28 November 2012

'Tis (kinda) the Season!

Now that I've recovered from my food induced coma thanks to a weekend full of delicious Thanksgiving feasts (Thanksgiving dinner, then left overs for the next few days), I've returned to campus ready to take on the last few weeks before finals.

Of course, now that Thanksgiving break is over, there is no better way to procrastinate than to get ready for Christmas!  Putting up decorations, signing along to holiday music, shopping for presents (without sales tax!), or anything else, it's definitely Christmas time here.
It's not huge, but it's a tree!
So today, to get in the holiday spirit, I headed downtown.  The weather alone is enough to make me feel a little Christmasy.  It's the one time of the year I'm ok with not having the SoCal sun.  I embraced the chilly air, got a hot chocolate from Starbucks, and headed to Pioneer Place to do some shopping.

I didn't get too much done, but I'm not really upset by that.  It just means that I get to see all the awesome decorations in the mall again!

Then again, not everyone is as excited by the Christmas cheer as I am.  If you haven't heard/read it before, check out The Santaland Diaries, by David Sedaris.  It's a little less cheery than most holiday stories, and pretty entertaining.

I'm sure I'll say it again, but Happy Holidays!  If you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me at hhigger@lclark.edu.

27 November 2012

glu glú

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I mentioned last week that my family came here for the week. I was sad that I couldn't go home, because most of my friends were there and got together. There are only about three weeks until I go home though, so I'll get to see them then. My family had a really nice time here. We ate at my brother Sam's apartment, and Sam and I got to show them around Portland some. It's amazing to think that I didn't know my way around at all when they dropped me off three months ago, and now I knew where to go and what to do!
Me, Sam, his fiancée Sylvia, and my sister Hannah
They had to leave on Friday morning, so the rest of the weekend was pretty chill. Sam and Sylvia had me over to their apartment Friday night for some left overs, and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday doing homework and sleeping.

Now, we're in the last leg before finals. I have my last mid-term in bio on Friday, and a Spanish test that day too (speaking of which, we learned how to say a lot of Thanksgiving-associated words in Spanish before break. Apparently Spanish turkeys say "glu glú," as opposed to the English "gobble gobble"). Our lab is wrapping up, with papers and presentations due in the next few weeks. My whole group was here last weekend, so we got on top of everything and wrote a rough draft that isn't due for another week- we were really proud of ourselves.

I'm amazed with how quickly the semester has gone by, and how much work there is around finals time. I'm staying on top of it, but it is tiring. It's worth it, though!


I hope everyone had a very wonderful Thanksgiving! Personally, Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays, because food, family and friends are three of my favorite things in this world. Unfortunately, because I am from Vermont, I was not able to go home for Thanksgiving because the plane tickets were just way too expensive and because the break is only four days long, which was not nearly worth the time or money I would spend on the plane.

However! ... If you are like me and live very far away from Portland but love Thanksgiving do not despair! There were three Thanksgivings on campus this year alone! One in Odell, one in Tamarack, and one in Akin -- there were maybe even more that I wasn't aware of. People who stayed on campus for Thanksgiving all got together and cooked a Thanksgiving feast and then we all ate it together. There were about 20 of us in Odell (see picture below) and it was a very nice time. We stayed around talking and eating for about 2 hours. 

In addition, I have family that live right outside of Portland, who invited me and my friend Kathie over to their house for the day after Thanksgiving. This was wonderful because it was my first time seeing much of my family for the first time since I have been back in Portland. It was also in my Aunt and Uncles new house which was absolutely gorgeous and we all had a great time eating and being with family. 

Again, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well! And please, please, please feel free to contact me at drussosavage@lclark.edu if you have any questions!



Gobble Gobble

My dear LC-ers prospective and present!
Hello and a very happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you all had an extremely restful and rejuvenating break that has left you feeling fresh as a daisy and ready to confront your next challenges. Or something inspirational like that….

Oh what’s that you ask now? What did I do for Thanksgiving all the way in Chile? Why thanks for asking folks! This year for turkey day I went to what I’m going to call a “confused gringo potluck”. All of us gringos here with CIEE (which if you don’t know is the 3rd party organization that coordinates our homestays etc) got together with a smattering of Chilean friends and host family members and had a Thanksgiving thing. It was a weird mix of American and Chilean. On the American side there was stuffing and apple pie (which I made!) and the sharing of what we were thankful for, but it was clear we were not in the good ol’ USA. For one thing we threw turkey parts on the grill a la Chilean Asado (grill out), for another we were eating outside under an avocado tree. Eating outside was weird enough (Thanksgiving is usually really cold but it’s now late spring here) but the mix of foods people brought was also pretty strange. None of the Chileans in attendance had really ever heard of Thanksgiving and were confused about what to bring. We ended up with loaf of Pan de Pascua (this weird Christmas fruitcake thing), about 10 bottles of wine, a (calm down everyone, the drinking age here is 18 and Chile has some fantastic wines!) and a chocolate fountain. Even though I missed having cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie (it is seriously impossible to find cranberries or a pumpkin here) and I could have done without the fruitcake, I now firmly believe that every Thanksgiving feast should include a chocolate fountain.
 preparing the chocolate fountain

