My Last Summer

Classes start next Monday. What have I completed on my bucket list? Not much. I only finished one book. However, I did travel to places other than the usual New York and Florida, which sounds like such a first world problem. I was able to go to Mississippi and Illinois. Even though I’ve been to both of those places before, I had never been to Oxford or Chicago.

My sorority sisters and I took a trip to Oxford, Mississippi to see one of our other sorority sisters. There is not much to do there. It’s a dry county so they stop selling liquor at like 10:00 PM and their bars close at midnight. We did a lot of relaxing there. Oxford has a cute little downtown square area that we walked around and shopped. Ole Miss is also in Oxford so we took a short driving tour of their campus. That was basically the gist of what we did there. It was just a lot of fun to get out of Georgia and have a relaxing girls’ weekend.

Last weekend, I had a chance to finally go to Chicago. Last time I went to Illinois, I flew into  Chicago but I had to drive immediately to Champaign for a conference. So this time, I made sure to take advantage of my time there while I was at my sorority’s national Convention. I basically did everything I wanted to do while I was there. I went to Millennium Park, Chicago Riverwalk, the Skydeck at the Willis Tower, Navy Pier, and the Shedd Aquarium. I did not go to China Town. I totally forgot about that. So that’s one thing to go on the to-do list for next time. But, Chicago is awesome! The weather was beautiful and it’s so easy to get around the city. I want to go back… now.

My sorority Convention was awesome, as usual. I love getting to meet new people and reconnecting with the oldies. It’s so inspiring to see how the sorority is growing on a national level and how the younger generations are aiding in helping the sorority grow to a new level. Every time I come back from Convention, I just want to find more ways to become an involved alumnae member.

Now, my last summer is almost over and I feel like I haven’t accomplished much. But, I feel like that’s ok because I won’t get another summer off to just relax after I graduate.

Here are a few photos to recap my recent travels and the last of my summer.

On the ledge at the Skydeck on the Willis Tower

Getting ready to ride the ferris wheel at Navy Pier.

Mini photoshoot in an alley in Oxford, MS.

Well, wish me luck in my last year of grad school. It’s going to be a crazy year…

~SL

What time is it? Summertime.

(That title is from High School Musical, in case you didn’t catch that.)

Happy Official First Day of Summer! Hooray! Yeah. Summer actually starts this late. You would not be able to tell living in Georgia. Everyone swears summer began here months ago, probably because we’ve all been on the verge of a heat stroke since May.

Now that I am back in school, summers actually exist again! I’ve still got my part-time campus job and my internship with the Red Cross for the summer, but being a student, I actually have time to play. Quite possibly, this may be the last time. I can’t do anything too extravagant, again, since I’m a student. I wish I could travel internationally or something. Maybe I’ll save that for when I graduate.

In honor of my last student summer, here is my mini summer bucket list. It’s very mundane, but at least I have goals!

1. Learn how to curl my own hair. (I know. I fail at being a girl. And I have so much damn hair.)
2. Bake a three layer velvet cake. (Cake is my nemesis. I have yet to perfect it.)
3. Finish 3 books. (Now that I don’t have to read textbooks, I can read for pleasure. WHAT?! Crazy.)
4. Go on vacation somewhere other than New York or Florida. (Because I go to those places way too much. #firstworldproblems.)

That’s all I have so far. I think this is manageable. I’m debating on adding a few other things on there. Getting my FEMA IS-22 certification. Learning to code. Run a race. But that seems a little too ambitious since it’s summer. Summertime=lazy.

Some other stuff that’s been happening since my last update, which was a long time ago…

After revising my bucket list, I realized that I never updated about two of the things I completed. So, look forward to two very late posts about that. I took one summer maymester class. Still all A’s. (Yes, I count A-‘s as A’s. It still has an A in it.) I was a friend’s last minute plus one to a wedding. It was really fun! I went drunk tubing in Helen with the gang. I went to a beer festival, which is weird because I don’t like beer.

My roommate-less summer is coming to an end finally! My roomie is coming back from her study abroad/Euro Trip. Living alone has been so… lonely. Who would have thunk it? Hmmm?

I’ve got two back to back weddings coming up. I’ve been researching readings to do for my cousin, April’s, wedding at the end of the month. I want it to be a surprise. But, what if she doesn’t like what I pick?! Pressure…

When I get back from New York from that wedding, I basically have a day before I start getting ready for my friend, Shital’s, wedding. I’m excited because I get to have henna done and I have two beautiful outfits. But, I have to learn to garba. It’ll be fun but I’m a horrible dancer and very slow learner. I hope I’m not the worst one.

Well, I’m tired. So that’s it for now. Here’s a song that I’ve been obsessed with recently. Enjoy!

