- Thanks to being a slave to Apple and its iPhone for so many years, I am finally due for my upgrade! I would love, love, love to step into the big leagues with a new iPhone 5…I love the silver one!
- I am in desperate needs of new riding boots. I’ve had my fair share of them, but I wear them so frequently that they get run down. Not to mention the fact that I have the tendency to wear them at frat parties…not ideal. This year I’d love an investment in some great quality, leather boots that I would actually take care of for once.
- Lately, I have been loving the bib necklace look. This particular one is from J.Crew, which is well beyond my price range for jewelry, but its a great example of the look I’d like to go for. There are so many websites where you can steal the same kind for less!
- Every girl should invest in some lulus, and I am no exception. Once again, I find myself without a suitable pair at the moment, and I am just dying to get a new pair of wunder unders for the winter.
- Cozy sweaters are the number one thing I am craving for Christmas this year! I honestly just cannot get enough. They are my achilles’ heel.
- There’s nothing like a Target gift card! Most of my paycheck goes to the store anyway (I literally cannot walk in without spending 100+ dollars, even if I only went in to get shampoo) so it would be wonderful to fund my habit on someone else’s dime.
- A perfect stocking stuffer are the ribbon hair ties that are so popular nowadays! I am a devoted customer of these bad boys, but being abroad, I underestimated how many I would need and I am down to my last, ratty ribbon.
To follow up with a week long hiatus while I traveled through Spain and Italy (ugh, my life is so hard), I’ve decided to introduce a new feature on Maura Met Union called Tuesday’s Tunes! I don’t know about any of you, but I am constantly looking for new music, preferably stuff that is not featured on the Top 40 countdown. Spare me the whining, pseudo-rap musical stylings of Justin Bieber, please. Here’s a list of 5 songs that I am absolutely loving this week – seriously, they’re so overplayed on my recently added playlist, I can’t even.
“Holes” by Passenger
“Human” by Christina Perri
“Elastic Heart” by Sia feat. The Weeknd and Diplo
“Bonfire Heart” by James Blunt
“Man on Fire” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
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Despite being a couple of days late on my blogging (thank you very much, jetlag!) I can officially say that I have settled into life in York, England! After almost 24 straight hours of traveling, we finally made it to the university two nights ago and I have been loving it ever since.
On Thursday night, I flew from Logan Airport in Boston with the other kids on the trip from Massachusetts – Emily, Davis, Jenna and Christina – to London and from there to Manchester. From Manchester, we took a coach bus from the airport to York, which took about two hours. Though we were supposed to have arrived in town around 4, other international students had missed their flight, which pushed back our departure from Manchester by two hours…we didn’t leave until 4, aka when we were supposed to have arrived. Yikes. Luckily, I slept through the entire debacle, which was a blessing considering I didn’t get any sleep at all on our flights. Sleeping upright is no easy feat. When we finally arrived on campus, we then had to wait in line for what seemed like hours to register with the university, get our keys and receive welcome packets. Finally, around 7, we headed back on a shuttle to the Grange!
The Grange is off campus housing for York St. John University, located about 10 minutes away from campus. It is an easy walk, with plenty of beautiful houses to look at on the way…so far, I have no complaints! Comprised of various houses, the Grange breaks up each respective house into numbered town houses. I live in Welch House 3 with three other roommates, though it can live five people in total. Extra bedroom for anyone who wants to visit! I totally lucked out with my accommodation assignment, as Kim, one of my friends on the trip lives with me! Not to mention the fact that we have two wonderful other girls living with us, Cathryn and Maggie. Living in Welch House 2 and Welch House 4 are Davis and Joe, two of our other friends, and Max, Emily and Allie all live in other Grange houses close by. I would post a picture of our house, but surprisingly, I haven’t actually taken a picture yet! We each have our own bedrooms split between the two levels, as well as a common kitchen, bathroom and shower. Our individual rooms are spacious, and we even get our own sinks which are beyond convenient.
