Go Fishing For A “Yes”, Embrace The “No”

Hello, everyone!

Let me start by stating that I have never fished in my life, and this particular post has nothing to do with fishing (well, kinda). I want to focus a bit on opportunities. Within the past month, I’ve had numerous conversations with friends, professors and various other professionals about careers, internships, etc.

The most shocking thing that has come out of these conversations (particularly from my fellow peers) is fear:

Fear of an uncertain future.

Fear of failure.

Fear of being denied or told NO!

It’s summer time, meaning many students just graduated (Congratulations!) and are looking for jobs or applying to Graduate schools, Juniors/Sophomores are looking for internships and Freshmen are possibly vying for a leadership position on their campus or in their organization. Generally speaking, everyone is looking for brand new, promising opportunities.

However, we might avoid applying to some of these opportunities because we’re deterred by acceptance rates, prestige, “wasting our time”, laziness, and being told……

no

Let’s be human for a few seconds here. No one likes being told “No.” No one willingly applies to something with the thought in their mind, “Gee, I know they’re going to say no, but I’ll do it anyway!” That doesn’t happen.

Though, the question I want to pose to you, the readers, is what is there to lose from applying to anything?

What do you have to lose from applying to a scholarship? A fellowship? An internship? A job? The worst thing, literally the worst thing that can happen, is that you receive a “No.” That’s it, that’s all.

Now, what do you have to gain from applying to these things? Everything.

When we are told “No” it’s discouraging. We get knocked down and believe it’s futile to put our “vulnerable” selves out there again just to be denied once again. Sitting back and hoping an opportunity comes knocking at your door sounds much more appealing after initial “failure.”

I’m a huge believer in minor setbacks for major comebacks.

I’ll use  a personal example to demonstrate this. I applied for something known as the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship, a very prestigious award administered by the U.S. Department of State for students that want to become Foreign Service Officers. The fellowship provides professional development for the selected students, as well as providing tuition costs for  Senior year of your Undergraduate degree and one full paid year of graduate school, along with a guaranteed spot in the Foreign Service.

Each year, 20 students are selected for this award after undergoing a rigorous application session and appearing for an in-person interview and writing exam. I was chosen as one of the 40 finalists who appeared in D.C. for the in-person interview and writing examination.

Two days after the interview, the 20 selectees were announced and I discovered I was not selected for the fellowship. Essentially, “No.”

The news was, initially, a bit saddening. It was one of those “I came this far for nothing?!” feelings. However, the experience I gained from the interview/exam along with the other extraordinary finalists I met during the process was well worth it. I put this experience in my pocket and sought out other opportunities.

I was very blessed to have been selected for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program (the 15 selected students are known as “Rangel Scholars”), a similar program to the aforementioned fellowship.

Getting back to the title of the this post, fishermen cast their lines into uncertain waters, not knowing what they will (or won’t) reel in. They may not catch anything that day, they may get something they were not looking for, or they might get exactly what they want. Regardless, they allow themselves to take this chance.

fishing

Let’s all embrace our inner fisherman and advance bravely into this bold world.

Until next time,

-Larry

 

Renovate, Don’t Reconstruct

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Now, I understand I haven’t posted in approximately 7 months, and in a couple of my previous posts I promised I would no longer neglect my blog. Well, here I am, 7 months later after breaking that promise. I apologize. I would like to say I don’t plan on neglecting my blog once again, but I probably am fresh out of credibility and I don’t know what unforeseen circumstances may force me to forget about it again. But alas, I’ll try not to.🙂

Ok, ok. Enough of my pathetic little story about not posting. Let’s focus on something more present: Hooray, guys! The new year’s in about 2 days! We’re about to turn the chapter on 2013 and embark on a brand new adventure.

With a new year quickly approaching, this is usually a time for deep self-reflection for many people. We all feel rather tired of the current year and are ready to put it in the rear-view mirror. Grades, relationships, finances or just mistakes in general can all be a reason. It’s appealing to look towards the future and imagine the endless possibilities it holds in store for us. It’s our chance to turn over a new leaf, start a clean slate, new life, all of that good stuff.

