Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving

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Hello! I am writing to you from the road... I'm in the backseat of my parents' Honda mini-van (its an Odyssey... for you car enthusiasts) enroute to Phoenix where I will spend Thanksgiving Break with my Grandma and her minions. (Point Loma gives us Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off... GO WILD!!!) It's pouring rain and I'm eating a blizzard from Dairy Queen and poking my dog Sammie with a pen. She's lounging in a zebra fur bed in the middle of the car while I'm crammed in the back with her "Furrari by Dogloo" dog kennel. It takes up 2/3 of the seat, therefore I currently want to kill her. But c'est la vie.

We stopped at Jack in the Box 2 hours ago and I refused to order anything, instead choosing to sit on a stool scowling and spouting fake statistics about the merits of Healthy Eating. "A salad Dad... really? If you're going to eat it with ranch dressing you might as well eat 6 cheeseburgers"... so instead he got 2 breakfast burritos and 2 tacos. My brother Kevin also got tacos and offered up this choice piece of nausea: "Mmm, greasy. After I finish one it looks like I'm wearing lip gloss."

I forced my father to stop at Subway half an hour later so I could self-righteously order a Veggie Delight on wheat. Fast forward an hour and a half and I am fishing brownie bits out of my Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard. Such is the beauty of youth.

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Alright, so the moral of the story is this: I broke my camera. I didn't even do anything, I think it's just all of my past experiments finally catching up with it. This past weekend was Homecoming Weekend and I sat behind Bob Brower (the president of the university) at the game... two words: Oh. Yes. I got a lot of secret shots of him with Kelsey's camera, so I'll cover all of the Homecoming stuff when I get back.


In the mean time, here are several pictures that I took off of other people's facebooks:

















Intramural Softball Team finale party at Fuddruckers. I wasn't exactly on the team per se... but it was great nonetheless. Notice the matching yellow turtlenecks: Jeff and Sean won those because they tied for Most Pent Up Rage










































My great friend Tracy (ASB Director of Communications) and I were hanging around by the train tracks one Sunday (Stars: They're Just Like Us!). She has a fancy camera...

















We had a picnic in Del Mar (a beach town just up the coast from Loma) and then went swimming in the ocean (in November! Apply Now!)... That night we went to the Marine Corps Ball. We weren't invited, but no one stopped us. I lost my keys and then we got to ride in the back seat of my car as the tow truck towed us back onto campus. A great day...


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More soon
love,
Ref

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

study abroad or you will have a horrible life

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I'm vaguely exaggerating but you might as well just do it in case.

(note: there is a video in here somewhere, don't scroll too fast or you might miss it)

The Point Loma Study Abroad Office is my favorite location in the world. The school makes it so easy to facilitate the whole process so you really might as well go. I wish I had a statistic to reference here, but I know that A LOT of the PLNU student population spends at least 1 semester studying in a foreign country. Point to a random spot on the globe that is coincidentally sitting on your desk, and chances are Frank can find a way for you to go live there. Stop being cheeky and pointing at the Arctic Ocean, you little fiend. I spent last semester (the 2nd semester of my Sophomore year) living in Rome, Italy.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Except it was literally only the best of times and I associate absolutely nothing bad with it. I went by myself through AIFS and it was the best 5 months of my life. I made such good friends and ate such good food and I just generally had so much of the world at my fingertips. I saw more places and faces than anyone should even be allowed to.


the view from my bedroom window


I lived in an apartment with 3 girls in Trastevere (the non-touristy Roman neighborhood), which is entirely comprised of narrow cobblestone streets and alleys with old lady stockings hanging across them. My apartment was at the end of one such alley, through an iron gate, up the "Fern Gulley Steps" as we called them, and on the second floor of a yellow building with shutters. Every morning I threw open my bedroom shutters before walking to school through the morning market in the piazza and then across the bridge over the river. Wait I just started crying. Moral of the story is this: I got to know the Italian culture so well and I made Italian friends and I rode in Italian cars and I danced on Italian tables and I picked up smoking (no I didn't. Sorry that's not even funny, I'm not sure why I didn't just erase it. Too late.) and as corny and annoying as it sounds, the whole ordeal seriously changed my life. Confidence-wise, perspective-wise, and just generally happy-wise.


I went to Morocco during my spring break


For the first 3 weeks we lived in Florence in a 4 star hotel for Language Orientation. We built forts out of the hotel sheets and bonded late at night


Il Duomo in Florence


In Venice for Carnevale


Bulgaria


Austria


I made a mini movie with all the videos I took over the 5 months and hopefully that will paint a clearer picture of how it was than my offensive fake smoking references could. Don't judge me for the inordinate amount of time I spent on it... I got my wisdom teeth out over summer and had a Gopher Face for 2 weeks (unusual). This video was the fruit of my vanity-induced refusal to be seen by someone other than my mother, whose name is Hulda (also unusual).

Side tracked. Anyway, enjoy:


ABROAD: the "documentary"

video


Just to clarify a couple things.
1. Giuliano was fake drinking and driving. Also bad, but not as bad. In all seriousness though, that really wasn't alcohol so don't get any ideas people.
2. After my program ended, I met up with Kelsey and we spent 3 weeks backpacking through Eastern Europe, (which is unbelievably surreal, looking back, by the way. SO FUN). So a lot of the footage came from that, as well as weekend trips I took with friends I met in my program.
3. If you want to see it bigger or in better quality without it skipping around, search Kristen Refermat Abroad on youtube.


Well there you go.


Baci baci!
(P.S. that's the thing where you kiss each others cheeks upon greeting. One of my friends, Marcello, would always go in for the baci when I ran into him in Trastevere and I would always forget you're supposed to go right first and I would end up awkwardly brushing his cheek bone with my face or, worse, kissing him on the lips. Tip: go right)


ciao i miei amici,
Kristen




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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a day in the life



I fixed my computer. Julian from Dell did actually, but I helped. And by that I mean I opened the screen door to let him into my apartment.

I now give you Kristen's Life: A Taste



Monday at a Glance:


6:30 - alarm sounds, scowl and hit it with fist

7:35 - get woken up by Kelsey saying "don't you have work?" and then realize i turned off the alarm and scream Christian profanities like "dang it!" and "awww man!" for 5 minutes and then quietly proceed

7:57 - ride my bike to work at the Nicholson Commons info booth on campus. Here I write the weather and surf reports on the white board and sit behind a booth where I would typically answer people's questions and handle the lost and found. Today I only got one question though, and it was this: "One of the toilets in the mens room has a huge pile of toilet paper in it. You might want to call someone." That wasn't even a question. I also fell off my bike on the way to work when I tried to do the 'stand up while pedaling' trick on a steep hill. My shin is bleeding.

9:30 - Get off work and go to the Point Break Cafe for coffee (This is a to-go restaurant inside Nicholson Commons that sells Starbucks coffee, sandwiches, burgers and fries, smoothies, salads, and the infamous Salandwich... figure it out). Also they just added Caffeine Shots in test tubes. Sooooooo... there's that.

9:45 - CHAPEL. (You future students may be worried about this but it's seriously not bad at all. I actively like it. Here's how it works: You scan in using your ID card at the door, then there is worship led by one of a handful of student bands, then there's a mini message which is usually really good, then you talk to all your friends in the lobby and run into people you forgot about and say"Hey! Omg when are we going to hang out?!?!" in a really high voice and give them a side hug, then you scan back out. Cinchy AND fun.)

10:30 - After chapel everyone hangs out on Caf Lane until their next class (see previous entry for more on this). Earlier that day I took an eggplant out of one of the Caf's display cornucopias so we played football with it on Caf Lane. Someone (Amy) dropped it when she was going long and then someone else (Taylor) poked a hole in it with his finger so now I can't make Eggplant Parmesan. Perfect.

11:00 - Visual Presentation and Display Class. Normally I would go to this class and learn how to create displays to use in advertising but today I didn't particularly do that. I heard through the grapevine that Yelle was playing for free at UCSD at noon so a bunch of us skipped class and drove up the coast to La Jolla for the show. She is so French and cool I almost threw up. It became an electronica dance party and it was SO FUN so we finally squeezed to the front and I was slapping everyone in the face to make way for myself while simultaneously making extremely wild gestures in an effort to get the drummer to notice me. I have a video of my friend Max owning in the middle of the dance circle... I'll post it in the compilation video, but for now...... Here:






(that's me in the orange tiger shirt)





1:30 - Made it back just in time to run to the Caf (the cafeteria) for lunch (I had pizza) before Human Development Class. We watched a video of a live birth. Wait can I talk about that? I'd rather not. So anyway, adoption.

4:00 - Student Congress Meeting. I am the representative for Flex Building 47... which I don't actually even live in, but who's counting. A=B and B=C, therefore A=C. That couldn't have been less relevant if you paid me. Wait they do pay me... $100 bucks per semester, per representative.


Darrin, ASB Vice President, doing some light reading in his office


Anyway Student Congress is always fun and important-feeling. Last week one girl in my Financial Committee painted her face like a cat and I couldn't stop laughing.

Responsibilities? Check.
Then I typically do a bit of homework and then the fun begins.

That night in particular 4 of my friends and I went to Balboa Park because there is a huge Lion King tree where you can swing from vines. It's huge and gnarled and we climbed really high and talked for hours up in the branches. Then we went swimming and running in the huge fountain and kept tripping on the pipes and getting sprayed in the face by the spouts. So fun... but so freezing. Not to mention I went in with my electronic car key still clipped to my belt loop. Tight.











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