A Study In Life:

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."



Posted by Olivia Lawrence on July 15, 2013 at 3:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I don't get around to writing posts all that often, something that I havesworn time and again to work on.  As I sit here writing this one it isreally only another way for me to procrastinate further.  What am I putting off this time?   Packing.  

I have now set a date for moving.  OnAugust 17th I’ll be on the road to Berkeley.  So with a month to get everything settled,why have I yet to pack a single thing?  Becausethe very thought of it is painful. Whenever I sit down to really think about where to start I begin to lookaround and imagine what the room will look like with all of my stuff gone.  I think about watching every trace of medisappear slowly over the next month and it pains me.  Because while there are parts of this movethat I can’t help but be glad for, going to an amazing school, living in theBay area, getting away from the heat and suffocating conservatism of southernCalifornia, as I prepare to actually move the sad parts begin to surface. 

As the reality of moving 8 hours away from the person I love and have livedwith for 4 years hits home, it feels a bit like ripping a part of myselfaway.  I don’t know how I’m going to copewith not seeing him every day, with going to bed alone every night. This isgoing to be so hard to deal with, and I honestly don’t know how I will.  I know I’m being extraordinarily melancholyabout the whole thing right now, and that once I’m distracted with school timewill move by rapidly, but sometimes you don’t realize how much just someone’svery presence affects your daily life until you begin to picture going day today without them. 

So here I sit, procrastinating the packing that inevitably must be done inthe next month, because I just don’t want to look around the room and notpicture myself here anymore.  Childish,ridiculous, and pointlessly sentimental, but that’s what I’m doing. 



The Story of My Life

Posted by Olivia Lawrence on April 28, 2013 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (2)


My life story begins about 8 years ago.  When I was 18 years old(on my 18th birthday to be precise) I got on a plane and flew across the country and across the border, away from everything that I had known.  This decision was the jumping point that has led me to where I am today. Not many people know much about me or my past, whether it was because Iwas ashamed on some level or simply afraid of judgment I’m not sure but I’ve always wrapped myself in a cloak of secrecy and denial, but I don’t want to hide anymore.  The situation at home once I reached high school wasn’t a good one, and most of my family still denies that there was a situation which has continued to make things difficult, and so I took the initiative to change my life. 

 This choice came with sacrifices, a lot of them.  I had to dropout of high school and I left practically everything I had behind, taking onl ya carryon suitcase with me.  For 2 yearsI lived with friends in eastern Canada trying to work my way through immigration.  I eventually got fed up with feeling as though I wasn’t doing anything with my life.  I’d always been passionate about school, and it killed me to leave it the way I did. I couldn’t get any job other than under the table house cleaning.  I was floundering, and I just couldn’t stay.  I had met a lot of people in that time, I had a family of my own making, and this time the choice to leave it all behind was a lot more difficult. 

There is the story of how I came to be in California.  So here I was back in the states and I could work, go to school, live like a real person. I had wanted to get back to school right away, but then I found that it was difficult to afford school when working full time just to meet living costs.  Two and a half years after moving to California, through the help of my wonderful boyfriend Pat and his family, I was able to finally get back to school.  I took some classes and studied for the GED test, which I passed in the summer of 2010.  That fall I began my time as a true college student.

As I’m writing this I am in the final part of my last semester at Palomar College.  My time at Palomar has had its ups and its downs, but my time here has been incredible and has helped me to grow into who I am today. I owe so much to all of the professors that I have had at this school, because without them I wouldn’t be the student that I am today.  My successes in school are ones that I have worked hard for, but I also know that I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish half as much without their help. 

I suppose that brings me to the point of this post today.  Over the last month or so college acceptances have been coming in.  The first was UCSD, and then there was UCSB which had been my first choice.  These are both great schools and I was proud of myself for having gotten into them. The third and last school I had applied to was UC Berkeley.  At the time I only applied because I wanted to see if I was good enough, I suppose I didn’t really think I was.  I hadn’t looked into the program, and whenever I started to I would stop myself because I didn’t want to find out that it was something amazing only to be let down. 

Well at this point I suppose the end of the story is pretty clear:  On Friday April 26 at 5:57 pm I found out that I had gotten into Berkeley. I cried.  I hadn’t thought I hadr eally wanted it until I got in.  About 2 minutes after that, I found out that I had been given an $18,877 scholarship.  So here I am, 8 years after dropping out of high school, and I’ve been admitted and offered a huge scholarship from one of the best schools, not only in the nation, in the world.  I think I’m still in shock, and I keep crying and smiling like a loon.  I can’t possibly thank all of the people who have been with me along this journey enough. 

So this is the story of my life, from its beginning 8 yearsago, to the present, and in a few months to my start at Berkeley where I will continue to make the most of the wonderful opportunities that I’ve been given.  


Life is a Beautiful Struggle

Posted by Olivia Lawrence on November 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I didn't really have a hugely productive or profound weekend like you would expect for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I've still been in an up and down mood with the things going on at school, but today I woke up feeling different.  I've been productive and in a fairly positive mood all day.  Between that and catching up on some of my favorite blogs gave me to inspiration to make a post talking the things in my life that I am very thankful for. 

