Just have to write this down.

Being a girl means being terrified. It means being terrified of walking home alone. It means being terrified that someone is going to assault me. It means being afraid of the dark and what it can hide. It means being afraid of meeting strangers. It means knowing which stores are open on my walk back home so I have a safe place to run to should I need it. It means walking with my mace at the ready. And as much as I know this, nothing prepared me for the fear I felt last night when some guy started following me home.

After having a fun night out with friends, I left the bar around 1 to make the trek back to Brooklyn. I made it to my stop and walked to my usual exit. There’s a bar there that’s open late as a safety option. I passed a group of guys and thought nothing of it. I kept walking down the street, past a market that is open 24 hours (another safety spot). As I walked, I heard this man start yelling out to me.

“Ma’am. Ma’am. Ma’am.” He kept repeating.

I didn’t turn around. I picked up my pace.

“Ma’am, I need help. I was just robbed.”

No. You weren’t, I thought to myself. And even if you were, you wouldn’t come to me for help. What am I going to do for you? If you don’t have a phone, there’s a 24-hour market open two feet behind us.

“Ma’am, I wouldn’t go that way. Five guys jumped me.”

I began to walk as fast as I could. I armed myself with my mace and I pulled my phone out to dial one of my best friends. She answered and talked with my the rest of my way home. I scouted out the other open establishments knowing that I might have to pop into one. I kept hearing footsteps so I don’t know when he finally stopped.

When I swiped into my building and finally opened my door, I collapsed on my bed in a heap of tears. Tears for getting home safely. Tears for fearing for my life. Tears for being followed. Tears for being harassed.

The sad thing is, this isn’t a one-time story. I was followed once before when I was back in college. And I know so many people who this has happened to. So many people who had it worse than I. The world is a scary place, and we’re just doing what we can to survive.

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One year post-grad

So here we are on May 7, and as of five days ago, I’ve officially been a graduate for one full year. Looking back on this past week is crazy, let alone this past year. Last summer, I was nervous that I wouldn’t find a job. I spent months on the hunt and landed an internship that moved me to NYC for the first time. I moved from Athens back to Indiana to Long Island to Harlem to Brooklyn, where I now live with two of my greatest friends. My internship led to a job, one that I officially started in mid-April. It’s surreal to reflect on these past 365 days that have been filled with terror and joy and stress and excitement.

In the time since I last wrote, I celebrated Easter with my favorite people, said good-bye to some of the best intern friends I met, explored new places in this city I now call home and had one of the worst nights of my life. I spent this past weekend on Long Island eating bagels on the beach, drinking wine, and cheering on runners in the pouring rain. This week I went to my first playoff game (LEGGO ISLES), saw ‘On Your Feet’ and cheered on Captain America.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m stable right now. I have a job, I live in a pretty amazing city and I’m surrounded by people I love. I went through a lot of changes this past year. I can’t say for sure what this next year will hold, but I do know that it at least holds a Beyoncé concert and an Avett Brothers concert, so there’s always those things to look forward to.

The one where the future looks up

Well, last month was probably one of the most stressful times of my life, but after apartment hunting for a good four weeks, my roommates (my best friend and her boyfriend) and I finally found a place a week before I had to move out of my Harlem sublet. We signed a lease in Kensington, Brooklyn and within a week had moved in and made this place home. I’ve never felt more satisfied in all of my life. My dad and sister drove from the Midwest to help me with the move, and it was so great having them both here. I didn’t get to show my sister much of the city, though I did take her to Barclay’s so we could grab delicious pizza at Patsy’s.

But aside from the craziness that was hunting for a home, these past few weeks have been amazing. My friend Heather came to the city for Valentine’s Day weekend, and we spent galentine’s day at the rooftop bar above Eately, which I highly recommend. I’ve never had a Valentine, but that didn’t matter. This year, I spent it grabbing brunch in Hell’s Kitchen and then barhopping from Valhalla to World of Beer and some other place in Union Square. Kristin and I celebrated her move with Marg Day at Tortaria. My watermelon margs were on point. Carolyn, Kristin and I wandered around Brooklyn, covering 10 miles, just exploring and falling in love with the Brooklyn Bridge Park area. We also managed to grab a table in Grimaldi’s and eat the amazing brick-oven, cooked-in-front-of-you pizza the restaurant is famous for. I covered a Kesha protest for work and covered the Oscars. I have become good friends with my fellow BI interns, and we accidentally ended up going to The Gutter, the bowling alley featured in the SNL opening, because Brooklyn Bowl had an expensive cover charge. We’ve gone to The Irish Exit multiple times to celebrate almost all of us winning happy hour. It’s been so nice so lunches on the office rooftop have become a new staple. My birthday was this month, so to celebrate, I went to see the Islanders play Pittsburgh (and WIN!) the day before, grabbed dinner at Agozar with intern friends, college friends and a high school friend who happened to be in town the day of, and went out to Irish Exit on Friday. The following Sunday was my friend Nick’s birthday so we celebrated with a brunch and then Carolyn and I lounged all afternoon in Central Park. To add to March birthdays, Carolyn’s is tomorrow so we’ve got a dinner planned. And this weekend, Kristin and I went to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and I’m so happy about it. It was my first show since I’ve moved to this city, and the cast was absolutely phenomenal. The feeling you get when watching a Broadway show is addictive. I just want to get tickets for everything (and I’m still applying to the Hamilton lottery every single day). But to top off these past few weeks of amazingness, I received a job offer. I’ll explain more when everything is official, but New York, you’re not getting rid of me yet.

