Category Archives: Life and Times

Oh how the time does fly.

If I had a patio or a balcony, right now would be the perfect time to sit there and listen to music and contemplate all the beautiful, interesting things that life can be.  But I don’t have a patio or a balcony, so instead, I’m sitting inside, listening to music while my macaroni and cheese boils and writing here.

The weekend will never be long enough. The workday will always be too long. The milk will always go bad the day you decide to make macaroni, causing you to half-run to Giant before you start making dinner because you were so excited for that specific meal that now you can’t imagine not having it.

Where did this summer go?

It’s been almost four months since graduation. Almost four months since I said goodbye to my friends and to Bloomington. I don’t… I don’t know how the time has gone so quickly. It feels like yesterday. And yet, there are the statuses about Welcome Week, and class schedules, and Monday will bring complaints about professors and the work they expect or the fact that someone has a class with that one person they hoped they’d never see again. Being reminded that school is starting, watching my friends who are entering grad school, or who are still in college prepare for the start of another year makes me me miss it all the more. Holy shit, do I miss it.

But I know I did the right thing, and though I had my doubts, I am happy here. I still have moments where I am cripplingly lonely, and when I don’t understand why I came here, where a Whiskey Sour costs over $7 and even hipsters don’t dress like hipsters, because they’ve got day jobs working for non-profits.

When I walk around the city on one of those rare low-humidity days, when I play kickball at the base of the Washington Monument, when tourists ask me for directions, when people still read real, printed books on the Metro, when I hear a dozen different, beautiful languages in the same day. Those are the moments when I truly love it here.

Though I still have my doubts, though I still wonder what I’d be doing now, if I hadn’t taken this risk, I am glad I did.

This city has many things to offer me, but they will not find me, I must go looking for them.

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I should really start taking photos of the places I go.

I was going to wait until Tuesday to write a post commemorating my two-month anniversary with this city, but I’m feeling thoughtful and I’m feeling reflective and I feel like writing.

Right now I’m watching Innerspace, which is a movie I remember having watched with my sister on TV when we were kids. I have only vague memories of the film, mainly that Martin Short was in it. I’m not sure why I knew who Martin Short was, but not who Meg Ryan or Dennis Quaid were. Clearly we watched this movie before my obsession with You’ve Got Mail began and before the remake of The Parent Trap came out, or else I would have remembered them as well.

I spent the afternoon in Georgetown. My plan was to find a park I had read about, called Dumbarton Oaks Park and spend the afternoon there reading and perhaps even writing. I’m trying to find “my place.” I spend almost all my time alone, but I still long for a place to be truly alone with my thoughts, without distractions, where I can just think and daydream and imagine. I need a place to be solitary, to be alone with my thoughts, a quiet place to bring myself peace of mind. I’m still searching for that here, and although this particular park is rather inconvenient to get to, I can see the potential. Unfortunately, I spent too much time perusing shops and didn’t manage to make it to the park before the threatening storm clouds above me decided to burst.

I’m already used to sudden torrential downpours, and I’m starting to actually love them. On my walk back to the metro, the skies opened and not one, but two different people asked if they could shelter under my umbrella for a few seconds as I walked the direction they were going. The first girl was one of a group of students or college-aged interns who jumped under my umbrella as she asked if she could. I said, of course, and we introduced ourselves laughing before she ran off to huddle under an awning with the rest of her group. Next a woman who was cowering under a tree with her friend called out and asked if she could walk under my umbrella for a second to get to the parking lot across the way. “It’s just my hair will get ruined,” she said. Her hair was beautiful and she wasn’t prissy about it, it was just that she had clearly just gotten it done and was on her way out for the evening. Her friend laughed and ran to take cover and I walked with the woman until she made a run for it as well.

I love summer rainstorms. Being outside in a storm makes me happy in a really odd way. Most people hate rain. I don’t really care much for it when it lasts all day, lazily drizzling for hours and hours, which makes going outside a nuisance. But when rain does what it often does here, which is that it downpours for several minutes in huge drops. It’s impossible to stay dry even with an umbrella. When you’re soaking wet and have to carry your shoes for fear of them being washed down a storm drain, the only thing you can do is laugh. So laugh I do, and so short rainstorms actually make me happier than sunny days.

I bought stationary today. I have 100 Jane Austen themed post cards, and 20 gorgeous note cards to send out, so please please let me know your address if you’d like to exchange letters.

It’s still not easy, being here, but I think I’m starting to feel more comfortable. The more time I spend in the city (instead of Arlington), the happier I am. So cheers to Two Months and here’s to many more.

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I’m still alive.

Hello there. Once again, I feel obliged to inform those of you that care that I am, in fact, alive.

