27 February 2007

What I Am

While browsing other blogs recently, I found this essay, and thought I would try my own hand.

I am from the suburbs. I am from public schools and wide leafy avenues. I am from Middle America and from middle class. I am from my own bedroom. I am from two parents. I am from silence. I am from singing.

I am from between two sisters. I am from sibling rivalry. I am from hoping to be noticed. I am from PSR and Sunday School, from confession and confirmation. I am from two religions and one belief. I am from the fear of sports and extra chances at serving volleyballs. I am from skinny legs and flat chests. I am from family dinners and terrible jokes. I am also from terrible haircuts.

I am from Jo March, Anne Shirley and the Little Princess. I am from Choose Your Own Adventure. I am from reading under the covers. I am from Sherlock Holmes and Babysitters Club. I am from anything I can get my hands on. I am from Aldous Huxley and Chaim Potok.

I am from prom queens and kings, although not of them. I am from dance team and color guard. I am from captaincy. I am from struggling for recognition. I am from escaping. I am from partial friendships and superficial ties. I am from the fear of gym class. I am from secret talents.

I am from discovery and self-doubt. I am from people who care. I am from liberal arts. I am from sorority dominance and disappointment. I am from Confederate flags in windows. I am from self-affirmation. I am from a surprising affinity for neurology. I am from Greek revival buildings. I am from Alsace. I am from separatists. I am from the international community. I am from depression and isolation.

I am from thumbing rides with strangers. I am from backpacks and hiking boots. I am from trains and planes and boats. I am from host families. I am from small towns and sidewalk cafes. I am from museums. I am from curiosity. I am from sunflowers and motorcycles. I am from photographs and scrapbooks. I am from loneliness. I am from hostels. I am from teaching English. I am from teaching American. I am from defending an outlook I only half believe in.

I am from the long march of French universities. I am from theses and deadlines and learning how to be an adult. I am from boots and polka and Friday fish frys. I am from the Terrace. I am from realizing my own limitations. I am from squeaking by.

I am from advice. I am from expanding your horizons. I am from neediness and incompetence. I am from holding hands. I am from a small rural town. I am from a huge city. I am from travel and discovery. I am from international phone calls. I am from the internet. I am from vicarious experiences.

I am from the totality of my experiences.

19 February 2007


When I first began this blog, I found a site where you can check off all the states (or countries) you've been to, and it generates a map for you. I haven't been to any new countries since then (good God, and I call myself a traveler!) but I have added a bunch of states in the Northeast. Scroll sideways for the entire most recent version:

create your own visited states map

Now the map tool is at a different site, and they've expanded your choices. For those of us who have confined their wanderings to Western Europe, here's a map made just for us!

create your personalized map of europe

18 February 2007

Chinese New Year

Happy New Year in China! Or in your nearest Chinatown.

We went to Chinatown today to party like it's 4704. Apparently it's the year of the Golden Pig, which comes around once in a blue moon. Everyone had these long cardboard tubes which shot off a bunch of confetti and a prize attached to a parachute. The air was filled with confetti and you heard little bursts of tubes every few seconds. Of course, we had to try it for ourselves. It was hard to twist the tubes, and I had to get Frenchy to set off both of ours.

Frenchy finally got it:

We can't all be perfect!

Keepin' It Real

Frenchy and I went to Katz's Deli the other night, the most famous deli in New York, where God forbid if you lose your ticket. Known for pastrami sandwiches and fake orgasms à la Meg Ryan, it definitely keeps the New York 'tude real.

The waitress was surly, until she saw how I polished off my reuben like a local. Gotta get respect one way or another!

10 February 2007

Rental Car Marco Polo

It happens to us all. Leaving a school, heading towards the parking lot (of course it’s a commuter school, easily recognized by its ginormous and ever-extending seas of parking spaces), we realize for the twentieth time, “I have no idea what my car looks like.”

As road warriors, we spend our days skitting from campus to campus and our nights in different yet similar hotels, the only alteration being that tonight’s room is a mirror image of yesterday’s. I’ve been known to enter a hotel room and walk straight into the coat rack, intending to go into the bathroom. We collect the miniscule shampoos and lotions (less than three ounces, great for the plane!) and forget our phone chargers.

We wake up in one town, drive to another for our day’s labor, and drive to a third for the night, in a different car every few days. Each time we step off a plane, our wheels for the week might be different. One week a Chevy, the next a Ford. I hate Fords.

Yet we learn to cope. We go back to a select few chain restaurants for their comforting resemblance, the only hint of sanity in our fluid lives. Conserving our mental energy for students and for administrators, we choose the easiest path for the basic pleasures of eating and drinking. Panera, anyone? We learn the protocol for delivering pizzas to hotel rooms for late-night arrivals.

And so I play Marco Polo with each new car. Standing at the edge of the parking lot, I sharpen my senses for the game. “Marco,” beeps my keychain remote. A split second later, somewhere from the depths of the sea of metal, my car of the week honks its “Polo!”