when you’re enough of an adult to make home a vacation destination

I’ve been abusing my blog and failing to journal since my belongings at school are in a box for the summer. BUT


Working at WePay has been wonderful. Except now I’m the only intern left and they have NO work for me. SO WUT.
I went home for a week. August 15-23 to be precise.

It was what I expected and what I didn’t.

My family went to see Craig Robinson perform the night I got home. I hung out with all of the families we usually do. We had Teagan’s birthday party and Kayla’s moving away party the weekend I got there. Then since Trevor was still home, we took a family hike one of the days. Hmm what else, I hung out with just Kayla and Alex a couple times. I got stuck at home a couple times since my car is now in California. Resultingly, I watched a LOT of TV and Netflix. I went to a Rockies game one night. Drove to the airport to drop Trev off one morning. I went to the DMV and took my 21+ picture. Spoiler alert: It’s not very good since I have the least defined jaw line and pudgiest face EVER. On Friday night when I was home, I took my dad’s car and went to Boulder. I caught up with Leia, Natalie, and Rachel. AND at dinner with Natalie, we had sake bombs for the first time. Then, back in the ranch, I hung out with Tinker and Leia. And my parents and I saw another comedian. And that’s about it!!! Lots of sleeping and relaxing. Not much adventuring. And I didn’t quite make it to Fort Collins (oops). But it was nice to see my people, meet Bernie the dog, and relax.

I wish I had a bit more time to enjoy the mountains and company of BFFs. And it would’ve been good to see more friends. And show California people around my places. But for now, those are dreams and too high of expectations. Who knows about winter break or another time!

College, Home, Journal, Travel

2014, where’d you go?

IMG_3265A selfie for the future’s sake.
If I had to divide this amazing and very quick year into six memorable, categorizable pieces it’d be the following:

1. Winter quarter
2. Spring break
3. Spring quarter/end of school year
4. Six week summer
6. Purgatory(home)
If I had to summarize each of those, it’d be the following:

Winter Quarter

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.

Spring Break

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…

Spring Quarter

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.
Challenge yourself.
Pay for experiences not things. (I say after shopping a lot lately yikes)


a day in the life

As I got antsy while binge watching Bob’s Burgers this morning, I embarked on a selfie slash self portrait series. These are simply the result of me always wanting to feel entertained. I never actually post selfies like some do, so whenever I start taking them, I get stuck between looking super awkward, super stereotypical, super serious and way too artsy. So here ya go. Me. Raw. Tangled hair. No makeup. Unbrushed teeth?

Deep thoughts, Home

I knew I’d cry today.

It’s not that November 16th has any significance, it’s just that I knew I’d cry the day Buddy had to go. When you have a big black dog that miraculously lives from second grade until junior year of college (and who dictates your parents’ daily schedules), he’s truly really not just a pet. As lame as it sounds, he’s as much of a brother as Trevor and as much of a best friend as everyone else I’ve grown up with at home.

Cheesy memories and feelings below:

He was a two-year-old puppy we adopted from the Dumb Friends League when my brother and I were eight.
He was the sweetest of the dogs we met at the time. Automatically gentle and loved leaning on us while we pet him.  But as most shelter dogs, he had a couple oddities. For him, he had separation anxiety. But with the amount of time we spent with him, and how obsessed and in love we became, the problem eventually faded away (after a hole in our fence and many other destructive acts).When I was younger, I used to set up our couch and chair cushions on their side, then make him hurdle over them in order to get a piece of dry food. Along the same lines, I would pretend he was a skilled avalanche or drug-busting dog and make him sniff out where I hid food or toys. In fifth and sixth grade, we found out he liked to howl when Trevor played the trumpet. In the summer, we’d be outside in the backyard where he used to ferociously run laps around the yard and finish by jumping on us and play biting. Strangers we’re a bit put-off , but I knew it was all fun.

Growing up, he matured with us.
When we had to be up and moving every morning for middle and high school, he would cheerfully wake us up before our alarms with his jingling collar, panting, and really strange howling noise. He stopped playing so aggressively, but was still as present as ever. Hiking was always fun when he walked in front of us and scared people with his wolfish looks. He was always up for an adventure outside, or lying by our feet inside. I don’t know life without waking up to panting, having “dinner time” at 3pm, and making sure he got walked everyday.