And…..VOLIA! We have what is commonly referred to as a New Year’s Resolution.

New Year's Resolutions

During this time, we have one, or many, ways we want to drastically alter our lives or improve on something coming into the new year. Most of them are unrealistic and we’ll abandon them a couple of weeks into the new year, and some we may entertain a little while longer. The point is, they are large, substantial changes we want to make.

My question is: Why do we feel as if we need to make a HUGE change coming into the new year? What have we done that is so wrong that we need a new year in order for us to make a change? Why must the new year mean a (I daresay) new me (or you)?

My good friend Alex Brooks made the perfect statement: “Why do we feel the need to reconstruct? Why can’t we just renovate a few things in our life?”

This gets to the point that we think something we’re doing in our life is inherently at fault for whatever reason and must be addressed in the new year. By renovating, we’re making an improvement. By reconstructing, we’re sending ourselves the message that something is  wrong with who we are and we need to tear it down and build something new.

So, put down your hammer and screwdriver coming into the new year. There’s no need to destroy who you are. We’ve all been created in a beautiful image. Take some time to actually enjoy a new year, your friends, family, loved ones and, not to forget, YOURSELF.

Until next time,

Larry

The Great Adventure in Schnitzel Land. Wien!

Hallo, everyone!

And no, I did not forget the “e” in hello and misspelled it. That’s how you say it in German!

I’m dedicating this post to share my experience of studying abroad for the very first time. As of Saturday, May 11th, I’ve been in Vienna, Austria!

To make this even more of an adventure, this is the first time I’ve left the U.S., AND the first time I’ve been on a plane. Yes, I chose a 10-hour flight abroad for my very first plane ride.

Why Vienna, you ask? Excellent question! I’d like to answer by saying why not?

It’s known to be a very beautiful place, which I can now confirm is 150% true. It’s also a host for many of the world’s international organizations and a diplomatic capital. For someone aspiring to have a career in diplomacy/international relations, visiting this place is essential.

Alright, where to start, where to start?

Well, how about with the airport? As I explained above, this was my very first flight…….and I had no idea what to do at the airport during check-in. Five employees had to help me.

Five.

FIVE.

I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I’m not. They helped me get through check-in, so I’m content.

Following that, I got to meet the other people going on the trip with me. I didn’t know anyone prior to departure; however, in a week’s time, we’ve all become really good friends. There’s 22 of us in all, 4 of which are guys (including me). Apparently, guys don’t study abroad that much.

Vienna Group

Fast-forward a bit to the plane. Yeah, first plane ride ever. We’re going from Chicago to D.C. and D.C. to Vienna. The Chicago to D.C. flight is only supposed to be an hour tops.

I get on the plane. Fasten my seat belt. Annnnnnnd………BOW.

Nothing.

All of that hype for nothin’. “Chew gum.” They said. “Your ears are going to fall off.” They said. “Where ear plugs.” They said.

Shush it up.

It was all a bluff. To everyone that got my hopes up, sit down.

Plus, I had a U of I alum sitting next to me (What a coincidence!). He was extremely kind, and even taught me some Arabic!

Landed safely in D.C. after a 45min flight and only had an hour layover. While there, the woman over the intercom was speaking in German to announce the time for the flight to Vienna. This is when it finally hit me that I was, indeed, leaving dear America. After the hour wait, we boarded the plane and took off for Vienna. The 10 hour flight actually wasn’t that bad. Got some meals, free drinks, watched some movies, slept, all of that good stuff. 

Then, the moment I’ve been waiting for had arrived.

VIENNA!!!!!

I’m not going to go into every single detail of what happened, because that’d get boring. But I’ll highlight some of the good stuff.

First-off, I’m living in a dorm here. We all also have a roommate. Now, when we arrived as a group, everyone went up to their rooms and unpacked/freshened up/napped, and we met up later to have dinner. Everyone also returned with stories about how they met their roommates and they’re cool.

However, when I went up to my room, my roommate was not there. I returned later, and he still wasn’t there. I became a bit worried. “Everyone has great roommates and I don’t know who mine is.”

