Monthly Archives: November 2012

Whiskey-Drinking-Football-Watching-America Jen

When I arrived in America, a mere four months ago, I was excited about the possibility of ‘reinventing’ myself. No one knew me, so I could be whoever I wanted. I could dress a different way, be interested in new things and have a completely different personality, without anyone realizing. I could escape all the prior restraints on who people expected me to be, based on high school, college and work.

The funny thing is, even knowing that I could do this, become someone brand new, free from all prior expectations on who I should be, I am the exact same person here as I am back in New Zealand. Of course I am not absolutely the exact same person, because I traveled for 3 months, am experiencing new things, and of course learning and changing based on my experiences. But for the most part, I haven’t changed too much. The things that have changed are pretty trivial, and really quite entertaining.

For example, America Jen wears jeans whereas New Zealand Jen does not.

New Zealand Jen wears skirts and dresses. She owns about five pairs of jeans, but hasn’t worn them in over two years. However in San Diego, I own two pairs of jeans (including the pair shown in the photo). And I have worn each pair at least 5 times.

Further, America Jen drinks whiskey.

New Zealand Jen hates whiskey. Hates it. Hates the smell, the taste, the thought. But somehow, here, in California, for America Jen, whiskey is a common Friday or Saturday night drink. America Jen will order a whiskey in a bar and drink more than one. Happily. Any kind of whiskey. I have even had whiskey just by itself…yep..not even mixed with diet coke, 7up or even water.

What is wrong with me….

America Jen also watches American football. Actually enjoys American football. Understands and follows American football. And college football.

New Zealand Jen doesn’t watch sports on TV. She is not a sport enthusiast. Whatsoever.

New Zealand Jen is also not nearly as studious as America Jen. America Jen spends an average of 8 hours a day (during the week) doing law school work – attending class, researching for my two papers or doing readings and preparing for class. And add on around 10 hours on the weekend = 45. New Zealand Jen spent 8 hours a week in classes, and about 8 hours a week outside of class doing research and readings for class. 16 hours.

16 versus 45.

So actually, after looking at the above, America Jen kind of is different. She drinks whiskey, owns a San Francisco 49ers tshirt and Dallas Cowboys running shorts (I may follow football but I don’t necessarily have a set team!), and wears skinny jeans. She spends far too much time in the library, and therefore spends far too much money on iced lattes (which also, prior to California, I never drank).

But the important things haven’t changed. My morals haven’t changed, if anything they have become stronger. It has reinforced that I know who I am, and I am happy with that. I like my personality. I like who I am. I like my international background and the fact that I am ‘from’ New Zealand – it makes me who I am. I like what I like and what I don’t. The important things haven’t changed, and they aren’t going to change anytime soon.

I think the main part of this is that in a new country where no one knows who ‘you’ really are, you are more willing to do different things. Try things out. Be social. Be exciting. I realized this weekend that in the States, I never say no. I never turn down an invitation, be that for a night out, a breakfast burrito, an evening of study fun in the library, or a trip to the beach. If someone wants company, they know I’m in. I am only in California for six months, I might as well make the most of it. Take every opportunity that comes my way, and have every experience possible.

So that is why I drink whiskey on a Saturday night and Bloody Marys Sunday morning. Why I have been to two NFL games and spend 3 hours watching Ohio State college football on a Saturday. Why I even stay at the library until 11:30pm on a Monday. Because I don’t say no. Sure I may regret it on a Sunday morning after only 4 hours sleep, getting up to go to breakfast followed by the library. But I would rather do that than stay in bed a few more hours, missing out on what the day can offer. Because this year has gone by incredibly quickly. I don’t want to miss another day or waste a day away doing nothing, when the sun is shining outside.

In 3 weeks, I will have completed my last exam for my law degree. Ever. 4 weeks, and my last law school research paper will be handed in. The last component of my law degree. 6 years done. Finished. No more university classes for the foreseeable future. A day after I hand that paper in, I turn 24. I’m getting old. A week later, it will be Christmas, then New Years. Then before you know it, I will be back on a flight to New Zealand. I can’t believe the year has disappeared. It feels like yesterday that I packed up my room in Wellington, and like yesterday that El and I boarded our flight to Singapore. It feels like I only just got settled into life here in San Diego, only to be leaving in two months. So there is no way I am slowing down now. I only have two months left, but I am going to make them count.

