Musings: 2/21/14

A collection of images, links, videos, and anything else I come across that I think is worth sharing and/or discussing on my blog. This is part one…

1. Olympic hockey!

(AP/Julio Cortez)

So as I’ve mentioned before, I am a HUGE hockey fan. And I love the Olympics. So when the Winter Games roll around every four years, I am super stoked to see all of the hockey teams. Of course, I am 100% behind Team USA, especially since my main man, Ryan Miller, is the GREATEST AMERICAN GOALIE EVER. In 2010, Ryan Miller had an amazing run in Vancouver, but unfortunately, he and Team USA fell short of a gold medal and lost to Canada in a really tight and entertaining game.

USA and Canada have developed quite a rivalry when it comes to hockey, and on Friday afternoon they are meeting again in a rematch in the semifinals. The winner of the game will advance to the gold medal game, and the loser will compete for the bronze medal. It’s not the rematch we were hoping for, where both teams would again compete for the gold medal, but it’s close enough!

Team USA has been pretty dominate so far, but Canada has been struggling a bit. They are a team full of world class hockey players, all of whom are in the NHL, but they have been facing some difficulties against unexpected opponents. On Wednesday they played Latvia, and WOW, was that a great game. There is only one player on Latvia who is in the NHL, and he happens to be 20-year-old rookie Zemgus Girgensons who plays for the Sabres. While Canada was basically in control of the entire game, the score remained tied at 1-1 until late in the 3rd period. Canada had FIFTY-SEVEN shots on Latvia. 57!! The average shots on net in a typical hockey game is around…20 to 30 shots I’d say. But that wonderful, amazing, steadfast Latvian goalie held Canada at bay despite facing nearly 60 shots.

Unfortunately, Canada scored a late power play goal and ultimately ended up winning 2-1. But what a game! No one expected Latvia to get this far in the tournament, and for them to keep Canada to only one goal for almost the entire game is just nuts. I was really hoping they’d win, not just because USA’s rivalry with Canada, but because who doesn’t love a great underdog sports story?!

As an American Olympic lover, sometimes I forget that it’s not about racking up the highest medal count; it’s about the unknown, “regular” athletes competing on a global platform against the best athletes in the world. It’s neat to be exposed to athletes and nations that we don’t normally hear about when it’s not Olympic season. So I salute you, Latvian hockey players! You guys are fantastic.

2. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

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Back in October, I saw the amazing David Sedaris speak and read new material at UB. He told us how he had just finished reading this book, Nothing to Envy, and how as soon as he finished it, he read it all over again. The book tells the stories of six Koreans who defected from North Korea. I know many of us are aware of how dire things are there, but to hear the real-life accounts of just day-to-day living from actual citizens really impacted me. I’ve always been fascinated with the country, mainly because of how isolated it is with the world, so it was quite eye-opening to read. The book mostly details life in North Korea, but toward the end it also focuses on how difficult it is for defectors to adjust to their new lives living in a free country. I highly recommend reading it, I think it’s important to gain perspective on how different life can be for individuals around the world.

3. Frozen Great Lakes

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This winter has been pretty brutal, yeah? It seems habitual at this point to bitch about how nasty the weather can be this time of year, but it seems as though most of the country is facing the harsh impacts of winter more so than usual. But winter can be beautiful! All of the Great Lakes are almost completely frozen over, and ice caves have formed over Lake Erie, drawing a lot of people to visit them.

I took a quick trip over the border to Crystal Beach in Fort Erie, Ontario to see the ice caves in person with my mom. It was pretty neat to walk over the lake, I must say. Cold, but neat…

4. grav3yardgirl

I randomly stumbled upon this girl while cruising YouTube the other night. And she is hilarious! She has over 2 million subscribers and her videos get hundreds of thousands to millions of views, so clearly I’m late to the party. But I’m glad I found her. She is delightfully bizarre in her own special way, but every video I watch I find that I’m laughing out loud because she is pretty damn funny. Her channel ranges from fashion videos, vlogs, makeup tutorials, and the like. However, my favorite installment is “DOES THIS THING REALLY WORK?” in which she buys As Seen On TV products and tests them out. Hilarity ensues.

5. Georgia O’Keeffe cell phone

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I found a website where you can make custom made stickers/skins for your phone, so I got this one made of O’Keeffe’s Ram’s Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills. It’s always been a favorite of mine, I love skulls and flowers, so. What a world we live in where we can have priceless works of art decorate our phones!

6. Disclaimer

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If you haven’t played Cards Against Humanity yet, well what are you waiting for?! Since first being introduced to the game last year, I’ve put “Writer for the White Cards” on my list of dream jobs. A few months ago while playing a round with friends, I discovered their disclaimer. Genius.

