Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple kind of Monday

With a title like that, I’m sure all my readers are thinking “I’d like that Monday!”.

It’s never really a bad day when chocolate and caramel is involved is it?

Unless you really miss the comfort of home, or your head is filled the self doubt inflicting disfigurement known as “impostor syndrome”, or the thought of being held in the arms of your love 2500 miles away is a desire so deep in your heart that you feel as though your senses are falling out of it. Or all of it combined.

Some days are easier than others. Some days I get really excited to venture out into the world and experience something new and exciting. Other days however, like on a chocolate covered caramel apple kind of Monday, it hurts to swallow from the puffy little lump in the throat. On some days the stress and lack of confidence makes it feel like none of the trial is worth it. That going back to the comfort of home would be of best interest for the sake of knowing what is expected.

That there lies the problem.

If believing in yourself to take on a challenging project, or speak op about your career goals, or just having the confidence in knowing that your all is better than enough is too hard to fathom, then surely believing that running away and building a happier life based on that mind set is just as laughable.

It takes courage to do what we do. I am talking about young adults stepping out into industry without a lick of sense about it. Internships can be fun and almost comical, but sometimes they put a load of expectations on green engineers to some how save the world. At least that is how it feels. And though we work long hours, ask many questions, and fearfully voice all concerns, we still end up feeling menial. College never prepared us for this. College never handed me a back bone with a big bag of confidence to dip into whenever I felt like I was the dumbest person in the room. College gave me just enough to get my feet wet. That doesn’t do me much good when I feel like I need to be swimming the mile.

With all that said I am fortunate to have family, both biological and my Brookie family, a super loving boy friend, and work place that really does care about my success as a student and engineer. I know that if it wasn’t for all that support, I wouldn’t be where I am today, but at the end of the day it is up to me to decide if I am having a bad day, good day, or a learning day.

This Monday was a bad day. I decided I wasn’t going to ask questions, I wasn’t going to try, I wasn’t going to say good morning to my coworkers, and that sad country was the only suitable playlist worth playing.

Jake, my other half, had just left the day before. My heart longs to be with him, as he is truly my best friend and hearts purest desire. When he left, a lot of my energy went with him. I woke up Monday feeling like an empty vessel. The high dry deserts of Mojave had more to offer for enthusiasm than did myself. Hang my head as the desert sun makes most flowers do and go rejoin my place in my cubicle crunching numbers. Today will be an absolutely awful day.

On Saturday, Jake and I were in L.A. and we decided to get a chocolate covered caramel apple. We never ate it. It sat on my counter untouched still in it’s elegant little box. Everyday I come home from Scaled Composites for my lunch break. It is a good chance to relax and regroup. Today, that chocolate covered caramel apple couldn’t have been placed ever more conveniently. I ate a portion and froze it to save the rest for Jake. I can’t wait for us to be laughing and talking about our day as we share this in the near future.

I don’t know what it is about a chocolate covered caramel apple that can help you turn a bad day around. Or maybe it’s the thought of knowing that there is someone back home that believes in you, that you’re a part of a fellowship that wants nothing less than success for you. They’re like my chocolate covered caramel apples. It makes all the distance and trials worth it. They are worth trying for because they want to celebrate YOU.

Everyday I promise to look in the mirror and tell myself I am going to try my hardest and that is enough. I will tell myself that growth will come from exposure and it’s ok if the environment is less than pleasant. Just because the sun hides behind clouds sometimes doesn’t mean plants won’t prosper. Diligence. Diligence. Diligence. It will pay off. There’s a chocolate covered caramel apple at the end!

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Making Dreams Come True

Luck or God, I am thankful.

Around the age of 4 I discovered that I liked art. A lot. I also discovered I liked to make stuff, like “food” and “toys”.

Around the age of 6 I discovered that I was in love with the night sky. I wanted to touch the stars. I also think hamsters are cute.

Around the age of 11 I discovered that I wanted to try sports and join choir just because my friends were doing it. By age 14 I discovered that doing what my friends do doesn’t always make me happiest.

Around the age of 16 I discovered that you can be artistic and a bit nerdy. I entered art shows and was holding down a 4.5 GPA.

Around the age of 18 I discovered I didn’t get accepted to my dream university Harvard, but realized that Virgil “Gus” Grissom didn’t need Harvard to make his dreams come true. Hail Purdue!

