Saturday, May 21, 2016

Graduation Ceremony for Seniors.

Tomorrow is a graduation day for seniors. Since I started to study at Hollins, they were always somewhere around on campus, and I always had people who I can ask questions about Hollins. If I need to go to the registration office, they just took me to there until I am familiar with the campus. We call ourselves "Hollins sisters" and pass kindness and care to people to people. I will probably unconsciously look for my seniors after they leave the university and would take a while to get used to a life without them.

For a graduation gift, I made 10 sets of 4 coasters that has their graduation year on it.

Green and yellow are Hollins color.

I made drawstrings bags that go with the coasters as well.

This is what my seniors receive :)

I really appreciate their support during last year. As they did for me, I will help new students who start coming to Hollins - One of the wonderful traditions of Hollins.

Congratulations! They made it! Their future is bright. I wish them a lot of good luck on their new journey.

Monday, May 16, 2016

One year.

Hard to believe it has been only a year since moved in Roanoke. It has been like I am walking in a thunderstorm, every day just go so quickly. I think I gained gray hair more - some give me compliment about being myself, some suggest to dye so I look younger. I prefer the former.

Today was the last day of my second semester at Hollins University. I received some emails from my friends in Fairfax "Congratulations on finishing your first year!" and "May I send you quilts (to quilt)?" - Thank you!
3 semesters to go until getting a B.S., if nothing stops me. I plan to read for my thesis this summer.

Professors here are just wonderful, many of them are tough, but they are so passionate with their subjects to teach. There are four PhD. psychology professors and they are almost always in their office welcoming questions from students. I often stop by at my advisor's office to say hi so that I can practice speaking - he patiently listen to me even it is not about class materials.

Hollins University has an program for adult students, called "Horizon program." It gives adult students a place to gather, chat and share concerns, and make friends. We have different concerns and interests from traditional students, so sometimes it is hard for us to merge into young culture. There are many who have young children. One of them gave a birth to a girl half year ago, and she comes to school with her baby (and a care taker while she is in class). I do not know how they are managing their life because some also have a job.

I now have friends here and I feel like I have been fighting with them together. I will cry when I eventually leave them. There are four adult students whose first language is not English, including me. The other day, the college marketing department wanted to video tape us, interviews, pictures in scenes of talking, laughing, and studying. They plan to put those on college website to encourage more adult students to enroll. While being video taped, two of them could not stop tearing thinking how far we have come. I wanted to have this kind of friends in this country. I have them in Japan who I can go back to the time shared with them anytime I see them, but they are not in the U.S. This is one of the reasons why I choose this small college for women. Also, a small community is more organized, cared, and healthier.

I went to Rome in January 8 - 29, which was a winter class. 2 instructors and 16 students spent 20 days in Rome together. I experienced a lot of drama among American young students, Renaissanse arts and Roman history were … cannot express in my poor language skill.

I took thousands of pictures, but most impressive place was St. Peter's Basilica - I went there twice using my free day. I actually like St. Paul better and went to his basilica as well to feel him, prayed in front of his tomb, sat in his church for 2 hours, but he did not cross me.

My body shook in St. Peter's, feeling the power of art that made Christianity the first world religion and artist's ability and power to portray abstract ideas sacrificing their lives.

College work is hard, but life here is wonderful. Neighbors are good, everything is so close, R and I have a lot to do at home - we started a vegetable garden - and we love to stay home. Farming is better way to spend time than going shopping. I can learn a lot about nature, good exercise, and I can eat (hopefully) what I spend time for - I had never seen earthworms mating; a garden at night has different dramas from morning. While weeding, we chat, think, and be creative.

While I am busy with school, R takes care of everything of house chores, clean house, do laundry, feed me, and bring me a coffee. (He is now looking for a nice periodic table of the elements for me since I will be taking a CHEM class in this fall)

Here is one of our garden bed. We have four beds. The picture shows when nurseries were just planted.

They are now grown much larger. I have to take some more latest pics later.

Since we heard that dandelion is edible and actually nutritiously better than spinach and some other vegetables, we now eat dandelion grown in our yard instead of spinach or kale. We do not use any chemicals and we see a lot of earthworms under the ground. Dandelion tea is also good. I grind them with dried skin of orange (organic).

And, lemon balm.

I will enjoy my garden a lot this summer! A lot of things to learn, including compost. It is very nice to have an own garden. We are now thinking how we can protect our crops from animals. we have deer, rabbits, squirrels, and bugs. We actually think a skunk is living in our back yard. R sees him/her everyday :(

Well. Fun! I guess.