29 September 2015

Welcome To Me

Hello! My name is Nicole! I thought I'd introduce myself with this blog post, and maybe talk some of the highlights of the last week.

So, about me... Well, I'm originally from San Jose, California - which is just about an hour away from San Francisco. I enjoy writing, reading, cooking, and spending time with my friends. I'm a huge sci-fi and fantasy nerd, and I love to travel. This year I'm a Lewis & Clark senior who will be graduating this May (!!!) with a BA in International Affairs. My focus within the department has focused extensively on conflict and security studies.

Last spring I studied abroad in Tunisia, studying the culture, politics, and local language(s). While in Tunisia, I did research on the lives of LGBT women in Tunisia and struggles they face on a daily basis. I am hoping to return soon, possibly to pursue more independent research.

As my research topic may have indicated, I am very passionate about social justice and activism, which is reflected in the on-campus organizations I have lead, been a member of, or followed closely. I have been involved with the QSU (Queer Student Union), the FSU (Feminist Student Union), and the Department of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME). I also recently founded Spiritual Que(e)ry - an organization dedicated to exploring the intersections of spirituality and queer identity.

This year, however, I've decided to take a step back in some of my organizational work to focus on getting back into shape, staying on top of my classes, working part-time, and exploring Portland. I now go to the gym at least twice a week and cook most of my meals; I am doing well in all my classes; I work 8 hours a week for Bon Appétit (the catering company for our school); I also am going to try to explore one new event or place each week in Portland.

This week, my most exciting Portland gem was this tiny little food cart downtown, by the 4th and College intersection - if you just go a bit up College Street it's on your right.

Called "The Couscous Factory," the food cart offers many Moroccan and Tunisian dishes, many of which I remember fondly from my abroad experience. As someone who has desperately been missing Tunisian cuisine, I am thrilled to have found a place that could offer those rich, spicy flavors I have missed so much. Unfortunately, I actually wasn't able to buy any food since I had already eaten a very delicious rice bowl dinner from Café Yumm (a great, tasty vegetarian, gluten-free option, for those interested). Still, I am looking forward to going back to try their brik or kafteji plates!

Anyway, I think that's enough for tonight. I'll be posting again next week, but in the meantime, if you would like to reach out to me about anything I've mentioned in my post, please don't hesitate. You can reach me at my email: ncalande@lclark.edu.