Monday, June 29, 2015

Summerfest, Mistakes, and Lightning

 "Baby, you're like lightning in a bottle, I can't let you go now that I've got it, and all I need is to be struck by your electric love"
~Electric Love, BORNS


So the past few weeks for me have been rather boring, since I haven't had much to do in-between working and sleeping. However! On Saturday, I did have a pretty interesting adventure! I went to Summerfest with my best friend Rachel to see Walk the Moon, one of my favorite bands! Getting there and back was kind of a nightmare (driving up to Milwaukee and getting stuck in traffic for hours are not my faves), but the show itself was pretty good. We met up with my other friend Sarah and her boyfriend Austin, and we just kinda chilled and listened to some great music.
Other than that, I've just got some pics from one of the few times the weather was actually nice! It's been raining on and off for the past few weeks, so it's pretty tough to predict what it's going to be like outside.
Also, later today I have to go to work, but I am kind of afraid because I was apparently supposed to work on Saturday while I went to Summerfest, and I forgot to ask off... (for the record, I didn't know I had to if it was just a "call-in"... I wasn't sure if that counted as an actual shift or not), so they marked me down as a no-show. I know, it's really bad. That's why I'm scared. I hope they understand that mistakes happen...and I'm new...and it'll never happen again...

thrifted lightning shirt • thrifted chambray shirt • skirt from Ross • shoes from Ross • Charlotte Russe sunglasses
Here's to a good week and a nice end to June!

With love,

Sunday, June 28, 2015

M-37 Take Me Home

So I don't actually know where to begin with this blog post because the last couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind of new adventures, new people and like a whole new world ever since I began my job as a resident camp counselor at Camp Newaygo. But I'm going to do my very best to sum it up, so here I go!

This photo is not a great representation of camp, but it's one teeny corner of a very aesthetically pleasing campground! I just haven't gotten around to getting a good photo of main camp. 
So as soon as I got there on that Sunday night. I was super nervous. I mean, I was going RIGHT into lifeguard training the day after I arrived and I knew that meeting all the people I'd be spending the whole summer with would be really overwhelming. However, right when I got there I was immediately greeted by Kate, Jalisa, Dylan and Christa who are the leadership staff at camp (aka my supervisors) and they all came up and hugged me which was super sweet because it really seemed like they were excited that I was there! Soon after that, I started meeting my co-workers who were super welcoming too. 

So this is one of my first selfies with the staff, and this was taken at some point during lifeguard training. Honestly that whole week was so packed and so stressful that it kinda all blurs together. Basically, in order to work at camp you need to be Waterfront Lifeguard certified because we all need to guard at the waterfront while our campers go for dip aka swim time. To even take this course, there are some pre-requisites which are: a 550 meter swim (which we had to do in the lake) getting a brick from 10 ft under and bringing it up, treading water with no hands for two minutes and fetching three rings from down under! Luckily we all were able to complete these tasks...but that 550 was the worst. 
 So we learned all the various saves, CPR, first aid, etc. that week and had to take like three written tests and one practical exam in the lake. Needless to say I'm glad I'm a lifeguard but it was not an easy week! Luckily everyone at camp was so awesome which made it so much easier. 
Here's a photo of me all lifeguard-ey with my fanny pack and whistle!

So after lifeguard training was over, we had a night off! We all went to this awesome restraunt called the Blind Squirrel where the food was AMAZING.  I love this photo because we look like an actual family with our camp director and husband at the end looking like our parents.
We also went to go see a drive in movie that night too! We went and saw Jurrassic World which was super good mainly because of Chris Pratt. Collectively we love to take selfies and someone even brought a selfie stick so it's super easy to take cute ones!
This is another awesome selfie we took at the drive in! Such a great night.

One of the most scenic and beautiful locations at camp is our waterfront. It's actually kinda similar to one in the parent trap which is super cool! So when I had a little downtime before staff training, which came right after LG training started, one of my new friends and I had a little photoshoot!

This took a couple of tries but it finally happened!

