Monday, August 04, 2008

Let's go exploring

Tomorrow morning we're flying to London, and then we fly to Singapore, and then we fly to an island in Thailand whose name I can never remember. We have the suitcases we need, and the thousands of pages of reading material, and all sorts of hygiene products in handy travel sizes. We have identification documents and flesh-colored wallets to wear around our necks to deter wily thieves. We have a new camera. We have bold plans and a lot of time. We have each other.

I've never taken a vacation for this long before. Hopefully the experiences of this trip will scrub my brain of the lingering stress of that charming little test I took last week. I'm excited to get away, but obviously L and I will be hustling our way into every internet cafe we can find to check on how the Olympians and the Democrats are doing with their respective moments in the sun. Nobody screw it up, please.

I've got some serious travel anxiety at the moment, but I'm trying to appreciate the pure excitement and unknown possibilities before us. Our trip is an unwritten book. And I love books! What could be better?

More to come in September.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Emergency mode

I finished the bar exam. It's over. The bar exam is past tense.

The last few days have been pretty rough, I can't lie. The night before the bar exam we decided to go see the new Batman flick, to relax. Unfortunately I didn't realize how dark and disconcerting the movie would be -- it made me really anxious, although it was a great flick. Then on the walk home we were walking by Stuyvesant Square Park, and I saw two men seeming to tussle over a cane or was odd but didn't seem serious. Then I saw a woman on the ground moaning, crying for help and for someone to call 911. Like any concerned New Yorker, I kept walking, but I did call 911, for the first time in my life. The woman on the other line asked me a million questions and made me give my name and number, which I didn't expect. I hung up but my cell phone was in self-proclaimed "Emergency Mode," which meant the ringer was up high and had a different, more urgent tone. The 911 people actually called me back a few moments later to get more information, as the sound of sirens in the distance drew closer. After that experience, I went home and tried to get ready for the first day of the bar exam. Here are notes from the three days:

Day 1: New York Essays.
Many, many people here: a lot of girls in workout clothes, and everyone seems to be wearing t-shirts from their law schools, which seems lame in a very basic but profound way. Happy to find that my seat is in the back, near the Men's Room. The essays are hard, but manageable. Several of them have issues or topics that I really sink my teeth into, which is nice. A woman behind me is shaking her box of Tic-Tacs like they're maracas -- give it a rest, Carmen Miranda. One of the essays doesn't really make sense -- I read it over and over to see what I'm missing, but the whole thing just seems askew. Shake it off. I walk home feeling angry and frustrated. Thirty minutes later I arrive home a sweaty wreck, am forced to change clothes immediately.

Day 2: Multistate Multiple Choice. Shit. Hot shit, this is hard. The exam is really tough, nothing like the practice tests. The questions they guaranteed would be on the test are not on the test. There are very few easy questions where I feel totally good. I always boil it down to two choices and then pick one seemingly at random. I feel like I have no knowledge in my head, and instead turn to animal instinct. I go through waves of fatigue and antsiness. In the mens' room there's a guy breathing heavily, because apparently he just vomited. On the plus side, Carmen Miranda is keeping it down today. Afterwards I walk home again filled with despair and self-loathing. Very sweaty at home. Am feeling exhausted, fatigued. My contact lenses have been in for too long, and I feel like I'm two days away from a head cold. Tonight L and I go to New Jersey, to stay at a Holiday Inn before the New Jersey test. This whole Jersey endeavor seems idiotic. When did we ever want to live in New Jersey? We eat dinner at a Chili's restaurant, and consider the path not taken.

Day 3: New Jersey Essays. The theme of the day: "fuck it." But wait a second! The first four essays are almost delightful in their clarity. I feel good moving through them. Lunch at Chipotle, which is $2 cheaper yet a lot saltier. The afternoon essays are a lot harder, and when I tackle the contracts essay I realize that all of the knowledge has leached out of my head. Oh well -- recall the day's theme: fuck it. Indeed. Hitch a ride back to the city with a friend. Go home to find a mass of balloons waiting in the dark kitchen -- my hearts skips two beats out of fear when I open the door. Go to the gym, go to the bar, to celebrate the end of the process. Couldn't really celebrate, but five Yeunglings helped.

I still feel pretty anxious about everything. I try to tell myself it's fine: I worked hard, I should have confidence, I went with my gut, and statistically, I am probably going to pass. But it's hard to let go of the anxiety, even though rationally I know there's nothing more I can do at this point. I just hope all the hard work of this summer was not for naught. The bright spot, though, was all the support I felt from everybody. I really appreciated the emails and comments and prayers and thoughts.

...And coming up on Tuesday: ASIA. What the hell?