School is over and I have returned to some semblance of an adult life. Back to working at a mega agency, subletting my friend's place in Bushwick until the end of September, most of my old apartments' stuff in a storage unit. I graduated burned out on my passion project thesis and generally unsure of what to do next.
In my heart of hearts, I'd love to move to Paris and re-mmerse myself in the great expat community I met during my past two visits. The visa situation is super tough though and I find more reasons to be wary about going there every week. What I really want in my life is an adult adventure not in NYC. I've given this place 30 years and am dying to experience something else. The where is the big question mark at this point.
I've also been attempting to give my cynicism a rest. With the full knowledge, I'll never be completely happy go lucky either. But it's way less energy needed to allow myself to find the fun in a bad situation. Like my foray into speed dating the other week. That was super yikes, but ultimately so comedic.This summer's been great so far for meandering and doing as much (or little) as I want to do. Nothing's going to touch last year's jam-packed travelpalooza, but that's okay.
This is rare time where I can say without hesitation that life is pretty damned good. Sure, I'm entering the wild eyed pressured phase of my thesis and am still struggling to keep my brain totally focused. And most things aren't totally perfect. But, I'm turning 30 on Wednesday and going to Europe on Thursday and feel happy and settled and inspired and healthy and hopeful. The lack of complaints on so many fronts blows the things I could complain about out of the water. It's a really nice feeling.
Over the years, I've always thought about what kind of tattoo I would get if I could swallow my fear of needles long enough to get inked. I had a phase where the phoenix rising from the ashes was it, then a black cat in honor of my neurotic girl. But the one thing that has stuck is just a simple writing of the word Excelsior. It means ever upward (actually, higher) in Latin (which I took for 5 years a million years ago) and is the New York state motto. It seems like it would be a nice tribute to the strange turns this life has taken over the years and that it has been getting better going on. Maybe I need to just pop a Xanax and make it happen.
My trip next week is a 12 day combined do over of Paris and first journey to Berlin. I'm curious to see what Paris will be like not agonizing over every Euro spent and able to do whatever I want. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of the people I hung with over the summer and explore some new places too. The dream to move there is still chugging along, so scouting out some prospects is also on the agenda. It's harder for me to pick up and go haphazardly because working at a bar or tourist spot would probably barely be enough for me to pay my bills there and also take care of my student loan bills that are about to be due very soon. I want to figure out a way to work it out though. Berlin is a mecca of people I know, so I'm definitely interested in exploring that too. Two Brooklyn friends moved there in the past year, so I want to chill with them and see what the place is all about. My one guaranteed destination is Berghain and besides that, just plan to wander and soak it all about. PrincessNella and I are meeting up and exploring it together, so that should be hijinks galore.
Happy early birthday to me and hopefully many more.
I've been enjoying the hell out of myself this semester break. I didn't realize how worn out I was until I decided the most exciting thing I could do (repeatedly) was park in bed and watch Netflix Streaming. I had finals induced vampire hours for most of the past month, but I'm finally getting back to normal daytime rising...just in time to have most of my classes at night!
School just asserted itself back into my life in a big way with two huge emails over the past few days: a dispatch from my thesis advisor with the class schedule and then the instructions on how to apply for graduation. Yikes! Two years of my life are coming to a close rapidly. Graduation day is May 18th, just over 4 months from now. If I wasn't excited about how much I'm going to kick ass this semester, I'd be completely terrified that the end is so near.
In all the midst of this, I'm turning 30 in March. I feel pretty hopeful about that. I'm sure it'll knock me for a loop the first time I realize I'm not a 20-something anymore, but luckily with my good genes, no one believes me when I say how old I am anyway. I'm kicking around the idea of going to Morocco or South America for a birthday trip. By then, I will want to escape NYC cold and my thesis pretty bad, so the farther I can go without a 24-hour plane ride, the better.
I swear, modern technology can be a big pain in the ass sometimes. I haven't been able to post in a week and change because MT doesn't acknowledge that you want to type text in boxes if the www is missing from your login link. Seriously? Broken ass system.
Besides that, I'm happily enjoying the beginning of my 5 weeks of vacation. Making plans to sun myself in the Dominican Republic before spring semester and thesis craziness kicks into gear. On the (short) list of things I want to accomplish in the next month: 1) finally finish the apartment decoration project 2) nail down the thesis idea 3) get a new kitty. But I just fell down the Netflix streaming rabbit hole, so I might just watch movies and chill. That's fine too.
The countdown to the end of the semester has officially started finally. Another week and a half of class and then finals time.
November went out on a not so bad note. I ended up withdrawing from my program to London, which I think is for the best. I still haven't quite managed to replace my laptop yet, so the last thing I needed to worry about was airfare and a shit exchange rate. Though New Year's in Europe would've been pretty awesome. I think I can be satisfied by spending two (mostly) glorious months there this summer and get over it.
Also got a bit of good news on the thief front. Finally they've got enough evidence to nail the guy. Adding insult to injury, I actually saw him last week, trying to sell a probably stolen Mac Book for $200 in front of my fave deli in Williamsburg. With zero shame. I'd be happy to see that dude under a jail, even though I've pretty much given up hope of seeing my stuff again.
This semester has been a hard slog, even without the recent bit of bad luck. I've got a full schedule of 4 classes plus the thesis prep seminar. I'm out there working hard. It's almost like being back at work...except no money. It's been a fun life interlude to be creative and have a shit ton of fun learning whatever I want for the past year and a half though. Going back to the real world is probably going to be a real bummer. Especially when Sallie Mae comes calling for my pennies.
