Finding Inspiration

Inspiration has to do with pretty much anything we do. If it is writing, drawing, dancing, cooking, playing an instrument etc. But sometimes it is hard to get inspired and we feel stuck. We sit at our desks starting a sketch or a choreography for a dance over and over again and we just get frustrated because nothing seems right. I get this feeling a lot.

After school I spend a good amount of time sitting in front of my laptop, looking through photos I have taken on my travels around the world. For me, photography is something to escape to and to relax. Going through pictures is almost like you are reliving these moments. I always think it is so overwhelming how much meaning a picture can have. I pretty much only take pictures of animals and it has grown to be my biggest passion. When I look at my pictures, and I get to look an animal straight into the eyes through a picture I have taken, it almost feels like as if I had some sort of connection to it. For a moment everything is quiet and it is just me and the animal.

Photography has its many amazing sides. You get to travel the world, see the most amazing spectacles that nature has to offer, but there is also a side to it which sometimes brings you down. I follow hundreds of other photographers on social media, and sometimes I scroll through certain accounts just thinking: wow. I wish I could capture pictures like this.

I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others and being very harsh to myself when it comes to the pictures I take. I try to find inspiration through others but in the end it just makes me feel like my pictures aren’t good enough. I have spent hours and hours trying to find a style, that when people see my photos, they know that they are from me. Every time I post something I think it is just not good enough, my pictures all look the same and they all just look flat. I get frustrated and I can’t find any inspiration or whatsoever. But this is part of the progress. Nothing is ever perfect. But there are moments, when I see a picture that I like, and it just makes me so incredibly happy and proud. And these are the moments that keep me going.

People text me telling me that my pictures inspire them. That they enjoy my work. And these are the moments that make everything so worth it. I love what I do and I am so incredibly thankful for all the amazing moments I have got to experience thanks to photography. I love sharing my work with other people, bringing people closer to our wildlife and nature, showing off the beauty and diversity our planet has to offer.

Photo taken by the author.

Wheeler Gorge

Photo credit: anygivensunrise.com

This was the first outdoor education experience this year, so the resident girls were fortunate to be off-campus. There were only four of us since one girl had riding practice, and the other girl hurt her wrist. We all loaded up into the van and went to Wheeler Gorge.

When we pulled into the parking lot, Mr. Byars was already there. He had climbing shoes and helmets on the floor for us to find our sizes. Once we had all of our gear, we started walking to a climbing spot.

All of the girls went off to explore. We found mini frogs and climbed on some rocks. Once we got back to the teachers, we got geared up. We spent our time climbing on the rocks. We were either on belay or bouldering.

A few people were rock climbing for the first time. Ms. Reynolds and Mr. Sittig went on the climbing trip as well.

We collected many frogs and even did a boat race with things you would find in nature. Mr. Byars won the race. Some people walked around in the water, and others fell into the water.

Overall, the first outdoor education outing was a success.

Saying Goodbye to Blue

She appeared behind my house with her sister and her mother. She was the first to pop her head above the brick wall with her wide eyes looking curiously around the yard. She and her sister were beautiful. Her sister had solid white paws and defined face markings. My family and I planned on keeping her, but we had no room to keep the wide-eyed black and white kitten.

When we brought them inside, the white-pawed kitten, now named Penny, became the more confident of the two. They played together for weeks, and while we knew Penny would stay with us, the formerly unnamed black and white kitten quickly became my little baby Blue. She was shy, yet always curious of her surroundings. She turned to her sister for comfort as they kept each other company.

They had grown to be ten weeks old when Blue was ready to find her forever home. I spent the night holding her and watching them toss around toys. The sun rose sooner than I had expected and I found myself putting little Blue into a cat carrier while we said our goodbyes. Penny didn’t notice as we shut the carrier door and left their playroom.

I sat in the back seat of the car with Blue while she pressed herself against the back of the carrier. Her little body was shaking as she looked up at the passing buildings. As we pulled into the parking lot I stuck my fingers through the wired door hoping she would come to be pet. I knew I would never pet her again. I carefully picked up her carrier and handed her to the shelter staff before watching her be carried away.

I told the woman the name I had given her, and within a day my little Blue was up for adoption. I checked the website daily for updates. She looked happy and confident in the photo they posted, and within a week her adoption post had been taken down.

I watch Penny grow and imagine how big Blue must be today. I am confident that the Humane Society sent her home with a good family. I know she won’t remember her first home or her sister, but I think of her every time I look at Penny. She came to us as a scared feral kitten, and I am grateful that my family and I were able to socialize her and make her comfortable with moving into a real home.

Blue ❤ Photo Credit: Ojai Valley Humane Society

Stars on the Open Ocean

the men in that big wooden boat heaved against the ocean

that endless blue

through the night they rowed

moving galaxies out of the way with each successive stroke

in the middle of the boat seated parallel to the back of the outrigger

one man focussed on his brown arm and the way it seemed to work by its own volition

his bicep roared in its quiet fight against the mighty open

In the back of the boat one man fell so deep within himself that he lost track of the stars

but the boat knew the way

and right here sat a boy who simply rowed

in time

open like the ocean

https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2016/08/26/hawaii-news/two-day-oil-painting-workshop-at-volcano-art-center/

OVS as a New Student

Picture Credit: Smapse.com

Being a new student where you do not know anyone is hard, but going to boarding school away from your family is even harder. I have been to my fair share of sleep away camps, but this a whole different feeling.

