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! 

When Did This Happen?

Leadership and followership are words that have been a large part of my life since February 2014. When I attended my first Civil Air Patrol meeting in January of that year, I was absolutely terrified. Petrified, even. The only thing I knew was what my friend who “recruited” me had told me the alternate uniform was- a black shirt, jeans, and a belt. A belt? I didn’t have a belt. I borrowed a belt from my neighbor for that night. I had to fill out a form about why I was interested in CAP, and how I found out about it. I answered “I’ve always been interested in airplanes, and am planning to go into aerospace engineering. I think this would be a great opportunity to meet new people and learn new things that could potentially benefit me in that field as well as in life”. I went into the day nervous, but excited. That night, my mom drove me to the base where the meeting was. Building 113. We have to find building 113. We found it, and went inside. We were a few minutes late, but that was no issue at all.

I walked inside and was ushered into a small room to the left by a guy in a blue uniform. He looked incredibly intimidating, and I was so nervous still. My mom and I were forced to sit up front, since everyone else filled in from the back. A Power Point was shown about the Civil Air Patrol. I was nervous- but excited. I wanted to learn how to fly. I wanted to travel the world with that one program no one remembered the acronym for. I wanted to be like the girl standing against the wall, the one that was clearly in charge. She was blonde, and wearing little circles on her shoulder. I knew that meant she had to be pretty high-up, since everyone else I had seen was wearing something on their collar.

The cadets took my class- a group of myself and six others out of the smaller room into the large room across the hall, where all the other cadets were. In my class, there were four other girls and two guys. One girl was wearing heels and a lot of makeup, and seemed to not want to be there at all. The other people all seemed to know what was going on, either because of prior family being in Civil Air Patrol or military knowledge. One girl stood out to me, because she did incredibly well. The instructors- a female cadet second lieutenant and two male cadet chief master sergeants- lined us up in a line and started explaining drill to us. We started with a right face. Then a left face. And finally, an about face.  I was next to the girl wearing heels and she grabbed me so she didn’t fall over. She mumbled something along the lines of “I hate this”. I wondered to myself why she was there if she hated it so much.

The weeks progressed and the girl with the heels stopped showing up. We did activities like memorizing the cadet oath, and learning the ribbons and insignia. I had a lot of trouble, so I went home and made my own flash cards to study. One girl was doing very well, and I remember wishing I was her. She was athletic and smart- the opposite of how I felt when I was there. I befriended her, and she quickly turned into my first friend in the Civil Air Patrol. At the end of the training period of six weeks, we “graduated” into the Civi Air Patrol. Everyone but me from my class already had their first promotion. I was a cadet airman basic, while they got airman insignia pinned on. I was a little discouraged at first, but quickly saw it as a challenge. The athletic girl and I would race each other to promotions, and eventually were neck in neck.

We both went to encampment holding the rank of cadet airman first class. At encampment, a girl from my squadron who usually taught aerospace lessons was my squadron’s executive officer. She had led the class about model rocketry just weeks before encampment. She was a cadet major, and she was everything I wanted to be. I knew major was a high rank, and she was serious and seemed to know everything. I looked up to her. I also looked up to my flight sergeant. She was a chief, and she was exactly what I wanted to be. Calm, collected, and smart.

When I came back from encampment, I had made many new friends. I’d race them instead of the athletic girl- who seemed to have a different attitude after encampment. She ended up leaving the Civil Air Patrol not long after. I met Kat at that encampment, and we’re still incredibly close today.

I held various positions at my home squadron- things like element leader and flight sergeant; even public affairs NCO. There was always someone I looked up to; someone I wanted to be like. Time progressed, and I attended two more encampments. I attended three national activities (okay, it was the same one that I attended thrice). I moved up on my squadron’s staff- even holding the position of cadet commander briefly before moving to Europe in 2016. I was active in the state- starting out on the cadet advisory council as a representative, then eventually being voted Vice-Chair. I represented the entire Wing to the Great Lakes Region on the Cadet Advisory Council.

