Archive for the ‘Social Life’ Category

December @ Hopkins

A few days ago, I joked to a friend that I know it’s December whenever I hear Advent hymns at Mass, holiday songs in stores, and excerpts from The Nutcracker in the ballet studio–and yes, I’ve heard all of those kinds of music in those contexts ever since Thanksgiving break ended. Upon making that remark, I realized that quite a lot of things are happening at Hopkins around this time of the year that make this time of the year unique. Here are some (but not all) of them:

YOU KNOW IT’S DECEMBER AT HOPKINS WHEN…

1. The Lighting of the Quads occurs. The “Lighting of the Quads” is an annual Hopkins tradition that’s relatively new; this year was the fifth time it was celebrated. Strands of small white lights are strung around the lampposts at the Upper Quad, Lower Quad, and Freshman Quad for the holiday season–and they’re all lit during the “Lighting of the Quads” event, where there are performances by a cappella groups perform and the pep band plays, food and hot drinks are served, and people such as Dean Burger and President Daniels speak to the students gathered before the lights are lit.

2. An inordinate number of exams, papers, and projects seem to be due all at once for you and your friends. You’re all stressed, but you all find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone–and that you can help out each other if need be!

3. There are numerous holiday-themed study breaks being held by RAs as well as student organizations.

4. Graduate students who are your TAs talk about how they and their fellow graduate students now know it’s the time of the year when they should avoid the MSE library, because many undergraduates are studying there.

5. Evergreen wreaths adorn the glass panels above the doorways of the MSE library’s two main entrances (at Q-Level and at M-Level).

6. The first snowfall of the winter enchants almost everyone (if not everyone), no matter how minute or how massive the accumulation of snow is.

7. Scarves and boots are the norm–no more tank tops and flip-flops!

8. Conversation topics tend to include the following: (a) final exams/papers/projects, (b) what people’s plans for celebrating Christmas this year (or what people plan to do instead of celebrating Christmas), (c) asking people if they’ll return to Hopkins for Intersession and what their plans are if they will be around for Intersession, and (d) asking people whether they plan to study abroad next semester (if they’re sophomores, juniors, or seniors) or graduate early this semester (if they’re seniors).

9. Sweets abound because of study breaks, holiday-themed parties, fundraisers on campus, and even TAs feeling generous and bringing a bag of candy or chocolate to the last class of the semester.

10. The days are growing shorter and shorter–we’re approaching December 21, which is the shortest day of the year in North America!

I could say a lot more, but I’ll end this entry with an even number of 10 items on my list. As you could see, this time of the year can be pretty stressful, but it does have quite a few perks! Well, it’s back to work for me. To those of you reading this entry who are high school seniors working on the last steps of your RD college Applications, good luck! Also, good luck to those of you who are waiting to receive ED notifications!

N.B. I found the second and third images that illustrate this blog entry via Google Image Search; meanwhile, I found the first image via the website for the JHU Office of Student Life.

 

Oh, how time flies!

The title for this blog entry has multiple meanings: (1) over one week has passed since I posted my last blog entry (but it doesn’t feel like it), (2) about one third of the semester has already passed (but it doesn’t feel like it), and (3) a year has passed since the last time I posted a blog entry in which I had a video of myself speaking to the camera (it does feel like it, in this instance). I’ll admit, though, that my inspiration to include such a video in this blog entry stems not from that one-year-old blog entry of mine, but one of JHU_Peter‘s recent blog entries. (I need to give credit where credit is due!)

Anyway, I’ve been a pretty busy student since the last time I posted something on this blog, and the video will describe how–enjoy!

 

A Busy Family Weekend…Without the Family

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As you may have noticed from reading other student blogs on Hopkins Interactive, Friday, October 31 to Sunday, November 2 (that is, today) was this year’s Family Weekend. My parents visited me here at Hopkins during Family Weekend during both my freshman and sophomore years, but they couldn’t come this year. Even then, I still had a rather busy time–and I couldn’t help but remember how I wrote a similarly-themed blog entry about my freshman year Family Weekend!

