Here it is. June 3rd.
Just five more days until I walk across that stage and receive my diploma.

Who knew high school went by as fast as they said it did?

My five year journey here at Ojai Valley School has been unforgettable.

I started out in 8th grade at the Lower Campus. Although it was a great change from a large school of over 2,000 students, the warm and inviting faculty and friends I met made the adjustment easy.

I had a great year learning how to camp, do my own laundry, and take on the responsibilities of living in a dorm. Not the mention, the close bonds I made with the girls I lived with. It was a different kind of bond than the most of the ones I made in public school. Having lived with these girls, I felt almost as if I was amongst sisters.

So, after graduating, the decision was easy. I knew I wanted to go to Upper for high school.

My freshman year, I roomed with my best friend from Lower, Wendy Lin.

Now let me say something about her. I have been my most vulnerable with Wendy. I opened up to her about things I never really shared with anybody else, and she did the same. So when we roomed together, it was like I was with family. We both knew each other enough not to argue. So when I say, although we had our ups and downs, I am generally talking about the ups when it comes to Wendy. When I think of my freshman year, she is among one of the first people that pop into my mind.

Then there is Lucy Kim. Ah, she is so dear to me. Not only did we click because of our similar humor, she lifted me up when I was down and always was there for me when I needed prayer requests. She also listened to me when I needed her and let me realize that  She even got us transportation to go to church on Sundays so that we could keep our faith, after I told her how hard it was not to go to church.

Cooper, Jeremy, Oussou and Parker. Boy, were they funny people. Of course, when you are that young, seniors seem so much older than they actually are, and these were the people I looked up to. They had close, lasting bonds that were connected by years of laughter. Although they probably had no idea, my senior year was affected so much by the optimism and attitude they brought to the school.

The first half of my sophomore year was spent at Beverly Hills High School. That semester was definitely a learning experience for me. The big public school experience was new to me, having been in a private boarding school of just over 100 students. Regardless, I returned to OVS with a newfound appreciation.

Junior year..was tough. It was full of all nighters and instant food. I was swamped with the workload of 4 AP’s and struggled with balancing time between my studies and my boyfriend of two years. But this is the year that I grew close to Jo Chen and Maddie, two of my best friends today! However, it was also the year that Jo, Maddie, Lucy, and my boyfriend had graduated so the graduation was marked with strong emotions.

This year, graduation means something completely different.

It means five years of going to school in Ojai is coming to a close. It means growth. It means Reika, Sungjin, and Anni. It means Mr. Alvarez’s words of encouragement and Mr. Cooper’s long speeches on integrity. It means Mr. Weidlich running with the lacrosse team and Mrs. Colborn’s team comp announcements. It means Chico’s waffles every Wednesday morning. It means Mrs. Allen’s bake sales and the IOU’s that follow. It means Haldy’s jokes and Eddy’s motorcycle videos and Mr. and Mrs. Boyd’s wonderful singing and camping trips with Mrs. Davis. It is so much.

It kind of makes me want to stay a little longer.

That’s how much I love this place.

Thank you everybody for making this experience what it was. It has been a fabulous 5 years. I loved every minute of it.

Get Out and Vote

This will be the first year that I can vote, and I am very excited for it.

Most of my friends don’t understand why I would be excited and why I care so much, which usually ends with me calling them ignorant.

To set the scene, I have gone over the ballots with my parents for as long as I can remember. They were not trying to brainwash me; they always asked me what I though of a proposition or a candidate before they spoke their mind.

I learned to read the laws and understand them in a greater sense. It was always something I enjoyed and became excited about. I was much more likely to be conversing with my teachers about politics than my peers.

And now I am able to actually vote. It feels like a freedom to me, something that is meant to be cherished. As much as my friends may go on about it not mattering if one person votes, it does. Especially in the primaries, one vote does matter.

I feel that if more children were exposed to politics and encouraged to be informed even though they could not vote, we would have much higher turn outs.

After all, a democracy does not work without voter participation. If we want to keep the freedoms that we hold dear, we must have a voice as a people. That starts, and ends, with have a politically educated youth system.

The Red Necklace

I rather like audiobooks now.

I found this novel through Wikipedia, picking it up after discovering that the audiobook is read by my favorite actor, Tom Hiddleston.

I downloaded the audiobook, 6.6 hours of his beautiful voice, and finished it in 2 days.

I have bought several audiobooks and left them all unfinished.  I credit my inability to finish them to the fact that most of the readers have boring voices and their method of distinguishing each character is to merely lower or heighten the pitch of their voices throughout the dialogue.

However, not surprisingly, Tom Hiddleston broke that standard.

Tom Hiddleston

I could hardly tell one person was reading the book, the voices were so different.  He used a score of accents, ranging from his native English accent to Scottish, Irish, French, even vaguely Russian and more.

Aside from my obvious satisfaction with his reading, the book is quite gripping.

The title is a reference to the guillotine, the “bloody altarpiece” of the French Revolution, and to the necklace of red garnets found on murder victims throughout the book, the gems described as looking “drop of congealed blood.”

It tells the story of a Parisian Romani boy named Yann Margoza, a magician’s assistant and a young French aristocrat, Sidonie de Villeduval, at the time of the Revolution.

“Sido” is a beautiful, kind girl with a limp, and she is despised by her father, the Marquis de Villeduval.  The Marquis is obsessed with possessions and his estate, spending lavishly even though he is bankrupt.  He is indebted to the illusive and fabulously wealthy Count Kallivoski.

Following a fateful final performance, Yann is forced to flee to London.  He grows up, becoming a gentleman with a bright future.

Kallivoski has taken an unhealthy interest in Sido and blackmails the Marquis into consenting to a marriage between the two.  Yann embarks on a journey to save her from the Revolution and the Count alike.

It is an extremely well-written book.

Gardner writes exceedingly clever phrases to describe the setting and characters, using “varicose veins” to describe hidden passageways and citing that one man has an”entirely too generous helping of teeth.”

Check out this book or order it on amazon here!