Your friend LP

It's been real! 2011 – 2016

Category: Berkeley Summer Sessions 2013

Pictures of my adventures in California & a short (fiction!) story

It’s been ages since I posted here, so I’m not going to even try and do a complete update in this post. Berkeley went really well and I did decide to return to my home university for now, more details on both (and other happenings) to follow. To make up for this cliffhanger, I have two fun things:

1) A photo set of (some) of my adventures in the lovely state of California!

2) A short drabble I wrote as an exercise for class. We were supposed to write a story in which one character wants something and the other character doesn’t. Enjoy!

It’s one of those dark and stormy nights. We are cuddled up on the couch watching something move on the big screen before us, when all of a sudden she turns the screen off, gets up and walks away. I know what this means: she is going to bed. Being wide awake and not wanting to be alone, I follow her into the other room.

“Oh come on! You can’t go to bed now! We were having such a good time!”
She rolls her eyes at me, but doesn’t respond.
“What? Are you going to leave me all by myself?” A tad manipulative, I know.
She sighs and starts cleaning her teeth. It always makes her mouth smell strongly like peppermint for at least half an hour afterwards. I’m not a fan. At this moment however, I just want her to come back to the couch and cuddle. I’ll take peppermint smell over being alone.

“Pleeease?” I draw the e out and tilt my head a little. Sometimes it works. This time is apparently not one of these times. She rinses her mouth with water and mumbles something in my general direction. She’s probably saying that she knows I’m not tired because I napped the afternoon away while she was not there. Which, I admit, is true. But not the point!
“Of course I napped! I was all by myself! What was I supposed to do?”
She dries off her face and walks past me towards the kitchen. She’s clearly ignoring me. It’s time to get really dramatic: “What do you want me to do? I can’t go to sleep again! I can’t spend my entire existence asleep!”

I follow her into the kitchen. I figure that she’s going to get us both a snack, but no. Instead, she takes two small, brightly coloured things from the drawer and starts fidgeting them into her ears. Last time she did that I spent two hours yelling outside her bedroom until my voice was raspy. To no avail. She bends down towards me and pets me over the head while making that sound I know means she’s referring to me. She then walks over to her bedroom and closes the door behind her.

This. Means. War.

“Fine! Be that way! Just know that I’m going to push all of your plants of off the windowsill! I’m going to drink out of the toilet, then completely demolish your toilet paper roll! I’m going to kick litter all over your kitchen! I’m going to leave my fur EVERYWHERE! See how you like that! You can’t ignore me just because I’m a cat! Now, you come back and stay up with me! Stay up with me, I tell you! Staaay uuup wiiith meee!”

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The waiting has finally paid off

About 12 years ago, it seemed that my life had reached a dead end: I was both mentally and physically in such a crap state that I had to quit my studies, I was surrounded by Other People’s Drama (and a bit of my own), I was broke, unemployed, had zero prospects and no sleep. I felt completely stuck in all areas of my life and desperately needed help getting unstuck.

I was fortunate enough to find a fantastic therapist, who said a lot of helpful things, but the concept that made the biggest impact was that sometimes, things are not what they are, but what they stand for. And that as soon as you find out what it is they stand for, you can let go and find whatever it is you need elsewhere.

Around the same time, while surfing the internet(s) during one of my many sleepless nights, I stumbled upon the blog of a woman who was around my age. She wrote about her life, her dreams, and how she was working towards getting into some school somewhere. I wondered what could be so special about a school that would make a person do a double major while also working two jobs. Here in the Netherlands, especially in the Humanities, you usually just apply to the program you want to get into, little to no hoop jumping required.

Curious as I am, I looked it up. The more I read about the place, the more I understood why it was so important to her. It was beautiful. The buildings. The weather. And on top of that, it was a highly esteemed university. Strangely enough, it reminded me of my first high school. How, when I visited, I KNEW that I wanted to go there. I felt welcomed, it was a place I desperately wanted to belong to. This university gave off the same vibe.

For a second, I thought about how my life might have been different, if I’d gone to a university like that instead of the place I actually went to. I put going to that university on my list of wonderful, unattainable things, next to “win a Nobel prize” (highly unlikely) and “pet a unicorn” (mythical magical being not often seen in modern times).

Fast forward to last September. During one of my – fortunately less frequent – sleepless nights, I got lost on my university’s website while trying to find a teacher’s email address. I didn’t find it, but I did find something else. Something I spent the next few months thinking about, crying over, being terrified of. Because sometimes, things are not what they are, but what they stand for.

At some point I decided. Because sometimes things really are what they are. So this summer, I’m going to Berkeley.