You know it's a quiet day here at Fordham Public Safety when you can read an entire book, start to finish, in the span of a shift and still have time left over! My Kindle, though some say it is killing the print industry, is a godsend! I've been doing a lot of reading this summer and have had a few "reading day" shifts where I'll just read an entire book, rather than work on my laptop the whole time. You get tired of staring at a computer screen, right? Especially now that I have my iPad, I've been very wired.
I have a habit of "devouring" books - something I've done since I was little. I learned to read when I was very young and it's always been my rock. I am never not reading something and when I latch onto a book, I read and read and read until I am completely enveloped in it and it's done. I'm a fast and passionate reader so it makes a nice balance. Devouring things is a bit of a theme in my life, as I like to just sit down and get something done; the feeling of something hanging over me drives me crazy! If I have a huge paper assignment, for example, I'll set aside an entire afternoon and get the whole thing done in a chunk of time. Of course, I'll edit it (Tutor Katie living up to her title!), but I like to get the whole thing off my chest at once. In other words, I was the girl who read the new Harry Potter book in its entirety on the day it came out. :)
Today I read a book called Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline which is a parallel story of a modern girl in the foster care system and a girl in 1929 who was sent out to Minnesota on the Orphan Train from New York. Her family was an Irish immigrant family and my own family (great grandparents) were immigrants from Cork, so I've always liked stories about immigrants. The modern girl, Molly, and the now-elderly woman, Vivian, develop a bond from their shared stories and it's heartwarming without being cliche at all. I also loved the Irish cultural references, like the claddagh symbol, which I wear on a ring. The claddagh is a pair of hands holding a heart that's topped by a crown, symbolizing friendship (the hands), loyalty (the crown), and love (the heart):
My mom brought me back my ring from a trip to Ireland she took a few years ago and someone very dear to me told me it's "like Facebook for your finger" because it shows your attachment status, depending on what way you wear it. Every time I think of this, I smile because it actually makes sense in a millennial sort of way. If you wear it on your right hand, you aren't married, and the crown facing out means you are committed to someone, and the heart pointing out means that you are single. It's the same on the left hand, with the heart signaling engagement and the crown signaling marriage. I've always wondered if it's a big deal in Ireland but I suppose I'll just have to find out!
One of the many beauties of the iPad is the Maps app. I can see places in this beautiful layout so I got distracted the other night and started playing around with it and searching through London. My apartment in Holborn is near King's Cross (the station from Harry Potter), Piccadilly, across the bridge from the Globe, right near the London Bridge, near several gardens and museums, parks to run in, as well as about 6 Starbucks, a Lululemon, a Whole Foods, the British Museum, not too far from Westminster Abbey, and also not that far (but still kind of a hike) from Buckingham Palace! I had been hitting a bit of a slump with my excitement about studying abroad. Not that I'm not excited, because I'm absolutely ecstatic, but my fears were starting to creep up on me and it was starting to just kind of cloud the joy. Then this happened. FYI: the joy is completely back and I'm ready. Six weeks from right this second, I will be in London, on my orientation which includes tours and shows and talks about the culture of Britain, etc. etc. and this is actually happening to me. Also, I rediscovered my joy of being in London itself. Before, I had been focusing on what countries I wanted to visit but then I realized the other night that I'm going to be in London and there are soooo many places I want to see there, as well. Yes, I want to go to Scotland, Wales, Italy, Prague (which I know is not a country), Ireland, Spain, Paris, etc., but I can save longer distances for that entire month off I get for Easter or the occasional long weekend or something. I also want to know London. I want to explore every inch of the city itself. A friend told me that, when he was studying abroad, he would take the train to a new station once a week and wander around and get to know the neighborhood itself, apart from the touristy destinations. Isn't that a great idea? I want to take an afternoon a week and just explore another part of the city and get to know it. I want to see Notting Hill, Buckingham Palace, all the touristy and non-touristy places alike and I want to be a Londoner. Like I'm a New Yorker now, I want to be a Londoner too. I want to embrace where I am and make roots in addition to traveling everywhere else.
I've had so many days, lately, when I've felt like I was bursting with how happy and content I am. July was a rough month because all I could focus on was how badly I wanted to go home and how tired and overworked I felt. It took a short phone call to my mom who had been getting the brunt of quite a few complaints, to flip the switch and pull myself together. Actually, it was my mom herself who told me to pull myself together and that I was fine, which helped immensely. We all have burdens and things aren't always idyllic, but this is where I need to be right now. She helped me turn over a new leaf with the beginning of August and I feel so content and sure of myself now. That being said, I only have 11 days to go home and I can't wait, as much as I've come to love it here!
Here's to turning over new leaves, devouring good books, and rediscovering the thrill of adventure!
Inspired to be,