January 29, 2009 - 5:00 PM
Today was a special day. Today I got to meet with all of the other UO bloggers! I unfortunately missed the group photo shoot, so I was feeling a little out of touch with the blogging project, but today brought me back into the loop of things. I have to say that one of my favorite parts had to be that all of us were provided with some of the tastiest chocolate cupcakes I have ever had. They had green frosting! How ducky! Although, this was probably one of my favorite parts because, if my blog hasn't shown it enough already, I have an intense passion for food - as in, I love it!
However, food aside, there were some other really great aspects to meeting with everyone as well. It was fun to read through everyone's blogs that had been printed out and begin to get an idea of what the website is going to look like and what a cool project we are all involved in. I was inspired by everyone's stories and I felt as though even though all of us in the group don't know each other that well yet, we still have a great energy and sense of connectedness. College can be tough sometimes, mentally and emotionally. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one struggling through all of this, but talking with my fellow bloggers helped me realize that I'm not alone in it all. Several other students in the group talked about the stresses of school and personal life and how this blogging project has really become kind of therapeutic for us. I am so excited to be a part of this!
It was also fun meeting in the EMU because we happened to be sitting next door to a room where all of the UO Ambassadors were meeting. I happen to know a lot of ambassadors, so it was fun seeing a bunch of friends of mine mingling around. I love running into friends on campus! It makes it seem smaller than it is when you start to see familiar faces around.
After the meeting, I was planning on booking it across campus to catch the bus on time so that I could get home and get my car and make it to work on time, but plans don't always happen. This is why I am a firm believer in the rough outline approach. You make a rough outline of your day and then you just go with it and everything unfolds as it should. I stopped to talk to my friend Kate before bolting out the door. She is an ambassador for the UO and she is incredible. I miss Kate. We met freshman year in the dorms, so I always got to see her and now that we aren't living together, I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. However, when we do see each other it's awesome.
My brief stop to talk to Kate turned into the most epic hallway conversation ever. We talked about life. We talked about emotion, angst, meaning. We laughed, I probably cried, we shared some of the best hugs ever. Kate is a fabulous hugger. There is nothing quite like a good hug, I think. We had to have been talking there in the middle of the EMU for a good half hour at least. I started to wonder if I would make it to work on time, but I just went with it. It was so good to see and talk to Kate. It was one of those conversations that just makes you feel a little bit better when you're done. I love those.
Finally, it was getting to the point where I definitely had to go if I was going to make it to work on time. So, I said farewell to Kate and power walked my way to the bus stop. As soon as I got there, my bus pulled up. It was perfect timing. I got on, got home, put on my staff t-shirt, and headed to work. It was all so well played. Rough outlines. They always work out the best. My advice to whoever is reading this - don't pass up an epic hallway conversation for the monotonous excuse that you have to stay on schedule. Instead, dive into it, embrace it, and the rest will manifest itself perfectly.
January 22, 2009 - 3:46 PM
I am minoring in Non-Profit Administration at the University of Oregon and, after today, I have a new idea on what I could do with it. I think that someone needs to start a non-profit organization in Eugene that works to provide complimentary massages to college students. I went and had my first professional massage today and it was wonderful.
As college students, we don't just get up, go to work, come home, and sleep. We get up, go to class, go to work, work on our internships, do our homework, study for tests, apply for scholarships, go to meetings for the different clubs and organizations we're involved in, and if we're lucky we're in bed by 2:00am. I didn't realize how much this daily routine wore on the body until I stood up after my massage and felt one hundred times more relaxed.
I was carrying around so much of this stress and activity in my muscles. My shoulders were really tight. I always figured that more relaxation time would help with this, but where are you supposed to find time for that? Whenever I'm at home or at school, I'm thinking about what I need to get done. Therefore, going to a spa and getting a massage was the perfect solution.
Getting a massage is dedicating oneself to a complete hour of just relaxing, nothing else. If you wanted to get up and do that essay that is due, you can't. Someone takes care of you for an hour. They offer you warm tea and they wrap your feet in warm towels. Nothing is expected of you for that entire hour. It's an amazing feeling.
My masseuse warned me that when I got up I might feel a little light-headed, so to go slowly. I really didn't think I would be, but when I got up I had to stop for a second and just breathe. It was such a relaxing experience that it was difficult just getting back up and going at the fast pace that I've become accustomed to as a student. I enjoyed having my body force me to slow down. I had to go to work right afterwards and I felt like I was able to handle the day much better working at that relaxed, slower pace.
My masseuse recommended that I come in about once a month for a massage. I had to chuckle to myself. I would absolutely love to do that, but with the prices that are charged for massages, I really doubt that it can fit into my college budget. Hence why I think there needs to be that outlet for college students like me who carry their exams in the knots in their muscles. Free massages for all college students would not be a bad idea. In fact, I think that having more relaxed students would just heighten the potential for our world to have more successful, qualified future leaders. College students should go get massages. It may be pricey, but sometimes you have to treat yourself. I highly recommend it.
