Monday, December 31, 2012

7,000 page views (WHAT?!) and a funny tidbit

I started this blog with humble intentions to write about my (hopeful) year abroad and educate the few rare souls that stumbled across it.  At 100 views I was impressed.  At 1000 I was a bit boggled.  And now at 7,000 (7,400 something now) I don't really know what to do with myself.  Even though I am back from Turkey, the views continue to rise on a daily basis.  Am I really that interesting?  Or maybe I'm more of a train wreck that's worth watching.  Either or.


So as I don't have much on here about my time in Turkey, I thought I'd give you a little story.  The first night the YES students and I arrived in Turkey, we were exhausted and travel-weary from our 9 hour flight.  I happened to be pissed off for reasons unknown, and desperately wanted to take a scorching bath to soothe my angry bones.  So once everyone had done their thing, I sauntered off the the bathroom, undressed, and searched around for the bathtub stopper.  It was nowhere to be found.  So, towel-clad and increasingly angry, I enlisted the help of my half-asleep roommate (Hana) to fix my plight.  After much grumbling, I realized that there was not a plug to be found and it must have gotten lost.  So I plugged the drain with a towel.

Now, I'm not normally so adamant about baths, but while I was in Turkey I craved them.  Now that I'm back, not so much.  When we moved to the next hotel, I had the same problem.

"Don't any of these places have stoppers for the tub?!"  I remember asking the YESers in exasperation. Eventually I found out that Turkey doesn't really have baths.  And that the "bathtubs" that I kept trying to plug up were actually showers...that just taunted me by looking like a tub.

So moral of the story, if you're in Turkey and you can't find the tub stopper, it probably doesn't exist.

-Olivia

Kind of a depressing song, but it's been on repeat for the past few days.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Such is life

I have logged onto this blog for the first time in months just a few moments ago, and was absolutely amazed at the number of views that I have.  I never would have thought that this blog would be as popular as it is.  I'm rather humbled actually.  Most of the time I just sit here mumbling about my life and people actually read it.

Anyway.  You're probably wondering why I dropped off the face of the Earth.  My life has changed rather drastically in the past few months.  First I moved to Turkey.  Then I moved back to the United States.  Yes, I'm back home.  This was all due to health and personal issues.  I struggled with mental and physical problems, primarily depression and digestion issues.  The food is to die for, but my stomach hates me even in the US, so there it practically curled up and cried inside my body.  That's what it felt like anyway.  I still gained 10 pounds though.

So now what?  I came back a month ago, and I start school next semester.  I'll be honest, I have gone through a roller coaster ride of emotions lately.  Hopelessness.  Worthlessness.  Determination to make these months that I would have spent in Turkey worth something now that I'm back.  I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of coming home early to reconsider it.  While I don't exactly regret it, I miss my host family immensely, and I know I missed out on a lot.  However, I will be starting piano and voice lessons soon, which is something I have wanted to do for ages.  I've started to consider my goals in life, and what I want to achieve and do for the rest of it.  I have many dreams, and I have given up on many as well.

Over the years I have wanted to be a pilot.  A baker.  A veterinarian.  A circus performer.  Many of those I've pushed aside.  They aren't really fitting.  I'm too old to begin training for the circus again.  However, I do have two main passions in life.  Travel and music.  My internal battle is which one to pursue.  Do I go to college and find a way to travel the world, and help as many people as possible along the way?  Or do I just go for it, and fling myself into the music scene?  Anything is possible.  With enough work, anyone can achieve their dreams.  But the future is daunting.  Sometimes there's so much to do, that I just refuse to handle it, and drown it all away in too-loud music.

I beg you to stay with me though.  I'm going to continue writing this blog.  I'll probably lose followers, but I enjoy writing.  I will be traveling rather extensively this year, so in essence it still is a bit of a travel blog.  I'm heading to Mexico in a little over two weeks, and Thailand/Vietnam this summer, as well as possibly Sri Lanka and India this fall.  I'll be writing about my life.  Just the life of a rather abnormal, confused, sometimes depressed, and rather colorful teenager.  I still have peacock hair and a few piercings in my face.  I have a lot to say, even if I don't say it out loud.  In a way, this is my journal, and I hope you still continue to follow along.

-Olivia

Now that I'm back, I have no problem posting music again!


First up, me getting my septum piercing a few days ago.  It's not music...but y'know...


Of Mice And Men.  Best.  Band.  Ever.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fırst day of school! Fırst day of school!

Fırst off, before anyone begıns to questıon theır eyesıght, yes the ı's on thıs post are short and stubby and dotless.  The Turkısh alphabet has two types of ı's, and thıs one ıs easıer to type wıth on the keyboard.  Anyway.  ONWARD.

So.  The fırst day of school.  For an exchange student, thıs day ıs fılled wıth more terror and confusıon than excıtment, but ıt was ınterestıng all the same.  ı came across a bıt of a problem the fırst week.  ı was supposed to start on September 17th, but ı was sıck on that Monday and Tuesday.  So on Wednesday ı slunk ınto the school behınd my host parents, eyes as bıg as dınner plates, and my heart poundıng a mıllıon mıles a mınute.  As soon as we got there, my parents balked.  They began a rapıd conversatıon wıth the headmaster whıle ı twıddled my thumbs ın the backround.  Then wıthout so much as an explaınatıon they turned back around and headed out to the car.  I traıled behınd, stumped.  Turns out the school dıdn't know ı was comıng.  Oops.  So I phutzed around the house the rest of the week.

Fınally, Monday came around.  Once more I marched ınto the buıldıng, and was plopped ınto a slıghtly run down classroom full of rowdy Turkısh teenagers.  As soon as I walked ın, they all froze and gaped at me.  I remember a quıck explaınatıon of "Olıvıa...Amerıka'da" and was ımmedıately swarmed by what seemed lıke an endless number of curıous people.  Questıons were fıred at me ın lıghtnıng fast Turkısh, and ı managed to blubber out broken Englısh and Turkısh.  All whıle tryıng to not start hyperventılatıng.  Fınally class started, and ı stared numbly at what looked lıke Algebra 2 beıng taught.  I never could comprehend math ın Englısh.  Thıs just made ıt ımpossıbly dıffıcult.  Thankfully, my deskmate Yasemın took me under her wıng, and has sınce become one of my best frıends here.  She gracıously helped translate the endless stream of questıons people had, and tugged me around the campus. 

Let me just add here that Amerıcan schools should take note of the Turkısh way of school lunch.  every day there are freshly grılled (rıght ın front of you) kebabs.  For 3 Turkısh lıra.  Whıch ıs probably around 2 dollars or so.  Maybe a lıttle less.  Better than the 5 dollar wılted Panda Express at Herıtage.  Cough.  Cough cough cough.  However, you quıte lıterally have to battle your way to the front of the mob to get food.  I haven't attempted that yet.  My frıends have gracıously done that job for me.

To go along wıth school ıs the school bus.  Before now, ı have never taken the school bus.  ı certaınly wasn't expectıng ıt to bump Amerıcan club musıc on the way to school.  The bus lıterally vıbrates the musıc ıs so loud.  I found ıt dıffıcult not to chuckle the fırst day ı rode ıt.


So now ıt ıs Frıday.  My fırst week of school ıs over.  ı've offıcıally been wıth my host famıly for two weeks, and ın Turkey for three.  ıt feels lıke an ımpossıbly long tıme, but also surprısıngly short.  ı have gone through an ımmense amount of emotıon ın the past weeks, but ı know ı'm learnıng from them.  And really, that's what thıs whole experıence ıs about.

-Olıvıa

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The second week

A little over two weeks ago, I left my cozy home in Colorado. The air was still sweet with summer, and the leaves were just beginning to brown around the edges.  Crickets still played their symphony outside my window as I absorbed the last of the familiar. I reveled in the American food I scarfed down for dinner, and the vibrant crackle of the English language surrounding me. And then, I packed up my life and headed off into the complete unknown.

Now, I am settled in the dusty and lively town of Gaziantep, Turkey. For days, I battled with such immense homesickness I could hardly bear it.  The air was too hot. The language too overwhelming. This apartment seemed as foreign as the land around me. But now, I'm coming to appreciate the unique beauty of this developing city. The woman in a hijab riding sidesaddle on a coughing motorbike. The wind-chime jangle of drying peppers and eggplant hanging from balconies. The call to prayer rolling through the city, twining between the apartment buildings and seeping into everyday life. The people here are sweet. The children love to giggle and stare at me. I'm a shiny new toy. The adults coo, pinch my cheeks, and are surprised when they realize I am not fat. At all. So they stuff me with food, even after many a protest.  I'm not fat now, but I will be when I leave.

More often now, I find myself staring at the rangy street dogs that wander about. Breathe in the smell of the city. Car exhaust and cooking kebap. One moment, I feel at home. The next, so utterly foreign I can barely stand it. Without meaning to, I stand out like a sore thumb. Even I can spot an American from a mile away.  Everything is either in Turkish or Arabic. English is spattered here and there. Cars angrily shove past each other, and give no heed to simple things like lanes or pedestrians. Syrian license plates are common. I recently saw a sign directing cars towards Aleppo, Syria.  It's less than a two hour drive away.

Each day, I find something new to surprise me. The excited giggle of my host family after eating pop rocks, or the ridiculously loud call to prayer which serves as a mildly unwanted wake up call at 5:30 in the morning. There's a strange beauty here. Everything is covered with a fine layer of red dust. Crackling paint and peeling stucko is commonplace. To my Americanized eyes, it seemed grungy and terrifying at first. Far too loud and overwhelming.  But now I'm beggining to see with new eyes. See the things that are unseen in America. Like the woman in a burqa casually reading from an iPad.  Here ancient history meets the quickly growing modernity of the world. If I've learned one thing so far, it's that no matter where you are, people are essentially the same. The sky is the same. The oxygen we breathe is still the same. Really, our location is the only thing that is different.

-Olivia

No song today. I wrote this all on my iPhone (which now serves as an iPod) and don't have very good Internet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Turkiye! Eh, eh?

