Empire State of Mind

“These streets will make you feel brand new”

Indeed Jay-Z, they did.

I love New York City. Seriously. Like, I’m in LOOOOVE. Then again, I really only hung out between 14th and 59th in Manhatten. I did go up to The Bronx, and walked about Columbia a little. Along with Chinatown and Little Italy. (I didn’t make it to Brooklyn) But I got hooked in the SoHo, Chesea, Times Square, and Meat Packing area. I must say, my favorite street is 5 Ave. It does sound very steriotypical but it is beautiful.

Coming to NYC, I was scared. I had this inaccurate image of New York instilled in my brain by these frightening fantisies of dark lights, back alleys, and black ho0dies. I was greated with this overwhelmingly fashionable population which was generally friendly, funny and….normal. It is crazy to think right? N-O-R-M-A-L. Normal. Looking at the word now, normal is a strange word; not quite narwal or no mall or no mal, but normal. Off topic but, honestly, I truely enjoyed New York.

It was an eye-opening experience to the wonders of a big city.

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Shop Till You Drop

Sydney and I went shopping today. Wheh, haven’t been able to say that in a while; between my workload and laziness, I haven’t paid Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters a visit in a while. Seriously, teachers need to understand that an hour on Spanish every night is not healthy for a growing 15 year old! Although, I think that the stress is not only getting to the students, but the teachers. With our school heading to New York on Saturday, then a wilderness trip the following, and one week to prepare before exams, there is a bit to stress about. I’m glad that I was able to de-stress-itize a little with the mindfully mindless activity of filtering through clothes.

On our journey, we first traveled to the land of 21 Forever. Two lone riders were then spotted and were ambushed with a hug from Sydney, my partner in crime. They were leaving the four-levelled-battleground, while we were heading into the thick of it. Gawa, a lone rider, was telling us about a necklace that she had just bought and thought that it wouldn’t match her dress. We reassured her and then headed into the shop.

We didn’t find much in Forever 21, it was a lot of outfits that we thought were cute but it wasn’t what we were looking for. We were specifically shopping for two events that we would attend in New York (both organized by the school), the Great Gatsby dinner and the Yacht night. The Great Gatsby event is themed, the “roarin’ twenties” as it is the era that The Great Gatsby took place. Finding a dress from that decade is difficult. Like seriously, I found one and it was took big (it sucked). While in the store, Sydney and I both pointed out outfits that “were so Liisa.” Liisa is our Swedish friend who is very, very, very fashionable. And we discovered there that grunge was in, along with shorts that would leave our dads pointing guns at males who come within five feet of us.

Leaving Forever 21 without anything, we made our way to a store called Fossil. Not finding much there, we went next door to Urban Outfitters. Grunge is REALLY in. Having a very similar experience to Forever 21, Syd and I scuttled under our umbrella until we came across “Second Time Around.” It is a thrift not really thrift shop. I found a cute pair of shorts for fifteen dollars and got them. But before I entered the perimeters of the shop, my green umbrella decided that it was having a mood swing and cut my finger. That gained it a timeout in the front of the store to think about what it had done. The lady, I’m not sure what her name is, was kind enough to lend me a band-aid for my wound. She told me about how she knew exactly what it feels like because it had happened to her earlier this week. While at Second Time Around, the drizze went to downpour as drops of water beat up the ground like a boxer to a bag.

Feeling the steady pitter-patter against the fabric above our heads, we made our way a few blocks down to H&M. Walking into the large clothing store, I stated, “this is where we should have come first!” Making our way up to the escalator exposed a floor that had everything from slightly formal to grunge to lingerie. I headed to the dressing room with a polka dot dress and a gray crew crop top. The blue dress wasn’t very flattering, but I liked the top. Sydney was trying on two black dresses. She showed me one where there was a strip of lace right below the bust, which spread across her upper back. It was knee-length. Sydney looked FANTASTIC. (she got it, yay!)

Realizing that we only had 10 minutes to go, I quickly grabbed some rings, paid for my shirt and headed downstairs to find Sydney by the door. We jog-walked to the residence and bust through the door at 6:29pm. It was productive and yet not productive trip as I did not get what I was hoping to get.

Whatever, I’ll go shopping again tomorrow 😉

Winter Break 2012

Throwback Thursday! This was basically my first three days of winter break.

Monday Morning: 2am
“Hi Daddy!”
“Welcome home daughter! Haha.”

