Grateful

As I reflect on my time with my mentor, planning and decorating her events with her and planning my own event, I can’t help but be really grateful for this opportunity. I am so glad that I was able to plan my own event, which turned out really great, and was able to work with someone so passionate about what they do!

In the beginning of the day of my event, I was a little stressed and overwhelmed because I forgot something at home and some things weren’t as “perfect” as I wanted them to be, but my friends did a great job relieving some of my stress by offering to set up tables and clean up, which I really appreciated. Overall, the dinner was really fun and I got a chance to hang out with my friends as well as practice what I was taught by my mentor.

Here are some pictures of how everything was set up:

Final Day

My last day as a mentee at Coast Music was full of warmth, laughter, and bitter-sweet endings. I arrived at Coast at approximately 2:20p to help load equipment into the trunk of my car and subsequently drove to our latest venue, this time the Hermosa Beach Playhouse. The task for the day was to set up for the Hermosa Valley Talent Show. One of the Coast bands (my sister Sophia is coincidentally being their drummer) happened to be the host. They were to be playing at intervals before and after the show, and between acts, at the back of the stage.

After assisting with loading in, setting up the stage, and sound checking, I went into the lobby to set up a booth for the Conservatory. We were there until around 9. I spent the remainder of the evening folding 1125 pieces of paper into 225 programs for Sundays recital (yes, I counted. I also felt quite guilty at the ridiculous amount of paper wasted however I did not say a word about it. Should I have? Maybe…) and sporadically sneaking into the house to watch the various acts, the majority consisting of young tween girls singing pop or theatre ballads, clad in pastel dresses, the more memorable ones being two consecutive songs from Hamilton (to answer your question, yes, they rapped. yikes…), the song How Far I’ll Go from Moana (this act was a bit problematic considering the girl was wearing what appeared to be an extremely inaccurate attempt at a native Polynesian dress to mimic the one from the movie. I’ll leave the details to your imaginations.), and a special performance by the school’s crossing guard that sang a song entitled The Crossing Guard Blues that he wrote himself. (I was actually very impressed by him. He was quite talented!)

Once the show ended, an exhausted Sophia and I helped load the equipment back into the cars, and drove back to Coast to put everything back. I felt sad that my project was over however goodbyes were not necessary, as I am to be attending the recital later today.

All in all, I am incredibly grateful for these past three weeks. I learned so much and had fun!

Friday- Running around at 7am

Even though Friday was my last day of working with my mentor, it didn’t feel like it because we had so much to prep and get done in order to be prepared for my party the next day. I started my last day at my mentor’s house at 7 am.We then drove to Downtown LA to pick up last minutes supplies as well as pick up stuff for my mentor’s events. After spending about three hours in Downtown LA, we went to my mentor’s friend Jenny’s house. Jenny is an amazing chef and a baker and she assisted me with making the food for my event. At Jenny’s, we prepped all the food and baked the cake (pictured below), which was really fun because I was able to learn lots of cooking and baking techniques and Jenny gave me a lot of tips on how to serve my food. After spending another 3 hours at Jenny’s, my and my mentor went to one more store to buy the remaining items and then I went home for the day. 

Attending the Fire

While all the interns left at 6am, I did not start work till 1pm today. I was working solo at basecamp today because the interns were on their way to help pick up the group from Chicago because their trip was ending that day. As I walked into Al’s office, she was nowhere to be found. JP was in his office so he let me know the plan. He told me that Al would most likely be near the sweat lodge fire. I found her by the fire pit and we began work. My main task for the day was to help tend the fire and help work the Sweat Lodge today. I started by collecting kindle to be used to start the fire. Afterwards, I walked to a water hose, connected a long hose to it, and walked it down to the fire pit. I had to water the grass around the edge of the rocks as a precaution for if a spark flew onto the grass. Al put me on fire duty all by my self which was a bit nerve-racking, but I was ready for the challenge. I began working by collecting the largest rocks I could find and throwing them into the fire either with my hands or with a shovel. At the beginning none of the rocks were very hot so they were not too hard to handle. Whenever the fire began to die down, I threw more firewood into the pit. I kept “recycling” the hot rocks in the pit so they would all heat up evenly. Once the group was ready, I brought some of the hot rocks into the lodge. As a safety precaution, I had to say “hot rocks!” every time I walked in which got very repetitive. I carried the rocks and piled them up in the center, where Doug (the sweat leader) told me to place them. Once the sweat began, I was able to relax until the group was ready for me to bring in some new hot rocks during the second round. One of the girls has asthma so she had to leave the lodge to grab her inhaler and another girl could handle the heat any longer so they both waited outside of the lodge with me until the group was done. Although the sweat lasted around 2 hours, the time flew by with me recycling the hot rocks around in the fire pit and finding little tasks to keep me occupied. Once the sweat was complete after two rounds, the group crawled out with the little energy left in them. It was nice to see how they group transitioned from being very nervous and almost resistant about completing this sweat to feeling energized and excited that they were able to experience such a powerful event with each other. The group jumped into the pond to cool off and I made my way to the Chicago group (who arrived while I was helping with the Sweat) to see what was happening. 

