There should be a law against this.

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Living at home when you graduate from college should be against the law.

It's so troubling that you spend 4 (or 5+) years finding your independence and experimenting with your boundaries as a free individual, to go back to square one when you move back into the house that you escaped from in the first place. Yes, of course, we could sit here and talk about how our parents really care about us and how they want the best for us so they shelter us for our own good - but who the hell would want to talk about that? Let's face it, we're grumpy, bitter college kids who are spoiled by freedom, and adding younger siblings and parents into that mixture is DEADLY.

College is a big tease.

You spend so much money and put yourself into so much debt for that piece of paper that supposedly tells the world, "I am capable of doing X, Y, and Z," and you hope and pray that with your combined college extracurriculars and your fancy piece of card stock paper that you can earn enough money in a new job that will help you continue to live and enjoy that freedom and lifestyle you've grown so accustomed to. It's a fallacy y'all.

On top of that, trying to explain to your parents that you're just acting like _____ or ______ (insert: whiny, lazy, bitter, pissy) because you are going through independent withdrawals is a lost cause because the only thing you're hearing in return is that you need to be more _______ and _______ (insert: responsible, focused, motivated, nice to your younger & annoying siblings). It's a cycle of them not wanting to hear you out, and you not wanting to hear them out. This just doesn't work!

So I guess by now you're thinking I'm going to tell you what the solution for these problems are....

Do I look like I have a solution?! I'm clearly this angry, bitter, ex-college kid, and we don't have solutions. I can't change my parents just as much as they can't change me. I know I'm going to pay for this when I have kids one day, and that I'm going to be telling my kids exactly what my parents are telling me, but I've grown to accept that this is a cycle of life - since I have to deal with being an annoyed recent graduate, my parents are going to have to deal with my bitterness. Hey, no one said being a parent was easy. I know I'll get over it eventually, but considering I just got out of the best experience of my life, aka JMU, I'm going to give myself another couple of months to grieve.

Freedom, this isn't a goodbye, but it's a see ya later until my job pays me enough to not be so bitter.

Peace & Love,

p.s. the "Under my roof you follow my rules" line is sooooo 1953.

Is this what hurt feels like?

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"You're not annoyed and you're not angry. You're hurt."

That's what my mom said to me tonight. I've been feeling terrible lately because I've been bottling up a feeling inside me for a few days. I don't really want to talk about what it actually was because I don't want that person to read this and know it was them causing me that much pain, to be completely honest - I'm not ready to confront them and tell them how they made me feel, so I'm going to put it off like I did all my college papers and projects. The point is that I was trying to express my feelings about a certain incident, and I kept using the words angry or annoyed or frustrated, but my mom told me that truly what was happening to me was that I was feeling hurt.

And that's when it hit me...

Rarely do I ever use the word hurt to describe my feelings. A lot of times when I do feel hurt I try to cover it up by saying that I'm angry or annoyed. All I'm really doing is building up a wall in front of my heart, because I don't want to admit that I'm not a hard ass like people think I am, and that truly a lot of things just plain hurt my feelings. Vulnerability is just not something I'm a fan of, and because of my complete fear of it I've often turned down the wrong emotional road to run away from it. Well, that's got to end and it's ending right now. From now on, I'm going to promise myself to let myself feel hurt. Let my heart feel pain and sadness. Not let myself turn that heartache into anger because it's all a lie. No more. Time to change.

Feeling hurt - it's a new look.

Peace & Love,

Try Ignorance

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Motivating students to want to study is the hardest job I've ever had to do.

Everyday I struggle with my students trying to figure out different ways to motivate them to want to be in school. I think I've run out of stories in my memory bank of how important school is, why you need to try to graduate, and the opportunities that become available to you if you really dedicate your time to some education. Recently though I read a quote again and it finally really clicked in my head how simple the concept was. The quote reads: "If you think education is hard, try ignorance." One of the teachers in my department has it hanging up in her room, and I stare at it almost everyday, but it finally processed fully in my head. When I first saw it I thought oh sure that make sense but I guess I didn't really completely open my mind to it.

Try Ignorance. Try Ignorance. Try Ignorance. Try Ignorance. Try Ignorance.
This has been my mantra for the last week as I think about it deeper and deeper. It's such a simple and complex concept at the same time. Can you imagine how much harder your life would be if you didn't have even the basic education that you do? Honestly, now that I think about it, I've seen how difficult it is even in my own family. My grandpa for example never was fully educated, and it was so hard for him to make a life for himself here in the USA. Now I'm not saying my grandpa isn't brilliant, because he is probably one of the absolute smartest people I know, in wisdom and experience. Plus, watching the Discovery Channel 24/7 does actually improve your IQ if you ask me! But I just try to tell these kids, especially because my students are all immigrants to this country, that while they may think studying for this test is hard or learning a new concept is hard, it's nothing compared to how hard living a life of ignorance can be. It's so simple, just like that.

