The Only Way to See Amsterdam is from the Seat of a Bicycle.

Amsterdam boasts of being the only city in the world that houses more bikes than people. The bicycles clutter the canal sidewalks, over-run the cars in the streets, and nowhere can one be found in the City Centrum where there isn’t some whizzing ding of a bell making music. (Especially if you’re a tourist walking in the bike lane). There are even special traffic lights just for the cyclists!

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bike lane from inside a tram!

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Naturally, then, the best way to see the city is like a local. At the advice of one of my flatmates, on day 1 of our Amsterdam Adventure, Abby and i took a gander with Mike’s Bike Tours. The ride spanned 2.5 hours and the major circumference of the city – seeing everything from the Anne Frank House to a Picasso statue in Vondel Park. The bike shop even had two shop cats!

CATS AND BIKES

The tour definitely does not shy away from talking about the naughtier sides of Amsterdam (as in, prostitution and drugs) so i wouldn’t recommend it for anyone wanting to stick to pretty canals and old churches.

But Abby and i had a blast wheeling around Jordaan, the Museumplein, and sweet little streets lining the canals. Our fingers and toes were frozen solid in the sub-freezing weather, but there was a pit stop for a much-need hot cocoa and the most delicious apple turnover i’ve ever had in my life at the Bertram & Brood. And, since you asked: yes the Red Light District felt safe, and yes: going about it during the daytime is certainly less seedy than at night. The women who work there are, after all, human beings engaging in a legal and heavily guarded profession.

Right: best place for apple turnovers i've yet found; Left: the church next to the Anne Frank house.

Right: best place for apple turnovers i’ve yet found; Left: the church next to the Anne Frank house.

I have to admit, though, i sort of pictured the Red Light District to be like a scene from Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. You know, 19th-century can-can dresses and simpering red lips. I fear to say my imagination did not match the reality at all!

Riding a bike in Amsterdam, though, is no joke. Sure, the whole city is as flat as Kansas, but being on a bike here is kind of like driving a car in New York City. You have to constantly be aware, assertive, and unafraid to stick to your decisions (even in the face of an oncoming tram!). At one point, a father and his toddler son whizzed past me so fast i – literally – backpedaled. The most embarrassing part? The kid had one glasses like me and looked ridiculously cool for someone who couldn’t have been older than four.

Europeans, ya’ll. I am constantly being out-fahsion-ed. Even by the babies.

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It doesn’t get more quintessentially Dutch than a windmill and bikes!

 Our noses falling off from the cold, our legs sore from out-pumping oncoming traffic, and our ears stuffed with fun tidbits about Nieuwmarket and the vivacity of Dutch life all made for a great afternoon in Amsterdam. Should you ever get the chance to voyage to this once-quaint-seaside-villa, be sure to include a bike tour into your stay!

current jam: ‘lovely ladies’ from les misérables. (i can’t help it! stuck in my head after all that!)

best thing: apple turnovers.

Today.

Though this day has been earmarked on my calendar since October, its arrival feels tremendously sudden. Like no amount of fretting or anticipating or eagerly-anxiously dancing around unpacked suitcases could have adequately prepared me for this. The maps are tucked in their pockets, my phone is charged, and the laundry’s on its last load.

Come 6 PM tonight, i will be United Kingdom bound.

I’ve been instagram-ing* my last few days in Chapel Hill. Looking over these fragments – photos doctored up in fun filters that capture only the smallest of moments – i feel an encompassing sense of minutia. Like, the Big Adventure about to happen is going to comprise of the same sorts of pictures: books on a dashboard, drinks with loved ones and new friends, feet walking on the ground. Ordinary and simple, made profound by the newness such simplicity inspires in me. All things made new.

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Being home has become its own kind of adventure in the profundity of simplicity. Simple cups of tea, simple smiles, simple time together.

The first few days in Edinburgh are going to be anything but simple. Acquiring keys, learning the map, navigating new cultural expectations. Small things i daily take for granted here. But i’m up for the challenge, and praying i stay enthused and open and encouraged.

See ya’ll on the other side.

current jam: ‘where the boat leaves from’ zac brown band

best thing: elmo’s & the padre & the man.

*if you’d like to join in the fun, my username is lizziemcmizzie! (assuredly, there will be lots of scottish-themed uploads!)

The Comeback.

