Thursday, December 29, 2011

Skiing in a Winter Wonderland

Hitting the slopes!
Hey everyone! To celebrate my last week of winter break my family and I took a skiing trip to the mountains! One nice thing about California is you could be at the beach in the morning and be in the snow by the late afternoon. For the last couple of days we skied (downhill) at Big Bear Mountain. Although most of my family skis, my brother and most of the Californian population snowboards! Snowboarding is one big board strapped to both of your feet, and is very popular in the United States. Maybe even more than skiing!

Snow making machine

Since we live in southern California, the weather is extremely warm here, Even when we ski we are still in about 60 degrees F or 23 degrees C. This is extremely warm for any snow sport, so most mountains here make their own snow!  They use big machines to automize the atoms in the water particles to create the snow. Man made snow is exactly like real snow, only made through a machine. Is is very helpful when you want to ski but the weather is not cold enough for it. Its such nice weather that you can ski without a jacket, some people ski and snowboards with only a t-shirt on.

Although we normally travel to Big Bear Mountain because it is the closest to us, one of the main skiing and snowboarding places in California is Mammoth Mountain. It's one of the biggest in the country! It is in central California, so it is colder there which results in more snow. I have been there a couple of times and it is really fun! However, I do not care where I ski as long as I can do it!

Do you prefer skiing or snowboarding? What kind of weather do you like to ski/snowboard in? Have you even been in man made snow? Let me know in the comments!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Its the most wonderful time of the year

Hey everyone! Happy holidays! Today was Christmas eve and my family got together to exchange presents, make treats, and eat a gourmet dinner. It is always so fun to see your family, which is one thing that makes this holiday season so enjoyable. My grandmother who immigrated from Norway to America and we celebrate Christmas every year with many Norwegian traditions. We always make a Kransekake, which is a Norwegian almond cake, and decorate it with many beautiful colors. Don't forget the Norwegian flags!
We also open one small Christmas present in anticipation for tomorrow. We have to wait for Santa to come during the night, a great American tradition, before we can open all our presents on Christmas morning. Although we have many traditions, we make new memories each year that last a lifetime.

What traditions do you have during the holidays? Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Happiness

Hey everyone! This week is a great time for American high schoolers because its winter break! Since the holidays are just around the corner we get two weeks off from school to celebrate! We begin our break the week before christmas and then go back to school after New Years. Its a great time to relax before the hectic holiday season, along with doing many winter activities like skiing trips and seeing Christmas plays. Many people travel during these two weeks off from school, either to the mountains or a tropical location. I love to downhill ski, but many Americans are into snowboarding! Either way, they are both fun activities to do during winter break.
Disneyland ride!
Christmas Pajama Party

Some other fun things to do around this time of year is go shopping for Christmas gifts or have holiday parties with friends. Also, winter is a great time to go to Disneyland! I live only 20 minuets away from Disneyland, so this vacation is a perfect time to go. In the winter, Disneyland is filled with holiday decorations, including a huge Christmas tree and snow falling on Main Street. Its the perfect way to kick off the holiday spirit.

What do you enjoy to do on your vacations from school? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In your "free" school time

Hey everyone! There is one thing I love the most about American high school. It makes all the other hard classes you are taking more bearable, and its called electives! Electives are classes within school that appeal to your interests. There is everything from drama to art to languages to photography! Every student is required to take electives, but they are fun and interesting so no one minds. Electives are a great way to explore different interests in different fields all within the comfort of your high school. Sound cool right? Some of the electives I am involved in are Model United Nations, Spanish, and Video Production.

They are all more artsy types of classes and are a good break from your core classes throughout the day. Other popular electives at my school are ceramics, graphic design, auto shop, and woodshop. There is truly an elective to fit every interest. I wish I had more room in my schedule to try different classes, but for now the few electives I am involved in are very exciting!

Here is a video my school's video production team made. It talks all about the cool electives offered at my school, and other American high schools alike. Check it out!

What electives would you be interested in taking? What are some of your interests? Let me know in the comments!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Helpers

Hey everyone! Since the holidays are coming up, our school likes to help those less fortunate. Every year, our school has a canned food drive where students bring in cans and packaged foods to donate. We work with South County Outreach, a charity which collects and distributes these foods. We love getting in the holiday spirt and helping other feel the same way. We even have competitions between classes to see who can raise the most! We also host toy drives, through Toys For Tots, which collects and distributes toys for presents for all the less fortunate children. Its such a great feeling to help others and is one of the best part of the holidays. The holidays are just as much about giving as they are receiving.

