I have officially lived in LA now for over a month, but I swear it only feels like a couple days. Technically I am now a California resident (I have my new license ID, license plates and angry DMV tweets to prove it).
I have been told that my blog posts are getting shorter, but I believe that I am just getting busier. I feel like in a matter of one week, my schedule became a packed tight, no free time bundle of chaos.
For starters, I started a long-term temp job at Deluxe Entertainment. I am the front desk/receptionist at the Culver City location. It is great because my commute is super short (15 minute commute in LA is pretty awesome), but also it is located on the Sony Pictures Lot. My favorite part about working on the lot is waving at tour groups as they walk down main street. I like to pretend I’m a celebrity, although I think my temp badge gives it away.
The Sony lot also has cool lunch/social events. During the summer on Wednesdays there is an employee BBQ. Also there is a great taco truck that comes on Fridays. Rumor has it that there is an employee happy hour on Thursdays, but I will have to check for myself this week.
Along with working Monday-Friday, I have signed up to do freelance events for a catering company to make some extra money. As you can start to see my schedule is filling up quick.
On top of all this, I am still taking sketch comedy writing classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Each week we have an assignment due. This is great because it forces me to write every week (I guess this blog does too). Writing is a muscle and even with the weekly writing assignments, it is important to continue working on other personal projects as well.
Surprisingly I find time to do some fun things outside of work. This past week I was able to go to a live taping of Tosh.0. If you caught last Tuesday’s episode, please look for me in the front row.
On Saturday I had my first catering event, which was a wedding in Santa Monica. I was pretty exhausted from working full time, taking classes and dealing with switching over my car registration (it is a lot harder than I thought it would be). As I left the wedding, my white button down covered in guacamole, my black tie barely keeping shape, I realized I forgot where I parked. Usually I forget, but then realize once I get my bearings. Instead, I wondered around in the heat for an hour walking up every side street searching for this car. It was in that moment that I realized I needed some sleep and to maybe take a deep breath. Do not worry, I found the car, but after an hour of searching, I may have even shed a tear.
After a much needed nap and shower, I was ready to enjoy the night. My room mate has some friends in town. We went to a bar called Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. It is a speakeasy, where you have to enter through a fridge.
Sunday morning, a bunch of Alabama alumni ate brunch at Mama Shelter. It is a rooftop bar located in Hollywood. There are couches to lounge and views of the Hollywood sign. I may have been badly burnt, because I forgot that rooftops have direct sunlight.
Also I of course watched this episode of Game of Thrones. If you want to chat about theories, let me know!
Only after one month, I have started such an amazing journey out west. There have definitely been ups and downs. One day you are having an emotional breakdown searching for your car and the next you are entering a bar through a fridge. I am so happy I have taken this risk though. I may only be entry-level for now, but every path has to start somewhere. You may not even know you are on a path until you look back.
Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the elevator up to the roof top bar…
Most of you know the iconic quote, “patience Iago,” from the Disney classic Aladdin. Just when Iago thinks they cannot get a hold of the lamp, Jafar reminds him to be patient. I remember my parents quoting the line every time my sister and I would be inpatient children growing up (and still today). Although I am not searching for a magical lamp, patience has turned out to be a huge part of my move to LA.
With most job applications, the process seems to take forever. Sure you may send in an application and hear back for an interview, but that interview isn’t until the next week. Then they call you back for a second interview for the next week, and all you can do is constantly refresh your emails knowing full and well you may not even get the position.
I was not moving to LA with the intention of finding a job even within the first month. I consider myself to have some patience, but certainly this process will test your limits. Also the rent is due August 1st, so that really puts a fire under my butt.
I spent every waking moment checking my phone/computer and refreshing job posting sites. Then once it was night time, I would scour the internet for more links. I decided that maybe it was time to take a break, so today I went to a yoga class.
You know those moments where you meet a stranger and they just say something you really needed to hear? Well if not, that is what happened to me today. All it took was the yoga instructor telling me to be patient and lets things work themselves out. I know this sounds simple, but I was so worked up in having to find a job right away that I forgot to take some time for myself. I moved to a whole new city just three weeks ago and that in itself is a lot to handle.
For me, this meant realizing that there are so many things I cannot control. I can continue to try my best and continue doing what I love. Luckily I picked a career path that is free to do on your own (although my need to drink coffee while writing is not free). All I can do is continue doing everything I am doing and just be patient.
Other than the job search, I have been keeping myself busy doing the things I love. First off, I signed up for sketch comedy writing class at the Upright Citizens Brigade. It is a famous theater for sketch comedy, improv and stand-up in LA and NY. I had my first class this past Sunday and it was great.
