Learning

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.- Nelson Mandela

The arctic-spell that shut down much of the Midwest has come  to an end. Now  the city is a large puddle as the weather rose above freezing and snow turned to rain. Cabin fever was getting to me and though my two and a half winter break was relaxing and full of friendly, lovely and familiar faces I was ready to go back into my routine. I work in a school now. Which is slightly funny to me because, well, I never really loved children. Of course I did at the age of twelve when every adolescent Christian girl is now old enough to be a Sunday school teacher and baby sit while all the parents go off to their small groups. I am sure my dislike for them blossomed out of children coming into Victoria’s Secret and destroying the tables of underwear I had so perfectly folded. I know once I became a manager my heart sank a little when a child came into my store because they would run in and out and in and out and destroy my beautiful 87% conversion rate. To me children were runny noses, unexpected vomiters, coughing in your face, too loud when all you want to do is read your book on your five hour flight annoying.

So why in the world did I decide to work with that?

When we moved to Chicago I knew I did not want to work in retail anymore. I am so thankful I had the opportunity and loved all the wonderful people in the six years I worked there, but I knew I wanted to do something else. Something that gave me a new perspective in life, that gave me unique relationships and that tugged at my heartstrings. Despite never adoring school or enjoying most of the work I was given I always knew I wanted to go to college. Getting my degree was not easy for me, I was not a straight A student by any means. I had to study hard all. the. time. Walking on that stage to receive my diploma with the smoggy LA sunset sinking behind the foothills was one of the most accomplished feelings I had ever had. Because it was. The most accomplished thing I had ever done up to that point. And it was solely me that did it. With the support of so many people in my life of course. Needless to say education is important.  I wanted to be apart of a team of people who believed that as well.

I applied for an education focused Americorps and a week later I was given the job.  I was placed in a school where the majority of the children come from low income households in a not so safe neighborhood. The principle of the school told me I would be working with kindergartners and first graders. You know, the kids with the  runniest noses. I thought to myself “Well here it goes, I haven’t talked to a five year old in probably ten years, I have no idea what I am doing.” I didn’t even know what five year kids were suppose to know at that age or how how they retained information.

So there I was thrown into these classrooms of 30 children each without much of a clue as how to teach them or even really how to talk to them. The first day there I sat in on a class for their morning meeting. The kids trip and tattle and fall into a circle around the rug. Once they are somewhat situated they sing “Oh What  A Beautiful Morning” And oh. my.goodness. You know the feeling when your heart just starts to melt out of pure adorableness? That was exactly what happened.  And that is exactly what happens to me now on a daily basis.  I have the best job, because I get to teach kids how to read. Can you honestly think of anything better than helping kid learn their letters so they can take on the world? I cannot. And every time a child can completely spell his name for the first time, or recite the letter sounds from memory without help is cause for a celebration.  We play games, we make crafts, we laugh and be silly.  We laugh a lot. Because learning has to be fun.  It’s my goal to make reading fun, even when its so hard to sound out words that are not sound-outable or when you just can’t remember how to draw a q. My patience is tested daily, no not daily, hourly. I have been scratched, spit on, punched, been called ” a mean lady” and ” a fat little girl” but it is all forgotten when you are walking down the hall and suddenly feel a little hand being slipped into yours.

They still have unreasonable amounts of snot that trickle from their nose, they cough in my face even after I just urged them to cover their mouths, the amount of tattling they do could drive anyone into a state of craziness. But they are five. And they are still learning. I loved being able to be by their side as they figure out the world  that they live in.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

2014

I like even years better than uneven. I do not actually know if better things happen in those years or not, but I simply think it looks better on paper. Last year was probably the first year ever I came out on top with my New Years resolution. Most likely because I knew not to do something unrealistic for me like work out everyday or eat more salad. I chose to wear more lipstick. I knew this would be achieved because I have probably worn it ten times my entire life. While it did not make me healthier or more fit, it was fun to add a little flare into the days I decided to apply. This year my resolution is a bit less… shallow. I use to be an avid reader. Reading 3 to 4 different books in a month, making frequent library runs and devouring a book in a day or two. I still want to say I am an avid reader, but I know just the idea of wanting to read isn’t enough to make you one. Reading only 4 books in a year does not make one avid. Sadly. So this year I have thoughtfully complied a random array of books to read each month.  Books I have been needing to read for years, books friends and strangers have suggested, books that have recently peeked my interests, classics and ones that will just make me laugh. I am pretty thrilled and I think every book will be its own adventure!

