Saturday, July 2

Reminiscing Over Wisconsin

I've been back from Wisconsin for a little over a week now, which has given me a lot of time to digest everything I learned for those few enriching days.

By the third or fourth day at the World Affairs Seminar, I had already lost track of the number of days that I had been there. But rest assured, it wasn't because they are dragged along; I was enjoying myself so much in the present that I never had the time to look back at the past days. Only wall posts from friends (mostly Nicole) counting down the days to my return home reminded me that my days with my fellow delegates had to end... And very abruptly at that.

It finally sank in somewhere around noon on our last full day of camp, when I looked up from my plate of (way too much of) the delicious lunch special. There was a visible change amongst the interactions with the campers: they were through with the awkward, reserved small talk you make with acquaintances and were finally voicing their opinions and exposing their genuine, unrepressed personalities.

In all honesty, the people - those beautifully unique people - were the best part of my entire trip.

Although the World Affairs Seminar declares itself to be a teacher of the facts about the world's issues to which the delegates take action on solving, that wasn't exactly the case. This year's topic, Sustainable Development, proved to be too much to take on. The lectures didn't coordinate (and in a few cases, contradicted entirely) and the group discussions trekked from one road-block to another. The seminar was far from empowering. Frankly, we were all overwhelmed. How was this group of 280 young adults supposed to be able to solve a world issue when endless tangential crises arose in a simple discussion of the problem? Well, World Affairs Seminar.... A for effort, right?

Though the educational aspect completely faltered, the social scene was glorious. A week later, and I'm still pestering my friends and family with recollections of late night pillow-flights and practically drunken fits of laughter with Swetha and my awesome roommate, Leigh; song after horrendously cheesy song on Karaoke with too many people to try naming; accents galore; completely sarcastic conversations that evolve into an analysis of, society; and, most frequently, the countless memories I collected with Julia, Jenna, Sydney, Hannah, and Alison. These five girls were singlehandedly the greatest things of the entire seminar. Four of the girls were from Connecticut, and after giving me the titles of 'Arizona' and the occasional 'Fedora', we formed the cleverly named 'Connecti-clique'... And we 'shocked' the World Affairs Seminar;)

Needless to say, the trip WAS absolutely amazing (pun). I'm so grateful to the Sun Lakes Rotary for sponsoring me!

Monday, June 20

Wisconsin is so green!

At 7 a.m. on Saturday, I boarded a plane with my 3 fellow Arizona representatives for the World Affairs Seminar with not an inkling of what to expect. After a day filled with multiple flights, an hour-long layover, countless naps interrupted by the captain telling useless information, sarcastic remarks amongst my travel group, and a switch in time-zone, I made it to Wisconsin.

I have to admit: Nathan (the other student from Hamilton) and I spent the bus ride from the airport to Carroll University where the Seminar took place talking primarily about the landscape. Wisconsin is an endless green horizon. The houses have no fences declaring the boundaries of their property, and the atmosphere is similar to that of Tennessee: warm and inviting.

Once at the University, we received name-tags, the room to our dorms, and a "bunch of free stuff" including a sad-looking postcard and a rain poncho... classy. I then wheeled my heavier-than-I-remember suitcase to my room for the week. It's not exactly the prettiest part of the campus with its beat-up wood furniture and plastic-coated mattress, but it's tolerable for the week. My Wisconsin-native roommate is fantastic, though. We've had hilarious discussions on the glorious accents of our delegates and the difference in our ways of life (her graduating class has less than one-hundred kids!).

The rest of the campus is absolutely beautiful! Hidden beneath the classical white-stone, church-esque buildings are state of the art classrooms with some very plushy swivel chairs. But, the best part of the seminar has to be the outrageously diverse population. This year, we have students from 18 different countries, and so far I've shared ice-cream with a Norwegian, sang karaoke with a South-Korean, watched Miss U.S.A. with an Austrian (that was an interesting conversation, to say the least...), learned the Party Rock shuffle with a girl from Grand Cayman, and played "Never Have I Ever" with a Brit. Everyone here has such amazing personalities and interesting stories that I'm starting to feel like I'm learning more just by talking to them than the actual lectures.

On a tangent, whenever I tell people that I'm from Arizona, the typical response is: "Wow! That's so cool! You don't have much of an accent for being from the South, though." I don't have the heart to tell them that we don't talk like Hicks in Chandler....

 So, it's now day three of the Seminar, and already caffeine isn't a sufficient replacement of lost hours of sleep. But doing a shameless rendition of the Black Eyed Peas classic "My Humps" in front of 75 people in Karaoke followed by talking about everything from cute things boyfriends say (Sorry Zach, I just had to join in!) to hilariously embarrassing stories over pizza with eight phenomenal girls at one in the morning was worth every yawn this afternoon.

There is so much more I want to say, but a thriving discussion on sustainable resources awaits me. I'll check in again as soon as I can! Hope you all are having a great summer.

Friday, June 17

It's the day before I leave for The World Affairs Seminar and....

I'm trying to suppress my vehement excitement into simple smiles.... but geez, it's hard!

This trip - despite the fact that I'm travelling with three (awesome) dudes - will be my first out-of-state trip where I'm not flying with or to see a family member. And that just adds to the excitement! This is my first opportunity to truly prove my self sufficiency and to show that my countless frequent flyer miles over the years have given me a sense of confidence in travelling and not just free flights.

Anyway, this blog will serve as my way of communication with the friends I'm leaving behind for the week.

Because a blog can say what the 160-character FaceBook status update cannot.... what's really on my mind.

Until tomorrow, I'm off to end my cycle of procrastination and start packing!

Tuesday, June 7

I've Learned That...

People will forget what you said,
and people will forget what you did, 

but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Because It's Summer

It's afternoons like this that let me absorb the beauty of summer: awoken at noon by the creases of light through my blinds, a phone with a handful of new messages professing my friends' boredom, no "to-do" lists in sight, absolute freedom to do whatever, whenever.

And trust me, I've been taking full advantage of that fact!

From having Taco Bell for breakfast more often than cereal
to starting a book about the String Theory
to driving with the windows down, blasting classical music
to obnoxiously dancing at grad parties
to making spontaneous plans
to buying the cutest mint-green beach cruiser
to ice-blocking for the first time (ouch!),

this has to be one of my favorite summers in a long time <3

Oh, the delights of YouTube surfing...

Miserably awake at 1 a.m., I sought after YouTube to serve as my brain's "midnight snack". After endless "Related Videos", one brought to this website. It's the coolest interactive site I've witnessed.

Prepare to be amazed after you click here.