Friday, August 20, 2010

The Seven-Day Summer Speculation: Day Seven

I can't believe this is my last entry on this project! It was super fun to do though, and I'll always have those countless, priceless memories to hold in my heart and remember whenever I'm missing home :).

This final entry is going to be of a slightly different format, and I'll explain this at the end.

     One of my absolute favorite things that we did this summer was go camping. When I was little, we used to have the MOST epic camping trips ever- we'd pack up cars and cars and cars full of things that would last us three or four days, and the entire family would head down to our favorite spot in Ma'alaea (where, sadly, camping is not allowed anymore). We'd set up maybe five or six huge tents, and we would just camp out there together, on the beach. I remember waking up in the morning, eating breakfast, then throwing on my bathing suit and joining my cousins out in the ocean ALL DAY. We'd stay out in the water nonstop except for lunchtime, and we wouldn't come out until the sun was going down and the parents and aunties and uncles threatened us with cold showers (which we always had to take, since we refused to leave the water!). It was so much fun, and those camping trips are such special memories to me.
     We haven't been camping like that in quite a few years now, though, much to my disappointment every year. But this summer, although our camping expeditions were a bit more adult, we still had a blast. Uncle Bill and Aunty Ada loaded up their truck with essentials to last us overnight, the fishermen (my Granpy and later my Granny, Uncle Richard, Uncle Willy, Aunty Lucy...) all loaded up their gear, and we piled into the truck and in Uncle Richard's truck and headed behind the mountain (Haleakala), found a spot and had an amazing night :). There were usually so many people that went with us that there wasn't enough room to sit in the cars, so that along with the fact that Aunty Ada and I both get mean carsickness provided for very special accommodations for us: camping chairs in the bed of the truck! It was quite fabulous, actually!
  So we'd drive behind the mountain (usually to our favorite spot, Kipahulu Landing), and the drive there was always stunningly beautiful.
So once we got to the landing, we'd unload the truck and set up "camp," which included a fabulous little girl cave that Uncle Bill invented so that us ladies (the non-fishers, of course) would be comfortable, safe from the bugs, and sheltered from wind and rain :) It was amazing, and quite cozy in there! On our last camping trip, we comfortably fit me, my sister, Aunty Ada, and my Granny in there. It was lovely and warm and comfie!
We always had something amazing for dinner, too. The first trip we made, Uncle Bill made the MOST delicious beef stew I've ever had in my life. Bible. Aunty Ada made hekka one night, we had stew again another night because it was just THAT good... I guess maybe anything will taste amazing if you're surrounded by family and the ocean :). On our second-to-last trip, it was Aunty Ada's birthday, and (ironically) she made the most delicious cake ever- Key Lime Cake! It was so good!
I can't even describe how much fun I had on all of our camping trips. Here's some pictures of the fishermen! (and women!)
Then, on one of our trips at Kipahulu Landing, there were these horses just roaming all around!! I got so excited, so I went up to them to see how close they would let me get to them before they ran away- but NO! They came right up to me, not shy at all! They let me pet them and ate grass out of my hand- it was amazing!! That MADE that whole trip for me, which was otherwise filled with a lot of wind and a lot of rain. Can you tell how excited I was? haha
Then, on our last camping trip, we went to a different spot, but my cousins came! That was super excellent, because I didn't really get to hang out with them at all this summer (except for my fab Eclipse fashionista party with Keike). It was almost electric to have so much family around, just sitting around talking story and enjoying each other. It seems that that's always when I have the most memorable time, and I can't even begin to explain why or how amazing it feels :).

It's just something about the way I was raised that it happens this way- I spend all of my summers home in Hawaii, but none of my favorite memories include times when I'm sitting alone by myself on the beach reading a book (although I do have some very amazing chats with God in those times), or when I'm leisurely sitting at home relaxing and watching TV. What makes my summer- what really leaves those impressions in my heart- are those simple family get-togethers that get thrown together the morning of, with all of the amazing food and the amazing people and the amazingly simple way that we just be together. It's the gift of just having each other, sharing our love and laughter and tears and joy and sadness and stories and silence. It's the reason that the word "kamakananui" or "The Greatest Gift" is a daily reminder to me of the immense treasury that God has blessed me with, and it's the reason that I truly believe that I'm the luckiest girl in the world. 

