Day 179: Pre-Italy

I was about to just casually introduce this post by mentioning my trip to Italy soon, until I realized just how soon the trip is—next Thursday…?! #YES

It seems that for my entire summer so far (all of three weeks… It seems like so much longer), all I have had to look forward to have been:

  • Firefly Music Festival,
  • Trip to Italy, immediately followed by a wedding in Alberta, Canada,
  • (Recently added because why not?) The 24th Annual AAJA Convention from August 13 to 16 (yeah, also recently joined as a member of the Asian American Journalists Association. I would.),
  • And the possibility of a barista job at a local French café.

Now that Firefly is over and my chances of getting that barista job declining exponentially as the days pass, the two events left are all that I have to cling onto to retain any sort of sanity.

You’re probably thinking, Wait, but your summer seems awesome. WTF are you complaining about?!

Prepare to let me crush all your conceptions about my life (wow, and you think that sounds depressing.) I’m about to get really cynical about my life when I should just appreciate it. I’ve got to vent sometime, somehow, right?

I think I should start by saying how I’m the type of person who must keep busy and can’t seem to understand the concept of just enjoying my time off for extended periods of time, i.e., more than a week. As a result, as great as winter and summer breaks seem to any other college student, unless I have an internship or concrete plans to fill my time out, I get bored and annoyed quickly.

For example, my first winter break in college, I worked for free at a travel magazine in D.C. for the three weeks I had. That summer, I took on two internships in Boston. The following summer, I worked tirelessly as an intern for Patch for Baltimore County. During the school year, I pile on as much work as possible, overloading when I really don’t need to and finding sometimes random jobs to fill the time I’m not in class.

It should make sense that going from keeping myself occupied for every waking minute to, well, nothing save for a few events throughout three months, I can’t help but complain about how unexciting I think my life is. If I have no work, I have nothing.

At the same time, even if I did find things to occupy my time in a more satisfying way than reading, blogging, watching TV, running, café-squatting, etc. (and I suppose there are a lot I could do, such as freelance for websites I’ve been obsessed with recently, e.g., Thought Catalog), I feel that there will always be something missing.

I could write so much more about what I think that missing piece is but essentially it’s a social life. It’s the “love and belonging” of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Life back at home would be more bearable if I had better relationships, whether that’s with my family or with the few high school friends that I hardly keep in touch with nowadays. And the thing is, no matter how hard I try to make things better between my parents and I, for example, the years of miscommunication and other issues always creep back up.

It frustrated me, to be more specific, when my sister (hey, Eva. I know you’re reading this) didn’t join my parents and me at dinner tonight at Maggiano’s, which recently opened at the Mall of Columbia and the restaurant that has a location in Boston that I’ve always wanted to try. In fact, I expect her to reject our invitations to go anywhere with the family, whether it’s for something as simple as lunch or a spontaneous trip to NYC. I’m pathetically excited when she does agree to anything.

Maggiano's menu
Maggiano’s menu

When she told me last week that she actually checks my blog every time she opens her browser, I was SHOCKED. Ecstatic but S-H-O-C-K-E-D.

Again, I could go on and on but for now, enjoy photos from my pre-Italy Italian dinner.

Maggiano's in Columbia, MD
Packed inside the Maggiano’s in Columbia, MD.
Calamari appetizer at Maggiano's in Columbia, MD
The calamari appetizer our server recommended.
Blue Moon at Maggiano's in Columbia, MD
Because I had casually mentioned I’d never had Blue Moon beer before, my dad insisted on ordering a glass.

The gnocchi and Italian sausage I tried did not exceed my expectations. I enjoyed my parents’ dishes more—salmon topped with crabmeat and a lobster carbonara pasta—which were what our server said were the most popular.

Gnocchi and Italian sausage at Maggiano's in Columbia, MD
Gnocchi and Italian sausage was not as good as I had envisioned.
Maggiano's in Columbia, MD
Maggiano’s against the sunset.