Step Back Safely

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I've let myself take the next 30 minutes before class to sit and reflect on the past week or so. Someone gave me a fantastic piece of advice to set aside short amounts of time during your day, every day, like 10 or 15 or 30 minutes to feel or do something that you want or need to do. So, that's what this is essentially. There are valuable things I've seen and learned since I last posted. 


The first being that even being busy doesn't necessarily equal stress. Often times we associate stress or worry when we have a lot of things to do or a long day ahead of us or a lot on our mind. Yes, these all could potentially contain situations that may be unpleasant, but instead of looking at this inevitably busy and crammed future with the mindset of, "holy shit, how am I going to get all this done?" it feels so much better to open your eyes to each moment. Let yourself live and breathe each thing that happens. Focus on the task at hand, not the next 5 that will happen later. In order to achieve that sense of "now" it's essential to understand that each and every moment that we live through can be an opportunity for us to learn and grow. It doesn't have to be an overwhelming stressor, but rather something that we are in the process of learning from. For instance, I spent every night last week in a crammed space at the back of theatre with a lighting board that seemed about 100 years old. Not the most pleasant activity, but I made a conscious effort to step back and realize that first and foremost, I am so lucky to be given the responsibility of designing a show. Beyond that, I am learning how to use the board, focus on what I need to do, design lights, and work with other people in general. (notice the theme of gratitude creeping in) I could continue to list the things that made me feel better but essentially, all I was focused on was the show and the board and the lights. NOT the fact that had homework that needed to get done, a fish to feed, or how little sleep I might get that night. I found myself getting things done quicker, more efficiently and with less stress. So I'll keep exploring this idea of focusing on one step at a time and see where it takes me.


The second major breakthrough this week also came from a very good friend. This person revealed to me something extremely personal and put great trust in me. It was something that had told one other person in their life because they didn't want to face it or talk about it. So, naturally I explained that the feelings they were having we're normal and understandable (that's the camp counselor in me coming out) and I didn't question the subject any further. To my surprise, this person continued to reveal more and more and more or less work through some things. Now, I am the kind of person who loves to cry and wear my heart on my sleeve but I understand that some people really hate doing that. This person had a wall up for so long that the freedom to let t down was not only scary but slightly relieving. The situation was something I had NEVER experienced and I could not sympathize with them, and they didn't want pity anyways. So I simply reassured them that they were safe and I was here to listen and reflect with them. My point of all this is that safety is something so essential to us as human beings. We need to feel safe in order to live. I encourage you to not only find somewhere that you feel truly safe, but also to provide someone you love with that safety. I am a people pleaser at heart and so doing that for someone is really rewarding for me. I can only hope it brings as much comfort and connection to you as it did for me and this friend of mine.


The last little thing I want to mention is that a few days ago I subscribed to a daily email from a restaurant in California called cafe gratitude. Every day they send out two questions that are for personal reflection. Ive found it to be grounding and helpful in seeing the big picture of things. One question is normally something that is negative, like something you're scared of, or something you wish you had. The other is positive, something you love to do, something that motivates or inspires you. Ill post a link in my next blog but i just wanted to share this helpful tool with you! Thank you for reading and I hope you're feeling good today.


All that with a splash of gratitude,
Matt

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Come On Get Happy

>> Saturday, October 15, 2011

Today is Saturday, October 15th, and I'm currently en route to Honey Pot Hill orchard, about 30 minutes outside the city, to go apple picking with SGA. We were originally scheduled to go last weekend but our bus never showed up. Don't you worry, I proved that was kin of my mother and father by letting them know exactly how I felt. Needless to say, we ended up getting a discount on our bus for this weekend, which I still think should have been free, but what do I know? I will say, this weekend feels more like fall than the last. It was about 80 last Saturday and today it's like 65 and sunny. Boston has been pretty indecisive about it's weather choices, but this weeks finally showing signs of consistency. Fall in Boston is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. It's sunny and cool and colorful and comforting and there is a sense of love in the air, which is nice to have before the harsh winter that is New England. The past few weeks in general have been action packed and eye opening. I had the opportunity to perform in a senior directed scene and I got the chance to see my parents for the first time since I moved in! The reunion was bittersweet knowing that they only had 48 hours to spend here. We made the most of it, shopping, eating and catching up or cleaning up. Besides the external things have been going on, I've had no lack of internal things happening too. With the classes this year digging deeper into our souls and ripping our insides out, there is an incredible opportunity for self discovery. I've come to realize that I am more self aware than I've ever been. It seems like these late teen years and early 20s, are really where you start becoming the person you're going to be. You start seeing things in yourself you never have before and you continually find surprises in your behavior, your language, your mind, and your heart. However confusing all this is, I still feel confident in the fact that I know I'm confused about some things. I'm learning that life is truly what you make it. Like I've said before, there are things in life we can control, and things we can't. The things that we can't, we have to accept and express endless gratitude for, even if it means twisting in some way to become or learn something positive or constructive. The things we can control are just that. We can make the choice to really live , learn new things, take time for ourselves, get out and meet people. We can choose to smile or frown or cry, to be sad or to be happy. I truly believe happiness is an attitude not an emotion. Thus, we can ultimately choose to be happy. There is a time for sadness and grief and I'm in no way saying that we are not allowed to feel these things when we need to. Really NEED to. But, once that is passed we have to chose to get happy. So, until next time and in the long term, I am making a vow here and will hold true to this; I am going to be happy. I am going to smile when needed, ask someone how their day, express gratitude for the things that I am really lucky to have, like waking up every single day living and breathing. So you know what, BE HAPPY!

All that with a splash of gratitude,
Matt

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Turning A New Leaf

>> Monday, September 5, 2011

Today marks the last day of summer freedom before the first day of school. I can't believe it's been a year since I started classes here at the conservatory. It's actually sort of surreal. Today I had the chance to sail once again on a Boston Harbor Cruise along with 100 other BoCo students. Last year, most of the guests were from my class and we had the time of our lives. We took over 600 pictures and it was an amazing way to end orientation weeks before starting school the next day. This time around, it was mostly 2015 kids that were on the boat and it was really nice to be able to bond with them and start to develop relationships with what's truly 1/4 of the program I'm in. I've even become pretty good friends with a few of them in the past week. It's nice to have some fresh faces around here. I'm excited to see what the rest of the year holds.

