Oh Troy….why do you tempt us so???
Last weekend I sort of had my last real days of summer. I mean, yeah, it’s still summer. But life and responsibilities and SCHOOL all start very very soon and so I decided to call those days my last and start looking forward to the fall semester.
This post is a pretty personal one for me – I had a fantastic summer and learned a lot about myself and others, and I don’t want to forget that. I have a few fun fall posts coming up soon but I’d like to close out the summer with this!
..I had a truly amazing summer. I made so many new friends, was constantly surrounded by wonderful people at all of my jobs, and got in a lot of time hanging out with friends from home. It’s been long and not so long, bumpy but smooth, a fun and serious summer. Dorky, maybe. But so true. I learned how to be happy and healthy and independent this summer.
For 3 years, I was with someone who was my rock. He was my pillar, and, a bit unfairly, the person I almost solely depended on for my happiness. Things didn’t work out and it has been so difficult to realize that and deal with it – there wasn’t any one defining thing that pushed either of us away from each other, which makes it harder in my opinion.
I also lived with two very close friends for two years in an apartment until this summer. Unfortunately, the living situation we were in did not bring out the best in any of our personalities and at the end of 2009 I decided to apply for the Learning Assistant position I have now and move back onto campus for my final year. The perks for this job are great (free housing!) but I also decided it was time for my next challenge. I really needed to get out of the negative environment we had created and start fresh. Meeting new people and trying new things is part of that.
This summer has slowly rebuilt my happiness with myself, and my respect and love for the people who surround me every day of my life. I learned that living alone does not have to be lonely – I just had to look for and make the opportunities to bring people into my life who could remedy that loneliness. Working 3 jobs this summer and living alone in a mostly-empty dorm could have been an awful, depressing experience. But instead it was warm, exciting, fun and helped me meet and get closer to some of my favorite people right now!
Self-fulfillment and actualization is a great theme to start the year on. Some links I really like on these topics:
11 things to do (and not do) when you’re burned out
You Have Not Walked In Their Shoes
Do What Makes You Happy
2 Ways You Think Yourself Unhappy (and 10 Things to Do About It)
16 First Steps to Creating The Life You Want From Some of the World's Best Bloggers
Bruce Mao's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
How To Turn A Creative Brainstorm Into A Completed Project
♥ finally being old enough to be on a first name basis with my professors
it makes me feel respected and validated as a student in my major!
♥ the first time you notice an acquaintance is now someone you call your friend :)
♥ eminem's new album...still.
♥ travel opportunities (here's to many this coming year)
♥ giving people study abroad advice
it gives me an excuse to reminisce!
♥ NEON yellow nails.
I mentioned awhile back that I was helping out at a Creative Writing camp for kids for a week earlier this summer. I’m not sure if I mentioned also though that I’ve been doing a workshop twice a week this summer for inner-city kids at the Boys and Girls Club with a few other students from RPI. I’ve worked with kids before, but just barely. It’s always been a pretty low-key interaction, or just long enough ago where I don’t remember much. In Spain I taught English to 3 girls for a few months with a friend, a gig brought to us by our Business professor. It was pretty easy and I mostly supervised homework, so I don’t really count that. Not to mention I was horribly awkward what with my lack of experience and expertise in the Spanish language!
This week is my last week with the workshop at the Boys and Girls Club. To be honest it’s been a huge struggle to find the energy for the four of us to keep going each week. The students are hostile (I mean, we’re teaching them math on computers. In the summer. Right after lunch. Right before pool/outdoors time. I really don’t blame them!). The computers rarely if ever work consistently. The building is not air conditioned and 10 computers generates a LOT of heat throughout the day. None of us have great experience working with kids – collectively, we probably have an almost complete knowledge but it’s a stretch.
So it surprises me that I’ll really miss it after this week. I’ve taken on the same job for the fall and although I’m looking forward to it, one of our group of student teachers is returning to Singapore from her study abroad at RPI and I’m really going to miss her. The other two…I’m not sure if they’ll be back. The particular facility we were at was hard to handle in the summer – I can only imagine what it’ll be like in the fall with the added load of courses and social commitments.
