Reminiscing the days when I was surrounded by people who read books

Today was a day I’d been looking forward to for a few weeks. Lupe Fiasco’s latest, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album (Pt. 1), finally dropped, and while on the way to buy it from Best Buy (why yes I still buy CDs!) I decided to also pick up Junot Díaz’s new collection of short stories, This Is How You Lose Her. At Barnes & Noble I asked the guy at the information desk if they still had copies of the book, since I wasn’t able to find it in the general fiction section. While he looked it up on his computer he asked me if I had read Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, to which I responded yes. And then we just had a short conversation about it as he led me to where the book I wanted was.

New goodies!

OK, OK, I know that was a pretty pathetic little story. But while discussing the merits of the story and Díaz’s writing style in Oscar Wao, I couldn’t help but scream inside, “Holy shit I miss this!” I mean, has it really been that long since I had an intellectual conversation with someone about a book? Has it really been that long since someone wanted to discuss a book that wasn’t Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey (I still haven’t read the latter, mind you)? Not gonna lie, the feeling made me miss college, the class/homework/boring part of college, a lot.

I feel compelled now to find a book club to join.

I have commitment issues? Settling issues?

After several lengthy conversations with close friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like staying in one place for too long. At this rate it will have been 1.5 months since I last traveled somewhere outside of the Chicago area. That is a long time to me. When you’ve been used to shuffling back and forth between school and suburbs, school and other cities, country to country, you get used to the excitement. The feeling that you’re not going to be in the same place for very long.

I think that may be what’s wrong with me. Before I started working, I did a fair share of traveling during the three months I was living at home unemployed. My family and I went to the Philippines for half a month, and Cincinnati for a weekend. I drove down to Champaign to visit friends. Even before this year, I routinely visited other places like St. Louis. And when I was abroad—well, I was basically in a different place every weekend. I do believe it was this time one year ago I was getting ready to head off to Panama for a school field trip. I can remember those four or five days so clearly. So many memories. And yet if you asked me anything about the past couple weeks, I don’t think I could tell you. Other than that I worked and bummed around.

Used to be I wanted to live the rest of my life out in Chicago. I just don’t see it anymore. I don’t see myself staying here in the suburbs any longer than a couple more years. I’ve said this a thousand times, maybe more, but I want to see the world. I need to see the world. When my mom was my age, she was living and working in Saudi Arabia, thousands of miles away from her home. I need to go back to Costa Rica and remind myself that those four months there weren’t just a dream. I need to go to London, the city I’ve been dreaming about for years. I miss my friends from all over the world, the international students I met at school now living away at their homes in France, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Colombia, Austria.

An old friend (“old” meaning I’ve known him for quite a long time, obviously) last week told me he was surprised to see me finally living at home again. That I wasn’t already making plans to jet off somewhere.

It’s like Shakira said:

Mi destino es andar
Mis recuerdos
Son una estela en el mar

Yeah…I’m too lazy to translate.

It’s that time of the year again

I had to use my Spanish skills today at work. Actually no, strike that, I didn’t have to, I sort of stumbled into it. This mother and her kids came up to the counter with their merchandise, and the youngest girl greeted me with an “Hola.” I smiled and said hola back. Her mom smiled at me too, and then it slipped out. I asked her if they were all set in Spanish, and then she starts blithering away about how her son liked this one pair of jeans he tried on but there wasn’t a price on it and if I could look it up for her. The funny thing is, I really did understand about 90% of the stuff this woman was saying. I just didn’t know, for the most part, how to respond right away without translating everything in my head. I ended up doing the transaction with this woman in Spanglish. And responding with “Con gusto” instead of “De nada” when she thanked me. I forget that they only say that in Costa Rica.

