Friday, May 31, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Thirty-One

Oh, my goodness! Is May over already? Gosh that was a fun challange, and I only missed a few weekend days (I have a post written to make up for Days 25-27). So here we go with the last entry:

Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory

Conquering the Volcano

So in 2008 I had a wonderfully fantastic adventure when I studies abroad in Santiago, Chile. I even made my first blog about my travels and time there (although there are no entries for the last two months as I stopped making time for the internet cafe cause I was too busy having more adventures, whoops). Anyway the following is an edited version of a post there about climbing my first volcano: Volcán Villarica.
I planned on keeping busy the weekend after my parents left after visiting me, so I wouldn't just be thinking about how they had just left, so when an opportunity to travel to Pucón came up with two of my friends from Australia, Laura and Rowena (Ro), I was excited to go.
We took an overnight bus, a ten-hour ride, down to Pucón on Thursday night since it was a national holiday and none of us had classes on Friday. Also by taking the overnight bus we saved money by not having to pay for a hostel that night. We arrived Friday morning at about 9ish and made our way to Hospedaje Lucia where we were greeted by a very friendly Lucia and then walked a tour of the city and picnic lunched at the shores of Lake Villarica. 

Touring the City:
My new boyfriend!
Laura and Ro
With the view of a snow-capped Volcán Villarica in the distance it seemed like something out of a Disney movie, however climbing that volcano was anything but a ride at Disneyland...
We decided to book a package deal and saved money through the company Sierra Nevada for climbing the volcano on Saturday, the termas (hot springs) Saturday night, and white-water rafting the Rio Trancura Sunday afternoon.
Friday Night concluded with possibly the best falafel Chile has to offer in one of the few Middle Eastern themed restaurants in the country who serve actual Middle Eastern dishes. We also toured the small city and of course had to play on the playground. 
Laura and my Patito on the swings!
As we returned to the hospedaje to get ready for bed in order to prepare to the 6:00am morning, what is on the news but a volcanic explosion…
Down in Chaitén, a couple hundred miles away, a volcano erupted.  There were no fatalities but nevertheless, it’s not the news you want to see when you're planning on climbing up a volcanic summit the very next day.

Climbing the Volcano:
Starting off
Saturday started bright and early as we made our way to the shop to get our gear on and head to the volcano. 

The group was made up of the three of us, a guy from Australia, a couple from Ireland, and two guides. We drove near the base then started the long trek up the volcano through rock and snow. We got to wear crampons to walk better in the snow on the way up and after about 4 hours of walking filled out with 5 breaks or so we made it to the top.

Part of the group at the summit
Laura and Me at the summit!
There wasn't any boiling lava to see but there was plenty of sulfuric gas to breathe (and pathetically make *cough,cough* sounds) as we hiked around the volcanic crater. 

The view was EPIC and fantastic and I took about 50 pictures of a 360degree view at the top and made an AWESOME picture collage out of it that unfortunately got left when I moved out of my college apartment.

One of the most fun things about the trek down that made it even more fun was that we literally slid down snow/ice slides for part of the descent!

The Descent:
Butt-sliding is awesome and you should try it sometime
On the way down, in the snow-covered areas we strapped on a protective “diaper” of sorts then got to slide on our bums down the mountain; I learned quickly how to go fast but wasn't quite as talented at the whole stopping thing, I felt like that character in D2: The Mighty Ducks who could skate real fast but could never brake. At one point I almost ran off a small drop off & narrowly avoided another tour group. Oops!

Our group half-jokingly decided that if a movie were to be made about the hike up the volcano it would be called Volcán Villarica: Remember the Pain.

While meeting new friends (aka the people I almost tumbled into) at the termas while sprinting from pool to pool and water rafting the next morning on sore leg muscles but with boundless enthusiasm from our guide were fun, those are stories for a different post...

Volcán Villiarica: Remember the Pain 2008!

Thanks for traveling with me through my memories.

I hope some newer readers stick around for more Musical Mondays and Foto Fridays! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Thirty

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting Go

Letting Go.
It is scary, releasing my grip on something is counter-intuitive.
The fear of free-
giving up, giving in, given faith
Let go and let God?
But the need to be in control
the ugly beast of Pride gets in my way
blocks my path
Letting go can be the only cure to "ICD" (I Can Do it syndrome)
Letting go isn't always a good thing. It can be the cowards justification.
Letting go of something in order to not have to deal with it.
Letting go of someone in order not to have to deal with them.

Move on, 
Let go?
Let's Go Together.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Twenty-Nine

Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories.

So if you follow my blog at all, you know I LOVE music and while that does not make me unique in the human experience, I also LOVE sharing music and I use this blog to do so. This prompt was especially fun for me, and I can't wait to see what other people chose.

Here are my musically-linked memories:

Shadows on Stars: When It Builds
Summer 2012
Last summer was so bleeeeh. Studying for the bar took over my life and the knowledge that it was my last "real" summer but that I was spending it listening to 4 hours of daily lectures with 2-6 hours of outlines, test questions, and BarBri AMP (which I credit for my passing MBE score) really made it extra sad. We also lost power for over a week due to the derecho, and the humid hot Richmond summer with no A/C was
But there were friends to talk with, family to lean on, and music to get me through. I heard this song on KEXP's Music That Matters podcast and it became one of the songs that got me through especially boring or dry subjects. Now when I hear it, I can think about the positives of that summer, the biggest one being that I'll never have to tak ethe bar again!

Backstreet Boys: I Want It That Way
1999-2000, Dad in Korea

This song came out either right before or during the year my dad was stationed in Korea, and my older sister was a HUGE Backstreet Boys fan (like just about any girl her age). Somehow, the repetition on the radio, my sister's CD player boombox, and in the cultural lexicon made this our song. We would sing it over the phonelines to one another. Across the world and the 14 hour time difference, the whiney "Tell me whyyyeyyeyyeyyys" kept us connected. The best was that my dad didn't actually know the lyrics beyond that point that was really all the song became. I'm sure either of my sisters would say the same thing.

Eric Prydz: Call on Me
Prom 2005
My friends in high school had good taste in music. At least one of us would always find a song or artist right on the cusp of breaking out, or making it big into the mainstream. Collectively we were all about Avril, Shakira, Jack Johnson, and Taking Back Sunday the years before they got big. Someone knew about "Call on Me" in that same way and we played it ourselves leading up to prom and after multiple requests to the DJ, after the lights had come back on, and the students were leaving the dance hall, and the cleanup crew began to emerge, the DJ finally played it. From the hallway, our group (well at least the girls) all rushed back in to have our own dance party. It was one of those moments imprinted on my mind of youth, joy, and the impending goodbyes that followed.
Calle 13: Tocarte Toa
Studying Abroad in Santiago, Chile 2008
Now this might not be super obvious, you might say "Wait, wouldn't you choose an artist who was Chilean?" But this was the song that I made my Chilean friends teach me, that I would practice singing/rapping along to, that would get me off my rear and to the dance floor at the discoteca (not that it ever really took much for that to happen). While there are plenty of Explosions in the Sky songs that were the soundtracks to my busrides and travels around the county, I associate them with so many memories already. This song will take me back to asados with choripan (chorizo sausage in a bun), roncolas at the discotecas, empanadas on the walk to my friends apartments, getting strange looks from drivers as I may have been the only person jogging in the whole city, and socring golazos with the Catolica women's soccer team.

Old Crow Medicine Show: Wagon Wheel
Living in Richmond, VA (specifically 2008-2011)

I had a friend senior year in college who lived next door in the on campus apartments who would bring his iPod, hookah, and sometimes guitar or homework out to the front porch on a nice night and whoever was around would join and we'd sit around listening to his music and relax. Obviously since I'm mentioning this song, this was one that was played often, and especially towards the end of the Spring it became that song to remind me that it wouldn't last forever, and I'd have that weird feeling of nostagia for a moment I was already in (does that happen to anyone else??).
It was also the song to close out the bars every night (or at least whenever I actually had the energy to stay until last call). Especially the summer of 2011, when I lived down there through the summer, it seemed like any weekend night out where this ended the night was especially good, even though nothing special or out of the ordinary would happen.

Did any of these songs bring up memories for you? What songs take you back? Comment below and I'll check out your posts for today!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Twenty-Four

Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits

1. I'm Easily Distrac-
here's a picture of a flower!

2. I Sometimes Don't Follow Through/Finish Th-

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Twenty-Three

Day 23, Thursday: Things you've learned that school won't teach you

I've been in one school or another for the majority of my life (scary thing is, I've spent so many years in school, that I can say this until about 40). While there are definitely things I've learned in school that weren't lifted right from the texbook/lesson, like some social skills and some time management, there's plenty I learned that school had nothing to do with.

Sure, there was home ec. but I cant recall actually learning anything other than how to sew a felt bean-bag frog. Everything I learned in the kitchen is either self-taught or straight from my Mama!

Group projects teach you nothing about teamwork, they just reveal who is the least willing to fail and the most willing to work and everyone else who gloms onto that one person's work (although I have had some good group projects in the past, but inevitably theres always one person who's drive is way above everyone elses). Most everything about teamwork, leadership, and putting a greater goal above oneself I learned out on a field, court, pool somewhere. 

Church and missions and learning what Jesus taught about loving neighbors as yourself and selfless service is one of the most poignant, lasting and important lessons I continue to learn in this life.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Twenty-Two

Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbor or boss does that really ticks you off)

Hmm, I don't really like to use this space as one to put negative energy out there. Plus I'd like for all my readers to see me as a level-headed, kind, benevolent, fun person and not a Negative Nancy (or Negative Nessie, or Negative Nadine, why does Nancy get all the bad rap).
See, Nancy's friends are just as negative
But since the prompt calls for it, I guess I'll rant about_____________

Aw man, 

Now that I have to think about it I'm blanking....

