Author Archives: brandynwalters

No Place like Home

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 We arrived in Penn Station at 12ish on Saturday afternoon for our train at 2. I had lunch with Courtney, Dr. Norwood, and Professor Steel(e)? I don’t know (he wasn’t my professor but he was really nice). Anyways, we got on the train and it took us 10 hours just to reach and then leave Washington D.C.

These posts…y’all know how much I missed home while I was gone. Knowing that 10 hours out of a supposedly 18 hour train ride had passed and we weren’t even halfway home was beyond irritating. The staff on this train was way ruder than on our way up. Courtney was my seat mate and she spent most of the time asleep, lucky her. Anyway the train was supposed to arrive in Atlanta at like 8 something in the morning on Sunday. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail here, so I’ll keep it simple. Between leaving Washington D.C. and making it to the Amtrak station at some point the bathrooms in our car went out (so we had to use others), our A.C went out and it was hot as mess, and we spent over an hour like 5 seconds away from the Amtrak for kicks and giggles and then once we got there they made us wait again for about that long just to get off the train.

There were people on this trip who loved New York, but I don’t care how much you loved that city. Once you were on the train and heading home you were ready to be home. Not spend 32 hours on a stupid train with stupid people. Courtney did point out that we did get lucky in one respect though. The little kids in our car were remarkably well behaved for having been on the train just as long as us. I have to agree considering I was about to lose my mind. We had a wager going on too about when we would arrive. That the 10pm bet won made me mad.

I was frustrated too because I was counting on the train arriving somewhere near on time. My mom was really excited that I was coming home, just like I was excited to be home so she had planned a movie and dinner with my stepmom, brother, and his girlfriend. Needless to say it didn’t happen. We’re going to dinner tonight instead. Anyways, I was hungry so my mom, even though it was already past midnight by the time I got home, had made food and heated it for me while I took a quick shower and stuff.

32 hours on a train and a shower was very high on my priority list. It was exciting. She stayed up with me and chatted while I ate and then we both went to bed. I slept past noon today. My bed was amazing. If y’all remember my first post, about my dorm room being blank, then I should probably say that not having any real story was kind of sad, but it’s nice to be home, where my story can continue on. I have my room, my dog, and my mother. Even though it took longer than I would have liked, there really is no place like home.

That train staff is going to have tons of complaints and refunds to hand out. My Aunt asked me yesterday what I would do if they offered me a free ticket to anywhere. I said that maybe I’ll use it in 50 years. If ever. 

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Canvas

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The Present, soon to be Erased.

So, this post is coming right after the one I just did. I’m just going to say again that today was/is our last day in New York. Tomorrow we’ll get on the train and head home. We’ll be back on Sunday. Yay!  Obviously, if you’ve been reading this, you know that I have been missing home like a crazy person. Conversations with my mother & my aunt, meeting a friend, the Jack Jr. from Build-A-Bear, and my grandparents visit today has really made this trip less lonely than it could have been.

Really though, even though everyone knows I’m happy to be going home, I’m still going to blog on it. It’s important to me. I mentioned before that I wouldn’t say part of what made this trip so lonely and I still won’t, though some reasons, like family, make it obvious. I’ve been away from home for long periods of time before. Staying with family or even from when I went to Mexico and still nothing was as bad as this. I mean, I loved the Natural History Museum and the Met, I found magic at the Whitney and at the library(even though I never did make it back to that lion—darn!), but still there really is no place like home.

New York is big and busy and is filled with opportunity and excitement. I guess I just don’t like it. My grandfather had me stop and actually look at some of the architecture around the buildings today—from Greek, to Franco, to English and it was really amazing. Though if I have to say, this place filled with opportunity and life is nothing compared to my home or to being in Mexico. And maybe it’s because I was probably even more familiar with Mexico than I am with New York.

 I stayed with e Mexican family and I went out pretty much every night and even though I barely spoke Spanish, I flourished in Mexico. I was happy to go to my biweekly meetings and even though it wasn’t required for me to do the whole thing in Spanish, I had Spanish vomit of the mouth about my home life and the events we did. I loved it. I think I’d like to go back one day. I never felt the need to carry mace or anything like that there, even though I had it. I just…existed with people and it was a friendly and lovely experience.

