Friday, August 3, 2012

Dorm Rooms, or Ikea is your friend

So when I moved into Reed my lovely parents and I spent a lot of time fixing up my room, and it was totally worth it.  I was lucky enough to get a single and as an introvert, it's really nice to have your own space.  My room was full of the things I like: I had hanging plants and a teapot and pictures on the walls and two very soft rugs and an armchair.
1) Rugs.
I got both of mine (the giant furry rug, kind of like this one, and the grey-and-white flowered one, kind of like this one) at Ikea, which was blessedly kind of near my college.  My parents stayed through O-week (Orientation) and had rented a car; they are among the most wonderful people on the planet and drove out to Ikea without me (being very familiar with my tastes).  My original floor was cold, kind of grimy lino, which is just kind of gross.  I layered my rugs so that most of the whole floor was covered.  It made my room much cozier.
2) Plants.
I love green things.  LOVE.  Plants just cheer me up - watering them makes me a little attached, and they brighten a space.  They also combat air pollution.  NASA thinks so, guys.  I had seven, which means that there was probably lots of oxygen in my pretty tiny room. Two of them were hanging from a pipe near the window.
3) Pictures.
Ikea is really really nice, people.  Specifically, they sell lots of little frames that are pretty cheap that you can put pictures in.  I framed the poster I pulled off the wall in Paris as well as a bunch of little prints I got at various thrift stores and Powell's (which is... literally the best thing ever.  Go if you are ever in Portland.  I'm serious.  Go.)  The only kind of strange thing is that their frames are weird sizes.
That's really all I can come up with at the moment.  Go forth and decorate your dorm rooms!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's been a while!

Sorry about that, guys!  My summer actually hasn't been eventful enough to warrant me leaving for this long - but I will be talking about going back to school and the like because that's important.
In the next couple of days look for posts about what to bring and what to leave, about how Ikea is your very best friend, and how it won't matter if you have a bike if you don't remember the combination.
See you soon!

Monday, June 11, 2012


The summer has been kind of strange for me so far.  After so much work at Reed and so much adventure to be had through France, I'm kind of unsure what to do with myself now.
I mean, I want to do something.  I don't respond well to too much downtime - I go a bit insane.  And I have stuff to do - theory and piano - but not really enough.  The obvious thing would be to get a job, but that's easier said than done.
It's a strange feeling, this lethargic uneasiness.  Hopefully I'll find something to do and it will go away.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Hello, blog readers!  It's been quite a while, no?
I got home a couple weeks and have been catching up on much-needed sleep and seeing my family as well as my beloved Cambridge once again.
I am also playing more and more music now, taking piano lessons again!  In college, playing the piano was a way for me to de-stress, to get a little bit of a break from my schoolwork and the constant social life that living in the dorm turns out to be, but now I actually want to pursue it.  I have a fantastic teacher, Eyran Katsenelenbogen, and am actually learning how to properly play again.  It's fantastic.
Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Aurora Borealis

I've travelled a lot in my nineteen years, but I haven't seen one thing I'd really really like to see.
I want to see the Northern Lights.
I've wanted to see them since I read Philip Pullman's incredible novel "The Golden Compass" as a child (and its subsequent sequels, "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass") - I've wanted to ever since I read out loud to my little sister from Jan Brett's picture book "Who's that Knocking on Christmas Eve?"
"High above the arctic circle in the land of ice and snow, the northern lights shimmer in the night like a curtain of color hanging from the sky," it reads.  
I have not been to Norway, or to Iceland, or to Sweden.  I have been to Denmark, but only in high summer when the bright Northern sky was bluer than anything I've ever seen; I have been to Montréal in the winter but the aurora never appeared.  
In the newest issue of the National Geographic, there is an article about solar storms - and one of the side effects of these huge solar storms is the aurora borealis coming as far south as Hawaii and Panama (well, once).  And it is the most selfish, but I would so love to see the northern lights - perhaps not enough to wish the kind of mass electrical outages on the world that come with such storms, but enough to at least think about it.
Have you ever seen the aurora?  Do you want to?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Exam Week

It has been gorgeous in Portland for the last three days.  Chilly mornings give way to beautiful bright afternoons at about eighty degrees (F), the sun dappling through the leaves.  This makes it very hard to study, but I've been doing my best.  Biology is tomorrow afternoon, and then I'm done!
Exam week is always kind of strange for me, a liminal space between classes and leaving.  You still see your friends, though not as much - the girl you eat breakfast with every morning suddenly isn't up when you are - you sleep in or have an exam at eight; she does the same on different days.  Midnight Breakfast screws up your dining schedule so that you're not in Commons at noon with your friends.  People pack up and leave.  It's a period that feels transient, strange, lonely but also full of community, and on top of it, you have exams.
For those of you also in exams, good luck!
For those of you who aren't, have a lovely day!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The College Student's Guide to Surviving Reading Week

Hi guys -
It's been a while, but it's also the middle of Reading Week at Reed College, that lovely week when the library is open 24 hours a day, when you can't get "Eye of the Tiger" out of your head, and your dormies play really really loud music all night to help them stay up and study.  You can do what I did and get the hell out of Dodge and go stay with family for a bit, or you can brave the review sessions, Stim Table, and the inherent stress.
So, here are my tips.
1) DO NOT put liquid caffeine in your coffee (I'm talking to you, random girl on Wednesday).  Seriously.  The liquid caffeine that they offer up at Stim Table in the library lobby is super strong (like, a teaspoon equals a cup of coffee) and you don't need to mix it with coffee.
2) Sleep. Seriously.  Sleep is good; sleep makes your life a little bit easier, sleep means that you won't be tearing your hair out at four in the morning because you don't remember what mesoderm is.
3) While I am totally not condoning this for your only sustenance for the next week, chocolate-covered espresso beans are delicious, and dark chocolate has all sorts of antioxidants, okay?
4) If you're like me, and classical music helps you study, I highly recommend the Bach cello suites for the soothing, going-through-all-the-bio-notes studying.  And Beethoven's 5th and 9th symphonies for pump-up, going-to-get-everything-done studying.
5) Your friends are there for you.  You are there for them.  They're pretty excellent, I promise.
6) And if you're in Portland, the poutine food cart on Hawthorne is open really late.
Good luck!