Duck, Duck, Goose


Being a hobo for the past two weeks has taught me a lesson, you never know what life’s going to throw at you next.

This week, life threw at me ducks.

This past weekend my sister and I traveled to the northwoods to our family home for a visit (we say visit, when we really mean food, clean laundry, and a warm shower). Home is pretty much the same every time we come back, which is the charm of it. Being constantly moving and living out of a suitcase had worn us down, and some consistency and reliability were welcome changes.

I walked in the door, threw down my five laundry baskets and headed straight for the fridge.

“Hey Rya! Wanna go see the ducks!?” my little freckled faced 9 year old brother squealed.

We don’t live on a farm nor do we own any out of the ordinary animals besides our faithful 7 month old golden retriever Ellie; this was a little strange.

“Are they alive?”

Turns out they were alive and well.

Here is a picture of me which captures the pure terror I felt when I held the smallest duck for the first time. Never have I feared an animal more, and I have had a staring contest with a black bear in the driveway in which we both shrugged and went our own way.

Remember that childhood game where the goose chased the person around the circle. Yeah, I think they had that backwards.



You’re Welcome America!


Sometimes in life you have small moments where you feel like it could be a snapshot out of a movie, this was one of those days.

It all started with me drinking two cups of the highly potent Brazilian coffee. A mistake on my part. It seems that my body reacts to caffeine by eliminating the mechanism to my brain that says “Shut up Mariah! Asking if chickens can get rabies is not relevant at this time!” I have a hard time stopping the flow of thoughts from exiting my mouth in one fell swoop without editing or pause. It is something that I dearly need to work on and has not went on without notice. Perhaps the only person in the office who finds this amusing is the Chinese Programs Coordinator, but in a way one would find a tiny dog in a suit or  an ice skating bear amusing; a novelty to be enjoyed sparingly.

The caffeine and my pure enthusiasm for all things, combined with adrenaline, made for an ascent and descent that would make Sir Edmund Hillary nauseous. The adrenaline came from what became probably the most exciting thing to happen at my work… ever.

I was sitting in my chair with my legs wrapped in a blanket I had brought from home ( which was mistaken for a ‘cute’ skirt by the CPC) when two men walked into the office so casually it made you wonder if they were there by mistake.

As they flipped open their wallets to reveal badges and announced “Homeland Security, We need to speak to someone about a student,” I didn’t know whether jump with excitement or wet my pants with fear, or perhaps both. The two men were ushered back to the CPC who calmly gave them what they needed to know with the assistance of me ( I came in handy with the excel spreadsheet and my knowledge of file placement). I was congratulated with a “Nice detective work!” by the CPC. I sleep a little better knowing she is protecting our borders from rogue students.

The rest of my day was spent doing mundane tasks with entirely too much energy and finishing work feeling like a blur.

Walking home I contemplated the possible causes of my serial case of word vomit and also if I had a future in law enforcement.

Both went unanswered.





My Memorial Day Weekend In Pictures


The weekend started off right with me receiving the most amazing transcripts at work from Latvia. You see the strings there, if the tape is broken it is not considered official anymore. I like to see the extra effort put in by other countries (get on the ball Canada).


Friday was moving day. I drove my sister to work ( a miracle in itself that she let me drive her car since I backed up into a pole with it at Papa John’s and busted out the window last year) feeling very much like The Dude from the Big Lebowski minus the white russian. I spent the whole day cleaning out our hell hole of a former apartment. Seven hours later, 3 pounds lighter, we were on the road to Hayward for my brother’s high school graduation.


He gave a beautiful speech he claimed I ruined an hour before when I happened to make a few improvements to it (he kept them so ‘ha’).


I spent two nights babysitting this little princess who was visiting us for the graduation from Illinois. I need times alone with 2 year olds because it reminds me I am too selfish to take care of another human being,let alone a tiny one.


We also managed to find this gem of a picture for my brother’s grad party. “Disney World you say? meh, I’ve seen better”


Ellie liked that we were home though. She spent most of her time wanting to be babied and not letting me go on my computer. She even managed to fall off the bed and spill my water on me. So I resorted to reading instead.Image

Christofer was upset I read “our” book on the hammock by myself. He likes when I read it to him at night before bed. I’m glad he’s a big Sedaris fan like this girl.

