Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's a... It's a... It's a... Let's play 4-square.

About a week or two ago I received a "facebook event request" to attend The Rose and the Rime with the Hope College theatre dept. and alumni. The event was announced in the theatre newsletter which I still receive while here in London. This evening I received an email from The House (I'm on their mailing list) about the production. As I was reading an entry written on The House blog by Brandon, a Hope graduate who acted in the original production, I became incredibly nostalgic. Rose and the Rime was one of the major affirmations of my career choice. The workshops pre-Rose and the community that continued to grow during the production cemented my belief that theatre is an art form worth investing in. I remember one particular day in the studio theatre: I was in the center and... to be honest, I can't even remember what we were doing exactly, but I can remember when the exercise was over feeling very empty and yet complete at the same time. There were so many days in the Herrick Room when I realized I was finally comfortable. I would leave the room and the reality of what I was going through relationship-wise in the Spring of 2007, would exist again. However, for those hours.. however long or short they may have been... for that time, I was who I wanted to be. It still took me awhile to figure out how to spend time with the people outside of the room (also known as how to make real friends), but in the mean time, something was right.
There were even times when I was not involved in the process and was able to feel what was. One day I was walking through Dewitt to peak into rehearsal. It was one of the days when they were working on Jimmy's song. Everyone had their instruments and Nathan was sharing some of the words. There was laughter and cheer, yet a focus that felt so pure... even from the hallway. Nights like that reaffirm my purpose. I have yet to figure out how to create that greatness, rather than just acknowledge it, but that feeling, that connection, that community... that is the goal.

I need to figure out how to articulate that in my cover letter...

I think I am jealous of The House. They are taking this production that, even though I didn't act in or design for, I was part of-- and was part of me even more... They're taking it and-- well that's all, it's theirs now. It goes like this, you know how sometimes you fall in love with someone and when the relationship ends you continue to be in love with the person you originally fell in love. Well it's like that, this play that was so much more than your usual relationship, has left me-- it was time, but still, it left... and now someone else gets to spend time with her/him/it. I am doing my best to trust that they are treating it well. Carolyn wrote this about the show and the theatre. It reminded me that in reality, the community is just expanding... and besides, The House came first. They expanded their community, which originated some where else and now it's expanding it back to them. They will reach new people with a world that I called my own. It's still my day at show-and-tell... someone else is just doing the showing and telling for me.

I love The House and I wish I could see their production and be part of their company, their community and the show, all over again.

Rachel... "dislikes inconvienent feelings in inconvienent cirucmstances"

And so do I.
The above "..." is my friend, Rachel's current facebook status.

Some people say we reveal too much in our facebook statuses. They often result in us opening ourselves up deeply, in a condensed, one-line fashion, to a group of people we only truly know on the surface. Is this a bad thing? How often do we, as a whole community of beings, have opportunities to open up? Then again, with a generation that grew up with away messages and now sends its "secret(s)" on postcards to a man named Frank in Maryland, would you expect any different? I believe that most the time the only people that look at the information I post on the web are the people who are interested in me and what I have to offer to the public. I believe I am "grown-up" enough to not fall into the schemes that we worry about our young teenage girls falling into... and I usually keep my privacy settings up. The difference between me and a percentage of the population is that I still manage pen myself up to the public off-line just as much as, if not more than I do on-line. Is there something wrong with opening myself up to so many people? Well yes, I will probably get hurt, but that's part of it. I have been hurt before and yes, I will probably be hurt again. When you allow people in you make yourself vulnerable, but you also allow growth. I think the scariness of being hurt is why people are more likely to open up online... it's not quite as scary. We all want to connect, and so badly at times, but sometimes it can be too scary to connect in real life. It is so intimate and so intense...
If the internet, as an emotional connector is a means to an end, then it should be challenged. However, if it is a plateau to something greater, then I am all for it.

