a scene from a 2000s christmas

photo credit: floridamemory.com

The beach houses that my mother would find always seemed so big to my four-year-old perspective. 

With a staircase that I remember to be spiraling and

a brown and cream-colored chess board in the middle of a large living room

which was later to be covered in wrapping paper is what this house seemed like to me at the time. 

My mother was always frantically scurrying around the house to make sure everything was perfect for my grandmother, 

meanwhile, she didn’t mind the imperfections but simply didn’t have the power to say anything. 

The uncles were catching up as the oldest was in Chicago and the youngest was living his life in Australia.

My brother, was playing with his GameBoy, 

eyes locked to the screen. 

My grandfather was looking at the beams and the ceilings to find some reason why the house wasn’t architecturally perfect in his eyes.

And then there was me, either in the corner or on the couch next to my grandmother, where I would play with my Polly Pockets being relatively quiet.

/ / /

I do not remember a lot at the houses except for the people and the feelings surrounding the time.

The presents and all the other material items around me did not matter,  especially because I knew the reality of the grandmother’s illness and how she had limited time here on earth with me. 

I do remember the smell of the house, 

a mixture of palm trees, 

salty ocean mist, and

the sand that has been carried many miles, 

just for me to feel that unforgettable warmth between my toes. 

I also reminisce about her during the holiday season. She wore fuzzy socks. I still have a worn out, baby pink pair of her socks stuffed in the back of my drawers. 

From cuddling on the couch, with the chaos of my family 

to being on the beach, with the rolling waves and the roaring wind, 

her amenity still remains within me. 

This Blog was an English Assignment.

“At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.”  (Thoreau) Write a description of your “home” or your many “homes.”  You may write about the home you have or the home you dream of having in your future.

Photo Credit: afterorangecounty.com

I’ve lived in one house for my entire life, nestled in between two mountain peaks that form the Ojai valley. There are only seven houses on my street, but it was an entire world to explore for my neighbors and me when we were five. We used to walk down to the end of the street and admire the sunset illuminating the overgrown grass and painted white fences. Home, to me, is the smell of the pepper trees that lined the end of the road, forming a green and red arch, as if to welcome me to the end of the cul-de-sac. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days, when time passed so much slower, when it felt like summer all year long.

For as long as I can remember, the ocean is where I find peace. I can’t exactly describe why, but Solimar Beach is a magical place. Home, to me, is poking my toe in the center of a sea anemone, giggling as it squirts water back at me, as its turquoise and bright green tentacles stick to my skin. Home is my dad lifting me up onto his shoulders, then scouring the tidepools, searching for different creatures. As we wade further out into the shallow water, he teaches me about the tides, then we stop for a while to watch the sun sink below the horizon. Solimar is the place I will always want to return to for the rest of my life.

I like to think that, someday, I will make a home everywhere. I’ll sit on the balcony of my tiny apartment in Madrid or Barcelona, peering through my neighbors’ laundry, hung up to dry on clothes lines, down at the bustling city below. I’ll enjoy the morning sun as I sip coffee with condensed milk – a flavor that I despise now, but I think, someday, I’ll come to enjoy. I will smile, knowing that I’m there alone. I’m not sure how long I will be there for, probably not more than a year. After that, I’ll move on to somewhere new. I’ll live in a rainy forest along the Oregon coast, then I’ll go work at a school in Argentina or Chile. I’ll work on a ranch in Mexico, outside of a small fishing town. I don’t really care where I go; I just want to see the world.

It is true that home is where the heart is, but my heart is everywhere, I think. Growing up in a tiny town has made me appreciate the things that are routine. I love the fact that I could probably draw a map of my hometown purely from memory. It’s incredibly comforting to know a place so well that it becomes a part of you. But it has also instilled in me a desire to leave what is comfortable, to explore and to experience every place, culture, and way of life that is different from mine. A home is a place where you can come back to time and time again, and know that you belong, where you would go to without any hesitation. I’m lucky to have places like these.

I Miss You

When I say I miss you, it’s not you that I miss.  I just miss the memories and I miss what we had. I miss the beach and Mongolian BBQ.  I miss all the things I will never experience again.

Photo Credit: art-en-provence.com

When I say I want you back, you have to understand I don’t want who you are now.  I want who you used to be and the way we used to be.

When I say I love you, I hope you know I am not in love with you anymore.  I just have love for you.  I want the best for you and hope you’re happy, but I don’t look at you and become filled with happiness and love anymore.

