Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The World Needs More Love Letters

What started out as an innocent scroll through Pinterest, turned into something that changed my life. I came across a pin that was titled: "A love letter to a college freshmen". So I pinned it to my RA board and continued on my daily scroll. When I was finished, that particular pin made me go back and actually click on the link. I read the letter (and you should too ) and found myself welling up, as per usual when I read/watch such things similar to this. I read it again and wished that I had found this letter before August 2013, because I would have copied it and put it in every one of my freshmen's rooms. I thought this would be perfect for the people that were homesick or didn't know what direction they should take with their college lives. So I did the next best thing, I posted this link to my Facebook wall. And then I also posted it to the Facebook group I have for my residents! I figured better late then never, right?

Well even after I had posted the letter, I still felt drawn to looking at the site more closely. So I clicked on the home link and when the page was finished loading the first thing I noticed were the words in the tab bar: "Come Home." Immediately I knew, that my life had been changed forever because I felt as if I was already Home.

As I read on and on about the site the more I felt inclined to be a part of this wonderful project of sharing my love with the world. Just to give little background about the project, you write letters to strangers expressing your love, gratitude, encouragement, and understanding. You do not have to write it to anyone in particular. A lot of the letters begin with "Dear you" or "Hello There Stranger" etc. Then you write your message of encouragement, inspiration, helpfulness, empowerment, happiness, appreciation and whatever else you can think of that would bring a smile to someone's face. Next, you have several options for the final signature; you can either sign "From a Friend", "From a Stranger" or you can sign using your first name. You are prohibited from giving out any contact information. The last touch before sealing up your message is to write somewhere in the letter "". The hope is that the person who finds your letter will visit the website and read about why they might have found your message. The website encourages documenting found letters and the location of where these notes were discovered. When you have your letter sealed up you write something on the front of the envelope to encourage people to pick up the envelope, read the letter, and keep it! After that you go and place your note in unique places where people might see and find them. Here are a few of my own envelope titles and letter places. 

My reasons for wanting to be involved in this project are listed as followed.

First, this project tugged on my heart strings because I love and I mean LOVE writing letters (all of my friends and family will tell you [they get a lot of mail when I have the spare time and change :) ]). So why not share my love through the form of communication I love best? Also, I love the option to not have to use postage just to write letters to people! Along with that I enjoy the creativity that comes with deciding where to put your letters, which gives me a lot of pleasure! 

Second, this world needs some love. And I mean some honest to goodness love! If I can be a part of the change in the world through doing something I love, writing letters, then I will do it! I love the hiding the messages and wondering when people are going to find it. Also knowing that I will be changing someone's day just by writing a simple note of encouragement or beauty which is something that I fullheartedly believe in! 

Third, for the people who know me they will understand: I thrive on giving encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment to others. I have been blessed to have people in my life that have done the same for me! Had it not been for these people I don't know if I would be where I am today. By empowering others I feel as if I am giving back and paying it forward. I want to continue this wonderful cycle because what if a simple note of encouragement to keep going is all it takes for someone's life to change? I want to help facilitate that change! 

Fourth, this is a way for me to take a break as well. To get in touch with my creative side and just focus on someone else instead of just me. Sometimes I think that we have gotten into this way of thinking where it is all about us. I do not believe that to be the case, we are humans and we are supposed to help one another along. But I don't want to get too off topic so I will save this subject for a different post.

Yesterdsy, I wrote and (creatively) sealed 9 different letters! I hid them all around: some in books and journals throughout severl stores, in front of store products, and one by the sink of a public restroom. I was so extremely happy with what I had done that I wanted to hurry home and write all about it so that maybe you too could experience the same joy that I do from spreading handwritten letters of love all across the world. I urge you to at least visit the site and see what it is all about! I know I am quite excited to continue my 2014 year with just a little more love, joy and happiness! :)

Much Love,

Day 2 of the Green Infrastructure Conference

Seems fitting that I am writing this exactly one week after having attended this day of the conference. Getting back into the jist of winter term here on campus was a complete whirlwind, which is why I did not get a chance to write. So I am sorry but hopefully you will enjoy this post just the same! :) 

Now to get down to business! Day 1 mostly consisted of Science and Technology subjects, while this day was filled with talks on the management of green infrastructure and practice and policy of green infrastructure. I was quite surprised by the sheer amount of topics that were presented on green infrastructure. While talking to fellow conference members the general consensus was that the broadness of the conference was refreshing. The large amount if subject matter allowed for various minds in different fields to think and discuss the wide range of topics that were being presented. When there is an opportunity for a melting pot of minds to come together, shared knowledge occurs between people from other places around the country and the world. Dialogue emerges about similar and even different issues, allowing for a lot of ideas to be suggested, discussed and even problem-solved. This was really inspiring for me to be around because so much effort was being put into such an important project! I could also sense a genuine feeling of ease in the air when we all sat down to lunch. This group of conference go-ers had now been with the others for a full day and a half and felt comfortable joining into conversations and discussions about a variety of different topics. I felt included and most of all heard, which was a really nice change!