~SL

Mini Bucket Lists

I am flying out to New York this Thursday. All I have to say is that it’s about freaking time! I haven’t been back at all this year. I went 5 times last year! Or 4…? And it’s already October! I’ll land late Thursday night and leave Monday afternoon. Sunday is my cousin’s bridal shower so I have two full days of New York fun! Since this will probably be my only 2013 New York trip, I want to make sure I do everything in this one trip… or as much as I can. Here is my bucket list for New York 2013:

1. Go to David’s Tea. But try not to spend my entire paycheck there. I make no promises though.
2. Get some cookie tins from the Christmas Tree Shoppe.
3. Go to Target with the fam at least twice.
4. Go to the Rockland Bakery at least 4 times with the family. Yes, four times in two days. That isn’t even a lot. It’s pretty doable.
5. Meet Leonardo and Hannah. This probably should be more at the top of my list. Haha. Sorry, babies.
6. Meet up with my sorority big and little in the city. Maybe we can all go to David’s Tea together!
7. Visit Cau Dung and Grandpa at the cemetery. That’s just a given. But, maybe we don’t get lost this time.
8. Hang out with the BFF and her fiance in White Plains.
9. BANG! All day!

Also, I love October and the fall! There are lots of things I want to do this month before I hit my depression mode around Thanksgiving. Here’s my October Bucket List:

1. Go pumpkin picking.
2. Carve said pumpkin.
3. Go to a corn maze and finish without cheating.
4. Go to some sort of Fall Festival… like this one.

So I am now taking volunteers for who wants to complete these things with me. Any takers? Let’s go have an adventure!!!

~SL

#66 Visit All 50 States (North Carolina)

Completed With: Jaleesa R.

Completed On: Sunday, September 1, 2013

My grandlittle and I decided to take a one day road trip over Labor Day Weekend to visit our Greek family at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It only took about 3 hours to get there so that wasn’t bad. We went to have lunch at this place called Cowfish. They served burgers and sushi, plus fusion dishes, which was weird so I didn’t try that. I did get a turkey burger and it was delicious. Yum.

Afterwards, we went to Amelies, a French bakery. It was really cute. The coffee and macarons were delicious. Mmm…

They were famous for their caramel salted brownies too. But, I was so full after lunch so I just had one macaron. So good.

We hung out for a little bit, drove around campus, and then of course, we had to eat again. For dinner, we had Italian food in downtown Charlotte and this restaurant called Vapiano. They have a weird system for ordering food where you swipe a card and they put your order on it, kind of like you’re in a cafeteria. Interesting… but my pizza was good. Nom.

So I guess all we did in Charlotte was eat. It was great. I’ll end this post with a picture of people and not food.

My Greek family line extended to UNCC.

 

Thanks for a great time in NC!

~SL

#30 Karaoke in front of strangers

Completed With: Nakia A.

Completed On: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So I totally forgot that I completed this one. Probably because I was so drunk when it happened. During our training in Mountain View, California, we always went to this one bar in the city called The Office Bar. They had a karaoke machine and we entertained the locals every night. This is a picture of me and Nakia singing “The Boy is Mine.” We were super into it.

~SL

#20 Shoot a Gun

Completed With: Amanda S., John N., Michael L.

Completed On: Sunday, October 7, 2012

This past weekend I went to a shooting range with some of my friends. I thought we were doing skeet shooting, but we ended up doing trap shooting. I think it’s the same except in skeet shooting, the clay targets shoot out from the side and go to across the field. In trap shooting, the targets are all shot right in front of you but they go in different directions. I think that’s the difference…?

The guys got the big guns. I want to say they were 12 gauges. The girls got 20 gauge guns. I got the smallest gun. He said it was a semi-automatic, so the gun didn’t actually open up to put the shells in. I think I could have loaded more than one shell at a time, but I wasn’t allowed to.

The gun was really heavy. He didn’t really do much of an orientation with us. He just said hold it here, put your arm like this, stand like this, and shoot. I didn’t really know how to aim. I shot it and the kick surprised me even though I knew it was going to happen. But, once I got my stance down, it didn’t kick as much.

I ended up getting 3 out of 25 targets. I’d say that’s pretty good for my first time and for not knowing how to aim. I thought my arm and shoulder would hurt more afterwards, but they didn’t. Maybe I was doing it wrong then.

Overall, I didn’t see the whoop about shooting a gun. I didn’t feel all powerful or anything. It freaks me out with all the people walking around with guns though. I do want to see what it’ll be like to shoot a handgun. Maybe I’ll go to one of those handgun ranges and shoot and paper man. We’ll see how that goes.

Picture or it didn’t happen!

~SL

#8 Run a 5K

Completed With: Shital L., Amanda S., Michael L., John N., Manida C., Dale S., Christine H., Dinh N., Stella K., Lisa S., Justin S. and many more

Date Completed: Saturday, October 6, 2012

Yesterday, I completed my first 5K run, the Firefly Run in Atlanta, GA. It’s a night run around Piedmont Park. My friends and I were on a team named Bright Bugs. One of our teammates even made us shirts that glowed in the dark! The front had a bug on wheels and the shirt read, “Don’t bug me. I’m wheely fast.” Ha! So clever. There were a lot of my sorority sisters who ran too. Glad everyone is so active! Makes me want to work exercise more.

