College, Photos, Places, Travel

from colorado to california via new blue

Random, Real Talk

hey i’m Rachel

(shout out to Brittany for wanting me to do this)
I’m a girl who’s learned not to take life so seriously, and instead, appreciate people and experiences. I understand 4.0s don’t mean much and stress kills you and people who are fake are easy to spot. I appreciate stupid humor and I’m always up for buying hilarious clothing for under $10. I’ve also learned to be one of those strong independent women types. But some boys are charming and I do vibe well with guys. I think it’s since I’m the only girl cousin on my dad’s side of the family and I’ve grown up with a twin brother! I can be creative when it comes to rhymes/lyrics/written words, doodles, handmade greeting cards, and “paintings”. People think since I’m 5’2 and have a baby face that I’m rather unintimidating. I kind of agree, but those who know me best know I can be quite the sassmaster. I only use that word because others have called me that though. I tend to be rather reserved while meeting people, but I have an inner actress that can be loud, lead tours, and not care what people think when I dance ridiculously or sing karaoke. Once you know me I have few limits with sass and weirdness! I also have this inner voice that makes me crave adventure and exploration. It really came into being while living the study abroad life. Since everyday things became an adventure. I think I use that word too much…… but regardless… I dream of hiking, driving all around California, watching sunsets, starry skies etc. I like seeking new things. And yet, I’ve got a soft spot for the littlest most comfortable things in life. Like best friends I’ve known since I was six, falling asleep while watching Netflix/movies, the Office, shopping with my mom, petting cute dogs, going for a drive, and being ridiculous with my brother. My taste in music and clothing cannot be categorized. I can appreciate everything besides country and heavy metal. I also wear everything from sweat pants to outfits that make people ask “why are you so dressed up.” I tend to not wear much makeup because I’m lazy, however, I have the skin of a 14 year old and dark circles that never disappear so… meh. Back to other stuff, I’m a bit of a daddy’s girl because of our senses of humor and adventurous go-do nature, but my mother is forever my inspiration. I’m the weirdest combination of introvert and extrovert and I tend to be rather happy and positive when it comes to emotions that people see from me. I don’t really tell my dramatic emotions and secrets to people too often. The closest thing I have to a blabbering mouth is a blog, journal, and a bff group message. I think this aspect helps me have all types of friends- I can appeal to the outgoing or the “different” types. I’m known as a nice person but I really hope to always be more selfless and giving.

Right now I’m at this weird place in life where I should stress about what I want to do with the rest of my life, but instead, I’m just enjoying relaxing, exploring and talking with friends. I want to find something to do that has a supportive, happy, passionate workplace, engaging work, and purpose. I’m not quite enough of a free spirit and social organizer to go the non-profit route, and I know I can’t make it in cutthroat corporate climbing madness. So we’ll see what happens.

I think that summarizes me for now. Um. Yeah. Cool.

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?


the creepiest night of my life

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.

Lists, Random

things to be grateful for

Considering it’s the 20th of November… the month of Thanksgiving… I really should be trying harder to think about everything I’m grateful for. I do try to notice little things in daily life. But I want to make a list to record what I’m thankful for too! One for each day of the month so far- here we go!

  1. Parents who support me and my brother in studying abroad, something quite costly and out of the norm.
  2. Friends from SCU who don’t forget about me and make me really really way too excited about going back to school.
  3. A dog that was a childhood companion and taught me so much.
  4. Friends from HOME that I can and will ALWAYS count on.
  5. Technology for making it way too easy to stay in touch.
  6. The fact that I have SO MUCH food to eat that I’m gaining weight instead of going hungry.
  7. People with patience who let me try to use Spanish even though I’m mostly clueless.
  8. Attending a university that values more than just academics.
  9. Being relatively healthy and free of major concerns (besides the fact I reeeally need to go to the gym).
  10. Cafe culture that has shown me the importance of conversation and connection.
  11. Tobasco, or any food with spice and major flavor.
  12. The Office, for making my days brighter.
  13. Study abroad friends who have been there during all the ups and downs.
  14. Nature! Oh how I love you.
  15. Inspirational quotes that aren’t the cheesiest and therefore actually relate to my life.
  16. Spotify- and music that fits every type of mood or day.
  17. Fresh flowers, comfy shoes, exact change, blue skies- simple pleasures
  18. Sass, sarcasm, and smiles that make the world go round.
  19. Creative people who inspire me and make life more colorful
  20. Dare I say… hugs? They make most things better. Unless they’re awkward. Awkward hugs are the worst.
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…