Monthly Archives: May 2013

Preparations

I’m moving in a matter of days. No, worse than that. Since it’s after midnight I’ve moving the day after the day after tomorrow. Holy shit.

I’ve known since January that I would be moving to DC. There have been times when I thought the day would never come, and times when I wish I didn’t have to go at all. But the day has nearly arrived. I have only a few last minute things to pick up and to finish packing all of my clothes and then everything will be sorted. I fly out on Thursday, and my parents will follow in their mini-van on Saturday with a bunch of my stuff.

How do I have so much stuff? I promised myself I would minimize all the things I brought on my move, but somehow I have more stuff than I ever could have imagined. It doesn’t help, I suppose, that my mother thinks it’s necessary to stock up on paper goods before the move. This is the same woman who snuck a roll of toilet paper in my suitcase when I studied abroad in England, because she wasn’t sure about there being toilet paper in that country, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It seems as though I  have more toilet paper, paper towels, and now paper plates than I could use in a year…

Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll be so tired when I get home from work that I won’t want to do anything at all. Well… maybe that’s true. But I hope it’s not because I have some big plans.

1) Learn Dutch – Ik leer Nederlands! I’ve been trying to learn/teach myself Dutch and so far it’s going all right. Although I usually don’t know what they mean, I can read most Dutch words. I have a pretty solid grasp on pronunciation and the sounds that all the letters and vowel combinations make. This is due mainly to a YouTube channel called dutchforn00bs. Seriously, she’s incredibly helpful, especially because there aren’t any easy, well-designed websites for learning Dutch as there are for other languages. Which brings me to…

2) Learn French using Duolingo. This site is seriously amazing. I have no idea how they can do what they do for free, but it’s awesome. They offer French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and German, hopefully with more to come. It’s like a game, where you rack up points based on how well you do in each practice. There are discussion boards, and you can go as quickly or slowly as you want through the program. I’ve yet to see if I’ll retain anything from the site, but it’s still pretty freaking cool. There’s also an iPhone app, so you can practice on the go!

3) Before I start work, go to as many free or inexpensive museums and attractions as possible.
To Include (among others):
The (new) NPR Headquarters
The National Zoo
National Air and Space Museum
FDR Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Library of Congress
National Building Museum
National Museum of American History
National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum
The Holocaust Museum
Rock Creek Park

Perhaps I shall write blog posts about these?

4) Spend a month exploring each neighborhood and it’s offerings.
Excepting Downtown and the mainly residential neighborhoods, I want to spend all the weekends in one month exploring a particular neighborhood. Starting with my own, then moving to Georgetown, Dupont, Adams Morgan, etc.

5) Find my favorite spots.
Perhaps this should be higher on the list. I want to run around and explore enough that I can pick favorites and know them to be correct. Favorite coffee shop/cafe, favorite bar, favorite brunch place, favorite… grocery store…? You get the idea.

6) Cook good food.
I intend to cook ‘from-scratch’ dinners at least 3 nights a week. This allows 4 nights for leftovers, frozen and partially prepared meals, and dining out. I think I can manage that, even if I end up eating grilled cheese once a week.

7) Write.
I’m not certain whether that means keep writing this blog, which I hope to do (maybe I’ll even add pictures, yay!) or actually branch out and start writing stories again. A little of both, if I’m lucky.

Next time I post here, I’ll be in DC!!!

On Writing.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Most of that time, I wanted to be an novelist, specifically. A writer of books, of fiction. A creator of worlds either drastically different from our own or perhaps not so different at all.

I don’t talk about this particular dream much these days, largely because I’ve all but given up on it. I barely write fiction anymore, and when I do, I can’t seem to fill more than 3 or 4 typed pages. This would be fine if I were capable of writing short stories, but alas, every idea I’ve ever come up with has been for a novel. The number of wasted notebooks, half-filled with abandoned novels, makes the environmentalist in me shudder. “This time,” I would always promise myself, “this time I’ll actually finish it.” I never have.

The most I’ve ever written on one story was for NaNoWriMo 2010. It was a story I’d come up with 5 years earlier and I managed to get down about 27,000 words. I still have the story in my mind; I know what happens. But somehow I can’t manage to put the rest of it down on paper (or in this case, in type). The same goes for multiple other stories that I have started on. I just can’t seem to put them down. To get them out.