 

One month down — the one where we went to hockey games, braved a blizzard and saw Amy Schumer

I can’t believe the first month of the year is already over. I feel like time is moving too quickly for me to grasp. It’s not even that I’m doing much, but when you work a 9-5 job during the week and only have weekends for adventures, time flies. When I stop and think about it though, it sort of stresses me out, because this is the rest of my life. This working, watching TV and fitting adventures in when possible is it. There are no more breaks to look forward to; it’s now up to me to schedule vacations if I can get off work. And what’s even scarier is that I have almost been graduated for a year and have yet to have an actual job. This intern life is terrifying.

But I’m not going to let these disturbing thoughts hinder my love for this past month. When I last wrote, I was excited for Girl’s Weekend, and it was everything I wanted and more. Saturday, I made my way to Queens to hang out with Carolyn, Jack and Nick where we proceeded to drink — wine floats — and talk. We were supposed to go out, but we just never did. Carolyn and I then decided to buy tickets to the Islanders game the following Sunday because it’d been a while since we saw our team play.

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Isles take on Vancouver in a helluva game.

The Islanders faced the Canucks at Barclays and lost, but it was one of the most AMAZING games I have ever been to. The Isles were down for much of the game, but Strome tied it with a minute left in the final period. After a period of overtime, we had to go to a shootout and lost, but the tension and excitement in Barclays that evening was an experience I will never forget. We haven’t had much of a chance to explore around Barclays, so we ventured to Black Forest Brooklyn (733 Fulton St, Brooklyn), an indoor biergarten. It’s adorable and has delicious food, but let me tell you a bit about their beer flight. It comes with 13 beers, so we thought it would be great to split. But even with splitting it, Carolyn and I got more drunk than expected. Those drinks were large, but I honestly have no complaints about any of them. They were all so delicious, especially the grapefruit one. Some guy next to us complimented us in surprise after we finished. OU, oh yeah, amiright? We probably should have gone home after, but instead, we went to another bar nearby. It was a good night.

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John Gallagher Jr. killed it as per usual.

We had planned to do some shopping on Monday — it was Martin Luther King Jr. day so we were off from work — but it was a bit of rough morning. I didn’t leave my apartment until later that evening when it was time to see John Gallagher Jr. (aka one of my loves) perform. I had managed to see him once already since moving, but this was in celebration of his album release. GO LISTEN TO IT NOW. I’m not kidding. I have been listening to it nonstop since, and I’m addicted. It’s the perfect soundtrack to walk the NYC streets to. Support him.

The following weekend was the weekend of the big, bad blizzard. Nick and I planned to hang out Friday night, so he made some chili and I brought the Baileys to add to our hot chocolate. I made him watch Far From the Maddening Crowd because it’s adorable and Matthias Schoenaerts <3. The next film was Inside Llewyn Davis. I hadn’t seen it, and I’m obsessed with Oscar Isaac. While it wasn’t one of my favorite films, I adore the soundtrack with ever fiber of my being. By the time I left that evening, Jonas had already begun. Waking up the next morning to see all of the snow that had fallen overnight made me happy. We haven’t had much of a winter here in NYC, which scares me because global warming. I was glad to have a day to lounge around though. The city pretty much shut down, so I binge-watched all the shows I’ve fallen behind on.

The following day, I woke up and searched the web for all of the videos of Oscar Isaac singing that I could find because I’m in love and obsessed. Not mad about it. I needed an excuse to leave the apartment though, so Nick and I grabbed dinner at Burger Joint (33 W 8th St), down in Greenwich Village. It made me think of Athens, and the food was great. I’m obsessed with fries, and they definitely had some of my favorites in the city.

