Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Channeling Indiana Jones

Who is your favorite fictional hero? I actually have a few, but one of my favorites is Indiana Jones. He's incredibly smart (i.e. he can speak multiple languages and is a college professor), he spends his free time traveling the world in search of treasure, and he's saved humanity from evil threats time and again.

Indy always saves the day! {Images from: Indiana Jones}

I remember the first time I watched Indiana Jones. To me, he was the epitome of cool and ever since I've had a fascination with all things related to Indy. I think it is probably one of the reasons I love to travel and why I played so many explorer-type games as a little girl. I know he's not a real person, but Indy inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and turn life into one big adventure.

Indy can always get out of a scrape...

So, I've finally decided to go to Machu Picchu this summer! I've booked the trip, so that I officially can't make any more excuses for delaying the journey. I'm also going alone. Before you feel too sorry for me, this is a solo trip by choice. I've taken a few solo journeys in the past, but I've been feeling a little off center, and so I think that this will be the ultimate journey, both physically and mentally.

Hopefully I won't encounter any of these guys...

On the one hand, it's scary thinking that I will be fending on my own for a whole two weeks in a foreign country...

I know how you feel big guy...

But on the other hand, I know that this will probably be the adventure of a lifetime. Just to give you a little taste of it, I'll be sleeping in airports, rafting through some rapids, and then hiking for 3 days down the Inca Trail to reach the ruins. After this, I think I'll finally be worthy of wearing the infamous fedora... maybe.

Looking good wielding a whip, machete, or gun!

Let the planning begin! So tell me, are any of you taking any adventures or do you have any fictional heroes you'd like to tell me about?

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ties That Bind

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately and how sometimes you come to a point where you realize that you no longer have the need or desire to maintain a particular friendship. When I was younger, I went through several "best friends." I don't think I ever intentionally drifted apart from them, but I did. As I've grown older, the relationships I have with my friends have grown to mean much more than just "hanging out at recess," and yet right now I've reached a point where there are some friendships that are on the line and I'm not sure I want to resuscitate them.

{Image from: Daydream Lily}

In some ways, I feel as if I've outgrown them and I feel as if we've changed so much in the past couple years that we no longer share the things we once did and now our friendship is based more on memories than on new experiences. Even the times we hang out now are spent reminiscing and doing the same thing we did before rather than evolving and becoming something better than it was before.

{Image from: That Unreliable Girl}

Maybe it's me and maybe I change too much for the same things to always satisfy me, but the truth is that I've grown bored. I've also come to realize that my time is incredibly valuable. I have very strong ties to my family and they are the only non-negotiable aspect of my life, and so in my spare time, I've grown more selective about what I do. I think that because of my strong relationships with them, it also makes me realize exactly what it is to be there through thick and thin and so I feel that with certain friends that is definitely not the case.

I think it may be time for me to go it alone.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bob and the Real Girl

Valentine's Day is coming. It's kind of made me think about relationships and how we can all get a little carried away when we meet someone new. Let me tell you all a story. I have a friend. We’ll call him Bob. Bob is a great guy. He’s funny and smart and definitely very handsome, but he has some issues with love and relationships and so he tends to seek my advice regarding one love crisis or another. There are usually some recurring themes, but the one I find the most curious is his ongoing crush with this girl who definitely does not return his feelings. Granted, she’s never outright told him “you have no chance with me,” but her actions definitely speak louder than words.

Yep, this guy has it bad!
{Image from Vt Peach}

Most people have had an unrequited crush or two, but my fascination comes from the fact that the majority of his feelings are based on snippets. He was never really good friends with her, he’s never had any semblance of a relationship with her other than slightly more than acquaintances. They were never even classmates, and yet here we are 6-7 years later, and yet, I’m almost positive that if she gave him the time of day, he would probably drop everything in his life for the tiny glimmer of a chance that she might want him.

