Portsmouth, NH | Durham, NH
Some Other Things

Ode To The Spaulding Birds

“Eh… what’s the world with one less bird?” -Rina Drake

My friends, truer words have never been spoken.

I don’t remember ever disliking birds. They’ve never really done anything to me, personally. I don’t have any scarring childhood experiences them that haunt me to this day.*

*But I have seen birds do some pretty fucked up things. One pooped on my dad’s head at the beach one summer, like while he was running. That had to have been on purpose. Another swooped down and snatched half a sandwich from the hand of a kid I babysat last summer. Brady was pretty hungry for the rest of the afternoon.

I realized that I had an issue with birds during my semester abroad in Ireland. There was this picturesque little body of water called the Lough about a quarter mile from my house and these massive birds occupied it as if they were Great Britain in the 1800’s.* So entitled, so condescending.

*Line courtesy of Will, who was on shift with me while I wrote this.

There was a kilometer-long walkway around the water that people would walk and run around. I ran there a couple of times a week because the walk to the gym was too long. (I got caught in my fair share of sudden downpours mid-run there, too. I quickly learned that if you use, “it’s probably gonna rain” as an excuse not to run in Ireland, you will never run ever, probably.) 

About halfway around the path, there was this area where all the giant birds hung out.

They were THE WORST. They were like eight grade bullies or political canvassers and they didn’t even scurry away when you ran directly at them. And I know. I tried a few times. So basically I hauled ass through eighth grade bird territory, then really regretted it along the last, long stretch of each lap.

So that was the first time birds harassed me. Back on the UNH campus, I spend a decent amount of time in Spaulding Hall. It’s one of the Life Sciences buildings, and I’ve had two classes and a lab there. On the second floor, there is an ENTIRE WALL OF TAXIDERMIED BIRDS. As my co-worker Will typed it while I was away from the desk, “These terrors are taxidermied and lined up like some satanic-ritual to the glory of their evil.” (This post wouldn’t be the same without you, Will.)

They start off all small and not-terrible.

But shit escalates fast.

Did you know that taxidermied owls stare directly into the depths of your soul? Well, they do.

Tell me this guy isn’t something out of your nightmares.

I don’t know if you can tell, but this seagull is the size of an overweight toddler. I kid you not.

If you’re my friend on Snapchat, you’ve probably already seen these guys.

And if not, then you’ll certainly be well-acquainted with them now.

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College, Goofy

Hannah & Julie: The Origin Story

I’m in a science fiction literature class right now—hear that, future employers? Science fiction! Just think of all the Blade Runner references I’ll be able to throw out during project meetings!—and I recently learned that comic books often include something called an origin story. According to Wikipedia, an origin story “reveals how a character or team gained their superpowers and/or the circumstances under which they became superheroes or supervillains.”

Jules and I are not technically superheroes, but we were Batman and Darth Vader for Halloween once. Between the two of us, we had one cape. Julie got really mad at the cape for some reason and threw it into the middle of a crowded frat basement. We never saw the cape again.

This is our origin story.

To be honest, I have no clue when I first met Julianne Riley. (For those of you who might not be friends with her on Facebook, her full name is indeed Julianne. For those of you who are friends with her on Facebook and message her like “hey, Julianne!”—that’s a dead giveaway that you’ve never actually talked to her before. Just a heads up to future suitors.) She was in my high school class. She had long reddish hair, she was pretty quiet in class, and she was hilarious. These were things I knew, mostly from other people. We were friendly, but nowhere close enough to be called friends.

Our junior year, we had a year-long class AP Composition class together. (Foreshadowing, am I right?) She sat behind me, or maybe in front of me, who knows. She swears that one afternoon we had this long-ass, in-depth conversation about books while we were supposed to be discussing synthesis of ideas in an essay about Eugenics. I don’t have a great memory of this, or most of my junior AP classes for that matter—I didn’t handle stress so well my junior year. I think my brain just shut off so I wouldn’t have to relive all the five paragraph essays and crying over essentially nothing while trying to review for the SATs. But I look back on that vague memory of a conversation with warmth in my heart. It was the first of literally hundreds of times that Jules and I would use books to procrastinate whatever we were actually supposed to be doing.

