Carolina Spring

4.10.15

Sunshine, sundresses, Open Eye iced lattes. Blueberry wheat at Topo, afternoons on the porch featuring books and giggles and lovely people. Quad sitting, Weaver Street, class is the worst. Warm greens, baby yellows, bluest blue skies, thunderstorm watching and rainbows. Windows open, books closed, responsibility shirked. Cherry trees and daffodils; happiness. Pick-up soccer to sweat and tan lines. Tru afternoons // He’s Not evenings // Looking Glass Mondays. James Taylor and soft, quiet morning light that streaks through the newly sprung leaves peaking out to see if it’s just (maybe quite) warm enough. Beautiful is inadequate, imprecise.

Magical moments at dawn and dusk when the light decides to come and go slowly, gradually, smudging pastels across the sky. Moments, so many of them; remember, they’re important. Laughs & freckles, pass the sunscreen please. Hazy, lazy air, bees are chatting, watch out for mosquitoes, fireflies still in hiding. Fall in love over and over, with lots of people, lots of places. Bare feet, warm pavement, rocking chairs. Study in the arboretum \ daydream in the arboretum.

Baseball games [socializing, not watching], pit sitting, picnics and brunch. Kenan sunsets— but be careful, the Bell Tower is ringing time away slowly but ever so quickly (can time stop). Maple View and Yopo, ice cream is a food group? Don’t think about leaving, don’t think about leaving, don’t think about leaving. You’re oh so lucky, did you know?

{[this is happiness]}

*I originally wrote this post for a stream of consciousness writing experiment in Branding of Me. William Faulkner is one of my all-time favorite writers, so I was excited about attempting the writing style for which he’s famous. I took the prompt in a slightly different direction, but nonetheless here’s the end result.

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Sappy Senior Week

  1. Become irrationally upset that it is, in fact, senior week and we have to do this whole graduation thing.
  2. Get free cupcakes. Food bribery works.
  3. Quad sit. Every single day.
  4. Pit sit. Buy too much Med Deli to accompany pit sitting.
  5. Turn in final paper of my college career. Get way too sentimental about it.
  6. Wait four hours. Skip two classes. Maybe climb the Bell Tower?
  7. Meet Chancellor Folt, decide that she’s the cutest ever.
  8. Finally climb the Bell Tower. Take selfies, sign our names, tear up again.
  9. Take grad pics. Figuring out how to put on a cap is more difficult than it looks.
  10. See Chancellor Folt while taking said grad pics. She remembers us, so basically we’re now best buds.
  11. Gimghoul loop runs (mostly for the tulips)
  12. Puppies on Polk Place. Aka heaven.
  13. Yopo all day everyday.
  14. Last lecture // picnic on McCorkle Place
  15. See entire senior class Thurs night.
  16. Final Branding of Me class, complete with a whole lot of inspiration for us to take away (more on this later).
  17. Ben & Jerry’s at 11 a.m. (Thanks Gary!)
  18. Last LDOC ever
  19. Listen to the Clefs at the Old Well Sing
  20. Old Well, my best friends, and the Clefs singing “Carolina In My Mind.” Cue the actual tears.
  21. Realize that finals still exist. Study apathetically. Bye Senior Week.

Carrboro.

Pass a crowd of umbrellas, adults, dogs, students marching for a cause (not sure which cause). It’s raining; Weaver Street is populated but not packed.

It’s warm, springtime rain—people sit outside on porches, under awnings with coffee and conversation. Eight-year-old confidently orders a decaf cappuccino (I was not that sophisticated).

Find a parking spot. It’s the Sunday before the last week of class/ exams; I feel accomplished. Find a table. Not a couch, or an armchair, but a table; I feel even more accomplished. Small victories.

Realize that there are at least ten people with flutes, guitars, fiddles sitting around playing in Open Eye. Folk music? Irish music? Not sure. They sound incredible (but now I can’t focus). Wish I was talented (ha). Kids jump on the couches, my favorite hippie walks in wearing a straw hat, beard, beaded necklace, Uggs, and scarf. Students type away at final papers, fueled by massive, cozy mugs of coffee and organic tea. That guy outside the window is reading a Kindle, earbuds in—he precisely placed flowers around his latte (which he’s not actually drinking) so who knows what that’s about. Maybe he just likes things to be pretty? Fair enough.

