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Where do we go from here?

I just got back from hanging out with a co-worker from Chef’s Expressions; one who struck me as being very bubbly, energetic and funny. But she had some experience under her belt and I appreciated that. We chilled tonight at her place in Towson, and watched Pacific Rim which was as good a Guillermo del Toro film that we were willing to watch that night.

The past two months have consisted of me working the weekdays as a landscaper at Greenfields Nursery at the intersection of Northern Parkway and Falls Rd and working as a caterer for Chef’s Expressions based in Timonium. I have worked in two of the largest service industries and I have loved the work. I respect hard workers and those who are devoted to bettering oneself in a given task and learning how to truly improve. That can apply to a certain skill, discipline, mental capabilities, and physical capabilities. However, I rarely judge anyone based on wealth and perceptions of background alone and that is what has irked me for the past two months. I somehow felt that the guests whom we served and the clients whose lawns we’ve scaped always looked down upon us. It was almost as if they felt that since they were giving us green paper in exchange for our services that they were better than us. I have felt it when they would appear to be uncomfortable looking at us in the eyes or being rude and bossing us around when they felt that something was amiss.

I also hear a lot of crap talk about one of the members on the crew who is Mexican. He is over 30 years old and has a bunch of funny and mainly stereotypical idiosyncracies. Sometimes he’ll burst into a Dora the Explorer song, Shakira song, or shout out a string of random, basic spanish phrases. Despite his less than stellar English, my conversations with him have convinced me that he is very wise. He has instructed me in the ways of landscaping many times and always has this creative solution to landscaping and an eye for aesthetics and completion that not many people have. Then we have the 19 year old who already has a 6 month old baby to take care of who still acts like a stubborn kid who would rather make it big in the music industry rather than compromise for the more stable 9-5.

I work with these two and two guys from Boys’ Latin who are both the foremen and younger than me. And despite my likes and dislikes about them they hold my respect for different reasons and so much more so than the respect I feel towards most of the clients whose grandiose houses and lawns fail to impress. I mean when you think about it, is it more impressive that someone pays some money to people who will get a mis-matched crew of misfits who somehow make a yard look beautiful and professional. We’ve even been judged at the beginning with some customers referring to us as “you people” or asking if our boss would supervise us to make sure that we did a good job. The good thing is that we usually impress our clients enough from their low expectations at the beginning that we get some tips.

The worst people usually come from the high end clientele for catering. Aw man it’s really funny sometimes hearing us being looked down upon or judged simply because we are serving you food. It’s true that most of us would never be able to afford it, but we get paid to serve you food that we are able to eat for free during our meal breaks. And it works out, because the money made from one day catering would still not be enough to pay for one guest at that same event. Tonight was when it really hit me. We were packing up from a catering event at CenterStage and using the elevator to bring our heavy carts down to the first floor, and an older man walked up to me and asked if there were any stairs to get to the fifth floor because “you people” were holding up the elevators. He was an asshole and his reaction just made me laugh. I wasn’t in the least bit intimidated by him and he appeared to be very entitled. And then there was the oe of the event speakers hanging out in the catering makeshift kitchen on the second floor. One of the chef’s asked him what his speech was about and he responded with, “Social justice.” When pressed for more information he just replied with “Well it’s a talk about social justice,” as if the chef wasn’t smart enough to understand the specific bits about his speech. That infuriated me that he was acting hypocritical and not giving someone part of his time because she was a person who was curious about helping and learning more about an issue that she believed in.

And so there are those whom I respect. These are the hard, sincere workers who are true people. I like people who challenge themselves and look for growth and change when things become too stagnant. I like the challenges of thinking on one’s own feet, the smell of good tilled earth, and the taste of butler passed hors d’oeuvres on my tongue. So here’s to the people who work behind-the-scenes for not that much money but have a life much more varied, interesting, and richer than some of the ignorant clients whose vapid interests I usually serve.

P.S. – I found out tonight that this one caterer whom I had served with several times had passed away this past friday. She had always struck me as an odd caterer who always asked such weird questions with redundant answers and sometimes doing things wrong. But she was also involved with high school literature and a girl scout troup that she was involved with. I remember that the last time I saw her I told her that we should exchange emails so that I could learn more about the programs that she was involved in. She was very odd and very weird and annoying at times, but as one of my co-workers put it, “She was one of the constant personalities of the Chef’s family.” I had the pleasure of being a part of this dysfunctional family, and for that I give them my respect. Here’s to you Ellen.


Remembering Holidays

So it’s 3:02am December 26th, 2012, or at least that’s when I started this blog post. I feel as if in past years I would have made a big deal out of writing a blog post the minutes before midnight before my birthday, or during the actual Christmas Day when I could have made some sort of post about being thankful and Christmas spirit.

This usually happens during break; I end up playing a metric shit-ton of video games and eating a boatload of food, while musing on my boredom back here. I don’t know, it’s hard to describe because I feel as if I there is so much possibility and freedom to do things here at home. I have a car and I have a lot of free days to do what I did not have time to do with my engineering classes and extracurricular commitments. I think back to my World Religions class where my professor Doc Wise lectured us on one of the core ideals of Zen Buddhism. He tried to instill in us the idea that we usually live our lives from one hope to the next. In other words, we look forward to some future event and try to “get through” our immediate situation, as we strive for that immediate goal. As high school students, our immediate goal was the weekend. I remember those days when the excitement for the week came from the continual looking forward to the upcoming date, sports game, party, get-together, or other event that broke up the ordinariness that came from everyday life. The problem is that we live for that upcoming date, and we initially live in the moment during that time. But then afterwards what do we do then? If we continued to live for future moments and never looked to the current state of affairs in life, then we would never be content with who we were, just being.

I’m having trouble with that right now during break. Actually, I always struggle with that every break. At first it’s wonderful, because I don’t have to wake up early, make any deadlines, or even think a lot. But I usually spend most of the day wondering about what I can accomplish. The only issue is that I cannot immediately think of anything to do, even though I had dozens of thoughts during the school year. I exhaust my ability to play all the video games that I wanted to play, and the groups of friends whom I now hang out with are much smaller in number than they used to be. At the very least I’ve tried a few new cooking recipes, kept a faithful and daily running schedule, slept about 10 hours a day, rekindled valued and old friendships, and turned 22 years old. I always associated my birthday with the holidays, because that’s when everyone is out of school and when the weather is getting cold enough so people just want to come over and celebrate with me.

The one amazing thing that I can honestly write about during this break is about my 22nd birthday. It started on December 21st after I had Darkness of the Dawn 22ndwoken up from an End of the World Party. I just wandered around after a post-hangover morning when I couldn’t stomach anything, including water. I ended up having a great day biking around here and there and having a great birthday lunch at Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newbury Street in Boston. Later in the day I hung out at the Catholic Center and shared in some traditional Chinese Tea with a Chinese Graduate Student acting as the tea master. I got a bit of a head rush from the caffeine in the tea. The evening turned out to be much more dynamic, because I ran into one of my friends at the BU Barnes and Noble store, while wandering around the fiction section. This friend was buying his Christmas shopping for his friends and family members. I shared some of my favorite fiction novels, and we spent about 2 hours in Barnes and Noble talking about family, how the typical engineer deals with reading, and how I incorrectly thought that he was dyslexic.

