Korea. I also found out that I would have to go to the Korean consulate in Atlanta to get my visa pasted into my passport. Cool, right?

So Friday afternoon I head up to Rome and spend some time with Carmen (one of my college professors and now a dear friend) and her family. I'm in love with her kids, basically. So we eat pizza and take crazy pictures and have a great time. The next morning I get up and go watch her pitch the first ball of the baseball game at Shorter, see my old friend Ben McFry, and then have lunch with Carmen and the honorable Dr. Bill Rice. It was a refreshing and lovely lunch with the both of them. I'm now seriously considering other options for my PhD rather than just creative writing or American studies. Maybe throwing in some Middle Eastern Studies or Asian Lit kind of stuff to make myself different from every other 20th century Am Lit. applicant in the job market.

After lunch, I headed on down to Covington to see Kerri and Buck and their little girl, Lily Bea. I spent a wonderful three days with them, staying an extra day on Monday. I stayed on Monday because there was the possibility that my confirmation number from Korea would come in and I could get an appointment at the embassy for today, Tuesday. However, I woke up this morning and it was a no-go. No number; no nothing. So I packed up my stuff and vacated Kerri's guest room, saying bye to my wifey for the last time until I return to the States in however many years. I drove to my uncle's house and now I'm just hanging out with my aunt. If I don't have a number by tomorrow morning, I guess I'll drive home and start packing.

But everything is pretty much an unknown. I don't know when I'm getting the confirmation number from Korea. I don't know when my interview at the consulate will be when I do have the confirmation number. I don't know what date the school is going to make my plane ticket for. AAAHHH! So much I just don't know. But I think I'm doing a relatively good job at staying calm and not getting too terribly frustrated. I mean, everything is out of my control, and my worrying for however many hours or days will not make any difference. I will simply get good at waiting. I have been given plenty of opportunities to improve upon this skill. I'm channeling Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. Yup. I will be good at waiting.

On the good news side of things... KENNY FOUND ME AN APARTMENT and it is perfect! It took an entire day of searching, but he and his mom finally found one in a good, safe location that was pretty clean and spacious compared to the other dives they'd checked out. I have a stove! Not just a hotplate! A stove! Woot. And a laundry machine. I'm very lucky. Kenny is buying me a bed- queen size! to go in it. I'm very excited about this. I feel like my quality of life will definitely be bearable, if not fantastic. I am five minutes from his house and about 20 minutes from work on the subway. So, everything is set. Living arrangements: check. Job: check. Boyfriend to take care of me and make me happy: check. Boyfriend's mom to cook me yummy Korean meals: check. Plenty of support from my family and friends: check.

Now I just have to get there!


Surprisingly Pain-Free

So, I geared up this morning for a day full of agony. I (or my personal assistant, a.k.a. my mother) had booked 3 different doctor's appointments for me on this dreary and rainy Tuesday. But before we could get to any of them, we had to go pick up my Granny's cat and take her to the vet to get fixed. Woot. So, my Granny's cat is a tortie, and she has a bit of an attitude. She's not real friendly. I figured after we picked her up, she'd meow me to death all the way to the vet. However, she didn't! She cried a few times, letting us know she wasn't very happy with the situation and then she just shut up! Incredible, eh? First nice surprise of the day. After dropping the sassy tortie off, it was time for breakfast. I had the Chickin Minis at Chik-fil-A and they were A plus plus plus delicious.

Then it was time to head to the eye doctor to get a new prescription and new frames. I dread the eye doctor because they puff that air in your eyes and every time I jerk my head and so they have to do it OVER and OVER and I keep moving. No matter how much I resolve to sit still and not to blink, I blink. But today, they only had to do my left eye ONCE! My right eye had to be done three times, but heck, I mean, that was four less than normal! And I got some awesome frames. So new glasses pictures forthcoming!

Then I had to head to the 10th circle of hell, also known as the gynecologist. I won't bore you (or disgust you) with the details, but it was just a check-up since I'm leaving the country. So, I was really nervous for a couple reasons. #1 I haven't shaved my legs in months. #2 It is extremely uncomfortable. #3 I didn't get an appointment with my regular doctor, but the nurse practitioner instead. But hello, another welcome surprise! The N.P. was FABULOUS. She was much quicker and she didn't hurt me hardly at all. She was kind and understanding about my European grooming habits (which despite all evidence to the contrary really are only temporary) and she asked me lots of questions to keep my mind on other things while she did her job.

To add to my uncomfortable feelings, my mother was nagging me all day to tell her I'd like my thyroid checked. I told her maybe there was something wrong (because I exercised with a personal trainer and changed my diet for an entire month and lost a grand total of 1 pound. This does not bode well) and she said, "Oh, that's no problem. We'll do that on your way out." So she sent me to the Lab. I alerted the Lab technician of my habit of turning white as a sheet with greenish lips and almost fainting right before I almost puke every time I have my blood drawn. The tech is so kind to me and so quick. I don't even know she's done when she's done. It's fabulously surprising, and I didn't even get a little bit light-headed. I have now, after 25 years of life, conquered the drawing of the blood! Woot.

Then, I buckled down for the dentist. I do not like the dentist. The lady always pokes my gums and makes them bleed and then says if I would just floss that my gums wouldn't bleed. I want to yell at her that actually, if she didn't poke my gums they wouldn't bleed! So I go to the office and prepare for the worst. I haven't seen the dentist in over a year because of my year in England. They don't have fluoride in the water there so I was maybe expecting a little telltale cavity or two. Surprise again! I had a new dental hygienist named Lindsay and she should be given an award for not poking my gums and not nagging me about flossing. If I haven't flossed for the first 25 years of my life, I'm not starting now. She simply cleaned my teeth (relatively pain free) and then flossed VERY CAREFULLY underneath my permanent retainer on the bottom. She was great. I walked out of the dentist with a fresh, clean-feeling running around my mouth and without a guilty non-flosser's conscience. All was as it should be.

I just couldn't believe my luck. I was so blessed today. Everything that I was expecting to be unpleasant proved not to be so. I mean, the girly dr. is NEVER a treat, but it has to be done and was better than any of my previous experiences.

So, woot for more or less pain-free doctor's appointments.

(I won't go into the theory that expecting the absolute worst could end up being better for you than having a good attitude about everything. But it works for me. I always prepare myself for pain, and it when it doesn't show up or isn't as painful as I had expected I am overcome with joy and elated for the rest of the day. However, if I go into something with high expectations thinking, "This will be okay. It'll be great. It'll be short and not a big deal," I always come out growling and upset. Try being a pessimist when it comes to appointments. Let me know how it works out for you!)


Automotive Therapy

Hello February! Hello month of Valentine's crap!

This past weekend I went on a roadtrip with my good friend Melanie. We went to see her good friend Bennett, who was first good friends with Melanie's best friend, Stephanie, who is attending Harvard and about to graduate and be a fabulous lawyer, so touch me because I know cool people! ANYway, Mel and I headed out to Knoxville for a good time and we got one. We went to see a band play, and it was good. We ate at the Tomato Head, and it was better than good. We attended Bennett's Blue party (you had to wear blue), and it was good. See? Good times all around. But what I discovered on this trip, aside from trying to send good things out into the universe (more Oprah bullcrap) was the therapeutic benefits of riding in a car for three hours with a best friend who is good at listening.

I would like to introduce to you the idea of Automotive Therapy. This particular type of bonding is different from regular girl talk for a few reasons. First, you are confined to the car and there are relatively few distractions. Second, you do not have to worry about talking too much because you have three entire hours to fill up. Third, you know that when you are done, you will then be a listener, fulfilling both roles in the therapy session and therefore feeling important no matter what you are doing- talking, blubbering, yelling, or listening. I believe last Friday evening Mel and I covered the spectrum of possible emotions. First, we were excited. Then we became a a bit serious and focused. Then I thought out loud, became confused, frustrated, uncertain, stood on the fence and yelled with all my might, cried about the fence I was on, hated the fence, loved the fact that I had ever met this fence, and finally found rest in a resolution to get off the fence soon. Melanie raged at the road and its other occupants. Then she gave sage advice, or whatever words of wisdom she could muster and I settled into a calm pseudo-happiness because dinner was on the horizon. Then, Melanie was surprised, frustrated, angry, sad, selfish (by her own admittance), frustrated again and moreover, sarcastic, and finally resigned. She cried. That made us even. We both cried about completely different things. I made some jokes, mixed with observations from the outside and she laughed and felt a little better. I don't think either of us had this in mind when we left my house. But actually, that was my favorite part of the trip. Don't get me wrong, the Tomato Head was a close second on my list, tailgated closely by the American Bang. But the three hours of disclosure between close friends is what I will always remember about this trip.

I recommend Automotive Therapy. It is tough, maybe uncomfortable at times, but when done with the right person in the right amount of time, can strengthen a friendship and resolve some of those pesky neurotic issues you've been struggling with!

And I'm sorry I slept all the way home. Terribly sorry. Please forgive me, Melarooni.
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