Dude rides by on a tiny bike carrying a tray with four coffees in it. True talent right there. Thank goodness for interesting people, they’ve ruined me for boring and homogenous forever.

Sleepy Sundays, April showers. It’s the little things, you know?

“I’m Sorry Guys Are So Slimy”

This, from a complete stranger who had just witnessed my discomfort as a car full of men catcalled and yelled obscenities at me.

It meant a lot, that one phrase. That apology from a guy who is in no way responsible for what had just occurred. It was one of those moments where you remember that people really are kind, and that the Carolina Way isn’t simply an abstract concept.

For me, and for many of my friends, we sometimes think that invisibility wouldn’t be such a bad thing while walking through Chapel Hill, alone or otherwise. Too many stares that last too long, catcalls, rude gestures, “Hey sweetheart, how you doin?”

I’d be a heck of a lot better if you’d treat me like a human being, thanks for asking.

Is it usually harmless? Probably. Do I still feel violated? Almost always.

And what happens the one time that it isn’t harmless?

Because yesterday, when I was walking home and those men started yelling at me, the first thought that crossed my mind was not a pleasant one. If it’s five grown men to one 5-foot-4 girl, I’m betting I don’t win.

Now, I’m pretty scrappy. Anxiety isn’t really my thing, and I don’t scare easily. But when a car full men starts yelling obscenities, my heart rate skyrockets, my entire body tenses up, and I start thinking about what on earth I could possibly do if they decide to come back. Women’s rights are important, because fear shouldn’t be a part of daily life. As a U.S. citizen, I am extremely fortunate compared to much of the world, but that doesn’t make it okay.

The problem with all of this is that I’m an eternally optimistic, sunshine, glass-half-full kind of girl. So when catcalls and disgusting people somewhat destroy my faith in humanity, it really gets under my skin, because I prefer to believe the best in people.

But then, along come strangers who help me remember that there are kind, considerate human beings in this world, maybe more of them than I think. My new friend was right. Guys can be slimy, but not all of them. Just like people can be terrible, but most aren’t. I’m thankful for the ones that aren’t.

Amen Corner & Pimento Cheese

My earliest memories of Augusta National involve pimento cheese sandwiches, hole No. 6, and lots of sunscreen. I learned to love the game of golf by watching Phil and Tiger play Amen Corner, so I guess you could say it was inevitable.

The first thing about the Masters that makes an impression is the course— it’s absolutely stunning. Tucked smack in the middle of Augusta (otherwise a fairly unattractive place) is the world’s most perfect golf venue. The bright pink and white azaleas frame the green expanses of the course itself, and the grandstands blend into the huge Georgia pines. Also pollen. Lots of pollen.

The second thing about the Masters that makes an impression is that its patrons, employees and golfers are the nicest, friendliest people you’ll ever meet. It sounds cliché, but I promise it’s true. One of my favorite parts of the tournament is meeting the couples who have been coming for decades, who have their favorite spots and players. They’ve witnessed thousands of incredible shots, and they’ve got the stories to prove it.

As I got older, I learned that being in the red is good, not bad, and golf etiquette is never more highly respected than here. I think I got shushed fairly frequently, which is most likely why this particular point stuck. I learned that these guys make golf look like a breeze, and when I started playing, I learned that golf is the most frustrating game on the freakin planet.

The best way to see everything is to sit at one location, then stay for a while to watch the different pairings come through. I prefer the back nine, but the entire course is incredible. I’ve always had a soft spot for hole No. 6 because it’s a par 3, so little tiny me could watch the golfers play the entire hole, then get right up close to the green.

Amen Corner is by far the most beautiful section of the course, combined with the most drama. No. 13 is a prime spot for birdies, sometimes eagles, and it’s right next to a leader board. Nos. 15 and 16 are my other favorites, especially on Saturday and Sunday.

