Goodbye Now

OVS, I will miss you.

I can’t wait to leave you behind and move on and climb a new mountain, make a new place my new home. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t miss you.

It’s crazy to think that a couple years ago you were nothing to me but three letters. Just another place in another country in another town that I had never even heard of. Now, your little green campus means the whole world to me.

You taught me to be happy on my own, you taught me to be sad and to think. You taught me English, you taught me how to write. You taught me how to love and to hate and how to cut people out of my life for my own good and how hard and nearly impossible that can be. You taught me to speak up and to find my voice, just like you taught me how to listen and be there for the people around me.

Photo Credit: i1.wp.com

You’ve also taken a lot from me. You’ve taken my last four years of living at home. You’ve nearly taken one of the best friendships I’ve ever had and you’ve taken a part of my home country from me. You’ve taken my feeling of absolutely belonging anywhere at all.

But, then again, maybe that is just a part of growing up, a process that you so conveniently sped up for me and now I can move along with that advantage. I thank you for that.

I am ready to keep going and keep moving just like you’ve been telling me to do. But I’ll miss you.

I’ll miss your oak trees and pink afternoon hills. I’ll miss your lunch lines and movie nights, your encouraging words and worthless meetings. I’ll miss the people you’ve brought into my life. I’ll miss the rooms that we’ve lived in and the road up the hill we all hate. I’ll miss your flaming hot skies and succulents and I’ll miss your stars, your beautiful stars. I’ll miss your tired breakfast conversations, your van rides and the songs we’ve belted on them. It’s really been a wild couple of years.

Goodbye now, I will miss you ❤

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Have you heard of hand, foot, and mouth disease? I’m from Japan, and there it’s called 手足口病, meaning exactly “hand, foot, and mouth disease.”  手=hand, 足=foot, 口=mouth, and 病=disease.

This disease was very famous in Japan, because we learned in history class that it was a dangerous disease that killed a lot of people in the past. My Chinese friend told me that it was famous in China too, and that it killed a lot of people there.

This virus is currently going around Ojai, but it’s mild and no one has died from it. In our school, since it’s a boarding school, it has spread very quickly. I googled this disease and found out that it’s more common among young children, not teenagers. It’s very odd that it is going around OVS and Ojai.

When it was spreading around the most, we had parents here for family weekend, meaning that parents came to our campus. Our school has students from all over the world, so parents from China, Japan, Germany, and many more places came. In the near future, if we hear that these countries are getting the disease, sadly it might have come from Ojai.

Photo Credit: http://www.zdnet.com

Do you like the weather in Ojai ?

Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

This summer, I spent my whole summer vacation in the San Francisco Bay Area. To me, the weather there does not qualify as summer. It was foggy and windy most of the days and you always needed a jacket when you went outside. One might think that’s great weather for the summer because there is no heat, but I hated it. It made me feel dull and was very depressing.

Photo Credit: http://www.psychalive.org

I was very excited to come back to Ojai in September because the weather is the complete opposite. The summer in Ojai is dry and sunny all the time. The bright and warm sunshine makes me happy and more energetic. But I’ve noticed that when it rains in Ojai during the winter, I get a migraine and it makes me very sleepy.

The weather really affects how I feel physically and emotionally. So the Ojai weather is perfect for me.

Libbey Park Volunteer

Photo Credit: http://www.conejovalleyguide.com/dosomethingblog/libbey-bowl-and-libbey-park-in-ojai.html

I went to the Libbey Park construction site in Ojai, CA, as a volunteer today.

From Ojai Valley School there were only five female volunteers, including myself.

Wearing dark green OVS T-shirts, the volunteers checked in and drank Gatorade, having no idea what to do.

Ally Su, one of the five girls, expected the volunteer work to be taking care of little kids.

However, what was waiting for her were a huge pile of mulch, shovels, and wheelbarrows.

Photo Credit: http://www.centralwisconsinhabitat.org/Thrivent%20Builds.htm

At first, we had fun.

Mr. Alvarez, our peacekeeper, came to us after parking the school van and took pictures of us shoveling, and we would make stupid poses and faces.

