Archive for May, 2008

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Summer Goals

May 31, 2008

MOVED!

I need to stop sitting around, doing nothing and feeling useless. I need to set myself some summer goals. Even if they sound ridiculous, I think they will help me get mildly focused on accomplishing something. Here goes: 

1) Visit Emerson and NYU to get information about Theater Education programs. 

2) Begin application process to Emerson and NYU (if everything looks good upon visiting.)

3) Build up to running a 5K by August (in hopes of maybe running 10K by October for Tufts 10K)

4) Give a good audition for Kaplan (the SAT etc. prep company where I applied for a teaching/tutoring job. You have to audition before you can interview, so I’m only going for the immediate goal first, then I’ll set some kind of goal from there.) 

5) Leave the apartment everyday (this sounds silly, but lately, this hasn’t been happening every day. Yes, I realize how sad this sounds.) 

6) Get some interesting stories and BLOG MORE! (My lack of blogging is stemming solely from my lack of anything interesting to say. This needs to change, pronto.)

7) Start studying for the GRE’s. (This just goes with #2, I suppose.) 

Hrmm, that’s about all I can think of for now. I am excited about a few things coming up. I’m FINALLY seeing Sex and the City tonight, which feels like an event years in the making. (I, sadly, couldn’t plan ahead far enough to get tickets for last night. Wah wah….) I have the Boston Bloggah’s happy hour coming up, AND my trip to NYC to visit Lindsey, Jillian, and my sister, Stephanie, coming at the end of June. If I can just focus on not sucking for a little while, things will start moving faster and getting better. I’m learning I don’t do well with drastic transitions, in terms of my free time. Last semester, my schedule was ridiculously packed and planned. Now I can’t motivate myself to do anything that isn’t required. Hopefully, I’ll just starting thinking of all these goals as requirements, and I’ll get them done. Here’s hoping…

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A (ridiculously long) Ode to Camp

May 27, 2008

MOVED!

I’m finally figuring out why I might be having some small breakdown about the three month stretch of summer ahead of me: It’s the first time since I came to college that I won’t be working at camp. This may not seem like a big deal to readers who have never been to or worked at camp, especially my camp, but this is an extremely difficult transition for me. Camp has basically been my summer for the past two years. It matured me. It changed the way I see and work with kids. It changed the way I see Judaism. It basically led to me going to Israel. It led to my current debate about my future career. It gave me incredible friends from around the world. It’s weird to think about how the whole kind of started on a whim. (I smell a flashback brewing….)

One day freshman year I was sitting around contemplating my summer. Sitting at home in Ohio working retail didn’t seem to much fun, and I wasn’t going to be able to return to the job I’d had the previous summer working at a children’s theater downtown. I think I was watching (as sad as it seems) MTV’s documentary special “Fat Camp” when I started thinking that working at a camp would be kind of fun. (It’s a shameful source of inspiration, I know.) I’d never gotten to go to “Jew Camp” as a kid, which is slightly bizarre for a young Jewish kid. Going to camp in the Jewish community is a pretty accepted right of passage. It’s so ubiquitous (yeah, I just pulled out some college level vocab) that during my sorority recruitment, the Jewish house on campus had a camp-themed night, assuming anyone serious about joining their sorority had that shared experience. I came close once, but a botched attempt at attending a YMCA camp in 5th grade put me off the idea for a while.

But I digress, after running the idea by my mom, I started to apply to JCC (that’s Jewish Community Center for you gentiles out there) run camps within driving distance of my house. I had a few interviews, but finally landed on the JCC in Cleveland’s camp as my first choice. Not only was it the closest camp to me, but they way the directors described it during my interview gave me chills. When I asked what made each camp special during my interviews, most directors explained about their killer facilities or their complex activities system, but what Meredith and Jodi (my soon to be bosses) described was the energy their camp had. They explained that when all the kids stood up cheering at lunch or sang together in their sprit circle (which sounds waaay more corny that is it, because what it is is just awesome) there was this intense, contagious spirit that everyone possessed, that made even the most difficult of kids want to stand up and cheer, that made you forget about how you looked or the fact that it was raining and made you just want to have the best time possible. They could not have been more right:

(An attempt to show spirit circle in all its glory)

So I excitedly accepted a position as a general counselor for the summer of ’06. When I got to camp for the first time, my excitement deflated a bit. Basically everyone who worked there had been attending slash working at camp for most of their lives. People who were new like me were generally foreign staff. I got asked about 10 times a day “So, why are you here?” It was weird and awkward and a bit like moving. I felt very out of place and grew worried that I had made a terrible decision. How could I fit into a group that had been forming without me for most of my life?

Then the campers arrived and slowly, everything changed. Things became much more about the kids than about the counselors. I suddenly had things to discuss with everyone I couldn’t make conversation with before through the shared experience of shaping these kids’ summer. I was placed in a cabin with two other staff members and 12 13-year-old girls. I could not have asked for a better cabin for my first session. The girls LIVED for camp, and quickly taught me everything I needed to know to get by. They taught me village cheers, they prepared me for Macabia (our 28 hour color war, aka the biggest day of camp), and helped me get through my first spirit circle. As things fell into place with the kids, everyone with the staff got easier. I made friends with the staff in my village and soon, I felt like I’d been there forever, standing on my chair at lunch singing about prunes (loonnnggg weird explanation for that one) and toasted cheese. It slowly became the perfect job. I got to play all day, getting free tennis and rock climbing lessons in the process. I got to spend my Saturdays tanning by the pool with my best friend Sharon, and I got paid to do it! I got paid to act like a kid, while having actual responsibility. I had to take a kid to the hospital and break up fights. That doesn’t sound like fun, but I felt useful and important and helpful. Kids never look more grateful than when you kill a spider for them or give them a snack. By the end of the summer, I knew I had to come back.

I applied to be the drama instructor for the summer of ’07, just to change it up and get a new experience. I was a little nervous about the new job and the fact that some of my best friends weren’t returning to camp, but Sharon would be there, so I figured I’d get by. (Sharon is a bit of a social butterfly, and by a bit, I mean she is literally friends with everyone at camp despite that fact that she started when I did…) I got to camp for staff week and immediately bonded with the lovely Sarah Mac. (who I inspired to blog. Score!) Instantly I knew the summer would not only be as great as the last summer, it may just cross over into legen- wait for it-dary territory.

I could not have been more right. Sarah, Sharon and I formed another instant bond with Lillian, a staffer from England, and I became great friends with Lindsey, a camp lifer who took off summer ’06, so who was new to me:

Sharon attempting to stuff fries up my nose

(Sharon attempting to stuff fries up my nose on a night out. Clearly, we have a bond.)

(Things turn ugly)

(But I clearly gain the upper hand.)

(Lillian, Sarah, Sharon, and I saying our favorite phrase: Hazzah!)

(Lindsey and I in NYC after camp)

Basically, camp was the same (aka fabulously fun), but I had even better friends, taking everything to a whole other level. Plus, I loved my new job. I got to direct two productions (High School Musical first session – you know you are jealous that my extensive knowledge of the HSM dance moves actually helped my job – and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown second), and I recently found out that my drama cabin activities were voted one of the top 10 cabin activities in camp. Everyone loves some improv games.

It is so hard to explain what makes camp so special. Yes, I loved my job teaching drama, but that was only one aspect of what made my summer special. I’ll try to explain with some specific stories:

1) One night after stopping by the pool for a staff swimming event, Sarah, Lillian, and I walked out onto the large rec field in the middle of camp, and after doing some cartwheels and impromptu dancing, we all laid down with our heads together and just stared up at the ridiculously clear sky and talked about how cool it was that three girls from three different countries could be sitting in the middle of nowhere Ohio together forming this amazing friendship. Where else does this happen? I’ll probably remember that forever.