Later on that night, we were traveling around as a group and got lost. Suddenly, an Asian guy with what we perceived as a British accent, appeared and escorted us back to the dorm. He was incredibly charming towards the women in the group and very helpful. As we were walking up to the dorm, he introduced himself to me. I then asked:

“Do you live here, too?”

“Yeah! Room blah, blah, blah!”

“Oh, nice…..WAIT you’re my roommate!”

And everything’s history from there.

Feels like we’ve been friends for a while now. It was a crazy instant bond. His name is Alex, from Hong Kong, moved to New Zealand and now Austria!

Alex Leung!

This guy is great.

Next up, culture shock. 

EVERYTHING is in German. Everyone speaks German. I CAN’T READ ANYTHING. I don’t know what food to buy. I CAN’T READ. I can’t talk. Well, I can talk. I CAN’T READ. O Lawd Jezuz I can’t read.😦

I’ve never felt so vulnerable in my life. Being the extrovert that I am, not being able to read and properly communicate with those around me is devastating. Most Austrians have a basic understanding of English, but it’s still a bit difficult to articulate many things.

Though, one thing that is universal is a smile. 

A smile is the universal sign of kindess and sincerity that can be shared amongst anyone, no matter your nationality, religion, economic class, etc.

Language is one of the tools that help to connect different cultures, but it surely isn’t the only thing.

That is what has been assisting in navigating through this foreign land.

I’ve picked up some German words while here, though. It’s pretty nice to be able to walk into a store and order something in their native tongue.

Oddly enough, I do enjoy this disarming feeling. It’s great to just experience the world without trivial distractions.

Next, Europeans are fashionable.

Everyone always looks fashionable here. Every. Single. Day. Men, women, elders, children; literally, everyone. They look good here, and they know it. I haven’t seen any sweats, basketball shorts or gym shoes. I thought it was a crime for me to walk to class wearing basketball shorts the other day. The looks I received basically implied it was.

Beauty.

Austria is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. The historic architecture, the cobblestone roads, the fashionable people, the street performers, the fancy dining, the palaces, the statues, the fountains, the old cathedrals; they’re all beautiful. I find myself in awe every second I step foot outside the dorm. Today, I took a tour of Schönbrunn Palace. I honestly can’t describe it here, I wouldn’t do any justice to it’s magnificence. You’d have to see it for yourself, sorry.

IMG_20130517_105137_898

As I walk down the streets of Vienna, the song Viva la Vida by Coldplay constantly plays in my head. Yes, I know the song has nothing to do with Austria, but it fits perfectly with the setting of the city.

Diplomatic capital.

Vienna, Austria is home to numerous intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) including a United Nations HQ, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and many more. I was able to visit the UN and all of these other significant organizations, get briefed on current world affairs, met diplomats, all of that good stuff. Needless to say, this was an exciting experience for me. Me. At the UN HQ. What. Goodness, it was breathtaking.

UN pic

Everyday here honestly feels like an adventure, and I’m loving each moment. I have three weeks left and I’m going to make the most of them.

IMG_20130514_151640_194

(Wearing the colors of the Austrian Flag WOO!)

By the way, “Wien” means “Vienna” in German. And schnitzel is a traditional dish here in Vienna. I’ll probably have other posts detailing my experiences here.

Until next time,

-Larry

You’re Never Given More Than You Can Handle

Hey, guys!

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve last blogged. Truthfully, I forgot this blog even existed. Henceforth, I promise to be more loving towards it. Besides, this post will be really short, and should make you smile, like this🙂

April is ending and May is approaching, which means it’s a very hectic time for many people. This spells the end of the semester for college students, which include exams, projects, papers, events, etc. Millions of people will be scrambling to pay rent, an energy bill or water bill. Or all three. Someone’s been hired to a new position which calls for them to relocate to a different state, or even country. Someone might be going through a horrible break-up or divorce.  You get my point, many things are going on simultaneously and many emotions begin to set in.

Fear, anxiety, uneasiness, pressure; you name it–and they all happen simultaneously. You take full responsibility for situations that are completely out of your control, which only tacks on guilt to the aforementioned things and increases them tenfold.

All of us have experienced these types of emotions before, and might be going through them now. I certainly am for a few reasons.

