Hello From the Otter Slide

Hello, it’s me. I’ve been wondering….. oh wait.

Image result for hello from the otter slide

Hi guys! It’s been a while. I finally decided to crawl out of the depths of despair and not blogging to update you on how I’ve been for the past 4(ish) months.

Also, enjoy my title pun and the otter slide to the left. I totally borrowed that picture from Google, but hey.

The last time I published a post was April 10th. I’ve written a few drafts since then, but I haven’t finished those. Or had the heart to publish them. Maybe one day.

So where the h*ck have I been since April?! Well….

  1. I finished off my Freshman year of college with a cumulative GPA of 3.888
  2. I went to the Netherlands and visited my family (and that lovely bun, George)
  3. I had the time of my life as Cadet Deputy Commander for Operations at the 2018 Ohio Wing Encampment in June
  4. I celebrated my one year anniversary with the guy of my dreams
  5. I attended Region Cadet Leadership School in Michigan. That was pretty cool. I got the Leadership Award.
  6. I finally promoted in Civil Air Patrol (I’m still a C/Major, I got Achievement 16. But I finished PT and my essay for the Eaker award!)
  7. I went to Warped Tour
  8. I saw Hamilton in Cleveland
  9. I have lost 10 pounds (and kept the weight off) since March
  10. I sure as h*ck haven’t been keeping up on my writing prompts, lol
  11. A fellow FIRST Robotics mentor and I are starting a team in our area of Ohio
  12. My next CAP event is a familiar one… I’ll be taking my second shot at Cadet Commander of D-Day Ohio in August!
  13. I’ve almost finished watching every season of Hawaii Five-0

So yeah. Life has been keeping me on my toes lately.

I’ve also done an incredibly terrible job on those monthly writing prompts I “promised” I’d do. I guess I’ll toss July’s in with this blog post…

 

What makes you proud to be an American?

I have been attending school in the United States of America since second grade. For 11 years, all of my classrooms proudly displayed the American flag. For 11 years, the first thing out of my mouth in the morning was the Pledge of Allegiance.

In Middle School choir, I had multiple opportunities to sing in front of service men and women- both somber and happy songs- to thank them for their selfless service to the United States of America.

In High School, I played Taps on my trumpet on multiple occasions, the most notable being the open air Memorial Day ceremonies. I stood in front of a large crowd in my small town, I stood in front of service men and women. I stood in front of a memorial with hundreds of names. I stood in a cemetery with hundreds of flags.

In college, there is no more Pledge of Allegiance. There are no more flags in every classroom. But on my wall, hanging proudly is the American flag.

All throughout my life in the United States of America, I have visited multiple churches. I have celebrated various holidays: I did an Easter Egg Hunt on Russian-Orthodox Easter once!

I can go to the store in the United States of America and choose if I want to go to Walmart or Kroger or Aldi or Meijer or the sketchy gas station on the corner.

In 2005, I became a citizen of the United States of America. A few years later I was there for my mom when she got her citizenship. There were interviews. There was the fun citizenship test (they really should just take the AP US History test and throw it out and use the citizenship test, let’s be real here). There was lots and lots of paperwork.

But after all those fun hoops to jump through, there was lots of crying. Happy crying. Happy crying because we were now citizens of the greatest country in the world.

No, I’m not saying that America has everything figured out, and no, I am not getting political. However, I am free.

I can proudly display the American flag on my wall. I can safely walk past the flag in the morning on my way to class. I can get an education. I can go to the church I want to. I can blog and write and speak freely. I am allowed to drive. I am allowed to carry a gun. I am allowed to petition for things I believe in. I have the right to vote.

I may be free, but none of this is free. I have all those rights, and so many more, because a lot of incredible men and women fought, are fighting, and will fight for this country. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice. Others return safely.

We should never forget any of them, as they are the reason we wake up safely in our beds each morning. They are the reason we can walk past the flag every day.

I am proud to be an American because of all the brave men and women who have fought for this country, and fought for the rights of people they don’t even know- of people that may not even be born yet.

I am proud to be an American because of the members of the Armed Forces that stand up and fight for our country’s morals and beliefs.

I am proud to be an American.

~E. United States on Apple iOS 11.3

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday, America! 

Second Star to the Right, and Straight on ’til Morning!

A small brick house with the number 25 on it sits hidden cleverly behind a tall tree. It’s not a free-standing house, but it’s still roomy enough for my mom and I. A giant curtain cascades from the ceiling onto a little blonde girl hiding in it to “scare” her mother. The blonde girl carefully runs up the stairs to her room, which is skillfully decorated in yellow and blue. One of her favorite things is her Lion King rug, the one with baby Simba and Nala. She runs over to her mother’s room and admires the round pink lamp hanging from the ceiling over her bed.

Her mom calls her downstairs to eat dinner. They sit down at the yellow table in the small kitchen dining area and laugh about something that happened that day. The girl refuses to eat cucumber, and dinner concludes. She flops down on the green-and-white-striped couch and props her feet up on a round papasan chair. She daydreams about what America will be like. She tries to imagine away the boxes that surround her and the feelings she’s having. She’s very excited. But also nervous, and almost a little sad. She has so many friends, something she doesn’t ever believe will change. She glows with joy to think about the email address her mom allowed her to get to keep in touch with her countless companions.