Friday, October 31 was Halloween, and I (of course) continued the Halloween celebration that I started last week. First, I dropped by a Halloween party held by some of my former housemates from freshman year. Afterwards, I joined up with some other Hopkins friends of mine who are seniors and recent alumni. Instead of our original plans of going to Fell’s Point (I guess I’ll have to check it out next year–as I’ve mentioned in my previous blog entry, I have yet to go there on Halloween), we ended up going to a club downtown where we heard there was a Halloween costume contest and good dance music. However, when we got to the club, we saw that most of the people there were in their late 20s and early 30s, thus making us the youngest group there. P1000105

(After observing our surroundings for a few minutes, we also had an icky feeling that a few of the aforementioned late 20- and 30-year-olds were trying to act as though they were still in college. It was a fairly awkward impression to have in mind.) We managed to enjoy ourselves, though–after all, all you need to have for a good time is a nice group of people that interact well with each other! We alternated between having goofy and intellectual conversations–and we definitely were the best dancers on the dance floor.

I’ll admit I’m sounding a bit biased with this assessment here.

After the club closed, we went to Nam Kang Restaurant, a Korean restaurant that’s a little over 10 blocks from Hopkins and that’s open until 4:00 a.m.! We had lots of good conversations–and made plenty of jokes and barbs at each other–in between bites of delicious food. Of course, however, all things must come to an end. We finally called it a night when the restaurant closed at 4:00 a.m., and then we went home.

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I actually started Saturday, November 1 (i.e., yesterday) on a quiet note: by eating breakfast by myself at my apartment. Then, however, I went to a dance practice for the Filipino Students Association in preparation for next week’s Culture Show–and after that, I did some errands before I went home to do some work. Soon, though, I found myself preparing for yet another event: the First Annual Engineers Without Borders Dessert Reception at the Glass Pavilion, at which I performed a salsa routine with the OLÉ Dance Group. Immediately after we finished performing our routine, some of us salsa dancers headed to the Diwali Dhamaka celebration held by the Hindu Students Council at the recreation center. We were too late to watch the dance performances and other planned segments of the event, but we still got to learn and dance a few raas steps during the open dance floor part of the event! At first, I felt self-conscious doing a set of steps in a completely new dance style while a little black dress with a red flower pinned to my hair–as I’ve said, I had come straight from performing salsa. However, after a while, I got so into the dancing that I accidentally broke two wooden sticks–called dandiyas–while clapping them together!

Oops.

After all the dancing I did–first, Filipino folk dancing, then salsa, then a very elementary form of raas–that day, it was time for me to go home and collapse onto my bed.

P1000113 Today (i.e., Sunday, November 2), I cooked two Filipino dishes, as well as a pot of jasmine rice, early in the morning. In addition to the rice, I prepared some champorado (a chocolate rice porridge) as well as pancit (a rice noodle dish). I then brought over the food to the basement of the Interfaith Center (IFC) before attending the Catholic Community‘s 11:00 a.m. Mass in the sanctuary of the IFC. In honor of Family Weekend and the different cultures represented in our congregation, we made today’s 11:00 a.m. Mass a multicultural Mass. Different Bible readings, petitions, and hymns were read and sung in foreign languages, including French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Spanish, and Tagalog. After Mass, there was a multicultural food reception at the IFC basement–that explains why I cooked all that food–and I really enjoyed sampling foods from a variety of cultures!

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However, I regretted eating all that food when I had a ballet rehearsal a little over an hour later. Don’t worry–I didn’t spew the contents of my stomach onto the studio floor! They stayed in my stomach. Nonetheless, I managed to move around enough during my ballet rehearsal to use a good bit of energy–when it was dinnertime a little over three hours later, I was hungry enough that I gladly decided to spend an hour eating at The Helmand Restaurant–an Afghan restaurant in the Mount Vernon neighborhood–with some of my friends. It was my first time eating Afghani cuisine, but I enjoyed the food a lot. My entrée was lamb lawand, a lamb dish that was prepared with tomatoes, mushrooms, herbs, yogurt, and mint–and served with spinach and basmati rice on the side. The dessert was especially good. It was a very creamy vanilla ice cream mixed with cardamom, dates, figs, and mango chunks. If you ever find yourself eating at The Helmand, make sure you order the ice cream there for dessert.

I still think it would have been nice to spend this weekend with my family here in Baltimore, but I’m glad I still managed to enjoy myself when I wasn’t doing homework in my room!

