Semester in Review

Today is officially the first Monday of my summer vacation! The semester is over!! I haven’t been able to post a lot because, well, I’ve been so busy. Keep scrolling and you’ll see why.

Lots of mixed feelings. This semester was filled with meeting new people, new experiences, and lots of goodbyes. I like being in class and learning, even exams aren’t that bad.  But, I do not like all the homework, papers, and busy work. I’ve written well over 60-70 pages this semester. And that’s just counting the 10 page research papers due for each class. If you add up all the assignments, essays, project reports, and reaction papers, I’ve written well over 100 pages this semester alone. Phew.

Let’s start at the very beginning.

January:

1st semester at a new school in a new town. I was searching for an international club at my new school and when I googled it, I found an potluck at a church for international student welcome week. Simeon and I met some pretty cool people including Gea, Jorick, Jordi, and Marvin from the Netherlands, and Liridon from Sweden there.16252167_10154209364630778_1587941063223948494_o

School got off to a quick start. I signed up for 6 classes: International Relations, Geography of Latin America, Sociolinguistics, Modern Russia, International Security (can you tell I’m an International Studies major?), and Volleyball. UWP includes textbooks in with tuition fees so everyone gets textbooks from the bookstore.

The first week was full of welcome parties. Gea and I went to the Intervarsity chili cook-off and I participated in my first nerf gun war. UWP was playing in hockey. Chinese New Year was also in January so the university was having a celebration.

February:

Homemade pizza nights, international food potlucks – the Thai laab/larb was my favorite.

For the international potluck I made Swedish Kardemummakaka or Cardamom Cake.

We: attempted to cook with limited utensils in the college dorms, attended a family Super Bowl party, played Bananagrams with people whose native language is not English, celebrated Valentine’s Day, had many study sessions, and went to a wedding.

*You may notice that most of these photos are from Snapchat. See April.*

My sister turned 30!

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We headed to Iowa to celebrate, got our nails done, rode around in a stretch hummer limo, and ate some good food. I got to meet my new baby niece, Georgia.

I got tickets for THE LUMINEERS AND JOSH GARRELS!!

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The weather started to get better (a.k.a. we had one nice day) so I tried teaching Jordi and Liridon how to throw a spiral football. I can’t throw a spiral football. Snapchat-1275044969

I started a regimented workout schedule – working out everyday. The goal is not weight loss but health. My goals are toning up, a healthy resting heart rate, and to do a pull-up. On Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, I do 5 miles on the elliptical and Tuesday, Thursdays, I play volleyball for 1 hour and lift weights for half hour. I started watching what I eat. No strict diet or anything but watching my portions and choosing healthy options when possible. Lettuce wraps instead of bread, making sure I eat just one serving of rice… 😀

Still found time to do homework. Lots and lots of homework. Lots of early mornings and early nights. I am in bed between 9 and 10 pm and up at 6am everyday.

The Josh Garrels concert was in February and was AMAZING!! Still in February? Whoa. Busy semester.

I was telling Jordi – who is from the Netherlands – about the upcoming Josh Garrels concert (most in America have never heard of him, let alone the rest of the word) and he had heard of him!! So he came along with us. Our first date was a Josh Garrels concert. 5 years later we are still going to Josh Garrels concerts, now as a married couple.

March:

March = Spring Break! I stayed home, started a YouTube channel, discovered The Great British Baking Show, attended more international food potlucks, saw family, went on taco runs, and bought tickets for Washington D.C. Simeon and I were able to squeeze in a date here and there.

March Madness margaritas, family visits, and volleyball.

My nieces came for a visit!! We had a slumber party in the living room, ate popcorn and watched The Pacifier. Simeon was the first asleep, after a long day of work. We got a small taste of what it would be like hiving kids. I drove a lot more carefully (not that I’m not a careful driver), I didn’t mess with the radio at all. We were extra cautious so nothing would happen to them. We barely got any sleep. Simeon had to work at 7 in the morning so the kids had to be up and dressed in time to take him to work. When we got back we made pancakes and Mya & Cora took turns picking songs to listen to and I was introduced to the Going on a Bear Hunt Song. Cora was in charge of putting chocolate chips in the pancakes and did so.. one. by. one. One of the girls went rocketing through the apartment and ran straight into the 6 foot by 4 foot mirror. Thankfully, she was okay. The mirror: not so much. But mirrors are replaceable, sweet little girls are not.

Before heading off to church, we stopped by the police department and Simeon gave the girls a tour. They loved it.

Still in March: the weather got nice enough to hike the “M”. I made corned beef cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day and made a video about it, my sister came over and we made a parody video on baking shows, and we went to The Lumineers concert!! Also made a video about that, too. I attended an etiquette dinner put on by the school and made a video about that, but haven’t posted it yet.

