08 December 2015

Almost to the End

The end of the year is upon us. It’s amazing how quickly this semester went by. Tomorrow is the final day of classes, and then we have finals starting on Sunday. Fortunately, we have Thursday and Friday off to prepare for our finals. However, the school puts on a lot of events during these days to help people with taking breaks, like free donuts and coffee on one of the days. As for me, I think I will go snowboarding on Thursday before I study that evening!

This past week, my friend Colin Brown invited me onto his radio show that he hosts every Sunday from 9 to 10 PM. It was really a cool experience to be on the KLC radio. The operation is run by students who have shows and play music on their website throughout the day. Colin’s show, titled Colin’s Classic Hits, is a very laid-back show that was very fun to do. When he first called me to ask if I wanted to come on, I was a bit taken aback since I wasn’t expecting that at all. However, I agreed, and I am very glad I did. When we were speaking on the radio, Colin and I just talked about how the football season went and how my classes are going. He even let me pick a few songs out for people to listen to.

Other than that, all I have been up to is working on homework and preparing for finals. I just finished my Spanish presentation, and all I have to do is present it in class tomorrow with my group. As I mentioned earlier, I should be headed up to Mt. Hood on Thursday to go snowboarding. The past week or so it has been getting snow everyday, so it should be really nice up there. One of the  reasons I came here is because the school is so close to the mountain so I can snowboard!

Well, this is my last blog post for the semester. I just want to thank everyone for reading this semester. I will be back blogging next semester. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Hanging out with Colin in the studio.

The Timbers also just won the MLS Cup!
The Final(s) Frontier

Whoa! Still can't believe it's the last week of school left! We have one more day of classes, then finals. As you can probably imagine, I am very busy with final papers and studying. But I wanted to take a little break and write about the last week.

This is what the last couple of days have looked like... Long hours writing papers in dorm common rooms, Maggie's Cafe, and Watzek Library.

Last Wednesday was really cool because I got to meet with a bunch of students who are participating in this independent study course we are collectively designing for Spring Semester. The course is focused on Asian American narratives and activism history, and the course curriculum and assignments are all collaboratively designed by us, the students. I'm very excited by the opportunity to audit the class to learn more about this community ("auditing" means that I do not take the class for credit, and thus only attend or complete work as much as I am able to).

On Friday, I saw my friend performing with the Community Choir in the annual Winter Choral Concert. Three choir groups performed a variety of seasonal, thematic, and holiday music. It was absolutely beautiful!

In other news... If you like rain and huge downpours - you would have loved Portland these last few days. It has been raising cats and dogs since Monday, and it shows no signs of letting up. Portland is not a city used to such heavy rain, so there has been a lot of flooding and downed power lines. There were even a couple of blackouts on campus!

All this weather makes you never want to leave your warm room and maybe curl up and actually do work. Which is pretty handy, given how many assignments most students have due around now.

Speaking of work... This 12 page thought-paper for Global Security isn't going to write itself, so I'm afraid I'll have to bid "adieu" to you all and get back to work. It has been a pleasure keeping you ion the loop about my everyday life this semester. I hope to write again for you this Spring so I can let you know about my thesis!

Happy holidays!

Email: ncalande@lclark.edu

First Semester at LC... over?

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Hi all!

For Fun
This past weekend, I decided to venture into the Mt. Hood area for a quick hike instead of the Colombia River Gorge area (where I usually spend my time outdoors). It was a great choice, and my first hike was the Boulder Ridge Trail! 7 miles roundtrip, a comfy 2,000 ft of incline, and SNOW!!! I trekked off in true John Muir fashion with just bread and hummus (ok, maybe not this part) as food to keep me going. I'm excited to adventure and discover more of the Mt. Hood area soon, for the Boulder Ridge Trail was a great intro to the scene!

Reflections on the (nearly over) semester
Well. If I turn around and look behind me, I see the wall of the library (which I'm currently at, studying for finals), but what is figuratively behind me is nearly a semester of LC done and done... my first semester at that! Needles to say, it's been a PACKED couple of months from the beginning to the end. Here's a short reflection!

Transferring between universities/colleges is definitely not something that's done easily; it takes a lot of focus, dedication, motivation, and elbow grease. Things won't work out the way you envisioned it to, with credits or schools or many other things, but I've been lucky. Why? Well besides all the things I just listed, I've been lucky as a transfer because I found Lewis & Clark. Countless members of the community have helped me through this seemingly daunting process of transitioning into LC from other colleges, and while my classes here have been fantastic, I want to emphasize how shocking/great it is to have a support network in the school administration and faculty. It's been very easy for me to stay healthy, with the gym open so early/late and the options in the dining halls, and this cannot be understated! I came from colleges that served only fast food in their dining halls, and the habit of eating junk food is hard to stop once you develop it. I found out that I will be able to study abroad in Japan, which is in itself something to celebrate. From clubs to friends, classes and food, fun outside and fun inside, campus and Portland. I know when I look back on my first semester here, there'll always be a big smile on my face.

