Scheduling

As graduation comes near, I have filled nearly every block in my schedule with events. I’ve needed to purchase more clothes to accommodate the frequency at which I will need to dress up.

With back-to-back formal events, it feels as though we are making up for a year of lost time. Due to quarantine, I have not worn formal attire in almost two years. This schedule is typical for end-of-year seniors, though I often find myself opening my planner a bit too often out of excitement.

Having a filled calendar gives me something to look forward to each day or week. Even if it’s just a final exam, that day has something written on it. My school planner is running out of pages, and the schedule has grown so long that I may need to purchase next school year’s calendar early.

With all of these plans, I hope that the blank days following graduation will not feel empty. I have plans for the summer as well as college to attend, though, while I look forward to the break, I plan to enjoy every day of this busy May.

Image Credit: Quapaw Area Council

One month in Africa

In October I will be going on a one-two month-long safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya. I have visited Africa several times now for my photography expedition, but they usually only lasted between 1-2 weeks. Now I am ready for something bigger. I am incredibly excited, but part of me is also very nervous. One month of getting up at 4.30 am every morning, being on safari for about 11-12 hours a day can be very tiring and intimidating. But it is what I love, and I am more than excited about this adventure. Every day being out with these amazing animals, taking pictures, and sharing them with the world, what an absolute dream!

I have met so many amazing people through my photography: guides, other photographers, and even scientists. We all have the same passion; protecting these beautiful animals and sharing their beauty with the world to conserve them for many more generations to see.

I believe animals can teach us so much and they can help people. For me, I am just happy when I am among wildlife, all my stress is gone and I just feel relaxed. Doing my photography has helped me a lot through hard times, and it never fails to make me happy. Getting feedback from people who admire your work is so motivating and it makes you proud to have come where you are now.

picture by author

Reams Full Of Dreams

It really just begins as a question:

Who do you want to be?

There’s no answer yet,

just confusing clues,

and time.

At some point the rough outline, the shadow, the future is visible: 

now just a gossamer dream, 

but focusing with time, condensing…

I pour myself into the process.

I’m buying what they’re selling,

buying a future,

buying a me.

They’re selling dreams, outlines, frames for faces,

65 bucks a pop!

Expensive. But this boardwalk is a long one.

I pick places.

Leaves?

Seasons?

Words etched in stone?

Wood?

Steel?

All the while working, working.

Pressure to be better,

be happy,

be me,

pressure to do more,

to be more,

and all the while working. Guilty

because I know I could work harder,

and be happier.

Do more.

I could cover more ground,

jump through more gilded hoops,

be better,

do more,

be me-er.

Ideas stuck on frail words

clamouring to speak out

above the clamor.

Distilling self

into neat columns,

busy with intricacy.

From a fermenting mess:

fine spirit.

Then I wait,

as a man in Massachusetts thumbs through reams of dreams.

from istock.com

The Perfect Tree

This year I learned that there are two types of Christmas trees: a noble and a douglas.

I was standing in the parking lot of Lowe’s, searching the fenced in barn for this year’s tree. To my left, there were the douglasses. I knew that any one of them would look great in my living room. They had the classic Christmas tree feel, and I felt satisfied with the quality.

Then, I looked to my right. Propped along the wooden fences were the plush, green noble trees. And they were, indeed, noble. The trees looked as though they came straight out of a holiday hallmark movie. The branches looked as though they grew to meet cold winter snow, and I could not picture any kind of tree that represented the holiday better.

I again turned to my left. The douglass trees then looked drab. Dying, even. The only thing that made them more appealing than the tall nobles was the pricetag. I sorted through each of them, however, and found one that would suit my living room. I admired it and it’s imperfections seemed to disappear. But I again turned towards the nobles.

The contrast in beauty was striking. The tree I had found did not seem as beautiful anymore.

We went home with a noble.

Image Credit: Nathaniel Young

A white Christmas

Finally. After 4 months of not seeing my family, I will soon be home again. In one week I will be on a plane on my way back to Germany and I can’t even put in words how excited I am. I came to the boarding school in the U.S when I was 15. Now, this is my third year going here but every year I don’t see my family for 4 months at a time. I always fly home over Christmas break and the first feeling of stepping out of the airport in Germany is so refreshing. The cold air, the snow, and there they are. My mother, my brother, and our dog. Every year, it is the greatest feeling there is. We drive home and I see our house shining bright with Christmas lights. I open the door and I am greeted by a huge Christmas tree in the living room.

The feeling of finally being home is not comparable to anything else. I step into our garden and play in the snow with our dog. We run around and I go to the lake to see if it has frozen yet. We live close to beautiful mountains, so everyday I walk up with our dog and just sit and watch the beautiful view while it starts snowing. The next day I meet up with my best friend and we go to the famous German Christmas markets in our city. Hot chocolate, waffles, crepe, everything you could imagine for Christmas is right there. All the little shop huts are decorated with lights and snow on top of them. Christmas in Germany is incredibly special to me, and not comparable to anything else.