I'm in Turkey!  I've been here for...oh...I'm already losing track of the days.  6 days I think.  Almost 7.  All of them have been spent in two separate hotels.  The first one we only stayed at for a night, and I spent the majority of it sniveling to myself, and pining about being homesick.  That was mostly due to extreme jet lag and lack of wifi.  I really do like my creature comforts.  Luckily the next hotel (the one I am currently at) has spotty wifi (it's best on the roof) and the rooms are a bit more updated.  However, I am thankful for what we have.  It's really a nice place.  Our surroundings are gorgeous.  We are in the Turkish countryside (we weren't in Istanbul like we thought we would be), and are surrounded by hordes of bunnies, peahens, peacocks, llamas, ducks, sheep, and the omnipresent rooster that likes waking me up at 5 in the morning.  The llamas like to chase me as well.

Things I have noticed about Turkey

-Everyone smokes.  Literally.
-The feral bunnies look like pet rabbits
-Everything is modern fused with old.  Or nearly ancient.
-You only drink from water bottles, and I haven't seen a recycling bin yet.
-Guys like to stare at you.  I'm learning to ignore them.
-The call to prayer is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.  I scramble onto the roof to hear it every night.
-We eat a lot of bread.  I've eaten something like 30 pieces of bread in the past week.
-We eat a lot of cheese.  There's lots of different types of cheese.
-Turkish is incredibly complicated, even after hours and hours of intensive Turkish classes.
-If you even attempt to speak Turkish, people will simply beam at you.
-As it turns out, the showers aren't a tub/shower combination.  Even if you plug the drain with a towel.

I have noticed more things, but we are only in the countryside of Istanbul.  However, we will be with our host families by Friday!  I look forward to that immensely.  It will be a bit difficult to leave my new friends though.  Some of my best YES buddies are in Kayseri, but we'll see each other throughout the year.

Now, it's PICTURE TIME!!!

 Istanbul
 Typical breakfast so far
 Peacock in the trees.

View from our hotel roof.

I hope you have all have had a wonderful week, and I love you <3  Yes.  Yes I do.  

Love,

Olivia


The song we learned and sang during our Turkish lessons.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

WRITE ABOUT ALL THE THINGS

Well haven't I just been a busy little bee who hasn't updated their blog like a bad person.  BAD OLIVIA, BAD!  Okay.  Now that I've adequately scolded myself, moving on.

I leave in THREE DAYS.  AHHHHHHH.  Freaking out a little bit.  Not going to lie.  Honestly, it still doesn't feel real.  I'm sure it will as soon as I get on the plane, but right now it just feels like I'm packing for some cool trip.  Which in a way I guess I am.  I've had my going away party.  Said most of my goodbyes.  Given many hugs and promises for postcards.  Now I just have to savor my last few days in the place I call home.  All too soon it will be ten months before I step foot back inside my house.  Crazy.

A few weeks ago I finally got my HOST FAMILY!!!  Well, welcome family, but same thing.  I will be living in Gaziantep, Turkey which I am thrilled about.  It's where I really wanted to be.  I have two host parents, and two little sisters.  One 8, one 4.  I have exchanged emails with my host mom a few times, and they seem wonderful.  I can't wait to meet them :)

I don't really know how to feel right now.  Excited.  Terrified.  Mystified.  This is something that I have been dreaming of for years, and now it is finally becoming real.  It took a ridiculous amount of work to get here, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I can't even begin to say how grateful I am for this scholarship.  If it wasn't for YES, I wouldn't be going anywhere.  I would be wallowing in a generic american high school, plodding through my day to day classes.  But now, I get to see a wonderful country.  Learn a new language.  Try new foods.  Go face to face with a misunderstood religion.  I know the year ahead is going to be challenging.  I will be homesick.  I will get frustrated.  But at the same time, it will be so incredibly rewarding.  I can't wait to begin my journey.  So with that, I will leave this be.  Most likely, my next post will be from Turkey.  Istanbul probably.  Unless I don't have time that first week with settling in and whatnot.

With love,

Olivia

I thought this was very fitting.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Travel Information

Oh well lookie here, it appears that in my harried state of doing nothing, I haven't posted much on this blog.  Not that there is much to post at the moment aside from my ramblings.  Anyway.

I got my international travel information!  I would post a lovely little snapshot of my itinerary and tell you the time that I will be jetting away to Turkey....but at the risk of creepy stalkers, I'll resist.  I will say however, that I arrive in Istanbul on September 8 :)  ISN'T THAT EXCITING?!  At the same time though, as soon as I saw that I had been booked on a flight, the actual flight to TURKEY, I felt like I had gotten all the wind knocked out of me.  In a good way.  It's just...shocking really.  I have been plugging away for years trying to reach my goal, and now here I am.  A month and a half away from my exchange.  I must admit, I'm a little nervous.  I don't know Turkish.  I don't know my host family.  I'll be away from home for 10 months.  Of course, my nervousness is being stuffed in a box in the back of my brain by the ever present excitement.  The food.  The people.  The culture.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that Turkey seems like the perfect YES country for me.  It's funny, seeing as I was pulling so hard for Oman.  But now I am comfortable with my country assignment.  I eagerly hop into discussions that include Turkey, and smirk at the packaged lunch meat that sits in the bottom shelf of my refrigerator.  Smoked turkey.

