BudaBLESSED

I had been to Budapest just once before in November. It was one of my last weekends before heading back to the states, I was tired, maybe on the verge of a mental break, and not nearly as stoked on the city as I am now.

I don’t know why the city blew me away this time and not the previous time. Maybe it was the gorgeous 70 degree weather, or simply just a change in my attitude. Regardless, I left Budapest reluctantly and wishing I could extend my time there. Eastern Europe is weird. The people are weird, the language is strange, and social norms in general are just different. But it’s so cool. It has not been free from Communist rule for very long (1989), and is incredibly rich in history.

Even their nightlife is historical. Budapest is known for it’s ruin pubs. After the fall of the commuist regime, buildings all around the city were left abandoned, and presumed useless – until people decided they could actually be useful. Abstaining from any renovation, ruined buildings obtained new ownership, and were transformed into bars and clubs. These bars are seriously the coolest places I’ve ever had the privilege of getting a drink. The oldest and most well known, Szimpla Kert, is probably the strangest place you’ll ever go for a social outing. I can only describe it as a cross between Alice in Wonderland and your grandmother’s yard sale in the 70’s. Nothing feels “finished” and it’s not supposed to. Upon walking in, you’ll spot a room to your left exclusively for hookah. Among the places you can sit in this room, are a halved bathtub, and a rabit fixture from an old carnival ride. They also sell carrots fo 300 HUF, should you be interested. Walk on a bit further and you’ll enter an open air courtyard of sorts, with a couple more bars, and rooms branching off to the sides. Bikes are fixed on to the walls, and there’s a gymnastics vault in the corner where people are resting their drinks. There are no limits to this place and anything/everything is fair game for decor. It’s something that can only really be understood by going there – and even then, you may still be confused.  Other popular ruin pubs include: Fogazhas, Ellato Kert, Instant and Kuplung. If you’re in the city for a visit, these are not to be missed.

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Now that we’ve covered drinks, let’s talk about food. I was so pleasantly surprised by this cuisine here. Not only can you find any type of food you want (not so in my current home in Florence, Italy), but there are awesome Hungarian delicacies you must try as well. Of the most popular Hungarian food is probably the Langos. The Langos is essentially fried dough and can be served both sweet and savory. If you go the sweet route, keep it simple and try caramel and powdered sugar – to.die. A typical savory langos can have anything from sour cream and cheese, to sour cream, cheese, chicken, ham, and every veggie you could ever think of. I would recommend heading to the famous Great Market Hall – a shopping center for food and souvenirs alike – and trying langos there. If you’re not into the fried dough, try a Hungarian burger and know that from that point on, you will never be satisfied with any other burger in your life. There is a price for good food, you know.

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Of course, there are other things you should do while in Budapest that do not include eating and drinking… like heading to the spa. Budapest is known for it’s natural thermal baths, which were a tradition actually started by the Turks. There are several in the city but consider checking out the famous Szcheneyi baths.  There are varying baths of different temperature degrees, both inside and outside, that are available to relax in. Although it is touristy, having a membership at the baths is actually part of Hungarians’ lifestyle. They believe the minerals in the water are critical for maintaining good health. At the baths, there is also opportunity to schedule manicures, pedicures, and massages upon your arrival. A trip to Budapest isn’t complete without a trip here.

Don’t discount this city since it’s not a typical tourist hotspot (that’s actually what I like most about it – no mass groups of Asian toursist – imagine all the open space!). It’s sort of a once-in-a-lifetime type place. Plan a trip and be ready to get weird!

 

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Making Moves

Today is a big, big day. Technically, yesterday was the big day but today is significant too because I’m going public with it. What is “it” exactly? I’m sure everyone is on the edge of their seats so fine, FINE I will tell you. On May 14th, I will be traveling to my third continent! I’ve just booked a 4 and a half week trip to Thailand with my older sister, Katie. This is all very interesting because:

a. We have a horrible habit to indulge in vicious fights and arguments
b. She has never really done independent traveling outside of the states
c. We don’t have an itinerary, per se
d. aaaaand neither of us have ever backpacked – LOL.