On her last day of school, she proudly goes from classroom to classroom with a poster of two red cats for the teachers to sign, a Dutch tradition for when a student leaves school. She knew the whole school knew her as the girl moving to America, and everyone thought she was so cool. She couldn’t help but grin. It was bittersweet, saying goodbye to the students she grew up with, but she promised she’d come back one day.

Her Lion King rug had disappeared to somewhere, and eventually the young girl and her mother boarded a plane. A plane to America.

I’ll never forget the feeling of stepping outside of Pittsburgh international Airport that August of 2005. The air was warm and welcoming, a feeling I’ve happily associated with that airport and landing there in the summer months. It’s something I often look forward to when flying; feeling that welcoming, warm, American feeling once more.

I know we drove “home”, but I don’t remember too much of it anymore. I wish I could put smells into words better, because that’s really all I remember. The scene is this: a big white house on a corner of an intersection in a small neighborhood.

The young blonde girl opens the door to her new house, and is immediately overwhelmed. She was excited, but she wasn’t sure how to feel. “The doors are really hard to open”, she thought to herself. She went exploring in this new, unfamiliar place. There was a small, enclosed space on the front of the house that captured her interest. It was incredibly warm, and smelled like an old book store. She immediately started fantasizing about turning this space into hers, her playroom. She ran up the stairs and pulled doors open. The door to the right was awkward to open, and probably the hardest in the house. Inside was a room with the ugliest carpet you’ll ever see. Red clad the floors, with some sort of pattern of black color sprawled across like it was natural. The only furnishing in this room was a black couch bed thing- something the girl later learned was called a “foo-tawn” and to stay away from it because she could get her fingers caught in it. She found her room next door to the weird red room with the strange bed-couch-thing. A closet with squeaky doors greeted her, looking over a tall twin sized bed dressed in pink flowery sheets.

Fast forward some time, and our little girl starts school. She starts in Second Grade, with the knowledge that she’ll probably do it twice because of her age and her lack of any English speaking almost whatsoever.

The little girl proudly, but nervously, walks into her new school building. She knows what to expect a little bit, because she’d been given a tour the week before. She even got to ride a school bus for the first time ever, and that was super cool. She read the numbers on the walls of the school building carefully. She stopped at 38… and went inside. That was her “homeroom”, whatever that meant. She went inside and sat down, keeping her head low and staying quiet. Other students were fascinated with the shy blonde girl who had just joined them. They’d never seen her before. The teacher introduced her, and immediately other students came up to her and asked her all kinds of questions about her home country- most of which she didn’t know how to answer. She quickly became friends with a girl named Erin, and the two young girls were soon inseparable. She befriended a few more people- to include Sarah and twins Taylor and Tiffany. Her first sleepover party was at the twins’ house, and Sarah became a close friend as well, often spending time with her at Truck Night with her father’s monster truck.

Befriending Erin (and the other girls) showed me that it was possible to move on, that I could make new friends somewhere else. I stayed friends with Erin pretty consistently throughout the duration of my general education, up until senior year of high school. I still don’t really know what happened, but genuinely I hope she’s doing well. She’s in the Army now, and I hope her life is going great. Throughout the years of being friends with Erin, one time her mother told me that when I first moved, she thought I was from “Neverland” and how excited young Erin was to meet a girl from Neverland. Sarah and I still talk occasionally, but I’ve practically lost complete contact with the twins. It’s funny how you grow up, and eventually move separate ways.

For the longest time I always blamed my mom for “ruining my life” by dragging me away from the friends I had in the Netherlands and moving me to this country. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I truly appreciated America for what it is, for giving me the opportunities I have today, and for allowing me to have some of the greatest friends. Opportunities, experiences, and friends that will actually last no matter where I go. Realizing the bigger picture, realizing that the world is a small place that with modern technology is easily traveled, and realizing that those who truly care will always be there helped me close the door on this chapter of my life. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t not relate to that Miranda Lambert song about the house that built her… and if I had the chance I’d absolutely go take a look at what my old house looks like now. But I accept that I’ve moved on- and I realize how happy I am where I am now.

January: Think back to a moment where you’ve come to the end of the road with something important in your life—a relationship with a lover; moving out of your childhood home; graduation from school; etc. Write a scene wrapped around that moment, describing how you felt (good and bad) and how you closed the door on that chapter in your life.

 

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”

~E.⭐

History Has Its Eyes on You

There’s this pile of books that lives on my nightstand. There’s four hardcovers on the bottom and seven paperbacks on top. Let’s look through them.

We start with a paperback book, the texture has always been my favorite. There are marbles on the cover. It’s signed by five people, and has my name scribbled in the top left of the inside cover. There’s a poem by Winifred C. Marshall and a picture of our school buses in the middle of the first page. Turn to page 38. Room 36, Grade 2. I’m the picture on the top right. Everything is black and white, but the stripes on my sweater show that I was wearing something colorful. My eyebrows show I’m happy… but I’m not necessarily smiling. My hair is thin district-clipart-dt67gdnt9and my bangs are parted to the left. I’m in the same row of pictures as my teacher. My teacher is an amazing woman, she taught me to love reading, and to love the English language. She is my favorite teacher. She taught me how to be an American. She taught me the Pledge of Allegiance. She taught me how to walk up to someone and be their friend. She taught me how to spell “friend”, because when you’re a friend, it’s until the end. She had help though, I had a tutor. I wish I remembered her name, I’d love to thank her. The tutor taught me how to read in English. She spent so much time with me, until I not only got it, but loved it. At the end of the year, she would give me a jump rope. I loved that jump rope until it broke 5 years later.

