home for the holidays

Mom and Dad came home today. It never feels like a holiday until they are home. We (Jenny and I) were all at grandmama's with the rest of the grandkids making apple pie, apple date cake, and Christmas decorations out of paper plates, wrapping paper and stickers. Lori called, "guess who's at the airport?" We expected mom and dad at 8:30PM from Jakarta via Singapore, Moscow and Houston. it was around 4 when Lori called.


"Your mom and dad!"

"What? Oh! Well I guess I"ll go get them then!" So Jenny and I scrambled up our stuff and be-bopped over to the airport.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we had grown up in the U.S. Or if mom and dad had moved home when I moved to college, or at least when Jenny moved here. Instead, our parents continue to travel the world and explore new places. Sometimes it makes living in Hattiesburg difficult, I think of how much I'm missing out there...

I wonder if I will ever feel 100% happy/comfortable/content/satisfied with where I am or what I'm doing. Part of me thinks I need to move back overseas full time - I feel like I have the Peace Corps application to fall back on if I ever REALLY get desperate. That's something on my bucketlist. But my current employment sends me abroad - I'm itching to get back to Asia though...perhaps I'll save up for a trip to visit M&D in Jakarta next year.

Then sometimes I think if I met the right guy, and it was the right timing, then it wouldn't matter where I lived, because every day would be an adventure.

That's what it is....this need to be constantly challenged, to feel adventure even if it's within every day routine. Right now I'm challenged at work. Career-wise I'm loving it more everyday. Especially when I don't let silly things like unreturned phone calls and unanswered emails, or beautiful memories, or people riding the elevator ONE flight, or other people's personal issues...when I don't let insignificant things like these bog me down I'm focused and on my game. When I'm on, I'm so on and love life.

It's when I start making compromises - too many, I start to notice my attitude turns sour.

When I can't make a clean break, or get any kind of closure in certain areas of my life, my emotions start to take control and I certainly don't like that feeling.

I have a lot to think about. I need to move on from something whether I get to do it in a clean way (my way) or not....I feel like this post has gone from excitement about M&D coming home to my frustrations within my personal life. Maybe I don't want a personal life anymore, maybe I just need a break from all that. Period. Who knows? We'll see.

For now, Mom and Dad are home, I have two weeks off work, that's all I want or need for the time being.

Have a wonderful day/night/evening and I'll do my best to make my next post less vague and all-over-the-place.

I was learned a new phrase...

"If I tell you a dominicker hen dips snuff, look under her wing, she's hidin the can!"

What does that mean?

"It means, if I tell you to take an umbrella, it's gonna rain."


Alrighty then.


Light dinnertime conversation...

What makes a "real American"?

When you say, "freedom of religion", what you mean is that I have the freedom to practice any Christian denomination, right?

I've always been told, you don't get to pick your family, but you love them anyway. And boy do I. I LOVE my family, every single person, and will stand by them and stand up for them in any given opportunity.

But it is difficult to understand how I'm related to everyone in my family when I have such different beliefs and values than so many of them - and when my priorities are just not the same...

The other night at dinner, the conversation reflected what I'm attempting to explain:

I don't remember exactly how it came up. But it was my grandmother who brought up the topic of the mosque/community center that is going up near ground zero in NYC. She went off about how it's such a disgrace they are allowing them to build there, that it shouldn't even be an option. The government should just stop that, it
shouldn't even be a question or an issue.

Generally I would just change the subject, because I know she will never see the world through my eyes and as much as I try to see things through her perspective, I simply cannot agree with her - understand where she is coming from, yes, but agree, no. It would be like traveling back in time, and denying my entire up-bringing, all the life experience I've had through travel...My eyes have just been too open for too long to step back in time. For some reason I decided to try my best at a reasonable conversation this time...I explained that the whole issue has become a big deal because people are making it a big deal.

And I don't see what the big deal is - if it were a church no one would have a problem with it. For real. My grandmother said that no Christian would even consider building a church there, it's like building on a graveyard, and NO church would consider doing that, and that's that. Only Muslims would do that. I did NOT say that I live next door to a chapel that was built over a graveyard for four months every year in France - then she probably would have made a comment about how the French are not Americans, and no American Christians would build a church over a graveyard. Instead I said, "Muslims died in that attack too - American Muslims, let's not forget". She said she was sorry for that.

