I failed and that’s Okay

Apparently, my last blog post was March 9th.  Today is April 7th.  Which means I failed at regularly updating this blog.

But that’s okay.

I write this blog for myself, as a way to reflect on recent events and focus on (mainly) the positive, funny, or strange things that happen in my life.  This is a blog for me, to take care of myself.  And sometimes we’re not the best at taking care of ourselves, and that’s okay too. What matters is that we try again.

So, this is me.  Trying again.

Advertisements

Like a drug deal, only better

I was downstairs the other day slightly disappointed because I had missed the opportunity to get free ice cream from the international student center when I got a call from Dandy asking me where I was and to meet her outside in 5 minutes.

Five minutes pass and I head out, but not before grabbing this full container of guac I had and wasn’t going to eat because I was about to leave for break.  Dandy, Rocky, and Luke would be here for the rest of the week.  They could eat it.

So, I meet Dandy outside and hand her the guac, quickly explaining that “I won’t be able to eat my emotional support guac before I leave for vacation,” when she pulls out a small cup of chocolate ice cream from her bag and we trade.

Meanwhile, another friend sees what we’re doing and is confused because clearly, she doesn’t know me well enough to realize that exchanges like this are how I survive.  So I told her exactly what we’re doing.  A guac ice cream swap.

It’s like a drug deal,

only better.

It’s a mystery, Scoob!

Late Monday night I was chilling in my room.  I knew I needed to sleep but didn’t seem to have the motivation to a) get ready for bed b) actually get into bed or c) actually make myself go to sleep.  My spoons were just too low after finishing my Biopsychology take-home midterm.  Anyways, I was sitting there, contemplating why I can have a normal brain that lets me do basic things like feel feelings, comprehend words, and, oh, I dunno, sleep, when all of the sudden I heard…jazz?

Fun, happy, good-times jazz.  All instrumental, lots of brass. A moment later I realized- it wasn’t coming from inside the house.  The source must have been outside.

So, I threw open my window and the screen and sat with my head out and my arms on the ledge.  The was snow on the ground and the air was chilly, but it was okay.  The music was warm and homie enough for me.  But WHERE WAS IT COMING FROM? Because if you’re in a car listening to jazz at such a high volume that I can hear it perfectly in my room- YOU SOULDN’T BE!

Love your poor ears for fuck’s sake.

The sound was drifting through the ally way between my house the honors frat house next door  (of which many of my closest friends and I are proudly a part of), but it wanting coming from the first or second floor.  It was dark, they had been smart and went to bed and I was secretly jealous of them because I KNEW I wasn’t going to sleep until I found the source of the music.

Looking up I saw the third-floor window to Luke’s room was open, light and music spilling out.  A minute later I heard Rocky’s loud and contagious laugh.

Mystery Solved

Entertaining Neighbors

Last night I SHOULD have been working on my Biopsychology take-home midterm exam. An exam that, for the record, has not one, not two, but THREE questions about zombies.  Like, long-form essay questions. About Zombies. But I digress.

Dandy called me up and was like, “come to the Eating Club house to color and watch John Mullany!” and honestly, who could refuse a request like that, and half an hour later I am there.  One thing leads to another and next thing you know four of us on the roof just hanging out.  Now, an important detail is that this house is right next to another house of a fairly different nature.  A frat house that we all call Tau because tau is one of the letters or something.  We are on the roof and the following events happen:

A boy stumbles out onto the third-floor fire escape balcony and immediately vomits over the edge.  This goes on for several minutes before he goes back inside.  It wasn’t even 11 yet and the frats don’t open for parties until 11:30.

A different, shirtless boy emerges on the ground and starts PEEING on the house.

Boy number one re-emerges and pukes AGAIN from the third floor, DIRECTLY ON PEE-BOY.

We then got to witness a truly amazing verbal exchange that went as follows:

Boy 2, woefully confused: “Hey, WHAT THE FUCK. STOP PEEING ON ME”

Boy 1: “YOU STOP PEEING ON ME”

Boy 2: “HOW COULD I PEE ON YOU YOU’RE ON THE THIRD FLOOR”

Boy 1: *pukes some more*

Us: *loses our shit*

We then proceeded to head inside and tell EVERYONE before settling in for SNL.  It was happy and stupid and kind of gross, but definitely something to remember.  As we settled down in front of the TV you could hear “The Bear Necessities” playing somewhere upstairs, and all was well.

 

 

Well, THAT took a bit longer than expected (or: The State of Our Union, pt. 2)

In my last post, I was like “OMG, I’ll tell y’all more about PossePlus really soon because it was awesome but now I need to go and decompress and yadda yadda yadda.”

And the OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE its Friday evening and I realized not only did I not follow up, but I also haven’t posted AT ALL this week.  I’ve been kind of distracted by this big manuscript I had to write for Biopsychology which is a really neat class where we talk about the brain, and drugs, and neurons, and neurotransmitters (ya know, like serotonin, the happiness chemical my brain can’t seem to make?) oh and it’s literally THE LAST CLASS I NEED TO GRADUATE.  So, no pressure to pass or anything, right?

I digress.

