Fellow Americans…

So last night I had to watch the State of the Union address for my “Health Care Crisis” class taught by the president of my university, Donna Shalala. What’s cool about her is that she was the Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration so knows her stuff. As a part of the class we have to attend 5 seminars because she likes to encourage campus involvement. Since this address was important she included it as a seminar (although I should be watching it anyways). So I made it a point to take a few hours of my night to listen to President Obama tell me what’s up in this crazy world we’re living in.

While it was interesting to watch, I have a hard time taking a lot of it to heart. Clearly, he needs to instill hope in a people that is losing it each day as more people are becoming unemployed, uninsured, and uneasy about the state of our country. There were a couple things that especially struck my attention.

First of all, talking about policies that will decrease our deficit by a trillion dollars really means nothing to me. A trillion dollars just seems like such a big number that I do not even know anymore if such a quantity will actually signify progress or not. What effect will this have? Will it strengthen our dollar in the rest of the world? Because I know I’m pretty anxious to get back to Europe right about now.

I feel like there is definitely a set formula that has been implemented for years for these speeches. Certain topics like jobs, energy, and the economy that always have to be covered. However, certain areas always attract my attention, like education. Last night Obama stressed making college more affordable for low-income families and strengthening the quality of community colleges. Most striking to me, he wants to let college loans go after twenty years… Is this something that is really feasible? Like I mentioned earlier, our debt and economy is way over my head and this just seems like another added expense that will drive us even deeper into the ground.

One of the things that must also be included is a report on the war. Amidst the crisis in Haiti, high rate of unemployment, and other going-ons in the world, I was embarassed when I realized that I had almost forgotten about the war overseas. Although I always read the top stories of the day, not until Obama mentioned the status of troops in Iraq did I realize that I truly forgot about what was going on. It made me a bit sad.

Onto the ladies in attendance like Michelle Obama. I’ve always admired the lady’s style and grace (not to mention great arms) but last night her haircut just made her forehead look huge. I loved the length but the triangle leading to where her hairline began was just not flattering. The presence of Nancy Pelosi is inescaple as you see her the entire time of the speech. Can you imagine being her? I kept putting myself in her shoes throughout the speech. Being in the limelight for that whole time must be a lot of pressure!

After the speech, I listened to a bit of commentary on the procession. One journalist said that there was “no Blackberrys and twittering like we’ve seen in the past.” This just brought to the forefront the presence of social media in our society. I know I was twittering throughout the speech while laying on my couch, but to think Congressional leaders normally do the same from their seats made me chuckle a bit and clued my roomies into the fact that I’m not the only person in the world using Twitter on a regular basis (like they make me fun of for).

Before the speech, one of my roommates asked all of us what our feelings on Obama were. I will come out and say that I voted for him because I liked him and his beliefs more than John McCain. In terms of post-election thoughts, I’ve always been in the mindset that we must listen to our President and track his progress whether we like it or not because things will not change post-election. I am not a political person and never have been. I like to follow the news of now and know what is going on but will never be one to lobby, write letters, or try to influence policymaking unless it is an issue I feel very passionate about.

For now, I will continue to watch addresses and take them for what they are. I will follow the news of the day and make sure that I know what is going on in our society to ensure that my future is not in total peril. I am anxious to see if his calls for mends between parties to ensure policy making will actually work but only time will tell!

Forever a Daddy’s Girl

Somehow a week has flown by since I survived the trip from Denver to Miami with my papa. Thirty hours spent in a car can have it’s ups and downs, but it thankfully went smoothly once we finally waved goodbye to Mama G and pulled out of the driveway. After arriving Monday night, the next day and a half were spent making too many trips back and forth between Home Depot (let’s just say the “gray” paint came out lilac on first try), cleaning dirty floors, and figuring out where to fit all of our things!

I really do not know how I would have EVER been able to move in without my dad coming here with me. I made the poor man paint my room from this:

To this:

And he stayed up into the WEE hours of Tuesday morning setting up my cable, putting together my desk, and way too many other things I have no idea how to do on my own.

