30×30: Lesson 25: The world is big, and life is long

Every time I climb into a plane to leave Europe, I’m filled not with regret but with longing. I was abroad last summer for seven weeks, but I did not manage to see my friend Abdel in Metz nor my former roommate Tobias who just had a baby. I had tried to go to Morocco…

30×30: Lesson 23: Just go back to France

  It was 2008. I was a college graduate with a degree in creative writing who had just gotten back from my second extended period of time living in France — this time, spent teaching English to high school students. For the hundredth time I had taken back up the apron at Kathy’s Deli in…

30×30: Lesson 7: Hiking your own hike

I maybe kind of don’t actually really like hiking, and I’ve tried to figure this out for awhile. Never mind the fact that I did a two-week backpacking trek with Lynn Palermo in northern France, hiked up Exit Glacier in Alaska, danced once across the Andes, and bagged two Adirondack High Peaks; there’s something about…

30×30: Lesson 4: Living for today

Rosalinda is my favorite part of living in Oakland, Pittsburgh. Her English is too thick for me to have figured out when she arrived from Italy or why, but she’s the grandmother that I never thought I needed. Friendship came first in three large tomatoes, handed off the back porch on my way to class….

30×30: Lesson 2: Strategies for teaching

As an elementary school student, I was a control mechanism, a pawn. It didn’t take teachers long to realize that I was both too passive to misbehave and too polite to mention my boredom, so when students were placed in pairs, I was always set within elbow length of That Kid: the runny-nosed girl with…

30×30: An Introduction

I don’t know when I started telling people that life gets better after you turn twenty-five. At least for me, this much was true: the onset of my first steady job brought a sense of purpose and vision, time during which to travel, and a cat (which, along with a piano, are my two requirements…

Roaring with the river

“A river is a metaphor for life,” my friend Ida announced staunchly. I grasped my paddle a little tighter and turned to look at her across the bright red raft on which we sat with three friends. All five of us were part of a rafting trip down the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, PA, and were currently…

An introvert’s guide to settling in

When I was younger, I was unable attend anything that included an overnight stay without major bouts of tears and anxiety. In comparison to the familiarity of home, I never found summer camp exciting, wasn’t particularly interested in sleeping over at friends’ homes, and for the most part abstained from dabbling in anything unfamiliar, well…

On countrysides and coming home

You’re a young adult (whatever age that means), and you’ve been told to “get out there.” See the world. Experience new things, and become a better person because of it. I absolutely agree with this philosophy, for it was definitely applicable to me. Before going to college, I had only met a handful of people…

Counting down

When ringing in 2013, I began counting down way too early. I was standing amid the crowd at a friend’s house in Baltimore and began belting out numbers once the clock read 11:59 PM and 45 seconds, but no one joined me until I hit the number 10 and we were all taken over by…

Part I: The freefall

Decisions. I’ve never been very good at them. It’s partially because I love details; for example, if you ever come grocery shopping with me, you’ll notice that I get a thrill out of finding the best cereal to match my mood or if it’s going to be a week of 2% milk or skim. (If…

Friday Photo: Christmas iCaroling

It’s two days after Christmas, the day that my extended Grove family gets together to exchange gifts wrapped in glittery paper and eat homemade ice cream cake off my grandmother’s Lenox china.  We’ve just finished our traditional supper of potato roll sandwiches, seven-layer salad, Kay & Ray’s potato chips, and homemade Chex mix served buffet-style,…