Saturday, July 14, 2012

The First Saturday at VSA

I woke up fairly early today, 6:45 AM. It was so I could do laundry with my roommate. I was glad that we weren't the only odd people to wake up this early to do laundry, when breakfast doesn't start until 9 AM. To pass the time, all the guys (since laundry day was reserved for the guys today) who were waiting for the clothes to be finished washing and drying and I played some Texas Hold'em--play-chips of course.
Ice Latte

The weather here is still definitely "bipolar". I don't understand why, but it seems that every time we go outside, it's pouring rain, and every time we're inside, it's sunnier than can be. The rainy weather definitely has played a role in canceling some recreational activities, such as the Amazing Race activity we were supposed to have several days ago.

Class was only two hours today, and it was only the first hour and a half that we did things, which was mostly discussion in groups and as a class about our observations at the reform synagogue. The other 30 minutes were reserved for a trip to Dunkin' Donuts!

One key observation I noticed when we put all our observations together was a major difference Christians and Jews have. Christians always think about the future--a future with Jesus coming again and to live eternally in Heaven. They also always pray for forgiveness I realized. This is why in the cathedral a few days ago, there was such open space and an enormous ceiling depicting Heaven. There were also a lot of pictures of Jesus suffering--reminding us of our bond with him. The open spaces in a catholic church as well emphasize self-reflection for forgiveness. On the other hand, Jews always think about the present. They only seem to want peace on Earth and abide by God's 613 commandments. You can tell the more enclosed space of a synagogue helps to represent a sense of community and the present.

Looks like a castle, huh?

Mine's on the left--Nutella flavored

We had the opportunity to walk to the Vanderbilt Book Store with a few proctors in groups after a game of Minute To Win It. With this walk, I was able to see some of Vanderbilt's main campus. There was a lot of construction, so it was loud. But the Greek life here, seems very nice; the buildings are beautiful. I also got some ice cream that was only 80 calories from a place called Tasty D-lite.

Also, this evening, the entire VSA went to the Nashville Sounds baseball game. At first, I thought bowling would be a much better option than going to a minor league baseball game. I'll be totally honest, baseball games are only fun because of the food and the company. I would never watch a baseball game by myself. When it started raining, I still believed then that we should go bowling. However, later there, when the rain started to pour down on us again, I realized this was all a part of the adventure I'm having on the other side of the country. Something about covering myself up with a hooded sweatshirt in muggy weather and using an umbrella to avoid the rain, while eating BBQ nachos with good friends, made me realize just how fun the baseball game was. And although the baseball game was canceled, I'm glad I was able to get my nachos. It was definitely a little (or perhaps big) taste of the South in my mouth. And I'm glad we had the chance to go to the game, even though we didn't see any sports action.
BBQ nachos

Lucy and Daisy (few of my "Chicago" friends)
Because the game was canceled, we had plenty of free-time in Hank Ingram House. I decided to hang with my "Chicago" friends and others on the 1st floor, where we played Apples to Apples until we had to meet up with our proctor groups for a nightly meeting at 10 PM. We laughed a lot, and it was great way to end our first Saturday at VSA.

Of course, there's always a beautiful rainbow after a rough storm, and so there was. I've never seen such a gorgeous and enormous rainbow like the one I saw today. If you look closely, it's a double rainbow (it started to fade away).

Well, I guess I can say it's been officially a week. I (and hopefully others) can only hope that once Friday arrives, it'll be nice and sunny, because we have a pool party that day! 

A Very Eventful Day

A rainbow formed just as we arrived back to Vandy from the canceled baseball game

I woke up this morning before my alarm went off. Since it is Saturday, classes start at 10 o'clock and last until 12 o'clock. On the weekdays, class usually starts at 9 and stretches until 3 o'clock. I usually set my alarm to go off at 7 in the morning ( we have to be at breakfast by 8:00). Today, however, I set my alarm to an hour later, but I found myself still waking up at 7. I guess it has just become habitual for me to wake at that time now after doing so for the past week.

