To Err is Human, to Arr is Pirate!

There’s this smell that is so perfect that I can’t help but smile and feel happy to be alive. Let’s see if I can share it with you.

Think of your favorite food, it’s aroma slowly building into a crescendo of mouth watering anticipation. Allow yourself to savor it. Think of your favorite flower, or a newly mowed lawn, or anything that opens its buds in spring. Envision that freshness of life surrounding you, green and blue and pink and orange and yellow. Think about your favorite music. Listen for the sounds that make you smile, the sounds that bring you peace, the sounds that fill you with energy.

Now, think about your favorite people. Those you love most, those who make you laugh the most, those who accept you for who you are unconditionally. Place them beside you.

Breathe it in.

It’s a lot, isn’t it? It’s like walking into a wall of emotion and memory, but it’s so good.

This was, incidentally, what my Saturday afternoon was like. Erin and I made our way to the Fells Point Privateer Festival, and oh boy, what a time we had! Such sounds, smells and smiles!

A very talented pirate troupe took the stage to serenade us with sea shanties.

Soooo crowded!!!

I have always loved street fairs. Not only do they provide an excuse to eat fried food and people watch, but they also herald spring’s persistence and the approach of summer. And that is a time worthy of rejoicing.

This festival was a new experience though. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to local fests, but this was the first piratical fair I’ve experienced. I have never seen so many corseted wenches and tricornered-hatted men in my life. Seriously.

Reenactors chilling on the pier.

A tall ship!

I should probably mention that it wasn’t all food and professional pirates – if you wanted your own gear you could peruse the vendors and choose from hats, gowns, waistcoats, jewelry, and so much more to add to your wardrobe.

Ugh, I wanted one so badly! They're a pretty penny though.

 

Cthulhu-esque arm cuff.

 

I invested in this nifty vest. I was quite excited to wear it!

Despite the inevitable sunburn, I had a blast. I thoroughly enjoyed singing along to sea shanties, eating delicious food (bacon wrapped mozzarella sticks, anyone?), and absorbing the sights and smells of Baltimore in the springtime.

A Homeschooler in the Harbor

Little unknown or unmentioned fact about me: I used to be homeschooled.

From 3rd through 8th grade I learned from my parents via the Calvert curriculum, took classes with other homechoolers in a co-op, joined homeschool groups for knitting, choir, and even went to museum events specifically for homeschoolers. Oh yeah, and there was even a homeschool prom.

One of my favorite memories of homeschooling was getting to travel with my parents and learn along the way. Whenever my dad had business trips my mom and I would piggy-back along, and I’d become immersed in the city’s history and culture. During the day my mom and I would go to museums (history and art lessons), walk through parks (nature lesson), and visit the churches (architecture and culture lessons). In the evening we’d meet back up with my dad and go to dinner and try new cuisines and local fare.

In a way, this exploration and curiosity about new places has never left me, although at the moment I’m strapped for cash and time to continue these adventures to new places. Which is why when I do get the chance to see something new, even in a city I’ve gone to school in for 3 years, I get so excited and happy.

Just like this past weekend!

My parents came down for the Dean’s List Luncheon and we spent some time at the Inner Harbor, soaking up the sun and history of the USS Constellation.

Dragon boats galore at the Inner Harbor

The majestic sloop, USS Constellation

It was just like old times: learning the history of the ship, going aboard and watching a gun demonstration…The history nerd inside of me was quite content.

Right before he made the cannon go off

Captain's quarters

My dad really enjoyed himself, he’s a big fan of the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey-Maturin books, and got a kick out of showing me all the parts of the ship and which sail does what and where the Orlop deck is and everything. It was so nice to be out in the sunlight, catching the smell of the ocean on the spring air, feeling the slight sway of the deck beneath my feet, and enjoying the time with my parents.

Mom and Dad enjoying their stroll on the pier

It was so sunny!!!

I never thought I would say this, but I kinda wanted them to stay a bit longer. Ever since freshman year I’ve reveled in being away from home and spending a limited amount of time with my parents. But this weekend I was actually reluctant to see them go. Maybe it’s a maturity thing, maybe it was the previous rough week, or maybe it’s just nostalgia. Whatever it is, I’m glad I’m at least able to recognize how thankful I am for my parents. Not just for giving me their time and energy both growing up and now, but also for their constant encouragement in my education.

