Thursday, December 27, 2012

New website

I have created a new website and from now on will be posting here:

Make sure to check for updates on my study abroad experience at the University of York in England!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Experience Selling Merchandise at the Democratic National Convention

Last Thursday I had the privilege of working at the Democratic National Convention. Two weeks before, I heard about the opportunity in my Intro to Venues and Events in Sports and Entertainment class. I knew it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I even got paid! While I don’t identify as a Democrat or Republican, it was an incredible experience.

* The “arena” is where all the speeches and performances happen in the evening/night. The “convention center” is where workshops and seminars are during the day.

7:30am – Arrive at the meeting location on campus
7:45am – Finally leave Columbia
9:30am – After stopping to get snacks at a gas station, we arrive at the warehouse in Charlotte. We stand around for a while.
10:15am – We drive less than five minutes and get dropped off, then have to walk about 10 minutes to Time Warner Arena. To get inside, they check our credentials to make sure they aren’t counterfeit and we go through a metal detector like at an airport (before the new scanners). We stand around a lot more inside, get trained, walk around the outer part of the arena, and watch James Taylor rehearse.
12:30pm – I finally start working at a booth on the upper level, which is a lot less busy than the lower level.
1:30-2pm – We take a lunch break and watch the Foo Fighters rehearse for a little. We also see Fran Dresher and there are five of us that talk with her for a few minutes. She had a camera crew with her and they were recording! She just asked us about what we were doing there, where we go to school, what we were studying, etc.
2-3:30pm – I continued to work the booth on the upper level.
3:30-6pm – The booths on the main level, which was were everyone was coming in, needed more workers, so I moved down there. I was constantly helping people and the time flew by. While I was getting the merchandise one customer wanted, the girl I shared the register with was checking out another customer. The transaction took awhile because we had to get everyone’s name and address since they were technically making a donation to the Democratic Party and we needed to know where the money was coming from. The items they received were their “gifts” for donating.
6:30pm – A group of us walk over to the Charlotte Convention Center, which is about 7 blocks away. The public got let into the building at 7, so they thought we would get really busy, but we didn’t.
7:15pm – One other girl and I leave convention center to go back over to the arena because they need more help. Each of us had to carry a large box of t-shirts all the way. Just as we are leaving the convention center we see a woman who was either part of a protest or angry with protesters, get arrested literally right in front of us. All of a sudden half a dozen police officers surround her and one handcuffs her. I was probably six feet away from the officers. The girl I was walk with, Lindsay, was in front of me and I just told her to keep walking.
7:30-8pm – We arrive outside the arena and there are at least a hundred people waiting outside the gates, but no one is getting let in. Lindsay tries to talk to police officers to let us in, but that gets us nowhere. We soon find out that the place is on lockdown and then find out it is because they aren’t allowed to let any more people because they are at capacity. Three other people that also work selling merchandise return from having dinner and we wait with them for a little.
8-8:45pm – Lindsay and I leave our boxes with the other people and go have dinner at Firehouse Subs. On our way back we see dozens of police officers in a line and holding batons get into white vans.
8:45-9:15pm – When we get back to the gates outside the arena, there are only about 20-40 people still waiting to get in. The people watching our boxes said that while we were gone an announcement was made saying that no one else was getting in the rest of the night. We continued to wait a little longer because we were waiting to hear from our boss if he would be able to get us in. During this whole time there were protestors and one guy with a microphone preaching about Jesus and the Bible, which was quite annoying. Eventually we decided to return to the convention center.
9:15pm-2am – The rest of the night I worked the convention center and had a steady stream of customers throughout the night. We then go back to the warehouse and wait for everyone else from the arena get there.
2:45am – We leave the warehouse and stop at a 24-hour gas station on the way back. On the way back people tell us who they saw: Michelle Obama (she was at the arena when I was there, but she was on the upper level while I was on the main level), Zach Braff, Forest Whitaker, and the guy from Will and Grace.
4:30am – Finally arrive back in Columbia!
8:30am – I wake up for class!

My credentials 

James Taylor rehearsing

Foo Fighters rehearsing

What the booth looked like on the main level at the arena (I tried to include as much as possible in the shot)

This was where we were trying to get into the arena, but no one could get in

The bright orange shirt we all had to wear. Yes, it does say "DNC (Democratic National Convention) Convention." I'm pretty sure it was the company I worked for that printed them, not the DNC.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Final Days in Boulder (PS anyone want to take a trip with me November 3-6??)

It’s hard to believe I left Boulder exactly a week ago. I wanted to get this post up sooner, but almost as soon as I got home I went on vacation with my family. It has been a hard transition moving back home and living with my family again since I am used to having so much independence and I enjoy being by myself. The morning of our fourth day on vacation I had a little meltdown because I could not handle being around them any longer…

Anyway, on my second to last night in Boulder I had a farewell dinner at Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery with some of my friends. It was really sad having to say goodbye to them! From left to right, it is Elisabeth, Andrew, me, Yun, and Alex.