I didn't know what to do with myself as I lay there in bed, with my roommate sleeping soundly in the bed across from me. I did not want to wake her, so I tried not to move around too much. I reached for my phone, which was on my desk next to the bedside table, and just started playing around with it. I checked my emails, sent some emails, and wrote out a list of things I needed to do and buy. Before I knew it, it was time to get up and get ready for breakfast. 

After breakfast I headed to class. I was wearing grey shorts, a navy short-sleeved shirt, black flats, and my signature black hat that I have worn every day since my first day here. It was pouring rain and I had forgotten my rain jacket in my dorm. Luckily, my classroom is right next to the cafeteria, so I was able to make it to class without getting to wet. 

Class was only two hours long today and we mostly spent our time writing today. I did a lot of research on guns and locked room murders for my story. I tried to figure out how to incorporate some of my favorite things out mystery stories into my own. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out HOW to create the mystery scene I wanted. I had the fragments of the murder, but I could not piece them together. I spent the last half-hour of class with my chin resting in my palm, staring at the computer screen. I was in such deep thought that I jumped when my friend tapped me on the shoulder and told me it was time to go.

When class was over we had lunch. The lunch room was especially crowded today because some cheerleaders were here for camp, so there wasn't much room to sit. I followed my friends up the stairs as I tightly clutched my tray and counted the steps so I could avoid an accident. I sat with my friends and a group of random people I have never met. We started a conversation with them while we ate, and then we hung out with them after lunch. 

When everyone was done eating, we made our way to the Rotunda, where we usually gather together for organized events. We all sat according to our house and competed in a series on ridiculous ( but completely entertaining) tasks to win house points. I wasn't expecting it to be as exciting as it was. Luckily, my number was not called out, so I had the pleasure of watching rather than competing myself. 

After the house competition, I joined a rather large group and walked to the Vanderbilt bookstore, which was a Barnes and Noble. I bought a shirt for my sister and a book for myself. I also bought a small, vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks, which I drank in the car on the way back. 

When we returned from the bookstore, we only had a few minutes to get ready for the baseball game. Our proctors handed us our tickets outside of our doors and we traveled to the stadium by bus. When we got there, it was slightly pouring. The seats were covered with drops of rain so I used my rain jacket at a mat before sitting down. We were only there for about an hour because the game was cancelled due to the heavy rain that randomly began to fall. 

We all stomped our feet and made our way back to the busses, disappointed. We returned to the houses and were given some freetime, which I spent in a friend's dorm chatting and eating snacks. I ended my long day with a nice, long hot shower and some relaxing songs playing while I blogged.  

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It was yet another rainy day. After sleeping in an hour and finishing my normal morning routine, I headed to breakfast and walked over to my class. I regret wearing sandals in this weather, because my feet were definitely soaking wet. During all our Public Service Announcement presentations, we were all munching on popcorn and drinking soda. Soda right after breakfast? Yes. All, but one presentation consisted of a power point. Some students got even more created with a story and one even acted like an actual announcer. Did you know Tylenol could cause death? Although it is rare, there is still a possibility.

The drug dating game!
Presenting wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I’m glad my professor liked my power point. I’m glad that project is put behind me, and I have a relaxed weekend ahead of me. We ended our class session today with the drug dating game. There was one drug as the bachelor and three other drugs as the bachelorette. The bachelor asked the bachelorettes questions and in the end chose who he wants to be with. It was pretty funny, especially when one of the bachelors chose marijuana. It was a fun game and a useful tool to learn more about drugs.

After a delicious lunch, we all headed to the Rotunda to play Minute To Win It. We were divided into houses, and then each given a number within our house. The games were really enjoyable, and very intense. I was chosen to play the Penny Hose game. There was a panty hose with a penny at the end of each leg, and without letting both hands touch each other; we had to get the pennies. At first I was on a roll, until one side had a hole in it. Nevertheless, I kept going until the 60 seconds ended, and was able to get one penny. Although S-House didn’t win that game, we brought it to the top, winning first place for the whole entire game!
Minute To Win It!