Here is a video our school made to talk about the can food drive! Last year we collected 8,500 cans.

Do you do charity at your school around the holidays? Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Hey everyone! One thing that is very fun about American high schools is we can leave for lunch! Only upperclassman can leave, which are juniors (11th grade) and seniors (12th grade). Since they are older, must students can drive, or can walk, to a nearby restaurant or market to enjoy lunch. Its one of the special treats for being an upperclassman in high school! Its a great way to have a fun time with friends outside of school, but just remember to be back when lunch is over! The younger grades, freshman (9th grade) and sophomores (10th grade) have to stay on campus during lunch. This is for a number of reasons, but the main one is so they get acquainted with their classmates and make good friends they can hang out with for the lunches to come! Plus, it gives you something to look forward to coming to school year after year. Overall, its a great system that supports our stomachs and the neighboring businesses!

Would you go off to lunch if you could during lunch? What is your favorite place to get lunch? Let me know in the comments!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fight on!

Hey everyone! This weekend was very exciting for me, I attended a college American football game! This was unlike any high school football game I have been to, it was way more intense, upbeat, and exciting! My college weekend started on Friday when I drove up to the University of Southern California, USC, a great school in california with a killer American football team. My friend and I spent the night in her sister's dorm! It was a fun way to get a quick glance at college life before I go in two years. Pretty exciting! American colleges are super fun, as they are a great way to meet new people while learning new things. On Saturday, we went to the football game! The USC trojans were playing the University of Southern California (UCLA) Bruins. These two schools are huge rivals, so this was one of the biggest games of the whole year. The schools play pranks on each other the week before the big game, like painting the school mascot statue the color of the other school, dyeing the fountains, or even painting the grass! Anything they can do secretly to spread spirit for the other team. Since the USC mascot is the trojans, we always chant fight on as a battle cry when going to any sport event.

Before the game, families and students host a big tailgate. This is an event that covers the entire campus, as groups sent up easy-ups with tables and chairs and their own little before-game party! By the afternoon, the whole school streets are filled with these parties as people are getting all psyched up for the big game. My friend's family were at the tailgate, so we cooked lots of food and had a get together right outside of the stadium! Once the game started, we were totally excited, never leaving our seats! USC had to win, we had even painted our faces in support! Luckily, USC was playing amazing and ended up beating their rival UCLA 50-0! One of the best scores ever against this team! Everyone in the stadium who were supporting USC was cheering, especially the student section. Each game, all the students from the school fill one huge section of the stadium, and cheer together. It was such a fun and great experience!

Have you ever been to a college sports game? What is your favorite college sport? Let me know in the comments!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

So much to give thanks for

Hey everyone! This Thursday was a big day in America, it was Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving happens on a Thursday every year and is a holiday that dates back to the colonization of America. The Native Americans and American Colonists got together to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and celebrate together. The first Thanksgiving was in 1621as a celebration of the successful harvest at the Plymouth Colony. Modern Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all you have while bringing together family and friends. There is great food, along with fun and games. Turkey with gravy and stuffing, mash potatoes, corn, and pie are the traditional Thanksgiving foods, as they are delicious and relate back to the first Thanksgiving. American Football is very popular to be watched and played on Thanksgiving. Weather you are watching the professionals on TV, or throwing a touchdown in a family game of flag football, each makes Thanksgiving special.

Another tradition that comes with Thanksgiving takes place on the day after. Its called Black Friday! Since its the day after Thanksgiving, it is the official first day of Christmas season. And by season I mean shopping! On this day stores open extremely early, from 12 AM to 4 AM, and offer extreme deals just on that day. It turns into a free for all, as people line up and race to get the few items that are on sale. It can be crazy, but its all in the holiday spirt.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving where you live? What would you want to buy for a super good Black Friday Deal? Let me know in the comments!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Strutin' for Charity!

Hey everyone! This weekend was very exciting as I was in a fashion show! I walked the runway with 22 other 11th grade girls from neighboring high schools. We are all involved with a program called National Charity League that hosts this fashion show every year to raise money for 18 different charities. We raise about 30 thousand dollars to donate to the charities. Its an incredible experience, and its even better knowing we are doing it for a great cause. There were even 9 high school junior boys in it as well who brought some spunk to the show!

