I Choose Chocolate

Bryn Mawr has taught me to prioritize. Well, at least it is teaching me to prioritize (still trying to get a hang of it, you know. It’s not as easy as it sounds!) It is teaching me to take a step back and look at all that I have to do and choose what is most important and what will make me happiest. But balancing all of those factors is tricky and requires much flexibility along with adaptability. You have to be open-minded. You have to be cautious. You have to be spontaneous! You have to be able to weigh out your options and know your why, because your why will tell you which is the best choice. There is no right answer, but there is a best answer, which will vary depending on what you are looking to accomplish in that situation. That is why the why is so crucial to this formula.

A simple example is the following: say, it’s 12am and you are really tired but you still have to finish up some reading for your 10am class the following day. You’re anxious to finish up your work, because you just can’t seem to sleep well when you have things hanging. What’s the best option? If you’re so tired you can’t function, then maybe it’s best to sleep and wake up earlier and do the reading before class. But, if you’re on a roll, then maybe it’s best to not let that go to waste and finish fast and not in a perfected manner. Also, are you a night person? A morning person? How much do you have to grab breakfast in the morning? All of these factors come into play. Seems simple, I know. I can even see some rolling of the eyes here and there. But doing it? Much, much more difficult. Dah.

I still struggle with this concept. A lot. Constantly, actually. I want to be able to do everything with no consequences whatsoever to my health, my academics, and my personal relationships. I mean, really, is that so hard to ask? Sure, in an ideal world, you might say. Or, when I do try to cut something out of my schedule in order to make room for something else, I try so hard to find the best solution and spend so much time and energy thinking on what that might possibly be, while I scroll through all of the possibilities in my head, that I realize after that I’m exhausted from this task and that I haven’t gotten anywhere and that no matter which option I choose, I will not have been efficient because I will have wasted so much energy to get there. So, needless to say, this is a work in progress.

But, there are moments of breakthrough, of enlightenment. This week I was able to find a balance between my academic responsibilities, sleep, eating, and relaxing down-time. The key I think also involves not wanting to do everything perfectly, which I know is hard for some of us (aham aham). But it’s surprising to see how much you can get done when you tone down the expectations. We’re not looking to be sloppy, but rather work with what you got. For example, right now I am choosing to write a smaller post than usual because I have other pressing priorities for the day which I need to get to. But, I also needed to write a post, so here I am. I took advantage of this subject, which was fresh on my mind from the happenings of this week (such as the fact that it’s Hell Week and how that adds more “work” to your schedule, even if it does involve fun) and I am using it as inspiration to produce something, this artistic/therapeutic something which we call blogging.

So there you go, my loves (it’s Valentine’s Day). AH! Yes, happy universal chocolate day, before I forget, by the way. So yes, today, don’t forget about your classes, but also don’t forget about your sleep and your health, and your friends, and the fun around you (for those who are participating in this Bryn Mawr tradition) and most of all, don’t forget about chocolate. Yum yum.

Sincerely, Luci

Building Your Patti Smith

Patti Smith received the Katherine Hepburn Medal yesterday, a distinguished award given out by Bryn Mawr College to women “who change their worlds: those whose lives, work, and contributions embody the intelligence, drive, and independence of the four-time Oscar winner. Award recipients are chosen on the basis of their commitment and contributions to the Hepburn women’s greatest passions—the arts, civic engagement, and women’s health.” (http://news.brynmawr.edu/2012/09/27/patti-smith-to-be-awarded-bryn-mawrs-katharine-hepburn-medal-on-feb-7/)

I had never heard of Patti Smith before this event. On campus, the overall feeling was that of extreme experiences: there were those who shared my situation and had also never heard of her, and there were those (such as a close friend of mine) who were ultra-excited, maybe even a bit obsessed. I grabbed myself a ticket, because: 1) I was required to attend by my acting class and, 2) I never miss an opportunity to find out about a new artist, or any person who is as admired and respected as Patti Smith. So there I was yesterday, sitting in one of the green chairs that make up the emerald audience of Goodhart Theatre, anxious to see what would come. I had heard of many things: that she was the queen of punk rock, that she was a bad-ass, and that she was a writer as well. I heard of her abundant days of creativity at the Chelsea Hotel in NYC, where many other artists resided and collaborated with each other, and of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (whom I had also never heard of), which she wrote about in her book entitled “Just Kids”.

Sitting in my green chair, I was full of things I had never heard of, full of things I didn’t know. But now, I do know one thing: Patti Smith is AWESOME. I know I sound like a little kid here, but that’s because the excitement is nothing short of true. I thought I was in for a major rock concert when I signed up for this endeavor, but that’s not at all how the show played out. It was much more serene, subtle, intimate. Basically, wonderful. I felt like we got an hour of Patti Smith herself, as opposed to an hour of her rock-star persona. I mean, what do I know? I’m just a recent convert! But, what I do know is that her performance felt so personal, so real. To give you a clearer picture, she only played three songs for us. The rest of the time, she talked about her experience, how joyful she was to be at Bryn Mawr receiving this award, she read some excerpts of her writing and even opened up the floor for the audience to ask questions. I mean, could it get better than that?