In the meantime, bring on the facebook statuses.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Without a destination, you get there quickly

The strange thing about living in a place, versus just visiting, is that you no longer feel that great inner chaos of needing to see and do everything possible. Instead, you go about your day because you couldn't keep going at that pace.. or you could, but I'd get quite tired after a certain amount of time. In addition, you have obligations to fulfill... that daily stuff: grocery shopping, meal creating, casual conversation, homework, class... ect.

And I, I don't feel bad.
I just wonder why it is that everyone comes back from being abroad claiming to have this huge life changing thing... What am I missing? Sure, I've met people who come from different life styles and I've met people whom I can't understand because we don't speak the language. It is discouraging, but we still found ways to communicate. Yes, I drank alcohol. Yes, I am in the process of exploring the museums and I am exploring the city. I run along The Thames. I would accuse myself of waiting for something, but I don't even know what I would be waiting for. I am simply here. Is there supposed to be more?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Because regular paper is too intimidating and desks stifle creativity

On Monday nights the Old Dutch pancake house has huge pancakes (which are actually crepes) for 5 quid. This is a steal in Chelsea. Food is a pricey commodity. The "6th floor" er- a section of it- has made it a Monday night routine of partaking in the deliciousness. While there I began writing my short sample scene for my play writing class. It was just something short to give us a taste of writing and then giving it to the class. After thinking about it all week, but being too scared to put pen to paper, I finally began writing on a napkin while I was at the pancake house. When I returned to the dorm I sat in the hallway and made a lot of progress. Conclusion: Napkins + Hallway > Desk + Blank Notebook Paper

The mini-scene was well received. I didn't have intention of people laughing at it and as a result (with the help of some lovely cold reading skills of Character B), people laughed quite a bit. B was so silly I even laughed-- and I wrote it. I was really proud of myself. Character A needed some work and we acknowledged that, but overall it just felt good to be done with that first time of... "here is something I wrote- be critical, but please don't make me cry". It's always been a little bit intimidating to me; not everyone limits their judging to Friday.

So I need to write one last IES blog for January... and then I need to start on February's. I had intentions of writing the blog entry tonight. I even knew what I was going to write... I just had to get it down. My roommate was going to bed early though so I decided to use the hall so I wouldn't have the light on and in hopes of being inspired. Instead I ended up talking with lots of wonderful people. While people will talk to you in the common room, you're much more approachable if you're in the middle of where everyone walks. Given, not everyone is going to want to talk to you-- and this is a good thing because you do want to get something done, but it was lovely. Not only did I talked to the usual people in my wing, but I also had a nice conversation with my friends Bristol and Laura. (Bristol being the one person who I had actually talked to on facebook before I came to London.... and, as hoped, she's even cooler in person than on fb). Then, a new kid moved in across the hall and I met him. It turns out he's from the same country as the boy who I talk to often, but who's name I have the hardest time remembering because there are an obscene amount of letters. So they were talking... and Mark talked with Laura and I and then I wanted to look at his english homework and then-- well, I didn't finish my blog. Instead, I came on this blog to tell you that I really enjoy people.
I know I don't always feel this way-- like today, after my run, when I felt terribly sick and I was just plain mean to Bonnie. There was no need to be, but I just felt terrible and took it out on her. She needed the oil so they could start cooking the fries and I didn't feel like getting up to get it so I was mean. Ah. I wish I hadn't been. I did feel quite terrible on the run though. I only went 35 minutes; I couldn't keep up with Trevor. My ankle hurt and I had a terrible tummy ache. The tummy ache might have been caused by the food I keep eating, despite not being hungry. This overwhelming fullness was part of the reason I went running in the first place. Also, the food included chocolate and orange juice. Orange juice has been a no-no for me since freshman year of high school. I don't know how I forget these things.
I also learned found another smell that makes me feel ill if smelt while running (add to chinese food, greesy foods, cat pee... I think that was it prior to today). Pot. Regular smoke is obnoxious and does not make me feel good, but pot smoke is miserable and makes me feel ill. A cloud of it came from some garden today and -- ugh. Terrible. Luckily I was nearing the end of my run. I stretched for a little while. I'm really hoping to have some good runs in the near future.

