Gaining Wisdom by Losing Wisdom

One of my dogs, Lillie, giving me love on my first night after surgery.

One of my dogs, Lillie, giving me love on my first night after surgery.

This semester was a rollercoaster full of thrills and challenges, and I’m proud to say that I survived and received my first 4.0! Now that the semester is over, I’m so happy to be home for a little while. Once finals were over last week, I went in for my first surgery ever. I got my wisdom teeth removed and it sure led to an interesting weekend. For not knowing how I was going to react to anything since it was my first time, I was anxious to see how it turned out. Luckily, my only complication was a bad reaction to the pain medication. It left me really, really sick until it got out of my system. Being stuck in bed for a couple days gave me some time to think, making me realize that there have been many life lessons I’ve learned through this semester, giving me much insight into what life is all about. Check out some of the things I’ve learned.

There is so much out there to explore.
My intercultural class, combined with my volunteer shifts at Ronald McDonald House, afforded me the opportunity to work with so many people from all walks of life that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. Through my field work, I helped a Somali woman prepare for her naturalization test, a Chinese father and daughter strengthen their bond, a Vietnamese woman simply practice her conversation skills, an Uzbekistan woman share her love of American reality television, and an Iraqi man transition into a new culture. Every session was incredible and unique, as I was always encountering a new situation and having to adapt to different cultures, and I am incredibly thankful for this experience.

Doing good creates good.

I am the first recipient of the Dan R. Ison scholarship. I was able to meet with him today and give him and his family some Christmas goodies!

I am the first recipient of the Dan R. Ison scholarship. I was able to meet with him today and give him and his family some Christmas goodies!

This holiday season has been full of warm feelings for me. I volunteered my December shift at Ronald McDonald House and loved getting to help out the families. Also, my hard work truly paid off as I got my first 4.0 this semester, despite an 18-hour courseload, my internship, and my extracurricular activities. My internship even asked me to stay through next semester, so I will have been there over a year! I gave Christmas cards to my teachers, thanking them for such a great semester, and also sent more out to other deserving people. In fact, I got to meet with my scholarship donor, Mr. Dan Ison, today and bring him and his family a Christmas card and some of my homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Especially at this time of year, it’s important to me to show those around me that I truly care for them.

It’s always nice to be with your family.
Sometimes I find myself so caught up with college life that I get overwhelmed, and it’s nice to know that my family is always willing to welcome me home with open arms.  I love living in the Phi Mu suite with a bunch of great girls, but sometimes it’s nice to just go home and be with my family. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the help and support they have given me not only though this semester, but in the past week as I have been healing from the surgery. To me, Christmas isn’t really about the tree, or presents, but getting to spend much-cherished time with my loved ones.

Well, that just about wraps up my blog post! (Haha, get it, wrap, like Christmas presents? ;) ) My agenda for next semester is to continue to intern at the Foundation, to enjoy some fun classes, like Marketing and Writing for New Media, and to plan for some awesome Phi Mu events. Stay tuned!

Song of the day: Take Back The City by Snow Patrol. It’s been stuck in my head today! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY_hkrQNAQo

Happy Birthday!!

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Tatum and I last night! :)

I would like wish a Happy Birthday to my best friend at Bellarmine University. Tatum Daugherty is now 21. I hope she had a blast last night! And does fantastic on her finals this upcoming week. I do not know where I would be without her.

Just in honor of Tatum’s birthday I am going to add some quotes about best friends that make me think of her and of the last two and a half years we have spent together! :)

“We are best friends. Always remember that if you fall, I will pick you up…after I finish laughing.” – Anonymous
“You’re just jealous because we act stupid in public and people still love us.” – Anonymous

 

“Good friends will bail you out of jail, best friends will be sitting next to you saying that was awesome!” – Anonymous
“A true friend is someone who never gets tired of listening to your own pointless dramas over and over again.” – Unknown

These are just a few things that I think represent our friendship!! Happy Birthday Tatum Daugherty!

Chance made us friends, choice made us Sisters.

