I’ve been trying to explore a little bit more. As I’ve said before, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable in the stretch between North Hollywood to Studio City. Which is great news that I’m sure my friends and family back home love to hear! I’M COMFY HERE!!! But now that Summer is around the corner and I feel at home, I decided to make a list of places and activities I need to accomplish or see. Time to branch out and really explore California beyond the valley. And let me tell ya, I’m finding some good stuff. Like did you know there’s Yoga on the ocean?!!??! It’s literally called YOGAQUATICS. I’m 200% sure I’ll fall off the board but that’s a for sure on the list.
I started my quest this week with El Matador State beach in Malibu. I’ve been craving a solo beach day pretty much since I moved in. Now that it’s finally hot and I have a few performances coming up this month, it’s the perfect time to get my tan on. I’ve been bad lately (mom don’t read this part) about not wearing sunscreen and, learning from Kristyn the lobster’s mistakes, (okay mom, start reading again) I doused myself with SPF 15 before heading out the door. My whole ride to the beach was filled with good jams and light traffic- finally starting to get the hang of the traffic patterns.Once I got there, I noticed that it was pretty overcast; cold, even. Even so, I figured I would spend a good three hours there and that it probably felt different once I got down to the actual beach. Figuring all this in, I paid for 3 hours of parking up front. Oh and I forgot to mention I got beachside parking. That literally never happens.
It seemed like the stars were aligning for me to have a fun-in-the-sun beach day and who knows, maybe I’ll even meet some cool new people on the beach since I’ve been on a roll with that! If not, I already had plans to call back the 27392 people who I’m still lucky to call friends after absolutely SUCKING at staying in touch (shoutout to you guys!!!). When I finally got down to the beach, the people were sparse, the wind was strong and it was even colder than I thought it would be. Great.In my head, I was initially pissed that I had just driven 45 minutes, paid for parking and hyped up this day so much. I went back and forth between wanting to find a beach beach, thinking that maybe if I walked down far enough, I could just keep my same parking spot? Or maybe I should just go back to a space that I knew. Zuma? Maybe even by the pier. But then I looked around…
Damn. This place was beautiful. I felt like I was on the set of Lemony Snicket’s version of the Little Mermaid, complete with rocks and full of cloudy gloom. How did I miss all of this when I first arrived? How did I ever even have the thought to leave?Naturally, when I began to take in the beauty of El Matador, I pulled out my phone to post photos on every form of social media I could. Dumb. And the beach said “nope.” There is absolutely zero cell service down there. It’s like I was meant to be there alone with just my thoughts and the crash of the ocean against the rocks. Completely disconnected.
Not going to lie, I struggled at first. But I learned so much from my adventure that day. After a few hours of writing, thinking and exploring I packed up my things and headed to a cute little place called Sun Life Organics (another spot on my list). They literally have a drink with all of my favorite things: banana, raw almond butter, hemp milk and even coffee. That’s basically Holly in a shake. AND IT’S CALLED THE BLACK GOLD. Fricken GO HAWKS!
Driving home, Black Gold in hand, I wasn’t so lucky with traffic. But I did have plenty of time to reflect on my exploration at El Matador and what the beach had taught me that day.
Sometimes you don’t get what you expected, but you get what you needed.
If you saw my Instagram or Facebook post then you probably knew this was coming. And quite honestly, I imagine this being a little bit difficult to type. Really I’m not even sure if it’ll make the cut and be published but here we go anyway.
As you may well know, I have two dogs who are, as I like to say, “old as dirt.” Had two dogs. Yesterday, I received a message from my parents asking me to give them a call after my dance class. Of course my intuition immediately knew that something was up. I wondered if I had sent them a text that I meant to send to a friend or maybe they got a few of my parking tickets in the mail. Especially when I called on my way home and they said it would be better if I waited to take the call until I was at home and out of the car. By then I had had it. I needed to know what was going on and when I asked for a hint they simply said “It’s about Bear.”
This didn’t come as a huge surprise to me. When I was home a few weeks ago, we had noticed that she was moving a little bit slower. My dad has basically had Rottweilers his entire life and most of them had some sort of issue involving their bones ranging from minor joint pain to full fledged bone cancer. We assumed that this may be the case, and so did her vet, so we ended up buying her some treats that were designed specifically for joint pain. We noticed an improvement, but we also noticed some strange lumps forming on her belly. Those aren’t related to joint pain…
They had grown a decent amount between the time I left for California and when I returned home last month. We had had the vet check them out a few times and we had basically decided to keep an eye on the lumps and her disposition to see if there were any changes for the worse.
