Tag: happy

Seaside #2

Following my relaxing first night in Seaside, I began the more busy second day on the wrong foot by being thirty minutes late to checkout thanks to a missed alarm. Luckily, the folks at the Sandy Cove Inn were forgiving and I made my way out free of charge. My experience with the Inn was fantastic, and certainly is recommended by me for anyone looking for an affordable place to stay while visiting the beautiful Oregon coast. After checking out, I made my way to my home for the second night – a small campsite in Gearheart, Oregon.

As fast as I could, I pitched my tent and checked in to make up for my late start and reach all of the activities on the itinerary for the day. After a quick set-up, I rushed to Ecola State Park, the first destination of the day. Through a mile-long traverse on an extremely narrow road, I traveled deeper and deeper into the state park, until coming towards a crossroads with an overlook and beach trail. 

I chose the overlook first, and the view did not disappoint. I looked over a sandy, beautiful beach with a rock-filled coast, and was amazed by the spectacle I laid my eyes on. On top of the initial trail, I traveled into a less-traveled trail and came across another interesting view of an enormous rock a few hundred feet off of the coast, which also was an amazing sight. For about an hour, I took in the view while attempting to capture the beauty of the park via my less-than-stellar photography.

 

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Once I’d had enough of the overlook and the views from there, I decided to make my way down to the beach itself, which was even more gorgeous than the view overlooking it. The first section of the trail crossed over a bridge surrounded by green and was a great entrance into one of the most unique places I’ve been to in the form of Indian Beach.

 

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The beach was a sight hard to put into words, where the smooth, white sand kissed the bottoms of my feet as I walked across its expanse. Numerous huge rocks jutted out from the water mysteriously, capturing my eye instantly. Another notable piece of the view was the storied lighthouse a mile and a half into the Pacific Ocean, a symbol of death due to the many fatalities of its builders and the many urns contained inside its body.

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In what felt like a few minutes but ended up being a few hours, I had had my fair share of the views off of the main trails at Ecola State Park. I returned to my car and headed for my next destination for the day – Cannon Beach.

I arrived at Cannon Beach in the late afternoon, where I immediately searched for a bite to eat as I was famished. I came across Pizza A’ Fetta and I have to say I was beyond satisfied. If I’m ever to visit Cannon Beach again, Pizza A’ Fetta will be a go-to location, as the pizza may be the best I’ve ever had. The prosciutto pizza was delicious and had a bit of a bite to it, which made it all the better. Following my meal, I headed for the beach on a full and very satisfied stomach.

Onto Cannon Beach. Although the weather was not optimal – overcast and a bit breezy – the well-known Haystack Rock was still just as amazing as I’d heard and seen in pictures. To put into perspective just how massive the 250-foot-tall behemoth of a rock was, I mistook it to be close by and began walking towards it, then realized my mistake when I finally reached the rock over twenty minutes later! At the time I reached the rock, the sun was setting over the top of its peak, making for a beautiful picture of the natural flairs reflecting off of its surface.

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When I’d finished admiring the gargantuan that is Haystack Rock, I began my long walk back to the opposite side of the beach. Unfortunately, the sunset was a bit disappointing due to the low clouds that covered the sky, but still had a bit of a moody aura to it which made for a decent sight.

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The sun set completely around 9:15, and I quickly made my way to the car as the breeze was getting quite chilly. I completed my drive back to Gearheart in just a few minutes, where I brought firewood and Smores’ materials, relaxing by the fire until it was time for bed. With memories of endless beaches, a one-of-kind view in Haystack Rock, and an extremely full stomach, I drifted into sleep, ending the perfect weekend getaway I had the privilege to experience as happy as can be.

 

 

 

Seaside #1

After watching the past few days of summer slowly tick away before school comes back around, I decided that a spontaneous trip was necessary. A four hour trek from my hometown of Seattle, Washington, led to a beautiful, albeit small, town by the name of Seaside, Oregon. Over the four hours, the trip was highlighted by the Astoria-Megler Bridge, a four-mile-long mammoth of a bridge with gorgeous views of the Columbia River. The trestles of the bridge were especially unique due to the steep and consistent incline of the end of the bridge, making for an experience unlike one I’d had before. A short twenty minutes later, I’d arrived in Seaside, my destination for the weekend.

In Seaside, I enjoyed the mile-long beach while the tide was out, soaking my feet in the crystal-like, almost unreal water of the Pacific Ocean. After walking along the beach, I made my way into the downtown of Seaside, which consisted of numerous unique and memorable small shops. One particular store that will remain in my memory was the Portland Fudge shop, as I purchased a bit of the chocolate peanut butter fudge and my tastebuds were instantly touched by God’s own personal hands. As I traversed through the remainder of the town while indulging in the delectable fudge I’d just picked up, I couldn’t help but smile at the small-town vibe of the town. Through each shop, I found myself surrounded by friendly shopkeepers who encouraged my touristy activities, which included trying on wacky hats in the hat shop in the mirror and laughing hysterically at the results.

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After a short time in the town, I made way back to a local burger joint by the name of the U Pub, where I took a burger and fries to go for a night at the beach. Despite the slight walk down to the water, the burgers held strong and were a delicious treat to accompany the wonderful sunset that followed. Though the clouds covered a bit of the sunset, the atmosphere and miles of beach made for a wonderful sunset regardless.

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To top things off, I stayed in the Sandy Cove Inn, a unique place with one-of-a-kind rooms for each guest. I was treated to the Vintage Games Room, one of the most interesting in the entire Inn, which included bocce balls, numerous checkerboards, and figures plastered among the walls that unfortunately were more creepy than they were interesting. Besides that, the room was great and topped what was a fantastic day in a gorgeous small seaside town!

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Father’s Day

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Sometimes, I believe that it’s far too easy to take for granted character traits and skills that others have ingrained in you from a young age, as they seemingly have always been there and were inherited, not taught. However, as I reflect on this idea since Father’s Day is coming up, I can point to numerous personal strengths I’ve picked up due to my upbringing and I want to take a minute to discuss a few. I am forever grateful for the things my father has taught and instilled in me to make me who I am today and believe they’re more than worth reflecting on for Father’s Day this year.

 

Athetically, I was always a stand-out – or so I thought. I took the time to really think back, not just in the last five years, but back to the third grade, where I was an uncoordinated and overweight child who was socially awkward and had very few friends. Though this was a tough stage early on in my life, the defining moment came when I decided to try out for a soccer team, not even because I liked it, but because I thought my cousins were great and they were trying out as well, so I wanted to be like them.

 
Tryouts came around, and I made the “D” team, the worst team in the entire club, yet I was delighted. At the beginning of the season, the team was awful, and I was not one of the better players. However, by the end of the season, I was likely the team’s best player, and was no longer overweight, or uncoordinated. Before my reflection on this time in my life, I assumed this improvement was solely due to me growing up and that I was simply getting older, but this truly wasn’t the case. A certain presence on the sidelines was encouraging me and pushing me to be the best I could be every day, and I would not have made it without him.

 
From day one, my dad was my number one supporter. Every game, he was there on the sidelines, shouting positive encouragement, and occasionally berating a mediocre referee for a blown call or an opposing player for a cheap shot. Also, when the game ended, my dad was always there to speak of the positives and negatives of my game, helping me find ways to better myself each time. This was always great for me, but his influence did not end there.

 
Growing up, my dad himself was a phenomenal athlete, as he still holds records at his high school thirty years later and also ran track at the Division 1 level. Track is a sport that requires unbreakable determination and grit unlike any other sport, and my dad was the grittiest of the gritty. To this day, he speaks of track with such passion and detail that I can imagine him, barreling down the track, adrenaline pumping, with a look of pure determination on his face, daring any other runner to pass him on HIS track.

 
From the marathon my dad ran at eleven years old to the hundred mile running weeks he completed on a regular basis, his love for his craft was clear to anyone who took the briefest of glances, and was passed on to me instantly. This passion fueled me to be the best in whatever I wanted to do, not only on the soccer field, but in the classroom as well. I was the child, who, at ten years old, would reflect on a loss of a meaningless soccer game for hours after the game was completed, nearly inconsolable.

