Friday, December 11, 2009


First Point.

I've divided this entry into a couple sections. The First, a couple really boring rants about culture and such that I felt necessary to include in this, and the last, my real bloggy feelings.


A lot of you followed this blog besides my seven official "followers". Some of you commented directly on this site which I loved, I loved flipping down to see comments after I posted something new. Some of you wrote me e-mails explaining how you were moved about something I said or felt good about something...often times I was really unaware that these people were even reading it, and I was humbled and surprised. Some of you looked forward to my next post, some of you read the whole thing at once, all you know a lot about me now don't you? I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks to everyone that read this and made me feel good for writing it, or kept me motivated writing it.
Thank you for reading my stupid blog, many were just rants about drinking or pent up frustrations about idle life stuff without even really detailing much about England, but it gave me a way to cope with homesickness while I was away. For the first time I was connecting with home on such an intimate level both internally in my mind and externally on the pages of this blog that you would later read. So thank you, really, thanks for reading. You guys made me feel like I was onto something for the first time in my life, which is a feeling I can't thank you enough for. Something as small as a blog about my twelve weeks in London wound up being very very important to me, and all I want from life is to be onto small things that affect me largely. Thank you, really, I can't even tell you how much I appreciate your honesty, commentary, and maturity in reading things about me that I wouldn't have shared with anyone otherwise. I'm grateful for everything.

I really enjoy "blogging". I used to think it was pretty stupid before I started doing this, but I really feel clear and reflective and good these days. It helps me work things out. Its self therapy for me, and I like people reading it because I get to know readers better. Its a way of sharing ideas. Although those ideas are solely mine, I don't write this stuff so people can tell me it's good or they like it, it's not an ego thing, I write it so people might see where I'm coming from and make an assessment in their own life about whether they agree or not, and then think about their own life juxtaposed to what I'm saying, and move forward or backwards. I want to help, both myself and anyone that can read this. We should always be thinking and moving forward. We should always be sharing ideas. That is the only way to be living. Sharing ideas. I read everyone's blog who has one. It's a conversation between two people that we never have to talk about.

So, if you're reading this, I want to continue our relationship. Starting next week I'll be blogging at
That will be my permanent blog. I don't know when I'm going to start updating it, but it's there. I moved to wordpress because everyone else's blog looks cooler than mine and there are more features (sorry blogspot).

Thanks again.


Just some general notes-( the boring part)
Nobody I've met in America knows anything about English culture including my former self. Over lame jokes about tea and crumpets, brainwashed by bad education about the glory of our Revolutionary war we think of the English as some kind of loser country, filled with people who talk properly and fight each other at the pub. When I told people I was going to study in London they would literally say, "Why?". Why not Italy or France or Prague?

After 1776, when the English gave up control of their colonies, huge things were still happening in England with regard to art, music, and politics. England changed and evolved also over time, they completely restructured their government, their transport, their suburbs. England is a community. London itself is a community of people dedicated to education and art.

It's a community of learning and education that we should be FIGHTING for in America. We should WANT this.
London has subsidized theater. For the same price of going to see a crap movie, you can go see live performance. The government sponsors shows to be put on every night of the week at really interesting places just so people can enlighten themselves to art and culture they would have previously been unable to see. Places like the Barbican have International theater and music weekly, for cheap even sometimes free. It keeps art moving. It keeps your mind stimulated.
If you see somebody playing music in the underground station in London, they aren't bums, they have permits from the government and they are allowed that space to share their music and make money. This stuff is encouraged, not frowned upon.
Every mused in London is free, paid for by the government. I have seen Picasso works because I had nothing better to do on my way home from somewhere. I just stopped by museums and looked at things. I've been to the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain, The British Museum (where I saw the Rosetta stone for free) , National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of London. For free.
It costs USA students 15,000 dollars to go to Goldsmiths University of London for one semester. It costs British students about 3,000 pounds a semester, and they have some of the best schools in the world. At home, if you go to a non state school you're looking at 35,000 dollars a year. In England, college totals about 6,000 pounds a year. Education is accessible, it's flexible. It's realistic.
English students graduate High School and take a year off to work and think about what they want to do. Freshers are usually 19. Think about that. Think about that mentality on education. It's not a rush, it's not a dash to the finish line, its a process of self improvement that should be going on every single yeah I'll admit it the British kids are way more mature then people our age in the states, smarter I don't know, but more mature. They've been exposed to more culture, they're less ignorant.
And after they get all this education all day, they go to the pub and drink. Yeah that's true. Ut-Oh American government, drinking is a HUGE part of English culture. It's a place for people to meet each other and be happy. The Pub. Short for, Public House, meaning a house for everyone. I love drinking with British people. It's ALWAYS cheerful and ALWAYS happy and it doesn't have to be excessive. They drink, they drink all the time, but its good drinking. Its not self destructive, and it's really, just fun.

OK enough of that.


I really learned about human beings in the world during my experience here. That is what I learned the most about...people. From small differences like my personal oath never to use the word "faggot" again, call something "gay", or say "nigga" in conversation ( we shouldn't use words that come with years and years of hate and baggage for fun, we've elevated ourselves to a more educated vernacular I would hope). To my ideas about how women are perceived and perceive themselves in America, how it differs from England, and even sadly what constitutes a good night out for me now. I don't need to be entertained all the time. I just need to feel that click in my brain. I am really truly interested in where people are from now. I want to talk to the Indian guy at 7/11 and see what he makes of America, ask if they are happy. The guy working behind the counter at the supermarket the other day asked me if I was American. After saying"yes" he told me how New York is the most fantastic place he's ever been too, everybody is so friendly, the service is amazing, its incredible to look at". I want to meet a French person in the States one day and say, "Paris is beautiful, the Seine is beautiful to look at and I love the way the city moves". I want to talk to people now, not avoid them. Nobody here has avoided me, every time I open my mouth people truly want to know my story.
Cultures are so interesting. The world is fascinating place.

There is this universal thing that brings us all together. No, that thing is not the English language (that was my study abroad joke), it's a desire to want to know about each other. We asked our Italian waiter in Amsterdam how he wound up in Amsterdam, and the kid named Andrew from Philly who worked in the Heineken factory what his deal was. Whats your story? The world could be a lot better of a place if people try to share ideas and understand, rather than force ideas or judge ideas. Irish people in Dublin wanted to know all about America....people are interested. Have you ever asked the old Italian guy in the back of Old Bridge Pizza why he really moved here? I cooked eggs one night and I put turkey in them, and this British kid just stared at me and said "Is that what you do with eggs in America" completely fascinated. I said "yeah, everyone does this" even though I was lying... its just a weird thing I do.

There is no proper way to end this blog. There is no proper way to end my experience here. It has indeed left me standing here today twelve weeks later as a different human being and what I sought out to do here...worked. I have changed, and I will be bringing that change back to the United States with me. Coming here for twelve weeks was like boot camp for every idea I've ever had. It was an intense work out of my mind,a realization that the world exists (and is not scary), and an acceptance of the fact that I am a product of a mother culture and I expect things from everybody I meet. From now on I'm going to try and live without expectations, but rather wonder what people expect from me in terms of how they should be talked to or treated. Me and Chip used to make fun of the Mexicans at Krispy and ask them offensive questions like "Are you going to start an encomieda and take over the restaurant?" and I never considered that these people moved to America, from a totally foreign environment, and they are trying assimilate, that's all you can do when you assimilate into another culture. I am foreign here. Think about that. I think that is difficult for some people to grasp.

Have you ever met a foreign kid in school and you just think he's the nicest and friendliest? That is what you have to do, you don't want to step on the toes of your host culture, but you want to put on a smile and try to understand, respect, and become apart of it before you judge or criticize it.Four times during my course in England I would mess up and get on the wrong train or bump into somebody and someone would call me a "fuckin yank" or something like that. I've never been noticed because of my nationality before. When you stand out, you feel exposed, so you have to dive in and that can be difficult.

So I learned my culture. I really did. I say "cheers' when someone holds the door, sometimes my voice may inflect upwards, I have a really cool jacket, my shirts might seem funny, I only competitively chugged a beer twice since being in England, we say fags instead of cigarettes, we know how to shop at Sainsburys and we don't ask for pancake batter and we bring bookbags to put the groceries in, we call the bathroom the toilet, the elevator is the lift, garbage pales are rubbish bins, our friends are our mates, we say "yeah?" a lot after conversation, we say "Nice day today In't it?", we don't tip our bartenders but we buy them a drink and they drink with us, we pay for our food BEFORE we eat...separately, we ride the tube and we don't look at the map for too long, we move right on the elevator, we stand in a "que" instead of a line, we know that if you buy a hotdog you're going to get a brat, eggs are not refrigerated, cider is on tap and you must drink Strongbow, Carling is the Busch beer of England, Fuller's London Pride is my favourite, you sit at a table in a pub with other people, it doesn't have to just be you and your mates, British people love King's of Leon, teachers are tutors, mandatory is cumpulsory, aluminum is pronounced owloominyum,the pubs in central close at ten but are packed at five, everyone drinks after work everyday and they don't generally sit at the pub, they stand around and shout at each other like in a house party, everyone wears whatever they want and nobody judges them and you can feel comfortable being anybody here including yourself, The best seat on the double decker are the four seats in the front row on the second level, you "top up" your Oyster Card, 10p coins are useless, money is notes, you don't have to pay for the 453 towards Marlebone, Tesco is open 24 hours, ASDA is the wal-mart of England, gas stations are petrol stations and you pay by the litre (103.2), cigarettes have pictures of people dying on them, lamb and mint meat pies are the best, pasty's are always a good choice, Coke Cola is made with pure cane sugar and tastes better, you talk to strangers at a pub, you say Hi to them the next day on the street and stop and ask how they are instead of avoiding eye contact, everyone rides the tube, you eat breakfast with tomato and beans, scones are not triangular or hard, clotted cream is not the same as butter, Marmite is for losers, nobody drinks tea at 3 in the afternoon but tea is more popular than coffee, I don't even know what the fuck a crumpet is, King Henry the 8th was my favorite King because he was a badass and had cool portraits, if someone asks you if you are red or blue they don't mean north or south states, they're asking if you support Liverpool Football or Manchester United, sports are called SPORT, you can't wear a Manchester United hat around Arsenal, sandwiches are called baguettes, there are lots of sheep in the english countryside, ..I could go on but I won't.

