A Winding Road Trip to the Ocean


Growing up with countless storybook role models, I always wished that I lived in the sort of family where the mom might walk in one day to announce a spontaneous trip to the ocean, pack a picnic basked with delicious things to eat, and drive off to the beach with her children. I didn’t, so I lived vicariously through various characters and continued wishing.

A couple of weeks ago we made plans to spend my birthday weekend at Patrick’s Point and I was elated by the prospect of crashing waves and cloudy weather. Last minute hesitations from my family however, caused the trip to feel a bit spontaneous in the long run. Plagued by an excess of work, cleaning, and homework to tend to each one of them were able to come up with various excuses to abandon the weekend away for another humdrum few days at home.

Not to have my weekend at the ocean ruined, I rallied my sisters and parents and made sure that we made it to the coast if only for a night. So on Saturday morning we gathered our camping supplies and clothes and began to make the drive towards Trinidad. My dad has always been one for enjoying the journey so we made sure to pause at almost every intriguing roadside attraction that pulled us off course. Admiring the landscapes around us, singing loudly to our favorite songs, and stopping to enjoy ice cream made the road trip especially memorable.

We finally pulled into our campsite in the early evening and admired each run down motel and lodge we passed – they add the most quaint feeling to the area, as if it could be 1930 or 2015 and if you abandon your calendar you have no real way of knowing which it really is. We hiked out to a beautiful point on an outcropping above the ocean, ran in the waves, and ate delicious fresh seafood for dinner.

In the morning we drank coffee among the redwood trees, ate a hearty breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse, watched the Kinetic Sculpture Competition from the Eureka Plaza, ran and played on the beach, read books, and toured HSU. After a very full day of beauty and enjoyment we scrambled back into our car and drove home by the light of the sunset, still singing all of our favorite songs.


Graduation Speeches Approaching!


Because PV has recently opted away from having a valedictorian, all of the seniors have an equal chance to give a speech at graduation. Because I generally enjoy writing and looking back on experiences of mine, I decided to write a speech myself. Here goes:

Nostalgia has probably been a focus of the human race since the first good thing began and then came to a close; it’s no great wonder that so many people have felt, thought, or written about it. It seems that nostalgia creates the perfect sort of melancholy mood to revel in, fondly recalling the memories and people that we have been gifted with.

Senior letters are rooted in this universal appreciation of nostalgia and have been a longstanding tradition here at PV; a culminating way to look back on the past four years of memories, people, relationships, and support that have made this experience such a pivotal one.

When our freshman English teachers first presented the idea of the letters to us it seemed like a brilliant proposal – why wouldn’t we be interested in reading about every minute detail of our lives four years later? Caught up in the contagious zeal for such a task, we put pen to paper to discuss all aspects of our current lives and, more importantly, our expectations for the next three years of high school and what might lie beyond them . We then gave up the growing envelopes to be locked somewhere in the depths of the English Department for the next few years. There they sat and were mostly forgotten, aside from the occasional thought that would linger on the expectation  of the nostalgia they were sure to evoke when we were finally allowed to open them.

These expectations quickly crumbled for me upon opening my letter, which revealed the most humiliating piece of writing ever produced . The only slight consolation in this embarrassment might be company, so I truly hope that I’m not the only one out here today who experienced this a few weeks ago.

The most horrific portion of it may have been the slew of exclamation points and my cringeworthy writing style. Or the three excruciating paragraphs about boys I liked at the time. Or perhaps my emphatic endorsement of Youtubers deemed cool circa 2011. At any rate, by the end of the letter I was certain that it lacked both nostalgia and any life lesson beyond “a person can change a lot in 3 years.”

However, three things stood out to me. These three things relate to expectations, hopes, and constants in my life – all things that have either become or remained true throughout my high school career.

