Becoming a Queen

I was woken this morning by my aching head.  Before I drank water, took Tylenol, and put a cool pack on my head, I checked my email.  I received an email that I received another merit scholarship from my university, which surprised me.  The surprise, however, was drowned out by the distress I was experiencing…

I’m going into my final semester of school in January…and I have no idea what I want to do with myself after I complete my degree.  Everybody says that they didn’t know either, and they joke that at fifty, they still don’t know what they want to do…but it’s incredibly unhelpful.  The direction I seem to be leaning toward now, though, is to take a gap year between graduation and a “career.”  I feel like this is unacceptable to do like…I’m graduating and I am uninterested in something related to my major that would provide me with medical benefits?  After four years, scholarships, and tons of hard work, this is what I’m choosing to do with my time?

I guess I feel like I’d be wasting my time by taking a gap year because I feel like there is this expectation to get a career-type job and therefore I feel pressured to do that too, although the idea of it makes me miserable.  And I’m making myself miserable by considering what feels right to me.  What feels right to me is to take a gap year.

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Time Flies

I don’t understand how so much time has passed since I last wrote…it’s crazy.  I’m soooo unprepared for the speed at which time is flying because I have so much work to do for my thesis before the semester ends and I have to stop kinda failing an economics class…keep me in your thoughts.

Anyway…I’m about to embark on finishing the draft for the first chapter of my thesis.  It is rough, so hopefully, I can significantly improve it by the time the official copy is due.

Aside from that…some updates!

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Swallowed by the Grey

Everything has felt so miserable.  I haven’t done anything fun because of school, which I’m not doing too well in anyway…my bestie didn’t come to visit me for Halloweekend this year and I’ve been spending most of my weekends wallowing in my room.  I can’t wait for this semester to end and to graduate, but when that happens, I’ll be going back home and I won’t be seeing my girlfriend nearly as frequently.  Our relationship will change because we’ll be in two different places, both physically and emotionally.  We only live about an hour away from each other but if I’m working full-time (at this rate, I won’t be because I stopped applying for jobs) and she’ll be at school full-time…we’ll have different, busy schedules.  I don’t think it’ll negatively impact our relationship but I’ll just miss seeing her every day and I’ll miss spending as much time together.  I also won’t be seeing my sister as much…I’ll miss being at school with her.

My birthday is tomorrow and my sister and I may not have a voice due to laryngitis caused by allergies.  Dinner with our parents will be incredibly silent.  This happened to me last February for the first time since elementary school, and I was hoping it wouldn’t happen again but alas, it appears it will.

I’m quite sad that tomorrow is my birthday…I am not where I want to be.  Then again, I’m never satisfied with where I’m at.  Why is that?  What will it take for me to be happy, even if I’m not “the best?”  Why make myself miserable?  How can I change the way I value my life so that I’m positive and kinder to myself?  Perhaps value societal expectations of me less?  Perhaps value academic excellence less?  Perhaps value the way I feel about myself more? How do I go about valuing myself more?

Anyway…I went to the city on Saturday to combat all this negativity.  I went with my girlfriend because we had been talking about wanting to go for forever but for one reason or another, we haven’t been together yet.  It was pretty spontaneous because we kept going back and forth with it but then we both got train tickets and hopped on the train and we were off!

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The Autumn Harvest

 

I just had my first midterm this semester and I think I bombed it, which is depressing.  I had a nice lunch with my girlfriend afterward though and now I’m in my room relaxing before I pick her up to go to Trader Joe’s.  A Trader Joe’s just opened in the area and we went once already a couple of weeks ago but we’re going to go again today.  After that, I’m going to do some work around the apartment like do laundry, sanitize my room, finalize my resume and apply for some jobs, and study for my last midterm on Friday.  I’m less stressed about it but I have a ton of preparation to do still.

Anyway…I’m considering seeing my therapist again because I’ve been feeling a little depressed.  I’ve unfortunately been taking it out on my girlfriend a lot as well as my family…but she suffers more because I’m around her more frequently than I am with my family.  It’s not fair to her and I don’t like constantly picking fights with her because I’m in a bad mood.  I’ve been doing several things to take care of myself such as yoga, cooking, and writing…perhaps I don’t need more outlets though…perhaps I need to do more professional and future plan-related development.  I’ve done a ton of that but I feel like it’s been futile so…I feel stuck.

Anyway…let’s talk about food!