I ended up being on Kitchen duty today because whenever groups are present at basecamp, a home cooked meal is made. I was hoping to be able to chop up some ingredients, but they just had me cleaning dishes for the most part which was slightly disappointing, but I was happy to help. 

My Experience with Linseed Oil

Today was a normal work day. I woke up around 7:45 to get ready and start work at 8:30. Both Sam and Michael were in Moab because they had the day off. Ilikea, Alex and I went down and debriefed with Al. Our biggest project for the day was to roll/ brush linseed oil on all of the wood in the trailers. We had to sweep the dirt off the trailers before we started. This oil was extremely unpleasant to smell and it took a lot of effort to spread it over the rundown wood floors on these trailers. We listened to music to make this tedious job more enjoyable. By 11:00, I went into the office and talked to Amy, who is in charge of hiring Deer Hill staff, about the inter-workings of Deer Hill. Her biggest job is to keep in touch with all the staff that have worked with Deer Hill, hire new staff, fire staff that aren’t working and planning out which staff goes on which trips. It was interesting to see how much planning goes on because it is her responsibility to pick staff who have the right skills for different trips. For example, she sometimes needs a member with great climbing skills or backpacking skills.

By 11:30, I made my way back down the the trailers to help Alex and Ilikea finish a first coat on the rest of the trailers (Deer Hill has about eight). It was finally lunch time and I could tell that Alex and Ilikea were burnt out because they haven’t have much time to rest. After an hour lunch, we made our ways back down to meet with Al. For the rest of the day, we finished the last of the oiling project and then moved on to other projects. The oil ended up completely staining my pants and my shirt. I realized how much I didn’t enjoy working with this oil.

Alex and I helped “pre-trip” the Escape so that the four main interns could use it the next day to help pick up the Chicago group. I filled up two 20lb water jugs while Alex gathered a few other items the field staff requested. After this task, I chilled in the office for a little bit while Al gave Alex a rundown of how the group pick-up would work the next day. The interns were going to have to drive on a road called the Moki Dugway which is a very dangerous, curvy road. Once the debrief was over, Alex and I took on the daunting task to organize the “back stock” in the store. We needed to organize all the extra Rental Items that were stored in the back room of the store. JP gave us a rundown of what he was looking for and then we got to work. This task took the rest of the day, as we needed to walk to the recycling bins and grab cardboard boxes to use. Finally after organizing the bulk of the items, Al came in around 4:30 to let us off the clock.

River Launch

After a week of doing random tasks around the basecamp, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a river launch today (May 21, 2017). Michael and I walked down to the truck and we took off at 7am with two field staff. We were on the way to “Mexican Hat”, a boat loading stop on the San Juan River. It took around three hours until we took our first step in Utah. Right before we got to the river, we made a pit stop to fill up all the water jugs the group will use on the river. Once that was all packed up, we hit the road one last time and we finally made it to our destination. As we arrived, I realized that I began my rafting trip with Deer Hill two years ago at “Mexican Hat”. It was exciting to come full circle and make it back to the location where my experience with Deer Hill began two years ago. Today was a very physically demanding day because we had to unpack the whole trailer, blow up the five boats and transport all the equipment from the truck to the boats. Most of the equipment was very heavy so it required two sets of hands to transport them all. The water jugs themselves were 20lbs each. I helped blow up most of the boats which I was happy with because it didn’t require anyone else to tell me what to do. For a lot of the activities at Deer Hill, I often feel a little lost and I’m not completely sure how I can be helpful so I often found myself having to ask how I could help.

We had a bit of trouble figuring out which coolers went on which boat because the coolers were bigger than normal in order to accommodate enough food to feed around 26 people. It was very hot out there in the sun so after two hours I was fairly drained. After around 2.5 hours, the vans full of kids, the three other field staff and all their clothes arrived at Mexican Hat. We still had a bit of work to do, but having three extra sets of hands helped us finish up the rest of the work shortly after they arrived. Finally, the kids loaded all their dry backs onto the ore rigs which gave us time to eat our lunches. We all brought the vans and busses up to a parking lot .5 miles away from the launching zone to store the extra vehicles. After checking with the staff, Michael and I packed our stuff and the extra equipment into one of the cars that was brought with the group and we began our journey back to basecamp. Today was a different adventure and it was nice to change it up from the average work we have been doing at camp.

Another Day, Another Task

The Wednesday during my first week outlined the randomness that took place in this internship. Everyday, the interns and I were assigned to random tasks, depending on what the staff saw necessary. We all walked to Al’s office (my official mentor) at 8:30 to receive our duties today. I started the day with Sam (an intern from Alaska), setting up some of the sleeping pads and bags for students that were arriving from Chicago at the end of the week. Once we completed that, Al helped refresh our memories about how to work the stores computer system. Sam, Ilikea and I went into the students cabins to sand down the bed frames because the health inspector that arrived on Monday complained about the amount of splinters she found. This was a bit ironic because while the students are on their river/mountain/service trips, they encounter numerous of dangerous activities, but we wanted to make sure the inspector was pleased :). After this small task, we walked down to the shop and helped Alex test the blasters and stoves for upcoming trips. I personally had no idea how to help and what to even do and I was freezing at this point because it started to lightly snow/ drizzle, so I watched over them all. I helped roll up some of the flat ropes which are used to tie down the equipment on the rafts. My final task of the day was to take out the rocks from the sweat lodge. This lodge looks like a little hut, which Deer Hill uses at the end of the students trips. The students go into this lodge and the leader uses hot rock to create steam. This lodge symbolizes change and Deer Hill uses it as a way to let the students reflect on what they learned over their trips and discuss anything that was brought up. Today was a half day so we got off at 12. Luckily, a few interns and I drove to Mesa Verde National Park and spent a few hours looking around and going on a hike.

The Brewing Community

The titles of today’s post was supposed to be something along the lines of “final brew” or “bottling the brew” or something fun like that. Unfortunately, my mentors had a family emergency and needed to leave immediately for Colorado. This means we could not finish the beer Friday. Don’t worry, it will still be happening this week and all are welcome to come.

Reflecting back on the last three weeks, it is incredible how much I have learned; not only about the steps to brewing beer but the community of homebrewers out there. Through my research and reading, I came across so many different stories and examples of how brewing beer truly brings a certain group of people together. I will be sad not to be involved with the brewery as much next year but am excited to see what they do in the future.

Last Day

Yesterday was my last day working at El Marino, and I am also proud to say it was one of the best days.  The fifth graders in Ms. Padilla’s class spent most of the day practicing their recorders for the graduation ceremony and reciting their speeches.  I spent my time conversing with Adam and I also had a very long discussion with Sra. Lozada, the class assistant.  We talked about how she works to educate the students, her own experience in grade school, and her concerns about the students in middle school.

I worked afterward with putting the chairs away from the practice graduation ceremony and I ate my lunch in the classroom.  In Sr. Armenta’s classroom, I did my usual job helping students with vocabulary flashcards.  This time, it was very pleasant and I felt the students were making real progress.  I worked with Kayden and Mila, two very sweet kids who I suspect may have an affinity towards each other.  That could have contributed to their good behavior and politeness.  At the end of the day, Mila gave me a hug, and Kayden told me thank you and shook my hand.  I walked outside feeling proud of myself, refreshed, and happy.

Week Three

On Tuesday I was upstairs with Detectives and I was helping them make a database of all the criminals from 2017 so it will be easier for them to find someone if they commit the crime again. This is a lot like it is in the movies and tv shows when they can just look someone up based on what they look like or the crime they committed. Its way faster because then they don’t have to go through ever file trying to find one guy who may or may not exist. I got to learn lots of new vocab. and codes that stand for different crimes. At the beginning of the week all I wanted was to be done. But as the week went on I slowly started to get close to everyone and on Friday I really didn’t want to leave.

On Thursday I was upstairs with them again and I did a lot of the same things. But one of the officers brought in free food for everyone. Because they are moving to a different station so it was there pay out. I think I didn’t pay for food the whole 3 weeks I was there. I was either in a meeting and free food was offered or I would be at a restaurant with cops and they would be given free food. So we would just leave a giant tip.

Friday was really sad. I’m going to miss everyone. The detective I was working for didn’t know it was my last day until right before I left. He felt bad because he said he would have taken me out for lunch. But it was ok I went out to lunch with cops downstairs and they told me that I should watch Friday the 13th when its dark outside at camp and then walk around by myself. Before I left the detective told me he would write me a letter of recommendation if I needed it because he was really impressed with my work ( I was shocked).

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