“In 2014, I Will…” New Years resolution post, I mentioned that I wanted to travel and make more memories with my friends. I’m excited at the progress I’m making already. In January, I went on a family cruise to Cozumel. At the beginning of February, I went to New Orleans to celebrate my friend Vanessa’s 25th birthday.
I’ve been friends with Vanessa since my freshman year in undergrad. When she randomly told me about her birthday celebration, I immediately said yes. I didn’t even stop to think of the cost or if my schedule would permit me to come. All I knew was that this was an opportunity to celebrate my friend and make memories. I’ve learned to stop overthinking and waiting for happiness to come to me. In life you have to be intentional and purposeful. I know the kind of life I want to have– one filled with love, adventure, and laughter.
Being at school for the past few months, I haven’t seen my college friends in a long time. In our time apart, I’d forgotten how much I like them and enjoy their company. These people knew me when I was Timi the awkward freshman, Timi the teacher, and they love me just the same as Timi the friend in grad school miles away. I have grown with these beautiful people and I am excited to stay in touch and grow old together.
My trip to New Orleans was only a weekend, but it was enough for me. For this one time, I was content to just be with them again. We honestly didn’t have a extensive itinerary: we ate, we went downtown to Bourbon, we went to brunch, tried some beignets for the first time, had a masquerade dinner, and went home.
But the weekend reminded me that sometimes it only takes a couple days of fun to remind you to live more fully. Special thanks to Vanessa, who orchestrated this whole birthday shindig. It was great and it gives me something to think about for my 25th birthday in May.
Look out for my next trip post. I’m going to somewhere nice and warm for Spring Break!
I met Ashley when we first started graduate school in the summer. I remember always peeping her outfits and admiring the way she put items together. Ashley is an artist, lover, and coffee drinker. She’s a talented writer and a future journalist. Today she’s dressed in a casual, but chic, layered style. I have no doubt that she did indeed wake up like this (insert Beyonce soundtrack)
Ashley’s combination of bright colors, patterns and textures are spot on. She’s wearing a mustard 3/4 sleeve knit cardigan, a rust knit circle scarf, beige chiffon bird-patterned blouse, leather skirt, black tights, gray ankle socks, and cognac oxford shoes.
These days, my natural disposition is calm and collected (most of the time). I have been reading more and spending more time alone with myself. As I’ve gotten older, I have found myself gaining more introversion traits.
But as much as I enjoy being by myself, it’s not very conducive for for making friends and getting to know people. One thing that makes socializing difficult is the fact that I despise small talk. It’s so insincere and full of fluff. I dislike initiating small talk or being small-talked to. As you can imagine, talking to strangers for extended amounts of time is torture for me. Or at least it was until I changed my mindset. I realized that small talk is what you do with people whom you have no interest in ever getting to know on a personal level. If you ever want to get to know someone, you have to engage them in two-way communication– you listen a little and talk a little. As lame as it may sound, I have to actively remind myself that I am a human being who craves authentic relationships. Authentic relationships don’t happen over night– you have to put in work.
Yesterday evening, I went to a family dinner with members of a church I had started going to with a friend from school. Before I went to the dinner, I remember flexing my jaw and clearing my throat for the amount of speaking I was about to be doing. I was prepared to run through my script of small talk pleasantries that typically sounded something like this:
Where are you from?...Oh that's nice...I'm from Houston, Texas...Uh huh, I AM quite far from home...I'm in the graduate school program studying...
As soon as I walked through the door, one of the hosts pulled me into a hug and I knew that I would not have much use for my script that evening. Let me explain: I have been waiting for the feeling of belongingness in a church or small group of friends. I feel a version of it in my grad program– that sense of camaraderie and mutual respect. But what I felt in that simple hug enough for me to let my guard down. We sat down, a motley crew of broke graduate students, teachers, pastors, parents, and their children, and ate a family dinner of baked ziti, corn, and meatballs. We had nothing in common except for our faith and love for God. I surprised myself by how much I talked to people (and how much Vernors Ginger Ale I drank). I felt very relaxed and comfortable when I realized was surrounded by people I would love to see again. It’s hard to waste time with small talk when you really want to get to know someone.
I am enjoying getting to know the wonderful people around me. They are so kind and genuine. That is something I specifically prayed for when I decided to come to Syracuse. I want to meet people I can call friends and be able count on for friendship and counsel. I won’t let a little introversion get in the way of that.
Funny enough, when I look at the qualities of extroverts and introverts, I would say I’m a little bit of both. I hope I can maintain that balance. I think everyone can use a little bit of introversion and extroversion in their lives. It keeps us from going crazy.
Today was a day of celebration for my friend-classmate, Julia, and her family so we decided to have a friendship dinner.
Dinner was full of great food and great company. I hope we can make these kind of hangouts a repeating thing. These ladies are so much fun and we always end of talking and laughing long after the food is gone. I’m glad to have them in my grad program.
I don’t know Julia’s recipe for the fish tacos but I will definitely ask her for it so I can share the wealth. I love fish tacos, so I would definitely put it to good use.
This past weekend was my last weekend in Texas before I moved to Syracuse. I wanted to spend it doing something fun and adventurous. The weekend was awesome and beyond my expectations.
I arrived in Austin on a Megabus with my sister, Ney. The ride cost $12 departing and $12 returning. We chose the bus not just to save gas but because we both hate driving. It was nice to get a nap in while we were on the road.
I met up with some friends for brunch
We were celebrating the birthday girl, our friend Victoria.
Here’s the whole group. We’ve know each other since undergrad but I didn’t get to spend time with everyone.
The tour was a great bonding experience.
We stopped a few time along the tour:
We went to check out Barton Springs. It was many of us’s first time there. We had snow cones and treats in the snack shack.
We even took a drip into the spring.
We cycled through a couple more streets and headed back to return the bikes. It was a great experience. Although it was a little on the pricey side, a Groupon helped lessen the cost.
We went to Cheesecake factory. Here’s my meal:
After dinner, Victoria surprised us with gifts. I had never seen a party where the birthday girl has gifts for her guests. I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of the gesture.
Each of us got a box with “Victoria’s Secrets” inside (heheh). No not underwear, but some items that were some of her beauty secrets like her favorite kind of lipstick, moisturizer, rice paper (to reduce shine), etc. It was a cute idea that I will most definitely steal at some point.
Happy Birthday, Victoria! May God grant you the kindness, happiness and friendship you have bestowed on us!
I’m glad Jenn and I got to catch up. This chick is my partner in crime. We go back to sophomore year in college when we first became resident assistants. We had so many crazy moments in that job and made some great memories. We always joke that she will be my Vietnamese bridesmaid and I will be her Nigerian bridesmaid. We’ll see who makes it to the alter first lol.
The restaurant, Benjys on Washington, was a great choice for a dinner with friends. It has a laid back atmosphere, with light upbeat music in the background. It has dimmed lighting, which gave the room an intimate vibe, even though there were people all around. There’s also a rooftop dinning option, which I enjoyed the last time I went to Benjys. The meals were moderately priced. All the plates in the picture above were below $20, I believe. With its complementary birthday dessert and complementary valet, I definitely recommend this place!