Care…To Go!

How can I make a difference in my community?  What is something small that I am able to do, that would put a smile on someone’s face?  How can I show that I care?

These were the questions running through my head, and of those of my two friends who I did this project with.  We wanted to give back to the community and make a difference to at least a few people.  This is how we came up with the idea of Care to Go.  “Care to Go” is the name we gave to our project.  The goal of this project: make and distribute care packages containing toiletries, some snacks, and other necessary items.

First, we gathered the funds needed in order to buy the materials to make the care packages, and the stuff to put inside of them.  Our family members and ourselves donated some money, and some of the money we earned doing odd jobs; such as cleaning out the garage.  We made a few trips to the store to purchase supplies, each time getting a better idea of how to maximize the bags and use the money to purchase as many items as possible.

After multiple trips to the store, and a weekend spent decorating and packing bags, we got in contact with a local soup kitchen in Orange, California, Mary’s Kitchen, and let them know that we had thirty care packages to drop off.  When we arrived at the kitchen, the volunteers were very friendly and appreciative of the donations.  One of the lead volunteers gave us a tour of the entire facility, including the kitchen, outside eating area, showers, freezer, and large storage containers.  It was a great experience overall, and made my friends and I interested in volunteering at this kitchen.

This was a great learning experience for us, showing us that giving back to your community feels good.  It even made us want to come back and help out again!  I plan to volunteer with this organization throughout the summer.

yes

Continue reading

Advertisements

Well, It’s Been Fun..

I have learned so much after starting this blog in September, from helpful tips to interesting facts to life lessons, blogging has taught me so much.  The main thing that blogging has taught me is that I like to do many things my own way, without influence or interference from others.  After finding that out about myself, I am not surprised that blogging for a school assignment felt like such a hassle, even though I actually enjoyed the blogging itself!

What worked for me when blogging was when I was not given a topic to write about.  Open topics come with so much freedom, and many directions to take the writing, as compared to a set topic where many of the outcomes would be similar.  I know that I will take the skills that I have acquired while blogging in class, and apply them as I continue to run this blog, after the school year is over.  I feel as if this blog will even improve when it becomes something that I do completely for myself, rather than for something out of my control (English class assignments and grades.)

Overall, although I may not have given that impression, I am grateful for the experience of being able to blog for my English class.  It was a very different and effective spin on the typical English class writing assignments.  If I could only take away one thing from this experience, it would be the fact that trying something new and stepping outside of your comfort zone can often have great results.  Using blogs instead of essay upon essay has taught me that different is better.

Next year, there will be a whole new set of kids that are given the task of blogging for their grades.  My advice to them would have to be: try to enjoy the fact that you get to write blog posts for school.  I mean, if it’s a requirement, why not make the most of it? Trust me, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that it isn’t that bad after all.

The Thrill of Competing

Every time my team has a surf competition, I am really excited.

I’m excited because I get to compete, but I am not so enthusiastic about having to be on the beach by six in the morning.

I always want to improve on how I did in the last contest, so to me it is more like competing against myself.  However, when I see all of the girls on the other team, I get super nervous.  A ton of questions pop into my mind such as: What are the waves like? How experienced are the other girls? How can I do well in my heat? Does my board have enough wax? What if I make a fool of myself in front of everyone watching? (trust me, the last one has happened many times!)DCIM100GOPRO

Continue reading

Clean Up the Beach!

Recently, I have participated in a few beach cleanups with the organization Surfrider, which is a nonprofit group that organizes beach cleanups in California, Hawaii, Texas, and Florida.  What participating in one of these cleanups entails is checking out their website to see scheduled beach cleanups near you, and heading down to the beach on that day, to meet the organization at their blue tents that are set up.  Once you have arrived, they will provide you with gloves, a reusable bag, and a cigarette butt collector.  Then, you just go around the beach and pick up any trash along the way.  The people at the Surfrider tent are always very helpful and friendly, and ready to educate you about the environment.  They are also grateful and express their gratitude when you come out to help at one of their events.  These cleanups are fun to do with friends, especially if the beach is of interest to you and your friends.  My friends and I love to surf and be at the beach, so these events are something that we always look forward to being involved in.