Realizing that who I am now existed in who I was in the 9th grade exemplifies the community PV has, the growth that it fosters, and the encouragement it offers up. Rather than hide our quirky personality traits, our school allowed us to appreciate individualism and embrace ourselves, our friends, and our livelihoods. These four years have helped each of us to develop an understanding for who we want to be once the real world starts tumbling at us. And yes, self discovery is generally reserved for backpacking through Southeast Asia, driving across the US via Route 66, or attending college. But high school helped us begin to find ourselves as well. Everything – and everyone – shapes us, and whether it was through the encouragement to succeed or the ignition of a love to learn for reasons that go beyond a grade or a test, not a single classroom or teacher here was an exception to this. From Mr. Copeland’s contagious passion for knowledge to Ms. Fisher’s high expectations, each of our teachers played a key part in preparing us for our next steps.

Society seems to assume that knowing what we want to do with the rest of our lives will coincide with the day we graduate. This may be true for some, while others of us couldn’t be further from such decisions. But momentarily, that knowledge is far less consequential than the knowledge of how we want to live our lives and who we wish to be.

And despite the fact that we may be just as embarrassed by who we are as graduating seniors 3 years down the road, as we currently are by our freshman selves displayed in the letters, PV has prepared us to walk confidently into the next part of our lives, knowing these things well.

Combining ambition, a pursuit of knowledge, a strong sense of self, and an enthusiasm for life’s opportunities, I am positive that each one of us will move forward to define and achieve our success and I can’t wait to watch each of our futures unfold.

Mama’s Day!


Mother’s Day this year was really wonderful and while I missed my host mom Sylvia infinitely I was so happy and thankful to be able to spend the day with my mommy again! We started the day with donuts and coffee before church and were then able to get ourselves to the early mass so that we could enjoy the rest of the day without too much of an agenda. We got home and packed up a few picnic baskets and headed up to Stirling City’s Clotilde Merlo Park, a serene park we found a few years back, for an incredibly classy and equally delicious brunch. We lugged all of our food and other picnic accessories in and my dad proceeded to pour mimosas and fry up eggs and sausage. We added bear claws and fruit salad to the spread and sat down to our meal. Rousing conversations about Freud and other less-awkward-with-your-family topics ensued and it felt so good to all be able to take time out of our day and enjoy each other’s company. We walked around the park and then hung hammocks in the trees so that we could spread out and read books. It made me feel like I belonged in a very quintessential American family.

For her gift I made my mom a watercolor flower crown painting with a part of the lyrics to Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa in the middle. That song was the alarm we woke up to every morning of our adventure through Europe last summer so I thought it would be perfect to allude to all of our wonderful memories from that with my present. She loved it!

I was also able to talk with my host mom a little bit and she reminded me that I will always have a second “zu Hause” back with them in Germany.

It feels so amazing to know that I have an abundance of love and guidance from moms around the world – from my mommy-pie, my multitude of aunts, and my host mom- and I love and appreciate each one of them so much.



Last night was my last (and first enjoyable) prom and it exceeded all of the expectations I had set for such a typical high school milestone. The biggest contributing factor in that may have been the fact that I got to be there with a great group of my closest friends and was free of the added stress that a date can bring to the table. After running the Girls on the Run 5K I joined Clare, Sacha, Nayeli, and Elaina to make corsages with fresh flowers from the farmers’ market. I was completely hopeless when it came to making something presentable with the flowers but with Sacha’s help I was able to complete my corsage and she made me the prettiest flower crown that complemented my dress perfectly.

We progressed to Haylee’s house to do make up and finish getting ready and headed over to Laxson and Chico State to take pictures around 5:30. We spent forever taking pictures all together but it was one of the best parts of the evening and we all really enjoyed ourselves!

Dinner at Broadway Heights was really nice, although in a group that large it was difficult to talk to everybody. Dinner was followed by Jon & Bon’s, Dutch Bros (to bring the energy levels back up) and movie rentals before we headed to the actual dance.

Originally, I was looking forward to the pre-prom and post-prom events but as it turned out, prom was really fun. There were enough people avoiding the disgusting grinding couples to where we could all dance together in a classier way. We jumped and danced and made fools of ourselves for the whole three hours and I thoroughly enjoyed myself – so much so that I didn’t want it to be over when we headed out at midnight.