So i’ve been away awhile, and rather unexpectedly. I do keep this blog first for myself, but it is always pleasantly surprising to me when people, via the internet or human contact, express concern that i haven’t been writing. I appreciate this more than i can say – i live to write, so knowing that in some small way you, dearest reader, at minimum bother perusing my words is a treasured gift. But i also forget sometimes that writing, though its roots may be as a discipline for myself, once released doesn’t belong to me so much any longer. And i haven’t been writing here. I don’t apologize for this, because i needed what i have been writing to belong only to me lately. But i have missed your insights and the small exhilaration i get from putting this out into the internet-world, and for those who have expressed concern i return with thanks.

I haven’t been writing because, well, i’ve been busy living my life. For the past two years i’ve not spent more than a month at a time in North Carolina, and because of this i haven’t really relaxed in a long, long time. Despite working, though, i have really made an effort to cleanse and sift and breathe – thus the unannounced internet hiatus. It has been most wonderful – i am blissfully, truly content where i am in ways i could never have anticipated going into this summer. And rather than broadcasting such bliss, i’ve kept it for me. Obviously it’s because you do, in fact, smell rank, and not because i’m actually a socially awkward extreme introvert who occasionally doesn’t feel the need to spell out her innermost thoughts online so as to better process such happiness. Just so we’re clear.

But! I’m back. Really. No motorcycle adventures to document (yet) but since you, apparently, find my scrawls of interest i’ll give you a brief run-down of all that has been going on in the world of lizzie mcmizzie since last we spoke (or, rather, i pontificated and you stared at your illuminated screen in the dark of a 3 am college dorm room).With no further thus ado, i therefore give you:

The 5 Utterly Mundane and Totally Spectacular Things lizzie Has Been Doing While You’ve Been Snorkling, (Or Whatever it Is You Do in the Summertime):

1. Waiting tables. I’ve broken two mugs (expectedly), said more ya’lls than i think a Dolly-Parton-omoter could count, lost one nametag, acquired a minor burn (wouldn’t be summertime if i hadn’t!), and only dramatically screwed up a singular wine order. Highlights: a table of ladies who, at 11 in the morning, all had a double round of vodka tonics and one of whom has a goddaughter who attended Mount Holyoke; a gentlemen’s club who tipped me 30% despite the soup incident. Darlings.

2. Playing with the cats. Whew, i know you need to have a seat with this one because i’ve never once declared my unyielding devotion to felines publicly. But i’m here to tell you, it’s true. I’m feisty for felines. Or something. That came off a little too sexual for what i intended. Whatever. And, as it so happens, they provide the most ample excuse for why i haven’t written…because their fondness for my computer extends over my keyboard at the expense of writing. Evidence:

(taken courtesy of my webcam)

3. Attended my little brother’s high school graduation. So this item on ze list most certainly does not fall into the “utterly mundane” category. To refrain from going gushy on ye who read this blog for my sarcastic, pessimistic bite: i felt all gooey in my heart and tears a-welled up in my eyes as my precious babe of a brother, swaddled in his Men’s Extraordinarily-Tall-Robe for the Upper Atmosphere Dwellers graduation gown, crossed the stage basking in his five seconds of utter glory dipped in a glow of pride and delight.

4. Read more Junior Science Fiction novels than could be considered healthy even by the brainiest of librarians. Seriously, Bobby Pendragon and the Travelers of Halla and i have become such chums it’s fearful for Saint Dane. These are references only the twelve year olds of my audience are bound to get. Score one for the maturity scale!

5.  Been blissful in the face of unwavering, nostalgic possibility. And i’m going to leave it as cryptically and stupidly metaphorical as that.

So there’s my utterly narcissistic and indulgent write-up about the veryinterestingtome things going down in my life. Thank you, Mary Day Saou, friend and mom-to-be and blogger-extraordinaire who helped re-convince me that people might be interested to read more, and more regularly! Mary is a real gem. She also might be making a sneak appearance in my next blog post (perhaps as a surprise to her!). So stay tuned! Or go back to snorkeling, whatever,

current jam: ‘lily’ by ministry of magic

best thing: button-downs and j. also, extra ice in my tea.

Summer Plans.

