Chau for now

Suitcases do not make good chairs.

I reflect on this as the front zipper of mine digs into my upper thigh. I close my eyes and think like a boulder, hoping to weigh down the top. My mother struggles with the side zipper, trying to bring it around to meet its mate.

“One… good… push….!” 

With a herculean effort she zips the case and I stand up, wiping my forehead.

Mmmm sweat, the eau de toilette of a Texan summer. You can’t escape it here; it clings to your sheets when you peel them back in the morning and cools on your brow as you fall asleep, ceiling fans working frantically overhead.

But I’m going to winter. (Or, as the Starks would say, winter is coming.) Today, Sunday May 19, I leave for Buenos Aires. My flight takes off at 9:10 p.m. and touches down around 9:30 a.m. in South America, just in time for coffee and a bagel (Is that what they eat for breakfast in Argentina?).

I’m nervous, and not just because I’ve characteristically over-packed. Will my adapters work? Will I run out of money? Will I have any friends? Will I be crushed by the weight of coursework and an internship? Will I ever finish the Song of Ice and Fire series?!

All this remains to be seen. For now, dragging my two suitcases down the stairs and praying to a higher power they’re lighter than 50 pounds (overweight bags incur a $200 fee), all I can think is: It better be worth it.

Chau for now


The goodbye

It’s happened. It’s here. The. final. week. of. the. semester.

Sitting in the Missourian newsroom during my last GA shift, reminiscing about all the life stories I’ve written here (and one news brief but that doesn’t count), one, and only one, feeling washes over me: relief.

Not that I haven’t learned loads — I have. It’s the way in which I’ve learned that’s exhausted, depleted and mentally unhinged me.

This semester has taught me how to talk to grieving families, how to write a news brief on highway closures, how to respond when threatened with a lawsuit, how to juggle five stories at once, and how to mop up tears/snot and present a respectable face to the public after a breakdown in my editor’s office.

But it also taught me how to connect with sources on a personal level, to relax when making phone calls, to write a clean first draft, how to find my voice, and that writing is, in fact, what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Pros and cons but, in the end, it’s over and I can breathe…

The hello 

…until May 20. This summer is goodbye to one publication, hello (hola) to another. In 10 days I’ll be traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina to intern at El Sol de San Telmo, a community-oriented magazine. Daily life? In Spanish. Articles? In Spanish. Dreams? In Spanish. Probably.

Yes, the anticipation is killing me. On Thursday morning I pack up my room in Columbia, speed to St. Louis, drop off excess possessions there and jet off to Texas. Three days at home and I fly from Houston to Buenos Aires, arriving in time for the shuttle from the airport on May 20. Whew.

Then begins two months of classes, interning, and finding my way around the city.

My friends Kari and Brandon hung out there all semester (the internship program is through the j-school and includes perks like apartments and cultural orientation) and are obsessed. They rant, they rave, and they build up my expectations almost endlessly.

Here’s hoping Argentina lives up to the hype.

And yes, the title is another band reference. A good one. Check them out, folks.