I invited him and one of my a cappella group members over to the apartment around 10pm for some late-night hanging out and dinner. We ate some leftover pork roast, fried rice, and green tea as I welcomed the onset of my 22nd birthday. Ah that was a wonderful night. We chilled for a long time, until around 3am, and I was packing the entire time. As usual there were a lot of laughs and it didn’t really hit me that I was saying goodbye to my 21st year of life and moving on. Fortunately, one of my newly made engineering friends offered to give me a ride to the airport at 3am. I was a bit out of it due to a combination of sleep deprivation, lasting hangover effects, and the chilling. I managed to finish packing, and was driven to Logan Airport, where I was stopped at check-in because I forgot to take my Leatherman out of my backpack carry-on. It felt surreal, because I was so exhausted, that I don’t even remember the journey from Boston to Maryland. Rather, I remember leaving my apartment at 3am and getting back to my old house in Maryland around 10am.

The rest of that day consisted of my playing video games, while checking to make sure that my small group of friends were still coming over to celebrate my birthday with me. I prepared by purchasing a handle of gin, a fifth of cream liquor, and some baked cookies. Now this is the important part of the story. This group of friends are some of the closest friends whom I have in life. I remember meeting them back when I was in 5th grade, and we would eat lunch together during middle school. I’ve shared some of our stories on this blog post: camping in Cunningham Falls, Ocean City Senior Week adventures, visits to Boston, and so many more stupid experiences that I would never trade away. So the group consists of:

Me: the typical Asian who is super social and has crazy adventures in weird places of the world

Tyler: the somewhat socially shy at times, but awesome philosophizer and nature boy

Luis: the player and hardworking guy who would make a great dad

Edward: the edgy guy who’s experienced so much more than most of us

Greg: the artsy guy who honestly is one of the best professionally trained artists whom I know

Sean*: an amazing music and sound production guy who’s worked with local Philly greats as well as FUN, Lifehouse, and Kris Allen

(Sean was a recent addition to the group, because only Tyler and I knew him from high school, and he just sort of started to hang out with us, he’s kind of a weirdo but we still love him)

The Ancients 22nd Bar

The Ancients

We’ve stated before that we probably all would not have become friends had it not been for us getting to know each other way back in middle school. In the past year there was a bit of a falling out between Edward and some of the group, because we would plan things last minute, and he also had plans with his significant other. This caused Luis to not hang out with Edward as much, and as a results Luis stopped inviting him to our group events, because he thought that Edward didn’t care as much. This saddened me to see such an awesome friendship slowly fall apart.

That was why I made it a priority to have all of them invited to my birthday celebration at my old house. I wanted to have everyone over again, even though some of the group members were not as keen to see each other again. I thought that my birthday, coupled with alcoholic drinks, could change that. At first, there’s a bit of tension because Luis is not really talking to Edward, but we’re all cordial. The majority of us then decide to take the Metro into Baltimore and then go to the pubs and bars in Fells Point, since they have people, are fun, and have cheaper drinks than the bars in the harbor. It’s too bad, because I can’t remember the names of the two bars that we went to. I remember that there was this large Irish man who yelled, “Slainte” to me as I approached him. We sat down, had a few local beers and then headed over to another pub where Luis’ cousin worked. That was where it started to get rough for me because Luis and Edward made it a goal to get me completely wasted since they both were trying to make it up to me after the fiasco of my 21st birthday party the year before.

Cheers and GregI loved it, simply because everyone was getting more and more cordial with each other. Sure, the bill totaled to more than $200 for all of our drinks, but being good friends they picked it up for me. We then hopped on the Metro back home, except that we made a lengthy pit-stop at the Greene Turtle in Owings Mills near my house. At this point, I knew that I couldn’t take anymore drinks without risking another horrible hangover morning. Therefore, I proceeded to drink a few more Irish Carbombs, a shot of tequila, Liquid Cocaine (at least I think that’s what it was called), and an Irish Slut. I quietly threw up two times outside near the woods by the parking lot, and I felt so much better. Honestly, it was worth drinking all of that, and getting super drunk to see the group together again as they treated me out to drunken night. We eventually got back home, and I passed out face-down in my empty bedroom as my friends continued hanging out until about 5am. The best gift that I received that night came from what Luis who said, “I think that Ed and I have patched things back up.” I thought so too, and that has made this holiday break worth it.

end, 8:24pm December 31st


The Progression of a Night

It is during the night when the sun has finally set that the adventures and new experiences of life start to sink in. The following is the story of a normal Friday night. It started with the free a cappella concert at 7pm in the College of Arts and Sciences. We were performing with two other a cappella groups in the BU campus. We did a good job and held our own against the other powerhouse groups. Afterwards we all split ways in order to accomplish our respective goals. Half of us headed for the GSU, where we ordered frozen yogurts, ate fast food like french fries, and burgers. Eventually it was just me and this guy left. We talked for a bit then chilled in his place. He had a very clean pad and he dressed up for the party as I waited in his living room. You see, I had already bought the alcohol, but I had not gotten the mixers, so I needed to accomplish that before 10pm, which was around the time when people were supposed to show up.  I bought about $12 worth of mixers, and then I returned back to my apartment. I cleaned up a bit, and the people started to trickle in. It was such an interesting night, because of the events that transpired. Honestly, I believe that I totally could have been a cultural anthropologist had I not been an engineer. During most of last night, I hung back with one of my older, fellow group members and witnessed events at the party unfold before us.

Okay so I need an aside for a moment. I have been attempting to write a blog post for the past two weeks, but it’s been a bit difficult with senior project and the prospect of sleeping a lot. I want to write a post that can rival the beauty of moments and for years beyond our college years. I want to record events from a reckless night with such clarity and eloquence that we will look back on some of this vapid nonsense and remember our finite time here. I want to have something more lasting that a few Facebook pictures and posts that show what I did over the past weekend. I want to have a record of real thoughts that signify and show who I really am and what I think about.

Anyways, so the party continued and I was able to notice interesting things. I noticed some members of the male crowd awkwardly hanging out in my room, and acting as if they were about to fight. I noticed random people hooking up, who ideally should not have been hooking up. It is not in my place to stop them, because they have their own free will and I am only here as the host to provide a safe environment for them to to have a good time in. At one point, one of my freshman friends came up to me and told me that he needed my help. I walk with him to the first floor, and he explains that his girlfriend and her friends were here along with several other friends whom they had happened to pick up along the way. I told him that he could let his girlfriend in and only his very best friends. We both go out and I explain the situation to them, and he picks his girlfriend and 4 others, but there’s another girl who was also really good friends with that group, and she says, “Okay guys, I’ll see you around, have a good night.” However, the girlfriend and her friends would not abandon her to roam the streets of Ashford alone, so they too left and my freshman friend had to make a split-second decision on whether or not to stay at the party of leave with his friends. He looked at me, apologized and said, “I’m sorry man, but I can’t leave my friends.” I told him not to worry and that he should stay with them and have a good night. Then they left.

