Sunday, June 7, 2015

Bonding Anew

There's something I enjoy about using different words. Sometimes it's to sound fancy shmancy, but "Anew" felt like the right one for this title. Of course, just to be sure it makes perfect sense, I double checked the definition on Google: "in a new or different, typically more positive, way." This perfectly describes today's brunch with the Vandy cohort, otherwise known as out Meet and Greet in ILC terms.

In the past, our cohort has bonded well, becoming more and more familiar with each other with every milestone event. This afternoon was a milestone event within our cohort. Our brunch was at Dona Tomas in Oakland.

This morning, I woke up at around 9, relieved that I would be able to get a ride from my dad. I slowly eased into the day with a quick session of surprisingly energizing stretches. As I transition into summer, I am really trying to make all the efforts I can to change my lifestyle habits into healthier ones. Among some of the things on my list this summer, this new stretching regimen is one of them. I'm really interested in anything health and wellness oriented and it's kind of my goal to improve on my own- especially because it will be a arduous journey this upcoming year (a.k.a. senior year... with the associated problems also known as "senioritis"). I know I am going to have to learn how to handle myself and my work a lot better, so this is just the start. I also heard it takes around 30 days to settle into new habits, so this is my time to get to work.

Photo Credits to Katherine

That was slightly besides the point, but anyway, after my stretching, I showered, got ready and waited it out until it was time to leave. It was a new experience. I've had a history of not going out too much, so any chance I get to head out is always exciting! I had some trouble finding Dona Tomas; it was rather small and hidden between the other shops with larger signs along the block. Once my dad and I found it, I got off and made it in, meeting Gwennie, Hummd, and our chaperon Jenny. The restaurant had a really casual and fun atmosphere, especially once we got outside.

To start us off!
With today's blazing sun above us, we sat at our table, settling into the moment and deciding what to get. Ultimately, we decided on some churros to start us off. The thing about those churros, though.: they were pretty good...and luckily we had one saved just for Katherine for when she arrived (Sorry, Katherine!)! With the many options we had on the brunch menu, most of us decided that we were so indecisive and Jenny, Katherine, and I decided that we'd share each of our meals. We all ended up ordering pretty different dishes. From the churros, we went to Huevos Rancheros, Carnitas Hash, Tacos de Carnitas, Chilaquiles Verdes, and Enchiladas en Mole. The food was superb! I loved that I was able to share and get a little bit of everything, satisfying my indecisiveness.

Carnitas Hash

While eating, Jenny informed us of her upcoming trip to Brazil and her inspiration of learning a new language. Luckily for me, I'll soon have someone to converse with in Portuguese, because that's one of the other things on my "Summer Bucketlist." I've never had one, but it all came from the ideas that I want to make the best of it, considering I'll be having half of the summer off for myself before flying down South. Anyhow, my experience was terrible with trying to practice Portuguese. I had downloaded an app, Duo Lingo, to get started on learning a new language- one not too challenging, but one I find reasonably feasible given that I speak Spanish. I'll have to practice before I see Jenny again; anyhow, the conversation progressed real smoothly. We went everywhere with the conversation: from school, sports, colleges, trip excitement, languages, traveling, herbal medicine, family, and even a conversation with out waiter, who saw my eczema bothering me and gave me some tips for it, having had skin problems in the past himself.

After almost three hours of conversing and eating great food, it was time to depart and say our goodbyes before seeing each other again in July. We walked to the corner of the block and said our goodbyes to Jenny. Since Gwennie had to leave a bit early and since Katherine was nice enough, Hummd and I decided to ride with Katherine. That was a whole other experience! We took the wrong exit, almost heading towards San Francisco, but quickly found a way to make it back the right way along the running trail  running along the Bay. Did I mention we were jamming to music? It was a good experience to end our brunch meet up.

With this afternoon in mind, and just like I said in my previous Tutorial blog, I have great hopes for what our trip to the South will be like. With venturing out into a completely new place, to meeting new people, learning from my class, and even practicing Portuguese, I'm sure this summer will be great. As for today, it's already bound to new and fun things. Considering we'll be in for quite a year this upcoming year, I have to remember to enjoy everything and soak it all in. I think I'll start with a nap.

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