A Lion’s First Quarantine

What a time we’re living in right now! It’s March 2020, and three months into this year it’s already been insane. Australian Wildfires, we lost NBA Star Kobe Bryant, and now the Coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

My, how my life has changed since last year. I’ve only blogged once since March 2019, and I do miss it. I’ve just been so insanely busy. I guess I’ll do a quick recap.

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October – I took the Spaatz Exam for Civil Air Patrol the second and third time. I passed everything but PT, and ended my cadet career on my 21st as a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. While the feeling was disappointing, I am so proud of how far I’ve come. Also in October, I attended the Alpha Lambda Delta National Conference in Niagara Falls. It was over my birthday weekend, and it was amazing to be in one of my favorite places on earth. I also got to volunteer as FTAA at the Curiosity Open off-season robotics event, something I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from.

November – In November, I coordinated the first Orientation Flights for the cadets at my squadron ever. It was a really good feeling as a brand new Senior Member to do something the cadets wanted, that no one else would do for them.  I also volunteered as a Core Values Judge at a FIRST Lego League tournament, and it was so much fun. Last, I went back to counseling. After at least five years of swearing it off, I made the leap to go back. It’s been… nice.

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December – December brought an end to the Fall 2019 semester, and I once again finished on the Dean’s List. I went to a work bowling party, and had a really nice time. It was the first time I’d ever been into a bar, and I guess it wasn’t too bad. It was kind of dak and sticky, but enjoyable enough. Disclaimer, I’m no fun; I volunteered to be the designated driver. Yeah yeah, your resident 21 year old isn’t huge on alcohol.

I spent the rest of December with my family in the Netherlands. It was amazing to see them again. 

IMG_20200104_143818January – In January, my second season as lead coach of an FRC team officially began. With Kickoff on January 4th, a new build season was underway. The Spring 2020 semester began on January 13th, and I started some classes I was really anxious about. January consisted of lots of robotics meetings, lots of work, and school. I also volunteered as a Robot Inspector at the FIRST Tech Challenge Kent Qualifier. I learned so much here, and gained so much confidence.

February – February started off with a military ball with my lovely boyfriend. We got dressed up, had good food, and danced a bit. It was a great night. The next day, we rescued three guinea pigs, that needed to travel to The Pipsqueakery. We babysat them until the early hours of the morning, and they were absolutely adorable.

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February continued the roll of lots of work, school, and robotics. On February 16th, I decided to get into volunteering with a local rescue called Oshie’s Tail Wagon Rescue. They specialize in transporting dogs out of kill-shelters. I transported an amazing senior German Shepherd named Marley. Sadly, my beloved Volkswagen Jetta, Sven, decided that it was done being a car that day. Lots of panic and waiting later, I was towed back home. I spent the next two and a half weeks without a car.

IMG_20200216_131346That didn’t stop me from doing all the things I love, though. I started attending the Kent Citizen Police Academy, an amazing course to learn more about the local police department, police processeses, law, and more. I got to tour AT&T’s central office in Cleveland. I also attended Kent State’s production of the musical “Parade”. It was an amazing musical and story.

February concluded with the Miami Valley Regional. Attending a week one regional for the second year in a row proved to be tricky. It was almost like being rookies again for myself and fellow coach Dave, running the team without a teacher. While we finished very low and definitely had some hurdles to overcome, it didn’t stop the students from learning a lot. Their enthusiasm returned, and they talked to other teams and focused on the future.

It was also a leap day, which I guess is cool.

MVIMG_20200310_081645March – Here we are now. The first week of March I bought a new car! Yay adulting. It’s a Buick Encore Premium. She’s got all wheel drive, turbo fancy things, heated everything, working air conditioning, a backup camera… yeah. I’m lucky. I love her. I still own Sven, and I’m putting off dealing with that shenanigan. Am I too attached to that car? Entirely possible. Oops. We also had a Game Night for robotics, where middle school students spent time with us playing board games and learning about the robot. It was entirely planned by the students, and was a huge success!

The week of the 8th is when everything got weird. Daylight Savings Time began. On Monday, a great thing happened though! My boyfriend was notified he received word that his dream would be coming true- he was selected to be a pilot in the US Air Force. Boy, am I proud of him. On Tuesday, all classes were cancelled and were moved online until April 13th. On Thursday, it was announced that classes would be online for the rest of the semester. Then came Friday the 13th. It was probably the most uneventful of the days.

