Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Red Cross Evening of Stars

Classy iced tea

Amy Grant serenading us

Tonight my roommate and I went to a charity dinner put on by the Red Cross. My mentor through a leadership program at school called the Titan Leadership Program works for Red Cross and was able to get us spots. It was an amazing night and I am so glad I was given this opportunity. We had a delicious dinner and there was an auction to raise money for Red Cross. The highlight of the night though, was definitely the special guest. Amy Grant was asked to come and she spoke about some things in her life and sang a few of her songs. Sitting here drinking a mug of Hibiscus Berry tea, I am thinking about the things that she said. There are 2 things that stuck with me the most. First, she told us about a prayer that she learned and now says every morning. I don't remember the exact words, but it went something like this: Lord, help me find the people that I need today and those that need me. I think, even if you are not a Christian, that these are good words to live by. We never know who is going to need us and who we will need. It could be a stranger or your best friend, but someone WILL need you, and you need to be prepared to help them. The second thing that really struck a cord with me was when she said that if you were at a stagnant point in your life, make the next day special by doing something different. Sometimes I feel like my life is going nowhere. Every day I get up and go to class and study and then go to sleep. There is rarely a day when I am able to get out and do something fun like I did tonight. I'm going to try to make a point of keeping a balance in my life. A lot of times I get too obsessed with my studies. If I don't get perfect scores on everything I feel like I didn't do enough. Starting now, I am going to take more time to get out and do fun things with my friends. Maybe I won't finish all the reading for class or I will have to stay up a little bit later in order to finish it, but I will have made lasting memories with my friends. In the end that is the most important thing. I don't want to be someone who goes through life living it halfway. Starting today I will make more of an effort to have balance in my life. Staying on top of my studies, but not becoming too obsessed and ignoring the other parts of my life, like my friends. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Teen Years Are Over

This weekend flew by so quickly! I've been so busy hanging out with so many friends that the time went so fast! Friday was my 20th birthday, so I was celebrating all weekend. Thursday nights I work at my schools library until 2 am, so when I got back my roommate was waiting for me. She and my other suitemates had decorated the suite for us (one of my other roommates has the same exact birthday as me). 
My roommate always makes signs using the Ermahgerd language on our birthdays
Here's my Ermahgerd sign with a super embarrassing picture of me

On Friday I still had to go to class. It was a bit hard sitting through lecture when all I wanted to do was go hang out with my friends, but I still did it. When classes were finally over I went with some girls to get cupcakes from my favorite shop right now, Sugar Mama Bakery. (I think in a previous post I called it Sweet Mama's, sorry for the mistake!) The cupcakes were again super delicious! We also stopped at a coffee shop called Coffee Hound and got some warm drinks. 
Hot chocolate

My Salted Caramel Cupcake

Amy's Chocolate cupcake

Akari got 2 small cupcakes, Salted Caramel and Red Velvet

Abby's Red Velvet cupcake

Akari and Abby enjoying their treats!

My wonderful roomie, Amy, and I

When I got back to my dorm the cake that my parents and grandma had ordered was waiting for me. Through my school parents cake order a cake for special occasions and they will be delivered right to your dorm. 

Later that night the other birthday girls parents took our whole suite out to dinner. We went to a delicious restaurant called Medici. It was a blast! 

From left to right: Amy (the other birthday girl), Amy, and Cynthia

From closest to farthest: Ali, Mal and Abigail

I had a Spicy Black Bean Burger with fries

Amy's parents surprised us with this cake at the restaurant!

Later Friday night one of my friends and I went to a couple parties. My good friends birthday was on Saturday so his frat threw him a party. We stopped at that and then went to another party after. It was a fun night full of dancing, the perfect way to end my birthday night! On Saturday I just hung around my room. Everyone was pretty busy with other things so I just did some homework. Then on Saturday night I got together with some of the girls in my Japanese class. We had our own little party in the dorm. We listened to music, danced, practiced Japanese late at night (I was terrible) and just got to know each other better. These are the girls that I will be spending a lot of time together with when I am abroad in Japan next year, so it was good to spend some time with them! Overall it was a fantastic birthday weekend. The perfect way to say goodbye to my teen years and bring in the start of a new decade of my life. Here are the wonderful gifts that my friends got me!
Akari surprised me with some nice chopsticks and Japanese candy!

Chi gave me a cute little notebook from Vietnam. The paper is handmade! She also used this cute headband with bow to wrap it. I'm not sure if it was part of the gift or just wrapping, but I love it so I am going to use it as a headband (^^)

My roomie got me a little travel journal, a funny book about Japan, a coupon for  a meal on her, and a new Breakfast At Tiffany's travel tea mug!

A cute little bookmark and note from my parents

Abby gave me my favorite tea right now, I am so obsessed! (Also, this is the tea I am drinking right now)

Finally, Cynthia got me a cute pillow pet. It's a little baby lady bug that we named Penelope!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Friday Fun

Yesterday I had a super fun afternoon going to different restaurants around town and catching up with some friends. First, I went to a new bakery in town called Sweet Mama's with my old RA, Abby. They had the most delicious cupcakes ever! 
Abby's strawberry cupcake

My chocolate marshmallow cupcake

The inside of my cupcake

There was so much sugar in the cupcakes they were almost hard to eat! Neither of us could finish the frosting, look how much there is! I think that the frosting alone added 2 inches to the cupcakes. It was really fun catching up with Abby, I hadn't seen her in a few weeks, so we had a lot of fun. My next stop was for dinner. I went to Chipotle with Akari. It was her first time there so it was fun seeing if she would enjoy it. After a little confusion in the line since they push you along so quickly, we finally sat down and Akari thought it was delicious! 
My delicious veggie bowl

Next Akari and I walked over to a tea shop close to Chipotle called Fusion Brew. I had never been there before so I was a bit nervous. Akari told me that I had to try the Milk Bubble Tea. I was a bit nervous since I've never had it before, but she told me it is quite popular in Japan so I thought I should give it a shot. If it's what I'll be drinking all the time when I go to Japan I should know if I like it! 

Trying Taro Milk Bubble tea!

The tea ended up being delicious and I can't wait to go get some again! My final stop of the night was with my Bible study group Intervarsity. We went on a froyo crawl and stopped at all 3 froyo bars in town. First was Chill Out! Akari came along with us so we split all our treats since we were so full from dinner!
Our first bowl!

After Chill Out! we walked up the street a bit and went to the new froyo bar called Cocomero. 
Our second creation!

My roomie and I enjoying some froyo (^^)

Our final stop of the night was Cherry Berry. 
The last bowl!

It was a bit hard to eat this last bowl. I ate so much food in the afternoon that I felt like I was going to explode! All in all it was a very fun day! I got to spend a lot of quality time with my friends and eat a lot of delicious food. However, I think today I'm going to just drink Raspberry Zinger tea all day because I'm still so full!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Language Programs at Wesleyan

Recently the students at my school learned that it was possible that some of the language courses could be cut in the future. One of my friends, Katie, took action and went to talk to faculty to figure out more of the details of what was happening. After gathering all her information we had a meeting with many interested students to discuss the issue and think of possible solutions that we as students could implement. Here are the details. 

The big concern for most students are the Asian languages, Japanese and Chinese, offered on campus. However, other classes such as Greek, Russian and German are also a concern. Japanese class is less of a problem than Chinese since Japanese has a full time professor and the faculty that started the program in the 1980's had strong ties with Japan. However, most students drop the class after they fulfill the Gen Ed requirement. As for Chinese, there is not a full time professor and the teachers from China only stay for 2 years. The current professor is going back to China after the end of this year. Therefore, Chinese 101 will not be offered next year due to restructuring in the department. The students who are in Chinese 102 currently will be able to finish their 3 semesters since the University has gotten a professor from Hartland Community College to teach them specifically. The other language courses are less of a concern since they mostly all have tenured professors, but they could still use more students!

