Four Dead in ______

Today is the 46th anniversary of May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of students at Kent State University protesting President Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia as an escalation of the Vietnam War. Four students were killed, and nine were injured in an event that produced a legacy that lives on not only in the memory of students and friends of Kent State and at the May 4 Visitors Center, but also in each and every protest that has taken place since. The events on May 4 (and the days preceding) triggered a widespread movement in which students were frustrated and wanted to change their world from the bounds of their campuses–an idea that persists in student protests even today.

It has been (almost to the date) one year since I last wrote on this topic, in an academic thesis as a culmination of my academic interests and studies. In that work, I examined campus political culture both before and after May 4th on campuses in Northeast Ohio, interested in exploring whether or not the events at Kent State were a catalyst for student political mobilization in the region. My findings, based on a close examination and analysis of university-sanctioned, student publications at that time, concluded that these events had, in fact, resulted in greater occurrence and coverage of political discussion and activities in university newspapers, indicating to me that the editorial staff of these papers determined that these events were newsworthy and of interest to the student body. Additionally, the coverage of these protests indicated that numbers of protest participants had, in fact, increased after students heard of the Kent State Shootings.

Now being one year and almost 2,500 miles removed from my undergraduate thesis, the events at Kent State have taken even greater significance, both in my life and in the events that have transpired in the past year. Historically, Kent State, it turns out, had impacted a larger portion of the country than just the region; this, for example, is a leaflet distributed on my graduate studies campus, the University of Washington, following the events at Kent State. It invites students to the Husky Union Building (the HUB) to discuss the events and come up with a political action plan for their own campus, providing evidence that, over two thousand miles away, students in Seattle felt that the “Four Dead in Ohio” were like four of their own. Today, I see echoes of Kent State everywhere: at a meeting where Black and minority students discuss ways for their campus to be more inclusive; in Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, Seattle, and other places where citizens gather together in support of breaking down discriminatory practices in their communities; and in the recent discussions of immigration on college campuses (here and here).

As a society, we are still experiencing the legacy of Kent State. We struggle to understand the role that protestors play in a democracy, undermining their cause as being emotional or naïve or, simply, wrong. It is important to understand the events that transpired that day, as well as the legacy that resulted, in order to understand today’s political activity and upheaval.  As long as people come together to work to correct the injustices they perceive in their society, the spirit of Kent State–the drive of the student body to change their world–will live on. However, it is our duty to ensure that Four Dead in Ohio does not become Four Dead in Cleveland, Ferguson, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., or wherever protestors may gather. On May 4, we are reminded of the power of a group of protestors and the horror of violence that was, and continually is, used against them.

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In case anyone is interested, here is the full text of my thesis: http://collected.jcu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1070&context=honorspapers

Literacy Confidence

After spending a quarter as an education intern at a local museum, I have to sound off on something I’ve seen plenty of times in my many education-related roles, including when I was a student learning to read so many years ago. I’m a firm believer in many things relating to education: that discovery is one of the best ways in which to learn a topic; that memorization is essentially useless to truly understanding material; that people learn in many different ways while doing different tasks; that informal learning sites are just as integral and important as classroom learning–and sometimes actually more effective; and that literacy is a fundamental piece to learning that can not and should not be taken lightly. This final piece is what motivated me as I stood in front of a classroom of 4th graders and helped them learn their civic responsibilities, what drives me as I wander through galleries with a group of 3rd-graders, what will continue to shape my practice as a future educator in museums.

I will continually fight for literacy, as I feel it is a human right. Without the ability to read, how can one be informed about the world around them? How will our children (or adults, for that matter) create a better future for tomorrow without being able to read about science, about history, about the political structures around which the world exists? How can one discover new people and places, both real and imaginary, in the pages of a book without being literate? How can one appreciate one of life’s simple joys when they cannot read a sentence? Literacy is essential to so many facets of our human existence, we cannot deprive anyone of the ability to communicate in these ways.