When i first started chronicling the whims and adventures and utterly mundane going-ons of my life, it was because i was to spend a summer abroad and wanted to make sure i preserved as much of my memory of it as possible. And so, you know, my parents could keep up with what i was doing aside from very repetitive emails. Essentially, i started a blog because i knew i was in for one hell of a summer.

This year, my friends, that is not exactly the case. Of course, you can’t always be taking off to embark on a journey to South Sudan for the nation’s first independence day or witnessing the power of Murchison Falls. If i were independently wealthy, i’d split my fortune between paying my parents for my college education, giving money to organizations that support empowerment and capacity building within communities of material and emotional need, and spend the rest on low-budget adventures to places like Lalibela or Istanbul or recreating the Mahatma’s satygraha march to the sea in India.

Alas, i am far from independently wealthy. In comparison to most of the world, i’m disgustingly rich, but that doesn’t mean i have loans to pay off for school or work ethic experiences to glean and build my character (translation: profuse profanities in the wake of poor tippers are experiences that supposedly give me the kind of moral fiber that shall remind me, when i am old and abundant in swimming pools full of money, to dole out large tips on young, whimsically-haired servers with half a mind left at school).

Which is why this summer my big adventure is going to be staying home, working like a fiend, and making it an adventure in its own right. There will be no motorcycle accidents (hopefully), or sounds of rain on the tin roof, or full-on-grappling with cross-cultural collisions on a daily basis. But i’m still going to be fundamentally challenged – beginning with listening to all the incredible adventures my friends will be having in Israel or as interns in New Orleans. A practice in discipline and patience, you might say. And re-learning how to wait tables. Emphasis on the re-learning with a side of trying hard not to break any more glasses. Or plates. Or drop butter in unsuspecting laps. Which is not a euphemism. (Where am i going with this again?)

And let me be totally clear: I AM VERY GRATEFUL TO HAVE A JOB. My employers have so much to teach me and i stand with so much to learn from serving the public in the food service industry. There is dignity and pride to be taken in such jobs, make no mistake. Also, this is probably the only time i’ll ever write about work (even in this vague, mildly-cryptic manner) because i am petrified of saying one wrong thing here. Not that i have anything bad to say! …This is really not helping my case.

But the major win of staying home this summer (besides, you know, generating income rather than merely spending it) is, well, being home. I haven’t been home for longer than 4 weeks in over two years. I haven’t yet been in my house long enough to unpack fully since i moved out for college. Living out of my drawers as opposed to suitcases will be nice. Kitties sleeping in said drawers will be even nicer.

And i’ve been working a lot these past few weeks (hence the noticeable decline in blog-writing). It’s a good thing, for a multitude of reasons (some aforementioned), but it is also crazy to me that my blog post this time last year was about switching to WordPress in preparation of my debarkation to Uganda. Things couldn’t be more different now. In some ways, i feel like i’m negotiating spaces and relationships that haven’t really been present in my life since high school, which is definitely a sticky, weird, and sometimes surprisingly pleasant adventure to be undertaking. And yet so much of this feels so normal. Maybe i’m still recuperating from the semester, but i feel in the twenty days i’ve been home i’ve started to equalize in a way i haven’t been able to since leaving for school.

So i’m here. I work, i read more junior science fiction novels than could ever be deemed normal (blog post review coming soon),* and i’m reconnecting and reinventing lizzie constantly. Nothing is new, and yet everything has changed.

This is weird. I haven’t written a personal reflection on here in a while, so that’s kind of bizarre for me (and probably for you). Thanks for letting me vent. Hope you stick around for better, more coherent thoughts in the future. If not, i promise we can still be friends. In the meantime, here is a cat picture for your troubles:

eli was helping me unpack, the useful fiend.

Do you have summer plans that are either totally mundane or utterly explosive? Any advice on how to deal with the stereotypical home-from-college-itis? Have a cute cat?

current jam: “baby” julia nunes mash-up.

best thing: leave a good tip, i’mma blow all my money and don’t give two -

* there are also a few baby-reviews on my goodreads (new addiction). also also, if you like stalking me online (cool, cool, we’re all freaks here) then know i have the SUPER OVERDUE fifteen things in review blog coming soon. so, yeah. bye.

