10 June 2008


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Fotos of Australia, Finally


I'm attaching here my Picasa album of pictures of Australia and New Zealand

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08 June 2008

This blog is so cliche! It sounds like a chain e-mail!!!

I've been a perfectionist since childhood. My mom loves to tell the story of me throwing my crayon and yelling "fuck" for coloring outside the line at the ripe age of three. I still do the same, of course in a less graphic, outrageous manner but I will rip up an imperfect art or craft, I'll work obsessively on a paper or an idea until I turn it into an acceptable form of my over-achieving standards.

These last two and a half weeks have been less than perfect for me. I'm not in the place that I want to be right now (i.e. living on my friend's couch, not studying, not working). But I'm striving to change that.

I can't think of anything but moving to Australia. There's a constant realization or strategy swirling around in my brain. Some new idea or calculation that I could use in the convincing of my dad to help me pay for postgraduate school.

But among all the imperfection, the disorder, I think I'm slowly learning something about myself.

I'm an impatiently patient person.
I'm a disordered perfectionist.
I'm a scatter brain, I can't keep my thoughts aligned and I get so excited and focused on so many tasks at one time that I can't finish any given thing in my personal allotted time.
I'm a procrastinator to the core.
I have a real family who will always be there for me and for whom I will always be.....even across the world.
Shared biology does not necessarily equal shared interests, similar goals, the desire to be with one another.
Burning bridges is sometimes an unavoidable fact of life.
So is giving up and starting over.

I think I am a stronger person than I sometimes give myself credit for. I doubt myself and the people around me way more than I want and should and then they do and say the most surprisingly amazing things to make you remember why you love them. Unfortunately, sometimes they say or do the exact wrong things. I've got to learn to allow those moments weigh less than the amazing ones.

But I think mostly I've learned that nothing is inherently good nor bad. Everything is relative and if I choose to be upset at something that I could just as easily not care about, I'm spinning the situation negatively.

I can create the positivity I seek.


02 June 2008

Change in Plan....and Life

It's beautiful the way life throws you an eighty mile an hour curveball every once in a while just to wake you up and keep you on your toes.

My plans have changed, my life will change and you will bear witness to it all...

I wish that I had the engery to sit here and spell out my former life and plans for my new life but I'm starting to believe that talking is overrated and I'd rather just SHOW you what my plans are just in case you underestimate my truly ambitious desires.

I'm running at full speed now and there's no turning back.

19 May 2008


I've finally made it to New Zealand after having missed to flights.

My body is going into something of a shut-down mode. I'm wondering around in a daze and I'm starting to get sick.

I didn't read my itinerary right on Friday (the day I was supposed to fly out) and I missed my flight thanks to my dilerium. Sunday I was supposed to fly out and my company card desided to poop-out on me (manifesting my own mental state into a disastrous reality) and I couldn't check out of the hotel due to a lack of means.

I made it out this afternoon and pretty much haven't done anything but try to catch up on my emails, eat something, take a nap and have dinner with one of our partners.

At this point I feel like my trip is pretty much done. I don't have confirmed appointments for tomorrow as of yet because my office is running a very bad show back home and getting meeting confirmations to me on the day I'm supposed to be meeting.

Wednesday I fly to LA and Sunday I fly home....something I'm actually looking forward to right now.

Who would have known that such a beautiful concept like travel could take such a negative toll on ones mind and body?

13 May 2008


Traveling seems glamourous...everyone hopes beyond all possible hope to get a job that would afford them some travel. I wanted this....I still do, but I'm currently wishing that my first international working experience wasn't 4 weeks long and wasn't traveling around the only country in the world I've ever felt an innate connection to.

The first two weeks were incredible. I met more people than I could have hoped for. I was lucky enough to meet people just like me from 22 countries around the world and even more lucky to connect with them on a deeper level than just "colleague".

Upon arrival to BrisVegas I met even more people with whom I made a beautiful connection....I'm talking about spiritual, emotional, mental connections with people that I've never met in my life, with people that live on the complete opposite side of the world or whom just so happened to be on the same side of the world as me at the same time...how well can you know someone after just one day??

Now I'm in Melbourne and I'm alone and continuing to meet people but instead of feeling connections with people I'm feeling an extreme connection with Melbourne itself. I feel like I've been here before, like I know it...like I belong here.

I don't want to sleep, I don't want to eat, I don't want to do anything that'll take away from my time with this place....and now my travels have taken a toll on my body.

I feel like my wits are being tested.
I'm tired, I'm weak. I feel like a zombie.

