Saturday, October 24, 2009


Have you ever gone back and thought about shows that were on TV when you were younger, but you never watched? Or maybe you did watch them when they were first on TV, and now they are back as reruns and it is nearly impossible to ignore them and change the channel or turn off the TV. I do that all the time.

Recently, I have been watching the terrible 90's soap opera "Dawson's Creek." I mean, this show has terrible acting, ridiculous story lines, and is right up my alley. Anybody who knows me knows that no matter what show I start watching, I get addicted. So, I am about three quarters through the first season, and even though I can't handle the acting and the characters, I can't stop watching it. Now, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the show to anybody, but then again, if you're looking for a show to get addicted to, check it out.

Dawson's Creek.... 90's soap opera
Joey, Dawson, Jen, Pacey

The boys in the show aren't even that attractive! At least they weren't when the show was filmed. Now, however, the main characters haven't done too bad for themselves.

Michelle Williams (Jen Lindley)

Joshua Jackson (Pacey Witter)

Katie Holmes (Joey Potter)

James Van Der Beek (Dawson Leery) ... he also happened to be in one of my favorite shows of all time: One Tree Hill. I have to say, he is much more attractive now than he was on Dawson's Creek.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Color of Confidence

I am sitting in the Valladolid train station waiting for my train to leave at 12:40. I have been meaning to write this entry for a while, but I never seem to have the time.  Although I don’t have internet at the moment, I will save this as a word document and then copy and paste it to my blog.

One of the first things I noticed when I got to Valladolid was the color red. Us girls were sitting on the bus that had brought us from Madrid to Valladolid, and we were looking out the windows at our future Spanish Mamás. There was one Mamá with super cute red shoes and a red purse to match. She was my mamá.

That day she toured me around the city. We took the bus, walked around, and she showed me everything that I needed to see in order to survive in this city. Once again, one of the things I noticed was the color red.

Red is everywhere in this city. Women wear red shoes, they have red jackets, red purses, women and men alike wear red pants, even as I’m sitting here waiting for my train, at least three people have red suitcases. What is it about this color that calls out to people? Why do all these Spanish women (and men) have such a fixation with the color?

It’s not just because the color has so many beautiful shades and is such a fashion statement (although that’s a definite bonus). It’s because red is the color of confidence.

Maybe red doesn’t scream “confidence” to you. Maybe you think the color of confidence is blue, or yellow, or green. There is one thing that all of these colors have in common though. Each of these colors is going to catch your eye. Each of these colors is going to cause people to turn their heads and watch you.

I’m sure everybody has experienced this sensation: You wake up in the morning and decide that you are going to put just a little bit more effort into getting dressed. You put on your favorite pair of jeans and a cute shirt… not just the default Hanes white-t that you normally gravitate towards. Maybe you also put on a cute pair of boots or the adorable sandals you bought the other day. What is missing though? Looking a bit better than you do on other days isn’t going to turn heads. Lets face it, that is your goal, right? You want to make people notice you. You want to show them that you have self respect, self esteem, self awareness, and self confidence. When you want people to notice, what do you do? Wear a bright color! No matter if people normally notice you or not, bright colors always catch people’s eyes.

This is why the color red says “confidence” to me. In order to wear red you need to have a certain level of confidence. The color red is what causes people to turn their heads and stare at you. If you are uncomfortable with people looking, you’re not going to wear a color that stands out in a crowd; you are going to wear a color that makes you blend in and fade to the background. Red does just the opposite.

Red is the color of confidence because it says “look world, I’m here and I’m not afraid to be noticed!”

Red is the color of confidence because it is noticeable, and who can make a difference if they fade to the background?

Unfortunately, I am not confident enough to wear red. Yeah, I’ve got that pair of Jessica Simpson red stiletto high heels in my closet. I’ve only worn them once. In high school I had a red Abercrombie sweatshirt that I wore, but I stopped wearing it well, mainly because it was Abercrombie, but also because I didn’t like the way it made me feel like I was the person who was standing out in the crowd. In fact, just yesterday I returned a pair of red flats to the shoe store because I couldn't see myself wearing such bright colored shoes.

I’m working my way up to the level of confidence that will allow me to be the girl in the red shoes and red jacked who catches everyone’s eye. I’ve been paying attention to the red jackets that all the women here wear. Maybe I’ll get one and wean myself away from the mentality that I shouldn’t stand out. Maybe I’ll buy a pair of red shoes that I can wear with dark jeans and a black t-shirt so that just my feet stand out (no pun intended).

Maybe, by the end of this trip, I’ll have the confidence to wear red, strike up a conversation with the cute boy across the aisle on the bus, or stand out in a crowd.

Until then, I’ll sit here in my (super cute) dark grey pea coat and bright teal scarf, hoping I don’t stand out.

But wait… if everybody else is wearing red, and I’m wearing teal, does that mean I am the one who is standing out, not them? Maybe I have more confidence than I think.

I think it takes a certain level of confidence for someone to fly halfway around the world and live in a foreign country for three months. It takes a certain level of confidence to not just learn, but want to learn how to communicate in a language that you weren’t raised speaking. I don’t quite have that confidence yet. It still scares me to death to walk into the grocery store and talk to the lady at the checkout, to communicate with the lady at the cell phone store because Maryn lost hers and can’t figure out how to get a new one, or to talk to my mamá and be able to actually carry on an intelligent conversation without stumbling on my words. Yeah, that all takes confidence and I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. I guess that is one more thing I will add to my list of things to accomplish before I leave Spain.

¿Y tú? What is your color of confidence? What color or accessory do you wear when you want the world to know that you are there and ready to be noticed?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Must Have Done Something Right

We should get jerseys cause we make a good team
But yours would look better than mine, cause you're outta my league
-Relient K

Dunno who that is for, but I just liked the lyrics!

Friday, October 2, 2009

wonderful journey

The Beginning- Anastasia

The past week has been a wonderful beginning to the long journey ahead of me. I know that our entire life is a journey, and I have experienced 20 (sometimes wonderful, sometimes not so wonderful) years of that journey, but for some reason I feel like I have just begun to live.

I spend a lot of time being afraid of the things around me. I'm afraid of new experiences. I dwell in old occurrences. I  worry about losing friends, about changing relationships, about being on my own, and about never figuring out who I am and what I am supposed to be.

My time in Spain has already been so eye opening for me. Even though I have only been here for a week, it feels like my entire world has changed. I am finally growing into the person I know I can be. I am trying new things like living half way around the world from my family in friends, eating things like FISH and TOMATOES (I know, I know... no big deal, right? Well it is for me!), and traveling by myself.

The people on this trip with me have been so amazing. I really lucked out with the people who came to Spain from Cal Poly. Although I have not had time to get to know the guys very well, the girls have been especially amazing. They have opened my eyes to so many new things and they have showed me so many different ways of thinking.

I have spent most of my time with about seven other girls. It is interesting to me that most of them have boyfriends. Even more fascinating, though, is that all of their relationships have so much ground in God and what He wants for them in their lives. They all truly feel His presence and live their lives for Him; something I have never experienced... ever.

I follow Natalie and Tiffany's blogs. I have been reading Tiffany's, but I just started following Natalie's today. Her ability to talk about her relationship with God is amazing to me! I wish that I was that passionate about something in my life. For me, it doesn't have to be religion. It doesn't have to be spiritual. It just has to be something that makes me feel alive and ready to live to my full potential. Something that makes me want to stand on top of a mountain and say "Look world, I am Rachel and I have something to contribute!" So far, I don't feel that way.

In my conversations with Natalie, Tiffany, and Hanna (not so much the other girls yet, just because I haven't had the chance), it has become apparent to me that I admire their faith so much. Like I said, not just because it is religious, but because they have something to support them in their best moments, but also in their worst. They have somewhere to turn and an amazing bond with God to get them through everything that He hands to them. How do you develop faith like that? How do you find something that makes you so passionate and love life so much?

On our way from Madrid to Valladolid I had a wonderful conversation with Hanna. It started out with her asking me questions about my life, my family, my beliefs... and it turned into us sharing about literally everything that came to mind. The conversation really opened up my mind to different things about my life that I miss, that I want to change, and that I would like to continue working on.

Hanna's first question to me was "Who, in your life, do you look up to most?" I told her, and she said "Why?" It really made me think... and not in the same way that you would if you were writing about that for a class essay or something. Like, I really thought about what she was asking me. She then asked about my family and asked about different things in my parents and my sisters that I admire and look up to. She asked about different things that I would like to take from them, and evolve within myself. I asked her about her faith and about how she became such a strong believer in the Christian God because she was not raised that way. I asked her about her boyfriend and about people she looks up to. She told me about her older sister who seems like a wonderful person.