Since then, everything has been canceled. It’s like life came to a grinding halt. FIRST canceled both Houston and Detroit championships, and postponed every other event. The Citizen Police Academy was canceled. Doctors appointments are online now, for the most part. Grocery stores have weird opening times. People stocked up on food and toilet paper, the shelves in the stores are empty. Mail should be quarantined. Lots of people are jobless and applying for unemployment. We’re under a stay at home order from Governor Mike DeWine. I really wish people would take this seriously. As I’m writing this, there have been over 1,000 confirmed cases in Ohio alone. There have been 19 deaths. It’s not just “old people”. It’s not just “pre-existing conditions”. It’s healthy people. It’s your friends and neighbors. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and STAY HOME.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200325190645899_COVEROh, and, meet Evangeline. I adopted her on Wednesday. She’s the cutest cat, I swear. She’s a five year old Dilute Tortoiseshell cat who loves cuddles. She doesn’t jump much, and her meow is the cutest little squeak. She’s a tad annoying at 4 a.m. when I’m trying to sleep and she just wants to cuddle, but we’re getting better at that. I bought Evangeline the cutest cat tree, and so far she likes it. She really likes just laying on my bed though, which is nice because that’s really all I’ve been doing in quarantine. Yesterday we sat at the window for a little bit and listened to a resident of the apartment complex play her marimba outside. It was nice.

Everything is pretty strange and a little apocalyptic right now. Students left in campus housing all over the country are unsure of their future. My boyfriend is one of these unlucky people. International students, students without a home, students with parents far away, and students in any other situation have all been left without a thought. It’s infuriating. Will they be able to stay in their homes? For some universities it’s clearer than others. Kent State has been doing a great job. Wright State, on the other hand, has not.

IMG_20200227_145804Robotics meetings and classes are online now, and it’s the weirdest experience. Dogs barking through lectures, figuring out a different platform every week, and we’re still having meetings that could’ve been emails. Power keeps going out. Time spent on social media has skyrocketed. The world is full of stress and anxiety. No one is sure of anything. But there is hope.

Me? I’m just trying to keep going, like things in the future are still happening. Encampment is currently still happening, and I volunteered to be the Admin Officer. Everyone’s on a planning hiatus right now though from what I hear, because honestly, everyone expects it to be canceled. This year’s IACE got canceled, and I feel awful for the cadets that worked so hard and will never get another chance. I’m trying my best to focus on school. To do what needs to be done. My days mostly consist of hanging out with Evangeline at home. Having her around has helped me cope. I don’t feel as lonely.

Kent’s already announced that Summer Classes will be all online. I don’t take summer classes, but that makes me wonder when this will end. When life goes back to “normal”. I miss hugging people and hanging out with my friends. I miss driving buses and fixing computers. I miss going to lectures in person. I will say, I don’t miss my networking lab. And cheap gas is pretty cool, but no one is going anywhere. I don’t enjoy the uncertainty. Because at some point, everything is going to crash. Will it be my financials? Will it be the entire economy? Will someone I love get sick? I’m not ready for any of those scenarios. I just wish life was normal again, and I don’t think I’ll ever take mindlessly leaving the house to go to class or to the store or to the gym or to a concert for granted again.

Something I used to frequently write about on my blog was my goals. I’ve done decently on my goals, I suppose. Scrolling back to previous posts, it looks like I accomplished the majority of my “monthly goals”. As for my 2019 goals, well. Here’s what they were:

  1. Achieve the Carl A. Spaatz Award in the Civil Air Patrol. I guess this didn’t happen. But that’s alright. I learned so much about CAP in the process, and I learned so much about myself. I tried my best all three times, and I’m just not a very athletic person. It’s okay. There’s always the disappointment of “I could’ve tried harder”, “I could’ve started sooner”, or “I should’ve done this differently”. Yeah. It’s there. Trust me, I beat myself up, I won’t lie. But I’m happy where I am. I’m happy as a First Lieutenant, and I’m happy doing my operations work.
  2. Obtain my CCW. Man, guns are expensive. I don’t want to do this one until I can comfortably afford my own gun, a nice holster, and proper storage. Yanno, be responsible or something. 
  3. Get a computer certification (CCNA, CompTIA, etc.). This one should hopefully be happening after this semester. I passed my final in Networking Hardware 1 with a high enough grade to get the test discount, but our professor decided to wait since all the standards are changing and the course I’m in now will help us build on our skills.
  4. Obtain a General Class HAM Radio License. Yeah, no, that didn’t happen. I haven’t really touched ham stuff. I went to an amateur radio club with a friend in January and that was kind of neat. And my license plate is now my Call Sign. 
  5. Go scuba diving. It’s cold in Ohio, man. And where am I supposed to go? The flammable Lake Erie? Nah, but really. I’ve been playing with the idea of doing rescue diving. It sounds fun and right up my alley. Just don’t really know where to start.  
  6. Save $1,000Hey look! One I did! Of course, I spent it all on my new car. 
  7. Stop apologizing all the time. I think I’m getting better at this one! It may just be the lack of people I’ve been around lately, though. 
  8. Read at least one book per month. Nope. Didn’t happen. I watched a lot of Netflix though. And I wrote down all my dreams. And I read a lot of robotics documents. Does that count?
  9. Stop looking down on myself and gain some confidence. Working on this one. It’s actually going pretty well. Except for when it isn’t. But hey.
  10. Don’t blame myself for everything. Same for this one. It’s going pretty good, I guess.

So, there you have it. That’s what I’m up to these days. Maybe with my newfound spare time I’ll be around a bit more. I hope to get back into regular blogging anyway, I really miss it. I’ve been catching up on everything on my to do list, and maybe I’m getting my life together. We’ll see. I’ll be back.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands! 

-E. 😷

New Year, Same Me: Hello, February.

It’s been two whole months since I’ve actually published anything, and my goodness have those two months gone by fast. Perhaps I should start where I left off.

My last post was December 14th, from the lovely Houston, Texas. It was the day before I turned in my NASA badge. No, this is not going to be my long NASA post, but that will come, eventually. It’s slowly growing in my drafts, and I want to make sure it’s perfect.

December 19th. The day I got back to my apartment after the three day road trip with M. What a long, fun drive filled with country music, migrating birds, and stupid hotel laws (I’m looking at you, Arkansas). Sven (the trusty ’04 Jetta) made it home safe and sound, as did his driver (yes, that’s me).

M left the next day, I drove her to the airport at an ungodly hour in the morning. I spent the next few days unpacking and spending time in my apartment. I bought a desk, and M had bought me a microwave and some other various kitchen supplies as a housewarming gift. I miss her, she was a great friend and person to hang out with.

It didn’t really feel like Christmas this year, mainly because I’d just left Houston- where it was a beautiful minimum of 50 degrees every day (and no snow!). I spent Christmas with my boyfriend, his family, and his grandparents. It was lovely.

Two days later, I flew to The Netherlands to spend New Year’s with my family.

It was so nice to see my mom and brother again- and my bun. George is still a lazy floof, but he’s happy and healthy and turned two on January 21st!

We had our own Christmas; and all my gifts were absolutely NASA themed.

And suddenly, it was 2019.

We went ice skating, ate lots of great food, visited my great grandma, saw the Joker statue up close that we’ve always driven by,  pet Ophelia the cat lots, gave a presentation at my brother’s school on NASA, and well- then I went back home. It was a nice trip and I’m so glad I got to see everyone.

When I got back to the United States, I spent another day with my boyfriend, and then headed home. Of course I had to stop at IKEA to get some furniture for my place… I now have a queen sized bed (and it’s lovely).

Since then, school has started again. It’s a strange semester. Getting back into the swing of classes has been hard. It’s also snowed, a lot. We had this fun “Polar Vortex” come through and cancel classes for two days. I’ve gone back to work at OCDE, and that’s been nice as well. I was selected as Cadet Commander of the 2019 Ohio Wing Encampment, and planning for that has been in full swing.

Of course, FIRST Robotics Competition’s build season began in January (and ends next week!). I’m super excited about this year’s game (Destination: Deep Space), and even more excited about the rookie team a fellow mentor and I started.

