I’ve always liked contests. The rush you get from putting your name in a hat and waiting ever so impatiently for your name to be called. I remember one day when I was in middle school I cut out all the giveaway forms from my J-14 magazine and glued them to index cards for my mother to mail. I cut out tons of them and filled out each line. I remember getting excited when gimmicky fake car keys came in the mail, and I’d ask my parents if we could see if we won a new car.
I loved entering raffles and holding onto my ticket with great expectations. I remember in elementary school at our fall festival I played the moonwalk game (is that just a southern game?) and won a 2-liter of orange soda. I was pretty darn proud of that orange soda. Last summer my friend Julia found a dollar on the street so we bought a lottery ticket. We lost, but it was still fun to imagine our dollar turning into a million. Or just $2. Last summer I also entered all sorts of Broadway contests that I never won (but my friends did, so it all worked out).
I think I love contests so much not because of the prize, but because of the hope, the thrill. Waiting is not a chore with contests; it’s a gift. The time between entering a contest and when the announce the winners is a great time. The thing is, even if I win, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s all over. There’s no more guessing, there’s no more hoping. It’s like climbing to the top of a mountain – once you’re there, going back down seems pointless (to me anyways, obviously if you love hiking it’s probably still fun). I lose this hope not just in contests, but in other areas in my life. When I finally meet up with someone. When I finally get the job I wanted. When I finally finish that class.
I love the thrill of the chase, but I always yearn for the next opportunity, the next big thing. I’m a doer, a never sit still-er. I will never be happy with waiting around. I will constantly enter contests and play the moonwalk game. Okay, I won’t play the moonwalk game, because I not entirely certain if that’s a thing anymore. I also won’t gamble because my roommates all say that I’d go millions in debt, to which I concur. But maybe I wasn’t meant to be content. Maybe there’s so much more for me out there. There’s more than a 2-liter of orange soda and some free earrings from Instagram (although I appreciate both). So I’ll continue the chase and enjoy the thrill, because maybe some people aren’t meant to stop.
Last year I told my mother that I needed to get another allergy test, as I thought I had developed a bunny allergy (yes, I know how sad this is, I LOVE bunnies). Turns out that in addition to my old allergy diagnosis of cats and dust, I was now allergic to mold, grass, DOGS, and BUNNIES…and also the hay that bunnies eat. So I’m basically allergic to any fluffy animal and the outside world.
This was crushing to hear, as I am a passionate animal lover. If you know me, you know my favorite pig is named Esther and that I love my cats at home even though they make my eyes itchy. I even struggled to pick a photo for this post because of how many cute animal pictures there were from which to choose. So when after they scratched my back 100 times and gave me 10 shots in the arm, it was just insult to injury to tell me all of my new allergies.
I was pretty discouraged with the news, but I thought my allergist might have some advice. She was a nice lady who pretended to be interested in my life every year, so I figured she could pretend to care about my sad diagnosis. So here’s our conversation:
Me: Is there anything fluffy I can cuddle with, what kind of pet should I get?
Doctor: A boyfriend?
My Mother: Oh my, no!
So now I guess I’m searching for a pet boyfriend? Where do you find those?
When I was six or seven I went to summer care at the YWCA. I learned how to play mancala and swim to the bottom of the pool. I convinced myself the graveyard visible from the playground had a ghost who wore a hat (it was a nice hat). I made a friend named Greyson or Bailey or something and we both agreed we hated it.
So we came up with a plan to break the monotony – we would get sent home. We had to come up with a way that would get us sent home without getting us in trouble. We decided the easiest way was to pretend that we had peed our pants. So we did, and were sent to the office of the summer care manager lady. She was very nice to us and called our parents, who picked us up. I think Greyson (Bailey?) and I were able to do this trick one more time before they made us bring a change of clothes with us everyday. By that point we were a good bit through the summer and didn’t feel like fighting it anymore, so we threw in the towel and played another round of mancala.
Now I’m not telling you to pee your pants to get out of summer care, but just hear me out. Going home was the “dream” of my seven year old brain, and I fulfilled it twice, but let a change of clothes stop me from pursuing that “dream” further. That may sound silly, but a lot of us get so close to our dreams and stop short because of something little, something like a change of clothes. Your change of clothes might be money or time or motivation or stress or whatever. But let’s make it a goal to get out of that YWCA building and leave our change of clothes behind (but please wear clothes) so that we can fulfill our dreams – even if that dream is just to go home and drink a juice box.
