Wednesday, May 30, 2012


No, not the board game. Although I have spent many Christmas/New Year holidays with our family friends playing the game of strategic conquest (when you get two older brothers and their friends together, you're not playing Boggle, I'll tell you that much). And if you're any kind of Seinfeld fan at all, you already love this scene from the label maker episode. "The Ukraine is weak!" 

For this post I'm thinking of risk more in terms of putting yourself out there. In terms of exposing yourself to possible downfall or heartbreak or letdown or danger. This kind of risk is not a game...real people are involved in this one.

This idea of risk started to bounce around in my head ever since my brother Alex, who is a lawyer, brought up the concept of "Assumption of Risk" a long time ago. Maybe it was his first year of law school, I don't know, but it stuck with me. Apparently it was in a torts class (I guess that's a category of laws, but to me it sounds more like dessert) and basically you can cite "Assumption of Risk" as a possible defense to not get the pants sued off of you. Hopefully I'm understanding it correctly. For example, if you're playing a soccer game, someone slide tackles you, and you tear your ACL, the slide-tackler does not have a responsibility to pay for your medical bills. By suiting up in that soccer jersey and stepping on the field, you assumed that playing the game involves a certain level of risk. And since you love the game, you happily accepted and played in spite of that risk. You take responsibility for the fact that it's your own fault for joining in if you get hurt during the normal play of the game.

I also think of this with playgrounds. By climbing up on those monkey bars, you are taking on that Assumption of Risk. You might fall (and dang does hitting those wood chips below ever hurt!) but you also might finally conquer that farmer's flip you've been perfecting for your entire kindergarten career.

People are like monkey bars. You need to acknowledge the Assumption of Risk when it comes to people. Anytime you have a friendship, relationship, or interaction with another human being, you're risking something. The closer you get, the more you jeopardize in the process. The possibilities for love and friendship are worth it, and so most of us see fit to take that risk. But what happens when it all blows up? We all know the feeling of free-falling to a thud on the ground below the monkey bars, only to have the wind knocked out of us once we get there. It's not pleasant. People can hurt. People can leave you gasping for air. When that initial impact passes, do you yell curses up at the monkey bars? No. You pick yourself up, walk it off, and try that farmer's flip again. When you open yourself up to people, you take that risk. It's not anyone's fault, it's just never a sure thing with people. You give them the power to knock the wind right out of you. Hey, remember that you can do the same hurt to others when they trust you! But the beauty of it all is that next time it might not end up that way. You can learn from every single fall and every single scrape and bruise those wood chips leave on your knees. You risked it, it didn't work out as you'd planned, but you're still going forward better, smarter, and readier than before.

One of my all-time favorite literary characters is a sad little guy named J Alfred Prufrock. T.S. Eliot wrote a whole poem from his sad little perspective. J Alfred is so consumed with his fear of taking risks that he is completely paralyzed. He says he measures his life in coffee spoons and obsesses over the question: "Do I dare eat a peach?" Dude, when you start to have an existential crisis over fruit, you know you need to lighten up.

What I'm trying to say here is that we can't end up like my friend J. Alfred Prufrock. I can't sit on the sidelines of friendships and relationships for fear of getting burned or getting my feelings hurt. We can't sit on the grass while the rest of the world is playing on the jungle gym. I read somewhere that "life is between the trapeze bars," that in order to really live, you have to risk a little too. I'd rather have my life measured in jumps and falls than in coffee spoons. Safe is nice, but safe can become a crutch.

I'm working on facing those monkey bars again. The world is just too full of interesting people and exciting opportunities to not climb back up that ladder. And if I do say so myself, I can execute an outstanding farmer's flip.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Sometimes being back in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, surrounded by family, is all I need to remember who I am again. (Cue sentimental song about growing up) My relatives own acres of swampland with the Onion River running through it and we just spent the afternoon there for a Memorial Day picnic. Yes, the Onion River is its real name. Yes, I also catch myself saying "crick" when the rest of society calls it a "creek." The midwest has plenty of things to poke fun about, and by my association with it, that includes me too. My area has people with a strong Wisconsin accent, lots of hunting and fishing types, and you may or may not get stuck behind a large piece of farming equipment on your daily drive. We aren't the most fashionable or fast-paced area, but that's okay too.

