{NEW VIDEO} SARAH AND I GET CULTURED

Dear Reader,

Great things are happening!!! Sarah and I have now completed 5 out of the 30 items on the bucket list. We have plans to finish a lot of the others within the next two weeks. AND I already finished editing the vlog of us going to the Toledo Museum of Art and writing on the Before I Die wall!

I still have to finish editing/upload the video of what we did in camera and the one about what the psychic told me, but I really think I’m getting better at making videos! (You can be the judge of that though.)

Anyway, it’s Sunday morning, I’ve got the whole day/week ahead of me, and things are looking good.

Sincerely,

Sammy

[SBL2K16] #12. WATCH THE SUNRISE

Dear Reader,

I realized that I never actually gave you guys the finished list of what Sarah and I expect to complete this summer, so you can find that here.

#12 on that list is to find the best place in our hometown to watch the sunrise/sunset. We had this place in mind called “420 park,” but it was pretty disappointing to say the least. First of all, it’s not a park. It’s just a little clearing that’s sort of out of the way, so I’m sure it’s perfect for high schoolers to come and smoke weed. It’s not quite ideal for the sunrise.

Still, we woke up a little after five and drove to it and recorded some stuff, so I figured I’d at least edit it into a video. Besides, Sarah got a sweet timelapse of the sunrise (it’s better on her twitter because she puts it to the song “Catch & Release,” so check that out here if you’re interested.)

I’m just currently a little frustrated because I have this nice camera that I’m a little too incompetent to use and I’m spoiled at school with Adobe Premiere Pro, so being at home with nothing but iMovie (and my sister’s laptop because mine is lame) is annoying. It’s easy to use and everything, I just want it to look nice. I want to upload high quality shit, ya feel?

Anyway, no one started out as an expert, right? And the best way to learn is by doing, right? These are the mantras I repeat to myself on a daily basis.

So here’s the final product, if you care to watch.

Of course, none of this matters. Because at the end of the day, Sarah and I had a great time going to the “park” and having a nice conversation while we watched the rising sun on a blanket near the river.

I’m loving life, I’m loving summer, and I’m sorry I can’t better capture that for you, but I’m also glad I have the perspective to love where I’m at in my life right now.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{NEW VIDEO} SUMMER BUCKET LIST

Dear Reader,

I am SO behind with everything. Because of my summer class, I haven’t really had the time to relax and get organized, like I planned on doing, but I’ll officially be done with it after today which means I can get back to my life!

In other words, I can get back to sharing my life.

I can get back to blogging.

But I have a lot of projects in the works right now. I got back from Cuba a week ago and I have a ton of footage to edit and stories to tell and pieces to write, but I also have other ideas for this summer.

Sarah and I are doing a bucket list (we made this video like three weeks ago and I uploaded it last week so sorry for the tardiness) this summer and I think I’m going to get back to writing book reviews (I’ve finished Yes PleaseChina Rich Girlfriend, and The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy recently).

Also Sarah really wants me to write another “If We Were Having Coffee” posts. She hardly ever reads my blog but she loves the ones I write like that for some reason so I’ll probably do one soon.

Anyway, I have a ton to do before my class is officially over, so I’ve got to get back to work, but yay for it being finally summer!

Sincerely,

Sammy

MY 2015 BUCKET LIST RECAP

Dear Reader,

At the beginning of 2015, I started a bucket list in the hopes that at the end of the year, I would be somewhat more talented, worldly, or just have done more stuff, I guess. Although I didn’t get to complete everything on the list (when do I ever, really?) I did do a lot this year that I’m proud of. So I thought I’d make this recap.

In 2015 I…

  • became an Aunt

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  • rushed (and joined) a sorority

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  • went somewhere new (Gatlingburg, TN)

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  • watched 50 new movies
  • made a jar for memories (and gave it to Sarah)

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  • was more confident in a bathing suit than I have been, but we’re still working on it
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  • wrote at least 3 letters to 23-year-old Sammy
  • ran a 5k (and took HORRIBLE pictures but I’ll post them here anyway)

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  • finished my daily sudoku puzzles (from 2014)
  • went to a concert (Ed Sheeran!!)
  • watched the sunrise

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  • learned how to use chopsticks
  • joined a new club (lol yay CLT!)
  • explored interesting buildings on campus that I’ve never seen before

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  • wrote a letter

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  • took a hot bath/had a spa day (this is the most scandalous pic I’ve ever taken)

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  • learned how to tap dance (more or less)
  • started a YouTube channel

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  • took a road trip with Sarah!

