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

Chew

Companion journal entries about overthinking

I’m glad I (briefly) got messed up with you this summer – at least it gives my brain something to chew on.

Maybe my whole life is all about me finding the next morsel to stuff in my mouth, regardless of whether it’s good for me or not.  Regardless of whether I bite off more than I can chew. Continue reading

Relatable Lana del Rey

Lana del Rey’s new album has been in my life for over two weeks now.  And even though the song is old news by now, Lust for Life expands the concept of “summertime sadness” into explosion — into narrative.  And, for a moody teen living on her own for the first summer ever, the lyrics from this album reflect my emotions this season — and save me a little.

Summer’s meant for loving and leaving,

but I was such a fool for believing that you

could change all the ways you’ve been living — but you just couldn’t stop.

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

Traveling Solo

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The door’s bell tinkled as I entered the red-painted restaurant, and the waitress caught my wide-eyed look. “You can have the corner if you’d like,” she said, directing me to far right.

Feeling special, I walked over and sat at an embroidered stool.  The tiny counter was attached to a wide window overlooking a castle-like building, some boutiques, and a wheelbarrow full of flowers.  There were salt and pepper shakers and a bowl of rock salt on the counter.  But I am not special; I’m just traveling alone.  Continue reading