This year, I am the Chairman of the Cadet Advisory Council. I am the Cadet Deputy Commander for Operations at Encampment. It’s my second run as Cadet Commander of my squadron. Somehow, I became the person I used to look up to. When did that happen? I don’t remember a big change. I don’t remember waking up one day saying “okay, people are going to look up to me now”. But yet- they do. There is at least one cadet that I know of for sure that looks up to me, and I find that the weirdest concept.

I’m that major that knows what she’s doing to some people, and I find that amazing. I have the opportunity to be an influence to people’s lives. I have the opportunity to be the reason they keep learning. That’s such a great responsibility, and I won’t let people down.

I no longer want to be an aerospace engineer like I originally thought when I signed up for this wild ride called Civil Air Patrol. But through Civil Air Patrol, my love for all things cyber flourished. Participating in CyberPatriot showed me what I want to do. Through CyberPatriot, that guy that was so intimidating that first night quickly became a friend and mentor- someone I’d often end up going to for advice.

Coming up on 4 years in the Civil Air Patrol this February, looking back at everything I’ve done is almost unbelievable. Quiet, shy, young cadet me always dreamed of attaining the Spaatz award one day. On average, only five cadets in one thousand earn the Spaatz Award. Since the award’s inception in 1964, Civil Air Patrol has presented the Spaatz Award to only 2103 cadets nation-wide (as of today).

Now, that seems attainable.

If I attend a region cadet leadership school or go to cadet officer school, I can get my Eaker- that’s cadet lieutenant colonel. I’m planning to go to Michigan’s RCLS this summer after encampment. After that, I can test for Spaatz. It’s never felt closer. It’s never felt more attainable. I know it won’t be easy, but it’s finally hit me that this goal might actually be something I can do. That with everything I’ve learned, I am good enough. I have accomplished a lot. Am I still learning? Absolutely.

I’d always struggled with self-confidence, something that time and time again was mentioned to me at form 50 interviews and things like that. I think I finally get it. I think I’m finally confident in myself, confident in what I’ve learned, and confident in what I can do.

So here’s to Civil Air Patrol, and the 2 and a half years I have left as a cadet!

The Bells Were Ringing Out…

For Christmas Day! 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.🎄

My Story on the Web: Audio Story

Hey y’all! So, as you all know by now, I’m in college! (whoa? what? really?)

For one of my classes, “My Story on the Web” we had to use Adobe Audition to create an audio story… and I’m super proud of the end result. while you can view all my work for that class on “She Became a Mountain Lion” (yes, that’s an iOS pun), I’m posting what I submitted for my audio story here, too. Enjoy!

Civil Air Patrol… The official United States Air Force Auxiliary. I started out working on this project by brainstorming words that describe the Civil Air Patrol and asking others what words came to mind about Civil Air Patrol. Together, we put together a long list of near fifty words to include “honor”, “patriotism”, “leadership”, and many more. At my Squadron’s CyberPatriot competition, the Air Force Association’s Cyber Defense Competition, I asked our members to say these words and I used my iPhone to record them. The result was an approximately seven second long audio clip from nine different CAP members of their words. I compiled these into Adobe Audition, and split every word apart to the smallest audio clip it could be with the razor tool, to avoid any flow interruptions. The hardest process for me was ordering the words into a sequence that not only sounded and flowed well, but made it sound like a continuous string of people saying words- not one person saying all of their words, and so on. To begin, I gave every person their own track in the mixdown. I then spread out the words so that it looked almost like a staircase, one person saying their word, then tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9… then back to track one for the next cycle. When this was finished and I was happy, I added my music. Keeping in mind the Creative Commons and Copyright laws, I found multiple songs I thought would work under my story collage. Eventually, I settled on an excerpt from “The Sands of Windhoek” by Art of Escapism. Finding where in the song I wanted to begin was also hard, because I did not start playing the music from the beginning. Once settled on this, I added a track 10 and made this the music track. This was then my draft audio story. I knew I still had to do something. All those words may not mean a lot to someone, and it was hard to stay attentive even for me, the creator of the story.
Time came for peer critiques, and something I hadn’t thought of myself was said by one of my peers. “I liked the variety of people you used and all the different roles they play. It really shows how vast the field of work is”. I really liked this viewpoint because, as a CAP member, you realize all the things that happen. It took a non-CAP member to point out to me that CAP indeed has such a vast span of programs and training opportunities, and this was my goal with this audio story. To show what the Civil Air Patrol is.

I added a small narration on my part, importing my draft as an MP3 file and working over that. I said short statements, adding more substance to the words to explain my direction. I introduced Civil Air Patrol as the US Air Force Auxiliary, stated that we have three missions, asked what it means to you, and gave a closing that flowed with the outro of the music, fading out. I asked for feedback from my fellow CAP members before settling on a final story.

Once I was happy with the small edits and re-recording myself saying “emergency services” multiple times, I was actually very happy with the end result. I hope you enjoy!

We are the members of the Civil Air Patrol.

~E.

In the cold November rain…

So, never mind the darkness… We still can find a way…
‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever… Even cold November rain…

November

Sitting in class this morning, it’s the regular four of us that actually show up. Listening to Latvian music and running my name through Google in multiple different forms in preparation for an assignment in my next class. I should probably study for my second Computer Science midterm next week. We’ll get there.

October was pretty great, finishing off happily riding the Haunted Loop and reflecting on Halloweens past in my last post. I turned 19 and celebrated with my roommate and her family and some of our friends. Andrew came up as well, making it super great. I also want to give Alex a huge shout-out for being the coolest and best best friend ever.

The month was great, but how were my goals? Ehhh…

  1. Be healthier. Eat less carbs and less dairy. Work out more. I… ran like… a few times? I eat much less dairy, but pizza and chocolate are so good… I wish I could cut out dairy completely but I just don’t have that ability right now… I really should…
  2. Save money. I budgeted for November on Monday and I am confident I can save more money than I have in the past. I have a good grasp of what I spend money on now, how much I make, and how much is the difference. We’re getting there.
  3. Sleep more. I am sort of sleeping more. The past few days I’ve been getting to bed by 12:30, and I really like that. I’ve been sleeping decently and waking up at 7:45ish naturally.
  4. Find a routine. I am working on this one, and it may be what I struggle with the most. It’s interesting living with someone else to find what works for you. 

Alright, it’s time to walk to my second class of the day. I’ll be back!

Aaaaaand I’m back, coming at you from Kent State Univeristy’s White Hall. Still wearing my hat and scarf because KENT WHY IS IT SNOWING OUTSIDE? Happy November, y’all. Let’s set some goals, shall we?

  1. Keep an eye on my finances and be smart about it.
  2. Finish my online course early (because the weekends are great when there’s nothing to do)
  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.
  4. Be more organized. This continues off of finding a routine.
  5. Apply for scholarships. Tuition is a little important.
  6. Keep a close eye on what I eat and when I eat.

Real quick interruption of our regularly scheduled programming: I just got to wear a Microsoft HoloLens and I never ever thought I’d enjoy that that much. Virtual Reality is so neat! Everybody is really enjoying it, it’s definitely a cool experience for the class. Have I mentioned how cool this professor is? He’s so focused on pushing us to explore our interests and it’s the greatest thing. So many students don’t like him, and to be honest, I don’t really understand why. Anyway, back to our scheduled blogging.

But yeah, those are my November goals. I may already be working on goal #3 because I just scheduled a flight for Tuesday. I’m super excited.