That’s not to say people in New York are unfriendly. But during lunch I had a conversation with grandpa and grandma about “foreign” and how we shouldn’t look at other people as being foreign. They’re just like us with different beliefs in a different country. Though I have to say, I feel like New York is more foreign to me than Mexico ever was. Like I said, I’ve had fun and a good time here, but I think there really is something about it that makes it lonelier than any place I’ve ever been.

Because this trip, for my class, was based in part of Carson McCullers and her trip and experience here I can’t help but feel that I’m missing something. I don’t know. She flourished here in a way that I think I can’t. The only thing I’ve really accomplished here is spending money and feeling lonely, and these blogs. And there isn’t anything special here. It’s just…me and my everyday experiences that I have to post for class. I don’t know. She turned out novels being here about her home. And me…well, you can see it in this picture and the very first picture I posted.

I said this room was blank, like a canvas waiting for my story. Maybe my story is online now, but it won’t exist in this room anymore. This picture is all that’s left. Because my 11 a.m. tomorrow I have to have every packed and be ready to go. I don’t mind it at all, but it’s sad. Whatever story started here won’t be finished. It will be erased. By my own hand, even, because as I pull everything down and pack it away that story vanishes. What my possessions can do here, is completely different from what they’ll do back home. I’m not overly sad though. Even if I don’t ever accomplish anything spectacular, the story I’ll have in my own room back home, is the one I’d choose over this blank slate.

It’s familiar, it’s love, it’s family. It’s happiness. And we all have the right to pursue happiness. I’m going to do it in the place where I’m happiest, at home with my mother and my dog. I don’t know if I’ll blog again, telling the joys of home and what not, or even if I will blog in the future. There’s no telling. I’m thankful for the chance to experience New York, but I’m still really happy that it’s time to go home. 

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The Past, that looks a lot like the Future.

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Channeling Classic Education

Today is/was our last day in New York and it is/was a free day. I have no idea what the others decided to do but I hope everyone had a nice day. For me, I got a special visit. My grandparents live in Maryland and they got up super this early to take a bus and come see me today! It was awesome! Finally, something more familiar and like hope in New York.

My grandpa took us out to lunch to this really famous restaurant called Sardi’s. It’s on 8th Avenue and 44th Street, number 244 or something like that. Anyway the whole place is really nice and the food was super good. The staff was really nice too. Because it’s famous, a lot of famous people have been there and so all around the walls on practically all the available space, there are caricatures of all these people.

My grandfather, who remembers coming to this restaurant as a kid was right down memory lane and having a blast. He was listing names and pointing out who people were. Anyways, I’m not the type of person who recognizes a celebrity when I know the name; not even ones that I should know. Like, I think my list of known celebrities consists of like, less than ten. So he was going on about “classical” education and why I should know these people. It was actually really funny and I just kind of smiled. My grandma made a comment to him that they had had over 40 years to learn these people and what they were famous for. I’m only 20 and while that’s not really an excuse, it’s the one I’m making here.

This whole conversation actually reminded me of a conversation the group had on the literature tour the other day. It was about Assigned Reading and how books that are assigned tend to get the automatic ‘dislike’ just because it was assigned. Unfortunately, like the famous discussion at lunch today, assigned reading usually includes the classics and so from my experience students don’t seek out more punishment by finding other classics. The conversation also talked about how students generally have to find the work on their own, which will probably happen when it’s more likely to be important or meaningful to them anyway. Overall, I thought it amusing how my grandfather could manage to sound like one of my professors while having a nice lunch. It was very entertaining.

So maybe my classical education hasn’t tuned in quite yet, but I’m having fun for now. And while I have found some really great books or art that I love when it’s assigned, I find it is usually more important to me when I stumble across it. It makes it more personal, because it’s like somehow the book or artwork knew when I’d need it. And maybe that’s weird, but that’s how it is.

