Nothing like a Seattle Summer

Summer ’13 was definitely one to remember.  As I mentioned on my previous post I was going through a tough time in my life and I was desperate for  good riddance and it totally found me.

My best friend Mari who for the past three years has been traveling Europe and working in Spain. She came home for the summer and let me tell you, she  couldn’t have come at a better time.  I was eager to see her and spend some much-needed quality time with her. I mean we do keep in contact through various social media mediums but nothing can replace those one-on-one conversations and interactions.

What did we do exactly?

Since summer days are longer we had lots of adventures together.  Our first stop was spending the entire day being Tourists in Seattle.

We headed downtown, found street parking and made our way to Pike place. The  market was crowded with locals and tourists alike, both Mari and I enjoyed our walk and even managed to take a picture . After walking around the shops we decided to grab a bite to eat. We grabbed a beer and some munchies while we enjoyed the sunshine. After eating Mari wanted to stop by Isadora’s and see the jewelry they had. This was my first time visiting an antique jewelry shop, so I had no idea what to expect.  I learned about different types of jewels, their meaning and just how expensive some of these things were! I even tried on a some engagement rings 😉 (Hey a girl can dream right?) Mari is the total guru on this antique jewels thing–and was totally schooling me with everything. I’m guessing she’d done this a few times before.


The official and yes overrated”Pike Place Market” photo.

We both are huge sushi junkies so we ended up at Umi Sake House on 1st Ave  for dinner. We ordered a few rolls and had some sake. It’s like that saying “time flies when you’re having fun” and sure enough before we knew it it was time to go.

Next adventure was going to see the  Seattle Sounders

Mari and I have been attending Sounders game since before they became an FC team so you know we truly are dedicated fans. We went to the match and had the time of our life, nothing like watching our Sounders play futbol, drinking beer and enjoying the sunshine.

Scarves up! Vamos Sounders! Las Amigas <3

1005991_10153013523425641_555519438_nThe last of our adventures concluded with a day trip to Portland. Our first stop was grabbing some food to eat at the food carts that are absolutely everywhere! This was my first time exploring the city and it was so much fun. After lunch we explored some of the micro breweries, grabbed a beer then decided it was time to dessert.

Now we couldn’t possibly leave Portland without stopping by to get our hands on some Voodoo Doughnuts! Yes, the wait was long but it was oh so worth it.

Needless to say my adventures with my Mari was memorable, fun and I cannot wait for her to be back in the states for good!



Asiana Airlines Flight 271

“I’ve wanted to revisit my travels to South Korea from a few years back. What better way to do it than by reminiscing at old photographs and telling stories!” -Ana 

Monday August 23rd 2010

Lets take a trip back to this past saturday. I arrived at the Sea-tac airport with two luggage bags and a whole bunch of emotions running all through my body. I was really leaving to Seoul, there was no turing back. As my mom helped me carry in my luggage and get in line I said goodbye, she gave me her bendicion (blessings) and told me to take care of me, to stay safe and enjoy my trip over there. It was right then and there that the tears began to come. I asked the guy who was behind me in line if he could watch over my bags as I went back to the car to say goodbye to my little brother and sister. He shrugged a little but he said he would. In less and two minutes I was back in line and that young man who helped me with the luggage turned out to be such a blessing. He not only helped me with my luggage, he made sure I was taken care of at check-in, waited in line with me at immigration and we would even be on the same plane to Seoul. I was super happy that I had made a korean friend already.

His name is Henry, he’s from Busan but lives here in Seattle and he studies at the University of Washington. As we sat at our gate and shared some snacks, he asked me why I was wanting to go to Korea and I found myself not knowing what to answer ;] there was simply too many reasons for this trip. I wanted to be in complete culture shock ( which trust me it did happen once I arrived), I wanted to learn a new language( which will hopefully happen if Im able to register for the classes I need!!) and well I wanted the chance to snag a couple of K-pop Stars (aka Big Bang! <3!)

THE LONG JOURNEY BEGAN and I literally mean long because the flight from Seattle to Seoul was 13 long and lovely hours. Gosh, I dont think I mentally prepared for this flight. Anyways, at least they fed us yummy food! & I had a chance to sit with other Americans which was cool cus I could actually communicate!

