Working Hard and Hardly Working

This past week has been productive and fun, a rare combination. I visited Charlotte for the first time since the spring last weekend! It was really nice to see home again; I only wish I could have seen my friends as well!

Oh! By the way, I got a job! It’s nothing fancy, just a barista position at a local Starbucks, but I really like my manager. I’ve only worked a few days doing online training and coffee tastings. I have to admit I’m really bad at coffee tasting. Without cream and sugar it just tastes like dirt, but of course I can’t say that to my manager so I’m making stuff up and guessing. Hopefully, I’ll get better at tasting the more subtle flavors of dirt in the coffees. I have to open tomorrow, which means an early morning. I will be up before the sun. Yayyyyy…

Last night, Sarah and I met some of her work friends at Natty Greene’s Brewery in Downtown Raleigh. It was really fun getting to know some of her friends. The beer was good too! I got the wildflower beer which was a lighter beer with citrus hints. We went for Thirsty Thursday though so there was a really long wait and lots of college babies around. haha

I just sent out my requests for letters of recommendation for graduate school. I’m slowly making progress on my list of steps to achieve greatness. I also took a practice GRE…at night…with no preparation at all so I could see where I am. My scores were actually somewhat expected; really good in verbal reasoning and really bad in quantitative reasoning. I’m definitely going to study the math portion extensively before taking the actual test in a few weeks.

Wish me luck!

Beck

Tatted Up

Readers, I forgot to mention that I got a tattoo last week! My sisters and I wanted to do something together that signified our commitment to each other. We may have been brought together by family, but we are choosing to stay together because we love each other.

Being apart from my eldest sister this past year has been really difficult for all of us. We had to get to know one another all over again during the past two weeks, but ultimately we are stronger in our relationship because of the challenges we faced together.

It took us forever to come to a consensus about what we wanted, how it would look, and where to place it. All of us had to compromise, but it was important that we all got the same thing. We decided on a lotus blossom for a number of reasons: (1) it’s the national flower of India, (2) it’s a symbol for purity, beauty, and flexibility, and (3) it’s really pretty. :)

20140606-005225-3145321.jpg

We went to a place called Tattoo Bills in Charlotte, NC. They were really nice and accommodating. I highly recommend them! We decided to go in age order, so I went last. Before my experience, a lot of people told me that getting a tattoo doesn’t hurt all that much. A lot of people are liers! It hurt SO MUCH. It was like getting deeply scratched by a cat with really long nails. The memory of that pain will haunt me. Luckily, it didn’t take more than 10 minutes. It’s strange that permanently altering your appearance should take that little time and be such an easy process…you know, besides the excruciating pain.

I’m kind of a badass now, cause I’m tatted up. ;)

Beck

Spring Break 2014

kklj

I have been so busy the past few weeks that I haven’t had time to write anything, not even the paper I have due next Tuesday! Spring Break was this past week and I wish it never ended. I spent a few days in Raleigh with my parents and then headed to Charlotte to hang out with my sister. We had a lot of fun trying out some new places including Pio Pio, Tupelo Honey Café, Common Market, and Razzoo’s, all of which are fantastic and you should check out! I especially liked the “beer-ritas” at Razzoo’s and the beer I discovered at Tupelo Honey called Sea Dog Blueberry Wheat Beer. I also got to drink a lot of good wine. It was a good break, but it was much too short.

Now that I’m back at school, I’m keeping busy writing papers and trying to cram two years’ worth of Leadership workshops into the remaining five weeks of school. I’m in the Leadership Ed and Development program, which until recently I didn’t know was really helpful in learning about how to become a good leader. I enjoyed the Team Performance Model workshop a lot, and it’s something I want to use when I’m working at Duke this summer. It was basically a brief run through on how to get teams working together for a single purpose, etc. I’m going to workshops later this semester called “Leading with Integrity” and “Cross-Cultural Leadership” so those should be interesting.

Don’t be surprised if I don’t write more this semester. Last week went by so fast I didn’t have time to process it, and when that happens, it’s not likely that I’ll have much to say. It’s going to be a whirlwind of activity from now until graduation, which is only in 48 days. Oh Lawd.

Beck

The Flower Man

What kind of a name is Soul Gastrolounge? It’s a bit weird, I’ll admit, but it is a really cool place for eats and drinks in Charlotte, and is where my friends and I started our Saturday night last weekend. It was really dark, but the bar was impressive and we all know that’s the most important part of the restaurant. The place was really busy, so we didn’t end up staying to eat or drink, but it’s definitely somewhere we want to come back. Once they told us the wait time was an hour and forty minutes we decided to leave.

Beneath the lounge there is a neat art gallery called Twenty Two (Check out this great review!). As we passed by, a man accosted us and asked us to come in and check out the show. He turned out to be the artist on display. We got drinks and walked about. The space is small but the atmosphere was really laid back and fun. I really liked the paintings of the artist, John Hairston Jr. I couldn’t find any pictures of the paintings we saw that night, but below is one of his that I found online. I’m no art critic, but I really like his style and use of color.

CapturePicture Source

Our next stop of the night was Dharma Lounge, another place we didn’t stay because the cover was $13 dollars. I’m sorry, but if the cover is that much, the floor better be made of gold and the drinks free all night. We ended up at Nan and Byron’s which by day is a super cute restaurant, and by night a classy lounge and bar. The drinks were overpriced and there was hardly enough room for dancing, but you can’t beat the price (zero dollars). Also, those “train wreck fries” were delicious. We had a good time. There was a guy that was really fun to watch drunk dancing. A weirdo even hit on my friend with the line, “Are you a bar tender?” Haha.

On the way home, my friend had a sudden undeniable urge to eat a donut at 2am. We found NOVA’s Bakery and while they didn’t have donuts, they satisfied our appetite for baked goods and sweets. I got a muffin and some bread. As we were eating, a man came up to us and handed my friends and I a white tulip each. He introduced himself as The Flower Man and then said he was homeless and would appreciate some help (aka money). We didn’t have much, but I gave him some cash. He seemed really nice and I wished I could have done something more for him. He didn’t leave the shop immediately and later I went up and offered him my extra loaf of bread. He looked surprised when I asked his name and shook his hand. If it wasn’t two in the morning and I was slightly more sober, I would have liked to talk with him more. I’ve always wanted to be friends with a homeless person. Not because I feel like it’s my job to help them or make them un-homeless, but just because I think they would have interesting stories and experiences to share. People who are homeless are often ignored by everyone and I can imagine they feel invisible a lot of the time. I like making people feel visible and heard. If I can’t give him a job and a home, at least I can do that.

This seemed an interesting way to end the night. The intersection of my lifestyle and that of The Flower Man made me realize that while I call myself poor, I’m actually richer than many in the US. At my school, I’m surrounded by students from the upper middle/ high socio-economic class and I feel poorer than I really am. I’m really just lucky to be in college at all, even if I did have to take out thousands of dollars in loans to make it through. I really hope I meet The Flower Man again.

Much more to come
Beck