She said that Muslims are going to get their way with the building of this mosque, and then take over this whole country piece by piece, "I believe that is truly their intention, to convert every single American to Islam".

I said, "who's telling you this? Bill O'Reilly? Fox News? It's all propaganda..."

This is when my cousin stepped in and said some really smart things. He said that all news channels are biased in some way shape or form (duh). All religions want the rest of the world to convert to their religion, that's what religion is - spreading their "word", so yes, it makes sense that Muslims want others to convert and Christians want others to convert, that's no surprise - but that has nothing to do with building a mosque near ground zero. Building that mosque isn't going
to convert people to Islam.

The conversation shifted to radical Muslims being the same as radical Christians and my cousin followed up on that too - he had specific events he cited showing how Christians give other Christians a bad name, and it's the same thing with Islam. What about that Christian cult in whatever-state-it-was that was raping all those women...or something like that. I really do have an awful memory.

That's when I stepped back in and mentioned that what scares me the most about this debate, is that people in this "land of the free" are protesting one of my constitutional rights: the right to practice whatever religion it is that I wish to practice! I will fight for my neighbor's right, because it is also my right, and I don't want anyone to take that away from me (or you). I reiterated that our country was FOUNDED upon this idea of FREEDOM, and freedom of religion happens to be a right of every American!

My grandmother said, "our country was founded on the freedom of a Protestant

Then the conversation turned to: "this Imam, or whatever he is called, I'm just not sure he's even a real American anyway."

I asked, "what makes a real American?" She didn't quite answer the question but I didn't exactly give her time to - because I said, "I was born in India - am I a real American?" ...crickets....

"Or, am I a real American because I'm white and I was raised Christian?"

Eventually it turned in to, "well, this country, this world, is in a dire state Jessica, and no one can deny that! And you can't just sit idly by and watch, you have to do something about it" I said, "it truly is, and I too am concerned about Global Warming more than anything else, thanks for bringing the bigger picture in to view - we all have to live here together and if we don't take care of our world,
no one will have a place to call home."

This is when my cousin and I turned to sarcasm. I mentioned how sad it made me to hear the polar bears just keep swimming because they have no ice to land on, and how
populations are deteriorating (which was partially sarcastic but really is the bigger picture)....

My grandmother said, "well you can go and talk to Al Gore about all that then, he supposedly knows..."

My cousin said, "I haven't seen him around lately, have you?"

I said, "No, sure haven't, I'll have to give him a call soon"....

Later that weekend my grandmother asked me if I had seen any of the 9/11 stuff (I might also mention the conversation above took place the night before 9/11/2010). I asked if she meant that morning on TV (with the memorials they were running and the History Channel special) and she said no, the real live event.

ABSOLUTELY! My life was seriously affected! As an American abroad, living in the Middle East??? Come on! I watched the second plane hit the second tower, I had just arrived home after soccer practice and didn't know what was going on, but I knew something was wrong. School was closed for two weeks. "Friends" of mine argued with me saying the USA "had it coming" - it was awful!

Part of me thinks she was trying to get me in a tight spot - one of those, "well if you had seen it, if you had been here in America, this mosque issue would be
more troublesome to you"....

Yes, that is correct. If I had grown up in America, I would be a completely different person - and the issues that trouble you so much probably would trouble me just the same. But that's just not the case. At all.

I'm just happy that I am confident enough in what I believe in, and in myself, and my values, to be able to speak openly about these things. I am so happy to be curious enough to hold conversations with others who are so different from me. I firmly believe that insecurity and ignorance are the reasons some people are so quick to shun others for being "different". Some people can not and will not even attempt to enter a discussion with anyone who doesn't share their same beliefs. I welcome those discussions (for the most part, sometimes I'm just not in the mood, I'm definitely not a fire-starter) - and I fully understand that we have to agree to disagree in most cases.

That's all for now.

This is what hard work produces...

And that's my life in France.


Small, tiny, world...

I just sent the below Facebook message to several girlfriends from high school...

