Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Globally Competent

As much as I used to hear those words come reflection time at VISA during freshman and sophomore year, no one really gave us a set definition. Everyone had their own interpretation of the phrase as we heard time and time again through distinguished grad speeches at the end of the year. What these words mean to me is understanding the world and everything/one in it. To be globally competent you must be aware of not only what goes on in your own city or country, but a country across the world. You don't necessarily need to live in every country, speak every language, volunteer everywhere, or do anything so extreme. To be competent means really to understand and to do so you must be AWARE.

Enough of my rant though, this post is really geared toward actually participating in my global community. I don't want to limit myself to being in southern California surrounded by the latino/hispanic community. Not that I have anything against my community, but there is so much more out there that I want to see and experience. That's one of the reasons I chose to go to school on the east coast, and even across the pond for first semester.

Image result for instituto internacionalMy first item on this mini-list is to Study Abroad. Well Fall 2015 I'll be abroad in Madrid taking 17 units. I'll live with a local Madrilena with another American in order to fully immerse myself in Spanish culture before my return in December. This also takes care of item number 2: Live in Another Country.

Items number 3, 4, and 5: Learn Latin, Learn to Speak French, and Learn How to Speak Fluent Italian. Well, as you may know, I am in love with Italy. Everything about it is amazing, the history, the food, the language, it's all amazing. Of course I want to learn how to communicate in Italian! I have this text book that I was given, but honestly I can't learn like that; I need an in person teacher. Same with French, I want to speak "the language of love" just because it sounds so pretty. Both these languages stem from Latin. I know it's a dead language, but it's just so cool. It'd really help with vocabulary and other languages. That brings me to the final item on my list - Become a Polyglot. You may be wondering what this is, or maybe you've figured it out with all the context clues, well i'm gonna tell you anyway. A polyglot is a person who understands and/or speaks multiple languages (4+). I first learned about this from my mom's boss who speaks 7 languages (yes 7! :o) who told me it's really beneficial to communicate with so many people. I already speak english, spanish, and chinese (for now as long as i continue to practice). Which actually makes me want to add another item to this list: Have a Conversation with a Chinese Person in Chinese. I need to keep this language. I really enjoy it, and I'm good at it. Since the time Mr. Hudd said I read basically as good as he did, AND told me i should pursue it in college, I really wanted to continue learning. Especially since I want to return to China, I need to keep the Mandarin skills I have in order to talk to people. I want to be able to converse with as many people as possible in this world and learning languages is the best way.
Image result for polyglot

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Play a whole song on the piano

This one goes back to about 3rd grade. In 2006, one of my favorite DCOMs (Disney Channel Original Movie) came out - High School Musical. I was in love with this movie. I knew all the songs, and most of the choreography because of the dance-along that they had. Breaking free was my favorite song from the movie and I just had to learn to play it! I wanted to be like Kelsey: writing music, playing piano, and singing songs. Even though I didn't ask for lessons or anything, I ended up learning some piano in 6th period in 6th grade. I loved it, and I was pretty good. I even got a keyboard, but I barely use it anymore. I used to; I'd practice the little songs from class. We learned short little songs out of beginner books; all playing at middle C. So technically I can play things like Yankee Doodle, but I want an official song. I want to play a song where my hands have to move from middle C, Breaking Free would be ideal, but any short song'll work :) 

Thursday, June 4, 2015


     My FAVORITE Latin phrase. (Not that I know a lot). The translation to svos cvltores scientia coronat is "Knowledge crowns those who seek her" and it is the motto of Syracuse University, my home for the next 4+ years of my life.