 
Although I wasn’t the most talented player, that undying passion took me to unprecedented levels in my sport due to my sheer hatred of losing. My senior year of high school, very early in the year, I received my first scholarship. Eight months later, and I had six offers to mull over. On top of that, I graduated with a 3.7 GPA, and finished my senior year with a 4.0. My father’s role in these achievements were undeniable, as I see the same determination and passion in myself in competitive situations that I’ve been in awe of for years when speaking to him. I’m proud to have came to be like my father in that respect, and cannot send enough thanks his way.
At the end of the day, my father has given me so much more than just a burning passion and competitive spirit. Another standout trait of my father that I’ve also been gifted is his charitability. My dad teaches and coaches at the same high school he attended years ago and has been there for around thirty years, yet still goes at his daily tasks like it is his first year.

 
As a coach, my father will go further than any other coach would even think to in order to see his athletes achieve their goals. I’ve heard countless stories of my father, driving students home when their parents never showed up to pick them up, or buying their cleats and pre-game meals because their families couldn’t afford them.

 
In one particular case, my dad called the University of Washington head coach nearly thirty times, attempting to get one of his athletes a spot on the team, and was repeatedly denied. Despite this, he was persistent due to his love for sport and helping others succeed, and the coach eventually succumbed to his efforts. His athlete, Mark, ended up being the University of Washington’s best runner for three straight years, and the coach still thanks him for his refusal to take no for an answer to this day. Stories like these are not one-offs, but instead are examples of the millions of amazing things my father has done to help his athletes succeed, always there to lend a hand, just as he was for me.

 
In addition to this, my dad’s teaching abilities and efforts match his coaching ones, too. My dad chose to teach math support, meaning many of his students have learning disabilities, solely because he loves nothing more than helping students who struggle succeed, as he believes they simply were not in a situation that bred success. He’ll go to the greatest lengths for each student to ensure they can be the best they can be, giving each of them the same level of encouragement and advice that took me to where I am today, and does so each day without faltering.

 
In one memorable moment, I went to ratemyprofessor.com, interested to see what students thought of my father’s teaching. His rating was five stars out of five stars. I smiled, immediately sending the link over to my father. He texted me back, so excited to see how much his students appreciated his efforts, as it is easy to forget when teaching in a high school full of unmotivated students.

 
Though this is a brief and seemingly irrelevant anecdote, the five stars meant more to me than just as a teacher. My father was a five-star father to me, turning me into a successful, passionate, and giving human being who is proud to share many traits with the one who raised him. As I continue to mature, I appreciate the traits we share more and more, and decided it was time to share my appreciation with the world. So, thank you, dad, for helping shape me into someone I’m proud to be and for being the positive role model every child would love to have. I’m very blessed to have grown up with you as my dad and never again will I take for granted what you’ve taught me. Happy Father’s Day.

Sunset

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As I passionately wait for the privilege to see you during the golden hour

Where every minute spent with you is genuine

I reflect on your beauty

A sight so addictive and one that never grows old

 

However, your allure lies not in your appearance

But instead in your complexity.

 

I see dark red during your happiest, most open moments

When you pour out your heart to all of those there to witness your grandeur

 

Other times, I see orange or yellow when you’re content

Smiling for viewers and offering a friendly wave through your change in color

 

Some days, I see rays of multiple colors, shining between the clouds as you’re trying to remain positive.

You’re not so outgoing, but folks who pay attention still can spot your charm from a mile away.

 

And, on your rough days, I see nothing.

On these occasions, the clouds cover you, overshadowing your magnificence.

 

However, I fear not

For I know you’ll be back soon

And I’ll wait patiently, for your elegance and beauty are unmatched

Nor will they ever be. 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Tristan White

@Twhite.Photos

Control


All my life, I’ve always been the one who had to be under control. I live for the feeling of safety in knowing that I’m in the driver’s seat for everything I do, and cannot stand otherwise. My love of control goes down to even the car I drive, which has a manual transmission. The sensation of shifting through the gears and knowing that I am determining what rate the engine rotates at is not only satisfying, but also calming knowing that I have more control than most. I thought that this insatiable need for control would aid me in achieving my dreams, as I believed that I controlled my own destiny and had to make things happen myself. Though this is true in some cases, I’ve realized that there’s far more too achieving one’s dreams than forcing them to happen.

