If You Want to Become a Better Person, Get a Paraguayan Craigslist Roommate

Alex and Maria take the Kansas State Capitol

Alex and Maria take the Kansas State Capitol

When I was little, I always wanted a foriegn exchange student to come live with us. This is the ONLY childhood wish that my parents left unfulfilled. (Yeah, my parents are ballers. They sent me to Disney World, Europe and oh, yeah, college. BALLERS). Sadly though, we just never had enough bedrooms.

Then in college, I got a Craigslist roommate from Paraguay. Her name is Alex. She likes steak, Mat Kearney and not turning her alarm off.

Naturally, there were some personal and cultural differences that we had to deal with when she came to live with three bossy American women. First off, Alex was not naturally as clean and organized and the rest of us were. There were several charts on refrigerator space created to rectify this issue.

Secondly, Alex drove me crazy. I wanted her to succeed in America, but she’d have so many questions. Questions about laws, questions about English, questions about everything! And when you explain things to someone from another continent, you have to start at the beginning. The VERY beginning. Sometimes I think I am talking to a 5 year old.

However, as He does time and time again, God grew my heart. I began to enjoy Alex’s questions, and I love sharing my country and culture with her, showing her its beautiful and its ugly parts.

As my heart grew and I got to know Alex more, I realized that Alex and I had a lot in common. We are both very open and loving and get frustrated when others are not the same. We both love to cook and love to eat even more. We both are very close to our moms and have large extended families. We both enjoy The Mindy Project, volunteering and advocating for causes that we support.

Alex has also taught me a lot. She is always there to comfort me when I can’t sleep (Because she is a vampire and never sleeps) or have 10,000 bug bites and try to chop my limbs off. Alex is much more relaxed and carefree than I am. Being around her has loosened me up a lot. Although I am losing her as a roommate this week (She is moving a very distant two blocks away) I know I have gained a friend for life. Thank you, Alex, for being the annoying little sister and exchange student I always wanted. Let’s eat more junk food!

9 Ways Legally Blonde Inspired Me (And Optimistic, Ambitious Girls Everywhere)

Legally-Blonde-1-1024x768%5B1%5DFor those of you unfamiliar with this 2001 classic film and slumber party staple, Legally Blonde is the story of Elle Woods, a dog-loving, ultra-girly, overly perky and ambitious Delta Nu woman who is completely smitten with her college sweetheart, Warner. In abrupt, callous style, Warner leaves fashion merchandising major and fun-loving Elle because as a Harvard law student, he needs someone more “serious.” To win back her man, Elle applies and gets accepted to Harvard Law School. That’s when the real fun begins. In a swirl of pink and plot twists, Elle proves to everyone that looks can be deceiving by brilliantly winning a case and never losing her sparkle.

1. Elle did her best, and it didn’t work out. But that did not keep her down.

GoodEnough

Sometimes the dream job, the best friendship, the perfect college or cute boyfriend don’t turn out like we had hoped. Sometimes we do our best, and things still don’t work out. For idealistic people like Elle and myself, this can be especially tough to process. It is okay to be sad for a little while, but eventually, you must get up and forge a new dream, and a new path for yourself. The struggle makes you a stronger, better person, and gives you the tools to help someone else when they go through those situations.

2. Even when her peers were doubting and mocking her, Elle was always true to herself.

ScentedResume

It is difficult to wear pink when everyone else is in black and gray. It is hard to take the high road when the low road is a cruise-control four-lane highway. Elle inspires us all by being herself even when everyone is trying to change her. By showing her true colors, Elle even ends up making some true friends.

3. She told the haters what was up.

LikeItsHard

When others judged Elle by her blonde hair and girly style, they assumed she was not smart. Whenever her classmates said she could not do something, Elle had unshakable faith that she could do it. She did not let other people psych her out when they said taking the LSATs, getting into Harvard, etc. was too difficult for someone like her. She had confidence in her skills and wasn’t going to take any crap from anyone, especially her lowlife ex-boyfriend, Warner.

4. Elle is a darn good friend to EVERYONE.

David

This is David. In the movie, David is the outcast, weird kid that no one wants to eat lunch with. When David nervously asks a “cool” girl on a date and she rudely declines, Elle intervenes like the brilliant pink heroine she is and cleverly pretends to be in love with David so that the girl finds David desirable. I am definitely not smooth enough to do that in real life, but Elle shows us the importance of being a friend to everyone, not just the people that are “popular.”

5. Elle shows us the satisfaction of personal success.

ME

Shocking her classmates who thought she was all beauty and no brains, Elle is chosen for a competitive internship at a prestigious law firm. This is were Elle truly realizes that seeing hard work pay off is more rewarding than being with Warner ever was. Elle expresses the joy we feel whenever we realize that we are better off without that boyfriend, job, friend, college, Sky Mall purchase, fifth slice of pizza, etc.

6. Elle let go of the people who held her back.

Bonehead

At one point, all Elle wanted was Warner. Then she realized that Warner was not that great. It hurts when you are disappointed and someone is not who you thought they were. But you must surround yourself with people who love, encourage and uplift you. Be with people who make you a better person. Anyone who does not do that isn’t someone you should spend a lot of time with.

7. She does not let people walk all over her.

TeenVogue

Although she is kind and thoughtful toward everyone, Elle does not allow herself to be taken advantage of. You can be a nice person and still stand up and fight for yourself.

8. No one does it on their own, not even Elle Woods.

Professor

When someone Elle trusted betrays her, she decides to quit law school and go back to Bel Air. Then a professor stops her. The truth is, no one is successful in anything without some (Or a lot of) help along the way. We all need people that we love and trust to support us. Then we get to celebrate our success with them!

9. The most important lesson from Elle Woods:

 YouMustAlwaysHaveFaith

Elle told us that no matter what, we must always have faith in ourselves. Elle’s only intention when she came to Harvard was to win Warner back. She did not end up with Warner. She did, however, achieve great academic and professional success and become best friends with her once enemy. Whatever roads your path diverges on, always have faith in yourself. You can do it! Thanks, Elle!

Your Friends Said What?!: Spring 2015

I can’t think of a pet that smells good wet, not even a fish.

I can’t cringe hard enough.

I don’t have a parking pass. They cost $180, and I usually have less than $180 in parking tickets a year.

People who have couple tattoos will break up.

If I don’t come back it’s because I was turned into a wizard.

I really want a cat with disabilities. Or one so fat that it can’t move and has to love me.

Guacamole is the butter of the earth.

My boyfriend keeps acting like I’m not the only person in his life.

We just don’t respect the gentleman.

Denim is the cloth of the gods.

Let’s go somewhere with toilet paper.

I never did that class with pants on.

There’s no reason to buy music unless you want Taylor Swift, and in that case, you can borrow my CDs.

He was complimenting me, but I didn’t hear it because a truck was going by.

You actually have to know the laws in America and that is hard.

I am so tired. I am going to pass away.*Everyone looks stunned* I mean pass out!

A choir robe covers a lot of sins.

We should not be your A team. You got to do better than that.

I’m in broadcasting, gosh dang it! I like the attention!

You don’t have to like Harry Potter, but you must respect Harry Potter.

I want to live my life in a way that Mindy Kaling would approve of.

I’m from Johnson county, everything you’ve heard is true.

Help! How do I water a plant?

Let’s just all be hippies and be free.

It’s Overland Park, they have too much time on their hands.

I’m Alex, I can make anything in a skillet but baking a frozen pizza is too hard.

It’s hard to hate me because I’m so hilarious.

You’re good at things so people annoy you about it.

If Megan can be nice then you can be rude.

By then there will just be a hologram Jesus and I won’t have to read the Bible.

I mean he looks age appropriate.

Next time you want to talk to me, text me.

I’m going to Taco Bell and then Zumba. It all evens out.

Did you put makeup on? No, my acne is just getting better.

Making people’s day, that’s what I’m all about.

I wish I was offending you.

Like Lady Gaga says, maybe it’s Maybelline.

You know why I think you shouldn’t be upset about this situation? Because Beyonce wouldn’t be upset about this situation.

Stuff My Professors Said: Spring 2015

Academics say the darnedest things.

Oh holy God I am going to jump up and down!

Jay-Z’s 99 Problems is a good run down of your 4th amendment rights.

