Archive for May, 2009

I’m Getting (Even More) Excited!

With school out for the summer and me finding myself with a lot more free time than usual, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy with reading, exercising, miscellaneous projects, etc. One of my newest and most favorite activities is thinking about London, sightseeing, traveling and living overseas! I just have to share — the more I think about it, the more excited I get. I’m going to miss everyone here, but this is going to be the most amazing year! I’ve been perusing the LSE website religiously as well as sites like Stuck in London, Time Out London, and Londontown, and have happily (and subconsciously) been putting the co.uk suffix on all web pages versus the good old .com ending that we’re trained to use here! I am living in such a fantastic location that I’ll be walking distance fromCovent Garden, the amazing shopping and entertainment in the West End,and a tube ride away from the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge and Westminster Abbey. There will be so much to see in my own area that I’ll never be bored. Plus, with plane fares to Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester available on special from 5 pounds per ticket, there will be a never-ending list of things to do and places to visit when I have time (that I’m not writing essays, studying or working on a dissertation). The more I think about it, the more excited I get and the more okay I am with having to pay back $40,000 at the end of this excursion. I will be coming home with a Masters in one year from a well respected University PLUS a year of travel and cultural experience that will be invaluable! Can’t wait <3. 

 
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New York(er) Humor

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I ran across this article written by Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker. It absolutely cracked me up and I had to share. Enjoy!

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My Quiet Time

by Andy Borowitz June 1, 2009

Q. What are some things you do to manage your time effectively?
A. I get up at 4:30 every morning. I like the quiet time. It’s a time I can recharge my batteries a bit. I exercise and I clear my head and I catch up on the world. I read papers. I look at e-mail. I surf the Web. I watch a little TV, all at the same time. I call it my quiet time but I’m already multitasking. I love listening to music, so I’ll do that in the morning, too, when I’m exercising and watching the news.
An interview with Robert Iger, the C.E.O. of Disney, in the Times.

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Whoever said that the early bird gets the worm could have been talking about me, only I’m a person, not a bird, and I’m not interested in getting worms, more like getting things done. But I do get up early. In fact, the secret to my success could be boiled down to three little words: my quiet time. It begins at 1 A.M., when I get out of bed, check my e-mail, brush my teeth, scan some documents, and floss. Then I’ll surf the Web, maybe order a sectional couch or trade zloty futures. Last week, I bought a Swiss chalet and sold it at a twenty-per-cent profit while I was still in my pajamas. I wanted to high-five someone, but no one else was awake. Sometimes I can’t remember if I’ve flossed already, so I’ll do it again, just to be sure, while checking my e-mail and maybe sending a fax. Did I mention that the early bird gets the worm? That in many ways applies to me.

By 1:03, I’ve had two cups of coffee, I’m down in my basement on the elliptical, and my heart is pounding like a cheetah’s. I know that cheetahs have a fast heart rate because I often watch Animal Planet while I’m on the elliptical, although sometimes I’ll do the picture-in-picture thing so I can watch CNBC Asia while I’m watching the thing about the cheetahs. It isn’t always about cheetahs; it’s about other animals, too, like meerkats. I just said cheetahs as a for instance. I do the elliptical naked. One time when I was on the elliptical, I patched myself into a conference call in Jakarta and accidentally hit the camera thing on my phone, so everyone wound up seeing me in the buff, all flopping around and everything. Another time when I was on the elliptical, I saw an amazing documentary about cheetahs.

While I’m on the elliptical and maybe ordering a hovercraft online, I’ll drain a six-pack of Red Bull. Red Bull Red Bull Red Bullybullybull. Then I’ll call London. I don’t have any business in London, but I have a London phone directory and I like to call people at random. It helps me clear my head. You’d be surprised, though, how some people in London will get totally honked off if you call them out of the blue just to say “What’s up?” It’s not an anti-American thing; sometimes I’ll call them with a fake British accent and say “Tallyho!” and they’ll still get pissed. They’ll act like it’s the middle of the night, even though with the time change and everything it’s already 6 A.M. But even if they tell me to go fuck myself it recharges my batteries.

