My Final Weeks in Australia

These last few weeks that I was abroad were definitely the hardest. Everyone began to study for finals about 2 weeks before they actually started. We were given a reading week, basically used just to study, which was very nice because we don’t have that at Oswego. It definitely gave me a lot more time to understand all of the material throughout the whole semester. Even though this was useful for schoolwork, it meant that everyone was hidden away in their rooms or the library for a majority of the time. At the time I wanted to see everyone the most, it was that much harder to do so. Studying was really important but I wanted to see all of my friends before I left.

My first final was on the first Saturday. SATURDAY! I didn’t know that ever happened. It was nice to get one out-of-the-way though. My other two finals were on Monday and Wednesday so there was a good chunk of time in between each to continue studying. As I finished my last final on Wednesday, November 12th, I couldn’t have been more excited! In the morning I was heading to Tasmania for a week to travel around the island. I quickly packed my bag so that I could get a couple of hours of sleep because my flight was at 6 AM. But before all of this happened, I sadly had to say goodbye to my friend Arj who lived in Canberra. He was leaving for home while I was in Tasmania so I had to say my final goodbyes. It was a lot harder than I had expected but I knew we would see each other again.

At 5 AM my friend Scott drove me to the airport for my final vacation in Australia. Tired but excited, I boarded my plane (alone!) that would take 8 hours to take me to Hobart, Tasmania (that included a stopover and an hours time difference). It was exciting to be able to travel on my own for once but it is always more fun to travel with a friend however all of them still had finals. I knew this would be an amazing experience to meet new people from around the world and to see one last part of this amazing country. Once I landed in Hobart, I boarded a bus that took me to my hostel. It was such a beautiful place and I ended up getting a room all to myself for the night! I put all of my bags down and decided to take a walk around the city before everything closed at 5 PM! It is a small city, only 200,000 people in total but the largest in all of Tasmania. It has a lot of older buildings with a lot of history. Dinnertime came around and I decided to get some Chinese food from the restaurant next to my hostel. I ate and was exhausted from all of my travelling so I headed to bed because my tour guide was picking me up at 7 AM the next morning for a 5-day tour around the island.

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Welcome to Hobart!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I woke up the next morning and met my tour guide, Rhen, and boarded our bus. Another woman, Felicity from Germany, was already on the bus. We then picked up 5 more people, an older couple from San Francisco, Nicklas from Germany, and Yannick and Axel from France. As we left Hobart, we all got to know each other. We rode to a few waterfalls in the rainforest on the western coast of Tasmania to begin with. It was a lovely and cold walk through the forest. The western coast of Tasmania was extremely cold compared to Townsville. Townsville was constantly humid and at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit while Tasmania was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a good thing I brought a few pairs of pants and long-sleeved shirts with me! One the same day we stopped at Lake St Clair for lunch. I had bought a loaf of bread and PB&J for the week and the first thing I hear is, “you are so American.” We arrived in the small town of Strahan which had about 500 residents and settled into our rooms at our hostel. We all made a barbecue dinner together and ate outside while we talked more. Bedtime came early again but not before I video chatted with my parents so they could feel a little better about me travelling by myself.

Lake St Clair

Lake St Clair

Tasmanian waterfall

Tasmanian waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday was boat cruise day. We boarded the Eagle run by World Heritage Cruises and sailed towards the Southern Ocean and through Hell’s Gates. This was where prisoner’s from the mainland came through on their way to Sarah Island, the place where the prisoner’s were kept and were worked many years ago. The boat stopped here and our fantastic tour guide told us all about the island and prisoners and the stories of all of their lives. We also saw aquaculture pens for salmon and trout at Liberty Point and sailed down Gordon River. We were served lunch on the boat as well while the captain shared history about the area. The ship returned to Strahan by stopping at the Morrison’s Huon Pine Sawmill so the family could do a demonstration and tell us about their business. To end this relaxing day, Rhen took us to the longest beach in Tasmania where we played Frisbee and went for a walk.

Rhen and Nicklas playing Frisbee

Rhen and Nicklas playing Frisbee

Such a beautiful cruise!

