July 27, 2011

Hard Life.

"Wow" is all I could say when she told us her story this morning. It made me think about how all the "hard times" I have faced during my childhood could never compare to what others have experienced, especially her.

Never have I been forced from my home country to live in another.
That happened willingly and blissfully.

Never did I have to care for my younger sister at only 6 years old.
I am the last-born... the youngest child.  

Never have I witnessed brutal violence at a young age.
I was always sheltered from such things.

Never had I not been exposed to everyday things such as cows, chickens, and the like.
We not only learned about them in school, but they were a part of our diet.

Never have I lived in a refugee camp in Asia for 8 years.
I couldn't even imagine...

Who really knows what a friend, acquaintance, or coworker has REALLY experienced until they open up to you. All you see is what is on the outside.

I count my blessings everyday, and even more when I hear stories like the one I heard this morning. Some people have really had a rough life.

July 24, 2011


1) "Shoespoon" is my new favorite word.

On May 20th (so long ago, I know), I won DSW's Free Shoes Friday (a weekly contest they have on twitter where they ask a question and the first ten to email the correct answer wins free shoes-- a gift card). After over a year of playing, I finally won! The question was something along the lines of "What is another name for a shoe horn?" hence the word "shoespoon". My wonderful giftcard was sent and I was faced with the task of which pair(s) of shoes I would purchase before the card expired at the end of June. I knew I wanted a pair of wedges, so that's what I went with... I wasn't really in love with them after they were shipped to my house and I tried them on, so I just returned them today. But here a few pics of what they looked like:

2) I was on some sort of giveaway winning streak or something...

...because I recently won another giveaway on Mariel's blog. A cute and simple heart-shaped necklace from Haina. I also received an added bonus with my giveaway gift-- a free bottle of their "beach" body lotion. I am quite happy with my prizes. :-)

July 15, 2011

Five Pin Friday

This week is all about color (which seems to be lacking from my wardrobe this summer). I have also included photos of the some of the color blocking styles I like. 

(1); (2); (3); (4); (5)

July 13, 2011


As a child, did your parents or caretakers introduce deterrents into your lives? These days, they have child safety locks on cabinets, outlet safety covers, and baby gates, among other things. The ONE deterrent I remember having as a child was scotch bonnet peppers. See, I was an avid thumb-sucker (I'm amazed at how straight my teeth are today). As a toddler, I sucked my thumb quite often and growing up in a strict household got that habit cut with a quickness! Their secret?... They rubbed scotch bonnet peppers (mainly used to spice Jamaican foods) on my thumbs. Whenever I attempted to put my thumb in my mouth, I immediately felt the burn. 

It worked, though. 

Sometimes I wish their were foolproof deterrents for adult life that would prevent us from going down a crooked path.

What about you? Do you remember any deterrents your parents used during your childhood?

July 8, 2011

Red, White and Blue All Over

My Independence day in photos... The only thing missing is Sara Bareilles. We could see her (in her orange-ish/red jacket) on the stage and hear her sing, but the zoom on my camera is not impressive at all.

Five Pin Friday

1) Cute representation of the age old saying "I love you this much".
2) I think this is a brilliant photo concept-- Shadows.
3) I really like this image because it portrays the big floppy beach hat that I've been longing to have since last summer. Hopefully I'll be able to purchase on sooner or later.
4) Love this idea for my future home. A wall of silly portraits that somehow go together.
5) This is by far my favorite story of the week. In summary, a British photographer went to visit the black macaque monkeys in Indonesia. They were quite pleasant to be around and loved his camera, so handed it to them and they snapped that lovely self-portrait along with a few other images that can either be seen here or here.

July 4, 2011

Internship Thus Far

There is much to learn and experience during a summer internship contrary to what I believed before I started. I thought, ‘how much could I possibly do in 15 short weeks?’ I now know.

In the six weeks that I have been at FCCC, volunteering as a full time research assistant, I have learned so much! I have learned: that I still have a problem with tardiness; how to deal with language barriers (somewhat); animal sacrificing and dissections really don’t faze me much (only when I have someone over me telling me how to hold a scalpel); and many other things regarding the mammary gland—including its development, morphology, architecture,  similarities between the human and rat’s mammary glands, and how to dissect it whole. I am also learning a bit of histology, which I am sure will be beneficial for my Histology class in the fall. This has truly been a learning experience for me. I guess it was worth the two years of being offered the opportunity (I’ve been applying to work as a volunteer in this Breast Cancer Research Lab since 2009). 

Outside of my experiences in the lab, I have also been able to interact with some other people at the hospital. I met one really nice nurse one day I ate lunch alone. She told me that the Center was “a great place to work” because there are so many good things going on there. She reminded me that there were “sad things” too, but mostly good. I have been able to observe some of these sad things, myself… patients walking around the hospital in their gowns. Others may even pace around the beautiful garden outside in their gowns with family members by their sides. Some choose to have their chemotherapy treatment on an outside bench on a sunny day. These are the things that made me sad.  There was another day that I was unable to find the group of volunteers I normally have lunch with, so I sat at a table with two women. One got a business call, so she was on the phone most of the time that I sat there to eat my sandwich. The other asked me what my role was at the hospital. I didn’t want to pry by asking her why she was there, but I saw the hospital bracelet and was tempted to ask if she was a patient there. Her response was in a bright tone. “As of today, I am”, she said. “I’m waiting for them to page me so I can begin chemo”. As those last words came out, I saw her eyes become glossy with tears. She did not cry, but I am sure the reality of it all stung deeply. I honestly did not know how to respond, and I kind of wish I did not ask, but I also felt that there was a reason why I was pushed to ask. Either way, we did not have much to say to each other, and I had to get back to work, so that was the end of our conversation. (I know, ‘what a way to end a convo?!’, right?!)

Anyhoo, overall, this has been a really good experience for me. Not only do I gain some laboratory experience, but I will be getting paid starting July 1st. Yes. My full-time volunteership has transitioned to a full time paid internship! Also, beginning July 5th, I will be the mentor of four high school students coming to the lab for the month of July. We also have a huge project beginning that day, that will last until November, but I will only be able to help in the first half (processing 300 samples) of it. 

This is such a wonderful opportunity. I get to work with great people and a well-known breast cancer researcher (and his wife) who has over 300 publications!! Life is good. All glory and honor goes to God for all of this.

The members of the BCRL, minus my 2nd mentor and one of the Research techs -- yea, we're not all in our fancy lab coats. 

P.S. I also love the diversity of our lab, in regards to ethnicity and areas of expertise/skills. We have a Colombian, Argentinians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan, etc. Funny story: A new girl started as a temporary hire about 2 weeks ago via one of the guys (on the far left in pic) that work in the lab. She is blonde hair, blue-eyed like the guy on the far left in the pic, and she was also that guy's lab partner in undergrad. At lunch one day she asked "Are you Jamaican?" I told her I was and questioned why she asked out of the blue. Turns out, Tom, the guy she went to undergrad with, told her that he was the only American in the lab. When she heard me speak, she thought to herself "Well, she doesn't sound Jamaican. And then when she saw another of the volunteers, (on the left in pic), she also thought "Well, clearly she is American too". I laughed SO hard!

July 1, 2011

Five Pin Friday

1) This stylish striped pasta is so classy.
2) A clever photo concept.
3) The contrast between the color of the wall and the black and white posters is stunning.
4) Pretty red rain boots... I wouldn't mind owning a pair.
5) I would like to veer away from my usual nail polish shades of pink and deep reds. This color would be great to try.
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