A beautiful Christmas market in Germany

https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/top-8-german-christmas-markets/

Flowers

Like most people, I’ve received several vases of flowers for several occasions. I watch them blossom and wilt as the joy from the event fades, or I regain my health from an illness.

When I am sick, the decision to throw the flowers away is symbolic of moving on. I have recovered, and the flowers have given me their beauty and life when I was physically weak. After I regain my strength, I can appreciate the era of the beautiful flowers, then feed them to my tortoise to let him have the last of the gift.

It can feel sad watching them wilt, but when I put it into perspective, they have served their purpose and it is time for me to move on. They brought me happiness when I needed it, and with each day they grew weaker, I grew stronger.

Tossing out flowers from events can seem more sad, because it was a good moment, and the wilting of the flowers symbolizes the moment’s transition from an experience to a memory. Once the vase is empty, however, it leaves room for new opportunities. Another great experience will come, and the vase will be filled once again.

Image Credit: Deluxe Blooms

Thanksgiving Break is Soon

Students are going on break soon to celebrate a holiday with their friends and family. This holiday is fun for people of all ages with football, the Macy’s Parade (which is going to be virtual this year), the National Dog Show, and lots of food.

Photo Credit: DOGO news

There is normally turkey, but if you do not eat meat or turkey you can always substitute it. Mash potatoes and gravy is a necessity at every thanksgiving table. My personal favorite is stuffing.

My family and I play lots of card games and spend time together. We used to eat Thanksgiving dinner with friends, but due to COVID it will just be our family which is perfectly fine.

I can not wait to go home and celebrate this joyous time with my family. We gather around the table and say what we’re thankful for and what we hope to do for the rest of our year.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I can not wait to celebrate it.

Holidays

The Halloween experience acts as a measurement of growth as it changes after every birthday. I watch each Halloween become less and less magical as my costumes have faded to my everyday clothes. Halloween is, as they say, “what you make it,” because unlike holidays like Christmas where there is no escaping the holiday spirit, Halloween is the easiest time to take a knee.

Spending time with friends and family passing out candy or trick or treating this year has been discouraged due to COVID. I’m not too disappointed, as I haven’t done much in recent years either, though I celebrated with a glass of apple cider and a little pumpkin to keep up the spirit.

I look forward to the day when I can spend the evening with my friends again, and maybe put together a costume with some magically newfound makeup skills. For now, however, I am content with this year’s Halloween because I know that there are many more to come.

Image Credit: Tony Thomas

Halloween

All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, is a holiday that many people around the world celebrate. Many people of different ages, ethnicities, and nationalities all celebrate this popular holiday.

Halloween “originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward of ghosts” (History.com).

Photo credit: History.com

Halloween is full of many fun activities such as carving pumpkins and turning them into jack-o-lanterns.

Houses are decorated with cobwebs, fake skeleton bones, gravestones. Some neighborhoods even have halloween decoration contests.

Children and teens dress up as many different things and walk around their neighborhoods. They walk up to the doors and say trick-or-treat, which leads them to get candy.

Halloween is a great holiday to watch scary movies with your friends and family, such as Hocus Pocus and Poltergeist.

October 31 is a day where everyone alike can eat candy and dress up like anything they can imagine.

Some thoughts about the Wuhan Virus

A deadly virus has spread throughout China. With now 76 people killed, tens of thousands being possibly infected, death festers upon negligence and ignorance. Some fools choose to travel, knowing they’re infected with this crazily contagious virus. More and more innocent people, children, are dying for that idiocy. 

I’m anxious. Checking the updates on anything related to the virus has become my new habit. The ones I care the most about are in China, and tomorrow they could be dead… all because of that damned negligence. 

But at the same time, I feel sad. What are the infected supposed to do? Sit down and die? How can you blame anyone when the whole plot is sad, when it is your townspeople you’re talking about, when it’s your friends and loved ones’ lives on the line. 

Now I’m in dispute with myself. I don’t know what to write. Thinking that you’re lucky, that you’ve escaped the virus, that the deaths of other people are irrelevant… I don’t know what to think. 

At first you’re in shock, then relaxed, thinking that they’ll have the cure developed by tomorrow… isn’t it the 21st century? Then anxiety hits. You start a journey looking for the antidote for the virus, but there’s no antidote for you.

It’s the Chinese New Year. After a year of struggling, most people finally get some rest. Families get together, friends gather… and boom…

My hometown in the same province as Wuhan City, where the virus first started to murder. Now the province is under lockdown. For that, I pray for my family. 

My mother hasn’t been healthy for a few years. I worry for her well-being, now that a deadly virus walks the earth. My sister feels ill, I hope it’s just a cold…

However, there is a silver lining. And how can one go on without faith?

Today, the first step toward curing the disease with vaccination has been initiated. 

Ok. 

photo credit:gfycat.com