We were standing in front of the theater with two hours to spare, so we Yelped the best restaurant in a 10 block radius and found this place called Maialino. We had risotto croquettes and tonnarelli a caccio e peppe from the bar menu, and it was fabulous. In that moment, sitting in a restaurant in NYC with my best friend in a ridiculously sparkly red dress, glass of wine in one hand and iPhone in the other, I thought about how lucky I am and how good life has been to me. I thought about how happy I am that I basically cracked at 16 and had no problem getting up in the middle of morality class and playing the crazy card to get out of class, and that I decided to move to Minnesota, of all places, just to try something new without the direct access of my parents, and that I understand exactly how dumb and irrational I am sometimes, and that I can admit when I am wrong and that I am capable of changing. In that moment I felt privileged and like I didn’t deserve to have such a magical existence, but then I pulled myself from the depths of my mind because that’s a bad neighborhood.
One year and three days ago I was visiting the U for the first time with my dad. I was ill-prepared for the weather, I had an ugly cold, and I was not completely impressed with the U.
Now, I am here – living here. Being Minnesotan. Or at least trying…
I often forget to just take some time to look back, to think about where I was one year ago, two years ago, three years ago. The great thing about having this blog is that I can do that really easily. I just have to click around, and I have the perfect time capsule of my life. My life preserved in words.
When I think of my senior year of high school, the picture in my head is vastly different than that of every single one of my friends. I think of limbo…completely done with high school, but not yet in college, and trying to throw them at one another and find some way to stitch the seam together. I think of driving in the BMW, smelling the Bath & Body Works pod, listening to Tegan & Sara, Rufus Wainwright, Florence & The Machine, and Jack Johnson. I think of studying in the library and spending half of my teeny paycheck on over-priced coffee. I remember changing a lot.
I remember being a little scared of the fact that I could feel myself changing…and I remember trying to use everything within me to not let anyone see how scared I was. Of college in particular…I had no idea what I was going to do. I was terrified by my lack of ability to make a decision.
I failed at creating an 18 Things of February. (Mostly because February was painfully uneventful and a little sad.) Therefore, I have decided to create an 18 Things of February and March. So some of these things happened in February, some in March. Mostly in March.
1 I went to NY. Twice.
2 I was in seven different states.
3 I was tattooed in California. I have now been tattooed in three different states across the US: NY, MN, and CA.
4 I drove half way across the country twice, in a van, with eleven people, in one week. I also flew half way across the country four times.
5 I was introduced to this gem.
6 I ate flaming cheese.
7 I got a job.
8 I did sunrise yoga on the beach.
9 I went skinny dipping in the Pacific Ocean.
10 I spoke to an Italian person in Italian for the first time in a long time.
11 I spent three weekends in a row outside of the place I now call home.
12 I got a really bad haircut.
13 I went to a pants sale and bought everything except for pants.
14 I got sick on butterfly cookies.
15 I realized that I actually really like Harper.
16 I made this my new alarm.
17 I regretted moving to Minnesota for a little while. It’s just really cold sometimes. And the weather sucks too.
18 I was in a car accident.
1 I entered the month of January in Times Square.
2 I made my first ever New Year’s Resolution. It’s a secret. (No it’s not.)
3 I got another tattoo. I think I’m good for now.
4 I flew back to Minnesota and didn’t call my parents. Again.
5 I pretended I didn’t speak English to avoid a conversation.
6 I bought something I didn’t want to buy. Turns out I didn’t actually need to buy it.
7 I tried white rabbitting my friends. Some accepted defeat, others are sore losers.
8 I achieved a score of 8040 in pinochle.
9 I only drank pop once.
10 I saw about a million movies.
11 I packed a 75 pound suitcase.
12 I fell in love with Bon Iver. I am officially a pseudo-hipster.
13 I rediscovered this gem.
14 I decided to spend Spring Break in LA. As in the city. Not the state.
15 The inside of my nose froze for the first time ever.
16 I realized that my life is just a series of unfortunate coincidences.
17 I started classes: Social Psyc, Stats, Linguistic Analysis, Phonological Theory, Composing Your World, and Sexuality & Culture.
18 I went to the dentist (sorry, January wasn’t that exciting apparently).
This is really messy, so in an effort to organize it a little more, I split it into parts. It really didn’t change the fact that none of this makes sense in the same post, but whatever.
