Let me tell you a story

Ever since moving to the city, it has

been my goal to not only experience as many new things as possible, but to also step outside my comfort zone in order to continuously challenge myself. (And I'll be honest, anything I can do in the city for free is an opportunity I jump at.) Therefore, when a friend asked me if I wanted to attend the final presentation for a storytelling class that his roommate was a part of, I unhesitatingly said yes.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived at the studio ten minutes early and there were only a handful of people there, but shortly all of the chairs in the room became occupied by friends, family members, classmates and instructors, and the “”show”” began. Each individual related one personal experience in his/her life. Some were funny, some were more serious, but all were surprisingly not too bad. It was interesting feeling like I kind of knew the story teller after a brief ten minutes. The way they allowed themselves to be vulnerable in front of approximately 30-40 people–more than half of which were most likely strangers to them–by sharing a personal or embarrassing moment, that obviously meant something to them in order to deem it storytelling worthy, felt intimate and inclusive as if they were speaking to me personally.

The stories covered a broad range of topics. One was about a man's struggle to find the line between his work and personal life, and he described an event where he allowed both to collide. Another was about a woman's strained relationship with her father and how it took him nearly dying for her to see how much she actually loves him. Another was a humorous story of a woman's parents embarrassing her at the reading of her first published children's book.

Finally, the story that touched me most was about a man's visit to the nursing home to visit his grandmother. That day the nursing home was holding an ice cream social, and as he looked around the room, he painstakingly saw the frail, lethargic residents with flaccid faces resembling zombies, making him feel quite uncomfortable. But then the ice cream was brought out and music was played, and everyone gained life. He saw the twinkle in their eyes which reminded him of the way a young child gets excited at the offer of a treat. After hearing some of the old ladies commenting about how they loved the music and how much they missed dancing, the man set aside his inhibitions and took turns dancing (or more like swaying gently back-and-forth) with all of the women. At the end of the day he felt so happy that he helped the women have some fun and stirred up the joyful memories of their youth. His final comments also stuck with me–that even though the body continues to grow, one's spirit remains a certain age forever.

I think the reason I enjoyed the storytelling final presentation so much is because, not only was I entertained for a solid hour, but some of the stories also triggered my own thoughts about a certain subject or how I would have handled a certain situation. As I mentioned before, there aren't many free things to do in the city, but it's often the random, unexpected things for which you have no expectations that oftentimes end up being most enjoyable.

Finally, the entire evening made me think about how life would be without TV, movies, video games, the Internet, or constant music blaring in our ears. It was a comforting feeling that despite being perpetually surrounded by stimulating new media, that I can still find enjoyment simply from a human being talking without any props or special effects…which leads to my next thought–If you had the opportunity to tell one story, what experience would you share?\

Feeling Nostalgic

After having moved out of beloved Ann Arbor, my home for the past four years, I have become a bit nostalgic thinking about all of the things I enjoyed about that college town. Therefore, I have composed a list of the things I miss most and will never forget about my time there.
1. The University of Michigan- I have so much pride for my alma mater. Obviously that was the main reason I was living in Ann Arbor to begin with, but the University became something much more to me than a place of higher education. There are several professors and several courses that opened my eyes to various issues and topics and got me thinking about things differently. I also met a diverse group of people all intelligent in different ways.
3. Campus Squirrels– They are plump, cute, and practically domestic. I had so much fun feeding the squirrels in the diag and the squirrel that lived by my house, Chewy, that I would often catch in our tree eating whatever goods my neighbors left out for him. I doubt I will ever come across squirrels as fearless (and well fed) as my critter friends in Ann Arbor.
4. Afternoon Delight– By far my favorite breakfast spot, even more so than Angelo’s. I always ordered the same thing whenever I went there, but I appreciated the several vegetarian options available. What I also really like about Afternoon Delight is that they are pretty fast even when they have a line to the door, and their food is reasonably priced.
5. South University Bars– Being able to walk home from a night of drinking was marvelous and something I probably won’t be able to do again unless I live in the city. Taxis can be pretty expensive, so I’ll always remember the good ol’ days when I didn’t have to worry about who would be my designated driver and where we were going. S. U. bars were conveniently 5 minutes away from my apartment.
6. Frozen Yogurt– Although I will be able to get frozen yogurt anywhere in the country really, I don’t know if it will ever quite mean the same to me. Frozen yogurt was often my treat that got me through a night in the library as sad as that sounds.

7. Urban Outfitters on State St. & Liberty – Nothing can beat being able to do two of my favorite things in one day: shopping and learning. Since Urban was conveniently located within walking distance from my classes, I would often stop in for a few minutes before shuffling on to class. The A2 Urban will always be my favorite because it was also the most organized and well-stocked of any of the other Urbans I have ever visited.

Goodbye Ann Arbor, you were good to me, and you will always hold a special place in my heart.

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

I just finished reading Chelsea Handler’s third book, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, and boy was it hilarious. I literally laughed out loud during several parts. The first chapter was a little too crude and uncomfortable for my taste, but it only got better from there. My favorite chapter was the one where Chelsea played a prank (one of many mentioned throughout the book) on her boyfriend, Ted. It wasn’t just any prank though, it was a very elaborate prank with which she got several people to go along. Poor, gullible Ted. Weird that he thought he could trust what Chelsea told him considering she was his girlfriend, right?
Anyway, it was an quick, enjoyable read, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh…well anyone with a light sense of humor that can handle pretty vulgar material. The book is centered around low blows at her father, siblings, and boyfriend, and of course stories involving alcohol and other drug substances. There weren’t any stories about one-night stands though, which was the majority of the material used for her first book, My Horizontal Life, and that was a little surprising. I don’t think she could get away with writing about one-night stands in the newest book considering she had a boyfriend when it was being written. Funny thing is that, as much as Ted is mentioned throughout the book, I think he and Chelsea have broken up since the book has been published. Oh well, that feisty blond will be on to the next one in no time.