The Bells Were Ringing Out…

For Christmas Day!December_header_snowflakes

It’s the last month of the year, so naturally my blogging wouldn’t happen as scheduled. So far, December has been fantastic. 

T’was the nizzle before Christmizzle and all through the hizzle… Oh wait. I should probably elaborate on the month itself. Last monthly goal reflections is a go! Let’s see… what were my goals?

  1. Keep an eye on my finances and be smart about it. I mean. Sure. Yes. It went… better.
  2. Finish my online course early (because the weekends are great when there’s nothing to do) I mean, the semester ended so there’s that
  3. Further my Civil Air Patrol education. Recently, I attended a Mission Scanner course and will be getting my aircrew wings upon completing two sorties. I’ve also completed more of the FEMA training, and I just. I want to learn everything I can. SUPER COOL NEWS COMING IN THIS POST OMG
  4. Be more organized. This continues off of finding a routine. Jetlag is a… bad thing. Organized? Yeah. I did that. But routines? Meh.
  5. Apply for scholarships. Tuition is a little important. Tuition is indeed important.
  6. Keep a close eye on what I eat and when I eat. I can eat without getting sick again! And screw feeling bad about eating. I have been healthier, though. So it’s lit. 

Since November, plenty of things have happened. My first semester of college came to a close, I stepped out of my comfort zone with CAP (and it paid off), and life is great. 

I finished my first semester strong and confident. I got all As with the exception of a B+ in English, setting my first semester GPA at a 3.823, something I’m incredibly proud of. My classes were pretty challenging. My Story on the Web, the class where I had to create a website and tell a story online, taught me an incredible amount about various Adobe softwares. I had a super fun time creating my Audio Story and Video Story, all about the Civil Air Patrol. The lab was an open lab style instruction, meaning it was completely optional to come to class (except for the mandatory once per unit). Myself and a guy named Max attended almost every class, often being the only ones. I didn’t know his name until about week 13, but him and I would always hate people together so that was pretty cool. I also took a class called “Destination Kent State”, a class targeted at first year students. It was a requirement and very… interesting. English was pretty neat, but wayyy too much writing. My final project was a research paper on Ernest Hemingway and his literature as anti-war. The people in that class were pretty cool; Julia and I talk sometimes. I also took Computer Science, which was… stressful. I scored fantastically on the second midterm though, and after much panic ended the year with an A anyway. The last in-person class I took this semester was Society, Culture, and the Digital Sciences. At first, it started out a little rough. I couldn’t grasp how the professor would teach, and missed a lot of points on the first few assignments. 

HOLD UP IT’S TWO MINUTES UNTIL CHRISTMAS OKAY WOW (we’re watching The Santa Clause 2 and bun is asleep) (surprise I’m in the Netherlands for Christmas) 

OKAY WOW IT’S CHRISTMAS HI 🎄❄️❄️❄️❄️ MERRY CHRISTMAS ❄️❄️❄️❄️🎄

Alrighty so, SCDSCI, as we abbreviated it. I ended with a 102% A. The professor was pretty awesome. I also took an online class, called “Media, Power, and Culture”. It was interesting. Somehow I pulled off an A in that too. Overall, I think it went great. I had a fantastic first semester, and my scholarships and grants covered everything. I took 17 credit hours last semester, and I already registered for Spring 2018. 18 credit hours, here I come! It’ll be good. 

Last year’s Christmas Post talked all about my visit to the States, as I was living in the Netherlands. This year, I’m spending Christmas in the Netherlands with Andrew and my family, and it’s pretty cool. 

ALSO OKAY GUESS WHAT okay. I mentioned cool Civil Air Patrol news. I applied for 2018 Ohio Wing Encampment Cadet Deputy Commander for Operations… AND I GOT THE POSITION. Applying was incredibly out of my comfort zone and writing the letter of intent was pretty stressful, but in the end, it really did pay off. Andrew applied for Cadet Deputy Commander for Support, and he got that position. Encampment is going to be pretty awesome. I’m super stoked. The Cadet Commander seems pretty cool too, and I truly think this encampment is going to be fantastic.

How is it almost one a.m. help

Okay, I’m being sent to bed so “Santa” can go put gifts under the tree ( @ mom). I’ll be posting at least once more this year to reflect on my goals for 2017 and announce my theme for 2018. I can’t believe it’s already the last month of the year. It’s been a great 12 months of goals with y’all. So on that note…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 

~E.🎄

blAUG in a timely manner

Someone slap me; that wasn’t even a good pun.august

Well, I was going to blog in a timely manner this month. I suppose August 2nd isn’t the worst I could’ve done. My laptop keeps overheating and being a general pain in the neck, which is rather ironic for a digital sciences major to be honest. 

This past month has been incredible. I had the once in a lifetime experience of releasing rehabilitated seals. I got to drive a boat. I found out some amazing news- my first semester of college is fully paid for by scholarships! I was super excited to learn that. I can’t wait for college. July was pretty freaking amazing, and I know August will be just as good. 

There will absolutely be a post about seal releasing. It was such an amazing day. I can’t even put it into words right now. Super shout-out to the Zeehondencreche in Pieterbuten for that opportunity. I can’t wait to post all about it. 

But let’s see. This year is going ridiculously fast. It’s the eight month of the year and I don’t know how I feel about that. I’m about to be living in an apartment I signed the lease on. I’ll have a roommate, a friend and Spaatz cadet from CAP. We’ll have a cat. I’m about to be an adult. College is starting so soon. I can’t wait, but I’d be lion if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m going to miss my family like hell, and I’m so thankful that they’ve been nothing but supportive and encouraging me on my journey to be the first to get a degree in my family. The first to even go to college. That feels so incredibly amazing. 

I know I’ll have to work my ass off, but I’m ready. I have the most amazing friends, family, and boyfriend I could ask for. I’m going to make them all proud. I’m going to show everyone that doubted me who I am. I am a lion.  

My July goals were kind of lame, but I kept up with them. I can actually do push-ups now, so hey. There’s a plus. I’m curious to see where I am on my year goals. Let’s review!