If you read my last blog, you also know that I did I shitty job of seeing all of my friends back in Iowa. For some reason I couldn’t get myself to leave my parents or my dogs. Now it makes sense. I spent the entire week cuddled up to bear. My parents said they hadn’t seen her that social and lovey dovey in months. She knew. But I could have never prepared myself for the phone call I received last night.
She was gone. They took her to the vet to have her lumps, they had grown significantly since I had returned back to California, drained and checked out. The vet found more than what he had bargained for. It was cancer and it had spread. A lot. Still on the operating table, the vet called my parents. They were faced with the decision of putting her through extensive surgery, recovery, pain and (maybe) a few more weeks of life or letting her go in peace.
Bear left us around noon yesterday. I can’t imagine how different my house in Iowa is. No one to steal the good couch or squeeze on with. Fluffy (our other dog) is probably lost. In fact, I know she is. But I also know that she knows what happened. She got in the habit of leaving a few little crumbs of her soft food for Bear to finish off. Last night, my parents said that she ate every bite. She knew Bear wasn’t coming home. I just can’t help but wish that we had the same instinct.
It feels like my family is down one member. One unconditional lover who didn’t care if we got fired from a job or had a shitty day or even yelled at her one hour before.
I’m beginning to learn how I work a little bit better and called today off specifically for this blog post. I had full intention of doing what I normally do. Go on as if I’m unaffected, afterall, I’m halfway across the country. But I stopped. Called my dad and said “not this time.” I needed to get this out. I needed to deal with it in the moment and be present in it. In the painful, empty and sheer realness of it. Otherwise, I’m going to feel it x20 in three months like I always do. To make this even more of a growing experience, I challenged myself to write this in public. Why? Because I knew I would cry and crying in front of people makes me want to crawl out of my skin. But I let it happen. I needed to let it happen, to not wear a mask as I so often do.
So to finish up, thanks for reading this. Sometimes the only thing that makes me feel better is just letting my fingers do their thing on the keyboard while I turn my brain off. That being said, I’m making the choice not to proofread this.
Give your furry friends some extra love today. They can teach you so much.
It’s May. That means it’s about to be one year since I walked in the commencement ceremony at Iowa. Wtf. As I sit here typing this, in what might quite possibly be the polar opposite of where I would have typed this a year ago, I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed and proud that I made the leap. And while LA is great and all, I think I kind of forgot that life existed outside of good ole La La Land. This huge bubble of a city. Luckily for me, this realization that I needed to gtfo for a hot second came at the perfect time. So I put my wheels to the road (and also reimbursed my friends for gas monies…thanks friends) and have spent the last four weekends basically running around like a crazy person.
Let’s start with my first weekend trip away from LA in the 6 months I’ve been here: Coachella. I caught a wild hare the day tickets went on sale and treated myself to weekend 1 tickets with my coworker #splurge. And yes I still made rent that month (god bless). I’ll preface this by saying that contrary to popular belief; I had never been to a music festival of any kind until Summerfest in Milwaukee last June. While that was literally the time of my life (shout out to the squad that weekend), Summerfest and Coachella have little in common other than music and alcohol. You may be wondering what more there is to a music festival? Well first of all, three days in the desert heat is HARD. Yes everyone wants that “do it for the gram” photo moment at Coachella, but dang I don’t know how some of those people survived the heat in those outfits. I tried to choose my wardrobe wisely and made sure to have a bandana to protect my lungs from the dirt/dust/sand/god knows what else that’s blowing around all day and night. I was blessed to have gone with some ‘Chella vets, so I had a bit of an upper hand on the must-do’s.
We had an absolute blast frolicking through the desert, people watching and of course finding open space to do literal choreography. It really is so special to see SO many different types of people, enjoying the festival in whichever way they felt fit (and there are about 1 million ways to do so), coming together because of music. And let me just say that the music was INSANE. Especially Bon Iver, The XX and Gaga. It made me realize how many different types of people are in California. Duh, Holly that sounds like a no-brainer. But in North Hollywood 98% of everyone I come into contact with is an actor, dancer, singer etc. Yeah, I definitely gravitate towards those types anyway…but it was a good reminder that there is so much more to see outside of LA. And it’s so wild that these different places and sights are right at my fingertips. Coachella always seemed so far away when I admired pictures from afar growing up but now that I finally got to experience it for myself, It was only a three hour drive, filled with snacks and catching up away.
