Friendly Skies

Hours after my last final exam, I stepped onto an airplane set for Amsterdam.  I boarded the plane with a single suitcase and a lingering ache from the emotional end of my freshman year.  

Excluding an infant wailing from the back, I knew that I was the youngest person on the plane — it was predictably full of retired senior citizens ready for a vacation.

Except for the guy in the seat next to me.  I remember pausing and blinking upon seeing Mateo, a strikingly handsome twenty-something from Colombia.  I wondered how I was going to survive a six-hour flight next to someone with such a symmetrical face.  I settled in my seat, ready to retreat into some movies and games on my phone, but Mateo insisted that we talk to each other during the flight. Continue reading

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Monthly Me (August ’17)

In early August I wrapped up my lab job and headed back home before the start of school.  I made a stop at New York City along the way to see my sister.  Though I was in a rush to go back home, I was also in sort of agony in leaving Philadelphia and remember feeling sad and nostalgic even on the Megabus.  I was in a very strange and oppressive anxious mindset: I didn’t like the liminal feeling between summer and school starting I guess, and I felt, I don’t know.  Inadequate in several ways. Continue reading

reflecting on freshman year

Read my first semester summary here, and here

I’ve been delaying this reflection.  Mostly, because when I try to describe my freshman year, contradictions crop up early on.  For instance, I can start by saying that this first year felt much denser and more eventful than all four years of high school—“I’ve aged ten years,” I joke to those who ask about it.  So, a lot happened.  But then again, not really.  I mean, there were a few milestones of course.  But other than that…nothing that dramatic happened to me. I think about how by the end of the year, I still felt mostly like myself.  It wasn’t, like, I metamorphosed into a different person or had a ton of wild shit happen to me.  But even though the before and after pic is not very altered, distance does not equal displacement.  There was a winding path in between my starting and ending point.  Though not a lot changed, technically, the emotional journey feels long and profound for me.

I can still say, without a doubt, that after this year I know myself much better, and I can say that I feel more grown up.  I can also say that I really like the person I’ve matured into.

Here’s why: Continue reading

Monthly Me (July ’17)

This month I felt productive: in work and in fun and in growth.  July started with a trip to New York City, to visit my sister during the Fourth.  I had the fortune to see the holiday in both of my cities: fireworks over the Delaware river, fireworks nearly blocked by skyscrapers.  New York is an amazing city — but I love Philadelphia more, and it loves me back.   Continue reading

Easy

After the first time I had kissed a stranger — in the blushing light of a music festival — I was reeling by how easily it had happened.  He had seen me, chatted a little, put his arm around me…the only reason why we didn’t kiss sooner was because I was too naive to realize what he wanted.

In high school, finding someone to kiss would have been much more difficult, to say the least.  Not because I wasn’t interested in anyone — but my shy and awkward demeanor didn’t attract boys at my school.  The option of hooking up — being physically intimate with someone without the emotional aspect — was never really on the table, mostly because I was idealistic and unpopular, partly because high schoolers are actually more romantic than society portrays them as. Continue reading

Planty

I did not expect, in the heart of a city, to foster some greenery of my own, yet I visit the rooftop deck of my house nearly daily to tend to six lil plants.

I have basil, lavender, chives, oregano, and a mini sunflower.  More practical than flora I used to take care of back in suburbia.  Purchased as teenage seedlings from the farmers market.  I’m not much of a chef myself, but my housemates have used my basil for dishes like lasagna.  It delights me to be useful. Continue reading

Monthly Me (June ’17)

June, a landmark month in many ways: it was my first time I was responsible for my own rent, food, and employment.  Adulting is hard!  I spent most of the month merely adjusting to the new independence.  I’ve enjoyed myself immensely, but I’ve also already learned a lot within these few weeks.

Continue reading

a dark side of journaling

I reread some of my old journal entries from last semester, and the intensity of my preserved feelings shocked me.   They were so raw, uncensored, intimate.

My journal entries are startlingly frank because they hold nothing back: as my private outlet, there’s no self-consciousness for conventions or melodrama.  So there’s something terrifyingly real about them.  It’s like I dipped my heart in ink and rolled it around the pages, and the imprints are just as fresh and poignant as if written yesterday.

For the first time, I wished that I hadn’t amberized that time in my life.   Continue reading

Emotional Containers

This past semester, I felt locked in a post-you era.  Even though, after you said those fateful words — “I’m not looking for a relationship” — I stopped liking you and even stopped hurting for you, I failed to restart, like some stuttering obsolete computer.   I felt like I couldn’t, not without some sort of signal to transition.  I wanted to flip over the page to the next chapter of my life, but it felt like the same chapter kept going on and on — even though different stuff started happening, even though you stopped being a character.  I guess I wanted to look up at the night sky and see the stars aligned in the words: THE END.  I wanted a sign.

But now, the semester is over.  There is no boundary as definitive as the beginning of sweet summer.  I brush the dust of you and my leftover feelings into the container called Freshman Year and seal it off for good. Continue reading