A Snapshot of Home for P’s Finals Week

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Dear P,

I’m sorry you’re stuck finishing finals. I have landed solidly in our hometown for the summer; you’re not missing much. It rained today for the first time since January. The smell was amazing. My granddad put a rain gauge in his front yard to measure the addition to the 9/10ths of an inch of rain we have gotten so far this year.

Before it started raining I went to yoga class with B at the new yoga studio on 34th Street. My brothers use my yoga mat to put under their sleeping bags during Boy Scout campouts, so it smells like campfire. The smell was distracting as I tried to focus my breath as I lay prone on the mat. My fourth grade reading teacher was doing the same thing next to me. Things are kind of awkward between us. I talked to her the first lesson I saw her. Since, we haven’t really chatted; we just smile and nod. What do you say? “Look, I have come far from the weird kid I once was, but I still can’t really do the third warrior pose?”

My chickens are doing well. I expected them to be picked off immediately by the foxes that live in our neighborhood after my dog died last month, but they are still hanging in there. They are so dumb it takes them a long time to realize when they are being fed. When they do realize, they attack their corn like little Velociraptors. It’s not hard to imagine how birds evolved from dinosaurs around them, but it still blows my mind. My mom made a new coop for them. You can just pull out a little drawer to get their mini-dinosaur eggs. They’re so dumb, they can’t count how many eggs they have, so as long as you leave a fake one they won’t get upset and start hiding their eggs somewhere else.

Last night I went to see Godzilla with B, H, J, and H’s boyfriend. We went to Sheridan’s afterwards. We watched a black pickup truck drive over a curve across a grass median into the Rosas parking lot. There were a lot of strange, green, square-ish bugs that kept getting in our hair and teenagers that dropped their frozen custard on the ground because apparently they’re dumber than my chickens. I knew the girl that made our ice cream. J and I tried to remember her last name as we approached her in line. Our hometown is just so small. It’s hot, dry, and claustrophobic in a nice way. Like a sauna with all your friends from middle school and their grandparents in it.

 

Come home soon, yeah?

E

Focusing on the Big Picture

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Dear P,

I miss you so much! I am so looking forward to our road trip and summer quests.

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In the words of the great Willie Nelson, I can’t wait to get on the road again.

My free time this semester has been divided into two extra learning experiences, as you know. One is an EMT-basic certification class and the other is the UT Undergraduate Writing Center internship. These are two very different skills, but I have been surprised by how much they have in common.

Both have routines meant to ward off critical mistakes. Both focus on making sure you, the helper, are “safe” first. In an emergency situation, an EMT is not supposed to enter the scene if anything looks unsafe, even if she can see an ailing patient. We learned what meth labs look like this week so that we will be able to avoid them. If a writer makes a consultant feel uncomfortable, the consultant is expected to ask for a replacement at the front desk.

Most of all, I appreciate how both EMT school and the writing center curriculum teach you to approach what’s really wrong first, and then focus on the details. Grammar doesn’t matter if the ideas in your essay don’t make any sense. Splinting a broken wrist won’t help if a patient’s lungs are collapsing. It is easier to notice minor injuries as the sufferer. If your finger has been sliced open, you will be able to see and feel it. However, a lacerated finger isn’t going to kill you. More serious injuries (heart attacks, strokes, diabetic emergencies) may hurt, but not always in a way that is easily recognizable. That is why patients/writers need EMTs/writing consultants to help them reflect over what is a big issue and which is a small issue. None of us have unlimited time. We have to pick which problems to focus on.

When I have a problem in my life, I often find myself obsessively cleaning my room. This has yet to help me solve any real problems in my life, but I feel that if I could just get this floor clean things would be all right. This is like fixing grammar in an essay that lacks a thesis: an utter waste of time. I am beginning to recognize that when I act like this I need help to realize what is actually wrong. I turn to my own personal consultants, my mom (mainly), you, my dear IM (who hopefully will come back to Texas eventually), and other trusted loved ones to help me prioritize my problems. Only then can I stop being a myopic idiot and actually improve my life.

Who are your main consultants, P? Do you compulsively clean when you know you know something big is going wrong? Just kidding, I know you hate cleaning.

Much love and no clorox,

E

Nostalgia

Dear E,

I found a picture of us from the summer and decided I needed to post it because, obviously, you are my woman crush and today is Wednesday so a #wcw was in order. Here’s the picture.