Despite these four seemingly large details, I feel pretty good about this trip. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and after almost 6 and a half months of traveling for work, I am really looking forward to being able to travel on my own terms. OH, and Thailand is pretty much a tropical paradise where you can survive on like, 20 USD a day. I can already see the pictures I’m going to make Katie take of me looking all pensive, serene, and relaxed on a Thai beach with a giant coconut filled with something alcoholic in hand (I’m really good at the whole vacation thing).

I invite you to follow us on this journey that we’ll embark on in May. Hopefully, I’ll be somewhat more dilligent about documenting it here. Which brings me to my more immediate adventure, Prague. As I’m finally visiting a new destination I will also be posting about that shortly. Stay tuned for fried dough, goulash, and an unhealthy amount of beer – these are a few of my favorite things. Cheers!

The Italy No One Tells You About

When I metion to people that I live in Italy, their eyes fill with envious wonder and the next thing that spills out of their open jaw is usually something along the lines of “Is it just amazing?!” and in a split moment of selfishness I desparately want to scream “No, no it is frustrating and infuriating and fills me with anxiety until I think I am going to implode.” But in order to avoid a long winded conversation explaining why living in Italy isn’t the fantasy people believe it to be, I politely smile and say “Yes, it is beatuiful and a wonderful experience and I am so grateful to be living where I do”.

So, before I get into said long winded conversation of my vendetta against this country hopelessly stuck in the past, I will tell you that I visited Italy in my high school years and then went on to study in Florence for 3 and a half months in college and fell head over heels with it’s charm. It’s beautifully winding cobble stoned streets, it’s Renaissance monuments and museums that make you feel as though you are strolling through a history book, and the mesmerizing sound of the Italian language all captivated me and I promised myself that I would someday live in this fairy tale. Soon after my college graduation, I got my chance to live in Florence again while working for a student travel company.

Now I was removed from the fantastical Italy I had experienced on my high school trip and during my semester I spent abroad eating, drinking, frolicking and most of all, maintaining zero “real life” responsibilities. I came back to the country and the city I loved, but was not greeted with the same wonderful care-free lifestyle I had previously lived.

Getting anything done efficiently isn’t really a priority in Italian life. I’m not saying they don’t have a work ethic, but coming from the states where the faster is considered the better, it’s hard to adjust to a society that doesn’t value that same urgency. While abroad, I hardly noticed it because what did I need to be urgent about besides getting to my 3 hour “Wine Appreciation” class? But now, when I’m working and have responsibilities expected of me, the magnificent laid back lifestyle I had once preached that the U.S. should take take after, is one of my least favorite parts about Italy. It’s as if everything stems from this lacksadasical attitude: it’s shops closing as they please, it’s a postal system that can almost guarantee you 100% of the time that anything shipped from America will take 3 months – 7 years to actually reach you, a system of public transportation that takes unreliability to a new level with scheduled train strikes every few weeks and a laissez-faire attitidue about life in general that drives my Boston personality near INSANE. It’s a unique stubornness and refusal to adapt to a changing world. One the one hand, I love that they want to preserve their culture and traditions but on the other hand, it drives me out of my mind that finding anything besides Italian food is near impossible and that “take away” coffee is considered taboo. By all means, yes congratulations for staying true to you, Italy, but why must a girl be penalized if she wants to walk around the city with a coffee in hand or worse – put ICE in it?! These are things I cannot make sense of. For a while I thought it was naive and ignorant to yearn for things that I had made a part of my daily life in the U.S. and that it meant I was “rejecting the culture”, but now I realize that Italy is actually rejecting cultural practices of the rest of this world. I suppose you can argue this is genius and give them a pat on the back for maintaining their roots but at the same time aren’t we encouraged to be constantly changing?