Such a beautiful cruise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day was a hiking day!! It was one of my favorites. We left Strahan and headed to Lake St Clair National Park where we saw the beautiful Cradle Mountain. The hike up to the top of the mountain next to it was fantastic. There were chains along the way to help you pull yourself up and the hike was only about an hour to the top with amazing views of the surrounding park area. This was probably my favorite day out of the 5-day tour. It made me realize the type of environment I want to live in when I’m out on my own. The mountains and the lakes were stunning and I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing view. This long day in the park lead to us driving to Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania, where we checked into our hostel and relaxed for the night. Sadly, Nicklas and Felicity had to leave but we picked up 3 new people; Tiffany was from Arizona and we also picked up a Danish couple, Jan and Meredithe.

Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the morning, before Felicity left, we all went on a nice walk through Cataract Gorge in Launceston. It was such a beautiful sunny day filled with flowers, peacocks and a beautiful walk. From here, Rhen drove us to the Bay of Fires! This area is on the east coast of Tasmania and is basically a large area of beaches with sand that squeaks and extremely blue waters. So, this day was a beach day. I collected some shells, saw a wild echidna and platypus and took so many photographs. Although the east coast was so much warmer than the west, sadly it was still not warm enough to go swimming.

Wild Echidna!

Wild Echidna!

Launceston Cataract Gorge

Launceston Cataract Gorge

Bay of Fires

Bay of Fires

 

 

 

 

The final day on the tour was another hiking day. We entered Freycinet National Park, home of Wineglass Bay. Rhen had mentioned that the hike up to the top of Mount Amos, which overlooked the bay at its highest point, was really difficult. I had done quite a bit of hiking back home so I was excited to give it a go. The only other person who wanted to try the hike was Yannick so we headed up the mountain together while the rest headed towards the lower spot that led down to the beach. The hike was a lot more difficult than I expected! It was a flat rock face for a majority of the hike and it was extremely steep! We had to put our feet and hands in cracks in the rocks so that there was something to hold onto. The hike although difficult was not very long and we reached the top of the mountain in about 1 hour and it was absolutely worth it. The views were unbelievable and made for some wonderful pictures and memories. From here, we climbed back down which took a bit longer. It was actually really scary because it was so steep. We both slipped a few times and after sliding down the rocks on my butt, we made it to the bottom where we met the rest of the group. After Freycinet, we drove to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary where we met some furry animals and fed some kangaroos. Our tour guide gave us a talk about each animal, most of which were rescued from the wild while some were born at the sanctuary. Sadly, this was the last stop on the trip. The drive back to Hobart took a couple of hours because the Chinese President was in town, making for a bit more traffic than usual. But we finally made it back and I said farewell to all of my new friends. I checked back in at my hostel (I stayed at the same one I had the first night in Hobart) and met my roommates. One girl flew from Sydney just to see the Chinese President (she was from China and studying in Sydney). She said that everyone had lined up along the road on the sidewalk so they could simply have a glimpse of their president however they sadly never saw him. Another roommate was from Denmark and had just arrived to Tasmania and was trying to find things to do. I shared my experiences with her and hoped she got the opportunity to enjoy her trip.

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary: Wombats

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary: Wombats

Kangaroo mob

A group of kangaroos is a mob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day I boarded a bus back to the airport. My flight was at 1 PM and went from Hobart to Melbourne to Brisbane and finally to Townsville. It took me 10 hours of travelling to reach uni where I would only stay for another 30 hours before I left for good. My final day was relaxing. I took one last walk around campus picking up papers and getting a few souvenirs to bring home. I spent quite a bit of time with friends that day. We had dinner together and eventually went out to town to celebrate the end of such a great semester. I couldn’t help but get emotional a few times throughout the night. I was the first one to leave which made it so much harder. I did not want to go AT ALL. I knew it would be hard to say good-bye but I never thought it would be that hard. I made such good friends over the 4 months I spent abroad and that’s what was the hardest to leave behind. They are all such amazing people who I hope I get to see again one day. It’s very cliché, but I know that this was more of a see you later.

I have been home in the USA for about 3 weeks now. It has taken me this long to finish my last blog about my travels because I knew once it was written that it would be the very end of it all. There is no amount of words that could explain what I got to experience abroad and it can only truly be understood if you take the opportunity to do so yourself. So, take advantage of all of these opportunities given to you now. This is the time to see the world, meet new people and make amazing memories. I have grown so much as a person and travelling has taught me to be more independent and more comfortable being myself. If you want to experience something truly breathtaking, all you have to do is travel.

A Moment of Gratitude

I am truly grateful to have met the friends that I have while here in Oswego. They are all new friendships and bonds formed with the exception of one, my good friend Rufaro or Tumbo, best known as “DJ Tumbo” outside of that 6 year friendship the ones I have formed are mostly a year old or so. But that didn’t change the amount of love and companionship we all shared Sunday night as we gathered for dinner.

While many students who live nearby go home to celebrate Easter , there are a small portion of us who can’t simply because the 5 hour trip home just doesn’t work out how you would like it to sometimes. Watching everyone hop on the bus or cramming into cars to go home can make those of us forced to stay a little sad. So imagine my excitement when my best friend Damaris not only announced that she was staying on campus as well but would also be making Sunday dinner!

Since Damaris moved into the Village (the suite styled housing which I adore for it’s beautiful exterior and even more impressive interior detailing , a place I wish I had chosen to live instead of off-campus) Sunday dinners have becomes somewhat of a regular occurrence for us.

Doing what she always does so well she played grand host and master chef , whipping up a home style feast of meatloaf, creamed mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, green beans and biscuits. The food was good but the company of great friends was even better. And as the night which was filled with moments of laughter,some jokes funny enough that I found myself on the kitchen floor doubled over in laughter and lively serious debates came to a close I felt an extreme sense of gratitude. Gratitude for being blessed to have such invaluable friendship to share my happiest moments…any moments for that matter because they have been there for some of my less enviable ones as well , I am grateful. And while for many people Easter has an entirely different meaning. This year friends,love and happiness is what I’ll remember Easter to be.

Good Friends

Its no secret that life is hard. It starts off pretty rough when you really think about it, the first thing you do fresh out the womb is cry. What makes life enjoyable are those three things above though. Friends really is primary the other two come when you have close friends. It always amazes me how the worst possible situations can be made to at least be a bearable experience if not memorable “remember that time” story.

I am truly blessed because these are first hand experiences I’m speaking on. I have the best friends in the world and that’s why I’m happy so often. This weekend was more of the same. My friends came to Oswego so of course I had to show them to a good time. I was the host trying to do the most, making sure that they had as much fun as possible. The weekend was about them , but err then it wasn’t. What ended up happening was that they made my weekend.I’m so happy these dudes were here to join us and turn it up. The camaraderie , the jokes , the failed night turned into the joke of the weekend. Yeah, I’m grateful that I can say those guys as my friends. The LEAST I could do is let them know how much love I have for them. The LEAST!

-NYR Nation baby!

Changing Your Life

I was perusing some of my favorite blogs the other day and while I was on She’s a Fit Chick, I read this post about an article that questions where you are in life and where you want to be. Like Jennifer, I decided to answer the questions. This gets a bit long, but hopefully you enjoy it anyway.

1. Where do you want to be in life right now and in the future?

I’m in a really good place in my life, so there isn’t much that I would change. I’m in my senior year at an amazing college, where I’ve met so many fantastic people and learned more than I imagined. I’ve been involved in various organizations that I’m passionate about, started a club that will hopefully continue to grow and help other students who are interested in the magazine industry, and had a fantastic job at the fitness centers where I’ve discovered passions I never knew I had. Not to mention I’ve been lucky enough to live in New York City twice in a year and work at a magazine I absolutely love and 100 percent support.

But that’s only the work and education side. I’m also in a very loving relationship with my boyfriend of practically two years (13 days away) and I’ve never felt more sure of myself than I do when I’m with him. He listens to my worries, basks in my successes and encourages me to keep pushing even though I doubt myself at times and want to give up. He makes me laugh, I never (ok, maybe sometimes) get sick of him and he’s not too shabby on the eyes, either. What else could you ask for in a boyfriend?