Being involved in cleaning the beach has really helped me to see how much trash is out there and how much the environment is polluted.  I love to get involved in making the environment better.  These beach cleanups have shown me that community service is rewarding and important, and even better when you decide to do it on your own, rather than being forced to for graduation requirements or other similar things.  These events don’t just make the beaches cleaner, but they make them safer as well.  This organization often finds dangerous needles, glass, and other sharp objects in the sand on the beach, which need to be picked up and safely disposed of before anyone steps on them.  It feels so great and satisfying to leave the beach knowing that that beach has become a better place because of you.

The Swing That Taught Me a Lesson

The sun was beating down at the neighborhood park in the summer of 2005.  I had just finished kindergarten and was celebrating the beginning of summer with an afternoon picnic at the park with my friends and their parents.  We chose to go to the park because swinging on the swing was our favorite activity.  The feeling of being up in the air, almost like flying, still brings back good memories years later.  We had to take turns pushing each other, arguing over who got to use the swing first.  Nobody wanted to be the person who had to push the swing and wait FOREVER for their turn.  However, it was so rewarding when we finally switched places, and I got to use the swing.

Even though my friends and I were just six years old at this time, I feel as if taking turns on the swing taught me a lot about friendships.  In order to keep and maintain a successful friendship, you have to help each other.  Just like as young children, if you do not take a turn pushing the swing, nobody would want to be your friend.  Friends need to support each other and offer support.  This has to be a two-way give and take relationship as well.  One friend should not be helping the other if the other friend is not reciprocating.

In my friendships, I always try to offer advice or anything when my friends need it.  I know that I do not always do this to the fullest of my ability, but I make an effort to do so.  Treating friends with respect and being helpful to them is one of the most important things that should be done in a friendship.  This is something that I value a lot when choosing friends and maintaining friendships.  And just like the kindergartners on the swing, kindness to friends will be rewarded when they show you the same.

Someday

When you’re in high school, everyone is always stressing out about homework, grades, and especially college.  All anyone’s worried about is the “someday” when they get into their dream school.  So, they focus so much on how many Honors or AP classes to take and what their GPA has to be.  And then, when they don’t get into their dream school, as some of us won’t, they think that their life is over.

Well, although I think school is pretty important, I don’t think that people should focus their entire lives on school.  It’s important to be happy, and if you’re stressing yourself out day after day you aren’t going to get that happiness.  Everyone deserves to be happy and everyone can be happy, however they are hindering themselves by only focusing on the future, or the “someday” that is going to come.

Don’t get me wrong, school something to be at least a little bit concerned about ! But I think that everyone needs to remember to have fun and enjoy life in between all of that stressing and studying.  While failing a test or not passing a class might seem like the end of the world at that moment, this one small thing won’t matter in a few years.  You can still be successful without having the best grades, or going to the best school.

All through elementary and middle school, I was set on going to UCSB.  I wanted to become a teacher after graduating from that school.  When I got to high school and realized how difficult it was to take difficult classes and maintain excellent grades, I thought that I would never be able to complete my goal of going to UCSB.  Now, I know that even if my path in life does not include that certain school, I am getting a great education and will still be able to be successful in life.

I’m not sure what else to write, so here’s a link to one of my favorite songs, Someday, which fits with the name and topic of this post.

Why I Love Traveling

Whenever I get the chance to travel somewhere new, I am grateful for the experience each and every time.  Not everyone gets the chance to go and see a different place, so I remember to be thankful for the opportunities that I get.

When I get on a plane, I feel really excited as I look forward to the place that I will be visiting.  Whether it be going to my cousins house in a three hour flight, or a fifteen hour long ride to Australia.

It’s so interesting seeing how people in different countries or even just in different states act.  How my out of state aunts and uncles use different words for certain items or food.  How an australian family that my dad knows through work loves to eat crackers and vegemite (If you don’t know what this is, try it sometime) for a snack.

And of course, there are always the amazing sights and views that are unique to an area.  These are the things that I really enjoy the most.  North Shore Hawaii has the best waves I’ve seen, and with how much I like to surf, I loved seeing them.  Visiting monuments and historical sights were also super interesting, and I liked those trips more than I originally had expected.