While literacy is so important and essential, it is not something that is taught easily; it requires time, energy, and patience on the part of the instructor, the more-knowledgeable other (to borrow from Vygotsky’s ZPD and to appeal to my more academically-inclined friends). These are the very things I see lacking in educational environments with regards to the developmental years of literacy. I see parent chaperones or other student group members correcting and “helping” reading-challenged students through difficult words while they attempt to read labels in the galleries by simply telling them how it is pronounced instead of letting them sound it out. I see fellow students snicker at their classmates who read sentences–or even words–more slowly than themselves. I see teachers who will not allow everyone to read in class, calling on their more reading-inclined students, because they want to get through the material at a more rapid rate. While, certainly, the child may eventually be able to memorize word patterns if given the pronunciation “answers” (much like young toddlers memorize their favorite picture book’s story and “read” it to their parents or guardians), they will not have the experience of sounding it out and going through the struggle of understanding the pronunciation themselves. Without this experience, literacy learners are not independent, struggling to figure out the pronunciations of other words without an instructor there to provide them the answers.

Beyond this, however, it is important that a sense of confidence is instated in the budding reader. Providing them the appropriate guidance yet allowing them to figure it out for themselves (and not shutting them down when they are not “fast enough” of readers) offers students a level of confidence in their literacy that will carry with them for a long time. Shutting them down deprives them of this confidence, making them insecure in their abilities for years to come. I cannot count on one hand how many of my fellow students during undergrad were anxious about reading aloud, possibly from some traumatic experience reading aloud as a young student. With a little literacy confidence, students will likely practice reading more and will not have as many negative feelings towards it–and that’s certainly not a bad thing!

On Tuesday of this week, I had a related experience at my internship. I encountered a student who declared to me, “I do not know how to read or write!” which stirred in me a twinge of sadness–this was an upper elementary class after all. But instead of considering all of the reasons why this student had a difficulty with reading, I elected to slow down and spend a little extra time helping him sound out words. We didn’t get to understand the full point of the lesson, but we did figure out how to spell “airplane” with a lot of trial and error. To me, seeing the student beam with excitement after finishing spelling that word (only a small part of the greater lesson plan) was enough. The student left feeling a little more excited about his reading ability and truly excited to explore the rest of the museum–and see a few model airplanes. It is only my hope that more people who interact with this student take the time to help on the journey to a more confident literacy.

So, with regards to literacy: take the time, let them sound it out. It might slow down your lesson plan or keep you in the galleries longer, but it will provide budding readers with a learning experience that they will carry with them for years to come.

Have some thoughts on literacy learning? Share them in the comments below–let’s help make education a more collaborative, community-driven field!

An Open Letter to JCUTF, On the Occasion of Indoor OACs

Team:

It’s everyone’s (second) favorite week of the season (given that Outdoor is your favorite season. If not, you’re a little weird, but carry on, Trackstar, I celebrate you). This is the time when everything comes together, when your training culminates into something bigger than yourself: a team effort in a meet full of excitement and magic.

Ok, so you may be thinking, “Wow, Tink, you’re really waxing nostalgic here. The 500m-4×4/800-mile double/3k-5k double I’m about to run is NOT exactly magical.” Or, you’re thinking “I’m injured/I didn’t qualify–I’m just going to be a spectator, why is this weekend so magical to me?”  I get that. All of that. Really, I do. And, in all honesty, OACs is just another meet. The gun goes off and you run your given distance, you dash down the runway and land in the pit, you step in the ring and throw your implement… it’s all the same as any other meet, any other weekend. The officials are even the same (pro tip: befriend one–or three– and your college running career will be that much more enjoyable). But there’s this energy about it that is so special. Something about the OAC meet brings out the best in people–this sense of optimism, this idea that anything–really, anything–can happen. Take it all in, and let it fuel you.