Now I’m laying in my lovely friend Sarah’s bed (she’s in Peru for the summer, the jerk), thankful I’m not on the floor. Last night I slept like a king but I am looking forward to the new house this weekend!

I’ve caught you up on my life so now I will return to daily posts. I can’t promise they will be more logical, but I can promise they will be more regular.



I See the RumChata Bottle Half Full

Me and my gorgeous friend Yasha, (I'm on the left) She is a brilliant fashion blogger, check her out!

Today was a sad day. I had to say goodbye to one of the best friends I have ever made, my dearest Yasha. I’ve never met a person who rivals my love of potatoes(There is a brilliant story about her eating a raw potato in the grocery store because she was so hungry) or was such an expert snuggler. She is a beautiful person inside and out and I feel so blessed to have her in my life. In the words of a mutual friend of ours “It’s so weird how you and Yasha became such good friends. She is very into fashion and you, well you are just a nerd.”

No matter how unlikely our friendship, I will never drink a bomb pop without shedding a single tear down my cheek. She and her wonderful boyfriend Victor (whom I will also miss dearly), decided to give me a parting gift today in true Mariah style. Items they no longer had use for: an umbrella, nailpolish remover, a swedish book, and half full bottle of RumChata. Pretty much anything that would have gotten them perhaps kicked off the plane. I couldn’t have loved these items more. They all carry special memories for me, well except for the nailpolish remover, that’s just useful.

I knew this day was coming so I prepared by making a mental checklist of things that make me happy in order to cheer me up.



3) Nicholas Cage Jokes

4) Battlestar Galactica

5) Bacon

6) These Bacon Cookers I Saw at Wal-Mart TodayImage

I choose to see the RumChata bottle half full. Soon I will see my beautiful friends again in their country.

Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to this song over and over. Welcome to Mariah’s Pity Party.



Life Allergies


It is a well known/ well self-documented fact that I have a weird skin disorder that allows me to write on my skin. For a year I wasn’t sure what caused it until I realized that everything caused it. A brush against the carpet, hives. A scrape against a wall, hives. Somebody grabs my arm, hives. When I relayed to my coworkers what the cause was of my red itchy skin they simply replied ” Of course that’s what it is. If anyone would have a weird, freaky skin disorder it would be you.” The constant itch of my hives is not even the most annoying part; that honor goes to the fact that this will only go away with time. How much time you ask? About 5 years is the rough estimate of the medical profession.

My weird hives brings me to today. I was casually sitting on my supervisor’s floor sorting through files, humming the alphabet in my head to find the one I was looking for, when she noticed my red, irritated arms. “You know I’m allergic to rain in Costa Rica, well actually the volcano ash that is in rain. I swell up when it touches me” she said trying to offer me solace in my weirdness.

“So what you are saying is you are allergic to volcanoes?”

“Well yeah, and also cold water. My hands swell up when I wash them in Costa Rica. Oh and also ice cream, never could eat Costa Rican ice cream with out swelling up”

“Wait a minute. Back up” , now I was intrigued, ” You are allergic to cold water, ice cream, and volcanoes?”

“Well just in Costa Rica remember, and it only happened after I was bit by something when I was sleeping in my bug net.”

If this was anyone else rather than my supervisor, I wouldn’t have believed them for a second, but I would trust this woman with my prized mustache cup in an earthquake.

“It was probably a vampire” I said this matter- of -factly, as it was the obvious answer, “that or a radioactive spider. Shame you didn’t get superhuman powers instead of sucky allergies.”

“You have a very active imagination, you know that?”

I know that.


After work I came home to skype my Swedish Viking (that’s his adorable face in the picture above). He had a long day today of writing his thesis. He is a marketing major like me. The only difference is, he is ten times better at it and graduating in a few weeks.