The point I'm making is you have to dive in, I dove in. Everything is different here in such a similar way. Life moves differently here. London vibrates and hums, it breathes. People are interested in people here. Everyone I've met has sincerely been interested in my life, in my accent, my story. British people have a tremendous sense of humour, they love to "have a laugh", but they are intense when it's time to speak of real human things, and for that I am thankful I got to meet them. They are witty and clever and worth talking to.


Tonight I took the train to Southwark and walked to the Thames, right under the millennium bridge by the sign that says "I eat Rubbish" across from the Globe in front of St. Paul's Cathedral. How many times have I wrote that description? How many times have I went there and gazed into the Thames, surrounded by the world?
And I was tired.
I watched double decker busses go by but they were too far to hear their engines, so all you could hear was the hum of the river like an old movie where somebody has to play the piano along with the images.
I breathed.
The River was musical.
Quiet in London, tonight.
Big Ben is ticking five hours too fast. It's time to go home.
I looked up at St. Paul's Cathedral and thought about how I'd never gone inside, and that is OK. Sometimes things are so beautiful on the outside you can't really ever know what it's like inside...but its nice to have something we hope or come back to and find it's new, but it's not so sad leaving something up to the it? Symbolism.
I sat on the bench that I sat on the first day I explored by myself and declared it "my bench" because I knew it and it is mine. I felt it in my hand and it felt like wet wood on a deck in New Jersey after the rain. I looked at the river and it looked good enough to build a city around. I felt life in that river, I felt like the rain that falls in it.
Couples making out all over the bridge. Makes me smile. People find each other some how in this weird, weird world.
I thought about standing in the middle of the bridge with all those perfectly dim lights, looking at tower bridge ,basking in the shadow of St. Paul's and just kissing somebody. I mean really kissing them, public display of affection in front of the whole city. I couldn't put a face to her, or an eye color or hair color or smile, maybe I never will, but I hope one day I'll find my own bridge to kiss her on, really kiss her, and that'll be a start.

You can travel everywhere and shake hands with everybody in the world and still feel like you've never met anybody.

I remembered things of course, I thought about my friends here in London, I thought about how lucky I am for them, to have them. I know they read this now so I'm not writing unaware like I used to, but if you're reading this Kelly, Jo, Daria, Kate, Emily, Chris...I love you and the greatest thing I did in England was get to know you all. I don't want to repeat Thanksgiving but I mean it. Things have changed so much since I first met you all. Kelly I'm glad we lived together, it made being in E1A seem less far away from home, Jo you make me feel good about myself and proud of myself because you feel good and proud about yourself, Daria the last thing I've ever felt for you was h8, Kate I'm glad you proved to be just as interesting as your facebook statuses foreshadowed when I read them in August, Emily your the only thing about London I'm truly losing and tomorrow my main sadness about saying goodbye is reserved for you, and Chris we may have gotten along like Felix Unger and Jack Klugman but we still stole the show.

Love you guys. I could blog about it all day but I won't, you know how it is.

I sat on that bench with Becca, I sat on the bench with Nick. I thought about how places are just places when you're alone.

And look at my friends facebook statuses from home


Gerard Corless needs andrew ginsberg back in my life TO(morrow)NIGHT!!!!

George Gillard Andrew Ginsberg comes back to America

Bryan Nelson Fucking Andrew Ginsberg is coming home bitches


I mean I feel so much love from the people at home. I feel so much closer to them now that I've been so far away. I really know what its like to miss people. I really missed them.

I've written about all this before, I don't want to repeat myself. I am happy. I've changed.

Tomorrow I get on a plane and leave a country I love for another country I love. I've lived in England for twelve weeks. I've traveled across Europe. I almost went to Spain. I will sleep in my full size bed with my parents in the room next door.

My spot on the Thames will still be there waiting for me when life pushes me back to it.

You learn a big secret when you study abroad, you can't tell anyone what it is, and you think about it everyday.

I hope you are a little closer to understanding that secret.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On Changing Your Life (My Penultimate Blog)By: Andrew Ginsberg


I first started to write things down in this blog as a means of just documenting things I did in London....that way one day (as a cold and bitter old schoolteacher) I could remember the good times I had when I was 21 in England. I remember even giving this web address to a few people I would never want reading this stuff now.

I never previous to this kept a journal ( I won't say diary), and I never meant for it to evolve as it did, or become so important to me both in my experience in London and as refuge for my unsettled mind in the middle of the night. As I skim through the pages of this, I noticed it really did evolve into a personal unraveling of my problems, a working out of things in my mind, and a way for me to form conclusions without interrupting my daily life. I did let it become personal, I did seek refuge in it... maybe every night, and to be honest, I'm quite happy about it. Every time I examine things on this public website my life feels a whole lot better, things feel a whole lot clearer. I have never been happier or more level headed than I am coming back from England right now, and while I know that will change (maybe even look forward to it) I'm glad it happened. I'm glad its documented. It feels good to feel good.

The second to last thing I want to include in this blog is a recounting of some major events that I dealt with during the past some detail. These are things I haven't even really spoke about, nonetheless biographically regurgitated. I want to do this now, months and months later, because A. It is important to my London blog, because of being in London I was able to examine and provide self therapy and heal these things that I did and experienced during August 2008 until about June 2009. B. I previously have not been able to examine it, it was still to foreign to me, but recently I have put it all into perspective in my head, and C. I will definitely want to remember these stories one day, because this past year entirely contributed to who I am now, more than any other year of my entire life. I am not embarrassed of these things I suppose or you reading it, because If you have been keeping up with this blog, then you know me pretty well now don't you? I might even be like a little character that you are following around, and you deserve to know a bit more about the blank space between my sophomore year of college and my senior year in London. It makes for a good memoir anyway.

I feel happy now, I am happy now...

Chapter 1.
I Had a Girlfriend for almost six years.
From the age of 14 until 20, I had a girlfriend. It's funny how I can barely remember this now. I mean, this was a huge part of my life. Even last year at this time I had a girlfriend, the same girlfriend. I suppose the non remembering is psychological, it's my way of blocking it out, which is wrong. Why forget?

I talked to her every night on the phone for that entire six years. I spent every Wednesday and Friday and Sunday with her for that entire six years. I went to Broadway plays, concerts, her dance events, she watched me learn how to play guitar, I taught her how to play guitar, she was there for every teenage fight with my parents, I picked her up when I got my license, I was at her sweet sixteen, every emotion that comes with getting older I shared with her, friends, drugs, alcohol,self doubt, every thing you experience individually growing up, I experienced WITH someone. She stayed in Old Bridge and went to Brookdale so we wouldn't separate because I was an idiot who blew off High School, I helped her do just about everything she ever struggled with for six years. I was unique in that sense. I missed out on having high school single life, which I guess I regret a little because it's fucked me up in the real adult single world, but it was unique, and as a teenager I thoroughly enjoyed it, because I was happy and comfortable while all my friends were sad and lonely and well, teenagers.

Love is not consistent. It's not objectifiable. It doesn't look the same for everyone. It is malleable, it changes, it shapes. It grows but it looks different. It might not even exist for you. Love could just be dedication to a promise, a fear of losing the past, a fear of the future, or an insecurity about being alone. Or just a promise to not give up on someone because you recognize that they are alive and not giving up on you. Once you recognize they are alive, everything changes. I can't safely tell you I ever "loved" my girlfriend. I don't even know what the word means.

So when you think you found "love", what are you talking about? You're just objectifying a feeling that is subjective. In my opinion that feeling is the feeling of completeness, or fullness.We are typically really empty human beings. We are generally filled with so much shit...shit like religion, culture, society, drugs, alcohol, reading, television, music, whatever you fill that emptiness with, that's fine, but when you fill it with "love" feels different, it doesn't digest like food, it leaves you full for awhile. It stops your starving. So we say we're in love. We don't need the world anymore because we found a human being.
People that experience "love" find that they have an initial A. Outrageous feeling of elation; can't live without, this is the most amazing thing...etc, followed by B. A realization of both sides imperfections. C. A settling of differences. D. A remembering that without this we go back to being alone, so deal, if its alright. We go back to the shit.
That is love, or, a recognizing that a person exists. It's hard to go back to being alone, it's hard to deal with that when the lights go out at night.

I never even really was alone, because I had Melissa (that was her name) since the time I became self aware. Since the time I stopped looking at myself as an orb of my parents, I was not alone, so I never really thought about things I think other teenagers think about, like what they even LOOK for in a girl, because I assumed, (at the age of a child) that I knew. I never explored or shaped an opinion of myself or of others really, everything I did was filtered through or juxtaposed to her. So the problem this posed over time was, one year went by. Now I'm 15 and still have a girlfriend. Then 2. Then 3. 16, 17, Then 4, 18. I was getting older, and it got to the point where we could NEVER break up because that seemed impossible. I couldn't imagine life without her, because we had become totally dependant on each other emotionally and totally dependent on the way we saw each other to find ourselves in society. I couldn't see her functioning in the world without me on speed dial. We became the hope for everyone. "Melissa and Andy will never break up". Shocked and astonished teachers watched as we grew older and then we would visit the high school, still together, shouting congratulations at us, warming their old hearts.

But we had gotten OLDER, and we were NOT the same people we were in those photographs from her sweet sixteen. There is this crazy picture I have of me standing next to her in her beautiful dress, with the longest most obnoxious hair and beard you have ever seen in your life and she is all smiles and skinny looking and frail. She loved that version of me, and that was my girlfriend that I remember. I am not that person and never was, that was a punk kid trying to be John Lennon. That was a kid who listened to way too many Beatles records and tried to "rebel" against my own culture by adopting a culture that had already rebelled against another culture, I was completely unoriginal as a teen, I think all teens are. She was not that frail little pale white girl from the photo, she's athletic and strong and not all smiles, but we fell in love with two people imitating something because we were young. Because we were young. That initial "love" grew into need, for survival, but that initial love was just youthful, childish admiration.