So, summing up my entire summer can be done in reflection of everything I just said.

My favorite memory? The one I spent with my family. Translation: All of them.

A lesson I've learned? Yes, indeed, all of the lessons I've written about in the first six speculations. But most simply? Love conquers all. 

A wonderful relative? Look at all the pictures I've included in this seven day project. There they are.

A realization? I live a very stressful life. I'm growing up. Life goes by too fast. I'm impatient.

 Then you will see and be radiant- your heart will tremble and grow large, because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you 
Isaiah 60:5

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Seven-Day Summer Speculation: Day Six

1. A Favorite Memory
     One of the most fun things I did this summer was spend time with my cousin Jennifer, and help her with her four kids, Janessa, Jayden, Julianna, and Jiyanni. Jennifer and I, although we're about 10 years apart in age, get along really well, so it's always fun to just hang out, but I love her kids to pieces, so helping her watch them was an absolute joy for me :).
     There was one day towards the end of the summer when all of the adults had gone fishing, so Jenny took on the task of having all of the younger kids (my sister includes herself in this group) over at Aunty Jane's house, where she stays during the summer, over to play and hang out all day. I went over too, to help Aunty Jane on the bus (she drives a school bus for disabled children), but I ended up staying all day with Jenn and the kids. Jenn had her friend's two daughters over too, so all in all there were 8 kids of all ages- Jiyanni, 18 months, Julianna, 3, Malina, 6, Mia, 8, Jayden, 8, Taieena, 8, Janessa, 10, and Kami, 15. It was so crazy, having them all running around, screaming and playing and teasing each other and having fun. Jenn, of course, had it all under control- she's like SuperMom! But anyways, we had the kids do scavenger hunts and play word games and crack macadamia nuts and swing on the trees- it was so fun to just hang out with Jennifer and just watch all of those little cousins having so much fun together. It brought back so many wonderful memories of me and my cousins being that age and having the same fun, laughing and crying and playing and just enjoying being kids. It was equally wonderful to talk to Jenn, who has so much wisdom and perspective for being so young (hey, she has four kids!), about growing up and falling in love and going off into the world and finding yourself. It was like three seasons of my life were rolling on tape right in front of my eyes, magically: The good old kid days that we spend rolling down hills with our cousins and staying up late on air mattresses in the living room; the now days, that we spend with our friends as we learn the hard lessons and start trying to figure out how to be ourselves in the great big world; and the future days that we spend with our families, with babies on our hips and toddlers falling down and scraping their knees and husbands and homes and the ability to look back on our kid days and our now days and understand that we're passing that on to the next generation.
    All of that, simply from a good, long day of babysitting my nieces and nephews and being called Aunty and talking story with my cousin. I love summer.
Julianna- rockin' stunna shades
Jiyanni! What a ham

2. A Lesson I've Learned
     I'm still slowly learning this, but this just got put into perspective for me: Getting older doesn't mean that you stop asking for help when you fall down, it just means that along with asking for help comes with realizing, accepting, and dealing with the fact that you've made a mistake. And also that, even though you always can ask for help, there is no excuse for making mistakes repeatedly. No one can do everything by themselves- there's no superpower that keeps you from messing up, because everyone does. But it's important (and extremely comforting, might I add) to always know that your family is there for you when you do mess up, no matter how old you get. Messing up just comes with a little more responsibility.  :)

3. A Wonderful Relative
     I talked about her already in my memory, but I feel like I should pay her special tribute here. My cousin Jennifer is, quite simply, amazing. I look up to her and admire her so much. She knows the value and the paramount importance of family- just look at her and her own beautiful family and you can see it. She didn't go to college, and she doesn't get paid money for her job, but her career is bigger than any executive VIP sitting behind a desk in some big, corporate building: She has a loving husband and four beautiful children, and the life she's made with them is, to my eyes, more rewarding than any paycheck. The thing I admire most about that, though, is that she does everything she does the way our Grandma Julia taught us. We were taught to love each other and to help each other no matter what; to always be there for each other and to always be together. That's the way Jenn has brought up her little Alderete family, and every day she teaches her kids that as well. She's incredibly giving (not to mention a blast to hang out with and a whiz at the girl talk) and she puts family first, and that love and devotion is something I aspire to, someday in the far future when I have a little family of my own.

