Monthly Archives: May 2009

The end! (of the beginning)

I can’t believe it’s already been a year! As I’m watching everyone pack and move their things out of the dorms, it seems like I was just watching everyone move in.

I’m still on campus right now, writing this a few days after classes have ended. I’m staying here over the summer, doing an internship that I’m really excited about! I’m going to be working with summer conferences, mainly setting up the Colorado College Summer Festival of the Arts

http://www.coloradocollege.edu/summerprograms/summerfestivalofthearts/

which looks amazing! Hopefully I’ll also get to catch the amazing performances, and attend some of the workshops that are happening.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Colorado Springs in the summer… so far 8th block has been beautiful (see gorgeous sunset below) and I’m thinking it can only get better.

Mountains at sunset

We definitely had some sunny days… (and silly days…) as the year wound down

Sunny 🙂

It was also remarkably hard to concentrate on the last couple of days of class as I was trying to study for my final in International Politics of the Middle East and North Africa! (A cool class that I would highly recommend. The best part was a peace summit simulation we ran for one day in the campus center where we each represented a different country — I was Israel, and like to think I worked out a pretty great peace treaty :D).

So in the last couple days my friends and I retreated to the Fishbowl (a building near the east side of campus where you can go and study, the windows are completely glass, so if you can’t be outside, at least you can pretend you are).

Lahya studying

And now I’m looking forward to a great summer ahead! I think the internship is going to keep me really busy, but I’m also planning to do lots of hiking and exploring in the Colorado area with my friends, and to jet off to my brother’s graduation on the east coast in June to see my family. The summer looks exciting… and I’m ready for it!

The trip of a lifetime

Night market in Xi'an. This place was extremely busy and full of people.

Night market in Xi'an. This place was extremely busy and really fun to walk around with lots of shops and food.

Once again, China has kept me so unbelievable occupied that it has been almost impossible to get a dull moment to sit down to write here. I am currently on my three week trip throughout China. We are currently staying in Lijiang – an old town in the Yunan province. Yunan is known for being the home of many of the ethnic minorities in China. Our trip has taken us to some amazing spots in China. So far, we have seen: the Terra-Cotta Warriors, the giant pandas and the Panda Research center in Chengdu, some of the muslim culture in Xi’an, and the largest buddha in the world in Leshan. Because of limited time and the wealth of information to share, I will post a series of pictures here instead of writing in depth on each place. I could write for days to be honest.

Some thoughts on the trip so far:

China is an unbelievable diverse, large, and fascinating place. Having only been on the road for about one week, we have seen some of the most major tourist spots in the country. I am consistently amazed at what I see. I am also noticing the large amount of Chinese tourists. With China’s economic boom, it seems that people here are traveling very frequently.

Thus far, it is really difficult to choose my favorite place on this trip. My favorite town is by far Lijiang. We are staying in the old town. While it is covered in gift shops and Chinese tourists, it is completely charming. It makes you feel as if you are seeing China hundreds of years ago.

Unfortunately, my camera broke while in Leshan. Thus, I do not have any pictures yet to post here from Lijiang. A friend is gathering some for me, but those may not be posted until my return to the States. My return is less that two weeks away. It seems that time has flown over here. I will likely have some time to post a few more stories and pictures once I am back. Until then, enjoy these pictures and hopefully one more post from this trip.

The giant pandas during feeding time and me. These guys were hilarious. Laziest animals on Earth.

The giant pandas during feeding time and me. These guys were hilarious. Laziest animals on Earth.

For 100RMB you could hold a Red Panda. They look like raccoons, but are adorable.

For 100RMB you could hold a Red Panda. They look like raccoons, but are adorable.

the largest buddha in the world. It was HUGE!

the largest buddha in the world. It was HUGE!

Chicken-shaped dumplings in Xi'an. They didn't taste that good, but they looked cool.

Chicken-shaped dumplings in Xi'an. They didn't taste that good, but they looked cool.

Me in pit 1 at the Terr-Cotta Warriors. Just FYI - I wasn't listening to music there. I had no other place for my headphones from the bus ride!

Me in pit 1 at the Terr-Cotta Warriors. Just FYI - I wasn't listening to music there. I had no other place for my headphones from the bus ride!

Wait. Freshman year is [almost] over?

In LESS THAN A WEEK, I will no longer be a freshman.  Wait.  Did I just type that?  I will be done with my first year of college.  I never thought this would happen.

A rather short or long update (it’s all perception, you know).

This block I am in Inequality (my third class in the sociology department).  This particular course is taught by Jeff Livesay who is amazing.  On the first day of the block, Jeff (with his Mississippian accent) immediately dived into the topic material.  He immediately explained, “This class is about inequality.  More specifically, this is a course on class inequality.  The department teaches about gender and racial inequality, but this course doesn’t.”  I immediately thought, “this was the class I’ve been waiting for since I’ve arrived at CC.” It’s daunting to think that we live our lives in such routine without thinking beyond the “American Dream.”  Sure, I knew class inequality exists–just not to the levels of  inequality that this course explicitly criticizes.

RELAY FOR LIFE happened last Friday night!  Despite the rain and change of location to El Pomar gym, it was a fantastic event.  As part of the planning committee, I didn’t understand why were planning the event in October when the event wouldn’t take place until May.  I observed hundreds of CC students together at an event to “celebrate, remember, and fight back” (Relay For Life motto).  It was beautiful to see so many students walk the track from 7pm to 7am–they were devoted to see an end to this horrible disease.

In the back, there are luminaria bags that spell out CURE.

In the back, there are luminaria bags that spell out CURE.

This is the joint-team banner for our first lap!  Fanterriblastic!

This is the joint-team banner for our first lap! Fanterriblastic!

In TWO WEEKS, I will be in Paris!  I will be taking the Social History of Paris course this summer taught by Dean Susan Ashley and Tip Ragan.  I’ve been so focused on 8th block that I didn’t realize I will be in another country in fourteen days.  It’s absurd how quick a block goes.  Goodness, I should start thinking about packing…

Lastly, I have officially declared my major today!  Earlier, I wrote that I was in Inequality with Jeff Livesay.  Being in this class just made me realize that I NEEDED to be a Sociology major.  So this afternoon, I went to Jeff and asked him if he would be my new academic adviser in order to declare my major.  After an hour conversation about my future, plans at CC, plans for study abroad, I came out of Jeff’s office with a overwhelming sense of elation.  For some reason, this declaration of my major made me realize how much I loved my first year of college (the good and the bad) and CC. When choosing a college, I never thought I would major in Sociology.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until Paris–au revoir!

-Melissa