*Just to be clear, I know I was a very naughty child, and I did tell my parents about this…a few months ago.
They say the more you change your hair, the more issues you have. Another way of putting it, which I learned through my mother who read it online, is that people who change their hair a lot do so because they feel it is one of the only things they can control in their lives. I have changed my hair about 16 times, only including hair color switches and one major cut. Oops.
I don’t know if these theories are true, but I do know that I love changing my hair. If I could I’d get extensions and then switch to a bob the week after. I’ve had red, blue, purple, pink, and bleached ends before. I’ve had red, purple, blonde, brown, and now dark burgundy colored hair. I didn’t do anything with my hair last summer so I spent around $200 to get purple hair in the fall…which turned into fried white blonde. So at this point my hair has about 1/3 recovered and my mother is about 50% less mad.
But can I say, “Hair, Voltaire? I’d rather discuss Voltaire” (hello Princess Diaries!). I change my hair for me, for fun, for la joie de vivre! It’s cool if you don’t like my hair – sometimes I don’t like my hair. And that’s life yall. Sometimes my hair reflects a change in my life, sometimes it means I’m bored, sometimes it means absolutely nothing. So yeah, last week I cut my own bangs that I don’t even wear today. C’est la vie!
In 2014 I spent the summer working at a camp in New York with staff from all over the world. The camp was about two hours from NYC and was structured so that all staff got a week off in the middle of the summer. Basically they forced us off camp for a week with nowhere to go, so we made the best of it and chose to live it up during our week without evil children. I had made a few really great friends, so a few of us made random last minute plans for the week, starting with a few days in NYC. I planned the week trip with my best friend from Germany, let’s call her Elsa. Our other friend, let’s call her Candy, planned to be with us for the first half of the trip.
So Candy drove us from camp to the city where we had booked a hotel on the edge of Brooklyn (with free parking!) just a few hours ago. We’re great planners. Anyways, we had fun being tourists in the city and hanging on our roof at night looking at Manhattan. We left after two nights for Philadelphia, with our friend Oliver joining this leg of the trip. We were going to drive Candy’s car to the house of someone I connected with on Couchsurfing. However, Candy was a bit under the weather and really needed to sleep in the car. I didn’t have a license, and Oliver only had a NY limited permit. That left Elsa, who had a German license but had never driven in America before. Elsa was very hesitant, as she had only been in the US for a month and was a bit frazzled from being with demon children during that time. But after a bit of convincing, Elsa agreed because Candy was already falling asleep.
So Candy took a nap in the front seat while Oliver and I squeezed into the back among all of the luggage, promising Elsa we’d help her navigate. She was nervous but we promised she’d only have to drive on this one road – The Jersey Turnpike. I mean, we were a bit nervous as well, but we knew the worst outcome would end with us not returning to camp, and in our hearts we accepted that and left it up to fate. Somewhere in Jersey the GPS voice lulled me to sleep, and I was only vaguely conscious when we stopped at a toll. I woke up and Candy soon followed. However, we had unknowingly lied to Elsa, as we made her navigate the way into Philly so we could eat lunch. The lunch was meh. Candy took over driving in Philly and to DC later on. Elsa may or may not have been permanently scarred by this event.
We all lived through this experience and “Elsa” and I are planning to meet up this summer. But no worries, she’ll be taking the train, not driving.
At the beginning of freshman year I had an almost kind of stalker. Let’s call him Randy. Randy and I met during orientation week. We were both mingling around our department table, which was history at the time because I started as an international studies major (funny, I know). So Randy approached me and extended his dead fish hand, which I shook politely. His eyes also reminded me of a dead fish. I’m not even being mean, he was just an all around dead fish guy. He said he was a transfer and blah blah I don’t remember what else. I said bye and peaced out, not thinking about him again. Until we had a class together.
