Holidannys

WTF WEDNESDAY: LEAVING

So originally I wrote a WTF post about hating birds and cats, and then I went out for a few hours and realized that that is the biggest WTF of all. And I realized that I’m about to leave my study abroad—I’m writing this on Tuesday—and I think that’s the biggest WTF ever.

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WTF is up with that? How did 15 weeks—101 days—pass by so quickly? I feel like I progressed from pants-shitting fear to awe to whatever-ness to joy to faded awe to peace and contentment to now. Now, I’m about to go back to America. And I’m so excited for that, but I’m also so sad to be going.

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I didn’t think that I would be. I thought I would be satisfied with the amount of time I had here, and in a way I am. But I think I’m sadder that I don’t have more time. I’m sad that now that I’ve become comfortable in this place—past the point of thinking every London drizzle is quaint and being able to be enough of a resident to be annoyed with the weather—I want more time. I like being a resident; I like walking around.

I was talking to a friend—Charlie—and we were talking about time. This time has felt like an eon, and at the same time, nothing. New places always seem like such a long stretch of time, and when I think about early September—going to the gym, walking around Bankside in Southwark—doing my Halloween costume and pub crawls, wandering around museums, walking under the soft gray overcast sky. It’s been cool and fun and wonderful and nice. I didn’t have the pressure to see everything immediately and I got to do it at my own place.

And I think what I’ll miss most is that ability. Until I move into an entirely new city, I won’t have the experience of having four months to wander and discover. That’s been so crazy and weird and lovely.

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And I’ll miss the growth. Before this, I was crippled by my fear of anxiety. Not even my anxiety. My anxiety about my anxiety. I was afraid of triggering it, of waking that beast. But this has been so beyond my wildest dreams and so outside of my comfort zone, that I think I shocked myself. I still have anxiety obviously, but I was able to conquer one small trigger—new places. New places used to scare the shit out of me. And I’m sure it’s something I’ll still struggle with; but I just lived across a fucking ocean for four months and managed to do it. If I’m strong enough to do that, I feel like I can do so much.

I traveled to a different country by myself. I’m not talking about England. I went to Spain for a weekend solo. I dumped myself in a country with no companions, no cellphone data, and no grasp of the local language. I’ve traveled on planes by myself, I’ve navigated in European cities. I’m gotten lost and found and lost. I’ve cooked food. I’ve never cooked food myself. Before this, I had made eggs and grilled cheeses and cereals. Now, I’ve done fried rice, pastas, sautéed shit and flipped shit and added ingredients. Who am I, Ina Garten?

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Side bar: I’m so excited to binge-watch The Barefoot Contessa when I go home. That will be my Christmas break.  

So I’m sad, and I feel like that’s so obvious, like “Duhh,” but I am. And I’m allowed to have these emotions. I’m glad for this opportunity, because I know that I won’t have it again in the same capacity. I’ll never again be a wild, sexy college student, traipsing around Europe for four months.

But maybe that’s good? Because there’s a pleasure in finite-ness. This is a thing, and it’s ended, but it’s been amazing and worthwhile and shocking. And it’s over, but that doesn’t negate its beauty. It makes it sad and wonderful and fleeting. And I keep saying “wonderful” but that’s what it is. It’s been full of wonder. And it’s made me full of wonder. I feel more fulfilled. I feel more independent. I feel more strong and old and opinionated and cool. I’ve gotten experience and a little bit heavier—I haven’t been working out—and cool Instagrams and amazing friends.

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So thank you—everyone. Thanks to the friends that I made here, when I was dry-heaving inside and pretended to be cool so you would like me. Charlie and Millie and Jenna and Sebastien and Jenny and everyone else who I’m too lazy to give a pseudonym to. And thank you to my babes at home—Marco and Nina and Mitchell and Shelby and others—who chatted with me and made time for FaceTimes and late night chats and good times. Even though I wasn’t there, I was still there. And thank you family—Mom and Dad and Poppy and Margot—you guys are cool for sending me here. Thanks honeys.

So thank and what the fuck and I hope you’re having a good day and that you take leaps and feel fulfilled and be independent.

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

HOW TO: ROCK THE PLANE

Alternately titled “Snakes (And Ladders) On A Plane: A Guide To Entertaining Yourself”.

Originally I thought that the flight from London to New York is six hours. Six hours? Totally doable. I’ll bring a book, a sleeping mask, and an adult diaper—and I’ll be good to go. Then I checked my ticket again. Flight departure: 14:35. Flight arrival: 17:45. For you plebeians, that means 2:35 pm and 5:45 pm.

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Confusion.

