Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm sorry I suck at updating right now.

Apparently not only am I pretending nothing is real while abroad, but I'm also not feeling the need to keep in touch with close friends, worry about the future, or update this blog. Oops. Here is a cliff-notes version of my life. I don't know when the next real update will come. I'm sorry. Please don't stop reading. One day there will be worthwhile content posted again. I just don't know when.

Things you should 100% check out:
1. Dollhouse, even though according to Sam it's getting canceled after this season.
2. Snacks and Shit. Few things make me ACTUALLY laugh out loud as opposed to just uttering "LOL" (FML, yes I actually say LOL in conversation.) This website makes me actually LOL. Like, the kind where you make awkward hyena-sounds, not the kind where you smirk ironically and say, "El oh el."

What I've been up to:
1. I got hired to intern at Time Out New York Kids this summer! I'm extremely excited about it and my only current concern is how the heck I'm going to get to the offices on 10th Ave. What subway goes there? Hopstop suggested I take the N to Times Square and walk the rest of the way, which like, distance wise is no big deal but I hate Times Square. There must be a better way. Yes? Also, since it's part time, I need to find a baby sitting job. Any pregnant ladies reading this blog? Any child-rearing mommies need a sitter on Mondays and Tuesdays? Uhh...anyway.
2. I went to Madrid this past weekend. It was a lot of fun but not my favorite European city. I think Spain parties a little too hard for me. Coming home from a night out at 7am? No thank you. Dressing up in a Spanish flag for the Spain vs. Turkey soccer game was fun, though.

What I'm going to be doing soon:
1. Spring break starts Friday! I'm off to Berlin, and then, as I've already bragged, hitting up 5 other cities. I'm actually really anxious, but I know once I'm traveling it will be unbelievable. I just have pre-trip-organizational jitters right now.
2. At the end of spring break I'm meeting my family in Paris and we're all coming back to London together. I'm so excited to finally see them; I've never been this long without seeing my mom. I'm also really excited to introduce them to my life here, and to have them meet my friends and vice versa.

Also, I'll be home in a month and a half and I'll be back in New York in 2 months. I'm apartment hunting for the fall and starting to form my thesis question and picking classes on April 20th. On a more basic level I am doing laundry, getting my bangs trimmed, and finally getting a bikini wax tomorrow. I might not be keeping well connected with everyone I love, but I am getting shit done and living life and writing and taking it all in and hopefully I'll be able to spew it all back out coherently at some point. That point is just not today.

I hope all is well with everyone else. I love you, even if I have been bad at keeping in touch, I promise!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ladyhawke is Lovely

I never normally post music videos/music commentary because I'm not very secure in my ability to find "good" music or critique music objectively/valuably. In high school I paid a lot of attention to music (mostly because I was into a lot of guys who were very into music...sigh, why was I so lame?) but staying on top of the music scene is, like staying on top of anything, very time consuming, and during college I've allowed my focus to slip toward other things that grab me more forcefully. Anyway all I'm trying to say is sometimes I do still make an effort to find a new artist or two, and my recent new find is Ladyhawke. She is great and this video is particularly wonderful. Enjoy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Secret To Happiness

I would add: straight hair, cooperative bangs, Diet Coke, naps, dance parties, journals, poetry, and New York City. Am I missing anything?

Poor decisions reap good stories

The following is an excerpt from the personal essay I just wrote as part of my application to the Creative Nonfiction workshop that I'm applying to take in the fall. While telling the story of the Irishman in more detail (that does not need to be retold to the entire Internet) to Jess & Sam via Skype a few nights ago, I explained that I think sometimes I make poor decisions just so I have good stories to tell. "That's very Millennial of you," said Jess. And so it is.

I have taken on an attitude while abroad that nothing that happens in Europe is real. This outlook is probably a mistake, seeing as I hang out with lots of NYU students who I will undoubtedly continue seeing once we all return to America, so even if I choose to erase everything that happens over the semester from my conscious existence at the end of it all, other people will hold my memories for me. Still, this tacit agreement with myself is allowing me to make more daring decisions, to be more reckless than I might normally be, and to be less uptight and anxious. Overall, I don’t think it’s a bad philosophy. In fact, I’m thinking of adopting it permanently and assuming that nothing in my entire life is real; I think ultimately this might make me a calmer person. Whether or not I continue with it, though, I am sticking with it here, using it as a blanket excuse for any actions I might typically regret. “Oh, hopping into bed with my close friend even though I generally don't believe in mixing sex and friendship? No, it wasn’t a mistake per say, it’s just that we’re abroad so none of this is real. And, oh, spending $40 on groceries that include 4 loaves of bread and 3 blocks of cheese? No no, it’s totally fine for my diet, because you see, I’m abroad, so it’s not real weight I’m gaining. And, oh, going home with an Irishman who has a girlfriend and a tiny uncircumcised penis…” Well, you get the idea. I have been making poor decisions under the guise of fantasy. I am making allowances based on the assumption that reality is suspended. Which would be questionable even if this really were the case, but becomes supremely suspect when I remember one key point: This is not a fantasy. Reality is not suspended. This is my life.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Relying on the kindness of strangers

