No. 105: Notre Dame

I literally did not know how I was going to start this post or even how it would end. I have no words to fully encapsulate my reaction to Notre Dame burning because I’m still in a state of shock right now.

Reading about and seeing Notre Dame in flames lit its own fire inside me. My mind wandered, trying to find clear answers and meaning to the following: how to reconcile this with my Catholicism and it being Holy Week, what this actually means for the church, for Paris, and the world, and, probably the most profound of them all, that I would never see the real thing in all its history in person, something I’ve dreamed about for years.

For one, it struck me on the basis of religion. The thing is, I’m really not even that stringent of a Catholic. I believe in its overarching values, am confirmed, and still observe Lent, but I don’t attend church every Sunday, I haven’t received ashes on Ash Wednesday since I finished CCD, nor have I ever visited the Vatican. So why did it matter so much to me, on that level? I don’t think I have an answer.

And then I thought, “I’ll never get to see Notre Dame”. And that scared me. I’ve been dreaming about going to Europe for years, with this landmark being one of the top three things I wanted to see, and now who even knows if I’ll really be able to. Watching Wolf Blitzer on CNN narrate that footage freaked me out in a way I wasn’t prepared for, and it’s something I’m still processing at this very moment.

How do we move past this horrific moment not only in my church, but in our world? I really don’t know. I think oftentimes I ask myself questions, expecting there to be some answer I need to discover. But in this situation, I don’t know how to make sense of it. I really don’t.

What I think I do know, though, is that our religion is more than concrete, stone buildings. And from this musical theatre Catholic who has indeed performed in Godspell, I think that, out of all the ruins and inevitable rubble, smoke, and this night of struggle, we can see a ray of hope. Because even if Notre Dame does collapse and burn to nothing but ruin and rubble, it will always represent the beauty and grandeur of a religion I have a deep and personal appreciation for. We’ll remember it for inspiring a countless number of people to go see the world, a gorgeously rich book by one of my favorite writers, one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time, and for being a place where people of so many different faiths, even atheists, gathered and convened to take in its legacy.

I’m grateful for that, and for the moments where the world comes together, singing “Ave Maria” to celebrate and hope for the best for a landmark that’s given the world countless blessings.

No. 104: Game of Thrones

Tonight is the night we have all been waiting for: the start of the final season of Game of Thrones.

It took me awhile to get into the show. I only binged it in August of 2017 because I had the free time and wanted to challenge myself to understand what all the hype was about. And even doing that, it took awhile. The first season dragged on for forever to me, that is until the last episode when literally everything goes down. Won’t be giving any spoilers for those unfortunate not to be in the fandom, but it’s pretty intense. Aside from all the blood, gore, and sex at its surface value, it’s a superbly written show that gives us characters that are supremely human, who are both good and evil, and who could easily fit into a good Shakespeare drama because such. Like any excellent show, it makes you think, and it’s why I admire it.

It’s hard to believe how much has passed since the last season of the show came and went: I’ve worked two adult jobs, started and finished grad school, and so much more. You best be on your game, GoT writers. We’ve been waiting a while for winter to get here and now that it has, it’s on.

Image result for Game of thrones daenerys meme
(Spoiler: fave character)

No. 103: Safety

Yesterday, while me and my family were over at my cousin’s new house for a small house warming party, the unexpected happened: a driver crashed into and totaled two of our cars.

(This is my moment to say that, no, Jasmine was not hurt. Endless thank yous to my mom for insisting on driving yesterday, and for her car also being fine).

It was a really scary moment full of anger, distress, and a two-hour frenzy of calling police, insurance companies, and tow trucks. Everyone was understandably freaked out. But the most important thing: nobody was hurt. Though they will have to go through the chaos and turmoil of insurance, purchasing new cars, and all that comes with it, I’m grateful no one was injured. I’m grateful for everyone’s safety.

No. 102: Tomato Basil Soup

You wanna know what’s been getting me through this Lenten season each and every Friday? Tomato soup. Every Friday, I walk to a place nearby and order their absolutely delicious tomato basil soup. It leaves me feeling satisfied, both in terms of my appetite as well as the fact that I’m adhering to my Catholic religion’s rules (it also helps that I get approximately an extra 2,000 steps in 😉 ).