I’m going to eat my lunch now and head to my last class of the day, then I have work and CyberPatriot. It’ll be a good day. I’m not too tired, eating three meals a day has done me very well, and it’s helping me keep track of how I feel when. Health is a strange thing.

Alright, off to class I go. Have a great November, everyone!

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

~E.

To those that doubted me… The Ninth Month.

september5

Dear __________________,

You didn’t think I could do it, did you? You didn’t believe in my ability to kick ass in school and have a good future. You never believed in me and it shows very clearly now. You were always worried about your own selfish things. You never helped me when I asked for help.

Guess what though? I made it. I just began a new chapter in my life; college.

You may be thinking “okay, that’s not a big deal”– but I’d like to take a moment and tell you that yes: college is a big deal. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 41.89% of people aged 25 and over in the United States have a Bachelor’s Degree, while 88.31% have high school diplomas or a GED.

Anyway, enough statistics. The first week of college was freaking amazing.

My goal for August was “Whatever you do, do it with passion and to the best of your ability”. Heck yes. Just.. yes. School is awesome. I love the buses and the professors and the classes and just… everything about it.

I’m back in the country now, to stay for a while. It’s time to work on my future, to get that degree. And I’m going to kick some ass.

OH AND HEY I’M A CADET MAJOR IN CIVIL AIR PATROL NOW SO THAT’S REALLY COOL. Okay? Okay.

Here’s to an amazing September, an amazing first month as an independent adult (it’s a little scary food costs a ton send help). Do I have a goal? I guess so. No fast food every day.  No.. but really…

My goal for September is to get amazing grades, get a good job, and establish myself. I can do this, and it’s going to be amazing. Sorry it’s a kind of short post this month, and I know I still owe you a seal post- it’ll happen. I promise (my boyfriend is going to make me make it happen).

Have a great month, guys.

Savor the moments, stop to smell the roses.

~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. 

“Have you blogged yet this month?”

A question I’ve been asked multiple times. “Why haven’t you blogged?” or “IT’S ALMOST AUGUST”. Well, here we go, July’s post- possibly with minimal effort.

Image result for july

The last post I made was in June, when I did a May recap… and I promised I’d blog all about Lauren’s trip to the Netherlands. I jokingly said it’d be a week after June 13th, but even that didn’t happen. It’s now a month later… and here are some highlights!

IMG_0318.PNG

May 23rd Lauren and I got off the plane (since the last update I gave was us getting on the plane…)

Honestly, I’m going to go into generalizations for now. We slept a lot, and some days we were just lazy. So I’ll talk about the big things.

We went to the market on Saturdays and introduced Lauren to loempias and baopao. I still eat it every Saturday, and I’m about 99% certain she misses the food more than anything. She also tried the Dutch style fries, frikandel, kroket, bitterballen, eirbal, and she really liked the kaassoufle. We took her to the Pancake Ship in Groningen too, and that was an awesome time.

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Lauren modeled for me so I could work on my photography, she went to band practices with me, and also attended my band concert on the island of Schiermonnikoog with my family and I. We walked in the North Sea- until it started raining on us. Even then it was still amazing.

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We hid ducks, went for bike rides, introduced her to my great-grandmother who is 92 years old, and eventually got back onto a plane on June 13th.

 

During all this time, my car once again decided it didn’t want to work; the right rear spring completely breaking in half. Lauren took me down to Columbus to get my uniforms and clothing in preparation for the Cyber Defense Training Academy.

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I saw my bamboo, and got a good night’s sleep in Columbus. In the morning, my boyfriend picked me up and we went to CoSi.

WAIT WAIT WAIT What? Did I just say boyfriend? Yessir, I did. That’s a thing that happened in May, too. (Whoa, he wasn’t even mentioned in the last post? Nope…) His name’s Andrew and he’s pretty cool. He’s a sweetheart.

So, yeah. CoSi was pretty awesome. The planetarium was absolutely my favorite part. *cough* Pluto is a planet *cough*. We saw Kat that day too, because she stopped by to bring me my ABU cover. I missed her so much, oh my goodness.