I’m so proud of the dedicated kids who have been putting time into this program. We may not have a big team, but those who are involved are awesome.

Life has been pretty quiet around here. Very busy, but quiet. Work, school, homework, robotics, extra stuff for my major (like attending the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing Conference next week), Civil Air Patrol, exercising, cleaning, getting groceries… Yeah, I’m somehow balancing this. Being an adult is overwhelming sometimes, but honestly, it’s nice. Also, so is living alone. 10/10 would recommend.

So, obviously last year’s writing prompts did not go very well (if I tagged everything correctly, I only actually did 4 months out of the 12… yikes). I’m going to go back to doing goals, like I did in 2017. I set a few goals in January on my lovely Trello board (Trello is my life lately), so let’s move them here and possibly add a few.

2k19 – Goals

  1. Achieve the Carl A. Spaatz Award in the Civil Air Patrol
  2. Obtain my CCW
  3. Get a computer certification (CCNA, CompTIA, etc.)
  4. Obtain a General Class HAM Radio License
  5. Go scuba diving
  6. Save $1,000
  7. Stop apologizing all the time
  8. Read at least one book per month
  9. Stop looking down on myself and gain some confidence
  10. Don’t blame myself for everything

These goals seem pretty achievable. I age out of CAP in October, and I really want to have at least attempted the Spaatz exam before then. My goal right now is May, but I’m extremely nervous and I know I still need to work very hard to get there. The other ones are all pretty self explanatory. Certifications, licenses, yeah! Let’s get this bread (is that still a meme?).

Alright, let’s set some goals for the month now. I missed January due to my lack of blogging, but that’s alright. February: let’s go.

February 2k19 – Goals

  1. Organize my apartment and make everything look nice
  2. Run and walk more
  3. Do dishes immediately after using them
  4. Cook at home for every meal feasible
  5. Sleep routinely
  6. Apply for scholarships
  7. Clean my car
  8. Be the best coach I can be for the robotics students

These are good goals. Hopefully doing this again will encourage me to blog at least once a month. I honestly cannot believe I’ve been blogging for almost three years now; it’s so crazy to read back on some old posts and see how far I’ve come.

So, with that, I will end this post. I will finalize my NASA post soon, because I’m sure some of my followers are just here for NASA. That’s alright.

As always, thanks to my followers and readers. Y’all are awesome.

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Last, thanks for everything, Opportunity.

“My battery is low and it’s getting dark…”

You were a good rover. The best. What started as 90 days became an amazingly long mission that allowed us to learn so much. Thanks, Oppy.

Maybe we’ll see you on Mars one day.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” -Henry Ford

~E.💕

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

~E.⭐

You Get There By Realizing You Are Already There

Where am I getting, now? What’s with the weird inspirational quote for a title? All I’m really here for is to read your goals, weird blogging lady.

2017. MMXVII. Twothousandseventeen. 2k17. There were indeed plenty of ways to refer to the year of the rooster. It’s been a long 365 days, and it’s been a long year of goals. The year honestly seemed to fly by. Moving back to America, visiting the Netherlands twice, finishing my first semester of college, advancing my CAP career, developing my hobby of photography, living on my own, and figuring out who I am are all things of 2017 that made this year unique.

In January, I set ten goals for myself to accomplish in the 365 days of 2017. I suppose it’s time to reflect and elaborate on 2017.

