Day 24

Thursday, March 26, 2015

| the sole / soul entry |

"Homesick, because I no longer know where home is."

A moment of honesty: being happy for a hundred days is hard. I mean, yeah, there is something happy in every day, but yesterday I had a weird, weird afternoon, and so today's happy moment was coming to terms with the fact that that was okay. And so it gets its own blog post.

I don't have words to explain what I was feeling other than just run. After dinner it was all I could do to rush off-campus as soon as possible. It didn't matter where I was going or why or how I got there. Do you ever have feelings that just bubble up from the pit of your stomach until you feel them in your throat? Sometimes it's joy, sometimes it's anger, sometimes I can't find the words for it. That's what happened last night. No words for my feelings, but tears speak when words can't. And tears are healthy. "Tears are not a sign of weakness, from the moment you were born they've been a sign that you are alive."
"Running cures everything." And if you can't run, drive.
It's okay to not be okay. And it's okay to not have words for what you're feeling. It's okay. Life is okay. In fact, life is good. It is so, so good. Life is good. You are valuable. Your feelings are valid, regardless of what they are, or your ability to put words to them. It is so important to know your value in the world, and that it not be dependent on things beyond your control. If your feelings ever gurggle up and you don't know what to do, run. And if you can't run, drive. With good music. Or good company. And keep going until you feel good. Or at least better. It takes courage to feel your feelings and to be strong enough to admit to yourself that you're not always going to be okay. The key is knowing that these feelings pass just like storms and that while you may not feel like dancing in the rain, the storms can only last so long. That's why I like people who smile when it's raining: because character is who you are when the storms hit. 

In Spanish "ser" is used to talk about a permanent state of being, and "estar" for a conditional state. It's important to know the difference between the condition of being okay and the permanence of being okay. Es importante ser feliz, pero no es malo estar triste. 

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ― A.A. Milne

Happily yours,


Days 13 - 21

Monday, March 23, 2015

| Day 13 |

"You showed up way too many times on this blog post."

"This is just such a great stick!"
This is Jess. Or Jessie. Or Jessica Matsuda. Or Sica. To the girl who has too many names to count, I thank for being one of the truest friends on campus. It was good to catch up again after spring break. This was also the day I promised that we would get a hermit crab senior year, if and only if we end up living together. God help me. 

| Day 14 |

"I'm so glad you made it today!"

perfect weather (around 70* all day) + back at frisbee practice (even if it's just watching) = happy happy happy
Even though I was just watching, it was so so so so good to be back at frisbee practice. Everyone has gotten so much better!! It's so awesome to see the flow that we've developed as a team. Look at 'em – they're beautiful. What gems. So much Red Hot Love.

| Day 15 |

"You've got a friend in me."

Do you wear green on St. Paddy's in college? 
Or is any holiday just another excuse to ~~celebrate~~??? WE LOVE CELEBRATING. And we wore green. And the desserts at DHall were green. Like wow. Cool. 
Jessica's second appearance.
We love ~~celebrating~~. And top hats. And snap chats. And life. And loving life. And making friends. Yay. Life is so good.

| Day 16 |

"'And how do we feel about him?' yeah that's a total mom thing to say."

Beautiful setting sunset at dinner from Lou's.
Loved having dinner with Haley and a bunch of other beautiful souls in a beautiful place. I love laughing til my sides ache.

Pi Phi's IM volleyball team made it to the finals!!
Oh how I miss volleyball. Saying that I was competing from the bleachers has to be a funny visual, but I can't really think of another way to describe it. 

| Day 17 |

"You're my cuppa tea. And I always burn my tongue because I get overexcited, which I think is a metaphor. I just really like you a lot."

She's busy counting sheep & I'm counting the ways I'll miss her when she's abroad in CHILE!!!
Lily officially got accepted to her super awesome study abroad program which is so so exciting, even though I am going to miss her more than she knows❤️❤️❤️

| Day 18 |

"True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart."