I remember when I read The Help, Kathryn Stockett, the author, wrote that she felt defensive of Jackson, Missisippi. She felt that she could criticize and comment on Jackson because it was her hometown, but when others did so she grew pretty protective.  I have plenty to say about how much I hate my own accent sometimes and the fact that the nearest mall is 40 minutes away, but I guess according to this Kathryn Stockett lady I'm allowed. Either way, accents and all, I love where I'm from, both the place and the family.

Sunset over my backyard 
Xander and Sawyer (nephew and niece) playing in the sprinkler


Xan man. 

Family gatherings DOWN BY THE RIVER! (Yes, old school Chris Farley reference)

Love these times. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Adios Mis Niños

I guess I knew a lot of "goodbyes" were on the horizon for graduation. It's those that you aren't prepared for that sneak up on you in the worst way.

Something that surprised me about my college years was the amount of babysitting I did for four years. You know those types of girls who squeal and swarm the second a baby enters the room? Yeah. Not me. Not that I have anything against babies! I happen to think they're adorable, but just hate battling the crowds of girls and exposing my weak repertoire of baby songs. I tend to speak to children like they are my own age, so the baby talk thing is not very natural to me either. I think all these babysitting jobs happened so that they will let me be a mom someday. (When I say "they" I mean the board of people who let you have kids. There's one of those, right?)

All three summers in college were spent nannying full-time, and throughout the school years I had steady babysitting jobs (a few here and there for Sawyer and Xander also of course) to bring in some extra cash. This family I've been with for all four years. The mom, named Ellen, was more of a friend than an "employer" and can make me laugh like I can't believe. She had twins G & J followed by a son N a year later. That means about three kids in a year. Someone pour this woman a glass of wine. I came in when they were 4, 4, and 3 years old my freshman year. She later added a third boy, M, my junior year. They now are ages 7, 7, 6, and 1. I have no clue how she does it. She has sort of adopted Mel, Karley, and myself and we have helped her out through the years. This family is awesome.

Mel, Me, and Karley, with J, G, and N over for dinner
before we moved out of our college house. 
Me and the same crazy crew at the end of my freshman year! 
I've officially decided that when I'm a functional adult I'm going to be as cool as Ellen and her husband and invest time and friendship in poor college students. Anyways, getting off campus to do my laundry for free and watch CABLE TELEVISION my freshman year of college was like a vacation in and of itself. Don't tell Ellen, but I would've come free just for that. Suckerrrrr. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Really long sidenote: Today, I wore leggings as pants for a few hours. Not because it was a fashion statement by any means (I can't stand when girls do that), but because that's what I wore to bed last night with an old State Farm Insurance t-shirt and proceeded to run errands in my pajamas after waking up this morning. Also, since I had gone about my busywork throughout the day sans showering, I just kept with the grossness and decided a run would make me smell even better. As I made my way around town and back to my country roads, I started to daydream and did not see the huge branch of leaves from the maple tree on a passing lawn. I proceeded to run directly into it, getting a face full of leaves. I reacted as though I had been electrocuted and flailed in all awkward directions, only to look up and see the old man across the street who was checking his mail start to laugh at me. 


Down to business. Teach for America is COMING UP SOON and I am continually doing things to get ready for it. I have "To-Do" items to cross off each and every day in addition to the never-ending packing/unpacking process I have as the aftermath of living away at college for four years. First, here's a  few facts about what it means to be in Teach For America:

- I'm not an education major, but I will be teaching!
- Teach For America employs the philosophy that it is important to have leaders in teaching positions for underachieving classrooms
- I will get my teaching certification/licensing through classes at Dominican University in Chicago
- I am officially a 2012 Chicago Corps Member, which basically means I am in this year's "class" of TFA people who are beginning their two-year commitments to teaching through this program

Here's a little timeline for what's coming up for me:

JUNE 13: Induction.
This is like FYF for you Trinity people, or Orientation for any other normal person. It takes place at IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) where I'll move in and live for about 5-6 weeks for the Institute training time that follows. These first few days are what get us in the mindset for our training. I'm going to venture a guess that it will be ENTHUSIASTIC and FULL OF ACTIVITIES with lots of SMILING CAMP-COUNSELOR TYPES FACILITATING GROUP DYNAMICS! Believe me, I know. I'm a card-carrying camp-counselor-hyperactive-group-activity girl from my high school and college years. The get-to-know-you games will be in abundance, I can only imagine. Better start thinking of my "one interesting fact" right now. Maybe I'll go with my mad hula hoop skillz that last for hours. Or the fact that I can say the alphabet backwards. Those are my two go-to interesting facts.