Wednesday morning I picked up my mom and we drove straight to Red Rocks Amphitheater. It was gorgeous and I definitely want to see a concert there! It is a popular place for people to go and workout, so my mom and I did a very short workout just so we can say that we had worked out there. They were also setting up for a concert that night, which was cool to see.

Then we drove to Boulder and went on a short hike in Chautauqua. For dinner we went to Jax’s, which is a seafood restaurant and has $1.50 oysters 4pm-6pm. They had other items on their happy hour menu too that were delicious. We then met Mom’s friend, Jay, at the Farmers’ Market and walked to Bands on the Bricks on Pearl Street, where an ‘80s cover band was playing. The lead guitarist looked and sort of sounded like a punk rocker, which was very entertaining to watch.

My last morning, we had breakfast at The Buff and went shopping on Pearl Street right when things were opening at 10:00am. This was a really nice time of day since there weren’t any panhandlers out! Then we went back to my apartment to pack everything up and turn in my keys. Our last stop was Peace, Love, Chocolate, which was a really cute chocolate store on the west end of Pearl Street. We both got sipping chocolate for the drive… yummy!

The drive to the hotel that night was kind of rough. For starters we left 2-3 hours after I would have liked to, so we didn’t get to the hotel until after 1am. In western Nebraska we hit a really bad storm and I could hardly see in front of me from all the rain. But the cool thing was that for about two hours in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska I was driving towards a rainbow! At one point it even looked like it was right in front of me!

Once I got into Madison, it really hit me that I wasn’t going back to Boulder. That night I went to see Mat Kearney with some friends, which was really fun. There were only like 5 people between me and the stage!

I am still really sad that I don’t live in Boulder anymore and this is the first time where I am not very excited to be home (so if you are in Madison, you should cheer me up!). Earlier today I caught myself referring to Boulder like I still live there!

I don’t know the next time I will write a blog post since I don’t have much planned besides school for the next few months. Sometime this fall I’ll be (hopefully) going on a retreat with my sorority into the mountains in North Carolina. Then I’ll be back home for Fall Break October 18-21 and Thanksgiving Break November 21-25. I might do something interesting Labor Day weekend. Also, since I have Election Day off, I am thinking about not going to class the Monday before and taking a four-day weekend. If you want to go somewhere with me then let me know! I’m being completely serious – I want to go somewhere November 3-6 J.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Closing Time and Reflections About My Time in Boulder

My time in Boulder has finally come to a close. Tomorrow morning I am picking up my mom at the Denver airport and will show her around, which I am really excited to do. I have been looking forward to showing anyone around Boulder that is new to it.

This weekend I spent a lot of time with my roommate, Yun, which was nice because we haven’t really gotten to know each other. After I went to the Saturday farmers’ market for the last time, Yun and I drove to Denver where they were having a Dragon Boat Festival. I did not really know much about dragon boat racing, but Yun actually used to do it in New York so she told me how it worked. There were also some food tents and lots of other vendors. That night Yun and I went to Pearl Street for a late dinner at Pasta Jay’s, which my boss had recommended. We split seafood cannelloni stuffed with shrimp and crab and baked in spicy red calm sauce – so amazing!!!

Sunday Yun and I went to Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant for brunch. The décor was really cool and the food was unique and delicious. For starters we shared cinnamon coffee cake and baked Brie. Then for the entrée I had lavender waffles with green tea whipped cream. Later that day I visited a new coffee shop downtown called Amante, which was very European and was even showing the Olympics on a TV. That night was my last CouchSurfing mixer – sad!

Yesterday I met Elisabeth for coffee at Amante and walked around Pearl Street for a little until I went to work. That night I went hiking in Chautauqua and the Boulder Concert Band was playing, so I listened to the end of their concert after my hike.