I also have fantastic friends that I’ve kept in touch with throughout life and I can’t wait to see these friendships grow. My roommates in Oswego, Kayleigh and Meghan, are phenomenal; I love my good friends from back home and I can’t wait to be reunited with my ASME friends from NYC! I’m so blessed to know this many amazing people.

So yeah, I’m pretty content right now.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop moving forward. My college career is ending in four months, which means a new part of my life is beginning. The adult part. The no-relying-on-anyone-else part. The make-it-or-break-it part. I’m moving to NYC with two of my ASME friends, Libby and Victoria, and I couldn’t be more excited. Or scared. I’m nervous about getting a job in the magazine industry. You never know if the timing will play out and in magazine world you can’t start looking for a job until two months before graduation (So if I’m a stress ball the last few months of college, you’ll know why). However, I’ll be positive and hope for the best! This time next year, I want to be living in NYC and working at a magazine I love. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it without living on Spaghetti O’s, too!

2. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t?

I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise. Since I was little, I’ve dreamed of traveling on a huge ship to some exotic and warm location with my friends. I don’t care if it’s with my family, a girls’ getaway, a mix of guys and gals, or a vacation with Dustin — as long as I’m with people who are ready to relax and have fun in the sun! This year, I’m determined to go on a cruise, possibly to the Bahamas, to celebrate my graduation!

3. What’s something you would regret never having done in life?

Applying for the ASME summer internship, hands down. I remember looking at the application, talking with my professor about it and wondering whether or not I should apply because all of the students who were accepted last year were from big-name schools. I mean, I went to a SUNY school — did I really have a shot of getting in? Turns out I did. I had no idea how ASME determined who got in, but I later found out it’s based completely on what you’ve done to get ahead. Nobody cared that I went to a state school. If I had let my fears get the best of me, I never would have gone to NYC and worked at FITNESS, met great people from all over the country and had the best summer of my life.

4. What are you doing to make yourself available to new opportunities?

Networking like a mad woman. I try to meet someone new every day and learn about who they are and what they do in life. I’ve learned not to be shy around new people and just say hi. I’ve been meeting with a lot of different magazine editors as well, just to learn about how they got to where they are. The mag industry is very much about paying it forward, so making that initial contact, and then preserving it, opens a whole new world of opportunity every time.

5. What do you like/dislike about your life?

  • I love my friends, family and boyfriend.
  • I like that I’m graduating in four months.
  • I like that I’m living with two fantastic people in NYC in a few months.
  • I like that I’m studying to become a nationally certified personal trainer.
  • I dislike that I’m going to be six hours away from my family and best friend.
  • I dislike that my college friends and I are going separate ways (except for Tom!)
  • I dislike that one of my closest friends and I no longer talk because of what he thinks are irreconcilable differences.

6. What are you doing in your life right now to make it better?

I’m working in my desired career field at a magazine I love, growing a networking organization at Oswego State to help future journalism students, launching an online magazine, meeting amazing people through blogging, and training to run my first half-marathon and complete my first triathlon!

7. Are you comfortable with yourself?

More and more every day. There are things I don’t like about myself, but movements like Operation Beautiful are teaching me that I’m an amazing person despite my flaws.

8. What’s holding you back from what you want in life?

A fear of failing. Which I guess segues into confidence. I’ve been successful at a lot of things because I push myself to the limit and because I’m afraid of what it will be like if I fail at something. I need to learn to forget fear and just go for it. I know life is lived to the fullest when fear isn’t a part of the equation.

What suggestions do you have for fighting fear? I encourage you to answer these questions about yourself and if you blog about it, send it my way!

Four Years, Millions of Memories

I’m finally settling back into the groove of things in Oswego, and it’s starting to hit me that I’m a senior. What?! Yes, a senior! After four long, yet unbelievably fast years, there are only seven months left until graduation. Therefore, this is a blog of reminiscence. And if you know me well, you understand that I often live my life with a camera close by. Here are the most important lessons I learned at college, and the pictures to express them.