I keep thinking that with all the free time I’ll be having soon (what do people do from 6pm to bedtime??) I’ll start writing again. I hope I do. I hope the city sparks in me the creativity that I’ve been searching for for the last three years. I hope that it inspires me. I miss writing. Really writing, not just blogging (although I enjoy this, too).

In my life, I’ve always written as an escape. I lived vicariously through characters in the books I read and by writing, I could live a life that I designed specifically to free me from my fears and to bring me a happy ending of some kind (usually with a hot dude). I was never so opaque as to write myself directly into my stories, but I often made characters that were who I wanted to be, or who shared a trait or two with me.

I’m not sure if this blog has actually helped or hindered my creativity. Instead of using fiction as an escape, I come here, or to my private journal and wax philosophical about life and anxieties and really just a lot of self-reflective, self-important bullshit. This is my outlet, but it’s hardly a creative one.

I think that maybe I’m at the point in my life when I’ve experienced enough that big, grandeur dreams aren’t quite so necessary – I’m no longer the trapped 15-year-old struggling with her identity, but where I still don’t know enough about life, love, and all other miscellany to “write what I know.” Without the dreams to draw on, or the knowledge to inform me, I just don’t seem to have anything to write about.

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Reflections

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about a great many things. I’ve said all my goodbyes and though many of them still sting, there’s not much I can do about it. I’m gone from Bloomington, but I miss it. I spent the weekend in Columbus, Ohio with friends from high school, and oddly, I missed Bloomington more there than I did when I first arrived at my parents house. Perhaps the fact that I graduated a week ago was setting in… Columbus is nice. It’s a big city, but it’s very spread out. It’s not really feasible to walk anywhere, at least from my friends’ place, and it took us 30 minutes on the bus to get downtown.

Seeing the OSU campus just reminded me of why I went to IU. IU is GORGEOUS. The trees, the limestone, the flowers that seem to magically appear but which are really planted by landscaping workers at 6:30 in the morning at the beginning of spring… Bloomington is this lovely, idyllic town with friendly people and fairly quiet streets. It’s a utopia of forward-thinking, patient, and genuinely kind people. OSU is mangey and dark. Also, they renamed the street that their football stadium is on “12 and 0 row.” I know that IU is a bit preoccupied with sports, but really? Really? Ugh.

I have nothing against people that go or went to Ohio State. We all go to different places for different reasons. Still, seeing that campus for the first time in 7 or 8 years made me so glad that I decided on Indiana. Not that I ever even considered attending Ohio State – I didn’t even apply there. Nonetheless, it made me happier in my decision, and it was that happiness, I think, that made me miss the place even more.

Hanging out with friends from high school made me realize how changed I am since I started college. I was this shy girl, who’d never done much. I was afraid of everything – of failure, of rejection, of making too many mistakes, of making the wrong decisions, of misbehaving… I spent my time reading and living vicariously through fictional characters who were far braver than I. Even then, I had an intense desire to travel, having already visited England on an AP Lit tour and several islands in the Caribbean on two cruises. The interest in travel was there then, but the need hadn’t developed yet.

I was bad at meeting people – too afraid of rejection to put myself out there. I like to think I’ve changed from that, but I know that at heart I still fear rejection more than almost anything else. It has lessened, but it’s still there. I was once afraid to speak my mind – that has changed significantly… now, good luck to anyone who wants to get me to shut up! I’ll rant about my beliefs for as long as I have a captive audience.

For many years, I was preoccupied with the notion that I was waiting for my life to begin. I was waiting for things to happen to me. In the past 12 months, I’ve realized that my life has been here all along. Waiting around isn’t what makes a life worth living – doing things is. If all you do is sit back and wait for things to happen, nothing will. When I went to England to study abroad, and travelled, and made friends with people from all over Europe… That’s when I realized that they only way to live is to do so on purpose. Sometimes, okay, most of the time, it’s difficult. There’s a reason that most people do not end up very far from their hometown. Family brings them there, and comfort prevents them from leaving. It’s certainly easier to stay at home and watch movies than to walk or drive across town or the state to see a friend. I am guilty of doing so on more occasions that I would like to admit.

I want to keep challenging myself. To do the scary things. To remember that no reward comes without risk.

I guess that’s what moving to DC is really all about.

Going, going, gone.

