Saturday, June 29, 2013

summer 2013 cross-country roadtrip: California to Michigan

First of all, thank you Photobucket for crapping on me overnight! It appears I reached my first ever limit, so I had to upgrade to a pro-account; dang, blogging, look what you do to me. My apologies if anyone came here in the past few hours and saw a ton of gray! 

Anyways, yes, ROAD TRIP. As I've mentioned in my previous posts, I'm moving. It is all starting to really hit me in this big, breath-stealing way (just short of hyperventilating and crying—it closely resembles the feeling you get as you click your way up the hill of a roller coaster and are nearing the top). Tomorrow is my last day here. Tomorrow, at some indeterminate hour (why does cleaning/donating/getting rid of things take a thousand years more than you thought it would?), Henrik and I will get into our car with the backseat filled with duffel bags and snacks, and we will begin driving south, away from our home of 2 years.

Driving across the country when you're short on time is no fun; Henrik's done it two times in under 3 days, and it wasn't pretty. Luckily for us, it's summer and we're young, so we have oodles of time! Therefore, we're taking a 17 day trip from California to Michigan. Stay tuned for pictures from Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and a whole lot more! I'll be posting as frequently as I can, but if you want live-updates, feel free to follow me on Instagram!

And for your viewing pleasure, our official list of stops:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

red, white, and black

Yesterday, I ventured over to San Francisco for what was likely the last time this year. It really is incredible that Elissa—my best friend, whom I've known since we were 12 years old—and I would both end up in the Bay, her in San Fran, me in Oakland. It's been such a great experience having her so close by, and I can't even express how sad I am that I will now be so far away.  I always have had this dream of us three best friends (Elissa, Lexi, and myself) living in the same city for the rest of our lives, having each other over for guacamole on the porch and going thrifting and having our future babies play together. While I'm a wanderer, sometimes I hate the drift that life takes us on, pulling us away from each other. I know that this transition of me to a new city will not hurt our friendship, but I still wish I could transport Elissa to North Carolina so I would still have my best friend just thirty minutes away. 

red leather jacket: bebe ~ white shirt: thrifted ~ american flag bandeau: american apparel (rah rah rah, USA! screw you, DOMA!) ~ shorts: levi's ~ boots: urban outfitters

Anyways, our San Francisco adventure was a blast. We are true shopaholics (thriftfanatics? second hand junkies?), so we perused a variety of stores and came away with some pretty bad-ass finds, if I do say so myself. I didn't buy a single thing for full price! I'm super cheap and so never buy anything if it's not a) in a thrift store, or b) severely on sale (none of that 10% off b.s.). That means, when I find things I've been lusting over for what feels like an eternity and it's mega cheap because it's second hand, I feel like it's Christmas! Oh, how I will miss all the gems in Bay Area thrift stores.

(how sweet are these???)

A smattering of my treasures from yesterday. I am pretty much obsessed with this animal blouse. Zoo days, here I come!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


It's been a gray couple of days here in Oakland. Rainy days in California are so different from the ones in the Midwest. Though I didn't expect to, I've really missed our Michigan summer storms. There's something so great about dark, brooding skies just before they split open into an awe-inducing torrential downpour. I love that dash to seek shelter, your clothes glued to your body, your hair reduced to a sodden clumps. I love, too, the thunderous crashing outside and the glittering of lightning through the window. I even love when the power goes out and an entire neighborhood is thrust into sudden, startling darkness.

But, no, there aren't thunderstorms like that here in the Bay. There isn't even warm rain. Instead, it has been gray and cold, and there just isn't as much to appreciate about that. Come on, California. Get it together when it comes to your rain.

What I wore to venture out into it, to see the doctor: 

hat: obey ~ jacket: vintage levi's ~ jeans: thrifted ~ sweatshirt: forever 21 ~ boots: urban outfitters

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

the hike: california coast

Over the weekend, I went hiking with Henrik and his best friend Eric. (Fun fact! Henrik and Eric were born in the same hospital room, 2 days apart. How's that for crazy?) I've never really been big into the outdoors—Arab dad and a fairly high-maintenance mom meant we didn't exactly bust out a tent every weekend. But Henrik and Eric are all about dirt and grass and making fires, so I thought I would join them. It turned out to be really fun! We drove through tiny towns with lots of character and stopped for lunch in a diner decorated with cows. (What's not to love about that?)

The hike itself was beautiful, if only a bit windy. We arrived around 4, so we were able to watch the sun make its golden decline as we passed. There's something really peaceful about walking wordlessly with the waves sliding against the sand in rhythm. Sleeping in a tent on rocks, with the wind howling and a gaggle of sea lions (what do you even call groups of sea lions?) bellowing from a nearby rock all night, was not quite as relaxing. ;) But we ate s'mores at one in the morning and gazed up at the huge, pearly moon, and the next morning we began our trek back feeling satisfied.

And for some fun comparison, here are some photos from the last time I went hiking/camping—three years ago, when Henrik and I first met in Mali!

As you can see from the last photo, things didn't go quite as well that time. ;)

the move

Today, Henrik packed our things into a truck and began the long drive back to Michigan. My apartment is eerily quiet; no Sylvie scratching her silvery paw beneath the door, no clicking of Henrik's computer keys in the next room, no soft bubbling of water for tea on the stove. I have six more days in the apartment I've called my home for two years, the first real home Henrik and I created together. I moved here in what felt like a flurry of change—I had just graduated from college, was about to begin teaching, and was heading completely across the country to do so—and amidst all the chaos, this place was my refuge. The emptiness now is as it was when we first moved in. Then, our few belongings had been stuffed easily in the back of Henrik's car. I was fasting for Ramadan when we moved in, and I brought with me the few foods from the nearby Trader Joe's that I had purchased with the last of my savings—bananas, oatmeal, and peanut butter. We ate on the floor, off paper plates. We watched The Room to welcome us to the Bay.

Next year will be different. Henrik and I won't be living together; he will be attending school in Michigan, and I in North Carolina. Our homes will be many—each others' apartments, our parents' houses, the places we go for the summer. It will be college again, meaning extra toothbrushes and shampoo and sweaters left in a drawer for weekend visits, meaning falling asleep with the warmth of a cell-phone pressed against your cheek instead of a sleepy kiss. I know it's not forever—our programs are only two years—but I can't help but feel a tiny twinge of sadness. And while I'm looking forward to Raleigh, it isn't the same. Oakland is where I was born, and it is where I want to keep coming home to. 

I am excited for new beginnings, I am. I just get a little sad when I look around now and find my home gone, knowing it's tucked into a moving van heading far away. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

This past week has been an emotional one. It was my final week of teaching, and the seniors' last hurrah before graduation. I spent a lot of time with them this week, from sitting on top of a hill to watch the sun set to chaperoning a trip down to Disneyland to snapping their photos at graduation. 

I really do appreciate how LPS celebrates this transition, and recognizes the significance it holds for so many of our students and their families. Some of the graduates were the first in their family to receive a high school diploma. Others, the first to go to college. Nearly all faced adversity and hardship along the way. We sat one evening on a hill and watched the sunset, reflecting aloud about what we overcame to reach this point and where we're headed now. Like it or not, the sun has set on this chapter—there are no more hall passes or proms, no more physics tests, no more school assemblies or parent conferences or lunches on the basketball court.

I don't know what is in store for my students, but I wish them all good things. I told my seniors a quote I love, in hopes that it may have given them solace. It is a comfort, too, to me as I head into the same unknown.

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost


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