Monday, August 29, 2005

weirdness and homesickness on the high seas

i am on a friend's computer while she's in the shower, and i don't know how much time i'll have. the dorm's internet is fixed, but my particular floor has wiring issues, and the jacks in the study room don't work, so i have been cut off from that for a few days now. i had to wait until one to get this.

ok, i don't know how entertaining or amusing this is going to be, because i'm writing it at night. if this were three in the afternoon i would tell you how exciting and interesting everything is here, and i would rave about stomp, some of the girls i've met, etc. but you see, the problem is that it is night. and at night, my high-flying plane goes down faster than you can shout 'howard dean' in a crowded theater. (i suppose that is a mixed metaphor. to those of you who take offense: there's a monkey in your fridge.)

i never imagined i would feel this bad this randomly. i guess it's not random if it's always at night...but i'll be fine when i lie down, laughing and talking, and as soon as i close my eyes, it's just one big thought that parades across my mind in flashing capitol letters: GET ME OUT OF HERE.

i'm not sure what, if anything, it is. i've met one girl here who is absolutely miserable because there are no trees, no grass, nothing vaguely pretty. that's true...i do miss being able to breathe without hacking on somebody else's cigarette smoke. but when i was in milwaukee, i thought nothing was cooler than all those glowing lights on the chicago shoreline. and there is no view from any hotel better than my window's. if i could figure out how to use the camera, i'd take pictures to try to explain it. the crysler building, the empire states building...yeah, they're all right there.

my roommates are never home, which is a good thing. i'm never really there either, because the room depresses me. it's very musty and...cold. they're not mean, but they're not friendly. it's not like, hey, who wants to hear this hilarious spelling mistake i just read off the stupid internet card? it's more like, umm...you're breathing on my picture frame.

there is one girl there who stayed up with me all last night who seems really nice, if intense. she comes from a lubavitch community that thinks college is a sin, but she wants to be a doctor and doesn't want to go on shlechos to brazil, so she got her act together and flew herself back here and went to school. but she really believes in what she believes in...i can't really make a joke, i don't think, to her.

i guess the real problem is that i just had a really close relationship to my family. they knew all my in jokes. i never had to plaster a smile on my face and continue to spout bland banalaties...and i told them everything, and enjoyed listening to their responses. and every night when i close my eyes, it just kind of hits me: it's not going to be that way for the rest of my life. i am my own person now. i can't live out of my parents' basement forever. i have to make my own friends, plan my own future, and create my own family here. that's going to be the only way out...i have to find people here who i can be comfortable enough with to feel at home.

until then, i'm great during the day...walking around from program to program, exploring the stores, sitting in starbucks and watching the people go by. bothering rivka. and i spend the night lying on various bathroom floors or huddled up in three blankets in the student lounge. i can not for the life of me sleep. i am going to do aerobics after this, because if i'm not going to sleep anyway, i might as well try to do something productive.

not having internet is throwing me off. i can't talk to anyone, have nothing to make me laugh when i'm bored, because my cell phone is a lot of money, and it's strange calling people and never knowing what they're in the middle of. plus the voices are getting to me. i can't hear the voices. (great movie line, don't you think?)

and i just see this stretching ahead of me for four years, and it seems nearly impossible. i was walking back from the broadway thing tonight, just staring up at all the buildings, and it doesn't feel like i live here. it feels like i'm on some ncsy convention or something...there's nothing about all these strange buildings and strange people (we had some chinese people paint themselves bloody and stand outside the dorm as a statement about torture) that could ever be home.

on the other hand, i know that i would be bored to tears in milwaukee. and i know i wanted to be here, and i worked really hard to be here, and we paid a lot of money for me to be here, and i am determined to stay and to make the most of it. i am angry at myself for crying like this for having gotten what i asked for. but every other minute i just want to buck and run. it is a constant struggle.

i seem to be one of the more religious girls here...even the girls i am closest to were surprised when i excused myself to finish davening. they said they hadn't davened in years. i'm not sure what to make of that yet...there are some frumies, but not many. i find myself almost desperate for right wingers sometimes.