Well I’m here. I’m at my parents’ house. I won’t call it home, because it’s not. It hasn’t been home for a while now.. I left my home this morning and who knows when I’ll find a new one. Hopefully, I’ll at least have a residence by the time I start my job…

I promise that when I get to DC, this blog will morph in to something more interesting than me being sad about the end of college. That’s pretty much all this thing has been since January. But for now, I’m stuck in Ohio, and there’s not much to do but sit at home on my computer. I may as well do something mildy productive, and write…

This morning was rough. It took far longer to move all of my stuff down the three and a half flights of stairs to my car than I expected. I lost track of how many trips it took, but my legs are sore now, only 4 hours later, so let’s just say there were many.

As predicted, I reenacted the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration scene:

There were considerably more tears though.. In fact, it would be fair to say I looked more like this:

Or even this:

Yeah, definitely that last one.

I’ve calmed down now though. I had a three hour drive to dry my tears and gather my thoughts. College is behind me now. In time, and in space (if you consider a place west of you as being “behind” you, Indiana is west of Ohio).

College was everything I wanted it to be in none of the ways I expected. And it sucks, it sucks to have left that place behind. College is the best thing I’ve done so far, but I’m only 22 – I haven’t done that much. The best years of my life are ahead of me.

I’m about to embark on this huge adventure and, yes, I do think I’m being brave. I’m scared as shit, but I’m going. I never, for even a minute, seriously considered not going after the decision had been made. There were moments when I wished I weren’t going. Or times when I wished I had more time… but I always knew I would go.

College was where I learned to love myself. Sometimes we still get in arguments and there are certainly times when I hate myself, but for the most part, we’re pretty happy together. It was where I learned to rely on other people instead of always being independent and shut off. It was where I learned to ask for help when I needed it. I also learned more than I care to explain about the Indians of Indiana, Dante’s Inferno, oh, and finite math. Well, I’m not actually sure I learned anything about finite, now that I think about it…

The fact that I am so sad to have left Bloomington and the people I love in Indiana is just a testament to how happy I was there. It’s only sad to leave a place you liked, a place that is attached to happy memories. I daren’t quote Dr. Seuss, but it’s true… I’m so grateful that it simply happened.

I’ll see you again.

This isn’t goodbye, not really.

I love you, keep in touch.

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End Times

So I missed April altogether. It was a busy month, full of trying to make the best of the time I had left and stressing out from massive amounts of school work.

I’m moving in a month, and I still don’t have a place to live. I went to DC last weekend and looked at places, but as of today, officially, none of them worked out. I’m trying to convince myself that the trip wasn’t a waste, that it helped me get to know the city and know where I want to be and where I don’t, but I can’t help but regret not having spent that last weekend in Bloomington with everyone, especially since nothing panned out as I wanted it to.

I had this post planned about how finding an apartment is like dating, only way worse, but I’m going to wait to write it until I’m a little distanced from the process. It’s probably an overused metaphor anyway, so maybe I won’t even bother. Basically this: dating someone is really nice but having a place to live is considerably more important. Therefore, when you’re rejected from a place to live it stings about 10x as much being rejected by a date. But hey, maybe knowing that will make dating in the city easier…

Somehow two days before graduation, it’s almost 11 at night and I’m sitting alone in my apartment. I should be packing, but all I can do is mope – partly because of having been rejected yet again from an apartment and partly because I’m alone when I should be spending time with friends – after all, it’s my last chance to do so.

Leaving is hard. Leaving here is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and I’m still a few days away from actually going. I just can’t deal with the fact that I’ll never see most of these people again. Yes, I’ll stay in touch with the most important people. I’ve promised myself that much. But it won’t be the same. I won’t see them on my way to class, or run in to them in Collins. I won’t chat with them and ask them how their semester is going.

I keep seeing incoming Freshmen on tours and I’m so jealous of them it makes me angry. “ENJOY IT” I want to yell at them, “IT WILL GO FAR FASTER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!”

I know that I will get over this. I know that I will move on and grow up and someday it won’t hurt anymore. Probably sooner than I think. But in the mean time, it hurts so fucking much.

Sometimes I think, “oh, I’m not ready to leave, I can’t do this.” But that’s not true. I am ready. I’ve been ready for a while now. It’s time to regenerate. I know I have to do it, and I’m fairly sure that I’ll make it out alive. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be crying and screaming, “I don’t want to go,” a la The Tenth Doctor.

I’m moving (theoretically) to a huge city where things are always happening and there are MILLIONS of people, so, statistically, there must be at least a few people I could be friends with. And I have a job, which is more than many people my age can say.

It’s going to be an adventure, and I’m excited for it. I am, I swear. Don’t let the tears fool you.