four years!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

This entry marks the FOUR YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my blog!!!

Cue the streamers, party balloons, celebratory fist pumps and dance party music!

"My Life As Leah," or this blog under the various names it has had over the course of the last four years, has been home to my stories, adventures, lessons learned and where I've been - dating back to my sophomore year of high school. My first entry, which included venting about driver's ed at my high school, up to my last entry, venting about my frustrations over the re-entry process after a semester abroad. Maybe there is a theme here...


Four incredible years of making my way through high school, figuring out who I was and where I was headed, summers full of Calvin Crest excitement and lazy days by the pool, preparing to leave for college: the nerves, the excitement, the fear and the anticipation, finding my place at Westmont, growing an absurd amount my first year, learning about my upcoming semester abroad, coming back for year two - feeling lost and confused, angry and frustrated, depressed and gone, heading to Turkey - and everything that this past semester has done for me...this blog has tracked it all.

I can't believe it.

I never though this blog would last this long, and to be honest...I'm keeping it going as long as I possibly can. It has opened my eyes to a whole new world: one of internal and external processing through word. Writing out what plagues my mind late at night, putting into words what I struggle with to piece together in my head, being able to write to a somewhat neutral and vague audience: one that reads, and when appropriate, responds.

Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has read an entry in this blog, whether you follow my Facebook links, stumble upon it by accident, or are a regular reader. Thank you for listening to the endless word of my mind, taking a moment to catch up on what is happening in the life of Leah, following my blog with a dedicated interest, and always having a nice word to say. Thank you for taking notice when something was obviously wrong, when something shone through my words and sentences, to the point where you asked me if I was okay. Thank you for everything.

I could remisct on all of the grand memories this blog has held, or I can let you dig through them for yourself. I've compiled a list of some of my favorite/most memorable entries from the past four years, which you can pick and choose from, allowing you the unique adventure of which memories to relive.