I’ve been here a month and a half, if you can believe it. The four weeks of training for work, which once seemed like an incredibly long time, are now over, and in the morning I will have my first day of actual non-training work. Cool.

It’s strange knowing that being here… it’s not permanent, but it’s the closest to permanent I’ve had in a long, long time. I’m here indefinitely. I could leave, if I found somewhere else to go, if I found another job or decided to go to grad school after all… More and more people keep telling me that I’ll end up having to go to grad school eventually. We’ll see, but for the time being, and for the foreseeable future, I’ll be here. It’s not like college, which though at times seemed like it would never end, was always only going to be four years.

I might be here for a year, or two years, or ten years, but the fact that there is no definite end in sight makes me feel just a bit trapped. It doesn’t help that I haven’t really felt at home here in these six weeks. Not like Bloomington, which felt like home immediately or Canterbury, a city I loved after having spent mere hours there when I was 17.

I won’t say I’m not happy here. I don’t know yet. Certainly at the moment, I feel a little lost. A little lonely. A little homesick. Certainly at the moment I’m wondering why the hell I decided to do this. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t find my place. It is absolutely vital that I do, or I’ll continue to be a little lost, a little lonely. I’d much rather be other things.

All my life, I’ve been pretty independent. I don’t like relying on other people. I don’t like asking for favors or help. Sometimes that gets me in to trouble, but for the most part, I’m self-sufficient. Or I thought I was. Being here, being so incredibly isolated, so unsure of myself… it’s about more than just being independent. Because I am independent. I don’t need help figuring out the Metro, yes thank you that’s what a smart phone is for. If I want to go do something, I’ll figure out what to do and how to get there. I don’t need help. I don’t need people to accompany me to the grocery, or the mall, or some stupid Fourth of July Festival at which The Verve Pipe is playing.

But it would be nice.

So… I need to put myself out there more. Talk to people. Try to make friends, which involves getting over my crippling fear of rejection, so that will be an adventure… Sometimes I just want to scream and shout because WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!

But I chose this. I could have played it safe and stayed in Indiana or Ohio. I wanted adventure. I wanted change. My favorite mantra, the one that has served me best, in multiple situations, is “no reward without risk.” I just have to push myself harder and keep doing the things that scare me. It’s easy to get stuck playing it safe, but that’s not who I want to be.

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Just Keep Swimming

My last post was over a week ago now, and I feel inclined to tell you that I’m doing much better. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still miss people. I still miss Bloomington, especially when I walk to and from the metro and don’t have the luxury of walking past Collins, in all it’s castle-y splendor. I also really miss the grilled cheese food truck, which when you consider the plethora of truly amazing food trucks in and around DC, just proves how much I love(d) that Momma Smacker sandwich. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

Yes, I still miss a great many things, but I am doing better. Work is actually far more interesting than I initially expected. I don’t plan on going in to much detail about work… I don’t want to get in to the habit of bitching and moaning about things only to have someone, either my superviser or a client of the company see it. Let’s just say, in the vaguest of ways, that my job entails helping people make money though information which I will input into a database. It makes me a bit uncomfortable, to be honest, but at least I know that the company is not likely to go under any time soon.

My training class at work is made up of 23 others, most of whom have also only just graduated college and are starting their first Real Job. Most of them are quite nice, and there are a few of them I would even like to become actual friends with.

There is something slightly pathetic about spending eight hours sitting in front of a computer, and then coming home to sit in front of one, so I’m thinking about taking up some new hobbies. If you have any suggestions for hobbies one can still be capable of before they have adjusted to working all day, please let me know. As of now, when I get bored or sick of the computer, I tend just to go to bed, even if that means I go to bed at 9:30. I never thought I would voluntarily go to bed at 9:30, but it’s just after 10pm right now, and my eyelids are starting to get veeeery heaaavyyy…

My roommate is leaving Friday to spend two months in Cambodia on an internship. I’m quite jealous of her, actually.  Leaving the country, travelling. The day of my last post marked the 0ne-year anniversary of the day I came home from England. It’s been a year since I’ve been out of the country, and I don’t know when that will change. Now that I have a job, and have a set number of vacation days, none of which will kick in until October… I don’t even know when for sure I’ll get to go home, let alone when I’ll next be able to take a big trip. There is, however, the possibility that I might be able to transfer to the Glasgow office of the company I’m working for. The possibility excites me, because living in the UK is just about the best thing I can think of. Then again, I also dread having to sell or store all of the furniture I just bought, and then replacing it when I found a place to live in Scotland… It doesn’t do much good to think about right now, I’m not even eligible for at least 6 months, and that’s only if there will still be openings at that point.