“What type of evil is this?” You may be asking yourself. Well, it’s life, and it’s not evil, it’s not always fair, it’s not biased; it’s life. And it’s precious.

There’s nothing to “feel bad” about if you’ve experienced/you’re going through these things. It only means you’re human.

In all the frustration and bewilderment that comes with life, take a moment out of your day and smile. I assure you, worrying does nothing for you. It disrupts the present and spoils tomorrow. You’ve made it through difficult times before and you’ll do so once again.

“Hakuna matata. It means no worriessssss, for the rest of your dayyyyysssss.”

“Don’t worry, be happy.”

Seriously, don’t give up, friends!

Until next time,

-Larry

Pocahontas

pocahontas

~Paint with all the colors of the wi…

Sadly, this post won’t be about the popular Disney movie, Pocahontas. Speaking of that, did anyone else used to be terrified of the old woman talking tree? I think its name was old Willard or something.

Anyhow, one of the reasons I love college so much is that it gives me the opportunity to meet so many new people from such diverse backgrounds. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. We have over 44,000 students here from every single corner of the country and the world. Diversity ranges from political ideologies, to religion, to sexuality, to style of dress, to hobbies, etc. The point is, this place is very diverse. 

Now, the reason I titled this post Pocahontas (other than to draw you guys in) is because of one of the songs in the film. The song “Colors of the wind.” One of the verses in the song says:

But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger

You’ll learn things

You never knew you never knew

That right there, my friends, is gold. It’s also a valuable life lesson.

One of the things I’m guilty of, just like any other normal human being, is prematurely passing judgement on someone before you meet them or even properly get to know their story and character. Only later after getting to know the person do I realize how foolish I was to arrive to my own conclusion about them.

I have a second eight week course this semester which centers around nothing but dialogue about social issues, life and other things of the such. It’s quite refreshing to be in a class where all we do is talk. We still have work in stuff, but 97% of the class is talking with one another.  This is the second week of the class and after hearing some of the autobiographies, dreams and fears of my fellow peers who I so wrongfully judged beforehand, I seriously wanted to just walk up to each and every one of them and apologize.

Everyone has a story, and it’s far more brilliant and intricate than we could ever imagine.

Especially for a college campus where you may run into someone who’s having a bad day and you think they’re an asshole right off the bat. You go out to get something to eat one night and see a group of drunk students and automatically label them as stupid and not worthy of being in college. Or you frown upon an international student who’s always brave enough to speak up in class to answer a question but has a terrible accent.  Remember to hold your brain’s tongue.

Until next time,

Larry

The Adventures of Ryan and Larry (Pt. 1)

Do you guys have a friend you can always depend on? Someone who’s been there for the good times and the bad? To laugh with and get angry at? To stick up for each other even when you know they’re wrong? Someone who’s a brother/sister in every aspect of the word sans blood relation?

I do. His name’s Ryan. Saying that we’re best friends/brothers would be a gross understatement of our friendship.

r & l

Somehow, we’re the greatest of friends, but we’re very different people, which oddly compliments each other.

I’m orderly, disciplined, responsible and composed.

Ryan is carefree, spontaneous, spirited and humorous.

I’m really into politics, he’s really into theology.

We balance each other out and make a pretty damn good team.

Have you ever seen the tv show PsychThe show centers around a guy named Shawn who pretends to be a psychic and ends up becoming a detective. He always drags his best friend Gus along with him and they solve crimes. Shawn is the goofy, spontaneous and careless one while Gus is the poised, composed and responsible one. It’s often Gus who looks after his friend, but he sometimes find himself being saved by Shawn.

psych

Their relationship is described as “unbreakable. It’s one of those friendships that makes people who don’t have one ask, ‘Why does Gus put up with Shawn?’ But it’s not about putting up with one another. It’s about knowing each other so well that things that might annoy someone from the outside don’t annoy you anymore.”

Check out this 27 second video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIV19OOve8E

Like Shawn and Gus, we also end up getting involved in some pretty crazy adventures as well. I mean crazy in both the good and bad way. It used to be Ryan dragging me around on these adventures, but overtime, I’ve come to willingly agree to go. I don’t know why.