The first night we got here, Allie, Kim, Emily, Davis and I headed into town to explore a bit and grab a bite to eat. We settled on wagamama, which wasn’t exactly out of our comfort zone considering they have them in the States, but it was good nonetheless. Exhausted, we all then headed back home to unpack and go to bed early as Davis, Emily and I hadn’t slept in what felt like days. The next morning, the five of us and Max – who had just arrived – headed back into town to take care of a few errands. We grabbed brunch at an adorable spot, Cafe Luca. After eating, we took our time really exploring the city, walking all the way down the water and down every side street we could find. The city square literally has everything you could possibly need – including and Urban Outfitters! We also took care of our international phones, opting for a pay as you go option with a carrier called 02. The man who helped us was absurdly nice, taking the time to be patient with all of our ignorant questions and the fact that we are obnoxious Americans. Surprisingly, the British are just as fascinated with us as we are with them! After hitting a few other stores to take care of some basic necessities that none of us had packed with us, such as bedding, food, toiletries, etc, we were all beat and headed back to take naps.
There was a big paint party hosted by the university at a club in the city going on last night, which the boys were all very excited about. Us girls on the other hand…well, considering we all overpacked in the first place, we also didn’t bring any clothing we were particularly happy about ruining. Not to mention the fact that I had zero intention of doing laundry during my first week! So instead, the boys headed off to Tokyo, a nightclub, while us girls had a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant, Caesar’s. After that, we headed through the streets and landed on a bar called the Stone Roses, apparently named for a British band…go figure! It wasn’t packed, which was nice, so we got to have great conversations with some of the locals, and learned some valuable lessons. Most importantly was that we had been tipping an exorbitant amount on every meal. Apparently, British custom is that you only tip if you feel the waiter or waitress deserves it, and there is no percentage that is necessary, as waiters/waitresses make a reasonable hourly wage, equivalent to about $9/hr., and the tips go right into his or her own pocket, unlike in the States. In fact, most people don’t tip at all if the service is not above and beyond. Whoops. Oh well, ya win some and ya lose some! Lesson learned.
We’ve all just come back from a meeting with Professor Oxley, who came on the trip with us, as well as an orientation-like meeting with all of the international students, and after grabbing a sandwich across from campus at an adorable cafe called Nicky’s Kitchen – run by a very sweet woman, Nicky, and her mother – we are all now back in our rooms resting before heading back into town with one of my housemates, Cathryn!
I know I don’t have many pictures yet, but I promise they will be uploaded in due time! Cheers! x
Welp, it’s Labor Day Weekend, and unfortunately…we all know what that means. Summer has officially drawn to a close. However, given Union’s delightful trimester system, classes on campus still don’t start for another week. For me, classes will take even longer to commence, as I won’t even arrive in York, England until September 14! Just in case you have forgotten, or haven’t been spending all of your time digging through and pouring over my previous posts (how dare you!) I will be abroad this fall term and could not be more excited!
As my last non-Union attending friend has packed up and headed back to his or her respective school for another year, I have been focusing much more on preparing for my upcoming European adventure; that preparation has included growing just slightly nostalgic for the past summer and looking back on all of the fun I had. Considering I took the summer off from Maura Met Union, I figured a gallery of some pictures accumulated over the past couple of months would be a fun way to recap!
What a weekend this one was. For those of you who have just experienced your first alumni weekend, I hope you had an amazing time like I did, and for those that have yet to experience one…just wait! I have always been adamant that alumni weekend is by far the best weekend on Union’s campus, which is a pretty bold statement considering all of the amazing events our community has to offer. But, with the fireworks, music and BBQs with alumni who are pushing 85-years-old and have still got it in them, where can you go wrong?!
Alumni weekend, however, also happened to fall on an otherwise very busy weekend as well. On Friday, we had the Greek Awards to attend, where Delta Delta Delta picked up numerous honors, including best philanthropy and most improved sorority! Then, on Sunday, we held our annual TRIHOP Pancake Breakfast, where we served pancakes and bacon and donated all the proceeds to St. Jude. We managed to raise almost $400 for the children and their families! But, yesterday, it was also one of my best friend’s birthday, and today it is another best friend’s birthday!
As a result, we all headed to Bomber’s for my friend Emily’s birthday, where she celebrated by getting a free margarita for her 21st! A free margarita on your 21st birthday is one of the fun things about Bomber’s, a local burrito bar and owned by a Union alum, not to mention the delicious food! I had an amazing BBQ pulled pork taco and rasta fries, and they were to die for.
After Bomber’s, my best friends and I headed to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for the Brad Paisley, Chris Young and Lee Brice concert. Although thunder storms were forecasted, it ended up being an absolutely beautiful night, and it didn’t rain once! I don’t know about you, but country music is my absolute favorite, especially in the summertime. It was a perfect end to the best weekend yet. But this week, despite being the tenth, is already proving to be just as fun, as my friends and I are went to the new Asian fusion restaurant downtown, Zen, for my bestie Katherine’s birthday dinner. Despite incredibly slow service – it was very busy and they were clearly understaffed – I definitely enjoyed my shrimp hibachi with noodles…even if it was after we had to have them heat up our food once it got to us. But, I won’t hold my less than desirable experience at Zen against them, as they’re brand new, and it was obvious our waitress had little to no experience.
“Raptness and Reticence: The Circumstances that Created these Beautiful Faces”
Tomorrow, Thursday May 23, my beautiful sister, friend and 2013 Minerva Fellow Jacqui Smith will be hosting an artist’s reception for her senior art show! Obviously, I am biased, but Jacqui is honestly one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. From 5 to 7 p.m. in the Arts Atrium (first floor in the Visual Arts building), Jacqui will be serving food and drink while showcasing her incredible work. Her work will be displayed until May 28, and I encourage anyone who cannot make the reception tomorrow to pop in at any time to just take a look! Here is the official description of her work:
“Union College presents the art exhibition Raptness and Reticence by college senior, Jacqui Smith. This show consists of 25 watercolor portraits of children born out of extenuating circumstances. These are children who are sex slaves, child laborers, child soldiers, children with downs syndrome or autism, hungry children, children of extreme poverty. The paintings are comprised of the faces of these children in order to expose our common ground. These are kids throughout the world who have never deserved the lives they were given. Exposing them and getting their faces out there for as many people to see will encourage more people to offer their support.
Jacqui Smith is a graduating senior of Union College, originally from Poughkeepsie, NY. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She has illustrated the children’s book “The Rainbow Jars”, written by James Lincoln. After graduation, Jacqui will be moving to Ecuador for nine months as a Minerva Fellow to work with the impoverished community of Estero del Platano. She hopes to continue championing the causes of children globally, especially through art and illustration.”
I hope everyone is recovering nicely from this past Springfest Weekend! As it was my second Springfest, I had lots to compare it to this year, and I must say that it surpassed my first year experience with the event. Although I barely paid attention to the concert and never made it inside the roped off venue, choosing instead to wander with my friends, I loved listening to Chiddy Bang and the band that followed them, the Dirty Heads. All in all, it was such a wonderful weekend spent with wonderful people, and I can’t wait for next year! Or…better yet, Alumni Weekend in just a few short weeks!
Join the sisters of Delta Delta Delta and brothers of Sigma Chi tonight for WINGFEST! All proceeds go toward St. Jude Children Research Hospital and the Wounded Warrior Project, and tickets are $7 both in Reamer and at the door. What could be better than fun people, delicious all you can eat wings from Union Inn and raising money and awareness for two fantastic causes?! Not much.
On Thursday night, a couple of friends and I attended the winter dance concert at Yulman Theater, Circling Beginnings: Dancing the Seasons, and I am so thrilled we did! Each part of the show was a different season, with both student and staff choreographed numbers that were truly beautiful. In addition, director Miryam Moutillet incorporated two members of the Eliphalets acapella group, Connor Barrett ’14 and Meagan Melley ’16, to sing in between the performances, which was a nice way of breaking up the program – live music is always a treat! With each performance that was a student project, you could really see the individuality and creativity coming through with the choreography, and it was really awesome to see that we have such talented students here at Union in all sorts of mediums.
Although I loved the whole show, there were a few performances that really stood out to me as my favorites. Jenna Langhans ’13 and a dance instructor did a piece set to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”, which happens to be an absolutely gorgeous song, and the dancing to go along with it did not disappoint. I never wanted it to end. I also loved the ensemble piece set to “Jai Ho” during the summer season of the show – it was so fun and lively, the colors were mesmerizing! Another piece that stood out to me was one that involved tap dancing, as well as a bit of hip hop, which was beyond cool. Tap dancing was the last type of dance I was expecting, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a handful of girls in perfect tapping sync.
For my first Union College dance concert, I have to say I picked a pretty good one to check out!