Matters of Perspective

Being a teenager is all about being able to empathize with other people. Whatever hardships you might go through are substantial, don't get me wrong, but you should be able to relate and understand people's situations without having to go through. Walking a mile in someone else's shoes might be foul as hell, we all know people's feet stink, but if their soles are worn or heels are broken, you know they've had it rough. How you look at life depends on how you want to see things, for better or worse. It's one of those matters of perspective. *Part 2 of a series, read part 1 here "Frame of Reference"  and check back for part 3.

Please understand that the journey I made for my Spring Break was no small feat but something gargantuan like you wouldn't even believe. I started the journey to Washington DC, Saturday morning after saying goodbye to Krabby Patty's brother, Baby Tom and his dad at the nonexistent train station. Tons of familiar faces are there like broski Harrison, Meraz, and Meredith. I make a mad dash to get some snackage from the quickie mart minus the foreign cashier (this is Vermont, not Springfield with the Simpsons). The train comes and we board and I have images in my mind of Harry Potter, the Polar Express, Captain America and One Direction's "Gotta Be You" music video. My expectations were not amused whatsoever. I take a seat in the back row by myself of the car, put in my headphones and just listen to tons of music. I drift in and out of sleep like nobody's business and down bubble gum like it's my 9 to 5 job. Let it be known we were on the train at 9am from Burlington, VT - and didn't actually leave Vermont until 4 hours later when we crossed into New Hampshire. So many stops with people hopping on and off. The journey was mindblowing amazing. The seats on the Amtrak train were totally comfortable and I was in coach. There was ample room to move around, the food was actually pretty good and the wifi wasn't horrendous.  It got to a point where I had to just urinate when I realized I couldn't hold it until I got to DC (damn my aversion to public restrooms), and felt like Andy Samberg "Jizz in my Pants" (wrong analogy). The bathroom wasn't even a disaster except the toilet water was navy blue (which I loved, A&F preppy pride) and chunky and thick, weird.  I soon mingled with my classmates like heading to the food cart with Meredith, chatting up Brooke and Sydney before they got off. Major stations we passed through included New Haven (Yalies), Hartford (like that insurance company thingy), and Philadelphia (say UPenn, Ivy League dreams dashed). We stopped at Penn Station in NYC for an hour and went on foot through the craziness that was that underground transfer looking for food. I got this great spinach and cheese pizza and the diversity I saw was amazing. So many different people with varying situations flying by in and intense frenzy of urban madness. Smiles, tears, laughter, and pain just zoomed on by and as a matter of my perspective I felt like I was feeling it all. It was overwhelming (I hadn't been to NYC since like 2000) and just wow. Newark and Trenton in New Jersey, before Baltimore Maryland and finally Union Station in the heart of our nation's capital, Washington DC. Just did 13 hours and 20 minutes on a train like it was NBD. Check out some trip pics below.

The train pulled in to the final destination (no gruesome deaths involved, BTW, I head they're making 2 more of those movies, back to back) and it was outside of Union Station I went. A scenic nighttime view of the Capitol Building greeted me as I met up with my cousin, Andrew, and my brother, Eugene. I was craving some pineapple fried rice so we parked the car in Chinatown and took to the streets. The usual spot, Absolut Thai, was closed so walked past the Verizon Center to another place. I then decided midnight was too late for Asian cuisine so it was on to McDonald's. That joint was intensely hustling and bustling with people. Shamrock shake (Irishmen = Niall) and 6pc nuggets for me and we make it back to the car a few blocks over. Everyone is out about and it's that upscale clubbing type atmosphere. We then realize Eugene has lost his phone. Like, seriously, on the real right now, unbelievable. Then I get a text from Eugene's phone from his good friend that she now has his phone, he left it at the Chinese place we didn't eat at. We retrieve his phone and drive to his house. I'm dead beat, so I crash in his room which is mountainous mess (those crazy twenty somethings) and watch 3 more episodes of Greek finishing the first season out (Jen K is lonelygirl15). I wake up Sunday morning and it's church time. We get ready and our cousin, Grace, meets us before we make the drive out of the city into Silver Springs, Maryland. Along the way I discuss my college experience and it's totally weird to talk about it in retrospect. We get to the movie theatre, and head on in. The service is really good, super modern, but totally grounded in the good news with the topic being "Love Birds: 15 Marriage Pitfalls." After the sermon is over Eugene and I stay back to help breakdown the set of stuff. The people at "the Bridge" are so awesome, very personable, welcoming and cool to talk to. Wrapping up wires, stacking boxes and multiple elevator rides get us done with cleaning up the movie theater. Afterwards it's to this Thai restaurant a few shops down with church members. I'm telling you it was a die-hard geeking-out hilariously good time. I got pineapple fried rice (finally) literally served in a carved out pineapple. The food was amazing and the company was great as well. We were so loud in there just laughing up a storm and having a genuinely good time. A couple of hours later it's time to head back home. I transfer my massive suitcase to Grace's car and it's to Arlington we venture. We have the girl talk, and y'all know my love life is pretty nonexistent (I don't have time for love).  As a matter of my perspective I would Sunday morning to afternoon was an amazingly good time. Making new friends and reconnecting with family.

Grace and I grab some complimentary Flavia tea which happens to be super good before we decide to head over to Iwo Jima which happens to be two minutes from her classy apartment. Last time I set foot there was in 8th grade on my People to People trip. It's just mindblowing to see what people have been through to get the freedom we take for grated here in America. The Arlington National Cemetery is also literally right there so we walk on over there and stroll through the tombstones in silence. It's flabbergasting and awe-inspiring to recognize that all those men and women gave their lives to protect our country. As a matter of perspective, it's amazing to know that people can stand up and fight. We warm up after a sudden windstorm comes about and drive across the bridge to Georgetown. Just driving through that burrough of DC is amazing. Such a nice place, and for sure my kind of place. The shops are all there and there's so many different kinds of restaurants as well. Andrew comes by and it's time for me to make the journey into Northern Virginia. It's like a 45 minute ride due to the heavy traffic and the aggressive driving courteousy of everyone. There's even those high occupancy lanes as well. It's late in the evening when I just pass in and out of sleep. I've barely slept in the past few days and I'm a total mess. Into the gated community of Lake Manassas in Gainesville, VA where my cousin, Irene lives with Andrew. Back to the lap of luxury that I'm so used to. It's mansions, estates, country clubs and expensive cars. Now this is the matter of perspective I like to see #privilegedkidproblems. I watch more episodes of Greek before calling it a night. Spring Break has officially begun.

Being a teenager is all about realizing that there's more to life than just your life. It's up to us as teens to change our world and it starts with the little things. You've got to look into yourself and change you before you can save the world. It's all about your outlook on life and if you think you can actually make a difference. It's matters of perspective.

My blog post question for the day is ... how do you relate to strangers? I feel like just examining people from afar is a really good way to figure out what's going on, at least, at the moment you're watching them. Not creepy at all.


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