After returning back to LA, I had a whole three days to recover and head home for the first time for a few short days. Going home, even if it’s just from college, is always a tough one. There are a million people you want to see, sights you want to revisit, and events happening…where do you find the time to relax?? For me, the challenging part of this trip home was leaving my dogs and my parents. I spent the whole first day cuddling next to my (very old, like fossil old) poochies and watching movies with my parents. The next few days were spent trying to see everyone I possibly could in a short amount of time. I started by going to an old dance friend’s wedding and WOW was it great to see her so happy, as well as all of my old friends from the studio days. I could have sat and talked to each of them for hours, but time is limited and my trip was so so short. Next, we met as much of the family (AND MY BEST FRIEND THANK GOD!!! If you know India and I you know we have the most polar opposite schedules ever) at ice cream in between the wedding and our next stop, the Carrikers (aka my second family). We enjoyed a night of home cooked food, drinks and multiple desserts. Before I knew it, I only had one more day left. I had enjoyed a lot of down time so I was PUMPED to spend it dancing.
I taught my first class, since moving to LA, at Dance Vision. To say that I was inspired by the dancers that attended would be an understatement. I always get so stressed before teaching. I start questioning myself, doubting my choreography, my class structure and my qualifications. But from the second the class began to the final time doing the combination I felt so respected and at ease. I left with my heart SO full and even got to see my Des Moines crew (minus 1 @kaylameyer) for dinner before heading home. What a good freaking week. I said my goodbyes, and hopped on a plane back home. I was inspired and ready to crack down on my eating, workouts and goals.
I started the week back with a trip to Trader Joe’s (my favorite). I’m gonna write a separate post eventually about this, but I decided to commit to the #PaleoLyfe. Not so much because it’s trendy, but because I do so much better when I have specific guidelines. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater but calling myself “paleo” with specific do’s and don’ts makes it a challenge. And I love a good challenge. Especially when it comes with so many health benefits.
After a week of getting back on track, Kelly and I headed to Vegas for an audition on a whim. We woke up at 3:30 am, packed some healthy eats for the day and headed down the road. Although the audition didn’t turn out how we had hoped, we decided to make the most of our little adventure to Vegas. One of Kelly’s old friends from Illinois happened to be there so we headed to the nearest bar for a few drinks. I may or may not have ordered a dirty martini at 11 am. The bartenders treated us to a few on the house which then led to us sneaking into the pool at the Aria thanks to our new friend, the old man security guard. Lit! After a few hours of sun, we hit the road…after all we were heading back to Vegas in 4 short days for Kristyn’s 21st. HERE’S THE BEST PART. We stopped to see the Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation in the middle of the desert, which honestly made the whole day worth it.
Like I said, we had plans to head back to Vegas for Kristyn’s 21st birthday extravaganza with me, Kelly, her coworker Rocco, and of course the birthday girl…AND BONUS GUESTS the Hoffman superiors!!! I had been working with her mom during the weeks leading up to the trip to surprise her. For those of you who know Kristyn, she is the absolute hardest person to surprise. But we did it, y’all!!!! Between the nightclubs, day clubs, casinos, shows, restaurants, surprises and memories, the weekend could not have gone better. To say that she rung in her birthday the right way would be an understatement. I can honestly say I have never laughed that much in a weekend…ever. Our abs were actually sore and definitely not from working out during that weekend, although we did do our fair share of dancing. As in we literally never stopped dancing. So now the 362 clan is officially all legal…and very over drinking after this last weekend’s liquid diet (so in line with my paleo-ness)
SO. I’m back in LA, most likely until I go home in August for a bit, back on track and can’t wait to continue this kick I’m on of being adventurous. Seeing all there is to see and meeting everyone there is to meet.
I think a lot of times people our age get too caught up in the whole “I’M BROKE” mindset. Yeah. So are we. Who isn’t at this stage? It does not by any means equate to staying in your apartment to “save money.” Not only are you making yourself miserable by focusing on your lack of extra money, you’re missing out on SO MUCH of the world around you. Pack food, skip the expensive drinks, Google free shit to see. It’s out there. Stop making excuses.