Outside of the run today was quite marvelous. The subject of my IES blog was going to be my inability to countdown to anything because there are too many wonderful things. Well, that and the fact that the obstacle usually between you and wonderfulness is class. However, in this scenario it is not. Well, Thursday mornings are occasionally rough, but never bad. I'm just tired. I have only had Wednesday night class once so I can't draw a conclusion on that... and Tuesdays, well Tuesdays were my biggest fear when looking at my class schedule. Seven - or is it seven and a half- hours of class in one day with the same woman. It just doesn't seem like it could be a joyful experience. However, it is. I wish Tuesdays would repeat themselves on Thursday. I guess there's always the chance I might not enjoy them as much-- after all, I've only had three days of this theatre loveliness, but I love my professor. She knows her stuff. She knows the right people. She knows theatre in London... and she's hilarious. I learned what spunk is today and I informed her of what the term "douche bag" means. So far her classes have been what I was looking for. You don't get to say that all that often in life. I really hope saying it doesn't change it. (Although, I do accept there may be some off days).
Examples of the wonderfulness in addition to the Thursday night shows: Next Tuesday we are sitting in on some Britain's best drama school's classes. Today we went to The British Library and saw this short piece that is funded by the art council. I met a gypsy, but that is a whole 'nother paragraph that I don't have time for. We attended the Circus thing last week. I don't know. I suppose there are a lot of other things to list about Marina that make her amazing, but it just occurred to me it is getting late.
I have the internship is in the morning and -- well I have hopes it will be exciting enough that I don't fall asleep. I do have plenty of reading and such to do though.

Okay. Off I go...
Thank you to everyone for your support. I am often slow to respond to people's emails and fb messages, but you have no idea how wonderful they are to receive! It's especially nice to hear your stories. I love feeling like I am a part of things whether you're here or there or unsure of your present location.

Goodnight to all.

Monday, January 26, 2009

There are no 'open roads' in London

There's something about running that just makes my life that much better. This morning Trevor and I went running to the Kensington Central library to pick up copies of books we needed for our class. That is pretty much the only thing I've done today. I made myself a large pasta dish for lunch (tomato pesto-sauce with hamburg meat in it all over spaghetti noodles.... with some red wine... ah! delicious) and fell asleep shortly after it as a result of being so full. I just ordered a book online, but that's about it. And oddly, I don't feel too terrible about it. I accomplished about the same amount of nothingness yesterday (which means I'll be up late tonight finishing homework), but hadn't run. As a result I felt much less productive with my day.

Moral of the story: Running probably does a lot more psychological good than it does physical good.

I wonder if I lived in another area of London, perhaps more North or more East (cheaper and/or more night-life-inclined), would I feel the same way as I do about London? Given, I have spent at least a little time in most of the boroughs, but the view out of your window when you wake up affects your approach to the day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Is there a wall, a window, or nothing at all?

Since the 16th, when I updated you last, things have gone pretty well. Thank you, Heather for your suggestions. I went to Hyde Park that next morning and oddly things turned right around. London is not a notoriously sunny place, but that day the sun was out and things just felt better. There were plenty of runners, walkers, bikers... little girls learning to ride horses... adults laughing, learning how to rollerblade... I ran for an hour that day (50 at the park, 5 to the tube station each direction). I had planned to only run 30-40, but I felt alright and had no where else to be, so I just continued to run. It was refreshing and by the time I stretched, showered and ate, the world was new again.

That night night no one really felt like going out so a bunch of us watched Pulp Fiction upstairs. I missed the first part so I have still not seen the entire movie, but I always appreciate the bits I do see.

