By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
After spending three months working at BU, I was more than ready to take a break. I was so excited to go back to Texas for a week that I never realized how much I would miss Boston, the place that had grown to be my new home.
Sure, by going to Houston I’d get to meet up with old friends, see my family, and visit the amazing Galleria (twice!), but by the end of the break I was pleased to return to school and get back to studying.
My little trip brought to mind all the things that Boston has offered me and showed what I truly miss the most about Beantown.
1. The T – Getting behind the wheel was a huge treat during my few days back home. But one thing I really disliked was always having to find a darn parking spot. Public transportation is basically nonexistent in Houston, so going to the shopping center a few miles away meant getting in the car, driving over there, and searching endlessly for the closest parking spot which was two lots over.
2. Having every type of cereal I could want whenever I wanted it – While sitting at home one afternoon, I began craving a huge bowl of Cinnamon Chex and Sargent Choice granola (if I could buy it by the box, I totally would). Unfortunately, the only cereal in my house was off-brand Honeycombs and my dad’s cheerios. But hey, I love cooking so I can’t really complain.
3. Being in the same vicinity as all my friends – If you didn’t know, Houston is one of the largest cities in America, with a circumference of about 60 miles. With friends from all over the place, it’s hard finding a good time to see a buddy who lives 20 minutes away. Here at school, if I want to meet up with someone, they’re just a quick text away. And if you’re one of those lucky souls whose house is down the street from their best friend’s, I tip my hat.
Over the break, my dad brought up an old saying: “the grass is always greener on the other side”, meaning you may not always be happy with what you have. But being away from school has made me those things more, so that when I got back it felt that much better.
But you know, I really wouldn’t mind going to Houston right now so I could wear my sundress and sandals and enjoy the 79 degree weather…
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break that was ultimately way too short for my tastes. I spent mine with two crazy adorable little girls, so I can’t say it was too bad. Hopefully you all had equally wonderful vacations.
Does anyone else find it annoying that we have to come back for about two weeks? It’s honestly the worst because I can practically feel winter break, but of course, there are the dreaded finals to worry and stress over.
Instead of giving you all tips and tricks to study better (because let’s face it, if you don’t have the skills to study by now…well, good luck), I’ve been inspired to write about the name of this blog.
I find it extremely ironic that I haven’t written about actual life hacks throughout the course of this series of posts. So, without further ado, here are my top five life hacks that I think are worth mentioning:
For freshman, the only way we can even dream of getting scrambled eggs is by either going to the dining hall or going to the McDonald’s down in Kenmore. I offer you a solution that will let you stay within the comfort of your own dorm.
All you need is a coffee mug, eggs, cheese, milk, and non-stick cooking spray and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. The coffee mug is a staple you should already have in your dorm room, and the salt and pepper can be found in packets at the GSU. Yes, you’ll have to buy the eggs, cheese, and milk but scrambled eggs (I feel as though that’s enough of an explanation).
2. Make-shift TV
No TV? Never fear. This one is for those of you who have tablets, or iPhones if you can deal with such a small screen.
Remember those nifty little 3M hooks your mom bought you at the beginning of the year? Take two and stick them on the wall so that your tablet can rest on them and voila! Lay back, relax, and enjoy your favorite TV shows on your new makeshift TV.
If you don’t have the hooks, you can buy them at CVS.
3. Chip bowl
Imagine you have a bag of chips. You get to the point where you’re coating your arm in flavoring because the chips are at the bottom of the bag. What to do.
Of course, there’s a life hack for that. Simply roll the bottom of the bag so that the bag itself becomes a bowl. You can refer to this infographic for more information.
This eliminates the need to get unnecessarily dirty and the need to get a bowl. A win-win situation.
4. Fairy lights
This hack automatically makes me think of Ellie Goulding’s Lights or Peter Pan due to the whimsical look of the jars.
These jars can act as a night light for when you get back to your dorm late at night, when your roommate is sleeping. This will allow you to see where you’re going without waking up him or her up.
Take a mason jar, glow stick and diamond glitter. Cut open the glow stick into the mason jar and sprinkle the diamond glitter in it. Put the cap back on, and shake thoroughly. That’s all there is to it! This is a great alternative to the Christmas lights that most people put up.
5. Dorm-made coffee
Without the coffee maker. That’s right – it is possible to make coffee without a Keurig. Although it does seem primitive in comparison, when you’re broke, you got to do what you got to do. Am I right?