When I first arrived to my Italian apartment as a study abroad student, we were without heat for three days in the dead of winter. We were given a series of excuses by our program directors about why it was unable to be fixed immediately and that if we bundled up we would get along just fine. Our apartment was in a bit of a dilapitated state, our kitchen was the size of a small walk in closet and our counter space was a cutting board on top of our washer. At the time I was unnerved but was too blinded by my love for Florence to really care.

Looking back, I was (and still am) incredibly fortunate to be able to have these experiences and live where I had lived, I am simply just trying to express that there is a side to this beautiful country which most tourists will never realize. I suppose that makes me lucky, though; that I have experienced life in a place that is such a stark contrast to my home. I always thought that I would build a life in Italy someday but in talking to locals and through my own research and experience, there is no abundance of jobs here for young people nor promise of a great life. In a conversation exchange I participated in for my Italian course, I met with a local Florentine girl and had the chance to ask her about Florence. Still infatuated by the city, I was shocked, and slightly offended, when she told me quite frankly, she “hated Florence”. I asked her why, and she went on to tell me about how the political system is a mess, things are run inefficiently, and although she was to graduate university, there was little to no work opportunies for her or her peers. Sometime in my first month at my new job in Florence I finally realized the grievances she was describing.

I acknowledge that people may see this post as me complaining about living in Italy, but I hope the majority of people who stumble upon it just view it as a realization on my part about the real Italy, the Italy that the tourists taking selfies at the Duomo will never fully understand. Rant end.

Why Post Grad Isn’t So Bad Afterall

It’s been exactly 46 days since the saddest day of my life (ahem, UNH graduation). I realize that’s a bit dramatic but at the time, I truly felt the saddest I ever have in a long time. However, I came across so many people who were so thrilled to graduate and “finally be done” that it made me realize just how lucky I am to have had an experience that made letting go so unbearably heartbreaking.

At the time, my plans for the summer consisted of working as an intern part-time in Boston and moving back home with my parents – I wasn’t particularly thrilled. You know how adults have been asking us “what do you want to be when you grow up?” literally every year since the age of 5? Well sometime towards the end of senior year, I realized that the “when you grow up” part of that question, refers to now. I must have blacked out the part of that question that apprarently had a due date attached.

Unfortunately for me, the only thing that interested me that could also qualify as work, was a positon  I had applied for back in March. This internship was with a European student travel company that I had traveled with when I was studying in Italy. The idea to work for them was planted in my head even prior to leaving Florence in spring 2013. Of course, it had always seemed like a great, unattainable fantasy to me, as the company gets many applicants and there had to be hundreds more qualified than I. Fast forward to June: to my absolute delight and surprise, I was offered the invitation to work for this company starting in August of this year. I am so proud, overjoyed, ecstatic, nervous, but most importantly, eternally grateful, to have been granted this opportunity with a company who’s mission & vision is so in line with mine it’s a little frightening.

In August I will be moving to Italy to work as a sales and marketing intern with Bus2Alps and leading students on guided tours to the best European travel destinations (HGAUMER saves you 5% on all bookings with Bus2alps! 😉 )  My underlying point is this: nothing (post grad life) is ever as bad as it seems. Do my Thursday nights still consist of two hours of dollar drinks followed by debauchery with my best friends running around my college town? No. Am I now in bed by 10 pm with a cup of sleepytime tea and a copy of Catcher in the Rye? More often than I’d like to admit… However, I will say that post grad has done my mental and physical well-being a WHOLE LOT of good. One can only split large cheeses with their best friends three nights a week before nothing fits them anymore. Life is a lot more tame now, but I am happily working towards my next big adventure. Stay tuned for details of my European life & if you will be in Europe this fall let me know – I would love to be a resource!

