At MIT!!!!!

So now I’m here. At long last. At about 11:20 PM I arrived with the other frosh and upperclassmen on the Yellowstone FPOP (Freshman Pre-Orientation Program) on a large shuttle to MIT. We’ve spent a week together, from last Friday to this Saturday, traveling, camping, cooking and cleaning, seeing crazy sights at Yellowstone (geysers! hot springs! earthquakes! at least 3-5 places in one day!), visiting the Tetons, and perhaps most of all talking to and learning about each other.
I was blown away by the intelligence/smartness/whatever you would call it of the freshmen on this trip. Seriously. I’ll save more information on this and the trip for another time because guess what?

I’M AN MIT ADMISSIONS BLOGGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But that’s not all. One of my friends also applied and is a blogger too!!!!!!!!! We’re both going to be bloggers!!!!!

Maybe I’ll put a link to her blog here with her permission =)

And guess what else?

I’m lame.

I’m super lame.

I had so many awkward moments on the trip. Maybe it was just me. I need to learn the skill of gracefully starting/barging in on a conversation.

I’m not used to nerdy conversations yet. Not the ones that involve ‘nerdy’ jokes. Heck, I’m at MIT and it takes me a minute (or more) to get them. Sometimes.

I don’t know if I act like a nerd. Sometimes I feel like I need to prove that I have some form of nerdiness. Or something that makes me stand out. But, in all honesty, next to the MIT geniuses I’d rather play observer.

I mean, it’s not that bad. I’m almost sure that a lot of people like me are in awe of and intimidated by their peers here, but that’s what’s going to make this such an awesome experience. So much to learn!

Oh, and for the ultimate in lameness:

I’m staying up till three on Sunday. Why? Not homework. Luckily that won’t exist in froshland until about September 9 (gotta check this date). Not staying up to explore one of the cool events that started at midnight. Not getting pizza with my other fellow yellowstone DEAPS-ers.

I’m staying up to do laundry.

For the sake of the sanity of my roommates. And me. I don’t want a smelly room this early.

I gotta take the clothes out of the dryer.

And then I gotta wake up at 9-930.

I’ve got to find out how to un-lame myself. Fast.

Well, we’ll see what happens later today.

And I’m so lame that I can’t get a nice video up. (Well, that’s my iPhone’s fault.

Good morning.

Going to Cambridge!

As I sit here typing away on my iPhone my parents and I are zooming on a train to Boston. I’m finally feeling some sense of anticipation for what’s to come – the last two days were so filled with saying goodbyes to friends and family and getting certificates ready to mail out and doing crazy papers for work that I didn’t have time t finish packing until 3 am this morning. We were going to go by car at 7 but switched at the last minute to a ten o clock train. Even though I was the only one who packed, none of us got much sleep. My mom woke up when I was finished packing! And two suitcases are staying home for now because we couldn’t bring them into the train…
Bottom line: Pack early. Don’t schedule anything for the day (preferably two) before you leave. You never know if you might remember that you packed all your yellowstone stuff but not the toiletries and shoes and SCHOOL SUPPLIES and papers and random things you’ll realize you kind of want/need to have in a week because they were always in the other room of your house.
But I’m also buying tons of stuff when I get there, so it’s not SO bad =)
Tomorrow we’re off to yellowstone, so I may not update until the 29th! See everyone at MIT or online then XD

Bed

e ikimasu. (is where I’m going.)

But I would feel horrible neglecting my blog before Yellowstone, so let me just post the…

Things you should know about Jay Chou:

– He acted as the lead in, directed, wrote, and played piano himself in his movie “Secret.” That in itself is enough for a post.
– He writes the music for his songs, directs his music videos, and, um, sings his songs.
– He combines elements of world genres (rap, pop, etc.) and uses it all to make music that is unique and yet never forgets its chinese roots. (Unlike 99% of those asian boy bands that are out there that people can semi-justifiably call the “Asian Backstreet Boys” – I’m talking about you Fahrenheit and Arashi and DBSK and SuJu and News and Kattun… well at least SOME of you make up for it by dancing XP)
– He uses a lot of familial themes in his songs, honoring people like his mother and grandmother, talking about how family and the land can help us recover during hard times (see the vid from my last post!), and even addressing themes that are apparently kind of taboo in China like domestic abuse (I think the vid is called “dad i’m back” but I’m not posting it here – kinda sad)
– Oh and he apparently hates being famous and runs away from the paparazzi, wants his privacy too – not a sell-out by any means

Basically, he’s awesome.

