Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's A Wonderful Life

It’s quite strange being back in North Carolina after living in New York for several months. I almost feel as though I’ve been in a coma, and my life in New York is some elaborate dream. Every day this week, I’ve opened my eyes and seen the same bedroom that I lived in for 18 years. I’ve been working my old job at Starbucks over the holiday season, and aside from my room being cleaner (thanks, mom!) and my brother being taller, (grr) things feel quite the same.

There’s a whole host of mixed emotions in my mind right now. I love New York, and I’m home there. I’m going back in less than two weeks, and I see myself quite possibly staying there for the rest of my life. But this room, this house, is a place of emotional security and warmth. Even when my town has been too small or my woods too spider-filled, my house has never failed to be a source of comfort, due in part to my family who is here, and in part to the unchanging stains on my carpet, the pictures on my walls and life I’ve lived here.

I love here, and I love there, and while the two polar opposite places seem to conflict with one another, I’m able to love both places with open arms. I’m grateful for the stability of my childhood, complete with a nurturing mom, peacemaking and caring dad, adorably quirky brother, two cats, three dogs, and a network of friends. And because of that stability, I can be truly grateful for a tiny apartment in New York, 24/7 access to ice cream and a huge school family with dorky biblical puns and people who read Plato for play.

I’m thankful that I get to spend the holidays with my family here, I’m grateful for free laundry and not having to cook every meal for myself, and I’m grateful for the life that I have, spiders, sirens, southern drivers, snowstorms, splinters and all.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A semester in review.

I've lived in New York for five months now. Things have changed... I'm a different person, at least that's what I think. I can (proudly, gleefully) spot a tourist a mile off, simply by his or her clothing, I walk really fast, refer to the subway as the train, (Subway is a restaurant, silly) regularly eat off  of food carts, and I know where to get the best pizza. I know that it's silly to take the train if you are going any less than 20 blocks, and I can give a tourist directions without much hassle. I think subway rats are rather cute.

This semester I've survived a "hurricane," an earthquake, and a visit by Justin Bieber to the Empire State Building. I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade from my balcony, I went to a jazz club (on my birthday, no less) and I have a favorite "Seinfeld" diner. I took a boat tour around the boroughs (with school) and met one of my best friends because of it. I tried to write a novel in a month, but instead started (but not finished) a novel during a month where most of my guy friends had scruffy, wannabe beards.

 I took a yoga class this afternoon, and find myself somewhat adjusted to the stupidly high price of things (like food) around here. I don't notice sirens anymore, unless I listen for them. I've spent countless hours in Times Square, and I've experienced the magic of ice skating in Bryant Park. I avoided venturing into Central Park at 2 am, because, mugged much? I've walked in New York in the rain. I've ridden (all 8 of) the escalators in Macy's to the top floor more than once.

The most peaceful place in the world is my rooftop at night, which has a mind-blowing view of midtown and the ESB. The Brooklyn bridge is beautiful. I've fallen in love with the cozy of the village, the busyness of midtown, and the class of the upper west side.

I know that 53rd street halal guys will still be around in January. I know that the Olympic diner will still be open 24/7, and that 2 Bros Pizza won't start tasting like cardboard when I return. But I also know that in 10 hours, I'm leaving my apartment and taking a train and then a bus to LaGuardia (who was a mayor of New York, and a key player in the fall of Robert Moses, thank you Dr. Hendershott) where I will be packed into a metal tube and launched 730 miles towards a small town with 6,000 people who all know my name.

I will climb into a minivan in 17 hours, and hand my weepy mother the box of Kleenex that I needed moments before. I will see my family and hug my friends and co-workers. I will spend exactly three weeks readjusting to the strange tasting tap water you people have, before I pack into a metal cylinder again, and break away from the people I love to jump back into this great life that I love, expensive laundry, garbage on the sidewalks and all.

Friday, November 25, 2011

When You Don't Finish.

I'm not going to finish my NaNoWriMo novel this year. As much as I would love to snap my fingers and find the time to write nearly 9k a day to finish, I'm not going to do so. I REFUSE. School was crazy, I had something almost every single weekend of November, and finals are coming up. But I'm okay. Not completing NaNoWriMo does not make me any less of a writer, or any kind of a failure. Yes, winning would be nice. But what IS nice, is that I have a good solid 15,000 words under my belt of a new draft. I've got a long way to go, but a lot of story left. Did you finish NaNoWriMo successfully? Are you sipping your coffee, maturely admitting defeat but planning for next year? You should let me know. We can party together either way. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thoughts from a Wednesday evening.

