Monday, September 27, 2010


No, I am not belting out the Christina Aguilera song from Mulan.
If you read this entire post, you may end up thinking "well, someone's PMSing!" or "oh gawd, another one of those English majors who has to turn every moment of life into a poem." That is your right, if you so wish. Freedom of thought is a beautiful thing.

But so is the freedom that comes with writing. And that is what I intend to do for my weekly blog post (yes, I'm still bitter about the fact that I can only update once a week. I'm working through it.). It may be rambling, nonsensical, even *gasp* boring (perish the thought!), but I think it is what my current mental state is asking of me. Bear with me. Or jump ship. Your call.

Last fall, something happened. Something I have avoided mentioning in any kind of detail not just in this blog, but just in daily life. For other reasons, I'm still not completely comfortable with stating explicitly what; but for now, I will say that I fell apart. And by 'I', I am referring to everything that is encompassed by the pronoun - my physical and emotional stability, my memory, my work, my life. All of a sudden, I was no longer up to the task of being the perfect straight-A student with great friends and family and smile on her face. I was, if you can bear the overused teenage-angst-filled word, broken. My plan to go abroad to Italy was one of two reasons that I made it through the semester, and even then I was hardly what you could call 'in one piece.'

Today, my email inbox informed me that it is closed because I have kept too many emails over the past 3 years. Well, since some days I spend 50% of my time emailing, this was a problem, and I entered into the ever-so-thrilling process of reading all my old emails and determining which ones were deletable.
Is there a quote about the 'presentness' of the past? Somewhere? There should be. Maybe I should make one.
Either way, I came across emails from last fall of conversations I had with my mother during this time. My family is [almost abnormally] supportive and they are, without a doubt, that second reason I made it through the semester. 

These emails were...enlightening. I remembered the incredible, unbearable pain with each word I read, and it was hard to see myself as that tiny, hurting person again. This journey to the not-so-past past, however, was not for naught.

One of the biggest stress points was that constant dark cloud hanging over every college upperclassman's head: the future. The word just sounds scary, doesn't it? I was torn between three different paths. 
I know what I want to do. I want to learn Hindi, and teach English as a 
foreign language in another country. I want to learn more about nutrition 
and help people with eating disorders. I want to study language and grammar 
and all that crap that everyone else thinks is so boring. I want to go one 
whole day without feeling stomach acid burning a hole in my esophagus and 
making noise that I'm pretty sure [my roommate] can hear sitting over at her desk. 
I want to go one day without feeling like I could drop dead from exhaustion. 
I want to stop basing my own opinions on what everyone else thinks. But not 
a single one of these things seems even remotely possible.
Sound familiar? You were probably a confused college kid too, once. But this went beyond just a fear of life outside the campus bubble. I didn't understand what it meant to live anymore. I was grasping not for a career or a goal to achieve, but for a purpose. A voice that said "you are needed; don't give up." I was desperate; but it felt like I was dying.

Enter my very own deus ex machina (Google it): my mother. In the response to my virtual cry for help, she said:
"No one gets to live the perfect life. You just get to live the life you get."
(Little did she know, I'd be immortalizing her words only a year later on the world wide web. You're welcome, Mom.)
I don't remember a lot from last fall; it's still a little raw for me. But I know this email had an impact because just rereading those words was like a ton of bricks on my head - and I mean that in the best possible way. That purpose I was looking so hard for? Where most important things tend to be: right in front of my nose.

What is life if not a span of time given to you - to us - to me, in order to discover that purpose. Destiny, fate, *insert lofty abstract concept here*. [And yes, I just tried to define life - roll with me, I've been discussing too many abstract literary theories to count recently.]

I'm the first to admit that senioritis is most definitely setting in. I now sit in my Survey of American Literature I class, diligently taking notes on the significance of Puritan sermons and the attitude towards the natives with my 1000-page anthology open on the desk, and all I can think is, "why am I here." I could be reading about M.F.K. Fisher, doing yoga, or....researching M.F.K. Fisher (I love my thesis topic but it's taking over my life), but instead I am in an hour-and-a-half class discussing works which in other real-life circumstances you couldn't pay me to read, much less analyze the crap out of. But I have to go back to that perhaps unintentionally sage advice - I only get to live the life I get. And if Puritanical literature and endless hours of research are a part of it right now, then I better accept it fast so I can just do it. Because this semester - this 3-month period of time - isn't much compared to what is waiting for me. 

At some point in the near future, I will reread this post and say, "what the hell was I talking about. My life involves burying my head in a book or screaming at the New York Times archives because it won't let me view an article I paid 4 dollars to view. How can I just "accept" this???....I was definitely PMSing." Well, that's okay too. But I will get through it. And I will move on. And I will not be broken at the end. In fact, I'll probably be stronger. What doesn't kill you, right?

Enough of these musings. I have to go annotate chapter 3 of my chemistry textbook. Joy of joys.

...What? I said I'd accept it. I didn't say I'd do it with a smile.


Sunday, September 19, 2010


Y'ALL. This is killing me. Posting barely once a week....pathetic. And frustrating. I MISS writing whatever insanity pops into my head. Instead, I'm chained to either a two-ton anthology or writing about the underlying racism in James Fenimore Cooper (you think I'm making this up...nope.).

I am resigned to the fact that my dear beloved blog may very well turn into a weekend activity, much as it pains me to say. My job with my study abroad program is going to start getting a bit heavier AND I'm going to start blogging once a week for my school. All of which I love and am very excited about...but MAN, does it leave precious little time for, um, life. I'll admit, it's all my fault.

But I do have something important to say other ohmygodfourenglishclassesatoncewhatwasIthinking. 

I know I've said it before, but I can't help it: I am constantly amazed at the effect Italy had on me. At this point in the semester, I would be in total freak-out mode. I would stay up til 3 because god forbid I don't read every single page assigned and put 100% into each and every paper, be it 2 pages or 12. 
But I'm not. I have my priorities, I take it week by week - sometimes day by day - and I breathe, and laugh, and sleep, and the world (or at least, my world) doesn't implode when I go to class a bit less than ideally prepared.

So...ready for what's been going on down here in Sparkle City (a.k.a, Spartanburg, South Carolina...if you really want to know, google it.)?

I think you are.

Daphne (my car) is legal to park (in the yellow or green lines only, of course).

Graduation GOWN. *insert mini-spaz moment of anxiety about graduating here*

Before I continue, let me explain. At Converse, if you enter on an odd year (like 2007, when I was a fresh[wo]man), you are a red devil.
Meet Richard the Red Devil mascot:
He's basically a hottie.
If you enter on an even year, you are a pink panther. You get picked by a junior (who is also a devil or panther) who is your Big Sister. It's NOT a sorority thing - we are a small women's college of about 1200. We are basically one big sorority anyway. So, for a week in September your Big Sis delivers you presents - in my case, all revolving around RED. There is SO MUCH red in my life now. And it's awesome.
During Formal Opening Convocation - big ceremony where our lovely President officially declares this school year open - seniors wear our gowns, our horns and tails (which our Big Sisters made for us), and of course...
Red Converse sneakers. (No, our school name has nothing to do with the shoe company. But come could we not?)

Ok, got all that? ...yeah, it took my parents a while too. Don't worry about it.
The night before Opening Convocation, we paint the campus red (or pink...ick). It's pretty fabulous.

2011 - Little piece of heaven! (C'mon, say it with me: "aaaawwwwwww!")

Before we jazz up campus, we go to "Hats On", basically a party for the seniors where we wear crazy hats and eat cake. I'm sure there's some symbolism in there about "hats on" and getting ready to graduate....whatever. It's all about the cake.
Had to represent my homeland, right? [GOSOX.]

And as for eats, there's been plenty o' salads...
Most not as delicious as this one, which was from a deli across the street. It's called "the hippie." It has hummus and goat cheese. 'Nuf said.

And some banana oat bran. Of course. 
Some things never change.

And I can't forget about the best.frozen.yogurt.EVER.
Compliments of Blueberry Frog!
Pomegranate + plain tart with mangos + raspberries. Or, as I prefer to call it, heaven in a cardboard cup.

Good ole SC has been treating us to some gorgeous sunsets:
Find the symbolism yourself. This English major is off the clock.

Until tomorrow, of course. Chaucer, here I come.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It is SO good to be back. And by back, I mean back online. The language that I have been using in the recent past is far too adult to be published, but let's just say...I didn't have internet and I was NOT happy.

But absence makes the heart grow fonder, no? I have been in desperate need of an outlet to babble about food on. Don't get me wrong, I love discussing the Gothic elements in the works of Washington Irving and the Middle English dialect of Chaucer...but I need to write about food.

Classes are back in full swing, and it is increasingly more apparent that I overbooked myself this semester. Now, pre-Florence Gillian would have multiple panic attacks and drop a class faster than a baking pan of cookies without an oven mitt, but something about me has definitely changed. I am shocked, quite frankly, at how much more relaxed I am about everything. As much as I talked about "adopting the Italian lifestyle", there was always a little voice in my head that said, "oh please, you know you will just go back and turn into that crazy control freak perfectionist you always are." And yes, that is still very much a part of who I am, but I feel just a little more clear-headed about all the work I have to do. I may not get everything done perfectly, but that's okay. It's a ridiculously liberating thing to know that not being perfect about everything all the time is okay.

So, food? I'm still going to write my senior thesis (someone please explain to me HOW I am a senior in college??) on my hero (heroine?) M. F. K. Fisher. If you haven't read any of her works, you must! Her writing is so pleasurable to read, even after hours of poring over literature anthologies with font size 0.2, I open up one of her books and immediately feel relaxed.

In less than 24 hours, I will be in my professor's office with 3 topic ideas for a paper and I have to "sell" them to her. Y'all, I'm shakin in my Rainbows! So I am going to enlist your fabulous opinions, if you don't mind ;)

Why do you think food writing is important? What do you get out of reading about food - be it a blog, a cookbook, or an anthropological text (that last one applies, me?)?

I will post pics of my roommate's & my AWESOME hippetastic room soon!

Oh yes, it's good to be back.


[I apologize for the photoless post - Herman (my big laptop) was not moving all too swiftly tonight. He just got internet back, so maybe he's feeling a little overwhelmed.]