 I’m going to make a series of posts about all of the weird and crazy situations we often find ourselves in. I won’t do them in succession; they’ll be spread out. Each one will have the title, “The Adventures of Ryan and Larry part whatever”.

Also, it should be noted that each adventure we embark on gets increasingly dangerous. This isn’t on purpose, though. We think we’re going to do something perfectly normal and safe, like volunteer at a children’s museum, and then crap hits the fan. But in the end, we end up meeting absolutely amazing people while having a great experience. You’ll see what I mean as you begin to follow our stories. Enjoy!

—————————————–

The first one I’m going to tell you about occurred last year as we were Freshmen at UIUC. Ryan and I were just becoming friends and still getting to know each other (This is still during the phase when he’d drag me places). I ended up crashing on Ryan’s couch in his room and was woken up at 7:00 a.m. sharp by Ryan.

“Larry, we’re gonna go volunteer.”

“Ryan. It’s 7:00 in the morning.”

“Larry.”

………

“Larry.”

So, I oblige and eventually get up and we head out……….in the pouring rain. HATE the rain. Conveniently, Ryan loves it.

We arrive at this place:

 channing

Cool looking place, huh? It has an archaic and welcoming feel to it. Except, take away all of the the happiness and sunshine in this picture and imagine it on a dreary and depressing rainy day and voila!

Ryan and I enter the building from the back door soaking wet. We make our way through what appeared to be an office area leading into the central room of the building. There, we found another woman of average height wearing a gray Illinois hoodie with her black hair slicked back into a pony tail. She introduces herself as the project lead for today’s volunteer program. Ryan and I introduce ourselves as volunteers.

“I don’t see you guys on the list, but I’m so glad you came! This is supposed to be a 15 person job and 15 people DID sign up, but we’re the only one’s here.”

Ryan and I shot each other a quick glance and tried to stifle a laugh.

“Who runs this place?” Ryan asked.

“Some lady named Ruth. She’s around here somewhere.”

By this time I was sitting down on a couch.

Soon enough, a short, slightly overweight elderly woman entered the room. She gave warm smiles to everyone…..except me, sitting on the couch. To be fair, I didn’t look too thrilled to be there.

“My name is Ruth and I’ll be delegating your tasks today!” She walked over to the window and peered out of it. “Alright, I need someone to go outside and chop the weeds.”

“Not I.” I said to myself. The other girl didn’t look eager to do it either. Ryan reluctantly took on the task and headed outside.

Ruth then walked over to the project lead, “Would you mind lightly dusting around the place, dear?”

“Sure!” And just like that she was off along with Ryan. That only left me.

Ruth retreated to the basement of the building while I stood up and awaited her arrival. She returned holding a broom and a cold stare.

You may start by sweeping the floor,” she ordered.

When she walked away I looked around to make sure I was the only one who heard her sudden change of tone and posture. I looked out the window to see Ryan happily chopping weeds while getting drenched by the ocean falling out of the sky and our project lead prancing around while dusting. Then there was me. Sweeping.

We all finished up our respective tasks and returned to the main room. Ruth walked in and greeted us all again, this time with doughnuts. “Good job! Now, for the next part, you’ll need newspaper.” We looked behind us to see a box of newspaper and a bottle of windex. Also, two other women (who presumably work for the building) joined us. Well, they weren’t doing anything. They just joined us.

Ruth led us into the giant sanctuary where there are these beautiful, colorful stained-glass windows. Ruth approached the window with a handful of newspaper. She sprayed windex on the glorious windows and began wiping, completely smearing the glass. I’m quite sure you don’t clean this type of glass with windex and NEWSPAPER.

“And that’s how you do it!” Ruth said to us.

“I don’t think we should do this. Newspaper shouldn’t be used to clean windows like this.” I said with a friendly smile.

Ruth wasn’t having it. “It will today.” With that she was off.

So, the project lead and I proceeded to “clean” the windows.

Both of us return to the main room again only to be greeted by a larger older man named John.

“THESE are our volunteers! Excellent! Just in time to install the air conditioner!” He bellowed.