Photo Captions: (1) me in my flamenco dancer Halloween costume, (2) a couple that I saw dressed up as John McCain and Sarah Palin (I think Sarah Palin was a popular Halloween costume choice this year), (3) the plate of food I got at the multicultural post-Mass reception, (4) me with my friends Isha and Aparna at The Helmand Restaurant, (5) my dish of lamb lawand

 

…and the Halloween festivities begin!

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To continue my recurring theme of creating and eating food this year, I ended an especially hectic week last night by celebrating Halloween with some of my friends and some members of the Filipino Students Association in an informal social event we called “Halo-Halo Halloween!” (Earlier this month, we had another food-related event with a quirky title called “Karaoke-Karioka!”) With this event, we created the Filipino dessert called halo-halo (whose literal translation from Tagalog is “mix-mix”), which consists of shaved ice topped with evaporated milk and a variety of mixed beans and tropical fruits (such as jackfruit, young coconut, and red beans) and other sweets (such as flan or ice cream) as toppings. We also ordered some Chinese take-out food as our dinner–and so we spent the evening eating away and talking with each other for a few hours. It was like a casual extended-family dinner–delicious and relaxing at the same time! Originally, we also were planning on watching scary movies or wearing costumes to follow through with the Halloween theme, but we ended up doing neither.

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As you probably know, there are still a few days before Halloween, and so I still have some time to celebrate this mischievously fun holiday this year. I’ve always enjoyed Halloween–I enjoyed trick-or-treating as a child, and I’ve always enjoyed dressing up in costume. Since Halloween will be on a Friday this year, I’ll definitely celebrate it on the actual holiday itself! I’m excited over that prospect. In my freshman year, I did a Halloween activity with my tutee from the JHU Tutorial Project a the day before Halloween, and I wore a costume while going to Culture Show dance practices and doing homework in my dorm on the day of Halloween itself. Last year, I did nothing special on the day of Halloween itself; all I did to mark the holiday was spend about two hours at a Halloween costume party the previous weekend.

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Anyway, so far, I plan to spend some time on the night of Halloween reuniting with a few of my freshman year housemates at a quiet little costume party; afterwards, I’ll reunite with some recent alumni friends of mine to go to Fell’s Point. Every year, revelers gather at this Baltimore neighborhood dressed in costume on the night of Halloween. I didn’t go there on Halloween when I was a freshman because I was too scared! Meanwhile, I didn’t go there on Halloween last year because I was too tired (and I had too much homework to complete for the next day). I’ll admit that while I’m excited to dress up in costume and check out Fell’s Point with a group of friends this year, I’m still a little scared of what I might encounter when I go there. I think part of this fear stems from the fact that this will be my first time going there. I definitely follow some advice of a male friend of mine who’s been to Fell’s Point on the night of Halloween before and walk through the neighborhood in groups that have at least one guy present–I should be fine otherwise.

With that said, I’ll return to my homework, and the next time I’ll post, I’ll let you know how Halloween went!

Photo Captions: (1) some halo-halo toppings in a bowl (2) some more halo-halo toppings in another bowl (in front of a few cans of jackfruit from Thailand and a can of evaporated milk) (3) some FSA members enjoying halo-halo and waiting for Chinese take-out food to be delivered to my apartment

 

Hitting the One-Half Mark

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So, between the time I last posted on this blog and now, I’ve gone from the one-third mark to the one-half mark of my fifth semester at Hopkins! (Wow! Already?) The following video summarizes some of my thoughts on how time seems to fly when there’s a lot to do:

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In other news, I spent quite a bit of time within the past 48 hours in baking-related situations! Over the past week, my friends Aparna and Jose have been “trash-talking” each other as to who’s a better baker and decided to settle the argument with a “bake-off” yesterday. However, because they didn’t give their friends enough notice so that there would be plenty of people to judge their creations, what happened was that Jose’s friend Tiffany and I ended up being the only non-competitors present at this bake-off–plus Tiffany and I ended up assisting Jose and Aparna in finishing their respective creations. It goes without saying that Tiffany and I ended up refusing to give a verdict upon tasting the two wonderful cakes, and so Aparna and Jose agreed on a tie–but not before vowing to have another bake-off in the near future!