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I couldn’t tell you all of the details from that day, but I do remember paddling around Barton springs in the same canoe, and you laying down in my lap, and me forcing that random guy to take photos of us with my disposable. He was teasing me about it, but it was totally worth it. I remember making everyone take jumping pictures, and not much else, but I know I was thinking there was nowhere I’d rather be than with one of my best friends.

After I posted this picture I went on to go stalk your instagram. Some of your photos got upwards of 180 likes (like the ones of me jumping tehehe). I remember when you really got into photography. Every moment was a photo opportunity. We were such a dynamic duo, you with your camera always on hand and me with my awkward poses.

I seriously miss you so much. Looking through your instagram feed made me extremely happy and extremely sad at the same time. It brought back so many memories, of sunlight and the Texas heat and quests and having nothing to do except ride around in my car and blast music and find cool places to take pictures. We had it so good, E. The picture of you, me, JM, Gabe, and  Shalini in octathlon, being adorably awkward or the picture of the polaroids we took last New Year (which was amazing, because I can’t think of anyone else I would’ve wanted to start the night off with, slash holy crap, those gowns>>>>). There’s pictures of us making words with glow-sticks and spinning around in tutus we crafted with our bare hands. There’s pictures of us creating flower crowns in the summer and me throwing leaves into the camera in the fall and photos in libraries, in mirrors, in tunnels; the list goes on. Looking at all of your pictures makes me think of all the times we didn’t take pictures too, like when you and me and Wesley would skip orchestra to watch Harry Potter (woah the nerdiness of that sentence kills me), or when I would go to your house to nap in your bed because my house was on the other side of town, or that time we sat by the heart in the park and I cried my eyes out. It’s weird how many images our tiny old town holds for me. I can’t wait to be back so we can forge a whole new set of memories, hopefully with a few we manage to captures in time forever.

Sorry for being so nostalgic. Love ya!

P

Kissing Summer Good-Bye

“No summer ever came back, and no two summers ever were alike. Times change, and people change; and if our hearts do not change as readily, so much the worse for us.”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dear P,

Isn’t it ridiculous how our lives keep getting better and better? I thought that summer 2012 would be un-toppable, but it looks like we’ve done it again. We both hung out with fun, joyful people, had the opportunity to give science-ing a try, and read a bunch of great books. My summer involved some great music and poetry, going to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, lounging at Barton Springs, and getting splattered with bodily fluids while volunteering at the hospital.

I’m so glad I got to see so much of you this summer, P. Let’s start planning to make next summer even better.

Love,

E

Let the Summer Reading Commence!

 

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Dear P,

First of all, I have read this interview with Emma Watson about four times. It is my favorite post ever on RookieMag. I hope your journey home to Texas was smooth and that the hometown is just as flat as you remember.  Send my love to your family and our friends for me. If you feel like dropping by Grandad’s house he’d probably give you some watermelon.

I wanted to take today to review my summer reading list:

Read so far:

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami- I wish I could read this book with a class. I feel like I picked up about a tenth of the symbolism, but the dark imagery still made for an interesting read. I suppose I’ll just have to read it ten more times.

The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan- A charming collection of stories. It would be great bedtime read for kids.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan- Abandoned halfway through due to boredom. This book lacks McEwan’s luscious gothic style found in Atonement and The Daydreamer.

WomanCode by Alisa Vitti- Changed my life. Watch Vitti’s TED talk here.

Currently Reading:

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee- I’m only a few pages in, but I’m completely enraptured by this book. Mukherjee is a brilliant science writer.

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan- JFV borrowed this and read it on the plane to Vienna (I had barely started and was preoccupied with other books). He gave it the thumbs-up and Michael Pollan is one of my loves. I can’t wait to read it.

To-read:

So many, P. This is just scratching the surface.

The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin- I first read about Grandin in one of my favorite books of all time, An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. She is the anthropologist. Since that book, I have read a few articles by Grandin and I can’t wait to read this book.

The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley- The most interesting-souding of the four or five business books James Altrucher recommends. I aim to read at least one business book a summer. Last summer it was The World is Flat, which completely revolutionized my worldview.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed- Dear Sugar broke my heart in ten thousand exquisite ways. Strayed is one of my favorite writers.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid- The novel everybody’s talking about.

The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks- I still haven’t read everything by my hero, Oliver Sacks. He is so prolific.

Frida by Barbara Mujica- Frida Kahlo has fascinated me since we learned about Diego Rivera in Acadeca. It was a difficult and interesting time to be an artist and a woman, and Frida thrived.

The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo- Another interesting-sounding biography.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and Bossypants by Tina Fey- These both sound brilliant.

Happy reading!

E

Making Summer Sunny

P’s Quote: “She loved life, so life loved her back.”

Things I Love This Week: Wow there just feels like I have so many things to be grateful for and to be happy about. Here I go. I love the fact that finals are over, the fact that I’ve finished my freshman year at MIT, how I’ve made so many amazing friends this year that I feel like I’ve known for years, going to Boston Calling Music Festival and getting to watch awesome artists like Matt and Kim, The Shins, Marina and the Diamonds and Fun, moving into my sorority house with my best friends, living right in the middle of Kenmore Square, getting a B in physics (this is an achievement, I swear), walking down Newbury street without a care in the world, Memorial Day Weekend and how lucky we are to live in a country like the USA, my passionate peach smoothie I’m currently drinking, this kickass pair of sandals I just bought, and the fact that I’m going to be reunited with my friends and families in t minus 3 hours.

Things to Make This Week Sunny:

Enjoy summer

Hang out with my friends and family as much as possible

Here are some pics summing up my last two weeks

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Baker Formal with my besties

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Aphi formal with some of the best people I know

Also, look at the boys

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Too good, right?

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K’s Birthday

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Our last night at Baker, which consisted of confessions, the most epic game of catch phrase on the planet, pad thai, hilarious drinking games, crazy bonding and cheers to all the awesome moments of freshman year.

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The rain at Boston Calling couldn’t bring us down.

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Matt and Kim

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Don’t we look cute?

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Fun

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We Are Young by Fun

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Marina and the Diamonds

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My makeup before we went down Newbury, I really liked it for some reason (:

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Summer is here! Love you and miss you,

P

I Want to Build the Perfect Sandcastle

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Dear P,

Yesterday, my cousins and I visited a small creek near their house. I built this “sandcastle”:

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It’s so ugly. It it so ugly. So. Ugly. I can’t even call it a sandcastle without putting quotation marks.

On a school orchestra trip in 2007, I watched the movie “Nancy Drew”. In the movie, as in the books, Nancy Drew has a wide variety of interesting talents. One of these is the ability to build the perfect sandcastle. Since I saw this movie, my own dungy sandcastles have filled me with disappointment. I think it would be an excellent party trick to be able to built an exquisite sandcastle from nothing but water and sand.

I’ve found a couple of examples from tumblr:

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I like the idea of dying the roof and filling the castle with lights.

I have also researched some tips from the interwebs. This eHow article recommends building quickly with fine, wet sand. It also says to build patties on top of one another to promote stability. One you have created your foundation, you can carve out details using a fork or a stick. The technique of constantly patting your sandcastle down to make it easier to carve out is also highly lauded.

I think the problem with my sand castle is that the sand found near a creek is too grainy. The next time I am at a beach, I will put my new sandcastle-building techniques to use.

Wishing you sunshine,

E

Flashin’ Fashion

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Button-down: Rugby by Ralph Lauren

Shoes: I want to say DSW but I can’t really remember

Khakis: F21

Bracelet: Tory Burch

Watch: Michael Kors

Dear E,

Hope your summer has been great so far! I love all of the cute snapchats of Grant and Blake. They are SO adorable!!!! I’m busy studying for finals. Four days and it will be summer. Hopefully my brain won’t melt into a big puddle of mush before then.

Love you loads,

P

Making Mondays Sunny

P’s Quote

“The world will knock you down plenty. You don’t need to be doing it to yourself.” -Elizabeth Scott

Things I Love This Week

For some reason I’m having trouble thinking of the things I love this week, so I guess I’ll revert back to the things I always love in life

My family, texts from my little brothers, my best friend E, sleeping, being alone, going to the library (the Boston Public Library is absolutely beautiful), texting C all the time, yoga, free smoothies, how helpful people are here all the time, the flavor pineapple surf, and the fact that summer is almost here and school is almost freaking over, and the thought of being back home in t minus 3 weeks

Things to Make This Week Sunnier

study really really freaking hard

eat some froyo

work out as much as I did last week (I really went at it)

study some more

go to the movie theater

hang out with people I don’t usually hang out with

study study study

My birthday is coming up soon! At this current point in time I can’t say that I’m really excited for it. I’m not really looking forward to it and it’s my first birthday away from home, which is sad. It’s also on Wednesday, which is humpday, making it exponentially lamer. I guess 19 isn’t really a big one, except for that you know it’s your last year of teenagedom, which is both exhilarating and sad.

