Tuesday, March 24, 2015

52 mornings // 12

Just another typical day in the life of a college student, cramming everything we managed to procrastinate earlier in the week, trying to complete it before the next week starts. To make things interesting, instead of heading to the library as we always do, we tried out a different study location--the performing arts building--because a change of location is a great study strategy.

Ah, who are we kidding? We went there for the pianos. Some of their choice pieces were "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day and the score from Howl's Moving Castle. I wanted to join in on the fun but couldn't remember any songs I learned except for one, but I couldn't remember how it went. It was a simple song from an exercise book that I learned from my younger brother (he's seven years younger than me), so I couldn't just look it up online. Being the problem solver I am, I asked him via Skype to find the song for me and send me a picture, which he promptly did. That evening I spent some time on Noteflight transcribing the picture into sheet music I could print. [check out the fruits of my labor]

As you can see, we were quite distracted and didn't get as much done as we had hoped, but I don't mind. When I look back on my college years I'm not going to think, "Darn I wish I was more productive that one Sunday," but instead I'll laugh and say, "Remember that time we tried to play the piano? We're actually pretty good now!" Whether or not there is sarcasm behind that last remark I'll let you decide.



This is kind of weird for me to say here because I'm not usually a mushy/sentimental person and I think my friends read my blog occasionally, but I really think that I've found my best friends in these people. I've shared this a few times in person saying, "You guys are, like, my best friends!" Notice how I inserted the "like" to relieve the gravity of that statement, much like how I add "haha" to the end of completely non-funny text messages to ensure that the recipient knows I'm a lighthearted, nice person who knows how to have a good time. Often I get the response, "But you have so many other friends!"

Sometimes I run into people and they're like, "Who are you Audrey? [insert name here] is always talking about you and how you're so [insert positive but bland adjective like 'nice' here]." I guess that's one of the perks of going to a small school; you might not know everyone, but you at least recognize most of them. But I'm honestly so surprised/confused/flattered when I hear this about myself.

I can kind of see where this is coming from though. I see myself as a drifter. I can approach a number of people, they'll be friendly to me, and we'll have a pleasant conversation, but the relationship is very polite and superficial. We'll check up on each other, but we still don't really know each other. From a distance you couldn't tell. So I drift between groups, often welcomed, rarely belonging. My drifter status reminds me of John Smith's first impression of Sarah Hart in Pittacus Lore's I Am Number Four:

As in the case with most high schools, there are crowds of kids hanging around outside. They're divided into their cliques, the jocks and the cheerleaders, the bands carrying instruments, the brains in their glasses with their textbooks and BlackBerries, the stoners off to one side, oblivious to everyone else... I notice a girl taking pictures, moving easily from one group to the next... Everyone seems to know her and says hello to her, and no one objects to her taking their picture.

Except I'm nowhere near as charismatic or as well-known as Sarah Hart seems to be. Although I do like photography. And I slide between groups. You get my point. I drift. But unlike her, I'm lost.

I never had to worry about this in high school. I moved from Los Angeles to Beijing for middle school and was even paired with a buddy. The school ran from pre-K all the way to twelfth grade, so when I graduated from middle school and went on to high school, I was still going to the same school, surrounded by the same people. And then I'm thrown into college without a familiar face in sight.

When you graduate from high school, you're done. Move on. Start your new life in college. Don't live in the past. Some people remember high school as their glory days, but your glory days should be now. So don't look back.

Yet I can't help but wonder if I'll ever be able to build a relationship in college like the ones I had back at home. How am I supposed to build a relationship in four years like the one I had eight years to build?

And that's the problem. You're not supposed to build relationships like the ones you had before. You're supposed to create new ones. Just because you have new friends doesn't mean you can't have the ones you already have. You're not being disloyal or unfaithful or [insert guilt-ridden feeling here]. You're not replacing them. You've simply found more people who you can be you around.

My personal gauge of friendship is what we do when we hang out together. Once I've gotten to the stage where we can hang out and do nothing and not feel obligated to do anything, that's when I know. So today was just another awesome day with my best friends of awesomely not doing anything special. With a little bit of stupid thrown into the mix.



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Friday, March 20, 2015

52 mornings // 11

There is a direct correlation between the amount of work I have and the amount of time I spend on Tumblr. So remember how I said I'd do all these things over spring break? Well, I got a start on them, but I'm far from caught up! My circadian rhythm is completely messed up, which I guess explains how I managed to sleep through the whole morning. Yes, literally the whole morning. I woke up at 2:00PM.


You'd think that with all the sleep I got that I'd be bouncing off the walls with energy, but I actually felt quite drowsy and exhausted. I bet if my dorm interior was decorated like the Disney's Store's escalator in Times Square I'd sleep like a baby and wake up ready to kick butt and make my dreams come true.


It was a rough start. Dinner at Cosi's was the first meal of my "morning." I was feeling anxious about all the time I lost sleeping in, but you know what? Time doesn't exist. Or rather, time only exists because we make it so. But right in this moment, you don't have to make it so. Don't freak yourself out. I know, I know. It's easier said than done. I, too, am a worrier. But just stop. Remove yourself. Take a breather.

And life goes on.



