Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mid-August Lovely Things

Hey, everyone!!

I'm posting on this beautiful Saturday afternoon instead of my usual Friday night because I did a ton of writing yesterday, and I didn't want to go near anymore keyboards. haha. I finished my internship last week so I spent yesterday wrapping up an internship report to send to my supervisor. It was actually immensely satisfying to write that report because it gave me a chance to reflect on the 7 weeks that I spent shadowing, and it showed me how much I learned just by observing and asking questions.

Then, last night, my dad and I headed to Coney Island to see fireworks for the last time this summer. We got the chance to go three times this summer, and I've loved every single boom as each firework exploded in the sky in a beautiful array of color. I highly recommend dedicating one of these last Friday nights of summer to seeing these fireworks. You will definitely not be disappointed.

The Parachute Jump lights up in all kinds of colors at night. 
Here's a short clip from the fireworks that I saw on August 1st:

video

Last Wednesday, my mom and I finally got the chance to see the Charles James exhibition at The Met. I've been bugging her to come see it with me nearly every weekend this summer, but something came up every time. We finally got up there two Sundays ago. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was already 5 PM, and the guy at the ticket desk told us that the museum was closing in 15 minutes! The only thing I could think was that the universe really doesn't want me to see this exhibition. haha. So last Wednesday, we finally saw it, and it was worth the wait. The ball gowns were absolutely gorgeous. True works of art. I could easily tell that James had spent many hours perfecting each gown. I loved that the curators put a screen next to each dress, which deconstructed the dress and gave us a peek into how it was made. It just showed how the designer had created the perfect marriage of art and science in these dresses. When we went downstairs to see his other clothes, we fell in love with the coats. These coats are easily something that can be worn this coming winter because they are that timeless.


I've been badgering my mom to teach me how to cook for the last few years. It's something that I've always been interested in learning how to do, and in the last couple of years, I've started to collect recipes for things that I'd like to make in the future. I've seen bits and pieces of how to make something when walking into the kitchen and watching my mom. But there hasn't been any consistent teaching because either she's busy or I'm busy. I used to joke that all I would be able to make when I was older were pancakes and cakes because that's what I learned relatively well over the years.

But back in January, I took it into my own hands to finally get a better grasp on cooking. I started with making sunny-side ups. Easy, delicious, and they came out perfect nearly every time. Then, as I got busy with the semester, I didn't have much time to learn more except for the little tidbits that I would pick up when watching my mother. But this summer since we've both been at home and she's wanted to try to make new things, I've started to cook with her, and it's been such a great experience. I've learned a lot already, and we've had so much fun together. We put on the radio, talk about life, laugh, and get our hands dirty. It's the best.

I think every young person should be able to make at least a few dishes. It's such a great skill to have because you know that you'll never have to depend on your parents, friends, or the take-out place 5 blocks from you to make food for you. Besides its practical benefits, cooking is also just so much fun to do. There's real joy in knowing that you created something with your hands. So I encourage all of you to get yourself into the kitchen and learn how to make your favorite childhood dishes as well as trying out some new recipes.

(Also, if you'll be living in the Hunter dorms, then you'll save a lot of money if you cook instead of eat out.)

Check out these two pages from BuzzFeed on how to make some simple but delicious things:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/foods-everyone-should-learn-to-cook#lcwly9
http://www.buzzfeed.com/spoonuniversity/foods-to-learn-to-cook-in-college#lcwly9

I spent two Saturday afternoons making piroshki with my mom, which we stuffed with ground beef or mashed potatoes. Yum.


We make different kinds of Russian salads at home for all kinds of occasions. But my mom wanted to take a crack at making a more "American" style salad.

This photo is from the first time that we made one and since then, we've adjusted the recipe to use different kinds of onions, different kinds of lettuce, and different dressings. All of the variants have been delicious.


We also made our own bread! I've been telling my mom to make bread for years, but she always said that it's too hard and takes too much time. This summer, we finally did it, and it turned out great. It wasn't even difficult to make.


We made our own pizza too. We first tried doing this many years ago, around the first time that we moved to the US, and it didn't come out so good. This time, I found a good pizza dough recipe, and we tried out a couple of different sauces before we got it right.


I've watched my mom make kutab (an Azeri flatbread with either ground beef or greens) for many years, but I've never made them myself. I finally got the chance to a couple of weeks ago.

They were delicious and not hard to make at all.


My mom and I also learned how to make homemade whipped cream, which was so easy to do and turned out delicious. We used that to make a mini crepe cake. So divine.


Sorry for making everyone out there hungry with all of these photos. haha.

I forgot to mention this in my last post, but a couple of weeks ago, my friend and I visited the High Line again. It's a great place to take a walk and a great place to have a conversation on one of the many benches.

And there are flowers! haha


On that day, I also walked across the Manhattan Bridge for the first time. I'm always taking the train across this bridge so it was interesting to see it from a different perspective. It's not nearly as beautiful as the Brooklyn Bridge, but it's still good to take a long walk on.

The view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan Bridge
I'm an eternal bookworm so I've made some time to read this summer. Here are a few things that I've read this summer that I recommend.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Into That Forest by Louis Nowra
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Things I Know About Love by Kate Le Vann
My Mother's Secret by J. L. Witterick

Lastly, my family and I celebrated 15 years in the US this past Tuesday. Congrats to us!!!

Enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer break!

S.

Quote of the Week

“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.”

~ Walt Whitman

Friday, August 15, 2014

End of Finals (published late)

Hey Hunter students,

Haven't written on this for a while because the completion of my junior year was more intensive than I'd anticipated. However, this post finds me happily typing away in an apple store (well- make that sort of annoyedly typing away, because my computer's been working inconsistently ever since a particular pickle juice incident, and I've been in a bunch of times, and could the superficially friendly employees just take the computer in for tests already?!). I finished my Nursing 2 final (surprisingly enough, Psych is my worst area) and my english paper for Decoding Pop Culture. This was such a great class that I will not demean it by only devoting a long parenthetical to it - I loved it. Pop culture is my thing (and arguably, everyone else's, as that is what makes it pop culture) and I loved from the first day that he suggested having Netflix for the class! Watching clips from obscure movies is my dream, and fielding references is also one (sob that I didn't get any Sunset Boulevard ones because I haven't seen it). My professor was nice enough to let me write two Bollywood papers (on DDLJ and SRK, it was so great) and finally I wrote one on the changing image of the nerd. Which may not have been my best work because I think the topic deserves 20 pages rather than 8. Senior thesis, yo (just kidding Nursing you don't write one, you just take honors classes).

Anyway, the end of the year was pretty bittersweet. I didn't realize I had to say bye to my cult of nursing friends until we were all hanging out and my goodbye didn't roughly translate to "ugh see you at 9 am lecture or at the hospital for clinical" but instead to "have a nice summer? I will miss going through rough experiences with you?" I'm glad to be out of Brookdale though, sometimes that place begins to feel like the prison it used to be...

My friend circle has noticeably shifted this year. Can I not retain friends? Do I just change them every so often? Do too many of them study abroad at once? But perhaps it's a good thing, I'm taking either 17 or 20 credits next semester and should begin to hole up.

Finally, I am trying to do all in my power to not take a summer class...but I may end up taking an online one. You can't escape it all.

Happy Summer!

*this was written in May, but not published til now (August)...but there aren't too many summer posts so hopefully it won't be too much of an outlier.



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summer Updates

It's been half a year since I last posted (it sounds way more dramatic to say that than "..since February") and I hope I can just sneak back on here, mad casual. After all, prospective MHC students have been lacking without my opinions and inputs for the past 6 months! This can't go on.

Well anyway, what I have been doing for the past summer (to everyone's avid interest, I am sure) is externing/working at a hospital as a clinical assistant. It was a great 8 week experience, and I really was so lucky to have spent my summer there. I was on a Med/Surg unit, which I chose because I figured it would give me the broadest experience. I could go into the gory details of wound care and catheters or c.dif, but I'll just say that overall it was SO educational and enriching!! I must confess: I am pretty wary of working. Theoretically, it is surely nice and makes the world go round blah blah. But the lesser responsibilities (I mean - you're not responsible for other people and insurance and being on time and payroll and clocking in and scary things like that) of school have kept me happy for so long! However, I have to suck it up and grow up because this is my senior year and ideally, after next year, I'll be working. And then...that trend will continue forever, this working thing, until I'm one of those bespectacled people that say simply, "I've been here for 32 years," all casual LIKE THAT'S NOT SEVERAL LIFETIMES!!!! (It's not. I will be 32 in 12 years. But it sounds terrifying.) Fortunately, I love my work environment! The entire staff worked so jointly and everyone knew each other so well and were overall pretty friendly. I loved work dynamics, basically.
Also, the 12 hour nurse's shift 3x a week was exhausting, but grew on me. No one ever complained about 4 days off!
The rest of my summer has been taken up with Ramadan and borrowing books from the library. Or going to the gym. Very exciting indeed. The best part of driving around is dictating the music soundtrack.
Other than that, I am prepping for the GREs by finally going to google what GRE stands for. I ordered a book and will open it some day...hopefully August will not fly by so that senior year doesn't start soon...ahh!
Hope everyone's summer is well,

Amirah
PS. Outlander the new TV show was really good!