A Winding Road Trip to the Ocean

BLOG POST FOR MAY WEEK 3

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!

BLOG POST FOR MAY WEEK 2

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!

BLOG POST FOR MAY WEEK 1

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.

Prom!

BLOG POST FOR APRIL WEEK 4

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!