Other than that, we had a wonderful time at the Discovery Museum where we saw the Terracotta Warriors from the Qin Dynasty and the Han Dynasty. That was cool. I highly recommend both it and the restaurant Sardi’s to everyone. J They’re easy to find too. You know, since the museum actually turned out to be right next door. ^_~

P.S. No picture yet, because we had no service, but there will be one later….hopefully 😀 

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Not-so-hidden Waterfall

This post is kind of all over the place, but I hope it is enjoyed anyway. Sometimes words just won’t come, you know?

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While I’ve been here I had to read a book called February House which I did end up liking in the end, I think. However, to get motivation to get that far I went to the Strand and bought a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. The book is called the power of one by Bryce Courtenay. I have seen the movie several times and it’s one of my all-time favorite movies. It has Morgan Freeman and in the past I would just say it’s about the apartheid in Africa. However, reading the book, it’s more than the apartheid even though that does play a major role in the novel. It’s about self, and hate, and friendship, and truth and I don’t think I could even summarize the book with my usual ease here.

The movie always made me cry and I have my favorite parts, some of which I waited for in the book and realized they were playing out differently. The movie adapts things in the book to make it more dramatic, not that the book isn’t. On the contrary, the book is extraordinary and I find that the way things play out in the book make much more sense than in the movie. The main character is Peekay who is an English boy and it is mostly a semi-autobiography about his experience in South Africa before, during, and after the World Wars.

The movie is moving but the book is phenomenal, but I’d like to focus on a scene that occurs in the book but not the movie. Something I never knew even happened. I won’t give details because that gives it away and it’s important, but basically, Peekay finds a cave in the hills of Africa one weekend while he’s home for the holidays with his dear friend, mentor, and teacher Doc. Doc calls this place the Crystal Cave of Africa and is obsessed with this place.

They had found a ledge and climbed through and found a cavern filled with natural formations that hadn’t been touched by any human hand in who knows how long. And I can’t do the description justice without taking from the book so I’m just going to suggest others read it, but I was in central park the other day and while I didn’t find any secret caves I did find something interesting.

It’s not secret, and truthfully, it’s just another pretty work of nature made by man to make the park beautiful, but the bright greens and the surrounding scenery, people excluded, make it seem magical to me. And while I doubt I’ll return to see it, it will stay with me and haunt me like the Doc’s Crystal Cave of Africa.

The two really aren’t related, but it’s the beauty and the meaning behind it that matters most. It’s a lovely patch of greenery with water like home in Georgia as opposed to the cave that would mean home for Doc and Peekay. I don’t really know how to make what I’m feeling make sense right now, but I just want to stare at this little place I found and not leave. Maybe reasoning and such don’t matter when it comes to natural beauty?

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by | June 27, 2012 · 4:42 pm

A Tale of Two Dogs

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So it’s been pretty obvious that I’ve been feeling homesick over several of these posts. It’s normal when you’ve got strong connections with your family I think so I wasn’t surprised. The only surprise came, I think, when I realized it took me longer to get homesick in Mexico then it did here. My mom puts it down to the people and the free time. I won’t say what I think it is, but whatever. At any rate, Leslie, Patrick, Katie, and I all got dressed up to go try and see Phantom of the Opera the other night. It didn’t work.

So instead we wandered around and I was distracted by a Build-A-Bear store. I’ve mentioned several times that I have to be like, five years old right? So we went in and this store had two floors. I was going to be normal and make a bear, but on the second floor I found a black lab. If you’ve read “A Healthy Dose of Fear” you know I have a black lab back home and that I’ve been seriously missing my dog. So, as in the picture, I chose the lab and filled it with love and wishes. If you squeeze the paw it sings about Times Square and I bought an “I ❤ New York” t-shirt for him. 

We were walking around to get dinner afterwards and I just kept smiling and turning every few seconds and was like, “Hey guys!?…I have a dog!” And it made my night. Now I look at the other dogs around and I still think they’re cute and stuff but now I have my own mini version of Jack staying in my dorm room. I just have to go back and he’s happy to see me. So I’ve found a little bit of home in New York, finally.