Slowly but surely everything is coming together but me and all my roommates keep being interrupted by…

SORORITY RUSH!

Thankfully, I am a Rho Gamma and am loving being on the other side of recruitment. Instead of being stuck behind a door for seven hours straight talking non-stop about my sorority, I get to lead a group of 12 girls through recruitment, helping them talk out their decisions, providing mints before they go in, and serving as their go-to lady for the weekend! Tomorrow is Bid Day and so the process will be over, I’ll be reunited with my sorority sisters and able to enjoy one day full of sisterhood activity before classes start Tuesday.

Here’s some other quick highlights from this roadtrip and moving in craziness!

The most exciting attraction in Kansas? Prairie Dog Town!

Real Kansas City BBQ! Such good ribs.

Water break in Nashville flooding the streets!

My first Trader Joes!

After getting some insider tips on what to get on this momentous grocery trip, I ended up with some hummus, sweet potato chips, pita chips, salsa, jelly, almond butter, licorice, and dried mangos! I really wish they would get one of these in Miami because I am positive I would do ALL of my grocery shopping here… It was absolute heaven.

We still have lots to get done around the house like figure out what to do with three mini-fridges, four microwaves, three vacuums, and multiple bookshelves…

But for now, we are enjoying being reunited and I am loving living with college kids again instead of the 80 year old and her cat.

Ready for some sun!

8 months later I am finally making the 3o hour trek back to Miami for the start of the spring semester. I really cannot believe:

a) how quickly this break has gone by

b) that it is spring semester (when it feels like it should be fall) and..

c) that I will be living in an apartment, with my own room and three of my best friends!

Since I have never lived in an unfurnished place before, packing has been a bit of a hassle. We will be moving into an empty place which means I need everything from a bed frame to measuring cups… Needless to say, Mama G (in true form) took it upon herself to supply all of these things. While I certainly appreciate the help, I can’t help but get a bit ruffled when she takes out her stress on me when she (technically) brought it upon herself!

Pity party aside… the car is now packed and ready to go in spite of a few roadbumps including me locking the keys in my car this afternoon, needing to drive to the dealership to get one of the seats unstuck, and some bags breaking. It will just be me and my dad on this roadtrip and he insists on having ample snacks on the way! In the mix? Veggies and hummus, apples, chocolate covered Craisins, trail mix, AB&J, and the things he insists on bringing like beef jerky and cheese and crackers. I’m not a fan of the potency of beef jerky in a stuffed car but hopefully I will be able to survive.

I will be sure to write again when I am all settled in. It is so strange to thing that this winter break and holiday season is over. I can assure you that it was one of the best that I can remember and I am not sure why. Something about the mix of family, friends, and outings made it so much fun yet relaxing and I found myself very content most of the time! I’m definitely nervous heading back into school but I will just have to remember to keep my wits about me and make sure I am always taking a second to breathe. We’re pulling out of the driveway tomorrow at 8am “sharp” though so I gotta get some shuteye. When me and Kelly made the trip, neither one of us fell asleep in the car once so I got big expectations to live up to. I feel bad making the driver drive sans a passenger, ya know?

Oh! I’m hoping to stop by a Trader Joes on the way to Miami. We don’t have any in Colorado or Miami so thinking about stopping off in Atlanta or Nashville. What are your favorite TJ products to pick up? Give me some suggestions since I find the blogworld knows this store best!

Bowling NOT on a birthday?

So yesterday my family met up with my uncle, aunt and four cousins (all under the age of 6!) for a lunch followed by… bowling. Now I don’t know about you, but I have not been bowling in what seems like forever ago. Maybe it’s because I used to have all my birthday parties there growing up and just grew tired of it? It’s funny because it’s definitely something my parents grew up doing their whole lives with family and friends but definitely not an activity that jumps to my friend’s minds whenever we are trying to brainstorm things to do during the day!

