Emerging from a Slump

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Dear P,

It seems like nearly all of my friends have failed a test, broken off a relationship, or gotten sick or injured in the last month. Even the sparklingly happy Ms. Darling wrote this article about trying to boost her own spirits. I’ve been trying to recover from my own bout of health issues that have been preventing me from running. Since I’m addicted to endorphins and my sleep is dependent on my exercise regime, this has made for a pretty grouchy E. Also, I don’t want to alarm you, but I found my first gray hair today.

Gathered here today are a few ideas I’ve been brainstorming for myself about how to make October beautiful, golden, and 200% better than September:

1. Be grateful. The number one reason some people are happy and some people aren’t is gratitude. Watch this video and click on the research article if you don’t believe me. There are an infinite number of ways to be grateful, and Alexandra Franzen goes over fifty beautiful ones in this article. Even though this month has been tough, there have been thousands of beautiful moments and things to be grateful for, like chocolate bars, nice texts from good friends, kisses and laughs had by all.

2. Cultivate self-disipline. For me, this means eating food that make my insides feel clean, keeping my room tidy, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol, attending my lab every day, and not wasting time reading fun articles on the internet (like the one I’m writing now, irony be damned). It’s important to decide what self-disipline means to you and relish the feeling that comes from achieving it.

3. Listen to this awesome playlist that I made! I’ve been listening to the song “Counting Stars” on repeat.

4. Laugh a lot. I’ve been re-listening to “Bossypants” by the great Ms. Fey while I work on the frustrating-but-empowering task of re-training my body. Here you can watch one of my personal heroes, Dr. Oliver Sacks, on the Daily Show with John Stewart. Comment on this with your favorite laugh-worthy article or video.

5. Embrace change. I downloaded IOS 7 today. I like it. It’s just like the old version except more beautiful. My two As, S and C have been looking for a small house or big apartment to move into next year. We’re beyond excited.

I’ve been throwing myself into these positive steps with abandon, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that, in the end, it’s time that is going to make things better. With time, my illness will dissipate, my sleep will improve, and I will gain new tools to address problems in my life. It’s in both of our natures to work on something until it gets better, but some things only get better with time. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it helps me deal with frustration I have felt this last month. The next will be better for all of us.

Happy Octobers!

E

Falling

Dear E,

As you probably know, today was the first day of fall. I think now that I’m living in Boston, fall is one of my favorite seasons. This is what Boston looks like in the fall.

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All of the trees have starting changing colors, the air feels crisp and clean, and there’s nothing better than biking across the bridge feeling my hair whipping behind me. Pumpkin pie flavors are popping up in all aspects of life (froyo, ice cream, coffee, etc), ideas for Halloween are already floating in the air, and slowly but surely people are beginning to unpack all their scarves and boots.

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There’s something about fall that I really love. For some reason it’s like all of last year’s troubles and mistakes have been wiped away by a carefree summer and we’re starting anew. As a new school year begins, people collect new textbooks and notebooks and sharpen their pencils and minds and set out to achieve new things, to meet new people, and reach new goals.

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The more and more I live in Boston the more I fall in love with it. On Saturday morning two of my friends and I woke up early in the morning to go run the Harvard Stadium. We biked over to Harvard, but then it turns out it was closed so we ended up biking over to Summit Ave to run up and down hills. It was awesome. We biked through all these cool areas like streets filled with tiny shops and cute restaurants and coffeeshops and we saw so many people up and about. I think the best part of that morning was once we were finished running the hills we biked down this GIANT hill. I felt like I was flying E. It was perfect. I was going soooooo fast, and the leaves were are swirling around me and I was laughing for no reason. I want to go back to that hill and sled down it when it gets cold.

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Every time I bike or walk across the river in the perfect weather I like to think about how lucky I am that I live in the best city in the world and go to an awesome school and have awesome friends like you and all the people here. It gets really intense here and we have to study a lot, but somehow we still manage to have loads of adventures and amazing times.

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S took this picture of us during a study break where we had an impromptu dance party in a random BU study area and then piled on top of each other.

Campus (and all of Boston pretty much) is filled with freshman and newbs to the college scene, old friends have been reunited, and we’ve really plunged into school. I’m already feeling the workload, but I also feel like it’s going to be a great year, filled with awesome new memories and unforgettable times.

Anyway, I love the fall in Boston. Everything is perfect for now.

Miss ya tons.

P

 

Beyond Lions, Tigers, and Bears

All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.
-Sally Ride 

Dear P,

Last night, I had a dream that Voldemort got his body back and I had to go into hiding with my baby cousins Z, G (shown above), and B. I was relieved to wake up and find out that I was not under any immediate threat from the dark lord. This just shows how very unimaginative my post-slumer brain can be, because even if Voldemort did exist, he would be only a small worry in this terrifying world.

There are certain things everyone knows to be afraid of. Terrorism. Plane crashes. Chemical warfare. That the internet will eventually kill our ability to communicate with other people and make everyone depressed.

