Best of 2015

2015

By far the best year of my life as of now. Most of it took place in Japan but also the U.S., Australia, Thailand, India, and Bhutan. 2015 was hectic but rewarding.

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  • Australia:

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Before Australia, Brendan came to Tokyo for a few weeks to visit us and after school let out the whole family flew to Cairns. It was late when we arrived and the sun was already down but we rented a car immediately and drove to Port Douglas where we stayed for a week– going to the beach, sight-seeing and playing tourist. We did all of the tourist check list things: rented stand-up paddle boards, visited the islands, saw all of the animals , spent one afternoon in the animal enclosures of kangaroos and wallabies, hand fed them and pet them, held a koala, went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. All amazing things. Then at the end of the week, packed up again and got on another flight- this time to Sydney. For more tourist activities like seeing the opera house and visiting old friends. Australia has some of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen, the best one came when my dad and I went to Manly Wharf and took the ferry to and from the Opera side of the city.

  • Butler Visit:

Butler wasn’t memorable for the school itself. Although, there were many cute college boys around that’s not why it made this list. The Uni visit is on here because Dani came with me. She was one of my first really really great friends in Tokyo and is such a sweetheart. I couldn’t have brought along anyone better.

  • Seton Fest:

Seton Fest is insanely overrated. It is essentially a huge hang out for all the middle schoolers from the Hamilton county area with crappy rides and long lines. But the company made all of the difference. During my short time back in the U.S. these two were some of the best company to have.

  • Misterwives Concert:

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Seeing this band perform live was incredible. I’m honestly surprised we even made it to the concert. We bought the tickets the week before just for kicks and giggles. Plus who wouldn’t buy concert tickets for $20? And both of us already knew their music. Right before the concert a huge storm came through and flooded the roads, she was late to pick me up for a billion reasons, our dinner was ordered at the wrong restaurant. Everything that could have delayed us did. Even parking took time. Celia had to parallel park in the street. Really it took a solid 10 minutes of me laughing at her frustration from outside of the car but also “attempting” to help her out.

In a smaller room where every single person knows the words, Misterwives is amazing to see in concert.

  • Summer Sonic:

Misterwives. Walk the Moon. Bleachers. Best Coast. Smallpools. Sheppard. BTS. Imagine Dragons.

8 concerts attended in one day, every music fans dream.

Summer Sonic Video here.

  • Shibs Flash Mob:

Free to be _________. Free to be flash mob was about equality. Which is a great cause but really I was there for the experience. In the middle of Shibuya Crossing where millions of people on foot travel through everyday, in the pouring rain, that is where we danced. Every time the light changes about 2500 people cross.

This one and the next get into my Junior year.

  • Prom:

Prom is a huge part of the high school experience and I spent mine at the ANA Intercontinental in Roppongi. I went with a really good friend of mine, Alex, and then with some other friends.

  • Thailand:

 

Thailand post here.

  • The Big Yellow Birds//After School Adventures:

I started off my Senior year determined not to let it go to waste, it is my last year in Japan after-all. I wanted to make it all count. I made it count by exploring everything that was around me. The tiny hole in the wall restaurants, strange statues, buying 100 yen junk for about a dozen people on my bus, everything. For a straight week I didn’t come home after school, and if I did I dropped my bag and headed out.

  • Meeting Linda Purl:

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Linda Purl: actress and ASIJ Alumni. But my favorite fact about her: Pam Beesley’s mom of the American version of The Office.

  • Thanksgiving:

2/2 for spending Thanksgiving with Julie in Japan. 3/3 if you count our Japan Thanksgiving and our Bhutan Thanksgiving in the same year. This one was our three family Sunday Thanksgiving combo dinner. Julie, Kate, and I were in Bhutan over Thanksgiving so this was our Thanksgiving with our families. And I am incredibly thankful for all of them.

(I was especially proud of my hair that day.)

  • Bhutan:

Bhutan post here.

  • Pray for Paris:

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This one is especially close to me because it is a direct result of the 2015 attacks in Paris. I got a call from my embassy friends right after I had gotten back from Tokyo Tower that was lit up in the colors of the French flag. My friends told me they had written letters to the people of Paris and wanted to get flowers to put outside of the embassy. I had just taken my shoes off and I immediately put them back on and sprinted down the hill to meet them. What happened in Paris that night was devastating and terrible but it also united the world some. By the time we arrived outside of the French Embassy with a dozen bouquets, there were already three rows deep of other bouquets lining the outskirts. Flowers, candles, and notes– I teared up just at the sight of it. It was heart warming to see all the love and support. Such a small and maybe insignificant act made a huge difference in my mind.

Immediate reaction from that night here.

  • Vegan Ramen:

Vegan ramen makes the list because it changed my life. If I could go vegan and only eat this dish for the rest of my life, I would. It tastes as good as it looks.

  • Halloween:

Roppongi Halloween parade, Senior Spoil, and Most Creative Costume winners: Yochien Class of 2020 (Japanese kindergarten class). In Japan the little kids all walk to school, they all have matching hats, big backpacks, and walk in a line holding onto a rope.

  • Okutama Mountain Hike:

This hike was 50% hell and 50% stunning. I was in Okutama last year for JUMP going canyoning, white water rafting, and rock climbing. This was my first time back since then. It was my dad, myself, Karin, and Rene (my parent’s (Swiss) friends). So when I used one of my two German words on the mountain. They totally understood that I just swore in German. Karin thought it was so funny that she named part of the mountain the swear word.

  • ASIJ Football Game:

Really this was the only game I watched all year. We were playing one of the base schools and won. Most of my friend group (minus Kate) went to support Jonas.

  • Tokyo Disneyland:

I could include going to Disney Sea in with this but when Annie and I went to DisneyLand later in the year we came prepared. We both subtly dressed like Snow White, ate all of the food we could around the park, and rode just about every ride. For someone who has grown up with a Disney oriented family, Annie knows how to go around a Disney park.

  • Fashion Night Out:

FNO: Tokyo’s Fashion Night Out. Our parent’s left us alone that night for some sort of dinner, and I as the big sister watching my younger sister knew about FNO and wasn’t about to miss it for the second year in a row. Totally worth going to.

  • Tsukiji//Trip to Nowhere:

That day Hunter, Julie, and I went to Tsukiji. We had no intention of actually going there. We wanted to go somewhere we just didn’t know where. It was a happy accident. Tsukiji is just where we ended up. All three of us just got on a train and got off when we felt like getting off, and that stop was Tsukiji station.

Tsukiji is actually the biggest fish market in the world. Tsukiji is also surrounded by cramped alleyways filled with small shops and sushi restaurants.

 

 

Thank you 2015, you’ve been the best year yet.

Can’t wait for what is to come in 2016. Happy New Year!

The People Of Bhutan

As some of you know I recently took a school trip to Bhutan (Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Phobjikha, and Paro again), Bhutan is a tiny country– kingdom actually, with the two of the most attractive rulers ever–wedged between the two giants of Asia, India and China. It is known for being the only country in the world to practice Gross-National Happiness (GNH) instead of GDP and for being one of the happiest places on the Earth. After spending seven incredibly days in Bhutan I can definitely vouch for that claim. I love this country so much I could literally give you an entire history lesson on Bhutan; filled with Buddhist legends, unique features like animal, geography, etc. etc.. I could tell you all about the national animal, flower, and flag in a heart beat but I will save the history lesson for another time.

As more of you know I also have a passion for photography. After a good two hour hike to a mountain top Himalayan monastery, I was enjoying the view when I saw a monk journaling behind me quietly. I could not resist asking him if I could take his photo which then inspired my next project– a photo collection of the people of Bhutan. Bhutan is filled with raw untouched beauty and authenticity, so staying true to the authenticity of Bhutan all of these photos are 100% unedited.