Staff training! Super long week but also super fun. Basically it was set up to kinda simulate a week of camp and teach us about all the many things that camp has to offer. One of the best part of it was our four hour canoe ride and overnight staff trip. A unique aspect of this camp is that every age group goes on an overnight trip during their sessions. The young girls who come to camp and stay in the cabins just campout on a site on camp property, but the older girls who stay in the units (which are more rustic then cabins, more like tents) go on like multiple day trips and either canoe or backpack to get there. So, we kinda practiced this by taking a canoe trip down the Manistee river and stay overnight there with our leadership staff acting as our counselors for the night.  The canoeing was fun, even though my canoe tipped! It was certainly an adventure and the overnight was really fun too. We cooked spaghetti and did some intense bonding too. It was awesome. I don't really have any photos besides the one above of us before we left because I didn't have my phone!

So the all staff campout off site happened on Tuesday, and then we kinda just did team building stuff Wednesday. Then on Thursday, we did another overnight! Except this time, we practiced camping on the on camp sites which we would use for camping with our little cabin girls. Instead of us all being together for this, we were actually split into small groups to give us the chance to practice making fires, putting up tents and all that fun stuff as well as a chance to bond with each other a little more individually. Luckily for me, I had a great group! And in the picture above, we're super happy because about halfway through our campout...Kate on leadership staff surprised us with slushies and popcorn from this awesome local gas station called Wesco! We do this thing called Camp Wishes and someone apparently wished for that so we all go them.
We started our fire and it was a really nice and big one! We made our dinner alright...but dessert was where things got wonky. Basically we kinda failed at making our dough boys even though we got directions so we combined them with cake mix and ended up with this weird, chunky, but DELICIOUS mixture. We calls it hoop and it was super gross looking but so good!
My friends Danny and Mclive enjoying goop!
Another super cool thing we did on this campout was visit Cliff House which is this super creepy old broken down house on camp property which is said to be haunted by the ghost of Cliff Newaygo who like wanted revenge because his daughter was killed or something like that. All the groups kinda wanted to visit, so when we saw another group was inside we started banging on the windows and scared the pants off of them! It was really hilarious actually. 
Here we are inside cliff house!
All in all, staff training was super awesome. We learned tons about each other, camp in general and did A LOT OF SINGING. That's one super huge thing about camp that I haven't mentioned yet! Not only do we sing three songs at every meal, we also have a special song for the beginning and end of meals. Plus, we use the upbeat camp songs to fill in gaps or entertain campers when there is downtime so we had to learn them all! They're pretty easy and now I know a ton which is great. We also have these things called quiet time songs which are songs that you do actually have to sing well because they're used for our special scarfing ceremonies and serenade which I'll explain later. The title of this blog post is M-37, which is a quiet time song about the road that camp Newaygo is on. Since camp has been around since 1926 we are huge on traditions. The scarfing ceremony is probably the most important one, though. Basically the way we ended staff training was by recieving our light blue scarfs which are for the staff only. You gain a stripe for every year that you're on staff, so mine is just plain blue right now. Our camp director and assistant director tied them on us with a friendship knot (which keeps it tied) and everyone sings while they do it. It's sorta culty because we're all wearing white shirts and khakis (the camp uniform for any ceremony) but it was actually really sweet. Then, when campers come, the counselors revieve a colored scarf for their respective cabin or unit and they tie the same colored scarf on each camper in the friendship knot. The campers and staff keep the colored scarf until the end of the session where we have another ceremony to remove them. It's kinda complicated but it's camp tradition!

Just when we thought staff training was over, our leadership staff surprised us with a lady Gaga ice cream social! They told us we had five minutes to raid the costume closet and dress as Gaga as possible. Then, they came out all dressed up including the menfolk in dresses and served us ice cream on these huge rain gutter trays! The point of this was to show us the magic of camp, and how it's our job now to create that for the kids. With that, staff training was over and session 1 was ready to begin. Although it was really nerve wracking that now our job was actually just starting despite the crazy two weeks...I felt ready. 

