Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Guest of Mine: Camille LaRocca - Down To The Pumpkin Patch

Hello everyone 珞 Happy Fall season! 

This week, one of my lovely friend went to the Pumpkin Patch, and she took a lot of beautiful pictures.  And so, say hi to Camille LaRocca. The blog post this week is written by her, so take a look!

Down To The Pumpkin Patch

The air had the type of chill that made you feel like you were cold down to the bone. All of the leaves were in the midst of changing colors, an array of greens and oranges and yellows. We drove a van down to the pumpkin patch, wrapped in our fall clothing. My neck was wrapped in a soft pink scarf and I had my camera swinging around my body as well. Once we arrived, the first thing I saw was pile after pile of different types of pumpkins toppling over one another on each side of the building. Inside was a small food stand that was filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. I smiled; this is fall.
We headed out in search of the perfect pumpkin. There were orange ones, white ones, green ones, pink ones, and even ones with patterns and bumps in intricate designs. With my camera I snapped pictures of my friends in excitement. The sky was gray, but the lighting was perfectly bright for photographs. Smells of apple cider and fresh fruit from inside the building wafted towards us in our respective spots. The van sat back in the parking lot, unlocked,
Cutie Marie

and trusting. After getting a good amount of photos, I picked my pumpkin, a white shiny one that is relatively small, but big enough to carve. We made our way inside to look at all of the grocery items and I ended up buying some concord grapes along with my pumpkin. Being in college it is easy to be deprived of fresh food in general, but especially fruit.
Kaylee Queen 
After we were happy with our purchases, we jumped back into the van. I sat in the middle seat, happy with my grapes, taking them in one at a time and savoring the flavor. Outside, the hills rolled past, out of sight. This, to me, is autumn. Surrounding myself with loving people, keeping warm, and taking care of yourself. This was my day going down to the pumpkin patch.
Squad came here! 
Here is our amazing writer and
photographer, Camille

I hope everyone enjoy reading and viewing the pictures as much as I do! Thank you Camille for writing this week's blog post along with pretty pictures. I wish I was there with the group too.  Anyone hasn't gone to the pumpkin patch should hop in the car and be there on this midterm-break. Have a great break everyone! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fighting off the Home Sickiness Blues

It is hard to believe that we are already over a month into the school year!  It seems like just yesterday you guys were milling around PLU for the first time semi-lost, confused and anxious to get adjusted.  Now all of you are balancing classes and navigating the American college life like pros!

First off please take a moment to pat yourself on the back and look at all of the progress you have made in the past month.  This being said you may have noticed that the glimmer and shine of PLU and America in general has lost it's sparkle.  You may find yourself longing for the comforts of home like you favorite foods, and being able to communicate in your own language.  At the same time you have probably become increasingly annoyed with some American customs (Seriously, why do we ask you how you are doing, but don't actually wanna know?). 

If this is your first time away from home this long please know that these feelings are completely normal, and it will get easier as time goes on.  Statistically speaking it is after the first month that home sickness really starts to set in for students studying abroad.  The newness of the country has worn off and is no longer something exciting and different.

I know that this affected me greatly while I was studying abroad in Spain.  So, from one foreign exchange student to another; here are some tips to help manage your homesickness!

Change up your Routine!
     -So let's start simple.  Changing up the way you do things can help relieve some of the staleness that has come into your routine.  This can be as easy as finding a new place/ time to study, getting into a new show or book, or joining a club on campus.  Not only will it help vary your schedule, but you are more likely to meet new people this way.  You would be surprised how a small change can make a big difference.

     -I am sure many of you know that exercise releases feel good endorphins, but it also helps regulate your sleep schedule and encourages proper hydration!  Treating your body right can really help improve your mood, or at the very least makes it easier to enjoy life.

Explore the Tacoma Area!
     -Did you know that on the third Thursday of the month you can get into any of the 7 museums in Tacoma for free?!?!?!  This is just one of the many options you have for exploring Tacoma.  Being able to discover and do new things can help distract you from missing home while exposing you to new and exciting possibilities! For more fun (and most importantly) inexpensive ideas please visit by following the link below.

Explore Washington State!

     -There are many things that can be offered by both sides of the state (as they are pretty different).  On the west-side there is of course Seattle and other bigger cities that have plenty of entertainment and beautiful sights to offer.  This being said there are also a plethora of small towns along the coast that have a unique tourist atmosphere that is quintessential to the Washington and Oregon coast.  On the East-side there is of course bigger cities like Spokane that can offer beautiful views and fun activities, but it is also a lot of fun to explore smaller towns like Walla Walla, and look at the beautiful landscape that differs radically from the west-side.  Not only will little trips like this brighten your mood, but they will also give you a better understanding of the state you are living in! For other options follow the link below.
Travel the Country!
     -There are so many different states to explore (50 to be exact :P) and because the U.S is so big each one has many things to offer.  Plus having an exciting trip in mind can help stave off the homesick blues.  That being said make sure you start planning now so you can keep cost down!

