Hangin’ with the Hounds

Last Thursday afternoon I was the happiest girl at Loyola.

Why, you ask?  I’ll let this photo explain.

Me with Rudy

Me with my new best friend, Rudy.

GREYHOUNDS CAME TO LOYOLA.  Let me repeat.  Real, live greyhounds came to Loyola.

GreyhoundsThe event was called Hangin’ with the Hounds and was sponsored by SGA (Student Government Association) during Initium Week, which Loyola has every year during the first full week of classes.  The week is full of activities that really help to get first-year students (and everyone!) involved and feeling at home at Loyola, such as the Activities Fair, the Service Fair, a movie on the quad, and sporting events.

To supply the necessary hounds for Hangin’ with the Hounds, Greyhound Pets of America brought about six of their adopted greyhounds to the quad for a few hours in the middle of the day.

I was talking with one first-year student who was fawning over the hounds, and she told me how grateful she was for the opportunity to spend time with some lovable dogs, since she missed her pups at home so much.  The hounds were just as grateful to spend time with her and all of the Loyola students.  I could tell they were loving the attention from the students, who were obsessing over all of them, taking pictures, and talking to them like they were their own dogs from home.

I, too, miss my puppies at home.  I have two dachshunds, Raven and Rory, and every time I go home for break they run out the door to greet and lick me like I’ve been gone a million years.

My dachshunds, Rory and Raven.

So long story short, SGA gave me a wonderful gift right when I needed it.  Amidst all the stress I was dealing with and as I neared the end of a very hectic week, I was able to spend half an hour forgetting about all of my work and worries and just hanging with the hounds.

 

My roommate Jen (I love her to death, but I'd trade her in a flash for a greyhound).

Two happy hounds.

What Happens under I-83 on Sunday mornings?

A lovely farmer’s market, that’s what!

I’ve lived in the Baltimore area my entire life, and I’ve always heard friends and neighbors talking about the Baltimore Farmer’s Market under the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83) at Holliday and Saratoga Streets.  For years now I’ve been interested in locally grown produce and other foods, and this is the largest farmer’s market in the Baltimore area.  Why it took me so long to actually visit the Baltimore Farmer’s Market, I have no idea.

I went for the first time three weeks ago, driving the 10-minute journey from campus with my roommate Meagan and our friend Chris.  I must say, being able to have a car on campus as a sophomore is absolutely wonderful, and this is just one example of that.  If I would have gone to the farmer’s market last year as a first-year student it would have definitely still been feasible, though.  Grabbing a ride with an upperclass friend or calling a cab is always an option, but I recommend simply taking the bus for $1.60 each way.  I did it all the time last year, and with a stop right under the Loyola bridge, it’s convenient and reliable.

Farmer's Market with Meagan

My first trip to the Baltimore Farmer's Market, on 8/26, with my roommate Meagan.

 

The first stands we spotted upon arrival to the farmer’s market were your standard fruits, vegetables, and greens.  Meagan and I fell in love with honey crisp apples from one of the many fruit stands, and now it’s the only kind we’ll eat.

Upon further inspection and aimless wandering, we discovered vendors selling Baltimore sports apparel, garments from India, pieces of hand-painted China, and even dog treats.

Some of the more interesting stands included a homemade hummus vendor, an ice pop stand with some stand-out flavors (i.e. avocado), and a crepes stand with a wide variety of toppings.

We were planning to have some of our friends over to our apartment for quesadillas that night, so we sought vegetables like red and green peppers, spring onions, tomatoes, and olives.  I also spotted two cucumbers for $1 and thought that we needed two large cucumbers for four people to have in their salads that night.  Needless to say, we now have 1 3/4 cucumbers in the fridge that may or may not be there until move-out day in the spring…

It’s easy to get carried away with all of the exciting edible options offered at the farmer’s market, but when my roommates and I made our second trip to the market yesterday, we were more prepared with knowing exactly what we wanted and exactly what we needed.

My roommate Jen and I made a beeline for Zeke’s coffee, making two large iced coffees our first priority.  Then we ordered two cajun breakfast sandwiches from a different vendor so that we could shop for food on full stomachs.

Farmer's Market with Jen

We love our veggies...and our Baltimore Ravens (on gameday at the market with my roommate Jen).

As we walked around the underpass, we enjoyed the sounds of street musicians and searched for the items on our list.  We walked away with much less than we did after our previous visit, but that was definitely a good thing for our wallets.

My roommates and I like sleep.  A lot.  So we usually don’t arrive at the farmer’s market (which offers free parking if you’re taking a car!) until almost 11 a.m.  But it opens at 7 a.m. every Sunday for all of you early risers out there, and I’m sure the selection is even better then! Just don’t forget your reusable farmer’s market bags…and come hungry!

Livin’ the [Loyola] Dream

You know that person you see around school who seems to do absolutely everything?  Every time you’re at an event or meeting it seems like she’s there, and you don’t know how she seems to balance everything.  Well, though I’m only two weeks into my sophomore year, I think that person is me.

When I was a first-year student last year, I used to constantly wonder how so many Loyola students had time to be so actively involved in their on-campus as well as the local Baltimore communities.  How can someone have a job, be in clubs, attend supplementary lectures and still have time for things like…oh, I don’t know….school work and sustenance? My first-year mind was overwhelmed with the opportunities for involvement on Loyola’s campus.  But now I’m working on seeing it all in perspective.

Many people at Loyola have a focus (or a few!), something they dedicate a lot of their time to and about which they are truly passionate.  This can range from community service and justice to campus ministry to student government to sports to the newspaper to any variety of clubs that Loyola offers.  As a first-year student, I spent my year discerning what my focus would be, and indeed, I have found a few.

Jazz Concert

Playing saxophone in the Spring 2012 Jazz Ensemble concert.

I’m happiest when I’m busiest, and the more I do, the more I feel like I really have purpose, and I put all of my efforts into the activities I involve myself in: playing saxophone in the jazz ensemble, writing for our student newspaper, The Greyhound, working as a service coordinator for CCSJ (The Center For Community Service and Justice), being a member of the Honor Council (concerned with upholding the Honor Code and academic integrity), and leading an SBO (Spring Break Outreach) trip through CCSJ.  Oh yeah, and I find time for schoolwork too.

Community Service fair

With my coordinating parter at CCSJ, Jenn, at the Community Service Fair on the quad on 9/12/12.

My roommate Jen and I were joking tonight that all I seem to talk about lately is social justice and Soviet-era socialism (blame the former on my job at CCSJ and blame the latter on my Politics of Russia class).  These may seem like two completely unrelated topics, but they’re very representative of who I am.  I like to discuss issues of social justice at the dinner table, theorize about the strengths and weaknesses of both socialist and capitalist states (#polyscimajorproblems), and play Sorry! with my roommates to the death.

With my best friends and roommates, Meagan and Jen

With my best friends and roommates, Meagan and Jen.

Even with everything else I do though, I always make time for fun with my friends, because what is college if you can’t allow yourself time to unwind and explore the diverse and colorful community that is Baltimore?  I’m a Maryland native (which you’ll learn within five minutes of meeting me) and incredibly proud of it.  Still, though, I am constantly discovering new things that I love about the city my classmates and I call home.

With my roommates at Federal Hill Park

With my roommates (from left) Jen, Becky, and Meagan at Federal Hill Park (taken on 9/8/12), with the Inner Harbor in the background.

While my life might seem unfathomably chaotic, I promise you I wouldn’t have it any other way.  And this is actually really good news for you.  Think about it, would you want to read the blog of someone who holes up in her dorm all day, looking out the window as the Loyola campus comes alive without her?

I may be committed to a lot of different things, this blog being one of them, but what a great way to truly see Loyola through the eyes of someone who is the proudest Greyhound you will ever meet.  At Loyola our motto is “strong truths, well lived.”  Every time I hear this on an admissions video or see it on a banner there is a sense of pride and responsibility that surges through me.

With the NCAA lax trophy

With the NCAA championship lacrosse trophy, this past spring, when we welcomed our winning lacrosse team home on campus.

I strive to live Loyola’s ideals every day.  That might mean going on a Campus Ministry retreat, coordinating service in the local community, or putting in the extra effort to meet multiple times with my professor before a big paper is due.  But most often, for me, this can mean simply sitting on the porch of the Humanities building, looking out over the quad on a crisp fall day, and reflecting on my role, privilege, and responsibility as a student of Loyola University Maryland.

Humanities porch

Looking out over the quad from the porch of Humanities.