Our whole group met up at Donut Nook afterwards for a delicious midnight snack. They were just taking batches out of the oven as we came out and the warm donuts were amazing. We ended up at Clare’s for a sleepover and spent the rest of the night and this morning watching movies from the early 2000’s and discussing the night’s events, which wrapped up the entire Prom experience perfectly.

I always brushed the idea of prom aside, thinking of it as one of those cliche high school events that everybody pretends to love. I am so happy that I was wrong and that I had such a memorable and fun night with a lot of my favorite people!

Shady Creek!


This week seemed to carry a theme of announcing my plans for next year to the world, so I’ll carry that right on over to my blog I guess. It feels like the question regarding my post-high school plans has been one I’ve been facing (and attempting to answer) for forever and the fact that I am finally able to confidently answer it marks a point of growing up. I am so ready to be able to move on to something a little bit more meaningful than my days currently spent in high school classrooms.

So, without further ado, next year I will be… not going to college!! Being able to announce this, and be excited about it, wasn’t something I ever imagined doing when I started high school. I had my sights set on some prestigious East Coast school and the potential of forgoing college, even if only for a year, was unimaginable.

Aside from not going to college, I will be working as a student naturalist at Shady Creek Outdoor School for the year. This means that I get to live in the woods and work with kids every day for an entire year and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Upon receiving the news that I was being offered the position I proceeded to run around my house and yard and couldn’t stop bouncing around and grinning for the remainder of the evening. This was a far more excited reaction than that to any of my college acceptances- further proof that Shady Creek feels like where I truly belong.

I think its going to be an amazing year of growth and fun and September can’t get here fast enough.

After Shady Creek, I will be attending Seattle University and am also really looking forward to joining the small Jesuit school and living in such a cool city. So much to look forward to!

For now, I’m just focusing on passing my AP Statistics Final, but after that I’ll be able to celebrate these accomplishments and prospects.

Fluorescent Adolescence


Last year, on one of the many days I spent scrolling through Humans of New York posts, I found a poem that I truly love and appreciate. It was written by a teenage girl and I think that it touches on a lot of truths of our generation’s adolescents, creating a feeling of kinship with other teenagers when read. The poem is titled “Fluorescent Adolescence” and I will post it just below this sentence.

Fluorescent Adolescence
by Ruth Bamuwamye

Overqualified yet underachieving
It’s singing delightfully off key to the radio
Yet pitch perfect in the shower
It’s spending a half hour in the morning
Perfecting your messy bun
It’s gelling bedhead
It’s lifting weights yet covering yourself up in turtlenecks
It’s being a closet philosopher but blaming lackluster grades on “not trying?”
It’s tumbling,sharing, instagramming
The perpetual pursuit of cool but aloof,
hard to get,

It’s the cycle of hurting
lying… and then telling the truth.
It sucks.
But perhaps when we’re older
a new set of problems will cause us to miss those of adolescence.
So I guess we should learn to love the pain,
Since it’s pain that allows us to live and love radically,
feel monumentally,
and smell the coffee or watch the stars, or hear the music
that we might later pass by in the rush of the real world.

For now we are poets
And activists
Engineers and Inventors
For now, we are what we want to be.
Some say the grass is greener on the other side but I’d disagree:
I say our grass is fluorescent.

I just feel that this poem puts an incredibly accurate perspective on the idea of growing up and on the idea of finding our place in a world that spins so fast we sometimes can’t even focus on the general vicinity we wish to stand in. The poem sits posted above my bed and I try to read it frequently, especially in these next few weeks of tumultuous decision making. As it turns out, nobody is as unique or original as they originally believe and every other high school senior is going through the same process that I have been. In conversing with people I am, however, becoming more and more confident in what the next several years hold for me and I am incredibly excited to start a new part of my life; a part which will allow me to grow into I envision myself becoming and being.

