Things We Lost In The Fire

I never realized how easy it is to take the things you have for granted, until they disappear into the wind like ashes from a fire. I remember playing those awkward ice breakers with people you’ll never really know, and one question that always seems to show up is: “If you could only take three things from your house in a fire, what would they be?”

I never had a definite answer. Obviously there were the essentials: passport, laptop, cellphone, and valuables, but I never imagined that one day I’d actually have to make that decision. That one day, in a panicked hurry, I’d have to scurry across my dorm room worrying about what I should bring, and being filled with regret over the things I left behind.

On December 4th, 2017, a wildfire ignited its flames outside the place I’ve called my home for the past three years, and on December 5th, it had reached the beloved campus and destroyed multiple classrooms, the dorms, and everything in its wake. On December 4th, we were told to evacuate, and we were asked to grab a backpack for one night. We were told to pack anything we absolutely couldn’t live without, but we were also told not to worry about our other stuff, the fire would pass, and everything would be okay. So, I packed what I held closest to me. I packed my polaroid pictures recalling the memories from my sophomore year. I packed a single stuffed animal: a panda I was given in second grade. I packed my All Time Low pillow, my signed posters, a UCLA shirt, my favorite leggings, and two t-shirts.

Photo Credit: Foster Huntington

But still, there were so many belongings surrendered to the flames. I lost years of memories put up on a small cork board above my wall. There held all my concert tickets, plane tickets, medals, and setlists from concerts I had caught in the crowd. I had lost all my riding ribbons I had won in the last couple of years. I’ve lost tour t shirts, my guitar, articles of clothing which held little bits of my personality in each thread, and class notes I’ve worked on hours into the night just so I could have a good grade the next day. They weren’t the most expensive items in my life, but they were the ones that were tokens of moments in my life that I cherished, or the moments that defined me. They were the things lost in the fire that I regret leaving behind the most. I guess if I could go back in time and grab a few more things, I’d make sure they reached my bag first.

While mourning this fire, my family constantly tried reassuring me that everything was replaceable, but then they’d ask me what I missed most, and what I missed most wasn’t what was replaceable. However, despite the hard process, I come to realize that those small items I’ve lost are still there, but in the form of memories that will stay in my head forever, for the rest of my life. Someday, after all the debris descends into the ground, and the years pass, I will have new tokens from new memories to hang up above my bed, and the tragedies from this fire will soon become a distant memory, only serving reminders through the objects I saved from it.



One of my all time favorite foods is pasta. I realize that it’s not very exciting, or gourmet. But it’s just so good, and there’s so many different things you can do with it.

Ravioli, one of my favorites, is best with a tomato sauce. Tortellini is best with Alfredo sauce. Gnocchi goes perfectly with either. And then there is every other kind of pasta that you just can’t go wrong with.

Living in the dorms, pretty much all I eat on weekends is pasta. We don’t have to check in at the cafeteria, so I like to make my own food instead. One of my go-to’s is the Annie’s Mac and Cheese. It’s a lot healthier than the Kraft stuff, and it’s way better. I also like to make just regular penne or rigatoni with vodka or tomato sauce.

When I’m home though, my dad gets a little bit more creative. When he has plenty of time before dinner, he’ll make his own tomato sauce starting from scratch. He boils the tomatoes, then cuts them up and adds them into a pan with garlic, onion and basil. He then generously pours it over bow-tie pasta. It is so good.

A lot of my friends say pasta is all I eat. While they’re exaggerating a little, they’re not far off base. It’s easy to make, delicious, filling and there are so many different variations possible. Pasta is definitely one of my favorite foods.

Samantha Who?

What does the movie, the Anchorman (featuring Will Ferrell and Steve Carell), and NBC’s show, Up All Night (starring Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph), have in common?

Christina Applegate!

And she is making her way up my favorites list again with the tv show, Samantha Who?

I started watching this show just recently and I fell in love with it.

The story begins in a hospital. Samantha Newly, Christina Applegate’s character, has just woken up from an 8-day coma after being hit by a car. She suffers retrograde amnesia meaning she cannot recall memories from a certain time period before the accident. In the few episodes that I have watched, Samantha is on a backwards journey trying to find out who she was and changing herself for the better.

I absolutely love it.

Here’s a starter video that will give you a good summary of what it’s about:

And here is a scene from the Anchorman-a bit random but something funny!

The Last Blog

This is my last blog of the year-the last blog as a junior.

So should I write about?

Well, I can write about almost anything. About how my friends are leaving in a eight days, or how maybe I found out that I became president. I could write about how I will be going to Chicago this summer for a medicine forum. Or I could talk about unicorns and how much I ABHOR butterflies. Ick.

But, I feel like my last blog should be more substantial than my usual potpourri. My final blog should be more.

This blog (my last blog) is a tribute to a very special person. A teacher to be more specific.

I have had him teach me in a subject every single year that I have been here at Ojai Valley School Upper Campus.

The greatest thing about this man is that he knows when and how to push me to my greatest potential. I don’t think I have learned more about my own limits than I have when I was learning from this teacher.

He has an interesting way of teaching. History, which is the subject he teaches, happens to be the subject I hate the most. But, when I learned it from him, it was my favorite subject. It was because of his humorous way of teaching that engaged all of his students and made everybody love taking his class. But this teacher is not just jokes but he knows when to be serious and knows motivate his students to do their best.

Mr. Alvarez, you are not only my favorite teacher, but you are my coach and one of the people I look up to. You are great and I am happy that I was fortunate enough to take your classes every year. Thank you for being such an excellent teacher and for motivating me to always do my best. I can’t wait for journalism next year, during my senior year. Haha hopefully, you will be able to put up with my major college stress and senioritis.