On another note, for those of you who don't know, I lost my uncle last monday after he had a 4 year battle with cancer. Jon was one of the strongest men I knew. He fought so hard and never gave up. Although I didn't have the chance to go to Arizona for his memorial, I recorded 2 songs that were both played at the ceremony. One was a John Lennon song, Imagine, because my uncle was a HUGE Beatles fan, and the second was Home by MIchael Buble. When I decided I wanted to play guitar 7 or 8 years ago, he was one of the first people I told, and in fact, he bought me my first guitar. A few years later, I finally felt confident enough to play for him and I played him that song. He was quite moved by it, and to be honest I was too (because he was.) It felt only right playing it for him again. My family has been so strong this past week and the support they have received from family and friends means more than any words could describe. Personally, I've had a few rough nights but I know that Jon would want me to be strong and carry on with what I love to do. Last year, I went and visited Jon for a few days over my winter break. It was a life changing experience. We talked about the future and the past, and I told him that I wanted to a part of him with me always. I proposed that my stage name be Matthew Jon, or Matt Jonathan, but he insisted that I use his middle name. So, Matthew Ross was born and that's what it's going to be. To say that I miss him would be an understatement, but I know that he is in a better place and out of pain which is comforting. He is, and always will be, a huge part of who I am. There are not too many people that I look up to like that and I know that he'll be watching over me for the rest of my life. Miss you Junky.

Other than that, the past week has been CRAZY busy. With SGA stuff coming up fast, preparations are underway and in a matter of 3 days, 2 major events have already happened. The block party and this cruise. I'm really excited and feel quite lucky to be a part of student government here at school and I take my job seriously. I'm looking forward to the experiences that it will bring. 

Even though I've seen 3 natural disasters in the past 3 weeks, an earthquake, a hurricane and a fire, I am hoping that the school year will have a different fate. Sophomore year is one of the hardest and it takes strength and patience and perseverance to get through it all. I'm ready, at least I think I am!

All that with a splash of gratitude,

Matt

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More Than A Splash

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Wow. It's been forever since I posted. I sincerely apologize for that, but now that I'm back in Boston and back to the craziness that is BoCo, I back on Blogger too! There's way to much I could say and tell you about the summer so I'll keep it short and simple. My 10th summer at camp was nothing short of incredible. I learned so much about myself, my friends, kids and just life. I met amazing people and did my best to make an impact on every camper I got the chance to spend time with. The summer flew by way too fast and I was sort of shell shocked when I arrived here in Boston on Friday. 

I was excited and nervous and anxious, and mostly because I was moving into my own apartment for the first time. I wish I had taken some before and after shots because the work that my brother, mom and dad did is stunning. The studio is warm and feels like home. They really transformed the place and that's why I titled this post, More Than A Splash. The gratitude I have for my family is endless. There are really no words that could express how thankful I am to have them in my life. They've been nothing but supportive and helpful throughout my whole life, and lately I've realized how truly lucky I am.

Beyond that, I want to express my gratitude for the camp people (which I already sort of wrote about.) Camp has become a home for me. There is a certain vibe and energy that surrounds that place and it is irreplaceable. I tried as hard as I could to bring bits of camp into my apartment so that I feel at home always. I brought my 10 year plaque, I bought a candle that smelled like camp, and I'm purchasing a HUGE mural that's going to go on my wall either of a Lake Towanda sunset or just a lake sunset that reminds me of camp. With social media and cell phones, it's become so much easier to communicate in the off season with friends. I was talking with my mom about it the other day, but I really feel like that made a difference for me this summer. Of course when you go back it's like we never left, but being able to talk to people from camp, more than ever before, this past year made it so much easier to just REALLY start where we left off. I want to mention a few names (probably a lot of names) of people that had a HUGE impact on my summer. I decided I'm not going to list campers, but I will say that this summer I became closer with kids than I ever have and it was the thick icing and sprinkles and cherry on top of a giant cake that was this summer. So here goes (in NO particular order); Josh, Max, Brian, Ryan, Colby, David, Joey, Jeremy, Jovan, Jacob, Kaplan, Melrose, Breen, Breen, Mike, Rick, Leslie, Emily, Aaron, Scott W., SJ, Jordy, Matt, Scott M., Dusty...and I'm probably missing a bunch of people. Nonetheless, I just wanted to say thank you for everything. You really have taught me more than you know and I look up to each and every one of you. 

With that, I'll bid you farewell as I embark on what should be the second part of the journey of a lifetime. BoCo is crazy and fun and stressful and educational and million other things. But now, it's home and I'm ready to get started again. I hope that everyone has a great start to the new year (which really isn't the "new year" but you get the idea) and I'll be sure to post once a week from now on. 

All that with (More Than) a splash of gratitude,

Matt

P.S. The pictures are from various points throughout the summer 

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Summer Night #2: Trees and Stuff

>> Saturday, July 23, 2011


So it's been over a month since I last posted, and I feel like time has gone by faster than ever before. These past four weeks have changed my perspective on time in general. The truth is, four weeks moves faster than you think, especially when almost every day is action packed. Thus, I don't know how I could possibly fit everything in one post. What I can promise is that I will post more often this session, seeing that I'm not as busy. Outside of camp life, I had the chance to visit some friends at their lake house and spend the day and night there. The last time I visited was 2 summers ago and this day was even better than that one. Hanging out with family friends is possibly one of the nicest days off anyone could have. It gave me that chance to recoup and energize after a crazy first week. Fourth of July came and went faster than you could say FIREWORK, which in fact the kids did sing at the spot we watch the Minoqua fireworks. That night also marked a large event in my life, the first time I ever drove a camp van.
 I had waited 10 years to get behind the wheel of one of those white mammoths of a vehicle and finally I had the chance, on one of the craziest traffic nights in town. Needless to say, it went well and I've driven the vans a few times since then. In camp, things got crazy! I am happy to announce that my activity, ComedySportz has really been up and booming. After two overflowing periods of kids, it can be hard to find games for these kids to play. On a "deeper" note, I think it's hard to keep things fresh in general, especially when things can get sort of monotonous. Speaking of things being repetitive, last year I was lucky enough to be an advisor for a U.N. day team. On U.N. day, the camp is divided into four different countries, each with it's own advisor. I was the country of Wales, and after a close call, we won! So, this summer I had the chance to go for the repeat, which hadn't happened for decades here at camp. We changed that. Wales in fact repeated, by only 2 points, but that just means we'll have to come back and try for the threepeat next year. Visitors weekend came and went and I had a lovely time with my parents. This is their eighth time making the trip up to the Northwoods, and they seem to love it every time. It really is something special when my brother and I are able to share what we love about camp with them for a weekend. But before long, they left and the a whole new group of kids was arriving. Since then, second session has been off and running faster than first and the end of summer is approaching. Soon enough I'll be back in Boston getting ready for auditions and decorating my apartment. 
For the deeper part of my blog this week, I had a hard time thinking of what to write about. Last night, at campfire, one of the CITs talked about pushing your limits and boundaries, and it got me thinking. What have I done this summer that has helped me grow and learn something new. Off the top of my head I couldn't think of anything but when I really sat down and looked at this summer I realized that I had done more than initially thought. What a concept, doing something you don't want to do, or something you don't think you can do, to intentionally learn something or grow in some way. Is that possible? I'm not sure. I think that as people we only grow and mature from situations and incidents when we look back on them and make a realization. Often times, we don't even make that realization and we still grow. I guess it's sort of connected to the idea that everything happens for a reason. Everything we do in life, we learn from. Thus, everything, every person, every problem, every good time, every bad time, every moment is in our lives to teach us a lesson, whether we know it or not. That's why I truly try not to live with regrets. Regret, for me, means I learned nothing from a situation, and that's pretty much pointless. So as my summer continues up here in the Northwoods amongst the trees, I will be like a tree and grow as much as I can. I encourage you to do the same. 
I apologize if this hasn't been my most extensive post or the most intellectual but I've been around 15 year olds for like 7 weeks now so you can't blame me. Either way, I hope you're having an incredible summer and I'll do my best to post again next week, hopefully with something a little bit better. 


