Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I want to see a lion!

I have a five-page synopsis on my final project for my Rwanda class due Thursday. Of course, instead of doing my readings, I can't stop thinking about actually being in Africa this weekend!

That's right, I'm leaving early Friday morning! Atlanta -> Washington D.C. -> Addis Ababa -> Kigali! And then approximately two and a half weeks later, I'll be flying to Kenya to stay at Amboseli National Park with my mother. I can't wait to add my own photos to Pinterest, but for now, these will have to do....

But most of all, I WANT TO SEE A LION! Rawr, Alphie!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Diamonds are forever.

Grand Convention this past weekend was a wonderful reminder that sorority is not just a four-year experience; it's for a lifetime.

Seeing all the alumnae at Convention who now serve as advisors, as International Officers, on House Corporations or as former officers made me want to stay involved with Alpha Delta Pi even after I graduate. (Does anyone need a Standards Advisor next year?) But the best part of the weekend was all the fabulous traditions I got to witness and experience. Here's a rundown of a few of the best:

1. Watching the great-great-granddaughter of one of our founders be initiated. That's right. Our archivists at Executive Office were able to locate two descendants of Elizabeth Williams Mitchell, one of the six founders of Alpha Delta Pi, and one of them was initiated in front of the whole body on Saturday. I don't know what was cooler: watching our Grand Council perform the ritual that my sisters and I perform every year, or watching someone's great-great-granddaughter turn into her sister (and mine!).

2. On that note, Elizabeth Mitchell was the last of our founders to have a portrait made in her likeness. The search for a photograph of Elizabeth was what led to her descendants in the first place. On Wednesday night, during the opening banquet, the brand-new portrait of Elizabeth Mitchell was revealed, which now completes the collection in our Founders' Gallery at Memorial Headquarters.

3. Carrying my chapter's flag in the Adelphean Processional. Pretty much everything about this day was cool: the head-to-toe white every Alpha Delt was wearing; the roll call that remembered all 202 of our chapters, active or closed; and the fact that this tradition was instituted by a member of my own Alpha Gamma chapter, Caralee Strock Stanard. (Read more about the tradition in my chapter blog.)

4. Having a voice in the biggest business meeting of Alpha Delta Pi. That's right, as chapter president, I was eligible to vote on the by-law revisions, amendments and resolutions presented at our business meeting at Grand Convention. I also got to cast my vote for the next Grand Council of Alpha Delta Pi. (One of the positions required three separate votes before a candidate garnered the majority vote! Politics can be exciting.) After learning the results of these new resolutions, I'm looking forward to the changes our International Organization is putting into place to help our sorority continue to be...

First. Finest. Forever.

And this is why I don't check bags....

So, I'm usually not a complainer. (Or at least, that's what I like to think.) But despite all the amazingness that Grand Convention was (more on that tomorrow), there were quite a few things that went wrong this weekend (namely, today). So if you don't like to read complaints (and who does?) please skip this blog and wait for my much more positive report tomorrow. I don't want to lessen your opinion of me.

(Also, as a journalism major, I have to apologize for the irritating amount of parenthetical phrases in the last paragraph. And for this one.)

All photos courtesy of Pinterest

1. I don't like to check bags. There are several reasons for this, but primarily I (a) don't want to pay for checked bags and (b) don't like waiting around for them at the baggage claim. Because sometimes they never come around the carousel. Like tonight.

The story: I packed my carry-on like normal and arrived at the gate in Phoenix, where I was told the flight would be very full, so the airline would be happy to check my bag for free. Because I was the only one in our group who was carrying on, I figured I would have to wait for their bags at the baggage claim anyway and should just check my bag. Bad decision.

Long story short: The carousel for my flight stopped without producing my bag, so after visiting both AirTran luggage offices multiple times and waiting around for approximately an hour, an attendant finally brought my bag over. I guess it got left behind at the gate and was put on the wrong luggage cart, so I had to wait for the next flight to land at that gate before they would bring my bag up. Or something like that. Yay.

