Friday, September 14, 2007

I know I'm leaving but I don't know where to

Yeah, it's been awhile. Summer was waaaaay too much fun. Some bullet points because I'm lazy. Details later.

-As lovely as SoCal is (see picture) I know I'm an East Coaster at heart. Well, I'm an Anglophile at heart, but New England is about as close as I'm going to get...for now.

-New article out at the end of the month. This one's about young people and health insurance. Very topical.

-Didn't make it to Key West but am planning something with Katie for January. Possibly Morocco, maybe Greece...I really want to
go to Jordan to see Petra and recreate that horseback riding scene from Indiana Jones 3!

-This won't last forever, so I'm just enjoying it while I can.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Haunted by American dreams

I've been beating myself up for the past seven months over this obsession I have of always having to know where I'm going, what I'm doing, and when am I going to do it. Which worked just fine while I was in school and would probably still work just fine if I had chosen a more traditional career path. But I haven't, and that's ok because writing makes me truly happy. Maybe I don't have a fancy office or a cute apartment in a bustling city or a 401k, but I still consider myself successful, even if I've had a slower start.

The fact that I've had three articles published over the past seven months is absolutely thrilling to me, yet I've downplayed it so much because other areas of my life haven't worked out. Yeah, I might be waiting tables and living at home (for now) but that gives me the freedom to pursue a variety of interests. And, I'm starting to truly embrace the unpredictability of my life. I love that I get to write about plants and bridges and student debt. I love that I've had the opportunity to live in a foreign country and that I'll be traveling again soon. I love that I don't have a morgage or a husband or children to worry about yet, because this time is for me. I get to work on myself and grow as a person and slowly pull together a lasting career.

I have to say all this because I've really gone through alot of self-doubt lately and I've finally realized it's all for naught. I spent so much time worrying that I wouldn't accomplish all my goals that I swept aside all the ones I did. I'm 22 years old and I've graduated college, I've lived in London, I've worked at a magazine and I'm a published writer.

There's still lots more I want to do, but now I truly believe I can make anything happen.

And that is a wonderful feeling.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Blonde on Blonde

I'm working on a new article idea. It's called "Blondes have more fun?" I figure it can be a sort of social experiment to see if blondes actually are treated differently from brunettes. Really, it's just an elaborate ruse for me to have a legitamate exuse to dye my hair without everyone jumping down my throat. "Don't EVER dye your hair!" is the usual response I get. But, to hell with that. This is for the STORY. Plus, I mean, I wouldn't go like, crazy "Gwen Stefani" blonde--more of a honey "Certain Mary Kate Olsen Pictures" blonde. I don't know...I suppose I should run it by my editor before I go and drop $100 on my hair..or not.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I try to make the best at happiness

So, I know I keep posting about these trips I'm supposedly taking and that the 3 people who read this blog probably think I'm just full of shit by now, but this time I SWEAR I'm actully going somewhere. Well, somewheres: Potentially to Key West with my aforementioned cousin in June AND to San Francisco to visit Old Uncle Mark. I'll probably also go down to San Diego to visit Even Older Uncle David at the famous beach house of Sullivan myth and legend...if they let me in, that is. Then, if I'm still looking for meaning/a purpose/ a life plan I'll head back to quote M. Ward, "God it's great to be alive".

Here's a list of things we might do in Key West:
-Swim with dolphins.
-Parasailing (no really!)
-Eat really awesome Key Lime Pie
-Avoid getting a tan (that'll just be me)

And here's a list of things I'll do in Cali:
-Go back to MaMa's for the best brunch in the free world (seriously)
-Not go back to that awful Thai place (egg noodles drenched in peanut butter sauce do not a pad thai make)
-Take day trips to Monterrey and Sonoma
-Not fantasize about bumping into Adam Brody in a book shop

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Been a long time coming

For years I wrote off Bright Eyes as just pouty emo schlock. I listened to Fevers and Mirrors way back in 2001 and really hated it. So that was it. Then, I heard him interviewed about his new album, Cassadaga, on All Songs Considered and was, well, impressed. I also really enjoyed the tracks that were played. A definite country/folksy vibe marked by some really excellent playing. And, best of all, no whining!

Then, while checking out the Saddle Creek website I saw that Cassadaga was on sale at Target for $7.89. I, of course, had no excuse not to get it and I haven't been disappointed. Sonically, it's really great. The instrumentation, lots of strings and woodwinds, is very beautiful. Sometimes lyrically it isn't very concise, I guess. And, from the reviews I've read that seems to be the critics' biggest complaint. Of course, this is usually followed by some snarky comment about how Conor Oberst hasn't lived up to being "The Next Dylan". But, no one's gonna be the next Dylan. That's why Dylan's, well, Dylan. Either way, he's the closest anyone of this generation has gotten so far.