People always ask if being homeschooled gives me an advantage. I don’t think I can answer that yet. But I know it definitely shaped my love of independence, reading and higher education, and new experiences. So, thank you, Mom and Dad. You’re the best.

*And for those of you who want to know (and I know you’re out there, I got asked this all the time when I was homeschooled): No, I did not wear my pajamas to school. I got dressed every day.

Doctor Who?

“Duh-duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh….”
“Doo-wee-oooooo, doo, doo-doo!!!!”
The movie theater bursts out in cheers and laughter, audience members high-fiving and bouncing in their seats with anticipation after joining together to “sing” the Doctor Who theme. Squeals of excitement can be heard as the lights dim and I sit back to enjoy the long awaited 50th anniversary episode of my favorite sci-fi show.

You may have heard me mention a few times that I’m a bit of a Doctor Who fan. I mean, you’ve seen my wall with the giant TARDIS poster on it, and if you’ve ever hung out with me I’ve probably worn at least one of my Whovian shirts in your presence. To say that I was excited to see the live simulcast of The Day of the Doctor with my friends would be a huge understatement.

I was thrilled. Jubilant. Ecstatic.The list of adjectives goes on. It also didn’t help that the week before Erin, two other friends and I went to Cardiff to see the Doctor Who Experience.

Yeah, that’s right. An entire exhibit exists to showcase the wonders of the longest running sci-fi show in the world (yes, it even beats Star Trek).

If you’re a Whovian (or nerdy/geeky in general), you totally understand how exciting it is to step foot onto the sets used by the BBC and see the costumes, props, and planning material used for the show. But for those of you who aren’t of that leaning, think of it like this:

Imagine you’ve just met your favorite author, poet, musician, or role model. You start up a witty conversation and they invite you to have coffee at their studio or place where they make what you love. As you step over the threshold, you become part of their world. You see what makes them tick, what brings inspiration, who they are, how they identify with themselves; you get it.

Being part of any fandom and seeing materials used in shows is like that. It’s no longer on a screen. You’re within touching distance and suddenly everything takes on a whole new meaning. Whatever memories and feelings you have of watching the show with others, or yourself, become amplified.

Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but I hope you understand a little more why I was so excited and happy at these two events.

Now, for Whovians and non-Whovians alike, here are some of the highlights of my day in Cardiff, which also include some beautiful twilight photos of the Christmas Market!

Time And Relative Dimension In Space - Looks like the Doctor could have parked better!

 

A beautiful bay!

 

A lego Dalek!!! (Daleks are bad guys)

 

Oh man, I wish I could operate this thing!

 

All of the Doctors!

 

My friends are (so convincingly) scared of the monsters!

 

Daleks through the years

 

Rory Williams (and me!)

 

Time Lord apparel - very fashionable

 

Model of a previous TARDIS interior.

 

The 3rd Doctor's car

 

I really love how Cardiff is a wonderful mix of old and new architecture.

 

Christmas Market by the church

 

Erin perusing the market

 

Beautiful, beautiful view to end the adventure :)

 

Musical Liberation

Have you ever been so happy and thoroughly enjoying yourself that you can’t stop smiling?
How about being so lost in the moment that the only thing you can focus on is the joy you are experiencing right then?

If you have, that’s wonderful. If you haven’t, don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to get on that. Because let’s face it, going through life day after day, week after week, year after year, only thinking about the future and worrying about everything that is coming up immanently can really stress you out. It sucks all the spontaneity and joyful surprises out of your experiences. And that just … sucks.

So that is why after going through this weekend and taking time to reflect, I decided I’d squeeze one more “usual” post in before writing something about Christmas at Loyola.

And let me just warn you: the things that got me grinning like a fool and living in the moment are not things I’d expect to lose myself in. Especially as one centered around the music my grandpa listens to (which I secretly love).

Can you hazard a guess? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, um, here goes:

SWING DANCING, BABY!

Yeah, who would have guessed I’d spend my Friday night with a great group of friends learning how to swing dance (at the Mobtown Ballroom) and then use those moves on the dance floor?

Prep for Swinging

It was SO MUCH FUN!!!! Seriously. I didn’t know how it would go, which is probably why I had such a great time, and even though I may not be the best dancer in the world, it didn’t matter. I learned lead (the guy part, because at first there weren’t enough guys), and spent a good two hours kicking up my heels with people who were truly enjoying themselves. Yeah, ok, it was a bit awkward at first because no one knew what they were doing, but by the end my roommate and I were twirling each other around and having a grand old time.