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  • used the ouija board for the first time in years (I’m planning on telling that story on here eventually)

and the last thing on my bucket list was:

  • be someone’s inspiration for 2016–I don’t know if I actually did that one but it was a good one to keep on here nonetheless

 

So here’s to 2015, and here’s to the new year! If you feel inclined, I would love to know what some of your highlights of the year were in the comments! Also, leave any suggestions for a 2016 bucket list–Sarah agreed to join me this year and we have some big things planned. 🙂

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK THIRTEEN: NINETEEN MINUTES

Dear Reader,

This book took FOREVER to finish. Yeah it’s almost 500 pages and it’s not always the most action-packed reading, but it’s more than that. It’s a lot different than the books I normally blow through. I mean, if you look at my most recent books, I’ve read about happiness and road trips and memoirs of people living out their dreams.

This book is about a school shooting.

I’m not going to give away more than that, but I’m going to be honest. It was hard for me to get through. If I read it before bed, I’d often dream about guns and violence or sometimes not be able to sleep (this was during my second semester of college, as well). And then I wasn’t particularly eager to make time in my day to read it, but I did want to finish it. Mostly because my sister said she read it and it “messed her up,” but she still highly recommended it.

And I’m glad I finished it. It was a really good story, and the first book of Jodi Picoult’s I read–and I’ll definitely read more. She’s an amazing writer, but all of her books are about such heavy topics. Still, they’re worth it to read. They make you think and figure out more about yourself, as you notice your own reactions and feelings towards these characters and their story.

Most importantly, though, it made me think about how I’m going to be when I’m a teacher. This shooting was done by someone on the inside–a kid who had obviously been struggling. And as someone who’s going into education, I’ve learned about school shootings, and I’ve been taught how to prepare and how to act not “if” it happens, but “when.” That’s how teachers these days must be taught, because school shootings seem to be happening more often these days.

And I know it’ll be my job to teach students about “The Great Gatsby” and prepare them for the ACT, but a bigger, debatably more important, part of my job will be to be there for the students. Every one of them. In the best way that I can.

And I’m determined to learn how to do that to the best of my ability.

So. This book. I say 5 stars, and I say take the time to read it. Make the effort, because it’s worth it.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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{ESC} BOOK ELEVEN: AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES

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Dear Reader,

On Friday night, my sister and I decided to see Paper Towns. I read this book last summer, loved it, and was ecstatic when I found out that they were turning it into a movie. And I am glad to report that it did not disappoint, and might be my favorite movie of the summer so far.

After it ended, we headed down the street to our local Books-a-Million, where I dropped $78 on books and road maps (I was very influenced by this movie). But one of the books I picked up was another John Green book, An Abundance of Katherines. I had no idea what it was about, but I like John Green, and I own all of his other books, and it was $10. So I bought it and read it within 12 hours. And here’s what I thought.

First of all, it’s a very weird premise. This child prodigy has been dumped by 19 Katherines, and, in fact, has never dated anyone by another name. Bizarre, right? And I really don’t want to spoil it (though there’s not much to spoil), so I won’t say much else about the actual plot. But I will say that the characters were very interesting and it was very informative. I feel like I know a lot more random facts that I found interesting (even if the supporting character, Hassan did not).

But here’s the thing: it’s a John Green novel. So, if you like stories that follow the same formula as Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, you’ll like this one. There’s a boy who really doesn’t do much. He’s not necessarily opposed to adventures–I mean, he’ll certainly follow the main female character into one without question–but he’s just used to staying home. And then he falls in love with this quirky, interesting, intelligent, beautiful girl.

That’s really all I can say without giving away the ending, but if you asked me if I would recommend it, I still probably would. It has tons of overlaps with his other stuff (the above formula, discussion about oblivion like in The Fault in Our Stars, characters obsessed with road trips), but there were still some interesting differences from AAOK that I enjoyed. I especially liked the last bit about the stories we tell and how they can impact people.

So, I’ll give it 3 stars, and probably won’t be dying to read it again any time soon, but it certainly wasn’t a waste of time. Parts of this story will definitely stick with me.

Sincerely,

Sammy

 

MY WEEK IN HILTON HEAD

Dear Reader,

When I was younger, my family used to take a trip to Hilton Head about every other summer, but somewhere along the way the tradition died. So this year, we decided to bring it back, and it turned out to be one of my favorite weeks I’ve had this year.

