Sunday, October 8, 2017

To build a home

There have been a lot of changes for me moving to Princeton (you'd think that moving gets easier, and it some ways, it does, but in other ways, it's still hard each time). One of the biggest adjustments is that I have my own apartment. This is both great (my weird "burn-both-ends-of-the-candle" hours don't bother anyone, I can talk very loudly with my boyfriend while FaceTiming him, I know that the messes in the kitchen are my own), and weird (I don't have other people to talk to when I get home, it's very quiet, and my messes are my own). 

But one beautiful thing that has happened the past few weeks is how this apartment has come together, from having my mom drive out with me to help me furnish my apartment, to having Sam come up and help put furniture together, to finally getting a couch and a mattress, and then little odds and ends that I kept on forgetting (like buying bowls or a yoga mat). Or the fact that my living room and bedroom have no real lights. It's amazing the difference having a lamp makes. 

[Let there be light]

I would say the thing that really made my apartment feel more "me" was putting my pictures and photographs up. They are reminders of what I think is beautiful--paintings, poetry, and bits that speak to my soul and remind me of other homes. 

There's something very satisfying in making a space a home--even if it's through little things. But it's a space that is mine. A room of my own. And for right now, the mix and match of that life will do.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sketches of Princeton [second]

If you didn't notice, now you'll know
that I'm going to try to do this week-by-week.
I will inevitably fail at some point
(in one respect, I already have, as this
is posted in the middle of my third week).
But I digress.

I found gardens this week. 
Many of them. 
Fellows' gardens, hidden gardens, 
the Garden State. 
There is something so soothing about finding 
a place where things grow. 
It's nice when there is order, 
but there doesn't have to be, 
because I like the wild, overgrown, English variety, too. 
But the organized ones
certainly have a charm
and a realization 
that somebody (somebodies) 
took time 
to plan 
and ponder
and prepare
and plant. 
And for that I am very grateful. 

I found time this week that I hadn't before. 
Some more time to just breathe
and to feel like I had a handle on the readings
and direction about where I want to go 
and who I want to become. 
That time and direction 
were so nice. 
Like stumbling upon a garden 
I didn't even know existed. 

I ventured outside of Princeton. 
Crossed the Delaware
picked flowers
picked apples
chatted with aunts 
and with friends, old and new. 

There is something absolutely necessary 
in coming outside of the library 
and making your way outside
and finding those friends
who tell you that things will be okay 
and that to vent about readings
or the sheer lack of time 
or any other thing in between, 
large or small. 
Something necessary 
in people coming to find you 
to let you know that they care. 
Something that fills your heart
and leaves you more and better than before. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sketches of Princeton [first]

the first week of classes
is a whirl. 
at first i thought, 
"i've got this." 
and then 
the second day hit
with the force of a freight train. 
i don't got this. 
at least not right now. 
but i will. 

there's a lot of reading. 
thousands of pages of it. 
there's also a lot of thinking. 
my brain feels overloaded. 
but then. 
there is in the very air here
and knowledge
and a wisdom 
that the world spins on 
and there is blue sky 
and that there are places for me to be 
and sit 
and breathe.
and that i will make this place a home. 

the other day
i saw a dad 
place his daughter in a shopping cart
(that's used to move things into 
the apartments here) 
and she squealed with joy. 
real things. 
beyond books. 
i like being reminded of reality. 
i find it in the curve of the river
and the stillness of the morning
and in how bugs buzz here
and birds chirp
and everything is a bit louder
and warmer
and muggier
than back home. 
those are real things, too. 

i think it's normal to feel overwhelmed here. 
overwhelmed by the amount to do 
but also overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and magnitude of this place
and of the people here. 
i don't just mean their brilliance and accolades 
(although that can be overwhelming, too)
but just that i've been overwhelmed by kindness
with hugs 
and greetings
and people offering to help me scan books upon books 
and deep discussions 
and invitations to dinner 
and lunch
and understandings that no one really knows 
what's going on. 

i haven't figured it out yet. 
but i will. 
i will. 
i will. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Glimpses of Princeton

This place is beautiful. It truly, truly is.

This is real life. Even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it. But it is. I'm here.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Also this.

So this makes me feel pretty legit. Not gonna lie.

(Also, if you go to the Princeton History Department Graduate Students page, I'm the first one that shows up! Hidden perks of being a first year with a name that starts with "A".)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Haven and New York

One of the perks on living on the East Coast (especially somewhere as nicely situated as Princeton) is that it is relatively easy to get to big cities like New York. Another nice thing for me is that I have lots of family, and lots of family living on the East Coast. And my cousin Kyra was kind enough to let me come up to New Haven to see their family. I had a lot of fun seeing them. I just wish I had more pictures to prove it. But here are some pretty pictures of Yale (but they aren't near as cool as the pictures of hanging out the Kyra and her cute little boys).

[Some obligatory pictures of Yale]

Again, no fun pictures of playing at the park or of our epic dance party, but just trust me. It was awesome. And just a lot of fun. 

I also got a chance to be in NYC before and after New Haven. I went to the LDS Manhattan Temple, walked through Central Park, met up with some friends, and got a Levain Bakery cookie (Em and I have a copy-cat recipe for it, and in my not-so-humble opinion, I think the copycat recipe is better. There. I said it. You may now start throwing tomatoes at me.)

[Cue Alicia Keys]

[Central Park]

[Grand Central Station is just so beautiful.]

[The Lincoln Center]

[Friends at the temple! So fun to meet up with them, if only for a moment]

[C is for cookie. So obvi it's good enough for me.]

The sister missionaries also came up to me at one point when I was sitting at a table and for a moment they thought I wasn't a member of the Church. They asked me what book I was reading (a super exciting one for my upcoming historiography class), and then I told them and just said, "How are you doing, sisters?" And we had a nice little conversation. It was just very funny. (What made it funnier was that 5 minutes after they left, the guy sitting close to me asked, "So how is that book you're reading?" And we also chatted for a bit. Fun times in the city.) 

Road Trip

So, it's been weeks since I've been on the blog. I decided to come back and post right now so that it doesn't become never. Because, in reality, there are so many bits and pieces of this new beginning that I'd like to write down (least of which is Princeton itself--but that also has to be explored and digested by bits and pieces).

But before I forget/before it becomes too long, I want to put down some highlights from the road trip my mom and I took to get out here. I decided that I wanted to drive from Utah to New Jersey, and my mom was kind enough to come along. (She really is a saint.)

[Princeton, here we come.]

[I think this was Wyoming? But it could very well be eastern Colorado or Kansas, too.]

[Definitely Kansas]

[The Sunflower State]

[And here is the part where I bombard you with 10 million pictures of a beautiful sunflower field.]

[They are just so beautiful.]

[And it was just a beautiful summer evening.]

[My momma who is actually the best.]

[Hello there, bright one.]

[Oh haiiiiii]

[By the way, they are not facing the sun.]

[Sunrise in Indiana]

[10 points to Gryffindor if you can guess what this truck was transporting]

[If you guessed chickens, you would be right. Chickens. Chickens everywhere!]

[Heading to NJ!]

[We made it to Princeton!]

[2200 miles later.]

[Sam was a champ and came up from D.C. to help me move in, too.]

[Turns out there's a pelican sundial in Princeton, too.] 

2200 miles, 4 days, and a lot of 80s music, which any true road trip needs. (And lots and lots of sunflowers.)