All that with a splash of gratitude,
Matt

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Summer Nights #1: 10 Years Later

>> Friday, June 17, 2011

I've decided I will no longer state that it's been a long time since I last posted. This is due to the fact that it now typically takes me 2 to 3 weeks to post again, so it's sort of a norm at this point. I've been up at camp now for approximately 13 days and they've already been some of the best of the year. Between the nights off, the campfire, the reunions, the new faces, the late nights, and the failed work-out plans...it's been pretty darn fun so far. Tonight I'm sitting in the lodge with my laptop, browsing facebook, and tuning out the unimportant arguments about sports teams that I know nothing about. It's funny, but 10 years ago I would have never expected to be where am at this moment. 10 years ago today I was probably sitting in my bed crying because I was overflowing with a multitude of emotions; excitement, nervous, pumped, scared, maybe a little homesick already too. It turned out to be the summer of my life and I can distinctly remember thinking, "I want to be a ten-year one day." I never thought it could actually happen, I never thought this day would come, but the years flew by and now I'm a senior counselor, driving boats and vans, directing my own activity, and trying to be for these kids what so many counselors were for me; the best role-model and friend a kid could ask for. As a 10 year old boy I looked up to every one who was literally looking down at me. The tall kids were always cooler and an example of how I should act. I wasn't thinking that exactly, but it's important to note that kids truly watch their "superiors" actions and model their own behavior from that. There are cheers and songs and camp things that I know and do because I watched the older kids do them. With that in the back of my head, I try hard to be aware of what I'm doing and saying because the truth is, someone is always watching.
As a fluid transition should be, I will now relate my last night to my next remarks. I struggled in high school, more as a junior and senior with the fact that I felt as if I was always under a microscope. I've learned that high school can do that to you. High school is some of the deepest trenches that you'll fight in. The kids can be semi-evil and judgmental...and actually plain mental too. It's not exactly peer pressure, but it's a type of force that you feel when you walk down the halls and eat lunch in the cafeteria. I guess I exposed myself to this sort of feelings because I was putting myself in front of the school, more often than not. I was constantly in shows and assemblies, but it felt like I was always performing. I had to put on a front, a sort of mask, when I was in school to come off like I was always happy and feeling pleasant. For those who were my close friends in high school, they knew that wasn't true. That mask was wearing me down and eventually led to a minor breakdown in the parking lot at 10PM after a dress rehearsal. I'll be the first to admit that I am a dramatic kid, but this was something else. I was alone in my car crying because for the first time, I felt like I had a moment of reality. I didn't have to pretend or fake or smile or even sit in silence, I just cried. From that point on, I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to let this wear me down anymore. This was the beginning of a long learning process that I'm still in. It was the first time the idea came to me that I didn't have to associate myself with the people who didn't like me. That was the most basic form of it. It's slowly evolved into something slightly deeper, but the concept is the same. So, here it is:
The truth is, and I really believe this, people do not change. They grow, the mature, they learn, and they act based on those things and more, but deep down, they don't change( This does not mean people can't change the way they behave or act.) Over the past three years, I've had some of my highest highs and my lowest lows. There are people who have been through it all with me and have stayed by my side and made sure that I kept my head on straight always. Those people are my friends. There are people who have picked me up and dusted me off and gave me the push I needed to move on from whatever I was stuck in. Those people are my friends. There are people who have given me tough love and kept me thinking about the big picture in times when I was focused on the little stuff. Those people are my friends. Then, there are people who make me feel inferior and victimized, always wrong and never right, small, unimportant, stupid, embarrassing, pointless, dumb, unattractive, rude, mean, evil, boring, bad, one dimensional and what I think, say, or do doesn't matter. Those people are NOT my friends. It's not worth it when there are so many people who make me feel good and happy with who I am and what I do or say. That's not to say people are perfect, but the majority of the time it shouldn't be a "make fun of Matt-fest." I've definitely digressed slightly, but I think that I got my point across. 
Needless to say, the people here, for the most part, are my friends. I am one gosh darn lucky dude to be at a place like this, and to say that I've been here for 10 years. So, the campers arrive in 2 days and then the summer really begins. I'm ready, at least I think am. But, who knows what the summer holds for me, no matter what though, I'm excited for all it. 

All that with a splash of gratitude.
<3 Matt

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I'm Not Waiting (to post anymore)

