December 30, 2011

2011 In Review




So many wonderful memories were made this year! I drew close to the members of my Connecticut church home, as well as a few of my fellow classmates. I have also grown in mind, spirit and ability. I have worked on no longer living to please others solely for their approval of me. I have learned to: let things go; leave some things unsaid; and most importantly, continue loving unconditionally.  I have gotten a better grip on this thing called "life".

As I move forward into 2012, I will carry that which I've learned this year. I don't know what the next 365 days hold, but I do know that there are some special plans for this upcoming year (earning my Master's is one big thing). I look forward to it... and I look forward to making new memories.

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!


"A Baby Changes Everything" by Faith Hill

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you are all enjoying this time with your family.
I saw this video at the Christmas Eve candlelight service yesterday evening. It's just a reminder of why we celebrate this season. 

Jesus came so that he could die for the sins of the world. 
What an awesome gift!

December 13, 2011

Missing Out

I have never had a good sense of family. As I've stated before in a previous post, my "family" consists of my mother and big sister, Opal (and my other half sister, but I hardly know her). 

We don't have traditions. 
We don't have family outings.
And, we've never ever taken a family portrait. 

As far as I can remember, I don't even think we've been in a picture together, and if we are, we don't have it in our possession. We don't have family albums at home. The few pics I have of growing up are few and far between and I guard them in a little blue photo album in my bedroom at home. Most of the pics in there are from my mid to late teens and were photos given to me by my friends at the time, or maybe from a church member.

My idea of holiday traditions for years on end was going to my friend, Vanessa's house for both Thanksgiving and Christmas because my mom was working yet another year, and she felt "bad" and didn't want me to be at home alone. Vanessa's family became mine, but as I got older, I felt as though I was intruding on their special family time. 

It is no wonder why the holidays are no big deal for me. Aside from the problems I've been having with my mother as of late, I did not feel an urge to go home for Thanksgiving this year. I spent it here: in Connecticut. in this grand grad school house. all-by-myself. I even ate left over porkchops for my "big Thanksgiving dinner". No big deal. I wasn't phased by it at all, and frankly, I did not feel as though I missed out on anything special. 

When my beau's momma asked me what I like to eat on Christmas Day, my response was "nothing". I don't have traditions. I don't have special holiday dinners. Every Christmas since high school my mom would beg me to put the faux Christmas tree up. I always resisted. I resisted even more when I came home from college for winter break and she asked. I refused until she begged me once more. I hate that stupid thing. I hate that I always had to put it up by myself and decorate it by myself. She never helped... Just came home from work saying that the living room looks much better and it helped to make her feel happy. I guess that's why I always did it... To make her happy.

Although it seems as if I am complaining, I don't resent my mother. She has had to work to make a living for us and herself. She never really had a stable family of her own growing up, and when we finally immigrated to America to live with her, my 2 sisters and I were 17, 12, and 7 years old, respectively. She hardly raised us. 

I do get sad thinking about all the things I missed out on during my childhood. I sometimes envied other families who decorated Christmas trees together, always had home-cooked meals, and go out on family outings/vacation together. But when I think about it, I am not the only person in the world who has never experienced those things. Certainly my life is not worse-off or lacking because of it. It's just that sometimes we see things as black and white, and black is almost always negative. 

Now, I don't get disappointed at a lackluster holiday celebration, or even the lack there of. The camera I received as a gift in 2005 has truly been my favorite inanimate object. I try not to attend an event without taking a picture to capture the memory. Also, I have the motivation to do all the things that I have 'missed out on' with my future family. 
This was all a learning process.

December 6, 2011

Christmas Party and Columbian Food (sans Columbian Food)


This past weekend was very fun for me. One of the women from church invited me to her 13th Annual Christmas party. Her and her husband have been doing it for years (obviously), and it has grown so much, they had to add an extension to the house to accommodate everyone. It's true. There were upwards of 100 people there that night, although it did not seem like it.

All invited guests were asked to bring a $5 grab bag gift and our "favorite snack". I didn't want to do the cliche chips and dip, so I ventured out a bit and prepared oven  baked bbq wings. (I tried one at home. They were really good. I also got compliments at the party). For the $5 grab bag gift, I purchased a set of 4 coffee mugs that came with a metal stand from Pier 1. I was surprised about the price myself! As you all read previously, I have a newfound love of that store.

All in all, it was a great time of fellowship with the people from church. I got to see all the familiar faces and actually exchanged a few words with the ones that I've only seen from afar. With the grab bag gifts we brought, we played the "gift exchange game". I chose a gift bag with Andes chocolate mints and a $10 gift card to Target. Obviously that gift bag was over the $5 mark, but I'm not complaining. Also, because I had a higher selection number, I got to keep my gift, and no one decided  to take it from me.

On Sunday, I was to have lunch with a Colombian family at one of their recommended restaurants after church. Sadly, the wife was sick and we had to rain check it (probably until I return from Christmas break).

This is the last week of classes for the semester. I have a total of 3 finals to complete, and then I'm home-free for a month! Of course, my laptop decided to die 2 weeks before finals (JUST like last year) and I am left freaking out over:
  1. not having a means of studying my powerpoint slides
  2. making my vision worse by staring at my iTouch's little screen for long periods of time, and
  3. realizing that not having a computer is not half bad. I waste way too much time doing nothing on it, anyway.

Thank God for warranties, though. I got that thing shipped off and fixed in less than a week.... Now, if UPS and I can stop playing tag so I can actually receive my laptop and study for my finals, I would be quite elated.

**Photos from party will have to be posted once I get my computer back. **

November 30, 2011

I Had A Dream


Dream by Priscilla Ahn

"I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me.
I played pretend between the trees, and fed my houseguests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green."

November 27, 2011

I Have Too Much


Ever stared blankly at your closet for a good 20 minutes trying to figure out what to wear?
- I'm going to be late for church
- I have too much
- Must simplify life
- First world problems?

... And this is only a sampling of all the clothes I have. I still have two closets full at home. 
*sigh*

I may have to clean house soon.

November 23, 2011

Wishlist

Christmas and my birthday are right around the corner and I've had a few things in mind that I would love to have... not necessarily that I need all of them, but I wouldn't mind really having a few of the things on this list, like pronto.

Artsy:
 1, 2, 3 
I can't wait to have my first home where I can decorate and liven it up with some of the beautiful art available in the world. These 3 paintings are currently my favorite.

Cloth:
4. This fit & flare dress is perfect for my shape. It would cinch the waist and not hug my curves, which would make me more than happy.
5. I. want. a. onesie.... I am not ashamed.
6. Since the summer, I have really been into loose, drapey clothing. This high-low cowl neck sweater is lovely!
7.  My plaid Chooka lace-up rainboots died at least 8 months ago. I have yet to replace them. I definitely need a new pair of rainboots.
8. A bright colored tote for all your casual handbag needs? Yes, please!
9. If I could find a comfy pair of camel colored mary-jane pumps with chunky heels to wear with skinny jeans, I would be quite happy.


Jewelry:
10, 11, 12
Every girls needs unique jewelry pieces. The earrings and bracelet remind me of Jamaica.

Misc:


13. My 6 year old 4 mp Canon Powershot A520 has been good to me. It really has. But I yearn for a camera that not only produces better quality photos, but also gives me the feel of a fancy DSLR camera without the bulk. This Nikon is pricey, but Ashton makes it SO desirable.
14. Dark denim jeans + taupe car seats don't mix. I NEED these car seat covers... I am too embarrassed.

November 19, 2011

Annual Traditions

The one tradition I've looked forward to for the past 4 years of my life is the 'Pre-Thanksgiving Feast' my friends from undergrad and I had the weekend before Thanksgiving. We usually had a full spread for dinner, and all contributed to the meal in some fashion. I always made the mashed potatoes. We also had baked mac and cheese, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and our makeshift turkey were a few containers of store-bought rotisserie chicken. (It was the best we could do in a college dorm).

This tradition of sorts began in 2007 when our friendship first began germinating. We thought, 'wouldn't it be cool to have Thanksgiving dinner together since we will all be away with our families on the actual day?'. We went grocery shopping the day before the event and somehow everything always came together very nicely. After such a massive dinner, we danced. That food had to be dissolved somehow...

Even though we graduated last year May, our friends still continued the tradition since everyone still pretty much lived in the New Jersey/New York area. I was unable to make it to last year's festivities, but I will definitely be going today. I haven't seen my fellow Drewids since Alumni weekend last year! We're meeting at my friend's apartment in NYC. I am super excited!