I know I’m not speaking for myself when I say how proud of you all I am (even those of you I’ve never even met in the short season since I’ve been gone). The team that I joined as a freshman and the team I graduated from are not the same team by any means–in so many good ways. And I know I didn’t even see the full trajectory in my four short years. And you won’t either–and that’s ok. What’s so special about John Carroll Track and Field (which I’m sure Kyle will tell you over and over) is that it constantly grows and changes, moving more and more toward excellence while achieving great things along the way. It constantly pushes through adversity (hallway practices and snowy drives to Spire that take 3+ hours, anyone?). Learning from the lows, celebrating the highs, it’s all part of it. It’s a journey, a process. It’s something bigger than any individual member of JCUTF, and you carry it with you long after you take off your uniform for the final time (and cry… A lot.). Remember you are not the first, nor will you be the last to put on a JCUTF uniform–and let that motivate you to continually better this program. Remember you are part of something bigger than yourself, whether a spectator or the first person to cross the finish line. But, even more than that, know that there are so many alums from any point in the growth of this team who believe in you and believe in JCUTF’s journey.

This is why I’m writing. I urge you to take a moment during the meet to believe–truly believe–in the power of OACs. Believe in yourself. Believe in your training, your coaches, your teammates. Believe in the image emblazoned across the chest of your uniform. Believe in your lucky headband, your socks, your favorite pair of spikes, laced just right. Believe in the little moments, the season bests, the PRs, the steps you take that bring you closer to your goals. Believe in that hip number, as annoying as those things are. Believe in your blocks, your block holder, and your weird pre-race routine. Believe in the journey. It won’t lead you astray.

Damn Proud to be a Blue Streak.

Tink

New Year, New Beginnings

Hi Friends,

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Looking out on a new year. 

So I’ve gotten increasingly terrible at writing frequently (I blame Grad School), but I’m currently reading about the Philosophy and Theory of Art, which begs for some hefty procrastination…

It’s a new year (albeit a few days late)! 2016, full of promise, perspective, and excitement. And, at very best, a welcome change from 2015. 2015, as I’ve detailed before, turned out to be a big year of growth and changes for me, some of which were not so fun. But I learned valuable lessons about myself that I plan to use to make 2016 the best year yet!

2016 came to a quick and hurried start (after champagne and cocktails with my favorite–read:only, haha–sister, of course, but more on that later) with an atrocious cold, the beginning of a new quarter, and my first days at my new internship. This quarter, I’m learning how to evaluate museum exhibits and programs, trying my hand at designing and developing an exhibit concept, and learning how discussions of important issues work, as well as interning in the education department at the Museum of History and Industry–my museum crush of last quarter. I’m particularly excited about this role, as I get to interact with schoolchildren of all ages and help them experience this awesome museum in new, engaging, and exciting ways, all the while having loads of fun! It’s like We the People (my beloved service program from undergrad) every Tuesday and Thursday, but in a museum instead of a classroom–how awesome is that?!

This quarter is all about new experiences. It’s only week 2 and I love it already. Here’s to hoping the momentum keeps going for the next 8 weeks!

x. M

 

P.S. I had so much fun with Sara in town around the New Year, so I promise to have a post on that soon!

First Quarter? Check.

Hi, everyone.

Has a month really gone by since I last wrote? Yikes. Grad school is busy, alright?

Now that the quarter is officially over, I would like to reflect on the quarter’s many growing moments, lessons, and endless, wonderful gifts. I’ve learned so, so much about myself as a student, a person, a friend, and a human, more than I can completely express. These lessons arose from challenges; interactions; experiences; encounters with different people, ideas, places, and methods than I’m accustomed; all of which on top of the course material I was assigned.

Here are the highlights:

I have so much to learn. This has rang true from the moment I got on a bus going in the wrong direction and ended up lost to the moment I had a conversation with someone about a specific museum-related topic on which my knowledge is extremely limited. My perspective has been so limited, due to geography, situation, and other circumstances that have prevented my even knowing that other perspectives existed. The realization of this alone has inspired me to know more, be more, experience more. I have to continue to grow and change to be the person the world needs me to be, and I am thankful for the upcoming quarters to allow me to continue to do this.

Sometimes people are growing mold on their souls, and there’s nothing you can do. Sometimes people make it their personal mission to be miserable and to make others miserable. These people are everywhere, and there’s little that can be done about that. However, what I’ve learned is that as long as you don’t let that mold grow on you, you remain unaffected. This is, certainly, easier said than done. I, myself, have struggled with this continually throughout not only these past few months but my whole life. Sometimes it is really difficult to keep your head clear of other peoples’ mold. But it’s important to try.