Around the age of 19 I discovered that a large university was not in the stars for me, rather an extension campus closer to home was. I worried about this move.

Around the age of 20 I discovered the taste of flight in a jet. I wanted more of this after my study abroad to Germany, so I began pursuing my private pilots license.

Around the age of 21 I discovered that I was selected as a Brooke Owens Fellowship girl, and I would be working with scaled composites. My heart is so full.

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My life has been through a lot, and I have seen a lot. Between these years of discoveries, were a lot of dead end paths and distractions that pulled me away from my hearts truest desires, of which had yet to be discovered. From the little errors of taking advice from bitter adults, to the big detriments like my mother and her addictions, I always seemed to find my way back to what made my heart smile. The universe in its entirety, being breathed in and out of my lungs, every second of every day since August 19th, 1996. After hard days at school or days that I simply felt worthless, I’d look up at the sky and imagine looking back from where I was currently looking. There is so much to look forward to.

Year after year in college, I will attend the huge university wide engineering career fair. The lines for any of the aerospace companies will spiral and snake their way around the tables and booths of lesser known engineering companies. I always look at these students and think, what is it that they have that I don’t? I want to have what they have so I can be in an aerospace community. As I would be thinking these thoughts, a Cessna 172 would fly final over the thousands of students and it would feel like everything stopped and all the chatter had died. I would always admire and smile at the buzz of its engine. Until I felt someone brush past me or someone ask if I was waiting in line. This is when I noticed not a soul was looking up. I am competing in the wrong race, there has to be a competition more suitable for individuals that are strictly fueled by passion for this stuff.

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I introduce you to the Brooke Owens Fellowship (BOF).

As a blogger, I enjoy reading other bloggers work. Sometimes I’ll find myself clicking through bloggers sites like people do when they’re going through their friends on Facebook. I started down the rabbit hole after applying to Ball Aerospace, as I’m sure thousands of other students just like my self according to a simple resume have already done, for a summer internship opportunity. This would have been my third time applying to ball, expecting another email saying they regretfully can’t offer me a position, and to apply again. This is about how every intern job I apply for seems to go. It’s easy for a student to expect the less than satisfactory result when they only ever get denial. I must admit, after every email from various companies telling me that I won’t be offered a job, I look at how I can improve. From my resume, to how I spend my time outside of class, I had to become something else other than who I was. So I thought.

After wrapping up my applications for the night, I started looking at a flight schools blog, where instructors talked about all sorts of aviation related topics. I looked at featured students, and I noticed that there was a majority of men pursuing their privates pilots license. Then I saw a young woman. I clicked her story and read about her recent solo and it provided a link to her blog project she was doing for the summer. This is where I read about her being a Brooke Owens Fellow. I was impressed with her drive, her love of aviation, and great blog skills. I decided to look into the Brooke Owens Fellowship just to see for myself.

I went straight to the Brooke Owens Fellowship web page. The first thing I read was, “paid internships and executive mentor-ship for exceptional undergraduate women in aerospace”. Cool, this sounds like me. What does this mean though for me? It means that I won’t simply be given an aerospace job because I am a woman, but it means that I will have been given an opportunity to rise up in a male dominated field. Super cool. Who is Brooke Owens exactly? A woman who came from a small town who had dreams and goals that came true with her passions and shear determination. She, like myself, also loved helping the humanities and giving back to the earth we all share as humans. Not only were these attributes similar to mine, but she was also a person who loved aviation every bit as much as aerospace. She too was a pilot. The heart of a pilot is about as passionate as they come. This is when I knew that this was the program that I needed to pour my energy in.

I immediately started working on my essay prompts, mind map drawing, and my aviation video (I talked about airplane safety with my AWESOME boyfriend Jake). This was finally a race worth running. While I was focusing most of my energy on this fellowship opportunity, I knew that nothing is for certain, regardless of how strong your gut says this is for you. I had gotten a call from a company called Gentex, a “smart” car-mirror manufacturer, in Michigan. They wanted to have an interview with me for a summer internship. As my dad drove me up to Michigan, I was working on my mind map drawing. I probably should have been focusing on my upcoming interview, but I couldn’t shut off the drive to pour my efforts into the BOF application. The interview with Gentex went alright. Although, I think I messed up when they showed me the assembly line where I’d be working on PLC’s most of the time. My face had to show nothing but dread, no matter how hard I tried to hide it.

