Portsmouth, NH | Durham, NH
Academia, Uncategorized

Long Days, Short Weeks

“Today, me will live in the moment. Unless it is unpleasant, in which case, me will eat a cookie.” -Cookie Monster.

Friends, I’d like to talk to you about living in the moment. Hannah and I have been trying to channel Cookie Monster, but we’ve only been successful at the eating-cookies part. Lately it’s felt like life is a race, a desperate sprint to a time when you aren’t feeling stretched too thin. But every time you approach the finish line, it jumps back another mile.

Depending on your tendency to commit to things without thinking, college can be a lot. (I swear that midterms have lasted the entirety of October. It’s been midterms forever. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t midterms.) And on top of classes, you commit to other things. You join clubs, get a job, spearhead group projects, and maybe even start a blog with your roommate. Hannah and I were thinking of starting a cover band, but we might have too much on our plates right now. Deepest apologies to our hypothetical fans.

Now I’m a firm believer in keeping busy. Too much free time and before you know it you’re four hour-long episodes deep of The Newsroom and you can’t tell if it’s day or night. (This happened once.) There’s nothing wrong with taking opportunities and living fully. Lately we’ve been calling it, living on the edge… (of a breakdown). In case you don’t know what this looks like, here are some visuals of me and Hann at some low points:

      

And it feels like everything is in fast-forward. The days are never-ending but the weeks are incredibly short. Monday through Friday we put our heads down and wait for the weekend, wishing it would all rush by in a peppy 80’s-music montage. Then we’re in our third week of midterms and we have no idea how it happened. So I’d like to offer some unqualified wisdom to you guys.

At some point tomorrow, slow down and reflect. Take time and enjoy your lunch before you rush off to another meeting. Save an hour to watch an episode of your favorite show. Walk the long way to class and take deep breaths of clean air. Friday might be better, but today is good.

It’s not always that easy, but maybe we can make a habit of this. Maybe you’ll become the relentlessly optimistic one in your group of friends. I bet most of them wouldn’t disown you. And if anyone out there is being hit especially hard this week, know that I believe in you. Midterms will be over eventually. (Just like a few more weeks.)

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Off-Campus, Uncategorized

Badass Lady Wisdom

“You better not make fun of me in your blog again.” –my mom

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: October is my mom’s birth month. She’s turning twenty-nine next week, and it is imperative that celebrations be held every weekend from the 1st of the month right up until Halloween. If you’re a longtime friend of my mom, or a Facebook friend of my mom, or if you’ve recently met my mom in passing, you probably know this already. But I thought the PSA might be necessary.

I’ve been given a very specific list of items to exclude from this blog post. “Pre-menopause,” “hot flashes,” “middle-age,” and “just menopause in general.” By listing these things now, I’m 100% violating this request, but I’m only doing it because if these things hadn’t been mentioned, I never in a million years would have thought to include them in this post, and I think they add a little something special. But let me rewind.

Julie and I took a break from honoring our campus with scenes like this to spend the weekend in the White Mountains for my mom’s birthday. We were invited to join in on a “Girls’ Weekend,” a mystical and outdoorsy 48 hour getaway with my mom and a bunch of her friends. Why they wanted to invite us—two relatively uncoordinated co-eds who spend most of their free time discussing second-string Harry Potter characters—is still a little bit lost on me, but we packed up our hiking boots and went on our merry way.

(Side note: If you were wondering which HP characters count as “second string,” our roster includes Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and occasionally Fred and George Weasley. Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnigan, and Cho Chang are third string. Ernie MacMillan’s on the bench.)

The thing about my mom’s friends is that they’re not really just my mom’s friends. They’re my surrogate moms. When I was younger they bathed me and changed my diapers and yelled at me when my boots tracked snow in the house, just as loudly and with as much enthusiasm as my own mother would. I call most of them “Auntie,” and I’m pretty sure they make up about 73% of this blog’s readership. (Love you guys! Keep it up!)

Over our 48 mystical and outdoorsy hours together, my mom & co. taught Julie and me a lot about life, love, and how best to lose a member of the group on a mountain in the middle of a rainstorm.

Badass Lady Wisdom:

Make time for weekend trips with friends, even if it feels like you don’t have any. (Time, that is. If it feels like you don’t have any friends, consider making some before you plan weekend friend trips.)
Always bring a bottle of wine. Doesn’t matter where. Just bring it.
Don’t be afraid to break the rules.
Good friends make you a birthday cake. Best friends make you a birthday cake and hike with it for 8.4 miles so you can eat it next to a waterfall.
Get up early. Go outside. Climb a mountain. Bring a raincoat. Life’s too short to say no to an adventure.

To my mom & co., thank you for all of your badass lady wisdom. I was raised by a team of experts. Readers—badass ladies and gents and everything in between—I hope you enjoy this wisdom too. (And remember to wish my mom a happy birthday. It’s the law.)

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Adventure, Uncategorized

Two Dudes, One Moped

The other night I was walking home from class, attempting not to get tangled in my headphones cord while balancing a cup hot of cider and spilling it all over my hands. I strolled down Main Street, happy for my day to be over. And that’s when I saw it: Two Dudes, One Moped.