On a side note, I watched a rather horrifying duo of horror movies with my Dad today and yesterday, and I'm mildly ashamed to admit that I may never be the same.  Those things scare the everliving daylights out of me.  Yet I still watch them.  I question my intelligence sometimes.  Anyway.  Now I am jumping at the slightest noise, and last night I stared dully at the TV until 5:30 am, watching old re-runs of The Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite Life On Deck.  It was either that or watching 30 minute  repeated infomercials on the Slap Chop.  I never quite grew out of the childhood fear of the dark.  At night, the darkness still presses in on me, stifling as a wool blanket.  I resort to looping a movie throughout the night.  The background noise of a funny movie drowning out the silence, and the blue light washing over my eyelids.  Hence the Disney channel marathon that I watched last night, out of fear of seeing the darkness morph into the fears of my imagination.  I'm not quite sure why any of this really needed to be on my blog, but I haven't written in a month (minus the last video post).  Figured I'd give you a little story.

Maybe the infomercials wouldn't have been that bad.

This is my favorite cover of a song, ever.

-Olivia

Sunday, July 8, 2012

YES Abroad PDO!

I'm a bad blogger.  I got back from the PDO over a week and a half ago and I haven't written a single post!  Quite a few other people have though, and their experiences were fairly similar to mine.  So, I am merely going to post a video that I made.  It doesn't give you all the details, but a pictures says a thousand words, right?  How many words does a video count for?


-Olivia


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Warped Tour, Pride, and Stolen Wallets

Hello everyone!

Today is exactly one week from the YES Abroad PDO...and I still have no idea what to wear.  And my wallet got stolen with my driver's license in it.  So that's fun.  Here's another mad scramble for identification this time.  Oh people and their greed.  So you got $40, an unusable driver's license, a school ID, and a cancelled debit card.  Ooooh, you're cool.  Sorry.  I'm irritated.

Anyway.  This weekend has been CRAZY hectic.  First I went to Pride Fest with a couple of my buddies, and we decked ourselves out in anything rainbow that the vendors gave us.  I think I have around 10 rainbow themed stickers.
Isn't he amazing?!  I absolutely adore his hair.

My lovely rainbow nails painted for the event.

Next up, the absolutely fantastic and amazing WARPED TOUR!  It was insanely hot and exhausting, but worth every minute.  Except for the stolen wallet part.  I was with my kin.  So many people had colored hair.  I saw Ten Second Epic (a Canadian band that I had never heard of that is wonderful), Yellowcard, We The Kings, part of All Time Low, and Of Mice & Men.  I would have really liked to have seen Sleeping With Sirens and Falling In Reverse, but they conflicted with some of the bands both my friend and I wanted to see.  Then the best part of the day was the signing with Of Mice & Men.  I got in line 10 minutes before it was set to start...and figured out that my wallet was gone.  With my ticket in it.  Freaking out, I booked it halfway across the entire festival to the merch booth and pleaded with the merch guy in near tears to help me get in.  To my extreme relief, he wrote on my arm in sharpie that it was okay if I got to meet them.  They signed my shirt, and added various facial features to it and we made casual conversation.  At the end I got to Austin Carlile, who is ranked up there as one of my idols.  I asked for a hug.  And got one.  It was a fantastic hug.  During the hug, he said "Thank you.  I love you." All I managed to blubber out was thank you, then I tottered away grinning like a mad person.  

Two and a half hours later, after braving a horde of people, I was one person away from the stage which Of Mice & Men was performing on.  Needless to say I got mildly beat up from crowd surfers and the four man mosh pit going on beside me, but I have never been so inspired by a show.  Merely four years ago, Austin (lead singer) was at Warped Tour (in Colorado) watching everyone perform.  He decided that one day, he would be up there performing himself.  And now he is.  I'm just as determined to be up there myself one day.



I didn't take this, I was to the far left in the front somewhere.  I don't think you can see me.


This is mine.  It's crappy quality, but I was very close to the stage!  Sorry it's so jumpy, I was being bumped around a bit.

Well, that's really all I have for now.  I might have one more post before the PDO, but who knows.  

-Olivia

Two videos today!









Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The lesson of the moth



i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself

-Don Marquis



Now I realize this isn't 100% relevant with study abroad (it is, but in a more morbid degree), but I absolutely love this poem. I shows how much passion just for...happiness this moth has, and how he'd rather live his life to the fullest than live in fear.  It's one of the many reasons that I want a tattoo of a moth.  Not even one of the pretty colored variety, merely a simple miller moth that I used to fear so much as a child.




-Olivia


I love these guys <3  I'm actually learning the Ballad of Mona Lisa on piano.  Quite an accomplishment for me.





Monday, June 4, 2012

Brief History of a Market Economy...

In the mid-eighteenth century, a new era of philosophy known as the Enlightenment developed in Europe. New theories about religion, science, government, and economics dominated this era. Adam Smith was a well-known Scottish philosopher during the Enlightenment...


Oh, I'm sorry, let me hit my head against the wall a few times to wake my brain up.  As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I'm taking multiple online classes over the summer.  Today, I'm focusing on Economics.  Hearing a teacher talk about it in class and making it interesting is one thing, but reading it online for hours on end is dreadfully boring.  No offense to my beloved social studies teachers who read my blog.


Now that I think about it, I'm going on a government sponsored program.  I should probably learn as much about this as possible.  Make me look smart.  