Phi Mu Rho Zeta Big Little Reveal 2012This weekend was full of great memories. On Friday, we had our Sisterhood Retreat, which was exactly what I needed. Our Sisterhood Committee did an absolutely amazing job planning plenty of activities and exercises to strengthen our chapter’s bond, from having us decorate paper bags for us to all write “warm and fuzzy” notes to each other, to crafting mason jar lanterns to show how bright we shine. It was a very deep and meaningful night and it reminded me of exactly how special it is to be in this organization. These girls are my sisters and mean so much to me, and I am so thankful for their love and support.

Yesterday, we finally had our Big/Little Reveal! After weeks of anxious waiting, I was finally able to tell my girls who I was. I gave them gifts every day of the week, from stuffed animal lions, to blankets, to tote bags, and even a special box of all of their favorite things plus a couple of my favorite goodies thrown in, too! My favorite part was making them two mix-cd’s: one of all of my fun, party music, and another of my chill, studying music. I feel like I can best explain myself through my taste in music and they’ve told me how much they loved it, too!

Our Reveal was very special: All of the Bigs decorated candles for our Littles to bring to the event and, once they got there, all of the active members stood in a circle where they would walk in one at a time and pass their candle around for the Big to blow their candle out. We made it very exciting by passing the candle in different directions and also tricking the girls by starting to blow out their candle, then passing it to another sister. I loved getting to see my Littles’ reactions when I blew out their candle. The smiles and hugs that I got from them made me so happy! And yes, that’s right, I got TWO! Meet Quinlan and Kayla :)

Phi Mu Rho Zeta Big Little Reveal 2012Not only do we consider the relationship between big sisters and little sisters important, but we also find the “family” important as well. Our Houndstooth family loves spending time with each other, even when we are out of school, and we all support one another too. We just went from four girls to TEN!

Phi Mu Rho Zeta Family Tree

Now that all of the excitement of recruitment and big/little week is over, it’s time to get back to the real world! We have initiation in November, so more information to come on that! I hope you all have enjoyed getting a look into our sorority life at Bellarmine through my blog posts. I feel as though it’s something that many people don’t know much about, but should. Phi Mu is a wonderful organization that has truly made me a better person. :)

Song of the day: A Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope. This song was played at our Sisterhood Retreat and it makes me think of my sisters.

And Now We Wait…

I AM FOREVER DONE WITH THE LSAT! After months of hard work and studying, I am finally free of the LSAT.  I cannot explain how amazing it feels to say that. Now I just need to wait until October 31st to get my scores back.

The best thing about the entire LSAT experience was how supportive my family and friends were.  They put up with my craziness and calmed me down every time I had a freak out. I could not ask for a better support system. ON TOP OF THAT, I was flooded with texts, emails and Facebook posts before the exam, wishing me luck, AND after the exam, asking how it went. I am very blessed to have so many kind and caring people in my life.

That’s all for now. Until next time!

Ailise

Gelukkig nieuwjaar!! (Happy New Year)

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice”

T.S. Elliot

Is it possible to feel like you’ve lived a year’s worth of time in a few short weeks? It may be atypical but this is exactly how the holiday season has seemed to me. It would be best described through a story of pictures and that’s exactly what I’m going to give you. Each photo shares a memory that I will never forget, with people who I love. And then followed by some surprising news.

First week of December -Daytrip to Düsseldorf, Germany setup by the International Student Network.

My first time to Germany and I got to spend it by eating special treats at their infamous Christmas Markets. My favorite was the potato pancakes with Apple Sauce. Also on the menu was Bratwurst and mustard, fried camembert and cranberries, and christmas bread mmmm (don't judge!). Much of the city was destroyed by bombs in WWII, so it was pretty modern compared to other European cities.

December 13th-15th: One of my childhood friends from Florida, Marilyn, came to Amsterdam to visit me. We took a 9 hour bus ride to Paris and spent two nights there. My feet felt like they were about to fall off after all that walking!

The Eiffel Tower. The top had some amazing views but the bone freezing wind only alloted us so much time to explore. The Metro shut down early that night near the Champs-Elysees, so I had to maneuver my way (in French) back to Montmartre where we were staying.