After so much fun, it was time for SOFT. I decided to check out the bookstore, and grab some souvenirs. On our way there, it was bright, sunny, and hot. On our way back, it was pouring rain.  I must tell you it is not fun walking a long time in the pouring rain. I was glad to spend the rest of my free time indoors, because as we left to watch the baseball game, it was still raining.

The skies cleared up for awhile..
Since the weatherman said the rain would stop at 6:15 PM, the decision was made that we still go to the baseball game. Upon arrival there was light rain, then the skies soon cleared. The baseball players were still not on the field due to the delay from the rain. After about a 45-minute wait, it began to pour. Unfortunately, the game was postponed, and we headed back to our dorms. Alternate activities included: watching movies, painting nails, mind games, and board games. I decided to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 for a short time.

A beautiful rainbow as we arrived back from the game.
Another night, another proctor meeting, another eventful day. Good night!

Rainy Days

Rain, rain, rain.
Since breakfast started at 9 AM we were technically allowed another hour of sleep. However, I went to sleep about an hour later than usual last night so I basically had the same amount of sleep as I always do. Anyway, the day began pretty bright and delightful – but that soon changed on my way to class. The skies turned grey and gloomy with tons of rain pouring in.
Despite the unfavorable start, class today was brisk and lively. We started the morning presenting our projects we had been working on for the past day or two. What we basically had to do was make a PSA, or Public Service Announcement (which is a message in the public interest disseminated by the media, with the objective of raising awareness towards a social issue) on any drug we wanted to do. However, the project had to be done in a creative way, rather than a boring old report.
My drug was Codeine Sulfate, a pill for pain. I chose this drug mainly because I used it after a surgery I had about a year ago, and I was curious about the exact side effects codeine can cause. I found out that Codeine actually causes hallucinations and even kills people with a rare genetic disorder called Sleep Apnea. I also learned other interesting facts from other peoples' projects. For example, many anti-depressants actually cause suicide or suicidal thoughts. This totally contradicts what these types of drugs are meant to do. Anyway, everyone’s projects were really informative and even funny. One of my classmates even made a story describing the relationship between her drug and a person.
At first, I was not too excited about making a PSA by myself, but in the end, I realized it was much more fun to do than I thought. I am really glad we got to do a project this way because it enabled us to research things on our own, and teach the class about our findings in a fun way. I wouldn’t mind doing another one of these again.
After class, all of VSA head to the Rotunda, where we all would play a game of Minute to Win it, with each house playing against each other. Minute to Win it is basically a series of mini games that each have to be completed in 1 minute. Although this sounds really easy, it really wasn’t and most of these games were tough to complete, making it difficult to win. Nonetheless, our team, S-House won by a ton of points. I am really glad we finally got to finally redeem ourselves after being in third place this whole week.

Hannah in the center playing the Penny Hose game!

Once the game ended, most of us went to the bookstore (about 20 minutes away) to buy any souvenirs we wanted. The walk over there was super tiring because the sun was extremely bright and hot. However our walk back was anything but. The rain started pouring in and we were drenched by the time we arrived back from our dorms.

After the bookstore
Since the weather was so bad, I thought that the baseball game planned for that night would be canceled. I was wrong – partially. All of us loaded on the bus for the game and we were pretty excited. We arrived there and the weather was getting worse so the announcer guy notified everyone that the game was canceled. Although, we were grateful to finally leave the wet baseball stadium, we were also bummed that we came all that way for nothing. On the bright side, there was a gorgeous rainbow when came back to Hank Ingram.

Waiting for the game
Amber, Sara, and Elizabeth

To make up for the lost time, the proctors laid down a bunch of activities for us to do. I decided to watch the last Harry Potter movie since I absolutely love the series. Once the film ended, I went back to my proctor’s room for our daily meeting.
Although today didn’t go exactly as planned, I still had a great time. Now, on tomorrows agenda: church, and the Nashville Zoo!