They Say Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

I am so excited for this summer (winter) in Chile. But I feel like people are acting like this is a normal thing for me and it’s so not.

I’ve left the country once in my life, and my study abroad program AIFS held my hand the entire time. Which was great because I always felt prepared and safe and ready for whatever. Now, I’m going alone. Like solo, don’t know anyone, all alone. I’m cool with being alone but there’s just so much more that can go wrong. Like I miss a flight or I lose my luggage or I get lost. I’m confident in my improvising skills but it’s still pretty nerve wracking. Like I’m actually scared.

BUT if I’ve learned anything from the strong female characters in my favorite movies (aka Legally Blonde and Clueless, judge freely I completely understand), it’s that you have to be bold, and you have to take risks. If you don’t you have to live with regrets and what-ifs.

So to fight through the fear I’m adding up all the cool things I’m going to experience this summer…

1. A commute. Like a real, big city, subway commute to work every day.

2. A new home. With new roommates and rules and a new language.

3. A real internship. With a Des Moines company I’ve always admired. In a different language with different cultural norms. Marketing experience on an international level.

4. Travel. Exploring Santiago. Maybe checking out somewhere new in Chile (Easter Island? Chiloe?).

5. Seeing old friends. My Viña family, mi amiga Barbara, my friends from the U.S. who are in the land down under this summer.

6. Learning Spanish. Like actually trying to learn it this time. Reading and speaking and practicing every day.

7. Reading. Finally having time to sit down with a good book. Relaxing at a coffee shop.

8. Stray dogs… I’m not sure how I feel about big city stray dogs but I loved the ones in Viña and they’re probably related.

So these are some pretty cool things. That I’m really excited for. Which would generally calm me down but I currently have 27 tabs open on my computer trying to find a place to stay and learn Chilean phrases and yes there’s a netflix tab open obviously because when you’re stressing, SNL is the only true cure. Wish me luck in the next couple of days while I try to make some last minute $$ waitressing but also see my friends and family and maybe sleep a little bit too and definitely find an apartment for the next 2 and a half months (my original place fell through so my stress level is like neck high right now). xoxo

The Real World is Rough

Just dropped a little over $2000 on summer expenses. A friend of mine is doing an internship in CO and spent $5000 on her summer rent and first grocery trip and airfare. We are both freaking out a little because the real world is scary. I’m not so independent that I won’t go to my parents in the event of an empty bank account. I am so independent that I avoid an empty bank account at all costs. However, I feel like airfare to Chile and securing a place to stay once I get there are both costs that are warranted right?

I found a place near plaza italia which is this place:

Plaza-Italia

And it’s shared living, with two other girls from the U.S. and one from Chile, although all three are completely foreign to me and I’m a little scared… What if we don’t get along? I lived in kappa this past year with girls that I loved and knew well and sometimes I admit we didn’t all get along so what am I supposed to do if I don’t get along with 3 girls I don’t know at all!? I’m a people person so I’m not THAT worried. But what if they’re not people people (real phrase??)? I’m gonna have to make them like me. Probably by sharing my food and funny jokes with them. Those are the only cards I have really.

But so anyways this place is right by bellavista- aka the fun neighborhood- right at the foot of cerro san cristobal which is where the ZOO is and I might actually get to go this time around good ole Stgo. The biggest plus is that it’s right next to the metro so my commute is only like 21 minutes. Not bad in a city of 183 million (just kidding idk how big it is).

Next on my to-do list: buy my own phone charger (i’ve been bumming off of other people since before spring break now, bc i’m cheap//broke) & see 80 different people before I head down south. Let’s go. xoxo

Round 2

I’m going back to Chile (chile…chile…)

And I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about anything. This is giving me such an awesome chance to actually become more independent. I have no study abroad group to rely on, just my family and friends 2 hours away in Viña del Mar. This time around, I’m going to Saaaantiago, city of saints. (Not sure if that’s the literal translation or not). I am currently apartment hunting but I leave in exactly TWO weeks. I am also currently attempting to improve my Spanish because although I have learned a lot over this past year, I still struggle every time I speak it which is the most terrifying aspect about this entire trip. I’m workin though. Also terrifying is living on my own in a city a million times the size of Des Moines. But I can’t wait.