I went out to top up my phone this morning and attempt to get over my disappointment and go back to being a functioning member of society, and on my walk back I fell into accidental step with a cute boy. I recognized him as an NYU student but we don't know each other so we weren't particularly friendly or anything–just sort of acknowledged we were both heading back to the same dorm. On our way in I couldn't find my card that lets me into the building, so he got a bit of a lead to the elevators and I assumed our encounter was over.

When I got to the elevators, though, he was in one, physically holding it open for me. Not with the button or anything. Like, with his body. I was so surprised, and I said, "Thank you," and he looks at me and says, "Of course." And I swear to God I almost started crying again, probably because I am still fragile from last night's shenanigans, and also because I am a baby, and maybe a tiny bit because technically I'm supposed to get my period soon even though I plan to skip it this month (TMI? Oh well fuck it, I love the Pill.) But I don't even know, I mean, people never hold the elevator open, I usually stand near the back and actively hit the "close" button over and over hoping it will shut before the sorry soul behind me catches up and sees me being an asshole in some inexplicable hurry, and here was this stranger telling me "of course" he held the door open for me? I don't know. It's probably not an act worthy of tears, or even of a blog post, but really, it felt like the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time, and I was just really appreciative and grateful, and it made me love the world a little bit more.

Disappointment & A Plea

I did not get the RA position. I came home from a mediocre night out last night, slightly drunk but mostly just feeling ill, opened up my Gmail and read that although I "most certainly have the potential to be a successful student staff member", they did not have enough positions available, so I actually don't get to be one. Then I sobbed hysterically for about an hour.

I know of at least one person who did get the job, and obviously I feel like I am more qualified than he is. But that is both unkind and irrelevant, and also just plain bad karma to wish him unwell. I do though. But we can pretend I don't.

Anyway the long and the short of it is, my housing options for the fall suddenly look very miserable. I entered the housing lottery by myself (because I stupidly, hopefully, embarrassingly, really thought I was going to get the RA job) and told my parents that if I didn't get the job I wanted to move out of housing anyway. Now that it's reality, I realize that I can't just magically procure an apartment, and neither of my parents are that excited about the idea of me living A. off-campus and B. alone.

So uh, this is a plea. If you know of any cheap apartments, or awesome people looking for roommates, or if you yourself need a roommate, or if you have a sofa you'd like to rent out for next year, or if you have any ideas or clues or suggestions that will make it so that I don't need to live with strangers in Lafayette next semester, now is the time to step forward. I will shower you with love and affection and sexual favors if you so desire, I will buy you presents, and I will be forever grateful.

Now me and my puffy eyes are off to explore London because this is the first weekend I've been "home" in the past 2 weeks and it is the last weekend I'll be "home" for the next 5 weeks. My life is not bad at all. In fact, it is currently amazing. I realize I'm behaving like a spoiled brat and I'm lucky to have parents who will pay for my housing and support me and are proud of me even for trying to be an RA. I'm lucky to be in London, and traveling, and experiencing all these amazing things. I know all that. 

I'm just so disappointed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Maybe the problem lies in my definition of Love

"I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else." — Jonathan Safron Foer

I think the quite essential problem in my life lies in that last sentiment. I want to be the most important person in the world to someone. I want to be the one person who matters. I want to save someone. I want to provide solace and comfort and pleasure and perfect happiness. I want to be somebody's Everything.

But I don't believe that one person should be anyone's "Everything," and I think I would have a rough time allowing one other person to become my everything.

So maybe the reason I have yet to find True Love lies less in my incompetence with the male species and more in my complete selfishness.

Or maybe I should leave Mr. Foer's words alone and also stop writing depressing blog posts about my (lacking) love life at 2am. You know, either/or.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Put this in your blog."

