The General Consulate of Spain, Los Angeles

The General Consulate of Spain, Los Angeles

A little over a week ago, I submitted all the paperwork for my visa.

That’s right!  My nights of staying up, poring over the checklist and getting tangled up in bureaucratic red tape is over.  I’m still knocking on wood, because I know (heaven forbid) there’s still a chance I may be denied the visa or it could get lost in the mail or eaten by a crocodile or run away to seek its fortune in Las Vegas.  But let’s not think about any of that right now.

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I won’t be able to sleep properly until I’m holding my passport in my own two hands.

The appointment itself was a lot easier than I thought.  However, I’d give yourself plenty of time to get there especially if you’re unfamiliar with Los Angeles.  I arrived with twenty minutes to spare, but it still took me nearly all of that time to navigate the building.  The biggest problem I had was (don’t judge me) finding the door.  First, I walked right past the building because there are no signs or evidence that the consulate is located inside.  Then, I walked around the whole place twice because I didn’t know which door led to the consulate.  Finally, in desperation, I asked the guy working the little yellow arm that lifts up to let cars out of the parking garage.  He said I was in the right place and so I entered through the garage.

Keep in mind that I was running on zero sleep and I’d just walked two miles to get to the consulate because I was afraid I might get on the wrong bus if I tried to use public transportation.  You’d probably have better luck than me.

tenor
My struggles with Google Maps weren’t quite this bad but it sure felt like it at the time.

Anyways, I walked in and was directed upstairs by a grumpy man who simply gestured to a small sign on the front desk when I asked where to go for my visa.  A boy who was also looking for the consulate wandered around the hallway with me for a while until we found the right room.  He was just as lost as I was, which made me feel a little better.

The waiting room was packed, and since I couldn’t find a sign in sheet or anything of that nature and my appointment was scheduled in 5 minutes, I went up to one of the windows and asked the man sitting behind the glass what to do.  He wasn’t much older than I was, and after squinting at his computer for a moment, told me to take a seat.

The windows were like the ones they have at movie theater ticket booths and some banks: a sheet of glass with a metal grate where your mouth is and a slot in the bottom.

6x8 Ticket Booth
Something like this, except not outside of course.  Taken from guardhousesonline.com

I’m not really sure why the people working there needed glass in between them and the applicants, but maybe it had something to do with money?  Even though I believe all money paid to the consulate is in the form of money orders, which would be useless to someone who wanted to rob the place.

But back to the appointment.  I was nervous and sweaty and nearly dropped my thick stack of papers all over the floor.  The boy behind the glass just told me to give him everything at once if it was in order.  He shuffled through them, plucked out all the copies except for my passport and license, and slid those back to me.  (I was a little bit salty about that part; I’d agonized over all these stupid copies when the whole time they weren’t even going to use them?!)  The only question he asked was which date I’d be arriving in Spain and when I’d be leaving.  After scribbling that down on my application, he took my money order and said I was good to go.

“Thank you, it takes about four weeks.”

In a sleep-deprived daze, I gathered up my sea of photocopies and headed for the door.  The whole exchange took about two minutes.  I felt empty as I stepped back into the elevator.  While the floors ticked by on the screen above my head, I wondered distantly if everything had gone as well as it could have.  There wasn’t a clear answer to that particular question.

Once I stepped outside and returned to the sunny streets of Los Angeles, I was able to let out a breath I’d been holding for who knows how long.  I was free!  Free and in one of my favorite cities in the world!

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Taken from indietravel.net

You really can’t have a bad day when you’re in LA.

Hasta la vista,

V

Side Note:  So over a year ago I went to Venice Beach and I got the greatest shirt that I’ve ever owned.  It was a long-sleeved pink t shirt that had “Venice Beach” across the shoulders in big white letters, and it was amazing because you could wear it in the sun and not be hot, you could wear it when it was cold and stay warm, and you could wear it inside and just be super comfy.  I loved this shirt.  It looked good with leggings or jeans or shorts, it was over-sized but it still made you look skinny, it was pure magic.

