Archive for August 2013

19 August 2013

Birthday dread?

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Wow, that may have sounded a bit more dramatic than intended.

My birthday is this week, technically, on Friday. Again. Ha, it’s funny how that happens, on the same day every year, but this one totally snuck up on me and now, of course, I’m well aware.

But while catching up with a friend on Sunday, she asked if I ever dreaded my birthday because it makes me think of being another year older and being single, etc. and kind of focusing on things maybe not being the way I predicted they would be by my age.

I answered her, but I couldn’t get that question out of my mind for the rest of the day.

No, I don’t dread my birthday. I dreaded it when I turned 29 because it felt like this whole “young” chapter in my life was ending and the pressure of turning 30 felt like it was turned up to 11. But now, no. I can’t say I anxiously look forward to it, but I don’t dread it.

Why? Because I don’t focus anymore on what I don’t have. I focus on what I do.

And I’ve never felt I needed a guy to make me feel more happy and fulfilled on my birthday or any other time too.

Plus, I don’t worry that life at my age didn’t turn out as I expected, because honestly, I thought I would be a doctor by 24 years old and have three kids. Clearly, I learned a LONG time ago that wasn’t going to happen :) So anything after that, I’m kind of making as I go along.

But if she would have asked me this question last year, when I was in the midst of one of the worst years ever and feeling defeated about everything, I may have had a different response.

That was then, and this is now.

2013 hasn’t been all roses (cough, leg/running issue) but I’m comfortable at my age now and will be still when I’m one year older. If anything, I want to use this as a reset time, much like NYE, to focus on me, what I want, fixing what isn’t working (which there is one big thing) and doing things that make me happy.

And right now, there is a lot of things making me happy, even if it stresses me out at times.

So I have to remember to get Prosecco for my annual birthday toast because turning one year older always deserves bubbles.




15 August 2013

Parle Francais

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

I think I’ve mentioned this, but in the depths of a New Years Day sickness and personal despair/need for change, I wrote out a ton of goals for 2013 that I wanted to achieve to help me feel better physically and mentally.

And one of them was to take language classes again.

I love studying languages. I have a degree in German and studied that for nine years. I studied French for two and I just soak that stuff up like a sponge. I love it. Learning, conversing, etc.

And despite knowing German, remembering a fair amount, and having fond memories of language classes in high school and college, French is what I really wanted to study more.

Plus, the south of France is on my travel wish list and, well they don’t speak much English there so…French will be very necessary.

A former coworker recommended L’Ecole Francais in Chicago and I signed up for a free open house class (which of course had some asshole pretending he wasn’t fluent but actually was) before the full summer semester began.

That free class included a semi-daunting placement test of grammar questions and….a written essay about yourself in French, to test where you are at comprehension-wise.

I have not taken any kind of French grammar or writing exercise in 12 years. But, it was like Rain Man because after hearing people speak French for an hour in the open house, it started coming back to me and I banged out four decent size paragraphs about myself to share with the teacher.

And despite a few grammar and conjugation errors, he said my impromptu essay was “very good” and recommended me for a mid-level class, not intermediate but not beginner either. I went home ridiculously happy.

So far, I’m on week six and it’s going well! But it’s tough and bittersweet that this part is almost over. But it’s also a challenge, in a good way. We have homework AND a final written/oral exam. But they serve wine in little plastic shot glasses, so that’s good.

And I plan on signing up for the next semester of classes when I return from Europe in September. Bien sur!

13 August 2013

Checking Lolla off my Chicago list

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: music, Random

So this post is going up a bit later than I thought it would but, hey, still worthwhile.

In July, I told a friend that I was going to Lollapalooza this year. And she was like, “aren’t you too old for that?”

For a moment, I was offended, and then I wondered, wait, am I?

I have lived in Chicago for eight years and this is the FIRST time I’ve gone. So I couldn’t help but wonder, why?

Oh yeah:

  • Huge crowds
  • Drunk crowds
  • Intense heat that makes you wonder if you will lose your mind or die in Grant Park

In every year prior, you could always guarantee that it would be hotter than hell for Lollapalooza. Even if it was cool before that weekend, that would change. On top of that, you are crammed in front of a stage with thousands of drunk and high people you never met before. Sounds like fun RIGHT?

Well in my spirit of trying new things in 2013, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to Lollapalooza for a day. Three days sounded a bit intense and in case I hated it, one day was a doable commitment.

Then the band list leaked and I got more excited and determined, only to be shut out of the day I wanted thanks to Mumford, Matt & Kim, Ellie Goulding and others being stacked that day. Figures.

So a coworker sold me her Sunday wristband and I was off with Arielle and her friend Eric, who were both in town for all three days of the festival. And in a gift from the heavens, it was not center-of-the-sun hot. It was…manageable. Okay!!

Because I was only there for a day, I saw a total of three full sets, each of which were great. I finally got to see Tegan & Sara live and got the added bonus of Vampire Weekend and Phoenix.

And it was awesome. Bands start on time and play continuously during the set. And the music sounds great too. And people sing along and get a little rowdy but not always asshole-like behavior.

I’m still catching up on bands and listening to new and different types of music but this was a really good time. And I would consider going  next year too!

Have you been to any festivals this summer?