Sunday, February 9, 2014

Skiing + Flappy Bird

Can I say it's been an interesting week? It really has been and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet but whateves. It's all good!

On Sunday of last week, I went skiing for the second time! Yay! Now, I may be from California and surprise! We have snow! We have this mountain range called the Sierra Nevada and boy, does it snow! usually does....California is currently in a not a lot of snow...
Anyway! I have been to ski resorts before but lo and behold: I'm a snowboarder! I have snowboarded for four years now and I like to think that I'm pretty good at it. I'm not a pro-snowboarder but I can definitely go down a hill without falling.

The last two Sundays (not including today), I have gone to Taos Ski Valley with my peers and friends and learned to ski. It was...entertaining and painful but loads of fun. Both days, I took lessons to improve my skills. On the first day, we learned all the basic ski techniques and practiced those. When my friend and I had mastered the beginner's slope, we decided to move on to the next "beginner's slope" to get a harder run and go faster. That was a bad idea...

I, being a snowboarder, could not control my skis very well and panicked whenever I was going to fast. This caused me to shift my weight to my heels to stop but, unfortunately, skis don't like that. I ended up falling a million times and it took my an hour to get down this slope. That ended the first day of skiing.

The second day of skiing, I took another lesson and was moved up two levels since I was more advanced because of my snowboarding skills. Unfortunately, this required for me to go down that slope that I hated and fell down a million times the previous week. When we got to the top, I told my instructor that I was scared and could feel my eyes begin to tear up (fear + exhaustion do not mix well ). He said I could do it and we went down. This time, my speed was much more controlled and it wasn't as scary. However, there was this one point where me knee twisted away from me and I had to make a split decision to let it happen and hurt my knee or fall and hope for the best. I chose the latter and slammed my hip to this incredibly thick sheet of ice. I didn't break anything but my hip hurt with each movement and I have quite a large, terrible looking bruise in that area. All in all, skiing was great fun and I enjoyed it though I still prefer to snowboard.

In terms of academics because I still go to school and all, I had a pretty good week In my environmental class, we had a Climate Summit which was pretty eye-opening in terms of how hard it is for delegates to reach a conclusion. I, personally, am not a big fan of climate change and am a huge environmentalist - my old email address was gohugatree and I made business cards that said "Caroline: Jr. Environmentalist". I also did incredibly well on my math and physics test which was great seeing as they are higher level classes and I'm finally understanding the thinking behind the IB!

We had Yule Ball last night which was fun! I got all dressed up (makeup and all that shiz) and put on a sparkly formal dress and hung out with some friends. I then sorta just hung out in my room and watched "A Walk to Remember" (a great movie) and played Flappy Bird and SongPop.

Okay, so I don't support Flappy Bird or anything and I don't want anyone to get addicted to it (ahem, my classmates) but it is a pretty entertaining game though it is incredibly simple and silly. My high score is 34
which is quite an accomplishment. I also highly recommend the game song pop since it tests your knowledge of music and your reflex skills. To those challenging me: Bring it.

OH AND I BAKED A CHOCOLATE CAKE FROM SCRATCH! To many people, that probably isn't a big deal but to me, it is. It was my dorm mate's birthday yesterday (and another one's today so Happy Birthday to you both!) and I baked an Oreo Cake. I don't know how it tastes, but I know the batter was actually pretty yummy so hopefully everything turned out well.

The reason I'm proud of this is because I fail at baking treats from scratch. I baked chocolate chip cookies once from scratch and they turned out to taste and look like pancakes...I don't know how it happened but it did...Only me...

To my friends back home: I love you all oh so much and I miss you all and I am so excited for you guys for your last semester in high school! Keep me updated on what's going on or I will spam you and annoy the heck out of you until you tell me. I'm here for you because I honestly love you guys so much!

To my friends here who may be reading this: Eh, you're doing alright. :P

That's the update for this week! Hope all is well for everyone else! See ya!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Semester 1

Hey all!

It's been quite a while since I have posted on this blog and for that, I apologize. I sort of lost the password for this account and locked myself out for some time so that caused me to forget about this blog a bit...Sorry! However, I did keep a journal and some documents containing all the wild adventures I've had and will update you shortly on life here. It's also a new year and my resolution is to update this weekly. Here we go!

First and foremost, yes I am alive and well! Physically, my calves have never looked better from running up the 150 stairs to get to my room in time for check and run down to make it to class in time! Mentally, I'm quite pumped and energized. I feel as though I have learned quite a lot and still have so much to learn during my time here.