“The what.”

John took us into yet another room where there was literally a pile of old air conditioners. Old, JUMBO airconditioners.

The project lead and I picked up one of them (John chose the biggest one, of course) and we carried it over to the main room. “It needs to be reassembled.” John said.

One of the ladies who joined us that I mentioned earlier finally spoke up. “What’s your majors? We need an engineer!” She said.

“I’m business accounting.” The project lead said.

“I study political science.”

“Darn, no engineers. Y’know, you guys pay a heck of a lot of money to go here to be getting those kinds of degrees. I’ll let you slide with business, but you don’t have an excuse, Mr. political science major.”

Lawd Jezuz help me.

So we’re struggling to assemble this ancient mechanism while they just watch. We finish probably an hour later and I realize I haven’t seen Ryan in awhile. We go looking for him.

“Oh, you’re looking for the other guy? He’s outside.” Ruth says.

We head outside to find Ryan and behold, in the pouring rain, we find him like this:

ryan rain

Yes, he was on a ladder, in the pouring rain, cleaning a gutter. This is perfectly safe.

Ryan looks down at us with a look of resentment. I laugh, the project lead does too.

When Ryan finished up and we thought we’d be done, Ruth comes out holding a rake and some shovels.

“There’s some ditches in the back of the place that leads down to the windows in the basement. There’s large moss and leaves and stuff blocking the windows. Can you cut them?”

“This is a shovel.”

“Yes.” She says.

Shovel = cut? No I didn’t take it any further.

We walked over to the back to see these ditches and this is what we find: Very steep rocks covered in slippery wet water with moss and leaves everywhere. It looked like we’d fall to our doom.

Fast-forwarding past all of that, our work day came to an end. Ruth comes outside to see our work and sincerely thanks us for everything.

“You all must be hungry! I’ll order a pizza. What kind of toppings?”

“Pepperoni!” Ryan suggested.

“Sausage!” I yelled out.

“It’ll be a veggie pizza,” Ruth announced.

“…………..”

:-/

————————————————-

What did we get from this experience? Well, we found a great friend within the project lead, got to do some volunteer work and had a good laugh about everything that happened afterwards.

Looking back on it, it’s a pretty hilarious story and makes for good memories! Oh, and I think this could teach a lesson on how your attitude determines the experience you have. As you read, I didn’t enter this situation with the best attitude and things weren’t going too smoothly at first. Had I had a better attitude throughout, perhaps it would’ve stopped raining or something.

Or not.

Until next time,

-Larry

Why I left the left and right is wrong

President_Barack_Obama I’m sure everyone can easily identify the man featured in the picture above. Upon viewing that photo, you may have been overcome with happiness, flooded with anger and disappointment, or simply shrugged and kept reading. Whatever the case, you know who he is. If by some chance you don’t, he’s the President of the United States of America (also commonly referred to as “the most powerful man in the world” and “the leader of the free world” among other things), Barack Obama. As I’ve mentioned before, politics is my life. Most of my days are spent reading scholarly political articles, analyzing current events, researching policies, and trying to learn more about the people who are elected into our government. Naturally, 2012 was a very exciting year for me–the Presidential election! Virtually everything took a backseat to this, including my school work. It was mostly the only thing I talked about, which probably greatly annoyed my friends and peers.

Ok, so why exactly did I throw a portrait of the 44th President at the beginning of this post? It’s because I greatly admire Mr. Obama and also, the First Lady, Michelle Obama. I won’t go all the way into why now, but these two are the living embodiment of the American dream. They are breathing proof of just how far hard work, determination, ambition and wisdom can take you.

He is also a d-d-de-democrat. Yeah, I said it. A democrat. And so was I. And a hardcore one at that. I was out there, advocating for the platform of my party. I bled BLUE. I would staunchly challenge anyone who disagreed with me and my party without backing down. Agreeing to disagree simply wasn’t an option, because the other person was wrong. I refused to listen to the other side and didn’t care to try to understand them. Within every aspect of government, be it the Presidential, Senate, House or local elections, I was well informed about each and every candidate. But I’d still always vote straight democrat. GOD FORBID I allow my vote to be cast for the incompetent, greedy and selfish Republican party. Yes, that was me in a nutshell. I always asked my friends to tell me if I was ever becoming one of those crazy political fanatics that could only see in one direction. They tried to, but I surely did not listen.