End of Term

 Hello again! This will be my last blog entry for a little while. Tomorrow is the last day of classes. After that, we have two days called reading days set aside for studying. Then, finals begin. After finals, I’ll be staying at my friend Sully’s house for a couple days before we road-trip back home to California for winter break. Next semester, I’m going to be studying abroad in Australia, and although I may fill you in on how the semester’s going about halfway through, I won’t be posting regularly.

I have two in-class written finals as well as the final presentation of my acting scene. I also have to edit and turn in my final portfolio for my fiction writing class. Besides that, I’m basically done. It feels like my workload was weighted more towards the three-quarter mark in the semester than at the end. My finals schedule doesn’t look bad at all, especially when you consider that I’m going to be studying for my Shakespeare final exam by doing a marathon of all the films of the plays we read.

Speaking of Shakespeare, Sully, my roommate Sara, and I all went downtown last Sunday to see Coriolanus. It was a screening of National Theatre Live’s production starring Tom Hiddleston. Alfred Enoch was in it too, and Mark Gatiss. It was a truly incredible experience. In terms of visual setting, the performance struck this weird balance between minimalism and spectacle. The stage was very bare, except for a tall ladder leading up a graffitied wall. But the movement on that minimal stage involved stage combat, throwing chairs, water, pyrotechnics, and lots of fake blood. The acting was great, except for one of Coriolanus’ final monologues, which felt a little flat to me. But overall, the actors made me experience the characters in a totally new and unprecedented way. The man who played Brutus was really good in that he was completely horrible. I thoroughly enjoyed hating that character. I didn’t realize how much I cared about this play just reading it for class. I may have analyzed the characters in my papers and in class discussions, but I didn’t truly know them until I saw them depicted like this. I’m so glad I got to see this performance. It complements what I do in class as well as being entertaining and wonderful in its own right. The best part is that it counted as studying for finals! It should help me remember the plot and characters for my Shakespeare exam.

Here's a photo I took on the walk to the theatre where we watched the screening. I'm on a bridge over the Willamette River.

And here's another photo of Sully and Sara at the sushi restaurant we went to beforehand!

I could talk about that show for ages, but I’d better swing back to my on-campus activities now. Last weekend, I went to see Dance Extravaganza, which was really cool. Commonly called Dance X, it is a series of dances choreographed and performed by LC students. I signed up to be an usher for the performance, so I got a free ticket. Tonight, I’m going to the performance of a play I wrote, which I’m really stoked for. It’s the final project for my theatre and society class. I also have my last shift working at the Writing Center. Finally, I’m excited for Watzek Recess. During the reading days, there are snacks, coffee, massages, therapy dogs, coloring books, Disney movies and more in the library. It’s always worth stopping by.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope everyone has a good holiday season!



06 December 2015

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

My roommates were up to major procrastination this weekend.  Finals are coming up and our room now sports an almost life size drawing of a Christmas tree, a gingerbread house, a mini cardboard tree, and a lot of food.  I have added to the festiveness with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and some ornaments my family sent me.  This is quite possibly the earliest I have ever decorated for Christmas.

They also decided to buy a mini-fridge while shopping at Costco, I can’t tell whether they are happier to have the fridge or the box it came in.

This will be my last post this semester because finals are coming up and it’s time to start studying, but I’ll be back next semester ready to tell you about my adventures over break.
Finished tree (his name is Carl)

The box goes on an adventure
The ornaments my family sent me
I told you they were enjoying it
The gingerbread house






Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree
















Real Life Everyday Life: The Lewis & Clark Bookstore

Our bookstore is found on the second floor of Templeton.  It carries every book that you will need for your classes.  Their prices are actually pretty decent and sometimes their textbooks are even cheaper than you could get from somewhere such as Amazon or Chegg.  Books are organized by department/class so as long as you know which classes you are in it is pretty simple to find the books you need.  The other option is to order them online from the bookstore and you will be able to pick up all of your books, bagged and ready, within a day or two.

They also have a bunch of Lewis & Clark gear.  I visited the bookstore yesterday to buy a few Christmas gifts for my family (but I’m not going to say what because I know they read this).

