Portsmouth, NH | Durham, NH
Artsy, College

Cream, Sugar, and Love (Hannah Drinks Coffee Now)

Last week I was sitting in the library and my phone buzzed. It was a text from Hann. Several texts, actually. This is what they said:

Sept. 24, 11:13am: Found a new coffee cart.
Sept. 24, 11:13am: Vanilla-hazelnut flavor
Sept. 24, 11:14am: Styrofoam cups which isn’t my favorite aesthetic
Sept. 24, 11:14am: But this shit is good

I read the texts and smiled. Then I sent this back: Ya know, I think I could write a memoir about your transformation into a coffee drinker. I have that much detail.

And it’s true. I’ve been getting texts like this for months now. I could have a whole chapter about Hann’s preference for plastic over Styrofoam cups. I can see it now; Chapter Three: The Issue of Aesthetic. I realized just how mundane this topic was, but I was loving the conversation.

I still remember the moment it all began, (mostly because I had no fucking idea how much more I was going to hear on the subject for the next six months at the time). Hann and I were having one of our regular Sunday-Night-Study-Abroad-Facetime sessions, sitting in our beds in our respective countries, pretending those beds were about 18 inches apart. (They are now. It’s not as fun as we thought it’d be.) At the time I was drinking a lot of tea, because that’s what the Irish did. All of a sudden Hannah’s face lit up on my little iPhone screen.

“Oh yeah, Jules, I’ve been drinking coffee here! It’s like, a little bit of espresso and then a shit ton of cream, but it’s really good. I like it. I think I like coffee now.”

I remember being happy for her. We’d been exhausted college students for two and a half years at that point, and were living in the hell of needing some sort of caffeine but also being total wimps about coffee. We considered just hooking up an IV to get it into our systems in the morning, but I really don’t like needles so that didn’t work out.

Hann had been on a mission to like coffee for probably a year. We’d stop by the Dunkin’ Donuts on campus on a Sunday, and as we walked away she’d take her first sip, grimace, and say something along the lines of, “oof, yup, definitely still haven’t gotten my order right.” Sometimes it was too bitter, sometimes it was a punch in the face of caramel swirl. The girl couldn’t win.

Now we’re back in America, and Hannah is officially a coffee drinker. Holy shit, is she a coffee drinker. Her summer essentially consisted of three activities: marathon bike rides, putting sunscreen on my shoulders at the beach, and going to this place in Newmarket to get an iced coffee. We took our fair share of road trips this summer all over New Hampshire, and we probably had this conversation before each one.

Hann: “Hey Jules, is the Shack on the way to where we’re going?”

Julie: “Uh, no.”

Hann: “Oh. Wanna go anyway?”

Julie: “Sure.”

She tried local cafes and coffee carts all over the seacoast region, basically. And I got a text-by-text update for every single coffee. Seriously. Every one. At this point I’ve compiled all the data into a concise summary, which is as follows.

There’s this one place on campus that everyone really likes but she’s not into it because you have to add your own milk and sugar and she always screws it up. (Still a newb at heart). She refuses to even go to this other place because the cups are Styrofoam and ugly. (Aesthetic is key, apparently). She’s into the coffee cart with the Jesus quotes all over it, but the key there is asking for “a pinch of sugar.” And, just last week, she tried this other cart for the first time. And I got a text play-by-play: Vanilla Hazelnut flavor. Milk and a little sugar. Really good, despite Styrofoam cups. (Nothing can be perfect, I guess. Except the Shack.)

I made fun of her as the texts rolled in, but the truth is, I love hearing about Hannah’s coffee endeavors. I love giving her shit for describing them to me in such detail. Maybe it’s because we spend so much time together every day, and we’re running out of novel things to talk about. (Living in a tiny room with someone for close to four years does that to you.) But I think it’s also because she’s just my favorite.

In a similar vain, one night during our sophomore year I was sitting across from Andie, one of my other best friends, in the dining hall. She was staring intently at her iPhone and fretting about whether or not to upgrade to the new iOS thing, or whatever. I sat and watched her with my chin in my palm and thought, if this was anyone else, I really wouldn’t give a shit. Who the hell cares about what anyone’s phone is doing but their own? But I love Andie. She’s one of my favorite people, and in that moment I cared deeply about whether or not she was going to update her phone and the ramifications of such a decision. I think that’s how you know when you when you’ve found the people you love.