My Goals for 2017 Were…

  1. Love myself and be happy. Do things because they’ll make me happy. I think I came a long way on this goal. I’m still not the most in shape, or the skinniest girl, or whatnot. But you know what? I don’t really care. I’m going to work harder in order to do things for myself, to prepare for encampment and possibly even my Spaatz exam one day. But as a whole, I don’t feel guilty for eating anymore. I don’t feel like I have to exercise until I’m dead or else I’m a terrible person. I bought clothes that make me feel pretty and are comfortable. I accepted clothes that didn’t fit anymore. I’m doing good. I’m happy.
  2. Go to college and study where and what I want. Kent State University has been an amazing fit for me so far. The Digital Sciences major is fantastic, allowing me to study towards a Bachelor of Science and do what I love. I’ve learned so much and met some really cool people. 
  3. Achieve at least C/Lt Col in the Civil Air Patrol. Well, this one is impossible this year. I did not have time or money to attend Cadet Officer School or a Region Cadet Leadership School. However, I am not in the least discouraged. I may not be on a “perfect” promotion schedule anymore, but I’m exactly where I need to be. Having been the Cadet Commander of the Maryland Cyber Defense Training Academy in its inaugural year, being a crucial part of planning the Great Lakes Region Conference, overcoming difficulties at the squadron level, and now accepting the position of Deputy Commander for Operations at the 2018 Ohio Wing Encampment have given me the experience, training, and valuable lessons that I am so incredibly grateful for. I will be a Cadet Major until I attend an RCLS, which I will likely be doing in July. Spaatz is attainable in 2018. Spaatz will happen in 2018.
  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!) I still lose my cool sometimes. I still argue unnecessarily sometimes. But, I’m doing okay. I’m doing well, actually. I greatly underestimated how much stress college would put on me, however, I kicked ass. I got through it. I did it.
  5. Learn something new. Whether this is learning a new language, something about computers, anything. I learned a lot this year. I learned about myself, mostly. However, I also learned how to become comfortable with JavaScript. I learned how to use various Adobe softwares. In May, I learned a bit of Russian and a significant amount about cryptography. I learned more about my leadership style. I learned how to read regulations, and I learned to be able to use them efficiently. I became comfortable writing memorandums and official correspondence. I learned some job-specific things, such as using Team Dynamix. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a great year.
  6. Make money. Save money. (Already working on the saving money! #AdventureFund) I got a job, so there’s that. I love my job, and I love making my own money. I transfer $20 a month to my savings account, and it’s a smart thing to do, I think. So while it is not a whole lot, it’s my money and it feels great. I took some money out of the Adventure Fund to pay for some miscellaneous small stuff, but that’s okay.
  7. Stay hydrated. All year. I think there’s a water bottle around here somewhere… But really. I’ve done terrible and great with this one- depending on the month. 
  8. Read my whole James Patterson series. I got stuck halfway through book 13 in August, and I never picked them back up. I brought book 13 with me to the Netherlands… maybe I can make some more progress before the new year. It won’t be the whole series, but it’ll be okay. I read more than usual. During the last two months of school I also really got into Ernest Hemingway, voluntarily reading “Farewell to Arms” and “Hemingway on War”. For class I read “The Sun Also Rises”, and reread “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was a decent reading year. 
  9. Travel. Throughout the year, I went to the Netherlands twice. I went to Germany. I went to CDTA in Maryland, and visited Dayton a significant amount of times. I went to Erie, PA twice to visit the Lake Shore Railway Museum. I flew through Reykjavik, Iceland flying to the Netherlands (even though we spent all of 15 minutes in the airport because the flight was boarding as we landed). Traveling has been fantastic, and I can’t wait to plan something big next year… I still can’t wait to go see New York City again. 
  10. Write more. (Whether this is blogging, letters, cards, journaling, it’s going to happen!) I mean. Sure. I did blog more; I blogged at least twice every month. I wrote more physically, and I took a lot of notes in my classes. I need to write a few postcards still, but I’ll get caught up soon. 

It’s been such a great year. Family and friends were a big part of it – as was college. Joining Kent’s Chi Alpha (the Campus Ministry/Christian Fellowship), breaking out of my shell and hanging out with people (I went to a party too??), making new friends, attending a Green Day concert, volunteering with FIRST robotics, progressing as a photographer, and Civil Air Patrol activities have been huge highlights.

IMG_0137Getting to drive my car again when I came back to the USA, getting to take trips to Conneaut to see the beach and enjoy the water, watching the United States Air Force Thunderbirds fly, meeting the crew and pilots of the Thunderbirds, planning a conference for over five months (and learning some interesting leadership lessons along the way), organizing Great Lakes Region’s first ever Region Color Guard at the Region Conference, and serving as Cadet Commander at the first ever Maryland Campus of the Cyber Defense Training Academy.

Being voted as Chairman of the Ohio Wing Cadet Advisory Council, taking part in the Wing Commander’s promotion and Change of Command ceremonies, becoming my squadron’s first ever cadet rated to be a Mission Scanner and aircrew member, wearing a skirt, running a 5k, painting a rock, going black Friday shopping for the first time, getting the cutest little bunny rabbit, and even getting groceries on my own.

