Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring is in the Air

As much as I enjoy winter, I’m done with it. We had the biggest blizzard in years (see my previous post), and it was the snowiest February in recorded Chicago history. I think we’ve all had enough, don’t you?

But don’t worry, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And yesterday, that light appeared—sunlight, that is.

It’s Friday afternoon, a liberating feeling. Earlier in the day, I was set on taking a nap as soon as I got home, but as I step off the bus, I find my mood instantly uplifted. Why? Because it’s sunny—and warm! I take my jacket off and just let my skin absorb the warmth, not convinced it’s real. I had forgotten how glorious it feels to have the sun shining on my face… I close my eyes and envision blissful moments of summer, so close now, it seems. As I open my eyes, I am pleased to see that this delightful weather is still here, not merely a dream. I glance around and notice a few green sprouts trying to break free of the winter soil, one of the first signs of spring.

Though today was cold and windy, yesterday’s brief glimpse at spring has given me hope that this excruciatingly long winter will soon be over. However, I have come to the realization that, without a long, cold winter, I wouldn’t appreciate the coming of spring as much; I wouldn’t be able to take in the sunshine or nature blooming everywhere, either. After all, spring is my favorite season!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blizzard 2011!

Who would have thought that the first days of February 2011 would bring one of the biggest blizzards in Chicago history? Certainly not me! Our parents remember the historic blizzard of ’67. There was one in ’99, too, but I’m sure most of us teenagers were too young to remember. So, to be part of this “snowmageddon” is exciting, to say the least.

I heard about how bad the snow was—it was all over the news—stranded drivers, power outages, etc. My mom and my neighbors shoveled our driveway for FOUR HOURS! (With some help from my sister and me.) This would be my driveway after all the snow was cleared:

This may not look like much, but it's actually about up to my shoulders...

However, I think the good outweighed the bad (mind you, this is coming from a teenager!). A snow day was declared before school got out on Tuesday afternoon—I can’t even remember the last time we even had one, let alone TWO! Before being plowed and shoveled, the snowy landscape looked so white, so serene. It was truly pleasant to look at. Then, my sister and I geared up and trekked through the snow in the backyard, where we had snowball fights and built a snowman with the plentiful snow! The snow was up to my knees, and I’m 5’7”, so that’s saying something… But that was just the initial layer—if I dug down more, the snow was even deeper. I found out the hard way… I jumped into the snow, and as I tried to push myself out, I just sunk deeper. And deeper. After a good two hours enjoying the weather, my sister and I went back inside and sipped some steaming hot chocolate, which is one of my favorite things about winter.

On the other hand, it was disappointing that we couldn’t go sledding because it was too dangerous to drive to the sledding hill. In any case, this blizzard will be an incredible event that I will never forget…

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

¿Costa Rica?

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but last summer I went to Greece, Italy, and France with this group called People to People. So, they invite me to go places every now and then, but I’m just thinking, “Nah, this isn’t going to happen. My parents won’t pay for another trip…” Which is true. However, this weekend I got another letter in the mail, and this one actually came with a brochure. Immediately I was intrigued. Then I saw that it was for Costa Rica! I was even more excited when I saw the pictures! Then I read what activities we would do, and my jaw DROPPED. I would: volunteer at an orphanage, stay with a Costa Rican family, explore the rain forest, swim in waterfalls, surf, white-water raft, and zip line!! Zip lining has been a dream of mine! I love nature, adventure, and traveling. I would even get a chance to use my Spanish! This sounds like THE most amazing trip!! Now if only I can earn some money….

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter Review

*Spoiler Alert if you haven’t seen “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” yet!*

I saw “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” yesterday, and I would like to give my opinion on it. First of all, I re-read the book right before seeing the movie, so the details were fresh in my mind. Having said that, there were some details that were omitted from the film, but they weren’t crucial to the story, which worked out well. However, the one part I felt should have been kept in the movie was Harry’s realization that since Voldemort was unaware of the Deathly Hallows, he unknowingly made a family ring (which happens to contain the Resurrection Stone) into a Horcrux, which Dumbldore destroyed, yet the Stone was still intact and hidden inside the Golden Snitch, which he gave to Harry. Obviously, this will be an important part of the second film, but they just didn’t put it in the first part of the movie, so it’s not vital that this fact was included in the first Part, but I still think it should have been.