Oh, and kind of hot too. Talk about the complete package.

And did I emphasize his MAD piano skills?

Anyway, if you haven’t already, watch Secret. On mysoju.com or somewhere. I will make you.

Here’s the MV for the movie, but you HAVE to see the actual movie!

Time Management and the Mac

I should create an entire blog dedicated to time management. Maybe then I’ll start developing it for real. (Like, can you seriously call blogging until a quarter to one without schoolwork and with other tasks still to do proper time management?)

So it’s 12:03 and I’ve still got the following to do before setting off to MIT and my pre-orientation trip (Yellowstone!):

– Send out certificates to people who didn’t pick them up for my club (part of the delay is a computer

ZOMG I have to interrupt –

Just as I typed this I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY recovered the file I had accidentally deleted that has all the certificates!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOGMDSIHFEAUWOIghudshgioufhguoaywre[9t8gadislkfxhnv

OMG I have not been more happy all summer.

STRIVE-rs, if any of you are reading this… expect good certificates soon (you may still need to get them signed by our advisor Mr. Citron though X_X)

ZOMG I am speechless.

Miracles do happen while blogging.

Anyway…………..

Ah I almost forgot the topic – time management – whew, OK…

Basically, things will probably change as school starts in terms of this blog. For one, I’ll be gone for a week to Yellowstone for an MIT pre-orientation trip (August 22-29), but to make up for any lost blogging time I’ll put up tons of pictures at the end.

For another, when school DOES start there are going to be a LOT of activities and a LOT of work. I think I’ve garnered that much. So I’ve spent like an hour a day on this blog thing, but I’ll probably have to cut down on that time if I want to stay sane. (And I might start repeating videos if I post too often. Horror of horrors!)

So, depending on how things go I’ll make it a goal to update bi-weekly or once a week. Perhaps if I’m really good I’ll schedule a certain time. I’m not talking about the MIT blogs here – the process seems very competitive so I’ll have no idea if I’ll be able to “officially” blog for all the prospective MIT freshmen among you – either way I’ll make sure to keep this updated. Perhaps that will make up for my impending loss of a social life.

No, I will TRY to have a social life. But for me, at least, this helps. It’s a great way to tell everyone everything without having to email everyone and worry about formalities and such.

Btw for all my friends who have been following me, THANK YOU!!! XDD

Grr, I’m starting to ramble (well, I always ramble) so I’m going to condense this post into bullets:

– Blogging takes time
– School takes time
– Life takes time
– Therefore, blogging will have to make room for school
– Life – ?

And now for the Mac:

– Macs are GREAT for time management
Well, that’s the conclusion of my ‘Story of Owning a Mac For Two Days’.
Why?
– iCal allows you to schedule classes, appointments, events, whatever with a click, click, click, type and click. It takes like five seconds. Back in the days when I used Windows XP I used Thunderbird and could never figure out the calendar. My much-feared memories of Outlook consist of looking over my mom’s shoulder and waiting five minutes for the thing to load.
– You can easily look at multiple windows at once. You can check your email, make an appointment, and go on the internet in a total of like 6 seconds.
– It is SO easy to upload photos from an iPhone and put them on facebook/anywhere! XD
– They are FAST (this has 4GB ram)

Bottom line: Yay Macs!

OK, now for a video (“requested” by a Jay Chou fan XD)

Non-english sub version:

English sub version:

Food (aka the Story of a Veggie)

Time for my supremely awesome post of the year. It’s a bit long and the pics are big X_X…

First a vid… make sure you come back from Youtube though =)

Eat It

Disclaimer: To apply to be an MIT admissions blogger, we have to write about something we “find wildly interesting.” I’ve kinda breezed over this novel idea I have, I’ve done a bit with asian dramas and asian videos (XD) in past posts, but now – NOW – I’m going to do something new, something EXTREME.