  1. Love myself and be happy. Do things because they’ll make me happy.
  2. Go to college and study where and what I want.
  3. Achieve at least C/Lt Col in the Civil Air Patrol
  4. Learn to stay calm and manage emotions, as well as being able to express these to others. (This one may not make sense to you as the reader, but it does to me. I’ve already started working on it!)
  5. Learn something new. Whether this is learning a new language, something about computers, anything.
  6. Make money. Save money. (Already working on the saving money! #AdventureFund)
  7. Stay hydrated. All year.
  8. Read my whole James Patterson series.
  9. Travel.
  10. Write more. (Whether this is blogging, letters, cards, journaling, it’s going to happen!)
  1. Yeah. This one’s going. Most days, I love my body. This one’s going. 
  2. Hell. Yes.
  3. This one might not be realistic due to the requirement of attending Cadet Officer School or a Region Cadet Leadership School, but I’ll be a Cadet Major on the first day of college! I’ll be a major starting my major. Ha. Thanks for that pun, mom.  
  4. This one’s a work-in-progress. 
  5. I know like, three Russian words and more German than I did a month ago? I learned a lot at CDTA? I’m wayyy too familiar with the Public Affairs Regualtions for CAP? 
  6. I mean. Yeah. I saved hella money on college this semester. And there was the $0.81 I made in interest on my savings account! 
  7. I’m working on that. *eyes water bottle*
  8. Still. On. Book. Thirteen. Traveling really killed my vibe. 
  9. Yeah, I’m so sick of that international flight. And Germany is cool. 
  10. Hi, I’m writing (and I mean, I wrote to study for my tests for C/Maj so there’s that).

I guess I’m only going to set one goal for August:

Whatever you do, do it with passion and to the best of your ability. 

This can apply to so much, and I can’t wait to show the world who I am. I won’t give up. I’m not going to be just a nobody. Mark my words. 

Alright y’all. Thank you for reading. You guys are fantastic.

Smile, you’re awesome. Take some time today to think about how far you’ve come and how you’d make your younger self proud. Be someone you would be looked up to as a child.

~E.💕

P.S. I untangled a slinky this past week and that would’ve made younger me so proud. That’s all I wanted to be able to do in life. Little things. It’s the little things. 

2017 Goals, Part Uno.

Well, here we are. We are approaching the end of the first week of 2017.

best-happy-new-year-pictures
heihei

2017. MMXVII. Twothousandseventeen. 2k17. There’s plenty of ways to refer to the year of the rooster. However, we can all agree on one thing. It’s new, and it’s here for 365 days.

Some people make “New Year’s Resolutions”. Some people believe in the philosophy of “New Year, New Me”. Personally, I’m not a fan of any of those things. To those of you who do, good luck, you can do it, you’re great.

For me: I’m going to try something new. Goal setting!

Okay, okay, so maybe it’s kind of like a new year’s resolution. But, there’s a catch. Goals can be made at any time. Goals can be long term and short term.

I’ll be posting my monthly goals and updates from the past month in the first week of every month.In the last week of 2017, I’ll be summarizing. But- we’ll get there. One day, one week, one month at a time.

I’ll start my goals with my 2017 goals. Here we go.

My Goals for 2017

  1. Love myself and be happy. Do things because they’ll make me happy.
  2. Go to college and study where and what I want.
  3. Achieve at least C/Lt Col in the Civil Air Patrol
  4. Learn to stay calm and manage emotions, as well as being able to express these to others. (This one may not make sense to you as the reader, but it does to me. I’ve already started working on it!)
  5. Learn something new. Whether this is learning a new language, something about computers, anything.
  6. Make money. Save money. (Already working on the saving money! #AdventureFund)
  7. Stay hydrated. All year.
  8. Read my whole James Patterson series.
  9. Travel.
  10. Write more. (Whether this is blogging, letters, cards, journaling, it’s going to happen!)

Some of these are bigger than others. But to me, they all matter. I’ll post occasional updates here as to how those goals are going. (I swear I had a water bottle around here somewhere…)

Alright. Monthly goals. I’m not making a set number for these, it’ll change depending on the month. Here we go.

My Goals for January 2017

  1. Find a routine. A schedule. A purpose. Normalize my sleep.
  2. Eat healthier.
  3. Walk/bike more. I won’t put running, because I know myself too well for that and I likely won’t run in January. But- if I get in the habit of going for a walk, who knows what February will hold!
  4. Clean up my room and hang up my framed belongings.
  5. Find a job.
  6. Keep my email organized.
  7. Learn to drive in the Netherlands.
  8. Become comfortable interacting with other people in Dutch.
  9. Wear clothes because I like them, not because I want to fit in. (Honestly, I think I can add a scarf to ANYTHING and I’ll fit in…)
  10. Overcome my hatred for odd numbered lists. (Okay, this one won’t really happen. But, it’s a pleasant thought)

Allllrighty. I’m going to go finish my NCIS episode (Canary). Apparently it also snowed. Intriguing. Enjoy a picture my mom just sent of the snow!15909691_978465505587476_1454366300_n I’m half impressed that it does actually snow here.

It’s a little bit late, but guys, have a happy new year.

 

Talk Less. Smile More.

~E.♥

Happiness Is Where You Are

Sometimes it takes not blogging for a month to really find something to blog about.

With that being said… I’ll say Merry Christmas– and then get right into my post.

So, the last time I posted was November 22nd – over a month ago. I showed you my room and talked about Hamilton and other life happenings. This post is going to have a bit of a different spin. I’m going to talk about everything I’ve done in the past month- because heaven knows it’s been… crazy.

On November 27th, my family celebrated Thanksgiving by attending a potluck supper held by other local Americans in Groningen. That was 20161127_190604pretty awesome. The macaroni and cheese was the best. And I never really liked turkey that much- but this turkey was fantastic.  The building pictured is where it was. It was really nice… a great spot for it. It was also decorated beautifully. The lights inside were amazing.