4. A Realization
     My mom and I are extraordinarily different people, in many different ways.We have very different ways of viewing things; we have different opinions and different attitudes and different habits and different interests. But in spite of that, I've realized that we are really very much the same. We love and we laugh and we give and we celebrate, and sometimes we cry and get angry and irrational and swear a little too much, a little too loudly. We hold grudges and then get over them; we don't take bullshit and agree that lying is unacceptable. She's taught me so much about how to be a good person and how not to be a bad person, and I have so much to thank her for that if I tried I'd be going on and on for an eternity. I'm so glad that my mom is who she is- a wonderful mommy and an extraordinary friend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Seven-Day Summer Speculation: Day Five

1. A Favorite Memory
     This one again is not one particular moment in time, but more of a collaboration of a lot of different moments with the same theme. I started working for Vector Marketing this summer, and even though they were at a rather inconvenient time (8 PM!), I loved our team meetings on Wednesdays. Even though we never really saw each other during the week when we were actually working, the handful of us from the Maui branch that regularly went to team meetings had quite our fill of fun :). We always turned the meetings- which could very well have ended up being just Jessica, our manager, standing at her desk reading the newsletter to us- into an hour and a half of silliness and laughter and cheering (Maui BUILT!) about how our office was so much smaller than Hilo and Kaneohe and we still kicked their butts at conferences. Jessica always had a funny yet motivational YouTube video to show us, and the pats on the backs and the group "woot woot woots" when someone made it into the newsletter made us feel like a real team :). It was so much fun working with them (even though we didn't technically work together), and I really miss them now that I'm not at the office anymore. We really pulled together and became a silly little Cutco family, and it was quite honestly the best summer job I could have imagined having. Even coming into the office during the week and talking to the new trainees as they were just taking their first steps into the company was fun- when more than one of us talked to them at once I think we might have intimidated them a bit with our "professionalism"- Ha! But it really felt so good to be a part of something like that, and when I went in to the office for the last time and said goodbye to Jessica, it was so sad! She told me that I had done a really good job, and that I had contributed irreplaceable benefit to our branch... I will miss that excellent job!

2. A Lesson I've Learned
     This goes quite hand-in-hand with my memory. So many people, me most definitely included, are so adverse to change. It's uncomfortable, it's scary, it's unfamiliar... sometimes, change is just altogether NOT FUN. Possibly one of the worst things about going somewhere new or doing something different is that you don't know anyone, and being alone is one of the scariest things there can be. However, working at Vector really helped me learn that it doesn't matter if you have no friends in the place you're going- you'll make them when you get there. In retrospect, this has happened to me so many times in life: going to two different elementary schools, two different junior high schools, high school itself, and then going off to college... in every scary transition you make, there are always people surrounding you while you make it. It's just a matter of how you reach out to those people, and how open you are to being open :). 

3. A Wonderful Relative
     My Uncle Bill, who is married to Aunty Ada, is a particularly spectacular uncle. He is quiet and shy, but he's funny and silly and can get down and have fun with all of us kids like he's just one of us :). He has all the cool gadgets and knows all the fun games, and his laugh is incredibly contagious. But like Aunty Ada, Uncle Bill (or, for some reason unbeknown to me, Uncle Peno, as we call him) is incredibly giving. He would do anything for his family, with no task too big and no trip too far. He's the go-to uncle for all of our fishing and camping expeditions, and he always makes sure that everything is taken care of. He's easygoing and friendly, and just being around him is like a breath of fresh air. He's the uncle that never disappoints, whether it's from jumping in the pool with the rest of us or making the most delicious stew ever :).

(I would upload a photo here, but silly blogger isn't cooperating tonight)

4. A Realization
     This one is also very simple: LIFE GOES BY TOO FAST. Everyone always tries to grow up before their time (myself included), and now that I'm an adult I look at my nieces and nephews and remember being the same age as they are now, doing exactly the same amazing kid things they're doing now. I miss being a kid, a lot a lot. I miss not understanding what the word "stress" means, and I miss being able to curl up next to my mom or my Granny at the end of a "rough" day, and have all the worries just melt away into Dreamland.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Seven-Day Summer Speculation: Day Four

1. A Favorite Memory
     Although less of one specific moment in time and more an event compiled over several days spread out over several weeks, one of my favorite things that we did this summer was stay in a condo on the beach in Kihei. Two of my Granny's sisters are nuns, and they have a friend, Sister Candie, who works at The Church of St. Theresa, which is literally two walking minutes away from the ocean in Kihei. Instead of living in a convent, as my aunty nuns do, St. Theresa (the church, not the matron) owns a condo in a very lovely complex that is so close to the ocean that if you stand on the lanai (porch) in the back of the condo , you might get sprayed by the waves! Haha, just kidding... it's not QUITE that close, but still... 
     So anyways, Sister Candie was going to be away at a conference in California for quite some time, so she offered us the use of her condo! She gave us the code to the lockbox and told us to stay there whenever and for however long we like. It was such a generous thing for her to do!
     And it was absolutely beautiful. Here's a picture of the view from the back lanai, just to give you an idea...

That thin sliver of blue just past the green? Yup. That's the ocean. I could walk to it in 30 seconds, tops. It was so nice to stay there... tons of the aunties and my cousin Jennifer and her kids came and went, having big barbeque dinners with us and just enjoying our time together in different surroundings. All of the aunties (who are significantly older than me) were introduced to Wii bowling, which they became absolutely obsessed with! We had running competitions going throughout the entire last half of the summer, to see who could hold the championship title the longest (I am proud to say that I hold that championship title ;). It was so fun to see my whole family together, away from inevitable family drama, laughing and having fun and being together.
     My nieces and nephew absolutely LOVED swimming in the pool, and my Aunty Ada and I had quite the girly heart-to-heart in that pool. I also taught myself how to play the ukulele at that condo... Needless to say, I hold so many dear memories close to my heart from the time we spent at that condo. It really was much less about staying in a nice condo like that, and much much more about the fact that we were all staying there together. It means so much to me to look back on those memories of all of us enjoying the fun and the sun and the sand (and the air conditioning!) there together, and to know I'll have those memories for the rest of my life. That is what I truly cherish, and that is why staying at the condo was one of my favorite things of the summer- because we ALL did it... TOGETHER.
     Here's some photos of my cousin, sister, nieces and nephew and I in the pool, courtesy of Uncle Bill and Aunty Ada's underwater camera :). There's also some photos I took of the one of the sunsets I watched with my Granpy when we stayed there.
Jennifer and her youngest daughter Jiyanni

Uncle Bill! (And me on his shoulders!)

Jayden and I!
Jayden and Kami

2. A Lesson I've Learned
     One of the most difficult things that I have been presented with is something that I struggle with all the time: patience. I am not, under any circumstances, a patient person, and that applies to people, situation, traffic... it's so easy for me to lose my temper with someone or at something because I am being impatient, and the thing I heard God say to me the most about this during the summer was so simple: "Be still." It's so difficult to hang on to sometimes, but people and life, really, don't always need to be moving at warp speed. I don't have all the answers, I don't know all of the reasons why people do the things they do, and I don't know why there always seems to be just a few hours too short in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished. But there is a reason for everything in this magnificent Master Plan- and I need to just be still. Listen. Let things happen as they happen; let people decide as they decide.
     And not be so hasty about everything! Especially my temper.

3. A Wonderful Relative
     My Aunty Ada is someone in my family that I never cease to marvel at. She is clever, and crafty, and thrifty, and can make a meal fit to feed an army out of just about anything. She is honestly one of the most giving people that I know, right up there next to my Granny. I love to just hang out with her and talk story, because she can talk about anything and everything and make it just the grandest time. A walk down to the grocery store becomes an adventure; sitting in waiting rooms becomes storytime; a few minutes in the kitchen is like a trip into the Food Network. I always learn something new from her, whether it's a recipe for something delightful or a new story about a family member that makes me go "Ohhhh... that explains it." She's truly one of my favorite aunties, and living life at her pace is nothing short of an adventure :).
In our truck-bed seats on the ways to and from camping :)

4. A Realization
     I always say that when I graduate from college, I'm going to move to some big city and live the fab life, and travel the world, and forge my own new life in this great big world. But something I realized this summer- as we were driving to the airport to leave Hawaii for the year, actually- is this: Home is where the heart is. And my heart truly, and forever, lies nestled between the palm trees, and up and over the waves as they ebb and flow over the soft white sand, and around and through the fresh trade winds that blow over the mountains and hills and the valleys. No matter where I go in life, whether it's to LA or New York or Chicago or Italy or England or France, or even if it remains here in the dry desert heat of Arizona, my heart will always take me back home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Seven-Day Summer Speculation: Day Three

1. A Favorite Memory
     Something we do almost every year, which happens to be one of my absolute favorite traditions, is particularly spectacular. We gather up as much of the family as we can coerce into the evening and drive all the way into Lahaina to see my very favorite live show, 'Ulalena. Performed at the Maui Myth and Magic Theater, it's a beautiful hour and a half of hula and Hawaiian music that tells the traditional history of the Hawaiian Islands- how the islands and the people came to be, the prosperity of the islands under the ali'i (royalty) and the Hawaiian gods, the eventual destruction of the ancient ways by the intrusion of the Caucasians and the rebirth of the culture with the healing 'Ulalena rain that only falls on Maui (man, I should write the ads for this show! haha). I can't explain it in any other word than spectacular. When I was a kid, I used to daydream (and nightdream, too!) about being one of the dancers in that show. Even now, I'm so fascinated by it that if I lived on Maui and had the opportunity, nothing would stop me from doing everything I could to be part of that cast! Speaking of the cast, there are two original cast members that were there when the show started (I think it was 11 years ago?) that faithfully remember us every year! The dance captain, Kipe, plays the part of Kamapua'a, the pig god, and Anthony Natividad is one of the fabulous musicians who specializes in the nose flutes, which are extraordinarily beautiful. He's played them for me personally quite a few times now, and I have his cd, but this year he actually let me play them myself! I played the song 'Ulalena on the flutes as the real song was playing on the speakers in the lobby of the theater!. It was an absolutely magical feeling! Even though I don't believe in the Hawaiian deities, the story about how Maui pulled the islands from the sea with his fishing hook, and all the other tales about the gods and their love (and sometimes anger) for the islands and their people are magical nonetheless. 
     Since we go to the show so often and so many of the cast members remember us, we go to talk to them while they're in the lobby meet-and-greeting after the show. My sister and I were chatting with Newe, who is in one of the pictures below, and he took us backstage for this special VIP demo the cast does after! This has happened before- usually Anthony takes us back there- but it was so nice of Newe! He didn't actually remember us until we explained who we were, but he was still so sweet. It's so funny to contrast him and his character- in the show his character is really mean and kills one of the ali'i! Here's some pictures with the cast.

That's Kipe! He plays Kamapua'a, the pig god. And Pele, the lava goddess. 

My sister and I with (from L-R) Manu, Kawai, and Newe!

Two of the dancers (green and purple dresses) and two of the aerialists. Amazing!
Me playing the nose flutes with Anthony!
The incomparable Anthony Natividad
I always have so much fun going to 'Ulalena! I know all of the songs and almost all of the dances memorized by now... it's so silly, but I love it so much!
     After the show, we usually go to dinner at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. (like in Forrest Gump!), which is on Front Street in Lahaina and literally sits over the ocean, but this year we went to Outback Steakhouse. It was an amazing night!

2. A Lesson I've Learned
      This is a lesson that's quite less profound than the others I've written about so far, but equally as honest. Driving in Maui is significantly different than driving in Arizona- hardly any of the roads in Maui are straight, they all curve- honest to blog- and most of them are set on some sort of incline. So, of course, it's rather more difficult to drive there than in Mesa, and the thing I learned this summer, rather unfortunately, I might add, is this: PEOPLE DO NOT ALWAYS TURN WHEN THEIR SIGNALS ARE ON, AND THEY DO NOT ALWAYS HONOR THE SPEED LIMIT. OR LANE SEPARATIONS. That is all :).

3. A Wonderful Relative
     My little sister Kami, who is a sophomore in high school as I am a sophomore in college, is an extremely complicated person. Even at the beginning of the summer, I couldn't be in the same room with her without wanting to stab myself in the eye with a fork. However, I took control of the "you make or break your relationships/situations" lesson that I talked about yesterday, and I have found that I immensely enjoy being friends with my baby sister. She is funny and silly, and I can beat her up as much as I want to and I know she'll still love me. Granted, I know she'll get me back twice as good later, but that's all part of the fun! We play Punch Bug No Mercy Punches until my Granny goes batty, and we have long conversations about boys and parents and friends and life. She never lets me forget how weird I am, and she always reminds me how much fun we have together by...well... having fun with me! Everyone says you get along with your siblings better as you get older, and I never believed a single one of them until this summer when my sister and I- dare I say it!- started getting along :). She keeps me honest and she keeps my ego in check, and I love the fact that we will always be there for each other.

4. A Realization

      This one is almost an echo of what I just wrote. This summer, I realized that my baby sister is actually one of my closest friends :). The end.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Seven Day Summer Speculation: Day Two

1. A Favorite Memory
     So when I'm in Hawaii, one of my favorite things to do is, of course, go to the beach! The beach is one of my favorite places- there's such a sense of reverence and peacefulness there, and I can't help but marvel at God when I stand with my toes buried in the sand, the waves washing over my feet and foaming as they retreat back into the vast ocean. It's like that LeAnn Womack song goes- "I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean." It's impossible for me to be there, surrounded by so much intense beauty, and not be drowned in how much I'm in love with Him and everything He is. 
     This is, of course, magnified when I'm surrounded by my wonderful family :). On July 5th, we gathered a huge caravan and all headed down to one of my favorite beaches, and just spent the day there, eating, talking story, laughing, watching my nieces and nephew and my sister swim and play in the water... it was an immensely wonderful, simple day.
Then, after we'd had our fill of the surf and the sand, we took the kids to a random field with their boogie boards, and my grandpa went and found them some cardboard boxes, and we spent the rest of the afternoon sliding down the hill until the sun went down. It was so incredibly fun- everyone took turns sliding down and dragging the boards back up, even the adults! It really put into perspective for me how it's not what you do for fun, it's who you do it with :). This leads perfectly into observation #2, but first, some pictures.
2. A Lesson I've Learned
     You make or break your relationships and your situations. It's really as simple as that. Attitude is everything- you can go into something with a negative attitude, with a pessimistic perspective, and your outcome will be just that- a negative, unsatisfying experience. There is something good in everything, and everything you find or see affords itself to have a positive impact on who you are and what you do. Even simple things, like cardboard boxes, a grassy hill, and those little ice cream cups that you eat with a wooden spoon :).

3. A Wonderful Relative
     My Granny is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the most unselfish people I know. She gives and gives, and think absolutely nothing of it because to her, seeing the smile on the face of someone she's helped is all the reward in the world :). She puts everyone's needs before her own, whether it means giving up her seat at dinner when all of the family is crowded into our tiny family house so that she will have to stand, whether it means making someone else a cup of coffee, even though hers will get cold, or whether it means pitching in money to help a family member or a friend in need, even if it means she'll have to go the extra length to scrimp so she can afford what she needs. Sometimes it blows my mind to watch and be affected by the giving spirit that she has. It's true that sometimes she SO giving that it gets a little overwhelming, but I admire and respect that so much, and it is something I aspire to myself- to have such a giving spirit that there are no limitations on how you give, how much you give, or who you give to. It's love, compassion, and kindness all rolled into one... it's no wonder that she and my Granpy have such a phenomenal, incomparable marriage. That's what I would love to have someday.

4. A Realization
     I am going to skip elaborating on this section this time, because the Lesson and the Family Member sections combined cover that perfectly well enough :).

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Seven-Day Summer Speculation: Day One

1. A Favorite Memory
         One of my favorite memories from the summer was our biggest family event: Uncle Paul and Aunty Myrna's 50th Wedding Anniversary Luau. It was a huge party that was months and months in the making; we rented out a hall for the event, invited anyone and everyone that we knew with even the smallest ties to that lovely couple, and had almost the entire family with us. We spent weeks preparing the food and making orders for decorations and the cakes and poi and flowers. I was granted the honorable responsibility of decorating the hall as well as emceeing the whole party, and the hall turned out beautifully- gold paper cranes and confetti and balloons everywhere, credit for which actually goes almost entirely to my Aunty Ada and Uncle Bill (but that's a story for another section and another time). I gave a speech that turned out splendidly, giving credit where credit was due and remembering all the important people that deserved remembering. It was amazing to see everyone's faces light up during that speech! It was equally amazing to have gotten to be the person running around making sure everything was happening the way it was supposed to be happening, welcoming everyone and talking, making announcements... I am so happy that I got to be a part of orchestrating the celebration of two wonderful people. It was so inspiring to see the love that my Aunty Myrna and Uncle Paul have shared with each other and with everyone around them... I hope I get to have a big 50th anniversary party someday! :)

