Freshly Stressed

I haven’t been blogging that long, only a few months really. And, I will readily admit that I am not nearly as dedicated as other bloggers; it’s a miracle if I write a new post every week…even though I look up my stats daily. (What! I just want your approval so much! I want to know that I’m loved!) Fairly soon into my blogging experience I discovered Freshly Pressed. If, for whatever strange reason, you don’t know what that is, please allow me to explain. On the WordPress homepage, there is a tab for Freshly Pressed, which is supposedly the best blog posts from that moment. I was actually pleasantly surprised that I liked (and am now following) many of these blogs due solely to discovering them on Freshly Pressed. When reading that person’s follow-up posts they would always express the shock and excitement of being one of the acclaimed and the number of new readers they gained because of it. Well…people…I want that experience! I want it! Since I felt that overcoming surge of envy and jealousy I keep thinking that my next post will be on that elusive tab. Gosh darnit! I’ve tried to write some fun posts with cute pics (more fun than my normal posts), but as of yet, I have not gained that exclusive status of Freshly Pressed. Let me tell you, it has become exhausting trying to be the best. (Okay, so I don’t really try that hard, but it’s always in the back of my mind.) Seriously though, I’ve had some brainstorming sessions trying to think of witty posts or interesting photos to include…and usually I end up with bupkis. I guess I should just forget about the whole thing; it’s not as though I don’t have enough stress in my life. After all, I’ve never been the best of the best. It’s not as though I started this blog with the intention of becoming an internet sensation. We all know that’s what sex tapes are for, and I do porn under a different name. I’m just kidding! (Or am I?) In truth, I started this blog to have a creative outlet in my life, to have the freedom of doing something somewhat anonymously, but still truthfully. So…I’ve made the decision…for my own good…to leave the dream behind.

Freshly Pressed, you made me freshly stressed (that’s some clever rhyming right there) and I’ve decided it’s best for both of us if I move on. I don’t need you looking down on me, with your constant disapproval! I don’t need you cheating on me with other blogs! I’m better than this, I’m better than you! I’m going to do things for me! This Vagabond is moving on, and not looking back. I have friends (not many), I have people in my life that like my blogs and read them constantly (complete lie), so I don’t need your love. I’m going back to the way this all started; I’m going to write for me, just for me, and no one else. I will share my experiences and my photos for the simple joy of sharing them, and I will want nothing in return.

And, Freshly Pressed, just to prove that I am over you….here is a photo of a giraffe.

 

Vagabond Volunteer

How are you my little lovely Vagabond readers? I’ll be honest with you, things have gotten tough here in Sand Land. I will be writing more details soon, but I was “let go” from the program that I worked for and am in search of a new one to retain my VISTA status. Whilst looking for a new and improved non-profit to love me, I’ve been spending a lot of time volunteering. It has actually made my quality of life so much better! I can proudly say that thanks to volunteering I have lovely new friends that appreciate my quirkiness as well as a possible job opportunity should I be destined to leave the VISTA title behind (plus, I got to make a fabulous wind sock today!). Also, I have continued teaching my student from my last program. Today, we went over the sounds that letters make as he was able to read very simple words, but only with much help. I finally noticed that he kept pronouncing the letters by their names instead of the sounds they make. At the end of the lesson, I had him write out “My name is Noe”. When he put down the pen he looked up at me and smiling said, “Oh my God!”. This is a 50-year-old Hispanic man who was never allowed to go to school, and has minimal English skills. He said I was so patient and he thanked Jesus for sending me to him. I had already told him that I was no longer employed with the program through which I became his teacher, but I said that I would keep coming for our lessons as long as he wanted me to. Now, knowing that I don’t HAVE to, he especially thanks me at every class, and he asked God to watch over me. While I’m not a particularly religious person, I took the blessing with the intent it was given. (And it was really gratifying to hear him use some curse words while speaking about my former boss…in Spanish, course)

I know this sounds like a love letter to myself, but what I wanted to point out was that by doing things I don’t HAVE to do, my heart has been touched, and I’ve made new wonderful friends. More than once, I went to teach Noe not really “in the mood”, and I always leave feeling uplifted and happy. Through volunteering at a children’s museum, I’ve met people I enjoy being around and that enjoy being around me. Also, I get to have fun with kids without having to really “take care” of them. As a former nanny and daycare worker…I eventually developed a dislike of children, but now I’m back to having fun with them…and dare I say it….actually thinking it possible to have one of my own. (Don’t tell my Mom…or the baby talk will never stop!)

The point of this blog, dear readers, is to inspire you to get out into your community and become involved. You never know how it will change your life, or how you will change the lives of others. Go forth and volunteer..be all the Vagabond you can be!

The Story of Strasbourg~Food and Pretties

Okay, I’m sure some of you Vagabond Readers…all four of you…are getting tired of these posts full of fabulous photos! So, I will try to make this my last one about Strasbourg. This one will contain pictures of food and other pretty things, like houses. By the way, what is it about pictures of food items? Is this a craze? When I see pictures of food I’m simultaneously annoyed and intrigued.This was a seriously delicious…..something or other. I can’t remember what it was, but I remember that I also ordered an onion tart…which this is not. No matter; they were both amazing! My view whilst eating the above deliciousness. And this is the pretty restaurant where we ate! It was my first official (meaning not a coffee or sandwich) restaurant experience in Strasbourg. I just love this photo! And yes, I did actually see women scrubbing their front stoop!Oh, what? Yes, Rapunzel lives here. At the pastry and bread shop, Au Pain de Mon Grand Pere.Spaetzle with sauerkraut and lardons.The interior of my favorite coffee hang out! This was the one and only occasion during which I sat inside to sip my cappuccino. The most beautifulest avenue in Strasbourg!Inside the Council of Europe….though I have no idea what the fake-vine decor is about. Or were they real vines??I just love the sight of this. This window is in something between and alley and a courtyard…but there is still greenery! I love it!A Bretzel anyone? Yes. the “B” is intentional!And I leave you with a photo of our last meal in Strasbourg comprised of traditional Strasbourgian food!