It's really cool when your younger sibling officially stops being just a younger family member and officially becomes a best friend. I love that my brother and I talk about (almost) everything and that I can count on him for legitimate, honest, non-judgmental advice. He also happens to be hilarious and mocks me (justifiably) for my ridiculously awful way with men. If you could call it a "way." Which you probably can't.

Anyway I promise real content soon. I do have a lot to say, just not the wherewithal to get around to writing it all down eloquently. Then again, I am (non-)technically on a four month vacation, so really I can do what I want. SO THERE! But no, seriously, expect some real posts soon. Like about the problems with today's feminist movement, my potential thesis topic for next year, art and literature in New York City and the respective "worlds" of each, and how traveling is making me think about things in a whole new way. So you know, pretty much the usual.

To conclude this haphazard post, some good news is that my NYU summer housing was confirmed today and I'm officially living in Gramercy again this summer, hopefully rooming with Sara. Which means I am 100% going to be in New York from May 31 to August 10. I'm still jobless, but I'll make something work out. I cannot even articulate how pleased this news has made me. I am loving Europe, but honestly, if I take one thing away from my semester abroad it will be this: my heart belongs to New York City. And I can't fucking wait to get back there.

Monday, March 16, 2009

As if I don't rage enough on this blog

My friend Abi runs a group blog that reminds me of HollaBackNYC, called Oh My God, Are You SERIOUS? The blog includes "stori[es] about...men, women, sex, relationships, hit-ons, skeezy people, thoughts about life or just an oh my god, are you serious?! moment." She just made me a contributor, so I'll be posting there too sometimes. All the posts to that blog are anonymous, so you won't necessarily know which is mine...but if you're a faithful reader, I bet you will.

I think I need to move to Ireland





Howth, Ireland - March 2009
Words to follow, when I remember how to speak.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Save This

America had Daylight Savings about a week ago but Europe is only participating the last weekend of March. Not only does this confuse me in general, but it fucks up my conception of the time difference and makes for problematic situations when I schedule phone interviews. I also have taken to overusing the phrase FML...as in, I say it after almost every sentence. But really, in this case, FML.

She's not here right now

Tonight, instead of being sensible and coming home to clean my room and pack after the play I saw with my theatre class, I went out dancing with some of my girl friends here. It was the right decision. Despite the anecdote I'm about to tell.

At the bar/club/fun little dance pit, I met a man. He seemed slightly creepy but overall sweet, and we began talking while all my friends smoked their cigarettes and were social with the other smokers (I am really missing out on a whole set of acquaintances by being a non-smoker. Bummer. Except, oh wait, I won't die of lung cancer. Score!) He told me he was from Germany but loved London, and that he was "unfortunately, a banker!" Soon we were holding hands, because that seems to be how boys make things progress with me recently, and suddenly I felt this cold, hard, metal around his...ring finger. OH LOOK FRIENDLY FLIRTING MAN, YOU ARE MARRIED! OR ENGAGED! OH EM GEE! 

So I politely asked about his fiancee and he proceeded to tell me he once lived in New York, on West 58th, but he disagreed with me and did not believe it to be the best city in the world. At that point, fiancee or wife or not, we had serious beef, because fuck you asshole, New York is the best city in the world. Then he started caressing my shoulders but I moved away and again, politely but pointedly asked about the lady in his life. He shrugged and said, "Well she's not here right now, is she?" And then I wanted to barf or cry or hit him but instead I tried reason. "What would your girl think of this right now?" I asked, as I pulled my hand out of his grip. He shrugged. "What are you going to think in the morning?" Then he tried to kiss me so I went back inside, where he was not allowed, because the bouncer decided he was too drunk. 

I suppose I could blame his behavior on drunkenness, but I'd like to think that most engaged or married men wouldn't allow a pitcher of yummy jungle juice to cloud their judgement so much that they'd be willing to cheat on their partner simply because "she's not here right now, is she?" I'm going to go ahead and say he is an exception, not the rule, because otherwise I'll be forced to start blasting Dashboard Confessional and sobbing uncontrollably, and that's all just a little bit too sophomore year of high school for me. I have to believe people are good because otherwise what else is there?

Monday, March 9, 2009

This Is Not Here

Okay. As promised, I am posting my Spring Break itinerary. Incase anyone cares, and also kind of to brag because A. London has the longest Spring Break of any of the abroad sites and B. I am seriously missing New York so I have to remind myself (and everyone else) that traveling Europe is just as cool as getting brunch at Coffee Shop. Probably. Maybe. I don't know. Whatever.