Little by little I found myself getting more fascinated, intrigued, and drawn-in to the person standing in front of me on that stage, and the feeling just increased as the evening went on. Before the event, I had no expectations. I came in with a blank page in my mind, letting the experience write itself naturally in my brain, letting it sink in my body, and allowing it to permeate into my soul. The result was, I was surrounded by an energy connecting me to this personality who seemed at the same time very distant, due to the respect and admiration I started developing for her, but most of all very close and relatable, due to her humanistic aspect and openness about her flaws and weaknesses. She didn’t seem to hide or want to portray any specific image of herself. She was just there, Patti Smith, the way she was. We tend to idolize rock artists and equalize superstar to superhero, but the humility of Patti Smith was what made her my favorite rock star last night.

She spoke of her hardships, the hard work she had to put in to do what she does, her dreaded fear of doing something embarrassing in front of someone, the choices she had to make and the consequential mistakes that came along with those that weren’t the best ones. Last night, she chose to place herself in this vulnerable position to show us that despite all the difficulties, she was standing there, not as a perfect being but as a person as a whole, who had weaknesses and doubts just like the rest of us but who was able to accomplish all that she has accomplished because she didn’t give up. She didn’t boast about her achievements, but rather she chose to emphasize all that she had learned from her hardships and from being authentic to who she was. She said: “I’m not saying I didn’t make mistakes, but hey, at least they were my mistakes. They weren’t the mistakes of someone else’s vision of me”. The choices she made sometimes meant less fame and fortune, but in the long run, it payed off, since she was being true to herself. This was based on some precious advice she had gotten in her life, which said that she had to “build her name”.

So, I invite us all to build our won “Patti Smith’s”, finding out who we are and praising who that person is every day. Don’t let fear or embarrassment stop you because, according to the rock star at hand, “everybody’s gonna look stupid some time or another”. I mean, what better advice to give college students trying to figure out what they want and getting ready to go out into the world?

I want to thank Ms. Smith for her stories last night, and to Bryn Mawr College, for making me acquainted with this genius. As an aspiring artist, it gives me so much hope to see someone who has followed her dreams and been true to herself, no matter how unforgiving the life of an artist can be.

I know the majority of her pictures show her making a serious face, flaunting her coolness, during the time when she said it wasn’t cool to smile, but the image I have of Patti Smith is of this happy lady with a big grin, who gets happy just from eating a meal she loves and by making people laugh.

You know, it’s funny–she reminds a lot of this girl who I know quite well…


Family(ar) Territory

Hello hello! Why, what a long time it’s been. Welcome back, everyone. Hope you all had a good time reflecting, pondering, and studying during this time apart. No just kidding, I hope you had a wonderful time with your families and eating lots of holiday food, yay!!

Wow, it has really been a while. I wonder if I still have my blogging chops in me. Well, I guess we will find out! I certainly still have the ability to babble, so we can at least hope that it will be some interesting babbling. Brace yourselves.

This break was particularly special for me because it was essentially the last long period of free time that I will have before graduating, aka before beginning “real life”. I usually go home to Brazil during this period, and come back with a toasty tan (which I love to flaunt to my friends) but this year I took a slight detour north to our friendly neighbor, Canada. So, you know, just a tad colder (*note: switch “a tad” to “tremendously” or, better yet, “horribly”). My parents are currently living there and I was so fortunate to visit for a month, along with my sister, who came all the way from Brazil. So there we were, the fantastic four, reunited once again.

I was back in a family dynamic, which is very different than the position of being on your “own” in college (I placed the quotations because even though we are far away from our homes and our families when we are at school, we have established another form of home here as well, with our friends and activities and all the structure provided by this peculiar environment, which doesn’t replicate to real life). Participating in this dynamic means being 1 of 4 (or of how many people comprise up your family). It means being a part of a group and thus making the compromises necessary to see what is most important to that group. I learned so much about myself during this time because I saw how much I had changed as an individual. I was still able to adapt to this form of “community living” but I was still aware of who I was because I had spent so much time on my own at school discovering what that is.

It also felt good to know that I could be there for my family and help them out with whatever they needed. I was a useful addition to the pack, and this type of “work” is fulfilling when you do it for the ones you love and out of love.

Because of the cold, we spent much time at home and therefore had many great opportunities for bonding experiences, which I terribly missed. These were filled up with time watching movies, playing cards, eating popcorn, baking cookies, and just being beside each other even when we were each doing our separate things. These moments, along with all the “in-betweens” made for episodes of great spontaneous laughter and joy. Some of them even turned into giggling fits, which simultaneously became my moments of ab workout over the break. There’s nothing like a 2-in-1 deal, is there?

These couch-potato days were interspersed with less lazy-days, going out to eat either at the food court at the near-by mall or at our favorite Chinese or Italian restaurant, getting together with an old-time friend some coffee, going boxing day shopping and going to the movie theaters. I think I saw about 4 movies in the cinemas over break, which is a great accomplishment I would have to say! I watched “The Guilt Trip” (so funny and incredibly smart and endearing), “Life of Pi” (so imaginative, spiritual, and breathtaking), “Les Miserables” (which became one of my favorite movies of all time. It was so amazing, no words can describe it. The acting, the music, the directing–the dedication of it all was just so beautiful), and “Gangster Squad” (which was so exciting! So well-made and action-packed. A bit violent, but a great movie nonetheless). I definitely recommend all of these for those of you out there (anyone?).