I decided to sit in the back of class and he saw me and came over to join me. We didn’t really talk that much, we just sat next to each other in the back row. He was EXTREMELY awkward, almost painfully so, so I never made plans to hang out with him outside of class. But he kept hinting at me eating lunch with him. Somehow we ended up seeing each other at the club fair during one of the first weeks of school. He came over and kind of followed me while I tried to avoid him. When I was leaving he followed me and my roommate and invited me to eat lunch with him at the school cafe. I said something lame like, “Oh darn, I have to eat my mac n cheese.” He then said something like “You probably don’t, but do you want my number?” and obviously I couldn’t say no without looking like a jerk.
You’re probably thinking, “Celina, just don’t text him.” But I thought I was being nice to the awkward transfer student. So I made the mistake of texting him “hey it’s Celina.” He proceeded to text me non stop with 3 paragraph long texts. He told me about boxing and his brother and I reply with “that’s cool.” But let’s get real, there was no way he was actually boxing. Anyways, he kept inviting me to things and was consistent in the non-stop texts. The text that finally made me take action was one that mentioned our school’s Christmas ball. RED FLAG! He was trying to ask me to the CHRISTMAS Ball in AUGUST.
So the logical thing to do was ignore him all weekend while I was at home and work on a plan. This was literally the third weekend of school, I had known him for less than a month and he wanted to date me (or maybe just follow me?). On Monday I had a plan – a fake boyfriend! So when he texted on Monday I simply replied, “Sorry, can’t talk right now I’m Skyping my boyfriend in California.” And it worked! We didn’t say one word to each other after that and I began to sit next to a new friend in class.
So if you have a freshmen kind of stalker just tell him you have to Skype your fake boyfriend. Mine is named Jean-Luc and currently lives in Montreal. Moral of the story: get a fake boyfriend and don’t let dead fish guys follow you.
My fifth grade almost boyfriend sat next to me in the special nerd classes we went to twice a week. He was a whiz kid at math and science, I was slightly above average at language arts and history. He was sporty and I was dramatic. We played basketball in gym class one day and I traveled with the ball, which I thought made us Troy and Gabriella.
One time on a day that we had nerd class, he leaned over to talk to me and sort of put his arm on my chair, which set my fifth grade heart aflutter. After class, his friend told me he liked me. In my mind I was elated – my crush of four years finally notices me! So logically I told his friend that I didn’t like him and that he was gross. I passed him on the track outside later. I don’t really remember our friendship much after that.
Later on he dated a girl from the grade below us and then moved away. I asked if we could be pen pals and wrote him a note confessing my crush, but he never replied. I even messaged him on Facebook quite a few years ago on Facebook. Yes, I know that’s creepy.
I remember clearly that when my fifth grade almost boyfriend’s friend told me he liked me I was scared it was a trick. How could someone who I’d dreamed about for years finally be real, be interested? I don’t think I wanted reality. I just wanted a boy to pine after. I wanted to be able to imagine fantastical situations instead of actually experiencing a possibly disappointing reality.
Even now I often prefer fantasy to reality – who needs practicality? But I’m not in fifth grade anymore, and imaginations aren’t enough. I’m going to live life, no matter how boring or scary it gets. So here goes nothing:
Dear Fifth Grade Almost Boyfriend,
I like you.
Fifth Grade Celina (who had really bad bangs and Harry Potter glasses)
Today is laundry day, which means I ran out of underwear. Today I’ve thought about all the places I’ve done laundry.
Whenever I’m home with my family I get to do laundry inside, at my house, without having to drive or walk to the washer and dryer, which is honestly a super big privilege.
My first years at college I did laundry in our dorms. During freshmen year I overloaded a washer and housekeeping left me a mean note. Last year my roommate and I would move guys’ laundry after it sat in the washers for hours.
Two summers ago I did laundry with my friends from all over the world at a rinky dink laundromat near the camp we were working at in upstate NY. We all crammed into the staff van and rode down the hill to the town below that included a Walmart and our hangout diner.
Last summer I did laundry a block down from my apartment in the West Village in Manhattan. I would walk with my students, or with my coworkers/friends, or by myself. It was a beautiful one minute walk, and I miss it.
This year I walk for a couple of minutes from my apartment to a huge community laundry room that I rarely have to wait around in.
Perhaps during my year in Paris I’ll find another laundromat to call home. The washers probably won’t bang around like my washer at home. I’m sure it won’t be free like it has been for me here at school. It won’t be full of middle school ballerinas or camp counselors. But it will be a constant in my new world, a little piece of home away from home.