It was kind of sad though to spend Thanksgiving here and made me miss Portland. I haven’t gone home to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving for a few years now (it’s just too expensive to go all that way for a weekend) so I usually spend the holiday with my great auntie Evelyn and great uncle John (who live in Portland) and all of the family that comes to their house. Thanksgiving in college for me has always meant a weekend break full of cousins and babies and awesome food and sleeping 13 hours every night. It was a little sad not to be there this year but I’m glad I did something here.

It’s now basically summer here and it is getting HOT. It’s been in the upper 80s and lower 90s for the past week. It still weirds me out a bit that I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt in November. The great part of the heat is that when this past weekend I went with my host family to their grown son’s house who lives about an hour away we spent the whole day in their swimming pool. The not so great part of the heat is that my hour plus bus ride to class every day on the city bus is uncomfortable. Ah well, I’ll just enjoy the heat and sun before going back to Wisconsin in December…

I only have two weeks of class left here which is crazy. What that means is that over the next two weeks I have final exams! Ahhhh!! It’s going to be a lot of work and rather stressful just like finals anywhere. I am trying to stay on top of my work however and yesterday I finished my first final paper (10 pages). Please remember that all of my classes are in Spanish so all of my readings, tests, and essays are in Spanish. Now to write the two different 5 page essays and re read all my notes. It’s going to be a good time.
As my semester rather quickly comes to an end I find myself thinking more and more about coming back to the United States, and especially back to LC. As sad as I will be to leave the temporary life I have here in Santiago, I cannot wait to be back on campus. Something that this semester has made me realize is just how much I appreciate LC and how much I’m looking forwards to being back on the hill, to eating at my favorite food cart (E-San Thai food. You’ve got to try their pad see ew. It is so good) or just studying in Watzek library.

Getting back is seeming much more real because I am officially registered for classes! The registrar’s office helps all of us off campus persons to register because we can’t always be at a computer during our registration times. I’m happy to say I got all the classes I wanted and will be taking (drum roll please): Anthropology of Violence, Social Theory (a required SOAN-sociology/anthropology class), Western Art History; Prehistoric to Medieval, and Origins of Life in the Universe. It should be a fun semester. A lot of work (first time I am taking two 300 level SOAN classes at the same time!) but I am ready.
For now however I am still here and it’s time to get to work. These papers won’t write themselves and the sooner I finish finals the sooner I get to go to Peru!!

As always please send me you thoughts, questions, concerns, philosophies, jokes or cute cat pictures to smiller@lclark.edu

Things to be thankful for...

This past week was Thanksgiving so I thought I’d acknowledge all the things that I have to be thankful for this year.  And seeing as this is a blog about college life, it seems fitting to reflect on educational opportunities that I have had and continue to have.

Personally, I was lucky enough to have a solid primary and secondary education that prepared me well for Lewis and Clark College.  From here, my options currently seem endless with the possibility of graduate school or traveling or getting a “real” job.  And I have all these opportunities because of my personal educational background.  But for the past few years, I have been learning about a different caliber of education in America. My sister is currently a Teach for America teacher stationed in rural Louisiana teaching 8th grade earth science.  And more recently, this past semester I have started working with TFA as an on-campus recruiter or, my official title, “Campus Campaign Coordinator.”

TFA is an organization that is trying to combat educational inequality in America, where socio-economic level often determines access to education. In an effort to reduce stress for my older sister, my brother and I graded a fraction of the 100+ quizzes she had to grade. The quizzes were out of 24 points and I felt a rush of excitement if the kids got a score over 18 points (75%) I felt a rush of excitement because they were approaching “mastery.” Most of my sister’s kids probably will go to high school and some might graduate and a handful might go to college with even fewer graduating.
Some quality (and productive) family bonding grading papers.
Since I was a little kid, I have always imagined myself in college.  And, knowing that there are a high percentage of children in America for whom that isn’t an option makes me value my education even more. So that’s what I’m thankful for this holiday break, and here are some pictures of my family:
A little nap time before Thanksgiving dinner with the newest member of our family, Buddy the dog!
The kids at Thanksgiving! (Left to Right: Molly, Brendan, Mary, Buddy, Alex, and me!)