And now, suddenly, I can think about 22 things (For Day 22) I want to rant about. And since I can't really rant about all of them without working myself up, looking waaay uptight, and putting a lot of negative energy into the blogosphere, here's a list of my rants for the day: 

  1. Texting while driving, 
  2. Not holding doors for people right behind you,
  3. General rudeness, 
  4. Improper grammar, 
  5. Internet trolls, 
  6. Cell-phones in restaurants, 
  7. Cell-phones in social situations, 
  8. Softball jerks who claim to have permits and kick kick-ballers off of fields they've been playing at for years, 
  9. Getting an assignment at work with only 12% of the details, 
  10. How humans are not made to sit for 8 hrs a day and inevitable repercussions of this, 
  11. The obesity "epidemic" in America, 
  12. ADD/ADHD over-diagnosis in America,
  13. Over medication in America and how when medication becomes about profit, big Pharm (did I spell that right) has too much control over what people put in their bodies,
  14. Preventative immunizations do NOT cause Autism, and that fact that people believe they do, so the current rise of Mumps and other 100% PREVENTABLE diseases in small children,
  15. American's dupability (ability to get duped to easily by the media), 
  16. The current state of "news" media in America,
  17. The fact that I saw a politically charged comment about the Oklahoma tornado this morning (gross and distasteful this soon after the tragedy),
  18. Most American's complete disregard for suffering in other countries, i.e. the fact that 30% of Syria's CIVILIAN POPULATION (read, nothing to do with conflict, think small children with limbs blown off) is displaced,
  19. That racism, jingoism, xenophobia still exists, even in my generation in the "educated" West,
  20. Most people's disregard for human rights standards of others (whether the homeless person down the street or the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar),
  21. That an objective observation of my life and my daily actions would probably put me in the above category,
  22. My own inability to be disciplined and focused most of the time.

So do any of these bug you as well? I'd love to hear in the comments below or via twitter: @itzbizr

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Twenty-One

Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

This is a fun one, prepare for a lot of music! Basically You can go back and see the different themed Musical Mondays in my archives if these son't tickle your fancy.

Favorite Musical Mondays:
Musical Monday: April's Showering Songs (April 2013) 
I submitted this blogpost to for their April theme of "curate" and it was hosted on their blog (i'm pretty sure you can find it in their archives)
Musical Monday: Best of 2012
A month by month guide to my favorite songs of last year.

Other Musical Posts:
Also, in my Finals Study Session series, the Last Semester Ever Edition, was a fun break from studying and gave me a good playlist 
"State of the Art" is an Understatement: Gotye and Kimbra in Concert (I was rather witty with the puns in the beginning of this one)
My Triple J Recaps for  The 2012 Hottest 100 and The 2011 Hottest 100

Favorite Foto Fridays:
(I haven't done too many of these so here's my first and favorite):
First Foto Friday: Cherry Lane Cherry Blossoms

Favorite Miscellaneous Posts:
My first (and only?) Recipe Post: Banana Bread With Wheat and Honey
A very meta post about blogging and vlogging and my Yoga Videos

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: Day Twenty

So this is basically Day Sixteen Revisited. I guess I didn't look ahead enough when I made that post because when I blogged about something I'm trying to overcome about my "lot in life" I ended up addressing today's post, which is:

Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

Basically, if you go to Day Sixteen, you can see what the biggest struggle in my life is right now. But just so that I don't cop out and only post a link today, I'll share another struggle of mine.

I make this face a lot too /=
A smaller struggle that I deal with is vocal nodules (yup that same thing that plagued Julie Andrews and gave us the Ashlee-Simpson-SNL-hoedown). Not big on the strugglometer, but big enough that it impacts me daily. Basically vocal nodules are callouses on vocal chords. Much like a runner, soccer player, or dancer will get callouses on their feet, someone who uses their voice a lot or is genetically predisposed (or both in may case) can get vocal nodules.

I've had vocal nodules since I was about seven. I went to speech therapy once a month in middle school and early high-school. But it felt like I was stealing the EIP attention that someone else needed more, plus the techniques weren't things I could apply to daily life and still feel like "me."

I am loud, I am exhuberant, I express my enthusiasm through songs, cheers and shouts! And then the next day I can't talk. It was especially rough playing college soccer where being vocal and communicating have to happen loudly to make it across the field to teammates (not to mention post-game parties on the weekends where the music makes shouting to be heard a necessity). It was a weekly cycle of silence come Monday and Tuesday to slowly gain my voice back to lose it again.

I was briefly "addicted" to mentholated cough-drops but am now on the softer stuff.
These babies got me through college!
However, I still LOVE to sing. Especially hymns and worship music in church. I mean, I do vibe some mad Florence, Fall Out Boy and Julia Stone in the car, but making a joyful noise to the Lord is why music exists. So when I can't, or can only hit about 5 notes (and those rather quietly), it's a bummer. I'm trying to practice/play guitar a but more, just so I can express my musical urges in a way that doesn't further damage my voice (although usually playing guitar ends in me pretending to be Taylor Swift so I'm not sure that's a good thing to unleash upon this world).