Les Cinq Petites Choses #3

knew I would miss a Friday (or two), but this is the latest when it comes down to the five little things this week.

#1. It was about time the weather changed. I have been waking up to crisp Fall Weather while the leaves are turning right outside my window. I am so excited to wear a few of my favorite scarves. I love pashmina scarves ! I get mine from amazon and they’re so worth it: warm, fashionable, and awesome !

#2 I have been going to a Dissertator Group on campus where we meet weekly to talk about our writing struggles and spend three hours working hard on our dissertations ! I love being able to take some time to grab a cup of coffee, focus on my writing and my research. Grad school is a tough balancing act, but it is achievable with fellow grad schoolers who keep you accountable for your own goals.

#3. Lin Manuel Miranda, the famous writer and star of the award-winning play, Hamilton, gathered every single famous Latinx star (from Despacito’s Luis Fonsi to West Side Story‘s Rita Moreno) to sing in his new song, “Almost Like Praying”. Miranda’s song proceeds will go towards disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico through the Hispanic Federation. Listen to it on Spotify or download it from iTunes !

#4 I like to catch colds before they hit. I love drinking Traditional medicinal teas for this. For your immune system, I definitely recommend Echinacea Plus with Elderberry. Try it and you won’t regret it !

#5.  This past week my boyfriend’s parents took us out to his favorite (and what is soon becoming my favorite) steakhouse, Ruth Chris Steakhouse. I love their petite filet with shrimp and a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or some Spanish Rioja.

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Les Cinq Petites Choses #2

It has been a very difficult week for me due to Hurricane María’s devastation in Puerto Rico. However, there are some things I am grateful for.

1. I had cut back on caffeine this past Summer, but being away from my family during this difficult time has left me sleepless this entire week. Thankfully Mayan Super Dark from Just Coffee Cooperative has been a life saver this week. I love getting up in the morning and making a fresh cup of coffee.


2. Being informed has been the most important thing for me this week. I am grateful for facebook groups, American media, and Zello (the app).

3. When I’m under a lot of pressure, I definitely like indulging in some calligraphy. I love the perfect symmetry of lettering and the various combinations of it. Pinterest is my favorite place to find calligraphy inspo. Here is my latest work. 

4. I was in need of a lot of distractions from the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. I loved spending hours on end with my partner’s roommates watching The Great British Bake Off. I highly recommend this mindless and incredibly polite cooking show.

5. Amongst other set of distractions, I LOVE podcasts. My favorite podcast at the moment is The Tolkien Heads. The hosts are graduate students who specialize in historical linguistics, lyricism, Tolkien, and landscapes.

Les Cinq Petites Choses

After being done with some major grad school achievements, I want to do some creative work on my blog. As you know, I started this blog as an outlet for my rambling thoughts, encounters with Midwestern culture, and my life in graduate school. I have mostly been posting intermittently since 2015, but I think this blog deserves a little more than that. Keep an eye out for more posts about academia, literature, and life in the Midwest.

Inspired by Daphné from Mode and the City, I have decided to capture my five favorite little things of the week.

#1. I have been reading an incredible book related to my research (and dissertation).  La mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli (Memory, History, Forgetting)  by Paul Ricoeur is an incredible philosophical and intellectual masterpiece that discovers and rediscovers the human understanding of memory.

 

#2. I have been listening to the Fleet foxes since I was in college. I absolutely love their last album, Crackup. I got an amazing deal on Amazon Prime Day for a autographed vinyl version of the album this past Summer and I still love listening to it on my Crosley record player.

#3. Last Summer, one of my friends took me to his favorite local tea shop and since then I have been hooked on tea, specifically matcha. I love making iced matcha almond milk lattes with a little bit of honey or some matcha lemonade inspired by Macha Tea Company.

#4. As a kid, I loved the back to school season because it meant new pens, notebooks, and highlighters. While I’ve outgrown this a little bit (possibly because I’m in my 392813901th year of school), I still love beautiful Moleskine notebooks that are perfect to jot down ideas and my to do lists (à la bullet journal).

#5. I love visiting friends so it was an incredible opportunity that I got to visit my friend, Julia, in Ann Arbor. On our first night there, she took us to Detroit Filling Station, an awesome vegan restaurant. I had the tofu Bahn Mi with a side of purple cabbage and it was so delicious.

 

 

Fun Summer Plans

With the end of the semester slowly approaching, I have been thinking a lot about my summer plans. After sadly getting rejected for a coveted German scholarship, I realized that I would have to spend the Summer in Madison. Lucky for me, Summers in Madison are magical.

  1. Travel to DC:

My friend Stephanie is getting married this May and she asked me to be her bridesmaid! Last Summer, I had the opportunity to be the bridesmaid for another great friend in NJ so I extended my stay and traveled to NYC by myself and it was a w e s o m e. This year I hope to meet up with friends in DC, go sightseeing (Holocaust Museum!),  have a blast at this wedding, and return briefly to good old Madison.