A little supplemental education on the living roof at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA.
(Left to Right: Me, Mary, Alex, and my mom!)
So if you want to learn a little about Teach For America or other educational opportunities available at Lewis and Clark ask me at katyyeh@lclark.edu!

22 November 2012

Trailblazers Game

As I believe I have mentioned before, I am part of the Pios guiding Pios program here at Lewis & Clark. This program pairs up first year students (transfer/freshman etc.) with upperclassmen as their mentors. Not only can we do anything with our mentees whenever we want but there are also specific events that the program hosts once or twice a month for the mentees and the mentors to attend together.

This past Sunday, I went to a Trailblazers game in the Rose Garden with my mentee and others that are part of the program. The Trailblazers is Portland's professional basketball team. It was so much fun. I had never gone to a professional basketball game before, so this was a really fun experience. I've always loved watching any kind of sport live. We had seats that were right behind the basketball hoop, about 20 rows up and we could see everything so well.

 The game was super close - the score going back and forth every couple of seconds. Portland was playing the Chicago Bulls, and there were some Bulls fans in the stadium, but most people were Trailblazers fans :)  

The Trailblazers ended up winning against the Bulls 102-94. It's always super exciting when you win a home game. Everyone was so excited and confetti fell from the ceiling at the end. The atmosphere was great the whole time, but it was especially fun at the end when they won!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I will write about what I did this Thanksgiving, on my blog next week! Please feel free to contact me at drussosavage@lclark.edu if you have any questions or just want to reach out and say hi to someone who is a student at Lewis & Clark.

I will leave you with this image that I found on someone's dorm door. Please take a chance today! You never know what it may bring!

Happy Thanksgiving!

20 November 2012

Academics in Athletics!?!

In the spirit of true interdisciplinary learning, last week I got to marry together academics and athletics. In one of my classes, Comparative Physiology, we are conducing independent projects.  Each group of 3-4 students designed an individual experiment based on work we have done in the class.  This is part of what makes the Lewis and Clark Biology Department unique because most lab classes have an aspect of individual research that gives students leeway to investigate what they find most interesting.  My lab group (Rachel Levitsky, Kate Garvey, Megan Andre, and myself) chose to look at the variation of basal metabolism (the amount of energy it takes for you to stay alive) at different temperatures (60, 80, and 100°F).  To have more reliable results we expanded our research group to include two other people (a sample size of 6 is better than one of 4) and bribed them with love and cookies to help us our (the 60°F water is really cold!). To measure metabolism we are using a respirometer which records the amount of oxygen left in the air you exhale and can be used to calculate the amount of oxygen used in the body.  Athletics gets involved because we are using the Whirlpool baths in the training center to control/change the temperatures.  Being able to use the temperature-controlled baths is really important for our project because we needed to ensure that a stable temperature that would be near impossible to do in air. Hopefully we will have all our data collected by the middle of next week and can do the analysis in time for the project due date in early December.
This is Megan in the 100 degree bath, its way nicer than the 60 degree water! (Photo Credit: Kate Garvey) 
All of our technology (courtesy of the Biology Department) in the athletics training room. (Photo Credit: Kate Garvey)

Last week we also finished signing up for classes, which was fairly painless.  A mix up with the registrar and my high school led to an incomplete transfer of credits that caused some stress.  But that should be resolved soon (fingers crossed!). Also, because of a limited number of seats in Animal Behavior, an upper division lab class I want to take I had to waitlist for it in hopes that someone drops the class between now and January. As it stands, this is my current schedule for next year:
Light blue: Calculus I (or maybe II), Green: ENVS core, Darker green: Ecology,  Blue: Environmental Physiology

But hopefully when my credits are resolved and I get into Animal Behavior my schedule will look like this:

Light blue: Calculus I (or maybe II), Green: ENVS core, Gray: Animal Behavior,  Blue: Environmental Physiology
And, finally, I close with some pictures of Fall Ball, and annual event held at the Crystal Ballroom. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the event because I chose to catch up on some studying and paper writing (I was sick last week so I slept A LOT) but that didn't stop me from dressing up with my friends for some pre-Fall Ball pictures:
Me and my roommates! (Left to Right: Emily, Rachel, me, and Kate) (Photo Credit: Alexa Morris)
Me and my Comparative Physiology lab group! (Left to Right: Megan, Kate, Rachel, me) Note the repeats between roomies and lab group, they like me enough to live with me too!
(Photo Credit: Alexa Morris)
Most of the L&C women's swim team!
(Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Becca, Genevieve, Libby,
Monica, Gail, Alexa, Alli R, Sofia, me, Rachel,
Heather, Lesley, Hannah, Taylor, Ali B, Kayla)
(Photo Credit: Kate Garvey)
The L&C junior women on the swim team being goofy!
(Photo Credit: Alexa Morris)