They’re a majestic creature, really. Like Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster. Just a couple of guys sharing one small seat on a motorized scooter and looking upset about it. There’s the guy driving, hunched forward and looking anywhere but back at his friend, or at anyone else, for that matter. Then there’s the passenger, following strict, guy-on-the-back-of-a-moped protocol.

GUY-ON-THE-BACK-OF-A-MOPED-PROTOCOL:

You think this is weird, and you must make it known to the world that you think it’s weird.
Sit as far back as possible without actually tumbling backwards into the street. Risk life if necessary.
Do not, under any circumstances, wrap your arms around the dude in front. Put your hands anywhere else. Hold the seat, flail your arms around, pick your nose. Anything else.
Absolutely no hip contact.

This next part goes out to you, Dude On The Back Of A Moped. It’s okay. Sometimes, when you’re running late to wherever you’re going, you have to hitch a ride of the back of another dude’s scooter. There’s nothing wrong with Two Dudes, One Moped. Just relax and enjoy the ride, you mythical creature of this college campus.

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Sweaty

The Mono Scare

Tennis practice on Friday afternoon began like it always does—with dynamic stretching drills that make us look like morons. Our club tennis team coach has recently been watching a lot of YouTube videos by the “professionals,” and apparently the professionals are into things like running across the court while flapping your arms in circles. We also practice swinging at empty air, balancing on one leg in a variety of strange positions, and running frantic circles around our own tennis rackets. The team gets a lot of encouraging honks from passing fans.

But as we grabbed our rackets and started to get into position for triples—3 vs. 3 tennis, also kind of silly looking but a good time as long as you don’t collide with too many teammates—my friend Bruce* gave me some startling news. “Did you hear about Rachel?” He asked. I hadn’t seen Rachel since our tournament the previous weekend, so I shook my head no. Bruce grew serious. “She has mono,” he said.

Mono—or mononucleosis, as Web MD would say—is a stupid illness. Affectionately known as “the kissing disease,” mono spreads primarily through the sharing of saliva. (I formally apologize for the phrase “sharing of saliva.”) On top of making you feel like shit for months, mono causes inflammation of the spleen, and if you fall on your spleen while it is inflamed, there’s a good chance that it’ll rupture. (Aside from swelling up and benching you from all physical activities when you have mono, the spleen doesn’t do a whole lot. It’s like the right-fielder on a little league baseball team. Just sort of stands there.)

The bottom line is mono sucks. I felt terrible for Rachel and her spleen. I was about to tell Bruce this, but then I had a flashback so vivid, it could’ve been the final scene of a Law & Order episode.

6:15 AM on September 27, 2014. Fifteen or so members of the tennis team crowd the local Dunkin’ Donuts. Almost all of us are wearing grey sweat pants with our team logo and matching I regret signing up for this tournament but I’m trying not to show it expressions. It is still dark outside. The college we’re traveling to for our tournament is two and a half hours away. We’re excited, deep down we really are, but it’s a Saturday and all of our neighbors were blasting music until 2AM and no one can report getting more than five real hours of sleep. Rachel orders a large, cream-colored iced coffee. I do not order a coffee, because I know it will give me a) the jitters, b) a stomachache, c) an intense and prolonged need to pee, or d) all of the above. But Rachel’s cream-colored coffee looks damn good.

 “What kind of coffee did you get?” I ask her out of genuine curiosity. (Coffee fascinates me. Most of the time it makes me feel like I’m going to die and I never know how to order it right, but it’s just so sophisticated, you know?)

 “French Vanilla decaf,” Rachel says. “Want to try?” Then she smiles, tilts her straw towards me, and…

I TOOK A SIP. I TOOK A SIP OF RACHEL’S LARGE FRENCH VANILLA DECAF COFFEE FROM DUNKIN’ DONUTS. MAYDAY. MAYDAY.

My stomach dropped. My skin went cold. I gulped. “Damn,” I said to Bruce, “that sucks.”

Things I chose not to say to Bruce:

Rachel is patient zero, and I am whatever the next victim after patient zero is called. Because I’m an idiot, Bruce.
Oh god, I can already feel my lymph nodes swelling.
I had mono in fourth grade and my mom made me sit on the couch watch Little House on the Prairie with her for six straight weeks. I can’t go back there, Bruce. I CAN’T.

I managed to swallow my fear—noting that my throat felt a little dry, like it was on the verge of becoming severely sore—and I played through the rest of the practice. It was a great practice, actually. Shout out to my friend Alfred for making it to the final round of Around the World two games in a row. (In the final round, you have to drop your racket and spin around in a circle after every shot you hit. I’m starting a petition to bring that rule to the Wimbledon Championships.)

Since the flashback, I’ve had two doctors, several family members, and most of the Internet tell me that contracting mono twice is a highly unlikely scenario. Julie has decided that she is immune. My other roommates are pretending that I have the Bubonic Plague.

Moral of the story: club sports rock, mono sucks, and fuck French Vanilla decaf.

*All names have been changed to protect the ill. Also, all names have been inspired by Batman.

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