I wasn't a hippie. I realized this when I got older and formed a being in myself and stopped pretending I was John Lennon. Actually, I was quite the opposite. So I gave up on peace and love and stuff I never really believed in, I was just like any other teenager who wanted to be in the Beatles. Everything changed for me when I started reading. I started reading books all the time, blowing through them, paying more attention to them then music. I started studying religions and having long conversations with friends and suddenly I wasn't the same. I was cynical. I lived for the night. I've documented this in my blog so I won't go into it, but I lived for the night I lived for the story and I lived for the idea of the absurd. This is essentially what bonded me and Justin together as Friends, we both have an undying love for the absurd. Throwing a vase against a wall in a crowded dinner party.

I spent a lot of time in high school pretending I was some kind of revolutionary musician. By the time I was 19 I no longer was that person. I was an adult who went to college and read books and wrote all the time and talked out life with people and observed and could offer people advice and I had become myself (sort of) or the person I was struggling to become. I had original ideas and no longer relied on someone else's lyrics for a good quote. I got into so many abstract arts and philosophies, I would explore just about ANYTHING, and the things I talked about scared Melissa. Melissa got into exercising and health food. She got into stuff I deemed "totally fucking lame". I went to sleep at 5am after a night of debauchery and she went to sleep at 9pm after watching reality television and waiting for my phone call which would probably never come.

The point I'm drawing from this was there was a clear divide between us from the time we turned 18 and became real people. Its not my fault or her fault, I don't mean to make myself seem like a nutcase, or her like a total fucking square, but I guess that's what it is.

If we had met in adulthood we would have never even introduced ourselves to each other.That is the main point. We were literally living opposite lives, except for the fact that we would hang out sometimes. Our glory years as two teenagers dating were over. Neither of us as adults were the people we acted like as kids. I loved everything she hated and the same for her. She would never admit it, but she loathed everything about me. She just wanted me to "be normal", I just wanted her to not be "normal" at all. We failed to realize we were only together because we had grown to rely on each other. Actually, I think I even realized this, but she loved me so much I would never tell her that. I would never tell her that.
She really loved me so much.
But she didn't know what love was.
My dad would say stuff like "You two are going to get married" and I knew in my heart it wasn't true and I would think to myself there's no way I'm going to wind up with her forever. I would think about forever and get upset, I would think about a way in which this could end and I knew it was impossible. Every time I was with her my heart melted, she was so fucking innocent. I really believed that. She was so sheltered from the realities of "life is hard" that I could never break her heart. I only knew about these realities from the things I read. So it stomached any feelings I had of us being over and moved on with my life.

They forgot to make me a stocking one Christmas so she got me a giant one with my name on it. She wrote me a note everyday for like three years.
I rode my bike to her house.
I wrote her poems.
I wrote her songs.
We watched bad movies and laughed.
She did my math homework.
She brought me soup and a big Hershey bar every time I was sick.
I wrote her English papers.
I took her out every Friday even though I had no money, I still found a way.
She'd put her hand on my chest when I smoked cigarettes at a party and say "don't smoke" and cry and I'd feel like the worst human being in existence.
I complained every second I went to Six Flags with her, but I still took her every chance I could.
Everytime an ambulance drove by she'd say "I hope their OK".
I told her that no matter what I'd take care of her for ever when I told her I was moving in with Justin.
I justified her existence as being a light in my dark and weird life. I thought it was "fate" that we had to be together. I knew we weren't right for each other, but I wasn't going to be the one to say anything I guess, because I couldn't do it to her...

Chapter 2.
August 28th, 2008.
I move into 235 Franklin Street, Bloomfield NJ.

It was my first night in Franklin Street. I was excited to be leaving behind the life I'd made in Old Bridge. In Old Bridge I partied and I was diluted with friends and I lived a fantasy life and my mother cooked me dinner and I never understood one second of real life until I lived in Franklin Street. At home, Melissa and I did fine because we lived in Old Bridge and everything was fine.
I remember moving day. Justin and I slapped five all day, moving in furniture off the U-HAUL, setting up how the room would look. I couldn't wait for my parents to drive off and be on my own. I had big ideas with Justin. We were going to write songs, start a website, we had all this stuff we were going to do to change the world. I finally felt like an adult. It took us all day to move and by 5pm, the room was done. We were settled. My parents left, Justin's parents left, and then Justin turned to me and said "I'm taking off bro, I'll move in next week".

He never really explained why he did this but I had no idea he was going to bail on me during the first night. So here I sat, everyone gone, 5pm, no television, Internet, friends, hell, classes hadn't even started yet, and I was alone in the apartment. This would be a re-occurring theme in this apartment. I was always alone in the apartment.

So I sulked around and decorated and hung up some stuff that Justin would later call "tacky" and take down, and then I just sat there. To be honest with you, I didn't really want to sleep alone in this weird apartment in Bloomfield the first night. You know how houses creek and stuff, I didn't know what to expect. So I called Dan D and asked if he'd crash. Dan came over and we ate pizza and drank a few brews and I felt alright, he told me how awesome the place looked and I felt better about living there.
He left the next morning and I spent a few nights alone, and then Justin burst in one day.
I was sitting on the sofa. "Hey man" he said looking at me like a piece of furniture that didn't quite belong in the motif of the room. I was like "yo! dude! you're here, listen..." and he slammed the bedroom door in my face and locked it and that was it.
I had to get used to being alone when I previously never was. I had to get used to Justin acting like I didn't exist.
I just want to preface this that my relationship with Justin did eventually improve, we worked out everything and became closer than any two people could ever be, but he was dealing with a lot during the first few weeks and I was dealing with just being there.
So I was just alone in the apartment. I'd just wander around it doing nothing and then I'd wander around Bloomfield. I'd come home and talk to Justin a little but he always seemed mad at me and I'd watch him cook and try to cook the same stuff when he wasn't home or looking.
Eventually, everyone else came up. Melissa moved into the La Quinta Inn Montclair, and Mike Lauany came up and moved into the Village, class started.
I went to class all week and found I liked Montclair for this reason, but when the weekends came, the parties were lame. I didn't like anyone I met at Launay's parties, everyone went home, I was just stuck in Bloomfield. I had no social life. I was still with Melissa at the time but she would go home every weekend, so I only saw her on random nights during this week, and I would use this time to complain about Justin and Franklin Street and how I thought I'd made a mistake moving in there.
"It's just not anything, all I have time to do here is think". I'd say to her. "I just sit there and think all day".
All that thinking would be the best thing that ever happened to me.
I was taken out of my society and forced to reflect on myself. Without Old Bridge and my friends, with college being a let down, without my girlfriend around I just thought about my myself. Justin and I started having long, introspective discussions during this time. We'd stay up all night (sometimes by candlelight) talking about life, religion, love, god, being, nothingness. I can't even tell you what this does to the human mind, being able to just analyze all the time. NO distractions.
We really got to know each other. Every night was a new discussion. We'd sit down when dinner and wine and work was done and Justin would say something like "So I was thinking about what it means to be a knight of infinite resignation" and the discussion would begin. Sometimes these talks would end with my rethinking everything I had ever thought, and I knew Justin felt the same way, although he'd NEVER admit it.
One day Justin approached me. He is still to this day, the most disconnected human I have ever met. He will always tell you how it is regardless of how it will affect you, and he is always right.
"You're unhappy" he said lamely.
"Yeah I admitted. "I mean, it just sucks here. I can't make any friends at school and we don't have any modern appliances and we just talk about this existential stuff all the time and I'm buggin man, I want to be in a dorm.".
"No, I mean you hate your life" he countered. "You hate your girlfriend, you're fat and that makes you unhappy but your fat because you don't care about how you look because you don't care about what Melissa thinks about you, you take joys in the life in Old Bridge because it helps you forget that you hate your girlfriend, you want to be in a party school because that environment perpetuates your idleness".
He continued.
"You hate your major. You don't want to be a teacher. You're just doing it because you think it's the right thing to do. You hate how your life is planned, how it's lost all spontaneity. You will just get married to Melissa, who you hate, and be a teacher, which you also hate, and die, and that makes you unhappy, and so you are unhappy, and you're unhappiness is bringing me down man honestly I can't even look at you.
This is literally what he said to me.
I wanted to stick a knife through his throat at the time, but everything he said was true. Every word.

I decided I needed a break. I thought a lot about what Justin said, and he'd tell me. "Change your major man, live". "Why don't you try a break with Melissa?" "Live". "Fuck it, drop out of school". "Live".

Here is something I've never told anyone about.
I decided to go visit my friend at the University of Maryland one weekend. I needed to get away from the alone time. This is the weekend that changed a lot of lives.

While I was driving down to Maryland, Justin had asked Melissa out for coffee to tell her she was also, unhappy. He really believed that we weren't meant for each other. It would take a lot out of him to tell me about this,months and months later.

While I was driving down to Maryland I was thinking about how me and Melissa clearly weren't right for each other. I knew Justin was right. It feels weird when someone tells you flat out what you're feeling inside. I thought about how we had both changed, I thought about how I never wanted to hang out with her, how I felt like I was "clocking in" sometimes when she came over like a job, how I ignored her phone calls. I thought about how we fought all the time and were both clinging on to scraps of when it was good. I thought about how I finally was seeing myself for the first time without other people around...and I saw that I was unhappy, and I saw that this was true. I didn't want to be a teacher, I didn't want to marry Melissa, I didn't want any of this, I wanted to be in a band or travel or some shit I didn't want any of these things.