I want to contrast this story with that of another freshman who is not really a good friend of mine, but is a friend of one of my friends and so ends up coming to my parties. He’s a very typical freshman, except that he feels entitled to things at these parties and is not as timid as I was as a freshman. He asks me is several of his friends can come over and prefaces it with the “You can say no if you want to.” And of course I say no, because I don’t know his random friends and they can’t just come over to the party. At one point, they show up at the front door and it almost seems to be a repeat of what happened with my other freshman friend. At this point I tell the group of friends that this is a closed party and that had they come a week earlier, they would have been able to come to the larger Halloween party. They start leaving and I talk to the freshman guy and tell him that he now has a choice to make: either he can leave with his friends and see how the night turns out for him, or he can come inside to the party where he has that one friend who had invited him over in the first place. After looking at his leaving friends and the door to my apartment, he decided to stay inside. He might have even said, “yolo” as we entered back inside.

The disparity between these two freshmen continue even further as the night continues. I mean, both of them were given the choice to either stay here or go with their friends, and I believe that my freshman friend was the one who made the better decision in my own opinion.

As per usual, there were the usual rowdy people who attempted to enter. I saw two random guys walk in through the front door of the communal hallway apartment, and I placed myself in doorway of the inner apartment living room. They walked up to me and I told them to go to the basement. They went down there, where very few people were at the time, and then they left to linger by the communal front door of the apartment. Afterwards, about 3-4 drunk hooligans stumbled through the front door and were attempting to get into the party. They walked up to me as I physically blocked the hallway from them. The ringleader of their pathetic gang was this guy who wanted to know where Tia was. He was under this impression that I was hiding Tia from her and that if any of us were doing that then he would “fuck him up.” To be honest I was a bit scared because I don’t like confrontations with people like this, but I had grown from this and so I looked him straight back and told him that I personally knew every single person who had walked through those doors to come into the party, and that there was no Tia here. They were upset for a while and fortunately I had a sizable group of friends and party-goers who were willing to back me. They eventually left, and I was glad that I was able to stand up to them, because in the past I had trouble with that.

The night then continued along its usual course. The homemade beer bread that I had baked earlier was all eaten, people were winding down from the dancing in the living room, the basement slowly emptied itself, and my a cappella group members chilled in my bedroom as everyone else started to trickle away. As my a cappella group members played Kings, I checked on the rest of the apartment to make sure that everything was in order. I see the guy who had decided to stay about to leave the living room with one of the remaining full handles of vodka. He had hidden it under his shirt, but had to reveal it for a split-second as he opened the door. I approached him and he tried to play it off by saying, “Hey man thanks again for the great party.” I proceeded to escort him to the door as I took the handle of vodka back from him. Then he left.

Around 2:30am the rest of the guests left the party and I started by putting on the Ben Howard/Bon Iver cleaning playlist that usually plays throughout the apartment as I proceed to clean. I also checked my email, and my freshman friend decided to also sent me a Facebook message:

“Hey Marvin, listen, I’m not resentful or angry about anything, and I hope this message doesn’t come across like that, but thank you. I really didn’t want to bring all those people to your house and I really was only planning on bringing my girlfriend, and I mean, this is college, she practically lives with me but you can never be certain of anything, but then I wasn’t sure whether this thing was the a Capellas only, or if we could bring other people, and, well, things got out of hand. I hope you know that I wouldn’t ever try and put you in a situation that compromised you or your apartment, and that’s why I got you before letting any of them in the doorway. I hope you have a wonderful night… I’m sorry for any inconvenience.”

Honestly, I was very touched by this message and thought that it was very beautifully written and mature, especially coming from a freshman. I have so much respect for this guy, whereas I have very little for the one who had chosen to come to my party and then attempt to steal my vodka. Neither of their names are listed here, and neither of them may ever really know what I thought of them, but for my readers, you now can understand how I observe the people at my parties.

I then passed out on my couch until around 5:00am, and then I picked up all of the solo cups, empty handles, half-filld beer cans, empty soda bottles, and random trash. The next step was to do a dry sweep so that any particles can be thrown away in the trash. Afterwards I use a combination of white vinegar, dish soap, scrubbing bubbles, and hot water to create a mopping solution that I then use to clean up the entire floor space of the kitchen, living room, and bedroom. I finish sometime after 6am, shower, and then hop into bed for another well-deserved sleep.

The funny thing is that I have repeated this process every single weekend since the beginning of the semester, because I am one of the few people who has a house with enough space to host parties and lots of people. I feel as if I keep justifying why I write these blog posts. I write because I want my words and thoughts to last even beyond me and beyond my finite self. I want part of me to somehow have an impact on others and to create some sort of echo in eternity. I study mechanical engineering, but my true self lies in understanding how people interact with each other and how to explore this mess of a life. And that starts with first understanding a small part about how a normal night progresses.


Homemade Preparations

So it’s been about a week since I arrived back in Maryland, and it’s been interesting to say the least. I surprised my family by showing up at my younger brother’s high school JV Championship Rugby game. It was surreal to be back in Maryland again, and see old faces of friends and coaches, while simultaneously realizing that I did not recognize any of the players on my brother’s team. What else have I done since then? Well, I’ve hung out with my best friends Tyler, Greg, and Luis, and I even ran a 5k Warrior Dash with them somewhere in Mechanicsville, MD. Aww man, that was definitely a fun experience, especially since I felt more physically fit compared with more than 50% of the other runners. But now I definitely know that I despise mud and dirt. The race started with a jog through a wooded path that quickly became muddy. I was able to dodge most of the mud in the middle of the road, but i eventually got stuck in a few deeper puddles. The rest of the race was decently fun, and filled with twisty pathways and 15ft tall ropes obstacles. However, the most exciting part of the race was the 40ft slip ‘n slide that ran down the length of the hill. I felt re-energized to run the rest of the race, until I made it to the pool of mud that smelled and felt disgusting. But I trudged through it, all the while trying to keep it from coming into contact with my contact lens. Overall, it felt good to do that workout and my friends and I knew that we wanted to do more races in the future.

Then the other day I went to the Towson Bars with Luis and Greg. We went to this one bar that was alright, but way too loud and filled to the brim with way too many biddies. The quieter one more suited to talking and hanging out was the Rec Room near the Recher Theater where I remember watching old high school bands play. The night would have remained relatively uneventful, except that I saw my old middle school classmates whom I had not seen for 7 years. It was odd to recognize them, yet know that so much has happened since the last time I saw them. I mean, I have met people who have changed in the course of a month, and these old classmates have definitely gone through adventures and evolutions of their own nature. I was able to see how they had stuck together as a group of friends similar to how my group of friends back home have stuck together. The rest of the night was spent receiving a warning from a cop because I started driving down the wrong way of a one-way road, and smoking Black and Milds outside on my mom’s apartment balcony well into 4am in the morning.