Last week I had the opportunity to bartend for the Outfest Film Festival at the opening night gala. It was exciting to bartend again after 3 years. Plus, all the vendors were generous in their free samples. (I guess that is what happens when you are making drinks for them at an open bar)
I have also been making trips to the Writer’s Guild Library. Did you know it is free to go and use? You can go in and read any TV or film script. Even if you are not a writer, it is an amazing place to check out.
Also, I tried going to one of those meet-up groups. At first I was a bit scared it might be really awkward, but it actually turned out to be really fun. I will definitely go to another one of their events, or try some other ones.
Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the Ghostbusters car from the Sony lot (I may or may not be temping there for a bit)…
As you may know from my previous blogs, I have made the leap and moved to Los Angeles with no place to live and no job. With a logline like that I guess I can tell you about how the first two weeks are going.
My room mate had been out a week prior to me searching for a place. By the time I arrived with my dad, we were able to review her favorites and then choose from there. By my second day here, we decided on a place in Culver City/Westchester (southwest of LA and closer to the beach). What I found so shocking is that most places did not include a fridge and or stove. I understand those are not things that are always included, but for the amount they were asking for rent??
The next step was to set up utilities. First was the power, which was fairly easy. It just required a trip to the LA Department of Power and Water and a very long wait time with no place to sit. The internet was also fairly easy. The biggest problem was SoCal Gas. When I called the person on the phone told me that they could not turn out gas on for a week. This would mean we could not use our stove or hot water until they arrived. After some choice words, we had the date moved up, but not by that much. It was back to my days in Ireland with cold showers (except no immersion).
Our place also had no furniture. Yes, it was the return of the air mattress (still the best investment I have ever made). My room mate and I headed all over town, searching through thrift shops for kitchen and living room furniture. By the last stop, a man in charge of a thrift shop, offered to sell us a table, desk and couch for a reasonable price. He also offered to drive it all in his truck to our house. We could not say no! The guy also offered my dad a job because he was such a good helper. Meanwhile, I am still unemployed.
Our living room now features a blue plush chair, an ottoman (if you put pillows behind its like a cheap couch), a kitchen table and two chairs (one was a gift from our landlord and the other is my desk chair, which we use so that two people can sit at the kitchen table). Hopefully after we get some income, we can afford more chairs and maybe even a couch!
While my dad was here, we were able to do some fun things in between unpacking and setting up utilities. We went to the Professional Drum Shop (where my dad spent most of his days back in the 80s) as well as the DW Drum factory. We also found an amazing dinner near my apartment that we went to multiple times.
For the past weeks I have been applying to jobs non-stop. I wish I could give you more updates on the job front, but it is pretty stagnant. Since you cannot apply to jobs all day long, I have tried to go out and explore the area, but it becomes very hard when you have no income. Even parking at the beach is $20.
I was able to do some exploring, such as walking around downtown Culver City, hiking up the Baldwin Hills and Malibu. I have gone to the beach and searched some happy hour specials. We found a local brewery. I am never scared of getting bored here in Los Angeles.
In all my spare time, I spent an entire day at the DMV switching over my PA license. I know it is not necessary to change it over, but it was about to expire and I did not think I was going to be back in PA in time to renew. They do not make the process easy. Waiting at the DMV is like watching paint dry, or being forced to listen to Nickelback on repeat. After 6 hours and a 30 question multiple choice test, my new CA license comes in the mail in 2 weeks.
Sadly I must go back to the DMV to handle my license plate and car registration, but that is future Bonnie’s problem as of now!
I know us millennials use the term “adulting” all the time. You must remember in college that we learned the parts of a cell and not how to properly cook a meal or balance a checkbook. I feel slightly accomplished when finishing an adult activity, for instance like opening a checking and savings account in my name. Wow what a rush!
Now it’s time to enjoy the holiday and then continue on the job search. Until then please enjoy this photo about diarrhea that was on an apartment complex we toured.
As many of you know, I am moving to Los Angeles today. A month ago, or so I booked a one-way flight in hopes of finding a job in the entertainment industry. I still do not have a place to live or a job, but it is all part of the adventure.
I applied to some grad programs back in December, unsure if I wanted to go or not. After booking a one-way flight, I found out 2 weeks before leaving that I got into the Professional Program at UCLA. It is a one year program for comedy television writing and I am so excited to get started.
Before making plans to move and hearing about UCLA, I spent the past year living at home. After graduation, I had surgery and a long bed rest period. Even without surgery, I needed to save up enough money to eventually move out. I am beyond lucky that my parents were willing to let me live back home and take this time.
Although the comforts of home can be nice, being 23 and living in your parents’ house after college is not always the greatest time. I worked two jobs, almost 6 or 7 days a week. Making friends was almost impossible in Lafayette Hill. I spent months unsure of what I wanted to do next.
I found that the more I talked to people my age, the more similarities I discovered. 22/23 is a weird age. You finish college and then have no guarantee for a job or higher education. For most of us debt kicks in. When you move to a strange city or back home, it feels like a total start-over.
