Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Packing to move back in to Ithaca

I've started packing and as I add little item after little item to the pile, I start to wonder:

"How in the world did I pack for Spain?!?!"


"Do I really need all this stuff?!?!"

Last semester I survived on what I could fit in a huge suitcase (literally came up to my hips, and was twice as wide as myself), a small suitcase and a backpack.  The small suitcase was mostly filled with toiletries, things I obviously could have bought in Granada, but I figured it would open up lots of room for souvenirs that I brought home.  The big suitcase was filled with clothes ranging from summer appropriate to winter warms.  Truthfully, I never felt like I really needed anything I didn't have.  Linens, towels, and general items for my room were supplied by my family in Spain, so that cut down a lot, but I still feel like I have a lot more stuff than I actually need.

Another problem isn't just fitting things in the car, but doing so in boxes that aren't so heavy that I won't be able to carry them inside and up a flight of stairs.  If I put all my shampoo and soap in one box, it's way too heavy, but then books are quite heavy too. 

I'm staying in an on-campus apartment for the semester, which will be a really nice change from the dorms I've become accustom to.  I will share 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, small dining room (basically big enough for a table) and common room with 3 others, we each have our own rooms.  Talk about luxury :)  I'll have a 15-20 minute walk in to class each day which I look forward to using as part of staying in shape, and once it's warmer it will also be much more enjoyable. 

I've truthfully been worried about moving back on campus after being gone for a semester: so much can happen in a couple weeks, let alone an entire semester.   Zach was super kind and gave all our mutual friends a heads-up that I was feeling nervous about the return, from which I received texts and Facebook messages full of welcome.  It did calm the nerves, but I'm still a bit uneasy about returning.  I'm sure it doesn't help I'm facing 3 tough classes this semester followed by an equally challenging summer. I just hope I'm worried for nothing.

More on this later, but I'll be cooking for myself this semester, so if you have any easy recipes to share, please do!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A nice chat

In a world where texting and Facebook are the main ways of communicating, I have learned to really love and appreciate the times I get to spend face to face with my friends.  Being in college, and all of us going to different colleges, these instances have become even rarer.  Tonight I spent a whole 2 hours talking one-on-one with one of my oldest friends - we've known each other for about 15 years at this point.  Over tea and a peppermint mocha the conversation came so easily, as if often does between longtime friends - thoughts about the present and the future, though they did not dwell on the past as much as conversations used to.  I'm actually just realizing how we've started focusing more about the "here and now" than on high school and other times in our childish past.  It's as if we've moved on from wishing we were in the simple times of high school, and truly accepted being into a new part of our life.   In those two hours we caught up on more of each other's lives than we ever could in a group of people or over phones or the internet.  There was no confusion on reflection or tone of the conversation as there often is with computers.

What a nice chat.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Libros de Lunes

Over the weekend, I did a lot of reading.  With a couple friends back to school this week the reality of decreasing free time hit.  Once I'm back at school with home work I have little (if lucky) to no time for reading.  I was in the middle of two books, but finished one of them: Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

Chocolat was much better than I had been expecting.  I had seen the movie, which made the storyline seem much heavier on the romance between Roux and Vianne, and though the other storylines appeared, they weren't as strong as in the book.  I suppose I shouldn't be overly surprised, as I have yet to find a movie better than it written counterpart, but in my opinion, the focus of the book was much more interesting than the movie.  Harris' writing was fluid and easy to read.  She would switch from a true narrator to being narrated by the priest throughout the book, but the switch was rarely confusing, save the first time it happened and I wasn't expecting it.  Chocolat was an enjoyable read that always made me hungry as Harris described the chocolates and sweets that Vianne made for her customers.  I seriously found myself craving chocolate or making some hot chocolate every time I sat down to read.  There was a statement about the inconsistencies of the Catholic (at least I assumed it was the Catholic) Church which though I acknowledge that it is not an example of every church, I did thinkt it was an accurate look at a corrupt portion of the institution  (which sadly does exist).  Overall I found Chocolat to be very enjoyable and worth reading.  Harris has written some other books, which if I can find them at the library, I might just pick them up.

I am still working through "the number series" or "the Stephanie Plum series" by Janet Evanovich (not really sure what to call the series, as I usually just say "the Janet Evanovich books," but she has more than one series).   I started this series freshman year of college, and have found they are the perfect read for when your brain is fried with homework, essays, and all-nighters (which I am for some reason incapable of, but that's a story for another day).  This doesn't really explain why I picked up Ten Big Ones (or fondly known as #10) in the middle of my month-long break, but I did and I am still enjoying them profusely.  There are a total of 15 currently, and since I conveniently got my mom hooked on them soon after I started reading them, all of them are in the house waiting to be read.  Maybe this will be the semester I finish... or maybe not.

As one of my "New Year's Resolutions" for 2010 I decided to not buy any books other than textbooks this year, for a couple reasons.  First of all, I have so many books that I haven't read.  I really, really, really should make a dent in that pile (or at least decide which ones I won't be reading because I have passed the age they were intended for, and donate/sell them).  The other reason is that I love libraries.  I love the feeling of walking into a library as if it's your own personal bookshelf waiting for you to pick out a book.  I can take whatever book I want and if it bombs, well, no harm done.  Lately, I haven't been using the library much because I'm only home for about 4 months out of the year, during which I'm working, catching up with friends, etc. and when I am at school, Ithaca's library for some reason doesn't feel "fun reading" books are a necessity.  There are about 4 little shelves of New Fiction, and after the books have passed their time on "New Fiction"... they disappear. I don't know where they go, but they either go somewhere else entirely or are impossible to find among the academic books.  Another problem is that I normally don't pay too much attention to the books I choose in libraries and I'm more likely to choose ones that aren't too interesting to me.   I hope to change this this year as I read through books that I own (or friends own) and go to the library on a more regular basis.  On my list of things to do when I return to Ithaca: get a library card to the Tompkin's County Public Library.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A new year, decade, semester, and blog

I started my first blog (which can now be found here: American in Granada) to keep my family up to date on my adventures in Spain this past semester. I didn't think I would ever keep up with it or find it enjoyable, but I gave it a try anyways.  I was wrong on both accounts, I found it quite enjoyable and though I wasn't as up to date with things as I had hoped to be, I blogged a few times a month. 

I enjoyed it so much that I'm now starting this new blog to post things of interest, or just ramble about my life, as uninteresting as they may be.  I hope to share photos, websites, books and movies that I have enjoyed, interspersed with the stressful and happy times of my life.

Until next time,