Today, I checked over the flight itinerary for my departure on Monday May 28th, 2012 to Berlin, Germany for my 3 month internship at the Reiner Lemoine Institute for The Potential of Hydropower Generation in the Caribbean. It’s been a bit stressful, since I do not yet have a specific place to stay in Berlin, but I am hopeful and know that all will be well. I called my credit card company to notify them of my stay, I ordered new contacts, got a replacement laptop battery, and am preparing my suitcase for all of the essentials that I will need when I go abroad. I am excited to leave once again, but I am also nervous and anxious. I am nervous because of change. I fear the change that accompanies any new experience, as well as the change that will occur when I leave. Everything is changing around me, and sometimes it’s too hard to hold on to anything that remains firm and immovable. My friends and the dynamic that I share with them have changed every year, my place of living has changed, and even my outlook on life and personal beliefs have changed. I am definitely not the same person who I was when I started this blog, and I suppose that that is a good thing. I had hoped that this blog could be a chronicle of my experiences, and it has fulfilled that purpose, as well as the purpose of being an outlet for my thoughts and experiences.

I hope to continue using this blog as my outlet for my adventures in Berlin for the upcoming three months, and I cannot wait to share it with the world.

P.S. – Honestly I feel as if my words always fall short of fulfilling my expectations of describing life and experience.


New Direction

Hey, so it’s been that awkward period between the end of classes and the start of exams. I’ve definitely slept, eaten, and partied it up a lot more compared to my studying but I felt that it was worth it seeing as how difficult this semester has been. I want to enact a small change in the direction that I bring this blog; I want to bring it to a more vivid and visceral level. By that I mean that I would like to explore more of my thoughts in a more spontaneous way such as when I go to a party and see someone whom I would like to hook up with, or when I’m singing at Mass and have a deep thought enter into my head and heart. Since most people don’t read this blog, I have the knowledge that my thoughts will be safe and private will simultaneously remaining open and free to the rest of the world. Will this new step make me vulnerable? Absolutely, but that is how I hope to grow, by making myself vulnerable and growing from that.

Or maybe I’m just sleep deprived after studying Lagrangian Mechanics for 6 hours straight.

Marvin


The Winter Doldrums

So I decided to finally get off the interwebs and the lure of youtube parody videos concerning College Humor, Smosh, The Legend of Zelda, and StumbleUpon in order to do something somewhat productive today. Partially due to the odd circadian rhythm that I had this past semester, I usually fall asleep around 6am and then physically get out of my bed around 2pm. So I get the required 8 hours of sleep, but then nothing else gets done. I have a list of things to accomplish, and so far most of them have not been checked off. Sometimes I go on my midnight runs, which makes me stay a bit active, and yesterday I cleaned all of the keys of my keyboard by soaking them in a lysol and water solution. Wow, now I just sound like I’m giving mundane updates that don’t concern anything. But I feel as if I have to put them down somewhere.

Yet I think that there is beauty even in this: the forgotten hours lazing away with apparent boredom waiting to be occupied with something other than a video game or countless hours perusing, browsing, and surfing through nameless sites. I mean, I always complain about not having the time to sleep or just laze away during the school year. But it’s funny, because I always have something to do or something that I would like to accomplish or work on during the busy days of the school year, but once break hits there is nothing to do. The limitless potential of the internet becomes a vapid sinkhole of unproductivity. It’s a two-edged Skyward Sword (sorry, I’ve been playing Zelda too much), because in one instance I have too much time with too little connections or events to put my skills to use. On the other hand I have too many obligations and not enough time to fulfill all of them to their fullest potential. And that is part of my weakness that is procrastination. I take too much time to do things and put them off. I lose track of time and before I know it nothing of worth is ever accomplished. Things may get done, but not to their fullest potential. It’s something that I have struggled with my entire life, and something that I will never truly get rid of. But I will try my best to curb it. I found out that that the best remedy is by finally sucking it up and fully confronting the seemingly daunting task that is something other than brainless activity. Then it doesn’t seem so bad. It actually seems to be fun. Writing this blog post right now is testament to that, and now I feel motivated enough to go and actually accomplish something such as cleaning out my old desk in my old room as a temporary space to do work and use my laptop.

More posts will definitely come, because this blog keeps me grounded to this reality.


On Turning 21

So here I am; I made it back to the 410 in my old house in Owings Mills, MD about to turn 21. And I don’t know how I feel about that just yet. I remember starting this blog pretty much one year ago. And I feel the need to return to it. I just don’t know. I have friends who are already 21 and they can all legally order drinks at the restaurants and bars now. But it’s just that everything is finite. Childhood is becoming a distant memory. I always ask myself the same question every time I reach a new milestone in life: have I done enough? Did I achieve what I wanted to achieve and the goals that I strove for? Oh life. So as a 20 year old I thrived in Germany and in my many adventures there, and then I survived another semester of my hardest year in college (from what I’ve heard from seniors). So then I suppose that life just gets better from here on out? I don’t know, there are a lost of I don’t knows.

I want to look at it positively, but it just feels so permanent. I feel older. I remember the older days, and I remember being younger, even though I am still young. We can’t all remain forever young, and I understand that. What a difference a year makes. What a difference. I look back and remember all the anticipation for my foray into the unknown that was Europe and my study abroad experience. And here I am back in the same household after experiencing and travelling through many dangers, toils, snares, and kilometers. And I will continue to travel these vast distances and make my life have a story worth sharing.

It doesn’t matter if I have or haven’t done a lot of things, because I can remedy that in the future. There is still time, and I look forward to spending it. I made it this far, and I can make it even further. Everything is changing around me, and I am fine with that. Maybe the biggest lesson that I have learned thus far is that nothing stays permanent, and that that is alright. It’s okay. There are good and bad memories, there are good and bad times, and they are all worth it in the end. Haha, that sounds familiar and similar to one of my first posts last year. Well, I still have four minutes left. What shall I do?

I believe that I shall go for a run and start the year off right. Then I’ll play some Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and then have the best sleep that I have had in a long time. Three minutes left. Usually someone would be taking a shot of some good vodka right now. Two minutes. It’s about time. It’s all about the time. Oooooh I am excited. One minute left. Here we go. It’s almost as if this the exciting end to my 20th chapter, and I can’t wait to turn to the next chapter. Last thoughts? Nope. I’m ready for the next chapter.

I feel infinite.


A Plastic Bag

So it’s 2:39am on Thursday and I am literally just counting down the days until I can return to Boston University. I mean, it’s great to enjoy the summer and sleep. Yes, sleep and food. It’s too bad that one cannot put a down payment or deposit into the sleep bank in order to withdraw from it later. I am starting to get frustrated with my immediate lack of success in finding a suitable job for myself in Boston that will also leave me with enough time for a cappella and my schoolwork. I’m usually a big softie when it comes to working with supervisors, especially when I am working underneath them. My only aim is to be able to get an engineering internship next summer, and also have a job this school year so that I can be more effective in paying for fees relating to my apartment and free time.

My only worries are that I won’t be able to keep up with the rigors of a third year engineering undergraduate student while keeping a part-time job, and that I will be unable to find an internship. This internship would help me get some real-world experience for engineering and eventually land a job will hopefully fulfill me in an emotional and financial way. Anyways, I really just wanted to post something and the first thing that came to mind was the topic “A Plastic Bag.”