The next book has the same texture. It’s green with paint splatters, this time. If you open it, you’ll notice right away that this one is in color. Turn to page 37. Room 120, 3rd Grade. The fourth picture in the second row is me. I’m smiling and my eyes are sparkling. Red is really my color. This year, my teacher isn’t in the same row of pictures as me. She is wearing a reddish-orange color, though. Red is her color, too. She continued to grow my love for reading. I would sit on the ground in her classroom next to the most bullied kid and read Magic Treehouse books with him. She taught me how to make new friends, since none of my friends from the year before were in my class. She also taught me how to handle being picked on by stupid boys that kick you under the desk.

Book three is the last of the beloved texture. I think it was an Elementary school thing. I always had an appreciation for the first line of the poem in this one. “Children need to learn more than lessons in a book; they need to learn the deeper things that people overlook”. Fourth grade was just that. Honestly, I don’t remember too much about my teacher. She was known for how loud she sneezed, and many people were afraid of her. It was the first year we had lockers and two teachers. My second teacher was pretty cool, and I started loving science because of her. She had really poofy bleach blonde hair, and I loved it. But best of all, fourth grade was when I finally had a class with someone who eventually turned out to be my best friend from school. He still is to this day. I’ve even blogged about him; Ky. The one who drove his car into the lake. The one I saw at Tuba Christmas and went to eat with the day I was back in America. That year, in fourth grade, he’d come over to my house and we’d hang out. One time we made Christmas gifts for his little sister. It was sweet. Turn to page 26. There’s me, next to Ky in the second row. I’m smiling and wearing a pink shirt. He’s looking at the camera, and I’m just impressed there’s a picture of him.

The next book is brightly colored, there’s blue and pink and orange. I have always loved the color combinations. They make me happy. They’re cheerful colors. It’s the first Middle School book. If you open it, you see teachers signed the front cover, along with my best friend at the time. The rest of my friends signed the back cover. I was picky. This was the first year they sorted our pictures by grade and not teacher. I’m the first of two pictures with pink backgrounds on page 31. I thought I was so cool for that. It wasn’t the default gray background. The green just looked weird. And blue was also looked down upon for some reason. I’m wearing a black dress with a red trim, with a red choker necklace. my hair is half up, half down. I can tell it was probably the most effort I put into picture day to that point in time. I’m in a few other pictures- fifth grade chorus, fifth grade band, and Spelling Bee. I joined band and started playing trumpet in fifth grade. I was almost a trombone player, but I’m glad someone changed my mind. My teachers were known as “The O Team”, because both of their names started with the letter “O”. Fifth grade was also my first experience with a male teacher. At first I thought it was super weird, but he quickly turned into one of my favorite teachers, even allowing me to take home our tadpoles after the year ended. There were five of them, and they were named Chubbs, Bob, Splash, and two others that will be edited in to this post as soon as I found where I wrote it down… (I’m sorry tadpoles, I loved you and I failed you). Mr.O taught math and science, and he was a great teacher. I loved math because of him.

The next book has blue paint splatters and signatures of friends everywhere on the inside. There haven’t been poems since Elementary School, since the 8th Graders now did the yearbook. I don’t think the average 8th Grader liked poetry. If you page through the book starting at the back, you’ll see me a few times. Drama Club, Student Council, Spelling Bee, 6th Grade Band, and 6th Grade Chorus. Page forward to page 21, but try to ignore the backgrounds of the pages. They’re pretty bad. In Sixth Grade, I am the only one on my page with a pink background. I felt pretty good about that. I’m wearing a dress, but you couldn’t tell by the picture. My hair is down, and I’m wearing hoop earrings to school for the first time ever. A few of the girls had started wearing makeup, but not me. My teachers were both females, and their names both started with H. There was a clever cheer for our classes they came up with that I wish I could remember. I loved both Mrs.H-s. Literacy and Social Studies were great, doing projects like “Flat Stanley” where I sent a flat paper cutout of myself to the Netherlands for my grandparents to document and making miniature cities for Social Studies. Math and Science were fun too, and my favorite project was dressing up as our favorite scientist and acting as them for a day. We would also give a report. I was Christa McAullife, to express my love for space and the Challenger. Another fond memory is the time our classroom flooded and all our posters got wet. Everyone was overjoyed, because nothing “exciting” ever happened.

My Seventh Grade Yearbook is my favorite Middle School design. It’s white with the year on it in graffiti style. The first thing I notice when I open it is my science teacher’s signature. He did more than sign the book, he wrote a paragraph for me too. He opened with “Mon Ami” instead of my name, like he normally would. We’d have conversations in French. He’s also one of my favorite teachers, right up there with my Second Grade teacher. He gave me my love for weather. He allowed me to take apart an old dionysus_33cell phone for a project. He encouraged me to learn more, to keep doing what interested me. Also in Seventh Grade, I learned about my interest in Greek and Roman Mythology and other mythos from my Literacy teacher. I did a presentation on Dionysus, and he’s been my favorite mythological person since. Everyone else picked Aphrodite or Zeus, nah, not me. I dressed up as Dionysus, wearing a sheet, carrying grapes, acting, the whole nine yards. For picture day I wore my favorite outfit at the time, a black tank top with peace signs and paint splatters, covered by a long sleeved blue blouse type thing. My hair was just above my shoulders, the first time in my life I’d ever cut it short. I had a gray background this year, along with almost everyone else on page 14.

