Defeating the Escape Artist in Us All

I think one of the most common questions a college student hears after “What’s your major?” is “What do you do for fun?” Which, when you think about it, can sometimes be difficult to answer.

Not because all college students partake in nefarious activities (that’s an overstatement), but because “fun” is a relative term. Some of my friends consider a fun time to be vegging out all weekend and cramming in homework Sunday night, while others have more energetic (albeit tiring) activities throughout the weekend.

One thing is for certain though. If you live in Baltimore, there is always something to do. There may not be as many activities on campus, but Loyola definitely isn’t a suitcase school.

Take last weekend for example. My Italian professor invited his different classes over to his house for dinner. We met his family, he made pizza (by made, I mean tossing the dough and all that jazz) and we got to hang out in a new environment. The food and company was fantastic! If a professor ever offers some sort of food, take the opportunity to spend time with them and see them outside the classroom. It’s worth it, if not only for the free meal!

I spent Saturday afternoon at a meeting with friends, then went to the Towson Mall with my roommates and had a wonderful dinner at Pho Danh Than, a Vietnamese restaurant in Towson. We blazed a trail through the slushy streets and icy sidewalks to warm up with Goi Cuon Thit Nuóng, pork summer rolls, and Bún Gà Nuróng Xa, a vermicelli dish with bean sprouts, lemon grass chicken, and a spicy/sweet sauce on the side.

Summer Pork Roll Vermicelli

The next day was the Super Bowl and you’d be fool if you didn’t get a tiny bit excited, even if it’s only for the the commercials! Honestly, my roommates and I aren’t big football people, but it was really exciting to hear the celebrations across campus after the Ravens won. We also had a fantastic spread of food!

Homemade Hummus

I made hummus!

Edmame

We also made pizza and fries to balance out the "healthy" food.

If going off campus isn’t your thing, during the week there’s a fair amount of special lectures, club meetings, sports, and of course downtime with friends. Oh, and sleep. Sleep is always good during the week!

Knitting Club
A lively meeting of the Knifty Knitters

Of course, if you decide to go back home for the weekend to “escape” school, you miss out on a lot of cool experiences that are unique to the Loyola campus/area.

My friend Mary alerted my roommates and me to a pottery place in Mt. Washington, which is just a short drive away from campus, so off we went Friday night (once again through the rain and wet) to spend a few relaxing hours painting and nattering away.

MaryErinTeapot

Later that evening, I spent some time at the studio working on intaglio prints while Erin and our friend Connor knitted and kept me company. The following day our group of friends spent another large chunk of time together celebrating Erin’s birthday with food, cake, and watching Across the Universe and The Princess Bride.

You’d think I’d had enough social interaction by now. But to be honest, it’s what I live for. I love being on a campus where I can say my dorm is my home, my friends are my family, and the time I spend with them on the weekends is my “escape” from school while still staying on campus.

Spring Fever

Remember how I had major issues writing my first post? I sat staring at my screen for half an hour not knowing how to introduce myself and worried that people wouldn’t even read this. Since then it’s gotten increasingly easier, but this week I hit a roadblock.

It was like all the creative parts of my brain had taken a permanent holiday. All the negative, doubtful thoughts swarmed in and made it difficult to trust myself and my abilities.

After a very long time of chasing around possible topics in my head, I decided to make a list, and finally experienced enough confidence to start writing. So here I sit, or lie, rather, on my bed, surrounded by pillows, snuggled up in my hoodie, and listening to movie scores, telling myself I will dazzle you all with my …

Top 15 Reasons to Look Forward to Spring Semester at Loyola

New Classes
A fresh start, a clean slate, call it what you will, but it’s so nice to come back to school with limitless possibilities. Personally, I’m looking forward most to my Printmaking class and Major Writers Lit class.

Roommates’ Birthdays
Two of my roommates are celebrating their birthdays this semester! Everyone loves the opportunity to go out for dinner, relax for a bit, and enjoy each others’ company.

Winter Formal
Ok, so I didn’t go last year, and I don’t know if I’ll go this year, but the Winter Formal sponsored by the RHA is pretty cool. Every year Loyola students line up for tickets to go to the Aquarium to dance the night away.

Poetry Club’s Valentine’s Day Celebrations
I think one of my favorite memories from freshman year was experiencing the chaos of Valentine’s Week in Poetry Club. There’s an Erotic Poetry Night, in which students read poetry geared towards the day of love (laughter guaranteed). The club also makes, sells, and delivers Valentine candy-grams as a fundraiser (I promise I will go into detail closer to the date! No spoilers!).

Waking Up to the Sun
No more stumbling around in the dark when you get up for class! Now I’ll actually get up when my alarm goes off!

Titus Andronicus
This year’s symposium play is Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, made up of an all female cast (including my roommate!) and is scheduled for February 21-24.

Flowers Blooming
You can’t deny it. Spring flowers smell fantastic. Despite the allergies that come along with it.

Picnics on the Quad
I don’t care if it’s a cliche. You have to. It’s so much fun, just sitting with friends, chatting, eating a packed lunch, and later lying on the quad watching the clouds go by.

Knitting Club’s Trip to Lovely Yarns
I am determined to get the Knifty Knitters over to the local knitting shop in Hampden. I’ve never been there, but Lovely Yarns seems to be a beautiful and interesting place.

Finger/Splatter Painting Outside
My roommates and I have decided to get a large roll of paper, spread it out on the lawn, and finger or splatter paint it. Just for kicks. Having fun with paint isn’t just for kindergarten!

Soaking Up the Sun on Humanities Porch
By far one of the student body’s favorite activities. As soon as it gets warm everyone vies for a coveted rocking chair on the sunlit porch of Humanities. It’s perfect for people watching, doing homework, and, in my case, starting to sunburn early.

