NYU

Lost at the MET

Good evening!

I want to thank you for all the new subscriptions after my previous post. Read it HERE. You can still subscribe by writing your email address in the little window to the right. That way you’ll get a cute little email whenever I post something new.

Anyway, I’ve been in New York for a little over a week now, and I have so much to tell you that I don’t even know where to begin. This city fills up my list of blog ideas pretty quickly, but I guess I’ll just start where I left off last time.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting up with my dear friend and marathon buddy, Matt. I’m surprised he still wanted to be my friend after I invited (or… ehm.. forced) him to run a half marathon with me last spring. This time, however, we went on a far less athletic excursion — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We may have gotten lost on some of our runs in Sioux Falls and Austin, but it did not compare to how lost we got inside the museum. And no, I’m not talking about getting lost into the beauty of exceptional artistry; I’m talking about getting lost geographically, or interiorly. You see, finding a restroom inside that beautifully preserved building became quite the challenge when we realized that there were no signs guiding us to a (much needed) bladder-emptying area. Thankfully, all floors and corners remained dry for the entirety of our visit.

Anyway, enough bladdering blabbering for today.

I started the orientation at NYU earlier this week; which I’ll tell you more about later because if I start now this may very well turn into a novel.

My overall impression so far can be summarized with this word: AMAZING!

I hope you’re all enjoying your Thursday.

Bless,
Maria

House-hunting in NYC is not for the faint of heart

Good afternoon!

Thank you so much for all the good-luck messages and the response on my previous post. You da best. Read the post HERE.

I’ve now been a resident of New York City for four days, and I honestly think I’ve gotten quite a lot done already. Most of it has been practical things and errands, so I’ll spare you of those details, but in addition to exploring “campus” I met up with my future roomie, Alejandro. By future I mean, six days into the forthcoming, and by “campus” I mean the entire lower half of Manhattan.

 

Pizza in Midtown. Photo creds: Alejandro.

I realize that some of my relatives in Norway might need an explanation regarding this housing deal, so please know that I’m not moving in with a stranger, and that this is not a domestic partnership or a “civil union” haha. We’re two ambitious individuals who need someone to share the rent with, and we also happen to be great friends. Win win!

Alejandro and I went to Augustana together, and he’ll begin his Master’s degree in International Affairs at NYU this fall. Yay! We’ll live with two other students, whom we have yet to meet.

 

I’m so happy to have at least one familiar face in this giant city. He’s lived here for several months already, so it’s thanks to his relentless search for apartments that we found the place in Williamsburg.

You see, finding the right place wasn’t easy.

Overpriced brokers, snappy landlords, and dirty rat holes are words that summarize this house-hunt. Lordy, I hope those of you who live in the Midwest and in Norway know how to appreciate the convenient and affordable housing market you have.

Prime ain’t cheap

We were initially hoping to find a place in Greenwich Village, because it’s right on the NYU-campus. It’s also one of the prime neighborhoods on Manhattan, but unfortunately “prime” isn’t cheap, and our budget pretty much forced us to choose between the two scenarios:

1. Good location (aka Greenwich- or East Village) in an apartment so trashy I could blow-dry my hair in the wind coming through the cracks in the wall.
2. Less ideal location (aka Williamsburg) in an amazing, newly renovated apartment where I actually can afford to buy a blow-drier to keep inside the rather spacious bathroom.

This is what I learned:

It seems like New Yorkers generally have a high tolerance for what a Norwegian would consider as “questionable housing standards.” Here’s what I’ve learned:
– Having a laundry machine is a privilege for the rich.
– Living alone is a lifestyle only the famous 1% can afford.
– Elevators are practically unheard of, even when the apartment is six floors up.
– People don’t get overly worked up if they have to share their place with mice and cockroaches.
– You’re lucky if you can bend over the sink to brush your teeth — without having to open the door behind you to make rom for your butt.

The place we found in Williamsburg is, in other words, great! Just one subway-stop away from Manhattan, and located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in NY. I’ll post pictures when we’re all settled in next week.

I’ve also had some time to figure out the city with my running shoes on. An early morning along the Hudson hit the spot.

 

Later today I’ll catch up with my dear friend and marathon-buddy, Matthew! He’s rocking it in DC, but made the trip to NY for the weekend. I’ll talk to ya when we’re done exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bless,
Maria

My life as an adrenalin junkie

I don’t need a microscope to see where my high jump spikes once sliced my thigh open; the marks from the stitches are still there, and as I run my palms down my left shin I remember what a once-broken tibia feels like. The crackling sounds of worn out ankle-ligaments and a torn meniscus remind me of a time where no pain meant no gain, and ibuprofen was a part of any well-balanced meal.

Even if I don’t do competitive sports anymore, there are some traces of it that will always be a part of me: the physical marks, the memories, and the hunger for adrenalin.

While my enthusiasm for competitive sports was drowned by injuries, I still allow myself to indulge in the pleasures of a good adrenalin-high from time to time.

I do have to restrain myself though, because if I were to let loose my inner adrenalin junkie at all times, you’d probably see me flying out of planes as a skydiver five times a day, and I wouldn’t have gotten much else done.

But as a younger and less responsible human, I was not quite as advanced in this restraining thing. I won’t go into any details, but I’m pretty lucky things went as well as they did.

I actually think track helped tame that side of me; I stopped doing all those irresponsible stunts when I realized how much I disliked crutches, concussions and having to sit out track meets because of it.

 

 

My tool for self-restraint is to pretend I don’t even like those extreme things. When people ask me if I’d ever skydive, for example, I usually respond with a plain “no.” Not because I wouldn’t want to do it, but because I wouldn’t want the few minutes of pure excitement to jeopardize what I consider to be my real mission in life.

