Archive for the ‘Colleen Doyle’ Category

Inauguration Day

January 21, 2009

Hello!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted to my blog, but I’d like to make it my resolution to pick it back up again.  I’ll start by telling you about my experience at the inauguration!  I am so glad to be in DC at a time like this, it was incredible.

My roommate and I decided to leave early, like 4am early.  She had some friends who were planning on going so I was going to tag along with them.  She and I woke up at the awful hour of 3am, got dressed in a million layers and got ready.  Meanwhile, her friends were sound asleep.  They overslept, so we left campus around 5am just the two of us.  We weren’t really sure of the best path to take since many streets were blocked off, so we decided to head to Union Station and go from there.  This turned out to be an excellent idea, as they had a lot of security and people to provide information along the route.  We walked, and walked, and walked.  And then we walked some more through what I can only guess was the 395 tunnel.  Along the route were throngs of volunteers shouting, “Good morning! Welcome to the Inauguration!” which was really encouraging.  There were tons and tons of people walking on the streets with us, but everyone was in a great mood.  Once we got closer to the mall, the crowds picked up, and it was like a mosh pit the rest of the way there.  You could’ve picked your feet up and been carried by the crowd.  My roommate and I kept ahold of one another as it would’ve been easy to get separated and lost.  We got to the entrance just past the Hirshorn museum and the whole crowd was squeezed through a standard door size gate.  This for me, was the funniest experience as hundreds of people squeezed so tightly together that you could almost feel your chest compress.  But we made it!  We made our way through the crowds already assembled on the mall and found a spot with a great view of the Jumbotron.  To the right we had a clear view of the Capitol, so we were nicely situated.  It was only 7:30am at this point, so we were in for a long wait.

Neither of us ate breakfast, so we decided to give up our spot in search for food.  We found a hotdog concession line and waited for 2 hours to get our coney, fries and hot chocolate.  This helped to pass the time and was well worth the wait.  It was during this stretch of time that the cold hit me the hardest.  I had thought ahead and worn several layers of clothing, but not enough socks.  Foolishly I was only wearing one pair of socks, so my feet were absolutely freezing.  I’ve never been so cold for so long in my life.  Hey, I’m from Texas!  I stomped my feet and wiggled my toes to keep blood circulating, and by the time we got our food and ate, I felt 100% better.

We decided not to swarm back through the crowd and lingered on the sides where we had more personal space and could still see the Jumbotron.  It was so exciting to be there and to be apart of such a momentus day.  Obama’s speech was really inspirational, and I enjoyed every part of the day.  I thought it was great when he sort of stumbled over the words to the oath in the beginning.  For someone who is always so poised and eloquent, it was cute to see him be ‘human’ and trip over his words.

Once the ceremony was finished, she and I hopped on the metro and made it back to Gally with little delays.  The line for the metro took about 45 minutes or so, but once we were on the train it was smooth sailing.  Compared to my other friends stories of delays and road closures, we had an incident free experience.

I’m so proud of myself for braving the crowds and the weather to attend.  I will never forget that day.

Our first locationSo cold!Our final spot

Advertisements

This year rawks

September 25, 2008

Hello,  just wanted to check in and give an update on my little life.  I haven’t been posting too much because there’s not much to post!  Everything is pretty much status quo this term.  I have a whole bunch of classes, seven to be exact.  One is a PE class, so it doesn’t really count, but the point is, lots of school work!  Amazingly, it hasn’t been too stressful so far. *knocks on wood*  I am also still swimming along on the swim team.  I initially thought I’d have to quit because of how much time it takes, and the fact that I am a lousy swimmer.  (see previous blog)  However, I am enjoying it quite a bit, and although I don’t think I’m getting any faster, I am definitely able to keep up with the workouts most days.

I am busy every day, but have a routine pretty well established with enough time for just about everything.  I’ve learned that routine is key for me to be successful in school.  I’ve had two tests so far, and aced both of them which is good.

