7 Things Sunday

One. My sister was offered a big girl job with Laura Geller Cosmetics in Columbia, South Carolina. She’s trying very hard to convince me to move there with her. Hmmmm ūüėČ I’m sad that she’s leaving Colorado, but I’m proud of her and excited for this new adventure! Way to go, Madison.

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Two. I wrote about the #KnowJustice project a couple months ago when I was working at ArtForceIowa. The Des Moines Register published this article, highlighting a little bit of what is happening with #KnowJustice and some other exciting arts events in Iowa that have to do with race and justice. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this workshop.

Three. This week my grandpa was in the hospital for a heart procedure that ended up not happening. They ended up needing to¬†start him on a new medication that required monitoring him in hospital for several days. I spent a few of those days¬†hanging out with family in his room¬†and keeping grandma company over night. She¬†kept telling grandpa, “I kind of love you a lot” and giving him kisses. And then at one point when he was getting an EKG he told the nurses he wanted grandma to come over and give him a kiss while they were scanning him so that he could see what it did to his heart. Seriously?! Stop. it. I can’t handle that kind of adorableness. #lifegoals.

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They make my heart explode.

Four. I’ve now reached 6 months into my job search. If P.O.D can get nominated for a Grammy three times, I feel like I should be able to land a job in my field, you know? Sometimes life is cruel and unfair. But there are a few applications I’m feeling fairly optimistic about. Fingers crossed. Toes crossed. Everything crossed. Waiting is hard. Staying really proactive in the waiting is even harder. But I know that life happens between point A and point B. I will always be waiting for something, so I should learn to love what happens while I wait.

Five. ¬†I think you have to be very close to someone in order to have the green light to go off on them when they’re being dumb. In my opinion, you have to approach these situations from a place of, “I could be wrong, but…”¬†but still… I respect and appreciate the hard blow of redirection when it comes from a loving place. And it rarely comes. Most of my friends are listeners. They ask good questions. They’re comforting. But sometimes being a true friend isn’t just blindly agreeing, standing in solidarity, or waiting to see what happens. It’s coming alongside,¬†telling them their eyes are closed, and shouting out what it is you see. The other night I was telling one of my best friends about something that happened recently, and they just went off on me and got upset. But I understood they weren’t upset¬†at¬†me or¬†with¬†me,¬†but¬†for¬†me. And I needed that. I needed to have my motives challenged and my actions questioned so I could figure out how to either defend myself or realize I was wrong. I needed to hear the perspective that wasn’t “I understand,” but rather, “I don’t understand what you’re thinking or doing. This is¬†insane and f-ed up and you need to ___ because I love you and I hate seeing ___.” I need to be better at this as a friend, too. It’s a delicate balance and a thin line because when are you being a good friend and when are you just being an ass? BUT, is it not completely worth figuring out how to do gracefully?

Six. This is awesome.¬†And then Frieda told them about love…

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Seven.¬†I was in a yoga class this week where the instructor played this song during savasana and I legit shed a few tears. It’s like a musical security blanket. I will not apologize for kind of really loving The Fray.

Love,

Taylor

Oh, the places you’ll go

Musings from some recent travels.
The day my mom arrived in Edinburgh was unusually sunny and warm in Edinburgh, which was a giant cherry on top of what was bound to be a very happy day regardless. The summer feels called for an afternoon treat of salted caramel and dark chocolate ice cream from Mary’s Milk Bar while we sat on a sunny bench overlooking the castle and listened to buskers. We strolled through the gardens and popped into different shops before heading to the new cat cafe, Maison de Moggie, for some kitty cuddles. You have to pay a 7 pounds entrance fee for an hour time slot, but I haven’t gotten to be around any feline friends in ages. So. Totally. Worth it. That first night ended with Mexican and margs for my birthday eve and I was one happy lady.
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On my 25th birthday we arrived in Glasgow but got stuck in traffic behind a Protestant parade??? (no one could really tell us what it was exactly) for a long time before we could make it to our hotel. We had brunch at The Willow Tea Rooms, which were designed by the famous architect Charles Rennie MacIntosh. Swoon.
Then we took a taxi outside the city to find the church and apartment building where my great, great, great, great grandparents lived. Insane in the membrane. My mom got really into genealogy when I was growing up and at this time we had just moved to Pella, which is a town full of people who share Dutch heritage with me. I couldn’t have cared less about family tree business then. I mean, it’s not cool when your mom tells you that the first guy you have a major crush on in school is your 5th cousin. Thanks. Now what am I supposed to do with that information? But anyway, now I find it easier to take an interest in all of it with her.
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That afternoon we went to the Kelvingrove Museum. I nerd out about how good that museum is at providing really clever ways of engaging with their exhibitions. Obviously they‚Äôre educational, but I‚Äôve seen some purely amusing ones as well. There‚Äôs a painting of this couple at dinner with little thought bubble screens next to them and a computer where you can type in whatever you imagine they‚Äôre thinking and it appears in the thought bubble screen. There‚Äôs also a painting of a scene from Briar Rose and next to it is a tiny bed and costume box where kids can dress up and act it out. After a 4th of July dinner of burgers and milkshakes we went to see a Bruce Springsteen tribute band. They really hammed it up and the crowd was ridiculously into it. One lady danced to every single song with everything she had. This was no two step or hip swaying action. Limbs were flying. Fingers were snapping. And it was a sauna in there. She had to have burned 1,000 calories. So, my 25th came to a close with people belting it to ‚ÄúBorn in the USA‚ÄĚ. Except none of them were.