PossePlus.  If you’re confused, go back and read this post for some context.  PossePlus started Friday night with dinner and an intro activity where we broke into partners and each took 1 minute to answer a question and then moved on.  Like a human conveyer belt sort of thing, or that one episode of Phineas and Ferb with the speed dating machine.  Nothing sets you up for a night of good conversation by ending the conveyor belt with a Chemistry professor and working with them the rest of the night.  The focus for the evening was “Where are you from?” and we discussed things like how our environments shaped us, how we came to be living in America, and how long our families had been there.  My mom is first gen in America, with both her parents coming over from Ireland as adults, and she doesn’t let us forget everything they went through for a better shot at life.

But on that first night, I met people with even more incredible journies.  Students who’s parents had moved here as kids, students who had moved here themselves as kids.  Stories of legal immigrants, stories of illegal immigrants.  My own grandmother had been in the country illegally for quite some time, but that night we talked about how no one was going to be coming for her, she was the white right kind of immigrant.

Saturday started out on a more sobering note when my friend Rocky got some bad news from home.  I happened to be sitting right next to him at breakfast, and together we slipped out and back to his room to process things.  I came back about an hour before lunch.

Eventually, Rocky rejoined us at lunch and participated the rest of the weekend.  That evening is when things started to get more emotionally intense.  We discussed identity and how we came to be and who we are becoming. Did an activity to demonstrate how much easier it is to succeed when you come from wealth. We wrote poems based off of the “I am from/I am becoming” format and took time to share out if we wanted to.  I did.  Twice.

Once to share the place I’m coming from

20190301_201850

and once to hope the love that keeps me going.

20190301_201859

People cried.

I cried.

I had unknowingly sat down next to Dandy at the start of the read-out, and at the end when asked to turn to the person next to us and share a positive affirmation, burst into tears.  I couldn’t do any of this without her.

Then we had a talent show and three professors juggled, Dandy and a chemistry professor told some really bad jokes, and I somewhat miraculously sang “Girl on Fire” without my voice breaking.  Let me tell you.  Physics professors? Those guys can JUGGLE.  After we wound up back in the room Dandy, Cat, and Mo were sharing and just…existed together? Laughed, and joked, and rubbed lotion all over people’s feet to freak them out.  Life was good.  Life is good.

Sunday we did some final activities, broke into groups to discuss other important relative topics that we maybe didn’t have a chance to discuss earlier.

Then things got emotional again.  We ended with a true PossePlus tradition, which I will name but not explain, known as Touches (also known as Taps, or Angels in some different organizations) and finial affirmations.

People cried.

I cried.

It was a good weekend

 

The State of Our Union pt. 1

I’m writing this from our indoor pool balcony of the Holiday Inn that is hosting this year’s Posse Plus Retreat.  If you don’t know about Posse, I highly suggest looking them up.  In short, the Posse foundation “identifies, recruits, and trains student leaders from high schools to form multicultural teams called “Posses” of 10 Posse Scholars. These teams are then prepared, through an intensive eight-month Pre-Collegiate Training Program, for enrollment at top-tier universities nationwide to pursue their academics, help promote cross-cultural communication and become leaders on college campuses. Each Posse Scholar is awarded a full-tuition scholarship” (thank you Wikipedia).

TL;DR they’re a super cool organization that has put some of the most awesome people I know in my life.

Anyways, each year there is a Posse Plus retreat where Posse Scholars can invite guests for a two night off-campus retreat where they discuss relevant issues and think about possible solutions.  This year’s theme is The State of Our Nation.

Ya know. A nice, easy, simple problem (sarcasm).

Since Friday evening I’ve had the chance to meet new people, engage in some great dialogue about issues in the social and political realms, and bond even more with some of my closest friends.

Outside of active discussion/workshop time, I’ve gone swimming, written Warm Fuzzies (positive notes to give to friends at the end of the week), and just decompressed and processed the past couple of days.

Oh, also I put lotion all over Dandy’s foot while we were all hanging out because I require attention all of the time. Except here’s the thing- SHE DIDNT EVEN REACT. THAT MOTHERFUCK. She just stared me down while I put a big ‘ol glob of lotion on her foot and left it there.  Other people reacted, but she’s apparently too used to my antics at this point.

I’ve got to up my game.

P.s.

I’ll probably post a better and more cohesive breakdown of the event tomorrow after it ends and I have gotten some sleep, but right now I am so wiped out on every level.

P.p.s.

I didn’t just leave her stranded with the lotion on her foot.  I rubbed it in seductively, like any good friend, leaving her with one (I’m sure) delightfully slimy foot and probably questioning why she let me stay in her life this long

I WILL judge you by the standards of my beloved Hellscape

I try very hard to be a nice person, to understand that we are all, to a degree, products of our environments.  To recognize that not everyone has the same skills or background or privileges.  I try so, so, hard.

Until it snows.

Because OH MY LORD the folks here in southeast Pennsylvania are WIMPS.

I have never, NEVER, lived in a place where they are so quick to release schools, close campus, even cancel yoga classes when it snows more than a couple of inches.  Yesterday, we got maybe five inches of snow? From 9am to 2pm? By 12 the schools had been let out, the campus libraries were closing early, and classes were being canceled.