The university of Maryland was an enormous college. It was everything I had ever dreamed about. Huge campus, lots of smart looking kids shuffling around, and the parties and bars were AWESOME. I was so jealous of my friends life. Here he was at "college" and I was in Bloomfield waiting for the sun to go down totally alone.
That night we drank like I usually did. Shots, beers. It was time to go out.
I was with my friend Ryan and my friend Alex. We went to a crowded bar, I was drunk but not wasted. There was a girl there.
She came up to me and asked me my name, do you go here, the usual. She eventually asked what my major was. I said "English Education".
"Oh you want to teach?"
"Not really".
"Well what do you want to do?"
"Drive around California and hand out acid to people".
I don't know why I said this to her. This is usually the kind of response I give when somebody asks me wanted I want to do, because I don't want to tell them "live for spontaneous events".
"Oh, you're going to be a Merry Prankster?"
and she got my joke and she got my reference and she thought it was funny!. She was an English major. We talked about books. I would quote things in conversation just to see if she picked up on it. She got my quotes, She laughed at things I said, I laughed at things she said and really laughed, like I thought she was funny..and smart.
I was intrigued.
I spent the whole night talking to her about topics I never talked about with Melissa. I left my friends and disappeared in Maryland with this girl. We just walked around and I made jokes and told her about my stupid life at home and she was witty and so quick to respond with really intellectual stuff. She made living in Franklin Street seem cool, and it did seem cool, and rock n roll, and I got a feeling that I hadn't had since I was a 14...I think I'm digging this girl.

I dropped her off at her dorm at 4am, and told her I have a girlfriend, before we could go inside.
Obviously I never talked to her again, but as a I drove back I started thinking about what I, as a 20 year old adult, look for in a girl. How great everything felt when it clicked. What it would be like to be with someone who doesn't think I'm nuts. To be with someone who doesn't find me impressive, but rather, thinks I'm a bumbling idiot. A challege. What if I was with someone I could have a real conversation with? I thought about What it could be like for Melissa if she was with someone who liked maybe even SOME of the things she did. If she was with someone who worked out with her and liked to watch hockey games, what if she was with a guy who loved all the sweet innocent things she did, and maybe even admired her? What if she was with a guy who wanted the 9-5, or to have a good job and a house. These things aren't bad they just weren't OUR dream, they were hers. Even if that guy would be a jock, he'd be her jock. And WE could be happy.

Justin was right. Melissa thought so too. He told her "we'd just been together to long, we're just together out of habit"
And the next day she asked me for coffee and told me we needed a break.
I flipped out and told her I hated her and that was a terrible idea.

I don't know why I had this reaction, but when it actually came to losing her I freaked. I wasn't prepared mentally yet. I tried to get her back every day. I wrote a big long note on face book on how we belonged together (yeah I deleted that now). We started dating again at the end of the month, by November we were back together, and I thought to myself, OK, this is good. This is normal. This is familiar.

But I had already changed my major.

Chapter 3:
Really Alone on Franklin Street

There are other events that coincide with my break up, and if you know the circumstances surrounding this congrats, I consider you my friend. My break up was bound to happen. My time in Franklin Street had lead me into a new realm of self analysis, and although it was lonely I was glad it happened. I went home for Christmas break and Melissa and I grew close again. I started to change my mind, and feel really content with the way things were going.

But Franklin Street had fucked me up, andI started exploring some repressed feelings here and there saba dah on that one.
Turned out to be nothing, but what I got out of it was the realization that as long as I thought I could be with someone else, I had no room to kid my girlfriend of six years...and it was over in my mind. We had grown apart from each other. I knew what I looked for in women, she in men, and we found neither of that in each other.

Plus I finally kissed someone else, and I knew it was over. I would never cheat. It was over.

But she "loved" me so much, and I "loved" her too, so this was hard. I mean it had been six years.
It shook me to my core, man, I'm telling you.

So I guess this is where I snapped. This is my "blue period".

We were sitting in my kitchen. Me in a chair with gum in my hair and her rubbing peanut butter through it trying to get it out. I was thinking about how hard this was going to be. She was making jokes. Fucking jokes. She was laughing. She was happy. It was January 6th.
I was thinking "If I do this, it's this really what I want? What if I can't be happy, what if this what if that what if this what if that".
"What do you like the most about me?" I asked her.
She laughed, "Everything".
"No seriously, if you had to name one thing, what would it be"?
"I don't know she said, honestly everything".
Our entire six year relationship was relying on the answer to this question.
Everything wasn't enough.
"Ok...I'll do you" I said flatly. "If I had to pick one thing I like about you,I like how you say " I hope they're ok" everytime an ambulance drives by, because I know you really mean it."
"Aww" she said.
"Well I like EVERYTHING about you".
And I snapped. And this was it. I couldn't be with someone who liked "everything" about me.
"We're through" I said unsympathetically.
"What?" She laughed.
"We're through, I'm breaking up with you. No break, no time to think things over. I kissed another girl and I'm breaking up with you".

What insued was panic. She told me she forgives me and she begged me to stop, I told her no. It wasn't about forgiveness it was about how I wouldn't have done this if we were right for each other. I should have listened when she tried to call it off initially. She cried. I did nothing. I just sat there.
I drove her home and she cried the whole time and I put up the radio and tried not to think.
Before she got out of my car, she looked at me with the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen on her, filled to the brim with tears and choked out "Why are you doing this?"
and I responded, "In my dreams when I think about the girl who I am going to be with for the rest of my life, I picture her as a painter. She paints beautiful pictures and we hang them up all over our house. You will never paint, you will never be my painter".
The painter was a metaphorical thing, yano.
"Well" she said. "I hope you realize that you are FUCKING INSANE and that you are breaking up with me for someone you MADE UP in your head, and I hope you DIE alone with nobody but the GIRL in your HEAD" and stormed out of the car.
It was the most philosophical thing she'd ever said to me, and I drove away feeling impressed with her.

I flipped the car down her street and called Gerry. "Do you want to go to Florida?" I asked him. "When?". "Right now". "No." "OK LATER". I called Murphy. "Do you want to go to Florida?". "I have no money". "OK BYE". I drove down to route 9. I drove and got on I-95. I figured I would deal with all this from a beach in Florida. The hardest thing I'd ever had to do was do what I just did, I couldn't stop crying and I wanted to die, but I knew I HAD to be the one to do this in order for us both to be happy. I figured, I need a vacation.
But I had no money. I turned the car around and went home, sure enough there was her car in front of my house, she was standing on my driveway.

"Where are you going?" she asked in a manic way. "Florida" I said and just walked inside and slammed the door. I walked up to my room and started shoving clothes in a bag. I walked downstairs and my parents said "where are you going?" and I said "Back to my apartment". They said "But you just got's winter break", and I said "I broke up with Melissa" and closed the door and walked outside.
She just stood there and I said "I'm going to Florida Melissa".
"You've snapped" she retorted. "You've finally fucking lost it".
"True" I said, "But we're gonna be happy one day".
I sped up the parkway, back to Franklin Street, and of course there was Justin, alone with a Christmas tree.

I told him about what happened.

"If Melissa calls I'll tell her you're in Florida" he replied.
And he bought me a case of beer and I turned off my phone and we were best friends.

Over the course of the next few weeks I never slept. I never left my apartment. I missed Melissa so badly. I looked at pictures all the time. I regretted my decision everyday, from the second I woke up until I went to sleep, but I truly felt, like FELT, that this HAD to be done in order for us to be happy in our lives. I KNEW it was over. Being this cold, and leaving my phone off was something I NEVER wanted to do. I wasn't happy about any of this, on the contrary it was the most miserable I had ever been.
I finalized my plans for London, I wanted to get out of here, re-evaluate things. I didn't want to face another year alone on Franklin Street, I didn't want to go back to Old Bridge. I needed something else.
I was standing on my driveway. Justin and his girlfriend were inside cooking dinner and I went out for a breath of fresh air. Justin and I had become real close, and I had become really good friends with his girlfriend at this time. They knew what I was going through and they were cooking me dinner and I was really looking forward to it. It was snowing. Snow everywhere.
I looked into the street and saw Melissa walking up the driveway.
"Tell me you're fucking serious" she said
"I am".
"You've snapped. I'm worried about you. You've gone insane".
"I'm not insane I feel fine"
"No you're INSANE" and she screamed it and it echoed and my neighbors looked out the window.
She didn't look like herself. I couldn't place what was different and then I realized that she hated me. That's what made her look different.
"I'm sorry, but I'm making the right decision, one of us had to do it".
"You're insane, the painter comment, what the fuck was that?"
"It's the truth, you're not a painter".
"FUCK YOU, who are YOU to decide what kind of person I should be?"
"I'm not deciding that. I'm telling you what kind of person you're not".
"I hate you " she said. "And you will wake up one day and realize you are completley alone and nobody loves you, and I, I will be fine."
"Ok, Looking forward to it" I said and turned around and walked inside with tears in my eyes that I didn't want her to see.

A few weeks later she started dating a new guy. He was the kind of guy I imagined she belonged with when I broke up with her. I saw pictures of them on the internet, together, saying "I love you" as facebook comments, and I was fucked up. She moved on from our 6 year fling in two weeks. I had not moved on at all. I was in the worst condition of my life.

Chapter 4
February- May.
Really Alone.

Time went by and I never left the apartment. I decided that "the apartment" had ruined my life. I spent hours, days, months alone. I lost weight everyday without trying. I never ate, I never slept. I wrote all the time. I read books. I went to class and then I went straight home. I never went back to Old Bridge. I told my friends not to bother coming by, because if they did I had to pretend I was happy. I only felt safe in my apartment. I even tried to go to a few parties and I had to leave, and drive back to Bloomfield, because I just wanted to be alone. My relationship with Justin became strained again because I was dissinterested in doing anything that made me myself. I'd just sit on the couch and type and grunt at him. He stopped coming around, he started spending weeks at a time at his girlfriend's dorm.
I'd just stay up all night thinking about how I was dead. listening to the sounds of my apartment. Feeling alone.
I'd see Melissa on campus and I'd say some crazy thing to her, make her think I was nuts. I let my hair grow out of control. I was just a sad guy. Everything made me sad.
But still, STILL, I KNEW deep down I made the right decision.
I didn't realize during this time that I was actually going through a depression. I just thought it was cold out and I wanted to be inside all the time. I didn't realize that when Gerry would show up every Saturday after a while with a six pack and some food to cook that he wasn't just doing it because we're best buds, he was doing it because he was worried about me. Gerry started driving up to Bloomfield twice a week from New Brunswick when he got out of class to hang out with me.
Even Justin would come home with little gifts, like a cigar or something and say really sentimental stuff unlike him like "Hey man, maybe this weekend we can go out for a beer?" and I'd think "whats wrong with he sad?". I never thought for a second people were worried about me.
Everyone was worried about me. Justin told all my friends I was depressed. Melissa even called a few people and told them I wasn't OK. I didn't find out about alot of this until later, but I didn't realize what was going on at the time. It's nice to know that people cared. I didn't really deserve sympathy though, I did it to myself and needed to go through it. I'm glad I did.

I was depressed because I made a decision, to be alone. It took a lot of introspection for me to understand my alone ness. This was a disposition I put myself in on purpose, to be happy, and now I was alone and sad like Melissa predicted. I had to figure out how to be a single person like everyone else for the first time in my life. It's not easy to do what I did, to look someone in the face and break their heart for a girl who doesn't exist or a feeling that we might not be right for each other after six years. Its the kind of thing that keeps you up at night.
I'm not going to lie, I went on like this for a while, but then my friends, like all things, it ended. The sun came out.

I started feeling better. I don't know how it happened. I just woke up one day and said "I'm back".
I vowed never to fall for a girl again until I was ready or felt that same gut feeling that made me break up with Melissa, and I didn't, I mean for like 8 months at least I barely even talked to girls, and even If I did fall for someone again eventually I did it with clear concious and a clear mind, just following that feeling. No more insecurity. No more unsureness. No more needing. I understand myself. No more hiding. I'm like Justin now sort of, I just say it like it is.
I was renewed.
I told Justin I needed to move out. The apartment served it's purpose but I belonged with the world, with the parties, with society. I had gone into the woods to discover myself and was ready to rejoin society, I understood things now. I was Thoreu. I was no longer depressed, I was happy. I used the time I spent inside to figure myself out, I was going to London to do the final work that had began in 2009, and I was happy. I never wanted to live in Franklin Street again.
I moved back home that summer as an adult, not the child who had left in August. I met up with Melissa once or twice and we had civil conversations, she told me how happy she was with her new boyfriend Stan. I was happy she was happy.
I spent that summer loving every second I was with my friends, I had a new found understanding of human beings and relationships. I had a great job. I became grateful for everything I had. It felt good to be with people. I felt positive.
Then I came to London and had this experience, and I've never been happier in my life. I mean, just re-read this blog. Its amazing to reflect on everything I've done and become. One year later so much has changed, it was the most interesting year of my life but so worth it. Everything was so worth it. All my relationships are where they should be, everything is fine.

I owe Justin my life. I owe my friends everything. I am grateful that I have the people I met in London and my friends at home. I owe a big thanks to somebody

Maybe God?

Who knows.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

London: A Geographical Recap.

I had a long day at "The Church" which I'll blog some other time about because I just had an idea.

I'm just going to recap some geographical stuff for myself real quick, so If you follow this blog and don't feel the need to read this, don't bother. Honestly it's just a poorly written/summary rant of a lot of stuff I've already said. I'm just dumping this information out real quick so I have it, kind of like notes.

I have less than a week. My friend Kyle moved out to California, and got to drive out west and see areas of the United States I have never seen. I haven't got a chance to talk to him yet, but I saw he penned a few lines on Gerry's facebook wall about what his trip was like. Even in these few lines, I got a really good sense of it, and I decided I should do the same thing. Kyle is an aspiring writer and I was moved by just the short paragraphs he wrote, I really got a sense of it.

I have spent 11 weeks living in New Cross, London. The Street is St James, the area code is SE14 6AD...and late at night at the New Cross Inn, the locals chant "This is New Cross, this is London, SE14!" and they sing and the sound vibrates all around you and you know you are there.
The first thing symbolic of New Cross is New Cross Gate.

This is where I will start. This is a train station, similar to any other train station in the world. It looks a lot like train stations in Boston, not so much in NJ, but it's a normal train station. There is graffiti and signs that advertise British meat. One of the the things spray painted on the cement is "?!". The loudspeakers always say messages like " STEP AWAY FROM PLATFORM 5, THE APPROACHING TRAIN IS NOT SHED-UALED(get it?)TO STOP AT THIS STATION",and you watch a train whiz by. When you get on the train it lets you know what you're doing. The speaker will say, "THIS IS THE 19:20 SOUTHERN SERVICE TO, LONDON BRIDGE", or something like that. There are television screens so you can see if you are delayed. If the train is late, the voice will usually give a reason like, "THE 18:40 TRAIN TO ORPINGTON IS DELAYED BECAUSE OF LACK OF EMPLOYEES" or something literal like that.
When you walk out of the train station you are in the actual gate. You use your travel card/ or your ticket to get through. Inside there are machines where you buy tickets, or you could always buy tickets off the Jamaican guy who sells them dirt cheap like I do. This is about a 3 minute walk from my dorm.
When you leave the gate, you are in New Cross. New Cross smells like french fries and cars that have been running for a long time. It is a smell I love and have gotten used to. When I first got here, I thought all of England smelled like perfume, but the smell went away, maybe I just got used to it, or maybe it's symbolic.
If you observe the street you'll see a lot of activity. People move quickly,or they stand still. There are people standing and smoking or shouting. This is a lower class area of London, it's not the area of big Clock towers and important buildings. It looks more like Brooklyn. The street is filled with shops that sell weird electronics or sofas, or just like used crap. There is a lot of fast food. It's a big mix between college students, business men, and crazy looking bums, all shuffling around not making eye contact with each other. You can see from the street Double Decker London Buses go by, (there is a bus stop on either side), black cabs, and normal looking cars with normal looking people in them. The buildings look run down and modern, but still have something terrifically Victorian about them. They don't have that "Sir Christopher Wren" feel, but there is still something aged about the buildings, something just unamerican enough for me to notice.
If you go West you'll Head toward Elephant and Castle,and eventually make you're way over the Thames toward Waterloo and Westminster, the business district, which connects to Green Park and eventually Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus.This is whats known as "The Strand", where you would go to see like Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings, Westminster Abbey, and follow the park to Buckingham Palace, you know, all the touristy jazz.... but I'm getting ahead of myself. If you go East you'll head toward Lewisam, Deptford, Greenwich, Catford Bus Garage, southern areas, less/more interest sing areas depending on what kind of person you are. These are the areas of Curry Food and minorities.
Ok So New Cross.
Across the street from the train station you are greeted with 'THE HOBGOBLIN". This is a bar I rarely went to, but its a SPOT for college kids and live SPORT on Sundays. They actually have really good curry food too, I know because I sat at the bar by myself one day and ate it. It looks like a real homey place, like A father and his four drunk sons probably own it and they just love their lives. I hate their house beer. In the back is a huge beer garden where everyone smokes and hangs out and rages at each other during drunken college nights. I've gotten to know a few of my closest friends here at the Hobgoblin, in the beginning.

Down the street a bit on my right is my dorm. A big, ordinary looking building that says, "Goldsmiths University of London". You walk down St. James and you can see a church, which I've only been to once, and then you pass security, swipe your card and go in. If you turn around you will see the noodley,famous Goldsmiths building, that I have never been in. Next to that building is the Richard Hoggart Building, which boasts an impressive front lawn that is on all the Goldsmith's brochures. I used to dream about it sometimes before I left for England.

Most of my classes are by this area. In order to get there I have to walk through a very interesting little cottage-like area, where the houses look out of place and suspiciously like Netherlands-style housing. I have only hung out on the great lawn a couple of times.
side note, I was just thinking to myself, I wonder if I can add pictures, and sure enough, I can. Never knew I could do this in my blog. Fuck. Whatever.
Across the street over that way is all my favourite stuff. The New Cross Inn, which was my favourite pub, Goldsmith's Cafe, where you go for a solid English Breakfast and you can't understand a LICK of what the guy says, The Chinese food place Uncle Wrinkle that sucks, my Launderette place, some bad fast food like SEFA that sell donor and kebabs, and Square Pizza. All this food is essentially bad unless you're wasted.
Backtrack. So if you leave St James street from my dorm and go right back on the main road, you will see Iceland, where I did lots of poor grocery shopping. Continue up that way east toward Deptford and you'll see The Amersham Arms, my other favourite pub. Hope on a bus, I think the 179, and you're heading toward Greenwich. Greenwich is not a dump, its a cool place to be, I've blogged about it. If you to to Lewisham its alot like New Cross, just bigger and with a very American looking mall right smack in the center. I went there on Thanksgiving to buy a shirt.

New Cross is artsy as it is poor. I wouldn't mind living here trying to make it with a band. Radiohead played at this place called Venue right down the street when they were getting started, near The New Cross Inn, but the club has been turned into a freaky night club. It's got a bohemian/industrial feel. Dire Straits got started here, lots of bands did the New Cross/Deptford/Greenwich pub scene.

The sky is always gray and it always looks like it might rain, and eventually it does. To generalize, The girls who live at Goldsmiths/New Cross are not necessarily pretty, but you feel like you might want to get to know them better because they are probably really cool or have weird political beliefs. They all seem like, If I wanted to date one of them, I'd have to know a lot about movies like "Meshes of the Afternoon", they all seem really cool and look like they're hiding something. They're the kind of girls who smoke cigarettes on the break during class.

Leaving New Cross, If you take the train to London Bridge, and just get out, you are in Southwark. The main street there is Borough High Street. If you go down there you'll see one of my favourite areas. There it is BUSY. It is the most like New York. There are loads of pubs and music venues and just cool stuff. There will be lots of people with suits. The Borough Market is there which I've blogged about. If you walk west long enough you will come to the Barbican Theater which is a great place to see music and shows because everything they do is International and really worldly,and it's subsidized by the government so we can benefit from it so it is cheap. Further that way toward Waterloo you'll see the London eye, and right now all the Christmas festivals and such. It's funny because in one of my firsts blogs I wrote about how I "got lost" all day in London, well, this is exactly where I was, I can still remember what it looked like when it was unfamiliar....