2. Sketchy cab driver. Like, really. Of course, I had told the other interns to head home because I didn't want them to have to wait with me for my bag (and of course, my bag showed up about five minutes later), but the rest of the interns were arriving a few hours later so I knew I could catch a cab with them. And this driver was sketchy. He wanted us to sign our charge voucher before we even left the airport. Excuse me? So you can write $200 on there and stick EO with the bill? No thank you. So I was distrustful from the beginning. Also, the child lock on my window was activated, which prevented me from protecting my face as we drove 70 mph down the freeway. My left ear was freezing.

3. Small disappointment. Looking back to Convention, my chapter didn't win the award we were hoping for (whomp, whomp), which put a little damper on the weekend. But speaking of awards, I have to remember that everything has a silver lining. And for all the things I've been complaining about, there are a lot worse things that could have happened....

1. My bag could have not come in at all, and then I would have been in a little pickle before leaving the country on Friday. Or, I could have been on an international flight and stuck in a foreign country without any familiar clothes (eek!).

2. The cab driver could have actually overcharged us. Or kidnapped us and made lampshades out of our skin. Ew.

3. We could have not won any awards at all (and win awards, we did). And we're still up for the TOP LION of Alpha Delta Pi, the Golden Lion, at the next Convention!

So in retrospect, all the little things that went wrong really don't mean anything when I think about all the great things that I have in my life. What if I didn't have the chance to go to Phoenix this weekend? Or what if Alpha Delta Pi hadn't given me a bid? Or what if I couldn't even go to college in the first place?

I'll stop now before I get too mushy, but basically, I am thankful for a lot! Despite the negativity that began this blog. And now I shall sleep.

Good night!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Diamonds in the desert.

This year, Alpha Delta Pi sorority celebrates 160 years of existence. Wow. That's pretty cool. And considering we were the First. Finest. Forever., we get to be the first sorority to reach this milestone anniversary.

I, for one, am lucky enough to celebrate this special time as an attendee at Grand Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. (hence the turquoise anniversary badge, above). Grand Convention occurs every two years and is the premiere event for Alpha Delta Pi sorority. It includes business meetings (where we discuss and vote on important ADPi things such as by-law revisions and Grand Council candidates), leadership workshops, lots of awards presentations and, of course, fun Convention traditions!

I know it's not yet midnight, but I am exhausted. It might sound like I'm just living the sorority life this weekend, but it's harder than it sounds! So I will have to provide more details tomorrow ... or maybe Sunday ... or maybe Monday when I finally get back into my routine at Executive Office.

Until then, you can keep up with all the happenings at Grand Convention here, on the official Alpha Delta Pi Grand Convention blog.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Extra innings.

Well, it was really only one extra inning.

But we continued our streak of let's-get-out-of-the-house-and-do-something-fun activities tonight with an Atlanta Braves game! (Btw, we did end up going out last night, so we've successfully tried something new every day this week!)

If you're ever looking for something fun and reasonably affordable to do in Atlanta, I would recommend a baseball game. The baseball stadium is pretty easily reached by both driving and parking by the stadium or taking the MARTA (we did a little of both tonight), and student tickets are only $10. So bring your college ID, buy a foam finger and practice that tomahawk!

Go Braves!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The last few days.

Quick recap of the week (so far):

All photos courtesy of Pinterest

Sunday: Poolside for several hours with the interns. I even got a teensy bit of a tan! (Quite an accomplishment for me, especially because I didn't get burned at all.)

Monday: Sushi at Harry & Sons (again)! I broke out of my California Roll/Spicy Tuna Roll shell and tried some Spicy Hamachi. Definitely a repeat dish. We walked the mile-ish from Memorial Headquarters (good for us!) and stopped for Ben and Jerry's on the way back for some ice cream on the patio. Yum.