Here are the instructions. The best part? Absolutely nothing about this can get you in trouble with an RA. Get your coffee fix for cheap. You can even make scrambled eggs and have a full blown dorm breakfast.
If you do decide to try these life hacks, let me know how they go!
And there it is, folks – the last post from yours truly for 2013. It’s been wonderful (hopefully) helping you all become savvier young freshmen at BU. Have a wonderful winter break, and hope to see you all in the new year. Don’t go too crazy!
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
Thanksgiving is the one time of year when you can eat as much as you want and not feel guilty about it. Naturally, it’s one of my favorite holidays. There’s so much to choose from at Thanksgiving dinner; from turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing to arroz con gandules, ensalada de papa and jamon…well, I grew up in Miami, so that’s my tradition #fakehispanic.
But at the end of the night with two (or maybe three) helpings, don’t you just feel like going into a food coma? We tend to blame it on the turkey because that’s our tradition too. Eat lots of turkey and then blame our sleepiness on eating so much of it. What if I told you that our tradition of accusing the turkey for our “after-dinner hibernation” is just a myth? I know, mind blown.
Now, before you go crazy like a headless turkey, just remember, I’m helping you out because who wants to miss out on the main course? So eating turkey can make you sleepy, but so can other types of meat like chicken or beef. Turkey has this amino acid called tryptophan, which our bodies use to build proteins and help us function properly. It’s used to make serotonin, which is a chemical that affects our sleeping patterns. So, we’ve found the culprit, right?
Actually, no. Remember, lots of foods we eat contain tryptophan, other than meat, like eggs, fish, soy and spinach and I certainly don’t feel like dropping into a deep sleep eating tilapia. What makes eating turkey on Thanksgiving any different?
Well, on top of turkey, we’re eating a lot of carbs, which triggers a release of insulin. These carbohydrates give us a higher amount of insulin than normal and with all the pumpkin pies, Snickerdoodles and pudding, we’re probably getting the highest levels of insulin we’re had all year.
The increase in insulin is important because insulin helps amino acids to cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus, we get a rise in serotonin and melatonin in our brain. Because these both regulate sleep, we’re at a higher risk of getting a food baby and knocking out. Eating a lot can make you tired too, just saying. The real culprit isn’t turkey or tryptophan, it’s insulin (dun dun dun).
I know, you feel betrayed and think that there’s no way to escape a food coma, so just give in. Unbutton your pants one notch, take a nap if needed and go back for dessert, because who wants to miss out on the one day a year where you can eat lots of turkey and gravy and top it off with the best dessert ever, flan (if you’re in Miami).
If you still feel like you’ve been jipped since you can’t call out the turkey anymore, don’t worry, you’re not the only one who’s gotten tricked. Charlie Brown feels the same way about tradition, but while you’re watching, sit back, put a pillow over your stomach (and welcome that food baby), while you have another piece of pie, just for kicks
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
It’s that time of year where Halloween decorations may still be up, but advertisements for Christmas gifts are already coming out. It seems as though some forget that we have this holiday during which we celebrate the American Indians and the Pilgrims coming together.
Honestly, I think we should be giving this holiday a bit more credit. Do we get a whole week off for Halloween? Didn’t think so.
I think we all need this break because let’s face it, some of us are losing steam and getting overwhelmed due to a lack of sleep and massive amounts of stress. Luckily, Thanksgiving is the perfect way to rest up and come back stronger than ever for the last month of your fall semester (where did the time go?). But before you go postal, here are a few things to remember:
1. Realize that you don’t have free reign
This especially applies to those of you going home to your immediate families. College is wonderful in that you can do whatever you want (for the most part) because no one is going to tell you “no.” This is your time to be young, wild and free; but remember that your parents are still your parents. Telling them that staying up till 4 a.m. and waking up at 3 p.m. is normal probably isn’t going to fly with them. Do yourself a favor and tone down the independence – they want their baby back too!
2. Adjust to your audience
For those staying with your distant family or friends, remember that they let you in out of the kindness of their hearts. Don’t take advantage of them by being a complete slob. Instead, offer to do the dishes or help cook. After all, it’s the least you can do because, think about it – they’re saving you from spending who knows how much money on BU’s vacation housing. Plus, you get a home-cooked meal. After dealing with dining hall food for almost a full semester, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that very much.
