Waiting for life to change

It’s been quite a while since I’ve last written in here. I’ve been putting off updating my blog for a while now, and for a variety of reasons. Only now do I fully realize what I’ve been feeling and what this blog represents to me.

But first, let me just recap what’s happened over the last month or so.

I got a job. A job at a place called Ecojobs. They contract with nature preserves to send us to go do things like weeding, or planting trees. Initially I thought I would hate this job. As usual, I placed all these strange expectations on it. Like, the males who work there won’t respect me because I’m a woman, or that I will be “too qualified” for something like this (pulling weeds for money, pfft).

I started out doing two days a week, and well, it turns out I do like it, and all my expectations were unmet and unfounded. And no, I’m not “over-qualified”. Everyone who works there is very educated and you know what? They choose to do this work because they like to be outside in nature and you create your own hours. Sure, it’s pulling weeds but we get to see some pretty cool places and some awesome wildlife, like bobtail lizards or spiders as big as my hand (creepy but awesome).

On the weekend after I quit the grocery store, I went to a Saturday farmer’s market at Perth City Farm. I’d been wanting to go for a while but just hadn’t been able to, especially since the grocery store was scheduling me on Saturdays. It was beautiful. There were guys selling breakfast tacos, which is a rarity, and one of the guys had just come back from visiting Austin. The feel of the space and the people reminded me so much of Austin and made me homesick yet at home at the same time. I also discovered when I arrived that they had a job available as a Market Coordinator, ie running their farmer’s market. Later that week I applied and two weeks later I had an interview. I was excited. I did all kinds of research and had all sorts of ideas about how to change it for the better. Perth City Far is a cool place and I was excited at the potential opportunity to work at a place that reminded me so much of home. At the end of the interview, I was told that I and one other applicant were the strongest, and that I would hear back sometime within the next week.

I also decided to volunteer there on Mondays doing admin support because I thought that even if I didn’t get the position, I could still help out and learn a thing or two from there.

Over 5 weeks since my interview, I’ve spoken with the woman making the decision multiple times and they are still deciding. I went in for a “trial” this past Saturday, which is progress, but I probably won’t hear something for at least another week.

This waiting game has truly messed with me. I didn’t realize how much it did until only a few days ago. I’ve been holding out applying for other jobs or opening any new doors until I find out about the position because I didn’t want to put something on my plate while I was waiting and then have to juggle too many things or let someone down to accept this job. Or at least, that was my logic. Now I realize it probably wasn’t that sound.

What’s even more crazy is I’ve been waiting to write in my blog until I find out. Why? Because I wanted to show everyone “Look! See, I’m making progress!” I didn’t want to write another “I don’t know what’s going on” post because I wanted everyone to see me as strong, positive, and moving forward. I also wanted to see myself that way. I didn’t want to believe that I’m still in a state of flux and that this job isn’t the beacon of light I’ve been hoping for. Until today, I believed this. I thought this job would fix everything and my life would start going in the direction I want, all I have to do is just wait to see if I have it… just wait… just wait…

I was trying to dismiss the part of me that is lost, and replace it with something new, something confident. But it doesn’t really work that way. The part of me that is lost, insecure, fearful, that is me. It always will be part of me. We are all full of emotions both positive and negative. We can never get rid of those past actions we regret or the feelings we wish didn’t exist. They are always a part of us and we have to learn to be compassionate to ourself. I don’t know about you, but I am quick to practice compassion towards other people, I always try to understand their perspective, their feelings, and their situation. But when it comes to myself, I’m the meanest person around. How dare you feel this? Get over it. Stop whinging. You’re being ridiculous. I also often disassociate the past Portia with present Portia. “Oh, that gothic, self-abusing girl you knew in middle school? That’s not me. That was some lost, confused adolescent. I’m a completely different person now.” The thing is, I’m not a different person. I’m the same person I’ve always been, I’ve just changed; evolved.

As I’m finishing up this (quite lengthy) post, I can’t help but feel vulnerable (which, by the way isn’t a bad thing). I’ve put a lot of my feelings out there. Out there to be potentially judged or ridiculed by some people I’ve never met, haven’t talked to in years, or people I speak to every day.

