April 28, 2012

The Meaning Behind Today

There is something almost magical about getting up in the morning when everyone else is still sleeping.  It energizes and motivates me to be productive.  I feel like the entire day is ahead of me and there is so much I can do.  Each task, just waiting to be completed.  I create a master plan of what I'm going to do, where I'm going.  Often it doesn't work out, but that's not the point.  Simply having that internal drive to live and live well adds perspective to my day.  To make today meaningful and valuable.  To make a difference for someone somewhere somehow.  That is the goal of being alive.        

April 12, 2012

Expanding My Wardrobe

Lately, I tried out a couple of new ideas for me.  Specifically, I started wearing skirts and scarves.  It occured to me that skirts were not just for when I went to church on Sunday.  Suddenly, I had so many more options of what to wear.  I took that same idea and bought a sundress at Target.  I'm so excited to try out my new ideas this summer!

I now own four scarves.  I didn't used to like wearing them before because I didn't want to have to keep track of one once I went inside and took my coat off.  However, I would look at people around me and I realized that I could wear a scarf as part of my regular outfit and then I wouldn't have to carry it around.  So, I went out and got some.  I found this awesome video full of creative ways to tie a scarf:

Its very validating when you try out something new and it works and you effortlessly assimilate it into your life :)

April 7, 2012

Why are people so dumb?

The psychology department requires everyone in 100 and 200 level psych classes to participate in research studies.  The other day, I went to one and in the 20 minutes I was in the room someone stole my favorite set of colored pens out of my backpack.  I had put my backpack down on the floor by where I was sitting and we all went to the computers around the room to take a survey.  When I walked back, the pens were gone.  Sometimes, I don't understand people.

April 5, 2012

Realizations in Portugal

I sing in the Wellesley College Choir and we go on tour every year.  Every three years we have an international tour and this year we went to Portugal.  Over the course of a week we stayed in Porto and Lisbon and visited some of the the surrounding cities such as Coimbra, Sintra, and Cascais.  We were able to sing in a lot of really cool places and meet some really wonderful people.

Before we left, I was actually really nervous.  I had never been to Europe, had never flown in or out of the country, spoke zero Portuguese, was concerned about the jet lag, and had been warned quite a bit about pick-pockets, so naturally was very cautious/anxious about a group of American tourists walking around for a week.  At one point I almost wanted the week to be over so I could come back to Wellesley where I spoke the language and was comfortable.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved Portugal and how all of my fears quickly dissolved.  Portugal is beautiful and very real and very humble.  Nothing is overly big or ostentatious.  The only neon, LED or electronic signs were the small pharmacy signs.

Porto was my favorite place that we went.  It was right on the river and had the main squares with lots of shops but was surrounded by residential streets.  It just felt like real life as I walked down the streets.  Cars would be parked all along the cobblestone roads and on the curbs and laundry would be hanging from balconies and windows.  There was no pretentious facade.  Everybody just lived their life and did whatever that entailed.  One woman wore her bright pink fuzzy slippers to mass in the morning and sat on the front row.  She obviously was there for the service and didn't care what she looked like.  It was very refreshing.  with all the ceramic tiles that were everywhere.

My favorite part, however, was that almost every building had tiles all over it.  Sometimes the same painted pattern repeated itself on every tile.  However, some were all painted together to form one big mural.  They were gorgeous and everywhere! It was amazing to see the different patterns and pictures on each building.  It made the city so interesting and different from anything I had ever seen before.  From what I gathered, that is a feature unique to Porto.  No other place has as many tiles and on as many buildings as Porto.  It was so beautiful.  
We went on a river cruise which was really cool and took us under all the different bridges into Porto.  It was awesome to be on a boat and be singing songs just to sing them.  We sang at the Porto Cathedral in their Mass service, bought bread, fruit, and cookies (which all lasted us for days) at an open air market, and toured the Casa di Musica, the modern architecture symphony hall building that hosts a whole range of music performances, including baby concerts, rock bands, and community music events. 