Gummy dinos from Aileen make my life a much better place. 
Post card from Becca in Budapest!
I miss my friends who are abroad so so much, but it feels so good to know that they still care even though they're thousand miles away. 

Westhampton Lake
Life is beautiful, and love is beautiful, and like wow look at this campus.

| Day 19 |

"If I die, my funeral theme is 80's-highlighter."

JTow + Babs.
Oh my god, the joys of ultimate frisbee. There is nothing happier in life than frisbee tournaments and the esprit de corps of the whole thing. Because the sport doesn't have any official refs, everyone has to keep cool heads in the middle of a competitive sport, which makes for a really cool atmosphere. Even though I didn't get to play, it was still so so so great to be back with the girls who mean so much to me. Plus, can we please appreciate that JTow stood still long enough for me to take a picture of her with Babs on her head? AND SMILED FOR IT?! 

| Day 20 |

"Cookout is joy and happiness."

Taking Anna's Cookout virginity.
(& Jessie's third appearance)
For all of my people on the West Coast – we may have In-n-Out, but nothing compares to the beauty of Cookout. Their milkshakes –which they call "Fancy shakes," because they're really just so fancy, you don't even know– their hushpuppies, their ambiance... like wow. Nothing quite like a milkshake that takes your full mental effort to get up the straw. I'm really a fan. (May I just suggest the cappuccino-Oreo milkshake.)

| Day 21 |

"I just wanted to binge-watch that show!!"

Happy that I have a pham that will pose for snaps.
Honestly, there's nothing better than chillin in the cottage. Everyone was kickin' it here tonight, painting coolers or doing homework. Haley and I watched "Married at First Sight" (which is a totally ridiculous notion, but entertaining nonetheless). You can only swipe in to your sorority's cottage, and basically the only thing I can compare those privileges to is like when you reach a certain level on video games and are finally granted access to other regions of the map. But better. Because there are cookies and people who love you inside.

Happily yours,


Days 7 - 12: Home Sweet Home

Saturday, March 14, 2015

[the one where I explore the idea of being "home"]

| Day 7 |

"Home is wherever I'm with you."

I got to spend my first day home reconnecting with the family I have hardly seen since last June. Between busy summer schedules and going away to school and a winter break consumed with recovering from surgery, we haven't really had any down time together. 
Hey granny, you so fine.
Honestly so blessed to come from a line of determined, resilient women. I have never seen someone, less than a week out of surgery, as chipper as my grandmother. Also an incredible woman, is my mother, featured later in this post.
"I don't I don't know what Bertucci's is, but I do know that 'Gucci from the heels up' means you're pretty good to go."
ATTN WORLD: This is my little brother who just turned SIXTEEN (!!??) and has recently vamped up his car stereo, all by himseeellllfffff. What a stud. What a champ. I'm so lucky to call myself his sister. He thinks he's too cool for me sometimes, but that's fine by me because, look at him -- he basically is.

| Day 8 |

"She's deep in the heart of the Golden West // Home means Nevada to me."

Look at those majestic things. So close. So beautiful.
What I've missed the most about being home, other than family of course, are the mountains. Growing up, I went hiking with my school, skiing with friends, and to the lake to celebrate the last day of school. Even though I didn't go up them, that day, just their presence was comforting.
Howdy, partner.
I recognize that this isn't the best quality picture of a horse ever, but it was the best I could do... from a hospital parking lot. Even though I know there are horses in Virginia, I can't think of a single time that I've seen one casually hanging out in a pasture. In Reno, they're everywhere. And they're beautiful.

| Day 9 |

"Home is the starting place of loves, hopes, and dreams."

süp and this sup-er cutie pie.
Oh Midtown and your refined eateries, you are a blessing to the world. And my lil Sarah Hewitt (!!), what a blessing you are to ME!! I can't believe Sarah's already a senior making big plans to go to college (CONGRATS ON YOUR FIRST OF MANY ACCEPTANCE LETTERS, MY LOVE). She is smart, kind, determined, global-minded, and just all around awesome. I had the awesome opportunity of getting to hear all about her life over some delicious tomato bisque. I am so excited to see what the future has in store for her!!
It hasn't started blooming in Virginia yet, so it was nice to see the first signs of spring in Reno.
Reno's foliage is nice. Different from Virginia's, but nice nonetheless. 

| Day 10 |

"They say home is where your heart is set in stone."

Katie with a K, but Catherine with a C.
One of the most important things that college has taught me is which friends are worth holding on to. Catching up with Katie was definitely one of the highlights of my week, and she reminded me what true friendship looks like. Katie is patient, honest, humble, hardworking, and loving -- everything you could ask for in a friend. She inspires me and reminds me of the things that I can be grateful for.

"I love sushi, but it needs a chaser – like chocolate caaaaakkeeee." - My mother
One of my favorite things about Reno is the really reasonably-priced sushi, and one of my favorite places is Sushi Pier. I went with my brother (who was protesting that this picture was being taken) and mom (who is trying to look disinterested, but is loving the camera attention), and we ordered some totally new things (which were delicious). I've yet to have an experience at Sushi Pier where there isn't a strange character involved, and this night was no exception. It's these little things that make life more interesting.

| Day 11 |

"Home means the hills // Home means the sage and the pine."

Lake Tahoe is the Holy Grail for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, skiing, watersports -- what more could you ask for?! It's been ranked as one of the 29 Surreal Places In America You Need To Visit Before You Die and is among the Top 27 Places In The U.S. That Foreigners Are Craziest About Visiting. Tahoe has a special place in my heart because of all of the memories I made here as I grew up, so it was really nice to take a day trip up to see it on my last day in town. 


"I stand on mountain tops believing that avalanches will teach me to let go."
Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe
I've missed the mountains. I've missed the natural beauty that this basin is rich in. I know that I will come back with my children to show them this beautiful place, but I am in no hurry to come back and live here. For now, I think I am much happier on the East Coast, with all the new adventures that it has to offer. 

| Day 12 |

"I've had my run // Baby, I'm done // I gotta go home."

As much as I have loved being back with my family, and getting to visit Tahoe and the sights I grew up with, it's time to go back to Richmond and all of its treasures. Since today is Pi Day (3/14/15), I'm celebrating by being happy I'm a Pi Phi. 

Pledge Class on Bid Day
Life is a lodge and my big is the dopeness.
Being in Reno has made me really think about the idea of "home," and what that means in my life. In the middle of a conversation with my mom I would reference Richmond as "home," but later in the same conversation I would use the term to mean the house I lived in before college. Does this mean that "home" is relative? Is a dorm room "home"? Can "home," as Edward Sharpe's song insinuates, be found in / with a person instead of a physical location? Is it in the traits that you grew up with (like Tahoe and the mountains)? Or is home where you feel at peace despite the distractions and surroundings? I don't claim to have any answers, all I know is that there's no place like home.

Happily yours,


Days 4 - 6

Monday, March 9, 2015

| Day 4 |

"Have you seen the view from my office?"

I don't know that I have ever made it from coast to coast without plane troubles, but Friday, not only did my flights and connections go off without a hitch, but I also met the World's Friendliest Flight Attendant.
"Some people say I'm too chipper to be here. I say there's no such thing."

He then proceeded to make balloon animals for every child on the plane, including the two grown men across the aisle.
I was also super fortunate to not miss a single connection and make it to the West Coast in a single piece. I am lucky to have the support and love of not only my family, but also from kind friends who continually go out of their way to help us out.

| Day 5 |

"Together is a wonderful place to be."

