Study Abroad: Boston

It's a bon, bon vie.

All things considered, today was a good day. I accomplished somewhere around 75% of a very thorough to do list although if tasks to complete were weighted by importance my achievement may seem slightly less impressive. Most importantly (I guess?) I went for the longest run I have ever been on, clocking in at an embarrassing for most, groundbreaking for me, 5.5 miles. The distance itself isn’t as important as the fact that I did not originally intend to go that far. Actually, analyzing it that way when I am currently trying to keep to a running schedule makes it less impressive, especially in terms of my history of accomplishment. I tend to do better/try harder at things when it is unplanned and largely unexpected. Take my childhood room cleaning habits for example.

As a kid, I had the worst of times keeping my room organized. I wouldn’t say I had a TON of toys, but I had a good amount, and was a sensitive child so I would actually feel bad for toys that did not get played with when other toys did. This led to me dragging out a lot of toys per play session and integrating the worlds of cardboard bricks, beanie babies and Fisher Price People. Even if the People just sat on the cardboard brick sidelines while I played beanie baby basketball and documented the statistics of how many times each beanie baby thrown from my designated ‘throw line’ would make it into my Nerf hoop over several rounds, they were included in the days activities. To give it a positive spin, every day was an imaginative adventure in my room as a child, but in reality it was just a mess. A huge mess.

Anyways, dad had a running joke of leaving a giant cardboard box outside of my room when it got really bad and I had ignored an afternoons worth of directions to clean my room. This box was to collect all of the things I left on the floor and send away. Said boxes never got used, but their presence instilled a fear in young Greg that was paralleled only by IT the clown and I would tearfully run around my room nonsensically hiding toys anywhere they would fit—the radiator, desk drawers, in socks lying on the floor (dad’s not going to get rid of socks, right??). When the box method was deemed ineffective and I got a bit older, the suggestions to clean my room were upgraded to stern warnings and then demands to which I would reply with angst and storm off and bide my time until I was alone in the house. Once I was alone I literally turned into Rosie from the Jetsons, deep cleaning my room until it was catalog ready. In an ideal situation, I would position myself right where my parents had left me when they had previously departed, implying that I had been there the whole time and couldn’t have possibly had time to clean my room. In my best ‘disappointed in myself’ voice I would say…’Dad, you’re not going to like it, but I haven’t really gotten a chance to clean my room…you’d better come look.’ As I walked up the stairs, it took all my strength to hide my giddiness and keep up the sad Charlie Brown act. ‘Here goes…’, I’d say as I swung the door open and dad would exclaim with Oscar-worthy delight every time ‘Alright Greg! Looks great in here’!  As I grew up, I mellowed out the showmanship, added a few notches of nonchalance but stuck to that routine in multiple contexts and still appreciated that wow moment and there are probably Livejournal entries to prove it!

I’m looking forward to bringing this up during the next phone convo with the padres.

The best advice I can give to you is to get in touch with your envy.

—My professor tonight, on the search for your ideal career. Find the people doing the things that you wish you could be doing and go for it. Voila! The general response I’ve gotten from people I’ve shared this with is that it is common knowledge, but for me it was a revelation. Looking forward to employing this process in 18 months when I’m a-lookin.

I have a million things that I need to be doing right now, (not even exaggerating here) but tonight as Sean pondered the bookshelves for what to read next I made the mistake of distracting myself with my heavily dog-eared copy of This Side of Paradise and turned to this quote:

Don’t let yourself feel worthless; often through life you will really be at your worst when you seem to think best of yourself; and don’t worry about losing your “personality,” as you persist in calling it; at fifteen you had the radiance of early morning, at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance of the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I do, the genial golden warmth of 4 p.m.

Kinda cheesy, a bit shmoozy but I’m just as into it now as I was when I first folded that page, and I can only assume that it will continue to resonate as I creep closer to 30 and then begin the ascent towards genial glow-y Greg.

I plan on going on a serious literary bender as soon as this semester is over, so please feel free to flood me with book recommendations at 9:31 p.m. on Tuesday December 17th.

MPLS———>BSTN

It’s been 2 weeks since the big move and I clearly still haven’t found a decent way to abbreviate Boston so removing vowels will have to do for now. But yeah, we’re here! And it’s weird. And great, and sad, and exciting and a lot of other emotions that overwhelm you so much sometimes that you end up just feeling numb.

