It's kind of a big deal...

Friday, September 30, 2011


In November 2010, my life changed forever when I met 42 little Indian kids in the Northern Himalayas. I was there with a group called Youth Making a Difference, (check them out at Amazing) which takes about 25 teenagers and a couple adult leaders on a humanitarian trip somewhere in India! We were lucky enough to go to a little village called Shillai. We were the first white people to ever visit this little tiny village, so basically we were movie stars! It was fantastic! But I'm not writing this post to tell you about my rise to fame. I'm writing this post to tell you about the children that still cross my mind every day.

Like I said, there were 42 of them in the school we taught at. It was a little two-roomed, mint chocolate chip ice cream colored school house at the top of a steep hill. I had an interesting mindset when I went to India, which I think many of us can apply to life. My older brother Josh had gone to India, and told me I would just fall in love. I decided I didn't want that to happen. I didn't want to come home and be so sad that I left my kids behind, so I decided I would just go, teach English, and go home. Done. I was very closed off to the idea of letting the kids change my life! I think so many times this happens in our personal lives. We're too afraid of becoming better; of letting something really enrich our lives. Whether it be falling in love, doing extremely well on a project, or just "living in the moment," sometimes we just fall short. We deny that love, we don't let a project consume us, and we choose to worry about everything in the past or present, instead of focusing on the now.

That is how I felt about those kids. I was too scared to fall in love with them! So as I was hiking up the mountain to go meet them for the first time, I had my mind set that I would NOT get attatched, and I would just teach. Of course it did not work out this way! The minute I stepped up those steps and looked at those kids, I just started to cry. I wasn't sad, I just was so taken back by the sight of the kids that I FINALLY got to meet after a year of preparing. Both myself and the children felt pretty strange at first. We couldn't talk because of the language barrier, so we just kind of sat there and looked at each other! But then we had a translator tell them how to play "duck-duck-goose," and all the sudden all of us were on the same page. It was a fairytale. Playing duck-duck-goose on the roof a school house with 42 children.

We spent a week with them, and in that week I learned more about life than any book or school lesson has taught me. Those kids had absolutely NOTHING. Every night on the news we see little kids that live in poverty-stricken countries and have "nothing." Of course they really do have nothing, but until I actually SAW the reality of nothing, I didn't believe it really existed. Their clothes were ripped and tattered, the pencils they wrote with were nothing but little stubs, and food was rice with a little sauce every day. The water they drank was dirty, flies covered them, their hands and faces were a mess, and they lived in a place where most people would just be absolutely miserable with no running water, no postal system, and little electricity. These kids weren't miserable. In fact, they were the complete opposite. They were the happiest children I have ever met in my entire life. Their smiles, oh their smiles just melted my heart. They had the most beautiful little faces, even though they were dirty! They just were happy to learn, happy to be with their friends, happy to play, and happy to be alive.

Those kids taught me so much. They taught me how to open my heart, and be accepting of so many emotions. I now believe that if we don't let ourselves be completely open to certain experiences, we won't get everything out of them. We need to stop being so cautious, and just throw ourselves into life events! There is a quote that I really like, from the book "Tuesdays with Morrie," it says-

"Take any emotion-love for a woman or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back from the emotions, if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them, you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief, you’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is."  

Pretty powerful, right? We should take Morrie's advice, and stop being so afraid that we forget to experience all the positive emotions.

When I was with those kids I learned how to "live in the moment." I would go and spend about 6 hours with them, and just be there! I wouldn't be thinking about what would happen that night, or how hungry or tired I was. I was just with them! Laughing, smiling, and attempting to talk to each other! I also learned how to just let myself show what emotion I was feeling. I don't think there has been a time since India that I have smiled as much as I did them. The kids were just FUNNY, and the fact that we couldn't understand each other's language made it even more funny! I would try to talk to them in English, but they would go off in Hindi, and we'd both end up laughing because we couldn't understand! We had to learn to communicate through smiling, holding hands, and laughing. The universal language.

