August 30, 2012

Love, Gratitude, and Liberal Arts

The picture today is of a classroom in the Liberal Arts building, where I take all my grad classes. Grad school, much of it in such a classroom, has been one of the best things I've ever done. I've met friends that have enriched my life so much, and I've found a passion for my life. I'm a lucky person to be able to experience this lifestyle. Just a little love and gratitude going back into the universe.

August 29, 2012


My picture today was inspired by the official return to grad school life. Jena's version anyway. The overstimulation is incredibly demanding, and makes it hard for me to pay attention when friends are talking. Things like required readings and lesson plans and practicum assignments take on lives of their own, and then come to dominate mine in a way that is intellectually stimulating, but that seems to sideline all other life-pursuits. The iPhone and MacBook don't do much to help the situation, as my email is just a few taps away. Yet, here I am, taking on the overload with a year's worth of practice. I think I'm in for one heck of a semester. By the way, these mini blogs are tough to spit out! It's a new genre for me.

August 28, 2012


So I bought an iPhone with my birthday money. It is awesome for sure. In fact, I have barely put it down tonight between my phone calls for advice and chatting, and the flurry of text messages asking for my advice on various things. It's amazing how connected we can be with these little things. Of course, the iPhone is a bit of a brain drain, but oh how I love it.

August 27, 2012

New Semester, Taking Refuge

Flagstaff turns into a giant parking lot at the beginning of each semester. The flood of new and returning students, plus their families, means that Target is a war zone, it takes 10 minutes to get through an intersection, and the youth of America invade my academic world with baseball caps, jean shorts, and chatter about house parties. I remember fondly my first days of college; yet I wouldn't want to relive the anxiety of figuring out how to survive with so much freedom. I'm fact, I'm grappling with my own prospects of freedom right now. The world post my graduation next spring, is wide open. I predict many a panicky blog about choosing from my infinite options. The picture today is of my refuge spot, Campus Coffee Beam. They have a delightful happy hour special. I came to love this place because of the hours and hours of comps preparation that I did here. Drink of choice? Fresh Americano.

August 26, 2012

Industrial walking and Locks of Love

Today I got new tires and had plenty of time to enjoy the rugged beauty of industrial northeastern Flagstaff. Then my friend donated her ponytail to Locks of Love. Very cool! She let me watch because I love hair changes. A diverse Saturday!

August 25, 2012


I took this photo outside PIE today after a monsoon storm drenched Flagstaff. The rains make everything better except for the soggy bike seats.

August 24, 2012

Popcorn and plans falling through

Today was just one of those days when it doesn't pay to plan ahead. I was reassigned to a new teaching position after two weeks of planning for the original, and my weekly volleyball stress relief got rained out. Indeed, ESL teachers often take on such challenges as last-minute switches, yet it's still tough to be thrown into a new mix right before the semester. Volleyball getting cancelled was a real shame since I look forward to that all week. Yet, amid the tribulations of student placement and monsoon season, I took comfort in a little treat from home. Colby Ridge popcorn. Nothing like calorie therapy, apparently. Much love!

August 23, 2012

View from the front door

When I step out of my apartment every morning, this is what I see: Trees, sunshine and a parking lot.
Minus the cars, it's a pretty good view. By the way, the neighbors with the blue truck are hard-core snow shovelers. The two of them and I scooped almost the entire lot by hand last winter.

August 22, 2012


Love that world map. It's m inspiration every single day, but my bed is a mess! I haven't slept much in the past three days thanks to comprehensive exams, extra-early teaching responsibilities and my birthday parties. I never said the pictures would be really interesting. They merely represent real life. Though in the future, I will try to find something cooler to take pictures of. Lots of love, Jena.

My 25th Birthday!

Sarah, Me and Seonmin at Brews and Cues. You'd never guess that Seonmin and I took the Comps Exam about 12 hours before this photo. We are applied linguistics rockstars.
So, my new idea is to keep an amateur photo blog. I've often complained of having so many pictures from travel, but so few from real life. Well, here's my attempt to document it. Courtesy of iPhone. Yep, I'm a spoiled brat. I have bought two Apple products in the past month. Worth every penny. I hope I can take some good or at least meaningful shots of my life--which is so sweet right now.

August 12, 2012

Summer Wrap-up

It's official. Summer is over. That's my fun thought for today.

I just waved goodbye to my boyfriend as he pulled his packed-up car out of the parking lot. I survived a whole summer living with someone. It was a painful adjustment for someone who was used to doing whatever I want all the time, having enough personal space, and not having to justify my coffee and ice cream habits. By yesterday though, I had adjusted to companionship. I have to say that I liked it.

Am I ready to crawl back into my grad school hermit hole? Kind of.

No time to waste, really. I have a comprehensive exam next Monday, which is coincidentally my 25th birthday. My study group is meeting today.

Call me crazy, but studying for this test has actually been a good thing for me. Despite my near constant work last semester, lots of details and interesting stuff slipped through the cracks. Now I have had a chance to reread and rethink lots of materials.

Me and The Guys in Level 5b
When I wasn't nerding out with my Sociolinguistics articles, I was teaching, planning, or thinking about level 5 writing. I think it was a wonderful twist of fate that I got assigned the class that I really didn't want. I wanted to try something besides advanced writing, but I actually got the chance to explore new techniques and new ways to lesson plan (in a group!). Besides the coursework, I got the best group of students imaginable. Just yesterday, they invited me for dinner. They also showered me (and my boyfriend!) with presents. I will say that even the unbelievably rich scent of my new Burberry perfume can't complete with the tears-welling-up feeling that I had when I got the e-mail asking if I could come over for dinner. It's sort of weird, but the fact that they want me to hang out with them is a great feeling. They also ask me for advice on school stuff, which I love. I just want them to be successful, because I know they can do it. I hope they get good ENG 105 teachers who understand second language writing. In my own experience, the Writing Center can do a lot, but they can't un-do a teacher's de-motivating feedback.

Writing skills aside, my students wear a lot of cologne. Seriously. I can tell if there are any students in the school building just by taking a whiff. Moreover, as a writing teacher, I am lucky enough to get essay drafts that smell like a fabulous department store. Sometimes I close my eyes, grab an essay and try to guess whose it is, just by scent.

I guess it follows that they should outfit me and my boyfriend with big bottles of the good stuff so that we too can announce our presence via the olfactory glands.

Speaking of all the ways I get spoiled, I'm writing this blog from my *MacBook Pro*. Yes, indeed. I bought the ultimate machine. It's sleek, sexy and the keyboard lights up! It's seriously awesome. I'm not always one to gush about technology (though this blog may say otherwise), but this thing is 8000% better than my old laptop.

Words to sum up summer 2012: Essays, Boyfriend, Campus Coffee Bean, The Comps, Volleyball, Students, Burberry, MacBook, Total spoilage, Free time, The Dream Team, Ramadan, Kapsa, Study Group, Pilates, Google Doc, Yoga, Rec Center, Veggies!

This summer proves once again that I am the luckiest girl I know. And this blog proves that I have forgotten how to write a coherent piece.