California Dreamin’

I know it’s been awhile, but that’s because I was off having one wonderful adventure.

Today, my friend Cara’s Facebook status read that she left her heart in San Diego – and I can’t help but agree with her. Our team fly back from California (a.k.a. the promised land) on Sunday morning (think 1 a.m.) and since then, it’s been weird readjusting to New York, classes, and “real life”.

Basically, my outreach trip to San Diego was absolutely incredible. I don’t even know how else to describe it. Our team stayed in cabins at the Kamp of America campgrounds in Chula Vista. Most mornings, we’d wake up around 5 a.m. and drive over to St. Vincent de Paul. There we either worked in the back of the kitchen or served breakfast to some adult homeless, until about 7:30 a.m. Then for the next hour or so, we would clean up the cafeteria and get ready for the lunch rush.

Afterwards, we’d drive over our awesome mini-vans to StandUp For Kids. The San Diego location does outreach work, but also has a center for homeless and street kids to come, hang out, eat a good dinner, shower, etc. In the morning and early afternoon, we did chores around the place, from cleaning to organizing their food donations. We had to throw out so much food that had expired years ago – it was heartbreaking. After our chores, we’d go back to our campsite to unwind and eat lunch. Around 4-ish, we drove back to StandUp to meet the day’s volunteers and the kids. Most were actually older, eighteen to about twenty-two years old. We’d serve dinner, eat together and hang out for a few hours.

It was incredible having the opportunity to meet some of the homeless in San Diego. I’m really glad we got to work with both adults and youth. It was so striking and humbling how appreciative everyone was for a simple meal or conversation. It was also great to have people open and to listen to their stories – everyone had a different set of circumstances that led them to where they were. And the people we talked to were some of the funniest, brightest, and most honest people you’ll ever meet. It can’t even be put into words. The craziest moment for me was when I met a twenty year-old guy who went to the same elementary school as I did, back in Florida. To meet him 3,000 miles away from my hometown, living in such different circumstances but being so much alike was just astounding.

Suffice to say, it was the most rewarding week of my life, easily.

And, just like all of our supervisors and volunteers begged us to, we had some fun too. On Thursday we walked a bit of Balboa Park, San Diego’s answer to Central Park, and on Friday we went to Torrey Pines, where we went to the Pacific Ocean and did some hiking. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really take pictures at the places where we volunteered due to privacy reasons, but here are some of my favorite from the trip. (And yes, that includes a snapshot of one the best Mexican meals ever. I’ve been dreaming of carne asada tacos ever since…)

Torrey Pines

OH yeah. And I got to spend my spring break with eleven of the best people you’ll ever meet. We’re so obsessed with each other, it’d be lame if we weren’t such awesome people. ♡

If your school or college offers any service or immersion trips, I say go for it! Seriously, you won’t regret it. It was an incredible experience. So tell me now, what have you all been up to?

☀ Sarah

Ahora Amo

“Ahora Amo”  roughly translates to “Now I Love”. Inspired by features like Michelle’s Love, Love, Love “Ahora Amo” is a collection of all the small things that I love at the moment. ♥

♡ Key Lime Pie. Graham cracker crusts make everything better. And I miss Key West.3252948639_8eed88bae8_z_large

♡ my coconut-scented shampoo from Suave – not only is it dirt cheap, but it smells like a vacation in a bottle.

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♡ Oranges! I’ve been eating deliciously sweet orange slices for nearly everyday this month.

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So good.

♡ Twizzlers. I’ve been eating a pack a day for the last few weeks. Problem? Probably.

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♡ Teacup Pigs.

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No explanations necessary.

♡ Pretty Little Liars. Obsessed with this show.

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Obsessed. And the fashion? To die for.

♡ iTouch. It makes my life so much easier.

TPM Feelings - Pelo menos uma vez ao menos estamos juntas nessa!

♡ This video

♡ Spring training. I can hear my college baseball team practicing from my window on the weekends.

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The sound of aluminum bats is just another sign spring – and baseball season – is around the corner.

