Here Is New York

January 3, 2010

I finally read E.B. White’s famous essay on New York over my Christmas break.  It did not have any groundbreaking ideas or realizations, but it was beautiful and poignant, and the perfect reading material to accompany me as a travelled around New York on the subway visiting friends and family.  Such a bittersweet vacation this was.  I don’t have any year end posts or retrospective entries about the passing decade.  I don’t have any Christmas posts or pictures.  I didn’t make any New Years resolutions.  The time I’ve spent here (2 weeks exactly)  had a heaviness to it that I can’t quite explain.  It was an emotional time, more emotional than I anticipated.  I sometimes feel guilty for leaving everything and going alway to school, so I try to downplay the difficult stuff and make it seem like it is not a big deal.  But after awhile I am forced to see the entire truth: yes, it is a big deal and it is difficult.  I cannot expect everything and everyone to be exactly the same as when I left.

Regardless, here is New York.  Here is home.

Just a thought

December 15, 2009

I am right in the middle of end-of-semester craziness.  For the past five days or so I have spent 10 to 11 hours a day studying for finals and working on various take-home final exams.  Most nights I am holed up in the medical school library (I’ve discovered that this library is the quietest library on campus) until midnight trying to finish all my work.  And I just wanted to state that I love being in school.  Despite the enormous workload I have, or maybe because of it, I feel so lucky and happy to be here.  I am happy I no longer work at my former place of employment.  No matter how much schoolwork I have and no matter how much I may complain about it, being a student here is better than working 8 hours a day at a job that I hated.  It has been a tough semester, my grades will probably be no better than C’s or B’s; but who cares, it is only my first semester and I will probably do better next semester.   Because with everyday that passes, I become more accustomed to being a student again and I become more confident about the quality of my work and my ability to succeed at this school.  I am happy I made the decision to come here and I am very lucky to be here.  I have been telling this to myself over and over, and as a result I’ve remained (relatively) calm and positive throughout this stressful finals week.

Today, I hand in one take home final (editing now), two final problem sets (finished).  Tomorrow I hand in another take final (finished but needs editing) and take one final.  Another final on Thursday, and another on Monday, and then I hop on a plane Monday night and go home.  And then it is Christmas!  Time is flying.

Saturday Randomness

December 5, 2009

I am obsessed with this song.  OBSESSED.  Beware: once you play it, you will have to the song stuck in your head for days.

Last night was my school’s holiday party, they had it in a fancy resturant in town.  It was fun to get all dressed up and go out.  I skipped out on the after party so I could get a decent night’s sleep, wake up early today and get an early start on my studying.  But, then I slept for 10 hours and didn’t wake up until 10:30am.  I must have needed some serious sleep.

But when I finally woke up, I felt like death.  And I immediately knew why – caffeine withdrawal.  If I don’t drink coffee in the morning before 9:30 – ish, I get the most horrible withdrawal symptoms.  I have a splitting headache, I get dizzy, nauseous, I can’t focus, I get chills and hot flashes.  It is terrible.  This is why I never, ever sleep late.

I somehow got dressed and went out for a cup of coffee.  Then I just sat in my living for two hours, forcing myself to eat some dry cereal, one frosted flake at a time, until I felt human again.  So my productive morning?  Didn’t happen.

Damn caffeine.  I hate not having control over my body.  I hate that I’m addicted to caffeine and I only drink one cup of coffee in the morning.  But coffee is just so damn good and delicious and warm, I could never give it up.

Nablopomo fails, November wins

November 30, 2009

Obviously I’ve failed my first Nablopomo attempt.  Blogging everyday was harder than I thought it would be; plus it made me really sick of myself.  But it so happened that November turned out to be a pretty big turning point for me in many ways.

It was during this month that I really started making friends with my classmates and hanging out with people on weekends instead of sitting in my bedroom alone watching Netflix movies.  Being more friendly with people really helped ease my home-sickness.  I feel like this was the month that I really settled into school and into life in Michigan.  M and I starting dating during our freshman year in college.  Which means that apart from my first semester of undergrad, I never really was on my own before.  And now I am.  I struggled a lot my first few weeks here, but I think I finally turned a corner and now I feel somewhat comfortable.  I’m trying to relax more and enjoy the independence I have here and enjoy the smart, amazing people I meet through school.