The next morning IES took a group of us on an East End Market tour. It was alright, but terribly cold and I was a bit tired. I did come home with quite a few bagels and fruit for a much cheaper price than I ever would in Chelsea. I actually returned to the East End markets today to buy fruit again. However, I've already eaten nearly all the bagels and fruit that I bought today (oops).
Sunday I went for a run along The Thames with two of my friends in the program. However, Tyree (spelling?) had had sushi at the east end market and it wasn't sitting well so we walked part of it. On Monday I ran again (3 days in a row, woo!) and this time Trevor and I went to Hyde Park, but his ipod stopped working part of the way into the run and so then he was unmotivated and we returned home. We still ran a quality 40ish minutes. I think running really improved the quality of my upcoming week.

Monday night (or at least I think it was Monday night), I met some girls from an American university who were returning to the US the next day. I watched most of The Dark Knight with them. It wasn't quite as good as I remember it was at the midnight showing in the theatre, but it was still enjoyable. They were fairly friendly so we talked a bit about the tours they had gone on for the past two weeks straight and I told them of my upcoming plans for the semester. Being surrounded by people who are truly excited for your adventures makes them even more exciting.

Tuesday I had class, but only had to attend two of them. For the 3rd class I went to a production, Circus Klezmer, later that night. The show included acrobatics, comedy, no real words and no fourth wall. It was a marvelous production and part of the mime festival. I am considering doing my paper for my theatre industry class on this type of theatre... theatre that combines that audience and performers as one and doesn't require you to know anything or any language. Anyone and everyone could and did enjoy the piece. There needs to be more theatre of this sort.

Wednesday was a terribly long day. I was at my internship at 10A and did not leave until around midnight. I saw 3 shows and worked FOH for 2 of them (the night ones). The jury is still out on how I feel about my internship. I'll fill you in on more when I decide more.

Thursday was more class and a play called Entertaining Mr. Sloane which I am supposed to do a presentation on next Thursday. I have a lot of preparing to do. I think this might have been my first play that I've even seen someone fully naked in. Isn't that strange that I can't remember ever seeing anyone naked on stage before? Hmmm... maybe I've just repressed any other time it's happened. hahaha. Imelda Staunton was seducing this young(er) boy in the play. It was alright. The actual theatre was amazing. I saw my first raked stage and had great seats for it too!

Friday was more internship and then out with my roommate, Sara. Saturday was a 40 minute run and then the story told in the blog just posted a little while ago. Today I returned to the east end markets, took the wrong bus for awhile by myself, but got home without too much stress. I also bought On the Road. Given, I should be reading other things, but I've always wanted to read it and wanted a copy I could write in, so that is that.

I volunteered to help paint tonight at my internship because I have been fulfilling many administrative tasks and would like to do something more production-y. I don't have paint clothes though so I'll be dressed in running clothes because those are the only ones I am willing to get stained, haha. Oh well. So, I'm off to make dinner and then make my way to Islington.

Hope all is well wherever you are.

ps. I <3 Stories.
pps. Heather, shortly after I returned from my run a friend who lives down the hall told me about this delicious brownie she'd just eaten at the same market! It's a sign. Borough Market has moved to the top of my list! I am hoping to venture over there in the next week!

I too, am untranslatable

Do you ever find reminders of parts of yourself that you had forgotten?

The spring of my senior year I started dating this boy. We spent many dates in the rain and I remember one, I think our first one... pretty clearly. At one point we were back in his car, talking, and I decided that I needed to "sound my barbaric yawp". I jumped out of his Buick and did just that. It was early in the relationship and I felt the need to put all of myself out there... that way if there was anything he didn't like, he could leave early before it would hurt too bad. It was a good idea in theory.... and in practice, I guess. Well, I returned to the car and he asked what I had just done. I told him and-- well, that was that. We stayed together for quite a while longer.

My acting class is in a room in the very back of a small bookstore. A week and half ago when I was walking out of our first class I saw Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" I almost bought it. However, I was hungry and had to be at another class in less than a half hour so I kept walking.