I sit here in my lovely New York apartment, alone on Thanksgiving. I’m writing this on my couch, and have a non-Christmas Spotify playlist on. There are people who would say that this sounds miserable. “You’re not surrounded by loud family and drama on Thanksgiving?! How horrible!”

No, silly people. I am here and I’m able to be thankful more than ever. I have a family that loves me, and that I get to see in three weeks. The most in depth conversation I have had today involved the purchase twinkle lights. The sun is setting over the city, (MY city!) and I have a friend coming over to watch a movie.
I don’t have school until Monday, so I’m taking some time off and staying inside my apartment ALL DAY TODAY. My bliss right now is quiet, and that makes me thankful; I have quiet available.
I’m getting up early tomorrow to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from my balcony. I have dinner with school family tomorrow night, and then Christmas music will bounce around my apartment; Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney will add their magic sparkle to my eighth floor haven. I have a lot of writing to do if I want to catch up on my NaNo project, but that’s perfectly okay with me. I’m okay with letting things slide. I’m thankful for this time in my life. I’m thankful that the five words I would use to describe my world right now are peaceful, happy, calm, home, and grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Writing! NaNoWriMo! Oh My!

I have decided to do it again. National Novel Writing Month is an international internet-based writing competition, where participants set out to write a novel of 50,000 words or more. I first participated in 2009, and I WON! :) I took a break last year, but I'm back again, and happy to be writing regularly.

I'm actually finding NaNo to be really helpful in my regular life. It keeps me just busy enough to schedule things out a little more, which I'm finding helpful. My character seems to know what she wants, (and what her name is, no input from me!) so I'm letting the story be written that way- so far it seems to be working.

We'll see! 

I might be saying some very different things when I reach 30,000 words, as opposed to the 3,516 that I have now. If you'd like to follow my progress, the "writing" tab/page goes to my NaNo profile, which has my daily statistics, and my word count progress.

Thaaat's all folks!
You'll hear from me soon.
Or, you know... in December.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Birthdays and Midterms

Dear family, friends, and those who tolerate my ramblings:

Eeeek! It's been a month since my last post?


Midterms have had me swamped. I'm alive, happy as ever, but busy. In my absence, I turned 19, and had a lovely birthday! I have many presents that I need to make thank-you calls for, but know that if you sent me something, a card, letter, package, I probably received it.  

Thank you. 

I'll be emerging from my busyness soon, and will try and do a more thorough update and possibly even post about my life, not just my schedule. If you want to know where I am at all times, (I'm not really joking) check out my Twitter feed. You can also jump into my shoes by looking through the pictures in my Flickr photostream.

Until then, much love!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Of plans and rooftops.

Today, all of my building's elevators had a notice from management taped to the wall.

"The rooftop will be closed from 6:30-9:30 tonight."

I wondered why the rooftop was closed-we have a LOVELY view. I mean, seriously lovely. Why close it off? A friend of mine who lives in my building mentioned frustration at being unable to return home, because of a HUGE police blockade. We didn't know why, and it was a liiitle annoying, especially considering there was no explanation.

That's how our relationship with God is, sometimes. He puts blockades and announcements in our lives and we need to trust that those things have a purpose.  God has a plan, right?

Come to find out later, President Obama had a dinner meeting tonight, 476 feet from my building. This explains the closed roof, and the blockade around my building.

The structure on the right is my apartment building, and the one on the left is where the dinner was held.
Would it have been nice to know this bit of information earlier? Perhaps. But was there an intentional PLAN that I could not appreciate/see until after I had gotten home and checked my email that night? Yes.

I don't know where you're at with your walk with God. I don't know what you might be struggling with, or what season God has you in. I encourage you to live joyfully in the season in which you find yourself, and embrace the inconvenience you may experience, because there IS a plan. You won't always see it, and you might not know why something happened until quite some time afterwards. Just remember that there is always a plan.

"For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for well-being and not for trouble, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I sit here in my apartment, not much more than a lovely list of cliches. Broke, college student, too much homework to do, a green clay mask on my face, hair in a bun, alone in a quiet apartment after an insightful day. Though they are TV characters and somewhat two-dimensional, Carrie Bradshaw, and Felicity both have fantastic writers who created fiction from reality, one reality that is my life right now. (Don't worry, my life is MUCH more Felicity than Carrie. Far more. Probably ONLY Felicity)

I couldn't be any happier here if I TRIED. If you could only SEE what I see, each day exploring a little more, going someplace new, seeing buildings as friends and people as beautiful and funny. You have to learn to laugh and walk fast, living here. Never be afraid to politely say excuse me, or weave around a person walking far too slow. Roommates and non-roommate friends drop by my apartment (my apartment! Never gets old.) to say hello and ask for chocolate, all of us complaining about classes, or reading, or gleefully noting those two friends of ours who are spending a LOT of time together. I walk down the street and pass movie sets, people walking dogs or holding babies, taxis honking from impatience and tourists doing silly things like taking pictures with the Statue of Liberty statues poised at the entrance to every commercial trap gift shop, advertising ten postcards for a buck, and four t-shirts for $10.