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This is a picture of the Mind Map that I submitted. This mind map not only showed the judges an overall picture of who I am, but it helped my mind get out of the one track thinking that typical internship applications make you get in (GPA, work experience, credits, etc.). The Mind Map was like an exercise for my brain to start accessing all the things that make me, me.

 

http://www.brookeowensfellowship.org/ – you can go to this link to find out even more for yourself about BOF.

I decided to write this blog post to not just promote the Brooke Owens Fellowship, but to talk about how important it is to never lose yourself. Being true to who you are will ensure you end up where you can reach your fullest potentials. It’d be pretty hard for a muscle car to compete with a Ferrari, but that doesn’t make it a wonderful car. I know I qualified for this fellowship because I vulnerably displayed everything I am. I am sure other young women applying did the same thing, and I am not sure what exactly helped me make the cut, other than being myself in my element. I hope that somewhere and somehow, someone who needs to be lifted up reads this and realizes that being themselves will get them further than any resume ever will. This summer will be filled with a lot more self discovering and friendship growth. This summer, more than work experience will be gained. I am so proud to be part of this fellowship to honor Brooke Owens. I am also proud to be a future employee of Scaled Composites in Mojave, CA this summer. It’s almost comical now to look back at all the long hours put into all the other internship applications, and the feelings of defeat. Now I see why it didn’t work out with anyone else. ♥

 

 

 

 

You Are Free to Live, Not to Live Free – Economical White Bean Chicken Chili and Cornbread

Hard earned money going towards a spice I’ll probably never use again? No way!

If you read my last mushy blog, you will know that I just started a new job in Houston, TX for an engineering co-op. I am still a college student (part time) taking online classes, but am working 40-50 hours a week. I have my own apartment that came fully furnished and the rent is subsidized, so I don’t pay full price. On top of that, I am making pretty good money! $20 an hour? Heck yea! I am getting so rich for this 8 month co-op.

So I thought.

Did you know taxes are a real thing? I thought it was some imaginary concept that was created by liberals to impose on right wingers. I never thought they were that big of a deal when my paycheck only amounted to $150 and $14 went out to taxes. I felt like I was giving to charity in a way. My first week here at Daikin, I worked 35 hours, so my paycheck came to $700. Not to bad. Then taxes knocked me back to $582. $66 to federal tax, $43 to social security, and $10 to Medicare. It’s not like they don’t tax everything else I buy. I don’t even have insurance in Texas! Thank God they don’t tax groceries. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the taxes are just built into the price we are paying for the groceries since they are so expensive.

I am starting to see why people gripe about taxes, and I see why people who don’t work, or work low end jobs, are so easily advocates for taxes. There needs to be a better system for this whole “paying for your public goods and services” requirement.

Rant over.

In honor of trying to keep my health in check while still keeping on a budget (yes I had to create a REAL budget (not the cute budget with only 3 parameters)), here is my $ chicken chili recipe with cornbread. Feeds ~5 people.

White Bean Chicken Chili ~ $5.75

  • 1 big frozen chicken breast – $.90
  • 2 cans of white navy beans – $2.00
  • TBS chicken bouillon – $.25
  • 4 oz cream cheese (I used low fat) – $1.00
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or I used 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt – $.30-.60
  • cup of water (thin to your like, I like mine thick)
  • Season with salt, pepper, and tsp cumin – $.10
  • optional: Add a sautéed dice green bell pepper, can of green chilis, or cilantro – $1.00

Directions:

Bake your chicken breast at 380 for 15-18 minutes. I pre-slice mine so it bakes faster. While it is baking, in a large pot add all the ingredients, and mix until incorporated over a medium heat. Once the chicken is done baking, shred it and add it to your soup. Serve with cornbread.

Corn Bread – $1.54

  • One box of Jiffy – $.50
  • 1 egg – $.12
  • TBS flour – $.02
  • two dollops of sour cream or plain greek yogurt – $.60
  • milk as directed by box – $.30

Mix all together and add to a greased and floured pan. Bake at 385 for 12-15 min on high rack so bottom doesn’t burn.