I don’t believe I was put on this earth to live for the short pleasures of extreme sports. Maybe some people are, but I know that–despite all temptation–it’s not what I was sent here for.

However, when smaller non-life threatening opportunities come my way, I do take them.

Like earlier this week, when my dear childhood-friend, Espen, asked me to join a tree top-park:

 

I admit it’s probably more “dangerous” than watching TV, but safer than skydiving — so it’s pretty safe.

Note: Espen is a little less good at restraining himself, (skydiving and bungee-jumping are some of his special skills) but I need to make sure I don’t become a wimp, so this was a perfect dose of adventure.


Oh, by the way, the closest to skydiving I’ve allowed myself to go was at Universal Studios in LA:

I’m not sure what was more entertaining; flying in the windtunnel or watching the creepy guy that followed me around attempt to fly in the tunnel after me. He’s not in the video, but all I can say is that he was high on other things than adrenalin… “Tumbling weed” is the only word that comes to mind when I think about his face getting smushed onto the glass walls in between every uncontrolled tumble. Maybe a rag doll in a dryer gives you a proper visual?


Thanks for reading along, and have a wonderful weekend!

Bless you,
Maria

Bouncing into eternity

Good evening!

I want to thank you all for the wonderful response on my last post “Bite the Dust.” Before I decided to publish it, I felt like I was about to put myself into a den of wolves, because it’s a sensitive topic and you never know how posts of such a nature will be received. But thanks so much for all the nice comments and emails! Some of you even approached me in person to tell me how much you liked it. Wow, thank you! Several of you said you wanted to share it on Facebook, but couldn’t because there was something wrong with the link. I apologize for the technical issues, but my IT-guy fixed it, so feel free to share it now instead, haha. (As a temporary side-effect of the technical issues, some of you may have a rather… over-sized… picture above, but I hope you don’t mind).

Anyway, I just started my summer job as a reporter at Haugesunds Avis (a regional newspaper in Norway), and I actually like it even more this year. It’s nice to do something that doesn’t involve exams and homework, and it feels good to get back into some routines again.

This year I work as a front journalist as well as a regular news reporter, which means I’m in charge of all the breaking news, online layout and some copy editing in addition to actual writing. You all know that as a journalist I prefer to delve into deep complex feature stories, characterizations and portrait interviews rather than typical news stories, but front journalism is right up there with the features. You’d be surprised by how much happens in a town like Haugesund, I’m just saying.

I did, for example, spend a significant amount of time covering a runaway kangaroo this week. Yup, a kangaroo — in Norway. I hate to tell you that Norway isn’t quite as exotic as it sounds in this very moment, and that it ran away from a zoo, but well. The story about this bouncy Australian creature flourished on national news, and I felt like I was writing updates on a bigtime celebrity. I named her “Skippy” and we really grew quite close through these regular quotes from the Zoo-owner, and the videos from people who suddenly stumbled upon her on their way to work. You can only imagine how it felt to hear that my dear Skippy-roo had to be put down. May she bounce into eternity.

Right now I just got back from a family reunion in Bergen. I haven’t seen my cousins, uncles and aunts in a year, so this was simply fantastic.

And tomorrow, I’m expecting another special visitor. My dear friend and co-producer of Over the Bridge, Sarah Kocher is coming to visit!

You’ll hear from us in a few days.

Photo: Mirjam Lavelle.

Bless you,
Maria

Graduation

This weekend was special in many ways, but mostly because I graduated! I have now officially completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in journalism and a minor in theatre from Augustana University. I’ll need at least a handful of blog-entries to reflect upon these three years on the American prairie, but before I delve into that, let’s talk about the day.

Photo: Jessica Ruf.

Up until this weekend, this whole thing called “commencement” was something I’d only seen in the movies, so the fact that I—inside a packed arena with hundreds of students and thousands of spectators—got to wear one of those flat hats and a tent-sized gown was an almost surreal experience. It was so formal and ceremonious that I, at one point, told myself I wouldn’t be the least surprised if I happened to run into the Pope or Harry Potter on the way out.

If you think I’m exaggerating, please remember that in Norway there’s no such thing as a graduation ceremony when you finish your degree — unless you’re a nurse or want to host it in your own living room, of course. So excuse me for being a little overly fascinated with everything from the “faculty regalia” (aka the professor robes) to the “tassel turning” (when the President of the University “bestows” the degree upon you, and all the graduates move the tassel from right to left at the same time to symbolize that they did it!”).


Photo: Jessica Ruf.

Anna and I also happened to be on the news that day, so if you want to see what that flat hat looks like with a moving head inside, please consider clicking on the video below:

We were simply waiting for Elin outside the restrooms when we were approached by the reporter, so those of you who now think I seek out the media to put my face on your TV-screens better think again, haha.

 

Photo: Jessica Ruf.

Even if we didn’t all have our parents with us there in the Arena, Ana, who works in the dining hall at Augie was a great supporter. No less than five nationalities in one picture: Irene, me, Ana, Carina, Anna and Elin.

And then the mandatory “holding-the-diploma-in-front-of-a-greenscreen-while-smiling-like-a-sorority-girl-picture.”


Photo: Jessica Ruf.

Once the ceremony was over, Anna’s parents adopted me for the day and threw an amazing open house-party for the two of us.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Augustana community, and even if this chapter is about to come to an end, my heart will always have a tint of navy and gold. More about that later.

Also, I have some huge news to share later this week, so stay tuned!

Photo: Crystal McDowell/Pinterest.

Blessings,
Maria

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