A few days later, I met with my friend Henry at Nanette Lepore’s flagship store when he got off work, and he took me to Tacombi (267 Elizabeth St) in SoHo. This Mexican restaurant is complete with a VW bus in the middle of the place. Agua de horchata and tacos? Count this Mexican girl in.

And now for this past weekend. Kristin and William (my future roommates) came to the city for job interviews/apartment hunting. So Thursday, when they arrived, we grabbed dinner and drinks at Churchill Tavern (45 E 28th St). I couldn’t resist taking them to my favorite little British hideaway in the city. The next day, we met up with them and out friends, Josh and Sara, at Morgan’s BBQ (267 Flatbush Ave) near Barclays. I keep talking about food, but it was really good. And they served me beer in a mason jar and because I’m that type of person, I was really thrilled about it. I know. I’m the worst.

The next day, we were going to look at some apartments down in Kensington, but first, I had to stop by Bergen Bagel (473 Bergen St, also near Barclays) in the morning to grab myself a toasted wheat bagel with blueberry cream cheese. It was delicious. But the apartments. I really did fall in love with pretty much all of the ones we looked at. We put our applications in early this week. One of them has already been snatched up, but we’ll see if we manage to get the other. If not, it’s back to the drawing board. I’m sure we’ll find something before I have to move in at the end of February, but it really is a stressful time.

One of my favorite British bloggers just made her move to the West Village, and while I wish that was a feasible option, living in lower Manhattan on a beginning salary is impossible. But that’s okay, because I’ve fallen desperately in love with Park Slope and the surrounding Brooklyn areas, so I’m hoping we can find something down there or by Prospect Park. It is a tad more on the expensive side, but not impossible when you have three people searching for a two bedroom, which is helpful.

But Saturday, something amazing happened. WE GOT TO SEE AMY SCHUMER. We decided to randomly head to the Comedy Cellar (117 Macdougal St) and try to get in line for the 8:45 standby show. After grabbing dinner at The Penny Farthing (103 3rd Ave, the only bar I’ve found in the city to serve my favorite strawberry-lime Rekorderlig Cider!!!), we made our way to the Cellar. The list for 8:45 standby was already done at 8:15, so we hopped in line for 10:30. The guys in front of us left, so we ended up first and became fast friends with the bouncer. This poor man has to deal with so many awful people and annoying questions. I don’t know how he has the patience for it. But alas, as the ticketed folks and the 8:45 standby guys made their way in, a group of four were prohibited from entering because some guy was an asshole. They were going to sit in an area for five people, so the bouncer asked if the six of us could squeeze in. We were thrilled to, so it worked out well. So we’re sitting, drinking and enjoying jokes when the host emerged to announce AMY FREAKING SCHUMER. We fangirled, hard. She was hilarious and brilliant and everything I had hoped she’d be. My other favorite guy from the night was from David Letterman’s show. After the show, we went to the Fat Black Pussycat (130 W 3rd St) bar for some drinks. It was an amazing evening.

Anyway, hopefully the next time I write, I’ll have good housing news. If not, I’ll be ranting. But the first month of the year has been pretty amazing. I can’t complain.

A week with friends (and places you should see in NYC)

So I know I said that I meant to write every week, and while it’s been a little more than a week, I’m not devastatingly late on this post. That’s already better than I did last year. I’m looking on the bright side of things.

Two of my hometown best friends arrived on January 5, and while I was working all week, we were still able to hang out. By day they were off on adventures on their own, and by night, we were grabbing dinner/binge-watching New Girl. (They forced me to start, which was fine, because the show is laugh-out-loud funny. Also, since I live with three dudes I found on the Internet, the show relates to me more than I expected it to. Conversations they’ve had or situations they’ve dealt with align too closely with my life for comfort. Unfortunately though, I’m not going to have my own Nick Miller.) Cayci had never been to the city before, so I tried to take her to places that were more out of the way and let Melody handle the touristy things when I wasn’t with them.

Carolyn and I took them to Fiddlesticks, our sitcom bar, the first night they arrived for a warm city welcome. On Wednesday, I met them at The Strand (only one of the most glorious bookstores), and then we walked up to Shake Shack so they could try this East Coast gem.

Now, because I had to work during the Golden Globes on Sunday, I got a half-day Friday so this was reserved for exploring the Upper East Side and pretending we were on Gossip Girl, Met Steps and all. We also went to this adorable cafe that was built in an old church chapel near Central Park. Talk about feeling fancier than I’ll ever be. That night, we were going to try to head to one of the speakeasies in NYC, but with a 45 minute wait, I mentioned a British-themed bar near my work that I’ve wanted to go to. The Churchill Tavern was everything I could have dreamed of and more. It’s one of my new favorite spots in the city. And Friday was the first time I went out with two of my roommates since moving to the city, so that was a good time.