The main issue that we as students can address is the issue of enrollment and interest in the programs. Students need to show interest in the programs for them to keep being offered. The main issue for the University is money, so if we increase enrollment in classes there will be no more problems. Many ideas were put forward to increase interest, the main ones were:

  • Foreign Language Fair: similar to a study abroad fair there would be booths for all the languages offered at Wesleyan. Students could go from booth to booth and learn more about the languages, countries it is spoken in, uses for it in our world and much more. 
  • Workshops with International Students: students in a language course or just developing an interest could go practice the language, learn about culture, and just have fun with students native to the particular countries.
  • Establish a community: instead of the students in a language class simply being classmates the professors and students could foster an environment of friendship. That way people coming into the language could see how much fun all the students are having and how good of friends you can become with your fellow classmates. They will also know that if they ever have a problem there will always be someone they can go to for help.
  • More promotion: right now the only promotion for language classes are some small posters around campus. Language classes could utilize more campus resources by running ads in the Argus, doing a video promo for Titan TV, or running an ad on the school radio station WESN.
  • Actively recruit students: when potential students are on campus advertise all the unique languages that we offer. Make sure they know that if they want to keep learning Spanish or French they can, but if they want to try something different, like Japanese or Russian, those are also offered on campus.
  • Target First Years: During Turning Titan week we could have an event where First Years learn all about the different language courses they are able to take. This way they know about the classes before they register.
This is obviously a complex problem that affects many people. However, the people that are most affected are us, the students. Chinese only started to be offered on this campus because in 2007 students started a petition that eventually had more that 300 signatures on it saying that they wanted Chinese to be offered, and the faculty listened. If we all put in an effort to make our voices heard, not just complaining but working towards a solution, the faculty will make an effort to work with us. This is not an issue that only one person can solve. So if this is of any interest to you make your voice heard! If you have any ideas of what can be done to help this problem here are some people you can contact:

Faculty: Jim Matthews, Chair of the Modern Language Department
Students: Me! I love learning languages so I would love to work with more people to make awareness of the classes more well known! So send me a message on Facebook, email me, or if you have my phone number send me a text! 

P.S. Tonight I enjoyed a nice big mug of Passion tea while writing this (^^)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ian Comes to Visit

This post is a few days late, but with all my school work and preparing for study abroad this is the first chance I have had to write it! This past weekend the coolest guy in the world, my brother Ian, came to visit me. We had a really fun weekend of not really doing much of anything but catching up and hanging out. On Friday night he got to my school around 8 pm and we just went and got some dinner at the burger place on campus. We spent the night watching movies and just talking. On Saturday, after a late start we went to IHOP for some very late breakfast. When I say late, I mean it, we probably got to the restaurant around 1 pm! 

Drinking his pot of coffee, I think it was enough caffeine for a week!

Yum, look at that delicious food! The only thing that was missing  was some hot tea! After an attempt at doing some homework and being productive (not very easy when you watch A Knight's Tale at the same time) we decided to go see Olympus Has Fallen. But like always, the directional Gods were not with me. Google Maps dropped us off in the middle of some random neighborhood and told us we were at out theater! So much for the movie, we just went back to campus and got The Bourne Legacy from Redbox. Later that night, after some more delicious campus food, I brought my brother and friend Akari to Chill Out! a fro-yo bar a few minutes off campus. 

My creation with mochi and fruit bubbles-little bead of fruit juice that pop when you chew them

Akari and I

My bro and I

As always it was delicious, and fun to see what creations everyone made! After brunch on campus Sunday morning, Ian left to make the 5 hour trek back to his own school. It was a super fun weekend of just catching up since I hadn't seen Ian since Christmas! Hopefully we will have a few more chances to hang out like this before I go spend the year in Japan! 

P.S. the tea of the post is Black Cherry Berry (^^)