Spring Movie Releases
I don’t know which I should be more excited for: Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness or Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

Barbecues
Or at least the smell of them! One of the few times I get homesick is when I smell charcoal cooking something delicious out on the quad or by the dorms. Always reminds me of the street fairs back home!

Strolling Around Sherwood Gardens
There’s a public block by Loyola that has wonderful gardens and is full of families and wedding parties in the spring. It’s a good way to get off campus and experience multitudes of tulips.

Loyolapalooza
If you don’t go to this music/food/friend fest, you are missing out on a LOT. Every year Loyola students pack the quad to listen to good music, eat great food, and share a few more memories with friends before the semester ends. Last year Jack’s Mannequin and The Palace at 4 AM rocked the stage, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this year!

As you can see, springtime at Loyola is pretty sweet and goes by surprisingly fast! Even if I don’t get to do everything on this list, I’m still looking froward to a spectacular semester.

Photographic Evidence

Wow! I haven’t written in a month and it feels … weird. At first it was nice not to stress about writing a post during finals, and then it was also nice to enjoy my Christmas peacefully, but afterwards I kind of missed it. Really missed it, actually.

By the end of break I was itching to write about my adventures and, oddly enough, get back to my hectic life on campus. Sometimes the schoolwork can be overwhelming (It’s only been two days and I have so much homework!), but I think if I wasn’t as busy as I am, I wouldn’t be happy. I need activity in my life; whether it’s mental, physical, or emotional, I need something to be invested in.

I think that’s why I was so busy over break, and let me tell you, this was no resort in the Bahamas or skiing in the Alps!

But I’m not going to give you a blow-by-blow. That would be immensely boring and I have enough pictures to make this much more interesting. However, I will explain a few events because not all pictures tell an accurate story!

Christmas at Grandpas

The Annual Ugly Sock Contest

My aunt started a crazy tradition of having an “ugly sock contest” and I usually got stuck with all the horrible socks. This year I got my revenge!

James

I think this was one of my favorite parts of break. My cousin who lives in New York City asked me to cat sit for her during New Year's weekend so I brought my friend Phoebe & Stacey along on the journey into the city and spent five glorious days exploring together.

 

Misty misty morning

At the Lego Store

The Intrepid Explorer!

Bethesda Terrace

Beware the Weeping Angels!

Our walk in Central Park turned into Let’s-Find-All-The-Places-Where-They-Filmed-Doctor-Who. Which was brilliant! I think we climbed on every boulder in the southern half of the park until we found the right one.

Superman Alex
While I visited my sister in chilly Massachusetts, I finished up this hat for my friend Alex.
Off to Sherlock...

You'll never believe where we went next!

At the ballThe Daintiest Thing Under A Bonnet Charity Ball hosted by the Baker Street Babes. A Sherlockian dinner and auction whose total proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project. (Photo Cred – Melinda Caric)

Silent Auction

Photo cred Melinda Caric

I got to spend a few days at home reading, doing laundry, and curling up with my cat, but it’s safe to say I had more fun running around with my friends than sleeping!

Somewhere in there I played Cards Against Humanity, saw Les Mis and Django Unchained (I can’t believe I got carded to buy my ticket), and almost made it to The Hobbit.

And that, my dear readers, pretty much wraps up my winter break! I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family, or away from work, or enjoying yourself in some small way. Here’s to a new year and a new semester!

See ya around guys!

Oh, Sandy!

Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
Sandy you don’t need to be
so darn close to me.
Pumpkins, candy, trick or treat,
washed away down Charles Street.
Staying in is fun
when you have movies for everyone.

Yes, there is a hurricane coming my way, and I‘m so happy I don’t have classes tomorrow, but it’s also Halloween week and I am not letting Sandy dampen my days.

I really like Halloween. A lot. It’s possibly one of my favorite holidays. Probably because of it being in the fall (favorite season), but also because there are so many options to be had for its celebration.

I have very fond memories of trick-or-treating with my parents when I was little (except for the time I got chased by a teenager with a chainsaw. That was so not cool): going through the ritual of pumpkin carving, dress up, pictures, walking around the neighborhood, and as soon as I returned home, sorting through all the candy and giving my dad all the Almond Joys. As I got older, I went out with friends and in high school started the tradition of watching creepy “Doctor Who” episodes and sleeping over at someone’s house.

Now that I’m in college I can’t really go out trick-or-treating, but my roommates and I have found other ways to celebrate Halloween without going out only to be drenched by torrential rain and 60 mph winds.

We decorated our apartment early this month but we added some decorations this weekend:

Snoopy

I also sketched out some designs for our pumpkins while listening to Pandora’s Halloween music stations.

Post carving swirls

Pre carving facepost carving face

The week leading up to Halloween I wear festive earrings, and my roommates and I will be wearing Halloween appropriate clothing on Wednesday. I might even spike my hair!

some crazy earrings

I think the best part about Halloween in college (besides having an excuse to eat candy) is bonding over movies, whether they be horror, cheesy, classics, or down right strange. A bunch of my friends and I watched The Ward (by “watch”, I mean I sat with them facing the opposite direction of the TV and provided humorous sarcastic commentary based on their reactions) on Friday and have plans to watch A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum tonight.

I really miss the 1940s black and white “horror” movies like The Wolfman and Dracula. Oh, and you cannot miss Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy! Even though it isn’t really an official Halloween movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has to be one of my all time favorites of “strange” that is shown at this time of year. Make sure you have toast on hand when you watch it!

True, this kind of Halloween celebration is fairly low key, maybe not your typical college experience. I’d love to go to the Lantern Parade in the city, but Sandy kind of nixed that this year. Maybe next year will be clear and crisp and I can have an outdoor Halloween adventure!