I always called this year “The Waiting Place.” When you graduate college, high school or have a huge life event, people always reference “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” The one thing I am sure that the book had right was “The Waiting Place.” (You may know this part of the book where people are waiting for the grass to grow or a check to clear) For me, it is a place in your life where you feel like you’re always anticipating the unknown. It could be hearing back from grad school or job applications. It could even be waiting for the time you move out of your parents’ house. Or just hoping you can quit your current job and move onto something you are more passionate about.
The only benefit of waiting is time. As a crazy planner, I spent my college years constantly busy with school, activities and social. I never had a moment to rest. It only took one day of staring at the ceiling on bed rest for me to realize that I cannot sit still. The year did lead to some amazing things though. For one, I had the opportunity to travel again. I went back to visit Alabama, I visited some friends in Minnesota and took a trip to Switzerland and Austria. Second, I saved up a ton of money so that I could move out to LA with a lot of backup. Third, I had the time to apply to grad programs and really think of my future.
I learned so much during this year:
- “Let go or be dragged”
I heard this quote from three of my favorite regulars at Cake. (Cake is the restaurant I worked at for 9 months in Philly this year) They had noticed I was not doing well that morning and offered it as advice. It had stuck with me through the year. There are so many ways to interpret the quote, but that is the thing I loved about it.
- Just because you have no idea what you’re doing with your life does not mean you are doing nothing.
This is maybe the quintessential feeling of being in your early 20s. When I was younger I thought that by 23 I would have it all figured out, living in my mansion and going to my amazing job. It turns out that you will never have it “all figured out.” Every day you are learning and growing and taking steps to progress forward. You may just not see the bigger picture yet.
- Book the flight, worry about the details later.
This is corny, but it is true that you will regret the things you did not do, then the ones you did. Travel is so important to me, but booking a flight does not mean you have to even fly somewhere far away and exotic. Just get in your car and go somewhere close by. Go on an adventure!
- Call that friend or plan a visit to see them. There is nothing more valuable than the people in your life. (This goes with #3)
When you are living at home on bed rest, you start to realize how silent your phone can become. People obviously reached out to me on bed rest, but sitting home all day makes you realize how small our interactions are with others. Pick up the phone and call that old friend. Invite a friend to a drink and actually talk. Trust me, they will be so happy you reached out. I can sometimes be a hypocrite and bad at keeping up with friends, but I am trying to be better!
Now I am off to move to LA, exactly a year after being put under for surgery. I could not have survived this year without the love and support of my family and friends. Cherish the time you have with family and friends from home because you never know when you will be on a flight chasing your dreams.
To all my friends who are graduating or just feel lost, enjoy your “Waiting Place.”
More updates to come about LA and hopefully new photos of my apartment (still need to find one of those). Until next time please enjoy this photo of my sister’s new adorable dog, Stella…
After our time in Innsbruck, we took a train to Salzburg. Our first stop was the Hellbrunn Palace, built in 1613 by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, Prine-Archbishop of Salzburg. Hellbrunn was used as a day residence in summer and is named for the clear spring that supplied it.
The palace is famous for its trick fountains. Markus Sittikus created these fountains to use as practical jokes on guests. (He basically liked shooting water at his friends. He might be my hero) Some of the trick fountains would be under seats or some coming out of the steps. All the fountains run on water and gravity alone, no electricity. There was even a small 1750 mechanical town that played Mozart music. The entire thing was run by a water organ.
On these grounds is the gazebo from The Sound of Music. There is a whole Sound of Music tour that you can do, but of course it is ridiculously priced and would take up our entire day of sightseeing.
Next we went to Hohensalzburg castle, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Inside the castle there was a giant timeline of events surrounding the construction of the castle to modern day. (You can look up all the details if you want) OF course, the theme of fire came up again and again. It seems as if these towns just keep burning down and building the same things.
After we went on a tour of the Stiegl brewery. The name comes from a set of steps (stiegl means steps) that led down to the waters of the canal in Salzburg. The tour included a generous beer tasting.
The next day we signed up for a tour of the salt mines. There are salt mine tours all over Austria. Honestly it was hard to hear during the tour, so I did not learn very much other than it how long it must have took to construct these mines by hand. The tour itself was strange and crazy. First you must put on these ghostbuster looking body suits. Then the guides squeeze you onto these trains that whip through small mine tunnels. Suddenly there is a laser light show and then you go down a toboggan slide. It was one of the strangest tours of my life.
On a side note, I tend to hate these guided tour things. We were with a group of other couples, families and people that did the tour with us. A lot of the older couples kept asking us where our parents were or just assuming that we had no idea what was going on because we looked young. Granted, I look 14, but the assumptions started to become annoying. So to people on tours…please stop talking down to younger people traveling.
Also there was a woman on our tour with her husband and three young children. This woman did not understand sarcasm and instead took every comment I made as a way to “mommy” me. As we were returning from the tour to return the ghostbusters uniforms, I made a comment to my sister about how I was going to steal the uniform and run off. This woman (who was not even in our conversation) turns around and tells me that I have to return the uniform and that the guide said so. I then went on to tell her I was telling a joke to my sister. She went on to not understand and then very slowly explain how we return the uniform. She always talked to me like I did not understand everything. It was like the woman at the post office that assumed I had no idea how to address a letter. Maybe its a young thing or blonde thing, I don’t know. Anyways it can be very frustrating when you are traveling.
Anyways back to the trip…
After the salt mine tour, we visited the Mirabell Palace. It has a famous marble hall that is used for concerts and weddings. Many people recognize the gardens from “Do, Re, Mi” in the Sound of Music.
When the sun was setting, we took a boat cruise tour. It was just a ride down the Salzach River. The old city, or Altstadt, is on the left bank, while the new city, or Neustadt, is on the right. The boat tour would have been interesting if I could actually hear anything over the sounds of screaming children and people talking. Fun fact: Apparently Mel Gibson and Tom Hanks once stayed at a fancy hotel in Salzburg (that is all I could catch from the guide).
The most important fact about Salzburg is that it is the birthplace of Mozart and home to a museum of his childhood instruments. The town is obsessed with Mozart. Even at the end of the boat tour, the boat spun in circles while “Rock Me Amadeus” blared on repeat. Salzburg is home to the Mozart ball, or Mozartkugel. It is a small round chocolate made of pistachio marzipan, nougat and dark chocolate. It was created in 1890 by Paul Fürst and named after Mozart. The handmade original ones are manufactured by Fürst’s descendants up to today. Of course many versions of the Mozart balls can be found all over Austria.
The next day we had to travel back to Zurich, since out flight back to New York left from there. We decided to leave Salzburg early so we would at least have a couple hours to explore Zurich.
We visited the Grossmünster, a Romanesque-style Protestant church (personally, I liked the name). Majority of the stained glass windows in the church are created by Sigmar Polke. I could not take pictures, but look it up because they are beautiful! Since it was Sunday, every other tourist site was closed. We at least got to walk around and see the outside of all the beautiful buildings in town.
For our last night we decided on fondue and raclette. Both of these dinners are focused on melted cheese so it was right up our alley. It was a great end to an amazing trip.
To get to why our flight to Europe was so cheap…
Our flight back home landed in JFK airport, but our next flight back to Philadelphia left out of Stewart International Airport, about an hour taxi ride away. Instead of taking the flight, it made more sense just to get a train back to Philly after leaving JFK.
We made it home safe and sound. More to come on my move to LA!
Until next time please enjoy this photo of me getting tricked by the trick fountains in all the right places!
From Feldkirch, Austria we took the train to Innsbruck, Austria for the next two days. We were staying in an Air Bnb. Our host was at work during our check-in and therefore could not hand us the keys to his apartment. Logically, he sent us a video through iMessage showing us where he was hiding the key so that we could then enter the apartment ourselves. Of course the key is on a window still that is too high up for us to reach. After awkward hops and glares from strangers, we obtained the keys and got into the apartment.
Fun fact: The apartment had no toilet paper and by the time we arrived all the pharmacies were closed.
Since we arrived on the later side, we decided on dinner and a quick walk around the main city center. At dinner we found out that the family next to us were from the US. Their youngest son was attending Alabama in the fall and their oldest was at UAB. ROLL TIDE ROLL! It is true that Bama fans are everywhere!
The next day was jam packed with all the tourist sites. First on our list was Hofkirche. It is a gothic church built in 1553 by Emperor Ferdinand I as a memorial to his grandfather Emperor Maximilian I. The construction of the memorial took over 80 years to complete. The cenotaph is surrounded by 28 statues of Maximilian’s relatives, friends and heroes. The whole things was a bit extra for me, but the guy was obsessed with being remembered after death.
The museum offered an immersive experience about Maximilian. Let me remind you that we speak no German and that there were no signs in English. First you enter a dark room with all these pictures of famous figures on the wall. Lights would shine on the photos and explain the history. It felt like the beginning of some Disney ride, but I was scared it might be another Edinburgh Dungeon tour experience. Out of nowhere a door on the other side of the room slams open to a giant planetarium and I scream. I start running for the door but a museum worker yelled at me in German and locked me inside. I am sure there was some kind of language barrier, but I was completely terrified. Finally I was able to open the door and sneak out of the exhibit.