That’s a sexy sentence.

If I was a great persuader, I would be laying on a beach while handsome men bring me alcohol, because I persuaded them to.

The worst part about Dallas is that it is in Texas. The second worst thing is that it sucks.

There’s already a full dance party of Republican presidential candidates.

Once Tom wanted me to print a photoshopped image of him as Mr. T.

Tom knows, he is the Bart Simpson of getting in trouble.

Prague is cool, but a little too close to ISIS for me.

Jesus himself couldn’t even register to vote in Kansas!

If Elsa and Anna can’t get a 3 year old to brush her teeth, there is no hope for me.

The simple answer is that I lied, and I am not going to give you the simple answer.

We could take the final, or we could sing Kumbaya for 45 minutes.

Anyone bring a beverage to this test and they are waiting for it to take effect? Guys calm down, I’m just talking about coffee.

And if you don’t have a number 2 pencil, grow up, take some responsibility for yourself and ask your neighbor for one.

Confessions of a Fierce Planner

I like plans.

I like specific dates, times, places, budget estimates and knowing if there will be food.

Why do I like plans? Why can’t I be a relaxed butterfly who goes with the flow?

Time is valuable, internet users. If I am making an effort to spend time with you, that means that I like you. It means I enjoy your presence. It means I would like us to be in the same room or outdoor space. So I made a plan with you.

Assuming you texted me back, we have a plan. Now I can plan other plans around our plan. I can plan a weather and activity-appropriate outfit, and make sure said outfit is clean. I can withdraw cash, buy food, vacuum for once in my life, get gas, or perform other tasks deemed necessary so I can enjoy our plans. I can even charge my phone!

Most importantly, I can gleefully anticipate our plans. I can get excited for days in advance that we are going to hang out!

I do not like plan changes. I do not like when people are more than 15 minutes late without letting me know. I do not like when people say they will come and then they do not.

I understand that, tragically, the world doesn’t work this way. Tires go flat, ice falls from the sky, cows give birth and professors unleash homework mayhem on students, I understand. I’m really trying to realize that not all plans are set in stone. I am trying to be patient, gentle, and kind, when a plan goes awry. It’s hard. It goes against every fiber of my nature. Both of my parents are intensely scheduled and infallibly prompt. Was I cursed with this genetic flaw?

In most of my relationships, I make the plans. This is used to bother me. I previously believed that no one wanted to spend time with me because they never initiated the plans. I was wrong. People did want to spend time with me. They just expected me to make the plan, because I am a planner by blood, design, and to a fault, if you haven’t noticed.

For this reason, it is WONDERFUL when someone wants to make plans with me. When someone comes to me with a plan they created, I am so flattered that I want to kiss them, which I have learned is only accepted in certain cultures. I can honestly name from memory the last 4 times someone besides me made the plan. Guys, when someone makes a plan and wants to hang out with YOU, it is just so flattering and makes my huge extroverted heart explode.

Based on 20 years and 2 months of planning, here are my tips for planners and those less inclined to plan.

Planners:

  • If someone doesn’t make plans with you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. They are probably just waiting for you to make a plan.
  • If someone is late, breaks or somehow alters the plan, it is not a personal reflection on you. And in most cases, it was unintentional, and the other person did not think you’d be so affected by it.
  • Nonplanners appreciate spontaneity. Although it may feel unnatural, be spontaneous with your planless companions! It just might be super fun and a great memory!
  • If making a plan is stressing you, ask someone else to help.
  • Great people are often late. Everyone is late sometimes. Forgive, forget, and don’t take it personally.
  • If someone is late, don’t leap to dramatic conclusions that they have been struck by large vehicles.
  • If you are making plans with a person who often breaks plans or is late, have a plan B that you can look forward to as well.

Not Planners:

  • Text your planner if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late.
  • Try to respond to planning texts promptly to spare your planner anxiety. A reply of “Let me check my schedule” is better than hours of silence.
  • Saying no politely is BETTER than not responding or saying yes and not showing up.
  • Planners may be uptight, but this is how we have fun. Our plan is fun to us. Random activities that we are not prepared for are stressful.
  • Help plan! The planner will probably be thrilled.
  • Come to the planner with a plan! Saying “Come to this thing at this time at this place on this day with me” is beautiful.
  • Thank a planner for making a plan and inviting you. It will make their life.