Monday: 7am
“OREOOOO. Cami wants to sleep, calm yourself.”
“RUFFF!”
“Shhhh….”
“RUFFFF!”
“OKAYYY, I’m getting up now. Sheesh.”

Monday: 11am
“Hi Goon-goon!”
“Hi Cami!”
“I missed you so much grandpa…”
“Come on, lets to eat lunch.”

Monday: 12:30pm
“Goon-goon.”
“Goon-goon.”
“Are you asleep?”
(No Reply)
“Oh… Okay night…”

Monday: 6pm
“Hi Goon-goon! Hi Uncle! Hi Cay-wib! Hi Mommy! Hi Father.”
“LETS EAT! WE HAVE BLACK BEAN FISH AND 5 GUYS.”

Tuesday: 8am
“Good Morning! Oh! I didn’t know that you slept with me Rhino (the kitty).”

Tuesday: 3:30pm
“KATIEEEE!!!!!!!!”
“CAMIIIII!!!!!!!!”
“I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN FOREVER!”
“I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!”
“OHMYGOODNESS I HAVE SO MUCH TO TELL YOU!”

Tuesday: 6:15pm
*gets out of car headed to ballet
“CAMI!”
“SOPH!”
“AHH I MISSED YOU!”
“ME TOO!”
“Its like I’m in a dream because I have dreamed of you a few times before. And and and and and and and and and and and and I LOVE YOU!”
(Many more hugs among the ballet girls with a similar conversation)

Wednesday: 12:20pm
“(Screaming)”
(turning my head back and forth)
“CAMI!!!!!!!!!!”
“AHHHHH!!!!!!!!”
(Group hug)
“OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD ITS ACTUALLY YOU!”
“YEAH ACTUALLY, I MISSED YOU GUYS SO MUCH!”
“WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH.”

Wednesday: 12:35pm
I just meet people that I knew but the whole confernation was kinda awkward cause I knew everyone and some people didn’t know how to react–didn’t know if they should hug me or say hi or anything. It was very awkward, except with a few people.

Wednesday: 1pm
“Lets go to fresh choice and then get our bra size checked at Victoria’s Secret.”
“Oh no! My brownie fell!”
“Maybe you shouldn’t of put it in your pants then Cami.”
“Hahahah.”
“No! No but then the lady would of seen it and then and then yeah.”
“Hahaahaha.”

Wednesday: 4pm
“Hey guys, did you just hear about the shooting on De Anza?”
“WHAT.”

Where I’m From….

Silicon Valley is where I’m from. Where pennies are put between your toes, not in your wallet. Where shorts are not only for summer and daisy dukes with bikinis on top are for Santa Cruz. Where California Girls is a theme song. Where raccoon eyes don’t only belong to the animal. Where the bullies un-friend or post a status about you on Facebook. Where people wear their pants too low or too high. Where people think that Spandex is okay for school. Where you eat popcorn in the Hunger Games but not anything at lunch or breakfast or dinner. Where Gangster America is fun, and Valley Girl mall is where you go for your everyday needs. Where Bluelight is cheap and AMC is classy. Where hip-hop, pop, and rap are your jams and you be jammin’. Where 99.7, 101.3, 106.1, 94.9 and 89.3 dominate your car rides. Where the Raiders are more black than white and get angry at the 9ers because silence is not golden. And hot doesn’t always refer to the temperature.

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Where tiger balm, blister band-aides, and sheep wool is necessary. Where dead shoes make your feet look good. Where “you have good turnout” is one of the best complements you can give. Where extensions are envied. Where you can be jelly with no peanut butter. Where Blendz decided to close, taking my Lime Passion with them. Where 90 degrees is just okay, but it could be higher. Where Great Bear has Italian sodas. Where Main Street is for fatties. Where summer intensive is another word for massive photo-shoots and sweat.

Where A is for average and F is a myth. Where you write the answers to the Chinese test on the desk so that you don’t have to study. Where Jane-Jane-Jane-Jane-Jane-Jane lee breaks rulers and speaks too loud too often. Where Yu-Gi-Yo makes a comeback in the 8th grade. Where PE is synonym with gossip and business is taken care of in the bathroom. Where I am called white girl. Where jeans and tennis shoes are a fashion statement that is laughed at by those who think themselves above it. Where the cool kids are sometimes bad but usually sad and have decent grades.