2) First session, I was chosen to be a captain of one of the five Macabia teams. This is a HUGE honor. Really. It shows that the directors of camp and the judges of that particular Macabia (other staff members chosen by the directors) think you can take on the task of being responsible for a fifth of the camp for a day, inspiring them to have tons spirit, to give this day all they have, and to make it the best day of camp for them. After being violently awoken by Sarah in the middle of the night and made to walk to the center of camp blindfolded, I was so excited to learn I had been picked. The next 28 hours were some of the most tiring of my life. I screamed. I ran miles around camp. I jumped and yelled and waved our Shrek flag high (yeah, we were the Green Shrek team of the animated movie themed Macabia). I wasn’t so focused on winning as I was on making sure my kids had a great time. My co-captain was pretty focused on winning. (He had one of the best win records in camp, apparently). Well, the afternoon of Macabia is capped off by a giant relay race called The Great Race. The race ends with the captains building a fire to burn through a rope, and when the rope burns, the entire team runs to the flagpole and freaks out. Well, my co-captain and I completely owned at fire building and built basically the fastest fire in the history of camp.

(Suck it rope. You’re going down.)

When our fire burned through the rope, I took off as fast as I could toward the flag pole where my entire team screamed and cheered for a good 20 minutes. I didn’t think the day could get much better until I stood in front of the stage in front of the entire camp, holding my co-captain’s hand, thinking we couldn’t win since we had won the Great Race – it’s a camp myth you can’t win the Great Race AND win all of Macabia – when the judges turned their pitchers upside down and poured water all over me. (See, the judges each stand behind each pair of captains with two pitchers. One pitcher contains something different then the others, and that is the one of the winning team. In our case, all the pitchers were empty except for the ones above us, which, as I said before, had water in them) At first I thought I was being hit with water from the team beside me, but then it hit me as my entire team flipped the hell out. I then took off running again toward the pool, completely high on excitement. As per camp tradition, the judges and captains always run into the pool fully clothed at the end of Macabia. I broke my not-water-proof watch in the process of pool jumping, but was totally worth it. It was one of the best moments of my summer.

3) Second session, my fellow cabin staffers and I wanted to do something special for our girls, so we bought each of them a charm to make into a special cabin bracelet. The thing was, they each had to give their charm to someone else who had inspired or influenced them in the cabin. We figured the girls would do well with the activity, but even I was surprised by some of the things they said about each other. When a camper who I had in my cabin both sessions got to give away her charm, she gave it to me, saying I had helped her have one of the best summers of her life. How can you not have a good night after that? I still have that charm on a necklace I wear all the time.

I have so many more of these stories, but I fear for anyone who has read this far into the post already. Basically, I’m having a tough time this summer, because I know, even if I was going back, it wouldn’t be the same. My campers are in their last year, and I probably wouldn’t get to be with them again. My best friends aren’t going back, and a lot of the younger staff are taking over the camp. I can’t go back. I know that, but I can’t seem to get over the fact that I won’t get more stories this summer. I won’t get to run outside throwing ketchup all over a crazy group of kids or see an alpaca jump over a bench. (Yeah, this really happened.)

(This woman became our idol. Everything she wore was made out of alpaca hair, and she named this alpaca Intrepid. Plus she rolled up in a minivan with him in the back.)

I won’t get to help someone have the best summer of their life. I’ll get to sit in class, and run errands for adults – adults who will not appreciate what I’m doing nearly as much as those kids. It’s so hard to realize that people may look at my resume some day and think I wasted my summers not getting internships or “real jobs,” not knowing that I gained more real world experience, more leadership training, and more maturity at camp then I EVER could have gotten at an internship – something I learned quickly this past semester.

All that is getting me through the summer is thinking about how I’ll see Lindsey in NYC in a few weeks, and that I’m flying to freakin’ AUSTRALIA in December to see Sharon and Sarah. Camp continues to enhance and enrich my life in amazing ways, and how can I really be sad about that?

I commend anyone who has read this entire thing. Kudos. You have a lot of free time. (But really, I appreciate your interest…) To anyone who has kids, think about sending them to camp. It’s amazing and crazy, and like I said, truly life-changing. And to anyone looking for a summer job, I think I’ve made my case.

So…anyone else got any good camp stories?

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Feeling Unimportant

May 25, 2008

MOVED!

Yesterady I found out that a kid who was in my COM 101 class freshman year is showing a film at Cannes. WHAT!? Now, I know this is the time of life when you start seeing all the things people your age are accomplishing and start feeling insignificant and unimportant, but this is the first time it has happened to me personally, making is exponentially more important and upsetting than any other instance that may have happened to others. 

Today I didn’t leave my bedroom. Really. I’ve moved from my bed to my computer desk and…oh wait, I did make a pit stop in my kitchen to grab snacks once an hour. How wonderfully world changing. I’m currently contemplating whether I’d rather spend my summer being a barista at Starbucks or a hostess at P.F. Changs. This kid, who I was not a fan of in my class again making this instance all the more annoying, is screening his class project for the French Film Elite! Now, I don’t particularly want to show a film at Cannes or even direct a film. I was just already feeling mildly useless and lazy, and this isn’t helping. 

You know what also isn’t helping (on a completely unrelated but just as upsetting and annoying note)? My dad’s new blackberry, which he keeps emailing me from. And facebook messaging me from. And calling me from. And sending me pictures of him holding it from. Bah. I think I would feel instantly more useful as a human being if I had a Blackberry Curve. Who is with me?

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Free Time or Money?

May 25, 2008

MOVED!

This weekend, on paper, has been extremely fun and eventful. Patrick and Jillian came into town for one last LA-like hurrah before I am alone for the summer. We had our eagerly awaited South End Bar Crawl, beginning with Patrick and my favorite restaurant, Picco. Picco, of course, stands for Pizza and Ice Cream, Co. The name alone makes you want to eat there forever. Deliciousness. Anyway, we then crawled to Sister Sorrel and Union in the South End before coming back to South Campus and ending our night at the train wreck of a bar that is An Tua Nua. If you are ever in Boston and feel like taking your class level down about 10 points, I suggest a trip there. I was disturbed. A plus of the night was becoming friends with Patrick and Jillian’s two friends, Amanda and Val, who I can hopefully hang out with the rest of the summer. I need friends in Boston like woah.

Saturday, Jillian, Val and I did a small walking tour of Boston, ending, of course, on Newbury for lunch. Jillian and I later had a nice dinner party with our friend Megan and her boyfriend. She was in Ireland this past semester while we were in LA, so we had many stories to exchange while eating delicious vegetable lasagna and brownies. Mmm…

Despite all the fun I’ve had this weekend, I have WAY too much going on in the back of my mind. I found out I’m definitely not going to be getting enough hours out of my current work-study job, which is sad because I really enjoy it. This means I either have to deal with having a good amount (Read: probably way too much) free time, which I would use to basically sit in my bed watching Food Network, and not enough money. Thus, I have been feeling I need to get a second job. All the on-campus jobs are office jobs, which I am good at but which I don’t enjoy so  much. They would, however, give me weekends off. I’ve also been looking into restaurant jobs, where I may make some fun summer friends and get to stand for a while in a slightly more exciting environment, but where I may have to give up my weekends – weekends I had planned to use for multiple trips to NYC to visit my sister and Jillian OR I could just deal with not making a lot of money and just force myself to work out and read a lot so I feel productive. But, let’s be honest, as long as Everyday Italian remains, I really know that won’t happen. It’s a tough call, especially since I don’t quite know how bogged down I am going to get with reading for my PolySci class. Maybe I won’t have any free time. Bah! I hate decisions.

On top of all that loveliness, I’ve been dealing with my schedule being royally screwed up for the fall, freaking out about my financial aid, and deciding if I should be studying for the GRE’s if I am really serious about applying to grad school. Aaaannnndddd I’m hyperventilating. Remember when summer was all fun and sunshine. Camp and playing outside with nothing to worry about? When did that stop? Oh yeah…this year. Man, I miss camp.

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Blog Paralysis

May 22, 2008

MOVED!

I’ve been feeling like I have nothing to write about lately. Well, first, I had no computer access, then my days began to consist of nothing but errand running and apartment cleaning. Not the stuff of inspirational blog postings.

To catch everyone up: This past weekend, I finally moved back to Boston, spending the weekend with my mom at my uncle’s house, seeing my cousins, and easing myself back into East Coast living (brunch in the South End, Lunch with Patrick in Faneuil Hall, shopping on Newbury). 

Then my friend (and my little in my sorority) Lynn moved into our summer apartment and proceeded to clean the entire place. I’m not used to living in places with three months worth of dust and grime build up as I’m what I refer to as a constant cleaner. If I’m standing in the kitchen waiting for something to boil, I’m wiping down the counter with clorox wipes. When I brush my teeth, I wipe down my sink. You get the picture. This way things never reach a point where I actually have to spend entire days cleaning. Sadly, it was unavoidable here. Also unavoidable was doing a grocery store run for all my kitchen basics, which I’m SO tired of doing, having done it there times in the past 9 months alone. Happily, next time I move it will only be across campus so I can just take all my spices and frozen foods with me. 

I also started class last night, which was a little hard to get in the mindset for as I haven’t had a real class since december. It was also hard because there are only five people in the class, which kind of forces attentiveness, an already difficult task in a three and half hour class. My professor proved interesting, however, as she walked into class with her adorable 17 year old dog in a stroller, then half way through class had to stop lecturing to buy the dog sun chips. 

Today I’ve been in a weird funk of not wanting to leave the apartment as I have nothing concrete to do. I should be running to Shaw’s to get things I forgot to or could not pick up at Trader Joe’s or making a copy of the building key because for some reason Lynn and I were only given one and have been having to meet up every time one of us wants to get in the building. This is my problem with having free time. I do absolutely nothing with it. I know I’m going to get busy soon, so I should get these things done now, but I just want to sit around and watch How I Met Your Mother DVDs or read commentary on David Cook’s triumphant win last night. 

I’m hoping once I get busier I will get out of this funk. This weekend Jillian and Patrick will be in town, so we can have a LA type party around Boston. I also go back to my work-study job, which I love, tomorrow. I can’t deal with not getting myself to leave my apartment for much longer. 

Hopefully my life will get more interesting soon. These wrap-up entries depress me.

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Why I Hate My Car

May 15, 2008

MOVED! 

A few years ago, the inside of my car door melted. This sounds terrible and irreparable, but really, all it means was that my car is really difficult to unlock. So difficult, in fact, that it bent my car key into a nice twisted mess. For some reason, this never caused any problems with my key actually starting my car. That is until today. 

Today I was visiting my friends in New Jersey. We had a lovely lunch, catching up on our semester apart, as they were at BU while I was in LA. We said good-bye after a few hours, and they drove away as I went to my car. I pulled out the key my mom had given me to my car (my sister had my twisty key, having driven my car this past semester at school), and went to unlock the car. It wouldn’t open. I tried again and again until my hand started to blister. Nothing. I went around to the passenger side, where the door is sometimes easier to open. Nothing. Nothing. Then CLICK. It opened! Success. I ran around to my side, climbed into the sweltering seat (thanks black leather!) and put my key in the ignition. Nothing. The key wouldn’t move. I pulled it out and examined it. This new key too had been twisted, but only slightly. Apparently, you can still start my car with a completely messed up key, but mildly twisted? No go. I tried and tried, further blistering my hands. 

