Lisa Frank. Slap bracelets. Fuzzy velvet posters that you colored in yourself. Sky Dancers that were recalled due to a plethora of injuries. That Polly Pocket you desperately wanted that you were either lucky enough to get or forced to watch others enjoy without you. That Samantha Parkington doll you could’ve had eventually, if by the time you had finally managed to save up for it, she hadn’t been discontinued.
What do these images all convey?
As a transplant to the Lancaster County area here in Pennsylvania - or rather, PA - I’ve picked up on a few tips and tricks over the last couple of years to avoid being seen as a tourist when looking to blend in with the locals.
Once a contact centre employee with a playlist full of hip-hop, a dreamer residing in Merseyside near Liverpool is now fielding interview requests from media in multiple countries.
The mayor of New York City is insisting the entire city go on lockdown.
The governor of New York is refusing.
Manhattan is two hours away. I was just there three months ago, watching “Hadestown” after meeting up with Makhieba in a Danish cafe for the first time in three years.
Only one month later, the Coronavirus had already hit the United States.
The Louvre is closed. Broadway is dark. Harvard shut its doors for the first time since its opening in 1636. The NBA season is over. NCAA isn’t playing March Madness. Canadians can’t go to hockey games. Paddy’s celebrations are cancelled everywhere (or postponed, in Peoria, Il.) The governors of Illinois and Ohio today ordered the temporary closing of all restaurants. Countries have shut their borders. Africa has turned the tables and forbidden European visitors. Certain states are in lock-down mode. Italians are in the strictest movement since World War II, when they were bombed under a Fascist regime. Residents of China have been filmed walking the streets in hazmat suits and heavy masks. News alerts bombard our mobile devices on the hour. Every single organization you’ve ever permitted your email address is now sending you their response to the world pandemic.
It sounds, simultaneously, like a futuristic sci-fi novel and a history lesson. It’s stepping into Doctor Who’s “Turn Left” or General Hospital’s 2012 water crisis. It’s the setting of George Orwell’s 1984.
Yet, it’s real. It’s happening. As of three hours ago, 80,000 citizens of China are dead from the Coronavirus. It’s everywhere – can’t even pop onto imgur without seeing a Corona-related meme. It’s keeping huggers away. It’s what the introverted have prepared for all along. You may be sick of it by now. But it’s important to not turn a blind eye.
It's an aroma that effectively stops passerby on the sidewalk.
The fragrance wafting in from downtown Lancaster’s Gallery Row is unmistakable – hot, fresh, brewed coffee, permeating the air as it passes from hand to hand in the Liz Hess Gallery.
Standing behind a table near the door is Leon Miller, owner and founder of Lonely Monk Coffee, dishing out free coffee brewed in his own home to warm the fingers of those who braved winter temperatures to attend the fifth annual Coffee Crawl Feb. 8 from 10 am to 3 pm.
With each passing year comes a massive worldwide celebration as generations watch the clock tick by. Cities across the planet while away the hours in their own special celebrations. Friends and family gather. A colossal ball drops at midnight in Manhattan, then repeats again and again in the various time zones across the United States.
There are parties, kisses welcoming in the new year and, according to alchol.org, an average of 4.4 drinks consumed within a single evening.
While engaging in the festivities, it's easy to find it odd when other people decide not to join in. Though you may question why anyone would choose to stay dry, please remember the following seven ideas, on tonight and every special occasion you're in the company of a teetotaler:
It's a borough of 1.6 million, on an island city of 8.6, with likely just as many tourists all trying to catch a glimpse of a particular tree. It's the city that never sleeps.
You never imagined you'd be one of the sleepless.
I tell people I lived in Ireland for a year, but the truth is that it was a year minus five days.
I tell them I lived in Missouri for a year following my return, but actually, I was there for eleven months.
The truth is, the longest I've lived since leaving Colorado after six years is right here in Lancaster, PA.
"How do you do it? How do you say goodbye?"
It was an interesting question. My sister surely said a plethora of goodbyes herself - mostly to me - but this time was different. This time, instead of saying goodbye to me, or to Dad, or to her then-boyfriend, she was saying goodbye to our mom. And unlike the few goodbyes they'd had in the past, which ultimately ended in an airport reunion, Leeners wasn't going away to Manhattan, Disney World or Illinois.