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Where a friendly smile is mistaken for flirting and leads to a complication that involves tears, a pencil, and hug. Where a guy will talk about a girl, but when he is around her, he hardly manages a word and when he does, he pats himself on the back for asking stupid questions like what the homework is or what time it is or glances in her direction. And the girl feels like punching him in the face when she hears about what he is saying to his friends. Where the same girl is called a whale as joke and acts like nothing is wrong but after tries to throw up in the same bathroom that business is done in. The bathroom that the daily ritual of whispers, make-up, shorts, tears, and confessions hold. Where self-harm is apparently something to be proud of so people brag about their scars but then try to cover them from the public eye with eyeliner around their eyes and bracelets around their wrist. Where late night texts lead to relationships. Where people can be couples but hardly speak. Where one hundred is not a number but a goal and tumblr is a lifestyle. Where light and dark, black and white fade into a shade of silver. And where cloud ten is one step from cloud nine.

An Interview With Myself: Bhutan

“What is Happiness?”

“Woah. That is quite a deep question.”

“Yes, yes it is.”

“Err, give me a moment to think about it because actually, even though I just spent 2 weeks in the land of Gross National Happiness, it’s hard to put “happiness” into words.”

“Sure, take your time.”

“So, do you want to hear how I used to think of happiness? Or the way I think and feel about happiness now?”

“Both.”

“Uhh… Okay so where do I start… I guess I could begin with how I felt a way to gain happiness…”

“Perfect.”

“I thought that someone gains happiness from other people, well at least I believed that the only way to gain happiness was from other things. It didn’t come from inside myself. I had to go and search for activities, people, something edible, or something like that for me to be happy. I did gain some happiness from those things, but it was kind of like fake happiness. Like going to a store and buying a ‘happiness in a bottle;’ it wasn’t genuine. It was similar to tricking myself into being ‘happy.’ And back then being happy was having the coolest clothing, having people look up to you, having people like you—basically having people put you on a pedestal. It was very materialistic. To be honest, it actually killed some of the real happiness inside of me. ‘Why?’ you ask? I always looked to others for acceptance and it made my self-esteem drop like the temperature comparison between Boston and Buenos Aires.”

“Anything else to add to that?”

“Understand that I was somewhat happy. I wasn’t a completely insecure teenage girl that was always looking for other’s approval. I had the moments where I was just like no. THIS is whom I am and I am not going to change for you or anyone else.”

(5 second pause in the recording)

“How do you feel about happiness now?”

“I have been slowly chipping at my new concept of happiness since about the middle of eighth grade. Bhutan was a rocket launcher into the notion. People there were content. Content. They were satisfied with their way of life. They were satisfied with themselves. They were just satisfied. And after that, I began to grow more content with the way I am. Of course, the insecurities that I acquired over the years, still remain, but I have learned to ignore them… A little more. I have my ideal happy Cami in my brain, written in my journal, something. And I will strive to be in that satisfied, content, happy state, with out losing the edge and craving to do more, to be better.”

“What is the ‘ideal happy Cami?”

“The ‘ideal happy Cami,” is the Cami that is ‘on cloud nine,’ and chasing cloud ten. Haha, I just learned the phrase ‘on cloud nine’ today. It means to be happy. I interpreted as just perfectly pleased in a moment. No worries, no troubles, no insecurities, no stress, no problems on my mind; just… happy. But you see, if I stayed on ‘cloud nine,’ I would never have any ambition or strive to be better. In Bhutan, most of the people that I came across didn’t go or want to go to college. They were simply content with their lives. But, in the culture that I grew up in, you always want to be better, to create a better life for you and your family, you always want more; and that was happiness. I want to combine these and then create that ‘Cami on cloud nine that’s chasing cloud ten.”

“Is there any experience in Bhutan that really stood out to you as, happiness?”

“I cannot say that one moment was the exact definition of happiness because, I believe that there is no such thing.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, there is no moment that is just absolute happiness. Every moment, even a happy moment, has a bit of sadness, a bit of anger, a bit of jealousy, a bit of nerves, and you get the idea. This is because even if I lets say, am eating the most amazing piece of cake EVER. My mouth is the happiest it has ever been. But, I am a bit sad this moment will pass; a bit angry because I will have to eventually work off the fat from the cake; a bit jealous because I am jealous of the cake being so delicious; a bit nervous because maybe the second bite won’t be as good.”

“Let me change my question, what is the happiest moment, considering the other things, you have had during your time in Bhutan.”

