Friday, July 2, 2010

Catching up

Well it's been a little while since I posted something with some true substance to it, so I thought I would take the time to catch up before I go on vacation for a week without my computer.  Hopefully I will have a lot to post about when I get back next Sunday, so I don't want to get behind.

Things on the school front have slowed down considerably since I attended orientation.  I am still trying to finalize my schedule.  I have until August 1 to pay for my classes, so I am trying to hold out until then in hopes that two classes I want to take will open up.  I am enrolled in the classes I need as of right now, but the classes I am waiting for are more interesting and one of them will count for both my major and minor.  Speaking of which, I have decided that I will get a minor in Women's Studies.  I am not 100% sure if I will like it, but I will be taking the first required class this Fall to see if it is something I want to pursue.  I am crossing my fingers that the two classes I want will open up, but if not, my Fall schedule is fine how it is.  I am very happy to say that I do not have any class on Fridays!  Right now, I am waiting to be assigned to the room I will be in for the next school year.  After much discussion with my parents, they still felt that an off-campus apartment was not safe, so I will be living in a dorm for my junior year.  I requested a private room in an upperclassmen building, so hopefully that is what I will be assigned to.  I am not super thrilled to be living in a dorm again, especially after living in the Phi Mu house for the past year, but as long as I have my own room I will be pretty content.  I should find out where I have been assigned in the next few weeks.  Once I have been assigned a room, I will be able to purchase a campus parking permit.

I took a campus tour about two weeks ago because I figured I should see the campus before I start classes.  I realize I did things in the wrong order by applying, begin accepted, and attending orientation all before touring the campus, but that's just the way things worked out.  While Mizzou is by far a much prettier campus, I feel like UNT is much more convenient in terms of the way things are located and by the resources and services they have available to students.  For example, all of the buildings that hold classes for a particular subject, such as Math, are all located together.  Because I do not have to take any more math classes (Hallelujah!), I can count on never having to go to that section of campus.  There is also a post office on campus.  A REAL post office, not a counter in the bookstore that only takes cash for payment.  Everyone should expect letters because I am very excited about this!  There is a highly recommended textbook renting system through the university bookstore.  I am looking forward to using this because students can rent most, if not all, of their textbooks for a small fee and not have to worry about selling them back for a miniscule reimbursement at the end of the semester.  No more being stuck with an "old" Econ. book that is really only one semester out-of-date.  I am very excited to announce that there is an Einstein Bros Bagels in the student union.  Yay for yummy bagels and super yummy and CHEAP coffee!  I am also oddly excited about the fact that there are Chase ATMs on campus, so I will no longer have to pay a $3 service fee when I only want to withdraw $20!

Of course, UNT is no Mizzou when it comes to the rec center.  We all know and appreciate how amazing the Mizzou rec is and it is definitely something I will miss.  UNT has a lot of the same amenities, but it's definitely not as pretty.  There is a good amount and variety of cardio equipment, which let's be honest, is pretty much the only equipment at the rec that I actually use.  Overall, that part seemed pretty comparable to Mizzou.  There is also a pretty extensive weights section, rock climbing center, and indoor track that were all similar to Mizzou's facilities.  Then I started to notice the differences.  There are 3 basketball/volleyball courts...total.  That was kind of crazy to me.  The pools, I am sorry to say, are kind of a joke.  The indoor pool has things that Mizzou has, such as a whirlpool, hot tub, and small lazy river, but in all honesty, it was very disappointing.  There is a very small lap pool behind this pool.  I always knew how awesome it was that Mizzou has an olympic-size lap pool, but I had no idea how lucky we really were.  I kept thinking that Tom probably wouldn't even want to coach if he had to do it in UNT's pool.  There is also no outdoor pool at the rec.  Apparently there is one on campus, but it sounded like it was more for a dorm, like how the pool at Mark Twain is.  This will definitely take some getting used to.  I have obviously been spoiled by Mizzou's award-winning Rec.  We didn't get to see the entire facility on the tour, so I am looking forward to doing some exploring on my own once school starts.  I do know that the passes to take studio classes are about the same price as Tiger-X passes at Mizzou, so I will definitely be purchasing one of those once the semester starts.  I'm praying that they offer Zumba.

Other than that, I have nothing else to report about school.  I start my online Poli. Sci. and Spanish 4 classes in about a week and a half.  I am actually looking forward to them starting.  I think I just want something to do to occupy my time.

I now want to take the time to write about the best weekend I have had all Summer.  This past Friday, I flew into STL and was greeted by my great friend Lindsay!  Lindsay and I talk, and complain to each other about how bored we are, almost every day, so we really didn't have too much catching up that we needed to do.  Nevertheless, it was SO great to see her!  She picked me up from the airport around 10:15 AM and we went right to the movie theatre near her house to see "Toy Story 3", which we had both been dying to see!  Apparently it's odd to people that we decided to see a movie during our time together rather than talk, but we had fun reliving our childhood by seeing one of our favorite movies.  Even though our tickets were expensive ($10.25 for a 3D matinee ticket) and we were stuffed from downing an $8 jumbo bucket of popcorn, we thoroughly enjoyed the movie!  If you haven't seen it yet, you really should go!  The original movie came out 15 years ago and we were the target audience!  Who feels old now?