I’m going to blog about my journey with food.

In the philosophical sense as well as in the, um, tasting sense. Also the health sense. And cooking sense.

If that makes ANY sense.

So let’s start from early times.

Part I – When I was a child, I ate “fun” (“normal”) food =)

In early times when I was still in elementary school, I thought food = food. I was the type of person that liked to try new things, even things like broccoli and spinach on the side. We went to McDonalds and Burger King pretty often, and I would always ask for the “Happy Meal” and get the little toys that would be useless after a few days but which delighted me to no end when they came out of their boxes. I would look at the Burger King “characters” and wonder if their coolness could compete with the coolness of the McDonalds playground. (Well, it was really no contest.)

Then my parents and I tried moussaka (ground beef in potatoes…) and I LOVED it. It was my favorite greek dish ever.

And I had mac and cheese and ice cream and all that and loved both the cool shapes and the chocolately toppings and sprinkles. The people in our soccer league would bring Entemanns donuts to every game for half-time. And I had soda like everyone else as well.

Part II – The beginnings of change

I think I started thinking more about exactly what I was eating when I was 10-12. I also heard that people were going vegetarian to help the animals (the one case for going vegetarian I kind of understood at that age), but I always thought, “Wow, those are OTHER people… I could never do THAT.” From here on I slowly learned more about the environmental side of vegetarianism, but for now I tried to make “healthy food choices” because my whole family has diabetes. I needed to control my weight and diet to avoid that.

I started hearing horrible things about soda (so much sugar! Toxic ingredients! O_O) so I stopped drinking it. I also heard horrible things about beef as a result of a mad cow case, so I “temporarily” stopped eating beef at age 12. I haven’t eaten beef since. It was only after then that I learned that…

– The beef industry uses about 2,500 gallons of water to process 1 pound of beef (approx.; http://www.vegsource.com/articles/pimentel_water.htm) – that’s like the most out of any animal we regularly consume!
– Methane emissions from cow burps and farts accounts for ~20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (again approximate – http://www.grist.org/article/2009-05-21-on-cow-burps-meat-and-methane/)
– Many cows in factory farms are living in HORRIBLE conditions (peta.org)

Besides that I ate in ways that I thought were healthy, making choices like:
– Turkey meatballs with whole wheat pasta
– Low-fat or non-fat frozen yogurt
– Cheerios, Go-lean, Slim, or other dry cereals with fat-free milk for breakfast
– Turkey burgers with sweet potato fries
– “Whole grain” chips and pretzels
– Eventually soy milk instead of milk, and then milk again

Part III – The Change

Then I went to high school. In junior year I took AP Environmental Science. Our teacher (and my environmental club’s advisor) was a vegetarian. He told us about how eating food lower on the food chain meant eating ten times less resources than meat. We learned about global warming – a symptom of the human species exceeding its carrying capacity on the planet earth. And we learned that the average U.S. citizen has the largest carbon (and ecological) footprint. (Btw if you want to know what this is or find yours, search “carbon footprint” on google to find tons of calculators. Here’s one.)

That January (’08) I stopped eating meat. And as of August 18, 2009, I’m still vegetarian!

But it’s not as easy as it looks. (If it ever looked easy. =P) Partly because my track season ended and partly because I didn’t really know what it meant to be a “healthy veggie,” I started gaining a bit of weight. Oh, and partly because I wasn’t getting enough sleep.

Luckily, I lost all that weight on a 21 day outward bound trip (Costa Rica!), but it’s hard to maintain that kind of workout in the city =( So I came back and invested in a few books (disclaimer: I’m not being paid to advertise them or anything… just some resources I found)

“Eat to Live” by Dr. Fuhrman
“Raw Detox Diet” by Natalia Rose
“Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods” by Ani Phyo
and, most recently,
“Joy of Juicing” by Gary Null, Ph.D.

All of these agree that dairy products = bad, cheese = the worst, and greens = miracle food.