The last paperback yearbook in my collection is Eight Grade. It’s solid blue, with a picture of the school on the front cover. They tore it down after that year. The school that is, not the cover design. I’m right there in page 6, the first one in the second row. I have a blue background this year, but my shirt is pink. My necklace is a treble clef and I’m wearing a black headband. I consider this to be one of my most awkward school pictures. Flipping through pages of the yearbook, I’m in a few. There’s a picture on page 3 that was taken in my Literacy and Social Studies class, that happened to be a joined class. It was a very fun class, and I loved the teacher’s teaching style. It was my first real experience with a more “relaxed” classroom. It was also super fun to make forts out of the manila folders we used to separate ourselves while taking a test. I was in 8th Grade Band, Drama Club, Student Council, Science Fair, Track, and I played Taps for Veterans Day. Then you come to the cover, all the signatures. A bunch of friends saying they’d call me over the summer, the class “fuckboy” saying he’s loved me all this time, and two teachers. One, my math teacher and track coach. The other, my science teacher and student council director. Let’s call her “Mrs.A”. Mrs.A was one of the few people to sign on the inside of the front cover. In fact, it was only her, my health teacher, and two close friends. Mrs.A is another one that’s up there for favorite teacher. I was absolutely what you’d describe as her teacher’s pet. She continued to fuel my love for science, letting me study weather and space whenever I wanted and she could somehow implement it into her lesson plan. She described me as “highly motivated, enthusiastic, and very dependable” in my yearbook. “Stay happy and best wishes to you always. Mrs.A”. She was a fantastic teacher. She retired the next year, along with our Principal who would grill hot dogs for the entire school right outside the cafeteria.

High school yearbooks are a little different. They’re hard cover, and they cost around $70. The designs are also much better, and you can actually read everything on every page. Consider this a little shout-out, High School yearbook staff. Although you never really knew I existed, you guys were pretty cool.

Freshman year, I was the last picture on page 43. I wore a teal colored shirt and a matching choker. I scrunched my hair (I can still smell the mousse) and wore a pink checkered bow in it. It’s a pretty good picture. Freshman year I went through a lot outside of school, which I’m sure I’ll eventually dedicate a post to. Everything at school helped me a lot, though. From my teachers to my extra-curriculars. I lettered in track running the mile and two mile, learned that I love marching band, did really well playing a trumpet solo, acted as a man in drama club, and was an active part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Ecology Club, and Future Teachers of America. My teachers were nice, I had many different teachers since High School teachers specialize in the subject they teach. A notable one though, was Engineering. I was introduced to Project Lead the Way at the end of 8th Grade, and knew I *had* to take that course. Our teacher had a very unique teaching style. He was very relaxed. In all honesty, we didn’t actually follow the curriculum at all. We made mini weapons of mass destruction. We ate bacon bits. We designed things in CAD/Inventor. He was more of our friend than our teacher. He only ate blue M&Ms. My science teacher stands out, too. Not many people liked him because he was old fashioned, but he taught me how to handle failure. He high-fived me when I got an “F” on one of his tests. Many people hated him for that, but few looked at what the deeper meaning was. He wanted to encourage us to keep learning about that topic, to learn to like it- or at least understand it. He wanted to inspire you to have a happiness about learning whether you got an F or an A. He sure did that. I also want to say thank you to my Algebra teacher, she would talk to me about everything. She listened to me. I’d often miss my bus just because I was talking to her after class. I just wish I remembered the name of the student teacher from health class. She played Fireflight for us, and she was a cool person.

Sophomore year, I was the last girl pictured on page 42. I was wearing a long sleeved purple shirt and my treble clef necklace. My hair was a little below my shoulders, showing how slowly my hair would grow. The thing I notice about this picture though, is that I look confident. I’m smiling brightly and my body looks relaxed. I made it into Wind Ensemble, played another good trumpet solo, lettered in track again, and stayed active in all of the clubs I mentioned before. Sophomore year was a great year, and I think I have my teachers to thank for that, particularly Biology, English, US History, and Engineering. My biology class was very small, it was an honors class of about ten people including myself. In this class, I started feeling confident. I started going by the shortened version of my name. The projects we did were so much fun. The teacher really knew how to reach out to her students and show them how to love what they did. She is now the assistant principal of the Middle School, and she’s doing a great job. My English teacher was really the first teacher that sparked that love for reading in class again, the first since third grade. I felt comfortable in her room. The windows and the temperature and the lighting were just right. I was relaxed in her room. Then, US History. Did I hate the map quizzes and Document Based Questions? Absolutely. I was never too big on that class. Maybe Hamilton should’ve came out sooner. So what’s my point? Just like my biology teacher, he knew how to make you love what you were doing even though you deep down couldn’t find any motivation even if you tried your hardest. Lastly, there was Engineering. We had a different teacher this year. She was, in my eyes, amazing. The rest of the class hated her because she actually taught from the curriculum. Yeah, there were wayyyy too many PowerPoints, but that doesn’t make me hate a teacher. That makes me want to change the way PLTW teaches. The teacher was fantastic. She’d listen to me and encourage me and be my mentor when I needed one. She pushed me to be the best me I could be. I don’t think I can ever thank her enough.

