Friday, September 25, 2015

Making Connections: Wifi Shirt + Maroon Skater Skirt

wifi shirt college style
wifi shirt college style
wifi shirt college style
wifi shirt college style
herschel supply backpack in real life
Shirt, China | Skirt, China | Shoes, DSW | Headband, China | Backpack, Herschel Supply Co.
Photos by Alura Chung-Mehdi

I first spotted this shirt on a bustling street in southern China. As we rounded the sidewalk corner, I caught a fleeting glance of the quirky print through the window of a modest pop-up shop.

Amused, I kept walking and chatting with my family. Then I stopped.

If the piece itself weren't enticing enough, when would I get another chance to snag a wifi shirt for the equivalent of $4.55? Mind quickly made, I redirected my mom and brother round the bend again and into the store, where this top became the newest, funkiest member of my wardrobe.

Ironically enough, I had found just what I had been looking for, but in another form. Since my grandparents' apartment wasn't suscribed to wifi, my brother and I had been tirelessly and fruitlessly searching for accessible public networks. At one point, we even held metal pots over my phone in an attempt to catch signal. I claimed that our feverish efforts were so that I could respond to work emails--it'd be a lie, however, if I didn't admit that instagram was also a strong motivation.

Eventually, nice neighbors bestowed upon us access to their network, and I happily connected. I wonder, however, how my trip might've been different had I never found wifi. Would I have simply savored the majestic landscapes, rather than scrutinize their composition, constantly seeking an "insta-worthy" scene? Would I have engaged even more with the extended family that I rarely see, rather than tinker meticulously with photo edits?

In my efforts to stay connected, I often become detached--from reality, from what really matters. That's why I embarked on a 50-day social media fast two years ago (original announcement and reflection), and why I again renounced instagram and facebook during Lent last spring. 

And I continue to seek balance. The most fulfilling days, after all, are those where all the wifi I need is right on this shirt. 
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Friday, September 18, 2015

Artsy Endeavors + Life Updates: This Semester, I...

gold keds
golden evenings
street art northampton ma
 student by day, adventurer by night
amherst college dining hall food
 dining hall delicacies
flowers and basket
bike adventure
 25 miles of adventurepaleta
ivy covered wall
 quaint corners
photos from my instagram and vscogrid

This semester, I know how to college just a little bit better.

A newly-anointed sophomore, I prance back into the vast field that is school, savoring each stride along the worn, familiar paths and anticipating each landing in the tall brush that has yet to bear footsteps.

This semester, I undertake for the first time a quantitative-leaning courseload, consisting of math, stats, pysch, and French. This semester, I juggle rigorous schoolwork with two jobs--one, as a math TA, specifically to work with a blind student in linear algebra, and the other, as an orchestra assistant, mainly to manage parts distribution and greet other members before rehearsal.

As I forge through this field, I seek rhythm, passion, fulfillment, purpose. Uneven ground, poor weather, and fatigue are certain--but with deft manuveuring and determined hops up after spills, growth, empowerment, and smoother trails may manifest.
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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Not in Kansas Anymore: Gingham Button Down + White Lace Dress

gingham button down, white lace dress, dorothy look
gingham button down, white lace dress, dorothy look
Button down, thrifted Asos | Dress, Forever 21 (picked by the girls I RA'ed!) | Shoes, Keds | Headband, China
Not pictured: Toto

"Are you Dorothy?" 

As a friend and I made our way across campus, more than one person stopped basket-swinging, gingham-sporting me to ask this question. 

The first time, I laughed and said that dressing specifically like Dorothy hadn't been the goal--I'd simply been aiming for a farm-esque look, since that's where we were headed. 

The second time, I wished I had worn my red Keds instead of my gold ones. 

I also began to reflect--in the iconic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a tornado uproots Dorothy from her mundane life in Kansas. It drops her in the colorful, magical world of Oz, with little means to find her way back. The kind munchkins advise her to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, where she may request that the great Wizard of Oz send her home. Along the way, she encounters various obstacles, but ultimately, with tenacity, creativity, and trust, she arrives safely in Kansas. 

While my current location is far from the fantasy-land that is Oz, I'm certainly "not in [Columbus] anymore." Sophomore year has begun, and the pressure to find my career path, to seek my yellow brick road, has grown heavier. I'm certainly lost and a little afraid, as I imagine Dorothy was. But with similar grit, energy, and the click of some fabulous shoes, I hope to find my way as Dorothy did.

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