JUNE 17: Institute.
This is where we get down to the nitty gritty. Training and summer school teaching. I'll be getting on a bus at about 6:00 AM with a packed lunch, teaching little children important things, heading back on a bus in the evening, lesson planning until late, crashing in bed, and repeating. This is our "student teaching," if you will. Since TFA (get used to that abbreviation and many others. sorry.) uses alternative licensing programs for their corps members (remember, we are mostly non-education majors) during this time I will also begin classes at Dominican University for my certification. As if I needed something to fill up all that spare time I'll be having, right?

August 1: First Day of School at LEARN
HOLY COW. That date is coming up very quickly, in my mind. Before this day I'll take part in an orientation for my specific school, the LEARN Network's Campell campus, and figure out what grade I'm teaching as well as my classroom setup. I can fill you in on that more later of what that really looks like. As of now, I'm praying for peace and confidence and energy and gusto as I look ahead to start the school year on the right foot.

So, there you have it. The blueprint of my summer. (I didn't include all the weddings, though, I didn't want to overwhelm you.) Until June 13, I am maddeningly getting my life/stuff in order, working on Institute pre-work and pre-reading (of which there is about 40-50 hours), and slowly trying to work out a living situation (say a prayer!). Don't worry, I'm leaving plenty of time for Jeopardy each night. Of course. It's going to be a crazy but awesome summer!

Photo evidence that I am actually making headway
on going through my stuff. This is all off to Goodwill; hopefully
many more trips to the thrift store are coming up! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm sort of proving my own point by writing this post. It is 12:33 AM and I decided to pick up my lappy and write a nice little blog post. Stupid George Michael! (That was for all you Arrested Development fans out there.)

Let's start out by saying I don't live up to my name very well. Having Gesch as a last name carries a lot of implications. I think very good and redeeming implications for the most part. We're a German bunch that tends to be very punctual, practical,  talkative, and disciplined. There also seems to be an early bird gene that has been associated with my last name. Probably goes along with that whole "Let's be eighty hours early to everything" deal my family has going on. Well, I'm not sure what happened there, but my early bird gene was bullied to death by the night owl gene and that was that. That poor bird was KO-ed in the first round and never had a chance. Those dueling birds and owls, it can get dangerous I tell you. I've been the last one awake at every sleepover as a child, pushing my bedtime back to do one more thing, and sleeping through early alarms with the best of them since 1989. My natural tendency to be awake at night, paired with my sleep habits in the past four years at college have set me up pretty poorly for adulthood. 

Granted, I just had kind of a whirlwind and off-schedule weekend anyways. It began by celebrating my roommate Susan's bachelorette party complete with an entourage of 14 on a coach bus riding through town. SO MUCH FUN. But when that night ended at 3:30 AM, the next few days didn't really stand much of a chance. I had dinner with my babysitting family (Mel, Karley, and I have been adopted by an awesome mom of four during our time at Trinity) tonight in the Chicago area and now I am finally home again in Wisconsin, watching the replay of today's Jeopardy episode. 

To me, the perfect schedule would involve waking up at 9:00 AM, taking a three hour nap beginning at 2:00 PM, waking up at 5:00 PM and going to sleep again for the night at 3:00 AM. Rinse and Repeat. Wait a minute...that is my EXACT schedule from my semester in Spain! Maybe it's a sign I need to go back. (Yep. It is.) Plus, night owls have more fun! Most fun things happen at night anyways! And who wants to wake up at 5:00 AM with a raspy voice all morning? (Maybe this is my personal problem; my voice doesn't get back to normal until after noon. Before that I sound like Chuck the neighborhood bus driver.) But alas, the early birds have that whole "I'm a real responsible human being" aspect that is oh so valuable in this world of employment I'm learning actually does exist. 

