The Latest Posts

eight thousand crepes

Portland didn’t get much snow, but news stations still called it a Snowpocalypsemy doggies Jada and Moki with our Christmas tree at homemy mom makes me pretty foods that I can eatMelissa got tattoos in December! I got to hold her hand.Mel being a latke pro in one of my shirts from NairobiThe orange latkes are minewe light candles for Kwanzaa similar to how we light a menorah for Hanukkahwe each tied our tamales differently so we could tell them apart with their different fillingsMel and I did a lot of this during break
It’s Welcome Back time! I am in denial that classes start tomorrow. I feel like it’s still winter break, even though I’m back on campus and my hallmates are slowly trickling back into our building. I haven’t even rounded up my textbooks yet – it’s about time for a Powell’s run. But before I plunge into the spring semester sea, I think a winter break recap is in order!

I split my three and a half weeks of winter break between my family’s home in Portland; my grandma’s house in Wenatchee, Washington; the Oregon Coast with my mom’s side of the family; and the San Juan Islands with my girlfriend Melissa and some of her family.

Christmas in Wenatchee had its ups and downs – I was battling another allergic reaction on Christmas Day itself, and ended up sleeping it off and missing a lot of the action. The holidays are the worst time to have a food allergy because there are so many delicious-looking edibles around that aren’t edible for me – it was a bit tormenting. But I got to play with my cousins and help assemble a couple of puzzles. I also scored some legit swag, including a tea kettle, a spider plant I’ve named Acromantula, and several handfuls of dinosaur toys!

everything is better with a blanket cape!Maybe this can be attributed to my mom’s multicultural emersion when she attended Lewis & Clark as an undergraduate, but my family has always had a habit of celebrating lots of different holidays. This year, we covered abbreviated editions of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Mexican Christmas all in the span of about 48 hours. For Mexican Christmas, we made tamales and then ate them! Yum. This might be kind of blasphemous, but we combined Hanukkah and Kwanzaa into one day, and I took to calling it Kwanzukkah. For the Hanukkah portion, we made latkes (sweet potato ones for me, since I couldn’t have regular potatoes) and applesauce, and sang some Hebrew songs, but we couldn’t find our menorah or dreidel. For Kwanzaa, we donned our African clothes (I have a few kanga-shirts from my East Africa study abroad trip last fall) and made a whole bunch of traditional foods, including sadsa (a stiff, cornmeal-based porridge), mboga (leafy greens), nyama (meat – we had turkey with lots of spices), and ndizi (fried plantains). It was really cool to do Kwanzaa this year because I connected to it so well, having spent four months living and traveling in Kenya and Tanzania just a year ago. For the first time, I could understand some of the Swahili involved in Kwanzaa ceremonies, and could contextualise a lot of the values Kwanzaa is built around. Kwanzaa is essentially a celebration of African heritage, and draws from multiple different indigenous harvest ceremonies to form a holiday applicable to anyone who is willing to acknowledge that if you go back far enough, we all have African roots. I love it!

this was the view out our window at the coastme comic-ing about our tow truck experienceFor New Year, we spent a languorous four days at the Oregon coast in a beach house that my family rents every year. I puzzled, coloured, knit, made earrings, took stormy walks out on the beach, and generally enjoyed the company of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Mel and I were in charge of breakfast one morning, so we made approximately eight thousand crepes and let people fill them with the fruits and fillings of their choices. Some of the crepes were dairy- and wheat-free so that I and my other allergy-afflicted family members could eat them. Mel and I are crepe pros now.

Friday Harbour wharf at nightmeet my future homethey’re dead, but still pretty!Just a few days after New Year, Mel and I set out for the San Juan Islands. We got a third of the way there and Mel’s car broke down, so we got an exciting tow truck ride out of the deal! Our trip, cut down by a day, seemed pretty short, but it was still enjoyable. Mel’s dad took us out in his boat, and we saw all sorts of wildlife: deer, sunstars, herons, bald eagles, otters, and a locally famous harbour seal named Popeye. We collected sea glass for a few hours on a deserted curl of beach, which is one of my favourite activities in the whole world. While in the Islands, I also encountered a secondhand bookstore so inundated with books that I’m not convinced the walls weren’t made of books too. I have decided to live there.

For the final week of winter break, I applied myself to emptying my bedroom at home, preparing to transform it into a Big Girl room. We carted off two full SUV loads of things to Goodwill; listed my old bed, dresser, and kid desk on craigslist; and prepared the walls for a new paint job. I’m getting a queen-size bed to replace my twin loft, and I’ll be sewing my own duvet cover and accompanying pillow shams. Go domesticity go!

And now I’m back on campus, trying to avoid thinking about impending homework. Pop on by for another blog entry on Friday, chronicling my first week of spring semester classes. I’m registered for Intro to Queer Studies, Gender in Relational Communication, Women in US Religious History, and Women’s Self Defense (again, because I loved it so much last semester). I’m stoked – for the first time, I’ll be taking an entire schedule of classes relating directly to my major.

You can email me questions and thoughts if you are: a.) a prospective student, b.) a parent, c.) an alum, d.) a professor/faculty member, or e) anyone curious about LC, Portland, or college life. maisha@lclark.edu

18 January 2010