Then… the month turned. December was upon me. It still hasn’t set in that it’s almost 2017, but that’s for a different time to freak out about.

20161203_200144December 3rd I got on an airplane and I flew to Ohio.  It wasn’t spontaneous, I’d had my tickets booked since October. I had been so excited to go back for months… and it finally happened. I didn’t think time would pass that quickly… but it did. So, December 3rd. I landed in Columbus and a family friend, “L”, who was also watching my car, picked me up from the airport. The first thing we did was go to the store and buy Fruit Loops. Man, I’d been wanting Fruit Loops for far too long. The night of December 3rd I spent at L’s house. I took a long shower and slept really well.

December 4th, I woke up and drove to Youngstown where I took part in20161204_144415 Tuba Christmas for the fourth year in a row. It was absolutely worth the 3 or so hour drive. I got to see Ky and a few other friends. I even made new friends! Tuba Christmas took most of the day, but after that I went to Steak and Shake with Ky and my two new friends. It was great. I drove, because man I’d missed my car. Looking back, I’m glad I drove as much as I did. Hmph. But that will be explained later. After Steak and Shake, I drove to where I’d be staying for the remainder of my trip, with a friend named Michelle and her husband and three kids. I got there, took a bath, and fell asleep.

December 5th was relatively normal. I spent time with Michelle, and in the evening I had my first Civil Air Patrol meeting being back. It was PT night. I’d say it went rather well if you overlook me falling because my ankle gave out. Oh well. This is why I carry ankle and knee braces. I got a nice bruise from it, that’s just today finally starting to fade. That’s how you make memories, right?

20161206_122341December 6th was Tuesday. I had a chiropractor appointment for the first time in 4 months, and it was heavenly. After my appointment, I got free Panera by using my saved up rewards and my free birthday pastry. This too was heavenly. I didn’t realize how much I also missed Panera even though I rarely went there.

December 7th. CyberPatriot practice in the evening. Other than that, I spent the day with Michelle. We got really expensive macarons, and they were fantastic.

December 8th. The morning started out with Michelle and I doing one of those black face mask things that supposedly hurt like hell when peeling it off your face. It wasn’t all that bad… definitely not as bad as every video made it look. Michelle and I then got lunch at the Kitchen Post, a really awesome small business that has amazing food. That night, I had aircrew training for Civil Air Patrol. I’m studying to become a mission scanner! I don’t know of many cadets who do it, so I decided I’d give it a chance.

December 9th. I went shopping for the first time being back. I got myself a winter coat. I got a few other Christmas presents. I ate lunch at Chick-fil-A. It was a pretty fantastic morning. In the afternoon, I got my hair dyed again. The same reddish color… 1481338637338but just so the roots didn’t look as horrifying as they had. Ha. That night, I spent the night at my friend’s house. She’s a C/CMSgt in the Civil Air Patrol, and we spent the night partially because we had to meet early the next day for CyberPatriot. We’ll call her KJ. KJ’s mom made me my own pumpkin pie because I’d been so deprived of anything pumpkin here. It was fantastic. However, KJ and I both will confirm that you shouldn’t eat fresh-out-of-the-oven pumpkin pie unless pumpkin stew is what you’re after.

December 10th. CyberPatriot competition, held at Kent State University. It was my first competition as a mentor, and it was interesting. I kept track of some of my favorite quotes from the day. These included:

  • “We put an antivirus on it, right? That’s what CCleaner and Malwarebytes is, right?”
  • “The local security policy is where a lot of stuff is”
  • “That’s not how you spell ‘logging'” “have fun loge-ing on”
  • “No more messing with FTP. We’ve done enough FTP” “But there’s 5 points left! They have to be FTP”
  • “WAIT! Go to Nautilus!” “What is your obsession with Nautilus, child?!” “Well, we haven’t gone through the slash var thing!”
  • “Either this will kill it… or it will kill it and give us points”

If any of my readers know computers, those should have made you chuckle at least a little. I know it was funny in the moment. And it half hurt to not be allowed to say anything. I spent the time by designing a photo book on Shutterfly. It was a good purchase.

img_20161211_132541December 11th. I spent the previous night at KJ’s again. Her sister really liked me. She’s 6. I don’t know what it is with children.  I also cracked my phone screen on December 11th. It wasn’t fun. Oh well. I put my case on afterwards and it’s fine. Didn’t break the digitizer so all is well.

Other than that, the rest of my day was phenomenal. Hi mom, here begin the things you didn’t know about. *hides*.

December 11th, still. Alex, his girlfriend, myself, and one of my friends went to Pittsburgh to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to see the Christmas lights they had there. Let’s just say, the weather wasn’t the greatest. The way down was okay. We stopped and ate Chipotle. Then we drove. The lights were incredible.

The way back, we did like, 20 miles per hour in a 75. We couldn’t see. But hey, we’re alive! Shout-out to Alex for being a pretty awesome person and great driver and getting all of us home safe. Alex and his girlfriend got home at like, 3 am. But was it worth it? Absolutely.

December 12th. I spent time with Michelle during the day, and I had a Civil Air Patrol meeting in the evening. I taught drill for the first time in forever, and it was amazing to be back. I also started to get sick today. Nothing like Ohio!

December 13th. Hi mom, you didn’t know about this one either. I’m safe and alive though! 20161213_180047The Rickenbacker Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, is located near Columbus. That 3 hours or so I had to drive to get from L’s to Michelle. My friend “T” and I decided it would be fun to go down to their Christmas party, since we were invited down by multiple people. So, we went. We watched the weather all day, and when it came time, I drove. We kept a running tally, we passed 9 wrecks or 20161213_194026accidents on the way there.

It really wasn’t bad to drive in, though. Like, people are just idiots I think. We left the worst of the weather behind. As soon as it got bad in NE Ohio, we were out of there. T and I had a fantastic time at the Christmas Party. We saw some people we didn’t think we’d ever see again, and caught up with some old friends. After the party, I drove back to NE Ohio and we didn’t pass a single accident. We really did miss the bad weather. I slept good that night. Especially because of this pillow Michelle had. Ha. It was like, memory foam or something, and honestly my favorite thing on Earth.