But we headed to the bowling alley after a scrumptious meal at Red Robin (why are their fries so good?!) and let me say that I did not get many of these…

By the end of the game, I kind of figured out how to get the ball to go in a semi-straight path but it definitely took one (or ten) test runs before I got some points on the board. Needless to say, my dad hit it out of the park, while my cousin Matea just liked rockin’ the shoes.

My other cousin Max got frustrated as the game went on because he just did not realize how he could be considered a “pro-bowler” at Wii bowling, and yet, unable to knock out all the pins in a real bowling alley. This made me reflect on kids these days (gosh I feel so old), reminding me to take make sure my kids realize that bowling exists outside of the virtual world.

Overall, it was a fun way to enjoy family time and unleash some competitive spirit (although unfortunately I did not have much to brag about). Just thought I’d take some time out to remind you about bowling, a long lost recreational activity that still can provide some fun! Not to mention it’s not too expensive, and now there is no smoking in the alleys so you don’t leave smelling like an ashtray!

And it begins…

First off… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The day I have attempted to avoid thinking about has come and gone. I am officially 20 years old! Actually, I am surprised by how much better I feel about it today than I have on the days leading up to it. For some reason, the idea of no longer being a teenager and entering a new decade was never too appealing to me, especially since no real perks come out of turning 20. But I ended up having a great day filled with my best friends.

The passing of today also means the end of the holiday season and, let me tell you, I am so relieved. The holidays are always fun and I actually ended up having one of the best seasons so far, but it really can wear you out. I am excited to have these next ten days to relax and get ready to head into the spring semester instead of having to worry about what big celebration is about to head my way. But like I said, from Christmas to New Years, I have had the best time reconnecting with people I missed so much while abroad and am loving being back.

Family at traditional Bubba Gump's dinner in Breckenridge

The picture from last year... Creepily similar!

Annual Birthday Brunch... I'm so mean for making my friends get up before 10 on New Years Day

And again, the picture from last year! Glad to see the friends all stick around 🙂

Ingredients for a wonderful New Years Eve!

I cannot believe that it is 2010. But I am excited to see what the next decade holds! I have not completely charted out a list of resolutions but there are definitely some things that I want to keep in mind and embrace as the year begins! Among these things:

1. The 365 Project– Have you heard about this? Basically, you take a picture everyday and chart it on this website. Seems like a cool idea… I started a profile today and me and a few friends are going to try to keep it up for the entire year

2. 100 Ideas– I found this on a blog and want to make it a goal to cross off a couple every week until I have done all 100!

3. Blogging- I really wanna keep up blogging. While in Spain, I found that it was a great way to reflect on things, relax, and also keep up my writing. Everyday I think of something new that I can write about and even if no one is reading it, it’s a good tool for me!

4. Running in a race- Initially, I was thinking a half marathon but really, I just want to run in any race. It’s hard finding motivation to keep up working out without a clear goal in mind so finding a race to train for and work towards would make conditioning more meaningful and inspiring!

5. Keeping in touch with people from all over- Too often I find myself being content with knowing that things will “go back to normal” when my friends and I are reunited over breaks. Sometimes it’s frustrating because from home to school, all my friends are important and I want to know what’s going on in their lives. We are all always busy though so tend to lose touch when we’re not living in the same state, and I want to make sure I take time out of the week just to catch up with people.

6. Finding a new hobby- There’s things I want to learn, like scuba diving, that would be new and exciting! Hopefully things will pop up as the year goes on and new opportunities unfold.

7. Watch the news- Not only is a good habit that I need to get back into- there is so much I can get from it. While also being informed with what’s going on in the world, I need to start paying attention to the way packages are formatted, what anchors do well, and what works best for news programming so that I can make my own work better!

There’s definitely more that I am looking forward to but these are just some ideas. I hope that everyone had a great New Years and is ready for what 2010 has to bring… Can’t wait to share it with you!