Letter to Santa

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I have a family friend who is staying with me over the holidays and she has a young son who still believes in Santa.  He was scared I didn’t believe in Santa, so my mom told him that I still believed in Santa.  He said that if I didn’t write a list I wouldn’t get any presents from him, so I had to write out a list and send it to my mom so he could see it.  It was fun to write, so I thought I would share it:

Dear Santa,

This year for Christmas I want a dirt bike, tall boots, more riding gear, new earrings, clothes from American Eagle, a car wash, buckeyes, new tires, new rims, stuff for my car, a Kat Von D contour palate, a snowboard, plane tickets to Tennessee, squared toe boots, clutch/gas socks, anything car related, and CD’s for my car.

Thank you, Santa.

From,

Me

 

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One Year

One year ago I remember clearly.

I had my guitar on my shoulder, leaving the warm dorms to trek across the chilly campus to my weekly music lesson, but the air was different than usual.

Everyone was huddled outside, talking as they saw smoke in the distance and hues of red burning in the sky that felt so distant at that moment.

“Are you really going to your lesson right now? There’s a fire,” my friend asked me.

Of course I would go to my lesson. It was my favorite part of Monday nights. Plus, the fire was nowhere near us, nothing would happen, and nothing would change.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Everything changed.

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Yet, so many things stayed the same.

One year later, I’m getting ready to go to my Monday night guitar lesson.

I have a new guitar, but it means so much more now. I appreciate it more now.

I’m still in a dorm room, wondering what I’ll be getting for secret snowflake tomorrow.

But I’m in a new dorm room, with a new roommate, on a new part of campus.

I don’t have the same clothes I had a year ago. The same photos, yearbooks, or blankets.

But, I have the photos I’ve taken since then.

My stuffed animal and All Time Low pillow I saved from the fire.

I still have the memories of the fire.

The ones that haunt me.

The ones that bring me to tears thinking about what I lost, what my friends lost, and what the whole school lost.

But, the memories remind me of how I became a stronger person since.

How my friends became stronger.

How the school became stronger.

How the county’s stronger.

More united.

More appreciated.

I still remember the day I returned from Christmas break and stepped on to campus and moved into the new dorms.

Being welcomed by overwhelming support, welcome back goodie bags, and hugs from my friends.

Seeing my horse for the first time since the fire and knowing he was safe and healthy. That all the other horses were safe.

The fire was so destructive, so horrible, but so many things came out of it that I’m more thankful now for than ever.

It’s been one year and I’m still sensitive to the scent of smoke and fire, to the sound of news about other California fires on the TV.

But, one year later, the mountains are a little greener.

My home is still stronger than ever.

And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

Goodbye

Over Thanksgiving break, I had to make so many goodbyes.

To my childhood stuffed animals, the ones I didn’t want to let go, but the ones I knew I wouldn’t really take anywhere with me. So, I gave them away instead.

To the pajama shorts my mom bought for me at Walmart in third grade, the ones that surprisingly fit me all the way to twelfth grade. Even though they still fit, it was time to throw them out when they were ripping away at their fragile seams.

To the room I spent weekends in at my grandparents’ house growing up, Now, it’s being remodeled. Things that meant so much to me back then are meaningless now, packed away in stacked boxes.

But there was one goodbye I haven’t made yet, because I’m too scared to accept the fact that now might be the time I need to say goodbye.

And that’s to my dog. When I was in first grade and my mom went to pick me up from school, she told me she had a surprise for my sister and I. The first thing that came to my mind was candy, but when she was opening the back door to the car, I was not expecting my sister to be holding a six-month-old, Rhodesian Ridgeback-German Shepherd mix puppy rescued from the pound.

Now, twelve years later, that dog is still in my life, but so much has changed.

It started with him being by my side every single day.

Then, when I moved away, I could only visit on weekends.

Then, life went on and visits turned into rare occasions when I’d go to my grandparents house. When I’d enter the house, he’d come running up to me, barking, and wagging his tail.

Now, he’s still there, but he’s older. He doesn’t run, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. He still follows me around the house, though, his tail still wagging. It’s still wagging even when he lies down, but the pain is still there. It’s obvious and it hurts me knowing it hurts him.

Having pets is one of the most joyful and painful parts about life. Because they bring so much joy, so many happy memories, but, also, so much pain when they’re gone.

But, he fought so hard for so long and I know that it’d be selfish to hold on longer. That if he needs to go and it’s his time, then he should. He should know that he was the best dog I’ve ever had the privilege to have.

I didn’t say goodbye. I gave millions of kisses and hugs, but my goodbye was temporary. It held a promise that I’d be back to see him again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep that promise.  I don’t know how long he’ll be around and I don’t know how long it’ll be until I visit again.

I’m so scared to say goodbye, so I won’t. I’ll say I love my dog. I’ll say I’m thankful that he lived with me throughout my life and that he is so strong for fighting though he doesn’t have to. And that he’ll always be the best dog, my dog, no matter what happens.