Also, whoever watched the Golden Globes such as myself got a great ab workout from all of the laughter it caused!!! For whoever did not see it, the hosts were Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and they were just so incredibly funny and witty. Then, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell came up to present one of the awards and they presented a sketch that was to die for where they talked about all of the nominated movies. It was so hilarious!! I suggest all of you (even if you’ve seen it before) to check out some of these clips on youtube.

These moments, along with Christmas, New Year’s Eve and holiday food, made up a wonderful first-half of my break. The second part was filled with job-searching, researching, and networking, which is much more draining than it already sounds. This motivation to prepare for my future came with the fear of the much-dreaded arrival of May 18th (graduation day). In the first couple of days of 2013 I started panicking about facing reality as a graduate and feelings of despair were comforted by the support of my family, who quickly lifted me off the ground with their words of encouragement and their belief in me. It was all I needed. After that, I was determined and focused to make my future happen. As difficult and financially unrewarding as it might be to live your life as a dancer, especially facing the extra barriers that go along with being a foreigner, I know that there is a spark in  me that must not be ignored. Even if I fail, I will be a winner because I will have tried. The fear is still there, but to succumb to it is to shelter myself away from life and to become my own personal enemy. The winning trophy does not lie in the hands of those who always win, but rather of those who always choose to continue even after losing. It’s like how my good friend Churchill said:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.

So don’t ever hesitate about going after your dreams. Just go! I am sure that there will be nothing but gain along the way, even if you happen to lose.


Posting is for Positivity

I’m going to try to be as efficient as possible with this post because, as much as there are so many things I want to say, it’s finals week! And, a part from all the obvious reasons to celebrate, like many other bmc students I have to pass my classes and thus complete all of my final projects and exams. AAnd (2nd one in this series, note), as I am a pro in lingering and Facebook procrastinating (gotta love them statuses) I am going to become a new woman today and be 100% concentrated and invested in my work until I get it done. (Pfff let’s see how long that lasts!)

So, in sight of this busy (read: bee-zzz-y. haha get it) time, when students easily go crazy and over stress and sleep in libraries and eat their feelings (what? No, no one does that) I shall make my mission to lift our spirits through something as simple (but as powerful as) this post. See, when people ask why I blog, they don’t understand that I am actually saving the world. One. Joke. At. A. Time. Like 9gag.

Aham, *clearsthroat*. Out with the Wicked Witch of the West and in comes the Good Witch with all her fluffy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCEVTcL1bJ0) cotton-candy voice to take all of this negativity away and spread some joy for the Holiday season. There are so many things for us to be happy about! I believe a list is in order? Voilà:

-There were so many beautiful, sunny days this week

-Classes are over, woohoo!

-Christmas is only 10 days away!

-New Years is but 16 days away!

-I had a great Thursday dinner date at Cosi with a friend

-I handed in my 7-pg French paper on Proust yesterday

-I got 10hrs of sleep between Thursday and Friday

-Erdman is closed, but Wyndham just opened today to students with an amazing selection of food and fancy service!

-Only one week until we all finally get our much-deserved breaks

-My sister arrived safely in Canada from Brazil this past Wednesday, the 12/12/12

-We all got through the day 12/12/12

-I had a successful Friday night, which was composed of a dance showing, a loud dinner with Brazilian friends, receiving a beautiful Xmas card from another friend, and a night of intellectual charades and delicious cookies for Chrismakah at a friend’s apartment

-Many laughing fits in between all of the above

-9gag is still up and running (gets me through rough days through inspirational quotes, like the following one: “Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can’t see”)

-My student Visa still hasn’t expired

-We are healthy, fortunate, and loved! Now really, is there anything better than that?

So please don’t stress. Breathe. Remember that you’ve gotten through Finals before. Imagine that there is a future version of yourself who has already completed the work, and that you have no choice but to get it done, so why not just do it? Perfection is the enemy of completion. Just do it (Nike-style)–and remember that you can always go back and edit. Finals do not define you. Your health, safety, and personal relationships are more important than anything in this world! It’s all about your perspective. You need to realize the value you have as an amazing, beautiful, special human being who deserves to be happy and well–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (even if you have no faith! It doesn’t exclude you from this). So don’t worry, be happy!

I wish you all the best of luck in these finals. We’re all in this together!

And remember–you can do it!




I have to tell you guys about my last Friday, because today’s just isn’t making the cut. I know we can’t have sunny days all the time (well, I guess only in Rio…) but mother nature went coo-coo this week and flipped everything upside-down: Monday, one of the most (if not the most) dreaded days of the week was beaming with sunlight and warmth, while Friday, our stardom character in TGIF, started out with wimpy rain and low temperatures. Why, why Mr. Friday? We were doing so well…and for some reason I can’t help but notice the correspondence of my mood to these unfortunate weather mix-ups. Oh well.

But I have faith! I have faith in that remembering last week’s Friday (and thus also making reference to last week’s post, which I mumbled here and there about one’s fine recollections in life) I shall uplift my spirits and prepare for a great weekend! Indeed. Let’s begin.