My official time on the website is 41:59:35. But, it says my chip time was 40:59:75. My pace as 13:12. I was 1239th out of 2255. I was 242 out of 357 in my age group (20-24).

The course was had more hills than I thought. The map on the website was different than the actual course because there were some roads that they couldn’t close so the course was changed. I ran and walked the course, but I’m pretty surprised at how much I could actually run. Luckily, my best friend, Shital, stayed with me the whole time. Yay! She totally could have left me, but she didn’t.

There were no mile markers… that I could see. It was pretty dark in some places. But, I didn’t know how far I had run or how much we had left. By the time we got back in the park, I figured we were on the last stretch. I sprinted as much as I could to cross the finish line. Right after I crossed the line, I had a really strong urge to throw up. I don’t know why because I hadn’t even eaten anything in about 8 hours.

I hated how people would just cross the finish line and stand around. Get out of the way! I had to push my way out the group of people because I was so scared I would throw up on someone. Shital grabbed me and pulled me off to the grass on the side. My legs were giving out so I had to hold on to her. My vision was blurry and I was light headed. I could feel an asthma attack coming on. Luckily, with all of my asthma attack experience, I learned how to recognize the signs that I might be having one soon and how to stop it. After a few minutes, I was good to walk while still holding on to Shital.

We eventually met up with the rest of the group, calmed down, stretched a bit and headed to Park Tavern to watch the rest of the UGA game and eat. We walked in and one the guys immediately gave me a beer. I was thinking to myself, “WTF? Who drinks beer right after they run?” I looked around and quickly found the answer to my question – everybody. We ate, watched the rest of the UGA game and then watched the end of the FSU game. I don’t really get football, but to my understanding, they were both upsets. Yes? I’m not sure.

Eventually, I made it home. My legs weren’t too bad today. They only really hurt when I walk up and down the stairs. Hopefully, my personal trainer won’t be making me do too much lower body at the gym tomorrow.

It was a great experience! I have another 5K in March. Hopefully, I’ll do better than 41 minutes. I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t started working out this year, I would not have been able to even pull off 41 minutes. Let’s see how well I do next time.

Picture time!

Team Bright Bugs!

 

Team DPhiL

 

Me and my little sis. She’s so fast!

 

Me and the bestie with our shirts and numbers.

 

~SL

#7 Re-Learn How to Ride a Bike

Completed With: Nakia A. and Hiten P.

Date Completed: Thursday, September 20, 2012 at Google HQ in Mountain View, CA

You know that saying that you never forget how to ride a bike? Well, that’s a lie. I learned how to ride a bike as a kid. I begged my mother since she never let me do anything because she thought everything would kill me or I would get hurt. Finally, I convinced her to teach me. After many falls, bumps and scrapes, I finally learned. I never really had anywhere to ride a bike though.

Eventually we moved to Georgia and my parents didn’t want to take my bike along. We never got another one. I thought I would still know how to ride one so I tried again in high school. I got up and ran into a tree. Got up again and ran into a mailbox. So I gave up.

Being at Google for Tech Camp this weekend (which I’ll write about later), I thought this would be the best time to learn again on a Google Bike! After a bit, something did start coming back to me. It was really hard to break and slow down… and turn… and not be scared of falling… but I did it! Yay for reliving childhood!

~ SL

#66 Visit All 50 States (Virginia/Washington, D.C.)

Completed With: Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Incorporated

Completed On: Thursday, August 9 – Sunday, August 12

My sorority had our annual convention in Herndon, VA this year. It was a small Virginia town right outside of Washington, D.C. Since we were busy with Convention, I didn’t really see much of Herndon. I think I spent the entire weekend in the hotel.

I did see the Dulles Airport. It was pretty confusing. The train in the airport that takes you to the terminals is nothing compared to the one at Hartsfield-Jackson. It had a light up floor that hurt my eyes. I guess that was kind of cool though. We stayed at the Dulles Hyatt, which was a really nice hotel. They recently renovated so everything is very technologically fancy. The staff there is amazing too. They really go above and beyond to try to meet all of your needs. They were awesome!

On our last day, we ventured out to Washington, D.C. before heading home. My group went to a Dim Sum place in Chinatown. Then we walked around to see the different monuments. We didn’t get to the White House though. We also looked around the Air and Space Museum for a bit. I didn’t know that all of the museums in D.C. were free admission. Very helpful tip. It’s beautiful in D.C. and the streets are easily named. It’s also hard to get lost because you can always redirect yourself using a museum or monument.

Hopefully, I’ll get to go back to see the White House and try out the metro or something. Other than that, my trip wasn’t very eventful.

Chinatown Entrance

 

Fountain in the National Sculpture Garden

 

Washington Monument

~SL