It’s like a math problem:

Question: If the flight leaves at 2:35 and is six hours long, and the passenger is reading Tiger Beat and wearing an adult diaper, what time will he arrive in New York if the time difference is five hours?

Answer: 3:35 pm.

Realization. The flight is longer than six hours. It’s actually over eight hours—allegedly. I have yet to see the receipts, as Tumblr says, so it could still be shorter. Apparently we’re flying against the winds and that takes longer. I’m not a scientist. I don’t know the specifics. But regardless. Eight hours is much more of a commitment than six hours.

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So with this new information presented to me, I made like a good Moleskine journal and planned. So here, without further ado, is the faultless, foolproof, you-need-to-do-this-otherwise-your-life-will-be-terrible How-To:

1). Wear something casual, but not horrifying:

I always make the mistake of taking “comfortable” to the extreme. I think, “Oh, I’m going to be sitting on a plane for multiple hours, let me pull out the dolphin onesie and a pair of clogs!” No. Please resist this urge. Because eventually, unless you are severely confused, you’ll be getting off that plane and into the real world.

I have whittled my outfit down to the necessities: A) Adidas track pants, to get that subtle promo and also an elastic waistband; B) Nikes, because I can do it, and also you’ll have to take your shoes off; C) Comfy tee, which usually is my Pugs Not Drugs tee, but I’m being ~crazy~ and switching to the t-shirt I made for Halloween (All My Dreams Are Dead); and D) a blanket scarf—this one is new, and my sisters will hate it, but I love blankets and scarves so why not?

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2). Socks:

If you don’t bring a pair of goddamn socks onto the goddamn plane, you’re a f*cking idiot. They better be fuzzy and comfortable, because Lorde knows you’re gonna be taking off your shoes as soon as the tray tables go down, and we don’t want to have to wear our threadbare regular old socks. Treat yourself to luuuuuuuxury. Do yourself that one favor.

3). Entertainment (ha, more like “entertaintment” amiright?)

Plan for the trip like you’re going to have to entertain a rowdy, ADHD-riddled five-year-old, except that you’re actually just planning for yourself. I love having a wide array of things to do: read books, look on my phone, watch movies, listen to podcasts. Sometimes, and this is kinda so “millennial” of me, but I like to edit photos for later Instagram postage. It’s very relaxing, and something that doesn’t require data or WiFi.

I am super into podcasts, so I’ve downloaded a bunch to burn through: Chris Hardwick’s The Nerdist, and some of Joan Rivers’ In Bed With Joan even though RIP to the queen. I also want to buy Bianca Del Rio’s comedy special, but it’s on Vimeo, so I don’t know if that means I’ll need to have WiFi to watch it, which is no bueno. Something that doesn’t require WiFi is iTunes, so I think I might buy Tyler Oakley’s new documentary Snervous, because I feel like it’ll be more in the vein of his podcasts—which I love—than his videos—which I’m, like, ehh on.

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4). Snacks:

Idk, maybe some nuts? Some berries. You do you. I’m not going to tell you how to do your life.

5). Sleeping Possibilities:

This could technically go in apparel, but fuckit. I always wear a beanie on flights because of two reasons: 1) I can put it on and lean my head against anything and it’s soft enough to act as a pillow, and 2) I can pull it down over my eyes like a knit condom and block out the entire world. However, if you don’t have a beanie, I would suggest getting a sleeping mask. It’s one of those “OMG so LA” things to have, but I love mine. It was a cheapie from CVS, but it works great and looks like a bra when you put it on your face. Plus it makes everything black blackout black, which is a total plus.

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I’m super excited to go home but I kinda hate flying—I still don’t actually know how planes fly, and no one’s explanations have really made me believe them—and I hate being cramped in tiny spaces for long amounts of time. If you didn’t know, I’m 6’2”, which is horrible. Basically, for planes, anything over 5’5” and you might as well be a 1000+ lb elephant because it was not built for you.

I’ll sign off—just kidding, I’m typing off. Oh my god, I had to write an essay in my final today, and I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but I always get ink blotches all over the side of my hand because I rest it on the paper. I’m so unfit even my hand gets tired from writing. Writing.

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HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

MISCELLANEOUS MONDAY: PACKING SUCKS

Okay, so news alert: packing sucks, I’m sweating like a whore in church, and I’m got a raging headache. I don’t know how anyone does this whole “moving from the country you moved to three months ago back to the country you left” thing, but that’s what I’m doing and I hate it.

In—like idk, two days? A day and half? I’m not great at math, but regardless—a certain, finite amount of time, I’ll be leaving England and going back to America, land of mouth-breathers and Dunkin-Donuts and LORDY LORDY I’M SO EXCITED. I’m excited to be the cool one again. In England I’m essentially Jan Brady, and goddamnit I want to be Marcia again.

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I spent two hours of my day sitting on suitcases and trying to shove too many denim shirts into too little of a space, and I realized that American consumerism has consumed me and that we need to fight, Marx-style, against the machine! Lol no, I’m kidding. I just realized that I get a little shopping-crazy and decide to go on a total binge. Which we already knew.

But I think what I hate most about packing is the inbetweenness. You still have to have certain things out—like your toothbrush and your deodorant—and so you’re living in this sort of limbo. I don’t do well with limbo—the concept or the popular game. I like things to be clean and done and over, I hate lingering and half-steps. Give me a full-step.

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And it makes me prematurely sad about leaving London. For the last three and a half, almost four months, this weird place has been my home and I’ll be sad to leave behind being an intrepid traveler, getting lost in Spanish Metros, eating sandwiches on a dock in Copenhagen, walking over tiny canals to hidden museums in Venice. I’ll miss being cool, and I’ll miss forcing myself so outside of my comfort zone that I can’t even see it anymore.

Because abroad for me was more than just being abroad. It really made me confront my anxiety. This entire trip was a huge experiment to see if I could be strong enough to override my anxiety and fear of new places. And I think I did it. I think I took a massive enough leap where I shocked the anxiety out of my body, and it’s just WTFing somewhere in the Atlantic.

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And so I hate packing because it reminds me that, while excited and glad I am to be going back to my friends and my family and my babes, that this part of abroad growth is over, and that I’ll have to find other ways of growing and getting outside of my comfort zone. Abroad was the easiest and most obvious way, but there are others, and I’ll find them.

Omg, did I just get so fucking deep in a rant against packing? I’m so deep. It’s insane. I’m Mariana’s Trench—the natural location, not the band. Although it’s a pretty good band.

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Omg, like goodnight. I’m so tired and I “have” a “final” tomorrow, in which I have to write multiple “in-class essays.” So weird. Must be code for something.

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Holidannys

WTF WEDNESDAY: TWO ABREAST

This is going to be a quickie, so buckle up. I have a major WTF with people who walk side-by-side on the sidewalk.

WTF is up with that? I know that you desperately need to talk to your friend, but I’m dogging behind you like a goddamn specter or a guy in a trench coat, trying to get around you. Like, I walk two abreast at times, but I like to think that I have enough common sense to huddle close. Also, is it just me, or is it always the slowest people who decide to walk side-by-side?

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I walk extremely fast, and I drag my companions along with me, so I can get away with walking side-by-side. You, meandering along like a warm summer breeze, cannot get away with it.

And on a similar note, WTF is up with people who stand in front of empty train seats, but don’t sit down? I was on the tube this morning and this guy was standing, facing the window, right in front of a seat. Am I supposed to tap you on the shoulder and ask for permission? Or am I supposed to slide in between you and the seat like a manila folder?

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As you can tell, I’m a little short on ideas and time. It’s my last week in London, and I’m wringing every experience out of this proverbial wet towel. Today I went to the Sky Garden on the top of 20 Fenchurch Street—check out my snapchat (dannytheunicorn) or just Google it maybe? Like live in the 21st century? Get out of the Stone Age?—and then spent a small fortune on some traditional afternoon tea. My thoughts on salmon sandwiches—weird, tastes kind of like it’s not salmon, and I felt like a prince eating it. But maybe a disowned prince. Or Prince, the singer. Unconfirmed at this point.

I got my photo taken at Kings Cross the other day, on Platform 9 and ¾ and it was completely epic. I went by myself, despite my best attempts at finding a companion, and asked the group of Australian teen dancers behind me to talk my picture. The only boy, who might’ve been gay but also might’ve just been Australian, took my photo and I told him that I was going to work my angles. It ended up as a passable Instagram, once it went through rigorous filters.

And I suppose my biggest WTF is “WTF, this semester is almost over?” This semester has stretched over the course of several lifetimes. I’ve visited countries in these lifetimes; I’ve wandered around one of the oldest cities in the world. And I’m so happy to be going back to New York and America and Christmas and Dunkin Donuts, but I can’t help WTF a little.

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As we sat in the Sky Garden of 20 Fenchurch, 35 floors in the air and sipping on prosecco, two friends and I talked about this study-abroad. And I think it’s weird and wonderful and sad and happy that we’ve become independent, savvy, International Nasty Girls. And as I’ve decided already: once an International Nasty Girl, always an International Nasty Girl. That never leaves you.

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Okay, I’m off to a staff holiday party and I’m going to actually comb my hair for it! By the time you see this, I’ll already be there, because this is going up later, through the magic of scheduling. I hope you’re all having a nice day, and that you think I’m hot.

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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