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  1. This woman worked outside of the Takin Preserve weaving scarves.
  2. When we arrived in this tiny little village by bus and then a hike these little ones went chasing after us but kept their distance too shy to actually talk to us. Curious but shy.
  3. Little monk in training. This guy was in a hurry to bring the holy water to the temple for the next day.
  4. This boy was asleep the entire time I was with his family. His sister was carried on his mother’s back just like his father carried him.
  5. Our quiet monk escort through one of the monasteries.
  6. I first spotted these twins in a tiny trees looking at all the newcomers. Like most Bhutanese they were shy but extremely curious and friendly. They weren’t shy at all once we taught them how to give high fives. Unfortunately I am terribly at remembering names that have five syllables or more in them. However I do remember the first letter of their names. Meet N and G.
  7. Now meet L. Dorji. Possibly the funniest man I have ever met. Definitely the happiest. He loves to tell jokes– none of them actually make sense but he thinks they are hilarious and walks off laughing to himself every time. For example: Cauliflower. Did you know cauliflower looks like cows nose? This is where L. Dorji would be almost in tears because of his joke.
  8. I met these two in some remote part of the forest where his family and friends were on a picnic. The dad was very eager to talk to me and find out where I was from.
  9. And the monk that inspired me.

The Ann Perkins, Ednas, and Zippys of Our Lives

1. Ann Perkins

Ann is that magical human being that you always look up to. If you could be someone else you would be her, she is just about everything you want to be in life. She looks like she has it all together. She is absolutely perfect in your eyes, no matter what she does she could never not be a “…poetic, noble land-mermaid.” (Knope, Leslie). You feel the same way about Ann that Leslie does.

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2. Edna Mode

Edna is a shockingly bold and forward person, who never ceases to say what isn’t being said. Her sass is limitless. She has that European-direct quality to her without actually being European. She is funny–but 85% of the time she uses her quick wit to make you the center of the joke.  And she is horribly nosy. She cannot lie, so when she does finally decide to give you a compliment you know it is genuine.

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3.  Zippy Brewster

Zippy is the boy you met instantly. You never had classes, or any reason to hang out, but you spoke regularly. Zippy is honestly so sweet but his flirtatiousness gets old fast. He is athletic and makes sure everybody knows it. He is always armed with some sort of seasonal sporting gear flaunting it. Even during the winter months when you would think he couldn’t possibly have a physical reminder of his athleticism, he is a swimmer, swimmers don’t have basketballs or tennis rackets to show off. Nope. In the winter months his shirt is constantly coming off,just in case you forgot, maybe you need another look at his abs as a reminder. He could almost be a Tarzan.

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Thailand

I apologize if you were ever given the impression that I am a timely person because I most certainly am not. I am the polar opposite of timely ninety percent of the time. Very sorry to those of you about to watch this video and look at these pictures who are bundled in multiple layers of clothing because it is 52 degrees and cloudy out. But my Thailand video simply could not wait any longer. It is already long over due.

I’m going to be perfectly honest, I spent a lot of my time in Thailand poolside with a box of pizza. Who wouldn’t take advantage of poolside service? Not the mention I could walk to the ocean in seconds from the pool. In the time that I wasn’t enjoying a beautiful slice of golden margarita pizza I was in the ocean, exploring the island, eating Thai food, riding and feeding elephants, watching the locals play with fire, boating to Phi Phi (pronounced pee pee, no joke) Island, checking out Maya Bay or gushing at the beauty of Thailand.

Thank you parents

Thank you parents! We missed you B.

Mama, I’m going to college!

Hello friends!

I am going to college. Where? I have no idea yet.  But I do know that Indiana University and Ball State University have both accepted my applications! Today I submitted my third application to Liberty University (a Christian school in Virginia). Adding to the exciting news Ball State has awarded me with the Presidential Scholarship– I like to think it is from the president himself, thanks Barack.

Really I am incredibly thankful, college acceptances are one of the best feelings in the world. I started EARLY, as soon as the applications were released I started filling them out. Which just means the procrastinators in my life secretly hate me. When you tell people you’ve been accepted to university you receive one of two responses based on how far along in the process they are themselves. And you never know which type of person they will be until you actually share the news, sometimes it doesn’t go over too well.

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You have the ones who will celebrate with you and the ones who, well, are less celebratory and are slightly bitter.

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When you  announce to person type #2 that a second college has accepted:

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First receiving your college acceptances letter:

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Receiving your second college acceptation:

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Universities fighting over you gives you a bit of confidence.

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But then you remind yourself of how broke you are going to be in the future

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And just when you have convinced yourself that you are going to have crippling debt for the next 30 years you are given a scholarship.

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And not just any scholarship– the Presidential one.

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This Office tribute post is brought to you by the impact college acceptances has had on my time management.

I may have forgotten a few minor high school assignments because I was too wrapped up in Jim and Pam’s relationship.

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Couples That I Am Both Oozing With Jealously Over and Over The Moon Happy For At The Same Time.

Allow me to introduce you to some of the cutest couplely phenomenas of 2015 as we know it.

  1. Thomas Rhett — I totally get it that Country music is not everyones cup of tea but I like to think everyone likes even just small doses of a sappy situations even if they don’t like to admit it. You don’t have to, you can just watch these videos and shed a few tears in secret.

Not only am I jealous of his stunning wife’s beautiful hair, the fact that they were high school sweethearts, and her role in every single one of her husband’s music videos but also their lifestyle together.

Click here to watch.

While watching the video I started to recognize all of the places. —Welcome to Hawaii, it’s beautiful—. Same trees.  Same beach entrance. I am basically going to live that life when I am older.

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Bragging rights- I have so used the same shower the is shown in the video.

2. Jake & Peyton

Jake clearly did his proposal right. He got the girl and captured all of it on camera. Again these to are pretty much everyones relationships goals. I’ve always been one for wishful thinking and excessive optimism. I’d like to think this isn’t too much to ask for. Anyways, congrats to those two. Click here.

If you didn’t get you sum of sap tonight and  you are feeling extra enchanted by their relationship and that video wasn’t enough click here for Peyton’s instagram. (Everyone social media stalks to they just don’t admit it.)

If you haven’t squealed or made squishy faces yet I have on last thing up my sleeve. Cat-fishing.

Over the Hump

With everything there is a point were you just want to quit and give up but once you get past that certain point it gets easier. Oncer past it you can just cruise like it is no big deal.

Workouts: after five minutes I’m over it but if you distract yourself enough that you aren’t bored and focused on counting down to an acceptable time to quit, you can go much much farther.

Same goes for my sleep pattern for me it is 10:00 bed time or 3:00 am, there is no in between.

Year one had it’s challenges, ups and downs. But all that means nothing in comparison to the reward. Honestly, I couldn’t picture myself being anywhere else. Tokyo feels like it has been my home forever. I have become so accustom to the transportation system, my apartment, the people I have met, and the travel that I have done. Tokyo is my home really, I have a job here, I attend school here, I have friends here, my family is here (most of it, hi Brendan), my apartment is here, all of my things are here. Going back in a year is going to be hard. I’d say it is safe to say I am over the hump on this journey. 2014 has come and go, school year number two has begun and now it is time for part two to commence .

In retrospect, I should have taken more photos and posted more on my blog. But who is to say I won’t be better in 2015-2016.

Side note: I think the attribute of world traveler can officially be applied. In one year I travelled to Bangkok, Phuket, Port Douglas, Cairns, Sydney, Tokyo (and back many times), Honolulu, Maui, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Denver.

Further Side note:This year’s travel plans include the US, Bali, and if all goes well Bhutan. Plus the various trips around Japan I have roughly planned but aren’t worth mentioning at the moment.