It is so important to take time for yourself. So many times during this quarter, I found myself overwhelmed with the responsibilities on my plate. Some of these had more immediate and pressing deadlines, and others, like internship applications and long-term projects, were not immediate but still looming. At any point, I could have been bogged down in the monotony; the seemingly endless cycle of papers, readings, and assignments; or the dreary weather. And, at times, I did. But, what I learned, what became the best way to cope with the overwhelming number of things in my iPhone calendar and planner, was to take a moment, as long as I could afford without causing worry, to do something for myself, something I enjoyed. Some days, this was just a simple run in the morning to clear my head or a trip to the gym. Others, it was going to get dinner from a restaurant I had walked by a million times but never tried, or a drink with a friend. Others, still, all I could manage to do was make myself a pot of tea, or eat breakfast while watching a TED talk or two (in order to help me out with my first lesson). These were my moments. These were my way to keep my head screwed on (at least a little bit!).

And, perhaps, the greatest lesson of them all: I am right where I need to be, doing what I need to do. While I still have a long way to go academically and professionally, at this very moment I feel I am learning what is necessary, not only for my academic and professional success, but also to be a better human in this life.

I cannot wait for what is to come. But, first, some relaxing days at home with family and friends for the holidays.

x. M

 

Twenty-Three

Well, that’s it, folks. I’m another year older, another year wiser, another year full of whatever cliche is printed on greeting cards and circulated throughout the country. Now that I’ve had a few days to reflect on my birthday (and the passing of another year), I have a few solid thoughts.

22 was hard. It was a difficult, challenging year for me. From writing a thesis that took up what felt like an entire year, to living off-campus with a mix of girls different than the girls from my sorority with whom I had grown accustomed to living, to a seemingly simple, yet devastating back injury that prevented me from doing what I had loved most and shut down any final possibility of achieving what I had wanted most for so long in running, 22 (and my senior year of college) was chock full of obstacles and challenges. There were late nights and early mornings, plenty of tears and awkwardness, muscle relaxers, pain killers, weeks of physical therapy, and nights when I was glued to my bed with a hot pad on my back. 22 was not always fun. But, somewhere in all of that, I rose. I made new friends–or, rather, found new drinking buddies (I’m looking at you, group of sassy, amazing women who made the final few weeks of Senior year what it was for me)– I worked hard and wrote a paper of which I am so proud (and would love to continue researching in my future), and I left John Carroll’s campus with minimal regrets and as a changed person–exactly as I had hoped when I stepped on to it in August of 2011. 22 was the year I never gave up, no matter how difficult it felt at the time.

On Sunday morning, I laced up my Saucony Kinvaras and walked across campus to the start line of what would become my first 10k in well over a year, only my second race since a two-month running hiatus. It was a rainy, dreary morning, but it was perfect fall running weather. I was excited; I had a race plan, and I knew if I stuck to it, I was going to be just fine. When the gun went off, I set out accomplishing that plan–staying relaxed for the first few miles, and then seeing what I could do at the end. I knew there were going to be challenging hills in this race (this is Seattle, after all), so I wanted to be prepared for that. I also hadn’t raced this far in quite a long time, so it was necessary that I prepare for feelings of tiredness, fatigue, and general exhaustion–just in case. All of this preparation paid off; I felt myself racing towards the finish with renewed energy. As I crossed the finish line, I was well ahead of my goal time for that day, and had set a new personal record by almost 40 seconds.

I began my 23rd year with an achievement, a personal best, a moral and personal victory. I ran a personal best, in spite of being injured 6 months ago, in spite of losing confidence in running, in spite of having to take time off to recover. I put 22 behind me–with its struggles and heartbreak and disappointment–and set foot into a new year, one that hopefully follows the tone of that first day. I have a lot of exciting things in mind for this coming year: adventures, internships, projects, and (of course) a few races. I can’t wait to see what great things this year brings.

x. M

Different Perspectives & New Experiences

So much has happened since my last post! It’s been a crazy week or so, getting settled into my program and getting back into the swing of things with school–which, as promised, is not at all like undergrad and not at all what I expected. It’s better.