Of course, with every ounce of happiness we enjoy, some pain must come along with it. Saying goodbye to those kids is honestly the hardest thing I have ever gone through. It broke my heart right in two. Probably into 4 actually. No part of the "goodbye" was "good." It was just "Bye." We were all crying as we held those little kids in our arms and tried to tell them how much we loved them, and how much we would miss them. I was hugging a little girl named Reetu, and when I pulled away she wouldn't look at me because she was so ashamed of her tears. Everyone's hearts were breaking because we knew it was a real goodbye. Some kids didn't understand what was happening, they just cried because everyone else did! But most of our older kids did know, and they would hug us and not let go. But India has little ways of showing that our work was not for nothing. As we walked back up the big mountain to our cars, I was crying of course, and a lady that had been watching us from her home all week came up and held my hand the whole way up the mountain. She didn't talk to me, she didn't look at me, she just held my hand and walked with me. When we reached the top, she wiped away my tears, gave me a hug, and left. Just like that!

"Asha" means hope. Those kids gave me so much hope for this world. Good people still exist, and they are all around us. We just have to let them influence our lives. I hope one day, either in this life or the next, I'll be able to see my kids again, and tell them how much "Asha" they gave me. How much I love them.

I apologize for this post being so long. India is something very near to my heart, and I just felt everyone should get a glimpse of it. :)


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ode to the Siblings!

So this isn't really an "ode." I won't be making up some clever poem to tell the world about my siblings. Being in college you really start to appreciate your family! (Mom and Dad, an "ode" is coming for you soon! ;) ) So, I thought I would tell you about my totally awesome siblings!

My brother Matt and I are twins. Physically, we both turn sideways and disappear, and we act and talk a lot a like! He's always been the "awesome oldest brother!" Matt has always been a good example of how to be socially. He's the most open, easy to talk to person I have ever met! When we get together, it's just chaos. You see, we talk in movie quotes. Oh, and The Office. He and I do share a love of The Office, and often quote it. (MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP!) Sometimes we're kind of obnoxious to be around, because people don't know what we're talking about because it's all movie quotes! But it's usually funny, so....ya! We have a very chill relationship; we make fun of each other all the time, but we both know we love each other SO much so it's ok! Matt and I also share a love of reading. When we were younger we would have "read-a-thons" in his room, and stay up all night reading and eating popcorn! I just LOVED that! We are both history lovers, and would talk about all the different Presidents of the US. (Taft was our favorite!) Matt is just awesome. He still is an excellent example to me, and I talk to him all the time on the phone while I'm down here at school. Love ya!

Mallory. What would I do or where would I be without the GREATEST sister on the planet, Mallory. I don't think she realizes how much I appreciate her and NEED her!! Being the only other girl sibling, she is quite simply "my sister," and I love it! Her and I have had SO much fun! We both shared an 'NSYNC obsession. She loved JC, I loved Chris. We used to make up dances to songs like, "If my sister's in trouble." (It was the coolest dance EVER!) Our favorite song is "Together Again" by Janet Jackson. Listen to it. It's awesome. We just have tons of fun memories! We also used to have sleep overs! She would sleep with her feet by my head, and I would end up kicking her in the head all night. Sorry! Love ya! She is AWESOME. She's such a hard worker, and even with her busy schedule, she finds time to talk to her crazy little sister! I go to her for everything! I'll call to just vent, or she'll talk me through boy problems, school problems, just EVERYTHING! I was the first to know she was pregnant, so I think we have a pretty tight relationship. ;) Mallory is just awesome, and is so friendly, and has the funniest laugh on the planet. She does my toenails and my hair and buys me stuff and I just LOVE HER! Everyone should wish they have a sister like her. I'm lucky enough to have one already!

Joshua. JOSHWAAAAA!! Josh is the funniest, but best "older" brother on the planet. He is my best friend! (But so are Mallory and Matt, so it's ok!) Josh and I never did cute little sleepovers when we were younger. We fought! We were typical siblings! But then something happened, I guess we both grew up or something, and one day we were friends! He was a senior when I was a sophomore, and I don't think I would've gotten through that first year without him! I hung out with him and all his friends! He was the coolest older brother, and some of his friends would ask if it was really ok that I hung out with them, but he always stuck up for me and would say, "Ya of course! She's pretty cool!" It was great! He always called me weird nick names though. For some reason "Chica" became the name of choice. Pretty soon ALL his friends would call me Chica. I never understood why that was the name he picked, but whatev. His friends liked ticking him off by saying how "hot" I was. The lacrosse team was the WORST! They would have cheers and say things like, "Katie on 3, 1 2 3 KATIE!" He would get SOOO mad! But it just showed his love for me. :) Josh also did the typical "older brother has to approve of all guys you date," deal. He only ended up approving of one. And I don't think that person even knows who they are! Oh well! Josh and I had many late night talks in my room. We would talk about school, or the future, or girls and guys or just anything. He ALWAYS encouraged me to go for my dreams. If there is one word I would associate with Josh, it would be a dreamer. Either he would be off in his own dreamland and you wouldn't know what in the world he was talking about or doing, or he would encourage others to go for their dreams. I don't think I would be where I am, majoring in criminal justice at UVU, if it wasn't for the talks we had. He's on his mission now, and I keep telling him to throw himself in front of a car so he gets hurt and has to come home. I MISS HIM SO MUCH! But I also know he's helping others, and doing something he loves, so I guess it's ok that he stays. :) Josh is just the coolest, and I love him!