Junior year. I’m the first person in the last row on page 33, the one wearing a white v-neck and a flannel. My hair still barely grew. That’s about the only picture I’m in from that year. I’m in a robotics team picture, since that’s the year we started robotics and I provided all of the pictures. I’m not in any other robotics pictures because I took them all. I’m not in any other pictures otherwise because I spent Junior year at the county career and technical center. I studied Engineering for 2 and a half hours a day. The rest of the day were my academics, which consisted of Algebra 2, Chemistry, and College in High School English. My English teacher was incredible, she inspired me to start writing again. This was written in her class, as well as this and this. One of my fondest High School memories is getting to throw a paper plate of whipped cream in her face. It was pretty great. Another fond memory is when the librarian allowed me to sit in the tent that was really only there for display. You made my day. My Chem teacher deserves a shout-out, too. He always knew how to make anyone love science, and he’d make Chem puns with me all day. The two girls I’d always talk to in that class, Cheyenne and Maggie, they were pretty cool. Cheyenne is now a dog groomer and Maggie is a U.S. Marine. I met some pretty cool people there.

Senior year. I went back to my High School. I’m all over this yearbook; I’m even quoted on the cover. My senior picture is on page 43, I’m the third picture on the page. I look so happy, and so mature compared to all the other pictures of me. I’m wearing Air Force logo earrings. My hair got so much longer. I’m wearing makeup. Under my name, my clubs and activities are listed. “Robotics Captain, Debate, Wind/Jazz/Honors Band, FCA”. That sums up my senior year pretty well. If you want to see baby me, I’m the second to last baby picture on page 50. We skipped a picture, though. I’m quoted, with a picture, on page 45. I was asked what I’d miss most and least about High School. My answer? “I’ll miss the comfort of knowing what’s going to happen the most. I’ll  miss waking up early the least”. That’s such a typical “me” answer. I’m wearing a hoodie and my arms are crossed very sassily in the picture. Keep in mind, hoodies are out of dress code.

I’m pictured a few more times. Coding club, honors band, speech and debate, FCA, English festival, bridge building (I’m featured twice here!), robotics, band (I’m somewhere in the yearbook_quoteScript Ohio), track, my homecoming date (from another school) made it onto page 133 in one picture and we’re both in another, I’m next to a giant inflatable t-rex on page 146, if you look for the poofiest dress on page 152 you’ll see the worst picture of me in my prom dress in existence. I’m pictured again on page 159 among other people in college shirts, in my
CU Boulder hoodie (my dream college that’s still one of my choices since I deferred my admission). My graduation picture is on page 164 and it was taken from the worst angle ever. Nobody liked theirs. My personal favorite though, is the giant spread and quote of mine on pages 120-121.

“As a student, being part of the activities it what really makes memories. Playing in the band, cheering at pep rallies, attending plays, performing concerts, taking field trips, and helping with the STEM festival make us who we are in high school. Singing the Alma Mater ties it all together for me- it’s what keeps us together. Everyone’s your friend when you’re singing it on the bus or arm in arm. Those are some of the best memories.”

It may not be the most flattering picture of anyone, but it’s me and three friends arm in arm, shouting the Alma Mater at the top of our lungs. It’s true, those are the best memories.

I’ve mentioned teachers every year, I can’t forget about senior year! I started off my morning with Physics, which was a fantastic class. We’d have donut parties and we’d bring in coffee. But shhh, no one tell school administration. None of that happened. Mod 1 promises. Second I’d chill in lab 119 for 54 minutes. This was the lab dedicated to Engineering. I’d chill with a third (and also VERY amazing and inspirational) Engineering teacher, and work on my capstone project to still graduate from the tech center. Third, for the first semester I had Holocaust Studies. The class was as sad as it sounds. Second semester I had modern conflicts, and it was an amazing class with an amazing teacher. I learned so much (including that the girl two seats to the left of me was always trying to flirt with the teacher). Periods 4/5 were split and I had Wind Ensemble during that time. Senior year, music was my passion. It still is, but I lived and breathed it then. My band director was my best friend. I spent more hours with him and Ky in the band room than I did anywhere in the school. Mr.Band Director helped me out so much. Deep discussions about life with my feet on his desk were my favorite. Sixth period I had lunch, but I’d often skip and stay in the band room. A few times I’d get food and eat in a practice room or the office, but that didn’t happen often. I do miss the school’s home-made pizza, though. That was good. On the last day I totally bought 4 pieces and brought them home. 7/8 was also split, and I had Calculus with the craziest teacher at my school. I mean this as a compliment. She is incredibly eccentric, and it’s what makes her unique. Everybody, including myself, loved her. She made me a balloon animal dragon at the end of the year. It actually spit fire! The bell rang at 12:34 for this class to end, and I’d always loved that the numbers lined up.

Ninth period I had Honors English, with the same teacher as sophomore year. Needless to say, that class was fantastic. We read a couple of amazing books, including “Alive“, the book about the Andes survivors. Lastly, I finished my day among juniors. I took AP US Gov so I could have all 4 Social Studies credits since the credit system worked differently at the tech center. That class was killer, but the teacher was pretty cool. He always worked with me to be able to submit my work if it was ever late and I totally owe him my grade. Again though, I just wish Hamilton would have been out sooner. I might have actually grasped the miserable two month study we did on Federalist #10.