December 14th. I slept in. Whoa! Haha. Aside from that, I visited family friends, and had CyberPatriot practice in the evening.

December 15th. I went to the movies with KJ and Lauren and saw “Moana”. I fell in love with Disney all over again. I may or may not have been listening to the Moana soundtrack nonstop since then. I’m absolutely not listening to it as I’m typing this… no… Ha. After Moana, I had aircrew training/staff meeting for Civil Air Patrol. I got my first few tasks signed off. That felt pretty good.

December 16th. I didn’t do a whole lot on the 16th. I spent it with Michelle and her family.

December 17th. This day, this day was kinda perfect. It was after all the reason I came back to visit. It started off pretty cool, I saw Alex and we did Christmas presents. Then I went shopping, to get some final Christmas stuff. Then… why I came. The Squadron Awards 20161217_200935Banquet and Christmas Party. It was… amazing. I was awarded two cyber awards, I was given my Amelia Earhart award for promoting to Cadet Captain, I got a challenge coin, an achievement award, and I was awarded Squadron Cadet of the Year. Everyone also loved the slideshow I made. It was so perfect. It was also amazing to see everyone from CAP I missed so much. The picture shows my view for most of the night. I was in charge of sound and slides. it was really cool. Definitely worth going. I’m so glad I20161218_141522 had the opportunity to.

December 18th. I spent the morning with two friends from CAP, playing Cards Against Humanity and building a gingerbread house. After that, I visited a Santa in my hometown. It was sweet. Then I stayed home with Michelle’s kids so she and her 20161218_173111husband could go out for their six month wedding anniversary. It was my first gingerbread house ever… and yes that is a gingerbread man “chalk” outline.

December 19th. Michelle and I went shopping, and out to lunch at Olive Garden. It was very nice. Then I just hung out with her until my Civil Air Patrol meeting. I left really early so I could drive the route I used to drive since it would be my last CAP meeting for a while. After the meeting I went to Arby’s with two friends, and I had my 15628903_1314648875243002_462252621_ofirst ever roast beef sandwich. And then… at 11:26 pm… when I was driving home… I slid my car off the road. It was the most terrifying moment of my life, probably. Everyone had always told me how ridiculous the 711 was in the winter. The cones by the pole in the picture were there because they had just finished fixing it that morning. I was a doors length away. I was pretty sure I was going to slam into it and die… the pole was right by my door. I called 911… I had to get towed. Something was leaking and I was stuck. Alex came and picked me up… and I got home to Michelle’s at around 3 am. I couldn’t stop shaking. I didn’t know what would happen. I was scared…

December 20th. I woke up early and filed a claim about the accident. I called my insurance. I made sure the mechanics knew my car was there and what had happened. I was still incredibly shaken up. But, it was okay. I went to Walmart with Lauren, got McDonald’s that I was craving, and I got to spend time with another family friend. It was very nice.

December 21st. Alex and his girlfriend picked me up to drive me to Columbus, since I 20161222_001946couldn’t drive myself. I’m so thankful for them. They dropped me off at L’s, and I spent time with her and her son. I repacked all of my luggage. We had dinner at TGI Friday’s. I did some incredibly last minute shopping. But, it was nice. I got everything done. I spent time with her, and I still got to sleep. After making Christmas cookies, that is.

December 22nd. I woke up and took a bath. It was nice. I listened to the Moana soundtrack while using some fancy bubble bath from Bath and Body Works. Then L took me to the airport. There was a delay, so we had a fancy lunch at an airport bar & grill. It was really good. After that, I said goodbye. Or well… not goodbye. See you later.

I took my time going through security, and sat down at the gate. I talked to a 20161222_174736few people going to Fort Worth, Texas. They were pretty cool. When I boarded the plane to Philadelphia, I had an entire row to myself and I slept almost the whole time. I had a really cool flight attendant. Also, Philly is beautiful at night.

When we landed in Philly, I had about three hours to kill at the airport. I spent $40 on books and snacks. Oops. I went to my gate and sat down to play on my computer for the rest of the time.

Then, it was time to board my final plane, from Philly to Amsterdam. I was in a bad mood, and in boarding group 4. I was ticked because someone with a frequent flyer number 20161222_165746shouldn’t be in group 4, but whatever. I got over that really quickly. I got to my seat in row 32, and I was still grumpy. That again though, didn’t last long. Once I started talking to the people by me, I quickly discovered that this would be the best flight ever. To my right there was an 18 year old named Alexander. To my left, was a woman named Susan.

Susan slept the whole time, but Alexander and I talked for about 5 consecutive hours. Then we both napped. And talked more. It was by far my favorite airplane experience. Shout-out to Alexander for making that plane ride bearable.

So… yeah. That was the past month of my life in a word count of under 3,000.

Oh! I almost forgot! I was in charge of moving Michelle’s resident Elf on a Shelf, Snowflake. Here are my favorite few:

Lastly, good luck and thank you to Alex for once again taking bamboomy bamboo in and bamboo-sitting. You’re a great person.

Thank you to everyone who made my trip possible and enjoyable. All of my friends and adoptive family members… I love you. ♥

I’ll leave you with a quote from Moana- I took my post title from it, as well.

“There comes a day
When you’re gonna look around
And realize happiness is
Where you are”

Consider the coconut.

~E.♥

I did one of those “100 things about you” posts from Facebook.

The result? Probably being unfollowed on my blog, and boring a few readers to death. 

Well, here we go. I’ll put my responses in purple and bold.