17 Things People Born In The Early 90s Are Currently Experiencing

Thought Catalog

1. The realization that the next incoming high school freshmen were born in the 2000s, meaning the high school reign of 90s babies is over… and that we’re… old…

2. Prior to now, the most ill-fitted individuals that could possibly get married or raise a child were the only ones doing so, but now the people who are getting engaged and pregnant are, y’know, your friends. 

3. You’re officially in the era of “what you’re going to do.” Your entire life is defined by your future, not by what it is now. It’s the only thing people ask you about, and really the only thing you’re able to focus on.

4. Dating is awkward because you’re either going to get engaged or break up, and more likely than not in a short period of time. Gone are the days of just dating because you like each other — somebody is always wondering…

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Cheers To The Best Four Years

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It’s hard to put into words the emotions I’ve been feeling as I am so close to leaving a place that has become my home for the past four years – but I’ll give it a try.

When I came to the UNH Durham campus August 27th, 2010, I had tears welling in my eyes that quickly turned into sobs when my parents left me in my new freshman dorm room. I had just left home after going through a bad break up, parted with my class of 90 students who I’d known since kindergarten, and thought this was the end of my youth. Well, what played out in the four years that followed has entirely proved me otherwise.

The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had and the stories I can tell are far beyond anything that I imagined I would gain here at UNH. Today, just days after my college graduation, I look back on the Friday that I moved in as a freshman and smile at the memory of how truly upset, nervous, and downright hysterical I was. If I could go back and talk to that scared college freshman, I would like to tell her a few of the things that I’ve learned since then.

1. If you’re really friends with someone, you’ll keep in touch and it will be as though nothing has changed when you have your reunions. Hold on to those that matter and forget the rest.

2. Don’t be afraid of change; as it turns out, what you think are your biggest tragedies, eventually morph into your biggest triumphs (i.e. the eight incredible semesters I spent as a wildcat).

3. The things that you learn outside of the classroom will be just as critical, if not more than what you learn on the inside. College is supposed to prepare you for a career, but it’s also supposed to prepare you for the rest of your life. The lessons you are taught my your friends and peers will be the foundation of your success – at least I hope..

4. Don’t be hasty. You have four short years here and it’s important to make every house party, bar night, and hungover mornings in bed with your roommates count. You’ll look back more fondly on the Sunday Funday Kegger you spent with your friends versus the A you got on your paper that was due the next morning.

College is an alternate reality where your main responsibilities include class, passing those classes and hanging out with your friends. You are blessed with a unique experience to live in a community in which hundreds of your friends live within a mere 3 minute walk, drinks are as cheap as a buck, and you can get a large cheese pizza delivered to your door as late as 3 am. It was a place where people’s doors are always open and you wouldn’t be surprised to see if a few of your friends had passed out on your couch after the bar when you wandered downstairs the next morning; a place where we literally referred to our house as a homeless shelter because at 3 am on a Friday you were never really sure who would walk through the front door to say hi on their walk home. I’m sure it’s similar with most college towns, but Durham has demonstrated the greatest sense of community I have ever felt and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s hard to let a feeling like that go, unsure when you’ll feel something similar again.

I am incredibly proud of myself for my academic achievements and graduating in my four years but my undergraduate transcript will never mean as much to me as the time I spent with friends; the memories of nights we spent dancing like pre teens at a middle school dance or the mornings that turned to afternoons in the dining halls laughing about the ridiculous and often idiotic decisions we made the night before. I cannot fathom that there was a time where I felt like Durham was a foreign place in which I would never fit in. To my class of 2014 and the Durham community, you have given me my happiest four years to date. It scares me to think where I would be had I not met most of you; it’s been quite a wild ride and we’ve got the stories (and pictures and videos -__-) to prove it.  I plan to leave Durham just the way I came – in over dramatic, likely hysterical tears. However, I’ll take my own advice and attempt to embrace change as I set out for the next chapter. I only hope my loving and supportive parents will allow me a one month grace period to wallow in my post grad self pity. I love you guys, thank you for being the best class of students and friends I could have only dreamed of. Cheers to us!