Tuesday: Ladies' Night at Wired and Fired. I didn't participate in the pottery making because (1) I didn't want to have to ship my pottery home or pack it to Africa and (2) I spent way too much money at Express last weekend. (Thanks a lot, coupons! You are so conniving.) But it was fun watching the other girls create their various masterpieces!

Currently: We planned to visit the Opera for some 18+ fun, but it is storming something fierce outside, so we'll have to see what happens. (Luckily, we were able to hit up Starbucks right before the downpour began, so I'm happily sipping a grande, no-fat, non-whip Peppermint Mocha as I type. Just in case you ever feel like bringing me some coffee, that's my go-to drink. Just saying....)

Friday, June 3, 2011

The life of a Southern belle.

Wow. I was doing so well at first: I blogged five times during the first week I created this site. Yet, it has now been nine days since I've written again.

Tonight, I draw inspiration from this blog by fellow Alpha Delta Pi sister Emily Snowden. The Southern belle posted this humorous piece when she visited California as a traveling Leadership Consultant for our sorority. Now, I will comment on things I have found unfamiliar in the South as a California girl (for 11 years of my life).

1. Oversized tees. Fellow intern Haley swears this fashion is all the rage at Samford University, so when the lovely ladies of Executive Office offered us some extra T-shirts from Grand Convention 2009, Haley and I picked out shirts that were two to three sizes too big for all of us. The result:

Haley is the super-excited one second from left. She was so proud of us Westerners/Yankees (except Brittney - this Alabama native knows what's goin' on).

2. ...

Well, that's all I can think of right now, actually. (The fact that is 1:30 a.m. might be contributing to my lack of ideas. I'm actually very elderly in spirit; my ideal bedtime is around 10 p.m.)

However, I can think of a few things that have not surprised me about the South.

1. Sweet tea. Luckily, this is something I was introduced to long ago. My grandmother (who lives in Charlotte) used to put two cups of sugar in every pitcher of sweet tea she made. Yum yum. She has since lessened that amount slightly in the interest of health, but I continue to follow her recipe when I make iced tea at home in California. Last summer, I lived alone in Missouri while I was working, and I literally consumed a pitcher of sweet tea every day. Sometimes I had to make two. Oops. I'm also one of McDonald's best customers, solely from the amount of $1 sweet teas that I order. (I usually ask for no ice so when I get home, I can pour it into my own glass and have twice as much.) I am getting spoiled by the availability of sweet tea at Southern restaurants, however. It will be a sad day when I have to return to putting four packets of Equal in every glass of iced tea in Columbia. :(

2. Y'all. As you might remember from the previous paragraph, my grandmother is from Charlotte. Therefore, my dad lived in North Carolina from birth through his college graduation, so I am used to the Southern accent. He also says "cain't" (because he cain't say can't).

3. Yes, ma'am. On a similar note, I love the typically good manners of Southerners. After hearing Haley and Brittney "yes ma'am" so politely around the office, I want to cringe every time a "yup" or a "for sure" comes out of my mouth. It wasn't unexpected, however. After all, I grew up around my cousins calling their parents "sir" and "ma'am." (They also tried to call my mom "ma'am," but she insisted on "Aunt Patty." What a Yankee.)

Finally, here are my thoughts on Emily's blog (referred to earlier in this post):

1. Avocados: Yes, they are wonderful and ubiquitous. In Missouri, it especially amuses me that anything with avocado as a topping is automatically "California" (such as a California Burger or a California BLT).

2. Terminology: As a NorCal girl, I agree that "hella" is prime slang. However, I prefer the less offensive adjective, "hecka." As in, "Yo Emily, that girl is hecka sick." :)

3. Croakies: Excuse me? I didn't even know what these were until I read your blog. And then I had to ask my roommate, who spent a summer down under doing this same internship. She explained it, but I still don't understand. Sorry.