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By the way, in this “bake-off,” Aparna and Jose had agreed that their “secret ingredient” would be pumpkin, and that they would have a fall theme to whatever they bake. (Originally, they wanted a neutral third party to come up with those two things–but once again, because they gave their friends very short notice about this bake-off, they didn’t find someone to do that.) Aparna ended up baking a vanilla cake with pumpkin filling that was decorated to look like a pumpkin patch. Jose ended up baking a pumpkin roll cake that had a mascarpone cheese filling and English toffee topping. Who would’ve thought two very different approaches to baking a pumpkin cake would both turn out to be so delicious?

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As for today, I spent part of the evening baking cookies from scratch for the first time ever! Before today, the only baking I’d done was (a) baking a Filipino rice cake called bibingka from scratch for the dinner party that Aparna and I co-hosted during Intersession ’08 and (b) baking cookies from pre-cut, ready-to-bake cookie dough a few times earlier this semester. I incorporated bits and pieces of various recipes from the Internet as well as a few tips from my friend Renato (another friend of mine who likes to bake) to come up with an oatmeal chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie recipe–and it worked out wonderfully!

With that said, I shall go off to continue doing my homework–as you might have noticed from the video, I have a lot of work left for this semester!

Photo Captions: (1) Aparna with her cake (2) Aparna’s cake (3) Jose’s cake (4) my cookies

 

Hitting the One-Third Mark

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Last week was Week 4 of the semester, and now it’s Week 5–so that means with 13 weeks this semester, we’ve just passed the one-third mark! That would explain why my first Physics exam of the semester was on Thursday last week, so I spent most of last week preparing for that exam. The fact that we’re one-third of the way through the semester would also explain why my first Greek Philosophy paper of the semester is due today–so after spending most of Friday and Saturday catching up on sleep, I spent Saturday night and Sunday (i.e., yesterday) afternoon and evening finishing the paper.

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Besides academics, the fact that we’re one-third of the way through the semester has also meant that it’s been time to buckle down for extracurricular activities as well. For instance, in addition to preparing for my Physics exam last week, I spent a lot of time sending numerous e-mails regarding the CSC Dance Program,
of which I’m the co-president this year. The CSC Dance Program volunteers to teach after-school dance classes at various elementary schools in Baltimore, and this week is the first week of after-school programs for two of the schools where we’re volunteering this semester–hence the need for me to send confirmation e-mails last week asking volunteers whether they still intended to volunteer this semester, asking schools whether the proposed dance class days and times will work this semester, and so on. It was quite chaotic in the world of e-mail last week.

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In addition, last week’s salsa practices for the OLÉ Dance Group were more serious than usual, since we’ll have an audition this week to determine whether or not we’ll perform in the annual Culture
Show (held by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs) later this semester. Furthermore, I spent part of this weekend planning the choreography for part of this year’s Culture Show folk dance routine for the Filipino Students Association–and attending a two-hour-plus practice for FSA’s Culture Show audition.

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By the way, even though I spent the past week and weekend being more serious about school and extracurricular activities, I still managed to socialize a bit. For instance, I spent part of Friday night at a potluck for the ballet company–unfortunately, not many people showed up to it besides the board members (including yours truly) and two freshmen, because a lot of company members were either sick or studying for exams)–and I spent part of Saturday afternoon climbing the rock wall at the rec center for the first time! Because I went to the rock wall when two of my freshman year housemates invited me to go with them, I consider that something I did to socialize–however, it was definitely a good workout, and now I intend to climb with them at least once a week.

To close this entry, I’ll show you a video I made on Friday afternoon in anticipation of this past weekend, which I’ll reiterate did prove to be fun and relaxing overall, despite the paper writing and dance choreographing/practicing!

Photo Captions: (1) These are the ingredients for my far-from-genuine version of the Indian dish chicken tikka masala. (2) Along the veins of not-from-scratch cooking, I used this pre-made cookie dough to bake cookies. (3) This is the food I brought to the ballet company potluck (and because not many people showed up to it, I brought at least half of it home as leftovers). (4) This is my side of the master bedroom that I share in an off-campus apartment–and yes, I know it needs some more decorations! I’m working on that little by little.

