Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I've moved!

Check me out at betweenthelakes.wordpress.com

This will stay up, as it has my paypal link on it, and I can't figure out how to get one on wordpress. Sigh!

K. Gray

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Things I'm learning from Michigan Part 1:

1. Everything is cheaper, and therefore better.

2. You can have an 800sq ft apartment for $800. Less if you don't want to live in Ann Arbor.

3. You don't need amusement parks and malls to entertain you.

4. Starbucks is the worst coffee I've ever had.

5. Everyone in Michigan is a nerd. Everyone. Without exception.

6. Buying local is the best thing for anyone.

7. I will forever mourn the loss of Borders.

8. 2000 miles is a long way from anything.

9. Driving to the UP is apparently not a single-day trip (although we do it anyway).

10. People actually know what living means.

11. 24-hour grocery stores (that are -not- WalMart) need to exist everywhere.
I haven't updated this, semi on purpose. So, so, so many things have happened. I have been grateful for all of them. But there have been things happening without me as well, and I find myself unable to cope with the lack of me being there to watch them, participate and take action. The final straw was having to take the person who means the most to me in the world to the airport July 13th, not to see him again until Christmas. On top of that, my family's failing health and having little to no prospects out here... I've made a huge decision.

So, dearest Los Angeles, I'll see you again in eight months.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of the Year

Right now I'm sitting on my mentor's couch, enjoying a lazy morning on New Year's Eve while two birds chirp and whistle loudly in their cages from across the room. It's a nice morning, and better already than the boring evening I experienced last night. I thought I'd take some time, collect my thoughts and reflect on the past year. It's been a long one, an adventurous one and one that I'm sure will be sticking with me for a long, long time.

This year I made a cross-country trek with my roommate, a cat and everything I owned packed into my little Serenity. It really is only by the grace of God that I went, made it and am now living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Four days on the road, seeing sights I never imagined existed inside the US, staying in hotels, realising my car wasn't made for the Rockies... all experiences I never want to forget, and I am incredibly happy I had. There is nothing quite like a road trip. It's exciting, scary, but mostly the best time of your life. I'm excited for my next one, wherever it takes me. I adopted a kitty, the best cat in the world, and as of right now I miss him terribly. I hear he misses me, too. I long to see his little chubby face again.

In May I started the school I'll be graduating from, and it's my favourite of the lot so far. Yes, I found my best friend at PCC, but Eastern has brought me other great friends and an easier way to my degrees. I'll hopefully be finishing this summer, and I can't wait to hold those degrees in my hands (y'know, when they arrive in the mail months later). I have no idea if I'll stay in Michigan, move back to California, or go somewhere else. It's a decision I really don't like thinking about, but if I've learned anything from this year, it is to trust God fully. He's gotten me so ahead in life this year, how could I not trust that He'll continue to lead me in the right direction? So I decided that where I live is up to Him. I'm just hoping it involves awesome friends surrounding me.

Also in May I discovered just how amazing Steampunk is, and how much better suited I am toward it than Gothy-ness. Yes, yes. I know. But Steampunk was what I'd been searching for as a Goth, and I am proud to wear my brown and gears! I also found some of the coolest friends a new girl could ask for. Sundays nights became Game Night with a very large group of loud, nerdy, wonderful people. I am so thankful to have them in my life. They mean more to me than they can possibly know.

In August I found another love of my life, not in a person, but in a place. There is nowhere better for the outdoors than the Upper Peninsula. The moment we crossed that bridge I knew it was love. The trees, the lake, the people, the pasties... everything about the UP put me at ease and expanded my senses. Not only that, but I had my first real encounter with the paranormal outside my father's house. I saw the Paulding Light (along with about fifty or sixty other people). It was... indescribable. I've posted a blog on it, taken pictures and video, and stood for nearly three hours staring at the pulsing orb, and musing with other visitors on what it could be. It was a wonderful first paranormal investigation, and got me creating a popular blog. August was a win.

In fall I explored my first pumpkin patch, and had a fantastic time watching the colours change. Spending a fall in a state with seasons was beautiful, and I have certainly found my favourite season of all.

This year I have also worked as a nanny for two great kids and a loving family, and I am so proud to work there. I kind of miss them even now, and going back to work doesn't seem like such a daunting task to me. I know I don't wan to nanny forever, but for now it seems a perfect match. Now if only I could get them to like my car...