Treat yourself: An open letter to the Class of 2014

I hate how true I know this is.

Meaghan McGoldrick

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To the Class of 2014,

This is it. One month ’till May and, odds are, you’re feeling numb and nauseous. The walls are closing in, all rugs have been pulled out and you’re compulsively spell-checking your resumé (while simultaneously snapchatting, putting off that ten-page paper and planning your next pregame). In six or so weeks you’ll be saying goodbye — to friends, to family, to weeknight whiskey specials — because an Irish Exit isn’t in the cards anymore. Not for four years of college.

You’re scared, (see also: restless, sleep-deprived, and a slave to happy hour), and that’s okay.

Trust your convictions. Go out on a Tuesday even though it’s raining and you know the bar’s full of freshmen. Have one, or ten too many people over (your neighbors won’t hold that title much longer) and stop censoring your rounds of slapcup. Put a ten in the jukebox. Take more selfies. Wear more sweatpants…

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A Thousand Thanks (and an editorial note)

I can’t say thank you enough for the overwhelming amount of support we’ve received from a single editorial blog post. When I wrote it, my intention was to set the record straight among my campus about what was going on with our chapter. The purpose was to provide a voice in a situation where our accusers were doing anything to prevent that voice from being heard.

I have never been so humbled in a single day and to everyone who shared and continues to share, you’ll never know how  much this means to my sisters and I. This is no exaggeration when I say I don’t know who 90% of you are and I think that’s what makes the whole thing so incredible. Obviously, this is no isolated issue in the Greek community and unjust rulings happen more frequently than most of us realize.

A word on the negative feedback:

Just as it was my own opinion that entitled me to write this post, you are equally entitled to your own opinion. What is unappreciated is remarks that seem irrelevant and unneccessary in an effort to ridicule my opinion.  But then again, as I can defend my posts, you are able to defend yours – the beauty of freedom of speech.

A general note on the publicity- my generation has pioneered the social media age so yes, I knew exactly what I was doing when I posted this and I am entirely aware that it is available for public view and that nationals could see it. What concerns me is that people who may have  brought this to my attention, would ever think I would expect this to be kept under wraps- to be frank, it is actually quite insulting to my intelligence. Quite the opposite of trying to keep this situation all hush-hush, I think people should know what happened here and be able to recognize that it is wrong. In regard to the photos that were posted from the senior celebration: the photos contain  no alcohol and they were posted after we found out that our memberships were being revoked; so no, we did not get in trouble for drinking in letters and then posting it. If you’re really still up in arms that we drank in letters, here’s a fun fact: it is  not prohibited by Chi Omega nationals to drink in letters if you are of the legal age. To people using that as a defense, I am delighted to inform you that your defense is in fact, invalid.

I also wanted to address a few false allegations in the comment section. There were additional events that occurred which contributed to our national organization’s decision to conduct a membership review; personally, I was in no way involved in these events, nor were my roommates. These events had nothing to do with why we were asked to resign and I resent the fact that people are approaching me via posting on this blog with the notion that I had anything to do with it. I did not mention it because it did not pertain to me personally, nor was it the reason for my blog post. Let me be clear: that is an entirely separate issue that did not occur at my house, which I did not address, and has nothing to do with the reason I have been asked to resign. Any questions? 

Furthermore, I consider myself to be rather sarcastic. In fact, you should stop reading this blog all together should that sarcasm offend you. And yes, I have a flair for the dramatic and since both of these traits are in my personality, this is how I express myself through written word (hint: I think my English teachers referred to this style a satire?) I’m sorry if that is offensive to you but if you refer to some of my later posts, it’s how I write and I’m not about to change it because it doesn’t please everyone.