I'm pushing on, though. I'm championing for my agency, my body, my sanity. I feel amazing in my exhaustion and I can't help but smile when I see people driving on the wrong (when I say wrong, I mean other) side of the road...when I read a sign that says "Dob in a hoon", when I take the train by myself and get lost and have to ask little kids to help me get to "the city".

Tune in next time for AUCKLAND, New Zealand and soon a real summary of my impressions of each city...

03 May 2008

Double Cheeked Kiss From Sydney

This city is amazing wonderful!!!

The vegetarian food is AMAZING! I had pumpkin sage ravioli in creamy tomato sauce.....in love!

Last night I walked across the Harbour Bridge with a friend from Germany and another from the US. Tonight I'm going out with a Danish girl, a South African boy and my Paisana. The perfect part is that going out on the town is paid for by the office because it's considered research for my students!!!! I LOVE my job!

This morning we went to Paddington Market (look it up, I don't have time to attach links right now....sorry!) and this afternoon we took a ferry to Watson's Bay. Tomorrow I'm going to the ever famous Bondi Beach.

I'm still not completely used to the backwards thing but I'm more used to it than my US friend....I almost got hit by a bus today, though.

I really wish I could load pictures, there's no point to talking about Sydney, you have to see it and experience it....pictures don't even do it justice.

on Tuesday night I'll be heading out to Brisbane and hopefully after a couple days I'll post some loving words about the Gold Coast.

Love to all.

28 April 2008

new realizations

So I went to the Opera House and saw the Harbor bridge today.....traveling alone sucks because I don't really get pictures of myself here...You're just going to have to believe me when I say I'm here because there's no real proof....

While walking down the street I've noticed that I'm doing that which-way-you-wanna-go dance on the street with other pedestrians much more than usual. Suddenly it dawned on me that they want to walk to my right instead of my left!!! It's funny how when we walk, we want to follow the rules of the road. I guess I need to start thinking like an Aussie now.

I forgot to say yesterday, following the same lines, that everything is bacwards...the escalators (I keep wanting to go down the ups), the foscets turn the other way...I haven't noticed if toilets flush the other direction because mine in the hotel is one of those square ones that don't flow in a circlular manner.

The other agents and invited guests arrive today and we have a coctail reception this afternoon (early evening) so hopefully tomorrow I won't be breakfasting alone!

G'Day to you all...I'll write again at the end of the week.

48 hours of travel and Sydney

I realized yesterday that I am absolutely not the international person I fancy myself to be. Yes, I have friends from all over the world. Yes I live in a country other than my own. Yes I work in an office who's main purpose is the internationalization of education but never before did I notice that I'm not a well traveled person.

The travel time beftween Mexico and Sydney adds up to about 24 hours. I missed a whole day in my life, just plain dropped it in the ocean. The 14 hour flight from LAX to Sydney was quite possibly the most excrutiating experience of my life. There's nothing less glamourous (except maybe giving a stool sample) than being on a plane for 14 hours.

The funny thing is though, that once you land your mind almost forgets how awful it was. That's what giving birth must be like, I thought aloud to the Aussie next to me.

There are a few things that I've already noticed that I'd like to point out....keeping in mind that I've only been here for a day and a half.

First of all, the money is impossible to understand. The bills are so beautiful that I actually have troubles using them, so I'm trying more to use the coins. The problem with that is that the largest coin is 50 cents and it's larger than our 1 dollar coin. The silver coins are cents and the golden coins are dollars. The 2 dollar coin is smaller than the 1 dollar coin. The 20 cent coin is about as big as our 1 dollar and the smallest is 5 cents, which is smaller than our dime.

I had to pay 4.45 today and I accidentally gave a 20 cent coin in the 50 cent's stead and the woman shouted at me "FOUR FOURTY FIVE" I told her I thought I was giving her 50 and changed it.....

I keep thinking that I'm in a new state in the US....until I almost get run down by a car because I'm looking for it in the wrong direction. It's really extremely helpful that some streets have it clearly spelled out to me "LOOK LEFT/LOOK RIGHT"...without that warning, I would never do it right!

So far that's the jist of my observations. I love, love, love the accent and the slang (sloppy joe is a sweater, flat white is a cafe con leche).

Unfortunately I won't have pictures until I get back to Mexico....unless someone in the Oxnard area has one of those things for SD cards in their computer.

More to come in a week, after my agent training!!

20 April 2008

Sometimes getting screwed over just works out....

