Fugitive Firefly

Running away with the last bit of hope

Amberlynn: designer

For the past month I've been slaving away designing new products that you (yes YOU) might enjoy. Alas, I think it is time to reveal my hard work. It's a scary step, you know? You're not sure how others are going to take to your products, whether they're gonna love them as much as you do, and you constantly worry if you'll ever make a sale. But the only way to attain success is to put yourself out there. So I'm going to shut up now, take a deep breath, and post the link to the store.


I've been lied to!

Ok, maybe not lied to, but definitely mislead!

You see, all this time I had assumed that I would be taking classes with other Irish students, that us "yanks" would be integrated with the locals. Am I? Well, the answer to that is a horrifying NO. All of my classmates are other study abroad students, here for the summer program of Irish Studies. An dáirie atá tú, are you serious?!

Am I disappointed? Most definitely. Am I being over dramatic? Quite possibly. Is this going to make it a little more difficult to meet locals? Maybe. Is that gonna stop me from trying? No feckin' way :P

Details of my trip (and maybe pictures) to come later.

Is geall le sos malairt oibre

[written during the 6 hour flight]

"Have you ever flown before?" asked the TSA. If I hadn't been so tired, I would have laughed.
Before we start, let's get on thing straight. I travel. A lot. In the span of 20 years, I've covered thousands of miles (possibly more than 100,000..I've lost count). But don't let me deceive you- I haven't been to many different places, just a lot of the same cities. I've never been west of Michigan, north of Niagra Falls, Canada, or south of Key West. This trip, however, has brought a few firsts.

I've spent a good amount of time on a plane these past two years; so much that the routine had grown monotonous. No, really. I've memorized the pre-boarding speech and the safety speech. Not to mention that I'm always at the window seat closest to the wing, so I have a fairly good idea of what's normal plane behavior. Is it any wonder why this flight in particular didn't worry me?

Well, this time around I had a layover in New York- a foreign airport but not a foreign concept. While sitting at the gate, the woman beside me noticed my card of Irish verbs. That thing is a conversation starter, let me tell you. Her and her daughter live in Dublin and so were curious as to what I will be doing during my stay. All of that, however, was just to lead up to what they really wanted to know. "Aren't you travelling with anyone?"

"No," I tell them, and watched them try to hide their concern. I know how ridiculous it must have sounded, to be going to a foreign country on my own...to get from Dublin to feckin' Galway without a companion. I wasn't afraid though; somehow the preachings I got from my fam triggered some sort of bravery (or more like a stubborn determination to show that I'm not like most people). At this point, I was still convinced that this was just like my other trips. Just longer.

Finally it came time to board. A brief, mild shock went though my system when I stepped inside. It was so...mòr! I'm sure that someone reading this is probably chuckling but some part of me was anticipating something closer to the size of a Boeing 737...not an Airbus 330. I made my way towards the back of the plane, taking my seat and securing the seatbelt around my hips. See? It's still the same. I could not, however, continue to lie to myself when the safety video came on. First of all, it was a video, not a stewardess making hand motions. Second of all, it didn't follow the script that I had familiarized myself with. It was at that moment that the truth finally broke through my consciousness. This is different. This is foreign to me on all levels- new country, no companion, no familiar person(s) waiting for me at baggage claim. And did I mention I have to catch a bus to take me from Dublin to Galway? Ok, maybe now I'm a little scared. Just how crazy am I?? I guess all I can say is...

Tapaigh an deis!


Note: Footnotes are the little numbers that will appear throughout the text. Sorry they're not superscripts...blogger wouldn't let me.

Life is funny. As you get older, you gain more responsibilities. (That’s not the funny part, I promise). However, for most people (or at least for me), paying rent, working a job, etc does not make you say “Oh no…I’m an ADULT!” Instead it’s the little things that happen.