Last Friday I went to nothing more nothing less than our cool next-door neighbor (don’t you remember those? They were older and just had that “je ne sais quoi”. And you admired them. They intimidated you. You had fun creeping on them behind your front-house porch. Just admit it, we know you did that.) Well, anyway, yes, one of those. This one is oh so cool, it’s our three-letter DJ of the cities: NYC. You know it’s up to him to get the party started. Wop, wop wop wop wop, wop em NY style.

My friend from dance and I decided to go take a master class by the Canadian modern dance company Kidd Pivot. The choreographer, who is the amazing, uber-talented, down-to-earth and ultra nice Crystal Pite taught the class, which was from 10am-12pm, meaning we had to take the 7am bus from Philly, (meaaaaaan)ing I had to wake up with my friend, Mr. Sun, at a dazzling 5am. Oy. Oh what we do for dance…

So there we were, standing in front of the studio door, a quarter to 10am, wiping the dried-up drool stains on the lower corner of our lips from the delicious naps we took on the bus, giving slight taps to our cheeks to wake them up, and wishing we had tooth picks so we could stick them between the base of our eyes and our eyelids to keep them open. But stepping into the class served as a shot of Caffeine: crossing over the door which created a line that separated the reception area from the studio linoleum floor was like stepping into another universe. And we became aliens. Dancing aliens. More importantly: awake dancing aliens. Oh yeah. We were all ready to shake our foreign bodies all over the Milky Way. Snap.

Dancers are so beautiful. They wear slick and baggy, mismatched clothing with only one item of the pair, and layers. Many, many layers. We give Shrek a run for his money layer-wise. It’s a peculiar fashion world, a mash-up of aesthetics with functionality, adding to the beauty and adapting to the freedom of our movement. And underneath all of those layers, are beautiful bodies, all different, but all fit and healthy in their own ways, flowing with artistry and athleticism, which are revealed little by little as our internal temperature and that of the room goes up and the layers come off, one. by. one.

As legs go up, down, behind, and inside-out as these peculiar creatures warm up, sparkly Crystal glides in like an icicle and greets us all in a frosty-white smile. It’s a directed improvisation class, meaning she gives us exercises with a focus on a body part, a movement quality, and/or an image and we have to move with those directions in mind. It’s such an interesting experience because I find it to be (surprisingly) as much intellectual as it is physical. You really have to get in tune with your body and transform these concepts from your brain into a corporeal embodiment. It’s deeply discovering and mastering and controlling the impulses of your internal environment and translating them into an intentional, planned, concrete action. This happens (and must happen) in a series, one after the other, in a matter of seconds so that you don’t know when something starts and when somethings ends (at least with a good improviser). That is the objective for us all. At the same time it’s crucial that you let the movement have a life of its own and follow it instead of just give it orders. It’s a constant struggle between the rational and the instinct: they work together to create a series of interesting, research-based, exploration-favored movements into one flow of energy. All of these million things going on in your head and being transferred to your body while at the same time letting the body take over once in a while, letting thought rest aside, all happening at once in a single moment, which produces a movement. And they say dancers can’t think. (Facepalm).

The class was…hard. Challenging. Peculiar. Feel-good. Sweaty. And needless to say, interesting. At soon as the clock struck 12 the hunger chimes went off and my Cinderella stomach was growling for food. So off we were to the showers and after, to a much-deserved lunch. We stopped at a PAX foods store, which has a selection of tasty salads, soups, sandwiches, and sweets. Among the multiple delicious options available my friend and I decided to split two sandwiches: smoked turkey with artichoke spread and caramalized onions on grainy bread (number 1) and roasted chicken with portobello mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes on rosemary foccacia bread (number 2). Hmm hmmm hmm. It was such an amazing lunch….we then head off to do some prancing (and a good portion of digesting) on the busy, buzzled, baffled streets of nyc (and whatever that all means). We went to the box office to get our tickets, went to a whole foods, window-shopped, until it was time for a mid-afternoon snack. (I feel like you think the only thing I do is eat….yeah, you’re right).

Fulfilling the neediness of our bellies, we stopped at a nice cafe  for some sweets and coffee close to where we intended to do some shopping. The look was inviting, the smells were satisfying, and the music, infectious. I chose to have a frothy chai latte paired with a divine chocolate chunk cookie (which was warmed up–crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and with melting chocolate to add up as the cherry on top). Hmmmmm hmmmm hmmmm. Needless to say the conversation that followed couldn’t be anything short of fulfilling and satisfying (I mean really, when can you go wrong with good food?). Speaking of which, after much tiring but always fun shopping, it was time to grab some dinner before the show. My friend wisely picked this little but cozy Venezuelan restaurant which was bursting with South American music, vibrant colors and familiar smells. Even though Spanish isn’t my native language and there are still many differences between us, my Latin-American neighbor made me feel closer to home. A long time of menu-researching was followed by orders of yucca fries with Guacamole as a starter, arepitas with goat meat and coconut sauce, and a generous portion of their traditional dish which included white rice, black beans, shredded chicken stew and plantains (!!!), not to mention a spicy Sangria for my friend and a pleasantly sour Margarita for me as accompaniment (don’t worry, we are both over 21!). And then, (are you ready for this?) it was time for dessert. We were pretty satisfied, it’s true, but we couldn’t say no to what came next. When our waitress told us about the three-milk cake with rum and coconut, we knew we were sold. The sweet, moist, frothy cake was what I imagine heaven tastes like. Ahhh sweet memories…