Saturday was for Brooklyn exploring, something I haven’t had a chance to do yet, so obviously we explored around DUMBO and the Brooklyn Bridge Park. I’m obsessed with that area, and if money wasn’t an issue, I’d be there always. After falling in love with that area, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I never realized that the walk across goes through the center of the bridge rather than on the side. I then dragged them to see Battery Park so Cayci could catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty for the first time, and then it was over to the West Side for her first slice of heaven that is New York pizza. But when the weekend was up, it was time to bid farewell to my friends and head back to work.

This week featured our holiday party, which was quite the event, but it was great to finally meet more people from the office and not feel like just a lowly intern.

And now for this weekend: Designated girl’s weekend. Carolyn’s French man had to go back to France earlier this week, so we decided on plans to keep her (and me just because) busy this weekend. It started last night with a classy dinner at the Belgian Beer Cafe on 5th and will extend through Monday night. Cheers to the weekend and what we have planned.

2015: A year in review

We’re four days into the new year, and I’m finally turning back to my blog to write about my average musings and document my misadventures. When I last sat down to write a post, I was struggling in the job hunt post-grad. Well, I don’t have a full-time job yet, which is actually still terrifying, but I’m working and living in NYC and loving my internship. Adulting isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest journeys I’ve ever embarked on, but here I am reflecting on this past year. Who knows what the hell this first full year as an actual adult has in store for me. Oh, and I’ll also chat about this lesson I’ve learned about New York: T-Swift lied. I’ll explain in a bit.

  1. Ventured to New Orleans for one of the best spring break adventures with my darling roommate, Kelsey. I lived with her for two years, and now that we aren’t even in the same state anymore, I feel weird. But I love her so much, and I’m so glad we had the chance to be roommates. Stark and Cap forever.
  2. Graduated from Ohio University. I did it. I’m a college grad. And I learned that nothing can actually prepare you for the real world. No amount of classes can teach you what you really need to know. Dealing with shit landlords? Bills? Taxes? Fending for yourself? Sure, it helps with the job that you end up finding, but in the meantime (and for everything else) you’re on your own. Good luck out there, kids. It’s daunting.
  3. Spent four months at home unemployed and on the job hunt. This was terrifying. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life or if I was going to find some semblance of stability. I wasted so much time being scared that I forgot to enjoy the final summer break of my life.
  4. Which brings me to a lesson I learned: having a break isn’t the worst. It allowed me to recharge and breathe. After having the majority of my life planned out for me, this was the first time I was on my own. I mean, I lived at home, but the next step was mine to pursue. This was me trying to figure things out. I got to show three of my greatest friends my hometown and take them to Chicago for an adventure. I got to watch my sister graduate from high school. I got to take her down for her student orientation at my alma mater (YAY BOBCATS). I got to spend time with my grandmother. I got to explore Grand Rapids with two of my best friends and make new friends. I got to eat all the Mexican food my heart desired. I got to relax with my family up at the cabin on Mooselookmeguntic and take some of the best people I know with me. We explored waterfalls and went white water rafting and took a trip to Portland and hiked up mountains and just hung out. I got to see old high school friends I haven’t seen in years. And then I even got to move my sister into her freshman dorm. This summer was beautiful, even though it was slightly scary.
  5. I got an internship with Business Insider as an entertainment writer to start in mid-October, and this was where my next adventure started.
  6. I made a pitstop in Cleveland to visit friends and then I was headed out to New York for this next part of my life.
  7. I lived on Long Island with the Nachman family for a while. When I moved, the threat of Hurricane Joaquin was imminent and made for a very wet welcome. Bless Carolyn and her fam for giving me shelter while I tried to find a house in the city. It’s not the easiest. And the two-hour commute I had made it impossible to relax, but I’m forever thankful for everything they did to make this new transition easier for me.
  8. While living on the island though, I got to explore some beautiful wineries up north and met one of my dad’s old high school friends while at a Halloween party. He’s the dad of one of Carolyn’s LI friends. I guess that happens when my dad grew up on Long Island and then moved to the Midwest as an adult. It truly is a small world.
  9. Carolyn and I drove to Athens for Homecoming where we got to spend a glorious weekend with old friends.
  10. I saw the Islanders play at Barclays. Let’s go Isles!
  11. I started my job. I love my job. I wish I knew what was happening at the end of six months instead of being afraid of the instability of my life.
  12. I moved in with three dudes I had never met before and now live in Harlem with them and a cat. I feel like the new “New Girl.”
  13. I pretended to be a tourist and finally got to visit the Statue of Liberty, as well as the World Trade Center.
  14. I’ve brunched in Brooklyn more times than I care to admit and just want to continue doing so.
  15. I got lost and ended up on the High Line. I also got lost once and ended up in Chinatown.
  16. I got to see what the city is like at Christmas, and it is magical.
  17. I got to see comedians at the Comedy Cellar and meet John Legend in his green room after seeing him perform and I lived my dream of seeing John Gallagher Jr. live. I’ve explored Central Park and Marcus Garvey Park and Bryant Park and Washington Square Park and Madison Square Park and Union Square. I danced at Stonewall and got to reunite with two friends I met three years ago in London.
  18. I spent Thanksgiving with my ex-aunt and her family on Long Island, because even though she may not be legally related to me anymore, I love her and her new family so much
  19. I flew home for Christmas and was reunited with my baby, Cocoa. I also made 15 pounds of tamales with my mom. I was reunited with old high school friends.
  20. I rang in the New Year in New York City with two of my best friends and some Long Island friends. It was a mess. But it was a memorable mess, and I will never ever forget dancing on the subway, and I’ll forever wonder how I managed to get some of us back to Queens that night after we were separated. I’m glad I’m still fairly great with directions.
  21. As for the lesson I learned about Taylor Swift being a liar? Well, New York isn’t waiting for you. New York doesn’t care about you. It’s filthy and filled with rats. You’ll see people drop their pants and pee on the Subway. You’ll see people fight and yell at each other and you’ll think that chivalry is dead and you’ll learn that people have zero patience and that drivers in this city honk like it will solve the traffic problem. You’ll feel overwhelmed and hate having to lug laundry down to a laundromat and gawk at the unnecessarily high cost of living in this city. But you’ll fall in love with certain places that make your heart swell. You’ll see random acts of kindness that give you a new sense of hope, and you’ll make memories with friends that give new meaning to a location. There’s never a dull moment. This city is honestly what you make of it.

