Saturday, August 2, 2014

To my future partner, husband.

Photo provided.

You may never read this and that is fine. I'll write it down in a letter and give it to you the night before we say our vows. That's if I am to ever get married.

But anyways..

I am going to change. I am not going to be the same person as I am writing this. On the day we get married I am not going to be the same person I was when we first met. I say this with the most positive intentions. I hope all these changes are due to you entering my life.

Let me explain. During my high school years, after my parents split, my dad and I were driving back to me mom's place. We came across the uncomfortable topic of if they were ever going to get back together. It was clear to me that they weren't and it broke my heart. But during that car ride he told me something I will always carry with me. He said to me "When you meet/marry a guy, make sure he can better your life."

Now, I don't agree with a lot of what my dad says but I do agree with what he said during that ride.

Expanding upon this, I need for you to change me. I need you to better my life. To help me grow and mature.

Take me on adventures to lands that I have never been to. Force me to eat an exotic dish. Let me squeeze your hand while I get a tattoo or piercing. Read to me out loud from your favorite book. Show me how to change my oil. Teach me proper money management skills. Get me to run a 10k with you. Swim with sharks. Throw out my makeup and force me to appreciate my natural beauty. Let's build a dining room table and chairs. Open our own business. Push my buttons and get me to really live.

By the time we accomplish all these things, or things of the sort, I will have surely changed. Changed for the better.

Here's the thing, while you are changing and bettering my life I hope to do the same for you.

I will teach you how to do a cartwheel. A proper forearm pass in volleyball. I will show you how to back for a weekend trip to New York City in one backpack. I will tell you the corniest jokes, and you will probably laugh just to please me. I will expose you to music artist you probably wouldn't listen to on your own. Go to Iceland and attempt to tame a wild Icelandic pony. I will hold your hand when someone you love passes away and show you time will still go on and you will become stronger. I will do everything in my power to make sure you get the most out of life.

I hope I can change and help morph you into a better person. I will try to better your life just as much as you better mine.

18 Rules I've learned about "the college years."

Midway through my junior year of college and I've come to realize there are rules that I have learned to live by when dealing with multiple layers of the college atmospheres. There are many situation one comes across while attempting to make it through the four (or more) years that separate high school and the "real world" and they range from awkward social settings to the almighty paper that is worth 50% of your grade that is due in two days, oh, and you haven't started yet. So here it goes...

1. These years are all about you. Be selfish and take any opportunity that appeals to you.

2. If you can, get away from home when you choose your college. Get the hell out of your hometown and go see what else is out there. Plus, this way your parents won't pop in without notice.

3. When making your class schedule try to work in one free day during the week. It will give you a break and allow for you to breath.

4. Use rate my professor. Make sure you're getting the best deal for what you're paying. It's like shopping for a car. What you purchase will be with you for the next several years. Better the education you receive the better you will be in the "real world."

5. If you're a female, take advice from Jenna Marbles.

6. If you're a male, take advice from your dad and then consult the advice with your mom.

7. You will hit rock bottom at least 4 times. We all hit hard spots in college and will mentally break down. I do not care who you are or how strong you claim to be, it happens to everyone.

8. This is where friends come in.. The friends you make in college, the real friends you make, will be with you for the rest of your life. I can't explain the feeling but when you create a life long friend you'll know. Keep them close.

9. Stop comparing yourself to others. Leave that mindset in high school. Build yourself on what YOU find appealing. Because at the end of the day you are the only one that matters. 

10. Become tech savvy. It will put you ahead of everyone else in your field and keep you connected socially. The "real world" people look for this to assist with their business. The more you know the more likely you will be chosen.

11. Work out and be physically active. It will make you feel so much better on those tough Mondays. It does not have to be at the gym. Dance in your room. Run around your apartment/dorm building. Do parkour parkour! Anything, just do something.

12. Sleep. Naps are great and can actually help you retain information and enhance your memory. There are going to be late nights and nights with no sleep, but that's good. It means you're living.

13. Whatever services your University or College offers, use them to their full advantage. Resume workshops, computer and printing labs, free lectures, museum trips/exhibits; use them all. You're paying for them whether you realize it or not so get your money's worth.

