Monthly Archives: May 2012

Day Eighteen – MDW in NYC

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Summer has officially begun after the completion of Memorial Day Weekend, more commonly known as MDW. The pool is open, I’ve been to the beach, went to the Mets game last night, and even have a little bit of a tan. 

The obsession with MDW cracks me up. My brother’s roommate, for example, has been “preparing” for the MDW for weeks now. He claims that if he wasn’t the “biggest and tannest” dude at the Jersey Shore, MDW would be a failure. He had been tanning and hitting the gym like a crazy person for that reason. He looked great, don’t get me wrong. (Creepy…) But I couldn’t help making fun of him a little, in his too-small wifebeater and chain. 

My feelings on “MDW” are a little different. Memorial Day Weekend has historically meant one thing for my friends and I – FLEET WEEK. We first experienced Fleet Week in probably our Junior Year of high school, after I was old enough to go to the city for the night without my mom sending me text messages every five seconds about where I was and when I’d be home. We’d wander Manhattan, wearing our flip flops and Hollister shorts, in search of sailors. Times Square, the Village, the Seaport – wherever you went, men in uniform were there, looking handsome as ever. Even dudes normally not that attractive are ten times hotter in a military uniform. That’s a real statistic. Swear.

This year, I enjoyed MDW in the city as usual. Hung out at a rooftop bar on Park Avenue (no big deal) with a beautiful view of the Empire State Building, obviously lit up in red, white and blue. Headed down to the Seaport on Saturday with a stop in Little Italy. It was decorated beautifully for Memorial Day, lights and decorations on restaurants and a little festival down on Mulberry Street. I spent a little too much money on carnival games, but I came home with a stuffed duck…a consolation prize for losing all my cash. Watched the sun set at the Seaport, with a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge – New York City is an absolutely beautiful city if you look in the right places.

Some pics from my weekend:

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Artsy, I know. Thanks, Instagram.

As much as I miss Miami and my awesome friends and roommates still there, a weekend like this reassured me that New York City is the best place in the world, and where I know will always be home to me. 

A successful MDW if you ask me.

Day Twelve – Bring on the Summertime

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According to a calendar, June 20th marks the first day of summer. Others say Memorial Day marks its beginning. Personally, I think a few things need to happy before summer has officially started. It begins after a few important B’s.   

Barbecues – Until I’ve been to a barbecue, I can’t consider it summer. Even as a vegetarian, barbecuing in a backyard has always been the way to kick off summer. Maybe I’m not grilling burgers, but veggie patties and my new favorite, “Not Dogs” (hot dogs without meat, if you didn’t get that), can pretty much be considered my favorite meal of summer, especially if they’re accompanied by some potato salad or corn on the cob. 

Baseball – Nothing screams summer to me more than going to baseball games. Growing up in Queens, my dad would always take us to see the Mets play at Shea Stadium (RIP) once the weather got nice. We’d sit pretty high up, but that was okay. (I usually got bored of the games about halfway through and started counting the airplanes that flew over the stadium.) Dad would buy us ice cream served in those little bowls shaped like batting helmets, or big, salty pretzels with mustard. Years later, I still follow the same tradition. (Going to baseball games when the weather was nice, not the ice cream in batting helmets. Do they even serve those anymore?) My friends and I will get cheap tickets to the Mets or the Yankees and take the train in to watch the games. Last night, I went to my first Yankee game of the season with my brother and some friends from school (We had separation anxiety already after just a few days apart), and I’m sure it won’t be the last of summer. 

Bathing Suits – I’m a little spoiled in this area, as a graduate of UMiami, but most people would say it’s not summer until you’ve worn a bathing suit. The first time I wore a bathing suit in 2012 was in January…don’t hate me. But being able to wear a bikini at home in New York is different. Bikini season means floating in my roommate Daniella’s in-ground pool, tanning, and wine coolers. It also means having a bikini body….which reminds me, I desperately need to join a gym. 

Buying a Gym Membership – Kidding, but not really.