Last night a good friend of mine, the ex-boyfriend from the story above actually... changed his status to:
"I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world"

It has been awhile since I truly sounded my barbaric yawp (figuratively or literally). Perhaps this is part of me that has been missing. So, here I am in England. I'm bringing it back.

A group of my friends from my hall went to Wales this weekend so it was just my roommate and I on this part of the 6th floor. Friday night we went out and went dancing. It was a nice time. There's more to the evening's story, but not all needs to be divulged on the internet :)
Last night I thought my roommate had gone somewhere (she hadn't, she'd just be downstairs for a really long time) and so I felt the need to go out as well. Just as I found a place that was close enough to go to alone and that would have live bands so I could just sit and listen and not need to drink or dance to fit in, my roommate returned from downstairs. She was a little tired to go out, but we made sure we had each other's numbers and I brought my police alarm and I was ready to go. (Note on the police alarm: at orientation we were given these alarm things that you can attach one end to you and one end to your purse so if someone steals your purse it will disconnect and make a terrible noise. I thought it was a good thing to carry just to pull in case someone shady comes up to me. It makes it a wee-bit safer to go out). As I was leaving I held the elevator for a girl named Liz who lives down the hall. When she found out I was going out alone she invited me to her friend's 21st birthday party which was at a bar a couple of streets over. I went and when I felt uncomfortable I sat at the bar, pulled out my notebook and just started to make people-watching notes (which was my original plan for the other place I was going). As the night continued I met a couple people and the evening turned out well. I had lots of people notes, some good conversations and a rose made out of a napkin from the bartender.

Moral of the story: if you take precautions, it's okay to be brave and just go out to meet people and have conversation. My roommate knew what time to expect me home and I was only a couple of blocks from home. I had my phone open, ready to dial 999 and my alarm ready. I had a nice time with new people.

I am getting my yawp back.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Time is not given and time is not taken... They build buildings.

"I'm sorry.
I'm okay.

I wish you could meet the person I imagine I am-- in the center. Instead you meet this bruised outer chaos. Ah, yes, she's extraordinary. I try so hard to bring her out now, but I suppose she got shy and hid away. In due time she will return. By then it'll probably be too late.

Truth is, I do believe in time. I just try to mutiny it because I despise the control it has and the pain it's caused."

If I was going to stick a post-it note on a door right now, that's what it would read.
I had a particularly rough night and became ridiculous. i was tired and now I am exhausted. It's so strange how difficult it is to be the person we envision ourselves to be. Some people think they are one person and are perceived a whole 'nother way and never realize it. I'm not sure how I am perceived here, but I think it's not how I want to be.

I talked to Aaron tonight about what it is that I am really missing... Sure, I miss people. I miss places and I miss events. But what I really miss is this one particular feeling. Well, there are plenty of feelings I miss, but this one I imagine being able to find more easily if I were in Holland or in Amherst. It's the feeling that overcomes me when sitting on my front porch at Timmer watching the people pass by. It's the feeling I get from playing in the rain with close friends/others... or perhaps even from laying in freshly cut grass in unexpected places. It's the feeling I get from laying on church library carpet. Like in The Giver I can close my eyes and recall bits of it... but not enough. I don't know where to find it, but when I do- I might just stay.

I always have to leave.
It's a new form of heart break.

It's the feeling of being in love with the world.
It's the essence of being one with the Earth.

It's being... just being.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


My sister gave me these two pocket-sized notebooks as part of my Christmas present. I have been carrying them around with me and jotting things down. A bunch of the pages are falling out. I will record the notes here and throw out some of the sadder looking hand-written pages.

