Music has a way of taking you back to very specific moments.
As I sat and prepared a playlist for tonight’s radio show, I remembered an album that came out in September of 2013, Snarky Puppy’s “Family Dinner Volume 1.” It came out 3 years ago, almost to the day (September 24, 2013), and I was all over it in my first months of living here in Madison. I decided to give “Something” another listen before indiscriminately putting it on my playlist, and it took me straight back to fall 2013.
It took me back to taking the bus everywhere, that time West Towne Mall seemed an eternity away (because it was). Or to sitting in a (now-defunct) State Street coffee shop, pretending that I could learn Persian from a library book, because I didn’t know anyone here. Or when being a student at UW seemed unattainable, or at the very least a crazy, stupid, and overwrought obsession that I was dragging out far past due.
My blog didn’t stop in Fall 2013. It actually lasted, sporadically, for an entire year. That’s an accomplishment for me! Our story leaves off with me moving to an apartment on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Madison, just a block away from my old place on North Pinckney Street.
That apartment was great, and I’ve since left it behind for a different place, this time on Jenifer Street on the east side. I’ve also since left behind the brewpub job, the technical college, and at least a few notions of failure. I got into UW and am slogging through my senior year of coursework. I got a new management job at a different restaurant, though I hope not to be there for too much longer, either.
Nobody ever read this blog, other than my mom, my neighbor, and maybe a few others. So I don’t expect any of this to be news, if any of you are checking in now for some reason. But after “Something” jogging my memory, I feel the need to reflect.
By this point, I’ve stopped feeling like a “transplant” like it says up there. I’ve definitely stopped feeling proud of my age group, at least to the point that I feel the need to advertise it on my blog. Seeing as I don’t intend to keep this going, it seems cute to leave that subheader as an anachronism.
Anyways, here are some notable things that happened in the lives of myself, and those close to me, since the last post.
- In October 2014, I took the train from Chicago to Springfield, Massachusetts. It wasn’t meant to work out that way, and that’s just fine.
- Tim and Allison both found their way out here in fall 2014, along with my mom, who was my first guest on Wisconsin Avenue.
- I drove the Mazda (RIP) back to Maryland for Christmas, 2014; it remains one of my fondest memories, due to how burnt out I was from the semester, and from my hours at work. I got to sit still and listen to my own tunes for 2 days. I hope to do it again soon. Along the way I stopped in Akron and Pittsburgh.
- The Mazda died shortly thereafter, when I was driving back from Illinois (a separate trip) that following January. RIP, Mazda.
- I got accepted into UW-Madison, and am currently completing coursework for a Bachelor’s degree in English linguistics. I also hope to earn a certificate in Southeast Asian studies by the time I graduate next December.
- I became involved with student radio at UW, which has been, in my opinion, my best decision since I moved to Madison.
- In May 2015, a close friend of mine passed away in Maryland, and for the first time, I understood exactly how far away from home I really was.
- In May 2015, I did what that friend always wanted me to do: I visited the Philippines and went to a family reunion, experiences that changed notions of my heritage, my academic goals, and my future living aspirations.
- Pagkatapos ang biyahe ko, nagsimula ako ng pag-aaral sa wikang Tagalog sa UW. Ayon si lola ko, panggit ang Tagalog. Pero gusto kong nagtatagalog pa la. Dapat akong nagaaral ng Tagalog na, pero nagpapaliban ako dito sa aking patay na blog.
- (After my trip to the Philippines, I started taking Tagalog at UW. According to my lola, Tagalog is ugly. But I like speaking Tagalog, as it turns out. In fact, I should be studying now, but I am procrastinating here on my dead blog instead.)
- My sister visited me in July of 2015.
- I was allowed into the vault of the Field Museum in Chicago as part of a class trip. Field trip. Get it? Anyways, another lifetime top-twenty cool experience, when I think back on it.
- I left my job at the brewpub.
- I turned 21, so now when I buy a 6-pack of Wisconsin microbrew at Woodman’s, I’m no longer “getting away with” anything.
- My cousin Mia visited me from the Philippines in May 2016. We met in Chicago and visited notable architectural and culinary sites all over the place. She went to DC, LA, Chicago, Vegas, New York, and Madison on her trip. Guess where she says has the best food? That’s right. Burgers and custard can win any heart, and with enough persistence, they can stop that heart, too. We had a great week bouncing around Madison, Chicago, the Driftless, and Milwaukee.
- I went to my sister’s high school graduation, which wasn’t at graduation, it was at a state championship track meet. She kicks ass and lives in Williamsburg now. I’ll let her start her own blog.
- I moved in with my friend Dylan, who is a good man, and thorough. We live in the “Takoma Park” of Madison, if there is one, and spend approximately 40% of the time there mocking our neighbors.
- Seriously: I saw a guy dressed completely in purple biking to the co-op the other day, complete with a purple colander where his helmet should’ve been. When I mentioned it to Dylan, he said, “oh, you mean the Truly Remarkable Loon?”
That’s a long list, and I left a lot out.
I guess it would suffice to say at this point that I’m very thankful for landing on my feet. I’m thankful for my own tenacity, but more than that, I’m thankful for everyone else’s perseverance and patience with me.
And I know I’m playing “Something” on the radio tonight.
Cheers, all. I wonder what I’ll post in two years?