He sighed deeply and told me about the heaviness of his day before scrunching his nose in the air and making a face of disgust. “What is that smell?!?” I watched him sniff around his apartment until he found the likely culprit, his garbage. Easy fix, he sprays cologne on it.

I love my boyfriend.

Now I  am lying on the floor looking at the best collection of photographs of old Finnish people with stuff on their heads. You’re Welcome.



A Long Day Ending With a Fire (sorta)


Today started like any other day. Christofer calling and waking me up at 5am, me mumbling something in Swedish/English that roughly sounds like “Iloveyoutooneedtosleepcallyoulatermmbyepusspuss” Puss Puss meaning “kiss kiss” in Swedish (funny that “kiss kiss” in Swedish means “pee pee”).

I rolled up and over to begin my day with child’s pose( it is entirely too convenient to wake up to yoga when you sleep on your mat) then groggily made my milky weak coffee to start my day.

Going to the CIE office early in the morning is eerie. There are no students where there should be and it’s dark and silent, luckily my voice was there to fill the void.

Today’s assignment was to put artifacts in the display cases in the hallway. This was a “filler” task, something I was doing because I wasn’t too busy (or it should have been anyway.) This was until the Chinese Program Coordinator discovered some things she wanted to change; three hours later, dripping with sweat, multiple tack stab wounds to the hand, and with sharp pain in the arches of my feet, we managed to pinpoint the decorative fans to the millimeter of where she wanted them. When it was time for my work day to be done, she leaned over to me while looking critically at the display case “something is just not right, you’re going to kill me but I think that middle one has to be a bit higher.” I patted her back and said “Let’s just sleep on it.” She is honestly one of my favorite people, not just in the office, but in general ,so I can take this sort of perfectionist behavior as she always compliments me on my outfit choices and makes me laugh constantly.

I walked home tired from the day to the tune of a sad Charlie Brown and collapsed on my yoga mat to talk to Christofer. About an hour after “puss puss”, the fire alarm in our building started to go off. Being the awful place this is, nobody seemed too bothered by it; it wasn’t until a half an hour later that we actually called the fire department. I only came out of the building after I texted my sister if I should, she replied “I suppose.”  I met some of our neighbors who said “yeah we heard it, but we were in the middle of something.” That’s how big of a crap-hole we live in, we can’t even be bothered by a fire.

I’m curling up in the fetal position on my mat and going to my happy place.



The Week of the Thrift

    As I write this, I am sitting on my yoga mat in my room, which just so happens to be the only furniture in the apartment. I am moving to a new place in a few weeks and all the furnishings had to be put into storage before their maiden voyage to a delightful blue house down the street. So until then, I will be sleeping on my yoga mat, eating on my yoga mat, and in more practical matters, doing yoga on my yoga mat. Because of the lack of personal items, I’m going through an odd phase of claiming other people’s things as mine own. This has taken the form of thrift shopping.

    It all started with a cup I found at Goodwill a few days ago with a mustache protector. It proudly displays “mustache stein” across its top with “Japan” etched into its bottom. I find it peculiar that the Japanese would create a German drinking stein that protects mustaches. I racked my brain thinking of any Japanese men I knew who had mustaches, but sadly could think of none.


    Buying strange items at Goodwill turns out to be the gateway drug of thrifting. It all starts out innocent until you start searching dumpsters like I did today. Finals ended last week, so being wasteful college students as we are, we throw things away without thinking twice about the appeal to others as we move on with our lives and hopefully can afford something more suitable to a living space than a worn out futon.




    I say “we” like I am one of them. The truth is, I am still here, and their worn out things have become my treasures. Today on my walk I manged to snag a few gems: some records, a lamp, and a majestic portrait of a poodle that shall adorn my new bedroom wall.Image

    Dumpster diving has all the thrill of thrifting but is free, and slightly more disgusting. My sister is hoping this is phase I will grow out of since our empty living room now has a small stock pile of items I have acquired. I think she sees images of me becoming like one of those people on “Hoarders” where they cry and say “I don’t know how it got this bad! I swear! It was just one mustache stein and things just got out of control!” We’ll see how far this goes, but for now, I’m quite satisfied with making other people’s things my own.