I got to spend this weekend visiting my dad. I hadn't seen him since June, so needless to say, I cried a little. I got to spend some alone time with him and be treated like an adult and talk about my feelings, about love of life, and what I wanted to study and where I wanted to study abroad and how I can't wait to get back to frisbee and how much I love the girls I've met through Pi Phi. 
It was the happiest day.
When I talk to my dad, I understand myself so much more than I would otherwise. I understand how I formulate logic, and why I prioritize the things that I do, and that he and I will always try to find solutions to problems, even if there aren't any sensible ones. 

| Day 6 |

"I dream of a world where little girls are told they are beautiful and powerful and have value and can achieve their valid and precious dreams." –Sabrina Cabezas

Happy International Women's Day. This day makes me happy for a multitude of reasons. For example, if you know anything about me, you know that I want to revolutionize global education standard, so that girls in third-world countries can have equitable education to that of their male counterparts. (See more here.)
Throwback to Fonteyn Preschool in Swaziland, Summer 2014.

I was so inspired by all of the attention the day got all over social media, at all levels of recognition.

Without meaning for the two to correlate, I also indulged in reading Queen Fey’s autobiography. (I’m pretty sure my uncontrollable giggling was all too noticeable to everyone sitting around me on the plane.)
"This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you... Don't be fooled. You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone. Also, I encourage them to always wear a bra. Even if you don't think you need it know what? You're never going to regret it." -Tina Fey
Last night when the flight attendant was telling us about our crew, she had to clarify that our pilot was a woman. Here’s to today, a day that helps celebrate the half of the population that constantly needs the female pronoun antecedent to clarify that we are capable of certain professions. May these antecedents become irrelevant as both young men and women pursue their dreams to their full potential.

Happily yours,


Days 1 - 3

Thursday, March 5, 2015

|The Gist of Things|

"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy."

Every year on my birthday, my dad asks me how it feels to be a year older, jokingly. Most years I don't really have a defining moment that makes me feel any different, but I was determined to make 19 different. 

I heard a great quote once, that happiness comes from the heart. But I think there's more to it than that. I think that happiness takes active effort to look for the good in the world, the beauty in the little things. One of my best friends did this challenge last year, and just seeing the pictures she posted about the happy things in her life made me happy. She's what inspired me to do this challenge, and I'm so excited to see where this goes. 

| Day 1 |

"My burp just tasted like delicious Mexican food." / "Same."

Tuesday was my birthday, the beginning of a new year, and this challenge. Lily, my Westhampton Big, had offered to take me out to dinner to celebrate. Try as she might to be sneaky, it was easy enough to figure out that she was planning a surprise of some sort. We went to Casa del Barco, because god knows how much I've missed Mexican food since being on the east coast. 

It was so nice to have so many of my friends from frisbee and my hall there!
"They say it takes two to tango."
"You guys know you PDA more than your average couple, right?"
Who really cares, though? Lily's my person, my cuppa tea. She makes my life better just by being in it.

| Day 2 |

"I like people who smile when it's raining, because character is who you are when the storms hit."

As celebratory as this week could have been – what, with it being before spring break, and all – I've been really slammed with a bunch of assignments and midterms. I've always said that pathetic fallacy fails me – I'm sad on sunny days, happy on rainy ones – but yesterday we finally aligned. 

Tones, pretty clouds, feeling accomplished make me happy.
It poured away as I powered through a paper, but when I was finally done I walked outside (in the sixty degree weather, god bless), and got to enjoy the way the air feels after it rains – which is my absolute favorite. 
This is me, petrified.

I am not a shy person. But I am really not a fan of public attention. Especially if it's from people I don't know. But when my best friend Jessie started singing Happy Birthday in the middle of our very crowded dining hall, the people sitting around us couldn't help but join in. As you can see, I was beet red and utterly flustered (yes, flustered), but it was so nice to see that at our school you don't necesarily need to know someone to be nice to them. As if the beautiful campus (see other picture from today) wasn't enough to make me love my school.

| Day 3 |

"There's s(no)w place like home for the holidays."

The last day before Spring Break and we got a nice layer of snow. I'm not complaining at all– have you seen our campus in the snow!?


I've enjoined doing my work here in warmer times, so it was kind of a plot twist to enjoy it in the snow too! (Today I did my work inside, of course, where the energy-conserving lights turned off – more than once.)
Much love to ya, International Center. 

It was good to be back at my own little home away from home.

Happily yours,