After a 13-hour flight I had finally arrived in Seoul. I looked like a hot mess, no joke. I didnt care, shoot I couldnt even manage to take a picture of the “Welcome to South Korea” sign as I left the plane. As I was walking onto the Incheon Airport I realized that I was overdresses, yes overdress. It was a gazillion degrees and my hoodie no longer needed to be in my body. The lines for immigration were SUPER long. I wanted to cry. Luckily Henry was still waiting for even though his line took less than 5 minutes. Oh the perks of holding a Korean Passport! :] We walked together to pick up our luggage and then headed outside to the greeting area. It was crazy, so many people everywhere!

As I looked at the crowd, I quickly saw Jun and then Henry and I said our goodbyes, I thanked him for his help and told him I would hit him up once I was back in Seattle! Jun was holding a sign with my name!  It was like what you see on the movies. He was really nice. Thats him and I on the bus. We took this “limousine bus” that would take us from Incheon to Sincheon ( the bus/metro bus stop for Yonsei). There I met two latinos from Ecuador! Super small world. I was talking to them in spanish for a while. I immediately again though of Riedman ( I had met two latinos within 3o min of my stay in Seoul!) They were only here for a few days, since their final destination was Tokyo.

After arriving at our stop we hopped in a taxi and it took us straight to my dorm. I live at the SK Global House International House. ^^ I went up to my room and left my stuff. Jun helped me find the nearest store on campus and went on his way. I came back- unpacked a bit, tried to get my internet to work and then gave up!! I crashed and basically slept for hours.


My Year of Service – Getting Things Done!

A year ago  I decided to become an AmeriCorps member, joining thousands of Americans who like me decided to give  back and serve their communities.  I literally had just graduated from college less than a week before I began my first day of training.  My specific AmeriCorps program was through the College Success Foundation whose mission is:

“The College Success Foundation (CSF)  provides scholarships and mentoring to low-income, underserved students, inspiring them to finish high school, and provides the unique, integrated system of supports they need to graduate college and succeed in life..”

CSF is a wonderful organization and I’ve been lucky to be a part of it since  I was 17 years old.  As a junior in high school I applied for their Achiever’s Scholarship and was named as one of their Achievers Scholars. Fast-forward four years later and I am happy to say that I have graduated from college and am a proud  alumna from Western Washington University. My time in Bellingham was wonderful, I made amazing friends and had the best time of my life . They definitely aren’t lying to you when they say that “College is the best time of your life” because it really is. I had many blessings along my college journey that allowed me to successful . Once graduated from Western I knew knew that it was my time to give back to m community and pay it forward.

I decided to become a “College & Career Coach” (CACC)  through CSF’s AmeriCorps program.  As CACCs we were placed in  four different school districts in Washington serving more than 2400 middle school students.  Our main focus was to create a “College-going” culture for our  high-need service sites through the implementation of college awareness, advising, and readiness support.

CSF AmeriCorps Cohort 2 Coaches 🙂

I was placed at Aki Kurose Middle School Academy, which was probably one of the toughest schools in the Seattle School district.  Despite the negative stigma around the school I walked in there with an attitude full of hope and my young, fresh out of college “I’m going to change the world” outlook on the situation. I was given a small office space and quickly  began decorating it, making sure that it screamed “COLLEGE” . The first couple of months were tough, I was trying to get a feel for the school, I was  trying to build relationships with teachers and staff as well as getting familiar with how to create lesson plans that serviced my student population. I didnt begin working with students until late November which was not the most ideal situation but after trials and tribulations  I finally figured out how to serve the students that  I needed to. It wasn’t easy and there were many times that  I felt like giving up ,but I knew that my role at Aki did indeed make a difference even if I couldnt see it sometimes. In the end  despite feeling overwhelmed with work and sometimes unappreciated by my work or kids, attending 8th grade recognition night and seeing all of my students graduate from middle school I slowly began to  get a little sad, a definite bittersweet moment. I think Im definitely going to miss my “mocosos” ( little boogers in Spanish).  I’m hopeful that my almost 1700 hours of service did indeed make a difference. I don’t know what’s next in my path, but I am slowly making my way and figuring it out.

PS: Check out some of my pics from my year of service! 🙂

♥ Ana

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