Dogs

Dogs are a very big part of the American lifestyle. I have had a dog from the day I came home from the hospital. They are very loving and protective creatures. My current dog’s name is Jack. Jack is a yellow Labrador. We believe that he was the runt of the litter due to his very small size. We rescued him when he was only 5 weeks old. Puppies are not supposed to be available until they are 6 weeks due to nursing purposes. Someone had taken him from his mother, which is the only reason we got him. It is sad to think that little 5 week-old puppies, like Jack would not make it, if people did not rescue them.

Jack has the most humanistic qualities of all the dogs I have ever had. He sits on the steps, uses blankets and pillows, and even folds his arm up on the inn table when gazing out the window. My dad despises that last trait of his, so Jack tends to do it only when he is not around. Dogs are a forever-friend, as I like to say. They love you no matter what and never truly get upset with you. They are only a piece of your life, but you are their whole entire life. I am very glad I was raised around animals. I feel having pets teach responsibility, love, and respect towards species other than humans.

Baby Jack

Baby Jack

Washington D.C.

I have been wanting to visit my Uncle from D.C. since I was very little. I saw the movie, A Night at the Museum and have been intrigued by the capital ever since. There is so much history there. Washington D.C. tells the story of America. The good times and the bad times. It is fascinating that everything we know today was established and created there. All of the great American people we learn about in our history books have a connection to this one single place. Most of our presidents have stepped foot in this area, which was really interesting to me.

After talking to my Aunt and Uncle, we agreed upon a time that would be best for both of us to make this visit happen. They live in Falls Church, which is about twenty minutes from the capital. I came to find out that D.C. is a lot like Chicago in a way that most people do not truly live in D.C. They live on the outskirts of the land. Because I was traveling by myself, I had to fly as I do not think that I would be able to drive 13 hours straight alone.

Once the date arrived, I headed off to the airport with my dad who dropped me off. I was so excited to get on the plane and go. I had taken all of my exams early and completed most of my homework, so that I could arrive to the airport on time and only have to study while there. Unfortunately, this is not how it worked out. My plane was delayed a total of 5 times. I have never had this problem occur in my life. I do not fly often so that could be part of the reason. It delayed once at the gate, once when we boarded, twice on the runway, and once in the air. They told us that they may have to drop us off at an airport in Kentucky for the night due to inclement weather. After circling in the air for 45 minutes, they decided we can continue on our journey.

Finally, we landed and I met up with my Uncle, who was waiting patiently at the luggage claim. He had a busy trip planned for me. He works closely with various congressmen. I got to meet John Lewis. This was really surreal to me because I read about him in my high school history books. A portion on my exam was focused on him.

John Lewis is an amazing person and is the last living member of the “Big Six” during the Civil Rights Movement. He spoke with Dr. Martin Luther King during their meetings. He gave me a tour of his office and  explained different pictures. He has some of him getting beaten. He went on to say that it can be hard looking at them as it is like he is reliving those moments. I cannot imagine what that would feel like. He is a hero and a role model to all. He is the living, breathing example of the concept of accomplishing anything you put your mind to. He is a very kind and incredible man. This was only a part of the day spent in D.C. It was an amazing trip and I made memories that will stay with me forever. I am thankful that I was able to go and for my uncle graciously introducing me to many influential people.IMG_8292

 

Quality Family Time

Family is something that is extremely important to me. I am involved in many things, so I am always on the run. During the week, I do not get to spend a lot of time with them because our schedules are very conflicting. This year my sister will be going away to college, so the remainder of the summer is the last bit of free time I will be able to spend with her for a while. She is pursuing a demanding major just as I am, so I know we will both be busy. A couple of weekends ago, my parents decided to plan a weekend trip to Bass River. The Bass River is a river in Steelville, MO. We usually go every year. Even though this trip was just a couple of days due to all of our schedules, it was a great time.

We spent the days floating, catching some rays, and having a good time. The nights were spent outside the camper by a campfire socializing, playing games, and telling stories. We went with a couple of other families, which made the trip even more fun. It was so nice to get away from the real world for a while. There was no cell phone service so even if we wanted to use the phone we were unable to. I felt that this was a good aspect of the trip. My dad is constantly getting calls from work, so he was even at ease from the lack of service. My dad and his best friend grilled vegetables, chicken, and steak by the river. While this was taking place, the rest of us enjoyed some cold beverages on the lovely 90 degree day. We brought a device called a jam box. This is a loud-speaker that worked through bluetooth, so we were able to play music all day. This quickly turned into a dance part that other campers took part in as well.

