Perceptions of USA and a new President

Ok, so when you think of France what do you picture?  Maybe  Berets, cheese, wine, baguettes, or perhaps people smoking and sitting at cafes drinking coffee.  We all have stereotypes which are formed by publicity and the media.  Generally these are not always true, they are just clichés that we have been programmed to believe are true…which leads me into quite an interesting story.

The other day in one of my classes, we had a break half way through class(since the classes are 3 hours long) and I was having a conversation with several other students in my class and our professor.  We were talking about some recent French news, nothing really out of the ordinary when the student standing next to me said, “Ahh the American girl.  I have a question.  Is life different now that Barack Obama is president?”  At first I wasn’t sure what to say, but of course you wouldn’t be surprised to know that the French LOVE Obama.  They are so fascinated with him that in book stores there are whole sections of books about Barack Obama.  Anyway back to my story, I thought for a minute and I said, “Well personally for me life really isn’t different, but then if you think about it, when you get a new president of France, does your life really change?  Does it really affect your life personally?  When in reality it generally doesn’t.”   I was really caught off guard because I guess that is a legitimate question to ask if you have never lived in the United States, but once again it’s just another one of those cultural things.  Needless to say after he asked me that the entire group of people joined in on the conversation dissecting it and discussing, but the French are so passionate about Politics that I just let them talk.  The joy’s of being an American in a foreign country, but its always interesting!

ACT 1, SCENE 2: The Skeleton Block.

Due to our crew hanging lights this week in the lab theatre, the director has moved rehearsals to a classroom in Tyler Hall. I am pleased to announce that as of last night, all skeleton blocking is complete! Tonight we will begin running each act, the director will make any necessaryadjustments to blocking, and the actors will continue to shape and develop their characters.

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Knate Roy (Andrew Borden), looks over his script

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Sarah Sterling (Abby Borden), listening carefully to her fellow actors

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SM, Aaron, and ASM, Todd focus on adjusting blocking notes

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Director Keegan leads a discussion, Knate and Danny thinking about the upcomming scene

The Theatre Department Tea

The Theatre Department recently hosted the annual “Department Tea” at Fallbrook here in Oswego. The Tea is a chance to socialize with faculty and peers outside of class. Each member of the faculty and staff brings goodies (fruit, cookies, cheesecake, etc.), tea and coffee are served, and anecdotes are shared.

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Dr. Jessica Hester’s story grabs the attention of majors Logan, Todd, and Courtney

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Erik and Olivia in discussion while Stephanie enjoys her cookie.

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Jessica and Craig in deep thought while Aaron is in deep thought.

Down with the Sickness, I Hope

Wow, this has been one crazy week! Basically, today is Thursday, and I haven’t been to classes all week, because I have been that sick. This past weekend, I started to feel a little weak, and I felt a minor pain in my throat, but that has happened to me before, so I just drank some water and turned in early, assuming that it didn’t mean anything, but Monday morning, I knew that I was coming down with something serious, and as the week has passed, my sore throat has only gotten worse and worse to the point where it was completely unbearable. Last night, I felt short of breath, because my throat was swollen, and it therefore felt as if it was closing up on me. I called my friend Kim, and she rushed back to the dorm and had SAVAC pick me up and bring me to the ER.

Here’s what’s really ironic about all of it, though. I was in so much pain that I needed an ambulance, and yet, I waited in that hospital for five hours until I was treated, and as it turned out, it isn’t the flu or strep or anything to that effect; it is a severe case of viral pharyngitis, which looks and sounds a lot worse than it is. It’s merely a sore throat caused by a bad cold, which I suppose doesn’t really go to show too much less of a serious issue, because I was in a lot of unbearable pain (I couldn’t even swallow), but still, considering the kind of pain that I was in, I was definitely expecting to have been diagnosed with strep.

Of course, there is still a chance that I could have it. The doctor gave me a throat culture, and the results will be back within two to three days, but he said that he doesn’t think that it’s strep, because he couldn’t see where my throat was swollen or anything, which is odd considering the fact that when the nurse first examined me, she said that she couldn’t believe how swollen it was. I’m not really sure what that signifies to me, but I just find it very odd that the nurse would say one thing (she even specifically said that it looked like strep to her), but then the doctor would say the opposite. I would have argued that point to the doctor, but it was 4:30 a.m., I was in pain, and I just wanted to get out of there, to be honest.

Being this sick has shown me what great friends I have, though. Let’s see, I have one friend who picked me up Gatorade (my mom suggested I drink that, because my younger brother and my younger sister just got over being really sick, and it really helped them) from the store, as well as cough drops and a stuffed manatee named Mr. (Mana) Tee. I have another friend who has been worried sick about me (no pun intended) and has been bringing me soup from the dining hall since I don’t have much of an appetite for anything else (actually, there are a few friends who have been bringing things to me from the dining hall), and then there’s Kim, who stayed with me at the hospital last night until 2 a.m., even though she had an 8 a.m. Philosophy class today. I seriously never did anything to deserve friends like this.

I am feeling a lot better today, though, thankfully. I have not gone to one class since Monday, because I have had no desire to leave my dorm room, and hopefully, my professors will be understanding of this. My mom brought me medicine today, and it’s helping me a lot. It feels so good to be able to swallow again. It still hurts but not unbearably so like it did before, and hopefully, I’ll therefore be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight, something I have not been able to do in two nights in a row. My hope is to go to classes tomorrow and get back on my feet, but my priority right now is to get betters, so like I said, hopefully, my professors will understand. I just figured that I’d write about this since it’s something at least semi-interesting that occurred in my otherwise relatively mundane life.

Mont-Saint-Michel

So, I just realized it has been over a week since I posted.  I am now a month into the semester, and I am really getting busy.  With doing school work, working and going to the gym, I have been very busy lately.  Right now for my classes I am only assigned reading to do, but I have a 10-15 page paper due in January, but I have to read 2, 250+ page french books before I write it!  I also have a 5-6 page paper due in January, but I also have to read a 200 page french novel for that paper too.  Not to mention all of my weekly readings!  Talk about being busy.

Anyway, so to take a break from school and my daily routine I took a trip with my exchange program to Mont-Saint-Michel this weekend.  it was SOOO much fun.  In fact, I said before I even came to France, that if there was one place I was going to go while I was here, it would be to visit Mont-Saint-Michel.  So I can check that off my list. 

It took about 5 hours to get there with one stop.  The ride wasn’t bad, it rained a bit, but when does it not rain in France.  We arrived at Mont-Saint-Michel at about 12:30 and I was so excited.  It is on the borders of Normandie and Bretagne and it is a small little village on an island.  The island is completely surround by quicksand, in fact it is famous for the quicksand and the tides that come up everyday and can cover the road making the island inaccessible by car. 

Once you get inside the walls of Mont-st-Michel there are very narrow streets with lots of resturants and shops.  It was crowded and very busy.  I felt like I was really in an authentic very very old town.  It was so charming. 
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The views from the village are incredible and everything was very old and built from stone.  The village is all centered around a very large, castle looking church.  It was built in 708 in honor of the Archangel Saint Michel.  I was very surpised at how large the church was, it was almost like a maze, and there were even parts that had a Harry Potter Hogwarts feel.  It was so cool.
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We spent about an hour and a half inside the church, then I walked around the village with my friend Rachel.  We got Crepes and ate them looking out at the English Channel, which is the body of water that borders Mont-Saint-Michel. 
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We only made a day trip to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, but from what I hear generally when people visit the island they make a trip out of it and spend a day at Mont-Saint-Michel, then travel around Normandie and Bretagne for the remainder of their trip.  Since Mont-Saint-Michel is such a small little town, there is only enough to do for one day.  We only spent about 5 hours there and I feel like I saw most of the town.  It was so nice and I loved it.  It was fun to walk on the sand and in the quicksand.  There were a lot of kids in my group that were playing on the beaches and got really dirty.  I guess that’s what happens when you get college students around quicksand!
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Besides Mont-Saint-Michel, there hasn’t been a whole lot of interesting things going on.  I have been busy with classes and working and my normal day to day activities.  I did book my train tickets to go to visit one of my friends in The Netherlands next month!  I am so excited to go travel around the rest of Europe.  Hopefully I will get a chance to go more places.  I am already going to The Netherlands and Germany, but I also hope to go to Spain and Austria!  It’s so easy to travel in Europe, I just need to find the time, and at the same time get all my school work done.  I am sure I will be happy with whatever I do.  I am just enjoying my time while I am here.  At the same time I can’t wait to get back to Oswego because hockey season has started and I am dying to get back on the ice with my Laker’s!  Speaking of which, Good Luck to all the ladies on my team and with your games this upcoming weekend! 

Anyway, I have some homework to do before I get to bed since it is past 11 here!  Enjoy my post!