Anyway.  The days are strolling along.  The sun is beating down rather furiously, with the occasional respite by way of a gusty thunderstorm.  During these storms, I protect myself by hiding under my bed. I've never been a fan.  Classmates post pictures of bikini-clad bodies and wonderfully refreshing looking pools.  I sit on my computer taking classes and eat all the food in the house.  Of course, I go out occasionally.  Yesterday, I went out on our boat to hang out with the family and have a barbecue.  I fought off a hoard of invading red ants and grumbled as my step-dad pelted me with marble sized rocks while I was reading a book.  Later that night, I attended my cousin's ballet performance, and was awed by the dancers' effortless grace and flexibility.  For those of you who know me, I have the dancing ability of a brick.


Saturday, I bleached my roots, but didn't have time to actually put the dye in.  I walked around with a hat the rest of the day, refusing to let anyone see me as a blonde.  It isn't pretty.  Thankfully I was able to dye my hair today, and it came out like this:


Purple and dark blue!  The blue almost looks black though.

On the exchange front, I got my National Pre-Departure Orientation flight details today!  I leave at the chipper hour of 7:24 AM.  Luckily I get a window seat, so I can ogle at the sights below and rock out to some of my favorite music (Of Mice & Men is really growing on me).  I am traveling with the lovely Sarah Bibbey who is going to Ghana.  She gets the window seat on the way back though.  I may have to bribe her with a sheet of my dinosaur stickers so I don't hyperventilate for three and a half hours in the middle seat.  

I have my Local Pre-Departure Orientation this Saturday (so many orientations, I love it), so I shall take plenty of pictures (I document everything.  It gets annoying) and write a detailed blog post for you all afterwards.

-Olivia



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Days

I have been on summer break for a little bit over a week now.  I have to say...I don't think I have really even sat down to take a breather.  I'm trying to pack as much as I possibly can into these three months I suppose.  I went to my dad's band's concert with Guttermouth and Pennywise, went out on the boat with my family, taken a brutal yoga class, worked, watched two scary movies (The Blaire Witch Project and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) and Up with a buddy, dyed another friend's hair, gone to eat Thai food and ice cream with a lovely coworker, and went to a fantastic fair up in Boulder.  Even after all of that, I probably forgot something.  Oh yeah, I went to my little sister's graduation from Kindergarten as well.

On the exchange front, I had a conference call a few days ago.  It was basic information on the AFS safety and support structure, and then we talked about the homework assignments that we were given to read a day or two beforehand.  Much to my dismay, I was on mute when I attempted to talk, so my plan to sound smart was foiled.  Whoops.  I will have to make up for it at our next call on June 12th or 13th.  Depending on which day I attend.  My final (I think) conference call is country specific to Turkey on August 6th.  

On a very exciting note, I HAVE A DEPARTURE DATE!!!  I leave September 5th to New York for my Gateway Orientation, and September 6th for Turkey.  It seems so far away...but it will probably sneak up on me.  

At the moment, that's really all the updates I have.  So, here are some pictures that show a bit of my life at the moment.

Rayne's hair!  (she wanted to go blonde...but eventually I convinced her to come over to the dark side)



My little sister and I at her graduation.  Best.  Faces.  Ever.


Not really summer, but here was my prom sari!


Stretching while watching the Bellagio fountains.



-Olivia



I've been a bit obsessed with this song lately.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Bittersweet Ending

Today was the last day of school.  My last day of American high school.  Ever.  I kept looking around me today, noticing the small things that I never paid any attention to before.  The scuffs on the stage floor, the single burnt-out christmas light in the green room, the massive scratch on my locker, and the peeling and faded flyers that decorate the bomb-shelter hallways.  Little things made me choke up, and I realized that this was no longer my home.  I would never make another costume for a Heritage High School main stage production, I would never perform in another high school talent show, I would never angrily elbow someone out of my way while huffing it to my next class.

I said some of my first goodbyes today, and I was fine until the last one.  I went from office to office, saying goodbye to old teachers and telling my story to others.  Many hugs were given, but my eyes stayed dry.  I can't explain why.  Perhaps because all of them had been more formal relationships in a way, it felt odd to cry.  Then I headed to the main office to say one last goodbye.  Mrs. Moody.  She was sitting behind her desk, putting away some books.  "What can I do for you, Ms. Summer girl?" she asked.  I explained that I was there to say goodbye.  This seemed to make her happy.  I then had to say that I wasn't coming back next year.  She gave me a huge hug, and mentioned how she would miss me, and how I brought a certain "something" to the school.  As soon as she pulled away, I noticed she was crying, and that's when I broke.  I managed to hold it together partially until I got to my car, where I really started crying.  It's the small things that get you.  I've had numerous interactions with Mrs.  Moody.  Partially because I lose things and go to her asking if someone had turned it in.  Partially because I genuinely enjoy talking to her.