Essential Tracks: Four Winds, Coat Check Dream Song, Middleman

Thursday, April 5, 2007

when disappointment and regret collide

I've been feeling pretty down, scratch that. I've been feeling down since August 20th. I miss London so deeply. Yes, deeply. I don't know..for years it was my dream to go there--live there. Of course things changed along the way, as they always do. Other dreams and ambitions took over so London took a back seat, for awhile at least. Until the summer of 2005.

I remember sitting in my office at the Aetna Foundation bored out of my skull and thinking about all the great stuff Katie said about the city. I honestly believe if she had never gone to London, I wouldn't have. Her experiences reignited my desire to go and from there I set my plan in motion--because I must always have a plan...

But the whole time I was planning the trip, applying to the program, etc..I felt really scared. Almost like it wasn't actually happening. I couldn't really go to London for three months, could I? Leave everything behind? I naively thought my life back home could be paused while I was away. After all, I still wanted the same things, I just wanted to go to London too. And this, I suppose, is the crux of my problem:

I was trying to satisfy two sides of myself and in the end I failed. I went to London and of course I absolutely loved it, but then I left. I came back to Connecticut to satisfy that other side of myself, but what I came back for was no longer here...

So essentially I left my ideal city for a town and a life I never wanted. The thought that I gave up my lifelong dream for nothing is, quite frankly, a terrible feeling. No wonder I'm depressed...I don't mean this in any sort of blaming way; it is what it is. It just proves that the only person you can truly count on is yourself. I forgot that.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Just hear this and then I'll go

"You're never going to meet anyone in a bar"-I've heard this from pretty much everyone (friends, co-workers, parents) over the last few months. After last night I have concluded they are correct. At 22 I've given up on the bar scene.

That's not to say I won't go out, I just won't care about meeting drunk people. Because that's all it is really. And no, this isn't some diatribe at Hartford's bar scene. London was the same way...sometimes even scarier. I dunno. I always knew I wasn't cut out for this.

How come cute guys never hang out in art museums like I want them to? I did that ALL the time in London, but then I realized guys only go there unless their girlfriends make them. Funny.

Katie told me I should hang out at Starbucks. She met a guy there once...maybe she's right. Or maybe I should just move. Far, far away, like that psychic said...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

'Cause baby I've been around the world...

So, my dear cousin has been traveling through South America since January--mostly in Buenos Aires. Originally we talked about me visiting her there but she's leaving for Colombia on Monday. That's right, Colombia. Which, according to Lonely Planet, is famous for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, emeralds, coffee, somethingelseican'tremember, and lastly...cocaine. Nothing against the Nobel Prize-winning author, but I thought that list was quite optomistic. Plus, Shakira wasn't even on there.

Anyways, needless to say I am now trying to go to Colombia. Hopefully during the first two weeks in May. I've scheduled an appointment at UConn's travel clinic to get info about innoculations. The appointment alone is $140. So I might cancel it and just get a yellow fever shot. Here is a list of things we might do in Colombia:

-Go to the beach
-Eat lots of cool fruit
-Travel to the coffee region
-Not get kidnapped by rebels

London (Markets) Calling

I wrote this a few months ago and no one will publish it. So I will. Ha.

Growing up, I used to dream about visiting London the way other kids dreamt about being Superman. Fortunately for me, my dream was actually plausible. So much so in fact, I had the opportunity to spend three months studying there this past summer. (And by ‘opportunity’ I mean I paid a ‘prestigious university’ a lot of money to join their study abroad program.)
Since my idea of London was mostly based on Masterpiece Theatre and Lonely Planet, I went there with certain expectations:
1.) It would rain a lot
2.) I would ‘take tea’ every afternoon
3.) The pubs close at 11 p.m. (!)
Sadly, number 2 didn’t happen as often as I would have liked, and number 1 was quickly replaced by ‘Heat waves will be a weekly occurrence.’ I also hadn’t counted on falling head over heels for London’s markets.

When one thinks of traveling to the land of crumpets and quiet desperation, the usual tourist spots quickly jump to mind: Big Ben, The Tower, London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, etc. A visit to one of London’s markets is usually low on the list of activities. I myself assumed I’d be too busy staring at the Elgin marbles to squeeze in a visit to Borough Market. However, London’s market scene is bustling with activity and can be a great place to find deals in a city that is devastatingly expensive, especially for Americans.