At this point, I start to freak out. I start to really examine the key and really start to believe my car is not going to start. I call my mom and freak out to her to the same effect. We start throwing out the idea that she would have to drive me my other key. She hung up to call my dad, as I got out of the car to try to flatten my key by twisting it the other way. I went around to the passenger side, locked the car, unlocked  it, and opened the door again only to have the car alarm start BLARING at me for no reason. I jumped into the car in embarrassment and anger, looking for some kind of magic button to stop the god-awful noise. There was none. I unlocked and locked the door from the inside with no luck, and in a moment of desperation, I try the key in the ignition one more time, just to see, and IT TURNS ON! Horay…well, it would have been horay, IF THE CAR ALARM HAD STOPPED! I think the car finally started because my wasn’t shaking so badly from the car alarm. Blerg. 

So, I’m sitting in my car, which is running, with the car alarm blaring. I call my mom back telling her I have a bigger problem when suddenly, the car alarm stops. Out of nowhere. My mom tells me to calm down and drive home. I finally do, still shaking out of anger and wanting to run my car off the bridge I cross just to be rid of it. By the time I get home, I’m feeling midly better, helped by a constant loop of Miley Cyrus music. I park in my driveway, open the door, and THE CAR ALARM GOES OFF AGAIN! If I’m in the car, why would I be getting out to steal it!? At this point, I run into the house, fuming, to find my car remote to try and turn it off, but realize my sister has it. This time, I’m not the only one shaking in anger, as my mom’s dog is also freaking out. Wonderful. 

After five minutes, the alarm turned off, and I am now refusing to go near my car for the rest of the summer. Lucky for me, there’s no driving (for me, at least) in Boston.

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Snowball Effect

May 15, 2008

MOVED!

Once I don’t post for a few days, it creates this horrible snowball effect where I feel I either have too much or too little to talk about. I just can’t bring myself to post anything when I feel like way too much has happened to discuss in one coherent post, SO in order to rid myself of this feeling, I will not be writing a coherent post. Here goes:

In the past week I have traveled to:

Ohio: to visit my high school friends and to help my mom pick up a foot board. 

Syracuse: to watch my sister receive her Master’s degree from Newhouse. 

Back to Delaware: for three days, where I have become a bum, watching “Jon and Kate Plus 8” marathons on TLC. 

In the past week I have seen:

My best high school friends: Liz and Kaitlin, both of whom are probably moving to New York after graduation, making the moving to New York myself thing look much more appealing. 

My grandparents: whom  I haven’t seen all semester. 

My sister: who is now home and yelling at me for sleeping in so late. 

Jillian: who came to stay with me for a day, but then had to endure shopping for kitchen supplies with me. I did take her to see Baby Mama though!

In the past week, I have watched:

Whitney win ANTM!: I cannot BELIEVE she won! This has caused me to have to rethink everything about Tyra and ANTM. I guess they had to let a plus size girl win sometime…

Calvin do a spot on Tyra impression on Greek: “I have two beautiful ladies standing before me. One is a beautiful girl, but has no personality. The other takes gorgeous photos, but is plus sized.” I couldn’t love this show more. 

The showdown of the David’s come to fruition on AI: Thank god for David Cook or I would resent being forced to watch American Idol week after week. 

In the next week I will: be moving back to Boston for the summer. I originally thought I was just going to be living with my little from the sorority, Lynn, but now it looks like Lynn and I get an unknown roommate. I’m sure she’s nice and fine, but I feel that I’m at that point in my college career where I don’t want to live with people I don’t know anymore. I somehow lucked out completely, getting an amazing freshman year roommate, but my sophomore year was effectively killed by the random roommates my friends and I had to deal with. Now, I’ve been living with my friends for a year, and it makes SUCH a difference in how comfortable I feel with my living situation. Even if we don’t get along, at least I know that going in, and I feel like I can talk to them. This is the main reason I didn’t sign up to live in BU housing this summer. That and the lack of microwaves in the apartments. I just have to keep chanting to myself: I won’t prejudge. I won’t prejudge.

I’m also having minor meltdowns about not going back to camp this summer, but that is a whole other post. 

Anyone else have any exciting summer plans?