FOR FIVE INCHES OF SNOW.

I, of course, had to tell my family about this because they agree with me: Lancaster Pennsylvania is Wimpy.

Now, provided, I’m a born and raised Chicagoan.  My city is a at times a weather hellscape.  Ans I love it.  I miss it.  And it has made me completely unsympathetic for these folks. Could I choose to be kind?  To recognize that, yes, the part of the country gets significantly less snow and ice and slush and deep freezes that my beloved midwestern home?

Sure.

But let’s face it, I have too many other areas for self-improvement.  Learn how to drive in the snow, Lancaster. You’re not getting any sympathy from me.

giphy (1).gif

p.s.

My friend Marigold, whom I love very much and who pushes me to be better, says I need to consider where the people here coming from (a low-snow environment) and not be so harsh. But then I remember she’s from California and literally hasn’t had to deal with this before so YA KNOW WHAT? I’M GOING TO BE HARSH

giphy (2).gif

its a SMALL PROFESSOR

Sometimes, I just sort of… forget? that professors? are people too?

Not like, I forget they exist or I think they are aliens or something.  It’s more of a forgetting that my professors have lives outside of the Life Science building.  And then I see them one day and it’s all “Oh yeah! You live in a house and have a pet or kid or a partner.”  Maybe they run a small farm, or brew their own beer, or keep their own chickens (or maybe all three).  All of a sudden it’s “Shit! I completely forgot that there are so many sides to you that I have literally never seen before!”

I’m talking about this because I had one of these moments yesterday when I MET MY PROFESSOR’S SMALL CHILD.  IT WAS SO CUTE, AND SO SMALL, AND COULD CRAWL FASTER THAN ANY SMALL HUMAN I’VE LITERALLY EVER SEEN.

Basically, it was adorable.  But at the same time, I saw something I had never even conceptualized.

My professor being a father.

It was strange, not gonna lie.  Adorable and loving, but strange.  It was completely out of context and different from what I was used to seeing, but he was still my professor.  He talked to his son the same way he would talk to us, somewhat sarcastically, with plenty of exhaustion.  This particular professor is a strange dude, and I’d honestly love to see what his son turns out like.  Ultimately, I’m just glad I got the chance to meet this adorable small (and, according to my prof, “completely useless”) human, and glad that I got the important reminder that, yeah, professors are people too.

p.s.

I LOVE YOU SMALL PROFESSOR BABY

Wondering Where the Lions Are.

Sun’s up, uh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Yesterday at some point I got a song stuck in my head, except it was a song I hadn’t heard in years.  I don’t think it was so much stuck in my head as I just had a need to listen to it that wouldn’t let up.

I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren’t half as frightening as they were before
But I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

It was Wondering Where the Lions Are, originally by Bruce Cockburn.  The version I had stuck in me was different, a cover by Jimmy Buffett that appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Hoot (2006).

Walls windows trees, waves coming through
You be in me and I’ll be in you
Together in eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Hoot was based on the book of the same name written by author Carl Hiaasen.  It follows the adventures of three kids living in Florida trying to stop the development of a wooded area that is home to endangered burrowing owls.

Up among the furs where it smells so sweet
Or down in the valley where the river used to be
I got my mind on eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
And I’m wondering where the lions are
I’m wondering where the lions are

It is a movie and a book very near and dear to my hear not just for its setting and environmental themes but because it was one of the first “big” books I read.  I was 8/9 when I read Hoot and had always struggled with reading and as a reward for finishing the book I got to have a birthday party at the movie theatre where my friends and I could watch the movie.  It was a big accomplishment.

Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake
Thousand-year-old hieroglyphs doing a double take
Pointing a finger at eternity
I’m sitting in the middle of this ecstasy

One of my gifts from that day was the movie’s soundtrack.  I listened to it constantly.  I really did like all of the songs on it, but I loved Wondering Where the Lions Are.  It was a strange sort of love though because I remember listening to it and feeling undeniably sad.  But the sadness, I think, made me love it even more.

Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun
Polished and precise like the brain behind the gun
(Should be) they got me thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
And I’m wondering where the lions are
I’m wondering where the lions are

It’s not a particularly sad piece, but it always stirs emotions up inside of me that I forget are settled there.  It makes me miss the Florida Keys and the vast expanses of ocean, but even more so it is a song that just made me think.

Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
One of these days we’re going to sail away
Going to sail into eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
And I’m wondering where the lions are
I’m wondering where the lions are.

According to Bruce Cockburn, the song is about the cold war and finding peace in it, with the lions representing the threat of nuclear annihilation.  I don’t know what people felt like during the fear of the cold war, but I imagine it wasn’t that far off from the looming anxiety that I feel most days.

I am facing a future of unknowns.  In three months I’ll be graduating and I have no idea what comes next.  Dandy is moving to Thailand, Birdie to Africa, and Marigold to Alaska. I am going to miss them so much, but I couldn’t be more happy for them. And despite my personal unknowns and sourceless anxiety, I have hope.

Our futures wait like lions at the door, and with them, we will sail into eternity.