Going to college was weird.
Each time I’d come home he’d be a little slower, skinnier, and a little more gray. But I was always excited to see him. Pictures of him peacefully sleeping gave me just enough motivation to finish classes and get back to Colorado. In many ways he was a symbol for everything I love about home: it’s consistency, love, and comfort. His deathly fear of thunderstorms and loud noises taught me patience and empathy. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve spent stuck in the basement or blasting the TV trying to comfort him. (We were pretty glad when he started to go deaf…) Over summers, his presence taught me the importance of humility and companionship. His presence minimized the attention placed on me when my brother was off somewhere and I was an only child. I’m not cut out to be an only child, and luckily, my parents treated Buddy like another (more important, more easygoing, less sassy, less financially draining) child. His presence was also reassuring when I was learning to be more independent than ever.

Even in his (mostly) silence, he was the social butterfly of our family. Dogs bring people happiness and dogs bring people together. Like most dogs, he showed me happiness, care, and LOVE. Tremendous love. He showed me values we can all use to relate to each other and carry on conversation regardless of the situation.

I’m struggling to write this because I don’t know how to explain everything. But yeah.

Our home may just be a house without Buddy.
It will lack the same warmth and black, furry friend we all know and love.
We have no one to say bye to when we leave to go out, and no one to welcome us enthusiastically when we get back.
I have no one to “force” me to go for a beautiful walk down the street or through the openspace.
No one to watch eat snow on the deck or get drenched in the rain.
No one to drool on my shoulder while riding up to the mountains.
No one to stay downstairs with me while I binge watch Netflix late into the night.
No one to eat scraps off the floor.
No one to successfully force into taking snapchats selfies with me.

I held hope (maybe a little too much hope) that he’d still be there when I return home in six days. But I guess my quivering jaw and awkward goodbye-but-hopefully-not-goodbye-forever at the end of July was needed.
There’s going to be a bit of a emptiness and change when I return.
Our selfless, cute-as-possible, physical embodiment of sweet happiness will be in dog heaven. I sure hope that place exists!
Otherwise I’ll probably go ahead and cry a little bit more…

Home, Lists

Summer is

But now that summer is over, I have been able to think about what I really loved most about my summer (6 weeks) at home.

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Summer is…

  • Driving- a privilege I did not have often at school.
  • Reuniting with the best friends and just being. No need to catch up because we’re in touch, the only need was to be together.
  • Seeing friends from high school and catching up so effortlessly. Vulnerability is no longer an issue when you’ve known someone since middle school.
  • Trying to learn how to golf (again).
    • An hour at the driving range followed by Sonic milkshakes (half price aftter 8pm) with my dad.
  • Taking pictures of the perfect Colorado sunset, even though I’ve seen it a million times.
  • Skiing at A-Basin in June, wearing a strange assortment of attire: Bikini top, snow pants, light sweater, camera, sunscreen etc.
  • Walking Buddy through the open space, and treasuring the time we have together. (so cheesy, I know)
  • Wishing Colorado had a real beach (reservoirs do not count).
  • Commuting to work somewhere that keeps me busy and shows me social justice in action.
  • Appreciating Denver more than ever.
  • Spending nights binge-watching reality TV or Netflix because homework doesn’t exist.
  • Snapchatting friends in California who I miss so much!
  • Biking the highline canal….. part of it anyways…
  • Walking near the Highlands Ranch mansion and loving it every time.
  • Post-softball barbeques at Redstone Park.
  • Grilling on the deck and eating outside.
  • Feeling love-induced FOMO from being away from school, but also, love from the comfort and simplicity of home.
  • Preparing for a semester abroad, a time like none other.
Home, Travel

to my Russian sister Anna

Anna surprise party

It’s been so cool getting to know someone from halfway around the world.
Your energy and excitement about everything new or different here in Colorado was captivating. Your love for Oreos reignited a lost childhood flame in me. Your confidence in taking selfies and asking people to take pictures of you is inspiring. Your cooking skills impress me. Your sweet nature and fun personality brought together our existing Colorado friend-family. I cannot believe you lasted a whole year here in Highlands Ranch. You have experienced NYC, Colorado’s finest, southern California, and a bus trip from Colorado to NorCal. I think you’ve seen all that you need to. You have seen some of the greatest parts of the US. You’ve met people who love you and you’ve found a second home half way around the globe. Now you’re back in Moscow, who knows what thoughts are flying through your head, but I’m glad you got to replace me for a while in the Zalkind household. I’m glad I got to celebrate and spend time with you. I’m glad that if I’m ever in Russia I know I’ll have someone to visit.

с Новым годом and thanks for teaching me the word сука 😉


College, Deep thoughts, Home

wisdom from the other night

sf we belong

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.