I’ve never liked summer. It meant hot, humid, sticky days. It meant grueling training and practice miles for the field hockey season. It meant chores and forced summer reading. It meant friends all being away on vacation. It meant Back to School commercials in late June. It meant hot pavement and grass stains. It meant mosquito bites on my ankles and gnats stuck to my arms. Summer is the worst.
Or popcorn with truffle oil…
I’m the kind of person who needs structure otherwise I have no idea what to do with myself. During the school year, I’m busy as a bee, running from class to clubs to friends to food before I can even realize how tired I am. Summer gives me way too much freedom, which usually just translates to boredom and/or laziness. The days that I didn’t spend away at field hockey camp were spent eating Bugles with a side of Toddlers & Tiaras. But I hereby declare Summer 2014 for being successful—or a lesson, at least, in how to fill my days with fun. There’s still be plenty of TV bingeing (World Cup, Breaking Bad round two, Orange is the New Black, Jeopardy!, Season 7 of my beloved Toddlers & Tiaras…), but I’ve also managed to be a normal kid (oops—young adult. Scary.) and get myself out there, enjoying myself and my summer.
Reconnecting with Friends
Liz, me, and Greta in Fells Point
I will be the first person to say that I didn’t have a real spiritual connection with my high school. I could really care less about say—ehh—90% of the people who went there. But I did have some really awesome, amazing friends who I miss so much during the school year because they decided to go flee Baltimore in favor of colder weather. I forgive them, but I’m still bitter. I adore my Hopkins friends, but it was refreshing to hang out with people who understand my hometown and all of its bizarre idiosyncrasies. We gossiped, we reminisced, we ate sushi, we got really lost downtown. It was so much fun. And I don’t want them to return to their respective tundras.
Me + Panda
I’m really obsessed with animals. Ever since I could cognitively understand the difference between humans and our wild counterparts, I have heavily favored the latter. Find any of my kindergarten through eighth grade work; I was determined to become a zookeeper. But high school Biology hit and then I realized that my talents were definitely better invested elsewhere. I might not ever be able to tend to animals, but I can certainly still stare at them creepily from behind the glass and make crazy faces in an attempt to gain their attention.
I’m obsessed with lemurs and I cried when I saw this lil guy
I love DC, and it’s such an easy little hop away via the $7 MARC train. Sam and I are experts at navigating the city, and we love going to the museums. The Metro ride from Union Station to Woodley Park was a quick trip, and then after a short walk, we made it to the zoo. A little advice: I’ve gone to the Baltimore Zoo ever since I was a wee one, but in the last few years, it’s unfortunately been downsized a lot and it’s no longer quite the zoo it used to be. I really recommend spending your time and your money at the Washington Zoo. (I’m sorry, Baltimore critters. Don’t hate me.)
I’m probably the worst American ever because I had never really been to New York? I went on a small touristy day field trip in high school once, but I’m not counting that because I had no idea what I was doing. We went to a wax museum. It was weird. My dad gave me train tickets for my birthday back in October, and I finally got around to using them! I took the Amtrak Northeast Regional up, and my friend Nicole and her boyfriend Tony treated me to an amazing jam-packed weekend! I got the full treatment: burgers from Shake Shack, a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a walk around Central Park, the view from the top of Rockefeller Plaza, and dinner in Chinatown.
And—of course—a bagel for breakfast the next morning before my train home.
View from the Top of the Rock
New York is so infinitely different from Baltimore. When I first stepped out of NY Penn Station, I was really startled by the noise and the crowds. I felt very, very lost. It was hard for me to believe that my second choice school was right in the heart of New York! Nicole and Tony were the perfect guides, though, and definitely helped me to understand the bustling city. There’s no way I saw all that New York has to offer in 24 hours, though, so I plan on going back again soon for round two!
I was lying a little bit when I said that I totally hate summer. Not total hate—just a little hate. Summer means trips to Assateague Island, one of my favorite places in the whole world. It’s a National Seashore and the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to. It may not have crystal blue water or beach cabanas with slushy, cold drinks. But Assateague, as a protected shoreline, looks the same way it did one hundred years ago. There are soft dunes and wild ponies that graze along the park. Plus, no buildings to infect the view!
Wild ponies crossing the dunes
For the 4th of July, as usual, my family journeyed down to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and visited my grandparents, who live conveniently close to Assateague. Saturday morning, we woke up at 6 to beat the crowds and had our camp set up by 7. We spent the whole day at the beach, throwing lacrosse balls, roasting sausages, throwing Frisbees for the dog, taking naps, and getting way too much sun. Assateauge is the perfect beach escape and I’m always excited to plop myself down in the sand with a bucket of cut-up watermelon and watch the waves.
Sam’s photo of Katahdin
Trying Something New
Next weekend, I leave for a two week trip to northern Maine. No cell phone service. No wifi. No electricity outlets. I’ll be staying at Sam’s camp, which is on a little island only accessible by boat.
I would describe myself as “the opposite of outdoorsy.” As a 21st century gal, I enjoy my materialistic comforts. But I’m going to have to learn to shed all of them in favor of a pair of Tevas and a Camelback.
I’ve never been hiking, but we plan on ascending to the top of Mount Katahdin. I’ve heard so much about it and I’ve seen gorgeous photos of it, so I’m doing my best to be excited rather than concerned for myself. Maine will be a huge change for me. I’ll be forgoing the sofa for a hammock, the back patio for a dock.
Artscape = doing questionable things for free food
I’m actually very excited to immerse myself in this whole different world, but it’s definitely a bit scary, too. We’re travelling up this weekend, which means that I’ll have to miss Artscape this year. Someone go and watch weird performance art for me, okay?
Goodbye city festival, hello moose and pine trees.
I can’t believe that I’ll be moving into Charles Commons 1225 in about a month. I’m excited to adopt my school year routine again and see friends and get into crazy antics with them. I’m doing my best to appreciate the pace of summer and I’m pleased that I’ve been doing fun things for myself instead of laying in bed all day watching Harry Potter marathons.
Wait. I did that this weekend.