Procrastination, We Meet for the First Time

Standard

Hello all!

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written to you, this final semester of my undergraduate career has been crazy. I promise to write again soon with more concrete updates, this post is simply to say a few things, procrastinate from final papers/projects/exams, and remind you all that I can still write!

So procrastination, has made studying very hard. I’m not sure if this can be blamed on studying abroad last year and having a lot fewer recurring assignments and class needs. It could also be my happiness and involvement in my new relationship with the boyfriend (I haven’t actually asked him if I can put him in this, so he’ll go unnamed). I’m more than happy to give up my time to him, his dog, and our soon to be shared home, but it cannot be denied that this has changed my studying habits. Maybe I can blame this disease on St. Norbert’s influx of events and experiences available to me as a student and as a member of the senior class. Maybe it’s because the assignments I have are either scary big or simply uninteresting to me.

Either way, my homework is getting hard to start, work on, and finish. I’m currently looking at a paper due tomorrow (un-started), and a paper due Friday (un-started). This is scary. And completely unlike me. And I don’t like it. Maybe I’m allowing my brain take these risks because I have captured that elusive “next step”: a job. (More on that later). Maybe I’m just tired of work. Or maybe I’m lazy. Who knows.

This blog is really just a hodgepodge of my talking about procrastinating as I procrastinate. Dumb I know, but now you’ve had your dose of what goes on in my life and maybe you can help me? How about some kind of reward system? Or words of encouragement? Or a studying care package? OR, if you’re my professors, just a free A?

Advertisements

Guest Post: “Dear Dad” by Melissa Curiel

Standard

Almost a year ago you lovely interwebbian friends had the chance to read my grandma’s fictional story on our times in York and Corfu. This post was written by  one of the participants in my service trip to Chicago on Immigration last week. Melissa is a sophomore at St. Norbert College who, until three years ago, lived in Zacatecas, Mexico. She brought a personal knowledge and understanding of the social justice issues we encountered that I could never have felt or known. Please enjoy the post below. It was originally written for the SNC TRIPS blog but she has kindly shared it with all of you.


Dear Dad,

I write to you to let you know that my immigration trip is doing well on its mission. I had to cook enchiladas verdes today, and even though they were a little bit watery to me, I think the group liked them, so it is OK. I feel like a real cook. The transportation was very good to. Holly and Caitlin were the navigators today, and they do a good job navigating; which you know I cannot handle if I am not by myself. We met amazing people today: Brother Michel who has given his life for helping the undocumented immigrants, Sister Betty who has an amazing positivity and beautiful way of seeing the world, and Michel who had the confidence to share his impacting story about his journey to the United States and was open to any questions we had. All of these things made my day of service very joyful, but telling you about these good experiences was not the main purpose of this letter.

Do you remember how you used to tell me your story of how you got to the United States and how difficult it was for you to obtain your permanent residence? Do you remember how you explained the process of deportation to me: the time, the places, the people, and the kind of transportation you took? Today, Brother Michel showed all of these places to us. He took us to the retention center, the bus station where immigrants are sent back to their countries of origin, but before we went to the Chicago court where we got to see cases of other immigrants and their deportation cases. Dad, I felt the connection of your words to the places I went. I had you in mind all day and I pictured you there in front of the judge, staying in the detention center, and taking a bus back to Mexico. I do not know why, but I felt somewhat guilty. There was a time where you saw these places, but not in a tourist way. You stayed in those places because you were forced to, because you had no proof to stay in the country. Although you were young and single, you wanted to become a legal resident, so once you married my mom you could bring her to America without any problem and later on ensure a good future for the family you were already planning to have.

Today, I saw the faces of people in court. It was not fun. They were afraid, nervous, and broken, and I felt the impotence. Their cases affected me, Dad. I tried to be strong and understand the law procedures, but I just cannot understand why the voice of undocumented immigrants is so degraded. The majority of the attorneys ensured that the people being accused were hardworking men; people who came to this country to give a better future to their families and obviously, I agreed with them.

I always understood the struggles that you had to pass in order to become legal in this country, but the experience I had today strengthened my understanding. I just want to go home and give you a big hug. I want you to hear from my own mouth that I am grateful for all the things you have done for me. I want to thank you for being such a strong and brave man, and for having the courage of coming back in order to accomplish your goal.