3. Be thankful
It is, after all, Thanksgiving. Appreciate where you are and what you’ve been given. You’re going to one of the best colleges in the Boston area. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do so. We’re in such a beautiful place with some of the best people I’ve ever met. There are so many things to do and so many people to meet that it’s almost overwhelming, and it’s something we can easily take for granted. Take the break as a breather from BU and use it to realize all the opportunities you have. If you haven’t done much here, do something! Get pumped, you still have the rest of the semester to do something awesome.
Cheesiness aside, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with great food and loved ones, whether they be your family or your friends.
By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
The end of November is approaching and that means one thing: it’s almost time to head home and spend some time with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Or is it?
If you’re hardcore enough to participate in Black Friday year after year, then you may be excited to hear this: according to a recent article by the Huffington Post, some retail stores such as Target and Best Buy are planning on opening even earlier this year for Black Friday.
Target plans on opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, an hour earlier than when it opened last year, and Best Buy plans to open even earlier at 6 p.m. The reason for these earlier openings is because of the peculiar way this year’s calendar is set – compared to last year, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas are six days shorter.
Black Friday has traditionally been the day after Thanksgiving, when hundreds upon thousands of shoppers flock to major retail stores at the crack of dawn in order to snag the best deals and kick off the holiday retail season.
But with the increasing pressure on retailers to open even earlier than usual, some say the tradition is ruining Thanksgiving. These earlier openings mean less time to spend with family on a day meant for filling our bellies with delicious food, watching football and staying as far away as possible from that weird cousin lurking in the corner.
For some die-hard shoppers, the excitement of Black Friday is wearing off.
“Now that there is no longer that stress factor of having to plan out the best time to start lining up at stores, Black Friday isn’t as fun as it used to be. One year, I lined up at 4 a.m. at J.C. Penny with my mom in fifth grade. We even waited in the snow. But now that stores are opening sooner, the adrenaline rush is not really there.” Elly Hu, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences said.
“Black Friday shouldn’t get in the way of Thanksgiving, a holiday meant to share with family,” Hu added.
While it may seem like consumerism is taking over the holiday season, fret not. There is still some good in the world. Some retailers, such as Costco and Nordstrom, are choosing to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Not everyone may feel the need to go shopping on turkey day, but the option is there for those who do. The lines between holidays are blurring, whether we like it or not.
By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
The month of November kicks off the holiday season with every American’s favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. Now, imagine a world where your favorite winter holidays combine to form one super-mega-celebration!
Fortunately for every Jewish-American out there, it’s your lucky year. That’s because 2013’s first night of Hanukkah coincides exactly with Thanksgiving hence Thanksgivukkah. The festival of lights and the festival of face-stuffing have finally merged , which presents us with delicious harvest food AND eight days of presents.
Because Hanukkah follows the Hebrew lunar calendar, which has 11 fewer days that the standard Gregorian calendar used in America, there is no set date on our calendar as to when Hanukkah is coming.
As a result, every few years, an extra month must be added to the Jewish calendar so that spring holidays remain in the spring, fall holidays are celebrated in the fall, and so forth. This also explains why the holiday of Hanukkah shifts and can be celebrated anytime between November and January.
The one great question on everyone’s mind is this: how can we combine these two great holidays without diminishing one or the other? Several articles online suggest serving “fusion” foods for the meal, which means pumpkin pie rugelach, challah bread-pudding and horseradish mashed potatoes. Indeed, several traditional foods from each holiday overlap, such as potatoes (for Hanukkah latkes and mashed potatoes), meat (brisket and turkey) and apples (applesauce and pie)! So there’s really no reason one holiday has to outshine the other.
In order to be prepared for your first Thanksgivukkah (yes, it’s everyone’s first, and it won’t happen for over 50,000 years), make sure you light some pumpkin pie-scented Hanukkah candles, exchange gifts between downs in the football game and split decorations equally between hand turkeys and dreidels.
If you forget to buy a Hanukkah gift (because when is it ever this early?), worry not! Black Friday will certainly have something for everybody that won’t break the bank. Or, if you are too lazy to leave the house, wait until the next week for Cyber Monday because it will still be Hanukkah!
See? All your favorite holidays wrapped in one!
By Kate Ebeling, Staff Writer
As the Thanksgiving break quickly approaches, it seems like everyone I talk to has either gone home or experienced some serious homesickness.