Here are a few pics from the previous years:


 2007 


 2008



 2009

November 6, 2011

Abashed


For 10 years now, I believed my most embarrassing moment in life occurred the summer I visited my cousins in Massachusetts. We were walking home from summer camp, and  passed a couple of guys in front of a Hispanic store. I didn't pay them much attention, but as we walked down the street, I felt a very sharp pain in my bum, which scared me terribly. So, I took off running for a few blocks leaving my cousins behind. I am sure they were quite confused because I didn't say a word to them, I just started running. When I finally stopped running, caught my breath and allowed my cousins to catch up, I was finally able to tell them what happened.... 

Some random guy kicked me in my bum... I felt the sharp pain, freaked out and ran!

Now, as hilarious as this story is to everyone I tell, it was quite embarrassing. And as of 10 minutes ago, I think I have a story that is the adult equivalent to the embarrassment I experienced as a teenager...

I am currently watching Serendipity and the first half hour made me think about my beau and how much I love and miss him. I know he's out at a concert and probably wouldn't answer his phone if I called, so I decided to text those affections to him. I received a response almost instantaneously and it read: 
"Ummm.... i think you sent this to the wrong person... LOL "

Clearly I sent the text to the wrong person... The woman whose children I babysit!!! I was so  embarrassed. Like, I literally laughed and cried, and had those prickly armpits (which I usually get when I'm nervous/embarrassed) all at the same time. 
I am pretty sure everyone has a story like this, but I still think it was incredibly awkward. 

I am easily abashed.

November 4, 2011

Tunnel


I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have registered for my final semester. Only 6 credits (and the completion of this semester) stand between me and graduation.

Do you know what that means?  I am really close to becoming a Master of Health Sciences. How awesome is that?! This calls for dancing!

October 29, 2011

Snow in October!





It's 34 degrees outside (above freezing!) 
About 70% of the trees still have leaves on them, and
The snow flakes are large, fluffy, wet and heavy. 
Thundersnow!
We are expected to get between 6 to 10 inches, and so far, we have about 3 inches of snow. 

I went out to a kiddie birthday party earlier today, and of course I got stuck on my way back home (at the bottom of the hill of my road). I've only had my license for a little over a year, so I'm definitely not an experienced winter weather driver. I just kept my foot on the gas pedal to get me up that hill. Needless to say, my car now smells like burnt rubber. But I made it home safely and I am warm and cozy in my room.
Thank God.

October 28, 2011

Currently...


Listening to: My iTunes on shuffle. Most of the songs and albums on there I don't even listen to anymore. For example, Fall Out Boy, Mya, and Ciara are the albums that I loved from high school into my early college years. My taste has changed quite a bit. (In case you were wondering what song I was listening to as I type this ---> The Flowers by Regina Spektor)
Watching: I tuned in to Project Runway last night and watched the finale. I think I did the same exact thing last year. I watched the finale, and nothing else. I also started watching Up All Night. It's not like lol funny, but it's entertaining enough. And I think Maya Rudolph is my new favorite actress. I also discovered Whose Line Is It Anyway? on late at night. Remember that show?
Craving: Mrs. Fields' Semi-Sweet Chocolate chip cookies... yum.
Thinking about: What to purchase boy/girl twins for their birthday party tomorrow. The twins that I babysit from time to time are turning two. I'm thinking coloring books and reading books?
Wishing: That my life was easier to handle, and that mom wasn't such a meanie (yes, I'm 5 years old) sometimes... harsh, but true.
Loving: My beau. He's taken on the title of best friend for sure. He doesn't judge me, he's super easy to talk to about anything, and he's slow to anger (which is great because I can't deal with people yelling at me all the time. I break down into large buckets of tears).
Worried about: My histology exam in a few days. What exactly is the difference between the way the  three segments of the small intestine looks on H&E staining?? *sigh*
Excited about: Christmas and winter break!
Lacking: Veggies. I must go grocery shopping soon. 
Mood: So-so.

October 19, 2011

"A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips"

... which is exactly why I have taken up hula-hooping.



I suck pretty badly at it right now, but I'm sure that if stick with it and practice often, I will be able to master it. My ultimate goal is to be able to hula hoop constantly and use it for 20 to 30 minute workouts during the week. I've read a lot of articles about "hula hooping your way to a slimmer waist" and I think it would be a fun way to lose a tiny bit of weight and define my waist.


