What role does birth order play?

BLOG POST FOR MARCH WEEK 4

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.

Brooklyn!

BLOG POST FOR MARCH WEEK 3

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

BLOG POST FOR MARCH WEEK 2

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. 🙂

Human Echolocation Is The Most Under-appreciated Thing

BLOG POST FOR MARCH WEEK 1

In my AP Lang class we recently started learning about synthesis essays and the topic has lead us to find various articles and sources on a topic of our choosing. Inspired by a fascinating NPR This American Life episode I listened to with my dad a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make my topic human echolocation. It is such an amazing phenomenon of the human brain and makes me marvel at our species just that much more.

The NPR episode features Daniel Kish, a blind man who honed the skill of echo-locating from an early age and is able to live his life in a way that is entirely comparable to the way of a sighted person because of the clicks he makes to inform himself of his surroundings. When Kish, and other echolocators, employ clicks they are able to create a mental image based on the information they gather – attributes of objects that include distance, movement, texture, material, and size. This mental image is comparable to our peripheral vision, resulting in the possible conclusion that humans can see without eyes. The episode can be found here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/544/batman and I highly recommend listening to it if this is a topic that interests you.

Not only is Daniel Kish’s story entirely fascinating, but the neurological aspect of human echolocation is as well. In delving into the topic for my synthesis essay I found a scholarly article on the neurological activity behind it. One study found that when a blind person is echolocating it is the calcarine, or visual, cortex of their brain that is engaged in the activity, rather than the auditory. This points towards two different theories, both equally amazing. One is that echolocation is almost like a sixth sense, not entirely related to hearing or sight. The calcarine cortex has the ability to perceive senses through both echolocation and sight but because the average human doesn’t use echolocation very much, this cortex ends up being used entirely for sight. The other theory is that the functions of brain cortices are able to shift and adapt for each individual person, finding a new purpose for the calcarine cortex when an individual cannot use it for sight.

This entire world of echolocation in humans is still quite unknown and under-appreciated but I believe that it has the ability to make some major changes in the way we think about senses, the way we perceive parts of our world, and the lives of blind people. I can’t wait to learn more.

The Magic of Shady Creek

I was unbelievably lucky to be able to spend my last week up at Shady Creek Outdoor School as a cabin leader and it was one of the most phenomenal weeks and experiences of my life. The entire school is filled with the most positive, outgoing, and supportive naturalists and being around people like that has left a permanent smile upon my face. From getting to work closely with the encouraging naturalists to seeing the look on a child’s face when they really noticed the stars for the first time or finally came out of their shell enough to dance with the other campers filled me with exponential amounts of joy.

The week was certainly exhausting but it was worth every second of sleep deprivation. Each day consisted of cabin time with my group of 7 girls, accompanying naturalists and classes on different eco-classes throughout the day, leading rec activities, singing lots of songs and watching different performances, and mealtimes of course. With each day I grew closer and closer to the girls I was in charge of, the other cabin leaders, and the naturalists up at camp.

Working with kids and really getting to know them on a more individual level was life changing and made me realize that working with children is far more rewarding than I ever acknowledged before. I’m so thankful to have had this experience and can’t wait to be up there again.