14. Travel! If you can partake in a study abroad program I highly recommend that you do. If you cannot do so, take trips during breaks from school. The more you travel, the more experience. 

15. Bite your tongue. Save yourself the drama of others and just sit back and observe. Drama should be kept between the people it immediately effects because there is no point in ruining the whole friendship circle because only two of the people have a disagreement. But do learn from it.

16. That boy/girl down the hall or the one you hooked up with at the party is not going to matter unless you let him matter. Do not dwell if the relationship between you two does not turn into what you expected. And if you have sex with them, be aware that sex to them may not have the same meaning as it does to you.

17. Take risks with your style Change your hair, revamp your entire closet or get a new piercing. For me I shaved part of my head. I've gotten so many compliments and kudos for doing so. It allowed for me to express myself and take risks. This is the time do so and fully figure out who you are as a person, both inside and out.

18. Finally, a good think about life, nothing lasts forever. A bad thing about life, nothing lasts forever. So take what come at you and wholly live in the moment because, in the words of Ernest Hemingway, "Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Turner Falls - Davis, Oklahoma.

Turner falls in Davis, Okla. 
Forty degrees and sunny in mid January equals a perfect hiking and outdoorsy day.
All photos are taken with a Canon Rebel XS by me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oklahoma Tornados - May 25 & 26, 2013

Day 6: May 25, 2013

Yesterday (May 25) was an extremely successful day! We went back up to Shawnee, Oklahoma, and got out hands dirty, as well as the rest of our bodies. We focused on one specific family and their house. The house was partially left standing after the tornado blew through last Sunday, but was hazardous so they had to knock it the rest of the way down. After doing so, this is where we came in, volunteers sorted through the tangled mess and conjured piles of wood, metal, and memorabilia. While doing so the woman that owned the house came up and personally thanked us; more than once. During a break I went and talked to her and she informed me of how everything happened.

The family was not in the house but elsewhere because they knew it was not stable enough to withstand the tornado. But to her it didn't matter, it was "just stuff." I could tell she meant it. She was just happy to have her family, and so grateful of all the support within the community. She kept complimenting us and the numerous other volunteers. I repaid the comments with acknowledgment of how strong she was being, which is 100% true. Her presence and aura glowed with the fact that she knew she was going to be okay. It was inspiring as well as motivating.

We continued our work, but shortly the sun started to beat us down causing to tire quickly. We decided to call it a day and plan to resume Monday, same time same place.

Day 7: May 26, 2013

This morning I was assigned for an 8am shift at OU residential services to assist with the displaced families. There was little to no action besides a mom coming for some extra bins to retain objects they greatly received at an earlier time.. So nothing too exciting.

But what I do have for you are a few links where you can purchase different tshirts supporting the Oklahoma tornado relief efforts!!

There are a total of four different shirts I found, two of which share the same link. Check'em out!

1. Tri-University T-Shirt

2. Hopelahoma and OK Strong T-Shirt

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oklahoma Tornados - May 24, 2013

Day 5:

Five days in and most of the areas are now accessible. Which is great! This now allows for people to get in there with large equipment to remove the larger objects/debris. I didn't stay around Moore today. Instead I went east to Shawnee to scope out the sights there.

I gathered a few addresses that were mentioned throughout the week and plugged them into the GPS. Going along highway nine, everything seemed tranquil and relaxed; it was a typical summer day. Not entirely sure where I was going I listened to the GPS all the way until I hit a road block patrolled by police. Trying to listen to my inner body compass, I weaved through all the back roads until I smelled something cooking. My first reaction thought it was probably someone grilling at the volunteer sight, just like they were doing in Moore and Newcastle. So I followed the smell. Man, was I wrong.

As I got deeper into Shawnee the roads became dirt and I started to see debris lying around and caught in the trees. The smoke no longer smelled like a bar-b-Que but more of a campfire. I then saw smoke rising and headed straight to it which seems like a silly thing to do. But I wasn't sure if someone was there and needed help, so I went. When I turned the corner one last time I came up on a trailer park, excuse me, I mean the remains of the trailer park. Everyone's vehicles, both volunteer and residents, were parked along side the dirt road. One could definitely tell which automobiles went through the storm from those that did not. Some were still wedged under debris. At that point I had to park and walk the rest of the way in. What I saw next was breath taking or, actually, suffocating.