In my first Nablopomo post I wrote about how I was struggling to fit in with midwesterners.  Well, I solved that problem by making friends with people who are not from the midwest.  I didn’t do it on purpose, it just turned out that way.  Also, I am more comfortable with playing the part of the New Yorker.  I can turn up my accent and answer everyone’s questions about the city.  I tell them where the best pizza is, where all the cool non-touristy stuff is, I answer their questions about the subway and shoot down their crazy fantasy ideas of the city.  Back home I’m always the quiet one in the group.  But here, I’m the loud talkative New Yorker.  I’ve come to accept this.

I’m also finally getting used to doing school work.  I’ve made great efforts to manage my time better and focus on studyin this past month.  I sort of had to, what with the crazy amount of tests and projects I had due in November.  I still have a long way to go, though.  Thanksgiving break threw off my study schedule and final exams start in only 2 short weeks. (!) So I have to get my ass back on track.

Oh, and my idea of writing out family stories for Nablopomo also didn’t happen.  But, my parents came back from their trip to Ireland last with wonderful stories about my great-grandmother’s life, pictures of the house where she grew up, the schoolhouse where she went to school, and pictures of our relatives who still live in Ireland.  But I’ll have to save that for another post, because I really need to start my homework.

Home!

November 26, 2009

I am home!  First thing I did was go into my pizzeria to get a slice and an eggplant roll.  Then I went home and cuddled with my dog and watched Glee.

Right now I’m watching the Thanksgiving parade with my dad.  This is the first year since I can remember that we’re not going to the parade.  Honestly, its so much nicer to watch it on the TV from the warmth and comfort of your home.  We are having coffee and my dad just made me a scrabbled egg.  Why does everything taste so much better when someone else makes it for you?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

1 more day!

November 24, 2009

I can’t wait until I’m home so I can just stuff my face with turkey, mash potatoes, and stuffing. Oh the stuffing!  My dad’s stuffing is legendary.  He starts making it two days before Thanksgiving.  He won’t tell anyone his recipe.  Last year he gave me all the leftover stuffing to take back to home to Brooklyn.  When my sister found out there was no leftover stuffing for her, she THREW A FIT.  She had a full blown meltdown, like a toddler has at the grocery store when they want cookies but their mom won’t buy them cookies.  I actually think I offered to giver her some of my leftovers, but she wasn’t hearing any of it.  She wanted HER. OWN. STUFFING.  It was hysterical.

So I have this biostats homework that I had two weeks to finish.  But because of the crazy amount of other work I had to accomplish this past week, I just never did it.  And now I have do it all tonight, because the assignment is due tomorrow.

I’m registering for classes tomorrow, and I have to take 9 classes.  Nine classes in one semester!  I’m hoping this must be some sort of mistake.  How am going to have time during the day for my work study job, let alone have time to eat lunch?  I better get my ass in gear and work on my time management skills or else I will not make it through next semester.

Now, on to that biostats homework . . .

Fears

November 24, 2009

I would doing pretty good with Nablopomo except that one day, so what the hell, I’m just gonna keep going.

So remember how I said in my last post that I was so excited about going home I’m not even nervous about the flight?  Yeah, that was a lie.  I’m scared shitless.  Not only do I have to fly by myself, but I’m going at the peak of year’s busiest travel weekend.  Which means there are plenty opportunities for things to go wrong and no one will be there to calm me down.  Oh, stuff like overcrowded the plane, sitting next to someone who is sick with swine flu (or just sick in general-yikes), waiting in long security lines that cause me to miss my fight, not finding a parking space at the Detroit airport, having my flight delayed and/or cancelled, etc.  I’ve been checking the weather obsessively.  It is supposed to rain in Michigan on Wednesday when I leave, which is causing me further anxiety, but so far so good for my return trip on Sunday.  I know its only a two hour flight, but I’m still scared.  I don’t know how people do this whole travel-by-airplane thing.