Thank you for being my go to during this time of year, tomato basil soup. We’ve developed a friendship like no other and though we have one week left, I’ll be sad to see you go.

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No 101: Mango Scented Lotion

I recently came across a lotion I received last December from the nail salon I go to as a sort of “Merry Christmas!” I love coming across finds like this, even though it’s pretty indicative of the fact I misplace things more often than I should. It now sits on my desk with me at work and comes in handy when the coldness of the office dries my hands.

Oh, and it’s mango scented, too. Perfect for the upcoming summer season, am I right?

No. 100: 100

Wow- I’m actually at 100. It’s been 100 days of me writing about things I’m grateful for. I’m glad I’ve stuck with it. It hasn’t necessarily been the journey I was expecting, but it’s been pretty rewarding so far. It’s great when someone I write about tells me how much it meant to them, or when I connect with someone over a mutual interest.

The story of this blog itself is an interesting one (trust me on that). When this project nears it’s completion, I hope I’m able to convey my reasons as to why I started it as truthfully and honestly as I can. I may not necessarily be able to do that, but thank you for your willingness to read along as I write about things both big and small. You’ve proven how amazing life can be, and I’ve been proven lucky to have so many great people along for the ride.

Only 264 days left!

No. 99: Just Salad

You should know by now that salads are one of my favorite foods. It thus should be no surprise that they’re my favorite meal for lunch, too. There’s a place I go to about once (or occasionally twice) a week called Just Salad located in Rittenhouse Square. They have the most delicious salads (including a make your own option) with all of their ingredients being cut just small enough to eat without you having to cut it up or make a mess. The service/staff is incredibly efficient, and their online ordering option makes my walk there so worth it. And don’t get me started on their tomatoes and avocados- pure, fresh heaven.

Thank you to everyone and everything at Just Salad. You always make my day better when I have you for lunch.

No. 98: Home Cooked Dinners

One of the advantages to living at home is that my mom makes/prepares my dinner. What’s the difference there? Well, you see, my mom always gets me two frozen dinners per week depending on what she’s regularly cooking. Since I try to stay away from pork or red meat, she buys me a frozen dinner to replace that, also knowing I’m on somewhat of a budget and shouldn’t be spending tons of money on takeout or Wawa.

I’m grateful to have this luxury. While living at home at 23 isn’t necessarily what I would prefer to be doing, I’m grateful for all that my mom does for me in preparing my dinners.

No. 97: Hadestown

I saw a show yesterday that, mark my words, is bound to do well this coming Tony season: Hadestown.

I’ve been following the show for a while now. I have this uncanny ability of predicting when the next piece of great, original theatre is going to hit (don’t doubt me on this- I did purchase Hamilton tickets at face value six months prior to going AND managed to sit four rows behind Barack Obama). I bought my Hadestown tickets months ago as well, and the week leading up to it was especially excruciating because I could not wait to see what Rachel Chavkin imagined for us to see on the stage with Anais Mitchell’s already released, gorgeous folk music (and who would have ever thought I’d compliment folk music?)

I’m grateful for original theatre like Hadestown. It’s not a show that makes you happy the whole time, but it’s one that makes you think. We need more art like this in the world and I’m grateful for the small morsels of it that we get.

No. 96: Smart Series Finales

The series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend aired this past Friday night. I’ll try to save the spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched it, but I’ll just say that I am more than happy with how the writers ended the show.

If you don’t want ANY spoilers at all, this is your cue to duck out (but thanks for coming!)

At its heart, this show was always about female empowerment and women helping women find themselves, whether it be Paula for Rebecca or Aline for Rachel. Ending it on that note, with that thesis statement, really resonated with me. It was an incredibly fulfilling ending and, to be perfectly honest, it was an ending that got me thinking about what my own story will look like. We never know for certain what the future has in store for us, and though I am the type of person who likes to have some sort of idea or plan, I have a funny feeling there’s something even greater and surprising in store for me, too.

Thank you to literally everyone involved with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. You entered my life at a moment when I needed you the most, and you’ve given me a lot of inspiration for my own future.

Bravo.