So here’s to this past year. I learned a lot and moved more than I wanted, but I still have so much to learn. I don’t know what’s happening when my internship ends, but here’s to hoping I figure that out soon (like within the next two months). I’m going to keep this blog updated to track my progress and not forget a single moment of the year. That’s my resolution: write at least once a week. Stay tuned for next week when I write about having two of my best friends visit me in the city. It’s going to be a grand old time.

 

93

It’s been 93 days since I graduated college, and I’m still on that job hunt, slightly dismayed, mostly chugging along. Lord knows I’m not just sitting on my hands watching the minutes pass by. The next issue of Cliché comes out in five days, and I’m still freelancing. I have time to read books, hang out with family, binge my favorite shows and fall in love with characters that are the closest thing to a relationship that I’ll have while living at home. But yes, it is disheartening to read about dream internships only available to college students, never hearing back from countless jobs I’ve applied to and finding the perfect entry-level job description to only discover that they want a candidate far above entry-level expectations. Nobody said this part was easy, and it most definitely isn’t. I have a wonderful support system — family, friends, former colleagues — who are helping me in every way that they can. From recommendations to advice to eating pints of ice cream with me when I’m feeling down, these people get me through the low points of this summer.

I just got back from a week and a half in Oquossoc, Maine. My grandparents bought plots of land on Mooselookmeguntic Lake back in the sixties, and the homes they built have been in my family ever since. This is my happy place, and this year, I got to take some of my best friends with me. We chased waterfalls and hiked up mountains and slammed into rocks while white water rafting and sat in hammocks and played card games and canoed and completed puzzles and challenged each other during Jeopardy. I got to show them a town I admire and some of the most beautiful locations this country has to offer. Some of my family was also up there, and while family can often cause some distress, it was a relatively calm vacation. Drunk card games with my family and friends became something I looked forward to. But now I’m back in my hometown, feeling invigorated to start the job hunt anew, but also missing the people who make me feel whole. They are spread around this country from coast to coast, and living far away doesn’t make leaving them any easier.

All I want is to find a job and leave this hometown of mine, and while I’m struggling to realize that it’s not as easy as I had hoped, I’m desperately trying to remember what matters. The world keeps turning even while I feel like it has stopped, so I have to keep going too. It’s not time to throw in the towel; that time never comes. It’s all about pressing forward, so that’s what I’m doing.
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July 14

Out of all the days in the year, this day is always a little more difficult to digest. On this day 13 years ago, my grandfather died as I napped in the room down the hall. It was a sunny summer Sunday. My family had gone to church, and I had gone to a birthday party. I arrived back home to find the family eating dinner at my grandparent’s home (they live on our property), and my grandfather was watching the Cubs — his favorite team — play the Marlins. I said my hello’s and gave my kisses, but I was far too exhausted to stay awake, so I went to the guest room to nap. My little cousin and sister went swimming in our pool, my grandmother stayed in the kitchen to clean and my grandfather went to his room to finish watching the game (the Cubs won by the way). But that was the last time my grandfather would be seen alive. That was the last kiss and hug I would receive. That was the last time I’d ever hear him call me by my special Mexican nickname.

