the year that just passed

boston, massachusetts

I took some time last night to look over old photos, look over the last year. This was the year that I went to Europe and New York and Boston and DC. This was the year that all my senior friends graduated. This was the year that I became a senior friend to all my non-senior friends.

manhattan, new york

I want to say that I found comfort in cities, but to be honest, I never felt fully comfortable. But maybe that’s what I mean. Maybe that’s what I love about them. I love that there’s so much there—so much food, so much change, so much movement, so much stuff. There’s parks and people, signs and snow.

During March break, there was a lot of snow, a lot of slush.

brooklyn, new york

Even explored with soggy shoes, cities can be beautiful.

lady m (left) and spot dessert bar (right) in manhattan, new york

Cities have layers of experience. My example is food. This summer in New York, I bought a pot and oil and soy sauce the first weekend, thinking I was going to cook. I didn’t. Yet when I compare my list of favorite restaurants and places with those of my friends’, there’s few in common. I felt like I did everything, ate everything, saw everything. But it turns out, that was only my own personal “everything.”

north myrtle beach, south carolina

I spent four or five days by the sea. Drinking. Writing. Napping. There was this couch on the balcony that was just long enough for me to lie down. So I’d lie down with my blanket and book. I’d read a couple pages, give up, and just sleep.

north myrtle beach, south carolina

Austin and I then went to Europe.

i tre mercanti in venice, italy

We spent three weeks there, traveling.

At times, it was just the two of us. Other times, we had a group of seven: five of my senior friends who’d just graduated plus Austin and I bumming along.

our apartment in paris, france

I love the way people live in Europe. I love hanging clothes out to dry, partly because I hate dryers and what they’ve done to some of my sweaters. I love that there’s orange juice juicers in every grocery store. I love that everyone speaks multiple languages. I love cured sausages with bread and cheese and would eat that everyday if I could.

train to barcelona, spain

We took trains between cities. Sometimes I would catch up on my journal. Other times I would just catch up on my life.

a public square in lyon, france

I still remember the magic of that one morning in Lyon when I visited four different bakeries and a farmer’s market before our train to Paris. You can feel the food all around you.

central station in amsterdam, the netherlands

In the common room of our hostel in Amsterdam, I ran into two friends from high school that I’d forgotten about.

Crazy, the coincidences that happen.

green tea cafe in berlin, germany

One theme throughout the trip was eating things I “wasn’t supposed to.” We had ramen in Paris. And in Amsterdam. And in Berlin. But I have a weird way of traveling: I pretend that I live there and that everyday is a free Saturday to do whatever I want. Maybe I want ramen. Maybe I want currywurst. Maybe I want both.

koreatown in manhattan, new york

I felt the same way about New York. Well, I was living there, for two months, at least. But when one of my friends from high school came to visit, it seemed to me that she’d somehow managed to do more in two weeks than I had in the entire summer.

That’s probably true though. I spent my weekday nights playing piano in the basement. I spent Saturdays walking an hour from my dorm in Greenwich Village up to the museums near Central Park, and then all the way back. I spent my Sundays writing, playing video games, watching Game of Thrones with Pat, James, and Pulkit while eating Korean fried chicken.

I’m not without regrets. In fact, I have many. Every time I hear or read about some amazing ramen shop or deli or bakery in New York that I had no idea even existed, I groan a bit knowing that I might have walked by during one of my weekend wanderings.

But it’s okay. I know I’ll be back.

dc metro in washington, dc

Over Thanksgiving, I went to DC. I’ve been there before, many times actually, but I always thought it was boring. Maybe that’s because I was little then and easily bored of museums.

This time was different. I explored the city itself. I walked from Arlington to Georgetown. I cooked and baked for an APO “Friendsgiving” at Eden’s place. I played board games every night until 3am. I saw Yanda again, who I think of as an older brother guiding me through the toughest parts of college.

duke university in durham, north carolina

I started running again. And playing piano again. And eating cake and salad and Law School and Marketplace and Nasher again, thanks to Michelle.

Michelle. I’m thankful for Michelle.

myrtle beach, south carolina

I drove with my family to Myrtle, all the way from Illinois. It’s weird to think that I was here in May. It’s weird to think that 2017 is over.

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