I have returned to the land of the passive-aggressive, and it feels so good. I had my first class this morning, and I am actually really looking forward to puttin it to the grind stone and banging out an amazing semester. I am going balls to the wall and trying make this semester academically perfect and trying to stay healthy while doing so – that means a lot more sleep and working out and a lot less bullshit. Three cheers for less bullshit. On all accounts.
I am currently sitting in the Starbucks on West Bank. It’s a really cool place – two of the walls are glass and it’s on the top floor of a building, so it has a cool view and tons of natural sunlight, which is something I crave (especially when it feels like -29F outside (I’m not kidding)). There are these three seats in this Starbucks to the left of the door, and literally every single time I have come in here they have been taken. While waiting for my tall soy vanilla spice, I would stare longingly at those three golden seats, imagining how it must feel to have the cozy chair that everyone desires. And today, ladies and gentlemen, I scored one of those seats. And it feels glorious.
I sat down and sunk my teeth into a tomato and mozzarella panini, and the chick next to me was eating an apple. She took a bite, and I am not exaggerating when I say that the juice from her apple sprayed my ear. It literally travelled like 4 feet through the air and squirted the side of my head. It was an incredibly strange experience and reminded me of this.
For Christmas, my dad bought me framed pictured of Bannerman’s Island, the Hudson River, and the Clearwater, as well as a glass Clearwater and a glass bird from Hudson Beach Glass. I hung them all yesterday, and it makes my room feel so much nicer. I hung the bird and the Clearwater from a chain of paper clips because I couldn’t find a string thick enough to support them, and it actually looks really cool because they are hanging from the Christmas lights above my bed. I also have this green Swarovski crystal that Yulia gave me a few years ago that I hung on our window, and the way it casts light around the room is beautiful.
After having spent so much time with people that truly understand me and mean the world to me over break, I realized what a high standard I put on the relationships in my life. I don’t have room for friends of convenience or anyone who causes me problems. I can be such a bitch. Really. I can be unbearable. And while I do have control over myself and I try to not be a psycho bitch most of the time, the people who make a mark on my heart are the ones around whom I don’t have to try to control myself because I feel nothing but love for them. The people who make me feel so thankful for their existence that I never have the desire to be anything but the best version of myself around them. Those are the people who make it into my book of “Yeah I’d take a bullet for you.”
My great grandfather said (well, my father says he said) to only befriend people who are better than you in some way (I am assuming there is a substantial amount of paraphrasing here), and I have to say that those words are pure gold. I look at the people who have stuck around – the ones whose friendship has lasted the test of time, distance, or disagreement, and they are the ones who I can learn from. I have to say though, that this advice can only be used by a specific kind of person. The kind of person who has not only the ability to teach someone a thing or two about how to better their existence, but the kind of person who is still humble enough to be able to accept that they themselves have a thing or two to learn from others, and can work toward becoming that better version of themselves. I’d like to think I fit the bill, as do any of the people that I have the honor to call a friend.
Yulia travelled 9 hours from Rhode Island by bus, train, foot, and car, to spend 18 hours in NY. I met her on 85th and Lex, and I saw her fountain of blondness from a block and a half away. We went to Mike’s basketball game, and it was weird to think that my little brother goes to school there. He commutes, every day, to go to high school, when he could have very easily gone to Lourdes or even Arlington. Then I thought about my academic track record, and I think it’s cool that we kind of seek these opportunities. I think it says a lot about us. Granted, none of it would be possible without my parents’ help (financial and otherwise), and they never hesitate to remind us of that, but we are still the ones who seize these opportunities, and I’m really proud of that. After his game, Yulia and I went to dinner at this restaurant near Gramercy.
Yulia came for the Augustana concert at Gramercy, and ohmygod. I don’t know what combination of Dan Layus, live music, NYC, sparkly dresses, alcohol, Yulia, and an accordion made that concert feel so magical, but it was an experience like no other. Sometimes I get this feeling during a song that I can’t explain. It makes me feel like something beneath my skin is moving. Like something is shifting. We’ll call it a songasm. I have never seen anyone else try to explain this so I don’t know if it’s a normal thing, but it has happened a few times before, most notably during Rufus Wainwright’s live performance of Hallelujah. Anyway, most of this concert created that kind of a feeling. When Dan started talking to the audience, he apologized for going on and on about his life and other things, but I had to use every ounce of restraint within me to not beg him to keep talking, because his voice is just so mesmerizing. Well done, Augustana. Well done.