The Little Green Pig (And Other Adventures There and Back Again)

I can now officially cross #5 off of my list of fifteen things to be accomplished in six months (now totaling to six completed tasks): i went home to see my brother, Thom’s, directorial debut with The Pillowman. In fact, i’d be so bold to say i managed to knock out a double-whammy; i managed to also be home for my other brother, Mike’s, fifteenth birthday. While i may not be in the big sister hall of fame, i’m very pleased to have been there for both of these boys’ milestones!

Last Wednesday, i left Mount Holyoke’s frigid campus behind me for the single terminal of my second most frequented air portal, Bradley International Airport. Packed with a suitcase exploding at the seams (i did that college thing where i don’t do laundry for three weeks and instead bring it all home to do it for free) and armed with a fat stack of reading to accomplish on the plane, i managed to make it home to an ice cold glass of sweet tea and a comfortable, albeit environmentally worrying, seventy degrees.

It was a whirlwind of a glorified forty-eight hours; between 9 pm Wednesday night (touchdown) and 9 am Saturday morning (take-off) i managed to see Thom’s play twice, worship snuggle with my cats, lunch with one grandmother, visit my other grandmother, view in awe the masterpiece that is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with father and grandmother (review of said film coming soon), eat a fat whopping burrito with a friend, interrupt a band rehearsal to see another friend, wash three loads of clothes, play with my cats, cuddle up next to my dog, spend an afternoon with my mom, pack, unpack, pack again, and mew at my cats like we speak the same language. If that’s not an end-to-end 60 hours of well-used time at home, i’m not sure what is.

Amidst all of this, i fully intended to photograph every minute and, subsequently, present to ya’ll a blog-o-pictures for your visual feasting. However, as i was something of a tornado-generating machine in my to-the-moment time home, i only managed to take the following:

picasso and buddy the beagle.

eli in the sink!

Maybe all that nonsense about plays and Benedict Cumberbatch movies was a ruse to cover up the fact that i only ventured home for the sake of my perfect cats and sweet old dog.

But while such a plan to see nothing but my animal friends would be NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF BECAUSE ALL SOCIALLY-ADJUSTED LADIES OF SOME NORMALITY LIKE THEIR CATS AND DOG AS MUCH AS ME, it was not the primary reason for my sojourn to Chapel Hill.

I was home in my other home for my brothers. And while my visits with them were shamefully brief, i couldn’t be more proud of them. Mike, who is halfway through his first year of high school, has grown up so much into a considerate, thoughtful, sweet, and wrestling-conference-champion darling of a brother. Thom could not have been more in his element as the director of such a sinister, warped, delicious spectacular of a work that is Martin McDonagh’s play. It’s always a weird thing, coming home to find a window into the rest of my family’s life. We live in separate time streams in a multitude of ways – and yet, some things never really change. Being proud of my siblings is something that has never abided.

And i did manage to acquire a picture on the set of The Pillowman with Thom after the curtain. He’s holding (fake) severed toes in front of the cross from “The Little Jesus” (a story within the show). The play, which centers around a barely-published author of horrific short stories (most of which involving the grisly murder of small children) named Katurian, is a warped and wretched portrait of modern life. It explores interpersonal familial relationships in a way akin to John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, but with the added layer of gruesome imagery and lack of mucking out stalls (well, in the literal sense). It’s a show about the loss of innocence, but also about the glimmer of beauty that can be found – if sought- amidst tragedy. It may be a stomach-clenching, eye-shutting nightmare to behold, but Thom and the cast and crew did such a marvelous job at conveying the work in an entrancing, if not hauntingly mesmerizing, capacity. My cringe in the photo below seems to encapsulate how i felt for the entirety of the tale; not from lack of relishing in the talent of the show, but more as a product of the stellar acting and theatrical story-telling.

Thanks for being awesome, boys.

Even with the severed toes.

current jam: “lovecraft in brooklyn” the mountain goats

best thing in my life right now: ian mckellan reading instructions on how to change a tyre. 

Dualities: Hometowns.

By no stretch of the imagination am i what one would consider a quintessential Southerner.  And yet, i feel as though everywhere i go my identity – so intricately interlaced with growing up in North Carolina – is up for debate. I recognize already that this is the ultimate of white-girl-first-world-teenage-angst problems (waaah! no one understands meeee!) but the lack of a connection to a homeplace is a much broader identity crises i’ve wrangled with for, well, my whole life. Oh, God. I just said i’m having an identity crises. It really doesn’t get more teenage-ery and whinier than that, does it?

But, since i am, after all, still a teenager (if only for another mere six-ish months) and this little blog has grown to be my soapbox for venting and processing, i want to unpack my thoughts here. I beg of your forgiveness and indulgence while i embark on this mad-as-a-box-of-cats typing session.

As i attend an intentionally incredibly diverse college, one of the most frequently asked questions when first making the acquaintance of people is to inquire as to where they’re from. This past week, being the first week of classes, meant another round of these in every seminar and lecture (benefits of my largest class being only thirty people). Answers tend to range in everything from Brooklyn to Seattle to Seoul to Sri Lanka, reminders of why Mount Holyoke is such a beautiful and wide and wonderful place to be.

And yet.

Whenever the question comes to me, i panic a little. Not externally – well, i certainly hope it’s not externally obvious – but there’s always something of a fretting taste to my mouth before i declare myself to be “lizzie, sociologyandreligiondoublemajor, class of 2014, from North Carolina.”

This is always a stewing of worry in me for two reasons; the first being that i am not technically from North Carolina. In fact, i was technically born in Atlanta, Georgia; a lovely place, undoubtedly, but i only lived there for a few months (if that). From my birth onward, my family pilgrimaged far and wide across the United States.

By the time i was six-and-a-half years old, i had lived in seven states and had moved eight times.

Atlanta, therefore, is hardly where i would ultimately claim to be “from.” We lived a winter in Pennsylvania (a splendid season to move Northward), i can recall the lemon tree that gave fruit to our tiny hands in the backyard in California, there is a porch painted white in my memory that i’m told was part of the house in South Carolina, and i can still trace the carpet pattern of the first North Carolina house’s basement.

When compared to my friends who still live in the house their parents put a down payment on prior to their conceptions – people who have known neighbors and friends for their entire lives - i feel like such a liar. My “hometown” is not where i was born. It’s not where i took my first steps. It’s not where i learned to speak, or met my brothers for the first time, or learned to play hopscotch on the front driveway. Those all happened in different homes, different states, different parts of the country.

This motion, this mobility with which i was raised, is something i feel i am only now coming to terms with in a rip-roaring, open-wound kind of way. I hold no bitterness for my continent-spanning childhood; i like to think it made me stronger. More outgoing, more willing to make friends and more flexible in new situations. And most of my friends growing up where very like me in this regard – they were from all over, corporate brats and children of the dust. When i first began to get to know people at school, it baffled me that someone could have lived in the same house their whole life. It was just so different from what i knew, and in some ways, i’d never really realized how distinctive, then, my rearing had been.

I mean, i was born in Georgia, but i don’t particularly like peaches and i most definitely need a map to negotiate my way around the city of my origin. For this reason, i claimed North Carolina to be my home: i’m not a Tar Heel born, but i spent the better part of my life thus far living and breathing North Carolinian air and slurping down sweet tea by the gallon. Amidst the get-to-know-you-Bingo-games and those horrendously awkward first conversations, i was the peculiar southerner misplaced in New England.

And yet, when that question comes to me to answer, i still felt – and continue to feel – like a part of me is being completely inauthentic. A total fraud. In the same way i’m not born-and-raised from North Carolina, an inclination in my mind reminds me that the town in which i grew up in is by no means what the quintessential North Carolinian would consider to be truly, well, North Carolinian.

I’m from Chapel Hill, a college town home to the University of North Carolina; a town  encasing the smaller hippie borough (turned town) that is the once-commune now-granola-tree-loving Carrboro. It’s not precisely what i would call a posh place, but it certainly reeks of the Old South harmonizing – often dissonantly – with the burgeoning, Berkenstocks-wearing counterculturals that inhabit the organic groceries that pepper its winding streets.

Chapel Hill and Carrboro, as a unit, make for a pretty unique place to have lived; the town is pretty old, by American standards, and rich in a history reflective of much of what is perceived to be the “Southern heritage.” There are monuments dedicated to men who died in the Civil War a mere mile from a bookstore that hosts bi-monthly letter-writing campaigns to encourage political prisoners and to chastise the governments holding them hostage.  I’m a fan of frequenting the thrift stores and collecting homes for discarded shoulder-padded 80s nightmares, but there’s plenty of J. Crew wannabe boutiques in the plethora of strip malls dotted around town. In the summer, there are politically-driven puppet shows hewn with unimaginable artistry. Year-round you can find a  play or musical or opera or performance art piece just about every weekend (and when that isn’t enough, there are more intimate concert venues in the city limits than i could count on two hands).