"It's Over!" (May 23rd, 2008)
Graduation yesterday was heart wrenching. Truly, heart wrenching. Walking around the field after the ceremony was done made me realize that I'm going to be standing in the senior's spots in 2 years. I only have 2 more years to accomplish everything I had set out to do in high school. I'm halfway done. I'm going to be an upperclassmen in the fall. It's unbelievable... 
"Once You Go Black" (July 27th, 2008)
Apparently there's no going back. Black is the official color of our the junior class. 
"I'll Write You a Letter"  (November 1st, 2008)
This is probably going to be super vague to all of you, and you all probably won't understand but accept it, and don't read it if you really want a look into my life right now. I just need some space to vent, and get some stuff out. As much as this might turn out like crap, or get me sent to the DHS counselor's office again, I really need to get some stuff out. Enjoy... 
"Why, Hello There 2009..." (January 2nd, 2009)
I really can' t believe it's January. Doesn't that feel weird to anyone else? Like seriously, I'm expecting it be spring all of a sudden. Flowers are going to start popping out in random places all over my yard, and before you know it, there's going to be a loud chorus of me and my friends singing "The hills are alive, with the sound of music..." all over Dinuba. 
"My Last Day as a 16 Year Old" (March 14th 2009)
I spent today taking SATs, eating In n Out, sleeping, text messaging, and spending a normal Saturday like I always would
"SENIOR YEAR" (August 17th, 2009)
Our song starts, Richie runs out with our senior flag, ripping our poster in half and our class runs into the stadium. You know how long I've been waiting for that? 4 years. I've seen 3 others classes run in, always wanting to be them, and I finally got to do that today. It was the best feeling ever. I remember looking around and seeing my officers smiling and running alongside me, Alex screaming "2010!!!" into the microphone, and our entire class screaming our heads off. It was purely, incredible. 
"Decision Time" (March 30th 2010)
Well, it's spring break. The last relaxation before the final stretch of the school year. In this case, the final stretch of high school. Ironically, this also happens to be the week I've made my decision to where I'm attending school next fall. Thanks to a rejection letter from Boston College, I'm packing up and moving on out to Santa Barbra to attend Westmont College after this summer. 
"Reality Check" (July 2nd 2010)
Thanks life, really needed that one. Actually, for once, that wasn't sarcasm. I'm still getting back up from being knocked down again. It's all good, I'm not too deeply cut. Scraped maybe. Bruised a little. I'll be sore for a couple days but it'll wear off like the soreness from the first week of basketball training. I never know what I'm getting myself into, until it slaps me in the face and yells at me "What were you thinking?!??" as it did yesterday. 
"Last Days..." (August 24th 2010)
It's coming down to the wire. 2 more days till Westmont. 
"Heat Wave" (September 29th, 2010)
I'm sitting here right outside of my section in our "courtyard" watching the clouds move in the sky. There's a slight breeze and a good grip of people hanging around on Clark Beach. I have my headphones plugged into my Regina Spektor pandora station (fyi: the weepies are playing right now. Pure awesomeness) and I'm feeling pretty good about life right now. I've finished my first month of college. Whoa. 
"The End (for now)." (May 4th 2011)
The semester is over. I'm sitting here, deep into my last night at Westmont as a first-year, my last night in Clark K, and my last few hours of the school year. And I'm in disbelief. Time flew. It's been quite the whirlwind of a year, filled with just about everything that your first year in college can hold. I've made the most amazing friends I could ever have asked for, did ridiculous things, laughed till I couldn't feel my stomach, cried till my eyes were soaked, and grew. I grew so, so much this year. 
"Midsummer Realities" (July 20th, 2011)
It's 10pm on the Wednesday night of week 5. My mind is jumbled and seemingly out of place right now. I'm slowly coming to realize that camp is flying by. I have 3 1/2 more weeks until it's over. Seeing that, realizing that and coming to terms with that makes my stomach turn. I don't want it to end. I want it to last forever, but when I look at the upcoming events in my life, I feel a tug to leave and move on. 
"Adorns and Assassians" (September 10th, 2011)
I've found the peace I've been searching for. In the One who's been here this whole time, with arms wide open, inviting me back to where I need to be, and yet I've ran. I've tried to fix everything on my own, focusing on what is wrong and how I can resolve the loneliness. But when it all crashed down, when I fell asleep with nothing but tears, when I was completely convinced that I was alone, He picked me up. He held me close and told me it's going to be okay. He lavishes this amazing, and pure peace upon me, and everything feels right. 
"2012" (January 1st, 2012)
So, it's here. I only have a couple days left, and as much as I want another week or two to soak up everything I love about home - I don't have that choice so I am heading into the most exciting four months of my life with my head held high. 
"rhythm." (January 10th, 2012)
I have to constantly ask myself, "Is this even happening? Am I really here in another country, living here for four months and getting to do it with a group of 25 other amazing people?" I often have a David after Dentist moment where I have to sit back and ask "Is this real life?" Because honestly, I still cannot believe I am here. It is a wonderful feeling though, being able to put the traveling to Istanbul, the huge airports, passport checks, waiting at the gates, long plane rides and recycled air behind me. 
"Farewell, Turkey." (March 31st, 2012)
I have no words that could possibly encompass what these last three months have meant to me. Trying to put into words this adventure and opportunity is impossible. Attempting to explain to you what it is like to be dropped into a foreign country, to adapt and live here is not worth it. You will never know what it is really like until you step foot onto a plane, sit through a long red-eye international flight and arrive "home" in an unfamiliar place that blinks back at you as you stare wide-eyed through your airplane window, taking in the first sight of city lights and minarets. 
"The End (for now): part two." (April 30th, 2012)
The semester is over. I wrote those same words almost exactly a year ago, and now I am writing them again. Something has ended, a season has come to a close - it's time to shut the cover on this story. It is over. As much as I know that I will be encountering this same strange concoction of emotions all throughout the rest of my life, it still leaves me with the same bittersweet taste in my mouth, swept up in a storm of excitement and anticipation of going home paired with the nervousness and fear of the change that will be present in my life.
I've watched myself grow and change, learn and shift, struggle and adapt over the past four years.

It has shone through as an incredible light, breaking through my words which have matured slowly but surely over the course of my writing escapades. The changes have come out of the ends of chapters and the beginnings of others. Out of broken relationships and renewed hope for the future. Out of God molding and shaping my life with His own hands. Out of my ambitions to be someone in my future. And most importantly, out of my decision to constantly move outside my comfort zone, not being afraid to be different, to be unique, to be something the world hasn't seen yet.

My profile description on this blog has been the same since the day I started it, and will probably never change. I feel as though it sums up "Leah" in a good, short, nutshell. Something that no matter how much I learn, and change, and adapt, will probably always still apply.

"I like to write about the world I live in. People I know. Things that make me happy, and things that make me sad. I've been told I'm a interesting person, so hopefully this whole blog-thing turns out interesting as well."

I think this whole blog thing has just been a long dream in the making.
I mean, when I was in the 2nd grade I was dead set on being an author when I grew up.

Perhaps I still will.

Here's to four outstanding years, and many more to come.

Respectfully submitted,