I understand that spontaneity is terrific and fun to some people. To me, most of the time it is not. I am truly trying to loosen up and accept plan changes and even a lack of plans. I am getting better. I respect and am usually jealous of the free-flowing attitudes of people who don’t need plans. With that being said, respecting plans shows you respect other people’s time. It shows that you are just as excited as me to hang out, and that you have thought about it ahead of time.

Not planners, I am trying to meet you halfway here. It is a feeble compromise, I know. We need you in the world to produce beautiful things and have open minds and low blood pressure.

Bottom line: don’t take it personally and just let it go when a plan goes wrong. Maybe it is better that way. Don’t hold grudges. Respect the time of others. Understand that they probably thought-through and got excited about the plan.

No one is wrong and no one is right in this situation, you just have to understand a different mindset from your own and maybe even learn to appreciate it.

Casually Texting Jesus

“Eating doughnuts.”

“Watching 30 Rock.”

“Going to get doughnuts.”

“Watching Parks and Rec.”

“Thinking about cleaning.”

These are just a few examples of the stream-of-consciousness kind of text messages I scribble to my mom and select close friends. They’re short. They’re boring. They boast no importance or urgency. There is the occasional rant or detailed anecdote. But otherwise, it is just me, being more bothersome than profound. The group who receives these texts is highly exclusive and my mom is probably the only one who is terribly interested.

Many of my friends have this kind of phone-to-phone relationship with their parents or siblings, our personal high-profile, inner-circles.

What if we had this relationship with Jesus?

What if we texted Him all day, everyday like we do with those closest to us?

What if we waited anxious, with grubby button-tapping fingers for His replies?

I don’t know the Son of God’s cell phone number, but I know how He can be reached.

Prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing. What if we prayed to Jesus the same things we texted our personal inner circles?

He loves you. He wants to know how upsetting it was when you missed the bus. He wants to see the photo of the banana you found in your backpack, and He knows how long it’s been in there. He wants to hear about you studying for your macroeconomics test, taking your macroeconomics test, and acing your macroeconomics test. He loves you at your best, your worst, and your most mundane.

Jesus loves you. He wants to know you. He wants to be at constant text levels of friendship with you. And He’s the Creator and Ruler of everything. He’s waiting for you to text Him, just like you’re waiting for the cutie with glasses from sociology 204 to text you. That’s pretty cool.

Real Fake New Year’s Resolutions

May your 2015 hold more Chinese food than expected.

May your 2015 hold more Chinese food than expected.

I think there is too much hype around New Year’s Eve and the following day. It’s like exercise programs and life coaches have extended the Christmas shopping season for themselves to the next year. If you want to change your life, just do it, regardless of the date and its proximity to January 1. With that being said, here are my real fake New Year’s resolutions.

  • Improve my shower singing performance
  • Stop volunteering so much
  • Find a cleaner laundry mat
  • Spend more money on shoes
  • Take my Instagram game to the NEXT LEVEL
  • Cut through more buildings on my walk to class
  • Start drinking (I turn 21 this year)
  • Stay up late being productive, instead of staying up late trolling the internet
  • Make more Pinterest pins a reality
  • Take my hair from lion’s mane to horse’s mane
  • Meet my neighbors so I don’t have to refer to them as “Loud Music Left” and “Loud Parties Right”
  • Create feasible exercise goals
  • Eat more processed meats
  • Stop being afraid of what I’ll find if I clean out my closet
  • Actually clean out said closet
  • Find a healthy way to burn calories while sleeping
  • Vacuum at least once gosh dang it
  • Pet dogs
  • Nap more frequently
  • Order French fries, with ranch dressing
  • Say no
  • Get a caffeine IV
  • Fill caffeine IV with chocolate
  • Survive sugar overdose
  • Swear to take better care of self
  • Say no to caffeine IV

Your Friends Said What?!: Fall 2014

Quotes from the greatest people during the Fall 2014 semester.

Look at you on your high horse.

Drake’s a thing. He’s very popular in the meme world.