Now, here are some bits of similar and yet contradicting advice in these books that advocate “alternate/holistic-type” diets:

– “Eat to Live” – Stick to three meals and no snacks (!) a day, limit carbohydrates (breads, pitas, potatoes, etc.) to one serving a day, soy is a good protein to eat, the goal should be to eat one head of lettuce a day, try to go for six weeks without eating any “bad foods/sweets,” eat nuts but eat in moderation or withhold them if trying to lose weight, overweight =! healthy

(The hummus from here is delicious XD I’ve had plenty of salads but none pretty enough to warrant a picture – just lettuce with almonds =P)

– “Raw Detox Diet” – Legumes (soy, peanuts, to an extent chickpeas and beans) are undesirable, eat nuts in moderation, drink a glass (preferably two) of juiced greens (with lemon and apples for taste) a day, try to “combine” foods right so they “pass through” the intestines fast, against “fake meats” that are overly processed, have dark chocolate for dessert

Thai Peanut sauce and Rainbow Salad

Thai Peanut sauce and Rainbow Salad

Raw susHi

Raw susHi

Thai Coconut Bliss! With shiitake mushrooms!

Thai Coconut Bliss! With shiitake mushrooms!

Rawviolis with homemade "pesto"

– “‘Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen” – Also against legumes, nuts are a base of many of her recipes because they are a “healthy” protein and fat, tries to make “fake meats” with natural ingredients and a blender, uses a dehydrator, sprouts nuts and seeds…
– “Joy of Juicing” – I love how this one doesn’t preach, it just gives you awesome recipes =) Made the brownies three times already!

Date Fudge Browniezzzzz =d (Made three batches of these)

Date Fudge Browniezzzzz =d

Burger on salad!

Burger on salad!

guacamolesalad

If you’re not following some of this (“combine”? “dehydrator”?) it’s OK, because I’m going to tell you what I’ve gotten out of these books:

– A ton of cool recipes 😉
– The idea that eating greens and less processed foods is healthier
– The self-control to eat oatmeal and fruit or just a banana shake in the morning (as opposed to my formerly favorite chocolate chip pancakes – bananas are so much cooler)
– Oh and eating legumes and nuts in moderation too (sometimes I splurge on almonds and hummus though X_X)
– Recognizing signs that I’m not eating well (if you want to know what those are, besides increased acne/weight/sluggishness, um… email me)
– Oh, and it’s still important to EXERCISE!!! (Gotta do that X_____X)
– Make sure to take multis plus B-12!

How can I miss the moussaka when there exist veggie recipes AND, believe it or not, veggie moussaka? (I tried it in Boston XD)

One more note before I end with the treat that I splurge on (not JUST because it’s from the Farmer’s Market):

It has oft been argued that not everyone can eat vegetarian or even healthily (btw most of the nutritionists I’ve been reading from say that the FDA guidelines are not actually “healthy,” they’re guidelines that were set in response to lobbying from the meat and dairy industries) because of where they live, their lifestyle/way of living (ex. fishermen that make their living off of salmon), etc.

Often people argue about whether humans can even BE vegetarian and say we can only be healthy eating meat, etc.

And then the price tag issues come up.

Well, being a vegetarian takes a bit of planning. But it’s all fun! And the point isn’t to be vegetarian right away either. It’s just eating while knowing that you have a choice (well, if you have a choice) about what to eat that can affect the rest of the planet.

And it can be cheaper to eat vegetarian than to eat meat… it’s definitely cheaper in restaurants =) And if you make your own smoothies/juices/foods in general it’s even CHEAPER XD

So that’s PLENTY to chew on, remember that it’s not a religion – even one choice makes a difference. No one says you have to choose one way or the other but yourself. Just remember that the world of food is more complex than you may realize at first bite =)

Further resources:

Books mentioned above =)
“The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan
“Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook” by Carole Raymond
And search the web! Talk to a nutritionist if you’d like!

Now for…

THE CHOCOLATECHIPVEGANWALNUTCOOKIE

THE CHOCOLATECHIPVEGANWALNUTCOOKIE

Sleep

It is a thing much wanted, much desired, much lacked.

So I am going to store up on it for a week. Hopefully that’ll keep me nourished and healthy for the next four months.

Oh and a certain person told me to go to bed… XD;;

So goodnight, I will save my supremely awesome post for tomorrow.

Vid of the night (dedicated to the person who’s been telling me to sleep! For all the years she’s been there for me XDD):

Day in worklife… and Shopping!!!

Vid of the day:

OK. For the purposes of this post, surfing = shopping. Surfing = shopping. Got it? Got it? Right? Come back at the end and it’ll make sense. Like after when I start talking about shopping 3/4 of the way through this post. Did it make sense? Yes? No? Maybe? Probably not? Whatever.

So I will post something different, like about the Sierra Club or sustainability or books or something, soon. But it’s only one week until I’m moving in (oh wait, one week – 1 day! Nooooo!!!).

I’ll just do what I’ve done other days and try to cover the life of an MIT prefrosh preparing for college (and working, and sitting at her computer for hours when she should be exercising, and yelling at her computer for being slow, and not catching up on sleep…)

So I wake up to find an angry mom yelling at me for not doing the kitchen (well, I did everything but the pots and wiping the counter… ^_^;;;) so I cleaned the kitchen and then ran to work, tripped on the sidewalk and fell on the nail of my thumb and my knee (both seem OK now… I think XD;) and then got there in time to splurge on my favorite gluten-free apple spice muffin from the farmer’s market before running into the ferry just in time.

We got to work… nothing really exciting, we pruned a bit but all the stuff is going to grow back anyway and we’re only back for two more days… and then we went to the bookstore and did stuff, and then there was nothing to do so we went into the computer and I showed my “colleagues” the videos from yesterday’s post =) They seemed to especially like the second one XD

Then, while we were waiting for the Governor’s Island Ferry to take us back, I suddenly spotted a bag. Not just any bag. The STRIVE 2009 Earth Day Festival bag! Basically I helped start this festival this year which took place at our school, long story that deserves a post or so of its own, but I found out that that woman had taken her kid to the festival and had a “great time” XDDD So that made my day =)

Which was a good thing because then I started walking to the back of the line for the ferry. It took about ten minutes to get there. There was a bee’s nest and the bees were seriously bouncing all around like angry yellow sparks just a few feet away from us. (That’s something to mention to my supervisor.) Anyway, I get there and Marelina calls me and she’s like “Hey! Marcela! Where are you! We’re waiting with the employees in front of the boat!”

So at the end of my fifth week working here I had to walk all the way back up the line for another ten minutes like I was a dolt and it was my first day there. Don’t even ask.

OK, time for the more interesting part of the day (besides STRIVE, that tops everything off):

Dorm shopping!

Guess what happened. You would never believe it. Not in a million years. It is a rare event. I can’t believe I saw it happen with my own eyes.

I… bought clothes that I actually kind of like!

And at Daffy’s. Shirt and yoga pants. I brought out $40 and the lady at the register was like, “Um… you don’t need that.” So my first clothing purchase of the summer (my two shirts from the spring don’t really count) amounted to <$20!

Yay Daffy's!
New Outfit!

Grr why is this sideways? Bad lighting… oh well, it looks better from the side anyway =)

I also got a cool comforter for $17 and 8 food storage containers for $6 and a pillow for $8 and a reusable bag for $0.99 and more at this place Lena showed me called LOT-LESS =) Gotta go back to see if they have headphones too…

Oh and I almost forgot the backpack! Modells’ is having a cool sale where you can get two backpacks for the price of one. But I don’t think I want TWO backpacks (each backpack has a warranty so you can replace it if it gets broken or whatever), so I got an Adidas Martin pack on sale for $35 + tax =)

Still gotta get the sleeping bag and mat, maybe from K-mart or Paragon if all else fails…

Then my dad helped me bring it all home, and I found that we had a delivery… a small rectangular box…

So I put it in the reusable bag and said, “Hey ma, could you see what’s in here?”

Very creative, I know.

But she looked and it was – voila! An iTouch. (The one that comes with the Mac.)

Mom + iTouch =

Mom with her iTouch!