The Masters as a whole is surrounded by tradition, but Masters Sunday is a tradition all its own. The roars get more exciting, causing every head to turn to the leader board, waiting to see where it originated. Aside from the usual massive crowds following Woods, Mickelson, and now McIlroy and Spieth, the crowd gets bigger and bigger as the leaders close out the course. Say what you will, golf is exciting.

As much as I would have loved to watch Jordan Spieth take home that green jacket, I had to miss the Masters this year. But I’m a lucky girl, and I’ve got years of memories to go on. See ya next year, Augusta National. Save me a pimento cheese sandwich.

Happy March Madness Y’all

In my book, March Madness is up there with Christmas and puppies and ice cream. It’s my favorite time of year, and the fact that it generally coincides with spring weather and the Masters doesn’t hurt.

It’s the definition of a holiday; it has its own traditions, rituals, specific dates. The entire country makes brackets, and it’s an excuse to skip meetings, shirk homework, and get friends together to watch games. Everyone’s bracket gets knocked out the first day (thanks Georgia State), and things get interesting real quick.

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I generally plan my life around Carolina basketball (possibly to an obnoxious degree), and during March, everyone else is just as pumped as I am. It’s the big leagues y’all. Now, every minute of every game matters.

While I’ll spend most of the tourney biting my nails and yelling at JP Tokoto to refrain from those goshdang mid-range jumpers, it’s all worth it for a Brice Johnson dunk or a Marcus Paige three. March Madness epitomizes everything I love about sports—the underdogs, the Goliaths, the upsets, the games decided by one point or a buzzer beater. The post-weekend basketball withdrawal is a real life problem.

Hallelujah, it’s finally Thursday. That said, let’s all pray for Kennedy’s knee and hope that this team of Tar Heels can keep making this year’s tournament a whole lotta fun.

Happy holidays, merry Christmas, God bless America, go heels.
And finally, as if you needed any more reasons to smile, just try and tell me this isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life:

23 Signs You Are Abnormally Cold

**As told by a self-diagnosed chronically cold individual**

  1. Winter is the epitome of all your worst fears.
  2. You regularly make coffee, tea or hot chocolate purely for warmth purposes. (Your fingers and nose will thank you)
  3. You have at least three blankets on your bed at all times. Probably three more in the closet for backup. You know, just in case…
  4. HYPOTHERMIA IS REAL and you have suffered from it. On multiple occasions. The fact that your fingers haven’t gotten frostbite yet is a miracle of incredible proportions.
  5. You’ve been known to turn on the oven just to stick your hands in and warm them up.
  6. Cuddling has very little to do with any sort of relationship… it’s a survival mechanism.
  7. As is hugging.
  8. Getting out of a hot shower is the hardest thing you have ever had to do…
  9. And once you’re cold, you literally cannot warm up. Nothing works and it is horrible.
  10. You have left places/ social events/ anything due to being cold.
  11. You probably own footie pajamas. No shame.
  12. Also fuzzy socks. Lots of them.
  13. You can’t remember the last time your fingers and toes didn’t feel like icicles.
  14. You will go to great lengths to avoid situations where you will be in the cold for long periods of time.
  15. All your friends hate you for constantly whining about how cold you are. You have also probably stolen their jackets on multiple occasions.
  16. You’ve developed a talent for finding the seat furthest away from the door when you enter a restaurant. And sitting under an air vent? Forget it. Someone’s switching.
  17. Your one and only motivator for going to the gym in the winter is to warm up.
  18. You consistently wear at least three more layers than everyone else. Two pairs of leggings? Check. A shirt under a sweater under a vest under a jacket? Check.
  19. You look forward to getting into your blazing hot car in the summer. Ahhhh the warmth.
  20. Sunshine is your best friend. Like, you need it.
  21. You’ve tried, on multiple occasions, to convince yourself (and everyone) that you have seasonal affective disorder. Because why else would you be this miserable.
  22. Summer is far and away the best time of year. Bring on that 90 degree heat, sweat and humidity.
  23. But then people crank up the air in every building ever, so you’re forced to be that person carrying a jacket around with you in the middle of summer. Haters gonna hate.

This is you. All the time.

Summer, hurry up.