 

Karaoke, Physics, Head Bobbing, and Lots of Food

P1000011_3Despite the fact that I probably spent most of my time this weekend sleeping, checking the e-mails that I didn’t read during the week, or doing homework, I managed to have a memorable time nonetheless. (Say that sentence thrice fast! Hmm, that doesn’t quite have the same ring as Say that sentence three times fast, does it?)

After my last class ended on Friday afternoon, I came home and helped two other girls from the Filipino Students Association cook karioka in my kitchen. Karioka (pronounced kah-ree-YOH-kah) is one of many Filipino names for a popular Filipino dessert–it’s the Visayan name for the dessert. In the Ilokano language, it’s called kaskaron, and in the Tagalog language, it’s called bitsu-bitsu (pronounced BEE-chu BEE-chu). In short, karioka is like a Southeast Asian version of doughnut holes. Its dough is made of rice flour, coconut, sesame seeds, milk, and sugar, and the dough is rolled into balls, then fried, then coated with a caramelized brown sugar sauce. If you want a sugar high, eat a lot of karioka!

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Once we finished preparing the karioka, the three of us brought the sugary goodies to the multipurpose room of Charles Commons, where FSA’s “Karaoke-Karioka!” event was being held. As the event’s name suggests, this was a two-hour event devoted to singing karaoke while eating karioka. It’s an understatement to say, “It was fun!” Who wouldn’t like singing badly in the company of his or her friends while inducing himself or herself into a sugar high?

P1000035_2Then, late yesterday morning, my roommate Miriam and I cooked some food in our kitchen because we were organizing a Physics study session at our apartment in the afternoon. It included homemade burgers that Miriam made, fries that Miriam prepared with her deep fryer, a chicken pasta dish that I made, and some cookies that I baked using pre-made dough. (I prefer baking and cooking food from scratch, but I wanted to spend more time studying than making food yesterday!)

With our friend Cy’s help (Cy is a Physics major), Miriam and I did a decent amount of Physics problems yesterday afternoon–we ended up concentrating on this week’s set homework problems instead of working on practice problems for our upcoming exam. We then took a two-hour break before the Fall Fest concert that was held at the recreation center; the concert was part of a tour sponsored by Verizon Wireless and featured a Canadian singer/songwriter called Lights as well as the bands Cute Is What We Aim For and Boys Like Girls. The funny thing is that I hadn’t heard of either band until two days ago. I got a ticket at the last minute yesterday afternoon only because I wanted to go to the concert with a few of my friends and check out the bands out of curiosity. However, I had heard their songs before–I’m guessing many of you reading this blog entry have heard them before as well–so I was pretty glad I ended up going! I also got a kick out of jumping up and down and bobbing my head along with the people around me at the concert.

To finish off the evening, Miriam and I trekked to the Glass Pavilion to enjoy some free food as part of Fall Fest’s annual “Midnight Breakfast”–it also helped that we got a chance to talk to several juniors we know whom we haven’t been able to see lately! As JHU_Jackie has mentioned in her most recent blog entry, being a junior means that most of the people you know are scattered across Charles Village in various off-campus apartments or rowhouses or on-campus dorms residences.

As for today, I’ve been sleeping, checking e-mail, and studying–tomorrow is Monday, so I need to be ready for another week of classes!

Photo Captions: (1) This is a photo of the karioka that we made–don’t they look like doughnut holes? (2) This is a view of the Charles Commons multipurpose room at the start of FSA’s “Karaoke-Karioka!” event–just FYI, more people came later that evening to make it a more festive little affair. (3) This is a photo of Lights performing during the concert. (4) This is a photo of Cute Is What We Aim For performing during the concert. (5) This is a photo of Boys Like Girls performing during the concert.

 

My First Summer in Baltimore

After my last final of the Spring 2008 semester ended on Wednesday, May 14, I went home and stayed there for a little over a week until I returned to Baltimore on Monday, May 26. Since then, I’ve had so much fun in Baltimore so far this summer that I’m a little disappointed that I have a little over a month left before I’ll return home for three weeks. Anyway, I’ve decided to summarize a few of the past month’s shenanigans in a journal entry kind of format. I hope you like it!

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TUESDAY, MAY 27:

This was the first day of class for Summer Session I (there are two summer sessions at Hopkins). I took Organic Chemistry I, and so did a lot of people I know. Meanwhile, I also know a few people who took General Physics I, and a few who took Biochemistry.

This was also my first day back at the Ryugo Lab in almost a month! In order to concentrate on studying for finals for the spring semester, I wasn’t able to do much Research there during reading period and finals week — and then, right after my last final, I went home for a little over a week. I missed doing Research a lot more than I thought I would during that three-week period! It was great to be back. (By the way, JHU_Stefanie has recently joined the Ryugo Lab as another undergraduate Research assistant this summer — yay!)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28:

This was my first day of work as a student assistant at the administrative office of the Neurogenetics and Behavior Center (a.k.a. “the NBC”), which is located here at the Homewood campus. The girl who’s normally the student assistant during the academic year is away for the summer, so I’ve been hired to work as her temporary replacement this summer. In working in the administrative office, I do miscellaneous tasks such as fetching mail, booking the travel arrangements for the NBC’s primary investigator (Dr. Michela Gallagher, who not only attends various Neuroscience-related symposia and conferences, but also attends various meetings related to her post as the vice provost of academic affairs), sending faxes, making spreadsheets to organize information, et cetera.

SATURDAY, MAY 31:

In the afternoon, JHU_Tanya and I visited the
family that Catholic Community had “sponsored” for Christmas 2007 through
Centro de la Comunidad, an organization that assists Latino families in the Baltimore area. Ever since we gave the family Christmas presents and some other items that we thought would be helpful in Christmas 2007, I’ve been trying to coordinate an on-going outreach initiative in which members of Catholic Community — as well as other interested individuals who aren’t necessary members of Catholic Community — keep in touch with and help out this family. Right now, it’s a baby project, but I hope it’ll grow into something more organized over time.


In the evening, my roommate Miriam and I walked to The Rotunda Cinematheque, where we watched Sex and the City. The two of us were laughing at how the camaraderie among the main characters reminded us of the Chemistry among my three roommates and me (minus the expensive lifestyle and the scandal) — I know I keep mentioning this time and again, but I’m really excited that the three girls with whom I shared a suite in McCoy Hall as a sophomore and I are all renting an apartment together this summer and junior year!

SUNDAY, JUNE 1:

Because Catholic Community doesn’t celebrate Mass at the
Interfaith Center during the summer, some of us from Catholic Community who are in Baltimore for the summer have decided we’d attend Mass at a different church in Baltimore every Sunday. This was the first of our
“church-hopping” excursions.
Along with five other people, I attended a Mass at Holy Rosary Church in the Fell’s Point neighborhood. Holy Rosary Church is one of Baltimore’s historic churches, as far as Catholic churches go. While the parish’s current church building was built in the 1920s, the parish was established for the Polish immigrant community in the late 1800s, and it still serves the Polish community in Baltimore today. In fact, the Mass we attended was a Polish-language Mass. We heavily relied on Polish-English Mass booklets to translate the readings and prayers for us, and one of the guys in our group (who’s Polish) translated the homily for us after the Mass. Some of us also went to the 35th Annual Baltimore’s Polish Festival near Holy Rosary Church, but I chose to return to Hopkins and attend the 11th Annual Charles Village Festival near campus with two of my freshman year housemates instead.

SATURDAY, JUNE 14:

This was my first day working for JHU Phonathon. (This summer, I’ve been working for JHU Phonathon during weekends.) The JHU Phonathon works with the Office of Annual Giving by calling alumni and parents of current students and alumni to request monetary gifts for the Johns Hopkins Annual Fund. My job as a JHU Phonathon caller technically isn’t telemarketing, since products aren’t being sold over the phone to randomly selected phone numbers — however, I’ve definitely gained more respect for telemarketers as a result of this job!

SUNDAY, JUNE 15:

My roommate Miriam (the same roommate with whom I watched Sex and the City) and I walked to the Hampden neighborhood to attend the 15th Annual HonFest. While Miriam was in Baltimore last summer, she didn’t attend HonFest last year, so this was the first time for both of us to attend it. We ooh’d and ahh’d over the various beehive hairdos that some women were having styled and looked at different vendors’ booths. I ended up buying a cute white and brown sundress, both of us ended up buying sunglasses — and, of course, we also got some food to eat.

