A New Blog

It’s live:


Your words of encouragement would be much appreciated, just as they were during my sojourn in London. I want to thank you all for being a part of my life, and I sincerely hope that you’ll continue to be a part of it as I embark on my senior year of college and all that follows it.

Blog Update

I haven’t been updating this blog because:

a) I am in Chapel Hill, back from Notting Hill.

b) I’m waiting for a new blog name to come to me. Something to do with food and crafts and my aforementioned love of both. Any ideas?

So Far

Things I love about being back in North Carolina:

  • THE PEOPLE! Duh, friends and family. They’re the reason I came back.
  • THE SUN! It’s so bright and shiny and warm. And I no longer have to fear an adult-onset case of rickets.
  • THE DOLLAR! I can get so much for my money.
  • THE FOOD! Of the barbecued variety, specifically. Also, ungodly-large portions.
  • THE ACCENT! Southern accents are the aural equivalent of peaches.
  • THE CLOTHES! Sun dresses and shorts and sandals and other no-fuss apparel. Color is also nice, for a change.

Landlady Quotes

I wrote some of the best ones down, for posterity. (As Andrea will attest to, Mary also has many incredible stories, and she is hysterically funny when sharing them.) Along with those stories, she spouts out some great quotables:

(After I’d taken a picture a little too early)
“Oops! Premature ejaculation!”

“Equestrians just like to have something between their legs.”

“I sometimes think I went into the wrong profession. I should’ve been a hooker.”

“Sometimes I wonder when I’ll go into grandma mode, where I retire and start putting photos into albums.”
“But then you wouldn’t be Mary anymore.”
“Oh, you’re damn right.”

(Hanging out with her and her friend, laughing and drinking wine)
“As you can tell, we really haven’t gained all that much wisdom. Being wise is overrated anyway. I’d rather be funny.”

“There are not enough songs about middle-aged women. I’m going to start a pop group and call it Menopausal Mommas.”

I miss her already, as if you couldn’t tell.

Going & Coming

My bags are packed,
I’m ready to go.
…I’m leavin’ on a jet plane,
Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

Landlady aside, I’ve said my last goodbyes.

Studying abroad is ending just as I’ve really found my stride–like suddenly the escalator I’ve been ascending has reversed its direction and, despite my best efforts and exertions, I’m descending again. Not back into a life less meaningful or joyful, but back into a life that has undoubtedly evolved in my absence, just as my absence has led to detectable changes in me.

The greatest part of this experience has most certainly been me. Meeting me, reacquainting myself with me, realizing that I like me for, well, me. Not for me as defined by my family or my friends or my surroundings. Me, in my head, listening to the person who needs me more than anyone else.

My first few days, fraught with emotion, were most necessary in coming to that conclusion. Because I had only myself, for once, and now for always.

I am resolved to treat my return as another study abroad opportunity. All too often, I fail to lose my breath as I walk through Polk Place or take for granted the people who actually want to spend time with me–even over-analytical, sentimental me. When I come back, I am planning Southern road trips and long, homemade dinners and moments of bliss so profound in their simplicity that I will, even if only for an iota, be able to live presently. And, again, I will remind myself:

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

In other news, I learned this morning that I won another contest courtesy of Twitter. This news is relevant because the prize will assist me in catering to my desire for all those “long, homemade dinners.” I won a Dutch oven, among other fun, meal-related accessories.

Sour tempered with sweet, as always.

In Preparation for Amurrica

I don’t recommend going to see Enron, a play about corporate corruption in America, two days before returning to the scene of the crime. I made that mistake tonight.

I oscillate almost daily between wanting to leave the U.S. the moment my Tarheel blue mortarboard leaves my head and wanting to stay and fight the very issues that often make me feel like a stranger in my own country.

Fortunately, if anything, as much disgust as I experienced witnessing conniving executives equivocating to their hapless employees, I experienced even more of a desire to go back and incite change. I have to. I must. I cannot stand to live in a place that inspires award-winning, critically-acclaimed plays about its depravity.

So I suppose I’ll come back simultaneously feeling really loved and really irritated. But take it or leave it, that’s me at my best.

A Sweet Farewell

I’ve spent the last few days walking the same streets I groggily dragged through on my first day in London. Now, in addition to the grime and dirt and charming age of Notting Hill and its surroundings, imprinted in its intangible geography are my memories, particularly of those first few days.

I remember the aching, worrying feeling that caused a week-long loss of appetite upon my arrival, and the compounding fear that I’d caught a new British-made food-borne illness. After all, I do not lose my appetite. My self-control, maybe, my mind, definitely, but never my appetite.

I remember my dad emailing me to say that he and my mom had left me a confidence-boosting note in my suitcase, and the resulting desperate search through every crevice of my luggage with all the hysterical fervor of a girl who just needed some hope.

I remember the tears cooling painfully down my cheeks in the winter air as I ventured out of my lonely, tobacco-scented hotel room to secure a cellphone and some reassurance that I’d soon have contacts to add to it.

I remember watching snow flurries illuminated by street lamps through my window as I listened to the meteorologist on television apologize for his faulty predictions and analysts discuss how weather predictions could be made more accurately, a la America. (At this, I remember laughing.)

I most vividly remember moving into my Notting Hill house a few days later, carefully arranging my bookshelf with family photographs and scoping out the kitchen for the ultimate implements of happiness and acclimation: mixing bowls and baking dishes.

And tonight, in honor of those latter kitchen discoveries, I baked my last London dessert–a peach cobbler for my still-southern-at-heart landlady.

It’s her I will remember fondly as the person who transformed this experience from bittersweet to just-peachy.

British Humour

Fantasy in Harsh Reality

I have to say it.

Women who wear burqas are my real-life dementors. Seeing a woman, or what I presume is a woman, clothed in such a way that robs her of her identity and self-determination not only bothers me, but it terrifies me. And it does, in fact, cause that same sinking, dreadful feeling, as though my very soul is threatened by her shroud.

What I desperately need is a rational explanation for why some women are compelled to answer for men’s immorality.

Does anyone know?

Another Week Away

Good Lord. This time next week, I’ll be cuddling with my kitty and watching the Glee season finale. Stateside, that is.