We set up our apartment so remarkably quickly that two days in it looked as if we had been living here for months and in some strange way that has actually been really challenging. The juxtaposition of feeling so comfortable and at home in a space while being faced with new but exhausting experiences in an unfamiliar town can make it really tempting to stay in and watch Hulu plus when you have the option to explore.

I think there’s an added temptation to err on the side of comfort because since the move I’ve been feeling socially bruised. When you go from having a city SO on lock where you know the ins and outs of every bar and have a mind bogglingly amazing group of friends where #preciousmoments happen on the regz to having to literally google search ‘Non douchey Boston bars’, it’s a bit of an adjustment.

But then I have to look at the whole picture. It wasn’t love at first hot dish in Minneapolis either. At one point I went to Stella’s on a Friday night and The Shout House when I had visitors in town and walked down Lake Street thinking ‘WHERE DO I EVEN EAT HERE’. It’s going to take some time but I have to trust that at some point I’ll find my Barbette and wow my visiting MPLS friends with the splendor of the East coast.

So to sum up the move so far, a lot of my heart is still in Minnesota and my head is still making the move…I’d say it’s somewhere in Ohio at present. I’m about halfway to fully realizing I’m not just on vacation. The fact that I’m not eating food on a stick at this very moment surrounded by swarms of people is expediting the process. 

I’m baaaaaaack, and I’m all like…

I’m baaaaaaack, and I’m all like…

Let me preface this post by coming out as an Anne of Green Gables (the mini series) super fan. With numbers that can’t be drastically larger than the never nude population, when you find another who is as enamored by Megan Follows spot on performance of a loquacious orphan with flowing carrot colored hair, in short—you bond. A coworker and I shared this bond and at its height I would draw her pictures every morning of Anne in various scenarios ranging from actual movie scenes to hypotheticals (Anne of Cabrini Green, etc.) So in honor of that and the loss of my mind while studying for the GRE, I figured I might share a quick Anne sketch with the world as I walk to the gallows (aka a pro metric testing facility in Edina, MN) 
Enjoy!

Let me preface this post by coming out as an Anne of Green Gables (the mini series) super fan. With numbers that can’t be drastically larger than the never nude population, when you find another who is as enamored by Megan Follows spot on performance of a loquacious orphan with flowing carrot colored hair, in short—you bond. A coworker and I shared this bond and at its height I would draw her pictures every morning of Anne in various scenarios ranging from actual movie scenes to hypotheticals (Anne of Cabrini Green, etc.) So in honor of that and the loss of my mind while studying for the GRE, I figured I might share a quick Anne sketch with the world as I walk to the gallows (aka a pro metric testing facility in Edina, MN)
Enjoy!

Early at the airport for once in my life, I decided to take my time and read before getting in the security line because I had a mobile boarding pass and a full cup of coffee.

I casually watched the TSA line grow and eventually made my way over. After waiting a bit longer than I’d calculated for I stepped up to the desk where I presented my incorrect boarding pass.
‘Nah, you need the one with the box, ya know?’ was the very Minnesota response I got and was ushered to the side to figure my shiz out.

After wading through a sea of United links I finally found ‘the box one’ and proudly handed it over to the agent.
‘hmmm, this boarding pass says John Smith, and your ID says Greg Peterson…I’m afraid I can’t let you through.’

As I began to sweat profusely and freak out in front of an incredibly stylish group of international students, the TSA agent let out a laugh worthy of Fran Drescher and told me she was just joking.

Look.

I appreciate a prank as much as the next guy, especially when they make a vague seasonal pun, but seriously, at airport security? The place where you basically get cussed out for not removing your belt immediately, where a forgotten quarter in your pocket is considered a felony, and a smile puts you on a watch list?

Anyways, time to board…hoping the captain doesn’t make any ‘jokes’ about the plane crashing!

Life’s a beach, and sometimes a ghost at a beach. (Halloween pt 1)

Many factors went into the record low amount of excitement/preparation for Halloween 2012. Races, weddings, and fall trips were at the top of the ‘more important than Halloween prep’ list and the fact that it was on a Wednesday basically made everyone want to jump off a bridge…or just not celebrate it. 

Our rag tag group of holiday loyalists lazily discussed the pros and cons of group costumes for much of October, aka drank wine and turned any singular idea into a group of that idea and were momentarily enamored with it. (see: playground slide to schoolyard games, unicorn to mythological creatures, pinterest to social media and Tobias Funque to…well a group of Tobias Funques)

Add to this process the confounding factor of going out two separate nights with two separate costumes and you’ve got yourself a catastrophic costume conundrum the size of California! It would be easy to freak out and/or hide out until November 1st, but that’s not our style, so we followed some great advice instead.