Weekend of Nothing

November 22, 2009

I had such a nice indulgent weekend.  I slept; a lot.  I made some decent attempts to clean and organize the disaster is that my bedroom.  I did loads of laundry and changed my towels and bed sheets.  I went to the farmer’s market and bought some apples, sweet potatoes, and a ton of leafy spinach.  I spent all of Saturday evening cooking this delicious, cheesy sweet potato dish (with lots of spinach!) then I baked double chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  I signed the lease on my new place for next year.  I did absolutely no homework.  I went shopping and bought some cute, functional sweaters and a sexy dress that I don’t need.  Oh, and I treated myself to a new iPod nano, since mine broke and then was lost during the move from New York to Michigan.  Because there’s no way I’m boarding that plane home without my tunes.

Speaking of home, I was browsing in Target today and bought Tori Amos’ new Christmas (“Solstice”) album, Midwinter Graces. I adore Christmas music, as does the rest of my family.  I grew up with listening to Christmas standards from Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, John Denver, and Barbra Streisand; and of course songs from church.  It upsets me when new artists try to “redo” classic Christmas songs that I associate with my childhood Christmas memories.  Like, there’s really only one version of O Come All Ye Faithful and it is by Nat King Cole.  I’ve heard that song so many times, I can even recite the verses in Latin.  Anyone else trying to sing that song is just wrong.  So I tend to hate all new Christmas music. When I noticed Tori had Christmas album, I knew it would be either really, really, bad; or really really good.

Surprisingly I like it.  I may even love it. Yes, she mashes up traditional carols with her own lyrics, which was upsetting at first but it works because the music is just so beautiful and lush.  I could learn to love her versions. And she covers some really old, lesser known carols on here, like Coventry Carol (although I’m partial to Joan Baez’s version, I admit that Tori’s version is nice) Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella, and The Holly and the Ivy on this album, which it makes it different and interesting.

But, damn; listening to Christmas music makes me miss my family in the worst way.  It almost feels wrong listening to Christmas songs alone.  My family listened to these songs while in car going to get the Christmas tree and while driving around the city visiting relatives.  We listened to them while baking cookies, while cooking dinner, while decorating the tree, while wrapping then opening presents.  We listened to them while taking down the tree and cleaning up wrapping paper and boxes.  We always listened to this music together.  And now I’m sitting here alone my in room listening to Christmas music in November all afternoon, feeling all nostalgic.  My roommates must think I’m nuts.  I am terrified of airplanes and flying, but at this point I’m just so damn excited to go home, I don’t even care about the plane.  I just want to go home.

Nablopomo: fail

November 21, 2009

I can’t believe I missed a day!  And I was doing so good.  I posted all through crazy busy month, then my one non-busy day I just forgot to post.  I don’t even have an excuse.  I slept late, just made it to my biostats lab, then I went to work.  I came home, ate dinner, went shopping with a friend, then over to a friend’s house for cocktails celebrating the end of midterms.  I got home after midnight and the day was over.

I was thinking of writing something about the Ohio State – University of Michigan football rivalry, which I realized is very similar to the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry in terms of hatred and violent fans.  The Ohio state is today, it is going on right now.  The two teams always play each other the last game of the season.  Apparently after the game people riot, no matter who wins.  Yesterday there was a loud, giant pep rally on campus; right in front the graduate library, which was closed early.  Just goes to show that the Ohio State football game takes priority over everything else in this town.

Anyway, so what does one do when they’ve failed Nablopomo?  Just keep posting every day like nothing happened?

Busiest Week Ever, day 4

November 19, 2009

It doesn’t matter what I have to do today because: I AM DONE!

I just finished my chemical hazards exam.  Which means I’m done with all school work until after Thanksgiving break.  What a crazy week, I was auto-pilot all week.  Now I can finally let go and relax.  And catch up on normal things, like sleep, laundry, eating, cleaning my room, paying bills, etc.

Not only did I finish all my shit today, but I also decided on a place to live for next year.  A sweet, beautifully restored and renovated old house on the edge of town with some of the friends I from school.  It is near the football stadium, which means it will be busy during home games, and its a far walk from downtown.  But it is in a quiet, residential, non-student neighborhood and I love it.  It has brand new everything but also has charming old details, like a pass-through window, crown molding and built in cabinets and shelves.  And it is so cheap.  I know that when I graduate I’m going back to NYC and once again pay too much money for cramped apartments, so might as well live it up here in Michigan while I can!

Now I’m either going out for a celebratory drink with classmates; or get in my pj’s, watch Glee, eat some Newman-O’s, and pass out.