getting real. sorta.

first impressions
July 7, 2010, 1:49 am
Filed under: the girl growing up

EVERY TIME A NEW JOURNEY BEGINS, first impressions become our only understanding of the confusing world in which we have just entered.

i have entered about 4.

  1. the virginian-pilot newsroom: it is the first time i have worked at a newsroom other than the daily.
  2. the house with the red door: it is the first time i have lived “on my own” with a total stranger.
  3. the land of hampton roads: it is the first time i have lived on the east coast.
  4. the life of a recluse: it is the first time i have lived in a place and not known another soul for hundreds of miles.


the virginian-pilot newsroom

THIS WASN’T MY FIRST TIME in a professional newsroom. i’ve visited quite a few in fact. i’ve been to the san francisco chronicle, the sacramento bee, the oregonian, the seattle times, the new york times, the kansas city star., the omaha-world herald, the forum of fargo. many of those with casey*. but this one felt different. this one was different. this one was going to be mine for the next 12 weeks.

i walked in and i was shuffled into the hr department, where i proceeded to fill out what seemed to be an endless supply of paperwork. next, i was shuffled into a room where they took my photo for my security badge, then i was shuffled up and around and down and through a series of confusing twists and turns to end up (finally) in the newsroom.

as my adviser was on his vacation, and i was early, i was shuffled into a chair and told to wait. i met so many people that day, faces i had only known the names of before. i felt like a stalker as i met these people whose work i’d been following for weeks, months, years.

i felt like an invader into a secret club. i felt welcomed as i met various staffers, names i’m still learning. i was the last intern to arrive. i wonder what they were expecting?


the house with the red door and the land of hampton roads

THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME living with someone i didn’t know. we had exchanged e-mails and he seemed like a nice person. he showed me my room, my bathroom, the kitchen, where to park my car, the laundry room and the family room. he helped my sister and i move all my stuff into my room. i live .9 miles from the beach. but the demographics are definitely different than seattle. i haven’t lived in an area like this that i can ever remember. the town reminds me of spokane. i feel safe, but it’s not anywhere where i’d take a walk outside at night.

it’s just different. living in a place without your own things, living in someone else’s world. trying not to be in the way, not to be a burden, but still live there. people all live differently, and as there are only a few people that know what it’s like to live with me, for all the others out there: i take some getting used to. ;)

my bike is in my room, still unused. it’s simply too hot during the day to do anything outside. it’s easier to just stay in bed. the tires are flat and i need to get a pump. i’ve gone on a jog once, to the beach and back. but it’s just so hot. all the time. and the air is thick, unmoving. for someone who rarely burns, i can’t go outside without spf on every part of exposed skin. sand is everywhere. it’s in my car, my bed, my shoes, my hair, my towels, my teeth occasionally.

hampton roads is made up of 7(?) cities. norfolk, where i live, is one of them. pronounced nor-fuhk, the city seems to be a tad obsessed with mermaids. but there’s beaches everywhere. i live right near the naval station, so everyone here seems to be in the navy. they have 7-elevens everywhere, i go shopping at some grocery store called farm fresh (not so fresh), and i’ve never realized how nice it was to live in a place where all i had to do was think “i want a frappicino” and *ding* there was a starbucks.
dreyer’s ice cream is called edy’s. carl’s jr. is called hardee’s. and there’s no major league baseball team. when people ask where i’m from, i have to say washington state or the other washington. they look at me like i’m crazy for coming here without knowing anyone. i agree with them. but adventures only happen for crazy people.
there’s a british boat in port right now. i hear it’s supposed to be here for the whole month. i call it the trouble ship. british accents get a girl into trouble.
and everyone asks if i’m married. or if i have kids. apparently 23 is an old maid in these parts of town. i still get lost and keep thinking north is south and south is north. people drive like maniacs over here. no one goes the speed limit and i don’t think people realize they have blinkers on their cars.
but as i read facebook statuses from people back home and hear about the rain and the cold, i start thinking, “maybe this ain’t so bad, living in the south.”

the life of a recluse

I FEAR I’VE FORGOTTEN how to make friends. college was one thing, everyone was trying to make friends. no one had any. here, everyone has friends. and i’m not sure how one goes about meeting people. a couple of the designers who are my age are awesome, and i’ve been able to hang out with them a few times. the other interns are pretty cool, but our schedules don’t always matchup.

my bedroom has become my cave. it’s where i can access home through my computer and phone. it’s where mi-er bunny is waiting for me when i get home. it’s where i keep almost all my possessions i own. it’s where i spend most my time. it’s where i eat and watch movies and unwind. those who have lived with me in the past know that i don’t like to talk to anyone before i’ve eaten breakfast or after work. it makes for a quite existance. one i’m not used to and one that is very different than the past 6 summers.

i have become quite acquainted with the bar scene. maybe too much so. but it’s the only place where i can talk to people that late at night. so that’s usually where i end up on the weekends. and it’s too hard to go to the beach because i can’t put sunscreen on my own back. and asking a stranger to do that is a little awkward. especially with the ones hanging around on the beach that i go to.

it’s getting better though. easier as i sorta sift into a routine. i know that i just have to be patient, and give it time. but patience is not something i’m very good at. so many times i find myself saying “colleen, slow down. it’s not a race.” but i feel like everything is going so fast so i have to as well. dear life, please slow down so i might catch my breath.


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