Dawn patrol

This week I went surfing at 5 am for the very first time. I got up at 4.30 am and got ready. I got dressed, grabbed the wetsuit, grabbed my bag and waited for the van to pick me up. It was freezing outside but I was so incredibly excited. I always wanted to go to the beach before the sunrise and swim and surf while watching the sun rise. As soon as we arrived at the beach we put our wetsuits on, grabbed our boards and headed to the beach.

I was barefoot and we had to walk a little distance to the beach on concrete and my feet were completely frozen and in pain from walking on the hard and sharp concrete. I finally stepped on sand and immediately ran towards the water. I stayed in the more shallow spot first to just practice a bit before my teacher called me over to try some bigger waves.

After many failed attempts I finally managed to stand up for just a second before I fell but it was still amazing. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and there were many seals just swimming around us. One of them popped its head up right next to me and looked at me curiously before it dove back down.

It was my first time being at the beach before sunrise and it was a long dream of mine that I was finally able to fulfill.

https://www.liveabout.com/what-is-a-dawn-patrol-3154748

In Person, Finally

School is back in session and I couldn’t be more excited.

Online school was an interesting experience, but I would not do it again. It was hard and it did not have the same feeling as in-person learning.

Although it has been two days of in person learning, I have enjoyed it much more than online. I have been able to connect with my friends and teachers, which is much easier to do in person.

Sports are also starting up, which is also another way to connect with new people and make long lasting memories. There are many more opportunities to do outdoor activities, and eventually go into town.

Photo Credit: OVS

Another upside to doing in person school is that I am able to visit home. Since people are coming on campus, we are able to leave on the weekends and during holidays.

Overall, I am glad the Ojai Valley School opened for school.

Determined

Last week was my first trip to the beach since coming out of quarantine. I had been looking forward to it the whole week and then it was finally time to leave. We packed our surfboards and wetsuits and made our way to the beach.

It was a hot day, the sun was shining and the mood was good. We sang songs in the car all the way to the beach and when we arrived we immediately grabbed our stuff and ran down to the beach. Feeling the sand between my feet and the sun on my shoulders felt so good. I hadn’t been to the beach in 6 months and it felt so good to be back. My friend and I looked at each other and just started running towards the water like two little kids. The water was cold but also warm, just perfect. We swam for a few minutes before we decided it was time to get on the surfboards and attempt to surf.

Well, we definitely miscalculated how big some of the waves were and just got slammed to the ocean floor. It was a struggle getting out in the water again as the waves just came crushing in, taking you and your board with them. When we finally made it out we waited for a wave that was small enough for us, as we have never really surfed in our lives. We kept trying and trying and every yet so tiny success was enough to keep us motivated.

We ended up being in the water for 3 hours trying to stand up on our board. At one point we were so exhausted we didn’t even have the strength to push ourselves up anymore. The sun started setting, creating a beautiful bright orange color that reflected from the ocean. It was time to go, and our teachers called us back in to pack our stuff and head back to the van.

I will go back to the beach again tomorrow and I will not give up until I stand on the board surfing down the line, even of it will take me weeks to accomplish it.

Picture credit to author

Catching frogs and climbing rocks

Finally. After two full weeks of quarantine, I was able to leave my room and go outside. After being isolated for so long, the simplest things make you the happiest. A hug from a friend, sitting with people, being able to go and eat at the cafeteria. I was so relieved to finally be with my friends again. The first thing I did was go on a long, big run across the campus of my school. It felt so freeing to be outside again and run through the campus and greet people.

On my third day of being out of quarantine, I was able to participate in the outdoor ed program again. We took a trip up to some local mountains. The drive there was just beautiful. Huge mountains and creeks all around. We left the van and I immediately ran to the creek. Feeling the cold water around my legs felt truly amazing. It was that feeling of freedom that I finally felt again after being isolated in my room for so long. We hiked along the creek until we came to a nice spot with shade and deep pools in the creek. We put down our bags and started to explore.

I started scrambling along the rocks going higher and higher, sitting on a high rock overlooking the little valley. I was so incredibly happy to be back in the outdoors again. I climbed back down and noticed lots of tiny frogs jumping around. I remembered how in Germany when I was younger, I would always go and catch the frogs in the lake behind our house. I started catching some frogs and it felt like I was in Germany again. I would catch one and hold it for a while before I released it back and caught the next one.

We stayed for about 2 1/2 hours before we made our way back up to the van. It was a small trip but it brought me so much happiness and I hope I get to participate in many more trips to come.

Food at OVS

It has been a month since I arrived on campus, and so far I have had some pretty good meals. I enjoy the fact that there is always a fruit or vegetables option during the meals.

Most mornings for breakfast the cafeteria has eggs, bread, and a meat option. I really enjoy all the different types of bread they have to offer, but they add butter before they toast the bagel. this makes the bagel feel greasy, but they are still delicious, nonetheless.

Photo Credit: OVS.org

I do not have any complaints about what they serve, they have options for everyone. One of my favorite foods they serve at the caf is the tofu, it is perfectly cooked and has an amazing sauce.

The juice selection is top tier as well. The lemonade is the best in my opinion, but many of my friends think it is the Orange Passion Fruit juice.

I am also very happy that they have sriracha, because I have it with all my meals.

The Beach

I have been anticipating this day since last Friday. I was getting my hopes up and I did not want to be let down. When the campus had to switch to the stricter rules again I thought the beach trips were canceled.

We loaded up the van and started going on our way. We stopped to get burritos for dinner from Don Lalo’s Burritos, I ordered a steak burrito.

Photo Credit: californiabeaches.com

Once we got to the beach, all of us laid down our towels and started heading to the water. We played and swam in the waves until we were tired.

A couple people were playing volleyball and the rest of the group played Spike Ball. We sat out and ate some snacks before heading back in the water.

We played around a little more in the water and then came in for dinner. The whole group conversed and ate their burritos. Many people saved them since they were large.

Overall, today was a good day at the beach.

Quarantined

For the past 12 days, I have been quarantined in my room at my school. About 2 weeks after school started I decided it was better for me to return back to the U.S to take my online classes, as the time-difference from Germany was too much and I always had classes at night.

Of course, with me coming from a different country and getting in contact with a lot of people, I had to take a COVID Test and I still quarantined to be safe. Being stuck in your room for 2 weeks is more exhausting than I thought. I can only leave my room to get water and to go on runs. I am a very social person, so not being able to actually be with people and hang out with them really got to me. I decided that I didn’t just want to sit around in my room not doing anything so I started doing things that I usually didn’t have much time for.

I started playing the guitar again everyday, learning new songs, I went on daily runs, did daily workouts and concentrated a lot on studying. Quarantine is what you make out of it. I though these two weeks would be endlessly long and boring but I have found new ways to keep me busy.

I was able to work a lot on my photography, I usually don’t have much time to squeeze my photography in with having school until the afternoon and then sports, dinner, study time and then bed. But now with the extra time I had, I was able to work on my pictures and continue on my journal about animal behavior and animal tracking.

I also had daily google meet meet-ups with friends every night to study together and work on homework and SAT studies. This has now become a daily thing and we meet up every night in the google meet working together. This makes studying more fun and it helps you to stay connected during these uncertain times.

I am very happy to finally be able to get out and see people again after my quarantine but these two weeks have also taught me a lot about keeping myself busy and helped me make time for the things I love.

Quarantine and lockdown - Coronavirus: Key terms explained | The Economic  Times
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/coronavirus-key-terms-explained/quarantine-and-lockdown/slideshow/74930210.cms

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.

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.

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.