Yet there are also neighborhoods with nothing but white picket fence houses, children going to manners classes, and debutante invitations. Every restaurant offers sweet tea, you can find fried chicken on almost any menu (save the vegetarian-only places), and liquor stores are legally-bound to decree themselves as alcohol-seling venues with signs that say “ABC Store.”

I guess what i’m trying to say is that my hometown defies any kind of regional label. When i say i’m from North Carolina i tend to get one of two reactions. The first; “But you don’t have an accent!” which i can’t help but feel is really meant to be “But you seem somewhat intelligent and not bigoted!” I know that’s an unfair assessment of what are assuredly occasional, perfectly innocent comments. Yet i often find myself defending “The South” in the same way i have to claim that having lived in Uganda for ten weeks does not make me an expert on the entire continent of Africa. No, not everyone is Republican (North Carolina has a Democrat for a governor! Who is a woman! And we voted blue in 2008!). No, i did not grow up on a farm. No, i’m not a Bible-thumping fundamentalist quoting Leviticus to justify homophobia while eating shellfish.

In response, i try to make light of the situation and the sometimes-subtext. I’ll make a joke about how my lack of an accent makes up for the amount of sweet tea i’ve consumed in my lifetime. When in a bad mood, though, i put it bluntly: “not everyone in the South sounds the same, you know. A Kentucky accent is about as far from a Piedmont-region North Carolina accent as a Cockney accent is from a Scottish one.” Or, better yet, i might go on a rampage, we’re all Heritage-Not-Haters with rebel flags and obesity problems. Those are rare, but i tend to feel pretty guilty for isolating people after said rampages.

However, herein enters the second reason why i feel inauthentic when i decree myself to be a North Carolinian. Yes, these stereotypes are broad generalizations that don’t account for everyone in the South. And yes, they’re frustrating when some of my closest friends in NC are from small towns in middle-of-nowhere country counties who deal with the “redneck” stigma in a real and incredibly classist way. I stick up for the South, because on some level it is where i’m from; my mom is a South Carolinian, born and bred. Again: sweet tea. Nectar of the deities.

But there’s a level of truth to the proverbial “But-you-don’t-have-an-accent!” comment. No, i really don’t. Only on certain words, and only when with other Carolinians.

This is because Chapel Hill/Carrboro is, by its own definition, not the “real” South. It’s a bedroom community for misplaced Michiganers commuting to Raleigh, it’s home to drifters and roamers and political activists in retirement – while simultaneously catering to the Chapel Hill elite who are Tar Heels born and bred. It’s a weird place, a place of dualities and convergences and ideas held in tension and tandem.

I don’t like BBQ, i couldn’t give a flying fizzing whizbee about football (but i heartily support the UNC Marching Band, for what’s it worth!), don’t spend my free time on ATVs, and i definitely would not be caught dead hunting. Stereotypes, yes, but every time i’m home at least once someone tells me i’m not really from North Carolina. But sometimes, the “redneck” label is one worn with pride – a celebration of identity with “North Carolina culture” (to appropriate). And Chapel Hill is, if anything, not a redneck-pride kind of place.

Sometimes i want to bite back, snap that just because i only use “ya’ll” with the most erratic infrequency and find pulled pork to be revolting doesn’t mean it’s not my home. By telling me i’m not from the real North Carolina, i feel like these people are claiming my childhood and adolescence were, by very nature of the surroundings they occurred in, unreal. Fake. Forever damning me to be suspended in between. Not Southern, not Yankee. I don’t sleep in the same room i was brought home from the hospital in, i don’t have any friend whom my parents knew from maternity classes, i haven’t been eating at the same restaurant for the whole of my life.

But i am from Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Elmo’s is the best restaurant on the face of this good green earth, i sport my Berks with pride, and i will never apologize for the people interpretive dancing on the green in front of Weaver street. I went to middle and high school in Chapel Hill, i made some of the best friends of my life at the playground in my neighborhood and at the summer spent at the North Carolina Governor’s School. There’s hardly a restaurant i haven’t tried or a block i don’t know. I learned to ride a bike, to drive a car on North Carolina roads. I left for Africa from a North Carolina airport, all three times.

And i am from North Carolina. I love bluegrass, i wear cowboy boots, i think the Avett Brothers are the best thing to have happened to folk music since Bob Dylan, and i say my “a”s like Scarlett O’Hara on occasion. Yeah, i’m having stereotypical growing pains in totally rejecting (and by rejecting, coming to accept as part of my own identity) the girls-in-pearls mentality so professed by so many in the white-picket-neighborhoods.

May i simply say, though, the title of this very website includes on key word: wandering. I have roots, they’re just spread far and wide across the country. I am from Anywhere, i am from nowhere, i am from North Carolina and i choose to be in New England and i love Uganda and have my sights set on Scotland for 2013. Where my childhood lacked in geographical consistency it flourished in curiosity and adventure. For that, i have no regrets at all. I learned to not let the dust settle, to pursue dreams, to be unhindered by location. I’m still learning. And learning is not always a clean and rant-free process independent of identity crises.

And yes, this has been a rant about identity crises. I know. I know. Here are some cats for your pains:

I just wanted to get that off my chest. Thanks for reading. Have some sweet tea or Maple View Ice Cream as a treat on me.

current jam: ‘hard to love’ old crow medicine show

best thing in my life right now: in a few weeks, wanderingwrites will be celebrating its one-year anniversary! PARTYLIKECRAZYANDSTUFF. as part of the revelry, there will be all kinds of fun things going on – including giveaways and a guest blogger. get pumped!

Fifteen Things in Six Months: The Challenge Revisited.

Greetings, Ducklings.

Last night, i published a rather lackluster account of my mostly-adequate attempt to accomplish ten tasks before January 1, 2012, set forth in September of 2011. I managed to do 6 out of the 10; not shabby, but certainly not stellar. As my friend Morgan commented, “6 out of 10 is passing in college, so I’ll take it.”

And while i’m glad to have at least passed my initial challenge, i am a Gryffindor. I don’t take defeat very well – not very well at all. Therefore, i am not going to lie down and let the list go undone – i am burning the boats, facing forward, and upping the ante. Perhaps not the wisest idea as i couldn’t even complete ten things, but still. Gryffindors are not always revered for their brains. And i did think i couldn’t write 50,000 words in one month, but i managed. So maybe i’ll surprise myself.

Enough rabble – to the point! I am now, hereafter setting forth, a new and revamped and more extensive list. What’s this? You already know what it is from the title?

Oh. Cut the dramatic music then.

Well, i guess here’s the list, and stuff:

FIFTEEN THINGS FOR LIZZIE TO (HOPEFULLYMAYBE) VICTORIOUSLY COMPLETE IN SIX MONTHS TIME:

  1. Go to a Broadway show.
  2. Shake John Green’s hand and tell him how Looking for Alaska saved me (melodramatic, but pretty true).
  3. Road trip to Vermont. Eat Brenna’s cooking.
  4. Get a summer job.
  5. See my brother Thom’s directorial debut – a play entitled The Pillowman, whilst never relinquishing the hand of the poor soul who winds up sitting next to me from sheer terror. (Seriously, the show will be brilliant and scarring).
  6. Go to a temple, synagogue, or some kind of house of worship different from the kind i was raised in.
  7. Apply for studying abroad in 2013.
  8. Finish the first draft of my novel.
  9. Host a live show on BlogTV or something akin.
  10. Go ice skating. Preferably on the MHC lake.
  11. Blog every single day for one week.
  12. Celebrate my one-year blogging anniversary with a giveaway!
  13. Write postcards. Actually mail them.
  14. Present a blog entirely in photographs.
  15. Watch a documentary.

Now, i do realize some of these are repeats from the last list. But! The things i’ve repeated are things i feel worth repeating – tasks i wished i had accomplished or ones i know i can do again. Big and small, these are the ten goals i aim to have completed by May 7th, 2012. Whew, that seems so distant from me now – but i am assured that, come that date, the time will have flown faster than the TARDIS.

Until then, ducklings.

current jam: ‘blink’ chameleon circuit.

best thing in my life right now: sherlock. new episode sunday! and the premiere of season 2 of downton abbey! (it’s really laughable when people call me productive. really. i do nothing but spew nonsense here and watch telly).