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Artsy, College

It Doesn’t Have To Be Heavy

We’re heading towards the one-month semester marker, and this is where I usually start to get overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed. Is everybody overwhelmed? It seems like everyone I run into on campus is always just slightly out of breath. Hey, how are you? I’m great, SO busy though. Let’s get coffee sometime if I’m not crushed to death by the number of things I need to get done in the next 24 hours, shall we?

Last night I sat in front of my computer and stared at this Word document for close to three hours. By the end, I had exactly one line that I liked. (“I want to read The Economist, but I don’t want to be a douche about it.”) As a writer I’ve come to accept that this is just something that happens sometimes—words don’t work for a day or two and it makes you want to pull your hair out, but against all odds you’re having a good hair day, so you don’t. I got home to our apartment around 12:30 and just held my own head for a few minutes. My body ached, most of my assignments for the next morning still weren’t done, and I was never going to write anything good again, probably.

Julie had left our desk lamp on for me in our room. She always does when I’m out late. (As a side note, our beds are about a foot away from each other—and I say that as a fact, not a figure of speech. We have a rule that whoever is actively changing their clothes has the right of way, and the other person needs to get the fuck out of the between-bed aisle. It’s worked out pretty well so far.)

Jules was sleeping when I got home, with her face tucked so far beneath her quilted comforter that all I could see was her hair against her pillow. I tried to change quietly—I had the right of way after all, with no obstructions—but Jules woke up and peeked out from underneath her quilt. She asked me how the ‘brary was, I said it was good. I shut off the light and we said goodnight.

*****

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m doing here. In my tiny twinkly apartment, in my lofty seminar literature classes, in afternoon meetings with tennis co-captains that always run long. This year feels different somehow—in a good way, I think. One foot here, one foot where I’m headed, but both feet more grounded than before.

When Julie and I were away, we made a pledge to each other that this year we would remember to take a step back. Last fall we were just so strung out. You might remember how stressed we were studying for finals, or trying to prepare for study abroad. We slogged through the week like we were miners digging for coal, not students taking classes and working part-time at a campus office. It’s easy to get caught up in the weight of things. Exams, papers, grad school, leadership, romantic angst, co-managing a critically-acclaimed blog, the overwhelming uncertainty of the future, etc. It feels so heavy sometimes.

But it doesn’t have to be heavy. It doesn’t! Of all the things I took home from last semester, I think that one’s the most important. It might even be the whole point.

The world is so big. There are so many things that could happen and will happen. Why let the little things sink us?

What I’m Doing Here:

Chatting with roommates over breakfast on a Tuesday.
Discussing the role of women in comedy using Bridesmaids as a primary text. (Seriously, that’s the seminar class I’m headed to next.)
Drinking iced hazelnut coffee with cream and a pinch of sugar from my favorite coffee cart that sometimes gives out Jesus propaganda with your order.
Drinking beer. That’s important.
Reading The Economist and trying really hard not to be a douche about it.
Smiling whenever Julie leaves the light on for me.
Learning how to write my story.

(Photography notes: Shout out to Meg & Sam for a kickass sunset cruise, pictured above. The featured photo was taken at some point last year at an event for our cushy campus desk job, and for some reason, I was holding soup.)

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Artsy, College

The One Where We Beg You To Share

Big news, guys, this blog is turning 2! In blog years, that means it’s 21. We (Hannah and Julie) are also 21, so all three of us are going to the bar as soon as we’re done writing this post.

(Yes, we can now write about going to the bar without tarnishing our reputations to future employers. Hello, future employers. Isn’t it wonderful how responsible we’ve been all these underage years? That ends now.)

Two years ago, we unveiled this uber cool blog that was creatively named exactly our names, and last year we revamped it so it was easier for you to read and included a picture of us holding each other at the top of every page. I know what you’re thinking. How could we possibly take this thing to the next level when we’re already at level fucking 10?

Well, we’ve been playing coy with the idea of marketing ourselves for a while. Our tens of fans (mostly moms) have raved about our hilarity, and we’ve just smiled politely and blushed. Oh yeah, we have a blog I guess. We made a Facebook page for ourselves last year and took some shit from basically everyone we knew. But it was an encouraging kind of shit. People liked our writing, and we realized we kind of like our writing too. Which brings us to the most important point we may ever make.

PLEASE, PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG. (Right now. Do it.)

In our many (two) years of blogging, we’ve noticed that viewership goes way up – like, doubling and tripling average views – when people share our links on Facebook. We’ve never really asked people to share before because we’re idiots, probably. But we’re asking now. We’re kind of begging, to be honest. Just look at us and our fans on top of Mt. Liberty. We all really, really want you to share this blog.

This is our senior year, guys. In nine months we’ll graduate into real-world oblivion. (Seriously, recent grads in nearby bars talk about graduation like it’s the fourth horseman of the apocalypse. Not exactly reassuring.) But in the meantime, we want to write some really good stuff for you. Honest stuff. Funny stuff. Maybe even some gross stuff. (Don’t think we’ve grown out of the fart jokes.) We believe in what we have to say, and we want to share our stories with as many people as we can.

We’ll be posting every Monday, like always. If you see something you like, share it on Facebook. Tell your mom about us. (Market research shows that moms are our golden target audience. Love you moms and fake moms and other people’s moms!) Send our link to your friends. Read out loud to your dog. Make a billboard ad like in Ferris Bueller. We’re aiming for level 11 here.

This blog season (sure, we’ll call it a season like we’re True Detective or something) is going to be bigger and better than it’s ever been before, but we want it to start with you guys. Are you secretly in love with one or both of us? SHARE THIS BLOG. Have you been or will you ever be a senior in college? SHARE THIS BLOG. Did you just find this website and feel really confused about whose arms are whose in our bio picture? SHARE THIS BLOG.

There’s only one option, really. You won’t regret it.

 

Now that we’re past the begging, we realize that you’re probably dying to know what we were up to this summer. You’re in luck, my friends.

Updates on Hannah, by Julie:
“Man, that girl is high off America right now,” my mom told me after she hung out with Hann within the first week that she was home from Spain. Hann basically walked off the plain and jumped directly onto a road bike. She trained, fundraised, and then kicked ass in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a charity bike ride through Massachusetts that raises insane amounts of money for cancer research. She was grinning and highfiving people for the entire 183-mile bike ride.

Hannah and I also spent an obscene amount of time together this summer. (You’re shocked, right?) On the off chance that she wasn’t biking/going to this one place in Newmarket to get an iced coffee, she was usually putting sunscreen on my shoulders at the beach.

We went sunset paddleboarding, did morning yoga, entertained friends, and sat by the ocean. (Once so hungover that we barely talked to each other the entire time). We cooked dinner together pretty much every night, and then I’d fall asleep on the couch during True Detective. Nannying triplets does that to you.

Updates on Julie, by Hannah:
This summer, Julie spent most of her time acquiring freckles. She wrangled 6-year-old triplet boys full-time, which I would consider a Herculean feat. (Sure, Hercules slayed the dragon with all the heads that kept growing back, but did he ever listen to the Mary Poppins soundtrack six times in a row?) Julie answered the question “why?” anywhere between 10 and 85 times a day. She also managed to get to Bikram Yoga in Portsmouth 4-5 times a week, which explains why I found her asleep on top of her covers before 10pm most nights.

Oh, Julie and I lived together in an apartment this summer, did I mention that? Probably not. Well, we did! It was half-adult and incredible! Julie taught me how to cook chicken in June, because I shit you not, I was not totally sure how to cook chicken then. (She only made fun of me a little bit.) Fresh off a semester of feeding herself in Ireland, Julie also flexed her cooking muscles in the broccoli, quinoa, stir fry, quesadilla, and pico de gallo departments.

Sometimes she wouldn’t even shower between sweaty yoga and making dinner. She didn’t smell great then, but that’s the level of domestic dedication I’m talking about here.

That’s all for now, folks. Share this post, like our page, and check back next week for the start of our senior chapter.

#hannahandjulie

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