After a small panic attack, we went on to tour the Imperial Palace. It was built by the Empress Maria Theresa, who wanted something more modern for the family. Maria Theresa was the only woman to ever head the Hapsburg dynasty. The main hall, known as Giant’s Hall, is filled with pictures of all her children and grandchildren. She referred to it as the family room.
The Habsburgs ruled Europe for almost 800 years and were highly influential in Innsbruck. Emperor Maximilian I made Innsbruck the centre of his empire in the 1500s. In 1500 he built The Goldenes Dachl, or the Golden Roof. The famous balcony has a golden roof decorated with 2,738 fire-grilled copper tiles in honor or his marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza. Maximilian and his wife would use the balcony to observe festivals, tournaments and other events in the main town square.
Next, we ventured to the top of Nordkette, which is a popular ski slope. Since it is not the ski season, tourists can venture to the top for hikes and beautiful views. The journey consists of a tram ride and multiple aerial lifts. The top peak had very strong winds and immediately the altitude made it hard to breathe. It was worth it for these amazing views!
That night we ordered a Sachertorte with dinner. It was invented by Austrain Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel Von Metternich in Vienna, Austria. The original recipe is kept secret by the Hotel Sacher. Of course we had to have the original! It is composed of a chocolate cake with apricot jam. It is quite delicious.
After a long day of sight seeing and tours, we headed to bed. We had to be up early for our journey to Salzburg. More to come on that, but until then please enjoy this photo of some inspiration quotes over beautiful alps…
After exploring Lucerne, Switzerland, we had to travel to Austria. Although we could have taken a direct train there, we noticed a tiny country (Liechtenstein) in between Switzerland and Austria and decided we should stop and see it.
We soon found out how difficult this stop would be. There is no main airport or train station in Liechtenstein because it is so tiny. After searching online, it seemed that the only way to reach this country was from a bus in Sargans, Switzerland. The only way to get to Austria from this country was to get back on the same bus to Feldkirch, Austria. Thus began our journey.
A train from Lucerne to Zurich
A train from Zurich to Sargans
Bus 11 Sargans to Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Since there is no airport, the only way to get a stamp in your passport is to go to the tourist information and pay 3 CHF. (Of course we had to get the stamp)
Some fun facts about Liechtenstein:
- It has an area of about 160 sq. km.
- It is the fourth smallest country in Europe
- It is a constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein
- The Prince of Liechtenstein is the world’s sixth richest monarch
- It has a monetary union with Switzerland and also enjoys one of the world’s highest standards of living
We only had a couple hours to explore, which is really all you need. The main thing to see is the Vaduz Castle, where the Prince resides. There is also a post stamp museum and an art museum. We hiked up to the castle, but you are not allowed inside.
Next, we headed back on bus 11 to Feldkirch, Austria, where we were spending the night. Our hotel was right outside the bus stop, but instead we walked the same streets for an hour with all our luggage trying to find it. Since my sister and I speak no German, it became clear that we were going to have some trouble getting around. Even ordering dinner was a challenge and a gamble.
Feldkirch is a small town and there are only a couple main things to do. We decided to tour Schattenburg Castle. It is a medieval castle where tourists can walk through all the old rooms. I don’t know why I always get a creepy vibe in old bedrooms, but maybe its the old weird children’s toys. Or maybe it was the fact that the beds have ceilings in order to protect from bugs falling on you at night.
After lunch, we took a train to Innsbruck for the next part of our journey. Until next time, please enjoy this photo of me taking advantage of the photo-op in the Liechtenstein tourist center…
On May 19th, my sister and I took a flight to Zurich, Switzerland. We spontaneously booked a cheap flight from Skyscanner (only on our flight home did we find out why it was so cheap, but I will get to that later), and decided to plan a trip around the flight.
Our connection was in London. On the first flight we met a woman who was traveling there to meet up with her fiance who lives there. They apparently met on Twitter (this guy actually slid into her DMs) and then went to visit each other only 3 times. Now they are getting married. I love all the stories of the people next to you on the airplane.
Since we would have to fly out of Zurich, we decided to save it for last and go straight to Lucerne from the airport. It is about 2 hours south of Zurich right in the center of the country. The first night we were super jet lagged and decided on a quick walk around the city and dinner. We soon learned how expensive it was just to eat dinner in Switzerland. Tap water alone cost about $5 for a small glass, so you can imagine how much a full meal would be. The food was amazing though!
The next day we started with a walking tour of the city. I am the nerd who brings a notepad and paper to take notes while on the tour, but I will not apologize for being interested in history. Also, I will not tell you everything from the walking tour, but just some things I found to be very cool.
Switzerland has four language regions; French, German, Italian and Romansh (a mixture of different languages based on Latin). Lucerne is in the German speaking portion. These languages are affected by the countries that border them. Lucky for us, we both speak no German.