Session 1 is mini camp, which means it's a little shorter and the kids are younger. I had two co-counselors because we have a huge staff and only 44 kids attended mani camp. I was in cabin 8 with five nine year old girls. I don't have a ton of photos from mini camp because I was so busy watching my girls, attending evening programs like marshmallow paint wars and fun stuff like that...but I do have one from our "ugly counselor" contest! My girls chose me to dress up for the mock pageant and they really wanted me to be a British wolf person named Pawz so here I am.
Hot stuff right? Even though it was tiring , session 1 really did go quite smoothly. The girls were sweet, energetic but well behaved...and I was really sad to see them go. One cool thing we got to do on the last night though was Serenade, which is when all the counselors sneak out of their cabins and everyone gets together and visits all the cabins and we stand in a circle with our arms around each other's shoulders and sing quiet time songs  to our girls as they fall asleep. It's honestly my favorite tradition we have here! Another cool part about camp is we get to teach classes as counselors and so during mini camp I taught drama, ukelele and sign language! I love the fact that I was able to teach things that I am passionate about. For our next session, I'm also teaching those things so I'm super pumped. 
We had this past weekend off between session 1 last week and the beginning of session 2 (which starts tomorrow!!) and this photo is the face of a happy girl who finally got the chance to shower. Currently, I'm in Grand Rapids which is where we are for our weekend off. It's been great to just hang out and relax with the staff. Some people went home but we have quite a few here. Today we went to the market in downtown Grand Rapids and ate a lot of good food and ice cream. It's been actually a perfect weekend.

At the market! I love sunflowers!

I'm so incredibly grateful for everything that's happened to me here so far. I've had some lonely days, and even questioned if I made the right choice in coming here. However, hugging the girls goodbye reminded me exactly of why I was meant to be here and do this. Here's to more adventures and future great sessions!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Regional convention, Inside Out, and Arcade Games

"God tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young..."
~Lost Stars, Keira Knightley (Begin Again)


It's been a while since the blog here was updated, so here we go with some life updates! 

I'm going to start by talking about the Phi Theta Kappa Illinois Regional Convention! This was a convention that was similar to the International Convention in April, except a lot smaller and only including community colleges in Illinois. It took place in the middle of nowhere Mt. Vernon, Illinois and a tiny college that was about 45 minutes from our hotel (it was truly the middle of nowhere...that was the closest hotel to the school!). We left on Friday, June 5 for our 5 hour drive in our little coach bus driven by our advisor. There were only 3 students who could go (me, Adrian, and Kayla), but it was pretty fun with such a small group! I feel a lot closer to them after this trip!

Kayla, me, and Adrian on our way to regional Convention!
Fun story from the way there: While we were driving, about 25 minutes into the drive, this man in a little white car zoomed in front of us while making frantic gestures, and we all assumed he was flipping us off! Our advisor, Heidi, waved to him, thinking he was just being a jerk. Later down the road, we saw the same guy pulled over on the side of the road, and as we passed, he continued with the crazy gestures! The four of us complained, wondering why he was picking us out! However, even later, the same guy was driving alongside us, gesturing for Heidi to roll down the window... when she did, he yelled, "Your back door is open!"
...We were all shocked. He wasn't trying to be rude to us. It was quite the opposite...he had followed us for so long to tell us the back cargo door was open. Heidi flipped out, pulled over, and checked the back. Everything looked okay, except Adrian's luggage had fallen out of the bus! We didn't know exactly what to do; the only thing we thought of was to turn around and see if we could find the luggage on the road.
However! Right as we were pulled over discussing what to do, I started getting a call from Adrian's brother Andrew. Andrew told me that some guy had called their house saying he found Adrian's luggage in the road! We were so relieved! The guy (whose name was Curt) picked up the luggage and met Andrew at our college, declined a money reward, and went on his way to work. What a great guy! It's nice to know that there are such caring people out there who are willing to go out of their way for others (I mean, he could have just swerved around the luggage like everyone else on the road...but he stopped!). After we heard that, we turned around and met Andrew and their mom at a nearby McDonald's to get the luggage back. What a relief! This situation could have been A LOT worse.

Of course, the whole thing was documented on Snapchat...
Just chillin in a random McDonald's parking lot.
After that whole fiasco, we got back on the road. Five hours later, we arrived at our hotel and got ready for the first general session. All of the chapters met in the hotel banquet hall for a speaker who spoke about success and did some magic tricks. It was pretty entertaining!

First day of the convention!
When you look terrifying af, but you're really just drawing a house on your head.
That night, the three of us chilled in mine and Kayla's hotel room for a bit and I played a bit of uke (Kayla thought I had been playing for a long's only been about a few weeks! How sweet!).
Saturday was the big day of the convention. We got up early for breakfast and then headed to the school that the educational forums would be held at.