This is that week.

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It all began with two days spent in the car, which Sarah documented with ugly selfies of us for her snap chat story.

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Then we showed up to the condo and met up with the rest of our family. It consisted of my parents, my grandparents, my aunt Susie, her son Mac and his girlfriend Ashley, and then my sister, Caitlin, my brother-in-law, Zac, and their baby, Molly.

Molly sort of stole the show for the whole week, but can you blame her?

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And all in all, it was a very relaxing week. We got henna tattooes.

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We found an “Island Bagel & Deli,” where we rode our bikes to one morning.

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We had family jam sessions where Mac would play the chords to songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Hey Jude, and American Pie, and the rest of us would attempt to sing along.

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We went to the beach, which I found out that I hate, but took pretty pictures nonetheless.

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And there was an awesome rainbow one day!

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We sort of recreated a picture from our childhood (sorry I don’t have the original).

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And we continued to take ugly selfies.

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But then our seven days on the island came to an end, so we said our goodbyes, took our last pictures with Molly,

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and headed back to Ohio, all promising that this is the start of a new family tradition, and we will return.

Sincerely,

Sammy

 

MY TEN-MINUTE CONVERSATION WITH EDIE

Dear Reader,

I have a 2015 bucket list, and I find that the thing I have to explain most is talk to strangers.

And it is kind of a weird thing to put on a bucket list, mostly because people don’t really understand the benefit that it could bring. But I firmly believe that every person you meet can teach you something, and if you don’t engage anyone, you might be missing out on those lessons. You might miss out on stories and experiences that can come from what might seem to just be small talk.

So that’s where Edie comes in.

My last day in Hilton Head was Friday, and it started out pretty bad. Really bad, actually. I was pissed off for a hundred different reasons, and just ended up being really grumpy all morning. And the day before, Sarah and I had gotten henna tattoos. But then we went swimming and took showers, and they were now really faded. We decided we’d go back and see if they could just be touched up, but after my awful morning, I didn’t see this happening. But my aunt wanted to go back to those shops anyway, and we did spend $40 combined for these things, so I got roped into going.

So we walk up to the kiosk and explain that we came yesterday, and showed how faded they were, and without hesitation this young girl behind the counter, Edie, offered to quickly go over them again. No charge. No need to validate that we were really here yesterday. She was just kind enough (and probably bored enough–it was really dead at 4pm on a Friday) to offer without question.

And the four of us started talking–just small talk at first. She told us how this was the calm before the storm, and how she loved this summer job and had lived on the island her whole life. And then she started telling us about her family. She’s the only girl out of all of her cousins, and the rest of her family is from Georgia. She was telling us how southern proper they are, and especially her grandparents. Then she explained this tradition she has.

Each summer, the kids are forced to go to “Manners Camp” at her grandparents’s lake house. They can bring two friends each, but they have to go to the hour sessions each night. And it kind of ages with them. They’re first taught please and thank you, and then to always hold doors open and then maybe how dinner places are set and the proper etiquette to use.

Well my aunt loved this idea–especially since it really related to some of the different conversations we had throughout the week. We talked about how we wish we had some big traditions in our culture, and how the girls that my sister babysits are brats and make her say she’s never having kids. And it’s true that kids these days maybe don’t seem to have the same manners that seemed to be pounded into our heads when we were younger, and that’s kind of sad. Even kids my own age seem to be so rude and disrespectful sometimes, and I hate that.

So right there, my aunt vowed that she is going to do this herself when she’s a grandmother and a great aunt. All of the cousins will be forced to go to her house and learn how to be polite and courteous. They’ll learn the skills that we both feel are so important to have. And maybe they’ll hate it and make fun of it, sort of like Edie, but it’ll be something they’ll eventually be thankful for. Something they’re glad they did once a year in the summers of their youth. Hell, I wish had something like that when I was a kid. Maybe our family would be closer because of it.

But it’s funny to think that this 10-minute conversation with a random girl at a henna kiosk sparked this future family tradition. And it’s sad to think that we’ll probably never see her again, because she really was a cool girl, but I’m so glad we went back that day. I’m glad we at least got to meet once in our lives.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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TAKE ME TO THE ISLANDS

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

I think this is very good advice–advice that I am, unfortunately, not following at the moment. I feel like all I think about every day is escaping. I spend my classes staring out windows, wondering what it’d be like to be on a beach right now with no obligations. I spend my afternoons napping away the remaining sunlight because in my dreams, life is better.