January- The Poisenwood Bible

February- Gang Leader for a Day

March- The Little Prince

April- The Moveable Feast 

May- The Maytrees

June-Bossypants

July-The Perks of Being a Wallflower

August- The Devil in the White City

October- The Problem with Pain

November- The Giver

December- A Christmas Story

Happy 2014! I hope it is a great year for everyone! 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The First Day of My Life

Image

Michael and I got married one year ago! It’s a bit crazy to think that 369 days have passed. We have already said hello and good-bye to our bricked exposed first apartment in a cozy corner of Boston and have moved 2,000 miles away to our most favorite big city in the nation. It’s fun to look back at our day and reminiscence about how full of love, joy, excitement, music and booze that day was!

Image

Image

Image I loved my wedding dress as every girl should! It was light and airy and the bird cage veil went with it beautifully! I am still trying to think of ways to wear it again and have been coming up dry. My bridesmaids got to pick their own dresses. I loved seeing what they came up with and all the dresses looked so terrific together!

Image When everyone talks about their wedding being the best day of their life I always thought it was simply because they were getting married. I soon learned it was so much more than that! I was convinced I would not cry, but that certainly did not last long. The tears started flowing when my bridesmaids came around me and my mom and Larissa each said a prayer. Looking back this is one of the most special moments of my day. I realized how incredibly blessed I was to grow up around all these amazing girls. During the ceremony I couldn’t help but cry when our pastor had us look at the crowd and see everyone who came. Seeing all our closest friends and family there was surreal. I felt so loved in the fact that they all gave up their Saturday (on a holiday weekend no less) to watch Michael and I make the most important vows of our lives.

Image

 

Image

Image

Like most brides I tried to make our wedding as uniquely ours as I could. The last week before the wedding the little details do not seem to matter as much, but it really is what makes your wedding yours. So if you are a future bride focus on the little details a few months ahead of time. Some of the ideas were really easy to think of. Such as both wearing chucks because we both sported them in high school and Michael wore them to our first time at prom as a couple. Others we had to think a little harder but it was so great when we saw everything together!

Image My lovely California roommate made all the bouquets. Seriously she was amazing! I picked her knowing she would do a flawless job and did she ever! Having never done it before she nailed it. One of the best parts of the day was at the local farmers market they did not have the flowers I wanted for the boutineers. She made the extra effort to talk to the lady who agreed to go home and pick some so we could have them!  I had no idea this even happened until after the vows were said and done! I love that she went the extra mile without even telling me about it!

We picked books as the table “numbers” that we had read throughout our life together and made up questions for people to answer so we could look at them when we returned from our honeymoon.

Image

One of my favorite details we had was our beer list. We decided to pick a beer from each state we have lived. It was fun deciding what to go with and seeing who drank what. Our beer list consisted of five different types:

California-Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Illinois- 312

Wisconsin-Leinenkugels

Minnesota-Grainbelt

Massachusetts-  Sam Adams

We also had a red and white wine to for those fancied something a little less Wisconsiny

Image And of course we had to have some signature cocktails as Michael and I are very into going to fun cocktail lounges and imbibing in tasty drinks. I picked the La Paloma a tequila based drink because it was first real cocktail I ever enjoyed and Michael picked the classic Sazerac because he is a classy guy.Image

Image

Image It is so much fun including people in your big deal! I highly suggest it. I tried to play off of people’s gifts to fit them into the wedding. I had two of my best friends be the personal attendants/ wedding planners. They did amazing, everything looked great and all I had to worry about that day was getting ready. They handled the rest and I am so thankful for both of them! My mother in law the most talented of seamstresses did my alterations. I had two college friends do the singing and my grandmother made the cake! She has a long history of wedding cakes and I knew I always wanted her work as a part of my big day. It looked terrific and tasted wonderful! (Chocolate with blackberry filling) I wanted a petite cake for cutting, because I had grand plans for cheesecake. My mom and I made a lot of cheesecakes in a few different flavors and they were a hit!

Image

Image

Image

 Our venue ended up being perfect for us! It had everything! A beautiful lawn with neat old buildings surrounding the gazebo. A picturesque church in case it rained, a ton of cool photo opts, a reception site that I like more and more whenever I look at the pictures. The walls were covered with old farming equipment which gave it such a rustic look! I adored it!