>> Thursday, May 19, 2011


Once again I'll start by saying, it's been a while. This time it was a long while. Unfortunately I don't have many subscribers and the people who do read this are either busy with finals or probably have forgotten this blog exists, yet I still feel the urge to write again. I feel like giving you a summary of what's been going on in my life the past month or so is somewhat pointless because there's really too much to cover. What I can say is that I have grown, learned, and listened so much more than ever, in the past 30 days or so.
PEOPLE
The human is an interesting thing. I've heard someone say once, "humans are like animals that take things personally." I remember saying something along the lines of, "amen." I guess it's true. Like animals we learn from experience. We don't wake up knowing how to sit or shut up or poop in the proper place or listen or learn (you get the idea.) We learn from the things around us and suddenly they are in us without any effort, sometimes. Often, you don't know why you do a certain thing or feel a certain way, it's just what you do! We have adapted and molded ourselves based on things outside ourselves. The number of people I've encountered personally with in the last 4 weeks is more than you could fit on the largest cruise ship in the world, and it's because I opened myself up. I took a leap of faith and decided to let people into my life and hopefully let me into theirs. The results were staggering. First off I figured out that some things are better unsaid, and some things aren't. Most of the time, people would rather tell you their issues than hear yours, but there are those out there who actually want to listen. I think I am one of those people on occasion, but I am defiantly guilty of hogging what I call "The Pity Light" which is a cross between the spot light and a pity party. So, I am working on that every day, hopefully I'm making some improvement. The other major thing I came to see is that often times we can learn more from those we hate than those we love. I realize I use the word hate sort-of loosely, but someone said to me recently, "find what you don't like about the people you don't like and then take a look in the mirror, I bet you'll learn something." 
LOVE
Love is probably the most powerful beast out there. After one of my exams, my teacher said to me, "keep doing what you love, and spread and carry the love around with you every day, we all need it." It hit me that I was doing what I love. I was at school for something that I truly loved to do. I had thought about it, maybe ever and I suddenly awoke to the fact that I had spent all year doing something and dedicating myself to something that I love. That's one type; love for something we do. I recently was asked by someone, "Do you love me? Like really love me?" I wasn't sure how to respond. I guess I had once again thrown the word around loosely and hadn't thought about what it really meant. I ended up seeing that I loved this person, but I wasn't in love. I think there is fine line between the two; to love someone means to really care about them on a level deeper than friendship, to be in love with someone...I haven't figured it out yet. I'll get there, and I can't wait to see whose there with me. Which sort of ties into this next one.
WAITING
A word that many theatre majors have become familiar with. But I'm talking about the other kind, the kind that eats away at your insides and makes you wish for things that we don't have. I looked back on my year and saw in some ways, someone who was taking control of the things that he wanted to do and got stuff done when he needed to get it done, and in some ways I saw someone who was waiting for #1: things to happen to him, #2: things to come to him, #3: things that were gonna take him away. What was I waiting for? I don't regret anything, I try not to, so I don't regret the things I have and haven't done this year, but now I see why I got frustrated sometimes. I was waiting for things that either weren't coming or weren't going to come unless I started the ball rolling or furthermore took matters into my own hands. I think this is something that a lot of us do without realizing it. I sang a song called "I'm not waiting" in my spring voice recital, and that's what got this whole idea in my head.

I have a lot more things to talk about like movies, and home and such so I could go on forever and I'm sure I'll be posting some more stuff soon but I thought I'd share this idea with you. My Dad began sending me ideas and quotes that someone sent to him or he came across online or read in a book or whatever, and I told to keep doing it! They are all really good, but some have stuck with me and this is one. It's an idea that I have been embracing and trying to think about more lately. It's simple but important:

Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.
How someone treats you is their Karma, how you respond is yours.

all this with a splash of gratitude,
Matt


I'd also like to add a special note here for one of the most amazing people I've ever met: Gavin. 
You are so strong and so loved and never forget that. Though these past weeks have been hard for you, just know that there are so many people out there who are beyond grateful for having you in their life. Me being one. All my love to you and your family <3

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Happiness

>> Monday, April 18, 2011

Whilst stumbling the internet I came across some quotes and pictures that I fell in love with. At first I was unsure where to post them or whatever, but I have realized that I don't need to make yet ANOTHER website for these things I find, that's what my blog is for! So I have a feeling that not only will be blogging about my life, but I'll also be posting stuff, like this here too! This quote in particular is pretty much what my whole theory is. Gratitude for what we have.

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Spring Cleaning, Spring Cleansing

>> Sunday, April 10, 2011

As the quote goes, "Today is today, the sun is shining, the tank is clean...(GASP) THE TANK IS CLEAN!" You heard right, the sun is in fact shining and suddenly the weather has started to resemble that of Spring. With this past weekend sitting at around 62 as an average, it was prime time to get out and see the city. Not to mention, the "tank is clean" too! As you probably have noticed I've changed the name and URL of my blog to: A Splash Of Gratitude. All of my old posts are still here, so it's essentially the same thing. So, in changing my blog header and name, I cleaned my room as well. I folded all my laundry, hung up all the hangable articles, and reorganized some things so that the sun could shine in my area a little bit more. When I woke up yesterday morning, I had no clue what was in store. My friend Tia and I decided that we would take the mile and a half walk to the boston commons. The commons are this GIANT green area in the center of the city that consist of paths, ponds, kids, trees, sort of like a more open version of central park. On our hike, we discovered what may have been the cutest thing I have ever seen. 

  • Little boy in little gray sweatshirt just walking along in between his parents: cute points - 1. 
  • The parents are these totally trendy sort of artsy people, down to earth looking: cute points -2
  • We overhear a game of "I Spy": cute points - 3
  • The little boy says "I spy something pretty." Mommy says, "Is it Daddy?" "Noooo" he replies, "Is it Cooper" (which we assumed was his name) "Nooooo" he says again. Then Daddy says, "It is mommy?" and the little boy says, "YES!!!": cute points: 2 trillion
That innocence is so infectious and can literally change the course of your day. There are times when I miss having that sort of playful loving mind, and I wish I could go back there, but I realize that I had that, and sometimes we all still do. It just means we have to cherish those innocent moments we have more. The other day I was telling another friend of mine that I missed Orientation week so much. We all loved each other, it was all ahead of us, and we had no clue what was coming. I guess looking back I think I appreciate it more than I miss it. Now we've all already grown and learned so much that I would never REALLY want to go back to that. But, I can look back and say, that was amazing and I loved every second. That's a splash of gratitude if you ask me. I will say, I didn't want to turn back once we had reached to commons. I had never really been there, I had seen it a bunch of times, but never sat down or walked around and explored, and boy was I missing out. With the sun and the music from the people playing in the park, the birds (except the pigeons), the sky, the air, the trees, the water, the grass, EVERYTHING was beautiful and we just sat and soaked it all in. After sitting, then walking for a bit, we decided to take a trip down a street neither of us had been before, Commonwealth Ave. It's lined with trees down the center, and the brownstones on either side or more than magnificent. We eventually turned towards the river and went to a favorite spot of ours known as "The Docks". It's not REALLY a dock, its more like a wood platform built out from the land that we all lay on and sit and just relax and take in the sun. And that's exactly what we did. Tia and I actually fell asleep for about 40 minutes listening to Jason Mraz in the sun. We awoke with the realization that the breeze was picking up, we proceeded back to the dorms and rested until the evening was upon us. 
We headed over, with Gavin, another close friend, to a favorite dining spot: Cafeteria. Not THE cafeteria, that's the name of the restaurant. Dinner was lovely, and we laughed our butts off, and then Tia went on her way to Harvard with some girls to meet straight boys, and Gavin and I, along with another friend, Amos, went to this place that Gavin had been DYING to take me to. He calls it "The Spot" and that's pretty much what it is. We got off the train at a random stop that he knew, and as we traveled up the escalator back to ground level, we saw a skyline emerging. It was the boston skyline, clear as a crystal. The sky was empty you could see every window in Boston. I sat back and realized where I was, where I had been all day. I was in space. I as close to the stars as I could get. I was living and breathing, and I was so beyond grateful. Nothing else mattered at that moment. 
None of the petty drama, the exhaustion from the school year, the homesickness, the judgements, the people, none of it mattered. I was standing in the middle of space. Gavin made a good point in saying that it was nothing even compared to the Chicago skyline, but I told him that it was more about stepping outside and looking in. The three of us realized that we had been living in that cluster of lights and buildings, and we had never really gotten the chance to see it from the outside. And that was it, I knew that I was in "No Man's Land." I had finally reached it. If you read my last blog, I wrote about it, so go catch up. But I have to say that at the moment I took a deep breath in a felt so free. There was so much I didn't know, and so much I was going to know, and even more that I wasn't going to know and it was all ok. We were just standing and looking, sort of at ourselves. I knew then that I needed to change the title of my blog, and start explaining that even though there are so many things that suck, and it's unrealistic to forget about them all, there is always SOMETHING to be grateful for. Big or small. When we got home, we just relaxed for a few hours and then headed to bed. 
Today was a different story. This morning I awoke to the sound of my alarm that read; SGA Aquarium. I replied loudly "OH S*$&" Today I was taking a trip the aquarium (for free) with the Student Government Association I was a part of. I hopped up, got in the shower, ran to Starbucks for a muffin and tea, and then met everyone in the student center. By some lucky chance, not everyone showed up so we were able to have lunch for free at the Aquarium. I don't really want to say anything cheesy about the fish, so I'll refrain. But, I will say that it was cool to be there and be able to cross that off my list of things to do in Boston. 
After we had walked around the entire Aquarium and admired the penguins with childlike innocence, we decided we would walk back to school because it was so nice outside. The walk from the Aquarium is about 40 minutes and is 2.25 miles. I should mention that at this point it was four of us, just wanted to make sure you didn't think it was like 15 people, there were only four now. So as we began our trek, Elyse mentioned that she had never been to the north end, we saw I sign with an arrow and decided to go for it, we had no where to be in a rush. We walked a little bit out of the way to Mikes Pastries, a Boston staple. We didn't end up buying anything but Elyse was excited that she got the chance to see it. 
We started walking back towards the school, and we ended up stopping at 2 old graveyards that seemed to have some tourist appeal and realized we were visiting the graves of some of the most important people in American history. Such as, John Hancock, Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and John Winthrop. We knew that we would have never even had the chance to see these, if we hadn't decided to walk. So we kept on our way and passed the commons on our path and noticed music and tents that were in the center court of the commons. We ventured in and realized that it was greek festival, WHICH was fully equipped with parade! Of course we stopped and watched the parade for a bit before continuing on and discovering a game of quiddich that was taking place. This is not a joke. There were 2 teams of college kids playing full fledged quiddich with brooms and all. At the utter shock we stopped and watched a little before continuing back to the school where I proceeded to clean like I explained before. Reflecting on the day, it's crazy to think that all of these major bostonian things were all so close and I had never even taken the time to go out and explore. 