I’d like to be able to respond to everyone to who comments, both positive and negative, however I unfortunately do not have the time, and for the select few who vehemently oppose my opinion, the patience or appropriate filter. Again, thank you for everyone who has supported this blog post. I had not expected nor intended the outcome of what has occurred since I posted this. Regardless, I stand by everything I originally said and see no reason to apologize for those thoughts, opinions and feelings.

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Only The Good Die Young?

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Well, no one died but it sure feels like we did.

I’m 21 years old and have legally possessed the right to make decisions regarding majority of my life choices since I turned 18. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I relinquished this right when I accepted my bid to the Mu Alpha chapter of the Chi Omega fraternity at the University of New Hampshire my freshman year at school. From that moment on, I became a Chi Omega before I was Hilary Gaumer and for a while, nothing made me happier. Chi Omega came to me as a saving grace at a time where I felt so desparately lost and alone; I met my best friends, got involved on campus, happily devoted countless hours to community service, and overall grew both personally and professionally.

Over the past six months, however, any positivity brought into my life by this organization was overshadowed by negativity based upon a single social event that took place on my off campus home (in which the only people who pay rent are the tenants who live at this residence- myself and six of my other Chi Omega roommates- and is in no way financially supported, or otherwise, by the Chi Omega fraternity).

It was a sunny Friday afternoon in mid September and the Mu Alpha senior class gathered at our house on 13 Madbury Road (may I please re-iterate that this residence is entirely separate from the Mu Alpha chapter house) to have a few legal drinks among 37 legal seniors and a number of sober executive board members for safe supervision. This was a celebration for the seniors and a way to kick off our senior year. We each look back at this day and remember how much fun had as a class; no one was hurt and zero casualties were suffered. That was until we realized that a fellow member of our beloved Greek community took it upon herself to report this celebration as an “unregistered Chi Omega social event in which alcohol was involved”. It wasn’t until I was asked to resign my membership that I realized nationals justified this violation by claiming that my house, once again paid for by only myself and my other roommates, was a Chi Omega property based on its perception on campus (i.e. because traditionally, Chi Omega sisters live there). I could run through all the gory details here that unfolded in the months that followed but I’ll give you the abbreviated version and leave any opinions to the reader.

After a slew of dramatic events, including being put on probation and then “seriously delinquent” status (Juvie, anyone?), our national representatives decided to conduct a membership review of every single member of the sorority to determine whether or not we were here for the right reasons. They may want to reconsider the name of this exercise and call it what it really is – a 20 minute interrogation of all of the offenses they’re accusing you and your chapter of. Each of these meetings was followed by a 10 minute meeting a day later in which the national reps determine your membership status: you could remain an existing member, be asked to resign, or be asked to accept early alumna status prior to your graduation. Aside from the two bogus claims on the behalf of two younger sisters, not a single person was asked to resign with the exception of myself and 5 of my roommates, as we were hosts to our senior class on the day of the celebration and therefore the root of all evil in Chi Omega. My sixth roommate along with the entire senior class was asked to assume early alumnae status. I would apologize for my actions and words I spat at the national reps when it was time for my meeting, but that would require me to be sorry. The laws that myself, roommates and fellow seniors so heinously violated (Chi O bylaws- in no way illegal under the U.S. Constitution) were, essentially, drinking legally with our friends and “according to younger sisters, intimidating members and therefore preventing the house from moving forward” – it’s truly a dog eat dog world when you allow your seniors to sit on couches at house meetings, isn’t it? Our entire senior class, the current foundation of the Mu Alpha chapter, was scape goated in an effort to combat some much larger problem within our chapter that is apparently the presence of underage drinking, which I was repeatedly asked about in my “membership review”. Apparently, I was unaware that not only am I responsible for my own decisions, but I must also police every underage member and rip alcohol from their hands at any opportunity. FYI – we attend the University of New Hampshire- you may have seen us on the news for parties and riots that have to be broke up by SWAT teams, but sure, I will go around writing alcohol citations to all of my sisters under the legal drinking age because, what else is there to do with my life?

