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!
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!
What is Thanksgiving? You’ll probably answer with: “It’s an American holiday and as the name suggests, it’s an occasion for people to be thankful for all the blessings in their lives.” But what’s the origin of Thanksgiving? When the Pilgrims arrived in America, they had trouble growing crops and in 1620 that lead to a famine that killed half of the Pilgrims. Fortunately for them, the Wampanoag tribe taught them how to farm on their soil and later in 1621 the Pilgrims had their first successful harvest. The Wampanoag tribe was then invited to a feast known as the “First Thanksgiving.”
As a non-US citizen, I was very curious to see how people celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s taken very seriously. Growing up, I used to love Thanksgiving specials on shows like “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Simpsons.” I knew the basics of Thanksgiving, but have never experienced it.
The food is fantastic, I never knew that turkey and cranberry sauce can go together so well. What I really appreciate about this holiday is the opportunity to reflect on your life and realize how many things we should be grateful for. I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with my family and it was very sweet to have the whole day to keep saying how much we mean to each other. I’d say this experience has brought us closer in a way.
This was a very successful first Thanksgiving. Here’s to many more!
Halloween is arguably one of the most fun holidays. You can dress up like a banana, a zombie cheerleader, or even a cat. However, a certain kind of costume that is not acceptable, comes around every year. Those costumes fall into a small category: when people adopt the aspects and features of another race or culture as a costume, a joke. Some examples of this are blackface and yellowface where people will literally paint a color onto their skin to make them look like a different race. Halloween is not the proper place to display your racial microaggressions. You may not even be aware of them, most people aren’t. Microaggressions are when you say a racial slur or dress up as another race to make fun of them. Actions like these showcase how unaware our society is to the amount of cultural appropriation we experience on a daily basis. Some may take this as it not being okay to dress up as their favorite movie character of a different race, but that is not the case. Little kids can dress up as Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana, because they are doing it out of admiration, not disrespect. It is hard to identify when a costume goes from okay to bad. If you think someone will be offended by your costume then odds are it isn’t appropriate.
In 2012, a group of students at Ohio State University, known as STARS (Students Teaching About Racism in Society), made a series of posters to showcase this problematic Halloween trend. It is a series of six posters each picturing an offensive costume representing a racial stereotype, an actual person representing that racial group, and the same line: “You wear the costume for one night, I wear the stigma for life.”
And this is so true. Coming from a place of privilege, I don’t understand the type of oppression people of color receive on a daily basis; neither do any of the people who dress up as stereotypes of a culture. If you dress up as a racial stereotype, then you most likely don’t know anything about that particular culture’s daily oppression. People who don blackface or dress up as a nerdy Asian never have to live in the skin of people of color. They don’t have to wake up knowing they’ll be judged for the amount of pigment in their skin. Most people dress up as stereotypical racial figures to make fun, not knowing anything about what it’s actually like to be who they’re dressed up as. On November 1st, you can wake up in your safety bubble of skin and go on with life, but the group of people you made fun of the night before will continue to wear the skin and/or identity that you appropriated as a costume.
Sometimes I contemplate whether or not after high school I should take a gap year. There’s so many things to learn by simply traveling and exploring, and I wonder if there’s too many possible adventures to simply get done in a life time. I can’t imagine them all as I’m stuck in school doing essays, endless math problems, and projects, but I hope.
As much as I picture myself being an ambitious law student in the heart of New York City, I begin to stalk the traveler pages of Instagram who share their passions to the world, and wonder how life like that would be. To take life one step at a time without a care in the world about the future. To travel freely, explore different cultures, or learn for mere enjoyment rather than cramming in information for a final exam.
I’ve had the privilege to travel before. From galloping horses through Ireland’s terrain to swimming with stingrays in the Cayman Islands, highlights of my life have always included traveling. But if I’m honest with myself, I probably won’t become one of those people who are in a new country every week, and that’s okay, but there are two things I know I want to do before I die.
Backpacking through Europe. This has always been on the top of my bucket list. I just want to go with a group of friends traveling city to city via train, bike ride through Amsterdam, go to the art museums in France, or swim in the oceans of Greece. There’s so many opportunities in Europe that there wouldn’t need to be a full agenda to make the trip enjoyable.
2. A horseback riding safari through Africa. I didn’t even know this was a thing until a couple months ago, but it’s been on my mind ever since. I’ve always wanted to go on an African safari, but being able to do it on horseback would make it ten times better. Just picturing galloping through the Savannas near the zebras and the antelope under the bright sun, it seems to surreal to be true, but it is.
These are just two things out of a dozen. The world is so big that exploring every inch of it in such a short time seems impossible. But I want to make sure that I discover as much of it as I can.
There’s just something that is so painfully cheesy and overall too varnished about the music released during Christmas time.
I don’t understand how or why Christmas has become an even more Hallmarked holiday for romance than Valentines Day.
I am very accepting of the concepts of caring and giving that provide the foundation for Christmas, but there’s something about the influx of songs talking about finding true love due to Christmas Magic that really does not sit well with me.
Maybe it’s because I actually am Scrooge, but maybe not. I’m not sure.
Or maybe it’s the fact that I subconsciously believe most things meant to be cute and sweet are extraneous.
Which, upon further reflection, basically means I am the Grinch all year round.
Once Thanksgiving ended, a Christmas frenzy descended upon us, showering everyone in festive store windows, holiday sales, and, most importantly, Michael Bublé’s Christmas album (although Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is also very important).
The Grove’s Christmas tree has gone up, holiday candy has dominated stores, people are driving through town with green fir trees strapped on the top of their cars, and Disneyland’s Christmas celebration has been in full swing since November 8.
Kids are about to go on break, adults are taking time off work, and family members are hopping on planes, getting in their cars, or hopping in taxis to see their loved ones for the holidays.
After our cruel finals week, holiday break begins, and with that comes holiday movies, candy, parties, and relaxation (hopefully). But, it also gives everyone a chance to recharge, and spend more time with family and friends.