With great love of themed events, comes great costume responsibility.

-Somebody dressed as Spiderman (and NOT a store bought costume)

Cut to Friday morning, Halloween night 1 looming, feeling guilty about seeing Argo instead of costume planning the night before (great movie by the way!), and experiencing one of the most profound creativity droughts in my extensive history of costume making—it was time to make a decision.

And the decision that Sean and I came to was…ghosts at the beach.

The process of coming to that conclusion was lost in what I can only assume was a fugue state brought on by unprepared for Halloween panic attacks, but in retrospect it was probably 2 parts laziness, 1 part paying homage to the classic Halloween ghost costume and a serious splash of crazy.

After haggling with multiple target employees about the listed price of king size white jersey sheets vs. the register price of king size white jersey sheets, victory was mine and I checked out with a $20 sheet set, 2 pairs of jack o’lantern socks and pumpkin coozies.

Halloween was mine for the taking.

The next few hours were a blur of raggedly trimming the sheets, crafting up ‘ghost sunblock’ with SPF 1,000,000, and donning the bathing suits we wore all summer, only now realizing how tiny they are when streaming sheets through the legs was an epic struggle. And then came the eye and mouth holes. I don’t know what image Hollywood put in my mind about ghost costumes but the eye and mouth holes always seemed simple, and dark, and well shaped and stayed in place. They weren’t gaping voids showing a really strange and unappealing sliver of half nose/half lip for the mouth and a hairline where your eye should be. But we were late, and lazy and incompetent at sewing so the holes remained as they were and we set out on our adventure of a night as ghosts at the beach.

After performing ‘party tricks’ of eating and drinking through our horrendous mouth holes (I really don’t like the phrase ‘mouth hole’), our group, comprised of Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec, Miss Piggy, a giraffe and the other guy from Wham!, headed out to see an E.L.O. cover band and get rowdy.

As we roll up to the bar, the cab pulls away and my ghost counterpart realizes he does not have his ID. Ghost sunblock, check! Sunglasses, check! The only thing that you actually need for entrance into a drinking establishment, not check! Calling the cab co. is useless and E.L.O. was set to start at any moment! The thought of missing all the songs we didn’t know we loved by a band we didn’t know was E.L.O. was too much to bear, it was time to act fast. In our second cab of the night, explaining our ridiculous costumes for the second time we raced home to get beach ghost Sean’s passport. Pulling up to the apartment, Sean runs up the stairs screaming that he’ll be faster than Olympic runner Usain Bolt, a reference curiously lost on our cab driver.

After bidding adieu (ad-boo!, French ghosts? Ghosts at Nice?) to our jolly cab driver we once again watch him pull away only to realize that we had been thwarted by the ID gods once again. “Holy shit. This is not my passport. This is NOT my passport!” was the chorus that rang through the night as Sean realized that he had grabbed a similarly shaped booklet that was given out during a promotional Google ‘Field Trip’ day where you explored different areas of the city and took notes in your field guide. I was already to phase 3 in a plan to draw a fake picture in the fake passport and blow the breakers at the bar when Sean found his expired ID tucked into the fake passport.

Miraculously, we made it inside and enjoyed a wonderfully wacky night where we danced like ghosts to the E.L.O. cover band covering Duran Duran, spilled all over ourselves trying to drink through our ever morphing mouth holes and eventually turned our costumes into togas so people would stop likening us to Jihadists.

The night ended as most sloppy nights do, eating chicken fingers at 2:30 am at the Uptown Diner, a spooky place indeed.

BOO!

One of my favorite parts of traveling: my boarding pass alter ego ‘Grego’.

One of my least favorite parts of traveling: that moment when there’s a giant line behind you while boarding and you’re on your knees putting on every sweater in your bag so your questionable carry on item is allowed. 

Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to Denver I go!

One of my favorite parts of traveling: my boarding pass alter ego ‘Grego’.

One of my least favorite parts of traveling: that moment when there’s a giant line behind you while boarding and you’re on your knees putting on every sweater in your bag so your questionable carry on item is allowed.

Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to Denver I go!

Sleeping Beauty.

Some mornings, you wake up with the sun shining on you, take a big stretch and nuzzle into the covers.

Other mornings, you wake up in the dark and immediately and inexplicably grab the face of your sleeping boyfriend.

This morning just happened to be the latter.