Over these past few weeks I’ve learned that inspiration can come from the most random sources. I learned so much from these programs I’ve been involved in and the people I’ve met as a result. During Creative Writing, the kids constantly surprised and delighted me with everything from their passion for reading and blunt observations about each other.
When you think about, it’s a rare thing for college students to interact with children, especially children who are just starting to really develop their personalities before becoming teenagers. There’s such a huge generational gap that I never considered – unless you are specifically teaching children in large groups while in college, or happen to have a much younger sibling and are extremely connected to your family still…there is a whole generation of beings that we don’t know. We don’t get their pop culture references. We don’t know what gadgets and toys they like. We don’t understand their senses of humor sometimes, or what they think is “cool” or not.
I hope that I can always keep this in mind and work on lessening that gap for myself. The kids I’ve been teaching for the past several weeks are all unique individuals. As much as it’s been a challenge, it’s been the kind of challenge that’s really stretched me to the limits and discover things about myself and these kids that I never knew. I used to think working with kids was one of the scariest things I’d ever do – what the heck do I know about it! I’m awkward in real life with adults - how would it be better with kids?? But really? It’s been fantastic! It’s not a mystery anymore. I’ve done it and enjoyed it and will keep teaching in the fall. As cheesy as it is….I can’t wait!
The cold weather can wait though ;).
Yum yum. I’ve been on a raw-food kick, about 70/30 raw food to not the last few weeks. I’m working on a post about that, actually!
Anyway, ever since I got a fantastic blender from Macy’s, I’ve been fixing smoothies every morning for breakfast. All sorts of delicious combos of raw fruit + almond milk. But until now I’ve limited the blender to only smoothie production…what a waste!
All of a sudden I craved gazpacho the other day. Perfect! No cooking involved, minimal ingredients, super easy preparation (just blend it all and go). And healthy to boot!
After much searching online and through my notes from Spain (totally disorganized, surprise surprise) I managed to find a really amazing recipe. I’ve modified it a bit to be more friendly towards what I had at the time and I must say, it’s delicious and SUPER easy. Give it a go!
Andalusian Garden Gazpacho adapted from the LA Times
makes about 2 servings
Note: The gazpacho should be the consistency of light cream. If it is to be served for sipping, thin with additional water.
1 slice bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup cold water, plus extra to soak the bread, divided
2-3 tomatoes or several cherry tomatoes (1/2 container or about 1.5 cups)
1/2 clove garlic minced
Small pieces of green bell pepper
A few squirts of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 small white onion, finely chopped
1. Break the crustless bread into chunks and soak it in water & about 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar to cover until softened.
2. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces (for cherry tomatoes, just cut in half).
3. Add all ingredients including bread to blender. Blend until smooth. If there is trouble blending (mixture is too thick/not wet) add a bit more olive oil. If the mixture looks too thin, you can leave it be or add a few more tomato pieces.
Serve and enjoy! Told you it was easy. :)
short but sweet list. much more coming this week- stay tuned!
in the meantime…
things i loved this week/end:
♥ my job!
i truly love it. :) i will be so sad to cut back hours once classes start!!
♥ Top Gear on Netflix instant!
♥ late night walks across campus – barefoot :)
♥ hanging out with old friends
♥ hanging out with new friends
♥ getting a paycheck!!! never gets old.
♥ the cooler weather (although it seems to be heating up again…)
♥ long, open, interesting conversations
♥ me time at the coffee shop after early days at work
♥ iced coffee at said coffee shop. YUM.
Loving these nails ever since I saw the last photo on Gala’s latest fall fashion post.
Lavender 3D nails from Cut Out + Keep
Silver Glitter Nails from Flickr user zoebateman
Summer 2010 Nails from Jenny Sokol’s blog
And of course, glitter tipped nails from Gala’s fashion post
I’m going to be honest, long nails (fake or real) creep me the heck out. I’ve felt this way most of my life, to the point where having long nails makes me really uncomfortable and twitchy feeling. I think it comes from playing violin most of my life, starting when I was 4 and the teacher would clip my nails for me if they were too long.
That being said, I would totally consider growing out my nails a little bit just to make these glitter nails work! So adorable. I need to make this happen, and soon!
Fall fashion post coming later this weekend – in the meantime, keep looking for more things I’m loving post in the next few days!