Tomorrow I am flying to Ohio for my first American Thanksgiving in 20 years. My first time in the Midwest, and first time going to a college football game. I can’t wait. I packed last night and can barely focus on class today because I am so excited. Sweet potato casserole. Stuffing. Pumpkin pie. Cranberry sauce. Oh man. So excited. For my New Zealand friends, you may not know where Ohio is, only that it was a very important state in the recent US elections. I had to look it up on a map myself, and inquire as to why it is the ‘Midwest’ when in fact it is quite far east, especially as California is ‘west’.

After finals, I am planning on going to Texas for a bit, seeing family and friends, and spending a few days in Austin. Then once my lease finishes in January, I want to explore the Northeast – Boston, Connecticut, New York, Philly, Baltimore and Washington DC. Get some winter weather into my system before I return back to New Zealand. And again, try to do as much possible before I get on that plane to Auckland. Before I pack away my jeans and my 49ers top, have my last Bloody Mary and say goodbye to America Jen, as I don’t know how much of her will return back with me.

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Color Run Crazyness

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while. My lack of posts is due to two very different reasons: One being that I have been so busy with school work that I have spent an average of 8 hours a day at law school in the past week, working on my two research papers and catching up on readings for my other classes. The second is that I have been so busy not doing school work, and so much has happened in the last two weeks that I don’t even know where to begin.

I celebrated Halloween on three different nights with three different costumes, went to a Charger’s game at Qualcomm Stadium last Thursday night, and tailgated in the parking lot beforehand, went to the Timeflies gig out at SDSU on Friday, participated in a 5km run and hit town Saturday night to show three girls from Ohio what San Diego clubs are like, spent Sunday at brunch with a bloody mary bar, followed by Coronado beach and then Mexican food and margaritas that night. So as you can see, I haven’t really slept in the past two weeks as I have tried to fit in all that socializing alongside school work, and this week I have had no time to blog due to my guilt about not doing enough study last week. Plus, looking at that list of activities, where do I even begin?

Probably the best part of last week was the 5km run I participated in. It wasn’t your ordinary run – it was a Color Run. Basically, you wear all white, and run, walk, skip or cart-wheel 5km around Qualcomm Stadium (the Charger’s football stadium). At every kilometer, you get fluoro colored powder thrown at you, so the idea is that at the end, you look like you were dipped in a Willy Wonka barrel of candy colored goodness. They have MGMT and other great music playing along the racecourse, and in reality you can’t fully run the entire 5km in a paced fashion, because once you hit the color zones, you try to get as much color as possible, and even do color angels on the ground. You have a bit of a boogie, then race on.

It was insane. We tried taking photos along the way, but of course there is color everywhere, so it is slightly impossible. So I will let the video below do all the talking:

Even though it was only 5km, and it was a fun run rather than a serious run, for me it was a big day. It was the first official race of any form that I was participating in since my knee injury in April. I barely trained, because I had only finished my physical therapy the week before, and my training had only consisted of a few 5-15 minute medium paced runs, to make sure my knee could actually handle the impact of running. I still had to take it easy, but I was determined to run as much as possible, as hard as I thought my knee could take. And honestly it was the best event to participate in as my first run back. It was also great having the support of two friends, Lauren and Cindy, to run with, and to enjoy the beautiful day that San Diego had to offer.

The course itself was crazy – trying to dodge people walking, and those walking with strollers with babies inside!! One poor child was wailing while we waited to take off. Poor child being subjected to the heat, the claustrophobia of a race start line, and having color thrown at you!! I  have  no idea how long it took us, as we weren’t taking the race all thaaaaaat seriously. But once we were done, had crossed the finish line, taken some post-race photos and devoured several cups of water, we partied.

This was probably one of my favorite experiences in the States so far. If I couldn’t run a marathon whilst here (due to my knee), at least I got to participate in this fun run. And in January, there is an electric run coming to San Diego, where you start at midnight and the course is all lit up and ‘electric’….so maybe that can be my farewell to San Diego, before returning to New Zealand and their boring and conventional running events.