A brush with the law

Valerie is sitting outside on the hammock right now, and I am inside pouring my lifeless soul into a paper about Margaret Thatcher, and we are occasionally calling back and forth to each other through the open window over the excellent bluegrass Pandora station I have pulled up right now.

Me: “An FBI agent is coming to our apartment right now.”

Valerie: “Why?”

Me: “Because [one of our friends] is getting government security clearance and he put me down as a reference. So someone just called, and there is an FBI agent heading over to interview me.”

Valerie: “Should I put on pants?”

Me: “You’re probably ok.”

Valerie: “Want to practice?”

Me: “Being interviewed by an FBI agent?”

Valerie: “Yeah.”

Me: “Ok.”

Valerie: “Hi, I’m an FBI agent.”

Me: “Hi, I’m Elika.”

Valerie: “Is that your real name?”

Me: “Yes.”

Valerie: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Valerie: “I don’t know what else he’s going to ask.”

Me: “Me either.”

Pictures of breakup season

Spring is here in full force. We’ve melted through most of the snow (even the April snowstorm), and I’ve worn sandals almost every day for the past week. I’ve been trying to compile a series of breakup season photos because grey snow and mud are the best. Here are a few favorites:

DSC_0033 4-3-14 thursday tuesday Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

I ran through a foot of snow in sandals the other day. That, my friends, is what April is all about.

 

 

Here I am, running through an airport to declare my love before it’s too late

Sorry I’m turning into the kind of blogger that barely blogs anymore and then has apology posts about not writing. I used to be good at sorting through my thoughts by forming them into complete sentences, but lately I’ve just been getting better at living with the jumble in my head.

I’m three weeks from moving away from yet another place that’s now my home. You’d think that someone who has moved so many goddamn times in her life would be better at leaving, but really I’m just good at packing efficiently and not thinking too hard. So I’ve stopped writing, and instead, I go on runs or bake or practice my oboe. It’s sort of like I’m 17 again, except I turn 22 soon.

So here’s what I’m thinking: I started liking Fairbanks the way most romantic comedy heroines usually do– with a fierce determination not to. When you move around a lot, you try to see everything through the cold, calculating eyes of someone who’s going to have to show up somewhere else with enough of a real smile to make new friends soon. It’s one thing to miss brief friendships, but it’s altogether another thing to expend emotions missing cities and towns.

Anyway, here we are at the end of the movie, and everyone saw this grand, meaningful run-through-the-airport love declaration coming but me.

Something about Fairbanks just clicks with me. Maybe it’s the deep aversion to superficiality, or the small town community that manages to live and let live, or the dancing lights in the sky on long winter nights. But it’s something, and I’m going to be sorry to leave it all behind.

Review: “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell

71ZlxOeCx4LSummary: “Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?”

You know how sometimes you just randomly pick a book off a shelf and it turns out that book is your life story? THAT’S THIS BOOK.

Rainbow Rowell’s first novel has all of the elements for me. Two best friends sending witty emails in a newsroom making jokes about headlines and j-school; a self-deprecating, somewhat lost male protagonist who falls in love with someone through her writing; lots of Internet creeping; and several really well written declarations of love. SERIOUSLY. Can this be my future life story?

I picked this up after devouring “Eleanor and Park” earlier this year, which is also great and suspenseful and beautiful in all the best ways. I couldn’t imagine anything striking a chord more than nerdy high schoolers wearing weird clothes falling in love on the bus UNTIL I READ “ATTACHMENTS” AND I WAS LIKE MAN PLEASE LET THIS BE ME IN 7 YEARS.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you like love stories or journalists, good writing or developing crushes on people through their writing that you creep on the Internet. (I love all of those things, so I love this book.)

Happy Naw-Ruz!

It’s a new year, with all of the familiarity of last year’s snow still sitting heavy on the ground.

At least the sun sticks around for longer. And I don’t need to wear my big pink poofy coat anymore. I think my days as fluorescent marshmellow are behind me, but spring is a finicky lady at this latitude so I’m never quite sure.

Tonight is the last night of my last spring break of college. I made chili to celebrate with ground beef Valerie’s parents vaccuum-packed and mailed to her when she kept getting low hematocrit scores at the bloodbank.

In honor of spring cleaning, I cleared out a trash bag’s worth of clothing that I’ve accumulated from various dump trips over the last year. I also spent several hours meticulously reading through banjolele user reviews on Amazon.

“You’re going to show up in Haifa with a backpack full of dump clothes and an orchestra of weird stringed instruments,” Valerie remarked.

Now I want a mandolin too.

My brother and I are both graduating this spring, him from high school and me from college, so we’re planning one of those rites-of-passage backpacking trips right now. You know, the kind where you fill the small pockets on your backpack with earrings from artisan markets and eat ice cream from corner stores?

I keep googling imaging cities in warm climates on the coast, knowing full well that this is it for winter and I for a few years. I want to be less anxious about seeing the snow melt, but patience is not a virtue I’m very good at during breakup season.

Lately,

Even though I was in a small car with three other people for most of my winter break, I still managed to get left alone long enough to cut off about five inches of hair one afternoon in the bathroom.

