Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Watch these - I promise, you WON'T be disappointed!

Kid safe!

My hometown for Halloween - each year they do this -





That was the coolest and most brilliant thing I have EVER SEEN!



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spook-tacular Good Times

I took Yenta Mary's advice and joined in the Halloween fun - even though I was suffering through a virus AND sinus infection....

Sooo... here we go.... (PS - I'm a dead gypsy.. luckily I had tons of scarves from Egypt - worked out great!)
 Telisa making the Jack CupCakes ~ Red Velvet....
 Me crying my eyes out chopping onions for the guac! BUT - I have a fascinator on, so I am fabulous!

















 Here is a picture with me, Telisa and our friend Jody...





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Arquelio and Kaprial

 I am not sure when Halloween costumes got sooo.. ummm.. risque for kids... but this is Peyton and her friend.


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  Telisa & Rex

 Jarvis & Andy
 Me & Martin - my fellow skull face! hahaha



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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Preparations... and the mood is set!

The ghosts and goblins are running amok at my friend's home. LOL Translation - about four 15-year-olds spent most of the night watching movies and blowing up balloons for the Halloween party tonight.

I am finally excited about Halloween. Sincerely. I spent most of yesterday morning decorating while my friend was at work. It looks good. It's sort of fun when you have all of your personal decorations and someone else's house!

Last night I just had to smile, the girls were playing my haunted twister game on the back porch, we were blaring Michael Jackson and everyone was dancing. I needed that energy, that spirit. Just refueling my tank, ya know?

Tonight I will transform into a Gypsy. I figure it is appropriate with the nomad lifestyle I have adopted. 

So - I don't have much to say, but rest assure, I will be posting tons of party pics later or first thing tomorrow.

Looking forward to a devilishly good time!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Moments

Laura Rowe Photography

Happy Friday! Yes, I actually started a sentence with happy. Though, to be honest, nothing has changed, and even though I am suffering through a case of.. well.. a stomach issues (aka virus) and guzzling pepto, I am in fairly decent spirits.

I stayed up pretty late last night watching more videos on You Tube. I became fascinated with the Vlogs of a guy in Uganda. He is there, I am assuming still, and shares his basic experience. Does a pretty good job of it too!

Here is a sneak peek - you can watch his entire series! It's really short...


I also made myself watch the ABC 20/20 special on Rape & Murder in the Peace Corps. I realize there are massive risks involved, and it was interesting to see these stories. I hate to admit, but some of it I thought to myself, "What could they have done differently?" Especially the girls that were raped. Did they report it properly to the authorities? Should they have not walked out at night alone? See, these are things I would consider. Then the girl who was murdered, apparently she "did the right thing" but in turn ticked someone off in the village and was killed by him. Do you take unnecessary risks, when you have no protection?

Hmm.. food for thought. Though I feel really, REALLY bad for these people and their families, please know that! It's sobering and it's risky. But, hell - isn't life?

Here is a quick look at the beginning of the story...

Soooo... today I have the wonderful joy of decorating a friend's house for Halloween. Of course, she left for work without telling me where her little push pins and tape is, but... I will do what I can, search, then maybe shoot her a text...

Just as soon as my stomach quits rumbling...

Okay.. I downloaded a few pics from my mobile phone. See, no wireless at my parents house, so I have not been able to save any of the pictures to my laptop. Soo.. I did, and I will share with you some of my thoughts and the snap shots of my "new" life.

Enjoy!

But first...

 I miss this.......
 But instead, I am writing here....
 And this was my view about 15 minutes ago... (I LOVE Instagram on my phone.. added a cool look to it..)
 Instead of an egyptian - there is a vampire cat....
 And a little 5 year old with a cupcake....
 And crazy friends who dress in costumes and sing ballads in the back of your car...
 And personal shoe warmers.....
 This cracks me up - I found the trifecta of bad choices....


And finally... here is what I am embracing:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What.. What is this???

Laura Rowe Photography
What... what is this?? Is it excitement?? Why yes, YES IT IS!

FINALLY. Something to spark my little fire - again.

I did it. I took the next step. Well... one step in a looooong line of steps. Which may or may not pan out, but the outlook is good.