The Story of Strasbourg~Canals (water makes everything better)

So, you guessed it! In this episode of The Story pf Strasbourg I will be posting many photos featuring canals and water! Maybe it’s just me, but water makes everything better. Even though I was in Strasbourg during the summer, in a building with no air conditioning and no fan, it never got too hot thanks to the canal that circles the city. Also, kind of like the arch in St. Louis or the mountains near Reno, the canal acted as a point of reference. Whenever I became lost or turned around, I just had to find the canal. I spent hours crossing every bridge, seeing the city from every angle….and the best always involved the cathedral (see that post here) or the canal. I hope one day I get to visit Venice. Can you imagine the photo opportunities there?! Yes, I am quite addicted with water. But I grew up next to the Gulf! What did you expect? Yeah, I’m a water baby (that’s what my Mom calls me).How can you help but love this photo! Not only does it feature beautiful and quaint buildings, but they are situated on the gorgeous canal!I believe this was a botanical garden, or something to that effect. Here is a combination of two things I love: water, and plants that reside in water! I have quite the affinity for Weeping Willows, Lily Pads, and Water Lilies (actually, I like any type of lily). Is this a beautiful photo? Yes. Yes it is. Could it get more picturesque? No. We have cottages, we have water, we have a stone bridge. Period. And here we have the pedestrian bridge linking France and Germany! Imagine….bridging the distance between two countries! Do ya get it? Do ya get it??!!
And here I leave you, dear vagabond readers, until the next installment of The Story of Strasbourg…duh duh DUH!!!!!! 🙂

 

The Story of Strasbourg~Statues and Things

Continuing on my journey down memory lane, back to the summer I spent studying French in Strasbourg, France. There are so many anecdotes and photos to share that I’m breaking them up…plus it keeps you readers coming back for more! So, without further adieu….

This may not seem like anything special to you, but this facade is the home of so many memories! This was the lovely (and sometimes exasperating building) in which I was housed for a month. It had no air conditioning, no elevator (and of course I was on the fourth floor), small showers, maze-like corridors, etc, but whatever its faults it redeemed itself by having an amazing view. Plus, I was lucky enough to have a corner room, which meant that I had a balcony! From this very balcony I took a barrage of photos of the city skyline (including many of the photos from the last post), the canal, and anything else I found interesting. When I grew tired of walking around the city or being surrounded by my school chums (many of whom were quite annoying) I would sit on the edge of that balcony and gaze down at the passersby, or while away the hours singing along with my favorite artists.

This is from one of the many plazas in Strasbourg, although this one is the most “American”. Very close to this most beautiful building sat a McDonald’s, Claire’s, and a Starbucks! Located in yet another plaza. I love carousels, though I have absolutely no idea why. Maybe it has something to do with their vintage charm…or perhaps I’m still waiting for the carousel animals to come to life and carry me off a la Mary Poppins. I’m not entirely sure, but I believe that this is part of the original wall that used to surround the city. The small plaque that you see was marking it as a historical object, and I snapped this charming photo during a scavenger hunt of the city’s history. The two photos above are of the sculptures on either side of the entrance to the cathedral. My neck was sore for staring up at them, not wanting to miss a single detail. If I remember correctly, these sculptures are meant to depict the righteous crushing the wicked (and spearing them to boot! Do you like your wicked well done or medium rare?). The righteous are supposedly angelic beings, and are depicted as women wearing flowing robes and Grecian dresses, and they are all crowned and carrying spears. What creeped me out horribly was the expression on their faces, and on the faces of the wicked. If you look closely you can make out their malevolent and malicious smirks, and the tortured faces of the wicked (if you’re looking for something to turn you off of religion, this will do it). I believe that a sculpture of Mary holding baby Jesus sits above the main entrance. ( I do have a picture of that…but almost all depictions of Mary and Jesus look alike, and this one was no different.)Here is another story told through sculpture, and while still on the facade of the cathedral, does not sit next to the entrance. This is actually quite an interesting story, and one that many tourist never notice. In the bible (somewhere in Mathew) there is a story about the devil disguising himself as a handsome young man in order to seduce the virgins of the village. Of course, if one were to look closely, you can see the serpents and toads crawling up the young man’s back because the devil can never completely hide his character. Next to the man are the virgins who, of course, are sporting foolish and besotted expressions. Who wouldn’t fall for a guy that looks like a douche, but is holding an apple?! Yes, apparently fruit is the downfall of all women…(insert a horrible amount of sarcasm). There is a legend surrounding the cathedral and the square.

The Devil was riding on the wind surrounding the cathedral when he saw his likeness on the facade. He thought it to be very charming, and, conceited fool that he is, thought that there might be more statues of his likeness inside the building…a building possibly devoted to him. (How he missed the one of Jesus, I’ll never know.) The Devil entered the building, immediately trapping himself inside the holy place. To this day he makes the wind howl from top to bottom and around the cathedral searching for a way out.

Well, dear readers, I hope I have entertained and educated you with my random (though lovely) photos, and anecdotes. Check back soon for another trip down the memory lane of this Vagabond!

*I share my photos in order to give you a look into a world that you might have not seen. Inspect them, share them, use them, but please never claim them as your own.