The night owl thing may work out in the dream world of studenthood in Sevilla, but does NOT work out too well in the real world where you want to be a healthy, productive adult who contributes positive things to society. Especially not for a teacher. Institute for Teach for America is looming on the horizon with a rigorous (early!) schedule, followed by the insanity that will be my first year of teaching and I need to start getting with it. I must man up (maybe I should say woman up?) and realize that all of my goals: being healthy, working hard, being great at my job, being responsible with my spiritual life and friendships, all could be greatly improved by normal sleeping schedules. These next few months will take serious discipline from me to change this routine. Hopefully you'll see more posts from 6:00 AM instead of 1:00 AM. You can help keep me accountable.

Now, before bed, let's read a few more chapters in my book, browse Pinterest for awhile, and re-do my nail polish. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Graduation has passed, and life is moving on along. Between my full-time job of official American Idol and Dancing With the Stars commentator with my parents (don't you dare judge me), I am beginning to actually check things off the list in preparation for my job at a charter school and Teach For America. I've been neglecting THE LIST for some time now, and it needed to be addressed now that finals are through.

But a rabbit trail first. Okay. Sue me if you disagree, whatever. But is it just me or did American Idol get way softer? All the judges are big gummy teddy bears and never say anything remotely critical other than, "Yo dawg, for was aiggght." Since when did RANDY become the BAD GUY? That is the worst they can come up with. What happened to the days of Simon bringing a girl to tears for hitting a wrong note, then crossing his arms over his skin-tight t-shirt in disgust at her emotional weakness? In tonight's episode I heard like eighty flat pitches and a bunch of lyric mess-ups and nothing. Nada. Zip. All sunshine and happiness from the panel of judges. Obviously, Steven Tyler has no idea what's going on around him anyway. But Randy and J-Lo, I'm disappointed! I mean, I'm all about positivity, but let's be honest when that chick doesn't hit her notes! It's okay to be honest! Okay, okay. I get it. Too much reality television for Anna. I need to find a book. 

Back to THE LIST of shtuff. (I like to say it shtuff...sounds more Yiddish to me. Why that matters to a non-Jew like myself? Not sure.) There is THE LIST of to-do items. I've dedicated myself to jumping through these flaming hoops with thorough, punctual efforts. I take great pride in jumping through said hoops with little complaint. But. Then yesterday happened. I hit a wall.

For a solid 5 hours straight, I worked through financial plans, background checks, fingerprinting, online HR websites that malfunctioned for the 6th time, exchanging long e-mails with Frank from customer support at said HR website, HMOs, PPOs, retirement plans, apartment searching, roommate hunting (....anyone? anyone? Bueller?), transcript ordering, e-mail responding, and hair-ripping-outing.

Blech. I was ready to barf. Then it turned out that I had to spend today driving 2.5 hours each way to Chicago for a 15 minute meeting with a guy who took my fingerprints.

But. Alas. This is life. 

Life is annoying sometimes. Life is messy. Life puts you through four different voicemail systems and hangs up on you at the end of the 20-minute muzak track. Life makes you navigate through construction zones to find no-tow parking lots in the city. Life makes you wait in line at the DMV. Life has details that you just need to man up and figure out. Life is full of this stuff (shtuff, if you will). And it is only the beginning for me, especially as a newbie in both the adult world and education world. I've thought about how I got overwhelmed yesterday morning since it happened and got sort of disappointed in myself for getting so frustrated at the annoying details. I've come up with two solutions for myself, and they've worked well for me in the last 48 hours.

Solution 1: GO TO SLEEP.

My favorite activity, ever. This is always helpful. After sleeping on anything I have more clarity. It's great to get distance from whatever you're contemplating in order to sort it out. Sleep has a beautiful way of taking the edge off of angry arguments, tedious bureaucracies, and stressful workloads. It just helps. If sleep is not an option, of course, I have another for you.


Take one minute. One single minute. Back it up. And remember why you are doing what you are doing. Why you are living your life and who you are living it for. I did this today whilst stuck in traffic. It was wonderful. Why am I running around like a crazy zombie trying to get fingerprints, apartments, budgets, credit cards, direct deposit, benefit packages, and eight million e-mails all accomplished? Because I am blessed to have a job that will teach me not only about myself and others but how I can use my abilities to love and help a broken world. Simple as that. When I remember that, I get perspective. I take one minute to remember WHY the heck I'm doing what I'm doing, and it's all a whole lot simpler. And happier. Of course living in the moment is wonderful (here is a big reason why), but the big-picture perspective is necessary for those individual moments to be enjoyed. In order to not get bogged down and drown in the details, you need to always stay afloat on your noodle of perspective. (See how I worked that metaphor in there? Yeah, I have a Bachelor's in English. That's what I'm using it for.) That one minute of perspective changed my attitude for the next few hours.