SATURDAY, JUNE 21:

In the evening, my roommates Miriam, Zainab, and I spent the night in our apartment relaxing and chatting with each other. Then our friend Cy ended up IM-ing us to say that he was bored, so we invited him to come over to our apartment to hang out with us — and then before we knew it, the four of us were walking to the 24/7 Giant supermarket at The Rotunda at 11:00 p.m. to buy groceries. (Now how often do you walk to a supermarket to buy groceries late on a Saturday night?) Afterwards, Miriam cooked tacos, which we ate (as well as tortilla chips and salsa) while watching random shows on TV.

FRIDAY, JUNE 27:

It was the last day of Summer Session I, so a lot of people — including yours truly — had final exams that day!

MONDAY, JUNE 30 (TODAY):

Today was the first day of Summer Session II. For Summer Session II, I’m simply focusing on doing Research at the Ryugo Lab as well as working at the NBC during weekdays and at JHU Phonathon during weekends.

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In addition to what I’ve mentioned, Miriam, Zainab, and I have invited friends to come over to our apartment to play board games on multiple nights; I’ve often grabbed lunch or dinner with friends during weekdays; and now that I’m living in an off-campus apartment without a meal plan, I’ve been cooking and eating meals at home a lot more often! Recently, I cooked the Filipino dishes pancit (a rice noodle dish) and adobong manok (chicken adobo) for the second time ever, with the first time having been the dinner party that my friend Aparna and I hosted back in January. They were much better this time around.

With that said, I’m about to walk to a nearby 24/7 Superfresh supermarket with Miriam and my friend Phil — and once again, it’s past 11:00 in the evening. Later, everyone!

 

The Last Weekend Before Spring Break

Today is the first day of spring break, which I’m spending at home for the second year in a row. Unlike last year, however, I didn’t have to wait for my dad at the MSE Library! He picked me up in the early afternoon yesterday, long before the dorms closed. Huzzah.

Anyway, last weekend, a few of my friends and I took a break from studying for midterms to have a potluck dinner at the common kitchen of Charles Commons. As with the dinner party that my friend Aparna and I had during Intersession, I’ve made a little video summarizing what happened. Cooking food before eating it is that fun:

 

Friends = One Reason Why I Love Hopkins

Friendshipposter According to my planner, this week was supposedly a dull one. All I did this week was go to class, Research, and study! However, looking back at my week, I don’t think it was dull at all. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that I like the routine of going to class (except when I’m tired), I love working in my Research lab, and I think studying is fun if the material you’re studying is fascinating. Seriously! It’s the pressure of studying for an exam that isn’t fun. Think about it: if you read about a subject because you want to know more about it, isn’t it fun? However, if you’re doing that with the knowledge that you’re going to be tested on it for a grade, isn’t it a tad stressful at times?

Another part of the reason I don’t think my “dull” week wasn’t dull is that I’ve had the company of friends while doing all these things. During the times I’ve studied in my room this week, my suitemates would be studying in their rooms as well. Every so often, we’d take breaks to talk to each other, joke around, or cook food to eat. During the times I’ve studied at the library this week, I’ve studied with some of my friends at group study tables at C-Level instead of a solitary cubicle at D-Level. (To understand the significance of this change in study habits, there are only two levels at the library that are above ground: Q-Level is the higher level of the two, and M-Level is right below it. Meanwhile, there are four levels at the library that are below ground: A-Level, B-Level, C-Level, and D-Level. The farther below ground a level is, the quieter it is. Ergo, D-Level is the quietest level of the library.) I used to study at a cubicle at D-Level almost daily, so studying at a group study at C-Level for multiple days in a week is a pretty noticeable change in study habits for me. It’s not as quiet as the D-Level studying I used to do, but it’s still quiet enough that I can easily ignore conversations of people around me (not to mention that C-Level is quiet enough that people tend to talk there in soft voices). In addition, I could easily ask my friends at the C-Level study table for help with my homework–not to mention I could chat with them every once in a while!

Yet another way I’ve allowed the company of friends to make my week feel less mundane is by eating at least one meal a day (usually lunch or dinner) with one or more friends. Even on the busiest weeks, it’s amazing how much people can bond while eating food together!

With all that said, it’s time for me to study, so that I could have some time this evening to kick back and relax a little! Another busy week is coming up…

N.B. I got the image used to illustrate this blog entry from AllPosters.com.