Category Archives: Life

Renting Sight Unseen

The first time I rented an apartment sight unseen, I went on the recommendation of my newly found roommates. I was in Idaho and moving to Wisconsin for school in a month and grateful to snatch up anything offered to me. When I finally did see it, I was not impressed.

In fact, I texted my sister: “Oh my gosh, what have I done?! This place sucks!”

Except in one of those worst-case scenarios that seem to only happen in movies, I accidentally didn’t text my sister. I texted my new roommates.

And, uh, needless to say, that was not a great way to start that relationship. It went downhill from there.

With COVID restricting in person visits, I once again found myself signing a lease for an apartment sight unseen. I had pictures, but not nearly enough. Still, I signed the lease and waited two months to see if my gamble would pay off.

Yesterday I picked up my keys. I got lost on the way to the apartment complex, got lost trying to find the leasing office, and got confused trying to find my actual unit. I was hot, I was running late, and I was extensively cranky. It did not bode well for my new place. I could hear the ‘I told you so’ with every step I took.

But guess what? I like the place! It is big and comfortable with a nice wide balcony and large rooms. And has an in-unit washer and dryer! Honestly, I’d probably be satisfied with a dump if it meant in-unit laundry.

A Slightly Less Dumb Smartphone

A year ago I went to Wal Mart and bought a $35 smartphone. I was broke after returning from abroad and figured it would get me through the next two months before my student loans kicked in.

It lasted me a year.

And for almost every day of that year, I promised myself next time I would buy a real smart phone. A not-dumb-smart phone. One with an actual, decent camera.

Alas, today my dumb smart phone slipped dramatically from my hands and smashed quite dramatically right before I walked into work. I thought maybe I could keep using it anyway but turns out a cracked screen hurts your fingers when you try and use it. I still thought I could shoulder on, but then I tried reading an ebook and my fingers pricked every time I turned a page.

Nope, needed a new phone. Not a dumb smart phone. A real one.

I marched confidently into Wal Mart. And then nearly turned around and marched out. Do you know how expensive phones are?!

So I spent $100. I officially have a slightly-less-but-still-dumb smart phone. With an OtterBox. Because apparently I’m prone to dramatic slips that send my phone flying.

In other news, I am pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to transition phones. Gets easier each time.

Another Dead Streak

It amazes me how I can go 108 days blogging in a row and then just forget to blog one night. Argh! I am so aggravated with myself. I even knew what I wanted to blog about too. Someday I will make it a full year! (Maybe I already have? It seems to me the streak I lost in January was a particularly lengthy one.)

Here we go again! Welcome to Day 1 😉

Have a Picnic

I e-mailed my boss a question about an article I’m writing for work. He responded:

“Hello there. It is Memorial Day. Go have a picnic.”

If you are looking for me, I will be wandering around aimlessly outside.

Days Off

I’ve been rather lackadaisical since taking my last exam. I keep telling myself I will do the things I pushed off while finishing this past semester, but then I don’t do the things. It has reached the point where my friend sent me this meme and said: this is you.

And she’s not wrong. But also…ouch?

Eating Healthy

Bethany and I have been trying to eat healthy. Or, to be more precise, I am trying to eat healthier and by virtue of me cooking for her, Bethany eats healthy.

Day 1: Baked salmon with baked sweet potatoes and avocados.

Day 2: Leftover baked salmon and sweet potatoes with salad.

Day 3: We give up and eat frozen pizza.

All things in moderation, right?

The Allure of New

I have a problem.

I love shiny, new opportunities. 

Or maybe even dull, old opportunities. 

I realized that today after I got off the call with an experienced attorney and friend of mine who asked if I had looked into clerking for a judge. (I guess this is the part where I inform all of you like I did him that I did, got far in the interview process, and did not get the clerkship.) I thought I reconciled myself to not choosing that path. But hanging up the phone with him, I found the little voice in my head went into overdrive. 

What if, what if, what if. What if I’m settling. What if I don’t even know it. What if something better is just around the bend and I’m missing it because I’m not putting in just a teeny bit more effort. 

And my day wasn’t done. A few minutes later I got an e-mail from a former employer of mine. In essence, he asked “Are you committed to your current job yet? Because if not, I have a really incredible job opportunity…Wouldn’t want to steal you if you had committed though…”

Ohohohohohohohohohohoho was I intrigued. 

I politely said I was committed but thank you for thinking of me.

Inside though my sense of adventure pricked up its ears like a hound dog. New, new, new, new, new.

New adventures! New unknowns! New opportunities! Why am I caging myself in?!

It is funny because often on this blog I bemoan change. I talk about how frustrated I feel moving frequently. About church hopping because I’m rarely in one city consistently. About missing stuff because I’m off chasing an adventure.

I feel like it is a constant war inside of me. Stability versus adventure. But my friend gave me some good advice while I bemoaned my frustration with saying no to new opportunities.

“Contentment is a virtue that takes work.” 