The first dish I made with my girlfriend, and it’s pizza!  We made this over the summer, in late August.  We made several errors here…one is that we used way too much dough for the small pizza tray we had, and ended up with deep-dish style pizza.  I don’t quite remember what we put on the pizza…she did most of the work.  I was doing a puzzle but she added mushrooms, jalapenos, three or four different cheeses, pepperoni…spinach probably…onions…yeah it was intense.  The toppings were great but because she added so many of them and because there was too much dough, the toppings all fell into the center.  I think the pizza would’ve been better if we executed the dough part better.

The next two pictures are two different adaptations of tomato sandwiches.  My family friend’s mom grows tomatoes so he brought some over and my mom decided to make tomato sandwiches to really savor the freshness of them.  Tomato sandwiches consist of toasted bread, a thin layer of mayo on both sides, fresh torn basil, and then the tomatoes! it’s super easy and it really highlights the deliciousness of the tomatoes.  The first version is with Italian bread, which is great but cuz it was so crusty, the tomatoes slipped out.  The sliced bread was better because the tomatoes stayed inside.  When I went back to my apartment, I made another variation (not pictured here) with sliced and toasted wheat bread, butter, dried basil, and then the tomatoes.  It was good but it’s definitely better with at least fresh basil.

The other pizza photo is a grilled pizza my mom makes on the grill.  Making pizza this way has become popular but my family swears she came up with it first.  But yeah…it’s super delicious.

The first pasta dish is penne with butternut squash from the In the Kitchen Food Network app.  I never cooked with butternut squash before so I was excited to try it, especially because I know I enjoy butternut squash.

I had to peel and cut the butternut squash, which was kinda difficult because it’s hard like cutting a raw potato.  I won’t be making butternut squash a regular part of my diet just because the preparation takes too long.  Anyway…this dish includes the butternut squash, cremini mushrooms, black pepper, fresh garlic, red onion, red pepper flakes, parmesan, and oregano.

My mistake here was using shitake mushrooms instead of cremini.  Shitake mushrooms, which I’ve never cooked with before, are super smelly and cooking them was incredibly unpleasant.  I feel like if I used a less stinky mushroom, such as the one they suggested, I would’ve enjoyed this dish more.  Otherwise, I loved this dish because it’s seasonal and overall, pretty simple.  I served this dish with a side of fresh tomatoes and sauteed spinach.

I didn’t make the next plate that I pictured.  It’s actually from an organic made-to-order cafeteria on campus.  They use a ton of vegetables, lean meats, and different sauces.  One of my favorite sauces is raspberry jalapeno.  The one pictured here is papaya lime.

The next two pictures are of an omelet I made.  I really enjoyed the flavors so I took a photo.  Plus, I’ve been making perfectly round omelets!  The omelet ingredients I chose were pepperoni (leftover from the pizza), red onions (leftover from the penne dish), and the stinky shitake mushrooms, also leftover from the penne dish.  The odor was unpleasant but it tasted delicious, especially when topped with feta which melted a bit, so good!

Some of the next dishes were brought to you by the local farmer’s market that comes to campus!  Unfortunately, last week was the last week of the farmer’s market.  I love the farmer’s market because it entices me to try new vegetables and I like supporting local farmers.

The first meal I made with ingredients from the market was simple and also from the app.  I got okra and sauteed it with fresh tomatoes I still had from my mom’s friend, garlic, salt and pepper, and a splash of cider vinegar.  I put it over pasta to make it a meal and damn, it was tasty.  I love okra because it’s slimy, but I don’t eat it as frequently anymore.  I will definitely have to change that because it’s easy to prepare and cook, and it’s healthy too!

The waffle ice cream is a dessert I made with my girlfriend in the dining hall.  I just thought it looked nice.

The next dish in the pan is white eggplant I got from the farmer’s market sauteed with fresh tomatoes.  (I had a ton of tomatoes for awhile).  I splashed some balsamic vinegar in there and it was good…white eggplant didn’t seem incredibly different to me than purple eggplant except the skin is tougher.

There is another waffle ice cream….lol they’re soooo good!

The dish after that is pho I prepared in the dining hall at school.  I love pho and there’s an authentic place down the street that makes it but I never go…but the dining hall does a pretty decent job.  I get chicken and chicken broth and either sweet potato noodles or some other type of noodle…and then I season it with lime wedges, fresh jalapeno, lots of bean sprouts, and whatever else they have.  I enjoy the crunch of bean sprouts and the contrasting flavors of jalapeno and lime…it’s so damn tasty.

The next meal I made included banana peppers from the farmer’s market which I stuffed with sausage, bread crumbs, egg, parmesan, and seasonings.  I then cooked it until golden and served with homemade tomato sauce I made probably a couple of months ago.

