Well. It certainly has been a long time and it's certainly been a very eventful long time. I'll keep it all very brief. So, here goes.
- First things first. A month after my last post (which, if you recall, was just after the so-called "Snowmageddon") I took a beautiful trip to Europe through a school program. We went to Rome, Florence, Assisi, Milan, and Pisa in Italy, and stopped in Lucerne, Switzerland, on our way to Paris, France. If I could pick anywhere to live, it would definitely be Florence. What an amazing contrast between gorgeous history and urban life! I would retire to Assisi (but only if I was in really good shape), for its peaceful, almost unreal mountain atmosphere. It was like being in a movie. And if I was rich I would get a summer home in Switzerland. It was a beautiful trip, and if I didn't have a million other things to say I would tell all of the weird things I learned there.
- Second. After a relatively uneventful summer full of countless jigsaw puzzles and a 17th birthday, my parents and I went to San Francisco to ring in the school year. Among other things, I ate some Ghirardelli chocolate ice cream, got hit on by a trolley car operator, met a former inmate of Alcatraz, ate garlic, rode a roller coaster standing up, played a Steinway piano, went behind some "employees only" doors at the Winchester Mystery House, and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a lovely way to precede my last year of high school.
- On that note, I made it through a very long senior year. Somehow. I caught a pretty terrible case of Senioritis and it was all I could do to make it to school every day. Despite some frustrations, it did have some highlights. My last homecoming, a Victorian Ball (another History Club event that unfortunately didn't succeed last year), a musical, my first voluntarily attended football game, a very long banquet, some extremely strange items in my lunches (thanks, Mom), another excellent USO dance, my senior prom, a cruise with my class, Carboard gladiators, and the largest graduating class in the history of the county (maybe that's not necessarily a highlight...). We survived, and we're now alumni! On to bigger and better things.
- A couple days after graduation we took a very long road trip down to Florida to celebrate my grandfather's 85th birthday. It was wonderful to see the family, since occasions like this don't come often and we're all scattered across the country. On our way back we stopped in Charleston, South Carolina. Being the nerd that I am, I had to stop at Fort Sumter to see where the Civil War began. What a cool visit. Especially since this is the 150th anniversary. I also ate fried pickles. They were delicious.
- The week after that I had my freshman orientation at Temple University (Oh yeah, I forgot to metion that I'm going there!). Overall it was fun, and I met some cool people, including my roommate for next year, but it also consisted of a lot of presentations with some really redundant information. But what it really means is that I'm officially going to college!!!!!!!
- Oh, yeah, I'm an adult! My 18th birthday was about 2 weeks after we got back from Florida. I'm official! I had a little party with a few of my good friends and we played a game of Scene It (which I won...) and watched Beauty and the Beast. It was a good time. On my actual birthday I nerded out (again) and had a Johnny Depp fest, which consisted of 21 Jump Street, The Astronaut's Wife (which I had actually never heard of but which my friend gave me), Chocolat, and Benny & Joon (which is my all-time favorite movie). It was a wonderfully relaxing birthday. The next day we went out to dinner at the Russia House. It was delicious, as usual.
- Three days later I left to go on a mission trip to Ica, Peru, with the church that I play the piano for. We built a house for a family whose house was destroyed in an earthquake a few years ago. It was an amazing experience, and it was so rewarding to meet the family whose house we built and to see the appreciation in their faces. Also, I ate guinea pig. It was delicious. I learned so many things about Peru and ate a ton of new foods that I never thought I would eat (i.e., guinea pig, yuca, and passionfruit juice--okay, that's not food, but it was good). It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would never have passed up! Today is Peru's independence day, so a shout out to everyone there!!!
In keeping with my normal format, here are some good movies that I've seen in the past... well, year.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley- I already said this at the top, but this is seriously my one of my new favorite movies. I'm a really big Matt Damon fan (I mean, how could you not be?), and I like Jude Law and Cate Blanchett a lot, too. Besides that, it was a fantastic concept of self-acceptance and admiration gone horribly wrong. Watch it. Right now!
- The Fountain- This was a strange movie, starring Hugh Jackman and directed by Darren Aronofsky, who also directed Black Swan. I'm not sure I got it entirely, but it was a really interesting concept of life and the connectedness of past, present, and future. On a side note, Hugh Jackman should always have hair.
- M- If you can get your hands on this, I highly recommend it. It was the first-ever movie about a serial killer. It's an old German movie from the 30s, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre, both of whom became famous in America after escaping Germany (Peter Lorre was in Arsenic and Old Lace as Dr. Einstein, if you're familiar with that movie. If you're not, it's excellent). It was a really interesting movie to watch.
- Batman: The Movie- To lighten things up a little, I'll throw this one in there. This isn't the Batman that we know now. This is the movie version of the original Adam West Batman. Oh man, it's awesome. Complete with "Pow!"s and "Kablam!"s in fight scenes and countless strange catchphrases from Robin, this is definitely a must-see. You'll be laughing through the whole thing. "Robin, get the shark repellant!"
|Looking across the bay from Alcatraz|
|Class of 2011!!|
|The family with my grandfather in Florida|
|Our mission team in Peru, with the family|
and the construction team