I'm thankful that I have so many wonderful friends, that even if I don't see them regularly, I know that I can count on.  I am blessed to have people in my life who love me for who I am.  I know that I can be a passionate person, and that can be either good or bad depending on my company, and I'm glad that there are people in my life who accept me as I am. 

I'm thankful to be in school right now, and to be applying for transfer soon.  I've worked so hard to get to this point, and I value my education greatly.  I'm glad to have the opportunities that I have right now that allow me to pursue my studies. 

On that train of throught, I'm thankful that I didn't give up on my financial aid and that it paid off.  I may not have gotten the full amount, but I am able to stay in school and I'm so very thankful for that. 

I'm thankful that I have been able to travel in my life.  I haven't really posted anything about it, but my last winter break was spent travelling through parts of England, Paris and Switzerland.  I have always had a strong desire to travel and I hope to live abroad someday.  It was an amazing trip, an amazing experience and I wouldn't change it for the world. 

I'm thankful for the amazing professors that I've had that put up with my constant presense in their office.  I've had amazing people that have helped to guide me in furthering my educational goals, and I would be lost without them. 

I could be silly and say how thankful I am for Doctor Who and Firefly, and that is very true.  It may seem odd, but I would feel lost without those things to make my day brighter.  In that way I'm also thankful for Oscar Wilde, no matter how down I'm feeling, I can always watch The Importance of Being Earnest and it makes my day better. 

I'm thankful for tea, and for my friend Athena for getting me addicted to it. 

I'm thankful for my computer, it's a lifeline to me, I am not ashamed to admit that I doubt i could get through a week without it. 

My kindle.  I've got mixed feelings on the impact easy publishing is having on the quality of literature today, but I'm so very glad to be able to have over a thousand books in my purse at any time. 

I'm thankful for rainy days, I love the rain and it's so rare in California that I am very grateful when they come around. 

There are a billion other little things that I could probably name, and I'd go on longer if I didn't need to get to class.  So I'll finish off with being thankful for other bloggers out there that are willing to share their lives with the world.  They give me inspiration and hope when I sometimes feel that there is none.  It takes courage to make your life an open book for the world, and I'm trying to join those people by sharing more of myself here.  So thank you for being there for me even though you don't know who I am.  Shout out to specifically Paris Imperfect and The Bloggess.  Thanks for just being you. 

**Title stolen from another blog that I thought has a good message.  I'll probably start to follow it regularly too.  Life is a Beautiful Stuggle

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu--Early Travel Writer or Cultural Anthropologist?

Posted by Olivia Lawrence on November 12, 2012 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This is one of those posts where both my English major andmy Anthro comes out.  So if you don’t want to read my intellectual babble about 18th Century writers, then you can skip this one.  But then if you know me, then you’ll be used to this and either enjoy it, or have a grudging acceptance of these moments.  I’ll try to keep this one short though. 

This is inspired from the readings of British Lit from last week.  We read some of the letters written by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu(I’m going to refer to her as Lady Mary from here on out, cause that’s a long name) was a socialite in 18th century England.  Her husband was an ambassador, so they travelled a great deal around Europe and western Asia.  Her letters to her sister and various friends have been published since her death, and her writings not only give an internal perspective of British Society, but of the rest of the world. 

Lady Mary’s writings of Austria are quite amusing with the assertions of the aristocracy there that she should take a lover while she was there, as that was common and expected in their society at the time.  She gives a view that is otherwise unseen for the time being a female writer, and the fact that these are letters she gives a more honest opinion of her views of what she sees. 

The letters from Turkey are the ones that kept my attention the most though.  She writes of the bath houses in Turkey, which were only open to women, giving a unique and rare cultural experience for the readers.  It is her experiences in Turkey that make me want to call her ananthropologist.  While she was there she made a great effort to acclimate to the world that she was living in, working with a tutor to learn the language, dressing in traditional styles, and making an effort to really understand the lives of the people of Turkey. 

The one letter which I felt was very interesting, and should be read by people today, was one in which she talks about the clothing that women wore, including the feligree as she calls it.  A feligree is described as what we would consider today a burka.  The interesting thing was the way that she and the women of Turkey viewed this garment.  Today we look to the burka as an example of how restraining and unfair to women Muslim society is.  Lady Mary looked at the feligree quite differently.   She saw it as very freeing to the women, it allowing them to come and go without being recognized or bothered by anyone.   All women wore the same outfit, and so on the streets there was no distinction of class, giving a level of equality to these women that wasn't experienced in the rest of Europe at the time.

Lady Mary’s view of this garment as an example of the freedom that these women had so starkly contrasts the way we view the same garment as being one of imprisonment.  This difference makes me believe that we are unfairly judging some of the cultural traditions of others because we would not want to follow them.  The outrage that the Turkish women felt at seeing Lady Mary’s corset is an example of how horrendous some British customs were thought to be.  They felt that her husband was tormenting her with the device. Each culture has their own customs, traditions, and clothing, for us to judge it without understanding first is shortsighted and ignorant.  The fact that a woman from the 18th Century was more willing to study and understand another culture where we are not, is something that we should be ashamed of. Have we really degraded in our willingness to learn about others? 

In any case, Lady Mary is at the least an amazing travel writer, whose letters give us a perspective of the world that would otherwise be lost to us.  Her willingness to care for the people of the places that she went and to get to know them is something that I highly respect.  I think we could all learn a lot about ourselves as well as the world by following her example.