Eeaazzyy Livin’

“Summertimeee and the livin’ is eeaazzyy..”

Oh what a fantastic summer this has been. In a recent conversation with my mother, I said that my life is defined by my summers. I always have fantastic vacations, learning opportunities and personal growth. Honestly, I think oftentimes, I learn more during my free, lazy summers than I ever could in a classroom. Summers are necessary for personal health and everyone should take 3 month breaks from the rest of your life. It gives you a mini sobatical to reevaluate who you are, where you are and where you’re going.

A brief summary of my past few summers…

2005: Hiked the Grand Canyon, learned field hockey, started high school

2006: Read a record number of books

2007: Spent the summer at Brown University, began to establish my opinions and political views, decided I wanted to be a writer

2008: Went to Cancun, bonded with family, saw baby turtles

2009: graduated high school, experimented with religions, learned love

And then there’s this glorious summer. I had even more time this year to play around and learn the ins and outs of myself. But regardless of the extra time, every moment was important and served me.

This wonderful summer, I finished my first year of college, I dragged myself around Europe and fell in love with Paris. I grew closer with my mother and father on two separate, but equally wonderful trips. This summer, I turned 18 and walked on 1600 degree hot coals. I realized that sometimes the heart doesn’t break because its stronger than I am. This wonderful summer, I embarked on a commited love affair with myself and learned the empowerment that can come from honoring that relationship. This summer, I literally tackled fears and weaknesses and taught my baby brother a little about what I call “crazy love.” I watched my writing get bashed on public blogs and had bylines butchered (which sucked). However, I also was reminded of just how powerful words are when mine, however brutal, made an international celebrity throw a hissy fit. This summer, I realized that I have a huge family and that “home” is a concept that I can carry with me, rather than a physical place. I wrote tons of letters and dared to wonder “what if…” This summer, I chopped some bangs and created a new, polished look for myself. I set my sights on law school and have renewed my commitment to myself.

Thank goodness for summers and for the lessons they teach us. And here’s to a wonderful sophomore year. Already, my schedule is filling up with Kappa recruitment, newspaper budget meetings (I’m inside editor!) and jobs in the Journalism lab. There are clubs and commitments and fun and festivities and I’m so thrilled to back in the mess. No one ever crooned that fall semester livin’ is “eeaazzyy,” but its sure to be a stress-and-fun filled 3 months. Can’t wait!

“It feels like home to meeeee…”

So there’s this boy… man? boy? I suppose he’s a 70-something manboy. Yup, that sounds pretty accurate.

I’ve briefly mentioned this old fart before. But his name is James Francis Bunker. And my relationship to him is that he’s my dad’s college roommate’s old boss. Sounds kinda like that Spaceballs scene doesn’t it…

Anyway, our mutual connection introduced us because Jim went to Northeastern and still plays an active role on campus. Turns out, he put in a good word for me.

And now? After a wonderful first lunch in February, we see each other whenever we happen to be within driving range of each other. And for the rest of the time, we email and talk and keep each other updated about the latest happenings in our lives (actually.. maybe it’s more about whats happening in MY life. Oops).

He’s a kook and takes every opportunity to make fun of me. But, at the same time, I’m not afraid to dish it back out. And in our teasing and mockery, we are able to communicate in our own language. To the outside world, we probably look like the silliest pair ever. But I don’t know… I just like this crazy old man. He’s lived quite a bit more than I have, but is happy to share his experiences and his wisdom and the best cafes in Paris.

This summer, I was SO blessed to meet his firecracker of a wife. Not only was she wise enough to con him into going to college when she was 14, but she’s put up with him ever since then. And knowing him, that deserves a ton of respect.

And through him (or those he knows), I’ve been able to meet some other people, too.

I called him this morning and suddenly came to the realization (albeit, belated) that this poor sucker is family. He, combined with the other Bostonians that I love, is the family that I’ve built for myself in my beloved city. No wonder it feels like home to me… I’ve got a crazy “uncle” and his wonderful wife, 80 sisters and countless treasured friends to keep me company.

Vanessa Carlton, in her song “Who’s to Say,” concludes that “sometimes family are the ones you choose.” Now, I’ve got one of the most incredible, dysfunctional-but-it-works-for-us families in the world. But it’s nice to know that I can build one for myself, too, compiled of people that I love and choose to love and who happen to love my city as much as I do. <3