I love you dad,

Thank you so much,

Your beautiful daughter,

Melissa Curiel Nunez

Melissa Curiel

Serving with Hope through SNC TRIPS

Standard
Hope, as we cross the bridge, officially saying goodbye to St. Norbert
Hope, as we navigate highways, byways, and then the traffic of Chicago
Hope, as we see our spacious new home with beds instead of a hard floor
Hope, as we shop for our 6 person family; 5 breakfasts and lunches and 6 dinners
Hope, as the total grocery receipt equaled $135.45, well under budget
Hope, as we attend Mass all in Spanish, which only 5/6 understood
Hope, as we board public transportation with an app and little to no internal compass
Hope, as we snap Bean pictures with our beans
Hope, as we witness love and hospitality from a Congolese refugee family
Hope, as we smile in group pictures, almost too many friends to fit in the frame
Hope, as we write reflective letters to ourselves, to be opened at the end of the trip
Hope, as we created resources for Iraqi high schoolers getting ready for college whom we never met
Hope, as we translate and interpret for immigrants and lawyers
Hope, as we railed against the reality of low resources and futile future for immigrants
Hope, as we stood in solidarity and silence during 16 immigration court cases
Hope, as we learned that these cases would not be heard until 2020
Hope, as we saw where and how immigrants are detained: inhumanely
Hope, as we learned that there are individuals who stand ready to help these people, in all weathers and of all circumstances
Hope, as we heard stories of future goals from refugees and immigrants
Hope,as we slept an extra hour on Thursday
Hope, as we learned about thefts and injustices regarding workers’ rights and benefits
Hope, as we helped register immigrants for DACA and DAPA
Hope, as we cross our fingers for future DACA and DAPA reform, as it is not perfect and is not an avenue to citizenship
Hope, as we eat our last dinner with new friends Lulu and Marcela
Hope, as we witness the morning prayer vigil for deportees
Hope, as we hold hands, praise the rosary, and sing “All are Welcome”
Hope, as the tears flow
Hope, as we reflect together on a trip that has been both heartbreaking and heartwarming
Hope
173

The Adventures of Dating

Standard

This post is not about studying abroad or travel experiences, so I should apologize to my worldly readers. It also does not contain any goofy mundane points about my life. Really, it’s a veiled attempt for me to unload just a little bit about my dating experiences. There will be no pictures or names, just teasing insights into my newly found dating life.

OK, now that all of that is set,…let me begin!

A little over a month ago I had not been in a relationship since 2009. I will always love the man I dated back then and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. In two days two years and a month have passed since he left us, and he left quite a gaping hole.

As cheesy as it sounds, I know he would want me (and everyone else in his life) to be happy. I also selfishly want to experience some of what my friends who are now married, engaged, or who believe they have “found the one” feel. Going on dates for coffee or dinner, letting a man buy me a drink, talking about our lives in an attempt to get to know each other. That world, is scary. But I decided to give it a shot. And now, no one can call me a coward, because I put myself out there. One of my dear friends told me that I was no longer allowed to complain about being single because I was not actively trying to change anything! I was acting like those parents who are embarrassed by their camper’s poor behavior but then don’t effectively work to fix anything. I joined a dating site and had mixed luck. I attempted flirting, (complete with the advice that my best friend taught me back in 2nd grade: flirting with a boy was simply fluttering my eyelashes) and went on a few dates. I then continued to have a few more with someone I really found myself liking.

The main updates to make are that I have taken myself off that dating site (it got too creepy, impersonal, and seemed fake). I now feel more comfortable with myself. I had coffee bought for me. Oh yeah, and I’m now dating that I guy I found myself liking! He’s the same one who started the conversation by asking me to tell him more about my experiences with camp. He’s the same one who I then asked out for a date the next day.

I will now end this blog by saying that being told “you’re hot” before having been saluted with “hi” is not a turn-on and does not make one feel particularly pretty. Being told that you’re perfect because you can make a ham and cheese omelet? Being asked when that person “gets to see you again”? Feeling comfortable? Yeah, that’s pretty amazing. So dating can be scary. It can feel weird. But right now, it’s feeling more than worth it.