I laughed at my laptop when I read this. What great perspective. 

Obviously, nobody lives stress-free. This stuff happens. But I want to do my best to lead a life of joy, even in the midst of the little crap that I'm tempted to allow to bother me. And when all else fails, of course, I think I'll just take a nap. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

It happened.

I graduated college. Say whaat?! It is insane to even say. But it happened! And I am so happy!

The cousins!
On Saturday I walked across the stage and officially became an Alum of Trinity Christian College. The weather did not cooperate at all, but it helped to make the day unforgettable. We had a magnificent lady, Donnita Travis, as a speaker. She is the founder of a really cool organization for kids in Chicago (who knows, maybe we'll be working for some of the same people!). She gave a speech entitled "It's the little things you do, not the big things you say," and ended her talk with a resolute "GO GET 'EM!" which I thought was awesome! (Note to self: do that when you give graduation speeches.) I think I wouldn't mind getting lunch with this lady sometime. Then I grabbed my diploma and called it a day! 

Mi familia. Good lookin' crew, if I do say so myself. 
The whole morning was a blur. I kept looking around at my fellow classmates and thinking to myself, "How are we all here right now? How did we get to this point? Are we really in these hats and gowns right now?" It was one of those out-of-body things. We ended the day running around trying to get pictures in between downpours and navigating the chaos of all those people on our little campus. 

I left the event kind of all over the place, but the one thought I kept coming back to was this is a huge deal. This will be one of those days that I'll forever look back on as a watershed in my life. 

It's a lot of endings. The end of my college life and the amazing memories that define these four years. The end of my education (for now). The end of living with my five best friends. The end of my undergrad classes. The end of taking 3 hour naps in the middle of the afternoon. (I shall miss those with all my heart, believe me.) The end of familiarity. The end of this little comfort zone. The end of a lot of hard work. 

But it's also a lot of beginnings. The beginning of the "real world." The beginning of educating others. The beginning of my journey at Teach For America. The beginning of making new friends and living in a new city (no, attending Trinity does not qualify as living in Chicago). The beginning of growing up and becoming more independent. The beginning of going to sleep and waking up early. The beginning of uncertainty. The beginning of a huge new challenge and adventure. 

Siblings, laughing at Dad trying to take a picture. This is the 5th try. He's an expert. 
So. As I'm starting to prepare for Teach for America's Institute (more on the details of my job through Teach For America will come later) and search for a roommate and apartment (anybody wanna live with me on the west side? I'll make you cookies?), it is cool to keep in mind that I've reached this point - I've made it to this huge milestone. I'm really proud of myself. I'm really humbled at how blessed my life has been. I'm really anxious at the thought of how the next few years are going to turn out. But really excited too. All the great stories have a little bit of mystery. That's what makes them great! 

So what shall we do? Where do we go from here after such a big day? I think there's just one option: Let's go get 'em!! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Saw The Sign

Yep. Ace of Base. That just happened.

One of my favorite things about this semester has been my SPED (Special Education) 111 class, Sign Language. I take it with one of my best friends, Mel (also roommate), and we have a BLAST. She is actually a Special Ed major, whereas I took the class solely for general interest and the credits. For our final project, we had to put together a presentation of a song with signs. While we could've chosen a slower, easier song to learn, we of course had to pick one that required an entire month of practice. You be the judge of whether it paid off or not. I'm the one who chose to wear a white shirt while filming in front of a white wall, so that floating head and arms are mine.

Yes, we chose Call Me Maybe, the bubble-gum-pop song beloved by preteen girls and Bieber nation around the world. And us. We have no shame.

