:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood:
current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

donderdag 6 april 2006

Wow. I feel like I've been through a tornado. But I'm alive and well and posting, and since the pool is closed tonight for the Gretchen Wilson concert, I actually have a little time to reorganize my life.

First off, Mom and I drove to North Carolina on Sunday and stayed at my aunt's house for two nights; the three of us went to visit Chapel Hill on Monday and I loved it. So much, that I just put my deposit in the mail this afternoon. So now I can say, with one hundred percent certainty, that I am going to grad school, I am going to do a masters program in linguistics, and this is all going to happen at Chapel Hill.

Pros: the campus is beautiful, it's not that far from home, I'll get some money in the second year, I can take Persian, the other grad students seem really cool, and there's a coach at the natatorium who has lots of open-water experience and can put me in touch with some Channel swimmers.

Cons: I get no money the first year (meaning I'm going into debt for the first time in my life), the club team's practice pool sucks, all the housing I've seen so far is really expensive, and the weather is colder.

But no school is perfect. The biggest drawback for me is the horrible pool (one of those where you walk in and get slammed by a wall of hot, humid air), but I had the impression that the coach I met at the natatorium might be able to let me practice in the same time slot as the varsity team (they don't take up anywhere near the entire pool). If so, that would eliminate that complaint. I'm really glad I bumped into her. (Well, I didn't exactly BUMP into her - I found my way down onto the pool deck, saw her putting the varsity swimmers through their paces, and walked right up to her and asked if she could answer some questions. LOL! Yeah, I'm a little pushy. But she was really nice and seemed genuinely interested in helping me out. Hope that's still true in the fall.)

Other highlights of the trip:

- my aunt's house (which is beautiful and huge and way out in the country),
- on the drive back, Mom singing along at the top of her lungs to all the Sesame Street songs on my iPod,
- my aunt's 'lowcountry' dinner (made primarily of shrimp and cheesy grits, which may sound like an improbable combination, but was excellent),
- getting the chance to reread The Da Vinci Code (who knows when I would have found the time otherwise?),
- finally getting the Cracker Barrel meal (Country Vegetable Plate!) that I've had coming to me ever since December,
- and, of course, the Gators stomping UCLA into tiny little pieces in the NCAA Championship. Woohoo!

As an aside: Chapel Hill is a better school than I thought it was. They rank pretty high on the 2006 college lists, and in my admissions letter, it says that they had over 11,000 graduate applications and only took 1800. So I'm in that elusive 16%. Wow. Suck on that, Georgetown!

But anyway, the two days since I've been back have been insane, because whenever you miss school you end up having to do twice the work in half the time in order to make up for everything you missed. So I had to write a French composition, plan a Spanish presentation, and complete a thousand other menial assignments. Tonight, I have to fill in a (long) Latin verb chart and translate a story, do a little Wolof, and study for my French exam tomorrow. Then I have a Latin exam on Monday, after which things will finally calm down a little.

The good news is that we're not going to the Georgia meet after all. Okay, so that's not exactly good news, but the universe seemed to be conspiring to keep us from going: the cost was going to be $80 per person, the only available hotel was an hour from the pool, everybody had conflicts with the departure time, and then Anna's brother Michael topped it all off by attempting to drive their 7'6" conversion van (which we were going to take) into the 7' O-Dome parking garage and cracking the top. So we talked about it for a long time before Tuesday's practice and decided not to go. Which is disappointing - it would have been my last meet with this team - but also a big relief. Plus, now I can go watch Catie in her circus performance, assuming we can get our hands on some tickets.

One other thing of note this week. We had an assignment for weight training to find our resting metabolic rate (the number of calories you'd burn if you did absolutely nothing but lie in bed all day long), the thermal effect of our food (the number of calories that our bodies use to digest and process our food), and the amount of calories we burn with exercise. Adding all those numbers together gives you the number of calories you expend each day, i.e. the number of calories you should be consuming if you want to maintain your current weight. Well, my resting rate of 1500-something, my food digestion of 150-something, and my exercise calories of 1900 (2 hours of swimming plus 45 minutes of biking every day) added up to almost 3600 calories! I didn't think that could possibly be right, but my teacher insists it is, that swimming in particular burns a ton of calories. I don't understand it, though, because I don't eat anywhere near that amount - I eat around 2500 calories a day, and I thought that was a lot - and yet I'm maintaining the same weight, not losing weight. Odd.

And then when I brought it up with a couple girls from my swim team and had them try to guess what my number was, they guessed 1200 and 2100. These are girls with backgrounds in physiology and pharmacy! When we discussed it in depth, they told me that the 'standard' 2000-calorie diet was too much for the average woman and that they were only supposed to eat around 1500 calories a day. Well, I don't know where they're getting their information, but they are wrong, wrong, wrong! I don't care which website you check, they all say that women need around 1900-2000 calories a day and men need around 2500. My RESTING metabolic rate was over 1500 calories. I sincerely hope that these girls are underestimating the amount that they eat. Otherwise, I don't know how they manage to swim!


Blogger Robin said...

Just reading your post exhausted me!!! How do you do it all????
You are amazing.
I'm totally bummed you're not coming here to Harvard. That was my goal for you.
Oh well.As long as you're pleased with your decision.
What SS songs did your mom sing??? Why do you have them???

8/4/06 19:15  
Anonymous Natalie said...

Congrats on your decision! I don't think I've ever been to Chapel Hill itself, but that whole area is absolutely gorgeous.

8/4/06 21:34  
Anonymous Anoniem said...


This is Trung. Congratulations on your decision. Only knowing you for one semester, but I do always know that you'll end up in a good grad school. Btw, I'm going home this summer for the first time in two years. :)

14/4/06 18:50  

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