The cotton has begun to cover everything.  It floats down constantly, coating the trees, the grass, the people.  It's the first thing I notice as I walk out of the school.  Summer is here, bringing along with it the fluffy tree seeds that I tend to inhale and choke on every once and a while.  Soon the weather will soar to scorching temperatures, and thunder storms will scare me under my bed.  I have work to do.  Summer classes (Government, Economics, and swimming) and learning Turkish.  There are orientations to go to, and friends to talk with.  It's concert season, and I hope to go to plenty (Linkin Park and Warped Tour anyone?)  The time will begin to fly now.  Before I know it, I will be boarding a plane to New York City, where I will meet my fellow Indonesia, Ghana, and Turkey YES Abroad scholars for the third time, and we will begin our journey.  At the moment, I don't know what to feel.  I'm terrified and excited.  I don't know what the year will bring.  However it may play out, I know that it will be the most emotionally and culturally jam packed year of my life.  Here's to us my friends, my fellow YESers.  May we all have wonderful years.  And here's to you, class of 2013, may your senior years be as wonderful as you make them.

-Olivia


Let's just add to the feeling of nostalgia, shall we?


On something not exchange related, it has been five months since my great grandma passed away.  I still miss her like mad.  Time may heal all wounds, but this one still seems fairly fresh.  I love you dearly and wish you were here.  I know one thing though, I will have someone familiar with me for every moment of my year abroad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life, interviews, and a mad dash for papers

These past few weeks have been exceedingly hectic. I've had Prom, work, a mad scramble for papers, and my AFS in-home interview.

I'll start with my visa paperwork. I was called in the middle of my theatre company show (I was about to go back on stage in about 5 minutes) when I got a call from a strange number. I knew it was YES related because it was a New York based number. I answered it, thinking it might just be a quick reminder to do something. As it turned out, I wasn't sent an email containing *essential* paperwork that was due THAT DAY. Needless to say, I freaked out a bit. Luckily, (with a bit of finagling in the counselors department) I was able to get everything together and mailed by the next day.

My in-home interview was last Saturday. I'll admit to being a bit nervous, as interviews really aren't my forte. I usually end up blabbering with no clue as to where I am leading the conversation. Anyway. The interviewers asked about my activities and life in general, nothing too complicated. Towards the end....they asked to see my room. As a preface, my room doesn't always look like a tornado or ten ran through it, but we had just cleaned out a closet by my room, and half of the contents of it were dumped into my room. Awkward.  It has since been cleaned up a bit, but I wish I would have had time to make it nice and spotless before they came in.  Oops.

This Friday is my last day of school!  I am ridiculously happy.  Although, I will probably tear up a bit as I leave the theatre for the last time.  It has been my home for the past 3 years.  The seniors are gone.  Graduation is tomorrow.  The juniors have taken over the school.  At the assembly where we changed spots in the gym (freshman to sophomore, sophomore to junior, and junior to senior), all the juniors thundered over to the senior side, and struck an immediate chant of "THIS IS OUR HOUSE!" with cheers and stomps and claps.  I joined in, a nostalgic, tear-smudged smile on my face.  This would be one of the few senior-in-high-school moments I would ever get.  Everyone else will come back, paint the senior wall, perform in the musicals and plays, make costumes (theatre nerd here), walk at graduation.  I, on the other hand, will travel thousands of miles away to a foreign land with little language experience (Türkçe bilmiyorum....), and few people I know.  I will learn about a culture, a religion, and a country that is fairly unknown in the US.  Of course everyone has heard of the Ottoman Empire and the ancient history that resides in my soon to be home, but little is known about its people or the food or daily customs.  So while everyone here in Colorado is absorbing the taken-for-granted American high school experience, I will be soaking up every ounce of Turkish culture that I can.  And you know what?  I wouldn't have it any other way.

-Olivia

It's an interesting video...but the song is rather catchy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'M GOING TO TURKEY!!!

That's right!  The title says it all!  After a grueling wait and a roller coaster ride of emotions, I finally received the email that changed my life.

On April 13, the finalists emails were sent out on a rolling basis.  As soon as the first country was released (Bosnia & Herzegovina) my phone alerted me.  That means from around, oh, 9 am or so, I was practically hyperventilating.

Nothing came for me that day.  I was crushed.  I knew I had either been rejected or was an alternate.  I was incredibly happy for my friends, but as the flood of notifications from Facebook poured onto my newsfeed, I couldn't bear to look for the weekend.  I congratulated everyone, and logged off of Facebook for the weekend.  By the time Sunday rolled around, I was back to my normal spastic self.  I checked my email constantly, waiting for an email to come.

Finally, the next day, it did.  I walked into math class, checked my email, and immediately started jumping up and down yelling, "I'M AN ALTERNATE!!!".  Then I proceeded to cry a bit.

I waited.  Another alternate was upgraded to Thailand.  She dropped it.  I waited some more.  The Facebook Five (or SHOCK, as we call ourselves) conversed constantly, shooting furtive texts late at night, wondering about our status.  Finally, April 26 rolled around.  I was sitting in the green room, casually talking about prom with some of my buddies.  I checked my email.  I immediately let out a huge huff of air like someone had punched me in the stomach.  "Oh my god.  Oh my god.  Oh my god."  I repeated over and over again.  After many worried questions from my friends, I burst into tears and blubbered out, "I'M GOING TO TURKEY!!!!  I GOT THE SCHOLARSHIP!!!!" I burst into the counseling office and told my counselor, where more hugs and tears ensued.  I ended up calling my friend Colin in the middle of one of his classes and left a voicemail.  Carly called me soon after, and we let out girlish squeals of delight (as girly as I can be, I have the vocal cords of a man) and I gave her a quick good luck wish.  An hour or so later, she called again (also crying) that she had gotten into Thailand!

