When your distant cousin who you hardly even remember meeting offers to let you sleep on their couch for a weekend, you take it.
That’s the lesson I learned this weekend.
A few months ago, when family members from far and wide gathered in Houghton, Michigan to celebrate the incomparable life of my beloved Uncle Jim, I heard my mom say my name in conversation with someone else.
I turned around and shot my mom the I-know-you-were-talking-about-me look, expecting to hear an embarrassing story of when I was little or how nervous she was when I decided to go to Chicago for college.
“Mary, this is my cousin Ann Marie,” my mom said instead. “She wants you to come visit her in New York sometime.”
So I did.
I spent this past weekend alone in New York, taking in the typical tourist stops alongside the realities of being one of those lucky souls who actually gets to call it home. I traversed the city on my own, comparing it to Chicago and trying to mentally Photoshop myself into an apartment in Brooklyn or a newsroom in Manhattan sometime in the not-so-far future.
It helped that Ann Marie, her husband, two other semi-distant relatives and a friend from high school not-so-subtly implied I should move to New York upon graduation.
We’ll see about that.
But beyond the terrifying and exciting insight I gained from this trip, it was also just a lot of fun. At this point in my life — with graduation and impending unemployment breathing down my neck, the continuing emotional fallout of a colossal loss and the day-to-day stress of work and school — a trip on my own was exactly what I needed. Not to mention at 22, it’s about time I took a spontaneous weekend away.
Moral of the story: When someone offers to let you stay in their apartment, drink their coffee and eat their food, you should take it.
It may seem like an empty offer. It’s probably not.
I could tell Ann Marie and her family were genuinely glad to have me. We talked about travel, journalism, inequity, transportation, family traditions and of course Uncle Jim. I was just as enlightened and challenged by these conversations as I was by the equally daunting and exhilarating streets of New York.
It all comes down to taking the opportunities that come up and slap you in the face.
This week in news, Loyola officials warn against the coronavirus as Illinois has one confirmed case. On top of that, the Loyola graduate student union could experience yet another obstacle.
In sports, Loyolans join the rest of the sports community in mourning Kobe Bryant after his sudden death Sunday. A&E provides some context for the statues and structures Loyola students pass on the daily.
In opinion, The Phoenix Editorial Board calls on the public to remember those who lost their lives alongside Bryant, even though they weren’t as well-known or legendary as he was. Opinion Editor Adrian Nevarez explains why the Super Bowl should be an opportunity to make personal connections.