  1. Are you named after someone? Not that I know of…
  2. When was the last time you cried? Oh goodness. Sometime this past week.  
  3. Do you like your handwriting? Yeah.
  4. Do you have freckles? I do indeed.
  5. What is your favorite lunch meat? I am not a fan of lunch meat… at all.
  6. Do you have any kids? Nope. I prefer to wait a decade or so longer.
  7. Do you use sarcasm? No, never. What’s sarcasm?
  8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yep, but not the adenoids.
  9. Would you bungee jump? Probably not, but skydiving is on my bucket list.
  10. What is your favorite cereal? Fruit Loops!
  11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Usually.
  12. Do you think you’re strong? It depends.
  13. What is your favorite ice cream? Strawberry Cheesecake from Katie’s Korner!
  14. What is the first thing you notice about people? How they act/behave. (Fidgety, etc.)
  15. Red or pink? Black.
  16. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself? I guess my acne. But what the heck kind of question is this? I want to think about stuff I like. Like my eyes. *cue empowerment*
  17. What was the last thing you ate? A mini cheese pizza.
  18. What are you listening to? The Offspring.
  19. If you were a crayon what color would you be? Black.
  20. Favorite smell? Thunderstorms.
  21. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? On the phone… that would’ve been a Cadet Advisory Council conference call.  
  22. Favorite sport to watch? Hmm… I wanted to be original, but I’m not. Probably soccer or football.
  23. What color is your hair? Like… 5 colors. My roots are like, brownish blonde (my natural color these days I guess) but the rest of my hair is this awkward faded red color.
  24. Eye color? Blue.
  25. Do you wear contacts? Some days. I prefer glasses.
  26. Favorite food? Dunkin Donuts’s Turkey Cheddar and Bacon comes close.
  27. Scary movies or happy endings? Ooooo, this is hard. Both. But if I had to pick, I guess toss me a happy ending.
  28. Last movie you watched? The Santa Clause 2.
  29. What color shirt are you wearing? Gray.
  30. Summer or winter? Summer.
  31. Hugs or kisses? Kisses.
  32. What is on your lock screen? A picture of a runway with a plane taking off that says “Take Me Away” in some pretty font.
  33. Last show you watched? I binge watched NCIS two nights ago.
  34. Favorite sound? Chords. Like, music chords. Mmmm.
  35. Rolling stones or Beatles? The Beatles all the way.
  36. What is the farthest you have traveled? Well, I mean, I’ve lived on two separate parts of the earth so there’s that.
  37. Do you have a special talent? I like to think I’m a half decent cornet/trumpet player.
  38. Where were you born? The Netherlands.
  39. Computer or Television? Computer all the way.
  40. What book are you currently reading? “Finders Keepers” by Stephen King.
  41. Any tattoos? Not… yet. 
  42. What color is your house? Brick-colored.
  43. What color is your car? It’s called “Reflex Silver” and is Volkswagen-specific.
  44. Do you have any pets? A cat named Ophelia. Past pets include Booplesnoot and Dwayne the Dwarf Hamsters- Cats Skittles, Shakespeare, Herbie, Mozart, and Rataplan- and Buckshot the Bunny.
  45. Mountain Hideaway or Beach House? Mountain Hideaway.
  46. What is on your mouse pad? The CyberPatriot logo on one, a dog on the other, and my mouse on the third.
  47. What is your earliest memory? My bear party when I turned five.
  48. What is your favorite alcoholic drink? Those darn Halloween Shots from the bar that night my friend from Berlin visited.
  49. What is your favorite vegetable? Spinach.
  50. Do you remember your first day at school? In America, yes.
  51. What is the worst exam result you remember ever getting? An F in Freshman Physics. And I got high-fived for it. That teacher was the best.
  52. How tall are you? I want to believe I’m 5’7” but I’ve always been 5’6″ and a half when I’m measured “professionally”.
  53. Can you swim? Like a fish.
  54. Who is your favorite movie actress? Natalie Portman.
  55. Who is your favorite movie actor? Christian Slater, Rami Malek, or Leonardo DiCaprio.
  56. Who is your favorite historical figure (been dead for at least 100 years)? Guy Fawkes.
  57. Who is your favorite superheroine? Does Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer count?
  58. Who is your favorite superhero? IRON MAN IRON MAN IRON MAN
  59. Can you name a female scientist other than Madame Curie? Absolutely. Grace Hopper. ♥
  60. Who is your favorite mythological god or goddess? Dionysus. It kinda just stuck after being assigned a project on him in 5th grade.
  61. What is the worst movie you have ever seen? Oh man, probably “VHS” or “VHS2”.
  62. What is the worst TV show you have ever seen? “1,000 Ways to Die”. I hate it.
  63. What is the worst book you have ever read? Probably anything I “read” for summer work in High School. Except for “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom (I sobbed).
  64. If you could go back in time to witness an historical event in person, what event would you want to see? Woodstock, in 1969.
  65. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Hawaii.
  66. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet? Samantha Christoforetti.
  67. If you could become famous for one thing, what would that thing be? Trumpet Performance.
  68. If you could meet any famous person who is dead, who would it be? Heath Ledger.
  69. Have you ever gotten any points on your driving license? That’s a negative, ghost rider. I’ve only ever been pulled over once; for a license plate light that was out.
  70. Have you ever bought alcohol or cigarettes while underage? I mean, alcohol is legal here at 16. That’s underage in America. But. Negative on the cigarettes. (I can barely breathe *without* smoke around. Hah).
  71. Where have you visited that you would like to go back to? Colorado.
  72. What is your favorite way to travel? Airplane, or by car if it’s close enough.
  73. What was the last computer game you played? War Thunder.
  74. What is your favorite movie? It changes weekly. I couldn’t even tell you, probably. Alice, Through the Looking Glass was pretty good. So is Stuart Little.
  75. What is your favorite book? That giant book of Shakespeare plays I own.
  76. What is your favorite song? Anything Blink-182. Or “Timber” by Ke$ha and Pitbull. Or “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics. There’s too many… oops.
  77. What is your favorite city? New York City. 
  78. Have you ever written a song? Yes. And I wrote it down on my bunk bed that’s taken apart now. I have pictures, though. 
  79. Have you ever written a poem? There’s a couple on this blog!
  80. Have you ever been a boy/girl scout? Nope. CAP is pretty awesome though.
  81. Have you ever written a book? I tried.
  82. What is your biggest pet peeve? Not paying attention to detail.
  83. Have you ever blown bubbles in your milk? No, I’m allergic to milk protein.
  84. Would you rather eat a Big Mac or a Whopper? Whopper. Given, there’s no tomato, pickles, ketchup, or onion.
  85. True or False: You would rather eat steak than pizza. It depends on the pizza or steak. Likely it would be False.
  86. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? Oh no… Not those memories…
  87. How did that turn out? I wore headbands for a year.
  88. If you could be any age, what age would you be? 21. Not because alcohol, because it seems you’d finally be treated like an adult.
  89. Have you ever gotten gum stuck in your hair? No, but I did get some on my favorite footie pajamas when I was younger and I was devastated.
  90. Do you ride roller coasters? Heck yeah.
  91. What’s your favorite carnival ride? That monster truck tire thing that rolls you upside-down.
  92. What is your dream car? A 1959 Volkswagen Bus, Type 2.
  93. If you were in a car sinking in a lake, what would you do first? Wait for the car to fill up with water, thanks MythBusters.
  94. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Yes, in Florida (at Disney nonetheless). I barely remember it because I was passing out, though. It was my Sophomore year of High School.
  95. Can you pick something up with your toes? Yep. I can also open doors with my feet.
  96. How many remote controls do you have in your house? Three.
  97. Have you ever fallen asleep in school? Sophomore US History taught me how to sleep with my eyes open.
  98. How many times have you flown in an airplane in the last year? In the past 365 days, I have been on 4 separate commercial airliners, and flown a Cessna and a glider.
  99. What’s your favorite number? 19.
  100. A quote to end on? “She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city” -Roman Payne

Well guys, that’s my “100 things about me”. Hopefully I wasn’t too boring :p

As always, thanks for being here.

Stay strong!

-E.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a scientific theory that states that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. This isn’t about something changing the universe, but this is about something changing me.

butterfly-6This past weekend from Thursday night to Sunday morning, I had a friend stay here with me. It was honestly the most amazing thing that could’ve happened when it happened. We’ll call the guest “F” for internet and privacy purposes. Before F arrived, I hadn’t had any human interaction with anyone my age in over a month. I met F through Civil Air Patrol; he was in my squadron during my basic encampment. We stayed in contact, and I knew he was studying in Berlin. I asked if he wanted to come visit, and he agreed.

F arrived Thursday night around 1800 by train. The minute I got to speak English to a friend, I knew this would be good for me. We drove around town a bit, showing him around. It was dark of course, but in my opinion still nice. After driving around, we went to a restaurant in town to eat. He tried fries with mayonnaise for the first time. Those darn uncultured Americans :p

After eating dinner, we went to my grandparents’ house and settled in for the weekend.butterfly-7

The next day, we woke up and went to get breakfast at a local bakery. He had a puddingbroodje (a.k.a.”roombroodje”) and I had a Deense krakeling. We went to the park to eat them, and afterwards rode bikes for about 12 miles. I showed him around in the daylight and we saw where they build the big cargo ships,  the street I lived on when I was younger, the house we are going to be living in, my brother’s school, the business district, and a few other things. We also went to a store by a local windmill.

After our bike trip, we ate a typical Dutch lunch. We had soup to start, and multiple types of bread were set up on the table with young and old cheese, Nutella, hageltjes (a Dutch bread topping, it’s very sweet and looks like sprinkles), butter, sausages, and some other toppings. Once we finished lunch, we went to go see the Fraeylemaborg.butterfly-4

The Fraeylemaborg is a small castle, if you will, that used to house the lords of the land in the 18th century. It’s a very cute building with lots of history- and some ridiculously steep stairs… For a house, of course. The main thing we got out of it was the fact that the tower isn’t centered *twitches *and my brother discovered a really awkward pole placement on the back of one of the statues. And of course it was very nicebutterfly-5 to see. There was SILVERWARE. Pardon the blurry picture and the fact that you don’t get the joke. But it was authentic silverware.

butterfly-3After the Fraeylemaborg, we went to a different windmill- one you could actually go inside. F got to move the blades and help the miller with doing windmill stuff, and we went all the way up to the top and saw the big gears and how the mill works, piece by piece. We also saw a bunch of little bugs that still haunt me. After that, we drove around and drove to Zuidlaren to show F where the Zuidlaardermarkt is. the Zuidlaardermarkt is a famous horse market that has existed since 1701 and happens on the third Tuesday every October. After that, we went to an Oliebollenkraam and ate oliebollen, a Dutch New Year’s snack that is essentially fried dough. When we came home, my butterfly-8grandma had made Nasi for dinner; an Indonesian rice dish. After eating, we played a few rounds of sjoelen, a Dutch game with wooden bricks and point values much like a miniature shuffleboard.

Saturday, the last full day F was here, my brother had a soccer game at 0900. They lost, but it was F’s first live soccer game, which was cool! I was honestly surprised that they played on the turf field, since this country is in the middle of a huge turf protest. It’s been though that the rubber pellets used on turf might cause lymphoma or leukemia, since they are essentially ground up tires. But, it hasn’t been scientifically proven.

After my brother’s soccer game, we went to the Markt (open air market) in our town. Here we got Vietnamese food; loempias and bapao, and ate them for lunch. F also got a piece of Dutch cheese for his family.

butterfly-2The days started to really feel productive; we were so active before noon! In the afternoon, we took the rest of the day to tour Groningen. We started by walking around the Markt there, known as the Grote Markt- which translates literally to “big market”. After the Markt, we made our way to the Martini Toren. The tower has a really cool history. Here’s a little snippet from Wikipedia:

The lighting of celebratory fires on the third gallery, after the departure of Spanish and Walloon troops in 1577, caused the tower to partially collapse. However, the remaining portion kept a height of 69 meters. In the 17th century the tower was repaired up to the current 97 metre height. Later the tower was damaged several times by natural violence and several wars. There is a bullet hole in one of the bells, a result of heavy fighting when the Canadian Forces liberated Groningen at the end of World War II.

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The tower was fun to climb and the views were amazing. F and I got to ring the bell, and the rope will literally pull you off the ground at least five feet. I was hesitant to do it at first, but I’m really glad I did. For me, the worst part about the tower was going back down; there was so much traffic. I guess it’s a good way to meet new people, as my mom put it. I’ve had enough steep stairs for this lifetime. Y’all can keep your spiral staircases, too.

After the tower, we walked around the busy streets of downtown Groningen. There were shops, bars, pubs, food places, hair salons, you name it. After a bit of walking, it was time for the boat tour! We rode a boat all around the canals of Groningen, and got to see many nice sights you wouldn’t really get to see anywhere else. The recording of the tour guide speaking in Dutch, German, and English quickly became very repetitive and annoying, and I was happy when it was quiet for a bit. It was really hard not to fall asleep on the boat, though. It was so calming and you were so close to the water. F and I started dozing off a bit.

After that, we went to Kattencafe Poeslief, which is a cat cafe. They serve coffee and let you play with cats. We arrived pretty close to their closing time, 1700, but they still let us in to play with the cats. It was so awesome. We still had to eat dinner somewhere, so to conclude our unbeleafably* fun day in Groningen, we ate at ‘t Pannekoekschip; the pancake ship. butterfly-9

Upon returning home, we played two games of Mens Erger Je Niet, and F won his first game. My brother won the second.

Some time later, we went out to a bar and afterwards went for a long walk through town. We walked around six miles, probably. One of the places we walked through was the park, where we came across a cat who really needed some attention. It meowed and followed us, so I picked it up and carried it through the park. It was adorable.

This weekend was incredible. I could not have asked for anything better, or anyone better to spend time with. It gave me so much appreciation for what is around me and in town here. It gave me such a will to travel and see the world. There really are no limits.

Go, live, and be happy.

-E. ♥

*Spelling is done on purpose to commemorate a leaf.

Oh right! I almost forgot to mention. The bar we went to was called “De Vlinder”, which translates to “The Butterfly”…

Countdown- 2 (the senior one).

TWO DAYS YO

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It’s Monday. On Wednesday, I’ll be 18. Yippee! (Right?) 

Yes, yes, I know in reality turning 18 *isn’t* such a big deal. A bunch of people have done it without some big fuss- and I feel like that’s why I’m blogging about it. I want it to be a big deal for me, so it’s something to do- something to remember. Over here in what my friend calls “the cave”, turning 18 isn’t some big milestone. You get to drink distilled alcohol and pay your own insurance (among other things). Side note: No wonder you are able to drink distilled alcohol, I might need it having to deal with all of this. Pass me the rum. Or something.countdown-0-3

So- senior year. What was senior year like?

Three words: “Stress“, “Music“, and “Senioritis“.

Stress because, well… High school. Music because dude, music became my life. I played in the Honors Band, Stambaugh Youth Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, a quintet, Tuba Christmas, my High School’s Wind Ensemble,  did a solo for a competition,  and participated in a Festival of Bands. I was also accepted into the School of Music at one of the leading music schools in the USA (whose admission I deferred, along with CU Boulder and another) and I received the Director’s Award at my Senior Spring Concert. Outside of everything I participated in, I loved going to local concerts. I was a regular at the W.D. Packard Band concerts, and I would occasionally attend community band concerts. My friend and I lived in the band room all school year. The office became our locker, our cafeteria (even though food or drinks weren’t allowed in the band room- district rules), and our place for hanging out. I’d often skip lunch to practice or re-organize things. We’d often pick what we played in class- and often were hated for it. My friend picked out a beautiful arrangement- To Tame The Perilous Skies– and no one could play it. We’d pick out our favorite pieces and bribe our director to play them. I got my Holst pieces, he got his Carnival of Venice solo. Lastly, “senioritis“. Likely, anyone tseniorhat is a high school senior or has been a high school senior can attest to this one. Senioritis is accurately described by this definition from Urban Dictionary, except for perhaps the clothing thanks to the dress code (and absences for me… I couldn’t afford to miss my AP classes).countdown-0-4

What else did I do my Senior year? Oh man, so much. I was the robotics team captain for the second (or third…ish?) year. I was a member of two new clubs at my school- the Speech and Debate team, and coding club. I did Congressional Debate, and I loved it. I wish I could’ve had more time to do it. I did the Bridge Building Competition, the Ohio Attorney General Teen Ambassador Board (which was absolutely amazing and I’d highly recommend to any High School Junior/Senior in Ohio), I was a thrower in Track and Field, throwing Shotput and Discus. That one was new for me, as I had traditionally been a distance runner in track. I was a volunteer at the local Vacation Bible School as well as Fellowship of Christian Athletes group leader. And of course, I was a member of Civil Air Patrol.

All within Civil Air Patrol, I was a Flight Commander and Cadet Commander at my squadron, Bravo Flight Sergeant (and Honor Flight Sergeant) at the 2015 OHWG Encampment, Team Co-Captain at the 2015 Cyber Defense Training Academy, Ohio Wing Conference Cadet Staff, and Cadet Advisory Council Group Primary Representative. I was awarded the Billy Mitchell Award, Squadron Cadet Officer of the Year, OHWG Cadet Officer of the Year, 910th Airlift Wing Armed Forces Day Awardee, and Commander’s Commendation. Upon graduating, I have been the 2016 D-Day Ohio Cadet Commander, Alpha Flight Commander (and Honor Flight Commander) at the 2016 OHWG Encampment, Cyber Defense Training Academy 2016 Staff and a student in the Advanced Course, and I have received the Amelia Earhart Award for promoting to Cadet Captain. I have flown a Cessna and a glider, and have been a member of my squadron’s CyberPatriot team. 

Senior year was pretty amazing. I do miss a few teachers, and I miss the familiarity of knowing what would happen every day (as I had forecasted in the yearbook) , but I absolutely don’t miss High School as a whole. I’m so glad I graduated.

Hang in there, y’all. 

-E. ♥

Countdown- 3.

3 days, guys!

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Boulder, Colorado.