But then one fateful day, someone stole it out of the dryer in the community laundry room while I was working for Disney.  (Which only serves to reinforce my belief that everything goes lost or missing in Florida; it’s the state equivalent of that one backpack or purse or center console that eats all of your valuables.)

While in LA, I made the trek back to Venice Beach, and by “trek” I mean that I got off the bus at Santa Monica and walked all the way over to the boardwalk which was not easy when you’re so tired that you could curl up on the hot sand and be asleep in five seconds.  And, I’d also walked two miles earlier in the day to the consulate.

But it was worth it because my efforts paid off.  I know probably no one cares but I found the same exact shirt again and I bought it and now I am content with all of my earthly possessions.  I only want peace and love for my fellow man at this point because I have found my own source of peace in the form of a pink sweatshirt.

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Back to School Jitters

Hello, my good friends!

[Crickets chirp]

I know, I know.  It’s been a while.  But, in my defense, I’ve been very busy avoiding the inevitable, shrugging off all my responsibilities, and being dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood.

All in a day’s work, for an eighteen-year-old, I’d say.

Gif taken from photofunky.net

Even though I’ve taken great care to push any and all stressful situations out of my mind this summer, my departure date for the Disney College Program is getting closer and closer.  I can almost feel the humidity.

In fact, I just finished up registering for two collegiate courses offered by Disney: Corporate Communication and the very intriguing Creativity & Innovation.  I’m thrilled that I was able to actually log into the registration website (www.dorms.disney.com seemed to have a lot of traffic today, considering that I tried to get on the minute they opened enrollment this morning) and sign up for the classes I wanted, but I’m less than thrilled that both classes start at 8:30 am and last for four hours.  I’m not a morning person, and I have the attention span of a gnat.

Gif from gifsec.com

But I’ll suck it up!  No sense in complaining about something you can’t change.

Actually, the early classes might be a blessing in disguise.  That way, I’ll have all afternoon to work.

What I’m even more apprehensive about is the possible avalanche of Disney homework assignments.  I need to work at least 35 hours per week if I want to get full credit for my internship.  By the end of the program, I have to hit 540 hours total.  If I don’t, I’ll lose credits and therefore lose my scholarship at NAU.  Yikes.

Taken from pinterest.com; This is basically who I’m going to turn into.  Especially because I’m almost positive that I’ll try doing homework by the pool at some point, and we all know that’s not going to end well.

I really can’t afford for these classes to take a big chunk out of my availability, and I also don’t want to be drowning in assignments while trying to work full time.  Even so, I’ve been emailing the Disney people like crazy with every little question I can think of and they’ve been extremely patient and helpful.  With luck, I’ll get a boss who’ll do their best to help me sort out any scheduling issues I might have.

I’ve been scouring the internet for any information I can on the Disney classes, but with no results.  Not a single blog entry, or Tweet, or Huffington Post blurb.  That being said, I’ll make sure to keep all of you future DCP hopefuls in the loop on how the classes pan out.

Now, the only big thing I need to do before I leave is register for housing.  Unfortunately, I can’t do this until about two weeks prior to my arrival date.  This makes me nervous.  What if there isn’t any available housing?  What do I do then, sleep in the supply closet of the Haunted Mansion?  (Do they still have that ride?  It was my favorite as a kid.)

Taken from playtivities.com;  Possibly my new home in Orlando if the whole Disney housing thing doesn’t work out.

Oh, well.  I suppose at this point all I can do is wait.

From what I’ve seen online, the Disney apartments look really nice.  Costing around $100 a month, the come fully furnished and include utilities as well as internet.  I’m under the impression that you have to share a room with another person (Just like freshman year, yay!), but then again, I’ve been wrong before.

I don’t mind this arrangement as long as my roommate’s not a total asshole, but like most people, I’d rather have my own space.  For one thing, I never know how people are going to react to the fact that I’m gay.  It certainly makes for an awkward conversation where it’s easy to offend someone.  (“I’m gay, but don’t worry, you’re so not my type.”)