The rest of this post consists of random stuff I learned, observed, etc. from my time in Boulder.
  • There are so many start-ups in Boulder and several companies don’t have offices, so they work from coffee shops (i.e. Atlas Purveyors, Ozo Coffee, The Cup). I learned at a CouchSurfing mixer once that there is such a thing as “coffee shop memberships.” I don’t know exactly how it works, but I would think you pay a certain amount a month to get a much coffee as you want or at a discount?
  • There is such a thing at a BUI, or Biking Under the Influence. I was very surprised to learn that this was an actual thing. I always thought biking was a good alternative to driving because you won’t hurt anyone (except perhaps yourself) and you won’t get a ticket. Do BUIs exist in other places? If you know, please enlighten me!
  • In Boulder, sometimes it looks like it will rain, but doesn’t and sometimes it will start raining when the sky is sunny. There were several times this summer when I was thinking of going for a walk or hike but decided not to because the sky looked like a storm was coming. Also, I’m used to checking the radar to see if rain is coming and it usually is right. However, in Boulder when the radar shows that something over Boulder or about to hit Boulder, often times it does not rain. Another thing about the rain here is that I will check in the morning if there is anything on the radar to the west of Boulder to see if it is supposed to rain later, but a few hours later something forms completely out of nowhere and a storm hits. This happened yesterday. Clearly I do not know anything about how the weather works out here.
  • A little over a week ago I realized that my time out here might be the most nights spent sleeping in one city consecutively in a long time. So this past Saturday I had officially spent more nights in a row in Boulder than any other city for 2.5 years (53 nights). I don’t know the next time I will spend that much time in one city without spending at least one night somewhere else!
  • For about the past week I have been getting these feelings of really not wanting to leave and would get really sad. They started very sporadically, but have become more often as my departure approaches. I have not had feelings like this except when I am about leave home to go back to school after a long break.
  • And finally, I just really love my life here. Here are some things I enjoy about living here that I don’t have in other cities I spend time in:
    • Walking on Pearl Street (the feeling of it does not compare at all to State Street in Madison)
    • Meeting Elisabeth for coffee downtown and catching up on our lives
    • Riding my bike on the bike path and the ease of being able to bike downtown. Before I moved here I did not realize that the apartment I chose was less than a minute to the Boulder Creek Bike Path and I am so thankful every day that it is.
    • Spending time with the CouchSurfing people. They are all so fascinating and welcoming. They even have a group text set up so that you can text everyone in the group to go do something. The app is called "GroupMe." I joined the group about halfway through my stay.
    • Having a job where I can say or think “I need to go into work for a few hours at some point today…” This is my job in Boulder, not my internship. I actually only ended up worked 47 hours in 6 weeks. Obviously this would not work in the long run…
    • Being able to go read or talk on the phone with a friend by the creek. It is so peaceful and you seem secluded even though it is right off the bike path.
    • Running into people I know downtown. Boulder is small enough and the people I know spend a lot of time downtown, so it happens often. Even though I have only lived here 2 months, it still surprises me that I know enough people to randomly see them.
The other day I was curious as to how much time I spent doing things every week, so I decided to make a chart! I decided to included it just for kicks :) 
The numbers on the left are hours. Looking back, I wish I had gone hiking more...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hiking in the Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park

After my last post I walked around Pearl Street because the Open Arts Fest was going on. It really reminded me of Art Fair on the Square in Madison. It was neat to see different kinds of artwork, some of which was really amazing, but of course I didn’t buy anything since it was all out of my price range.

Every summer Boulder hosts the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and since it was on my list to see one of the plays I went (by myself) to see The Twelfth Night, which is one of my favorite plays by Shakespeare. It took place in an outdoor theater on campus, so I was able to ride my bike there. Before the play I saw groups of people finishing up picnics on the lawn in front of the theater. It was a great production and even though I was in the third to last row I had a great view. When it was done I raced to the CouchSurfing mixer at its new location at Rueben’s, a block off of Pearl Street. There were a lot more people, probably over 20, compared to last week when there were only five of us!

On Monday Elisabeth and I drove up to an area in the mountains called Brainard Lake. The actual lake called Brainard is pretty small and is surrounded by more beautiful lakes and hiking trials. First we went to the Long Lake Trailhead and went hiking past Long Lake to Lake Isabelle, which may have the best views I have seen in Colorado. We both love taking pictures and having pictures taken of ourselves, so she is a great person to go sightseeing with and we had a lot of fun making up poses. Next we drove to a different trailhead and hiked one mile to Mitchell Lake. It was a lot less exciting. About five or ten minutes after leaving Mitchell Lake it started to rain then hail. While Elisabeth had a poncho that covered her backpack, I only had a rain jacket, so my backpack with my camera was getting wet. I decided to be not a very good friend and with Elisabeth’s consent I ditched her and “ran” about ¾ of a mile back to the car. A good workout, but my left lower calf and ankle area have kind of been bothering me since then…

Tuesday was the last day at my internship, but I worked a little on stuff Boulder today and might next Tuesday. That night I drove to Denver (during rush hour, so normally a 30-35 minute drive took double the amount of time) to see the U2 tribute band, Under a Blood Red Sky, whose performance in Boulder I caught the end of a couple weeks ago. I met Elisabeth there since she is a huge U2 fan and actually saw them live in Paris a few years ago! The venue was really cool – it was on a bridge over a creek in downtown Denver. The people there were very different compared to the concert in Boulder. Everyone was in their mid-twenties to late forties and well dressed, like business casual or nicer.