The experience of being woken up to learn that a person you had hugged and talked with merely a few hours earlier was dead is miserable. I was jolted awake by my sister repeating the words “Belo’s dead” over and over. I thought it was a joke, but when my mother pushed her way into the room, I knew it wasn’t. I sprung from the bed and ran the few feet down the hall to find him on the bed and my dad holding my grandmother’s hand. That was the first day I ever saw my dad cry. I reached out and touched Belo’s cold hand and immediately pulled away. I was nine, and this was my first loss. I believed God had let me down by taking my hero from me. I ran from the room, left the house and made my way to my grandfather’s favorite tree, a weeping willow that stood near his garden. I collapsed in a fit of sobs, and my father ran after me to wrap me in his arms.

When the EMT arrived to take him away, I sat on the couch and watched with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t eat or sleep much for three days. I didn’t know how to deal with it. All of the people trying to comfort me just seemed to make it worse. I knew death was a thing I’d have to endure at some point in my life, but I was too preoccupied with being a kid to realize that it could happen at any time.

People feel loss every day. Some expect it, and to others, it comes as a devastating surprise. Regardless of age, it’s a blow that is difficult to endure, but one that must be dealt with. Thirteen years later, the blow has softened, but he’ll never be forgotten, and he’ll forever be missed.

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What I’ve learned in the month since moving home.

I graduated from college May 2 and moved home May 3 to begin the job hunt. So now that I’ve been home for about a month, I’ve learned a few things about coming home, looking for a job and finding myself.

When you move home for the first time in four years, there are some things that are different and some things that are exactly the same. The hometown you were excited to leave is going to seem infuriatingly small in comparison to the places you’ve been. Your anticipation for leaving is going to be stronger than ever. You have to remind yourself about what you enjoy about the place though. From the restaurants you enjoyed eating at to the people you get to be reunited with, hometowns will always have something for you to turn to. I got to see some of my best friends that I haven’t seen in months and remembered that distance doesn’t diminish how much these people mean to me. I got to take my friends from Ohio/Long Island to three states in the span of three days, thanks to my convenient location near the borders of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. I get to learn Mexican recipes from my grandma and practice my skills in the kitchen, which are lacking in comparison to Mima’s fantastic skills. I’m going to be able to watch my sister graduate from high school, and I’m going to be able to travel back to Athens to assist her during her freshman orientation. There are worst places to be than the tiny town you thought you never wanted to see again.

The job hunt is one of the most daunting and disappointing journeys you will ever embark on. You will feel discouraged and want to just binge on Netflix shows to forget how worthless you feel. You will start to think that four years of classes, internships, freelancing and student publications will have been a meaningless venture. You will feel like there are no opportunities available, and that even if you find one, you aren’t qualified. You’ll overthink the entire process.

But you mustn’t stop pushing, looking and sending emails. I’m still digging for jobs, but I’m also keeping myself busy with an online magazine I’ve worked at for four years and a freelance job. When I feel worthless, I turn to my dog to keep me company and Netflix to entertain me. I’ve found time to read for fun again, and most importantly, I’ve started writing for myself. I’m remembering why I wanted to be a journalist and why I love the path I’ve chosen.

This month has been a learning experience. With the start of a new month, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to tackle more applications. My friend and I are designating this “the week of the hunt” and are helping each other with applications all week. I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m excited, scared and nervous to see what happens, but persistence is key. It always will be.

What’s next?

It’s been nine months since I last wrote on here, and a lot has transpired since then.

My journey back from Los Angeles took me to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, Mesa Verde and St. Louis. I headed back to Ohio University for my senior year, grew closer with friends I’ve had since freshman year, made new friends I wish I had more time to spend with, celebrated my last OU Halloween with my best friends from home and best friends from Athens, saw my favorite band (Bastille) in concert, said good-bye to friends who graduated early, spent Christmas with family in Florida, traveled down to New Orleans with my roommate for an unforgettable spring break, listened to a more jazz than I could have ever imagined and loved every second of it, adventured through Hocking Hills for the first time, celebrated my final International Week at OU, attended my final OU A Capella Invitational, sang in my final choir concert (something I’ve been doing for 11 years), spent my final weekend in OU as a student with the people who have become my family over the past four years and I graduated.