That was me only about 4 months ago. Everyone knows politics is a dirty game, but in recent years, it’s become a full-contact sport. At first, it was just elected officials who we thought were childish and unwilling to compromise, but it’s spilled over into the general public as well. Having different political ideologies warrants the end of friendships (or not even a beginning), relationships, respect for another, and personal attacks. People literally hate others for supporting the other party/having a different ideology. Just looking back at some of the personal attacks on President Obama and Mr. Romney (I’m guilty of this, too) during the election should show you just how low we’ve fallen. Many of them were nasty, unfounded, and simply wrong. Not wrong as in the information was wrong (it may or may not have been), but just wrong to say about your fellow man.

I didn’t realize just how out of control I’d become until after the election was over and President Obama was reelected to his second term. I yelled. I jumped. Yelled some more. Did a backflip. Kidding, I’d be laying on the ground somewhere. But I would have if I could. You get the point, I was overcome with happiness. That’s not the only thing, though. I was excited to see President Obama continue to lead our country in what I think is the right direction, but I was also eager to see my republican friends sulking. Those sweet tears of sorrow. Those looks of disappointment. The angry tweets and facebook statuses. Watching the Republican party retreat in a humiliating defeat with their tails between their legs. I loved every single bit of it. That’s what I enjoyed most about winning. Basically, I was like:

obama-deal-with-it-phone-smug-mobile-1351855080z

The Republicans were defeated. This was a democratic victory! But I soon found I wasn’t content at all. This should’ve been a victory for our country, not a specific party victory. I examined my behavior throughout the election. The statuses/tweets I made, the things I’ve said to friends, the people I dismissed because of their ideology. I looked at it all, and I was utterly disgusted with myself. I realized by becoming so consumed by the ideology of my party, I no longer cared for the best of everyone within our country. This could no longer go on. I decided to take steps to improve myself. I left all of the clubs and organizations associated with the democratic party. I started to actively listen to what those on the other side of the aisle had to say. I tried to find common ground in what we were debating rather than looking for a winner and loser.

What I’m not trying to say here is that we should all leave our political parties and just hug and sing Oh Happy Day. No, that’s not what I’m saying. It was just the best move for me to make. My ideology is still closely aligned with that of the democratic party. What I’m saying is that if we truly cared about our country, we would try to understand each other better, try listening without the intent of responding. 

We’ll always have more in common than we don’t.

Until next time,

Larry

(P.S. Sorry for the length)

Buckle up

Firstly, let me welcome you to my blog and THANK YOU for taking the time out to read what I have to say. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be the most interesting person to follow and read, but I’ll do my best to stay true to myself and keep you guys interested. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the greatest writer. I wish I could talk to you all directly, but as I’ve learned, the written (or typed, you get it) word is a powerful communicative tool.

Now, buckle up, friends.

My blog posts are going to be all over the place. Topics I’m sure to cover will be, but not limited to: college experiences, politics, foreign policy, relationships, crazy and weird situations I often find myself in, food, love, public figures, religion, friends, ideology, struggles, inspiration, LIFE(time) (Ok, I’m kidding. It’s crap).

If you’ve ever had a conversation with me you probably know I rapidly jump around to various topics while talking. I seldom ever focus on one thing unless the situation calls for it.  I love telling compelling stories and I hope I’m able to communicate them properly via my blog.

Criticism and comments are always welcome. This shouldn’t be me dictating my thoughts to you all while you sit there quietly and listen, as if we’re around a camp fire or something. TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Did you love it?! Hate it? Intrigued by it? Indifferent (keep that to yourself, that’s just boring)?

This is going to be another avenue I’m going to use to help me navigate through this this amazing thing called life. This is something I’d rather not do alone, hence why I created this blog to share. I hope to make you all laugh, invoke critical thinking, self-evaluation, or at least something you’ll enjoy reading.

Please join me!

-Larry