So for $7.29 you have a meal that feeds 5 people, or yourself for quite awhile. So on a night you feel like eating out instead, try this cheap, easy, and quick meal. You’ll be glad you did! You might even find you have money (and calories) left over for dessert. 😉

 

 

 

Priming For the Tie That Binds

The Hearts Way of Saying, “I love You”.

Say, helping me move ~1,000 miles away from home while I was sick, staying in a sleazy motel, buying my groceries, doing my laundry, rubbing my back. What does that make us?

Yes you are my mate nonetheless, you are my boyfriend. A friend first and foremost who I happen to enjoy particularly well. Don’t get yourself confused with being a boyfriend though. I’ve had boyfriends, and they were always a boy first. At some point as of recent, you became something more than all of the above. You became reality.

When I was a little  girl, I always said no one would ever love me or want to be with me forever. I was so scared of being alone, so when a boy would pay attention to me, I felt like I was worth something. Worth does not come from physical touch or dates. It comes from showing sincere love. It comes from truly making yourself equal with someone. To find someone who not just makes you feel loved, but makes you feel worthy, you begin to etch as a permanent part of yourself.

I recently had a job opportunity that required me to move to Texas from Indiana. To no surprise, my wonderful SO, Jake, readily began planning to help me drive down and get settled. I came down with a horrible viral flu the day before I was due to leave. On top of preparing for the trip to leave, I had several phone interviews lined up to take place during the trip down to Texas. Honestly, I felt overwhelmed for I had not the energy to do everything I needed. Jake made up for every part of me that was missing. When I needed help with dishes, or going to the store, he was there. My family dog Ringo passed away Christmas Eve, 2 weeks before I was due to leave. (This is the dog on my blogs banner). Jake was there to help during the process of putting him down. He was there to make me feel as at peace as possible through and through.

After I got moved into my new apartment and had the weekend with Jake, he left to fly back home. It was on a Monday, my first day of a new job. My last physical touch with him was a hug and a kiss in front of the apartments. That was only a week ago. It feels as though that was an eternity ago. I realized this while cleaning my apartment. In this realization that it was only such a short time ago, it made me realize how much his worth is really worth to me. I never have questioned my love for him or wondered if we are good together. It’s just like coffee. How much is coffee worth to you in the morning? In the morning coffee is equivalent to the need for the next breath of oxygen for many of us. Just because the worth of coffee is high in the morning, does not mean we go all day worshiping the thought of coffee. That is because we know it will be there again in the morning, black and steaming hot.

As I was organizing my laundry, I realized the one thing my homey apartment was missing. My person. This is more than just the heart growing fonder. This is realizing the value of one and understanding how rich I am because of him. How wonderful indeed. In fact this is me just understanding what this sort of love means. It is the stepping stones to an ultimate devotion. He gives me time and I will find my way back to him, putting us near to the tie that binds.

A poem to my world, the one who makes me feel as wonderful as the stars with universe as her audience.

Thank you Jake

 

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No Such Luck; A Sob Story and a Comfort Food Recipe – Sweet Potato Cookies?!

Riding this ride just for the sake of riding. Really I just want to be left alone, but there’s no place I call home.

O.K. all humans get in weird funks from time to time right? No real reason to justify feeling like falling off the earth.  For some reason I feel like there must be a reason. It isn’t like me to let a black hole in my heart hold any weight with how I interact with others. Not knowing your heart can be a most frustrating thing. Thank God for music…

“Yeah, watch how low I get
Yeah, get much lower yet
No depths where I won’t go
Thank god I’m built so low”

-Paw

When I get this reegremotional turmoil inside me, I want to run. Run, run, run. Run away, but run to, and run from, but not run with someone. I want to be alone with my loneliness. I want to be only. Only me, not lonely me. It’s hard for me to tell someone I need them. Really to get better that is what I need to do. Feel okay with leaning on them. What hurts is when I say I need help expressing my concern, and they brush it off and tell me, “You’re o.k.”. I’M NOT O.K.?! I’m sad, and feeling lost, unmotivated, fed up, tired. I want you to listen to me and help me feel myself again… You don’t just wave a magic wand and tell someone they’re o.k. and expect them to be alright. Stop.