I guess that what I'm trying to say, is that while joy (I believe) should be found in a savior, and therefore internal bubbling to the external, there is something to be said about living in a place that also brings you peace and a sense of belonging. I'm here. Mom, I know you're getting teary reading this, so go get a kleenex already. As my friend Sarah (not roommate Sarah, other Sarah) pointed out tonight, as she chilled on our couch, the people and the things we do right now, in college, will be what we always look back on. Most adults discuss their high school days with some humor at their innocence (or lack thereof) and silly choices, while recollecting college as a time when they evolved into the adult they are now. These days are the foundation and building blocks for our lives. Without a doubt, I can say in the future that this person "was my college roommate." I keep thinking to myself, "I'm gonna be at that guy's wedding! I'm going to be there when she has kids!" and I can't wait to take it all in.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hello Irene! PLUS: Apartment tour.

It's one week to the day from when I moved into school, and yet it feels like SO MUCH LONGER. (In a good way) We've already survived an earthquake, and today are underway to prep for hurricane Irene.

To those worrying, I am perfectly fine, and my roommates are fine, as well as all of my friends... Our school has been GREAT about keeping us updated and informed, and we have people constantly checking in to make sure we're doing okay, and have everything we need.

The lovely residents of apartment 8N also happen to be hosting some of the boys from Brooklyn (their building was evacuated) so this weekend should be fun. We have two couches and a reasonable amount of floor space.

I haven't really posted this week because we've been SO busy.  But I have been informed by a top secret informant that several of you are living vicariously through my updates and posts, so think of this post as being especially for YOU. :)

Saturday was move in, nothing super spectacular. On Sunday, I went to church with my house (basically my sorority), to Liberty Church, where I've chosen to attend regularly. :) (Major bonus points for Liberty- they meet in the Tribeca Film Festival theater. YEAH. I know.)

Monday, we went on a Circle Line boat cruise around the five boroughs. I met some really awesome people, and took quite a few pictures, too...

Yes, it was a GORGEOUS day. After the cruise, I went with my house to Shake Shack.

Tuesday we had the Great Race, a cross-city, inter house strategy competition which I might go into later. Out of ten houses, my house came in 3rd!

Finally, Wednesday, we started classes. After meeting my professors, I can say with confidence that I'm going to LOVE this semester. :)

But I know why you're REALLY here... You want to see my APARTMENT! It's still a work in progress, we're still unpacking and adjusting, and finding more things to decorate with, but this is where I live!

I'll try and post more soon, as things happen. Hope you all stay safe!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reflecting light.

    New York is home to me. I remember walking off of the plane at LaGuardia when I visited this March, and knowing that I was "here." My college journey is a bit unique, in that I'm moving to the place that I see myself living, for as long as I can see. I can't say that I WILL stay, but my heart is there. For the longest time, I didn't quite know where my hear was. But now I know, and sometimes the distance from here to there is a bit much to swallow.

Right now, I'm learning to say goodbye. I leave town on August 19th. I leave ONE FREAKING WEEK from today. That's seven days to clean my room and pack up 18 years. This world is all that I've ever known; my parents brought me home to this house, to this pink bedroom. I haven't cried yet, but I know that it's coming, for sure. Things are changing, and changing for good. I'm not leaving town for the summer to work at a grocery store, I'm not writing a novel, I'm not traveling to campaign for someone, or see an old friend... I'm moving into my life. I'm moving into an apartment with two completely lovely roommates, and I can't run home to see my mom for the weekend. I'm excited- Oh, SOO excited. But this is big. I know that while this transition is going smoothly now, it will have some bumps.

one week left.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's happening. I'll be moving to New York in one month. I can't hardly believe it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Atmospheric Leap

I started my old blog, intending to provide daily political commentary. HAH. I since morphed that space into a writing blog, a bit of a life blog, travel journal... But this fall, my life is going to change, and change rather drastically. The plan is college in New York, but the finances (I’m being honest, here) are not fully solidified yet. I could stick with my old blog, where everything is safe, or I could dare to venture out and try something new. New blog, new life, new adventures. I might not get to go to my dream college right now. But my life will still progress, the world will keep spinning, and coffee will still be consumed. I’m jumping, here. I’m living the novel that came after, “Ready, Set, Jump.” in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I’m leaping. Swimming to that statue with a dictionary, climbing to her fingernail, and with a deep breath, taking an atmospheric leap.