How many times have I resurrected this blog by now? At least three or four I think. But hey, guess what. I’m doing it again! This blog is like a fricken cat, man. It has 9 lives and I think by now I’m running low on how many times I can start this back up again. But if you are familiar with the whole “Boy who Cried Wolf” thing and wanna believe me this time, I’m actually going to do better at this whole blogging on a schedule thing. And like I said, half of the reason is so my family knows that I’m alive (hi guys!!!).
So I’ll start by saying that in the short time of living here I’ve learned a lot, no surprise there- I feel like that’s what everyone says when they move away from home. It’s been waaay cool to have people from the Midwest reach out to me about what the transition has been like. Even cooler when they tell me that they have been toying around with the idea of making a big move. So I figure for my first post back, I’d kind of do a fun little month by month recap of some big lessons I’ve learned each month. Like anything in life, it’s peaks and valleys for sure..but I figure if I can help some people believe that they can make the leap, then cool. And if that’s not why you’re reading this, I hope you at least get some gigz out of me trying to adult (rest assured I’m still just awkward as I have been my entire life).
Okay so last time you heard from me was November so let’s start with
DECEMBER – it’s all about the company you keep
Moving here during the holidays was a strange choice on my part. As I said in my last post, I came here just before Thanksgiving and had already been back home once before then. By the time December rolled around, I opted to stay in California through Christmas and New Years since I had just made the trip back for Turkey Day. So here I was, newly in LA about to take on orphan Christmas. Christmas in NoHo is essentially a ghost town. Many of the friends I have out here had plans to travel home to be with their family and at the time I made the decision to stay, I had no idea if my roommates were doing the same. To my relief, Kelly and Kristyn decided to as well. While I value tradition, I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a traditional person. I think this kind of helped me accept the change up. We went into the day with pretty low expectations. We took some time to talk about all of the Christmas traditions we had growing up and met in the middle to make it feel like a Christmas we would have at home.
Making a furniture-less apartment feel homey is a little bit of a tough task. Although we didn’t even have a couch at this point, my aunt had sent us a mini christmas tree in the mail and we made a quick trip to pick up some holiday decor to go with it. It didn’t look like a winter wonderland by any means, but it was a start. Our parents had also sent us a few packages in the mail so that we would have some boxes to fill the empty space under our tree.
Somehow, all three of us grew up waking up to cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning so that was something we made sure to incorporate into our day. My mom even sent me some of her BOMB ASS caramel corn she makes every year. And since technology is freaking WILD, I was able to FaceTime my parents and watch them open up the gifts I had sent them (and my dogs, who are basically my sisters). From here the day only went up. We headed down to the pool, Kristyn grilled us some steaks and we (Kristyn) made us a HUGE Christmas feast. And when I say huge, I mean all of us had to unbutton our pants to make room for seconds, which were obviously a huge priority. Who only gets one serving of Christmas dinner..??? Stomachs full and cheeks sore from laughing all day, we scooted over to this sports bar called Big Wangs and enjoyed a few drinks (ON THE HOUSE CAUSE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT IS THE BOMB).
It was that day that I knew I was going to be alright here alongside these people. I felt so lucky to have walked into this living situation. A new family. A new year filled with all sorts of new traditions. And how lucky am I that I get to meet a completely new set of humans and hand-select those in my life that fulfill me (and vice-versa)?! Change can be horrifying, but a new normal is so much easier to find when you surround yourself with people who keep you grounded and thankful.
JANUARY – make yourself a priority
Once January rolled around it was all aboard the New Year’s Resolution train!!!!! Which was a cool idea in my head until I found myself working 45 hours a weak on a schedule that didn’t allow me to do anything that I came here for. Now I know those of you who maybe went a more traditional route post-grad are probably like “boo hoo poor Holly had to work normal people hours.” But I came out here on a limb to pursue my love for dance and obviously several of my goals for the new year (and since I was like five) revolve around that. And as with any goal, it takes more than just having it to make it happen. Who woulda thunk?!
I’ve spent my entire life as a perfectionist, probably to a fault. Even as a kid I remember trying out new games at recess or different sports and being so upset with myself if I didn’t win or do it right the first time around. My parents would spend hours explaining to me that it takes time to be really really great at something and that to reach a goal it takes effort and patience.
