Quarter Life Crisis: How Many Stormys

…does it take to change a light bulb?

No seriously.

The lights in the main room of my apartment went out last week.

Here we go, I thought, forced to face yet another new trial in this world we call “adulting.”

Geez, I tell ya. Every time you start thinking you’re doing a pretty good job at this stuff, the lights go out on all of your pride. In this case, quite literally.

Disclaimer: The title of this post is not a matter of questioning my ability to replace a light bulb. I mean c’mon guys, I didn’t grow up that privileged and oblivious. I’ve changed many a light bulb in my day, EXCUSE YOU.

But see,

the light bulb changing process, as I’ve known it, has always gone as follows:

1.) Light bulb goes out

2.) Storm goes to the storage closet/garage/junk drawer/fallout shelter/apocalypse bunker/what have you, and pulls out new light bulb

3.) Storm replaces light bulb

4.) Storm revels in her accomplished task (it’s the little things, guys), and basks in the new light

But this time is different.

This time, I can’t figure out Step 2.

I went to the storage closet/garage/junk drawer/fallout shelter/apocalypse bunker/what have you, to discover that not only do I not even have a storage closet/garage/junk drawer/fallout shelter/apocalypse bunker/what have you in my shoebox of a studio, but I also don’t have any light bulbs!

It was in that moment that it occurred to me.

Light bulbs are a thing…that you buy. They don’t just come with the concept of having your own living space.

And woah, woah WAIT…

nothing does…

Oh. My. God. What’s next? What have I gotten myself into? How does anyone do this? I—I never read the manual! It didn’t come with the deal either.

…Just like the light bulbs.

…Just like everything else.

And I repeat, Oh my God. I eventually stopped hyperventilating and peeled myself off the floor and prepared myself to be a competent human being and get more light bulbs. But hold on. Where do light bulbs come from?


Light bulb stork?

Light bulbs R Us?


Light bulb dealer under the sketchy overpass?

I took to the Internet. You can apparently get them…almost everywhere. Who knew?! Don’t actually answer that. But anyways, Google sent me to Lowe’s. I unscrewed one of my light bulbs for reference, and headed there.

By the time I arrived at the store, I had sent myself through at least three different levels of mental anguish about the whole ordeal. A strange mix of embarrassment and pride led me to look for the light bulbs, refusing to ask for any assistance.

Like a moth to a flame, I walked towards the middle of the warehouse to the lighting department. You know, where all the lamps and ceiling fans and lawn lights, and just…just all the lights are. And they’re all on. And of course I’d find light bulbs in a giant area of lit ones, right?

I couldn’t find a single light bulb for sale.

In the light section. The section of the store where everything related to making your home not dark is located. I walk one aisle over. Doorbells. I go to the other aisle over. Nuts and bolts. I go back to the lighting department, because it only makes sense, and I must have overlooked it.

So much light.

So many fans.

It’s bright.

It’s cool.

It’s lacking in light bulbs.

And I’m lacking in patience.

I asked for help. The light bulbs were in aisle 1. Only as far away as possible from the light section without putting them outside with the potted plants. But who am I to try and apply common sense to the organization of a hardware store?

Finally, light bulbs.

There are numbers. Numbers with Ws next to them.

weather? water? why?…wumbo?

Let’s just say it stands for whatever, because my head is starting to hurt.

Okay, well how many whatever’s do I need? Does it matter? Would it be there if it didn’t matter? How am I suppposed to know how many whatever’s I need?

I pull out the old light bulb that I remembered that I brought with me for such a time as this. I analyze the small print at the base of the bulb.

Trisonic. Numbers with a K at the end. Numbers with a V at the end. Assorted warnings that I skimmed. Where’s the W? There’s no W. And the boxes of light bulbs have no Ks or Vs… Well this was a load of help.

I figure I’ll just buy a box, and if it blows up my house, I’ll return it for the correct amount of whatever’s. You would think that was the end of my debacle. But no. I get through the whatever’s and then I’m faced with all of these colors.

Soft white. Off white. Bright white. Bright bright white. Not so bright white. Egg white. Cocaine white. White power. And then the yellows. Please don’t make me re-live the yellows.

Since when does light have a color anyway? I thought it was all the colors and none of the colors? At the same time, kinda? I don’t know, I was an English major in school, science is lost on me. And so is this purchase.

I just had a seat on the floor for a moment. Confused. Overwhelmed. Thinking to myself, I’m…going to die here…trying to buy light bulbs.


I can’t go out like that.

I just bought a damn box. It said ‘Daylight.’ And I figured maybe the 60w bulbs, because my apartment is old so maybe I don’t want all of the whatevers, but I deserve more than the bare minimum of whatevers…whatever the whatevers are.

I successfully replaced all seven light bulbs in my apartment, and a week has gone by without me short circuiting the building so I guess I did it right? Right amount of whatevers. The daylight light is kind of nice for selfies. I’d consider this a win. Yes. I did the adulting and won. Until my next crisis, guys.


I keep trying to speak with the Latino guys at my job who work in the kitchen. I’ve worked in that place for a year and every interaction to this day has been a train wreck when I try to talk to them in Spanish. Over the past couple years, I’ve developed this habit of mixing the Japanese I’ve learned with the Spanish I know. It’s a caliente mess, let me tell you…desu. Omg!


thai sleeping

Heh, anyways, I’ve been studying Japanese for the past two years. I plan on teaching English in Japan for a couple years after I graduate from college, and I would love to become fluent in the language. But I have a long road ahead of me towards full literacy. You know how stupid you feel when you just cannot grasp a concept in school? Well imagine feeling utterly stupid in two different cultures at the same time. That was me in my first Japanese class.

My Japanese professor, Tanaka sensei, was fantastic. He really wanted us to learn Japanese in a manner as similar as possible to how we learned English as babies. So he taught with mostly visual aids, and we rarely used the text because he didn’t want students to try and translate words. Tanaka sensei’s showed us pictures, and acted out situations with a little monkey puppet so we would understand the context of words and phrases. It sounds crazy, and everyone in class exchanged confused glances at each other when he first introduced us to the monkey puppet, but after a couple times trying to translate terms and failing, we grew to appreciate his teaching methods.

Along with not allowing us to directly translate words from Japanese to English, Tanaka sensei also forbade students from speaking English during classtime. To ensure that we didn’t, he would dock points from English speakers. It seemed harsh at the time, but looking back, it really did make a difference. Not only was it a hindrance to the person speaking, but it also threw off the learning process for everyone around them. I only wish I took Tanaka sensei’s warning against this more seriously. I was good about not speaking English in class, but what I failed at was shutting my mouth.

Generally, since we weren’t allowed to speak English, if you didn’t know how to say something in Japanese, the only other option was to shut up. But of course I would be the one to make up a whole new option. I just substituted Spanish for the words I didn’t know. I’ve been out of class for a year so nobody yell at me about my grammatical mistakes and whatnot. There’s a lot I don’t remember. But moments like this would happen in class all the time:


(Ray-san, where did you go for summer vacation?)


(I went to California.)


(What did you do there?)

 家族をあって、あの。。。あのおおおお。。。La playa に行きました。

I met with family, and uh…uhhhhh…went to la playa.

La…playa… la playa って何?日本語じゃありません。

La playa? What’s la playa? That’s not Japanese.


Uhh, no.

During my first semester in the Intermediate Japanese class, I missed my midterm due to some family things going on. For make-up, I had to take my test in the Foreign Language lab at a later date. I go in for my test and walk to this table in the back of the room. My Japanese professor ran the language lab, but it was purposed for all foreign language class students to come and complete their lab assignments. During the time I had to take my test, someone who took Spanish came in to do an audio lab at one of the computers. This lab required him to record himself reading a story in Spanish and sending it to his professor. And he was stationed three feet away from me while I’m taking a Japanese exam. It was the most confusing half hour of my life.

I was sitting there, thinking in English, listening to Spanish, all of which I understood, and reading and trying to write in Japanese. It would have been easy to tune out the guy reading in Spanish if it were basic and redundant. Like if all he was saying was “El gato es negro,” or something Dick and Jane-esque, that would be easy to ignore. But no. It was this long winded story of his family throwing him a birthday party in the mall and there was cake and dancing, good music, and…cousins. I couldn’t focus for the life of me.

I got an A- on that test, but the mistakes I made, oh geez. For one question, I wrote the Spanish word for ‘where’ instead of the Japanese word. It’s donde versus doko, sue me. What was weird was that I actually wrote ‘donde’ in hiragana. And I ended up using ‘de’ incorrectly since it functions completely different in each language.

My mix of Spanish and Japanese has only gotten worse since I’ve been away from a professor that would steer me away from doing so. It’s just become a matter of whatever is easiest to say in either language, that’s what comes out of my mouth.

In my defense, apparently children who are raised in a bilingual home grow up speaking both languages at once. Some parenting guides suggest each parent speaking to the child exclusively in one language each so they can better compartmentalize the two. I’m not a child though. I don’t get the opportunity to botch language while I learn. I’ll get it together in due tiempo though, promise. But bear with me in the meantime.