There’s a few other teachers I quickly want to mention and thank. In Second Grade, Miss C was always there to tell me jokes and to make me smile. She gave me a toy frog at some point in the school year and I loved it. I remember the smell of her classroom like it was yesterday. They tore that building down… many years ago. The second teacher I’ll mention… Mr.S, the woodshop teacher. Thank you for letting me chill in your classroom like it was my own. Thanks for being the totally cool person you are. Oh, and your kids are adorable. The music teacher in Elementary School, thank you for letting me copy “Rockin’ Robin” from the book because I loved it so much. I still have the copy, even though it’s black and white and it’s been hole punched a few too many times. The librarian, also Elementary School. Your love for frogs always stuck with me. You were kind when I needed kindness. The library was a great place to go when you needed some freedom. The technology department, for dealing with me when I’d come to your office with some request from a teacher or when I needed advice. The Middle School Home-Ec teacher, for always giving me an extra pretzel, even if I didn’t win bingo. Also for not laughing (or being mad) that time I spilled water all over myself and my kitchen trying to do dishes. The High School Foods teacher, because you always smiled at me in the hallway. You were the light I sometimes needed to get through the day.

Thank you to my robotics coaches (and mentors) because you guys took so much time and money out of your personal lives for the team, and a lot of the time we didn’t express just how much it meant to us. The band directors I had the pleasure of working with, whether it be local or honors band or something else. Thank you for inspiring young musicians like myself to become the best musician we can be… And that sometimes John Mackey is right. Thank you to Mr.D, the Middle School band student teacher that introduced me to Jazz. You ave me the confidence I didn’t know I needed. I was able to get up on stage and play in front of a crowd, comfortably. And lastly… We’ll call her Miss D. Thanks for being a fantastic student teacher in band (even though wayyyy too many people didn’t like you for who knows what reason) and now a fantastic friend as well. It totally makes me smile when you like my tweets.

There you have it. I summarized 11 years of American public schooling in 4,000 words. I can use less though: “amazing”. All of these teachers contributed to who I am, whether it’s to not kick stupid boys back or to love writing.

To everyone that’s taught me over the years: thank you. All of you are amazing people. Keep fighting, keep teaching, keep changing lives. 

I, on the other hand, should probably do something with my life. I’ve had Chicken on a Raft going the whole time I’ve been working on this post. coar-9425

Aaayo, Chicken on a Raft.

-E.

“Politics is more difficult than Physics”

“The Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November”

election-3

Whether you’re for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Bernie Sanders… or whoever else you are for, today is a big day!

Well, for you Americans out there, anyway. Hello everyone, and it’s 8 November 2016. election-2Welcome to the day the American people decide who will be the key figure in their political system for the next 4, possibly 8 years.

But, no matter who gets elected- as Theodore Roosevelt said;

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country”. 

I think some people will need reminded of this come 9 November. It seems this election has ripped some people apart. I’ve seen friends of mine end friendships over what candidate the other is voting for.

I don’t want this post to become some overly political rant, however, I’d like to hit a few points.

1.) George Washington on political parties is life:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

2.) What’s with the violence?

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Why has it become a competition to see who’s rallies can get more out of hand?

3.) Can my friends… not?

I was told by one of my friends to take the test at https://www.isidewith.com/ to see which candidate I side with. He’s a pretty big Trump supporter, so when my results were that I side 88% with Jill Stein, he wasn’t happy.election-4

Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean, of course, that my vote would’ve been for Jill Stein. 

I’m just a tad frustrated when people say “It’s a good thing you’re not voting” when they hear someone supporting a candidate that’s not their own. Some people think the same about you, just saying. Either way though, it is a beautiful right given to any United States Citizen over the age of 18 to be able to vote. And they can choose who they want, not who their friends think is cool to vote for. If that happens to be the case, that they like who their friends think is cool, so be it.

But it is absolutely not okay to try to degrade someone based on who they’re voting for.

The point of voting is for the public to voice their own opinion… not to vote to fit in or be cool. And yes, I know that sometimes as a young adult this can be an issue. Hell, I’m sure it’s an issue in every age group. But why? I wish some of these questions could be answered.

Side note: yes, I understand and I am very pro peaceful protest and campaigning, as well as talking to your friends about your political stances and beliefs. I personally just believe however, that this has gone past that. Yes, it’s your Facebook account and you can delete people for supporting X Candidate all you’d like if that’s what you so choose, but if you were dying and had to go to a hospital, would you really tell the doctor “no” to trying to save you simply because of the candidate they support? Life goes on. The election will be over. Everyone will be upset no matter what, but they’ll find something else to argue about soon enough.

This post is becoming much too rant-like for my liking… so I’ll stop here. I suppose my point with this was just… Happy Election Day!

A presidential election hasn’t destroyed the earth yet, and I think we’ll be alright this time, too.

God save the queen.

-E. ♣

Good, good, great!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I considered posting happy thoughts. (Side note: I just got distracted trying to find a specific Fetty Wap song that was stuck in my head from sophomore year. I don’t even like rap. I guess I really don’t want to type happy thoughts).

Think happy thoughts.

  1. Soccer. Soccer was cool today. I taught a ten year old, and she was really cool. It was the first human social interaction I’ve had with someone around my age in two weeks. And she was 10.
  2. Food- as much as it hurts my stomach and gives me heartburn, it does taste good and I’d missed a bunch of it.
  3. Healthy. Healthy? Healthy! Bike riding here will help me lose weight or something.
  4. Uh, well, drinking is legal here at my age… I can make fun of 16-year-olds getting smashed. And that’s about the extent of that one.
  5. I’m really excited about the house we’re getting. And my room. I get to do it however I want and that’s really awesome.

