[2014]

This year is the one for the record. With everything that happened, even the bad, it was the best year of my life. I crossed things off my bucket list and met some of the most amazing people in the world.

The year began with my semester in Australia. Words cannot describe all that I learned from my semester abroad. I learned about friendship and life and the beauty of the world. I learned to surf and I scuba dove the great barrier reef and hiked a mountain in Tasmania. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about colors and the environment.

This was the first ever “wave” that I caught. I had the most amazing time living on the beach (basically) and slowing my life down. Every night, my best friends and I would walk the beach for a while before heading up to the boardwalk to get home. I remember having some deep discussions that allowed my love for the girls (or whomever I was walking with) to grow. I cherish the memory of these evening walks and the comfort that they brought my in my time abroad.

DSC_1497IMG_1223I held a koala at a wildlife sanctuary. It was an amazing experience to visit the wildlife sanctuary with my host mom. She is seriously the most amazing person I met in Australia and I cannot wait to visit again and see her. I held a koala and played with some kangaroos. The most amazing thing happened while we were with the kangaroos: there was a joey moving around in his mothers pouch and sticking his head out. He then stretched his arms out and laid them on the ground. He worked hard to get his little body out of the warmth and protection of his mama. The zoo keepers told us (the crowd around the joey) that it was his first time out of the pouch and walking! I will never forget the beauty of the moment.

IMG_0724I stuck my toes in the southern ocean with a girl who has become one of my best friends. On this day we took an eco river cruise in an incredibly beautiful landscape. When we got to the mouth of the river, we jumped off of the boat to eat lunch on the beach of the southern ocean. A few people braved the cold and actually took a swim in the ocean, but Er and I decided that it would suit us to stick our feet in rather than our entire bodies. There is a whole bunch of pictures that our friend took of us running into the ocean together.

IMG_0108_2I spent the semester traveling with amazing friends. These people were by my side up and down the east coast of Australia. We quickly became a family and I would only have spent the semester with these people. We learned to surf, climbed a mountain, and braved a couple of exams together. Sea kayaking was an amazing way to end the semester and see our home from a different angle.

DSCF3666Nemo and I become best buds at the bottom of the ocean. Scuba diving was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It is so calming and incredible to be underwater, in the quiet exploring. I was able to feed a sea turtle and get up close and personal with a fish cleaning his anemone. The pictures I have are an amazing documentation of my journey with the sea.

265Things were amazing at home too. I had the most rewarding summer job at a day camp and I spent some awesome time in the city with the boy. We went to a Cubs game (the boy’s first). And we only missed the beer in an authentic experience.

IMG_1542And we moved out of my only childhood home into something smaller and better for the future. It is a step in the right direction and an amazing environment to be living in while I am home.

I headed back to school for my senior year and I am rooming with the bestie again. From start to finish she has been by my side. She has been my best friend since the beginning of college and I cannot imagine my life without her. I am so lucky to have the friendship that I have. And I cannot wait for the future (especially spring break 2o15)!

IMG_1991The semester brought more new friends and some super cute halloween costumes. Halloween was an adventure spent in the city with an amazing girl by my side, keeping me on my toes. This girl was playing pool while the boy and I watched the situation unfold. Os is such an amazing friend and I am so sad to see her leave our house at school, but excited for what this semester will bring for her in DC!

IMG_2052We rolled in the new year at Comedy Sportz Chicago with some good friends and laughs. I cannot wait for 2015 to top the amazing year that 2014 was.

Kiki

Making Things

This semester I have taken on a sculpture class. I didn’t think I would like it, nor did I think that I would be able to come up with ideas for the projects. Boy was I wrong. The class is awesome and I have seen some cool stuff come out of it. I always thought I would be a 2d girl based on my photography, and though I don’t think I will go anywhere with sculpture, it is a fun thing to do right now.

Our first project was to build a giant head – it had to be as tall as we were and be made completely out of cardboard, staples, and glue. I didn’t quite finish mine due to circumstances that involved me standing up into the freezer (oops). It is supposed to have strips of cardboard all the way up, not just on the bottom half and there is supposed to be more hair and a bow to hold back the bangs. I wish I could have finished, but oh well. I’m still happy with what I came up with.

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The project we just finished had to be based on a poem and it had to be wearable. At first I thought of making a maxi skirt, but I wasn’t very excited about it so I rethought the entire thing. The poem I used was Psalm 8:3-4: 3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? I wanted to make this using some recycled objects as well and I was fascinated with the shape of spoons. I cut the handles off of three so I could stamp the poem into them. I played with the words heavens and human beings. I tried to make the project look celestial and draw it back to people I know. I did this by using the chrome in the spoons and black, purple, blue, and chrome beads. I also put black and white pictures I have taken on each of the 5 spoons used in the back and painted galaxies on the remainder of those spoons. This past weekend, I had my house mate pose for me so that I could take some pictures of the project to share.

