Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I know that I am a little late (as always), but I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. It was nice being home for the holiday, and this Christmas in particular has been very special.

For the past few years, my house has been under construction. However, this year my dad was able to push through and finish up the living room and dinning room. Needless to say, crazed by all the extra space that suddenly became available, we decorated like never before! Even the tree looked particularly wonderful this year...

Our dogs seemed particularly enamored with all the extra space. Zowie, our chubby little maltese, was so excited that she actually played with her new toy reindeer. That may seem like a weird thing to say, let alone report in my blog, but she literally never plays with toys! Not even when she was a puppy!

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and continue to enjoy the rest of the season!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Final Haul

Well, I've certainly gotten terrible at updating, haven't I? I didn't even get to do a Thanksgiving post! And here we are, in the last few days of my first semester here in San Francisco. I'm lucky enough to only have one final, so I have been able to do a bit of exploring with my friends. On Friday, for example, we took a trip to Union Square to see the Christmas decorations.

They had up a Christmas tree and a little ice rink. We got hot drinks and watched people skate before going over to Macy's to ogle at the live kittens and puppies that they were displaying in the window. There were so many people rushing from store to store, so many lights, and so many billboards displaying present options.

Justine was successful in finding a present for her aunt: this naval nutcracker!

And our friend Cassie, who is a serious cook, was delighted when we found this gigantic gingerbread house. All in all, it was a successful trip.

Although classes ended last Wednesday, I have been very busy trying to find time to go out and explore the city while also completing all of my required essays. People have been slowly trickling out of the dorm, and the floor is beginning to feel more and more deserted every day. I am now so used to having people around me constantly that it is difficult for me to comprehend that I will not be seeing them for six whole weeks! I have a physics final on Wednesday, and less than an hour later I will be on my way to the airport. With any luck, I will write the next update from the comfort of my own living room, while enjoying a steady internet connection.

But first thing's first: have to conquer my final!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Great Flood

Tonight was a very nice night. My living-learning community put together a big Thanksgiving feast, and it was really nice. Then we returned to the dorms, and were hanging out in the hall when all of a sudden water started trickling out of the boy's bathroom. Before long, it had turned into this:

Poor Justine got stranded in her room! The nice thing about being in such a close community is that everyone genuinely cared about saving other people's rooms. We all grabbed extra towels and tried to keep the water from seeping into the doors of people who weren't there. The university was also very good about responding. The hall director was up on our floor within fifteen minutes, checking rooms for damage and keeping us updated on the situation. And the maintenance staff had the water almost completely cleaned up in just 45 minutes!

Thankfully, it happened early enough in the night that we weren't all trying to deal with it at midnight or later. Also, because to day is the last day before Thanksgiving break and most people are gone anyways, the maintenance staff will have plenty of space to deal with the situation. Hopefully they replace the carpet, because if not it is nearly guaranteed that we'll be getting mold. And one of the girls on the floor recently developed a mold allergy...

It wouldn't be college without at least a couple crazy stories to tell, now would it?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adventures on Haight

After weeks and weeks of hard work, my friend Christine and I decided we needed to get off of campus for a while and reconnect with the amazing city around us. So we took a little gander down Haight Street, equipped with jackets, umbrellas, and our cameras. We saw stopped in a few little stores, including an art shop where I purchased a cheap sketchbook and various markers. And after seeing so much amazing graffiti and street art on Haight, I cannot wait to get down my own ideas.

Because we were feeling adventurous, and because the rain had finally stopped, we decided to keep going down Haight until we got bored.

We ended coming upon Buena Vista Park, which is essentially a large hill covered in trees. Being curious about how good the view of the city would be from the top of the hill, we decided to go on a little hike.

We climbed up and up... but in the end, it wasn't the multiple staircases or trails that made our ascent to the top rather slow. The park was so beautiful, we just couldn't stop taking pictures!

And at the top, as we were getting blown side to side by the wind and the sky was threatening rain, we decided that it was well worth the walk. San Francisco truly is a beautiful city.

