Inspired by Taking a Break

It has been FAR too long since I last wrote, but things got so busy since my last post!  I've been meaning to blog for a while, but the thought that I had so much to write about to catch up stopped me.  Despite that, I've really missed blogging so I'm back after a much needed break!

First: 10 days until I leave for London!!!  It's becoming more and more real by the minute.  I have a nice little travel organizer with my passport, visa, transcript, school documents from LSE, ticket, etc. and it's sitting on my desk reminding me every day about my upcoming adventure.  I'm flying Virgin Airlines and, I have to say, they have the nicest customer service!  It doesn't hurt that they have British accents, but they were so helpful when I called to inquire about meal options.  It definitely reassured me.  My flight leave around 7 pm so I'll be flying overnight but there's something so beautiful about watching the sun rise while flying over the ocean so I'm looking forward to that.  Also, hot chocolate is served all night and I have a huge selection of in-flight entertainment so it's going to be a very fun night!  I should probably sleep at some point, though…  I'll be met at the airport by staff from the study abroad program and they will take the lot of us to a hotel in London for a few days of orientation.  After that, it's off to LSE for move-in, start of term events, and then classes!

I came home! Besides the London countdown, that is one of the most important things that has happened lately.  Yes, I am finally home in Connecticut and it has been lovely!  I really missed my queen-sized bed and my room that my mom redecorated, and taking a shower without flip-flops, of course :).  It's been great to have time with my mom and dad and just rest which I desperately needed.  I've been going to my favorite gym and yoga classes and running errands and organizing for my mom, which I actually really enjoy.  I designed a new bill-paying system for my mom and I'm quite proud of the finished product: a binder with lettered tab dividers for each recurring bill she has to pay (mortgage, tuition, car payments, insurance, etc.) and then a sheet in a plastic divider for the login information if it's an e-bill.  Non-recurring bills (household management, doctor visit copays, etc.) are in a pocket in the front and there's a calendar with each bill category color-coded in the front view pocket of the binder. This way, everything is in one place and she can just look at the calendar and know what needs to be paid right away.  I had also set up a Google calendar account for her a few months ago so she'll get reminders via email.  That's something I'm working on next, though, since Google calendar isn't compatible (from what I can tell) with the iPhone and she's going to (finally!) upgrade soon.  Microsoft Outlook seems to be the best option because we can both access it online, it will send email reminders, and works on Apple products.

I also designed a task-management system for her using an Arc customizable notebook.  She works two jobs from home so she's responsible for figuring out how much she wants to do each day and it's often hard to keep track of everything.  She was using big sheets from a Post-It calendar for each aspect of her life (jobs, me and my brother, my dad, and her personal stuff) but those are too big.  So, I made a notebook with separate tab dividers in it and a calendar in the front with a few zip pockets.  What I love about the Arc notebooks is that you can take out or add in pages and tabs and calendars as you please so she can still use her post-it system for tasks but in a more portable and organized way.  Also, I LOVE the customizable, mix-and-match  covers!  I'm so proud of this :)

I went to DC with my Dad!  The trip that was getting me through my busy system finally came and it was a blast!  My dad and I have never taken a trip by ourselves together so it was a great bonding experience.  We took an Amtrak down on Tuesday which took about 6 hours, but it was quiet and so fun to see the scenery.  We stayed in a Mariott right on Pennsylvania Ave so we were right in the thick of everything.  And trust me, we took full advantage of that because we went EVERYWHERE!  We took a "Moonlight Monument" tour that evening after a bit of exploring and, despite periods of torrential downpour, it was gorgeous and so fun.  

The next day we got up bright and early and had a special breakfast at a grille near the hotel which totally had the aura of an old-boys' club but was quite fancy.  We spent that day at the Air and Space museum, National Gallery of Art, National Archives (I saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution!), and then a stroll through Georgetown.  I applied and didn't get in to Georgetown when I was a senior and didn't think much of it until this trip.  I fell in LOVE with it.  It's such a beautiful area and a prime location because of its proximity to the wonder that is the DC metro region.  I love Fordham, I really do, and I'm so happy that it's my school, but the Bronx a tough area that I really noticed this summer.  I'm definitely going to look at Georgetown or GWU (there's a Whole Foods right on campus that takes meal dollars!) for grad school because I can't get it out of my head!  We finished the day with dinner at the Toombs (a pub right near Georgetown), and Georgetown cupcakes:

 

Thursday was another long but fun-filled day!  We started by touring around Capitol Hill which was very exciting for my ambitions :).  Then we went to the US Botanical Garden which recreates all kinds of different climates like a jungle and a desert to preserve the plants inside and was really interactive, as well.  They had exhibits on herbs and spices for cooking (my personal favorite), medicinal plants, and even plant-based expressions we use in daily life.  We then headed to the Library of Congress Jefferson Building which was ENORMOUS!  I wanted to live there….  They had an exhibit from Thomas Jefferson's extensive library, Persian literature, and even the Gutenberg Bible!  I could have spent days there.  We then went to the National Portrait Gallery where they have every portrait of all of the American president which was quite humbling.  This portrait of all of the female Supreme Court Justices, however, was my personal favorite:

We pushed it a little by going all the way to the Catholic University of America to see the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception but it was completely worth it!  It was mind-boggling how enormous and beautiful it was.  There are several large sanctuaries, as well as smaller shrines, and is the largest concentration of mosaic art in the world, along with being the largest church in North America.  WOW.  

It was a very long day for us so we collapsed when we got back!  When my mom picked us up at the airport the next day, she asked where we went and we both replied, "Where didn't we go?!"  Go big or go home, right?  I don't think I stopped smiling for those three days, though.  Between spending time with my dad and touring such an inspiring city that reminds me of my dreams, it was the most fun I've had in a long time.

That's all for now but I still have a lot more catching up to do so stay tuned!

Inspired to be,

Katherine