I hate when I hear bad things about you.  I hate to see you struggling with something, but most of all I hate that we don’t even smile at each other anymore.

I will always care, even if I don’t want to be with you.

I could never say any of this out loud to anyone, so I hope you read this and know who you are.  Maybe, one day, we could go back to that beach and be happy again.

A Desire For Summer

As each day gets closer and closer to June 1, and the months pass, my heart yearns for summer to finally happen.

Today was the first sunny day in California for weeks, and as I lied by the pool with the sun beaming in the sky and minimal clouds in the distance, I imagined myself at the beach in front of my house, with my sunglasses on and the crashing waves against the sandy shores.

Now, as I accept the fact that I will keep having to imagine my summer days until they actually happen, I will live these daydreams through the stories I write and the dreams that come to me in my sleep.

I can’t write about every single thing I’m excited for about summer 2018, but here are a few:

The concerts. I’m always excited about concerts, but I feel like the shows I go to this year will be exceptionally memorable. I will see G-Eazy for a second time. The show will be in an outside amphitheater, and I will be at the barricade with the hundreds of people who showed up. The stars will be bright, but the streams of neon light beaming from the stage will be even brighter. Then there will be the Warped Tour dates. The days I wake up early and return home late, my body covered head to toe in sweat and dust, my voice will ache along with my legs. Yet as I fall asleep, replaying the memory of All Time Low singing on main stage with the sunset across the horizon peeking over the back of the stage, my mind will fill with memories and my heart full of happiness.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

The beach. Considering I have family both in Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach, I don’t actually spend time on the beach nearly enough. However, this time I hope that changes. I can’t wait to walk down the steps from my house to the beach, lie down my beach blanket and read my favorite book in the sun all day every day. Maybe I’ll go into the water if the waves aren’t harsh, or maybe I’ll get an acai bowl. At the end of the day, I’d head back up to my house with sun kissed skin and beach blonde waves. I’ll wash the sea salt water off my sandy skin, and I’ll curl up under the covers with popcorn, a scary movie, and my dog beside the bed, and I’ll know in that moment that life couldn’t get any better than that.

Lastly, I can’t wait for the freedom. I can’t wait to not have to follow a strict schedule from school, or have my adventures be limited to a mountain in the middle of Ojai. I’ll be free to wake up however early or however late I want. I can watch the sunrise from my balcony, and the sunset from a hammock. I can go take the trolley down to Banzai Bowls and get my favorite acai bowl. I can go to Disneyland or go to the gym. I can take trains up to LA to visit my friends, or travel to different beaches to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. The possibilities are overwhelmingly endless.

June is a long time away. I should be focusing on APs and English essays, but summer please come sooner. I’m waiting for you.

Shark Bait Ooo Ha Ha!

Recently Sharks have been spotted in the ocean off the coast of Ventura…

Sharks in the ocean? Not again.

Six sharks were spotted quite close to shore near Ventura South Beach.

Still wanna go for that morning surf?

Previous to this warning, there have been multiple incidents off the Ventura Coast involving sharks.

The sudden emergence of these creatures makes me wonder why they have chosen to come a little too close for comfort.

After doing a little research on the subject of shark’s behavior, many (probably false) websites accused the animals of coming near shore to look for people.

Most of me doesn’t believe this due to the fact that sharks do not have a behavioral history of purposely attacking humans, but what if they actually are coming closer for more food?

All I know is I will NOT be going in the ocean for quite some time.

Photo Credits: http://www.treasuregurus.com



Photo credit to: http://www.edhat.com/img2/beats/Gaviota_06.jpg
Photo credit to: http://www.edhat.com

Seven years ago, I went camping at El Capitan. I was only a fourth grader. Although I was only in fourth grade, camping wasn’t a new experience for me. I had been camping with OVS since Kindergarten.

Just this past week I had the chance to go camping with the fourth graders. Going back to El Capitan was great. The only difference was, this time I had to play the part of an adult and help the kids. But these kids did not need much help.

Unlike most kids, they loved to cook and clean and do everything themselves. When I offered to help, they almost always said no. All I really had to do was sit back and relax at the beach, just building sand castles and swimming all day long.

My Brothers

One of the downsides of the schedule we have at OVS is that our spring break falls about two weeks after everyone else has their spring break, and that includes my brothers. This past week, they road tripped from Aspen out to where we used to live near San Francisco. They spent the week staying up there in a friends pool house, and then on Friday they came down to visit me at school.

They showed up around 10, just as morning announcements was starting. After announcements, I was able to catch up with them briefly before having to head off to class. My dad and Peter drove to Ventura to hang out while I finished my classes, while my youngest brother Philip joined me.

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Picture Perfect

I recently wrote a story about the bike ride our school took. They left on Superbowl Sunday, and rode about 25 miles from the campus to the beach.

I was very proud of my story. I had fun with it, and in my opinion at least, the writing was pretty good. But then came the art

Every story needs a picture to go with it, some sort of visual. And in our Journalism class we don’t stage or photoshop photos. This would be awesome if it didn’t complicate things so much.

I started out on my mission to get a picture of the group that went on the bike ride by asking the teacher who led the trip to make an announcement at morning meeting. He did, asking all the students who went to meet up with him and I quickly after the meeting.

Since I don’t have my own camera, and have absolutely no idea how to shoot good photos, my classmate helped me out. We had the group stand in a couple different places in the courtyard, then behind the Spanish room as well.

Unfortunately, in all the photos we took the lighting was absolutely terrible. Somehow the background behind the students ended up completely white.

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Back to Reality

Camping with third graders can be quite the experience. I went with a small group of seven third graders for three days and two nights. Wednesday morning, I woke up earlier than I usually do to get ready to get camping. I was at the Floyd’s house helping Mrs. Floyd pack up food for her camping trip. Mrs. Floyd, Connor, Taylor, and myself all drove down to Lower Campus to meet our classes. I show up to the Third Grade class ready to go and I see some familiar faces. I see Alex, daughter of Mr. Alvarez, Hayden, who was my reading buddy in 7th grade, and Ryan, a kid who went to OVS Summer Camp this past summer.  It was quite funny to see some of their reactions when they figured out that I was going camping with them. The two girls in the class ran up and hugged me, while all the boys stood there with an expression of disappointment on their faces. We load up the truck with camping supplies and pile into the bus for the hour and a half drive to El Refugio State Beach.

We arrive at our campsite for the next three days with excitement. Personally, I think I was more excited than the kids were. Basically the first day we just set up our tents and then hung out at the beach all day. We had burgers for dinner and sat around the campfire doing improv. I sat in my tent reading while all the kids were playing in their tents before bed.

The next morning I woke up to the sound of a freight train. I wasn’t very happy about that. We had eggs and sausage for breakfast. We packed up for the day to hang out with the fourth graders at another beach. It was really fun. All the kids got to hang out with their friends from fourth grade. I also got to hang out with my friend Connor all day Thursday.  After the beach, we had quesadillas for dinner and s’mores around the campfire. We had an early night that night. I was so tired I don’t even remember getting into my sleeping bag.

The next morning we ate breakfast and packed up- tents and all. Then we had a last walk down the beach before lunch. We got back to camp, had hot dogs for lunch and put all of our stuff back in the truck to go home.

The drive back seem so long. It was actually shorter than the one on the way there. I didn’t want to go back to school because I didn’t really want to do homework, but I did do some while I was camping. Anyways, we get back on campus and unpack and all of that. I’m waiting for Mrs. Floyd with Connor and Taylor. Taylor and Connor were exhausted and then there was me just like “Oh hey I’m perfectly fine, I actually want to go back.” All they said was “Jenna, you had seven kids.” Anyways, we drove back up the hill and I was glad to be able to see my roommate and my friends again. Everyone was still in sports when I got to the dorms, so I just relaxed, took a shower and did some homework. I walked downstairs to get some water and I find Nicole, my lovely and sweaty roommate who just came back from volleyball practice. She attacked me and gave me a big hug. At that point, it reminded me why I go to OVS- for the people I love and the people that love me. We are all one big family here and it is not the same when one person is gone.

(Sorry that this is like a week after camping, but better late than never.)

Life’s A Beach.

Usually I have an undeniable, irresistible desire for Korean food or home.

But this time, it’s the beach.

The weather has been beautiful lately here in Ojai. I mean, how lucky are we to have summer weather in the end of January?

It started with the semi-annual sale at Victoria’s Secret.

Discounts on swimsuits and free shipping on orders over $25!!

So I bought one and it arrived last Monday but since I was unhappy with it, I sent it back. Now, I have to wait until February for the new one!


But I must have patience because being at a boarding school, I don’t have many chances to leave and head to the beach whenever I want to.


Sometimes life’s a beach.