Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

I've written a post about my father before, so I'm not going to rant endlessly about how awesome he is today. In fact, I'm sort of selfishly taking this opportunity to share something I have learned over the past few years.

You will never appreciate your parents early enough. That's sad, and I wish it weren't true, but almost all of my colleagues have expressed the same sentiment.

When you're living at home it can be easy to overlook how much your parents do for you. Not just by making you food, driving you to school, and paying for your expenses, but by making the choice to live a life that is focused around you.

Your parents don't have to choice to not care about you for a day. If they're tired, or sad, or angry, they have already surrendered their ability to just disregard you. If they want to leave for a few days, for most people it's just not that easy. More importantly than that, your parents give up 18 years of their own dreams to make yours come true.

Recently I have been overwhelmed by how horrifying this idea is. That my parents, smart, charismatic, accomplished, and driven people could have taken all the time I've been alive to pursue their dreams, travel without worrying about my sister and I fighting, and just generally do the things that make them happy.

For all of you who don't like your parents, who don't think they do enough for you, I hope you realize how much they've done just by virtue of you existing. Someone gave up their independence and a piece of their life to make yours happen.

That is mind blowing.

I don't want to rant forever, but today's post is dedicated to my dad. My dad is one of the most capable people I've ever met, if not the single most capable. Career success aside, my dad's personal accomplishments range from being an incredible musician to acquiring several levels of both fixed wing and helicopter certification. My dad is driven, multi-talented, and never boring.

He's also done more for me than I will probably ever be able to understand or thank him for. My dad has supported me in so many ways and given up more for me than I will ever be able to give him in return.

I am so deeply saddened that I can't be with him on father's day, but I can smile knowing that he is somewhere thousands of feet above the ground looking down at a world that he opened himself whenever it didn't open for him.

If you are lucky enough to be with your dad today, I envy you. Tell him you love him and try at least for just today to show him the gratitude he deserves. I hope my dad knows how much I appreciate him, and can feel how much I love him every day, but today especially.

Happy father's day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Paris: The Highlights Reel

I don't even know where to begin.

I'm tired, sick (I knew it would happen), and probably not formulating coherent sentences given the combination of those two factors, but I feel so happy and grateful for the experience I had this past week.

Along with a group of 13 other students, I spent the last week on a study tour in Paris hosted by the George Washington University debate team and the French Embassy. The students on the trip represent the best debaters and speakers of the Lafayette Debate tournament, a competition hosted in Washington DC in the Spring about French and American issues, and our trip included both tourist activities and meetings with relevant political and industry figures who deal with French culture and cultural protection.

There are a lot of things I could say about this trip. I could explain how lucky we are to have met the people we met, see the things we saw, and learn so much about French cultural and politics. I could describe the beautiful city that is Paris, and all of its nooks, crannies, and unusually large amount of Japanese restaurants. But in typical Kristen fashion, I think the best way I can commemorate my experience in Paris is to share a short (ha... as if I could write something short) recollection of my favorite moments and experiences.

This is the Paris highlight reel. Everything we did could be considered a highlight, but these experiences make up the best of the best, or more suitably the crème de la crème.