This list cannot fix everything (I am unfortunately not a miracle worker) but it can help you through this tough adjustment period while adding some fun and peace of mind to your routine.  I hope that the rest of the semester treats you well and that you have fun exploring all of what America has to offer you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Insights from a curious mind

Life is a peculiar dance sometimes, you go back and forth without sometimes knowing where you are heading. For a lot of people, this is how college and student-life can feel. A lot of people study worrying about what type of job you can be able to get and how the job market is becoming increasingly difficult to enter. I have come to realize that the things you cannot control, you should not worry about. I am a firm believer that those who obtain a high degree of curiousness will succeed in life.
I moved across the world to see what life was like here in the states. I had seen many movies and had an idea, but I was far from correct. I travelled to learn the stories of people, to learn about the realness in change and what makes people differ around the world. As a sociology nerd, I love to see how the mechanisms of a culture are different from my own and how I can learn more about myself through seeing the culture of others. An example is of Norwegians and Americans. At first, Norwegians are not as talkative generally when taking public transport, they tend to not engage and talk much. Americans on the other hand, are quite the opposite. The other day when buying groceries, one lady asked me if I was from here and wanted to know more about me. After discussing this for some minutes she told me it was so interesting to see people from other cultures and with other perspectives.
Often times, instead of approaching traveling and other cultures through curiousness, we approach it through our own self-taught lens. If we truly take on the lens of curiousness, we learn to know that we are not that different, we are just raised in a different culture. When curiousness is the lens in which you are approaching people, you come across as more genuine and real and people sense this. Walt Disney said this upon being curious "we keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we`re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”. I want to travel the world and see how the world functions because I am curious to see how it differs from my own experiences. At school, I am interning in International admissions and it is a truly great experience. I am learning about new students and engaging with them when applying and when helped them get situated at school. I previously wrote about what makes up an international student and this comes from curiousness. It is this notion that we need to see what is going on around the world that makes the world come forward.
To relate it to business and my studies, I am studying business because I think it is a great ticket to international exposure of culture and because I am curious to see more of the world. If you read my college tips, you can see a lot of my passion for engagement on campus and intercultural exchanges. With work, I started something called Global Student Club where we meet every Tuesday to further our understanding of culture and to have both an academic and social arena for global togetherness. I was curious to learn about other international students and help new students succeed here at PLU. 
To conclude, my curiousness has led me to study in the states, to be an intern here in admissions and to write this piece and I am certain that like Walt Disney, it will open more doors and lead me down new paths.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

                                                                     About Shanna

Hello everyone!! 

My name is Shanna Postlewait and I am not an
international student.  I was born and raised in
a wee town on the east side of Washington
called Walla Walla: a town so nice they named it twice.

So here is the basic layout of myself.  I am currently working as the International Student Services Administrative Intern (Wooo what a mouth full), I am also double majoring in Hispanic studies and English Literature and I am the president of The Mark: a writing club.  So if you see a zombie on campus please do not be alarmed as it is most likely my lovely energy-drained-self.

Now you may be wondering what a native like myself is doing in ISS.  Well I am glad you asked!  (No seriously though I wanted an excuse to show off this photo)
A store front in el Calle de Arte in Granada, Spain

I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in the spring of 2016 in Granada, Spain.  I now have a Spanish family that I call my own and many friends who I left across the big pond. 

So even though I have never been a foreigner in the U.S I definitely know and have experienced the whirlpool of emotions that come with big adventures like these.

Speaking of adventures, this is also my last year as an undergraduate.  That's right after this I will be forcefully shoved into the responsibility-filled adult world. (Sorry I have a taste for the dramatic)  And even though I am a bit nervous I can't wait to start yet another new and exciting phase in my life!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Moon Festival in Vietnam

Hello everyone! 

I wonder if anyone knows that Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival was on last week珞. For people who don’t know what this festival is about, “The Mid-Autumn festival is named "Tết Trung Thu" in Vietnamese. It is also known as Children's Festival because of the event's emphasis on children. In olden times, the Vietnamese believed that children, being innocent and pure, had the closest connection to the sacred and natural world. Being close to children was seen as a way to connect with animist spirits and deities.” (Wikipedia)

In Vietnam, children participate in parades in the dark under the full moon with lanterns of various forms, shapes, and colors. What I found most interesting about this festival is that it has a special folk tale to go with. It is about the legend of Cuội, whose wife accidentally urinated on a sacred banyan tree.
The tree began to float towards the moon, and Cuội, trying to pull it back down to earth, floated to the moon with it, leaving him stranded there. And that’s why every year, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, children light lanterns and participate in a procession to show Cuội the way back to Earth.

Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. Mooncake has a round shape that symbolizes completeness and reunion. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the week of the festival signify the completeness and unity of families.

Food offerings made to deities are placed on an altar set up in the courtyard, including apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, melons, oranges, and pomelos. In Vietnam, cakes and fruits are not only consumed, but elaborately prepared as food displays. For example, glutinous rice flour and rice paste are molded into familiar animals. Villagers of Xuân La, just south of Hanoi, produce tò he, figurines made from rice paste and colored with natural food dyes.

Me with roomie and our friends, Camille

I miss the holiday so much since it’s been 3 years I’m not in Vietnam to celebrate it. But spending time last week with friends and eating mooncakes were such a precious moment here in the US and at PLU. Next year, Moon Festival will be on October 4 next year so put it on calendar and celebrate with your families and friends! 