If you go east you'll head towards like another bad area by the Arcola Theatre past Shoreditch, , and west you're heading toward Waterloo and Baker Street...I think.
If you walk through the market and over the cobblestone streets you will get to the Thames by the Globe. It becomes very pleasant there, cross the millennium Bridge and you are over by my favourite area in the world by the magnificent St. Paul's Cathedral. This area is more ritzy and commercial. There are important looking artsy people running around drinking coffee. The girls there look like ones on t.v. There are a lot of Starbucks and fancier looking pubs, but not clubs. The cars are nicer, it looks more like The West end of New York.
If you go down that way you're heading toward Farringdon, Shoreditch, and Islington. This is like theater world. It also has a really businessy feel to it, but, it is loaded with history. There are lots of ancient hospitals and narrow streets that survived from the Plague, you just have to look for them. There are lots of trendy night clubs and expensive places to eat too of course.
It's weird though because if you go somewhere between Farringdon and Shoreditch you hit Aldgate and Aldgate East. Over there is White Chapel Road which is like Afghanistan. Everything is in Arabic and VERY middleeastern for like a few streets, unexplained.

But anyway besides Aldgate, that is where the actors hang out. You can reconnect with Borrough High Street somewhere that way, but best to take a bus up in the other direction to Trafalgar Square so I can blog about it.
Trafalgar Square is the London that you think of. There is the national gallery and all that, museums, pubs, statues. Piccadilly is the same way, behind Piccadilly is China town, Piccadilly is like the times Square of New York, so is Oxford Circus. It's very international. They are all just, very London. Westminster is more business looking, but they have all the old architecture down there, and big Ben of the Parliament buildings of course. If you walk around Westminster for a while you'll eventually hit Victoria, where there are like "broadway" plays like Wicked and such. The equivalent to Broadway in London is actually Shaftsbury avenue, which is over there somewhere.

Those are the main areas I hung around in. I like Covent Garden but it's just like really upper class and Christmasy. You can get to Covent Garden and Leiceter Square easily on the tube from Piccadilly. I just didn't want to NOT mention it.

I've gone to Arsenal and St John's wood more north, and everything just seems really suburban, so I figure all those areas are a lot like that.

I don't really know what the point of this blog was. I just feel like I'll enjoy reading this one day.

Oh BTW, I wrote this whole thing without a map or a reference. I can't even get around Old Bridge without my GPS.

Things have changed.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bloggy Blogg BLOG!? BLOG! ( A rough week in London)

Hello Hello Blog plus readers!

One week from right now I'll be sitting at a kitchen table eating dinner with my parents, with my ballin' cell phone in my pocket, probably blowing up with text messages, and a whole mess of the past three months dumped out chaotically on my bed.

Couple of notes about things that suck about me before I come home:

1.I suck at guitar now. Literally. I suck. My playing has gone to complete shit... I mean I have to admit it. I can't even play some stuff I wrote before I left. I'm going to have to practice like everyday when I get home to get normal again, I'm going to try and hide this fact at band practice for a little while by not improvising or doing anything but smiling, while I go home and feverishly practice all through out winter break and smash my head against my wall. Don't be mad at me though, I had nothing to practice on the past three months but my travel guitar that doesn't have enough frets and too wide of a neck and is constantly out of tune and I had no one to jam with. No Justin, no band, no British kids to play an open mic with....sad.
Sorry music, but I promise I'll start working hard again as soon as I land.

2. I look the wrong way when I cross the street and will probably crash my car. I am the undisputed King of crashing my car, there is no way living in the UK has helped dethrone me.

3. I think I put on like ten pounds. I'm not Gut-man Johnson like I used to be, but I feel like Carlsberg and pasties and fish and chips and English breakfast have systematically ruined my small intestines. That is what I feel like when I wake up in the morning, those food items. I need a vegetable. My body is all fucked up right now. I hope the track by the high school is open, I think I might actually have to run around in circles again to prevent onset type 2 Diabetes....

4. Yeah yeah yeah it finally happened, the kid who drank a cup of coffee everyday since sixteen and raved about how great it was my whole life drinks tea now. I'm a traitor, but I got into it. Green tea or Earl Grey please... Cup of the Ol' Chai....kiss my ass Red Bank. Oh yeah and I like my toast with Jam or Marmalade WHAT!

Ok. So more true to my "blog" what have I been up to since I left Liverpool?

I spent the week inside writing terrible papers. I know they are terrible papers because I am an English major, and completely and UTTERLY capable of knowing what constitutes a good paper, and these are downright bad.

The UK system works like this
Instead of the very informed professor getting you motivated to explore a subject, and then you write a paper with your own unique thesis that is interesting because you really thought about it, know tons about it, and it's original, and dare I say, fun, (to us closet nerds at least), The professor stands in front of the room and drones off powerpoints and babbles incoherently and then you write a paper on some subject you have never been introduced to ever that requires a semesters worth of outside research because you didn't learn ANY of it in the classroom.
Fun right?
For example, For London History, we walked around London every Monday and the teacher told us, nice little tidbits about London. It was very pleasant.

My essay: A 9 Page extravaganza on how because of the actual geographical city of London, The Pre-Raphaelite movement was formed and influenced art in the 19th century and France. We never learned about this once, I saw the term "Pre Raphaelite" in passing on a visit to the Tate Modern. I did hours and hours of my own research, formed a thesis, and wrote a bad paper because I've never studied art history and wasn't sure if I was stepping on toes or making the right connections. Regardless, I actually liked what I was learning, which was cool ( I am a closet nerd and do actually like this sort of thing), but I'm sure if someone who knows something about Art read this paper they'd say...I was just trying to get a C. Embarrassing.


So I stayed in and wrote bad papers. We didn't even have taco Tuesday, but we did get to see Sweet Charity the Musical which I sort of enjoyed because the music was so contemporary and it didn't have a god damn happy ending.

Wednesday we saw this play about psychoanalysts who are old and have relationship problems which, I get it, I'm supposed to like because I'm a college student and this stuff is important to history saba da. All the bald men with collared shirts and half dead wives in the audience seemed to really enjoy it.

Like I get it. I get these plays. I'm not stupid, I just don't find plays about things I could read a 101 textbook about and be equally as excited very entertaining or moving. It's not a good thing or a bad thing. I know plays aren't SUPPOSED to entertain you. I get it.

But sue me for on this one night wanting to be entertained, I even said to Daria," I just want to relax tonight and watch a play". I know that's the taboo crime against "artists".The desire to watch some guy get eaten by a lion on stage instead of bored to death by three old ladies babbling about how their childhoods are fucked up. I'm a fuckin Roman I guess, I belong in a vomatorium. .

I mean I'm half kidding, The Iceman Cometh is my favourite play in the whole world and I'm moved to tears after I read the four hour script that it comes with, and that is conceivably one of the most boring things one can read. I love Beckett too, I even actually liked Found in the Ground. I just don't see the fascination in these BORING plays that people go see because they put up with their boredom so they can learn something they already knew. Just go see something good. I mean this play wasn't even symbolic of anything or anything it was dribble.

At least the Fahrenheit Twins was aesthetically pleasing in it's infinite boredom, and I personally found it interesting because of it's hidden biblical connotations. Reverse Eden, no happy ending. Anti- Disney, yeah that was good. I can dig that. That had something BESIDES what I was watching, if that shouldn't be enough. I like that.

Remember The Line?! That play SUCKED! It's supposed to be about one of the most important French artists, Edgar Degas. And I know Professor Dykes mentioned this, but I SWEAR if he called on me I was going to say the same thing. This play was as sterile as a fucking doctor's office, what was French about it?What made that place look like an art studio? I thought the whole time, "there is no way this British guy drew that, there is no way there is sexual frustration here", The guy had like a cockney accent. The play wasn't Sexual at all, HOW CAN A PLAY ABOUT ART BETWEEN AN ARTIST DRIVEN TO ISOLATION BY HIS OWN GENIUS AND A HOT YOUNG GIRL WHO FUCKS HIS LIFE UP NOT BE SEXUAL..... IN FRANCE......IN AN ART STUDIO? She takes her clothes off and I think the lighting guy did a better job of showing he was excited.

Anyway that was a rant. I've seen a string of bad plays is what I'm trying to say.

Thursday I slept in and wrote more papers.

Friday, we were going to Spain.

I got two hours of sleep. Went to sleep at 6:30, woke up at 8:30. I spent 16 pounds on a train to Luton airport. We got to the airport, went through a passport checkpoint, security, and waited for two hours.

Upon getting to the plane, the old bag behind the counter tells us we needed to get our passports checked at baggage check in. We were supposed to get a stamp on our tickets saying our passport had been checked. Well lady, ok, I'm reading the ticket, and it doesn't exactly say that. We went through TWO passport checks, so WHY do I need the one at baggage check in? This was just ridiculous, it wasn't just us, there were a whole group of people quarantined and told they "can't board" because they didn't go through baggage check even though we only had a bookbag.
So we couldn't get on the plane and missed it for no reason. We lost about sixty five pounds on the round trip planes, and we'll see if we get refunded for our hotel. I spent 11 pounds on a trip back to New Cross. I didn't really care, I figured that the plane would go down or something and maybe God or Allah or The Force or Batman or whatever spared my life for whatever reason and I thought not to argue with fate. Someone tells me not to get on, I didn't wanna argue. I actually didn't care at all I was kind of happy to have my last weekend in London back. I'm glad I was just traveling with Emily and Daria, some of my previous travel-mates are not so positively charged. hehe. :)

We went back to New Cross and ate dinner at Noodle and rice, which was weird. Than, we got drunk with Kyle and his friend from Montclair, NJ. Everyone got like black out drunk, I wasn't too bad. Daria and I went to the Amersham Arms, maybe my favorite pub in London, and had a beer and a real good talk.

I walked into my flat drunk at this point at about 3:30am and found that there were fries cooking in the oven. I banged on Kyles door and found him sleeping in his bed. I woke him up and told him he had fries in the oven. Maybe that is why I didn't get to go to Spain, so I could prevent Kyle from burning down my flat. Me and Kyle drank a bit more, and then we had a very funny incident involving a chair which I will not detail right now. We had a good laugh though, and talked about how it sucks that we'll never get to hang again after this trip.