Updates

I’m not going to try to make any excuses, because I have none. It’s been a wild set of weeks here in Dresden. There have been instances of tumultuous weather, drama, and epiphanies. I am a bit upset with myself and my actions for not being proactive enough in keeping this blog updated and just doing things that I ought to be doing. I guess that it’s the fact that I have a few more weeks left until I leave on the 20th of July. The money is running low again, exams are coming, and the stress is building up. What if I haven’t done enough with my time here? What if I don’t remember a lot of what I have learned here? I just wish that I had two more productive days when I could just do some work and not worry about the impending doom of exams.

Right now it’s July 3rd and it’s a feeling of melancholy. Yeah, that’s it, I think that the right word to describe my feelings right now are melancholy. I am well-fed, but still feel hungry. I am well-rested, but am still tired. I am preparing for the next few weeks, yet I still feel anxious. I want to get my exams over with, and I also want to go to the Rugby Tournament in Nuremberg and then go travel to Amsterdam for that last weekend. There are just too many expenses, and then I want to bring a lot of things back home to the US which will cost a lot if I try to bring another check-in bag.

My biggest fear in life is that I will be unable to remember how I became the person who I am today. I want to remember the experiences that changed my life. I just feel oppressed by something heavy right now, almost as if there is something that is keeping me from being happy. And I think that it’s a mixture of this pent-up anxiety and the bleak weather. But the more I prepare, the more I can feel better.


Visits and Icings

I apologize for not keeping this blog updated during the past few weeks. I have been busy doing many things, from the regular rugby practices, to the international vacations, to the studying for tests and doing projects all while trying to enjoy the last few weeks here in Germany. Anyways, I will be vigorously updating this blog with many posts to catch up to the present moment. And hopefully by then I will be able to relax a little bit more and get ready for class again on Monday.

May 18th

Our German class went over our to our German teacher’s house where we watched this German movie and ate some food that was provided by everyone. It was nice to be able to bond with our teacher in a closer way than we were used to back in the U.S. Especially in the undergraduate world, it seems much more common here for professors to share more of their personal lives with their students. In the U.S. I feel as if there exists a very clear line that distinguishes between one’s job and one’s personal life. Over here, there exists little to no difference between the two lives, because it’s just one life. We love our German teacher, because she can read our class mood. We play games, we speak, and we learn German. It was a great night.

I thought it was interesting again to note the disparity between the U.S. and Germany (or Europe in general). In my travels thus far, I have come to realize several things. First of all, Germans are a lot more blunt and like to speak their mind more about things. If one were to ask a German, “How are you doing?” then he or she would reply with an actual answer about what he or she was actually going through and enduring that day. Also, Germans see themselves as having very few close friends, but many acquaintances. When I was speaking with my German speaking partner, I remember her telling me that it was rare for many Germans to having more than just a few hundred facebook friends, because many people whom we meet in life only stay as acquaintances that never become closer friends. A friend is one whom you can trust and talk to about yourself while you are vulnerable.

Germans are also less likely to just talk with any old stranger. But if you are able to become closer to one, then that person will open up to you and become a closer friend for life. It seems as if this is the opposite case in the United States. In the U.S., it is extremely easy to just have a passing conversation with almost anyone on the street, but I believe that many of those “collisions” between people never really lead to any deeper connection. On the other hand, slowly building up a relationship with someone here really does lead to a longer lasting relationship that can span years. Maybe it’s an exaggeration and perpetuation of stereotypes, but I feel that this has been the case during my time here and with the German friends whom I have made thus far. I guess that this just reinforces the stereotype of Germans as serious, hard workers who rarely show a friendly side.

May 21st

Ryan Furlong’s friend from his hometown and BU, Chris, came to visit for a week. It was great to hang out with him, because I had only seen him during the Catholic Mass and Rugby practices during my Freshman Year at BU. As stated in earlier posts, I felt very self-conscious and didn’t have any close friends on the BU Rugby team, even though they tried to include me in their group. However, I feel so much more confident in my abilities here on the Dresden Rugby team, and in my ability to be more social. I will never forget that moment at Barnsdorf when our team was kicking off, and I caught the ball before it hit the ground, broke 3 tackles, and scored my first try ever. It was a moment of pure wonder and exhilaration. I don’t think that I ever felt that way about my performance in a sports game before. It just felt so good to run to that end goal and then place that ball on the ground. You see, my playing style is usually a defensive one that doesn’t usually employ many offensive maneuvers. It’s also reflective of my personality. No one will ever be able to bottle that moment and stopper its feelings, because it is an infinite feeling that spans a single moment.

We left to go visit the trails in Rathen again. This time, we looked for the waterfall that was advertised on one of the pathways. Unfortunately, the waterfall was just a small waterfall that covered the mouth of a cave next to a restaurant. However, as we followed the path uphill, we got deeper into the surrounding forests. The smell of the damp earth permeated the air. It was a good smell. It was the scent of fresh soil and life. It just made you want to take a long deep breath and keep hold it inside of your lungs as long as you could to soak in the fresh oxygen and taste. Indeed I could say that the air tasted delicious.

We continued our hike up the dirt trails, and passed through a different sort of pathway that eventually led to the top of the mountain trail. However this time, the view of the Saxony landscape was dominated by the lush, verdant color of green grass and leaves. Whereas the land between the cliffs and the horizon used to be bare and filled with twigs that waved in the chilly air, now the flowers were in bloom as the warm wind caressed our faces. It was a splendid sight to behold.

Later that night, we started pregaming in my room. Oh it was a great time to experience to experience the excitement of getting drunk again. There were a lot of pictures taken from this evening, and I will feature a few of them. I guess one of the crucial differences was that I was iced for the first time ever. Now for those of you who do not know, icing is a sort of viral drinking game/ challenge. It began with the website BrosIcingBros.com, which spawned this very intriguing and slightly stupid game. To play the game, one must first hide a Smirnoff Ice in an inconspicuous location for another person to find. When the person accidentally stumble upon it, then that person must get down on one knee and chug the entire bottle of Smirnoff Ice. Fortunately, these bottles are usually tiny and are easily consumable due to their tasty and tiny nature. Sure this sounds dumb, but the goal of the game is to totally catch people off guard and have them drink the Smirnoff Ice in a totally inconvenient or inappropriate location. Adding to the complexity of this great game, one may counter ice someone if the person being iced has a Smirnoff Ice within arm’s reach. In this case, the original icer would then have to drink both his original Smirnoff Ice as well as the one that was used as a counter ice.

Either way, the night turned out to be quite fun. Several of us left to go to a bar in the Neustadt. Unfortunately, we didn’t go looking for another new bar further in the Neustadt, and simply just stayed in the earlier parts of the street. We left to go back home, and one of us found a chair to bring back. We also met with our Electric Circuit Theory lab TA who was with his girlfriend. He pretended not to know us nor speak any German. He promised that if we were good then he would let us have a big group picture with him. We get off at the wrong stop, and make our way back to the home base of the Max-Kade Haus where we go to bed after the sun has already risen.