In addition to this show, we do lots of community service for these 18 charities throughout the year. This includes delivering meals to senior citizens, helping teach children with disabilities, and serving meals to homeless families. Although it's a lot of hard work, each experience is worth it knowing the good I am doing for the community.

Would you ever want to be in a fashion show? What community service do you do for your community? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Model UN - Peace in the Making

The group touring the city at night
Me and my friends all ready for committee!
Hey everyone! One club I am involved in at school is Model United Nations (MUN). MUN is representation of the real United Nations, where about once a month we go to different schools and represent a country in a UN group, and debate current international issues. Its a great way to get involved in your school while learning about world issues. I am very interested in international relations, and this club is a great way for me to learn more about it. Its a great way to learn about international events and problems plaguing our world today while improving your research and speaking skills. We write speeches and resolutions, while debating with other delegates about the best way to solve each issue. I recommend this club for anyone who is interested in the international field, or just wants to improve their public speaking ability. You can even win awards for your works.
Our school MUNers with our awards after the conference

MUN is also a great excuse to travel. Last weekend I went to UCLA for a MUN conference. This conference was huge, with over 25 schools attending. Since this conference was at such a prestigious university, the stakes were high to preform well. But I ended up wining the highest award for my committee, African Union. This award is called Best Delegate, and you get your very own engraved gavel when you win. The school was beautiful, and made the MUN experience more fun. We got to debate in the university by day, and tour the streets of the city by night! We even stayed overnight in a hotel. And don't forget to wear your business attire while debating! Everyone even dresses the part of a UN official.

Are you involved in an MUN club or something like it? If not, would you be interested in a club like this? Let me know in the comments below!


Friday, November 11, 2011

College Application Time

Hey everyone! This time between November and December is a busy time for high school seniors, because of college applications. Most applications are due at the end of November or December, so this time is the final push. I am not a senior yet, so this is a good time for me to observe the application process and get ready for next year.
College applications here in the US are very detialed. Not only do applications require a report of your grades, SAT/ACT scores, class rank, etc., they also want to know all about your outside activities like sports, music, drama, volunteer work, work experience, etc. They love to know what your interests are and makes you special. On top of all the reports they require two or three personal essays. These are to show your writing ability, along with personal creativity and spirit. There is a lot of work that goes into writing applications, but it is all worth it when you are accepted into schools! Luckily, almost all private colleges today accept the Common Application, so you can fill it out once and send it to all your schools of choice! Some schools require extra supplement essays, but basically you have a one stop place for applications.

There are over 2,000 colleges and universities and also many junior colleges here within the US so there is a place for everybody! Some colleges are much harder to get into then others and require top grades and outside activities. This is due to their ranking. Below is the URL for the list of current ranking for colleges and universities in the US.

Each college is different, yet there is a different college that is perfect for everyone!

Would you ever want to come to college in the US? Where would you want to go to college? Let me know in the comments!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

SAT Time!

Hey Everyone! This Saturday, I took the SAT! The SAT, Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a test each high school student is required to take to apply to colleges. It tests you on subjects like sentence completion, reading, writing, and math. Plus, there is a 25 minute essay required to be written. Overall, it's a five hour test! Talk about a buzz kill to your Saturday! It takes a lot of preparation before hand, as many people purchase review books or take classes to obtain all the information needed. It's almost impossible to get a perfect score, 2400, because it's graded on a bell curve, yet everyone tries their hardest to receive the best score they can. Luckily, you can take the test as many times as you want, and some schools super score your test, taking the best scores from each section from different tests to create one overall super score.

If you read my ACT post, you will know how the SAT and ACT are very similar. Both are required with applying to United States Colleges, but schools only require one or the other. So you can focus on what test you are better at! The SAT tests you more on vocabulary and critical thinking skills, while the ACT tests you on what you already know, and has a science section that the SAT does not. Even though there are some differences, both are equally challenging and count the same in the college's eyes.

Here is the website for the SAT:

If you are planning on attending college in the United States, knowing more about the SAT is a great first step towards this goal.

So, do you think you would be better on the ACT or SAT? Let me know in the comments!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Ghosts and Goblins Come a Haunting.. It's Halloween!