1. The friends you make here will give you the memories you’ll never forget.

I’ve come to know so many people, but there are a few that I know will be with me forever. These people take classes with you, go to lunch with you, hit parties with you, and eat absurd amounts of food with you (Subshop, Zonies, Enzo’s, Azteca’s, Rudy’s etc).

From top left, clockwise: Jeff, Dylan, Me, Kyle, Meghan!

2. Get involved in organizations — you’ll learn much more than in just the classroom.

After working at The Oswegonian for three years, I’m confident that I’ve developed the skills I need to enter into the journalism field after graduation.

The 'Gonian before we switched to broadsheet in 2009!

3. Find something you’re passionate about.

I joined Colleges Against Cancer my freshman year, even though it had just launched. This organization has people with so much heart, and I love working in Relay for Life each year to help work toward a day when cancer can be cured.

My 2009 RFL team!

Now I’ve launched Ed2010 at Oswego State, an organization that helps students break into the magazine industry. I want Oswego State students to understand that just because we go to a small school doesn’t mean you can’t make big dreams a reality! So if you’re interested in working in magazines, join our Facebook group here!

4. If you have a good roommate, stick with them.

People often dread figuring out who their roommate is going to be each year. Will they like me? Will I hate them? Are we going to have conflicting schedules? How do we set ground rules? Fortunately, I found a great roomie. Meghan Stewart and I have been living together for three years now and we currently share a house off-campus with another fantastic friend, Kayleigh Kimberly. Which brings me to my sub-point: be nice to your R.A’s! They could end up being one of your closest friends. Kayleigh was my R.A. and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

Meghan, Kayleigh and I

5. Get a job.

Believe me, it’s so much nicer when you have a continuous flow of money coming into your bank account. And you can’t rely on Mom and Dad forever (nor should you), so you might as well start weaning yourself now.  I’ve worked at the campus fitness centers for three years and my co-workers are like a family. Some of them even took me to Canada for my 19th birthday!

My gym family in Canada for my 19th!

6. Don’t force relationships…

Too many people go into college trying to sustain high school relationships. If that’s what’s really meant to be, then good for you. But don’t hang onto something that you shouldn’t! College is about growing and getting to know yourself. I was single for two and a half years and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

7. But if you find someone great, don’t be afraid to commit.

Notice I said number six was one of the best decision of my life. Knowing when to take a chance on love was another great decision. I met Dustin during my sophomore year and we started dating during spring semester (We’ve been together nearly two years now). We were just friends first and he’s become one of my best friends. So my advice is find someone you can talk to, that you love being around, that you can trust. Someone you can laugh with (and at), who listens to your biggest fears and encourages your wildest dreams. That’s when you know it’s worth pursuing.

Dustin and I in N.Y.C. for New Year's Eve

These are the most valuable life lessons that come to me immediately. What are some of the things you’ve learned in college?

A Teeny Bit Sick

Putting aside the Macho Man ego for a minute. I must admit something crazy…that I am going to be homesick come this fall. Which is beyond crazy to me . It’s a very weird and off-putting feeling. What is so puzzling to me about this feeling of homesickness is that I’ve already experienced “going away” and when I did I was 18 and big eyed. In my very first semester my freshman year I could count on one hand the amount of times I went home. Twice! Once for Thanksgiving and again for Winter Break. That’s it! Even on holiday weekends where we had to go home. I usually found myself at a friend’s school just to avoid the trip home.

My oh my has time changed! I now find myself sitting on the steps with my friends saying “mannnnnn I’m gone miss my city” its true these lights will inspire you and they have! A lot has changed from that 18-year-old time of avoiding home; to being placed in a situation where I had to come home to gather myself and get the ground beneath me. In that time I’ve come to fall in love with my city. Added to that, my older sister lives in Queens and although I didn’t see her everyday she has been my confidant, best friend and biggest supporter. So going 5 hours away from her is a little sobering. Also she is having her first baby, which makes her a first time mother but also makes me a first time uncle (Woot woot!). I’m already preparing (if its a girl I gotta save up to buy the pony, if its a boy 3 things he must learn fresh out the womb: Duke Blue Devils, Kanye is a Musical Genius and Kobe …unstoppable).