At this moment I am the heaviest I've ever been, but thanks to freaking out, not wanting to buy new clothing and my roommate's new exercise bike, all that will change. It's not a resolution, because I never keep those, but a promise to myself to get in better shape and return home next year looking and feeling better than ever. Midwestern food and eating habits totally don't help, though. These people love their food.

Thanks to all of you I am able to be sitting on a couch in Southern California right now. Without donations there is no way I would have made it home for Christmas. I am so thankful to all of you who gave. It honestly made me cry when my inbox lit up with donation emails. I have the most wonderful support group in the world, and I could ask for nothing better.

What 2012 holds for me I do not know. I plan on graduating, moving out (of at least this apartment), getting a decent-paying job and hopefully traveling somewhere neither California or Michigan. Maybe I'll actually make it to New Orleans again. I don't know. What I do know is that God and all of you are there for me, and I think the biggest lesson I've learned this year is that others are trustworthy, reliable and friendly. I've learned to put my faith in God, and relax in the knowledge that He provides everything I need, no matter what I do or say. He has blessed me with wonderful people whom I can count on and go to in times of need. I've been shown that I can make it out on my own, 2000 miles away from those I love most, and thrive in any environment. And that's a comforting thought.

See you all in the New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One Week

(Oh, yeah. We "made" a gingerbread house, too. Kind of.)

Yesterday marked the one week mark until I go home for Christmas. It's almost surreal that I'm even going home. If it weren't for all of you reading this, I wouldn't be. But Friday I'll be on a plane back to Los Angeles. I'm both incredibly excited... and absolutely terrified.

As many of you know, my family has been going through a very rough time. My brother is awol most of the time, my father ignores his problems and escapes to Big Bear. Really, the only sane one left is my sister. Which I'm thankful for, because I at least have one house of sanity to run to. But I'm incredibly nervous about what Christmas will bring. It obviously won't be the same, but how not the same is left wide open. I have no idea what to expect, and that scares me. I never like entering a new situation completely unarmed. I'm fiercly protective of Christmas, and each one seems to get a little worse. I'm hoping for the best, but keeping a few contingency plans in the works.

I have no idea what home will be like. I've never been away this long, and I'm nervous that I'll no longer have a place among all my friends. I've definitely changed, and while I think it's for the better, I don't know how anyone will react. Sure, this is all speculation, but I've honestly got no idea what will happen when I step off that plane.

I also have no idea how rent will be paid. I'm only working two weeks this month, and I've already spent a good chunk of paycheck on getting things ready for my trip. God provides, but I'm never sure exactly how much. Yes, some voice in my head says "everything," but c'mon. I wouldn't be me if I didn't worry.

What I do know is that Christmas lights looks much, much better when there's snow on the ground, and I have officially walked in temperatures in the teens. It hasn't snowed much, and so far driving is okay. I can scrape ice with the best of them, and I haven't slipped and fallen once! Okay once, but I tripped on a stick, not the ice. It totally doesn't count. People saw me, though, so that was embarrassing. Noel Night in downtown Detroit was really fun, even if I had a headache the whole time. I'm in love with the DIA, and I can't wait to go back and spend hours looking at art from all over the world. I really enjoy Detroit, and wish I could spend more time there. I'll always have a thing for cities. We understand each other.

C and I went to Holly, and missed the tree lighting ceremony, but walked around a bit. You really do go back in time when you step onto the streets of downtown Holly. The shops are adorable, and filled with cute nick-nacks and made-in-Michigan products. I bought my favourite chips in the world (Factory tortilla chips), and had some tasty creme soda! All in all, it was a fun (if freeeeeezing) night!

I'm going home in SIX DAYS. I miss my dog like no one's business. I'll miss my cat about the same. I got him a scratching post to distract him from my absence. I hope it works. Three weeks is a long time to be away. I'll desperately miss game night, but I'm excited for all the other nights I get to spend in the company I've missed for the past eight and a half months.

I can still use a whole lot of prayer, if you're up for it. Financially, spiritually, emotionally... these past eight and a half months have been bumpy, to say the least. Keep those good vibes coming! And I'll see you in six days, Southern California!