Black Swan. This wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, but when the Oscars rolled around, I just couldn’t stop thinking about this movie.

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It’s disturbing, way over-the-top, but absolutely beautiful.

♡ Wearing more stylish outfits. I can’t wait to finally have a chance to get my friend Sarah to photograph some of these looks. I really want to start posting more outfit pictures, but I want them to be good, not low quality shots. Fingers crossed it happens after spring break! Speaking of spring break…

♡  CALIFORNIA.

Tumblr_lhlkjhdatd1qdml55o1_500_largeIn like six hours, I’ll be getting ready to trade New York for California – more specifically, San Diego. I’ve been counting down on Twitter and Facebook for days. Words don’t even explain how excited I am.

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It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been to California, but this time I’m not just going for break. I’m going as part of Global Outreach, a cultural immersion and service program at Fordham. Twelve of us are staying in SoCal for about ten days, embracing “simple living”, and learning about homelessness. In the mornings, we’re working at St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchens and in the afternoons we’ll be at Stand Up for Kids, an organization that helps homeless and street kids. I have no idea what to expect, but I can’t wait. It’s going to be an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to share it with you all when I get back.

I hope everyone is enjoying their breaks and whatnot. On a more serious note, however, please contribute to the Red Cross here to help those in need after today’s earthquake and tsunami in the Pacific.

~ Sarah

Taking It Down A Notch

Photo Credit

It seems that this October, I’ve been spending as much time in D.C. than I have in Manhattan. There was a special occasion for my second trip to the capital of course: Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. For some crazy reason, I don’t really follow Stewart’s exploits on “The Daily Show”, but being the young liberal I am, I eventually heard about the rally he proposed: “A Million Moderate March”.

I wasn’t planning on attending until I read that the newspaper The Huffington Post chartered buses to take eager New Yorkers to D.C. My friends Lindsey, Claudine, and I made our free reservations, and early on the morning of 30th, we piled into a cab bound for Citi Field. By the time we got there, just after 5, it was a chilly madhouse. No one had any idea what was going on, until there was a sudden rush to get in line for the security checkpoint. By some stroke of luck, we managed to get on the second Huff Post Bus to leave Queens, and we were on our way to Washington.

We got to RFK Stadium ahead of schedule, just before 11. That  gave us just over an hour to make it to the National Mall before The Roots and John Legend were set to perform. Not only did we manage to get to the Mall early, but we got decent spots among the crowd. And by “decent”, I mean we were within set of the third set of television projections. We didn’t realize until our trip back, but we were really fortunate to make it to the rally on time. Some buses from the HuffPost didn’t get in until one o’clock, well into the rally.

A lot of people have asked me what the rally was all about. It’s pretty hard to explain. For the most part, the rally consisted of musical performances and comedic sketches. There was, however, serious social commentary going on. I’ll admit, there was a liberal bias to most of the messages, but the overall point was that people need to be rational, politicians need to compromise, and we need to accept that we’ll always have differences, but that doesn’t make the other side evil or anything. Honestly, it was a great message that I think this country needed to hear. It was an unforgettable experience being in D.C. and being among hundreds of thousands with high hopes for the U.S. There were an estimated 215,000 people in attendance!!

If there’s one thing you’re going to take away from this post, it should be this, Jon Stewart’s message:

Here are some of the pictures I took during the rally:

Claudine, Lindsey, and me.
The Roots
John Legend
Picture of a picture: the crowd
Jon Stewart
Yusuf Islam (previously known as Cat Stevens)
O'Jays singing "Love Train"
Sheryl Crow

My friends and I were all so glad we had a chance to attend the rally. It was an incredible experience, and hard to put into words. And it’s one more thing to check off my college bucket list: attend a protest. Did any of you attend? One of my friends from high school flew up to Connecticut and drove done from there! He wrote a great play-by-play on the rally here. Are you guys fans of “The Daily Show”? And did you agree with Stewart’s message?

~ Sarah

*throwback post 🙂