On June 16-18th, the Thunder over the Valley air show happened. It was my second time helping at the YARS Air Show as a Civil Air Patrol cadet, and it was fantastic.

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I acted as cadet commander: coordinating teams, ensuring everyone is safe and well taken care of, as well as taking photos.

The left photo was taken by me of the Calypso Pass done by the USAF Thunderbirds #5 and #6; Solo and Opposing Solo. On Friday, I had the incredible opportunity to meet the Thunderbirds.

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On the right, USAF Thunderbirds Commander Lt Col Jason Heard (Thunderbird #1) signs a fellow cadet’s pilot logbook.

Thunder Over the Valley was an incredible experience this year, from meeting the Thunderbirds, working directly with USAF Security Forces, and running through a downpour to make sure all cadets were inside, to trying to balance it with Relay for Life of Poland the night before. Yes, I attended Relay for Life and got a solid four hours of sleep. I also absolutely ate three Arby’s roast beef sandwiches. The cravings were real.

I did a photoshoot for a friend, I ate Dunkin, I slept, I went to CAP and CyberPatriot, and that was my week before CDTA. Of course, I have to give Preston Volkswagen a quick shout-out for letting me get Papa John’s Pizza delivered to the dealership as I sat there waiting to hear back about my money pit *ahem* car.

Then… The 2017 Cyber Defense Training Academy, Maryland Campus.

On June 23rd, I finally was able to put a face to the names- and the voices I’d spent countless hours talking to via conference calls. On June 23rd, the best week of my life was about to begin.

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. New people. New facility. New location of the CDTA. Everyone was a little unsure- but we all had a common goal: to train an upcoming generation of cyber warriors. We would let nothing get in the way of this goal. We had some mishaps. We had some miscommunication. At the end of the day however, we all came together and laughed. Senior and cadet staff alike.

From June 23rd to July 1st, I had the incredible experience of serving as the Cadet Commander for the Maryland Campus of the Cyber Defense Training Academy, Civil Air Patrol’s #2 most applied to National Cadet Special Activity. At the end of the week, we graduated 51 new Cyberspace Familiarization Course students, and I could not be more proud of them.

I, of course, didn’t do it alone. I had an amazing group of staff; cadet and senior, that supported me every step of the way.

Waking up every morning and seeing the NSA, spending hours among nerds and learning new things, gaining leadership experience, my soap, the Scepter for the Septic, sharks and minnows, ER Flight, spreadsheets, radios, pillows, mopping, beautiful sunsets, Colonel panic, geofilters, cowsay, eating chocolate with the girls on a washing machine, and Cleveland-sized groundhogs were all just a few moments and memories that made the week an amazing one. Here are a few photos!

 

So yeah, CDTA was amazing. Thank you to everyone who made CDTA-MD 2017 an amazing, memorable experience.

After CDTA, I slept. I needed sleep, man. Like. 16 straight hours plus the drive home.

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On July 3rd, I did a photoshoot for a six month birthday. It was a fantastic experience, and I learned so much. Kamry is an absolutely beautiful baby girl, and her family was great to work with.

I designed the basket she’s laying in to the left by myself, and I was so proud of it. The flowers and fabric matched her outfit gorgeously.

I spent the Fourth of July in Conneaut, first with WWII Higgins Boats (I love D-Day Conneaut perhaps a little too much) and then at the beach, swimming and tanning (okay, so I actually took a nap and got a little darker). It was a perfect day. I took a panorama of the beach, and I’ll do the same during D-Day Conneaut this year. I am the Public Affairs Officer in Charge, and I’m so incredibly excited. Kat is Cadet Commander and I can’t wait to see where the activity goes this year. Also, The Fourth of July is my mom’s birthday, so hey hey happy birthday to her!