I still can't believe it.  I am a 2012-2013 YES Abroad scholar to Turkey.  I started my application in November.  It is now almost May.  It has been an excruciatingly long process, but one I wouldn't trade for the world.  Already, I have met lifelong friends, and have learned so much.  In a few months, I will be living in Turkey.  I will have friends in multiple countries (YES, CBYX, and NSLI-Y scholarship winners).  And I will be immersed in a religion that very few Americans understand.  Next year, SHOCK will go abroad.  Indonesia.  Bosnia & Herzegovina.  Malaysia.  Turkey.  Thailand.  I wish you all the best of luck.  We have been friends from the start, and I can't wait to see what the next year of our lives brings.

-Olivia

I couldn't leave you without a song from my host country now, could I?  Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oh...hi there!

I HAVE A BLOG?!  Whoops.  Sorry everyone.

These past few weeks have been kind of hectic.  I had spring break and started school again.

Well, it's been over two weeks since the YES Abroad In-Person Selection Event.  I have never been surrounded by so many mature and wonderful people.  I met new fantastic friends, and some that I hope to stay in touch with for the rest of my life.  The first day was general introductions, dinner, and learning our way around the hotel.  I had my interview the first night.  The second day was stuffed with lovely things such as group evaluations, more interviews, lots of amazing food, and socializing with the other semi-finalists.  The third day we had breakfast, some interviews and group evaluations (or lots of free time in my case), and too many sad goodbyes.  I didn't end up crying, but I certainly teared up watching a few of my buddies walk out the door and onto their shuttle, not knowing if I would see them again.  I suppose I won't give too many details, it is incredibly hard to describe the weekend.  Even two weeks later, I miss the camaraderie of it all, and the excitement in the air.  I miss my friends that came from every corner of the country.  Indiana.  Idaho.  California.  New York.  Oregon.    I dearly hope that I get to see everyone again, so I can tackle them to the floor in giant bear hugs.  Not to mention the fact that we would all be going abroad if we saw each other in the same room again.  It was a weekend I will never forget.

Now I am floating along in another wait.  We are supposed to find out mid-April, or around three weeks from the date of the IPSE.  I JUST WANT TO KNOW! O_O  I want this so badly...but everyone there was incredibly deserving as well.  I guess I'll just have to see how it pans out, but I will admit to hoping upon hope every day that I get in.

Anyway, enough of my ranting.  Did you miss my wonderful postings filled with mostly ramblings and large amounts of music?  I think yes.






These are just a few of all the pictures that I took that weekend.  Look at my previous post for a video that I made with all of my pictures!  

On a side note, my hair is now RED!  I think I prefer pink, but I figured I might as well try it :)


Well, that is all I have to say today.  I hope you have a wonderful day!

-Olivia

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

YES Abroad IPSE

video

I will have a whole post about the event later, but at the moment my cold is making it hard to write.  So enjoy the video :D

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2 days...

Two days until the YES Abroad IPSE (In-Person Selection Event).  I can't even begin to explain how incredibly excited and...awed I am.  I have made it this far.  I am so honored and humbled.  I have become one of 90 semi-finalists, and I hope dearly that I am one of the 55 finalists.  This upcoming weekend I will get the chance to meet all of my newfound friends and make countless new ones.  It will be something that I will never forget.  I am bringing dinosaur stickers and mini plastic dinosaurs to hand out.  People will get the stickers and dinosaurs after telling me their name, home city, and top three country choices :)  I figured this is as good of a way as any to meet new people, and what teenager doesn't like stickers?  I swear, we are worse than 4 year olds with those things.  I hope the dinosaurs don't run rampant and get under people's feet though.  I thought they might be good little momentos...

Anyways, that's all I have to say for now.  I'm sure I will have lots to write about on Monday, so until then, have a wonderful weekend!

Olivia

P.S. I would never leave you without a song.



Monday, March 12, 2012

IPSE anyone?

Hello again my lovely friends!


I have been negligent in my blog updates, but there really hasn't been much to update on!  As you may know, I am a semi-finalist for the YES Abroad scholarship!  As it stands, my country choices are in this order: Oman, Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, Egypt, India, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Thailand, Malaysia, Ghana, Mali.


I like it.  Oman is calling my name, but any of the others would be absolutely fantastic as well.  The IPSE (In person selection event) is in 12 days.  I have no clue what our schedule is, or when my interview will be.  Or what to expect in my interview.   I get to meet all of my new friends though!  Our Facebook group is full of spastic teenagers right now.  I'm ridiculously excited :D


On a side note, I started tennis again!  It's good to be back.  All of my calluses went away, and my arms have turned to noodles again.  I'm also starting up my circus training again soon!  Contortion, Lyra, hooping, and general tumbling will be my main focus.  Those are good things to have under my belt.  And for fun, I signed myself up for some flying trapeze classes!  I've always thought it looked fun, so I might as well give it a try.  The more I know, the more Cirque Du Soleil might want me in the future!  Maybe that's not how it works, but I learn quickly enough.