This weekend was a definite cleansing for me, I was able to step outside of my environment and then immerse myself in the deep culture more than ever. There are a lot of things that suck, and are downers, and can turn your day for the worst, and to say that being grateful makes all that go away is crazy. But, I do know that every once in a while I need a reminder of how lucky I am, and really how lucky we all are that we're breathing and living and loving. This weekend was probably one of, if not THE, best weekend i've had in boston yet. Not too bad for 48 hours.


all that with a splash of gratitude,

Matt


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No Man's Land

>> Monday, April 4, 2011

Before anything else, I need to apologize for my long absence the past few weeks. But, I'm back by popular demand, and I have a lot to say. To be honest, I have been struggling the past few weeks with a few things that have been going on in my life and on my mind lately. I'm not sure where to start. The first thing I'll say is that, above all, I am happy. 
"I wrote a song for the geese"

I am content. I have realized, more than ever, that I'm in the right place. There is this sort of indescribable energy surrounding this school and this city that is irreplaceable. In addition, I have recently become close with a few kids who have become my main support system. These kids understand me, they get me, they are caring, and more than anything they are open; which is what I really wanted to write about. I have been searching for this openness, this feeling of ultimate vulnerability that gives me the chance to just let everything in. Everything good, bad, ugly, gorgeous, inspiring, upsetting, every single thing. This has been the main source of my "stress" because I have been working to really find that place, but it's ultimately some place inside of me. So, what does all of this really mean. It means that lately I've felt closed off, and second I've noticed how closed off people have been. I made it my goal to just open up. In acting class, I was in a scene last week and we played with this idea of standing in "no man's land." Which, in laymen's terms is like standing in an area of the stage or scene where there is nothing around you, physically. But I was more interested in the mental trip to no man's land. I started by thinking about what takes an actor OUT of this scary "no man's land" and realized that it's furniture. It's things, physical touchable things that we are sort of magnetized to. Mentally, I believe, the equivalent is stable things. Things we KNOW that we KNOW. I've talked about it before, but it's that need for stability in our lives. So, my task was to journey away from the stable and see if I could open up, and ultimately, what would happen if I did. I can't say that there has been like specific moments that I've opened up myself or whatever, but I have taken certain things in. This journey sort of began when I, on a whim, decided to take a trip to NYC with some friends for my birthday. Literally, this was a last minute thing. Normally, I would have said "no way jose" because we really didn't have a plan. All I knew was that I was going to see 2 shows, and that we'd have to student rush both (most likely). The bus for NY left at 6 and we were at the bus gate by 550 - sort of a close call. On the four hour bus ride, I decided it would be a good idea to watch a movie on Netflix on my phone. Wrong. My phone battery was at about 20% when we reached the city. So I realized that my day would most likely be phone free, and that's when everything sort of started. 