Yes I know these kids are all young, and I know that all of us at that age might have been a little rebellious against school, but I think that just telling yourself over and over again "Try Ignorance" really can impact your perspective on how important a simple education can be in your life. Motivating these kids is a daily struggle of mine, but I think little by little I'm getting to them everyday :)

Peace & Love,

Too old for Halloween?

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Apparently, you can never be too old to dress like a skank on Halloween.

This year was my first Halloween in my neighborhood because we moved into this new house when I was a sophomore in college. Since I've been away at JMU, I haven't really gotten a chance to build the close relationships with my neighbors like the rest of my family has. I found out that apparently the man across the street has an annual Halloween party where he invites a bunch of friends, makes a ton of food, and the only entrance fee is a bottle of your favorite liquor and a costume. I decided to go to this Halloween bash on Friday the 29th, and I was very amazed with what I found...

First of all, the house was decorated so beautifully and I was impressed with their dedication to the party. We dropped off our bottle of liquor and I started to look around. The very first thing I saw was a group of women that had to have been in their mid 30s to 40s in extremely short skirts for their "costumes." I felt like I was at JMU all over again but with MUCH older women who were highly inappropriate. I guess I've just gotten so used to seeing the typical college girl wearing next to nothing as an excuse for the holiday celebrations, but I thought that when you graduated from college that all changed. Boy was I wrong.

It only got worse the next day. On Saturday I went with some high school friends to a bar in Reston to check out the Halloween scene. None of us was dressed in a scandalous outfit, in fact, I was a monk this year, and we were curious to see what other "adults" were dressing like these days. It was more like what these adults WEREN'T wearing that was worrying us. My gosh, I could talk forever about the different types of people I saw at this bar. I did a lot of reflecting the next day because I was just so amazed at how some people continued to act even as adults. I guess I've just been expecting this huge change in people once they graduate, but it's clearly not there. It's not all bad though, I did enjoy myself with these older folks who were still trying to act like they were in college hahaha. It was just a strange experience I suppose.

Anyway, I guess all this means is you can be 40 and still wear a slutty Halloween costume. You may be judged but hey, it's a free country so whatever. Let it out sexy mama!

Peace & Love,

Momma Lumbergh

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I often find myself making connections between my mother and Bill Lumbergh from Office Space.

Do you have a friend (acquaintance is more accurate) that when you see them you immediately turn the other way and try everything possible to avoid them? I had a few of those people in college and high school, but I've recently noticed that most of my "Lumbergh Alert" instincts come when I'm around my mom. She has this habit now of calling me or texting me when we are both in the house, and 9 out of 10 times it's because she wants something from me.

"Take Junior to the football game"
"Bring the dogs inside"
"Can you go buy me some tacos from Taco Bell?"
"Come up here and read my [enter random document from work]. Does it look good?"
"Go pick up Erick from school"
"Go fold the clothes"
"Take out the trash"

I feel like Peter Gibbons, trying to rush and turn off my computer before Lumbergh does his usual Friday afternoon stroll to convince force me to come into work on the weekend, but lo and behold, my computer didn't shut off in time and now I'm stuck doing meaningless work for barely any pay. Not only that, but like Lumbergh she tries to pull the whole "Can you d
o x, y & z?" even though she knows that whether I want to do x, y, or z it wouldn't matter because I have no choice.

Here are some strategies I've learned over the past few months:
1. Keep my phone on silent in the house so that she can't hear me rejecting the call it ringing
2. Avoid being in the house at the same time she is - local Starbucks are a good hideout
3. If I do come home before her, park down the street and lock myself in my room without making a peep - she won't even know I'm here! (trust me, this works)
4. When she's calling my name in the house and I'm not answering, and she finally comes down and opens my door, pretend to be asleep
5. Tell her I'm too busy shaping the minds of young children through lesson planning - most of the time she understands

So if you have a Lumbergh in your life, there are easy steps to take to avoid any and all contact. The number one rule is you've got to be stealthy - I would recommend taking pointers from kittens. #workedforme

Peace & Love,

One side of learning please

Today was my first field trip of the year.

We took the Gateway students into DC to visit the Natural History Museum. We got there around 10am and stayed until 1pm. At first I was freaking out because since it was my first field trip, I was really worried that I was going to lose some of the kids or forget to bring someone home. Well, yes I did lose the majority of them after about 15 minutes, but the other teacher assured me that they will all come back eventually, which they did. Note to self: if you've lost your kids on a field trip, the first place to look is at the food court. About an hour before it was time to leave I went to the food court and found about 90% of the students.

The students had a really great time walking around and learning new things. In social science we are learning about fossils, so this museum came at an appropriate time in the lesson plan. It was nice for them to get a more concrete understanding of the things they read about in their textbooks. A lot of them were asking questions and were really excited to see all the information they had about dinosaurs for example in their home countries. Making that connection between what seems so foreign and their home countries really brought the idea home with them.

All in all, the field trip was a success. Looking forward to my field trip to JMU next Friday with the Latin Dance Club!

Peace & Love,