Lucerne became an important trade route to Italy, since it had the only stream going north and south in the area. They became rich by imposing a tax on anyone using their trade route. By the 19th century, other modes of transportation led to new trade routes and the city then relied on tourism as their main source of revenue.
The original steam boat was made in Lucerne. Now they have 20 steam boats in the lake. Also, Lucerne had the longest and deepest train tunnel of its time to cross the alps into Italy. Lucerne built a triumphant arch on the train station where it used to be. In the 1970s the train station burned down and only the triumphant arch remains.
Like most European cities, Lucerne was under a myriad of owners, usually from fights of religion and power. In the 12th century it was under French rule. Then it was under the Holy Roman Empire and in the 14th century was under the Hapsburg family. After Napoleon, Lucerne was the capital. In the 19th century, they had their last civil war between the liberal Protestants and the conservative Catholics. The protestants won the war and the Catholic Lucerne refused to be the capital. Lucerne decided in trade for the museum of the country, they would allow Bern to be the new capital. Obviously there are way more details about Lucerne’s history, but you can look it up if you want.
The most famous bridge in Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge, which was built in the 14th century. The bridge is crooked (not straight across the water) because it linked the religious centers of the time (hence the name chapel bridge). In the 16th century, Catholic reformers painted panels on the bridge detailing Lucerne’s Catholic history. At the time, most people could not read (only the higher class), so the images stood as a way to remind the people of religion and its importance. The bridge burned down in 1993 (there seems to be a theme with this place and famous things burning down), but luckily they were able to preserve all the panels and replace most of the bridge.
There is another bridge called the Spreuer Bridge, which has panels decorated with death themes. They had skeletons, grim reapers and blood. The images were supposed to remind the people that everyone is equal beyond. For me, it was just kinda creepy and morbid. To each his own I guess.
There were a ton of bridges, but the only other one I will talk about is the Chaff bridge. Everyone in medieval times lived inside the fortification except the bakers because of fire danger (seems they were better prepared for fire dangers back in the day). The name stands for the chaff, or waste from making wheat, that was poured into the river downstream over the bridge.
After the walking tour we went up to Mount Pilatus. We took the worlds steepest cogwheel train to reach the top of the summit at 7000 feet. Then we took the aerial cablecar down the mountain. Both ways provide beautiful views of the Swiss Alps.
After another expensive, yet delicious meal, we went to bed early for the coming day of travel. More stories about our trip to come. Until then please enjoy this helpful map of all the public restrooms in Lucerne…
I am currently sitting on the terminal floor of Birmingham airport. I used to find myself here a couple times a year for holidays or doctors visits. This has been one of my longest stretches without flying here.
This past Friday I flew to Alabama to visit for the first time since graduating this past May. Luckily most of my friends were still in Tuscaloosa, so it felt as if I never left. I had wanted to go visit ever since I drove back to Philly and had surgery. Everyday on bed rest I would cross off the days till I could come back. Granted I was excited to just walk again, but I longed for normalcy and my Alabama routine.
If you are not one of the lucky few who gets a job right out of college, you are stuck in what I call “the transitionary phase,” where you are probably living at home, working odd jobs, and unsure where you will be when the new year comes. It may be one of the most terrifying things for any college student. Do not fear, most other people are feeling the effects of this phase.
I always thought I was independent in college. I thought I knew what I was doing and where I was going. It was not until I sat there on bed rest, staring at the ceiling did I finally understand why this phase in life existed. This place of no-man’s land was the reality check I needed.
As an avid planner, I get anxious when I do not have a life plan in order. This meant being on prolonged bed rest and having no job was maybe like being stuck in a maze with no end. Even on the darkest day, time continued to past. The days turned into weeks and then months.
This week was different. I went back to the place that I used to call home. For four years, it was all I knew. My friends were all here as well as my job and schedule. I hardly slept the night before flying out. What would it be like to go back to my second home?
I soon found out that it was no longer my second home. Not just because I no longer had my old apartment, but because the world had continued to move on as I tried holding onto the Alabama I knew almost a year ago. Do not get me wrong, I had an amazing weekend at Alabama. The tailgating, football game and spending time with old friends was great. This time I felt like a stranger on my own campus. I was a tourist, an outsider.
It was the wake up call I needed. To know that college is over, whether I like it or not. I can come back and visit as much as I want, yet the world will continue to move on there. My life will continue to move on. I left with tears in my eyes, not because I longed for that normalcy, but I was finally ready to get out of this transition period and make changes to move forward.
I remember my first week at Alabama. I came to the school not knowing a sole and even considered transferring within my first couple weeks. Maybe it was because of my Northern attitude or the fact that change was hard. If I could make this place home in four years, then I am excited for my future home and what it hold.
With all that being said, I decided you can never turn down an opportunity. I am applying for graduate school, planning to move to LA this January and trying to prepare for some positive changes.