What’s even more confusing however, is the lack of recognition regarding my chapter’s positive attributes. Was no praise warranted when we won chapter of excellence two years ago? Or that we currently hold the highest women’s GPA campus wide? I’m wondering where you pleasant women were when our university was recognizing us for these accomplishments. Not to mention the thousands of dollars that we raise annually for non profits, most sepcifically the Make- A- Wish foundation. It’s only that we hear from you when we are posing a liability to you and a threat to your reputation.

In May, I’ll be graduating with some of the smartest, most compassionate, hard working people that I have ever had the privilege to know not to mention become best friends with. They’ve served as leaders, positive influences and role models, charitable donors and volunteers on behalf of this organization. I wonder if our nationals considered these things  when they asked us to no longer refer to us as sisters and revoke our letters. Thinking back to my original interview, not once was I asked my personal reason for joining Chi O nor if I had contributed anything to the house. Their verdict to attempt to eliminate us from the house came with great anger but also deep disappointment that I have allowed myself to lose sight of my own values, and participate in an organization which demeans, bullies and represses its members as our national representatives have done to us throughout this process. Perhaps it is my fault for failing to realize that I relinquished my independence and overall, the right to live my life by my own perrogative the day that I accepted that bid; and for that I will take full responsibility. However, I want people both within and outside of the Greek community to realize the outright tyranny bestowed on myself and fellow sisters and I beg you to stand up for what you believe in and never accept defeat when you know you are being wrongly accused.

Fortunately for myself, disregarding this surreal disaster, Mu Alpha has given me so much that I am grateful for which can never be taken away from me when you wipe my name from the role book. To my beautiful sisters, I will always be grateful for your friendships and inspirations. You’ve bettered me in more ways than one and for that I am eternally indebted to you.

“The moment you feel you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away”

P.S. – Shout out to the Greek/ Larger UNH community for the overwhelming words of support following the recent events; you rock never change!

More Strange Childhood Happenings That Made My Parents Worry

Maybe you picked up on what a whack job I was as a child from my last post or maybe you’re just slow. Please allow me to elaborate. This is not meant to be said for bragging rights, but  I had an imagination like no other. Up until about second grade, I had one solid friend- shoutout to my BFFL from the start Lucy Noble. We walked around the playground clutching our floral diaries and inviting people to our “club” by asking them to sign them. You think I’m kidding? I’m a hoarder so my diary is definitely buried in the depths of my closet and once I can retrieve it I promise to post evidece. It’s no suprise that until we were separated into different third grade classes, we were pretty much eachother’s only company which was just fine with us. We used to play house on all of our play dates and without fail I was always the older sister; I fondly referred to myself as Siobahn (if you’re unfamiliar, pronounced SHA-von). Mhm.

As if I haven’t embarrassed myself enough already I’ll show you a picture of what I looked like at this age. No, I didn’t have a cute exterior to make up for my unusual personality. Quite the opposite, actually. My mom thought straight across bangs to accompany my bowl cut was cutting edge style and thus I looked as follows:

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I realize this picture is a little dated for the time period I’m referring to but needless to say it captures my bowl cut to a tee. There’s not a family album I flip through where I don’t silently questions my mother’s mental state when she made the decision to depict me as a small English boy. I’m sure there were a few nights my mother lay awake wondering if it was her own doing or if I would really look like this for life.

Pictured on  the left is my sister Katie, slighlty more feminine looking but sporting a masculine edge with her lack of hair. People tell us we were close when we were younger, actually genuinely liked each other. Somewhere around the age of 7 and straight on through til 18, that fondness disappeared. I want to take this time to apologize to all of my friends, family, extended family, neighbors and innocent bystanders who had to interact with the two of us simultaneously during those years. I’d like to think based upon recent events that we’ve moved beyond that unfortunate period. Again, sincere apologies & God bless.