So this January I kind of found myself falling back into old habits, forgetting to devote time to nurture my goals and myself in general. I would feel so beat down from my work situation (not just the hours but I’m not going to dive into extreme detail) that when I would finally have an off day that aligned with a dance class or time to devote to my fitness goals, I would feel like a piece of shit if I didn’t take it or execute it to perfection. Stuck somewhere between wanting to relax and taking advantage of living in a place with so many opportunities at my finger tips, I realized that I had stopped making time for myself. When you share a two bedroom apartment with 3 other people, you have to physically schedule some alone time to goal set, call your friends and family or for me, to write. Once I started giving myself some more time to enjoy this beautiful state, I found a lot more clarity and enjoyment.
FEBRUARY – you are in control of your own life
I think at this point in my journey, I hadn’t fully comprehended that I was actually living here. It kind of felt like some strange extension of college that was only temporary. Looking back I can see that I was putting SO much pressure on myself to do so much in the short windows of time that I had free. To the point where I was unable to give 100% because I felt like if I wasn’t perfect in that one chance I had to dance that week, I had wasted my chance to grow just like I was wasting my days way at work. I was so stuck in my head. For those of you that know me, I’m sure this is not surprising to hear.
Something had to change, and like I said, I had started scheduling days in my planner (around my paydays) that were devoted to me and nothing else. Even if it’s as simple as getting my nails done or spending some time alone on my balcony. But even still, I felt a little bit stagnated.Coming home and complaining about my day and waking up the next morning to do it all over again.I had more or less turned into the post graduate version of myself that I wanted to avoid and what was I doing about it? Nothing. So FINALLY I took control over my own life and made a change. I found a job with a schedule that allowed me the time to pursue my dreams. I realized that if you want something, you can’t just wait around for it and hope that it magically happens, especially out here.
To tie these thoughts together, I would say that understanding the importance of patience is also something that came with this realization. I LIVE here. It’s not like I have one week to make all of my dreams come true. I have an unlimited amount of time in this amazing city to sort it all out, create myself and meet some insanely incredible people in the process. If you want something, make it happen. And if you can’t right away, surround yourself with the people and opportunities that will set you up to do so.
MARCH – don’t be afraid of self-expansion
Alright, alright, alright. March was a great month. I started a new job. Picked up a few side adventures. Met some new friends. Became a member of a contemporary dance company. And I called this crazy place “home” for the first time. My family even came to visit and surprised me with 4 of my closest friends and one more came later this month; I was feeling energized and more ready to grow than I had been since moving here.
Isn’t that kind of a weird thing to say when you think about it..? You shouldn’t be unready or afraid of growth. I don’t even think I knew that I was afraid of it until I realized that I had been holding myself back. The whole first job situation in February helped me see that. Why the heck would I waste my time complaining about something that is COMPLETELY in my control? It’s almost like I subconsciously liked being unhappy from time to time. I think I liked that I could place the blame on all of these external factors. With dance too….In reality, I only had myself to blame for being discontent and failing to do anything to change that.
So I continued the flow of taking things into my own hands. I started checking things off my checklist. I got my headshots taken and have begun to take myself more seriously. And, most importantly (and perhaps for the first time in my entire life), I started to actually believe in myself. I’ve started trying to knowledge my strengths as a dancer, and as a person, and hone in on them. I am unexplainably grateful for all of the opportunities to test the boundaries of comfortability in a new and unfamiliar place.
I’d say what I’m most thankful for is the support of my family and their undeniable ability to talk me down from a tree. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard them say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” but they’re right (I HATE THAT I JUST SAID THAT PUBLICLY). I guess what I’m saying is if you’re considering doing something outside of your comfort zone, even if it doesn’t involve moving to a new place, freaking do it. And do a better job of updating everyone on your life than I have.
Alright, that’s all for now. Expect to see more of me on your timeline. Byeeeeeee.
Prepare yourself for the most disjointed blog post in the world.
I’ve spent this past month in a series of long ass car rides, shitty flights and brief week-long spurts in my new apartment. I’ve been so back and forth since I moved in, it still kinda feels like I’m just on vacation. Now that I’m back from a quick little trip to Kansas, for some time well spent with my family for Gobble Day, I’m happy to announce that I have absolutely no idea when I will be hopping on a flight to head back to good ole Iowa. Woo!