Oh man- interruption! Just Skyped with my CyberPatriot team and had a Cadet Advisory Council conference call. Now I’m procrastinating on this post…. Don’t believe me, just watch. Crap… now the numbered list starts over. Oh whale. 15 more.

  1. Family. I love being close to my family.
  2. I can make money here on my year off from school.
  3. I get to play with big boy cameras here. That one’s fun. Shout-out to my grandfather.
  4. I haven’t gotten a mosquito bite here [yet]. That’s a positive.
  5. My brother is enjoying it. He already has a few friends.
  6. I have time to write blog posts!
  7. I get to see things I don’t really remember from when I was 6.
  8. My cat is here! ♥♥
  9. It’s fun to go places, and absolutely no one knows you. It’s weird running in to people who recognize you but you don’t recognize them, though.
  10. This has brought me and some of my friends in the US closer together. I found who my true friends are and who cares about me.
  11. You can drink tap water without wondering what’s in it (chlorine wise.. or chemical wise… or anything). It’s neat.
  12. It feels like things are cheaper here. You can go to the grocery store and buy 2 days worth of food and drinks for about 8 Euros. I could be wrong but it feels cheaper. I don’t know. Let me think it.
  13. I can completely avoid all the asshats in the US here!!
  14. I can get some cool clothes here. And I already got pants!
  15. There’s Cat Cafes here. Like literally; Coffee shops with cats.

And, I mean, I have lots of time to plan my return trip in December. And June. Heh…

Well, that was my effort for today’s blog post. It’s 0350 and my chest hurts. Maybe I should sleep.

Good night guys, and keep finding reasons to smile.

-E.

The one about feelings, anger, and frustration

Everyone deals with it. Anger, sadness,  stress, frustration. Sometimes jealousy. I try not to blog about them, but I’m going to be brutally honest- sometimes ignoring your emotions takes a toll on you. There’s been one other rather upset blog post with lots of feelings; the annoying one about me getting dumped. Normally, I feel horrible posting my feelings online, and as you could see in the post after it, I apologized. This time… I won’t apologize. My feelings are my feelings, and honestly if you’re reading my blog, you sort of care about me anyway (or you’re just amused at my misfortunes; but that’s alright too).

I’m having a really shitty time adjusting to this country and the people in it. I’m trying to do my best, trying to hold on for my mom’s sake. She’s so stressed as well, I feel like whenever she sees me be happy, it makes her happy. So I’m really trying. I love my mom, and I hate seeing her upset- especially now coming to realize that she’s actually a cool parent- and has been, but I just didn’t see it (ouch, did I just say that out loud? Online, for that matter?). I just need to find a way to get my frustration out. This blog is helping, but I’m not sure how much longer. I miss my late night drives, in my car, by myself. I miss seeing my friends, being able to just crash on someone’s couch and maybe wake up in the morning, maybe in the afternoon. I miss being able to do “stupid” stuff like drinking a few too many energy drinks or walking over the train tracks or walking through the woods alone or even driving a little too fast sometimes (heh).

Anyhoo, this country. This country, man. No, it’s not all bad. I really enjoy some of the things, but that’s for happy blog posts. This is not a happy blog post.

