Wednesday, October 18, 2017

travel bug

As I sit here with my annual writing project looming over my head, my brand new Fall semester classes staring me in the face, and all the work I have piled on my desk, I turn to you, my dear blog, to satiate my serious procrastination needs. 

I recently planned this epic voyage. Here's the deal: I have to fly to Seattle in late February. The deal has been sealed: a wedding I cannot miss. So that's on the calendar. So I started looking for flights to get me and my boyfriend there. But then my finger slipped or something and I found the perfect flight. To get us to Seattle. But it'll take two weeks.

It's no secret that I cannot get enough of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman's adventures. It's no secret at all that a part of their trips - both Long Way Round and then the sequel, Long Way Down - struck a chord and buried itself deep down within my soul. Every once in a while if I'm very quiet I can hear the theme song playing faintly just outside. Just beyond...

So I planned this trip and accidentally made a PowerPoint presentation and accidentally emailed it to my boyfriend who immediately (maybe too hastily?) agreed to it. Things are very much still up in the air about it, but now I can't get it out of my head. When I'm bogged down with the stress of every day, I imagine elephants and those pointy boats, and pasta and nights that pass too quickly. I've traversed a decent amount of this planet so far. Moving to the East Coast where the people and cities are all scrunched together hasn't satisfied me. So until I can stave off this hunger, here are some pics of my travels in the last nine months:

(New York City)

(Balboa Park)

(Balboa Park)

(Boston)



(much less impressed in Boston)

(Vermont)


(okay this is a block from my house but WHAT)

(Venice, Italy)

(the Tube in London)

(Seattle)


Sunday, October 1, 2017

bravery

I just got back from an incredibly rejuvenating trip. I left last Saturday after a rager that started at 2PM and ended when my body decided to shut down. Cut to three hours later and I’m experiencing one of the worst plane rides of my life. 



After showering and regaining some semblance of my personhood, I surprised my niece, who could not have cared less. We had a delicious lunch, did some last minute ‘stuff-you-cant-take-in-a-carryon’ shopping, and moved into our temporary home. To be honest that night escapes me: residual effects of the night before I guess. Either way, we rested up for the next morning: Disney.






It’s a very interesting reality: reliving your childhood. Allison is like me in a lot of ways, something I thought would change with time and my absence. Still I found myself helping coax her onto “scary” rides - and getting frustrated when it didn’t work. I had already been through the terror of discovering rides that were too fast or too steep or too dark. Her distrust of my experience was baffling and frustrating to say the very least. That first day Allison was dressed as Tiana, and after a particularly excruciating ride, we bumped right into her as she was going to take a break. She graciously walked with Allie for a bit and took a photo. That poor girl had a ride of emotion. Also on that first day we had a reservation at Blue Bayou - the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. From the moment we stepped into the Pirates ride it became Allie’s favorite so the dining experience was particularly magical. 






The second day was for California Adventure. Allison braved the Cars ride and discovered some things that seems scary can be fun! We worked out a rewards system which got her on the Grizzly River Run: her Matterhorn. I finally understood how annoyed my parents must have been when I made them go on Matterhorn over and over because it was the only ride I could trust. Luckily I love GRR and it’s one of those rides that turns strangers into instant friends. The family that accompanied us in the  eight-person inner tube made the initial ride what it was: a laughing, soaking adventure. In our five separate trips down the river, we laughed the whole way. Allie’s confidence was evident as she guided our fellow travelers with commentary like, “this is the boring drop!” And “you’re gonna get wet!” 


(Before Grizzly River Run)

(After the 3rd round) 

I set myself up for a loss by telling Allison i have a fear of some rides and that we have to be brave to enjoy them. This ideology found me all the way up in a ferris  wheel car with some randos because the line was so long they were packing the cars as full as possible. I don’t like heights, and I especially don’t like seeing riders being evacuated from my favorite ride 30 feet below me. The following day as we were walking to the last ride of the trip - Sharaya to Splash Mountain and Allison and I to Pooh’s Corner - Allison turns to us and says, “I wanna go on [Splash]!!” We were shocked, wanted to make sure she knew what she was getting into and that we weren’t going to have another ‘blow-up-at-the-front-of-the-line’ moment. She smiled confidently and said, “I don’t really wanna go on this but I wanna make DiDi be brave!” Turd.