There’s no end to the things I can accomplish during my quiet time. I have a fairly nimble contralto voice, and after I pop an amphetamine or two I’ll work my way through the Metropolitan Opera repertoire, taking breaks to revise my will or maybe buy a fishing lodge. One thing I like to do is a controlled burn of dry twigs in the woods behind my house. I’ll do the elliptical for twenty minutes, set fire to the woods, sing an aria from “The Magic Flute,” then jump back on the elliptical. Now, here’s something that honks me off: neighbors who call the fire department when you’re in the middle of a controlled burn. Those sirens start wailing and, before you know it, there goes my quiet time. I guess the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who understand quiet time and those who don’t. By the way, you know who really makes the most of their quiet time? Cheetahs. I saw a documentary on them one time and they are awesome.

#1, Baby!

LSE BeaverOkay, just as a preface: this is pure, unadulterated excitement on my part. I occasionally review the Times Online “Good University Guide” to find out what schools in the UK are ranked best and to get some insight from students’ perspectives on universities. LSE has fairly consistently ranked #3 behind Oxford and Cambridge on this list as a whole, with respect to the entire university. Additionally, after searching the Social Policy subject area rankings today, I found out that good old LSE ranked numero uno on the list, right above my second-choice school, University of Bristol! Pretty exciting! Cambridge and Oxford didn’t rank on this list since they don’t really offer this program (which is why I didn’t apply). I must say, it’s a sense of excitement and relief to know that I made a good choice for my Masters programme! Go LSE!

Going Our Separate Ways…

H&S 3

London & Los Angeles <3.

I think one of the most bizarre parts of graduating and coming into adulthood is the reality that people begin to go their separate ways and begin living their own lives. We all find different paths that work for us and we try to follow them to get to ultimately reach our ever-changing goals. As the semester began winding down a few weeks ago, I said goodbye to a girlfriend of mine that was leaving to start her life with her long-term boyfriend in Tennessee. As I wished her luck in Nashville and she wished me luck in England, I realized how different people’s paths in life really are. For her, it involves moving across the country to start a life in a foreign city with her boyfriend. For me, it involves moving across the world to pursue higher education and an indescribable life experience. For some, it involves working in an entry level job while living in a super cramped studio apartment in San Francisco and for others, it involves staying at home to keep a hold of a safety net. It’s the time in our lives where we can legitimately chase our dreams, regardless of how ludicrous our ideas may sound to onlookers.

Everything really hit me about thirty minutes ago. One of my girlfriends, whose ultimate goal is to become a publicist in Los Angeles, decided to apply for an internship in LA last week. She drove down to LA on Thursday, interviewed for two unpaid PR-related internships and just found out today that she got the one she wanted! In three short weeks, she’ll be packing up her X3 and taking a trip down to LA to get to work on her dreams. It’s weird saying goodbye to everyone; to friends, to family and to the security of home. We hope that we’ll all stay in touch, and luckily with the advent of social networking sites & BlackBerries, we can stay connected fairly easily. However, the reality is that we all become different people. We all grow up. Right now we’re all young adults grappling with the idea of being twenty-somethings trying to navigate our way in the world and trying to find paths that will lead to success. We’re not sureexactly if the path we uncover is the right one or where it will ultimately lead, but there is some excitement and fulfillment in finding and pursuing a path at all. Although idling in a realm of complacency gives us a sense of security in knowing that we have a paycheck, a place to live, a car to drive and family and friends to rely on, it doesn’t really lead to that final level of self-actualization (look at me, referencing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs…). Although that sense of security is important for some (or most) of us, it’s being able to branch out that helps us grow. If we stay in our holes because it’s comfortable, we will never be able to acclimate when our environment forces us. Feeling uncomfortable, missing home, pushing away that sense of fear and uncertainty shapes us and lets us appreciate the happiness that we have in life. Our minds have the opportunity to change and understand new and different perspectives and ultimately the experience makes us better people and better contributors to the world. We’re all scared and we all question our decisions at some point, but in the end, we’ll be able to look back and know that we tried; whether our path was the right one or not, at least we had the chance to experience it and find out for ourselves.