By the end of the trip, I was done living out of a suitcase and performing every day, but I did not want to leave Portugal.  It was so awesome to be there and experience a different way of life.  Instead of the week going slowly, like I was afraid of, it went by really fast.  Nothing bad happened and everyone was able to get home successfully.  It was a great way to kick off the semester and the new year!      

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Today I received the following email from my French professor:

      I have been correcting your essays and I am appalled at the quality of 
      the work you gave me.  Many of you did not use a spell-check; many of 
      you did not check verbs, agreements, nouns, gender etc. We will discuss 
      this in class but I wanted to inform you in advance.  I know that you can 
     do much better.   

Nothing says Happy Valentine's Day quite like that.

February 9, 2012

A Chalkboard's Life Story

Have you ever thought about how much information a chalkboard or whiteboard shows?  Once we fill it up, we erase it and start over, but how many millions of lectures and discussions has a single chalkboard been a part of? If you could somehow quantify the amount of information that has ever been displayed on one whiteboard in one classroom, it could fill volumes, if not libraries.  It's kind of mind-blowing. 

January 25, 2012

An Extra Long Weekend

Today was the first day of classes for the new semester.  The first day of each class is always more exciting than the others.  You get a syllabus, get a feel for your professor, the material, the other students, and are almost never expected to be responsible for anything because its the first day.  So I was excited for today except that nothing was new.  I went to my French class, which is the 202 continuation of 201, in the same room, at the same time, with the same professor, using the same book, with most of the same students.  We shared what we did over winter break like we would share what we did any other weekend or break and then started talking about immigrants in chapter seven just like we would any other day.  Despite the small comfort of already knowing exactly how the class was going to be structured, it was still a little depressing. It was as if the past six weeks were only a weekend.

September 28, 2011

A Moment of Self-Actualization

The other day in my Personality Psychology class we talked about Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.  The most basic needs are at the bottom and as those needs are fulfilled, the individual can then devote time and energy to fulfilling the next level of needs.  For example, if someone is starving or homeless, he/she is not really concerned with being loved or maintaining self-esteem.  The very top of the pyramid is Self-Actualization.  This is when an individual realizes their full potential and desires to become the best that they can be.  Common characteristics of self-actualized people are:

  • spontaneity 
  • freshness of appreciation
  • acceptance and realism
  • external problem-solving
  • occurance of peak experiences
As I walked out of the class, I was so happy.  I had this overwhelming feeling that humanity is good and can do such great things. I had this great desire to be really nice to everyone I meet and make them all feel wonderful about themselves.  Something just clicked in my head and I stopped caring about little details that don't matter, like whether or not my earrings really match what I'm wearing or whether I'm wearing glasses or contacts.  I stopped caring about whether others liked the music on my iPod, as long as I liked it and it made me happy.  I detached myself a little from the cares and pulls of the world and focused just a tiny bit more on who I am and what made me happy.  I put this into practice for the rest of the day as I sat at a welcome table and made an effort to reach out to people and be friendly.  It felt so good to smile and get people to smile back. I was so grateful for this realization and for the step closer I was to becoming the person I want to be.   

August 16, 2011

Rain Boots

Shortly after I moved to Boston, it rained for three days straight.  Due to Wellesley's lack of sufficient drainage on paths and sidewalks, there were large puddles all over campus.  Because of this, I decided my converse were not sufficient and that I should invest in some rain boots.  I went on Target.com, found a design I liked and ordered them.  The website said it might take 1-2 weeks for them to arrive, but I didn't mind.  I anxiously waited for my pink and orange rain boots to arrive.  Weeks went by without any sign of rain or boots.  Finally my boots arrived.

I ordered them on October 6.  They arrived on December 8.  It took 8 weeks and so I promptly used them as snow boots.  

July 5, 2011


The other day my family was talking about hairstyles.  My grandparents were recounting some of the ridiculous things young people have done to their hair.  My grandpa then chimed in, "The other day, I saw several people with tomahawks."  I just about cried laughing.