Any tips for keeping the hula hoop afloat?

October 17, 2011

The Weekend In Photos











This weekend:
1) I received beautiful flowers from my beau,
2) went to the women's ministry breakfast at church
4) browsed though the town's Fall Festival for about an hour (it wasn't really that exciting)
3) had dinner and watched a movie with a couple of the women from church , and
4) hung out with my QU friends.

October 16, 2011

A New Day Has Come


A New Day Has Come -- Céline Dion

"I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear

Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you"

October 14, 2011

Power Word

Is there such a thing as a power word? (Probably not. But I think there is.) In any case, if the word did exist , it would be defined as the one word that describes that positive characteristic you exude. 
I think I may have just discovered my power word: RESILIENT. 

Seriously, with all the mess I've gone through in my 23 years of life, there's a reason why I am still sane. 

Image via here

October 10, 2011

Wonderfall

You guys!
Oh. My. Goodness. 
I fell in love this weekend!
... with Pier 1 Imports. 

I went on my usual drive around town this weekend to get out of the house for a few hours. I had a specific goal in mind: finding pretty decals to spice up my bedroom wall a bit. Of course, upon entering the store, I felt awkward and out of place, especially since I've never been there before. But, as I explored beyond the wall decor section, I absolutely fell in love. 
Everything in the store was so vividly bright and colorful. The pillows were soft, plush, and luxuriously designed (especially those that were designed with a Middle Eastern flare). The kitchenware were brilliantly colored and the other bits and bobs were just so cute and unique, I wanted to purchase them all.They were also having an 'End of Summer' Sale, so everything just seemed to be reasonably priced.


I can definitely picture myself decorating my future home/apartment with some of the items seen in the store. I can't wait for an excuse to go back there, and if I can't think of a reason to return, I'll go back just to window shop. 


Images taken from here

October 7, 2011

My Junk



My Junk by Spring Awakening (Broadway Play)

I fell in love with this song Spring Semester, freshman year of college (2007). My school was a liberal arts school, there were tons of art/music majors, and we were just an hour train ride from NY so EVERYONE was a fan of Broadway musicals. I'm not even going to lie, I loved it too... but did I have a choice? My roomie at the time had the Spring Awakening soundtrack on repeat for about 2 months after seeing it on Broadway. Good times. 

October 5, 2011

Wanted: Old Support System



Sometimes, I miss all the support I once had from friends.
I miss being able to tell them just about anything. 
About those times of excitement and terrifying times
(Like, junior year of college when I had a mini-breakdown during a 'Grey's Anatomy' commercial break. There was my friend ready to listen, pass me tissues and offer advice)
Lately, I just feel that I can't tell anyone much of anything,
For fear of being ridiculed or having details of my personal life spread abroad (and more often than not, the two go hand-in-hand)
Besides, who is there to tell?

With time, I've been learning that as I get older, the close friends of the past may not be the close friends of the future.
It is as if our lives and paths of friendship have bifurcated and they have become strangers.
And why would I want to share the most intimate parts of my life with strangers? 
Although, I have hear that this can be extremely therapeutic for some.
It just wouldn't be the same for me though, because they are not strangers. They know pieces of the 13, 16, and 20 year old me that no one else knows.
I guess that makes them strangers of the present me.
Maybe it's better this way. 
For fear of sounding ungrateful, I would like to mention that I have a great support system otherwise. My beau and my friend from high school are the greatest and most trustworthy people in my life right now. Not to mention a few of the women from my current church home in Connecticut. Maybe that's all I need right now, you know? But it sure does feel like I'm missing out on some...

This may take a little getting used to.

October 3, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month


 If you've been out to supermarkets, stores, or done some online shopping lately, you may be fully aware that it is now October and Breast Cancer Awareness month. Today is also the second annual "Blog for your Breasts Day". I wrote about my connection to and interest in Breast Cancer in this post last year, and it was both nerve-wrecking and relieving to share that part of me with readers.