I slept all day today, went to the "Winter Wonderland" in Hyde Park, which was cool. English people turn Christmas into like a German drinking competition, which is interesting. There are just like pubs and sausage stands set up everywhere. I bought a wooden tie.

Ok, Tomorrow I'm going to "The Church". My alarm is set for 8:00am.

That should be an interesting blog.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Liverpool and Other Small Things in my Life (Never Get Comfortable)


Here I am, 3:30am, after a night of not writing a paper and seeing yet another show, I'm reflecting on how in a few days this won't be my room anymore.
I was talking to Kerry on instant message tonight and she asked If I was still the same. I said no, I mean, no way. I don't feel the same at all.
She said, "how so?"
I said, "I feel like I've figured out how to introduce myself to a group of strangers and be honest".
Confused she asked what I meant, I told her I didn't really know but I think I leveled out.
I think I'm happy.
I think I like being called Andy.

She said, "Well we all can't wait to get drunk and listen to your stories from England in a circle."
I thought to myself yeah and I can't wait to tell them, I do like the sound of my own voice, don't I?
But I am Virgo, can't be helped, it's in the stars.

When I think about how I'm on the brink of going home I am overcome with three emotions.

1. I am filled with girlish excitement, like I even caught myself smiling a few times when I thought about passing the Old Bridge water tower on Route 9, knowing any minute I'll be screaming with my friends, hangin, saying "20" and being called a girl every five seconds again. . It's the warmest feeling I can conjure in my stomach. I can't wait. I can't wait to "scoop" you again.

". 2. I feel like wait, freeze frame, I'm not ready. I can't leave Europe. I can't go back to the states, I can't go back. I still need more time. I still have more work to do, more to write about. I can't go back to the world of barbecues and television. I can't. I told Kelly the other night that what will bother me the most when I go home is, that when I thought about Old Bridge, I thought about how my dirt road is happening right now, like the trees are swaying behind my house, and no one is there, and the night is calm, and I know it goes on without me. When I'm home, I'll know London will go on without me.

Loring hall will be loud at 3am, the 453 to Marlebone will run through the night, people will go to the Hobgoblin on Wednesday nights, and O' Neills on Thursdays, someone will stare at the Globe from under the millennium bridge, and I won't be there. I feel like it's a carnival that should be torn down when I leave. Did this place actually exist because I saw it, will it be gone after I leave? Everything we love just becomes another hopeless memory a few seconds later. Will I ever fall in love with something permanent?

But I guess if there's permanence then there is comfort, with comfort comes being content, with being content comes death inside a warm bed. You always have to get up, go out into the cold and walk through it, it's the only way to be happy. Never get warm. Never be comfortable. Never accept anything as everlasting. It's temporary moments in our temporary lives that leave us permanently remembering the good times and searching for the next one.

The third emotion is a rejection of that.... To ask for any more time would be selfish, no one else gets to do this, I am lucky, blessed, whatever you want to call it, I am lucky/blessed. It's time to go home. I did nothing to deserve this, I came here to find something and I did and now I have to go, Old Bridge served my purpose, Franklin Street served its purpose, London served its purpose, onto the next one. Always onto the next one. Never get comfortable.

Next week I'm going to take down my Obama poster, all my pictures of friends, my London shirt, pack my shit guitar, fill a bag with souvenirs, place my drawings in a notebook, and lay in a white space that will look the same as the night I moved in.

I will always remember laying in my bed in EA1, I will always remember the way it looked in the morning when I woke up and thought I was in Old Bridge, and then looked around and remembered I flew thousands of miles away. I will always remember how slowly but surely, it became my room, not my dorm. I will always remember believing in something inside of it sometimes, somewhere, somenight.

Oh come now, now I'm just being over-dramatic.


So we went to Liverpool. I think the people I traveled with had some idea of what this meant to me, whether they thought it was silly or didn't quite understand, or did understand, or really enjoyed it, it didn't matter. I was in my own head. To understand the impact the Beatles had on my life, I can't describe, and since I detailed that heartily in my Abbey Road blog, I won't back track. But this was something I had ALWAYS dreamed about, thought about, it was my final goodbye to every teenage dream I've ever had. Time to make new ones as a 21 year old man, it was a cleansing, a pilgrimage, and I'm alright with that. I finally dumped out the last of everything I had ever dreamed of, I finally purged.
Onto the next one.

We met up at 3:30am. I was actually able to sleep that night. It was raining. We almost didn't make the train,

We ran and shuffled, we got on buses and we ran again.

On the first train to Stafford, everyone slept and I listened to Beatles songs in my head.
The second train to Liverpool I thought about everything.

Once we arrived, Kate and I got pasties, and I felt good. Daria and Emily and Kate and I walked the streets of Liverpool. First impression. Exactly what I expected. There was the hollowed out church I'd seen Paul McCartney standing in front of in so many photographs. Bleak. It's the kind of place seagulls just belong in.
Some guy covered in blood walked up to us and said "birds".
I dunno.
We checked into our Hostel and all thought it was the best. Although we later discovered the sheets were covered in blood and urine, it was still the nicest hostel we stayed in recently, and they gave us free toast. Also, it was filled with people our own age.
We sat in the room and traded disgusting stories for a while, while we waited for the fab four taxi tour.
We payed a guy named Danny to drive us around in a black cab for 3 hours and take us to every Beatles site.

I don't have to much to write about this stuff. This, like a lot of other stuff, feels safer in my head. I saw the hospital John Lennon was born in. I stood by the house he grew up in, I stood by the house Paul lived in where they wrote 100s of Beatles songs, we went to Ringos houses, John's Art School, I threw my first guitar pick from the age of thirteen on the doorstep of George Harrison's house. I stood at Strawberry Fields, I walked down Penny lane, saw the Bankers and the barber shop. I stood in the graveyard where Paul McCartney met John Lennon and years and years later changed my little life and led me to pick up a guitar and study abroad in England
The entire time, I stopped talking because I was fighting back serious tears. Everywhere we went I couldn't stop trying not to cry. I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with pride, guilt, happiness, gratitude. I couldn't believe I got to do this. The Beatles were at one point, my religion. This was literally my Mecca, my dome of the rock.
As soon as I had a second alone I thought how me and John Lennon shared a sidewalk in Liverpool, and have eyed down the same streets and houses, drank a beer in the same bar, and I cried. I really cried for the first time in a long time.

I purged.

Later we went to the cavern club where the Beatles got their start, it stands sort of unimpressive now and we watched a garbage band play hits from the 70s. That night we took a nap, discussed the misdoings of the do-do bandit, and Kate realized every sheet in the hostel appeared to be covered with blood or urine.

We went out that night, this wouldn't be my blog if I didn't tell you we got wasted. Liverpool has an awesome night life. It was kind of like Dublin/Amsterdam. We drank in a place called "Lennon's Bar", and had a blast dancing to music. We ended the night wasted at the Cavern Club. We took a cab home.

The next day we walked around in the Liverpool rain and rode a Ferris Wheel. We went to Albert Dock and it was the first time I'd gotten to stare out into water for a while. Really famous water, that I'd only dreamed about seeing....fighting back tears again.

It was the end of my trip to England, my next trip should have been home. I can ask for nothing more from this place.

I wrote "Cheers to Living on Borrowed time" on the wall of Strawberry Field. That is all I'm doing, one of my favorite Lennon quotes, and I knew if Keith ever heard about it, he'd appreciate it. We both went through the Beatles years together.

I wrote "3" on the wall of the Cavern Club. Nobody knows what this means except for one person who will never read this blog and I will never tell you.


Friday, November 27, 2009

LONG BLOG:This Blog is Your Blog, This Blog is my Blog. (Feminity and London) My friends here similar to the ones in Old Bridge?)

Part One:

OK. So I have successfully spent an entire week doing nothing in England. I stayed in and tried to cure my European cough, but it persistently continues to burn like fury from the vents of my chest. While I may not have actually done anything terrifically exciting this past week, I got really into updating my blog, which I think at this point in the trip might be most important. Everything I'm thinking and feeling right now is going to be way more valuable to me than getting another pasty or another round trip to London Bridge in a few years....especially when you feel like you've seen it all. I've allowed this blog to expand past the point of "today I saw a castle, it was blingin" and have opened up to the prospect of tearing myself apart on a website.

I've really taken to "blogging". I've always sort of blogged. I never kept a journal but my computer is filled with years worth of metaphorical rants left unpublished or unseen. I like "blogging" because A. It is wayyyy more organized...B. Somebody might read this, and C. It's making me feel level. I feel really leveled out lately, and calm, and normal. So yeah, what I'm saying is I'm opening a new blog once this one ends, and I think I'll just continue to do this until death do us part.

Cheers if you liked my list of things I'm thankful for. ONE LUV XOXOXOX.

Thanksgiving was actually really great. I found myself to be in the best mood I'd been in in weeks going into the night, while I waited for everybody. I blasted Trans-Siberian Orchestra and drank beers with my flat mate (and dare I say...friend?) Kyle, and I was wearing this very metrosexual sweater with slacks and I combed my hair and I laughed because two years ago I would have kicked my own ass for looking like this. What happened to the days of sporting a huge Busch Beer Gut with long,sweaty, floppy hair, and an untrimmed and uncared for red beard? Who knows. I guess I've changed huh?

Anyway I was in an exceptional mood and Chris and Kate...and myself, made my flat look great for Thanksgiving and the whole thing had a very humble little "yeah WE did this, we're grown ups", feel to it. We don't need our moms to have Thanksgiving anymore.
I can't cook anything but I made up for it but acting like I still have a lot of money and buying lots of wine.
Everything was fantastic. All the food. Even though I don't like Turkey, Chris prepared a good one but his apple pie was OFF THE HOOK.Like, seriously, where did I go wrong in my life that I never learned how to bake a pie like that? Awesome. Kate's sweet potato things might've won the award for "thing I liked/ate the most of", and her stuffing was top notch. Everything was great, I didn't miss anything about food from home. Oh and Joe's Tortilla con ketchup came out superb I was proud of him. All the food was great. I polished off everything Daria made a few hours later drunkenly at about 5:30 in the morning. Gam's mushrooms were delicious, even if they didn't make me really big and make me smash blocks with my head (i'm using alot of Mario references today...why?) Kelly got her pumpkin pie, I don't like pumpkin pie, but I'm glad she made it because she really wanted it. Well,I knew deep down I wasn't going to let her have Thanksgiving without it, if she didn't find it I had already found 3 websites I was ready to order it and have it delivered from....