October, like everyone warned me, was a very long and arduous month, and in my weakest moments, I turned to something that reminded me of home: good old country music.
As a Texas native, I can tell you that while Top 40 varies only slightly, there was always a Jason Aldean song, Toby Keith or, on a good day, George Strait track thrown into the mix.
For those who are not avid country music listeners I can relate, because before I came to Boston I wasn’t a huge fan. Not until I left and realized how much I appreciated my hometown of Houston did I really being to take a gander on the country genre that at times is trivialized as “songs about my momma, my truck, my beer, my girl.”
While I can’t really try and argue with that, I can attest to the fact that there is an easy-listening factor to country music is infectious and addictive and it’s hard to deny the feel-good factor it has.
For those willing to give country music a try, here’s a list of my top 10 songs to make any week a little better with a Spotify playlist:
10. My Maria – Brooks & Dunn
9. Cruise – Florida Georgia Line
8. On The Road Again – Willie Nelson
7. Gotta Get There – Brett Eldredge
6. Downtown – Lady Antebellum
5. Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band
4. River Of Love – George Strait
By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
I grew up thinking I had family that lived in the Philippines, Guam, Orlando, Fla. and Los Angeles. Nothing more, nothing less. And I believed that for 18 years.
When the time came for my me and my parents to decide where I would be going for college, I sat them down in our living room. I had applied to colleges all over the U.S. and was fortunate enough to be accepted to most of them. It was a surprise when my parents started listing off names of family members I never knew existed that lived nearby certain universities I was accepted to. The conversation went something like this:
Parents: Oh, Seattle University? You have cousins that live there.
Parents: You have an aunt that lives in New Jersey.
Parents: NYU and Fordham? We have family in New York.
Me: Oh my goodness!
Parents: Chaminad University? We have family in Honolulu, too.
I was dumbfounded.
Nonetheless, as confused as I was at this sudden revelation of our extended family tree, I was all the more excited to go to college. Yes, I’d have somewhere to stay during breaks, I thought to myself.
Thanksgiving weekend was the first opportunity I had to stay with my new found family. They live in a town outside Newark, N.J., so I took the bus from Boston to Newark Penn Station. It was a slow bus ride, prolonged by the holiday traffic and made longer by the anticipation I felt. I was going to meet these family members for the first time. All I knew was that my dad and the woman I was meeting were cousins, and that she and her husband had three children, all around my age.
When I got to Penn Station, I nervously stood in the cold waiting for them to pick me up. I was looking for a turquoise Nissan Altima, according to my new second cousin. Once it pulled up to the pick-up area, I saw my cousins waving out the window, smiling. And with that, all my anxiety was erased. They seem like nice people, I thought.
And I was right. From there we hit off pretty well. We have similar tastes in music and hobbies, and we like to eat, as demonstrated by our appetite during Thanksgiving dinner. Apparently, they didn’t know of my existence either. My dad’s cousin (their mother) had only informed them just recently. So that became another thing we had in common.
Like every person who’s never been to Guam, they asked me what Guam was like and how I like BU. In return, I asked the similar questions about New Jersey and their schools.
There was never a dull moment during the weekend. We went out every day, whether it was to go Black Friday shopping or going to New York City for the first time—which, by the way, was AMAZING. I’ve always wanted to visit the city, and now I can check that off my bucket list.
It was quite depressing when I had to go. I knew I’d miss them badly. But I’ve already made plans to return for spring break, so it wasn’t all that bad.
So this Thanksgiving, I was thankful for the five seemingly new family members I gained, who took me in and made me feel as loved and appreciated as if I’d known them my whole life. Surely, lots of people have relatives, however distant, they’ve never met. Go meet yours.
By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
Turkeys are running for their lives and college students will get a much-needed reprieve from out grueling studies. Most of us are going home for the weekend while others are staying in Boston. No matter where you spend your Thanksgiving, there’s always an outlet to release your holiday spirit. Here’s a list of ways to make your Thanksgiving special:
Family and friends
When was the last time you saw your friends and family back home? With classes put on hold, Thanksgiving break is the perfect opportunity to catch up with everyone very close to your heart. Hug them, tell them about your classes and ask them about their lives. Communicate and cherish. Even if you’re staying in town, there’s always the internet and your phone as a medium of connection.
Cook and eat
I mean, of course.