All I hope from sharing my thoughts with whoever is reading this is that through reading my struggles, you are enlightened to something within your own life. We all feel the same things, we are all human, and we are all compassionate beings with an undeniable connectedness to one another… and I think we forget that all too often.


Why you should never settle

As you all know, I’ve had a bit of a hard time figuring things out since I arrived in Australia. I don’t know what kind of job I want, where I want my career to go, what my true passions are, and the list goes on. So, I’ve (very slowly) begun to reach out and put myself around people that can help teach me about things I am interested in, in hopes that I discover my passion or at least get closer to an idea of what the next step should be. 

Like I said, this has been a slow process but even with all my uncertainty, there has been one thing I have realized lately. And that is to never settle.

I got an internship at an environmental advocacy group a few weeks ago. I thought it would be great, it looked good on my CV, could potentially lead to a job given a few weeks, and yeah, it wasn’t my “dream internship” but it could get me places. Or at least, that was initially my train of thought. After the first day, I realized that it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be and the experience I would get out of it was not what I wanted. By the end of the day I already didn’t want to go back and was struggling to make a decision about whether to stay with it or not. The “logical” side of me told me to stick it out, who knows, maybe it could lead to something. But something deeper told me to not go down that path. If I already didn’t like how I was starting out then it wouldn’t lead me somewhere I wanted to go. So I quit. Only 1 day my first day there. 

This is unheard of for me. Old Portia would have stuck with it, and hoped it turned out well, and tried to spin it in a way that benefitted me. But now, I refuse to settle

I’ve been (very lazily I admit) looking for a job since I arrived here. I realized that I felt very under-qualified for 90% of the positions I’ve seen, which has been discouraging and so I’ve stopped myself from applying for those jobs. So I took an easy route, since I needed money, and applied at a natural food store. My thought process was that I would like it because 1) I love food 2) I love places like Whole Foods and 3) maybe I could learn how to run my own food store and be inspired by the people running it. Well, I sure had expectations that definitely weren’t met.

Nothing about the store was sustainable which was already a huge let down and I was doing a job (cashier) that required zero skill, and definitely no degree. 

Safe to say I hated it after the first day. I felt like I’d cut myself short, I hadn’t actually tried. I was just going for an easy out. I knew applying at a place like that would be safe, and I wouldn’t experience much rejection like I would if I actually was applying for jobs. I justified working there because I “needed the money”, which isn’t entirely untrue. 

After my third shift, I decided to quit. No, it wasn’t worth it. I refuse to accept anything that doesn’t challenge or inspire me. I didn’t want to get comfortable working there. Yes, I need money, and I did get a good amount from only my 4 shifts work since the wages were above decent. But I realized that the time I would spend working there, which would be probably 4 or 5 days a week, was not worth compromising the time I could be spending at a place that genuinely interests me, even if it isn’t paid work. I can make the small amount of money last that I got from those shifts. That can last me over a month if I need it to. And the fact that it will run out puts a fire under my bum to get me more motivated to apply for jobs I actually want and would enjoy. 

I realize now how unbelievably lucky I am to be where I am, and in the situation I’m in. I am fortunate enough to be able to not work often, because I have a loving boyfriend who helps support me and my hunt to find my passions. If I were living on my own, I wouldn’t be able to just decide to quit like that, and have no source of income. 

But after looking at my situation and the opportunities I have, I refuse to settle for anything less than extraordinary. I am going to listen to what my heart tells me, and I know that it will point me in the right direction. I know I will end up where I want to be, I just have to take the right path, even if I don’t know what the next step even is. 



Living in Uncertainty

It’s been two months since I’ve arrived in Australia (that long already??).

Two months ago I had it all planned out. I’d get to Australia to finally be with my love, Tom. We’d apply for a visa. I’d get an awesome internship and a cash-in-hand job while we waited out the visa approval. A few months later, my visa would be approved, I’d get the job of my dreams, fly my moms here to see me, save money, travel the world, live happily ever after… you get the idea.

But, something was wrong here. And what was I doing? I was setting expectations about how my life was going to unfold. I expected things to go a certain way, which didn’t take into account the unexpected. I set myself up to be disappointed if anything deviated from my “plan”… which was bound to happen because well, this is life. Life never goes exactly as expected. We may plan every second of every day so that we feel in control but when it comes down to it, the only truly important thing we can ever control is our happiness. Everything else is ever-changing.