7:50pm: show time. We head to the Joyce Theater which is just minutes away and take our limited-view view, student tickets seats. Not bad, actually. Second row! We miss a bit of the floor work, but nothing that a little push-up from the arm seats can’t fix. The performance, called The Tempest, is like nothing I have ever seen. The first part is very mime-y, a form of real live cartoon comic book story-telling, with movie-like special effects and fancy media, but with a touch of dancing. It’s fascinating. The intricate play with the music (as the door creaks, the dancers mime opening a door, and such and such), the peculiar costumes (all but one were dressed in white from head to toe. Seriously, head to toe), which created this sort of alien-like creature (told yah we were aliens), and the skill and control of the talented dancers joined with the creative artistry of Crystal Pite. But then, halfway through, the dancers came on the stage with normal clothes and an amazing amount of dancing began. So much amazing dancing. I can’t even express how wonderfully talented and how unbelievable the energy control was. And the movement: so beautiful. We were left speechless, with nothing but “oohs” and “ahhs” and a much-deserved standing ovation at the end.

We came back on the bus with happy hearts, happy bellies, and happy spirits. Nyc Friday, here is my standing ovation to you.


Luci 🙂

Don’t Mind if I do!

I was in the middle of my French literature class when this post came to mind. Something we were talking about sparked up some ideas not only of current events, but of things that have been happening in the past. In fact, the question of time was the spicy topic of discussion.

Currently, we are reading a section of a novel by the French writer Marcel Proust (who takes up 3 pages to talk about the most ordinary things, in the most specific detail. I feel some sort of relatability…), in his series of books titled “A la recherche du temps perdu” (“In the search of lost time”). In french, “lost time” may refer to time that has gone by as well as time wasted. Proust dedicates much of his writing to talk about what goes into memory, what incites it, how voluntary and involuntary memory work in different ways, and how we can sometimes change or even fabricate these delicate recollections.

The narrator of the book is a fragile, ill boy who not only looks forward to, but obsesses about the good-night kiss he receives from his mom every night. This moment is so special, so wound up in expectation, and so depended on for his happiness, that needless to say his whole day is dedicated to thinking about his dearly beloved maternal kiss. There is so much anticipation before the moment and consequently so much anxiety about what happens after the moment, which is when his mother leaves after she’s “done her job” that, in a bizarre manner, the closer the boy is to the moment, the more he dreads it, because the closer he knows he is to his mom leaving him. It is as if the anticipation of the moment is better than the moment itself. So never does the narrator really enjoy, cherish, or indulge in the moment he so closely holds himself to. He is never really in the present, but always looking back at precious moments that were, and looking forward to others who have yet to be. Why is this so typical of human nature? We are never satisfied with our current moments, and always glorifying the past while idealizing the future.

These notions were particularly interesting because at the same time that we were covering this topic in my French class, we started learning about memory in my psych class (Behavioral Neuroscience). Memory is assimilated by the brain as a whole, as opposed to focused in one single area. Maybe that is why memories are so powerful; they create a network of connections between the different parts of the brain and are able to incite all senses. Sometimes you just need that simple artifact, or a word somebody just happened to let out, or even a slight touch on your arm to bring back and relive a powerful distant memory. And isn’t it phenomenal that we can recall things as old as when we were 5?? I know I’ll never forget the day I first got on stage. What an exhilarating feeling. And it still hasn’t changed–I always feel those sparks just waiting to ignite before a dance performance.

Don’t you just love it when you can actually make an application from things you’ve learned in the classroom to real life? It’s a double win, why why, yes yes! Before memory, we covered the topic of sleep in my Psych class (I was so excited–I picked up my notebook and thought to myself “Yay! Information I can finally use in my personal life!”). We learned about the different stages of sleep and how the EEG (Electroencephalogram, which measures electrical brain activity) waves differ according to each stage. The pattern is usually that the more relaxed you are, the lower the frequency of the wave. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, however, which is the deepest stage of sleep, and the one associated with dreaming, the waves break the norm and show a pattern similar to that of being awake and alert. Isn’t that so interesting!? How can we be at the state of most rest, but at the same time with such intense mental activity? Which not only wakens up our unconscious, but which sometimes gives us images, feelings, and sensations we can even remember after waking up? How many peculiar recollections do dreams give us, and how many preexisting memories are peculiarly unfolded in our dreams? The bizarrity (I shall make up this word now. Yes, I have awarded myself word-creator power. Take that Webster!) of this occurrence never ceases to amaze me. Did you also know that things we learn in daily life are consolidated as memories during REM sleep? I don’t think I have ever found such a beautiful complex connection between memory and sleep, French and Psychology, dreams and life. And all of those mixed up together like a Cosi signature salad.

And all of this whirling up in my head just in that singular moment in French class, when my perky neurons began to get excited and chatty with each other. Isn’t it amazing what the human mind is capable of? It is efficient, holistic, adaptable…sometimes because of unfortunate events an area of the brain may get damaged, but because of its miraculous engineering, other parts take over to carry out the functions previously performed by the lost parts. Me = fan of Neuroplasticity (this concept of adaptability).