We got back to campus just before the rain hit. We then sat together in Christine's room, cozy under a couple of blankets, comparing photos and watching lightening light up the sky. By the time I finally went to bed, the wind was howling through the buildings on campus, the rain was going vertically at my window, and the trees were swaying violently in the wind. It would have been scary if I hadn't been feeling so thankful for being alive and where I am at.

At the end of the week, it will be Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Days of the Sun

Although we are already well into November, something amazing happened this weekend. We had sun! Oh, so much sun and it still has not stopped. But now I am back to the daily grind of classes and papers and midterms. 

On Saturday, though, with all the carelessness of college students on a sunny day with little to do, we decided to take a trip to Sausalito. That's where Justine's from, so we decided to bring a little work with us and study at her house. Of course, in our typical fashion we missed the right bus, and had to take one that dropped us off all the way at the top of the hill leading down onto the island. Not that it was so horrible. I just enjoyed walking in the sun and taking in the sites.

We got sandwiches at a little deli and took them here to eat, before heading up to Justine's house. She had an absolutely gorgeous view...

In fact, everything about her neighborhood was magical. I tried to capture as much as possible on my handy dandy Blackberry, because I continue to forget to bring my camera with me when I go places! That being said, I think the pictures turned out quite nicely.

May you find something magical in your week. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Week (or two) in the Life

The past few weeks have been a lot of nothing but baseball, baseball, baseball! With the Giants in the World Series, there really was little else that I did but watch. Of course, I had a record number of four essays last week, so I was also staying up quite late and getting up early. To be honest, I'm just tired!

But the Giants won the World Series! What more could I ask for in my first year of college in San Francisco? I've been raised a Giants fan, so to actually be in the city when they finally won the World Series has been nothing short of amazing. Everywhere you look, there is orange and black. This was especially true on Wednesday, when the team had their victory parade ending at City Hall. I didn't get to go (I'm too dedicated to my classes!), but I had a few friends who went and you could feel the energy everywhere that day! Of course, every time I've seen a publication like a magazine or newspaper on the World Series, I've bought it, because this is a historic event and I want something to remember it by.

This picture was a request from my friends. Number 55, our starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, is my absolute-hands-down favorite player. The more games we watched, however, the more my friends became convinced that I look like Lincecum! So here, I am, embracing the look. My friend Justine has even taken to calling me "Timmy" when she's trying to get my attention. I don't mind - I could think of plenty of worse things to be called!

In other news, Sister Helen Prejean held a lecture on campus this week. She is the author of the book Dead Man Walking, that is more popularly known from the play and movie versions. She gave a talk on the death penalty that I really wanted to attend, but I couldn't due to a class. Luckily for me, Justine was willing to get my copy of the book signed for me afterwards!

The collage on my wall is growing slowly but surely. My plan is to have the entire wall covered by the end of the year, and it looks like that will be easier to do than I had originally expected!

One last update! I am now on Twitter! Yes, that's right, I gave in to societal pressures and joined yet another time consuming site. Actually, I had originally joined so I could follow a friend's tweets (Is that what you call them?) and decided it would be a shame to have one and not use it. So I am currently using it to record things that people around me say, whether they make me laugh, cry, or think about something differently. Feel free to check me out!

Have a good rest of the weekend, everyone!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We're going to the World Series!!

Or, at least, the Giants are. I was at dinner with some friend when we won the game. Practically the entire restaurant, us included, crammed into the bar to watch the bottom of the ninth inning. People were chanting, all the servers stopped serving, and my friends and I were holding onto each other for dear life. By the time the game was over, my heart was pounding and my fingers were all tingly.

I've never experienced so much positive energy is from so many people all at once before. It was a really powerful experience. The Giants haven't gone to the World Series since 2002, where they were absolutely dominated by the Angels. This is our chance for retribution! And growing up in Southern California, I've always been the only Giants fan among a bunch of Angels and Dodgers fans. It's nice to be around people that are just as excited as I am.

Nothing else really happened this weekend, other than a lot of rain and wet clothes. There was a slight bleach incident with my roommate's unfortunate comforter cover, but it was easily settled out. I babysat my cousins on Friday. I'll leave you with some images I took at their house, after they went to sleep.