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2017 has been a year of surprises, of love, and of losses. A lot was accomplished. I made a bunch of friends. People passed away too soon. Megan Grimsic, you were one of the funniest people I knew. You were so absolutely talented, and one of the smartest people around. I met you at TCTC – we had Chemistry together. That class quickly became my favorite that year. I know we may not have been very close after you graduated, but thank you. Thank you for always making me smile and always being there for me, and everyone, no matter what. You were one of the coolest lab partners, ever. We’d try to match our lab goggles, and make jokes about the pennies we’d “boil”. You always pushed me to follow my dreams, and your photography always inspired me. I can’t believe you left the world this soon, you are loved by so many. Your funeral was beautiful, and I’m so glad I attended. Finally meeting your father was wonderful – you were right. He is pretty cool. I met your boyfriend, too. When I told him about you, he hugged me and quietly cried. You’ll always be loved by everyone, I promise you. We won’t forget you.

Sixty-seven blog posts to date, a custom domain name, and eleven categories –  this blog has come a long way since April 2016. I’ve done a countdown to my birthday, I’ve done these goals, and so often I will blog about random things. So what will my theme for 2018 be? After much consideration and debating, I have decided I will do a writing prompt every month.

The Writing Prompts will be as follows:

  • January: Think back to a moment where you’ve come to the end of the road with something important in your life—a relationship with a lover; moving out of your childhood home; graduation from school; etc. Write a scene wrapped around that moment, describing how you felt (good and bad) and how you closed the door on that chapter in your life.
  • February: You’ve been going to the same bar every night for the past five years. In fact, you’re such a regular that when you enter the, the other patrons yell your name and the bartender already has your drink waiting for you. But then one Friday you arrive and no one seems to recognize you, not even the bartender. What’s going on?
  • March: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly?
  • April: Write a short story that takes place in a world where there are no insects left. Aside from no longer needing to clean bugs off of car windshields, what are the repercussions given the integral role that insects play in the ecosystem? Does your story include a movement to bring insects back?
  • May: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.
  • June: If you had to escort a visitor from outer space for a 30-minute tour of your community, where would you begin and end?
  • July: What makes you proud to be an American?
  • August: Imagine yourself as a teacher.  What type of student would you like to teach and why?
  • September: Imagine that you are an animal in the zoo.  What type of animal are you?  How do you feel about being caged?  How do you feel about people that visit and watch you?
  • October: You find a genie that gives you infinite wishes with only one catch: before it grant any wish, firstly you’ll need to fulfill one of its wishes.
  • November: You lost the ability to hear at a young age. One day, you’re with your friend and you suddenly hear a noise.
  • December: Write a short story inspired by one of your favorite sentences from the year, perhaps read or heard in an essay, speech, social media post, poem, song, or work of fiction. You might decide to use it as the first or last line of the story, or allow your plotline or characterization to be more conceptually informed by your inferences of the sentence’s implications or mood.

I’m super excited about these writing prompts, and what they’ll add to my blog. I can’t wait to work on my fictional writing again, and I know they’ll help me be more creative. I have created a category called “Writing Prompts, 2018” for all these prompts, and in case anyone wants one place to view all of them. I have also created a category for my 2017 Goals, called “The Year of the Goals”.

I hope everyone has a fantastic rest of 2017 and a great start to 2018!!! I can’t wait to blog again for all of my readers super soon.

Thanks for a fantastic year of She Became a Lion!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

~E. ♥

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.🎄

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.