2. A Lesson I've Learned
     Something HUGE that I learned this summer is very simple: Turning 18 does not a true adult make. I really came to understand this summer that no matter how old I get, how great of a job I have, how many friends I acquire or how much knowledge I get from being in school for forever, I will always still my my Granny and Granpy's little girl. They have always essentially been my parents, and even though I am growing up, I will never outgrow my parents. I thought that when I turned 18 that a whole new arsenal of freedom and opinion and adult power would just fall into my lap, but I had to struggle to learn (and am still learning!) that a kid will always be a kid :)

3. A Wonderful Relative
     The person I spent probably the most amount of time with this summer was my Granpy. I simply adore him- he is daddy to me in every way. He can get very grumpy and angry and sometimes mean, and he's ALWAYS very stubborn, but regardless of all these things, he loves me and I love him. He always makes sure that I'm taken care of. He has never failed to make sure that I have money in my wallet, food in my tummy and coffee in my cup (that's another thing- I love that I inherited my infatuation with coffee from him :). He always puts his family first (and with him, he doesn't discriminate with the word "family"- family is family, bottom line, no conditions) and that is something that I extremely admire, because he strives to make the best decisions for us even when it means sacrifices for him (like, maybe, not going fishing that day ;) ). I am so thankful that I have him to look up to.

4. A Realization 
     This one is really very simple. This summer, I realized that even though I'm not rich or famous or in love with anyone, my life is rich, I am actually famous, and my life is full of love. My life is richly endowed with friends and family I can count on, education that will take me far, and a perspective that always keeps my glass half full; I am famously adored by my family- so much so that family friends, relatives, people I've never even met before know who I am and what my aspirations are; I have a mom who loves me more than anyone in the world (literally) and is my best friend, a sister that I can beat up (even though I know she'll get me right back) and still love me, grandparents who would go to the ends of the earth for me, an uncle who is like a second dad that is always on my side, a best friend that I consider a sister in every way, and countless other people that pour love into my life always.

Thank God :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Brief Interlude For A Fashion Phenomenon

So this is a bit random, but I simply have to post this amazingness. It's definitely true that vanity is a sin, but when you view fashion as an art and personal expression, and not merely as an incentive for people to look at you and your stuff, I think some licenses can be taken here.

So here's what I have to share, a little Style Steal of the week, if you will. For those who don't care about shopping or fashion, my apologies.

I got these shield sunglasses by Elle for $12. 
Actual retail price: $77.91. 
MAJOR steal. I'm so proud of this one.

These strappy pumps, also by Elle, I snatched up for a whopping $5.99.
Actual retail price: $69.99.

My ability to find good bargains (which is really the only reason I am able to shop at all, haha) is something that I am highly thankful to have. Yay!

Sunshine and Summertime

Hello dolls! As per the terrible habit I have of maintaining this blog in a timely fashion, it has (yet again) been forever since I've written here! Summer has come and almost gone, and with it so many new lessons and memories- they keep getting better every year that I get older. :) I cannot at this particular moment find my journal, or else I would provide a much more accurate retelling of the fabulous summer I was blessed with, so the following few posts shall be more of a smorgasbord of thoughts and rememberings and musings. For the sake of all of you lovely people who actually read this, I'm going to really hanker down and commit to the following project- one of my more brilliant think-ups for this particular medium of thought, I must say. For the next seven days, I am going to write one entry here per day, wherein I discuss/dissect a favorite general memory from the summer, a lesson I learned, a relative that I particularly appreciate (since family is so incredibly important to, haha) and why I appreciate them, and something new that I realized about my life (this may or may not connect to the lesson). This is, of course, so that I don't just sit here for hours one day and write a novel-worthy entry of everything about my summer that comes to mind.

I will henceforth call this project The Seven Day Summer Speculation (yep. I did just use alliteration to name my thought project.)

Summary of the Seven Day Summer Speculation (I just had to laugh at that one):
  • 7 Days
  • 7 Entries
    • A favorite memory
    • A lesson I learned (or perhaps more appropriately, that God tried to teach me)
    • A wonderful relative
    • A new realization about my life
  • Summer reflection
  • Preparation for a new year to do new amazing things!
Starting tomorrow, reflection shall commence!  Please feel free to share in my reflections with me- I love comments, people! :)