Tag Archives: travel

18 Things of May

May is always a super eventful month for me. I always have final exams which bring on intense amounts of inner conflict between “I have to do this shit now” and “I don’t want to do this shit now,” I usually have intense spring fever, and I get really excited for summer and begin wearing flip flops when it’s still cold enough to see my breath outside. May 2013 looked a little bit like this…
1 I saw the Great Gatsby and subsequently fell in love with the soundtrack. Several of the songs from that movie are still on my Spotify circulation.
2 I had finals, and that’s usually a problem for me because I am very easily distracted and amused by small things when I need to get work done. Thankfully, not all of us are this way.
“Oh what was that? I can’t hear you because I have earbuds in because I’m studying, as you should be.”
3 I SOLVED THE GILYAK PROBLEM. With three other people…but still. The feelings of accomplishment were like … ahhh.
So now I totes think we should call my dog the Gilyak word for Harpoon.
4 I was introduced to the BBC series Sherlock, starring Bilbo Baggins as Watson.
Only a true friend texts you at 3:30am on a Saturday to tell you about his BBC revelation.
5 I packed every single thing I own into boxes and two suitcases. The boxes are sitting in the home of my lovely friend, and the suitcases have exploded all over my room.
Our last picture as roommates. Now we’re just friends.
6 I talked myself out of a jaywalking ticket.
7 I was on a 6 hour flight home. As in I got on the plane, and 6 hours later I was allowed off. That kind of sucked.
8 I had the most satisfying Thai food experience which reminded me that my spidey senses are really good at detecting awesome friends. 
9 I went to Chipotle five times in six days. This is not an achievement, it is me admitting that I have a problem.
10 I made a legitimate 5x5x4 fort with two of my favorite people ever.
11 I saw Fast 6, and it is officially the worst movie I have ever seen in theater. It was that bad.
12 I kayaked 29 miles, in 11 hours, in the rain, in the cold, after 10 months of not paddling, and I thought my arms were going to either fall off or be permanently bent into kayak form. I think that day confirmed to me that the Hudson River really is a place uniquely close to my heart…and I know that many people have felt this way, and there are entire organizations dedicated to protecting it, but I feel like for some reason, it’s my place. It’s my one place that I have used in lots of different ways, and it makes me feel home in the best sense of the word.
13 I saw this.
14 Online summer classes. Bad decision.
15 I realized exactly how poorly calibrated is my internal compass.
16 I bought way too many dresses.
17 I realized that my dog is actually a cat.
18 Someone suggested a great tattoo idea, which has evolved in my mind into something totally cool and worthy of a permanent home on my body. But only after my 21stbirthday. So I have like what, just over 2 years? That’s not so bad.

Comeback Story

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.
Part I
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.

Part II
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.
Part III
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.
Part IV
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. 

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.

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.

Eighteen Things of November

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.

Not all who wander are lost.

When I am with Yulia, we get lost. Often. So often, in fact, that we actually plan time into our day specifically for getting lost.

We missed a concert festival because we got distracted by these two hot South African guys and we ended up on the wrong end of Manhattan, so we just decided to go to Starbucks and go shopping instead. I lost my own car three times in two days. We wandered for a good two hours before we found exactly which parking garage in Manhattan had my car in it, and finding my car in the Jones Beach Theater parking lot was a lot more difficult than we had expected. We started biking to the wrong bridge in San Francisco. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we just assumed that “the big bridge over there” was the Golden Gate Bride, and we didn’t realize why it was so difficult to get up there. Come to find out, that was all because we were trying to cross the Oakland Bay Bridge on bicycle. Oops. We also accidentally took a bus 45 minutes outside the city of San Francisco approximately three hours before our flight back to NY. We assumed the bus would turn around at some point, but as soon as we entered the neighborhood that made me wish we had worn our bullet-proof vests that day, the driver told us that we had to get off because it was the last stop. Fortunately, the next bus passing through there would indeed take us back to downtown SF, but it was another 2.5 hours of us getting lost.