Taken from realitytvgifs.tumblr.com; This is hopefully what my roommate will not be like.

For now, I suppose everything’s peachy.

Ciao!

-V

P.S.  Sorry for all the gifs.  I forgot they existed and then I got pretty psyched when I remembered they were a thing.

 

Why I’m Probably Going to Die Young

If I don’t get arrested fairly soon, there’s a good chance that I’ll get murdered. One of these two unfortunate occurrences will happen to me. I guarantee it.

And one way I can guarantee it is by doing Incredibly Stupid Dangerous Things. I’m a college student. College students are invincible, right?

Wrong.

Lucky for me, I haven’t had to find this out the hard way. Yet. Stay tuned, though, since it can’t be long now.

One particularly grand lapse of judgment I had came one night when I was bored out of my mind.

Take some advice from me: if you’re ever in college and bored out of your mind, get a hobby. A nice, productive hobby like knitting or partying! Don’t follow in my footsteps.

I proceeded to go on an app called Yik Yak. If you’re a student yourself, you’ve probably heard of this app. It allows you to post anonymously, and your messages can only be see by people located in your immediate area. It’s especially popular on campus because, well, everyone’s in the same place.

Image from play.google.com
Yik Yak can be used for good. You can vent on it, encourage people on it, hell, once I even scored two pieces of bread from someone in my dorm because I asked on Yik Yak.  I made a fabulous sandwich that day.

There is a sketchy side of this app, like most things in the world. People frequently try to hook up on it and sell drugs, among other less favorable activities.

Yik Yak is also a way for people to make anonymous threats, unfortunately.  Image from statepress.com
As I was scrolling through my feed, I came across a post that was asking if anyone wanted to go to an abandoned town with them. I looked it up and it was 40 miles away from civilization. I was willing to bet that there were already like, 4 bodies buried there somewhere. Maybe a serial killer who skinned and ate cats had made the town their home base. At the very least there was probably a hungry animal or two hiding out in the buildings.

But, like I explained to you in my last entry, I have a penchant for urban exploring. So, little five-foot-nothing me replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes! Take me!”

Most plans I’ve tried to make on Yik Yak fell through, so I was sufficiently surprised when the guy actually showed up.

Oh, it was nighttime by the way. I felt like I was in a bad horror movie.

I walked over to this guy’s Honda CRV and peered in the window. I didn’t see any tools, blood, or dismembered body parts lying around, and there was a Star Wars bumper sticker on the back window. Everything seemed okay.

As soon as I slid in the passenger seat I said, “I have pepper spray. So. You know.”

“I know what?”

I blinked.

“Don’t try anything.”

“I wasn’t planning on trying anything. I was more worried about picking up a dangerous girl who might murder me and leave me for dead.”

I busted out laughing. Me? Secretly I hated carrying pepper spray because I knew in the unlikely event that I’d have to use it, there was a high probability I’d end up spraying myself.

Image from funnyjunk.com
Anyways, I went to the abandoned town of Two Guns in the middle of the night with a complete stranger. You can see why I’m going to die young.

Please enjoy the following pictures documenting my poor life choices.

Much love,

-V

Taken inside of the abandoned gas station. I also found a lot of documents from ancestry.com in here. I wonder what someone was trying to find in their family history.

This is part of an abandoned zoo, where the owner was allegedly killed by a mountain lion.
  

The main part of the gas station

An old cage from the abandoned zoo
P.S. Later I went back during the daytime, so here are a few more…

I think this was some sort of tiny hotel, since there was a pool and what looked like a pool storage shed or restrooms located next to it.

Inside the tiny hotel

Here’s the front of the gas station.
Inside the tiny hotel
Taken from the bottom of the pool
This is the back door of the tiny hotel

Possibly part of the old zoo

Why I’ll Probably be Arrested

Your imaginations are probably running wild right now.  What did I do that’s going to get me arrested?  Did I kill a man?  Steal my neighbor’s new Apple TV?  Snort cocaine off the back of my illegal pet lion?