     The decision to apply to Syracuse University came about in many ways. My path began on college decision sites such as My College Options and Cappex. Keeping my interests in mind, I organized a profile including potential majors, living environment, school size, and school programs I'd like my future university to have. Based on this criteria, I was matched with schools that met most of my wants. Syracuse was one of these schools which originally called my attention based on the motto. Many schools have mottoes that are one or two adjectives or characteristics, but Syracuse had an intriguing phrase that motivated one to learn and be crowned by this knowledge, giving you power of mind.
     It wasn't just the motto that had me impressed, but the campus itself. Nowadays, schools are fancy buildings with a million windows and very modern looks. On television, you see schools with a classic, old style that Syracuse still possesses. These structures to me represent what universities are supposed to be: generations passing through the classics, learning to move forward, but remembering one's roots.
     Looks aren't everything, and the same goes when selecting schools. I researched Syracuse University, and found great programs that I am completely fascinated by. I learned that this school offers Neuroscience as a major, a subject that really gets my attention. In relation to that, there are two minors I saw, Cognitive Science and Logic, that I had to look into that seemed extremely interesting. Then there are the study abroad options which was the final thing that had me sold on attending this school. All these factors greatly influenced me to apply; they all point to success after attending Syracuse University.
     I finally applied using the commonapp as an Early Decision applicant. I scheduled an interview for October to help personalize my application. When I finally had my interview, I was early so the 2 guys that work for Syracuse were talking to my aunt and I about the school. One of them mentioned about this week in April for students that were admitted to come see the campus. I told him I was going to be in Italy for break in April so I probably couldn't make it. As I said this, the man I was supposed to interview with had finished and come out to get me. He told me he overheard me say I was going to Italy and that he thought it'd be best if i met with another lady who was in charge of SU Florence's center for many years. The lady's name was Camille Crites; she was extremely nice, and gave me her email to make sure all my questions in the future were answered. After my interview, I was super confident.
     Along came decision week and I ended up being deffered to regular admission so they could see my 1st semester grades. I only pulled a 3.0, so I was nervous. In March for regular admission, I was waitlisted. The Syracuse dream seemed far-fetched, but I'd already gotten accepted to a school in Spain, so I didn't mind all that much. Finally, decision day came, and for financial reasons, I was not allowed to go to Spain. I had two "choices" for schools now: Pace in NY, and CSUN here 20 minutes away from home. Obviously, I wasn't going to stay here, but I was not happy about Pace being my school. I paid the deposit to Pace friday ($600) and stayed dissappointed every time someone asked where I was going. Monday came, I woke up around 5, which never happens naturally. I went to take a shower and get dressed, and after I was done I checked my phone. At 6:03am I received an email from Syracuse telling me I WAS IN! I was so excited! I told my mom and aunt, and both seemed rather annoyed and frustrated that there was another school they had to deal with.
     I knew Syracuse was the school for me. I argued so many times with them about it. My aunt didn't want to lose her $600 to Pace, and financial aid would not cover everything. I set out to find my own funding and I did, so I accepted Syracuse's offer. That was it. I was going to Syracuse, not only to my top choice, but I was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain for my first semester in the Discovery Program. I found someone to cosign a loan for me, paid the deposit out of bank account, and my aunt finally came around to hearing my plans. I'm set to go; the only thing left is to get my spanish visa and I'm off on August 20th!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break 2015

Tour the Papal Palace
In my last trip to Europe I was able to go to Avignon, where the papacy was from 1309 to 1377 (68 years). I walked the very halls that 7 popes in history did in the 12th century. This time, spring break 2015, I went to the Vatican, where the papacy has been since it began in the 1st century except for the years in France. I was lucky enough to be able to roam around the Vatican and admire the gorgeous artwork that'd been commissioned by the world's greatest collectors of art: the Pope. So really, this was a 2-part bucket list item, which I am happy to say, I've checked off now. (It's also the smallest country in the world, so double yay for that!)

See St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican
Wow. just wow. This place seats 50.000 people every Sunday, its amazing. There's so much detail in everything. FYI I also got to see the Sistine Chapel. Breath-taking. the room is extremely crowded, you're not allowed to talk, and all you hear being yelled by the guards are "NO PHOTO!" and "SILENZIO"

Eat real Italian Gelato
At first this was exciting. Just because that quote Ms. Ungermeyer said in the Lizzie McGuire movie "We got one word for that, and it's gelato. Keep in mind that Italian ice cream has about twice the sugar of American ice cream. Means you're gonna want about two scoops, huh? I know I do." Exciting the first time, and let me say this now: Ferrero Roche and Dulce de Leche (caramel) is the best combination of gelato flavors EVER. Anyway, once you see about 50 million gelato shops, the excitement is over, i'm serious, every freaking corner. its like McDonald's for America.

Walk around the Colosseum in Italy
Again, this I also did in France last trip in Nimes, but this one is a wonder of the world. I was absolutely in AWE when I was able to stand in front of it, think of all the gore and blood that came from the time it was built. Every stadium ever built was modeled after this Colosseum. People were killed, eaten, and tortured in the place I walked and watched from the seats I saw personally; it absolutely amazes me.

Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain

I think I almost cried. NOT in a good way. No tears of joy whatsoever, just of disappointment. The Trevi was being restored!! Yeah that's great and everything, but not when the 2 sides are covered, there's no water in the fountain, there's tons of stuff around it. Now, I don't need a coin to know I'm going back, I must GO BACK. There is NO WAY that the image of the Trevi that I have in my head will be left in this horrible way.

Another FYI, my friends and I ate at SPQR, a restaurant right by Piazza Navona. I was served the white wine on the right with out being asked for an ID, so I definitely look older than 18 to them (that's the drinking age there). That guy in the picture was our waiter. He could've been my Paolo Valisari and I could've gone to my first European discoteca, but well... it could've ended up like Taken... Not everything's a Disney movie *sigh*

The only songs and scenes on my mind the whole time in Italy: