Saturday, August 31, 2013

I live in New York City now and I can't shut up about it.

Hello, gorgeous family, friends, and readers. Good news: I am still alive. Better news: I am still alive and I am an official resident of New York City.

I was planning on making this post an organized, Stuff I'm Generally Loving This Weekend: NYC Edition sort of post, but I can't imagine trying to turn the craziest week of my entire life into an organized post. Basically I'm just going to ramble on about absolutely everything and show you a lot of pictures. Welcome.

Okay, I brought so much stuff. Literally. Look at this.

I brought eight suitcases of my own things, and I feel fine about it. I've learned a lot of lessons -- not about overpacking (that's a lesson I'm never going to learn; let's be real), but about organization! It's practically ridiculous whenever anyone asks me how I am fitting my whole room and closet into a teeny tiny dorm room because I start going, "Under the bed storage, dresser, double closet hanger, crates, extra shelving..." So yeah. My closet back home was a cold storage unit, and now my room is about the same size as my closet back home. The good news, look how cute it is!

And even better... Look at the view. Yes, that is the Empire State Building right outside my window. I wish I could show you what it looks like at night but pictures don't even do it justice. The entire city lights up and it's so gorgeous it might be the death of me.

Move-in day was absolutely insane. I've never seen anything like it. Imagine 700 students moving into 15 residential floors in the middle of the East Village with all their family members and 60 billion suitcases and boxes and no one wants to climb the stairs ever, especially with bags and boxes and living on the 16th floor...

I live right off the park that's the center of campus in the most gorgeous building ever. It's old and has a lot of character and a reputation for being adventurous, which played out on Sunday night when someone, like, pulled a fire alarm or was smoking in the room or something (or maybe it really was a real fire; we never actually found out), and all 16 floors had to evacuate and the firetrucks came and it was all very exciting, but then the elevators were broken and we had to climb up 16 flights of stairs, and literally, you guys, I had better have the best butt at the end of this because those 16 flights are brutal.

Goodbyes were sad, obviously. I mean, that's expected, but it was also okay.

It was good also because they all came out here with me and we had three little vacation days before move-in where we went shopping and did Rock to the Top and ate yummy dinners and whatnot. My whole family has been rocking NYU gear for the last week and I'm so proud. Representing the Violets back home in dear old Utah County.

The only times I get homesick are when I start getting more focused on what's back home than what's right in front of me. I think that's the real problem with anyone's homesickness or sadness. When I start to remember how absolutely gorgeous everything I have now is, I feel so much better. One of my favorite things is the chalk "Happiness Circle" someone has drawn in Washington Square Park the last little while. I like to go stand in it and feel happiness because I love New York and I love the park and I love NYU and you can't help but feel very happy inside of a Happiness Circle.

I haven't had any classes this week. It's all like, orientation and welcome and whatnot, which for me, has basically meant cohort meetings. I have like this academic cohort that I meet with once a week and then have a class with half of them... It's very complicated. But long story short I've spent a lot of time with these 40 random people, and I can't remember half their names, so I sort of call them by their haircuts... There's "good bangs" and (my personal favorite) "Hitler Youth" (I know it sounds awful but his hair is exactly like the pictures of children in Germany during WWII) and there's "dreads" (who is also nicknamed "The Russian Gypsy" and "Stin"), who I am completely enamored with just because he's a little crazy and my number one hobby is to take pictures of him when he doesn't know it... I know I sound so creepy right now. He's just very interesting to me. Mostly he's interesting because on the first day when we were introducing ourselves and saying where we were from he was like, "I was born in Belgium, but I've lived all over the world, so I'm not really from anywhere. I'm from the earth."

I don't think any of you fully understand how ridiculously classic NYU this is. Other classic examples of NYU kids:

1.) The boy across the hall who is a vegetarian because "it isn't economically sustainable" and claims to have come to this realization in the fourth grade.
2.) The boy down the hall who is from Texas but uses only the metric system because his family is from Spain and always says things like, "Ugh. Americans."
3.) The Swede across the hall who plays soccer and gets really excited about new words. His favorite right now is "nifty," which he picked up from me and I am very honored about that.
4.) The boy who grabbed my waist at the dance last night so we could move through the crowd without losing each other and then yelled, "I'm grabbing onto your waist, but don't worry! I'm gay!"

The best part is that these people are becoming my very best friends. Everyone is in the same situation that I am where everything is new and exciting and away from home and starting life again. There's a line in Gastby where he says something along the lines of, "The city seen from the Queensborough bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world." I love that, because I feel that every morning when I roll over and see the entire city stretching outside my window. It's glorious. It's glorious and everything is possible again.

I feel like one of the reasons I haven't been very homesick is because when my three sisters left, I got three new flatmates that became my new sisters. 

There's Cecilia (the one on the far right in the picture of the four of us), who's from Sweden and we have had similar schedules, so we get breakfast together (at the highest grossing Starbucks in the world). 

And then there's Alys (with whom I share a room, on the left) and Sally (on my right). They're so completely beautiful and smart and lovely and I feel very happy to have them in my life, because I totally scored.

So, that's New York, I suppose. Everything is wild and wonderful and beautiful and interesting and new. I'm making new friends every second and seeing wild things always -- like this teeny little dog that I should've taken a video of this morning because it literally waddled and I practically screamed out loud when I saw it because it was just so wild.

Or this teeny cat me and my new friend Stella (who's in my cohort) tried to get to come play with us while we were taking care of trees for community service in Brooklyn and we made a lot of jokes about how the effort we were putting into this relationship with the kitten than we've ever put into any relationship in our lives. We also had to make a lot of jokes about being white girls with manicures doing community service in East Brooklyn, but it turned out to be actually very fulfilling, especially when a man walking into work passed us and started going, "Y'all have done so much work! Thank y'all! Thank y'all!" It made me happy to know someone would appreciate it, and it made me happy to make something prettier than when we found it, and it made me happy to make new friends, humans and cats alike.

Starbucks, for the first time in 18 years, spelled my name correctly on my cup the other afternoon (after we talked our cohort leader into moving our meeting into Starbucks) and it required a picture because this is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing. My friend Rory (who is awesome and also practices yoga) helped this picture with a good thumbs up.

This is my friend Louis from my cohort who is loud and hilarious and looks like this cat I found. (Yes, I showed him and yes, he thought it was funny; I'm not being a total cyber-bully right now.) Oh, and also there is a girl on my floor who looks like a praying mantis. But in a good way.

I already have infinite homework. But it's happy homework. And interesting homework. And I love reading fat books about Shakespeare. (I realize that could potentially sound sarcastic, but I'm dead serious. I do.)

And there's always a thousand things happening. This is us at Glo Ball last night. Tonight me and Alys are going to head uptown and see a show on Broadway. Like, this is my life now, and I can't hardly believe it. I'm here.

Last night, at the Glo Ball, they played "Empire State of Mind" and at one point my friend who I was there with just screamed, "They're singing about us now!" and I almost started sobbing. I know it sounds cliche, but it's true. I made it, you guys. I know it's not going to be perfect always, but, like, it will be perfect always. Because it's New York City. And I'm here. And I'm in love with this place.

"One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years." -Tom Wolfe
Yours oh-so-truly,
Addy Sue

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's my birthday. I am an adult forever now.

18 years old.

That's the age I am now -- or will be on Tuesday, at least. It's here. I am answering, "18," when my mother's friends ask my age, and my mother isn't correcting me and saying, "Well, you're not 18 yet." Because I am now. It's come without lavishness or extremes. It's come with having to work on my birthday and having to pack and having to be frugal. This seems somehow appropriate.

If you ask me, 17 is the best age. Recklessness sets in. Reality also sets in, but so does rebellion. In some ways, this is okay. This is how it is supposed to go, because this is the year where you learn what you're really made of. 17 years old somehow manages to sound chicer than 18. 17 sounds youthful and enviable. 17 sounds like an age where you have a political opinion but the government won't respect it yet so you have you yell it at the top of your lungs, even if that political opinion is "I DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT POLITICS TO MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION" like mine was. 

17 was an age of caffeine and curfew somehow existing somewhat peacefully under the same roof. 17 was a collision of childhood and adulthood. 17 was a mixture of terror and heartbreak and glory and getting my first debit card. 17 was offices and open spaces, was typewriters and laptops, was finite and infinity, was rage and was euphoria, was FriendGroup and was empty rooms.

17 was the most paradoxical year of my life. This is extremely literal.

13, 14, 15, 16, they're all just years to prepare you to be the teenager everyone talks about. The one in the 80's movies or on MTV or the one you imaged you'd be on the last night of being 12 years old. 17 is a cliche and an answer and a fulfillment of a life-so-far prophesy.

And then your birthday comes again, your birthday came last year, too, and has come again just like you always knew it would, but never believed it really would, and then it's August 12, and it is the last day of being 17, and tomorrow you are 18, and for some reason you weren't expecting that one. That's a curveball because even though it still ends in "teen," you aren't that anymore. You've fulfilled your prophesy and now the government has to respect your political opinion, and you didn't see that one coming either because you haven't sorted that out yet.

You are 18, and you are an adult forever.

I am 18, and I am an adult forever. That is the age I am now.

So this one's for you, mom. And you, dad. Thank you for getting me through year 17 and all the years before it. This one's for you, Sophie and Hazel and Millie, and I hope I've been some sort of good example. This one's for you, Kaitlyn, for being my good example. This one's for you, Avery, for being my partner in crime. This one's for you, Emily, for sticking around. This one's for you Hailey, for being my inspiration. This one's for you, Morgan, for being my sanity. This one's for you, Hayley, for being my soul sister. This one's for you, Sally and Alys and Madi and Cecelia and Indigo and Dakota, for being the next step. This one's for you, dear reader, for coming along with me on this journey, because I am now 18 years old, and I am adult forever, and even though it isn't the same as being 17, it is now time for me to be 18, and I think I am ready.

Here's to 18 years. Here's to being 18. Here's to taking over the world at 18 years old.

And it really did come with lavishness and extremes. It has come with bells and whistles and money and kisses, at least metaphorically. It came with a year of car rides and phone calls and hair dye and I fell in love once this year, but not with the person I thought I would, because the person I fell in love with was myself.

"Let them eat cake." -Marie Antoinette (allegedly, but me this week, definitely)
Happy birthday,