We’re here!

We arrived in New York yesterday afternoon. Our flight was quick, and I had so much legroom! We got to sit in an exit row seat on a 757, so it was almost more room than I knew what to do with. I want to sit there every time I fly on one of those planes. I made friends with one of the flight attendants, and it was fun hearing her story. She’s from Chicago and has been working for the airline for 30 years. She has a whole bunch of crazy cool hobbies, like papermaking and teaching Burmese people how to speak English. It was really inspiring talking to her, and it reenergized me and reminded me that this world is so big and that I can have crazy cool hobbies too.

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All the legroom!

JFK is a really big airport, and we must have walked a mile to get to where we were picked up. I was so excited to spot the city on our flight and drive in! We got to our new apartment pretty quickly, and gosh, I don’t even know what to say about it. It feels so New York. It’s in this really cool brick building, and it’s on the first floor. It’s got hardwood floors, full-size appliances (!), and a washer/dryer (!!). It’s definitely tinier than our last place, and the bedroom is itty-bitty, but I’m so excited to make it home.

Seeing it from the plane!

Seeing New York from the plane!

We’ve already started exploring our neighborhood (East Village). We live in such a cool place! Already we’ve been to two different restaurants and a coffee shop. The place I’m in now is called Pushcart – it’s not too far from our apartment, and it opened this morning for the first time! I feel like we’re kindred spirits somehow – we’re starting our NYC adventure together.

We slept on the floor last night, and we’re living very simply until our furniture comes in a couple weeks. We went to Kmart (they exist here in the big city… but somehow Target does not) last night and stocked up on bare essentials (plastic plates and cups, paper towels, etc.). I think I’m going to go back today and get another twin-sized air mattress: I saw they were on sale, and even with padding, the floor is really hard! We’ve already been to Duane Reade (the drugstore) twice. Another cool thing: there’s a Trader Joe’s not too far from us!

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Our sleeping arrangement for the next 10 days or so

Already I’ve had such a good time wandering around and watching people. Everyone is so different, both from what I’ve known previously and from each other. I feel like I’m getting great fashion ideas just by keeping my eyes open. I have this overwhelming feeling of friendliness: while it is big, the city doesn’t feel scary to me. I want to go up to everyone and ask them about themselves and about their relationship to this place. I want to be friends with them all. And I feel like I can be.

(I also have seen a lot of runners around, and at all times of the day. Where on earth do you run? I want to ask them. Can I come too?)

For being so close to a pretty busy intersection, our apartment is surprisingly quiet. But when I walked out the front door about an hour ago, I was hit with a wave of energy, almost like a thumping of life that I could feel as clear as my heartbeat. We really did it, I thought. We made it. We’re here. This city is now ours to call home. And I’m so excited about that.

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Lulu Miller is awesome.

This past weekend I sent an email to Lulu Miller of Radiolab and Invisibilia fame, and this morning, she wrote me back.

What. I just. Ohmygosh. I feel like, as Davis so jokingly puts it, I have lost my ability to even.

Here’s the thing too: It wasn’t a courtesy email, a “thanks for writing, keep in touch” flimsy note-thing. It was a solid letter, full of detail and thought and love. It was the kind of letter that you write to a good friend that takes at least 20 minutes to artfully construct. She gave me tips on how to learn about podcasting and work in radio. She talked excitedly about New York. She invited me to coffee if I’m ever in the area that she works in. Just like. WHAT.

She is SO NICE. She writes the way I do. She seems so excitable and just in love with life. In reading her email, I felt like we could be best friends.

I realize it’s only Monday, but she has made my week. I don’t think anything could bring me down.

OH AND THEN I also bought tickets to see Ira Glass in town this weekend. Even all of these capital letters cannot express all the excitement I’m feeling about life right now.

(For those of you who don’t know, Lulu is a wonderful storyteller and reporter. Everything she makes (that I’ve heard) is beautiful. Listen to any of the episodes of Invisibilia and prepared to be amazed: http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/. And Ira Glass is the master of radio storytelling from This American Life. Listen to any of his stories here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/.)

Wedding Wedding Wedding!

Now that school’s over for the quarter (yes!!!!) I’ve almost completely directed my attention to the wedding! And with that, all the excitement has come back in full-force (don’t get me wrong, it was hanging out all along – but now I can focus all of my attention on it! Weeeee!). In the past two days I’ve:

  • assembled most of the addresses needed for save-the-dates and invitations
  • finished registering (well, at one store – I have to wait til I get home to register at the other)
  • found the save-the-dates I’m going to use (now to make them myself!)
  • Pintrest-ed it up to get more ideas… 🙂
  • decided on shoes and hair for bridesmaids
  • (with my mom’s help) nailed down the flowers and caterer for sure

Whew! Oh man, I’m so stoked! 😀

It’s been a while, WordPress.