January 21, 2009 - 2:56 PM
I think I am going to start a shop local campaign in Eugene, Oregon. Local stores often have slightly higher prices than corporate chain stores, but with that aside, the local stores are so much better in so many ways. I have been trying to get more acquainted with Eugene this term and in an attempt to do so, I have been diving into the local business scene. I am so happy that I have. Eugene has some truly unique locations and shops to explore. I feel as though many people in Eugene get sidetracked and just find themselves at Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Applebee's, Chili's, Olive Garden, or one of the many other chain stores offered here. However, there are stores all over Eugene that offer the exact same services and in a more mellow way. Therefore, I would like to share my adventure through the local scene with everyone and encourage them to do the same. Whenever I explore a new store, I am going to write about it in my blog. During hard economic times like these, I think that it is increasingly important to support local business owners, as they are often hit the hardest. Every dollar spent at a local business helps to boost the local economy and is overall more sustainable.
This particular blog post will be dedicated to coffee houses. Last weekend, I did a Google business search and made a list of all of the locally owned coffee houses in Eugene. I plan to go to each and every one of them in order to take note of the unique vibes each one possesses. I love coffee houses. I think they are absolutely fabulous. They always have great energy and are an awesome place to socialize, people watch, or just take some peaceful time with a warm beverage. Why go to Starbucks or Dutch Bros. though when you can find a perfect, quaint little coffee house, tucked away in Eugene, beaming with the perfect ambiance? The other day, I went to three different coffee houses in one day and soaked in what made each of them special.
My first stop was at Perugino in downtown. Perugino was an absolutely lovely little café. They have several types of teas and coffees, as well as a large selection of wines by the glass. Perugino seems like the perfect alternative for people who are twenty-one and over who the bar scene doesn't really appeal to. It is a great place to sit down with a friend and relax and converse over a beverage. It is not very loud and there are plenty of tables in all different sizes, so if you need to spread out your notes and study, there is room for that. They also have a menu with some tasty foods on it. I sat in Perugino for a couple of hours doing my Greek homework. I had an amazingly delicious turkey, spinach, pesto panini and a warm chai. Perugino is the perfect place for a mellow downtown experience.
A bit out of downtown is a little place called Nib's Dessert and Wine Bar. This place has a large case full of exotic chocolates. They are amazing. Each of their chocolates looks like a little piece of art. They are each perfectly decorated, many with different shimmering colors across the tops. The flavors of the chocolates are so unique. There are chocolates that have chili in them. Others have green tea infused into them. I tried one chocolate that had a sweet jelly inside of it that was made from heirloom tomatoes. Another delicious one was a lavender and honey with white chocolate. This was a very quiet, low-key place. It isn't the greatest for doing work on a laptop, but it seems like the perfect place to meet a friend.
My final stop was actually right next door to Nib's. This is a place I have been several times before and just have to keep coming back because it is just that amazing. It is called the Sweet Life Patisserie. The first time I walked into the doors of the Sweet Life it was like I had died and gone to dessert heaven. I was overwhelmed with all of the amazing choices they had of cakes, pies, cheesecakes, brownies, ice cream, and more. The staff is wonderful and very friendly. The atmosphere is perfect for just about anything. I have studied for finals at the Sweet Life. I have also journaled or brought my laptop to work on my blogs there. I have met up with friends there for some good conversation. The Sweet Life is just one of those overall great places with a wonderful, lively vibe.
Perugino, Nib's, and the Sweet Life are just three of the several amazing, local little coffee houses and businesses in Eugene. They are the types of places that you will miss out on if you just can't break out of your Starbucks bubble. I really hope more students, parents, and visitors of Eugene start going to these places. I think the community around the university is an imperative ingredient in creating the special essence of the Oregon Ducks.
January 15, 2009 - 3:45 PM
I don't think you learn who your true friends from high school are until you move away to college. It isn't until there are miles between you and that best friend you've had since forever that you get to see who keeps in touch, who sticks around, and who forgets. Out of all of the friends I had in high school, there is one who has consistently shown me that she'll make the trip for me. She does it because when everything is stripped away; her true colors show her genuine care for me. Her name is Erin. We met our freshman year of high school in our health class and even during times when we're too busy to call, we still know that we're buddies. She comes up at least once a year to Eugene to visit me. Her first visit this year was last Tuesday and although we only had a little bit of time together, we had a blast.
On Wednesday, I finished class at 11:20am and had nothing else planned. We spent the entire day being awesome throughout Eugene. Our first stop was at the new shoe store over in the Oakway Center. When we walked in, I had to catch my breath. I had never seen so many beautiful shoes ready for me to fall in love with in one room before. I left with three pairs of heels, two of which Erin picked out for me. She is the best at helping me sort through clearance racks.
After burning what seemed like thousands of calories shoe shopping, we had lunch over at the Agate Alley Bistro. It was our first time going there. Every time Erin comes to Eugene, we try as many new, local restaurants as we can! I highly recommend the Agate Alley Bistro. It was a totally mellow, delicious little place.