Image I mostly picked the music for the wedding but had so much fun diving into our past and choosing ones that really meant something to us! I think our most meaningful one was” I want to hold your hand” which is the song Michael would blare out of his car window every night in high school once he dropped me off for the night!

processional- The First Day of My Life- Bright Eyes

Communion- To Be Alone With You- Sufjan Stevens

Doxology

Recessional- I Want To Hold Your Hand- Beatles

Introduction of Bridal party- She’s  A Rainbow- Rolling Stones

First Dance-Here Comes the Sun-Beatles

Image

Overall getting married was the best experience ever! And it’s true when they say you love the person more than the day you married them. That is most certainly true! I loved our first year of marriage and cannot wait for many more!

So Michael here’s to forever more years with you my love!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Good-bye Boston, Hello…

Last weekend I got to fly back to the Midwest and be apart of one of my oldest friends wedding.  I adored being able to see so many old friends, spend some time at a few of my favorite coffee shops, and be surrounded by lakes and parks. I made cheesecake with my best friend during the day and ate pizza with my family on Grand ave at night. I have a love-hate relationship with going back home. I love it because of the joy I experience when I get to spend time with the people that mean the most to me, I hate it because it reminds me how far away I am from the Midwest. That every trip means a plane trip, taking off work and never really having enough time.

On somewhat of a whim my husband decided to apply to business school. I knew he wanted to apply, I just figured we would wait another year. I was fine with his abrupt decisions as we had been wanting to leave Boston for quite some time. It was a whirlwind as he had only a month to study for the GMAT and write up his applications. We decided on a few schools and all but one happened to not only have friends at each school but some of our best friends. I was ready to live in a place where we could have a great community. Michael went to school in Chicago so it would be ideal to go there, but because he applied the very last round which gives him a nearly a microscopic chance of getting in anywhere we weren’t getting our hopes up. When the acceptance started rolling in we anxiously awaited only to be greeted with wait-list after wait-list after wait-list. Feeling a bit defeated after two wait-lists we had three chances left, one at UCLA, one of Chicago and one at Yale. My heart sank when our results came in for Chicago to a wait-list. The Midwest was off the table, it was either going two hours south or cross country again to LA. Finally we heard from both schools and were accepted to both! We were so relieved that all that work he put in at least paid off to get him into somewhere! So we decided we would go to Yale! We would live in the dangerous town of New Haven and soak up all that the Ivy League school had to offer. Of course this was the only school we applied to where we did not know a soul in the city.  I told people I saw last week how I would be able to audit Yale classes for free and how excited we were to be a part of this elite university. But as I spent time at home I realized I was thankful we had this opportunity that so many people would love to have, but New Haven was still so far away from home. It was still on the east coast, it was still a plane ticket away, it was still a city where we knew no one.

Less then a week after I arrived back in Boston we got the most unexpected news. Michael got accepted off the University of Chicago Booth summer wait-list! We both couldn’t believe our luck (and his exceptional letter to them to re-consider his application)! All of a sudden our lives changed into something we had been wishing for for a long time!  I still can’t really believe we will get to move back to the Midwest, we will be driving distance of friends and family. We will get to indulge in the amazing food, oh the delicious food that Chicago has to offer and I will finally get to call The Windy City my home! 

Tagged , , ,

T.W. Jazz Brunch

They say you should blog at least once a week but being out of school for a year already it is still hard to want to set deadlines for myself. Perhaps I should try a little harder because I have some great spots I have tried as well as some exciting changes coming my way!

My friend and old college roommate Brianna got to grace Boston with her joyous presence  for a Poetry convention. It worked out perfectly that it was here because then we would get to spend some time together. We realized we had not really spent more than a dinner date together since she got married and I moved to California. It was tragic and needed to be rectified. I expected her to mainly be at the convention the whole time and would squeeze in a few activities here and there as she had never been to this historic city before. But in typical Brianna fashion she blew off nearly the whole convention to hang out with me! Which I appreciate.   Being my travel buddy on two Euro trips in college I knew her preferred method of travel which is lots of exploring done by foot or train frugally but still eating well and attempting to feel local. As a poet I thought it only appropriate to take her to the Boston library which has a dazzling courtyard and to top it off it was snowing which just added to the perfection of its beauty.

Image

I took her to my favorite cocktail lounge where I introduced her to some delicious cocktails where she learned egg in a drink makes for a frothy delight and finished that evening off at La Verdad near Fenway for fish tacos and micheladas.