Don’t get me wrong In no way am I indecisive as to whether I want to be in Oswego or not. That’s a lock I’d leave tomorrow if money and responsibilities permitted. But its just odd for me to have this feeling. You would think that after 2 years of wanting to be in this position and having worked as hard as I have to get to this point I would be screaming Good Riddance at the top of my lungs.

What’s my remedied chicken noodle soup for this homesickness? Its simple and its advice you’ve probably received before. Get involved. Having experienced first hand at my previous school. I can attest to the fact that when you’re involved it builds a greater sense of connection not only to the school and campus but it extends to the whole community as well. Most of the friends you have will either come through your involvement in campus activities and clubs or they will join you in those interests. Don’t believe me? Just look at my fellow bloggers. How else do you explain two being Laker Leaders ( Danielle and Kayle), and at least 2 other separate pairings of being in the same club or organization( Danielle also spoke a little bit on that notion of campus friendship in her post). Yea it’s real…Believe the hype. I’ll even do you a favor and give you a shortcut to that Chicken. Noodle. Soup. Thank Me Later.

Till Then I bid Adieu

Livin’ the Dream

After completing six local journalism internships, I knew this summer was my chance to break out of my comfort zone and really chase my dreams. What it all boils down to is New York City. I’ve always wanted to live here and I’ve always wanted to work in the magazine industry. So after months of scouring for internships, frantically filling out applications and sending off my best work to people who didn’t know me, I waited.

And waited.

Whenever life got me down and I second-guessed my skills and education, I turned to two things. FRIENDS, and “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. The two completely capture the essence of New York City and the dreams that I want to achieve. “Empire State of Mind” became my theme song, my mantra to keep me motivated and inspired.

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

There’s nothing you can’t do,  now you’re in New York

These streets will make you feel brand new

These lights will inspire you

Let’s hear it for New York

It didn’t matter that I grew up in wide open spaces, in a town with more cows than people. Or that our best option for a night out was a 30-minute drive to the closest movie theater with some friends and a bag of popcorn. All that mattered was that the glossy pages that came in my mailbox each month meant the world to me, and I needed to immerse myself in that world. New York City wasn’t about the hustle and bustle that people automatically associate with this place. To me, New York City was about livin’ the dream.

FRIENDS captures the homey, loving and endearing side of New York City, and it’s the show that made me fall in love with this place before I realized what journalism really was. It emphasized that New York City, again, wasn’t always about hustle and bustle.

Instead, it was about opportunity. It was about being carefree. It was about enjoying life. I wanted that life.

The witty banter and carefree friendships on this show captured my hometown and the people I wanted to meet while living my dream. Whenever I need to relax with a few laughs, I pop in one of the ten seasons (yes, I have each one) of this show and it works every single time. This show not only made New York City about fulfilling a dream, it became about getting the lifestyle I wanted.

Without these things, I’m not sure what my mantra would have been, what my support system would be like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting my friends, family and teachers who have helped me along the way. Without them, there’s no way I would be here. But you need to enjoy the small things in life, too. You need something to keep pushing you, to remind you of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. These two things do it for me. I encourage you to find yours.

There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York.

Let’s show ‘em what I’m made of.

My Friend from Cali

So, as I promised, I am following up on the adventures of my Californian friend and I. It’s kind of funny, because I did end up talking to my Hall Director, and much to my delight, she said that it was fine if he stayed with me for that long as long as my roommate was okay with it, so I figured that I was back to not having anything to worry about. I was wrong. When I mentioned it to my roommate, he kind of freaked out and said that it was unacceptable, that he was not going to allow someone that he doesn’t know to stay in the room for eleven days. He was right, really. I didn’t give him enough notice.