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July 5th I got on a plane and came back to the Netherlands, where I am now. I’ve done lots of rabbit cuddling, and I even went to Germany with my grandparents on a trip to take photos of FC Groningen’s training camp. I even worked out (and am working out) consistently for the first time in my life. High school track doesn’t count.

It’s been a good month. I’m an SDA and a month away from becoming a Cadet Major in the Civil Air Patrol. I’m a month away from starting college and my major. I’m so excited for all these changes coming up in my life. Leaving my family will suck like heck, but I’m pumped to be the first on my family to go to college, to be the first with a degree.

So hey. Let’s review those goals I set last month. I definitely explored more, and I even had to speak German! I tried new things (like speaking German). Not giving a shit what people think is a work-in-progress, but it’s going better. Photography… yeah, I met that goal. Let’s keep it going! Lastly, be the best person I can be for others. I think I met this goal. I wrote that when I was super tired and in all honesty I’m not sure what I exactly meant with it. How I’m interpreting it now, I met that goal.

New goals? Hmmm.

  1. Blog in a timely manner
  2. Keep working out
  3. Sleep

There we go. Nice and simple. Maybe. Let’s see if I actually blog on August 1st this time. It’d be my first “on-time” post in a month. #Goals.

The rest of July is going to go by so fast, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. But I’m going to have a kick-ass rest of the month, and I hope you do to!

Take every chance, drop every fear.

~E.♥

Whoa, we’re halfway there.

Yes, I really hope you sang that title out loud. But we all know the real reason I’m blogging. It’s a new month, and I said I’d set goals every month. So, we’re 6/12 of the way through the year- why stop now? Let’s do this.

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First, I’ll give a summary of what I’ve been up to this past month. I had said I had some big travel plans, and never elaborated on that. Well- let’s do that now.

May 13th I traveled to the United States. I flew in to Pittsburgh, and I slept a solid 16 hours after landing. The plane didn’t fall out of the sky or anything, so there’s that. 20170513_121347.jpg

May 14th I didn’t do a whole lot. I slept, and I think I ate Dunkin. I really don’t remember much, actually. OH! And I hung out with Ky almost all day. It was great. We went to the lake and chased seagulls.

May 15th  I had Civil Air Patrol in the evening, and KJ and I participated in an Emergency Services class as the people needing rescue. It’s a recurring theme for me, since I’m not actually active in ES. Afterwards I went to Wendy’s with some CAP friends and got my bamboo from Alex (and I didn’t crash my car this time- ha).

May 16th I had my chiropractor appointment, and it was heavenly. I got my usual Panera after as well, so yeah- it was a great morning.

20170516_120952.jpgI acted as tech support for the family friend I was staying with, took him to Best Buy, got a free replacement computer, and watched Best Buy get robbed. It was an interesting time. Some dude just walked out with a laptop, and got into a getaway car. Lit. (Did I just say “lit”? I did. Gross?). I Screenshot_2017-05-16-19-29-06also went on a date that night- we went fishing and it was super cool. I caught a tiny little baby fish. AND I TOUCHED THE FISH. GUYS, I TOUCHED THE FISH. LOOK AT THE CUTE FISH. Okay, I’m good now. Maybe. FISH.

May 17th I met a friend for coffee, then drove to Columbus. I had to stop at Lodi and pour water over my face because it was so hot, but I made it in one piece. Yay! At night, I attended the Big Table with L and had amazing discussions with members of the community in and around Columbus. Shout-out to Donato’s for hosting the event.

May 18th I spent the morning with L, and did laundry. In the evening, I headed to the Dublin Embassy Suites to assist setting up for the 2017 Great Lakes Region/Ohio Wing Conference, for Civil Air Patrol. I can proudly say I stapled all 350-something banquet pamphlets. I never want to staple anything again in my life. The hotel though, was beautiful. What the cadet exec staff (myself and two other C/Captains) dubbed “the nest” had the best view of all. IMG_0075It was a gazebo-type-thing and it overlooked the lobby and atrium of the hotel. After setting up and endless stapling, I went to eat with two Lieutenants from the planning staff. We went to a chicken place called Raising Cane’s, and honestly, it was great.