Hanna, if you're reading this, I absolutely LOVED that talk we had. I loved that you could share with me and tell me things about yourself that I would have never guessed. I loved that I could talk to you and not feel judged, or like you thought less of me after sharing my beliefs. I loved that I could see, hear, and feel your passion about every single thing you said to me. I can tell that you are a wonderful friend and I look forward to getting to know you better and hearing more about your relationship with Kevin, your family, God, your friends, and anything else you want to share with me.

I wish that I could have talks like this with many other people. So far, I have only found a few people in my life who I can really share things with. That conversation with Hanna was one of the most genuine conversations I've had with someone.

I hope that I can continue to have conversations like that with the people I am in Spain with. To all the girls I am becoming friends with, I really do cherish you girls and I can't wait to get to know you guys better. To the boys... I hope we can get to know each other better too. To my friends at home, I miss you guys and I can't wait to come home and share my experiences with you. To my family (sisters, parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.), I miss you all as well and I hope you can send me e-mails and keep me updated on college, sports, recitals, and life.

One day, I hope to find something that makes every day worthwhile. I hope to find something, or someone, who makes me feel so passionate about life the way the girls on this trip have.

With that, I will leave with a final thought for you to respond to. And I would truly like to hear what you have to say. This thought (or thoughts) has evolved from my experiences thus far and the people I have encountered.
1. What are your passions? How old were you when they developed? How do you fulfill your passions in every day life?
2. Do you believe in God? If yes, what makes you certain he is watching over you? How do you feel him in your life? If no, has something happened to make you stop believing, or have you never felt Him? Do you believe in something or someone besides God?
3. On your toughest days, what helps you get through?
4. If you had to choose certain characteristics that you admire from each of your immediate family members, what would they be?
5. Who do you admire most? Why? What is something you don't like about the person you admire (simply because, well, nobody is perfect)?

Of course I would love to hear your answers to those questions... if you decide you want to share with me, write me a message, post a comment, whatever. Tell me about all of your answers, tell me about one of your answers, tell me about none of your answers. They are to get you thinking and reflecting the same way I have for the past week or so.

Normally I would apologize for how long this blog is. But I am going to work on not apologizing. This blog is mostly for me. If you want to read it, WONDERFUL! I'm so glad. If you don't, then you won't even get this far in this post, and there is no point in me apologizing anyway. I appreciate being heard, I appreciate your thoughts, but most of all, I appreciate your support and the love that I feel from my friends and family.


just to clear things up...

I know that my blogs are slightly confusing for all of you who are reading them, so I will explain the difference between the two.

Thinking Out Loud: this one is mainly for my thoughts, feelings, random ideas, reflections, etc. It is a way for me to journal without needing to sit down with my physical journal, take out a pen, and write. Typing is so much faster than handwriting everything, I get frustrated when I sit down to write and then my hand gets cramped up. It is also a way for all you guys out there to see what I am thinking, when I am thinking it, and to tell me what my ideas have made you think about.

Rachel en España: this one is for me to post pictures, tell about different activities and travels, and inform the world of my experiences in Spain. My sister gave me the idea when she went to Hungary last year. Many students send out mass e-mails to everybody they know, filling them in with their experiences. This is an easier way to do that. You can read my blog whenever you have time, or you can choose not to. It won't stuff up your e-mail message box, and you don't have to download the attachments of pictures, etc. because they are all posted right there.

Yes, I will be writing in both these blogs, but they will be about different things. Rachel en España is most like a recollection of things I have done each day. Thinking Out Loud is more like a thought jar... somewhere for me to put my thoughts of the day, the week, the hour, etc. Thinking Out Loud may repeat some of the things from Rachel en España, but I will not post (in excess) about my travels. Most likely I will not post pictures here, etc.

In any case, if you read my blog, once again I thank you. Please keep reading both of them. Leave your thoughts. Tell me your ideas. Share your beliefs. That is what I am here for. This blog is mostly for me, but it is also for you too. If you don't like something I say, TELL ME! If I spell something wrong, CORRECT ME! If you disagree with my opinion, SHARE YOURS! I love to hear other people's experiences and listen to what they have to say.

Whether you are in Spain, London, Italy, California, New York, Chile, Argentina, Russia, or Mars.. I appreciate your thoughts.

I love you for reading my blog, and I hope you love me for writing it!