Feeling Good

Here I am, sitting in my room, and of all things, I’m actually thinking about how much I absolutely love college, and no, I ensure you, I am not insane. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was completely and entirely stressed, because I was so overwhelmed with work that needed to get done, and at this point, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but a reminder to all that feel as if negativity is consistently slamming them in the face is that life is full of lessons to be learned, and therefore, every experience becomes an opportunity. There was a quote that I read once, and as a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that it was on an edition of Toilet Talk that I read it, but it said something like a pessimist sees failure in every opportunity while an optimist sees opportunity in every failure, and I think that that speaks a great deal of meaning.

I’m, of course, not at all saying that when times are tough, you should just try to ignore them and think ahead, ignoring every conflicting situation that you are currently experiencing. “Everything is going to be okay” or “just look at the bright side” rarely, if ever, work, at least for me, anyway, because when you are experiencing a situation that is vehemently difficult to deal with, that’s all that’s on your mind at the time, and although you understand that whoever is trying to help means well, their words mean nothing at the time, but keep in mind that usually, if I’m correct in saying this, you’ll end up thanking them, because as it will turn out, they were right. There was a bright side, there was something to look forward to, and most importantly, there was something to learn, and as long as we do in fact learn the lessons that life so desperately wants us to learn, then we’re on the right track.

Just this past week, I kind of had a breakdown, because, once again, there was so much going on, and it seemed as if one unfortunate event right after another was hitting me like a brick in the face. I had a History paper to write, and I didn’t think that I had any idea whatsoever how to write it. Also, the last time that I went home, I discovered that my father had somehow discovered that I am in a relationship with a male, and since he is extremely religious, he believes that being gay is a choice and that it’s a sin, so he told me that Ray (my boyfriend) could no longer visit me anymore, specifically because he is a “bad influence” on my two younger siblings (a sister, 13, and a brother, 17), and the reality of what that meant caused me to hit rock bottom this past week as well. Ray and I have been together for almost eight months now, and never in my life have I been happier, and his coming over to my house was an easy and convenient way for us to spend time together; now, it’s not so easy, and when we do spend time together, it’s for much shorter periods of time, and we’re never alone.

This was eating away at me as well as a number of other problems, and as I usually do in situations such as this, I panicked, unsure of what to do. However, a friend of mine once said that the universe has a way of self-correcting itself. He didn’t come up with this on his own, of course, but I give him credit, because I am pretty sure that he is where I first heard it. Back when he first said it, I thought that it was utter nonsense, but my recent experiences have showed me that he was right. Almost everything that goes wrong results in something right, and what went wrong happened, because we were meant to learn something from it, and that is indeed something beautiful.

Just as a small example, college is obviously very stressful. As a student, I am consistently being challenged, and there is rarely a time that I am completely free and am able to do something relaxing. However, at the same time, there is a reward at the end of almost every long and winding road. I feel accomplished when I complete a challenging paper (which is exactly what I did this weekend, having worked for about four hours on my History paper), and I feel accomplished knowing that as a college sophomore, I have made it really far at this point, and continuing in this same direction is going to one day soon result in teaching high school students English Literature, something that I have been wanting to do for years, basically for as long as I can remember. I really do love college, because every now and then, I do get those relaxing moments where I can reflect on life and how good it has been being to me lately, how rewarding it feels to be productive and to get work done. Ultimately, going to college is a decision that I’m really glad that I made.

23rd district of NY vote on November 3.

Recently I have become a little more interested in political affairs. I always said, “I’ll never become involved in politics. They’re so contradictory and not worth my time.” It wasn’t until last year’s presidential election that I realized how important my vote was. I am so thankful that Obama was voted as president. Since then I have become more aware of what politicians are doing and how they are getting their views out to the public.

As you may or may not know, the congressional election for the 23rd district is quickly approaching. On November 3 voting begins. The candidates are Republican Dede Scozzafava, Conservative Doug Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens. For the first time, in a very long time, the Democrat is ahead in the race. Not by much, but he is in the lead. I call myself a democrat but there are some republican views that I also agree with.

Here are some main points of each candidates issues and a link to more information if you wish to read more.