Lewis and Clark Bookstore: http://books.lclark.edu/

If you have any questions feel free to send me an email at ameliaberle@lclark.edu

02 December 2015

Delicious Food and the Final Stretch

Hello all! I had a good Thanksgiving break last week. Much of it was spent eating, watching TV, and sleeping. Having been sick for the previous week, it was really helpful to just relax and take care of myself for a couple of days.

For Thanksgiving, because I staying on-campus for the break, one of my friends hosted a big dinner at his house off-campus for his friends who didn't have anywhere to go. It was a really nice dinner, and the food was so delicious!

I made cinnamon-roll stuffed apples.

Our delicious Thanksgiving feast.... There were so many leftovers!

Look at that yummy homemade food!

Other than eating a lot of food this weekend, I did a lot of work for my film class in English. We are currently studying "The Shining," so I watched the film, read a film analysis, and watched the theoretical documentary about the its hidden meanings called "Room 237." At the end of the weekend, I went out for dinner downtown at India House, which I mentioned going to earlier in the semester. Yet again, the food was absolutely delicious!

India House on Morrison St. downtown

After eating, we went on a quick little detour to Powell's. For all those who don't know what that is, Powell's is the largest independently owned bookstore in the world. The building is three stories and takes up a whole city block. I was drawn to the sections on anarchist politics, metaphysics, gay & lesbian literature, horror, and science fiction. I ended up getting a couple of books for winter break reading that I am eagerly anticipating.

As my title suggests, we are finally in the homestretch of the semester - we only have a week more of classes, then a couple of reading days to study before finals. I am starting to really feel the pressure, what with three major papers due within the next week that I still need to start. At least my physics professor, Michael Broide, seems to get how exhausted his students are by the end of the semester. The last couple of classes have focused on understanding how waves work, especially sound and electromagnetic waves (including light). He has been incorporating many cool in-class experiments and demonstrations to keep students involved and interested, and I've really appreciated that at this point in the semester.

Michael demonstrating how cell phone signals get blocked when inside a metal box.

Work is still keeping me busy outside of class - I recently added a couple more shifts. I now work at Maggie's cafe on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, and Monday night. I'm anxious to start finalizing my work schedule for next semester so I can really settle on classes I might audit and how many extracurricular activities I could have.

Me in uniform at Maggie's.

It's been a hectic week so far, but I look forward to filling you in on how my last week goes. Take care! Feel free to email me at ncalande@lclark.edu for more information or if you have questions.


01 December 2015

Thanksgiving at Home

Well, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! I know I sure did. It was nice to be able to go home to spend time with my family and friends. With finals just around the corner, it was nice to be away from all the stress of school and just relax for a couple of days.

Last week, I left school in the afternoon on Wednesday and flew out that night to San Diego, where my girlfriend Ava picked me up from the airport. We spent the night at her apartment, which is near San Diego State University, and then woke up super early to get back home for our Thanksgiving day. Once Ava dropped me off at home, I spent time with my parents and brother before everyone started coming over. For Thanksgiving at my house, it was my parents, brother, grandma, my best friend Matthew and his mom, and Ava. For dinner, my best friend Matthew and I had to cook the turkey. It came out better than we  thought it would, even though we  brought it out of the deep fryer  too early and had to put it back in.
Eating my favorite food from home, Johnny's. 
A pretty cool clock inside PDX airport. 

After we ate at my house, it was on to round two at Ava’s aunt’s house, where a lot of her family was. Since I had eaten my fill already, I couldn’t eat too much more. Mostly, I got to chat with her family members and tell everyone how my year is  going. However, we didn’t stay too long because we were going shopping at Target that night for Black Friday. So around 4:30, we left her aunt’s house to go stand in line. Since it was Ava’s birthday, she asked me to go shopping there, plus we had some Christmas shopping to do for her mom since there were some good deals. Fortunately, when we got to Target, there wasn’t too bad of a line so we were able to get a good spot. Once the doors opened, it was a lot easier than I had expected. I assumed people would be sprinting around, fist fighting over everything. It wasn’t like that at all! People were very calm, and  almost everyone in line was buying some sort of TV. Ava and I were able to walk in and get the PS4 and Beats we wanted rather easily.

Other than that, most of my Thanksgiving was very relaxing. I was able to help my dad with a few things at his high school and relax at home. Sunday, my mom was able to drive me back up to San Diego, and I made it back here to Portland. Now it’s time to buckle down and finish up this semester. It’s weird how close it is to finishing.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. It’s already almost Christmas! 

My cat, Jax. 
Scotty, on the left, and Aussie. 
Ava's dog Shorty was in the holiday spirits.