 

This is why I bake…

As an artist, I like to express my emotions through actions and creations. From drawing to cooking, I feel I can’t express myself adequately. So I just bake cookies because they make great emotional band aids…

Sweet Potato Cookies

Ingredients

  • •1 sweet potato
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup stevia baking sugar (it’s a 1:1 ratio to sugar, or just use regular sugar)
  •  ½ cup light butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil (or just do 1 cup total of butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
  •  ¾ cup craisins
  • optional, I used 1 TBS black wall nut crumbs, or ¾ cup of any nut would be good. Black walnut is a very strong flavor

Directions

  1. Cream butter, coconut oil, and sugar. Beat in egg, cool mashed sweet potato, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in a seperate bowl and mix it up. gradually add this to the butter mixture. Don’t over mix. Add the nuts and craisins (I folded it in).
  2. Put spoonfuls on a cookie sheet (1 inch space). Bake at 375 for 11 minutes. They will brown slightly.

The Right Here and Now

“Come take a glass of wine and fortify your soul
We’ll talk about the world and friends we used to know”

Put car in reverse.

“I’ll illustrate, a girl put me on the floor
The game is nearly up, the hounds are at my door”

Put car in drive. Drive.

“Like the fox (like the fox, like the fox) on the run”

Same driving maneuvers, same radio station. Just like a million times before.

September 27th. One of those days where you’re just too busy to take a step back and examine how defeated you really feel. Until your brain comes in and says, “hey, I am NOT o.k.” I was driving to my S.O.’s to go out to dinner. He had just received his pilots licence, and a congratulations was in order. Before meeting him for dinner, I got him aviator sunglasses as a token of my love. All pilots should have a pair of aviators anyways. I was so excited to give them to him and tell him how proud I was. I was so proud. What does proud even mean? What is happening?

Just about a mile from my house. my brain clicks on and starts thinking. I remember suddenly my stomach feeling like a stuffed bird and saying out loud “What am I doing?”. My lips became lifeless, numb-like. All of a sudden, my foot stopped applying pressure to the gas pedal. My grip fell and all the noise from the radio sounded like nothing but mindless noise. I began to feel like a fool. Suddenly I felt like I was getting ready to go perch up on a grand stage to perform tricks and become a laughingstock. I guess a situation like that would make a person say, “What am I doing?”.

I begin to feel like I am of a different level. Not that I am better or worse, just different. I begin to believe that possibly through others eyes, I am just the entertainment. I am the right here and now girl. Already losing its luster and shine, like a bird with clipped wings. Pretty while sitting in its cage, but somewhat of a disappointment when you ask it to fly. I start to feel like I need to turn around. I begin formulating ways to escape this night. As always, I march forward. I have never been one to be selfish.

I put on a smile as I always do. I attempt to provide for the best evening, and I think I delivered sufficiently. I drive, buy dinner, give more of my vulnerable heart. I leave feeling disposable. I leave feeling like my all isn’t enough, or it is just for granted. Maybe I am not pretty enough, thin enough, funny enough. Surely I give enough. I think I have had enough. It is time I retract my heart to the confinements in which it is comfortable and safe. Where solitude is a problem is when one believes having a companion will provide comfort, warmth, and safety consistently. Everywhere and always is simply right here and now. It seems to be all the human heart can selfishly quantify in regard to developing anything meaningful with another of its kind.
This is how the evening wrapped up with a couple texts:
“Home, thanks for a fun night”
“I’m glad you’re home safe, thank you again for everything”
Seems I’ve heard this once before. Maybe not these two exact texts, but the moment of realization of time over for me, right here and now.

Eyes Turned Skyward

Risking the Fall Just to Learn How to Fly

This life has brought a host of experiences; from choosing a college, blundering fools for dates, and changing my entire lifestyle completely. All of these things have shaped me in some way or another. Like one day I went to a professors office hours to ask for help. He looked at me and said, “you get D in class”. This experience definitely contributed to my decision to switch colleges. Another example, I dated a nice guy when I was younger, but he got into the habit of standing me up. I let it happen approximately 20 times (I was 16 and in looove). Well, now if I am even remotely close to being stood up, I forfeit any future dating with that guy.  Regarding my life style, the point that showed an obvious change was needed was when I would go shopping and be absolutely dissatisfied with what I saw in the mirror. I wanted to change my looks. That led to years of bad dieting that didn’t work. Eventually I adopted a lifestyle that centered around just feeling my best, and in turn have slowly grown into a decently rockin bod. It’s stronger than I ever imagined it’d be, that’s for sure… Oh, but then there’s my favorite example. A study abroad trip to Europe. How it has changed my life, inside and out, as well as the way I view love and passion in all it’s complex glories.