So you know (or maybe not) I live in MS part of the year, France part of the year and London for a little in the summer....I'm back in MS for a few months until I move back to France in Feb. I was walking up the stairs to my office this morning and heard someone say, "well look who it is...."

I looked up and there was this guy standing there, on the landing halfway between the 3rd and 4th floors (my office is on the 4th) looking at me.

"Hiiii, how you doing?" I said, as I continued to go up the stairs - it was one of those, "clearly he made a mistake, he thinks I'm someone else, but I'm not going to make him feel like and ass, so I'll just say hi and go on". Because I didn't know him.

But then I stopped and did a double take - wait - I knew him.

No I didn't.

Yes I did.

No, he just looks familiar...

You can imagine my face going back and forth like this...I acted as "normal" as possible as he walked up the stairs with me, and I asked questions like, "what are you doing here...are you planning to study abroad....again"? The whole time trying to place what part of my life I knew this random dude from! I thought, "did he go to the Abbey with me as a student in 2004?", no, I don't remember him from there..."did he go to HIGH SCHOOL with me?" Nooooo....that's not possible, why would anyone from my high school be here in Hattiesburg, MS? That's too random, think smaller Jess....the whole time he's talking I'm hearing only bits and pieces of what he's saying because I'm starting to feel like I should know him and it's been a really long time, and if I can't place him soon it's going to drive me crazy.

So anyway...I learned from those few minutes that he was just starting his degree here, he had filled out one of our interest cards but no one ever got back to him so he was in our office yesterday to see Dr. Steen (my Director) about a Fulbright Scholarship to study abroad, and noticed my name on the wall (outside my office) and thought, "it can't be the same Jessica Lamb..."

What does THAT mean?

He left, and I sat down at my desk going INSANE! I told my colleague about it, she asked "Jessica, why the HELL didn't you ask him his name?"

BECAAAAAAUSE something told me I was supposed to know him and that I COULDN'T ask his name because that would have been so insulting and show just how awful a memory I have....

He came back....he said, "I just wondered when a good time would be to catch up on old times...."

"Well, why don't you just come on in right now! Let's catch up! And since you already mentioned you gave us your information and we didn't contact you, go ahead and fill out another form and I'll put you on our list RIGHT NOW"

"Sure, I can do that - what information do you want?"

"Full name, ID#, email address...."

"Alright. So, how's your dad?"

WHAT?? This dude knows my dad....WHERE do I KNOW him from!?!?!?

He finished filling out the card and I checked out his name....

EDWAND RIVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's when I started to FREAK OUT.


You guys....I feel like I'm having an out of body experience. He asked me if I keep in touch with anyone, I told him only what I know from my own facebook stalking....IT WAS CRAZY!

So now Ed goes to college at USM - random.

Just had to share this moment with you guys, hope it was entertaining for you too.

Much love!


grad school drop-out...

I withdrew from graduate school yesterday. I've been part-time for a year. Don't worry, I only have 9 hours under my belt due to not being able to take classes in the spring.

My friend Ronnie said to me, "Lamb, that's like, a THIRD of the way done!" Yes...okay, it is. BUT, at the rate I've been going it would be a least another two whole years before I could finish (and that's not including writing a thesis).

It hit me the other day, "I'm unhappy!"

It was an enlightening moment when I realized I've been so miserable lately because I'm completely overwhelmed. I can see now that it started months ago, probably around the time I returned from The Abbey. Since then I've been overworked, over-programmed, I haven't had enough "me" time, I don't get enough time to cultivate the relationships that are so important to me, or enough time to volunteer, or enough time to just read for pleasure! There were issues with the house right when I returned from London, I don't feel like I had a break between BSP and walking back into the office Monday (yes, I realize taking the weekend to go to AR in search of a bridesmaid dress was my choice, but also my duty as MOH, and I wanted to go), I've moved three times in less than a year (house, Pontlevoy, London), started graduate school in a program I now realize I "settled" for just to start a degree...

The list goes on but you catch my drift.

I came to the swift realization that I have ZERO interest in spending another moment of my precious time completing a degree I was pursuing "to have a degree". When I asked myself, "why are you in graduate school?" the only answer I could honestly state was, "to put it on my resume?"

WHAT? That's never been me. No, thank you.

Could I continue and complete the degree and do very well in the program? Yes, of course - but I don't WANT to. The professors are wonderful, I will miss being in class, and I was learning a lot, yes, but I have no interest in taking a Communication master's degree anywhere further. So why continue just to finish and be miserable along the way? I even went to the Department's welcome-back-to-school picnic the other day, just to be sure I wasn't having one of my flighty moments...but I didn't waiver.

Before I clicked "the button" - the button that would drop me from ALL classes - I sent an short email to dear friends and family I trust, just asking their thoughts. The reactions were different but similar. Everyone told me to do what is best for me.

Kim called to say, "I don't know why you even sent that email out, the fact that you sent it means you've already made up your mind to do it because you don't talk about things like this unless you've already decided what to do, so why do you care what anyone's opinion is?"

Ha! She's so right!

Sweet Lolly shared her 100-Page-Rule, "I have a 100 Page Rule when I read a book. I give it 100 pages to draw me in. If it doesn't happen by that 100th page - I put it down and give it away. There are too many lovely books to read and my time is too precious to waste." She said that it was clear I had reached my 100-page-limit!

Holly agreed with Lolly - and her response has been my favorite so far, "Finishing for the sake of finishing is no good. Would you finish all the french fries just because they are there - even if you knew it was going to stress you out because you ate them all? Would you drink a bad martini or would you order something else? Would you keep a dress you didn't really like that cost you $200 or would you return it and get a dress that you did like? Would you date a guy you weren't totally in love with just because you invested time and effort or would you "quit" him because that is the right thing to do (we know your answer to this one)? Life is too short. Say adios to this program and do something you like. You are awesome."

So, I did it. I clicked the button yesterday. That was an event in itself. I had to complete a survey questioning why I was leaving - and then a screen popped up sharing all the departments that would be notified of my "dropping out". Luckyday was one of them and I didn't have the option to un-click it even though I don't receive any aid from them anymore. For those of you who don't know, The Luckyday Scholarship is a service-learning-based scholarship I was a part of in undergrad and am now still involved in as part of the Alumni Board. I was instructed to phone the Director PIROR to my completing the withdrawal process. The number listed was Staci's - so I called, and informed her of my decision. I have always been one to follow the rules and do things, "the right way". She said very few students actually call, so I was setting a great example! Thanks Staci :)

At the very end of the survey I was told that personnel from our retention office would be in contact with me over the next 48 hours to discuss my decision.

NOOOOOO! I don't want to TALK about it anymore!

Then it occurred to me that the Office of Retention is down the hall from my office - I KNOW those people! So I marched down to see Dr. Kemker. Laura was on the phone so I walked right into his office, sat down, and the word vomit commenced. I think, by the sight of his grinning the entire time I spoke without breathing, he found amusement in my story?

"Hi, can I come in? I just clicked that button to drop ALL my classes so I'm withdrawing from Graduate School, I'm just not happy and it's the right thing for me to do but I don't want anyone to call me to talk about my decision so I'm here talking to you right now, I'm not a lost student, there's no saving me, I'm dropping out to pursue other opportunities that are more important to me and my life path at this point in time...."

"Hi Jessica, why don't you come on in and have a seat?"

That's when I took a breath. Everything was fine. Dr. Kemker is great, and I slowed down and updated him on what's been happening in my life - it was very therapeutic, actually. Anyway, I don't think anyone will call me, but if they do, I will just tell them the "short" version of all the above.

Will dropping-out of grad school solve all my "issues"? No...I'm sure they run deeper. But at least now I will have more time to do things that I want to be doing, and I feel more in control of my life...

Next step? TEFL certification. I think :)


I need to have my unit serviced...

I came home from London to a leaking AC. It flooded the carpet in the third bedroom - well, half of it. And the outlet in the guest bathroom doesn't work either. Could I do anything about any of it from the airport just minutes after my landing in Dallas? No, but I'm a landlord so I have to take the complaints and work orders irregardless of date or time. The previous homeowners bought me a home warranty with AHS, thank you.

How ironic is it on a day like today, after I placed not one, not two, but THREE service requests online, (at $60 a pop) that I also received my "reminder" notice in the mail concerning my upcoming expiration date. I renewed it. It costs a pretty penny, but I'm convinced it is well worth it.

Today, maintenance man James came to my house to check out my unit. He confirmed that it was a leaky AC, but that it is my main pipe. He would try to "blow it out" but if that didn't work I would have to put in another request for a plumber.

The blowing-out worked, leak gone.

Then James asked if I had any bleach.


"No, I don't...but I should, shouldn't I? A good home owner would have bleach handy, wouldn't they?"

James smiled at me (I could tell my cute and innocent naivety would work to my advantage today - along with my sleeveless-leaopard-jungle-sundress and new wedge heels from Zara - so glad I picked today to wear this outfit!)

I smiled back, "Can you tell this is new for me?"

"First time home owner?" James asked.

"What gave that away?" I replied.

James told me to get me some bleach and he would put in a "part" - it's this "T" shaped thing - that has a cap on it so I can add bleach once a month to the pipes to avoid algae buildup. He also taught me that filters do wonderful things for "us" as people and the air we breath, but they are hard on our units - so I should buy the least expensive filter and change it every 30 days. Except in the winter. At the same time I can add the bleach to the T-unit-thing-he-installed (which I will at once purchase and keep on hand for the next service man who asks me). I can remember to do that. I've already added a calendar reminder.

James then wanted to check my freon in the outside unit just to make sure I had enough and everything was working right. I followed him outside.

I learned that I "should have my unit serviced annually". Then James told me that while my unit is the correct size for my square footage, my inside coil is .5 tons larger - so my "parts don't match". My warranty will not replace improperly installed equipment. So, as long as I keep my unit maintained, once the AC breaks down, my warranty (which I will continue to renew) will cover the replacement.

Then James serviced my unit free of charge - he said because he's not one of those guys that wants to do me wrong, he would service my unit on AHS's time and not file it on the invoice. Then he told me I was set for the rest of the year.

I got James' card to be sure to request he is the one to return should anything else go wrong with my unit.

Oh the things you learn being a home owner!


six degrees of separation...

It's crazy how small the world actually is. I remember when we used to fly home through Tokyo, we would ALWAYS see someone we knew. Well, Mom and Dad would, and they would know us by association - being young you never really remember your parents friends, or friends you knew when you were an infant. But I remember Dad saying, "oh look, Laura, there's the so-and-sos!" just about every time we had a layover in Tokyo.

Anyway, last night I had dinner with two friends. Dewi I hadn't seen since I left Surabaya in 1998. Karen I hadn't seen since then either, but we managed to meet up for about 30 minutes last summer when I was in London for a quick visit. Then, Adrienne and I bumped into her our first day in London this year, crossing Waterloo bridge - totally random. Karen said she was moseying along thinking to herself, "shall I go in the tunnel under the road, or stay above ground...under or over?" and if she had gone under we would have missed her! Fate, that's what that is.

Karen, Dewi and I met at Victoria station and walked to Giraffe for dinner. It was so wonderful catching up with the two of them and it only makes me hope that next year we can meet up sooner during my month here, and more than once!

Back to the 6 degrees of separation thing:

Liz (friend from Surabaya days) got married in Bali in April Karen was in her wedding. Karen and Dewi were also in Angie's wedding, another friend from those days, in Indonesia last year as well. I couldn't go to Liz's wedding because I had duties at the Abbey. But mom and dad went and had a blast, and saw all my old friends - including Karen. Liz's husband Leo is in the silver industry - he designs and sells jewelry. Karen's dad brought some over to the UK a few weeks ago when her parents visited. She was telling me about how she sold some of it to a friend when they were having dinner one evening and the waitress walked over interested so Karen has her contact information to be in touch about the jewelry. As she told the story she showed Dewi and I some of the pieces. I saw a pair of flower studs I had to have, and bought them! Our waitress came over and admired everything simultaneously - ha! So...I now own a pair of earrings that one of my oldest friend's husband designed, I've never met him, and haven't seen her since the early 2000s.

It's just awesome how the world works.

Meanwhile...the BSP student drama continues. Without going into the whiny details - suddenly it's our fault a student overslept 2 hours, missed her flight, and had to pay $150 to fly standby all the way home. "No one took role that morning, no one came and knocked on my door". I think she's really upset with her friends because they phoned her but she didn't wake - nor did they come to us to go knock on her door - and now she's looking for somewhere else to point the blame, because she can't blame them (and she shouldn't!). I knocked on plenty of doors that morning, after students came running to me asking to let them check on so-and-so; but in the end it is NOT my responsibility to wake your ass up to get on the courtesy bus. Sorry. It's time for you to accept responsibility for yourself. Besides, I'd have rather flown standby for $150 because I accidentally overslept than buy a whole new ticket!

If I miss my flight tomorrow, due to oversleeping, it will NOT be my fault....I will find someone else to blame.


That's just ridiculous.



Couldn't blog over the vacay - but I think I may have figured out how to post blogs on the go, we'll see next time. For now, here's the latest on the v.a.c.a.t.i.o.n.


Well we finally found our hotel. Gotta love google maps on the blackberry.

Joe asked if I was joking when we approached the door. The place looked like it had been deserted. Not just that, it looked unfinished. Read: drywall, concrete floors, paint splotches, drop cloths, dust, tape around the door handle.

Well, we had nothing to do but give it a go!

Enter Jess and Joe. Hello reception desk. We were surprised to see a computer. A man, dressed quite nicely, greeted us with a wide smile, as if the room around him was nothing to take note of.

"Bienvenue madame Lamb, votre chambre est 106, sur la premiere etage, l'acenseur ne marche pas maintenant, vous pouvez prendre les escaliers, a votre droit. Bonsoiree."

Translation: Welcome, Miss Lamb, your room is 106 on the first floor, the elevator is currently out of service (no, really?) you may take the stairs to your right.

We warily accepted our key, and turned to our right. There were drop cloths draped over everything, and a dark hallway that looked like it might contain a staircase but it was so dark you literally could not see your feet.

In an excited nervousness I asked, "Joe...where ARE we??? You'll never let me pick the hotel ever again!"

We trucked-it-up the stairs, into a newly carpeted hallway that looked promising. Upon opening the door to room 106 it was like entering another world. Cool, comfortable, small-but-chic, clearly newly renovated. The bathroom was ultra modern, marble, with one of those "rain" showers-you know the kind you always see on TV and wonder how delightful it would be to have one of your own? Let me tell you it is as magical and relaxing as the advertisements.

I suppose it makes sense to re-do the bedrooms first and then move on to the lobby and breakfast area. But goodness, there could have been some forewarning like, "pardon us while we make over our lobby".


Joe and I trucked it back to our "quaint" hotel...renovations still occurring. However, elevator worked last night! Yep, in fact we were ushered in to it even though our room was only on the first floor.

Too bad it didn't work this morning when we got in it (it was 5AM London time, so I wanted to take the elevator one flight - give me a break). The concierge had to pry the doors open to get us out, and we weren't on a proper level, we had to jump down from the elevator.

I still made it to my train on time. And what a great guy that Casanova - he rode all 15 stops with me on the metro, out of his way.


It was too short. We did a lot of nothing, which was such an awesome feeling after the crazy month/s we've both had. Our last night in Paris we met up with Andrew Bueno (student coordinator at The Abbey from 2004 - when I was a student) and Marina Louvet (my French prof from 2004 at the Abbey) for dinner/drinks - what an awesome evening with them at the Lizard Lounge in Le Mirais.

Now, it's a slow day (thank goodness) in London, just waiting for students to roll back in from their mini-break to check back into their rooms. Hopefully the week will remain uneventful.

Hello hello....

Hello taxi.

Hello St Pancras station.

Hello passport control.

Hello last call for boarding as I'm in line at passport control...what?

Hello Eurostar seat, I made it.

Hello Paris Gare du Nord.

Hello Metro line 5.

Hello Gare d'Austerlitz.

Hello Casanova.


I am going to France in 1.5 hours...

It hasn't slowed down here that much...not really at all....just when you think it might, something comes up....

But I am going to France in 1.5 hours.

The student denies the shower renovations. Now what? There's no proof - I'll let someone else handle this one.

Multiple students file complaints against cleaning-staff male suspect. Crazy-creepy complaints. Creepy, creepy man. Investigation begins.