During my three-month stay, the ritual of going to the markets quickly became one of my favorite activities, rising far above staring at slabs of rock in a Museum. Not only does it fit into the poor American college student’s budget of $0, it is a great way to experience a very unstuffy aspect of English culture while exploring areas that are usually off the main tourist track.

Portobello Market however, is not in one of those areas. Started up around the late 1860s, this Saturday market is famous for antiques, but has become even more popular because of its Notting Hill address (See Notting Hill). It’s also known for being pretty pricey. So with an exchange rate of $.50 for every GBP, I did what most people would do in this situation—I held off going until my mom came for a visit.

The nicest thing about Portobello Market is its outdoor setting. It stretches down a long, sometimes narrow road in one of the prettiest neighborhoods in London. We picked our way through the bustling market, a mixture of stalls and shops, while stopping briefly to peruse the offerings: Incredibly expensive dishware? Check. Dusty box cameras? Check. Yellowed lace? Double check. Again, if you are an antiques aficionado this section would probably interest you much more and there is certainly plenty to see. As for me, I kept walking until we reached the food.

Normally, I would have bought half a grape and called it a day. But since I was with my mother, it was much more fun. Fresh cherries, avocadoes, chocolate croissants, goat cheese tarts—nothing was off limits.
Everything was delicious and reasonably priced, but the produce/food section of Portobello isn’t very large and I wouldn’t recommend going there solely for that purpose—more on excellent food markets later.

On a clear day Portobello Market is the perfect setting for taking an afternoon stroll. But claustrophobes take note: it gets very crowded within a very small area, especially in the height of tourist season. You can thank Julia Roberts for that.

Friday or Saturday is the time to check out Borough Market. Located under the southern head of London Bridge, it has been around in one form or another since the 1200s. In 1756 it became a wholesale fruit and veg market, but recently a wonderful gourmet food section has sprung up. You could spend all day wandering around the different stalls trying specialty cheeses, olives, chocolates and even smoothies.

Hot food stalls can be found throughout the market, offering an eclectic mix of dishes that reflect the international tastes of London including Greek, Japanese, Spanish and Indian specialties. A favorite is the barbequed chorizo and rocket (arugula) rolls from Bardisa, a Spanish foods importer. Just look for the long line.

Borough market is also an excellent place to find organic produce, diary and meats. My mission was to get as much fruit and veg as I could carry for under a tenner. Local farmers as well as larger distributors like Turnip are present, so prices are competitive and much cheaper than at stores like Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. I got a delicious bounty of organic nectarines, strawberries, avocadoes and green peppers for half what I would have paid in the grocery store.

Sundays should be spent at Spitalfields Market in East London near Liverpool Street. It has been a market site since 1638, but has grown in popularity over the past decade. To say that I was obsessed with Spitalfields is a bit of an understatement. It is the perfect mix of fashion, food and bric-a-brac.

Not as well known as Portobello Market, but bigger than Brick Lane’s Sunday Market, Spitalfields attracts a variety of different sellers hawking everything from vintage cowboy boots to handmade truffles. However, the best stalls are the ones owned by independent designers and fashion students.

My girlfriends and I would torture ourselves wandering through the market oo-ing and ahh-ing over the impossibly hip streetwear. Prices run the gamut, but it is relatively easy to find a cute dress for around 20 GBP. I bought an awesome robot t-shirt for 9 GBP, which is a great deal no matter what the exchange rate.

An assortment of small restaurants and food stands are set up in the older part of the market. It resembles the midway of a fair, minus the carneys and ring toss games, with a seating area that is usually packed. Prices are cheap, especially compared to the rest of London, so you can fill yourself up on jacket potatoes and Thai noodles for around 5 GBPs.

Towards the middle of Sunday afternoon Spitalfields can resemble a human traffic jam with visitors clogging up certain sections, but the market’s big enough to avoid these areas, for the most part. Even so, it’s best to head out early to beat the crowds.

Honorable Mention: Brick Lane’s Sunday Market is a great stop while exploring the area. The indoor market’s food stalls are the best part: fresh hand-rolled sushi, homemade paella and savory Belgian waffles are among the offerings. An assortment of clothing stalls are present, but many are operated by larger brands that also have stalls at Spitalfields.

my manifesto

Yeah, I don't have one...I did have to read the communist manifesto in high school though...soooo disappointing.

Anyways, I set this up because I am bored and have no life. I'll post some musings, travel stuff, maybe fiction if you're good. We'll see.