And over the last two months, nothing in my life has gone ‘according to plan’.

  • Only 4 days after I applied for my visa, I was approved, which was absolutely amazing, but it meant I had to start job hunting months before I anticipated…Didn’t plan for that. 
  • I got an internship that I expected to enjoy, and take me places I’d want to be. First day in, I realized there was nothing about it that interested me. Didn’t plan for that either.
  • I realized I really didn’t know what I want to do, or where my passion truly is.
    I definitely didn’t plan for that.

I’ve been plagued with these ideas of control, plans, and what I think I should be doing. I’ve graduated from college, so shouldn’t I know what I want to do? Shouldn’t I already have a job in a field I want to be in?

It seems that society tells us how things ‘ought to be done. We go to school, graduate college, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, work for 30 years, then retire and THEN live our dreams and travel. I know I have definitely felt these pressures, especially given that I have yet to find a job and am not much closer than I was a few months ago to ‘figuring things out’. I don’t even know what I want come next week, much less years from now. I’m living outside of this “American Dream” that is hammered into us since we were children, and to be honest, it’s a bit intimidating at times.

Flowers here are always gorgeous!

It’s not easy to allow uncertainty in your life and every day I struggle to truly appreciate the blank slate that is my life.

Only last week I was feeling battered by life, feeling that I was not up to par with what was expected of me. Today, flavours taste richer, colors are more bright, I feel relaxed, happy, and full of life.

To those of you searching for your passion and the answers to all your questions – It’s okay to not know. In fact, not knowing is f@$%ing amazing. So go out and allow life to show you what it’s got! I can say confidently now that embracing uncertainty feels spectacular. :)

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

P.S. One of my favorite people, Dawnielle, wrote a great post about hope and expectations. Read it here!

P.S.S. Want to see an AMAZING documentary about the American Dream and pursuing our dreams? Check out I’m Fine, Thanks. These guys put together a truly moving piece about realising your dreams – I highly recommend it!

Giving the bird to a bad day

Ever have those days where everything, I mean everything is going wrong? Of course you have. We all have. It’s like the universe is having a laugh at your expense and there ain’t nuthin’ you can do about it.

I had one of those days yesterday which, let me tell you, is extremely rare for me. I’m a big believer in every day is and can be a good day. Usually when things are going wrong, I try to change my perspective because really, is what’s happening all that bad? Or am I just defining as so because I wanted X,Y, and Z to happen my way?

I won’t get into it about what exactly happened but this may semi-paint a picture: 3am Pocket Dial. Waiting. Overflowing emotions. Missed bus. More waiting. No food. Reluctantly consumed Cardboard Chicken Burger. No Jazz Music. Hurt feet. 10 Minute Expired fare. Missed bus x2. Hurt feet x2.

Towards the end of the night, I had been through one roller-coaster of a day but somehow survived without going postal. Here’s how I did it (sort of).

How to give the bird to a “bad” day

  • First things first – Breathe & Let it go. Is that super annoying thing really worth the effort of getting angry or upset? Being upset takes a lot of energy, so don’t even bother with it.
  • Change your perspective. Okay, so maybe you feel you can’t just let go that super annoying thing that just happened but you can change how you feel about it. Everything that happens in life is an experience so view them as such.
  • Smile. At the end of the day, all you can do is accept it, look back, and laugh. Say to the universe, “okay, you got me, ha ha”, laugh about your series of unfortunate events and move on.
  • Tomorrow is a new day. And it’s yours. So be happy, do what you want, and don’t let the little things drag you down.

There you have it.

Embracing change

Here I am sitting in my bedroom, which Tom and I can call our home. Our home has 6 other residents, well, probably 386 if you include the earthworms and rabbit.

It’s pretty safe to say that everything about the last month since I arrived in Australia has breached my comfort zone. Living with 6 people? Never thought it could be a possibility a few months ago. I grew up as an only child who never had to share with anyone, ever. So sharing a home with that many people seemed like an impossible, aggravating, and uncomfortable task. Of course now I know that all of these assumptions were completely unfounded, and I love living here – to me now it’s 6x the fun! And we’re so fortunate to have such a great group of people (none of which are the dreaded “crazy roomie”) under the same roof.