My Student Athlete Mentees, the group of freshmen that I help out as a reference for on-campus activities and resources! (Left to Right: Becca, me, Genevieve, Sofia)
(Photo Credit: Libby Bissen)
As always, if you are interested in Biology or athletics or class schedules or whatever, feel free to ask me questions at katyyeh@lclark.edu!

Fall Ball and Applications

Last Saturday was Fall Ball, which is the school's annual fall dance. It was held at the Crystal Ballroom, which is a really cool venue downtown. It looks like an old ballroom, with murals and a chandelier. The floor also bounces when you move on it, which is pretty cool.
There was also an awesome photo booth
I also got to register for my classes for next semester. I'm pretty excited.
No classes before 10:20 is a good thing.
Now, I'm focusing on my last tests and projects before Thanksgiving break. I'm in a weird half-vacation mode right now, because my family is in town. Because my brother and his fiancée live in Portland, my family thought it made sense to come here instead of fly us home. Due to ticket prices, they're here yesterday through Friday, so I'm squeezing in seeing them with classes.

I know a lot of you are working on applications/anxiously awaiting results from early action/decision applications right now. I can't believe I was doing it only a year ago! I have a message for you (I included a version with lyrics so you can sing along):

Don't worry about where you get in. This coming from someone who stressed over the whole process way too much, I promise that it will work out. If you don't get into one of your top choices, chances are that you'll be happy wherever you end up. You'll meet friends, get in the groove of things, and have a hard time imagining yourself elsewhere.

Don't worry about "knowing" which school is right. Sometimes, you get a feeling. If you have a feeling, go with it. If it helps, make pro/con lists for each school, but in the end, you should go with what feels right. If multiple schools feel like they could be right, chances are they both could be.

If you have any questions, doubts, comments, anything, please contact people from the school. People work in admissions offices to help you, and you should use that to your advantage. Here at LC, all of us bloggers are always available to answer questions. Your local admissions counselors, your high school counselors, the admissions office- you have lots of resources. Even if you don't have a specific question, just talking to a current student can help lessen any concerns.

I wish you all the best of luck- LC is truly a great place, and I'm happy you're looking here. If you applied here, my guess is that you're pretty awesome. As always, email me at rekidder@lclark.edu if you want to talk about anything.

Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck with applications!

16 November 2012

A bit more

Hey LCers

I have a little bit of time today, so I figured I´d write a little bit about what I do here not academically related (please forgive any typos, I´m writing on a Spanish computer that is spell checking me into Spanish...)

One of my big outside-of-school things is my volunteering. Every Friday I go to a local school and work as a classroom assistant teaching English. The program is called Ingles Abre Puertas (English Opens Doors) and is run by the Chilean government. I applied and was placed at a school near where I live. The school is in a poor part of the city and is funded by the Catholic Church. It´s still strange to be in the classroom and have the students praying at the start of class. Anyways, I work with fifth graders and eighth graders. There are about 40 students in each class with only one teacher. It´s vaguely organized chaos. My job is to be a native English voice and to give the teacher support. For the fifth graders this means I am in charge of half of the class. I take half the students and run a lesson for them. It´s a bit of a challenge. The kids are seriously rowdy but are eager to learn. It´s hard to give them all the attention they need. They constantly surprise me with how much they know or how fast they learn and they would do so well if they had some individual attention. I have the advantage of being really ¨cool¨ so they respect me. The eighth graders think they´re too cool for school but I think secretly want to learn.

Ok, my break is over, time to get back to class. Send me your questions etcetera to smiller@lclark.edu


14 November 2012

A Bit of Everything...

Hey from Chile!

It's really strange for me to think that in one month my program here will be over. How can I have already been here for five months? Because so little time is left for me here in South America I'm feeling rather reflective about it all. One of the things I think the most about is my host family. People often ask me what it is like to live with a family. It's a weird concept right? Just move in with a bunch of complete strangers? It's even more strange because the way families are structured and the way they relate here is pretty different to in the U.S.

