February 2015 + Study Abroad News!
It's so hard to believe that it's already March! Where does all the time go? I only have about two months left of my freshman year in college, which just blows my mind! My dad told me that this year would fly by, but I didn't realize it would go this quickly. Here's a look back at February: a month filled with snow days, busy weeks at school, and wonderful memories.
Valentine's Day Weekend
Ben came up to see me for the weekend! We, along with everyone else in the Knoxville area, decided to eat brunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe, which is definitely a place you should try out if you're ever in Knoxville. Tupelo Honey is famous for their biscuits; they put Cracker Barrel to shame! We had a wonderful weekend, and Ben bought me a beautiful green dress and matching earrings for Valentine's Day. (Unfortunately, Ben and I always forget to take pictures, so here's a picture we took when we went ice skating the last time he came to see me.)
I'm in the Women's Chorale here at UT, and for this particular concert, all the choirs at UT came together to sing Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, accompanied by the UT Symphony and members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. It was gorgeous, even though it was entirely in Latin, so I couldn't understand most of it. My family was able to come up for the weekend to see the concert and go to church with me the next day at Antioch Baptist Church. Auditioning for Women's Chorale was one of the best decisions I've made in college, and I'm going to miss being a part of something so special when I'm in New Zealand.
(Warning: The video below starts out kind of loud and doesn't have the best quality sound. Still, it's an excerpt from my favorite movement, "Libera Me." The rest of the Requiem can be found on YouTube.)
The completed T-shirt quilt!
Before I left for school, I gave my aunt around 70 t-shirts for a quilt. Most of these shirts were old, some were ratty, and all were hardly worn anymore. Still, from volleyball, to musicals, to various clubs, these shirts represented memories that would be hard to simply toss aside. The quilt turned out beautifully! One side has all of my colorful shirts, while the other is mostly black and gold. (Go Owls!) It's already looking like I might need another one in a few years, as my t-shirt collection has returned almost to its original size! To quote my mom: "If I had said 'no' every time I forked over $15 for another T-shirt, I would be rich, but I'm happy that Diana can look at this quilt with great memories of high school. Thanks, Aunt Aundrenia, we love it!"
Snow day aftermath
After two cold weeks with a handful of snow days, things are finally getting back to normal. The snow has (finally) melted, and it doesn't look like we'll be getting out for snow any time soon. As much fun as it was to have some days off, it ultimately made life harder for us college students. Tests were postponed and deadlines were moved, but we are still responsible for any information that should have been taught during those days. I spent almost a whole day-off studying for a chemistry test that was scheduled to be the next day! Then, the next morning, I received an email from my chemistry instructor explaining that she was moving the test to the Wednesday before spring break, combining it with our other test that day. Now, I have four tests within 48 hours, plus a paper due that week.
This afternoon before chemistry lab, I was thinking about all that I have to do and beginning to feel the stress of the coming weeks. Then, I got an email that completely made my day. The beginning of it reads like this:
Dear Diana, Congratulations – we’re so excited for your ISEP experience! After reviewing your application and determining the best fit for you, ISEP has placed you at Massey University on ISEP Exchange for Semester 1 2015-2016.
It goes on to explain more of the process, but what this means is that I got into the cheapest (and most competitive) program! All of my scholarships will transfer directly to the Exchange with no hassle to me whatsoever, and I will only need to pay for airfare, travel expenses (like tickets for this really cool train I found), and spending money! Everything else (food, fees, tuition, and housing) is completely paid for! Now, I have to wait for Massey University to "officially" accept me so I can begin applying for a student visa. (But, there's no worry there because they accept basically all Exchange placements.)
I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I know that God had a hand in all of this; I wasn't supposed to be able to get into this program as a freshman, but somehow I did. I can't praise and thank Him enough for all the blessings and gifts that He constantly gives me! Please continue to pray that the remainder of the process goes smoothly. (And that I can find a travel buddy, for my parents' sake.)