Life Update: Reflections on College

img_7024Hello, friends! I’ve finally been able to take a “zen moment” as my English teacher would say, where I can chill in my bed and take some time for myself-and you guys! I have not talked to you in forever and I miss talking to you all. So I’m going to get down to the nitty gritty and give you an update on my life at college.

These past couple of months have gone by so quickly and slowly at the same time. I feel like I’ve been here forever, but I also can’t believe that it’s almost November and there’s only a couple months left before the semester ends! Classes have been going pretty well so far. I’m really enjoying my “artsy” classes, like my Arts and Ideas class, where we talk about the philosophy of art and focus on different works. I’m also in an acting class, which has been awesome as well. It’s really nice to learn about topics that I’m actually interested in. In contrast to this, I’m also in Calculus, which has proved to be quite challenging. Math is definitely not a subject that I like to put my energy towards. It’s one of those things that I can grasp just well enough to do decently in, but it’s not my class of choice. My daily schedule is indicative that most of my time and energy goes into art-related activities and not into Calculus.

Speaking of art-related activities, I’m in a play! For the last three months, every night from 7-10 has been devoted to rehearsals for the devised piece that is being performed on the MainStage. The cast consists of nine women and we are creating the show, thus the “devised piece”. The content of the show is exclusively created by all of us. All of the scenes, monologues, and movement were made by us, so the show is completely original. Some of the work that I’ve contributed includes a few songs I’ve written and choreography, along with monologues and scene work. So far, this has been a wonderful experience and I really enjoy working with all of the other girls. Everyone is super creative, giving, and determined to put on a great show. I feel really lucky to be a part of this production. Even though it’s been  a lot of work, I know that our performance in two weeks will be worth all these long nights.

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Hopdoddy’s milkshake

College hasn’t been completely full of work.  I’ve gotten really close with my roommates and it’s been great getting to know and hang out with them. With our busy schedules, it’s sometimes hard to find time to do fun things,  but we’re doing our best! My weekends have actually been pretty packed these past couple of weeks, as I’ve been traveling and exploring Texas a bit. In September, I spent a couple weekends in Austin, which was fantastic. I also visited College Station for a weekend. I think traveling has been one of my favorite parts so far. It’s really nice to have the freedom to go wherever I want and discover new things about this beautiful state that I now live in.

While college has been a whirlwind of activities with classes, rehearsal, and weekend trips, the adjustment from living out home to “living on my own” has been a big learning experience. I realize that I’m not in a place to be super reflective, as it’s only been a few months. However, it’s been an adjustment for me and for many other students, I’m sure. I now have this massive amount of freedom and it’s my decision as to what I want to do with it. I noticed this the other day when I was at the grocery store and I wasn’t sure what to buy! I’ve been grocery shopping by myself plenty of times, but I was buying food for myself with my own money. I have too much power! Ultimately, I was fine and just bought ramen, but it was definitely a strange moment.  I’ve also noticed that being at college is like being in one big long distance relationship. I’m maintaining a relations with my geographically distant family and  friends, which is not always easy.There’s a lot of effort that goes into it, especially since I live far away and don’t get to visit them on the weekends. However, I do think it’s important to stay connected and prevent my parents from getting a heart attack if I don’t talk to them in a week.

College has been great so far and I feel really lucky to be where I am. It’s been a lot of work, but so far, so good. Even though at times, it’s been challenging to be so far away, I couldn’t be more happy with my decision to go on this adventure. Speaking of which, if there are some you out there who are considering moving out of state for college, I would totally be down to write a post about why moving far away from home is awesome. It really is awesome. Thanks for reading, you guys! I look forward to talking to you soon!

-Love Ling

 

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Exploring San Antonio

img_6822Hello, friends! My first semester of college is in full swing and I couldn’t be any busier (or happier). From classes, to feeling out different organizations, to adjusting  to my new home-it’s been  whirl-wind of craziness.

It’s been a bit of a challenge finding time to explore this beautiful city that I’m living in, which is ironic because San Antonio is part of the reason that I chose the school that I did!  However, while I was exploring different organizations, I got involved in a Christian group called Intervarsity, who invited me to a scavenger hunt in downtown San Antonio. This was super fun and an awesome opportunity to meet people and explore this gorgeous city.

I haven’t been here long, but I can already tell that San Antonio is special. Not only is it full of history, but there’s something interesting to discover on every corner. When we were doing the scavenger hunt, we started in the tourist-y area of the Alamo. This was cool enough, but as we made our way into downtown, we discovered that there’s so much more to San Antonio that meets the eye. It’s a city where old meets new, where 300 year old cathedrals and haunted hotels can be found down street from hip restaurants and clubs. One of my favorite things we saw on the scavenger hunt was a little area within downtown called “Villita”, a historic art community, filled with little shops and art galleries. We also found an awesome park by the Tower of Americas with fountains, play sets, and areas for people to just hang out. Not to mention the live music scene in San Antonio, where cool street bands and outdoor concerts are a norm.

This is just a sampling of what San Antonio has to offer and I’m sure I will be discovering much more while I’m here. I’m feel so lucky to be living in such an inspiring, accepting, and brilliant city. If you’ve ever visited, please let me know what some of your favorite spots are in the comments below. And if you have restaurant recommendations, I would love to hear those as well! Have an awesome day, you guys!

-Love Ling

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Florence, Italy

 

IMG_6341Hello, friends! Oh, Florence. This city is epic. It’s the home of the Renaissance, chock-full of art, history, and oh so much Italian culture. One of my favorite things about this city is that when you’re walking the streets or eating in restaurants, you’re in the same spots where the Renaissance masters once were. The door handle you just used may have been around in Michelangelo’s time. A morning stroll by the Arno River may have been experienced by Dante Aligheri. Florence is swimming in culture and there’s so much to do here.

Some of my favorite attractions in Florence include the Medici Chapel, for the gorgeous Michelangelo statues; the Uffizi, for Botticelli’s Primavera; and the leather market, just for funzies. I will warn you though-because of all of the attractions in Florence, it draws a lot of tourists, so be prepared for crowds. When wetraveled in Florence, we hit all of our favorite restaurants, as well as visiting La Academia (The David, anyone?), Santa Croce (The church where the Renaissance masters are buried), and the leather market.

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If you’re looking for a good place to shop in Italy, Florence is the place! It has a huge leather industry that consumes the markets along the streets. My favorite bags and purses have all come from Florence, but not without being bartered for a good deal! If leather isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of shopping by the Ponte Vecchio. Just follow the signs and the mass groups of people.

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Ponte Vecchio

As for restaurant recommendations, our study abroad group always does a group lunch at Pennello’s, which is just around the corner from Dante Aligheri’s house. The people there are friendly and the food is to die for. My absolutely favorite dish that I get every time I’m at Pennello’s is Scallopine al Crema Tartufo, which is veal with a truffle cream sauce. It’s to die for. I also love this restaurant called “Za-Za’s”, located close to the Medici Chapel and the leather market. Za-Za’s is super trendy and delivers a wide variety of Italian dishes. This is also one of my favorite places to get an after meal cappuccino, as theirs are beautifully decorated and delicious.

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Our students at Pennello’s

 

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Scallopine al Crema Tartufo

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Florence is definitely a big tourist site, but for good reason. Just being there makes you feel like you’re going back in time to the Renaissance. However, it’s such a fun city that really makes you appreciate history, art, and how it affects us now.

-Love Ling

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