First semester was a blast and difficult as well. I hiked the Grand Canyon for 5 whole days (crazy right?) during the Government Shutdown which was loads of fun and such a terrific experience! Although it was challenging, more physically then mentally, it brought me closer to some of my peers. I may have had 7 blisters and dozens of cuts from falling down but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Though I don't know if I will ever do that again... I do recommend, however, that you should all hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon during your lifetime as it truly is an incredible experience and it does change your outlook on life.

We also, us first-years, went to Santa Fe for a weekend for a retreat. As much as I did not want to go since we had finals that Monday, it was so much fun! I was brought closer to my class and it was nice to get off campus and just be silly kids again. We were each given money for dinner and a map and then were told to come back by 8:30 that night! They just left us to do what we want and I loved it since it was nice to have fun with my friends as we explored Santa Fe! I also had Starbucks that weekend which was needed seeing as I needed Starbucks after those 2 months of having none!

My friends and I went on multiple hikes to stargaze and to explore during this time, though this semester we will do much more! My love for the wilderness grew during this time, especially when it snowed!

A fun fact that occurred during this time was that a couple of my friends and I decided to try and sled while we had snow. We set out for the woods and found a pretty decent place to sled in. However, the snow was quite dry and didn't necessarily want to hold our weight...but that didn't stop us from having fun! We ended up running and pulling each other on the sled which was a great workout and made for a memorable moment! Hopefully, we get more snow soon so that we can try to sled once more this semester!

During my first semester, I also learned to bake! Granted, I have baked before but never super great treats or anything. In fact, I've never baked cookies from scratch! The few times I did, I ended up somehow making cookies that looked and tasted like pancakes... I don't know how but apparently, the world of chocolate chip cookies hates me or has out a curse on me. I did, however, bake a ton of Funfetti cookies, Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookies (the dough was prepared), brownies, cakes, and Oreo Treats including cupcakes and milkshakes! There were several reasons I began to bake and it really depends on what kind of person you think I am. I baked because I wanted to relieve stress and make my dorm mates and friends happy is one idea. I baked because I desperately wanted to get some attention (yup. I like attention sometimes) and wanted to become friends with those around me but didn't know how to talk (which is weird since all I do is talk...) and treats gave me a reason to knock on someone's door and talk to them.  Or, the one my mother and sister believes, is that I, being manipulative (or so I'm told...) baked to make everyone around me gain weight while I didn't seeing as I don't like sweets much. It's true! I bake quite a bit but never eat a ton of what I bake since I'm not a huge fan of chocolate and sugar...unless it's Oreos...then I'm the cookie monster! Anyway, I would say that I bake because it's fun for me and I like to make other people happy because a little bit of good/smiles won't hurt the world.

What else... Oh! I began writing poetry once more! When I was younger, I was quite a fan of poetry and was eager to write. However, high school and formal writing caused me to step away from poetry and learn the proper techniques of MLA and all that boring stuff of no self-expression. I did continue to write short stories and novels during that time since it was "Narrative writing" but poetry, not so much. Here, I can write whatever I want! I'm part of a writing club with all these fantastic writers and poets of much higher caliber than I but I love it. I love the way their ink stains the page to form similes, stories, metaphors, and art. They inspire me and I love them all so much.

I'm also learning French which is interesting seeing as I've never learned a new language in a classroom setting before. Je parle un peu francais.

I don't want to make this incredibly long and bore you with the grim details of my classes though I will say that they are a challenge and I love having to actually think in class now!

It wasn't always fun and games though, even if we did play Jungle Speed quite a lot. It was hard at times seeing as there are just so many cool and inspiring people that I love and kind of obsesses over and only one me! (I do share my name with one of those cool people and she's one of my closest friends) There's quite a few trains of thoughts here and it was a bit difficult to find the one I agree with. I also found that I missed me my Mormons! (Yeah, Y'all had an effect on me and you're group activities) My sister and I, being wonderfully fantastic, are incredibly close so that was also mind blowing not being able to tell her everything that happen and have all those girly talks and sing from the top of our lungs Pop songs. I also missed our random trips to In-N-Out (CALIFORNIAN FOOD) and our movie nights. However, I fear not! I love her very much and she loves me (I hope) and when we do see each other, it's all PARTY! Being away has taught me a lot and I am able to understand my family more. I also have found some amazing friends who I love dearly and can't imagine my life without them and their quirky ways! And, I freaking get to try international food like all the time! Who wouldn't want that?!

In order to not make this any longer, I'll end here (later really but expect the ending to be near). All in all, my first semester was alright. I do regret somethings but hey, I also had some really fun times and some great laughs. This semester will be 10 times better. I can feel it. In fact, it has been fantastic. I love it here, even if there's problems but that's life and I like to see the bright side of things. Why frown and complain when I can smile and laugh with my friends? My friends and family back in California who still love me and all my oddness, which has definitely increased since being here, and my friends who give amazing hugs, make amazing food, and make the world shine with their smiles. I know, a bit cheesy and all, but I can't express my love for the people in my life. If anything, I love them all way too much but like my mom says, I only see the good in things and always stay happy.

So yeah... That's a bit of an update. I kind of rambled on but whateves. I don't need MLA or Chicago to write my thoughts. I just need my Jason Mraz on the Spotify (yeah, I recently found a new love for Spotify) and my computer to type. I hope y'all enjoyed this random mess of a blog post! I'll be sure to post soon!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Life in a Castle

I know I haven't posted in a while-since the road trip- but that's only due to the fact I have been so incredibly busy with such amazing people that the internet has not been super important to me. However, here is what has been going on in my life the last week.

Last Monday, I finally arrived to UWC USA. Not a second had past by when I stepped out of my car before I was trampled by second years who were screaming and shouting in joy. One in particular came up, hugged me, and proclaimed that she was my room mate from Japan. Now two things were running through my mind: one was why were there so many teenagers surrounding me all wanting to greet me while the second was "OH MY GOSH MY ROOM MATE IS FROM JAPAN." (I have obsessed with Japan for a couple of months now- to the point I have taught myself some Japanese- and plan to live there one day so it was an absolutely perfect match.) We then drove up to the castle- that's right, a castle!- where we were greeted by more cheering teenagers all wanting to greet me and I just went along with it trying very hard to say "Hi I'm Caroline from California" and not "Hi I'm California from Caroline." It was incredibly overwhelming but it was such a fantastic experience and an amazing first impression.

The rest of Monday was pretty relaxed. My room mate gave us a tour of the campus, I unpacked, I met more people, and then I said my good-byes. Now as cold-hearted as it may seem, I did not cry when saying my farewells. Actually, all I remember is saying "okay. I love you. I'll be fine. I love you. Good-bye" or something along those lines. No it's not that I don't love my family or anything, in fact, it's the complete opposite. I do love my family very much and my friends back home. However, I know that they will always be there for me and I for them. That's what family is for. It is time for me to go out and live the adventure I have been waiting for and for them to find their own paths in life. We may be separated by miles and whatnot but we will always be together because we are family. I don't believe in good-byes.

After my family left I was then constantly asked whether I was okay-which I was because I didn't feel any sadness or longing to be home, just excitement. I even got told that I was strong which I don't know if it was a compliment or not. Oh welp.

I later met my dorm mates and definitely wanted to become a family with them which I do feel as though I have become incredibly close to some of my dorm mates. My problem is that I, being incredibly shy of people I admire, am to scared to approach my dorm mates and get to know them. Hopefully it gets better with time and I socialize more with my second years.

The rest of the week was orientation time! We registered for classes, learned about the rules, visited town, and all that fun stuff. My favorite part of orientation by far was wilderness. We were separated into groups of first years with a couple second year Wilderness Leaders and sent off into the wilderness to backpack for three days and two nights at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Not something the average school does right?

Those three short days I spent in the wilderness with my ten person group (including myself) were the best days of orientation and such an amazing experience. My love for the wilderness grew there (As a Cali girl, I find myself to be quite the camping/hiking person. My dad's love for camping has also had an incredible influence on me-thanks dad!) and I grew incredibly close to the people in my group. They are the people I trust and can approach for anything. I know so much about them and I feel as though I can trust them with anything. I do hope we stay close and continue to hang out with each other even if it's not in wilderness.

My time in the wilderness has led me to want to hike more and more so I have taken advantage of our lovely campus and walked around a few of the trails around. I also plan to be adventurous and hike the Grand Canyon for five days with my school. I definitely love the wilderness and this is such a perfect place for me!

The rest or orientation was workshops to learn more about the school and each other. Although orientation has yet to end (three more days!), I can clearly see the sense of community the school strives to establish and the close relationships that will form as time passes.

That's been my life currently-insane, busy, and absolutely amazing. I would not change this experience for anything. This is were I belong. This is who I am. I'm home.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Road Trip: The Final Day

After a long night of struggling to sleep- I probably only had 4 hours of sleep- we all got up and prepared to eat breakfast at 6 in the morning. Once we ate, we packed up all our belongings and headed on the road. Our destination? Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Our trip towards New Mexico was quite dull as I was exhausted and my sister was sleeping. After a couple hours on the road, and a short ten minute nap, we all woke up shouting as we took out our cell phones to take a photo of the New Mexico sign. I barely made it and it was loads of fun.

We soon went to a rest area where we were quite amazed at how clean the bathrooms are! Seriously, these bathrooms were spotless and actually had music playing!

I texted and snapchatted some friends during our drive and commented on how different New Mexico is from California. The roads are smooth, the landscape is brown, and the land is quite barren! And there are absolutely no Starbucks!

Well, that soon change once we reached Albuquerque and found Starbucks! Yay!

We then drove towards the mountains and reached Las Vegas a few hours later.

Las Vegas is definitely...interesting... It's small compared to where I come from and just different. However, the landscape -mainly the mountains- are spectacular.

We drove around Las Vegas and I was given the option to drive past the castle and see my new home but I decided that let tomorrow be a surprise! Tomorrow I will see Hogwarts!

Soon after, I met up with some of my co-years at Dairy Queen which was loads of fun! We talked about our travels, about our interviews, and about our thoughts about UWC. It definitely made me feel less nervous abut tomorrow as they all were incredibly nice and I'm excited to meet everyone else! (They also packed more than me which made me feel better about the amount of stuff I brought :p)

So now, I am sitting in our hotel room. My fingers clumsily typing this terribly, boring blog post as I fight the urge to sleep until this is up. One thing I would like to add is a Happy Anniversary to my parents! To another 21 years! What an experience it must be spending your anniversary in a new state the day before your eldest daughter leaves to go and start a new adventure!

I'm excited for tomorrow to finally see my new home in person and meet my classmates but right now, I need some sleep.

Good-night! Until next time!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Road Trip: Day 2

Our second day in Arizona was definitely an adventure!

My day began by waking up to my dad getting up and leaving the hotel room to go exploring for a bit as he was awoken by my mom. That's the bummer about traveling and spending the night in a hotel room with your family. Everything is incredibly loud! Especially at night when your parents are snoring and all you want to do is sleep after the long day...I ended up listening to Pandora for an hour before I actually feel asleep. Oh wells.

We soon all prepared for the day and went to the lobby for breakfast. There, we were surrounded by people from all over the world speaking many different languages-especially French. That was pretty amazing.

We then waited in the lobby for our Pink Jeep Tour. That's right. A Pink Jeep. A PINK JEEP!

Another family- from New York- joined us for the tour which was absolutely spectacular! We made many different stops and took many different photos. My favorite was one where I had "fallen off" a cliff. ;)

The sun shined for the first our of the tour before the weather completely changed. It began to rain! Not sprinkle or a light rain, but pouring large droplets of water! The tour became a safari and a race against the weather to take as many photos as possible without getting drenched in the rain. It also became a game of trying to point out all the lightening strikes-oh yeah, not just rain but a lightening storm, a huge one at that!

Our adventure slowly came to an end as we all shivered from the cold, but everyone in the jeep wore large smiles at the wonderful experience. As we exited the Grand Canyon, I pointed out a deer and we later saw a group of female elk. We then bid the other family farewell and wished them a nice trip as we reached our hotel.

Once inside, we dried off a bit before entering the car once more to travel. However, the lightening storm continued and we were all incredibly exhausted from the day. Instead of heading to Albuquerque as we had planned, we decided it would be safer for us to stay at Flagstaff for the night. We drove over and marveled over the incredible landscape of Arizona-it really is amazing. We soon checked in a hotel and then went to Outback for our dinner where we stuffed our faces in food.

Now, I am typing on my computer this blog post (yay for good wi-fi!) as my sister sits beside me working on an AP Biology summer assignment and my parents watch TV. Tomorrow, we will wake up early and head off to Las Vegas, New Mexico (yes, there is a Las Vegas in New Mexico) where I will meet up with some of my new classmates and explore the town next to my new home.

Excited? Yes. Nervous? Yes. But I am having a remarkable time so far and can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Until tomorrow!

Road Trip: Day 1

At 4 AM today, I left my small town-my home-to head off to New Mexico. I stared around at my room, wanting to remember how I left it and cherishing the life I have. However, my main thoughts were centered around my dog, Terry. Terry, a black Labrador retriever, has been a part of my family since I was in fourth grade- so about eight years. She has always been there for me, waiting every by the door for me while I was at school, sleeping next to me when we go camping, and listening to me as she watched with those large puppy dog eyes.