 


12/25

12/25, I failed. To put it in understandable and blunt terms; I failed. What is this feeling? The thought that I was actually competent and understood something. Even the cheerful and gorgeous day cannot make me feel happy. Every slow step reminds me of a few more points that I could have gained on those tests. Below average and a failure. I’m out of my league here. Maybe I thought that I could compete and maybe even be a leader like I used to be in past semesters. But I guess that it just won’t be my year. Hey, don’t think that! But honestly, everyone has the same advice. I mean, even I say the same advice to my friends about how failing only makes you a better person. How failing and getting to your lowest points makes you turn into a better and stronger person in the future. Were those just lies that I said to reassure myself that I was better than everyone else? It’s so easy to give advice to someone, but it’s so freakin’ hard to actually follow someone else’s let alone your own.

It’s a rush of different emotions and thoughts. First of all, I feel a sudden panic coursing through my body as I realize that I won’t have enough time to finish the questions nor understand the other parts of the test. I quickly glance at the clock, sigh, start to breathe harder, then quickly flick through the rest of the pages. It’s hopeless, and there’s nothing else that I can do about it. Wait maybe if I just use the other energy equation and substitute the rest energy of an electron… no damn it that doesn’t work. So what’s the plan? Awww man, well I’ll just rally together and just BS the rest of this test. Crap time is up and okay here’s the test Ms. Professor Lady with that grin on her face. I’m not happy and I’m not content. Usually I feel great after a test after having circled and boxed in the last correct answer. But today was not that day. And it was a double whammy as well; I got a 12 out of 25 on my Electric Circuit Theory Midterm and a 14.5 out of 25 on my Modern Physics Midterm. Sure, a lot of people would say that those are hard classes and that I am so lucky to have at least made it this far in life. What what those words matter in the large scheme of things? What do they mean? What do my grades mean?

Maybe if I hadn’t put off doing that homework and studying until the night before. Maybe if I had actually ordered the book instead of borrowing it every other night from other people. What if I had not drank or smoked that weekend? Or maybe I could have focused on studying rather than joining the rugby team here. So many ifs and maybes. However, this is a study abroad trip and the fact of the matter is that there is a balance here that is absent when I study at Boston. There are more opportunities to be distracted here, and I have more things that I want to do rather than study. I mean, shit I’m studying abroad in Europe and having so many amazing experiences everyday. But are those experiences and lessons worth failing tests? Well perhaps there are more important tests in life. In this situation, I think that I am passing my tests.

There are definitely more important things to worry about in life. It’s hard to take my own advice, but I have to do it. I have trusted myself thus far, and I suppose that it won’t hurt to continue trusting myself. I think that I am moving on to that second stage in the cycle of loss acceptance. You know what? Life is good. The sun is shining, my skin is tanning, the food is good, the classes are great, and the friends are even better. I don’t know of many things that could beat the feeling of getting a try during rugby, or going out with friends after a pregaming session. This failure will only help me. I’ll simply just have to work harder and study more before the next exam. Maybe I’m not as smart or as good as everyone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.


Avant France

Je suis excité pour la France. I just cannot wait to go to France and have such an amazing time tanning and resting on the warm beaches of Nice, visiting a small French town to the east of that, and then going to Paris for the last few days. It has always been my dream to visit France, and now it’s coming true. I am all packed and exhausted, and I know that I have such a long day and week ahead of me. I will definitely keep this blog posted as I travel, and I will have many long reflections after this. I also am a bit late and would like to finish my reflections of the last few excursions before it gets to be too late. So I will take care, and try to see with my heart during this next week.

And for the first time I will honestly be able to say that I have gone skinny dipping in the nude beaches of Southern France.


Philadelphia

“I know who your boyfriend is.”

These were the words unwittingly uttered to me by one of my unconscious, sleepingtalking best friends as I carried him to his bed after a long, fun night of hanging out with new and old friends. My response was simply, “Yes, I know him.” I traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Thursday afternoon to Saturday evening. It was a fun and rewarding visit to a best friend from home and high school. Hahaha, he’s also probably reading this right now. His name’s Sean. It was nice to get out of the house for a few days and just explore a little bit more of Philadelphia and Drexel University. So during the first night, I was invited to attend and even perform at a Late Night Coffeehouse-like event that featured student comedians, singers, and performers of all types. So I sang an a cappella medley of hallelujah, which incorporated lyrics from Leonard Cohen, Handel, and Paramore. It was interesting to say the least, but I enjoyed performing in a different place.

So I didn’t see much of Drexel, except for the inside of my friend’s dorm room. The weirdest aspect was walking through the campus and not knowing anyone whom I passed by. It is interesting to have a friend with whom you can to and say anything to. It’s funny, because I’ve heard and witnessed scenes where people have said, “We’ll always be friends forever, and we’ll hang out all the time.” For me, this has usually occurred during graduations and at the end of retreats and reunions. The problem I discovered is that I cannot keep in touch with all of my friends. I would become spread too thin. And so it happened that I just tried my best to open up with as many people whom I felt comfortable with. I learned that it was only through becoming vulnerable and opening up my true self to others did I realize a true friendship. And with my growing number of true friends in Boston University, I have started to shorten the gap between my college personality and my home personality. I now can open up and share secrets about myself with people in Boston, and I hope to do that wherever I go in life.

I think the reason why Sean and I are best friends is due to the fact that we aren’t afraid to radically disagree with each other. Oftentimes we butt heads (sometimes literally) when it comes to matters of our faith, relationships, photographic techniques, and even cooking. And we are not afraid to tell the other that we are pissed off with the other or that we cannot stand the other person while I am inebriated. Haha, but I can honestly say that this holds true with my other friends whom I have made during my life’s journey thus far. Ever since September 26, 2008, I started praying for each friend and individual who has touched my life in some way. I say all their names in my head as I start my car to drive anywhere. It’s funny, but it’s my reassurance that whatever happens to me wherever I go I know that my friends will be safe.

Unfortunately I did not get to buy a Philadelphia cheesesteak (hoagie?) nor a Drexel shotglass. But I got to spend a great weekend with a wonderful friend who shared a great view of the world with me.

P.S. – My trip to Dresden, Germany is fast approaching and I have not begun to pack all of my belongings. I better get to that before I leave.


Another Summer

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

~Albert Camus

Ever since my first freshman winter at Boston University (BU), I this line has held a lot of meaning. It’s hard to explain, because summer is one of the main reasons why I started this blog to begin with. In my free time I always looked on the internet for a specific site that made me feel… infinite. I wanted a site that had essays and pictures that allowed me to feel wonder and awe. Once in a while I would stumble across a tumblr or an article that lightly touched upon the topic of those infinite summer days, but I failed to find an article that discussed the feelings that always lay within me. I honestly don’t know where to start. The summer comes after the glory of the spring. I guess that that needs some explanation. Due to the earth’s orbit around the sun, the continents and cultures experience the four seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. And those seasons represent the life cycle of our lives. We burst forth into life, crying and screaming and yearning for the comfort of a mother’s womb. From then on we experience suffering, but through that comes experience, and that is one of the keys, I think, to life. In our spring time, we see the world in a new light. Everything seems to sparkle and radiate an intense calling to come and experience the fullness and intensity of life. Oh boy, I mean just remember your high school days.