We sometimes try so hard and overwork our minds when really they already have all the mechanisms to help us out with whatever we need. So sometimes we should just let it do its thang. Let it do its brain thang. It’s like those moments when you really need to remember something, and you feel it at the tip of your tongue but for some reason it doesn’t come out. We try and try and try and try (“I try to say goodbye and I choke…” Ahh Macy Gray. She tries alright!) to recall it but the little bugger just doesn’t budge. Then, we let it go….and sometimes, even just a second later, somebody says “pineapple” and you remember that the color of the car you were thinking of was in fact, a Bahamas yellow. (Or you know, something of the sort). Or, the recollection will come back hours later in the shower or right as you are going to bed.

Sometimes, it’s not about trying so hard, but about letting go. And sooner or later, it will all eventually come back to us.

Happy December everyone!

Snow flake love,

Luci 🙂

Thanks to all this Giving!

What a wonderful Thankgiving it was. I stayed on campus but Muna and I went over to a friend of Muna’s whom I didn’t know very well, but got to know because of this holiday event. It was such a great idea because I got to see how amazing a person she was! I had heard only good things from Muna, but by going over to  her place for dinner I was able to see her shining personality for myself. It felt so great to be invited and to receive such generosity and good feelings from someone whom I had just met. We cooked, laughed, and failed at making apple-cinnamon cake together, it was just so wonderful.

The day started off with sparkles, so I knew it was going to be a great day from the moment I got up. We had to wake up early to catch the 8:50am train to go to the Philly parade, and even though I went to bed late the night before, I must have had a good night’s sleep because I woke up with no difficulty and feeling refreshed! (Holiday miracles do exist, I guess!) It was a great bunch with us: Muna and other 5 friends (one of which was the friend we were spending Thanksgiving dinner with). We stood up in the packed train like a pack of sardines but everyone was just in such a great mood that there was nothing but joyfulness all around. We arrived in Philly only to be greeted by the wonderful weather: thank you for contributing, Mr. Sun! It never ceases to amaze me how I can be a totally different person when the sun is out. Those rays shine down on my face and my mood immediately brightens up. I guess it’s the Brazilian in me!

The parade was fun and playful. We had Turkey hats. Need I say more? We walked all along Franklin Street and made a stop at the tents they put up in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which had stands for Campbell’s Soup, V8 juice, Disney and Dunkin Donuts. This meant: free food. Yay! We then sat on the grass to rest a bit and soaked up the sun while the parade was finishing up. Next stop was lunch, we needed fuel after all that walking! So we strolled over to Whole Foods which was conveniently open for our benefit and pleasantly smelling of cinnamon pine cones. We all ordered delicious paninis (mine was custom made, so fancy) and gathered around a table while munching on them in delightful satisfaction. My chicken/advocado/provolone/lettuce/tomato/onion/oliveoilvinagrette masterpiece was settled well in my stomach.

Digesting did start tiring us out however (and we hadn’t even started the holiday feast yet!) so everybody agreed it was time to go home and rest a bit before the real heavy eating began. We stopped by the holiday fair before heading down to the train and I was happy to encounter a french man from the south of France (Marseille) selling their famous, wonderfully-smelling soap. I started talking to him and was excited that my conversational French was still intact! I then had to buy some of the soap, the smell was just mesmerizing. Coming back to Bryn Mawr, I realized how much I needed to recharge. But nothing that a good nap wouldn’t fix! I hadn’t had such a great nap in such a long time. Oh the beauty of break and not thinking about work. How wonderful a feeling it is.






By 4pm Muna and I started heading to our friend’s house. We bought the ingredients to make Cosi’s signature salad, which we love so much (it has pistachios, dried cranberries, grapes, pears, and Gorgonzola cheese on top of mixed greens. Now who wouldn’t love that!?). We successfully were able to make the salad yaaaaay. Highlight of our cooking careers (needless to say neither of us have had much experience in the field). But our friend’s cooking was very, very tasty. She is a pro. We had Turkey meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, biscuits, cranberry sauce, and steamed zucchini. Hmm hmmm hmmm! We also had another friend of our’s there from bmc whom I hadn’t been able to have a meal with for a while, so it was great to chat with her again!

Dinner was so special. I was so happy to be among great people. After all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is about? Sharing great food with wonderful people? Isn’t that what life is about? (I know that’s in my guidebook as one of the tips to “Great Living”). The night wrapped up with an entertaining episode of cooking pumpkin pie and an apple-cinnamon cake, the latter giving us more laughs than a good bite, but which made us just as happy as the pumpkin pie (I love it when I get a good rhyme!) and watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean (I forgot how much I loved that movie!). It was around 11pm and we were snuggled up in blankets on the couch, with nothing but happy tummies, and much warmth in our hearts.

Happy Thanksgiving, all 🙂




Leaf it Out

I was just working on the second paragraph of this post when I went to press “save draft” and for some reason the action failed and everything went blank ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh don’t you just hate it when that happens? Sigh. I can’t replicate everything I did before! It was a masterpiece! A spur of the moment inspiration! (I’m just trying to lower expectations here so you do come out of this reading rather satisfied). Anyway, here we go again.