My birthday is next week and I’m not sure what to do (or indeed if I should do anything at all, I hate making birthday plans for myself). I know I want to go out to dinner at the Costa Rican restaurant in Chicago, Irazu, but I don’t know when. I don’t know if I should pick a club or bar to go to. I don’t know if I have to make reservations if I do do that. This is my first birthday at home in four years, and I don’t know what the fuck to do. I hate birthdays!

Speaking of birthdays, this is my first birthday that I won’t be spending at a school. At the beginning of a school year. The first birthday where I don’t have to worry about figuring out classes and all that good jazz. I’m not moving back to college, I’m not thinking about syllabus week or buying books. Nor am I packing up four months of my life to go live abroad in a completely foreign country. Normally this would be the part where I think about how I have nothing to look forward to while everyone goes back to school, but my internship does start next week. So life is changing. Somewhat.

I’m getting old

I know, I know, being nearly 22 years old does not exactly constitute one as feeling old yet, but I have several reasons for feeling as such. First of all, it’s a Tuesday night. I was invited to go out for drinks with some friends, but feeling incredibly lazy I decided to stay in. Even though I have absolutely nothing to do tomorrow (or for the rest of my life, as a matter of fact). I used to be able to go out 7 days a week! Now I can barely get my ass out on a Tuesday night — a Tuesday night, MY night of the week!! In Costa Rica we had a bar we’d go to every Tuesday; at school Tuesday nights were the best week nights to go out; even here at home I’m often getting texts to go to this bar or that. But alas, tonight I just did not feel like it. Something must be wrong with me.

Another reason for feeling old: my brother and I went to Meijer and there were displays of “Back-to-School” items everywhere. School supplies for the kiddies, dorm essentials for the freshmen. It was the latter that nearly set me off and made me reminisce of my own first college move-in nearly four years ago. It also made me realize how much I love decorating and furnishing my space, because I kept scrounging for items to use in my tiny bedroom here at my parents’ house. I can’t wait for the day I actually move out and have a real apartment of my own again.

On another note, last Saturday I went out to the bars in Wrigleyville for the very first time. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I definitely didn’t realize it would be so crazy. There were people everywhere, bars everywhere, drinks everywhere, all spilling out into streets. I didn’t drink much, so I stayed rather subdued for much of the night — which I guess must have translated into everyone thinking I was an uptight bitch. Forreals! Twice a person used the word “uptight” to describe me, and countless others were asking me if I was having fun or not. And for the most part, yeah, I was having fun. But people were calling me uptight! And asking me if I even enjoyed going out period! (OK, that’s a lie but I’m sure that’s what was on their minds.) To be clear, I was out with a small group of friends, only one of whom actually knows me very personally. The rest of the people I socialized with were complete strangers and distant acquaintances. Plus, I was sober. So, no I wasn’t my usual life-of-the-party self last Saturday. Why don’t guys just realize that when a girl is acting “uptight” and “uninterested,” it’s because they’re not interested at all?!

Man, forreals, fuck that Glee ish

I take back what I said yesterday, for I had a nervous breakdown today. I literally started crying after my last class, tearing up as I walked home.

I attribute it to the fact that I came home from work at 12:30 last night and had to wake up at 8 a.m. this morning. Also to the fact that I just found out I have an 8-page paper due on Reading Day. Reading Day, seriously, what the fuck? And also maybe because I’m on my period.

My roommate is currently hogging the TV right now to watch that Glee show. Again I ask, how can a dumb show like that take precedence over Game 5 of a very important playoff series? I like to think I’m a person who keeps a very open mind, but one thing I will never ever understand is why people don’t like NBA basketball. Or the Chicago Bulls. It’s silly, I know, but that is just the one part of me that will never shake. I’ve always said I can’t marry a guy who does not like the NBA, or basketball at the very least. I really, truly can’t…unless you’re from another country where another sport takes precedent (which is what happened to me a lot in Costa Rica, LOLz). Anywho, my roommate made a comment on how the one playoff game she really cared about doesn’t start until later…arghh! I need to find girl friends who like basketball. Forreals.