Life got insane rather quickly for me and I've just been trying to power through to the end of the semester. I'm planning to go back to Europe on another school program + travel in January (though life might have other plans currently). Next semester is going to be a little crazy with the thesis and school winding down.
And because there's always a monkey wrench thrown into life: on Wednesday, I got my coat and school bag stolen with laptop, glasses, house keys, and most importantly for me, all my notebooks. One of those books I've had for 3 years and had notes from every class, every random idea, and a lot of the just general thoughts I've had about this crazy whirlwind school program and life. The loss of that is pretty irreplaceable and I'm mega beat about it. The saga since the robbery has insane with all sorts of random leads on the thief and I'm trying to stay positive that he can get caught and hopefully I can get my stuff back.
I've been trying not to dwell on that and turned to music. A few weeks ago, I ordered the new Portable 12" record, This Life of Illusion and have been loving the tracks like crazy. A side story: I actually saw him on the street in Lisbon. Recognized him at 50 paces in the craziness of a night out in Bairro Alto, but let shyness get in the way of telling him how much I love his music. The dude is a genius.
The song I posted above is called Life Magically Is and the spoken lyrics are from a poem called To An English Friend in Africa by Ben Okri that I had to look up. Nice and inspirational:
Be grateful for freedom
To see other dreams.
Bless your loneliness as much as you drank
Of your former companionships.
All that you are experiencing now
Will become moods of future joys
So bless it all.
Do not think your ways superior
Do not venture to judge
But see things with fresh and open eyes
Do not condemn
But praise what you can
And when you can't be silent.
Time is now a gift for you
A gift of freedom
To think and remember and understand
The ever perplexing past
And to re-create yourself anew
In order to transform time.
Live while you are alive.
Learn the ways of silence and wisdom
Learn to act, learn a new speech
Learn to be what you are in the seed of your spirit
Learn to free yourself from all things that have moulded you
And which limit your secret and undiscovered road.
I'm finally home and it feels great. The last month and change was really tough, mainly because it got a little exhausting to be in an unnatural situation for so long. Being an independent person cooped up in an uncomfortable dorm where I couldn't cook or shower when I wanted got tiring fast. Loved Paris though. I made friends and explored mainly on my own and it was a good experience. I have some definite opinions on French men (mostly negative), but I could almost seeing myself living there.
The weeks of travel in the homestretch were also fun. Visiting Lisbon and spending time with Alex was great. It was the most time I spent in one place after Paris and it was a nice break from lugging a 20kg suitcase behind me throughout Europe. Then the bittersweet final Paris lap and 14 hours in London before my return to Brooklyn.
New York feels exactly like I left it, which is comforting. I've loved seeing my friends and as I forecasted, did stuff my face like it was going out of style on my return. School starts back up on Wednesday and then it's the express train of a second year all the way to May and finishing up my thesis. No rest for the weary ever.
This time last week, I was embracing the end of the school year by blowing off the work hunt for a few days. And of course, they had to rang my phone off the hook once I took advantage of a crazy $20 Jet Blue sale and took off for San Francisco. This visit was way more touristy overall, but I loved the revisit to the bizarro bar of my Brooklyn Cheers. And B, always awesome, and hopefully coming to my coast soon, so I can show him my personal wonderful crazed NYC.
After my second visit, I'm a little in love with the city. I don't quite understand the million different transportation options, but I could really see myself there. PrincessNella and I wandered the streets, scoping out imaginary apartments and pretending that I was there permanently. Maybe I will make the move next year. It's definitely a strong possibility.
Back in NYC, I've landed a freelance job that will last me to weeks before the Europe adventure. I'm stoked on life and everything right now, just trying to keep my life in order. July is coming up so far and I'm really trying to balance lining up all the ducks in row with the fun warm weather brings here.
I've been a little distracted though playing the what if game and that kicked up all sorts of feelings I've struggled with over the years with the blog. It's a strange and weird thing to have a worldwide accessible diary of young adulthood. I can pull up posts that talked about my first loves, my first adult job, my first apartment, and all the heartache that came with that. I have made a conscious effort over the years to detangle myself (and all my emotions) from here, but there's something so powerful just the same knowing that someone who has read from 2003 can read between the lines seven years later and know the real me I usually think I'm hiding so well.
There;s no denying that swiftly approaching 30, my life has taken weird turns that I'd have never imagined in 2003 as a bright-eyed 22-year old who thought I knew everything. But that's just how life goes really. At this point, I want a brilliant summer and go back to school in the fall with a great thesis idea. I want to fulfill a longtime dream and explore Europe with no lingering regrets/nagging thoughts. I want fun, I want romance, I want satisfaction. I want everything and I feel like I'm in a place where I finally know how to get it.
This year was a bit of a hard trek. The fall definitely more so than the spring for sure. I feel like I hit my stride a bit this semester, I'm definitely feeling good right now though.
The rest of the week is my moment of respite before I go back to freelancing furiously for the weeks I've got before Paris. There was a scary moment last week at the program orientation where I wasn't sure if it was still a go, but they say it is apparently, so I'm hoping for the best.
I'm trying to get rid of loose ends this week so I can just be as lazy as possible this weekend. I know well the hazards of having no break before jumping into another stressful situation.