Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why I'm going to miss home.

Things I've done today:
  • Driven
  • Ridden my (mom's) bike on the beach
  • Eaten Nature's Grill
  • Picked tangelos and eaten them still warm from the sun
  • Made guacamole because the avocados were just there and ripe
  • Coffee at Peet's with my whole family
  • Seen Riley and Troy
  • Hugged my mom
  • Been outside without a sweater on

If only I could do my intervals here every day

I might be faster. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Forms of transportation I have taken in the last week:

  • Singapore Airlines (international flight)
  • German taxi
  • German ICE train (business class, by mistake)
  • German local train
  • German subway
  • German above-ground metro rail
  • My bike
  • My mom's bike
  • Long Island Railroad
  • AirTrain
  • NYC Subway
  • NYC cab
  • Rental Van
  • Amtrak
  • JetBlue (domestic flight)
  • Ford Truck
  • PT Cruiser
  • Mini Cooper
  • My shoes (walking!!)
Seriously. In one week.

I still can't get this right, but I attempt to explain myself again.

My family is fucking insane, and I love them for it. Funerals are funny things. It is not an event that one particularly looks forward to, but at the same time, it brings family together and people generally end up having a good time (or at least getting trashed in some fashion or another).

I think that death is a time to be sad, to let some tears flow, but is also one of the best opportunities to celebrate life. I loved my grandmother more than could be coherently put into a statement, but I also understand that she led a full life and it was her time. Life is not eternal; nor should it be. Rather, we should focus on life as it comes, each and every day. Yesterday I truly appreciated the family that I have, each and every one of them for who they are. I am okay with what happened because I have no regrets. Like I told my dad in the car, all that time that was set aside for "coffee with Mo" was worth it. I shared with her my achievements and my dreams and my fears, and I can't imagine that I would have had a better relationship with her any other way. I have plenty of stories, plenty of ways to remember her.

Sure, I'll probably cry again. I'm tearing up a little just writing this out, but in the end I think they are tears of happiness because there is really not much to be upset about.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A grand German adventure: part I

Germany. Woot. I am currently sitting in our tiny hotel room looking out over the main street that runs by the train station in Frankfurt. Kurt and I explored the area today; it's beautiful and quite German. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but we've had a pleasant experience. Sure, it's not Manhattan or London or Paris, and I am starting to get why I got advice to get out of here and visit somewhere else, but I also see that it has its own little charm, more akin to something like Seattle or a city in the midwest--still urban, but not so geared towards tourists.

But there are plenty of museums (all of which are closed on Mondays, of course), lots of shopping (which is fun because it's in German), and taverns. For lunch, I had frankfurters and sauerkraut  with Apfelwein, a regional specialty, at Alfred Wagner, one of the most well-known Apfelwein taverns in the city. Between that and the tons and tons of Reisling around here, we should be happy for the next three days. 

Tomorrow, we are going to take a day trip to Heidelberg, an old university town about 60 miles away, then we are going to do museums on Wednesday. And now is nappy time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grammar and stuff

Things I have learned today that have nothing to do with the two midterms that I have tomorrow:

  • In Iceland, if you want to name your child something not commonly used, it must be approved for use in the Icelandic language and be able to be declined (change in grammatical case).
  • Bristol Palin and the "fiancee" broke up. "A while ago," according to him. And this was on the Twitterfeed of the NYTimes, NPR, and CNN. What is this world coming to???? Grammatically, I think that should be, "to what is this world coming?," but what do I know? Also, where does the comma belong in that last phrase?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shane's a columnist, and by publishing here, she's also syndicated

Last week, I had a date. Except it wasn’t really a date—we were supposed to meet up when he got back into the city after Shabbat dinner in Queen, but I knew that he probably wasn’t going to make it back on time.

So I found myself sitting alone on the second floor of Whole Foods, tucked up against the floor-to-ceiling windows, staring out at the brilliantly lit Empire State Building over a bustling Union Square on a Friday night.

And it wasn’t as lonely as it sounds.

As a person who is completely captivated by the city and has little patience to wait around for others to be similarly enthralled, I oftentimes find myself hopping on the 1 train for a solo trip downtown. There are plenty of places in the city that are perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, to visit alone.

This particular evening, Whole Foods’ cafe was jam-packed. A businessman (and, he was eager to mention, a former Columbia student) explained life as a New Yorker to two German tourists, while a group of New York University modern dance students discussed all the things that were wrong with ballet teachers.

People from all walks of life passed through—couples, singles, families, workers, tourists, and lone faces like me just silently observing the rest. It struck me that New York is one of the only places in the world where such a lively scene is to be had at 10 p.m. on a Friday night—and one of the only places where I could be comfortable being completely alone at such a time.

As the evening waned, I decided to move from my perch (but not before observing two undercover cops bust a few drug dealers in the park). I headed up Union Square East to the W Hotel Union Square—another haunt that I knew would have space for a single person looking for a seat and a few crazies to observe. I was also hungry, and knew that they always have a large bowl of free apples at the check-in desk.

Instead of finding a comfy couch for myself, I discovered another one of my favorite things about New York—friendly strangers. What do you do if you are a 30-something-year-old guy out with a few buddies on a Friday night, and a lonely-looking girl walks in, obviously in need of a seat? You ask her to sit down.

And so my group of one became a group of six, and I found myself with a pseudo-date for the evening. He was a theater producer out with his banker friends from New Jersey, and actually made being in theater sound more promising than being in finance. We discussed my lack of a date, my experience at Columbia, my future in law school, and my desire to save the world (everyone seems skeptical about that one).

I spent a perfectly pleasant hour and a half in the company of five people I had never met before, just because I decided to walk into a bar alone. At the end of the evening, a really drunk lady handed me a rose and told me I was pretty.

This is why I tell my mother that I don’t need to look for a husband. I can marry Manhattan.

On Columbiaspectator.com