As it turns out, chasing dreams certainly plays a part in bringing them to life, but I have learned that always being in control isn’t the key to success, and actually may inhibit growth. I learned this lesson the hard way-through my own experiences, and tough ones at that.

About a year ago, I’d just ended my first year of collegiate soccer in California. From the time I was 8 years old, I always dreamed of playing college soccer in California, an escape from the rainy days of Seattle. I achieved that goal, and living the dream was nothing short of amazing. However, my dream was short-lived. I misstepped at practice after jumping for a ball, and instantly fell to the ground, writhing in pain. In that single motion, an action I’ve repeated thousands of times in my time playing soccer, I blew out my knee and my career as a collegiate athlete was over.

What followed this injury was several months of misery, and nearly a year without soccer. I was forced to return home to a nearby community college and pick up a near full-time job to pay for my own place and struggled with the depression I felt in relation to my injury just about every day. I reached possibly my lowest point of all time and couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, only darkness and uncertainty.

Thankfully, great times were just around the corner, and my injury actually led to a period of growth for myself. By giving up soccer, I found a renewed passion in my studies as I was no longer stressing about due dates and forcing myself to do my schoolwork. With the extra time I had after giving up soccer, I was able to enjoy and actually look forward to school for the first time in years. Also, as my passion for school increased, my GPA increased as well. The improvement in my grades opened many doors for furthering my education, including an acceptance to Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, a top-notch business school in the area.

Through my many trials and tribulations on my journey from failure as a collegiate athlete to success as a student, I had a major epiphany. I realized that my lack of control in the situation I dealt with contributed to my success, and that I truly cannot ever control everything in my life. Though I believe it to be extremely important to control what you can and set proper goals, no individual can ever hope to control the tragedies life hands out.

Although these tragedies are often quite difficult to deal with and seemingly unbearable, the low points in life almost always are pathways to the highest points. There are lessons to be learned in tough situations, which strengthen character and make one more well-equipped to deal with future misfortunes that are bound to occur.

Unfortunately, I spent a great deal of my life living apprehensively and guarding myself from potential deterrents that could possibly get in the way of my goals and dreams, but have finally seen first-hand that doing so is quite naive and limits one’s potential. It is inevitable for there to be unavoidable twists and turns along the road to success-a word that may have a much different definition and form than it did at the beginning of life than it will later, as it now does for me-but that with each twist and turn, a straightaway lies inbetween.

What lies at the end of the of the road, though? Who knows. So, take the risk that few are willing to and let go of the steering wheel. Follow your ambitions and goals with no back-up plans or boundaries and strive for whatever it is you dream of – lose control.

Smile

Smile

As of late, I’ve been finding it extremely difficult to find reasons to smile. Life’s been changing far too quickly and a multitude of seemingly endless personal issues have taken their toll. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve tended to dwell on these issues and feel sympathy for myself, leading to a miserable past few weeks. However, my eyes were opened to how selfish my feelings were by the least likely of sources.

A few days back, I ventured into the woods with a friend and came across an old man playing guitar. His happiness was infectious, brightening everything and everyone in his presence. I couldn’t help but follow suit and smile as I passed by, as the man’s positivity changed my mood instantly. At this time, I thought that he was merely enjoying himself, as he smiled and strummed away with reckless abandon, relishing his free time. In reality, I could not have been more wrong.

A few days later, I went for a run in the woods, alone this time. I was surprised to see the man again, playing the guitar with the same unforgettable smile and positive air about him that caught my attention previously. This time, though, I noticed a great deal more than just the man. I noticed his bicycle that lay next to him, his bag of tattered clothes, and a delapidated, poorly-assembled shelter nearby. The man was without a home.

After my run, I couldn’t help but think about the man with the guitar. The more I thought about the man, the more angry I became at myself. I am a healthy, well-off college student with plenty of positives in my life and with millions of reasons to be happy, complaining about a few personal issues while a homeless man plays the guitar with the carefree joy I wished I had. That’s when I realized that the pain and the stress caused from temporary issues like the ones I’m dealing with are just that-temporary.

As I went to bed that night, I vowed to do one thing: Forget about my worries and do as the man with the guitar does-smile.