I’m ready to go into a diabetic coma.

Do you know how farmers make burgers? They grind up the cows, and there you go, burgers!

I love having a manual because- *car dies*

Sorry I’m not very exciting.
It’s okay, I knew what I was getting into.

I don’t think she has a real doctorate. I just think she has skin cancer and is freaking out.

Jesus said to love the unlovable. If that means eating ugly cookies, then that’s what I’ll have to do.

Missourians destroyed Lawrence in Quantrill’s raid. You’re welcome.

I can’t turn down sparkles or puppies.

When boys make me sad, shopping makes me happy.

I just need to know him better, you know? Like how long has his family been in this country? When did his ancestors come over?

Friendship is about give and take. Jeremy gives me rides. Jeremy takes me places.

This is America! I should be able to get a cheeseburger whenever I want!

The Myers-Briggs says I am stubborn. I am not stubborn at all! Why would it say that?!

I got a 6 out of 14. I’m not a math guy, but that seems good.

I was up doing election coverage until 1:45, so a typical night in Aggieville.

This pastrami and cheese will change your life.

I had to climb this tree for class then I remembered I was wearing a skirt.

He has a 4.0 if you add up his GPA from every semester.

I’m sorry you hate your surprise party.

We don’t have to plan this road trip now since we’ll be friends forever.

My sister taught my brother a fake language, then he went to speech therapy for 5 years.

He likes one of us. If it’s you, I’m going to be ticked.

He was going ham on that cello.

I was supposed to do it yesterday. Then today. I’ll do it tomorrow.

YOHO, you’re only here once.

Stuff My Professors Said: Fall 2014

I forgot where I was. I drank a lot this summer.

Tectonic plates yada yada yada.

You can have a dirty mind if it helps you get your work done.

Yes, I am crystal clear as usual!

What are you going to do with all that ash? Dump it in Nebraska? Perfect.

There was pronoun-antecedent disagreement everywhere, like weeds in a garden.

I knew he loved me when he showed up at my house with his box of financial records and said “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

You aren’t supposed to swear in the Vatican, but…

P-H-A-T. Phat. Is that a thing?

I used an active verb and then the editor came in and put a nasty be-verb in there.

You have the inverted pyramid, and you have the perverted pyramid.

The cutting machine is not alive. It cannot hate people.

I’m always thinking, so I’m always getting into trouble.

I know that trick. I’ve done that trick. Don’t do that trick.

Maria, you look like a penguin with duck arms.
That’s a lot of bird references.
I’m in a fowl mood.

How to Get the Good Life

I have a good life.

I have plenty to wear, plenty to learn, plenty to eat, and plenty to enjoy. I have a rock solid support system of friends and family. And except for the occasional weird rash, I am healthier than a grand champion market hog.

No one’s life is easy, and my good life is no exception. Those of us who know we have great lives can still be discouraged and disheartened. We burn our breakfast, our friend is acting weird, and we lose a job we love. We don’t get the scholarship, don’t get the guy (Or girl), and don’t get the last slice of pizza.

If I can barely keep my own life and self knitted together, how can I spread God’s love? I barely made it through grocery shopping, and now I am supposed to love God by serving others?

Yes.

Serving others is what gives you the good life. It is how we spread God’s love. It is the joy of serving that gets me through the hours of studying or tedious lectures. It is my life’s joy serving God by serving the people He loves! Hint: that’s everyone!

Serving others is what gives me the good life.

But how do you serve others? You aren’t a missionary. Don’t you go to class and sometimes show up for work?

Yes, I do. I am a huge believer in Mother Theresa’s “Small things with big love.” Many of the people God wants us to serve are right in our daily routine! It’s holding the door for the man behind you, putting your roommate’s plate in the dishwasher, calling a relative who has been struggling, staying to clean up after a wedding, or baking a casserole for your neighbors just because. It’s loving others by putting their needs before your own, every day.

I’m not saying that volunteering at a homeless shelter or going on mission trips isn’t great or important. Those kinds of things are wonderful! What I am saying is, there are people in Your Hometown, America that God is calling you to serve. Through serving God by serving others, even when things go wrong in your own life, you’ll always have the good life.