Thursday, September 4, 2014

It matters less where you go and more the fact that you are going.

Monday, July 21, 2014

work struggles

  • co-worker: Maddie, can you figure out this problem?
  • me: yep, here's the solution I figured out instantly.
  • co-worker: I don't believe you. I'm going to ask corporate.
  • corporate worker: Here's the exact same solution that Maddie gave you.
  • co-worker: Oh good catch!
  • *corporate worker gets all the credit*

reflections and preparations


It’s been about a week since I got my placement information, and I wanted to let it all sink in before I posted reflections. 

Immediate reactions: I have almost 0 experience working with adults with intellectual disabilities, and when I first learned my assignment, my mind went “oh! cool! wait, what?” 

The organization I’ll be working for is El Arca. Started by radical French Catholic priests in the 1960s, it’s become an international not-for-profit that provides home and growth for those with developmental disabilities. 

This is going to be a beautiful challenge. I’m very grateful for this opportunity, partly because it’s unlike anything I’ve done in the past. This kind of experience will also be so important and helpful farther in the future, especially if seminary is the path I’ll take. 

This is going to be a leap from my comfort zone. Not only will this be a new type of service, but a completely new place. Familiarity will be thrown out the window! And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the tiniest bit scared. The combination of new work and a language I only know partially is kind of daunting. But the fact that I know this beforehand is one more thing I can prepare myself for (or at least know that it will be difficult at first). 

Practicar, practicar, practicar. Well, I wish I could say that’s all I’ve been doing all summer. My Spanish is no where near the point I’d like, but everyone keeps telling me I’ll be so comfortable in a month’s time. We’ll see about that :) Until now, it’s Argentine movies, Duolingo and Harry Potter y el prisoniero de Azkaban (with a lot of Game of Thrones mixed in). 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Monday, July 7, 2014

As an assistant for professors/faculty teaching MOOCs (massive, open, online classes) I will never understand why people with bad internet connections sign up for online classes. 

"My internet has a really bad connection and I cannot finish assignments by deadline, is that okay??" 

why did you sign up for an online class if your internet sucks?!? 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


So stoked about the Hobby Lobby ruling today. Officially going to incorporate myself so I can get a religious exemption for my student loans debt they violate my deeply held religious conviction that all debts are supposed to be forgiven every seven years, as per the book of Deuteronomy.


Faroe Islands

Want to visit. Please. 


faroe #07 (by níls)

Just fell in love with the Faroe Islands. Next worldy adventure?!? Ya know, after South America. 


faroe #07 (by níls)

Just fell in love with the Faroe Islands. Next worldy adventure?!? Ya know, after South America. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014
Buongiorno, #Venezia.  (at Ferrovia)

Buongiorno, #Venezia. (at Ferrovia)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jet lag

Is waking up at 2am WIDE AWAKE and knowing you’re definitely not falling back asleep.

So many hours until breakfast :(

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

YAGM blog

Hey—anyone interested in my YAGM activities, you can follow that blog

Right now there’s pretty much nothing because I don’t know any details yet, but just to keep on your radar!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

lots of big things ahead

My life is changing rather drastically in the upcoming months, so get ready for a poorly managed blog posts about graduation, moving to South America and God things. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Looking back on the lives and deaths of childhood pets

Hopefully this isn’t as morbid as that sounds. 

Animals have made their way into my heart in a way that most people haven’t. I’m not a huge animal rights activist, even though I’m a vegetarian, but there’s something about a certain few dogs and cats that have become more like family than pets throughout my life. Here’s a timeline of what I’ve learned, if anything, from them. 

Jossette (cat): Pre-me - 1992?, calico colored. She peed too much when I was born; parents got rid of her. Lesson learned: don’t pee on the television if you want to stick around. 

Dylan (cat): Pre-me - 1996?, mostly grey, some white. I have so few memories of Dylan, other than the fact that his namesake makes a lot of sense if you know my dad. Lesson learned: cats can be nice too.

Roger (dog): Pre-me - 1999, schnauzer. My parents got him before they had kids, perhaps as a “test kid.” Roger was a great dog, though. He didn’t need a fence to stay in the back yard and he understood that when I was born, I now got most of the attention. It seemed only fitting that he died because his heart grew too big for his small body (physically and metaphorically). Lesson learned: don’t put Christmas tree ornaments too low on the tree if you don’t want them carried away and chewed up. 

Sunny (bird): 1998-1998? Birds are weird. Owning birds is weirder. The concept of keeping a living creature in a cage has too much of a power dynamic to it. You’re in a cage and I’m not. Ha ha ha. I don’t like it. Lesson learned: Don’t own animals that normally live in cages. No one deserves that. Also, don’t keep birds too close to the door or the draft with get em…

KC (cat): 1998 - Present, black. We’ve still got this old cat (16 years and counting) and even though she drives my parents nuts with her constant howl of a meow, I still love her. We took to each other when my mom brought her home. She was the first pet I had that taught me what it meant to own a pet. Clean her cat box (even though I rarely did that), feed her (which she didn’t allow me to forget to do), brush her hair (that’s still covered in mats for a short-haired cat). Needless to say, she’s definitely the product of a beginner pet owner. I’m looking forward to the day when I have my own apartment and can take her with me—I know mom can’t wait. Lesson learned (and still learning): you can definitely love a creature/human/whatever even when s/he’s not popular among others *ahem mom and dad*. 