Like I said, nothing too exciting is happening, but I am SO happy.  I absolutely love my life now and am so grateful to be happy.  This time last year I was in the pits of homesick, heartachey depression and was ready to pack it all up and go home.  I’m so glad I kept at it! I’m almost sad that this is my last year here!

Ah well, cest la vie!  Until next time 🙂

I’m not a fish.

September 6, 2008

This year I decided to take action against the freshman fifteen I gained last year and become more athletic.  I decided to sign up for a gymnastics class that meets twice a week.  I’m SO excited.  Like most girls, when I was younger I dreamt of becoming an Olympic gymnast and always watched gymnastics on TV.  When the commercials came, I would prance around the living room doing my best imitations of the neat tricks.  So, I am thrilled to be in my gymnastics class.

I also decided to try joining the swim team.  Now, let’s be clear about one thing:  I am not an athlete.  My philosophy on life has always been to revel in my laziness.  However, a combination of my age and living on campus, eating only mass-produced-who-knows-what that the cafeteria serves up is not working for me any longer.  I have several friends on the swim team and thought it might be fun to do that as well.

Today was day two of practice, and I am realizing that I am not a fish.  I’m more like a cat in the pool.  My body aches, and all during practice I was thinking, there is no way I can do this.  I, of course tried to mix it up with the occasional positive mantra, but it was definitely a workout!  I’m not giving up yet, although my body is telling me to.  I’m gonna stick around and see if it’ll get any easier. They tell me it will, but we’ll just see about that.

Summer’s over?????

August 17, 2008

Well, summer is definitely winding to a close.  I stayed on campus for the summer although I did a lot of traveling.  The campus is picking up more life with each passing day.  The SLCC is nearing completion and I think people are even moving in already.  Athletes have already arrived, and more are coming this week.  All of this has got me feeling a bit reflective.  This time last year I was making the drive from Texas with my mom in tow.  I was scared out of my mind as I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Dorm life, classes, new people, it all seemed so overwhelming and I had no idea what to expect.  Now, a year later, I love my life! I’m so glad I had the courage to face the unexpected and plunge into Gally.  To all the new students, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and in no time you’ll feel at home in this new place.  I am so glad that I am no longer the new kid on the block, and am really excited about my second and final year on campus.  Hopefully, it’ll be a good one.

I Baht it in Bangkok… and needed the Bangcops

June 30, 2008

As I mentioned in my previous post, my friend and I had some clothing made at a local tailor called City Shop on my recent vacation in Thailand. We overpaid for the clothing due to a scam, but still the price wasn’t too bad considering US pricing.

Our first visit to the shop was tons of fun. We could basically have anything we could think of designed for us. As I said, my friend chose a suit and I had a silk dress made. We leafed through design books and chose the style we wanted our clothing. The tailors took our measurements and instructed us to come back the next day for a fitting.

We left feeling rather extravagant; I mean, we were having a fitting the next day!  We arrived at our fitting and saw our clothes that were very much ‘in progress.’ But still, we were able to try them on and get an idea for how they would look.

We were scheduled for one more fitting a few days later after we returned from Koh Samui, an island off the southern coast of Thailand. Our second fitting was promising, and my dress was complete and looked great.  My friend’s suit only needed one final adjustment.  We were very close to having fabulous new outfits!

We were headed north for a few days, so the tailors were going to drop the completed clothing off at our hotel the day before we left Thailand. That day we took a train from Chaing Mai, a city in northern Thailand, and didn’t arrive in Bangkok until around 9 pm.   After our long and exhausting journey on the train, we were ready to receive our clothing, and go to bed.  My flight left the next morning at 6am and my friend’s flight left at 9am. So, you can imagine our dismay when we arrived at our hostel and there had NOT been a delivery from the clothing shop. We were so frustrated!

We had half expected this to be the case, as we knew this shop was in the business of taking advantage of tourists.   We quickly called the shop and were surprised when someone answered, by this time it was 10 pm on a Sunday evening.  These shops tend to stay open late to cater to the night life tourism crowd.  The man who answered the phone spoke English and my friend tried to explain that we needed our clothing delevered, pronto.  However, the man refused to help us and actually hung up on my friend.

What were we supposed to do now????  The man who was working the front desk in the hostel overheard our phone call and situation and offered to call the shop for us, since he spoke Thai he figured he would have better luck.  Unfortunately no one answered his call.  He told us that companies like this were notorious for ripping people off and informed us we needed to go to the tourist police.

Great.  We were SO tired, my friend was not feeling well, and we had to get up crazy early the next morning. Now we had to deal with this. Sheesh! The front desk guy drew out a little map for us and told us how to get to the tourist police station. He explained it was 1.5 kilometers down the road. Of course, we’re from the US and have no idea how far that is, but one and a half is a small number, so we figured it was walking distance. Of course, we now know that 1.5 km is nearly a mile, which is still walkable, but we were exhausted and sick and it was literally a million degrees. Had we known, we would’ve taken a cab.   Oh well.

After a half hour of walking, we finally arrived at the police station.  We explained our situation and the nice officers told us that City Shop was not in their jurisdiction, and we would need to go to another police station.  Fantastic.  It’s now 11pm, and my taxi comes to pick me up at 3:30 am.  Yay.

So, we make our way to the other police station, this time taking a taxi. Again, we were met by very nice officers who genuinely wanted to help us. We explained our situation and an officer was sent over to the shop to try and retrieve our clothes.

He of course, came back empty handed. At this point our plan was to just dispute the charge with our credit card companies. We had been told by other travelers that to do this, we would need a police report. This concept was difficult to explain to the officers, due to the language barrier. Finally, the officers understood us and began writing up the report when the tailors called the police station. They told the officers they would bring our clothing to the hostel in an hour.

We were skeptical, but decided our only choice was to trust that this time they would deliver the goods. Because they called the station, we would not be receiving the police reports, so if they failed to deliver we would either be stuck, or have to make the trek back to the police station.

Fortunately around 1:30am, the tailors arrived at our hostel with our completed garments. Sheesh! I managed to squeeze in about an hour of sleep before my cab ride to the airport to take me home to the land of fair business practices.

Word to the wise: when shopping in Bangkok, pay with a credit card for major purchases…

I Baht it in Bangkok

June 26, 2008

As I previously posted, I just got back from a two week long excursion in Thailand with a good friend.  Our first day in Bangkok, we were very excited, and had mapped out a few things to do for the day.  First on the list was to find some breakfast, then we wanted to go to this snake farm and then head over to this park that was near the hostel.  We had our maps, our good walking shoes, and were on our way.

We found a cute coffee shop to eat breakfast in, it was just across this major street from where we had been walking.  Now, traffic in Bangkok is crazy, I mean crazy.  First, as in many other countries, they drive on the opposite side of the road, which means you have to train yourself you look the OTHER direction to see if a car or a moped is going to come and smush you.  Also, there aren’t a lot of traffic rules in Bangkok and people just drive whenever they want, so waiting for the light to change is not really an effective option.  Our solution?  Wait for a local to cross, and then follow them 🙂  So, this man was going to cross the street, when he looked and saw we were obviously foreigners and offered assistance.  He seemed so nice, telling us that many visitors get hit by cars and that we should just wait for him and he would guide us.  We thought, ‘ahh, the kindness of strangers…”  He then went on to explain he used to work in New York and loved the US and asked us what our plans were for the day.  He showed us a few places we might want to check out on the map, we thanked him, and then went to eat our breakfast.

It just so happened, the very same time we were leaving the coffee shop, our kind stranger emerged again.  He asked us where we were headed, and we told him the snake show.  He said he would get a tuk tuk for us and arrange the price with the driver, so we wouldn’t pay too much.  When the tuk tuk, which is a kind of motorcyle taxi arrived, the nice man informed us that the snake show didn’t open until 1pm.  We said that was fine that we would just go to the park first, and then the snake show.  He then informed us that the park was closed for cleaning until the afternoon, which is when we should’ve become suspicious.  Oh well, we thought.  The ‘nice’ man arranged for the tuk tuk driver to take us to a few places in the meantime that he thought “we would really enjoy.”

This, my friends is THE SCAM.  Tuk tuk drivers will tell you that whatever place you want to go to is closed, and that they will take you around shopping ‘in the meantime’ for a ridiculously low fare.  We of course, fell for this scam hook line and sinker.  See the other part is, they take you to ridiculously over priced shops where, unbeknownst to us, they receive meal vouchers if you buy something.

Our first stop on the ripoff express was a beautiful jewelry shop.  They actually made the jewelry right there and you could watch the jewelers while they worked.  Then, came the shop.  We had no idea Thailand was known for its gemstones, but this place was crazy sparkly!  They had so many beautiful things, we couldn’t stop looking at everything.  Of course, we know we can’t afford fancy jewelry, but there was one section of lower end items, that were made of silver and other stones that were actually quite affordable.  I bought a cute pink sapphire ring, and my friend bought a nice blue topaz ring.  Her ring was like thirty bucks, and mine was just a little more than that.  We were both so excited at our purchases!  We thought, thirty bucks! dude, thats so cheap! Of course, we later found out that we could’ve gotten the same ring for like a quarter of the price.  Oh well…

The next stop on the sucker-mobile was a clothing store.  Now, this was not just a store that you buy clothes.  This shop will custom make clothing for you, whatever you want, suits, dresses, blouses, anything.  We had read and knew that it was pretty inexpensive to have nice clothing made for you in Thailand and were thinking of doing it anyway, when our Tuk Tuk driver brought us to a nice place called City Shop.   We both had some clothing made.  My friend had a suit made, and I a beautiful silk dress.  Thailand is known for its silk, so I thought this was a good chance to do something extravagent for myself.

We left the shop knowing we had spent more than we wanted to, but that we still got a pretty decent deal, compared to US prices.  Our feelings of excitement over our new items were quickly smashed when we got back to the hostel and learned that we’d just been had.  We were not the only ones however, it seemed everyone we talked to fell for the same thing their first day.  Oh well.  I still love my ring and dress, and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Word to the wise though, public parks don’t usually close 🙂

There is a second part to this story that I will tell in my next entry, so as they say on tv, ‘to be continued…’

Oh the places we will go!

June 24, 2008

Yowza! I haven’t made a post in a really long time. My bad 🙂 This summer has been really busy and really awesome.

This month I have manged to get three new stamps in my passport. First, my sister and I went down to Mexico for a few days to relax on the beach. We had a really good time, despite how touristy it has become down there. We soaked in a little too much sun and both came home looking like lobsters. All is well though, because we had a blast!

Then, my best friend who just graduated from the University of Houston was going on a big trip. She is traveling for six weeks and will spend two weeks each in Taiwan, Thailand, and Italy. She invited me to join her for the Thailand portion of her trip, and I gladly accepted!

On the way over to Thailand, I had a day layover in Narita, Japan, which is just two hours outside of Tokyo. I got to visit what my sister says is the largest temple in Japan. It was really beautiful and I took a lot of photos, so I’m sure I’ll post some of those soon.

I just got back last night from my trip and we had a blast! I am planning to write at least another entry detailing what we did, but in short I got to ride an elephant, shake a monkey’s hand, pet some tigers, lay on a beach, and go white water rafting all in the span of two weeks. It was a great trip and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to go.

me, petting a tiger!

My body is all out of whack with the time change and the insanely long flight. For example, its six am, and I’m wide awake. Quite unlike me. I’m sure I will crash later, and that it won’t take long for me to adjust.

It’s good to be home!


Summer time!

May 6, 2008

I can’t believe this year is over! I also can’t believe its been so long since I’ve written a post. Things have been crazy busy here on campus. In the last month I’ve been struggling just to keep up with everything, its nutty. I went home for a weekend in there somewhere, which was really nice. I got to spend some much needed time with my family.