"New York is NUTS"
The only stable thing I had was my wallet and my head, other than that, I had no phone, no clue where I was, what I was seeing, or what would happen next. This proved to be quite the challenge for me, the control freak. But, I knew that it would be the precise opportunity to take in my surroundings. I realized, more than anything that day, that New York is NUTS. We spent most of our day between 40th and 50th and times square and such, which, if you don't know, is crazy! I was overwhelmed by the amount of people and the hustle and bustle of the city. And though it was insane and I felt as if the world was crashing down at moments, I still had made a realization; that truthfully, I wasn't cut out for this "go by the seat of your pants" thing and that the hustle and bustle, as much as I wanted it to be, wasn't really my thing. Like I said, I knew that the things I was taking in didn't have to be beautiful or amazing, I just had to take in what I was taking in without restructure or judgement. So, when the trip was finally over and I returned to my humble abode this is Boston, I realized how much I love this city. Aside from the snow, and the cold, and the rain, this city is so me. It's quiet and yet has this energy that is indescribable. This past weekend I had the chance to take in the city and the stuff around me for real. The sun was shining and the sky was blue and I sat outside with friends for two days and just played guitar, and made music. In fact, I even wrote a song about Geese. Funny story, but I was sitting at this pond right near our school and some geese swam right up to the edge where I was playing. When I stopped, they swam away, and so I started playing again, and as crazy as it sounds that sat and listened. So, I wrote a song for them, and who knows if I'll ever share it with the world, but it was fun while it lasted. So aside from the funny and prettiness of this city, I noticed some other things that sort of threw me off. First of all, I get very overwhelmed by people...quite easily. I don't like small talk or dilly dallying. I guess I consider myself to be straight forward and to the point. So, when we were in a heated discussion in my liberal arts class last week, I wasn't afraid to state my opinion, which was different from some of the people in the class. The subject matter is sort of unimportant, but the point is that I was looking at things from a much more personal and "glass half full" perspective. I guess I sort of think it's a waste of time to be negative about the things around you, especially the things you can control. You have to be grateful for what you have, and what you don't have, and just live every second as best you can. I know this is a lot easier said than done, but I truly believe that it takes more effort to sit and judge the things around you, whether saying that someone is rude and being mean, or saying something sucks and you hate it, I just sort of think it's easier and more beneficial to just say, that sucked....now what's next. Life truly is a roller coaster and there's no point in focusing on the downs because eventually it's bound to go back up, so look forward to that. Now I'm not saying make lemonade out of lemons, I'm saying just look at the lemons and realize what they are, and look forward to the lemonade you'll get later. You can't control most things around you, but you can control how you perceive them. Just see it and know it's there, you don't have to love it or hate it. This probably sounds repetitive, or that I'm just crazy, but I truly believe that there are so many things people miss because they are so closed off from the things and life around them. 

"Be greatful for what you have"
And so, I will continue on my journey to openness and will continue to see everything as it is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but so is ugliness. I'm doing my best to stay in this "no man's land" and we'll see where it takes me. I sort of think this "no man's land" is true freedom. It's being free from the things that restrict you and hold you back. So, I guess you could say I am free. I've learned more from being in this place of freedom than I have almost any other place in my life. So as I continue to love, laugh, cry, stress, sigh, live, be, hear and see the world around me, I hope you can do the same. Thanks for everything you have taught me, and will teach me. I look forward to our future, whatever it may be.

-Matt


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Any Given Sunday

>> Sunday, March 6, 2011

Good morning from the sunny...cold....warm...mild...I have no clue what to call this weather, Boston. Today is Sunday, March 13th and I currently sitting at my desk, having just returned from a lovely brunch with two of my friends Tia and Alexis. This past week has been quite eventful, I think.  For those of you who don't know I am a part of the student government here at the boco, and I recently found out that part of my job is to be sort of second in command for Prom. Yes, we have BoCo Prom every year, and this year our theme is "BoCo's Bourbon Street Ball" (it's like mardi gras). So, I am currently hard at work on posters and booking things for that whole magilla. On Tuesday, I had the chance to go over to the hotel to look at the space and begin discussing details. I am very excited to be a part of something like this, and follow in my mother's footsteps! I'll keep you updated on things with that as I find out more. Later in the week I had the chance to go see a production of Cabaret in our black box theatre, directed by one of the seniors here. The show was, to say the least, brilliant. I cried my eyes out, and it reminded how big of a privilege it is to be at this school with such talented people. Then came pretty much my favorite part of the week, Friday. Not only was I excited for the week to be over, but I had scheduled a meeting with a client for a poster she needed. This student is producing a musical version of the award winning novel, The Lovely Bones. This project should be really exciting and inspired me to start what I'm calling my design blog. You can check it out at: www.mattsbackupplan.blogspot.com. So, I titled it, Matt's Back-Up Plan because well, god forbid I'm not a broadway star, I have something to fall back on! So I've almost all of the work I've done, and I'll get to writing about all of them soon, but for now you can see some of the things I've been working on! This sort of leads in to what I will call me deeper portion this week.
Being at a conservatory, a lot of people think that you are really limited to what you can do, in terms of like personal preference or freedom or whatever. What's important to note is that, yes, we do have a very strict curriculum and our classes are sort of mapped out for us, which can either be seen as a positive or negative, but beyond that there's a lot of freedom in what you do with the rest of your time. Classes go from about 9 to 5 or 6 depending, and after that, unless you're in rehearsal, the time is yours. As soon as I arrived at school, I knew that I needed to get myself out there, if I wanted to have a "well-rounded" college experience where I was learning as much as I possibly could. So, I started by finding a job that I thought could teach me things I couldn't learn in a class at school. Now, I work about 5 hours a week as a techie for the mainstage theater, and as a result, by the end of this year, I'll be able to add two shows I programed lights for, and one I designed lights for to my resume. Beyond that, I became extremely interested in really putting my design skills to the test. I began designing things for the student government here, which led to getting a position on the executive board, and consequently, a student and faculty board. With that, I volunteered to start doing posters and advertisements for shows and clubs. Now, I am getting paid to design posters, which is something I love to do. The point of all this is, school and I guess life in general is what you make of it. You are the controller of your own destiny. Each and every person has something special about them, but if you just go about your daily life playing by the rules and going through the motions, you won't learn nearly as much as the people who are going above and beyond to make an impact. Life is too short to just take things as they come, if you want something, you have to go out and get it. Additionally, you have to work for it. There a catch though. You can't take all this and then step on everyone else to get what you want, and you can't make it obvious that you're working harder than everyone else. What's more admirable is to feed off the people around you. Live in the moment and take what you are getting from the things you see and hear and feel. This sort of ties in with going with the flow, something I work on every day. Naturally, I am control freak and a person who likes to know everything that's going on, I made it a goal for myself to just sit back and enjoy the ride, all the while working for the things that I want. I have goals and wants and needs like everybody else, but you have to be able to see the importance of each one and measure if it's worth going for or even fighting for. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's simply not. I realize, once again, I have ranted for a while, so I'm sorry for taking up your time, but thanks for reading nonetheless. 
7 days from now I'll be home with my family getting ready to start a week at home which will surely include Go Roma, sleepovers, Once Upon, the rink, TV, steak, McDonalds with Joey, and plenty of other things that I can't even begin to imagine. Which is sort of the beauty of it. Why worry about what's coming when today's not even over (I'll say it a million times if I have to.) For those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning, I just want to say thank you for everything. It means more to mean than you could ever know. Stay cool peeps. Talk to you soon!


Much Love,
Matt


P.S. IT"S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH!

