Monthly Archives: April 2013

Spring is Kinda Here!

It’s spring in NYC. Which means it hasn’t snowed in about a week and there are tulips everywhere. This Texpat is used to spring actually feeling like summer and being blue bonnet season. But in New York spring means it’s only slightly less cold than winter. Which means I am only slightly less cranky about the weather than I was in March. BUT it also means this

And this
I was not expecting tulips. No one warned me. And I must say it’s a magical feeling walking through the concrete jungle and stumbling upon this
This is the beauty of New York, it can be dark and grey and cold and all of a sudden there’s a burst of color. Whether it be from a bunch of tulips, to some street art, or the kindness of a fellow New Yorker. Beauty is all around us.

Even if it is only fifty degrees still.

The Helpers

This past week I was in Ireland on an impromptu vacation, my cousin Shannon had won a hotel stay and redeemed points for plane tickets, so I found myself skipping class and internship to enjoy the Emerald Isle.  Monday night while my cousin and I were eating a late dinner in the hotel I received a Facebook message from my boyfriend Aidan: “There are reports of two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon”. Me: “wait what?” I could not comprehend what he was saying. I began reading Aidan’s messages of the news play by play taking in only snippets. “Nobody knows how many injured…”, “dead…”, “suspended T train service…”, “may be more bombs…” I read all of these as I sat in an almost empty hotel restaurant with the Atlantic Ocean behind me and all I could think was “this can’t be, right?” Maybe it was the fact that I was thousands of miles away, but something wasn’t registering with me. We went back to our hotel room and turned on BBC news. And that’s when my stomach started to hurt from the weight of what was unfolding. My cousin called her husband in NYC and we spent most of the night watching the one video footage of the bomb going off being replayed on the news and following Twitter. After a while Shannon and I gave up, realizing there was no new information and it was after one in the morning in Ireland, we went to sleep.

Camera footage of Boston Marathon explosion

 As I laid in bed my mind kept going back to the day when I was five and my family was living in Edmond, Oklahoma a suburb about 15 miles north of Oklahoma city, I was sitting on my parents bed eating cereal when our house shook so violently that my grandmother, who was in our kitchen, thought the back of our house had exploded. I dropped my cereal bowl and ran towards the kitchen; my grandma ran right into me and kissed me. I remember her picking me up and walking onto our front porch. The explosion had felt so close that my grandma thought it had to be near us but when we looked around we didn’t see anything unusual. We went back inside and turned on the news where we learned that a bomb had exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City. I laid in my bed in Ireland and thought about later getting Time magazine in the mail with the picture of baby Baylee, her lifeless body being carried out of the rubble by a firefighter. And I remembered writing baby Baylee a card and my mom taking me to the memorial wall outside the building to stick my construction paper heart in the chain link.
Memorial wall at site of former Murrah building, OKC

                Three days later I awoke at five am to fly home to the U.S. I checked my twitter while waiting for our car to the airport to arrive and that’s where I learned that a fertilizer plant in West, Texas fifteen miles north of Waco Texas, where I had lived the last four years before NYC, had exploded. I wanted to hurl my Kindle across the room. What was this? I had been to West a hundred times, I knew people that lived there, lived near the plant even. I had driven by the plant. It was too much. I quickly checked on those I knew were closest to the explosion and satisfied that everyone I knew was safe, I turned off my kindle because I couldn’t go through all the heart wrenching tweets again so soon.
Volunteers sorting donations for West Texas

                Mr. Rogers once said that “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me,

 ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’’’ And there have been many examples of this, from heroes at the finish line fashioning makeshift tunicates, handing out free water and food to the injured and racers, runners donating blood, to the outpouring of supplies and shelter in West. Most of my friends in Waco donated blood, some dropped off bottled water and energy bars for emergency crews.  Mr. Rogers’s mom was right. Seeing the helpers helped me more than anything. On the news I heard the story of a runner who had been cut up by shrapnel receiving water and clothes from a fellow runner, the injured asked if he could pay him and the runner responded:” no way, this is what people do, we help each other”. And even in the darkest of times this is overwhelming true. Yes there are people who make and plant bombs with the intention to maim and kill and cause chaos, but for every one of these people there are hundreds maybe even thousands of helpers willing to run towards the explosion, willing to sacrifice their own comfort to help a neighbor, willing to give their own blood to save lives. In a week like this one it is easy to see the darkness and drown in it, but like Albus Dumbledore said there is always happiness to be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light.