As for finals, I have two on Friday, so it’s not really too bad all things considered. I will be starting two new jobs this summer that I am really excited about, and it looks like I’ll be headed to Mexico for a week very soon. Yay.

I am one of the few, the proud, and the brave students that are planning to stay on campus all summer. I decided a while back that it was simply too hard to try and live in two cities; managing two groups of friends, keeping stable employment, moving stuff back and forth, etc. So, I just decided to pick DC for the next couple years, and am going to stick it out. While I am pleased with my decision, I will definitely miss my friends from home over the summer. I’m sure I’ll go visit a few times though.

I am relieved to have a mental break from school! I don’t think I realized when I decided to go back to school, just how life consuming it really is. I spend so much time and energy here, its unreal. I was going to be crazy marathon girl and take some summer courses, but I decided to avoid burnout and just work, and relax, and go to the beach. I think that’s a much better plan.

Well, I’m going to take my tired self to bed. Just one more week of this nonsense, and then summer is on!

Rockfest

April 19, 2008

Hahahaha, I bet you thought I was gonna write about the Rockfest happening on campus this weekend between RIT and Gally! Well, you’re wrong. I tricked you!

The rockfest I’m talking about was this totally rad concert I went to tonight; the performers were April Smith and the Great Picture Show, Ari Hest, and Ingrid Michaelson. If you’re one who appreciates music in any form whether it be through lyrics or whatever and are saying who, who and who? you should really check out their Myspace profiles as they are each amazing musicians. The show was part of the Music Inspires Health tour which seems to be this awesome group whose goal is to promote the education of health care risks such as HIV, eating disorders, binge drinking, etc to college kids through rock music. All in all a very worthy cause. The tickets to the show were cheap, fifteen bucks actually, and upon arrival you got a free t-shirt and a free airbrush tattoo. A little marketing ploy, but hey, a free shirt and a good cause, so whatever right?

Anywhoo, Ingrid MIchaelson is one of my absolute favorite new artists. She has the most beautiful voice and writes really great lyrics that are so relate-able to twenty something year old girls. I was unable to convince any of my friends to come to the show, so I decided to take myself on a date and go anyway. I’m so glad I did! I had the best time! I got a great seat, and really enjoyed the music.

Walking back to the metro after the concert was a perfect end to the evening as its one of those splendid beginning of summer, warm but just right evenings, where for the first time in a long time you don’t need a sweater. It was a really nice evening and a really nice walk.

Freshmen Fifteen

April 11, 2008

This is my first year at Gallaudet, but I am not a freshmen. I transferred in from a tiny community college in Houston as a junior. Somehow this knowledge that I was a junior seeped into my brain and told me I was exempt from the stereotypical freshman fifteen, or the weight typically gained by first year students. I genuinely thought this didn’t apply to me. However, as it is nine months into my first year on campus I am finding my clothes to be a bit snug. All of my clothes. A bit snug is a bit of an exaggeration, my clothes don’t even come close to fitting, namely my jeans… This is rather depressing as it means that I have gained some weight. I have no idea how much, since I don’t have a scale, but enough that my jeans don’t get past my hips. Ouch.

While I am okay with the size that I am now, it is frustrating to either squeeze into a pair of pants and then be miserably uncomfortable or to have to buy all new clothes. I don’t work too much because school is pretty consuming, so a new wardrobe simply isn’t in the budget.

There is of course, a solution. Diet and exercise. Of course, these are the last resort… But, unhappy with my newfound weight, I’ve decided to try and start eating a little better and get some kind of physical activity. I’ve limited my soda intake as that is a big source of sugar and useless calories and I’ve tried to start eating more healthy foods from the cafeteria.

Today was a beautiful day, so a few friends and I threw the frisbee around in the grass. It was so much fun! We all took our shoes off and played barefoot in the grass that had been freshly mowed. The grass was damp and tall and felt really nice beneath our feet. It was a lot of fun and some good exercise as well. Hopefully if I keep this up, my freshmen fifteen will become a thing of the past.