But I’m young, right? I’m 18 years old. I don’t have any real connections keeping me where I am. I don’t have a boyfriend or a family of my own yet. I don’t have a day job that’s directly helping me towards my career. I don’t have anything that’s really rooting me to this spot in Ohio, yet I feel so stuck.

I read this article today: “Why I Gave Up a $95,000 Job to Move to an Island and Scoop Ice Cream.” And it sounds like exactly what I want to do.

I want to take a gap year. I want to travel the world, or even settle in a place like this and just live with the bare minimum. I want to walk around barefoot and read on the beach and have limited internet access. I want to live on an island full of strangers and end up meeting every single one of them and learning their stories. I want to write and create and live an adventure.

But I’m stuck in Ohio. I have housing contracts signed until the end of Spring 2017. I have a perfectly laid out plan of every class I need to take until the end of my time here at Miami. I have obligations and expectations to uphold. I can’t just leave.

But there’s a voice in the back of my head–a voice that’s rising up from a spot right behind my heart–and it’s saying, “but you can.”

And it makes some really good points. Do it now. Do it while you’re young! You know how to make money. You can learn how to live on nothing. You can learn and adapt to anything. Just get the courage to do it. If you don’t do it now, you never will. You’ll get your degree and then immediately turn around and get a job at some high school somewhere and you’ll be locked into yet another contract that dictates the next few short years of your life.

And then what? I’ll wake up one day at the age of 40 and realize it’s too late? Realize I got too comfortable too quickly?

I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to be stuck on this path anymore.

I want to leave.

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LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN

Dear Reader,

I’ve recently had the chance to deeply reflect upon myself and the habits I’ve formed thus far in life. And, surprise surprise, I’m not too pleased.

I know this will probably read like a typical “New Year’s Resolutions” blog post, but that’s okay. It’s never too late to set goals for the year. There’s no such thing as an inappropriate time to improve yourself.

So without further ado, here are my goals for the rest of 2nd semester:

GO TO CLASS

I don’t skip class too often, but it does happen. Sometimes I really am sick, and sometimes I do make mistakes and sleep through my alarms, but there have been times where I’ve just not gone. But I’ve decided I don’t want to be known for that–not that I am as it is. I just want to be known as the person who never skips class. And who is always present in every class she attends–well prepared, fully attentive, eager to learn. Even if it is geology.

COMMIT WHOLEHEARTEDLY

I am the kind of person who likes to be involved, and here at Miami, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so. I’m in AIESEC, Phi Mu, and Sigma Tau Delta. I write for the Miami Student and play with the club tennis team. I’m a student manager at a cafe on campus. And I’m proud of all of this, but I know I could do more.

I want to do more. I want to be proud when I see my name in print, regardless of the story I’ve been assigned. I want to help change lives by sending people abroad and being there every step of the way. I want to grow as a person with Phi Mu, as well as grow with my sisters.

I want to leave my mark on everything I do here at Miami, and the only way that’ll happen is if I stop half-assing it.

START BEING HEALTHY

And I mean it.

Let’s just say I don’t exactly treat my body like a temple. Unless you allow your temple to eat everything in sight, then force it to pull far too many allnighters, overall messing up it’s sleep schedule, and refuse to make it go to the gym.

So yeah, enough of that.

GET ORGANIZED

Pretty self explanatory. My life is a mess. I’d like for it to be neater. Let’s make it happen, new Sammy.

READ AND WRITE MORE

I was killing this resolution over J-term… and now I have 6 times the credit hours. But if I’m ever going to finish #3 or #38 on my 2015 Bucket List, I’m going to have to make time for these things.

COMMUNICATE BETTER

When it comes to answering texts/emails/missed phone calls/facebook messages/you name it, I may be the worst person in the world. There are many possible reasons for this, but it’s a simple fact that I need to get better.

This one might be my hardest goal to reach.

TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF EVERYTHING IN LIFE

I am in college: one of the only places where it is my number one priority to become educated–to devote every day to learning. Luckily, because I’m going to become a teacher, it shouldn’t be hard to remain a lifelong learner. But these are the glory years, and I want to come out on the opposite end knowing I did everything I could to soak it all in.

This semester, I want to become intelligent, determined, inspiring, spontaneous, enthusiastic.I want to be hungry for adventure, and fun, and knowledge. I want to become the person I’ve always dreamt I could be.

And the journey starts today.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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