Yesterday I went to Rocky Mountain National Park. I was planning on going with a group of people, but they all ended up having to work. But that wasn’t going to stop me from going! If you haven’t noticed, I am a very independent person and don’t mind doing things by myself sometimes. I’m so glad I went because it was totally worth it! I drove all of Trail Ridge Road, which is very scenic and has lots of places to stop and take pictures. It took me three hours to drive it one way and two hours on the return. At one of the vista points as I was pulling into a parking space I saw the car next to me was purchased at the same dealership in Madison as mine. They were leaving, but when they saw the back of my car with the dealership name they pulled back into the parking space and asked me if I was from Madison and what I was doing there. We had a very brief conversation, but they were so nice! My first wildlife spotting was two elk that were in the road three cars in front of me. At the end of Trail Ridge Road (the western park of the park) I saw a moose and a few miles near that one were two more moose, one of which was a still pretty young! I don’t think I had ever seen moose before so it was really exciting! When I was leaving the park, right after the fee station, I saw two more elk that were probably 40 yards from the road. There were lots of people taking pictures, but they did not seem to care at all.

On Monday Andrew had showed me how to slow the shutter speed on my camera to take cool pictures of moving water. I wanted to try it out at Boulder Falls, the waterfall I went to with Elisabeth last week, so on my way back to Boulder I stopped there. Here are some of the pictures I took (the first two are of Boulder Creek, when I was learning how to do it):

This morning I took a self-guided walking tour of the University of Colorado campus, since I practically live on campus and had only seen part of it. All the building are so beautiful and there is so much green space. The campus itself doesn’t really have any major streets going through it, which I like.

I don’t really have anything planned until my mom gets here Wednesday morning, so I am looking forward to spending the next five days just enjoying Boulder!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Marking Things Off My "Boulder Bucket List" As My Time Winds Down

As my departure nears, I get sadder and sadder. I will surely miss the friends I have made here and will most definitely be going through mountain withdrawals. In one of my first posts from Colorado I mentioned I have a “Boulder Bucket List.” It has been a good way to come up with ideas of things to do, but lately I have been feeling pressure to get everything done. Luckily, I do think I can get everything done, but I know that if I don’t I will be returning!

Last Monday evening, Elisabeth, Alex, and I were supposed to go to an outdoor concert and have a picnic (something on my bucket list). However, it was cancelled due to the rain, so we just had a movie night at my apartment.

After discovering that Andrew and I both golf, we decided to play 9 holes Tuesday evening at the city course in Boulder. I played amazingly well and got a 50 despite usually only playing 18-36 holes per year. Andrew played in high school, but hasn’t really played much since then and finished with a 47 (we were tied for like 4 holes though!). Fun fact: Andrew has been struck by lightning 3 times (not directly of course) and one time was during a golf tournament in high school!

On Wednesday Elisabeth and I took a day trip into the mountains. Just outside of Boulder we visited a waterfall, which was really pretty. We stopped in Nederland where they have a carousel and embraced our inner child and went for a ride. We were going to go hiking at Mud Lake, but didn’t see a sign/the turn and kept driving. I saw a sign for Gold Hill and decided to go there and show Elisabeth the town. She thought it was so cool and was glad we made a detour to go there. Luckily on our way back we did find Mud Lake. The trails were short and easy but the views were fantastic. It got so cold (mid to upper 60s) that I had to put on a sweatshirt!

Unfortunately the weather has not been that cool in Boulder and the last few days have been so hot that I haven’t spent much time outside. Friday morning I walked around the Mapleton Historic District, which is a few blocks north of Pearl Street, to look at the houses (another thing to mark of my bucket list). For lunch I went to Illegal Pete’s, a cheap Mexican place on Pearl Street. After work I met Elisabeth for coffee at Trident Booksellers and Café. That night I met some people from the Boulder CouchSurfing group downtown, who wanted to do a bar crawl. As I mentioned in my last post, there aren’t many place someone under 21 can get into downtown. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one under 21 since Alex was with us and everyone else in the group tried to accommodate us. First we went to Old Chicago, then Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery, where surprisingly you don’t have to be 21 to get in! After walking down Pearl looking for another place Alex and I could get in and determining there wasn’t one the two of us decided to not hold everyone else back, so we left.

Yesterday morning I went to the farmers’ market, then decided to read in front of my fan the rest of the day since it was too hot to do anything outside. That night I met Elisabeth for an outdoor movie in a parking lot behind the Boulder Contemporary Museum of Art. Earlier in the day she had met some French people who were also going to the movie so we sat with them. I’m not used to being with people in America who speak a different language! But French sounds so beautiful that I didn’t care. The movie was Back to the Future, which somehow I had not seen before. The audience really got into it and would cheer at major parts. This was something else on my buck list – I have really been on a roll!

This upcoming week I have a few day trips planned, which I am really excited about!