The smoke I smelled coming in was from the burning remains scattered through out. I'm still unsure if they were intentional or not. There were not any live flames and seemed to be under control. But the smoke was still lingering and the humidity was increasing. Dust was flying from the chainsaws cutting up fallen trees as well as from people rummaging through the rubble. I had to pull my shirt over my mouth and nose, but my eyes were still burning. I did not last long before I had to turn around and head back to my truck, but not without a few shots of the damage..

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Oklahoma Tornados - May 23, 2013

Day 4: May 23, 2013

Today's activities were not physical like the previous two days. Today was more of a research and eduction period to gather thoughts. It started with waking up to a torrential downpour mixed with hail slamming against my apartment window. Not sure exactly how strong the storm was I went and clicked on the television to see what was going on. It was a severe thunderstorm.

To some a severe thunderstorm is not much, because everyone across the states deals with similar weather. What makes the situation different than most is that.. A) Oklahoma terrain does not absorb water like most, considering it is majority made up of red clay, causing flooding. And B) The flood water caused a pause in restoration. What officials are worried about now is molds and a fungus growing within the ruins and people not wearing the proper protective gear while shuffling through it.

Another issue that has been brought to everyone's attention is the possibility of scam artist. The artist are posing as fake volunteer organizations, insurance agencies, and even fake victims. The fake organizations are asking for donations in assistance but then keep all the goods and donations to themselves. Others are dressing and acting as if they are part of an insurance agency when really they have no association with them, causing the families to get jipped. Those posing as fake victims are going into areas taking others donations when they are in no need of assistance. They just want the free stuff. All of which are sickening.

After unraveling the knot in my stomach I got from watching the news, I hopped onto the internet to start looking for places and events to fill up the weekend with. Most people bar-b-Que and have parties for memorial day weekend, but not this girl! With most of the road blocks down opening up in Moore and the rest of the state access to the damage areas have become easier. But what really caught my attention was a tip from the Shawnee area. They are still trying to rescue pets that have been on the loose or trapped in the rubble since Sunday.

As of now it looks like myself and Earth Rebirth will be heading up to Shawnee on Saturday to assist in any way possible. For more detail on that check out their page that's linked in my previous post, and shoot them an email!

That's all I really have for today. Hope to have more pictures posted within the week.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oklahoma Tornados - May 22, 2013

Day 3:

I almost forgot what day I was on with my blog posts, only to realize day three is just ending. It already feels as if it has been a week or more. It's hard to keep track when there are always things to do at every hour of the day.

Moving on.

Today I woke up early to run a few errands for Charley and his family. I then met up with a few members of the Earth Rebirth organization of OU. Earth Rebirth is an environmental organization that educates the public and university on the environment's issues through numerous programs. Their slogan "Dream big, Act bigger" could not be more appropriate than now with the rebuilding of Moore and the rest of Oklahoma.

With slogan in mind we took our first step. Today was the day; we were getting into Moore. We were determined to get into the heart of the destructed area and get a personal feel of what was going on. Due to many areas still considered hazardous, and other obstacles, we had to drive for what felt forever. What would normally be a 15-20min ride ended up taking over and hour.  We ended up parking in the realms of a volunteer setup and walking the rest of the way in. We really had no clear way of getting in but when we did we knew it...

Every thing was deformed. It looked as if someone used a giant cheese grater on all the buildings. It was overwhelming to take in the whole scene. You were looking at it, but it still felt surreal. I was personally at lost for words.. so to help me explain the scene accurately I uploaded some photos below. Because a picture is definitely worth a thousand words.

The Earth Rebirth members are planning to drive into Moore (or as close as we can get) again and begin to take action. If you are not from the area or cannot assist ER with manual labor please look into purchasing a relief hygiene kit through Earth Rebirth. Links are posted below to their website and Facebook page that retain more detailed information.