I met with a Peace Corps recruiter today. Discussed my options, talked about my experience in life - AND asked tons of questions and got amazing answers.



Soooooo..... here's the deal. I have the education experience you need. I have THREE out of 4 categories covered (which makes you waaaaay more attractive to them.) I have worked with youth organizations for YEARS and Health Prevention organization for YEARS AND my degree is in Journalism which translates to WRITING/READING.. AND I took French for 2 years in high school and 5 classes in college...

Yep.. Yep..

Not to mention the 14 exchange students and immigrant husband.

Or the years as a youth group leader, or community speaker, or.. I could go on and on...

You like that mini/unofficial resume I just threw at you?? LOL They loved it. LOVED LOVED LOVED IT.

Exciting.

One thing she said after our little talk is, "Well, you've got the experience part down, and are well rounded in interests. Should be a shoe in."

Say what?

Can you say that again!!!!!???

It's extremely competitive. You need tons of volunteer experience, which I have years and years and years of volunteering experience. From tutoring adults who are illiterate, to walking homeless dogs for the humane society, to youth group activities, to ALL OF THOSE EXCHANGE STUDENTS.. to everything.


Sorry.. I am just excited. Jumping for joy kind of excited, because THIS IS ONE OF MY DREAMS. Truly, I've written about it before. Maybe this is the next step. Every fiber of my being says do it. Every time I start to think, nooo.. wait.. some little whisper keeps saying - DO IT.

I'm not kidding... auto pilot type of do it.

Luckily, third world countries fascinate me! Not to mention,  I used to spend my entire summers living in a room the size of a bathroom with screens on the windows in the middle of a forest with close to a hundred screaming kids that I would take on small ropes courses.

I really want to push for the public health education piece. HIV education fascinates me. Perhaps while I wait, I will volunteer with one of the health organizations in town. Yep... next step. I think this is what I need to do.



Crazy? Nope. Well.. okay, a little.

But something clicked on today while driving the old country roads to the university (ps - why are most unis out in the middle of NOWHERE??) - I got to thinking about my purpose, my passion. I like to write. Can you imagine the stories I could share about a west African village? I like to take photos. Can you imagine the views of the mountains in Northern Thailand. I like to meet interesting people. Can you imagine the brilliant people I would work with or the colorful characters of a Caribbean Island? I like to try foods from other countries. Can you imagine all of the colorful items on a Peruvian plate? I like good conversation and learning new languages. Can you imagine me jabbing it up with a villager about Soviet Rule in Kazakhstan?

*sigh*

Still - it might not happen.

But I need to try.

Seriously.

I keep waiting for the egyptian. I keep waiting on a job (which I still need for at least a year or more..) I keep waiting and waiting and waiting for life to happen.

From time to time, I live. I mean REALLY live. The times I let the world suck the spirit from me,is when I feel I am wasting my life.
Remember me talking about finding my purpose? Why am I so fascinated with people from other countries, other cultures? Why did God put this passion in me, to serve the world??

I used to wonder why I never wanted kids, or why staying in one place and buying a home and living a traditional life was so distasteful to me.

Maybe.... God heard my plea. I asked in a prayer recently for something to be revealed to me.

Last Tuesday I got the email from the Peace Corps about meeting up with the rep.

I got up an went, even though I felt like crap.

I left feeling a sense of purpose.


Sharing Gratitude

Laura Rowe Photography
"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone." ~G.B. Stern

I wanted to take a moment and say thank you.
Simple as that.

Plus I want to clarify what's going on, so that when we go on this little journey together, you can nod your head and go - OH! That explains everything.

For one, the pics of myself. You may be wondering what that is all about. My dear friend, Laura, is an up and coming photographer, not to mention her business is booming in Birmingham. She has a website for her services, and if you click on the words - Laura Rowe Photography - under each picture, it will take you there.She has an etsy shop named, Twirl, where she shares photographic prints of her travels, and various scenery and objects. Beautiful stuff, sincerely. Also, extremely affordable.