Therefore, last week quickly became disastrous disarray. I was stressed to the max, because my friend was coming in a couple of days, and I had nowhere for him to stay. He wasn’t bringing enough money in order for us to stay at a motel, my roommate simply wouldn’t allow him to stay with me for the entire eleven days, and my mom would not allow us to come home and stay there, because she said that she didn’t know Fady, so I was in a bind. I did the best that I could to compromise, but as long as the condition was that Fady was staying with me for eleven days, he remained unwilling.

Oddly enough, though, everything worked to our advantage. Fady’s father gave him more money, so he therefore could have afforded to stay in a motel for two weekends, to which Allain agreed. So, when he got here, that’s what we planned. However, my mom came to visit me Friday, and when she saw Fady, she decided that he was a good kid and that it would be fine if we went home. To make a long story short, she paid for our motel stay that weekend and then allowed us to come home this weekend.

Everything pretty much turned out to be a blessing in disguise, which, considering the fact that only last week, I was freaking out, is kind of ironic. It has been pretty obvious that in the past few days, though, that there has been tension between Fady and my roommate, but we have managed. Now, we are waiting at the Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse for the bus to take us to Utica so that my mom can pick us up in Utica, and this weekend is going to be amazing.

I feel kind of blessed. Something that started out looking like it was going to be a major disaster ended up being an amazing experience. Of course, we have not spent very much time together these past few days because of classes and homework, but we have tried making up for it at night by hanging together. This weekend, I am going to have some homework, but that’s all right. I think that we will be able to find a balance. Anyway, I have to run; I just wanted to update everyone on the situation.

Upcoming Visit from a Friend

I know as a fact that I have said this before, but sometimes, college really does drive me crazy. There really is no such thing as a break. Over Spring Break, I did almost nothing but homework, because I had so much that it took me just about the whole week to do it, and on weekends, that’s what I’m doing: homework, so there really isn’t any end to it. This past weekend, I did almost nothing but work all of Saturday and Sunday, and I still didn’t even get everything done. I have some work left to do.

The reason that I am now suddenly complaining about it is because for once in my entire college career, all I want is a relaxing week. I have a really good friend in California (he is, in fact, one of my best friends), and he is coming to visit me this Thursday. He will be staying a total of eleven days, and I am so excited. We have been friends for almost two years now but have yet to meet in person, and now, we finally will be.

Some may wonder why I didn’t plan this for the summer so that we really could enjoy ourselves and have a good time without me having to worry about school work, but the reason that we didn’t plan for the summer is simple. We tried to do that last year, and my mother wouldn’t allow it. She said that she didn’t know Fady (that’s his name) so she couldn’t allow him to be in her house, especially since she had two kids to worry about.

So, we therefore had to plan it for a time that I would be in college. This was the only time to do that. I thought that I had more than just Good Friday off for Easter; I could have sworn that I had a bit of a mini-break, but no, I only have Good Friday off, so we planned it for April. We couldn’t plan for Christmas Break or Spring Break, because you have to go home, and he can’t go home with me.

I even tried again this time. Obviously, this weekend is Easter, so my mom kept asking me if I was coming home for Easter, and every time that I said no, probably not, she would ask me why, so just recently, I decided to tell her about my plans, and to make a long story short, she said that she would talk to my dad about letting Fady come home with me for Easter. What ended up happening, though, is that my dad said that since Fady is a minor, he and my mom could get into trouble for keeping him at the house since he is not supposed to leave home, and he warned me that I, too, could get into trouble for keeping him here.

Now, whenever I tell someone this, they feel the need to tell me that my father is wrong because of A, B and C, and you don’t need to tell me, because I know. My parents have this implicit philosophy that kids don’t have any rights, that they are not allowed to stand up for themselves when they truly are being treated unfairly, because it is the duty of the child to bow down to his or her parents’ commands, now matter how ridiculous. Needless to say, it is not a philosophy that we share.

With that being said, anyway, it would be expected that they would say this. Fady is a seventeen, so they don’t think that he has any right to leave home. Obviously, he is not leaving home permanently; he is merely visiting a friend. Also, he is not leaving without parental permission. His mother knows that he is going, and she knows where he is going. In fact, she is giving him $300 and is even driving him to the airport to see him off. I tried explaining this to my dad last night, but he wouldn’t listen to me. He told me that none of that matters, because it isn’t going to fly if his mother tries to claim that he ran away from home.