When I arrived at LAX this last time, I was feeling a little reluctant to leave again. We had made some new friends, figured out our way around NoHo and just the week before, I made the drive with Kelly back to LA. Yes, I said drive…again…you read that right. I voluntarily participated in a 27 hour car ride not once, ladies and gents, but twice. Two doses of me sardining myself in the back seat of a car- double the fun!!! Unlike last time though, we didn’t drive straight through. In fact, we left Sunday and didn’t get back to LA on Wednesday- that, no doubt, made the trip a little more enjoyable. We pit-stopped in Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and Vegas before we finally arrived at the homestead.
The Road to Cali 2.0
Last time I made the drive, we were 100% Siri reliant. Where is coffee? Where is the nearest gas station? Is there a bathroom in the next mile, because I am literally two seconds away from peeing in this water bottle…? Without fail, Siri was my girl. This time though, we literally used an atlas and asked locals where the best spots to stop were. Old school, yet refreshing, we ended up in hole in the wall diners, National Parks, and lastly the Omnia in Vegas….that one wasn’t because of the atlas.
Kelly and I scored comp drink tickets and free entry (somehow). So here we are, rolling into our one-night hotel room in the stratosphere at 5 am wearing the opposite of the dress code (literally t-shirts (I had my squirrel shirt on inside out…..) and holy jeans. How we got in, I have noooo idea. Two hours later, we were on the road. Hungover, yes, but so so thankful for our time spent in all of the states along the way. Especially beautiful Utah. Wow, I don’t even have words for Bryce Canyon National Park. That place was maybe only topped by Casa Bonita in Colorado (it’s like Rainforest cafe but better, and that’s saying a lot coming from me). Fake cliff divers and margaritas?? Come on.
Mid drive, I got a call that I got the job at LF in Studio City (#employed!!!). I started basically the second we got back to LA and I love it. I’ve met so many cool people already, coworkers and clients alike. Not to mention, the location is prime. I swear I find like 5 things a day (ranging from workout classes to restaurants) to put on my LA bucket list (that I have yet to actually write down). The challenge will be holding off on spending my entire paycheck on the merch. Praying to the money management gods that I can keep up my cheapskate streak.
Only 4 days into the job, I had to leave for Thanksgiving and like I said (before I went off on an extreme tangent about the drive) I was feeling a little bit reluctant to leave my new home. I was just getting settled in when I peaced out for a long weekend. When I arrived in Kansas City Wednesday night, I sat down for a margarita with my aunt and ended up being pretty thankful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with the people that I love (even though my roommates constant snaps were leaving me with major FOMO). I don’t see my family in Kansas too often, so to be able to take the time to just sit down and catch up on life was incredible. And, as always, it was great to spend time with my parental units too.
My dad grew up in Kansas so it was fun for him to take me to the first bar he got kicked out of, show me where he frequently dined and dashed, and even meet a classmate that knows a completely different Larry Reimer than I do. I also scooped up some prime blackmail information, so I’m all smiles on my end. My mom, my dad and aunt Sharon had spent the last three days eating everything in sight, drinking endless amounts of alcohol and making up for lost time with relatives. Now it was time to head back to the airport and send me on my way.
And now here I am. Back in LA for keeps- feeling recharged, grateful and a little bit in disbelief that it’s basically December. Here’s to holiday music and becoming an official resident in this crazy place.
WHAT IS CRACKIN. Since the last time you heard from me I finished college, bought a car, ditched the blonde hair and (finally) named North Hollywood, California my new home.
So here I sit, staring out my bedroom window at the palm trees in the courtyard, officially resurrecting my blog because what better time to do so than after completely uprooting, changing and rearranging my entire existence and life as I know it? Not intimidating at all. The cool thing about this move is that I’ve known I wanted to do it since I was literally 10. But I never thought it would come this fast. Truth is, I still feel like I’m still about 10 but just trapped in a 21-year-old’s body forced to do random adult things that cost money and involve cooking meals. But before I dive in to the after, let’s talk about the before- aka the drive.