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Right now I am working on making a paper mache tree and adding real leaves with sustainability quotes on them. The viewer will be encouraged to touch the leaves to read the quote and over time this will cause the leaves to crumble reflecting human’s effect on nature.

Kiki

Halloween

Halloween still exists for those of us in our young 20’s, it just takes a different form (though sometimes we wish we could trick-or-treat from bar to bar). I had such a great time this year despite the cold weather and missed connections with my sisters. My housemate, O, came with me to Chicago to celebrate and go out with my boy.

I did some awesome duct tape crafts to make some accessories for my costume and the boy’s. The boy got a bull whip to complete his amazing Indiana Jones costume (really, it was the best). To make his bull whip I just covered a cardboard roll in brown duct tape and then made some REALLY long strands of tape by folding it in half. Then, I just braided the strands together half way between loose and tight so it would be able to move. I also scrunched it up while I was braiding to make the flat pieces have more texture.

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For myself I made a bow and arrows. I might have stolen a chunk of a bush from on campus to make them. I just tore apart an old Hope lunch bag for the string. I put it all together and made the arrow heads with the duct tape as well. I also added some leaves I had stripped from the branches to add some detail to the arrows. To make the quiver I just used another cardboard roll and a folded over strand of duct tape. I was super excited with how it all turned out!

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To make sure the hair would work we did a trial run the night before. It was great to sit in a house watching TV with all of the girls I live with and work on our halloween costumes. Last minute seems to be the college way of life. : )

For us girls, getting ready was half the fun, though the boy thought it was entertaining to watch us… We had to put hair extensions in my hair to make my Katniss costume come to life and O did some awesome makeup to create the cutest deer.

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This was my first experience going out for halloween, and though it was super crowded everywhere (and we tried to get a cab for like half an hour to go home) it was a ton of fun for all of us. We finished out the weekend by watching a bunch of scary movies and some walking dead. Oh man, am I addicted to scary movies and walking dead. It might be a problem…

I hope your halloween was as awesome as mine!

Kiki

ps. sorry for the potato quality pictures : (

The Paper Writing Process

Over my many years of schooling I have learned the process of writing a good paper. It requires thinking, planning, doing, and changing.

Oh, thinking! This is a big part of life. Or at least it is a big part of my life. My mom says my brain goes a hundred miles and hour and I say that my brain moves faster than the rest of me. This is where it all begins. In my life, this means plans, creative processes, everything. I mean EVERYTHING.

Planning. This is also where I get caught. Planning is easy. It is easy to plan for everything: life, grad school, work, etc. Sometimes, maybe even oftentimes, I get caught up in the planning. I like planning. I like speculating and dreaming.

Doing: this is where things start to get scary for me. There is opportunity to screw up in the part of life, thank the perfectionist in me for seeing all of these opportunities. But somehow I get through each day, and what has happened has happened and it will all be ok because I have done my best.

Glorious Change! I am so lucky to live in a world where many things can be forgiven and changed. This makes the doing so much easier. Sometimes I mess up but I get a new chance tomorrow!

Kiki

Shenanigans

Things hit the ground running last Tuesday. School. School. School.

Last year I was here:

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and here:

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But now I am back here:

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and absolutely loving it while freaking out about my senior year at Hope. Sitting in class rather than hanging out with kids or hiking up a small mountain is certainly a change though. But, living with my bestie and having my guy come visit this past weekend has made it all worth it! Here’s to my last year of undergrad!

Kiki

My Last “Summer”

Hello friends.

I am 2 weeks away from my senior year of undergrad. This summer I have worked and hung out in my home city of Chicago. I am sad to leave it for the school year, but I know I will be back often to see a certain few people.

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I had an amazing summer working at camp and hanging out with kids all day. It really solidified in my mind what I want to do for a living. I am so lucky to have met the kids I met and have gotten to know them in a way that only happens at camp.

I worked at the climbing wall for the summer. I loved watching the kids do things that they were afraid of previously. The smile on a child’s face when he came down from climbing a wall was always worth all of the effort.

Also on my ADD mind right now is whether to get a nose ring… Here is a picture with a sticker for reference:

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So please let me know what you think! Thanks!

Kiki

Back in the US of A

So I have been home for a week now, and it is interesting to be back.
I have had a crazy week juggling jet lag, camp work, nannying, and family of course!
I feel like I am finally getting on a schedule for being home and starting to see all of my friends that I missed over the semester.
The projects of the past week have been working on getting my CDL bus driver permit. I’ve had to study, go to camp, take a state run class, and get my permit. But, I have achieved that all, so tomorrow I get to start learning to drive the bus. Wish me luck!
My roommate at Hope and I have been adjusting our schedules so we can have some classes together. It is crazy to think that I will be back at Hope in a few short months! Here is what I am thinking at this point:
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I have been greatful to keep up with all of the friends I made in Australia and see the reactions of friends and family when I give them gifts! It makes it all worth it and I am so glad to have been able to live in Australia, especially looking back at all the amazing memories I have!
-kiki.