But since my roommate is headed to Asia, I will be spending the next two months living alone; something I have never actually done before. Hopefully I won’t go crazy, BUT if you’re worried about me going crazy, a great way to help me in this would be to VISIT ME.

Seriously. I’m not joking. I have an air mattress. There is a sofa big enough to sleep on. And if we are really, really good friends I might even consider letting you sleep on my bed. Yep, I’m that desperate for visitors. Seriously. My two conditions are that only one or two people come at a time, and that I know both people pretty well. I’m not running a hotel, after all.

In summation: I’m doing better this week, but I still miss everything/one. I don’t hate my life or anyone in it. I find it very difficult to stay up past 10pm. PLEASE visit me.

XOXO, Gossip Girl

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I’m just missing you…

I wanted my first real post-move-in blog to be full of touristy tid-bits, stories of my adventures and general proof that I’m doing okay. But it’s 1:30 am, I can’t sleep, and I’m lonely.

I think it’s safe to say that my regeneration is complete. It took almost six weeks, but the fact that I’m starting work on Monday signals that the actual transformation is complete. I’ve been in Arlington for over two weeks now, as insane as that is to believe.

For the most part, I’ve had a good time. I’ve wandered and explored and gone to see some pretty nifty things, and eaten at some pretty nifty restaurants. But I miss my friends.

Today I went to a café and sat alone with a book, as has been my habit the past two weeks. I like to watch people and eavesdrop on them, and sometimes I’ll even talk to people myself. The café I went to today was different than the others, or maybe it was me that was different. Usually I go in, and there are a few people sitting in small groups, but plenty of other people sitting alone. This café was full of people in pairs or groups, and whenever anyone new came in, someone in the place knew them, said “Hi! How are you?”, chatted with them.

I was the only one there alone, and I can not remember the last time I was so jealous. Throughout the afternoon, everywhere I went I saw happy people celebrating the weekend with their friends.

I miss having friends nearby. I miss talking to people. I like my roommate a lot, and we get along well, but I miss the comfort of talking to someone you’ve known for years. I miss laughing at inside jokes and gossiping. I’ve met people, and spoken to people, but no one that I’ll see again. Today I was actually tempted to go in to the Apple Store to see if any of the people who helped me before were there.. just to see a familiar face.

I know that I’ll get through this bout of… well I wouldn’t quite call it homesickness, but it’s something similar. I know that it will eventually pass, and hopefully I will eventually make friends, or at least meet people to go to happy hours with.

But for now, I’m lonely, I miss my friends, and I need a hug.

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Lost Notes

Right now I’m sitting on an air mattress waiting for my parents to arrive with all of my stuff. My new bedroom walls are grey (which is a good thing, I’m obsessed with the color grey right now), and my suitcase is serving as a makeshift bedside table/ desk. Soon my room will be filled with stuff I mostly don’t need, a few things I do, and the mementos I delicately packed of all my life up ’till now.

Some of you may know that my computer decided to crash a measly two days before my move. By that I mean my hard drive failed. I had (and still have) an external hard drive in my Amazon shopping cart, but that didn’t do me much good. Every thing I had saved on my computer is gone. My music. Everything I’ve written in the past 4 years. My photos.

I’m pretty sure that I have some things saved on USB drives, but I don’t know what things I have saved or where said USBs are. I guess when I unpack, those are some of the things I’ll find.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect though. I’m done with school, so the papers I’ve written don’t really matter anymore. Sure, I would like to have record of them, but they aren’t necessary. The stories saved don’t really add up to much either. Maybe with their loss, I’ll even feel compelled to start again.

I’m sad about the music. More sad than I am about the photos, because most of those are on Facebook. Although I am not musically talented, music is extremely important to me. The music I listen to reflects very concretely the mental state that I am in. I listen to sad music when I’m sad, and happy music when I’m happy. A song plays, by coincidence, at the exact right moment, and suddenly you can never hear the song without remembering where you were at the moment. Who you were with, how you felt. What you were thinking. Or, a song comes on the radio and though you’ve heard it a thousand times before, you’ve never heard it when you felt the way you do now.. Suddenly the song is transformed, from a song you like to a song that represents, in better poetry than you could ever imagine, exactly how you feel.

I no longer have that record, that musical memory. I no longer possess a collected list of all the songs I’ve loved since the summer before my Freshman year in college. Lately, I ‘skipped’ more songs than I played, but I miss that music. I miss the songs I got from friends, from boys I liked, from the websites of favorite bands.

The timing for my hard drive failing was actually quite profound… I’m starting a new chapter of my life. I’m regenerating, as I have said many times before. I guess my computer crashing is like my TARDIS getting redesigned. I still have those memories, somewhere, but they will be a little harder to reach and it won’t seem quite the same when I find them.

Now I get to start again.

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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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