George (dog): 1996 - Present, miniature schnauzer. He’s also definitely getting up there, but you better believe that George still has spunk in him. I’m not sure if it’s because his joints ache or if it’s something else, but he’s developed a gallop when he walks that makes him seem no older than 3. We got George in 2000 for my dad’s 40th birthday (oops sorry to give away your age, dad), and when you think of “rescue dog,” he should come to mind. George is a little guy, maybe 10 lbs., and other dogs fought with him before we got him. He’s always had some trust issues (don’t we all), but he loves my dad like no other. He now probably sleeps 22 hours out of the day, but during his short waking hours, he’s still hunting the backyard for burglars, rabbits and ever-hated UPS men. Lesson learned (and still learning): you can still be a fighter when you’re older than dirt. Don’t let old age be the reason you become soft. 

Dobi (dog): 2000?-2013, black pomeranian. When I was in 6th grade, my mom had this plan to adopt an old, sad dog from the pound-the dog that no one else wanted and who would probably die in the shelter. Then she saw Dobi, the happiest, fluffiest 4-year-old pom you’d ever meet. All previous plans dashed out of the window when she entered our lives. She was also small and delicate, and she and my grandmother would keep each other warm during winter temperatures. She was the best thing to happen to my mom since my brother and I were born, except she remained the “baby” while we grew up. Dobi was spoiled, well-fed and adored by my mom and brother. By high school, I would roll my eyes when she got food scraps and took over my parents queen-sized bed. But eventually I realized just how happy she made my mom, and the whole family for that matter. Yes, she was spoiled and got more attention than the other dogs, but also showed the same amount of affection back (except when she peed on the rug). I cried like a baby when I found out she’d died. It was unexpected and I was 3000 miles from home. I’d read the Facebook message from my brother in a cafe in Amsterdam that morning. Julia lovingly didn’t oblige while I was hopelessly miserable for a day, randomly starting the waterworks at a moment’s notice. I still don’t think I’ve thanked her enough for not hating me. I didn’t even realize how much I loved Dobi. I cried for her; I cried for my mom; I cried for me. Lesson learned: embrace love, even when you knowing distribute it unevenly. 

Rena (dog): 2010 - Present, golden pom. We’ve only had Rena since October and I’m still trying to figure her out. Don’t get me wrong, she’s adorably happy and another nice pom (where do we keep getting them??), but her personality is all over the place. At times she’s all athletics—she does laps around the front yard in the morning, likes walks around the block, and plays with her squeaky toy for as long as you will. But then the prissy, I-dont-want-to-get-my-feet-wet aspect of her comes out. Maybe that’s a pom thing, because Dobi was the same way. But that (Dobi) was the major hesitation for getting her, or any dog. It had been a little over a month after Dobi’s passing when my mom started looking at new dogs. I kept telling myself it was surely too soon. At this moment, whatever dog we found wouldn’t ever live up to the standard that Dobi made. A month after that, we found this beautiful, unconditionally loving pup, and it no longer felt too soon. It felt right. Lessons learned (and continuing to learn): new companionship can help mend the broken heartedness of lost companionship. Don’t close your heart just because it’s still picking up the pieces from the past. 

and the inspiration for this post…

Sammy (dog): 1999-2014, she was supposed to be a beagle and then she was 60 lbs. Sammy is the reason I love pets, dogs especially. I never knew dogs could have so much intentional love before we got her. As a puppy, Sam had a pink stripe down her nose, and we watched her grow and the stripe shrink. When she and George got out of the fence, and we could run through the neighborhood screaming their names (tears generally streaking my face), they always stuck together, her watching out for him. And one day I got curious as to why she always slept on the landing of our stairs with her head jammed up against the wall. It couldn’t be comfortable, I thought, so being the 10-year-old me, I put my head in the same place she did to see what she could see. She could see all of my family’s bedroom doors and the front door. She was the protector. Her tail wagged so hard it knocked drinks off the coffee table or smacked a smaller dog in the face. She slept in my bed when me moved. She never forgot me when I would be absent from home for over a month. I’ve known Sammy longer than most people and losing her this morning was like losing a family member. I skipped all my classes (sorry parents) and stayed in my room remembering her. She had gotten really sick in the last year. Last March, the vet said she only had a few more months, so it’s a miracle she made it this long. But that’s when my mourning officially begun.  I started crying at the thought of her passing. I was so scared she wouldn’t be there when I came back from a summer abroad. And I watched her pain in the last month like it was my own pain. It almost scares me how much I loved her. Are we supposed to love dogs this much? What does it say about my other relationships? Am I that messed up? Who knows. I’m still in the period where I’m certain I’ll never find a better dog, and I’m okay with that. This has gotten to be a really long post, and I don’t really care. I grieve through writing. When family and friends have died, I write about it. Someone as important in my life as Sammy deserves a long-ass post. Here’s to you, sweetie. You taught me way more than a dog probably can. Lessons learned: show love like a dog does—unending, always forgiving, and effortlessly strong. Also, no dog is too big to be a lap dog.

RIP Sammy.