Posted by: lanifurbank | November 27, 2010

There’s No Place Like Home

I’m not even going to attempt to explain where this sudden return from an indefinite blogging hiatus is coming from, because I don’t really know. I just feel like writing.

For the past 3 months, I’ve been having the time of my life at school. I’ve marched with 450 loud and proud band kids, I’ve LARP-ed with the honors dorm, I’ve had countless late nights and tickle fights, I’ve written some fascinating construction news articles, I’ve assisted with a crazy Snooki halloween costume, I’ve interviewed some guest speakers, I’ve had roomie heart-to-hearts, and I’ve gone to some classes in between all that.  But for some reason, for the last week before thanksgiving break, I had a hankering for HOME. It’s not that I haven’t been enjoying JMU, because believe me, I have been. I just had a sudden urge to see my family, friends, and familiar places. I even missed my brother, which is impressive  considering we could barely stand each other on our family vacation this summer. 

So when I arrived in the Fax, I immediately jumped back into old routines. I revisited all of my favorite food places, parked in my favorite parking spots, and saw my favorite people. It was GREAT to see everyone and catch up. The week was full of nostalgia, laughs, hugs, philosophical conversations, gossip, drama, dishing, and overall just a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. 

It seemed like the more people I talked to, the more I realized that everyone loves college. No matter where you are, it’s pretty universally AWESOME. Many of our experiences are similar, and many are completely different. But the one thing we all have in common is an excitement about freedom and independence. We’re like America in 1776. Finally able to do what we want, when we want, how we want. Britain may not have been too happy about it, but like our parents, they have to deal with it. And this independence isn’t something I want to give up. So I’m starting to miss school already, not just because of the freedom, but because of the great friends I’ve made there. 

So what does all that mean? I don’t really know. But I do know that these next four years are going to be a weird crossroads in life. When I’m at school, I start to miss home, but when I’m home, I start to miss school. So how can you really be content in one place when you’re always going to miss the other? 

On the other hand, that’s actually a great situation to be in. I’ve come to a place in life where I’m happy everywhere. 🙂 

So, unintentionally, but fittingly, this post has turned into a bed of indecision. I don’t know whether I’d rather be at home or at school, but I know that I’m incredibly happy in either place, and I truly have the best of both worlds! 

So I guess the ‘moral’, if you will, is to appreciate what you have when you have it, and to enjoy things while they’re happening, instead of looking towards greener grass or wanting what you can’t have, because that, in my opinion, is how you can be completely content with life. 

Posted by: lanifurbank | August 18, 2010

All “Good” Things Must End

Aaaand the Hypocrite of the Year Award goes to…yours truly. Maybe an everyday commitment to blogging just isn’t my style.

In other news…this is the last week before the majority of the Class of 2010 heads off to bigger and better things! It’s time for us to break out of our Fairfax shells, and show the world what we’re made of. We’ve been whining about our “boring” hometown for 18 odd years now, and we finally get the chance to experience a change of pace. While that’s all great, we can’t do it without acknowledging the past era in our lives. I’ve been in the same place for 18 years, and looking back, that’s a really long time. Needless to say, there were good times and bad times, friends and enemies, accomplishments and embarrassments. As bad as some days were, I can’t say I want to take any of it back. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for every mishap I had along the way. The phrase “what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger” isn’t just one to be thrown around by body builders and death-defying tricksters. I’m beginning to truly believe it as well. So, Friends, Romans, and Countrymen, thanks for trying to bring me down. Thanks for not believing in me. Thanks for the mocking, the glares, and the fights. Thanks for the failures, and thanks for the humiliation. I can honestly say, I’m a better person because of it, and for that, I applaud you. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I have made plenty of great friends, had plenty of laughs, hugs, inside jokes, and adventures, and I plan to cherish those as well. I also plan to say goodbye to those who meant most to me. However, to all the less-than-stellar human beings I’ve met, don’t expect me to come a-knocking! I just wanted to let you know that I’m grateful for your contribution to my life.

And as Fall Out Boy would say, “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, even though they weren’t so great”.