The Catacombs of Paris hold the remains of about six million people right under the city center. This was the highlight of Paris for me. Yes i know that sounds morbid but after walking through over a mile of tunnels lined with skulls, the images never really leave you.

If you ever travel please stay in a hostel. Almost everyone you meet there shares a passion for travel and is very friendly. We met some really nice fellow American travelers, Aaron and Michael, who joined us in the catacombs, gardens, Louvre, Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou, and Sacré-Cœur.

December 15th-17th: Flew to Madrid, Spain.

The Royal Palace of Madrid. We took a free walking tour hosted by our hostel, Las Musas Residence. Our guide, Harriet, showed us the old city and gave us some really interesting history. They work off of tips and she deserved a huge one.

A chef came into our hostel and showed us how to make tapas. This hostel provided everything we could ask for, including many more friends and a great night out on the town.

Tapas in the Mercado Plazo San Miquel. Anthony Bourdain featured this place on his show No Reservations. I ate cheese with fresh anchovies and bread with salmon. Marilyn stuck to plain sushi (in Spain!?).

We flew back to Amsterdam, and this time I got to play tour guide for Marilyn. I had just turned 21, which isn’t a huge deal in Europe but it was still nice to have a friend here for it. She flew out on Christmas Eve. For Christmas, I got to join my boyfriend’s family to celebrate in a small Dutch town about two hours south near the Belgian border. It seems like I talk about food way too much, but the Surinamese dishes they prepared were amazing. It’s exotic, flavorful, and with a hint of Indonesian definitely little tropical. Add some spice to the mix and boom! you have food from Suriname which is a former Dutch colony, in North Eastern South America. All in all a wonderful Christmas Eve at a home away from home.

December 27th-January 1st 2012: Nick and I flew to what would become my favorite city in the world, Barcelona. I already know I want to live there someday. An ocean side city, surrounded by mountains with its own unique culture and language, Catalan, in one word: magical. One week was not enough.

La Sagrada Familia was designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi. He left his mark all over Barcelona with his work. He was a figurehead in the Modernism movement, using organic style inspired by nature. This church is planned to be finished in 30 years! It was truly one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.

Panorama of Monjuic, a hill in Barcelona. We later in the week rented a go-cart and got to drive up here.

Casa Mila. This is the rooftop of an apartment block designed by Gaudi. Supposedly these statues inspired George Lucas in his design of the storm troopers helmets in Star Wars. Do I feel like a nerd for sharing that fact...why yes I do.

Daytrip to Montserrat: we took a train up to a monastery on the side of some gorgeous cliffs and then hiked for an hour. Should have known better than to wear leather pants. Fashion and nature don't mix very well.

I have never felt more inspired by the art in a city then I did in Barcelona. Gaudi is now added to the list of people whom I admire. We spent the rest of the time walking down Las Ramblas, going to many museums like Joan Miro and Picasso, spending a day in Park Guell (another Gaudi jewel). We finally ended up counting down the New Year outside the Catalan National Art Museum by eating twelve grapes and drinking cava (its Spanish tradition). As for new years resolutions: my main goals for the new year are to create an art portfolio and become a master at photoshop and graphic design. On a side note for those of you who don’t know Nick, he is also a Bellarmine graduate and former tennis player. We both feel so lucky to be connected to a school that has given us so many chances to travel.

January 2nd-9th: My mom, Cathy, came to visit me in Amsterdam! You may recognize her, she’s a personal trainer and yoga instructor, who also works part time at Bellarmine’s SURF.

Made her stand on my canal for a picture. This jacket is a reoccurring theme in all my travels.

Brussels, Belgium Took a two-day trip to see the city. Lots of rain added to my disappointment of this city but they had good shopping and a pretty botanical garden.

Saying goodbye to my Mom was hard, but not that bad. Maybe because I’m more mature, or have become more independant….or maybe it’s because I’M COMING HOME ON JANUARY 18TH! My parents surprised me with the offer of coming home for two weeks because classes don’t start until next month. So Bellarmine, for now my European adventures are being put on hold while I return back to good ole’ Kentucky. I hope to see all of you on campus!

xxx (three dutch kisses) – Tatiana