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Tonight, Tonight

>> Saturday, February 26, 2011

Today was, for those of you who don't know, the opening and closing day of the show that I was a part of this semester. I've talked about it a few times here, but essentially it's a cabaret consisting of numbers that are miscast. So, songs were gender bended (is that a word?), rearranged, all sorts of fun and fierce stuff. We had two official shows this evening, in fact I just returned from one of them! The two shows went over really well and we raised over $500 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which is really exciting. I was so honored to be a part of such an amazing group of people who are not only talented, but caring and loving people. It was a blast to put together, and even more fun to perform. I'm sure I'll be posting videos of the show on here soon! As of right this moment, I am writing this blog while getting dressed and taking a breath before our cast party, which should prove to be quite epic. Though, my voice is pretty much shot after belting everything this past week. Luckily, there's nothing big coming up and my voice is not shot for good so it should take a day to recover. Other than that, I just need to give a shout out to everyone in the cast and production team...so there it is.


As for the deeper part of this blog post, I had the opportunity last week to take a trip to the hospital with a friend who was having some issues. Luckily, everything is ok now, but this whole experience got me thinking. Beyond that, this week has been crazy stressful and there are things that I almost committed to doing that I shouldn't have even thought about. What I'm getting at is that sometimes as people we have to step back and admit that we, ourselves, are not the best choice or option to handle a situation. Human nature often overrules this common sense and makes our minds believe that we can be a hero in that moment. What truly is a hero? A hero is sometimes someone dressed in a silly costume flying around killing cartoon monsters, it's sometimes a person who wins against all odds and shows extreme amounts of courage and bravery, and sometimes its person who is able to "save the day" even if they're not the one to actually physically do it. The pat on the head is an amazing feeling no doubt, but it feels better inside to see someone happy, someone better, something solved and problems ceased, especially when you know that you enabled it to happen. Though, we can't confuse the word enable for something it's not. Enabling is sort of connected to this whole thing in that we often times feel the need to be the hero for someone else's problems. Thus, people begin to rely on others for almost everything, instead of being able to solve problems themselves. This act of enabling is something we often don't recognize until after the fact. And that's a great time to do it because then it's possible to learn from the things you've done. Keyword - YOU've done. You are in more control than you think you are, and you are the only person who can make decisions for you. There is only ONE constant in your life, and that is you. As hard of an idea is that is to grasp, it's important nonetheless. I talked about in the last post, but to expand, as people we can only rely on one person to be there the rest of our lives and that's ourselves. So, with that, don't rely on others to solve your problems. Take some initiative and try to do it yourself, but also, be able to realize when you need help from someone who knows what to do, not a friend who will do what you want. This sounds really hard, and somewhat complicated, and unfortunately it is, but it all happens in a matter of moments. It's a decision you make on the fly. So, keep it in the back of your mind. (Did that rhyme)


Sorry for digressing a bit, but now I'm off to party hardy with the cast and team of miscast. I am nervous, yet excited to see what the night holds.


All my love,

Matt

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Drink With Me

>> Monday, February 21, 2011

It's been almost a month since my last post, and I finally have the time to sit down and just write. Truthfully there's no way I could tell you everything that's been happening, so I'll pick out the good stuff and give you that. To start, when last I was in blog world I made two video-blogs (vlogs) which went over quite well. I thought about doing this one as a vlog, but decided there was too much ground to cover. Though, I have to give kudos to my brother Joey for helping me out. He had some great ideas which eventually formed into what the second video blog is. If I'm not mistaken, that took place during Tech weekend of Hansel & Gretel, the opera in which I was running the light board for. If you didn't know, I recently learned how to program the board and have since become a board operator here at school. In fact, something no one really knows yet, is that not only will I be programming the board for a lighting designer in our Tommy, one of our mainstage productions, I recently found out that I'm going to be doing a large portion of the actual lighting design for the freshman revue. I could not deliver this news with a more happy refrain. As soon as I arrived at school, it was a goal of mine to be able to design a show on the mainstage by the time I graduate, which was something that was very far out of reach because most of the time the school hires lighting designers from outside. Freshman revue, however hectic, will truly be a dream come true for me. I'll be performing and designing the show, so I can't wait to get started with all that. 
I also found out that I am going to have the opportunity to perform in a benefit cabaret called "miscast". It's essentially a cast of 12 or so kids performing songs and numbers that they could never perform in shows. Opposite sex, gender, race, type, all that stuff. The rehearsals have been fun to say the least, and I'm looking forward to our performances this weekend. In the show, I'm in a number of trios and group songs like "She's In Love" from The Little Mermaid, as well as an acoustic disney princess medley with 4 other boys. I'm sure they'll be videos to see, so keep your eyes peeled. I was lucky enough to have my mom come out to boston to visit me and my uncle, who was in Rhode Island at the time, and have her watch some rehearsals. If you ask anyone who's a performer, rehearsals are of course fun, but they are work, it's like a job. To see my mom sit in a room and smile at just the thought of hearing us sing is something that I hold close to my heart. It makes me happy to see how happy she gets when she's sitting in a simple rehearsal that we sort of take for granted. She was really blown away by the talent, and we were marking! Truthfully, every time she comes she's blown away, but she told me it was like all the leads from Glenbrook Musicals had come together and formed these people that were "fierce" as she would say. We had an amazing time driving around, sitting around, walking around, and just hanging around boston for a few days. I even got to stay in the hotel with her! 
The highlight of the trip had to be BoCo's annual Drag Show which she insisted on seeing. I have to admit I was fairly hesitant because it's not every day that your date to the show where all the boys are dressing up as women, is your mom. Nevertheless, we went and had an amazing time. She also, while visiting, had the chance to see the apartment that I am hoping to live in next year. It's currently occupied by a BoCo senior, but I can't give away any details or pictures until the deal is done. As soon as it happens, I'll be sure to post pictures and all that! To be honest, I think that's the most exciting things that have happened in the past 3 weeks. I've been working hard on posters and logos, freelance and now that I am officially apart of the student government here at school, I've been doing their stuff too. 
With all this going on, I have had some time to reflect on things and look at the big picture. Coming back to school was in fact very difficult for me. The adjustment back in to college life was harder than expected. I am more than happy to be here, of course, but sometimes your mind has a chance to slip back in to home mode, and you realize how much you left behind coming here. But that was revelation I made, I hadn't truly left anything behind. Everything that has happened up till now, is a large part of who I am. I am 18 years old for gosh sakes! I don't need to be worrying about the rest of my life when today's not even over. I realize I've said that before, but it's so important to know. With every day comes new opportunities, and new challenges, and new likes and gripes, and it's all part of it. There's been this terrible flu like thing sweeping school and I was working so hard not to get it, but even with all my efforts, I did attain the virus, the plague some are calling it. I was lucky enough not to have an awful case of it, but I still had to miss about a day of school. As much it sucked sitting in bed all day looking outside at the 50 degree weather and wishing I was out there, I knew that tomorrow was a new day. In fact, that next day I ended up helping out the Musical Theatre auditions and meeting a ton of extremely cool people. As corny or cheesy as it sounds, I have to sit back and say that I had no clue Friday morning, that Saturday not only would I be meeting prospective students, I'd be seeing the Justin Bieber movie with two of my lovely friends.
(If you didn't know I'm a huge Bieber fan!) No one can predict what tomorrow, or even today will bring. Embrace it all. Let the people around you continue to inspire and challenge and fuel every emotion conjured up in that chamber that we call our hearts. We are stronger and in more control than we think. A good friend once told me that we can only feel comfortable with others, once we are comfortable with ourselves. That doesn't necessarily mean like your sexuality, or political opinions, it means being comfortable with hanging out with you. Yourself. He gave me the advice to take some time for me and do something I loved. So I whipped out my guitar, and it felt better than I could have ever imagined it. That's not to say that now I am all comfortable with me, and I can live happily ever after. We are all a work in progress, always. For every single action we take there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you give, you will get. And if not today, than maybe tomorrow, or maybe in while, but you will get. So I'm going to keep on giving and soak in every little thing I get. The people who give to me, mean more than they know and have a really special place in my heard. You know who you are, and if you don't than you'll know by the fact that when I say I love you, I truly mean it. 
I realize now how long this post is probably going to seem, and how I sort of just ranted for a while, but hey, it felt good. And, if you don't want to read it, you don't have to! Thus, you have reached the end, and have read the whole thing, or at least skimmed it. Whatever works. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read about my life, which sounds sort of odd. Before I go, I will send my love to all my friends back at home and in colleges and cities around the country, because now more than ever, I realize how important each and every one of you is. Thanks for everything so far, and here's to many more (I raise my bottle of smart water to you). 