I’ve now been home for a little over a week, and for the first time in my life, I have no idea what’s next. My life has fallen together over the past four years, and I’ve been incredibly blessed for that. So now that I have no idea where I’m headed and feel like I have no idea what to do, I’m trying to figure it out.

I know where I want to be, and I’m trying to get there, but there’s only so much I can do. When is it okay to officially freak out? When is it okay to lose my mind? I have to learn how to be okay with taking a different path than I had planned. I have to be okay with uncertainty, and that takes some getting used to. I’m not there yet.

But tonight, three of my friends from school are coming to my home for a few days, and for the first time since I’ve been back, I’m certain that I’m incredibly lucky to have the friends and family I do. I’m certain that I love what I’m doing, I’m certain that I love where I’m headed and I’m certain that I’m excited for the future. My next big adventure might be hidden from my view for now, but I need to grasp a hold of what I am certain of and hang on for dear life.

Leaving LA

I’m sitting at a family friend’s house in Mesa, and I’m struggling to look forward to my road trip when I’m desperately missing THR and everyone I met this summer. My final three weeks in LA flew by. I made plenty of memories and had plenty of firsts, and I made the most of every moment I had.

Even though I work right down the street from LACMA, it took me until mid-July to finally pop in and see the wide variety of art. From Van Gogh to Warhol to some weird spaghetti type things dangling outside, the museum was filled with hundreds of different works that were absolutely amazing to see. A PSA I have for you is about the museum cafe: get their orange creamsicle drink. It is one of the most amazing drink you will ever have in your entire life.

Marion, a fellow intern, and I had quite a few of our own adventures. We went to The Grove — my first time — and popped around to some of the shops. It really is an adorable little area, but the market has to be my favorite. The food is great, the people are nice and it is a gentle, yet crowded, reprieve from the chaos of LA. But the best part of our adventure was our Saturday spent at Disneyland! IMG_20140726_112410351We were only there for one day, but that was plenty of time to ride the top rides on our list and get the full experience of Disney magic induced happiness. We also spent time at California Adventure, where I actually rode the Tower of Terror for the first time. Cars Land is one of the greatest places I have ever been to, and I was so thrilled to finally get a chance to see that place in action. It was also great to see Oswald’s store, because as classic as that character is, that is my last name, so adding a mug to my collection from this place was fate at its finest.

I had to move out four days after this trip, and I headed to Olivia’s for my last week in LA. I had a chance to visit Venice for the first time. The boardwalk was as weird as I expected, but it was a lot more unsanitary than I imagined. I would never take young children there. No sir. The canals, on the other hand, are stunning. We adventured to the Getty Villa and drove through Malibu to Neptune’s Net, which is home to some pretty wonderful seafood. I fell in love with Malibu, I went to Runyon and before I knew it, it was my last day at THR.

I cried. I’m not going to lie. I did, but it was the night before instead of at the office, because…well, you know. The Hollywood Reporter was an incredible place to spend my summer. The people are incredibly kind, there was never a lack of learning and the environment was thrilling. I owe this magazine and the people I worked with my life for all of the assurance I now have that I am pursuing the right field. I want nothing more than to return as soon as I can. I can now say that half of my heart is in London and the other half is in LA. This is only an “until next time,” LA. I’ll be seeing you soon.

As you can see by my finalized list, there are a few things I missed out on doing in LA, but for the most part, my list was completed. Looks like I’ll just have to come back. But anyway, I have two weeks until my senior year starts, and I’m starting to freakout a bit. Stay tuned to see how I handle this next adventure .

Go to Disneyland 
Visit San Diego
Get a picture with the Hollywood sign
See a performance at the Hollywood Bowl
Go to an LA Galaxy game (maybe Wednesday)
See a movie in a cemetery
Try In N Out
Visit The Last Bookstore
Go to the Griffith Observatory
Hike in Runyon Canyon

Visit Malibu
Tour WB Studios

The surreal life

Where has this summer gone? I have three more weeks to spend at THR, and I’m beginning to dread the end. This summer has truly been one of the most memorable summers I’ve ever had. I have learned more about the industry I’m interested in writing about for the rest of my life, I have gotten to work with some of the greatest people, I have traveled around the country, I have crossed items off of my bucket list and I’ve gotten to do all of this while pursuing my dreams. I’m lucky, I’m blessed and I’m thrilled.

10349759_250471745150031_1072091618_nSince I last wrote, I’ve had the opportunity to see more of Los Angeles, as well as more of California in general. Olivia and I hiked to the old LA Zoo and then headed to the other side of the park for the Griffith Observatory. As amazing as the view is from the top of the Observatory, it still is a bit depressing to look out over the city and see buildings obscured by smog. I got to cover a panel for THR at the LA Film Fest where I got to listen to Olivia Munn, Demian Bichir, Alfred Molina and Abigail Spencer talk about their past and thoughts on the film industry.

Saba’s 23rd birthday happened, so I actually went out to a bar to help her celebrate that special day, which is something I can’t say I do often. Olivia went with me, and 10499095_1434347130171536_369507129_nafter locking ourselves out of her apartment, we had a nice little time trying to figure out a plan of action. Needless to say, it all worked out, and we headed to the beach the next morning where I got to take my first step in the Pacific Ocean. Now I can say I have been coast to coast.

Saba was covering the El Cap’s Throwback Thursday event where they were showing The Little Mermaid, and she invited me to join her. I don’t have the words to express how adorable that whole experience was. My favorite part was seeing the cutest little Prince Eric among all of the little girls dressed up like Ariel. The El Cap theater itself is an absolutely magical venue, and I wish I was going to be here for the August tbt date.

Rikkel and I have had the chance to go on some adventures since she arrived in LA. She’s been a doll to drive around with my carless self. I can’t thank her enough for the touristy things she’s been willing to do. We hiked Fryman Canyon Park,IMG_20140628_123954_079 visited the Hollywood Lake area and I finally got myself a photo (or four) with the Hollywood sign. We also did the WB Studio Tour, which I have to say was absolutely fantastic. Having done the WB Studio Tour in London — which is purely Harry Potter themed — I was ready to see the beloved sets of Gilmore Girls, Friends and everything else that’s filmed there. The small Harry Potter collection was fine with me, even though the Sorting Hat there put me in Slytherin (WRONG. I’m clearly Ravenclaw). The best part was the Central Perk set, but the Batman collection was utterly amazing. We spent the Fourth at Marina del Rey walking around Fisherman’s Village and hanging out on the water. This adorable 18-month-old befriended me while we were waiting for the fireworks, and she was the cutest little thing. It wan’t the type of Fourth I spend with my family in the mountains, but it was nice. And yes, we did say Marina del Rey exactly like the Californians SNL sketch all day.

10507884_1500907210145570_835471910_nNow, my semester in London last year was the greatest time of my life. I was living in my favorite city, and I made some lovely friends, so leaving was hard. Since that journey, I hadn’t been able to see any of the friends I had made there, so when I learned that I was coming out to California for the summer, I had to schedule a day to see Heather, my former flatmate, travel buddy and bestie. She lives in Carlsbad, so I hopped on the Amtrak and took it to Oceanside. She then took me to visit La Jolla, San Diego, Coronado Island and some places in between. Hanging out in her backyard next to the fire pit with her parents was such a calming way to end the day, and I honestly didn’t want to leave. It was so marvelous to be reunited and to catch up about the last year. Lord knows the both of us are dying to head back to London as soon as humanly possible, and I am going to bet that we do.

And to wrap up this catch-up session, I have to talk about my first Hollywood Bowl experience. Last night I went to see DreamWorks celebrate 20 years with Jack Black as the host, performances by Judith Hill (of my favorite DreamWorks movie, The Prince of Egypt) and appearances by Alan Silvestri, Alexandre Desplat (my favorite), Danny Elfman, Steven Schwartz and others. It was absolutely thrilling to be in this historic venue — in seats I never would have dreamed of sitting in — drinking wine, eating snacks and listening to a great musical show. I am so thankful to have been able to attend the event last night. I won’t soon forget these experiences.

Now, I’m the type of person who has to schedule things weeks in advance and have my planner constantly at my side. My planner already has the days marked with no school for the whole year, as well as OU’s commencement date. I really don’t mess around with planning. I like to know my next step before I take it…literally. When I’m walking, I have a bad habit of staring at the ground in front of me. You’d think that with the way things tend to happen in life it’d be easier to deal with not knowing things, but it’s not. It hasn’t gotten any easier, and this summer has been a good example of how surprising and surreal life can be. I’m learning to accept the fact that I can’t predict everything and am going to have to deal with not knowing. As that (hopefully) gets easier, I’m still going to be scheduling what I can. This means that my road trip back home and the two weeks it’ll take me to get back to school are already pre-scheduled. As for the rest of my California list? Granted, I have things planned that aren’t on the list, but some of those things are already set. So here’s to the next three weeks. I hope they go swimmingly.

Go to Disneyland (July 26)
Visit San Diego
Get a picture with the Hollywood sign
See a performance at the Hollywood Bowl
Go to an LA Galaxy game (maybe Wednesday)
See a movie in a cemetery
Try In N Out
Visit The Last Bookstore
Go to the Griffith Observatory
Hike in Runyon Canyon
Visit Malibu
Tour WB Studios