I was kinda wanting to do a vlog for the first time ever but I discovered the the cats chewed through the camera cable and now I can't upload pictures.....which is actually more of a nightmare than it sounds because........


SO much has happened in the last month-ish that I haven't been able to write about due to my extreme tiredness but I'm going to let you in on my life right now....

I don't know if you remember, but I paid a lawyer to get me a work visa here in Mexico....turns out that lawyer isn't much of a lawyer and he contracted out someone to do the process for him (the ultimate definition of out-sourcing)....The time was really bearing down on me in the last several weeks because....


and I still didn't have the visa....he had me call his "contact" in migration, who tried to bribe me for 4,000 MORE pesos. Things started getting suspicious and I started to slowly realize that I've never even seen my supposed dependent visa.

I paid a visit to migration and it turns out that I'm a ghost, non existent here in Mexico....and not only that but I'm working on an expired tourist visa.... o sea.....SUPER illegal!

Needless to say that guy is supposedly going to pay us the 4,000 and we're never talking to him again!

So this leaves me in a predicament....I really like my job and I don't want to leave it just because I got screwed over by a fake lawyer so...I have to leave the country in order to get another tourist visa....so......


It's a business trip and I'll spend about 3 weeks in Australia (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) before flying over to New Zealand, spending about a week in Auckland and then head over to my home town.....OXNARD!

16 March 2008


Because of this:





Our electricity blew out because it is old and rotting and our wonderful, considerate landlords decided not to change it before we moved in. So, now it's getting fixed and this is the result.

Tomorrow we're going department hunting. The good thing is that here, when you pay your first two months rent, they count for the last two months you live in the apartment, so They owe us two months of free stay.....
(click to see the full pictures, I don't want to reduce these gems)

10 March 2008

So busy

I have noticed so many things that I want to write about but I haven't had the energy since i started working. So here's the low-down....

I broke my foot. I had a cast on for a week until it got really soaking, disgustingly wet and I couldn't handle it anymore. We took it off yesterday and last night it felt weird to walk and it kinda hurt. I have a small ball on my foot where I broke it and Toño's dad is going to wrap up my foot in a splint-thing. I have pictures but I can't find them!!!

I've been working for ANZ Education for a month now, I went on a Study Abroad Fair circuit and visited 5 cities (5 universities that are all part of ITESM). I got to see Monterrey, Guadalajara, Querétaro, Estado de México and Cuernavaca. It was fun to travel, I met a lot of really amazing international personalities. By the end of it, my boss came up to me and a co-worker and said "It seems that everyone knows Ashley". It was nice to hear that. I feel like I'm back.....I feel like me again.

The only bad thing about work is that I'm in the office ten hours a day and I'm tired by the time 7 rolls around. Two day-weekends don't seem long enough to recover. I'm just not used to it and I'm not sure how to become used to it.

I'll hopefully be updating soon....I could today because I took a free day (I was the only one in the office who worked the whole ITESM circuit and my boss gave me a day off....I took it today because my stomach is kinda messed up.

Anyway, love to all.....

23 February 2008

24 Hours of Birthday

So I went to Monterrey on Tuesday night for an Education Fair. Thursday I got home around 10:30 and fell asleep around 11. Toño had to "work" so he left me for dead. Suddenly I'm woken up by "Estas son las mañanitas que cantaba el Rey David hoy por ser día de tu santo tte las cantamos a ti!"......Toño brought his three best friends to sing to me at my window.

Anyway, here's an 11 second sound bite of a Tri song that they sang.....

Sing to me

Sing to me

Sing to Me

Sing To ME

Sing To me

Sing to me

So then I got to work around 10:30 (I was allowed to go in late) and a cake arrived for me!!!! So my compañeros sang to me again, we ate cake and chatted about the trip and got back to work.....When my boss came in, he let me go a little early. Instead of celebrating that I've lived a quarter of my life, I slept (unless my Grandpa was right when he told me that I'm going to live 200 years).....but don't worry! I'm going to tonight!

12 February 2008

Finding the good in the Tired

I started working at Australia New Zealand Education on Wednesday and today I completed a full work week. The hours are long, I start at 9 AM and get off (sometimes) at 7....usually the boss keeps us later.

I like it so far, the people are nice for the most part and the information and the actual job itself is really interesting. I sat in on a counsel today and tomorrow I have an appointment with someone I'll be working with closely from the local university.

I'm nervous. I've never had an administration job before and I feel that maybe I'm not the most decisive, firm handed person I should be.....yet. I'm also nervous because I'm not sure that I'm learning everything I should be and I don't feel like I'm getting the proper training I need.