Amsterdam

My 10 days in Europe: Discovered stroopwafels (ate too many of them), tripped on cobblestones, decided I’m moving to Paris, took pictures of a thousand canals, almost got flattened by bikers, downed four shots of espresso every morning (thanks Momo), witnessed Love Actually airport homecomings, began a love affair with Nutella crepes (ate too many again), skipped out on life for 10 days, explored two absolutely perfect cities. Obviously, I hated it.

bikes & canals, canals & bikes

bikes & canals, canals & bikes

For this post, I’ll detail a bit about my time in Amsterdam, a city filled with beautiful little canals, stylish bikers everywhere, and charming cobblestone streets lined with crooked shops. I didn’t expect to love this city as much as I did, but needless to say, I’ll be back.

Last week, I was in Amsterdam with rAVe [publications] reporting on Integrated Systems Europe 2015, a trade show in the audiovisual technology industry. It was a ton of fun, and we had a fantastic team make the trip. It’d be difficult to go through everything we did, so I’ll just give you a few highlights from my week in the Netherlands:

After a crazy hectic week, we flew out of RDU and arrived in Amsterdam on Saturday morning. We had the entire day to explore the city, so we headed to the Albert Cuyp Street Market. We found everything from fur coats to cheese to fresh fish, but the best discovery by far were the fresh stroopwafels. If you don’t know what these are, they’re two thin waffles with caramel in the middle, sometimes coated with chocolate. I tried to bring some home for everyone… But I ate them on the plane. Whoops.

Stroopwafels at the street market!

Stroopwafels at the street market!

Next stop: the Van Gogh museum, one of my favorite parts of the trip. I love the impressionists, Van Gogh in particular, so it was amazing to see an entire museum filled with his work. The museum takes you through Van Gogh’s life, so you can see his progression as an artist. I’ve always loved his sunflower paintings, and it was incredible to get so close to his work.

10999631_10153603450102388_4914769147158285850_nOn Sunday, we ended up having some unexpected free time to wander the city, and got lucky with beautiful weather and sunshine. Amsterdam seems more like a town than a city, with the canals and lights strung across the streets making it feel just a little bit magical once the sun goes down. One of our friends pointed us towards a floating flower market (can you say adorable?), and we wandered into a little art shop with beautiful paintings of Amsterdam and vintage magazine covers.

The next few days were mostly filled with lots of time at ISE, spent shooting videos, conducting interviews, and covering the entire trade show floor. It was definitely a cool opportunity to meet some really interesting people and see the latest and greatest in audiovisual technology, an industry that I had little experience with prior to ISE.

Our hotel was right in the middle of the city, so we were able to find cozy little restaurants each night just by wandering around. I’m thoroughly convinced that the best way to explore new places is with very little planning (also I just hate planning), and Amsterdam was perfect for figuring things out as we went.

To wrap up the trade show, we had a team dinner at Kantjil & de Tijger, a mixture of Dutch and Indonesian food. I had no idea what that meant (still don’t, actually), but whatever it was, it was probably the best food we had. (shoutout to Gary, Sara and Emily!) If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, you should definitely check it out.

Some of the rAVe team! Courtesy of Morgan's selfie stick

Some of the rAVe team! [courtesy of the selfie stick]

Our last day in the city was absolutely perfect, complete with chocolate shops, artsy street murals, walks along the canals, grandiose town squares, delicious food, and book markets (I was in heaven). To wrap up our trip, we went on a boat cruise through the canals— the best way to end out an incredible visit to a beautiful city. Amsterdam, thanks for some amazing adventures! I’ll be seeing you!

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Next on the blog: Paris!

To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever

The past 10 days have been an absolute whirlwind. Between Amsterdam, Paris, new friends and travel adventures, it’s been a blast and a half. It was also a very difficult time to be away from Chapel Hill—so much happened, and we weren’t there for it.

But all that can wait, because today is the day of the greatest rivalry in sports. In Chapel Hill, Beat Dook Week is something of a holiday— Campus buzzes with energy, classes get skipped, schedules are rearranged, everything gets pushed aside to plan around the all-important game. #dookfans starts trending on Twitter, the Blue Devil’s head gets spiked on a pole, and generations of born and bred Tar Heels all over the world do whatever it takes to watch every agonizing second of this game.

