You’ve Got (Snail) Mail!

There’s something about getting mail that makes you feel like you actually exist.

Whether it’s a mailbox or mail stop, you have a physical location on this earth that is assigned to you and no one else. It sounds so simple, so “old timey,” now that most people use email and social networking sites to connect with each other, but there’s just something about reaching into a little box, grasping an envelope, and waiting with baited breath to see who sent it.

This is especially true in college, when every contact we make with our friends and family from home is virtual and on a screen. If you ever wonder why students get so excited to find out they have a package, this is why. It’s something physical and concrete they can hold. if it’s a care package from mom, then mom held it, too. Or if it’s a letter from a friend, then that notebook paper has been on another campus in another state.

Last year I received a surprise package from my friend Alisa (pronounced “Alice”) with a small note attached. I wrote her a page and a half of my excited ramblings and mailed it. A few weeks letter, a four-page letter was in my mail stop. And thus began our written correspondence for the next year.

Side by Side

As you can see, she decorates her letters with doodles.

Doodles

 

And I decorate my envelopes.

To AlisaTo Alisa2

I always look forward to her letters. I’ll rip open the envelope and start reading as I walk home, laughing at all the shenanigans she gets into (she’s in Princeton’s marching band so she has some pretty awesome stories), exclaiming in jealousy at the Lit course she’s in, or feeling lucky I don’t have to take another Comp-Sci class. No matter how long they are, they’re a wonderful read and lift my spirits (even if the topic isn’t “happy” it’s still good to hear from her). And yes, I keep all the letters!

I know, I know, writing letters by hand, who does that anymore?!? Getting me to write a thank-you note is like pulling teeth (I’d rather say thank-you in person) and sometimes I really don’t feel like replying to emails. Maybe it’s because I know I’ll get a relatively quick response, but with snail-mail there’s anywhere from a week to a month waiting time, giving me a chance to experience new things to write about. And come up with new ideas for envelope decoration!

Based off my own iPodPlace your hand here...

No matter how you do it, keeping in touch with friends and family is crucial to your well-being in college. I may not talk to my parents daily, or even weekly, but I still want to know how they’re doing. The same applies to friends. Just as I have friends on campus I see daily (my roommates) or weekly (Ben, Alex, Mary, the list is very long), there are people from back home I still keep in touch with (Stacey, Phoebe, Alisa).

Even though writing a letter can be time consuming, or I don’t always know what I want to say, it’s still worth while. It’s like writing in a journal, but there aren’t more empty pages that stare up at you when you’re done. You know something will be returned.

Kilroy Was Here

Adventure Time!

If you ever visit my room, the first thing you’ll see is the “Room 213 Bucket List.”
Bucket List

My roommates and I made it at the beginning of the year because we kept on coming up with things to do but either a) forgot them in a week, or b) lost motivation to do them. This weekend we were finally able to check off a few boxes after our adventure to the Inner Harbor.

Our original plan was to visit the aquarium, as suggested by my roommate Erin, but their tickets were a bit pricey for the short amount of time we had available to us. Instead, we decided to meander around the Inner Harbor and let our stomachs lead us to an eventual destination.

Getting out of the apartment to explore the city was such a good idea. It was gorgeous. There was a light breeze, blue skies, and Christmas decorations were slowly changing the piers into a jungle of colored lights (Personally, I don’t want anything to do with Christmas till after Thanksgiving. But, I have to admit that the Inner Harbor decorations got me excited).

Crazy Roomies

USS Constitution

USS Constitution ~ I love maritime history!

As we walked along the crowded walkway, we snapped pictures of the beautiful sunset and sang along to the Christmas carols a street musician played on his saxophone.

It turns out the first destination we came to was Barnes and Noble.

Luckily, all my roommates love to read, so we killed an hour or two perusing the maze of books. I got side-tracked by a Hobbit display case (I’m so excited for the movie. Words cannot describe my enthusiasm for J.R.R. Tolkein and Martin Freeman). After many declarations of oohs and aahs in the fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, art, and knitting section, I finally decided I could indulge myself and buy Clash of Kings. Soon after, the fragrant smells coming from The Hard Rock Cafe next door caused us all to agree that it was time for dinner.

As we exited the store, a crowd gathered by one of the piers and a choir began to sing. I’m sure they sounded lovely, but our attention was drawn to Noodles and Co.

At Dinner

I had a lovely Chicken Pad Thai…

Chix Pad Thai

and we chatted about our Thanksgiving traditions over our food.

After a very filling meal, we walked around some of the shops and I got a bit of Christmas shopping done (shout out to Stacey: be prepared for an awkwardly awesome gift!).

By the time we returned outside, it had grown dark and Santa was making the rounds in a massive crowd of families by the pier. There was even snow confetti!!!

Snow Confetti!

And a giant pink poodle (I think it was a cotton candy vendor).

Pink Poodle

All the walking around and seeing the sights was fairly exhausting, so we headed home shortly thereafter to mugs of tea and lounging in pajamas. I broke out the new book and continued to work on some art homework.

All in all, it was a pretty good (and pretty tiring) weekend. I wonder what we’ll do next on the bucket list…..

Body as Machine

Here Comes The Sun

This is going to sound ridiculous, especially coming from a college student, but it’s one of those things that will stay with you for a while (I can’t guarantee forever).

Wake up with the sun and walk around campus.

Bring an apple. Wear a jacket. Put on some shades (especially if you’re walking from Campion/Newman, you’ll be heading directly east). Listen to morning music (Fleet Foxes and Simon & Garfunkel are my preference).

I know what you’re thinking. What sane twenty-something gets up early to take a walk?

Confession: it wasn’t by choice that I discovered the calmness of campus at 7:30 AM.
I’m taking a life drawing class this semester which requires a lot of work: every week for homework we cover a new body part or bone structure and have reading assignments (open discussion during breaks in class), along with working from a model during the weekly class time. This week I had to draw the ribcage and pelvis from the front and side, so I got up super early to work in studio.

Last semester I had gotten up early for 8ams, but other people were walking around so the campus was populated, but very sleepy looking.

On the weekend though? Empty. Dead silent. Peaceful. Beautiful. Bright. Content.
It’s kind of rare to see Loyola like that, so empty yet so alive at the same time. The sun washes everything with a bright, golden light that practically makes the building glow. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some trees changing color.

The sunrise is so obvious but so often overlooked.

I’m asking a lot, I know. I really didn’t want to get up early (or at all) this weekend, but homework had to be done. I hear your groans and imagine your hands thrown up in disgust at the notion of rolling out of bed before noon on a Saturday.

But you should still do it. At least once.

So take a bite out of that apple, adjust your sunglasses, straighten your jacket, walk to the beat of your favorite band and soak up the morning sun.

Then take a nap in the afternoon.