-Get off the tube at Holborn for class
(I know that station with my eyes closed now)
-Wheat toast = "brown toast"
-10% tip at restaurant may already be included. Check.
-999 is the equivilant of 911
-My borough= Royale Borough of Kinsington and Chelsea
Sometimes you have to hail the bus
-Time Out Magazine will help you find good events... free ones too
-Look up <--Host family program <-- University of London Union
Get a card there. Try and make friends.
-Ask the taxi driver's name and cab number when you call for a cab. Before you get in ask the driver their name and car number to make sure they're not scary people.


To be honest... My adventure so far has been interesting. I think making "friends" right away may have benefited me less than originally believed. I just jumped right in, as I tend to do, and just acted as if they had known me before. For some reason I'm not sure if this was the right way to go about things. Don't get me wrong, I have had a nice first week, but I have become oddly "needy" of them. I tend to be an emotionally-needy person anyways, but I was trying to achieve a better balance and I did not succeed when changing environments. What do you know, Emerson was right. Then again, I knew he would be right. Perhaps it's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy. The Emerson bit I am referring to goes as follows:

"I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the Stern Fact, the Sad Self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a better self who has been stashed away for a bit. I think part of the problem is my lack of commitment to the person I want to be. In addition there are aspects of her that contradict each other which make it difficult to remain constant. In other words, I wish it was warm outside so I could just sit outside. I did one day, but it was terribly cold and my hands turned purple and a bit white (I had forgotten that there were gloves in my pocket until later in the day). Well, now that I have a new goal, perhaps it is time to write some concrete objectives, tactics and measurement standards and get on my way. PR campaigns take a lot of work, but I sooner or later I will have to work on mine. Note: I also have a lot of other goals and this one has existed for awhile, so immediate results are not guaranteed.

The goal of a normal sleep schedule... well it's not being achieved either. Oh well, I just wish all my things and plans were in order.

I hope all is well with you.

Have a good night.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I am attempting to bring the blog up-to-date, but it's not really working out with time/lack of place to write.

I hope everything is going well wherever you are.


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Best is (hopefully) yet to come...

I supposed I am well overdue for a blog. My apologies. I have not been as diligent as I originally planned. This is not as bad as it may seem, haha. I do have to be careful that I submit to my IES blog enough though. I finally submitted my first IES post yesterday and I have to submit 3 more before the end of January. Normally this would be easy, but lately it's been harder to make the time. It's just been very busy here. When I have pictures on my camera over a week old that haven't been uploaded, you know I am busy (I have priorities). haha.

In all seriousness, things have been going pretty well here. There is some definite chaos and good stories are forming, but overall I am just working on figuring things out. I know the way to the tube station and then from there to class very easily. It's not terribly difficult, but since London isn't on the grid system you can still confuse yourself without much effort. I was even 15 minutes early for class today!
That is, of course, nothing compared to the 90 minutes early I was on the way to my internship!

I went to my internship for a short meeting (of sorts) on Monday. On my way to my internship I passed a small restaurant (or bar, I'm not sure... probably both) called Hope and Anchor! I was disappointed not to have my camera. Although I suppose I will pass this place at least two times each week.

I do, however, doubt my other missed photo opportunity will be here the next time I am. I was sitting in a park for awhile and a sad balloon, probably a week or so old, was stuck in a tree. Well, upon first look it appeared stuck, but perhaps it was just playing with that branch... which is oddly enough "stuck" due to being attached to the tree.

I sat in the park for awhile since I had arrived so early in Islington. I was making up for those times when I'm late :) I bought breakfast and ate it in the park. After writing for awhile it started to sprinkle and I packed my stuff up. I went on a walk and luckily it stopped. I visited the post office and the stationary store next to it for awhile. Eventually I went to the theatre 20ish minutes early. I might have explored more things (other than the stationary store and post office), but the standing in heels was getting old and I didn't want to get lost.

The meeting went alright. I am concerned that I will be simply answering the phone most of the time. I don't mind answering the phone some of the times, but if that is my central purpose... well, I'd rather be doing something else. After all, I will end up being there about 20 hours a week and that's a lot of my London time to spend doing mindless tasks. Considering my prior experience, I think I can handle a bit more. However, tomorrow is my first 8 hour day so I'll give you a new report after that. Let's hope my experience is better than the other kid-in-my-program's.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A spot of tea will calm your soul.

