Another Week Bites the Dust…

And another one’s gone and another one’s gone… Two weeks left until I’m done with school! And at the time of writing, 20 days 15 hours and 26 minutes left until I leave for Florida! (Countdown clock is here!) I’m going to Universal Studios in Orlando for a fun-filled five days with my two best friends. We’ve been planning this trip for, no joke, 2 years. And it’s finally happening! I’m so excited.

I love amusement parks so much. I think it’s partially because lots of my family’s bonding time has been at amusement parks. You can learn a lot about a person by their amusement park style. My mom is awesome at taking control, coordinating everyone and shepherding the group from place to place to make sure we don’t miss a thing. My dad will stand in line with us, cracking jokes to pass the time. My brother sort of takes after my mom, wanting to fit everything in and be where we need to be when we need to be there (although he is much more insistent, whereas Mom does her best to make everyone happy). My sister goes with the flow, and is so friendly she’ll often get on the ride with all of her newest best friends. I’m also fairly easy going, though much more shy. I’m the one that’s likely to say, “Did you notice that cool Easter Egg the geniuses at Universal/ the Imagineers put into the queue?” And then point out how the newspaper article on the wall about Doc Oc had P. Parker as the byline or something.

Of course, my absolute favorite thing about amusement parks has got to be the roller coasters. I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve ridden the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake. To me, nothing beats the rush of flying through the air at 60 miles an hour with nothing but my wits and a lap-bar. And like any junkie, this adrenaline junkie always wants more. I will gladly wait 2 hours in line to ride the newest, biggest, fastest machine in town. The big hills, the big loops, I’ll go upside down, have my feet hang out, standing up, laying down, whatever they can think of, I’ll ride it. I even like the old-school wooden coasters, although riding them more than a couple of times can really knock you around.

In short, I’m not wishing the semester away, but I’m really looking forward to it being over. I can’t wait to reconnect with my old friends doing something that we all love. 🙂

Yours,

Vanessa

Scheduling life

One thing that I’ve learned about myself since I’ve been in college is that I like schedules much more than I thought I did. During my “rebellious teen” phase in high school, I would complain that the constant ringing of bells had us all trained like Pavlov’s dogs. However, once I got to college, a steady routine became comforting. If I was feeling anxious or lonely I would just remind myself of the next thing on my schedule. It was a reminder that I wasn’t alone, and it kept me out of my room and out of bed. This year with my smart phone, it was even easier to keep a schedule. I had a constant visual reminder of what my day looked like. At first I went a bit overboard, scheduling every moment of everyday. I’ve since found a happy medium. Of course, with finals week approaching, I’ll type up my master schedule (planning in study sessions, work out sessions, relaxing time and meal times) just like I’ve done for every finals week of my college career. At the bottom of the master schedule, I like to put a little piece of cheery clip art that describes what I’m “working toward”. For the end of the fall semester, it’s usually a christmas tree. I’m still trying to decide what it will be this time. I’m thinking either a sun and flip-flops, or the Universal Studios logo. Well, I’m inspired, I’m off to attack my calendar with a pen!

Yours,

Vanessa

Love all

I reconnected with an old love today, and an old pain. It all started at lunch, when I asked a couple of friends if they wanted to play tennis. I really missed the sport, I brought my racquet back to school with me and it was a beautiful day. My friend Michelle took me up on the offer and we played a set against each other. We found courts a little ways off campus (since the campus ones were being used by the varsity teams). She took an early lead, but I caught up until we were tied 4-4. Michelle pulled ahead again and we ended the set 4-6. It was awesome to reconnect with the physicality of the sport. Running around, lining up the shot and smacking the ball over the net, anticipating the return and doing it all over again. The solid thunk of a good shot, the fresh air and sunshine, it’s practically a religious experience. It’s amazing to feel strong and capable and in control. It’s also pretty cool to have a good conversation and enjoy competition with a well-matched opponent. Of course, after tennis is always the old ache. I had a stress fracture in one of the small bones in my foot, which went undiagnosed for quite some time. As a result, I have some arthritis in the joint and it still gets inflamed after lots of running on hard surfaces. I had surgery 7.5 months ago to remove the broken bone. I can tell you, a bad day post-op feels about the same as a good day pre-op and for that it was all worth it.

Yours,

Vanessa

And the #1 awesome thing is….

Anything you want it to be. Awesome!

And that was it. With those seven little words, it was over. 1000awesomethings.com was a 4-year long project, dedicated to identifying some little beautiful thing from life. Things like the smell of brand new tennis balls, big fat asses and your birthday week. It was simple and beautiful and a bright spot in the darkness of the internet. It never failed to make me smile, and I did what I could to introduce others to it. And tonight, I eagerly refreshed the page to find out what number one would be. And my first thought was “Is this a joke?” I was sad and disappointed and a little angry. But I’ve thought it over a bit, and I think it’s an appropriate ending. It’s all about finding the beautiful within the mundane, and the last post is encouraging us to go out and continue doing that. So friends, it’s anything you want it to be.

AWESOME!

Summer Bucket List

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Geneva, sipping a cappuccino with my good friend Tayyab. We’re supposed to be studying for a chemistry exam this evening, but I’m taking a break from transcribing my notes to write this. I’ve been thinking about the future a lot the past couple of days as the semester draws to a close. I want to do so much, but I’m trying to narrow my focus to the next four months. I have a few things I want to do this summer. Here goes:

Summer Bucket List

Ride all the roller coasters at Islands of Adventure

Play lots of tennis

Get back to Bailey’s and train a couple of times a week

Go to lots of Zumba classes

Continue getting back into shape

Run a 5k

Read ten books

Get my name on a scientific paper

Cook some meals

Spend a weekend at my camp and go to Water Safari

 

So, that’s ten things. A good round number. Hopefully I can accomplish them all!

Yours,

Vanessa

Just three weeks left!

So, exactly three weeks from today, I’ll be finished with my sophomore year at HWS. It’s been an awesome year. I feel like I finally found my niche. I found some awesome friends, grew as a person and a student, declared my major and applied to go abroad. I lost 20 pounds, maintained an acceptable GPA and still managed to get some sleep and have some fun. I was looking out at the lake earlier and realized I’m really going to miss this place. I’ll head out May 8th, come back May 11th and 12th for singing at the senior bbq and Tae Kwon Do testing, and probably won’t return until January. It’s really weird that I won’t be back in August. Instead, I’ll be getting on a plane for a whirl-wind nine weeks of adventure on the other side of the world. It’s exciting and scary and happy and sad. I’ll miss my friends and family, but I hope that I’ll make new friends and feel comfortable in a new family. So, here’s to the end of a chapter, and the beginning of another. (You can’t see it, but I’m toasting the computer with my diet pepsi.)

Yours,

Vanessa

Hello world!

I’m going to start a blog. My intent is for this to be my study abroad journal. As I’m usually pretty bad at keeping a journal, I thought I’d start early and hopefully get in the habit before leaving.