Passing the Untouched Gavel

Standard

Have you ever worked on something for so long, say years and then had to pass it on? It’s something that you have practically poured your life and soul into, either to bring to life, or resurrect from the dead. Have you? Well I’ve been blessed enough to work on two such endeavors: Key Club at Fremont High School, and College Democrats at St. Norbert College. I could write blog after blog about Key Club and all that I gave and greedily took through my two years as its Charter President, but I’ve grown and moved on (a bit). This blog is to recognize how proud I am of the SNC College Dems and how much I believe in its future success.

college dems donkey

At the end of my sophomore year an email was sent out asking if anyone was interested in taking on the College Democrats because otherwise the school would be canceling it as a club. This was at the beginning of 2012 and I hadn’t even known the college had such a club! One of my friends, Sarah, and I emailed back as did several other students, Bojan, Jordan, Maria, and others, who had been in the club before it collapsed in an ardent belief that this was something that couldn’t be lost. We saved it. We saved it so well that the campus went blue for President Barack Obama’s second election.

Enthusiasm and membership were high during that year, so leading the club as its president seemed easy. I’m not going to lie to you and say I never had struggles or work connected with the Dems, but I am saying that 2012 was the easy year. After that we had some struggles keeping membership, excitement and participation up. Through it all were some amazing members who kept me grounded and helped to drive the group forward. I’m not going to name all of you because you know who you are. I’m just going to say “thank you, thank you, thank you”.

This year, 2014, was a midterm election and if you’ve ever worked in politics you know exactly how hard it is to get enthusiasm for such an event. We all worked tirelessly to get out the vote (GOTV) with several members registering voters, working on specific campaigns, and repeatedly telling their friends to vote. I myself worked 15 hours at the polls and while the results weren’t quite what we wanted (actually they were abysmal and I’m sorry I couldn’t keep my political opinion out of this blog post, but they were) I am still proud. The members currently in our group are amazing.

With that knowledge, I CANNOT continue to serve as the President or even as Vice President (as I have this past fall). I think this is a mistake I learned from Key Club and my political science and leadership courses. If one person leads repeatedly, even if the service is successful (which I am in no way saying my term was) the group has little chance of growing and continuing once the leader leaves. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do that to this group, especially after how far we have come. Before fall semester ended we held elections (and as College Dems elections have almost always worked since we brought the group back) the results were unanimous and everyone ran unopposed.

My dear, and longtime friend Anna is now the president. While she’s only a freshman I have no doubt she’ll do amazing. She’s actually from Fremont like me, and I watched her grow through Key Club and other leadership positions during and after my high school years. She is, in a word, amazing. Key Club and College Dems have been and are lucky to have her, as have I. I will continue to happily participate in the group through my last year but I’m also excited to see where the group goes with Anna at the helm.

At our last meeting of the year the group (very silly-ily) bought a gavel and while I never held it, I am very happy to pass it on. To Anna and all future members of the SNC College Democrats I am proud of you and hope that you enjoy and uphold the great tradition that is our group for many years to come.

Gosh that was all so sappy. But true!

Travel Bug

Standard

I know that I have talked about this before. The never satisfied itch that makes me want to GO. It seems to hide dormant for a while until I least expect it to rear its ugly head,…and then it does. I’m still currently on the train to Chicago (25 hours down, 5 to go) and I’m finding myself almost enjoying it.

Reasons for enjoying this form of travel and the trip itself:

  • I have written almost eight blogs since being on the train. You at least, dear reader, should be impressed and proud of me.
  • I have watched two of my favorite movies that are normally too long to view: The Blues Brothers and What’s up Doc?
  • I have created backstories for several fellow passengers including the murderer/strangler/shankist who has luckily no disembarked.
  • I have had two fantastic seatmates who were a joy to talk to but also not annoying (hint hint seatmate going from Manchester to Atlanta).
  • I have successfully gotten dressed in a moving train bathroom (no small feat let me tell you).
  • I have seen lots of countryside and in the winter or at night it’s all pretty much the same.

I’m sure there have been other pluses but some negatives include not being able to sleep, the two nose bleeds (again reminiscent of the flight from Manchester to Atlanta), the occasionally crying children or loud passengers, and the possible murderer.