Before starting this post, I changed the picture at least 4 times. I didn’t know what year to blog about. Tomorrow is senior pictures, and Tuesday is baby pictures (which, that is already done and scheduled to post at noon, EST). I started typing about Junior year, but then I realized I’d already blogged about junior year. I  blankly stared at the screen, and then my lock screen came on. “I got it!” I thought to myself.

12-15 October 2014, my mom and I took a trip to Boulder, Colorado. cu-buffsWe went with the goal of visiting my dream college- CU Boulder.  We visited the campus, and I fell more and more in love with the college by the hour. The food was amazing, both on and off campus. I’d absolutely recommend Half-Fast Subs to anyone looking to eat in Boulder.

I mainly visited the Engineering building and technology parts on campus, but I’m extremely glad we stopped in to see the Marching Band as well. I was able to talk with multiple students as well as someone I believe was the assistant director. The music program there is absolutely fantastic.

Aside from visiting the CU Boulder campus, I also visited a Civil Air Patrol squadron; the Vance-Brand Composite Squadron based out of Longmont, Colorado. At the time I was a C/SSgt, and I didn’t notice many cadets that were higher ranked than me. It was a nice squadron, and I even met a friend I still occasionally talk to. He always jokingly said I’d never outrank him, but *in CAP*– I do now. He’s in the Army now, which (quite obviously) still outranks me.

So yeah, Colorado was pretty friggin’ awesome. Although… someone should really notify the Rocky Mountains that they’re all uphill… that’s really non user-friendly (har har). I’d love to go back one day- and yes, I did get accepted to CU Boulder.

Keep climbing!

-E. 

Also, yes. I am aware that “Countdown- 4” does not exist. It, like “Countdown-9” will never exist.

Captain Phillips references and life

“Look at me, I’m the Captain now!” I show off to all my Civil Air Patrol friends. I send them a meme to go with it…

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Of course I had to post it here, as well. Why not? It’s an accomplishment I can be proud of. It’s something to keep me going. On Wednesday, 5 October 2016, I promoted to the grade of Cadet Captain in the US Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol. The grade of Cadet Captain, or C/Capt, comes with the Amelia Earhart Award. To pass this milestone, you have to take a written test on Aerospace and Leadership, as well as complete Staff Service and pass a PT test. Achieving this milestone places me in the top 5% of cadets statistically speaking, and my award number is 17515, making me the 17,515th cadet to obtain this award since its implementation. So, CAP has managed to give me motivation and happiness once again. I love the Civil Air Patrol so much, and it is such an amazing program for all ages. My squadron made me a poster, too. I framed it yesterday, and now it’s hanging above my bed.

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I love my squadron, and I miss them all the time. They’ve gotten me through so much. Civil Air Patrol has gotten me through so much. So… yeah. I’m alright right now.

Alright guys, fly above and beyond. Stay strong.

-E.

Cyber and San Antonio- The Ramblings

The 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy was a success. It may not have felt like it to me every day, but it absolutely was.

I can honestly say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into signing up for both the Cyberspace Advanced Course and staff. I thought it’d be simple, the cadets the year before made it look easy… right? Well, easy comes far from describing my week. Stressful, perhaps, but also not really. Let me begin with explaining all these pictures- and the stories along with them.

13569814_1133945366646688_1438685109_oThis picture to the left shows Simba sitting on what was my bed for the duration of the activity. To the right slightly below is a view the other way. Centered below is the female bay area, with my bed being the one with the giant red suitcase in the front. It was quite the comfortable place to sleep my approximate 4 hours a night once we got air conditioning.

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Below this text is a photo of the male barracks. There were more males than females, and this is only half of the beds the males used. There were about 50 beds in the male bay alone, and I know this because I did their bunk assignments. Thanks guys!
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And finally, this last picture is the lovely “tattoo” I got from a fellow staff member. I guess the friendships were near the top of the “best things of the week” list.

 

Now to continue on with my rambling about the Cyber Defense Training Academy…

Every day, including the staff training days, started off with PT. We would run a mile, or do the CPFT (Cadet Physical Fitness Test), or do some other horrific exercise like duck walks to the point where half of the cadets could barely walk the rest of the week. I may or may not have been included in the half that couldn’t walk… Oh well, what matters (to me, anyway) is that I was able to breathe while running the mile down in Texas (whoa) and I took two minutes off my time. I very much can confirm this map is very accurate in its representation of climates. death

We then would go to breakfast- I’d eat almost the same thing every day. Two hard boiled eggs with a pound of salt each (to feed my sodium deficiency!) and french toast. But, my dietary habits are for another time… or not. It isn’t too interesting. Other than the fact that I ate a corn dog and fries for dinner every day this year and last and I really want a corn dog and fries right now. I need to get my mind off of food… So. After that we’d go to the classroom and learn. The Familiarization Course would go to some secure facility I probably couldn’t name even if I remembered it, and we went to the IPSecure Building on base. The chairs were really comfortable, and we learned about Cisco Networking and encryption all week. The first day we actually got to “play” with the switches, which was really fun. It was stressful though, and my quiz scores weren’t up to my standards. The second day when I got my score back, I actually cried because I did so… not okay… according to myself. With lots of comfort from my friends and fellow staff, I made it. I got a 94% on my final, which was still one of the highest final grades.

I learned. Not just about Cisco, or computers, but about myself. On Day 0, the commandant gave a speech. He said something along the lines of “everybody fails, and you learn from your failures”. Not going to lie, I kind of blew that off. Until about day 4, that is. My scores started improving. I connected with my team. I got more sleep. I realized… without completely crashing and failing those first few days, and trying to push myself past exhaustion… I wouldn’t have found where I should’ve been. Because I failed, I learned and grew. For a long time, I’d been afraid of failure. I was always afraid that I’d be letting someone down, that I’d be letting myself down. Yes, striving for excellence is key, but sometimes it’s okay to fall flat on your face. Because that’s when you learn to get back up and brush it off, to keep smiling, and completely dominate in whatever you’re doing.

So, yeah. The 2016 Cyber Defense Training Academy was a success. It may not have felt like it to me every day, but it absolutely was.

-E.