Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kicking off winter break!

Well! Finals are over and I can finally relax, sleep in, and do absolutely nothing, right?

Not quite! Like I said before, I'm working Tuesdays this break and I'll be working on my Capstone Portfolio as well because I'm graduating in May - eek! How did that happen?

Friday afternoon, I went to the Capstone presentation for the 4 students who are graduating from the MATESOL program. I love the Capstone event, because it's so, so interesting to hear about everyone who is graduating! I always learn new things about my friends when they give their presentations. I have to say, the people in the MATESOL program are some of the most interesting, coolest people I've met. They come from all over the world and have so many different experiences to share - that's a big part of why I chose HPU! I love that in any given class, I've got friends from Japan, China, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and more! I've learned so much from listening to my classmates in the past year and a half. Hopefully someday I can visit all my TESOL friends in their home countries!

After the Capstone event, a few of us went out to celebrate. It was so much fun - I didn't want to hop on the bus back home! The official graduation is on Wednesday and I'm so excited for my friends who are graduating, but I'll miss them a lot too.

Yuhei is one of the graduates. He's going back to Japan and I will miss him!

So that was Friday night. How about the rest of the weekend? This weekend I woke up earlier than I do on school days! Why, you ask? It's all my boyfriend's fault, honestly.

Saturday morning, we had to wake up at the crack of dawn (it was still dark, which to me means it was the middle of the night) and go on a super secret Christmas mission. It involved a long drive (it's amazing how long it can take to drive somewhere on this tiny island, but it really does!), a pretty place, and (unfortunately) a lot of wind. I can't say any more about it now though ;)  

The pretty place: Waimanalo! This picture is from a camping trip there last year.
We were back home by breakfast time, and then it was time for the Army-Navy game. I still can't get used to the fact that football games start as early as 7 AM here - as an East Coaster I think that's just plain wrong! The Army-Navy game started at 10, at least, so we made a brunch out of it and invited a bunch of friends over to watch. My boyfriend, Devin, is in the Army, and our roommate and the majority of our friends here all went to West Point, so obviously there was a lot of excitement about the game. Unfortunately, the Army lost but... there's always next year, right?

Go Army! And yes, we do have a giant American flag in our living room. Don't you?
Saturday night, Devin and I had a date night at Vino, this awesome Italian place downtown. Their homemade pasta is to-die-for, and of course the wine is great too! 

Sunday was another early day: the day of the Honolulu Marathon! Now, anyone who knows me can tell you - I am NOT a runner. I hate running. I think I might be allergic to it. (Oh wait, no... I just have asthma.) But all of my friends are much more athletic than I am, so I knew a bunch of people running in the marathon, including both of the boys I live with. My roommate, Russell, decided on Saturday that he would run the marathon - his first! - on Sunday. Crazy, right? It was his 26th birthday, so he wanted to run 26 miles on his 26th birthday. Personally, running 26 miles is at the very bottom of the list of things I might want to do to celebrate turning 26, but to each his own, right?

Anyway, the runners left VERY early - before 3 AM - to get to the race, which started at 5. I "slept in" until 5, and then took the bus down to the end of the race, next to the Honolulu Zoo. Then I got a spot near the finish line and waited. Fortunately, you can track the runners on the marathon's app, so I knew when to expect them. 

A bunch of strangers who are way tougher than I'll ever be.
This year, over 22,000 people ran the Honolulu Marathon in the wind and the rain (and the dark, for a while!). About half the runners came from Japan, but there were people from ALL over. It was really cool to hear them announcing the hometowns of the finishers. By the time I got there, just before the 3 hour mark, the winners had already finished. But I got to cheer for my friends as they finished! One of the TESOL professors ran (and beat all my friends! #linguistsforthewin), and lots of people the guys work with ran as well, so there were lots of familiar faces at the finish line. I'm so proud of them all!

Look at my sporty friends!
Sunday afternoon was pretty relaxed since the runners were all exhausted; we just ordered pizza and tacos and relaxed and watched football. 

So that's the story of how I kicked off winter break with a very busy Hawaii weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hello there!

Well hello everyone!

It's currently fall finals week here at HPU, so as you can imagine, I'm a little bit busy! I promise to make some better posts next week about my time at HPU so far and what I'm looking forward to for next semester, but for now I thought I would start by introducing myself :)

My name is Sara, and I'm just finishing up my third semester here at HPU in the MATESOL program. (What's MATESOL? Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages... try saying that three times fast!) I am originally an East Coast girl from Baltimore, MD, so I'm a pretty long way from home out here in the middle of the Pacific! (It's December and I wore shorts yesterday, which is something I don't think I'll ever get used to.) I got my B.A. from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and studied Political Science and Spanish Literature. After that, I worked for AmeriCorps teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) for a year back in Baltimore before deciding that I wanted to go to grad school!

In addition to my classes here at HPU, I work as a Spanish and Writing tutor in the Center for Academic Success. That's a lot of fun because I get to meet HPU students from all sorts of programs! I'm also the co-Vice President/Treasurer of our TESOL student group, the Intercultural Teachers Organization (ITO). Needless to say, I'm pretty busy!

Outside of school-related things, I like reading pretty much anything, mastering new recipes in the kitchen, trying new kinds of tea (I love tea!), and exploring all that Oahu has to offer.

This winter break, I'll be working once a week as a tutor, starting on my portfolio, and relaxing after my busiest semester yet! I'm really excited to use some of my downtime to be a tourist again and do some fun Hawaii things! What are you all up to this winter?