4. College football: I'm sorry you had a less than desirable football situation. I, for one, love college football. But I understand that aside from Cal Berkeley and USC (in their good years), we don't have quite the athletic fervor of the SEC or Big 12. (Which is actually a big reason I chose a Big 12 school, and why I pressured my little brother to choose Georgia over UCLA for his upcoming college experience.)

5. Lilly: Again, who? I hadn't heard of Lilly Pulitzer until I saw your planner in my room. Now that ADPi has a Lilly print, I'm surprised I hadn't heard of her earlier. She is much more popular than I had imagined (even in Columbia). I did vote for ADPi about 15 million times, though. You're welcome.

And that's all for tonight, folks! Sorry for the astronomically long post; I'll try to update more frequently in the future to save you from these novels.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Little Obsessions: Milk

My Sims game is currently updating on my computer. And it is taking forever. So, while I wait for it to finish so I can make all the interns and build us a beautiful house, I decided to start a new series within this blog: My Little Obsessions.

If you haven't noticed, I have a list of my little obsessions on the right side of my blog. The section was originally called, "These are a few of my favorite things..." but I soon decided I'm more Ali Larter than Julie Andrews. See, I have a very addictive personality. My ridiculous affinity for the Sims is only one example of this shortcoming.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain some of my little obsessions and why I love them so much. First, milk.

Milk is an excellent source of calcium, Vitamin D, potassium and other nutrients (not just calcium). It's also delicious. As a former Alternate Dairy Princess (District 6, California Milk Advisory Board), I can tell you all about the positive things milk can contribute to your diet and overall health!

But really, I drink a lot of milk. Exhibit A: Last week, I bought a gallon of milk at the local Publix. After about six days, my gallon was completely gone ... before the other five girls combined could finish their gallon of milk. A little ridiculous? Maybe. But I like milk with my breakfast, with my sandwiches, with my pasta, with my pizza ... with pretty much anything I eat throughout the day.

A final point to justify my obsession with milk: It's the prime ingredient in many other delicious products (see below). Got milk?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I went shopping.

For those of you who only know me through this blog, that was probably not a very exciting title. For those of you who actually know me, you probably thought, "What on Earth did Megan need so badly that she couldn't just buy online?"

Well, we Alpha Delta Pi women have a very exciting Grand Convention this month in Phoenix, Ariz., which of course requires a few new additions to my wardrobe. The other interns and I took advantage of our day off Monday to visit Atlantic Station for some serious shopping.

My favorite purchase of the day? This floral sweetheart dress (above)!

I'm not sure if it will be up to par with my fashionable sisters' "semiformal" wear, but with the right heels and attitude, I think I can make it work for the opening banquet! Bonus points: It was on sale (of course), and it is something I will actually wear again!

Extra bonus points: It has pockets!!

I also needed a cocktail dress for the formal awards dinner (cross your fingers for the women of Alpha Gamma!) and white shoes for the opening processional. Diana (luckily) found an appropriate formal dress for me (also on sale!), but the white shoes proved a little trickier to decide on.

The first pair I found (to the left, in white) had a low heel and was cheap: two big pluses for a girl who's used to wearing sneakers on a daily basis and likes to keep her wallet full. However, after some consideration and peer pressure (and a few laps around the store to practice walking in the 4-inch heel), I splurged an extra Jackson for some "sensible" shoes (below) that I can hopefully wear into my first real job in the spring!

With my bags and boxes in hand, I felt relieved that I was able to get everything I needed for Convention so easily. (The three extra pairs of eyes really made the decision-making process a lot easier for me. My fellow Pi sisters also consoled me when I experienced buyers' remorse. Thanks, girls!) And the shopping was well worth it when I finally got the chance to eat at Moe's Southwest Grill (a chain resembling Chipotle and Qdoba)! The Homewrecker burrito with chips and salsa for only $5 made my day that much better.

Sorry for the incredibly detailed blog. And sorry it was all about women's apparel (and Mexican food). I'll try to include some more scintillating details about my internship in my next post!