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The next morning we headed for Inverness because mom really wanted to drive just an hour outside of the city to see Dunrobin Castle. We got to Central Station only to find out that our train was leaving from Queen Street Station. Whoops. We missed our first train and then accidentally missed the second train because I had the wrong time in my head. I also spent the morning trying to track down mom‚Äôs new camera, which had been left in a taxi in Edinburgh. So we weren‚Äôt really off to a smooth start whatsoever. But then once on the train we met Andrew, who is a sweet Canadian guy doing a solo backpacking Eurotrip. We ended up adopting him and he came to the castle and dinner with us. This is something I love about traveling and being in new places. People just pop into your life for minutes, hours, or days and you have spontaneous adventures and conversations. It just restores your faith in humanity a little bit, you know? I did feel bad that he had to endure a rather stressful 3 hours in the car while my mother tried to figure out driving on the right side of the road, but he was really patient and we didn‚Äôt kill anyone or anything‚ÄĒ so all in all I think it went pretty well.¬†Plus, Dunrobin Castle could be out of a fairy tale. It was insanely gorgeous. We walked through the gardens, played a quick game of croquet, and unfortunately missed the falconry display that happens in the afternoons (because what castle is a castle with out it’s falcons?). Gutted.
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The next day mom and I flew into Amsterdam and met up with Madison in the airport. There was an exciting baggage claim run/hug/cry moment. From the airport we drove to the little town of Heerenberg. To say it was picturesque would be an understatement. There were outrageous gardens, gangs of little old ladies on bicycles (future life goal), windy cobblestone streets, pretty trails through the country side, and adorable shopfronts and cafes. We made it to our lodging at the Kasteel Huis Bergh and upon approaching the castle gate, we were greeted by a duck and sheep. Our room…err..tower? was hands down the coolest place I’ve ever slept in my life. The next morning Madison and I went fro a 5 am run and got lost, which ended up being really fun. Before we hit the road, the three of us enjoyed a huge, tasty breakfast in the castle gardens. Mom wanted to visit the towns where her ancestors lived, but it was pouring rain all day so we ended up just driving through them which was a but of a bummer. We had a quick visit to the Kroller Mueller museum to see their Van Gogh collection and then went to dinner with a couple of mom’s distant relatives who had helped her map out a bunch of her family tree years ago.
On our last day in The Netherlands we hit up Amsterdam. It’s hard to do a city in one day. There’s so much more I wanted to see and do, but hey, I won’t complain. We went to the Rijks Museum, which was full of both gorgeous art and gorgeous security guards. Win win. We walked around the city, sampled local delicacies, and then went for a canal tour at sunset which was a pretty dreamy way to end the evening. There was a lot that reminded me of Pella, so it was almost strangely normal or comforting to be there.
We got back to Edinburgh and celebrated mom‚Äôs birthday with a nice lunch, cocktails, and a bit of shopping. She flew back to Iowa the next morning and Madison stayed with me over the weekend. Some quality sister time was much needed. Madison’s one request was whisky and Scottish folk music, so we fulfilled that¬†at Sandy Bell‚Äôs and ended up joining a pub crawl later on.¬†The next day we had brunch with some of my friends and went for a hike up Arthur’s Seat. We went to the airport together the next morning- she was off to Denver and I was off to Dublin. Neither of us ready to go back to reality quite yet.

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Love,
Taylor

7 Things Sunday

One.¬†I really wanted to go to the Isle of Skye but it is best to go there with a car, which is something I don’t have. So, I posted in a Couch Surfer discussion group for Edinburgh to see if anyone else wanted to go that could possibly drive and Voila! We became a group of four headed for the magical island in a tiny but efficient Yaris. It was a fierce and incredible trip.¬†The first night we got there I remember lying down to sleep and being startled by the stillness. Absolute silence. I could not hear a thing. I’ve been to remote places before but this was a whole other level of quiet. It’s strange how unsettling silence can be when you aren’t used to it. The next morning I woke up before everyone else (story of my life), made some coffee, went on a walk and talked to the sheep and lambs. I¬†saw more of them than I did people…as if I needed more of a reason to fall in love with the place. We spent all of the days hiking: The Quiraing, Old Man Storr, a couple of places around Egol, and The Fairy Pools¬†(we may have climbed to The Lord of the Rings soundtrack a few times because it felt that epic) and the evenings were for stretching our legs, drinking wine, and getting toasty by the fire. The landscapes there are unreal and breathtaking. The pictures don’t even do it justice. Overall, Skye was exhilarating and good for my soul. One side note: I needed to get some gloves before we left and ended up having to buy ones from the children’s section. Tiny hands.¬†Baby chilly fingers.

Two. (Most of) Flat 3-4 celebrated Clare’s birthday last week! We made a delish fajita dinner together. Then we went out for karaoke. It was hilarious to see which songs everyone picked. Everything from Alien Ant Farm to Taiwanese band called SHE to R. Kelly was sang. I surprised myself by keeping up with Andre 3000 and totally dominating ‘Ms. Jackson’. I’m now trying to cope with the fact that I may be pursuing the wrong career entirely. IMG_8748

I feel very¬†lucky that I ended up with these babes for flatmates this year. We’re from six different countries, speak three different languages,¬†and all have very different personalities…which sounds like it could be a disaster but hey, not only have we survived- we’ve thrived. I will miss everyone’s endearing quirks, late night kitchen conversations, movie nights, scouring the ‘reduced to clear’ section of the grocery store, taking out the bin bags¬†together, going on walks, and generally anything Arnie says or does. We’re having a flat ‘Last Supper’ on Monday before we all take off in different directions. Nooooo ūüė¶

Three.¬†I said goodbye to my campus room yesterday and moved into a new flat for the two months I have left in Edinburgh. It’s a cheery, sunny place and my bedroom has a view of the sea! I’m sharing it with two other girls who work full time. They’ve been absolutely lovely and welcoming. They helped me move in and had a¬†sweet bouquet of roses in my room. D’awwww. But as I was unpacking everything last night I was internally moaning about the constant transition. Always going. Always changing. Never settled. Never knowing what comes next. Sometimes I love it or I at least wouldn’t know how to function without it…but I. am. so. tired.¬†I don’t want to keep adjusting to a new thing when I’m just getting used to the previous new thing. And yet I can’t imagine how long I’d be content with staying in one place or doing one thing. Maybe it’s just the age/life stage. “My heart wants roots, my mind wants wings, and I cannot bear their bickering.” No truer words have ever been spoken. For real. IMG_9108 IMG_20150304_163054703_HDR IMG_20150304_163505201_HDR Processed with VSCOcam with kk2 preset Four. At the moment I tend to¬†put more effort into my breakfasts than I do into writing my dissertation. Whoops. IMG_8742 Five.¬†When you’re at the station and have to pee sooo bad that you’re willing to pay for it and then… IMG_9091Six.¬†My Dad and Wendy are coming to visit¬†in TWO DAYS! I’m so excited I might cry. And my mom is coming to visit the first week of July! We will get to celebrate both of our birthdays while she’s here and we’re spending a few days in¬†The Netherlands seeing¬†our ancestral stomping grounds. She can geek out about genealogy and I can geek out about art museums. Holllllaaaa(nd).

Seven.¬†This is the best thing I’ve tasted since I moved here: originalLove, Taylor

When Dad Meets Daughter

There is this cassette tape I have. If you listen to this cassette tape you will hear a recording of my birth.

If you’re wondering…yes, it does feel strange to listen to labor.

But I get over the strangeness quickly when I hear a voice say, “Hi Taylor. Hi little girl. I’m your Dad.”

I am¬†listening to my dad speak his first words to me. We’re making introductions. My mind is blown as I imagine this; this moment before all the moments to come. In this moment the only thing my dad knows about me is that I’m 7 lbs, 8 oz. and 21 inches long. The only thing I know about him is the sound of his voice…a voice¬†I will grow to recognize instantly; a voice that I will always love to hear.

In my tiniest form I am not yet aware that-

This is the voice that will sing ‘Once Upon a Dream’ while he spins me in his arms and then tosses me in the air before I land, giggling, on my mattress. Then he will pull out his guitar and sing ‘Forever Young’ by Bob Dylan a million times.

This is the voice that will whisper in my ear before the sun rises to wake me up for a special breakfast.

This is the voice that will make me feel safe.

This is the voice that will direct my sister and I in home-made short films such as ‘Misson Possible’ and ‘Maddyella’.

This is the voice that will read me epic adventure stories out loud, character voices included.

This is the voice that will make me cry when it’s raised.

This is the voice that will pray over me.

This is the voice that will tell me I’m lovely¬†(even when I have missing teeth, thick glasses, and bangs that are far too short).

This is the voice that will ask me questions. Constantly.

This is the voice that will make me laugh until my sides ache.

This is the voice that will give wise advice when asked.

This is the voice that will cheer me on through successes and failures.

This is the voice that will appear in countless postcards, Bible margins and wax-sealed letters addressed to me.

This is the voice I will trust.

I will always love this voice.

Love,
Taylor

 

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Cheers to 2013

In¬†2013,¬†I…

January

-Rang in the New Year with friends by gorging on chips, guacamole, and margaritas at Dos Rios and attempting to sing Auld Lang Syne very loudly

-Displayed my senior show at Grand View

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February

-Clayton and I celebrated 6 years of being together by taking Cha-cha dancing lessons

-Emily and I dressed to the nines and attended the Des Moines Art Center’s Oscar Party, where we met a lot of interesting people

-My great-grandpa turned 90!

-I crashed the Filipino-American Association of Iowa’s Valentine’s Day celebration at Prairie Meadows

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March

– My friend Sarah and I had a girls weekend and saw Sigur Ros in Minneapolis

-Clayton and I found out we were both accepted to graduate school in Scotland

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April

-Clayton was the Easter Bunny for the third time at Gateway’s Eggs, Eggs, Everywhere Easter Egg Hunt. Always so much fun!

-I did a live painting at Gateway Church during the Easter Service

-I graduated from Grand View Summa Cum Laude. Booya.

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May

-I started a summer of nannying for two very awesome kids. This included: berry picking, park hopping, swimming, crafts galore, science experiments, lemonade stands, tours of the art center/historical building/pella/science center/etc, movies, side walk chalking, milk boat racing, reading, etc.

-I volunteered putting on The Water Ride

-Went to a John Mark McMillan concert

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June

– I experienced my first drag show

-Spent Father’s Day at an I-Cubs game

– I went to the farmer’s market a lot

-I visited my friend Andrew in Los Angeles where we went to art museums, a Dodger’s game, stand-up shows, and a Josh Groban concert. While in California, I also got to see the Kretzu family and eat burgers on the beach in front of an epic sunset.

-Clayton started his job as a Job Developer for Catholic Charities in the refugee department.

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July

-I spent the 4th of July (turned 23) with my family in the Ozarks where we played games, ate too much, went boating, layed out, went down water slides, and hung out at a swim-up bar.

-Tried a go at Contra dancing

-Went to see The Lone Bellow and Brandi Carlile on the Riverfront

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August

-I had the honor of being a groom’s girl for my friend Aaron. His wedding was one of the highlights of my summer, for sure.

-One weekend later Clayton and I both stood up in Colyn and Hilary’s wedding

– I saw T-SWIFT!!

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September

– I was primarily unemployed this month so I did a lot of reading

– We moved into a new apartment

-We bought a used Prius and named it Miles

October

-Clayton and I celebrated 4 years of marriage

-We went to DC to visit graduate schools and stayed with our lovely friends, the Smiths. While in DC we went to a wine tasting, ate incredible ethnic foods, visited The Phillips Collection and walked to markets.

-Threw the 3rd annual 90’s Halloween party

-We briefly had a cat named Frieda. Tragically, Clayton¬†is¬†actually allergic. I can no longer live in denial. I miss her…even though we never really saw her because she was literally a-fraidy-cat.

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November

-We spent Thanksgiving in Colorado with BOTH our families

-I went to my first NBA game

-Ugly Sweater Run

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Decemeber

-Saw Peter Pan at the Des Moines Playhouse

-Had 7 family Christmases

-Spent lots of good quality time with friends back home for the holidays

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Cheers, friends! I hope you all had lovely years. Here’s to 2014!

Love,

Taylor