I need to learn how to swallow my pride and ask questions and make decisions, otherwise I'm afraid I'll be fired.....

05 February 2008

Job a job a job a job....

I start tomorrow.

16 more days until my birthday!

31 January 2008


So I interviewed with ANZ Education yesterday. I had to interview in Spanish and English.......my hands were sweating, and I was squirming until the pre-interviewer let me talk to her in English (after she noticed I forgot how to say New Zealand in Spanish). Once I was done with her, i was feeling an ounce more comfortable and the big boss talked to me in Spanish to check my skills. Wish me luck, cross your fingers, pray for me.....whatever it is you do, I need it!

Our Canadian friend came to visit again, after literally being run out of Reynosa. We had a nice weekend showing him things he hadn't seen before. (some back-logged photos should be coming soon......I hope)

Anyway, enough bore.

Don't forget.....the countdown to Ashley's 25th starts TOMORROW!

This has been a quick update from Mexico City, Mexico. Ashley Smith, Signing out.

16 January 2008

Pickiness in Search

Well, I quit the training for the teaching job. I'm sure that at this very moment my compañeros are saying "I wonder where Ashley is.....I'm sure she's just late" as we did so many times we lost other quitters. No, I'm not just late and later today I'll have to take back my material and give them my excuse for quitting......I literally can't afford to work there. Sounds strange to be financially unable to GET a job but this one is just demanding too much of me economically and in the end, I'll be working there to pay them back. Not to mention the pay is a mere 41 pesos (after taxes) an hour......I have too much debt to take such a low-paying, money sucking job.

So, I'm looking again.

09 January 2008

Social Experimentation

Well, I started my training at Interlingua on Monday, which means (obviously) that I finished my third day of learning their methodology and structure.

I recorded myself practicing teaching a class to Toño, Violeta, Remedios and two other "people" (they were make believe and voiced by Toño himself) but the video turned out SO dark and grainy that I can't post it. Maybe tonight we'll try to make a new one because I'd like to share their strategy.

On another note, I've been mentally performing a social experiment on my way to and from work for the past three days and have proven (again, mentally) Pavlov's theory of conditioning correct.

For those of you who don't remember what Pavlov's theory of conditioning was, let me sum up his experiment....

He put beautiful women in a room with men and at random intervals, signaled to the beautiful women to walk around the room in high heels, making as much of a clack, clack, clack noise as possible.

After a minute or so of clack, clack, the women stopped.

After several months, when Pavlov noticed that the men would turn and look (excitedly, I might add) every time they heard the clack, clack (be it from women in heels or just the scientist himself simulating the noise) Pavlov was able to prove that the men had been trained to expect that the clack, clack meant that a beautiful woman was around.
(confusing? I hope not)

06 January 2008

I've been afraid of changing because I built my life around you

Wow, flash back to junior high, Kirsten Hubbard and I sitting on her bedroom floor, surrounded by bongo drums, Smashing Pumpkins CD inserts and the stereo, which was blasting which ever song we decided to analyze at that moment.

I figured at that time that tearing apart lyrics and relating them to our angsty lives was a passing teenage phase but even now, at 24, I find myself getting lost in the comfort of lyrics and still relating them to real life.....maybe it makes me feel better to know that someone, somewhere at some point in time felt (or at least wrote down) the same things I do.

Anyway, as most of you don't know, I'm having difficulty in the family area at this very moment. I'm trying incredibly hard not to be angry, not to be sad, not to be selfish or egotistical but I'm feeling really stressed out, worried, abandoned, hurt....so many things are passing in and out and in and sometimes not even out (which is bothering me a lot) and I feel like I really can't control it right now....So, true to form, I turned on a bit of Smashing Pumpkins.

I'm taking Stevie Nick's Landslide as my own. I'm hoping with everything I hold deep inside of me that this landslide will bring down my own reflection in the snow and that I can change and grow once I realize that no one is flawless, no one should be put above or thought of as all-knowing, smarter, wiser, better than me because we (even parents) are growing, getting older, trying to handle the seasons of their own lives. It's time to unbuild my life around them and live my own life, worry about my own things....

WOW! reading this and writing it makes me feel SO silly.

Landslide Lyrics

I took my love and took it down
I climbed a mountain, I turned around
And I saw my reflection in a snow covered hill
'til a landslide brought it down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I've been afraid of changing cause I've
Built my life around you
Time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older, too
I'm getting older, too

I took my love and took it down
I climbed a mountain, I turned around
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hill
The landslide brought it down
The landslide brought it down