April 3-6: Berlin, Germandy
April 6-8: Budapest, Hungary
April 8-11: Rome, Italy
April 11-14: Florence, Italy
April 14-17: Nice, France
April 17-19: Paris, France

Seventeen days, six cities, four countries. I meet my family in Paris and return to London with them for a week. Then they leave and I'll have three weeks left before I go home. This semester is half way over (!!!). In May I'll return to the real world. Life just feels incredibly surreal right now. I explained to my mom how I'm just pretending that everything that happens in London is not real. This may not be a good attitude to take on, seeing as 90% of the people here are NYU-ers, hence I will be seeing them all for as long as we choose to remain in that glorious city, hence it is all very much real and not fictional at all. But in my head, none of this counts. It's kind of beautiful.

John Lennon Wall, Prague 2009

Anxiety & Adorable Professors

Prague was amazing and probably the least touristy weekend I will have while abroad. Details to follow, probably. 

I worry I don't record enough of this experience as a narration–I journal observations and feelings, I blog what I think might interest readers on the Internet, and I send haphazard-half-complete summaries to various different friends through various different mediums. Nowhere, however, am I keeping a detailed travel log. I have yet to write down how a man chased Allie, Julia, and me down the street to their building and how we were all pretty convinced he was going to attack us. I don't think I've mentioned how Emily and I took the wrong train in Amsterdam and ended up in the countryside, surrounded by cows and windmills, with a Danish woman laughing hysterically at us when we timidly asked, "Amsterdam?" 

I'm concerned that I won't remember any of this in a few months, next year, ten years from now. I'm concerned that I'm not doing my part to document my life properly for my older self. Memories shift; that is the one thing I learned in Psych that intrigued me (fuck I hated AP Psych.) I say this often, because it terrifies me: once you remember something one way, that's the way the memory sticks in your mind. Say I was wearing a blue shirt on the day of my first kiss, but I remember it a few years later as a red one. Forever more, when I "remember" my first kiss, I'll "remember" wearing a red shirt. EVEN IF I WORE A BLUE ONE. Sorry this is just a personal anxiety thing that I think about way too much. I'll stop now. But isn't that interesting/cool/scary?!

Sorry. Moving on.

Professors here are great. Julia's photography teacher is an old Czech man who does not speak English well. He wrote their class a passionate email this weekend, apologizing "to my dear, beloved, students, you poor dears," because "I have stolen some information from you." What he meant, of course, was that he'd forgotten to mention a few photographers in his last lecture, but I find that word choice so interesting: to use the word "stolen" when one means "forgotten" actually makes a lot of sense, when you view how it affects the other person involved. I'm sure that's what all my French and Italian papers used to look like: strange smorgasbords of vocabulary, dotted with almost-correct phrase after completely-wrong sentence. Not that any of his sentences were completely wrong...but mine definitely were.

Also, my own art professor, the one who is known to swear at gallery assistants, signed her last email like this: "See you at the Tate at 2 o'clock–it's snowing where I am so maybe I'll arrive on skis." Glorious.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Interesting.

I got a lot of compliments on my hair today. "Oh, did you get a haircut?" No. I just showered. Awkward.

Last night Chris told me he feels like I have a lot of close friends. I thought that was a really kind thing to say, and when I reflected on it, I realized it is true. I'm going into super-cheesy mode here, but I am so lucky. I do have a lot of close friends. I don't have a "group", and I've never been able to put together a posse of any sort, but the people I am close with are like family. And there are a lot of them. It's funny, because sometimes I feel like I am such a blabber, and I am often telling and retelling personal stories to many people, and I wonder why some people are able to only share important things with a few people...but Chris kind of hit the nail on the head: I am lucky enough to have a lot of people who deserve to know important things about my life. I can think off the top of my head of about 15-20 very close friends in my life. It is partly because I have moved around a lot and I am good at keeping in touch, but I think it is also partly pure luck: really fucking awesome people have entered my life a lot, and I've gotten to hang onto them. So thanks, close friends. I love you all and am glad to have you.

On that note, Courtney, Ali's roomie, called me out on being an asshole about who I'll decide I want to be friends with. "You have this definition of 'interesting,'" she said, "and you've decided you'll only befriend 'interesting' people. But who says your definition of 'interesting' is right?" I shrugged. "I don't know? Me?" She countered that she thought "interesting" meant a lot of different things than I thought it meant, and I was forced to agree that she had a point. She is right. My definition of interesting may not be "right". It may be kind off asshole-ish. But it is correct for me, and so I don't really find it problematic to say I only want to be friends with "interesting people." If that doesn't mean varsity athlete to me, well then, oh well. More on this later–I'm not sure this is very coherent and I may just sound like a bitch. But I'd like to explore the idea more.