To all my friends at Alabama, thank you for the amazing four years. You all have changed my life and I will always love you. It is time to get out of this transition rut and finally stop holding onto the past. It’s time for the next chapter.
Until next time enjoy this photo of me forever on the Waffle House wall from Bid Day 2013…
As many of you already know, I had surgery 6 weeks ago and finally finished bed rest 2 days ago. The surgery was female related and I will not go into detail on here. If you are curious, you can contact me PRIVATELY!
I have been dealing with these problems now for over 3 years, so as much as the surgery and recovery have been awful, I am beyond excited to live without pain again.
The surgery was in New York City at a surgical center next to Wall Street. There are only two doctors in the world that perform this surgery. The one I went to is based out of New York and Washington DC. The other is out of Tel Aviv, Israel. Obviously I opted to get the surgery done in NY, since it is the closest to my house in Philly. I am beyond lucky to live so close to these cities because I cannot imagine having to travel so far just to get a surgery done.
Since the surgery was at 7:00am, we stayed at a hotel in New York the night before. I was put to sleep for the surgery and honestly I do not remember much of what happened while we were at the surgical center. I do remember that the blood pressure machine was broken, and at first my pressure read numbers that would have declared me dead. They figured out it was broken after a third try.
Right after surgery, a nurse checked my vitals and the doctor suggested that we drive me home while the pain medicine was still going strong from the anastesia. I could not walk or wear pants. My dad pulled the car up to the center while my mom got me into a dress and used a wheelchair to push me towards the car. There I was in the middle of Wall Street, watching the business people in suits, as I was wheeled out, half awake, blood running down my legs. I wonder if anyone noticed, or if they just shrugged it off because you see much worse in NYC.
I am so glad that we got on the road home when we did. Mid-way through the car ride, the pain meds started to wear off and I could feel every stitch. I usually have a very high pain tolerance. For example, I recently got stung by a jellyfish and laughed. Blood and needles do not freak me out. This was the first time I ever was in unbearable pain and actually screamed.
The first 24-72 hours were the worst in terms of pain. Really it was not until the second week, that the pain dimmed down enough for me to go off pain meds.
The bed rest period was 6 weeks long. During these 6 weeks, I was not allowed to separate my legs, since it could risk breaking the stitches. Also, I was not allowed to sit up (like in a chair or on the couch), since I could break the stitches by putting pressure there. This meant my only two options were to lay down with my legs together, or stand up with my legs together. I am sure you are probably curious about a couple things upon hearing this, I know I was too during the pre-op.
So, here goes, hopefully your questions are answered below:
Since I had to keep my legs together, walking normally was out of the questions. Instead, I did more of a shuffle. (Yes, everyday I’m shuffling) I moved extremely slow. For the first week, I was completely bed ridden and the only time I would even move, was to go to the bathroom 4 times a day.
I was not allowed to use the steps for a week. When we first arrived home after surgery in NY, my dad physically lifted me by the shoulders up each step. I spent an entire week only seeing two rooms in my house (my bedroom and my bathroom). To go down the steps, I had to go backwards while keeping my thighs together. Sadly, insurance does not allow you to get that chair that goes down the steps like the movie “Up.”
I will let you use your imagination here. I had to use something called a “sitz bath.” You can look it up if you are that inclined. Also, that time of the month as a girl was the worst. It happened twice during the bed rest period. I was not allowed to wear anything, so it was just a complete mess. It is crazy to think that girls in third world countries do not have access to tampons or pads. I could barely last two months not using them.
Showering does not require that you move your legs apart. I stood in the shower and had help. Remember to appreciate the fact that you can shower yourself.
Since you cannot eat or digest food while laying down, eating became a difficult task. For the first week, we propped a pillow behind me so that I could attempt to semi sit-up. After that, I just stood up to eat. While everyone sat at the dinner table, I stood at our kitchen counter a couple feet away. This was actually one of the hardest parts for me. I so badly wanted to just sit down in a chair and eat normally with my family.
I had to keep my legs together while sleeping. If you want to know what that is like, trying laying flat on your back and keep your legs together straight. After about 5 minutes, you will start to feel shooting pain down your legs. After a week, I was able to maneuver onto my side, while keeping my legs together. No matter what positions I was in, my knees would have sharp pains. It is safe to say that I did not get much sleep during the 6 weeks.
Majority of my days were spent watching TV. It was hard to do pretty much anything else, since I could not sit up at all. Everyone kept telling me how jealous they were that I got to relax all day watching Netflix, while they went to work. I have to say, first of all this was not “relaxing.” My knees and legs would stiffen from not moving. My neck and back would constantly ache (scoliosis and whiplash did not help with that). My eyes would hurt from staring at the screens and I would get headaches constantly. Also, watching TV and laying down is great for a day, but soon all you want to do is leave the house.
During the 6 weeks, I could not leave my house. The most I was able to leave was a quick shuffle onto the porch and back into my living room. After week 2 of bed rest, the simplest outings sounded like a dream. I would have given anything just for a trip to the grocery store or bank.
Some days were just awful. There is not a light way to put it.
It was sometimes the strangest things that would get me through the weeks. The first was the Bachelorette, which I watched every Monday. It was a good gage of how much time had passed. Every Monday, it was exciting to say that I made it through another week. Plus, dramatic TV is a great way to forget about your own struggles. I watched every single episode of Game of Thrones, which was great. Still confused as to where Gendry is, but other than that it is one of my favorite TV shows now!
I watched the entire Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Soon I became obsessed with politics. I am guilty of posting a myriad of political articles to Facebook. Typically, I hate people that do that, but when I was so bored, it seemed the only way I could keep myself busy. It was nice though to have some time to really research politics. If you want to have a heated debate with me over candidates, I will be more than happy!
Speaking of politics, I am not going to go off on which candidate you should support, but I do want to bring an issue to your attention. This of course is female health care. It has been a debated topic and some politicians want to defund places such as Planned Parenthood.
As I mentioned earlier, my surgery was female related. The issues I had have nothing to do with promiscuity and more to do with genetics and nerve endings. I want to emphasize that because a lot of times people do not want to help women with these types of issues because they assume that it is because of their promiscuity or the fact that they are a “slut.” THIS IS NOT TRUE!
For me, I am very lucky! First of all, I have a very supportive family, who were open to talking to me about any issue. My parents were willing to put their lives on hold to take care of me. This surgery requires that you have full time help. I could not shower by myself or make food. For the first week, I needed help just walking to the bathroom. Most people do not have parents, family members, or friends that can take off work to help you.
Second, I just graduated college with no job. I did not apply to any jobs on purpose, because I knew no place would hire me knowing that I could not start for at least 2 months after surgery. For a lot of people, taking 2 months off of work is impossible. This is not a surgery where you can return to work with ease. You need at least 6 weeks to recover and a lot of times, women must decide between getting surgery and keeping their job. Some women with my condition will live with pain their entire lives because they will never be able to take enough time off work and keep their job. Taking 6 weeks off, probably unpaid, also leaves most people in a very bad situation. Again, I was lucky to be living at home and not having to worry about paying rent during these months.
Third, I have the financial means. This surgery, like most female surgeries like it, was not covered at all by insurance. Of course the male version of the surgery was covered, which I could rant about for days, but I will spare you here. This was not just the $10,000 out of pocket cost to get the surgery, there were also the travel and medicine costs. The cost of gas to get to and from NY as well as the parking, hotel rooms and doctors appointments can add up. I was able to have help from my grandparents and parents so that we could afford to get this surgery and everything that needed to be done for recovery. Most people do not have that kind of money to lay out.
As I mentioned earlier, there are only two doctors who perform this surgery. I learned throughout this entire process, that there is little to no research done on female health care. Most of the time, I was taking trial medication, because there was not even a known cure yet. Thousands of women struggle with the same issues everyday and sadly do not have the same opportunities as myself. When politicians want to defund places such as Planned Parenthood, you are taking away the opportunity for a women to live a pain free life, who may not be able to afford the initial visit to the only specialist in New York. There is so much research that needs to be done and so much sexism and bias that surrounds the issues.
My hope is that one day, after more research, women like me will not have to take trial medications for 2 years with awful side effects. Maybe women will be able to heal quicker after surgery or a cure will be found that does not require surgery.
My post-op was on August 4th. It was my first time walking, sitting and leaving the house after a month and half. The only problem was that I was still in extreme pain. It turns out that I was the lucky one whose dis-solvable stitches did not dissolve. They were painfully plucked out with tweezers before I could even say the words “pain meds please!”
After that, slowly, but surely, things have gotten better. For starters I am able to walk and sit upright. There is still some pain from the stitches, but each day there is less pain. Hopefully within a week, I will be pain free.
The other problem is that I am exhausted. My leg muscles especially are having a hard time adjusting. I have to laugh at myself though. Earlier today I tried putting a shirt into a lower drawer. As I bent down my entire leg gave out and I toppled to the floor. Always a fun way to start your morning.
Now I wait to slowly get back on my feet and after about 3-4 weeks, I can start physical therapy.
Just want to take a moment to thank my family and friends who have supported me through the entire process, especially my mom, who put her life on hold to take care of me for 6 weeks straight!
After everything is said and done, I have really learned to love everything that you do in a day. This includes simple things, like going out to eat, or walking around Target or even just taking a long shower. Things are starting to get better. They always do.
Until next time, please enjoy this photo of me enjoying the great outdoors while on pain meds…