Next, we went to the University of Oregon Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. I love that museum. It has such an amazing collection of work. It is great that it is centrally located on the campus. Some days I stop in there between classes or after a big test. It helps me relax looking at the art.
We looked at some more local shops, visited a few friends, and then, of course, it was back to food. We went to Ambrosia for dinner in downtown Eugene. It was also quite tasty and had a nice ambiance to it. We decided to dress up for it, so I had an excuse to throw on a dress and some heels. It was great having that time to just talk and catch up. We stopped by the Sweet Life on the way back home to grab some dessert to go. The Sweet Life is amazing just in case anyone reading this hasn't been there. They have incredible cakes, cheesecakes, pastries, ice cream - oh yeah.
Anyway, we ended the night back at my house, eating desserts and talking. She left the next morning, so it was a short visit, but it was really all we needed. Despite the distance and despite our busy schedules, I know that Erin and I will remain friends. Sometimes I feel as though I needed college in order to see who was really there.
January 12, 2009 - 4:30 PM
I always wanted to try skiing, but the opportunity never really presented itself to me. That is, until recently. My friend, Amber, asked me about a week ago if I would want to go skiing with her sometime. I mentioned that it would be fun, but I wasn't too sure if anything would actually come of it. On Saturday, I got a text message from Amber saying that she was going up to the mountain the next day and that I should come. I thought about the fact that I had homework to do and jumbled around plenty of excuses in my head, but in the end, I just said yes. I couldn't be happier that I did.
It was so spur of the moment, which added to the excitement of it all. I spent Saturday finding friends who I could borrow snow pants and gloves from and figuring out what all I needed to pack. I bought my bus ticket for 7:00am the next day and signed up for the First Timer Package at Willamette Pass online. When my alarm went off the next day, I was ready for my big adventure.
After a kind of rocky first week back at school, it was so nice to take a day trip out of Eugene and into the beauty of nature. I slept for almost the entire bus ride, but when I woke up, the scenery was amazing. Tall evergreen trees were dusted with snow and a thick white blanket covered the ground. It was fun watching everyone trying to walk across the icy parking lot into the ski lodge. I was probably just as funny looking.
I went inside and got fitted for my skis and signed up for my 10:00am lesson. When I met with my group, I was pretty sure that I was going to make a complete fool out of myself. However, it ended up being just fine, of course. My first hour on the skis was pretty tough. I was sweating profusely and wishing that I had not worn so many layers. I had a hard time getting anywhere and only ended up with one foot on the uphill moving ramp, which made for an interesting ride. However, I got more and more used to it and soon it was time to take on the bunny hill. The first time I made it down the bunny hill was amazing! I felt so free, yet at the same time insanely concentrated. I couldn't believe that I was finally here and doing this. I could mark it off of my list of things to try in my lifetime.
When my lesson was over, I met back up with Amber who had been snowboarding for the last two hours. We had lunch and then it was time for some actual skiing. I was feeling pretty confident in my abilities and was sure that I could take on an actual course, no problem. However, once we got on the lift, I felt as though every butterfly in the entire universe had flown into my stomach and were wrecking havoc. I've never been afraid of heights, but I was as I sat on that tiny bench dangling high above a steep, snowy decline. I was terrified, but thrilled. I looked around me and it was so beautiful. I could see a lake in the distance and wonderful green forests all around. Then I had to get off.
My first time down the hill was quite an experience. The mildly cocky confidence I had on the bunny hill vanished. I was not expecting the course to be so long. I thought it would never end. It was the steepest thing I had ever seen in my life and yet, it was the beginner's hill. I had my moments, but there was also a lot of panicking going on. I would get going a little fast and yell out, "Amber! I'm bailing!" "No, keep going!" she would say, but it would already be too late. By bailing, I basically meant that I was planning on slamming myself into the side of the snowy bank in order to stop. I bailed out or just plain fell what seemed like every ten to twenty feet my first time down the hill. One time I fell and did some sort of twist where one of my skis actually popped off. I could feel that one in my knee pretty bad and I knew that I would continue to for the next couple of days. I was so happy when I saw the end. I was huffing and puffing and thanking the heavens that I had somehow survived the plummet to my death.
So, I went again! The second time down was incredible. I only fell about three times and I got going pretty fast. I finally felt in control and could see myself doing this more in the future. It was almost like a form of meditation. My mind was emptied of all thoughts. I was completely in the now when I was skiing. The only thing my mind was focused on was the hill in front of me. I felt more relaxed the second time I finished the course and it had seemed a lot shorter than the first time.
After one more round, it was time to change and head back to Eugene. When we got back on the bus, I pulled out my Greek homework that I had brought with me to do during the ride. I looked at it, thought about it, and then fell asleep. They always say that it's the thought that counts anyway, right? My entire being was exhausted, but it was wonderful. There is nothing quite like trying something new. Plus, I figured, if I could conquer a mountain with my feet strapped to a couple of long sticks, then I could take on the rest of winter term, no problem.