Sunday, August 27, 2017

hit the road, jack


As if hearing about my sister’s upcoming road trip wasn’t enough, today a good friend asked me if I wanted to take a road trip across the country - back to Seattle, no less. That’s something I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to. I had to though do not only to the fact that I have plans to be in Boston that weekend, but also because my lack of experience driving a manual car would probably leave us in a ditch in the middle of some fly-over state. Anyway, here are some of the best parts of road trips that I am very sorry to be missing out on.


1. Driving down the Grapevine in Bakersfield where it always seems to be hotter than Death Valley, windows down and music blasting, catching glimpses of your carefree self in the side mirror looking more relaxed and happy than you have been in awhile.

2. Filing out of the car at rest stops and seeing a similar parade of families stopping to pee, get some coffee or hot chocolate in the colder months, or just to let the young ones get some exercise.

3. Having to do away with your preset stations and tuning until something other than static comes through the speakers. More often than not on a hot Saturday in the middle of the country you wind up with some old man offering up a beat up car for sale and spelling out his phone number for all the world to hear and you finally understand how some people get themselves killed.

4. Pulling up to the hotel at what felt like midnight and waiting in the car while Dad goes to check in, leaving the rest of us to collect our most precious belongings; being forced to play out a Sophie's Choice between a beanie baby and a doll that can pee itself.

5. Having every liberty to get the worst food imaginable at pit stops. As someone who comes from a family that makes a point to stop only at truck stops, the largest selection of packaged doughnuts was at my fingertips and I took full advantage.

6. Getting out of the car at said truck stop after breathing in the recycled coughs and farts of family members after being in an air conditioned minivan for the last five hours. Stretching, sifting through discarded art projects and junk food wrappers to find flip flops, then hopping out and letting muscles feel stretches they never thought would return to them. Breathing in the hot, dry air, and waddling toward the toilets with TVs and stall doors that lock.

7. The incredible pattern my parents Pavloved us into following: eat a meal, get back in the car, and fall asleep. Is it 2 in the afternoon? That's fine. Take a nap. Is it 8AM? Thats fine. Go back to bed. Are you the one driving? It's okay, the bumps will wake you. Bon voyage!!





Monday, July 17, 2017

summertime

I've been spending a considerable amount of my free time in the pool now that the weather has decided to stay consistent. Seeing as I live in an apartment building above a juice bar, I had to outsource my pool needs and luckily my boyfriend has a house with a gorgeous backyard - pool included.  



Seeing as I don't know how to swim, a lot of the time has been occupied swallowing pool water while trying to find the shallow end or sipping cocktails on a raft. Surprisingly no second degree sunburns have graced my English-white skin. My boyfriends dad has inflatable drink holders that are adorable but altogether useless. Two minutes after this picture was taken I found my cider face down in the water, guzzling more water than I had. 



When we aren't in the pool, we’re at the ocean. I've turned into quite the aquatic fiend. Also: acai bowls. There's a place, Playa Bowls, that serves not only acai and chia bowls, but 20oz smoothies in a pineapple or coconut. This particular gem was a banana/coconut blended base topped with banana, granola, chia seeds, and peanut butter drizzle. We truly do live in a golden era.






Thursday, May 25, 2017

Side Affects


People constantly ask me why I made the life choices that got me where I am. Why did I travel Europe? Why did I move across the country to Doylestown? To be honest with you even I didn't really know why until recently.

As the youngest child there are certain inalienable rights I should have been granted. According to the birth order theory, the babies of the family "just want to have a good time...they have the potential to be spoiled or babied to the point of helplessness." Not only is this a scientifically proven theory, most adults I came across reiterated these facts and insisted they must apply to me. But then there were others who saw my sister first and made sure to tell me to get out of the way.  