Yes, I said drive. On November 3, I packed up my life, shoved it into my KIA Sorrento, which I’ve affectionately named Snoop, and headed down the road on a 26-hour drive with good ole mom and pop. We each agreed to split the drive into 4 hour shifts and I was up first. I had already been driving most of the day from finishing up what Kelly (one of 3 future roommates) and I named the Tour de Frands. This was our effort to see as many people as we could (and spend as little money as possible) before we took off.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m historically horrible with goodbyes. I’m also the worst at state-hopping and not keeping people in the loop about my whereabouts. So forcing myself to say “see ya later!” to my friends and family was uncomfortable and surreal at times, but it ended up leaving me feeling so ridiculously supported and loved. My family went to great lengths to make it so special. They went as far as renting out a little community center that was centrally located to close family friends and family. It was beautifully decorated and filled with my absolute favorite foods, drinks and people.
Although my tour of goodbyes through Iowa City, Plano, Milwaukee, Chicago, back to Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Oskaloosa and finally to my hometown to see my best friend, had left me sick of sayonaras and in dire need of some sleep (and wanting to see my dogs), I was finally ready to close this chapter of my life. On to the next exciting, unknown and much anticipated chapter…..and 26 hour drive. Let’s get back to that.
We took off from my great aunt’s house in KC at about 10:30…..at night. Originally, we had plans to pit stop near Denver for a good night’s sleep because what kind of physchopaths would voluntarily drive straight through? Apparently the Reimers. We ended up pushing through nearly the entire trip and for the most part, it wasn’t so bad. We minimized stops and packed a shit ton of food in a cooler so we didn’t have to stop any more than the necessary shift switch every four hours. Besides the snacks, I credit our staying awake to the heinously loud music, good conversation and mass amounts of coffee that were consumed through all hours of the night and early morning. It also helped that the scenery was consistent beautiful.
We got as far as Fontana, California, before we deiced that this drive needed to end. And it needed to end now. By this point we were listening to a radio broadcast of Forensic Files on HLN and my dad was physically hitting his own face every 5 minutes to keep him from falling asleep (whatever works I guess?). I have never been so happy to step foot in a $35 hotel room at the Econolodge- Larry has a track record of picking the SHITTIEST hotels…I’m talkin’ like velvet wallpaper and bloodstains on the carpet bad so this felt like a palace. But then again, we were SO tired you could have stuck us in a sleeping bag in the middle of an alley and we probably would have been just fine with it.
7 hours of sleep later, it was time to move into my new place. What. Like I said, I literally came here with just my clothes and a few other essentials- I couldn’t fit a bed in my car, or much else besides a few suitcases and a guitar I still haven’t learned to play for that matter. That being said, I knew today and the next day were going to be absolute madness between furnishing my half of the room while trying to stay within the budget. By some miracle, my rent here is only $20 more than my rent in good ole’ Iowa City so I had that working in my favor. Luckily, after much searching and strategic shopping (I swear we spent like 4 weeks in IKEA and I think my parents and I almost killed each other at least twice) we achieved master bargainer status and viola! I had myself (half of) a room that was slowly but surely starting to feel like home.
After all that work, it’s only fit to celebrate, right? My parents, my roommate Jordan and I found this place in Santa Monica called Barney’s Beanery that happens to be a Hawkeye bar. Great place for a few brews while watching the Hawks lose…miserably. And get this, I ran into someone I went to J-school with at Iowa within 30 seconds of walking in. It’s nuts how small the world is. Also pretty sweet that fellow Hawkeyes help make the move not so intimidating- all three of my roommates went to Iowa too.
What was supposed to be the last hurrah for my parents and all of their help moving me in (shout out Reiminator and Rondar, love ya like crazy) turned into them missing their flight the next morning. This is not a joke. Seriously can barely type this without cracking up. There’s this little Tex-Mex place across the street called El Tejano. Deadly. We started off with some good company, Margarita pong (bad idea), and my parents trying to absolutely annihilate the North Hollywood newcomers. They succeeded. Go there and be ok the next day, you can’t. And, like idiots, that’s what we all tried to do.
My dad lived in California 100 years ago and swore it would only take 30 minutes to get to LAX from my place. Wrong (listen to me next time, Dad). Pissed, stuck in traffic for another hour and gasping for breath between laughing fits we stopped for brunch at Chicken or the Egg (where we made friends with the entire waiting staff) and headed back to my apartment for one more day of much needed recuperation…only to head back to LAX the next day because I’m in the running for the ‘Best Daughter of the Year’ award.