My program had a four. day. orientation. Yes, that’s right: four days of listening to presentations, awkward socialization (which actually turned out to be pretty great), and FREE FOOD. It’s good to know that even in graduate school they still understand that free food is the best way to keep students happy. Luckily for us students, however, these were spread out over the course of two weeks, giving us plenty of time to fit in other activities, which I certainly did!

About a week and a half ago, my program invited whoever was interested to partake in a hike at Rattlesnake Ledge, a four mile round-trip hike that, while not too difficult, was certainly not an easy uphill climb. Gaining approximately 1160 ft throughout the hike (told ya it wasn’t too challenging!), the hike boasts an exposed rock ledge at the very top, at which we took advantage of excellent views and stopped to eat our sack lunches. After snapping a few pictures and munching on my flatbread peanut butter and jelly sandwich and my farmer’s market fresh pear, I began the descent down, which, as always, seemed to last half as long as the ascent. At the trailhead, there is a small but beautiful lake, appropriately named Rattlesnake Lake, which provided some final beautiful views of the Pacific Northwest wilderness before returning to the hustle and bustle of the city. I look forward to returning to the wilderness many times–I certainly appreciated how quiet it was, compared to my city apartment!

The view from the top!

The view from the top!

Walking toward Rattlesnake Lake after our hike.

Walking toward Rattlesnake Lake after our hike.

Crystal blue waters.

Crystal blue waters.

Water and Mountains are two of my favorite things.

Water and Mountains are two of my favorite things.

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Rattlesnake Lake from the Ledge over 1,000 feet up.

Rattlesnake Lake from the Ledge over 1,000 feet up.

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After the hike, some of my museology friends and I decided to pay a visit to the Henry Art Gallery. We were mostly interested in Martin Creed’s “Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space,” as it was closing that weekend. Upon hearing about it during an informational session at the Henry that week, we just HAD to go see it. Essentially, Martin Creed’s installations consist of filling spaces full of balloons, allowing museum visitors to interact with the piece in essentially any way they wish. What this meant to us was diving right in (metaphorically, of course!). Once the museum worker opened the door and gave us the OK, we poured into the room, swatting at balloons and burrowing ourselves into the room full of balloons. While I expected to feel anxiety at the claustrophobia-inducing space, I found it so ridiculous that I couldn’t stop laughing. I was instantly reminded of all of those matter models we had to watch in middle school: It felt like all of the balloons were individual atoms bumping into each other. Beyond that, though, it felt like a wild, absurd adventure–a trip into Wonderland, if you will. All in all, a very good time. While the exhibit is now closed, I would highly recommend it if you are ever presented with the opportunity to be in a room full of balloons. Definitely a perspective-changer.

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37,000 balloons.

Later that night, we went to pub trivia night at the Roosevelt Ale House, where I learned it’s okay to be a nerd and geek out over weird things–it just might get you the correct answer to a question! While our team did not end up winning the contest, we certainly had a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to go back and redeem ourselves soon (we just need a person or two with some sports knowledge)!

A few nights ago, I had another new experience, this time involving food. As a child, I hadn’t really been exposed to foods of the greater Asian continent, given my mom’s migraines and sensitives to MSG, so I had never really developed a palate for the foods of the Far East. That, in addition to my food intolerances to both rice and soy, kept me away from these types of foods for most of my life. However, what is a girl to do when she’s surrounded by a plethora of ethnic foods?! Give it a try! After much deliberation, I settled on an Udon (pronounced you-don) place cleverly named U:Don on The Ave, a popular street in the University District packed with restaurants, bars, and little boutiques. Essentially, the restaurant serves wheat flour noodles served in broth or with sauce, which you can pair with tempura-battered veggies or spring rolls. I chose to have my noodles Soup-style in the green onion and ginger dashi broth with some tempura broccoli and green beans. Delicious. There was only one problem to my food adventure (and it was a big one): chopsticks. Being extremely inexperienced with chopsticks and chopstick-foods, I did not quite know how to use them–or even really how to hold them–and, being surrounded by those who had grown up with chopsticks as a part of their culture, I felt as though I at least had to try. I certainly wasn’t going to be the girl who had to ask for a fork! After taking a few moments to study others’ technique, I made my best effort… and failed. Trying again and again, I eventually maneuvered the slippery noodles into my mouth, enjoying every last bite. I will certainly be returning soon to practice my chopstick technique.