I know many of you may be thinking that 'of course we are all aware of breast cancer by now', which may be true, but here are some other tidbits that you may not know:

  1. Breast cancer is one of the major illnesses women face after the age of 40. 
  2. Symptoms (other than a palpable lump) include: thickening and swelling of the breast, irritation or dimpling of the breast skin, pain in the nipple area, any change in size or shape of the breast, and non- lactation nipple discharge (i.e. blood).
    Mammograms are used as a method of detection. They are mainly recommended for women starting around 40 years of age. It is also highly recommended that women over the age of 50 receive a mammogram every two years. 
  3. Tips for lowering risks of breast cancer include (Source: Center for Disease Control): 
    1. Limiting your alcohol intake.
    2. Maintain a healthy weight and diet.
    3. Take note of your family's history with breast cancer. 
    4. Do self-check exams regularly. If you feel something irregular, schedule a breast ultrasound, as this may be one of the least expensive mechanisms of detection. 
Lastly, remember that for all of us, "Breast cancer is not a pink ribbon", as this pin on Pinterest has so vividly portrayed. So won't you please join me in becoming a part of Dr. Susan Love's Initiative: Army of Women (AOW). For this "Blog for Your Breasts" event, she states:
We invite you to use your voice through your blog to spread the word about the Love/Avon Army of Women. The Army of Women initiative, a program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, funded by a grant from the Avon Foundation for Women, is recruiting ONE MILLION WOMEN of all ages and ethnicities, with or without breast cancer, to sign up and participate in breast cancer research studies. If we can get ONE MILLION WOMEN involved in research, we are one step closer to understanding the cause of breast cancer and how to prevent it.
The Army of Women campaign is an online initiative, where women can sign up at www.ArmyOfWomen.org. We are dedicating ONE day to reach ONE million women to sign up for the Army of Women. Together, we can move breast cancer beyond a cure and eradicate it once and for all.
Believe it or not, cancer is a multistep cellular  process that affects everyone differently. If enough people from different racial backgrounds, ethnicities, etc sign up for AOW and participate in some of the research studies that they have going on, I'm sure researchers would be closer in finding a disease mechanism in which to attack. I promise you, you'll only receive about one email per month (a monthly update) delineating all the new things happening with AOW and any new studies that they're having that you may be able to participate in. Please consider joining Army of Women today. Not just for yourself but for our future generations.

September 29, 2011

To the lurkers among us:

Dear Lurker,

You! Yes, you! The family member, friend or stumble-upon reader who visits this blog page every once in a while. I know you're there. I know you exist. You come ever so often to lurk around (ever so subtly), read what's going on in my life and then leave without a comment or a hello.

Well, I'll like to extend a hearty hello to you. Thanks for visiting! Leave a comment some time. (I actually enjoy reading and responding to them). And won't you come on back and visit real soon! (I know you will, 'cause you're nosey like that -- haha. just kidding ... or maybe you won't because this post has scared you off...)

I guess I'm really trying to say that I acknowledge you, dearest lurkers, and I get it.
(I lurk sometimes too.)

Thanks for visiting now. ツ

September 23, 2011

The Scenic Route

I absolutely love when my GPS takes me through the back roads (during the daytime, only). Connecticut is such a treasure. Unlike Philadelphia where there are houses and buildings filling up every open space, there is a lot of land in this little New England state.

Take my current graduate house for example, and the street that it's on: There are tons of trees and big yards. It's kind of reminiscent of Jamaica, but not quite.

So far, my GPS has taken me through two gem routes. The first is in a little town called Naugatuck. After church one day, I decided to take a drive to Walmart. I was tired of the one in town because that's where all the college kids shop and there's never really anything there. So my little GPS took me to this one. The scenery by the store was absolutely breath-taking. The store sits on top of a winding hill that looks down on rest of the town. It was beautiful. Also, the drive back home was great. I felt like I was in another world almost. The trees hung over the roadways like a super long archway.

The second  route is actually located on the same street as my university. Once again, I was trying to get to another Walmart in Wallingford, CT when it was discovered.  (haha. what is it with me and Walmart?) The scenery begins once you pass the campus (understatement, b/c the campus is just as beautiful AND there is a national park/hiking trail right across the street from school). There is a heavily forested 2 mile drive that's beautiful during Autumn. There are a few houses scattered about, but they are hardly noticeable among the trees.



Sometimes, I want to pull the car over, whip out my camera and snap some photos. But there's usually no shoulders to do that. I have discovered a few cutouts large enough to fit a car, so when I feel adventurous one day, I'll go and do just that. ツ
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