I leave for Prague this evening (tomorrow morning?) at 4am. I am getting excited about some potential things in the future. I am going to another wine tasting at the London Whole Food's in 15 minutes. My best friend has been here all week. I have finally booked all of spring break (itinerary to come.) I love life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Feminist Rhetoric at its Best

This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me

Per usual, Jess has found something great online. I just wanted to repost and encourage others to check it out because I think it's necessary and relevant and interesting:
"This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me is a well-designed, informative website that deconstructs the myths surrounding rape in an attempt to eradicate victim blaming. Categories include dress, intimacy, drinking and relationships. It's a great way to parse the entrenched beliefs that lead to victim blaming, i.e., just because my skirt is short does not mean you get to grab my ass (believe it or not!)." - Jessica Roy, my #1 girl crush now, always, and forever

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Perks of Making Out With Strangers

I miss making out with strangers.

This is Ali. She is not a stranger.
Ali, one of my best friends, is here for the week. She transferred from NYU (to UVA) second semester sophomore year, but she got to see me in my sloppy days of the Hayden daze and we are still close now. My "sloppy days" included a lot of embarrassing behavior that does not need to be chronicled (anymore than it already has) on the internet, but suffice it to say, back in the day, one of the things I did was make out with a lot of strangers.

Why?

Well, to quote a particularly emo piece of creative writing I was working on some time during the Spring semester of freshman year: "Until I figure it out I will need to keep kissing strangers. Juxtapose the new one-time-only’s against the worn-in-worn-out tiring relationship of forever-more. Even when I think forever is over it’s not, so there is no reason to attempt to discern where we are now. The clear painful truth is that we will never be done, no matter how much it keeps hurting. I am not that kind of girl. I will never allow it to be done. But I can allow myself to attempt an uncaring attitude. I can keep kissing strange men, and maybe in the process, I will give up on the strangest man of all. Maybe if I kiss every man in New York City I’ll finally get over The Boy. If I give my heart away to a man I won’t be able to find the next day, put a stranger in custody of the damn thing, perhaps I won’t feel anything when He breaks it…again."

Okay okay, LOL, thank god my writing has improved (please god my writing has improved?) since freshman year...but I was kind of onto something. Kissing strangers was so...convenient. I really haven't done much of that since freshman year; having a boyfriend of sorts puts a damper on that kind of activity. And I sort of got over it. As my friend Molly here says, it gets to the point where you realize the guy at the bar is looking to make out with anyone, and it doesn't matter if it's you, or your friend, or the girl behind you...and that sort of gets depressing after being with someone who is actually excited to be kissing your lips, holding your hand, caressing your shoulders, etc. But there is something strangely comforting about The Random Hook Up, and after engaging in a random make out session this weekend (in honor of Ali's presence and reliving our absurd freshman year, of course) I remember what that comfort is:

No strings.

As someone who has a very difficult time separating between liking someone and liking the way it feels to make out with someone, I have a rough time not attaching strings to a sexual engagement of any kind. I am jealous by nature. I am also a closet monogamist (secret's out). So no matter how hard I try (cue dance music here?), I tend to get somewhat emotionally invested if I hook up with someone who I will see the next day.

When you make out with a stranger, this is a non issue. While I am generally careful to procure the stranger's name (for future documentation purposes; I am not a writer for nothing), the fact is, these men are outlines of people. I do not know them. There is nothing to fall for. I can really, truly, honestly just make out with them and then walk away, unchanged and unharmed.

The second I know someone, the second I seem to crave more than a casual make out session. The second someone becomes a non-stranger I seem to want to make them into the ultimate familiar. This is not legitimate, but feelings rarely are.

Full disclosure: I am vaguely drunk off of champagne and red wine as I write this. It is legal here so I have no qualms exposing myself, but maybe signing onto Blogger after consumption should be illegal. Nonetheless, this may be gone when I am more sober. Or I may expound seeing as this very likely makes little sense and I kind of want it to. The good news is that I'm not crying, which used to be a given if I got drunk freshman year. So I suppose some things do change, so perhaps I should have hope. I could start kissing strangers again! Or, even better: maybe one day, I won't need to anymore.