“My happiest moment was also my saddest moment and my most favorite moment.”

(4 second pause)

“Yes, my happiest moment… I had stayed back a little to film my guide, Gimbo, for our groups’ video. I didn’t have anyone to walk down the mountain with so I jumbled down, step-by-step, happy as a clam. At one part of the pass, there is this beautiful view of the area below. I stopped and stared, absorbing the fact that I am in Bhutan, but I will be leaving in a few hours, maybe never to return. I know that I am sounding SO corny right now, but please endure with me because as cheesy as it sounds, I was extremely happy then. I thought back to the crazy, funny, and wild experiences that could be summed up into the word, ‘Bhutan.’ I thought back to everything that had happened. All the sounds, the clicks of a camera snapping away, the incredible silence that is a nice break from the craziness of a city. It was really just a moment of reflection, and I was just happy.”

“Do you miss it?”

“Yes.”

“Are you happy right now?”

“Yes.”

12 Hours

12 hours til I leave Argentina.

Less than 12 hours til I leave Buenos Aires.

How time has flew.

What am I going to miss the most?

The meat, the ice cream — let’s go with food in general.

What was my favorite experience?

The markets! And Florida street with friends.

What was the weirdest thing that I ate?

Blood sausage… yuck…

What was the weirdest thing I saw?

Dog walkers.

How was the experience as a whole?

good–ups and downs but an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Reflecting on Argentina

WOW

What am I supposed to say about this? I don’t know what.

I guess I could talk about how I have changed, at least how I think I have changed! I have become more confident. Hungrier to do things, I want more for myself. I do stuff. Ha! I actually do stuff now that I think of. Someone needs water—Cami will get it. I think it is also in part to being in a Spanish speaking culture where I don’t understand anything. I had to step up my game so that I can kind of understand what they are trying to say. If no one takes the pants then I have to grab them, I’ll get them tailored later if even at all. I actually don’t think that I need to. I deal. I am not high maintenance. I don’t need to super nice hotel. I can handle myself in a bad situation. I am not that timid child that came to TGS, afraid of the world. I am a strong female that can hail a taxi, can keep a conversation, that can to stuff.

Even with this growth of confidence, I still need to more on my social interactions of others. I am shy. And that has hindered my ability to create more connections with the people in Argentina. When I am in a situation when I am with new people, I never know what do say because what ever I say, it just ends up creating an awkward environment. I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone in that sense. I find, like at the shadow day with the host girls, that if I just speak and laugh and smile—then it ends up better. And I work better in situations where I absolutely need to talk with someone.

Well, this blog has become a post where I am just talking about how I have changed. In a sense, that is really the important part because in high school, you are supposed to find yourself, find your interests, find what you hate. After the timid nature that I gained from my middle school, it was a push to get me out of my box. TGS grabbed me and threw me out—exposing me to the world. Since I am trying to absorb everything around me, there is no time to acknowledge my imperfections and insecurities. Even though they are still present, they are not running my life like they did last year especially. Though I still think about an insecurity that ran my life, it is less prominent in my thought stream.

Although, recently that insecurity has reappeared… And, with the help of a few—I am going to make it small again.

Argentina has been both a negative and positive experience. I like the city, unlike most of my classmates. I feel at home in the neighborhood. Though I wish that we could have seen more of the city, looking back on it, I have enjoyed the little excursions to Palermo with some girls, the markets, empanadas, meat, beef, dulce de leche, walking everywhere, random times, Florida street, coffee, mate, Santa Fe, tango, tango, tango, and most of all—Argentina.

Tango! Wow. I like that dance, although I must say that I prefer ballet hands down. I don’t like being in control of the man, especially if he doesn’t know what he is doing. I like being in charge of what I am doing. But, tango has allowed me to become more subjective and allow someone else to take the reins. Cami, you don’t have to do everything man.

Coming to TGS, I was expecting a more global viewpoint. Noting the whole thing with TGS taking my out of my box, I have gained that. In my class alone, we cover 5 continents, North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Please note that we have 6 people in our class. We also house 7 languages that students are fluent in. WHO CAN SAY THAT? Only the 9th grade class of 2012. How amazing is that?

To Reader:

When reading this, you must also consider the fact that this is the end of the semester. I am probably only remembering the great things about Argentina. I have had my times where I was so sick of this place.

I have gone through Culture Shock and the phases of that, I think now that I am in the acceptance phase of Culture Shock.