Life is life because of the little things. It’s not that amazing work of art you saw or the event you were looking forward to all week. It’s about the little quirky moments that sneak up on you and for some reason make you laugh. It’s listening to a song you love, it’s singing off tune and mumbling the lyrics loudly in the car with your friends, it’s those classic tunes (hmm spice girls….), it’s reenacting the scenes from your favorite TV shows and doing the voices from the characters in Disney pixar’s movies. It’s having a laughing fit in the middle of a public place with you friend. It’s going to your favorite chain-sandwich restaurant (Cosiii! Love). It’s going up the stairs and catching a glimpse of the sky, beautifully framed just for you, just in that moment.

Maybe it’s because these moments don’t involve expectation. They are pleasant surprises that spur out of nowhere to say hello. You don’t wake up thinking “oh I’m really looking forward to the sunset today”. You just appreciate a great one when you see it. And you know it’s great because it was able to catch your attention and take you out of your world just from how beautiful it was. And just those 2 minutes watching something as simple as the different hues of the orange and blue along the horizon can change your whole being.

I had a little something like that happen to me this week. It was a Thursday, and I was definitely looking forward to the week being over. I had a very busy weekend and didn’t really have time to re-energize for the week, so I was ready for some serious resting time. I was heading back from lunch with a friend (you all know her by now, it’s Muna) and I was on schedule to get done all of the nitty-gritty things I had to do in that moment. Suddenly, I was stopped by Muna who deeply groaned at the sight of all of the leaves that were collected from campus piled up and ready to be sucked away by a machine. She was so sad because she is particularly keen on jumping on the leaves in the Fall. This is her “simple thing” that makes her oh, so happy. But I told her: you can still jump! Do it now! An after some convincing, she agreed. She wanted me to go with her, but I strongly said no. I don’t do jumping-on-leaves. But then, at this thought, at this silly thought, this old thought, this thought of not wanting to mess up my coat or be covered in leaves, I realized how stupid I was being. Here I was in front of this beautiful pile of leaves waiting to cushion someone with their amazing fluffly characteristics and I wasn’t going to jump?! Heck no! I whipped my head around to Muna and said: “I wanna do it! Let’s jump!”

So I placed my backpack on the floor, stepped up to the pile of leaves, turned around, opened my arms wide to the side in a Rose-in-the-Titanic kind of way, and I let go.

:), Luci

All You Need is Tea, a Hammock, and a British Accent

I don’t really know what to write about today. I just know that if I waste this rare moment of attentiveness and energy, all hope will be lost for this post. I have no inspiration but, hey, sometimes you gotta do with no inspiration. You just inspire instead of expire, and there you go. You just got yourself an inspiration. (Life tricks 101 with Luci).

I’m kind of tired of talking about how tired I am (it’s just one vicious cycle) or how stressed I’ve been or how busy my days are blah blah blah yatta yatta yatta. Been there, done that. I mean, really, if you go to Bryn Mawr, you know a thing or two about basically trying to juggle a million things at once and keeping yourself healthy at the same time. (Are we trying to get into Guinness or something?) Anyway, it’s all we talk about! And I shall not tire you all with these shenanigans. After all, you’re probably here searching for something else. Your life purpose, for example. Haha no, no, not so deep. We want to lighten the load, not throw another couple of kilos (oh sorry, pounds) on there. But you’re probably looking for a break, for a moment of leisure, for a moment of breath. So inspire once more, and here we go.

Sooooo what shall we chat about today in this lovely but kinda weird virtual conversation we are having (well I sure hope we are having, otherwise I am talking crazy to a computer)? I think we first just need to create an appropriate atmosphere. Yeah, that’ll do the trick. How about, we are having tea, and it’s a beautiful August afternoon (perfect summer weather, aaand month of my bday. Sorry, I just had to pick that one!). We are outside sitting on a bench on the porch–no, lazily laying on a hammock between two big trees with the sunset on the horizon. Oh yeah, now we are getting there. I’m see a great Jane Austen novel–no, movie, arise here. It’s getting juicy, folks. Now, while we’re at it, why not put everything in a British accent? Yes, that will do the trick. We’re fancy people now, we’re going queen style. Oh yeah. (Not Mr. Mercury–I love Freddie, I do, but let’s hold the Bohemian Rhapsody for another time, shall we? Or, feel free to play it while reading this post. I’m sure it will give a very interesting effect, to say the least!) Ok, I guess with the hammock we will have to lose the delicate tea china. Oh well!

Ok, this might all sound a bit silly, but these moments are really important for our sanity. We need to get creative and paint a different picture than our reality in order to escape the chaos in our daily lives. It can get unbearable at times, but life won’t stop, we have to develop mechanisms in order to cope. Daydreaming, taking naps, watching your favorite tv show, or karaoke-ing like a crazy person and enjoying that moment of no shame whatsoever with your friends….does’t matter, whatever works for you! The important thing is just that we must must must give this as much importance as we do to our readings, problem sets, papers, etc. We are not machines–(this is not the bicentennial man movie. Although it would be very cool to have Robin Williams in my life. Constant laughter: check!) But this goes to say that we cannot work non-stop and with no break. Sometimes I come back to my room as late as 10:30pm with the mindset of still doing work. It’s 10:30pm. By that time, my only thought should be to get ready to sleep!