Last I left you, I was exploring the world!!! Well, I guess I still am… though unfortunately not by being in Europe anymore. I feel the need to fill in all the details since my most amazing days in Paris, but I feel like I can accurately sum it up by saying a few short words:

Paris was wonderful. My expectations were well-exceeded by this great city. The people were friendly, the place was clean, and things were just… magical. There was something to do every day, and while I love love love Italy, I absolutely love Paris too, though in a different way. Paris, I’ll be coming back to you, don’t you worry.

London… I can’t say I had the same feelings. London was… dark. It was dirty. It was full of people rushing from place to place, who were overall kind of rude. I think by the time I got to London – a place that spoke English, which was something I wasn’t used to after the six weeks prior to my arrival to the UK – I was ready to go home. And I think our hotel put a damper on everything: it was really small, really cramped, and the people who ran it weren’t nice at all. I seriously think they had something against women travelling alone, like we were. Oh, and the movie theatre in Piccadilly Circus wanted to charge me £25 to see Harry Potter over a month after it was out. Which is, like, forty bucks in the US. Yeah, definitely a damper.

Though not all of England was bad. For one thing, the food was delicious! Way more tasty than I thought it would be. Bangers and mash, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie – it was all really wonderful! Top it off with Pimm’s or a pint of cider and boy was I happy. Also, we got to tour Buckingham Palace and see Kate’s dress (!!!) which was really cool. But by the time I got on the plane headed home, I was more than ready.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t so short. I might post pictures of it all later if I feel up to it. Anyway, the real excitement comes after I get off that plane heading back to the States.

My life drastically changed that night, the eve of my 21st birthday… and in a good way, I promise!

After my 11+ hour plane ride, most of which was made up of two obnoxious girls climbing over me every twenty minutes while I tried to sleep, I scooted through customs and met Davis at the airport. We were so excited to see each other, and I talked his ear off on our way to my house. Once there, I said a brief hello to my family and crashed for a few hours on my bed, until I was awoken by my wonderful boyfriend, telling me it was time to go on my birthday date. I threw on some clean clothes and off we went to a surprise destination.

We soon arrived at our stop, which turns out to be – get this – a gondola service that would take us on a romantic cruise! Davis explained to me that he knew I’d be missing Europe already, and that since I hadn’t gotten to go to Venice, he wanted to take me to the American equivalent of it. We were introduced to our rower, a beachy-looking guy whose name escapes me now, and hopped in our boat to start our cruise.

And it was wonderful! And romantic! And just a little awkward cuz it was me and Davis and this guy we’d met ten minutes before, who was encouraging us to be lovey-dovey! But let’s rewind for a second, and just go with romantic, cuz that’s really what it was.

And then, it happened.

(And if you know me, you know what I’m talking about 😀 )

Davis got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

I’m not going to rewrite everything he said, because to be honest I want to have it as ours and no one else’s. I want to hold it dear and remember it whenever I’m feeling down or just want to smile some more. He put it beautifully, and it still makes me giggle like a giddy schoolgirl when I think about it. But so does every little sweet thing he does.

(Oh, I said yes, by the way. 😀 And apparently in a very “Well, um, duhhhh!” type of way. And as another sidenote, he was so adorably nervous right beforehand… it was really really cute, and I love him ever so much for it.)

Then we finished our gondola ride and giggled profusely some more, and upon leaving the establishment we rounded a corner and all of my close friends were standing there. Like, all of the Drake family, plus my roommate and good friends from home… everyone. And they scream their excitement and glomp me, and my brain can’t handle the awesomeness and I’m laughing and smiling like a mad fool and recounting the events of the night. Then after so many awesome pictures are taken and passing my hand around so that everyone can look at my new engagement ring (!!!) we’re whisked away to my roommate Kaylinn’s house, where her family so generously hosted us with dinner and drinks and celebratory goodness. And we talked! And I told them tales of Europe, and how excited I was to be back. Then we went to my friend Lauren’s house and then out on the town for my birthday! Not too much alcohol was consumed, for which I was grateful – we went to two bars, so it was the right amount of fun without being overwhelming or sickening, then hung out some more at Lauren’s. And after talking for hours, a very tired Davis finally had us go home so that we could sleep and I could get used to the American time zone again.

The next day we went out to breakfast and I called a few people to tell them. (I continued to do so over the course of the next week or so) My mom and sister got home then too – they were on a different flight than I was, which was annoyingly delayed, so they were very tired by the time they finally got back to the states. We hung out some more at Lauren’s and had dinner at my house. There was just… so much overwhelming excitement, in the best possible way. I still can’t believe that all of my friends drove up/down to see me, to celebrate with me. If any of you are reading this, you are the most wonderful people, and I am so so lucky and blessed to have you in my life!

Okay, so now that that’s been summed up, ish… I’m going to try to breeze through the weeks that followed:

Davis and I were orientation leaders at school! It was SO tiring, but such good fun that it was entirely worth it. We had some pretty awesome freshmen to introduce to their new home. We kept our big news to ourselves and didn’t tell them until the last day of orientation. They were surprised but very happy for us.

I built myself a bed! This monstrosity came in three huge and heavy boxes from Costco, which we hoisted up two flights of stairs into my bedroom and then took a week or so to build. But it’s done! And it’s beautiful! It’s a full loft bed with a desk and an obscene amount of shelves underneath. And I love it 🙂

I’ve gotten comfy in the rest of my new apartment too. It’s so lovely! And it’s got a beautiful view of the mountains.

I’m trying to continue to learn Italian – that’s not something I want to give up even though I’m back in America. I’m hoping to take Italian II next quarter, and I’m brushing up on my current skills. Reverse culture shock didn’t hit me very much… except for one day in Paris, but once my mom pulled me out of bed, I was fine. I’m doing really well, and it’s great to be back, especially now that I have a fiancé. As my friend Mat said, “Sarah and Davis… it was only a matter of time.” *Lord Inglip look*

Oh! And on that note, one more thing:

Isn’t it purty? 🙂

And we went to a bridal fair yesterday… gah, it’s so exciting. Now I’m planning my wedding to the man of my dreams!!! 😀

Okay, now I really have to go – I have my first midterm in a few days, and it’s study time. I’ll update more often than I have these past few crazy weeks. But ciao for now!

Getting Old

I’m kinda looking forward to getting old.

I realize that’s a bit ridiculous to say. I mean, here I am, 20 years old, writing about aging when I don’t have much experience with it. Sure, my body might have matured more from birth to this point than it does during any other time in my life, but I’m excited to see where I go from here.

I am fully aware that aging is not a glamorous process. Wrinkles, age spots, gray hair, you name it: in today’s world, there are remedies for each and every one of these, because people are afraid of showing how long they’ve been on this planet. Not to mention your body starts to give out on you (and let me specify here: I’m not looking forward to that.).

But forget the cures: I’m excited about it. Someday I hope that I have really awesome wrinkles. Not from furrowing my brow with worry or looking concerned all the time, but from laughing and smiling and enjoying life with my friends and family. I want my face to show my life, not some made-up version of it that I think people want to see. I want others to look into my eyes and see all I’ve seen. I want my hands to become weathered from working hard at my job and around my house and with my children and from holding someone else’s. I want my hair to fade from blonde to silver with time and to still brush it and think it’s beautiful. And most of all, I want to look like this because it means that I’ve lived to get there.

Doesn’t this excite you, just a little bit? I mean, why not aspire to be old and wrinkly and flabby, because it means you’ve gotten there? I want to move a little slower and really see the world. I want to feel the sun on my paper-thin skin and thank God for everything He’s given me. And I look forward to the day that I can slowly roll over in the morning, aches and pains and all, and look into my equally-old husband’s smiling eyes and know that he still loves me, as well as to do that every day from the day I get married until then.

Life is a journey, and by no means do I want to rush to the end. I love being young and quick and wrinkle-free. But I do want to get there, one day, and be one of those laughing and loving old people, still in love with life, still in love with someone, still really me.

Dreaming

I had the best dream last night.

I was in Italy.

For the first part of it, I was at this house that I was deciding if I could rent out. I feel like my parents were there with me, but I don’t remember seeing them, so maybe they were just on the phone. The house had belonged to a couple who had fallen in love years ago. The man really tried to win over his wife, who was significantly younger (and I want to say was a nurse). While the house was empty, it was still full of furniture and memories. It really felt lived in. I wandered through it, talking to my parents somehow as I did. We were trying to figure out if we could stay there for a few days before venturing on our tour. The house was really nice, and I remember liking it very much. It was three bedrooms though, and for the two of us, we really didn’t need all that room. The master bedroom was beautiful, and I distinctly remember telling my mom back home that I wouldn’t need to buy a book light because there was a lamp by the bed (the other two rooms were quite dark, although one of them had Christmas lights strung across the ceiling!).

Then I left the house and went shopping with some friends I’d just made, who were all native Italians. There were four of them: two girls and two boys (and two of them were a very cute couple!). We stopped at this shoe store that sold what looked like lace-up TOMS which were brightly colored. Then we ventured across the street to a bigger shopping mall so that one of my friends could show me a tour-giving group that I might want to sign my us up for. The mall was much like an American mall (this, I know, will be different in real life) but it was outside. It was brightly colored and had stores in it that I recognized. (I have a feeling I got this from my recent trip to Las Vegas…) We talked to the tour people, though they didn’t have any tours immediately. But for whatever reason, I was okay with that. I was okay with figuring out how to explore Europe on my own. Because I wanted to. Really badly.

Two minor details I left out: I saw a nun wearing a name tag at the very end, which looked like it said she was from the town I’m from in America, but when I stopped her I saw that it actually said something else, and I was sorry for bothering her and sort of sad that she wasn’t a connection to home. Also, I remember purposefully leaving my cell phone at home because I couldn’t use it there anyway, but instead I carried my hairbrush around with me… why, I’m not sure.

I woke up feeling so invigorated about actually going to Italy this summer. I realize a lot of what I saw in my mind doesn’t actually exist, but I did feel the confidence I had there, and I’m hoping I can at least take that to the real place. I was skipping around everywhere in my dream, so excited  beyond all belief that I was actually there. I don’t think a smile left my face.

I don’t know what I want to “do” with my life right now, in terms of my career. A few nights ago I was floundering at this thought, questioning my major and what I was doing just because I didn’t see direction in my life. But now I realize that my dream for now doesn’t have to do with my major or career. My dream is to go to Italy, explore the world, learn and see new things. And one of the most exciting parts of that is that it’s actually going to come true.

Hello Again, World!

POSTING!!! Finally! It’s been two months, ish, and I’m finally taking writing up again! Yippee! (It’s been so long I had to reorient myself with WordPress and figure out how to post… fail.)

So this post is going to be catch-up, kinda, cuz why not? Full of the new awesome things I’ve discovered, everything that’s happened, etc. etc. etc. Really not that exciting for any outside reader, but hey, it’s life to me, so I love it! 😀

So! The two awesome new discoveries I’ve made in the past few months:

1. Mumford & Sons. Ooh goodness. Mumford & Sons is a British folksy-bluegrass-y (ahh, I cringe at the word) band with poetically real lyrics that really, well, say something. They’re full of knowledge and truth, and when I listen to them, I’m filled with hope about love and the future and life in general. It’s just… so beautiful. Please, if you haven’t, go listen to them. They are most definitely high up on my “Best Bands Ever” list. (And another thing? Every single song on their album is good. Oh man, I love it when that happens!)

2. The Hunger Games. I got hooked on this series over winter break. I can’t really tell you what it’s about, because saying anything kind of gives it away. And I actually haven’t finished the series yet – I’m 100 pages into the last one (there are three) and now that I’m back at school I only find the time to read for my history class. What I can say is this: Suzanne Collins does an excellent job in writing this sci-fi, futuristic page-turner. She words things so vividly and interestingly, and I strive to be able to write like her.

These two things have been nothing short of obsessions over the past few months. I just can’t get enough of them. My friends are probably sick of me talking about them, but they should listen to/read them and get hooked too.

Other fantastic things…

  • I made the dean’s list at school last quarter! 😀 My GPA hasn’t been this high since high school. (and even then, it was much higher… welcome to college.) I thoroughly enjoyed last quarter and feel like I’m definitely in the right major.
  • I went to Hawaii over the break with Davis’s family. Oh goodness was it fun! And soooo relaxing… 🙂 I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have him and them in my life.
  • Over Thanksgiving break I dyed my hair blue! That was pretty awesome. I used temporary dye, and it came out in a week or so (which was sad… I wish it would have stayed a little longer!). But on the other hand I have extra dye, so I can do it again any time I want.
  • My little brother Mikie broke both his wrists in November. It was so sad, but at the same time so uplifting to experience his positive attitude about it. I really look up to him – he just keeps smiling, and I strive to be like that too. Luckily now he’s out of his casts and is itching to start karate (I told him how fun it was and now he can’t wait to try it too!).
  • I got a new cell phone for Christmas (which is awesome! I can’t believe I resisted upgrading for so long…). I also got – wait for it – my passport. I’m getting closer and closer to going to Italy this summer.

Yay for life and excitingness and stuff. Today’s been nonstop, running around all over campus to go to class, meetings, the gym, etc. I’ve barely had a moment completely to myself, and now I’m so happy I got to spend this time blogging! I feel more productive today than I have in a long time, which is awesome. I want to keep my productivity up, so back to work it is! Here’s hoping I write again soon 🙂