2009-07-22-Dede-Scozzafava

Dede Scozzafava campaign:
• Agriculture: a larger farming industry. Wants to reform that way that dairy is sold.
• Economy: Wants to keep 2001/2003 tax cuts permanent. Repeal death tax. Keep AMT from hitting the middle class.
• Health care: opposes cutting funding for Medicare.
More info., visit http://www.dedeforcongress.com/

Doug-Hoffman

Doug Hoffman campaign:
• Healthcare: spiral the costs and oppose universal health care so it is affordable to everyone.
• Immigration: make it easier for immigrants to enter the United States
• Tax pledges: Signed the “no new taxes” pledge.
More info, visit http://www.doughoffmanforcongress.com

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Bill Owens campaign:
• Healthcare: more affordable health care for every American. Opposes cutting Medicare benefits
• Jobs: keep NY going green. Supporting Fort Drum. Recruit Canadian investment.
• Economy: make businesses accountable and take tax cuts away from companies that take jobs away from NY. Supports low taxes for small businesses.
• Agriculture: support subsidies and import limits to help farmers and ranchers.
More info, visit http://www.billowensforcongress.com

Whether you are 100% into politics or not, it is important to vote. EVERY VOTE COUNTS. Make sure that the right leader is chosen to run the 23rd district of NY . Make sure you make YOUR voice heard. VOTE NOVEMBER 3!

Leaf-Raking!

Today representatives from our athletic teams went leaf raking in Oswego!  SAAC (student athlete advisory committee) set up this volunteer activity for us.  It has been something that happens every year, and it’s really cool because we get to help out the older people in the community and also make Oswego look nice!  The athletes split up in teams of 5-10 people and get a list of lawns to rake.  All senior citizens or other people in need have the opportunity to sign up, and I think they are all very grateful for this.  It was great being able to help these people out, but it was also a really fun time!

One of the houses that I went to was a former Women’s Swim coach, Grace Mowatt.  She shared stories with us about when she used to coach the team.  It was really fun hearing about how different things were before, and how our program has evolved.  Grace and her husband even gave us pizza and cider!  At least that was pretty exciting for me… like most other college kids, I always love free food. :-p    I could tell how grateful they were, and that really made the whole thing worthwhile.  At the other house that I raked, I got to jump in a huuuuuge pile of leaves.. that’s always fun, no matter how old you are!  The pic below is right as i was jumping into the pile of leaves… with just my feet sticking out :-p

Community service is something that a lot of people dread doing, or think that it will not be much fun, but I’m telling you right now that it is as fun as you make it.  I used to really hate raking the leaves in my yard growing up because it was a chore that I had to help with every year.   To be honest, the first time I signed up to do the leaf raking in Oswego,  I wasn’t very excited about it, but it ended up being a lot of fun.  I got to go out and do something different for the weekend, I bonded with my teammates, and I made a difference in my community.  That really beats sitting on the couch all day.  I even got back in time to watch the football game!  (GO BILLS!)  The bottom line is, get yourself involved in community service, because there are lots of people out there that need our help.

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Thrill the World!

Zombie Katherine
As Halloween is coming up, everyone is starting to get into the mood of dressing up in costumes, making jack-o-lanterns, and learning a performing Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance as part of an attempt to break a world record of the dance simultaneously performed. Okay, maybe not everyone, but 50 or so of us were doing it last night!


Here is a picture of the dress rehearsal.

Thrill the World happened at 8:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 24th in the academic quad at SUNY Oswego. It also happened in London, Madrid, Tokyo, Sydney, and many other places around the world. Thrill the World was an attempt to break the Guinness Book record of simultaneous dance performed. The last record was set in 2002 by a group of elementary students across Canada – 197,569 students.

The results from our dance isn’t in yet, but we’re hoping that we get to break the record.

The event itself was stationed by Students for Global Change and was part of that group’s Oswego Flash Mob ensemble. For the past couple of weeks Johnathan McDonald, Becca Witkins, Amanda Woomer, and Mandy Burch taught around 50 students the dance. The day of, everyone met in the Campus Center Food Court to go over the dance and to get zombified. The dance looked awesome.

The reasoning behind learning the dance and doing this event was to bring people together across the world and showcase how interconnected the world has become, so much that what we do here can affect what someone in a different country is doing. It also showcased how working together towards something fun for all is a community building experience and a great time overall.

Zombie Walk

We’re doing the dance next year as well, so anyone who will be coming to school here can come learn it. It’s free! And it also raises money for charities of your choice. And you learn how to do the Thriller dance so that anytime you’re at a wedding or Halloween party, you’ll be able to bust it out. I know I will! It’s a win, win, win situation!

Hope you have a safe and fun Halloween free from ZOMBIES!!!
Thriller