SOUTH DAKOTA

Last week, I made my first venture out to the state of South Dakota with my friends. While most of the state is a whole lot of nothing, there are some really beautiful and completely underrated areas that deserve to be visited.

On Wednesday, we made the drive from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls, which took about 4 hours. We spent the day wandering around Sioux Falls and eating some great food, preparing for our long drive on Thursday.

On Thursday we loaded the car early in the morning and set off on our 6-hour trek to the Black Hills, stopping at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, and Hill City on our way. After arriving at the cabin, which was about 30 miles away from any form of civilization, we ate a nice dinner, took an evening stroll on the Mikkelson Trail, and then crashed for the night.

On Friday, we drove out to Sylvan Lake and then attempted to hike to the top of Black Elk Peak, but got completely lost and turned around. We did end up hiking about 8 miles, though. We then kept driving towards Custer State Park in search of seeing a real-life bison in its natural habitat (which we did) and then we drove along Needles Highway.

Next, we were off to Mount Rushmore, which is actually a really cool and beautiful place. The carvings are quite remarkable, despite anything negative associated with American History (which is a whole lot).

We wrapped up our day by walking along the Mikkelson Trail again and watching some movies.

On Saturday, we woke up to go to Jewel Cave for a tour, which was super fascinating because we ended up about 30 stories below the Earth’s surface. We then headed out to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial and spent a few hours there learning about Native American History. To finish off the day, we stopped at a cool rock shop that I had spotted on our way first into Hill City and I got a pretty good deal on a bunch of rocks. After that, we got dinner and headed back to the Cabin to prepare for our long journey home the next day.

Sunday morning, we woke up, packed up the car, and headed out, stopping at a cute restaurant in Rapid for breakfast. After that, we chugged it home, stopping only for the bathroom and to buy popcorn balls at one specific gas station. After we made it the six hours back to Sioux Falls, we said goodbye to our doggo friends and headed off to complete the last four hours back to Minneapolis.

Overall, the Earth is just a beautiful place and road tripping with people that you truly love reminds you of what it means to be alive.

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botanical documentation of the como conservatory

SPRING BREAK 2018-COLORADO

As one can tell from my Instagram feed, I finally got to go back to Colorado for my spring break this year.

Colorado holds such a special place in my soul, and I’ve only been there twice. Its beauty and landscapes are remarkable and constantly take my breath away. There was a moment where we had taken a bit of a road trip out of Steamboat to nowhere in particular and stopped at a rest station, got out of the car, and walked around a bit, but I have never experienced such silence in nature in my entire life. It was like life was frozen yet thriving with nature at the same time, and that was pretty cool.

Did I mention that I went dog sledding? Because I did, and it was incredible. I love the winter. I love dogs. How truly beautiful it is to even be able to exist.

Also, if you can’t tell from all of these pictures, I had the time of my life taking dramatic pictures of my aunt’s dog.

Until we meet again, Colorado.

creations pt.1

Some things that I’ve made recently…

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The story:

I stumbled upon an artist named Ellen Rutt (@ellenrutt) on Instagram one day and felt a magical wave of inspiration brought on by her work. Something about it just spoke to me, maybe the way that the simplicity of the shapes so beautifully develops into a complex intricacy when the shapes begin to play with one another or maybe just her use of colors, I’m not sure.

For the black 6×6 panels, I used construction paper and Elmer’s glue, and the white pieces are drawn on with Prismacolor markers. I pretty much had no plan as I was creating them.

music i’m into MARCH

Songs

Be Here Now-George Harrison

It’ll All Work Out-Tom Petty

Crabs In A Bucket-Vince Staples

Turn! Turn! Turn!-The Byrds

The Way We Move-Langhorne Slim & The Law

Heartbeats-Jose Gonzalez

Albums

Everything Is Recorded-Everything is Recorded (the yellow one–a true piece of ART)

Artists

Gregory Alan Isakov

Playlists

Apple Music’s “This Is Us” Soundtrack

a letter to – part 1

I take a class here at the U called “CLA 1002.” It’s the second part of a year-long course that is designed to try and help freshmen make the most out of their first year in college. It’s all online except for the few instances where we have to go to different events in order to earn points, but every week we have a different sort of task that wants us to explore our resources and interests which we then complete by submitting an online reflection. Two weeks ago, the module that I was following was trying to help me dive into my true interests by observing what all of my surroundings and upbringing have taught me.

I had to write about where I fit into the social scale and about my family’s finances and how I envision my future finances. I try to be honest when I write these, because I know that my section leader probably gets a lot of super boring responses each week from people who waited until five minutes before the assignment was due to do it and half-assed it. So, for this week, I talked about how I was a white female who came from an upbringing in the middle class where we have always been pretty financially stable and never struggled to afford the things that we have really needed. Both of my parents are college-educated and hold stable jobs. This is the lifestyle that I am used to, and of course would be willing to adapt, but would like to kind of live my life in this financial realm if I can. I acknowledge just how privileged I am to have grown up this way, I really, truly do.

Growing up, it was expected that I become financially independent, get a decent job, and 100% go and get a college education. That’s just how it was for me, and my parent’s expectations were out of my control. This is all just how it was, and I try to emphasize this to make a point later on.

