One More Time

I have been blogging for five years now.

In September of 2008, when I was a high school senior who fancied myself enough of a writer that I thought I should do it publicly (still not sure if that was a good idea), I started my first blog.  It was drama-laden and iffy at best in the adjectives department and still exists if you really want to go there.  But don’t think I’ll be providing the URL.

Actual picture of high school me in an actual marching band uniform.  I look like such a baby.  I wish I could go back in time and warn myself not to take Intro to Statistics.

Actual picture of high school me in an actual marching band uniform (I’m on the left). I look like such a baby.  So naive about the ways of the world.  I wish I could go back in time and warn myself not to take Intro to Statistics in college.

In September of 2011, I began my second blog upon departing for a semester in Salzburg, Austria.  I only posted about a dozen times on that one, since I was, you know, living my grandest Sound of Music daydreams.

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In December of 2011, back from my travels, I decided that I didn’t want to return to the high school Blogger blog, and anyway, I had a new goal in mind: I was resolved to blog once a day, every day for the entire new year.  Thus Eight Days a Week was born on WordPress.  When that year ended I stuck around for another year, blogging about whatever struck my fancy.

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In September of 2013, I decided to start yet another blog.  My last, I fervently hope.  I have long wanted my blog to be its own website, to have a higher level of creative control, to have a chance to join blogging communities, and to interact with blog readers on a larger scale.  Additionally, while the name suited my original project well, Eight Days a Week no longer describes what I’m trying to do as a blogger and writer.

So, I’ve moved.  One more time.

Don’t think for a moment that this changes much.  Goodness knows I’ll be writing the same goofy sagas and literary rants as always.  Also, as I mentioned before, my posts from Eight Days a Week have transferred over to the new blog, so the gang’s truly all there.

Although it’s not really goodbye, I want to take what feels like a solemn moment to thank all of you for reading, for following, for liking, for commenting.  Thanks for not rolling your eyes when eye rolling was more than justified.  At least, thanks for not rolling your eyes where I could see you.  It has meant a great deal to have the support of fine folks such as yourselves.

I hope that you’ll follow the link below to the new blog**, where an introduction is waiting:

http://www.hollyinspec.com

**Please note that if you’d like to continue to receive my posts in your email, you’ll have to resubscribe at my new blog (link above).  I will no longer be posting on Eight Days a Week.  

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Library Planning

Finished Mrs. Dalloway.  Alas!  And now begins my 4-5 page paper on Clarissa.

Short post tonight, because I work from 10-midnight and am scurrying to finish my studying before then.

Great libraries I’ve been to:

Melk Abbey Library (Austria).

Austrian National Library in Vienna.

St. Mark’s Square Library in Venice.

It’s a short list, but these great libraries have inspired me to begin my planning for my own future home library.  A globe will be involved, and thick carpet, and leather chairs, and green shaded lamps, and likely no official organization system.

 

Round Up

Number of pages in the study guide I’ve been working on all evening: 10

Number of multiple choice questions on my physics final: 50

Number of naps I’ve taken: 1

Hours I’ve spent packing today: 0

Pandora stations I’ve listened to: 5

IMDB checks: 6

Times I’ve thought to myself “In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be home free, hurtling through South Dakota in a van packed with family and books”: 104 and counting

Austria

It’s funny, now, to think that I spent a semester in Austria.  That last year around this time I was filling out forms and moaning over hideous passport photos and generally looking forward to departure.  And now that’s all finished.  People no longer ask me about it, except for today, when I ran into a friend I haven’t seen for about a year.  Since I studied abroad in the Fall and she in the Spring, we completely missed each other.

In the middle of the buggy sidewalk, we chatted about our respective journeys for a few minutes.  I bumbled a bit; for some reason I have a lot of trouble summarizing my time in Salzburg, because I suppose it seems more like a chapter of my life than a trip that can be compressed into a five sentence paragraph.

But, because the run-in made me nostalgic, and because my next travel adventure is three whole weeks away, here is last Fall in a nutshell:

Salzburg is utterly lovely

Especially near Christmas

Unipark, where I took most of my classes

My dorm

Other places I visited:

London

The Tower of London; one of my favorite parts of the whole semester. I could have stayed all day.