All jokes aside though, I’m SO thankful beyond words for my parents and the foundation they have provided for me to be able to make the first steps to live out my dreams. Like I said, I’ve known since I was about 10 that I wanted to head here. But I really don’t think I ever truly believed I would do it. And I don’t think I- well actually I know that I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for those two and the sacrifices they’ve made for me.
ANYWAY. Now I get to call this crazy place home. The apartment of my dreams complete with a pool, gym and dance studio. What the. How on earth did we get so lucky?! We’ve got 2/4 roommates moved in, no living room furniture, and a gross amount of pride and sheer excitement for the next year in 362.
Raise your hand if you told yourself you would be better at life this semester. Keep your hand up if you didn’t school one iota last week.
Thought so, go you.
Don’t feel too bad because I’m pretty positive 90% of us are in the same boat (good news though, it’s Monday and I hereby cleanse you from the week long chain of less than great decisions and spending waaaay too much money on food that doesn’t align with your #SpringBreakBod).That being said, three cheers to me for surviving my last syllabus week. Gulp.
When I finally figured out that I was able to finish my graduation requirements after one heavy semester and a few summer courses, I was like yes plz sign me up. I intentionally gave myself absolutely zero time to think about the never ending list of “lasts” that I’m about to encounter. This is mostly because I made a vow to myself to never repeat the last day of eighth grade again (me crying nostalgically to the office ladies about how I didn’t want to grow up and be a high school ‘adult’). You’ll be happy to know that I have help up my end of the bargain since that day. So today when I sat down to plan out my next few weeks, I was a little surprised to feel a familiar rush of nostalgia. As I was flipping through my planner, I saw that Dance Marathon is only two short weeks away. Whoa. This is my last Dance Marathon. Ever. Welcome, feels. And also extreme panic for being under my fundraising goal.
I’ve been participating in DM since my freshman year. To be completely honest with you, I had absolutely NO idea what I was getting myself in to (and if this is your first one, neither do you). I signed up because it had the word dance in it. I’m like “Sweet, a bunch of people who like do dance and stuff!!!” I knew it donated to some sort of cause. So cool, I get to do what I love and put something on my resume that makes me look like a good person. Even better.
I hate asking people to do things for me, so if I was going to commit to plastering my online giving link everywhere, I wanted to be sure that it was for a good cause. I scoured the internet for stories and testimonials about all the good Dance Marathon does in the terrible world of pediatric cancer. By this point I’m thinking that this whole deal is pretty cool and definitely worth pestering all of my friends and family to donate “even just one dollar!!!!”- how many times have you seen that this past week?
After I hit my goal, all that was left was the actual event. I packed my bag and set off for 24 hours of non stop dancing, but I couldn’t have prepared myself for the experience as a whole.
Standing in a room full of people who are genuinely dedicated to one cause is nothing short of an indescribable experience. It’s rare to come across a crew of college kids doing something that can truly change your entire outlook on life in just 24 short (or excutiatingly long and sleep-deprived) hours. Listening to family after family speak on their encounters with cancer took me through a whirlwind of emotions. I found myself teeter tottering between feeling insanely grateful for my life, and extremely devastated about the turmoil these families face. For sure makes everything else feel so small.
At this stage in life, I think it’s hard to find things that make you feel like your presence is significant, or that you’re capable of making any sort of a dent in the world. We’re all just sort of aimlessly wandering around trying to figure out where we fit into the big scheme of things. In that process, there’s always someone ahead of you or doing something you wish you could do. Always some sort of sense of discontentment. It’s so easy to get caught up in what you’re not doing, that you miss out on what you can do.
Thank God for this organization because, for me, Dance Marathon has allowed me that sense of fulfillment. It makes me feel like I can do something productive in my three short years here by contributing to something so much bigger than myself. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that there are very few people whose lives haven’t been touched by cancer in some way. It flat out sucks. So do something about it. Obviously, we don’t all have the means to find the cure to this awful disease. But what we can do is take part in organizations such as Dance Marathon.
So. As I try to scrounge up the last portion of my $500 fundraising goal, I encourage you to do something with your Monday to make yourself feel even just a little productive or fulfilled. If that means crossing a few things off your to-do list, get up and go do it. If that means throwing “even just a dollar” my way, check out this link. If that means getting out of bed for the first time today, well then it may be too late for your Monday ‘start-over’ that I mentioned earlier. But hey, better late than never.