This weekend I spent two nights up at Concow Lake, about 40 minutes up of Chico, volunteering with my Venture Crew at the annual Boy Scouts Camporee.  I absolutely love being at these things because in my opinion, there is nothing more wonderfully, classically American than a gathering of Boy Scouts in a mountainous setting, complete with meadows, a lake, tepees, and tents.  At one moment, as I was walking through the field with a best friend on either side, we looked back and saw an Order of the Arrow boy scout, dressed in full Native American regalia, walking out of a tepee across the large meadow.  It was postcard perfect.

Another reason these outings are perfect is that boy scouts are genuinely wonderful people. Sitting around the staff camp, chatting, playing cards, cooking, eating nutella and cake, and playing dangerously with the bonfire with them is so enjoyable.  Every single one is hilarious and easy to talk to. They aren’t bashful in the least and heck, if they want to start singing that campfire song everyone knows, they will.

From the campfire to the game circles to morning inspections of each patrol’s campsite, I felt like I had been transported to a Norman Rockwell painting.

As Dwight Schrute says in The Office, “Nostalgia is truly one of the greatest human weaknesses…second only to the neck.”


Plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L & M


As this school year is coming to a close (35 days for me!) a few things are on everybody’s minds. Firstly, the long, wonderful summer days, even longer nights, and adventures waiting to happen. Secondly, and perhaps in a practical sense more importantly, grades. As I look at my mountain of homework piling up for this weekend combined with my counselor’s announcement that colleges will only be looking at my sophomore year grades due to my year abroad, the stress is growing exponentially!

With all the stress swirling around me its good to remember the important things in life, not to mention my 13 life back up plans. Every time I feel like I am failing at everything I do, I think of ways I can still live a strange but wonderful life WITHOUT that degree from NYU that I want so badly.

Here it is:

1. Move to the beach and surf and live in a hut.
 2. Become an accordion player in Central Park.
 3. Move to a trailer park in the south, work at Winn Dixie.
 4.Spend my life working at a diner in Santa Monica.
 5. Become a blogger and travel the globe by way of hitchhiking.
 6. Marry Mason, divorce Mason, be rich.
7. Move to SF and write for the hobo newspaper.
8. Go to Butte (GASP).
 9. Prove I’m related to Prince William and go live in Buckingham Palace.
 10.Buy a submarine and lots of cats with inheritance.
 11. Form a hunting and gathering group with Haylee Schimmel and Zach Bettner in Bidwell Park, star in a TLC show “Keeping up with the Nomads”.
12. If worst comes to worst, join a convent.
13. I will not worry my life away and I will magically transform into one of these happy, carefree old men from Jason Mraz’s “The Remedy” music video.

Another Family


So, if you are tired of my constant posting about my future in Germany, you may as well navigate away from this post. I truly am sorry if I am boring you, but it is the only thing I can think about again. Actually, what am I even saying? Nobody reads this!

In one of our Facebook groups today, a girl posted about receiving an email from her host family letting her know where she will be staying and who they are.

Obviously, this sent me back into a major excited, frantic, obsessive frenzy. After I found out I had received the scholarship and obsessed over it for a week or two I finally stopped driving my friends insane with my tunnel vision.

Now, they may have to get used to this again. I knew I would be going to Germany and didn’t see a reason to stress about the details. But now, it’s been brought to my attention that I still am waiting to find out who my new host family will be and where I will be living.

This is obviously a huge, probably the largest, part of what my life is going to be like next year! How was this not consuming my every thought before?

With my application over there, are families looking through my application along with others, deciding who they would like to take in for the year? I expressed who I am to the best of my ability in that, however all they are looking at is a paper and ink version of me. Will we really be compatible? I swear, this is online dating, minus the romance and plus the year long commitment before meeting.

So needless to say, I may as well immediately give up on my grades while I obsess over exactly where I will be. I am so going to be that typical foreign exchange student google mapping my new home and school every day to see what they look like once I find out!

So ayo future host family, if you’re out there, email me (and choose me).

Making and Breaking(?) Connections

As I try to finish the school year strong, while I am really incredibly burnt out and ready for the long summer nights with my closest friends, there is one more date my mind just loves to force all of its focus on. While I fight my way towards the freedom that June 6 will bring with a trip to San Francisco with my best friend, August 5 is about to bring even more freedom! I am eagerly counting down the 120 days until my departure to Washington DC, and then another 2 days until I will be flying across the ocean, all the way to Germany.

Everyday is a little different when it comes to how I feel about leaving everything and everyone I know for a full 10 months. I feel more excited than I’ve ever felt before, I feel hopeful and ready to bring a bunch of new people into my life. I’m eager to learn the language and the culture and to immerse myself in new experiences.

At the same time, I am terrified. As my friends point out, I’m not leaving forever, and that’s true. But still, ten entire months. I am going to miss every person so much. Or at least almost every. I’ve met some really great people this semester and we may not be best friends but I love them. I’ll come back for senior year and a lot of these people, who are juniors, won’t be there anymore. As for all the friends who will be there, I worry about how I will fit in after missing so much of their lives. In high school, relationships, friend groups, situations all change quickly and constantly and after missing 10 months of the dynamic lives of my friends, how easy will it really be to get back into the swing of things. I worry about how much I’ll miss them, and whether or not they’ll miss me as much. I think about how much my little sisters are going to change in the year I’m away. How will it be to be away from my parents for so long. I’m about to miss a couple dozen milestones and holidays and big family gatherings. 

Don’t get me wrong, I want to go so badly! It just also comes with a good deal of anxiety about my future.

The greatest thing that has come through all of this is the connections I’ve been able to make with people who are going through the exact same experience at the exact same time as me. And for this, I’ve got to thank Mark Zuckerberg! As a member of a  group on Facebook for the ASSE CBYX Finalists for this school year I’ve gotten to know, in a way, many of the students going to DC and Germany with me for our next school year. We are able to get practical advise from each other regarding credits, what to pack etc. And more than that, we are able to share our feelings of excitement and fear with each other. I now know that I am not the only person who can focus on nothing else.

So while the next year might prove difficult to keep the wonderful people I have in my life, I think that when I come back, things will prove to be just as great, if not better. And for those 10 months I’ll have the new community of foreign exchange students that I have found, supporting me just as much as I’ll support them.

We can do this.