My mother is freaking out, per usual, my father just found out about it a few days ago, per usual. As for myself, I’m at a pretty good balance between my mother’s natural state of worry and my father’s extreme relaxation. This is something I’ve wanted for literally so long, so I know that everything will work out.

Wish me luck, as my next few weeks in Des Moines are filled with work, shopping, and the longest to-do list I have ever made. xoxo

hey guys

I hate finals week. Mostly because I hate studying. I feel like I either know it or don’t at this point and studying is really only gonna stress me out, right? I go through this problem once a semester. At finals. Where my procrastination problem really makes itself known to me.

To demonstrate, I have created this helpful visual aid:

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As you can see I have a lot of things vying for my time this week, studying is the least of my worries. I have work and mother’s day is tomorrow and I’m almost on the last season of my show on Netflix so it’s a very busy time in my life, you know?

My roommates dragged me to the law lib (probably illegal but it’s just so nice here) and they are studying right now while I pretend to look busy on my computer. Writing blog posts is one of my favorite ways to avoid doing my homework.

Here’s the rundown- I have two finals on Monday- one is 20% of my grade so that’s intense and one of them I need to get an A on for an A in the class. So definitely something I should be making a priority rn and will probably get to after this post. Tuesday I have finance & español, both of which require lots of studying so I should really get to work. And then the rest of the week I just have work and relaxing. I’m actually pretty excited to move back home. I miss my mom//dog//big cloud bed.

I’ll let you know how studying goes, I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats.

xoxo

Child of the Americas

“I am a child of the Americas,
a light-skinned mestiza of the Caribbean,
a child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a crossroads.
I am a U.S. Puerto Rican Jew,
a product of the ghettos of a New York I have never known.
An immigrant and the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants.
I speak English with passion: it’s the tongue of my consciousness,
a flashing knife blade of crystal, my tool, my craft.

I am Caribeña, island grown. Spanish is in my flesh,
Ripples from my tongue, lodge in my hips:
the language of garlic and mangoes,
the singing of poetry, the flying gestures of my hands.
I am of Latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my continent:
I speak from that body.

I am not African.
Africa is in me, but I cannot return.
I am not Taína.
Taíno is in me, but there is no way back.
I am not European.
Europe lives in me, but I have no home there.

I am new. History made me. My first language was spanglish.
I was born at the crossroads

and I am whole.”

So this is a poem written by Aurora Levins Morales about 30 years ago and it’s so cool. One of my favorite parts of my education here at Drake has been learning so much about Latin American culture, especially within the United States. This was a subject I was always interested, but didn’t even know it would be possible to pursue here at Drake.

Right now, in my Intercultural Communications class, we are being required to write a final paper, on the topic of our choice. I chose the mestizo identity crisis, which has been so interesting to me ever since I heard about it my Freshman year in Eduardo’s honor class (the most random and neat class that I have taken here). While researching the subject, I came across this poem and it just kind of spoke to me.

I cannot even imagine having so many competing cultural identities inside me that I can’t even chose who to be. Morales clearly has more of a grip on this than others, as I found in my readings that this is seriously a crisis for some people, especially after immigrating to the United States. Morales acknowledges that she was born at a strange time, that there is something new occurring with los mestizos, but she found a way to still be “whole,” even within her layered multi-identity.

I almost wish I was Puerto Rican. Or German. Or Japanese. Or just something. Because then I feel like I would have a more specific culture to identify with. In the United States, our ancestors were oftentimes so concerned about assimilation that they completely let go of their identities from their previous countries. I don’t have interesting ancestry to get in touch with- just my U.S. American parents and grandparents. I don’t take that for granted though. The stories I’ve read of women who can’t identify with their Latino heritage, or their indigenous heritage, or their African heritage, are heartbreaking. They’re lost on the road to finding themselves because they can’t figure out what category they belong to. This I feel is something caused by society, because I don’t feel anyone should have to classify themselves and close off their identity into a tiny box. They should be able to explore every aspect of their history.

I’m grateful for a blank slate, although sometimes I may wish for more traditions and history. With nothing to go off of, I can explore other cultures and see which one I fit best with. Traveling abroad in Chile last spring, I saw that they were definitely a culture that I could connect with and relate to. Just getting a small taste of that culture made me want for more- more Chile, more South America, more world. I can’t wait to continue my explorations and my search for self.

In the end, we’re all just searching for our true identities- through our ethnicities, our upbringings, our passions, our languages. It’s like a really important treasure hunt, but no one actually gave you a map. Morales decided she needed no map, and that she was whole as a Puerto Rican American Jew. & I will continue to search until I find out what best defines my identity. We live in a really special time.

Spring Formal

Kappa had our Spring Formal yesterday. This is me with my little-little lindsay’s date.

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It was a super break from studying // assignments // final projects // almost throwing my computer across the room because i’m so over this wow.

In other news, last Thursday we took another study break (I swear I’m actually studying between these breaks) to go to an ICubs game, which is my favorite thing about summer in Des Moines. I love the ICubs.

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This is Lindsay, who’s date I borrowed for the above pic ^^^

This is a cute picture because you can see the DSM skyline in the back and I love that even more than I love the cubbies.

Web Training

Drake just never stops offering me great experiences. At a certain point it’s like stop showering me with skills, you’ve given me enough, this is getting embarrassing.

I’m joking. I obviously don’t have that many skills because I misspelled embarrassing and had to go back and fix that.

But today I got to train for website edits on Drake’s system, so I am almost officially able to do web edits! This opportunity came about from our study abroad coordinator. We’ve been working on social media projects for Drake’s Study Abroad program this semester, and during our last meeting she offered me this great chance to be able to help out in another way. She told me that the study abroad page on Drake’s website is a little out of date and could be more helpful for students, and asked if I would be willing to make some edits. Which I jumped on, because it meant 1)helping the study abroad department and 2)learning a sweet new skill.

This afternoon I sat down with Carla from IT and learned how to make edits in the International sections of Drake’s site on Terminal 4. It was a great learning experience and isn’t over- I now have to take quizzes on blackboard to make sure I actually know what I’m doing, and once I pass those I can officially edit! (Even though it has to wait for approval which is totally fine with me)

Thanks for the skills, DU

The Rest of Relays

I was going to go to the events on Friday. I started the day strong with free tacos at Theta (thanks Hayleigh <3). But it was raining pretty hard. So I went to the mall instead of the stadium. I bought a rain jacket. And then I met my soaking wet family at Jethro’s for lunch. Pretty good morning for me.

Just typing the word Jethro’s makes me want wings.

Then we got to go to the 3oh3 concert that night. It was kind of a let down because it was chilly and I didn’t really know any of the songs. Still kind of fun. The worst part was that all the relays concessions were right by the stage but nothing was open, aka no pineapple whip.

Saturday I got to go to a little bit of our alumni breakfast at Kappa before heading out to a full day of graduation activities for my wonderful mother. Ethan (my nephew) is pretty cute. 

My mom graduated magna cum laude from Grandview University (another school in Des Moines) with a bachelor of arts in paralegal studies and concentration in HR. That’s probably at least 90% accurate but they use different words than Drake so I’m not positive. I am so so so proud of her for accomplishing this. She has attended school, first at DMACC and then at Grandview, for the past 6 years, all while working a full time and part time job, and still managing to support me in my high school & college activities. She’s basically superwoman. I’m pretty proud.

That was the end of my relays week, unless you count today where I struggle to catch up on all of the schoolwork I put off this past week. I’d rather end it on a good note though. Happy Relays 2015, bulldogs!