Image from lionking.wikia.com

No, nothing like that.  I know, it’s disappointing.  Sorry, guys.

I do, however, have one particular hobby that’s frowned upon by law enforcement, if not downright illegal.  This is a wonderful activity widely known as urban exploring.

For those of you who don’t know, a rough definition of urban exploring is when one ventures into abandoned buildings and other places normally off limits to the public.  I love doing this.  There’s just something about old, long forgotten places that really attracts me.  Just think about it -a crumbling house on the side of the road was once someone’s home.  They laughed there, cried there, had fights, triumphs  and tragedies, sang songs and cooked dinners.  And now there’s nothing left.

If anyone has read Paper Towns by John Green (mild spoiler alert!), you might recall the abandoned mini mall that Margo led Q to.  That’s a good example of urban exploring.

Representation of the Osprey; Image from wordsontheshelf.blogspot.com

I like walking through these hollow shells while trying to imagine this rich and colorful past.  It really does wonders for writer’s block, that’s for sure.

My first conquest was a ramshackle house at the back of a neighborhood.  It was known as the Tiger House to all the kids in the area because of the story behind it.  I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but I’ve heard quite a few different variations.

The basic gist is this:  A man in the neighborhood kept tigers in his backyard.  This was illegal, much like keeping a lion as a pet and snorting cocaine off its back is illegal.  Despite the law, Tiger Man’s big cats remained in the large cages where he showed them off to friends and family whenever he got the chance.  One day, Tiger Man was feeding his exotic pets while his wife and son were at the store.  He was mauled and killed by a tiger and died in the backyard.  Upon returning home and finding her husband’s mutilated body, the wife hung herself and her child from the tree in the backyard.

Of all the versions of this story, the most consistent detail is the guy getting killed by a tiger.  That’s about the extent of my knowledge on the house’s history.

Now, when I first heard about this place, I thought it was total BS.  What nut job would try to keep tigers?  It sounded ridiculous, but I was intrigued.

My first excursion to the house was at night.  The first thing I noticed was a rusty streetlamp that looked like it was from the 1800’s.  It was pretty creepy.  Next I was able to make out the outline of a broken metal cage among the weeds…

The inside of the house was absolutely covered in graffiti.  Some of it was juvenile, like an assortment of dick pics along with lewd phrases, but there were a few more artistic pictures.  I liked the floor-to-ceiling depiction of a red demon the best.

Here’s a photo of the outside of the house that I took during the day:

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I really wish I’d taken more pictures, but both times that I was there during the day I was nearly caught by the authorities.  Needless to say, it’s very difficult to sprint from a cop while taking excellent photographs.

The second time I had to run my friend basically tossed me over a brick wall.  Also not a great photo op.

To wrap it up, that’s why I’m probably going to get arrested one day.  Next month I’m staying a few days in LA, and I’ve already started looking up any potential trespassing opportunities.

Much Love,

-V

The Happiest Place on Earth

So, next semester I’m going to be packing up my things and moving halfway across the country to sunny Orlando so that I can work for and go to school at Disney.  I can still hardly believe this is happening.  It absolutely blows my mind.

I applied for the Disney College Program on a whim, thinking that there was no possible way I’d ever get in.  I heard about it from my public speaking teacher when I’d been hunting for internships and decided, “Why not?”

disneycollegeprogram_webbanner_685x300
Picture from pointpark.edu

Fast forward to a few days later and I was taking the online test, and then a few weeks later I was on the phone with a recruiter from Disney.  At the time I didn’t think I’d be able to participate, since I have a substantial scholarship at my university and I would possibly  have to forfeit it if I left school for a semester.  So, I was pretty unconcerned about the outcome during the phone interview.  Part of me wanted to bomb it because then I wouldn’t have to regret turning an offer of employment down.

Ironically, the fact that the interview didn’t really matter to me was probably why I got in.  I was relaxed, my anxiety didn’t make me trip over my words, and I didn’t go off on any long, unrelated tangents.  I nailed it.

You can imagine my frustration when a few hours later I got an email offering me a position at Disney World in Orlando.  Really?

