June 24, 2010


I can't believe I left out such an important detail in my last post. Like, epically important and exciting and cool.

I got into the Nursing program at UF!

I've been waiting and waiting to hear back since I turned in my application in December. We were initially supposed to find out back in May but they kept pushing the date back. And back. And back.

I had heard that a few people had received their packets by last Friday but I was still anxiously awaiting mine. I knew I had the grades and I thought I nailed the application but I was still worried about my lack of volunteering experience. In a program that had over 600 applicants, only 100-120 were accepted. In that competitive atmosphere, experience in the field can really make it or break it between evenly-matched applicants.

I got a text from my good friend from high school, Affy, early Friday afternoon saying she got accepted. I was so excited for her and quickly texted her back, congratulating her for all of her hard work she's done the past year to get her grades up. While I was totally excited for her, I was also anxious about my own fate. She texted me back asking if I had heard anything but I didn't respond. I figured the packet would be sent to my home address instead of my Gainesville address; I didn't want to be disappointed by asking someone at home to check!

Fortunately, my dad called me 10 minutes after hearing from Affy telling me that I got in! I was so relieved and excited and elated all at the same time. I know it will be tough but I think my experience in IB has prepared me for the marathon ahead of me. I can't wait to start in August!

Catching Up

So much has happened since the last time we met! The biggest change in my life is that I moved back up to Gainesville last week to begin my new job. Like any new job, it's a little scary and intimidating at first, especially since I'm responsible for someone else's children! The kids are so much fun and there is never a dull moment. Of course I've made some mistakes along the way, but that's how you learn, am I right?


Moms & J just got back yesterday morning from a week of galvanting around Baton Rouge for a Regional soccer tournament. All of the State Champs from the southeast region competed to become Regional Champs and earn a ticket to the coveted National Championship. I know they worked their butts off to win the State Championship a few weeks ago and Regionals were like icing on the cake. They did awesome, making it out of group play and all the way to the semi-finals before losing to the eventual Regional Champs in a 1-0 heartbreaker in the last 3 minutes of the 2nd overtime. They went farther than any other team from Florida has gone in their age group and they had a helluva ride! I'm so proud of my little sis :)

And finally, the good ol' US of A pulled off a killer win over Algeria. Their win yesterday morning puts them in first place in Group C, which is a pretty big deal. They play Ghana on Saturday, which is also the wedding day of our good family friend, Chicken! I love watching this team AND weddings so Saturday has all the workings of a fabulous day.

Hope everyone is having a great week - it's almost the weekend!

June 17, 2010

Soccer & South Africa

Last Saturday, we attended a USA Watch Party at Chandy and Tammy's house. I always love seeing their smiley faces and it was awesome to have a throwback party to the days of the 2002 World Cup. Back then we would wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the underdog US team miraculously make it to the quarterfinals as we happily munched on junk food. Those were the days.

Unfortunately, I've barely been able to keep up with the World Cup hysteria this week. Between beginning my new job, taking the requisite naps after said job, and the lack of cable television in my condo, keeping up has been pretty difficult. My fantasy bracket is also shot - I had Spain winning 4-0. Whoops! I'm seriously considering switching all of my picks for the next round to the underdog and hoping everyone else picks the favorites :)

But I have been able to keep with the blogs of some of my closest childhood friends who are currently in South Africa. They're not there as tourists for the WC (even though they managed to score some tickets!!!) or even studying abroad, but helping out the impoverished. And while we're seeing the beautiful new stadiums and a facade of wealth and prosperity, these girls have been able to witness the poorest of the poor that lay just outside the tourist zones. And the government has been putting more and more money into creating tourist infrastructure as their poor live in shantytowns across the countryside. The rich-poor gap is obviously still a huge problem. My friend, Sarah, wrote a really interesting article about just that, and you can check it out here. Both Michelle's and Sarah's blogs chronicle their experiences this foreign world and provide some insight into what's going on there besides soccer.

And it's officially summer here in Gainesville - the weather forecast says it feels like 105° F. I'm already looking forward to hanging out my the pool with Stacy this afternoon :)

June 11, 2010

BSHS c/o 2010

What do these two people have in common?

Besides a tendency to forget to put on a shirt and tattoos supporting their fave World Cup teams? (TODAY! TODAY! TODAY!)

As of Wednesday, they are both officially graduates of this high school!

Congrats to the the best sister a girl ask for! I'm so proud of you and all of your accomplishments. You've grown into beautiful young woman and I can't wait to see where your bright future takes you. I love you!

June 07, 2010

Photo Contest

Last Friday I mentioned a contest sponsored by the UF International Center. It's a contest for students and faculty affiliated with the UFIC and the contestants are asked to submit pictures of their travels abroad that fall under the theme of "Global Culture." It's not a huge scholarship but it would be really neat to be recognized. Plus it would be a good use of my kajillion pictures I took in Spain!

Here are some of my favorite pictures that I took while I was over there. These are all pictures taken with my own little digital camera and then edited with either picnik.com or Photoshop CS4 (I think that's what it's called but I'm not going to pretend like I know what it's named or even what all the little controls do!).

I also provided a little background information as to why I chose each picture. So if one of these guys is way better than the others, feel free to shout it out in a comment :) Thanks!

1. For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ronda, Spain
This picture is attempting to capture the beautiful landscapes surrounding the ancient city of Ronda. Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway are two famous foreigners who fell in love with this view as tourists and continued to vacation there every summer. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was based on an account of the murder of Nationalist sympathizers in Ronda during the Spanish Civil War. They were thrown off a cliff just like the ones in these pictures. Even though they have a pretty morbid past, these mountains and hills are absolutely breathtaking in real life.

2. Nuestro Rey (Our King)
Malaga, Spain
This was taken during the Semana Santa celebrations. Each Catholic church has its own trono of Jesus Christ and another of the Virgin Mary. These tronos are crazy intricate and are carried by armies of men (in Malaga, only one trono is carried by women!). They are carried all over town in a slow procession that lasts for hours. During the year, they are housed in their respective churches, where they remain until the next Semana Santa. This trono is about to make its rounds. It will begin around 8 PM and won't be back until at least 3 AM!

3. Broken Plates
Barcelona, Spain
This was taken in Parc Guell in Barcelona. The park was designed and engineered by Antoni Gaudi, the renowned Catalan artist. He intended for the area to be used as a housing development, but, when no one moved in, he suggested it be changed into a municipal park. It's filled with totally unique structures and spaces, including this serpentine bench that surrounds a huge terrace overlooking the city. The mosaic was actually made from broken plates donated by local Spanish women!

4. If Plates Could Talk
Barcelona, Spain
Same picture, just highlighting some of my fave tiles.

5. Protecting the Parc
Barcelona, Spain
Another picture from Parc Guell and the bench, just from a different angle. You can see the serpentine shape of the bench a little better. Gaudi actually designed the curvature of the bench based on the butt imprint left by a woman in some wet sand. This picture also showcases some of the interesting statues and structures with the silhouette of the lion sticking out of the wall.

6. Faceoff
Malaga, Spain
This photo captures one of the scenes from the bullfight we witnessed on Easter Sunday. The matador pictured is Jose Tomas, one of the best Spain has ever seen. During this brief interlude in fighting, Tomas is assessing the bull's level of energy and taking into account the animal's temperament to determine his next move. I love Tomas in this picture - the outfit, the pride and showmanship in his posture, his intense eye contact with the bull. Everything.

7. Standing Ovation
Malaga, Spain
Another shot of the Easter bullfight. Jose Tomas has just defeated the final bull of the night with amazing skill. He's accepting the crowd's ovation as he makes his way to the center of the ring for his final bow. I get warm fuzzies just looking at this picture because it sums up some of the physical landmarks of Malaga - the Plaza de Toros, the Alcazaba silhouetted in the backgroung, the gorgeous sunset. And then the fact that I got to experience a real bull fight in the company of some great friends just makes it so much sweeter.

8. A Night of Carnaval
Malaga, Spain
Carnaval is the equivalent of Mardi Gras in the United States - the celebration before the beginning of Lent. Cadiz is the most famous center for Carnaval in Spain but Malaga also has its own traditions and celebrations. Most celebrations in Malaga, whether Carnaval, Semana Santa, or Feria, make their way to Calle Larios, pictured above. It's a huge pedestrian avenue, lined with shops and restaurants and paved with the granite and marble taken from the Roman Amphitheater (so they say). Calle Larios is decorated for each holiday with beautiful festive lights that reflect off the smooth walkway, as pictured.

June 04, 2010

Help Wanted

The title of the post has a plethora of meanings for my life right now (I love words that multi-task!). And by a plethora, I really mean 4.

1. JOB
I'm in debt. It's nothing too serious - I decided to take out some student loans to finance my trip to Spain. It was DEFINITELY worth it and I don't regret it for a second. But it means I have to make some sacrifices and work to pay them off. After spending a week in Gainesville filling out a gazillion job applications, I finally landed at least one gig at a daycare center. I start next week and I can't wait! This job is totally perfect because it's working with kids (which I want to do for a living), the hours are super flexible and plentiful, and it's a hop, skip and a jump away from where I will hopefully be taking classes next semester. Hooray for being a productive member of society!

J had her 3-day orientation at FSU this week. Both the parentals joined her in Tallanasty - I mean, Tallahassee to soak in the brainwashing that is college orientation. Unfortunately, the only time that worked with her crazy summer schedule was right in the middle of the week when Dr. Brother was still in school. Since my job doesn't start until next week, I was available to housesit. Dr. Brother and I got to enjoy some quality togetherness for the past 3 days, which has included:
  • chocolate crepes for breakfast
  • listening to the MJ morning show
  • Frappe Friday
  • a complete summary of all 3 of the books Dr. Brother is reading at the moment
  • almost killing some kids/ being killed while driving to his school
  • jamming to Usher's "OMG". Actually, Dr. Brother was too embarrassed by my dancing to truly enjoy the jamfest.
I'm so glad I got to hang out with that kid for 3 whole days. It was a really sweet reminder of what a great kid he is. I can't believe he's almost a 7th-grader!

I want to run a half-marathon in December or January and I'm looking for some running buddies. Any takers? I also plan on fundraising for a charity or organization so stay tuned for more details!

I'm applying for a small scholarship through the UF International Center and I need help deciding which 2 pictures to submit. The theme is "Global Culture". The new header is a little preview, and, in the meantime, here's a link with more information and the photos of past winners that are truly incredible: UFIC Global Culture Photo Contest

We're planning on a relaxing weekend around these parts, including celebrating a special someone's birthday tomorrow! Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend and get to enjoy the beginning of summer fun :)