The thing about staring yourself in the mirror and saying “whatever, hair grows back” and shrugging indifferently is that the growing back is agonizing (as a metaphor for things in life that take patience and–no implied meaning–as several months of bad hair days).

I’m starting to think there’s a correlation between girls who have the patience to grow their hair out and girls who have the patience to find and keep boyfriends.

///

I’m taking oboe lessons again, because I needed a few more credits this semester and because I realized recently that I wasted three and a half years being melodramatic about playing music and it was time to suck it up and move on with life.

It’s fun because Candy bestows such gems during our time together as “I’ve noticed all these boys talk to you. You could have a million boyfriends” and “Don’t be nervous. No one knows who you are” and “Is that from Value Village? You could be a Value Village model.”

But it’s also fun because, oh yeah, I love this. I forgot that.

///

It’s the Baha’i fast again. The time of year between March 2-20 where Baha’is don’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Tomorrow is day 5 out of 19.

Usually I look forward to this time of year. I like challenging myself and figuring out what I’m capable of, whether it’s skipping lunch or moving a million miles away or managing a newspaper for a year or feigning indifference at my most recent self-imposed haircut.

And I like the reminder that we’re more than our material connection to this world.

But this year it feels different. Like I’m just going through the motions.

///

It snowed today. Soft, small Fairbanks flakes that have been piling up outside since I got out of bed this morning. The kind of snow that just happens. The kind that makes me exasperated with and appreciative of winter all at once.

I don’t know at what point I started to like Fairbanks so much. It just started, soft and small, piling up slowly, until at some point I realized I was wading through three inches of affection and it was sticking to my boots and melting onto the hem of my jeans, staying damp long after I shook it off.

Some recent published photos

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures lately between my photography class, my job at the KSUA and working at The Sun Star. Here are a couple of recent pictures I’ve published in the paper:

36-year-old musher Cody Strathe from Ester leaves downtown Fairbanks to embark on the 1,000 miles to Whitehorse during this year's Yukon Quest. Strathe ran the race last year, where he places fifteenth. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
36-year-old musher Cody Strathe from Ester leaves downtown Fairbanks to embark on the 1,000 mile journey to Whitehorse during this year’s Yukon Quest. Strathe ran the race last year, where he placed fifteenth. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A father and his daughter watch the start of the Yukon Quest. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A father and his daughter watch the start of the Yukon Quest. Feb. 1, 2014. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Lathrop High School exchange student Hang Shan waves his napkin in the air along to Josh Verhagen's performance of "Di Yi Ge Qing Cheng" at the Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Lathrop High School exchange student Hang Shan waves his napkin in the air along to Josh Verhagen’s performance of “Di Yi Ge Qing Cheng” at the Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Tanana Middle School students Rosalee Bertram and Ruth Keith watch the children perform a dance at the Chinese New Year Celebration at UAF on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Tanana Middle School students Rosalee Bertram and Ruth Keith watch the children perform a dance at the Chinese New Year Celebration at UAF on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Madeline Follin, the lead singer of the Cults, performs at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb. 22. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Madeline Follin, the lead singer of the Cults, performs at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb. 22. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Guitarist Brian Oblivion performs with the Cults at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb 22. Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin formed the Cults in 2010 when the two were both students in New York City. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Guitarist Brian Oblivion performs with the Cults at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Feb 22. Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin formed the Cults in 2010 when the two were both students in New York City. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group at the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
A performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group at the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Members of the Alaska Native community hosted the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF this weekend. Here a performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star
Members of the Alaska Native community hosted the 41st Festival of Native Arts at UAF this weekend. Here a performer dances to the Sleeping Lady Drumming group on Saturday, March 1. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Some of us are Emmas and that’s ok

I just caught up on the webseries “Emma Approved” based on “Emma” by Jane Austen, and while I’ve always sort of felt a deep kinship to Austen’s wordy, Victorian Emma and Emma’s melodramatic, meddling ways — seeing  the character portrayed in a vlog, checking her Twitter is hitting really close to home.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we can’t all be Elizabeth Bennets, no matter how clever we fancy ourselves. And despite that fact that Jane Austen herself wrote about Emma Woodhouse, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,” (ouch, Austen) I think I’m probably an Emma.

I’ve drawn up a venn diagram to illustrate my point:

emma elika

As opposed to the venn diagram of Elizabeth Bennet’s personality and mine:

lizzie elika

Also, consider the line from the 1996 movie adaptation of the novel where Gwenyth Paltrow as Emma throws her hands up and implores of the heavens, “What is the point of me being almost twenty-two when there is still so much for me to learn?” FEEL THAT, EMMA.

There was a lot that didn’t fit in the middle of my Emma/Elika diagram. But the main thing, of course, is that underneath all of Emma’s self-assurance that her terrible ideas are great ideas and all the trouble she causes, when she realizes she’s wrong and has made a huge mess, she does her best to fix it and make everyone happy again.

If you’re still unsure because you’re still 17-years-old and think you’re an Elizabeth because Matthew McFadyen in the Keira Knightly remake is super dreamy, you can always take the BuzzFeed quiz. I got Emma, obviously.

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