Of course, I couldn’t let an opportunity like that pass me by.  Everyone knows that Disney is a great company to work for with a variety of jobs to choose from.  If I could get my foot in the door by doing the Disney College Program, the possibilities were endless.  Not to mention that Disney offers an entire class dedicated solely to networking.

Getting my university to make sure my scholarship would still be here for me when I was done wasn’t easy.  I bent over backwards to make it happen.  I’m honestly not sure how I was able to pull it off, but once I paid my deposit for Disney I was determined.  Losing $350 didn’t sound great, and that’s what would’ve happened if I had to withdraw from the DCP.

And now here I am, Florida-bound and ready to rock some Mickey Mouse ears.  I’m a little nervous, but the Disney apartments are hella nice, I love the beach, and I get in free to all the parks while I’m an employee.  Who could ask for more?  My mother isn’t thrilled, but that’s okay.  I know I’ll be fine.

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Picture from Pinterest.com: Some of Disney’s housing.  I *think* this complex is called The Commons

Besides, Tina Fey was right.  I can’t overthink things too much.  I just need to dive in and hope everything works out in the end.

 

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Picture from contessabessa.com

What Cereal Means to Me

Welcome, all.  Thank you for clicking on this blog, though I honestly don’t know how you’d end up here.  I’m willing to bet it was like the time that I was driving around aimlessly, trying to give myself some space to think, and before I knew it I was in the drive thru of a seedy 24-hour Mexican restaurant.  Are you all experiencing the same feeling of profound regret and despair? Because the second I looked up and saw the flickering neon sign begging for a bolt of lighting to streak down and put it out of it’s fluorescent misery, I know I wanted to throw my Corolla in reverse and get the hell out of there.  Unfortunately, a large white truck that looked like the vehicular version of an unfriendly drug addict had pulled up behind me.

Don’t let your own out of control use of personification force you to purchase a greasy burrito.  And by that I mean freedom is only a click away for you.

Nonetheless, I’m still going to talk to myself on this little blog, so you’re welcome to stay and get the inside scoop about my Very Super Fascinating Life.

I’ll start off by letting you know that I live in Arizona.  Now, Arizona does have cactus, an extreme lack of rain, and random bones scattered throughout the desert.  This is true.  Some parts of our state are 100% stereotypical.  I remember once when I was playing tennis, a dust storm came out of nowhere and everyone had to dodge angry tumbleweeds while practicing serves and volleys.  I had another friend who was driving at night and stopped to try to coax a stray dog over to her, only to find out that it was actually a coyote.  I was raised in the Arizona-y part of Arizona.

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However, drive three hours north and it turns into a whole other world.  There are pine trees everywhere, your skin doesn’t feel like it’s going to turn to dust and blow away any minute, and it even snows in the winter.  In fact, earlier this year northern Arizona was the coldest place in the country for a while.

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I currently live in Northern Arizona.  It’s a big change, but I like it.  I call the shots, I buy my own food, I pay the bills.  (Well, except for this one bill that was really huge so I just kept throwing it in the garbage and I’m still waiting for someone to show up at my dorm and throw me in jail.)  The hardest of these three adult things is definitely buying food.

I am incapable of grocery shopping by myself.  Once I walked to Target intending to buy peanut butter and I walked out with a new hat, a record player, and no peanut butter.  It’s a real problem.

In fact, the only thing I can seem to successfully purchase is cereal.  I live off of cereal.  I eat it 24/7, with or without milk, usually in a mug because I have one bowl and I’m not sure where it is right now.  I’m confident that I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for cereal.  Special K, in particular.  Like the drug, (or so I’m told) it’s addictive, healthy for you, and made from horse tranquilizers.  (Just kidding.  Please don’t sue me, Special K.)

So, in a way this blog is kind of like Special K.  It’s not gluten free and once you start reading it you just can’t stop.  I’m not too sure if you can lose weight from this blog, though.  That’s still under investigation.

Have a good rest of your weekend, everyone!

-V