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Simeon and I made matching t-shirts for the concert. Well, it was mainly Simeon- I was the brains and he was the artist. We make a great #teammorell.17434957_10154347295495778_5201112048648237176_o

April:

We kicked off April with a wedding. Simeon’s cousin got married and he was a groomsman. We got to see lots of Simeon’s family! We drove back to where we used to live and I was able to see some of my friends from my old university. I cut Mdeen’s hair and got to spend the afternoon with Mikyong before she headed back home to Korea.

Easter weekend rolled around. It was a quiet gathering with my family (quiet = less than 10 people). I got a GoPro and started spending more time outside because the weather kept getting better and better. I did something I promised myself I would never do.. I got Birkenstocks. Not because I gave into the trend (just so everyone is clear, I’m still anti-mainstream  :p), but because they are good for your feet, and I needed a good pair of walking sandals since I’m going to be a camp counselor this summer. And I got a cute style that nobody has.

Simeon finished field training! He switched over to nights so we had to get creative with when we could see each other. I leave for school just a few hours after he gets home from work, and get home from school after he leaves for work. We were like ships in the night.. just passing by.

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And then, disaster struck. But I won’t get into that here. You can read about that here.

School picked up in April. We were headed to Washington D.C. the end of April and I wanted to get most of the work knocked out before so I didn’t have a big pile to come back to. For Simeon’s birthday we went out bowling and spent most of the day packing for D.C. I can never beat Simeon at bowling but when I do, it’s his birthday.

Off to D.C.! Simeon’s brother was getting married. The first day we were up about 36 hours and walked 11 miles in total. Phew. Over the weekend we saw: The National Mall, Annapolis, war memorials, the spy museum, law enforcement memorial, the capital ect.

I cannot possibly cover everything I want to here so that’ll be another blog post.

May:

Finally!
Once back from D.C. it was time to power through the last of the homework. The weather was nice enough to attend UWP baseball games so I taught Jorick and Marvin the ins and outs of America’s pastime. Simeon and I tried Morrell mushrooms for the first time! One of Simeon’s co-worker picks them with his family and shared a bag 🙂 Simeon loves them. The Morells eating Morrells. Or the Morrell eating Morells…

We made a trip out to Virginia to surprise Simeon’s Mom’s for her graduation from Liberty. We powered through the 15 hour drive and it was the most beautiful route I’ve ever been on. President Donald Trump was the commencement speaker so there were no hotels available anywhere.. we decided to camp! We borrowed a tent (thanks Lee!) and set it up in the dark.. while it was raining.. [For the record, we were offered a nice warm, dry bed but we wanted the experience.] Simeon and I had never camped together before! Lee’s tent was at least 20 years old.. even the directions were retro. They made things of quality back then. Not a single leak. (We also put up a massive rain tarp.)

We had such a fun time in Virginia. The whole weekend was like one long double date with Simeon’s parents 🙂 But I do not have the space to do our trip (or the Appalachians) justice so more on that later, too.

We have finally made it to the last week of the semester!! #longestblogpostever. We had our friends over to say goodbye before they left– we made homemade pizza, a favorite. Goodbyes are hard. It’s storm season and we’ve already had tornado sirens going off. Simeon was on lookout for one of them. My Modern Russia professor is from Ukraine and he brings us Russian/Ukrainian/Georgian treats whenever we have exams. Simeon plays trumpet and played Taps for a law enforcement memorial because it’s Law Enforcement Memorial Week. I got plane tickets for South Korea and Japan. Woot Woot!

The end off the semester was spent with family at Caleb’s 1 year birthday party and a Mother’s Day celebration for my mom. I always love seeing family. I was too busy catching up, playing volleyball, and eating hamburgers to get pictures of everyone and everything.

I finished out the semester strong (and a day early). Now I only have ONE MORE LEFT until I graduate!!

This was a long semester with lots packed in it. I couldn’t have done it without my best friend, my family (both sides), and my friends being there for me and cheering me on. (Man, it sounds like I’m graduating now) It’s cliche but I am so #blessed. 😉20170426_171324

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6 thoughts on “Semester in Review

  1. Renee says:

    LOVED this post! Some of my highlights:
    1. Your International gatherings look so fun!
    2. Can I be invited to your next potluck, please?
    3. That yogurt and granola looks yummy, good job working out!
    4. Love your lip color for the Josh Garells concert.
    5. Wowzers your matching shirts are amazing.
    6. haha love that you’re still anti-mainstream
    7. Virginia looked beautiful
    8. You need to publish more blog posts please.

    Like

    • Natalie Morell says:

      Love hearing about what you liked!! And when you move here, we can have international potlucks 🙂 Now that I have a month off, you can expect more blog posts. I am inspired by your diligence and consistency when posting!

      Like

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