Amelia Landenberger on – peeing yourself in public

When I was four my parents took me to dance classes. I remember very little from those classes- being that I was so young- however, I do distinctly remember two things. The first being the clear memory of me clinging desperately to my bedpost while my patient mother tried to coax me into the car. I would kick, scream, and cry all the way to those dance classes. The funny thing is I have no recollection whatsoever of actually disliking the class itself, so why did I hate going?

The answer can be found in my second memory from that class, which, unfortunately, is of me being too nervous to ask to go to the bathroom and peeing myself, in front of the entire class, in my tutu, all over the linoleum floors.
It was a real shame. That tutu looked fabulous on me. I think that’s when my mom gave up on dragging me to class.
I regret not being able to speak up and ask to go to the bathroom. But most of all I regret quitting.

So how does a story about me peeing myself in public relate to my life now? Probably in more ways than I’d like to admit. But I’ll speak to just one.

It relates because you never seem to grow out of the war between your rational and irrational brain. I had the privilege of taking dance classes. I know that not everyone got that same privilege. And yet I couldn’t get over the irrational fear of spending even one second out of my comfort zone. So does that make me ungrateful? Sure.
But again, I was four, and what four year old isn’t ungrateful and covered in their own urine?

And now, years later, while much more in control of my bladder, I struggle with the same issues. I know that being able to pick up and leave school to travel around Europe with some of my best friends, learning new things and being welcomed into to people’s homes as if I were family is the opportunity of a lifetime! And everyone has told me how lucky I am. So why, when I stepped out of the airport in Madrid did I have to fight back tears? Why did I wish I could quit being an au pair and go home just like I had quit dance lessons?

It’s because everyone has a rational and irrational voice in their heads, and both of mine are SCREAMING at each other. Now, I don’t have a solution to this issue. And I’m not here to complain about being homesick when others would kill to be in my position. I’m just here to share a small piece of advice that I’m currently trying to practice myself:

Asking to go to the bathroom is always less embarrassing than peeing yourself in public. Or in other words, comfort is an indulgence that will most likely lead to disaster.

“I’m sorry life is so wonderful”

Quoted: my dad, as I was giving him one of the many goodbye hugs. 
What a thing to say, right? But, I knew what he meant. He wasn’t giving me a sassy word, as I would give to those people on the unfortunate show “My Sweet Sixteen.” The ones who get a brand new car for their 16th birthday and it’s the wrong color, or it’s not the right car, or, God forbid, their parents gave them the car at the wrong time – “I wanted my car AFTER my party, MOM! UUGggHHHhHHHEhehhehhhuugg” To them, I often want to say, “oh, I’m sorry your life is SO WONDERFUL, boo-fuckin-hoo.”

That’s not what my dad was meaning when he said that. He was commenting on the fact that on the day I was leaving on this adventure, I was crying. A lot. It’s like when people say “how lucky am I to have something/someone that makes it so hard to say goodbye.” In fact, that’s exactly what it is. 

How lucky am I to have the community of friends and family that I have – one that supports my wild decisions, and encourages risk taking. One that inspires adventure. One that comes over the night before my flight to drink champagne, and have a dance party in the living room that turns into a cuddle-puddle on my couch. How lucky am I to have these people, this love in my life that makes saying goodbye, even for only a few months, so damn heartbreaking.  

Shout-out to them for all that they do (you know who you are).

The other part of that is the adventure on the other side of the goodbyes. I’m scared of this journey. I’m nervous. I’m a lot of things. But, what a wonderful thing to be scared of. 

What a wonderful thing to be scared of; what an incredible community to miss. 

I sit on a bus in London, watching cars drive by on what looks to me like the wrong side of the road. The sky is grey and I haven’t peed since being in the US. Or brushed my teeth (benefits of traveling solo: no one close enough to smell my breath). Aside from an occasional wave of nerves about catching my next flight, I feel lucky and absolutely grateful for such a wonderful life. 

There’s no need to be sorry, Daddy. It’s quite alright.

Izze October 13, 2015

Hello readers, this is Izze speaking. Welcome back to our blog. We apologize for the delay in postings – school and life continues to get in the way. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love you!  

Planning is coming along – I’ve found myself trying to schedule school work around my planning for next semester-time. I want to say I feel like it should be the other way around, but I mostly don’t. Thus far I have my passport in for renewal, I’ve got my international driver’s license (necessary because as an Au Pair I’ll have to drive the kids to and from school everyday), I’ve been approved for a leave of absence from my school, and I’ve purchased my one-way plane ticket to Spain. PURCHASED MY TICKET TO SPAIN – ME. I DID THAT. It looks like I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve on a plane – hopefully I’ll find a travel buddy to ring in the New Year with.

So basically, it’s happening. I can officially say that I’m going to Spain – I can, with confidence, decline any New Year’s or January birthday or my usual thousands of Valentine’s Day date invitations because, well, I’ll be in Spain. It’s INSANE – no, wait. Scratch that. It’s IN-SPAIN!! (I guess now would be a good time as any to let you know that all of my blog posts will be full of puns – I would say they’re going to be horrible, but I love puns, so they’re going to be great by my standards.) You might say I’m quite PUN-NY!

Anyway, IN-SPAIN. And CRAZY. And WILD. And MAD. I have always looked up to and idolized and, admittedly, thought the people who make the decision to travel by their own volition are making a crazy choice. People who decide to hop off the standard path and take off from school to travel – but now I’m doing it, and people, including myself, can look up to me, if they feel that way (well, provided that they’re less than five feet tall).

But, as my friend Max said to me today, “a lot of the best things came out of the wild and crazy” or something like that. And Max is right. Philippe Petit didn’t walk across a tightrope between the twin towers because it “sounded kind of interesting, something I’d like to try” or because he was “indifferent about things” or “normal.” He accomplished one of the absolutely craziest things our world has ever witnessed and he’s now known as a legend for his determination, passion, and wild spirit – not to mention his great balancing skills. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing him in a movie. (sidenote: if this part of my life, or any other part, for that matter, for some reason becomes a movie, I want Johnny Depp or Emma Stone to play me. Johnny’s played essentially every role there is to play and then some – he can pull off a 19 year-old woman, even at his age. If for some reason that doesn’t work out, I am basically Emma Stone anyway, and I also happen to be dating Spiderman.)

This journey is a wonderful mixture of wild and unconventional and terrifying, but also full of passion and dream-chasing and curiosity. And isn’t that what some of the best lives are made of?

One of my favorite quotes goes like this: “We want experiences very different from the bounce and rosiness of the happy moments.” I try to think about that everyday, and manifest some of those moments. This travel won’t be void of bounce and rosiness I’m sure, but there will most definitely be some moments that aren’t – which doesn’t inherently mean “bad,” but more challenging, or heart-stopping, or awe-inspiring. And that’s exciting. Those are  the kind of moments I want to have, to experience and live inside of.

So, here I go, to be in-Spain.