Saturday, August 30, 2008

Learning to Love Again

I was in the bookstore when I first felt that fluttering in my stomach, that flush of delight spreading across my face. I knew I had learned love again, despite more than a few previous sentiments to the contrary and an attitude that had been less than conducive to this new feeling. Yet there it was, filling my heart with joy and quickening my breath.
Who or what is this mysterious being for whom I have fallen?
Why, the University of Pittsburgh, of course.
That afternoon in the bookstore I had just purchased the last of my textbooks for the year and I proceeded to saunter through the upstairs of the store, enjoying the various Pitt memorabilia. Upon discovering the jewelry section I was pleased to find a round pendant on a thin gold chain (which is by far my favorite style of jewelry) with the crest of the University on it. It was then that I realized how much I really truly love being here. I will be proud on graduation day in 2012 to accept my diploma from this university and to accept the crest as a sign of my undergrad experience for years and years to come. I will take delight in telling my grandchildren, or grandnieces and -nephews, that I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
Now, for those of you who don't know the story behind this whole situation, it may seem... well kind of lame. "So what?" you may say, "everyone loves their college." Allow me to assure you that this is not the case here. I had my heart positively set on attending the University of Maryland, but some financial aid issues prevented that dream from coming true, and I was forced to fall back on my acceptance to Pitt, which I had only applied to as a backup school. It was too close to home, I thought, and too full of kids from my high school. I was skeptical about my ever really being truly happy here, even after almost a week on campus.
Pitt is still very close to home and there are still a lot of kids from my high school here, but that doesn't really matter anymore, because it's so much more than that, too. The faculty cares so much about their students; the opportunities seem positively boundless. There are many many different kinds of people, each bringing something unique to the college scene. The classes I am taking are brilliantly engaging and even enjoyable thus far, furthering my conviction that this university is the place to be for me. Even the campus, which I originally thought would never compare to the beautifully rolling quads and red brick buildings of UM, has surprised me with its striking beauty and close relationship with the city itself. There is no set campus, rather, gorgeous University buildings scattered throughout a section of Pittsburgh. The Cathedral of Learning, once my sole consolation for attending this school, has become, for me, a symbolic and central building to the entire Pitt experience. I love going to class in such an intricately pleasing building, so large and yet so welcoming with its many nooks and crannies and the floors and floors of offices full of people who are more than happy to be approached with a question or a problem.
Bottom line: I'm so happy to be attending the University of Pittsburgh!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


You know what's great about living near the hospital?
NOT the helicopters landing on the roof every 20 minutes!!!!!!!
Seriously it is so loud you can't even hear anything else for those few minutes while the thing is landing. It blocks out noise from the hall, sound from the computer speakers, people I'm on the phone with, etc. Pretty darn obnoxious if you ask me. >:(

Lothrop Street

As I was hiking up Lothrop Street today on my way to my ballet class in Trees Hall, something struck me as rather ironic: the doctors and nurses on break were smoking. Yes, you read correctly. Smoking! For shame! I could understand the guards or the janitors or even the receptionist/secretaries smoking, but the doctors and nurses??? I mean, really, even I know that smoking is one of the worst things you can possibly do to your body, and I didn't go through years and years of schooling on the topic.
You know what makes this situation even more interesting? Being checked out by every male nurse you pass by in your favorite jeans and black tank top, all of whom are clearly way older than you. Talk about awkward...

Crazy Crazy Pittsburgh Weather

Up until today the main problem with my dorm room is that it's hot. Really hot. So hot that sometimes the fan that I so strategically placed in my window blows hot air on me. There have been mornings when all I can do when I wake up is lay there and pray that it will cool down soon as the sun beats its morning way across my red and white carpet.
Last night I went so far as to tape paper in my windows so that I can have always have the blinds open for the window fan without providing my neighbors across the courtyard with "a show," in the words of my band trip chaperone. I figured it was pretty much the only way to possibly cool the room off, because I had tried virtually every other arrangement there is known to mankind. OK, that was a hyperbole, but you get what I'm saying, yes?
Alrighty, well get this: this morning, when I woke up... I was COLD. What gives, Pittsburgh? Why do you have to be so weird? I turned off the fan, but there was still a cold breeze, so I had to close the window, too, for the first time since I've moved here. I am now sitting here with just my hands protruding from a blanket cocoon so I can share this experience with you, my dear readers. hahahahaha
You know what else, though? I'm putting jeans on so I can go to Mass this morning, and chances are that when I get back to my room....
it's gonna be really hot.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