Posted by: lanifurbank | August 16, 2010

Suddenly I See

Hey there, internet! I know it’s been a while. However, I’m happy to announce that I’m getting back on the virtual horse, and I’m ready to give blogging another shot. I bet you want to know why, right? Or maybe you simply don’t care. Heck, you might not have even noticed that I’ve been gone all this time. And that’s exactly why I have to do this. 

I bet all of you make resolutions, promises, goals, or plans for yourself, that you say you’ll keep. You swear this time will be different. You’re really going to lose those extra 10 pounds. You’re going to start reading more. You’re not going to stay up past midnight working anymore. But lets be real. Does any of that ever happen? If you’re anything like me, I can tell you it doesn’t. It’s all too easy to start something with the purest intentions, but give up before even giving it a fighting chance. This time though, it really is different. 

It’s different because I’m not doing this for my thousands of adoring fans. It’s different because I’m not basing this blog on other people’s opinions or suggestions. It’s different because this time, I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it to prove to myself that I can start something, and really make it happen. So today is a new day, and it marks a change of pace in my thus far short-lived blogging career. Read my blog, don’t read my blog. Take my advice, don’t take my advice. I’m breaking down the walls of my dependence on others’ approval (cyber-symbolically, that is), and I’d love for you to join me. Until tomorrow — for real this time!

Posted by: lanifurbank | June 27, 2010

Day 19: Ciao, Bella!

New thing today: GOING TO ITALY! Housesitting directions are set, light timers are on, suitcases are packed, it’s time to lift off.

I’ll have pretty spotty internet access for the next 3 weeks, so I won’t be posting every day, but I’ll be documenting and recording everything that happens, so I’ll post the most interesting excursions. I’m too excited to really write anything, I just felt the need to post on my last day in the US of A for a while. I’m going to be poring over guidebooks and dictionaries on the plane, so hopefully Italia will treat me well. I’m going to try my hardest to speak to locals in Italian (as well as possible), because they really appreciate every effort! It’s all too easy for us monolingual Americans to feel entitled to speak our own language, but if you find yourself in a situation where you can speak another language, eat a slice of humble pie and rattle off some of that foreign tongue. Until next time, ciao!

Posted by: lanifurbank | June 26, 2010

Day 17 & 18: Plain and Simple

New thing for Friday: SWING DANCING! I dragged Charles along with me, and after a basic learning session for an hour, we were set loose to practice with live music and practically pro dancers. I loved learning the steps, and dancing with some of the more experienced participants was a lot of fun. I’m excited about possibly taking classes this summer, as well as joining ballroom dancing clubs at JMU!

New thing for Saturday: buying a traditional toothbrush! Kind of lame, I know. But all my life I’ve used electric toothbrushes, and I’ve never owned a real, elbow action brush. Thus, it’ll be fun to try out a new dental hygiene style. 

Today I also did something not so new — I went to the zoo! I haven’t been to the zoo in years, so I really enjoyed getting to see all of the animals and act like a little kid again. The Obligatory Zoo Photo was taken by Jon Pham. The weather even cooperated, and I had a great day!

So what did I learn today? As I was snapping pictures nonstop of everything in sight, I didn’t think twice about what I was photographing. However, when I returned home and uploaded all of my pictures, I saw that I had taken approximately 25o shots! I found that a large number of them were blurry,unidentifiable, or just plain repetitive. After deleting the unnecessary photos, I was left with around 160 pictures. Still a lot, but a much more reasonable amount. Then I thought back to a recent conversation I had with a friend. He had been reading my blog, and suggested that I cut down the length of my posts, because people tend to pay closer attention if there is less to pay attention to. Thus, I selected my 6 favorite shots from the zoo, and made the theme of my blog today: Less is more.

Posted by: lanifurbank | June 24, 2010

Day 16: Metamorphosis

New thing today: Becoming an official JMU DukeDog! Orientation down in Harrisonburg was fantastic, and I met some of my future classmates and hallmates. I’m more excited than ever about starting college in the fall. I was tentative this morning because of some of the bad rap that JMU carries, especially after the notorious SpringFest riots. However, the Orientation Peer Advisers, the new friendships, and the gorgeous campus eradicated any concerns I had, and sold me on the idea of being a DUUUUUUUKE next year.

The orientation was set up so that the kids and parents were separated for the whole day, and each session was specifically aimed towards the appropriate group. This produced some interesting results, because by the end of the day, I was itching to move in, while my Dad was hesitant to let me go. It’s safe to say that today was a watershed moment in our father-daughter relationship, as well as in my own life. Today was the first day that I realized that I am no longer a high school student. I’m never going back to Woodson, and next year, I’ll be moving out of the house. Life is going to be almost unrecognizably different.

Yes, it’ll be scary at first. I won’t be able to see my parents or Fairfax friends every day, and I’ll have more free time and independence than I’ll know what to do with. I’m sure they’ll miss me, and I’ll miss them as well, but above all, I can’t wait to get to experiment with my personality, and be around people who can help me grow and change as a person. Since elementary school, I’ve been pretty much the same girl. Lani Finley Furbank. But now, I can be anyone I want to be. I’ll still be Lani Finley Furbank, but I’ll be the new and improved Lani. The Lani who is confident, outgoing, adventurous, maybe even athletic! I know it’ll take adjusting to, but change isn’t always a bad thing.

I know that JMU is the right place for me, and I am more than ready to start my journey. If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout my life, it’s that you can’t fight change. You have to roll with the punches, and make each situation your own. Fate really doesn’t have much control over you, in my opinion. It merely puts you where it wants you, and leaves the rest to…well…YOU.

Posted by: lanifurbank | June 23, 2010

Day 15: They Paved Paradise

Today’s new adventure: paddle boating in the tidal basin! After life jacketing up, took a leisurely paddle to see the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and just to relax. Despite the sweltering weather, we really enjoyed ourselves. 

After paddling, we wandered around DC, admiring the historic buildings, the museums, the monuments, and the urban culture. We also stopped at the Eastern Market that morning and saw some crazy foods, including chicken feet and an octopus! Certainly a nice shot of culture in our day. Throughout the entire day, we took turns raving about the sights, sounds and smells, and were all appalled at and ashamed of our lack of DC knowledge. 

Despite the fact that we’ve lived less than half an hour away from DC our entire lives, we’ve never really soaked in the splendor that the multicultural city holds. We truly felt like tourists in our “hometown,” so to speak. 

It really is a shame that we’ve never appreciated DC for all it has to offer. How many times have you complained that there’s “nothing to do around here”? I know I’ve uttered that phrase more than my fair share of times. But in reality, there’s a whole city of excitement waiting just a metro-rail away.

So next time you’re bored, and feeling sorry for your little old self, living in suburban VA, hop on a metro car and venture into DC to see what all the hubbub’s about, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

But you’re probably thinking, what if I don’t live near DC? What’s the bigger message here? Well, as Joni Mitchell once crooned, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” So true, Joni. I’m really disappointed that I didn’t discover the entertainment and cultural value of DC until the summer before I leave the area for what might be forever…All my life, I was in the prime spot to enjoy the city, but it just wasn’t appealing to me, because it was too convenient. So my moral for today is to appreciate what you have, and take time to explore or enjoy it thoroughly, because you never know when you might not have the opportunity anymore. 

And don’t be afraid to act like a tourist! Who cares if people stare? Paige had fun, and that’s all that matters.

Posted by: lanifurbank | June 22, 2010

Day 14.1: Mucho Gusto

WOAH, double post!

New thing for today: SEEING HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON! I kid you not when I say that it was an absolutely fantastic movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, get on that immediately. If you have, take a moment to reminisce, and appreciate its splendor. Going in, I was skeptical, because it was an animated film…and let’s face it…it was about dragons. But it was two dollar tuesday and I figured I had nothing to lose! But to my surprise, Dreamworks really impressed me!

The movie had so many more levels than just the dragon training. The level that really struck me was the allegorical level. As I’m sure you noticed, the movie was highly symbolic of the human race in general. The mindless killing of innocent animals or other humans because of fear and ignorance is a trend that unfortunately is widespread and common. People usually just assume that others wish to cause them harm, when in reality, coexistence is a very easy alternative.

The fact that it took a warm-hearted and inventive kid to discover a way to live in peace is also something very fitting for us. As corny as it sounds, I really do believe that the children are the future. (Insert Full House morals here). That’s why I feel so strongly about making a difference! Most adults in the world are jaded, disenchanted, corrupted, or downright tired. Kids are bright-eyed and curious, and have no sense of impending doom or failure. Haven’t you ever noticed that it’s the snot-nosed 4 year old who races straight down the ski slope at 100 mph, as his overly cautious Dad shouts after him while doing clothespin turns to prevent him from picking up speed? That’s because kids haven’t learned to fear getting hurt or doing it wrong. They just DO.

That gusto for life is something we should all take note of. Don’t be afraid to try something because you might look stupid, or because no one else is doing it, or because you’re afraid you can’t. Imagine you couldn’t fail. Then would you try? I hope so! So next time you’re afraid to try something, journey back to the days of olde (err, young?) and ask your rosy-cheeked self what you should do. I bet they’d tell you to go for it. 🙂

I thought this picture was fitting for todays theme..

Take after Paige, Jeeyoon and Cristina, and dance your cares away!

Posted by: lanifurbank | June 22, 2010

Day 14: It’s The Climb

NEW THING:  left water balloons on the hoods of strangers’ cars! It’s totally harmless, but hopefully they’ll smile when they return to the surprise! 🙂

You’ll also notice that my blog now has PICTURES! I finally got a camera that was made after the stone age, so I’ll be posting documentation of all of my adventures! As you can see, I already had fun experimenting with the color selection option!

Yesterday, I had a whole day planned out for maximum summer fun. However, I didn’t manage to do a single one of those things! You’re probably thinking, “What a terrible day!”, right? You couldn’t be more wrong! No, I didn’t get to paddle boat at Lake Accotink, nor did I get to take a tour of the botanical gardens at sunset on the longest day of the year. So how did I manage to have such a great day? Well, getting lost, being late, getting turned away, and just driving until we found something entertaining actually made for a fantastic adventure! And of course, the water balloon fight certainly helped with the enjoyment level for the day!

Everyone always says that “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” Being an avid planner and having a mild case of OCD, I of course, scoffed at this phrase. It wasn’t until then that I realized that Miley Cyrus might be right…it really “ain’t about how fast [you] get there” and it “ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side…it’s the climb.” 

So next time I’m frantically rushing around making plans, trying to make self imposed deadlines for social events, worrying about getting somewhere, or yelling at people for not having a sense of urgency, I’m going to take a step back and realize that I’m having fun already, and that there’s no hurry to get to the end. So my advice to you is…just sit back and enjoy the ride!

Also, how cutely candid is this?! I absolutely love that we’re all laughing. It’s a perfect representation of our day. 🙂

From left to right: Me, Lee, Ellen and Julia!  The band of unplanned adventurers.

Posted by: lanifurbank | June 21, 2010

Day 13: Send a Smile

Have you all become a fan of Quiznos yet? Please do, because the Gulf needs your help!! 

Today’s new thing: I’m going paddle-boating for the first time, and then going to a summer solstice tour at a botanical garden! Both should be a lot of fun, and they’re excellent summer activities!

I’ve also decided to start up my next service project idea! My plan is to send cards and letters to as many kids at orphanages in Afghanistan as possible for Friendship Day this year. Friendship Day is on the first Sunday of August every year, and this year it lands on my birthday (August 8th)! I know that the lives of kids in orphanages are grim, especially in Afghanistan, and I want to try to put a smile on their faces, to give them a little bit of hope, and to let them know that there are kind strangers somewhere out there who care about them, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. I’m planning to talk to summer camps and programs for kids in the area, and asking them to have their campers make cards for the kids, but it would also be great if any of you readers out there would write cards to the kids! I’m working on figuring out a way to collect the cards, so be on the lookout. But in the meantime, get cracking on those cards! 

I’m getting a new camera soon, so expect to see some photo-documentation of my daily adventures soon! 🙂

In the news:

I’m really eager to see how this new initiative for fathers and their kids turns out. With divorce, crime, and unemployment rates higher than ever, there are a lot of kids who don’t get the benefit of having both parental figures in their lives. Everyone deserves to have two loving parent, and I really hope these programs are a step in the right direction!

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