May 19th I met L’s granddaughter, and she’s pretty great. She’s only four years younger than me, and so much like me. I showed her Tonight by Seether because she was going through a tough time. I spent the morning with her and L. In the evening, I went to Chick-fil-a with my fellow Cadet Execs and prepared for the conference. Registration opened at 1800 and we welcomed CAP members from all across the Region.

May 20th in the morning, the time had come. Eight months of planning and stress. Last minute phone calls and preparations. C/Capt K.S. was Brigadier General Myrick (the CAP National Vice Commander)’s escort, and it was amazing. The Learning Labs went great. All aspects of the conference within our jurisdiction ran smoothly and honestly, all the stress and planing paid off. In the evening, was the banquet. IMG_0137It was time for my Great Lakes Region Honor Guard to come to life. It was such an honor to coordinate the POW/MIA Ceremony, with one cadet from each Wing in the Region on the Honor Guard. Myself and Col Rosenberg, Region Vice Commander for Support read the script. We remember. Lastly, I was named Ohio Wing Cadet of the Year. It was such an amazing honor.

May 21st was the final day of the conference, with only our Cadet Advisory Council meeting scheduled for OHWG Cadets. Yours truly overslept and was about fifteen minutes late; but hey- they waited for me. Perks of being the Vice Chair? Heh. Overall, it was an incredibly productive and amazing conference. After the CAC meeting, we cleaned up the hotel, and I went to eat at Max & Erma’s with the same LT’s from the planning committee as on the 18th. It was amazing. Man, that burger was great. I then slept… until I had a planning call for the Cyber Defense Training Academy, that is. No, planning never ends. It’s hard to believe it’s less than a month until CDTA Maryland. I’m so stoked to be the Cadet Commander.

May 22nd I drove to Kent from Columbus and met with my advisor at KSU. I was able to schedule my classes for the fall and I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED. Ya girl is a Digital Sciences major, yo. Kent State is a beautiful campus and I couldn’t be more pumped to be a student there. Now to work out the little logistical details… yanno, like where I’m going to live. Hashtag no big deal. From Kent, I drove to my squadron’s weekly CAP meeting. I was recognized as OHWG Cadet of the Year, and I took a bunch of pictures. It was a cool meeting. It was a great day and night.IMG_0293

May 23rd I stopped at my brother’s old school and gave his class photos we took with him and his class before he left, and everyone was so excited to see me. Then, Lauren and I got on a plane. Yep, that’s right. Lauren and I are in the Netherlands right now. That’ll be a separate post, though. So far, it’s pretty great. We’re here until June 13th, so look for a post around then! //or knowing myself, a week later…

So, that was trip number one to the US of A. I’ll be going back in June until 5 July, mainly for the Cyber Defense Training Academy. Oh, and yeah, my car got fixed. 20170517_180255The body work on it is getting done as we speak… I’ll try not to hit black ice again. That wasn’t fun. Nope.

So, after reading this, you can make a few assumptions about my May goals. For instance, goal number 1 (starting the process of getting my Dutch driver’s licence) did NOT happen. But, I’m calm, happy, organized, and exploring.

So yeah, May was awesome. But… June Goals? Let’s think of something. Hmmm…..

  1. EXPLORE MORE
  2. Try new things
  3. Don’t live how others think you should. Explained: don’t give a shit what people think. (I guess this kind of ties into 2017 Goal 1)
  4. Photography!
  5. Be the best person I can be for others.

June is about to be great. Super great. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to blog, but I’ll be sure to come back and tell you all about it.

Follow your heart and make yourself happy.

-E.

2017 Goals, Part Uno.

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

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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.♥