One year ago today, I started my first National Blog Post Month. I wrote more-or-less daily for thirty days, putting up everything from analyses of Disney movies to somewhat nonsensical lists to short stories. I didn’t quite post every day, but I came close, and that was enough for me.
In a planned post-mortem blog post, I was going to write about how NaBloPoMo had changed the way I approached my blog: How over the course of the month, I stopped thinking about blogging only when I sat down to do it and started working it into my everyday life. Topics were no longer things I came up with as I stared at my laptop after dinner, searching desperately for inspiration. Instead, everything I did was run briefly through the “can I blog about this?” filter. I thought about writing while I was making dinner, while I was doing dishes, while I was on the bus home from work. In short, my blog became an actual part of my life rather than an afterthought. Continue reading →
It looks like you’re a cool, hip fella who enjoys such cool, hip activities as “occasionally leaving your house” and “interacting with other people.” Congrats! While involved in one such activity, you’ve come across an attractive young woman who happens to be working, perhaps at a restaurant or event venue. You would like to get to know her better. Here’s how to go about that.
Step 1: Don’t.
You’re going to do it anyway, aren’t you.
Fine. Continue reading →
Or, How I Learned to Stop Being a Scrooge and Love Valentine’s Day (and Myself)
Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol. A grumpy old miser who hates Christmas and all it stands for is visited by three ghosts who show him the light, and come Christmas morning, Ebenezer Scrooge is the most festive gentleman you could ever hope to meet.
I am the Ebenezer Scrooge of Valentine’s Day, only instead of three ghosts, I got a space ship, some knitting needles, and a very tiny dinosaur.
I have never not been single on Valentine’s Day. The closest I’ve come was in fourth grade, when a boy in my class gave me a valentine that said that my crush—his best friend—loved me. I reacted as any lovesick 10-year-old would: by chasing him around the playground for embarrassing me.
In high school, while I appreciated the opportunity to dress up in festive outfits, I sometimes chose instead to recognize National Ferris Wheel Day or, mostly-jokingly, Singles Awareness Day. By college, I had dropped even that. I had meetings to go to and midterms to study for. Valentine’s Day had no place in my plans. Continue reading →
My mom always says that what you’re doing at midnight on New Year’s is what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. If that’s the case, then I’ll be spending 2015 working and hiding in coat closets.* Yes, I was at work on New Year’s Eve–not exactly the most auspicious start to the year, truth be told.
First impressions are important, but I suspect that in this case, 2015’s thoroughly meh first impression on me doesn’t necessarily mean anything. For the first time in several years, I don’t know where the next 365 days will take me. After 17 years, I finally find myself facing a year where I won’t be going to school. By January 1, 2016, I will almost certainly have a new job and a new apartment, possibly in a new city. All of those things, and many others, are up in the air, and only time will tell how they will fall. Continue reading →
Two weeks ago, sitting at my sister’s desk in Oregon, I submitted my last paper of undergrad.
It was, as endings go, a very sedate one. No big stressful final exam, just a five-page paper and a short email. I had told people I was graduating, but I hadn’t made any big announcement about it. There was no ceremony before I left for Christmas, not even a reception; I’ll walk at the regular commencement in May, but until then I’ll just quietly disappear from campus, remove myself from student mailing lists, and try to get a head start on real life while I wait for the rest of my class to catch up.
If my high school graduation was a whirlwind of deadlines and events and people and emotions, then my college graduation is the opposite. All the energy that built up as I finished that chapter of my life is being released as I close out this one, a calming of the waves rather than a rising of the tide. Continue reading →
“Oh, you’re not really from DC.” I was sitting at the dinner table at my Lisbon hostel, chatting with a group of my fellow travelers. She was another student, from California but in Copenhagen for the spring. “You just go to school there.”
She had a certain point—and to be honest, I mostly said I was from DC because it was easier than explaining to Europeans where Oregon was—but at the same time I was a little bothered by the assertion. The man to my right had introduced himself as Matt from Brooklyn, but he had only moved to New York about six months prior. I had been in DC for nearly four times that long, even considering the few weeks each year when I left to make the trek back west and the months I’d been in France. At what point did DC start being home? Continue reading →
Just before we went to sleep, my sister and I scurried to the mudroom, found our winter boots, and dusted the dirt off of them. We placed them at the window, overlooking our mess of a backyard, and then went upstairs to bed, impatient for what surprises the morning would bring. It was December 5th, 2005, and Szent Miklós was coming.
Mikulás and Krampusz in an 1865 illustration, via Wikimedia.
Szent Miklós—also known as Mikulás—is Hungary’s version of Saint Nicholas. Though the American “St. Nick” is simply one of Santa Claus’s pseudonyms, the saint persists as a unique figure in many European countries, delivering sweets and small gifts to well-behaved children on the eve of his feast day–in Hungary, by placing the goodies in their neatly-polished boots. He is accompanied by Krampusz (or Krampus, in other countries), a terrifying beast who leaves switches, sticks, or coal in the shoes of naughty children. Continue reading →