Alex in Transit(ion)

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Morning Wake Up Song: Talking Heads- This Must Be The Place (Live LP Version from Stop Making Sense) #goodmorning #fb

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…and just go.

A good friend and I were talking on my day off. Although we see each other every day, we rarely get the time to really chat but when we do get to talk, I always feel so inspired by her. If there’s anything I love about these experiences I’ve had these last couple of years, it’s learning about how caring people can be and she truly epitomizes that. 

We were sitting down and talking about me going to graduate school next year. She asked me if I had plans to study abroad and I told her that even though I would love to, I was afraid that if I studied abroad, that I would be missing out on job and internship opportunities. She understood, but said this:

“Alex, if there’s anything you do before you graduate, just go to Europe with a friend who is as curious as you and backpack. Have some direction with where you’re going but do what you want.”

I smiled when she said that because I always fall for that kind of wanderlust. That is my dream- to save up whatever money I can and just go from destination to destination. Ireland. England. Denmark. The Netherlands. France. Germany. Turkey. Greece and then spend as much time as humanly possible in Italy and finally see where I come from. 

I can’t help but to close my eyes and smile every time I think about that. It’s going to happen one day. 

For some reason, Pearl Jam is the perfect music to listen to late at night. Vedder is truth. 

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veg out.

On any given day, whenever I’m on a work assignment you will hear me say one of three things:

1. I need to eat better

2. I need to exercise more

3. I should get out and see more of this area

This was my first day off in a couple of weeks and I’m actually happy to report that I did none of those things. It was a glorious day of camping out on the couch, watching TV, eating more Nerds Rope than I ever thought was possible, and a nap or two. It was exactly what I needed. Usually, my day offs are my ocean days, but you know, I haven’t spent a day at “home,” that didn’t include me recovering from my wisdom teeth being removed since…wow. I don’t think I’ve done that since I came to Florida and I’ve been here for almost three months now. 

My bike will be ready to pick up on Wednesday! Ahh, I’m looking forward to waking up at 7:00AM and cruising around the neighborhood on my new Raleigh. One of the things I’m looking forward to is getting back involved in the cycling community when I get to Newark next year.

I cannot wait to get involved with academia again. Florida has been very soul searching for me. I used to talk with my political science adviser a lot about my career plans and I said to her that I want to get as much field experience as I can because I do plan to be a professor one day. I feel that when it comes to the world of political science, that students will be more successful if they are exposed to the field and I want to show them as much of the real poli sci world as I can. This is what keeps me motivated. 

I realize I am living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I do need to explore Florida more and I hope to chronicle those adventures here. If there’s anything I saw in my last post, it’s that I miss writing like crazy and I need to make time for it. I’ve tried to use Twitter, but ah- it’s just not the appropriate medium for me, I think. I like telling stories and nothing will ever compare to how natural it feels to blog. 

Because you can roll on to tangents, like this!

Next week, I will have another day off and I know exactly where I’m going to spend it. Universal Studios. It’s going to be on a weekday which means the lines won’t be as crazy as they normally would be on the weekends which will be great because I haven’t been on a roller coaster since…2007? Gah. That’s way too long. I eventually want to get down to Sea World but I don’t know why, but I’m not very excited about visiting Disney. I feel it’s something great when you’re a kid but I’ve always been more of a roller coaster fiend and Universal delivers on that aspect.

Until next time, America.

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I bought a bike.

One of the things that I have been meaning to do is to buy a brand new bicycle and I’m happy to say that the day finally came. For a year, I’ve been saving to buy a performance hybrid.

When I was growing up, I was always accustomed to riding mountain bikes because my family lives on a dirt road with hills all around. It wasn’t until I moved to Albany that I realized that a mountain bike has a time and a place and that is in the sticks. An example of this is when a friend and I went to North Lake in the Catskills and we attempted to ride the bike trails in the woods. I had no problem with the trails because of the mountain bike’s fat tires that are capable of handling any terrain, but his hybrid couldn’t take it because it had thin tires that struggled to get over the rocks. On the converse, cities call for nice, fast, and nimble bikes that you can zip around with little effort. His hybrid always outpaced my mountain bike and after a day of realizing the difference, it got pretty annoying that I was peddling and peddling and I wasn’t getting anywhere. 

It wasn’t until last year that I truly became immersed into the cycling lifestyle. There is nothing that thrills me more than exploring towns and cities, whether you’re a tourist or you’re a resident, through a bicycle. Unlike driving a car, you enter into this wonderful and strange community. The wonderful part being that cyclists have to be the chillest people I’ve ever met and they are always so welcoming. The strange part is that even those who are not cycling with you, such as motorists (well, some motorists- let’s be real, a good 90% of them tend to be rude and you wonder if they may be the cars that end your life) and pedestrians think you’re the coolest person on the street. You develop that identity: the girl on the bike.

Unfortunately, due to how busy I am from my career (although I wouldn’t have it any other way), I was making good on riding my bike every single month from April 2011 to March 2012…but then life started getting in the way and since I live on the coast now, I guess I traded the beach for my bicycle. I haven’t been to the ocean since 2008 and I’m taking advantage of swimming in it every chance I get (never would I imagine swimming in March!), so I guess it’s a decent trade off until I find myself back in the Northeast.

But just like how Mufasa appeared out of the clouds said “it’s time, Simba,” (that doesn’t make any sense, but play along here), well, my birthday is Sunday and I realized that I finally had enough money to buy a decent performance hybrid. I also found out a couple of weeks ago that I was accepted to go to graduate school at Rutgers-Newark and I plan to commute to campus via my bicycle and the train, so it was time to invest in a solid bike that could get me around the city. After a year of test riding Trek, Jamis, Cannondale, and Raleigh bicycles, I fell in love with the Raleigh Cadent. I discovered it last November when I was killing time my old neighborhood in DC. For some reason, I never entered the shop when I lived there two years ago, but I finally decided to stumble on in and see what a bicycle and locksmith shop was all about and there it was. Sleek. Sexy (yes, there is a such thing as sexy bicycle and it’s even sexier when there’s a cute cyclist riding it). Fast. It was it and JS Cyclery in Melbourne had it special ordered for me. It would have been cheaper to buy a used bike but if there’s anything I’ve learned over this year, it’s that bike frames for short people are so rare and even ordering this was a little bit of a hassle with fitting. 

I look forward, after my journey here is over, to dominating the trails with it, exploring Newark (I’m sure there are some lovely parts of the city to ride in, if not there’s always Brooklyn) and embarking on the Erie Canal Tour next year. I’m still debating on whether or not to install a bike rack. It would be handy for school but I usually cycle with a backpack on and I don’t know how it would feel cycling with all of that weight in the back. I know I will definitely need the most heavy duty bike lock (or maybe bike locks) I can find now that I will be planning to spend the better two years of my life in the NY Metro area and also outfit it with a lot of lights because my worst nightmare is getting hit by a car and in my opinion, one lightset is not enough to be visible on the roads. 

I can’t think of a good way to end this. But, ah, it feels so good to write again!