So as I'm sure you've noticed at this point, I recently underwent a website makeover in the span of a night. I found new templates on this site for Blogger and I love the very minimalistic, photoblogging based themes. Photos just make everything better, so I picked something that was very photo friendly, even though I don't really photoblog. The changing background is filled with some of my favorite shots that I've taken/of me and my intent is that you could go click on that Home button, just stare at the screen for about 15 seconds, and feel a handful of different emotions in that span of time. The photos make me feel all these very different emotions because of the colors, the settings, and the memories that I have attached to them. It's pretty cool to just sit back and watch and feel yourself feel, you know? Otherwise, I think it's all still pretty easy to navigate, you just click on the blog link on the side and it's pretty much the same as always. Fun times.

I also have over 10000 pageviews now, it's pretty incredible for me. While I'm sure that a good part of them are just people opening my blog and closing it again, I'm still glad so many of my friends and surprisingly I think people I don't even know that well from Duke and what not read my blog. I'm glad I get to share my thoughts with you! 

I have only about 5 more days until I head back to Duke, early next Saturday morning that is. Things to do: buy stuff from Target, get stuff from storage, make new room feel at home by putting stuff everywhere, unpacking (maybe), 5 days of a kids' science camp, a weekend of seeing friends after 4 months, and then school begins again. I am super mega pumped. Staying on top of things hopefully shouldn't be as bad as last year. Next Friday is baking day and I'm going to hopefully make enough to last me and my friends a good... like, three weeks?

A reflection of this summer...
  • I stayed in touch with fewer people than I originally thought. It was a lot more time invested into much fewer people, which is the way I really prefer it to be. Maintaining good friendships even when you're miles away and still keeping in check with one another is really great. 
  • 60 hours of shadowing helped me decide that I do want to go to medical school because it'll be something that I enjoy and not just something that I'm doing because my parents want me to. I struggled so much because I felt like I was being forced to go in a certain direction while I was still undecided. I didn't want my life decisions to be influenced, even if it was by my parents. And now, I'm so much more comfortable with, at least generally, where my life is headed. Having so many options sometimes is difficult, but it's one of the greatest features of a liberal arts education at the same time! 
  • I have car sickness. Sigh.
  • I need to take better care of myself and listen to my body when it tells me that something is wrong. I need to eat more, drink more water, and make sure when I feel weird, that I do something about it. Two weeks of almost fainting all the time was rough and I really need that to never happen again...
  • I didn't do nearly as much as I wanted to, and I really need to fix that in the future, being disciplined and taking advantage of the opportunities I may have. Next semester needs to be about being out there and doing everything that I can and that I regret this summer and last year. No stone must be left unturned. I am a storm... Okay, that might be overdoing it a little.
  • I should've gotten my license earlier.
  • I really do miss my family. I got closer to them this summer than ever before, my sister especially. I guess she's entering the age where she's easier to talk to and beginning to somewhat mature, not much, but some. I, for the first time, genuinely enjoyed spending time with her and found myself wanting more. I wanted more of my parents too, just to be around them. They read my blog, which is, not exactly my favorite thing in the world because that means I'm a bit restricted about writing about some things, but they get to know how I really think and feel about some things that I find extremely difficult to express to them verbally. However, freshman summer is the last summer at home and I'm going to need them to understand that. I love them, I miss them, but I also love this new independence and the ability to make my own decisions and make my own mistakes without having them be pointed out to me every step of the way. College is a great experience, and I know it's hard, but it's a slow process of letting go. It's not like I'm leaving forever, I will always, in the end, come home to them.
  • If I had the equipment and transportation abilities to go and buy a ton of ingredients, I would have cooked so much more food than I did this summer, and it was a good amount. I realized that I love cooking and baking and feeding people, not as much because I like eating myself, but I love making people happy with food and seeing them take that first bite and be like, "Wow, this is delicious, I need more." I really like creating and then knowing that something that I made made someone else smile. I love that food can do that. My grandfather loved my banana bread and I made it three more times along the course of the summer. My grandmother loved my indian-style pasta and so I made it a couple more times. I made samosas, chocolate chip cookies, ginger snaps, cranberry biscotti, goat cheese tortellini, baked penne, and so many other things and it was such a good time. I wish I could cook that much at Duke, but sadly, time and resources are limited..
  • I miss my artwork. I learned some portraiture this summer and used what I learned to draw some people and it was tough, but really rewarding. I could draw faces that I could actually recognize as people that I knew. It was new and it's been great and I hope I have time to work on some sketches at school as well.
  • Dance is one of my greatest outlets. Tennis was as well, but it's hard to play when you know absolutely no one and the courts aren't exactly a walking distance from the house. Dance is anywhere, everywhere, and you don't have to be prepared in any way. Choreo, no choreo, you can just let loose and let go and it's perfect. When I had that two weeks of feeling super ill, I would dance and everything would just go away and be good again. I can't wait for Dhoom next semester, to practice and perform and get closer to our new team, whoever it may consist of, as a whole. I'm so grateful for movement.
  • I need to take greater charge of my responsibilities at home. Yes, having fun at college and keeping up school work is important, but there's so much more that I need to do now that I'm older and balancing that is a part of maturing, which I am clearly so eager to do. It'll come with time, I suppose, but it will come.
  • I need to figure out a way to not compare myself to others. It's really one of life's greatest evils. Yes, everyone at Duke is doing crazy things, but better late than never, right? I'll do some crazy things, and everything will be good. Because life is good. I really need to get me one of them tshirts..
  • North Carolina is better than Texas. New Jersey is better than North Carolina. So by the transitive property...
I think that's a pretty good summation. There are a lot of other things I learned too, but I talked a lot about them in my other posts from the summer too. I'm happy. I'm coming back. 

Something I wrote. Hope it makes you happy :P

Happiness is the world congratulations on acceptance letters and greeting cards.
Happiness is sunshine that pours and seeps over everything.
Happiness is childhood cartoons and music from the 2000s.
Happiness is nostalgia, things that used to be but aren't anymore.
Happiness is seeing old friends and having nothing be different
                or everything be different.
Happiness is memories that we learn from.
Happiness is time with people we care about.
Happiness is caring about others and others caring about you.
Happiness is long talks until 4 am.
Happiness is learning new things.
Happiness is smiles on faces.
Happiness is movement and freedom.
Happiness is fresh air and delicate winds.
Happiness is moving forward and reaching goals.
Happiness is depth.
Happiness is good health and optimism.
Happiness is soft music in a dimly lit room.
Happiness is dopamine and serotonin.
Happiness is knowing you're never alone and that everything will be okay.
Happiness is warm hugs and sweet kisses.
Happiness is Disney World and believing that dreams do come true.
Happiness is new faces becoming familiar faces.
Happiness is finding out who you are.

I don't need much to be happy,
But all of these things make me happy.
This is my happiness. What's yours?

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