Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yes, I am still alive...

The masses have been insistently requesting a new post (and by masses, I mean my mom, but hey, she's very important), so here it is, finally. :-)

This should probably be obvious given my lack of an update for four and a half months, but law school is quite hard. (Ok, that's just my excuse for not updating, but it IS hard!) I don't recommend it. Unless you realllllly want to be a lawyer...and I think I do... I have three out of four grades posted so far (yes, it has been almost two months since the end of finals), and things are looking pretty good -- I'm just happy all my hard work paid off! I got an A in Legal Rhetoric (the horrible writing & research class that ruined my life last semester), so that was pretty exciting. I also got an award for getting a 95%+ on the Legal Rhetoric final - it's called the "Certificate of Excellence in Recognition of Outstanding Performance on the Research, Citation, and Writing Strategy Exam, Fall 2009." That extremely long name makes it sound much cooler than it really is, but I suppose that's the point...

In between the reading and researching and writing memos, I did manage to have fun occasionally. We had lots of visitors last semester, which was great!! I think I'm going to break this down mini-Christmas-card style...

Tim's Delta Chi brother, Pat, came to DC for work for a few days, so he stayed at our place one night. We had a lot of fun, and he even took us out to dinner on his company's dime! :-)

Another one of Tim's Delta Chi brothers, Mike, also came to DC for work in late October. He stayed with us for several days, and it was fun having another roommate for a while! He cooked dinner for us one night while we did our homework - I wish we could have a personal chef more often!!

My friend Loren (who I met in Panama) was also in DC visiting friends and family in October and he stayed with us one night as well. I don't have a picture from when he was here, but here's one of us in Panama:

A couple girls from my school had a Halloween party, which was a lot of fun. My friend Claire and I went as Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter -- the super team for President/VP in 2012! ;-)

Tim was Justin Timberlake (people over 40 may need to google him to understand) --

Another friend I met in Panama, Keith, was in town in early November so I got to spend some quality time with him too! 

In mid-November, my good friend and roommate from college, Mary, visited for a few days, and that was awesome. Among other activities, we ate this delicious slice of pizza:

Then, my parents and brother came to DC to spend Thanksgiving with Tim and me! We had a lovely week of family time and exploring the city. We visited some museums, ate at a few nice restaurants, and had a yummy Thanksgiving meal at our apartment. One highlight was ordering an eight-pound turkey from Safeway and getting a 22-pound turkey for $8! (Who says DC is expensive??) [Speaking of grocery delivery, since we're big-city folk now, we get our groceries delivered from Safeway right to our front door! It's pretty amazing, I must say. Right now we don't even have to pay a delivery fee because the Safeway near us is under construction so they offer free delivery to nearby residents.]

Right before we dug in to Thanksgiving dinner -- 

Tim and me at the Christmas tree in the Smithsonian castle -- 

The first half of December was devoted to studying and taking finals. Those two weeks were quite fun, let me tell you...

I flew home on December 18, so I got out of DC just before the big snow storm hit! My three weeks of Christmas break were pretty busy trying to fit everything in, but it was wonderful to spend time with friends and family away from school! I spent the first week or so in Oklahoma visiting with my mom's side of the family. (I can't find pictures from that...they must all be on my mom's camera.) There was a pretty crazy snow storm there on Christmas Eve, so we just hung out at Grandma's house a lot and got in some good family bonding. :-)

After Christmas, I spent about a week in St. Louis visiting with Tim's family and some friends in the area. For Tim's birthday (December 28), I organized a surprise birthday party at Growler's, and a bunch of his friends from high school and college came, and we had a great time!

This is me in the Snuggie that Tim got me for Christmas (you may laugh, but I know it's really because you're just jealous on the inside) --

For New Year's, we went to a little get-together at a friend's house for a couple hours, and then went back to Tim's house to play games with his cousins. Happy 2010! :-)

After New Year's, I spent a week back in mid-Missouri visiting with my parents and friends from home, and running a bunch of errands. This is my good friend from high school, Nadia, and me:

My classes this semester started on January 11, and I'm already feeling overwhelmed! I'm currently taking Legal Rhetoric Part II, Property, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and International Law. The first four are all required classes, and International Law is my elective class. WCL lets (or makes?) first year students take an elective, and I'm glad I get to take IL since I would like to work in that area someday.

On January 30 & 31, I participated in a moot court competition for first-year students at my school. Moot court is basically like mock trial, except at the appellate level, so you argue your case in front of a panel of judges instead of a jury. (You also usually have to write a brief, but we didn't for the 1L competition.) The competition was a lot more fun than I expected, and I even made it to the semifinals! I'm going to try out for the school's team at the Qualifying Tournament in a couple weeks, so wish me luck!!