Hey Everyone! Today is a very special day in America, its Halloween! Halloween is a holiday that dates way back in time, originally serving as the day before All Saints Day as a last time for ghosts and monsters to haunt the Earth before the Saints came. Now, it is an excuse for people of all ages to dress up in their favorite costume like a ghost or monster. They walk around house to house saying, "Trick or Treat!" and get lots of candy! Halloween is a fun time for everyone, as there are costumes parties, games, and lots and lots of candy. People carve pumpkins into their favorite faces of designs and bob for apples. Its like a fall celebration. However, most schools don't have Halloween or the day after off from school, so you can't stay out too late! Its another fun holiday in the United States that brings people together and is fun for all ages. 

Do you celebrate Halloween where you live? What would you dress up as? Let me know in the comments! 


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Red Ribbon Week

Hey Everyone! This week at our school was Red Ribbon Week! This is one week during our school where we focus on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol and try to promote healthy lives within the high school. The whole school is decorated with red ribbons, streamers, and posters to promote RRW. We have speakers come to talk to us about their experiences and hopefully change our minds for the better. There is even a banner in our school's main common area that everyone can sign to promise to be drug free. Drugs and alcohol are huge killers in the United States and in the entire world. Many students die from overusing these drugs or alcohol each year. One of the worst forms of death that is rapidly occurring in the United States is dying from a car crash with a drunk driver. This is horrible because there is nothing you could have done to prevent it, and our school is trying to make this death number drop. We have a simulation at our school called Every Fifteen Minutes, which stands for every fifteen minutes someone dies from a car crash related to drunk driving. Throughout the entire day, a grim reaper walks around our school and takes someone every fifteen minutes to be a ghost killed from a car accident for the whole day. Then during lunch, we have a whole simulation on an actual car crash from what happens to what are the consequences. We know that drug and alcohol use will never completely end in high schools, but hopefully these demonstrations will help keep innocent drivers alive. Overall, this week is a fun way to bring our school together and become healthy and happy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coming home, hawk style!

Hey Everyone! This week is very busy at our school, because it is Homecoming week! Homecoming is a big football game where all the alumni are motivated to come back to school and cheer on their old team. The week leading up to the big game, we have a big spirit week. Every single day has different dress up themes and pep rallies. All the students get really into it, and there is even competitions between grades. The day after the Homecoming football game, there is the first formal dance of the year, Homecoming. Everyone gets dressed up in fancy dresses and suits and dances the night away! There is even a Homecoming King and Queen voted by the school. Homecoming is a great way to bring spirit and unity to the school in a fun way!

Here is a video from last year's Homecoming game and spirit week. Check it out! I am one of the interviewers in the football game segment. 

What would your favorite part of Homecoming be? The football game, the dance, or the spirit week? Let me know in the comments!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Sports: All Day Every Day

Hey Everyone! This school year has been extremely busy for me, from school work to extracurriculars. One of the activities that keeps me, and a lot of other American high schoolers, busy is sports! Joining a sports team is a great way to stay physically fit, while feeling a sense of community within the school. You become great friends with the other students on the team because you spend so much time together! My tennis team has games around three times a week, and practice every day. It's a lot of work, but it is worth it when you team wins! Each sports team plays a certain amount of games, then the overall winners goes on to a larger tournament called CIF, or California Interscholastic Federation. This is a big accomplishment that every team works towards. There are also different levels of each team. There can be teams ranging from Freshman, Sophomore, Frosh-Soph, Junior Varsity, and Varsity which is the top level. I am on the Varsity tennis team at my school, so I have to work extra hard! The atmosphere of high school sports are incredible, and is worth all the hard work. Another fun aspect of sports is the team mascot! Ours is the Hawks.

All sports are important at my school. Here is a video my school's video production team made about all our great sports teams. Check it out! And as always, Go Hawks!

What sport would you like to play for on a high school team? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Club Rush

Every year at most American high schools, there is one week dedicated to signing up for clubs, or club rush! During this week, each club sets up a table at snack in the center of the school and students come to look at and sign up for new and exciting clubs. Clubs vary from French Club to Young Politicians of America Club. I am involved with many clubs at my school, from Spanish Honors Society to International Club. Clubs are a great way to get involved with the student body while doing something you love. Many of the clubs go to charities, so joining a club can be have social benefits while helping the community. Here is a video from Club Rush this year at my school!

Do you have clubs at your school? If you could join any club, what would it be? Let me know in the comments!