The view of the river was beautiful. I loved how clean the water was. I also loved the fact that it was possible to see through my feet through the river water. Bass River is like no river around St. Louis. It looked nothing like the muddy, unpredictable Mississippi River. We could sit in the water with chairs and relax. There was no stress of any sort during the trip and everyone was happy. This is probably my favorite part about camping because it forces interaction between people whether they like it or not. The people who are also camping are usually very friendly as well. I think this is because everyone is free of work, technology, and reminders of things that they need to do. I feel, everyone gets so caught up in their own lives that they forget to look around and acknowledge or spend time with the people who matter most. We assume that those people will always be there and other things are more important. In reality, we do not know how long people will be around, so it is important to live in the moment at times and to never take for granted what blessings surround us. I had a great weekend spending quality time with my family and close friends.

Bass River Resort, Steelville, MO

Bass River Resort, Steelville, MO

Chicago for the First Time

When traveling, locals tend to ask where the visitors are from. My answer has always been “Illinois” and their response has always been “Oh, so your from Chicago?”. To be truthful, I have never been to Chicago until a couple of weeks ago. I have a very good friend, who lives there. I thought that this was the perfect reason to go and I had a place to stay.

The bean was the first thing that I wanted to see. I wanted to take the classic picture of the reflection on the bean! My friends and I walked around all afternoon just admiring the beautiful buildings and the city life. We walked to the Navy Pier. It was beautiful. There were people outside everywhere playing music and truly enjoying life. There was a band and people were dancing. We decided to join in the fun and take advantage of the gorgeous weather. After walking all day, we got hungry. I have always heard great things about Chicago pizza, so that was what we decided to eat. We ordered a deep-dish pizza and it was delicious. Later that night, we relaxed at home and caught up on what we had missed since school ended.

The next morning, we got up and went on a run. After the run, we ate breakfast and had plans to go straight to the beach. These plans were postponed by the rain. While waiting for the rain to stop we decided to go to the Magnificent Mile. It was neat to see all of the stores, which would typically be in a stuffy mall, out in the open.

Finally, the rain stopped and we could go to the beach. We spent the whole entire day there.  So many people were at the beach that day. When we got there, we were invited to join a sand volleyball game. I  am not the best at volleyball, but my teammates did not care. They were only interested in having a good time and taking advantage of another day of nice weather. Later that night we went out in the city. We walked around and explored many of the small businesses.  One being, a frozen yogurt store. I got a raspberry sorbet with chocolate chips on top. This was the perfect way to end the night.

On the way home, all I could think about was how different Chicago was to where I live. People in Chicago take trains everywhere. Paying for parking in Chicago is outrageous so it is not a mystery as to why the trains are in high demand. The people in Chicago, when to compared to the people from my hometown, seem to constantly be in a rush. I also noticed the people who were on the beach were dramatically more friendly than people who were in the actual city. All in all, my first experience traveling to Chicago was good. I am not sure that I could ever live there, but I do think it is a fun place to visit.

The Typical Bean Selfie

The Typical Bean Selfie

 

Cardinal’s Game

Cardinals VS Pirates Game

Cardinals VS Pirates Game

Tonight, I went to the Cardinals game. Prior to the game, the weather was awful. There were tornado sirens going off in the neighboring towns to where I live. I thought that we were not going to be able to attend the game due to inclement weather. This was going to be a major disappointment as we had seats that were in section 151, which is very close to the field. We went to the game with another family, which one of members had won the fight against breast cancer five years ago. Lori’s courageous battle made tonight’s game even more significant as part of the proceeds went to the Susan G. Komen organization.

Before entering the stadium, we all went to Ball Park Village and we ate at Joe Bucks restaurant. It was my first time eating at Joe Bucks and I thought it was very good. The atmosphere in St. Louis, on the evening of a sporting event, is an experience. The people, of the St. Louis area, truly love their sports teams. Tonight’s game was against the Pittsburg Pirates. After several rain delays, the Cardinals won with a final score of 2 to 0. Regardless of the win or loss, it was quality family time benefiting a great cause, which is always important.