7. My fortunes

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I just love the sentiments of the first one.

My second fortune has a little story to it. After my mom and I explored the ice caves, we went to a GREAT Chinese restaurant called Ming Teh to eat and thaw. Upon walking to my table, I couldn’t help but notice an older man staring at me, and throughout my meal, every time I glanced over, he was still transfixed on me. So it was with great amusement when I opened up my fortune cookie at the end dinner and read this…

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8. Lorde

I’m really digging her! Her song Royals was a big hit over the summer, and right now her single Team is getting a lot of radio time. I decided to give her album a listen because I like both songs, and I am really, really enjoying the entire album. Usually when I listen to a new album, a few songs will stand out, but it takes a bit of time for me to really appreciate and enjoy all the other songs. It’s quite rare and lovely when I can listen to a brand new album and love almost every song on it, which is exactly what Pure Heroine has done for me. Give it a listen if you’re looking for some new music to add to your playlist.

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New Year, New Opportunities

Well hello there, 2014! Are we already in mid-February? Right, okay then… Life just keeps on moving, whether we’re ready for it or not.

2013 was a strange year for me, but I suppose all years tend to turn out that way. I would categorize 2013 as a “transitional year” for me; I graduated college in December 2012, and I didn’t feel quite ready to leap into the job hunting world, because I just had no idea what I truly wanted to do. I have a BA in Public Communication, and I can honestly say I loved my experience at Buffalo State and the program I was in. I felt like I was getting a good education and I enjoyed my classes and the content I was learning. A degree in the communications field can be great because it’s quite versatile, but what did I want to do with it?

I made sure to remind myself that I don’t have to be boxed in to my degree. All because I have a degree in Public Communication it doesn’t mean that I have to get a “traditional” PR job. In fact, traditional PR jobs is something that I never wanted. I’ve always been more interested in the writing aspect to public communication and I knew I wanted to pursue a career with a strong focus in writing. All I knew is that if I could find a job that would keep me surviving and happy, that is all I wanted. If it didn’t necessarily pertain to my degree, that was okay.

But…still. What did I want to do? It’s a question young adults are always asked, especially after they graduate college. I loved getting an education but I couldn’t imagine digging myself deeper into debt by pursuing grad school. Plus, I had that trip to Europe coming up in the summer, and I’m not sure if I wanted to head into any job interviews with me having to say, “Oh yeah, I will be in Europe for the month of July, I hope that’s okay.” For some reason I had a feeling that might put a strike against me during the hiring process. Plus, how could I think about getting a job and diving into the real world when I had Europe on my mind?

So Europe became my haven. Whenever I was asked the dreaded “So now what are you going to do?” question, I confidently answered, “Well, I am going to Europe for a month in the summer, so right now I’m just focusing on saving up money for that.”

And just like that, instead of being met with the quizzical-meets-judgmental stare that I usually got after I danced around that question, peoples’ faces instead lit up with smiles and enthusiasm.

“Europe! Oh my god, how exciting!”

“You are going to have a life changing experience!”

“I went to Europe when I was your age, it was the best time of my life!”

“You might never come home!”

“You might fall in love and get married over there!”

So maybe I didn’t get married (there’s always next time) and I ended up coming back home…but everything else certainly happened to me over there. Even though I knew it was going to be an amazing, life changing experience, nothing could prepare me for the profound impact traveling abroad left on me. Every single day I was there, I said to myself, “Yep. I need to keep traveling. I need to do this for the rest of my life.” I already knew that this wasn’t going to be my last big trip, and that I would somehow need to find a way to keep this going, well after this trip concluded.

I never expected or planned to have my trip to Europe help shape what I wanted to do when I came back home, and inevitably to the real world, but that’s exactly what it did. I kept a blog while I was there (this one, duh) and I loved recording everything that I had done while also reflecting on my experiences. Maybe I could do this for a living? Coming home from Europe, I discovered the vast and wonderful world of travel writing. I was inspired, encouraged, and motivated. I loved reading everyone’s experiences and I also loved seeing people making a living doing it.

While it still remains to be seen if I can or will make a living off my travel writing, I feel really happy and excited that I can more accurately pinpoint what I’m looking for when it comes to my career. I want to write and have the freedom to explore the world. I want to write meaningful content and inspire others, whether it’s to travel or to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. Now that we’ve turned the page to 2014, and I look at my “transitional year” in the rear-view mirror, I’m grateful that I can answer the question, “Now what do you want to do?” a little bit more accurately.