1. Winter quarter
2. Spring break
3. Spring quarter/end of school year
4. Six week summer
If I had to summarize each of those, it’d be the following:
A time for socializing, shenanigans, and beginning to understand adventure. During this time I became extra close with and grateful for everyone at SCU. I really built and solidified friendships and with people like Mary, Brittany, Alexa, Eddie and the “freshmen” who aren’t freshmen anymore. I got to spend time with Mary volunteering at Alma youth center every week. I also saw the Dalai Lama, nearly “failed” (C+) a class because I didn’t study (memorize) enough. On the other end of the spectrum, I took a hilariously ramble-based ethnic studies class with the sassiest yet greatest prof I’ve had at SCU. I also have fond memories of visiting SF with Kyra, watching/line-judging volleyball, visiting a park and celebrating Valentine’s/Galentine’s day. By the end of the quarter, I had decided to rally the troops and create the perfect California Spring Break Adventure.
Honestly made some of the best memories with the best people. The first weekend involved chillin at SCU with whoever was around. Event of the weekend was a day trip to SF with Riley and Jake. It surely was one to remember – I will never forget hippy hill and the crazy drum circle that takes place there. The week (from Monday through Thursday) was my Big Sur/Santa Cruz adventure with Kim, Gio, and Joe. It originally was just going to be me and Kim, but I’m so glad we peer pressured the guys to come! I’m still amazed thinking about the starry sky, and I still laugh thinking about lugging three trunks full of camping supplies to and from the parking lot to the campsite. Especially when we left during the rain. Anyways…
Kind of a blur.
I spent the first 3-6 weeks FrEaKiNg out about how I was failing my finance class because of a terrible quiz, terrible midterm, and unfortunate timing of necessary absences. Eventually dropped it with a W. And will redeem myself soon. We had Preview Days which was fun as always. I had meetings for my Donovan Fellowship. I tried to be less predictable/grandma-ish and more adventurous by hiking with bros and having a birthday adventure weekend. The National concert rocked my socks. And the friends I was with were the bomb. What else… lots of breakfast burritos. Met and hung with Brittany’s family. They’re adorable. End of year bay cruise with the ambassadors. The bros moved into their new apartment and life was changed forever. And, I ended the quarter getting really sentimental about leaving.
Six Week Summer
I carried out my proposed plans for my Jean Donovan Fellowship by working at El Centro Humanitario. I was able to work with two others to plan the women’s group’s photo exhibit fundraiser. I loved getting to stay busy, drive a fair amount, practice spanish, and hear some of the workers’ stories. I did all of these things. Said bye to Anna. I received the funniest voicemails EVER from Andrew Porter. I appreciated home but experienced wonder and FOMO and longing for the Bay Area. Then, a short 6ish weeks later, I was off to Argentina!!!
Holy moly. The only time I freaked out a lot was when I was in Miami waiting to board my flight. Thank the lord for best friends who dealt with me via text message. Once I was there, the craziness ensued. There was Monica the host mom- who reminded me and Jen of more of a “glam”ma. I took a full course load with more than half my classes taught in Castellano. I wrote blog posts and tweets for an internship at Oasis Collections. And I blogged for fun. I stayed out til 6am a couple times. I made a bunch of great friends. I traveled with my family. And I traveled with friends. I now understand how to feel blissfully ignorant, literally out of the loop, and obsessed with adventure slash travel.
But downside that no one talks about= stress/overwhelming nature of it all, and… three really sad things happened while I was there which was hard to be physically removed from.
Purgatory (aka home)
SUCH a love-hate relationship being home from before Thanksgiving to just before January! I love time with my family and best friends. I am constantly reminded how “bubbly” Highlands Ranch is. I’m feeling like I can’t quite be adventurous like I have been in Argentina. I’m really really excited (but a little nervous) to get back to SCU. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix, worked at LOFT, seen some cool people but…. yeah. OH and highlights= making fudge and a shotski with my dad. Sue me for being a daddy’s girl. Oh and I’ve attempted to begin “running” (jog/walking).
Top things I’ve learned this year:
How to admire and seek adventure even in daily life
How to be one of those strong independent women types
How to be the foreigner slash outsider
Quality not quantity of friends
Sisters always and forever before misters
I’ve kinda left my heart in (the) San Francisco (Bay Area)
Communicate. Be a self advocate.
Journal and reflect. It keeps you sane and keeps your secrets from reaching the world.
Treasure moments and be grateful.
Don’t take life too seriously.