Laura was basically like a best friend at work, who turned into one of my closest friends in Birmingham. As a going away gift, she offered to take some photos of me, right before my going away dinner party. Granted, the only thing I had not packed was this dress and a few other items. So, the checked dress it was. Maybe not the best idea  - but it worked. I told her I would post each picture, each day, with a link to her website. She never asked for this, but it was something I wanted to do! So days and days and days of promotion or my dear friend. Even if you can't buy anything or book her, please stop by her site, leave a little message, and tell her I sent you. I know it would warm her heart. Like me, she walked away from the "soul snatchers" (our former employer) and is trying to do something with her life. She inspires me!

Second, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your emails, phone calls, and comments. I do read every one of them, and even though I don't typically write back in the comment section, if you have an email address attached to your profile, I will return a reply - as I have time. So thank you. I take all of your advice. For one, I will definitely do more volunteering. It worked when I was in Birmingham, living alone, waiting on the egyptian to arrive from Egypt. It kept me busy, I met amazing people, and it gave me a sense of purpose. I have offered my services to the Girl Scouts here, with their program department. That's what led to me spending the day face painting about 110 little girls out at camp. Was nice. The only thing holding me back is fuel for the car. My parents live pretty far out, so I have to conserve the gasoline - right up until I actually get a job.

I am also reading up on consulting. There are a few non profits that could benefit from some of the skills I picked up from the "soul snatchers." Not to mention, all of the workshops I have attended. I do have a set of skills and talents that are marketable. I'm just trying to sort it out in my head.

I also want to thank TV from TV's Take for the advice on exercising more. You are right! I think you know how much I love Zumba and other classes like that. I hope to get back into a gym (officially) in mid November. I am trying to catch up from the cost of the move across states. Right now, I am trying to do silly things like play tag with my niece, walk a litte more etc. But you are absolutely right -  need to do something active daily. I will fill a TON better. Plus, it will get me out of the house. We are in the middle of the Oconee National Forest - I could simply go hiking!

I also want to thank Janet - Yes, I think the 68 is a red flag. I don't believe it is typically this low, but there has been a change in my diet since I moved here. I am eating waaaaay less, but something is different. Growing up, my parents cooked really, really healthy. Now, I am assuming they are trying to save money in their retirement years and are cooking more processed food. I pretty much gave that up 2 years ago. But since there is a limit to my funds, I am grateful for the food here. But what I am doing is eating waaaay less. In turn, not so healthy. You are right, though - it has played with my emotions. I think that's when I get on here to blog.

Which brings me to this blog. I typically vent here. It is a beautiful place for me to release. Unfortunately, there has been very little positive to write about, and for that I apologize. I know it sucks to stop by and see me whining. I hate reading it. I hate feeling it. But it is what it is.

If you are new here, go back a few years and read some of the earlier stuff. You will see a completely different person. Or, I suggest reading some of the suggestions below each post. Some are quite humorous, or silly, or hopeful, or useful.

I have a (possible) big day today. There is an "Opportunities Abroad" job fair at Georgia College and State University. Which happens to be about 15 miles from here, AND is my old university.At 3pm, a representative from the Peace Corps is speaking about her experience. You guys know I am super crazy about the idea of the Peace Corps. This would be a first chance to actually talk to someone. I think I am going to go. If nothing else, to see what opportunities are out there.

Sure, the idea of going abroad to live is terrifying - BUT EXCITING! It's something I have ALWAYS wanted to do, and why not do it? There is nothing stopping me, but myself. Oh yeah, and an immigrant husband. But once immigration is complete, I could do it. Hell, he and I could do it together - and he would. Or, just doing something for one year is a GREAT IDEA. I just NEED to do it.

The egyptian's parents have invited us to Egypt - to live. I could go there. But he believes it is too dangerous right now - with the revolution still going, and no leadership in power. But in time, it will happen.

One last thing, go visit my friend Leanne at From Chaos Comes Happiness. She has an etsy shop right now. She also lost her job, get this - 3 weeks before I did - who knew! She turned it into her dream. She is a working artist now!!!

One more thing - Yenta Mary - I WILL go to a Halloween party this weekend. Okay? ;-)

Love you guys!

Nicole

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