Relays

So far I have:

1. Street painted √√√ I’ve never gotten to participate in this before because freshman year it got cancelled and last year I was MIA en Chile. Here’s two pics…11146268_10205653953163770_5710800995500782711_n 11160665_10205653951043717_2197818138308999199_n

My dad (who you will see below) is a proud Drake alum and had no clue that street painting had turned into that^. He was very confused and had to confirm that we actually did still paint the street. Check out kappa’s square when you’re on campus this week, I helped paint the bulldog so I’m pretty artistic.

2. Attended our fierce first lady’s 70th birthday get together. Pictured below you will see Maddy (the queen for the day), Katherine (the queen’s house coordinator), Eunice (a fellow house/event staffer), and myself trying really hard to be fierce and fab and failing miserably because I always end up laughing. I love being able to have real conversations with the Maxwell’s, and am going to miss them too much next year.

3. Volunteered at the DU Blue Book Bash. It’s exciting to see that it’s still going after being able to help start it up two years ago! I got to know some pretty cool kids from Monroe elementary and got to show them that reading is kind of fun.

4. Ran the Grand Blue Mile with my father. He would have preferred a longer race, I would have preferred the kid’s fun run (.25 miles, ayooo). I managed to take a semi-tough looking picture with him. My face did not look like that by the end of the mile (the longest mile of my life). But he and my step mom took me to get a burrito and ice cream afterward so it all worked out for the best. I love having alums in the family.

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Stay tuned… relays is still going and so am I (barely), xoxo

My Grand-Little Fell in Love with my Cousin on Tinder – Dating in a Modern Society

If you’re over 30 there’s a good chance you didn’t understand the above sentence, and that’s okay.

Definitions for a Modern Society: 

Grand-Little: In my sorority I have a “little sister” (like a mentee? best friend?) who has her own “little sisters.” So this is third generation.

Falling in Love: Being infatuated with someone. Not actually love tbh.

TBH: To be honest.

Tinder: An app for smartphones that let’s you choose who your soulmate is based on looks and a short bio.

Smartphones: lol just kidding

First let me vent about how overly connected our world is. It’s nice to have friends. But do you really need to know day to day updates from 1500 ‘friends,’ most of whom I’m assuming you haven’t talked to in years (if ever at all)? I have heard those people that say “no these are all seriously my friends” in which case I feel as though you don’t understand the definition of the word friend (see a dictionary for further information). It’s hard for me to find the correct equilibrium here, because if I don’t engage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., I could miss out on something important. Like my best friend’s cousin’s friend getting engaged. Or the kindergarten graduation of my cousin’s child. (Obviously those things aren’t actually important to me) I like being able to keep in touch with people and up to date on their lives, but there’s a certain point where it just becomes too much.

It makes sense that the only thing that can really follow a friendship site for millennials (FB) is a dating site for millennials (Tinder). Which is the worst thing in the world. I mean yeah I had one for a while because honestly it was kind of fun to see who’s out there (some real winners let me tell ya (see below)) but I’ve moved past that. Because a boy asked me on a real date and it weirded me out. All I know about you is your first name and your face shape and you want to meet up with me? There’s a 50/50 chance you’re a serial killer, according to recent statistics (that I just made up). What happened to the old-fashioned meeting someone out in the real world? And by real world I am not referring to either of the popular nighttime locales on Forest Ave. I mean like in class. Or through a friend. Or at a sporting event. Or at work. Does this still happen to people or should I give in right now and create my Match.com profile?

That’s a joke. But really, this is what dating is like today. Nonexistent or existent only after some sort of influence by social networks (whether through Tinder swiping, facebook creeping, or tweet stalking). I’m not that into it, which is why I don’t have a boyfriend (lol that’s the reason probably).

Good luck to my precious grand-little, a beautiful and slightly naive freshman who doesn’t understand real world love yet (an assumption I’m making because I don’t understand it, and I’m a junior, which means I should be wiser than her) and to my cousin, a guy I actually don’t know very well because I only see him like once a year. I’m sure you will be very happy together, in whichever social media platform you choose to pursue in developing your relationship.

Enjoy the following prospect, he blocked out his own face (because he’s probably just too good looking to handle), I just hid his number (you’re welcome Real Male) (also sorry my phone is en español):

xoxo