NC Center for Health and Wellness, Part IV

I think it's a good thing that I moved off campus this semester and cancelled my meal plan. Otherwise, I'd probably end up spending way too much of my Munch Money at the Wellness Cafe at the NC Center for Health and Wellness!  

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the cafe for the first time.  It's an interesting feature of our new gym, but I think it's a nice touch.  Not only does the cafe feature a range of coffee and tea drinks (they brew Starbucks here), but it also allows guests to choose from a variety of healthy meal and snack options.  It also offers students who have classes in the gym the chance to grab some breakfast on the way to or from class in the morning, or a snack in the afternoon or evening.  It's a great place to meet friends, perhaps before heading into the fitness center to work out, or to get some refreshments afterwards.  And, as an added bonus, it provides a relatively clam and quiet area for students to study or have group meetings.  Here are some photos to give you an idea of what you'd experience if you were a student here at UNC Asheville.  


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Grove Park Inn

On Sunday, my friends and I took a little trip to the Grove Park Inn, which is literally right down the road from the UNC Asheville campus (probably less than a 10-minute drive).  You might remember a post from last November about the gingerbread houses on display here around Thanksgiving. Even without the Gingerbread houses, the Grove Park Inn as worth a visit any time.  Its unique architecture, beautiful views, spa, gift shops, and restaurants offer local Ashevillians a chance to experience the hotel without actually having to stay there. 
Now, being college students, we didn't exactly treat ourselves to a day at the spa, or dine out! Rather, we had a lot of fun simply wandering around the hotel grounds, chatting, and enjoying the beautiful fall weather together.  The architecture of the GPI is quite beautifully suited to its natural surroundings, so we all noticed that the hotel went beautifully with the reds and golds of fall.  If you're going to be in the Asheville area in the next few weeks, why not stop by and take a self-guided tour of the inn?  Check out this beautiful Asheville landmark for yourself, and enjoy autumn in Western North Carolina! 

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Lookout Mountain

It's been a long time since my last post~ sorry, everyone!  I have been among the students working on midterm exams and papers all week.  It appears as if I'm done for now, so I celebrated a bit this weekend with a hiking trip!  
Because the leaves are at their brightest these days, I knew that anywhere my friends and I chose to go, we would be privy to an amazing view.  So, after some debate, we decided to head to Lookout Mountain, in Black Mountain, NC.  
What an awesome hike!  Not only was the weather perfect, but the scenery was unbelievable.  Although the hike was slightly strenuous at points, it was totally worth the effort when we were at the top of Lookout, gazing at the mountains around us.  We met a lot of friendly hikers and their dogs at the top, and they chatted with us and even helped us take some pictures.  
What a wonderful way to sped our Saturday afternoon.  I know many people are interested in UNC Asheville because of the hiking available in the region; Lookout Mountain is one among many, many trails that WNC offers residents and visitors.  I invite anyone who has not done any hiking around here to give it a try.  You'll be sure to have a blast~ 
And now, our pictures!!

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The Big Game

On Friday afternoon, I waited in line with a crowd of UNC Asheville students eager to get our tickets to the UNC Asheville-UNC Chapel Hill game on November 13.  Each student  received a free ticket, so naturally I took advantage of this awesome opportunity.  The entire school is getting really excited for this game, myself included!  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera so I can't show you pictures of our school spirit, but I can show you this.
Jealous?  haha :)

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Pumpkins for Sale

As I was heading home for Fall Break, I noticed that one of the churches close to UNC Asheville has put out their fall pumpkin display/sale.  This made me very happy because it means that fall is definitely here!  With Halloween just a few weeks away, and the leaves on the trees vibrantly read, you can really feel fall in the air.  It's wonderful.  If you're in the area and looking for some beautiful pumpkins to take come and carve or, if you're feeling bold, cook/bake with, why not stop by Grace Episcopal Church on Merrimon Avenue and pick up a few pumpkins.  If you're a student here, I would recommend getting your pumpkin here because not only is it easily within walking distance of campus, but the proceeds will go to helping the children of Haiti.  Here are a few pictures of our visit to the pumpkin patch.  I love autumn~