Positivity and Lots of Energy


It seems like the easiest posts to write are the ones that include small updates on my life, so that’s what I’ll do for this week as well. Today I had my interview for a position as a student naturalist at Shady Creek Outdoor School for next year, and not only was it a great interview but it was a great hour long conversation with two of the most amazing people I know. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Yeti and Quail through working at Shady Creek as a cabin leader and through the Leadership Team and this application process and they are simply amazing, positive, wonderful and uplifting people. Despite the fact that it was an interview setting they made me feel completely comfortable and at ease and I really enjoyed the entire process.

I was really happy to have my interview up at Shady Creek because that place has something magical about it and I feel so happy as soon as I arrive each time. I am thrilled about the opportunity to work their next year and I really, really hope that I’ll be given the chance to do so. Their decision will be difficult this year but if I am given the position I know that it will be an incredibly life changing and rewarding year and an awesome way to spend my time and energy. I have a lot of passion for what Shady Creek does and I just really want to be a part of it. So… fingers crossed! I find out April 20th!

In other events, I had an amazing (and crazy) Easter this year! Our friends from LA came up to spend the holiday with us so we had a total of 16 people staying at our house (which isn’t particularly large.) It made for a super fun, super rambunctious few days and the house feels extremely empty and quiet without them now. It’s really fun having such great family friends and every weekend they visit us or we visit them is memorable.

Between the many visitors, prospect of the end of the school year, and great opportunities for next year life is looking good! Now I just need to get through the next weeks of school.

What role does birth order play?


Whether you are the first born, the middle child, or the baby of the family your birth order can say a lot about your character, personality, and who you are. When reading up on the studies I was amazed on how right many of the said characteristics were when I compared them to myself, my family and my friends.

I am the first of three girls in my family, all 2 years apart. Through out my life my role has always been leader, starting at an early age I led my sisters. Whether I was recognizing that role by leading them through numerous Sister’s Club meetings, hating the role as they tried to copy my style and choices, or being oblivious to the fact that I was leading them always as they looked up to me and used me as an example, I was always leading. Because of my early days of leading, I took those skills straight into the rest of my life. I always get excited to lead and take action when I want to make our school, or better yet, the world, a better place. Other first born traits that I possess are the fact that I am a people pleaser that craves approval, I am reliable and a team player. However, I am more aggressive than compliant. I am a mover and shaker, a natural leader, a perfectionist, and I am a very driven person that wants things her way.

My sister Margie is the middle child, squashed between Olivia and I. Margie seems to fall under the second middle born category. She is outgoing, friendly, loud, laid back and patient. She tries to stand out next to Olivia and me, she wants everyone to know that she is her own person and has her own personality. She shows this in her sense of style and the things she likes to do. She is also definitely a peacemaker. However, Margie is more than the ordinary middle child, she is a perfectionist, always trying to do her best, she is very nurturing and is always there for you when you are hurt, she also adores babies and children. Next comes our wild child, the baby of the family and the one that brightens every day with her smile and brilliant sense of humor. She is a risk taker, especially when it comes to skiing, and she is always seeking attention. She has gone through a few phases that have brought her a lot of attention. The first phase was her “Other Life Stage” where she was married to her crush, and had 3 kids. Next came her Boy Phase, not the obsessed with boys phase but the “Alter Ego Stage” where she took on the persona of Jake and was a boy for almost a year. Olivia is also sensitive and hard working but most of all she is entertaining.

My parents come from very different family lives that have shaped them to be different people; however they still get along great. My mom is the 11th child of 12 and she seems to possess traits of more than one title. This is probably due to the dynamics of such a large family. My mom seems to match the qualities of an oldest child, as she is a huge leader, very driven, and an absolute perfectionist among other first born traits. She also matches perfectly to the second middle born option being outgoing, friendly, loud, laidback and sometimes patient. She is also flexible, diplomatic, competitive, and very much a peacemaker.

My Dad comes from a much different background, he was the 3rd of three children, the baby in the family, and he was also raised much like an only child, though he still takes on the persona and traits of the last born. My dad was born 12 years after his brother and 15 years after his sister. When he was four his parents split and when he was 14 his mom died, adding to the unfortunate turn of events. Today, when I look at my dad’s character and p[personality I know that he definitely matches the youngest child. He is a risk taker, he has an excellent sense of humor, he is hard working, and he remains immature. He is attention seeking and sensitive as well.