  1. UGH I MISS MY HOODIE WEATHER AND PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. It skipped straight to winter coat and where the f*** is the pumpkin in this country?!
  2. If people could stop interrupting and/or ignoring my brother whenever he talks, that would be cool. Just because you don’t see the enthusiasm of the little human doesn’t mean no one else does. Weird.
  3. I want food that doesn’t give me a stomach ache. I mean, yay! All natural whatnot. I mean, damn. Does my body have to reject it? I got less sick from a McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken sandwich…
  4. Speaking of stomach… MIDOL. How do females here even survive shark week?! And tampons, dang, I just paid nearly 8 Euros (Which is around $8.40) for a box of like, 15 normal tampons. This is an issue.
  5. “How rude”. People here are legitimately the most rude human beings I have ever seen. You can stand in a store looking at something, and before you know it (without an excuse me) you have a Dutch person all up in your jacket (because it’s -100° or something in stores) looking or grabbing something from in front of you.
  6. Oh my goodness… and the government. They track pretty much everywhere you go. Apparently there’s this whole WhatsApp security crisis that’s got a bunch of people’s panties in a twist. But aside from that, as a seasoned and free American citizen, I find it uber creepy that the government has to know in what house you’re living, and with who, and all the kids, and they have to see you, and it’s just freaking me out. (Oh, and I miss my second amendment).
  7. I can’t carry my knife. It’s apparently frowned upon or illegal or something. I haven’t done too much digging, but from what I’ve seen it’s illegal (please correct me if I’m wrong).
  8. Number 8 has been removed for… reasons.
  9. Hamsters here. Oh my, the poor hamsters here. This will likely turn into a blog post on its own- but for now… the wheels the pet store sells for hamsters are so incredibly bad for them. Please, if you have a rodent of any sort, do NOT get a metal wheel. It will hurt your pet.
  10. Number 10 has also been removed.
  11. Oh man, here comes the stomach ache (just ate dinner oops)
  12. The time zone. Why the time zone?! I miss my friends. I miss talking to people. I miss attending Civil Air Patrol. I’d missed nine meetings in my cadet career (including encampments and NCSAs) and that’s up to 11 now. It pains me a little. And the whole… messaging people. Yeah- I still can- but it’s at weird times. *sigh*.
  13. This entire country is pretty anti-american and pro-american stereotyping. It’s a tad frustrating. I mean, I suppose America is the country with the highest obesity and the most junk food- but so what? That doesn’t really mean you can profit off of making fun of me. Or Americans in general. (I’m still pretty patriotic even for not living in the country. I’d be flying an American flag if it wouldn’t get my house vandalized. You think I’m kidding).
  14. WHY are my clothes losing color?
  15. We still don’t have [working] phones over here. That is a little ridiculous- especially since my brother is in school. What if an emergency happens?
  16. I really want our house. But it isn’t ready until November 1st. Oh man, I’m going nuts.
  17. I WANT MY FACE WASH AND MY CHEAP RITE AID PERFUME. This boat can kindly floor it across the Atlantic.
  18. Number 18 has also been removed.
  19. Hey look, it’s my favorite number. Well, this one is about my birthday. I am turning 18 this year (oh no, I just gave away my age on the interwebs) and I had planned on becoming a legal adult in the US of A. Yanno, buying a lottery ticket legally because I can. Maybe buy some dry-ice, paintballs, pepper spray, and a new knife while I’m at it (hoorah for ridiculous rules). Aside from all of those things, “becoming an adult” seems so much less complicated in a country you’ve witnessed other people do the thing you have to do before you. “Becoming an adult” seems so much simpler when you know the language and grammar (and a couple of curse words) without even having to think. I’d prepared myself to become an adult in America. I was ready for adult life there. How am I even supposed to choose health insurance here? I barely know all the big words for body parts here. How would I even know what doctor to go to? *sigh* I can’t adult.
  20. And the power here. This is more our fault- but I don’t have enough power cables to keep all of my electronics charged. My mom and I share a computer cable, and my laptop dies when it’s not plugged in (thanks, hp battery recalls). This is driving me nuts.

Well, there’s 20 complaints I have. Maybe I’ll post twenty positives soon. It’ll be fun to try and think of in depth arguments for why I like it here. Oh well, I feel better after this long rant. Maybe I’ll go take the Dutch version of ibuprofen and try to sleep.

Stay strong guys, and don’t let others change who you are.

-E.

 

Oh my, the month went by!

Hello, lovely readers!

Some of you have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while… a month exactly. I’m not necessarily about excuses, but, there is a legitimate reason.

I used to reside in the delightful state of construction work and bipolar weather, however, I have since moved to the other side of the world! (And let me tell you, I’m pretty sure this is the country of construction work and well, rain).

water-in-the-dark

The picture is of the city near my hometown here in the Netherlands. If you look to your right, those boats are actually peoples’ houses. It’s pretty neat. The lights and the sky and the water all look incredible, and honestly, I only noticed that in the picture… not even in person.

The Netherlands is like a whole different world to me. Yes, I lived here until I was 7- but that means very little. I knew as much of the language as any seven-year-old does of their language. I’d picked up enough to get by in years after that, but now I’ve started to realize that the language barrier may be greater than I thought. I shy away from speaking Dutch because I know it likely won’t be grammatically correct. Maybe I’m not using the correct tense of the word. Maybe I’m just creating a word altogether. It’s a little stressful. Everyone back home says “give it a month” or “go make friends”. That’s so much easier said than done. Yes, I may have been incredibly social in America, but that’s different here.

Here, I feel insecure about what I wear. I don’t know the norms here. I never see anyone wearing a simple graphic t-shirt here. I felt awkward going into a store yesterday wearing my Paramore tee, black cargo pants, and Timberland boots. I felt like I stood out. My pants weren’t tight. My shoes weren’t “cute”. Who wears a shirt with writing on it? It’s probably all in my head… but that’s bad enough. Here, I feel awkward even talking. My voice sounds weird to me when I speak a different language.  When I’m with my mom, I let her do the talking and I awkwardly stare. Yes, usually I can follow conversations. I just don’t feel like I have enough words to choose from to be relaxed enough to participate. I’ve wished more people here would speak English to me, but then there’s the accent that bothers the living hell out of me and the reversed language barrier. I guess maybe I’ll learn soon enough. Maybe I should try harder.

My body isn’t used to the time zone yet. I’ve never had an issue with jet lag. Back in America, I had a hard time sleeping. Throw me in a country whose time zone is Eastern Time +6… I’m screwed. I have yet to fall asleep before five o’clock in the morning, and I’ve been here 8 days now. And yes, I have indeed tried putting down all electronics. I have slept through the days, though. Side note: that’s a really good way to avoid humans.

There’s not a whole lot else to blog about- since my days have recently been spent sleeping and avoiding people. I signed up to referee soccer for U11 and U9 leagues. I was the only girl in the room. It was a tad awkward.. especially because the club then posted on their website that they appreciated the “boys and fathers” that came out to the meeting. Well, I’ll show them. I guess female referees are seldom in any sport. I’ll smash the patriarchy in their face before they can even think “why is there a female ref?”.

So, yeah. I’m alive. I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to look at this like an adventure. Most people in the US would kill to spend time in Europe. Even though my situation wasn’t exactly planned… or my choice… I’m trying to be positive. It’s going alright.

-E. ♥