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.