Overall though, I think I would travel on the American rails again. I’m not sure I would willingly or quickly sign up for another 30 hour journey and I would definitely love some future company but it was alright. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to watch another movie and read some more. I wish I could give you pictures but honestly everything is too blah and brown to be interesting enough.

Choo Choo! (my version of ciao on a train!)

A Blog as Big as Texas

Standard

“Hey, Holly. Wanna go to Texas?” my mom asked me as I was getting ready for my exams. “Well,” I said, “when would we leave?” She replied that it would probably have to be almost as soon as I returned to Indiana. Geesh, I thought. That gives me no time with my friends. It would actually give me less than a week, but I said “sure”. If I hadn’t then we (my parents and I) would get the same, less than a week time period, to see each other and this would be the first time I’d seen my dad since June 7th for less than 12 hours.

I’m going to tone down squabbles we had trying to figure out the departure date and the mode of travel because you, my dear reader, don’t care about that angst. Let me just say that there was some, and we finally agreed that we would leave the day after Christmas, drive down to Canyon Lake, TX, spend a week, and then I would leave on a 30 hour train to go back to Indiana, and then finally Wisconsin. 30 hours is a long time on an American train and I wasn’t looking forward to it, but let me back track and tell you about the trip itself.

The big diesel truck was loaded up, our stuff was stowed away in the back or in the camper we towed and our little traveling party left at 2:00 am. I thought I’d hate the backseat, but it was surprisingly comfortable to sleep in, which is what I did for most of the trip. We passed through Indiana, bits of southern Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and then Texas. The last three states were brand new to me!

On the way I got to see artsy rest stops and lots of gas stations, I got to sleep in a Wal Mart parking lot, and visit Hot Springs, AK, birthplace of President Bill Clinton. We actually went out of our way a little to see Hot Springs so that Mom and I could, “take in the waters”. This basically means that people have, for decades, been coming to drink, bathe, and soak in the pools that come naturally from the center of the Earth piping hot. I wanted to “take in the waters” when I was in Bath, England remember? There was just no time during that trip with Meret. Well this time, there was, and Mom and I had a wonderful “couples” soak at the Quapaw Bathhouse. Yep, a couples soak with my mother. That sounds weird, but it was just both of us sitting in a hot tub and getting a cheaper rate than had we done it alone! Plus we got to talk, giggle, and relax. So all of you reading this who thought, “ew, a couple thing with your mom” can just stop!

FINALLY, on Sunday evening we made it to the Joint Base Recreational Facility at Canyon Lake. I’m not going to say it was beautiful, but it had some moments. I will say that I think it’s horrible how poorly this place was kept up, especially since it’s a military campground. Why can’t we show some respect for our men and women in uniform who have served or are currently? The sites themselves were ok, but the bathrooms barely worked (no heat, not clean) and the laundry was almost always in a state of dysfunction. The scenery however, was gorgeous! Rolling hills, cacti, lots of weird little deer, and trails aplenty all of satisfied my desire to see something new.

During the trip Mom and I went to Gruene, home of Gruene hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas to see some live music. I thought there’d be some dancing but everyone only tapped their feet.

I saw cowboy boots everywhere and Southern drawls and “Yes sir, no ma’am” were mandatory. All three of us drove to Wimberley one day to do some shopping. Luckily for my wallet and my friends I only found presents for other people, but it was still fun to play tourist for a bit. My parents introduced me to real Barbeque and Tex-Mex (which is basically like Mexican food that I was used to except less cheese and sour cream).  Needless to say both were a little spicy for me and my mouth did a little crying for sugar or at least milk, but I survived!

I’m really glad I went on this trip with my family. I haven’t been able to travel with them for a while, and it’s also been a bit since I’ve experienced anything totally new or foreign. (Yes, Texas does qualify as foreign to me). I loved the hikes we took through the wild brambles and the goofiness we got into.

Overall my favorite part of the trip was probably my mom and I’s Scrabble games. I won 5 times in a row! She didn’t win a single game the entire trip and while I don’t want to gloat, that’s pretty impressive.

I’m now rolling away from Texas on that 30 hour train ride. I’m seven hours into it and so far we’re still in Texas. We should be here for over a majority of the trip but that should be no surprise. Texas is as ginormous as the amount of fun I had!

