Saturday, December 31, 2011

A very merry

I hope that everyone is enjoying their holiday season and is excited for 2012 to begin. My Christmas was filled with family, gingerbread, Love Actually, and beautiful decorations. On Christmas Eve we engaged in the typical Italian tradition of eating seven kinds of fish (my mom tells me that this is for the seven sacraments) and watched It's a Wonderful Life, one of my favorite movies. I made a special holiday dispensation to my vegetarianism in order to eat the shrimp, calamari, crab dip flounder, baked clams, scallops and lobster tail. So much fish.

Here I am with my sister, Lauren, before mass on Christmas Eve:



On Christmas day, my family from Burlington came over. My cousins and I had a day of Harry Potter and endless snacking before the feast. After this we left for Long Island to visit both sides of my family. While on Long Island, Lauren and I went running on the beach. This is a change of atmosphere from the snowy mountains of New York and Vermont:



We used to live here! With my sister, Lauren:



Now, everyone should see this. My grandma made my mom drive in crazy Long Island traffic to observe the decorations on this house. They even rented out a radio station that makes the lights dance (I still don't understand how this works).



It was great to see so many members of my family (and the bagels and eggplant parmesan were great too!). I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Esta es la tesis

The first semester of my senior year has come and gone. I have researched, written, and presented both of my theses. When I go back to Saint Mike's in January I will be a second semester senior. Can someone please tell me what that is about?

Last Monday I presented my Spanish thesis called, Los marginados y sus papeles en el narcotr√°fico (the marginalized and their roles in the drug trade) to my class and a few other professors. I tried not to be nervous in the days preceding my presentation but in the moments leading up to it my heart was beating furiously. However, when I stood up to speak I was overtaken by how far we had all come together and I was not nervous anymore. Spanish is not a big major at St. Mike's, so it is entirely likely that the same 5 people may be in all of your classes. Here we are and please take note of how much female Spanish majors enjoy scarves:



My friends Sunny and Ari, after presenting. Elated is the word I would use to describe how we felt.



As a class we were allowed to choose our topics based on our outside interests. People presented on literature, music, political economy and culture shock, just to mention a few. Another professor said how interesting it was that our passions were able to come through into our topics. That is how I view my Spanish major, as an additional lens that will allow me to better understand the world, and especially political culture.

Although I researched and wrote a lot this semester, none of it ever seemed too tedious because I enjoyed what I was doing. I hope that everyone can find a field of study that allows for this, because hating what you do definitely seems more exhausting and less rewarding. Here's to finding our passions and being able to live them!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Namaste...

is how people greet each other in India. In May I am going to Kolkata with ten other great members of the Saint Michael's College community on a service trip to work with the Missionaries of Charity at Mother Teresa's homes, New Hope, New Life Orphanage and the Sabera Foundation. This service trip is one of two international trips run by MOVE, the volunteer organization on campus.

India has been in my head for as long as I can remember. Before freshman seminar when I wrote my Peace and Justice paper on the Indian-Pakistani conflict, before I watched Slumdog Millionaire, and even before I came to Saint Michael’s College I have wanted to go on this service trip. The idea of going on a service India has been in my head for as long as I can remember and I feel as though this is something that I am meant to do.

I am so excited, but it seems so far away. We have to do a lot of fundraising, and the first official event was the international market this week in Alliot, the student center. Along with the group that is going to the Dominican Republic, we sold gifts like scarfs, jewelry and clothing to raise money for the trips. Here are some of the items that we sold:



I strongly believe that every person on this earth deserves dignity and compassion, especially the poor. Mother Teresa based her charities on this idea from Matthew 25:40 “Whatsoever you do for the least of My brothers, that you do unto me.” If I have the ability to help someone else, it is my duty to do so. I am very excited about the prospect of an international service trip. To be able to see a new place through volunteer work seems wonderful. And to be able to share the experience with people dedicated to service is incredible. I am so grateful that I was afforded this opportunity. Happy Friday!

P.S. This is my friend Sunny, who is going to India with me. Her face says, please buy my wares to help the poor, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Progress is possible!

Last fall I studied abroad in Peru and this summer I researched the Millennium Development Goals in Ecuador, so Latin American poverty is a topic that I am very interested in.The United Nations released a study showing that poverty levels in Latin America are falling as a result of government run social programs. The gap between classes is still incredibly large, but there is potential for change and evidence of success. Take two minutes and watch this video that I found on one of my favorite alternative news sources:

Poverty levels fall in Latin America - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

6 Ways to Relieve Pre-finals Week Stress

1. Rent a movie from the library. They have tons and tons of movies and if the one that you want isn't there, you can put in a request. I recommend this activity with ice cream or popcorn. Very relaxing.

2. Taking a scenic run or going to the gym. The chances are that even if you are completely bogged down by work, you have 40 minutes to exercise and not think about the world of academia. My ten-plus years of magazine reading has taught me that exercising produces endorphins, and endorphins make you happy (thanks Elle Woods).

3. Song break. Singing and dancing to one or two songs can be very inspirational. I recommend anything by Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons or Adele. Bonus points if you run around the room that you are in.

4. Hot chocolate with extra whipped cream from the Knight Stand. Tis' the season and the cold weather is an excuse to delight in this scrumptious beverage. Yum.

5. Watch a television show online. Do it,I know that you want to.

6. Take a nap. Really, I cannot emphasize how important it is to SLEEP when you are tired. If you don't it is all you can think about and you will wake up in a better mood. No one likes a crank, so catch a few zzz's please.

The moral of all of these tips is that resting and taking breaks are important and necessary to your mental well being. Relax! Or as my friend often says: "Keep calm and carry on."