I remember crying in the corner of the living room at my eighth birthday because my sisters were stealing all of the attention on my birthday. They were dressed as clowns so that was sort of the point but as a kid that grew up being told "don't take the spotlight - this day isn't about you" I wanted at least my birthday to be about me. I grew up competing for the spotlight from someone that gets awards for showing up to bowling tournaments. Absolutely nothing I did was going to be worthy enough.

 It is not my job to show the world how to interact with the special needs community. That is not why I was born. I am not an extension of my sister - a fact that took me sixteen years to learn. Everyone that isn't a Sibling congratulates me on this honor of being born into a family with someone with a disability. Every Sibling I've spoken to says this is the greatest battle: competing against someone that cannot lose. Being told a picture would look better with the sibling in it. Being ignored until something that involves the Sibling is discussed.

Listen, its no wonder I act the way that I act and do the things I've done. I've been called "adventurous" and "willing to lose a limb if it makes a good story". I thought it made me exciting and noteworthy. I hoped it did, anyway. And I was right. People cared when I flew to foreign places by myself, even if I was knee deep in an eating disorder that left me nearly unconscious on an abandoned Parisan street. At least the pictures were nice.

So maybe I moved across the country for a good story. It's closer to Europe and I spend a great deal of time in New York City and Philadelphia. Or maybe I moved to get away. I get to be selfish out here. I don't have to tell people I'm apart of this toxic community. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

these people raised me

Spoiler alert: I was planning to fly to Seattle in June as a surprise for my moms birthday and Fathers Day but now that doesn't seem feasible.

In my hype I've gotten nostalgic. Or maybe it wasn't nostalgia and hype. Maybe its been finding out about pregnancies and passings, graduations and weddings. People are living their lives and I don't get to be a participant. I accidentally decided to be a bystander. 

I've been inundated with reminders of home. Ed Sheerans new single Castle on a Hill has been hitting me particularly hard:




I'm just tired of the realities of living so far away from loved ones. I'm tired of disjointed conversations due to time differences. I'm tired of hearing about life changing news and not being able to be there for support. Worse, I'm tired of not being told news at all because I'm not around.

But I've messed it all up anyway by acquiring a whole new set of loved ones out here. Pizza Fridays and Wing Tuesdays (doesn't have as good of a ring to it). Yesterday I watched a seventy year old woman ride a hoverboard for the first time and last week I took the littles to a softball game and told poop jokes for a couple hours. There's so much life happening on all sides and its doing my head in. Hazards of the job, of course, but I'm reminded of the pleading words of a wise three year old,

"I just want all my people to live together! Forever!"


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

identity

Last week the five year old asked me if I wanted to change before we left the house. After sweating through my dress, getting them home, fed, and washed I realized I was still wearing the sweatpants and t shirt I put on when we first landed at the house. Apparently my look didn't work for her. She suggested I put my dress back on and gave me some jewelry to sweeten the deal.

While I have no doubts the five year old got her fashion and forwardness from me, sixteen year old Diana would've been mortified that I had to hear those words at all.

I change for people. A lot.

Up until two years ago I didn't like sneakers. Up until a year and a half ago I didn't like shoes at all. Two years ago I stopped wearing a full face of makeup because I thought it would make someone enjoy my company more. Before last year I didn't like asparagus or BrĂ¼ssel sprouts. This isn't a case of "people change". This has become a case of "people change me" and I'm finally realizing how sad that makes me.

I've spent a long time sacrificing little parts of me to appease people. To make them happy, to make them stay. Three people on this side of the country know I'm a force. Everyone else thinks I'm a laidback, happy-go-lucky people-pleaser.

When I was thirteen I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted. I was confident in my terrible fashion choices and awful taste in comedy. Then I spent one night at a bowling alley in Shoreline being chastised by a friend in the bathroom who berated me and told me I'd never know who I was. She spent the night asking blasphemous questions and belittled me when I challenged them. I'm sad to say after three hours I let her get to me and doubted myself for the next five years. At eighteen I had a handle on it again but during the tumultuous time of my early twenties I got lost along the way. That why I kept going back to London. I always knew who I was in London.

Now, at twenty six, in my tiny apartment on Main Street and in between classes and work, I'm figuring it out again.