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Weekend Excursion

Well, Fall Break is over.  As wonderful as it is to be able to see friends and teachers again, there really is something to be said for taking a rest from school!  How do you spend your breaks from school?  Some students like to travel or go home.  Since I live here in Asheville, my breaks are generally a combination of R&R, seeing family, and hanging out with friends.  On Monday, for example, my friend Naru and I took a little trip to a nearby school, Montreat College, to visit some of her friends.  Montreat College is located in Black Mountain, which is about 30 minutes away from campus.  Located in close proximity to the college is a retreat center full of beautiful scenery and wonderful hiking.  The college itself is much smaller than that of UNC Asheville, but is just as beautiful.  Western North Carolina is definitely the most picturesque area of the state, and being so far out in the "countryside" really helped us appreciate just how lovely it is!  We took a self-guided campus tour and enjoyed dinner together.  I had a fun time getting to know my new friends, and I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of life at a school that, although located close to UNC Asheville, is much different.  Looking forward to seeing the colors of autumn?  I hope to return to Black Mountain this coming weekend to hike with my friends, and I'll take lots of pictures to share!

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Study Abroad: Blog or Journal?

One of my favorite things to do is read travel blogs.  When a friend studies abroad, one of the first things I ask them is whether they plan to keep a travel blog or not.  For those of us at home, especially for family, blogs are a great way to check in with our loved ones and follow their journeys.  

Many people begin with good intentions, setting up their blogs and writing faithfully for the first few days, only to leave the task by the wayside once life abroad picks up and they begin making friends.  Others blog diligently, posting once or twice a week for the entirety of their trip.  A handful of people will decide not to keep a blog, as they were are most interested in fully experiencing life abroad, and do not want to waste time with blogging.  A rare few will keep travel journals. 

When I started preparing for my trip, this was a decision that I had to make.  As you might expect, as a blogger, I was really interested in the idea of keeping a blog for family and friends at home to read.  However, because I keep a pretty modest journal at home, I also thought it would be nice to record my thoughts in greater detail in a travel journal.  I weighed the pros of each: 

My family can follow my adventures from home
It's an easy way to let everyone know that I'm safe and sound
I can share pictures with those who cannot travel 
I can type very fast, so recording my travels will be relatively quick and easy

It's a physical reminder of my trip when I return home
I can save receipts, tickets, and such small souvenirs easily 
Because it's private, I can record more emotion or personal thoughts here
In the end, I decided to do both.  Unfortunately, I had success only as far as the blog was concerned.  Once classes started at my university, the journal proved to be too time-consuming, and I had to abandon it.  I ended up blogging a lot, and saving all of the paper memories to be taped into my journal upon my return home.  As you can see, I still haven't completed this task yet.  I am proud of myself for trying, and when I finally get everything taped into the journal, I'll be happy to have this tangible reminder of the time I spent in Korea.  For now, that is what it looks like: 

There is definitely something to be said for simply "living in the moment" without having to worry about recording it for others or even yourself.  However, years after your study abroad experience, you may still have the photos you took, but you  might not remember some of the stories or incidents from that trip.  So try to record your trip in some way.  It might be easy for you to keep a blog, or you might be an avid "journalist."  It may take a bit of work or deduct from your free time, but I think it will be worth the effort in the end.  What do you think?  Would you rather blog, journal, or neither? 

If you're interested in seeing my travel blog, you can access it here

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NC Center for Health and Wellness, Part III

Okay, so here's something I've been wanting to share with you all for a while.  I think it might be part of the reason so many people are interested in our new health and wellness center:  our new gymnasium.  With the construction of the enormous Kimmel Arena, UNC Asheville students and the Asheville community have the perfect venue for enjoying basketball and volleyball games.  I know I have said this before, but I think it needs to be said again: this place is amazing.  When I first saw this arena, I couldn't help feeling like our school had been transformed by this new addition to campus.  Yesterday, I showed pictures of the new arena to one of my friends who was an exchange student here last semester, and she couldn't believe how amazing it looked.  What do you think?  Wanna come watch a few games with us?

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