the guys here all look like the pictures in my dad's old photo albums. i'm serious. at the broadway production, it was mixed, so i was just sitting in the back seats and watching...but it didn't feel like my life. it felt like i had somehow been transported back in time to my parents' high school years. they were all wearing baseball jerseys and kipat srugah and joking really loudly. they looked like they were having a lot of fun. the girls here look all different, but the most common mode of dress is like my aunt's. short sleeves, short skirts. my beis yaakov friend would never recover. it's so weird to be in that position, to feel old and frumpy, and yet secretly, i do. if i can see your bikini underwear, honey...

the broadway production they took us to was great. stomp. a loose musical about janitors who use everyday things like brooms, paint cans, anything - their hands, a matchbox- to make these complex beats and dances, like a marching band or something. i literally got up and danced at one point. i never wanted it to end. if it comes to your town, see it. it's definitely worth seeing.

other than that, i haven't met any of my radio friends...we sign up for courses tomorrow, by which time i expect i will no longer be functioning at anything like a sufficient capacity. it's a quarter to two now and i haven't done anything worth doing. i have just been lying on rivka's bed listening to her swear at her computer. rivka's alright. she listens to me sing half-heartedly and off key while i cry and just occasionally bobs in with a 'there, there dear.'

typing this has made me feel a lot better, though. a lot. maybe it's the internet. maybe the internet is The Hope For The Future. i talked to my ra (read: you gotta help me i could die!) and she says she'll try to fix it tomorrow. she's from south africa, and pretty cool...but i imagine she now thinks i am a juvenile baby (as opposed to some of the older babies). see, i miss being able to insert the little snide comments. it's what i do best, and a lot of times when i do that here i just get blank looks. it really kills the act.

keep in mind that this does not mean i'm miserable. it's just that this is the worst time of night for me. no the worst time is when i'm in bed, not sleeping, but this is pretty close...i just don't know what to do with my life...i'm considering...male modeling? i just don't know...but it's like all of a sudden, why do i have to get old? why does anyone have to get old? what's the point in life if not to be around people you love? who honestly cares how many stores i walked around today?

(answer: my mother. it was three.)

i need to start writing again to keep me from going crazy. and i have to figure out some way to not let my room mates depress me. most importantly, i gotta get my internet back on so i won't feel so cut off from society (in the middle of manhattan) this way.

no, MOST importantly...I HAVE TO START SLEEPING AGAIN. DEAR G-D. PLEASE LET ME SLEEP A DECENT AMOUNT OF TIME. SINCERELY, PEREL.

right. and now i am sure you all think i am an ungrateful little brat who doesn't know how good she's got it. please do not be too disappointed in me. when my internet comes on i'll holla at ya in the daytime, and you can catch me on the bright side of my bipolarity.

36 Comments:

Blogger Safranit said...

Yup, sounds like the beginning of college...just give things some time to balance out. It isn't easy...I went to school in a city of 30,000 ppl after living in a town of 6000 people... It took me almost 3 months to leave campus :)

You will be fine..

12:21 AM  
Blogger zahava said...

Zahava says.... Safranit is right. I also grew up in a small out-of-town environment and went to University in a major US city -- it can be a bit intimidating! Hang in there though, it will get better -- the sleep will return, and things will eventually be familiar and comfortable.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Eli said...

so, that's why you dissapeard?
I was thinking maybe you fell of the face of the Earth or something.

1:48 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

You just have to find your groove. Don't let your roommates depress you. You are a different kind of person. You come from a more right wing evironment (it's so odd for me to type that) and you're a Midwesterner too, and that means a whole helluva lot.

Just be comfortable with yourself. They either will come to appreciate you or they won't. Don't try to force it.

From my expererience, everybody who gets to know you loves you. Give them some time.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

The first week of college is always hard. I went out-of-state, too, and knew not a soul.

But soon you will start classes and you will meet others who you click with. And the people you are living with will most likely open up.

Life away will become great and normal and then when you go back to Wisconsin, you will miss your life there in NYC and count the days until you can go back.

Hang in there, Perel.

7:17 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I can't believe I wrote "expererience"

7:26 AM  
Blogger JC said...