Up until last week, I still didn’t quite feel at home in Perth, and was so out of my comfort zone in so many ways that I didn’t even know how to fix it. It’s little things you don’t think would affect you. Like not having your own means of transportation to get where you want/need to go or not being able to get your favorite drink or food that you always took for granted. Of course I anticipated missing my family and my dog and knew I would feel uncomfortable in this city I am still unfamiliar with. I unrealistically thought however, that all that uneasiness would be over after the first week… but it sure wasn’t. Even things like walking to the store (which I have been to dozens of times to in the past) scared me.

Then, last Friday happened. Tom went to work and I immediately didn’t know what to do with myself. I just wanted to stay in our little shell of a room and not leave, because everything else was scary and this room was the only thing I felt I knew. As I sat there and looked outside, I thought to myself, “Man, I really wish I could be outside in the park…” but I made excuses for myself, “oh, it’s way too far for me to walk by myself… I would bike there but my bike is still not assembled…”

Then my voice of reason if you will, told me to get off my ass and go in the backyard and read and stop bitching. You can enjoy this day if you choose to. I moved a chair to a sunny spot, got my nook, and sat there. I still felt uneasy, anxious, and uncomfortable. But I sat it out. I started reading a wonderful book (which I just finished – amazing), The AlchemistAs I was sitting in the sun reading about a young shepherds life reflections and listening to the leaves rustle, I saw two green parrots enjoying their berry dinner in a tree a few meters away. My heart swelled from a sight I know I may have never seen because I would have never looked. Those moments are quite amazing – when you witness a moment, seemingly mundane or ordinary, in such an unexpected and wonderful way. The snapping of the seeds and their complete and utter contentedness put me at peace. They know things I have yet to learn. They know how to speak the Language of the World, and listen. They were with me until I left. The next time I saw them, I wondered how long they’d stay, but they left without a sound.

Most early mornings, I hear a Kookaburra’s laugh. To some, it’s another bird cackling like they always do, but to me, it’s a nice reminder of the beauties in life. I’m learning to let go of this idea of “control” we all tend to have about our lives and learning to pursue my dreams rather than things I think I “should” be doing. I encourage you all to do the same :)

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
– Anais Nin

T minus 3 days until ‘Straya

Okay. Here I go. 3 days until I board that big, white flying piece of metal to the land of Kangaroos, beaches, and beer.

Up until about 7 days ago, my emotions were pretty stable. Didn’t have any freak-outs or worry parties. I felt pretty good. But in the back of my head I knew the emotions of insecurity, worry, stress, and doubt would begin to rear their ugly heads at some point, it was only a matter of time. Luckily, I haven’t been too overwhelmed by any one of these emotions but I’d be lying if I said I’m not nervous or a little stressed about packing up all my belongings into two suitcases, leaving my family and friends, and venturing off into a country with about 3 months worth of money, no job secured, a large visa yet to be applied for and the uncertainty of not knowing when I will be able to “legally” work there. There are a lot of unknowns about these steps I am taking and it can be scary at times… but you want to know something? I have never felt more free. Never in my life have I had the opportunity to start a new canvas in life and paint it however I choose.

Last night I woke up around 4 a.m. and my mind was aching with worry, doubt, insecurity, and fear of this big step. I thought of all the “what ifs” – What if the visa process takes longer than I anticipate? What if things don’t go to plan? What if I can’t find a job? What if I run out of money? What if, what if, what if…

After laying in bed for an hour running through various unfavorable scenarios I jumped onto my laptop and turned to a blog I find myself visiting time after time for advice (zenhabits.net — Leo is Amazing!). As always, I went to the archives and searched for a title that fit my feelings at the moment.

The Most Important Skill to Master” popped out at me. I clicked it and lo and behold, it just so happened to be about confidence in oneself and simply learning to be happy with yourself. Before I read the small introductory paragraphs of this post, I hadn’t even considered that I was feeling doubt and fear because I was feeling insecure about myself and the person I am. I’ve always struggled with self-confidence and am still struggling to learn how to love myself (I sure have come a long way!) and I had fallen out of the habit of telling myself I am the things I want to be. I have these qualities. I am a good person. I am intelligent, funny, silly, easy-going, and compassionate. Yes, I still have a lot to learn about life and how to express myself and interact with people but I can’t obsess over “perfecting” myself. I am already perfect. I just have to believe it.

