Farewell Friends

Sometimes there’s so much I want to tell you, but I’m not sure how to start.
Sometimes there are weeks I stare at a blank Word document and have nothing to say.
Sometimes I’m afraid to type into that blank document because not everyone would be interested.
Sometimes I do it anyway.
Sometimes….

There are a lot of “Sometimes” in our lives. Not every one is pretty, and not every one dictates what we will ultimately do. It’s up to us to take those “Sometimes” and make them beautiful, make them count, make them worth our worries, heartache, and even hope.
As this year winds down, I’m left thinking about last year’s adventures and memories and wondering if 5 years from now I’ll be able to remember this year just as clearly. That the “Sometimes” of this year became an “Always” or maybe a “Never Again.” That the “Sometimes” helped me learn, grow, and become a better person. You are part of my “Sometimes.” And I really want to say Thank You.

Writing to you has been an experience I will never forget. It’s this weird combination of a journal entry, a college paper, a note to a professor, a biography, a recipe, and a letter to a friend. You’ve let me be myself in my writing, and for those who know me in person, thank you for letting me be myself everywhere else.

I have to say, I didn’t think I’d open up as much as I have, and I definitely didn’t think I’d write as much as I did. Can you believe this is my 40th post?!? Just..wow. Your encouragement and commentary have truly helped contribute to that.

I’m sure you know where this post is going. This is the end. Finals begin tomorrow. All my brain power and energy will be dedicated to Philosophy, Italian, Microeconomics, English, and Printmaking. Well, there may be a couple movies in there, some hanging out with friends, and a good dose of procrastination on Sunday (I do not want to face the reality of packing).

But I’ll be back! Come August I’ll be in Ireland, by September I’ll be choosing between Geography and Imagination in Antiquity and the Middle Ages and Ireland and the Beginnings of Europe for my upper-level history class. Somewhere in there I’ll start writing to you again, blogging from the Emerald Isle.

So, I guess this is where I say goodbye. I’m really going to miss this though. Maybe I’ll write for myself over the summer, like my friend Ben. Maybe not. But no matter what I do, I’m looking forward to sharing it with you in the future.

To fellow students: Good luck on your exams! To professors: I hope you have a relaxing break and good luck grading all those exams! To parents: Thank you for sticking with me and I hope you also have a relaxing time with your family. To any and all in between: Have a wonderful summer and many adventures!

Taking a Break

Ready…Set…Wait for it…GO!!!!

And they’re off! Spring break has begun! Fresh air! More sleep! No homework! Freedom!

Well, kind of. By the time this is published, some students will be on their way home and others will be chomping at the bit to finish their last midterm. And, ok, fine, maybe I won’t get that much more sleep, and I know I have homework, but the fresh air and relative freedom still stands.

I say “relative” because I know my time isn’t truly my own. I’ll be running around, being enjoyably busy, and I know I’m not the only one. Loyola students tend to be fairly active during the week away from school. During my talks with friends I’ve heard some pretty interesting stuff. Here are a few of my favorites:

Thanks to the ease of travel in Baltimore, my friend Mary is flying out to see her sister in Pittsburgh. She’s really excited to see the Andy Warhol Museum and ride the incline (like that little red trolley from Mr. Rogers). I visited there a few summers ago and had a fantastic time. She’s in for a treat!

I know my roommate Erin plans to take the opposite route, and will be spending much of her time catching up on missed sleep. She also has her sights set on gaming, reading and hanging out with friends from home.

Likewise, my friend Ben told me he’d be getting some quality homework time in, because school will follow you where ever you go!

On a school-related note, some of my friends (quite a few, come to think of it) will be participating in Spring Break Outreach, a program that students apply for, and during which serve in communities across the east coast. There are eight sites, all in different states, all addressing different issues. My roommate Nicole will be learning about environmental and energy issues and visiting with organizations and local communities who are trying to address the problem. Lindsey, my fellow blogger, will be leading a group that focuses on prison reform and works with Baltimore agencies to educate students about the difficulties faced by current and past inmates. Other programs deal with rural and urban poverty, migrant farm labor, building communities, HIV/AIDS awareness, and racial justice.

I’ve also heard from other students that they plan to hang out with family and friends (even to Arizona and California!), spend some time skiing, and more than once I’ve caught “Disney World” while walking through Boulder.

What are my plans, you might ask? Well….I haven’t quite figured them out yet! I’ve been eying a few art museums since I haven’t been to any this semester (and that just feels weird). I really want to visit the Barnes in Philly (so many Renoirs and Cezannes!) and check out the Brandywine Museum’s F.O.C. Darley exhibit. My dad will be celebrating his birthday by going to the Museum of Mathematics in NYC to attend a talk about math in Pixar movies (I’m actually kind of excited for that). Other than the usual hair cut, visit to my high school, and obligatory restocking of food, I have no idea what else lies in my future! I hope it involves a trip to Barnes and Noble, though. Maybe I’ll eventually get to see The Hobbit or catch up on Downton Abbey.

No matter what I do, I know I’ll enjoy my chance to breathe and recuperate from midterms!

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!