🎃Don’t Let Your Gourd Down | Happy Halloween🎃

H – A – Double L – O – W – Double E – N… Spells Halloween!Image result for halloween

Anyone that attended elementary school with me would be instantly transported back to the music classroom upon just reading that first sentence. Small red chairs, a distinct musty smell hidden by candles and the overwhelming amount of copier ink from sheet music the 3rd graders conveniently “lost”. Autumn colors on the walls and windows and small puddles on the ground from all the kids who couldn’t quite grasp how to play recorder. You’d leave that classroom and have a “party” in your homeroom, usually consisting of an overwhelming amount of chocolate treats and lukewarm apple cider- because no one in their right mind gives 9-year-olds hot apple cider. The “cool” girls would be dressed up as something with a long black wig. There were at least four supermans. I was probably a cat or a witch. There was always the one kid who didn’t have a costume but got candy anyway, probably out of pity. We never really questioned it. Our teachers would herd us outside to be paraded through the front drive of the school and observed by all the parents who decided to come out that day. The parent volunteers would help you line up- but you never wanted to stay where they put you so you’d move anyway. Throughout the years, traditions are created and destroyed for Image result for fall leavesHalloween. Once you get to High School, you don’t really dress up anymore. Except for the kid with the inflatable t-rex costume. He still dresses up, but gets called down to the office. If you’re in the pep band, you get to go play the fight song endlessly while the elementary kids are paraded through the sidewalk and hallway of a building you never had class in.

Things change. 

None of us really talk anymore. So many of the people I paraded over that asphalt drive have gone their own ways. Some are incredibly successful, some are not so much. That cheerleader is now a mother of three. Superman is one of the most well-read students at his respective college studying some sort of complicated mathematics. We all go different directions, and that’s okay. I’m just thankful for all those Halloweens shared with the witches and supermans and cheerleaders and even the toilet paper mummy that we put together half an hour before the parade (shhh, no one tell the janitor). I still use that song to spell Halloween, and I think that may be a consensus many of my high school graduating class will come to.

I’m often asked what my favorite holiday is, and I never give a concrete answer. Sometimes I’ll complain about Christmas, other times I’ll say Halloween briefly and leave it at that. I think I can truly say Halloween is my favorite holiday for a purpose, now. The memories of recorder spit and the mean girls in black wigs make me who I am. All those days spent with those children, teaching me about American culture when I’d just moved to America. It was my first true American holiday.

Today, as a college student, I didn’t give that much thought until I sat down to write this blog post. I spent today following my childish ambitions to ride the “Haunted Loop”, the decorated Halloween campus loop bus.

After getting off the bus that I knew was in front of Haunted Loop and getting on to the Haunted Loop, my childish ambitions were satisfied. I was particularly amused by the bat that hung over my head; it was incredibly cute. Haunted Loop got me to work on time, where I proceeded to eat wayyy too much candy (leaving candy in my desk drawer from the work Halloween party was a great idea!).

So no matter where we are today, if you rode the Haunted Loop, took your child trick-or-treating, or spent the day studying for some kind of complex math assignment that I could never even comprehend: thank you. Thank you for being a part of my childhood. Thank you for being the reason I look back on Halloween so fondly.

Ask not what your Pumpkin can do for you, ask what you can do for your pumpkin. 

~E.🎃

Old Money, New Money, and Modern Society

So, I had to write a “blog post” for College Writing II on a concept from the Great Gatsby. I figured I’d leave it here as well. And yes… I used Bad and Boujee as a reference- and cited it in MLA.

“You know so we ain’t really never had no old money… We got a whole lotta new money though” (Migos, “Bad and Boujee”). This is a theme that is recurring throughout discussions in class, throughout the novel, and throughout everyday modern society. What is old money and new money? Old money can be defined as money inherited, passed on through families- money that has “always existed” even through a family name. New money is money made recently- money earned by a person or persons, in the novel most often made by entertainers in the film industry. The Great Gatsby, set in the 1920s, is  relevant as ever in showing the divide between new and old money. A few names come to mind when new money is mentioned in today’s society. The Kardashians, Mark Zuckerberg, even Donald Trump. They own large houses, mansions even. They attend lavish parties and travel frequently. They are looked on as a huge media icon and influence- much like Jay Gatsby was in the novel. “You must know Gatsby!” Jordan Baker exclaims in Fitzgerald’s novel, similarly to how one in today’s age would react if the Kardashians were mentioned.


But is new money just a modern concept? No. In 1757, The United States of America was a nation on the uprise when a young man- an orphan with no money was born. This man grew up to attend Princeton College by working hard. After overcoming adversity after adversity, this young man took a boat from the British West Indies to New York. “In New York you can be a new man” was a promise made to him (Hamilton: An American Musical). Alexander Hamilton was a poor immigrant, yet he became the first Secretary of Treasury of the United States, and was a key Founding Father. In Cabinet Battle #2 of Hamilton: An American Musical, Thomas Jefferson sings “…smells like new money, dresses like fake royalty” when referring to Hamilton. Hamilton was the newest of money that time period could find- helping start our great nation.

