My friends take me out for my 21st birthday, and it is unexpectedly fun. I realize I can enjoy drinking when I’m around friends that I love and trust. I reinforce my taste for drinks where I can’t taste the alcohol. I learn that kahlua and I are not friends.
I graduate. My dad is surprised that I do not cry. He helps me move to a sublet in New York the same day.
I start my first real job. It is challenging but not at the same time.
I pass out from dehydration on the subway platform in Union Square. My head hits the floor and then suddenly a hand is there to steady it. A stranger helps me get on my train and made sure I would be able to get home okay. I learn that despite reputation, New Yorkers are helpful and kind when they see someone in need.
|Making new friends. My cutie roomie is the second from the left; I’m the third from the left.|
I meet my roommate-to-be through a friend I consider a sister. She eventually, quickly, becomes one of my best friends. We discover that are similar in many ways. She becomes a person I trust immensely and am happy to see when I go home every day.
The sadness about graduating finally hits as I watch a tv show that I always used to watch with friends now living across the country. I text them as I cry and they laugh, because they’re jerks. I love them.
I move in with my roommate. We call each other cutie roomies.
|Being tourists in New York includes lots of city skyline photos.|
A friend from school visits. He has never been to New York before, so I take him to do all the touristy things – the Empire State Building, the High Line, DUMBO, the Statue of Liberty. We walk a lot and he complains that his feet hurt.
The friend across the country visits Boston, so I go to Boston to see her. I miss her.
I realize that I like the friend that visited me in New York very much.
|The quietness of Boston is always a welcome refuge for me when I get sick of busy New York City life, and having someone to visit just gives me excuses to get away.|
We talk and start dating. We don’t really tell anyone, but some people figure it out and some people get told. One friend gets told many months later and she is not pleased.
I start visiting Boston regularly and get really good at sitting on buses for long periods of time.
Over the course of the relationship I become more aware of some deeply hidden insecurities I have around my attractiveness and around love. I slowly learn to balance them to keep myself sane.
|My cutie roomie and the present I handmade for her.|
My cutie roomie turns a year older and I race to finish her birthday present. I manage just in time. I think she likes it.
|Best friends and dogs are always a good combination.|
I tell him I love him. He would never say it back.
I visit my friends in California! I love them and I miss them. I eat lots of food because it is Thanksgiving and that is what one does during Thanksgiving. I end up flying back to New York on a red-eye flight and the next day at work is a struggle.
|The shenanigans I deal with when I go home. I love it.|
Christmas time is always my favorite time of the year. I love making people presents and Christmas is just a good excuse to spoil everyone.
My dad takes me to Spain, a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since I was tiny. We had authentic paella. I learn why paella does not traditionally have pork in it. I see some of the world’s most incredible architecture. I am over the moon.
We ring in the new year in Barcelona.
|Spending the first day of January in Park Güell, Barcelona.|
I set a few goals for myself for the year, including attempting to lower my meat consumption by going vegetarian for a week every month. My roommate decides to do it with me. It turns out that it’s not that hard.
My most favorite human in the whole world turns 8. I am a bit sad that she is growing older. I want her to stay tiny forever.
|I am just like my country, young scrappy hungry.|
My friends in California visit me and we go see Hamilton because we got tickets to see it the year before. It was a long wait and completely worth it – both waiting to see my friends again and waiting to see the show. I cannot wait to see them again. My friends, I mean. I miss them all the time.
|Fancy drawings of some fancy food.|
My dad visits me and we go eat some of the most expensive food I will probably ever eat, because he wanted to try a Michelin star restaurant. It was really good, but I realize I would appreciate a good bowl of ramen just as much. What can I say, I’m a simple girl with simple needs.
|This little girl is the best thing in my life.|
My mom and my sister visit me and I extort an excessive amount of hugs from my sister. Baby hugs are the best kind of hug.
I start tutoring adults in high school math to help them attempt to achieve high school equivalency. I forgot how much I loved tutoring and I enjoy being able to help people one-on-one. Their thankfulness for my help is incredibly rewarding and it helps with my mental health.
|At least I got a bloody painting concept out of it?|
I see it coming but my heart still gets broken. I go to work the next day and it ends up being a 13.5 hour work day. Despite my best efforts, I cannot stop crying the entire day. My workplace either does not notice or is kind enough to not say anything.
I turned 22 on the first day of this month. My sister and my mom sends me flowers arranged to look like a dog to my workplace and I am embarrassed but also very happy. My work gives me tiny cupcakes and a funny card. My friends take me out to eat Korean fried chicken and spoil me rotten with presents that they did not have to buy. They help me end a really difficult week with joy and happiness and I feel more loved than I have in a really long time.
|My friend is so talented. Also this made me bawl so much.|
The next day I receive mail from my friend in California and I find a card with a beautiful drawing of the two of us, and I cry all over again.
So while my 21st year ended on an incredibly low note, my 22nd year starts with me feeling incredibly joyous and incredibly loved. I have the best friends in the world and I am incredibly blessed to have them.
|I have the best friends in the whole world. They squish me with their love. It’s the best kind of squished to be.
From top to bottom: Julie as a rock, Rosa, Michelle, Caitlin, Alyssa, Lydia, and myself.
Here’s to another year of hopefully consistent blog posts, memories, and friends! I hope it’s a good one.