Selfie with Adrian in this warehouse that was actually a school...
We started with another general session where one of the old International Officers gave a great speech with some great advice. We then went to our educational forums (I went to one about social media and another about conflict resolution...they weren't that exciting, but they could have been a lot worse!). We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the banquet and award ceremonies that night! This was the best part because we got to dress all classy!

Aren't we a classy bunch?? Gotta love the cute clothes and shoes you can find at thrift stores!

The banquet was pretty tasty, and we shared a table with some people from another chapter and they were all really nice! 

After we ate, the award ceremony was held, and our chapter got quite a few awards! Although Adrian, Kayla, and I are new in the group, we got to accept the awards because we were the only people from our chapter in attendance.

Our beautiful, shiny awards!
The festivities after the awards were pretty much just a dance, but it really looked lame and small, so we decided to opt out. Instead, we met up with the three girls from our banquet table along with two others from another school who also thought the dance looked lame, and we all played cards! I taught them all how to play Mau, and then we brought out Quelf and played that. It was a ton of fun! We all later added each other on Facebook and took a cute elevator selfie (with most of them, not everyone)

weird sign hanging in the hotel hallway...there were some weirdos there.
The next day, we just ate some breakfast, ended the convention, and headed back home. Thankfully we made it back without losing anyone's luggage! Also, something really weird happened on Yik Yak! At international in April, someone had posted about PTK, and I, along with a few other strangers, commented on it, and ever since then, we've all been commenting on it and conversing! Another person said they were going to the Illinois regional convention, and we decided we'd try to find each other. Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet in person because their chapter left early, but I later found out that the mysterious person was the International officer that gave the speech on Saturday! I was so surprised because I actually knew who he was and thought his presentation was amazing! Too bad we didn't get to meet in person, but now we do chat on snapchat occasionally. 

My lovely friend Brittney at her grad party

Some other things occurring in my life: Tis the season for graduation parties! A lot of my friends graduated from high school and college, so I've been to quite a few grad parties, and have more coming up. Also, I've been seeing a lot of my friends this summer and spending time with them at every opportunity! I got to see Cecilia for a bit before she left for her job, and we got to pet puppies again, so that was fun!

Cecilia and cute dachshund puppy!

Partying with Erika at Target

Been playing tons of video games lately

Honors in Action meeting for PTK, featuring Kayla, Adrian, and JT's hand

Other than that, I've been spending my time practicing ukulele and working. I really love having the uke because I've really missed playing music. I played flute for ten years, and dropped it this past school year because our school's band program is actually terrible. Also, I love my job at Bath and Body Works! Right now is the Semi-annual sale, so we've been kind of busy, but I really love working with people and my coworkers are all really cool! I feel really lucky to have landed such an amazing part-time job!

Playin uke in mysterious snapchat

First day of work selfie!
ALSO! This past Tuesday, I went to see Inside Out! I've been waiting for this movie for about a year, and it's finally here! I went with my friends Marli and Rami to this Insider Access thing where we got to see the film three days before it opened, and we got lanyards and quality posters, and got to see a tour of Pixar studios, as well as an interview with Amy Poehler and Pete Docter! It was absolutely amazing, and there were very few people there, so it was even better, and because the interview part had some technical difficulties (the video wasn't working, but the audio was...), we each got two readmission tickets for sticking through it! Anyway, besides that great experience, the movie itself as absolutely beautiful! Pixar never disappoints, and Inside Out really proved that once again. Such a cute, emotional film in which everything is just so clever! I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that everything is so clever and it's adorable and relatable, and the music is phenomenal!

my drawing of the emotions in the film
One last thing in this insanely long post! This past Thursday was my dad's birthday, and we went to Level 257 to celebrate. Level 257 is a restaurant owned by Namco, so everything is Pac-Man themed! We didn't eat there, but there is a large arcade with old video games in it, and we spent a long time there just playing games. I love that place and the whole atmosphere! They have 80s memorabilia all around and play 80s music, and the arcade games are amazing, of course. My mom got mad at me because I beat her Galaga high score twice! My second score was unbeatable by everyone in my family who played after me though ;)

Dig Dug!

Versing my mom in Donkey Kong


Versing my sister in Pengo
Well yeah! Sorry this post is so long, but I just haven't updated in a while! I'll try to get back on it! Here's to a great Father's day and rest of June!

With love,