I, the Lonely

Loneliness is an empty street, filled with cars, devoid of people. The isolation of your body as you walk in silence, headphones in, from house to bus stop.

The moment you engage a classmate and find no matter how hard you try, you struggle to find places of mutual interest and connection. A difference in language. A mismatch in culture. The discovery that the time required and effort necessary to get past the shallowness of a new “hi! – bye!” relationship far exceeds your capacity to do so.

It is reading a message from home and being reminded just how far everything and everyone you love is. It is intimacy stolen by distance, lost in transmission as texts and calls arrive from half a world away.

To be lonely is to realize that our relationships are not as we want them to be. To be lonely is to…

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5 Things to do in D.C.

Wondering what to do during your winter break? Come to the Vision Conference with us and you’ll get to experience two afternoons visiting Washington, D.C.! Here are the top 5 things you’ll be able to do while in DC:

Walk the National Mall
The National Mall is the centerpiece of D.C. and where you will spend most of your time when you visit. This will also be the drop off point for our touring afternoons. By walking around the whole Mall (almost 2 miles!), you will be able to see most of the major monuments.

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The Fun and Fear of a Child’s Halloween

Ask almost any American to tell you the origins of Halloween; they probably can’t. (But last year’s Halloween Blog post shares the origins and more!) Every American, however, can tell you what it was like to celebrate Halloween growing up.

After all, what kid wouldn’t love a day when you get to dress up however you want (with your parent’s ok), get lots of free candy, and maybe even a few small scares? There is simply a mysterious magic in the air as Halloween approaches. I want to share with you some memories of it from my childhood.

Costume Time

Many parents, including my own, did not want their sweet children looking evil, like death, or any of the other scary costumes that are traditional for Halloween. While some of my friends wore these types of costumes, many of us dressed up to be like our heroes or

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American Dating Practices

On my first trip to China, I met some girls who were very surprised to hear that I did not have a boyfriend. After watching the TV show “Gossip Girl,” they thought that all American girls had boyfriends. They seemed a little disappointed to learn that the dating life of the average American college student was much less exciting than what they had seen on American TV. The truth is, America is a diverse country and people have a variety of cultural or religious beliefs that shape their approach to dating. This isn’t always reflected in Hollywood, which sometimes gives the impression that all American young people are sexually active or like to party.

It’s difficult to generalize American dating practices since they vary from person to person, but I’ll try my best to summarize the trends.

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Tips for Making Friends in America

As an introvert, or a shy extrovert, it is hard to make new friends, especially in a foreign country. Not just acquaintances whom you can have shallow conversations with. I mean true friends whom you can share the highs and lows of life with. If you are finding the task of making solid friends difficult, I hope these tips and tricks help you.

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Tips on Tipping (How and when do I tip in America?)

This summer, while on vacation with my family in Scotland, I visited a famous coffee shop in the charming city of Edinburgh. I ordered a cup of tea and a scone and sat by the window admiring the view of an idyllic castle on a hill. When the bill came, I set down a few coins, handed it back to the waitress, and told her to keep the change. Her eyes grew wide as she stared at the cash. And in that moment I knew I had made a big mistake.

As an American, I am quite used to tipping. It is a natural part of my experience when I go to coffee shops or restaurants. But in Scotland, my tip was considered wildly generous. Feeling foolish, I rushed out of the coffee shop, my cheeks bright red.

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