Community is something we all yearn for. Community supports our dreams, our loves, the things we care for.
Are you finding yourself lost in the crowd? Being a part of such a huge school, it is easy to isolate yourself and go day by day with the same routine.
We need people.
We need relationships.
We need community.
It’s hard because sometimes community doesn’t seek you, but you have to seek out that community. Whether it be a love for sports, painting, God, music — whatever — there IS a community. If you feel alone and one in the crowd, I encourage you to try and seek out community these next few days. We cannot function without relationships with others. Being a part of a community that loves, marks a path, and supports each other is something that is irreplaceable.
Being a full time student and commuting from quite a distance has some straining effects on my time. However, the strains tend to be created out of my choice whether I like to admit or not. One of those strains used to prevent me from working out consistently throughout the week. What is ironic is that I never had the time to work out when I used to live on or near campus. One would imagine that being so close to the gym would give me an incentive to workout.
For the last two months, I have successfully worked out throughout the week in one hour sessions. There have been days in which I missed a workout but they are few and far. Whether I am tired, feeling depressed, or if it’s late in the evening, I always have to get a workout done. The results have been satisfactory, I have gained decent amount of muscle.
Working out for two months has proven to me that I can mold my physique, but more importantly, that I could commit to achieve a greater will. I will admit that I work out to look good but consequently I have also started to feel better, perhaps because I know that I can control how my body looks but also how it performs. Ultimately however, my body may be one of the few things in which I have total control in my life.
Adventure is out there. Being in college has taught me to go and explore the world around me. There is something about finding a new place that makes me feel alive: going hiking, exploring a new coffee shop, or even just meeting different people along the way. Adventure is what you make it. Go out and DO.
Go find a mountain.
Go find a park.
Go eat new food.
Go and find a community that supports you.
I challenge all of you this week to go to a place you have never been before. Seek adventure, because you never know what you are going to find.
WWOOF, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is just one option beyond studying abroad to get out and explore the world. I spent my entire junior year last year preparing for study abroad my senior year. My heart was absolutely set on it, and I was ready to follow through with everything. I’d attended orientation in Eugene, sent in my host family preferences, signed up for classes, and had even already checked out the tango dance scene. The only part that didn’t follow through? My finances.
Upon realizing a tad too late that there was no way I could afford the ridiculous fifteen grand to study in Lyon, I looked elsewhere for a way to 1) travel 2) ameliorate my French 3) have some fun. A few classmates and coworkers had done WWOOFing before, and they were the ones to put the bug in my ear. In exchange for approximately 5-6 hours of work per day, 5 days a week, a farm will host you, house you, and feed you. So essentially, you can go stay and work for a host family for the price of a plane ticket and whatever else you’d want to spend your money on for fun.
I chose to come to Velaux, France, just outside of Marseille on the Mediteranean, to work on a horse farm. My hosts have been incredibly gracious and welcoming, and I’ve learned a lot while being here. I still have two weeks left, but time seems to be flying. I’ve learned how to ride horses, how to care for them, the pain of getting stepped on by one and what the electrical fence feels like, and that horses get super cranky if you don’t feed them on time.
It’s been a great experience so far. I plan to do this again, but in Germany or Sweden next time. I’ve had the same advantages of studying abroad in that I’ve gotten much better at my comprehension of French, I’ve met a bunch of new people, and I’ve even been able to take my days off to explore Marseille, Montpellier, and Nice. And not to mention the food and wine… So if you’re strapped for cash but have a desire to go abroad, let me recommend you to WWOOF! If you’re interested in following my adventures as I’m currently working as a WWOOFer, here’s my personal blog: katiegoestofrance.wordpress.com. And if you want to check out what WWOOF is and how to get involved, go here.
I forgot how good my mom’s cooking was.
My mom lives in Virginia, and as you (should) know, Virginia is a little ways away from Portland. So I don’t get to see her more than a few times a year. But when I do get to see her, I rediscover the meaning of a delicious home-cooked dinner.
I’m serious—Portland’s food doesn’t compare. And keep in mind, I really, really enjoy the food of Portland, even around PSU: we’ve got juicy burgers and tots to die for at Mcmenamin’s; we’ve got Mexican, traditional style (Loco-Locos) or fake/fast-food style (Chipotle); we’ve got East Side Deli if you’re in the mood for the biggest piece of animal and farm stuffed between two slices of bread in the world—and all that’s not even counting the amazing food carts we’ve got right off 4th.
But my mom’s cooking still tops them all. For example, tonight I had some awesome crazy sausage gumbo thing with apple-stuffed sausage and black beans, with avocado and arugula salad on the side, topped with lime, and a sweetened homemade glass of green tea on the side.
Can yo momma’s cookin’ top that?
For those of us who live in the city without a car, we sometimes forget how easy it is to get out of the city for a weekend. Whether you take a bus or hitch a ride with a friend, it is really easy to just get away, and I know sometimes I forget that and stay cooped up in my dorm.
This past weekend I went to Seattle with an old friend for a concert; I hadn’t been to Seattle since I was two and planned on making the most of it. Before the concert, we went and explored a few of the touristy spots of Seattle. I got to watch the fish throwers at Pike Place Market, I bought some fresh plums from a fruit stand, saw the ever famous Gum Wall on Post Alley and walked around the outside of the Space Needle (there was no way I was paying 20 dollars to ride an elevator up to the top), and then went to the concert. Even if I was only away from campus for a day or two, it was still a nice change of scenery.
Isn’t that cupcake beautiful? It only took two trips to the store and three different people’s kitchenware to produce. When making a box cake mix takes this much effort, it’s extremely obvious that this is my first month having a kitchen.
It’s my first time living away from home, and my kitchen is not that of a chef’s. Even though I have had some difficulties, I have found that if you just ask a friend or a neighbor if they have cooking spray or a bowl big enough to mix in, generally someone will have something they can loan to you for the night.
Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, because otherwise you will have some difficulty making that new pasta recipe if you don’t even have a pot to boil water in.
Life changes quite a bit when you go through college. It is exhilarating to experience new things, but along with these new things, you have to let go of what used to be.
I have realized I’m no longer friends or connected with most of my high school friends. I will always remember hearing at my high school graduation that you will stay acquainted with only 15 percent or less of your friends after you enter college, or “real-life.” I just remember how ridiculous that sounded. Was I really going to lose 85 percent of the friends I grew up with? I could not wrap my mind around that.
Summer will soon be in the air! Classes are winding down, and I am getting near to checking out. The next two weeks will be the longest two weeks, but they will be worth it. Here are some local places I will go this summer:
• Do you want to go swimming and enjoy a kickback environment with family and friends? Then I recommend going to Marine Drive or Sauvie Island out in North Portland. It is a great place to lie out a towel, hang out, and BBQ some hot dogs.
• The local Saturday Market (www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com), where there is an immense amount of delicious food booths, great local artists, and people just enjoying their time outside. I advise to carry cash, some booths will able to take debit/credit cards.
• The Waterfront holds several festivals during the year. The Rose Festival (every weekend starting May 24th until June 9th, http://www.rosefestival.org) is a fair with games, booths, rides, and…of course, lots of greasy eats. The Blues Festival (July 4-7, http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com) is also fun and packed with stage artist performances throughout the day. The neat thing about the festival is that 100% of proceeds and donations will go to the Oregon Food Bank. Come make an impact on the community, while enjoying the blues!