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Friday, March 13, 2015

52 mornings // 10

How has your spring break been so far? Or should I say winter break part two? :P Spring break for me kicked off with a snow storm, which resulted in the first snow day of this school year. I might plop my snow day photos in their own post later on, but for now you can get a sneak-peek on my Instagram. Anyways, it was a pleasant surprise to see the weather clear up this Sunday, and I've been seeing a lot more color, so fingers crossed the weather will keep getting warmer! What a perfect day to explore.


Because our spring breaks coincided, Jolie came over from the Midwest to visit Heather and me at Bryn Mawr for a few days. I hadn't seen Jolie since our senior trip to Hong Kong in July, but when we finally reunited, it felt like no time had passed. Aren't those are the best friendships?

We easily fell into rhythm. We did what we always do. Eat and sleep and eat some more. During our first meal together on Saturday night (after sleeping almost all afternoon), we planned our next few days while chowing down on pizza, paninis, wings, fries, and milkshakes (courtesy of Campus Corner; shout out to the moose tracks milkshake) on my dorm room floor. Ya know, the college life.



Heather and I haven't really had very much time to explore Philly ourselves, so the places we could take Jolie were limited. Stuck for ideas, we decided to base our itineraries off our meals, because, well, food is very important to us. All we did while Jolie was here was eat until we were full and more, try to find ways to pass some time while waiting until we weren't so full anymore, and then eat again. Really.

Our only plan for today was to eat lunch in Chinatown. If you ever find yourself in Philly's Chinatown, be sure to grab a drink at Tea Do and a bite at Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House. While figuring out how much to tip and waiting to digest, we spontaneously came up with the brilliant idea to roam through the Old City until we got to South Street and hopefully find some cool things there.

Something very cool did happen in fact. Celebrity encounter! Heather all but hyperventilated. We were minding our own business, innocently rounded the corner and, lo and behold, who should we see standing there but Cory Wade of America's Next Top Model Cycle 20 filming something with some snazzy-looking-apparently-also-famous-people and someone wearing a scary teddy bear character costume. I wish I knew who those other famous people were. I really like their style.

We stood on that corner for what felt like forever, waiting for Cory to finish filming whatever he was filming. As Heather still had not recovered, I decided to display my social eptitude to redeem myself from last night's social ineptitude*, walked up to Cory and asked, "Could I take a picture of my friend with you?" Cory and the famous people probably most definitely already saw us standing giddily in the corner for the last many few minutes. They waved us over before I had even finished my question.

By the time this post is published, I'll have rewatched all sixteen episodes of ANTM Cycle 20.

*Last night I was given the task of ordering dinner for everyone as we were chilling in my dorm room, but I get really anxious talking on the phone, so I typed out everyone's order, and Heather and Jolie helped me formulate my opening sentence, which I also typed out: "Hi, can I place an order for delivery?" However, when the phone stopped ringing, the lady at the other end asked me the question instead. I was not ready for that curveball. I still don't remember what her question was. It was all a blur. I think I heard something along the lines of, "Hi, Campus Corner. Would you like to place an order or delivery?" though it might have been, "Would you like to place an order for pick-up or delivery?" which would have made more sense. I couldn't very well answer with "Hi, can I place an order for delivery?" as I had practiced, so I improvised and said, "Delivery," though it came out more like, "Uhh...d-d-delivery." Darn, and I had practiced so hard! It was all very stressful. It didn't help that Heather and Jolie were both on the ground in front of me in a fit of laughter.



After we had done enough roaming, we decided to kick back and relax at Milk & Honey Cafe. It was the typography, Christmas lights, indoor plants, and wood tables that drew me in. What a pleasure it was to stumble upon! Usually on excursions, I plan everything to the utmost detail due to my travel anxiety, but because I was with friends, I felt comfortable enough to not do that this time.

The coolest part is that the baristas didn't seem to mind that I was spending an excessive amount of time walking around taking pictures. In fact, one of them slung his arm around another's shoulders and playfully posed for me with a huge smile, but alas, I did not click the shutter button fast enough.

Because I wasn't particularly hungry, I ordered a light snack of vanilla yogurt parfait topped with banana and granola, but I really wanted to try the Italian market hoagie (prosciutto di parma, genoa salami, green meadow farm ham, provolone, fresh arugula). I guess that just means I'll have to come again!




Getting lost is just another way of saying "going exploring." -Justina Chen Headley, North of Beautiful

We travel for romance, we travel for architecture, and we travel to be lost. -Ray Bradbury



Lose yourself. Take a public transportation map, close your eyes, and point. Go there with your camera and a peace of mind. Also bring a bottle of water and a phone for emergencies, but don't worry about that. Perhaps you'll find a cozy nook and you'll want to have a book to read, so pack that in too.

Put your earbuds in, listen to music, and pretend you're in a movie. You're the protagonist of your own story. Or maybe turn the volume down low and drift between the conversations happening around you.

Ask for directions. Bid them a supercalifragilistic day. Send them off with an expialidocious wave. Improvise. Wander into a coffee shop. Ask for a recommendation. Watch them talk about something they like with passion in their eyes. Or buy the cheapest thing and linger around inconspicuously.

Look around you. Flash a smile. Hold a gaze. Remember the moments.

"There's a word for it," she told me, "in French, for when you have a lingering impression of something having passed by. Sillage. I always think of it when a firework explodes and lights up the smoke from the ones before it." 

"That's a terrible word," I teased. "It's like an excuse for holding onto the past." 

"Well, I think it's beautiful. A word for remembering small moments destined to be lost."

-Robyn Schneider, The Beginning of Everything







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