I could not have had a better last day in New York. Alas, I am now back to negative temps, dorm living, and lots of work, so the fun from that last night in New York will have to last me a little while. Until next time.
1 I went to New York twice, and realized that “home” is a bit of a Horcrux to me. Little pieces of me get torn out and planted in places, and it’s just a bit sad that I can’t have all of them. I thought it would have been a relief to be in New York, but it just made me realize how much of me has been ripped out and planted in Minnesota, and begun to grow there. I know it’s not like this for many college students, and where they grew up will always be “home” to them. But my childhood home is kind of trickling away…so I am happy that little pieces of me have other places to be rooted and grow. I have found that the reason going “back home” has always been a little hard for me is because the pieces of me that are left there have been paused. The pieces that fit in there are not what I am, but what I was when I left. For this reason, it always takes a little getting used to and playing catch up to reacquaint my current self with things of my relative past.
2 I both entered and exited the month of November at First Avenue.
3 I went to a concert for the sole purpose of seeing the opening act, but fell in love with the main act. This song of their’s is playing on repeat while I write this.
4 I studied more for an exam than I have since I was probably 13, did really badly, and cried.
5 I voted for the first time. I Voted No, and I voted for President Barack Obama.
6 I wrote my first real abstract.
7 On Thanksgiving, I woke up at 5am (after having gone to sleep at 3am) and went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the one and only Yulia Gusarova. We stood in the military and NYPD family standing area, and no one said anything. We had wonderful holiday lattes, saw marching bands and Cody Simpson, collected confetti, and had a very us time. I then took the LIRR to my grandma’s house for dinner, then drove home, and went Black Friday shopping at midnight, and returned home by 6am. It was a good day. As are any days involving Starbucks, people I love, shopping, and confetti.
8 I did some intense Christmas shopping which has resulted in a sad lack of food in my dorm. At least I have a place to hide the Christmas presents now that my cupboard is empty.
9 A guy in my project group found my amazingly hot (yet incredibly petit) TA on Grindr.
10 I registered for classes for next semester, and 4 of the classes I wanted to take were full. Next semester looks like this: CLA 1002 Composing Your Worlds, ESCI 1005 Geology & Cinema, LING 4002 Linguistic Analysis, CSCL 3456W Sexuality & Culture, PSY 3201 Intro to Social Psychology, and PSY 3801 Introduction to Psychological Measurement & Data Analysis.
11 I didn’t shave for two weeks. I figured…hey. All the cool kids are doing it. (However, at 2:30 am on December 1st, I shaved and it was glorious.)
12 I drank wine from a teacup.
13 I participated in a psychological research project and I think I failed the tests they gave me because I misunderstood the directions. Oops.
14 I played hide and seek outside in my socks at 2 am.
15 I was taking the light rail home from MSP, and took it two stops in the wrong direction. As soon as I realized I was on the wrong train, I got off and waited at this stop in the middle of nowhere. I was the only one there and the next train wasn’t for 18 minutes. Some sketchy dude then came up to me and started speaking to me in Spanish. All I caught was “Buenos noches” and “bonita.” Then he started repeating something and getting a little angry, and I told him I didn’t understand him. Finally he annunciated a little more, and said, “Do you have husband?” I’m going to be honest here. I gave him the face. And unsurprisingly, he stopped talking to me. Then some of his friends joined him, but this relatively normal looking dude showed up on a bike and he was watching was was going on and I just ran onto the light rail car with the most people on it.
16 I Seafarered Catan like a boss.
17 Someone said, “This song requires you to feel it in your hips. If you don’t have hips, Jack and Coke will help you find them.” He also said, “We’re one big family. You love most people, and you really don’t like some people. But still…you know that guy that you really really don’t like? You’re going to end up dancing with him by the end of the night. I’ve seen it 100 times. I’ve been that guy 100 times.” Someone else said, “Now think of everyone you know. Who will do your dental work after the apocalypse?”
18 I went to a concert where they put some beautifully obnoxious black x’s on my hands, but passed around bottles of wine.
I elaborated a bit more for this month because there was an unfortunate lack of posts during November.
“I’m not confused. I’m just well mixed.” Stay fresh, my friends.