Monday, August 26, 2013

the beginning of the end

Well folks, today I officially started a school year for the last time in my life (as a student, at least). It is my third year of grad school and I'm scheduled to graduate May 2014. I can't be more excited. Don't get me wrong, even though grad school wasn't quite what I envisioned, I've learned more about myself in the past 2+ years than in the previous 24 years of my life combined! So no matter what kind of job I take after I graduate, I'm glad I've learned certain things and had certain experiences in grad school.

5 {generalized} tips I've learned in grad school so far:
1. Find a balance between having fun and being strictly professional. Halloween parties and birthday celebrations are always a must. So is professional communication and respect.
2. Don't change your personality. Figure out what character traits you possess that you can benefit from and learn to bring those to the forefront in your work rather than trying to change who you are.
3. Confidence (or the appearance of confidence) is vital. Don't let intimidation or some one else's plumped up resume make you nervous. Do your homework and know that if some one gave you this position or task, you have the abilities to be successful at it. 
4. You can either say what you want or get what you want, but not both. (Ok, I actually learned this from Austin who learned it from one of his professors, but it is too wise to leave off this list.)
5. Define your values and do not abandon them. Even if it means being the odd one out or not being the most liked person in the room at the time. Defend these values.

I'm unsure of the original source this came from because I received it from some one via text (very un-gradschool like to not cite my source!), but I love this quote. Neil, you're a cool guy. 

What lessons have you learned from school - college - grad school?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Iceland Vacation: Day 2

Our second day in Iceland was spent in Reykjavik. Our day consisted of a planned 10am whale watching tour followed by pylsur for lunch, lots of street wandering, and a delicious dinner back at the hotel. The city has tons of unique artsy shops and clothing shops (as well as a healthy dose of overly touristy ones). Ten awesome reasons to visit Reykjavik:

1. the coast and its wildlife
2. the delicious food options
3. Hallgrimskirkja
4. awesome street art everywhere
5. walkable shops and eateries
6. Tjornin Lake
7. the National Museum of Iceland
8. listening to the Icelandic language
9. snappy hipster culture
10. pylsur

leaving the port for our whale and puffin watching

 sailing off to sea

 adorable puffins

 dolphins - we also saw minke whales

 Tjornin Lake complete with swans

lemon avocado smoothie & coffee bar next to our hotel

 a colorful residence

a tunnel inside of a shop / my delicious veggie quiche, salad, and barley dinner

learn how to tie your tie on the street / listen to Sigur Ros

pylsur - the Icelandic hotdog - way better than American / "meet us don't eat us" - the whales

Pretty tempting place, eh?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

5 years married

August 8th marks 5 years of marriage with Austin. Time truly flies. I feel like our wedding wasn't so long ago, though when I look back at photos and see how we've both changed it sometimes seems like more than 5 years ago. 

In the past 5 years (well, about 9 years if you include all years we've been either dating or married) I have learned that marriage is a deep companionship constantly in progress. Sometimes it amazes me how much I know about Austin and how much he knows about me. Creepy almost. But it is wonderful to be able to share so many moments, days, years, and life experiences with one special companion. I'm glad Austin is my companion. I look forward to many more years of laughing together, planning together, eating together, traveling together, and experiencing life together. Onward ho.

Read at our wedding ceremony in 2008.

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

I love you, Austin. You're an amazing person and an amazing husband. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vacation: Iceland Day 1

I've been away for so long! Much of July was spent in Iceland on vacation and then in Oklahoma teaching dance at a summer camp. July was a great month. 

So many people asked me and my husband "why Iceland?" when we told them our vacation plans.  I find it interesting that for something to be deemed a vacation it seems to need to involve exotic beaches, big name cities, or fancy accommodations. I enjoy experiential travel. I enjoy visiting places that are naturally stunning and distinctive, and also culturally interesting and diverse. 

Iceland had everything you could want in a vacation (ok, maybe minus bikini-wearing temperatures): beaches, boat rides, whale watching, delicious food, delectable bakeries, hipster shopping, historical pride, cities, mountains, glaciers, epic coasts, waterfalls, geysers, farms, and plenty of horses and sheep. 

Day 1 we spent in Reykjavik, the capital of the country and also the largest city in the country. We ate lunch at a cafe, shopped along the main street near our hotel, walked to the coast, and toured Hallgrimskirkja, the town's famously tall church. Look similar to the photos of Reykjavik I posted before vacation? Very cool. 

Shopping down the main street in Reykjavik.

Hallgrimskirkja. "kirkja" is on the end of each church name. 

We rode an elevator to the top of this church tower and looked out of those windows!

Amazing view of the coast from the top of Hallgrimskirkja.

In front of Hallgrimskirkja was a statue of Leif Eriksson given to Iceland by the United States.

I love the rooftop colors and architecture of this town. So much personality.

View from our hotel balcony of the main shopping street. This was probably around 10:30pm. It doesn't get completely dark at all during summer in Iceland!

Walking around town and stumbling into things was one of our favorite things to do on this trip. There was so much to stumble across in such a small area! Very walkable. Highly recommended.
Stay tuned for day 2...
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