I have had a weeks worth of food, and so far the food doesn’t disappoint. I think my favorite meal so far was the french toast breakfast with fruit. I have noticed that there is always a carb option.

I have walked up and down the hill so many times because I missed the golf cart to take us to get food. I have done a lot of exercise in my short one week period here at OVS. I have swam in the pool almost everyday, kicked around a soccer ball after dinner, and even try to play basketball on the weekends.

Overall, I am enjoying my time here.

A Starry Night sky

in my best dreams I can fly around the world

but my favorite place to fly, is the starry night sky

full of the wonders and curiosity of the universe

it has been the place of whom i love most

when i look up i can see them and remember

the times when i was succumbed by their beauty and grace

their gentle smiling face

it is not very often that i get the chance to reminisce our past

for when i do get the chance, time fly’s by quicker than a shooting star

the stars are a most amazing place

to those who are up there in peace, i envy to a degree

to those who look up at the starry night sky

what do you see?

Night Sky Wallpapers

photo credit: wallpapercave.com

Roman and Emilio

Despite their names, neither of these freshman are Italian, or even remotely European. Nonetheless they are interesting chaps, bringing their own quirks squirrely tendencies to the table. I have no doubt that they will fill the shoes left behind by those who are leaving this summer.

Emanuel, E-Man, Emilio, Eugene- The lad dons all of those names, many being used for specific situations. On the soccer field he is E-Man, as it is the quickest way to yell at him from across the field to look out for the 6’2″ midfielder charging at him from behind. Emilio is his casual name, as he is a Casanova between classes, his olive skin and dark Mediterranean features attracting all of the female eyes as he walks by. For some reason I call him Eugene when I need him for crossword help. Don’t ask why. I have no clue. But he is great at crosswords, and that is a common bond that forged our Rocky-Mickey Goldmill-like relationship.

Roman, on the other hand, is the Dolph Lundgren to my Rocky. It takes extreme self control for me not smash his kneecaps whenever I see him. But fret not, it would be an act of love. He was great to work with during the musical and I have a sneaking suspicion that he will pick up some of the leads in the coming years. In cross country, I was personally motivated by his actions, as he had a determination like no other. Even as I move on to college, I will laugh every time I see a weed-whacker because it reminds me of Roman.

As much as the stereotype of annoying freshman is true, there are always a few exceptions, and these two are those exceptions. I have faith that they will there to carry the school forward as the years progress.

Kai Tai and Siyu Lai

My two favorites. Despite being different in many ways, their camaraderie is unparalleled, and it spreads to those around them as well. I am baffled by how they never run out of things to talk about.

I cannot think about present day Siyu without his smaller sixth grade self. That first year of middle school, he unknowingly started a cult based around him. I of course was one of his most loyal devotees. You know that accent that you hear sometimes when Tyler or myself or Adam are talking? That’s because of Siyu. I will admit that Siyu is a strange boy. But that is in the best way possible. His love for volcanoes and mumble rap are endearing, and he always has a moist handshake for those who extend their hand, even if it isn’t to him.

Carter is a bit newer, but it feels like he has been at OVS for much longer. Carter is one of the kindest people I have ever met. He always has something positive to say, and I rarely see him without a grin. One thing that I will miss in college is the arguments that we have in the hallway of who is more handsome; I of course religiously assert that HE is the handsomest of all, yet he insists that it is me. (Carter if you are reading this, you are the most handsome and you have it here in writing).

I will miss this duo quite a bit, but I am nonetheless excited for them as they move on in life. Their brains and personality will get them far, and I know that they will do great things for this planet.

The Boys

There is something beautiful about the congregation of adolescent males. Sure, most of the time something gets broken, the noise level goes through the roof and no one, not even the participants, understand what’s going on. But the camaraderie and jocular affection displayed among teenage boys is an experience worth having.

As I end my time here at OVS, I want to pay tribute to some of The Boys. The next blog posts will each describe one or two individuals who have been important in my time during high school. Some have been great mates in the musical, others on the field, and some by helping me with crosswords. But each lad in one way or another has made the last four years of my life better, so this is my way of saying thank you.

birds in the sycamore tree

“It started a year ago. I lost all awareness of time and the space around me. All I could see was his trembling body aching for help. It was my brother’s fifth seizure, a battle that he was in the midst of conquering for years. The control I took at that moment was beyond my personal relationship with him and the pain coursing through my heart, the control was my ache to heal. Since that day, I have had the ambition to heal, heal the broken, and heal people in dire need. ”

I wrote this a month ago for a scholarship essay. Even though it has become “normal” for my family, it’s not easy for me to talk about.

Three days ago was mothers day. Three days ago was also an anniversary.

May 10th was easily one of the harder days that I faced in my short lifetime despite the loss that I have experienced.

Death was introduced to me at a young age and has been one of the more consistent concepts in my life: my grandmothers, my grandfather, my aunt, a friend.

But this was worse. Grieving loss is one thing but the anxiety that is paired with the potential and fear of death is a much larger burden to bear.

Over the past 6 years, I have internalized many emotions and fears that I have for his life: Once I speak of my fears do they come true? Is his safety my responsibility? When does care cross into obsessive anxiety?

Eventually, I found acceptance. But it wasn’t easy.

Three days ago, we celebrated mother’s day with … peace and gratitude. I held my tongue as we sat under the sycamore trees while the birds sang above us and simply enjoyed what God had given us.

photo credit: fineartamerica.com