Beach – I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand… I don’t know the rest of the words. But the beach is the sure sign that summer has arrived. Again, I was spoiled by four years of beautiful, Miami beaches with white sand and crystal clear water. But hey, I’m a New Yorker again. So Rockaway Beach it is!!! One of my real fears is that when I get a real job and I’m not just everyone’s favorite waitress, I’m gonna miss out on some serious beach time in the summer. In which case I should probably appreciate this summer and be at the beach every sunny day possible. Challenge accepted. 

And then there are the B’s that everyone wants in summer.

Beers – Nothing compliments a summer day like a cold beer. If you can find something better, let me know.

Boys – Summer means new guys that I can trick into liking me enough to buy me dinner. Muahahaha.

Bronze – Who doesn’t want to have the perfect tan by the end of the summer?

Blonde – Okay, maybe this one just applies to me. But after a summer in the sun, my hair gets SO light. 

Best Friends – Kinda gay, but true. Summer to me has meant coming home from school to be reunited with the family and friends that I grew up with. It’s what made coming home from Miami so easy for me every year. I’ve got a solid crew up here that no amount of Miami sun and sand could keep me away from. 

The way I see it, this is the last summer I can really live it up and behave like a college kid. Or a just-graduated-college kid, at least. So cheers to the biggest, boldest, blondest summer I can have. Go out with a bang, right? 

Day Eight – Home Bittersweet Home

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Thirty three hours ago, I drove Steely (my Pontiac Sunfire that I hate to love) down Ponce de Leon Blvd for the last time, passing all the sights that I walked past every day for four years. The palm tree lined entrance into the University of Miami, the dorms that I lived in my freshman and sophomore years, the Bank United Center that I graduated out of 8 days ago, and the dirty, broken-down, but somehow still charming house that I shared with the roommates for the last two years. My sunglasses may be big enough to hide most of my face, but my mom admitted a few hours into the drive she could see the glistening streaks down my face from the passenger seat. It was a rough morning, as I anticipated it would be. I thought the entire ride would be miserable. But after a two day journey up the East Coast with minimal air conditioning and a stop in North Carolina for Taco Bell and a few hours sleep, my Mom and I arrived home in Queens. 

But what a ride it was. I’ve made the drive from New York to Miami and back a grand total of 7 times. The first was with my whole family – my dad, my mom, my brother Kyle, my sister and I – and ALL my luggage, to move me into the dorms my freshman year. My family is really close and we get along most of the time. But 21 hours packed together in a van… we emerged a bit more stressed than we left to say the least. As much as I love them, I think we should stick to taking airplanes from now on.

The next 6 trips were just me and the co-pilot, my mom. It became a tradition for us. We’d stop in the Carolinas after about 13 hours, grab some quick dinner, a 6-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, watch a movie in a hotel, and crash for the night. The next morning we’d find the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts and finish the drive. Most people would probably hate a drive like ours, but Mom and I enjoyed it. It made for some good last-minute mother-daughter time before I went back to school for the semester, and lots of time for me to tell her all about the year when we drove home in the spring. 

The drive down to Miami is always easier than the drive back up. When you hit a new state headed South, the exit numbers start at the highest number, and get lower until you hit Exit 1. To me, it feels like it goes faster; you know how many miles are left, and can countdown to the next state. But on the drive north, it’s like you’re driving into an abyss. You start at Exit 1 and continue on with no clue how far you have left to drive. The state of Florida is the worst. It is ENDLESS.

What it actually is: 1 state. 12 counties. 380 exits. 382 miles. 
What is feels like: 1,432,502 miles, 6 days, DEATH.

The rest of the drive is beautiful. The Carolinas have beautiful scenery, and the speed limit is 70 mph, which makes for some nice cruising. The people at rest areas along the way are generally very cordial; must the southern hospitality. Radio stations play a variety of music – not just the twangy country tunes you’d expect in the south. That part of the drive is definitely my favorite. (This excludes the South of the Border tourist attraction, which I’m convinced is run by aliens. It’s always strangely deserted, except the lights are always blazing, tricking unsuspecting travelers to fill up their gas tanks at the Mexican-themed campground and rest area. Then the aliens abduct them and use their cars to make it seem less suspicious. Call me crazy – visit it, and tell me you don’t agree.)