A Nation Shocked

It’s too easy to use the “shocked” moniker when talking about the Wichita State Shockers that at this point I think every reporter, journalist, blogger et al. feel they have to use it in some form. But it works. 

I live in NYC and I can almost guarantee that I am among a handful of New Yorkers that actually know what WU Shock is;  a shock (clump) of wheat of course! Because you see before I lived in New York and before I lived in Texas, I lived in the great square state of Kansas. In fact the vast majority of my extended family still live in and around Wichita and my family boasts more WSU alum than any other Kansas school. 
My sister and future nephew sporting some Shocker love
I had to watch the Final Four game tonight in the lobby of my dorm because I don’t own  a T.V. and  while all the Louisville fans were exclaiming things  like”what’s the shockers?”, “is this team like any good?”, and “they’re seeded 9th? Has a 9 seed ever made it to  the final four?”. I was smiling because a piece of my child hood was on the screen. I remember many nights watching the Shockers play in an almost empty Koch arena. And they lost, a lot, back then. Gregg Marshall has changed that. But I was also smiling because I knew that the majority of my family was sitting down and experiencing the same excitement and exhilaration that I felt last year when I watched Baylor play in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite eight at the Georgia Dome. Watching your school or Alma Matter play in the nations top tournament brings on a feeling of adrenaline and hope not easily found elsewhere. And I smiled because I was ready to watch some great basketball.
The Shockers and Louisville delivered. The following forty minutes of basketball were nothing if not nail biting. In the end the Shockers lost 68-72 to the number one seed. Louisville. I was bummed to put it lightly. But if this Kansan knows anything it’s that wheat is a strong crop and I have a good feeling that as long as Marshall hangs around WU Shock and gang will be back next  year. Now that Wichita State has shocked the Nation, they won’t be surprised when WSU comes back! And I will be right there with my gold ready to cheer them on! Unless of course they’re playing against Baylor, in that case I hope we crush that wimpy wheat stick! But for tonight, WSU you made this Kansan very proud! 

Birthdays and Basketball

I turned twenty three on Tuesday April 2nd and it was great. I have been feeling more homesick for Texas these past couple months, mainly because it was snowing here and eighty degrees in San Antonio, but also because I miss my family. My sister recently pointed out to me that this stretch after Christmas is the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other in my life. That means in twenty three years these last four months have been our longest absence. It’s also because my sister is pregnant and due in June that I’m homesick. Her baby shower in mid-March was rough on me to say the least.

My sister, brother-in-law, and I on my 22nd bday

I’m a huge birthday fan! I love them because it’s one day that’s just for you, and everyone gets one! But this year I was a little nervous because I was in a new city and I was worried it would be a let down. I was wrong.

But Tuesday taught me a lesson. I woke up and had breakfast with my boyfriend Aidan who made me coffee and cereal and watched me open all my cards and my present from my sister Lisa and brother-in-law Michael (a new Kindle Fire!!!)

Then I went to work babysitting the coolest toddler on the planet Princess A. My cousin Shannon (princess A’s mom) and her husband Aaron took me and Aidan out to dinner.

Princess A and I

Then Aidan and I went and watched the Baylor mens basketball team defeat BYU in the NIT tournament at Madison Square Garden. It was  a great day filled with love and fun!

Fellow Baylor Bear Ashley and I at the NIT tournament

And it made me realize, that yes I do miss Texas and my sister so much, but I also have a pretty great family right here in New York. Thanks for all the birthday love! Here’s to being 23, to new cities, new experiences, and new friends!!

*You can read more about the adventures of Princess A here: Pooppeepuke.com