NYU

About Recovery, Travel, and the Significance of Vending Machines

Hello dear readers!

Thanks so much for the feedback and warming words on my previous post; I’m glad some of you were able to see the humor in it. I did too, it just took a while, haha.


Film school isn’t exactly known to be a health-promoting institution, and it’s no secret that very few of us grad students have the time, nor money, to eat well and exercise as regularly as we’d like. The excessive stress is also a faithful companion to some.

As a former athlete and fitness freak, this was a bit of a shock … and actually one of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to since I moved to New York. It sound silly, but the fact that these are actual quotes heard in the halls at NYU Tisch, kind of says it all:

Person 1: “I’m so stressed I can’t eat.”
Person 2: “That sounds nice. I’m so stressed I can’t stop eating.”

Person 1: “I can’t afford dinner today.”
Person 2: “Me neither. I just eat Ramen.”

“The only food I’ve had today has been from the vending machine on the 10th floor.”

Same person a week later: “My hair is starting to fall out … I think it’s because of the vending machine.”

Another person: “The vending machine is giving me acne.”

“There was no Nutella Sticks left in the vending machine. It made me more upset than it should have — I almost cried.”

“I need to cry, but I don’t know if I have time … When is our next class?”

“I feel like I have a sword sticking out of my chest. Is that normal?”

“I’ve had this eye-twitch for weeks. I’m thinking about adding it to my resume as ‘special skill.'”

“Do you think the students who smoke are less stressed? I’m considering starting.”

Person 1: “Can you see my heart beating?”
Person 2: No, why? Are you worried you might be dead?”
Person 1: No, it’s just beating so hard and fast I feel like you can see it through my shirt.”

With these quotes in mind, it should come as no surprise that I, too, looked and felt like a haggard mammal after the school-year ended. All the stress and burdens from the semester (that you can read more about HERE and HERE) had left some marks here and there, and I felt like a zombie. When I then caught a nasty virus shortly after my arrival in Norway, things only got worse and I was in bed for over a week, feeling worse than that zombie I mentioned above.

So, when my sister — spontaneously — invited me on a trip to Sardinia in Italy, it felt like bread for the starving.

A week spent on a beach in the Mediterranean turned out to be exactly what I needed.

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Sardinia🇮🇹 📷 @celenalavelle

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P.S: The Norwegian college system is designed in a way that allows students to work almost full-time on top of their studies — which in this case made my sister able to sponsor me on this trip. She knows I’m a poor artist in NYC, so this just shows what a lovely sister I’ve been blessed with. Thank you, Celena.

But after a couple days of so-called “tanning,” I needed to do something and I discovered that paddleboarding can be more fun than it looks.

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Mediterranean🌅 Photo: @celenalavelle

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Especially when you do it the wrong way.

After a week of eating and sleeping more than my lifestyle of the past year has allowed, I returned to Norway a little less exhausted. In fact, I felt more rested than I’ve been in over a year … maybe two.

I’m not sure if it had more to do with the Italian sun, or the news I received while I was there, but I’ll tell you more about that in my next post.

Have a blessed afternoon,
Maria

Breathing Tisch

Good evening!

I just wanted to stop by for a second before I allow myself the two-hour “weekend” I’ve been longing for since my last post, where I plan on watching something silly on TV and go to bed early. Yup, you heard right; I used to be a vocal opponent of TV-shows, but now that I spend every breathing moment thinking about film, I have started to appreciate the low-quality sitcoms that allow me to turn off my filmmaking brain for an episode or two.

These past few weeks have mostly consisted of class, more class, shooting directing exercises, editing directing exercises, thinking about directing exercises, script-writing and pre-production work for my upcoming short film “Sisters,” which is–by far–my biggest project yet. I can’t wait to tell you more about it!


I have made time for some relaxing too — in the form of running my heart out at the track, ahh.

Like I’ve mentioned before, one of the first things we were told at Tisch was to avoid working with animals and children for our early projects, because of the extra challenges it has caused for student-directors in the past.

So, what did I do? Well, as you know, my first NYU-film was about a pigeon — and now I’ve somehow managed to write a script with three kids under 11 years old as the main characters for my spring project. But I’m SO EXCITED about it!


Where the inspiration came from? This. When my sister and I were young enough to rock the 2001-fashion.

Kai and I spent the entire weekend auditioning young actors, which turned into a great learning-experience. The fact that 136 actors submitted applications to be in MY film is just unbelievable. I’m not used to being able to observe, judge and pick actors from a pool this big, and I honestly don’t know how to feel about it. There are so many talented little kids and parents working hard to succeed in the industry, and I wish I could just cast them all.

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Auditions – Day 3🎬

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Yesterday we went location scouting. Again, I could’ve made it easy for myself by setting the action inside one room, but since you know me pretty well by now, it should come as no surprise that I wrote a film that requires no less than three very different suburban locations. Good Lord. I’m praying I’ll find the right spots in time.

Anyway, as two tired grad film students who have lived inside the Tisch building for weeks with no days off, Kai and I found great excitement in traveling into the depths of Brooklyn on an ice-cold, windy and gloomy Sunday afternoon as we walked through miles and miles of marshy park-paths in wet sneakers.

The fact that our conversations started revolving around hypothermia and about how we couldn’t feel our faces did not significantly hamper our enthusiasm for this moment of fresh air.

Blessings,
Maria

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

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