Cheers mate.

Matt

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Matt's Video Blog #2

>> Saturday, January 29, 2011

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Matt's Video Blog #1

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Easy as Life

>> Monday, January 17, 2011


Sorry it's been so long since I last posted this week was unexpectedly busy. Saturday was a fun-filled day starting with a 3 hour brunch lunch with some old camp friends. I don't think any of us planned on sitting in Cosi for 3 hours and telling camp stories, but that's what happens sometimes...I guess. It's always nice to be able to talk to people who you don't see very often and maybe even don't talk to much. Camp, as some of you know, is like my home away from home (it's my 10th time going back in fact!) and the people there have become almost family for me. Some of them know me better than I know myself and I know that I can always call or text or whatever someone from camp if I need help with anything. They're always there, and there's a lot of them too! So, shout out to Jake, Colby, and Aaron for making my Saturday afternoon a blast. What a cheesy word. "Blast!" Who thought it would be a good idea to substitute "Blast" for "fun" or something. Who knows. And if you thought my Saturday couldn't get better, it did, in a BIG way. 
I had a once in a lifetime (or once every time I'm home) opportunity to join my Mom and making some Jewish parent's dream come true. Their son's Bar-Mitzvah party. "Ben's Field of Dreams" was a hit and much in part to the hard work of my mother and her crew (aka me and JB). The party, of course, has some bumps, but not enough to keep my mom from dancing a little bit (she could have been a Solid Gold dancer...for those of you who have any idea what that is). But seriously, my mom is amazing at what she does. It's astounding to me that she has only been doing this for a few years and now she is a big kahuna in the Bar-Mitzvah world. Much love Momma, you rock. 
Sunday was a little slower but that night was my cousin's birthday party. When I say birthday party I do not mean pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, dance around in circles, eat ice cream cake and watch home videos 10 years later and laugh birthday party. I mean the type where both sides of her family are there and we sit, watch football, and tell stories...not to mention the 5 children running around entertaining us. Needless to say, it was a fun night and it was the last chance to see my cousin Jordan before we both headed back to school. Miss you already Jord! Monday was uneventful and Tuesday I flew out to Arizona to visit some family. I spent just about 48 hours there, and I have to say that it was an amazing trip that I wish had been longer. This is partially do to the fact that the weather there was much better than at home or at school, but it more because I had the chance to really get to spend some one on one time with my amazing uncle Jon, wife Kate, daughter Maddy, and doggie Josie. 
Arizona
Chicago
We didn't do anything extremely exciting per-say, but that was not the point of me going. I was happy to sit at a table in the house with any of them for 2 hours and just talk. I figured out that you can learn a lot over just one cup of coffee, or one car ride. It meant a lot to me that they sort of let me sit in on their life for two days, and I cannot say how proud I am of my family. Now that I'm a mature adult (some may argue otherwise) I can really appreciate my family members for who they are and talk to them like I'm not a kid. The flights were quite easy and once I returned home I immediately had to start getting ready to head back to school. I spent my last days at home visiting with more friends and hanging out with family. Sunday, my flight back, was eventful to say the least. First off, my first flight was cancelled which resulted in me having to sit and watch the Bears game with my mother. Loud doesn't describe it. In case you didn't know, the players can hear her through the TV so it makes perfect sense that she yells at them like they are her players. After that, I headed back to the airport to give it a second go. This time I was successful in getting on to the plane, though I had no idea what I was in store for. First, the family sitting across from me thought it would be a good idea to bring their dog on the plane. I am semi-allergic and I'm sure the man sitting next to me got quite annoyed with my sneezing. Not to mention the crying child behind me who screamed almost the entire flight. Other than that, it was lovely. Once I landed in Boston I learned that people have an extreme craze about their baggage. I had no idea that the closer you stand to the luggage carousel, the faster YOUR luggage comes. After pushing my way through the hoards of people I got both my bags and hopped a cab back to the BoCo. Sometimes I forget that we live in old brownstones and that there are no elevators. Two bags, a guitar, and carry-on later, I was on my bed almost asleep when I was alerted that my friends were heading to the cafeteria for their evening meal. I decided to join them and enjoy my first meal back at school. It was, as always, lovely. I was exhausted by the end of the night and decided it would be a bad idea for me to go and party before I unpacked. So, I unpacked, and by the time that was done, I was just ready for bed. I hit the hay early but it was much needed. Today was wonderful in that I received a new iPhone and spent 2 hours at the apple store. I could have spent all day, but I had to resist. Now I'm back in the dorm relaxing, reading, web surfing, and figuring things out for later tonight. As more and more kids filter into school, I slowly am remembering why I loved this place so much. For this semester I plan on really appreciating every person and every moment because it's all quite precious. The things we learn now are the things that we'll use for the rest of our lives, but we don't have to worry about that today, because today's not even over. One at a time, it's important to keep everything in perspective. Break was four weeks over mental cleansing and detoxing, it's time to get back to doing what I love; learning about what I love. But with all that, we have to take it one day at a time. I hope that everyone had an amazing break from whatever you were doing, and if you didn't have one, take some time and watch a movie or eat ice cream or something. Rest your mind, everyone needs to sometimes, and don't plan on having a break tomorrow, today's not even over yet!

-Matt

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