Before You Go: Australia/Fiji Need-to-Knows

I have been preparing for my Aussie excursion for months. Not only had I developed a close relationship with Marvin at Qantas airlines, but I’d read up on the latest attractions, e-mailed locals for tips, and practiced my Aussie slang. I had diligently watched Crocodile Dundee, Crocodile Dundee II, and Finding Nemo. I had reread Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan and only used Aussie hair products for the past month. I had some roo in my do and was ready to schlep the 8,000 miles Down Under.

Or so I thought… Continue reading


The Road to OZ: WTF, Universe?

“Marvin, you don’t understand. These are my hopes, my dreams, my only future plans hanging in the balance here!” I made some indiscernible whining noise in the hopes of emphasizing my exasperation. “You know I’m good for it, and you know this isn’t my fault.” I looked at my clock and winced at the time. “Marvin, I’m tired, it’s five in the morning here and I don’t know what to doooooo.” I surprised myself with how I howled through the o’s. Clearly I was desperate. Coyote desperate.

The Aussie on the other line chuckled warmly and said in his sexy-but-slightly-indistinguishable-accent, “I understand Miss Billings, but until you manage to get your bank on board there’s not much that I can do for you except assure you that we will not cancel your booking at the moment.”

I rolled over on my bed, staring at the plaques and medals dangling on my wall. It had been awhile since I’d spent a night in my childhood room. I was reminded of the late night phone calls I’d had with my girlfriends in high school. And reminiscent of those days, I was once again up all hours of the night.

Continue reading

Second Thoughts

In celebration of Independence Day, I have decided to acknowledge my lack of autonomy (sorry Lady Liberty). While I’d like to claim self-sufficiency, sovereignty and confidence, I realized something very important while huddled in the corner of a RipCurl fitting room this week: this trip was a ridiculous idea. This kind of excursion was not made for me and I had no business putting my city mouse ass on a plane to try to prove the world differently.

Of course, this realization could have come at a more convenient time. Here I was less than a week out from my trip trying to regain my composure in the downtown mall. I was using my purse as a makeshift paper bag, breathing into it heavily and praying the room would stop swimming. I’d had better days.

Shopping has always made me anxious, but this time the anxiety was looming, suffocating. Like a big gray cloud with an agenda following me around to every store in the valley as I look for beach clothes. Let it be noted that I’m pretty sure this metaphorical cloud was laughing at me, as I wasn’t even sure what ‘beach clothes’ really were. How was I supposed to? I am the farthest thing from a beach blond, sun goddess or tanned beauty. Seriously, I could be the fairest skinned person in the world (take that Snow White). I would be lucky to leave El Coco Loco without looking like a lobster. Continue reading

It begins with rejection…

Clearly, this was not part of The Plan.

This time last year I was convinced that this was my year. I was guaranteed a spot in the doctoral program of my choosing. I had put in the countless lab hours, slaved over publications, meticulously studied for each class to earn my A’s, and already gone through this process once. I was more refined. I knew what I had to do. I retook the GRE, rewrote my statement of purpose, and carefully selected schools with professors that matched my research interests. I maintained internships in clinical settings and worked in the field. I saved and saved, hoping to make the interview rounds and show the schools just how much I had to offer and charm them into an acceptance letter. I was going to do it. By the laws of probability and pragmatic reasoning, there was no way it couldn’t happen.

You’d think after growing up in Las Vegas, I would realize that there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Continue reading