Monday, August 16, 2010

OC VB summer check in from Laura!

My family took a vacation to Egypt this summer! We started our vacation in Cairo. It was an adventure because our bags got lost and we didn't have them for two days! We toured the city visiting the Muhammad Ali mosque and experienced real Cairo driving. Drivers don't obey lines, run lights, and honk constantly-- quite an experience! We left Cairo on an overnight train where we met our bags. The individual compartments where very small and it made stops ALL night but the views out the window were amazing! We made it to Aswan the next day. We saw an unfinished obilisk, toured the Nassar Dam and the Philae Temple. We flew to Abu Smbel the next morning. This was my favorite temple! It was created by Ramses to show his Southern neighbors that his empire was powerful and to portray himself as a deity. We arrived on our cruise ship that night and begun our cruise down the nile! My favorite part of the cruise was the Egyptian night. Our group dressed up in Egyptian clothes and the workers played instruments and showed us how to dance. We toured a few more temples in Luxor and Edfu. On the last day of the cruise we toured the Valley of the Kings where all the pharaohs were buried in luxurious tombs. There were sixty two temples but we were only able to tour three. I remember that day was VERY hot, almost 125 degrees! We then toured a HUGE mortuary tomb for the only female pharaoh. Our last stop was the temple of Karnak which is the largest temple devoted to any deity in all history. We flew back to Cairo the next day to see the great pyramids. We went inside the second largest pyramid, the walk down was super steep and it was very humid! We saw the sphinx as well and went to the sound and light show.

The rest of my summer was far less exciting. Most days I hang out and play around with my friends and sisters. We go hiking often and spend days tubing and discovering new watering holes. But I also had two jobs, one at a nursery and one at an ice cream shop. And I volunteer at my local dog and cat shelter two or three times a week.

I visited Rosie last weekend! We made vegan fudge, went thrift shopping, and watched this crazy Japanese movie called Tampopo.

I can't wait to get back to school and see all yalls beautiful faces!

Monday, August 9, 2010

OC VB summer check in from Kristen!

Hey Guys!

This summer has been great so far. I’ve been working as a tennis instructor for kids at different YMCA summer camps all over Atlanta. Most of these kids have never been introduced to the sport, and it’s really exciting to be able to teach them something new. Some of the kids get really excited about it and are so eager to learn. Those are the ones that make my job fun. But in between dodging kids dangerously wielding tennis rackets and nursing bruises from misplaced tennis balls, I’ve been working out and hanging out with my friends. We’re all big music fans, so you can imagine our excitement when we saw a little impromptu jam session going on at the square in Downtown Decatur. It was a local band just kind of hanging out and having fun with whoever else happened to be there. It’s the kind of thing you see in movies and stuff, but it’s pretty magical to actually be a part of it. We liked them so much that we went to a show they were playing in the area. It was so much fun, and it reminded me how great local music can be.

This week has been the most exciting by far, though. I’ve been vacationing with my family in the beautiful US Virgin Islands. I’ve been taking this time to relax on the beach, soak up some sun, and hang out with my family. It is sooo beautiful here. The water is crystal clear and the sand is white. It’s impossible to not be happy here. I’ve most enjoyed the days when we went on sailing trips. We sailed to the British Virgin Islands and to different snorkeling spots. This was my first time snorkeling ever, and it’s really cool. I got to see all sorts of sea creatures. I am terribly afraid of critters in the land or sea, so I expected to not enjoy snorkeling too much. I thought I would just be a big scaredy cat. But once I started, I was mesmerized by the things that I saw. It was like swimming through my own little aquarium. I saw schools of fish and massive sting rays. I was really freaked out when I saw a huge shark lying on the ocean floor. Our boat’s captain told me that it was a nurse shark and it didn’t have any teeth and mostly slept during the day, but still, it was pretty frightening. Turtles are one of my favorite animals on the planet, so I was really excited when I spotted a sea turtle. I followed it around the reef until I got tired.

This has been a fabulous vacation, but I’m excited to be headed home soon. There’s only one more week before I load all of my stuff in the car and head up to Oberlin. I couldn’t be more excited. So I’ve got a week of packing up my life and saying goodbyes ahead of me. And then I’ll be saying hello to Oberlin and my new family there.

Hope everyone’s summer is going great!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

OC VB summer check in from Maggie!

After a whirlwind semester studying abroad in France, a return trip involving a lost pass port and a lost wallet in two different cities, I made it home to Carefree, Arizona. Right away, I began working for my cousin doing data entry, which has been an awesome job that has taught me a lot. After three weeks of Arizona where I successfully re-adapted to American things like eating dinner before 9 o’clock, smiling at strangers and tipping at restaurants, I went to Michigan for two weeks to work at my cousin’s office. It was really cool because all of my extended family is in Michigan and I got to hang out with a lot of cousins.

After Michigan, I came back to Arizona for a few more weeks. Thanks to summer storms, I was able to take advantage of the landscape and do a lot of hiking and horse back riding. My favorite hiking story was at the Grand Canyon. A friend from France who spent a year at Oberlin was visiting the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley with some friends so I drove out there to hang out with her. We decided to hike for a few hours down into the Grand Canyon. When we stopped going down and started going back up it was 110 degrees and we thought we were going to die of sunstroke (not really, but that’s what it felt like). However, when we reached the top, a huge storm had come and the temperature dropped to about 60 degrees and it started pouring. We could not believe how we went from baking to freezing so fast.

Next week I will begin the three day, cross country adventure of driving from Arizona back to Oberlin. It should be a blast involving tourist traps, lot's of playlists and 1,500 miles of interstate 40.