Finally, here is my sign video I had to make for an end of semester project. Yep. Yikes. (Oh, as you can see, I also chopped all my hair off again! That happened too. So many happenings.)  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dear Trinity

The following is a letter I was asked to write for our newspaper, The Courier, as sort of a fun little "farewell" to working for the paper and the school. It's easy to laugh and be my usual sarcastic self like in this letter, but with graduation four days away I'm thinking how much this place has meant to me for the past four years. I'm a lucky girl. For now, enjoy the sarcasm :) 

My Dearest Trinity,

It's been a good time, to say the least.

Thanks for holding back on South Hall renovations. It made my freshman year that much better. She has a sort of character, with all the weird smelling carpets and lack of air conditioning and what not. It also made me feel a lot less guilty when we covered our friends' dorm room downstairs in rotting leaves freshman year. It was a very conducive atmosphere for pranking and I really appreciate your consideration of our extracurricular activities.

I'm really allegedly sorry about allegedly climbing the library roof that one time with my friends and making the security guard run after us. That must've been embarrassing for him, if it happened. I can neither confirm nor deny the truth-value of this apology, but I'm allegedly sorry nonetheless.

Thanks for being conveniently located near Nonna's Pizza and Windy City Subs. It was so thoughtful of you to consider my 2 a.m. mealtime. You are always thinking of me like that. What a good friend.

Thanks for having a Varsity Girl’s Soccer Team. For without the Varsity team, there would be no JV team, and I’m pretty sure half of my soul would die if there were no JV soccer team. I appreciate how you let us dominate local community colleges and for also recruiting hilarious girls to hang out with me at 6 in the morning. That was so nice of you.

Thanks for hiring Bob Rice. Good call there. I think you should probably name the classroom building after him or something. That building doesn’t even have a name anyway. Look, I’m giving these ideas out for free here.

I think I’ll miss you, friend. I really will. But here’s some advice: keep paying lots of scholarship money to cool people so they come here, because you have excellent taste in students. You should also triple the newspaper’s budget because, let’s be honest, The Courier is obviously more important than some old building project for a new gym or whatever that silly little TARC thing is you have going on down by that “East Parking Lot,” or whatever it is you call it these days. You should probably make the semester in Spain mandatory for every student. Just saying. Keep the sandwich line lady well employed and happy because she is awesome. 

And stay classy. I know you always do.

Much love,
Anna Gesch

Sunday, May 6, 2012

One Year.

Welp. It's been one whole year.

For me, the first day of last year was not on January 1st. Last year started on May 6th. That's when my life started over; that's when the new beginning really came.

Today marks the 366th (or is it one more than that due to Leap Year? meh cut me some slack here) day I've been back in the United States. Back from my home in Sevilla, España and my four-month adventure there. A year ago I took the flight back home to Chicago. A year ago I squeaked out broken and pathetic "Te amo," to Jose Antonio, my Spanish brother as he carried my (15 kg over the required limit) luggage to the airport bus. A year ago I said tearful goodbyes to some of the best people and friends I've ever met as they went to their own home states. A year ago I sprinted through the international gate when I saw my older brother Rudi grinning from ear to ear as my official welcome party back to the U S of A.

Since then a lot has happened.

I can't even believe how much.

I returned to Cedar Grove, Wisconsin for the first time after my grandma was no longer residing there. I got my first car. I met an amazing mentor and got the privilege of watching her kids for the summer. I went out with my friends and realized what cool people I know. I worked for the school newspaper and found my weird nerdy love for the news section. I played my last season of soccer ever. I got somewhat better at a regular devotional life. I cut my bangs back in. I got a new sister (to be made official this September!). I had a few (okay, more than a few) freakouts about the future. I took part in a few awful conversations. I took part in many more wonderful ones. I laughed my butt off (figuratively) with my roommates, my best friends. I road-tripped like nobody's business. I got hired for my first real job. I (almost) completed my senior year of college.

But it wasn't just my year. It was your year too. Just think, everyone could make a list like this. Think how much happens in a year to each and every person. Think of all the happiness, joy, heartbreak, love, and growing that happened. If we tried to write it all down, there wouldn't be enough paper on earth to tell our collective stories.

So. How does it feel to be back, one year later? Sometimes I really miss it. Sometimes I feel like I led a secret life in Spain that nobody here at home really understands. That sometimes I have a hard time trying to communicate who the real, post-Spain Anna truly is. Do I want to go back? Without a doubt. But it was time to come home. There's other things I want and need to do too. There are adventures I'm ready for right here. There are mountains to climb in Chicago. What will I be saying the first week of May a year from now? What will you be saying? How will we have changed?