Sweet one, I am so sorry that you are homesick. The first year you will have times when it is literally a physical ache, but it will get easier. You will meet people that you feel at home with, some of them will surprise you, as many times you find folks you mesh with well that are very different from you on first glance, yet you will learn to feel at home with them and you will learn from them also. I know from reading your blog and your parents, that you have a good head on your shoulders, that you have come from a very caring and supportive background, that you are loved tremendously. There is no better foundation for striking out in the world. Take it one day at a time, don't be afraid to cry a bit at night, take deep breaths, explore all you can (it will keep your mind off things) and know that in three or four years, you will feel that you are at home. I will be thinking of you.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Maybe try getting out of your dorm. Wander the halls, seeing who else is out of their room. Or go walking around your neighborhood, seeing what's there. I also just moved to a new place (been done with college for a few years already though) and it's hard to be around so many people you don't know. I keep on wanting to say hi to everyone i bump into and say "hi, i'm new here, will you be my friend?" but i can't because we just don't do that in New York. I guess i'm lucky that i just moved between neighborhoods and not between time zones. I'll come and say hi if it's not too freaky sketchy internet stalkerish for you ;-) .

2:02 PM  
Blogger Ralphie said...

PT - if you're reading these comments, jump in and keep that stalker away from your daughter.

F - I grew up in a big city and went to college in a big city and was still miserable my first year (wait - how is that supposed to help you?). In any case, the cliches are true - just give it time, it'll work out. In fact, I never left my new city. (The county correctional facility played a role in that decision but that's another story for another time).

4:59 PM  
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5:25 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...

Hey fudge! Believe it or not, my first few days of WITS were alot like that. It's difficult to adjust to not living at home anymore, especially since i cant say ive ever even been to a sleepaway camp be4. And dont worry, my room was much crappier than yours. Also i had all this left over deppression from 8th grade, so it was hard to make friends. ppl there may be different than you, but if you spend time with them, you'll end up seeing all of them in a new and individual light. everyone has something to contribute to the experience. give it a month ;). Once you make yourself some friends, theyll care. (either that or you're doomed. BWAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!!!)

5:39 PM  
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5:39 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Steg:

I'm not worried about Fudge wanting to stay in the dorm. I'm worried about keeping her out of trouble. NYC is not the safest place for 16 year old from the Midwest. Better she should avoid talking to strangers.

5:40 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...

Note to all dorks: i am fully aware that while my username is 30cala6, my avatar is in fact an a4 model. to yall i say: I DONT GIVE A @#$%!

PS Yes i also say yall but does it really matter?

and to Fudge: try taking a blue pill. just make sure to shake first.

5:43 PM  
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Blogger 30cal said...

ummmmm..... forgive me, but who the hell are these ppl? is this like, blog spamming or something? those last 3 posts are identical. i swear they're computer generated.

7:46 PM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

i guess the real problem is that i just had a really close relationship to my family.

That is hardly a problem. Look at it this way: Your close relationship with your family gave you a boost to become a productive and happy adult. Now it is time to play grownup and part of that is living outside of the family structure. It's just time for the next iteration of Fudge.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Doctor Bean said...

I went to the same college as Ralphie at the same time, and only met him a decade later when we went to the same shul. That helps a lot doesn't it? Can I start this comment over now?

OK. What I wanted to say is that few things are more stressful than changing where you live. Where you eat, where you sleep, where you sit around and shmooze is not where you did those things a week ago. It's ok to freak out. Go easy on yourself. I'm less worried about you being around religiously lefty people (remember, they're all going to a Jewish school, they can't be totally assimilated, just less frum than you) because you're smart and if they get to know you, you may actually be a good influence on them.

Finally:
"if i can see your bikini underwear, honey..."
Then you can take a picture and post it!

Kidding. Just kidding. Did I get a chuckle? No? A smile? A half-grin?

10:18 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I wasn't suggesting talking to random strangers on the street, just 'stranger' fellow students in other dorm rooms.

