March 19, 2014

white cliffs of dover

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i want to first preface saying that i am grateful for everything i have in life: i am already luckier than millions of people. i'm healthy, i have a family, and i can afford to go to school. but seeing as this is my blog, i have a few things to say (even if they ooze major first world problems,  it's still relevant).

sometimes i hear my peers express their jealousy about how lucky i am to be here, in a way that sounded like this was just handed to me on a serving platter. my sister too (who is going through the same wanderlust and anxiety about the future that plagued me during high school), and i wanted to tell her that me being where i am isn't just a roll of the dice, but rather hard work and patience. again, i'm not saying i haven't had a lucky life (because i have) but my point is that i didn't rely on luck to get me where i am.

i didn't do much in high school, my parents were pretty strict on one hand and we couldn't afford to travel - so i spent most of my time in my room doing homework and perusing the internet, biding my time until i could see the world. seeing photographs from around the world made me burn inside, i loved my sweet suburban town but it was too dry for me and there was just so much color and life to see. some kids get to travel the world with the parents, and i wasn't one of them but that didn't mean that i could do it too.

it was junior year of high school when we read the poem "dover beach" and i don't remember getting much from the poem (after reading 5 million poems about old english guys ranting about the tragic beauty of the world it all kind of blends together.) rather it was when my teacher pulled up a google image search of the cliffs that the white cliffs of dover stamped an impression on me. sitting there in those weird high school desks conjoined with plastic blue chairs, i decided that i was going to go to the cliffs. i didn't know when or how in my life i'd do it...but i was going to do it. and i did.

i was always taught that if i wanted something in life, i would have to work for it. it's not worth it if it's just given to you, life is not that easy. all those kids having their parents buy them shiny new cars for their sixteenth birthday wouldn't ever really understand the ~virtues~ of sweat and work. so i worked my ass off in high school to get into a good college, and from there i spent all my time working to save up enough money to afford travel. i didn't pick up my bags and ask my parents to send me off to another country for an adventure - rather this abroad experience has been years in the making. i am forever grateful for everything in my life, but i worked for it.

the bus rolled up and ashley, gaby, g, and i walked out and just like the photos - there it was. the incredible cliffs snaking into the distance with grassy plains and hills. to finally be there: standing at the edge with the wind blowing the air out of my lungs and seeing the waves crash against the chalky white cliffs i felt so small but *cue dramatic instrumental music and voiceover that signals an important change in character development* that i could do it. i fucking just accomplished something i set out to do and once thought was improbable. it's not a picture, it's real life. my dreams are not impossible and everything in life will work itself out. in one way or another, i was going to be okay.

NYU has taken us on a few day trips around england, and one of them was down to dover castle and the white cliffs of dover. at the crack of dawn we all assembled onto two coach buses and made our way down to the southernmost tip of england.

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the windiest day of my life, probably. gabby, ashley, and g trying to keep their eyes open and hair out of their faces.
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it's a bit murky today, but heyyyy to france in the distance!
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no one really told us we couldn't run around the cliffs in the mere hour we were given, so i spotted a friend off in the distance and promptly dashed down the cliffs - narrowly avoiding my imminent death -

we didn't get to go down to the water, i'm not complaining - the cliffs were stunning from the top as well.
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the most ridiculous uphill climb that involved grabbing onto the grass so we wouldn't tumble backwards. pretty much a vertical climb in the mud (and me, still taking photos on the way up). if you slowed down you were going to  fall, so we scrambled up as fast as we could.
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i haven't had that much of a cardio workout in years. or ever, really.