To summarize, the United States of America were founded on the concept of new money. New money has been prevalent in many times, societies, and ages- and is experienced in any culture. It is not a new concept or an old concept, it is a concept that time will never let fade away.

So there’s a little glimpse of what I’ve been up to. Enjoy the short essay!
~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.

2017 Goals, the third one.

Beware the Ides of March! Cinco de Mayo! Daylight Savings Time! Pi Day! St. Patrick’s Day!

march-paint

I also totally just learned that March was the first month in Roman times. You know, that totally explains why SEPTember is “7”, OCTOber is “8”, and DECember is “10”. Epiphanies are fun.

So, something something February went fast and let’s review the goals! (From this post)

My Goals for February 2017

  1. Make a physical schedule. Use paper, a whiteboard, anything. Write down when what trash needs taken out. Write down important times, such as when my brother needs picked up from school. Write down my plan for a daily schedule; wake up at a set time, shower, participate in life, do the dishes nightly, etc.
  2. Go for bike rides.
  3. Talk more Dutch. Become comfortable. Perfect Dutch grammar.
  4. Work out most-daily. Do at least 40 sit-ups at some point in the day.
  5. Practice cornet at least three times a week.
  6. Become more organized. Find sticky notes and routinely check my to do list. This one sort of ties into Goal 1.
  7. Do my hair and nails more often.
  8. Clean my worn earrings more often.
  9. Continue eating healthy.
  10. Keep my room clean.

Let’s break it down and see how it went.

  1. I used my whiteboard and made a schedule. I wrote my to-do list on it, and I actually did it. I made a phone call I’d been dreading, and I’d say goal one went well.
  2. My bike is one with the shed. I will disturb it if I remove it now.
  3. I have talked more Dutch. I’ve gone grocery shopping by myself, and ordered food, and talked about band stuff. I’d say I accomplished the talking more. Perfecting the grammar might take a while, though.
  4. The first week I did this, but then I got sick and I just wasn’t having it. I miserably failed at this goal.
  5. I took it out of its case once? But I did listen to the music. That’s a step.
  6. I DID GOAL SIX I FOUND STICKY NOTES AND EVERYTHING
  7. I’d say I accomplished this goal. I’m actually putting my hair in a pony tail and stuff  now and not just letting it hang everywhere. So.
  8. Yep. I clean them almost nightly.
  9. I really just need to eat more and on a schedule. My eating habits are a wreck.
  10. Shhhh. It’s the laundry room. No one has to know it’s actually a bedroom. (No really, other than the two piles of laundry, it’s clean).

I’d say February went alright. I did a lot of stuff I’d been putting off. I did stuff I was nervous about. I even completed another promotion in the Civil Air Patrol. I started off watching a lot of NCIS, but then I started reading more. I’m almost finished with book three of the James Patterson series from my 2017 Goals. Hydration has been going well also, I just can’t slack off now.

So now, the moment I’ve also kind of been procrastinating. March goal setting. I’m really running out of ideas. This seemed a lot easier in January when I had a bunch of big plans and all that for the new year. Let’s try anyway.

My Goals for March 2017

  1. Call the driving school and schedule a drive. Follow through with it.
  2. Exercise more. Whether this is push-ups, sit-ups, biking, walking, running, even the exercise ball. DO IT.
  3. Keep up on my laundry.
  4. Procrastinate less.
  5. Regularly run the vacuum cleaner in the whole house (including my room/the attic).
  6. Keep my desk and night stands clean and organized.
  7. Keep my whiteboard updated and follow through with things written on sticky notes.
  8. Write things down right away, such as dreams or groceries we need. Do not forget them.

This is a relatively short post because I’m exhausted, even though it’s 2:50 p.m.

I promised my brother he could play Scrap Mechanic, so I guess I’m handing over my laptop, as well. Let’s hope for a marvelous March. I’ll post again soon.

Keep smiling.

Yours truly,

-E. ♠