2. Roadtrip:

I will accompany the  boyfriend to his college reunion right after the wedding (crazy, right?). I’m jumping from a plane to a long car ride to Indiana with the SO and our friend. The boys will probably be hogging the radio, but I can just sit back, read a novel, and relax! I’m looking forward to listening to two-hour long riddles, napping, and long philosophical conversations. After that, it will be great to meet the SO’s friends and spend some time in Indiana (never been!).

3. Languages, languages, languages:

As many of you may already know, I am obsessed with languages. A year ago I decided to take Latin to fulfill my Ancient Language requirement…such a mistake. I really wish I would have learned Ancient Greek instead. Nevertheless, there is always an opportunity to rectify mistakes. I will teach myself AG, continue to practice German (German Conversations with friends! ), and teach the boyfriend some Spanish. It will be interesting to see where things go during the Summer. I’m excited though!

4. Work:

While I am still in the process of finding a good Summer job, I believe it will be an enriching experience regardless of what ends up happening. Finding Summer funding as a graduate student is a difficult task, but not impossible. Watch out world, I’ll be sending resumés and cover letters your way.

5. Reading List:

Ah, my favorite time of the year is here. Every Summer I compile different reading lists with classics, contemporary novels, lit theory books, etc. I cannot wait to read more Murakami for fun, Poetry Reading Groups (translating Old English poem Spanish translations…I know) or to delve into some complex Heideggerian book.

6. I sports, you sports, he/she/it sports:

Oh, the art of sporting. Somehow I was convinced to join yet another Summer Sports League. It will be kickball this Summer. I always get slightly anxious about it because I really do not sports at all, but it always builds good community and is great for meeting new people. So…we’ll see.

7. Hang out with Friends:

F i n a l l y…I will have the chance to see my friends more often, talk, and socialize! It will be nice to keep up with my friends (married, new, about to get married, etc). I cannot wait to happily balance alone time and friend time.

8. Prepare for the preliminary doctoral examination:

This one gives me so much anxiety. If it all goes well, I will prelim Summer 2017, which means I have a year to prepare with my advisor. I will start making my reading lists this Summer and hopefully it will all happen (scary!!!).

9. Weddings Galore:

After my 21st birthday, every Summer has consisted of friends and loved ones getting married. Luckily, weddings are always a fun opportunity to get dressed up, dance, and have fun!

10. Relax:

These are all great, fun plans, but I want this Summer to be relaxing. I do not want to be stressed about any aspects of my life, but rather enjoy time off from school.

I’ll let you know how it went!

An Update

Hello fellow readers.

Yes, I do realize it has been a while since I last wrote/published anything. I guess you could say I am in a bit of a rut. Thankfully, life in 2016 has been mostly okay. Grad school, however, has been ridiculously hard.

I am currently in the process of wrapping up coursework for my PhD. This means I have been taking a series of class requirements that I am not particularly too thrilled about. From Latin to Early Modern French literature courses to teaching classes I’m not particularly fond of, I have started to operate mechanically in some ways. I wish I could work on my research instead of dealing with pesky tasks, but that is not really the case and it won’t be for a while.

I came to the realization that life is full of a lot of things that we do not want to do, but we still do them. Why?

  1. Because we learn something: As much as I complain about Latin or French Lit, I have learned so much this semester. Latin has taught me how to better understand languages and how to construct sentences and ideas in ways I had not thought of before. (It helps that the boyfriend patiently tutors me on all matters of scansion and the ablative absolute.) On the other hand, my French has gotten so much better after rereading a lot of early modern books. From reading Laclos to Molière, I have learned to write a pretty damn good dissertation in French and eloquently express my ideas about literature in class. (I have also randomly learned a lot of colloquialisms)
  2. Because we simply just *have* to: Obligations are a scary ordeal. The fact that you have to sit through a lot of things you don’t particularly care about in order to move forward with life is not pleasant at all. However, it gives you some sort of structured guidance. For instance, my PhD degree has a lot of requirements. From languages to PhD minors to breadth requirements, it gets to be a lot. Nonetheless, I love how well-structured my program is. I like knowing exactly what I have to do next (INFJ trait).
  3. Because the fun parts of life become more fun: Right now I barely have time for anything. I am wrapping up the semester (this blog post is my procrastination task of the day) and everything is ridiculously stressful. I try my best to take the time to be present: in the moment. I enjoy long walks to work, cooking a simple meal, brief quality time with friends, and doing work next to my significant other. Even if I am working with people, we always take the time to have a brief conversation, share our lives, and stay on track. Grad school is a hard, sometimes lonely place and family, friends, and fun make it worth it.
  4. Because it teaches us to balance things: The biggest game I have learned to play this past academic year is how to balance it all. How can I keep up with friends, schoolwork, multiple jobs, and all the extra academic work you have to do? These class requirements have taught me that there really isn’t time for everything…and that’s okay. All we need is time to reflect, to have fun, to work, to destress, etc.

If it isn’t clear from the blog post, I still struggle with all of these obligations. I have long, never-ending to-do lists, a mess of languages in my head (guys, I started teaching myself Ancient Greek!), a ridiculous pile of books I need to read, lesson planning, job hunting, and so many other obligations and responsibilities that will not ever fit into a simple blog post.

However, life is more than all of these things. Life is a rapid stream of water and, when you least expect it, the waters will settle and it will all be worth it.