However, as the photographer left and we continued the work, it became more and more painful.

“I think we are going to get blisters on our hands,” Said Ally. Thirty minutes from then, I could see an already-popped blister on my palm.

After repeating filling and emptying the wheelbarrows for about an hour, we became all exhausted. Our faces had layers of dirt on them, and our hands had turned red.

We found ourselves the only ones working without gloves. We’ve been complaining about it the whole time, and I found out that we were actually the only ones who did not know that we could get them from the tool check-in center behind us.

We had pizza with lemonade for lunch, wanting to go back home. However, there came a truck with another pile of mulch. Sighing, we got back to work.

The teenage girls had become shoveling experts at some point. We shoveled so fast that we had to wait for other workers to make more space to pour the mulch.

“Stephanie [Shin] found her future job,” Said Ally Su.

After half an hour of eating and two hours of shoveling, we headed back home.

First, we drove to Ally’s house only to find it locked.

Then, we went to Starbucks and met another school van with Mrs. Cooper in it.

After we got our drinks, Mr. Alvarez dropped Ally off at her house, “shh-ing” when she tried to tell him the directions.

As soon as I got back on campus, I took a shower and found two things: dirty water coming off of my body and another blister on my thumb.

Hot or Cold?

The weather in Ojai compared to Portland is insanely different, and is treated in contrasting ways as well. It is so cold in Portland and so hot in Ojai, that whenever the weather crosses over into unknown territory, people react in extreme ways.

In Portland, as soon as the weather reaches 55-60˚, people are digging out their shorts and tank-tops, all the while raving about the wonderful weather. In these newfound outfits, they will venture out on hikes, set out to take pictures, or really do anything to be outside.

Californians, on the other hand, throw on their down jackets as soon as the sun ducks behind the clouds. If it’s below 75˚, sweatshirts and boots can be found as far as the eye can see.

What Portlanders consider to be the nicest possible weather, Californians refer to as freezing. After spending time in both locations, I can grow to appreciate both temperatures. However, I have to agree with the Portland mindset.

Photo Credit: photoblog/dynamic_media/photoblog/portland-sign-broadway-street.jpg

 

A Week to Remember

Well, this week has been just incredible. I have faced a TON of success this week.

The big day was Thursday, where I not only received a strong SAT score but also won 1st place in the sports writing category of the Tri-County Journalism Competition that me and my class went to.

Last year, the first place winner was also named John and due to a dramatic pause last year, my heart sank in anticipation of hearing my last name called. However, last year was not my destiny.

Instead, the powers that be made me wait until this year, where I finally corrected my wrongs, and earned the top prize.

I’ll be honest. I was a little bitter this year after one of my classmates (who happens to be one of my closest friends) won a Ventura County Star award for her sports journalism and I received nothing. However, I should be thanking her. I gained a new sense of determination going into the competition this past week after not getting the Star award. By the way, I’m really not that bitter being as she really put out an incredible article to win her award. I was very proud of her. Way to go Daphne!!!!

Anyway, the SAT score isn’t as big of a deal to me despite its affect on my college resume. The journalism accomplishment makes me feel that sense of superiority. I came into the competition expecting that I would win something. I was hopeful for first place. But I knew that after last year, this was my time.

Way to go, OVS journalism! We really made things happen!

Choices

I have been thinking a lot lately about what my future is going to be like.

Not as a grown adult, but where I want to go to college, what I want to study, and what about sports?

Thinking about what’s going to go into getting in to the schools I want to go to, and if I will be able to do it.

It’s a lot to be thinking about, there are so many choices we have to make even at the young age of 16, but I have realized the future is really up to me and how hard I want to work.

I have always been the kid who doesn’t put in the effort, and I come out with a few As and a few Bs.

I have realized I need to start actually trying to put in more effort to make it all As, instead of sitting on my butt when I have free time, maybe I should study more, and get work done before sunday night.

Maybe that means I can sleep more seeing as my schedule right now is crazy.

That brings me to the other thing I have been thinking about.

It was just last year that sports started to mean something to me again.

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