Lots of love & best wishes,

$250 of Love.

I just got the greatest deal known to mankind. At least the greatest deal I have run into. EVER! Up until today, I still needed to book my ticket to London to get everything going for the fall (I mean, seriously — I have my tickets from London to Munich booked, but not my trip from the US to London? A little backwards, maybe.) I have been playing with the 17th or 18th of September because I want sufficient time to get acclimated, open a bank account, set up a cell phone, get a feel for the area, etc. but I don’t want to leave before the 15th, because I want to be in California to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday with her! Well, I was perusing the wonders of STA Travel and I found an unbelieveable deal! When I looked through Expedia, one of my most favorite go-to travel sites, the one-way tickets from San Francisco to London were around $500 a piece. Obviously anything with 1 or 2 stops was slightly cheaper, so that was the direction I was leaning. I figured a stop in Reykjavik, Iceland + 4 hours of layovers would definitely be worth saving $100 or more. Well, on STA this morning I searched the same one-way ticket and I found a non-stop flight from SF to London for $251.00! $251! The ticket itself was $110 plus $130 in taxes plus some other fee they added on. It was so good I had to buy it on the spot just in case it was a mistake (doubtful, but I guess it could happen!) With the British pound getting stronger against the US dollar, I can use all the help I can get in the money-saving department and this saved me about $250 alone! I’m so thrilled. If you’re under 26, this site is heaven. Check it out & save yourself some serious cash, yo!

Much love, lovers!

Graduation!

Hey Kiddos–

I am so happy to have gotten through graduation today. Although the ceremonies tend to drag a tad, the University was fairly efficient and got through the entire college of Business Administration in about two hours (which isn’t too bad when you consider there were 600+ graduates including Masters folks). It was pretty cool watching the Masters candidates get officially hooded for their Masters, and it was definitely nice being at Arco so our families could see us on the big screen even if they were sitting in a spot where they couldn’t get a good glimpse. My parents hosted a small family get together afterwards (maybe 20 or so people) and it was a blast! We had so much fun and it was so great getting together with all of my family. Although Chris couldn’t be there due to a soccer tournament conflict in LA, his family came to support me at graduation and came to the party to mingle with my family! It was a fantastically fun time all around. Here are some pictures from yesterday:

Dad

Dad

Shannon

Newly-Minted Grad <3.

Mom & Sis

Mom & Sis

Shan & Nana 2

With Grandma!

Shan & Berna
BFF since 1986!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

STA’s Trip Planner

So I’m kind of in love with STA. Since I’ve actually started playing with some of the tools they have online, it really is an awesome travel site. In addition to the amazing airfares (I’m getting my ticket from SFO –> LHR for $261!!), they have this awesome trip planner. You get to plan your trip from scratch & it allows you to choose your points of interest, dates you plan on traveling and various hostels and sites in the area that may be of interest! If you’re a student or under 26 and you’ve got an ISIC card, you can plan your route with their help. Their trip planner will let you take stops anywhere in the world, and tickets are valid for over 12 months. Even if you don’t have the money to really travel, it’s always fun to plan! Check it out & plan your much-needed getaways <3.

If you’re a student or under 26 and don’t have an ISIC (International Student Identification Card), you can order those through STA online, too. They’re about $25 and totally worth it if you use it!  I got my hands on one about six months ago and they’re great for getting discounts as you travel. In addition to student discounts on things like plays and museum tours, you also get discounts on BIG things, like plane, train and bus tickets! We all know how that stuff adds up!

Happy (discounted) travels,