I speak through firsthand and vicarious experience: remember those games on friday nights when your blood rushed with adrenaline as you made your tackles, and then later that night lay with the girl of your dreams as you gazed upon the stars. Remember the rush when you first sipped, or chugged, your first drink or when you first smoked. Remember those moments when everyone from your high school and your friends’ high schools showed up to group events to cheer on and be together. Remember the dramas and the plays that were acted out in hallways, bedrooms, parties, cafeterias, and fields that brought pain, grief, smiles, and memories to your face. Remember that night when you lost your virginity, but gained something in return. I guess that what I am trying to encapsulate is the feeling of spring. I think that the line between childhood and teenage life does not really exist, because we are still attempting to find out who we are and what we want in life.

Now, remember that first day of the year when you go out of your house at night, and all you can hear is the murmuring chorus of crickets as the warm air engulfs you. It’s a mellow feeling. In every sense of the word, summer feels like the spring, but more mature. The explosive energy now gives way to the calloused and bruised person who has already experienced his youth, and is now ready to settle down. I imagine a backyard full of friends and family that have already finished the family games and meal, and are now just lazing around as the smoke from the bonfire keeps the mosquitos away.

Is it a worth it to trade innocence in exchange for maturity? Just like William Blake wrote a lot about, the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience showcased the pros and cons of both sides.

I will definitely revisit these topics again, because it has always popped into my head, and I have discussed this a lot with friends. You see, I see the ideal of summer the most in Ocean City, Maryland. When I was younger, my family would have overnight vacations to this beach. Time and time again, we would play on the beach and eat at the Bonfire buffet with the all-you-can-eat snow crab legs. As time went by, the family decided to try other places such as Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach. I started to not like Ocean City, because it wasn’t as clean as the ones in California, and it was filled with so many weird and different people. It was not until my Senior Week in 2009 when my opinion changed. Let me explain, Senior Week was a rite of passage for Maryland high schoolers.

After the stresses and tribulations of high school, my friends, and many other high schoolers and their groups of friends would all go down to ocean city right after graduation. I distinctly remember Facebook statuses discussing the bittersweet emotions that came with the end of four-year era, along with how many cases of 30’s, handles, and eighths they were bringing to the beach to celebrate. The coolest part was that all the people whom you met throughout your adventures in high school somehow managed to run into you on Coastal Highway or on the beach or at a party somewhere. It was cool. It’s crazy to think that this all happened one and a half years ago. Anyway here are the series of vignettes and the feelings that occurred with them:

June 8, 2009 – “Monday we arrived. I was in a car with Tyler, Jay, and Sean. I love Jason Mraz. Wizard of oohs and aaaahs and fa la las mr a-z and it’s all about the word play. Then we arrived at the Condos. We unpacked, and all plaed at the beach. We tried playing tackle football; however, that didn’t work out so well. Later that day, Sean, Tyler, and I cooked Taco meat, because Harker tried defrosting the meat by putting it out on the porch.

I went to Billy’s condo on 58th street. I felt odd, being in the presence of alcohol truly for the first time… We walked out on the street, and I saw Sara, Colleen, and Eric. I hugged Sara, because she was so scared from being at a party that was busted. [Profound time with Billy] I then hopped on the deck of Ben’s porch where a bunch of guys were smoking Marijuana. Jordan and this other girl that was drew’s friend walked with us to Dumsers at 3am. I slept at Billy’s place, because I was too tired.”

June 9, 2009 – “We built an amazing Sand Castle and wall, but it got breached. My High-LI friends called, and I met up with Lauren, Meghan, Nate, Kenny, Sara, Rose, and Chris. We ate at Bull on the Beach, and it was delicious. We met up on the beach and took pictures. Sara and I walked to Lauren’s place at the Carousel. After her drunk friends left, we shared profound time. I talked about the problems with my parents. Then Lauren gave us a lesson about handles of Captain Morgan and Vodka…

June 10, 2009 – “Ed and I left to walk on the boardwalk and meet up with Luis… It was cool just hanging out with my group of best friends. Haha, during the army simulation, I was give the 9mm gun. We later split up, and Tyle, Ed, and I went to Higgins Crab House for all you can eat crabs and corn for $20. Then we met Nicole and Colin Campbell at the Crab house. Ed, Tyler, adn I then sat in Ed’s car in the parking lot. That was hilarious. We just sat there, ate cookies, and laughed. I can’t remember exactly what we talked about, but at one point Tyler and I started chanting Native American chants, because I said something awkward. We laughed. It felt so good just to release my inhibitions and laugh my good laugh.

It felt so much better than when we were smiling at Luis’ friends’ house. That was just all about partying, fucking, and getting drunk. This moment was special. Then we decided to go to mini golf on 13 street for free, due to the play-it-safe brochure… I was so giddy; it was such an amazing night.

On the bus ride back, there was a high school dropout riding near us. He was pretty cool and chill. And another guy with a guitar got on the bus. the dropout asked to play, and began playing really well. Someone asked him to sing and he began to sing, “I guess I’m drunk again.” Then a drunk girl got on the bus and started freestyling to his guitar chords.

I think that that’s kinda of cool. He just lives life freely. I don’t know what his destiny will be, but I hope that he has a great future. A drunk girl fell asleep on me on the bus. Her friend told her that my name was Jason.

Ed, Tyler, and I stopped by Billy’s place. There was a problem, because many of the Mercy girls and other guys were hanging out and around the house. It turned out that after “Power Hour,” Eric came back to see the house with a lot of people inside of it. He exploded at them.

I saw and hugged Sara. We talked on the beach about how we were taking care of our friends. We then comforted Eric, and calmed him down. Ed then drove my drunk friends back to the condo, as Ed and I took care of the handle of captain Morgan Rum.

June 11, 2009 – “Ed and I hung out with the Mercy girls and Billy at 58th street. Sara, Colleen, Sarah, Hannah, Richard, Billy, Simchee, Marshall, and Gene along with other Mercy girls. We just sunbathed and relaxed. I felt relaxed and content. There were no worries, oh, and I cooked spaghetti for lunch with Tyler and Sean. Then we joked around while listening to Jason Mraz (Wordplay). Ed got along well with them, a lot. We played “Big Booty” on the sand as the waves washed over our feet…

I got to the free water park at Jolly Rogers. That felt nice. I saw Emily, Alex, Allison, Carolyn, Alan, Colin, Josh, and Alex. I rode the water rides with the NDP girls. Oh, and Christine too. Afterwards, I cooked lemon and soy sauce beef chunks and chicken. Ryan came, Josh’s group came, and several of Billy’s friends. I cooked, defrosted, marinaded, and cleaned for everybody with the help of Tyler and Sean.

They loved the food, but I got sad. I not because I heard someone ask us to hurry up, but because by the time I finished cooking, everyone started to leave. That saddened me…

We left for dodgeball with Kaitlin. Woohoo free shirts! Joe still has a cannon arm. I then met up with Nate to go to a party on 133rd street with Sara.