April 18, 2011

Chromosome Switch

The other day my friend was telling me about how he and a bunch of guys once combined a log, some gasoline and fire in someone's backyard.  I replied that that was a dumb decision because something could have exploded/they could have killed themselves.  He then replied with "Don't judge.  It's an XX chromosome thing."

He works for NASA.

April 8, 2011

The Secret of Life

I started going to bed around 11 and waking up at 7.  Its the best thing I've ever done.  Seriously, my life is so much better.  I have more energy and can stay focused for longer.  I can think more clearly and more objectively about what is going on and what I need to do.  Honestly, its changed my life. 

If you want to improve your life, go to sleep.  :)

March 15, 2011

Natural Highs

1. Falling in love
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts
3. A hot shower
4. No lines at the supermarket
5. A special glance
6. Getting mail (ps-this is one of my favorite things ever!!)
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road
8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer
11. Chocolate, Vanilla or Strawberry milkshake
12. A bubble bath
13. Giggling
14. A good conversation
15. The beach
16.Finding a $20 bill in your coat from last winter
17. Laughing at yourself
18. Looking into their eyes and knowing they love you
19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
20. running through the sprinklers
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful
23. Laughing at an inside joke with friends
24. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you
25. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep
26. Your first kiss (the very first or first with someone new)
27. Making new friends or spending time with old ones
28. Playing with a new puppy
29. Having someone play with your hair.
30. Sweet dreams
31. Hot chocolate
32. Road trips with friends
33. Swinging on swings
34. Making eye contact with a cute stranger
35. Making chocolate chip cookies
36. Having your friends send you homemade cookies
37. Holding hands with someone you care about
38. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change
39. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you
40. Watching the sunrise
41. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day
42. Knowing somebody misses you
43. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply
44. Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people think

March 13, 2011

Never a Dull Moment

My chemistry teacher my freshman and sophomore year in high school drank her coffee from a beaker and used giant syringes as water guns in class.  How much cooler can you get?

March 12, 2011

Hasbro Games Fail

I am mildly obsessed with Jigsaw Puzzles.  If I could, I would spend my entire life solving them.  I especially like the 3-D variety.  They require a little more brain power than 2-D puzzles and take up more space once completed, so naturally, they are not as popular.  I've found that people will buy them, realize they are not what they expected, and then give them to Salvation Army or sell them at their garage sale.  Then, I come along and buy them for two dollars.  There might be missing pieces, but with two dollars, you get what you pay for.

I once bought a 3-D puzzle of Notre Dame Cathedral using this cheap and effective method.  As I was nearing the end and it was almost completed, I determined that I was missing four or five pieces.  Fortunately, there were diagrams of the structure and all the included pieces.  On it, it said if there were any missing pieces, to clearly indicate which pieces were missing on the diagram and send it to the company and they would send the missing pieces free of charge.  I took great care and put a lot of effort into indicating which pieces were missing and promptly sent off the envelope to Hasbro Games.  About a week or two later, I received a curiously flat envelope for Hasbro.  They thanked me for my interest in their product but were sorry to say that the puzzle I had had been discontinued.

My puzzle sat on my shelf above my desk for years, holes and all.   

March 11, 2011

Breathing Underwater

During my sophomore year of high school I was in an Honors English class.  My teacher was not always the most profound individual and occasionally bordered on crazy.  My friend Claire and I were in the class together and would always talk about what crazy things would happen.  One of our topics of study was the classic medieval poem Beowulf:  
Teacher: "What are some of the supernatural elements in the story?"

Me: "Breathing underwater" (in the poem, Beowulf falls down a lake for hours and then fights a monster with a sword that suddenly appears in the underwater cave)

Teacher: "No, not really.  That wouldn't be considered supernatural.  Supernatural things are things that would require magic, are unusual and cannot be explained."

Oh I forgot.  Breathing underwater for hours and not dying doesn't require magic.  My bad.  This same teacher also said on a different occasion that you don't learn anything in college and that you don't need to study for finals because you already know everything from the class.

Public education at its finest.