You have probably heard about the ridiculous blizzard that is hitting DC, right? Tim and I have both been off school all week, and I'm expecting tomorrow to be canceled as well. We got about two feet of snow on Friday and Saturday, and the roads weren't cleaned up by Monday or Tuesday...then Tuesday afternoon it started to snow again, and now it's still snowing and/or blowing the snow around at about 30-40 mph. I'm currently watching chunks of ice ram into our windows... I appreciated the snow days at first, but I'm starting to get a little cabin fever and I'm almost missing school...that's how you know I'm going crazy. Anyway, here are some pictures of our very snowy neighborhood -- 

Hope you all are having a lovely week! :-)

Hasta luego!!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


That's my general feeling about life right now. My first couple of weeks at American University's Washington College of Law (WCL) really weren't too bad, and I was starting to think everyone who had told me about how busy I would be was just trying to freak me out. I seemed to be managing just fine, plodding along with my readings for Torts and Contracts and Civil Procedure, and I even had time to outline (in legal lingo, "brief") all the cases! But then...out of nowhere, that little two-credit Legal Rhetoric class that had just been lurking quietly in the background pounced and bestowed upon me an abundance of citation quizzes (and these aren't your friendly MLA-style citations), pointless library research assignments (busy work, anyone?), and oh yeah, "memos" requiring more reading and researching, not to mention actually writing them... My other three classes, not to be outdone, also upped the ante and began assigning more readings, as well as in-class quizzes (but don't let the term "quiz" fool you) and take-home midterms (which is apparently only supposed to take four hours, but that's AFTER I spend a good eight hours organizing all my notes into some kind of manageable outline).

On top of all that, I applied for and got a position as an Articles Editor for the
Human Rights Brief at school, which means several hours a month of...editing articles (duh)! However, I am SUPER excited, since I came to WCL primarily because of their focus on international human rights and public interest work, and this is a great way to start getting more involved. The brief has over 6,000 subscribers in more than 130 countries, so apparently it's a pretty big deal! I mean, I'm not a big deal - I'm going to be doing a lot of fact-checking and citation-correcting - but it's still very cool to be a part of it! They publish three times a year and they recently started a "blog" that will be updated with human rights happenings all the time, but it's not online yet, so I'll give you all more information about that soon. I also have the opportunity to report on hearings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for the blog! Lots of exciting things.

WCL divides first year students into "sections," which means I have all my classes with the same 80 people (except for Rhetoric, where there are only 12 of us from those 80). Seeing the same people all the time has its ups and downs...but I have gotten to meet a lot of really interesting and fun people!
I was a little worried about everyone being super mean and scary, but it hasn't been like that at all. Well, I guess there are a few scary ones, but it's easy enough to stay away from them :) These are a couple of my new friends --
My new friend Claire and me:
Tim and me with new friends Ryan and Jen:

As you all know, I occasionally share embarrassing stories about myself on here (come on, I know that's really why you're reading this), so here's a good law school one for ya -- Sometime during the second week of school I'm reading in the library and I get a little sleepy, so I decide to listen to music. I get out my headphones, plug 'em in my laptop, and crank up some ManĂ¡. I continue working and a couple minutes later a guy comes over and taps me on the shoulder, so I turn around and take out my headphones to listen to him...and I can still hear my music. And so can everyone else within a ten-foot radius. Apparently I hadn't actually plugged in my headphones all the way, so the very hush-hush library got a nice taste of my latino music. I guess the lack of sleep was already getting to me...

Tim and I are really enjoying our apartment so far (and we would love to have visitors!). Our building manager asked around when people were moving out this summer and found a bunch of free furniture for us so we didn't even have to buy anything! We got a couch, a love seat, a dining room table with two chairs, a TV table, a big chair, and a dresser all for free! Pretty lucky, huh?? We've rearranged a little since these pictures were taken, but here's a little taste:
This is the front door area (which looks totally different now)...
This is our dining room...
This is the kitchen... (notice the dishwasher! The phrase "I'm so glad we have a dishwasher" has been uttered at least 12 times since moving in.)
We each get our own closet!
And the outside! I love the flowers!!

Here are some more random pictures and stories from random DC highlights:

We went to a Washington Nationals game last Wednesday and they beat the L.A. Dodgers. I'm not really a baseball person, but apparently the Nationals generally suck and the Dodgers are generally good, and we went with a couple from L.A. who are die-hard Dodgers fans, so they were pretty upset. But it was still really fun!
Apparently "curly" means "win"...? Tim and me, enjoying the cheap seats:
Natalie somehow still manages to smile:

Over Labor Day weekend, we took a quick trip (less than 24 hours) via bus up to New York City to see Avenue Q at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway! Neither of us had been to NYC before, and it was amazing! I hope we'll have more time to go back in the future... And Avenue Q was SOOOO good! The show closed on Broadway about a week after we went, so we got there just in time.
This is us inside the theatre. Apparently you're not supposed to take pictures inside. I got yelled at roughly .67 seconds after this was taken.
We're hanging out with the puppets after the show :)
So awesome!!

Also, no pictures (because I forgot my camera), but Tim and I went to the National Book Festival on Saturday (one of the perks of being in DC is all the "National" events are here!). We got to hear John Grisham speak, as well as Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. They had tons of other big-time authors too, but we couldn't stay for the whole day.
We did get some free bags and pens. All in all, it was a good time :)

Well, it's about time for me to get back to reading... I hope the next update will be sooner than two months from now, but I'm not promising anything...

I'll leave you all with this true story --
As I'm walking out of a restaurant Friday afternoon, I pass an elderly couple. The man sees my laptop bag and asks if I'm a law student. I say, yes, I just started at American. He says he has a legal question for me. I tell him I really don't know anything yet. He says he thinks I can help him with this one -- What's the difference between "unlawful" and "illegal"? I stare blankly and wonder if this is something I should know and once again tell him that I just started so I really don't know anything. He says he knows the answer anyway -- Unlawful is when you break the law, and illegal is a sick bird...


Hasta luego!!