Prioritize. That’s the key. I think everything starts with the assumption that not only we will–sorry, not will, but have to get everything done, but that we also have to do it perfectly well, as well. Perfect is such a bad word. And I’m guilty to say this, but I’m a perfectionist. It’s weird because there is a kind pride in saying it, and this wow-effect from people who hear it, but it is not a good thing. We shouldn’t strive to be perfect, we should strive to be the best that we can be. Perfection is an illusion, and since illusions aren’t real, they involve expectations which are impossible to be met, and when the fantasy shatters we are left with nothing but a pool of disappointment. We should live life with simple and attainable expectations so that anything extra will give us joy we hadn’t foreseen, and those surprises are such a great gift.

It’s all about inner peace. It’s about saying stop. It’s about discipline. Disciplining yourself to give you what you need. We should always have as our goal to be happy, to be healthy. What is that biology grade when someone in your family gets sick? I am just saying we should have a favorable perspective on life. A perspective that leads us to hold on to those positivity bugs who might seem a bit small to see sometimes but who are nevertheless there strong and present. We just gotta know where to look, you know? Or sometimes, you know when you are looking for your glasses, and after searching everywhere you realize they were on your head all along?….it’s having the eyes to see what is right in front of you.

Hey, we do our best, right? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But life is made up of many don’ts–we just get caught up so much in the do’s, the rights, the yes’ that we forget that they aren’t the ones who will leave us with something learnt. They are actually the happy consequences of what we learned from all those dont’s, all those wrongs, all those mistakes. In these moments I always think of J.K. Rowling and something that she said that struck me so much. In an interview, after all of the questions about Harry Potter and how she felt about all of her success and her money blah blah she made sure to say that she wouldn’t have got it all if it weren’t for her failures. She emphasized on how important it was for her to fail. She said that people never talk about failure, and it’s something so crucial to life, so crucial for learning and growing. Now, isn’t that a beautiful way to look at life?

This also brings me to a great quote by Winston Churchill that I have on my wall (sorry I don’t mean for this to turn into a cheesy self-help hour, but I can’t help it!) which is really beautiful. He says

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to keep going that counts” — Winston Churchill

I mean, talk about wise words! Now, if we could only follow them….but we must! I urge us all to practice this: don’t fall after failure, and don’t cling to your successes. Strive to keep going, always learning, always growing. Learn from your mistakes and cherish your triumphs, but remember that in life everything passes. So live! Live today, live now. The past has passed and we never know of tomorrow until it becomes today. So let’s take it one day at a time, shall we?

Live well,

Luci 🙂

Fish are Friends, not Food

I know you think I’m going to blog about that feisty Sandy. Or some yummy-yummy in my tummy that I experienced this week. Or even, about my bffs “Stressala” or “Can’tSleepala”. But no, today, I shall venture you with a tale about the one thing that got me through these events and which gets me through everything in life: my friends (cue for “awwwwww”).

No lie, my good readers. The first thing I did when I woke up today was text my friends to see if they were available for brunch. Waiting for their response is such an excitement! The second my phone sets off its funny little whistle alert, I know one of them has responded to my text. Turns out my two good Brazilian friends were up for brunch, so off we went.

The way to Haffner is filled with smiles, hugs, laughs, and ooh’s and ahh’s. Eyes open wide up and pop out when we update each other on yet untold news, and sighs are immediately accompanied by embraces when we share our worries and difficulties. With the intensity that comes with being south american (Sofia Vergara anyone?), needless to say the quick way to the dining hall is nothing short of entertaining.

But be not mistaken with the Latin culture background–I am just as blown away by my fellow American friends (and those from all the other nationalities, for that matter) as I am by my dear Brazilian companions. The truth is, I am so thankful to say that I am very lucky to have so many good fishies. I have been blessed to study at a place where I have found such a great community to live in, such a sturdy support system filled with kind smiles, sympathy, and so much love.

And before we bring out the tissues, let me just say, this isn’t just about cheesy, dramatic, fraternal puppy love (even though that is at many times the case…) but let me just say that these friendships of mine can get really creative with their manifestation of support. This includes talking in a Greek accent (or Russian, or Italian…you know, it really just depends on the day) and referring to each other as “Toola” (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, anyone?), running out at 12am in an impulsive trip to Campus Corner, and sharing endless onion-ring-laughter only to wake up the next day and bond over our food hangovers, falling to the floor in laughter when we’re so tired from so many dance classes and rehearsals, and realizing that none of the amazing jumps and lifts we choreographed in our heads seem to be working out (I mean, how hard is it for people to just levitate? Really.), or speaking/singing/dancing away in Portuguese in the middle of the dining hall and feeling the delight of being taken back to that familiar world we also call home and having all the memories of smells, tastes, and sounds come to life (and loving how everyone is looking at us like we’re crazy), or rushing to class and realizing how we’ve been spoiled by Bryn Mawr time, pranking each other, and even sharing our intestinal regularity. (Yes, really).

All of these insane things that we make each other go through just add up to show you that, at the end of the day, your friends are really what make it all worth while….they are my toto, my scarecrow, my tin man, my lion, in this yellow brick road we call life. Hey, with friends like these, who needs Oz?

So remember, my good readers, in the words of Toy Story, “you’ve got a friend in me.”

:), Luci