Get ready for another week, everybody. First game of the World Series on Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reflections in the Hall

The living community I belong to has a Catholic mass every Tuesday. Tonight, the presiding priest ended the mass with this lovely little poem by Richard Wilbur. I thought I'd just share it with all of you.

Right now, while we are finishing up some homework, my roommate and I are also waiting up with the girl next door. Her roommate has started making a habit of bringing random soccer boys back to their room late at night, and then kicking her out of the room. This roommate has been occupied by her current boy for two and a half hours now. The most disturbing part? They left the door somewhat open, but we're all too scared to touch it.

Quite frankly, we just want to be there when the guy goes staggering back to his room. But at this rate we're going to fall asleep way before they call it quits!

I wish you all a lovely rest of the week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Little Happenings

This weekend was full of little happenings that added up to one very good time. Saturday was game one of the National League Championships between the Giants and the Phillies, and I went over to my grandparent's house to watch the game. Most of the family was there, and we made hot dogs, chili, chips and guacamole... It was the baseball fan's paradise. Complete with ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. My little cousins took to following me around for part of the night, and they even helped me with ideas for this drawing of mine. I think it turned out pretty good, don't you?

The best part of the night? Was it hanging with my family, watching the talented and adorable Tim Lincecum blow away the competition, or eating good food? The best part was that the Giants won!

Today was our first rainy day of the year. I went for a little walk in the rain to pick up some groceries, but for the most part every one just bummed around the dorm in sweatpants and slippers, trying to find the motivation to actually do our homework. And unfortunately, the Giants lost by five whole runs.

Hopefully they get their game back by Tuesday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I haven't posted in so long that it may qualify as a case of neglect. But never fear, I promise to make it up to you.

Last weekend was fall break, allowing me to go home for the four day weekend. I didn't realize how many little things I missed until I was able to use them again. Like not having to wear flip-flops in the shower, getting to use my own toilette, and good breakfast food. I didn't do too much; rather, my family treated it as though it were any weekend. I got to help with chores, go shopping with my mom, and eat dinner with my family. The normalcy and simple household tasks made me feel completely relaxed.

I also got to see the tree in my backyard drop some of its leaves as the season changes.

I flew back on Tuesday night, and it was weird being back on campus. My dorm room is, however, really beginning to feel more comfortable. According to my mom, that's simply because it's becoming my reality. I personally think it's because I'm really adding my personal touch and making it reflect me, which makes it just feel right. I've started a sort of collage/collection on my wall:

Maybe I will post more pictures as the collection grows.

Today marked a landmark in my college experience so far, as it was the first Friday that I actually went out at night to do something. A large group of my friends and I took a trip to Market Street to see the movie "Never Let Me Go." It's based on the amazing book by Kazuo Ishiguro, and although sad, was a very good movie. It felt good to go out at night, even if it was just for something as simply as a movie. Quite frankly, I'm proud of myself.

The ride back to campus was a little more eventful. When our bus stopped at one of its designated stops, a homeless man got on the bus and refused to pay the fare. Of course, he also refused to get off the bus, and the driver ended up calling the police. He declared the bus temporarily out of service until the cops showed up.

Needless to say, we got off the bus to avoid the trouble that was brewing. Our group ended splitting up; three of my friends ended up taking a cab back to campus, while the rest of us decided to "rough it" by sticking to public transportation. Of course, the bus we ended up taking was so crowded that we got stepped on, sat on, and temporarily separated. But we got off okay, and had a good story to tell our friends.

Everyone needs at least one crazy, late night experience on the bus.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just an Interesting Thought

Do you remember when I said I was worried about becoming one of those annoying people who update their blogs every day? Well, I'm about to surpass that level of annoying and post twice in one day.

My apologizes. But I just had a revelation, and I felt the need to write it down and share it with all of you.

After getting out of my last class of the day, I headed back to my room for an hour of relaxing before I had to go write an essay (which I really should be doing right now). Anyways, I was listening to some music when the song "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter came on. Take a look at the lyrics:

Where is the moment we needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to gray
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee you go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces every time
And I don't need no carryin' on

Because you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Will you need a blue sky holiday?
The point is they laugh at what you say
And I don't need no carryin' on

You had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day

Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong

So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

I was listening to this and suddenly it hit me. I've always loved this song. It's a very cheerful, catchy tune that is juxtaposed against the topic of having a really bad day. But I suddenly wondered just how serious about this "bad day" Mr. Powter was when he released that song. Upon listening to it in the context of my life right now, I felt as though he were making fun of people who wallow in their bad day. How many times have I been feeling sort of crummy, so I looked for little things that would make my day worse? The real tragedy, this song seems to say, is when you make a day bad for yourself. Every day has the potential to be amazing, and it's only when you think of it that way that it becomes bad.

Just some food for thought.

Thank God for the Little Things

Hello again. Sorry that I haven't posted in a while, but to be completely honest I've been a little down this lately. To be more precise, I still find the weekends hard. That's when I miss home and the only time I ever let myself cry.

But this weekend, I got reminded by the little things that life isn't really so bad.

I couldn't focus on my homework yesterday, being both sad and in a highly distracting environment, and so I went for a walk. A short bus ride and four blocks later, I settled down at Mountain Lake Park by my grandparents. I sat in the sun, watching parents teach their little kids how to throw baseballs or kick a soccer ball. There was one family having a birthday party, complete with a bounce house! At first I thought it might make me sad, sitting there by myself with all these families, but then a funny thing happened.

I got recruited to play by this cute little thing.

The man sitting next to me had brought along his dog and baby. He was trying to get the baby to go to sleep and the dog kept whining and nudging his ball; he wanted to play. Unfortunately for the man, he already had his hands full. Eventually, the dog got the hint, and went to chew on the ball right behind where I was sitting. He was so adorably bouncy that when the ball rolled to a stop next to me, I couldn't resist throwing it for him.

And that turned into a whole two and a half hours of playing with this random dog in the park, while reading Plato.

That may sound like it was distracting. Didn't I go there to work, after all? But to be completely honest, playing with that dog was exactly what I needed. I didn't want to just go out on the weekends to distract myself, and frankly I wasn't in a very playful mood. But this little afternoon delight reminded me that sometimes, you just need a break. When you get to far inside your head, and you feel like you'll never get out, that's when you need to go for a walk, get outside, go smell the flowers.

Although I will still miss home and will still get sad sometimes, I know that it's okay. But it's not okay to sit and wallow in my tears. It's best to get out, and play a game of ball.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Take me out to the Ball Game...

Good morning world! Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I know I am, with the exception of the stupid school washing machines.

I was doing a jean load, when the washer stopped in the middle of the cycle for some unknown reason. And I mean dead in the middle of the cycle: there was still soapy water inside! Frustrated after doing as it asked and "reselecting settings" twice, I put my jeans in another washer and am having to start all over again! Needless to say, it was a complete waste of my time and money. And what was the response of the guy working at the front desk when I told him? "You want your money back, or something?"

Um, no, but the last hour of my life would be nice.

On a brighter note, I got to go the Giants vs Brewers game last night! Even though we lost, my friends and I had a great time. We had the bleacher seats right in left field, which was pretty exciting for only having paid $15. We took a charter bus to the stadium with a large group from school, and although we all sat in a clump, we got to go off and do our own thing.

Although it's been cloudy all weekend (and still is) the sun did come out for the beginning of the game yesterday. I hadn't been to a game in almost five years, so I couldn't help but marvel at how amazing the stadium is.

I've been raised a Giants fan, so I was super excited to get to go to a game. Can you tell? I wore my Giants t-shirt, a bright orange scarf, and a Giants beanie I got for my birthday. One of the first things that my friends did when we got there was to buy baseball caps. This was Wade's hat, and even though it's a bit big, I think I pulled it off quite well. What was the first thing I bought? A hotdog! The second? A pack of Twizzlers! We ate pretty much the whole time.

In the end, the Giants ended up losing 2 to 1. To be completely honest, the last two innings were very painful to watch. But I had a great time, and couldn't have thought of a better way to celebrate my first birthday here in San Francisco!