It was the strangest experience being taken home by my host mother and sister. We moved in with our families right at the beginning of orientation before we really knew what was going on. One day these people just showed up and drove us away to somewhere in the city where we would be living. I was incredibly nervous. It didn't help that I was extremely sick (see my first post) and that the first thing I did in my new home was throw up. But then something really cool happened. My host mother tucked me into bed and brought me a bowl of soup! She and my host sister then hung out with me for a little bit and told me the house and where I lived and things. I couldn't believe it, they were SO nice! So yes, it's strange to move in with strangers but little by little over the semester I've developed relationships with my host family. I really do feel at home here.

Having a place like this means I have a non-judgmental place to ask my dumb questions (I can't stress how important it is to be able to ask the dumb things that we gringos just don't get). More than that I'm part of this incredible cultural exchange. When I decided I wanted sushi (without paying a million bazillon pesos) my host sister came with me in search of an Asian grocery store and then we and my host mom made sushi at home! (A special thank you to all the Akin Hall members who taught me to make it!) And then my host family decided they like it so much that sometimes they make it without me being there!

A very wise LC friend of mine who is currently also studying abroad (in France) said that it's the little things that make you feel at home and make you happy. I couldn't agree more with her. It's the details that make this my temporary home. It's how when it was cold my host mom put a hot water bottle in my bed, or how my host dad calls me "Sarita". I'm going to miss them when I leave. I'll especially miss the miniature poodle named Mini. Who else basically pees themselves in happiness and tries to lick my face when I walk in the door? So, to sum it up, living with a host family can be enormously rewarding.

In the coming month I'll finish up all my classes. Before I head back to the northern hemisphere I am going to Peru with a friend on the program (which should be AWESOME). I'll keep ya'll informed! As always any questions, comments, or virtual hugs can be sent to smiller@lclark.edu


       My host mama making sushi!!
The cutest doggie in the world, Mini

13 November 2012

Sleep Walking

No, the title to this post isn't about actual sleep walking.  That is a subject I know pretty much nothing about, being an extremely heavy sleeper.  Alarms, earthquakes, people shouting right outside my window; you name it, I've probably slept through it.

This post is about the type of sleep walking that happens to everyone on campus around this time of year.  That I-stayed-up-until-2AM-becuase-I-have-three-midterms-tomorrow kind of sleep walking.

You guessed it! Midterm season is here once again, infecting the masses of procrastinating students, such as myself, and making campus look like the zombie apocalypse has hit hard.

Her professor DID say she only had to memorize half of the book...
So here I am, blogging from my quiet corner of the library.  It's the perfect spot. I have a nice big desk area to spread out my books and situated so that I am the only person who can see that said books are all closed and my computer is playing yet another episode of 30 Rock on Netflix.

Moral of the story? Study well in advance of your midterms.  Don't wait until the last minute like me and become a mindless zombie like me.  I promise college isn't that hard when you manage your time.

If you have any questions about how to manage your time, college classes, or anything about our community of flesh eating zombies, shoot me an email at hhigger@lclark.edu or leave a comment below.


I don't know about you but I LOVE food. Being in college I also tend to miss the homemade food my family makes. Although cooking for myself or going to the dining hall can be fun and all, sometimes it is refreshing to go out to dinner. A lot less work too if you are used to cooking all of your meals for yourself, like I am.

Portland is a wonderful place for those who love food. There there blocks upon blocks of food carts with any type of food you can imagine. To give you some examples there is a Greek food cart, Polish, German, Mexican, Thai and one called SIP dedicated solely to making smoothies. I definitely recommend that you go check out the food carts whenever you come into Portland, whether it be to visit or if you end up attending Lewis & Clark!

Here is a whole website dedicated to the food carts! I would definitely check it out if I were you.

Now as far as actual sit down restaurants go I have two favorites here in Portland. One is a Thai food restaurant (The Thai Peacock) located in Southwest right near Powell's bookstore and the other is a Mexican taqueria (¿Por qué no?) on North Mississippi Avenue. Both have absolutely wonderful food.

I love ¿Por qué no? because after having lived in Mexico for a year I always crave that authentic mexican food. This is the place to get it. The most expensive thing on the menu is $11 but most items are between $3 and $6, perfect prices for a college student like me. They have tacos, tamales, flautas, ceviche and my personal favorite Horchata (a mexican rice-milk drink). For when it isn't raining they have many places to sit outside on the sidewalk but there are also some tables inside, where you can watch the chefs cook your food right in front of you.

The Thai Peacock is a bit more expensive than ¿Por qué no? but I always have extras that I can take home with me so it really ends up to be about the same amount. They have curries, noodle dishes, rice dishes and stir fries. Anything you can think of really. The spicy level always seems to be just right too!

You can really find any kind of food you are looking for in Portland and usually for a pretty cheap price.