2015: New Year, New Me

Standard

Yes, Katie, that title is a veiled attempt to allude to your motto from last year. A new year, and a new me in 2015 (nice rhyme, right?). This year should bring some big changes and I thought those words fit, so I hope you don’t mind that I stole them. I promise not to annoyingly crow them at all times, but maybe I can live up to them a little better than you? Ehh, no promises.

So, 2015 is upon us. Since this blog is late it has actually been a reality for a while now.

20—I’m in my 20s. 15—my favorite number. This should be good, it’s simply a numbers game!

2015, the year I graduate from St. Norbert College a double major in Political Science and Leadership Studies and minor in Peace and Justice Studies.

2015, the year I enter the real world. Maybe.

2015, the year I promise to:

  • Travel, whenever possible, to new places.
  • Experience and try, whenever possible, new things even when scary
  • To continue to stretch, learn, and enjoy improv and acting
  • To achieve a 4.0 semester (because I’m a geek)
  • Drink more water
  • Exercise more

Ehhh, maybe those things will happen. I suppose I should promise to try because after all, I’m not psychic or perfect. Maybe one of those things will happen and it will be so life-changing that everything else will go out the door. Or window. Or through the roof!

I guess I’ll just end this by promising to breath and enjoy what I can when it comes. If it does. Happy 2015 everyone, and I hope you like the new year, and the new me!

Study Abroad Never Ceases

Standard

OK, that title is misleading. Yes, my actual study abroad has stopped. If you’ve been a long time reader, or if you’re just smart, you’ll know that my adventures abroad actually ended on June 7th. And that fact still saddens me. BUT, the great thing about studying abroad once is that though you ARE unhappy it ended, you’re more than happy to help others who are either leaving to go abroad or have chosen your own school as their place of international study.

This fall’s semester of international students came from all over and I’m so happy I can now call them my friends!

Kaja, a friend from Germany, came to Door County with me for a wonderful weekend near the beginning of the year. We hiked all over, went swimming, and did a little bit of shopping. That’s right, swimming in September. We were pretty crazy and it was pretty chilly.

Out of all of the students I became closest with Kaja and miss her already. She pushed me to swim on the weekends at the Y, came to my improv shows, and even brought me to my first Green Bay Packer game! Let it be stated that I am a Chicago Bears fan (through thick and thin) and still sat in Lambeau for a game. We went with another student from Germany, Carolin, and it was actually quite fun. Cold, since it was December 8th, but still fun. Don’t worry all you fellow Bears fans, the Pack didn’t succeed in making me switch my loyalties, my heart still belongs to you! Even though the Packers won while we had an overall abysmal losing season.

For Thanksgiving Paige (my wonderful and amazing roommate) and I hosted a traditional meal for any international students on campus for the break. We cooked EVERYTHING! Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing, cranberries, salads, appetizers, kasha, pie, and brownies and almost all from scratch. All total we had 8 people eat together but I think we ate leftovers for at least a week afterwards. Luckily nothing burned (except Paige’s pie, but that totally wasn’t her fault) and it actually looked and tasted beautifully! We can proudly call ourselves Thanksgiving chef experts now and should probably be looking at that for future careers.

Other than those main exciting moments the semester was filled with little moments I found myself privy to as the international students lived in America with us. I watched one student, Alex from Australia, gaze above in amazement as he saw snowflakes fall. I listened adoringly to Cameron from England’s accent missing what I used to know as “home”. I greedily ate all of the chocolate Kaja would give me from Europe.

**Hint hint anyone from abroad,…care packages with Maltesers, Galazy, Milka and any other wonderful treat will always be accepted and I would return the favor!

I hope these moments of wonderment don’t stop just because my plane already touched down. I hope other incoming or outgoing students feel even a bit of what I felt while abroad and once I was home. I hope that you, dear reader, GO ABROAD! The study abroad office on campus used to have a saying that read on t-shirts, “Please go away” and we mean it. Now the shirts are a little more welcoming and communio-esque but the feeling is the same. Studying abroad is still the best thing I’ve ever done and I’m glad it hasn’t quite stopped yet.