I met up with my best friend from middle school the other day; it was the first time in six years since we last saw each other. She has a kid now so we went to the park to play on the playground. Sage, my friend’s daughter, is trying to play with the other, older kids. Looking at them, I realize that not a single tot would have been born in the 90s. That’s reality check number 1. Then we made a fatal error and listened in on some of their conversations.1 It was two girls and someone’s younger brother, squatting beneath the big slide, talking discreetly.2 They each had boyfriends (both lads were unaware that they were in a relationship with a girl) and then started talking of Jake and other boys. Everyone knows a Jake; the boy that the teachers like, the one who is friends with all the boys and the crushee of every girl. 3 My friend and I crack up laughing. For us it just felt like yesterday we were doing the same thing. Though it had seem so difficult, so drama-filled, life really was easy back then.4 Think about it. All you had to do was tell a Jake that he’s your boyfriend and Ta Da! you had a boyfriend. The teachers’ idea of an assignment was gluing macaronie to cardboard to make a photo frame. And all you needed to be the cool kid was Crayola’s 64 pack. Anyway, listening to the conversation was reality check numero dos.

And then it happened.

Sage had attached herself to a boy about four years older than her. He didn’t think she would be able to keep up but she totally proved him wrong…until finally he found something she wouldn’t be able to reach. She tried but without success. It was then that he said the horrific words: “Haha, you’d need an adult to reach that!” I look at my friend and she looks at me. We were these “adults” that he spoke of. There is no way I can fool myself into thinking I’m still a kid now.

You see, though I am 20-years old and though I have way more responsibilities than desired, I never felt like what this boy called an “adult.”5 Growing up had never scared me…until now. In less than two years I’ll have a B.S. degree in Psych and will be completely financially independent. Then there’s the fact that three of my friends now have kids and many more are engaged to be married. When did I get to be old enough to be married?6 At this point, my future is quite uncertain. I don’t know what I’ll be doing after Pitt. I’m clueless on which grad school is best for me…or even if I want to go. And I haven’t the faintest idea of who I’ll end up with or when. Yeah all of this can get overwhelming sometimes but I’m very much a “see where the wind takes me” type girl and am confident that I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be.

But that doesn’t change the fact that some days I’m scared shitless.

“I’m looking at the vast emptiness that is my future.” Casey Cartright, Greek
1Don’t give me that look! Have you ever been around kids? They talk loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear.

2Or trying to. See above footnote.

3My Jake in elementary school was actually a Logan. Just throwing that out there…

4 Not that we’d ever admit that to our parents. They’re not allowed to be right.

5 It probably doesn’t help that most people mistake me for a 17-year old. (18 on a good day).

6 Another thing we don’t like to admit to our parents- time does go by fast.

The double standard

Would you go up to an overweight person and say "you're as big as a house! Seriously, get off the couch every now and then."? No. Didn't think so. Yet you probably wouldn't think twice of saying a negative comment to a petite person. With anorexia at its peak, anyone unusually thin are diagnosed by society as having an eating disorder. To those who don't have the disease, who are naturally thin, still suffer frequent criticisms. It's unfair for them to endure comments like "go eat a sandwich" and "you look like a broomstick." I'm not saying that victims of eating disorders deserve to hear the above statements, I'm saying that these utterances shouldn't be made at all. It's not right to be sensitive about weight when the number exceeds healthy and then push all manners aside when the number is smaller than average. Regardless of size, everyone has emotions that should be taken into consideration.

One small statement made in passing, could have a huge, lasting affect on the individual.

Tá sé seans iontach- It's a great opportunity!

The day that it happened has been stenciled to my mind.

It was cold. It was rainy. And I was on my way to calc. My mood wasn't exactly chipper. I had a death grip on my umbrella to assure that it wouldn't fly away in the strong wind when I felt my phone vibrate. This is weird for two reasons: the phone is always in my bag and, even if it's in my pocket, I don't feel it vibrate when I'm walking. Taking the phone out of it's nice little compartment, an unfamiliar number is displayed on the screen. Normally I don't answer if I don't recognize the area code, but this time I did.

"Hello, Amber?" I could barely hear the voice over the passing buses, the wind, and the rain that was pelting my umbrella.
"Yes..?" I answered, perplexed on how this stranger knew my name.
"Hi, this Samantha Smith from API."