Granted, the Jack back home is going to be really irritated about this loud interloper. Oops?

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Going Sparkle

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Poor little firefly…. ;~;

My mom and I have very random conversations; one of those conversations came back to me while I was sitting in the park with Leslie. My mom and I were driving down the interstate back home and for whatever reason we were talking about bugs. Like, when they get caught in your car or o your clothes and you don’t notice and you walk or drive miles away and they fall off or get blown away into completely new territory. She said it must be a lot like abandoning family. For instance, bugs have a relatively short lifespan and so if you take them away from whether they attached to you they will die without ever seeing their buggy families and homelands etc. It is a very sad thought.

And so today Leslie and I were in Washington Square Park just sitting in the grass and it was starting to get dark so all the fireflies were coming out. She saw people trying to catch them and we admired them very a very close distance and I tried to catch one while she looked up something on her phone. I think I may have done something terrible.

See, I caught the bug, but I’m not too sure if I caught it too hard or something because it was just dazed and not moving for a while and I was really worried that I had killed the firefly. I was like, “I really want it to fly away!” to Leslie. It was very traumatic. We were getting ready to leave and it had finally started walking around on my hand but it wasn’t going anywhere so I was still worried that I had hurt it. One of its antennae was all weird and stuff too. But we stood up and Leslie was laughing at me, “You’ve been imprisoned by a bug”! And I was….but I was so sad because it wouldn’t fly away!

But somehow while I was standing up it fell and we were both like, maybe it flew? But I have REALLY good eyesight and so I found it in the grass and Leslie was just like, “Let’s move this way…slowly…so we don’t step on it…” Which I guess was good, because I didn’t want to walk to far away and then release it in a random area of bushes away from where I caught it because then it would have no firefly friends or family!

So we walked away to go get change and we passed a different set of bushes. I felt really bad and turned to Leslie all “I feel horrible! Now it can’t go sparkle with all its friends”! She probably thinks I’m crazy, but I’m really hoping it flew away or something and wasn’t caught by a bird or another bug or something. I feel like a terrible person, but it was walking around ok so I feel like it will fly again…hopefully… ;~;

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Merry-Go-Dream

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Because merry-go-rounds are full of dreams that were, are, and are yet to be.

Before mom and I moved in January, we lived in a house. Three bedroom, 1 ½ bath, etc. with one room as hers, one mine, and the other the office. But I’m not fooling myself. That room was totally mine. I would do everything in that room because that’s where the computer was. Homework, chilling, chatting, music, whatever, it didn’t matter. I basically lived in the room with random objects being dispersed around the house. It drove her crazy some days, but mostly she was cool about it.

Anyway. I had an office chair at the desk and it was able to spin. Now, just, keep in mind for a second, that I have ALWAYS had a spinny chair for that computer desk. Always. We lived in that house for ten years. So, from 10 years old to when we moved my favorite pastime was to spin in that chair with my music on as loud as I could get it via computer. Turn the light out, push off, and that chair spin to its death. More than once. I killed two chairs spinning in them and daydreaming to music. And having heart attacks when the door opened and my mom laughed at me.

At any rate, spinning is one of my favorite things to do, and watching the merry-go-round reminded me of how I really need to get a new office chair. Merry-go-rounds spin and have music, and they actually move. I can be riding a horse into the distance or traveling through time and space to do whatever I want to surrounded by miscellaneous animals on the carousel. I took a picture of the merry-go-round because like the lion, I didn’t get the chance to get on. Not because it would probably be considered illegal but because it was going to rain. I don’t care how magical the carousel seemed, I wasn’t not ride on a spinning metal lightning rod in the middle of a mini-park.

So, here is to dashed childlike hopes of riding lions and merry-go-rounds, and to reminders of Mary Poppins

When Mary holds your hand

You feel so grand

Your heart starts beatin’

Like a big brass band!

Oh come on. You are not about to tell me you don’t remember that scene in Mary Poppins. I mean seriously, the dancing penguins aren’t far behind! I wonder if I’d ridden the carousel if I would have seen magical dancing penguins…

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