Hello There: Jean Chow

I was sitting in a booth at the northernmost end of the Student Union. Jam-packed at high noon, my head was on swivel. I didn’t know whom to look for but, once I saw her approaching, I had a hunch that we’d get along.

Contrary to my narrow expectations, the girl that approached me was a brown-haired, audacious adolescent with a personality that refused to hide. I waved, she sat down across from me, and we exchanged typical greetings. As we made small talk, I progressively learned little things about her. My “cousin” from Guangdong province enjoyed spicy food, as did I. I told her that I was a fan of music; She enjoyed listening to the likes of Girls’ Generation and Hyuna. She said that she enjoyed the yoga class she was enrolled in at the Huff; I unsuccessfully attempted to describe to her my favorite pose, the eagle. We were both fans of the Laughing Tomato’s red pepper soup, which we each unknowingly ordered. We slurped as our conversation drifted.

Genuinely curious, I asked her one of the most obvious questions you can torment a foreign exchange student with: What is most different here compared to where you are from? This is what I learned, compacted with what I gathered from our next few lunches in booths and over bread bowls.

Chinese Culture – From a Millenial’s Perspective

  1. Family is priority. As happy as she was to have a bit of a break from her siblings and extended relations, she admitted that she missed the sense of community. I noticed that her friends appeared to feel the same. They tended to gather in large groups and were extremely close-knit, despite having met each other a month prior. I envy this fundamental Chinese value, considering how valuable blood relatives are.
  2. Individuality and identity are of emerging importance. While responsibility to her family held firm, she said that Chinese youth was noticeably more welcoming of independence and eccentricity. While this is an ideal engrained in American culture, this generation of Chinese will be one to watch with the likely occurrence of transitional mentality.
  3. Western media has reflected relatable views onto Chinese youth culture. This applies especially to the protests in Hong Kong, which are widely publicized by American news outlets. While she agreed that elections could be fairer, she believed that most young Chinese remain content, not rebellious.


I am very grateful to have had Jean as my OU Cousin this semester, for I have gained insight into a life that I will never know. As today’s takeaway, I would like to challenge myself and my fellow millenials to remain open-minded and accepting of all cultures; Let us not fear, suppress, or censor what we do not understand.


In every life there comes a point when you must, for the first time, say goodbye to a friend of your own age. For some people, this goodbye comes in the early years of their lives; for others, it does not come until the ripe years of life are behind them, and goodbyes are expected. For me, such a time came yesterday. A wonderful girl and dear friend has come to the end of her journey. We had such plans for her; her wings were newly spread. And yet, she has found her rest. I mourn that her journey was cut short, but I know she is happy. Her journey ended, like mine someday will, when a call was sounded and her final flight was taken. She is home with her Lord, singing, just as she always loved to. I will see her again when my journey too has ended. In the meantime, I hold on to this reminder that my journey may end at any moment, with or without warning. It is a frightening thought, but not one that should be pushed aside. I must live every day appreciating the journeys I have taken and the friends who walk alongside me. I heard someone say one time that, at the end of every day, we ought to say, “Today I have given all that I had; what I have kept I have lost.” I don’t know who said it first, but I know it to be true. I have twenty-four hours today, just like I had yesterday. If they are cut short tomorrow, I want to rest easy knowing I put them to good use today.

A Few of My Favorite Things – Beauty and Style Edition

So I thought that, today, in the spirit of Christmas, I would share a few of my favorite things will all of you! So, without further ado, here are a few of my favorite thinnngggsss…. Beauty and Style Edition

I love using natural products on my body. Skin is one of the biggest organs on your body, so I think what you put on your body is just as important as what goes in it. My favorite beauty products are as follows:


Yes To Carrots

Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub is my go to in-the-shower facewash. It smells like heaven and works better than other products because it actually feels rough on my skin, which is a good thing because I tend to get really bad blackheads, so this product is great for someone who doesn’t want to use a facial cleanser with a ton of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, but really needs a thorough facial clean. I also don’t wear a lot of makeup, so I am able to cleanse my face throughout the day. Normally I use facial wipes. My favorite are the Yes To Carrots Fragrance Free Wipes. They clean your face without leaving behind a fruity smell or a weird baby wipe smell.

Burts Bees 

Burts Bees has been my go to for lip balm for years now, but I didn’t discover their other products until recently. My favorite product by them is the Maximum Strength Spot Treatment Cream . Any time I break out or have the smallest sign of a pimple, I just put a little bit of the cream where it is needed. Overnight my pimples shrink significantly or disappear. I honestly didn’t think a natural product could work so well, but this one is beyond any regular one I have used. I will admit that the price seems high for such a small bottle, but I swear to you it is totally worth it.