Not for the chopstick-challenged. Or, rather, a new challenge for the chopstick-challenged.

Not for the chopstick-challenged. Or, rather, a new challenge for the chopstick-challenged.

On top of all of this, classes have also begun! This means reading, reading, and more reading (and lots of tea and coffee to accompany it). A lot of this reading is finally practical and relevant to my life, though, so I certainly do not mind. In fact, I find it pretty enjoyable (#nerdlife)!

Whew. If you actually read all of this, throw me a comment or something because you deserve a pat on the back or a unicorn or something (Hi Mom!). However, if you DID read all of this, I like your taste. 🙂

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Rainier Vista sunsets are my favorite.

Smell you later,

x. M

Schedules and Time

“You STILL haven’t started school?!?” – Every single one of my Ohio friends.

UW is one of those schools that’s on quarters when it seems the rest of the country is on semesters. In fact, it’s on a different schedule in a lot of ways–it seems it’s so ahead of the times on so many things… The things UDub offers as a university greatly exceeds anything I had ever seen on a college campus that I had either previously attended or toured. Everything here seems so wonderful–I’m so excited to get started in a program that’s going to shape me professionally, academically, and personally.

I feel like I myself am on a different time schedule: with essentially nothing to do each day, I attempt to find activities to fill my time. This is something I haven’t had to deal with for at least a few years– the past few summers have been filled with internships or jobs and traveling. In my activities void, I’ve turned to running heavily, increasing my mileage more than what I had done previously and exhausting myself in the best way possible. To combat that exhaustion, I frequent the many local coffee shops within walking distance of my apartment, drinking lattes and mochas and munching on pastries while I read book after book. Currently, I’m reading A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present, which is fascinating, albeit a little dry (it squeezes in a lot of History in its mere 600-some pages). Perhaps it’s me missing learning about history or it’s me energized about making academic advances towards my career goals, but I am suddenly drawn to history books for casual reading. It’s a little terrifying, being that I suddenly share casual reading interests with old men, but I’m also learning a lot, so I don’t really care.

While all of this has been nice, my summer has been approximately 4 months long, which is a little too much for someone who is accustomed to being at least a little busy (that’s an understatement). I need at least a semblance of routine back into my life! I feel I’m ready to start classes and work and dive into what will likely be an exciting and invigorating quarter! Until then, you’ll find me on the Burke-Gilman, drinking a latte, or snuggled up in my apartment with a book or two. …Or five.

x. M

A Sunny Seattle Afternoon

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was sunny, the sky was clear, and it warmed up just enough to be the perfect, comfortable temperature. Like all of Seattle does when the weather is nice, I was dead set on enjoying it.

My day started early by logging a few miles running on the Burke-Gilman Trail, a popular bike trail that loops through campus and links different parts of the city. It was a great way to see a different perspective of campus/the city while getting back into my running routine. Running here is entirely different than running in Ohio, however: the hills are insane in some areas, and everyone is so athletic-looking! Just being in this city makes me want to be a better runner, a better athlete. It’s remarkable.