The parts of her you can see are absolutely gorgeous, but you can't judge a girl by her lips alone!
{Image from: Alkemie}

My story probably makes Bob sound like the prototypical geeky guy in a teen flick who’s lusting after the cheerleader. The funny thing is that Bob is actually not that hopeless, but he’s head over heels for a girl that mostly exists in his mind. He met her and talked to her a few times-- they even went out once or twice and from that alone, he feels like he knows her, but the fact is that he doesn’t. I promise, Bob is not a loser! The thing is, this is what we all do when we fall for someone. We meet them, we like them, and before we know if we’ve formed an image in our minds of who we think this person is complete with fictitious storylines that make this person out to be some Hollywood perfect ideal of a human being. Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with a little bit of idealism in a relationship, but what if your perfect person solely exists in your head? I can almost guarantee that if this girl were to suddenly develop feelings for Bob and they went out for a little while, he would probably get tired of her and realize that she’s not as great as he thought she was.

This is taking the fairytale fantasy a little too far...
{Image from Vt Peach}

Case in point, when I was in high school, there was a guy who liked me. He was really cute and pretty popular, but I’d never really thought of him in that way. One day, I found out that he had a massive crush on me and so we proceeded to talk for the next month or so. I remember in one of our first conversations he mentioned how perfect I was. Then he proceeded to detail exactly what made me so perfect—the fact that I was so smart and sweet and pretty, etc. At the time, I thought it was really cute, but then every subsequent conversation, if I said something not quite in line with his idea of me, he would brush it off and kind of say oh that’s not really you—but what I was saying was me. Little by little he got to know me and then one day out of the blue, he told me he didn’t like me anymore. Well, being the young na├»ve thing I was, I was completely blown away—what had I done? It wasn’t until later that I realized that this boy had constructed this whole image of me in his head based on minor interactions at school and then when he finally saw the real me, there was no way I could compare to his perfect picture.

Audrey's probably the only exception to my theory!
{Image from: The English Muse}

I’m sharing these stories not to embarrass anyone, but to illustrate how easy it is to get carried away with someone. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. The key is to remember that everybody is human and that no matter how much you think you know someone just by your observations and from what other people say, you really don’t until you actually get to know them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

500 Days of Summer

Last summer I kept hearing good things about a little movie called 500 Days of Summer. One day, while I was feeling completely miserable about my love life and my head was in a complete funk, I went to the theater and caught it during the matinee wondering whether this movie would actually make me feel better. From the opening scene, the movie had me enthralled and by the end of the movie I’d laughed, cried, and overall gotten the emotional makeover I’d been after.

I think Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt make THE cutest couple!

Fast forward to the winter, and I bought the movie on DVD. After watching it a few more times, I can honestly say that it has now become one of my all-time favorite movies. The story is so completely real and painful at parts, yet at the end of the film, you’re left with a sense of hope and for me at least, the knowledge that everything that happens, happens for a reason.

2009 was a difficult year for me. I was stuck in a seemingly endless limbo where I didn’t know what to do and how to get there. To quote another of my favorite movies, I felt like I was “standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming at the top of my lungs and no one even looks up.” There were so many parts of myself that had somehow gotten lost in the shuffle and last year I spent the better part of it trying to reconnect with a part of me I had somehow misplaced. Well, here we are in 2010 and in a way I feel as if I’ve reacquired some of it, but there’s still a long way to go.

I turned 24 last week. A birthday always feels like a fresh start for me—a new beginning—and it’s really made me contemplate my life as it stands right now. There’s a large part of me that still feels as if I’m right back where I was last year, but there’s another part of me that knows I’ve grown. There’s also something that was lacking in some parts of last year—hope. Hence my reference to the movie. I’ve realized that nothing is ever as it seems and every point of my life has led me to another part of it. Sometimes seemingly good things lead to horrible experiences in my life and other times, bad things lead to incredibly wonderful experiences that I could never have imagined. But at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason—everything that’s happened in life has brought us to where we are today for better or worse.

I guess I’m just writing to say that although 2010 hasn’t brought anything extraordinary yet, the year is young.