My mom made homemade mac and cheese and then baked it at the end…so delicious.  I shall make it myself one day but experiment with cheeses and flavors.

The next meal is a sweet potato I seasoned with honey, olive oil, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg.  I baked it until it was soft.

The last photos pertain to an old family classic dessert my mom makes for me, but this time I made it myself!  As you can see, my girlfriend and I have hoarded many apples from the dining hall.  The dessert I made with the apples is called apple crisp.  I made it by peeling the apples, slicing them thinly, and then seasoning them in a bowl with cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.  Then I put the mixture in a glass baking pan.  Next, I made the topping which consists of brown sugar, raw oats, flour, and tons of butter.  After I mixed it up, I spread it over the apples and then put the entire thing into the oven to bake.  Then you eat it when it’s warm and serve it with ice cream!

The next couple of things I’m going to make are from the farmer’s market too!  I am going to make a dish with celeriac and poblano peppers.  I’m also going to try making ginger tea with fresh ginger.  I’ve learned that I greatly enjoy ginger but I’ve never really had it fresh, so I’m excited to try it!

Happy cooking!

xx Vic

Discerning What Feels Right to Me

My favorite professor in my department was talking about discernment yesterday during class.  She said that crying is part of that process because crying is literally washing the eyes so you can see clearer.  It’s also a bridge to your subconscious, which enables you to discern “what feels right to you,” as Audre Lorde says.

I’ve been crying a lot but I’ve been primarily dismissive of myself when I do cry by thinking that I need to get over it and that I need to get it together…I want to discern what feels right to me without doing the work for it.

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Wednesday Night

6:00pm

The hard, red exterior finally split in between my fingers and plump, white meat burst out. “See? It’s easy once you get the hang of it,” I explained, yanking out the flesh and putting it in my mouth.

She looked at me skeptically and then frowned at the lifeless lobster sprawled out on her plate. “I think this is the most barbaric thing I’ve ever done,” she replied solemnly before idly picking it up and ripping the tail off of the boiled body.

8:00pm

FULL TIME. COMPETITIVE SALARY. HEALTH BENEFITS.

Glassy-eyed, I scrolled through the job opportunities online, those key words attracting me to read more. I submitted application after application, hoping I would hear a response back soon but feeling doubtful. Online job applications felt like they were sucked into the infinity of space, especially due to the lack of humanness about the process. After about an hour of this mind-numbing activity, I picked up research articles I had printed out earlier and began to critically read them. This was mentally stimulating, but also mentally exhausting. Soon, I needed a break.

11:00pm

The blue string-lights provided an eerie ambiance in my room. The shadows on the wall were somber and crept along the top of my bed slowly as I climbed into bed. I studied the shadows closely for a minute, wondering if they felt as glum as I did since they were, after all, a shadow of myself. I sighed, rolling over to face the TV, and hit “play” on the remote to start a very romantic and emotional episode of Black Mirror.

© 2017 Vic Romero

This is Scarier than Halloween

I just finished sending…at least 10 job applications out.  My creative writing class this morning got cancelled because my professor is sick so I took the down time to do that since later I want to focus primarily on my senior honors thesis.  I have a five-page proposal due on Monday so I would like to write two pages today and finish it up by Friday so I can submit it to my advisor.  I feel like this may be a far-reaching goal but I’ve been pretty focused lately so hopefully I can bang out out five pages before the weekend, which would give me ample time to revise it.

Anyway…I feel like I’ve been a little frazzled lately…I don’t even remember if I disclosed that I’m doing an honors thesis and if I’m taking creative writing!  Well..I’m doing an honors thesis and I’m taking a creative writing.  It’s awesome because they’re both forms of writing that challenge different areas of my brain.  The class is part of my initiative to keep writing for myself…last year I kinda disappeared because I had all this sadness pent up inside and I didn’t even know where to begin to write but…I figured it out with some time and patience and I’m back to writing pretty regularly.

There are a couple of articles though that I’ve been putting off posting…it’s just a matter of me sitting down and taking the time to paste them here.  Perhaps I’ll do that tonight during a break from thesis writing.

I wanted to come on here to express my stress about my life after college…which has pretty much all that I’ve spoken about.  My girlfriend is more excited about it than I am, but she still has another year of school.  I don’t know…I don’t know if I should’ve planned differently but at the same time…I need to stop comparing myself to others, even if they have similar career interests and/or majors.  I’m on my own damn path, and it’s awesome and I’m going to flourish!

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