IMG_7338

My parents love to see new places, so ever since I was less than a year old, I’ve been traveling on airplanes.  My little sister even went on a plane just weeks after she was born.  We have both gotten very used to being in airports, getting the luggage, reading maps, finding directions, and all those activities that are expected when visiting somewhere away from home.

Just recently, my family found out about this website called Home Exchange through a friend.  This website is a place where you can list your house, not to sell it, but to “swap” with another family for a week or two in order to save the expenses and trouble of finding a hotel room or some other place to stay.  This probably sounds pretty unusual, letting people that you don’t really know stay in your house.  But, it is actually a great experience, allowing you to live like a local in other parts of the world, and meet people who live far away from you.  In my opinion, this makes my travel experiences even greater.

A Little Responsibility Goes A Long Way

My parents thought that they should be the ones to run my life.  They thought that I was not capable of making smart, practical decisions.  Which in their opinions, was correct.  However, we had very different opinions on many things, such as school, college, driving, working (they didn’t want me to have a job, and I thought that I was ready to take on that responsibility).  And I went along with this idea for a while, doing whatever they said and not questioning anything.  But, as you may or may not have noticed, I have been explaining this in the past tense.  This is because their opinions on the matter have changed recently.  Slowly over the course of the past couple months, I’ve realized that as a responsible teenager, soon to be an adult in only a couple short years, I should have some say over things in my life.  So, little by little, I started showing how responsible and independent I could be.  These small acts changed my life a little bit, for the better.

This is when my parents and I started seeing more eye-to-eye than before.  They valued my opinions more than they used to, and what I was saying started to gain more credibility.  They realized that I was no longer a young child, and that they did not have to watch out for me all the time and be overprotective.  And trust me, I was very glad that this happened.  Of course I was excited, more freedom is a good thing, right?

I got more freedom, but of course the freedom that I get is from working hard to show responsibility.  If I ever show that I cannot handle this freedom, it will be taken away, which gives me the motivation and drive to act in a positive way so that I do not lose privileges.  Overall, I guess this goes to show that freedom should, and will, be given where it is earned.

Music With A Message

Music.  One of the mediums that allows us as humans to express ourselves and share a message, without directly stating your intention.  Even within the realm of music, there are so many ways that ideas and feelings can be expressed.  Melodies.  Lyrics.  Instruments.  Harmonies.  These are only some of the things that allow us to connect with music, whether it be identifying with what the singer is going through, or feeling like the tone of the music really describes your life at the moment.  Music is a great way to reach out to others, allowing you to feel a bond or make a new friend when you find out about a favorite mutual song or genre.

There are so many different styles or genres of music that allow many different people to connect with and identify with these styles.  Just like how all people are different, music can vary greatly too.  You might find that certain rap lyrics sound exactly like situations you are going through.  Or, you may find that classical music helps you to relax and understand the beauty of life.  Everyone likes something different when it comes to music.

The Descendents.  Most of you probably don’t know that this is the name of a band, and that I did spell it like that on purpose.  For those of you who don’t know, the Descendents are a punk band formed in the late 1970’s in Southern California as a group of kids who met in school and their neighborhood.  This sounds pretty typical, like any other high school band.  However, the Descendents became something much bigger than that.

Continue reading

Are you hiding from yourself in a clique?

tmp599475976270774274 (3)

Imagine a group of friends, all dressed in the same brand of clothes, carrying the same bags/backpacks, wearing the same shoes, with very similar hairstyles.  We’ve all seen groups like what I just described.  Often times, a group of friends like this will be very judgemental of others who are not like them.

A clique like this can hurt people’s feelings, make others feel unwanted, and be rude and awful, just like what you’ve probably been hearing about cliques since you were in elementary school. From a young age, children learn that excluding others is wrong.  However, nobody really talks about the people that are in the group or clique, other than saying that these individuals are mean because they exclude people.

Often times, people in cliques are not in a clique for the purpose of excluding others.  They hide in a clique because they are afraid of expressing themselves and don’t want to be made fun of for being different.  People think that if they look or act like everyone else, they will be accepted and thought of as cool.

Hiding from yourself and trying to blend into a group is not something that people need to do.  Being different and standing out from what is mainstream or popular in society, or what all your friends and peers at school are doing, is not a bad thing! Be yourself, no matter if that person has similar interests to those around you, or if that person is completely unique and original.