If I am being perfectly honest, I sort of forgot I had a blog. Last year, I made several half-hearted efforts at crafting a new post before being distracted with LSAT/law school prep, work, or sad attempts at getting an adequate amount of sleep. In the past year, Luke and I have moved to a new apartment, applied for school, booked tickets for international travel, added a new furry child to our family (thanks, Ashlyn!), caught up with old friends, made new ones, and played an incalculable number of new board games.
I have finally managed to get life back under control the past few days and once again noticed the little WordPress app on my phone. Realizing now was as good a time as ever to reacclimate to writing, I wanted to take a post share what has transpired in our lives over the past year. Think of it as a reintroduction to me as I reintroduce blogging to my routine. Or the self-deprecating commentary of a 25-year-old with enough money to keep up a self-titled domain. Or maybe a bit of both.
Same City, New Commute
The most obvious change for us this year was a move across Little Rock. Gone are the days of living within walking distance of downtown; instead, we now live smack in the middle of West Little Rock’s pseudo-suburbia in one of the few apartment complexes that permit a six-month lease. My parents and sister (bless them) helped us make the hurried move in September to finish out our last few months in Little Rock. The only casualty of the move was a bookcase, but Luke and my dad bonded over their collective shock of finding it absent from the back of the moving trailer.
We are in the last month of our lease, which means we say goodbye to Little Rock in 19 days. I’ll miss the home we built with stacks of books in a tiny apartment, but just the thought of skipping out on the 630-W traffic each morning warms my heart.
Law School and Insurmountable Debt
The biggest deterrent to my writing has been preparing for my law school applications. As my last post in June 2017 indicated, I was gearing up to take the LSAT. It went well enough, but I opted to take the test again in December to see if I could eke out a few more points. After the holidays, I had two months to draft up all my essays, letters of recommendation and supplementary statements before the March 1st deadline. By the end of the process, we spent roughly $1,400 just so I could apply to law school. The total cost left me a little discombobulated, especially as I was writing my diversity statement from the perspective of an applicant from a low-income background. I could not help but highlight the problems these exorbitant costs encourage in my statement:
“The cost of the law school application process has made me acutely aware of how precious each application is to applicants in similar situations. Fee waivers are undeniably helpful, but there is room for improvement when considering how to help the process remain competitive, but not financially exclusive. Having students from a lower income bracket will not only assist in the exploration of these alternative avenues, but our presence will also ensure a future class of advocates that empathize and understand the effects of financial difficulties.”
Nevertheless, the ridiculous amount of money spent has yielded some positive results: I have been extended an offer of admission to American University Washington College of Law in Washington D.C. I am still waiting to hear back from other schools in the area before confirming a college, but Luke and I are excited to pack our bags and the kids into the Prius to move east.
The Cat with Three Last Names
Speaking of kids, we have a new addition to our familial group by way of my sister. Ashlyn’s little grey cat, Watson, had been living with our parents because he is not too keen on Ash and Luke O’s dogs, Bo and Timber. To bring him closer to Ash, we brought him to live with us at the beginning of 2017.
He and Sid are inseparable and he is the only cat Bird tolerates. He also does this adorable little roll to show you his speckled belly for attention – admittedly, he does this while you are trying to walk and inevitably trips Luke once or twice a day. For however long he may stay with us, Watson Osborne-Castille-Webb is a wonderful addition to our overflowing household.
That was a Sub-Optimal Move
Playing repeated (losing) games of Monopoly growing up made me dislike board games. In college, I used to schedule extra shifts just to avoid a game night. But our friends, Dave and Dani, have converted me.
It started with me sitting and watching a game of Axis and Allies. Everyone was strategizing and whispering and, yes, trash-talking. One single turn around the board could take an hour. I abandoned my LSAT study guide and focused on the board movements. The next game, I volunteered to play and have not turned back.
For the last few years of college, I pulled away from most everyone. I relied heavily on Luke to be my connection to the outside world as I dealt with my eating disorders, PTSD, and depression. Being pulled into a game world where the laughter and camaraderie are genuine and irresistible kept my head above water when I would lapse in my recovery and remission. I now look forward to nights of dice tumbling across the table and small figurines sliding along a board. But I still despise Monopoly.
Whenever game nights could not center my focus on positive or constructive thoughts, I would turn to one of my new-found hobbies. I have discussed the calming and focusing nature of photography on my site; but during the winter, it was just too cold for me to muster the patience to stand outside with my camera.* In place of photography, Luke gifted me with a sketchpad and new charcoal pencils.
My skills are limited, but I am okay with that. For me, sketching and photography aren’t mediums that I want to excel in or hyper-analyze to fit a narrow idea of perfection – in fact, they are quite the opposite. They allow me to pour my anxiety into an action that is not restricting my happiness or impacting my health. I can create something imperfect and enjoy it. And aggressively shading the underside of a bee thorax when you are frustrated is amazingly cathartic.
*This will have to change once we move to the East Coast. I can admit that, but I still don’t look forward to it.
Eurail 2018, or How Many Times Can Brittany Misplace Her Cellphone?
As many of you might have gathered from my Instagram posts (the one form of social media on which I remained fairly active), Luke and I have a European vacation planned for this year. What may be news is that we leave in 29 days. We are flying into Athens, Greece before hopping on the Eurail through Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. Our return to Arkansas from Rome is in mid-May.
I cannot even begin to describe how excited and apprehensive I am. Several of these countries are new experiences for Luke and me and, while his BCS and my Italian are coming along, we still feel woefully unprepared. However, this is the first time since college graduation that I will have a break from work. No depos to summarize, no orders to file, and no receptions to plan – just Luke and I trying not to become hopelessly lost.
This upcoming journey is, in part, a driving force for me to pick up writing again. During our travels, Luke will be working and I would like to expand my portfolio to include travel writing. It is entirely possible that I abandon that hope and just read dime-store mystery novels while trying to remember what cafe I left my phone in, but only time will tell.