CTA

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I come from the land of Zero Public Transportation. No trains, no subways, and the bus stops running at 6. I come from the land of Zero Public Transportation to the land of “That’s the Only Way You Get Around.”

It’s taken some time, but I’m finally getting use to navigating Chicago’s public transit. I’ve used the Blue Line, Red Line, the bus, the Green Line…there’s a lot of lines and it’s finally getting familiar.

The first day my dad was in Chicago, we were taking the Blue Line back into the city – we were in Hyde Park. Between the two of us, we were carrying everything I owned. We climbed up the stairs to the platform with my 4 suitcases, 3 bags, and 1 duffle bag full of shoes. When we finally got to the top we saw that everyone was on the other platform. We were on the wrong side. Grudgingly, we stammered down the stairs and yanked everything up the other side. After about two minutes, we saw the train we wanted: the Blue Line headed North to the city. Except one thing, it was pulling up to the other platform; the platform we had just abandoned.

“Are you kidding me?” I said.

So, once again, we stammered down the stairs just so we could yank everything up the stairs, hoping that the next train wasn’t too far behind.

We stood there with my 8 bags for an hour.

An hour went by and finally, by the grace of God, the last train of the night pulled up.

 

Fast forwarding to a couple of nights ago, I was on the Red Line with a couple of friends, coming back from the Navy Pier. We saw the fireworks off the shore of Lake Michigan. When we got on, there was a man sitting in the very back by himself. It was only a few second after I had gotten on that he started banging his fists against the wall.

“FUCK!”, he screamed. “FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!” He was banging his fists harder. He stood up and moved, until he was standing right behind me.

“You know, I hate women. They come on this train and get all scared of me, just because I want to sit down. FUCK THEM! I HATE THEM! FUCKING BITCHES!” The entire car was silent.

This went on for a few more minutes. When it was time for me to get off, I felt a sharp pain in my shin. I looked down and saw his foot. He kicked me.

“Sorry, that was an accident”, he said.

“Sure it was”, I mumbled.

I half ran-half scrambled on to the platform.

“For the record, I love women”, said one of the orientation guides.

 

 

I was told to start writing all my experiences in Chicago down because it would make one hell of a story. I also think it would make one hell of a blog post. IMG_2888

New

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I’ve spent a majority of my life wanting ‘new’.

Big city dreams have always been a part of my plan, and now I’m here, in Chicago, surrounded by new.

It took me half and hour to find breakfast the other day. You’d think in a city this big, breakfast wouldn’t be had to come by. I walked for blocks looking for somewhere to eat and finally I settled for Starbucks. Chicago has new tastes and cuisines I’ve never experienced and I end up having breakfast at the biggest coffee corporation in the world.

Everything is new.

I hauled everything I own into my dorm but it feels no where like home. It feels new.

I’m living with someone new. Someone who sleeps until noon and speaks spanish under her breath when she can’t think of the right word. She’s from Peru. She says she misses the sounds of her home town. It’s cozy there, she says. One night she heard something unfamiliar and got scared. It was the wood frame of her bed creaking. People in Peru don’t have wood in their homes; it’s too humid.

I’m surrounded by new.

Today I went to Walgreens looking for shampoo. I paced back and fourth through the aisles on the phone with my mom. She tried to calm me down as I sobbed. I didn’t have anyone to go to breakfast with me this morning. Making friends is hard for me.

This is all I’ve ever wanted but I can’t seem to find the courage to even leave my room.

I forget that this isn’t high school. I’m on my own schedule. I can leave the building anytime I want. I can dress any way I want. Everyone is here because they want to be.

And just like that, I have a revelation, right in the middle of this post. Change is scary. You never know what’s going to happen and nothing is certain; except one thing: you will be okay.

As Barney Stinson on How I met Your Mother says: New is always better.

There is ‘new’ everywhere I look.

I am new.

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Don’t You Forget About Me

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What about the 80’s made everything seem easier? Was it that you couldn’t hide behind a cell phone to tell someone how you felt?

Nothing is personal anymore. When someone gave you a mixed tape, you knew you were something special, but now, you never know if that message you got on Facebook is genuine, or if it was sent to 10 other people. What happened to grand gestures? Is it enough to get an ‘I love you’ over text?  What happened to buying someone an actual birthday card? A post on someone’s wall covers it? Does it really?

I wasn’t born in the 80’s.

I just watch a ton of movies from then.

They knew how to do it.

I miss sitting down with someone and working out your problems face-to-face. Everyone tells their side of the story and everyone listens. Now, I just get long, angry text messages. There’s no room for expression or explanation.

Everything is disposable.

No one will have a box of love notes hidden in their attic anymore. People have to reread everything on a screen.

There’s no mystery. You can find out anything online, and yet people aren’t personal anymore. We lose something that allows us to connect on a personal level.

All I want is a gesture.  Make me feel like the only one. Make me fall in love. And as time continues, don’t forget about me.

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Old News

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I really wanted to write something today but I have zero inspiration. So, I though I’d show you a paper I wrote in a creative writing class I took at a local community college my junior year of high school. The object of the paper was to write about ourselves, however we saw fit. It seems fitting to post this now. Enjoy!

Passion From The Past

I remember those days. It was sunny and clouds appeared over head, but never threatened for rain. I was 4 years old. My dad wants to go for a walk. I never questioned it, because that’s what we did: go for walks. Living next door to the Garden of the Gods made it easy to wander, and that’s exactly what we did. We always started at the trail and continued up the red beaten path. He was quiet, but that’s how we were alike. Neither of us minded the silence, and with the wind passing through the trees and the gravel underneath our shoes, it was plenty loud for both of us. We always sat at the same spot. The rock was flattened and ran parallel to Pikes Peak. The sun would blaze vibrantly and warmed our backs against the bitter wind. My dad and I would sit and gaze at the mountain, ignorant to the cars driving by and the hikers flooding through. After so many adventures through The Garden, climbing became a habit. My dad would call me Billy goat and I would grin back at him, proud of the title I earned.

I trust he remembers those walks and I hope they were just as important to him as they were to me.

12 years later, I’m sitting in the back seat of a car examining my face in the review mirror. Something is different. I sit up and straighten my back so that I can only see the bottom half of my face. My round cheeks and full lips stare back at me. I slouch down so I can see my eyes. They’re still large, with my left eye placed higher on my face than the right, but nothing looks unusual. I adjust myself so I can see my whole face again. Something is different; something I cannot grasp nor clarify for my brain. I refocus my attention to the two girls in the front of the car. I eventually catch on when I hear the word “boys” spoken multiple times. I immediately zone out again, not wanting to put any effort into that topic. But, that topic has never really put any effort towards me, either.  I try not to think too much about it, or else a minor panic attack ensues, and I believe everyone in the world is abandoning me. I close my eyes and gradually my fear and self- pity dwindles to the back of my brain.

My mood lightens when we reach the school, remembering what class I have next: French. This is the only class I look forward to in the day, eager to expand my fluency in the language. Once again, my mind wanders off as I remember my journey through Normandy, France the previous summer. I can still smell the sea salt floating in the air, making my skin clammy and soft. The town is bustling with families, making last minute stops before they go home. I have no intention of retreating to the hotel yet, and I continue my walk down to the beach. The tide has already risen, surrounding the town completely. I watch the sun disappear as it submerges under the horizon but I do not go back, not yet. I streets are mostly empty now, but the smell of fresh warm bread still seeps out of the shop doors, tempting passer-bys to make one more stop. Knowing I have to leave in the morning makes me walk at a miniscule pace, taking in everything I can before I return and neglect my curfew.

I view the world as a blank canvas. Just give me the chance and I will create my own piece of work to call my own. Opportunities are like the paint; what you do with it is what makes your creation come to life. You can close your eyes and see where the paint takes you, or you can plan out your next step. Similar to paint, regrets and mistakes are permanent. You cannot easer what you have done. You can only learn from it and make your mistake apart of your foundation for your next step in life. At the end of your life, your canvas is complete. You will have made mistakes, taken risks, and made great accomplishments. Every step you take will just be a part of the painting.

I want to live a bold life. I want to look back into my past and know I did everything I could. Margaret Mead once said, “I learned the value of hard work by working hard.” No one can appreciate the hard work people put forth if they themselves have never put effort into something. I want to live my life knowing I worked for everything so that I can value everything in return.

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Take the Leap

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The past two days were spent with the most wonderful people. On Thursday a few friends and I spent the day at a place called Paradise Cove. It’s a beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere and it’s, for lack of better words, a watering hole. Surrounding it are tall cliffs of which many jump off into the freezing water.

To get to the top you have to hike, or crawl, up the sides of the cliffs then scramble down to your preferred jumping height. I stood at the edge of the 45 foot ledge.

What you need to know about cliff jumping is that you want to make your body as straight as possible and point your toes. It’s the most ‘hydro dynamic’, I guess.

And so, I jump. And… I forgot everything I needed to do. I leaned back and put my legs straight out in front of me.

SMACK!

I came up from the water in complete shock. I have never been in so much pain. I had to swim to shore with just my upper body because I couldn’t feel my legs. It felt like someone took a baseball bat to my tailbone.

Today, the back of my legs are purple, my palms, forearms, tailbone and ass (yeah, I said ass) are bruised. Good thing I like showing off bruises because if I wear shorts, everyone sees my battle wounds.

The point of this story was not to tell you how I completely failed at this jump, but to encourage everyone to take the leap, even if you don’t know how it will turn out.

When I was standing on the ledge, looking down at the murky water below me, I almost climbed back down the cliff. I was scared. I stood there for about 10 minutes while the people behind me and down below cheered me on. Right then and there I knew I had to jump. I had to jump for so many more reasons than just saying ‘I did it!’ I had to jump because I have lived my entire life in fear. Scared of the consequences, scared of how I might look, scared of who I might lose one day. I thought of all of these things as I stood 45 feet above the water and knew that this jump meant a lot more than it really should. How on earth could I be thinking about the meaning of life up here?! People do this all the time!

So I jumped. And it hurt… a lot. But I don’t regret it.

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Fall Couture 2013

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Fall is upon us!

Thank God.

And with fall comes fall fashion; my absolute favorite set of collections of the year. The Couture Fall collections are always so elegant and beautifully layered. This fall, on the runway, we see a lot of similarities between collections: like the fisherman sweaters, track pants, fur, longer skirts… This season is tailored and beautiful.

Just to highlight a few of my favorites…

Armani Privé 

 

 

The soft and effortless looks of this collection is different from most fall fashion; usually heavy, layered, and bulky. Armani Privé used lighter colors throughout this collection which strays from the usual, darker fall colors. It’s like stepping back into the 20’s with the incredibly detailed work on the tops and dresses. Everything is glamorous.

 

Chanel

 

This collection is chic and edgy. The jackets and thigh-high boots will make this upcoming fall have a little more spunk. The heavy knit is perfectly matched with the lower belts. I want to be this type of woman: fierce.

 

Giambattista Valli

 

Sophisticated but delicate, Giambattista Valli’s collection is all I want and more. Most looks are belted at the waist, pulling together the volumed skirts with the more conservative tops. Valli starts the collection with cool colors but incorporates reds, purples, greens and yellows by the end, showing how color will play a key role this fall.

 

If anything, people will be beautifully dressed this fall- and I can’t wait!

Check out vogue.com for more of this fall’s upcoming looks! It’s fabulous to say the least.

 

 

 

 

 

18 and Fabulous!

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IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

18. Finally!

I’ll make this short, but I want to share what I’ve learned and experienced thus far in my life:

1. GUYS CAN OPENLY HIT ON YOU WHEN THEY KNOW YOU’RE 18 ! Or when they think you’re 18. When I say “guys” I mean old guys. Old, fat, bald guys who think it’s okay to murmur “that ass” when you walk by.  They also feel it’s appropriate to force a hug in the middle of the street and yell, “let’s go out!” I’m really going to miss saying my name is Shark Bait.

2. Your real, true friends stick around. Even if you’re thousands of miles away.  I’ve been terrified to think what might happen to by relationships once I go to college. I’m not naive. I know the distance will affect things. It always does. But no matter how far apart, they’ll always be in my heart. (YAY rhyming!)

3. Food is my best friend.

4. I have fallen deeply in love with a different country. I just know, one day, I’ll be back in Paris.

5. Corgis. I love all corgis. I want to pet all of them in the world. My corgi will be named Pickles and he will be famous and I will love him. Or her.

6. I’m a true Blue. You know that personality test you always take in high school? The one with the four colors? There’s Green, Gold, Orange and Blue. I’m almost 100% Blue. I’m over emotional, sensitive, and I love close relationships. I hate conflict. The whole sha-bang.

7. I LOVE FASHION. All of it. I read Vogue religiously. I’m on the website all day studying the the newest collections. I constantly see how I can re-vamp my wardrobe to have fresh, new looks. My favorite Fall 2013 collection is Giambattista Valli. So beautiful.

8. Everyone thinks they have good taste in music, but I really do. Really, really. The Killers, Alt-J, The Beatles, The Black Keys, The Shins. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

9. On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. Le Petit Prince. I’m pretty sure I learned the meaning of life in this book. Read it.

10. She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.  Proverbs 31:25. I’m not terribly religious. Okay, I’m not religious at all, but I love this. I live by it.

11. HIMYM. The sitcom How I Met Your Mother has literally taken over my life. I watch it everyday. I try to imagine how they would handle situations. No shame.

I don’t expect a new wave of wisdom to hit me at the stroke of dawn. I don’t expect to change much at all. I do have a lot of  big changes coming up though, and I know I’m more than ready.

Today will be filled with brunch, lunch, friends, and fun. I couldn’t ask for a better 18 years, and I’m so glad I get to spend it with the people I love the most. And what better way to start your birthday than watching Sixteen Candles!?

Cheers!

LMV-Le-Petit-Prince

Check out my lovely friend’s blogs for some beautiful words of wisdom! 

http://lesteslove.blog.com

http://meganelysebecker.blogspot.com