My Best Friend

At the age of two, my parents took me to visit my aunt and uncle at their ranch in Montana. We were sitting on the lawn waiting for them to arrive, and I got up and walked into the pasture. Instead of jumping up to save me, my parents decided to stay put and see what would happen.

I eventually began learning to ride, first in a western saddle at Bar 20 Ranch in Montana, but once we moved to London for two years I switched to an English saddle. It’s been 12 years now, and I’ve gone from barely being able to sit on a horse to jumping 3’9″ fences.

I got my first pony when I was eight, and it was the horse I’d been riding for two or three years at the time. I woke up Christmas morning, at the crack of dawn to the disappointment of my parents, and we opened the presents under the tree. Then my mom suggested we go to the barn to give Razz, the horse, some Christmas carrots. When we got there, my trainer led her out of her stall. She had a red bow stuck to her forehead and streamers around her neck. She was my Christmas present.

I rode Razz until she was too old to continue competing, and then we retired her to my aunt and uncle’s ranch. From there came a couple other ponies, all of whom I loved dearly but outgrew quickly. And then finally I graduated to a horse, Time.

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Five seconds

One
Your heart pulses
Your muscles prepare for the explosion of force that explodes from your muscles.
You take a breath in
Your mind does a quick recap of your preparations
Your body is ready
Two
A huge push
A signal from your brain reaches the muscles in your legs
The muscles expand throwing you off the ledge
The tendons in your knees expand and contract
Gravity is no longer a boundary
Your brain works tirelessly sharpening the senses
Three
The brisk air flies by your face
you feel weightless
Gravity again grips at your feet
Your brain again fears the earth and prepares itself for impact
Your legs reach out for land
The ledge comes into sight
You close your eyes for the last moment of bliss
Four
Contact
Your muscles absorb the shock
You roll from the balls of your feet, throwing your weight forward
The earth is cold and it grips to your hand
Your brain recovers from the impact bringing blood back to the extremeties to heal
You stand and open your eyes
Five
You let out a sigh of relief
You are alive
You look back at your accomplishment
a ten foot gap cleared
back to work

Mis amigas, Te amo.

Five years of summer camp and four years of school at OVS, you make tons of friends. The great thing is that since OVS is so much fun, most people will come back and you get to see them again and again. Even when they leave, they have an impact in your life and you never forget them. I have had so many friends over the years, but the ones that have stuck with me at OVS until the end are the ones I am closet to.

If you know me, than obviously you would have to know Ali, my best friend. I have known her for 5 years and we actually met at summer camp. To be honest, I didn’t like her that much at first. Then 8th grade year, we just kind of connected and ever since then we have been inseparable. We have had our fights of course, but we just can’t be apart. As she says, “Jenna, you are my brain.” We always make jokes about how we know what the other is thinking. Some people don’t like Ali, but I don’t care. Honestly, if anyone ever tries to say anything bad about my best friend or hurts her, they might end up with a black eye. Or maybe some spiders/lizards in their bed. Just saying. Anyways, she is the greatest and funniest person ever. I can never get tired of her sense of humor.
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Exploring Outside the Walls of Viterbo

The past three days I spent on a school orientation trip outside of Viterbo. The fact that anywhere I go in this country is absolutely beautiful like no other is still so surreal and overwhelming to me. I don’t think we came upon any ugly place, not even while driving through the more industrial cities! Everything is just incredible no matter where you are.

All 68 students plus faculty loaded up onto our huge double decker bus Thursday morning and took off to our first stop, south of Viterbo, a city called Sermonetta.

It is a medieval city just like Viterbo but much smaller. The name Sermonetta contains “monetta” which can be translated to coin, and it is said that money was coined there. Also during the Dark Ages it was a used as a fortress for the Pope.

Steps up to the Castle of Sermonetta

Our next stop was at the Gardens of Ninfa. The Gardens are located on the ruins of the old city of Ninfa. But the city was brought to an end, by whats called the Papal civil war of the 14th century. Ninfa was brought to its original glory in the 20th century by the Italian Republic named as a Natural Monument in 2002.

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Does America really need all of its power?

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America has had a varied history. Originally one of the least organized countries in existence, America would become the most powerful country in the world. America’s modern history has been influenced by the modern world in which we live. America’s Power would not come without sacrifice, as power always has its price.

After World War II America’s leaders took the Monroe Doctrine to the extremes, in short they decided to become the Worlds Police Force. America would spend the latter part of the 20th century embroiled in a decades long Cold War. America’s main goal during this time was to stop communism and spread democracy.

America’s top leaders believed that if every country was Democratic then warfare as mankind knows it would cease to exist. Accomplishing this (extremely improbable) goal would require the US to stay several steps ahead of their enemies. As we all know this requires vast amounts of money.

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Kurt Vonnegut

I have very defined opinions.

If you asked me my favorite anything, I could tell you.

My favorite author, for example, is Kurt Vonnegut.

Vonnegut has written some of the best books of all time. Sirens of Titan, God Bless you Dr. Kevorkian and, of course, Welcome to the Monkey House.

Welcome to the Monkey House has, of course, my favorite short story of all time in it. Harrison Bergeron is the story of a dystopian future due to poor government (see my last blog) and a suppressed population. The story is so good because it portrays something that could happen. Of course, governments would never become so terrible as to handicap the population, but an era of Orwellian style big brother government very well could.

Okay, now that I’ve made myself out to be a conspiracy theorist and pessimist, I’ll move on to my other favorite Vonnegut book, God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian.

Believe it or not, this is the story of how Vonnegut died. Many times. He was brought back to life by Kevorkian, and the stories in the book are of his near death experiences. Real or not, the 100 or so pages a definitely worth your time. Pondering death, and life after so, is always a fascinating topic full of superstition and most of the time, downright fear.

God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian is also worth reading just so you can hear Vonnegut’s ideas on religion (blog soon to come). This book very well may change how you look on life and death. It has the Jack Beverly seal of approval. What else do you need?

The Moon.

We are sitting here again. The dim moon hid her face behind the grey clouds, like home, gloomy and unreachable.

Today is the joyous Mid-Autumn Festival, the third and last festival for the living, which is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, around the time of the autumn equinox. Many referred to it simply as the “Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon”. In the Western calendar, the day of the festival usually occurred sometime between the second week of September and the second week of October.

This day was also considered a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been harvested by this time and food was abundant. With delinquent accounts settled prior to the festival , it was a time for relaxation and celebration.

 

Jack came here this weekend to spend this special day with me. Also, our group which includes Vivian, Sophia, and other my Chinese friends on campus cooked Chinese food at the girls’ lounge.

We had a good time cooking the dishes that we used to have at home, and I called them “the taste of home”. We were laughing and talking about our own customs at home. We also ate moon cakes.

As foreign students, the only way to keep us together is to remember our cultures. Festivals of different cultures can be considered as profound bonds between time and distance.Read More »