The rest of the drive is usually smooth sailing until you hit the armpit of America – New Jersey. There is traffic in Jersey every single time we drive through it. At that traffic continues through Staten Island, Brooklyn, and into Queens. It’s quite possibly the worst few hours of the trip. 

But finally we made it. My dog was definitely more excited to see me than anyone else in the family, with my dad as a close second. I miss my roommates and the Miami sun, but I have to admit, it’s nice to be home. Right now, my dad is barbecuing on the deck (veggie burgers for me of course), we’re sharing some cold beers, and I’m content. I’ve got lots to do in the next few weeks. Gotta clean out the basement, make it feel a little homier, and move into the new bedroom. I’ll need to join a gym, work on getting my air conditioning fixed, and meet up with old friends. Eventually I’ll be back at work, attempting to salvage what’s left of my checking account.

But for now, I think I’ll just relax, and enjoy being home sweet home.

Day Three – The Glass Door Problem

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Ever see someone walk straight into a glass door, face first? They thought it was open because they could see through it, and didn’t realize there was a closed door there until it was too late?

Well, that’s kind of how I feel about my life right now.

It’s taken me three days to write my first post on this blog because I have been on an emotional roller coaster since walking across the stage and shaking hands with Donna Shalala, President of the University of Miami, on Friday afternoon at Graduation. There was obviously the initial excitement of being done with college after four long years of papers, professors, and presentations. But that was immediately replaced with confusion, panic, and a feeling of being completely lost. Literally, I almost didn’t understand how to process out of the Bank United Center. They needed to shuffle me out in the right direction as Pomp and Circumstance blared over the speakers. Then everything went into fast motion, and the next few hours were filled with flashes from cameras, pats on the back, some tears from close friends, and glasses of champagne. 

Saturday was no better. With my family still in town, it was hard to really comprehend that I was actually a college graduate. We spent the day at Marlins Park watching the Mets fry some fish before I dropped them at the airport that evening. But Saturday night my roommate took me to dinner with her family, and so reality still wasnt hitting. 

And then it hit. Hard. Walked straight into the glass door. Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m, my friend Claudy found me in the fetal position on the floor of my bedroom in tears, surrounded by half-packed suitcases, trash bags, and piles of laundry. I had been attempting to pack my bedroom, and everything in it that defined the past four years of my life, into Home Depot boxes to ship back to New York and all at once I realized that it was actually ending. The multitude of emotions that I had been juggling just all smushed together into one big blob of depression and I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. And so yesterday clearly wasn’t the day to start a blog, unless I wanted the first post to be the script to a soap opera. 

So, here I am now, almost 24 hours later, and I’m doing a little better. My room is mostly packed up, we donated a lot of our old furniture to Goodwill, and although the morning I leave Miami is going to be really rough emotionally, I think I’ll eventually be okay. 

If there’s one thing this weekend has shown me, it’s that I’m definitely still a kid. Twenty-two years young, and afraid of the real world, the post-college world. The last four years have been the best of my life. I’ve made lots of mistakes, but even more friends. I managed not to burn down the house I shared with my 5 current roommates, which is impressive. (You’d understand if you knew my roommates.) I held internships, joined a sorority, was inducted into an honor society, and wrote lots of papers. I explored the city of Miami, tanned on Key Biscayne and partied at South Beach clubs. I spent my last spring break in Las Vegas, and went to every Miami Hurricanes home football game. But now, I guess, shit’s about to get real. I’m not a student anymore. I’ll eventually need to get a real job, my own apartment, and the impossible – a boyfriend. 

And that’s exactly why I decided to start this blog. To track my journey over the next year, and be able to look back and see how far I’ve come. So if anyone’s interested in taking the journey with me, check back once and a while to see where I’m at. Let’s just hope next time you check in, I’m not laying on the floor and crying. Or at least not both at the same time. 

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Cheers.