In the spring I went on a study abroad trip to Germany, Czech, and The Netherlands through Purdue University. This trip was comprised of other students selected from the other Purdue extension campuses. There was one other student going from my campus, but I had never met him. The only reason I went on this trip was because they needed one other girl to go (there was only one other girl whom needed a roommate), and Purdue offered a scholarship. I had never flown in a jet before, so I had to get a passport put together, extra money, and still concentrate on classes, all in just a couple short months. I was excited none the less.

To be honest, I was filled with the most bitter mix of emotions regarding the trip the day I left home for the airport. I threw a fit, cried, said I wasn’t going… I wasn’t scared of flying (I love aviation), I was scared of the people. I was scared I wouldn’t fit in, and be stuck with a group of people who wouldn’t include me. I arrived to the airport in a big over-sized sweatshirt (that way I could hide in it like a turtle I guess was my thinking), nerdy  glasses, and my luggage. Meeting my group at the gate was nerve racking. I was the last one to show up, and I made certain to portray myself as having it all together. Everyone introduced themselves to me one by one and I forgot their names as soon as they told me. I was really a wreck on the inside with emotional turmoil. Little did I know, this group would become very close friends of mine in less than 48 hours. Little did I know, in less than 72 hours I would, well you’ll have to just read it for yourself…

When we were waiting to board the plane everyone was noting their feelings towards travel, past flights, and other air port stories. The other guy who went to my campus, named Jake, was abounding with excitement for the whole trip and it’s entirety. Or maybe he was just entirely excited about flying. He briefed me that his mother worked for Delta Airlines and he has loved aviation since he was a little boy. He explained to me how the whole commercial plane thing worked since I had no idea, but, as we were boarding the plane, he said he was excited for me. He said he couldn’t wait to hear what I thought after our flight from Indianapolis to Washington airport. All the worry and sickness left my stomach.

I was lucky enough to have a window seat on both flights. I had to sit next to a really old, ancient scented, man on the first 1 hour flight to Washington. He was kind and was shocked to hear that it was my first time flying, all the way to another country. The things I remember most about that trip was going down the run way and quickly looking up at the sky, observing it get a deeper and deeper shade of blue. Looking down at earth was alright, but looking up seemed to make it that much more real for me. I was not scared, but excited, in love with being high. After we landed, I felt pretty strange from it all. My ears and throat were soar and my head felt like a ball balanced on a pin. I was ready to get on the big boy plane to take me to Germany. Of course, everyone asked me what I thought of my first time flying… and I wanted to act reserved, so I said, it was alright.

The Boeing 777; XL twin turbofan engine jet made for traveling over 8,000 nautical miles, capacity: near 400 passengers. Three rows of 3 seats. This plane is it.

4,000 miles out from Germany, I was 10,668 meters in the air, flying at 613 mph. I watched the little map on the back of the seat in front of me the entire time. I’d get a little excited with altitude changes. What could bring me down at this rate? (As I was thinking this, there was a little virus making the move on my system that I would soon feel on my third day in Munich, losing my voice entirely). I sat next to another trip mate on the flight, Ben. I was so nervous to even attempt sleeping before anyone. Snoring, or looking half dead probably doesn’t make for a real cute impression. To sleep, I folded the table down and slept on that. I did not suffer from jet lag surprisingly. I could see Jake was a row behind me and one aisle over. He was reading a book the whole time. Cool calm and collected. How I envied that calm. I was bursting with infatuation for flying on this air worthy jet. If I wasn’t people watching, I was looking at the sky. How deep it looked, like if we climbed a few more feet, we’d be riding the mesosphere. While I will not go into all the good times experienced while in Europe, I will share some developing feelings that really thicken the plot to a simple study abroad trip.

