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.


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.


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.


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