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Creeping it Real: High School Halloween

When I was three, my parents told me about the Halloween Pumpkin. I could keep as many pieces of candy as my age and if I put my the rest of my candy on the door step before I went to bed, the Halloween Pumpkin would come during the night and leave me a toy. They made sure to tell me that he would only come if you gave him a couple days notice and only my parents could deliver my wish to the Halloween Pumpkin. At least a week before October 31st,  I would contemplate for hours (or at least what felt like hours to a young child) about what types of candy I would keep and what amazing toy I would receive the morning after Halloween.

Last night, my friend and I went to go to a haunted house. The house was closed, so they gave us a bunch of candy. I figured, I’m really not going to eat this because of carbs, sugar, and the amount of calories. When I got home, I went up to my parents’ room.”Bey, remember the halloween pumpkin,” I asked. “If I put this on the door step, will it magically turn in to twenty bucks by tomorrow morning? Tell ya what, I won’t even keep fifteen pieces”

“Nice try,” my parents said. “But, no.”

When I was younger, I remember going trick or treating every year.  I would count down the minutes until I could knock on doors and hold out my spookily-decorated candy basket. My friends would start counting down the days until the magical holiday as soon as October 1st rolled around.

Nowadays, it seems my Halloweens consist of hours of homework with the occasional  annoying interruption of happy children knocking on the door.

Sometimes, I wish I could just put my Halloween candy on the front porch and the Halloween Pumpkin would come during the night and give me what I wished for: the chance to be kid again.

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18

Tomorrow is the day I turn 18 and I am definitely not where I thought I would be. I’ve had my heart torn out and served on a silver platter, I’ve lost many loved ones, and I’ve seen things I never thought I would. But, I’ve also fallen in love, felt the magic of life, and, most of all, I’ve lived.  I’ve lived through many things and experienced many things, so here’s a list of 18 things I have done:

  1. I learned to love myself no matter what anyone else thinks.
  2. I learned to drive.
  3. I got my first car and learned how to drive stick in it.
  4. I fell in love with cars.
  5. I registered to vote for November 6th.

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  6. I have scheduled a tattoo appointment.
  7. I have fallen in love for the first time.
  8. I have traveled to many different continents.
  9. I have started applying to colleges.
  10. I have seen how life doesn’t stop for anyone.
  11. I learned to not take myself too seriously.
  12. I have learned life is short and is over in the blink of an eye.
  13. I have learned that I can have different beliefs than the people who raised me.
  14. I learned that the person you call your best friend isn’t always the best friend for you.
  15. I have learned how to stand my ground.
  16. I have learned some friends come and go.
  17. I have learned some people are in my life to teach me a lesson and then leave me.
  18. I discovered who I want to be and what I want to do with my life.

There are many things I have learned and experienced, but my favorite has been falling in love, getting my heart broken, finding myself, and becoming the best version of myself.

Picture-Perfect Christmas

Seasons and memories have always been so weird to me.  I almost get seasonal depression, but not in the season one may suspect.

I get this feeling when it’s cold;  I’m content with everything and the most peaceful I have ever felt in my life.  My heart almost freezes, as if to stay in that feeling.

There seems to always be a memory associated with this feeling in my head.  It’s one of the strongest memories from my childhood, though that doesn’t say much. It’s a haze of little things.

I remember the dress. It was a new, red dress for Christmas.

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I remember the bear. Its paws lit up and it played a song. It was my favorite gift that year.

I remember the restaurant. It was right outside the mall, about 30 minutes away from home.

I remember the driveway. It was littered with pine needles.

I remember my parents.  They were happy, for once.

Everything was perfect.  It is the only time I look back and think I had a picture-perfect childhood.  It’s the only time I don’t remember yelling.  It’s the only time everyone got along.  It was the only time there was love everywhere.

Maybe that’s why I get so happy when it’s cold outside.

Summer feels

I can’t wait for this summer. You know, in the past, people have always told me that junior year is gonna be harder than all the other years. But I had no idea that they were actually right about that!

I’m mentally and now even physically so exhausted that I don’t want to do anything but sleep. But guess what! I can’t!

That’s why I can’t wait for summer. I can actually sleep then. I won’t have anything to do but read, ride horses, go for runs with my dog, probably study for the SAT, go to my summer journalism program, and travel. I’m so excited to travel!

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In the US everything seems to be so far apart. If you go on a two hour train ride here, you get to another city in the state. But if I go on a two hour train ride from my hometown, I end up in another country. I can’t wait to go to Paris, to Amsterdam, Berlin, to Greece.

I also really can’t wait to ride my horse again. I am so glad that I get to ride at my school here, I am so thankful for that, but it’s so different from my barn at home. I can go there whenever I want, I can stay there as long as I want, go on trail rides through the fields and forests, and I can actually get lessons. So, obviously, I can’t wait.

Of course I’ll miss all my friends here, as always. I’ll miss the amazing weather in California, and the amazing avocados and oranges, that simply don’t taste the same in Germany. But I can’t even tell you just how excited I am for this summer!