What’s Thanksgiving without food, right? Cook and eat to your heart’s (or stomach’s) content. I don’t know about you, but I really miss having a kitchen. I was at a friend’s apartment the other day and actually got to dice vegetables and cook food. I even washed dishes. Call me crazy, but I actually had fun doing those chores because I haven’t done them in months.
But yes, cook and eat. Have your parents make you your favorites, and maybe even grandma can make you some treats to take back to your dorm. Enjoy it because before you know it, you’ll be out of that kitchen as soon as break ends.
Even if you’re staying in Boston, don’t fret. Maybe your friends have apartments to cook at. If not, there are tons of amazing eateries in town. Cannolis, anybody? Check out Mike’s Pastry, my personal favorite place to go if I want to satiate my sweet tooth.
In the midst of celebrating this holiday of gratitude, it’s almost impossible not to think about those who are not as fortunate to have as much as we do. So why not express our gratitude for what we have in the best way possible: by giving back. Volunteering is a great way to spend your break (or part of it). Every little bit of kindness counts. There are many opportunities for volunteerism, so it’s almost impossible not to find one that doesn’t fit your schedule. Take time off to celebrate the holiday at a soup kitchen or participate in a food drive. It’ll make your holiday even more special and will lighten up someone’s day.
Black Friday shopping
If turkey and mashed potatoes haven’t made you sick to you stomach, consider going shopping on perhaps the busiest and rowdiest day of the year: Black Friday. This is the perfect opportunity to snag deals on normally expensive goods. Need a television for your dorm or a game console for those lazy, boring winter nights? You’ll probably be able to get them for a fraction of what you would pay off-season. Plus, you can shop for Christmas presents, since they’ll be way cheaper, and maybe an extra winter coat or two.
If you seriously run out of things to do, studying would be the perfect filling to your empty pockets of time. Finals are in a month, so you’ve got nothing to lose by planning ahead.
Have an awesome Thanksgiving, everyone!
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
I was raised celebrating traditional American holidays—at least, they seemed traditional to me. But seeing as my mother is Jamaican and my father is Indian, their views certainly impacted my view of a traditional holiday. Living in Miami, I grew up alongside Hispanic culture infused into everything, even without me noticing the impact of its influence.
With the most American tradition of all time, Thanksgiving, coming up within a matter of days, I’m beginning to notice that nothing I’ve really experienced in my hometown has been truly American.
Every year for Thanksgiving, my family and I would walk to our neighbor’s house in the Miami fall (if you can call it that) weather, wearing sleeveless dresses and open toe shoes. As soon as we stepped foot into my neighbors’ house, Spanglish emerged from all corners. The smell of arroz con gandules, jamon, ensalada de papa and maduros filled the room, as well as turkey, of course.
I could never understand how the smell could make my mouth water so much until I sunk my teeth into the chicken and realized it was because I was in heaven. I had the best of two worlds―one American and one Hispanic. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This year, for the first time, I won’t be able to taste delicious flan, pastel de choclo or drink sangria, and it just might be torture. For the first time, I’m going to be in New England for Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate for the very traditional cranberry sauce, turkey with gravy and stuffing Thanksgiving. While being in Massachusetts gives me the opportunity to finally experience a traditional Thanksgiving, turns out I’ll be having an Indian Thanksgiving instead. Yes, it’ll be my first too.
To be honest, I have no idea what to really expect. Maybe the turkey will have chili powder on it and the house will smell like spices and curry. And in the absence of Spanish, Urdu would be the dominant language in the house. Would we pray in English? Would we get out the prayer rugs or skip that ritual all together? For sure we would not end the prayer with “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
One thing is certain: although the last time I saw my Indian relatives was when I went to India about six years ago, they are still my family, like the ones I left back home. They probably don’t speak Spanish, eat smoked ham or allow me to wear sleeveless dresses (although I wouldn’t want to in this cold New England weather), but with them, I’ll be able to make new traditions.
I’ll relish over the tomato chutney, samosa and vegetarian biryani (with a tall glass of water on the side). I may not be able to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” as I usually do every year, but it’s possible I can persuade them, surely for the children to enjoy. (Okay, and a small part of it for me, too.)
Whatever kind of Thanksgiving you’re having—whether it’s a Hispanic, Indian or a Charlie Brown one—be sure to give thanks, indulge in amazing food and make new traditions.