01 January 2018

2017 in Review

Happy New Year! It's always fun to take a look back on the previous year month by month.

January.
In January I went on a five-day vocation retreat with the Nashville Dominicans, and even after the rest of the 2017, it's still one of the best things that happened this past year. I hope I can go back to visit them again soon.


February.
One of the main things I did in February was work on my writing, both my big projects and my smaller ones. It was a blessing to have so much time to do it in senior year because I have pretty much zero writing time at college!


March.
In March Patrick flew Tessie and me out to Chicago for a birthday trip. It was such a fun weekend filled with lots of walking, yummy food, and cool museums and sightseeing! I don't think I'd like to live in Chicago, but it's definitely a nice place to visit. 


April.
April saw my last homeschool dinner dance! It was a fun tradition in high school, and it's only gotten more fun in college with five dance this past semester. 


May.
I graduated! What with senior recital, open houses, and lots of other end-of-the-school-year things going on, May was a crazy time for sure. I'm still so happy to be done with high school. 


June.
My summer job (research assistant at Dad's center, GSCE) may have been boring in itself, but doing it with one of my bestest friends every day made it so much fun! We made a lot of memories in that cold, dark computer room this past summer, including but not limited to helping each other stay awake, bonding over Spotify playlists, getting frustrated with Excel, and learning more than we ever expected to about Central Asian countries. 


July.
Isabel and Matthew got married on July 8! It was awesome being a bridesmaid for their wedding, and Matt has been such a fun addition to the family!


August. 
On August 17th I became a real live TAC student--a dream I'd had for years! I expected a lot from college going in, but it's been so many times better than I ever dreamed! 


September.
I joined our school's student-led chamber choir, Chrysostomos. Here's one of our songs that we sang for All-Night Adoration in November.


October.
I got to be Tessie's Confirmation sponsor in October! It was a quick visit home, but I was so glad I was able to make it for such a special day. 


November.
For Thanksgiving Break some of us went to my friend Maddie's house in Vista, CA. It was a super fun and relaxing weekend, and so nice to hang out in a house with a family again! I have made so many wonderful new friends in college and I'm so lucky to share freshman year with them. 

The harbor in Oceanside, CA.

December.
I could mention the California fires here and all that drama, but I have something more important to remember as the highlight of December 2017: Gus and Jessie's wedding! I am so happy to have Jessie as a sister-in-law--what a great Christmas gift! As a side note, Christmas weddings are the bomb. 


So there are some of my highlights from the year 2017! Thanks everyone for making it a great year, and here's to a fantastic 2018!



31 December 2017

Christmas and a Wedding

It was a fun and relaxing Christmas. The whole fam came home, so we were squeezed in our house..but not for long! December 27 saw us heading down to Sioux Falls for the rehearsal dinner of Gus's wedding.


Claudia wasn't able to get home until late Christmas Eve, but at least we had Jessie so the girl-to-boy ratio wasn't too off!


Tessie, Isabel, bro-in-law Matt, and friend Nicole and I did the music for the nuptial Mass. It was a challenging but rewarding project being in charge of wedding music! I think we sounded pretty good. 

My fuzzy photo from the choir loft.

It was a great party and so nice to see so many family and friends at once, since I'll be going back to school soon. 

All dressed up and Christmassy! Christmas weddings should happen more often!

Since getting home from the festivities, we've had some nasty cold temperatures, but aside from going to church we've been curled up at home recovering from the holidays. 


One of the warmer recent days.

So you see, I have an excuse not to have posted in a while, because on top of Christmas and the wedding, I've had finals to study for. I have one more week home and I need to get as much reviewing done as possible before the real deal begins on Monday!


14 December 2017

Gratitude

     It's been a crazy time, that's for sure. TAC decided to end the semester early, so we have finals week once we get back in January. While none of the buildings on campus were damaged by the fire, there is a lot to do still, including replacing the food that went bad, getting power back, and clearing out trees that were burned. I flew home early once we got the OK to do so, but some of my friends drove back to campus to grab their books and clothes. Several of them said everything surrounding campus is black and destroyed--it's really a miracle campus is okay.
     It's definitely a different Christmas break than I was expecting, what with not having any of my belongings and having an extra week of break, but it sure is nice to be at home and sleep a lot. My brain is slowly adjusting to the lack of constant California sun and the central time zone. In the meantime, I have time for things like knitting, baking, and watching TV! Crazy.
     So many people helped me in so many ways during the fires. To name the principal ones:
     Thank you to Tahlia, who graciously and calmly drove a very full car off campus that first night.
     Thank you to Leslie, who let us use her car, and to Marya, who drove us from Ventura to Ojai in Leslie's car.
     Thank you to Dominique and Lizzy, who hosted us in their adorable house in Ojai until we decided to leave for a safer area. Thank you for being our moms for those few days!
     Thank you to Mrs. Hurtado, who drove through burning areas to pick us up and take us to her house, and who hosted me for the rest of the week and drove me to the airport.
     Thank you to the several people who went into my room on campus and got the essential things to ship to me in South Dakota. You are lifesavers!
     As you can see, I have a lot to be thankful for.
     Times of crisis like this really show you what kind of people people are. And all I can really say is, I chose wonderful friends. They all stayed calm and cheerful and practical during the chaos. You learn how much you love everyone when you're in danger like that. We have an incredible community at TAC. I wouldn't change it for anything.