The call was from Academic Programs International, or API for short. I knew this would be about my potential trip but I wouldn't be able to hear any sort of news she that was about to give me. I explained this to her and requested that she call back in 15 minutes- just enough time for me to get inside a nice, warm, QUIET, building.

Waiting for that call back was torture, but 22 minutes later...it came! "Hi again," Samantha said. "Can you hear me now?" I laugh at the Verizon quote and give her the go-ahead. "Well I just wanted to let you know that we have reviewed your application and we think you would make an excellent canidate for our program. Are you still interested?"

Was that a serious a question? "Yes," I tell her. Trying to contain every urge to squeal like a little kid on Christmas morning. "Excellent. I will send your materials to the University for final review but I don't think you will have anything to worry about." She continued to tell me all the things they will be sending me and what I needed to complete by when. I, however, must have sounded like a broken record for the only word in my vocabulary for those two minutes was "OK."

I walk back into Calc, a grin from ear to ear, and take my usual seat behind one of my friends. She turns around. "What happened?" she asked. Ok, now I can squeal.

I'm going to Ireland!!

Needless to say that I couldn't focus in Calc that night :)

Careful, it's slippy out!

I love my new apartment, really I do. It's in a nice, secured building, the tenants are well-behaved, and campus is about a five minute walk (you know I don't miss driving 34 miles every day in wintry weather). But there is one downfall- no internet.

One would think that we would be able to access the school's wireless network from where we are... but we can't. Well, we can, but the most we can get is two bars of signal. This isn't a story about my lack of internet access, but it did make me risk my life (as well as the life of computer) yesterday.

Given my upper level classes I have more work this semester than ever before. To do said homework, I need the internet. To get the internet I need to bring the laptop with me to campus. Yesterday I found myself a nice little corner and stayed there for about 3-ish hours before my first class began. Afterwards I'm in the class for another hour. Being lost in my own little word of etymology and phonological problems, I never noticed that it was snowing outside. By the time I reentered society, we had a nice white blanket covering the grounds. No big deal, right? Well, that's what I thought as I entered the union.

After eating lunch and spending more time on dreaded homework, it's time to go back to the apartment. Remember the snow blanket mentioned earlier? Well...no one thought to salt the roads or sidewalks. The temperature is somewhere in the teens so naturally one would want to walk quickly to get inside a warm building. And that's exactly what I was trying to do.

But then my foot slipped.

I didn't fall, thankfully, but it reminded me that salt-less sidewalks can be a little slick. Falling would be extremely painful and potentially dangerous when crossing intersections. The concern for my own safety, however, is not what caused me to slow down. It was the 5-pound, fragile laptop that was squished into my bag.

To make this story a little less long...I was an ice block by the time I reached the building. All this for a little bit of internet access.

I blame my professors.

First post of the new year!

First Night...

The llamas were absent. There was no Bobcat Ballet. But at least there was ShaeLaurel! You don't know who they are? Well shame on you! They're a family of six that have been performing and traveling together for several years now and honestly "amazing" is an understatement. I've been attending their shows for almost five years now and they never cease to impress. This wasn't going to be a post on the wonderfulness that is ShaeLaurel, but it's already turned down that road. Let me introduce you, at least to the "kids."

Christian- I remember him when he was a little kid with glasses! Mom says that he's grown into a fine young man and both of us agree that he shouldn't be allowed to have a sweet 16. He triggers our Peter Pan Syndrome...

Kat- Like it or not, a ShaeLaurel show just wouldn’t be the same without Kat’s lethal ponytail. Her dad jokes that it’s illegal in 35 states. You’d have to see a show to fully understand.

Jessica- Writing buddy! Like the rest of the family she sings, dances, and plays her fair share of instruments. On top of all of that she also writes novels. Yes, novels. I can assure you that one day she will be a famous author.

Andy- This sweetie plays banjo, mandolin, violin, classical guitar, electric guitar, bodhran, drums, and tin whistle. And those are just the ones I know of! Somehow, I think the list is only going to continue to grow.

I could probably write a book on these guys; their interests, dislikes, embarrassing stories, and discuss each visit we had, but I'll spare you the history. This still ended up being longer than anticipated...

Maybe I should get this wordiness thing under control?