Everyone gets off for their LondonAWAY destinations regardless of bus drivers not knowing where they are going - or where they are staying! (was unaware they were our responsibility too).

Student has large sum of money stolen in Paris, but there's nothing much anyone can do about it.

Student decides she needs to go home for health reasons, but each time we talk it's a different story...how can we help when she cannot make a decision and her mother is not here to make one for her? Where will she fly out of? Edinburgh or London?

I am going to France in 1.5 hours.

Creepy cleaning man is fired.

I am going to France in 1.5 hours.

Student acts-out in ways unbelievable to anyone not a witness and is expelled from the program, making her way back to London soon with Asst. Director.

I am going to France in 1.5 hours.

I am going to enjoy this vacation.

I am going to France.

My phone will not work for several hours on the train.

The world will NOT fall apart.



London on Sunday

Actually, it's Tuesday - but my cousin started writing a song for me about flying to London on Sunday, so I thought that would be a great title to my latest post.

Adrienne and I arrived safely to our Stamford Street residence - home for the next five weeks - yesterday. The flight was uneventful - except for some up-chucking by the lady next to Adrienne as soon as we landed.

I wasn't impressed with AA: they didn't show any of the movies they promised in their in-flight magazine, the in-flight entertainment system itself hasn't been upgraded since the 80's. Really, I remember sitting on the arm rest as a child straining to see the small box TV screens while mom and dad slept, that was 20 years ago. They only came through the cabin once with landing cards - so if you were snoozing, too bad. There wasn't a vegetarian option unless you requested it in advance. BUT - they got us here safely, and that's what matters.

Yesterday feels like a dream, I was in such a daze - even after sleeping the whole flight. It was just one of those sleeps where you know you got some, but it didn't register with your mind. So, bedtime came early last night.

I was up at 4am - mind racing. I forced myself back to sleep and got up at 7:30, excited for my first London run this summer...it was raining. And I forgot my raincoat. Bummer. Change of plans. Umbrella. Coffee run.

As I stood in line at Starbucks at Waterloo, in my workout gear, watching all the business men and women briskly walk by, it hit me again - I feel most "at home" anywhere but my passport country.I'm noticing a theme and if you've read any of my blog before you might have noticed too.
I have to live abroad.

Now I'm thinking about what to put on our "to do" list today. Several of the other faculty arrive later this afternoon, that will be great, adn hopefully that means more hands to help out! We shall see.


this is what it feels like to live a double life...

I feel like I'm living someone else's life, actually, rather than a double-life. At least that's how I feel at the moment.

I left for France three months ago. There's a post in my dashboard that I started while waiting in the Gulfport airport, but I never published it. I re-read it just now, everything is different.

Everything different than how I left it. For the better though, so much better in some respects.

There are no words to describe The Abbey Program 2010. The students were awesome, so were the faculty, the people in the town...

Now it all feels like a dream. It's like I'm returning from my own study abroad experience again, but 6 years ago it wasn't this difficult. Or maybe I've blocked it out of my memory.

I'm back in my house - a house which I barely lived in after I bought it before moving to France. My best friend and room mate is engaged and I'm the M.O.H. (very exciting) and must research how to be a good one of those. A friend had a baby. I have a new supervisor at work and Laura Messer is moving to Austin (congrats Laura!). I'm in a different relationship than when I left - and this time I fell super hard, which is so much more than scary. My sister graduated suma cum laude from college and starts grad school in the fall. I start back to school in June.

I've been back in the U.S. a week now and I still find myself searching for familiar faces from what feels like a previous life now - my previous life in France. Jaffe Cropper came to visit me in the office and all these emotions flooded in proving that it all really happened. Thank God. Chelsea Lewis came in too - and didn't even give me time to stand up for a hug. My eyes misted over immediately. It is so rewarding to be a part of the experience these amazing students go through abroad.

I can't surround myself with enough photographs from the past three months.

The upside to all of this (what I'm viewing as the upside, anyway) is that in just one month I'll be back en route to Europe again - London, this time, for the British Studies Program. Perhaps that will provide a refreshing breath, enough to sustain me for 5 months back "home" before another Abbey Program.

Hmm. That's all for now.