Ending the assignment, I had to reflect on all of my experiences in school and work that could influence what I want to do for the rest of my life. I talked about the lack of inspiration that I have found in the majority of my studies and jobs, and went on to talk about how I currently work as a barista in food service. I had one line where I said that ‘The only thing that I have learned from working in food service is that I want to finish out my degree so that I no longer have to work in food service.” This was a line that I thought was just an ordinary line where I was not super specific, but my section leader interpreted it in a way that I was not expecting.

She said something along the lines of that I should be careful about that statement because it seems like I am linking incompetence to food service, which would be a huge generalization and extremely offensive.

When I first read this, I was kind of shocked. I had just been social-justice-warriored and I am one of the most socially-justice aware people that I know. Look, I understand the point that she was trying to make. I really do, and sure, it could come off that way, but I feel like she really overreached here and assumed that because I was a middle-class white person from a financially stable background, I unknowingly expressed my privilege by linking food service to incompetence because I am just blind.

Allow me to tear all of this apart because I have had a few days to think it over and come up with a comprehensive and thought-out response. Let’s start with why I decided to get a job.

As a human independent from my parents, I have no money other than whatever money I have accumulated from my birthdays and odd babysitting gigs. This does not last long because most people need to spend money in order to survive. So, I got a job, so that I would have a consistent influx of money coming into my bank account. I also needed something to do with the ridiculous amount of free time that college leaves you with.

Getting a job with no experience is nearly impossible, as is getting a well-paying job without a college degree. Minimum wage is suitable for a college student who is beginning to save and doesn’t have to pay for her own education. It does not support much more beyond that, which is really frustrating.

I work with a small group of amazingly quirky diverse people who are all working this job for some reason, but an overarching reason to work this job is in order to pay the bills that life gives you. Is this anyone’s dream job? Maybe, but I really doubt it. Working in food service is hard work that gives me the inspiration to find a job where I don’t have to be on my feet all day and where I do soul-fulfilling work that doesn’t involve dealing with nasty customers every single day.

Back to the people that I work with. For some, it is their full-time job. Some of them work more than one job. Some are working this job to pay for college as they’re in college, and some are working this job to save up for college. Some are working this job to support themselves while others are working it to support their families. Our education levels vary widely, but we are all there to pay for something. In NO way does working in food service link to incompetence.

I work with some really smart people who aren’t going to college, and some really smart people that graduated from college a really long time ago. Hell, a large chunk of our smartest people in history said “screw it” to the education system. We all got a job there because we could and it would give us an income, no matter what size. If the option to be a billionaire CEO of a giant conglomerate of a company were an option for us, I’m sure we would all take it. But, we have to be realistic here. We are just average people who need jobs, and food service provides us with them, and that’s just how it is.

So yes, I am in fact going to college so that I can work in the field that I am interested in and yes I am very privileged to be able to go to college to make that happen. If I want to work in a field that deals with foreign policy and world economic systems, I have to get a degree of some sort, and if I want to work as a barista at Caribou, I don’t need to go to college to get a degree for it.

Let’s be clear, working in food service is hard and exhausting. Dealing with people, standing for hours, and memorizing all of the things that you have to memorize are hard things to do every day, and the hours tend to suck. When I said that I wanted to finish college so that I didn’t have to work in food service for the rest of my life, I truly meant it in that I want to work a job in my future that aligns with my interest, and since I have the privilege to go to college, I’m going to try to accomplish it. It NEVER even crossed my mind that I could be suggesting a link between work in the food service and incompetence, and I hope that I have made my point. Some brilliant people work in food service and I admire the hard work that they put into their jobs to support themselves and their families, and there are some really dumb people who are college-educated working jobs that require a college education. It has nothing to do with incompetence, and if you really want to go into it, you can dig at the increasing inequality that people in the world face and how unequal upbringings affect the types of jobs that people are able to get. I want to work a different job in the future because I just want to do something different. It has nothing to do with competence.

So, to my section leader, you assumed wrong, and you shouldn’t make assumptions about what people mean in your efforts to be as equal and socially-just as possible. There are sometimes where you can call people out on a one-liner because it is ridiculously offensive, but my one-liner in its context was simply reflecting on how working a job in food service has not inspired me to find a career as a chef or barista or even a manager of a restaurant because I just don’t like it. That is what the assignment asked me to do. Perhaps, she could have asked me what exactly I meant before jumping to conclusions on blind privilege. Just a thought.

happy fall

For a metropolitan area, Minneapolis sure does do fall pretty well. It’s actually really beautiful this year, the trees are taking their sweet time changing colors and the leaves are gently falling off of the trees in an elegant manner. The view outside my window has finally started to change into a lovely shade of mustard yellow, and I have no complaints.

Here are some pictures from my recent adventures:

These pictures range from spots on campus, bookstores, Uptown, Ecco, and a few others.

I’m enjoying fall while it lasts. Today was 75 degrees! In Minnesota!! I’m anticipating the day where the temperature just drops and we all freeze to death, but for now, I am enjoying it.