For the imaginatively neurotic among us, myself included, these niggling fears are only the tip of the iceberg, much like the crust of ice that covers Mount Ranier. The U.S. Geological Survey calls this the United State’s most dangerous volcano, since it sits right over Seattle. The ice would cause the volcano to form “lahars” if it erupts. A lahar is a toxic solution of mud and lava that can spread for miles when the volcano erupts. Basically, remind me to never visit our friend K or the rest of the northwest.

I am sensitive to the dangers of volcanos because I remember when the 2010 volcano erupted over Iceland and prevented most of my friends from coming back to school. Volcanic ash causes jet engines to fail. This is only the most remote, but still terrifying, risk that you could encounter during air travel. Do you know the reason the flight attendants say to “attach your own oxygen mask before assisting the person next to you”? You have roughly fifteen seconds after the oxygen masks fall before you drift into a dreamless sleep and into death’s hazy plateau. That’s the way Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the “Big Bopper” guy went on February 3, 1959, the “Day the Music Died.” Bye, bye, Miss American Pie. Of course, these are only small risks each individual takes for the chance to explore the world. The scariest aspect of air travel is how quickly we can spread diseases around the entire planet. Due to the prevalence of antibiotics and the high densities of urban populations, diseases are primed to evolve to become as virulent as possible. It’s only a matter of time before one of these knock us off the face of the planet.

Who even says the planet is going to last that long, anyway? Asteroids, plate tectonics and global warming all pose a threat to the Earth as we know it. Our paranoia could expand even from there: the Great Glaciation theory is that our universe will eventually expand beyond it’s energy capacity, slow down, and stop.

Sweet dreams,

E

I Wish I Was Cute

Dear E,

I’ve come to decide that I’m never going to be cute. I don’t have a button nose or naturally rosy cheeks and I’m not short and petite. (In fact I’m tall and curvy, which is the exact opposite.)

Half of the clothes I would ever want to buy are automatically eliminated from my wardrobe because they are far far too short and a dress that might look cute on a tiny girl who is 5’4″ automatically becomes busty and va va voom as soon as it even looks at my body. I often find myself asking the question, “Is this a shirt? Or a dress?”

I’m never going to be described as a “dainty little thing” or “just a doll” because I am not remotely dainty, little, or doll-like in any way shape or manner. I shamelessly eat food with my hands, when I wear heels I typically tower over my male counterparts, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even own a Barbie growing up. I’m almost certain my parents just gave me puzzles to do all the time, which might explain why I attend MIT….thanks mom and dad.

Puppies, babies, cupcakes, other cute things…don’t get me wrong, I love em, but they just don’t make me squeal in delight or drop everything I’m doing. I wouldn’t be caught dead in pastel colors, and in fact the main colors in my wardrobe are black and white. When I wear bows I think people just get confused and I literally never wear solid pink. I don’t have a cute voice or an adorable giggle and I don’t call people “darling” or “babe” or say things like “bless her heart” although that last one might just be something old Southern women say right after they say something mean. Example: “That dress Sally is wearing looks so ratty and cheap. Bless her heart!” I digress.

In the wise words of Marianna Tabares, a blogger for hello giggles, “Being cute means that men feel more comfortable around you because you don’t give them the sense that you can dropkick them at any moment during a date.” I’m going to have to 100 percent agree with this one. I could probably beat up a solid 50% of the boys at my school, and I’m not ashamed to say this. Not that I’m like some gangster thug who even knows how to fight, it’s just that I’m really fiery and I pack a mean right hook. Putting my brute physical strength aside, I will stand up for what I believe in, and I’m not afraid to disagree with someone. I’m extremely independent and I think that might scare some boys out there. I’m not about to lose beer pong on purpose so that I can feed your ego, no thank you. Plus, back to the physical strength thing, there’s something really satisfying about carrying something really heavy in a dress.

Anyway, don’t worry it’s not all bad. I may not be cute, but I am definitely sexy. And I don’t just mean physically. I think it’s sexy how when I’m watching reruns of Friends my laugh is so loud my friends can hear it from the kitchen. It’s sexy how I can wear harem pants and totally rock them. It’s sexy how contagious my smile is. It’s sexy how passionate I am about life and having adventures and making the best of every situation. It doesn’t hurt that when I thrown on my freakum dress I could be twins with Beyonce.

So whether you’re cute or you’re sexy, you just keep on doing you.

Love you E and hope you’re having a sexy ole time.

Missing you loads,

P

Kissing Summer Good-Bye

“No summer ever came back, and no two summers ever were alike. Times change, and people change; and if our hearts do not change as readily, so much the worse for us.”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dear P,

Isn’t it ridiculous how our lives keep getting better and better? I thought that summer 2012 would be un-toppable, but it looks like we’ve done it again. We both hung out with fun, joyful people, had the opportunity to give science-ing a try, and read a bunch of great books. My summer involved some great music and poetry, going to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, lounging at Barton Springs, and getting splattered with bodily fluids while volunteering at the hospital.

I’m so glad I got to see so much of you this summer, P. Let’s start planning to make next summer even better.

Love,

E