Sunday was of course brunch day. We got up and made our way over to Cambridge for a jazz brunch at T.W.Foods. T.W. is my husbands favorite restaurant in Boston. Having been there a few times we are never disappointed with what they serve us, the presentation of it or the ambiance. It is intimate and dark with warm candles in the evening and light and airy in the morning for breakfast. They have a prix fixe meal with three courses. We started off with a bakery plate of scones, muffins and compote and a salmon salad. And of course mimosas.

ImageFor our main course Bri decided on the pulled pork hash. Braised pork, a poached egg with toast and greens on the side. The egg was cooked perfectly and the pork was entirely tender and delicious. I went for naturally the french toast infused in alcohol. ImageTorrijas as it was called though I definitely did the whole “I’ll have that” and point at the item. Sherry french toast, with apples and pure maple syrup while jazz music played in the background and conversing with one of your best friends, it does not get much better than that.  Even though we weren’t eating pastries at the foot of the Eiffel Tower like we were three years prior it was still pretty wonderful to be able to share meals with Bri and feel like no time as gone by.

Image

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Mike and Patty’s

Our friend Peter gets to come to Boston for work every once and a while. It’s always a good time when he comes, not just because we get to eat at a fancy restaurant but because we like him a whole lot. The morning he left we were able to snag a quick breakfast at one of the smallest breakfast joints I have ever been to. I thought Al’s in Minneapolis, which holds a bar with nine seats was small but Mike and Patty’s ( I can’t say Patty’s without a very heavy Minnesotan accent) is half the size! I read it was teensy but didn’t know it only had one table with four seats. I wouldn’t suggest coming here if you expect a seat during the weekends.It’s on the corner and would great in the summer to get your food to go and eat on the picturesque sidewalk. We went around ten on a Thursday and by the time we had ordered the table had opened up. ImageIt is mainly a sandwich place, breakfast and lunch sandwiches. It has a few bakery items and per request I got the doughnut which was delicious! The lady (Patty?) who made our food was pleasant and worked quickly.Image

We were both impressed with our sandwich as I got the  “Fancy” a fried egg, bacon, cheddar and avocado on toasted multigrain w/ house mayo and red onion, while Peter got the Croque Madame – ham and gruyere with dijon creme fraiche, broiled, on pain de mie, topped with a fried egg. The place may be small but the sandwiches are not! We both left with fully belly’s and smelling like breakfast foods the rest of the day. It was totally worth it though and I would go back in a second.

Image 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

boston

Boston has never been “my city”. When I am away from it I do not long for its brick sidewalks or historical buildings around every corner, the silly accents or the Red Sox. Not the way I long for Chicago. Not the way I long for Minneapolis. This  past week Boston has carried such a different feel. How could it not? We had a bombing. A terrorist attack. Which seems surreal. Bombings happen on the roads of Afghanistan, near the markets in Gaza Strip, the occasional ones occur in the subways of Europe. Terrorists attack happen, well they happen in New York City, but we all thought we were so much safer since then. Because who would expect a race? A place people go to celebrate the hard work pounding the numerous pavements months after months.  A race where people strive to for those 26.2 miles and receive a medal to hang up on display at home and tell people ” I ran the Boston marathon, one of the most famous marathons in the world.” None of us expected it. And I think a lot of us still cannot believe it happened. I have never watched so much news in my life or constantly refreshed my Twitter hoping for new information from the Times or CNN,  I watch the news and in the background I see the train station that I get off everyday to go to work or the Public Library that hold so much beauty. Places I walk by everyday. Seeing those images in the back I cannot help but think “Why would they do this to my city?” Maybe the brothers  thought we would continue our lives in a Bostonian fashion. Bumping into those around us on the street without a care, not talking to one another on the train or staring at our phones as we wait to order our coffee. Things have been different lately. Standing in line for my cafe au lait people are communicating with one another, we’re sharing stories and smiling. Signs are posted everywhere with inspirational phrases “Boston Strong” or “Keep running for Boston” Organizations are getting volunteers to throw events to give to the ones wounded from the attack.  People are running. People are running everywhere. Maybe it is because of the weather finally being warmer, but I think a lot of us are running for those who cannot anymore, running because we can, running to show the rest of the nation that we won’t forget this and we won’t stand for this to happen. This past week I have swelled with Boston pride  because I have learned it’s one of the strongest cities, it’s one that gives in times of tragedy and puts our needs aside for others. And really what else could you ask for  in a city you now call home?

Keep Running Boston

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements