So in four days I will turn 23. As far as birthdays go, not a very exciting one. And I kind of hate being in this transitory period of my life, so about of year ago I I made a list of 23 new things I wanted to do before I turned 23.
I failed at finishing that list marvelously: I blogged about doing 6 of those 23 things; I’ve done a few more of those things either by accident or just not had time to blog about them (Moving to new york and starting grad school took care of numbers 10 and 21; while I had time to do 18 and 22, I just never got around to writing about them).
Some things I didn’t get to do because extraneous circumstances got in the way (Finals prevented 5, and an injury stopped 12 and 17). But despite not accomplishing all of them, I did do a lot of strange and awesome new things in the past year:
I MOVED TO NYC, this is still hard for me to grasp and I’m living on my own for the first time. I took on a new city and a new school and 8 million new people all at once. I started a new art history based blog that I’m actually really proud of, finding time to do it is hard, but I like it, so it’s worth it. I started a grad school program that is so far outside of anything that I thought I would be doing, but I’m handling it pretty well.
So despite failing to finish my list. I feel like I accomplished a lot in the past year, and it’s good to always have more things on the list, you always have something to work towards.
Okay so obviously this is a new thing, because most people only do it once, but I thought I should put it on the list to give myself a chance to talk about my experience.
When I came to Goucher, I had a pretty rough first semester. I was at the point that I contemplating transferring, that while I was completely academically fulfilled, socially I was lacking a place. But I chose to stick it out through ISP’s jterm course. And during that three weeks I made some of the best friends of my entire life. People who will remain in my life for years and years to come. Through that core group my circle of friends continued to expand. Even into my final semester of college, even into my final month of undergraduate studies I was making some amazing new friends…some of which felt like long lost kindred spirits (cough *Kaitlin* cough *Elizabeth* cough).
These people that I spent a mere four years with are now my closest friends, I will miss them dearly…but not really because we will see each other, we will! Enough with my overwrought sentimentality.
Commencement. Having never experienced a traditional graduation ceremony the whole idea of caps and gowns and regalia was a completely new experience, but it was fun. Everything from decorating our caps to listening our names being called to receive degrees was excited.
The Highlights: IRA freaking GLASS was our commencement speaker. And when Ira Glass is standing on a stage telling you that he lost his virginity in one of the few dorms at your school, you are definitely going to Listen to the rest of the speech.
Ira Glasses Commencement Speech Words of Wisdom for Our Futures
1. Commencement Speeches are a horrible institutional construct
2. DON’T BE A DICK
3. If you get the chance, kill Hitler.
Okay, after the actually ceremony there was frenzied goodbyes, lunch, crying, packing, more crying, it was an emotional afternoon.
So I know this is horribly overdue, but it’s been a rough month and a half since I returned from my epic spring break road trip. Which brings me to the task at hand: My 23 New Things Challenge!
Despite the length of time that has past since my last post, the challenge is still on, and my epic spring break road trip happened to cover several of my challenges.
13. Take a road trip with friends
So I did take a short roadtrip in January with Jennifer, which I was originally intending to count as this challenge, but fate had other plans. It new when I wrote ‘road trip’ I meant it. Camden and I were at a party one evening when the idea surfaced. An epic road trip starting in Baltimore driving south and then a u-turn up to Kentucky to visit home. Seemed like a pipe dream, but it tuns out other people were interested as well. Peter and Christie joined the bandwagon and suddenly the trip was becoming a reality.
Sure, we hit a few snafu’s on the way: Camden couldn’t come at the last minute and that made all of us very sad, Christie had to miss out on the first few days, and it was an emotional trip for all. But it’s hard to avoid emotion when your trapped in a roughly 6 x 6 space for 2000 miles. But It was amazing. I loved nearly every minute of it.
We drove a good portion of our drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway, kind of winging it as we went. We stayed with family and friends, and visited many of the places I spent my summers when I was younger. And I got to show my friends my hometown. Peter and I even discovered that in another life we might have met a lot earlier. His family is from the same small town in eastern Kentucky that mine is. Our Grandparents have known each other for years.
Here is a picture, make of it what you will:
Cruisin’ Norris Lake with Turkey
J.R. Hoe and Sons Foundry Tour (Peter’s Family Owns This Place)
Our Awesome Tour Guide, Freddie, at Buffalo Trace
8. Take a Vacation on My Own Dime
I am proud to say that despite all the stress it cause in my life, I paid for my portion of this roadtrip with money from my savings, after saving all my receipts and counting up everthing I spent, here is the final budget:
It was more than I had originally planned on spending, but it was worth it. I had so much fun, it was a really great way to spend my final college spring break.
6. Teach Someone Something
I have so far failed to mention that it was my car we took on this trip. 2000 and then some miles in my manual transmission mini-cooper. Which would be fine, except I was the only person who could drive stick.
For the first part of our journey it was just me, peter, and a long stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. So I told Peter I would try and teach him how to drive stick. He knew the basic concept, and after a couple of tries and my excellent tutelage he could get into gear on a flat surface. He drove for about a half hour until we had to get back on the real roads. Driving manual is pretty easy when you don’t have to down shift.
He needs a little bit of practice, but otherwise he’s there. Some one get him access to a car and in about a week he’ll be driving like a pro.
Okay, so can we talk about how much fail there was in this challenge, there was a lot of win too, but mostly a lot of fail, because I couldn’t even last three days without my good friend Diet Coke, and I totally did not obey the local challenge when it came to sweets.
However, every proper meal I at was entirely local, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and call the overall challenge a win at the reduction of my carbon foot print. But the real win, was completely unexpected, I learned to cook! Like proper cooking, not just measure, mix, and bake cooking. There was cutting of fresh herbs and marinating and those little silver bowls they have for ingredients on all the cooking shows.
As someone who’s very close to that whole ‘leaving the nest’ thing, knowing these things makes me feel a little bit more confident about living on my own. But I’m also lucky that we have such a well equipped kitchen, I do not miss those times in Prague trying to figure out what all you could cook with just a skillet and hot plate (more than you think). There is a lot of stuff involved in preparing your own meals, and I kind of feel like everyone should have to take home ec, just to know how to use it all.
I’ll definitely try to keep intergrating some local foods into my diet, but entirely local is almost entirely impossible, for you know all the time.
Just a general life/blog update. My 23 New Things Challenge is still on! Next week we will hear about Hot Yoga, and the doozie, Kelsey’s Eat Local Challenge, a week of all food and drink produced within the general vicinity of where I live, starting saturday, I’ll be hitting the farmers market. Should I make videos about the 23 New Things like I did when I was abroad….hmm.
Also Have you looked at my follow friday, you really should follow these awesome people!
So for the past month and a half I’ve been taking a course throught the Cicerone program…the end result is sort of like being a sommelier, but for beer. You learn about the different styles (Ales, Lagers, Stouts, etc.) how they’re made and how to serve them. And Yesterday I finally passed my certification test. Yay!
Not that it helps, because I don’t actually have a job. But overall, it was a really interesting informative course, especially if you’re a big beer drinker like me. There’s alot that goes into the production of beer. It’s quite the process, and beer production, especially craft beer production in the US and somewhat in Europe is just as advanced and meticulous as the production of wine.
So now I’m officially certified to work at craft beer retailers, and brew pubs, which is awesome, if I could just get a job…
So I thought I would give my lovely followers a couple recommendations:
Founder’s Backwoods Bastard: The Founders brewery, out of Grand Rapids, Michigan is one of my favorite brewers. Backwoods Bastard is their Bourbon Barrel Ale. It’s high abv, but oh so tasty, it’s got lovely malty flavors and assertive bitterness. If you’re not one for Ales, Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is also a great choice.
New Albanian Yakima Rye IPA: From this brewery in Southern Indiana (So close that I can almost call it local). With combined malted rye, american barely, and Cara pils. This IPA is about 7.5% abv, and nicely hoppy.
I also enjoy anything by the Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware, I hardly ever go wrong with them.
So taking a cue from my favorite blogger Yes and Yes’s Sarah Von Bargen, I’m going to attemp to do and blog about 23 new things before my 23rd birthday, one year and four months from now. Some of the things may not get done, some will most definitely happen (ie graduate from college, that one better be happening as much as I don’t want to). Some it really is a travesty that I haven’t done them (Yes, i am from Louisville and have never been to Derby or Oaks…I’m so ashamed). Okay so a year and a third of new things begins tommorow!
1. Learn to drive a boat
5. Attend the Kentucky Derby/Oaks
7. Send a letter
9. Go to a Youtube concert/gathering/event
10. Go Car-less for a week
11. Crash a wedding
12. Run an 8k
14. Go vegetarian for a week
15. Meet an internet friend IRL
16. Watch Titanic, all the way through
17. Take a spin class
18. Do hot yoga
19. Learn to make Fudge
20. Play HvZ
21. A week without TV (of any kind)
22. Play pub trivia night
23. Re-try 6 foods that I always thought I hated
That’s the whole list, I stole of few from Sarah. What do you guys think? Any Questions?