Some of Us

I wish I had more pictures of the action, but the lighting wasn’t that great and I didn’t feel like blinding people with my camera’s flash.

I will say that sitting between dances and being asked to dance kind of made me feel like I was in a Victorian romance novel. It sounds ridiculously cheesy, but I couldn’t help but think of Pride and Prejudice while chatting with my friends.

By the end of the night we all agreed we wanted to go again next semester, so I’m super excited for that!

Now, going along with this musical theme of entertainment, my Saturday night was spent in a similar manner, though not as physically draining.

CHORDBUSTERS!!!!

Anyone who goes to Loyola knows that at some point they have to go to this amazing concert hosted by the Chimes and Belles, the two a cappella groups here. I’ve mentioned them before, but then I’ve only seen them sing a few songs at a time. Not a two-hour concert of sketch comedy and fantastic renditions of pop music from all eras. My favorites were Sweet Disposition, Hey Ya, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and All I Want For Christmas.

As I sat there in total awe of the Chimes’ ability to crank out high energy and high notes, I marveled at the human voice. It can truly do spectacular things. Those songs may not have given me the shivers (like Amazing Grace, goosebumps every time), but trust me when I say I couldn’t stop smiling.

It’s not very often I can shake all the worries I have going through my head and truly enjoy a leisure activity. Being able to do that this weekend was so freeing, I only wish I was able to experience it more often. But then again, would that reoccurrence take away from the appreciation of these special events?

I don’t know about that answer, but I do know that music has something to do with it!

Fall’s Furry Friends

As soon as he said “Breathe in slowly and exhale, feel your muscles relax. Breathe in and let the stress flow away from your body,” I knew that as Friday wrapped up a wonderful weekend would begin.

I was not wrong.

You might be wondering why on earth I’d be psyched about a little meditation, but trust me, after the week I had, I was really happy the Student Leadership Corps focused on stress and time management in our weekly session.

Taking time to unwind is crucial at school; I know I sound like one of those info sessions everyone gets dragged to in high school, but it’s true. I’m usually wound up really tight (both physically and mentally) so having an evening to hang out with friends, while partaking in not quite “conventional” entertainment for 19 year olds, is really appreciated.

What might this unconventional entertainment be?

Build-A-Bear

My friend turned 19 last week, so she requested we go to Build-A-Bear as celebration of this momentous event. My roommates and I met her on the East side of campus, where I noticed the trees were changing and got really distracted by the beautiful colors:

SO PRETTY
I love little inconsistencies

After a brief ride to the mall, we embarked on our journey to make new furry friends (Hey, I’m just quoting their website).
Paige, me, Nicole, and Erin

And yes, we did do the little dance/embarrassing series of hops and hand motions to ensure our bears had hearts full of love. No shame.

So much love

Here is Dr. Hiddles Holmes, one of the newest members of my room’s family.
Be jealous guys, he's a triple threat!

After eating the obligatory food court dinner and meandering through some shops, we headed home and (literally) chased down a shuttle to take us back to our dorm.

Some hours of sleep later found me yet again taking an early morning stroll to the art studio (I’m amazed my roommate hasn’t thrown a pillow at me yet for waking up at 6 on the weekends).

I love this tree by Knott HallBones are very interesting to draw...

As much as I love art, I wanted to get back to my room so we could decorate for Halloween. See, my mom sends me care packages labeled with “Do Not Open Till” leading up to various holidays (including International Talk Like a Pirate Day) so my roommates and I were pretty excited when we opened the box full of fall decorations.

So festive!

Don’t worry, the festive atmosphere didn’t go unseen by others! Students from the Alpha  Theology class I’m an Aide for came over for spaghetti dinner that night. Apparently our room has a very homey atmosphere, but is very clearly “young adult” oriented (Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory stares me down when I walk out my bedroom).

Homemade Sauce, too!!!We have so much leftover....Anyone want to come by for spaghetti?

All in all it was a pretty good weekend. Jam packed, but totally worth it. I live for those moments that seem to span an entire day when it’s only been a few hours. Sadly, those days are the most tiring, and right now it’s coming back to bite me.

Maybe I’ll put those relaxing exercises to work later this evening….