11:14 PM  
Blogger fudge said...

ok, i'm gonna try and disable the spammites here. i'm in the computer lab now, and it's the middle of the day (i just got out of intermediate hebrew), so i'm all like 'woo-hoo! new york is cool and interesting and exciting! let's do lunch!' you see what i mean? i love the days because there's so much to do...it's only at night that i flip out.

and the whole internet thing is panicky. steg: did you go to yu? can YOU fix my internet?

jc, safranit, zahava, dr bean (i'm a really big fan of your marauding robots!): reading what you all wrote just now made me feel a lot better. it really did. it helps to think there are people behind you somewhere...and i guess if you all were miserable and somehow got over it, then i can get over it, too.

the new iteration of fudge, i think, is sometimes what scares me. just the concept of it. you like to have your parents and family structure firmly in place around you...once YOU start being the adult, at least from what i've experienced so far, it feels unnatural and kind of dangerous sometimes. like i've been trying to get tech support for my computer...ok, i'm not going to talk about the computer anymore. it makes me frustrated, and i don't need to be frustrated for at least another twelve hours.

kovi: i wondered about that. you were always like, i love it at wits, wits is great, blah blah blah...and the whole time i kept thinking, doesn't he ever get homesick? so that's good to know. but it's different here. all my roommates, their brothers are at yu, or they meet their father for lunch EVERY DAY. even the girl whose father lives in friggin' MONTREAL. i don't know, it can be a little much sometimes.

last night i wanted to go visit my friend r (she usually cures my homesickness), but when i got off the stairwell, she was sitting outside her door, crying hysterically into her phone, 'mommy, pleeeeeasse let me go home...pleeeeeeeaasseeee....'

i didn't know what to do. her brother is in yu, and she sees him a lot, but her family lives in silver spring, and her roommates are mean. i never know what to do when i find people crying like that...i wanted to comfort her, but i think she would be embarrassed if she knew that i saw her. so i went back downstairs.

this is not really a comment anymore.

well, anyway, thanks everyone.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Naa, I didn't go to YU. I went to a state school Upstate. Although i did visit YU a few times, and i sort of know the neighborhood now. If you had asked me 10 years ago if i could fix your internet, i probably could. Unfortunately, since then my computer knowledge has taken a nosedive. Into a volcano. Full of piranhas.

My first semester of college, my computer got broken on the trip up (that's what happens when you shove me, my brother, and all our belongings in the back compartment of a rental moving van) and i had to mooch off of other people's computers for months.

1:51 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

We didn't have computers in my day. We used an abacus. And we LIKED it. It was murder on term papers.

BTW here are instructions for preventing comment spam.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Doctor Bean said...

My 'puter is steam powered. I keep a supply of coal out back.

Hang in there. Glad you enjoyed the robots, though I suspect that this is a sign of mental illness in both of us.

3:09 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...

Montreal????
ow.
thats harsh.
i guess im kinda like that to my bunkies, going home every sunday for laundry, but what can u do? go without clothes/FOOOOOOD??????!!!!!!! Ack. at least you have something to EAT in NY.
yeesh.
Yonina spent like 10 minutes today explaining to me exactly what the ppl in Lazy Town are made of (Playdough, silly. and wallpapers.) im still freaked out.

7:13 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

See, Fudge, now that you're gone, Moe here has to talk to The PT.

(work with me on the names here, I put a lot of effort into it)

8:59 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...

i can be bruce. and larry could be bruce. and shua could be... michael. isn't ur name bruce too? eh?

6:00 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...

i can be bruce. and larry could be bruce. and shua could be... michael. isn't ur name bruce too? eh?

6:00 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

that's a bit confusing, innit?

6:38 PM  
Blogger fudge said...

hah! my melachim rabbi is from england. he talks like john cleese. it's like having john cleese teach you navi. 'and...well i suppose we ought to dab into a bit of metzudat david, wouldn't you say?'

6:57 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Too silly.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Rafiki said...

wow, past kovi...you were such a dork.
which rabbi talks like john cleese? i gotta get in on that.
i came back to your old blog posts looking for some comfort, as I am now faced with the same situation...and I was comforted by the fact that when you posted about this, you got 35 comments, and I got zilch.
well, you got through it, so that's all I need to know.

7:30 PM  

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