SO, back to craziness/wonderfulness of my life. I just spent five days in Hawaii visiting two dear friends of mine from Smith, where I enjoyed the beach, muddy hiking, and SCUBA diving (I got certified in Thailand in March). Needless to say, it was epic and fun and lovely and enjoyable (though everything is much more expensive there than on the mainland -- which didn't stop me from indulging in a vegetarian mondo burrito on spinach with sour cream and guacamole from Taco Del Mar). Then, after barely getting on my flight from Honolulu to Seattle (it was literally three minutes before the plane was supposed to take off and the Delta agent hands me a first class boarding pass to replace my seat request card), I spent about 24 hours in Seattle with my mother. I quizzed her on questions for her massage school exams (spinous processes of the last six thoracic vertebrae, the last 3-4 ribs, the thoracolumbar aponeurosis, and the posterior iliac crest!) and we cooked a delicious meal inspired by Cafe Flora's vegetarian menu. Then early the next morning, after a slight scare where my fingers turned blue and was in lots of pain and I thought I had some sort of weird form of decompression sickness, I headed to Salt Lake City to see my dad for 48 hours. And Anna spent the night there with me last night, a weigh station on her drive across the country back to Smith! Side note: I love it when I get to show my home(s) to people who are important to me. It's even nice when people get to see my Utah house now, because even though it's not my home-home (Kirkland is), it's where I go now. If that makes any sense. And Utah is freaking beautiful - mountains, a huge sky, canyons, parks, dogs, outdoor music venues, Saturday markets... And then I hopped on a plane to Minneapolis, and then another to Amsterdam.
So, here I am, sitting in a McDonald's in Amsterdam, by Central Station. Have yet to meet up with my friend, did a bit of wandering earlier this morning, but I'm a little tired and would rather not get stuck in the rain. So I think I'll hang out here and get some writing done until Tina and I rendez-vous. I'm so exhausted! So much travel in the last three weeks. Not that I'm complaining. I should add that I do understanding I am more than incredibly lucky to have a father who is a pilot. I do not take these flight privileges lightly. I know how lucky I am, and I spent years feeling guilty because of it. But I'm going to use them for good and not for evil, and they also won't last forever -- just 1-2 more years (we're not exactly clear on the rules) and then -- POOF! -- gone.
I should also add that I am incredibly broke right now. But it's because I've finally convinced myself that it's okay to spend money on things that I need and want and enjoy. Being a little selfish about some things is okay -- I know that Ayn Rand would probably agree (thanks, Erin M.!). I spent two years in a state of constant penny-pinching, saving for my three-month trip this spring. And I spent nearly all of the money I had saved (I don't regret a thing!). Then I came back and worked in Washington, DC for the summer, but the very small stipend I was offered went right back out the door to pay for rent and food. And here I am now, with friends to see, textbooks to buy, a body to feed, yadda yadda... I am so excited to be earnign money again, and saving and spending it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a financially smart girl. I'm not a math girl, but I understand finances. I intend on saving what I can this year so that I can graduate with a few months' worth of income to start me off wherever I choose to go when I leave Smith (and so that I can start paying off my student loans), but I also intend to spend more. I am sick of feeling miserable and poor when I really do have enough money to maybe go have a chai tea latte once a week, or bring home a bouquet of flowers from the market for my dorm room, or buying a book on a whim. Work hard and play hard, my friends -- that's my motto for this last year of my Smith experience. I will turn in a Fulbright application in September, do some more hardcore traveling in October, perhaps run a marathon around Thanksgivign in November, and turn 21 in December. And I think that Amsterdam is as good a place as any to start the 'playing hard'!