I have also used the Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. I am not a fan of the tingly feeling it gives my face and the minty smell (I hate mint). It also made my skin red and sensitive for long periods of time. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!

This is going to sound weird, but I also sometimes might use natural deodorant. I KNOW I KNOW. Weirdo! Whatever. Normal deodorant releases aluminum into your body which is linked to alzheimers. Anyhow, I really like the Natural Skincare for Men Deodorant. It smells like a man, which is totally rad, and is clear, so no white marks. The main problem I have found with natural deodorant is that it doesn’t really last all day. So, when I use it, I like to carry it around with me. I wouldn’t recommend using it if you’re planning on hitting the gym either. If anyone else knows about a better, long-lasting natural deodorant, leave a comment so I can check it out.


Ology is a product only sold at Walgreens (as far as I know). Basically I LOVE LOVE LOVE their body soap because it smells good and the bottle is huge. I have had my current bottle of Lavender Pure Castile Liquid Soap for about six months now and I still have a fourth of the bottle left. Their lotion is great too, but right now I am in love with….

EO Products… specifically their Coconut and Lemon Lotion. It smells like heaven, and the bottle is also huge, making it another product that I can continue to use for the next six months.


I am such a lazy bum when it comes to my hair. In May I cut it off to about my shoulders so I could donate to Locks of Love, and ever since then I barely touch my hair. This is partially due to the fact that I really want it to grow out, and I believe the less product and heat used on my hair, the better. But I will try my hardest to give you guys an overview of what I use (or don’t really use that often) to get my hair in tip-top shape.

On a wavy day I normally wash my hair using Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Australian Tea Tree Conditioner. I tend to get tired of the same smell of hair products quickly, so the bottles are the perfect size for me. I run out of conditioner in about three weeks and it takes about a month and a half for me to use up all my shampoo. The Organix Tea Tree Mint products smell great, as well as the Argan Oil of Morocco line. I definitely notice a difference now that I use natural hair products. My hair is healthier than ever before and grows EXTREMELY quickly. The only non-natural product I use to do my hair is the Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Styling Mousse. I have found that this styling product works best for my hair type. I have wavy hair and it is really easy for me to just throw in some mousse and get on with my day. The mousse dries fast, smells like heaven, and doesn’t make my hair hard or shiny like gel does.

When I want a straight hairdo, I use my Argan Heat 1 1/2″ Ceramic Straightening Iron. I have had it for about two years now, and it still does the job just as well as when I first bought it. It gets up to 450 degrees (great for crazy hair like mine), makes my hair shiny and super soft. I have used a Chi before and can honestly say that I like Argan better.

Like I said, my hair gets dry, especially in the winter. Instead of doing an off-the-shelf hot oil treatment, I use virgin organic coconut oil (I didn’t provide a link, because my choice in coconut oil differs depending on where I shop and prices). I just heat about a spoonful of oil up in the microwave for about a minute (until melted) and then apply it to my hair. Then I saran-wrap the hair for an hour and then shower it all out. The result is shiny, hydrated hair. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT GET THE OIL ANYWHERE ON OR NEAR YOUR SCALP. Most people are oily near the crown of their head anyway, so adding more oil to the area just creates a gross oily mess that is impossible to wash out. I made that mistake the first time and looked like a wet dog for two weeks.

MAKEUP (Or naw)

Like I said earlier, I normally reserve makeup for work or for times when I know a lot of pictures will be taken. So my knowledge of makeup isn’t fabulous. I apologize profusely and assure you that I am working on perfecting my makeup game. (It’s actually on my 2015 resolution list which I will share soon.) But, I will share my fave products anyway.

As far as natural makeup products go, I am a sucker for Physicians Formula. Their Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio Nude Collection is my favorite because there are three color options.The brown is my favorite for my bottom lash line because I feel as though black liner is too harsh on my eyes and makes them look smaller than they already are. I always have a hard time finding mascara that doesn’t irritate my eyes but the Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Fakeout Mascara makes my lashes look longer and doesn’t irritate them at all. That’s about it as far as daily makeup goes (if any). I plan on writing more makeup posts once I start my research and youtube video watching!

If you have any questions or product reviews go ahead and post a comment!

Also, follow me on instagram and twitter @iveyonmysuitandtie.




Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any products nor am I sponsoring any products mentioned in this article. The statements are purely my opinion.


Reflection #3

As my final exam for my “Water in Developing Countries” class, I had to write a four-page paper on any topic that was discussed in class. I chose a subject that I knew little about, yet was very interested in. My topic concerned the importance of increasing the access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in sub-Saharan African nations, focusing specifically on the impact it would have on female empowerment through educational benefits, improved health conditions, and a safer environment.

I won’t bore y’all with the specifics of the paper, but rather my thoughts and findings as I did research. While learning more about my topic, I discovered that many women have to live in indescribable circumstances and endure abhorrent events that could have been prevented with easier access to water and sanitation facilities. I learned that women in Kenya have been sexually assaulted while traveling to the public restroom at night. The idea that such atrocious acts of violence could be prevented with easier access to bathrooms both astounds and depresses me. I never thought twice about having a restroom that can be reached safely and easily, yet these women risk their health and safety to go the bathroom at night.

typical bathrooms

(This is an example of a typical bathroom in many sub-Saharan African towns.)


I also never realized that how close a clean water source is has a huge impact on young girls’ school education. According to my research, school-aged girls are the ones who most often go to fetch the water, so if the water source is far away, the girls are either late to school or miss it entirely. Something as simple as turning on the faucet for me is something that dictates a girl’s ability to get a quality education and linked to that, a decent job and a solid future.

girls carrying water

By researching this topic, I learned that simple things that we, as both Americans and people of developed nations, take for granted have huge impacts on the daily lives of people in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing nations.

Finding my OU Cousin

So I found my OU cousin. He’s a student from Taiwan named Yi. I was getting a bit worried going through the circle conversation game because there were so many more U.S. students than international that it was hard to make conversations, but once I started talking to Yi my nerves subsided. Its really cool getting to hear about what he finds strange living here and what interests we share, especially since I do not know much about Taiwan. The line to confirm was really long, but me and Yi were able to get in early since it didn’t take long for us to get to know each other.


Farsi Friday

So this was the first international event that I have gone to this year. Truth be told, it was a bit more than I was expecting. The meeting doubled as a practice session with the teacher for Farsi students, and about 1/3 to 1/2 of the conversation was spoken in Farsi. However, it was quite interesting to hear about the culture and the food was nice, not to mention that I got to learn how to introduce myself in Farsi.


Hi there!

Hello and welcome! My name is Patrick Hart, and I am a student of the University of Oklahoma and a part of the Global Engagement Fellowship Program. On this site you’ll find my travels, aspirations, and probably some inane ramblings to spice it up. I’m originally from Charleston, WV, and live now in Norman, OK, but I consider myself more of a Citizen of the World than anything else.

Study abroad is going to be a primary factor in my career here at OU and this is where I will be documenting my planning, going, and coming back. So far my plan is (after some thought) to spend a semester in Arezzo, a semester in Germany, and a summer in Geneva (hopefully to be able to become involved with the UN center there. Then I’ll try to figure out where the heck I’m going with the rest of my life.


First Semester at OU

My first semester here at OU has been amazing! All the new people I have made here at OU have been so kind and welcoming to me, it seems to be rubbing off on me. My classes have been very interesting and also fun in the best ways possible, and it also helps that I have passed all of them so far. I really have learned quite a bit from just one semester here at OU. Having so many classes has given me different perspectives that I don’t think I would’ve learned about, so I think my schedule has really helped me learn more than I could’ve ever hoped for.

My favorite part of college has been getting involved with on campus activities and clubs. Right now I am involved with OU Cousins, the Union Programming Board, and I’m part of OU’s Green Week Executive Committee so getting involved on campus has not been difficult for me. It’s also so nice to get involved in organizations that I genuinely love and I am interested in.

The only thing I have not liked about college so far is the dreaded Dead Week and also my finals. I know every college student experiences them, but I still like to gripe about them regardless. Other than those two terrible weeks though, everything has been peachy and a great experience.

The one thing I do hope to do next semester is explore more of my surroundings here in Norman. I do need experience more of Norman and it’s surrounding cities such as Moore and more of Oklahoma City. I just feel like I’ve been limiting myself by staying on campus most of my time during my first semester.


Two Weeks in France: A Digital Story

Here’s a video about my two week exchange trip to France in the spring semester of my junior year in high school. I created this for the Becoming Globally Engaged class as a digital story about an international experience I have had. Other than that, the video speaks for itself.