I led us off in a toast, to which I said " To the fact that the most interesting part of studying in a foreign country was getting to know a few people from home".

I put a lot of thought into that toast, knowing in my heart that when someone said, "who will make a toast" they'd say "ANDAYY!" and I'd be the one making it,so I thought of it the night before when I stayed up all night and dwelled on my life. I like this Thanksgiving blog. It's like a behind the scenes guide to my mind.

Anyway, we all went around the table and gave a little speech. I'm with people who are very in touch with their feelings and it feels good.Later in this blog I'm going to draw connections to the people at home, and how this sort of thing follows me. People at home do this same thing, just differently.

Everyone has really nice things to say about each other. It's really beautiful I think, especially because I used to hate the world so much and be a cynic. Now I feel so positive, or ambitious at least. The days of being quiet are over. I've been expressing myself in abrupt and awkward moments of honesty all semester, and I don't really care, this is just the way it is and I think without this character trait it would have been more difficult for me to tell these people how much I needed them uniquely and individually during this Study Abroad. I hope they appreciate it on some level, I'm sure they do.

I know what it's like to spend days, weeks, months, alone. I don't ever want to experience that again. I know what it's like to wake up in the middle of a February night and wonder if I died. I know what happens to the human mind when the lights go out. You don't need someone to be happy, ever. But you need someone sometimes to help you understand you're unhappiness. .

As I went around the table and spoke I found myself uncharacteristically nervous. I was nervously fidgeting and unable to make eye contact with my peers as I filled them with word's I'd baked the night before. It's hard to tell someone how you really feel about them, there is nothing more frightening to do than tell someone out loud how important they are or what they have meant to you. But it's something we as humans should do sometimes, you know, let the others in our world know they exist to us. It's what creates a real human experience, rather than a frat party. I used to be awkward and unable to speak. I was insecure. I'm no longer insecure, hence, I no longer feel awkward. On the first day here I didn't speak during "would you rather"...

Ten weeks later I just told a room full of the same people that I love them.

The night got drunk and we had a whip cream fight and threw eggs against the wall. I haven't had so much fun while drinking since I've been in Old Bridge. We sang C,G, Am, F songs. I hope they know I can play other songs besides these easy songs ...heheh, I feel like a chump. Maybe they'll all come see Noistradamus some day.

Then everyone left and me Joe and Monica spend the night doing Post Colonial Theory on ourselves.

Part two. Femininity. A Biography.

I have just spent two weeks exclusively spending most of my time with five girls. I used to spend all of my time (post Franklin street) with NO girls. Just guys. All the time. I remember a few days before I left, I was drunkenly explaining life to Murphy on the jungle gym at the old park by my house, and I told him.

"Our lives in Old Bridge are homosocial. We only hang out with guys. We've created a dude-world, where we drink and cheer each other on for acting like maniacs and I think we all need some chicks around because we're getting fucked up".

I said to Gerry once

"Do you think it's unnatural that we don't really hang with chicks?". He said "yeah, I mean we're 21, shouldn't we be like dating people or something"

We just shrugged our shoulders and laughed over a cup of coffee.

When I came here to London, I didn't want the new people I met to get to know the "me" I had created at home. I defined "me" by the person I was at home. The person I was at home was the person I was while drinking with my friends. I didn't want them to know about any of that, any of those years, peeing on the floor, drinking competitions, getting thrown out of bars, breaking bottles against a wall, being punched in the face on my front lawn, sleeping outside, running from police etc. Although I did eventually start talking about those years a lot, at first I was hesitant because I know deep down that the person I am in all those memories necessarily I didn't want to be defined as they type of person who stands in a fire. I didn't want to be misunderstood for a maniac, because I'm not....but I did do those things didn't I? So who am I? What am I getting at?

A return to girls.

( by the way, look how much I've learned about myself, I'm kind of in disbelief as I'm typing)

I grew up excursively hanging out with girls. I had no guy friends really besides Tom Corbett until the fifth grade. My three main friends all through out my childhood were Kristen Giovinco, Brittany Giovinco, and Jackie (Apples) from across the street. While other male kids were playing sports, I was playing house. I was putting on shows for our parents. I was doing girly things. I played with lamb chop dolls. I learned sensitivity. I cried about stuff. I just hung out with girls.
It drove my dad nuts, I'm sure.
I was bad at sports, I was bad at male relationships. I couldn't watch wrestling at first or play with action figures. I spent every waking second of my childhood in my own imagination, and I liked playing with just girls because they were inventive also. I never, ever saw anything in throwing a ball against a piece of wood or into a hoop.
I spent my whole childhood in my head. I would literally go into the living room so I could "daydream". My dad would say "what are you doing in the living room for four hours" and I'd say "daydreaming". I absolutely remember this. It was an activity I created. I would just sit and think and imagine stuff. Imagine scientists mixing things in a lab or I'd make up a show in my head and play it out.
I wasn't nuts, I just spent all my time in my imagination.
I remember in fourth grade wondering what my teacher did in real life. I invented scenarios in my head where she got married and was really happy. I was always thinking of the weirdest stuff.
So I grew up with girls, because I had always seen them as more of the mind than of the body. Men can't think, they can throw balls, but for some reason I found I could think.
I remember in 5th grade developing my first feelings for Kristen. I remember this well. The first time I ever felt that feeling in your stomach I currently identify as "love" or a crush. I remember having this at the age of nine. I remember we were rolling around one day in front of my yard, two nine year olds, playing some imaginary game, like kids do, and I was overcome with the urge to kiss her.
So I did.
And we laughed but I was in love. My first childhood love. Whatever that means.
It was about that time that I wrote my first poem that I still have in my room to this day.

5th grade
If I tell you I love you
and you say no
Than I will have hot tears on my face
But if you say you love me too
we'll be married one day.

That was my poem in the 5th grade.
Turns out Dad, I wasn't gay, I was a 19th century romantic. Things haven't changed too much.

I asked Kristen out to the 5th grade dance that year and she said no and I was heartbroken. I went home and cried and her parents called my parents and it was a whole mess.
Stupid kids.
I did grow up though.
Our friendship dwindled and we grew up and went to middle school and I met males and started watching wrestling (I remember starcade 2000 being the most important thing int he world to me) and I finally played sports, I got decent at basketball and soccer and I didn't daydream anymore unless to write a story or get the best grades in English class or win spelling bees. I hung out and used words like "faggot" and "nigger" and "bitch" and "pussy" and I was one of the guys. Actually, I was one of the guys who started bitching around other guys. I was the one in control. Me and my friends in 8th grade vandalized houses with eggs and looked at playboys and did just about everything the way kids do it.

High school was high school, I wrote about it extensively in my Abbey Road blog. I discovered music, and no longer needed sports again because I was imagining again. My male relationships became based entirely on who I can jam or smoke pot with or do both. I discovered books. I discovered there was a real outlet for these thoughts in the adult world. I wrote lyrics, I wrote short stories. I wrote songs. I sang songs. I put all this crap in my head into action.

It worked.

The point of all this is that after thirteen years of hanging out with just "ma dudes", (I mean, besides my girlfriend...she fits into my life story somewhere right? Heh). I returned to hanging out with just women, here in London. ( I know Joe and Chris were there too, but when we all went back at night I primarily hung out with women) I was hanging out with all girls again. I even did girly things, like the grease video, and I left behind my life of drinking with the guys,calling people pussies who can't drink, and discovered that outside of my society, I was free to analyze myself again. What I have accomplished the most in London I feel, is that I have created a real person in myself. I have reflected and reflected. I have analyzed. I thought about my past. I have become, that part of me as a kid that wanted to imagine, and a working member of the male social world I can't wait to rembrace at home.

I finally leveled out. I finally found a balance. I AM the person who drank too much at parties and pukes in your bathroom or calls a Monmouth cop a bitch to his face. I didn't do these things because of society. I did it because I wanted to (and maybe because of society, and maybe because I was young and immature). I'm also the person who listens to you talk late at night, when the party is over and the beer has stopped. I'm also the person who can tell someone I need/want them, whether it be over a Thanksgiving table or caught somewhere in a doorway. I can be a bastard when I'm with my friends at home,I may say the wrong things, and do stupid stuff, but I'm still a romantic who will fall in love with a girl if she plays house with me long enough. Dualism. Balance.

. My friends, tough as they may be, have done the same thing I did here on Thanksgiving. I actually learned this from people at home. I realized that my masculine friends in Old Bridge actually have that feminine balance. We all need each other. We've sat around fires and told each other drunkenly (and maybe less eloquently) that we need each other. The bonds I have with the people from Old Bridge are unbreakable. We tell each other we miss each other all the time. I feel like anyone in Old Bridge would take a bullet for me, and I'd do the same. Everyone I've ever met, everyone I've ever shared the experience of telling them I was grateful to have them in life, whether it be in Old Bridge on the dirt road or around Becca's fire, or in London, it doesn't matter where you go or who you strike up friends with, at the end of the day, you will be missed when your somewhere else. I think that in our missing of each other, from all angles of perception, proves that we are capable of being human.
Everyone I've met in my life has contributed to this new found sense of balance...and I'm grateful to everyone that I have it.

I remember when Kristen moved my senior year of High School I told Melissa I was upset because I felt like my childhood was moving with her. Me being me, I wanted to meet up with Kristen (who I had barely spoken to since elementary school besides stupid jokes) and just go over our friendship from when we were children. Ask her if she remembered playing house or lambchop or me asking her to the dance. I remember I caught her coming out of her car and I said, "hey do you think we can go out for coffee before you move?". She said yeah, but than she just moved, and the conversation never happened. If that conversation had happened, I wonder how much more I'd have to analyze.

It took me two and a half hours to write this blog.