Here’s for hoping that next week is a good one.

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Surgeries in the OR

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Pics from Macklemore with K and A.

Much love,

P

Sorry, P! I got so sucked into studying yesterday that I completely forgot MMS!

E’s Quote

“What a joy it must be to be a truly great writer, even if it means a shotgun at the finish”
-Charles Bukowski
I’m sorry this is a depressing quote. I don’t believe you have to be suicidal to be a truly great writer, but lately I have been investigating the ties between mental illness and creativity. I think Bukowski sums this correlation up with his usual grit.

Things I Loved This Week

The weather in Austin. I can’t imagine anything more perfect.

Eating Indian food on top of a hill Saturday night.

My dorm had a festival Saturday. It involved a lot of bouncy contraptions, bubbles, ice cream and a climbing wall.

Making pumpkin muffins with A squared while watching “The Lion King 2”

The hunt for the perfect overalls with I. I still haven’t found them yet.

Eeyore’s Birthday.

Getting glamorous Friday night. Then traipsing home early enough to indulge in a music-sharing and freestyle fest.

Snapchats. Snapchats. Snapchats.

Quizlets, Koofers, and chai tea lattes: the three ingredients to actually studying.

I’ve just been feeling a lot of love this week, you know? I’m so grateful to have you and T and A and I. It makes me tear up to think of how lucky I am.

I wrote James Atrucher and JAMES ALTRUCHER WROTE ME BACK. It was the most exciting thing ever. We’re basically best friends now.

Things to Make Me Happy This Week:

Ace my finals

Keep following Altrucher’s “Daily Practice” (laminated for me by I’s mom)

Sending you lots of love, P! Keep on keeping on, and you’ll be home in Texas soon!

E

Take Off That Polka Dot Bikini, Girrrrrl

Dear E,

School’s almost out, and summer is almost here!!! You know what that means!! Days on the beach, making sandcastles, boogieboarding, going to the swimming pool basically every day, slip’n slides, snow cones, lifeguarding and basically anything involving water and cooling yourself off.

AKA, swimsuit time.

First off, we’ve got the trusty one piece swimsuit. Contrary to popular belief, the one piece does not have to be prude, boring, or grandma-inspired. Here are some of my favorite one pieces.

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There’s the sporty look. Cut outs modernize the little black one piece.

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The classy one shoulder in a bold color.

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I love love love this one. It’s vintage lingerie inspired and I bet it makes your waist look teeny tiny.

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This one is for the fearless of you out there with killer bodies, trying to make a statement. It says, hello, I am here.

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This is a simpler version of the previous swimsuit. It has the modern cutouts but its much more sophisticated and subtle.

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I love these two. They’re very unique and would be so much fun to splash around in.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not really a fan of the tankini. I think you gotta either go for the bikini or go for the one piece. I think it’s kind of like how I hate kitten heels. Go big or go home!

So now for the bikinis–

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This one is very girly and cute!

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This one is boho and i like the extended top!

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I like this simple black number that’s spiced up with zippers and a high waist.

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I love the simplicity of this one! The cute little flowers and the pale blue color are adorable.

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You really can’t go wrong with polka dots.

I’m also really inspired by vintage swimwear. I love love love it.

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There are SOOOOOO many swimsuit options out there!  I just picked a few of my favorites. Places I recommend for buying swimsuits

asos.com

nastygal.com

modcloth.com

threadsence.com

polyvore.com (Just type swimsuits or bikinis into their product search, so many options!)

If you want really simple and basic swimsuits I recommend checking out F21, H&M or Target!

If you want more unique pieces, you’ll have to look a little harder, but I promise, your perfect swimsuit is out there!

Good luck finding your perfect suit!

Sunshine and sparkles,

P

*This post is dedicated to E’s lovely and wild friend I, hope you enjoyed!