May 13th we actually arrived to Germany. May 14th was a lot of exploring and getting to know my group VERY well. Boots of bier makes anyone a good friend I guess you could assume. May 15th, Ben, Jake, and myself went on a self guided adventure via u-bahn to check out a local grocery store outside of the main hub of Munich.
 I got to know Jake and Ben a little more personally this way. May 16th was the last hoo-rah for us in the city of Munich before departing for Prague. My back was in horrible pain (walking ~10 miles a day on old shoes), all I wanted was a good massage and rest. Well, Jake took me to get my first real Moscow mule and have deep discussion over life in general. That will forever be my favorite mixed drink. I found we had much in common, in the way we viewed the trip as a short escape from our reality back home to simply listening to Dwight Yokam. Just like that Moscow mule, things were mixing just right for us.

Jake wanted to become a commercial airline pilot. That was his dream, his goal, and the forefront of his thoughts. This deer hunting, country music listening, boy wanted to fly planes for a living. I wanted him to fly every bit as bad. You see someone light up when they talk about their passion, and you just want to see them submerge in it entirely. Something about that boy loving planes, made me love his dreams every bit as much.

 

Europe was a great learning experience about culture, business, and feelings. I had a s/o back home that made the trip less than easy. I did suffer culture shock pretty harshly sometimes, like when I went to the Czech Republic. A touristy place filled with an oddly familiar bitterness and turmoil by the elder Czechoslovakians.

 

There were times I felt scared or even angry.

 

 

 

 

I tried to reach out to home nearly 5,000 miles away, but I got shut down. I got put down. I got told to put up with it. I got hurt more and more. I naturally leaned on the one person who made me feel safe from the start, and I am filled with gratitude for that. It was nothing like falling in love. It was like ascending in a plane. Reaching the altitude in which you wish to fly, trimming it out perfectly, and someone telling you to bring it right back down. Instantaneously. That is how my trip ended with Jake. It was 2 weeks of high flying you could say. Although, I flew home from Washington to Indianapolis a lot more confident than I was 2 weeks before. My heart had change, as well as a realization of what I deserved, and needed to feel optimal in life. I could envision what I’d like to be happy.

Returning home was sweet but tinged with sadness. I was filled with an everlasting love of flying though. I was ready to take to the sky again. Going to Europe showed me that I am alright in solitude. There is no body anywhere on this earth that I need in order to be complete, and with that said, there is no single human on this earth that can take anything away from me. All too often I let people mar my life with thoughtless words and actions. All too often I find myself asking how I can do more to please others. Europe showed me that the world is just that, the world. The earth is meant to be toured and the best way to do it is by plane I say. So I took to the sky.

I thought of Jake often after the trip. I had hoped that following our many of long talks in Europe, he felt my yearning to see him fly and would do just that. As Amelia Earhart said, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”. He did it too, and quickly. I’d like to think that I said something that made him feel air worthy himself in signing up for the lessons. I could see it in him from the first time I met him. I went into engineering for aeronautics, my dream is to work in the space program for NASA. In a way I want to fly too. Just in the exosphere that is. His passions about his goals got me thinking about mine. I wanted to feel like it was okay to be that passionate about something. Not all astronauts are pilots, but it sure helps. (From NASA’s mouth). It almost seems uncanny. It’s like I saw someone want to do something so bad, and I wanted to see them follow through with that dream just to see it be done. It gave me the courage too. For once, I felt so encouraged. I am very much encouraged.

Currently I am pursuing my private pilots license, the idea of flying a jet sounds absolutely amazing, and I will take that offer if it comes down the road for me to do so. Contentment comes with being able to proudly do something that is for you and you alone.

Over the summer, the Europe group stayed in contact, sharing stories, memories, and occasional drunk messages. Forever I will cherish these people. They were all so good to me. As summer came to a close, my 21st birthday fell on the last Saturday before the fall semester started up. Oddly enough, Jake suggested we all meet up for my birthday at a German restaurant downtown. I got to reconnect that night with what felt like an old dear friend. All the emotions, comfort, and warmth – still vivacious. He gave me a book for my birthday. Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker. He said it was one of his favorite books. I opened it up even though I could feel tears just welling up inside of me, and there was a picture of the two of us in Europe. On the inside he wrote, ” I can’t wait for the day we are flying together again”. Same here, and something tells me that next time will be soon.

This is My Journey With a Pilot