Other than that, I thought the movie was amazing! The special effects were spectacular, too. This movie out of all the others in the series, in my opinion, was the funniest. The drama and emotions were great! I literally jumped out of my chair when Nagini popped out! And I almost cried when Dobby died at the end.

Overall, fantastic movie, and I highly recommend seeing it, especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan! I can’t WAIT until part 2 comes out this summer!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Unexpected Gratitude

My sister was supposed to come home from college on Friday. Little did my family know, we’d be seeing her a day early. Why? It turns out my sister broke her leg. How? She fell off a Razor scooter. Most people would assume that after falling off a tiny scooter, all you’d have is a scraped knee, right? Try again.

My sister broke her fibula (the outer bone in your lower leg that’s not your shin bone), a bone in her foot, and the ligament connecting the two. I saw the X-ray—it’s bad. The fibula is in two separate pieces. Having said that, she actually needs a wheelchair. And let me tell you, going to Costco on a crowded Saturday afternoon is a complete hazard for somebody in a wheelchair! She went to the doctor and found out that it’s worse than they originally thought. Now she’s going to have a cast for 10 weeks… Tomorrow she has her surgery to get metal plates and screws in her leg. She’s excused from all of her classes to stay at home this week as well.

4AM Saturday morning, my sister broke down crying, realizing that this is her life now; she can’t just get up and get a glass of water if she wants, when she wants it. She can barely do anything on her own. I help as much as I can, but I still feel terrible about this situation. I’ve never broken a bone (as often as I fall…) and this experience with my sister has made me realize how much I really don’t want to. I now realize what a luxury being able to walk anywhere is, something that I used to take for granted. You know what they say, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone…”

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Can You Spell S-T-R-E-S-S?

Saturday night I went to see our school’s play about a spelling bee. It might just be the funniest play I’ve ever seen! Though I had a great time, I couldn’t ignore that nagging feeling in the back of my mind… “I should really be home doing homework right now, rather than having a night out…” In truth, I spent all of Friday afternoon and night doing homework, as well as most of Saturday—I felt I deserved to go out for a two hours, otherwise I might drive myself crazy doing homework! Not to mention I spent most of today doing homework as well. I was so exhausted from all this homework that I had to take a nap, because it was getting to the point where I couldn’t focus on reading 30 pages of European history…. What had intended to be a simple one-hour nap turned into a two-hour one—I woke up in a panic, “Now there’s NO way I can get my homework done! I just wasted an extra hour that I should have been doing homework!” My family was supposed to go out to dinner at Olive Garden tonight, but I opted for a faster alternative because I didn’t have the time to spend much more than half an hour at dinner—I had to get back to, you guessed it: homework. Even now, I still have a lot of it left, after an entire weekend doing homework!

The quarter ends this week, so all my teachers are trying to get everything in. This week, I have a test or project in nearly every class! It’s really taking a toll on me, as I’m sure it is on my classmates, too. We high school students shouldn’t have to be so stressed all the time, after all it is the weekEND.  Shouldn’t we get a chance to just relax?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

I came home from school today, and what’s the first thing I did? I was thirsty, so I had a glass of water. Sometimes we all forget how important water is, because we Americans have such easy access to it and take it for granted. If you watch the news, most likely you will see a story about some third-world country that doesn’t have enough water, or their water isn’t suitable for drinking. Hearing about stories like that makes you think twice about how lucky we are.

Water is crucial to life on Earth. After all, our bodies are 65% water! Water was fundamental to the growth of civilization. Ever heard of the Fertile Crescent? Yeah, that’s basically where humans began agriculture and irrigating their plants with the use of none other than: water. Perhaps you don’t know about the Fertile Crescent… how about ancient Egypt? Life in the desert made possible by the Nile RIVER. Still looking for modern examples? Look at almost any capital city, and you’ll see that most of them are built around some body of water—Rome, the Tiber; London, the Thames; Paris, the Seine, just to name a few. Even here in Chicago, we have Lake Michigan!

So why are we Americans so fortunate, while much of the world lacks something so simple as water? That I do not know, but with advancing technology, we may be able to do something about this—maybe not today, but we WILL give everybody access to clean water.

I found this article after writing my post, and I think it’s interesting and relevant to my topic:

Feel free to write about this year’s Blog Action Day topic, water: