Friday, December 14th, 2018 – The Arrival:
As much as I like the idea of traveling, my anxiety and body absolutely hate it. So, to say the least: I was tremendously nervous to be traveling to another state, by myself. I’m very much a “go on vacation with my family or my partner” type of person, and this was officially my first solo trip. Although it took some reassurance to myself that everything was going to be fine, I was extremely excited to see the only friend I was able to keep after graduating college: my friend, Tori. I met Tori my senior year of college in an acting class, and honestly, the rest is history. Before this trip, the last time I got to see her was a week before she graduated with her Bachelor’s, so setting this reunion was well needed. The hours leading up to this departure flew by; I remember sitting in my kitchen just watching YouTube videos mindlessly until I saw it was 12:30 in the afternoon and only had an hour to get my life together before leaving. Needless to say, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was but prepared enough to the point I left my house exactly when I was supposed to.
An hour later into the city, I reached Port Authority Bus Terminal and frantically tried finding my bus gate. I forgot how huge Port Authority was; the last time I was here was when a part of my vocal choir had a show at a New Jersey college six years ago and quite frankly, I was just following the people who knew their way around the terminal. Luckily, I found my terminal through this sign, and the bus driver who probably saw just how lost I looked standing in front of his gate. The jitters and the nervousness finally went away when I took a seat in the waiting area of the bus gate. I was here, I was halfway to Pennsylvania, and now my body finally allowed me to be excited for the weekend ahead.
The ride wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, to be honest. Whenever my family and I would visit my grandmother’s house in Pennsylvania, the ride felt like hours, and I wasn’t going that much further than where she lives. By the time I arrived in Easton, Tori greeted me in the hugest hug possible, and that’s when I knew that nothing changed within the last year and a half apart. If you know me as a friend in person, you would know that I pretty much suck keeping friendships because of my social anxiety, and I’m so glad that Tori is understanding how that struggle is for me. Plus, I always value a friendship that although you may not see or talk to each other all the time because of adulthood, that when you get together, nothing has changed. That’s how I can tell a friendship is able to last through distance.
But enough of that cheesy stuff: We went to do a couple of errands before finally arriving at her place. Her place is exactly how I would imagine a young, mid-20’s couple would live in: a splash of her Halloween-inspired aesthetic mixed with her boyfriend’s interest in movies and Marvel comics. (Well, that’s also Tori, but still!) Nevertheless, it was an apartment that had an extremely cozy and welcoming feeling to it, and that’s excluding the fact that her dog, Sasha, makes it even better.
For the most part, we hanged out, ate dinner, and watched a short movie before her and her boyfriend headed for bed. It was still pretty early for me to hit the sheets, so in order to calm my nightly nerves and anxiety down, I pretty much forced myself to get comfortable. Back at home at night, I usually wind down to some Game Grumps on YouTube and pay a couple of games on my phone in the meantime, and I told myself that even though I am not home to do that, I could do that at her place to bring some familiarity that calms me down. I’m learning that having some sort of routine is very helpful in calming me down in situations where I may be getting anxious, so I make it a mission of mine to at least stay on a routine as comfortable as possible. Shortly after, I went to sleep.
Saturday, December 15th, 2018 – Girls Day Out:
Sasha’s good morning kiss to me was how I woke up that morning. She licked my face as I looked up and saw her looking down at me. I heard Tori in the kitchen call out Sasha’s name, but it was too late: I got the wake-up call I needed. I helped make the living room more presentable by deflating the air mattress her boyfriend put out for me the night before and then hanged out with Tori in the kitchen while she made us breakfast with some coffee. Our morning conversation consisted of us talking about Jeffree Star makeup, which she had some of his pieces in her own personal collection. I am not really a makeup person, but I love watching makeup tutorials and reviews of all these makeup brands on YouTube, so seeing some of these lipsticks and palettes in person was a surreal experience for me. Seeing one of Jeffree Stars highlighters in person was seriously an out-of-body experience. Like, I gagged. Shortly after we finished breakfast, we both got ready for our girl’s day out, which consisted of more grocery shopping, shopping in general, and me popping my Chick-Fil-A cherry.
Ever since our college days, we always talked about how I wanted Tori to give me a makeover. Tori, to me, is infamous for her liquid eyeliner; she’s not her if she doesn’t stab you with her fierce liquid eyeliner. This weekend was finally the time that we had for Tori to do my makeup. Through trial and error (especially my stubborn eyes who rather have the liquid eyeliner in them rather than on them), the makeover look was done. I didn’t get the chance to really take a picture of the finish look, but I FaceTimed my partner to show him. Needless to say, he liked it. After Tori finished her look, we both headed out the door to begin our girl’s day out.
After we did minor food shopping, she showed me around a store called Hobby Lobby. Like I said, I’m a big YouTuber watcher, and a lot of these lifestyle YouTubers rave about how great Hobby Lobby is, so I wanted to see just how great it was. Update: it was amazing. Cute, yet cheap stuff is my middle name, really. I snagged a cute little purse for literally 12 bucks. It doesn’t get any better than that! After that, she insisted that we go and get some lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Bless Tori and her vegetarian heart for taking me to Chick-Fil-A since it’s nearly impossible to try it at the only one in NYC due to its crazy lines. So, we got to Chick-Fil-A and ordered some chicken strips with waffle fries. The chicken was pretty good, but the waffle fries were literally everything. The waffle fries with the Chick-Fil-A sauce? Ugh, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. (Also, you can tell I was hungry and demolished that plate of food because I forgot to yet again take a picture of it!) After lunch, we went to one last store before we headed home.
During our day out, I took my polaroid camera because I never get the chance to use it, and quite frankly the film was about to expire. I never saw Tori’s eyes light up so bright before. She loved the camera, and I will not be surprised the next time I go and visit her that she has one. I was really happy to finally take some pictures with Tori; I’m tired of sharing the same one as her birthday Instagram post; the one we took when we were still freshly college grads when we were babies. I gave her some to keep and I took some back home for memories.
Once her boyfriend got home, we pretty much did the same thing: eat dinner, watch a couple of episodes of Friends, watched some funny YouTube videos, made some cookies and some bomb-ass ice cream, and called it a night. I was sad that the weekend literally flew by and that the next morning I was heading back to NYC. The anxiety (of course) began to creep up on me and I had to settle back down with my nightly routine. I was exhausted after the long day we had, so going to sleep wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. After having some ice cream, I was sound asleep.
Sunday, December 16th, 2018 – The Departure:
I woke up from my alarm that was set for 8 o’clock in the morning. Needless to say, I was exhausted and just layed there for another ten minutes until Tori got out of her room with Sasha. It was a chilly and rainy Sunday morning; we mostly spent it drinking coffee and talking about her trip to see her mother down in Florida for the Christmas break. We then got dressed and headed to the bus station back in Easton. We said our goodbyes, and told each other that we had to do this again, especially during the warmer seasons of the year. I went to get on my bus back to NYC, got on, and an hour and a half later I was back in New York City. Another hour later, I was back in my home.
I was immensely proud of myself for putting this trip together on my own. We made the plans to see each other in the month I took off after being really depressed and suicidal for awhile, and I knew that being around friends would help me feel better. I was also really happy that I was putting my “travel aspiration” into gear, because that’s all I want to do while I live my 20’s. I’m still so young; I want to be able to travel to so many places before I settle down, whenever that may be. I want to be able to look back and see that I did what I wanted to do, and I’m so glad that I forced myself to do something like this. This was definitely one of my favorite highlights of this year, and I can’t wait to go back to make more memories next year.