(Add a nap in there and it's like the panic attack never happened)

Today I needed a break from the group so I went to the "London Cafe" which isn't far from the IES Center where I have my classes. I met a wonderful retired man named Mike. We sat and had our tea/coffee together. He once molded and engraved some stuff for Christina Ricci. He had no idea who she was at the time (and still doesn't now, haha). He thought maybe her name was Rena (?) or something of the sort. He told me I looked similar to her. It sort of made my day. We talked for awhile about all sorts of things, but I had to end rather abruptly when I realized how late it was getting. I hope to frequent the place again to run into him and continue conversation. He said it was his local place. I can see why, the two women (although closer to my age) at the bar who got us our drinks were generally pleasant and kind of silly. I may claim that I am here for theatre, but really Mike is why I came to London. People like Mike are why I go anywhere.

So thank you to Mike and thank you to the funny couple with the young boy at the other restaurant and thank you to the two women in the passport line who had British husbands... and thank you to all those others I met and will meet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stop 1: New York

My plane left Cleveland on Monday, January 5th. I then spent the night with a family friend, Jessie, at her place in Brooklyn, New York. After dinner we went downtown to Manhattan because I'd never been. New York was actually quite quiet that Monday night. The streets were easy to cross and there was a lack of bustle. It was almost surreal. The following is the blog I posted on IES's site about it:


Despite having looked at flight costs long before Thanksgiving, the chaos of classes delayed booking my flight until I was home. As a result the cheapest flight I could find had a layover of thirteen hours in New York City. Since I had heard over and over again about how expensive London was, I figured I could handle the thirteen hours of people-watching to save a few dollars. The layover resulted in an experience worth much more than the pocket change I was saving.

Over the winter break I told a friend who lives in Brooklyn about my layover. Jessie kindly encouraged me to visit her instead of staying overnight at the John F. Kennedy airport. I took her up on it. This initially burdensome layover quickly became much more fun. As I trudged the heaviness in my backpack, messenger bag, large suitcase and attached sleeping bag around New York City I became especially grateful that I did not pack another suitcase. I found the Air Tram and took it to Subway A and then to Subway C, and then after taking a shuttle and walking a block or two, I finally arrived. I dropped my bags (thank goodness) at her apartment and we went out to eat at a delicious Mexican restaurant. Upon hearing that I had never been to New York City, Jessie suggested we go downtown rather than lounge around in Brooklyn. As we rode the subway past the Brooklyn Bridge it occurred to me, I am in New York! I am going to see the sights.

Then it really hit me… tomorrow I am going to London. This is only the beginning of “the sights”. After exploring Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and other usual downtown New York attractions, I was exhausted. As we rode the subway back, Jessie woke me up to tell me it was time to get off, we were back in Brooklyn.

That leaves me here, writing before crawling in bed for a short sleep. In six hours I will face a long airplane ride and then a city, a new home, at least for the next four months. I am grateful for having the chance to do a speed tour through New York. Traveling through the subways alone and staring up at the large skyscrapers served as a good wake-up call to what awaits me “on the other side of the pond”.

Surely I will still encounter many things for which I am not prepared. I am uncertain of how tipping or crossing the road works. I am worried about making friends and balancing them with everything else there is to do. I do not even know how to hail a taxi correctly.

Still, there are many things I am sure about. I can maintain confidence in my maps and my ability to ask questions.

Yes, now that I have experienced one truly international city. I am ready for the next.

So, it is goodnight to you, farewell Ohio and good day London."

Pictures from New York are on facebook.
3 can be seen on my IES blog on this site.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Whenever you begin to address a controversial issue, think of it this way: If your best friend was in that situation... what would you think should happen to him/her?