Because this time, it was Mom's turn.
The Wandering Annals
Log 1: Plane Delays
Airports and flight plans laugh.
They laugh in thunderstorms, in blizzards, in fires, in tsunamis, in any natural disaster. They chortle at airplane malfunctions. They guffaw during workers' strikes.
They especially seem to get a proper belly laugh when it comes to me.
Twenty-eight...the world awaits
It seems almost surreal that The One Where They All Turn 30 aired 19 years ago, when I was nine years old. It perplexed me then why Phoebe, Rachel and especially Joey were all upset about turning 30 and now, two years closer to that age myself, I still don't get it.
True, I still have a good two years before I hit the big 3-0, but honestly, I'm ready. Some people do look at 28 negatively as two steps closer to thirty. Every time I've been asked about how it feels to be 28, I've said the same thing: "Did you know Toni Morrison published her first book when she was 34? In two years, I'll be four steps closer to publishing." (She was actually 39, so I've been off five years. Point still stands.) J.K. Rowling published hers at 32, only two years from 30. If my future is anything like the careers of these two women, then bring on my thirties.
I've thought Lancaster City to have a diverse community since my first job here took me wandering down Prince Street, watching as a good handful of Latinos gathered together outside of their homes.
And yet, I was still amazed to observe the beauty I saw last night.
Happy first day of summer!
To my young self, summer meant a few things: hitting the beach or pool, Mom's newest list of staycation plans, rolling down the neighborhood golf course and planning out a birthday party (usually involving some source of water, followed by a sleepover.)
The best part of summer, of course, is still to this day the frozen delicious goodies that are perfect for those days when the humidity envelops the town in a thick layer of fatigue. While I absolutely eat the following year-round, there's just something extra special about digging into the dessert in summer time.
So, in the celebration of Summer, I have compiled a list of my top beloved frozen treats and the best places I personally have found for each of them.
Shine on at Lush Bazaar
Situated a short stroll from Lancaster's Central Market, Lush Bazaar immediately draws attention with its colorful display window.
But it isn't just the clothing on the mannequin that shines on.
The shop, founded by Lancaster local Timbrel Chyatee, focuses on providing sustainable clothing and fair wage jobs for its employees.
Operation Varsity Blues
Proving once again that journalism is most certainly not dead, news reports across the country (and the world) broke a massive college admissions scandal on March 12, following an FBI press conference.
50 people have been charged in Operation Varsity Blues, also known as the “biggest college admissions scandal ever” (though a Texan broadcast team labeled it much more accurately as “the biggest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted in the US.”) The wealthy scammers include former hedge fund CEO’s, authors, doctors, various corporate positions and, as the news repeatedly reminds the public, actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
The revelation sparked heated discussion throughout social media, in addition to many vloggers’ reactions. At the risk of jumping on the bandwagon, I felt the need to address the subject myself.
Larking about in Lancaster
”Is she becoming Amish?”
I cannot count how many times people have uttered the word Amish since I announced my move to Lancaster back in September. These conversations normally forewarned that I was headed for “Amish country.” My grandmother, however, directly inquired of my dad whether her oldest granddaughter was in fact, turning Amish.
Good news of great joy
Thanks to an adventurous spirit handed down from my mother and grandmother, as well as various adulthood obligations, I am often away from home during Christmas.
But, as I recently reflected on past holiday experiences, I realized that I am never without some form of family on this particular day.
An annual affair
This time four years ago, I was all too familiar with waking up at unreasonable hours.
My usual shift began between 7:15 and 7:30am, with the route for Coronado starting at 6:18. My alarm was always set for 5, though weeks of being physically drained had taken its toll and I now woke up at 4am after falling asleep around 7 or 8pm.
For the first part of last year, I’d often be awake at 6 to catch the bus to catch the train to make my shift at 8:30am. There was one day where I worked a 13.5 hour shift, standing.
Still, none of my shifts ever started before 7am - until yesterday, when I worked the earliest and longest shift of my life. (Thankfully, I sat for this one.)
A year without the craic
October 18, 2017.
Somehow, a year has come and gone since the day I watched the Emerald Isle disappear into the clouds.
It was difficult to say goodbye. I’d made friends there. I’d created a family. I attended a church I loved. I’d worked three jobs, one of which finally put me in my field, however temporarily. My life was there, in that county known as Cork.