One Perfect Week in Greece: Athens, Santorini, Crete

Before we start conjoining our first week of our two-week Greece and Italy trip, allow me to have a brief fangirl moment celebrating my 51st post: Alexander joins forces with James Madison and John Jay to write a series of essays defending the new United States Constitution, entitled The Federalist Papers. The plan was to write … Continue reading One Perfect Week in Greece: Athens, Santorini, Crete

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Slam Poem: What Do I Know?

I know nothing, of me or the world. I know, and only know, that I know not a thing, not a whit How do I know that in this chair I now sit? Can I prove, am I real? We can guess, support, conclude But your green could be my red And my rock is, … Continue reading Slam Poem: What Do I Know?

Embrace the OCD

I will admit it. I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I like to shove things into corners, to stack things meticulously, to prevent disorder. It’s as futile as it gets, resisting. I like to spend hours in our family’s tea cabinet, sorting out the different leaves and dried flowers. I’ll know in an instant if someone has … Continue reading Embrace the OCD

Fangirl Apologetics (♂♀) – Open Letter

Dear All, The term "fangirl" gets a bad rap because it conjures up images of cooing hordes of women too old for their obsession. Teenagers hanging up posters of Justin Bieber and One Direction in their bedrooms. Wannabes writing less-than-stellar fan fictions. Immaturity. Hysterics. Dreaminess and idealism. As with all stereotypes, there is some truth in that. But like the others, there can be so much more. If you know me, you will know that I am a huge nerd about many things. From Harry Potter, Star Wars, and DC/Marvel superheroes, to string quartets, Shakespeare, Johnny Depp, and musical theatre, I've had many "phases", but I never look upon them as that way, not even in retrospect. So in short, here's my statement defending the legitimacy of all the fandoms that I belong in.

The Plastic Trait: Hermaphroditism Under the Sea

Now, let's be mature about this. The fundamental aim of fish is to reproduce as many offspring as possible during their lives. Scientists' observations of certain species of fish have led them to conclude that a single gene can code different expressions in different environments, which doesn't change the actual gene but changes the sex of … Continue reading The Plastic Trait: Hermaphroditism Under the Sea

You Don’t Have to Get It All Figured Out to Move Forward

Hooray! If you’re reading this, then it means that my efforts of beginning a blog have begun to take fruit. I have procrastinated creating my website and writing my first posts because frankly, I was scared. Staying where you always have been is so easy. I was scared of what others might think of me spilling a corner of my brain into text on a daily basis. At the same time, I was scared of what would happen if absolutely nobody read it (still a fear of mine) and I was scared that it would be a waste of my time. So. At this stage in my life, I can take advantage of obscurity. I can use my ignorance and naïveté to my benefit. I still think that anything is possible (but not everything - there's a difference) for me. The uncharted waters of knowledge are infinite for me. I can take risks and fail again and again with no reputation to lose. I have no insecurity but my ever-present ego, which is really nothing but self-dictated baggage. Well, five weeks and 46 posts in, I'm thinking, I'm glad I took the first step. Sure, I was stressed during exam week, but the few hours I could find to spare became super valuable for me. It was amazing how productive I could be when I knew that my time was limited. I loved exacting the transfer of a cloudy notion in my head into clear, specific words. I sure didn't know everything about blogging when I created my WordPress account a month ago. Heck, I still don't. But if anything, what I've learned about life is that you can, and sometimes you have to, continue, even if you don't think you have everything figured out at the stage you're at. Your seeker comes to find you whether you're ready or not. Exam weeks come whether you're ready or not. You graduate whether or not you think you're ready for the real world. Accept that you'll have to learn things as you go, otherwise you'll never start. Once that happens there's a certain feeling of peace.

God Made Saul Blind for Three Days

Saul went blind for three days. When he opened his eyes again, nothing looked the same to him, literally and spiritually. With today's technology, when a previously visually handicapped person is given the ability to see for the first time, for the first few moments, they are absolutely amazed. They find it difficult to stop looking at the spectacle that we take for granted. Sometimes when I realize this, I wonder what it was really like for Saul when "something like scales fell from [his] eyes, and he could see again." I think that to him the colors would have seemed so vivid that he wouldn't have believed he never noticed them before. Saul undergoes a dramatic change in this chapter of the Acts, going from a persecutor of the disciples to being filled with the Holy Spirit. Like in Shakespeare's "King Lear", literal blindness leads to spiritual insight.

The Four Strategies for Conservation

Ever wonder what the action of conserving actually entails? Here are the four main methods people do to conserve our environment. They are all pretty straightforward, but I think it's important to know the distinctions so that we can all be better educated citizens of the world. Preservation This means to keep part of the environment without change through national parks, fences, and other forms of protection.

The Inexhaustible Variety of Life

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby As an INFJ, I have a difficult time staying in the present. My inferior function is Se, or extroverted Sensing, so sometimes I find myself detached from the moment and the finer details of my surroundings elude me. In instances like today, where four years' worth of students gather in a large room, that tends to happen. As humans, we tend to separate ourselves from the masses. (Teens enjoy saying: Nobody understands me! Adults admit to feeling lonely even among other people.) But we're actually more similar than we'd like to care to admit. At the same time, when we realize we're not so different, our distinctions tend to emerge. When this happens, every life, every face, seems, to me at least, to become much more precious. When I zone out, like Nick Carraway, I appreciate humanity more. Wait a minute - is that like saying, you enjoy the concert more when you shove earplugs into your ears? Not exactly. I think it's more like putting on a pair of glasses and seeing the world in a new tint. Sounds absurd to you? Never mind, that's just my thought of the day. ~Gloria

The Paradox of Time and Experience

Does anyone else find our conception of time fundamentally odd? We are said to be constantly inventing ourselves. We go through periods of change and growth. When we emerge from these, we are said to be new. Yet inevitably time causes us to grow older. That's just the way it works. We associate growth with youth. Youth is seldom associated with wisdom however. Our tradeoff for wisdom is our youth. When we celebrate new years and birthdays we say, "Look at me, the new and improved. This is my fresh start." But the paradox is that in order to be new, you have to grow old. Our so-called old selves are younger, oddly. Have you ever thought about that? Time doesn't seem to make sense. It's almost saying that those in the past - the old - don't know any better. The present moment is the oldest we will have ever been before we have gained even more time under our belts. The human who has had the most opportunity for growth and change has been cheated by time. Here's the mystery: We shed our old selves to become older.