With us, though, getting lost isn’t always a bad thing. We fail at so many things we try to do, but awesome things happen in the mean time. I am the one who freaks out a little bit, and to Yulia, we are never lost. We are just taking a different – and usually inconvenient – route to our destination. I think that’s one of the reasons we get along so well – we’re a good team. Obviously sometimes we argue because we are both convinced that we know the way to get back to our hotel, and one of us is always wrong and feels like an idiot after making us traipse all around downtown San Francisco (usually me…*sigh*). However, the fact that we both spend so much time getting lost really makes me happy that we’re friends. I don’t know very many people who wouldn’t hold a grudge for my making them wander three miles in the wrong direction because I put the wrong address into my iPhone, and I don’t get mad at her when her internal compass is not exactly accurate.

Getting – and remaining – lost are big parts of my life. I know that sounds dumb, but when you’re lost, you kind of just take everything for what it is, and you really learn to just appreciate things a lot more. This morning (that’s college student speak for 1pm on a Saturday), I was going to go to Starbucks on the West Bank of campus to get some work done and write a blog post. While waiting for the connector bus, the city bus showed up and I just decided to take it. I have literally no idea where I am right now, but this chai latte and lemon-poppy muffin are amazing, and I am so happy. I have no idea how to get home, but I’m pretty sure this barista wouldn’t mind helping me out.

The lipstick marks around my tall yellow mug of chai tea latte are a pretty dark berry color, and my eyes are a little watery because of the ridiculous amounts of red and gold eyeshadow I applied this morning. I am wearing peach colored skinny jeans, a gold sweater, light brown boots, a purple peacoat, blue mascara, and a grey hat. I am sitting the back of a café, and I can see leaves falling outside. The guy next to me has an awesome tattoo, and some girl outside talked me into spending three hours next weekend standing outside in the cold and trying to encourage people to VOTE NO on the marriage amendment. I have no idea where I am, but everything is amazing. Life is so amazing right now, and no one knows where I am.

I went to an Owl City concert this week, and let me just say that it was one of the most intense emotional experiences I have ever had. It was honestly incredible. After the concert, my friends and I went to dinner at this really awesome place in downtown Minneapolis, and then we went to find the bus that would take us home. I love my friends, I do, and they are amazing people. But oh my God they were freaking out because we didn’t know exactly what bus to take or which stop to go to, and there were some interesting characters strolling about the town at 1 am on a Friday morning. I honestly thought it was kind of funny, because typically I am the one freaking out. But not in a situation like that- when if we honestly needed to, we could have just walked home (it’d have been a cold, long ass walk, but it was possible), and none of the people around us looked like they were packin anything lethal. I realized that my comfort with being lost and not knowing exactly what is going on makes situations like those a lot more enjoyable for me. If my friends weren’t quite so worried, I probably would have became buddies with those guys at the bus stop. If I was with Yulia, we probably would have gone out for drinks with them. “Lost” is a relative term, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be truly lost if I just try to soak in every experience.

I have finished my psychology homework, my anthropology prelab, and my chai latte, and life is good. Today’s realization is that I can never be lost, and that makes me really happy.

PreClearwater II

It’s 11:57 pm and I should be sleeping. Probably.

I leave to begin my week as a volunteer on the Clearwater in 7 hours and I am so excited. It will be really nice to reconnect with the boat and the organization, and to meet some really cool people. I’ve realized how important it is to have a network of awesome individuals, and this definitely helps me to meet tons of truly amazing people.
I have to admit though, I am a little anxious about returning because I don’t know what to expect. Almost everything changes with time, and I can expect everything to change. However, I get the sense that the Clearwater is something of a time capsule, and I suspect that maybe, in this case, things may not change that much. I mean that would be fucking awesome…if things didn’t change, because it was absolutely amazing last summer! So yes. I am super super excited about spending some time on the Hudson again, but I am just really curious to see how everything is the second time around ;)