For the past few days, she hasn't left my side as she knew something was up when I packed up my room and today, she had a sad look in her eyes as she layed on my bed and I left.

At that moment, I realized that this was actually happening. I AM moving away. I am leaving people I love behind until I come back for vacations. This reality check led me to lay in the car, staring at the night sky as we drove away from the town I call home, and just ponder over everything.

Around 7, we stopped at Bakersfield to have breakfast. I had fallen asleep for a bit in the car but was wide awake when we drove,filled with two different emotions: excitement and nervousness. For the first time, I was actually nervous about the change.

However, as we waited for our meal to come I had recieved a text message from my manager-and friend- wishing me good luck on the trip and telling me that she would always be there for me.

My eyes teared up as I read the message (though I didn't cry since my family was there and I am not a fan of crying) and I wore the largest smile all throughout breakfast-and the majority of the day.

That message definitely took away the nerves I had (and the fear) and I filled up with excitement once more.

After breakfast, we hit the road once more as we needed to reach the Grand Canyon. Both my sister and I slept during the ride as the desert grew quite boring to look at and we were both exhausted. We woke up when we arrived at Needles, California and had some ice cream before we headed off to Arizona.

Now at this point in time, we were all quite awake and we had just eaten ice cream! So as we drove out of California and into Arizona, we kept yelling as we tried to take photos of the Arizona sign and made many different jokes -which was loads of fun. My favorite part of entering Arizona was seeing an In N Out and yelling as to why there was one in Arizina as I had thought it was a Cali thing.

The rest of the trip to the Grand Canyon was mild other than our amazing voices as we sang the entire high school musical soundtrack.

We did stop by the Grand Canyon today and let me say, it is absolutely spectacular! It's picture perfect and incredible to see in real life! Of course, I took some selfies in the Grand Canyon with my phone and I am excited for tomorrow as my family will be taking a three hour tour of it! #feelingstoked

Our last event of the day was eating at a saloon (a real saloon!) where the food wasn't all that great but the entertainment was awesome and checking into our hotel for the night.

So now, I am laying in bed with my backpack sprawled open, typing this and hoping that it will be posted even with the incredibly slow wi-if here (Even my cell phone doesn't have service!)

Day 1 of traveling away was pretty great-especially the text message early in the morning, texting my best friend in Utah (who also happens to be moving away for the first time and preparing for college), seeing Arizona land (full of trees), experiencing Arizina weather (incredibly hot, then random lightening strikes and finally hard, hard rain!), and finally, visiting the Grand Canyon!

I'm totes excited for tomorrow! We will be leaving for New Mexico in the evening-where I hopefully will have service!

Until tomorrow!

Oh, and I worked in some youtube videos but there is not enough service for me to post any up so I will just blog away!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

See you later

In approximately six hours I will be leaving my small, farming city that's located in the middle of California (the middle of nowhere!) to move to New Mexico to study at UWC USA.


It's incredibly unrealistic but I keep looking at my now empty room (besides the million posters that still hang all around as they were too large to pack) and am reminded of the big change. I'm moving two states away from my family and friends, from everything I've ever known, to study with students my age from all over the world. The world lives in my school-a castle might I add.

Crazy right?

To most kids my age ( a seventeen year old! Woo! ), this is either something they've always wanted or something they would never do. Miss out on your senior year, on prom, on all the silly things you do before college. But I'm one of the weird ones who fell in love at first sight with the program and have always want to leave my town to go explore the world. It was my Hogwarts dream come true. It still is.

Yet as excited as I am (and trust me, I'm pretty pumped ) there is the childish part of me who is nervous for this. I mean, I can be a pretty picky eater so who knows what I will eat! ;)

But I am slightly nervous for this new chapter in my life. However, I am an optimist. All I see is an adventure-the adventure I've always wanted.

Sure, I may never attend a high school prom, but I get to go to a Yule Ball-every Harry Potter's fan dream!

And more than anything, I know in my heart that this is where I belong. So yeah, I am nervous but I am excited more than anything. I'm ready for this adventure.

So to all of you who wish me luck and bid farewell, I'd like to say something back.

I don't want to say good-bye. Good-byes aren't fun. Good-bye means you may never see someone again. Instead, I want to say see you later because I do want to remain friends with everyone I've met, my classmates, my coworkers, my fellow musicians, anyone who has impacted my life, made me smile, and considers me a friend. Let's not say good-bye because, dear reader, life has a way of keeping friendships strong if you only try and stay in contact.

Plus, technology and social media helps! ;)