Pay for experiences not things. (I say after shopping a lot lately yikes)
Hicks road? (Or another creepy part of the greater San Jose area)
I don’t even remember when it was exactly, but one night during freshman year, two cars of my SCU friends set out in search of something haunted. After hearing about and looking up creepy locations around San Jose, we settled with Hicks Road. Our sense of adventure fuelled us on this night away from campus. It started out like any adventure: Blasting music, laughing and joking with friends, and navigating to an unknown, exciting place. It turned a little more creepy with the thoughts that swirled in the back of our minds. Roshni told us she thought their was a creepy trail in the area and “warned” us about rumors of albinos who hated trespassers, ghosts, and a haunted bridge where a girl was murdered. I thought little of it because my main entertainment was riding in the car and thinking about how scared Roshni would be.
The night was freeing. Dark skies surrounded us and crisp air flowed through the windows we had open in the car. Eventually we got off the highway and found ourselves winding a narrow road up and around hills that became more and more removed from any familiar sense of suburbia San Jose. I joked of emergencies when we lost cell service, but we kept driving the fun, deserted road. Eventually (somehow) we ended up at a dead end at the bottom of a turn-off from the main road. We passed what Roshni had us all assume was the pathetic “bridge” that was definitely not a bridge. But regardless, just a little farther up, we hit a dead end. This “dead end” was little more than darkness and fenced-off private property. But we stopped the cars and got out.
It was impossible to see without headlights, car lights, or phone lights. It was nice to experience the quiet and blindness- only ruined by our social selves. To keep the creepy vibes flowing, people wandered off into the darkness. Some type of grassy fields surrounded us. In pairs or threes, people walked away then came back when they were a little too freaked out. They spoke of hearing something coming closer to them until they ran back. We assumed it could’ve been a cow or horse that we couldn’t see! But who knows. For me, the best moments were when we were all together, avoiding scary hype or anything ridiculous.
Our fun, adventurous times were cut short by paralyzing fear. We saw lights coming closer in the distance. They were winding down the same hill we had descended reach our dead end. Adrenaline kicked in and we chose “flight” instead of “fight.” The only assumption we had was that this car was about to confront us, in the darkness, in the middle of nowhere, where we were essentially lost and without cell service. Our childish ghost stories and creepy haunted fears took a back burner. We hurried to pack in the cars and speed back to where we came from.
As we were leaving the dead end, “bridge” area, we could make out the vehicle. It was a dark truck that stopped where we sped up the hill to escape.
But the fear continued.
The truck followed us.
It stalked us up along the winding road, back to the main road that was still much too far from comforts of civilization.
Suddenly, colored lights started flashing.
Confusion collided with our fear.
After hesitating a little longer, both our cars pulled over.
They (the most suspicious “officers” I’d ever seen) asked us classic questions. But the problem was, since there were two cars of us and two of the officers, we couldn’t tell what was happening to the other car at the same time.
My car was asked what we were doing and if we had been drinking.
We responded honestly and nervously: Looking for a haunted bridge, and sober as ever.
Our friends weren’t “let off” quite as easily.
Their officer asked to search their car. They obliged… although I’m not sure the officer had reasonable cause to be honest.
Eventually we learned they were park and wildlife patrollers and they let us go.
We hadn’t necessarily done anything wrong besides accidentally stop at potentially private property.
They followed (chased) us and pulled us over because we seemed suspicious.
Unbeknownst to us, the land is a popular area for drug lords to do business.
We cruised back, our heart rates stabilized, and we were left with only bizarre, confused memories of our creepy night.
As Ms.Karla told Anna as she gets mentally prepared to go home:
“The best life is one when you like where you are, but you also like going home.”
Her words are so simple, and slightly awkward, as to be understood by the exchange student, and they describe my internal struggle with being away from the Bay Area until NEXT YEAR. Ugh. I’ve been consumed by and connected to SCU, SF and the entire area.
What’s in a nickname? I’m not sure but I think at the very core there’s care.
This school year, Mark came up with the nickname “Chel” as a way to mock me.
But as we all know, the more Mark makes fun of you, the more he loves you.
The saddest part about this pathetic joke of a nickname is, it caught on. And it evolved.
Obviously, as the great person that I am, I didn’t let the stupid name bother me for that long- mostly since the tone of voice changed with it.
It became used more repeatedly and by people like Eddie, Nathan and Mary. And a few others at times.
And I think I’ve come to … not actually like it… but appreciate it.
I appreciate it because it shows that people care. And people like to joke around. And that I’ve grown close with people at school this past school year.
So even though I am also called Rach, which is actually practical, I don’t mind Chel (or Eddie’s newly created “Chela”) either in certain cases.
And I’m interested to see if Rach spreads more. But who knows!