For many of us, Carolina basketball is a hallowed monument of storybook quality, with larger than life legends that turn into heroes. Our heroes are Dean Smith and Michael Jordan, Phil Ford, Sam Perkins, James Worthy, Tyler Hansbrough, Roy Williams, Marcus Paige, and so many others. In the story that is Carolina basketball, the villains are Coach K’s flopping dookies, and it has never been any other way.

We’ve been raised to hate that school 8 miles down the road with a loathing that defies description, and today is when we remember why. We would love nothing more than sending the rat that is Coach K crawling back to K-ville with his rodent tail between his legs. We mock the idiotic Crazies who have nothing better to do than spend two months in a tent in the freezing cold. We’re still bitterly angry at those cowards who refused to travel 8 miles in a little snow last year because they were terrified of a Dean Dome packed with students. We vividly remember Tyler Hansbrough’s broken nose, the Austin Rivers shot, and the Bloody Montross Game. But we are certain that, at the end of the day, the sky is Carolina blue and that’s all that really matters.

“The biggest fallacy about this whole Carolina-Duke rivalry is the 8 mile thing, as if proximity somehow indicates similarity. It’s like assuming East and West Germany must be comparable since they were close to each other. Duke fans believe spending 196 hours in a tent indicates passion and devotion. Carolina fans believe 196 hours in a tent indicates a telling lack of other social engagements.”– Adam Lucas

This rivalry runs deep, and it’s serious business. There have been books written about the hatred running along Tobacco Road, and these books become New York Times bestsellers. Do you know why? Because last year, when we waited 8 days and beat Dook and stormed the court and rushed Franklin and jumped over bonfires, that was as good as it gets. Because elation and despair are tied to a basketball game, and those pretentious, obnoxious, unbearable dookies are the worst kinds of humans.

In the last 87 meetings, UNC has 44 wins. Duke has 43. Tonight’s game will be against a very, very good team in a very, very tough environment. But wouldn’t it be fun to make that number 45?

I’ll end with one of my favorite excerpts from the beautifully written “Why I Hate Duke” column (but you should really read the entire thing).

“Now I realize that school spirit is a pretty goofy thing to some people, but I’ll tell you something: I hate Duke with an infernal passion undying. I hate every leaf of every tree on that sickening campus. I hate every fake cherub Gothic piece of crap that litters the buildings like hemorrhoidal testaments to imagined superiority. When I see those Dookie boneheads shoe-polishing their faces navy blue on television, squandering their parents’ money with their fratty elitist bad sportsmanship antics and Saab stories, I want to puke all over Durham.

So this is my request, boys of basketball: Tonight, I not only want you to win, I want Krzyzewski calling home to his mother with tears in his eyes. I want Alaa Abdelnaby to throw up brick after brick. I want Rick Fox to take Christian Laettner to the hoop so many times that poor Christian will be dazed on the bench with an Etch-a-Sketch and a box of Crayola crayons. I want Bobby Hurley to trip on his shoelaces and fly into a fat alumnus from Wilmington. Send Thad and Lorna home with their blue tails between their legs.”

Go Heels, Go to Hell Dook, and God Bless them Tar Heel boys.

Read Poetry, It’s Good for You

There are certain things in life that are just good for you in some abstract, mama-told-me-so sort of way. Eating your veggies, getting eight hours of sleep, minding your manners, drinking orange juice, you get the idea. Poetry is one of these things.

I’ve been reading a lot of it this week, so I thought I’d share one particularly pretty poem I came across. It’s beautifully written by Rupert Brooke regarding World War I, which is why the title is ever so slightly morbid. (If you’d like a further literary analysis, no worries, I got you).

So, take 30 seconds and do something good for you. Read a poem.

 

The Dead

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,

Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.

The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,

And sunset, and the colours of the earth.

These had seen movement, and heard music; known

Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;

Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;

Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.


There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter

And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,

Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance

And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white

Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,

A width, a shining peace, under the night.