The Amazing Summer of Miss Michelle has already been underway for quite sometime; however, my vague, incomprehensive (which I hereby christen a real word), rambling, sporadic updates fall deplorably short of offering any real insight into this most wonderful month and a half. Therefore, this is going to be one hell of a long post. Get ready.
June 11th, 2010:
I graduated from high school. Commencement was satisfying, if a bit awkward. 31 psudeohomeschooled students who made no pretense of knowing each other. Outfits which ranged from prom-worthy gowns to jeans and a t-shirt. Blissfully short speeches (including my commencement address.) Agonizingly long slideshow. Hideous blue gowns. Unique and admittedly touching actual graduation ceremony. Old friends, family, cheesecake. Hurry home and crash.
June 12th - June 19th 2010: NFL Nationals
3:30am up and leaving for Nationals!
Nationals was definitely an interesting tournament. It was bittersweet because it was my very last high school forensics competition and quite possibly my last forensics competition ever because the odds of me in college debate are shaping up to be pretty slim. It was slightly odd as well, because the event I qualified in (DX) I had only done three times before as a joke and had never actually received a ballot or watched another competitor so I pretty much had no idea what I was doing. However, I ended up just really savoring the opportunity and concentrated instead on making the most of the experience as opposed to trying to be competitive. Honestly I am disappointed with how I ended up doing overall for my final Nationals, but I was proud of my record in DX (my cumulative scores was 40 and they broke at 27 so not all that bad. My round ranks were: 4,2,4,2,3,3 which were the best in DX (and extemp in general sans Mitch Murdock) from WA and also incredibly respectable for someone as inexperienced in the event as I.) Supplemental events were where I really started to unravel. I was getting sick on Wednesday and while my first two (guaranteed) rounds of EC were the absolute best EC speeches I'd ever given the later two sucked and I was eliminated painfully early. In fact I was feeling so sick I skipped my consolation event altogether on Thursday and instead used the morning and afternoon to rest and recharge. Many of my friends were incredibly successful at Nationals, though, and I am so so proud of them all. Seeing Kansas City and experiencing my first club (Jardine's) was also a fun experience.
June 29th - July 4th 2010: Club Rust
Club Rust contrasted Nationals in many ways. Accommodations, weather (no humidity :D), purpose, etc. Rancho La Paloma is, in your author's humble opinion, one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is so completely relaxing and peaceful and I look forward to going back again and again for the rest of my able-bodied life. The food was incredible as only authentic Mexican food can be, I felt useful and (somewhat) more competent on the worksite and again made wonderful new friends while rekindling old ones. I got to practice my Spanish a little and made friends with the two neighbor girls helping on our house - Miriam and Liz. The last day they went around and had each person from our house write on their shirts, then asked me if they could write on mine. I soaked my shirt in vinegar and hope their messages stay on it forever. I am continually amazed by how much we can convey when languages don't match. It was almost more of a language bridge than a language barrier. I pounded nails on the latrine roof with Erika and Jorge, mudded drywall with Miriam, and (at her insistence) recited the alphabet and counted to 100 in both languages with Liz. In addition, I renewed engagement vows, got engaged a few more times, and even became married in the back of the bus early one morning on the way to the worksite. I love Club Rust not only because what it holds - lifelong friends, relaxation, beauty, delicious food, cold showers - but also because of why - bringing Christ and stability to a region ravaged by poverty, American greed, and the drug war one house and family at a time.
July 9th-July 11th: Long Beach
On a spur-of-the-moment weekend vacation the Herman side of my family made the trek down to Long Beach at the treat of my Uncle Jeff. We enjoyed a freezing pool (although once we discovered the root of its polar temperature - a hose spewing freezing water into the pool - and shut it off the temperature warmed considerably), the Buck Hunting Game, long walks on the beach, go-karts, bumper cars, Mexican food (not NEARLY as good as real Mexican food but at his treat I wasn't going to complain), and time with my family. My little cousin Lauren is just getting old enough that she remembers me and playing with her is such a treat. I love finally having a cousin (two, counting Seth.) It was a fun break from daily living but I'm ready to stay home for a while.
Now that all of my travels have been elaborated upon I briefly considered delving into my summer reading and movie plans but decided against it. For now, travels recounted will suffice. Maybe I'll do some movie/book stuff tomorrow. Who knows! I love summer.