When I look around at my close friends I realize that they are all in different groups, other girls in the groups are my friends too, we just aren’t as close. My best friend, Jessica, is a middle born child; however, when we are together she assumes the role of the leader. Perhaps this is because I am one of the few people in her life she can lead, or maybe it is the sole reason that she is older. Whatever it is, when I am with her, it is the one part of my life where I am often a follower. When I look at my group of friends; Sacha, Keely, Ian, and Jake, I notice that we are a combination of oldest and only children. I think that when you have a diversity of birth order in your group of friends it helps to balance everybody out.



So, as I mentioned in my last post, Sunday was our day to stay local and explore the gem that Brooklyn truly is. We got a late start to the day and grabbed a brunch that truly should have been a lunch at Pillow. It was a great meal, despite the fact that I accidentally shattered a bottle of Tabasco on the ground, staining a lady’s shoes.She didn’t look very happy but I definitely enjoyed the rest of our brunch!

After eating we took a walk through some of the neighborhoods, grabbed Whoopie Pies at One Girl Cookies and walked to the waterfront to take a look at the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges and the breathtaking Manhattan skyline. We rode the carousel and strolled all along the shoreline before grabbing some milkshakes at Shake Shack.

To continue with the walking theme, we headed over to Brooklyn Heights and walked all over one of the most beautiful neighborhoods I’ve ever seen. Every single brownstone is absolutely perfect and it is completely surreal to think about the fact that people actually live in and grow up in houses (and places!) like these. We would see kids running down the street or small families returning home and found ourselves repeatedly filled with jealousy over this lifestyle.

After our long walk we took the subway over to Williamsburg, one of the more up and coming neighborhoods of Brooklyn. We visited a really cute bookstore where we browsed for a while and I ended up purchasing the latest issue of The Paris Review.

We found a fantastic restaurant over there for dinner; Station. We ate octopus salad, a perfectly cooked salmon fillet and then shared a huge basket of steaming, marinated mussels. It was quite possibly one of the best dinners I’ve ever had.

After dinner we headed back over to the waterfront, but in a different area this time, and got ice cream at a place called Odd Fellows. Their quirky flavors and feel reminded me of the local ice cream shop in Portland, Salt and Straw. I got a scoop of Thai iced tea ice cream that was absolutely delicious and only rivaled by the cereal milk ice cream I had the next evening from Momofuku Milk Bar.

We finished the day with some Aziz Ansari on Netflix and I fell asleep thinking that Brooklyn just might be my favorite borough of them all.

New York, New York


I’m spending the first part of my spring break in Brooklyn this year and so far it has been a busy but incredible trip! I flew into LaGuardia late Friday night and hit the ground running with a late night tour of Pratt’s campus and the Brooklyn neighborhood close by to Luke’s dorm. We stayed up late chatting and it felt so great to catch up with my cousin after such a long time.

We devoted ourselves to Manhattan on Saturday and had an amazing day in the city. It was overcast and rained for the majority of the day, leaving the streets particularly empty. It felt like NYC had been put on pause for me so that I could really take in the sights without hoards of tourists vying their way through the sidewalks. We started our day with brunch at a cute place near Little Italy called Two Hands and I enjoyed some really good corn fritters there. Then we headed over to Chelsea and sauntered through the Chelsea Market and walked along the High Line Garden, just taking in the skyline of the city.

After our late morning ventures we headed across town to the MOMA and spent a few hours looking through the floors of remarkable art. I really liked the Jackson Pollocks that we saw and was enamored by Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup piece. There were so many amazing pieces and I was really happy to have had the opportunity to look at all of the incredible art.

We then stopped at a very Italian, higher-end pizza restaurant and had some amazing food before finishing our day with a stroll through Central Park. We headed back to Brooklyn in the evening and then spent the rest of the night enjoying Brooklyn and spending time with some of Luke’s friends.

Today we’ll be exploring Brooklyn and I’ll be sure to post again with how I like this borough too. 🙂