Vienna, where I saw an Opera (The Magic Flute) for four Euros.

Venice

Paris

Where this glorious bookstore is located

We also went to Versailles, but like a fool, I forgot my camera that day.

Amsterdam

Berlin

At the Berlin Zoo, I was nearly decapitated by a black swan. Figures.

Prague, home of the John Lennon Wall, oddly enough.

Madrid

Where I took blurry (and illegal) photographs of Picasso masterpieces

Innsbruck, where a graveyard lies at the bottom of an Olympic ski jump.

And where Swarovski crystals are made, behind the creepy “head of the giant”

Neuschwanstein

Dachau Concentration Camp (Munich)

And finally, I joined an Ultimate Frisbee team. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

In Berlin

Having made our stops in Paris and in Amsterdam, having bickered and trudged cobblestones and deciphered maps for a week, my friends and I stopped lastly in Berlin.  I, under the influence of a magazine article about Kirsten Dunst, in which she announced a plan to move to Berlin and called the city young and happening, was expecting to be swept away in a torrent of neon lights and streets drenched with thudding music.

What happened was that we stayed in a hostel that doubled as a stop along a free walking tour of the city.  The hostel, like most of the others we had encountered in our travels, was filled with bunk beds topped with discarded backpacks or with collapsed young people, exhausted at the prospect of one more new city.

Despite wanting to lay down for a while ourselves, we had thus far made it a point not to  turn down free things, especially of the tour variety.  Besides, as Berlin was the last stop for us, Berlin was also the stop that had received the least amount of attention in the weeks-ago planning stages.  “It’s only Germany,” we thought.  Surely it would be a breeze after bumbling through French and Dutch.  Germany was a language we knew, one we had been learning in class and speaking flippantly on the streets of Salzburg.  Ja, genau.  It would be easy.  But Berlin was large and fast and it seemed safest to weave through it in a line, following a guide who would hopefully not make us hold flags or wear itchy lanyard necklaces.

On that tour, having seen Checkpoint Charlie, the graffitied remains of the Berlin Wall, the parking lot that used to be the site (give or take a few hundred vertical feet) of Hitler’s suicide bunker, Brandenburg Gate, a magnificent chocolate shop called Fassbender and Rausch, and the large circle of land they call Museum Island, we came to this:

The Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe.  2,700 unique slabs of concrete sitting unassumingly in the twilight, casting shadows on tourists wandering through.  Many people, beginning with the opening of the monument in 2005, have criticized it.  “It’s not religious enough to be a Jewish monument,” some claim.  “It’s too abstract to represent what it’s supposed to.”  “Victims’ names should be engraved on the stones.”

But our guide, a 30-something musician from England, merely told the story, folded his hands behind his back, and asked us to walk through the monument for a few minutes.

And so we did. Splitting off from each other, we wandered the undulating path between blocks.  Sometimes the blocks would tower over our heads, and sometimes the path would rise (or the blocks would shrink; we never knew which), and suddenly we would be able to see over the top of the entire monument.  The dull concrete didn’t reflect the light of nearby buildings; it seemed to absorb it, keeping its contained roads in darkness.

All you could see, once you were in the center of the monument, was the navy of the sky above.  It was lonely, in that quiet field of stone.  You felt isolated, although you knew that your friends were surely only a raised voice away.  You felt that if some giant should reach down, aiming to pluck you up, there would be nowhere for you to go.  You would be like a rat trapped in a maze, always desperately, heart-poundingly, stupidly hoping that the next turn would get you out.

Spring Break Commences

Home at last.  After way too many hours of class and work and meetings, and after two and a half hours on a bus and forty-five minutes in a car, I’m sitting on my own bed writing this post.

The bus ride was interesting, to say the least.  Since it’s Spring Break, lots of students were looking to go home.  I could tell right away, based on the masses of people flooding out of the dorms with rolling duffels and laptop cases that everyone would have to have a seat partner.  A girl in the very back of the bus, however, had spread a pillow and blanket out over the three connected seats, and was preparing to spend the trip in comfort.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had recruited some poor freshman to stick cherries in her mouth, Cleopatra style.