Return to the Stage

Standard

Do you remember when I was lamenting stupidity and not being interesting? Well, I realized sometime around September that this was because I had no hobbies. I had nothing that was unique to me besides the double creases at my elbows. (Go ahead, check yours,…I’ll bet you $1 million that you only have one.)

Anyway, this bugged me. And really made me struggle with how I could feel or be even interesting. Or better yet, how could I feel more fulfilled? Maybe a hobby? Well I used to play several instruments and loved that, but I knew that I don’t have the dedication or time that music requires. I started exercising regularly and while I enjoy Zumba and spinning I didn’t think I could count either as a hobby. I’m not creative enough to make any crafts a hobby. In fact, I haven’t finished the scarf I started making 5-6 years ago and I don’t think that making lanyards and friendship bracelets every summer at camp counts. I read, but that’s not a hobby; it’s more like a necessity, like breathing or water.

What could I do? THEATRE! I performed all through high school and have taken quite a few classes (mostly with my wonderfully talented grandparents). The last 3 summers I’ve been very happily employed with the American Folklore Theatre (now the Northern Sky Theatre) in Door County just never on stage. Maybe I could return? Maybe? Hmmm. Well, as it’s my senior year I don’t have enough time to dedicate to a school production, although St. Norbert does some fabulous shows with some really talented students. There is a wonderful improv troupe about two blocks from my campus called ComedyCity. I figured maybe I could just go watch shows and hopefully throw myself on as an audience volunteer every night. But then,…the heavens opened up and the troupe released that they would be hosting auditions on September 28th!

I didn’t tell anyone I was going. I was honestly too scared that either a) it wouldn’t go well, or b) that I’d chicken out. Long story short, neither option happened! The audition was a lot of fun, mostly because I didn’t chicken out. The other hopeful performers were as excited as I was and when six of us got a call back I think I can happily speak for all of us by saying that we were jubilant. At least I was. The gauntlet (or practice rehearsals we were given to see if we could make the final cut) were also a lot of fun. I remember playing a hammer, getting really good at Zip Zap Zop without hand movements, and once justified my reasoning for moving onto the counter as a peanut butter jar. The six of us are now known as the “future stars of improve” which feels like such a compliment and vote of confidence.

My first four shows were on Ladies Weekend, November 21st-22nd and what a great  start! The women I played with on stage were so helpful, kind, smart, funny, beautiful, wonderful, and so many other positive role model-y adjectives.

That weekend I also got to see “Spring Awakening” with two of the lady troupe members and it feels wonderful that theatre is back in my life in so many different directions. In total I have had 8 shows since starting and my favorite moments have included being a lady who thought she was a bouncy ball, Santa Claus with children who couldn’t tell him exactly what they wanted (I had to guess they wanted a bedazzled Keurig that made milk flavored Jell-O, a grass-flavored gumball, and a Barbie Dream House on the island of Genovia that was only accessible by a straw for a very small little boy),

a woman who wanted to marry a man who walked with a limp and spoke with an interestingly exotic accent, and a lesbian sister who did not like pink.

OK, I had quite a few other “favorite” points. This blog post really could go on and on. The friends I’ve made through ComedyCity are funny as hell (to keep the adjectives short even though this post isn’t). The lessons I’m learning and am working on are challenging at best but the stretch I feel after each rehearsal and show is liberating. “Yes I will help you put up this tent, and I’d like to do it while figuring out if our marriage is still worth it.” “Sure we can go over there, but since there are dragons lurking around the next corner we should grab some sort of weapon so we’re prepared!” (“Yes, and,” get it?)

Enough rambling Holly! Tell the readers the good stuff, if they’re even still reading….. Basically, improv is no longer a dream or a hobby for me. It’s a lifestyle and a necessity. And you should come watch the shows. This is a huge, and shameless plug, but ComedyCity, and all of the other wonderful events that take place at the Green Room Lounge are more than worth it and you could even get to see me on stage! That is, if you like to laugh and giggle. If you don’t,…then don’t come and I hope you didn’t waste the past few minutes reading this.

I will now end the blog post (I really promise this is it) with some gibberish because that’s another lesson I’m trying to work on with improv. Askeebadit blargen foil folly skenut aktoobular!

ComedyCity De Pere