     As a side note, one of our chaplains told me to meditate on my death on the first Sunday of Advent. It's been a pretty prominent theme during this Advent, with everything that happened. I'm guessing that's not what he meant. :)

07 December 2017

Fires and Finals

Christmas break is right around the corner! We put a mini Christmas tree in our room for decoration. 


We also decorated Maddie's room to surprise her when she got back from Massachusetts. 


Just the other day, campus looked like this....


And then, on Monday night, it looked like this. 


     A huge fire started at the campground right next to campus. Campus got evacuated and we all drove to a church in Ventura. Then Ventura got evacuated, and the group I was in drove to the house of some alumni in Ojai. Late into the night, we weren't sure if we were going to get told to leave Ojai too, so we drove to Goleta, CA (near Santa Barbara) at 3am. We spent a couple days hanging out in Goleta until Emily's mom picked us up and now I'm at her house in Perris. On the way, we passed by some sketchy smoke-filled areas. 


     This fire is still 0% contained so far and has ravaged through 96,000 acres last I heard. They are calling it the Thomas Fire, which we don't really appreciate, since we didn't start it. Actually, campus is totally fine, even though everything surrounding it is burnt up and there's no power. So the authorities are trying to get us all back on campus in time to have finals next week. 

Marya put it well.

     Yeah, they still want to have finals. We've been without our books since Monday and had no classes, but I guess we could still take exams, right?
     We are all eager to get back to campus--and our possessions. It's been a rough few days, but we're counting our blessings. You don't realize how much you love everyone until times like these. I'm just happy I'll be heading home to SD soon, where there is no chance of fires. Until then, we're chilling with Emily's tiny dogs and waiting to hear from TAC.

05 December 2017

Thanksgiving Break

Over Thanksgiving I went to my friend Maddie's house in Vista, CA. It was a super fun and relaxing weekend filled with music, games, shopping, and movies galore! The weather was beautiful over Thanksgiving, so we walked by the harbor in Oceanside. It was so nice to hang out in a house with a family and eat non-school food! Maddie and her sisters took us to the Mission of San Luis Rey, the Benedictine abbey near their house, and some fun places to walk around. Our train back to campus on Sunday left at 5:40am, but we didn't let that stop us from having a great time. Being back on campus was nice, too, though--it's weird how quickly we started to miss everyone. It's so good to have good friends.



04 November 2017

Section Dinner

First of all, I have a Public Service Announcement: my section (Section 1) is the best freshman section at TAC this year. It's objective.
Now that you know that, I'll recount a fun thing my section did this week...section dinner! Each freshman section goes to dinner at the house of one of their tutors, co-hosted by another tutor. We got two of our favorite tutors for section dinner, and it was such a fun night! It was really nice to be at a house again, eat homemade food, play with little kids, and just relax. We love hanging out together. On the way back to campus, we blasted Christmas music. And later that night, my choir sang for All-Night Adoration, which we have every First Friday.
Now we have a relaxing weekend, with our theology paper due in two weeks. We had no classes on All Saints Day (perks of Catholic school), so we're in a bit of an academic lull, which is nice. Every day it gets better. It's crazy how fast freshman year is going! What a blessing to be here.

15 October 2017

Tessie's Confirmation

I flew home on Columbus Day weekend for Tessie's Confirmation, since she asked me to be her confirmation sponsor. It was a really fun and relaxing visit, and a beautiful Confirmation Mass.
She chose two confirmation saints: St. Faustina and St. Martin de Porres. She needed to give one name for the bishop to say during the ceremony, so she chose Martina -- which she told me may be the feminine form of Martin, or may be a mash-up of Martin and Faustina. Who knows. It's cool because my aunt Nina, whom Mom and I visited at her abbey in Germany last year, has the religious name of Sr. Martina after St. Martin de Porres. So she and Tessie are saint twins now!
I feel so blessed to be Tessie's sponsor; it gives us an extra connection over the miles.


Love you, Tessie!