This is war. Hummus and I have had it.
For those of you who don't know what hummus is, it's basically mashed chickpeas mixed with some kind of spice or flavoring. There are lots of different kinds and the taste experience when paired with a crunchy cracker or soft pita bread is positively matchless. I loved it ...until today.
For brunch today I stopped in the Cathedral Cafe before my 11:00 Italian class. Not being in the mood for anything too heavy, as I had just run about 2 miles, I opted for the veggie and hummus wrap and some iced tea. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the wrap, but didn't have time to eat the rest. 'No prob' says I, 'I'll just save the other half for another time. It would be a shame to waste this excellent wrap, possibly one of the best I've ever eaten.' Seriously, though, the blend of spices and roasted veggies was truly delectable, despite the fact that it made my breathe smell. Oh, just wait. That's not all that will be smelling before my tale is done...
Now. Clearly, the Styrofoam plate with a plastic cover was not made to be stored on its side. Clearly it was not air- or water-tight. Clearly I shouldn't have dumped it into my tote bag with all my papers and makeup!!! But that is exactly what I did.
Now, in my defense, it didn't bust open right away. No no, it waited until I was about half-way through my first Italian class ever (first college class ever, for that matter) to pop open and slide down the side of my bright yellow folder as I shuffled through my tote for a pencil. Disaster.
I tried to shove the rebellious hummus wrap back in its container and close it, but instead more hummus squelched out of the wrap and oozed to the bottom of my bag. Not good. When I finally pulled my hand out of my tote bag, instead of grasping the desired pencil it was instead covered in hummus. I had no choice but to lick my fingers clean, not being in possession of paper towels, napkins, tissues, not even hand sanitizer, and not wishing to interrupt the intro lecture with my dilemma. So, there I was, first day of class, sitting in the back of the classroom and licking hummus off my fingers. Talk about weird.
Luckily, class let out early, so I had time to survey the damage before my next class. I high-tailed it to the bathroom, knowing there would be paper towels/sinks and planning to do a thorough, bag-emptying cleaning. What I didn't count on was there being other people in the bathroom. Thus, I was faced with the rather awkward situation of wiping what vaguely resembled vomit off my makeup bag and pencils in the 2nd floor bathroom of the Cathedral of Learning while others use the sinks around me in a normal fashion. Again, weird.
Not wishing to prolong this awkward situation, I only cleaned off the things I absolutely needed for my next class and sort of divided my bag into contaminated and non-contaminated sections with my folder. A reasonable solution, I thought, until I realized that my bag, being rather thin, not only smelled of spicy hummus very strongly inside, but also radiated the scent. Where does this unfortunate circumstance end??? No time soon, I can tell ya that.
Seeing as I had no time to go back to my room to switch bags, I was instead force to carry my smelly bag to the rest of my classes until now, the first free moment I've had in my room today. And I'm not cleaning it out right now. I'm blogging. I guess that bag will have to smell a little bit longer, because I am not touching it. So there, hummus.


Ok, I just realized that some of my yammerings about faith and God wouldn't mean a whole lot to someone who doesn't believe in God or is of a different faith than I am.
But seriously, it applies to everyone. Let me just say that again 'cause it's important: it applies to everyone.
Whether you believe in God or in some other form of a higher power, the basic principles are the same, and even if you don't believe in God... I know this sounds cheezy, but He still loves you even if you don't believe He exists. No matter how much time you give or don't give to God, he will always love you with more love than you could ever ever imagine. So don't think that because you don't go to church or don't pray or don't really "know" God that you can't enjoy some insights about Him. Basically, bear with my occasional religious interludes and you might find something about the faith that you like. :) Obviously if you have any questions about faith or God I would be positively tickled to answer them or talk to you sometime about it.

Meeting People

I don't know about you, but it is my personal opinion that the first few days/weeks of any new experience are crucial for establishing connections with the right people. Now, of course some would say, "Just be yourself and you'll naturally gravitate toward the people who will be your best friends." I don't know if I buy that. See, I want to meet all kinds of different people, not just the ones I would usually hang with. This is college; I don't want it to be like high school! But now I have a new dilemma: which crowd to mix with?
I suppose it would be fitting at this time to define the crowds I'm debating. So. First of all there are those people that you immediately know are super sweet and trustworthy and would probably be great friends. We'll call them the Nice Kids. Then there're the people who are always looking for the next big party and usually know where the good ones are. We'll call them the Fun Kids. Granted, the lines between these groups are sometimes muddled and I don't mean to judge people or stereotype them, but for the sake of ease, here they are.
Now. Perhaps it's true that the Nice Kids would be the best friends to have around through all the twists and changes and troubles of college life... but do they know how to have fun? Usually not. What I mean by this is that they have their own brand of fun which I don't actually find very enjoyable. So do I stick with the Fun Kids? Not necessarily.
The Fun Kids may know how to have a rockin' good time, but in the long run they don't really care about me any more than I care about them. Despite all the awesome times we may have together, chances are that there will be no real person-to-person, heart-to-heart connection with any of them when the day is done. And that's important to me. So do I stick with the Nice Kids? Not necessarily.
See, this is really where the heart of the dilemma comes into play. Ultimately I want friends who can fit into both categories. But where to meet them? Do I hang with the Nice Kids in hopes that one of them loves to party? Or scope out all the parties for someone who might actually want to establish a real friendship? Either way the whole friend search is shaping up to be a wickedly long and possibly fruitless process.
But apparently writing things out is an excellent way to think things through, because as I sit here a solution comes to me. I don't have to worry about what kind of people I pursue, because ultimately God will place the people I need in my life no matter what I do. And if I feel comfortable with the party scene and actually rather drawn to it, there's a reason for that, too. He sends His servants to all sorts of places to shine his light. We were created for the mission that He set out for us to do, and if something strikes a chord in me or brings me happiness, I need to follow that, listening all the while to see where He wants me to go with it.
Wow. College is going to be a breeze. Thanks, God. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Adventures in Oakland

Mission: Find a place that sells fresh fruit and aquire some
Time: 2:40
- After doing indepth online search to locate grocers in the area, decide upon Salem Halal Meats and Groceries at 338 Bouquet Street due to it's comparative closeness and likeliness to carry fruit.
- Step out onto the street feeling self-sufficient and grown-up. Got a map, got money on the debit card; life is good.
- Make it to Bouquet Street with ease.
- Meet old high school friend on the way. Following conversation ensues:
"Hey, where are you headed?"
"O, just some deli to buy fresh fruit."
"The one by the beer distributer?"
"... yes."
"You know, the Giant Eagle on Murray accepts Panther Funds and everything."
"O, really?"
- Feel stupid.
- Being prideful, can't bear to be seen turning around. Go around the block and end up at a Rite Aid.
- Not being able to find fresh fruit, purchase cuticle scissors and a kabuki brush at sister's earlier recommendation in order to get cash back for laundry money.
- Return home the long way due to sidwalk being closed in front of Lothrop Street.
Mission Status: Failed :(
Time: 3:30
Thoughts: Although the original goal of the mission was not, in fact, fulfilled, this mission can not be declared completely bust. Walking around Oakland was an eye-opening experience and an important one. It can be said that time was better spent running this errand than it would have been staying in my room. Overall a worthy undertaking. Besides, there is always fruit to be had in the dining halls until an alternate plan can be established.

First Blog Ever!

So... though I've never blogged before I think this is going to be fun. I've always been big on keeping a journal, and this is kind of similar, right?

My dream is to be a writer, and a truly excellent one at that, so I suppose this will be good experience for me. I want to master an educated but conversational tone so as to make big ideas available to the general public. I have a few ideas of my own that I would like to get across as well.