Well, that's all of my ramblings for the moment!  I'm sure I will have more interesting things to tell you after the IPSE.  I will probably document my pain filled journey into my contortion class as well.  Goodness knows after 5 months or so I am going to be in pain.  I'm losing my splits!  Time to shape up and get bendy again!


Well, swapping off to 93.3 LIV!  (I'm such a nerd.)


It just seems so...happy.  I tend to nod my head and bob along with the beat while listening to it.


I love everything about this show.  From the music, to the characters, to the costumes. 

Every time I see this, I get a smile on my face.  

Beautiful song.  Ridiculously talented performers.  Amazing show.

Alright, alright.  Enough with the Cirque videos.  I can't help it.  It's wonderful, and hopefully my future job.  That's all for tonight.  Hope you have a wonderful week!

Olivia

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

AHHHHHHH

I'M A YES ABROAD SEMI-FINALIST!!!!!

Oh my goodness, words can't even describe how excited I am.  I saw the letter in a dead-silent computer lab full of people at school.  I then had to drive home (15 minutes) and wait for the page to load.  I started sobbing when I read it.  Here's the video of me opening it.  Please excuse my awful crying face...

video

Wow...I'm so grateful.  And so blissfully happy.  There are 90 semi-finalists.  55 spots.  The odds aren't too bad now.  The IPSE is in Denver (no travel needed) on March 24-26.  I have 24 days.  Then the finalist emails go out in mid to late April.  In two months, I will know what I am doing next year. The outbound wait is a very long one.  I will post more later, but at the moment I am too excited to type.  Sorry for any typos :D

Olivia

Sunday, February 26, 2012

GUESS WHAT?!

YES hasn't sent out notifications yet!  They sent us all an email that nearly gave us all heart attacks, but it was just a reminder.  So now we are at negative two days.  It's actually a bit less nerve wracking now that I'm not anticipating when they will come out.  Waiting is my new game, and I have become an expert.  A twitchy expert, but one nonetheless.

Xanadu is over.  I will admit that I teared up a bit while striking the set (well, putting away all the costumes and organizing the costume room).  This may be the last big theatre production that I work with.  No more musicals.  No more plays.  No more mayhem and wonderment.  Our theatre teacher, Ms. O, gave us all little disco ball necklaces to remember the show by.  The seniors nearly sent me over the edge too...it was their last show.  One of my best friends had the lead (also a senior) so she was a bit emotional, which is understandable.  No matter if I stay or go, high school ends next year.  I can't even comprehend this.  The fact that we all have to grow up sometime.  For the past 16 years, I have lived in a bubble of childhood.  Or teenage years.  I've lived with my parents, eaten their food, gone on vacations.  Soon, it's all me.  What will I do?  Something big I hope.  In my mind, I'll either be a rockstar or living in a cardboard box.  Ms. Olivia Hobo at your service.  Cardboard box house contractor extraordinaire.  Not really.  But the way my personality and ambitions are, I'm set up to either succeed or take a digger.

Trey getting kisses on his chest.  He was cupid.  And then there's Sam making out with his stomach.


Now that I've rambled on about my life, it's time to get back to the featured portion of my blog.  MUSIC TIME!!!

Upbeat and catchy.  I'm dancing.



This is beyond wonderful.  I love Imogen.



This is my Dad's band, Boldtype. He plays the drums.  They just left to go on tour with Guttermouth today.  :)

Well my friends, that is all from your favorite DJ Olivia on 93.3 LIV.  Don't be afraid to leave a comment, so I know I'm not writing to empty air!  Over and out.

Olivia

P.S. I'm not normally this corny.  I just like pretending I'm a radio talk person...whatever they are I called.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THREE. DAYS.

Hello lovely people!

You might be wondering what is going on.  Why is Olivia posting on a Tuesday?  Why is this post not spaced out by a week like the others are?  Well, that's because I find out about YES in (hopefully) 2 days.  I'm a bit spastic and need to vent.

This is so close it is almost unbelievable.  Did I really submit my application a month and a half ago?  Are there really only three days left?  Do I really have reason to hope that I am a semi-finalist.  I hope so.  So many hopes.  So many dreams.

So, it may seem like my AFS Turkey dream sort of dropped off the face of the Earth.  Kind of, not really.  I didn't end up applying for the Global Leaders Scholarship because we didn't have the $900 for the application deposit.  I have the entire application done (I just need to scan a few things in), I just can't submit it.  Oh the woes of attempting to go on a several thousand dollar exchange.  I'm still trying my hardest, if I can come up with the money by the time my application is due, I will submit it.  If not...YES is my only exchange hope.

Well, in all honesty, there't not much more to write about.  I've spent more time than I care to mention in the HHS costume room working on the Xanadu costumes (primarily the centaur).  It pretty much consumed my four day weekend.  I went to Ikea with one of my best friends Sunday, which was fantastic.

So, how about we have music time! :D

Olivia's Tuesday Playlist:




This is the band I am seeing at the end of March :)  (VIP tickets baby)
Despite all of the chill songs that I have been posting, I am a metal and hardcore girl at heart :)



video
My friend and I in the children's section of Ikea


Now that's all from 93.3 LIV, always rocking the Rockies.  Good night everyone.

Olivia