As the bus began to fill up, and people lugging backpacks began migrating farther and farther back in search of an empty spot, I watched the girl turn up her nose at every hopeful who looked her way.  Finally, I turned to her and said (maybe not so nicely) that the bus was going to be full, and that she was going to have to move over so people could sit next to her.  She didn’t like hearing that.  She raved and raved (while grudgingly budging up) about poor planning on the University’s part, and how they should have gotten more buses.  I agreed with her on that point; UMM definitely should have spent more money in order to spare one selfish girl the indignity of sitting within two feet of mere mortals.

After that fiasco, I settled down against the window and promptly fell asleep.  Not a good sleep, mind you, but a bus sleep that only lasts until your head slips from the narrow headrest and slams down into thin air.  I did manage about a half hour, during which, I strongly suspect, I unknowingly had my head on my seat partner’s shoulder.  I make this conclusion based on the strange look he gave me after I woke up.

We did begin chatting after a while, once the awkwardness that is attempted bus sleep wore off.  Striking up conversation with strangers whilst traveling is rapidly becoming a talent of mine.  Who would have thought?

He told me that his iPod was dead because he dropped it in the toilet the other day.

“Did it turn on after you got it out?”  I asked.

“Oh yeah.  It turned right on,” He replied.

“Then what happened to make it break?”

“I tried to rinse it off in the sink.  Then it really died.”

Okay then.

It’s good to be home.

Day One

You may notice that, even after all my highly ambitious claims in the “About” section, it is now January 2nd and I’m posting for the first time.

Yes, I missed a day.  And I’m sorry.

However, in my defense, yesterday I was awfully busy watching multiple Minnesota teams playing multiple sports lose multiple games.  And then I was busy consoling myself with spinach dip and a victorious round of Trivial Pursuit.  And so it goes.

Anyway, I’ll simply post until January 2nd, 2013 to make up the difference.  No harm done, right?

To start out this blog, I want to make some statements about what I’m trying to do here.

Firstly, I’m an aspiring writer.  English major, as a matter of fact.  And while I’ve been blogging since 2008, I’ve never been exactly regular about it.  I tend to post only when I have something big to say.  Or when I’m feeling guilty about not posting.  Or during Finals Week when I need an outlet for my moans and groans, and justification for my procrastination.  This sporadicity has been getting on my nerves lately.  If I truly want to grow as a writer (and I do), then I need to make writing a daily habit.

Here’s where the blogging comes in.  At least once a day, for an entire year.  That’s the goal.  And although I thought about it, I’m not going to make a post word minimum for myself, and I’m not going to set any standards for content.  While I’ll certainly try to write thoughtful, illuminating, entertaining posts, I can’t guarantee that there won’t be days where I will simply compose some silly poem, or crank out a list of my favorite Spielberg films (Gremlins, anyone?).

The point is simply to write.

Additionally, I should mention that pardons will be permitted for emergencies.  Some days it’s simply not feasible to write a post.  These days are few, and I hope they won’t impact this blog, but if they do they do.  I’ll try to make it up to you the next day with some serious groveling and an extra-long post on a topic of your choice.

Finally, because we’ve just been introduced, and because you’re not sure yet whether to bookmark this blog or to simply check back in 30 days to see if I’m a liar or not, here are my credentials:

Blog No. 1 (The Personal Blog).  This blog chronicles the good the bad and the ugly, beginning my senior year of high school.  Prepare for drama, prepare for bad poetry, and prepare for tangible evidence that I have, in fact, matured over the past three years (I hope).

http://staygoldponyboy88.blogspot.com/

Blog No. 2 (The Travel Blog).  Last semester (September 9th-December 15th) I studied in Salzburg, Austria.  I had a fantastic time, learned a lot, and took more pictures than Mac can currently handle without running at a speed akin to corn growing.  Note: I visited many more places than are represented on this blog, but know that I have plans to keep posting until I catch up.

http://staygoldponyboy8.wordpress.com/

Thanks for hearing me out.  I hope to see you tomorrow.