Senior year, we had two year-long AP classes together. Jules sat two rows ahead of me in AP Lit, and about ten desks to my left in AP European History. (By senior year I’d developed some stress-coping mechanisms, so I remember these classes pretty well.) Once, Julie and our friend Sagar went rogue with the iPods that Mr. Audley gave us to research with in AP Euro—they took candid pictures of everyone in the class during one of his lectures. In my photo, my hand was on my face and my fingers were squishing my nose weirdly. Julie, Andie, and Meg would later tell me this is something I absentmindedly do a lot. But Jules saw it happen in 2011. And she still became friends with me eventually.

At the end of the year, Mr. Audley took us on a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Julie and I wandered away from the class and found a painting that really hit home. I took a picture for our dearest friends and loved ones.

I remember walking away from that field trip thinking, holy shit, Julie Riley is cool as hell. I still think that on most days. (Except for when I go away for the weekend and she forgets to give me back my tweezers. When that happens I swear at her a little bit in my head and almost text her in all caps to GIVE ME BACK MY DAMN TWEEZERS, but even then I still think she is at least marginally cool.)

On the first and only night of UNH orientation the summer before we started college, Julie and I took a walk to the Wildcat. (If you’re not a UNH alum, there’s a giant statue of a wildcat right outside of our hockey stadium, and they make you rub its nose for good luck like once a week when you’re a freshman.) We’d already rubbed the statue’s nose during the campus tour earlier that day, but we were excited and hyper and a little bit anxious. Everyone was. This was the place we were going to be for the next four years. This was college. Everything was about to change.

Some kids were already trying to drink out of plastic water bottles in dorm rooms furthest away from orientation leaders. A few of the girls Julie and I were with talked about going to get pizza at a place one of the leaders had mentioned. Jules turned to me and said, “wanna take a walk?”

We walked down Main Street in fleece jackets, just the two of us. It was bizarrely cold for June. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but if I know us, it was about how nervous and excited we were. How scared we were to jump into this new place. How beautiful the campus looked at night and how much we fucking loved Harry Potter. (I know that one came out early.) We probably didn’t even know where we were going, but we knew we had to get there fast, because we only had about twenty minutes before curfew. The Wildcat found us just in time. I made Julie hop up there so I could get a picture for our moms.

Walking home from the Wildcat that night, I remember getting this giddy feeling in my stomach. Like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. We didn’t know what was waiting for us come  September, or who we’d meet, or how we’d change. But we were at the beginning of a new adventure. And whether or not we knew it then, we were going to take it on together.

Until next Monday, my friends. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of us standing next to each other at senior prom.

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Artsy, College

Chasing Normal

Hi guys. It feels like forever since I’ve written something for the twelve of you, but I’m so so happy to be back in the swing of things.

During our business meeting, we decided who’d be taking the first week back. Since it had been perceptually forever, I volunteered. (It’s usually either an all-out bloodbath for first week privileges or we draw straws like it’s a death sentence. Picture either the reaping ceremonies for the Hunger Games or the actual Hunger Games.)

Then, last night, Hannah and I were finally confronting all of the homework that we’d neglected to do all weekend, and I was realizing that I had considerably less to do than I thought. I was mentally high-fiving myself when Hannah asked, “so, have you thought about what you’re going to post this week?”

And, for about the millionth time, I had not. I whisper-yelled “FUCK” (it’s happened before and it’ll happen again), and Hannah declared, “yup, it’s official. We’re back.”

(I think I have a perfect track record for forgetting that it’s my week to post until Sunday or Monday night. I’ve basically got the equivalent of when race horses win all three of those prestigious races. I’ve won the triple crown in forgetting blog posts. Just call me Secretariat.)

So all is right with the world again in Blog Land. That’s a feeling we’ve been chasing a lot lately. All year, Hann and I have been waiting for things to feel normal. Or maybe how they felt a year ago, before we went abroad. We’ve been waiting for everything to go back to the way it was our sophomore year.

But the truth is, things haven’t been quite the same lately. It’s our last semester, and the awareness of that has been impossible to shake. Ever since we touched back down in America, our plan has been to make the absolute most out of this final year. We resolved to do considerably less schoolwork, have considerably more fun, and not think about the impending doom of graduation until we absolutely had to. We were determined to enjoy every second we had left.

Turns out that’s easier said than done. Especially when you make it a goal. Living completely in the moment is elusive enough without trying so hard at it. (Think we fucked that one up, Hann.) It’s been impossible lately to ignore the fact that this is our last semester. People are applying for jobs and grad school, we’re applying to graduate, and no one will stop asking us what are plans are for next year. (Seriously. Now’s your chance to ask me about grad schools. No, I haven’t heard back yet. Yes, that’s probably a bad sign. Essentially, I’m doomed.)

We’ve talked about this before, about how it’s impossible to live entirely in the moment. It’s impossible not to notice that things are changing, because those changes are going to happen whether you acknowledge them or not. Everyday life doesn’t feel as intense as it did our sophomore year. We’re not spending every meal turning Hannah into a teletubby in the dining hall and panicking about what we’re going to do with our lives anymore. (It is kind of nice to not be either intensely happy or intensely sad, though.)

We can feel ourselves transitioning out of this phase and into the next one. We leave campus sometimes to go to internships and put the things we’ve learned over these four years into action, and we’re scared we won’t succeed. We’re fine-tuning our resumes and LinkedIn profiles like we’re warriors preparing for battle. We’re not just sitting in classes and writing papers in the library and stealing oranges from the dining hall anymore. Shit’s getting real, man.

(Some brief snapshots of our glory days.)
And I thought I was going to have some prolific conclusion drawn from this, but I don’t. I’ve just learned the same lesson that I’ve learned dozens of times before this, the same lesson I’ll undoubtedly learn a hundred more times before I die.

The only thing you can count on is change. Sometimes it’s hard. (Clichés, clichés, and more clichés.) But every time I learn this lesson, I get a little bit better at dealing with it. I also learn that change isn’t a bad thing. Every scary new chapter that intimidates the crap out of me as I stand on its threshold has managed to make my world so much bigger and better. So bring it on, final semester. I’m more than ready to forget that I have to post again two weeks from now.

 

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College, Goofy

Last One, Best One

Before every highly-anticipated return to blogging, we have an official Hannah & Julie meeting in the fancy business building on campus.  (Yes, this meeting is just the two of us. No, we couldn’t have just had it in our bedroom.) We stick out like sore thumbs and always bring M&M’s. As we sat down for our pre-launch meeting this weekend, we realized that this is kind of it. This is our last semester of college blogging. Holy crap, right? But we are really, really jazzed about the next few months. If senior year of Hannah & Julie is our best season yet, then this semester is going to be sweeps week.

We’re big-time brainstorming a list of all the things we’ve ever wanted to post about. We’ve still got two and a half years’ worth of half-baked ideas to giggle about in business meetings, but this semester we want to try something different, too. That’s where you come in.

What do you want to see us write about? This whole time, we’ve been writing about us. We’re still going to be writing about us, but we want to hear what YOU want us to write about us. (PSA: This does not include personal shout-outs or posts dedicated exclusively to you. We mean, you’re cool, we like you, you should come to the bar with us sometime, but we have precious few weeks left and don’t really have time for your shit.)

So, what stereotypical college experiences have we not written about yet? (Note: We already threw a kegger in our apartment over the summer and our landlord caught us carrying the empty keg across the street. Turns out our lease has a strict no-keg policy. Missed that one.) Whether or not you’re still in college or have ever been to college, we want to hear what college things you think this blog is missing.

Want us to rush a sorority? (Too late, we’re not doin’ that.) Want us to shotgun beers in the shower? (We can write about that now!) Want us to streak across the quad? Want photo evidence? (This may not be the kind of website you think it is.) Please email all ideas, questions, or pictures of baby goats to hannahandjulie94@gmail.com. Or post on our Facebook wall! We would fucking love you to post on our Facebook wall. Tell us what you’re thinking.

We’ll be back at you next week with some new stories and goofy hashtags. In the meantime, check out our updated About Us pages on top of this menu. (We figured out how to make a menu! Turns out WordPress can do some pretty cool stuff when you don’t ignore 90% of its functions.)

See you next Monday, friends.

 

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