After the movie, we went back to Lindsay's house to hang out and wait for Tom to pick me up.  Unfortunately, he had to stop at his mechanic and get his car checked out, so Lindsay was kind enough to drop me off somewhere closer to where Tom was.  After figuring out where to meet with the help of Lindsay's hilarious mom, we met Tom in an Olive Garden parking lot.  I have never been so happy to see someone in my life!  It had been a little more than a month since Tom dropped me off at the airport to go home after finals, so needless to say, we were very happy and ready to see each other!  Tom and I had a late lunch at Olive Garden and then went back to the mechanic to get his car and briefly visit with his dad.  Then we were on the road and heading to Columbia!  It was so nice to be together in person and just talk.  We usually text all day and talk every night, but there is something so special and wonderful about actually being together.

We got back to Columbia and spent the weekend enjoying each other's company and just doing low-key normal things like we would usually do, such as going to HuHot and the movies.  Did you really think that I would pass up going to HuHot when I was in CoMo?  I think not.  We saw "The A-Team" and spent some time playing on Tom's brand-spanking-new Wii.  I really enjoyed just being us this weekend.  It was perfect and I couldn't have enjoyed our time together more!  I can't wait to be back at the end of July for Tom's 21st birthday!  It seems so far away, but it is really only about a month.  This weekend really cemented my confidence that Tom and I will be able to keep our relationship strong, even with the distance.  If anything, it will make us stronger and make our time together even more special.

On Monday morning, Tom and I left CoMo around 8:30 and headed back to STL to meet Lindsay.  Tom headed back to Columbia to go to work and Lindsay and I drove around and killed time before we had lunch at the infamous El Nopal.  Most of the College Avenue kids recognize El Nopal as the Mexican restaurant that Lindsay's family is obsessed with.  I always tease Lindsay by saying that it can't be that good, especially compared to the authentic Tex-Mex that I am used to.  She was a little nervous to take me there because she didn't want me to bash her family's favorite eatery, but we went and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised!  Once I got over the shock of ordering "cheese dip" rather than queso, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, and Lindsay's company, of course!  After we had stuffed ourselves and couldn't move, we decided so walk around the mall to get out of the St. Louis heat and humidity.  I'm not sure what mall we went to, but it was massive!  Barnes and Noble was having a "buy two, get one free sale" on their classics collection, so I treated myself to three Jane Austen novels!  I am so excited to start reading them in the order that she wrote them!  I still need to buy Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey, but I have some time before I get to those.  Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, which I have read at least three times before because it is my favorite book, are up first.  After we left the mall, Lindsay dropped me off at the airport.  It was so great to see her and catch up with her.  Hopefully, I will see her for her 21st birthday the next time I am in town as well!

After waiting for my flight for about 2 hours, I finally boarded the plane and was ready to take off and get home to Dallas.  As we were about to take off, the pilot announced that due to bad weather in Dallas, we were not clear to take off and that the situation would be re-evaluated in thirty minutes.  Half an hour later, it was announced that we had to wait another thirty minutes.  Because they were trying to conserve fuel, it was hot on the plane.  Those of you who know me know that I do not do well when I am hot.  Needless to say, I was very cranky and annoyed that we had to sit on the runway in the hot plane for another half an hour.  At the end of that wait, we were told that it would be another forty-five minutes before there was a possibility of taking off.  The flight attendants then passed out a cup of water to each passenger.  Gee thanks, American Airlines.  A cup of water is really satisfying to us coach passengers when we can see the first-class passengers getting pretzels, granola bars, and all the soda and alcohol they want while they wait.  There seemed to be a lot of young children and babies on the flight.  I felt so bad for the parents of these children.  It must be incredibly difficult to travel with small kids, and I'm sure being delayed and cooped up in a plane while being required to stay in your seat by the flight attendants doesn't make anything easier.  After forty-five minutes, the pilot came over the loud-speaker once again and said that we wouldn't be able to leave for at least another hour and that, because of air travel regulations stating that passengers can not sit on the runway for more than 3 hours, we would have to return to the gate and get off the plane.  As everyone started to gather their belongings to prepare to exit, the pilot came back and said that we had been cleared for take-off, but that we had to go right now! The flight attendants ran up and down the aisle telling us to put our stuff away and turn off all electronics right now because we had to get in the air as fast as possible.  I don't know what changed in the minute before we took off, but I'm sure the weather didn't clear that quickly.  I think that the airline didn't want to risk passengers trying to change their ticket to another flight, therefore costing the airline money, but who knows?  At this point, we were already supposed to have landed in Texas and I most likely would already have been home, but at least we were finally in the air and on our way.

This past week, I have spent a lot of my time getting ready for the vacation I am leaving for tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning, I will be on my way to Seattle with my family.  We will spend a day and a half there and then will board a cruise to Alaska and Canada on Sunday.  I am very excited, however packing has been an ordeal.  I know that isn't surprising, considering how much I love (sense the sarcasm) to pack.  I just don't understand how one is supposed to fit 8 to 9 days of Winter clothes, plus formal clothing for dinner every night, into one normal sized suitcase.  I am almost done packing, but I have to get a few last minute things together, such as a few sweatshirts and my bathroom/cosmetic items.  I haven't tried to close my suitcase yet, so we'll see how that goes.

I won't have my computer with me during the trip.  I will have my phone, but I know that I will have limited service on the ship and in a few of the ports, depending on where we are.  Go ahead and text/call me and I will get back to you just as soon as I am able to!  I am excited, but a little nervous.  I mean, I'm going to Alaska!  Expect an update when I get back!

I need to finish packing and catch up on The Bachelorette and an episode of Top Chef or two before I leave.

Have a good week,
Sara

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