And so, even though my itch for the unknown threatens to overwhelm me, I’m going to ignore it. Because I’m excited for the new in front of me. I’m excited for my new job. And I’m excited for the summer and another apartment in Madison. This may not look like new opportunity, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t new. And it is good. It is good even though I don’t feel content, because contentment is a virtue that takes work. 

Mailing Packages

I love buying gifts for people. But problematically, most of my friends live far away and I am not always so great at following up and mailing the gifts. 

Case in point: today I mailed my friend her Christmas present.

Actually, today I mailed 7 packages. And got two letters out. And then came home and realized I forgot about another possible package. Whoops.

It all ended up being quite the adventure, though. I dragged Bethany with me and the first post office I went to didn’t have any big enough boxes in storage for most of my gifts so then I went to Office Depot to pick up supplies and realized I could send through FedEx there. Turns out, it would have been a lot faster to grab the supplies and gone back to the post office because none of the employees felt confident about working their super slow computer to print the labels and everything took 5x longer than I expected.

But they did half-jokingly offer Bethany and I a job after seeing our great packaging skills. 

By the time we left , I realized I accidentally left another gift in the car so then we went to a second post office where I apparently grabbed the not-yet-on-sale Father’s Day envelope instead of the actually on-sale Mother’s Day envelopes. (The one I grabbed was blue and seemed a better option than pink and hearts. IDK.)

But at least I finally got them all out!

Busy Social Distancing Life

My sister Anna pointed out at the beginning of social distancing that somehow her life felt busier than when she physically went to school because everyone now expects her to have time to do stuff online with them. But she still has all her old responsibilities. 

I felt that today! Class and papers and projects and student elections and video chats with friends. Somehow I managed to double-book my evening and come Monday I know I am double booked again.  

I appreciate it, though! It has been fun seeing how intentional everyone has become about reaching out to friends far away. 

And did I mention how awesome the parodies have been? Just listen…

The Apartment Hunt (And Other Reflections On Life)

I used to love apartment hunting. When I first moved to Madison, few things gave me as much joy as plotting my inevitable release from the one bedroom apartment I shared with two other people. I loved touring apartments. I loved spending hours on different websites comparing layouts and designs. It felt so grown up.

But I have to admit, as I contemplate my 17th move in 8 years, I am thoroughly sick of apartment hunting. 

I think it is mostly moving around Madison. For the, like, half a second when I thought I was moving to Texas, the new adventure stirred me with excitement and I probably would have jumped in with enthusiasm. But as I’m fairly committed to Wisconsin for at least the next year, no new adventure exists. I know the housing options in Madison. I’ve studied them carefully. And I know what it will cost to exit student housing into the “real world.” Eek. 

I tried passing off the apartment hunt on Bethany, but she demonstrates extreme indifference towards where we live, so there went that plan. (Actually, I take that back. She is quite opinionated if I suggest a place she considers cheap, sketchy, or somehow uninteresting. But don’t expect her to locate a place on her own. It won’t happen. Sorry. That sounds passive aggressive. She truly is a good roommate. I like living with my sister. But did I mention I’m sick of apartment hunting?) 

So, I’m back to apartment hunting. If I want to torture myself, I sometimes look at townhouses for sale instead and imagine having a place that is mine. A place where I can paint the walls or tear up the carpet or replace the shelving. A place that means permanence and roots. 

It is a weird dichotomy. On the one hand, I crave the adventure that comes with somewhere new. On the other, I’m getting a little tired of new. I’ve done new a lot. I’ve done Tennessee, England, Idaho, Colorado, and Thailand. And Wisconsin. A lot of places in Wisconsin. 

It comes down to impatience, mostly. I’m e-mailing with an apartment complex now. I think the person I am talking to checks their e-mail once a day. At least, that’s the response rate. And I’m impatient. I want to just apply and move forward already. But I also have questions. 

So goes life. I want to know what I am doing post-August. I want to live in a place I won’t move from in a month, or half a year, or a year. I want a job that says permanence. Because I’m impatient and sometimes forget I’m only 26. 

The process of becoming is a challenging one. Whether it means impatience in housing, impatience in education, impatience in social distancing, I just want to move forward. But the becoming is important. Through the angst, I develop the person I am. The person I will become. I learn the lesson I’m supposed to learn. But gosh darn it, sometimes I wish I’d just learn it already. 

I named this blog “fernweh,” meaning homesickness for the abroad. Sometimes, though, I feel the opposite. I feel homesickness for the familiar. I wish I’d just settle, plant roots, and be content. But always in that feeling, I feel the itch. The itch for new. The itch for other. 

And so I apartment hunt. Because maybe tomorrow someone, somewhere, will list something that somehow combines my desire for ‘new’ with my desire for ‘home.’ 

And, wow, does that feel like an angsty way to end this post. But I’m feeling angsty today! I promise to calm down once I’ve settled on a new apartment.