I would say that this day of the conference was easier for me to follow in terms of information that was presented. This was also the day when we saw all of the progress that had been made through green infrastructure, which was really cool to see. Places like New York City, Miami, and Philadelphia were spoken about, but also smaller cities like Lafayette. And everyone had similar and different ways of approaching the implementation of green infrastructure. I only wish that there had been more time for questions. That was probably the most interesting thing to hear, the responses and questions from the other participants. This really showed a true sense of wanting to understand why choices and decisions were made. 

In general, I am so happy that I found this conference and was able to listen and meet people in this field of study. Even though green infrastructure was not something that I was entirely interested in before the confence, I feel better about being more informed on the topic and now understand how important green infrastructure is to our urban development. I hope each of you reading this feels a little more informed on the topic of green infrastructure as well. Thank you for reading.

Much Love,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 1 of the Green Infrastructure Conference

Well the day has finally come, going to my first college conference! I worked long and hard last semester to be able to find this conference, figure out the rates, and get the trip and registration covered through my school! SUCCESS! 

So if you don't know already, green infrastructure has to do with how our urban areas deals with water flow and quality. One of the major topics is storm water management. Storms can be a huge source of pollution. This is because as soon as it begins to rain, water flows towards the storm sewers. And that is what we want to happen or else there would be large scale flooding. But not just water is flowing into the sewer system, oil and gas from the roads, garbage, pesticides and more is also being discharged into the sewer systems. Though, when our storm drains get overwhelmed, which in really heavy downpours, large amounts of rain in one day, or hurricane Sandy means a lot of flooding. When this flooding happens water quality of different rivers, lakes, and estruaries can get very polluted with the things mentioned above. So green infrastructure is thinking of innovative ways to mitigate and manage urban storm water runoff. Examples of these ideas are rain barrels, cisterns, rain gardens, reducing impervious surfaces, and others. By using these different techniques the hope is that there is a reduction in the amount of polluted runoff.

Anywho, after 10 pages of written notes, I feel a like I learned a lot more about green infrastructure then I ever had before. I now know what we have accomplished thus far, where we can learn from our mistakes and do better, and what the future could possibly hold. Today was the presentations on Science & Technology topics, which in some cases information presented went over way my head (I feel as though I was the only undergrad there, I could be wrong) 

Overall, my top three presentations were A Programmic Approach to Green Infrastructure Investment, Human Health and Well-Being Co-Benefits: Creating Multi-Tasking Green Infrastrucutre Landscapes, and Alternative Greenspace Designs Affect Arthropods and Their Fucntions Within an Urban Landscspe. The first two presentations I mentioned had a lot to do with understanding that there needs to be a multidimensional approach when it comes to focusing on this paricular topic. We cannot just rely on the engineers, forest ecologists, or the government. Instead, we need to reach out to all of these people and begin to work together. The second presentation went more into how greenspaces affect us as humans. In general, how humans could benefit overall from these green infrastructure projects though active living, productivity, and wellness. The third presentation I brought up started off this way and then digressed to the research of the presenter which was quite interesting. She used spiders to determine whether or not vacant plots of land in Cleveland, OH were contaminated based on lead levels. There was still a lot of work and research to be done, but the hypothesis was quite fascinating.

So this is just a brief synopsis of my day (I wanted to get it all down before I forgot, and I may be procrastinating from my homework but don't tell my family ;) ) I hope you learned something from this too! 

Much Love,

Monday, January 13, 2014

First Post

Well, hello there. I have never created a blog before. I have thought about creating a blog several times, but never really got around to it. There were multiple reasons, most key being: I don't have anything to talk about. Well, now I do. I am currently in my last semester of college and would love to document some of my time spent. As well as the fact that after graduation, I will be embarking on the adventure of my lifetime: backpacking through Europe for 6 1/2 weeks. I want to have a way to describe what I am doing in Europe while I am there, how I am feeling about the adventure, and most of all give my friends and family an opportunity to follow me without bombarding Facebook! So here is my new and first blog, "Tons of Tales" for all of the stories that I hope to share! Thanks and see ya all soon.

Much Love,