Those are my siblings! We are the bestest of friends! We have so much fun together, and I am the luckiest girl on the planet to have friends like them. Thanks cuties! Love you all! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I got the "blogger bug..."

You know when you just get sick of studying, working, and going to school and you just need something new and different? Well I figured since I like reading other people's blogs so much, I would start one of my own! A blog full of stories, quotes, songs, and just random thoughts I seem to be having! What I'm trying to say is, my blog will be my place to rant! Woo hoo!

I suppose I should start by introducing myself. I am an 18 (soon to be 19) year old college freshmen, majoring in criminal justice. Yes I only weigh 100 pounds, and I do get many comments like, "Criminal justice!? I never would've put you in that major!" Well of course you wouldn't! I couldn't take down a grown man if I jumped off the roof onto his back! (I would just get a funny piggy-back!) But growing up with a father in law enforcement, I have always had a fascination with police work! I always loved going to work with him, (Even if it was just to draw on the big white board in his office!) and I thought the whole uniform with the gun, and the badge, and the handcuffs was just the COOLEST thing ever! I loved hearing all his crazy stories, but I also knew his job was not all fun and games. A lot of it was paperwork and sitting in a car just WAITING for someone to speed by. I have a "realistic" approach to law enforcement, rather than thinking it will all be shooting, tazering, and handcuffing every day of my life. When I was 16 I had the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy Youth Leadership program in Quantico, Virginia. It was a leadership conference that focused specifically on leadership in law enforcement, with special classes in subjects like juvenille violence, and the Constitution. I basically spent a week in college-like classes, "majoring" in law enforcement and leadership! I. FELL. IN. LOVE. I sat in those classes and just soaked everything in like a huge sponge! At the end of the week I asked myself why I wouldn't go into criminal justice! I adored it! So, here I am! Doing push-ups every night, and enjoying every second of my criminal justice class in school. I aspire to work with the K-9 unit, seeing as I need something large and scary to help me take the bad guy down. Maybe we'll jump off the roof together, the dog and I.

My blog is named after a song by the very talented Dave Matthews. It is off his album "Big Whiskey and the Gru Grux King." The title of course, is "Funny the Way It Is." The thing I like about Dave Matthews, is he puts absolutely BRILLIANT lyrics, with UNREAL music that just makes you want to JAM! Most of the time, I do not even notice the significance of the lyrics until I sit down and listen. "Funny the Way It Is" talks all about the irony of the world. How "one kid walks 10 miles to school, while another's dropping out," or "someone's broken heart becomes your favorite song." It really gets my mind thinking, and sort of puts into perspective what should be of importance and priorities in all of our lives. I highly recommend it. I actually highly recommend any Dave. I don't know if I should publish this or not...but I will because I'm Katie and say whatever I want. Davegasim. That's what'll happen when you just close your eyes and bask in the Dave goodness. Anyways...

Back to my life. I work at a local rec center as a lifeguard! I have worked there for 3 years, and made one rescue for every year that I've been there. Nothing too eventful, just things like a kid went down the slide and could not touch the bottom or swim, so in I went! It's pretty rewarding when things like that happen, but sadly it's only happened 3 times. So for the most part my job consists of me sitting there watching a pool. And I get paid for it. I'll take it.

I love to sing and play the piano. I sing in the car, in the shower, down the halls, in my room, just everywhere! I LOVE it! I love performing and being on stage. As strange as it sounds, acting is where I find myself being the! I just love being in front of people, and especially making them laugh! A good joke can take one so far! (That should be in the bible.) Piano is my way of blowing off steam. I prefer some good Josh Groban. Ahhhhh that man. I'm pretty sure a Joshgasim exists too. He is so freaking wonderful. Oh, and so is his music.

I suppose I should get some sleep, considering I am a crazy college student that needs to study and all that jazz. This whole blog thing is fun! I'll keep it up, PROMISE!