After a lovely breakfast accompanied by local Washington peaches, I headed down to the University Village to do some window shopping and exploring. University Village is essentially a large, open-air shopping area, complete with a number of stores to fit anyone’s needs. I browsed through stores both familiar and new, amazed at how even the most familiar of stores could feel so different in a bigger city. I also paid a visit to the flagship store of Oiselle, a women’s running and activewear company that I particularly find empowering and inspiring. It was so great to see the wares of one of my favorite companies on the shelves instead of simply having to browse online (they finally opened this store–their first!–in University Village about 1-2 months ago). The store holds events and weekly group runs, which I will certainly attend at some point–I am definitely looking for running buddies, and if these women are as passionate about Oiselle and running as I am, I would certainly be in good company. The woman that worked there certainly I made me feel comfortable and welcome, and we even bonded over our love of Rogas and their various running tanks! I will most definitely be back, probably more than my bank account will be happy with! 🙂

The first of many pilgrimages to the Oiselle store. What a wonderful little space!

Saw this guy in Eddie Bauer, made me miss my little Bostie, Tux. Dogs are everywhere in University Village, it’s my idea of heaven! (Sorry for the poor image quality, iI was trying to sneak a shot without seeming too creepy to the owner…

After a morning of browsing, I headed back to my apartment for lunch, and then packed a bag and biked to Gas Works Park, where I vowed to sit outside on Kite Hill and read until the sun was dangerously close to having set. Gas Works Park is an old Gasification plant that has more recently been turned into a public park that overlooks Lake Union. Beyond the lake is the downtown skyline, so the park promises excellent views of the city. Many people of Wallingford, the neighborhood of Gas Works Park, gather on Kite Hill to fly kites, picnic, play guitar, take photos, or sit and enjoy the sunshine and splendid views. While sitting on my plaid blanket, I finished my most recent read, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, a surprisingly delightful light read I picked up from Target on a whim. It was a welcome change from all of the heavy history books I had been reading this summer. It tells the story of a feisty, energetic immigrant woman and her climb to fortune in the 20th century through the ice cream industry. It was a breeze to read, and had I had more time to commit to it, it would have taken me a lot less time to finish it, despite it being around 500 pages. Definitely an enjoyable novel, I would give it a B+ or an A- if I were a book reviewer.

My view while reading in Gas Works Park. Hi there, Space Needle!

Since then, I have been sitting in my apartment, working on getting organized and putting up decorations. My space is really starting to come together–it feels much more home-y and inviting! I can’t wait to show you all!

Here’s to more days like this one!

x. M


Leaving On A Jet Plane

  
As I sit here, nestled into my hotel bed in the strange territory that is Pacific Time, I contemplate my journey today. It began, as most journeys unfortunately do, with a sense of frazzled urgency, with a side of major anxiety on the side. We left the house in a hurry, only to realize we had forgotten things that required turning around to retrieve. Our lunch, which we had hoped to be a quick pit stop, turned into a more lengthy event than we had hoped. The airport, as I had anticipated, was somewhat of a logistical nightmare. Luckily, our flight was delayed, otherwise I don’t think we would have made it altogether! Safe to say I was full of anxious energy.

Don’t get me wrong: I love flying. There is something so romantic about it; the hustle and bustle of people shuffling to and fro, traveling from one end of the world to another. Merely being amongst this in an airport setting conjures swells of excitement within me. Today, especially, I was in disbelief. You see, none of this feels quite real yet. I feel as though I could wake up and be in Ohio at any moment, going about my regular business. I am not sure when that moment of clarity will strike, or what form it will take when it does. However, I hope that this will all feel more real (at least in a good way) very very soon. 

To me, the best part of flying is getting the window seat. I saw on Twitter once a tweet that read “Let me have the window seat so I know it’s real,” and I think there may be some genuine truth to that. I love to sit and watch the patchwork quilt that is the American landscape unfold in front of me. Flat plains, snowy mountain tops, and cityscapes all blend together to create one remarkable American terrain, full of character and differences, just like the nation’s citizens. And to have a front row seat to watch this all occur–wow. It certainly enriches the airplane experience. 

I miraculously survived 4-5 hour flight without any complete meltdowns, which I find to be a pretty significant accomplishment, being that I am generally too fidgety and movement-oriented for my own good. I would love to tell you more, but my first piece of advice from Adrian, my best friend and fellow West-Coast transplant, states that I must get some sleep because “jet lag is not kind.” That’s all I have for now, I promise more updates as I move into my apartment, which I begin doing tomorrow! 

x. M