I have no idea. But I can't wait to find out. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sup Shawty?

A classmate in my History of the English Language class did a little presentation last week about hip-hop diction. Shorty (I pronounce it "Shawty") was one of the words he listed. It doesn't really have anything to do with anything, but this is my blog and I get to pick the titles okay?! Finals will be taken. Work is being done. Passive voice is being used. Here's a few pics of what is happening in the life of AG: 

I'm writing a paper on the Romanovs for Russian History. Interesting. I've been interested in this little crew ever since I read a book called "Nicholas and Alexandra" as a middle schooler. Such drama-queens, those tsars. 

Went out with a few of the roomies to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some margaritas and chips and salsa! These are my two favorite things to consume. Obviously, we went to Chili's for an authentic Mexican experience. We're so culturally aware. 

This, my friends, is a poster in my college's library. This, my friends, is my brother Alex. Poor guy has been plastered all over Trinity propaganda. It's not his fault he's so successful! Okay, it is his fault, and I'm a fan of teasing him for it. But in all reality, I'm insanely proud to have him as a brother. While I used to see it as a lot to live up to, now I just see it as a lot to look up to. 

The most delicious breakfast I've had in a long time. I usually settle for a glass of Milk Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast to start my day, but this was fab last week. Chocolate chip pancakes. I have a nasty habit of covering my pancakes in powdered sugar. Or brown sugar and syrup. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. 

My man. Xander. This little guy is the cutest nephew I have and I've seen him a lot lately. He's growing up so fast and gave me the best gift ever last week: he learned to say my name. An-na. An-na. Like music to my ears. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scratch and Sniff

Tonight I went on a (for me) longish run around my neighborhood. It was glorious for a few reasons. For one, I haven't been running in forever. During the school year, I do Zumba (awesome), intramurals, and sometimes workout DVDs as my exercise. With all that winding down, I need some way of physically expelling stress. The other alternative is to beat up my roommates, and we wouldn't want to end the year that way, now would we? Running and I have a love-hate relationship. However. Without fail, every time when I finish even a short little run, I dig those endorphins. Best feeling ever. For another thing, it smelled SO GOOD outside. The weather has finally gotten nice again. Therefore, neighbors were out cutting the grass after work. Delish. 

This has inspired me to make a list of my top ten favorite smells. And then it turned into top 17 because I couldn't stop. I realize that a good number of them are actually dangerous and kill brain cells and all that good stuff, but I can't help what I like, right? Add your own as you wish. I can almost smell them now. 

Let's roll around in this meadow of delicious smelling grass. All are welcome.
1. Freshly Cut Grass - Okay maybe this isn't my alltime favorite, but since I just smelled it an hour ago I am still loving it.

2. Gasoline - Diesel as well. Yes.

3. Babies after a bath - Is it allowed for adults to use that Johnson & Johnson soap too? I want to smell like this.

4. Bleach - I like that whole "kills everything it touches" smell.

5. Permanent Markers - Sharpies in particular.

6. Baking Brownies - Karyn Koopmans is always good at giving our house this scent.

7. Burning Cigarettes - But the stale smell that follows is pret-ty gross. So don't smell like an ashtray.

8. Bonfires - I happen to believe ones taking place under a starry sky in my Wisconsin backyard smell the best.

9. Barbecue Ribs - I have an obsession with BBQ sauce and always want my babybackbabybackbabybackbabyback....

10. Chlorinated Pools - Smells like my childhood at the Cedar Grove pool.

11. Fabric Softener Sheets - I love my clothes to smell like this.

12. Strawberry Orbit Gum - Especially good smelling in the first few chews.

13. The Annual Gesch Family Christmas Tree - Our house smells like pine needles and sap for like three weeks.

14. Crayola Crayons - Just don't eat them. 2nd-grade Anna can vouch for this piece of advice.

15. Sevilla - Orange trees line the streets. Offer is open for you people to come with me and smell it for yourself!

16. Rubber Cement - Craft time was my fave.

17. Recently Painted Walls - I think it smells better if it's yellow. Or orange.