This was the first time I ever drank any alcohol. Ben was our bartender. We drank shots of Bacardi, Vodka, and Rum with coke. It was yummy, and I enjoyed it. I liked the relaxed atmosphere of the quiet party. However Dan just kept drinking in order to get drunk. He did, and he lost his cell phone. He kept laughing, and couldn’t stand up by himself. Then there were times when he just told us how sorry he was. Sara and I brought him back to his hotel room, where he laid down. He told us that he hated himself, and I told him not to ever do that. He put on “I’m Yours” as his song on the iHome He calmed himself down with yoga, and Jeff found the phone at the house. Dan wanted to give Rose, Sara, and me a present. He showed us his High-LI vid that he had been working on. That was amazing. And Sara talked with me about how everytime something was going wrong or bad, I was there. I went back to the Condo, and called Tyler to meet me at the Beach for profound time.

June 12, 2009 – Tyler and Sean joined me on the beach. What an amazing talk. I told them about my reasoning behind why I drank that night. I told them that although it was a big risk, I wanted to test myself. I wanted to know that I could control myself and say, “no” while I drank. I could control myself. I

Are we human? Or are we dancer?

remembered what Ms. O’Keefe told me about the oxymoron of living life to the fullest in a safe way. I took risks.

Then we walked, and I told them about Eric and Dan. I shared with them my disappointment in some friends, and their rudeness. I also told them that I though about trying drugs, and I decided never to try it because I knew that my willpower was not strong enough to stop an addiction. Tyler and Sean then informed me that I held my alcohol in very well. We discussed if it was possible for someone to focus on not getting drunk lie I tried to do. I kept trying to stay in control. Then we discussed the wonder of God, and the song ‘Everything.’ (And how could I stand here with you, and not be moved by you?)

Earlier that week, Sean spent time with Danny and they talked about gay marriage. We all agreed that if one person saw the other person as the amazing person who would give up his or her life for the other, and would rather have the other person be happy then that was beautiful. Meghan put it beautifully when she said that if Jesus were alive today, then he would hang around the outcasts: the gays, addicts, and alcoholics. I agreed. Sean told me how happy he was and thankful to have me and tyler as friends. I love them both. He told me that Mike and I were the reason why he loves sunsets and sunrises so much. I still love Loyola. We saw the sunrise, and took stunning pictures of ourselves. It seriously could be the cover of a Christian Rock Album. It was just pure joy and contentment, and I captured those amazing moments on my camera.

After waking up at noon, we all went to Dough Rollers. Tyler, Sean, and I all went to the boardwalk. We kept walking until we reached the end, and I could not find a journal to write in. I just needed to get my thoughts down on paper. We all sat on a bench, and we just rested. Then ‘I Hope You Dance’ came on the radio speaker, and it made me think of different types of dancers.

Are we the dancers who just follow a preset number of moves like a robot? or are we those spontaneous dancers who dance as a means of beautiful expression. It reminded me of Ms. O’Keefe and her Kairos story.

We went back home, I bought the journals, and started defrosting the meat…

June 13, 2009 – …We met up with Drew and Billy’s group at the Outdoor Golf Course. I also saw Brandon, Ben, Jake, and Jess and Tori. Brandon told me how much my letter to him affected him. He said that it brought tears to his and Jess’ eyes. I truly felt excited to hang out with him the next day. We stopped by Tubby’s, and it reminded me of Alexander from High-LI.

June 14, 2009 – The last day. I woke up early to go to the 10am mass. I t felt good. As the mass went on, the moments of the week flashed through my head: Wordplay, cooking, Sara, High-LI, Carousel, Eric, Dan, Cards, sumbathing, ocean, Nicole, waterpark, Higgins, Sean and Tyler, sunrise, pictures, mini golf, parties, 133rd, Billy’s, rum, frineds, Brandon, and crashes. Dancing… We went back to the condo, and Harker and I sunbathed for the last time. It felt amazing to just lie on the beach and soak up the warmth of a comforting sun. Then I cooked a great final supper for our condo and Billy’s condo. Then we cleaned up and left.

Jay drove us back. I never spent much time with him ever since Jamaica. We talked about Kairos, and our plans for the summer. He’s a pretty cool guy and I told him that I was glad that he returned back to Loyola.

So what an amazing week. I experienced so much, and I believe that I helped a lot of people as well. I think that I am ready for college. Before this week, I wasn’t so sure, but now I believe that I am ready to face life out in the real world…”

End of the Entries

I know that that was a lot to write about, and that this much information and names and dates will probably bore some people who will not want to read it. However, I think that this week represents my outlook on life, and also symbolizes my view of summer. First of all, I want to explain that there were several names that I omitted or changed in the original text to protect their identities. I also shortened some of the sections for various reasons. Maybe one day I’ll return to those reasons.

Ah yes, rampant nostalgia and reminiscing. I don’t know, but as I rewrote these passages, I could almost smell the brine of the ocean and feel the spray of salt water across my face as the sun beat down upon me. It’s even hard to explain the various emotions that I felt then, and the way that I view my actions now. Along with my first drink, it was also my first real time cooking not only for myself, but also for my friends. I learned hot to boil spaghetti, bake chicken, and fry most meats. Oh man, that first night down there at the beach really opened my eyes. I did not realize how many of my friends and

I feel infinite

acquaintances actually got drunk or high or laid during that week. And in one viewpoint, as some people like to jokingly remind me, I experienced Senior Week incorrectly. I remember it all. In fact, I even found time to write down and reflect on what I experienced and saw. I drank responsibly, and I helped out my friends who were in need. And I can still say that it was all worth it in the end. Frankly, I was not ready to begin partying it up, or trying to hook up with someone. To put it in perspective, having a drink during that week was the equivalent of a high school freshman having sex for the first time. I was that nervous, and I was boldly stepping out of my comfort zone in so many levels.

But to add to this feeling of adventuring, I also experienced amazing joy and wonder. I hung out with so many people with whom I shared a deep connection and friendship with. Awww man, I just can’t seem to explain it. This feeling of eternity within you. A wellspring of giddy feelings that cannot be contained, coupled with the sacred feeling of a beach solely illuminated by the moonlight. Oh my God, I just can’t put it down in words, no matter how hard I try. I just felt infinite. During that week, and in that week, moreso than in many other weeks, I felt perfection. The weather was sublime, the people were varied, the experiences were timeless, and the crashes were unexpected and wondrous. We all crashed into each other when we needed it most.

I felt this the most whenever I crashed into Sara. When we were reaching our breaking points of stress, the other would just happen to wander by. It felt too coincidental and perfect to be coincidence. There were many friendships that were strengthened during that week. However, as I later found out, for many others this week destroyed many long relationships. This week, like anything else in life, only resulted in whatever you wanted it to be. I wanted it to be one of the most important weeks of my life, and I believe that I succeeded in that aspect. Sure, I have no tales of drunken streaking across the street, stories of burned down apartments, or tidbits to share about being laid. But I don’t regret anything during that week, and even if I made some mistakes, I still wouldn’t regret it.

In fact, I feel as if that week portended my later adventures in college. I was ready to handle myself in an unbridled environment. Sure, I made a fool out of myself in new situations, and I did somethings that I would have never dreamed to do. But in the end it was alright. And that is what summer is about. In about 3000 some words I have tried to piece together a small explanation of what summer means to me. It is about the maturation process and the ripening of an individual from the callowness of youth to the more restrained person who has the weight of experience to back him up. There is so much more to explain, but I think that for now I shall give it a rest. Because in remembering these moments, I am starting to remember what it’s like to feel infinite.


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