Things always, always work out if you let them. I keep having to remind myself of this over and over again. If you keep an open mind, heart, and don’t fill every aspect of your life with expectations, then you will allow it to unfold in such a beautiful and unexpected way.

Alright, it’s getting late now, and I feel like this is almost a clone post of my last blog entry but oh well, sorry if I sound like a broken record. I tried to get a post in here about my most excellent trip in Costa Rica but it just didn’t happen. I started it, I promise! I just need to get around to finishing it :)

But in the meantime, here’s a picture of awesomeness, ie SLOTH.

Sloth in Costa Rica

A sloth in Costa Rica!

Ta-ta for now!

Post-grad stupor


(^^^ I took that photo with my awesome CanonS100 – a lovely gift from the moms!)

Only 3 short days ago, I graduated from college. But graduating from college wasn’t the only thing that happened that day. I saw friends I may not see for many years to come, felt both the pain and excitement that comes with change and felt a love from my family that I had been so ignorant to before.

Tomorrow, I leave for Costa Rica on a 7 day trip with a group of 13 from my alma mater (!!!), St. Edward’s. The reality of being in a different country still hasn’t sunk in but I’m sure by tomorrow morning I will be itching with anticipation.

Something I’ve realized, well, re-realized, over the last few days, is that you can’t compare yourself to other people. While at the graduation ceremony, I found myself listening to all the achievements others have received, like summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, honors... and I started to question myself and wonder, “why didn’t I try harder to get these accomplishments?” I started to feel bad and feel like I hadn’t accomplished anything. Just graduating wasn’t enough. Why was my family even there? It’s not like I did anything special…

I only was trapped in this way of thinking for 10 minutes or so, but in that 10 minutes, I went from beating myself up to embracing everything about my experience and being thankful for the way things turned out. I realized that I can’t compare myself to other people, nobody can. Why? We are all living completely different lives. Sure, maybe if I studied a few extra hours every week I would have made a few A’s and graduated Magna cum laude, but I didn’t. And I don’t regret it. I learned so, so much in college. Every day was a challenge for me. Whether it was learning time management skills, struggling to complete assignments and learn new material or interacting with people in situations that would normally make me uncomfortable – you name it.

I’m an only child that was raised by an only child. So I’m like a super only child. As a result, I’ve lacked a lot of the social skills that most people don’t even think about. Simple things like holding small talk or giving someone a gift have been things I’ve had to learn. I’m still learning. I’m learning every day and I couldn’t be more grateful to be able to go to be able to learn something each and every day of my college career. And you know what? It’s never going to stop. I will never, ever stop learning. I’m not the same person I was yesterday, and I definitely am not the same person I was 4 years ago.

None of us stop learning and I invite you to embrace this process. We are ever changing and that is so beautiful. Never compare yourself to others, be open to your life and follow your heart. Follow your desires, passions, your happiness.

Something I’ve heard and read a million times- follow your heart. I never realized until now, what that truly means and just what it feels like.


Here we go…

My first attempt at blogging on WordPress. I have to admit, I’ve been putting it off for a while now. First, I couldn’t decide on a name, then I couldn’t decide on content, then I just got lazy… and now I’ve finally just given in and created one. There. Did it. No more excuses.

I’m not quite sure what the focus of this blog will be yet, but I think for now, I’ll just chronicle my life as an (almost!) college graduate who is moving, yes moving, to Australia to be with her Aussie/Irish sweetheart. I have a lot of interests so brace yourselves for a bombardment of topics and rants that may be anything from political/philosophical life rants to how amazingly different in texture and taste nuts are… Yes, the nuts that you eat. And no, that is not a pun. I’d also love to throw some tidbits of advice out here and there based on my experiences as a (*ahem* socially awkward) student transitioning to a young adult.

So, until further adue, here we are. Here is my blog. I hope you get something from it, if not just a few laughs at my own demise.

Oh and here is a picture of Zoe about to breathe fire. Enjoy.

Zoe about to breathe fire