post-exam life: a rosy smorgasbord of updates!

tape in hair extenstions

(Warning: crappy phone-quality photos ahead! Updates in raw stream-of-consciousness.)

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So in my last post, I promised to tell you all about the pre-exam procrastination and post-exam celebrations that have been happening since last Monday, when I was duly locked in a room with my dissertation committee to talk about a document that honestly needs to be reappropriated as kindling. I was so drained from writing that all I wanted to do once I finished was flop down on my couch and watch an entire lifetime’s worth of Gilmore Girls on Netflix while devouring a family-size pack of cookies ‘n cream ice cream.

Thankfully, I did not do any of those things (though I was amused to find that I gained five pounds during the eleven days between my proposal submission and exam–my sugar-dazed memory seems to recall singlehandedly plowing through two jars of cookie butter and a substantial number of these cookies). However, I did have a lot of fun, both before and after the exam, doing all sorts of things that have been on my grad school bucket list. I am still incredibly tired, though, hence the lack of a real post & recipe today–but I hope you enjoy this recap anyway! Here are just a few things that happened this month:

1. Attending to the wedding of a younger family member.

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Okay, I’m totally kidding–this one is by no stretch of the imagination at the top of my bucket list, mainly because it feels like the biggest faux pas from a Jane Austen novel being relived right under my nose. (Does everyone remember that famous scene where a scandalized Catherine de Bourgh balks at the fact that Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are all “out” in society before their eldest sister is married? Yeah, that’s how I feel right now.)

But it was still really fun to go home for all of two seconds (more on that in a second) and see all of my family, not to mention goof off with my other cousins while the ceremony/lunch were happening.

That is, until I had to leave right as lunch ended and the cake had not yet been served, because I was…  The wedding veil is gorgeous!

2. Heading to our swim club’s end-of-the-year banquet!

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Granted, I’ve done this banquet twice before, so technically this shouldn’t qualify as a “bucket list” item. But it was my first time with a basically all-new group of swimmers who are lovely in every single way.

The story here is that I actually booked my flight home for the wedding a few months back, but I learned last-minute that this banquet was happening on the same night. SO I kind of might have rescheduled my flight so that I could fly back at 4 PM as the wedding lunch ended and get picked up by my friends on their way to the banquet. (I had also flown up to the wedding that same morning at 6 AM because I had to attend this big scholarly dinner the night before, which I’ll describe in #3. Yeah, I suck at chronological ordering!) I wore my entire formal getup from wedding venue to the banquet, making the entire process a ridiculously rushed and uncomfortable experience, especially when the airport security instructed me to take off my cardigan and raise my utterly exposed man-arms up in the security machine.

Needless to say, it’s a good thing I love these guys so darn much…….yeesh.

But I really am going to miss some of these folks. Photographic proof!!!

 ball gown prom dress

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 And of course, no awesome event is complete without a Snap, or a selfie, or BOTH:

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I’m going to miss these kids so much!!! <3 good luck in the post-grad life!

3. Climbing the outdoor challenge course!

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   “Hang on tight, spider-monkey!”

After the four-hour long play & climb session, we dragged our tired but gratified feet over to Veggie Grill, one of my favorite vegan joints, for some mashed cauliflower and hail kale salad:

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Ahhhh. Bliss!

4. See the Disneyland 60th Year Anniversary shows!

This one has been on my bucket list for FOREVER. Ever since year 50 chugged on by, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the Diamond Celebration at the Happiest Place on Earth. Due to some unfortunate delays (cough exam cough), I hadn’t been able to go until last week–but then my friend took me along for the evening run of things! The fireworks show is amazing: it lights up not just Main Street, but the entire park–and every area of the park features a different, special set of projected dynamic images that are synced up to the music/show. And don’t even get me started on the nighttime parade: as you shall see in just a sec, IT WAS AWESOME.

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The castle (above) and some of the fireworks projects on Main Street buildings (below).

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 Isn’t it wonderful? I can’t wait to go back before my pass gets blacked out for the summer. I would honestly be the happiest camper if I could go for my birthday this year…sigh!

5. Donut Day

So Friday, June 5th was National Donut Day! Bless your heart, America dearest, for coming up with this amazing holiday where–you guessed it–free donuts roam the streets! My friends and I dropped by Krispy Kreme for some freebies, because we’re all “patriotic” and stuff like that (at least on significant food holidays), obviously:

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That night, my friend and I caught Mad Max at the theaters and shared his Cadbury chocolate (from Ireland!) while watching kickass footage of Charlize Theron owning the crap out of everyone in an absolutely gorgeous 2-hour car chase. Totally recommending this film! And speaking of films…

6. Interstellar

This one’s been on my bucket list since it came out. I’d been hearing so many stellar reviews (ha ha, get it? Because stellar, stars….never mind). At last, my astronomy friend reserved the planetarium on campus for us and we all got together for an evening screening of the movie–projected right onto the planetarium ceiling! There is definitely no better way to experience a film about time and space travel, so I definitely recommend it for those of you with spare astronomers sitting around in your lives. We even got to see Saturn through the rooftop telescope halfway through the movie, which was beyond cool.

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Us inside the planetarium before the show!

7. Inside-Out

Okay, this one had to happen–and it did tonight! After months of waiting, my friend and I finally caught Inside-Out on its premiere night, and let me prepare you now: it’s not just a film about emotions, it’s ALL the emotions!

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I’m Joy #2 in this picture, by the way 🙂 Just go see it! You won’t be disappointed, I promise. OH and make sure you steel yourself for the adorableness that is the animated short before the film, too: I am not exaggerating when I say that it is the CUTEST thing I have seen (from Pixar or otherwise) in a really, really long time. Possibly ever <3

8. Annnnd everything else.

There have been an absolutely insane amount of other things going on around here lately that I haven’t even begun to tell you all about–so I won’t even try to start now! But things are good–I am extremely tired but doing everything I can to just work back into a steady routine these days and avoid stressing too much about the far-off, none-too-clear future. Happiness levels are at a great high right now, though, and some really great changes have been happening in my life that I think are going to make this summer a really amazing one. Hopefully I’ll get to tell you all about them in the near future, and you’ll all be hearing from me again very soon <3

I’m currently working on multiple projects (blogging and research-related) that are eating up my time…but as you can see, I’ve still managed to have fun! I hope you all are as well, and I’m beyond excited to start catching up on all of your blogs, lives, and exciting news again over the next few weeks. Until then, take these photos of awesome food about to be consumed by yours truly: cheers!

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All my love,

Ala

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3 Replies to “post-exam life: a rosy smorgasbord of updates!”

  1. Sounds like you’ve been having a wonderful time! And you deserve to — you’ve worked hard, accomplished much. Love Jane Austen. Emma is probably her “best” book, but Pride and Prejudice is my favorite of hers.

  2. Yay for so many happy adventures! I can’t wait to see Inside Out. Feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a quality animated movie, but this one looked so good! Glad to hear it lived up to the hype. Also, I LOVE your wedding/banquet dress. So cute!

  3. You are so adorable!! I loved reading about your updates 🙂

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