Of course, she bought the plane ticket, so it’s in her name, but my dad simply isn’t going to listen to logic. Both of my parents are like that. Once their minds are set on something, it doesn’t matter how hard you work to debunk it with logic, they’re simply not going to listen. Additionally, my mother is very racist; she always has been, for as long as I can remember, so when I told her what Fady’s name is, she asked me what his ethnicity is (although she didn’t say it like that; that’s too big of a word for my mother), and when I told her that he is Middle-Eastern, she didn’t say anything explicitly, but I could tell by her “uh-huh” that she was passing judgment.

As a perfect example, I remember once, quite a few years ago, when my brother had a friend over, and his friend was white, but he had an adopted little brother that was black. My brother was much younger at the time, so his friend (whose name was Paul) stayed for a couple of hours with his mother and with his little brother, and my mother wasn’t home at the time. During the visit, the little boy (who couldn’t have been any older than three) was thirsty and wanted a drink, so we gave him something, and when my mother found out, she said (forgive the bluntness), “You let a little nigger baby drink out of our cups?!” She was appalled that we would do such a thing. Like I said, she’s very racist.
Anyway, though, the point is that most likely, Fady will be staying with me here at Oz even through Easter, and I just hope that he will be able to do that. I haven’t talked with anyone at the front desk of Waterbury yet to find out if there is a limit to how long a guest can stay. Fady will be staying for a ten days, from the first of April to the eleventh, and we can’t rearrange that; it’s too late, so I’m a little nervous. However, my roommate is a Desk Attendant, so he can probably give me the answers that I need. I just don’t know what to do if he can’t stay here, because he has nowhere else to go.

Plus, I am a little worried about money. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that it costs, like, $7.00 to get into the Dining Hall if you’re not a student, and he’s only bringing $300. That is about $14 a day (assuming that we only eat two meals a day) over a ten-day period, which means that at the very minimum, $140 will go to meals, which leaves $160 for trips to the movies, shopping, etc., which may seem like a lot, but if you think about it, it really isn’t. Plus, like I said, that $140 is assuming that we only eat two meals a day; no breakfast or late-night. I’m sure that we’ll work something out, though. I am really excited about this. Like I said, we have been friends for almost two years now, and we still have not had the chance to meet in person, so this will be great. I’ll let everyone know how it turns out.

Back to School Soon

Well, as promised, I am reporting on how my life in the past week has unfolded, and I am happy to say that it has unfolded in my favor. My mom has, more or less, decided to help me, and Wednesday was magical. Ray went to lunch with my mom and I, as planned, and afterward, we spent the day together at my house. My father was aware but displayed no problem with it, which means that hopefully, this is not an issue that I will run into again. Today, I saw him, as he spent the day with me and a group of friends. We attempted to see the Lovely Bones, but it wasn’t in showing in my hometown, and it was sold out at the next closest theater. We instead went shopping, and we had a great day.

My friend David, the one who will be living in Oswego this coming semester, received some good (not the best, but good) news yesterday. He will be living in Scales on the third floor with a student named Jacob. I can’t recall Jacob’s last name, but hopefully, he is a nice person with whom David will get along. We tried to room together this semester, but we tried unsuccessfully. Residence Life and Housing told him that because he is starting late, they have no room anywhere on campus that is completely empty. I don’t really care, because I really like my current roommate, but I just hope that David likes his, as well. Anyway, since he is in Scales and I am in Waterbury, we will be right next door to each other, which is good.

I can’t believe that I go back to school a week from tomorrow. That thought really is quite daunting. It seems as if the break went by so quickly. I hate that I might not be home for Valentine’s Day, but I am going to try to be. It falls on a Sunday this year, which means that I probably will not be spending the actual date with Ray, but we can always spend that Saturday together if I am able to come home that weekend. Anyway, if anything interesting comes up, I will try to write another blog entry before this coming weekend; otherwise, see everyone on campus next week!